Archive for the 'Family' Category


I’m a Mormon

Wednesday, 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.

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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

Monday, 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

Sunday, 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

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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.

Change

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I’m not one to always welcome change. It can be fun and exciting, but then it can be really sad.

I have a lot of friends and family going through change right now, including us. All this change means we will probably see these people less, and have to work harder at keeping in touch. Our lives will still meet, but not as much. It’s wonderful to see all these new experiences happen, but so sad to know we’ll all be moving on to new chapters in our lives, and consequently, will not be as much a part of one another’s lives.

One change is bittersweet. A friend of our teaches Science Saturday at the Natural History Museum. I suppose really, she taught there and then became our friend. Jon first took Eden and Lilah to the activities while I had Wizard of Oz rehearsal, way back in 2009. They made a friendship, and she even came to the play Wizard of Oz to see Lilah. We’ve continued to go as a family to the classes, sometimes together, sometimes just one parent with the girls because the other had rehearsal, some big assignment, a lesson to prepare. She came to Cinderella and Seussical, was interested in our family vacations and little things the girls do, and honestly we saw her more than we saw either of our families. We’ve really grown to love this woman, and are sad to see her leave. It’s bittersweet. She’s moving on to a teaching position at a school she enjoys, with students she loves, and with much better benefits than what she was receiving at the museum. She’s completing her masters and moving on. It makes us sad to know we can’t go each Saturday and have a lengthly conversation with her, but I’m happy for this new part of her life.

Another change is my sister Andrea has moved farther away. When she live in Ely, she was just a mere 4 1/2 hours from everywhere, read Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, and we visited her once a year. We also saw her family throughout the year for holidays, or dentists appointments, when they would come to Las Vegas. Now her husband has been transfered to the big city of Elko, and will be 7 1/2 hours from Las Vegas, but still just 4 1/2 from Salt Lake City, where his family is. I’m envious that his parents will be able to enjoy the shorter drive to see them. While I hope to still visit once a year, I know their visits to Las Vegas will be fewer. Elko will be able to provide a lot more for them and they won’t need to go to the even bigger cities. I know I can call Andrea and talk and catch up any time, but I ache that the cousins will see less of one another. I really want Lilah and Eden to know Poppy and Zarina. I guess we’ll have to plan more camping trips together and they’ll need to stock up on chicken thighs.

Then there is the moving of my dear friend Sam. While she’s not moving far from where we are now, it makes me sad to see her go. I suppose it’s just the same manifest of emotions I felt earlier this year at the thought of moving away from her, as we first put an offer on a house. It breaks my heart that we’ll both find new friends to help with last minute babysitting, or ingredients that one or the other might need. I know we’ll keep in touch, and will continue to see one another, but sometimes it’s the little things that strengthen a friendship and being close really helps. It’s the small things that make me grateful that we’ve had each other these past few years.

We’re also experiencing change, but it’s not definite just yet. It’s been 10 months since we put an offer on a house, and while it’s finally moving along, nothing is definite till you have the keys. Some days I think we’re going to be moving, while other days it feels like it’s never going to happen. Today is a day that it feels like it’s never going to happen.

I think it’s interesting that so many people I know are moving and experiencing change in their lives. I am really excited for the changes, but really sad also.

Baby, baby, who wants a baby?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

I think I’m a little bipolar. Some days I really, really, really want a baby. Other days, I’m like, no way do I want a baby coming and messing up our perfectly worked out life. (It’s not perfect, but a baby would sure rock the boat, and be expensive.)
Things that would be really hard with a baby:
Camping. We’d have to get a bigger car because we hardly fit everything we need in our car with a cargo top.
Sleeping. I like to stay up late and sleep in.
Sewing. In my new house, whenever we get one, I would not have a sewing room, and that’s something I’m looking forward to.
Vacations. Because of needing a bigger car, we wouldn’t be able to afford to do vacations.
Homeschooling. I have a hard enough time homeschooling, and staying on task with two children. I don’t think I’d be very consistent if we had a baby. Plus, I’d have to keep what I’m using so I can use it on our younger baby.
Babysitting. Since my daughters are older, I think it’s easier to get a sitter, or at least I feel less guilty using the same two people over and over again. Having a baby would mean we’d go out less as a couple and might actually have to pay to have someone watch my kids.
Life. In general I am just not use to having a little one that demands so much of one’s time. My girls are pretty independent. They make their first two meals of the day and even help with dinner. A baby would be really life changing.

I admit to often looking at the negative to make me happy we’re not having another child. You never know what kind of personality a new little one will have and what dynamic the child will bring to the family.Plus, I can’t control what sex the baby is, and even though Carolyn wants us to have a boy, I am in no way prepared to have a boy. While the personality and sex of the baby aren’t bad. I fear having a really rambunctious, hard to handle boy. The unknown is scary.

Over the past couple years I’ve felt very many emotions.

1. We’re having a baby once we get a bigger house. No matter what.
2. Babies are way too much to handle. I’m too selfish.
3. I’m not having any more babies so lets get rid of all the baby stuff, and my maternity clothes.
4. I’d probably let Lilah or Eden do all the work of taking care of the baby, and that’s just wrong.
5. Babies are so dang cute, and mine are so big.
6. Babies are way annoying, especially as they turn into toddlers.
7. I just want to be pregnant. Who cares if I keep the baby afterwards.
8. I’m good with my little family.

I think I’m mostly baby hungry right now because of a blog I read. The woman has two daughters, one a year older than Lilah, and one who is Eden’s age. Since we both had two daughters, I really related to some of the things she went through, even though our lives are so different. She wasn’t able to have kids for a while, and yesterday she gave birth to a third little girl. Reading her posts about all her preparations and the cheerful anticipation her family felt, really got my womb wanting a another child, especially since she had a little girl.

Even now, I’m not completely sure how I feel about another child, but I’m happy that I feel joy for this mother with her new baby, not jealousy.

Today, I am happy with my family and I’m happy for the moms who have little ones to enjoy.

What I do look forward to is being in the nursery at co-op in the Fall. I really like playing with the little ones, and then sending them to their moms when they’re too upset or need a diaper change.
Then I’m like, “Baby, baby, who wants this baby?”
Not me.

You’ve had a birthday shout hooray!

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Jon had his birthday at the beginning of May.

For Jon’s birthday he went to work, which he normally does, and was able to enjoy some celebration with his co-workers. He then came home to some excited girls who had him search for his present before he worked out. Lilah made a little “scavenger” hunt. I wasn’t feeling my best so instead of riddles, they went more like, “Go to the microwave. Go to the dishwasher.” etc. Jon followed directions and they lead him back to the couch, where his gift was. The girls colored the box like it was a present, in effort to reuse and recycle, and because I wasn’t feeling well. I was actually able to surprise him for his gift this year. He had told me a long time ago what he wanted, and apparently had forgotten. (It was a CD, Thick as a Brick II, and a Lone Wolf book to add to his collection.)

Jon told me he wanted home-made pizza for dinner, so the girls and I prepared our pizzas and shared in making Jon’s. (He was working out.) We then enjoyed some yummy pecan pie. His boss had made it for him last year on his birthday, and I asked for the recipe because it was delicious. Jon’s boss made him a chocolate coffee cake this year, because she thought I might be making him pecan pie. She was correct in her guess. Eden loved the pecan pie and declared that she wanted it for her birthday.

We then enjoyed a nice evening at home as a family.

For my birthday, at the end of the month, I was able to enjoy a quiet morning at home. Jon took the girls to Science Saturday and I started getting ready to see Mary Poppins at The Smith Center. I decided I wanted curly hair, which takes forever, but allowed me to be extra cute on my birthday. Since the show was Mary Poppins, I took Lilah with me as sort of an early birthday gift. We barely got there in time, and the show started. About 5 minutes in the set to the house malfunctioned, and it was nearly a full hour later when they began again. Lilah was really good and we took a couple pictures while we waited. I called Jon to let him know that we’d be home an hour late and he suggested we go out to eat, because he didn’t want to cook and thought making me cook on my birthday was not very nice. I chose Olive Garden and we enjoyed a nice meal together as a family. Jon almost thought to order dessert, but I reminded him that he and Eden had made me a cake while Lilah and I were at the play.

We went home and enjoyed cake and went to bed as one very stuffed family.

Becoming one year older isn’t so bad when you get to enjoy it in such wonderful ways.