Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Struggle is Real....

Sunday we drove up and surprised Halea and brought her some things that she had forgotten and we found her a new bike, so we brought that up to her.  It was fun to see her.  We didn't stay long, but it was nice for everyone to just get to hug her and see her.
Monday was the first day of school for Halea and myself.  I brought Hilary to her "high school preschool".  As we walked in the door her little friend from the neighborhood was sitting way on the others side of the room.  When he saw her walk in the door he yelled across the room as he was grabbing her a chair, "over her Hilary I have a chair for you!".  He is such a crack up.
 Halea seemed excited about her classes.  My classes were good.  In one of my classes I got my presentation assignment, "gender equality", a subject that I detest.  That was no good, but there were a lot of other subjects that could have been worse.  In another one of my classes my professor asked if everyone had siblings, because of the context I didn't raise my hand since my sister had died when I was 7 and she was 11.  Essentially I grew up an only child, and what he was referring to was current.  So he looked at me sadly and apologetically and said that his son didn't have siblings either.  Wow, just wait til he finds out the rest of my story!  In my last class we were doing some exercises in interviewing and the lady that I was working with asked about my family a few times, but it never came to a natural point that I felt like I could explain that I only have 5 kids alive.  At some point it is going to come up.  I fear that it is going to be really uncomfortable.  Which is funny since all of my classes are with people that want to enter the field of Social Work.  That makes me giggle a little.
While I was at school Hayden went to pick Hilary up from preschool and when he walked in she just growled at him when he said hello.  So the teacher told him that she couldn't let her go with him unless she showed recognition of him!  So he was trying to get her to say that he was her brother for a few minutes, until finally she grumbled, "He's my brother".
After Hayden got home I got a text from him saying that he wanted to go play tennis with some friends down at the high school but he wasn't sure what to do with Hilary.  Before I could respond he sent me a text saying that they were going to take Hilary with them.  Oh my.  She is truly living the teenage life.  I got home shortly after they got there.  She was out on the courts talking to all of the girls high school team that were practicing, and all of Hayden's friends.  I hope that she is not permanently damaged by the end of this year.
By the time I got home I was really overwhelmed at everything that was going to be involved in completing the assignments in all of my classes.  I was trying to deep breath and focus on the things that I have some control over.  I was able to calm myself down and get dinner and spend some time with the fam.
In the mail we got a few pictures from my cousin that their photographer took of Hilary.
 sorry I don't know how to flip these pictures so they are easier to look at.  She was really dancing it up on the dance floor with this complete stranger boy.  It was hilarious.  They were the hit of the dance party.

To close out the busy day Hayden asked a girl to Homecoming.
Once I got everyone to bed I decided I would start trying to figure out my online Statistics class.  I have been really stressed about taking it on line.  As I started sifting through the syllabus I was feeling a little better.  I started working through the first few little assignments on the computer.  Then the frustration began.  There was a quiz on the syllabus that you have to get a perfect score on before you can begin the regular assignments.  Well I kept getting 17/20 no matter what I did.  After a lot of attempts (you can take it as many times as you need) I realized that you could view your previous attempts so you can see what you did wrong!  Oh my.  There may have been a few tears shed.  This is the unfair advantage that the younger students have on me.  Luckily I have a lot of life experience and I function well on very little sleep!  I was able to complete everything and get to bed just past 1am.  Yikes.
Today was a good day.  I was able to go to running with my friends, get some cleaning done and I got to go to my workout class.  After the class I was getting Hilary in the van and this lady said to me "do you have a lot of kids?" Making a gesture towards our van.  I paused for a minute and then I said "Well, we did.  We bought it when we had our last daughter because with 6 kids it was hard for the older kids to climb over seats and things in our Navigator so we got this.  But then she died last year and my oldest daughter moved away to college, we don't have a lot of need for it anymore so we are going to sell it."  She nodded and said, "oh yeah, I thought you used to bring a little baby to class with you".  Then she couldn't get in her car fast enough.  I felt really bad for her.  This conversation just never gets easier, for me or for those on the receiving end.  I try as hard as I can to say all of it with a smile on my face and in a cheerful tone.  Maybe that makes it worse?
This morning as I was getting ready for the day I was thinking about the faces that we wear.  I started wondering if I have painted too rosy of a picture of grieving.  I haven't written about some of the really really hard feelings because they feel too personal.  But I did want to make sure that I write, now that I can feel myself coming to the other side a little bit, that I understand how hard this is on a marriage and family.  I hope that I have never put on the facade that this has been easy for Lance or myself.  I totally understand how people get divorced during extreme times of grief.  If I didn't have an eternal commitment to my marriage and my kids, I could have easily walked away from it all because there were days that were that hard.  It is hard sometimes to reconcile what is going on between my brain and my heart and what I know is true.  I totally understand why people get stuck in the hurt.  That is where I feel comfortable.  I don't like the fact that I am not sad all of the time anymore.  I hate that I laugh, and feel joy.  It feels like forgetting, even though I know that is not what it is.  Grief is not for the faint of heart.  The struggle of grief is real.
With that said, I know that I can live and breathe and feel joy and happiness, and still love Tatum and Trevin as much as I did a year ago.  As I said before, those feelings are just hard to reconcile.
Tonight I went to my Child Welfare class.  I think it is going to be my favorite class because I really like the teacher.  He works for DCFS.  He has a great sense of humor and he just presents material really well.  At the end of class tonight he showed us a 13 minute on line video about Happiness.  I thought it was so uplifting and reminded me, again, that we absolutely have a choice in our happiness.  If you have a minute (or 13) google it and watch it.  You won't be disappointed.

It's on Ted.com and the presenters name is Shawn Achor

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ever So Grateful for Our Weird Perspective...

Well, we did it.  We got Halea off to college.  That sounds so strange.  I feel like I was able to hold my emotions together pretty well.  It came in little waves of sadness, but I was able to suppress them for most of the day.  Packing went pretty smooth and the ride up was fun.  All of the kids came, one rather reluctantly because after all it was "the last day of summer".  When they all came out to load in the van wearing their USU shirts, it made me smile.
We carried all of her belongings from home to her room and helped her get settled.  We got to meet her roommate and she was really cute and nice.
Her cute room....

 After we got her all settled we went and got something to eat and then we took her grocery shopping for a few more essentials, since she doesn't have a car.

 I kept having severe waves of sadness, thinking about just leaving her there.  We went and checked on a few last things and then we helped her bring in her groceries.  She walked out to the front of her building with us to say our good byes.  While she was holding Hilary, Hilary asked, "Can you take a picture of us (meaning her and Halea) so you don't forget me when I leave".  Well, that got the water works rolling.  It made me wonder if Hilary could understand that this leaving, this goodbye, this separation was not permanent like her separation with Tatum.  (at least for the rest of our stay here on earth)  It made me pretty sad for her because she is so little and doesn't quite understand everything having to do with time.   Halea took a minute to say goodbye to each of her sibs.  All of us were really crying by now.  I think even Lance and Hayden cried.  Unfathomable!  It was so hard to just leave.  I know that she will do fine.  It is just weird to not know where she is and what she is doing at all times.  Thanks to social media, we are still able to hear from her every day.  She is great at sending me silly snap chats and we text back and forth several times a day.  The other night I called her and everyone took a minute to talk to her.  Thanks goodness for that.  It's not quite like a mission, or death for that matter:)  She has been sending me cute pictures of all of the food she is making.  She is doing it.  She starts her real classes on Monday.  Fly girl, fly!!
Tuesday was the first day of school for all of the other kids, including Hilary.  Are you kidding me?  One to college, one to preschool all in 24 hours.  Rude.
Tuesday Hilary and I went to lunch with one of my friends and her son.  We were sitting across from each other and so were the kids.  I wasn't really listening to what they were talking about because I was talking to my friend.  All of a sudden Hilary stood up, put her hands on the table, leaned across the table and shouted "Halea did not die.  Tatum and Trevin died.  Halea went to college!"  Word.  He must have asked if Halea was gone or died.  That will teach him!  I guess that answers the question of whether she understands the difference between being gone for college and being gone forever.

That night we went to Lance's work party at Murray park.  Last year it seems like the party was just a few days after Tatum died.  We still went.  I don't know why.  So it was weird to be back there.  It is also the same park that we did a fundraiser for Mitochondrial disease a few years before we had Tatum.  It is just always a little strange to be back there.  It was weird to be without Tatum and now Halea.
On Wednesday morning Hilary and I got to go to a funeral.  I know I have said this before, but I really like to go to a good funeral.  Well this one was amazing.  I knew it would be because the parents of this sweet little baby were so together.  Their faith and foundation in the gospel was astounding.  They had a grateful attitude that just permeated where ever they were.  At the sign in book they had a little bowl of mints and chocolates, so of course the meeting was off to a good start for Hilary.  After the opening prayer there was a little bit of silence, just enough for people to hear Hilary announce, "eww this is dark chocolate, with a nut.  I don't want this mom".  Gotta love her honesty.  The lady next to me just smiled.  The funeral was beautiful, both parents spoke.  The father of the baby and his family (parents and siblings) all sang a beautiful  hymn acapella that was amazing.  You could tell that they used music as a very important means of worship in their home.  Then their sweet bishop got up to add a few closing remarks.  He said he felt that it was no coincidence that he had been called as bishop just the Sunday before, so he would be able to officiate at this service.  He then told us that he and his wife had lost a little baby eight years before.  He added some very appropriate comments that just added to the spirit of the meeting.  I left feeling so lucky to have attended such a spiritual feast.  To see people grateful and aware of blessings from Heaven, even amidst such difficult circumstances.  It was inspiring.  That night I asked Hilary if she wanted to bring me some books to read.  What book did she bring me?  The printed book of our blog.  We looked through several of the posts and looked at the zoo pictures.  After several pages she lost interest and took off.  I, however, read for several more pages.  There were things in there that I had totally forgotten.  It was so hard to read and remember how bad Tate's seizures were.  Poor little thing really suffered.  It broke my hear a little.  I wonder if I was willing her to stay just a little longer.  I so did not want to let her go, even though I knew how sick she was.  I just wanted more time.  I just wanted her to be near.  I still don't understand how my heart has continued to beat.  I was so grateful that Hilary brought me that book, so I could remember those tender feelings.
Thursday night was a girls night out event at one of the hospitals that I work for so I coerced my good friend into coming with me.
The keynote speaker was Todd Hansen.  If you have not heard of him, he does a show for KBYU called The Story Trek.  It is seriously such an intriguing show.   All he does is randomly knock on peoples doors and if they will let him in, he interviews them while filming.  Totally just a surprise encounter.  His mantra is "everyone has a story".  I could sit and watch hours and hours of his show.  I love to listen to the different stories.  They are just "ordinary" people, but you see that everyone has things that make them unique and that all of them have pivotal moments in their lives that put them on the path that they end up on.  It is cool to see how choices affect their stories.  His talk was super great and inspiring.  After the speaker we went and walked around the booths that they had set up with different vendors.  Along the way we saw lots of people we knew from work and from the community.  It was really fun.  We even got to meet the guys from this radio show that Halea listens to.  I had to get a picture and send it to her of course!

After the booths we got our food and sat down at a table.  As we were sitting there I recognized this lady that I knew from the hospital.  She had lost a sweet little baby girl about 4 years ago.  Sometimes in my work I meet people that I just really click with, personality wise and spirit wise.  She is one of those.  After Tatum died she came by to visit me.  She brought me the cutest "box of sunshine".  In it was the Hilary Weeks CD that I have completely obsessed over and worn out.  So she and her friend sat down and we were chatting.  Then she told me that she had a new baby.  I was so happy for her.  It is never good to end your family with a baby dying.  I feel like my arms will never stop feeling empty.  Then later she asked me if I knew of anyone who could do her hand mold.  I thought she was kidding.   When I realized she wasn't I told her that I could do it.  That I wanted to do it.   That I insisted on doing it.  She seemed shocked that I wanted to do it.  She said that it was so ironic that I would be here tonight because she had just googled that day to see if she could find someone to do her baby's hand mold because all of her kids have one, including her little girl that died, which I did for them.  Not a coincidence.  See, the Lord cares.  Even about the little things and concerns in our lives.  I think that is amazing.

Friday.  School Orientation.  Ugh.  Yeah, it's going to be as hard as I thought.  I know that we can do this, it's just going to take a lot of patience on all of our parts.  (this is where I hope that my family is reading my blog)  I had a little bit of anxiety going into the day.  The BSW program puts you in a cohort, which means that for the next two years I will be in the essentially the same classes with these same 53 students.  Which is going to be fun, but I started realizing about Thursday that we would probably have to do introductions of ourselves, team building exercises, etc.  I mean what else are they going to do with us for 5 hours!  And I was right.  The first "get to know you game" was one called I've Never.  Each person at the table gets 6 pennies.  You go around the circle trying to say something that you have never done, but you think that everyone else has done.  For example "I've never been to Disneyland".  That is something that you would assume most people have done, but if you haven't then that would be a way to get people to have to put a penny in the middle.  If you have done the thing that a person says they haven't you put a penny in the middle.  The last one holding a penny wins.  I was out in the first round.  I am way older than most of these kids and so I have done EVERYTHING!  It was funny to hear all of the things that people haven't done.  Maybe they were lying.  One lady said that she had never been to the beach.  What??  Luckily we just took our basic introductions from that information.  We were told to pair up with someone at our table and tell one or two facts about them from what we had learned.  So the girl I was paired with wrote down that I had been to Europe and the countries we went while we were there.  But randomly she asked me how many kids I had.  When I said 7 I think I saw her eyes pop out of her head.  When she did the introduction and said that I had 7 kids everyone in the room gasped.  It was pretty funny, and nice that I didn't have to give any further explanation.
As I was heading home I was feeling really overwhelmed.  When I pulled into the house I saw that the lawn hadn't been mowed, even though I had told Hayden that it needed to be done right when he got home.   Then I walked in the kitchen and saw a mountain of dishes and dirty counters.  I was really frustrated.  A little while later I was sitting at the computer trying to figure out my school books and I kept hearing a ball bouncing on the back of the house.  Our windows were open so I yelled to whoever it was to stop a few times.  A few minutes later Heidi came in hysterically crying.  I thought something terrible had happened.   She said, " I shattered our window".  Wow.  This day was quickly getting worse and worse.  I told her that I had said to stop bouncing the ball.  She said how sorry she was.  I told her that it was fine because this was a window that had a problem with it so it needed to be replaced anyway.  I just wish that she hadn't kept bouncing the ball.
By night time we were all pretty exhausted, but we had one more thing to go to.  Our orthodontist does a patient appreciation party every year at the Lindon pool.  And every year it rains and thunders and lightnings. I always feel so bad for them so I try and go and support.  We didn't go last year, so I felt like we really needed to go.  Heidi and Holden were not super excited to go, especially because it was windy and raining and cold out.  I loaded Hilary and the other two in the car and off we went.  The weather appeared to be better in Lindon when we got there.  We got inside and put our raffle tickets in the bucket.  We went straight to the cotton candy.  Just as we were going to try and find a spot to sit and possibly get in the pool their was lightning so they called everyone out of the pool and we had to stand by the building.  We waited for several minutes, the entire time I was wondering why I was staying.  This day was a bust, I should just go home.  Just then they announced that we would not be able to get in the water and they were closing the pool for the night.   They had several more prizes to raffle off so they started those as we were packing up to leave.  Just then they called Heidi Walker.  She won this adorable beach cruiser.  I was soooo happy for her.  Poor thing needed something good to turn her day around.  What a crazy day.  Thanks to the best orthodontist, SmilePerfect Dr. Arnold!

I am really grateful for the perspective that I have.  I do not love the way that I have earned it, but I know that it couldn't have been done in any other way.  I am grateful that I appreciate a good funeral, and that Hilary gets to feel that spirit too.  I am grateful for the strangely rewarding career that I have been a part of for 14 years.  I am so grateful for the amazing people that I get to be with, at the most devastating time in their lives.  It has profoundly changed me.  I am grateful to know that there are no coincidences.  I am forever grateful that my good friend encouraged me two weeks into Tatum's illness to write down our story.  I hope that I have done it justice and that our kids will read it and know of our love for our Savior and for all of the tender mercies that we received during that time and throughout our daily lives before and since.   I am grateful for my own story, even though it is not always comfortable to share

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Well, the day has finally arrived.  It is the eve of us bringing Halea up to Utah State to go to college.  A year ago when we went to Logan for the tour of the campus, this day seemed so far away.  How has it been a year since then?  So many changes since then.  It just doesn't seem fair that she is leaving just a little over a year after Tatum left.  That is too many chickens leaving the coop, if you ask me the mother hen!  It is just our nature, as moms,  to want to keep those little chicks under our wings, am I right?  I know that this is the day that we have been working towards, as parents, since she was brand new.  We want her to go out and learn and grow and succeed and explore and make a difference in the world.  It just seemed like that day was so far away, 18 years ago.

Halea was such a grumpy little baby and toddler, I wasn't sure how we would get along when she got older. I have been so lucky.  She has been a delight.  I remember when people would say that they loved their teenagers and I would remember myself as a teenager and I would think, "how?!".  Now I know.  She has been a great daughter, friend, big sister, lunch pal and example.

 Always the cons emit sister:

She has been by my side during one of the most difficult trials of my life.  She has been a pillar of strength during the past few years.  We have laughed and cried a million times together.  One of the things that I struggle with, is that I know that our relationship will never be quite the same.  I am sure in some ways it will get better.  It is just always sad to close a chapter in our lives.
Another struggle is that I know that bad things happen, despite your best efforts.  No one is exempt.  My mind wanders into the crazy thoughts of all of the bad things that could happen to her while she is away.  So I am trying to stop planning her funeral, cause that's just what you do when you know that kids die.
 I am so excited for her to go and make her mark on the world.  I am excited to see what she does with her life, I know it is going to be amazing.  I am trying not to be too dramatic because I know that I can still call her I can still visit her.  She can still be in family photos, which is not the case with my other two renegades!  I am grateful for those things.  It just comes down to, I am really going to miss her.  She is a really fun person to be around.
She finally got around to cleaning her room out YESTERDAY!  As she was, she found this "mission statement" that she had written when she was 13 years old.  It was so mature and amazing.  She has truly stuck to everything that she said.  It really amazed me.  I was so proud of who she knew she wanted to be when she was just 13, and the fact that she has really stayed true to that path.  It really says something for writing things down.
Exciting times are ahead for Halea.  I am excited to be a part of the ride.  Look out world!!

Last week I went to San Diego for my grandmas funeral.  My cousin and I decided that neither of us were going to bring our families, so we would share a hotel and car so it would be less expensive.  It really turned out to be such a fun weekend, even though it was centered around a funeral.  That sounds horrible.  I think that my grandma would have loved that my cousin and I were able to spend a lot of time together and get to strengthen our friendship and bond.  My grandma was 94 years old and she had fallen a few days before she died.  She was just rehabilitating for a few days before she was to go back to her assisted living room.  She was dancing and living it up in the rehab center.  One night she went to bed and just didn't wake up.  What a lucky duck.  I am grateful that she got to go out that way, no real suffering.

The first day in San Diego was our work day.  We went and cleaned out my grandmas assisted living room.  She was a complete minimalist so it was super easy.  It was neat to look through the things that meant something to her, the things that she had actually saved.

grandmas cute little room
Her desk, where she would take notes while we talked on the phone with her, so she could be sure to remember all of the things that we talked about.
My cousin accidentally showed up in a rental Camero!  Moms gone wild.
Day two:  I got a few days of running on the beach.  For some reason running on the beach is a lot funner than in the mountains at 5000 feet altitude.  Go figure?  Going to the beach and listening to the ocean, smelling the fresh air and enjoying the beauty all around truly saved my life while I was growing up.  When I was in High School I would go and just sit at the beach and contemplate life.  My soul still longs for that place.  It was a great recharge of my internal battery to be there and feel the peace that I feel when I am there.
Ice cream and boogie boarding (not pictured, you're welcome) at the beach.  Doesn't get any better than that...
Or does it.  That night we went to dinner at a restaurant directly on the beach.  The food was delicious.  The company was wonderful.  And the scenery, need I say more!
Day 3 involved a 6 dollar concert with my other cousin/step brother (long story) and his wife and my mom. Yep, doesn't get any better than a concert with your mom!  Counting Crows did not disappoint.
Sunday was nice and relaxing.  Monday was grandmas funeral.  It was a nice tribute to her and her life and legacy.  It will be strange to not see her or have our little conversations on the phone any more.  It is always, no matter how old, strange when someone you've known all your life is suddenly gone.  She had been around so long, I just never thought of her being gone. Rest in Peace grandma.

Tonight we took a Sunday drive to the hospital so I could pick up any shirt orders for our T-Time foundation hike on September 1st.  Several of the nurses bought shirts and some are coming to the hike. I hope that the weather is good and we can raise a lot of money to help families in need with funeral costs.  I drug everyone down because none of them had been down to see the "big" picture of Tatum that is now hanging on Labor and Delivery.  When we walked through the double doors Hilary looked up and said "Oh, Tatum".  It melted my heart.  She has stopped insisting that we pray for Tatum and Trevin to gain weight anymore.  She used to freak out if we didn't say it.  For the past month or so, if we forget, she doesn't say anything.  I say it anyway, but no one else usually does.  It makes me sad, but I have to let her do her grieving in her own way.  She has to be able to let go some of the hurt, and that's OK.  She is starting preschool in a few days, and I just had the thought that I had better tell the teachers about Tatum and Trevin so they don't think that she has imaginary friends or a strange understanding of death.
We went to Heidi's and Holden's back to school day a few days ago.  It is so hard to go places where some people know your story and others don't.  It's hard either way.  Some don't know what to say to you and others don't know what has happened to you.
I start school a week from Tuesday.  That will be another huge change.   I am not looking forward to some of the uncomfortable situations to come, but I have to be true to who I am.  Tatum and Trevin are a huge part of who I am, period. The reason I can go back to school right now is because Tatum is no longer here.  I hate that, but I have to honor that fact also.
I hope that there are no more big changes in our lives for awhile.  I am all about growth that comes from change, but I feel like I have grown all that I want to for now.  
Wish us luck for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We Are All the Pink Flower...

Do you ever feel like you are in a washing machine and you can't get out?  I feel a little like that these days.  I think if I can make it through August I can get out.  At least I hope.
We have had an eventful few weeks.
Holden got his braces off , at least for a little while.  He will get them back on probably in December.  He is enjoying his reprieve.

My niece and her family have been visiting from Switzerland.  A few months ago she said that she would love to help me make a quilt out of Tatum's clothes.  I was excited, but hesitant to think about cutting up her clothes.  I was so grateful for the offer and I know that she really just wanted to do something for us.  I had seen people do that with their kids clothes before so I knew that I would like it if I could just get past the letting go of her clothes.  I kept wanting to go through her clothes and figure out which ones I was going to be able to use, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Instead I waited til the morning she was coming.  That's about right for me.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to just open her drawer and touch her clothes.  As I started pulling out each sweet little outfit, memories started flooding my mind.  To touch them felt so strange.  How could she have worn these little tiny clothes.  She seemed so much bigger to me.  How could it have been over a year ago that I was able to get her dressed.  I tried to be brave and just dive into the looking.  It was hard not to relive every memory of her in her clothes.  Why such an attachment to clothes?  I came up with a pretty good pile of clothes that I felt I could use.  Some of them I decided to just use the backs so I could still keep the fronts of the shirts.   I decided that there was no way that I could cut up my favorite outfit of hers, or her Don't Bug Me jammies.  Luckily after Tates died I purchased every pair of pajamas and every little outfit that they had at WalMart.  I wasn't sure what I would do with them, but I just wanted them.  I donated a lot of the jammies, but I had several pair left over.  My niece was encouraged with the pile that I brought down.  But then I went through the stack again, and I wavered again on what I could part with.  We still came up with plenty for the project.  Before she got started I asked her if it was OK if we didn't do a quilt, but a pillow for each of the kids to have, that I could give them at Christmas time.    She liked the idea and so she got started on our secret project.  She put a lot of work in to cutting and pressing and organizing and sewing.  I just can't believe that she spent all of that time.  It was really fun to visit while she sewed.  I think that the pillow fronts turned out super cute.  I think the kids will be happy with them.

While we were going through Tater Bugs clothes we came across her cute Brobie shirt.  She wore this on one of her last days.  It should have been pretty big on her, but her poor little tummy was so swolen, it was almost tight on her.  I told Hilary that it was Tatum's shirt, but she insisted on putting it on.  She squoze herself right into it!  We got a good laugh out of it.  It was an 18 month size!

Hilary got her cast off.  It was a little traumatic.  The mesh inside had started to irritate her skin so it was sort of stuck to the skin, so the skin was really read and sore.  Poor little girl.  She tried to be brave, but I could tell it was really hurting her.  She was pretty upset in the office.  One of our doctors called us a few hours after we got home to check and see how she was doing.  fortunately she has little kid super healing skin.  Within a day she was bending it normally and using her arm as if she had never had a cast.

One day last week I decided to try and be a nice mom and take Holden and one of his friends to the last place in the world that I ever want to go to, Trafalga.  For those who don't know what this is, it is like the fun centers from the eighties.  They are over crowded, loud, smelly, filthy, over priced, run by teenagers, etc.  I brought Hilary to be my little buddy while Holden and his friend ran around and played games and laser tag.  They have a little play ground area that has slides and climbing things so Hilary decided to go there first.  As I walked in all I could see were strollers and babies everywhere.  I mean, this is Utah county, but this was ultra concentrated.  There were several mom's sitting there watching there kids.  I was sort of sitting next to a lady who tried a few times to make small talk.  I felt rude, but I was in no mood to make small.  I didn't want to answer questions about my kids or family, that seem to inevitably come up at places like this.  Why do people think they need to know all of this?  Some days I just don't want my story to be different.  But it is.  Hilary really wanted to go on this ride.  She looked like she was about to burst into tears, but she muscled through and over came her fears.  After she got off the first time, she waited a few minutes, but then she asked if she could ride it again.  That's my girl.

July has been ice cream month, so I have felt it was my patriotic duty to participate and fully commit to celebrating right.  It's almost like Costco knew it was ice cream month because they put all of their awesome ice cream bars on sale!! Curse them.  One day after a really hard day at the hospital I decided to splurge and get a shake from the hospital.  I don't think I have had one of their shakes since Tatum was sick.  Definitely the best shake I have had.  I finished every last drop!
This last Sunday our family visiting from Switzerland came and stayed over night with us.  On Sunday night we drove to the cemetery and walked around for quite awhile looking at headstones.  Normal right?  It was kind of them to show an interest in going to see their grave.  It was so much fun getting to visit with them all.  I wish that they lived closer.
I woke up with a bad feeling about Monday.  It was confirmed by 7:30am.  I got bit by our neighbor dog, who was on a leash!  They owners are very responsible dog owners, so I felt really bad for him.  It really shocked me because it happened so fast and then I was totally bleeding everywhere!   The rest of the day kept right in line with the beginning of the day.  
A few days ago Hilary got this getup on and asked me if she looked like a mom.  Yes, right down to the plastic high heels and wide opened mouth, head tilted to the side, hip slightly out!  she kills me.

a few months ago I  planted these pretty little flowers that someone gave us.  For the first little bit I thought these flowers would never make it.  They looked awful for a few weeks, and most of their flowers had sort of died.  I tried to baby them, give them extra water and just hope that they would be OK.  After a few weeks they really started to flourish.  Then a few days ago I went out to these pretty yellow flowers and found this?  A random pink flower.  Or is it random?  It was funny because I got so excited when I saw it.  I thought it was so cool and unusual.  It looked nothing like the other flowers, yet it was beautiful.  Some might have cut the pink flower out because it might mean imperffection, but it made me feel happy.  I think that I feel a little bit like this flower.  I am standing where there should be a lot of yellow flowers and I am the pink, alone and often isolated in my grief and pain.  I know that everyone feels and sees my differences and most times I don't want them to. Some days I just don't want my story to be different, I don't always want to be the pink flower.  The irony is that all of us are essentially the pink flower.  We all have parts of our stories that are hard and difficult and that we wish were different.  
We have had several boys in our neighborhood leave for missions, and come home from missions this past week.  It has been really hard for me.  I thought that it was probably just because it is hard to see other families get to be whole again after their son or daughter has been gone for two years.  Our family will never be whole, and that is hard to ever accept.  Then I started thinking that maybe it is because Trevin would have probably been coming home about this time from his mission.  But he is not coming home. I am always so happy to see these young men and women come home and see the changes in them, so I hate the feelings that creep into my mind.  I just miss my kids and I know that will never stop.  
I fly out to San Diego tomorrow for my grandmas funeral.  I am terrified of flying, and this time I am going alone.   Tonight I treated myself to a Haagen Daas ice cream bar just in case it's my last!  If I died tomorrow I would want people to know and remember a few things about me: I loved the Lord and had a testimony of His atoning sacrifice that worked miracles in my life every day.  That I know that I have never carried any of my burdens alone.  He has always been by my side.  That I loved my family beyond measure.  That I tried to have fun and live life to its fullest.