Monday, July 21
Sunday, July 20
What is one bad habit you have?
What age will you be on your next birthday?
Saturday, July 19
Coming of age in the 1960's and 70's one big concern Russ and I had was not adding to the population problem. We had been blessed with a boy and a girl so we decided we had our share and took steps to have no more children. We wanted a larger family though so we thought we would have our own little United Nations by adopting children from all over the world. Our naivete was abruptly ended as we discovered how difficult and expensive adoption was. After much heartfelt pondering, praying, and discussion, we made plans and arrangements to drive from our home in Dryden, NY to Salt Lake City Ut so Russ could have surgery to undo the surgery he had several years prior. That surgery was performed Dec 8, 1978. On Dec 3, 1979, much to the amazement of doctors and total delight of family, Ammon David Fellows was born. His personality began to emerge immediately. Right after birth he held his head up, eyes wide open to begin discovering the world around him. By 3 months he was laughing, a characteristic he brightly exhibited all his life. He called our cell phone from work on the Friday of his accident as we drove down to spend the night with his family, to tell us that we were going to have a fun evening and no one would be allowed to be grumpy.
Incredible as it seems, by the age of 2 (I have a journal entry dated March of 1982) he could blow his father’s trumpet and brother’s tuba enough to make a sound and could sing the first two verses of “I Am A Child of God” on pitch beautifully. In elementary school he played drums, then trombone then baritone as he learned to play the piano and continued singing. Later on in his teens, he composed music though never wrote it down and sang in a small rock band in Cache Valley UT.
As a young child he displayed a very strong will which often caused conflict but he used that will to develop physical strength. He loved stories of Samson, Moses, David and Goliath, as well as Ammon in the Book of Mormon. I wrote of him when he was 6 that he was well-coordinated and would probably grow to excel in sports. He took gymnastics and dance classes, played baseball and soccer, did tricks on his bike and skateboard and, later on, got into karate, wrestling, and weight lifting. This was when he started really developing his bulky muscular form. As a baby he had dimples in his shoulders. Later he could pop his arms out of his shoulder sockets but it became painful at times. We got a phone call from school one day when his gym teacher heard his arm pop out as he swung a bat and thought we should take him to get medical treatment. We had him started on physical therapy along with occasional pain medication to try to strengthen his shoulder ligaments. His powerful shoulder and neck muscles were where he felt stress the most and often had pain which would shoot up into his head. Nearly every year that he attended Boy Scout camp, he returned home on crutches after spraining his ankles. As he got larger in adulthood, his feet ultimately gave out on him. After surgery and efforts to east the pain, he ended up on disability. Given the option of just accepting permanent disability support from the government, he chose instead to get temporary assistance to go through schooling to work with computers, a love and interest he had always had. He was really good at it. Early in his life he surpassed his dad with his computer skills and went on to become our family expert. We all turned to him when we had any computer problems or questions.
In February 1988, I recorded in my journal that Ammon had begun entering coloring contests and won every one that he entered. He had a real artistic eye that even extended to one of his greatest loves in life- cooking. As a teenager and early in married life, he worked at a couple of restaurants but his love of cooking started earlier than that. The one household chore I could always count on his willingness to help with was cooking. As a child home sick from school, he preferred watching cooking shows and even infomercials which often resulted in his begging me to send for cooking tools and gadgets. His creations were always works of art.
In the midst of the turmoil of his teenage years, on the eve of his 16th birthday, he came out of his bedroom late at night as I was preparing for bed, wanting to talk to me. He told me of his feelings of wanting to be able to control himself independent from the influence of others. He was afraid of showing sorrow or compassion because he felt it might be a sign of weakness. He avoided allowing himself to feel someone else’s pain out of fear that it might unduly influence him. As a result, he badgered and belittled his younger sister out of what he felt was love. In his way of thinking, he was trying to toughen her up as he was trying to be tough himself. Whenever I cried, he got angry because he didn’t want to let himself feel the pain.
But Ammon still loved to laugh. He loved playing games and was very good at them. Gordon B. Hinckley, our prophet who recently died, said that life is to be fun. He said “live is to be enjoyed not just endured”. He wants us to laugh more than cry. So does Ammon.
Friends were so important to Ammon. After moving with us, by his choice but not happily, to Utah in 1996, he started working washing dishes in a restaurant. He saved his earnings and bought a train ticket to return to NY to visit his friends. After graduating from Skyview High School in Utah, he went to Marine boot camp, returning after only 2 weeks because of his shoulders. Eventually he moved into an apartment with friends and tried working at Wal-Mart. He started getting to know a girl from Richmond that he hadn’t noticed when they both attended high school.
On July 3, 2000, Ammon carried out the best decision he made in his life. He married Victoria Lynn Preece. In an effort to be good parents, we had tried to teach Ammon honesty, the necessity of being willing to work well, compassion, the love of music and reading, taking care to have a healthy body, the importance of completing tasks, showing love and giving service to others- all the characteristics that make us like our elder brother, Jesus Christ. But it is truly after we leave our parents’ home that we fully become the independent person the world comes to know. Often our spouse is a major influence in the fine tuning of our ultimate character. Such is the case with Ammon. He and Victoria went to school together in southern Utah then moved back to Cache Valley with the intent to continue schooling. On Jan 15, 2003, Jeremy Nicholas was born. Ammon was the most tender, caring father. He was awed by this new little person who was part him and part Victoria. He struggled to find a career so he could fulfill his responsibilities as husband and father. A position with Taco Bell took their little family down to Riverdale, Utah and on March 22, 2005, Kadon Russell was born. Another job change resulted in the sudden and traumatic end to the work he was doing so well. There was an abrupt move back to Cache Valley as Ammon ended up on disability and finally graduating with a degree in computer web design. Last summer Ammon’s family moved in with us in Dayton where he immediately sought a job while caring for his pregnant wife and two sons along with helping to work on the 100-year old house we are rehabilitating. On Oct 4, 2007, sweet little Brooklyn Celeste was born. Ammon soon got a wonderful job offer here in Cincinnati and after a short while commuting from Dayton, they had an opportunity to move to affordable housing closer go his job.
Just after Ammon’s 19th birthday, he received his patriarchal blessing. In this personal scripture to him, he was told that in pre-mortality, he chose to come to the family into which he was born. He was blessed with many gifts and talents as well as weakness, with a strong mind and body and broken heart of repentance. Now I quote, “When your life is complete you will find peace and happiness, and look toward the Lord and have full commitment and devotion to him.” At the time he received the blessing I had no idea that the completion of Ammon’s life would be so shortly coming to pass. Everyone here has had the opportunity to witness some part, large or small, of Ammon’s 28 years, 4 months, and 7 days of mortal life. When we are ultimately reunited with him we will all have the complete picture of the compassionate, sensitive man he is. His children will know their tender, caring father. His wife will rejoice to be exuberantly clasped in the arms of a loving husband. For eternity we will be blessed by his willingness to serve and his great intelligence to know how to help. But most of all, we’ll be able to laugh with him again.
Thursday, July 17
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.
Tuesday, July 15
Ammon: So I was driving past Thornton's today.
Victoria: Oh? I hear they have corn dogs.
Ammon: Yeah. 2 for $1. Pretty sweet deal.
Victoria: We should totally go get some corn dogs. That's a kickin' deal.
I was driving past Thornton's tonight, and noticed that they changed the sign finally. I wonder how long ago that happened.
Monday, July 14
I would like to share a little bit about Ammon and how he knew of and followed the Plan of Salvation, which is the plan that our Heavenly Father has for all of us to return to live with Him.
Ammon was one that didn’t do anything he didn’t absolutely believe in and I so appreciate that. He loved kids, he loved cooking, he engulfed himself in sports, (we could always count on him for the orange pie in Trivial Pursuit), he was totally in love with his wife. I’ve never met a man more devoted to his wife and more into helping her to feel like a queen than Ammon was to Victoria. He was my example. These things along with numerous other showed me that Ammon knew of the Plan of Salvation and loved his Savior.
In order to understand the Plan of Salvation, one first has to believe in Heavenly Father and that he hears and answers our prayers. If anybody here has a question of that in their hearts, I know that they can ask any member of Ammon’s family of the myriad of prayers that were plead to Heavenly Father on his behalf. Whether asking to help Ammon with his personal choices or to help Ammon find a way through the many trials that were a part of his life, they were all answered.
The scriptures tell us that we lived with Heavenly Father before we were born here on Earth. When the Lord was speaking to Jeremiah the prophet, he told him in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee...”
Victoria, I told you something on Monday. You and Ammon were together with Heavenly Father choosing a personal plan with him that fit into the great Plan of Salvation that is for all of us. You knew that you would have to go through very difficult times and much pain while here on Earth, but you chose it because you also knew that it would be for but a moment and that you could be with Ammon for Eternity and you would have done anything to know Ammon. He was that important to you.
Ammon was born of goodly parents that taught him in his youth the principles of the gospel. Mom & Dad, I know how grateful Ammon was to you for going through so much to do this for him. He respected you. He came to you often for advice because he knew what he would hear might not always be easy but it would be right. He loved spending time with you and always wanted to be physically near by so that he could do that.
The prophet Alma gave us the purpose of this life in its purest and most simple form. He said in Alma 12:24, “…therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God…” Ammon knew how precious this time was and what were the best ways to spend it. He loved to play board games and card games with his family, always desiring to spend more time with them than doing any of so many other things. He also loved the youth and spending time with them, teaching them by his example.
When Ammon first moved into the ward, he was called to be the Young Men’s basketball coach. Talk about a thrill for Ammon, combining his favorite sport with the opportunity to teach the young men. To you young men, I want you to know that he wasn’t just teaching you how to handle the round ball. He was teaching each of you important principles of the gospel. He taught you to exercise your faith. Whenever you shot the ball or passed it to a teammate, you knew that it was going to end up where you wanted it, to the point that you let the ball leave your hands. He was teaching you the principles of the priesthood and relying on each other when he taught you the different plays. During each of those plays, each of you knew that you had to be at a specific point on the court at a specific time or it wasn’t going to turn out how you had hoped. It’s like that with honoring the priesthood as well. He wanted each of you to know that you have to be ready and able to serve a mission when you turn of age to serve.
He wanted each of you to be good home teachers now and to learn more of the gospel so you can be ready. He wanted to make sure that you would be at your respective places on the court of life when you need to be there to make sure that you were following Heavenly Father’s plan for us. He taught you that each of you have a role to fulfill. He loved you very much and he prayed to Heavenly Father each day for each of you. He led examples in his life so that you would do the same. He read his scriptures every day, he loved and respected his wife, he magnified his callings in the priesthood, he went to the temple and was sealed for time and all eternity and he listened for the promptings of the spirit and followed them. Follow these examples that Ammon left for us.
We’re not sure why Heavenly Father saw fit to call Ammon back home at what seems like such an early time for us. I’m not sure that even if we knew if it would make it any easier right now. His body and his spirit are now separated and he is working to help further the kingdom of God. The Apostle Peter tells us that during the 3 days that Christ was separated from His body that, “…he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;” Whether this same work or some other, I do know that Ammon was called away from us to do something now that he couldn’t do at any other time.
I know that one day Ammon will be resurrected in his full glory. The Apostle Paul taught us as he wrote to the Corinthians, “41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: ... 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead...” Ammon knew of this resurrection and prepared during this life to be able to meet God. He was righteous and did all he could to attain Celestial Glory.
Sunday, July 13
I'm traveling to Utah in September. I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone, and we started talking about how much I'd like to come visit. Out of the blue, she said "If you come visit, I'll give you $100". Of course, this statements causes my wheels to start spinning, and before long I was sitting in front of the computer researching dates and airfare. I quickly decided that the extra cost wasn't feasible, but after spending the bulk of the evening sitting around trying to work my way around being able to make this trip, I decided to call my Dad. (Wow, that is quite the run on sentence!) After I explained the situation to my Mom, I timidly asked if they would be willing to contribute to the 'bring Victoria and Brooklyn to Utah fund'. My Mom assured me that of course they could, and I proceeded to spend most of the next day toying with different dates, and routes. After several more hours of thinking, I once again decided that even with the help of my friend and family, I still couldn't justify the expense. I put in one last call to my parents, to inform them that I wouldn't be coming out after all. My Dad answered the phone, and when I broke the news, he upped the ante. He offered enough money to more than cover my airfare, and suddenly all doubts were brushed aside. I quickly found dates that would work for everybody, and made child care arrangements for the kids. Brooklyn and I will be flying out on Thursday, September 4th and leaving Jeremy and Kadon here in the capable hands of their grandparents. I'm simultaneously looking forward to and feeling apprehensive about this trip. So much of my life with Ammon is wrapped up in Utah. The apartment where he proposed to me, the park where we got married, the town we lived in before we moved to Ohio. All these sights--I fear that they will engulf me when I drive into the valley and not relinquish their grip on me until I drive back out. I know that I will have to make this trip at some point, and I suppose it is better to make it without the watchful eyes of my two impressionable young boys on me. I'm sure in reality it will end up being bittersweet. I'm sure that I will be grateful for familiar sights, but long for the presence of my husband where I am so used to seeing him. I suppose time will tell what this trip will hold. I can only pray that the good memories outweigh the painful ones.
Saturday, July 12
1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? Only with chicken wings
2. Have you ever smoked heroin? Nope
3. Do you own a gun? Ammon had one, but I gave it back to his Dad a couple months ago. It was under duress that it was brought into my house--and it didn't take long for it to go back out once Ammon was gone.
4. What's your favorite drink at Starbucks? Back in my evil days I liked Frappuccino's. But that was before Starbucks was on every street corner.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Yup
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Only high quality ones. No cheapo's for me.
7. Favorite Christmas song? O Come O Come Emmanuel
8. Can you do push-ups? Haven't checked lately. Probably a few.
9. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding band, for all it still symbolizes to me. It says eternity all the way around the band, that's what I'm hanging on for now.
10. Favorite hobby? I love to shop, read, and spend time with friends.
11. Do you have A.D.D.? Nope
12. What's one trait that you hate about yourself? My weight
13. Middle name? Lynn
14. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. 1-Brooklyn is playing quietly on the floor by herself, that is so nice! 2-I hope my brother wants to go on the riverboat cruise I found. 3-I wish I could get a nap today. Two sick kids=one tired Mommy.
15. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, Cream Soda, Milk
16. Current worry right now? Being alone for the rest of my life.
17. Current hate right now? Being alone for the rest of my life.
18. Favorite place to be? Anytime before April 11th.
19. How did you bring in the New Years? Russ and Mary came down, and we played games until about 11pm. Ammon and I probably could have made it to midnight, but Russ and Mary were clearly fading, and since they were sleeping in the living room, we took pity on them. I'm pretty sure we rung it in our own way upstairs, though.
20. Like to go? Where? Hmm. Not really sure I understand this question. I'm looking forward to a trip without my kids, does that count?
21. Name three people who will complete this? Oh geez. I have no idea. Emily? Snickollet? Christine?
22. Do you own slippers? Funny story there--it's the pair I bought with my sister on a whim, and wore them to a friend's wedding. I only wear them occasionally.
23. What color shirt are you wearing? Purple
24. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I'm a high thread-count cotton kind of girl.
25. Can you whistle? Nope
26. Favorite color? Purple
27. Would you be a pirate? Would it pay the bills?
28. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't usually sing in the shower.
29. Favorite girl's name? Brooklyn
30. Favorite boy's name? I was campaigning for Derek if Brooklyn had been a boy. I would not have won.
31. What's in your pocket right now? Perhaps some garbage. I am a Mom.
32. Last thing that made you laugh? A guest post from one of my favorite bloggers on another blog. It was hilarious.
33. Best bed sheets as a child? I remember a spread that was longer to reach the floor. I used to love to pretend it was a cave, and I hid under there all the time.
34. Worst injury you've ever had? I had surgery on my toe when I was sixteen, does that count?
35. Do you love where you live? Not really. But it's not so much the house as the person that isn't here.
36. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2
37. Who is your loudest friend? Probably Joanna, although she would disagree with me. I don't know that I have any particularly loud friends.
38. How many pets do you have? 1. A dog named Jazz.
39. Does someone have a crush on you? Pfft. Yeah, they're banging down my door.
40. What is your favorite book? I love Marry Higgins Clark. I have read almost everything she's every written.
41. What is your favorite candy? Caramello and Snickers
42. Favorite Sports Team? Indianapolis Colts
43. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Sleeping
44. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke? Of course! This is the ONE morning that all THREE kids are sleeping in, and I have to be at the church at 8am. I would so much rather stay in bed than get up and shower!
Wednesday, July 9
This is certainly something that I had not pictured myself doing. But I am glad to. I’m glad to have the opportunity to honor my brother who at one time seemed to live solely to annoy me but then grew into a man I was immensely proud of. Ammon came into my life when I was six, I had been the baby all that time, but I didn’t mind, I loved having a little baby brother. And boy was he cute! It was easy to show him off! I remember dressing him up when he was a toddler. Sometimes James would get in on it too and we’d dress him in a suit and have him carry a little brief case. He was my little doll. Maybe that’s why he tormented me later in life. As he grew he always stayed busy. Sometimes the things he did were amazing and other times frustrating. He hated to get his toe nails cut and so James and I invented plagues that would befall anyone who didn’t keep their toe nails clipped and that worked for a long time. We could tell him that he was going to get toe-jam or some other thing if he didn’t let us clip his nails. Any time spent with Ammon was a test to one’s imaginative abilities. You either had to try to keep up with his brain or come up with punishments that were crazy enough that he would be good in order to avoid them. This led to my parents coming home and finding my brother gagged and tied to a chair.
Ammon and I were both creative, considered friends of great importance and loved the beauty that is all around us. Sometimes it felt like he was trying to copy me, art, music and sports, but I figured out as we got older that he just liked some of the same things I did. Just at different levels. I could never, and never wanted to, match his level of passion for professional sports. He was great to have on my Trivial Pursuit team. He almost always knew the sports questions. My siblings and I could be an almost unbeatable team together at that game. We all have had our own different areas of strengths and interests. Alot of those areas overlapped, but God had given each of us our own area of strength. I will never play Trivial Pursuit the same way again. It will be as if a piece of the game is missing. I will also miss Ammon when we put puzzles together. Ammon coined the phrase “puzzle eyes” to describe our ability to look for and find within a reasonable amount of time, a puzzle piece we needed. Ammon said that he and I were the only ones in the family that had them.
I don’t know that I even need to say what a great friend Ammon was. All the people that have come here to honor him stand as a testament of that. He was always a steady friend, solid. He was their defender, their strength, and a listening ear. I know because he was all those things to me as well. And he was so much more than those things to his love, Victoria. She and I have hit it off from nearly the first time that we met. I say nearly because Ammon had been telling her how much fun I was but when I got there, to Utah, it had been a really long trip for me with my boys and I was drained and a bit cranky. I was able to show my true colors after I had gotten my kids to bed and we stayed up to play games. After that she became a dear friend to me. And I will be forever grateful to Ammon for grabbing her and pulling her into our family. In her God created his best match for Ammon. They were and will be one of the best matched couples I have ever seen.
One other area that Ammon and I had in common was our faith. At times we wondered away from it making excuses and wanting to know for our selves. But when we were done wandering we both had a testimony of our Savoir Jesus Christ and his atonement. I am grateful for that knowledge. It’s not something that someone gave me or something that someone explained to me, it’s something that I found on my own. Ammon did too, and it was a hard process for both of us. But it is also a big piece of what we are. If you want to aquire any of Ammon’s passion for life and love for others, look to his faith.
And so with that I share my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true, I know that this life is not all that there is. I know that we can live again and more importantly that we can live again as families for eternity.
Monday, July 7
Sunday, July 6
Saturday, July 5
Several months ago, Ammon judged the chili cook-off in Russ and Mary's small branch in Dayton. I wrote about the evening here. As a gift for judging the cook off, the branch gave him a gift card to Trader Joe's. Because we moved shortly after that evening, and then were busy with getting to know our new hometown, we never got around to spending the card. The restaurant that my girlfriend's and I visited on Thursday was near a Trader Joe's, so it made sense to stop there on our way home and use the card. As I perused the aisles, it seemed appropriate to pick up a bouquet of flowers. In a small way, it's as though Ammon got me flowers for our anniversary. Every time I look at them, I think of him. I like to think that they're exactly what he would have chosen for me, if given the opportunity.
Friday, July 4
Thursday, July 3
Wednesday, July 2
Tuesday, July 1
Wednesday, June 20th 2007
I'm also feeling a special kind of gratitude for my husband. He finished his final project for school this work, and now just has to spend an hour submitting the final forms to have his diploma issued. After all the tears and sweat of the last two years, Ammon is a college graduate. Do you know how good it feels to be able to say that? I am so proud of him that I can hardly express in appropriate words what I think. He has worked so hard, and made so many sacrifices, all for the good of our little family. Those sacrifices, and that diploma with all the work that went behind it, mean more to me than a lot of things that he has done for me. This diploma, with luck, is going to make the rest of our lives easier, and that is no small thing......Sometimes it seems that life is too good. Life is too sweet, too wonderful to truly be believed. However, when I wake up each morning to the sound of my children crawling into bed with me, when I look to my left and see my husband sleeping soundly next to me, it's hard to contemplate how wonderful life can really be.
Thursday, July 27th, 2006
They (Kadon and Ammon) have spent a lot of quality time together lately, especially after the long days of crankiness when Ammon comes home to rescue us all from total destruction. I have been really grateful for his ability as a father to be able to hold the fort together here, even with sick children, and give me a little bit of relief. I think he's the greatest dad (not to mention husband!) in the whole world!
Saturday, December 30th 2006
I am lucky enough to be blessed with a really fantastic family. My two boys are smart, healthy (mostly), and full of life. My husband is thoughtful, kind, and loving. My life is truly a joy, even though I find it easy to get caught up in the small inconveniences that we experience. We have been given opportunities at every juncture to make the most of our difficulties, and we always seem to come out on top. I can't deny that the Lord has had a hand in everything that we do, and I keep telling myself that there is a eternal plan for our little family.
December 5th, 2006
I'm feeling really grateful today for my husband. Not that I'm not grateful for him every day, but I'm feeling especially grateful for him this day. We had some bad financial news yesterday. The kind of bad news that turns your entire world upside down, and has far-reaching, catastrophic implications. As I was sobbing and wondering where we would go from there, my dear husband marched out, with sword and shield drawn, and fought for us. He managed to make the situation not nearly as terrible as it could have been, and did it all with a smile on his face. Now, during the month that he is meant to be taking some time off, he is going to be forced to work full time and take at least 1 business trip to make up some extra money to pay these unexpected and large expenses. Instead of getting angry, and being depressed, my husband is taking care of the situation and in the process, making me feel so secured and loved that I think we might make it through this trial after all! I'm grateful that he has the kind of job that he can just 'put in more hours' and get some extra money, but I'm mostly grateful for his dedication to our family that he is willing to do what it takes. So many other men would simply throw their hands in the air and give up, but not my husband. For me, it's just another affirmation of why it is I married this wonderful man.