Thursday, April 11, 2013

Painting Eggs

 The big Jones Eggstravaganza happened without us this year. The theme was Animated Characters, so those are my remote contributions.

We also tried dying some with shaving cream and food coloring. We only did one for each kid because some people said it didn't work for them. It worked for us, though. I LOVE them.


 Ross tried to do a soccer ball, but it rolled in the read so he said it was because there was an unfortunate heading incident.

 All our finished beauties.

 He is so handsome!
 Jack's shaving cream egg.
It was a simple little thing at home that only took about an hour, but it was fun. I love to see the creativity growing in my kids. While we were painting Emma asked why we do this at Easter time. Ross taught them about the Resurrection and all about the symbolism of new life with the eggs, and at on point Emma said, "Wow. Every time I eat eggs now I will think about Jesus. That is pretty special."  It is very special, and so it that little girl.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt

 We made things a little more informal this year for Easter than we usually do. With the events of the weeks preceding the day combined with me not feeling well made us happy and content to just stay home and snuggle our kids on our own. Instead of multiple egg hunts at different locations we opted for a little one in our own backyard. The kids all picked out a bag of candy at the store and then helped me load up all the eggs. They loved helping with this. It was really cute.
 Luke loved just crawling around outside. He ate lots of dirt and grass, but he was having so much fun that we just couldn't bear to stop him.

 Mr. Leo really wanted to join us and stared wistfully from the window.

 After the first hunt the kids got to eat the candy out of two eggs each, and then Emma took a turn hiding all the eggs. After that hunt they got to eat the candy out of two eggs and then Sara took a turn hiding all the eggs. Do you see a pattern here? The loved this!

It was much more simple and quiet than most years, but it was really fun and I was so happy to just have some time alone with the people I love most in the whole world.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Host Ladies Night

We read the Host in Book Club a couple of years back, so we just HAD to go and see it all together. I love these ladies so very much!

Back Row From Right to Left: Jenny Gillette, Debbie Perkins, Sheri Jenkins, Tracy Schroeder, Katie Miller, and me
From Row: Emily Westphal and Autumn Bohman

We started the night at Coldstone where we all had BOGO free coupons so everyone paid half price. We are savvy saving mamas like that. We then headed over to the theater, and were there in time for the 10:00pm showing on opening night. Yes, that said 10:00 pm. We were those kind of fans. Actually, it was just the only night that worked with all of our schedules since there was Easter and other things like that to work around. It was a late night, and I am definitely not as young as I used to be, but it was still a lot of fun.
 At one point there was a kissing scene that had a lot of people in the place giggling. It wasn't out of immaturity, but because it was actually kind of funny in the story. The lovely specimen in the red shirt in that picture took some offense to Emily's giggling. I guess he takes his chick flicks very seriously because he started YELLING at her at the top of his lungs to shut up and threatened to force her to pay for his ticket. It was ridiculous and kind of scary. We all told him to calm down, and then people from all over the theater yelled at him to stop ruining their movie because then he would have to pay for all of their tickets. It was a sad part of this fun night, and I feel really bad for the girl who was his date. I would have been mortified and upset. It would have been one thing if she had been the only one laughing and was at all disruptive, but she really wasn't.

All in all it was a fabulous night that ended with Autumn dancing like a crazy person in the parking lot. I got a video of it, but I don't know how to load it from my I-Pod to the computer...

Monday, April 08, 2013

All By Himself, and So Proud of It

 Yes, we did go out in public like this. I couldn't bear to correct his hard work.

Playdoh Creation

 Sara got some playdoh from her pre-school class and she made this lovely bunny with eyes and a pearl necklace made from Kix cereal. She was so proud of it and begged me to take a picture.
 I was in bed with a migraine, so that is why it is so dark. Sometimes I get very vampiric.
Having creative kids really is a lot of fun!

Pirate Party!

 Sara got invited to a fun pirate themed party one day, and came home looking like this. We gave her a quick shave before we headed out on errands, but she wears that bandana all the time now!

Tender Mercies: Sacred Music Edition

My uncle Jay called me the day of the South Dakota funeral and asked me to play the flute for the musical number that all the cousins would be involved in for the Orem funeral. They wanted two of Madison's flute playing friends in the area to join me, so I got to work figuring out how to get three flute parts to sound good with the piano accompaniment that I had to work with all without overpowering a crowd of sweet little voices. The children, mine included, sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me". Annika and Jenna (Madison's sisters) sang a solo on the last verse. It was so sweet. The whole thing. I cried. The words are so fitting of this situation and were a wonderful tribute to the way she lived and died. Whenever Jack hears it he says, "That's Madison's song!" I think that is how we will all think of it from now on.

Anyway, it was a little uncomfortable calling up strangers and taking charge of something so important and I really wanted to do it well. I hope it turned out the way they wanted.

The other request made by Lara for the funeral was to have some French horns accompany the last song, God Be With You Till We Meet Again. They didn't know anyone in the area who plays, but I do, or at least I knew of a couple of people who do. I asked Mr. Lemen, my high school band director if he could give me a few names. He went above and beyond that request. He is wonderful and I am so grateful for him. He put together a wonderful group of seven players, and even brought stands to the church on the morning of the funeral. He had a crazy busy day, but went out of his way to get it ready and to find me to give me a big hug that morning. It meant so much to me, and the horns were incredible.

I thanked him for his help and he told me that he remembered the support he had received when his father had died, and he wanted to repay that help since he somewhat knew the pain our family was going through. Such a good man. I am blessed with amazing friends. I am so happy that I had a connection that came through so amazingly well to make the day really special. The feeling in the room when all those horns started playing was exciting and touching. The most amazing thing about it all to me was that none of those people knew Madison, or me. They were strangers who had been touched by her story and all of them said that they felt honored to be a part of the day in this special way.

The other musical moment of this funeral that still touches my heart came from a youth choir. Ryan Eggett is something of a musical genius, and he directs an elite choir for the UVU institute called the Latter Day Celebration Choir. He is also in the bishopric of the ward Madison's family was in when they lived here in Utah. He had them come in and perform "I Will Rise", and it was one of the best musical numbers I have ever been privileged to hear in my whole life. That is not an exaggeration.

I have been involved in music since I was 11, and I am pretty good. I have been part of some amazing ensembles, and I have been privileged to attend concerts and recitals of even more amazing groups, and I can only think of a couple of numbers that have ever touched me as deeply as this one. The choir is amazing, and I don't want to take anything away from them, but surely there were angels there with them. Mere mortals could not have made such an impact on so many people. The song was uplifting and comforting and full of the pure doctrines that we all needed to be reminded of.

This is a recording someone took on their phone of the performance. I am grateful someone thought to do that. She missed the first of the song, but she said the minute she heard them singing she knew she had to find a way to save it.

This is a professional recording that they did with Alex Boye.

I listen to one of the recordings on a daily basis, and sometimes it doesn't even have anything to do with this tragedy. The song has become something of an anthem for me. It renews in me a dedication to work harder and to have more hope. It instills in me an enthusiasm for service and righteousness. It is a prayer to God to help me be better than I am now and a declaration that I will do what he asks of me so that I can have the peace and assurety that the words of the song portray. That performance has changed my life.

The day was really hard, and yet there were some really beautiful moments as well. I imagine that the ache I felt as I watched Jay and Lara bid farewell to their sweet daughter before they closed the casket for the last time will haunt me forever, especially as a mother. I know that Annika's solemn voice when I hugged her to say how much I had missed her and she answered, "I miss my sister." will linger for a while. There were a lot of efforts made to bring comfort and love to the family, and they were all so gratefully received. The cranes I know were especially touching to Lara, and rightly so. They are so lovely. For me, the music on that day served as my balm in Gilead.

There are a lot of things that I don't understand in this world, and a lot of those uncertainties have re-arisen from this experience. However, this terrible tragedy has also helped to cement my surety of other important truths. The music of that day, the music that I know Madison would have thoroughly enjoyed, was a sweet reminder those things.

Whenever we hear any of those three songs, I will be reminded of Madison which means I will be reminded of something tender and painful. That being said, I will also be reminded of purity, service, love, and the Eternal nature of life and temple sealings.

I am grateful for sacred music.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Funeral Pictures

 I'm not quite ready to write all my thoughts and feelings about the amazing funeral that was put together for Madison, so instead I will document these pictures and I will try to gain the courage and the right words to express my feelings in the best way possible later tonight.

These are out of order as I stole them from different sources.
 The graveside service was cold, snowy and solemn. There was a moment, however, as the grave was dedicated when the sun came through the clouds and warmed us all. It was lovely and brought some much needed smiles.
 This is Erica. She is Madison's best friend. She played the flute during the funeral with me and gave a really touching talk about her friendship with Madison.

 This about broke my heart all over again. I can't even imagine.

 This was at the luncheon after the graveside service.

 Her favorite color is purple.

 Madison loved origami and folded amazingly intricate figures all the time. She loved to give these as little gifts to people around her and often taught others how to do the same. The kids at her high school worked to fold 1,000 origami cranes in her honor. We strung them together to display at the funeral, and Lara says she will always find a place in their homes to display them. It was really beautiful and so fitting.

 Corbyn and Garrett. I am really proud of Corbyn and the way he has been trying to support his family through this tragedy. He is growing into a very impressive young man.

 Madison always made home made gifts. This bear is one she made for Garrett for Valentines Day.

 She loved the French Horn so Lara wanted some horns to play with the closing song at the funeral, but she didn't know anybody here. I asked my high school band director, with whom I have styed in contact with through the years if he could help me find some. He found 7 for me, and they were amazing. It was so touching and Emma says she wants to learn to play the French horn now. I am so grateful to Paul Lemen for helping me with this. It means the world to me and to Jay and Lara.

 The park where Madison died has these displayed right now. They went back on Easter to see them and to pay tribute to Madison. I think this is so amazing. God really has found some beautiful ways to send comfort to these grieving souls.

 Allen can always bring a smile to people's faces. I love that about him.
 This is while the sun was still shining. I know she was there in that picture.

 Saying a temporary goodbye for the last time. I am so grateful for the gospel and the comfort it brings. This was so hard, but I know that they know it wasn't a forever farewell, and that is a beautiful truth.

While this whole day was filled with a lot of grief, there were also a lot of smiles and laughter, and I find that so fitting. It was a strange day of sorrow and loss interspersed with joy and love. Lots of love. The love of a sister and daughter. The love of parents. The love of God. The love of strangers that hits deep as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Love is what this is all about, and I hope nobody who was there that day ever forgets that.