So the Chloeefornia kids came in town. YES! Best time ever! From the minute they pulled into the driveway, to the minute they pulled out, it felt like every single minute, every single second was scheduled to the hilt. So many friends and family to catch up with, see and spend time with!
First thing Chloee did was to walk around the house, checking every room and telling me to "remember this Mimi?". The joy on her face was incredible. Seeing Corbin and Karalee's face as they walked in the front door was amazing. You know that feeling of "coming home?", it was in prime form for them!
"Mimi - take a picture of me and Jack"
"Mimi, take a picture of me and Poppa"
"Mimi, take a picture of me with your swim stuff"
"Mimi, take a picture of me with the sprinklers"
"Mimi! Look at me! Take a picture!"
We started out the weekend with a little Relay race called Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay. My beloved team "Legally Dead" had room for one more runner so Corb got the spot. We were so excited to run together!
The bummer came when Corb woke up the morning of the start and was sick. Between being sick and the elevation change with running, he was in bad shape. He tried to gut it up and work through it, but by the end of his first leg, he was in bad shape and the medics told him no more running. Splenda and Kar came to get him and the rest of us grabbed his miles and pushed on.
No shame in passing a fat cow and chalking up the kill
Love my teammates, love the relay (even though we complain every year by leg 2) and excited for next year!
The next week was busy with temple arrangements for the kids. In my church, we perform our marriage ceremonies in the Temple, believing that with certain ordinances in place (from back when Christ was on the earth and established His church), that couples and families can be sealed forever. Meaning that once death happens and we pass to the other side, we have the opportunity to remain as family units and as husband and wife. It's such a beautiful thing and one of the many gospel principles of which I have a strong testimony. Being allowed in the Temple requires a commitment to living gospel principles. We believe that it is such a Holy place that one should and must be worthy to enter it. Therefore, there are certain gospel elements that one must be faithful to, to earn the privilege of entering the Temple. If a couple is not eligible when they first marry, they can have a civil marriage (til death do ye part), and then after a year, if qualified can then have their marriage sealed in the temple. If they have living children, those children are then also brought in and sealed to them as an eternal family unit. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Just think, you have your children as yours forever. Your family is intact for all eternity!
Anywhoodle, this was the main reason for the kids to come to Utah. They had been working on and preparing themselves to enter the Temple, receive their own endowments (gifts and covenants made with God) and then have their family sealed. So the week was busy with getting all the temple clothing purchased, and an open house celebration planned. In addition to making visits to various family members and friends.
Wednesday, they went to the Jordan River Temple to receive their endowments. It was pure bliss. To be in the Temple with Splenda, Corb, Kar, Luke, so many family and friends was such a great experience. In the Temple, there is a feeling of love and peace that I have never found outside it's walls.
Of course, more partying with family and friends.
First a little race for me - American Fork half
Me and my cousin Anita that I haven't seen since my Dad died. Like 31 years ago! So fun to meet up with her at the start line!
This was a race for cancer and you could put someone's name on your bib that you were running in memory of. Rob, Kevin and Nonalee....love and miss them,
A Litster family reunion,
some golfing with the boys,
some movie attending for the girls
And then came Saturday evening
Corb and his little family gathered at the Salt Lake Temple, along with family and friends who had current temple recommends (document that shows your worthiness to enter), gathered in a special sealing room to witness the eternal beginnings of their family.
There are no words to describe the joy that this Momma felt. Seeing my son, whom I worried about for so many years. Whom I prayed for time after time after time for his happiness. Whom I shed many a tear over and with during hard struggles. Whom I watched become a Marine, a Man, a dedicated Father, and devoted Husband. To see him kneel across a holy alter and pledge his devotion and eternal love and commitment to his sweetheart. To watch as they brought beautiful Chloee in and add her to the eternal family sealing her to both her daddy and her mommy. Well again, there are no words. The best I can come up with is: Pure, exquisite, sweet, peaceful joy. Of course, there are more things experienced that are far too personal and sacred to share on a public blog, but they are seared in my soul forever and I thank God that He, as our Father in Heaven, loves us so much as to provide such experiences and privileges.
We enjoyed some pictures out on the temple grounds and then headed out for a celebratory dinner.
Chloee falling asleep mid spoonful of spumoni
Spaghetti Factory never disappoints
I wish to thank every single person - family and dear friends who were able to be with us, offered well wishes via call, text, email and facebook. And especially dear to me are the well wishes from friends who are not of my faith, don't quite clearly know and understand all the things I talk about, but share in our happiness anyway. I am such a blessed person to be surrounded by incredible people.
Monday was to be a legal day, but some circumstances came up that pushed the issue until July. Instead, the day was spent running around gathering things for a party that I had promised my son if/when he went to the temple. : )
It was SO FUN!!! Very casual, very low key, just plain fun! And again, thanks to so many who came out to support us. Many of them met Karalee for the very first time. Some met Corbin for the very first time. And the supportive comments that were passed along were just the cherry on top of the wonderful week!
I know, I know......two whole pictures? Just two that I could get a hold of - Jon has a whole lot more and when I get some, I'll post them. So many fun people and things!
Tuesday morning and goodbye's came way too soon. I tried not to cry, and gratefully only Karalee saw me, but it literally broke my heart to watch them pull out of the driveway.
I know that what they are doing is good. He is doing an honorable thing, and I love the fact that Corbin carefully explained to Chloee that they needed to fulfill their commitment and responsibility to the Marine's, but as soon as they could, they would come back to Utah.
As I closed the door behind them, and allowed myself to cry, I looked around at the chaos that my house was in. Toys were scattered, Chloee's bed still pulled out, dishes in the sink (and Karalee kept cleaning but by that morning I made her stop), but the feelings as a Mom were overwhelming.
I went to bed, cried some more that they were gone and then reflected on the entire week or so that they were here. Such happiness in such a short period of time. So many blessings. So much support from friends and family. The glow of joy in Corbin, Karalee, and Chloee's faces. It was almost too much for my happy heart.
And now what?..........I guess we keep going on with life. I do know that I could die happy right now. Not that I'm planning on that by any means, but just the feeling of peace in my heart is such that if called home, I could go.
Congratulations to Corbin, Karalee and Chloee. You did it! You are an eternal family. No one can take that away from you. You've earned it and earned it righteously.
I am so happy for them. Happy for their happiness.
I think my cup is running over........
And I'm feeling kinda squinky.........
Need to plug in the sarcasm button again!