Saturday, May 31, 2008

4 years...

4 years ago today I lost my Mom to a hard fought battle with Ovarian Cancer. She battled for 5 years. She never complained and she continued to LOVE and SUPPORT her family until the day she died. She was my best friend. I miss her everyday. There will always be a feeling of void in my life. I honestly ache for her. It's amazing how life goes on. It actually seems like more than 4 years because so much has changed. (I'm a different person being a mother of 4!) I had a good time looking through pictures and remembering things about her that I don't get to everyday. It was perfect because Jason was out of town, Baylee was out with friends, Griffin went to Wyoming to herd cattle with a friend, and my kids were in bed so I had the night to myself. That NEVER happens. I actually think that it's the first time since my Mom's passed that I had a night to myself. I feel SO blessed to be her daughter. I didn't know it at the time, but she truly did prepare me to raise her children and mine. She was a wonderful example of selfless LOVE. I'll never forget her. Here are some pictures and memories that I cherish most... (sorry for the bad quality. My scanner didn't work so I took them with my camera but I still wanted to share even if they are blurry) Warning... some of my thoughts are kind of long, but it was therapeutic for me. I hope you enjoy getting to know my Mom better.

I think she was so beautiful.
My first birthday
Griffin, she loved babies especially her own. She couldn't wait for grandchildren!

Baylee... isn't this picture sweet? It was taken at her Mom's funeral.

This picture was taken when she came to visit me while I was in college. We ate lunch and I did her hair that day (in beauty school). I'll never forget when I had to move out. She came to help me move and when it was time for her to go we both cried and cried and cried and cried. (mind you I was only living 45 minutes away) My roommates thought we were crazy.

This picture was taken during her first treatment of chemo. By the time she passed she did every possible treatment she could do. I appreciate her fighting so long for us because I know it wasn't easy. I'll never forget the day I found out she had cancer. I was on a date (which was horrible). I didn't sleep at all that night. I stayed up all night crying and throwing up. I had a lot of faith during her 5 years of treatment. I guess Heavenly Father knows best. I wonder if it is really a coincidence that we get sick every Memorial Day weekend... we like to blame it on the state of Idaho but I ended up sick in bed on Thursday this year.

At my wedding. She hated her hair this short but I liked it. Jason and I were young when we got married but it worked out how it was supposed to. We had a few good years to ourselves before we got 3 kids at once and I love that Jason got to know my Mom and that she got to know him.

It's crazy to think that I lived away the last 4.5 years of her life but honestly I think we were closer because of it. One... It was good because it prepared us financially for all our responsibility. Two.. we cherished every minute that we spent together and we still managed to see each other a lot (thanks to Jason.) Three... we talked on the phone five times a day about everything and I really don't know if we would have if we lived closer and saw each other all the time. The best birthday present I ever received was one year Jason surprised me and flew her down. I'll never forget when she showed up at my work. I was sending a BIG fax and it got jammed and papers were going everywhere because I was so shocked to see her. I was totally shaking. This picture was taken that weekend. She didn't feel well at all. You'd never guess. She didn't want to miss out on a moment with her child. (and yes we are nerds in matching shirts. I worked at Toes On The Nose at the time and got them for free.)

I LOVE this picture for 2 reasons... the way she was looking at me and I'm pretty sure we were holding hands under the table. If we weren't holding hands she had her hand on my leg. There is nothing like a Mother's touch. I'll never forget her hands. That is actually one of the things that I can picture best about her. They were so tan and soft, with pretty, clean, strong fingernails. I know that sounds odd but Jason has soft skin like hers (when it's not rough from working) and that is one of the things that attracted me most to him. I had the oppurtunity to hold her hand as she passed. I saw the oxygen leave her body and I saw her skin change colors. It's a very vivid memory I have that I'll never forget. She was beautiful then... sick, with no hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, or oxygen. Sorry I didn't mean to go into that much detail. I wish this picture wasn't so blurry so you could see her face. That is the way she looked at all her children. I heard a speaker in church once say... "When your children walk in the room does your face light up?" I bawled because that is the other vivid memory I have of my Mom. When ever she saw me, her face lit up! I always replay in my mind her greeting me at the airport. She would literally run to me and hug me. She was always so HAPPY to see me as I was her.

Sorry if this picture is vulgar but I had to put it up because it shows her personality. She was hilarious! She was so fun to be around. I've laughed the hardest in my life with her. We brought out each others silliness because we were so comfortable with each other. You should have seen her dance. We don't have a talent for it but we would do it anyway. That is another good memory I replay in my mind... her dancing. Anyway, about the picture. This picture was taken another time when she was visiting in California. The weather was cold and cloudy and we wanted to get a tan. We loved laying out together... it was officially our favorite past time. Laying in the hot sun by each other and talking and talking and talking. I still can't lay in the sun til this day without thinking about her. Anyway... I keep getting side tracked. She had to go back to Utah with a tan so we went to a tanning salon. This particular salon you had to buy goggles and we didn't have any so they gave us these little stickers to put over our eyes to protect them. If you can't tell she put them on her breasts as a joke and we laughed hard.

I also posted this picture to show her personality... always up for having fun even when she didn't feel well. This picture was taken during one of our trips to Utah at an arcade. If you could see our faces close... we were having a blast. Like we did whenever we were together no matter what we were doing!

Another Cali trip. Again, we lived up every second when we were together. What I LOVE about this picture is the way she was leaning on Brady. As I was looking through old pictures I noticed (for the first time ever) that almost all of them had one thing in common... my Mom was always leaning towards one of her children, hugging them or just resting her head on our shoulders. I LOVE it because it shows how much she loved us!

These pictures were taken the day before she passed. You never would have guessed that she was going to die in the next day because she was so coherent. I'll always cherish these pictures. Notice my little baby bump? I was 5 months pregnant with Avaree. I rushed to town after I got the news that she wasn't doing well. I got there just a few days before. The cancer had spread to her lungs and that is what eventually killed her because she couldn't breathe and there was nothing else the doctors could do. She battled so well for so long and once it happened, it happened fast. Honestly, I should have been more prepared but I wasn't. Some memories from that weekend... was her being so EXCITED and alert to see the baby stuff I had gotten, and talking about baby names (we loved to do that and she was so excited that I named Avaree Karol after her), laying in the bed next to her talking and laughing as each of my siblings tried on her wigs, her trying to act healthy like nothing was wrong, talking about anything and everything, her telling me that one of the hardest lessons she had to learn in this life is that people have their own free agency to choose as they wish (hence some family members bad choices), reading scriptures with her when she could barely breath, giving her a bath, the hospice nurse gathering my siblings together at 3 a.m. to tell us she was passing. My brothers gave me some alone time with her where I read her a letter I had written and by the end of the letter she only had energy left to say, "thanks" which was one of her last words. It was hard to say good bye but I'll always remember the priesthood blessings my brothers and husband were able to give her especially the one when they told her it was okay to go.

It would be SO hard to leave your babies, especially with all of us being so young! One of the things that hit me the hardest just barely was looking back on pictures of Baylee and Griffin. They were so young to lose their Mom!! It doesn't seem fair but I know her test on this earth was done. She had done all she could do and she proved herself well. I have no doubt that she is better off. One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is Alma 40:12... And then it shall come to pass that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. That scripture has brought me a lot of comfort and peace knowing that she is in a state of peace, resting from all her wordly troubles! When I read that, I only feel selfish for wanting her alive. She deserves to be in paradise! I only pray that I can keep her legacy going in the path of righteousness. The speaker in sacrament meeting on Mother's Day paid me the ULTIMATE compliment when he pointed us out of the congregation and said, "You can tell these kids had a good Mother." My goal in life is to live so that people can know of her goodness without even knowing her.

I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have that Jesus Christ is our Savior and because of his atoning sacrifice we will be able to live again with our families forever!! I know we will be together again one day if we live righteously and I know that she is guiding us on the other side. As the sealer in the temple at Brady's wedding said... "he felt the presence of angels." I know she is our angel!! We love and miss you daily MOM!!

Happy Birthday Randy!

On May 31st as we are thinking about my Mother we are also celebrating the life of Jason's Dad!

Randy is such a good Grandpa... whenever he is around I don't have to worry about my kids because I know they are in good hands.

Randy is so good looking and fit for his age. One of Ligia's aunts at the wedding could NOT get over that Randy was Jason's Dad. She kept saying over and over... "he looks GOOD" in her latin accent.

Randy is honestly a spiritual rock. He is a convert to the church and he always stayed faithful during his life and been a great example to his children. He is doing all his families genealogy and temple work. He goes to the temple at least once a week with a stack full of names to do. My family has truly been blessed because of his faithfulness. Jason would not be active today if it weren't for him so I am forever grateful. There are so many things that I love about Randy. He works hard, and he always has a good story to tell! I love that Jason can always call him for advice and I love it when he does because I know that Jason will be given good, righteous advice. I can't tell you how many times we've called Randy for priesthood blessings when we've needed them. We love you Randy and are so grateful for the father, father-in-law and Grandpa you are to us!! Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Miss My Hubby

Jason left Tuesday night for Northern California. He flew out with 3 of his employees to do some work for his sister. They are in the middle of doing a big addition and remodel on their house. He will be gone for 5 days... officially the longest we have ever been apart. I don't like to be alone at all. It is true that distance makes the heart grow fonder. I miss my hard working man! He's so much fun to be around! Can't wait to see you again, Jason. I love you tons!! XOXO

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Alone for 15 minutes??

No joking... I left Avaree alone for 15 minutes while I posted about Memorial Day and look what she did...

She took off her clothes and colored black stripes on herself like a zebra!! (and got into some Nestle Quik, hence the chocolate on her face.) Are you kidding me??

She even got her back side. I got her in the tub after and it did NOT come off. She is going to be striped for days. What do you do?

She also planted a plant.

And made a birthday cake for Uncle Trevor.

I know you are thinking that was longer than 15 minutes. She did make the plant and cake mess before she became the zebra but it didn't take long for her to get into a lot of mischief. Some days I just can't keep up with her!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Trevor

Today is my little bro's birthday. He turned 26. This picture is so fitting... I had 3 different ones like this on my camera after this weekend.

Trevor and I are really good friends. We always have been. We just get along. Trevor is easy to talk too and he understands me. I think it is because we have a lot in common (personality wise). He owns a house Jason built and lives down the street from us. I know I can call him for anything. He stays busy working, traveling, and socializing. He is still trying to find the lucky gal. Any single ladies out there??

We went to Paradise Bakery for lunch today. Our new favorite place!! Trevor is a great uncle. (He let Avaree sleep by him while we were in Idaho). I was grateful for his help and my kids love him. I want Trevor to know how much I love him and appreciate his friendship! I know it is hard for him to have a birthday right around my Mom's passing. I hope you had a good day Trev!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Tradition...

My Mother passed away on Memorial Day. She was buried in her home town of Burley, Idaho. Next to her parents. The past 4 years we have made it a Memorial Day tradition to go to Idaho for the weekend and visit my Mom's grave site. It is the only time of the year that we make it up there and it is always special to be able to remember and honor her.

I love her headstone. I think it is just how she would want it... simple! Seeing her headstone is always a reality to me. This was the first year you couldn't see the marks in the grass from where she was buried.

View Cemetary is the most peaceful place on this earth to me. It is beautiful... literally in the middle of no where, nothing around for miles. I love having an excuse to go there each year. The mountains and hills are beautiful that surround it. I know there are a lot of amazing people buried there and you can feel of their goodness. I know that sounds wierd but it really is true.

This was the first year that all of my siblings couldn't make it. Jake was moving to Nebraska and Brady had to work. We missed them. It wasn't quite the same without all of us there!

All of us together, last Memorial Day. (2007)
Look how much my kids have grown, especially Weston! My Mom would have adored these two!!

I have one cousin left in Burley... Lana Gibbons. She has six beautiful kids under 11 (I think Cole is 11) She is one of those super Moms that can do it all. She has us over every year and feeds us. Thanks for your hospitalilty Gibbons. We always love being able to see you and your kids!!

We stayed in Pocatello with my Aunt Marcia and Uncle Eldon (Lana's parents and my Mom's sister) My Aunt Marcia takes such good care of us. Every meal is home cooked the way my Mom would make it and my favorite thing is her clean towels that smell just like my Moms would! My Aunt Marcia has 5 kids and 24 grandchildren and most of them live close by. It is a party being able to see all my cousins and their kids. Avaree was in heaven. She's not used to having so many little kids to play with! Weston was a little tough... he was tired and threw a few fits but we did it. Were all just still trying to catch up on sleep!

Feeding Dottie the horse
Watching the train

Petting Lexy the bunny... Idaho is a child's dream. (at least it was mine because it was the only place I visited)

Congrats to Scott and Ashley who just had twins... Alder and Pearl! I can't imagine having twins. Alder gave them a scare last week and stopped breathing. We are so glad he is doing better! We love all you wonderful Payne's!! Thanks for everything.
By the way... the past 2 years we've gone someone has gotten sick. One year all of us got the flu and we were ALL throwing up. It was horrible. Last year I got the flu. This year we did good until we got home... Griffin threw up last night. What is up with that?? We are doing good today though. Thank goodness!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lunch with Cathy

Cathy is another friend who I've come in contact with since blogging. She lives in Portland, Oregon and was in town visiting family so we got together for lunch and a little bit of shopping. It was good to see her again. I was a little embarrassed though because my kids were NOT in a good mood... Weston was throwing his food, and spilled lemonade ALL over me. Avaree was screaming at kids in the play zone. (that's what I get for taking them during nap time and right after a little trip) I think I scared Cathy off from ever having kids. Not really. She was SO sweet and patient with them. Avaree soon became very attached and had to go everywhere with Cathy (including the dressing room). It was fun to catch up on the past 8 years and remember some of the good times we had growing up!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Park City

Jason's Mom was in Park City for business and had a free room for a night so we took advantage of it. We rebelled and let Baylee and Griffin miss a day of school to play.

Our family tradition when we go to Park City is eating dinner on Main Street and then getting a carmel apple afterwards. (we used to do that with my Mom) The carmel apples are the best!

Watching American Idol from the room...yes, we were rooting for David Archuleta and we are bummed that he didn't win! Jason's Grandmere cracks me up because she LOVES American Idol (she was actually the only one rooting for David Cook) and she ALWAYS reads the Enquirer and Star magazine. She knows ALL the Hollywood gossip.


This was Weston's first time swimming since last Summer (when he was really little) and he loved it! He was going crazy. I am going to have to watch him closely this year. He'll be wearing a life jacket for sure!
Of course, I had to stop out the outlets while we were there. It is the best place to shop for kids. Everything was on sale. I got shirts for $2 and $4. I didn't pay more than $10 for anything so I stocked up. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to as many of the stores as I would have liked. You can only do so much with 2 little ones.

Some of the goods I purchased.

My whole week has been thrown off since we were gone in the middle of the week. I'm way behind. It was worth it though. I love Park City. We will be taking another trip this Summer for sure! Now it's time to go get ready to go to Idaho for Memorial Day weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Love it when the Greens come to town!!

Audrey and Avaree are best friends and cousins. They play non stop when they are together. I'm so glad Avaree has a special cousin her age. Some of my best childhood memories are playing with my cousins.

Paulette and John... 2 of our BEST friends. Jason and I lived with Paulette and John the first year we were married. (Paulette is Jason's older sister) We are forever grateful to them for letting us live with them and we cherish their friendship and the good ol Southern California days!

Linda, (Jason's Mom), Wes (yes, Wes is back!?), and Ed (Linda's husband) They are officially Utahns now and our neighbors!

Grand Grandmere and Pere. This is Jason's Moms' parents. They live in Northern California and they came to help Linda get moved in. Grandmere is the hardest worker you've ever seen. (I wonder where Linda, Paulette, and Jason get it from) She has been unpacking, organizing, cooking, and playing with Grandkids non stop. Thanks Grandmere for keeping us all fed with such great food and for playing with my kids!

Jason's 3 loves... fishing, his little girl, and

his little boy!

It was an ideal weekend. The weather was awesome and we spent it hanging out with family and eating lots of GOOD food. I didn't have to lift a hand in the kitchen for 3 days. Thanks to Grandmere! We played a good game of kick ball at the park one day. (family tradition, which I am still sore from) and we spent a day at the lake... having a picnic, fishing and relaxing in the HOT sun! Avaree bawled when we had to say good bye. We miss you already and can't wait to see you again!!

Thanks for the good times.