Wednesday, February 25


I'm feeling incredibly short-tempered tonight. There is no apparent cause, and I was fine earlier in the day. Somewhere between grocery shopping this afternoon after class and dinnertime this evening, a dark cloud descended on me and I can't shake it off.

I'm feeling lonely and sad. I am feeling despairing and hopeless about my future and my life. I feel like April is rushing upon me, and with an almost child-like oblivion to reality, there is a secret hope inside of me that when April 11th 2009 dawns, I will awake and discover that I have simply been part of a vast time and space experiment for the last year. I will wake at 6:30 am on the morning of the 11th, and see Ammon's back as he sits on the edge of the bed. I will see his shoulders rise and fall as he sighs, and feel how badly he wants to simply crawl back in bed and sleep for another hour. I want to find out that this last year was simply a product of my overactive imagination that willed to life my worst nightmare. It's just been a wrinkle in time, right? The last 11 months were simply fates cruel way of showing me how blessed and fortunate our family is, and when April 11th dawns once again, we will have our second chance. I will wrap my arms around my husband and pull him back into bed with me. We will spend the day cuddling on the couch and playing with the kids. We will pray. We will laugh about this crazy dream that I had, and hold onto each other tighter for having imagined the worst possible scenario.

It's all just been a dream, right?

Worse than that, I think I have it backward. Rather than the last year being a dream, a hallucination--it was the 8 years before that that I imagined. I was never a wife. I was never a Mom who got to stay home, with days that were blessedly unscheduled and free of obligation. I was never so sublimely happy that it shone forth from my face like the sun. There was never an 'Ammon and Victoria'. Our names were linked only in my imagination. It was simply a dream, that love that we shared. It wasn't real, and it isn't mine to hold onto. Somehow, I morphed from a 17 year old girl with a future into a 26 year old woman with three kids and a dead husband, and the time in between is fluid. It morphs and changes shape, but it was never real. It never happened. He never loved me, and I was never his.

This is my reality. Sometimes, this is what being a widow feels like. Sometimes, it's not that fact that he isn't here that makes me ache inside. Sometimes, it's the fact that it feels like he was NEVER here that makes me wish I could curl up and die. The feeling that I made it all up--our marriage, our love, the future we had together. Because if it was real, if he really existed, how does it stand to reason that he's NOT here now? How could somebody so real, so vibrant, simply cease to exist? It's easier some days for my mind to rationalize that he wasn't real than to try to figure out how he could be so inexplicably gone.

Sometimes, I still see his hazel eyes sparkling at me in the dark. I see his smile, the texture of his lips. If I sit very still and concentrate, I can smell him. His voice is the loudest one inside my head, and it keeps a running commentary on my day. So many things I would like to be able to say to him. So many jokes we could share, so many experiences and joys to share.

How can he be gone? How did I wake up, and this became my life?

Sunday, February 22


If you were around in 1919 and came upon the following poster:

. . . I mean, seriously, would you quit drinking?

Saturday, February 21


For the last several months, I have been feeling more crappy than usual. I haven't slept much or gone to bed early enough since Ammon died, but I was managing fine. I could get out of bed when the kids got up in the morning and complete the things that needed to be done during the day with normal levels of exhaustion. Starting in about December, though, things got worse. At first I chalked it up to the holidays, and the shock and fog of grief lifting slightly. Then, I chalked it up to a demanding school schedule and my amped-up workouts that started in December. In February, I could no longer shrug off the symptoms. I was experiencing low energy, extreme exhaustion, acne, inexplicable weight stability given my level of activity, and an extreme sensitivity to cold temperature. I'm no fool. When I finally analyzed the symptoms, I was certain that my thyroid gland had once again become under-active. I called our family doctor and requested the appropriate bloodwork, and within a week the results were in and the appropriate medication was prescribed. Now, I've never been a fan of medication of any sort. Ammon used to implore me on a regular basis to treat regular aches and pains and the symptoms of the common cold with the myriad of chemicals I store in my closet. More often than not, though, I would agree to take the medication only to 'never get around to it', and choose to suffer instead. In this instance, I committed to taking the medication at the proper time and in the proper way every day. Within about 10 days, I began to notice a difference. Now, at two weeks later, I have noticed a tremendous difference in my life. My energy level has shot through the roof--finally the effects of all that exercise is paying off! I move through each day with purpose and a sense of accomplishment that I haven't felt in almost a year. I noticed that as the months since December have gone by, my house has gotten progressively more messy. I became more and more willing to let small tasks go undone, and then became willing to let larger tasks go undone. In the past week, I have noticed my housework return to it's normal state, or near to it. I'm able to stay more focused on my schoolwork, to feel energized in my faith, and more attuned and attentive to my children. Already, I feel like there is weight slipping from my body. I intend to weigh myself next week while I'm at the gym, but it doesn't matter what the scale says. My clothes fit better, I FEEL better, and I know in my heart that even if I don't LOOK better, my feelings will transmit through that swagger in my hips. I'm thrilled with that knowledge.

I am so unbelievably grateful that in this modern day I have the option of treating this hormone problem. I'm so grateful that I don't have to move sluggishly throughout my days anymore. Today, after I got home from the gym I was sitting on the couch snuggling the baby, and it occurred to me that I would like to go jogging. Normally, I wouldn't consider getting an extra workout in a day. Today I knew without a doubt that I could manage to run at least a mile without stopping, and likely be able to push Brooklyn in the stroller without any added difficulty. My next task is to find a suitable park where the kids can play while I jog. I have no desire to jog on a treadmill at the gym. I want to feel the wind in my air and the pavement under my feet--I can't wait!

Friday, February 20


The elders from our ward dropped by the other night, and Brooklyn's bear was on the couch. They looked so cute holding it, I couldn't resist taking a picture of them. These two elders have been so wonderful the last few months, I have so appreciated getting to know them and sharing some really good discussions. I know one or both of them are going to be up for transfer soon, and I'm really going to miss them.

Wednesday, February 18

Front and Back

This afternoon I got the kids lunch before I left for school. I was busily doing something in the kitchen when Jeremy got out a glass and the pitcher of water to get himself a drink. When I walked over to the table again, I was dismayed to see that Jeremy had gotten our largest cup from the cupboard and filled it nearly to the brim with water from my trusty Brita pitcher. I was instantly irritated, and informed him that regardless of how long it took, he would drink all of that water today.

Less than two minutes later, I hear the sound of water being dumped down the bathroom sink, and Jeremy walked out of the bathroom. Instantly, he was in trouble. I quickly banished him to time out, where he was when Mary got here. I sat at the table to quickly eat my lunch, and considered his punishment. I pulled out a piece of notebook paper and a pencil, and called Jeremy to my side.

Me: "Jeremy, I am going to write 'I am sorry' at the top of this paper so you know how to do it, and then I want you to fill this whole paper front and back with 'I am sorry'. Do you understand me?"

Jeremy: "Yes Mommy."

Me: "Now, you need to get started. I am going to stay here until you get a few done, so I can see that you're doing it right, and then I want the rest finished by the time I get home from school."

A few minutes later, I was in the living room getting my shoes on and transferring the appropriate textbooks and my wallet into my backpack. Jeremy came walking into the living room with his partially completed paper.

"Mommy, is this right?" He asked, holding out his paper.

I read the lines: I am sorry, I am sorry, sorry am I.

"Yes baby, but what is this?" I asked, pointing to the last line.

"Mommy, you said you wanted me to write it front and back!"

Monday, February 16


Knowing my penchant for depression around the holidays, I intentionally planned enough activities to keep myself active and busy all day on Saturday. First thing in the morning, the kids and I got dressed and headed out to the gym. I sweat out my frustration and loneliness by throwing all my energy into my regular Zumba routine. On the way home, we stopped at Jeremy's school to pick up our Market Day order, and then it was home to meet two brothers from our church for a home visit. My the time they left, it was lunchtime, and I quickly fed an exhausted Brooklyn, got her down for a nap, then fed the boys before I climbed into the shower. Later in the day we went to Sam's Club to pick up two pizzas, and Janice and her family joined us for dinner and a viewing of "Horton Hears a Who", which--by the way--was completely adorable. Once the movie ended, it was time to put everybody to bed. Then, the difficult part of the day began. I attended an adult single's dance last night that was sponsored by my church. Singles in my age bracket, all who are members of the LDS church, gathered together at a church building here in Cincinnati, and we spent the evening dancing together. In reality, it was more fun than I thought it would be. I danced with several men, and although each of them lacked any special 'spark' for me, it was still a treat to spend the evening 'out'. To be touched, even casually, was an unexpected pleasure. I flirted, I laughed, I had a good time.

I wish that I had somebody special to share the traditional day with, but in the absence of that option, I'll settle for a good time with friends.

Thursday, February 12

A Day at the Park

My apologies in advance to those of you who have dial-up Internet. You probably have two choices here--give up on being able to see the pictures and therefore fully enjoy this post, or go, make yourself a cup of something nice to drink, and come back in a while. I'll try not to overload your hard drive while you're gone.

I thought these photos would be a fun way to show the extreme weather changes we get here in Ohio. The snow and ice pictures that I posted last were only about three weeks ago, and on Sunday, this is what we experienced:

It was a balmy 55 degrees, and even though it was sunny and Brooklyn was croupy, we couldn't resist getting out and enjoying the spring-like weather.

I kept trying to get Brooklyn to look at me, but she was distracted by this glowing orb in the sky.
We haven't seen it for a few months, so she wasn't quiet sure how to avoid it's glare!
Jeremy, in true form, quickly found three other boys to play with, and I could scarcely get him to hold still long enough for some pictures. Even this one is in mid-climb.
This picture didn't turn out as well as I hope, but I think it's still a neat perspective of the size of the play equipment at this park. It's the one that Ammon and I took the kids too the weekend before he died, and it will probably always be my favorite because of that.
My little girl is growing up, right before my eyes.

She loved the texture of the bark. She kept picking it up by the handfuls, and then dropping it over and over again.

Kadon called me over to watch him 'fish'. I'm not even sure where he got that idea!

The same swing pictured here. She's finally growing, right?!

Wednesday, February 11


I suppose my declaration of having a shitty day deserves some explanation. My day didn't start out well today, as I stated in my post earlier. For the last few days, I have been in correspondence with a gentleman who lives in central Kentucky. We have much in common, and share a similar viewpoint on life, morality, and family. I felt more chemistry with Shawn than I have with any other man I've corresponded with and was feeling the beginning tendrils of something that could only be identified as hope. Shawn is principled and honest, trustworthy and good. Even in our short range of communication, those things were evident. In the moments after our first conversation on the telephone, I felt a warm certainty that Ammon would approve of me having a relationship with a man like him. Neither of us had unrealistic expectations that a white picket fence and a blended family awaited in our future, but we both dared to hope. In the course of one of our discussions, we discovered that between his busy schedule, my class schedule, and our family lives there would be precious little time for us to physically spend together building the sort of bond we both crave. Coupled with 2 1/2 hours of interstate between us, and it was enough to put a damper on our enthusiasm. Today, I rose earlier in order to register for my spring quarter, in order to ensure entrance into the classes that I really need. The space in these classes fills up quickly, closing out any more students from getting in, and I needed to reserve my spot. When I logged onto my computer, I noticed that Shawn was online. I quickly sent him a message, and within seconds he informed me that he had been doing some thinking, and had come to the conclusion that it would be unfair to me to get involved. He reiterated the problem of available time we uncovered over the weekend, and that he would not be responsible for leading me on. Then, he was gone. He logged off before I could offer rebuttal. As I sat, bleary eyed from sleep, and tried to rapidly enter numbers into my computer to secure my class schedule, I picked up my cell phone and dialed Shawn's number. I asked him not to give up so easily. I came dangerously close to begging him to give a relationship between the two of us a shot--but the truth? His logic is impeccable. As much as it hurts me to admit, no matter how suited we may be together, I need somebody that is more available than he is. I have a full, busy life. Shawn has a full, busy life. If, down the road we decided to blend those lives, there could be sacrifices made. At this point, that is extremely premature. I respect him greatly for the sacrifice he made this morning, and for his tenderness in considering my needs before a desire to build a relationship that is likely doomed from the beginning. In an ironic, painful way, it is exactly this fact about his personality that makes him my first choice for a serious relationship. I long to be cared for by a man of his caliber--and I COULD be, if only the situation were different. I long to step into his life and show him the kind of affection and love that we both need in our lives, but it simply isn't feasible. The mechanics make the dream impossible, and tonight that brought me to tears. I am so frustrated with being alone. Shawn had no way of knowing that today is the 10 month anniversary of losing Ammon. He had no way of knowing how much I would hurt tonight as I sit here and type this, and he will probably never realize how often I will think of him in the coming weeks, wishing that we were in the throes of an early relationship. Do I secretly hope that at some point he will change his mind, and we can take a chance on crazy? That we could commit to a difficult long-term relationship, and see where it takes us? Does the opportunity for greatness outweigh the potential pain? I don't know. I like to think so, but I can't force the issue. This is his decision, and I won't choose to question the choice that a man I barely know made to keep my heart safe from harm. Someday, I pray all of these things will make sense, because right now they certainly don't.

10 Months

10 months today.

And it's been a shitty day.

It started out badly, and has only gotten worse.

I miss Ammon.

Tuesday, February 10


Tomorrow morning, I will wake up at 5:45, warm up my laptop, and sign away the next ten weeks of my life. I am trying desperately to catch up on my nursing pre-requisites so that I can be admitted into the program next winter, and am taking a class load this spring, summer, and fall that makes my brain hurt just thinking about it. Tomorrow I will sign up for American History, Anatomy and Physiology, Anatomy and Physiology lab, Chemistry, Chemistry lab, and Psychology II. I have also managed to keep my schedule open on Monday and Tuesday mornings so that I can continue to attend my aerobics class and get Kadon to and from pre-school. Mary will continue to drive down to watch the kids, but switching from three times a week to twice a week. On Tuesday and Thursday she has to be here no later than 9, and will still until about 4. I will once again be searching for reliable, affordable outside childcare solutions for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon and into the evening. I have some hope that a sister in the ward will be willing to help out with payment, but I am unsure about the sacrifice it would require for her.

After spending several hours last night poring over the class offerings on the school website and figuring out how my needs fit into the mix, I tossed and turned all night. I'm already having anxiety about the work in front of me, and the sacrifices that will surely be necessary to ensure success. My GPA is critical for admission into the College of Nursing. My children are critical to my success as a mother. I'm not sure how to fit the two into the next ten weeks.

In the Sociology class I'm taking this quarter, we talk a lot about roles. Each of us have many roles--some of mine are daughter, widow, sister, mother, and friend. Each of us also has a 'master role', or a role that eclipses other roles, and serves to identify us and establish our place in society. Slowly, I feel my master role slipping from mother, into student. I don't like it. It's uncomfortable me, but I don't know how else to fulfill my family's needs. I ache that along with all the previous losses, my children and I also have to learn to deal with such a drastic and difficult master role change.

I miss my old life. So much.

Saturday, February 7

Cold as Ice

I'm trying to play blog catch-up from the last couple of weeks. A couple of weeks ago, we were hit with a series of serious winter storms. It all started on Monday night, with snow. I was thrilled to have a snow day on Tuesday, but when the freezing rain and sleet showed up Tuesday night, the novelty wore off. Wednesday morning by 9:30 the power was out, and it would stay off for the better part of the day.
The trees outside our townhouse were all under intense strain, with ice and snow coating every branch and weighing the limbs down. This is on the corner of my building, and is actually three separate trees. Surprisingly, today the trees seem no worse for the wear. I guess time shall tell if they bloom in the spring.
Wednesday afternoon, in a search for some sort of physical activity, I decided to go out and clear off the car. I had dug it out on Tuesday and backed in and out of my parking stall a couple times, but the snow created a whole other blanket to be scraped by Wednesday afternoon. Here I tried to show how thick the layer of ice was. It was at least a quarter inch, and covered everything.

On Tuesday night, right before the freezing rain started, my neighbor had gone down the row of parked cars and lifted all the windshield wipers off the windshield. It was an attempt to keep the blades undamaged, and I'm grateful for his thoughtfulness. Something that wouldn't have even occurred to me.
The only way to chip off ice this thick is to take the sharp corner of your ice scraper and puncture the layer. Once you crack it enough, a small chunk will usually fall off, and from there you have a starting point. It took me over an hour to scarp the crucial parts of my van.

The small vertical cracks you can see at the top of the picture are where I was hitting the sheet of ice. I was trying to de-ice the areas around each door, to ensure that I could actually get them open in case I needed to get somewhere in an emergency. At this point, our power was still out, and the temperature outside was hovering in the low twenties during the day. A lower temperature during the night was predicted, and I was trying to plan our escape to warmer climes if it became necessary.
This is the largest of the trees out our back door. This picture is NOT crooked, the tree is just weighed down that much. I actually was fearful that day that the whole line of trees was going to collapse directly into the back of our house.
Luckily, the closest we came were several broken limbs. These two pieces are actually the very tops of the two trees right outside my back door. The rest of the tree held up pretty well, but the very tops couldn't handle it, and snapped off about half the trees in the backyard. This type of damage is what caused our power to go out for most of the day on Wednesday.
The line of weighed down trees in our backyard. Jeremy kept wanting to play underneath the low branches, as they made a neat 'fort', but I was too afraid that a limb would fall off and hurt him. He was banished to the front yard whenever he played outside that day.
All in all, I'm glad that the ice has passed for the most part. In the parking lot, there is still a layer of ice about a foot thick. When I park my van, I have to be careful not to sit in the ruts made by the ice and snow, or I won't be able to get out the next day. Winter in Ohio is a much different affair than it is in Utah, that's for sure!

Thursday, February 5

Baking Biscuits

At preschool Kadon has been learning about a new set of careers each week. They even sent home an invitation for any parents that had interesting careers to come into school and tell the kids about what they do. They have studied public servants, firemen, police officers, doctors, and a myriad of other employment opportunities. One day a couple weeks ago, a parent who is a pastry chef came into school.
He brought in real chef's hats and aprons for the kids!

Kadon couldn't wait to come home and help make biscuits for dinner, which Grandma was more than happy to help him with.

He is so proud of his creation!

And with a little help from Grandma, the last biscuit gets patted into shape. They were delicious!

Wednesday, February 4

Sneaky, Sneaky

I'm not sure what she's doing, but she sure looks guilty.

Tuesday, February 3

Party On

I know I'm very late in posting photos from Jeremy's birthday party. We celebrated his sixth birthday on the 24th, with a handful of friends. I called and asked my sweet nieces to join me for moral support, and then Angela came down with her two boys. It ended up being quite a houseful!

Jeremy chose a Star Wars theme, and we kicked off the party playing a pin the badge on Darth Vader. The kids thought it was great!

No real clear winners here, but everybody had a good time.

Janelle and Brooklyn. I am so grateful to live so close to the terHorst family. They're a wonderful addition to my life, and I don't know how I could get things done without them! I know that Brooklyn enjoys having some of her few 'girl cousins' near her.
The 'Pass the Death Star' game was short-lived. It's a version of hot potato, only with a latex balloon. I put in three small bouncy balls and some star shaped confetti. The 'death star' made the first few passes around the circle, and then popped in Jeremy's lap. I quickly switched out our trusty soccer ball, and the game continued.

The cake! I considered ordering a fancy bakery cake like I have in the past, but Jeremy really wanted to do a pinata. After I dropped $20 on the Darth Vader pinata, plus another $10 in candy to fill it, I couldn't justify the expense. The kids didn't seem to care, as they gobbled up the Duncan Hines version.

Angela, Josh, and Martin brought Star Wars figurines as their gift. Angela felt bad for my lonely cake, so we added the figures to the top for decoration. Jeremy loved it!

Blowing out the candles.

Kadon spent the majority of the afternoon being grumpy because it wasn't his birthday. I thought this picture was hysterical.


Kadon and Brooklyn got Jeremy a watch for his birthday. It is already lost somewhere in the house.

Sunday, February 1


Today is super bowl Sunday, to those of you that have been underneath a rock for the past month.

Today is also the first time I have missed the super bowl in about ten years.

Sometimes, it's the little things that come out of nowhere and knock you right upside the head.

I miss Ammon.