Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ahhh, The Birthdays....

I am officially on the other end of both birthdays, and still breathing.  Like I said before, I spent some time mentally preparing for the days, and it turned out that it really helped.  I tried really hard to visualize what I wanted it to be, but kept it simple and flexible.  I had a feeling that not all of our kids would be able to participate in all of the celebrations.  I did my self talk and told myself that it is not because they don't care, it is because they are teenagers, it is the last weeks of school, they are busy.  I don't doubt for a second that they miss Tatum, and love Trevin.  I also know that everyone, including within our family, deals with these emotions differently.   So, I was in a constant state of adaptation of plans for the past several days, but it has been really good.
On Friday morning, Tatum's birthday we did our regular routine.  Once I got the kids off to school, I got myself ready and my friend came over, laden with knock off Swig sugar cookies that she made (jerk!).  She really knows my weakness (one of my many).  Then we headed down to the hospital to bring our little gift bags to the nurses. My friend found these super cute buckets to put them out at the department desks.

 When we got to the hospital it was fun to talk to everyone and remember with them.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel while doing this, but it was good.  We went to Pediatrics last, which was good.  There was a nurse there that I have known forever.  I got pretty choked up when I was talking to her and telling her that it was Tatum's birthday.  It was hard being on that floor, where Tates spent several stays.  I wished that I could just go into one of the rooms and curl up in a ball.  How has it been a year?  Then as we were leaving we passed by the triage room where we started this journey over a year ago.  I would give anything to be back in time, just to hold her again.  I would never want to see her suffer like she did though.
After we left the hospital we went and grabbed some lunch, obviously.
Throughout the day I posted some of my favorite pictures of her on Instagram and Facebook.  I am so grateful for all of the beautiful pictures I have of her.  Priceless gifts.
 This was her birth announcement.  The caption on the announcement was "Hello World".  It is just how she greeted us.
These pictures were taken in December 6 weeks before she got sick.
These are the last pictures we took before she had her big seizure.
This was her trying so hard to sit.  We might have been propping her a little bit with some pillows, but who's judging?
This is a hard one for me.  Hilary sure misses being the big sister.  They love each other so.
A little smile captured between me and Tates.  She looks so little.
Another big sister moment captured by our good friend.  These pictures are such a priceless gift to our family.
Probably my favorite of me with Tatum.  I talked to her like this a lot.  So grateful that our friend captured this special moment.  this moment is etched in my mind.  
The rest of the day we were showered with thoughtful things from friends and neighbors.  I don't know how people are so clever and thoughtful, and mindful.  I am the worst at remembering other peoples anniversary dates, so I feel a little guilty that people are so nice to us.

That evening Lance and I went out to find a flower to put out on Tatum and Trevin's grave.  We found a really pretty Calla lily.   My niece and her husband came down to go to dinner with us.  When they came to the door they had this sweetest little miniature 
shepherds hook!  And the little plaque that had Tatum's middle name on it.  We put it out at the cemetery, but I am going to grab it after memorial day and keep it in our yard.  Adorable.  The shepherds hook also had a really cute bow on it that had a little hair bow attached to it.  I recognized it immediately as one of Tatum's.  Then my niece reminded me of the story behind the bow.  I had gone up one night to visit her mom, just a day or so before she died.  The girls had combed her hair and cleaned her up .  The gown that she was wearing had this really pretty teal color to it and I remembered that I had one of Tatum's clip bows with me that would match perfectly to clip in my sister in laws hair.  I guess that hair clip had stayed in her hair and the mortuary had given it back to my niece but she had forgotten about it, until recently.  Another tender connection between Tatum and her sweet aunt.
  We were teasing that my sister in law was probably throwing the biggest party for the two babies!  After we ate dinner, we went home and ate our brownie trifle.  I made this same dessert on Tatum's first birthday in hopes that she could eat some.  Nope.  She just looked at me with those knowing, kind, patient eyes and probably thought, "you crazy mom!"
Overall it was a good day.  I only had a few bouts of emotion.  I tried really hard all day to focus on what a difference having Tatum has made in all of our lives.  The differences are endless.  I would not be who I am today without her.  I tried really hard to just be grateful for her and the affect that she has had on people.  Such a sweet tender girl, that couldn't walk or talk, but changed everyone's heart who came in contact with her.  Amazing.  The day was not exactly how I had planned in my mind.  It was Lagoon day for the graduating seniors, so Halea was gone for most of the day.  But it all worked out OK.  I think it was a good day spent doing good things.  I hate that she would now be two.  I only know her as one, and so it is hard to see time pass by.  But this is life.  I am lucky I got to know her at all.  
The days in between the birthdays have been crazy.  The end of school has been kicking me.  I haven't slept and the kids seem to be running every which way.  I will be glad when school is out.  At least for a week or so, right?
Hayden had preschool day last week and so I brought Hilary and her friend Brady down to the high school for a couple of hours.  They did fun preschool activities.  When I told Hilary where she was going she got really excited and got herself dressed, back pack packed, and even let me do her hair.  As we were walking out the door she said, "i have to grab my hat".  I wasn't sure what hat she thought she needed.  Well, it was her snow hat of course!  Right over her hair do.  Luckily right before we got to the school she decided against the hat.  A little lesson I've learned over the years.  The kids will usually realize and fix their bad decisions all on their own, if you don't push them on it!
Monday was our big hike to the Y.  In years past I am always anxious to get down there early so it's not too hot or crowded.  This year we just took it easy.  It was a nice relaxed morning.  We packed our lunch and got out the door by about 9:30.  It was pretty warm by the time we got there, and super crowded.  But it all worked out fine.  Sometimes the kids get really competitive, and maybe sometimes I have too.  We sort of just race up the trail and try and get there fast and first.  When we started out Hayden and Heidi and Holden took off and were quite a ways ahead of us.  Halea and Lance and I stayed back with Hilary.  We had to encourage her for a bit to convince her that she should walk and not be carried.  Once she got going she was great.

  She talked the entire way up.  People were cracking up listening to her.  We saw a little white poodle at one point.  She asked Lance if it was a sheep.  We laughed and he said no that it was a dog.  She laughed and said "it's a lamb dog!"  It was like that the entire way up and down.  She is such a crack up.  After hiking the Y we went and got our Slurpee's.  Then we went home and started some yard work.  I know, fun vacation day.   Then we had a little barbecue with some friends.  It was a really fun, relaxing day.  It was really strange to not go to the Provo cemetery.  Last year this day was so different.  Lance took the kids hiking to the Y by himself because Tatum and I were in the hospital in Salt Lake making the decision to take her home to die.  This year, Trevin and Tatum are both in the Lehi cemetery, which I am so happy that they are together.  It is just strange after going to the Provo cemetery for 18 years.  

Trevin's birthday was not what I expected either.  It just felt like a normal day.  I had a lot of things that I needed to get done in preparation for Halea's graduation, and other things that I have been working on.  On Tatum's birthday our dishwasher flooded our wood floor, warping several boards.  I think that it is secretly her birthday present to me.  I have been wanting to resand and refinish our floors for a few years now.  Well, now they have to be done.  So I was working on some of that.  Having their birthdays so close is good, but also pretty emotionally exhausting.  I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  For a few years now I have been making broccoli cheddar soup because he really liked that when he was little.  So that was one thing on my wish list.  I thought that I might make a dessert of some sort, I mean it was his 21st birthday.   That is a biggie.  He would have probably been close to coming home from his mission.  I could have been a grandma in just a few years!  The day ended up being crazy.  I ended up running to Smiths and buying broccoli soup and Hilary picked out a Superman cake for him!  Classic. 
That night I was called in to a hospital.  It was good to go and do something that all started from him.  Without him I would never be working at the hospital.  Grateful for that in my life.  Afterwards I ran down to our main hospital to pick something up.  As I rounded the corner to Labor and Delivery there was a huge picture of Tatum hanging right in the main entrance to L and D!  Hung just 10 minutes before on Trevin's birthday.  Unbelievable.  I knew that it was coming, but it had been a few months so I had sort of stopped waiting for it.  It was way better than I had hoped for.  I am so lucky, I work with the best people.  They have all been so kind to me through this past year especially.  I don't know what I would have don without all of their love.  This really saved the day!
 Again, it was an OK day, just not what I expected.  I guess that is sort of what life is all about, flexiblity and loving what happens not what you hope happens.  I feel OK with where I am at emotionally.  I know that I am going to make it.  In a sense that is the hard part.  I know that I will live on, it is just going to be with out Tatum and Trevin, for now.  It's just hard.  I miss them both so much.  It is hard to imagine how different our lives would be had they lived. 
To top everything off, my good friend brought me this cool framed family tree last night.  It has all of the kids names on  the branches and Lance and I are the trunk where all of the kids names originate from.  It is so awesome and symbolic.  I don't know how or why people are so kind and thoughtful to me.  I am so lucky.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Prep Week...

I feel like I have been preparing myself for this week for several months, but now it is here.  I have been trying really hard to work through some of my "crazy" thoughts and make detailed, yet flexible expectations for the birthdays and anniversary day.
One of the thoughts that I have been having for several weeks is that I don't want to have her second birthday without her.  I don't want to never know what she would have been like as a toddler.  I want to know what she likes and doesn't like.  I want to give her baths and take her to the park and blow bubbles for her or just sit on the couch and hold her all night.  I don't want to have her birthday.  I keep thinking about last year and what I was doing at this time.  I was preparing her birthday.  I knew that it would be her only birthday.  I wanted it to be perfect, and thanks to a lot of people it was just right.

I would love to have just one more little birthday kiss from her.  Oh how I miss smooching on her cheeks.

 I also don't want her to ever think that we have forgotten her.  As I have been working through these thoughts I decided to focus on what we are celebrating when we celebrate any one's birthday, and that is their birth.  What did her birth mean to me and us as a family.  It meant so much.  One day when Tatum was sick, Lance and I were talking.  He told me that even with everything that had happened and the heartache that it would be to have Tatum die, he would not have ever wished to not have her in our family.  He was so grateful to be her dad and have her come and teach us the things that we need to learn, as much as we were going to miss her, our family would not be the same without her.  I feel like that sums up her life.  Our lives would not be the same without her.  And so this week, we prepare to celebrate that fact.  She completed our family.  We needed her.  We love her, forever.
We had a beautiful stake conference this past weekend.  Some of Halea's friends got to speak in the Saturday and Sunday sessions.  There were some really amazing talks given.  Our neighbors gave a great talk, together, on marriage.  It was tender and sweet and really helpful and inspired.  Then our sweet Stake President stood and bore such sweet testimony of our Savior.  He warned us about the perils that we face in our lives everyday.  Then he encouraged us to take stock of the condition of our hearts.  He told some cute personal stories that made him want to take his own inventory and make sure that he is constantly working on making his heart softer and accepting and loving.  This man is literally a person without guile.  I leaned over to Halea and said, "If he is worried about the condition of his heart, I am doomed.  We are all doomed!"  It was a really inspiring conference.  So grateful that I could attend.  It made me want to be and do better.

This is most of the kids in our neighborhood that are graduating this year.  This is at Seminary Graduation.  What an amazing group of young people, ready to take on the world and do great things.

Tuesday I spent a lot of time figuring out the last little details and buying the supplies to assemble the little treat bags for the nurses at the hospitals that I work at, and that took care of and loved Tatum and our family for this past year.  My friend helped me with the idea and the details of how to put it all together.  We have been working hard on them, and here they are.

she is a wiz on the computer, luckily.  The girls and I did all of the grunt work of assembling, but my friend did all of the cuteness.  I think they turned out so so cute.  I hope that it will help people to remember to be kind, remember and never forget what is really important in life.

Earlier today I made some cookies.  I have made this cookie recipe, probably a million times.  After I pulled them out of the oven
I thought that they looked a little brown.  Once they had cooled a little, I started to cut them into bars.  I noticed that they were a little flat and gooey.  I all of a sudden remembered that I had added two sticks of butter, rather than one!!  Oops.  you might think that this ruined them.  Oh no, I think that it made them all the better.  This is a problem.  Yikes.

As I was making these little mistakes there was a knock on my door.  It was one of my neighbors.  She handed me a sweet note and told me that her and one of my other awesome friends had been thinking about us and what to do or say for Tatum's birthday.  As we were talking and hugging I saw a pinwheel in one of my flower beds.  I said something and then I realized that she had lined our flower beds with pink and blue pinwheels.  It was so touching.  I am not sure how people know how to do just the right things.  Literally, angels live among us.  People living by the spirit.

Tonight we were able to attend an evening at the high school with Halea.  They invite all of the kids that have received any scholarship from a school, or local, or national level to come.  They then go through and present all of these to the students, publicly.  Well, it was the Halea show.  There were several kids that were up there a number of times too, but several of her scholarship givers took some minutes to talk about the scholarship and her as the recipient.  I skipped my most favorite gospel study class to go, and I was really sad about missing the class.  I was so glad that I went because it was a really special night of recognition for all of her hard work.  So proud.  Her is a ridiculous picture of all but one of her scholarships all laid out for her.

To end this journal of the last few days I want to share a quote that one of my friends posted on Facebook today.  She is the quote master and I look forward to all of her posts.  This quote is by Dieter F Uchtdorf, an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:   "We shouldn't wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available all the time.  Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect... there is something in each day to embrace and cherish.  There is something each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it."

No truer statement.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Name is Heather, and I am a Cake-aholic...

This has been a really crazy week, again.  I am glad that I haven't had a lot of time or energy to write, because I needed some time to process the weeks events.  It all started with Mother's Day.  I had made preparation, physical and mental to try to make the day bearable.  All of the preparation was rather unsuccessful.  Let me just start out with the fact that my family has never been super good at Mother's Day.  I don't mean that to sound ungrateful.  They just are not the type that shower me with extra niceties.   Over the years I have learned to just make it Mother's Day Week, I buy myself things that I want and then we are all happy.  Deep down I was hoping that this year, being a little harder than most, would be different.  I tried to not have those expectations, but they were to hard to deny.  It wasn't the day that I was hoping for.  I got up with Lance and started breakfast, then he and the kids finished it and brought me a plate in bed.  So that was nice.
Then we went to church.  I knew that church was going to be a Missionary homecoming.  I was glad about that.  We have known this missionary and his family for a long time, so I knew that it would be a great meeting, and it was.  Sometimes I get a little bitter about the missionary thing.  We have lots of people with missionaries out.  A lot of them say how much they miss their son or daughter and how this is the hardest thing that they've done, etc.  Some are more dramatic about it than others, but you get the picture.  I have had a missionary out for almost 19 years and I have never received an email, a phone call on Mother's day, nothing.  And now I have sent out another, and it has been almost a year.  I don't get any progress reports, no letters.  I just have to have faith and patience for the next 40 years or so.  No problem.  I am sure you can sense my bitterness and sarcasm.  Anyway, overall church was good, I made it through.
When we got home Lance had made a card for me that had baby pictures of all of the kids with their birth dates underneath.  He wanted us to all gather in the living room and talk about the kids when they were born.  So that was fun.  Then Hayden had a little card for me, and Hilary had made me a card.  Heidi told me that her present wasn't done (something she had made at school).

 And that was Mother's day.  Like I said, my family just isn't very good at it.  In Lance's defense, I am getting a new vacuum that is pretty expensive, and so I am sure that is why no real gifts.  It just was bad timing for that kind of gift.   Then I made the mistake of  getting on social media!  Ugh, why doesn't anyone who had an average day post?
Then one of my friends that is a photographer called.  She had been wanting to take pictures of Halea, but we just hadn't found a good time.  The weather broke for a few minutes and so she called to see if we could meet her.  So we ran over to this field where there was a white piano!   Someone else had been using it for another photo shoot.  Halea was thrilled because she really would have loved to have done some pictures with a piano for her senior pictures.  We spent an hour or so out in the field taking some fun pictures.  Yet, another amazing service from an angel hear on earth.
(The real pictures turned out way nicer, this is from my phone)

We went home and I got in my pajamas and went to bed pretty early.
Monday I felt like I was in a total tail spin.  I could not gather my emotions or think rationally.  Hilary and I went to my work out class, but I was having a bad day.  All I could think about was how different last Mother's day was.

 I was holding Tates on the front porch and I knew deep down that it would be my last Mother's day with her, but I was so happy that we were all together.  I was so focused on her that I didn't have time for any selfish thoughts.  This year I had a hard time focusing on what I do have.  All I could think about was how different it would be if she were here.  How no one in my family realized or talked about how hard this day would be for me to have without her.  No one missed her presence, except for me.  I could only focus on my feelings of how I felt like my family didn't appreciate the things I do and that they showed that by not doing much for me.  I know that they appreciate me, I just could not pull out of it.  I could not stop the loop of angry, unhappy thoughts.  It seemed like all day Hilary was talking about Tatum, which usually is great, but this day it was just making things harder.  She asked me when we were going to buy Tatum some shorts for summer.  My heart was just so sad.
Monday night, the hospital called for me to do some hand molds on a young mom that had taken her own life and  had left two young children behind.  This just broke my heart.  Here I am wishing with all of my heart to have all of my children here with me, and this mom has now separated herself from her children, forever.  How desperate she must have felt, that this felt like her only solution.

On Tuesday I was called into the hospital early in the morning.  This family had tried desperately to stay pregnant with a little baby, to no avail.  Their sadness was so palpable.  All of these scenarios got me thinking, and so I decided to be done.  I knew that the feelings I was having were not what I should be feeling and the only person that could fix those feelings was me.  I have been given so many blessings, and I love my family.  I have great kids and a really wonderful husband who loves me even when I am crazy!  I have the gospel that helps me navigate through the hard things in life and teaches me what kind of person I should be, and I was not being that person.
Tuesday afternoon I was out doing some errands, when I got a message from a friend saying that she had left something on my porch because she knew that Mother's Day weekend was probably a hard one for me.  This person was one of our Angel Watch patients that her baby has survived.  He is adorable, and a lot of work.  He is a 24/7 constant care, and she is the best mom.  She also has 8 other kids, and a husband.  When she dropped this treat off to me her little guy was in the hospital, for the millionth time in his life.  How could she have possibly thought of me?  Seriously there are angels here on earth.  When I got home there was an enormous slab of cake!!!  Well, here's the thing.  I am truly a cake-aholic.  I cannot turn down cake. I have made a resolve in the past few weeks to really try and cut back on the sweets, because I know that this is part of my weight and hormone problem.  When I saw this cake I could not resist.  I thought I might have a few bites and then keep a little for later.  Well, I was wrong.  I had a few bites and then I thought, "what if the kids get home and want a bite?"  So I ate the entire thing!!  I was afraid I might go into a sugar coma, but I amazingly survived.  I have worked hard to build up an immunity to sugar:)
Wednesday Hilary and I went to a funeral for one of our patients at the hospital.  It was truly amazing.  The parents are from Honduras, and so sweet and humble.  Their baby lived for just a few short hours, but you could feel their gratitude for such a small amount of time.  Every talk was so sweet and emotional.  The fathers brother could not attend the funeral, so he wrote a letter that his son got up and read for the congregation.  He wrote the letter to the baby.  He told the baby to not worry about not getting to spend too much time in this world because he wasn't missing out on much.  It was sweet the way he said it.  He told the parents to not be sad, in a good way.  Then he ended the letter with "what did your parents do to deserve such a perfect soul in their family.   What did I do to have such a perfect nephew?"  The way he said it was so tender and sincere.  It just made me think about how lucky we are to have Trevin and Tatum as our examples, our beacons to remember, always remember the things that we know.  It is so easy to forget with the constant barrage from the world.  It was a great funeral.
I think that spring in general has been hard for me, and it probably always will be.  There is new birth evident all around us, the sign of new life and a hard winter ending.  Which normally is so welcome, but it is also another reminder of another year, gone.  On our walks we have been visiting the new little lambs.  The kids love them.  They are so cute, but every day it seems they are bigger.

Hillary loves to get out and feed the little lambs.  She squeals and laughs!  It is so much fun to watch her get so excited to see them.

On Friday I had a little burst of energy and so I decided to focus on my yard.  It has been very neglected.  I didn't really do a good fall clean up, so I knew that it was going to be a challenge.  I started with the little rose bush area.  The bushes needed to be trimmed and there were dead leaves and grass all grown around them.  I started clearing, and weeding, and pruning.  In the process I realized that one of our rose bushes did not survive.  I was pretty sad about that.  So I took it out of the ground and started clearing all of the weeds and grass around the area.  I weeded in the rock area above it, clearing and clearing all of the dead leaves and over growth.  While I was doing this I started thinking about how this is like life.  There are cycles in our lives when we need to clear out the dead and overgrowth with in us, to make room for the new growth.  It is a very hard and difficult process, but it is how we learn and become what the Master of our souls knows we should be.  So there I was, clearing the leaves and dead branches, making room for the beautiful new blooms, sobbing in my back yard thinking of my own process of clearing away the heavy sadness that I have been carrying this hard winter.  I feel the growth, I feel the happiness peak through, I know it's there, I am just learning to make room for it.  I was grateful that the work that needed to be done was in the back yard.  I am sure my neighbors already think I am crazy, no need to confirm it for them!
I filled the entire garbage can with just one part of our bank.  I was not kidding when I said it was a mess!

Friday Hayden came home with his baby from Child Development.  It turned on Saturday night and he has to fix every cry until Sunday night (tonight).  Hilary is thrilled about it.   She could not go to bed last night because she kept hearing it cry, so she would run in to take care of it.  We get to take it to church today!  This should be interesting.

Saturday was the Running With Angels 5k.  This is a run that was organized by a good friend that I met at the hospital many years ago when they lost a second baby.  She organized this little 5k years ago to raise money to give to the Womens and Childrens department at the hospital.  I have attended almost every year.  It has grown from a few hundred runners, to having to cap the amount of runners to a thousand!  Most of the runners come to run for someone that they have lost.  You see lots of teams and families running together.  It is sweet.  I usually know a lot of the families, so it is a little reunion for me.  I really love getting to see families surviving and standing together and remembering.  At the beginning of the race they have several boxes of doves that they release, symbolic of all of our loved ones.  This year they asked if our family would come and be one of the families to release doves.  It was another sweet honor shown by sweet thoughtful people, angels among us.
Hayden had his state tennis tournament so he could not be there, but the rest of us were there.   As we released the doves I looked over and Halea had tears streaming down her face.  Some times it just strikes us how much we miss our sweet Tatum.  It was a tender morning.
Then the race began!  Halea lead all of us of course.  I ran with Holden.  I thought for sure he would be done after a mile and need to walk.  No way.  He ran the entire time!!  Our first mile was an 8:35, the second was an 8:24 and our third was a 9:05 (i blame it on the hills).  He did so awesome.  Lance pushed Hilary and ran with Heidi.  They finished not too far behind us.  Everyone did so great.  It was so fun to do something together as a family to remember our sweet Trevin and Tatum.  We are blessed.
Hilary mostly enjoyed the post race popsicles!  

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Well, May has been crazy, just like I had assumed it would be.  I feel like the Post Traumatic Stress is in full swing.  I have flashbacks, and bouts of emotion that just flood unexpectedly.  A few weeks ago I was shopping with some friends and I was in a different store than they were and so I was left to my own thoughts.  Never a good thing.  I was in this busy store and I just kept looking at people and thinking "do you know that my little girl died almost a year ago?  My baby died!"  I don't know how to explain how surreal it feels to be out in public when your heart is torn apart and everyone seems so normal, and you feel so abnormal.  It used to be worse when Tatum first died, obviously.   The first times that I went to the grocery store or anywhere were so freaky.  You just want to wear a shirt that says, I'm not OK please be nice to me or I might cry.   Last night I was driving somewhere and I was trying to quickly compose myself before I arrived at my destination.  This has become a regular occurrence lately.  I do not like feeling so out of control, but I haven't quite figured out how to master my emotions.
We had a busy week.  It started off with another scholarship banquet for Halea.  Another free dinner and some free money.  Just another day in the life of Halea.  She has really set herself up perfectly for college.  I am so proud of her.  I hope that the other kids will learn from her example.  She has put forth a lot of effort, but it has all been worth it.

We have also been preparing for our Remembrance Walk this week, so that took up some extra time, but everything came together pretty easily.  We have it down to a science so I usually don't get too stressed about it.  Until I was driving home on Wednesday night and I started getting really nervous about what to say to everyone.  Either Melanie or I usually say a few words, something inspiring for the bereaved.  Well what was I going to say to them, I am one of them!!  I felt a little panic settle in me and I thought about calling Mel and asking her to do that part.  Then a calm came over me and I knew I could do it, and that I should.  There have been so many good people from this group that have prayed for us, have been concerned for us and have done acts of kindness for our family.  How could I not stand and thank them and be an example.  I needed to practice what I preach.  I didn't know what I would say, but I knew that I would be able to do it, with the help and guidance of the spirit.

Thursday was our Pinewood Derby for scouts.   This is a big deal for the boys so a few of the ladies and myself decided to make cute treats.  We went straight to Pinterest of course.  People are insanely creative.  I don't know how I did not get one bit of that.  Luckily I can copy others talents:)  I ended up doing these little candy bar cars and the other ladies did stoplight brownies.  They all turned out cute.  I brought my treat down to the church before Lance got home, so he didn't see what I had made.  When we got to the church he and another lady were looking at the treat table.  The lady made a comment about the cars being cute and I said that I had made them.  Lance said "really, you made those".  Nice.  I'm not sure if he even tried to hide his surprise.  I am hoping he only thought that I wouldn't have made that much effort to make something cute for scouts.  That's the story I am sticking with.

This will be our last pinewood derby with Holden.  When they turn 11 they move on to Scouts.  I really didn't shed one tear.  When we found out that Hilary was a girl, and then Tatum too, there was such relief.  NO SCOUTS!  Yay.  It just sort of drives me a little crazy.  Not to offend, because I know there are people out there that love it.  I just struggle with the constant awards and belt loops and silly cheers.  And that, my friends, is why I am a den mother.  I am going to work on my attitude.

I decided that I was going to dedicate Friday to getting everything ready, the house cleaned, the lawn mowed, errands done, etc. so that when the Remembrance Walk was done on Saturday that I could relax and that things would be somewhat nice around the house for Sunday.  I get a little irritable if the house isn't tidy.  So I was trying to prepare myself to have a nice Mothers Day, no matter what.  It has been raining off and on all week so I knew that the grass would be a little wet.  When I was driving the kids to school it started drizzling.  I got most of the yard done before it started really raining, but the lawn mower was having a hard time.  I was glad that I persisted because it was the only time that I would have had to get it done.  Such a great feeling when it is done!  Then I moved to the inside.  I washed my sheets and cleaned my bathroom.  Swept the floor, cleaned up the kitchen.  I had one of my micro bursts of energy, so I really tried to capitalize.  I got a lot done.
When Lance got home that night we went out to dinner to the restaurant we went to the day before Tatum had her big seizure.  It is still a little strange to go there.  He and I really need to be able to spend time together.  Sometimes I feel like we are on different planets, occasionally walking next to each other.  I feel like our grief has been so different this time.  We grieved together when Trevin died.  Because we have so many other people in our lives and other distractions, it has been harder to grieve together.  It is one of my goals to work on that.
When we got home I started working on getting a few things ready for the walk.  I was trying to think about what I needed to say, but nothing was really coming together.  I knew that it would come, I am just a little impatient.  I was going to leave a few things to morning, but I decided to get everything done so I could concentrate on just getting my thoughts together.  I was really glad I had made that decision.
This morning I got up a little before six so I could go run.  I get really good thinking done when I run.  Zoe and I headed out  a little after six.  The thoughts started coming about mile 2.  I really felt like I needed to just talk about the basic things that I have known about grief, that have been reconfirmed over this past year.  Several points came to my mind.  It was a beautiful morning.  I was so grateful for a kind Heavenly Father who never disappoints me when I put forth my own efforts to accomplish something good.  Grateful for guidance from the Holy Ghost.  When I got home the thoughts just flowed.  It took me about 20 minutes to get everything down.  Check.
A little before nine Lance and Halea and I headed out.  We picked up the balloons, all 120 of them.  It made me wonder what we will do next year if we sell the van.  It was literally full all the way to the back of the van.

It was a little chilly at the park.  I was really grateful that it wasn't raining.  I love this day.  It is like a big reunion for Melanie and I.  We get to see all of these amazing families that are surviving.  The love and the power that is felt when they gather is pretty incredible.  I know that our children look down on us and they are proud of what we are all doing.  We are brave and courageous and strong, even when we don't want to be.  That power is tangible on this day.  I am going to include the talk that I gave at the end of this post so if you were there and couldn't hear or if you just care to read it you can.  It was a great morning.

 Afterward our friend from the hospital foundation that helps us every year met us at the hospital and we took the leftover muffins and fruit to the staff on L and D and the NICU.  I love those people.  They have all been so good to me over the years, especially this past year.

The rest of my day was super lazy.  I came home and took a little nap.  I can't remember the last time I took a nap.  It didn't take long for Hilary to discover that I was sleeping.  She came over and handed me my phone and put my glasses on me, while I was sleeping.  She was asking me questions, etc.  The other kids were being super noisy in the kitchen, so I finally just gave up.  In my Mother's Day weekend preparation I had picked up a take and bake pizza from Costco so I wouldn't have to have no answer to the dreaded question, "what's for dinner?"  Does anyone else hate that question as much as I do?  It makes me so mad every time they ask it, which is several times a day!   I especially hate it when I don't know what's for dinner!!   Another thing I am trying to change my attitude about.
I got in my pajamas about 7:00 and started watching a little Dateline when there was a knock at my door.  It was one of my friends with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some macaroons!  She said she thought tomorrow might be hard so she wanted to do something nice for me.  My cousin had just sent me a text about 10 minutes before, wishing me a happy Mother's Day because she also realized that it might be a hard day.  How are people so thoughtful?  I am really not that thoughtful.  Another thing that I should try to improve in myself.  I am really grateful and lucky for the good friends and family that I have.  I feel pretty undeserving, but right now I will take it.
 My last thought of the night.  My friend posted this quote the other day and I really loved it.  "We can't earn exaltation, but we can indicate through our faith and behavior that we desire it more than anything else.  That is discipleship".  Sheri Dew
I hope that through my actions I am showing Heavenly Father that I am trying, even when I don't want to, because I love Him and His son and I know that through them I can do anything.  I hope that I am being the best representative of them that I can be.  I want to be more fit for Heaven so that when all is said and done I can be with my family forever.

Here is my little talk from this morning:

I felt like I needed to stand and thank everyone.  I want to first thank Melanie and Dennis.  Like my family, Melanie and her family make many sacrifices to participate in this beautiful program.  She has been a good friend, an example, a support and passionate for our cause.  Especially this past year she has been a rock for me to depend on.   What can I say about Dennis?  He has been our biggest proponent and friend.  Always a support for what we do, and we almost lost him this year with some health issues.  What a great reminder of how fragile life is and what is really important.  We also wanted to thank everyone here who has allowed Melanie or myself to come in and be with your family during your most difficult time.  It is a blessing in our lives and we are grateful for your willingness to share that time with us.
  I don’t want this to be about me, but I feel like I would be remiss if I did not thank all here who have sent prayers heaven ward in this past year for my family.  I have felt and seen the power of prayer.  I know that it is real and I want all of you to know that we have been carried by your prayers.
Over this past year I have had the opportunity to reflect on and reconfirm my understanding of grief.  I wanted to share a few things that I know and some thoughts that I have had. 
First, grieving women are certifiable.  I can’t speak for men, because I am not one, but I know that hormones, emotions and grief are a volatile cocktail to be reckoned with, and it makes us literally a little crazy.   I think that if we can understand this fact, we will be kinder to ourselves and to  those around us.   We need to reevaluate our expectations of what we can and cannot do while we are in the throws of grief.  Sometimes you just have to survive, and that’s OK.
Second, there are no words.   There is nothing that anyone can say that will ever take away the sting of losing a child.  Period.  What goes along with this, however, is that people are going to try and say words.  Why do they try, usually because they love us and they want to help.  If we accept this, the words will not offend us so much.  I do know that our own words to ourselves can help.  I am a big believer in “self talk”.  I believe what you say to yourself is what you become.  I know that if we speak kind words to those around us and especially to ourselves it can empower us to become  a much better person, more prepared for heaven .
Third, everyone grieves differently.  There is no manual, no step by step, no way around.  We all must walk through the grief, and we all do it in our own unique way, and that is OK. 
Fourth, grief is physical.  There were many days in this past year, and I am sure you can all relate, that I thought I might literally stop breathing or my heart would stop.  During those times it felt like it would have been a welcome relief.  Along with this, I know how resilient our physical bodies and our human spirits are.  We are all here.  We can survive those excruciating, heart breaking times. 
The last thing that I hope you especially remember is the reason that we all gather here.  It is because we have lost a child, a part of ourselves, but really it is because we have loved.  If we do not love, we do not grieve.  Someone brought me an invite to a baby shower a few days ago and it had a Winnie the Pooh quote on it “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”.  I thought this was most appropriate for how we all feel.  I also loved the quote that Melanie found to go on our favor today.  It says
“grief never ends, but it changes, it’s a passage not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, it is the price of love.”
I hope today that as we read our children's names and release the balloons that we remember the loss, but celebrate the love.