Monday, September 30, 2013

Good People..

Most people who know us know that we are pretty devout BYU football fans.  While Lance was attending BYU we had season tickets to the football games and we really enjoyed the atmosphere.  We especially loved the big BYU/U of U rivalry game that happened every year.  It is a big deal here in the state of Utah.  Several years ago for Father's Day I purchased two season tickets for Lance so that he could go to all of the games and then the older kids and myself would alternate going to the games.  I think that the kids really just went for the kettle corn and the treats, but they also got some fun time alone with dad.  I loved all of it, the treats, the football and the special one on one time with Lance.  The last two years we have not purchased tickets because we felt like they were a little spendy and with the new babies it just got to be too much.  It was a really hard decision to make because he and I both really loved going to the games.  I tell you all of this to give you the background of our love for BYU.  We just had the big rivalry game a few weeks ago, and we LOST!  It was hideous and we have lost the big game the last three years.  It is just hard to even see and look the U of U fans in the eye.  The other day I was shopping in Costco and I was watching  a man standing in another line.  He had his back a little to me and he was standing by his cart with a few kids around it (I assume his kids).  He was watching a cart that was quite a ways away from where he was standing.  There was a little one year old standing in the little front section of the cart.  This man was poised and ready to jump in to action in case that baby lost its balance.  It was the cutest thing.  The man was quite large in stature so I wasn't quite sure how agile or quick he would be, but he was ready!  Just then, the mom came around to the front of the cart and he relaxed and went back to his own kids.  As he turned around I saw that he was wearing a U of U sweatshirt!  I had to concede then that all U of U fans are not thugs!  It was a great distraction for me because I had gone to Costco to see if they had any cute little outfits for Hilary.  It has been really hard for me to think about shopping for clothes for her.  When I look for clothes I always look for her and Tates to have matching or coordinating.  I bought a lot of things from Costco and Walmart for Tates because those were the two stores that were necessities while she was sick, so if she needed something it had to be from either of those stores so I didn't have to waste time running to different stores.  I was glad that the U of U fan was at the checkout to distract me from hating this activity, and he renewed my faith that there are U of U fans that are good people too.  (I hope that you are sensing my sarcasm)

Later on Friday I went and met Lance on my bike and I remembered how much I dislike riding a bike in the cold.  When you are riding a bike the wind chill factor is like ten fold!  Miserable.  And I had good gear.  I looked over at Lance and he was wearing all of this really ghetto gear that could not have been keeping him warm at all.  Even though I was freezing, I still enjoyed the time that I get on the bike.  There is always time to reflect and think about the events of the days.  I love to listen to music and think, and I get a little exercise too.  A win win.  I am grateful for this little bit of time that I get to spend with one of the really good people in my life.

Saturday was going to be a crazy busy day.  We had a funeral a baptism and homecoming and somewhere in there we needed to go to Orem and get Halea a new pair of running shoes, do laundry and hospital errands.  Sigh.

In the morning Halea asked if I wanted to go on her run workout with her.  I am always happy to go with her even though I pretty much am always looking at the back of her.  I have learned to put my pride aside.  She needed to do a workout that involved stop watch timing.  So I was able to be her stop watch/coach.  It was really fun.  The weather was beautiful and it felt really good to be out running with her.  I am grateful that she will include me.  She is another of the good people in my life that is always inspiring me to do better.

After the run I quickly got ready and ran off to the funeral of my friends mother-in-law.  I am weird because I like funerals.  I enjoy the time to reflect on not just the person that died, but my own life and how I am doing.  Am I going to be remembered the way I want to be?  Am I doing the things that I need to be doing?  It was a really sweet funeral.  This mother was far from perfect and yet her kids still remembered the good things about her and seemed genuinely grateful for her.  There is still hope for me!!  I love the time to also remember the Atonement in our lives.   It is for all of us, not just the "good ones".  I am grateful for that knowledge, because I am far from perfect.

We went and got Halea's shoes quick and did my hospital errand.  Then off to the baptism.  Another reminder for the day of that first covenant that we make with our Heavenly Father on our path to return to Him.  Another great time to remember and reflect on our own covenants that we have made, and to be grateful for the great gift of the Holy Ghost.  It is amazing to think about the enormous gift that many receive at such a young age.  You  can tell when someone has learned to utilize that gift at a young age and throughout their life.  It can make such a difference in the direction of your life.  I want to be better at accessing that power.
I couldn't help thinking that this was yet another family event that Tatum would not be there for, nor my sister in law who was the grandmother of the little girl getting baptized.  I am sure they were there in spirit, but we sure miss that physical presence.  My nephew had a little baby girl right before Tates died.  I couldn't help watching her and realizing that she will forever be a marker of time for us.  I have a nephew that is only 5 months younger than Trevin and he was the same for me.  I loved watching him grow up because it helped me to remember what Trevin would be doing.  He is currently serving an LDS mission in California.  Amazing.  I never felt sad or bitter towards him, quite the opposite.  I always wished that we saw him more so that we could enjoy his stages of life.  I am sure that this little baby girl will do the same for me.  She will be a reminder for me of how old Tater bug would be (even though there is a year difference)  and the things that she might be doing.   It is still really hard for me to see babies.  I am just very sad that part of my life is over, and that it ended so abruptly.  I know that will heal as time passes, it is just still very tender for me.  How can you not yearn for that sweetness in your life?

We got home just in time for Heidi to help Halea with her hair, for homecoming.  Notice that it was Heidi helping with the hair.  I have never proclaimed to be great at doing hair, so I am not offended:)
Heidi, another of the "good people" in my life.  Always so sweet and willing to do things for others without a thought.
Halea looked beautiful.

Her instagram picture was way better than mine, so forgive the weird frame around the picture:)  She had a great night with a really great young man.

Sunday started out alright, but quickly unraveled.  I ended up going to the hospital 3 different times, for 4 different families.  The first time that I was there, I was talking to one of the Labor and Delivery nurses that was there the night that Tatum was born.  In fact I had just been thinking about her because she and a few of the other nurses went and got me a cheeseburger and fries the night that Tates was born.  They will forever hold a special spot in my heart.  Food speaks to me:)  Especially after having a baby!  It was just such a perfect night, and it was more special because several of my favorite nurses were there that night.  So we were talking about that.  She asked how I was doing.  We cried a little, and she allowed me to talk about Tatum.  She talked about Tatum.  It was really sweet.  Another one of the good people in my life.  When I went back later that night, there were several other nurses there that are also good people in my life that will forever be a part of my heart because of their love for me during this time.  I am so grateful for the good people that I get to work with.

Sunday night my niece and her husband came over and we played games.  Two more good people in my life.  We had a good time hanging out and talking.  It is almost a year since her mom, Lance's sister, died. We had fun talking about Becky and remembering her.  My niece was saying that Tatum was the last family member that her mom met here on earth, and the first that she got to welcome back to the other side.  I was telling her that I was so grateful that Tatum got sick after Becky died because that would have devastated her.  She had a special tenderness for the babies.  It has been fun having my niece and her husband back from Chicago, I hope that they get to stay in Utah, or Hawaii so if we have to go visit it will be somewhere super fun!

How could I not put this hilarious picture on?  She wanted to dress up as the frog.  Cutest frog ever!  This is what happens on Sunday's at the Walker's. Yet another good person in my life.

When I came home from the hospital on Sunday there was a bag with more Brobies and pin wheels.  More good people, watching out for me and caring for our family.

I just have felt so nourished and lucky to be surrounded by good people in my life.  Especially this past year.  I have so needed the support, and I have certainly received it.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Cruelty of Time..

The past few days have felt like an eternity.  It is hard for me to remember everything that has happened.  Sometimes my brain feels like it is in such a fog.  (Worse than it usually is)

On Tuesday night we took the youth to go and hike Y mountain.  I am always ready to hike the Y.  We have done it as a family every year for over 18 years now.  The hike has a special place in my heart.  As I was getting ready and changing into some workout clothes I took off my necklace and my earrings.  I was going to take off my bracelet that my friends made me for Tatum's funeral but I decided to leave it on as a reminder as I hiked.  While we were all gathering one of the kids noticed that I was wearing the shirt from our fundraiser hike and it had the date that we hiked on it.  He made the comment that we had just hiked 22 days ago.  Which seemed like forever ago, and yet it seemed like just yesterday.  Time.  Which means that Lance and the kids hiked it almost exactly 4 months ago, which means that it is almost 4 months since Tatum died.  How can it be that long?  Time.
When we got to the trail head Halea and I decided to try and hike fast.  She wanted to run it, and so did I but I am so out of shape I knew there was no way I could run much of it.  After the first couple of switch backs it was Halea in the front, then two other boys then me.  I figured one of the leaders needed to go up front to make sure the kids in the front were OK, right?  Here comes the ugly competitiveness bone rearing it's ugly head:)  Halea made it to the top in just under 20 minutes.  Really fast.  I was about 22 minutes, not as fast but not bad for an old lady!  We stayed at the top until all of us got there and then we sang a hymn.  It was cool.  There were about 40 of us.  All of the kids did awesome.  Many had never hiked the Y before.  Check that off their bucket list.
Here we are kissing Hayden at the top.  He is trying to act like he doesn't like it.

As we were hiking back down, I was swinging my arms and felt my bracelet slip off of my wrist.  I saw it laying on the ground and then I realized that it had broken and the beads were everywhere.  I knew that I shouldn't have worn it.  I frantically started trying to pick up the beads that I could see.  One of the other leaders that was there bent down and started helping me find the beads.  I could not see, but he was persistant and found several beads.  I was pretty devastated because I wear that bracelet everyday.  We recovered maybe half of the beads.  When I got home I texted my friends that made the bracelet for me and they said they could fix it the next day.   I was so mad at myself, because I knew that I shouldn't have worn it.  Live and learn.  Now the bracelet was just going to be a replica of the original.  Ugh.

Wednesday was a crazy run around day. It did start off with a beautiful sunrise and yoga.  Hilary was so in to the Yoga.  She usually just sits and watches and thinks we are all crazy, but she was in rare form that morning.  Very entertaining for us all.
The sky was amazing.  How can you deny that there is a God when you witness something as beautiful as this?  What a gift and reminder of what an amazing place we get to live.

 All day, I just wanted to be home. I had hospital stuff and a funeral and grocery shopping, etc.  I didn't finish everything until almost midnight.  I was glad to get home and try to rest before  today started.

Today started off with SNOW on the mountains.  Unbelievable.  I should have gone back to bed right then.

When a day in SEPTEMBER starts off with snow, you should just go back to bed.  I stayed strong and tried to carry on.  I hadn't made a lot of plans so I decided once we had finished all of our morning routine things that we would stay home and try to catch up on all of the things that I have been needing to do at home.  The day was going good.  Hilary was dreamy and let me get caught up on some things.  Then one of my friends dropped by to bring some things over and we talked while our girls played.  It is always nice to have some adult conversation during the day.  The girls were playing nicely so my friend left her little girl over, at my insistence.  I think that Hilary had fun playing with a friend.  I need to get better at remembering to have her friends over so she can learn to be a little more socially acceptable.

About a week ago I was having the feeling that I wanted to watch some video of Tatum.  I already feel like time is clouding my memory of her.  I was scanning past some pictures on the computer the other day and saw a picture that was video.  I clicked on the video button and it turned out that it was only 1 second of video so it really just looked like a picture.  It took a lot for me to work up the courage to push that button.  It might take me another 4 months to push a video button again.  I am sure I will lose it when I see her and hear her on video.  Part of me wants to see her and hear her and remember, another part doesn't want to poke at my already wounded heart.  You might ask, yeah why would you want to keep looking at her things, or video of her if it makes you so sad.  But that is what helps me to not forget her.  As much as I don't want to be sad or hurting, those feelings make me know that I am not forgetting her.  Sounds so crazy, I know.

As part of my many tasks here at home I decided to go through some piles that I have been avoiding.  I knew that one pile had pictures and papers from Tatum.  As I started sifting through the first pile, there were pictures from the graveside that I hadn't looked at since our friend brought them over.  There were several discs with pictures that I chose not to look at yet.  Some days this all just seems like a bad dream that I should wake up from.  I can't believe that it has already been four months and yet it has only been four months, not an eternity since we have seen her and smelled her and felt her.  I hate time.   The more time that passes, the closer I am to seeing her again, but the more time that passes means that I have been away from her longer and that freaks me out.   As I was looking through the pictures and the piles I was listening to the Pandora station that we listened to while she was home with us, LDS Hymns of worship.  I think that I was trying to feel the spirit that was in our home those last weeks.  That music just brings me right back.  It was such a special, sweet time.  I would give anything to be there again.  I just can't believe how much I still hurt and miss her.  I am sure that everyone is sick of hearing that.  It is just a reality.  No matter the kowledge that I have I still miss her and the fact that I am not going to get to see her grow up.

I think something else that has been really bothering me and has probably been bringing a lot of these feelings of panic that we are forgetting Tates is that Hilary has stopped insisting that we pray for Tatum and Trevin to gain weight during our prayers.  If we didn't pray for that in every prayer she would freak out after we said amen.  We would all have to bow our heads again and say a special prayer that they would gain weight.  I think at first it bugged Lance, but I secretly loved it because it confirmed that she remembered.  In the past few days she has said other things.  Today when she was playing with her friend she showed her a few toys and said these were Tatum's toys, but she could play with them.  Then a few days ago she sat down and sighed and said "I miss Tatum".  I know that she still remembers.  I just don't want this special time of remembering to end.  Right now we have "license" to be sad, or randomly cry, we aren't expected to do things that we should be doing, but soon that time will be over and we will be expected to resume life and people will stop asking "how are you doing?"  It is just a reality of time.  Cruel time.

Today before I left for my meeting at the hospital, Hayden was curled up on the couch sleeping like a little baby.

 When I was looking through the pictures at the funeral, there were a few of Hayden and Lance and Holden helping to carry Tatum's casket.  It took my breath away at how grown up they looked, and yet how young to have to be shouldering such an enormous task of carrying your baby sisters body to her final resting place.  I hope that they can always find the peace that the Savior has to offer them when they think of this time (and other hard times to come) in their lives.  I know that is the only way that I have been able to wake up every morning and continue to breath and somewhat function.

As I was looking through the stack of pictures of Tatum's life that we had printed out for her funeral I was overwhelmed with the gratitude that I have for the time we were able to have with her.  I selfishly just want more. I can't believe that it is all over.  My time with her is frozen and yet the rest of time has to continue moving forward, and I hate it.  I can't seem to figure out how to feel OK in this other relm of time.  Have I mentioned that I hate it?  Everyone keeps growing and time is passing and events keep happening.  I just want all other time to freeze, but it can't.  In some ways I also want time to pass quickly so that this hurt can be lessened, but I want to enjoy my time with the other kids.  I don't want to wish it away, because before I know it they will all be grown up and I will be wishing for this time again, even with the hurt.  I feel so conflicted.

Time can be very cruel.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Worth of Every Soul..

I have been thinking about this post all day.  I had a very disturbing, sad, concerning day at the hospital yesterday.  It has made me think and ponder about how grateful I am for the feelings I have towards kids with disabilities.  I have had strong feelings since I was a little kid.  Maybe because when I was 4 my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor and so I spent a lot of time with her at the hospital, surrounded by sick or terminal kids or kids with disabilities.  I can remember being a little scared of some of the kids, because they were bigger than me and they sometimes made funny noises.  For the most part I have always had a soft spot for them.  It has also made me, again from a very young age, really appreciate my own abilities.

While Lance and I were dating I worked at a home for disabled kids.  Most of their parents had signed over custody to the state because for one reason or another they could not care for these kids themselves.  I was 19 when I started working there.  I wanted to adopt every one of my kids in my group.  I had the "mobile" kids and they were hilarious.  I have a lot of really funny stories from my time spent there.  I was so sad when the holidays rolled around and most of the kids had no family that brought them anything, or came and took them anywhere.  I could not understand why these families would want to miss out on this blessing of these most precious souls.  I don't live in a fairy land where it is glitter and rainbows.  I know, quite personally, that a kid with special needs is challenging beyond explanation emotionally and physically and financially.  I also know, quite personally, that it can be life changing in a great way.   I always just wondered about their families and what brought them to the decision to put them in that facility.  I tried really hard to treat those special kids like I would have wanted someone to treat one of my own if I had to place them in a home like that.  I truly fell in love with them.  A few kids died while I worked there, and it was pretty devastating.

As I moved into adulthood and after Trevin got sick,  I made a few friends that had kids with special needs.  When you have a "sick" kid you kind of join this crazy underworld group where everyone knows each other.  It is fascinating.  No matter the diagnosis or, as in our case , the lack thereof.  I love these people.  They helped me through the most difficult time of our young married life.  They showed me, by example, how to be a great mom and treat Trevin like he was "normal".  Thus we took him camping and swimming and shopping and for walks.  One of my friends and I used to joke about how we were lucky that our kids couldn't move because the kids with special needs that are mobile are real trouble sometimes.  You really can't joke about that with anyone but another person with a kid that can't move.  It just isn't "politically correct".  Sometimes we just had to laugh at our "situations" and find the silver linings behind the tragedies.  When each of our kids have died we cried with one another because only we understand the true devastation of sending those giant spirits home.  Only we understand how hurtful it is to hear someone say that your child must feel so much happier to be relieved of their sick body.  That body that you love that housed that giant spirit that you yearn to be around again.  Only we can understand that they have never been a burden.  That we would give anything to hold them again, even if it meant you only get 3 hours of sleep every night.  That is what caffeine is for, right?  Really and truly sometimes people just can't imagine what you have experienced and how you could possibly wish for that life again.

It makes me sad to see lines in the world so blurred when it comes to acceptance and treatment of these special special, the very most special souls.  I just wish that there was more information available to parents and doctors so they could hear more of the parents that get to take these children home and have them as part of their lives and families.  I know that there will always be the ying and the yang.  There has to be both sides.  Not everyone is going to agree with the philosophy of Heather Walker.  I just wish that everyone could feel what they might feel before they "decide" what is "best", because without all of the information how can they know?  Exactly.

I just want Tatum and Trevin and anyone who reads this to know that I would not trade a single minute that I was able to have with my kids for anything.  I also would give anything to have them both here, taking care of them.  I say that with all sincerity.  It was so hard to take care of our sweet babies.  It was 24/7 care.  Yet I would take those sleepless nights and worrisome days back in a hear beat.  I am so grateful that our family was chosen to take care of them for their short stay here.  In those short stays they taught us life long lessons.  Things that we will never forget.  They will forever be our examples.  Their worth is beyond measure.  Well done you two, well done.

Friday, September 20, 2013

No Protection From the Hurt..

I have been waiting for this to happen, and yesterday it did.  I asked Heidi and the other kids if they had told any of their friends that Tatum had died.  Halea and Hayden's friends mostly knew because they have their social media and a lot of the parents know me some way or another.  Heidi has access to a little bit of social media but not much, and Holden of course has none.  Most of their friends knew that Tatum was sick, but as kids do I am sure that they never thought that she was going to die, because that just doesn't happen in most kids minds.  Yesterday when I picked Heidi up from school she told me that one of her friends asked her in a really loud voice (this friend only has one volume) how Tatum was doing.  Heidi told her "Actually Tatum passed away a few months ago".  Then this girl gasped and said something like "oh my gosh" (again in a really loud voice).  Heidi was horrified because now everyone in the class was asking what happened and she had to tell everyone.  Poor girl.  These are the things that we can't protect them from.  Heidi is in 7th grade so she has 6 different teachers, so I didn't contact them and explain what had happened this summer.  I thought about it with Holden, but we haven't had Parent/Teacher conferences yet, so I haven't done it.  I probably should so he doesn't have to explain too.  I think that they are all going to have to eventually come to terms with how they explain their family dynamics, just like other kids with different family situations, but right now it seems still too raw for them.  Darn it.
Heidi, always sooo sweet with Tatum.  If she was home, she was sitting in there talking to Tates, or playing her ukulele, or asking to hold her.  What a great big sister.  I hope she can always remember the feelings that she had while she was around Tater bug.  

Tonight Lance and I went to dinner by ourselves.  We haven't been able to do that for several weeks, so it was nice to get to talk.  Sometimes our lives get a little crazy and we forget to share the experiences that we are having through this grieving process.  He told me tonight that there were two separate occasions this week that he told someone about Tatum.  One was someone that was interviewing with him and just asked how many kids he had.  When you say seven, there will be more questions, because even in this area that sounds like a lot, especially on the church salary! (just kidding, they pay us nicely)  The other was someone that he thought knew, but didn't.  It is still a little uncomfortable for me to tell someone new about Tatum and Trevin, and I talk about everything with my friends all of the time.  I can only imagine that it is that much harder for Lance because it isn't like him and his buddies are sitting around the lunch table hashing out his feelings.  That just isn't the reality in the mans world.  I was proud of him for saying that he has seven kids.   Way to face that possibility of having to tell the story head on.  Poor guy.  He will probably never do it again.  He does not care for making other people uncomfortable.  He will avoid that at all costs.  It will be interesting to see if he changes his story next time.
This is one of my all time favorite pictures of Tates with Lance.  He wasn't afraid to get right in there and snuggle with her.  He knew how to do everything with her, except maybe her medications.  He is such a good dad, always has been.  Even with intimidating medical "stuff", he jumped in with both feet and enjoyed all of his time with her.  No regrets.

An interesting week, as we pass yet another Friday, always looking forward to our Sunday.  I need so badly to see her, feel her, smell her, hold her, talk to her, kiss her, take care of her.  My life is forever changed, many of those changes are good.  I wish so badly that Trevin and Tatum had been able to stay longer.  Although, it would have never been "enough" time.  There is no such thing.

On a real " side note", I went and met Lance on my bike yesterday.  The ride home was really windy so when I woke up this morning my legs were really tired.  I went and did my regular "run walk".  I decided I would go and meet Lance again today.  When I was getting on the trail it seemed like there was a little bit of a head wind so I thought that I would probably take it a little easy on the way down and then ride home, faster with Lance and minus the headwind.  When I got a few miles in a guy came on the trail.  He had his fancy outfit on and looked pretty "professional".   We came almost parallel with one another and I realized that maybe he wasn't so fast.  I rode by him and then a minute or so later he was right beside me.  After several minutes of back and forth I looked down at his bike and realized that he was riding the bike that I really wanted when I was looking for bikes.  My friend had talked me out of it because it was a lot more expensive than mine.  I conceded, but when I see one now I am still a little envious.  I wondered if maybe this guy was just warming up, but for the next 20 minutes or so, I hung pretty tight with him.  It was a really fun ride, secretly racing with this man who probably had no idea we were racing.  It felt good to have that little competitiveness light inside me.  I haven't felt that for some time.  I feel like that part of me has been dormant.  It would be nice if it would resurface so I could work on my hideously slow running.  I am trying to be patient, as with everything else in our lives that feels a little like it is in a bit of a shambles.  I was down at Lance's work tonight and there is a Neal A Maxwell quote that says "“Faith in God includes Faith in God's timing.”  I am trying to have that faith.  

FYI:  It is now midnight and Hilary just loaded up a piece of bread with butter and started heading into our room.  I asked her where she was going and she said "I'm going to talk to dad".  I told her that dad was probably sleeping because it is midnight.  She smiled and said , "Oh".   It is official, she is the worst sleeper (or non sleeper I should say) ever.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

To Strengthen is to Change..

I will get to the title in a minute.  It has been a crazy three days.  After my hard day on Sunday I woke up to this:

It was a double, and it was huge and it was so bright.  You could totally see from one end to the other.  The kids and I were freaking out.  I love the reaction that kids have to rainbows, that they are so magical.  Ok, I still think that they are magical.
This was just what I needed to remind myself that today is a new day.  I decided, since it was Holden's birthday, that we were going to have a fun day.
It was a weird day because our two highschoolers got out of school early.  I had decided that I was going to go get Holden for lunch so I asked if Halea and Hayden wanted to come.  Did I really have to ask if they wanted free food?  We went and got Holden and Heidi from school and Holden chose a really yummy place called The Blue Lemon.  We had a fun time.  I can't believe that he is 10 years old.  It seems like yesterday that we were getting to meet him.  Defiinitely one of my top ten favorite days, September 16, 2003.   After lunch we ran and got a little treat from the store to share with his class.  One of my other top 10 days is the day that the schools said no more homemade treats for birthdays or any other reason.  That is a lot of pressure off of us uncreative crazy mothers.

One day when he gets his braces off, we will see his teeth through a real smile again.

We were going up to our brother in law's for dinner that night so we decided to bring pizza.  Then we decided to do the "Great Pizza Challenge".  We bought 4 pepperoni pizzas from 4 different places to see which we liked better!   Doesn't that sound fun?  We got a Domino's a Papa Murphys, Costco and Little Caesars. We got the pizzas all cooked and warmed up and cut them into smaller pieces so that everyone could taste each pizzas.
Here are the results:
 Papa Murphy's:  3 votes
Dominos:  2 Votes
costco:  1 vote  (in all fairness I did overcook it:)
Little Caesars:  2 votes

It was a fun night.  Holden got laser tag guns,  so look out! There is our warning and disclaimer for the neighborhood..  And my aplogies in advance:)

Tuesday was another crazy busy day.  The big thing that was happening on Tuesday was that Halea was speaking at our Stake Standards night.  I was excited to hear what she had to say.  She is so smart and spiritually mature, I was anxious to hear her wisdom.  The question that the Presidency gave her to speak about was "How does having personal prayer and a relationship with my Heavenly Father help strengthen me?"
The way that she prepares, studies and delivers her talks is very much how Lance approaches them.  She has a great way of drawing you in and then making you really think about things.  She gave an excellent introduction to her topic and then she said that she likes to dissect the questions that are her topics.  She looked up "strengthen" in the dictionary and it said that to strengthen is to change.  What an ahh haa moment.  It is a very true statement.  Then she restated her question.  "How does having personal prayer and a relationship with my Heavenly Father help CHANGE  me?" Brilliant. When you are diligent about strengthening yourself, you naturally change.  Change does not come easy, nor does it always feel good.  it often comes with a price and pain.  But the end result is so worth it.   She talked about how she knows that when we pray we are heard.  She gave an excellent talk.  All three of the girls did, then the Stake YW presidency and the Stake President finished it all off.  It was a great night.  Afterword lot's of people came up and said how great she did.  I told everyone that I wrote her talk for her, but they didn't believe me.  I just couldn't be any prouder of her.  I take no credit for who she is today.  As I was listening to her speak, all I could think about was how hard she has had to work to be who she is.  She has rarely if ever gone to bed without personal prayer and scripture study.  She has set her standards higher than anyone I know.  She has sacrificed a lot of "fun" to remain true to who she is.  She is always herself, and never who people "think" she should be.  I could go on and on.  I believe that she did come with all of this potential with in her, but she is the one who has completed it.  It is amazing to be her parent.  I was so grateful to have Heidi there too.  I am glad that she has been able to spend a little time in YW with Halea so she can learn from her.  Heidi is another real sweetheart, but in different ways.  I really felt like the luckiest mom.

Tuesday afternoon my dad and Louise came up for a quick visit before they head back to Arizona for the winter.  It is really funny because my dad used to talk about how much he could not stand the snowbirds (old people that leave Arizona for the summer then return in the winter).  Well, now he is one:).  It was fun for them to be here.

This morning I woke up from dreaming about getting kicked in the head all night.  I looked over and realized that I was not dreaming:
This poor little girlie has nightmares every night!  Then usually ends up in our bed.  Not sure how to fix this behavior.?
In the morning Hilary and I went on our walk with a few of our friends.  We did our usual route through the cemetery.  As we passed by Tates and Trev I noticed that there was a little jar of flowers.  I passed by and then I felt like I should go see them.  I ran over and as I got closer I realized that there was a note.  It was a really sweet note, that was signed, Love Me.  I would love to know who wrote it?

Later in the afternoon we had Parent Teacher conferences.  I am always nervous to go to those for a few reasons.  I am always worried about what Hayden's teachers will say.  He thinks that he is pretty funny, but sometimes the teachers don't.  Today Hayden got a pretty good report. I was also worried today because I knew that i would see a lot of people that might not know what has happened with sweet Tatum.  The high school is weird because all of the schools suddenly combine to this one place so i see a lot of people from our old neighborhood.  Luckily I went with a friend so she was being my blocker from people from our past.  Good to have friends that will do the distracting.   It is really hard to feel anxious like that because it really isn't me.  I usually love to go and run into people that I haven't see for awhile.  I love to talk and catch up.  I think that it is just all too fresh.  If people know what happened it isn't bad because I don't have to explain anything.  Most people that know about Tatum have been very sweet and always ask how we are doing.  Anyway, I survived it.

Something that I feel like I have been working hard on to change in myself ,since Tatum got sick, was to pay attention to the important things that we should be doing and not to sweat over the trivial things in life.  I must say that my house has suffered a bit.  I am a little later for things.  But I must say that life is way more fulfilling.  I find myself taking more time to visit with people and not worrying so much about time.  I feel more interested in individuals and their lives.  I try hard to act on promptings and gut feelings so that I can try to be at the right place that I am supposed to be, so that my Heavenly Father can hopefully use me as a force for good.  Today I had one of those experiences.  When I got home from Parent Teacher conference I had about an hour and a half before I needed to get showered and ready for my appointment that I had.  Earlier in the day I had decided that I wanted to go on a bike ride.  I wasn't sure because the wind was terrible and it was almost getting a little chilly.  Then my friend decided that she didn't have time to come with me.  Then I was really doubting whether I should go because there was certainly plenty for me to do at home.  Then Lance came home.  I thought for sure he would come with me.  Nope..  This is where he divulged that he is not as much a leisure rider as a commuter rider.  Good to know.   Against all of my better judgement I decided to move forward and go on the bike ride.  I was going to go up into Alpine and do hills and for some reason I decided to go on the trail like I always do.  As I was fighting the hurricane winds I was going down a hill and saw one of my neighbors in their car.  I pulled over to say hi.  Their family has had a lot of crazy things recently so I asked how they were doing.  We proceeded to talk for about a half hour.  As i was standing there I realized why I ended up there.  I don't mean this in a braggy way because I am so imperfect at listening to promptings and acting.  It was just pretty neat to have ended up where I think that I was supposed to be.  And I didn't even really care that I only got in about half of my ride.  A few years ago I would have been a little stressed because I didn't get in my full workout.   What a great thing to be able to release those feelings of anxiousness .  Again, let me reiterate, that I am so imperfect at all of this, but I am trying.  I want so desperately to be who I am supposed to be, and to honor Tatum and Trevin in all that they have taught me.  I don't ever want to forget.    It is going to require a lot of work and strength and change.

I hope this is coherent, I am falling asleep as I am writing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hard Day...

I don't know why today was so hard.  I guess it could be a number of things.  Sleep deprivation, hormones, very busy day, Sundays are emotional or maybe it's because our daughter died 3 1/2 months ago.   Sometimes I just expect this hurt to be better, and it just isn't.  I want the hurt to stop, but that will bring up an entirely new set of emotional issues.  The hurt at least reminds me daily, hourly, minutely (I know that is not a word!).  When that stops, will I forget.  I already feel like I am forgetting.  I was thinking about how it used to feel to hold her in my arms.  My arms and chest just hurt and ache for her.  She fit just right in my arms.  It was so awkward to hold her for some because she had absolutely no tone and couldn't hold her head.  So if you didn't hold her and support her just right she would bend in half and flop weird.  Then add in all of her tubes and "accessories".  For us, we were just used to it.  That was Tatum.  I miss her sweaty hands.  I just can't stand that I am losing the memory of what she smelled like or felt like.  What a cruel thing my stupid brain is.  I was talking to another mom tonight that had just visited her baby at the mortuary and she was saying that she just wanted to take her baby home so she could snuggle her one last time.  There is just never enough time!

I think there are a few other things that might have triggered my "hard" day.   Yesterday I pulled out all of the flowers out of our beds in the front of our house.  I just kept reflecting on the fact that I planted those the day that we brought Tates to the hospital for the last time.  I had a love hate relationship with those flowers.  I was so happy I had planted them because they were so bright and cheery.  On the other hand every time I saw them I would wonder if I had not spent those two hours planting them and brought Tatum to the hospital earlier would she have been able to stay with us for a little longer?   I know that sounds crazy, but I just can't stop looping that in my mind.  The flowers had started to get really overgrown, so when i would see them it was starting to stress me out.  They seemed like a physical reminder of not getting her to the hospital soon enough and a metaphor for how my life and home have been feeling.  Out of control and a mess.  It feels OK to have the flower beds a little more tidy.  Hopefully it will translate to the inside of our house now!

The other thing that has been hard these past few days and weeks is all of the cute one year olds that seem to be everywhere.  I keep seeing these cute little girls with their pig tails and I think of Hilary at that age with her cute pig tails.  They are constant reminders of what Tatum could and should have been doing.  In my heart I know that she would not be doing those same things, but it still pricks my heart because I just want her here.   How could I not yearn for this:
Hilary listening to her tunes. Scrumptious.
I don't want people who have one year olds to feel all weird around me or guilty or any of that.  I am not jealous of and I don't hate one year olds or their parents.  I adore them.  I just want mine back.  Like the title said, it has just been a hard day.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tender Mercies Abound..

I think that I need to carry a little notebook around with me so that I can try and remember all of the amazing things that happen every day.  I am usually writing this in the wee hours of the night or morning and so my brain power is not always at its maximum and I forget a lot of things that have happened.  This past week I had several neat things happen to let me know that angels are sure watching over our family and helping us along in our journey.  Tender mercies if you will.

I can't remember if I wrote about Halea's english grade from last term.  In short she got a B- ,very unusual for her nearly straight A record.  If this B- stays on her transcript it would disqualify her for a large portion of her college scholarship that she has been working towards for three years.  The reason she got the B- really is because the teacher marked something late that was not late.  I went in with Halea and talked to the teacher a few weeks ago, which I have never done before.  I am a big believer in letting the kids work out their own problems at school, for the most part.  I went into the meeting, praying for the teacher to have her heart softened.  While we were meeting that was not exactly what we felt.  I asked her to consider Halea's grade and that I would contact her in two weeks.  On Tuesday I called and she did not answer, so I left a message inquiring about Halea's grade.  A little later that day the teacher called and left a message saying that she had taken care of the grade!  Prayer works.  She was pretty cold while we were there in her office.  I know that something miraculous happened.  I was so nervous that I was going to have to really pull out all of my gusto and meet with the principal.  So grateful that is not the case and that her grade is resolved.  I wasn't sure if I would have the energy to go through too many more confrontations.   This was a huge tender mercy.

The other morning I went out to our peach tree to check and see how they were coming.  In August Halea and I were talking and she told me that last year she had gone out and thinned the peaches (of course she had? what teenager thinks to thin the peach tree, especially when her mother didn't even know to ask her to do it!), but this year with all of the craziness in our spring, she just hadn't.  I was a little worried that our peaches were going to be really small and not a very good harvest.  I was also nervous because our branches are heavy laden with fruit and a few of them have been touching the ground!  When I went out the other morning and I saw all of the peaches and how beautiful they were and not many had fallen off of the tree despite all of the crazy wind and rain the past couple of days.  I started looking around at how many peaches there were and how big they were, I got a little teary.   A spiritual moment with my peaches.  Heavenly Father new that I was looking forward to the harvest of our peaches.  He also knew that we had been focused on other things that were way more important.  What a tender mercy.
We probably picked 6 or 7 of these bowls full! Peachapalooza:)

At the end of this week I needed to go up to a hospital in Salt Lake because one of our patients delivered up there.  I wanted to go and visit with them and offer support and do some hand molds and prints, etc.  I dropped Hilary off at my nieces which was really nice because she absolutely adores her and her husband so there was no crying or clinging like there has been the last few times I have had to leave her.  I got on the freeway and I was blasting my Hilary Weeks CD.  I have said it before how much I love this CD.  I am pretty sure that she may have written it for me.  Every song just speaks to me.  There are some songs that help me feel my deep sadness and there are some that help me feel my triumph over the sadness.  Before this day I would have highly recommended it to everyone.  I was getting off of the freeway, and I was so into the music, I am sure I was singing loud and proud when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a motorcycle and then red and blue flashing lights!  Uh oh I think that's for me, was my first thought.  My second thought was my license is expired.  Wow.  Usually in my past (very vast) experience with tickets I get really upset and nervous and for some reason I felt super calm.  There was nothing I could do about it and I felt OK.  As the officer came to my door he asked me if I was late for something.  I told him "No not really, I was just listening to my music".  He smiled, probably because he could hear that it was church music!  Then he asked if this was my van?  I laughed and said yes.  Did he think that I had stolen this beauty?  Or maybe he thought that I was a new driver for UTA?  Then he showed me the reading.  61 in a 40!  I said "wow this van can really move".  He asked for my license and as I handed it to him I told him "by the way that is expired".  I explained that I had sent off for my social security card and birth certificate but I haven't received them yet so I can't get my license renewed.  I haven't ever needed to show my actual social security card, ever.  All of a sudden this is a new requirement to renew your license!  He said he would just be a minute.  When he came back he handed me my copy of the ticket.  He said that he did not write me for a moving violation, just "not having a current license in my possession".   He said the violation would not affect my insurance and that the ticket should only be 35-40 dollars.  I was so relieved.  I might not even have to tell Lance about this one (don't worry, I still did).  I apologized for speeding and told him I would pay better attention to signs.  I have never had an officer let me out of a ticket, ever.  I have had my fair share.  What a nice officer and another tender mercy.  

Saturday morning my friend and a few of her family members were going on a long bike ride and asked if I wanted to come along.  I can't pass up a bike ride because the season is coming to an end soon and I have to get it all in while I can.  I tried to talk Lance into coming but apparently he only rides to commute to work, not for enjoyment.  Silly.  We started off at 7am because otherwise it is too dark.  We rode out to Saratoga by the Lake.   After we had ridden about 20+ miles we swung by our favorite breakfast place, Kneaders, and had some yummy foods, before we continued on our fun ride.

Yes that is an actual cupcake at the top.  Boston cream cupcake!  What in the heck.  Hey, we split it four ways, so it was only a 1/4 naughty.
We continued on and rode up to Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon and then on to Vivian Park.
Here we are at Bridal Veil Falls.  In all we ended up riding just shy of 70 miles.  What a fun day.  The weather was beautiful, the ride was fun and the company was perfect.  I am so grateful for good friends that have been mindful to help me get out and do things.  I am sure they don't even realize how helpful it is for me.  I have been lucky that my friends have rallied around me and carried me through some really dark days.  Sometimes, I am sure, they haven't even realized that they have called or helped right when I needed it.  Tender mercies.

I have been pondering how our emotional wounds are much like physical wounds.  When you have a physical wound your first instinct is to curl up around it and hold it and put pressure on it.  In reality what you have to do is open it up and straighten it, clean it, stitch it, apply medicines.  All of this requires some amount of letting go, exposing and usually pain.  Our emotional wounds are so similar.  My first instinct has been to just curl up and close my eyes until this is all over.  I know that my heart will never heal if that is what I do.  The pain is sometimes unbearable.  I can't even explain how much it hurts if I think too hard about it.  The other day I was finishing my run and I was coming to the top of our neighborhood.  I decided to think about every person and what they are experiencing in their lives as I passed their home.  It was overwhelming.  There were people with wayward kids, people that battle chronic disease, people that are dying, people that are lonely, the list goes on and on.  Everyone has their battles that they are fighting.  Everyone is scared of the unknown that they are facing.  We all have the same refuge that we can find through the storm.  That is our Savior and our Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost (the forgotten member sometimes).  I was relating that first big seizure event to a friend of mine and it was such a reminder of how much Heavenly Father has blessed me.  That first day was the worst day of my life and yet there were so many undeniable blessings.  It is such a confirmation to me that we are not alone and that we are all loved.  We just need to try and recognize all of our tender mercies.  It doesn't take away all of the sting of hard trials.  My heart may never be completely healed until I get to see Trevin and Tatum again.  But knowing that the things that I believe are true, is comfort enough until that day.  I will hold on to that knowledge and protect it and share it until the day that I die.  I cannot and will never deny that angels abide in our lives and that their is a plan for me and my family and that I have Heavenly parents that love me and a Savior that died for me and has felt all that I feel.  I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt.  What a tender mercy in my life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Wow, I had great ideas about this day.  I was thinking that it was going to be relaxing and a day that I could maybe catch up on some things.  The morning started off with me exhausted.  Not totally unusual, but I was really dragging from the time my feet hit the floor.  I was still a little stiff from our hike on Saturday, so that was certainly part of it.  I dropped the high schoolers off to school and then I went and ran the other kids to their school.  When I got back home I started quickly getting things ready to go run and walk with Hilary.  As I was getting ready to walk out the door one of the guys that is framing our basement came up and had a few questions.  Lance had been wondering, (maybe obsessing) about how to do some closets and doors.  Well I am the worst person in the world to talk to about such things on a regular time in my life.  Right now I could really care less about such trivial things.  I just don't have the brain capacity to care.   I wish that someone would just come and finish the whole basement and I would be happy to not have to decide any of it.  I think that Lance is the opposite.  I think that he likes to think about these things because it just keeps his mind busy and off of the sadness.  Last night he had the boards all set up one way, then this morning they were back to the original way.  I tried to call him on my cell phone, but if you know me well you know that my cell phone sometimes likes to play head games and let me hear the person on the other end, but they can't hear me.  It is real special!  I ran upstairs and tried from our home phone.  Also not working!  What are the odds?  Frustrating.  I told the framer to do it the new way that Lance had worked out the night before.  It really did make more sense.

I finally got out the door for our exercise around 8:30.  Grr.  While I was out I got several phone calls that I could not answer.  Then I got a page from the hospital.  I had to borrow my friends phone to call and see what they needed.  They thought that the lady might deliver fast so I figured that I would get home and quickly get ready and then just work on things around the house until they called.  I got home and got a lot done.  While I was checking my facebook I saw that one of my favorite neighbors is moving.  The Monday was already off to a really bad start, this just sealed the deal.  I just do not love change at all right now.  There have been several people move in the past 3 months and I am not loving it.  Did everyone not get the memo that there can be no change in my environment for the next 10 years?  Come on!!

I ended up getting called to the hospital later in the afternoon.  I have to say that I love going to the hospital.  I have good memories (oddly) of Tatum there.  I always felt really safe there, surrounded by people that I love and that love me.  Every time I am there I wish for the days that I spent there with Tates.  I was able to spend a lot of really good one on one time with her there.  On this particular day I was working with the Newborn ICU staff.  I got to work with a nurse that I have known for quite awhile and a doctor who was a great support during Tatum's illness.  He was always so willing to field my crazy questions.  It was a really peaceful time with this sweet family that was having to make heart wrenching decisions.  After being with this family I was walking in the hallway and saw one of our nursing supervisors who used to work on Pediatrics and was one of Trevin's favorite nurses.  I saw her a few weeks ago from afar and I wondered if she had heard about Tatum.  So when I saw her on Monday I asked her if she had heard.  She had.  She was so sweet.  We talked for a few minutes, and we hugged.  It is weird to see people that are such a part of your history and know intimate details of your life, but we only see each other occasionally.  It doesn't matter, the love for one another is as strong as it was in 1994.  I just had such a connection to his nurses.  Many of them came and did his home health also.  She was one of those nurses.  It was so nice to visit with her.

After that sweet encounter I was passing by the Labor and Delivery secretary and she told me that she needed a favor.  I said of course.  Then she said that she wondered if we would get her a picture of Tatum to put up in the hallway of L and D.  There are several cute pictures all down the hallway of babies of our staff. I couldn't believe she was asking.  Just a few weeks earlier I was on the floor and I was looking at the pictures,  because I always do, and I thought "I wish that we could put one up of Tatum".  Then I could see her whenever I was there.  So crazy!!  I was thrilled of course.  I told her that I would talk with the family and we would come up with a good one.  Lance and I have one in mind.  And they are different.  Of course.
Prepare yourself for a good cry, or maybe that's just me.  It was so hard to look through all of the pictures.  I can't believe how much I miss her.
I am partial to this one because it was the last "professional" picture we had of her.  To me, it is her grown up self, her spiritually mature self.
This is her just about 8 weeks before she got sick.  This is Lance's screen saver  at work.  He loves her eyes.  She already seems a little older than she should.  I just knew it already.
 I love this picture because it was her at birth.  Small, but full of delight and fun.  Just a sweet little baby.  This was the picture we sent out for her birth announcement.  I put "hello world" on it, because that is how she looked.  She must have known her time was short.  She had to make her mark quick.
I love this because it is both girls.  I think Hilary would think it was funny to see herself on the wall.  There was just a deep love between the two little girlies. (are you crying yet?)
This is one of the last pictures that we took of sweet Tates before her big seizure.  There is such wisdom in those eyes.  A little twinkle of "things are going to be OK".  Love love this picture.  It won't work for the hospital, but I just needed to repost it :)
How could I not put this in the running?  I always just thought that she looked like a cute little old lady.  And that sweet smile.  Love her.
Let me know what you think?  I am interested to know which one people would choose.

To end this crazy weird, tender mercy filled Monday, Hilary had an ice cream bar for dinner.  That is just how it is going sometimes.  I am just having to accept that I can't do everything.  Sometimes if Hilary wants to have ice cream for dinner, it's OK.

I am so grateful for the gift that Hilary has been to our family.  She never lets us forget Tatum in every prayer.  We have to pray that "Tatum gains weight".  About a week ago she started insisting that we include Trevin.  We are going to have some really fat angels!!  I adore her spunk and her sweetness.  I might have died of heartbreak if it weren't for her.  I will be forever indebted to her, and so she can eat whatever she wants for dinner:)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Helping Each Other Conquer Mountains..

Helping each other conquer mountains, figuratively and literally.  Friday was really busy.  I had to run a lot of errands down in the Provo area in the morning then make it home in time to go do some hand molds at a mortuary near our house then up to Salt Lake to deliver some molds and go to Halea's cross country meet.  I knew it was going to be busy so I stopped at Costco to get gas to cover all of the miles that I would be covering.  I waited in line  for quite awhile.  It was finally my turn to pull up to the pump and I realized that I had waited for the wrong side of the pump!  In the van there is no such thing as "stretching" the handle to the other side.  You have to be on the right side for the nozzle to reach.  So I backed up and pulled over to another line.  Luckily I got in the line where there were people that weren't in that big of a hurry and weren't quite sure how to use the pump perfectly.   I was literally in the line for almost 15 minutes and I was already about 20 minutes behind where I had hoped to be.  I was trying really hard to be patient.  I finally got up to the pump and I got the front pump which is always lots easier in the van.  It is a little tricky maneuvering around the other cars to get out if I am in the second stall.  At this point I was just grasping at things to be positive about:)  I jumped out of the car and scanned my costco card and it immediately came up EXPIRED!!  You are kidding me.  Ugh.  I quickly loaded myself back into the car and hurried to another gas station.  The day was not off to a great start.  It's just how things go sometimes, so I tried to be calm.  I was able to get both of the things done that I needed to.  I was a little late to my appointment at the mortuary.  Luckily some of my good friends are the morticians, so he was very understanding.  The rest of the day went well.  I got to Halea's meet right as her race started.  I wanted to see her before she raced, but i was happy that I made it in time to see her race and finish.  I was standing at the finish line talking to this cute little proper, well dressed older lady.  She was asking me if I had someone racing.  I told her that my daughter was racing.  Just then Halea came around the bend, and I leaned over to the lady and pointed out Halea to her.  Right as I am doing this Halea and the girl next to her are just elbowing each other.  At first I was like "yeah!! hold your position"  Then I remembered that sweet lady standing next to me.  How do I undo telling her that this was my daughter?!  I have never seen Halea display aggression like that.  It was quite funny.  She has a little of her mama in her.  
This is a terrible picture, but Halea is behind the girl in red, next to the girl that she was elbowing the entire way in.  Seems like there was plenty of room for both of them?!

 Halea and I had been talking about hiking Mount Timpanogos all summer.  It was on her "bucket list" because our neighborhood hiked it 2 years ago but she was injured and couldn't go.  I was just barely pregnant with Tatum when we hiked it so we had not had a time when I could take her, until now.  This was pretty bitter sweet for me.  I was so happy to get to help her achieve that goal, but on the other hand I would have given any thing to have Tatum here needing me to stay and take care of her.  I tried to push those feelings to the back of my mind.  I went to the store late on Friday night and got us some good traveling foods.   Went home and got everything packed up for the early 2:30am early wake up call.  I am not sure I slept at all, but at 2:30 I was up and packing.  We really wanted to be to the top for sunrise, that is why we had to be up so early.  We got up to the parking lot of the Timpanookee trailhead at about 3:30.  When we pulled in to the parking lot there were cars, but no other hikers that were starting at the same time we were.  This made me nervous.  It had been a few years since I had hiked it and I was really hoping to follow another group because I am super directionally challenged and there are a few points on the trail that are a little sketchy.  I asked Halea if she was scared to hike by ourselves and she said no.  Naive little girl!  I was pretty nervous, but I really wanted us to "Help each other conquer this literal mountain".  About a mile into the hike Halea wanted to take off her jacket.  She pulled it over her head and off came her headlamp on to the ground, breaking!   Not a good sign.  Luckily I had brought extra lights, but they were pretty worthless.  I hoped to only have to use them in emergency situations.   I gave Halea my good headlamp and took one of the not so good headlamps and one of our little flashlights.  We had a great gospel talk about this funny story and about how it isn't good to always be borrowing someone elses light.  You need to be prepared to combat the darkness at all times, etc.  Halea's headlamp was working very intermittently and so now we were dependant on my little hand held flashlight.  There were several times where we almost accidentally got off of the trail, but we relied on our instinct and some luck and the spirit to guide us where we should go.  On the way back down we noticed that even though it was easier to see the trail, we sometimes would feel a little more lost because we were depending on ourselves and not the spirit to guide us to the path.  We tried really hard to get to the top before 7am, but we came a little short.  We just happened to be at another really beautiful point on the hike, just below the summit.  We were in a perfect clearing to see the sun come up and greet another day.  It was still stunning, even thought it wasn't quite to the top.  Another great analogy to life. Sometimes we don't quite get to where we think we should be, but often times it is just as good or better.  

What a beautiful, amazing sight.  Just like that, another day has begun.

We got to a place called the "saddle" about 15 minutes after the sun came up.  We spent a few minutes there.

  This is sometimes a turn around point for people.  I can't imagine why you would get so close to the ultimate goal  and not finish.  The final ascent to the summit is a little rough.  In some areas you are scaling the rock walls on all fours.  There were a few times that I thought I was going to fall backwards from the weight of the backpack with all of our stuff., but alas we made it to the top. 
Here is Halea in the "shack" at the top.  Everyone signs their name on the walls of the shack and writes their name in a silly spiral bound notebook.  It is quite funny.

 I was definitely not in the physical shape that I was last time I hiked.  I was really grateful to finally get to do this with Halea, and to be able to look over some of the most beautiful creations, and to think about this past year and the mountains that as a family we had already climbed and conquered.  At the top of Timp I felt a little closer to heaven.  It was  a great feeling.  We ate some lunch up there, tried to hydrate ourselves and then we started our descent.  We took our time and tried to enjoy the beauty all around us.  Ever so often Halea would stop and say, look up.  She is really good at enjoying the views of life.  She is a reminder to me always to enjoy the ride.  We had a fun time descending the mountain.  We talked and sang and laughed and discussed and listened to our "Tatum" songs.  We had started our hike at just before 4:00am and we finished a little after 12:00pm.  It was a long day, but so worth it to spend that time with Halea and to accomplish such a hefty goal.  I don't know how many more of those times I have left with Halea before she starts the next chapter in her life.  What a great teenager that would spend that time, an entire Saturday afternoon, with her silly mother.  What a girl.

We were both starving when we finished so we decided to hit Kneaders on the way home.  Yummy sandwiches and a death by chocolate dessert.  

It was a great reward for accomplishing our goal.  There were some scary things, some funny things, some hard things all along the way, but we persevered and overcame our fears, through the power that is within us and given to us from our Father in Heaven.  We are so lucky to know how to draw upon those powers in all aspects of our lives.  I am so grateful to be a mother of such amazing kids.  It is truly one of my greatest blessings in this life.  I know that we are never done climbing mountains in this life, they are continuous.  Some are big and some are small.  I am grateful that I get to conquer these mountains with the best family ever.  

Later that night I found out that the husband of one of our friends found a tumor in his brain.  They did surgery that same day.  They had been at Lake Powell 2 days earlier and all was well.  Talk about a mountain thrown in your path.  These hardships are everywhere.  We are never immune from the challenges in life.  I was thinking back on something that was said at the funeral of my friend on Thursday.  Her husband said that she had suffered such physical and emotional pains during her chronic illness and she could have been very angry and bitter.  Instead she had chosen to let it turn her more beautiful inside.  We do have a choice, it just isn't ever easy.  I hope that I can continue to work on making my inside better and more lovely.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Gentle Reminders...

Gentle reminders, or not so gentle.  When I woke up on the 4th I was just happy that my birthday was over. I felt a little better to be past all of the looping thoughts that kept running through my mind on my birthday, and that the only thing that I really wanted for my birthday was to have Tatum here.  I hoped that I was able to put on a happy enough face for Heidi.  I certainly did not want to ruin sweet Heidi's birthday.

I had a pretty busy day.  I went and did some hand molds at a mortuary in Salt Lake.  It was a brand new sweet little baby.  So sad for the family.  It was a gentle reminder to be grateful for the time that we were able to have with Trevin and with Tatum.  It won't ever seem like enough, but at least we got some time.

When I got home from that a few of my friends took me to lunch to our favorite Chinese food.  It is the place that Lance and I went with the girls the day before Tatum had her big seizure.  I tried not to think too hard about it.  It was a gentle reminder that I have great friends who are there to hold my hand through all of this hard stuff.  When I was there with Lance his fortune cookie read : Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  It was unfortunately a very telling fortune.  Yesterday my fortune read: You will be successful in the entertainment field.  All I can say is Finally and I knew it!! Coming to a theater near you:)

When I got home I hurried and tried to do all of the things that I should have been doing while I was lunching.  As I was bustling about one of my neighbors came to my door.  She asked me if I had heard about a mutual friend of ours.  I hadn't heard anything.  She proceeded to tell me that this amazing lady had died on Friday.  This sweet friend had suffered a chronic illness for 13 years.  I met this person through my work.  She did the clay hand print presses for babies and children.  We had collaborated here and there through the years.  She was always so sweet and generous.  It was hard for her to even accept payment for her work when it was for bereavement purposes because she had such a tender heart.  Even when she felt horrible and was in a lot of pain, she had a smile on her face and she always made you feel special and never made you think that she didn't have all the time in the world to talk to you.  She leaves behind 3 beautiful daughters and a husband.  This beautiful lady was younger than me.  Another gentle reminder that life is short and we never know when our time is up, so we better make the best of it and live like we mean it!  She always did.  I am proud to say that I knew her.  Her passing leaves the world a little less bright.

In the past few days I have been able to ride my bike down and meet Lance and ride home with him.  I usually try to do this a few times a week.  Most times I try to listen to good music and think and enjoy the beauty all around us.  These are a few pictures that I have taken in the past few days.

the pictures don't do the beautiful mountains and the perfect blue sky justice.

Today Hilary and I went to the funeral for a sweet friend.  When we got there we entered by the same room where we had the viewing for Tatum.  I went over to sign the book and Hilary said, "I want to see Tatum." Something about the way the room was set up triggered and reminded her of Tatum's funeral.  The funeral was a beautiful tribute to the life of this sweet wife and mother, who was younger than me.   I actually really enjoy funerals.  There is always the deepest sadness that comes with having to say goodbye to a loved one, but there is also the deepest spiritual conversations and experiences.  The veil is so thin.  Hearts are soft and teachable.  And you usually get to learn a lot of embarrassing things about the person who died.  This lady lived an extraordinary life.  It left me wanting to live better, to do better, to be happy for the life I have been given.  She would give her right arm to be able to stay and raise her beautiful daughters and to spend the rest of her life with her husband.  I need to buck up a little more and be grateful that I get to raise the rest of my kids who are still here.

I am thankful that I have had a few days of gentle reminders.  I know that Heavenly Father loves me and wants to help me and so He allows my heart to recognize the gentle reminders that He places in front of me.  I am grateful for the gospel that teaches us the plan of salvation.  We know this is not the end.  We know that through the power of the Atonement we can live as families again.  My heart would not survive without that knowledge.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

T time Hike and Birthday Blues..

Well, our hike to the Y was awesome.  It was a crazy last few days leading up to the actual day, but overall not super stressful.  I was way more stressed about the lesson I was in charge of for Sunday in Young Women's.  I had read the lesson and all of the other material that were referenced and had been talking to Halea and Lance about it.  I was trying really hard to be organized and guided by the spirit and nothing was coming all week.  I was getting really nervous because I knew that I would have a lot of things to do on Saturday for the hike so I was trying really hard to get the lesson solidified before then.  Nice try!  I started having some ideas come late Friday night and Saturday morning.  Typical.  It ended up coming together fine.  The girls ended up teaching a majority of the lesson, which is how it should be.  I certainly learn the most from a lesson when I have prepared and studied to teach and testify myself.  I asked a few girls to teach and testify of certain things in the lesson.  They all did fantastic.  I have a really hard time focusing on more than one thing at a time right now so it was a relief to have the lesson done.

     Now I could focus on the hike and the last minute things that I needed to do with that.  We had so many friends and neighbors donate items for the auction and for the giveaway bag that all of that came together with hardly any effort on our part.  It was so amazing of everyone to be so giving and thoughtful and creative.
These were the cute bags that everyone got after the hike.

On the way down to the Y mountain trail it started to pour rain.  Like, serious rain.  As we were driving, Halea looked up to see what the weather was supposed to be.  It said 0% chance of rain.  We thought that was hilarious.  When I grow up I want to be a weather man.  When we got to the trail, the weather was perfect.  It was a little overcast, so the sun wasn't beating down on us and there was no rain.  It couldn't have gone better.  We had a great turn out.  We have the best friends and family.  When most of us had made it to the top of the Y we released our balloons.
Here we are right before the balloon release.

You can see all of the clouds in the sky that were protecting us from the hot sun.
Hilary and dad watching all of the balloons go up into the sky.

Right before we started to hike I got emotional because I couldn't help remember that the last time I had hiked the Y Tatum was just a few days old.  She was snuggled up to me in the little front pack we had borrowed from a neighbor.  She was so good that day and I felt great.  I felt like we just flew up to the top.  How could that have been just a year and a few months ago?

After the hike we went back to the park and did the raffle and had snacks.  It was really fun to visit for a bit with everyone.  It was humbling to look out at all of the faces that were there.  Most had been friends of our family for quite awhile, several were Halea's good friends, a few were families that had unfortunately crossed paths with me through my work at the hospital,  some  had never even met Tatum or Trevin and yet they still made the effort to be there and support us in our cause.  The human spirit is just born to be kind and to love one another.  I was lucky to be in the presence of a room full of people that emulated that fact.  Really, I was pretty speechless looking out at all of the people who loved us and loved Tatum and Trevin.  Humbling.

After the hike we went as a family and donated our gift bags that we had put together for the hospital with the help, again, from friends and neighbors.  They turned out really cute and I think that the nurses were happy to get them.  I will feel good if even one mom can wash her hair at the hospital and not have it turn to straw from the baby shampoo that they have available for you to use.

That night we went out to dinner for mine and Heidi's birthday because we had an activity that we needed to be at the next day on our actual birthday.  Heidi picked the Olive Garden.  It was yummy.  I was glad that we went out the night before.  I had been dreading my birthday and didn't really want to have to celebrate it.
Halea told me that night that her and Hayden and Holden were going to kidnap Heidi in the morning and take her to breakfast at 5am.  That made me so happy.  Halea is a great sister.

I knew I had been dreading this birthday for a few days, but I was caught off guard at how very sad I felt, all day.  It was really hard for me to not cry all day.  From the second I woke up I was running.  I had a lot of things to do and it seemed like I was running 10 minutes behind the entire day.  I did make it to Heidi's school and took her to lunch.  I was able to prepare some things for young women's that I needed to.  I went to lunch with some ladies from the neighborhood.  While there Hilary trapped a bee in her tupperware bowl.  (she is obsessed with tupperware containers.  She carries them all over, she fills them with water and she uses them for all sorts of things like catching bugs).  She named the bee bumble and she kept calling it her pet.
I tried to talk her into letting him go, but she was not going to have any of that.  All was well until later that night when she thought that the bee had died.  She was really sad and kept saying the bee died.  Then I heard her say, He's alive.  I patted her and said maybe we should let him go since he is alive.  I didn't know that he really was alive, I was just trying to get her to forget that he had really died.  But sure enough the bee was walking around in the container.  We took him outside and let him go, so he could be "with his family" .  Crisis avoided.  Phew.
 These are the sweet cards that Holden and Hilary made me for my birthday.

I was able to visit with a friend.  I got to go and meet Lance on my bike and ride home from his work with him.  There was a huge head wind all the way home.  It felt appropriate to have such an incredible wind pushing against us all the way home.  I felt like that all day.  This was just a perfect display of how I am feeling in life right now.  With Lance at my side encouraging me and laughing with me, we made it home, just like life.   It really was an OK day, had I not cried in between every activity.  On my way down to meet people for lunch I could not control myself.  Driving to get Heidi, riding my bike to meet Lance.  I just could not stop the crying today.  I did not want a birthday today because it is like a symbol of moving on, or forward.  I am now starting a year of my life without Tatum. Last birthday she was here and things were so great.  I can't figure out how to stop wanting and missing that feeling in my heart.  I miss what I wanted my life to be like and what it was like.  People were so kind to me today.  So many people remembered.  I am sure, mostly because they knew this would be a hard day.  Well, they were right and their efforts were greatly appreciated.

Tonight after the long busy day we finally got to gather round for Heidi and I to open our presents.  I got two homemade cards from Holden and Hilary.  Hilarious.  .  Then Lance said that he had loaded a bunch of songs for me on my phone.  They were all of the songs that remind us of Tates.  He started playing them for me and I sort of lost it.  I just can't believe that she is gone.  I miss her so much.  I miss being her mom and loving on her and taking care of her.  I miss all of the things that she will never do.

It is so late.  I think that the only fitting way to end this very hard day is to go and sleep in her spot.