Saturday, August 31, 2013

3 Months...

It has been three months ago today that our sweet angel finished her journey here with us.  I can still feel that deep sadness so clearly.  I want it to go away, but in some ways it feels OK that it is still here because it is part of her memory for me.  To start feeling "normal" things again or to not feel that deep, cutting sadness in my heart feels like I am forgetting.  I know that I am not, but that is how it feels.  I try not to fight the good feelings, I laugh (obviously, if you know me well you know that laughing is like breathing to me) I sing, I play, I joke, I exercise, I do normal things.  It just doesn't always feel as good as it used to.  It sometimes feels flat.  I know that going through the motions will retrain my brain and my heart to feel those things again.  I will probably always be and feel a little different, and that is OK.  We are never the same person after something big and life changing happens.  It is our choice if it makes us better or worse, but we are always different.  I feel like at this three month mark that Lance and I are doing OK.  We are functioning, still immensely sad, spiritually better, shocked sometimes at what people do or say, but for the most part we have been so blessed with good, supportive friends and family.  Not everyone has such a great support system and so we are grateful that people have been so kind and generous to us.  I am so grateful that we were able to share Tatum and her life with our family and friends through this blog.  It has helped people to remember her and that really helps all of us.  We don't ever want to forget all of the amazing things that our kids have taught us.

Just before I woke up to write this morning I was having a dream about Tatum.  I was over at my sister in laws house and I was holding Tatum.  In the dream Tatum had died, but somehow I got to have her back for a little bit of time.  I was telling Lance to take pictures and I said something like "how will I explain these pictures on instagram?"  Maybe I am doing too much instagram?!  I am grateful for this dream even though it left me wanting more when I woke up.  Poor Hilary has been having nightmares every night.  She unfortunately inherited my very vivid dreaming.  Lance doesn't ever dream.  She has never been a good sleeper any way, but she has ended up in our bed nearly every night since Tatum died.  She also talks a lot in her sleep and she seems to have very active dreams. (are you understanding why we are so tired now?) A few mornings ago she was talking in her sleep and she said Tatum's name and I think that she laughed.  I was pretty groggy, in fact I asked Lance that morning if he heard her say Tatum's name because I wasn't sure if it was in my own dream or not.  He said that he did hear her.  I was so sad for her.  I felt bad that she was feeling tormented and missing her sister.  I started wondering if we needed to bring her to a therapist.  My heart was so sad, and a little envious that she was getting to dream about Tatum, because I couldn't remember even getting to dream about her yet.  As I was talking to one of my friends about my concerns a little later that morning she said that maybe Hilary was getting to see Tatum, as an angel.  That was a lot better thought.  Why hadn't I thought of that?  I know that the veil is thin between this life and the next.  Why wouldn't Heavenly Father allow sweet Hilary to know that her sister is OK.  I have worried a lot about her because she is so little and doesn't have the communication skills that the other kids do to express what she is feeling.  I hope that Tatum is getting to visit her big sister and tell her that everything is OK.

That morning when Hilary had said Tatum's name in her sleep continued to be an interesting morning.   I was exhausted by the time we got back from our walk.   When we were almost home from our walk Hilary said that she wanted to see Tatum's flowers.  That was a perfect request and reminder to look for the joyful things we have.  The roses are joyful to me.  We went back and there were a few in bloom and several buds that are getting close to blooming.  Hilary was really excited to show them to me.  Those flowers are so precious.  We all love them.
Yesterday my friend and I went up to "Swiss Days" in Midway.  Neither of us had ever been.  It is in Midway about a 40 minute drive from where we live.  There are ladies that go every year.  It is a two day event that consumes the city.  There are craft booths set up on every corner and food booths and music and performances.  Before we venture up she brought the cutest little rose plant to put out for Tatum and Trevin. It had the cutest little metal butterfly in it.  When Hilary saw it she gasped really dramatically.  It was so cute.

The roses on it are soooo cute.  They are little and delicate and bright just like Tatum.  So sweet.  I think that I want to try and plant it and see if it can live in our "rose garden".
When we got to Midway, I think that I expected it to be cooler because it is in the mountains.  Well apparently it is just closer to the sun!  I have never been so hot in my life.  It was fun to finally see what all the fuss was about, but wow I don't think that I will ever go back if it is that hot.  Poor Hilary was just droopy.
Her hair was just wet with sweat the poor little thing.
 This was her when she realized that I was taking her picture.
Then she decided to make it a game and hide from the picture taking...
Then she couldn't fight it any more.  I love that her leg is crossed all lady like.  Poor exhausted girl.

One of the highlights of Swiss Days was that I ran into one of the nurses from my Pediatricians office.  She was there the day that Tatum got sick, and walked over with us and took care of Hilary for awhile until things settled down.  She had just had her baby about six weeks ago and had him with her and she said that she isn't going back to work.  She gets to stay home with her kids.  What a great thing for her, but sad for me.  Another change in life.  Boo.  I really loved her.  She has been in their office for a long time.  So happy for her, though.

When we got home I ran over and picked up our shirts for the hike.  They turned out super cute.
I wish that I had ordered more.  I just didn't know if people would want one or not.  I just decided that if people wanted one then we would just do another order, so that is what we are doing.

Then I rode down and met Lance at his work.  The ride down felt super fast, so I knew that it was going to be a hard ride home.  I was very right.  There was a pretty stiff headwind all the way home.  When we got home we got ready and headed out to do some errands that we needed to do for the hike.  While we were out Lance told me that at work someone that didn't know that Tatum had died had commented on how beautiful his baby was because her picture is his screen saver.  Luckily for Lance he said it as he was leaving his office so there were no follow up questions like "how old is she", so he didn't really have to go into the details and make everyone uncomfortable.  I never think about Lance having to encounter the questions and the uncomfortable situations like I do, but I guess he does.  I think it caught him off guard.  He is such a good dad and is so connected to Trevin and Tatum and I can still see the sadness in his eyes when he talks about them.  It makes me feel normal when I see him sad because he is an overly positive person.  It is good to know that even he is still heart broken.  I don't mean that I am glad that he is heart broken.  That didn't come out right.  You know what I mean:)

The next few days will be busy and emotional.  My heart is heavy, missing our sweet Tatum and Trevin.  Three months.  Unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Emotional Attachments...

I really think that at least half of the population of Utah County has a double stroller.  Truthfully I used to be one of them.  I had a double stroller when Trevin was a baby.  I bought one when he was a baby because I wanted one for when I had that second baby!  That poor thing finally threw a wheel sometime after Hayden or Heidi and then I didn't get another one.  When I was pregnant with Hilary I decided to buy a "nice" stroller because that was all I needed to really buy for her because we had everything else, and I wanted a good jogger style.  I did quite a bit of research and polled a lot of friends.  While I was looking I thought about getting a double because we knew that we wanted to have a friend for her if we were so blessed.  I decided to go with a single stroller because I didn't want people to ask all of the questions that would be asked by such a move.  After we were expecting Tatum I began the hunt again.  I almost listed my single stroller on KSL.  I had, again, done a little research to find just the double stroller that I wanted.  It came down to two different strollers.  I came close to buying one that I found on KSL.  I just had a hard time parting with my single, because I really liked it.  I almost justified holding on to my single.  Eventually Hilary would go to school and I would be down to pushing one again.  Time went on and I just never felt right about actually purchasing a double stroller.  After I had Tatum, I came close several times, and I just couldn't do it.  So we improvised.  Tatum's car seat would fit in the main part of our stroller and Hilary would sit on this little front part of the stroller.  She had to sort of duck under the car seat and she had to tuck her legs up away from the front wheel, but for some reason Hilary loved it.  Without even saying a word, she would just climb up.  We got a lot of stares because she looked so uncomfortable, and yet so content.  What a blessing that I never purchased something that I would now have to forever look at the empty seat.  Every once in awhile, after Tatum died,  Hilary would climb up in her little spot on the  front of the stroller and I would have to remind her that she could sit in the big part now.  I have an emotional attachment to that stroller because it was essential to getting around with the girls and it played a vital role in Tatum's life and making it more comfortable for her.  It wasn't quite as bulky as a double stroller and I could get more places without it being hard to maneuver like the regular double strollers.  The day that Tatum got sick it helped me run her and Hilary up to our pediatricians office and a few minutes after arriving at his office it helped transport Hilary and all of our stuff over to the hospital while I held Tatum in my arms.  After Tatum got sick the stroller was great because it had enough space for all of her accessories.  Her feeding pump, her oxygen, her suction machine, her sat machine and a baby bag, and Hilary!  We got pretty creative.  After Tatum got all of her new accessories it became necessary to bring Tatum to church in the stroller.
 This was Tatum in her Easter dress at church in her stroller laying on a beautiful blanket made by one of my sweet friends.

This is Hilary and Tatum at the zoo, with Hilary in her little spot.

I must say that every time I see a double stroller, I think of how my life should be, and I miss our sweet little person that should be sitting in that second seat.

One of the other things that I have an emotional attachment to , that I didn't realize until just a little bit ago, is our big white van.  Stop laughing!  Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) would I have ever thought that I would be driving a 12 passenger van.  I am the one who got a van, and then spent the next several years looking for something to replace it.  I really didn't like having a van.  I liked the convenience of it, but I hated that everyone had one and I didn't like the way it drove.  I wanted something more "tough" like an SUV, so i spent several years convincing Lance that we needed to switch.  We got our Navigator when Heidi was just a baby.  I have always loved it.  It wasn't as convenient with the babies, but I always felt safe and I liked the way it drove and felt.  All was fine until Tatum was born.  You have never heard such whining until you have had teenagers that have to climb into the very back seat of an SUV.  I needed to keep the two little girls in the center seats so that I wasn't having to climb to the back seat to unbuckle car seats.  No brainer.  If Lance was with us one of the teenagers (Halea or Hayden) had to climb into the very back seat.  Hayden ALWAYS loved to choose Sunday to try and prove his point and make Halea move to the back seat.  Well she was in her dress, cute boy.  We had the same conversation over and over with him.  It really got to be such an issue.  I know, what a ridiculous problem, right?  I found out that our neighbor that had just purchased a 12 passenger van had purchased it through his mother, and that she worked for the church fleet system and could get us a pretty good deal.  It took a lot of convincing for Lance to finally agree to telling her to look for one for us.  Within about a week or two she found one in northern California.  It was a small miracle that our grandma and grandpa just happened to be traveling within a hundred miles of where she found the van for us.  It all worked out and Grandma Louise agreed to drive the van back for us.  It truly was a miracle.  The van has been great for a lot of reasons.  It solved the climbing over the seats problem, there is always plenty of space now.  Everyone can have their own row.  It fits our stroller so I can always bring it with us.  The navigator has a ridiculous trunk and so if I wanted to bring the stroller with us I had to put down a seat for it to fit.  Ridiculous.  During the winter Halea was able to drive the navigator because it is better in the snow than her 1958 Chevy Biscane.  We can fit just about anything in the van.  It is great to bring the youth places.  It is great for ladies lunches.  We can all pile in together.  I really have sort of a soft spot for it.  The other day Lance mentioned selling it and I thought I was going to come uncorked.  How dare he?  I didn't realize until then, that I might be a little emotionally attached.  We had to get the van because of Tatum.  How can I get rid of it?  Now I drive it around town, all by myself sometimes.  I am sure that people look at me and think I am crazy, all alone in that big white van.  I kind of love it.

I also might be emotionally obsessed with Tatum's chap stick.  There is a special chap stick that the hospital gave us to put on her lips.  Since she wasn't drinking or eating anything orally, I would swab her mouth several times a day and then put on this yummy chap stick.  It has a citrusie orangie smell to it.  Whenever I would put it on her I would kiss her lips and I just loved it.  It is one of her smells that I long for.  After she died I started panicking because I only had two tubes of it.  I found it on Amazon (they have everything, right down to medical chap stick!) so I bought a case of it so I could always have it.  I have several in my purse and my other bags so I can slather my lips several times a day and think of her and her luscious lips.  It makes me feel happy inside.

These last couple of days have been pretty hard.  I don't know exactly why, they just have been.  I am so grieving the change in my family, and I just miss her so much.  I can't explain how hard it has been to have her gone.  It was so hard to watch her get sicker and sicker, but that was a cake walk compared to the heartache that her absence is.  I am trying really hard to just live normally because I know that is what I am supposed to do and what will help me continue to live the life that I have been given.  It is just so hard, every day.  I want to feel that zest for life again.  I want to feel pure joy again.  I just don't know if or when I will.  It is hard to think about feeling that joy again.  Which is ironic because I have a sign up in my living room that says JOY on it.  I used to put it up for Christmas.  A few years ago I left it up, because I thought it was such a great reminder to always feel that pure Christ like love and joy.  Ahh the irony.  Now I am having to struggle to find that feeling.  Sometimes when I am alone I feel like I can physically feel the gaping wound in my heart.  Sometimes the emotions are so huge and full in my body that it feels hard to swallow because the lump in my throat is too big.  Sometimes knowing that my kids are safe and happy and healthy, doesn't help. It doesn't mean that I don't have faith.  I just miss them both so much.  Losing Tatum has brought missing Trevin to the forefront of my emotions.  I think of who and where he would be at 20 years old.  He would be a young man, serving a mission, getting ready to come home and go to school, start a career, get married, start a family.  I could be a grandma in a few years.  I look around at all of the one year olds around me and think of what sweet Tatum would be doing.  She could be walking and starting to talk.  Playing with Hilary.  Making messes.  Giving hugs and kisses.   Eating big kid food.  All of the fun things that one year olds do.

I am OK with the emotional attachments that I have formed.  They remind me of my previous life and I am grateful for that because I love that part of my life and I don't ever want to forget.  I am also grateful, moving forward, for the changes that have taken part in my soul.  My inner soul has been forever changed.  Change hurts, but it is part of our life here.  It is the refiners fire.  I have hardly watched TV since Tatum died.  I will occasionally watch Wheel of Fortune or a little news here and there.  Not that I watched a lot of TV, but probably more than I needed to.  Can I say that I don't miss it.  I have no desire for it.  The music I listen to has changed.  I am so happy when I get to listen to soft, classical or church music.  Even when I run I want to listen to softer music.  I blame my embarrassingly slow running on the music!  My soul just craves the feeling that good music brings.  I feel calmer, for the most part.  I am more inclined to be patient with Hilary and the other kids (usually).  I have to qualify everything with "usually" because I am still human, right?  I have more of a desire to do good, to focus on the "important" things in life and to serve people.  I want to be a better friend and be more aware of those around me.   I don't always have the energy that matches those desires, but that is coming.  Halea said the other day that she wants to "make a difference".  That desire is in me, also.   I want to make sure that I am becoming who I am supposed to become.  As I have been thinking about this foundation and all of the events and time and circumstances that have had to take place to get me to this place, it is mind boggling.  I just want to be going in the direction that our Father in Heaven wants me to go.  My soul and my heart have definitely improved in this grieving process.  I think that my duty now is to stay true to these changes, and make them permanent within myself.  That is my goal.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tooth Fairy of the Year Goes To...

I'll get to the title in a little bit.   Sunday was amazing.  Halea was able to receive her Patriarchal Blessing on Sunday.  She had waited for quite a long time.  She had been thinking about it for a few years.  She wasn't sure when she wanted to get it, so we just sort of left it up to her.  She had fasted and prayed about it and she finally thought it was time about March.  She went in and talked to our Bishop and he interviewed her and gave her the go ahead to call the Patriarch.  It was shortly after that when Tatum's health started to get real sketchy.  She waited awhile and then Tatum's health really declined.  I really wanted her to get it while Tatum was still here, so she could go and be a part of it.  That probably sounds weird, but I just wanted her to experience as many things as she could while she was here.  Especially things of a spiritual nature.  That was not to be, and it is OK.  She made her appointment and then the Patriarch got really sick and had to cancel a few times.  The day was finally here on Sunday.

When we got there the Patriarch was out finishing his home teaching.  So we sat and visited with his wife.  I have known this couple from afar for 13 years and I have never really talked with her.  She was very nice.  She was talking to us about her family.  I had the impression to ask her how many children she had because I didn't know and then I pushed the words away because I was sure that she would then ask us the same question.  Then the impression came again.  And again.  Finally I asked her and she said 5.  Five boys.  I said five boys and moaned.  Then she said "Well we actually had 6, we had a little 9 month old that died and it was a little girl.  She was our last".  She was cute about it.  They always felt like she got to earth and saw that her family was 5 rambunctious boys and said no thanks.  Then I knew why I had been impressed to ask. A connection with this family.  She never did ask us how many kids we had.  Finally the Patriarch  came home.  I have always loved this man.   He was our stake president for several years when we moved into our neighborhood.  I always liked to hear him speak because he told it straight.  You never wondered where you stood.  He was a little evangelical and fist pounding.  Being from the south, it was a good fit for me.  I know that some people struggle with that, but I found it endearing.  We began talking and visiting.  He had a lot of questions for Halea.  What she wanted to do when she graduated, about her interests, instruments, why she wanted her blessing, etc.  Then he turned and asked me how I felt about Halea.  I told him that it has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to be her mother.  Some of my most spiritual experiences have involved the raising of her.  I said that I was so grateful for the example that she has set for her siblings and that she is a joy to have in our home.  Then he started talking to Lance.  All of a sudden I heard Lance talking about how Halea's little sister Tatum had recently died and that we had an older son that had died of the same thing.  I couldn't believe that Lance was saying it.  It just seemed so unlike him and out of character but I was so glad that he did.  We had a really nice conversation about Tatum and Trevin.  He told us that out of our 7 children (he actually acknowledged that we had 7 kids) 2 were on the other side doing what they were supposed to be doing and that the 5 that are here are as good and doing the same, what they are supposed to do.  He also told Halea that there was a reason that she needed to take the lead and be the oldest and that that was no mistake.  That our Heavenly Father is not only a great leader, but a great organizer.  He is very deliberate in what He does.  The entire conversation before the blessing was amazing.

Finally the patriarch laid his enormous hands (he is probably 6 foot 8 inches tall) on Halea's head to pronounce the blessing and be the mouthpiece for Heavenly Father and our Savior.  The beginning part of the blessing was so amazing to me.  It talked about Halea and her nature and her relationship with our Heavenly Father.  It only confirmed what I already knew about her.  It was just sweet to hear the words spoken.   It talked about her being a leader and having the great gift of being sensitive to the spirit.  So true.  Since she was little she has had that.  There were parts about how she would share the gospel with those around her.  I can't wait to get to read this incredible blessing again.  He said it would only take a week or so to get it printed.

When we got home we hurried off to church.  During church I was called into the hospital.  While I was there I was listening to someones conversation about how they wished that more places were open on Sunday so they could eat out more and how they didn't think that they should teach their boys about going on a mission.  They felt like they didn't want to "force" their boys to go so they felt like it was just better to not encourage one way or another.  They should just do whatever they wanted to do.  It made me sad as I left their room.  I was hoping that was not what the rest of the LDS world is coming to.  Keeping the Sabbath day holy is pretty central to our beliefs.  It is one of the ten commandments.  I do not understand why they think it is optional.  We have to do all that we can to keep ourselves not of the world..  Keeping the Sabbath day Holy is something that has been really important to me personally and to our family.  We are certainly not perfect, but we try to act and be a certain way so that we can preserve that day for the Lord.  It was sad to listen to this conversation, thinking about how complacent people are becoming even with the foundational beliefs of our community.

When we got home from everything and after dinner Halea and Zoe and I walked down to the cemetery.  When we got there I noticed a lady sitting at the grave of a little baby that was just a row up and a few graves to the side of us.  I had noticed the name on the headstone and thought that it sounded familiar, but i couldn't place why.  Then I loved that they had planted flowers around her headstone.  When Halea and I got closer, the mom asked if I would take a picture of them sitting behind their little babies headstone.  I did and then we started talking.  I told the dad that he looked familiar and that their name was familiar. (can you guess where this is going?)  Of course, I helped them at the hospital.  Such a sweet family.  They have three other kids.  Two were this little babies womb buddies.  She had triplets and this little girl only survived for a week, but the other two were just getting ready to turn one the next day.  We visited for a bit.  She asked about our story and I tried to give her the abbreviated version (if there is such a thing) .  It was so fun to see them.  Then Halea and I sat and talked for awhile.  It breaks my heart to see her so sad.  She seems to be missing Tatum a lot lately. I just don't even know what to say to her.  How can I take away her pain.  I can't even take care of my own.  We sat and cried for awhile.  We laughed a little too, of course.  We laughed at our silly dog.  Halea had tied her to the tree while we were sitting there and she was going nuts.  She nearly strangled herself while we were sitting there.
On our way home Dad and Hilary came walking toward us.  I had asked Hilary if she wanted to come on our walk and she said no.  Apparently she did want to come so she made Lance walk her down.
Sunday was a great day.  I am so proud of Halea and the choices that she has made to this point in her life.  I will be forever grateful for her taking the responsibility of setting the example for her siblings.  

Now to the title of this post.  I took Holden and Heidi to the orthodontist today.  Holden told me a few days ago that he had a few loose teeth.  While he was being examined our orthodontist said that he was going to try and wiggle a few of the teeth out.   In seconds he had pulled tow of Holden's teeth.  He exclaimed that he was going to be rich when the tooth fairy came, especially because there was still a bracket on one of the teeth.  He said that Holden should get extra for that one.  They put his teeth in a little baggie for him to take home.  When we got to the car Holden said that he still hadn't received any money from the tooth fairy for the tooth that he lost two weeks ago.  Uh oh.  All of a sudden I remembered that Holden had lost a tooth two weeks ago.  Oh my gosh.  We have always been the worst tooth fairies to begin with.  Right now, we are the worst everythings, so I wasn't really shocked that we forgot.  But for two weeks.  Poor little Holden. Waiting so patiently, not saying a word.  I told him that if he wrote a three with a sharpee marker, on the outside of the baggie, that the tooth fairy would know to give him money for three teeth.  Am I the worst mom yet?  We got home and I started doing things and making dinner.  I was passing by our kitchen counter and saw this:
Sorry those are his gross teeth, but he had certainly written a three on the outside.  He still believes that sweet little guy.  He also believes me.  Ugh.  The trust.  I just adore him.  He can be so sweet and innocent.  As I am writing this I am realizing that everyone is in bed and I don't have a cent to my name in cash!  I am going to have to scrounge around in the kids piggy banks.  I seriously have got to be one of the worst tooth fairies ever.

One last thing.  My amazing friend Melanie designed a logo for us for the foundation that we are going to start and I am so excited.  I think it is adorable so I wanted to share it.  We are going to print some t-shirts for our hike and we will use it for other things.  She is so talented and always so willing.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by such people.

I had to take a picture on my phone and do it that way because that is the only way I know how to do it, embarrassing.  Underneath the kids it says "helping each other conquer mountains".  That is what I have felt in my life, and what I hope we as a family and a community can continue to do in honor of my amazing, sweet, strong children, on both sides of the veil.  

Our hike to the Y is on Monday September 2, 2013
8:30 am , meet in the parking lot at the y mountain trail in Provo
We will gather at Kiwanis park after the hike and have snacks, a raffle and a balloon release for anyone that wants to come and participate.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Week Down, How Many More to Go?..

Well, we all survived the first week of school.  I have signed more forms and disclosure statements than I care to think about.  I admit that I am not sure what I was signing most days, so for all I know I have signed everything I own over to the kids.  Won't they be surprised to find out that in reality they already own it all:)  On Wednesday I was already thinking, "is it Friday yet?"  That is a troublesome sign.

On Friday Halea and I had an appointment to talk to her English teacher from last year.  Halea informed me about 3 weeks into summer that her final grade for the last term in English was a B-.  I probably would not have been too worked up about the grade, what with everything that was going on in all of our lives that last term of school,  until she told me that a B- disqualified her for the scholarship that she had so carefully positioned herself for the past 3 years to get upon graduation.   The reason that she got a B- also fired me up about going and talking to this teacher.  Halea turned in an assignment ,on time . early in May.  A few days later is when Tatum's health really started to decline.  She was in the hospital several times.  In all of this Halea did not check her grades on line, like she usually did.  A few weeks before school was out Halea checked her grade and realized that she had a 0 for that assignment.  She went and talked to the teacher and she was told that she could turn it in.  When she got the assignment back she realized that she had only been given partial credit.  The difference between her B- and a B which would qualify her for the scholarship is about 5 or 10 points.  Ummm...  So this week Halea emailed this teacher to see if she could meet and talk about her grade.  The teacher emailed back and said that she would be happy to see Halea but if it was about her grade she was not going to change it.   She said that the grade she got is the grade she earned.  Oh no she didn't!!!  Yep she did.  I was pretty livid.  How dare she not even give her a chance to discuss.  Halea has a 3.9 GPA.  She is a great student and she would never lie about not turning in an assignment if she truly had not.  I have never gone and talked to a teacher with any of my kids because I think that they should work things out themselves.  I think they need to learn to negotiate, and stand up for themselves and learn to get along with all personalities.  Well, not this time.    That morning when I prayed I prayed that this teacher would allow her heart to be softened and listen, and that I would not kill her or say bad things that I would regret:)   Halea was super nervous so I started off by saying that Halea wanted to talk about an assignment from last term.   Halea explained that she had turned in the assignment on time and that she had only received partial credit and that because of that her grade would take her out of her scholarship.  Again the teacher stated that she had given the grade that was "earned".  She kept using that word!!  I smiled and said that this was a pickle because it comes down to he said she said.  I told her that this was not in Halea's nature to lie about turning in an assignment and she agreed!?  She said she couldn't believe that it was so late because it wasn't like her, but there was nothing she could do about it.  Then I explained that this takes her out of her scholarship.  She still didn't care.  Then I had to pull in the big gun.  I asked her if she knew what Halea and our family were experiencing that last term of school.  She said no.  Then I told her that for that entire last term of school her sister was dying.  She said, "I didn't know that.  Halea never said anything and you never contacted me.  So how was I supposed to know?"  Really accusatory.  I told her that I am not a helicopter mom and I don't usually interfere in things like this, but I felt like I needed to come and support Halea in this cause because I think it is remarkable that she even passed all of her classes considering what was happening at home.   She did tell Halea in a half hearted way that she was sorry about her sister.   I then apologized to her for not coming in the summertime, but that it had been a rough summer.   She then proceeded to tell us that she had not access to her computer or classroom anyway because there were summer classes being taught in her classroom.  Then she said "this was just the worst summer".  Really?  Did she hear what I had just said?  Wow.  I am sure it was rough not having access to your room or computer.  That is probably pretty life altering.  It ended with me asking her if she would think about the situation and look into the grade and see if there was anything that she could do.  She at least agreed to that.  I told her that I would contact her in two weeks.  Seriously?  Is this what our educators have come to?  Halea was one of the few students in her class that would try to participate and turn assignments in.  Now let's punish her.  Ahhhhhhhhhh.

The second story out of the high school.  I was driving Halea and Hayden home on Friday afternoon and this is the conversation:
Halea:  "Hayden did you tell your Chemistry teacher that you were a German foreign exchange student?"
Hayden:  "Yep"  (laughing the entire time)
Halea:  "That is one of my cross country coaches.  Don't do that.  Did you ever tell them the truth?"
Hayden:  "Some of them.  One of the cheerleaders asked why I didn't have an accent and I told her that I decided a month ago to try and have a Utah accent".

Good gracious are you serious!?  This is the first week in a new school.  I am in big trouble with him.   He might have a little too much of his mother in him!
That night my friend and I went to the Lehi football game.  We got to see a mini miracle that night.  Lehi won!  We have really struggled over the past several years, so it was fun to see the boys win.

On Saturday morning I woke up early and went for a quick run.  This is what I saw when i walked out the door:

How can you doubt a supreme creator when this is what happens every morning?  This is no mistake.  It is such a reminder of a fresh start and that every day can be a gift if we will just look.

I hadn't taken Zoe for a run in a little while, so I decided to take her this morning.  She was beyond thrilled.  She was running circles and jumping.  I couldn't resist taking a selfie with her even though she hates the camera.  I was not excited to go and run this morning, but she was and so it made it bearable.

After running, I went on a bike ride with my friend and we met her parents.  They have all been so good to me.  Exercise used to be such a joy for me.  These past several months it has been pure drudgery.  I have forced myself to get out and do it because I know that it makes me feel better in the long run.  My body feels so different, sluggish and slow and tired and heavy.  Every once in awhile I feel a little bit like myself, but it is usually fleeting.  I will stay diligent, but it has been haarrrdd!  I am grateful for my good friends that I exercise with that have made this all a little easier.

After I got back from the bike ride, we quickly got ready and went to a funeral for one of my friends dad that died this past week.  I love funerals.  The spirit is usually very strong and I love to see families uniting during a difficult time despite hard feelings or lack of relationship.  My friend and her husband both spoke and so it was great to hear their feelings and testimonies.  I was glad that we went.

When we got home we ran to the store to buy a dessert to bring to the ward barbecue.  I tried all day to think of a dessert to make, but I just couldn't do it.  My energy the past few days has been the pits.  My desire to do certain things has been even lower.   I can so understand how people that experience loss can go into a total tailspin.  This is so exhausting.  It has been 12 weeks as of yesterday, that I was able to hold and smell and kiss and tell my sweet Tatum that I love her.  I feel like I am carrying a brick wall on my chest.  I feel like I try really hard to be happy for what is still here and to live in the present, but it is not easy.  I am so lucky that I have great friends that surround me and a faith that will not allow me to stay down.  I want to.  I would like to take to my bed and not come out until this whole thing is over, but I still have 5 kids here that need a mom.  A mom to be an example of doing hard things.  I need to be a wife that Lance wants to be around and spend the rest of eternity with.   So that is what I will be.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Every Day is a Gift...

Yesterday was way too busy.   Hilary and I left the house at 10am and didn't get home until after 4:00. It was all good things that we needed to do, but honestly it was long.  Poor Hilary was such a champ until the very end when she kept saying, "I just want to go home".  Me too!  When we got home, Halea was there with a friend and the kids were in and out so I was visiting with all of them.  All of a sudden I realized that I hadn't heard Hilary for a few minutes.  I walked into the hallway and this is what I found:
Poor girl!  She had laid down right in the middle of the wood floor, nice and comfy I am sure.  She was only a few feet away from carpet.  She was so tired she couldn't even make it two more feet.  The dog kept sniffing her.  I think she was as concerned as the rest of us when we found her.

We did a lot of driving yesterday  so I had a lot of time to think and to listen to music.  A month or so ago a friend of mine dropped off Hilary Weeks' latest CD, the one with the song "Beautiful Heartbreak" on it.  It is a rarity that I ever listen to an entire CD by an artist.  There is just usually that one or maybe two songs that you buy it for and then the rest of the songs are junk, right?  Well, this entire CD is so uplifting, inspiring, calming and just fun to listen to.  I feel like every message in every song applies to my life.  I have now listened to it probably 50 times.   There was a lot of time that Hilary was talking or needing things, but when I had some quiet time to listen and ponder it was awesome.  In one of her songs she talks about how the discouragements in our lives can't stay within us if we don't allow them to.  I love that.  It made me think about the light of Christ that everyone of us is born with.  If we allow that light to grow within us it can overtake the darkness that tries to creep in daily, from the influences of the world, from discouragement and hardship and sadness and media, etc.  The key is what we are doing with that light.  Are we allowing it to dim or are we continually recharging it?  We have to be constantly evaluating this process or all of a sudden we might be not as filled with light as we need to be.  Some people that you meet exude this light, others not as much.  I want to be one that exudes the light of Christ.  I want to have so much light within me that the darkness that comes at me throughout my life cannot dwell in me, or even near me.  Every time that I am able to do a good deed or a service or have a good thought or read a good talk I can feel this light being charged.  While I was driving and pondering, the part of this entire thing that I loved is that all of us are born with this light naturally within us.  It is a gift given to all of us, to help us and encourage us and help us feel joy inside, help us to recognize the spirit and to have glimpses of the love that our Savior and our Heavenly Father have for us.  As we get older and jaded by the world we sometimes forget how to access the light.   It is a challenge to us all to try and access the light within us a little more and to keep it brilliant.

I had several good cries while listening to her CD.   There is another song about not wanting her kids to grow up so fast and how she wishes time would stand still.  Oh what I wouldn't give.

During all of this crazy I was able to finally get my hair done.  It has been 12 weeks since I had my color touched up.  Yikers.  The day after we got home from the hospital with Tatum that last time my hair person called me and said that I was scheduled for an appointment right then.  I had, obviously forgotten all about it!  I debated whether to go or not.  All I could think of was "How could I spend any time away from Tatum" ?   I did go, and I am really glad that I did.  It gave me a long time that I didn't have to worry about my roots growing in.  I haven't had any desire to get my hair done until the last week.  It worked out perfectly timing wise.

Although yesterday was busy and crazy I know that each day is a gift.  I really knew that with Tatum.  We knew as soon as Tatum got sick that we were on borrowed time.  We tried really hard to live that way.  I tried hard to appreciate every minute we had with her.  I know that I need to carry that feeling on into our everyday lives.  It certainly makes the busy days more bearable and enjoyable.

Today was busy too, but for a lot better reasons today.  I was able to go on a long walk with Hilary this morning.  Then I met a friend at the Dinosaur Museum.  Hilary is so afraid of the dark right now and there are a few places where there is some darkness and roaring from the dinosaurs, so I was worried that she might be too afraid, but she did OK.  She got a little nervous in some parts, but for the most part did good.  I ran into a sister of one of my most favorite neighbors that moved away a few years ago.  It was fun to talk to her.  I was dreading that she was going to ask me how many kids I had, and she did sort of.  I was able to dance around an actual answer, so it was fine.  I think she probably remembered about Tatum, but I just really didn't want to get into the entire story, so luckily I didn't have to.

Next Hilary and I went to lunch with a few of the mom's that have kids on the high school cross country team.  It was really fun to visit with these great women.  All of the kids on the cross country team are so awesome, and when you meet the mom's and dad's you know why. Sadly the dreaded question happened again.  I think I did OK.  One of the ladies just asked if Halea was our oldest.  I said that she was and then I said well our son Trevin would have been 20, but Halea is the oldest now.  I think that it wasn't too awkward.  I think that I need to start saying that Halea is the oldest still alive.  That is what she would say when she was little when people would ask if she was the oldest.  It shut people up pretty quick and gave them something to think about afterward.   Maybe I will wait until I am old and have dementia or Alzheimer's or something like that so then people will just think that I was crazy, and they would be right.  Right now if they thing I am "crazy" it's all speculation.

After driving carpool and dropping the kids off at home I ran up to Salt Lake for Halea's cross country meet.  I am weird because I love to watch these races.  I am always so proud of Halea for getting out there and trying and pushing herself to do better.  It is inspiring.  I even like watching when Halea isn't running.  Strange I know.
Halea after her first race of the 2013 season.  She was pretty happy with her time.  She set some goals, like going to practice more, eating and drinking better on race day.  Sounds like a good plan to me.

Then I ran home and met Lance and Holden, Hayden and Hilary at pack meeting.  Cute Holden was helping with the flag ceremony.  I couldn't stop laughing at the flag that they had for him to hold.  We weren't at the church so they had to just make do with what they had!  We have come to the flags on a stick.  Oh boy.

This is Hilary enjoying every bit of her brownie!

When we got home we had a crazy thunderstorm that gave some much needed rain.  Lance and Holden were hilarious running around trying to put batteries in all of our flash lights and finding our headlamps and unplugging things that we didn't want to be ruined when the power blinked off.  Lehi city has got to be one of the worst providers of power.  Our power blacks out if there is a slight breeze so Lance was trying to be prepared.  What we came up with out of like 6 flash lights, were two working ones!  and no batteries.  We think that Hilary likes to change batteries without asking and throwing away perfectly good batteries.  This was not the time to find that out!  Luckily our power stayed on and all was well.  It probably wouldn't have stayed on had we not tried to be prepared.  Murphy's law:)

Another day getting to do "mom" things.  I am so lucky that I am able to be mostly available to support the kids in their activities.  That is truly a gift.  I know that not everyone has that opportunity.  Even though it was an exhausting day, I know that today was also a gift.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Goodbye Summer of 2013..

I can't say that I was sad to put this summer to bed.  It has not been our best, by far.  Seeing as Tatum died on the first day of summer vacation, there was just no way to salvage it, so I was ready for it to be over.  I just had no idea that there would be such a conflict of emotions.

I must admit that I am not one of those mothers that is ever really sad to see summer break end.  I am normally ready for the kids to get back in a routine, for the house to have some kind of order, for the kitchen to be closed for at least a few hours a day, for there to be some quiet throughout the day, to be able to mop the floor and not have someone walk across it before it dries.  Are you seeing my point?  It is a trade off, for homework and projects and early mornings and carpools etc.  This year I wanted this summer to end for different reasons.  I wanted to have some time to go through and organize Tatum's things, I want to be able to write some thank you notes, I want time to lay in my bed and cry if I want to.  I just haven't had time, because there have been too many things to do since she died.

As I started thinking about and preparing for this first day of school, however, the stress began to build.  I couldn't figure out why, but I felt it.  There is normally stress of starting back to school because there is so much to do.  School shopping, school supplies, back to school nights, scheduling classes, forms, forms and more forms, fees to pay, haircuts, etc etc.  On top of all of this, I have just felt like I have cement feet.  I haven't wanted to do any of this.  It is all I can do to complete the normal daily tasks, and I have been beyond exhausted and having terrible headaches.  On Monday, I lost it.  The stress built to the point of boiling over.  I felt like all of the kids were just tugging at me and everyone needed and wanted me to do too much.  I felt like all I was to everyone was an ATM, a cook, a taxi, and a maid.  (is this sounding familiar to anyone?)  I know that all of these are normal everyday feelings, but coupled with the feelings of deep sadness and grief that I feel I am combating everyday, not to mention that I am harboring new feelings of anxiety at the thought of this being Halea's last year with us, it was a perfect storm.  I had a minor melt down and I felt some things that I didn't like.  As I stepped back I realized that this was truly Satan working on me.  Discouragement and stress can throw a person into feelings of despair and depression and make you forget all that you know in your heart.  This is how Satan destroys the family.  He gets to the mom in her most vulnerable times.  I teach people about this in my group at the hospital all of the time.  I warn them about this exact thing.  I had not been heeding my own advice.  I needed to refocus and step back and take a breath. I went to bed on Monday praying that Tuesday would be better.

I knew that today was going to be rough.  Last year at this time I had a newborn and a toddler and life was crazy for a different, beautiful reason.  Lance and my neighbor were so wonderful and took a lot of the morning carpools so I could let Hilary and Tatum sleep.  Either Lance or myself would drive the kids to school in the morning, and one of us would stay home so that the babies could sleep.  It was such a great thing because I could usually get my morning jobs and my exercise done in the morning before the girls would wake up.  This year there is no reason why I can't drive morning carpool and it really stinks.  The blissful time of last year is no more.

Since I knew things might be hard today I made sure I had plenty to do to keep my mind off of the reality.  I had to be out the door by 7:15 this morning to go babysit my friends two little girls so she could take some continuing education classes to renew her law license.  One of her twins has special needs so it was really the perfect distraction.  I was able to get up and help the kids get ready for school, get them breakfast, pack lunches, and all of that good stuff before I had to be out the door.  I was even able to snap our traditional first day of school picture:
Hilary was super excited to be up at this hideous hour!  She hasn't seen this hour for most of her life.  The girl just isn't a morning person.

I went to my friends house on time, a real bonus for me lately.  She gave me instructions and then the day began.  Hilary and Eden played while I spent time talking to and holding Georgia.  Oh how I miss that holding.  Even though she is so much older than Tatum and feels really different because she does have a little bit of tone in her body, it is just nice to hold such a special person.  Sometimes when she would look around the room I wondered who might be there administering to her.  I know that angels are near with these special people.  I feel like Georgia can see into my soul, much like I felt with Tatum.  It sure keeps you on your toes a bit when you feel like someone can look into your soul.  I miss that "soul check".  It keeps you humble and keeps your eye on the prize of eternal life.  It is too easy in our everyday lives to take our eye off of what is important.  That picture above, that is what is important.  What amazing people I have here with me, to be my family.  My time with the girls went super fast.  At the end of my time I was supposed to feed Georgia.  Her mom told me that she is hard to get to eat sometimes if it isn't her feeding her.  Well she was right.  She did not want to eat for me at all.  So many doctors refer to these special kids as "non responsive" or in a "vegetative state" or "unaware".  Well, I am pretty sure that Georgia new that I was not her mom and that is why she wouldn't eat from me.  She was well "aware" of what she was doing, she was smiling while I was talking to her mom asking if there were any tricks to get her to eat.  Oh she knew that she was being funny.  Silly girl.  Grateful for a little Georgia time to fill my aching arms.

I went straight from there to drive the high school and then the Mountainville carpools.  I got home and got people settled and then I went on a visit for the hospital.  A sweet couple that will be delivering a baby that may not make it to birth and most likely may die shortly thereafter.  Such a sweet family.  It was a good visit because I feel like we were able to answer some questions that they had and to assure them that they were doing alright.  I am always so sad to meet these new families because I know what is ahead of them.  This road is not for the faint of heart.  I just always hope that they will be able to withstand the heartache to come.  You can only prepare so much for the reality that is about to come.  It is unexplainable until you have felt it.

I got home and quickly made some bread to go with the dinner that I made yesterday that no one ate:)  I thought if I made bread no one would notice that it was the same dinner from the day before.  Apparently that does not work in real life! hmmm.

After we got everyone sort of settled here at home I went and met a few friends for a late night walk.  I had not been able to exercise at all today because I never had time so it was nice to get a little something in.  One of my friends had just sent her son a mission this morning.  He went straight to the Mexico City MTC so she was, needless to say, a little bit of a wreck.  I kept teasing her and telling her, just remember that he is coming back, and you will get emails, it's all good.  I tease, but I do understand that it is so hard to send this person that you have invested 19 years of your life nurturing and watching over and protecting and teaching and then all of a sudden you can't talk to them for two years.  Ahh.  Not to mention he was going to a foreign country.  Hard.  Lot's of worry and stress.  But he is serving the Lord and doing what he should be doing.  These days that is a huge accomplishment on the parents and the missionaries part.

So overall this was just an emotion filled day.  The good part is that we all survived it.  One more hard thing that we made it through.  To top it off, all of the kids had a pretty good first day at school.  Hayden did say that he learned some new words while walking in the hall ways, but besides that he thought the high school was going to be fun.  Halea, in true Senior form, forgot her lunch that I had so lovingly made:)  Holden has a music teacher named Miss Holden, hilarious.  Heidi being sweet Heidi made some new friends.  This is not the year I thought or planned it would be.  I so desperately wanted Tatum here with us.  I wanted her to continue to teach us and those around her.   But we are going to make the best of our time here.  We will be better people and hopefully better examples because of her and Trevin.  We will live life and make it good because we can.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Family Vacation and 11 Weeks..

How has it been 11 weeks?  I just can't believe it.  My chest still feels empty and full of aching.  It is such a real physical feeling.   I wish that I knew when that would go away.  Although that helps me to still feel something, so it isn't all bad.  There are two things that I have been dreading:  Family Pictures and Family Vacations, among a million other things, but these are two biggies.  Luckily we had family pictures right before Tatum died, so that can wait  for a few  years right?  As for family vacations, ugh.  I guess those have to continue.  We decided to start out small and take this quick weekend trip to Bryce Canyon.

Everything went pretty smooth on Friday morning.  Everyone was excited to get out of town for a few days and to get to see Grandma and Grandpa and Bryce Canyon.  Over the past few years it has become a favorite spot of ours.  It is so beautiful there, truly one of God's creations.  The people that work with our grandparents at the ice cream shop have also become friends and have been so kind to us all.  They always dote on the kids and are just genuinely kind and sweet.  Last time we were there we had our sweet Tatum with us.  She was just a few months old, so naturally everyone fell in love with her.  The entire drive down I just kept thinking that the last time we were there she was with us, and now she wasn't.  Just like that, our family is different.  I hate that.  I don't like that when people see us, they only see us that are here.  I want them to see all of us.  I want them to see Trevin and Tatum too, because they have helped make us the family and who we are.  They have confirmed all of the truths that we know about the gospel and have changed each of us as individuals, so it seems so unfair for people to not know that.  It just seems so surreal.  It is hard for people to not know them.  This is what I was thinking about all the way down.  I was dreading that I might also have the opportunity to meet new people.  There are so many tourists, and sometimes when you are at the pool or in a line conversations come up about your family or where you are from, etc.  I used to love this.  Lance and the kids would just roll their eyes because I always make small talk with people when we are in those situations because I love to know what brings people places and I love to talk to them and know about their lives.  I am just interested.  (the kids would probably say I am nosey!, I call it interested)  Despite all of this anxiety, I was trying to be excited about spending time together and getting away for a bit.

I like to give Lance a hard time because when we drive on long trips he wears his noise cancelling headphones and listens to his music.  I don't know why?  Why would he want to block out all of the love and singing and happiness that happens in a car with 3 teenagers a toddler and a 9 year old?  Oh and don't forget the wife (whom he claims is always sleeping on the drives anyway) !  I just don't get it.  Maybe I am just jealous and want a pair for myself:)  The drive was actually pretty uneventful.  At the end of the drive, Hilary was looking a little pale.  It is a Walker trait that we all get car sick.  When the kids were little we never left home without a cup in the car to catch the throw up.  Last time we went to Bryce Canyon Hilary threw up in her car seat right before we got there.  Apparently I forgot the cup.  We were prepared this time, but luckily we didn't need to use it.
We arrived at Bryce by about 11:30. We visited with grandma and grandpa for a bit before they had to go to work.  We got something to eat and then went and checked into the hotel.  Then to the pool.  It was a gorgeous day.  We swam for a few hours and then we went and visited the ice cream shop.  We just hung out and shopped and visited.  We got back to the hotel later that night and we started to all settle in.  None of us slept very well.  Hilary had nightmares all night, everyone was kicking each other in their sleep.  Halea ended up reading her book in the bathroom in the middle of the night, at one point Hayden was playing games on his ipod.   I woke up because I was hot, but I could not figure out how to turn on the air conditioner.  By morning time we were all a little grumpy.  Luckily the hotel has a great breakfast!  We all rolled out of bed and started the day.  After breakfast we went and visited with my grandma and grandpa.  Lance had brought some family history sheets to get some information so we can start trying to piece together my side of our geneology.  It is maybe going to be a challenge.  I am not sure how great the southerners have been about keeping family records.   I have been having a lot of feelings, however, that now is my time to start working on this project.  While I was on the treadmill on Friday I was listening to a speech given by Elder Holland.  It was about facing adversity.  He talked a little bit about how we are never alone in our trials.  There are always those on the other side cheering for us, helping us along our way.   I know that Trevin and Tatum are helping me every day.  I also know that they can help me find names in our family tree.  I feel them on the other side of the veil tugging at me to get going.   Luckily Lance knows a lot more than I do about family history and how to research and find these ancestors.

After our visit we headed out to the canyon to do a hike.  I wanted to do a long hike, but by the time we got our lunch packed got to the canyon and found parking it was almost 12:30, so we decided that we would do a much shorter version.  The weather was really nice for the hike.  There had been some cloud cover and so that made it a little cooler.  For the most part the hike was fun.  There was the typical bickering here and there, but it was nice to be outdoors doing things together.  How could you not have fun and just marvel at this beautiful place?
 seeking refuge in some shade..
Hilary's view..
A cave just their size.
Hayden was even taunting the squirrels!
The switchbacks to the top.
Thor's hammer, behind Hayden.

 When we were getting to the end of our hike there were some ominous clouds forming, then the thunder started and then the lightning.  Hilary was getting very nervous and scared.  I wasn't to keen on the idea of getting caught in a thunderstorm either, so we started to pick up the pace a bit.  Before we could get to the car it started to rain really hard, and then it started to hail!  We were passing through a part of the lodge that had some cabins with porches.  We took refuge under one of the porches.  Once the rain let up a little Lance ran and got the car and pulled it around to pick us up.  We all thought it was pretty funny that we got caught in the storm.  We stopped back at the ice cream shop to visit and then back to the hotel.  We rested for a bit while the storm just raged outside.   It looked a little bit like I would imagine a hurricane would look like.  After an hour or so it let up enough for us to go to the pool.  For a short while we had the pool to ourselves. It was really fun.  After the pool we got ready and went to dinner.  We stopped by the ice cream shop to visit for a bit before we headed back to Lehi.  While we were there some of the workers from the last few years came in to visit too.  They all asked how we were doing and offered their condolences.  Sweet people.  We had decided that we would drive home Saturday night rather than Sunday morning because no one slept the night before and we thought it would be better if everyone could sleep in their own bed.   That seemed like a fine idea on paper.  We started off at 8pm.  Which meant we would have to take the canyon part in the dark.  Yikes.  I am nervous driving at night period.  Add a canyon, and then some rain.  I was a nervous wreck.  When we got to the freeway I thought I would feel better, but it was raining so hard I thought for sure that we were going to crash.  I just kept thinking, if we die in tonight, let us all go together.  These are the dumb kinds of things I think now.  Luckily we all  made it home safe and sound thanks to Lance.  I do not know how he stayed awake.  I am the worst driving companion ever.

When we got home there was a package waiting.  My niece that lives in Nebraska found several "Don't Bug Me" jammies so we can make more care packages for families at the hospital!  Woo hoo.  Tomorrow night we are going to Walmart to get the remaining supplies to finish the rest of the packages.  I am so excited.  Service is one of the things that makes me feel a little more normal and like myself.

Today was the farewell of one of my friends sons.  He is leaving on his mission for our church on Tuesday morning.  He will be gone for two years and will be serving in Belize.  There is such anxiety and trepedation and joy that comes with this.  As LDS parents we want our kids to choose this path.  Yet any separation from your child is so hard.  Two years seems so long and yet I have made it 18 1/2 years and now 11 weeks with Tatum.  I remember when Trevin was first sick I used to promise Heavenly Father that i would make sure that Trevin went on his mission, and I wouldn't even complain or cry about it, if only he could get better. I knew that would be hard to let him go for two years, but if there was a chance that he could come back at the end of the two years it was worth it.  Ahh perspective.  As is tradition, this young man gave a talk in church today (and my friend and her sisters and mother sang.  I am not sure how she did that!).  His topic was about adversity and coming closer to Christ.  He referenced a talk given in the October 2012 general conference by Elder Bowen.  Elder Bowen had lost a child and was very candid about the feeling that he had during that time.  It is a great talk.  My friends son talked about having faith and hope during hard times and growing closer to the Savior and trying to be more like him.  He did a fantastic job.  I felt a little bit like he was talking right to me.  These are all things that I know, and I have tried to live.  You can never hear these advices too much.  It is no cooincidence, I think, that Tatum's middle name is Hope.  In a weird way she gives us Hope.  Hope that our family can be forever, hope that we can make it through all of the hard things in life with even an ounce of the grace and strength that she and Trevin demonstrated.  Hope that we can make good choices and do good things with the rest of our lives until we meet them again.  My friends son did a great job with a pretty difficult topic for an 18 year old.

Afterward I went to our sacrament meeting.  I was going to just go to the luncheon at my friends, but for some reason I really felt like I should go to  our sacrament meeting.  I was so glad that I did.  One of my friends was speaking on families.  She did such a fabulous job. Something that she said that really struck me because I have been having this very thought.  She said that out of all of the things that she had studied in preparation for her talk that would strengthen our families, the one thing that it boiled down to was to teach our kids about the Atonement.  If our kids have a strong relationship with the Savior and know how to apply the Atonement in their lives, and understand what it means, they will make the choices that they need to make, they will have the esteem that they need to endure the wickedness of the world, they will know how to repent and change bad habits, etc.  I have been thinking a lot about this exact thing with my own kids.  I don't know how good of a job I have done.  I think that Halea has done pretty good at developing her relationship with the Savior.  It shows in her countenance and how she conducts herself.  She is also very self motivated in this area of her life.  I was just thinking the other day that I have 3 and a half years to help Hayden develop that understanding a little more.  Those years are going to fly by.  We cannot waist our time that we have been given with our kids.  (I am speaking to myself here, not preaching to anyone else).  After my neighbor spoke, our old High Councilmen spoke.  He did a fabulous job also speaking about the family.  I was so grateful that I had listened to the promptings and made the effort to go back for our sacrament.

After all was done we took a walk to the cemetery with Heidi and Hilary and put out the new metal pinwheels that Grandma had found at the ice cream shop.  These will hopefully withstand the weedwacking that destroyed our others.  They each have a little bug on them.  She thought it was appropriate because we call Tatum "Tater Bug".  I was excited to put them out.  We got to the cemetery a little late so the picture isn't that great, but they look adorable.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

ADHD of Grief...

I am sure that I have ADHD! First of all I was reading my last post, which I never do.  But I couldn't even remember what I had written.  Oh, the grammar and the missed words and run on sentences and sentences that don't make sense.  I really have to stop writing these in the middle of the night!  I apologize.  Not only am I exhausted, but I am also super distracted.  In everything that I am doing.  It is really hard to focus on much of anything.  I am really forgetful of things that I used to be able to remember with no problem.  It is soooo frustrating.  Especially right now when I am trying to get everyone ready to start school and trying to get myself back to work and other activities and trying to do some last minute fun things for summer.  Ahhhh.  I have been trying to focus on the things that I absolutely have to get done and then anything that I get done over and above that is a bonus.  For someone who used to be able to get a lot of things done, I mean multitask was my middle name, it is very frustrating.  All part of this super fun process.(are you sensing the sarcasm?)

Yesterday I was able to go to the Temple with our Young Women.  After I got them all settled I ran upstairs to do a few family names.  As I got to the front desk where you check in I heard my name.   I looked over and there was one of my neighbors from the part of our neighborhood that was split off from our ward about 7 years ago.  We said hello and then he said that he was so sorry to hear about Tatum.  When I went back a little further into the Temple I saw his wife.  She came and gave me a big hug and said how sorry she was.  It was really nice for them to acknowledge Tatum.  These were never people that we did things with socially, but they were good neighbors.  They have also lost two children so they have a little different understanding than most.  It was sweet.  We had a great experience at the temple.

In the morning and in the afternoon I went and did hand molds at two different mortuaries for little babies that had died.  It was a pretty emotional day.  I did pretty good most of the day holding the emotions in.  It really brings things rushing back.  I think about all of the hard things these poor families are going to be going through.  I just hope that they have as good of a support system as we do.  People have been so kind to us.  I know that not everyone is so lucky.

Last night we had our mother daughter dinner at one of our neighbors back yard.  We told Hilary that we were going to a party and she got so excited.  When we got to the backyard she saw balloons and got so excited and jumped and said something like, The party!!    I was happy to be there with my girls, but it was ever so evident to me that Tates was missing.  Whenever I am going to things like this I am always thinking about how it would be if Tatum were here.  Ugh.  Last night was no exception.  I really didn't want to be there because  I want to just live in a bubble right now.  I don't want to meet anyone new.  I don't want to explain why I am sad or tired.  While we were in line getting food I was talking to some cute young ladies that I have known forever.  Hilary didn't want anything on her plate except for chips, of course.  I shrugged my shoulders and made the comment that You can tell she is the last because she gets to eat chips for dinner.  One of the girls I was talking to said that it was OK because our other kids turned out just fine.  Then I said "yeah they all survived right?"  Then I paused and said something like "I guess they didn't all survive"  Then there was that awkward laughing and a quick move to another subject.  I am sure they were thinking, Why is she laughing?  or She is crazy!   This evening was not off to a good start.  The past few days I have felt a little bit more sad and I can feel the sadness weighing on me.  I tried to put on my happy face while I was there.  I tried to just talk to people that I know will just let me be who I am right now.  I used to be the last to leave such an event, last night I was one of the first to leave.  It was nice to hang out with my sweet girls for a few minutes, but I was happy to be home.

Luckily this was what we saw as we walked home from the mother daughter party.  The picture does not do this gorgeous sunset justice!

I stayed up too late, again, last night and I was up early.  It has been another crazy busy day.  We are trying to get ready to go to Bryce Canyon in the morning for a few days.  It seems like whenever we are trying to get out of town all heck breaks loose.  I left the house at about 10 am this morning and I didn't get home until around 5:30.  I was so tired, but when I walked in my door there were beautiful flowers and a treat and a lovely note waiting for me from one of my sweet neighbors.  People are so much more aware than I am.  It was such a thoughtful thing.

I really have to go to bed so we can make it to Bryce Canyon alive.  I am still working on the PayPal account, but here is the tentative info for our hike:

Monday September 2, 2013
Y Mountain in Provo, UT
meet at the bottom of the hill at 8:30, begin hike by 8:45
after the hike we will gather at Kiwanis Park for treats and raffle items.
Hopefully at the end we will have a balloon release.

It will be quick and short and sweet just like Trevin and Tatum.  Hopefully we will figure this PayPal account out so we can raise some good money to get started with our fund for families that need assistance paying for funerals.   I will try to get something posted on Facebook and instagram and email in the next few days.  Pass the information along to anyone that might be interested.  It will be a fun morning for that weird holiday that no one knows just what to do!  Now you do:)  Hike the Y.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Change Is All Around..

On Sunday when I sat down next to Lance in Sacrament meeting he cheerfully told me that we had a new ward list.  I just looked at him, not super happy.  The person who did the ward list had realized shortly after that we and another family were not on the list and he texted me and apologized profusely.  I told him that I was totally fine with it and that I didn't care if it wasn't reprinted for another six months because Tatum was not going to be on the new list and I really didn't want to see that.  I guess they needed to make it correct, so they fixed it and reprinted it.  Just one more reminder that things have changed forever.

On Monday morning I was woken up by my pager.  I ran down to the hospital to the ER.  When I got there I realized that this was a repeat patient.  She had lost another baby earlier in the year and I had helped her then.  We put the connection together that she knew the lady that had been our Relief Society president while Trevin was sick!  Small world.  She was so sweet and trying to be strong.  She offered her condolences because when I had last seen her Tates was sick, but she had since found out that she had recently died.  What a sweet lady for even thinking of me while she is having this horrible experience.  Little reminder to myself to always be kind to people, no matter what.  When I was at the nurses station the social worker came over and we started talking.  She told me that I knew her brother and ister in law.  They live in my neighborhood and I adore them.  They sang at Tatum's funeral!  What the?  So we talked for awhile and she asked how I was doing.  Really, is this Heavenly Father's way of taking care of my personal therapy?  It was a wild morning.
When I got home I went for my "run".  I ran to the cemetery to take my stroll past Trev and Tates.  When I entered the cemetery I saw all of the groundskeepers out doing their mowing and edging.  When I got close to the kids plots I saw that their pinwheels had been hacked up and strewn across the surrounding grass.  The two little flags had also been chopped up!  I marched over and picked up all of the pieces and plucked out the flags and carried them to the garbage which is on the other side of the cemetery.  I got a little teary and sad and angry.  Would it have been that hard to pull up the pinwheels weed wack and then put them back?  Honestly, have a little respect!  The only thing left that I can do for these precious kids, is to take care of where there bodies are.  I am glad that they want to keep things looking tidy and clean, but really it would take them about 1 extra minute.  Grrr.  This did not start my day off very well.

When I got home Halea and I started getting packed up for our trip up to Logan to check out Utah State University.  Yikers.  How is it possible that this little baby of mine is all grown  up and getting ready to pick a college?

This is Halea and two of her friends that still live in our neighborhood and are also graduating after this next school year.  This is their first day of kindergarten.  Halea is in the middle pulling on her friends arm.  Things have not changed much in that area:)

We left the house around 10:00.  We stopped at the mall on the way out of town to do some school shopping which was fun because we could just focus on Halea and her friend.   It was way fun.   Then we headed up to Logan.  We got off the freeway and decided to stop and see the Brigham City Temple which is fairly new.  As we drove down Main street we came upon the temple and it is beautiful and then we looked to our left and saw the most adorable tabernacle!  We squealed with delight because we could see that the doors were open and we could maybe go inside.  We quickly parked and went inside.

Is this awesome or what?  I love old buildings.   Such character.

We decided that this is where you would have to sit if you were ever late to church!  Very poor planning on the contractors part:)

Right across the street from the tabernacle is the Temple.

I guess they don't serve our kind (with the big white vans!)  Discrimination.

  Every time I see one of these old buildings I feel such a deeper respect for the pioneers and all that they accomplished without all of the modern conveniences.  Such faith and devotion.  We take these amazing  blessings for granted that is for sure.   Simply stunning and amazing.

We got back on the road.  Logan or bust!!  The entire time I was having such conflicting feelings.  I am so grateful to get to have these amazing experiences with Halea.  I am really excited for her and all of the big changes and decisions she will be making  in the next year or so.  It just nags at me that I should have been home taking care of our sweet Tater bug.  I am trying to focus on the grateful. positive side.  

When we got to Logan we noticed that they also had a Tabernacle that was amazing.

We crossed the street to walk down Main street and look at all of the shops, (that had conveniently closed at 6pm).  We did find one that was still open.  Unfortunately we entered to find that the cool vintage clothing that we saw in the window was a ploy to get you to come in and then the "real" stuff that they sold was in the back of the store.  The lady said that the young ladies would need to stay in the front of the store!  Ahh, I think that we will ALL stay in the front of the store thanks.  We got out of there as quickly as possible.

Then we made the little walk to the Logan Temple.

I had certainly forgotten how quaint and beautiful and full of history this Temple was.  I had only been there once before, probably almost 21 or so years ago.  I just couldn't get over it.  I just really wanted to go in the minute I saw it.  I wish that the walls could talk!  Luckily it was part of our plan for the next day to go to the Temple and do baptisms.  We walked around the temple and saw the cutest old homes.  Halea was freaking out because she loves all of the old antique, vintage things.  It started to get late, so we went and grabbed a bite to eat and went to our hotel.  We swam at the pool and sat in the hot tub for a bit and then we finally went to bed just before midnight.  A long but fun day.  So grateful that Halea has surrounded herself with like minded, sweet, fun friends.  It is fun to be friends with the moms too.  I am glad that we have friendships that has stemmed from theirs.  Very cool.

We got up early this morning so we could make it to the Temple early and still have time to make it to the scheduled tour of the college.  When we got in the car Halea reminded me that we were going to the Temple, so I played the church music on my phone, rather than the radio.  Thanks Halea:)  The music we listened to is the music that we played while we were holding Tatum those last few days.   I listen to those songs every day, and they never get old.  I could listen to them all day, every day.  They just bring such a sweet feeling to my heart.  We got to the temple and Halea's friend realized that she grabbed her old, expired recommend off of her dresser instead of her new one.  They insisted that we go ahead and do the baptisms and they would just walk around the Temple.  I went inside and happened across a very nice man.  I told him the situation and he said to have her come in and he could call her Bishop and get an OK over the phone.  It only took a few minutes and he had worked it all out for us.  As we were talking to this very nice older gentlemen (that turned out to be the Temple President) we realized that he knew some people that I knew from Lehi.  Small world.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  That angels were already watching over us.

As we sat in the Temple waiting for the girls to finish I had some good time to read through some scriptures.  I looked up the word miracle, because I know a lot of people who struggle when they don't receive what they think is the miracle they ask and pray for.  A scripture really stood out to me, because I feel like through these past several months I have seen this time and time again and I am always amazed.  It is in Mosiah 8:18.  It says "Thus god has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings."  I have seen people around me work mighty miracles.  Things that they have done in their eyes seem very insignificant or small, but to us have been huge things.  And more important we know, because of these things, that God is aware and listening and helping us along our way through the hands of others.  Simply amazing.   There is no denying it.

After the Temple we went to  the campus and found where we were supposed to meet for the tour.  Then we shopped and looked around until it was time for our appointment.  The tour was really fun and informative.  I loved the feeling of the campus and the people there.  After the housing tour we went and grabbed lunch.  Then Halea had signed up to go and talk to the business people because she wants to do finance.  I was not super excited about this part of the campus tour.  Halea wasn't either, but we decided to go anyway.  So glad that we did.  It was the best part of the tour.  So many great reasons to go to this school for Halea's major.  The kid who was presenting the information to us was super dynamic and fun too, so that helped.  I think that this might have sealed the deal for Halea.  For me, as her mother, I felt so good after being there in the town, on campus, in the Temple, around the people.  It is a very sickening thought to think about sending her off and not seeing her every day.   That change in our lives is going to be a real toughie.  To think that this might be where she ends up was very comforting.
We might have an Aggie on our hands:) Halea is on the left.  What dorks!

We went and had some Aggie ice cream as our last stop before hitting the road to home.  I think that Halea would be a perfect fit for this school, and I would feel fine if she chose to apply there even though it is a two hour drive.  Go Aggies.

We were happy to be home.  I missed cute Hilary and the other kids.  When I got home, guess what was sitting on our kitchen counter.  Six beautiful pin wheels.  I had not said anything to anyone about the pinwheels getting shredded by the cemetery people.  How could she have known?  This was a total tender mercy.  Another friend had also left flowers and a sweet gift.  Our family has been so blessed by the acts of kindness from others.

I know that there is a lot of change coming our way.  If it were up to me we would just bottle this time.  I know that it will be a blink of an eye and Halea will be gone to school.  She has been such a great influence on me and on her siblings.  I also know that this is how it is supposed to happen.  The fact that we can still talk and that she can come back for visits, makes it bearable.  I will not complain because I know first hand that there are worse changes.