Friday, October 31

Let Sleeping Girls Lie

As I type this, this is what awaits me in the kitchen. I needed to get some work done, so I stuck her in the high chair with a graham cracker. After a few minutes, I noticed it was exceedingly quiet from the direction of the kitchen, and I went to investigate.

She is going to have SUCH a crick in her neck when she wakes up, but I know if I move her nap time will be over for the day!

Thursday, October 30

Last Night

The kids and I missed you last night, Babe. I took the kids to the ward trunk-or-treat, and I couldn't help but think about all the other Halloween's we've experienced together. Remember our first Halloween as a couple? We were sitting at home in our first apartment together, and getting a shockingly small amount of visitors. It was just a few months after my brother Jeremy died, and I was still really struggling. We had recently been talking about going back to church and trying to get to the temple, and that night a member of the bishopric called and asked if we would be willing to meet with them.

The next year, we were in the house that ended up costing us our credit history to this day. I found a Nun costume at Wal-Mart for myself, and after we whipped up some quick accessories and unearthed your old holocaust robe, we made the perfect monk and nun.
Remember when I ran over you with the car? Granted, you shouldn't have been laying on top of it when I hit the gas, but it made a good joke at the Halloween party that year. I dressed as the psychotic convertible Christine, and you as my hapless victim.
The year that Jeremy was almost 10 months old, and we dressed him as a bug for the holiday. He took his first steps the week of Halloween, and when we took him to the trunk-or-treat with my friend Meagon, we took great joy in showing off some of his first steps. We didn't actually do any trick-or-treating that year, because Jeremy was too small.
The year after that, I was pregnant with Kadon and Jeremy dressed up as Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc. That year we decided Jeremy was still too little to go out door to door, but we got together with some friends of ours who had children of similar ages. We staged trick-or-treating at your parents house in Logan, and recruited the parents of the kids we invited to stand inside all the bedrooms and hand out candy as we brought each kid around. I don't know who had more fun, the kids or the adults! I also remember how cute Jeremy was and how often he wore that costume in the months afterwards, even to a showing of Disney on Ice that your parents took him to the weekend before Kadon was born.
The next year, it was Kadon who was the baby. I have a photo of you on the couch with the boys, in your football themed gear. Remember how excited you were for Kadon to be a football? We took him to a costume contest at the Cache Valley Mall, and he won for his age group. You chalked it up to your Moms expertise with a sewing machine, and we enjoyed getting our family picture taken as Kadon's prize from the contest. Remember those football pads your Mom made for Jeremy? You were so disappointed when we finally had to put them away.

The year following the football success, Jeremy was an army guy and Kadon borrowed a clown costume from a friend. I don't know what I was thinking, but I completely forgot to take pictures that year. We took the kids to the trunk-or-treat at our church, and to a couple close friends houses. We had such a ball, but it was freezing!
Last year, Brooklyn was only three weeks old for Halloween. I had vowed never again to buy a lame store bought costume, and your Mom and I spent a couple of long days after she was born putting a Merlin and King Arthur costume together for the boys. We attended the trunk-or-treat at the tiny Dayton branch, and you judged the chili contest. Remember how I was slightly miffed that I didn't win? I know it was the right choice, but it still stung a little bit. You had so much fun carrying Brooklyn around and showing her off, and after dinner you took the boys around to the cars while I stood at our van and handed out candy.
For Kadon's Merlin costume, he needed a wand. You went outside and found a length of wood, and painstakingly carved it to resemble a wand. It looked like a walking stick to me, but he had a good time with it, and you loved making it for him.
On the night set aside in Dayton for door to door trick-or-treating, you came home from work a little bit early and we took the kids over to Angela's house. We didn't bother dressing Brooklyn up (nothing would have fit her anyway! Remember how tiny she was?!) and I sat at the house with Angela and snuggled with her while you took the boys out in her neighborhood.
Last night wasn't the same, babe. I got the kids dressed up, this time the boys chose the costume of a police officer and a mailman. I had quite a time finding the appropriate accessories for each of them, but got lucky the day of the ward trunk-or-treat with Kadon's costume. Brooklyn had the only hand sewn costume of the night--a flower. Your Mom helped, as always, and she was adorable. This year, it was me carrying her around the church building while everybody admired her. This year, Janelle took the boys from car to car while I stood at our van with Brooklyn and passed out candy. We missed you, and it was more poignant last night. You would have had such a good time at the party, and enjoyed an evening to socialize with friends. Are we ever going to be able to celebrate holidays without missing you with a fierce ache?

Wednesday, October 29

Down

I spoke too soon last night. My Yo seems to be back on the down portion of its cycle. I'm going to try to get from one breath to the next today, and wait for the Yo to go back up, like it always does.

I miss him so much it hurts.

Tuesday, October 28

Dancing Photos

Have y'all noticed I haven't had a real angst filled post in a while? Kind of nice, huh?

Anyway, here are some photos from our much enjoyed night out at So You Think You Can Dance. When we arrived at the arena, we were pleasantly shocked to see how good our seats were. We had purchased the tickets weeks in advance, and although the salesman had showed us on the map the location of the seats, we didn't realize how good they were until we arrived for the show. We were on the front row of the balcony, right in the center. I think we even had a better view than the schmucks who paid for seats on the floor. It was awesome!

This was one of my favorite dances during the run of the regular season, danced by one of my favorite couples. It is about a husband who is a workaholic, and the wife is begging him to stay home and spend time with her. It's danced to 'Bleeding Love'.
This was a great Bollywood dance. It's a fusion of Indian ethnic dancing, and current beats and movements. I loved it!

This was a traditional Russian dance, complete with the kicks and leaps that are absolutely stunning to watch. The guy in blue was the winner of the competition during the season, and was definitely the star of the traveling show.

Julie, Joanna, and I waiting for the show to start.

I barely used any zoom at all to take this picture. That, my friends, is how good our seats were. Aren't you jealous?!

Monday, October 27

Photo Tag


I picked up this tag from my friend Alisha's blog. The idea is to pick the 4th folder in your picture file, and the 4th picture in that file, post the photo, and give a short description.
This is a photo of Kadon, probably around 16 months. Ammon had the boys in the bathtub one evening, and Kadon slipped and fell, hitting his head on the side of the tub. Being a head wound in the bathtub, it bled profusely and gave both of us a scare, but once we got the bleeding under control and everybody calmed down, Jeremy asked to give Kadon a popsicle. We thought it was so sweet, we sent them both out onto the balcony to share the sugary treat. I still remember how cute it was to watch Jeremy feed Kadon the popsicle, being careful to alternate licks between the two of them. You can read about the original incident here, since I blogged about it when it happened.
Now I tag Mary, Christine, SarahAnne, and Kellie.

Saturday, October 25

Brooklyn Walking

Brooklyn took her first tentative steps a few weeks ago, but hasn't progressed much in the way of walking since then. She has pretty well perfected the art of standing, and her balance is wonderful, but she hasn't been compelled to take many steps. That is-until yesterday. Mary and Russ arrived at about 4:30 to stay with the kids while I went to the show last night, and right before I left she started taking several steps between two large pieces of furniture-the coffee table to the chair, the piano bench to the coffee table, that sort of thing. While I was gone, my in-laws took her to a ward members house for a pumpkin carving activity, and while there she continued to bravely take more and more steps. This afternoon, she is walking more and more with every passing hour. I got several videos of her taking steps toward me, but I think this one is the most impressive because she actually stumbles after her first step, and then manages to get back up and keep walking. Her days of crawling are definitely numbered, and she holds true to form: once she decides to do something, she does it without hesitation--but she won't do it at all until she's ready!

video

Friday, October 24

So, Can You?

3 friends and I are attending the tour of So You Think You Can Dance tonight. I am so excited for an evening out with my girlfriends I could just spit!

Thursday, October 23

Old Friends

After I finished my midterm last night, I dragged myself upstairs to attend to the functions of getting ready for bed. I took out my contact, washed my face, and brushed my teeth while contemplating my to-do list for today. I breathed a deep sigh of relief at the completion of my Psychology test, and knelt at the side of my bed to say prayers before crawling in and going to sleep. Abruptly, an old friend came into my mind. Somebody I have thought of often over the last several months, but haven't spoken to at all. In fact, I had no reason to believe that he ever even wanted to hear from me again. We had a falling out months ago, and though I have thought of him many times over the summer, I was hesitant to contact him for fear that there was still hard feelings lingering over our misunderstanding. I shook my head to clear my thoughts, and tried to attend to the task at hand.

I finished my prayer, and crawled gratefully into bed. As I lay still, trying to surrendering myself to the darkness and oblivion of sleep, this old friend continued to enter into my mind. The phone on my nightstand almost began to glow in the dark, and it quickly became apparent I would get no relief for the night until I at least tried to call him. I picked up the phone, turned on the light, and sat up in bed. For at least 10 minutes I stared at the phone in my hand and tried to convince myself that calling him was a bad idea. I tried to convince myself that it wasn't a prompting I was feeling, and simply a curiosity that I needed to work to suppress.

It didn't work.

Nervously, I dialed the number from my speed dial. I had a brief message composed in my head, positive that he wouldn't pick up and I would leave it on his answering machine, thereby relieving me of this strange urge to contact him. When he answered, I was shocked and pleased to hear the sound of his voice. He was happy to hear from me, and we spent hours catching up. This morning, I'm glad that I listened to the prompting last night, and heeded the urging to bring an old friend back into my life.

For the last few weeks I have been feeling more and more settled. I have felt more hopeful and peaceful about both my past, and the future that is still in store. I have begun to entertain the notion of dating, and have spent a great deal of time thinking about what kind of person I would want to involve myself with for the rest of my mortal life. I don't know if this friend is 'the one' for me. It's premature to be considering that of anybody, when I'm only sticking my tiniest little toe into the great pool of possibility. It's an adventure I am somewhat looking forward too, though. I know that it won't erase the sting of missing Ammon, or the ache of not having the kid's loving father in their lives. I do hope, however, that once I reach a point where I am even more healed than I am now, that a man will enter our lives that can attempt to fill in some of that void. He'll never take the place of Ammon, and the kind of man I will get involved with won't even try. Even so, there is no doubt in my mind that I should try to find somebody to love, and somebody to love us.

Here's to Chapter 2.

Wednesday, October 22

Rock Star!!

I just finished my Psychology midterm. I printed out all 26 pages of it, and spent several hours this evening scouring my textbook, notes, and worksheets to find each and every answer. I'm grateful for the extra time I spent studying, as it allowed me to know quickly where to locate each answer out of the approximately 200 pages of information I had at hand. I logged into the school website at nearly midnight, and very carefully entered each answer into the system. I clicked 'submit' with butterflies in my stomach, and nervously awaited the score which appeared on my screen almost instantly.











91 out of 100 possible points.






I rock!! I am a freaking psychology ROCK STAR!!

And for the record, I answered 'B' to the question I posted earlier. It was one of the few that I could find no reference for in my textbook and notes, so it could possibly be one of the 9 I got wrong. I'll let you know as soon as the answers are posted next week.

Midterm

This is an sampling from my psychology 101 midterm, which I have to work on taking this weekend. I'm glad that it's an open-book test with four days to work on the 100 question test that constitutes a full 25% of our final grade, but with questions like this and everything I have going on this weekend, I don't think it's gonna help.

Monkey Shines, Herman's pet monkey, started to behave like patients with brain damage. He demonstrated a lack of empathy of concern for others. This behavior, seen in patients with brain damage, is know as:

A. cortical lateralization
B. acquired sociopathy
C. learned callousness
D. neural consolidation


Any ideas?

Monday, October 20

School

School stress abounds.

Church has a lot going on this week.

I went to a friend's house for dinner tonight.

I'm going to a concert on Friday night.

I have a huge midterm this week.

Brooklyn is cutting a tooth.

I am having major problems with one of my Internet courses.

The good news?

I finally finished the Twilight series. So maybe now I can actually work on some of this stuff, huh?

Saturday, October 18

Emergency

Kadon had a croupy cough yesterday, one that I didn't think a whole lot about during the day. Cough medicine never seems to affect him, and he didn't seem to be running a fever, so I didn't treat him at all other than to make sure that he got lots of fluids. I was a little bit apprehensive last night when I put him to bed, knowing that his asthma issues often act up during the night. I had planned to put his nebulizer and steroids next to my bed last night when I went to bed, but when he woke up wheezing at midnight I hadn't yet gone to sleep. I was downstairs goofing off on the computer, and when I heard his ragged breathing I raced upstairs, flew into his room, and jerked him out of bed. I ran to my bedroom and got the breathing treatment together as quickly as possible, holding the mask to his face for him. He was wheezing so heavily that he couldn't form words, and the sensation of the mask on the face was making his already labored breathing even worse. I held my breath, praying that the steroid would once again do the trick. It only took a few minutes for me to be certain that this asthma attack was more severe than his others. Knowing there was no time to waste, I quickly flipped through the Rolodex of my mind to figure out who I could call that would be both willing to climb out of bed to come to my house and stay with the other two while they slept, and was close enough that I wouldn't have to wait long. I quickly settled on the Bishop, who is the leader of the ward that I belong to at church. He lives within a few minutes, and I knew he would be willing to disrupt his night for my family. When the phone rings at midnight, it puts most people on edge, and Bishop Bradley was no different. I explained in a rush that Kadon was having an asthma attack and I needed to get him to the emergency room immediately, and his only reply was 'I'll be right there'. How grateful I am for people who are willing to step in and help me at a moment's notice.

While we were waiting for the bishop to show up, I quickly threw some clothes on myself, and some sweatpants, socks, and a jacket on Kadon. He continued his breathing treatment while I made one more phone call to Russ and Mary to let them know what was going on and to ask for them to pray for us. I was watching at the window when Bishop Bradley pulled up, and was halfway to the van before he got out of his car. I pulled out onto the dark and deserted street, and drove 80 mph all the way to the hospital, all the while with Kadon wheezing dangerously in the backseat. The way he was having to work to get air into his lungs must have been painful, because periodically he would stop breathing for a moment. I found myself uttering a eerily familiar and infinitely painful phrase-the same one I said over and over to Ammon as he lay dying on the pavement outside our home-'You've got to breathe, baby. Baby, you've got to breathe.' My heart in my throat, I pulled up outside the Emergency Exit, took Kadon into my arms, and ran into the hospital.

They got me into a room almost immediately, due in no small part to the sound of his ragged breathing. A oxygen monitor was placed on his finger, and once I was assured that his oxygen was well within normal range, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. He received another breathing treatment while we were at the ER, along with a dose of oral steroid. After hearing his cough, the doctor agreed with me on the diagnosis of croup, which exacerbated his already reactive airways and caused the severe attack.

After two hours in the ER in the middle of the night, we were ready to go home. I put in a call to Russ to update them on the situation, and he told me that Mary was on her way down to my house. Not knowing what else to do, or if his attack was severe enough to admit him to the hospital, Mary couldn't sit idly at home. She was here when we arrived home just after 2 this morning, and left to go to a seminary meeting just after 8 this morning. I am grateful that she was here, and grateful that we have such wonderful medicine to help Kadon breathe more easily. I can't imagine what would have happened last night without a ready supply of powerful steroids.

This morning, he seems fine. Still croupy, and tired from his sleep disruption last night, but there is no more wheezing. I am praying that this croup clears up, and we don't have a repeat performance tonight.

Thursday, October 16

Missionaries



We have some great missionaries in our ward. They live reasonably near us, and every chance they get (which averages out to be about once a week) they stop by to visit. Because of church and mission rules, they're not allowed to come inside the house of a woman who is alone, but they always take time to play outside with the boys. I know people who aren't members of the church sometimes get annoyed with our missionaries. In fact, one of my neighbors came outside while they were here playing with the kids, and said that she thought the missionaries were annoying. I turned to her and said, "It's a big deal, you know. These boys are 19 years old, and leave their home and family for two years to go out and tell people about God and church. They get rejected over and over again, and it's not easy for them. It's not easy, and it deserves respect." The thing is, I don't expect everybody to believe as I do. I accept that I am the only member in my apartment complex, and that most of my neighbors roll their eyes in good nature when they hear about yet another thing I don't do. I hope that underneath it all there is a respect growing, but I don't know. I do know this, though. These missionaries are good people. Whether you accept the message they bring or not, they deserve respect for the job that they do. They are unfailingly kind and patient, tolerant and giving. They have taken two full years-TWO YEARS- out of their life at a time when they could be out dating, going to college, and hanging out with their friends. Instead, they sign on for a life of poverty, for rejection, and of endless service. I admire them, and I love them. Every Elder who comes through my area I greet warmly, and I always honk at wave at them when I see them in the street. When I run into them in the grocery store, I always say hello. I help them whenever I can, and when Ammon was alive would invite them over for dinner frequently. They do what they do because they believe with all their hearts and souls that the church, this church, is true. So do I, and that belief has gotten me through more rough spots in the last six months than in my entire life combined. I'm not asking you to convert, or even to take the discussions that the missionaries offer. What I am asking is this: the next time you see them walking down the street, instead of snorting in derision, recognize the sacrifice that they are making to be doing the work they're doing, and give them the respect they deserve. Even if you do it silently.

Wednesday, October 15

They came, they came!

My dear, dear, WONDERFUL friend Kellie recently had her sixth child, a beautiful little boy. She has a good mix of gender's in her house, and the addition of this little angel completes their family. The good, kind-hearted soul that she is, she chose to send a good portion of her girl clothes on to me. Well, she decided to send them to me after Kid-to-Kid refused to buy them back. But that's beside the point. The point is, I am now the proud owner of some super cute baby clothes. They arrived while Brooklyn was down for her nap, but as soon as she was up I went upstairs to try some of my favorite outfits on her.

I don't think she likes this one very much.
Hmm. Yeah, she really doesn't appear to be a fan, does she?
Shoot. Or this one. And I really liked this one!
What? You mean you think I look pretty in this? Thanks!
Mom, I've been a good sport, but if you don't stop trying clothes on me, I'm going to claw your eyes out while you sleep. I know people who know people. Don't mess with me.

Brooklyn's Birthday Cake

I know I'm horribly remiss in not posting these photos sooner. Even now, there are photos I'd really like to post, but simply don't have enough space here to accommodate them. The whole cake experience was great this year. I purchased a cupcake cake from Wal-Mart that was shaped and decorated as a crown, and along with it I got for free a smaller cake just for Brooklyn to enjoy. While the rest of us enjoyed cupcakes, she dug in to her cake in her booster chair.

Really? All this cake just for me?
Hmm. It's sort of squishy, and nobody is getting mad at me for making a mess. Interesting.
Well, what do you know! It tastes good, too!
My Mom is the BEST!

Tuesday, October 14

Feedjit

I added a new feature to my sidebar, down at the very, very bottom. It's a live traffic feed, and it shows the location of everybody who accesses my blog in real time. I admit--I am absolutely FASCINATED with the traffic! There is a much larger volume than I had anticipated, and there are people visiting from all over the country, even across the world. Many of the people, or at least locations, I can guess at. Some of them come from blogs that I know I am linked to--other widow blogs like mine, and I know from experience that people are a little voyeuristic about the inner workings of a widow mind. Whatever the reason, wherever the people are coming from--I am entranced by the activity of it all.

Monday, October 13

Starting


Against all advice, I have finally given in to the fad and begun reading this series. As expected, it's completely addicting and it's hold on my attention proves demanding. Forgive me if I'm a little bit absent for a while, as I disappear into a world where vampires exist, and Forks, Washington is my home.

Saturday, October 11

In a Handbasket


And before you vultures call Children's Protective Services on me, she was pawing and crying at the basket until I put her in it, I swear! I guess it would help that shortly before this, Jeremy put her in the basket and was pushing her around on the floor. I didn't go quite that far, but apparently folding herself up inside the basket was good enough for her this time. Too, too cute.

Six Months

Six months today since I last held my husband in my arms. Six months ago today, we were sitting in the cafeteria at Ethicon enjoying our least meal together. Six months ago today I had no idea how bad I could hurt, or what I was capable of surviving. Six months ago today, my life was still perfect.

I love you sweetheart, more today than ever. I miss you.

Friday, October 10

Baby's First

We hit a milestone yesterday at our house. Brooklyn had her very first experience with phoning poison control on her behalf. We were all playing happily yesterday afternoon right after Jeremy got home from school. I was on the computer finishing up a couple things for school, and the boys were working on drawings on the coffee table. I looked over at the grouping a couple times, but thought nothing of Brooklyn playing with the crayons, markers (with the lids on!), and colored pencils from the boy's art kit. She was happily banging the various things together, the boys were happily coloring-life was good. Fast forward about five minutes later, and Jeremy yells:

"Mommy! There's something wrong with Brooklyn! Her mouth is all purple!"

Now, typing this sentence I realize it sounds worse than it actually was. At the time, I had no thought that he meant the dangerous 'baby isn't breathing' kind of purple. Choking never even crossed my mine, frankly. I moved quickly to her side, and was startled to see that, indeed, her mouth, her hands, and a large swath around her lips were entirely and vividly purple. I quickly found the source of the vibrant color-a small disc of dried watercolor paint. It came from the boys art kit, and it was the perfect size for Brooklyn to munch on. Jeremy quickly grabbed me a wet washcloth while I held Brooklyn's hands from touching anything, and once I got her face wiped off and her hands cleaned, I made the obligatory phone call to poison control. I have called so many times in the past because of my two rambunctious and busy little boys that I don't need to look up the number.

I exasperatedly told the operator what had happened, and she calmly informed me that the paints are universally non-toxic, and at worst it could conceivably cause her a small stomach ache. She recommended that I give her a drink of water, which I did immediately. So far, no ill effects have been noticed. I'm bracing myself, however, for that vibrantly purple diaper that I know is headed my way.

Thursday, October 9

Well, glad we've established THAT!

I was coloring at the coffee table with Kadon this morning, during a quiet moment after Brooklyn went down for a nap and before Jeremy got home. For my picture I chose our Bible-centered coloring book, and when I was about halfway done with my picture, Kadon came over to investigate my progress.

"Is that God?"

"No, this is Jesus."

"Oh! I like Jesus!"

(Surprised) "Good! He likes you too!"

Tuesday, October 7

Contacts

I got contact lenses today. It's actually a pretty cheap expenditure for me, because with my prescription I only need a contact in my left eye. I also don't need a strong prescription in the one eye, so the lenses I wear are among the cheapest and most plentiful to be found. Essentially--it costs me half or less than half of what it costs most people to wear contact lenses, so I decided I could justify the cost. This morning my Mom and I got Jeremy on the bus, dropped Kadon off at pre-school, and ventured to Wal-Mart. My Mom picked up the few things we needed at the store, and I went to my appointment. It took a while for me to get the hang of intentionally jabbing my finger into my eye and pinching the lens off my eyeball, but once I had done it a couple times I was feeling much more confident. At this point the soft lens has been in my eye for about 3 hours, and I'm getting about ready to take it out for the day. The recommended schedule suggests increasing the length of time I wear the lens by an hour or two everyday, so that at the end of a week I will be able to wear it all day. So far I have enjoyed not having my pesky glasses on my face, and once I master the insertion and removal of the lens, I think I'll be in heaven.

Aside from that, I received an unexpected call this afternoon. I was preparing lunch for Jeremy and I when the phone rang. On the other line a business-like woman was requesting to speak to Ammon. I took a deep breathe and answered "He's not here right now. Can I ask who's calling?" She then asked "Is there a spouse I can speak to?" I said "This is his wife, can I ask who is calling?" She went on to inform me that she was calling with a question from my credit card, and I had no choice but to inform her that Ammon is deceased. I had withheld this information from the credit card company, fearing that they would cancel my card--which is exactly what they did. I was told that I cannot be held liable for the debt, but I won't believe it until I see it in writing. Mainly, I'm feeling apprehensive about suddenly being without that safety net. I know that I can apply for a card in my own name, but over the years, most of our credit accounts have been in Ammon's name. I have very little credit established in my own name, and as such won't be able to secure a large limit for any card for myself. I'm nervous about being without a decent amount of credit to my name, but can't change the reality at this point. It's simply yet another reminder that my life will never be the same without Ammon around to take care of me. In the next few days I will be sending out another copy of his death certificate to close this credit account, and I will have severed another part of our history together.

I hate being a widow.

Saturday, October 4

My Invinceable Summer

As many of you already know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Twice a year-in April and October-the members of the church from all over the world and all walks of life halt activities for two days and gather around church buildings, radios, televisions, and computers. There is a conference center in Utah that holds 21,000 people, and is always full to capacity for each of the four two-hour sessions of General Conference. The sessions are held on Saturday and Sunday-one in the morning and one in the afternoon on both days-and it's a great opportunity to gather around and listen to the words of our leaders. Speakers are selected months in advance, and prayerfully prepare talks with a mind to comfort, uplift, and guide the members of the church. Generally, our family has made it a habit to view the Saturday morning session, and both sessions on Sunday. Last time General Conference came around was the Sunday before Ammon's death, and we watched the Sunday morning session on the sofa, which we had turned around to face the computer. We all played conference bingo, which consists of listening to the speakers, and as they each say a variety of words, you place a small candy on the squares, which hold the randomly selected words. When you achieve five in a row, you are able to eat your candy and start all over again. We had a fabulous time playing conference bingo that day, and even Ammon got in on the action that day.

This weekend, in conjunction with celebrating Brooklyn's birth, we are watching Conference. My mother is here visiting from Utah, and we sat down together to watch the morning session. As it always seems, many of the talks were directly relevant to my life. They spoke of hope, of faith, and of having an attitude of gratitude and gratefulness. They spoke of the burdens we all carry, and of carrying on through the dark, burdensome days of our lives. They spoke of loneliness and despair, and of the enduring faith that we must have to carry us through these difficult times. One of the most beloved leaders, Joseph B. Wirthlin, said in the afternoon session that the principle of compensation is real. It has been promised that for every tear, every sorrow, every pain of this life, those that are faithful will be compensated 100 fold. It was so comforting to hear that. These are truths that are familiar to me--but it was incredibly uplifting to hear them spoken so powerfully and spiritually. I was moved to tears many times, and can't wait to get the talks in writing so that I can more fully study them. The last speaker, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, spoke of despair and the many trials that are inevitable in life. He counseled us that through the winters of our lives-through the dark days and oppressive cold, we must find within ourselves our invincible summer. I feel inspired and hopeful to find MY inner invincible summer. I am so grateful that I was able to listen to both sessions today, and look forward to being further enlightened tomorrow. How wonderful it is that we have a living prophet and servants of the Lord that speak to us today. How wonderful that they prayerfully seek out the topics, and the words that will best edify and uplift their people. How grateful I am that I was able to be uplifted and edified today.

1st Birthday

Today my little girl turns 1 year old.
In fact, as of about 6 minutes ago as I write this, she officially made her entrance into this world. At this precise moment exactly one year ago, she crying lustily, and I was sobbing quietly on the operating table. Ammon was busily snapping pictures and taking videos of her, and the mood in the room was completely indescribable.
I can't believe she's a year old. So much has happened in the last year. She's gone from being a completely helpless mewling infant to a baby with a distinct personality and a charming disposition. She is on the verge of so many things- walking, talking, and playing more with her brothers. She is truly a joy to have in our home. I can't help but recall the days and hours leading up to her birth--my trip to the hospital a week before she was born, when I was so terrified that she would be born early and have problems as a result. I knew in my heart at that point that she was destined to be tiny, but I had no idea exactly how small she would be. She tips the scales at a mere 16 pounds today, and everybody marvels at her tiny size everywhere we go. I remember in the hospital on the day of her birth, how impatiently I waited for them to bring her to me. It was an extremely busy day on the Labor and Delivery floor, and the nursery was backed up. They were required to perform some basic testing on her before they could release her to my care, and it took about 3 hours. I was restless and impatient, since I hadn't had the chance to hold her in the delivery room. Ammon went with her to the nursery originally, but had quickly returned to my side when it became apparent that it was going to be a lengthy wait. As I lay half-awake and half-asleep in recovery, he kept a vigilant eye on the hallway, waiting for our daughter to join us. I asked repeatedly where she was, and by the time they had transferred me to my post-partum room, he was getting ready to march to the nursery himself and bring her to me. Thankfully, it was at that moment the nurse finally wheeled her isolette into my hospital room. Ammon picked her up and placed her in my arms, and the joy on my face transmits through the photos he quickly snapped.
The last year has brought many changes, not all of them welcome. our move to Cincinnati brought us some much-needed Independence, and we enjoyed 4 1/2 months of perfection before Ammon was prematurely ripped from our lives. The boys have both enjoyed the title of 'big brother', and Kadon especially has taken a tender approach toward the smallest member of our family.
In her blessing, Ammon blessed her with a 'peace-making spirit', and said that she would bring 'light and hope to the lives of those she touched'. That has held true in my life. Since his death, she has continued to be a light in my life. Her milestones-first tooth, first time sitting up, crawling, and her first steps all came without the watchful eyes of her father. This milestone-the milestone of her birth-brings along with it another milestone, one that is infinitely more painful, and one that I'm sure nobody else has thought of. This week also marks the 6 month anniversary of Ammon's death, and with her first birthday, it means that my little girl has officially spent half her life without her father. Such a little girl for such a big loss.
Today I am trying to focus on the good, on the light and the hope that Brooklyn has brought into my life. We celebrate her birth and her addition into our family with happy hearts, and when the family gathers for a celebration in her honor tomorrow, I'm sure it will be with much joy and laughter. Underneath it all, though, I will carry with me the memory of her father, who never lived long enough to see his precious only daughter reach so many milestones in her life. This birthday is just the first of many.