Thursday, January 02, 2014

Sara's Bowling Party

 Sara was invited to a birthday party at the bowling alley, and she was very excited about it. When I went to pick her up, I saw that Mrs. Bennett, Emma's teacher was there as her daughter was also invited to the party. I grabbed Emma out of the car when I saw her because she had been on maternity leave for a bit, and I knew Emma would be thrilled to see her and her new baby.

 This is Sara's cute friend, Courtney.
 While we waited for the party to wind down, the boys and I played around in the arcade.
It was a fun little spot, but Emma was disappointed at not being able to bowl. We promised her we would come back at another time with the whole family.

Cancer Is Stupid and I Hate It

So, the last time I fell desperately behind in my blogging, it was because there was something traumatic happening that I was not ready to write about and record. A similar circumstance has kept me from coming here these past couple of months, but here I am all caught up again, and ready to delve into some hard stuff.

This is Rex and Jeni, my wonderful brother and sister-in-law. They are both amazing examples of strength and faith, and have had ample opportunities to prove both of those things. Right now they are again a beacon of light and strength, and while I am grateful to have such stalwart leaders show me just what a real relationship with the Savior can do, I sure wish it wasn't coming at such a high cost.

For the third time, Jeni is facing breast cancer, and this will be her final battle. This was her post in Facebook on the day we found out: We are finding out how to ride the cancer rodeo again - Utah style! Which means yesterday I went to the doctor looking for relief from some pain and found out that my old cancer came back and spread to my liver, starting liver failure. Went to the Huntsman today and started our plans, which include an endoscope of my liver area and chemo starting again on Monday, (unless I get translated with the Primary on Sunday during our Primary Program). If you are looking for something specific to pray or send positive thoughts to I am most worried about my liver and kids/Rex... I want to add I appreciate the help we have gotten so far, it means so much when dealing with this shock!

She has hung in there for a couple of months now, and we have tried to help and visit whenever possible, but there is so little we can do in this kind of circumstance. If you would like to know more or find ways to help and support them, you can go to her cancer website: It is filled with inspiration, stories about her, updates on her condition, and ways that they can be helped. 

Ever since we were dating, Ross and I have had this habit of filling silent moments with the question, "What are you thinking?" It has always been a way to get conversation going again, and can be a fun way to illustrate the random way our minds work. We don't ask that question anymore right now because the only thing that has been on our minds in those quiet moments for these two months is Jeni. How is Jeni doing? How can we help? How are the kids doing? How can we help Rex? 

I love this family so much, and I am devastated that they are facing such a horrible trial. All of my prayers are for her to be comforted from her pain, and to send strength to her husband and children. I have been so supported by some really amazing people as the news has gotten out. I have some people in my neighborhood who have sadly faced the trial of losing a spouse or a parent in their youth. As these people have learned the news, they have sent me suggestions and ideas on what I can do to help and what they might be possibly needing. These suggestions have been incredibly helpful, and have been another sign to me that God really is in charge.

I don't know why this is happening. I do not like that Jeni is being taken from us so soon. It doesn't make sense and it doesn't seem fair. Despite all of my sadness and anger, however, it has been abundantly clear through many different things pertaining to this situation that God really is in charge, is very much aware of what is happening, and most importantly, loves us all so very much. Moments of comfort and love are abounding and no amount of stamping my foot and begging Him to change His mind has stopped me from believing in Him and recognizing His hand in these affairs. I pray that His influence will remain as we try to help Rex and his kids carry on in the months and years to come. I don't know what to do or how to do it, but I pray to be led and inspired so that I can play my part well in what is coming.

I add my plea here to Jeni's in her Facebook post: If you are looking for a cause to send your prayers and good wishes to- let it be to her and her family. Pray for her to be in comfort during her last days. Pray for her children to remember her as a pillar of strength and love and to cling to the gospel and their father for strength. Pray for her husband to find a way to carry on in his stalwart and quietly strong fashion. Pray for them to feel love, because it truly is the greatest and most powerful force on Earth because it didn't originate on Earth, but in Heaven.

Moms and Muffins

 Sara's Kindergarten class had a Moms and Muffins day so they could have a fun brunch of muffins and show us some of the things they have been learning in their class. It was really cute, and I was glad I could be there.

Got My Hair Did

I got my hair done. I never do this, so it was kind of a big deal. I like it a lot although it is a lot darker than I had anticipated, and the bangs still make me feel like I am wearing a wig. Ross says it fulfills his X-Men Phoenix fantasy, so I guess he likes it.


 We got some coupons from some friends to get free admission for our kids to Cornbelly's. We took advantage of that on November 2nd. I don't know that it is something we would ever do without coupons again, but the kids had fun. Honestly, Ross and I were both kind of sick at this point, so it might have been more fun had we not been so miserable. We got to watch a big pumpkin drop, collected some booty from the candy cannon, and saw all the venues the kids wanted. I think it was smart to go after Halloween as a lot of people were over this event or forgot that it was still there. It was nice not having too big of a crowd.
 Rubber Ducky Racing
The cow train.

 The Spider Net
 The kids all loved the big wood structures throughout the park. The train, bus, tractor, carriage and all the others were way more exciting to them than even the train ride. I love how easily pleased they are and how vivid their imagination is.
Pumpkin bowling. We grabbed some lunch on the way home and finally slowed down for a little bit.

Trunk or Treat

 The girls' school had their Harvest Carnival the day after Halloween. We signed up to man the Trunk or Treat during the event so we could rack up some of our mandatory service hours. The spirit day at school allowed the kids to come in their favorite sports jerseys. They didn't have any, so they borrowed some of my shirts to show their Cougar spirit.
Ross met us there when he got off of work and took the kids to all the other fun things while I pretended not to steal candy out of the bucket. It was a fun event, but I sure was happy to get home and rest after that. It had been a very long and busy week, and we were ready for some quiet days.

Sara Surprises- Back on track for November!

Sara is one of the sweetest people I have ever known. She actively goes out of her way to help people and likes to make them smile. When people are hurting or upset, she gets upset as well and wants desperately to find a way to help them. She leaves little notes and gifts for people all over the house. We find them in the bathroom, backpacks, the cars, at the table in our seats, and other such places. Whenever she gets a treat from school, church, or piano lessons she makes sure she finds a way to share with her siblings.

One day when I came home from carpool in the morning, I found this lovely little note from her on my pillow. It made me laugh and smile and really brightened a strange morning. I love this little girl so much.

I have, however, worked with her on how to spell our last name since then.


I don't even know where this is from, but it made me smile when my mom posted it. I love my dad for a lot of reasons, but one of the most meaningful to me right now is how much he loves being a grandpa. He is so sweet with my kids and tries to show them how much they mean to him when he sees them.

Visiting Madison's Grave

This is from Memorial Day. We made sure we saw Madison's grave and decorated it in purple flowers. Her family was still in South Dakota, and we knew they would so want to be there, so we paid a proxy visit. I miss her.

Missing Sam

My family's dog died back in May. She was sick for a while before she passed. She had lost a lot of weight, but seemed like she was finally starting to feel better. Sadly, the next morning they woke to find her gone. A grave was dug for her in the garden near Kate. I think Heather took it the hardest as she was the closest to this dog.

Dana Went to Prom

 Dana went to prom! These are from back in May. I love posting these partly because I love my sister, but also because I like showing my girls how beautiful and class you can look while still being modest. I sure love her good example to them.

Heather's Birthday

 Caulene made Heather a Tardis to put on her requested cheesecake.

 The kids and I went shopping for her gifts before we went over for the celebration. Ross was in Texas at the time, so this was one of our fun activities.

 They picked out this cute sign because they know how important her friends are to her.
 I picked this for her not just because it has orange which she loves, but because it completely encapsulates who she is and how she handles things that come her way.
 An orange shirt and an orange purse/bag thing rounded out their thoughtful offerings.

They sure like their aunts. I am glad we got to come and spend time with them before we took off to Texas to meet Ross a few weeks later.

Caulene's Graduation

 I was about to move on with November when I found a bunch of pictures that had not been blogged yet. So- now we get to go back in time again. Are you excited? These are from Caulene's graduation in May. She worked so hard to get to this point, and we were so proud of her.

This is Caulene and her best friend, Socorro. They graduated on the same day, but from different programs. Caulene graduated from the culinary program.
 All the sisters. This is while Ross was in Texas, and I had a pretty big headache from running around to school stuff that whole day. I was so happy to be there for her, though.

 Caulene, her husband, Daniel, and her requested graduation gift.
 She is such a good aunt!
 After the commencement ceremony, we headed to my mom's house for steaks as per the grad's request.

 Luke, who was still a red head at this point, enjoyed some bananas instead of steak.

I love you, Caulene. I am so glad we got to share this special moment with you.