I’m a Mormon

October 8th, 2014
I’m a Mormon, but I don’t always put it out there on social media.

So I’m a Mormon, and my children attend the Mormon church, but are not baptized, or are not formally Mormon. Jon’s name is on the records of the church, but he’s really not a Mormon. Jon is an Atheist. He keeps his name on the records for me.

My life is one confused bag of religion.

Recently during a sacrament meeting, a woman was receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Lilah made a sniffling noise, and I thought it was strange. I think I patted her arm, or gave her a hug after the prayer was complete. Then after the meeting was over, she looked up to me and said, “I want to be baptized.” The words I’ve longed to hear from one of my children, but we both knew it meant telling her dad, and just as it brought joy to my heart, it also brought some sorrow.

On the car ride home I asked her about it. If she wanted to tell her dad right away. Tears flowed from our faces, us both knowing it’s not something her father would really want to hear. I waited a day or so, I had to ask her she wanted to be there when I told her dad, she didn’t. So in the still of one of our nightly cuddles, I told Jon his eldest daughter wanted to be baptized. We had a discussion. One that was probably frustrating for both of us. We have different ideas on how to approach this religious thing with our children, and we’ve been avoiding it for a long time.

But here is it.

Jon is supporting Lilah. The biggest part was making sure it was her decision, and not because of outside pressure, or a desire to belong, or just fit in. From Lilah’s response, I believe it is her decision.

Since Lilah is no longer in her eighth year, she will have to take the missionary discussions, and we have to go through the baptism as if she is a convert.

I am happy for my daughter. I hope she is happy with her choice too.

November 18, 2013.

November 30th, 2013
Around noon I received a phone call from my mother-in-law. The nurse told her Dad’s body was starting to shut down, and  it looked like he would soon pass. I asked her if she wanted to be taken to see him, but she wasn’t sure at that point. She was wanting to remember him as he was. She was very distraught, so I asked if she wanted me to call Annie and Elana, so they could see him before he passed. She said yes.
I called Jon and his sisters. Annie was actually on her way to see him. She had decided to make a quick visit on her lunch hour. Dad was in a lot of pain, and was moaning and wailing when she  first arrived, so the nurses gave him more pain and anxiety medicine. He calmed down, and stayed sedated for the rest of the evening.

I was at our homeschooling co-op, so I gave the girls the option of coming to the hospital, or staying. I wasn’t sure if I was going to let them see him, depending on his state, and felt like it was best for them to stay and finish their classes. They were torn, and sad, but decided to stay. I arranged for my mom to get them, so Jon and I could stay as long as we needed. When I left, Eden was crying, but she was in kind hands with one of the moms. I was torn about leaving her, but I only had a short time to comfort her before I said goodbye.

I picked Jon up from work, and then we went to his mom’s house. We didn’t know if she would be going at this point, but when we got there she was nearly ready to go.

We met Annie at the hospice around 1:45. We held Dad’s hand, and conversed.

Annie eventually had to return to work due to a deadline, and shortly after she left Elana showed up.

More holding of his hands, and conversing. It was peaceful to be there.

Elana then needed to pick up her son, and so she returned later in the night for a little while.

We had just returned from a trip to the cafeteria when I got the call from Conrad wondering where to go.Conrad  had flown in from Missouri, and arrived around 5:30 pm.

After talking for a while, Conrad asked if Mom wanted him to give Dad a blessing. It seemed like he needed to progress, and pass away, but was holding on. She said yes, so Conrad gave Dad a blessing and told him it would be OK to leave this earthly body, and return to our Savior. He may have even commanded him to, my brain is a little fuzzy on what was said.

We watched intently at first, but then we got to chatting. I was watching Dad, and saw him draw his last two breaths. Mom was holding his left hand, and I was holding his right. I said, “I think he’s gone,” and got the others attention. Mom later told me that she had heard that last breath, and then realized there was silence. It happened within just a few minutes of the blessing.

The nurse was called, and confirmed his death. It seemed like it took him forever to listen to his heart and tell us. Dad’s coloring had changed, and it was obvious that he was gone.

He passed away at 7:01 pm.
Mom was grateful to have been there. She was worried to face the death of her husband, but having those 5 hours to sit and be there, and watch the natural progression seemed to help, and provide closure.
I’m thankful we were able to be there. Dad had family  with him when he passed. Jon and I were worried  he would pass late in the night, while no one was there.
Fernard has been a kind and loving father-in-law and grandpa. He was so happy to see the girls the last few times they saw him. I’m happy the last time they saw him, on Sunday, he was able to give them each a big hug. I think sitting and waiting would have been hard, and instead they have a pleasant memory.
Fernard was 84 years old, and just 6 days shy of being married to Sandra for 60 years. We’ve decided those last few days don’t matter, they’ve been together much longer than their marriage, so 60 years it is.

 

End of Life

November 16th, 2013
The last two months have been exhausting. Jon’s father has been in and out of the hospital, a rehab center, and is now in a hospice care facility. We’ll be planning funeral services, and trying to get things in order for when he passes away.
My whole marriage, it’s been, “We don’t know how long Grandpa Blake is going to live.” When Lilah was just a month old we had an early 50 year anniversary party. That was the last time the whole family was together. While his health has never been great, the last few years it’s been the hardest, with it all climaxing in the past two months. My in-laws will be/ would have been married 60 years later this month. It’s not likely Grandpa Blake will make it that long though, you never know just how long Grandpa Blake is going to live.

Tuesday

September 2nd, 2013
Tuesday, June 11th, was our final day in Brigham. We packed up the car and met Shauntae and the boys at the Logan Tabernacle. Our girls had never been in one, so we stopped by and took a look around. Two of their 2nd cousins had also been baptized there.
blake07Us outside the Logan Tabernacle.

After the tour we split ways for lunch.  I had my eye on the Chuck A’ Rama we had passed in town. I love Chuck A’ Rama’s rolls. They are so yummy, so we often make a stop at my favorite buffet when in Utah.

We stopped by to say one last goodbye to Rawlin after lunch. I was sad to say goodbye. It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since he moved up there.

After lunch we visited the little zoo, and I picked on Ethan. Austin really enjoyed seeing me pick on Ethan, since he rarely gets pick on being the oldest. I was also Austin’s defense against Ethan, since he was avoiding me the best he could.

blake08Austin, Eden, Ethan, Matthew, and Lilah.
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Lilah with the ostrich.
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You can see Austin picking on Ethan, and Ethan trying so hard to keep away from me. I’m a mean Great Aunt.

After our time at the zoo we said our goodbyes to Shauntae and the boys, and took the not too long drive to Spring Creek, Nevada to see the Park family.

I hope we get to see them in Vegas sometime soon. It was so wonderful to spend time with family.

Monday

September 1st, 2013
Monday we decided to make a short visit my Uncle Bud and Aunt Sheri, my mother’s eldest brother and sister-in-law. So  on our way out of town to Logan, we stopped to visit them and drink some of their delicious homegrown, homemade grapejuice. I’m sure that purple elixir has helped my aunt and uncle live so long. (They’re in their 80’s and still going strong!)

After our visit we went to lunch with the whole Draper family. Nick took his lunch hour to be with us! The boys and girls shared a table, while the adults ate quickly to make sure Nick made it back to work  in time.

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Our eyes were all watering and tearing up as we took pictures, since we were looking the direction of the sun.
The boys were looking a little out of it during lunch, so instead of hiking after lunch, we let them play, while Jon, Shauntae, Rawlin, and I all talked. While I’m sure the hike would have been awesome, I loved just hanging out with Shauntae and Rawlin. We think the kids played Wii games, and Austin introduced them to the world of Mine Craft. I’m sure Nick was only a little surprised to see us at his house when he got home, but if he knows his wife, I’m sure that we were talking and lost track of time was no surprise.
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Us with Rawlin.
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That evening I started to not feel well, so I had a snack, and slept on our way back to Brigham, and slept till 8 once at my cousin’s house. I don’t know what my family did, as I was passed out, but they all seemed to have a good time.

Sunday

August 9th, 2013
When we left Kaysville, our destination was Logan, Utah, to see Shauntae and her father. I was so excited to see my niece and her family. She use to come down regularly to help Rawlin, and since he moved up there two years ago, we have not seen her. I was excited to see Rawlin too, I just love that family, but the highlight was seeing my favorite niece.
The Drapers were nice enough to feed us lunch before the girls and I went to church with them. At church I actually saw the brother to a mommy blog I follow. I remember the sister blogging about his mission return, and then his wedding.  It was pretty fun to see them in real life, but I did not say anything, because I’m shy like that.
Jon stayed at the house and had a visit with his brother Rawlin while we were at church. Lilah and the two older boys walked home from church, which I loved. I wasn’t sure how my girls were going to relate to these three boys, but Austin, who is 11, had no problem talking to them and playing with them. Ethan, 12, was a little more reserved, as was Matthew,7, but they all got along.
We had a lovely BBQ at their house that evening, and just visited.  I did not get many pictures. 🙁 The kids played on the trampoline, while I discouraged them from getting water on the adult, that were sitting near the trampoline, with the water guns.blake01

Rawlin and I enjoying the outdoors.(I was going to lift pictures off my niece’s blog, because we did not have many, but I can’t due to computer difficulties.)

While visiting Shauntae, we stayed in Brigham City with my cousin Ruth. She was nice enough to let us stay there, and we saw Sherilynn, my cousin once removed,  and her new baby Callen. Sherilynn use to live in Las Vegas, so her two older kids had lots of fun playing with my girls, their “old friends”, while staying at grandma’s. Emrilynn, 4 1/2, would often be upstairs waiting to play when we woke up, and there as soon as we returned in the evenings from Logan.

Family

August 6th, 2013
Way back in June we made a week long trip to visit various family members. We had decided to visit Jon’s brother Rawlin, and my sister Andrea, but we snuck in a couple other family members as well.

Our first stop was in Ceder Hills, Utah to have a BBQ with my Aunt Robin and Uncle Mike, and some cousins.  I think the last time we saw them was three years ago. My cousin Amanda was getting married, and she now has two kids, so I think it was around 3 years ago.

We didn’t have much time, but it was nice to see those who came, and the kids. Everyone is getting so big, and I did not do a good job getting pictures.

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Eden, Lilah, and Elana flying a kit. (Elana is my cousin Mike’s oldest daughter.)
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Carston, who belongs to my cousin Kristen. 3 years old. He was a baby at Amanda’s wedding.
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Amanda, me, Kristen. (Uncle Mike in the background, my dad’s half brother.)

We left the BBQ around 9:00 and showed up at Jon’s cousin’s house at 10:30 pm. DeEtte and Mark were nice enough to house us.  The two oldest girls were still awake, and waiting up to meet their second cousins. Ava is Lilah’s age, and Brynn is Eden’s age. We saw them briefly two summers ago on our way to Yellowstone, so it was nice to spend two nights, and one day with them.

The first night we stayed there I was awoken by a little girl. The room was still dark, and I thought perhaps it was Eden. The little girl asked a couple questions, and I realized it was not my daughter. It was a little scary, but she was nice enough and didn’t turn into a poltergeist. It had been Cailyn, confused by the adult in her bed, even though she had slept downstairs and knew someone would be sleeping in her bed.

In the morning we enjoyed some yard sales and goodies. The two older daughters had dance  classes, so once home and feed, we went to the one and only water play at a park in Kaysville. It was a little cold for my girls, while it was hot for our Utah family.

Later that evening we enjoyed dinner with more cousins, and Jon’s aunt and uncle.

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Draya with chocolate on her face. Jon took a picture just like this two years ago.
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Brynn and Eden. Second Cousins.
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Draya, Lilah, Ava, then two random boys.
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Cousins: Rayanne, DeEtte, Kyson, and Jonathan.
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Uncle Kyle, Rayanne, DeEtte, Kyson, Jonathan, Aunt Annette (Sandra’s sister.)
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Cailyn, my shadow.
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The girls loved playing together.

DeEtte’s youngest two girls really took to me, and Cailyn became my own special friend. She followed me around and ate dinner with me, and Draya followed her. Eden was so preoccupied with the fun slide upstairs, the swing in the basement, and the hammock out front, that we rarely saw her. It was Sunday morning before she realized I had gained a new shadow. She said she was not jealous, but that morning I had three little girls that would not leave my side.

DeEtte and Mark headed off to church, while we finished getting ready and packed up.
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Second Cousins: Brynn (7), Eden (7), Lilah (9), Cailyn (5), Ava (9), Draya (3)- The Jensen’s were ready for church, while our children were waiting to get dressed, and mostly played.
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The Jensen Family. Mark is even taller than pictured. We joked he was too tall to fit in the picture, and he bent down just a little.
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We took time to get some nice pictures with their flowers once we were dressed also.
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It was so nice to see Jon’s cousins and I’m happy we decided to include them on our visit, and that they made the time to see us.

July Highlights

August 1st, 2013
All:
Getting caught in a flash flood. Mostly because the rail road rails malfunctioned and came down when they shouldn’t have. We had to camp at a friends house till the rain stopped. A tree of theirs had fallen right before we got there.
Lilah:

Getting sick on the 4th of July, so you had to stay home from the family reunion. 🙁

Getting glasses. You kept saying, I can’t see it, now I can. I can’t see, now I can. I remember being amazed when I got my first pair.

You helped to patch some of the drywall in Dad’s library. Now you ask to patch it at least one-three times a week.
Nearly passing out when you had to get blood drawn. You had to fast for it. (Though you say you were fine, and not going to pass out.)
The same day you had to have the purple bump removed from your hand and were very nervous and shaky.
Then we had to go back and get more blood drawn due to them not freezing some of the blood. It was a piece of cake the second time, due to the traumatic experience of the bump removal, and not needing to fast.

Eden:

Being an only child on the trip with Carolyn and your mom. You played the DS nearly the entire time, whenever we were at the hotel, and a lot in the car.

Being the only cousin for our family at the reunion, you weren’t sure how to handle Zarina’s enthusiasm.
Getting lost at the Children’s Museum with Britta. You thought I said second floor, when I said to meet me and Sam on the third floor. I went looking for you two and found you right as you had started to ask workers for help.
Turning 8! I can’t believe you’re getting so big.
I learned you do not like cantaloupe at all, and you only kinda like watermelon.
Jon:
Buying a bike.
Riding your bike to work.

June Highlights

July 1st, 2013

Eden:

Loving the shopping spree you went on for Girl Scouts. You totally want to shop at “Justice” now. Not sure I’m loving your new name brand desire.

We were watching a car commercial and they mentioned it was for a 2014 model. You said, “Don’t they know it’s 2013,” in a very matter of fact/ “duh” tone. We don’t watch many commercials in this house.

You connected right away with your second cousin Bryn. You hardly noticed me all day on Saturday.

Loving girl scout camp. You did not put any sunscreen on, so you had a red nose and cheeks, and very messy hair.

My very affectionate child.

Rosie’s magic pool. You did awesome at swimming lessons this year.

Lilah:

You decided to not go on the Girl Scout shopping spree. You’re not in the troop officially, and so you can decide what to spend your money on since we transfer it in. You wanted to buy toys, and not clothes, but it was a specific budgeting activity. I think you were a little jealous after it was all said and done, and have said you enjoy clothes shopping for yourself.

You were sad we would be staying with family, and not a hotel, but once meeting the family, you said it was all worth it, and that it was the best kind of vacation.

“It’s great staying with family, you don’t have to pay for the go-gurt you eat.”

You were telling scary stories to Zarina, the first couple were fine, but in the third one you made her sister a werewolf. She got super scared, and slept with Andrea that night.

Turning 10!

You loved girl scout camp, and took about 200 pictures, mostly of trees.

While combing your hair you fell down our stairs. It was scary to see your legs, then your terrified face as you tumbled down. You were not hurt, and we laughed about it later that day.

Jon:


Big choices. You are very supportive of me and my desires, even if I change my mind  often.

You stayed at the hiking spot while I took Andrea and three girls back to the house.

Taking care of your parents. I’m relieved your the one taking them to their doctor’s, and not me.

Zarina:


“I never had to break into my house before, that’s silly.” When we had to put her through the open window, because Andrea had locked her keys in her trunk.

End of an Era

June 5th, 2013
(I wrote this back in May, before the house closed, but I’m a terrible blogger. The house closed on May 23, 2013. We celebrated by going to Jason’s Deli.)

Our first home, really second now, is finally closing. The short sale took around 4 months and is finally reaching an end. Any day now, it will no longer be ours.

I am so sad.

It was a small home, but it was our home for 7 1/2 years. We brought Eden home from the hospital there, and our children enjoyed their childhood within and outside the walls of that house on Cool Valley.  Mostly within, but we definitely had some fun times outside too.

Ironically, it feels like we’ve lived in this new house forever, though it’s only been 5 months.

I’ve been visiting the old house weekly to make sure no crazy person takes up residence, or steals all the copper from wherever they get copper from. It’s just a quick run into the house and out, with the occasional pulling of weeds out front to help it look less deserted and turning off or on the light outside, again to make sure people know it’s still being taken care of and watched closely. Eden had speech at the school over there, and so it worked out well to keep an eye on the place, and let her finish the year with the speech pathologist that she really enjoyed. Since the school year is ending, it’s perfect that the house is closing. I won’t be driving to that end of town regularly.

It really doesn’t feel like home there anymore. It’s empty, you can see the fireplace that my poor children never got to use because our desk was there, and it has a weird smell that empty homes get.

It’s just our old house now.
Our “new” home has all our stuff, and we’ve settled in. No pictures hang on the wall, but that’s more because I have commitment phobia when it comes to decorating and hanging things.
I don’t have to think as much to make sure I take the correct exit home, and the girls take over any space we let them. We’re making plans and preparing for the future at the new house, not at the old.
A weight will be lifted once we close and only have one home, but it was still sad to close the door one the last.

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Here we are in front of the fireplace that we never used. Our last picture, in our old home.

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