april in-betweens

in april 2022, we celebrated gabriel’s fourth birthday, and easter, and we took a trip to new york city! this post is about all the other stuff that happened that month…!

in april we felt sometimes discombobulated, but happy, like auggie in this picture below 🙂 and while my heart ached for the blooms of spring in london, i was pretty thrilled to see some magnificent magnolias in our neighborhood and to discover that a huge tree in our backyard was a spectacularly blossoming tree ^^ !

we met my parents at the zoo in salt lake one day, and that was so fun!! the animals were super active and we had a blast watching them, particularly the polar bear who was doing back flip tricks on repeat for us! we rode the train and the carousel and had a blast with grammie and grandfather.

i had to drive my kids past the house that i grew up in after our time with g&g and the animals, since it’s just up the hill from the zoo. soooo many memories at that house! then we were home to our provo house, where august delighted in eating the sidewalk chalk we were using to draw on the deck, ha!

in april we pushed onward with out house projects, finally getting a rug, lamps and chairs for our living room, and testing out colors for painting the exterior!

i got to spend a saturday morning with friends at the hot springs on the other side of utah lake. it was a super fun outing, and the first time since we moved to provo that i really felt like i have bona-fide friends! love this spot and love these women (we hike together more thursday mornings!).

gorgeous blossoms on byu campus…

… and a saturday spent with london friends that now live in utah (we took care of the kids all day because our friends had taken care of moses when we went on our overnight anniversary getaway back in october!) :

a random photo of gabriel that moses took, and a snowman’s head mo wanted to make one afternoon:

we spent a morning at the neighborhood art center in provo town center mall … we had been wanting to check it out for a while. it is so so fun – all kids loved it and we came home with some awesome creations. the self-portraits are my fave – the boys took it so seriously haha!

eve always wanting to go outside, and a snapshot by gabriel of a ordinary, extraordinary moment at home:

swinging under our amazing backyard tree – i love those blossoms so much!!

a new lego creation by moses:

aren’t these flowers just perfect? i especially loved my view from the kitchen sink that week (note the boys on the trampoline without their shirts on because it was a warm day!!) // the babies upgraded to new car seats from their infant ones!

yummmm, spaghetti!

our craft room was amazing in april. we ran out of space on the walls so we started wallpapering the ceiling with masterpieces! here’s my two favourite things that moses made … i will treasure that family portrait forever!

the big boys and i organized and put on a bake sale to raise money to send to ukraine! it was so fun and enriching for all of us. we asked all our friends for donations of treats and set it all up outside the rec center. we raised over $1,000! and since my family’s foundation matched all our proceeds, we were able to send over $2,000 to help the people of ukraine.

the boys loved trying to flag down customers, calculating costs on their toy cash register, and delighting at generous tips 🙂 moses lasted longer than gabriel, but both of them were overjoyed with our final count of $ to help ukrainians, and the left-over treats 🙂

craft room photos before we really ran out of room (ceiling included) and took everything down:
the boys were really into doing “drawling lessons” together this past spring – moses would be the teacher and gabriel the pupil. i love seeing their creations side by side.

from a trip to the bean museum, a byu finance event on campus where professor wright got in the dunk tank and got dunked by his sons, and the twins’ 18 month well-check at the pediatrician’s office:

a front-yard sprinkler run on a warm day:

and cards for grammie for her seventy fifth birthday:

more from the big events of april – gabriel’s birthday, easter and nyc, coming next!

14 comments

  1. How do you feel about your nieces Grace and Claire having double pierced ears..? Especially since your religion specifically says not to do that? Claire I can understand sort of since she is not that into the religion. But Grace just got back from her mission- why would she think the double piercings are ok? Please help me understand!

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    • “Latter-day prophets strongly discourage the piercing of the body except for medical purposes. If girls or women desire to have their ears pierced, they are encouraged to wear only one pair of modest earrings.”

      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/true-to-the-faith/body-piercing?lang=eng

      I’m not LDS Heidi but this seems pretty wafty to me – we discourage it, but if you want, we’d rather you only did one? I’d worry about the big stuff if I were you. Love your neighbour as yourself, for example. The ones that make a real difference in the world and are definitely rules.

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      • Oh I’m not worried about it per se, just wondering what Charity’s opinion is. She seems really tolerant of other people’s beliefs, but also very devout as far as going by what her church teaches. The other family seems to not really worry about what the elders in the church encourage – which seems odd. And the one that went on a mission just recently, Grace I think…. went from dressing very trendy pre-mission to long jumpers with socks and huge buckle shoes on the mission. Very LDS looking if you will. Now double piercings – I just don’t understand – the mission is supposed to make you a better LDS person – not just taking a break from doing whatever you want. I hope Charity answers. I tried asking on the other blog, and my comment was deleted without response. I’m not being snarky. I am seriously wondering what is going on.

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        • I am not Charity, but I have a somewhat relevant experience to share. In my freshman year of college another LDS girl my year got a nose stud. We were teens when the single ear-only piercing guidance came out, it had been a big deal to us teenage girls and it was very fresh in everyone’s memory. There was no way she was ignorant of it.

          People at church may have had their own opinions on it, but no one ever gave her a hard time, or even mentioned it to her beyond complimenting it (she really did have a great nose for it). We all knew that she knew the guidance and that she had made a choice. We each also made our own choice. We may have chosen differently. That’s fine, it wasn’t my responsibility to police her choices.

          She eventually served a mission and married in the temple and her nose stud hole closed up at some point. Now, 20 years later, her husband has left the LDS church and she continues to believe and attend church with her children. By not driving a wedge between her and the church in her young adulthood by being judgmental about the nose stud, her congregation’s actions have contributed to this woman being the only link keeping her family connected to the gospel. That is what we all care about a lot more than whether she decided to keep the nose stud or not. (And since she did choose to take it out I guess the quietly judgy people are happy now too.)

          Publicly asking a parent to explain whether they disapprove of a child’s clothing or accessory choices, while not a big deal to the genuinely curious questioner, may be putting that parent in a situation that they view as extremely high stakes. Mortal life is long and eternal life is longer, and we are all playing with the long game in mind. I hope you don’t get too offended if an LDS family member doesn’t address your well-meant questions in the way you hoped (or maybe deletes the question entirely) when she knows no good would come to her child by answering it (either way) in a public forum.

          Thank you for kindly expressing your genuine curiosity. I hope you have a great day.

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          • That is so interesting, Liz. I see what you are saying. Kind of like choose your battles…

            But if the parents of a minor child see that they have done something pretty serious like a nose ring or double piercings… do they just ignore the elephant in the room so that the child doesn’t get mad and leave the church? If being told to remove a nose or earring pushes them out, maybe they weren’t that “in” to begin with? Obviously not really since they did get it done knowing it was questionable.

            And the church ladies complimenting it… can’t rationalize that one. Love the sinner, hate the sin? Compliment the sin? Seems, like the previous commenter said… “pretty wafty”.

            Do they just tippy toe on eggshells while the young people do whatever they want, just to keep them “in”?

            I would still LOVE to hear Charity’s take on this. Shawni’s not so much because she would just say “love your fellow man and it doesn’t matter whether you do what the elders encourage…”

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            • hi heidi!

              the answer to your question, “how do you feel about your nieces’ double ear piercings” is … neutral? fine? no strong opinion? i’m not sure what indicates to you that this is “something pretty serious” or a “sin,” (or, for that matter, that claire “is not that into the religion” ???) but i don’t see it that way at all. there is, as shared by mariana, some verbiage in some church materials that says that prophets have strongly discouraged piercing the body. i think every member of the church gets to read that and decide what to do with it, and to use their own connection with god to choose what they do. i might choose something else but i don’t really care, to be honest, what others choose when it comes to these types of things that don’t affect other people. grace and claire may get double piercings, ian and i may elect to use a vasectomy for birth control (also strongly discouraged by the church), my neighbous may work on the sabbath.

              i think it can be easy to latch on to things that are super visible as markers of faithfulness, but i don’t believe faithfulness can be marked! i think we all need room in our spiritual brains for a lot of nuance if we want to thrive spiritually.

              i hope that answers your very earnest question!

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              • Thank you so much, Charity. I get it about the choices, “agency”, etc. I can see where everyone’s personal choice is just that – personal.

                I will explain that I don’t really think that piercings are considered a sin, serious or not, in your church. I get that it is something that is strongly discouraged, as you also say about the vasectomy for birth control (which I actually think is the best and most foolproof and least invasive permanent solution!)

                I think where my confusion comes in for the girls, and now for you and Ian…. if I were an extremely vocal and devout member of a religion, especially one that prides itself on being different and standing out as an example of one representing Jesus Christ…. I think I would feel very guilty if I decided to do something that my church “strongly discouraged” just because I can and because it suits my lifestyle. It must be strongly discouraged for a reason. Would you feel the same way about other strongly discouraged behavior like smoking, or drinking coffee?

                I think that I would hesitate to pray to God to watch over and bless me and my family or really approach him at all if I was deliberately engaging in behavior that He “strongly discouraged”

                Also, as far as Claire not being that into the religion, I don’t mean that as an insult, it is just the impression I get from reading that blog. Sports, school, friends, college – all seem to be her priorities whereas Grace seemed to have different goals.

                I do wonder why if it is no big deal and no one really cares about whether the double piercings are done, why did the mission posts not show them…? She just started wearing the two now, after she is back…

                Thank you again for your response. I hope you will respond to this one too!

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                • thanks for the follow-up heidi! happy to discuss. i see the conflict you are explaining. i also believe that contradiction is okay (can even be really good!), and that two seemingly at-odds things can simultaneously be true/good.

                  i can only speak for myself, but i certainly take pause when things are “strongly discouraged” in church publications. however, there is a difference to me between that and commandments from god. the example that you brought up, smoking/coffee, i believe is part of a commandment, not just strongly discouraged behavior. i also believe that prophets are inspired but not always speaking on behalf of god or always universally right. i understand that that may seem like a cop-out, but i really do believe in prophet’s humanity just as much as i believe in their connection to divinity.

                  like you, i get bothered or confused sometimes by things that people in my church – vocal and devout members – do that seems like deliberate disobedience to certain tenets. (my biggest beef – pun intended – is how much meat people in my church eat when we have scripture that very clearly says we should eat meat sparingly or not at all!) similarly, i get bothered by people who are very vocal about their love for america but also support ideologies or legislation that i think really damage america and go against its founding values. surely you and anyone reading this can think of someone (or yourself/themselves!) that professes to love and follow a certain way of life but they deliberately deviate from some aspects of that way of life because it doesn’t feel important or right to them personally. i understand that religion carries a different type of weight, but i also believe that even religion is in many ways individual.

                  wouldn’t it be nice if everything were black and white and applied to everyone all the time and we could neatly judge everyone based on their everyday actions? much less messy. but i think the messiness is the point, that god wants us to wrestle with commandments and suggestions and be empowered to make our own decisions. i believe a loving heavenly father and heavenly mother want us to approach them both in spite of and because of our behavior that may not line up with commandments or suggestions.

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                  • Thanks again, I am enjoying the discussion and am learning a lot. If you have time, and are willing – here’s my next question based on your (very thoughtful) response!

                    You said above “i also believe that prophets are inspired but not always speaking on behalf of god…”

                    These are quotes from churchofjesuschrist.org:

                    The definition of the word prophet: “A person who has been called by and speaks for God.”

                    In the sixth article of faith, we declare that we believe in prophets. To believe means to have faith and confidence in them and to follow and do what the prophets ask us to do.

                    “Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the first presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer” (“Fourteen Fundamentals,” 29).

                    I am not criticizing you, please understand. But I would like to hear your reconciliation of the above quotes with your belief that the prophets are not speaking on behalf of God, thus you don’t have to obey when they strongly discourage something.

                    Thanks!

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                    • I forgot my other question – when you get your Temple Recommend, you are asked these questions – so aren’t you actually committed to doing/not doing certain things? T

                      “Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others?

                      Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

                      Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?

                      Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?”

                      Thanks again!

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                    • i do believe that prophets speak on behalf of god. i have faith that they are inspired and that following them will bring “blessings.” i also believe that they are fallible humans and not every single thing they say anytime is perfectly in line with god’s will and totally complete and clear. (certainly prophets have said things that i believe are totally wrong and bad, or just not universally applicable. this is evidenced by the church itself evolving practices and official stances over time. my default is that what prophets say is right and good, and usually applies to everyone, but i believe it is crucial to leave space for their missteps or failure, and for exceptions.) i believe that god wants me to use my brain, spirit and heart to hear their counsel and seek to apply it to my life. so i read that vasectomies are “strongly discouraged” and that means something to me; that carries serious weight! then i get to prayerfully decide what that means for me and factor it into my decision on what is best for me and my family. ian and i haven’t decided on this specific example yet, but i would be completely comfortable with us deciding, in counsel with heavenly parents, that going against this specific “strongly discouraged” counsel is what’s right for us and our family, and good with god.

                      to the question below: the temple recommend questions are a perfect example of the difference between things that are “strongly discouraged” and things that are … more than that. notice that “do you have a double piercing?” or “have you had a vasectomy?” (these are just two random examples that include the same “strongly discouraged” wording) are not included in the questions.

                      hope this answers your questions!

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                  • Hi Charity, you know that we are on different terms as far as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints goes, but just wanted to say that I really appreciate your comments on this post… for me they portray what I consider to be spiritual maturity.

                    PS: More related to the actual post and more on the superficial side … such cute kids and you look fabulous/so fit! 🙂

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    • The underlying assumption I have when reading your question is “they participate in a church and therefore must be perfect in their worship”. I think this is a very common, but erroneous way of thinking about religious people. Many of us look at church as a “hospital” where we go because we need spiritual help. We never claimed to be perfect, in fact we weekly claim to need our Savior’s help to get through life. So, every week I make mistakes (some intentional and some unintentional), I go learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and ask for forgiveness, then I try again the next week. This is a very personal issue and I don’t try to figure out what other people are working on that week or gasp when they fail. I also sometimes make mistakes for weeks or years, not realizing that I’m making them for a long time. All of a sudden it will occur to me that that is the next thing I need to work on. It’s a long process and I’m grateful for it. It brings me so much happiness and hope!

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      • Hi Katie –

        That is a fair observation, but really I don’t expect anyone to be perfect whether they associate with a church or not.

        I wanted Charity’s opinion of the actions of her nieces, because Charity is very honest and gives kind respectful answers to questions put before her. See above – I really appreciate her responses and am satisfied with them.

        I would like to clarify that “mistakes” are not intentional. If you do something your church frowns on, NOT REALIZING that it was frowned on, then were sorry, that is unintentional, so a mistake. You can go to church and expect forgiveness.

        To use the example of the double pierced ears – I am assuming that the nieces knew it was questionable but did it anyway. If they go to church and say they are sorry – the next step would be to remove one set of the earrings. You can’t say how sorry you are for doing it, then continue doing it and be sorry the next day.. see how ridiculous?

        I have actually asked the mother of the girls the same question on her blog, but wow – so different from Charity’s response. My question is deleted and not even bothered with or the response is “oh wow, I’m sorry you are so sad to ask that question – I’ll pray for you and hope your day gets better”…what? And the other commenters – it’s really funny how they say “don’t listen to the haters…” as if asking a question is hating..

        Anyway, thanks to you and to Charity for engaging in this discussion with me.

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