January 7, 2020

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

I wanted to share a few of the things that the boys have been saying this past week. I can't tell you how much these little phrases have made me laugh and smile. I feel blessed to have these two littles in my life.

Bubba:

Bubba got some new footie pajamas for Christmas. As soon as we put them on him he started say, "I so cute!" He'd run to the bathroom and look at himself in the mirror and say, "I so cute!" The next morning after I had gotten him dressed he said, "I not cute." I asked him why he wasn't cute and he said, "I not wear pajamas." Apparently, new footie pajamas are what make him cute. For the record-- he's never said anything about being cute before this incident.

The past few days he's been saying to me, "Mama, I love you so berry much." This one just melts my heart.

Andy asked Bubba to hold his hand and he said, "I hold Mommy's hand." Apparently I'm his favorite teehee.

Bear:

Bear started talking at 11 months old. When I say talking, I'm talking about two word phrases. The doctor couldn't believe it when I took him in for his checkup. I guess at this age most kids just babble, he does plenty of that too though.

"All done." He says this when he is done eating, often he signs it in ASL.
"Uh oh." He usually says this when he drops something.
"Thank you." He says this when you give him something.
"Hi Mom."
"Hi Dad."
"Up, down." He says this when he goes from standing to sitting and vice versa-- he knows what each is.

October 29, 2019

A Daydream

I don't dream very often. When I do have dreams they are often nightmares. I can count on one hand the number of times I have received a dream from God. This dream I am about to share, is one of those. I have debated for sometime as to whether or not I should share it and right now I feel that I should.

Saturday August 24th, we got up really early to take the boys to see a hot air balloon festival. We had a really good time! When we got home we were exhausted. We put Bubba down in his bed and Bear laid down with me and that is when this dream happened-- in the middle of the day. This dream was so vivid, it is ingrained in my mind as though it happened yesterday.

I found myself in a hospital room. The room number was 102 or 105 (I don't know for certain, a 2 is an inverted 5). The room had a pale blue curtain with polka dots on it hanging down from the ceiling for privacy. I went into the bathroom of this particular room to relieve myself, but was unable to get the door to shut, this was frustrating for me and I decided to give up on using the bathroom.

A moment later a fuss was made over the loud speaker. Lights were flashing and things were in great commotion. I watched a woman with dark hair amble down the hallway.

Next thing  I knew I was sitting on a hospital bed watching the following events unfold in front of my eyes.

I saw this same dark haired woman from before sitting on a hospital bed. Her hair was big like Moana. I couldn't make out her face. Standing on her right side was a man with dark hair, he looked islander to me. I could sense that they were around 24 years old and college athletes.

On her left hand side were two nurses. One of the nurses was holding a dark haired baby. This nurse said, "I'm going to give this baby the best chance it's got." The other nurse replied, "You're nicer than most."

This young couple had not intended on getting pregnant and did not want this child. I felt such deep unconditional love for this child. I knew that this child was meant to come to our family.

I sat bolt upright in bed, drenched in sweat. At about that exact moment Andy walked into the room, he looked at me and asked if everything was okay. I told him we are supposed to adopt a baby and he said, "Okay."

Adoption is something we had been talking about, but we hadn't decided whether or not we would pursue it. I think God allowed me to see this dream because he knew I needed it. We aren't sure where this young mom is and we don't know how this baby will end up coming into our lives, but we pray for them both. We hope that this little one will join us sooner rather than later.

October 14, 2019

Bubba's First Time To The Dentist

I took Bubba to the dentist for the first time today. When we walked in the door I said to Andy "He has three cavities." Andy replied, "He has three cavities?!" I laughed and said, "Nope. He is cavity free."

Bubba did so good at the dentist! Several days before going to the dentist I told Bubba that we were going to go to the dentist in a few days. I told him that the dentist was going to clean his teeth with a toothbrush that made a "zzeeezzz" noise.

When we got to the dentist he was so excited because they had fun toys to play with in the front room. He treated me to a poopy diaper and then the hygienist took us back. He sat on the table and she let him pick out a toothbrush and she let him pick out a toothpaste and she started brushing his teeth by hand. He saw her special toothbrush and pointed to it. She showed him all of her special tools. Next thing I knew he was laying down with sunglasses on and she was cleaning his teeth. She flossed his teeth and gave him fluoride. Then the dentist came and looked at his teeth.

I was so happy to learn that he was cavity free. He did so good, he made me so proud! The hygienist was very impressed too. She told me most children don't get their teeth cleaned the first time to the dentist because they are too scared and they cry, etc.

I think it helped that we started brushing his gums with a rubber toothbrush before he ever had teeth. The switch to a toothbrush wasn't too bad. Bubba loves to brush his teeth. Some days he will spend thirty minutes in the bathroom brushing his teeth. Now to get him flossing on a regular basis.

To celebrate being cavity free and doing such a good job at the dentist I took Bubba to the store and he picked out a new toy. If you know Bubba you know that he loves Disney's Cars-- he picked out a blue tow truck and immediately started calling it Mater. 

Fun side note-- before we moved to Oregon I applied to dental hygiene school and was accepted. I felt strongly that I was not supposed to accept my invitation to this particular school. A few months later, work reassigned Andy to Oregon and then we started our family. Even though I didn't end up going to hygiene school, I get to play dental hygienist with both Bubba and Bear everyday. We brush and floss and fluoride.

September 14, 2019

The Rest Of Our Trip

After the funeral we spent a few days at Andy's parents house. It was nice for the boys to be able to spend some time with their grandparents. I know Andy really enjoyed being back on the farm.

Bubba.

Bear in his element with Grandpa.



Hanging out in Uncle Shaun's tree house.



Bear.



We took both of the boys out for a 4-wheeler ride. I think this was the first time for both of them. Bubba loved it and Bear hated it.




Bubba playing with cousins.




Exploring.

Sprinklers.

Sod field with a rainbow.

Wheel line.

Bubba wanted to ride anything and everything including the boom truck, forklift and any tractor he could get someone to take him on.

Bubba & Andy on the boom truck.


We headed back out to the Wasatch front on Wednesday afternoon and few home Thursday morning. The entire trip was a whirlwind. I'm glad to be home and in my own bed.

Andy & Shaun.


Andy, Grandpa, Bear & Uncle Shaun.

I love the candidness of this photo of Grandma & I.


Bear, Andy & Grandma.

Bubba did not want his picture taken.


September 9, 2019

Utah & Grandpa's Funeral

I am not really sure how to start this post. At the moment, I think it is probably best to just pick up where the last post left off.

Thursday

Thursday morning Andy went to work for a few hours. I continued cleaning the house and packing our bags-- having roughly 24 hours to re-book your plane tickets, unpack bags for 4 people, wash all the laundry, repack the bags all while watching two littles was no easy task. A good friend of ours dropped us off at the airport and next thing I knew we were on our way to Utah.

Getting on the airplane was not an easy thing for me. At this point in time, I was not even sure if I was going to go to the funeral. Thoughts of being in the same state as that family member who has been emotionally abusive to me causes me to feel anxiety. The thought of being in the same room as that person, caused those feelings of anxiety to skyrocket.

The boys did great on the flight! This was Bear's first time flying.  I'm grateful we had a direct flight and that it was only 2 hours.

Bubba, Me & Bear.

Andy.

Utah.

After some discussion, Andy and I agreed that we would not be taking the boys to the funeral. Neither of us felt safe being around this emotionally abusive family member, so we were not even going to entertain the thought of having our boys there. It was agreed upon that if we could not find someone who could watch our boys that I would not be attending the funeral. Upon arriving in Utah, we started making some calls to see if we could find someone to watch the boys.

Thursday night I was able to go visit one of my old roommates, Breann. Breann lives 5-10 minutes away from my parents new house. This was the first time I had seen her in years, it was so good to catch up! We stayed up way too late, haha, just like the good old days.

Friday

Bear & Me.

Friday morning Andy and I went and did an Endowment Session at the Bountiful Temple. One of my life goals is to perform an ordinance in every temple, in every state I have ever lived in (Washington, Idaho, Oregon & Utah). This was my first time to the Bountiful Temple, it is the biggest temple I think I have ever been to-- it is massive and very beautiful.


I'm really glad that my family was able to watch our two boys so Andy and I could attend the temple. It was good to have some time alone, just the two of us to talk, think and meditate.

Bear.



Friday afternoon we headed out to the Uintah Basin-- during our drive Andy continued to make some phone calls to see if there was anyone who could watch our boys. I don't know if I would call it luck or not, but we found someone who was able and willing to watch our little boys.

Friday night there was a viewing for Andy's grandpa. Andy really wanted our little boys to see their great grandpa one last time. We knew the boys would not be given that opportunity the next day. When we pulled up to the mortuary, our hearts sank, that emotionally abusive family member's car was in the parking lot. About this same time text messages started coming in from family asking where we were and if we were going to make it. We drove a few blocks away and parked. It was pouring rain and we cried. We knew we couldn't go in there while that emotionally abusive family member was there.

Someone we love and trust came and found us. They had scoped out the room and formulated a plan for how to get us in and out without running into that family member we didn't want to see. God was on our side, just as this plan was being formulated that emotionally abusive family member left-- what a blessing for us.

Lots of tears were shed for the loss of Grandpa. And lots of love was extended to us, by the rest of the family that we hadn't seen in years.

We spent the night at Andy's cousin Blake's house. Blake and Amanda had two rooms for us, which was perfect. Andy's cousin's Ty and Mel and their two boys stayed at the house with us too.

Saturday

Saturday was a hard day. We dropped the boys off with the baby sitter, I hate being away from my boys. We didn't tell anyone who was watching them because we didn't want the emotionally abusive family member to find out where they were. And then we headed to the church. I can't tell you how many prayers I said, a lot.

We walked into the church and I held on tight to Andy's hand. We knew at any moment we could come face to face with the family member we did not want to see. Thankfully we ran into my parents first. Then we went into the Relief Society Room and said our last good byes to Grandpa before they closed the casket. About this time, I spied that emotionally abusive family member out of the corner of my eye. I held on even tighter to Andy.

Before long we proceeded to the chapel and took our seats on the pew. I am not sure why, but the person we did not want to see, chose to sit two people away from us. Maybe it was for appearances sake, to try and act like nothing was wrong; regardless, it annoyed me and made me incredibly uncomfortable.

Andy's dad presided over the funeral service. He said that Grandpa wanted a short funeral with lots of music. Grandpa's funeral had lots of music, but it was not short by any means. Each of his children spoke and shared their favorite stories of Grandpa and life growing up on the farm. It was a wonderful tribute to the life and legacy Grandpa left behind.

That emotionally abusive family member sang during the service. I couldn't bring myself to look at them. Andy looked at them, but they would not look back at him.

After the funeral we headed to the cemetery. Andy was one of the pall bearers. Grandpa's grave was dedicated and we headed back to the church for the luncheon.


It is my personal belief that Grandpa had a feeling he was going to pass. He built his own casket out of elm wood from a tree he cut down in his yard. Just a week or two before he passed he called to say hi. Then he paid the mortuary in advance for his own funeral complete with flowers and he made some changes to his will.

Grandpa cutting his elm tree into planks.

Grandma faithfully by his side.

At the luncheon my guard was up at all time, I tried to know where that emotionally abusive family member was at all times.

After we ate, my stepmom and I walked out to the car to get a few things. When we walked back into the church we were met by my Dad and Andy. My Dad looked at me and with tears in his eyes and in his I mean business tone he said, "We need to talk." I said, "Who's we?" He replied, "All eight of us." I knew instantly who he was talking about: Dad, Julie, me, Andy, the emotionally abusive family member, their spouse and their parents. I'm sure I turned white. Adrenaline instantly started coursing through my body. I said, "They already left." I had seen this individual and their spouse walk out the door. My Dad said, "They're still here." I'm not the swearing type, but I said,"I might swear." Julie said, "That's okay. First we cuss, then we discuss."

A few minutes later I found myself sitting across a small room, face to face with the person who set out to destroy me as an individual and my marriage and I was not at all thrilled to be there.

My Dad started the discussion. It ended with nearly everyone in tears and me being embraced-- this was a first. I'm not sure what will come of this experience. A door has been opened but time will tell. I may share more about this experience after I have had some time to process everything that went on.

Then we grabbed our boys and headed back to Blake's house. I was really glad to be reunited with my boys.

That evening we headed over to Grandma's house so Bubba could go on a tractor ride. While we were in Washington Andy's Dad and I cried together on the phone. I told him how afraid I was to fly to Utah and to attend the funeral with that emotionally abusive family member. I made a deal with him, if I went to the funeral, he had to take his grandson on a tractor ride. I knew this wouldn't be an easy thing for him to do and that he would likely have some PTSD like me because of everything he just went through. He happily took Bubba out to level the sod field, he even let Bubba help him drive. Bubba loved every minute of it!

Bubba & Grandpa.



Can't tell you how many hours I have spent driving that very tractor.

That night Andy stayed up way too late with his cousins childhood best friend-- it was like old times for him.

Sunday

Sunday we slept in. We headed over to Andy's Aunt and Uncle's house with his cousins for lunch. We agreed to let the emotionally abusive family member meet our boys briefly before they headed home-- this made me very uncomfortable. They were on their best behavior and things went okay.

September 5, 2019

When You're On A Trip & You Get That Phone Call You Don't Want To Get

Usually I look forward to Labor Day weekend. Andy typically gets a three day weekend and we try to go do something fun. This year he took an extra day off that meant a four day weekend-- lucky us!

We drove to Washington Friday night and arrived at my sister's house in the wee hours of the morning. Bubba stayed awake the entire car ride. By the time we had our stuff unloaded and everyone in bed it was about 2:00 am. It was warm in the room we slept in and Bubba cried most of the night, it was pretty miserable.

Rocking his binky.

Wide awake for our late night pit stop.


Saturday

Naturally we had a slow start to our day. Sadie and I took the boys and we walked to the local farmer's market-- it's one of my favorite ones.





In the afternoon we walked to the Puyallup Fairgrounds, it was the first weekend the fair was open. I love going to the Puyallup Fair! I have a lot of really good memories of the fair, the earliest memories stem back to about age 5.

We entered the fairgrounds and headed towards the dairy barn to look at the animals. We weren't there very long when Andy felt his phone vibrate, he pulled his phone out and was covered in messages from his brother and cousin. We knew instantly that something was wrong. (10 days before this we both had a sinking feeling that something terrible was going to happen or had happened, this was that terrible something).




Andy immediately called his brother. Shaun said, "There was an accident with Grandpa, Dad and the tractor and Grandpa's dead." Andy asked how his father was but Shaun didn't know, he said he was with the paramedics. And the phone call ended.

Andy instantly started to bawl. One of the fair employees asked if we needed a private room, Andy waved her off. He said he became a new creature for all the fair goers to see.

Thankfully my brother and his girlfriend were there and so was my sister and her fiance-- they took our boys and got them some ice cream so Andy could make another call.

We talked for a moment and decided to call one of the neighbors (Dale) to see if he knew what was going on. Dale answered the phone, Andy identified himself and he asked Dale if he had heard the news. Dale said, "Here talk to your Dad." Dale was with Andy's father at that exact moment.

The phone was passed and Andy's Dad told him what happened, this is the story:

Background: Grandpa loves to farm. He turned 80 just a few days before. Usually everyday he shows up at my in-laws house and asks what needs done that day and then he goes to work. This particular day was no exception.

There was some plowing that needed done, so Grandpa went to work plowing-- plowing was his favorite. The tractor was giving him some issues so he and my father-in-law decided to start up another tractor. This other tractor is quite large. It has duallie wheels in the front and the back and often has to be jump started.

(If you don't want to know the details, skip this section)

Grandpa and my father-in-law got to work jumping the tractor. They gave it some ether and it didn't start. They gave it another shot of ether and it started right up and was running full throttle. My father-in-law went to get into the cab to decrease the throttle and the tractor put itself into gear-- nobody knows how this happened. My father-in-law was thrown from the tractor, he remembers being straddled over one of the tires as it was rolling forward and coming to on the ground. The tractor had run Grandpa over and my father-in-law was paralyzed and wasn't able to get up and into the cab to prevent the tractor from rolling over Grandpa a second time.

Grandpa wasn't killed instantly. My father-in-law held him as he took his last breath. He felt his spirit leave his body from toe to head.

We later learned that my father-in-law was also run over. His pelvis is broken in two different places. He is lucky to be alive. 

(Resume here)

My father-in-law lost his best friend. He feels so guilty that he wasn't able to save Grandpa.

Andy said to his dad, "Dad it wasn't your fault. Grandpa wants you to know that. As soon as I heard he was gone, I felt his presence and he is okay."

That experience with his Grandpa brought a lot of peace and comfort to Andy.

I felt so bad for my husband. We tried to collect ourselves and make the most of our day at the fair. We enjoyed watching Bubba get his face painted and riding rides with him and his almost cousin, Adrian. 

Bubba & Adrian. I remember riding this same ride when I was in Kindergarten.






Andy & Bear.






That night the tears for me started flowing freely. They flowed freely for a few different reasons. The first being I loved Grandpa and now he was gone. I loved him and he showed me love in the way that I feel loved-- he was one of the few in the family who knew how to really show that he cared. The second was that I knew I needed to attend his funeral, but that also meant being in the same room as one of those people who has been emotional and verbally abusive to me for the past 10+ years and the thought of that alone terrified me. I hadn't seen this individual in the flesh in over 5 years and preferred to keep it that way. I suffer from PTSD because of them and was quite literally afraid for my life because of things they said they would do to me.

Sunday

The next day we went to church. Andy shared his testimony, I know it was hard for him to do given everything that just happened. After the meeting several angels were put in our path. Andy and I were both given Priesthood blessings. Mine was administered by the Stake President-- it was the most beautiful blessing I have ever received. Afterwards the Stake President grabbed my hand in his and just talked with me-- it brought me a lot of comfort.

Sunday afternoon I went on a short hike with my mom and Bubba. I feel close to God when I am in the mountains. Andy slept with Bear in the car. I carried Bubba all the way up Pinnacle Peak (a.k.a. Mount Peak) on my back-- that was the first time I have carried him in the pack on my back and it wasn't easy.

It was really good to get some fresh air, to move my body and to try and clear my head. Sadly, I didn't take a single picture.

I was starving by the time we reached the car. We stopped to grab some food at an old drive up diner, I felt really bad about buying food on the Sabbath (we don't typically eat our or buy anything on Sunday). The sweet waitress brought the food out to the car and said it was on the house-- a tender mercy and I started to bawl again.

That evening my parents called, they had been out to visit Andy's family. They drove three hours each way to see how everyone was doing and to see if I would actually be safe attend the funeral. They told me I needed to be there and that just brought on even more tears.

Monday

Monday we took it easy. We went to Ruston Way as a family to go for a walk-- this is one of my favorite places ever to walk. We looked at the old fire boat, we looked for crabs and made cairns. I enjoyed watching Andy stack rocks that Joel didn't think could be stacked. It was good to get out and get some fresh air. Listening to the waves lapping against the shore is calming to my soul.









That night we bought our plane tickets to attend the funeral in Utah, or so we thought. We would later learn that for some reason the transaction was never completed.

Tuesday

The next day we drove home. And upon learning that we didn't have plane tickets scrambled to re-book our flights. We ended up flying on another airline because the prices had jumped so much overnight. We also learned that if you call the airlines directly, they can offer you a bereavement discount on your flight.

I spy a cute little Bear.

One of the things we talked about quite a bit on the way home and even at the fairgrounds, was that we both felt like Grandpa now knows what we have been through in regards to the emotional and verbal abuse and that he is not disappointed with us.

Wednesday

Andy went to work Wednesday and I spent the day cleaning the laundry and running errands and trying to get our bags unpacked and repacked so we could leave the next morning.