Willy boy turned 8 at the end of March and was SO SO excited to be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on his actual birthday:
Earlier in the month (aka before spring break) Will got to celebrate his birthday at school with his good friend Emilie - her birthday is the day before his and they were baptized together too! I dropped off cupcakes and then skeedaddled, so Mr. Eilers very sweetly took these pictures for me because he is The Best.
Will had been talking about his baptism/birthday for months, so we were alllll thrilled when the day arrived. He and Daddy got all ready and headed to the stake center early. There were quite a few kids from our stake being baptized that day, including three from our ward - Will loved sharing the day with Emilie and Hallie!
Sister Hyer brought flowers for the girls to say congratulations and welcome to activity days and she very sweetly brought some for Will too. He loved it!!
Afterwards we corralled all of our family outside for pictures and baby passing around and general merriment. Sam's family surprised us by coming, which was so so fun!
My side of the family with my dad! We missed Quinner's family:
Sam and I have eight kids between us soooo that's a little crazy! This was our first time meeting baby Remi and we were delighted by her amazing hair and her general adorableness and sweetness!!
Will was so so happy that Grandma and Grandpa Izatt and Melissa's family were able to come up from Chuck's side of the family. Carma was so so unhappy at the idea of being in more pictures right then:
But we kind of got her!
And everyone was on board for some family pictures with Grandma Pam:
Uncle Cody looked particularly dapper, of course :).
We corralled Carma for a couple quick shots of the six of us:
The theme of our attire, as inspired by Will's tie and mostly what we had on hand, was khaki/brown, blue and green. Man oh man I love this gang of yahoos!
At various points Clyde and George each led the younger children on random little walks around the grass and it was pretty much the funniest thing ever:
Carma fiiiiinally decided she was okay with some pictures. OH this girl!
One of my favorite pictures from the day, my dad and the birthday boy:
And then it was time to head back to our house for a bbq/birthday party!
Obviously I put Mallory and Courtney to work right away - Mal assembled a highly impressive veggie tray and Court saved the day with the cake. Ohhh I love these two!!
Hazel and Miko both jumped right in to our boy-centric home - Miko played legos forever and Hazel loaded that Nerf gun like nobody's business.
Bailey, in the meantime, proved adept at light saber duels:
While Remi proved a source of immense interest for Carma... from a distance haha ;).
Grandma Pam was happy to breach that distance and snuggle with her newest grandbaby though!
Jack and Hazel are only about three weeks apart and watching them interact was one of the highlights for me - they loved playing Grandpa Braden's 'I SPY' game together without pesky older siblings around to win every round, and I found them comparing their hands at one point, excited to tell me that they were the same size because they're both 4!! SO darling, riiiight? We are so glad Sam and Terri braved the long drive down with their girlies to be with Will on his special day!!
After my family headed out, we settled in for some good ol' Apples to Apples with Chuck's family. Lily and Will were the cutest team ever, from their pillows and shared blanket to their hilarious/off the wall contributions to the game.
And of course we had to have some cake! Will was very specific that his cake have blue frosting - a nod to the waters of baptism hahahaha - and he wanted a CTR symbol on it, which I think Courtney and I did an amazing job on. Also the 'W' made out of sprinkles. If Aleesha's custom cake business ever needs an assistant, I feel like I'm a shoo-in for the job ;).
Ohhh my sweet Will!
I knew going in that this day would be really emotional for me. When we realized that Will was on the autism spectrum six years ago, one of the unknowns for me was whether he would have the cognitive ability at age 8 to understand right and wrong and choices and the basic doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ - all prerequisites for being baptized, as we believe that children younger than eight and those people without that mentally capability don't need to be baptized to gain entrance into heaven. To see Will's (continuing) progress at interacting with the world around him and particularly his enthusiasm for the gospel and recognition of his divine heritage is a tender mercy that I am grateful for every day. To celebrate the anniversary of the day he joined our family by watching him join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was so, so wonderful. Happy 8th birthday Will.i.am!!!!