Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Gift of GIRLS!

Summer gives me the chance to be with my girls.....A LOT!

Pretty much every single day, around the clock, for 3 months.....straight.

Coming from a family of brothers this can be a little.....confusing.

See, here's the thing....

Boys are rough and tough and often detach themselves from the emotional side of things. They don't take offense quickly and when they do, a good tackle usually clears things up.

My boys avoid drama like the plague! This is simply not in their brain wave, and they haven't the coping skills to figure it out. The very thought of hearing about emotional situations seems to give them the "heebie jeebies".

They take risks that often seem just plain reckless and irresponsible and they call it "AWESOME!" When they get hurt it becomes their badge of honor.

Boys create battle zones with army men and tanks and feel no remorse for turning their sisters barbies into hostages . They get dirty and stinky and never consider the scrub down they will get later. Boys are weird.....but cool!


Well, having spent so much time with my daughters, as well as going to a week of girl's camp, I have come to appreciate what it is to have girls, as well as BE a girl myself!

Girls bring a whole different component to life and circumstances.

Girls not only look out for their own safety, but also the safety of others. Because they love deeply and profoundly they are often hurt easier. Because of this nature, it frequently requires some crying and discussing. Therefore, they develop the ability to analyze and stretch themselves to new levels of compassion, as well as new levels of love.

Because of a girl's nature, sometimes drama happens. We are emotional creatures! We crave acceptance and unconditional love. In the act of craving we may seem a little unpredictable. Sometimes we just don't make any sense whatsoever.

We know we are emotional, but love us anyway, dang it!!!

"WE CAN TEACH YOU THINGS!!" Could be our motto to those silly boys!

We avoid messy stuff because it took us so long to do our hair. When we do get down and dirty, we take into account and embrace the thought of the hot bath and pedicure that is right around the corner. We like to look pretty. Probably more for ourselves than anyone else, yet we still feel apologetic when anyone has to look at us in such a "horrible state".
Girls can be kind of silly sometimes...
But here is the REALLY COOL thing I have learned....

When a girl's heart is focused on Jesus Christ, when she is above the trends and vanities of this world, when she KNOWS who she is and lives with that knowledge in every thought and every act, she becomes something entirely unique.

She loves more purely than one ever thought capable. She forgives more freely than perhaps even she thought possible. She shares her feelings more openly than perhaps she ought to. She works until she has no more strength. She nurtures others without a thought of herself. She gives until there is absolutely nothing left to give but still believes that tomorrow there will not only be enough for herself-but more to give as well. She prays with all of her heart because she has had the witness that God loves not only her but everyone else around her.

She becomes a jewel more valuable than any jewel in this mortal world.

When a daughter of God looks to Him as her Father she steps out of this world and becomes an instrument in His hands.

Max Lucado said,

"A woman's heart must be so lost in God that a man must seek Him to find her."
Wouldn't it be amazing if we girls were so lost in God that a man must seek Him to find us?

It's a PRIVILEGE to be a girl, a woman, a mother, an aunt, a girl-friend, a wife, a grandmother, a sister, and a daughter.
Most importantly to be a daughter of God.

I love my daughters who love me so unconditionally!
I love my mother and my mother in law who have not only been mothers, but friends as well!
I love my sister in laws and my nieces who allow me to feel like I was one of their own sisters!
I love my dear, and most beloved friends! Who have lifted and inspired me every day!
I love the memory of my grandma Lyndall! The sweet memory of how much she loved me as a small little girl has stayed with me for over 37 years.
I love the special girls in my children's lives! Both my son's and my daughter's. They have taught them life lessons I simply could not, for this I am eternally grateful!
I love the amazing girls I have spent time with in young women's and seminary, who have stretched themselves to levels of godliness and strengthened me so much in the process!
I love all of the incredible women in my life who have taught me what it means to be the kind of women I want to be.

I love my Mother in Heaven.

Who I know looks upon me, and I believe, laughs and cries with me.

It is a gift to have such beautiful girls in my life and to be a girl myself.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

According to Forrest, I have been saying for about 5 years now that "This is the last time we would be able to spend time together for a LOOONG time!" Well, it always feels that way!!! Ever since Garrett went into high school it's felt like the beginning of the end to all of our "Allen Family Fun"! I know it isn't the end....but why not treat every opportunity like it might be. Why not treasure every moment as if it's possible to be the last, when in fact, it could be. Every time I am with my children I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a mother. I always thought about the HOT GUY I would marry. I was never one of those doll playin' girls. I wanted Barbies, who could have romance! Well, I got the HOT GUY, but I got so much more than that! I got a family. I got 5 beautiful children who love me and teach me about life. Who surprise me with their goodness and mercy everyday. They are extremely patient with me, as a mom, who never thought much about being a mom. They are wonderful, funny and make life so much more interesting than if it had really just been me and my HOT GUY! (Which he is, of course!) What can I say, I am blessed, and I thank God every day for giving me such a privilege!

Garrett is Good as Gold!

Every day I consider myself blessed to have been Garrett's mother! Having him away from home has been hard. I think what makes it easier is realizing how happy he is. How he is growing. He has many valiant people around him who strive to be the best they can be! This is a mother's greatest joy! Seeing him thrive in the environment he is in makes not having him here in our Vegas world, bearable. We love him. He is our Nephi! We miss him. But he is being prepared for a great life and a great work! We rejoice in his testimony. We thank the Lord for his goodness and dedication to being so good. We are grateful that he has had roommates that sustain him and are with him in the cause of truth. He is missed by so many here in Vegas! His love for others and for life is contagious! His attitude makes everything seem fun! He has left an impression on many hearts. I am excited to see what great things the Lord has in store for him. We can't wait to see him over Thanksgiving!!!!!

Sarah is Sweet and Soothing

Having Sarah around is just plain easy. She goes with
the flow. She doesn't make waves. She thinks of others and tries to make compromises to help the group work at it's best. She strives hard to be a peace-maker. What a wonderful blessing that is. She is sweet to everyone.

A big motivation to take trips with my kids is because of Sarah. She loves adventures!! She needs adventures. Sarah is content staying in her room and disappearing for a long period of time. When we go on adventures her spirits soar. She becomes lively. She participates. She grows. She bonds with her family. Every trip we have taken in the past few years has been motivated by my desire to have Sarah experience LIFE. To see the world, to appreciate what is out there. I don't know how long Sarah will live with me, but one thing is for matter how long it is, we will be having adventures!
I love her!

Forrest is Fierce and FUN!

The thought of Forrest going away to college is becoming more and more of a reality and I cherish every moment I still have with him home. Forrest keeps me laughing every day. His humor is often dry and quick. I find it very surprisingly entertaining. He keeps me on my toes. He has a million friends that I adore. He is talented beyond anything we have ever taught him to be. He is a protector of the underdog. Forrest can do ANYTHING he puts his mind to. He is smart and creative and strong and determined. He is a Moroni! I rejoice in him! As long as Forrest stays focused on the Savior, he will become a valiant servant in the cause of truth. I believe the Lord can do great things through him.

I appreciate him giving me a day to snap a million pictures of him. Usually he is so silly I can never catch a good one that I can hang on my wall. I'm grateful he gave me today to "snap away" as a willing participant. He keeps us young! We love you Forrest!

Brooke is Bright and Beautiful!

Who is this child that is suddenly growing into a beautiful young woman!? It's happening right before my eyes, in what seems like overnight!!! For all the times I wondered if my girls would ever learn to do there own hair or put on a matching outfit I now realize that I had no reason to doubt them. Who taught Brooke to be so amazing? It must have been all those great mom friends of mine because I don't think I had anything to do with it! What a gift to have such a wonderful daughter. She is so much smarter than I ever was. So much more confident and happy. How grateful I am for her and her growing spirit of love and compassion. It is a privilege to have such a beautiful daughter, both inside and out.

Hannah is Hip and Happy!

There is something about having 4 teenagers that seems like we are "growing out" of some of the simple things in life. Hannah brings that childlike joy back into everything! I often feel bad for the youngest child. I know because I am one! It seems they get robbed of some of the excitement of being young and innocent. Hannah keeps life thrilling! She keeps us young and simplistic. She makes us squeal with delight in the new things to experience and enjoy! Slow down, we want you to stay young for a long time!!! We are so blessed to have Hannah!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Break 2010

This is for you, grandmommy and granddaddy! We want to share our trip with you, and this is how we hope to do it. We hope you have a chance to look. We are so grateful for the chance we had to take this trip! FYI, if you click on the big pictures you can see them up close, but not the little ones.

The trip of a lifetime!! First stop, Uncle John and Aunt Lori's in Lancaster, California.

If you were to ask Hannah what her favorite part of the trip was she would tell you it was her time with her cousin. We love being with family! We value it beyond anything else in the world. Our time with my brother John's family was so uplifting and fun. They fed us, we played games, we laughed and then we headed out. It was an absolutely perfect way to start our trip, it left us wanting more of family. What a blessing to have had that time!

Anderson's Split Pea Soup

My dad had one request, that we stop and have some Anderson's Split Pea Soup. We were not that excited, but we honored his request and it was delicious!! We sure didn't expect that! The kids even became fans and I must say, we have been craving it ever since! How weird. This was just minutes from our next destination, Solvang.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Solvang, a little Danish treasure in California!!

If you've never been to Solvang then you simply MUST go. My parents took me here and I have wanted to return ever since. My Danish roots must have been calling me, I absolutely love this place! They say it's more Denmark than Denmark. My grandfather came over on a boat when he was 14 years old from Copenhagen Denmark and I love that there is a street named Copenhagen. We even bought us a pair of wooden shoes and had some danish treats. So much fun!

Osterich Land, strangely fun.

After our tour of Solvang we went over to a place called Ostrich Land. I don't know why it was fun. I guess everything is fun when your on vacation. Sarah chose to have a little R & R back at the hotel without us. I can't say I blame her for that. But the rest of us kind of enjoyed these odd birds.

Hearst Castle

This is a place my parents took me to when I was around 16. It left an impression. I wanted my kids to go. There was a great movie that they show that explains the castle, there are 5 different tours you can take. We took the one recommended for 1st time visitors and I'm glad we did because it showed the beautiful gardens. I'd like to go again and see more though.

2 1/2 hours of pure scenic wonder and awe!

Words just can't express the beauty of this drive along the coast to Monterey. I was hesitant to make the drive. Many winding roads to think about, but it was absolutely GORGEOUS! The only temptation was to take pictures while driving on the edge of steep cliffs. No regrets for going the long way.

17 mile scenic Monterey drive

The one thing I wanted to do in Monterey was take a 17 mile scenic drive, which would seem like a quick and easy thing had it not been for the 2 1/2 hour drive to get here. But, the reluctant bunch agreed to do it. We were glad we did! This is where the famous Pebble Beach golf course is and so many other breathtaking views. Lots of places to get out and look around.

Montery, wish we could have stayed a little longer.

The problem with this kind of trip, and there are only a that when your trying to do a lot, which we were, you don't get as much time as you would like to in some places. This is one of those occasion's. Though we were blessed to be here, I know the kids would have loved to stay a little longer. But, how can you complain, you can't. We are blessed!

We arrived in San Francisco!

The drive was beautiful to San Francisco. All I can think to myself is, 'WHY do we live in the desert?' Constantly I keep thinking this. I was very impressed with everything about the drive. The kids watched the movie Escape from Alcatraz on the way. It took almost exactly the length of the movie to get there. What luck. When we arrived the first thing to do, figure out how to get around. We were told that the "F-line" takes you to the Wharf. The lady who told me this almost seemed irritated that I kept reaffirming her instructions. So we got on the F-line, and what do you know, we got on the one and ONLY F-line that doesn't go that far. Ha ha! So we got off at the Ferry Building and walked a LONG way. The walk was beautiful though and I'm glad we did it. (Sarah was not glad, however). But it got us out and moving around.

Welcome West!!

Up until now we've been without West, and now he's with us!! We are glad he's here, but sure do wish he could have seen what we have seen so far. Unfortunately he had a conference in Washington D.C. that he had to go to. But he's here now, so bring on the fun! This is the hotel we stayed at, Hotel Whitcomb. Great history! Was the San Francisco city hall in the early 1900's while they renovated city hall. It was really beautiful and dated. Like it a lot!


Started off today with a trip to Alcatraz! We had a great time. The weather was gorgeous. They have this audio tour that really makes an impression. The kids loved it. The ground were beautiful, great view of the bridges, I'm so glad we went! How can I explain how much I love this family???? By the way, this is the ONLY picture of all of us on this whole trip. Thank heavens we got one!

San Francisco, open your Golden Gates!

We did love San Francisco, but I wouldn't say that we are sorry to be leaving. The hustle and bustle is a little overwhelming. We took the kids to see our favorite Broadway play last night,
Wicked, they felt spoiled, which of course, they were. Overall I think they were more impressed by the wicked feeling of San Francisco. I haven't been here in a long time, and I have to say that leaving felt like going back up to Summerlin and leaving downtown Las Vegas strip. It was welcomed. I was glad we brought them here though. It was part of the experience I was hoping they could have. Feeling the difference is sometimes important. Sarah was especially glad to be leaving. Wickedness, though perhaps not as understood, has a strong feeling inside of her. She didn't enjoy the chaos of the city. It feels a little threatening. We did have a great time, however. Now to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and begin our trip to Yosemite National Park. It is about a 4-5 hour drive. From here we are not really sure what to expect. That's the fun part of the trip. Every part is a new adventure, seeing new landscapes and new scenery. So here we go.....

Muir Woods

West had heard about this beautiful place called Muir Woods. Nobody wanted to go! We had a long drive ahead of us, and we were a little nervous about the possibility of Brooke getting car sick. But, I gotta say, this place was unbelievable! The smells of these woods was unlike anything I have ever experienced! Crisp, clean, fragrant air. Tall redwood trees. I was so glad that we cooperated. We really didn't want to, I mean, we were heading to Yosemite, how different could it be? But it was worth every little minute of detour!

Yosemite National Park

You have probably been to Yosemite, come to think of it, I probably have at some time in my life as well, though I don't remember it. What a change of environment from the things we have seen so far. Going from the big city of San Francisco, to here. It was a welcomed change. Waterfalls, cliffs, wildlife, rivers, the smell of pine, and peace. Everywhere you look represents God's creations and wonders.

Two awesome cabins!

We were lucky to have 2 great cabins at Yosemite! I had arranged to have a cabin on the wrong days! Can you believe I would make such a terrible mistake??? We were incredibly blessed because they accommodated us and didn't charge us extra for the mistake! We had a tall, 5 level cabin at first and then had to change cabins, which was a bit of a pain, but once we saw the 2nd one, we were happy. I liked this one better because we were more "together". Not as big and a little more homey. Sure beats camping!

Heading Home!

We have an 8 hour drive left before we are home. We have had the greatest time of our lives, and ending it with an 8 hour drive with 7 people in the car almost seems like the testing of miracles. But, just like the rest of the trip, the kids came through with flying colors. We have been blessed beyond measure. The kids have loved their time together, and it feels like the trip was strangely the right thing to do. I have loved every single minute and if this is the last way I would remember my group all together it would be the greatest memory I could ever ask for. I thank my Heavenly Father for helping it to be so.