Monday, January 31, 2011


The end is near.

Its been a not so long road that feels really long and I'm not sure how I feel about it ending. So I'm going to avoid talking about it right now and change the subject.

About a month ago I had a friend tell me that she wanted to come here for the funeral. She wanted to come and watch my boys so I could focus on being a daughter and not have to also be a frantic Mother (because I know Beckham would be running all over graves and picking up all the flowers and throwing them - or not look where hes running and end up in a 6 foot deep hole). It was one of the kindest gifts ever given. Right next to the offer from different friends who do photography who have offered to photograph the funeral for me. Which is right up there with the offer from a sweet friend who told my husband not to hire cleaners for our home before I come back because she wants to do it. Which is right up there with the offer from the RS to help that friend when I despaired at how messy it might be for that one special friend :)

Countless acts of service, countless words of encouragement.

If I ever doubted the good in human nature I will forever now see it the divine in our nature. I had a few e-mails over the last 2 days from friends who have expressed their desire to come to the funeral. Even the desire to be here with me in this hard time overwhelms me that you care that much for me.

Because I knew of the good in my ward here I wanted to do something to make it a little easier on friends of mine that are trying to make it work. I have shelter for you. Really fun shelter that will make you feel like you are back at Girls Camp or in college with a bunch of girls again. If you are thinking of bringing your hubby - I have shelter for you too - just not as Suzie's house :)

Thank you. I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that some of you are trying to make the trip, overwhelmed that friends here will help make that possible, and overwhelmed at others that will work to make my home peaceful for me when I return. I wish I could give you a tentative date but all I have is that it will be in 1-2 weeks.

YOU all are making what is one of the hardest experiences of my life, one of the most uplifting. Part of me despairs because I am losing my closest female companion and now I see the flood of love from the girlfriends I am surrounded by and I know that I will not be left without companionship.

I love you all!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The wonder of Davis

It has been obvious this week that Davis needed some one on one time with Mom. He loves school - thrives in school! Today I walked into his classroom and all the kids were sitting doing projects while listening to music. Then there was Davis.... coloring while singing The Ants Go Marching - on the top of his lungs. Not even a thought for what others might think and trust me when I say that he sings loud and monotone. He was in his zone and was one with the music and his crayons. Oh how I love him!

Despite his love for school, that doesn't fill his needs for Mom and hes been feeling off with everything going on. We found a sitter for Beck's and we took off for D-land, just the two of us. I realized tonight that Davis and I don't have a lot of conflict in day to day life - he has much more of Johns personality and we even each other out and he doesn't challenge authority. I also realized that makes it harder for me to play with Davis. Not hard as in I don't like it or enjoy it, more its work to change the way I would normally do things because I think Davis and I define "fun" differently.

I wanted to run and do lots of things and he wanted to meander - BEFORE we even got in the park. I slowed down. On Main Street we passed Mickey and he wanted to say hi. I told him to look at that line its sooooooo long and Mom doesn't even have her camera. He looked up at me and said, "But Mom I want to say hi to Mickey." I happily got in line and when he got his turn the look on his face as he hugged Mickey and looked up at me....I would have waited hours for that look. He got to hug Mickey Mouse! I never understood why people wait in line to see the characters but I got it tonight. It would be like me getting to hug Sister Beck or someone I really admire. I also gave Mickey a hug and Davis told him we were going on the submarines, gave him five, and we were out of there - leaving Mickey a little speechless that we didn't want a pic with him.

Davis does not care if there is a long wait for the ride he wants to go on. He doesn't mind waiting is content and patient in the line. He doesn't ask how much longer or complain. He just is waits for what he wants. He doesn't worry about getting to do everything in the whole park and doesn't even want to think ahead of what to do next. He just wants to enjoy what he is doing in that moment, even its just walking and looking.

I need to learn so much from him.

But the real reason I wanted to write this blog tonight was to remember how happy he was all night long. I am special to him. Like reallllllly special! That makes me feel so good about myself.

Sometimes I forget how much my children love me and want my time and want my attention and affirmations. Not need - want. He was giddy all night, so much so that it was almost not normal for Davis. He would jump up and down in lines and then hug my legs and smile up at me and say, "I like you Mom!"

I love that I am liked by my children! Its almost more of a compliment to be liked by them than loved by them. I want to remember the adoration I saw in his face tonight. I have so much to be thankful for and tonight I saw pure unconditional love and deep adoration in my boy's face as he looked at me. And when that face looks like this.....

......its hard not to feel humbled by how lucky I am.

We park in downtown Disney rather than the parking lot because you can park for 3 hours for free and we usually are there about that long. Tonight we wanted to stay longer so we had to get validation for more time. When we were all done in the park we went to the Rain forest Cafe to get a treat to share - I would rather pay for food than for parking! He wanted a smoothie and when the waiter asked if we wanted to pay an extra dollar for the glass that lights up you can be sure my answer was yes! I may not get to splurge a lot but tonight I wanted things to be special and out of the ordinary. I wanted Davis to feel that my time with him is special.

That was one thing that really struck me about my letter to my Mom when I was a little girl - "thanks for taking me out special sometimes." If there was one thing my parents really did right it was that. They made us feel special. It was never about where we went or what we did - it was about feeling special. I was the only girl so opportunities were easy for me to feel special. But I have 3 boys and I really need to make sure than they individually feel special. I had always assumed that parents needed to take kids on dates for one on one time for their childrens benefit. I was wrong. Tonight I realized that I need it as much (if not more) than they do.

I came home feeling special. I came home wanting to be a better person. I came home with better perspective. I came home fulfilled. I came home filled with hope, self-esteem, and empowered by how much he adores me.

Thank you Davis for being so full of wonder and happiness. Thank you for your faith in me. Thank you for thinking I'm special and loving me. When I see the world through your eyes I feel a sense of contentment and I am grateful for that gift.

I am grateful for the gift of having you as my son.


I have wanted to go through all of my things in the attic with my Mom before she is unable to enjoy it and tell me about certain things. Its taken forever but I finally got it all down this week and its been so special to go through everything. I found this gem in one of the boxes. Stay tuned for lots of proof that my grammar and spelling have always been poor!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It has been hard for me to be both a Mom and a caretaker. It was getting to where I felt I was failing both my Mom and my kids. The Bishop in my Ward here works with a preschool owned by his family and he offered my boys a place at there center as often and much as I want for no charge. Its been on of the biggest blessings but as everything in this situation it comes with a cost.

I worked in childcare for many years and one center I worked at in Lynnwood soured me on daycare. So while my heart rejoiced it also cried at the thought of my boys in childcare. That is why I stay home - so that I know they are getting the best care they can get. I was relieved when i went down there and found that I was impressed with how it was run and the teachers at the school.

My boys adapt, they always have. They love it with its huge playground and bikes. They even have a banana tree! Ive been packing them a lunch so they can eat there and Ive even started letting them nap there - Davis actually fell asleep there yesterday! Davis started the week before I left but Beckham wasn't two yet and he didn't start until we got back.

When I went to pick them up one day they were sitting outside eating at the little picnic tables. My little Beckham was sitting at a tiny picnic table with his lunch box out eating his chips out of the bag with his yogurt and apples. He wasn't throwing them or screaming or trying to get out of his seat like he does with me. He was just sitting there eating. My heart wanted to stop at that moment - he looked so grown up at school doing his big boy thing. Part of me burst with pride the other part of me felt a deep sadness. I want to be the one there feeding them but I cant be and that makes me sad. The other side realized that he probably wouldn't sit like that for me.

Maybe right now they are getting the best of both worlds. A place to run, play, be loud, and learn to listen better and then a Mom who picks them up from school and takes them straight to Disneyland.

I mean really - who gets to go to Disneyland everyday with Mommy.
Their life is pretty good.
As is mine.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Playing dress up

Thursday morning while the kiddos were off to school and my Mama was still sleeping I actually had time to get ready. I hadn't unpacked since returning and so I set myself to getting organized. We have the Master Bedroom all set up as a playroom for the kids and I decided to set my toiletries up in the Master bathroom so I could get ready while the kids played. My parents bathroom has one counter that is lowered and my Mom has always had her vanity mirror and makeup all set up in that space. I loved sitting there as a little girl playing with her mirror and pretending with her makeup.

Ironically I grew out of that in my tween and teenage years and didn't have any desire to wear makeup. When I was around 16 my Mom insisted that I start wearing some makeup. The advantage of being the only girl was that I was spoiled when it came to girly things. She took me to Nordstroms and then to Clinique where I got the full treatment!

That is how it went every few years, my Mom would take me to Nordstroms where I would get my makeup done, she would spoil me, and then we would go get an Auntie Ann's Pretzel - because what is trip to the mall without a pretzel and lemonade! This didn't end when I moved out, got married, or even had children. Just this last September my Mom wanted me to try a new foundation that she thought I would like so off to the Mall we went.

As I sat there that morning trying to decided where to put my make up I started looking through all of my Moms makeup. I felt like a little girl all over again as I looked through her make up with wonder and delight. I started putting some of hers on and then blending her make up with my own make up. There was a reverent moment as I realized that soon my Mom would once again be providing me with makeup, only this time it will be her own wonderful collection that she will be giving me.

I think one of the biggest losses I feel about losing my Mom is that I will no longer be doing those girly things with her. Pedicures, manicures, makeup, shopping, spa days, and all of those dainty and girly things that seems so frivolous on the surface but are full of significance because of the time we spent doing something enjoyable together.

Too bad Johns was not there - my makeup has never looked so good!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Its the Mickey Mouse Birthday - Come inside its fun inside!

Remember how I mentioned that Beckham had the best birthday party ever! Finally the pictures of the party are here!
Prepare yourself for C-U-T-E!.

I cant believe he is 2....

The Birthday Minnie & Mickey!
....and the best of friends!

Here is the girl responsible for the Party - my cousin Kelly. How cute are those shirts! Don't worry the Daddies had them too!

I love my cousin Kelly, it has been so fun to be here in CA and be close enough to spend so much time together! Especially since Beckham and Savannah were born the exact same day!

First off check out these decorations...
The kids table was so cute!

And the food....

Which was ta-sty!
See what I mean! Ta-sty!

The proud parents....

A very happy Beckham with his Grandma Silly and Daddy!

I love my little Mickey!

We decided to put some games together the night before and John threw together a frame for a Mickey pinata. It was so impressive! The next day Davis and I started putting tissue paper on it. It took us hours but what made me so proud was that Davis spent all of that time helping me. He did such a good job and his persistence and ability to stick with the task was amazing. He helped so much and we would not have finished in time without him!

The proud Mommies...

...and the Daddies
Did you know they knew each other in High School? Its true Kelly and Brian met at our wedding where Kelly was a Bridesmaid and Brian was a Groomsman. I bet they never expected this picture would be taken when they were in High School.

I love this picture of my Mom and my Aunt.
They always have such a good time together.

People were so gracious and even got Beckham a present even though they had never met him. He was so spoiled.

Grandma Silly and Mickey!

This balloon might have been the highlight of the party for Beckham!
Poor Savvy was terrified of it, which I don't blame her it was twice their size!
Beckham had a blast throwing it up in the air over and over again.

Thank you Auntie Kelly for all your hard work!We love you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It turns out that this is hard. I know real shocker - but I don't mean hard, I mean really

There are so many dimensions of the dynamics I wasn't prepared for. When I came back to CA everything was different. It seems I was gone during one of the most significant corners, at least for me. Before my Mom was sick, but now she is dying. I don't know how to describe it but its like you can literally see how the life inside of her is leaving, how her light is growing dimmer.

We have hired some great caregivers and they are heaven sent. They are so good in fact that my Mom doesn't need me as much as she did before. They bring her the comfort I once provided. I know that its good for her to have someone like that, someone who can care for her without all of the complicated emotions of being family, but its still hard. I have learned that family members are not necessarily the best caregivers when such intense care is needed.
I know it in my head, my heart just doesn't understand.

There are dynamics too complicated and too painful that I could never write about them here, perhaps even to hard to write about anywhere. They leave me feeling so.................I actually can not come up with an adjective that is even close to adequately describe what I feel inside.

What I really didn't expect was the self doubt involved in this process. In so many ways I have become more grounded then ever before. But then there are things that make me doubt what I am grounded in. Not just my choices but who I am inside. What if everything I believe about myself is wrong and distorted. I never expected to question the fundamentals of who I am because of the way I am perceived by those around me.

I am sure this is all just part of grief, but I have had just about enough of grief and its process. It sure feels a lot like dating a bad boyfriend, only this time I cant break up and walk away.

In fact, in many ways it hasn't even really begun.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Years Goals 2011

Each year I pick 5 goals for the new year. As I thought about my goals for this year I couldn't come up with anything that seems significant enough to put down as an actual goal. This year is about remaining whole - being there for people, making sure everyone around me is whole and well. From my Mom at the present to putting our little family back into a normal routine and making sure that everyone comes out of this trial okay. Including myself. Especially myself.

This year I want to maintain. Maintain my weight, the last 10-15 pounds can wait for next year. Maintain my relationships with my family. And most importantly I want to maintain the perspective these last 6 months has opened for me. I can not explain how clarifying this year has been. I want to find a way to maintain that clarity.

My house is not in order. When I get back from CA I want to find a way to organize more and have things operate more smoothly. I want to feel that our home has a serene feeling. Right now it feels chaotic. I feel our routines are chaotic. I feel we are always trying to catch up and get it together.

I hope next year when I read back over this post I will feel like we have found stability and peace in our home. Most of all I hope to have found it in myself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We came home Thursday night. We were expecting to go to Provo with John but they had plane chartered so he was able to fly up. He might have been the first airplane out of the new St George airport. There was a big plane all lit up for the press but they left before that one. Pretty cool!

It was nice and weird all at the same time to come home. Ive been living in the home I grew up in and its felt more like home than our house here does to me. But I love how happy and secure my kids feel here. They ran around and were giddy as they found their familiar toys. Maybe for them this house brings them the security that my home in CA brings for me.

Caleb stayed home to hang out with us today and I was so glad. His behavior has been ummmm - difficult. But he had a great day today playing with his legos and helping me out. We went to Walmart to get donuts for breakfast and for a few groceries. I didn't realise how quickly I acclimated back to CA. I hate my parents Walmart! The parking lot especially, but the last few weeks there it didn't bug me so much. Today when I pulled into our Hurricane Walmart it felt so odd with about 500 parking spaces free. I thought it might be closed! I pulled up into the same spot I do every time - the second spot on the second row and smiled as I thought about how much I love our small town.

I did have a horrible Mom moment today and hopefully its just a hint as to how out of it I am. Around 12:30 as I was changing Beckham I realized it was his birthday. Poor kid! We celebrated on the 8th in CA with the most amazing Mickey and Minnie Mouse party EVER! Pics to come soon but they are in CA on my computer there. I just kind of forgot it was still coming. We took him out to Yogurt Unique and he forgave us. We went to Yogurt Town while in CA and the boys loved it. It is one of those frozen yogurt bars where you can mix all you want and then you pay by weight. We were so happy to find we have one here in St George. Check it out!

While it is good to be home, I have to much time to think here. Its hard not to get caught up in my fears when I am not serving and staying busy.

All I want to do right now is catch up on some sleep!

Monday, January 10, 2011


I hung out with my Mom tonight. The kids were off with a saint from the Ward while my Dad was able to nap. My Mom and I sat listening to music, talking and typing back and forth a little, mostly just sitting and enjoying each others company. I read her the letters that have been sent to me through e-mail.

We cried a little and laughed a lot.

Later as I was getting her ready for bed I helped her out of her chair and as we stood up she put her head on my shoulder and grabbed me near my hip with her right arm as hard as she could - I hardly felt it. I quickly pulled back to steady her but she leaned forward and put her head on my shoulder again.

She was hugging me.

I gathered her into me and held her there. I moved her limp left arm up onto my hip and held it with part of my arm so I could be embraced my Mom. She felt so small and so weak in my arms. Everyday I touch my Mom a lot - I adjust her body positions, move the hair from her face, massage her, get her dressed, help her out of chairs, support her walking, take her to the bathroom, brush her teeth....literally we touch all day long. I am shocked by the realization that I have forgotten to hug my Mom each and every day since I have been here. How did I let the business of care make me forget to show how much I care?

Mom, thank you for reminding me how much I need your hugs.
I still feel wrapped in the warmth of your embrace.
Nothing in this world can compare.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This is our 2011 Family Theme - Peaceful. Its going to be a good year to find peace in our circumstances and also within ourselves.

John and I sometimes find the challenges we face and the way we interact can be complicated by the cloud of self doubt. This year we both want to find more peace within ourselves and the subsequent strength and power that come without self doubt.
On the menu:

Flank steak, steamed carrots, baked potatoes,
and sparking grape juice.
We did lots of toasting to bring in the New Year for our family.

I was expected dinner to be a nightmare as I envisioned us talking about being peaceful while our boys acted anything but peaceful! Surprisingly we had a wonderfully enjoyable dinner and it was probably the most peaceful meal we've had in a long time. Maybe John and I were prompted to seek peace this year not only for ourselves but for our boys as well. We did have a few tears but they quickly turned to smiles...

the cutest smiles ever!

There is no doubt this year will be difficult, but we will seek peace and I think we will find it despite whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Card 2010

I made Christmas cards...sent some Christmas Cards...sent a few more yesterday....still have to mail some presents (pathetic I know - I am trying - I promise). If you did not get our Christmas Card its because I don't have your address in my gmail address book and this year I didn't have to time to process whose addresses we didn't have. If you want to be added to our Christmas Card list for next year please e-mail me and I will add you to our address book.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Goals Recap

  • I read a talk from this last General Conference of our Church that struck me deeply. You can read it here but in it he talked about Temperance. Defined as moderation or self-restraint in action, self-control. We live in world of road rage and anger. I want to learn to be more in control of my actions and not react so quickly to situations, especially with my kiddos.
I did really good with this goal in the beginning of the year. In the last 4 months or so - not so good. But then I remember that I'm trying to raise my boys while making them behave as if they live in a museum while being a caretaker to my Mom...I'm cutting myself some slack here because seriously I'm doing pretty good given the circumstances.
  • I want to procrastinate less. So many times I think I need to do that...this year I just want to do it right then! I have so many half done projects. I want to finish more. I want to DO. Not INTEND.
I did good here. I'm still practicing but Ive gotten a lot better.
  • I want to lose 32 more pounds. I want to lose 28 of it by my birthday in June.
Did good here to. I'm not to my goal but I'm still close to "normal" even though the last week or so has been bad.
  • I want to take better care of the house. This probably goes with the procrastination goal but I just want to feel like our house is in better control.
Nope failed - bad. Not enough room. This year is about figuring out a better way to get organised.
  • As far as my new skill I want to learn this year I want to learn to shoot on full manual mode in my camera comfortably.
I shoot in manual and love it!

Here were our house goals:
Here are our 2010 House Goals:
  • Get Front Landscaping plan together - done
  • Sprinklers, curbing, and sod in the front yard - done
  • Garden boxes and a garden in the back yard - done
  • Finish Cabinet trim - done
  • Fix paint and caulking around our tub - not done
  • Add a shelf in the laundry room and the pantry - not done
  • Paint new shelving and master closet shelving - not done
  • Plant a new fruit tree since poor Stella was knocked out of existence by a bucket blowing in the wind - done
  • Get rugs from the entry doors and get rid of the ghetto leftover carpet rugs we have - done
  • Build shelving in Garage - not done
New goals coming in the next few days....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ups and downs

Christmas is over. Officially... even all of the decorations are down. It was sad to do in some ways but having it down has significantly lightened the burden of worrying about the boys breaking anything.

I love the start of a new year. I'm big on resolutions and will be reviewing my last years resolutions this week and making new ones for 2011. I love the chance to start over. To celebrate the victories of the past while leaving the failures behind with a new start and resolve. If there is one thing I miss about being a student it is the new start each semester brought. In some ways New Years brings a new similar to that - only the semesters seem much longer now.

John and I have spent the last month contemplating our new theme for the year. We feel good about the one we have decided on and I'm planning a special dinner to introduce it this weekend.

I received a very special blessing from a special friend of our family, Bishop Mitchell. The Mitchell family has long been an extension of our own family and they have been so supportive and wonderful while we have been here. The blessings and message are too personal for me to share but I walked away with a sense of calm and peace that I had not felt in a long time.

With the beautiful messages shared yesterday at church I couldn't help but singing loudly as my heart burst with joy. We were singing There is Sunshine in my Soul Today. I smiled as I thought back to a memory of Rachel and I with linked arms singing that same hymn on the streets of Romania 11 years ago. The circumstances felt so similar - both a time where I found myself in a less than ideal circumstance but truly felt real inner joy.

In Romania my fingers had been cut by someone who was robbing me. They had managed to cut my purse open and start robbing me but fortunately I caught them, just not fast enough. The day had been rotten for other reasons I cant remember now but I remember that we sang our way home and to There is Sunshine in my Soul Today while my fingers bled.

The juxtaposition of these two times in my life was poignant on Sunday as I sang with all my heart. Romania and my present - both once in a lifetime opportunities, both have taken me farther out of my comfort zone than I had ever been, both have required me to dig deeper into myself than I had ever done before, and both have changed me forever.

When it comes to grief...if there are ups they are inevitably accompanied by the downs.

As I packed Christmas up I tried to shove the overwhelming sense of foreboding down. The overwhelming sense that once again we have passed a significant milestone. Only this was the milestone we had waited for and built up. And now that its past I cant help but feel a little lost. After the letdown of all that emotion I'm struggling to readjust my thinking and trying to find my footing in the day to day of this disease.

I need to be here with my Mom.
I need to be in Utah with my family.

I need to spend time sitting next to my Mom slowing down so we can have a conversation through her ipad.
I need to be running and playing and going fast forward with my boys.

I need to be here because no one understands and gets my Mom like I do.
I need to be with John and my boys because no one understands and get them like I do.

I cant help but be a little bitter at times that I am being forced to choose between my past and my future at the same time. Every choice I make pleases one part of my soul and tears the other part of me to pieces. I am trying to do it all and be it all at the same time.

It leaves me feeling up and down all at the same time. I teeter totter back and forth between the two parts of my life searching desperately for equilibrium and always finding myself off balance one way or the other.

I don't know if its possible to find balance, but I will keep trying.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I have so much to catch up on but there is never enough time. For now here is the poster that we made for Caleb's school when it was his special week.