Friday, December 27, 2013

A plan...(and a Christmas Card)

Tonight we watched a movie called, "The Strange Life of Timothy Green".  As we sat down to watch it I remembered that the kid in it dies.  I was a little hesitant to watch it, but I did also hear that it was sweet.  So Lance and Hilary and Holden and I watched it.  It was really cute.  I loved the ending when he tells who he shared his gifts with.  It really made me think about Tatum and Trevin and the gifts that I have seen their lives give.  It was a sweet premise to the movie that we ALL have gifts to give, we just need to figure out what they are and how to share them.  He knew just what he was doing with his live, he understood the plan.  Much like Tates and Trev.  I know that they knew and understood their plan.  
This all got me thinking about a conversation that I was having with a family on Christmas Eve.  This family had lost their son a few days before.  I had gone to the mortuary to do some hand molds of their little eight year old son for them.  I had worked on them for a few days.  I wasn't super happy with how they turned out and I was nervous that they wouldn't like them.  So I kept working on them until it was Christmas Eve.  Then I felt bad because I really wanted to get them to them before Christmas day.  I sheepishly sent her a text on Christmas Eve afternoon.   She texted me back a few hours later, etc.  I finally drove them over to them at about 10:30 pm.  Crazy.   I was so relieved that they let me come because it was going to really bug me if i didn't get them to them before Christmas.  OCD, I know.  I was just going to quickly drop them off, but instead we ended up talking for about 45 minutes.  Again, I felt really bad.  It just seems like they really need someone to talk to and so I wanted to listen and give them what little advice I have for them.  
As we were talking I started thinking about the differences of my feelings when Trevin died and when Tatum died.  I decided that when Trevin died, my plan was to not let this kill me inside.  I didn't want to be bitter, I wanted to keep his memory alive and honor him by being a good person.  I wanted to be a better mom because I know that time is precious and we don't always get as much as we hope.  And I wanted to survive with my testimony and marriage in tact, and stronger.  With Tatum I had all of these things, but I also feel a little greater purpose to do something with the lessons we have learned.  So we started the Ttime foundation.  I continue to work at the hospital and with Angel Watch and with mortuaries in the area.  I hope that I am being a better mom.  I am still figuring out what the rest of "the plan" is, but I am working on it.  They each taught us such amazing things about life.  I don't ever want to forget.  I want to honor them by becoming what my Father in Heaven wants me to become.  I know that there is purpose in their lives that will manifest through mine.   I want them to be proud of what we do and become.
Today I went to the cemetery to clean up their grave sites and to pick up the little pine tree and the adorable glitter house.  They were both still there and in good condition!  I am going to save the house and hopefully use it for many years.  When I got home Hayden asked me where I was and I was telling him that I went to the cemetery.  He said something like oh you went to see Tatum.  Hilary was standing there and looked up at me and said, "I want to see Tatum too."  She seemed quite disgusted with me that I went to see her and didn't take her.  Poor thing.  I told her that I just went to the cemetery and that I didn't get to see her.  Hayden felt bad.  I told him that we have to be careful what we say in front of her so we don't confuse her.

Tonight we played a game as a family, minus Halea.  We haven't played games for awhile.  It was really fun.  Those are the things that I know I need to be doing more.   Every time we do, I realize how much I really like my family.  Sometimes I get bogged down with all of the "work" and I forget that we are supposed to have fun together and love each other.   I am working on that.

Hilary was up until 11:00 tonight.   I wish that this was rare.  She lives such a different life than the other kids did.  We are just training her for New Years Eve!!  She will be one of the few 3 year olds that will make it to midnight.  She got all of her stuffed animals out of their Tupperware containers (she is obsessed with putting her animals into Tupperware, don't ask cause I don't know why) and loaded them into her arms to take upstairs to sleep.  She is so funny.
She also had her first dentist visit on Monday!  Can't believe that I forgot to post these pictures.
She wasn't real happy to start off...

Then she heard that she was going to get a new toothbrush and toothpaste...
Luckily we remembered to bring her Tatum care bear!  She did super good.  

I thought that I would post our Christmas card that we sent this year, in case you want to read it.  Sorry it is so little, it was the only way we could figure out how to post it ..get out your magnifying glass.

Aww, the Goodness of the Season..

I have to say that I was having a hard time dealing with my sad, broken heart, trying to not think about the fact that last year things were so different, and trying really hard to be happy for the kids.  It was really bugging me because I LOVE the reason for Christmas.  I detest the commercialization of it all, so I have always tried really hard to relax and not get too uptight and so busy that I forget the entire reason for the celebration.  I was trying really hard to concentrate on the Savior, his birth and what that means.  It is the reason that we have hope, because he was born and died and lives again so that we can also.  There is such relief in that knowledge, that all is not lost.  I was struggling because it is so surreal to think that a year ago our family was so different.
Christmas Eve arrived and we started making preparations for our dinner and visit to the cemetery.  While I was on the treadmill my friend sent me a text telling me that the funeral for our friend that had died was at 11:00 that morning!  It was already 9:30.  I quickly got ready because this was a lady that 19 years ago changed how we grieved the loss of our sweet Trevin.  At the time that Trevin died we were living in her neighborhood.  She is from Finland and it is a Finnish tradition to have a big dinner on Christmas Eve and then go to the cemetery and light candles for those you love.  Trevin died on December 9th, so they invited us over for Christmas Eve that year.  We continued to join them at the cemetery for several years.  Then we started doing our own and having some of our own family come with us and share in that sacred tradition.  It was so appropriate that her funeral, the celebration of her life, would be on Christmas Eve.  It was such a beautiful funeral.   What a great lady she was.  She will be truly missed.   I am forever grateful for her and that shared tradition.
I was especially grateful this year that  I decided 19 years ago that Christmas Eve was my day to be sad and miss Trevin, and now Tatum.  So tender this year because we would now be going to a different cemetery, and now there are two of our children there.  It all just felt so sad and wrong.  I just wished that it was different.  Several of my friends were so kind to remember, among all of the hustle and bustle, that this was going to be a hard day for us.  Treats, cards, ornaments, etc.  Unbelievable how good people are.  The kind things that were said, it truly made the day bearable.  
 Then my awesome niece and her husband showed up to our house with these adorable houses that they made!  There is a T hanging under the wreathe on the door and the windows on the door create a W.  Seriously?  so creative.   They brought one for us to keep at our house and one to put out at the cemetery for Trevin and Tatum.  The goodness just continued.
Lance cleared us a little walk way to the grave of Tates and Trev.  Our tradition is that we each light a tea light and sing carols, always ending with Silen Night.  Then we place the candles around them.  The lights are so symbolic.  The light that they both shared with all of us is  unforgettable.  To me it is our way of honoring that gift, and promising to never forget and to never let the darkness that can come with grief and missing them overcome us.  Never.  I will try my hardest to always live in a way that I share their light, the light of the Savior, the light of the gospel with those around me.  
 We came home and opened pajamas, another Christmas Eve tradition.  Hilary and Holden were so excited.

 Hayden's pajamas appropriately say "smiling is my favorite".  Not by accident. (famous quote from Elf)
Hilary was not too sure about the 5am wake up call for Christmas morning, neither was dad since we got to bed around 2am:)
 Halea was ready to rock and roll.
Hilary warmed up to the idea of being awake so early once she caught the vision of the presents!
 Never enough gummy bears for this girl..
Hilary got a Fufa shirt from Tates.
Heidi sizing up her new leggings..

Overall it was a great Christmas.  I love being home for Christmas.  We are so blessed in so many ways.  We have been given gifts that are immeasurable, family and the gospel and the knowledge that comes with that are at the top of the list.  We are so grateful for the goodness that has been shown to us during this hard first Christmas.  Tender mercies that were so needed and appreciated.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Moving Day..

Relax.  Not moving day for all of us, just Heidi.  No we didn't kick her out.  She is certainly not the one we would start with there, if you know what I mean?  For several months Heidi has wanted to move from sharing a room with Holden to sharing a room with our little Hilary.  Of course, I have been a little resistant, because that is MORE change in my life.  Also, I knew that it would be very hard.  It would mean taking the crib down, unbunking the beds, etc.  The reason that Heidi moved into Holden's room was because Tatum was coming and she was going to be Hilary's new roommate.  That never really happened in reality.  Tatum probably slept in the crib two times, if that.  I was surprised how hard it still was to take down that crib.  It was like the end of the dream.  There will be no more babies.  No more Tatum.  Each time I have to face that reality square, it hurts a little.
Saturday we did it, despite the heartache.  We tore in to the task head on, and we added cleaning out the playroom while we were at it.  That was on my Christmas wish list, so check and check.  It always feels good to move things around and clean underneath the areas that haven't seen daylight in awhile.  We were able to haul off several bags of garbage and three huge bags to the thrift store (DI for you LDS folk).   That too was a little hard because two of the bags were filled with clothes from Hilary that I was saving for Tater bug.  I sifted through the two bins of clothes that I had.  I kept a few things, gave one bag to DI and one bag to a neighbor.  Another little tug at my heart, but we made it through with just a few tears.  It literally took all day.  Heidi and Holden and our little neighbor cleaned the entire play room, which looked like a bomb had gone off in it.  I can't believe that I didn't get a before and after picture!  Meanwhile I tore apart the room, moved clothes and cleaned.  It feels so good to have that done.
The real miracle with this, is that Hilary is thrilled to have a roommate.  She is so afraid of the dark and has never wanted to be alone in her room.  Now that Heidi is in with her, she will just go to bed.  Lance doesn't need to lay there with her for 2 hours!  I think we will both miss that a little.  It really is a Christmas miracle.

On Thursday I kidnapped my friend to take her on a little day of pampering.  Her sweet son Keenan would have turned 12 on December 19th.  Which means that I met her 12 years ago on December 19th.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  If you know me, you know what a miracle that is.  I have THE worst memory.  I remember so vividly how gentle and loving she was with her sweet son.  I remember her two young boys coming in, and how adorable they were.  I knew that I felt some sort of spiritual connection with her almost immediately.  There are just people sometimes that you just naturally "click" with.  She was one of those people.  It was about a year later that I approached her about working at the hospital with me.  She should have run fast, but for some reason she didn't.  She has been a real rock in my life ever since.  She is my therapy when I need to talk hospital talk, she has loved my children like they were her own, especially Hilary and Tates.  We have laughed and cried together, mostly laughed.  She was my "funeral planner" for Tatum.  (she hates that title, but I keep telling her she has a real talent for it!)  Anyway, you get the picture.  So we went and had a fun day together, did some fun things for ourselves, then a few little services for others in honor of sweet Keenan, whom without we would have never met.  It was a really fun day for me to get to do something for a friend that has really been so good to me.
We got pedicures.  She had NEVER had one.  I am most entertaining at a pedicure.  I can't stand to have my feet touched, so just imagine how fun that is.  Every time they pull out a new tool, I sweat and squirm and giggle almost uncontrollably.  Glad I could give her that experience on her first time out.

We had to do lunch, of course.  Hilary fashioned her paper place mat into the little tool that the Dr has to look in your ear.  Why she would think to do that I have no idea!  Just happy to get a picture of her.

Then we stopped at the hospital to drop off a few goodies.  This is what happens when Hilary goes to the hospital with us.  They treat her like a celebrity, and she gets all sorts of swag.  Her little cup is loaded with candy.  Love my Utah Valley friends.

We also had piano recitals this week.  Halea's was last Saturday and Heidi and Holden's were on Tuesday.  They all did so good.  I am so proud of them.  Several years ago, before Hilary, I took piano lessons.  I had the bright idea one time to play at the recital, so I could get the full experience that the kids get.  Dumb!!  I totally messed up and it was the scariest thing.  I totally felt more empathy for my kids after that.  So when I see them get up there and rock it, I am especially proud.  I only got video of Halea, no still pictures.  Oops.
You almost can't tell who the teacher is she looks so young!!  She is adorable.

Today was a pretty good day.   We practiced our choir piece in the morning, which was nice.  It was a really sweet song.  I got a little emotional singing it, because I just think of sweet humble Mary holding her sweet baby and being terrified at what his life was going to be like.  I am sure that she just tried to enjoy every moment with him because she had an incling as to what was coming.  
Then I went home to finish getting everyone ready.  Halea told me that the night before she was at a little party where there were some new people that she hadn't met before.  Of course the question came up "how many siblings do you have?".   She felt bad because she sort of fumbled through it.  I tried to reassure her that I still struggle with that question.  I am sure I encountered the same thing after my sister died, I just don't remember it.  I felt bad for her.
As I was sitting at church today I was pondering about the beauty of music in my life.  I truly believe that music has been one of my greatest life lines this past year.  Especially the last 7 months.  I have tried to surround myself with beautiful music that invites the spirit, and I really think that it has changed my life and who I am becoming.  That sounds strong, but I believe it.  I can feel the spirit so strong when I listen to certain music and certain artists.  I am so grateful for it.  I loved the songs we were able to sing today.  A young man, about 18 years old, played a piano solo in church today.  He wrote the arrangement himself.  It was stirring.  I was sitting right by the piano and so I could see the beauty of his hands making that beautiful music.  It is beyond my comprehension.  It was really touching.  His mother died about a year ago and left 10 kids.  I am sure that music has carried him through some really dark days, also.  So grateful to have music, and people that share their talents.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Comic Relief..

Hilary is seriously the light in the house, most of the time.  If we ever need to laugh, she has got our back even when she doesn't want to make us laugh.  She just does.  I just have to record a few conversations:

A little background:  Before Hilary, we had 5 kids that slept.  I mean slept through the night when they were 6-8 weeks old!  Occasionally we had to get up in the night with one of them after that, but very seldom.   Halea had a hard time when she was a toddler and moved to a "big girl" bed, but only for a few weeks.  Heidi would come down a few times a week when she was a toddler, but we would march her right back up to her bed.  One time she did scare a couple that was staying with our kids for a few days to death!  I may have forgot to tell them that she wandered at night.  Eventually this stopped.  Then there was Hilary.  I am not sure she has gone more than a few nights in a row of sleeping through the night or where she has not come down to our room.  She used to wake up just screaming bloody murder from the top of the stairs, almost like a night terror.  When Tatum got sick, she seemed to do a little better.  Either that or I was delirious.  So for the past year, or so, Lance has laid down in her bed with her until she falls asleep.  Well, this has turned into a three hour ordeal because Lance always falls asleep.  The other night he was doing something so I told Hilary that I was going to lay down with her.  She was not too happy, but finally conceded that I was better than nothing.
As we were laying there she was talking and I was just being quiet, trying not to encourage any extra conversation.  She turned to me and and said: "When you were a baby, Tatum and Trevin loved you".  It took me back because she said it so matter of fact, and not with her mixed up words like she does sometimes.  Then she said a few more things that she always says about Tatum and Trevin.   I just wonder what she really knows.  Some confirmation of our pre existence.   That night I had a very vivid dream where I saw Trevin.  Sometimes I talk in my sleep.  I am pretty sure that I yelled his name, because I woke myself up.

The other night she was showing one of our friends our Christmas tree.  She was showing her all of her favorite ornaments on the tree.  There is one that Holden did in Second grade.  It is a paper Santa that they put Holden's picture as the Santa face.   She laughed and laughed the first time she saw it.  She said something about Holden not having a beard because he was too young to have a beard.  Then she pointed out a BYU ornament that has a cougar on it.  She said "that one has a gruber".  Hilarious

Today we were driving past our neighbors house that have an interesting lighting group of the manger scene with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  Right next to it they have a lit Santa.  Hilary yells from the back seat, "There's Jesus Christ!" (because she never just says Jesus, it's always Jesus Christ, which unfortunately sounds like a swear word, but how do we correct her?) Then she says "And there's Santa.  Hey, Santa isn't Jesus' dad!  That's silly".  I nearly lost it.  She is a crack up a minute.

We went to a puppet show that was put on by a group of disabled adults.  They sang some Christmas songs and the puppet show was done with black lights.  Seriously, so cute. Hilary loves to sing all of the songs, so she had a blast.  I was so glad that we took time to go. I think it was one of the highlights of both of our days.  A few years ago, I might not have dropped everything else that I needed to do.  I would have certainly missed a sweet time with Hilary and the special people that were in the puppet show.  Thanks Tates!  Lesson learned.

Last Sunday I substituted in nursery for a lady while she is gone on a cruise for two weeks.  It was harder than I though it was going to be.  Hilary is only in there for a few more weeks, she is one of the older kids.  Most of the kids are Tatum's age or a little bit older.  On Sunday not one boy came.  It was all girls!  I tried not to think about what I was missing, but it was hard because it was all right there.  What a sweet age.  We had a few criers, so I was needing to hold one here and there.  It really pulled at my heart.  What I wouldn't give.

Today I went to a mortuary to help a family do some hand molds of their sweet little boy that died.  The mortician told the family that we had lost a child so she asked me a few questions and then she asked me if I ever felt guilty.  I wasn't sure how to answer her.  My initial feeling was sadness for her.  I know that guilt is a horrible, destructive  feeling to have, especially when associated with the death of your child.  I have been thinking about that question ever since.  I have felt guilt that I gave this disease to Tatum and Trevin.  I feel guilt a little when I wish that I had completely stopped any outside activities and just sat on the couch non stop and soaked up both of our sweet babies.  Which in reality I almost did anyway, but I was still trying to function in things that just weren't important.  There are, obviously, medical decisions that I wish I could have done differently and that cause some guilt.  I know that neither Tatum or Trevin would want me to feel any guilt.  I did my very best and I think that they know that.  I love them beyond measure and would have done anything for them.  I guess I feel peace, most days.  I know that guilt is, like I said before, destructive and the opposite of the light of Christ.  I have been lucky to not feel wracked by it.  My heart broke for this mom, because she was at the beginning of this really hard process and because there was nothing that she could have done to save her little boy and yet she was being overwhelmed by guilt.  Grateful that I have not had to deal with that on top of all of the other emotions.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shock and Awe..

For some reason it has been a few rough days.  I attribute it to Lance and the kids banning me from playing my favorite Hilary Weeks CD in the car.  Her music just allows me to have sweet times in the car because I just really connect to the words.  I smile, I cry, it is very therapeutic.  Well, they were all sick of it, because maybe I played it non stop!  So Lance made up a lovely Christmas CD with about 80 songs on it?  Seriously!  Well, I have to skip through a lot of them because I simply am not in the mood for Jingle Bells or Santa Clause is Coming to Town.  Meanwhile, as I am skipping the songs after I figure out which one it is Hilary is screaming from the back "that's my favorite song!!"  So then I am forced to listen to it.  Needless to say, today my CD went back in!:)
Another problem is this weather.  We are having lows in the 0's, and highs in the teens.  Then today the pea soup fog set in and it is supposed to be here for at least the next five days.  Oh, I don't think I am going to survive that.
On Tuesday Heidi and Holden had orthodontist appointments.  I told them that we could go to lunch afterwards.  While we were in the office, Halea sent me a sad text.  I could tell she was a little stressed so I asked her if she wanted to grab Hayden and meet us for lunch.  Mother of the year!!  So we all played hooky for the day.  It was fun, don't tell Lance.   He doesn't always (or never) approve of my antics.

That night I had a pretty emotional visit with a family that is preparing for the birth of their little baby that won't live much after birth.  I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home that night.
Wednesday I had to bring Holden BACK to the orthodontist because he keeps having trouble with one of his wires. Luckily I think that they fixed it.  Heidi came home sick that day.  She had a really bad headache, so she came home and tried to sleep off her headache.  For the next 5 hours I sat at the computer working on a project for the family that I wanted to do for Christmas.  It involved me looking at pictures of Tates for hours.  Which is great, but oh how it made me miss her.  I just can't believe that she is gone.  Again, I was emotionally exhausted at the end of the day.
Thursday was the Common Bonds Bereavement Group Christmas dinner that we do at our house.  I spent most of the day baking, shopping and preparing some things at the house.  It wasn't stressful, just busy.  I had told everyone that I wasn't going to do the garland to decorate our stairs.  I just didn't have the energy to put it up and I didn't want to take it down and put it away, etc.  Well, everyone was really disappointed.  Apparently that is the only thing that makes our house Christmasy.  Everything was under control, so I decided to put the garland up to surprise the family.  When the basement got framed this summer, we moved all of our storage around and so I wasn't really sure where the garland was, but I was determined to find it.  I started moving the very large bins around and looking inside and then re stacking them. I picked up one of the bins and it was so heavy and full of playmobil toys that the hoarder in the family, who shall remain nameless (Lance) can't part with.  I sort of lost my grip on it.  It came tumbling down right on top of me, and fell into Lance's drum set.  Luckily there was no damage to neither me or the drums.  Fortunately the next bin I looked in was the garland or the surprise might have been off.  I worked hard to get it all up on the stairs and plugged it in.  You guessed it, half of the lights were out!  I decided to see if Lance would fix those when he got home.  I was pretty proud of my surprise, but felt a little deflated when the response from the family was pretty mild.  Do they not realize that I nearly died doing it?! Life of a mother.  Good thing that I don't need the praises of others.
Halea told Hayden that she would pay him 5 dollars if he would brush the snow off of her car and put the car cover on so she could protect it for the winter.  Her car is a 1958 Chevy Biscayne.  He went out with the keys in hand to get into the trunk where her car cover was located.   He came back in with a sheepish look on his face.  Then he told me that the key had broken off in the trunk keyhole.  Never a dull moment.  Not sure how we are going to fix that.  However it is, it sounds expensive.  Oh boy.
The party that night went fine.  I always enjoy visiting with everyone.  This time last year, Lance spent most of the party upstairs watching Hilary and Tatum.  Sigh.  Too many reminders during this first year.  It's too easy to flash back.
On a happier note for that day:  Halea came home that night at about 10:00 from a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition and she had competed in two categories and placed 1st in both!  She was laughing because she hadn't really even studied, and there were a ton of schools from their region that were competing.  That just taught her a great lesson:  No work pays off:)  I guess she is just smart and does well under pressure.  Lucky

This morning I had a small presentation that I was making to a nursing class.  Their teacher was one of our patients early this year and she wanted her students to hear about bereavement.  She was having them over for breakfast and a few guest speakers, including myself.  Well, nothing like a little bereavement talk to liven up a party!!  Here comes the shock and awe.  I told them about my job at the hospital and then I started to tell them why I do what I do.  They seemed to do alright while I told my story about Trevin, then I started to tell about our journey to get Hilary and Tatum here, and then Tatum's story.  The look of horror on their faces was so sad.  I think that I don't realize how sad our story is until I see how uncomfortable it makes other people.  I guess I am just living it, so I am a little numb to the details.  I also know that there are more horrible life stories out there, so I guess it's all in your perspective.   I felt bad for them.  Hope I didn't ruin their Christmas break.  I am sure none of them will remember any of it, they're young.
Tonight there was a knock on our door.   It was a couple that I met at the hospital 10 years ago when their baby died of "SIDS".  They thought the party was tonight!  So hilarious.  I was so glad that Lance and I stayed home tonight because it was really fun to visit with them.   That is one of the many lessons that I have learned, to go with the flow and enjoy the things that come.   Grateful for good friends that understand.
I am grateful that the weekend is here.  I was asked to help out in the nursery at church this coming Sunday.  Hilary will be in there so that will be fun, but it is also the same nursery that Tates should be in.   I am a little apprehensive about it, but I guess I can't avoid all of these things forever.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

19 Years Ago...

December 9, 1994.  We were at Primary Children's Medical Center, saying our last goodbyes to our sweet Trevin.   We were so young.  Trevin was our whole life.  I don't remember all of the details of how we  picked up the pieces of our lives and I recorded little about it.  I have officially learned that lesson.  Hopefully I don't have to repeat it, again.  I know that it was hard and I remember being so sad and having that feeling of being lost.  Not knowing what to do with myself.  I had a part time job doing data entry from our home, I had friends.  That was about it.  I was a mom, and then suddenly I wasn't.  I am so grateful for my friends that became my "therapists".  They listened and encouraged me, right out of the dark pit of grief.  I don't ever remember feeling angry, just lost.  I am sure I drove everyone crazy because I felt like I had no purpose.

 I finally made the decision to go back to school in August about eight months after he died.  Then shortly after that we found out that we were pregnant again.  I should have known then how that little girl was going to come and rule our world, in a different way.
We usually don't do anything on this day because for me it is a sad day.  I was not ready (as if I ever would have been) to be done taking care of Trevin.  I would have cared for him for the rest of my days.  So we usually just acknowledge it as a family and we don't make a big deal out of it.  In years past we have brought treats to the hospital or gone to the cemetery, but nothing too big.  This year has just felt different.  I started thinking about how this day is for him.  To him this is probably a great day.  He was free from his sick body and his spirit was restored to it's full self again.  A graduation if you will.  He probably feels pretty OK with today.  So I thought maybe we could do something as a family to commemorate him and do some kind things and some fun things.
I went to lunch with one of my friends because she knew that I would need some distraction.  We went to Costco and Walmart and of course to Cafe Rio.   While we were eating lunch my friend got into a pretty heavy conversation with Hilary.  She has been bringing up Tatum's death a lot the last few weeks.  We will be talking about something and randomly she will just say, "and Tatum died".  Today she added that Tatum died at our house and that  Lance and i were sad when she died.  My friend asked Hilary if she was sad when Tatum died.  She matter of fact said, "No".  Then she said that Tatum wasn't sick anymore and that she would get to see her again.  You know, just normal conversation with a three year old.  She knows how to keep it real.
My friend gave us gingerbread house that she had made.  We got to take them home and decorate them.  The kids had so much fun.  It really was a high light of the evening.
Before we did that we had a few things that I wanted to do.  First I made dinner.  When Trevin was about a year old we discovered that he loved broccoli cheese soup.  One night Lance and I and Trevin went to Hogi Yogi (a local sandwich shop) because they had really good broccoli cheese soup.  We sat down at one of the tables to eat.  Trevin ate a ton of it.  Unfortunately after Trevin had his big seizure, his gag reflex was horrible.  This reflex triggered that night and he projectile vomited all of the soup out onto everything within swinging distance.   It was everywhere.  Lance and I looked at each other and started laughing and we didn't know what to do.  We felt horrible, but we cleaned up the best we could and then quietly snuck out.  Ever since then I always think of Trev when i am eating broccoli soup.   So that is what I made for dinner, in honor of our sweet boy.
Then we assembled more jammie bags for the pediatric unit at our hospital.  Our niece and her husband came down to help us.  We were able to do 18 bags.  I wanted to do 20, because Trevin would have turned 20 this past May, but we ran out of bigger bags.  Of course.  I was just grateful that we had 18.
We drove down to the hospital and delivered them to pediatrics.  Then we went upstairs to Labor and Delivery so everyone could see the pictures of Tatum hanging up.
 When we got home we  decorated the gingerbread houses.  The kids had so much fun.  It was so fun to listen to their chatter with one another.  I love when activities go like that.  It renews your faith that maybe one day your kids will all like one another!

Heidi and Laura's...
Overall it was a pretty good day.  I cannot believe that it has been 19 years since I have seen our sweet boy.  It blows my mind.  I miss so much what it would be like to have him in our family.  I wish that he were here, but I am glad that he is with Tatum watching over her, until we can all reunite as a family.  I wish that it didn't hurt so much to have them gone, but we have to know that sorrow to appreciate the sweet.
His life was so good and pure.  In his quick 18 months he taught me so much.  He taught me what strength really is.  He demonstrated such strength and patience with his broken body.  He helped me understand what true unconditional love is.  He taught me to be calm in the face of adversity.  He helped me see how strong I could be.  He helped me to learn to turn to Heavenly Father and to understand the love the Savior has for each one of us, despite all of our faults.  He taught me forgiveness.  I know that he laid the foundation for the rest of my life, and helped me incorporate qualities that I needed into my life and my being.  He prepared me for Tatum.  His life allowed me to see the miracles that we have witnessed in the past year.  He softened, and strengthened my heart and put me on a path of service and compassion and love for others that has allowed me to survive and thrive in this past year.  I know that.  I am really forever grateful for him and what he has done for me.  I am sure that he had to sacrifice some of his own wants in order to teach all of us.  A priceless gift, that I will cherish.  Knowing all of that, I still miss him and wish he were here:)

A few other things that we were able to do this weekend:
Halea was gone on her California trip for cross country.
Holden had his Medieval Festival at school and I got to go and help set up.  On Monday he announced that he had achieved "Knighthood" and so he would need a knight costume.  I was walking out the door to run some errands so I told him that I would try and help him figure that out when I got home.  I left for a few hours.  When I got home he had already fashioned a costume out  of card board.  Does this say that he has no faith in my creative abilities, or that he doesn't trust that I will help him? Hmm.  He did a way better job than I would have.  I am grateful for this creative boy.
 Queen Hilary was helping with the setup...

Which one is Holden?... The one on the right!  That is all out of cardboard.   Can you believe it?
On Saturday we had our ward Christmas Breakfast then I talked Lance and Hilary into going up to the Festival of Trees.  I really debated on whether we should go or not because it had been snowing all day.  My neighbors kids did a tree in memory of her so I really wanted to go and see it.  My other friends daughter that had trisome 18 had a picture by one of the trees.  I was so glad that we went.  It was really fun.  My niece and her husband met us there and we walked around to all of the trees and then we went and grabbed a bite to eat, then to Target to do some Christmas shopping.  It was a really fun night.
Lance and I in front of the "Soft" tree...
In front of my neighbors tree.  It was absolutely stunning.   the picture does not do it justice.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh..

Do you ever feel like there is a secret camera on you that you don't know about?  Like in the Truman Show?    I joke about it sometimes when things are so ridiculously silly.  Tuesday was just cracking up to be one of those days.  In the morning I went to my workout class at the church (that sounds really old ladyish).   I was talking to the instructor while we were setting up and telling her that my back was hurting because I got a bee in my bonnet on Monday and shampooed all of our carpets and so I was moving furniture and cleaning blinds and washing walls.  As we were laughing about me feeling like an old lady because my back was hurting from over exertion, this other lady jumped in our conversation.  She said "Oh, I cleaned my carpets a few days ago, too, and I moved my piano by myself".  Uh oh a "one upper".   First of all she is like 15 years younger than me at least.  She should be moving her piano by herself!  Second of all, who asked you?  Third of all, do you know that my baby died this year?  I am lucky that I am showered every day!  So that is how the day started out.  I wasn't really offended..  I just had to laugh that she was adding her two cents and I hardly know her.
When I was driving through my neighborhood, on the way home from class, I started noticing that everyone had their recycle garbage cans out.  I had only put out our regular garbage because I didn't think that it was recycle week.  Ugh.  Luckily the cold front had come in the night before and so it was about 12 degrees out, with a brisk wind!  I parked the car and ran to the back to try and drag our crippled cans to the curb.  Both of our garbage cans have broken wheels so they are real fun to drag to the curb, especially when it is 12 degrees out and windy.  As I was pulling the most injured can a wind caught it and blew it on to its side.  Luckily I had just filled it with a bunch of loose school papers because we are cleaning out drawers in the house!  Yeah, papers started blowing everywhere.  I started laughing, wondering if the camera was rolling.  I put the can back up and started trying to gather all of the papers that were blowing all over.  Luckily several of them stuck to the frozen ground, giving me time to catch them.  By the time I got back in the house I was FROZEN!
Luckily the day got better and I was able to find humor in my misfortunes.

The kids were able to sled for the first time this season.  They don't seem sad to see the warm weather leave.   Always the optimists.

Today was a really good day.  I was able to cross a lot of those little pesky things off of my list that I have needed to do for awhile but just haven't made time.  It was soooo freezing today and I just wanted to stay home, but Hilary and I had to brave the cold to run some errands.  One of the errands was to go to the hospital.  None of the family has been down since they hung the cute pictures of Tatum in the new Labor and Delivery station, so I thought she would get a kick out of seeing Tates hanging on the walls.  She was pointing at all of the cute baby pictures on the walls, so I told her I had some special ones to show her.   We rounded the corner to where they are hanging and she looked up and said, 'That's Tatum and that's Tatum" (there are two hanging side by side right now, until they get the bigger one of her).  Then she sort of put her head down and said "We sure miss Tatum".  Ouch.  Poor little thing.  My heart just broke for her.  Then she started talking about how Tatum and Trevin wouldn't be with us for Christmas.  It was just really sweet.  Sometimes I wonder what she feels.  That said it all.  She misses her like we do.  Probably more than we know.  She handles it like a true champ.  I am sure that she has been lent extra understanding to help her through this heart breaking separation.  Love that little girl.
We went over to where one of my friends works to mail pictures and say hi to her.  She is always so sweet with Hilary.  She always has some fun treats.  This time she had a cute little pinwheel and two little mini wind socks to put out at Trevin and Tatum's grave.  Hilary thought that was really cool.  When we brought them home no one could touch them because they were for the cemetery!  She is a little bit bossy.   I think that I will hold on to them until spring time.  They are so cute, one pink and one blue wind sock!

We had our Relief Society Progressive dinner tonight.  I always get a little nervous to be in big crowds.  Even though most of the people there tonight know what has happened, I just don't know what might come out of my mouth, ya know?  It actually turned out to be really fun because I got to visit with several ladies from our Young Women organization.  It is really weird to go from talking to someone almost daily to nothing.  It has been a hard adjustment and I miss those amazing ladies.  I just need to be better about just reaching out, cause they are still my friends and I don't need an "excuse" to talk to them.  The only funny thing that happened was that one of my friends was teasing me and saying that she wanted me to pray for her to be able to sell her house.  I don't want her to move so I teased back and said I was praying for the opposite.  She made the comment that my prayers get answered so i needed to help her sell her house.  I looked at her funny and said something like, " Yeah this has been a real year of prayers answered!"  I was just teasing her, cause I do know that my prayers were heard and answered to the extent  that they could be.  I think she felt bad, but I really did think that it was funny.  Ya gotta laugh.

I am trying really hard to have the Christmas spirit and trying not to be a bah humbug.  It isn't easy right now.  I usually love Christmas, but the real Christmas not the commercial Christmas.  I love to think about the Savior and all that this time of celebration means.  I love how pretty our houses are decorated with that celebration in mind.  It is just sometimes hard with such a heavy heart.  I have been trying to think about what my next step is with myself.  What do I do with myself now?  I have been exploring some things in my mind and I made some calls today to start thinking about what I need to do with the gifts and knowledge that I have been blessed with in this past year.  I feel like Tatum wants me to do something with the things that we have learned.  When I figure it all out I will let you know, it is a work in progress.

Tonight when I got home, Halea told us that there was a picture of Jesus sitting on her desk and Hilary came up and looked at it and said "I love Jesus Christ."  Out of the mouths of babes.  She knows better than us all what He has done for us and how He continually lends comfort and guidance and example to us.
Overall, some pretty good days.  I laughed more than I cried.  Success.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Six Months..

How is it possible that this dreadful anniversary is here?  I don't like the word Hate, but it is the only word that properly describes how I feel about time right now.  I can't even describe how hollow and lonely my heart feels when I think that it has been six months since I have been able to feel, hold, kiss, smell, talk to, bathe, kiss, snuggle, dress, sooth, sing to, rock, take for a walk, take a picture of, the list goes on, with Tatum.  There just aren't words.  I think that today I would give anything to have her back.  I thought that I would never say that because I would never want her to suffer again, and I think that it would crush me to have to repeat these last six months.  I just miss her that much.  It sounds so selfish, and it is.  My heart just hurts.
I have been thinking a lot the last few days about where I am today.  A sort of self evaluation.  I still think about Tatum almost every minute.  I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but sadly it is not.  I still occasionally sleep in her spot on the couch.  I still put on her chap stick several times a day.  Her crib is still up in our room, full of her things.  Her car seat is still in our room along with the pillow that she used to sleep on.  Her clothes are still in her dresser.  I still carry the oxygen mask that we had to use on her the last time that we were in my Pediatricians office in my purse.  I still have several of her appointment cards from her doctors in my purse.  I still have the bar on the stroller that was a conversion for her car seat.  I know that all of these things probably make me seem a little crazy, but it is what makes me feel  like she is still here and that we are not forgetting her.  I did not suffer with this as bad with Trevin.  I don't know why.  I just can't seem to part with some of these things and the thought of changing them makes me crazy.  So for now this is how it will stay.
The better part of my self evaluation is in my actual "self".  I actually feel like I am doing very well.  I think all of the things above are "normal" and they don't really bother me, because of how I feel inside.  My knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ has never felt stronger.  My capacity to love has increased ten fold.  I feel calmer as a mother, friend, wife, etc.  I don't get as "ruffled" as I used to.  I see the big picture a little clearer.  I am calm when I think about the Second Coming, in fact I am excited for it.  I feel a little kinder towards myself and others.  I have not watched much TV in the last six months, which has been amazing.  I listen to softer more beautiful music every day, which has changed my soul.  It is easier to take time for people and relationships.  I am more focused on the things that affect the eternities. I feel more grateful.  I am more aware of time and how precious it is.  I feel and see the Savior and my Heavenly Father in my life every single day.  Overall I just feel softer, more calm and content.  I am still really human.  This is an overall picture.  I still lose my temper and forget all of these things, but it is easier for me to regain these feelings than before Tates.
This has been a very long six months, but I am grateful for the growth that I have felt individually and for the growth of my family.  We are all so imperfect, but I know that because of the experiences that we have had in the past year we are forever changed and better, and more focused on what is most important.
Last night Lance and I went shopping for the kids' Christmas Eve pajamas.  A tradition that we have had for lots of years.  As I walked into Hilary's department my heart just sank.  Last year I got the girls matching polk a dot (or cooka dot in Hilary language) jammies.  It hit me that I only needed one pair of little girl jammies.  Something as simple as purchasing pajamas can turn into something so sad.  I found some cute polar bear ones that she will love cause she really likes panda bears and polar bears.
I couldn't really decide what I wanted to do for this weird anniversary day.   I felt a little paralyzed.  I wanted to do something meaningful and something that would show Tatum how much we love her and miss her, but I could come up with nothing.  About a week ago I realized that a couple that I had worked with at the hospital when their little girl died several years ago, were having their newly adopted little girl sealed to them in the LDS Temple.  This is a very sweet and personal ceremony and I was so honored that they had invited me to be there with them.  As this day started growing near I decided that the Temple would be a great place for me to be on this day.  So that was really my only plan for the day.  I actually allowed myself to sleep in, very unusual.  I ran on the treadmill for a bit then I got ready.  As I was getting ready I decided that I wanted to take Hilary to the park because it was such a beautiful day.  Halea and Heidi came with us.  I thought this was another great thing to do on this day.

After the park I headed up to Salt Lake for the Temple sealing.  On my way home I stopped and got some pizza so I didn't have to cook dinner.  Lazy, I know.  As I was sitting there waiting I was looking at Instagram posts and this is what I found from Halea:
here is the caption that she had with this picture of Tatum today: Oh death where is thy sting? Oh grave where is they victory? Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1st Corinthians 15:55) Love you Tater Bug #LDS #sixmonths
Yeah, she is amazing.  What a thoughtful and insightful young woman.  Tatum has surely changed us all.  If I could teach this girl to clean up her room and bathroom I'd keep her home forever!
So there I was, tearing up in Little Caesars.  Awkward.
 This is what she posted on Thanksgiving:
her caption for this post was:  I get my competitiveness from my mom.  I have my dad's eyes and positive attitude.  Even though Hayden might actually be cooler than me, he still lets me hang out with him and I love talking to him.  Heidi has her life together and is an example of kindness to me.  Holden is so innocent and I love being his big sister.  Hilary is hilarious.  she makes me laugh daily.  Tatum and Trevin remind me Heaven isn't far away.  I am so blessed to call these people family.  #Thanksgiving2013 #turkeyday
She is so thoughtful.
When I got home my good friend that was my "funeral planner" (she loves that title) dropped by to give me a hug and some sweet thoughtful gifts.  She has been through this, she knows how hard these days can be.  She also loves Tatum and misses her.  I probably should have brought her something too.  Dang it.  she found these cute little Yo Gabba Gabba figurines.  Hilary has already called the Muno to be hers.  Then she sewed a pillow out of the left over material from Tatum's dress that she made for her to be buried in.  You can't see, but at the bottom she stitched Tatum's name on the pillow in pink.  Unbelievable.  She also brought a white poinsettia that was so sweet.  She and Halea and I went to the cemetery and spent a few minutes there.  Lance and I had stopped by the cemetery yesterday after our bike ride, but we had not made it today.  What an amazing friend.  I am never so thoughtful like this, so I am not sure what I did to deserve her, but I am so grateful.  I know that Heavenly Father has surrounded me with people that have literally carried me through these dark days.  I am really so blessed.
The last thing that I got to do was finish a book.  I need to document this very momentous occasion.  I rarely actually finish a book.  I read this book in less than a week.  It was the Elizabeth Smart book.  It was so very sad, but so uplifting to know how resilient the human spirit is.  We can truly overcome anything if we put our faith in the Savior.  I know that, and so does she.  At the end of the book she talks about her recovery process.  She is a very wise young lady.  When she was found and finally home, her mother told her that she had to choose to be happy and to not let those evil people steal one more second of her life from her.  She has obviously taken that advice and she talks a little bit about happiness and carrying on is a choice.  I am such a believer in that.  I cannot even compare what I am experiencing to what she has been through, but I do relate with that choice.  I try really hard to make the choice to be happy and feel the joy that life brings.  I am trying really hard to appreciate all of the good that has come from this difficult year because it is countless.  I am grateful for the miracles I have seen and the changes that have come.  Forever in our hearts, sweet Tatum and Trevin.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throw Back Thanksgiving 2012...

Thanksgiving 2013 started off early.  I got called to the hospital at 12:30 am.  As I was finishing up with the family they were saying there last goodbyes to their baby.  I was standing by the mothers bed waiting for her to hand the baby to me to take to another room so I could get her ready to take to the morgue.  There were tears streaming down the moms face as she was contemplating how to take the next step in this heart wrenching process.  As she handed me her baby she the mother grabbed at her own chest, heaving.  I cradled her baby and took her out of the room.  I felt so awful for her because I knew that pain that actually feels like your heart is going to literally break.  It is only by the grace of our Heavenly Father that our heart continues to beat.  This was not how I thought Thanksgiving 2013 was going to begin.

 I got home and slept for a few hours and then Halea and I got up and ran down to my friends house.  Her and her family and a few neighbors were doing a Turkey Trot 4 mile run.  It was a glorious morning.  It was probably the warmest Thanksgiving I can remember in a lot of years.  It was so fun and I was really glad that we did it.  I might of been a little more lazy had I not known that there were people that were going with me.

As we were heading home several fire engines and ambulances and police cars went flying up the hill towards our neighborhood.  I joked around and said, "someone trying to burn the house down on Thanksgiving".  As we entered our neighborhood one of my neighbors was driving toward me and stopped and said that one of our neighbors had a fire in their attic.  What a horrible Thanksgiving.  Everything seemed to work out OK.  No one was hurt.  I think they were very protected and watched over.  It could have been way worse.

After preparing our food assignments the family all headed up to Salt Lake where they were having dinner.  I decided that I could not participate in Thanksgiving this year.  It was at one of our sister in laws home that has been quite mean to me for 22 years.  I just decided that I have worked too hard to try and preserve the sweet spiritual feelings that I can still feel.  I didn't want to go and be around darkness on this already difficult day.   I knew that they would not acknowledge that Tatum was even missing.  I just couldn't deal with it all today.  So I stayed home and fixed a little lunch and watched the dog show with Zoe!  I painted my toes, in honor of little Tates.  I rested a bit from my long night.  I read my book.  It wasn't the worst day.

Then I made pot pies to bring up to our other families house where we were all meeting to play games.  It was fun to hang out with the family.  We watched the Steelers game ( close game but they lost!).

A year ago, this was not how I thought Thanksgiving 2014 would be.  I had worries last year at this time, but I was still hopeful.  I can't believe this has all really transpired in less than a year.  In less than a year our entire lives are turned upside down.  I'm trying really hard to remember and focus on all of the good things that have happened because of our sweet Tatum.  I just miss her so much.  I feel like I miss her more and more every day.

All of these pictures were taken about this time last year.  Who would have thought everything would be so different in just a year.  I am so thankful for the beautiful year that we got to spend with our sweet Tatum.  Her spirit and the lessons she taught us while she was here will be forever in our hearts.  We miss our sweet Tatum and Trevin.