This post is pretty much all about me, so if you read my blog for the cute pics of my kids, you may want to skip it. :)
I had such a great birthday this year! It seems as you get older that birthdays just aren't as much fun and almost seem like any other day. But this year I really had such a great day with so many little fun things and surprises to make my day. It included breakfast at Kneaders with the fam, a big surprise gift from Aaron, a birthday package from my sister, cards in the mail from friends and family, two birthday calls/songs from my grandpa, playing with cousins at the park, free clothes, a nap while Aaron watched the kiddos, more birthday calls/songs from cousins/parents, yummy treats from friends delivered to my house, dinner with Aaron at Zuppas, and bunco with some good friends. We had the official Hicks family celebration a few days later on St. Patrick's day at my mom's house. The kids were happy to help blow out the candles in the brownies. You can tell Lexi had some practice a few days earlier.
One of the best presents I enjoyed that weekend was a Academy Counselor overnight retreat in Midway. Academy for Girls was sort of like a 10 day girls camp or EFY that was held at BYU over the summers. My family grew up with Academy for Girls. My mom was the director for four years when I was in elementary school. I have aunts and cousins who were directors/counselors as well. Julia and I loved to go and be a part of the activities and hang out with the girls and mom whenever we could. I remember being so excited to participate in any way we could. My mom was amazing at her job and it was the perfect job for her to use all her creative and organization skills.
We loved getting the leftovers, including t-shirts that were way too big for us. We would dance around and lip sync to the same songs the girls and counselors performed at Academy. We loved to eat in the cafeteria, go to the talent shows, sleep over in the dorms, go to the final banquet, participate in the olympics, and go to Salt Lake and the canyon with the girls.
I was so excited when I turned 12 and finally got to go to AFG as a participant. I went for two years with my cousins and LOVED it. The next four years I opted for EFY instead, which has some similarities, but I am a little bit sad that I only went to AFG for those two years.
I was so excited when I turned 18 and got a job as an Academy counselor. It was something I had wanted to do since I was very young. I was young and it was super overwhelming to work with all these creative and talented women, but it was awesome. This was actually the last year that Academy for Girls existed. I was able to work the last session of Academy ever. It was sad to see it end, but they had decided to merge it with EFY. The next year I was able to be an EFY counselor and work with the 12-13 year old girls program, which had kept a lot of the Academy tradition, but also changed a lot.
My cousin Laura convinced me to go with her to a retreat for former counselors in Midway. I am so glad she did. The weekend was filled with awesome classes, treats, a craft, a service project, family prayer, and lots of Academy magic. In true Academy fashion we were welcomed with a wooden necklace/name tag, a canvas bag, and a cute clipboard with lots of ribbon on it. We had presents on our pillow at night and outside our door in the morning. There seemed to be a cute ribbon or tag on everything from the colored pencils to the snacks to the books to the water bottles. There were so many details that coordinated with the theme of "Sure and Steadfast" from Ether 12:4. It was fun to see traditions and things that my mom started years ago still lived on. It was a great spiritually uplifting weekend and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to go, and I am so grateful to Aaron for staying home with the kids so I could go.
It was so much fun to experience a little bit of Academy all over again.
You can get the free "Sure and Steadfast" printable here if you are interested. My cute friend Heather designed it and you can find more of her free printables, quiet books, and designs here.