Wednesday, April 8, 2015


This is a post that I started a long time ago (July 2014) and wish I had written about it them because I am sure my emotions then would have given me better insights. Oh well, I guess my memory will have to do. These pictures were taken on a day that we decided to be silly but a day that was also heavy. I had been feeling that we needed to be sillier in our home and laugh more. Sometimes I let the daily grind get to me and forget to just laugh with my kids so I don't exactly remember what started it but I showed my kids chin faces. 

And of course they loved it. We seriously laughed and laughed until Russ did something that hurt his back and then we had to take a break. 
Lou also tried taking a bottle. It was short lived though. she has hardly taken a bottle since. 
That evening we had a few people from our ward congregation gather at our home for a small memorial service of sorts about a friend of ours who had passed away. Russ was her home teacher and spent a lot of time serving and helping her and we enjoyed getting to know her and her dog Thor who we babysat a few times. 

At the service the kids sang the Gethsemane Song. It is about Christs saving atonement and it was something they sang nearly everyday we went to visit her while she was on hospice for about 2 weeks. Then people took turns speaking about Pam and memories they had of her. William wanted to say something and did. I was proud of him for having the courage to do that in a room full of adults, no other children came, and because he wasn't flowery or fake. He spoke from him heart about his experiences with Pam, about her greeting us at church (when we were on time), about dog sitting Thor, and about how kind she always was to him. 

I found this picture on the chalk board the next day. Gracie drew it and had many sweet emotions about Pam and the service we had for her. I added some pictures from Russ' phone of a couple times that we went to visit her. She was on hospice for about two weeks without eating or drinking. She was basically unresponsive except that she seemed to try to open her eyes when we would come and talk to her. We figured she could hear us so we talked to her and sang to her. Russ went to see her everyday and the kids and I went most the time with him. The kids loved going to visit her. It was sad after the first visit they asked when she would be coming home and we explained what hospice was and that she wouldn't be coming home. A lot of tears were shed but every visit after that they seemed at peace with what was happening and wanted to help her feel calm and peace in the last days and hours of her life. 

You can't really tell in this picture but we would hold Louise up to her and she would happily squeal and wave her arms and kick her feet. We even brought her dog Thor to go see her because he was her baby and all she had in the world it seemed. He didn't seem to recognize her but we hope that she felt comfort in knowing he was there and that he would be taken care of. Another sweet friend Dinah has taken him and he has a happy home with her other dogs. 
It was a good experience for me because it is a foreign thought that one would die without being surrounded by family, but I know that is the case for many people in the world. I am glad we got to be her family and I hope we provided some comfort. But the thought of not even having a funeral or anything was too hard for us to take, we knew we had to do something to remember her and hope that she felt love. But I take comfort in knowing that when she left this body she felt more love from than we could give her from someone who loves her more than we ever could. 
I know that death is not the end. I know that. I haven't been through it myself yet, but I was by my Grandmother when she died and that experience and ones I have had with her since help me to know that it is not the end. She has not appeared before my eyes but to my spirit. I have felt the love, guidance, and help from all of my grandparents who have passed on and feelings of the spirit are stronger that if I had seen it with my own eyes. At Louise's birth I was much more in tune with my spirit and so were others that were present. My photographer Tiffany mentioned that my bedroom during the birth was full and I felt it. There were family members there that we could not see, but feel there to welcome Louise into this life and when my Grandma passed away there were others there to usher her out. It is a beautiful experience, really. And I am grateful that we got to experience it with Pam. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015


When I was in 6th grade we had a 1st grade buddy class, you know, that you would go and do activities and crafts with every so often. When we went for the first time my class stood in a line and the 1st graders got to come up one by one and pick their buddy. There was a boy named Sam that I could tell was different and they said that he would have a teachers aid for a buddy, but while the other kids were picking buddies he got up as well and came over and grabbed my hand and led me back to his desk. They let me be his buddy. 
That led to me learning what autism was and me being his and his brothers babysitter. And eventually that led to me becoming a hab and respite worker for people with special needs when I turned 18. I lost contact with Sam and his family after I went to high school but one day on instagram someone posted that Sam would be at the Gilbert farmers market selling his art work. 
And he remembered me! I was touched and so happy to see him and Renata (his mother) again. 
We even had them come over to swim and it was so fun to see him interacting with my kids. 
I got cards of a lot of his paintings. He was always a great artist even as a small boy. I love his paintings and a print of the Gilbert water tower is hanging in my home. 
I am so glad I ran into them again. They had such a big impact on my life and I learned so much from them. It was wonderful to see them again.

William Lately

Family Pictures 2014

One of the reasons our Christmas cards looked so great was because I made the wise decision to have the talented Brittany Gurr take our pictures. I loved them all so much and had such a hard time picking favorites. 

She kept the mood so light and the kids laughing. Taking family pictures is usually so frustrating but it wasn't too bad this time. There are some genuine smiles going on here.

Oh my goodness, I love these kids. 

William looked far too much like a teenager here. It made me glad that he still likes to play and use his imagination. And give me kisses and hugs. I would be okay if he never grows out of that.

This sweet face kills me. He has the cutest voice (when he isn't whining, because then it is the exact opposite of cute) and says the cutest things.

And this cute curly girl picked all her poses and cracked me up. She is such a sweetheart.

And little Lou has pretty much been the center of our world for the last year. What would life be like without her?

Sweet sisters

And this guy? I like him a lot. When he is at work I think about him all day wishing he were there so I could talk to him about whatever I am thinking about. I love smart phones so I can easily send him messages, photos, and videos. 

I had Brittney crop the last two pictures because they are so good of Gracie and capture her personality better than any picture I have ever seen of her. She is just a whirlwind of happiness and fun.

I love this family of mine. They teach me so much and forgive me so much and I love them something fierce. 


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