Saturday, November 30, 2013

Six Months..

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


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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throw Back Thanksgiving 2012...

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

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


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

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

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

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

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






Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another Gift...

Well, I knew that Sunday was going to be difficult, so I had really tried to prepare myself.  About 4 weeks ago there was an announcement that Hilary Weeks (the local LDS/Christian singer that I stalk) was going to be the featured artist at a devotional on Sunday the 24th of November for the kick off of Lehi Family Week.  I didn't even put it together at that time that it would be a hard day for me because of Tatum's milestone dates, but I obviously marked it on my calendar as a must go.  I have played this ladies music in my car every day, all day for the last six months!   I tried to talk anyone from my family into going, I built it up and everything.  No takers.  They cringe every time we get in the car and her music comes on.  I may have over done it a bit.  Our Hilary always shouts from the back, "These are  Tatum's songs!"  I have one on my side.
Then I was reading in the paper that Lehi city sent out and one of our neighbors parents were being honored as one of Lehi's great families.  Still my family didn't want to come.  Bah humbugs!
So I arrived alone.  Which may have been OK because other wise I may have had to sit way in the back.  Since I was alone and only needed one seat I was able to snuggle in with a family who had one seat on the end that was available.  Perfect.  The opening act was a group of Lehi kids that were violinists and a cellist.  They were fantastic.  There was a youth choir, also very good.  Our neighbor's parents that were honored were adorable.  They are in their 90's and so cute with each other.  What great examples of enduring to the end cheerfully and with purpose.  Then Hilary Weeks finally was up.  She was fantastic.  She talked about two main points, The power of our thoughts and The power of our words.  Both can be used for good and bad.  She sang three of her songs and a hymn.  I seriously could have listened to her for hours.  She is a great presenter and musician and she is funny.  As I left the auditorium I felt as though Heavenly Father had given me a gift.  He knew that day was going to be rough, as I read about several of our friends sending their kids to the nursery for the first time that very same day.  As I am anticipating Thanksgiving and the six month mark of Tatum leaving us and Christmas coming.  He knows all of this and I feel Him leaving little gifts at my feet.  I am so grateful that I went because I felt so uplifted.  Nothing can take the sadness from my heart, but I can constantly seek to feel the spirit which in turns helps lift that heavy burden of sadness.  It is not easy.  It was cold and I was tired and I wanted to be in my pajamas and I was tired of being in a dress and there were a million other things that I needed to get done.  I am grateful that I chose the "best thing" that night.
The other little miracle of the day was that the hospital had paged while I was at church to let me know that some time that day a lady would be delivering and I would need to go in and help.  My first thought, I am embarrassed to admit, was selfish.  I hoped that it would not interfere with going to this devotional.  I knew that it was another little gift because I was only home for about 30 minutes before they paged and needed me to come to the hospital!  Seriously?!

I just need to record a few funny things that Hilary has been saying lately.  I just love the age she is right now.  She says and does the funniest things.  She has a few polka dot shirts and whenever she wants to wear them she says it cooka dots.  It is seriously the cutest.  The other thing that she said the other night: She was talking to Holden and she told him that she wanted some of his Candy Barbs.  It was probably about this same age that Halea would call nail polish, poll nolish.  We just kept saying it back to her that way, to reinforce it because it was so adorable.  She didn't think that it was as adorable when she was about 7 and told one of her friends that she liked her poll nolish and her friend looked at her very puzzled and didn't know what she was talking about.  Ooops.  I still don't think she has forgiven us for that.  Every once in awhile we still say it to her, she doesn't think it's nearly as funny as we do.

I am really grateful to see the hand of God in my life everyday, no matter how small.  I know that He cares about all of us and if we look closely we will see Him ever present in the details of our lives.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

18 Months Old..

Tatum should have turned 18 months old today.  This is sort of a right of passage in our LDS culture.  Tomorrow, being Sunday, she would have been able to officially attend her nursery class.  This is something that we as parents look forward to.  By the time the little ones are about 13-14 months old they do not want to sit still through all three hours of church. (imagine that)  I know adults who have a hard time sitting through one hour of church.  Triple that and there is trouble in River City for a toddler.  What I wouldn't give to be  struggling with that, however.
I knew this was going to be a hard day so I was going to just do what I wanted to do and do a lot of it so that I could keep myself distracted.  On Friday when I was running I got a phone call from a lady that works at one of the mortuaries that I have done hand molds for.  She said that her niece had died and they were wanting to do hand and foot molds of her for her parents.  She said that they would have to be done on Saturday or Sunday.  I told her that Saturday would work best.  We decided that I would meet her around 12:00.  Perfect.  This little girl was just over a year old.  She threw up at home and showed some peculiar signs of illness.  They rushed her to the hospital and she was gone in hours.  She had meningitis and no one knew.  So sad.  I thought this would be the perfect thing to do for someone else while I was feeling sorry for myself.
This morning I woke up and helped Halea get out the door to day two of her business conference.  What a nerd!  Then I laid back down for a bit.  Then I read my book for a little bit.  Finally I decided that I had better get going.  I took Zoe on a run.  It was a little chilly to start out, but it ended up being a beautiful day.   I got home and did a few things around the house.  I had asked Heidi if she wanted to come with me to Salt Lake and after I did the hand molds we could go and do lunch and some shopping.  She was a good sport and said yes.  I had been wanting to take her out to do something special because she is such a good girl.  She has been so helpful with Hilary and really everyone.  She is almost always the peace maker in the family.  She has done really good at her school work, without being constantly reminded.  I gave all of the kids lists of things that I needed them to do for cleaning projects in their room.  Done.  Almost on the same day.  No one else has even done one:)  She has also been reading the Book of Mormon as part of a youth program they are doing called RED5 where they read it in 100 days.  She is completely caught up, again all on her own.  She just deserved a special day just for her.
We got to Salt Lake right around 12:00.  There were two aunts of this sweet little baby waiting there to meet me.  We started talking as we were doing the molds.  They started asking questions about my family and why I do what I do.  I got to tell them the quick version of our sweet babies.  They were so sweet about it and acted genuinely interested and touched.  The one that I had talked to on the phone kept saying how I was an answer to her prayer.  It was a really special time.  The little girl was just beautiful.  Oh how my heart ached for their family.  The aunt said that her two older brothers, 5 and 3, keep asking when their little sister is coming back and if Heaven is far away.  Ohhh.  We did two extra little molds for each of them to have their own.  I hope that they turn out good so they will love them.
Heidi and I went to Asian Star for lunch, our favorite Chinese food.  Then we hit the mall.  We actually had great success, which is not normal for me.  We had a really fun time.  When we got home Hilary and I walked down to my neighbors house to visit with her for a bit because one of her daughters was here with her family from California.  It was really fun to visit with all of them.
While I was there one of my nephews called to ask me a question.  We talked for a minute.  Later he sent me a text saying that he knew that we were coming up on our six month mark and that he and his wife were thinking of us.  Amazing.  People are truly amazing.  I am the worst friend ever when it comes to dates and birthdays, etc.  I am trying to be better, but some people are just thoughtful.  That really meant a lot.
As soon as we got home I quickly wrapped presents and we went off to our wedding receptions.  It was fun to go and visit and have yummy treats.  Such exciting times of their lives.  One of the receptions had waffles! and the other had make your own s'mores bar!  People are so creative.  We had veggie trays and sandwich trays from Walmart:)
While we were out reception hopping, one of my good friends sent me a text wishing Tate's a happy 18 month.  Again, how do people think of these things?  I guess she was kind of like a second mom to her, so it makes sense.  But she has a family of her own and for her to take time to remember just meant a lot.  I didn't even say anything to my family because I just didn't think that they needed another day to be sad.  Or another day to notice all of the babies all around.  There seemed to be a katrillion today.  Every where.
When Lance and I got home Heidi and I and her friend and her mom all went to Target.  We just wanted to go and look at their cute things and I needed a few things for Monday or there would be no sandwiches for lunches!  It was fun and again distracting.
We got home late and everyone scurried off to bed.  I worked on some hand molds for awhile and then I did a few more things around the house.  I am really exhausted.  It wasn't the exact day that I had planned, but it has been very busy, which was probably really good for me.
I can't express how much I miss that sweet little girl.  I miss who she was and I miss who she should be right now.  I miss all of the things that I should be doing with her.  I hope that she knows that and can feel that.  I am trying so hard to be the person that I need to become so that she will forever be proud to call me her mother.  I love her more than I can express.  I am forever changed because of her.

One final note for today.  On Thursday my friend and I stopped by the hospital after our meeting.  We wanted to see what picture of Tatum they had chosen to hang in the new Labor and Delivery unit.  When we got there the lady who has been gathering and framing all of the pictures was there feverishly working on getting them all hung.  While we were talking to her, I realized that they had printed both pictures and that they were using them both.  She said that they are hanging a huge one of the black and white one that is a close up of her face.  That will go right as you enter the L and D unit.  It will have her name and birth month and year and then she said they are doing vinyl underneath that will say "Forever in Our Hearts".  I nearly lost it at that.  Then she said they are hanging the other picture over by the nurses station of the new part of the unit.  So sweet.  They are so good to me.  Really, she will be the cutest one up there, right?
 Both were winners!!  Just as I had wished.  Now I wish I had submitted three pictures.. Hee hee
Oh how you've changed us.   Love you Tater bug.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Prepared...

Yesterday while I was out walking I was starting to go into my obsessive thoughts about what I could have done differently to keep Tatum healthy longer so we could have had more time with her.  Those thoughts are just never ending.  I just ache still for more time.  As I was thinking about those things my thoughts traveled to thinking about my life and the big events that  have happened throughout, and how as I look back on almost all of the big hard trials that I have experienced how I can look back previous to them and see the Lord preparing me.  Always.  I am sure if most of us looked back on our big trials, we would see the same thing.  One thought in particular struck me.  When Hilary was a little over a year old, Lance and I went to San Fransisco for a weekend trip for our Anniversary.  At this point Tatum was just a wish.  Before we left one of my neighbors had told me about a book that she read that she really like.  It was called "The Message" and it was about a man who had a "near death" experience.  I decided to take it with us and we could take turns reading it on the trains and on the plane.  We ended up just reading it with each other.  Poor Lance had to endure my EXTREMELY slow reading.  He would wait and then i would finally turn the page. We read the book in those few days that we were sitting on the trains and trolley's.  We both really liked it.  After we finished it we talked about it.  It seemed to give both of us a feeling of great peace.  A greater peace about where we feel like Trevin is.  I have always had my own vision of what I think he is doing and where he is, and this book just confirmed it.  I look back on that now and how poignant that was that we read that book when we did.  We have never read a book together like that.   It was unique in it's timing and in its delivery.  I truly feel like that was one of the "preparations" that Heavenly Father placed in our path to help us in what has proven to be the hardest thing we have ever done.  I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that I know that these things are not just "coincidence".

Today was another Friday.  Another bit of bad news on a Friday, ugh.  I heard today that a family that we love has stopped attending church.  I am so sad and devastated.  It is hard to watch people that you know allow the world to enter and push out the one thing that can truly keep them happy.  I can't believe that after being around Tatum and hearing us testify of the things that we know are true, that they can deny it all.  We are all given our agency.  Sometimes I wish that weren't part of the plan.  Isn't there another way we could learn?  I am all for it!

After that depressing news, luckily a few of my friends called to go to lunch.  It was such a nice surprise on a very cold and gloomy day.

Today Halea went to a "business conference" for a club she is in at school, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).   When she walked in the door, it took me a back.  She looks so grown up and determined and  confident.  She is definitely in her element.
Notice Zoe photo bombing at the bottom of the picture!

When Halea and Lance got home we went to see the movie "Saratov Approach".  It was a fantastic movie.  One minute I was laughing the next I had a pit in my stomach from fear and then I was crying.  I thought it was sweet and real and funny and as a parent it was completely terrifying.  I loved the messages that were delivered in the movie.  It was just uplifting.  I would highly recommend it, unless you have a son or daughter currently serving an LDS mission or about to serve a mission.  What great examples of human resilience.  It was a nice way to end a sort of sad Friday.
Lance and Halea insisted on bringing home the refill bucket of popcorn for the kids.  Hilary lit into it as soon as we walked in the door.  The bucket is almost as big as she is.


I couldn't just pick one picture.
Another one of my relatives sides with me about Thanksgiving.  I think that I am in the lead:)

My plea and prayer is that we will all keep safely to the far side of the line, that if crossed will lead us into temptation and darkness.  We have to search out and surround ourselves with the good things in this life, so we can prepare ourselves for the hard times that will come.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Look Who's Coming to Town...

Today was a pretty fun day with little Hilary.  My friend and I had planned to go to the mall because we had some coupons to use.  We found some good deals, always a plus.  As we were looking in one of the kids stores for clothes I went to the rack where some clothes were Hilary's size and some would have been Tate's size.  I should be buying her 18-24 month clothes.  There were some darling things and it just made me ache a little bit inside.  I haven't shopped much for clothes for Hilary.  Luckily she is sooooo picky that she goes through phases where she will choose between like three outfits and just wear those and nothing else.  So it is futile to buy her a closet full of clothes.  It has been a good deal for me because I don't even think to buy her new things, so I try not to even look at the baby clothes.  Too hard.

As we were getting ready to leave the mall, I decided I wanted to run into See's Candy and get a Rum Nougat, the best candy they make!  And they always give you a free sample, bonus.  I need candy like a hole in my head, but it sounded good.  We went in and there was a sweet older lady with pretty white hair behind the counter.  When she saw Hilary she said  she had something special for her and pulled out a chocolate coin.  It was wrapped in the pretty gold wrapper.  She handed it to Hilary and she turned to my friend and said, "That's the tooth fairy because she gave me a coin".  My friend about lost it.  In all the hustle to get out of the store, I forgot to snap a picture!  However, when we were about to leave the mall, my friend spotted a man who looked suspiciously like Santa Claus.  She corralled us toward him so we could see what Hilary's reaction would be.  He waved to her and motioned for her to come and see him.  She walked over and stood next to him and he pulled out a candy cane from his bag.  Priceless, the man is prepared.  It's almost like he knows who he looks just like!  Hilary was in awe.  She LOVES candy canes.  Like in June she is asking for candy canes.  Not easy to find in June.  So this is her season.
She is showing him the chocolate Santa that she just ate from See's Candy.  I am sure she saw the irony in that!
After the nice man handed her the candy cane he chuckled and said "that will keep her up til midnight".  I laughed and said, "Probably Not".  Hilary has made it her quest to build up her tolerance for candy.  She is doing really well in this pursuit.  She had that candy cane polished off well before we got home.

My friend told me that when she was talking to Hilary today that Hilary told her that she wanted to be a mom.  My friend asked her how many kids she wanted and her reply was that she wanted two, Trevin and Tatum.  What a sweetie.  I wish that was how it worked, then our wait to see them again wouldn't be quite as long.

I have to say how grateful I am for all of my good friends who constantly check on me, who take me places to distract me, who call and text me, who talk about Tatum like I do, who tear up because they miss her and wish she wasn't gone, who run all of the silly errands with me so we don't have to do them alone.  All of this just helps.  They will never know how much it is helping me to carry on.  I know that Heavenly Father led me here to Lehi, to meet the people that I have.  They have truly saved me.  I am so grateful for all of my kids, even the ones who give me trouble.  They give me a reason to rise in the morning.
Tonight Lance and Hilary and I were watching a movie.  She was jumping around on the couch, and out of the corner of my eye I saw her fly over the back of the couch, not on purpose!  She wasn't hurt, probably more scared than anything.  It looked so funny, I couldn't help but laugh a little.  I am so very grateful for the comic relief that she provides all of us.  I am really grateful that she always reminds us to pray for Trevin and Tatum to gain weight.  I just love her.

There is quite a debate going on here, about Thanksgiving.  I am less than thrilled to have holidays.  Last Thanksgiving our lives were not like they are now.  Lance's sister Becky had just died not quite two months before.  So we were all pretty sad about that.  I was having a feeling that Tatum might be sick, but I don't think that I could imagine that this would be our life.  I guess we will know in a week who is the great debater!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ahh, My New Life...

Well, I can now relax!  I have no Young Women's items pressing, I don't have to do a scout meeting for a week and my talk for Stake Conference is done!!!  Check, Check and Check.  I have already been planning for my new life.

This past week has been super crazy.  We had the dinner for Halea's Sterling Scholar award.  That was fun. It was good food, and a few of her friends were there so that was fun.  As we were sitting there, a lady that I haven't seen forever came over and said hello.  She is running the banquet hall that we were at.  Small world.  Then I looked up and one of Hayden's friends that we have known since birth was one of the servers.  How have those boys grown up so fast!?   Here is Halea with two of her friends at the Sterling Scholar dinner.

Halea posted a great quote with this picture on her instagram:
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark."(Michelangelo)

I am sure there is probably a great quote about surrounding yourself with those that help you to aim higher.  What great examples.

On Saturday night we were able to go to a stake dinner for the Stake Presidency and the stake clerks.  Lance and I were invited because he is now serving as a Stake Membership clerk.  Elder Snow was there with his wife.  I adore our entire stake presidency and so it was really fun.  The counselor who called me to speak approached me at the dinner and asked if I was ready for today and I smiled and said "Is that tomorrow?"  He chuckled nervously, and then I laughed and told him that I was just kidding.  I am sure they don't know exactly what to think of me.  I was talking to our Stake President later that evening and he told me to just be myself.  I am not sure he knows me very well.  I can be a little irreverent.  Then we had the adult session of our stake conference, that was great.
I was up late putting the polishing touches on my talk.  I really didn't want it to be a talk about my life, but it unfortunately turned out to be that way.  I just kept feeling like that was what the people needed to hear from me.  My personal experiences with faith.  It was way too long when I was going over it last night, so I kept having to whittle things down, reword things.  I had been working on it for two weeks, but I just have a hard time finishing a talk until the last minute.  I have some disease that doesn't allow me to finish a talk until I am under pressure.  Luckily I have felt very calm about it all.  I was a little nervous this morning, but for the most part, I felt really OK.
I was wondering where I might be speaking on the program.  lance told me that they usually go in order of, and he paused for a minute.  He was trying to think of a way to say importance in a nice way.  So they have the "regular" people speak, then according to calling in the church.  I was one of the "regulars" so I figured that I would be in the first part of the meeting.  Then they had to release one of the members of our stake presidency.  Several extra people were asked to bare their testimonies and so I wasn't until about 40 minutes into the meeting.  Which was fine, but a few of my friends that were coming I told them that I would be in the beginning of the meeting.  Whoops.  Now they had to sit through an entire extra hour of church.  Sorry.  The meeting went well.  All of the messages were great.  Our new counselor in our stake presidency used to be our high councilman and he and his family are incredible.
Tonight when Holden was getting ready to go to bed, he came up to me and said "you did a good talk today".  He is a man of few words.  It was so sweet for him to say.
Our niece and her husband came to the meeting to hear me speak and so they came over for dinner afterward.  It was so nice of them to come.  While they were here my niece was flipping through these pictures of these glitter houses that you can make for decorations for Christmas.  She was showing them to us to see if we wanted to make some.  As she was flipping by one of the houses Hilary said, "that is where Tatum and Trevin could live".  She is a crack up.
This is the "Tatum and Trevin" house.  I love it!

I am so grateful for all of the neat experiences that we have had as a family this week.  I am also grateful to have a little bit of a breather for a minute.  I have been noticing a lot of things around our house that need some serious help.  Closets and drawers need to be cleaned and de junked.  Things need to be dusted.  tonight I noticed cob webs hanging down from the light hanging in our entry way.  It is amazing the neglect that comes to your home when you have two babies, serve as the Young Women president for over two years, and have a terminally ill daughter.  The house was apparently the bottom of the chain of worries.  I feel OK about it, but it is probably time to tidy things up around here.  Let the projects begin!

When I posted that Hayden had gone for a job interview last week I forgot to write about his actual interview.  We were asking about it and what questions the manager asked him.  Hayden said that they asked him about his family and he told the man about Tatum!  I couldn't believe it.  It seemed like they had a good conversation about it.  What a brave young man.  What cold hearted snake wouldn't hire him now, right?  We are still waiting to hear.  It just made my heart sing, and sink to thing that he told this perfect stranger about his sweet sister.
 What a good brother.  I have said before, sometimes he was the only one that she would smile for.  They had a bond.
  Ooh, I miss her.  What a great day I was able to have to get to tell a little bit of her story and to bare testimony of the things that we learned this past year.  She taught us so much.

I am going to put my talk on now, for anyone who wants to read it.  Don't feel obligated, it is long.


Stake conference talk:

I love Stake Conference.  Oddly enough in my patriarchal blessing it says that I am to attend all conferences of the church and it states each of them.  Heavenly Father must have known who He was dealing with.  He knew that I was a little squirly and needed direct instructions.  We have always attended faithfully and I love it because usually Lance or I or both of us have some sort of Sunday duties, so it is a little bit like a vacation day where we just sit, wrestle the kids for two hours but we in return we are spiritually fed.  Well this has not felt like much like a vacation this time! I guess at least I got out of wrestling the kids. 
All kidding aside, I truly am honored and privileged to stand before you this morning.  I know that I am supposed to testify of the things that our family has learned this past year, and for the opportunity to do that I am grateful.  My wish this morning is that all of us will listen with our spiritual ears.  I hope that I can be the conduit for the spirit to whisper to each of you the things that you personally need to hear.  I hope that something that I share today will touch you and help us all to elevate how we are living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have prayed fervently to be guided and directed on what to say and share this morning.  Most of this is very personal, for that I apologize, but it is what I know and why I feel I have been asked to speak today.
When President West called me with my topic of faith I immediately started pondering what faith meant to me.   I have always looked upon faith as a gift.  I have not been blessed with any obvious or outward gifts or talents.  I don’t play an instrument, I am not crafty, I can’t sing, I like to, but the choir director probably wishes I wouldn’t, I can’t dance, I have no rhythm at all,  I am not super athletic, I am not a good decorator nor do I have a great fashion sense.  I am not a great scriptorian; I am not a great story teller.  I have however always felt like I was gifted two spiritual gifts, faith and the ability to forgive.   I have a terrible memory which explains the scriptorian thing, but turns out a terrible memory helps you to be a great forgiver.  I count that truly as a gift.  I think that to some extent we are all given faith as a spiritual gift.  I think it is innately in us.  We all have been given the power to believe.  Some of us have been given an extra dose, and I believe I am one of those.   Like other gifts that we are blessed with, faith must be practiced and exercised or else it fades and we lose the ability to utilize it in our daily lives.    
There were several times throughout my life that I have had to exercise faith.  When I was 7 my older sister died and I remember praying and knowing that someone was listening.  I had not grown up with any sort of religion and so that was truly the faith of a little child, being comforted by a loving Heavenly Father.   Just before I turned 17 I took the missionary lessons and was baptized.  Just before I turned 21 Lance and I were married in the Los Angeles Temple.  All of these events confirmed and strengthened my faith and testimony, preparing a foundation for the rest of my life.    
In Alma 37:35-37 it reads:
O, remember my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.  Yea, and cry unto god for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whitersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.  Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
By exercising the little bit of faith that I had up to this point in my life, my understanding of the gospel began to grow.  I knew that by trying my best to keep the commandments and make the decisions that my Father in Heaven wanted me to, and being where I was supposed to be I would be guided by Him throughout my life.
Our oldest son Trevin was born a few years after we were married in 1993.  We did not know that the next test of our faith had arrived.    Trevin was our perfect healthy sweet, wished for baby boy.  When he was 10 months old, everything changed in a blink of an eye.  On Easer Sunday at 3:00 in the morning he woke up in a grand maul seizure.   All of our lives were instantly changed.  Trevin lost all muscle tone and he could no longer eat on his own and so he had a feeding tube off and on for the last eight months of his life. Every test was run to try and diagnose what had happened to our healthy baby.  To no avail, there would be no answers.  That December after an eight month struggle, at the age of 18 months Trevin peacefully died in our arms.  It was the hardest day of our lives.  I was devastated.   When he died I questioned the Lords timing.  I was so sure that I was supposed to take care of him for longer.  I am so grateful for a strong and faithful husband and good friends whom  I leaned on during the following months as I tried to find my purpose again.  I know that Trevin came partly with a purpose to change my heart and to knit it towards the Temple and the covenants that Lance and I had made there.  With work and prayer our family bond and our faith in the Savior and our Heavenly Father grew stronger and deeper. 
We had been told by most of the doctors that worked with Trevin that his condition was probably genetic.  After much prayer and discussion we felt that we could not base our family on a “probably”.  With another huge leap of faith, we started our family again.  There was worry with every baby, but we somehow found the peace that we needed to carry on, and we really felt guided in our decisions.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told to, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” 
And so we did put our trust in the Lord.  We went on to have six more children.  Our last little girl was born in May of 2012.  Our sweet little Tatum.   The mascot of our ward’s Young Women.  Our much loved and awaited companion to our little Hilary who was two at the time.     
From the time that Tatum was born there was something special about her.   I know every parent says that, but she really was.    We had a running joke that she had “the Force”.  She attended various activities and went numerous places, that I shall not name, that she probably shouldn’t have, but I just couldn’t leave her.  She was my side kick.   When Tatum was about 5 months old, I started noticing that she was starting to delay in her development.  In December I brought her to our pediatrician to discuss with him some of my concerns and promptings.  When my pediatrician was examining her he asked me if I thought there were similarities between her and Trevin.  I answered yes and he nodded his head in agreement.  My heart sank.  He immediately got us an appointment with a neurologist. 
During this time I was obviously desperately praying, as any parent would.  I did not want this to be true.  I did not want our sweet baby to be sick.  How could we watch another one of our children suffer and eventually die?   Surely that was not what we were going to be asked to do.
 Our relief society had started a 5 or 6 month class on the Atonement that January right when all of this was happening.  I know that class was done at that time, for me.  I needed the knowledge that I gained from that class, right then.  While walking home from  class in January I was alone, walking home in the dark and I was praying to my Heavenly Father.  That night I knew that Tatum had what Trevin had.  A peace came over me and an impression to change my prayers came.  I had never had such a certain personal revelation.  For the next several weeks I changed my prayers to asking for things that I felt I needed to prepare me for this trial rather than for Tatum to be well.  I prayed that I needed to know when Tatum’s big event was coming, I needed it to happen in the day time while the kids were at school and I was awake, I needed my pediatrician and other medical people that she needed to be there, I wanted her to not have to be intubated, I needed the nurses to be able to get IV access.   I prayed more specifically than I had ever prayed before.   In mid-January we went to the neurologist and we sent off genetic testing for the disease that they thought Trevin possibly had.  The testing would turn out to be futile because a week before it came back Tatum had her big seizure event on February 12th of this year.  She was 8 and a half months old.  It was a Tuesday morning and the seizure began very subtly.  I tried to tell myself it wasn’t the seizure, but I almost immediately knew that it was.  I put her and Hilary into the car and headed to my pediatricians office.    By the time I got there, what had begun as a rhythmic tick looked much more serious.  By the time I got her to their office we knew she was beginning to seize.   We walked over to the hospital and began our horrible nightmare.  But we began it with our pediatrician and all of the medical professionals that we needed there.  There were two nurses working on her that had also been Trevin’s nurses.  The nurses were able to get IV access immediately.  They had to give her a ton of medication, but they did not have to intubate her.  As I was watching this all unfold, it was surreal because it was as if every prayer I had sent was being answered right before me.  Lance arrived at the hospital a short time after we did.  It was devastating to him.   He was so sure and so hopeful all this time that Tatum was not sick, and so he was shaken.  I tell you this very sacred part of our story to demonstrate the pure love and understanding that our Father in Heaven has for each of us.  When I talked to Lance a little later I told him that I felt bad that he was caught off guard and that he wasn’t prepared for this crushing day.  He was quick to reply that he would have gone crazy if we had received the test results confirming that Tatum had the same mitochondrial disease that Trevin did.  He would have had a hard time just waiting, like watching a ticking time bomb.    He needed to not know this big seizure was coming.  I on the other hand was desperate to know and be prepared.  This was so confirming to my testimony and my faith that our Father in Heaven knows us, individually and He hears each of our prayers.  I knew that day that Heavenly Father had listened and had done everything in His power to show me how much he loved me and was aware of me. 
In our Atonement class we had talked about a scripture in Alma that Elder Snow referred to last night in our adult session.
Alma 7:11-13: 
 I love the part that talks about how the Savior had taken upon him our infirmities so that he could know how to succor us, his people.  I know this is true.  He could not take away that awful day with Tatum, or the months to follow, but he truly answered the prayer that I sent up, witnessing to me His love and compassion for us.  I knew that the Savior had felt my fear and my heart break by the way that He answered my prayers. 
The next three and a half months with Tatum were the sweetest and the hardest.  We knew that our time with her would be short.  We did everything in our power to keep her comfortable and to try and keep her healthy so we could have more time with her.  I loved taking care of her, and would have done it for the rest of my life.  I am so grateful for the time that we were all able to spend with her.    I prayed that Tatum would make it to her first birthday so that we could have that memory with her.  Another prayer that was so graciously answered.  A short 8 days after her first birthday Tatum died.  She was surrounded by those who loved her here and I know that she was welcomed home by a loving brother and many other ancestors who have crossed the veil before her.  She has changed my life forever.  She has made me want to be a better person.  She has helped make us a better family.  In her short life, she touched many.  I am forever grateful to be her mom and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.    
I want you to know that I am just a regular person like all of you.  I am far from perfect.  I lose my temper, I grumble at other drivers, I make mistakes every day, I am not perfect in my prayers or in my scripture study.  I haven’t seen angels or witnessed great grandiose miracles.  But I know that I have been given these experiences in my life, especially this past year of my life, to testify of the truths that I know.  
 I have always tried to recognize the hand of God in my life.  I know that acknowledging Heavenly Father’s hand in my life has been vital to increasing my faith and testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It would have been easy for our family to have felt abandoned by Heavenly Father this past year.  From the outside looking in it would seem that our outcome was the worst case scenario and that none of our prayers for Tatum were heard.  Yet this is so far from the truth.  Our family has felt so blessed and cared for this past year.  We have seen so many  miracles and prayers answered that it has left the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ undeniable.  That is a gift that we will have forever for our family and I will testify of the things that we have learned to my last breath hear on earth.
As I have said before, I know that prayers are heard.  I know that prayer brings us closer to our Heavenly father and our Savior and that helps us to more readily recognize them in our lives.
I know that the scriptures hold the answers that we need in these perilous times that we live in
I know that the Atonement is real.  I know that it is not only to cleanse us from our sins, but it is to help us in our daily lives as we access the amazing grace given freely by our Savior.  I know that it was an extra bonus given to us by our Savior that he took upon him our infirmities that he might know how to succor us in our greatest times of need. 
I know that we have to place ourselves where we can feel the spirit.  I know that if we are not seeking to feel the spirit every day that we will not be able to withstand the pressures of this world.  I have seen good people slip away from the church, by simply not seeking to feel the spirit.  If the spirit cannot bare witness to you, the adversary will quickly move in and take its place.  We have to protect and fortify ourselves at all times.
As we were listening to the adult session last night, there was a lot of talk about the hastening of the work.  It reminded me of the infamous two Brother Butlers youth fireside that we had several weeks ago.  If you don’t know why it is infamous, ask your youth it will make for some funny Sunday conversation.  Brother Butler from the High School seminary reminded us all that we are all on missions.  It started in the preexistence where we fought alongside each other for one another in the Great War in Heaven.  That mission, that fight for one another, continues here.  We are supposed to be rescuing one another, helping each other return to our Father in Heaven.  President West referred to this last night.   There are people in our midst that need us.  How can we save those around us if our own faith and testimony are fragile?  We can’t.  We have to prepare now, there is no more time to waste.  We have to do better so that when the day comes, and it will, when we are called home that we are prepared and that we have done all that we could. 

   


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Change#!?

Well, no one got the memo, from me that there was to be no more big change in my life until next year!  I don't love change in my "normal" life.  I really don't like it in my "new" life.  Last Tuesday our Bishop called me to his office to release me from Young Women's.  I have so dearly loved serving with the amazing women that I have been able to serve with.  They have truly helped to carry me through the darkest days of my entire life.  They have been friends and true sisters to me.  I don't have words to even express how I love them.  And the young women that I have had the privilege to rub shoulders with, to watch grow from little ladies into young women.  To witness them strengthening their testimonies and helping those around them.  To watch them stand strong in the storms of their lives.  To have them stand by me and my family during this past year.  Again, words cannot express how much I love them.  Their strength and courage have inspired me.  Oh, and they can't be rid of me either.  I have already told a few of them that I am still here, they can't get rid of me that easy.  It is  strange how I feel like they are all my children.  I have expectations of them, I have hopes for them, I will continue to cheer for them, pray for them and love them.  Now I get to just sit back and enjoy them, like grandchildren.  I think this could be good.   Truly, I am so sad to not have that same association with them on an almost daily basis.  I will miss them terribly.  I already do.  Who did not read my memo!!?  No Change!

Probably the same person who called me to be the wolf  den mother in Cub Scouts.  What the?  I haven't done scouts for almost 20 years.  Trevin was a baby.  I was the one who began fervently praying for scouts to be disbanded before Hayden turned 8.  When they called my name and announced what I would be serving as, Hayden burst out laughing.  Not a giggle, like a belly laugh.  Even he knows how funny this is going to be.  Now I have to prove myself wrong and be the best Wolf leader ever.  Sigh.    It will be fun.  Ahh change.

Last week while we were in Arizona I found out that my good friends dad was killed in a tragic head on collision.  My friend has lived in Texas for the past few years, but her parents live in Logan.  Hilary and I spent most of the day up there yesterday attending the funeral and visiting with her family.  It was a beautiful day and an amazing tribute to her father.  What a great man.  What a great loss to his family and those around him.  Hilary was so good all day.  When we got to the cemetery she loved crunching in the leaves.  She is such a little trooper to tag along to all of the things I bring her to that are not very fun for little kids.  She takes it all in stride.  I don't know what I would do without her.
They had a man playing hymns on the bag pipes at the cemetery because my friends dad served his LDS mission in Scotland.  It was soooo cool.  Love the bag pipes.
Look at all of the cool leaves, ready to be crunched.
Seriously, how can I ever say no to her?  It is really unfair.  Love her guts.

While we were in Logan, Hayden went on his first job interview, that will be exciting change if he gets a job!
Today Halea found out that she got a 31 on her ACT so she will have full tuition payed at Utah State University where she wants to attend.  What an accomplishment.  So proud of her.  Tomorrow we get to go to a dinner for her Sterling Scholar award.
Heidi is learning how to play actual hymns.  She is pretty excited about that.  She is such a determined person.  She has been setting goals for herself without any encouragement from me.  She decided that she was going to run every day with her friend, she is trying to eat more healthy.  So she has given up treats and junk food all on her own.  Our ward has been doing a Book of Mormon reading that you complete the Book in 100 days.  She is the only one in the family that is not behind.  She is doing so good in school too.  I am grateful that she might be a little more like Halea.  No offense to Hayden, but it is hard to watch a kid that has a lot of potential, not care about some things.  He is a great kid, but he is definitely one that only learns from making mistakes.  Where does he get this stubborn attitude from?  I just can't put my finger on it.
We brought Holden some Mexican jumping beans from Arizona.  So he has been pretty fascinated with those lately.  He is such a funny boy.  We knew that he would love them.

The last couple of days have been a little dark, and real roller coaster like where my emotions are concerned.  I know it is to be expected with all of the changes, but wow.  I just don't like how I feel when the sadness sets in.  It makes me grumpy with my family, which I can't stand.  I can usually recognize it and do my self talk and come out of it.  Sometimes my heart just hurts so bad still.  I know the six month mark is a hard time as far as grief is concerned.  There are all sorts of studies that show that people have a resurgence of the deep sadness during this time.  I think because reality is setting in and there is the expectation that you need to resume your life more completely and get back to "normal".  The hard part is that we are still trying to adjust to our new normal, and we won't ever be the same again.  This is where people start thinking we (the grieving) are crazy.  Well, I am crazy.  I was crazy before all of this happened, now I am just a different crazy.  I also have been sleeping horribly again, so that only exacerbates the crazy in me.
When people ask how I am, I am a little afraid to tell them.  I don't want to tell them that the sadness is still so deep that I still cry every day.  That I still put on her chap stick so I can try and remember what it tasted like to kiss her sweet lips.  That I hate that I can't remember exactly what it felt like to hold her.  That I still have her crib in our room with all of her stuff in it, and that I may never take it down.  When people ask me how I am, I answer "hanging in there, or doing all right" and then in my head I finish with "but I wish my daughter didn't die, or but not really".  I think that we are reaching the point that people are going to ask less how we are doing.  Not because they don't care, but because to them time has moved on.  I still feel a little frozen, so for me I am still so wounded and still living it so vividly that I can't believe that people can't see how I really feel.  I guess that the wounds are only on the inside, where people can't see them.  I am glad for them, because they would not want to know how this really feels and looks.  I know that the only reason that I am able to function is because I know that I will see Tatum and Trevin again.  I know that with every fiber of my being.   I know that Heavenly Father cares how much I hurt.  I know that his son, my Savior, came so that through His atoning sacrifice all could be made whole again.  I know that day will come.  And it will be a joyous reunion.  This knowledge helps me stand every day.  I will testify of these truths until my last breath is taken here on earth.  I have been given so much, and I am so grateful.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Great Getaway...

About a month ago Lance told me that he was going on a business conference to Arizona.  He wondered if I would want to tag along, since my dad lives out there.  It might be a nice little get away.  I hesitated for about one second and then we started to plan.  We decided to take Hilary with us so the kids wouldn't have to worry about her while we were gone.  I also thought that if the plane went down it would be a lot easier for Halea to raise the other kids without having to worry about a toddler:)  This is just how I think.

We left on Wednesday morning.  We got to the airport a little later than we planned on and we were really racing to catch our flight, but we made it.  The whole time we were running and hurrying through things I just kept thinking that we would have never been able to do this if we had Tates in tow.  The entire plane was staring at us as we entered.  Embarrassing.  A few people commented on how cute Hilary was, especially when she would talk.  Again, then only thing that I kept thinking of was how cute Tatum was too.  How people were just drawn to her when she was a baby, because she was a sweet little baby and quick to smile.
reading the sky mall magazine with dad..
She was so brave on her first airplane ride.  Much braver than her mom.  On the way home we hit turbulence and I shut my eyes and started praying, she started belly laughing and saying that it made her tummy feel funny.  

When we arrived in Arizona it was about 80 degrees!!!  Lovely.  We got on the freeway and what did we see?
Signs, literally, from above.  So sweet, it made us smile.  Welcome to Arizona.

 We met with my Grandma and Grandpa that night and had dinner and just visited.   After they left I was really looking forward to just relaxing and falling asleep when I wanted to and getting up when I wanted to.  Nice try!  I tossed and turned all night.  I think I woke up every hour.  It was a really nice hotel, with a great cozy bed.  I was so sad when I finally just got out of bed around 6am.  Boo.

On Thursday we went to the zoo with the grandparents.  Hilary was sooo excited.  We hadn't been to the zoo since we went in March or April.  That was Tatum's last  really "big" outing.  She was so uncomfortable when she wasn't home that we really limited taking her too many places.  That zoo trip was really fun, and I felt "normal".  The Phoenix zoo was a little nicer than the Hogle zoo.  It was warm, but it was a really good day.  Hilary had so much fun.  She was pretty cheerful for most of the day.  She loved seeing every animal, for a second until she realized that it wasn't the elephant.  We would get to the rhino, she would look for a second and then say loudly, I want to see an elephant.  She would then proceed to turn and start walking.  It was really funny.  Especially since we did not find the elephants until the very end of the day!  We finally arrived at the elephant encounter, and there were no elephants!!  Just the workers.  They were restocking the food.  We waited for 10 minutes and then we finally got to see the long awaited elephant.  It was a really fun day.
 Highlights from swimming at the pool and the zoo.. She fell asleep as soon as we got in the car.  Long day for a little girl.
What a little cutie pie..
 showing off her new wallet from grandma..
she was a natural at brushing the goats..

 Thursday night we went and met a friend that I made at the hospital.  I totally forgot that she was in Arizona.  She had been in California for 2 years, and I had forgotten that she moved.  I was so glad that she sent me a message.  We met and got frozen yogurt.  She has twins that are the same age as Hilary.  I met her when we were both pregnant.  One of her twins had a terminal disease, and lived for a short time after birth.  Then she had a little boy one day before we had Tatum.  It was really fun to get together and visit with her.
The next morning was Friday.  Ugh.  I decided to sleep in and go to breakfast with Lance and then go running with Hilary after he went to his conference.  We hung out in the hotel for a bit, then off we went.  We ran a mile or so down the road and found a great park.  We stopped and played for a bit.  Then we did some more running and then back to the hotel for more pool time.  Then we both got ready, packed the rest of our things and then we went and found a store that has the "last chance" Nordstrom items.  It was really fun and crazy.  Luckily Hilary slept in the stroller the entire time.  It was really relaxing.  Afterward we went and picked up Lance from the hotel .

Then we went and found the Mesa Temple.  Lance's parents were married there over 60 years ago.  What a blessing that they made the choices in their lives to be married there.   What an example they set for the rest of us.

It was a quick stop then off to the airport.  We didn't want to be late again.  I felt like we had made the best out of this Friday.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with Hilary.  She was so good.   One is so easy.  When we went through the airport security, guess who got "randomly" selected to have her purse searched?  That's right, me.  I was a little worried because I had lip gloss and lotion in my purse.  They are my favorites, so I didn't want to throw them out!  Luckily they only swab the inside of your purse.  Probably looking for bomb residue or something?  I was lucky.
I had to take a picture of Hilary eating a hamburger.  This is only seen in the wild people.  She lives on nuggets, bread and anything that starts with candy.  I know that a hamburger is no better than a nugget, but I think that there is a piece of lettuce in there.

The kids all did well while we were gone.  I was so grateful for all of them.  I didn't have to worry about them at all.  I did miss them.  It is good to be home.

I feel like I am in a little bit of a funk today.  Probably just a little tired.  I have been thinking a lot about my talk for stake conference.  i have been writing notes as inspirations come to me.  Gathering scriptures and quotes.  I want this to be something really special to honor Tatum and Trevin and what we as a family have learned from them.  I want to always live up to their sacrifice that was made for our benefit.  I want to be that better person from it all.  Today, I just feel flat and exhausted.  Looking forward to the Sabbath.  I love the feeling of renewal that we have every Sunday.  What a genius plan.  Heavenly Father knew what our world was going to be like, and what we would need to recharge our batteries.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tatum's Mission Continues..

Well, we survived our first Halloween without our sweet Tater bug.  I have always had a love hate relationship with this "holiday".  I love to see the cute costumes, I love to hand out the candy, I love to watch the kids be all excited.  The part I hate is that I am not super creative, so costumes are really hard for me.  I have great ideas, but I don't know how to make them happen.  I don't love the thought of my kids eating buckets of candy, especially Hilary since that's all she thinks she needs to eat everyday!  Add in the fact that this year we were making another memory without Tatum, and hate was definitely winning!  The only thing that was saving me was that Holden was SO excited and that I had convinced Lance and Hilary to dress up as Yo Gabba Gabba characters.  So I found myself a Brobee costume!  And we were set.  I just thought it would be fun to do because some days that silly show was the only thing that could make her smile.  The theme song would come on and even if she felt like junk, she would smile.
The day itself was super busy, because it's always a rush to get the kids ready in their costumes, we were having people over so I was making food all morning, Hilary and I had to go on a hunt for the best glazed doughnuts,  then we had the Halloween parade at Heidi and Holden's school, then right after school we went to Lance's work to trick or treat, then raced back to go trick or treating in our neighborhood.  Luckily I didn't have a lot of time to wallow in my self pity, which was good.  Everything actually went really good, except that Hilary decided in the morning that she was going to be a FROG!  Not the Fufa character from Yo Gabba Gabba.  Grr 3 year olds.  She kept saying that it was too itchy.   I didn't fight her on it.  I just let her wear the frog costume all day and I kept telling her for the night time she could dress as Fufa.
When we finally made it home to go trick or treat around our neighborhood my niece and her husband arrived to go with us.  Decked out in two characters from Yo Gabba Gabba!  I almost cried.  They are first of all hilarious, second of all so thoughtful.  It truly made my day.  They said they were calling it "Taterween". It just made me feel united, we all miss her.
 Heidi made her own costume this year (what a dream) she was a fairy.  Holden found his costume on line, he is wearing a Gilly suit (I am sure I am spelling it wrong.  It is what the army guys wear to hide in the bushes)  He looked really awesome.
 Halea, shockingly was a 50's girl.  Born in the wrong decade for sure.
Here we are in all of our glory.  Lance, DJ Lance Rock, Heather, Brobee, Jim Muno, Laura, Pilax, Hilary Fufa. Hopefully this made Tatum smile.  How could she not smile at this crazy family, right?
Hilary, actually looking at the camera.

When we were walking up to one of our neighbors doors, I could see their little kids coming in and out of the door jumping up and down saying Yo Gabba Gabba.  That made our night!
The rest of the night was fun.  Some of Halea's friends came over, then a few of my friends came over, then our brother-in-law came down.  It was really fun.

The next day was not as fun.  Halloween hangover, and unfortunately we still had one day of school, and a middle school party that I had signed up for!  Why did I do that?  On a Friday?  And why would they have a middle school party the day after Halloween?  Who knows.  I have had a really hard time wanting to volunteer at the school, which I am required to do.  Some people know that Tatum died, but most probably don't know I even had a baby.  I am sure that the school will give me a little bit of a pass this year, but I still don't want to blow it off completely!  So off Hilary and I went to volunteer at the dance/party.  I signed up because one of the kids friends mom was signed up, so I thought at least there will be someone fun to hang out with.  The lady in charge immediately just made me smile.  She was super worried about really silly details, that the kids could probably care less about.  And I could REALLY care less about.   I guess I don't get as worked up about certain things anymore.  I think it comes certainly with age, but also with perspective.  I tried to be nice and act like I was worried that we might run out of doughnuts, but I really wasn't.  Shh.  It was fun to talk to my friend and it was really fun to watch Hilary dance to the music.  Once she warms up to a situation, she gets her groove on.  The friend that I was talking to asked me something and as I was answering Hilary started talking about some random thing and then she got a sad face and said "And then Tatum died".  Sometimes she just needs to say it I guess.  I don't think that my friend could hear her though, because the music was really loud.   I almost made it out of the school unscathed.  Almost.  A lady that I had worked with quite a bit in years past at the school came up and started talking to me.  I knew that she had seen me pregnant with Tatum and carrying a baby, but I haven't seen her since Tatum got sick.  I was holding Hilary when she walked up and she said, "Is this your baby?"  I wasn't sure how to respond, so I paused and then I just said "I guess".  The music was so loud, I didn't really want to scream "No, my "baby" died".  Knowing my luck the music would have cut out right as I screamed it.  So I chose, "I guess".  I wonder what she thought.  After the dance was over, I quickly did my part to help clean up and darted out of there before she could ask any follow up questions.  Another Friday.  On a brighter note, I was able to ride my bike to meet Lance after work.  The weather has been so beautiful, and that has been so helpful to fend off the sadness that will probably be heavier when we are confined a little more to our house.

As for the title of this post.  On Sunday I was asked to speak in our Stake Conference in a few weeks.  I think that I had a feeling that this might happen.  Not because I am some great orator.  No, because I know that it is part of Tatum's mission to have us bare witness of the things that we know and especially have been taught through this entire experience.  I have been trying really hard to listen to the spirit and focus on what I am supposed to say, not what I want to say.  There will be a lot of people in the audience, and I know that I am supposed to reach certain people with the things that I have been taught this past year.   I am really grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony, especially of the Atonement and the hand of God in our lives.  They haven't called me to tell me what my topic is yet, so I will be excited to hear what that is.  Hopefully I don't blow it.  I hope that I can help to fulfill another part of Tate's mission.  How lucky am I to be her mom?