Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SPEAKING AT GIRL'S CAMP

Yesterday I got to speak at my daughter's girl's camp.
They asked me to speak about Ben.
I didn't want to do it.
But I knew it would be good for me to.
The theme was:
"Wonder Women"
Ordinary Women who do Extraordinary things.
We all have dreams of what our life will be when we grow up.  Inevitably those dreams don't always come true.  I remember being a little girl and knowing that I wanted to grow up and be married with lots of children.  Seven to be exact.  I had seven siblings (with lots of foster children thrown into the mix) and I loved having lots of brothers and sisters.  I wanted that for my own children.  From the time I was really little, I would start out sitting with my own family in church...on the same row, but as soon as my parent's took their eyes off of me I was under the pews crawling to the nearest baby and would pop back up into that babies pew asking the mom if I could PLEASE hold their baby.  You see, I loved children.  When I became pregnant with Kayla, I had a very difficult pregnancy.  I did with all of them.  Then I had a really difficult birth.  It took a lot to get her to earth.  BUT.  The minute I was able to hold her, I looked at my husband and said, "I want ANOTHER one".  I had so much love to give.  Not just to her, but to future children.  Kaleb came next, then Stevie and finally Benjamin.  Ben's pregnancy was different.  He moved differently and it just felt different.  I was scared.  I cried myself to sleep some nights.  I opted out of any prenatal testing or ultrasounds.  I still had hope that things would be okay.  Then I delivered him.  Things were far from okay.  Again I was scared.  I just wanted my baby.  We just wanted to take him home.  Instead, he was sent up to DHMC.  This is an excerpt from my journal that day. "We arrived around noon and saw them putting electrodes all over your head so that they could do an EEG, a reading on your brain.  They also took you for a CAT scan as well.  From the night before the doctors had given you three doses of phenobarb to help control your possible seizures.  It finally calmed you down and because of that they had to put you on a ventilator.  Friday the fifth of April was probably the hardest day because after they ran a bunch of tests we sat down with all of your doctor's, nurses and the rest of the team so that we could get a feel as to what was wrong. According to the doctor's, you would not have any quality of life.  And your life would be very short.  We were devestated.  I was physically and emotionally exhausted and in so much pain.  It was the hardest day of my life so far."  Going back to the theme, Wonder Woman, I thought about what power I possessed to get me through.  It was LOVE and KNOWLEDGE.  I loved Benjamin more than anything.  I knew that my love for him would allow me to do hard things.  We took Ben home 11 days after giving birth to him.  It wasn't easy and it was very overwhelming.  He came home with all kinds of medications, machines and feeding difficulties.  A lot to worry about on top of trying to mother three very small children.  But I was determined to learn all that I could to be the best mother that I could to Benjamin.  I continued to learn and gain knowledge through his 8 years of life.  I also gained spiritual knowledge and relied on the knowledge that I already had.  Knowing that this was God's plan and knowing that he would help me every step of the way gave me that strength needed to carry on.  As the end neared, Heavenly Father started preparing me.  Again I was scared.  I found a letter written to my mother just two months before Ben passed.  I shared a little bit with the girls at camp. "Dear Mom, WOW!  Another year has gone.  I can say that I am HAPPY to see 2009 go, but also mention that I have grown yet again.  It's funny what perspective does to me.  I look back and think that wasn't so bad, it could have been worse.  I'm grateful for the strength to endure.  I again have renewed energy for what lies ahead.  I know that Ben will be my next big trial and if frightens me.  Not sure how I'll survive that one - losing him I mean.  I know it is coming because I can't stop thinking about it.  Raising him has been such an amazing experience and I don't know what I'll do when I can't physically hold him anymore.  It kills me to think or imagine that.  Thank goodness for the Plan of Salvation and Forever Families."  Losing Benjamin has been the hardest thing I've ever had to endure.  BUT because of my love and because of my knowledge I have peace.  I have the understanding that his mission was fulfilled.  I know that I will be with him again someday and will be able to wrap my loving arms around him and kiss those cheeks once more. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

GIRLS NIGHT OUT

WEIRD AL.
Make-A-Wish gave us complimentary tickets.
We were VIP treated.
Kaleb had completed his Black Belt Test that day and was too tired to join us for a night out.  We brought along Stevie's cute friend Nancy instead.  It was a good show, but I think I got a bigger kick watching the two guys next to Stevie who were complete "DIE HARD FANS".  They were rockin' out to EVERY song and knew the  words verbatim.
Weird Al singing "I'm FAT" in his fat suit.
Thanks again Make-A-Wish

Saturday, June 26, 2010

KALEB RECEIVES HIS BLACK BELT

It's been 6 years in the making and he finally made it.  We are SO proud of him.  Words cannot describe the joy that we felt as we watched him reach this milestone.  Kaleb is only 13yrs.  Dashi (the owner of the school)  made the decision to test him with the adults.  Both Steve and I knew that he could do it.  He's faced so many hard things in his life that we knew he can do hard things.  For those who don't understand what it is like to go through a true black belt test, it's grueling and physically exhausting.  He went through 8 hours of this testing.  And then performed for an hour at his black belt ceremony.
At the beginning of their day, they take them off site.  The first thing Dashi tells them is to pick out rock a that they will carry with them through out the day.  It literally becomes their friend for the day.  I think Dashi was completely shocked when Kaleb came walking out of the forest with his rock  It was HUGE.  But he persevered and carried that rock with him through out his whole test.  HE can do HARD things.
(Dashi wanted to show everybody how HUGE his rock was, most testers had a rock the size of a softball)
After demonstrating things that he has learned, Dashi finally awards him his black belt.  
It was a very tender moment as Kaleb's brother Benjamin was to receive his honorary black belt on the same day as his big brother.  Kaleb dedicated his test to him.  Tears flowed and the hugs lasted a little bit longer.
It was an emotionally filled day, we were so proud of him.
Here is a picture with all of the black belt testers.
Kaleb and Dashi
Kaleb with all of his "stuff" from the ceremony.  If you watch the videos below, you'll see some of the stuff that he performed.

video


video
We LOVE you Kaleb.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

17 YEARS DOWN...

An eternity to go.
Happy Anniversary to us.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ONE YEAR AGO...

One year ago today I was sitting in a hospital room with an infection in my port.  I was 14 weeks pregnant and feeling so lousy.  Steve was scheduled to be in Utah for his 20th high school reunion.  I remember being overwhelmed at the thought of being stuck in the hospital, my sister at home caring for my other children and Steve being across the country.  He sensed my feelings and offered to post pone his trip.  Part of me was feeling guilty that he would miss his reunion, but the other part of me was so relieved that I wouldn't be stuck in that lonely room by myself.  (he was my only welcome visitor at the time)  The next day was our anniversary.  It was the second year in a row we spent it in the hospital.  Good times.  One more day later...that was the day.  I knew that I wanted to hear the babies heart beat that day and I was going to ask the doctor if we could.  It was the middle of the day and I was taking a nap.  Time seemed to pass more quickly when I slept.  Besides...there wasn't much else to do.  My doctor came to see me but didn't want to bother me because I was sleeping.  I was bummed when I woke up later because I thought I had missed my opportunity.  She ended up coming back later that day, much later.  And it just so happened that Steve was officially off work for the day and he was eating dinner with me.  She came in and I happily asked if we could hear the babies heartbeat.  "Sure" she said and she left to go get the doppler.  She returned with machine in hand and started listening.  It seemed like a long time, but she wasn't picking anything up.  After about 5 minutes she went to get her little portable ultrasound.  I started getting nervous.  She came back and looked for quite some time.  She could never find that beating heart.  I was devastated....again.  It had only been a year since I lost Kadee at 20 weeks.  The doctor called in an ultrasound tech with the big ultrasound machine to confirm.  When I remember that time I can't help but think about all the tender mercies afforded to me.  Steve was prompted to stay home from his Utah trip...I can't even imagine having him way across the country when I found out that we had lost the baby.  I fell asleep during the time that the doctor came in to see me during the day, otherwise I would have known then and Steve would have been at work.  As hard as it was to go through that, I am grateful that things worked in my favor to have Steve by my side.  

I can't help but think THREE SUMMERS.  Three summers in a row now I have lost a baby.  (even though Ben was 8, he was still my forever baby)  So, so hard.  I am not bitter, or angry...nor do I question why.  But it's hard.  And I get sad.  And then I pick myself up again because life continues on whether or not you want it to.  It's summer.  There is a lot of fun to be had and I think I am ready.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SUMMER CHORES

It's not ALL play around here.  
We have gardens to weed, 
lawns to mow, 
laundry to do 
and rooms to clean.  
THEN we play.

Monday, June 21, 2010

BRING IT!

SUMMER that is...
It's FINALLY HERE!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FINDING JOY

Amidst the grief, the pain and the longing that we feel...there is hope, happiness and JOY intertwined with those moments.  And I am grateful for those reprieves.  This picture is one of my most favorites from Ben's burial service.  I love it because if you look closely, right above Steve's head, you can see our daughter Stevie with her cousin finding JOY on a day that was so unbelievably hard.  And that's the way life is meant to be.  We know there will be hard times, we've all experienced it in some form or another.  Along with those experiences, our Father in Heaven allows us to find JOY.  Some days it is harder to find than others, but when we finally do...the peace, and the smiles and the laughter will follow.  And for that, I'm eternally grateful. Happy Father's Day to one of the most wonderful father's I know.  I love you Steve!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I SCREAM...

For ICE CREAM!
It was a perfect (hot) night for a family outing.
Did my heart some good.
(it was a tender day)
We were treated from a GC we received from LHS friends.
THANK YOU!
Kaleb was tempted to order the 'BELLY BUSTER'
but his belly wasn't feeling like it could handle it tonight.
ME? I like anything with chocolate and peanut butter in it.
MOOSE TRACKS!  
It's pretty much my fav!
Kaleb decided on plain old vanilla with some cute sprinkles on top.
The girl's were feeling frappy and flurry.
Like father like son.
VANILLA
(boring)
This picture kinda scares me.
Kaleb got a SECOND ice cream.
WHO DOES THAT?
Oh, that's right. 
He does.
But only because we had money left on the GC.
It was certainly a treat.

Friday, June 18, 2010

THE BURIAL

This day was harder than the funeral.
The weather coincided with our feelings.
Teary and sad.
It was so hard to leave him there,
knowing that it was so final.
We were grateful to be surrounded by family and friends.
But so sad to be closing this chapter in our mortal life.
We love you Benjamin.
Until we meet again! 
xoxo