Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm sure it seems like I've fallen off the face of the earth, but, for the moment--I'm back (until the next time I go a month without blogging anything!!!) I'm always full of good intentions, but sometimes they don't get me anywhere.
I can't believe how much my life has changed in the short month that it's been since I've written. I've learned some valuable life lessons and hope that I can become a better mom, sister, daughter, wife, and friend because of the things I've experienced. I think THE most important thing I've learned is to make sure that the ones you love KNOW that you love them. I've found that I hug and kiss my kids more throughout the day. I've always been very affectionate with all of them, but now it has taken on a whole different meaning. I squeeze them a little tighter for no reason, and tell them I love them so many times a day that I think they get sick of hearing it. I guess because of everything that happened with my sister Joleen, that just in case something does happen to me (or them) they will always know how much I love them. Our family has cried so many tears during this past month and it still feels like a nightmare we should be waking up from any minute. My mom has probably had the hardest time of all --it has been so hard to not know the right words to say to her. We still don't have a lot of answers as to what happened to Joleen and I think my mom is struggling with the "why". One of my niece's friends made us a copy of a DVD of Joleen's life and we've been grateful to have that. Joleen's two daughters made all of us a quilt from the nurse's scrubs Joleen used to wear. They cut all of the different scrub tops into squares and then pieced them together. It is one of the neatest gifts I've ever received and it will be something I'll cherish forever.
So, while I'm on all of the "bummer" news, Russ got laid off a couple of weeks ago. I've decided that 2009 sucks and I'm ready to fast forward to 2010 where hopefully things will look better. We didn't see his layoff coming and we really wish they had let us know that it was a possibility a few months ago BEFORE we closed on a new house. I know we would have made some different decisions if we had seen this coming. We'll be ok for a few months with my job and his unemployment checks, but we hope it doesn't take too long for him to find a steady job! Right now I have the best house-husband that a woman could ever want. He jokes every morning that it's time to wake up and put his apron on while I go out and be the breadwinner. He has been so good about keeping the house clean, doing dishes, DUSTING, folding laundry, organizing our garage, mopping floors, COOKING DINNER, etc. I have already gotten spoiled by all of the extra help he has given me. He has helped ease some of the daily stress I feel. It's been nice to come home from work and actually get to spend more quality time with my family. It is still hectic on nights that Kelsey has gymnastics, but I think she only has a month left before they take a break for the summer. Russ has said several times that he now has a whole new appreciation for working moms and stay-at-home moms because he had never realized how endless the laundry pile is, or how the house looks messy 10 minutes after straightening it up or where the stack of dishes came from or.... Logan has already gotten spoiled by all of the extra time he is spending with his daddy! We had to take him back to the babysitter for 1 day last week while Russ got some paperwork filled out, and she said she could tell he'd been getting extra love from dad. Anyways, Russ has a good attitude and we're hoping that things will turn around and that everything will be ok. I can't imagine losing our house after we worked so hard to finally get into it!
Now, since all of the nasty news is out of the way, I'll try to catch up on all of the good and/or fun things that we've been up to...
Kelsey turned 5 in January. I look at her sometimes and feel like I should still be looking at my little baby. I can't believe how fast she is growing up on me. She may be 5 now, but she already acts like she is 16. She seems so smart and mature for her age-- I am definitely in for it!!! She has such a sweet, loving personality but knows how to kick in some attitude when necessary! Her birthday is always an extra special day because she was born on my dad's birthday, and we've created some fun traditions together since she was born. My poor dad has had to endure princess cake after princess cake, but this year Kelsey spared him and chose Wall-E. It turned out really cute. Russ and I deserved the "Parents of the Year" award because we actually got her a kitten as one of her birthday presents. She's been begging for one forever, but we kept telling her we had to wait until we had our own house. Russ hates cats and I am SOOOO allergic to them, but we have her in our unfinished basement and plan to stick her outside after it warms up a little. We named her Hannah (guess who she's named after?!?!) but Dyllan HATED the name and calls her Miley instead. The poor cat is probably confused! She is a sweet cat and seems to like it with us. I adopted her from the pound, so I guess her life is better than the path she was headed down. To celebrate her birthday (and mine) we went to St. George and ate at Red Lobster and then went miniature golfing. Dinner was yummy!!! It was a little chilly while we were golfing, but we had a lot of fun! I ALMOST won, but choked at the end! Russ, Dyllan and I get pretty competitive when we play these kind of things, so I was really hoping I could earn the bragging rights....oh well--there's always next time!!!
Unfortunately, a few days after Kelsey's birthday is always my birthday and I've gotten to where I don't look forward to them anymore! It's alot more fun to celebrate hers!!! We were in the process of moving into our new house so we didn't really get the chance to celebrate.
We went camping last month (yes--REAL camping!!!) in a tent. We bought an older, used trailer last fall but haven't had the chance to fix it up yet, so we still had to "rough it"! We went to the Valley of Fire in Nevada. We started the tradition a few years ago and now look forward to our annual trip. The weather is usually pretty good there this time of year. It helps us get over our winter "blahs" and helps get us through until the weather warms up in Cedar. We had fun hiking on the trails and climbing on the rocks. Russ always does most of the cooking when we camp so it ends up being a nice break for me.
Russ and I spent a day at Brian Head snowboarding for his birthday (sorry- no pictures of this one!!! I'm sure you needed a good laugh!!! We took the camera with us but never remembered to use it!). I am definitely out of shape! It's been two years since we've been up there and I had forgotten about 98% of the muscles I had to use. Hopefully the next time won't be quite as rough!!! I almost cried on the last run of our day because I hurt so bad. I remember asking Russ if snowboarding was supposed to be fun or just torture, because it felt more like torture than anything!!! I think next time we go up I'm going to let Russ and Dyllan board while I ski!!!
One of Russ' cousins got married in Logan last weekend so we drove up there for that. We had a really fun weekend and it was nice to get away! We went to a local zoo that was practically abandoned because of winter time. We tried to plan several fun things for the kids to do, but, shocking as it may be, their favorite part was swimming in the pool at our motel. Logan swam for his first time and loved it!!! He was so cute. The pool water was a little cold, but the hot tub became his splash zone! I woke up with the flu on the morning we had to drive home, so I'm sure you can imagine what a pleasant ride that was for everybody. Oh well. I guess everyone had some good laughs at my expense!!!
Wow. Was that a novel or what? I'm sure I skipped over a hundred things, but I tried to highlight the more interesting? or fun activities that we've been up to.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You know she's a true friend when...

She lets you call her at all hours of the night crying...
She offers to watch all 3 of your kids and get them to school and to the babysitter so that you can sit at the side of your sister's hospital bed...
She packs you a backpack full of goodies, coloring books, puzzles, reading books, stuffed animals. and other miscellanious items to keep you and your kids busy during the countless hours spent in the hospital...
She sends a vase of flowers to the ICU waiting room to brighten the area and let everyone know she is thinking of them...
She comes and uses her elbow grease to help you scrub showers and (gross) TOILETS at your old rental house so that you can be out by the end of the month and actually start enjoying your new home...
She lets you have a Superbowl party at her house since the housewarming party/Superbowl bash at your new house got cancelled/postponed due to the death of a loved one...
She's a good sport when the two of you get stranded in St. George and are forced to have a "girl's weekend" whether she wanted one or not...
She knows how to make you laugh even when you are in a horrible mood...
The list could go on and on, but Trecia, I just wanted to give you a public shout-out and say thank you for EVERYTHING!!! You have been amazing and I love you to pieces!!! You'll never know how much your love and support has meant to me!
Helen Keller said it best..."Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Forever in our hearts...

Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never, ever the same.
Some people come into our lives
and quickly go...Some stay for awhile
and embrace our silent dreams.
They help us become aware
of the delicate winds of hope...
and we discover within every human spirit
there are wings yearning to fly.
They help our hearts see that
the only stairway to the stars
is woven with dreams...
and we find ourselves
unafraid to reach high.
They celebrate the true essence
of who we are...
and have faith in all
that we may become.
Some people awaken us
to new and deeper realizations...
for we gain insight
from the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Throughout our lives we are sent
precious souls...
meant to share our journey
however brief or lasting their stay
they remind us why we are here.
To learn...to teach...to nurture...to love
Some people come into our lives
to cast a steady light
upon our path and guide our every step
their shining belief in us
helps us to believe in ourselves.
Some people come into our
lives to teach us about love...
the love that rests within ourselves.
Some people come into our lives
and they move our souls to sing
and make our spirits dance.
They help us to see that everything on earth
is part of the incredibility of life...
and that it is always there
for us to take of its joy.
Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never, ever the same.
Without a doubt, this has been one of the worst weeks of my life. It still feels like a nightmare that I can't wake up from. While I was sitting by my sister's bedside, it seemed so surreal to have her lying there unresponsive--I wanted to reach over and shake her so she would wake up and talk to me! I wished she could open her eyes so she could see me there with her and hear me tell her how much I loved her. I can only pray that her spirit was in the room with me so that she knew the things I wasn't able to tell her before she passed on. My heart and mind are filled with so many regrets of things I didn't do for her or say to her. I wish I could go back in time, even just a week or two, and make sure the last time I saw her that I hugged her good-bye and told her I loved her.
Although this week has been horrible for everyone in my family, it has drawn us closer together and made our love stronger for each other. We spent many, many hours together in the ICU waiting room, laughing and crying over happy memories that we have shared as a family. We were able to look at photo albums and remember happier times. It's hard to imagine what our future family reunions, camping and fishing trips, holidays, and other family events will be like without Joleen there. She was a special member of our family and things will never be the same.
For those of you that I haven't talked to and explained how everything took place, I'll give you a summary of what took place...
Tuesday morning, the neurologist told us that things were not looking good. He said that Joleen wasn't showing any signs of trying to wake up. Her brain wasn't controlling even the "simplest" of functions such as her heart rate and blood pressure. Even with the medications they were giving her, those functions were fluctuating up and down at dangerous levels. He also explained to us that the swelling in her brain was something she wouldn't be able to recover from. I've heard stories from other people where they were able to reduce the swelling in the brain by drilling a hole into the skull to relieve fluid and pressure and I had wondered why they weren' t doing that to Joleen to see if it would help. Dr. Klein explained that they do that in people who have brain INJURIES (from concussions and other forms of blunt head trauma), but Joleen's brain was actually swelling because it was screaming for oxygen and since it wasn't getting it, the result is the death of a cell. Joleen wasn't completely brain dead, but there was very little activity and the cells that had already died wouldn't come back. Joleen's three kids wanted to wait 1 more day and talk with another doctor before they made their final decision. I know that we all knew what the end result would be, but I think the kids needed just a little more time to cope with everything that had happened.
Wednesday afternoon, we each had our chance to go in and tell her our final good-bye. It was the most difficult thing I've ever been through. I don't even know how to express the thoughts and feelings that were going through my mind. When it came time to remove the respirator, all of us gathered around her bed. My dad offered one of the most powerful prayers I've ever heard. It was such a sad moment, but the room was so full of peace and love. I know Joleen was in the room to witness how many people love her and will miss her. I hope that none of you ever have to watch as death takes over a loved one. It was horrible. We prayed that she would go quickly so that she wouldn't suffer and we wouldn't have to watch her struggle for each breath for too long. Thankfully, it only took about 5 minutes for her to pass away. I know that she is at peace now and in a much better place, but it still doesn't make it any easier, especially for her children.
Joleen's funeral will be Tuesday, February 3 at 11:00 at the Paragonah chapel. I hope you know how much I appreciate the phone calls, e-mails, flowers, and visits during this tough time. I know that I have been blessed with some of the best friends in the world - I appreciate your love and friendship and everything you have done to help me get through this. I hope you never have to go through anything like this, but if you do, I promise to be there for you too! I love you all!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A weekend of complete HELL...

Just when you think things are going great and life can't get much better, something bad always has to happen. I know a lot of you are already aware of what happened Saturday night, but I'll start from the beginning for those that haven't heard...
Saturday morning, Russ and I woke up (our first Saturday in our new house--yeeaahhh!!!) and loaded our old washer and dryer to take to my sister in Salt Lake. We enjoyed our drive and were able to spend a nice afternoon with Karen. We went out to dinner and had just gotten back to her house to hang out for the rest of the evening when I got a call from my brother Ray letting us know that my sister Joleen was in the ER in St. George and they were doing chest compressions to keep her alive. It was one of those phone calls that took a minute for everything to sink in. It was one of those moments that you keep wishing for the "JUST KIDDING" to come out of his mouth, but it never came. Ray didn't have much information for us, but said that my mom and dad were on their way to St. George and would let us know as soon as they had more information. I haven't felt that helpless in a long time. I wanted to rush to the hospital to be by her side. Russ and I decided that we'd better pack up and head toward St. George because things weren't looking good for my sweet sister. Karen decided to stay in SLC until we had more info, but by the time we got to Nephi, Ray had called her and told her she should get to St. George because they didn't think she was going to make it through the night. The weather was pretty bad so Russ and I waited in Nephi until Karen could catch up with us and we could drive to St. George together. That was one of THE longest rides I've ever had in my life. I was so grateful for cell phones though because it allowed us to keep in contact so we were aware of what was going on at the hospital. We made it to St. George at 3 am Sunday morning. It was horrible to walk into her room in the ICU and see her on life support. They told us that Joleen had suffered a thyroid storm(a rare condition that happens to people with thryoid issues) which caused her body to go into cardiac arrest. They had to shock her heart multiple times and performed CPR for nearly a 1/2 hour before they were able to get her heart beating again. Because of the amount of time she went without oxygen, she suffered massive amounts of brain damage. It has been a roller coaster ride during the past 48 hours, but they aren't giving her much of a chance of surviving. Her brain is showing almost no activity and there is a lot of swelling. The doctors told us that usually within the first 72 hrs you can tell if a person is going to turn the corner, but even if she does make it, she will probably be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. I feel like I have cried and cried until there shouldn't be any more tears left, but they keep coming from somewhere. My poor niece is 23 years old and will have to be the one that decides when to pull the plug. I can't even imagine having that kind of decision placed on my shoulders. We've spent a lot of time talking with her about everything, and she doesn't want to make a rushed decision so we're going to wait until the 72 hour mark (Tues. at about 7 pm) and then go from there. Unless some miracle occurs, I think it isn't a matter of "if" we pull the plug, but "when." All of my brothers and sisters are here together, and it has been amazing to feel the love and support we draw from each other. I don't think we could do it alone. I have been blessed with an amazing family, and it's times like this that makes me appreciate the close and loving relationship that we all share. I've always referred to all of us as the "magnificant 7", and I can't imagine what life will be like without her. I love you sis! I would appreciate any extra prayers you can offer in her behalf!!! I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My poor sick baby...

We had to give him a mohawk to match his attitude this week! He has been sick for the past week and we found out he has RSV. I've felt so bad for my little guy. We've had to do breathing treatments every 4 hours and antibotics for an ear infection. To say the least, it's been a pretty rough week. He coughs so much and so hard that he can't sleep very well so it has played havoc on his (and ours) sleeping schedule! I hated seeing him like that. I would sit and cuddle him and he would just lay there with his head on my chest. He was so good about everything and didn't cry very often inspite of everything he was going through. You could tell he felt horrible, but he would still find a couple smiles for us here and there. I was so grateful to my boss that she let me spend some extra time with him this week--she even sacrificed her day off so I could stay home and love on him! He is finally feeling better and acting more like himself! I am sooo glad. Last week was one of the longest ones we've had in a long time!
We started packing things up this week trying to get ready for the big move. What a pain! Russ has usually gotten out of packing things and has just had to help move the boxes, but this time he has been really involved in everything. He admitted that he'd had NO idea that moving was such a pain in the butt! We've really liked the house we've been in for the past year and I know we'll miss lot's of things about it, but we're really looking forward to getting into a place of our own. This next week or two will be pretty hectice so I can't promise when my next post will be, so until then....

So close we can almost smell it....

Oh wait--that's just the smell of the new paint!
I'm sure most of these are self-explanatory, but I'll narrate for you anyways...
Here is the house with all of the stone and siding on. I am really excited about the colors we chose because it looks different than most of the houses in our neighborhood and it makes it stand out more.
Here is a close-up of the stone we picked out.
Here is our front room after they had taped and mudded (is mudded really a word or just contractor slang?)
This shows all of the texturing done to the walls and ceiling.
The (almost) finished product...
Yaaayy---we finally have a garage door!
This is the tile that is throughout the house.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas at our house

I still haven't figured out where the month of December went to! Christmas makes it such a crazy time! I feel like I ran and wrapped non-stop, but it is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year! Maybe I thrive on all of the madness?!?!?!
Russ and I are still kids at heart--we were both so excited for the kids to open their Christmas presents that we were afraid we wouldn't be able to sleep! Russ and Dyllan got to open up their matching Utah Jazz Pajama pants on Christmas Eve. We woke up Christmas morning at 4:30 (no it is NOT a typo!) so we could open all of the presents and get to all of the grandparents' houses before Dyllan and Kelsey had to go with Mitch. My mom, dad, Ray, Karen, and Tyson came over to watch the wrapping paper tornado. We all got spoiled rotten and Dyllan told us later that day that this was the BEST Christmas ever! We finally hopped on the bandwagon and now have a Wii. We've already had a lot of good laughs (especially when I TRY to sing the lyrics on Rock Band--I am definately NOT a singer! Paula, Simon, and Randy won't have to worry about me auditioning for American Idol anytime soon--I'll save the humiliation for the privacy of my own home!) Kelsey is actually pretty good at the drums, and Dyllan has surprised us by wanting to be the lead singer most of the time. Maybe if his dream of becoming a professional football player doesn't work out, he can pursue a singing career...

tI am truly grateful for everything I have been blessed with in my life. I love my family more than anything on earth and I am so grateful for every day that I get to spend with them. During the month of December we spent quite a few nights sitting by the Christmas tree talking about the real reason for Christmas. It's so easy to get caught up in the commercial aspect, and I know that children sometimes have a hard time seeing past that, but we wanted Dyllan and Kelsey to know how good they have it and to remind them that not everybody is as fortunate as they are.

I couldn't resist posting this picture of Logan. We were at the St. George temple while Russ' sister went through the temple...I think his face sums it all up--it was soooo cold out there!

We had a pretty quiet New Year's Eve. I thought my kids were going to be with Mitch that night so I'd planned a little celebration for earlier in the day when we were all together. We took a bottle of sparkling apple cider out to the still unfinished new house and had a little party.

Mitch didn't end up taking the kids, so we took them with us when we went to dinner with my parents and my brother Ray. Afterwards, we went back to my mom's and played a game. I was such a party pooper that night. I think Russ, Logan and I were in bed by 10:00 (I had to be up at 5:30 the next morning!!!). Dyllan and Kelsey probably thought we were a couple of old farts because they stayed up by themselves to celebrate at midnight. Oh well. New Year's Eve isn't one of my favorite holidays.
It looks like our house might not be done until sometime next week. Russ has begged the builder to have it done before my birthday, so we'll have to see if it happens. Kelsey really wanted to have her birthday party there, but I don't think she is going to be able to. The tile setters didn't show up when they were supposed to this week, so now it has bumped everything back a few days. I guess they enjoyed their New Year's Eve a little TOO much...
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!