Monday, December 30, 2013

My Mom's Last Weeks

My mom was placed on hospice in May of this year.  She was given 2-3 weeks to live.  Those weeks were filled with love and peace, tears and sadness.  The greatest gift she was to be with her Jersey family who made flights at the drop of a hat to be with my mom.  I will never forget this sweet act of love and devotion.  It meant so much to my mom and all of us.

The weeks turned into months which allowed so many people to shower my mom and family with love and kindness.  Phone calls, visits, cards and flowers all out of pure love never slowed.  They made her day and made her realize how loved and important she was.  These months summed up her life in a nutshell that was surrounded by friends and family and love.

Our family became closer.  We supported each other, learned to laugh at our various quirks or needs.  How grateful I became for my dad, sister, Jason and Danny during this time.  Without their devotion, understanding and great sacrifice of love and kindness, we certainly would not have gotten through this time with the peace, happiness and joy that we were able to share and feel.

A couple of weeks ago, it was evident that my mom was tired.  She had a hard time talking, could no longer get out of bed and her quality of life greatly diminished.  She had fought for so long and so hard; I am sure because she wanted people to know how much she loved them and didn't want to leave. She lived for her family and pushed with every fiber of her being to continue living for them. That is just who she is and why we love her so.

When it got to the point that she couldn't interact with her family, that we could tell life was just so hard for her, none of us wanted to see her suffer any longer.  I could connect and feel her spirit, but she had distanced herself from this world and these relationships; I am sure preparing for the next world.

I had a great conversation with her the Tuesday before she passed.  My kids magically played with each other upstairs, my dad had gone out for a couple of hours and my mom was amazingly present and able to talk unlike she had been able to do for a few weeks.  I will forever cherish this last real conversation with her and feel like it was a true gift from a loving Heavenly Father and a loving mom.

The family was all together the Sunday night before she passed.  My sister, her family, my dad, Betty and Bob and our dearest friend Pete.  I know that is what she wanted.  I spent the night at her home with my family. Danny got up early to go to work.

Her breathing was more labored and rapid. I asked if he would give her a quick blessing before leaving for work.  I felt the power of the priesthood blessing like I had never before felt.  She was blessed to reflect upon the beautiful life she lived, have a quick and painless transition and be welcomed and surrounded by family members on the other side.

The breathing continued to become labored.  My dad and I gave her some morphine and other medication to help calm her and drain fluid from her lungs. She began to call out to her mom, repeating, "mom, mom, mom" over and over again.  I know her mom was on the other side waiting for her and ready to give her a big hug.

I stepped away and returned to very slow, spaced out breathes.  She took two very slow breaths and peacefully slipped away. Her passing was as peaceful and calm as can be.  I didn't even acknowledge that she passed.  Maybe in some ways she was still there, present in spirit for a time.   The room was peaceful.  Her body lay there, no longer suffering from the pains of cancer.  No longer needed for her mortal sojourn.  Her spirit was free.  I envisioned a glorious reunion on the other side.  I knew how hard it was for her to loose her mom and I can only imagine how wonderful it was to see her again.

I will forever miss her, but grateful to a ministering angel so close by.  An angel who I know will watch over, love and protect my mom just as she did in this life.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Heart Full of Gratitude for My Mom

Saying good-bye to a loved one is probably the hardest thing we will do in this life.  It is filled with so many emotions; heart-ache, extreme loss, peace, comfort in the Savior, and  pain.  Pain of not being able to hold them again, look into their eyes, hear there voice and so much more.  Loosing a mom is essentially loosing your biggest supporter.  Someone who has been with you since the beginning.  Loves you unconditionally, no matter the many mistakes you make along the way. Drops anything to be by your side.

I am so lucky I was blessed with my mom in this life.  I certainly don't feel like I deserved such an amazing mom as she was.  There was never a time that my dad, sister or I didn't come first in her life.  When I worked at Aquabears, she arranged her work schedule to go in early and even skip lunch, just so that it would be more convenient for me to not have Scott.  She flew out to Arizona at the drop of a hat when Heather needed her.  She flew to all my swim meets because she loved cheering me on.  She was proud of me if I got my best time or worst time.  She bragged about us non-stop and while it embarrassed us at times, deep down I knew it was because she was so proud of us.  She brought us to all our events, always working behind the scenes, simply because she cared.  She never did things for others out of selfishness or needing praise, but out of true, unselfish and Christlike love.  She instilled a confidence in us that we were beautiful no matter our appearance or style (hence my ability to go to high school in pajamas and without make-up).

She loved my dad unconditionally.  She and my dad were committed to each other and gave me the greatest gift a child can receive; the gift of a stable and loving home.

She was a friend to all.  She didn't care about status, dress or being in the in-crowd.  She simply cared about the heart of someone.  She would give her heart to all, no matter who or where they came, no matter how they treated others or there many quirks.  And she was a friend that would go above and beyond.  

She was so generous.  Generous with her time and talents and all that she was blessed with.  If someone needed a place to stay the guest room was made ready and hot meals were provided.  For most of my life there was someone else staying at our house.

She just had so much love in her heart that it oftentimes overflowed.

She gave her all to everything she did.  Spending hours finishing meet entries or inputting times into the old fashion time cards.  She stayed up late making gourmet meals to dinner would be perfect.  She went to Shadelands in the middle of the night to shut down a wild party.  She opened our home to our friends, stocked the pantry and gave all of my friends a safe haven to grow up.

Saying good-bye is never easy, but saying good-bye to a woman who you know could't have lived a better, more fulfilled, loving life brings great peace.  There are few things I think she would have changed in her life.  She taught me resilience.  Not to dwell on the past, but learn from it and move on with a big smile.

Instead of mourning her loss, I feel a heart full of gratitude and comfort at this time for the life that she lived and legacy she has passed on.  Gratitude that my mom was blessed with such a great life.  Her upbringing was everything but typical, but she always found the goodness and cleaved to the love that surrounded her.  Her mom and her cousins were a great source of love for her.  They filled her and I am so grateful for them.

I am grateful that I am a better mom, wife and friend because of her example.  I am grateful that she blessed me with the skills to have a stable marriage, endure trials and find the joy and love in life.  I am grateful that she taught me the love that comes from service.

I am grateful for my knowledge that she is in a better place, surrounded by family and loved ones.  I smile to think that she is with her mom and dad and grandparents and Carl.  I rejoice to know that she is freed from the pains that her body so gracefully endured in this life.  I rejoice that someday I will be reunited with her and that families go beyond this grave.  I am especially grateful at this time for my testimony and knowledge of these things.  I am grateful for all who helped me gain this knowledge for myself, especially my God and Savior.

I will miss my mom everyday, but I know that she is close by and her power will continue to bless and touch my life and the life of my family.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Mom's Cancer

Many people often ask how my mom is doing.  Some people wonder but don't want to ask.  They see posts on facebook which show the slow and drastic decline in her health. Writing helps me but I have been busy with writing a bible study and hesitant to write for various reasons.

One, I just haven't had or made time.  Some of the reason is to be sensitive to others who might be going through something totally different. Lastly, it is hard to process your emotions let alone put them into words.

Cancer is such a hard thing to see someone go through with chemo, radiation, an uncertain prognosis, loosing your health and faculties along the way.  My mom always remained so hopeful and optimistic, which was a huge example to me, but I know it was hard and scary for her.  It was so hard to see her lose her ability to be the mom, friend or grandmother that she always envisioned herself being and wanted to be.

Everyone that knows my mom, knows that she is a bundle of energy.  She has enough energy to power 10 people.  She also has a giving heart.  She lives to help and serve others.  When her body could no longer do what her mind wanted was so hard and sad to see her go through.  She never complained, but I could sense how hard that was for her. Facebook was such a huge blessing to her during this time because she could still interact with people from a chair.  Being with friends and family has meant so much to her and kept her going.

I have been so grateful for my dad and sister.  My dad is amazing.  He has been by my mom's side through all.  He helps her and meets her every need.  He is sensitive to our kids and family needs.  My sister is a saint.  I am so grateful that she understands, listens and I have her by my side.

When a family is dealing with a chronic or critical illness, in many ways your entire world shifts and changes to spend time with that person, help them and cherish the time you have together.  That has been such a blessing.  You wouldn't change it and it reminds you what life is all about.  I will be forever grateful for this time that I have had with my mom and family.  I have been blessed with such a great family who has been my support and strength.  I have learned that it is ok to say no to things that once priorities.

I am the first to admit that this is challenging and you just strive to figure out a new routine as you go.  In many ways the rest of your life gets put on hold.  You don't have the time and energy you once had for friends, even your own family unit or other activities. Life becomes an intricate balancing act. Naps and routines go out the window and emotions are heightened.  Everyone feels these stresses and as you strive to help a dying parent you strive to keep yourself and your little family unit in tact as much as possible.

Through it all, you recognize other blessings that come, time together and lessons learned.  You learn to hold onto faith and the importance of family, love, sacrifice and helping those in need.

The beginning of hospice was filled with a lot of emotions, spirituality and saying good-bye.  We were told that my mom had 2-3 weeks and so prepared for that.  The weeks turned into months and you realize that you just can't plan or know what to expect.  We have been forever grateful for this time. Through most of it, my mom was very coherent and able to enjoy her visits with friends and phone conversations with loved ones.  She was showered with love from near and far that meant so much to her.

A couple of weeks ago, her ability to communicate and interact has really declined.  She started to remove herself from this world.  Perhaps it was too hard, perhaps she is just tired and of course the cancer and drugs affect her.  When she wants, she will interact and I cherish those times.  They are such sweet tender experiences, but also hard.  Saying good-bye to someone is hard.  There is no way around that nor should there be.  Seeing them suffer is hard.

My mom sleeps most of the day. When we move her to change her or rearrange her bed, she is in a lot of pain.  That is sad to see her in because that is the time she is most awake and alert.  You have to remember that when she is sleeping she is most at peace. When she connects with me or anyone you can see and feel an immense love as well as feel a sadness and fear to say good-bye.  I can't describe it in words, but it is so sweet and yet so hard.

I am so grateful at this time for my knowledge of the Savior and His wonderful plan for us.  I know that there is a much better world awaiting her.  A world filled with loved ones and friends who miss her and yearn to see her.  A world where her spirit will be freed from a body that no longer works well.  A world where she will one day be blessed with a perfect body.

I don't know what I would do or how I could cope without this hope and my heart hurts for those that don't have this.

Saying good-bye to someone with cancer is a process.  In many ways, the kids have already lost the grandmother that they know and love.  Kira used to love giving my mom hugs and kisses and now she doesn't.  I don't know what or how they process things. The mom who is lying in her bed, is still my mom who I love with all my heart, but in many ways, I have lost bits and pieces of her along the way.  That is hard, but it is all part of a bigger plan.  A plan that reminds you that it is not all about this life.

Someone recently told me that he spent the last months of his wife's illness mourning the loss of his wife.  When she passed he was somewhat relieved that she no longer had to suffer and that came with a certain guilt.  I have thought a lot about that.  I can't imagine what it is like loosing a spouse or even not having my mom physically here, but a slow death has you mourn certain losses along the way.  As you see someone decline and get to a point that there is not much more quality of life left, you begin to slowly let go of hopes and dreams for this life and look forward to new hopes and dreams in a better world, free from the pains and suffering of this world and a reunion to be with the mom once you had. Free from the pains of cancer.

I look forward to Christmas with my family and time with my family.  I look forward to building lasting memories. Thanks for your continued prayers and thoughts.  We feel them and are so grateful for your kind notes, flowers, phone calls and notes.  You realize that it is truly the small and simple gestures that mean so much at this time.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tylers Heart

Tyler had his annual cardiology appointment.  All things looked good which is such a blessing. I usually can tell based on Tyler's behavior and energy level how he is doing, but it is always a relief to hear he is stable and no surgeries needed for now.  Except for the expense, I love that his appointments are usually around Christmas.   It is always a time to reflect on our blessings and the miracle of life.

He lives a very normal life.  He is doing great in school...actually amazing considering the rough start to life that he had.  He doesn't like doing PE because they run laps in the beginning so opts to usually just watch.  I am glad that he chooses what he wants to do.  Other than that he is your typical, energetic kid.  I want to sign him up for baseball, but he wants to do soccer, which of course wouldn't be a great fit for him, so we are still working on figuring out why he wants to do soccer.  He could probably get away with doing any sport at the level that a 6 year old plays, but his cardiologist said to set him up for success in the future and I know that putting him in soccer would not be a good fit in two years when kids are running non-stop.

Probably the hardest thing about his heart is that when he goes, goes, goes to keep up with Scott and gets agitated.  Its like having a kid that needs a nap or more sleep but doesn't take one.  I need to grow in patience and in many ways I laugh that the Lord sent me a heart kid to teach me patience.

His cardiologist is returning to UCSF after being with Kaiser for probably 30 years or so.  It is heartbreaking to me.  We just love him and have been so blessed to have him.  But I am grateful that we were able to get the critical years with him and our surgeon before they moved.  Medicine is changing a lot and Kaiser, UCSF and Children's Hospital are changing how they are tied to each other. Even though I'll miss him as our cardiologist, I know he is close by and is still at least at UCSF.

So overall, very blessed for his health and the time we have with him.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't realize what a blessing his life is.  I often think about those that have gone before him or were born around the same time as Tyler who are now angels.  My heart is filled with the lessons that they taught me and continue to teach me.  My heart is full of love and compassion because of them.   They are not forgotten during this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Utah Thanksgiving, 2013

Made it home from Utah late last night.  Heidi and Blake stayed in Walnut Creek with Jacquie and I took Scott, Tyler, and Kira.  We left Monday night and stayed in Reno.  The kids were adequately stimulated with the iPads (see Nitroblue Investment about one of the iPads) and did very well in the car.  Additionally, the van ran well and the driving conditions were ideal.  Now, some pictures:

Mr. T playing table tennis.  He surprised me with his good ability.

Dad and Scott playing the double shot

The Ogden, Utah temple was demolished and this is the new one--almost done.

Kira was none too pleased at the cold Utah weather.  I thought she looked cute in her coat, but we realized she didn't have any closed toed shoes.  I subsequently had to purchase her some from DI.

There's lots of kid-friendly museums in Utah.  This one was in Ogden and had lots of hands-on activities.  

I wanted the kids to see BYU campus and I was surprised that they agreed to come.  I treated them to some cookies and cream milk, which during my last semester, was a Wednesday staple.  In fact, in my zoo 373 lab, I would eat two jalapeno bagels and one bottle of said milk and then leave the empty bottles in the lab.  You can get away with stuff like that in the lab because someone's always culturing something.  College.  Good times.  

The kids really enjoyed climbing on stuff and jumping, and that was probably the highlight of their whole week.  

Dad came with us and got some laughs out of Kira.  

The simple things:  Observing the steam output near the Eyring science center.  

Good old BYU campus.  The grounds are very well-kept, and there is always some renovation in progress.  I have mixed feelings about attending BYU.  I feel I did receive a great education, but socially, the BYU spat me out.  It seemed like the single ladies were only interested in men bigger and better, so there was a lot of sizing up and dating was challenging.  Heidi disagrees with this and said, "That's just because you didn't have confidence in college."  Maybe, but after I got married, I was at the Che house doing some work on the yard.  One of the girls from my student ward walked by and I said, "Hi, Amy."  She looked up and said, "I hate men.  Men are scum."  Without a pause, I said, "You know, things around here haven't changed that much."   

At temple square in Salt Lake City.  The kids enjoyed walking like this.  

I was pleased at this picture of the Salt Lake Temple.  The lighting was just right and the grey granite looked tan.  

I was amused at Tyler and Kira's sad faces.  

You gotta hand it to the pioneers for building this tabernacle.  I believe they built the dome first, with no trusses, and then built the walls underneath it.  

With Lisa's kids

This was at a huge trampoline center in Kaysville.  The kids had a great time with no injuries.  

I still need to scan it, but Tyler wrote the things for which he was thankful:  His strength, his house, his family and friends, the food he eats, and his cousins.  On another thankful tree we made at home, he put "the future."  I am surprised at how he can come up with these abstract concepts.  Very mature.

The kids did well in Utah, especially in the van, even though Kira had diarrhea on the way home and made us stop twice.  Then she fell asleep and peed herself, but after we changed her, she was fine.  Between the iphone and two ipads, the kids didn't fight much and I could drive in peace.

Originally, I was going to stay in Reno.  We were making such good time and the hotel fees were not in my price range, so I decided to just go all the way.  About thirty minutes after Reno, though, I was feeling pretty tired and wondering if I had made the wrong choice.  The kids went to sleep right about then and the drive through the sierras required more concentration so I didn't worry about dozing off.

We finally pulled into Walnut Creek at 10:40 and met Heidi and Blakey.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Two minutes of silence

Heidi was burned out from the kids.  We all went to the gym, and on the way home, she wanted to return some stuff to home goods.  The kids were all riled up in the van for the ride home but I can pretty much tune them out.  Scott whined about Tyler taking some toy of his and wanted Mommy.  I said, "What, do you want her to go back there and take back your toy?  No.  You can deal with your own problems."  At home, they were a disaster.  I said,


"but Daddy,"


After shushing them for the first minute, we enjoyed the second minute in peace.  Man, one minute of silence.   It was nice.  When it was time to brush teeth, Tyler walked away from the bathroom and said, "But I'm going to show Kira something."

"NO!"  I yelled.  He turned around and brushed his teeth.  Jeez.  

Things are different with this generation of kids.  I told Scott that at his age, I was desoldering radios with my own soldering iron.  Heidi asked him if he wanted a radio to talk apart and he said, "No, I just want to play video games."

I wonder if Dad had to wear ear plugs when we all traveled in the van.  I think he really is deaf in one ear from not wearing ear plugs while doing dentistry.  He can't hear the turbo in his truck anymore.

I feel like an average parent.  But you know what?  I'm the only dad these kids have.  At least school drop-off and pickup on the bikes is going well.  Yar.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My berfday

It was my birthday weekend.  I always have high expectations for my birth week and a lot of that burden has fallen on Heidi.  I was talking to Steve this week and he said, "When you hit 30 or 35, your birthday becomes less about you and more about spending time with those you love."

I had already ordered my computer stuff and my parents got me some memory for the macbook and an Alpinestars beanie, so I was pretty much set with gifts.  Then Heidi stepped up and made homemade snickers, rather than a cake, because that's what I wanted.  Then she surprised me with some household items we needed, like glasses, towels, ingredient canisters, and a stretcher for my silly back.

My birthday fell on Sunday and I woke up early to stretch and get the bacon going.  I was determined to be happy, because even though it was my day, I was going to make everyone else's day good by being in a good mood.  You can't go wrong with bacon, and I also prepared french toast and orange julius.  Mmmm, it was tasty.

Mike asked me to swap lessons with him in elders quorum, so I taught lesson 21:  Loving God more than loving the things of the world.  It was a good lesson.  I always joke about teaching, "It's easy.  You just ask the questions at the end of the lesson, get a discussion going, and just moderate the discussion."

Then the missionaries came over for dinner.  The kids were already in Sunday-afternoon-hyper mode, but it was even more pronounced with the presence of our missionary guests.  We put them to bed at 7:30 and then Heidi and I watched a Netflix.  It was a good berfday.  I think Heidi was happy that I was in a good mood.  Okay, bye.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Heidi's Back

Its been a long time blogger.  Thanks to my dear husband, we still have some memories of what is going on. Here is an update on life...

Scott.  Scott is such a good boy.  He is a great leader, listener and just such a good son and brother.  He continues to be my emotional boy so I need to remember to be sensitive to his needs.  I pick them up on their bikes and everyone says hi to him; on the street, in their cars, wherever.  I don't know how he knows so many people. I am trying to teach him that he needs to respond.  He just did soccer, which he enjoyed.  He likes being with his friends.  His team this year won 1 game.  They had a lot of kids who were not athletic.  In the past he would have been frustrated of their losses, but while he wanted to win, it didn't bother him.  He simply knew that they weren't that good.   He had fun and always had a smile of his face.  He is also swimming which he enjoys and he can't wait for baseball to start up.

Tyler.  For a while Tyler was coughing to breathe better, and just seemed tired, but lately he has been doing better.  I wonder if it is the change in seasons or if his heart function was down.  These periods seem to come and go.  I don't worry about them, because I don't think it would do much good, but maybe I should worry more.  His cardiologist is retiring at the end of the year, which is so sad.  We love him dearly and will miss his expertise, calmness and heart full of love.  He has his yearly physical tomorrow and cardio appt in December. Praying everything looks good.  His nurse asked how school was going and said he was doing great.  She said he shouldn't do PE and I told her about how he did the first week but came home not loving it so now he just walks.  She said sometimes kids prefer to go inside and do computers or such and I said he is always given that opportunity but just likes to watch.  I am grateful that he is comfortable with who he is and knows his limits.  Such a blessing.  He is doing well at reading, gets math and memorizes really easily.  He is also enjoying learning the piano which is fun.  We always envisioned Tyler having a harder time in school because of his rough start in life and oxygenation issues, but he is doing great.  Most importantly happy he is happy.  He seems to have an easier time making friends and his friends like him, so that is nice to see.

Kira.  Kira loves being with her friends.  She talks about what she learned, tells people about her school and asks when she is going to see her friends at school.  It is very cute and very different than the boys.  Scott didn't mind it, Tyler was not stoked ever to be dropped off, but did ok when he was there, but Kira looks forward to it. Kira continues to make everyone smile.  She is friends with everyone and everyone seems to like her or at least laugh at the crazy, full of energy, outgoing little girl that she is.  She is one of a kind.  She is miss athletic and we find herself climbing, jumping and rolling from place to place.

Blake.  18 months.  He is the Scott look a like.  He loves to hang out with Danny in the garage.  He is pretty calm, but entering the stage that he knows what he wants and will let you know.  When he hears motorcycles on the road, he makes engine noises which always makes me smile.  He is pretty self sufficient and for the most part takes care of himself.  Lately he has been trying to take of his diaper and sit on the toilet, which I don't have the time or energy for.  I think I potty trained Scott around this age, but I don't think I could do that with him because I have other kids...this summer sounds good.  He and Kira have become good little buddies since the boys are at school.  He just loves his siblings.  Scott is so good with him.  He doesn't talk much but understands everything you say which is nice.

Danny.  Danny struggles with daily back pain, which is probably the hardest trial we have ever gone through.  It is so hard seeing him in pain.  It affects everything.   I just pray that one day he will get some relief.  His work is going well.  We are so grateful that he has a job that he enjoys and that he is so good at.  He has made so many friends in the community through work which is great to see.  He loves his projects.  He is always either fixing his motorcycle, car or something mechanical.  He seems to get things given to him to fix up which he enjoys.  It is his outlet which is so nice.

My Mom.  What a journey these past couple of months have been.  I am grateful for this time we have had with my mom.  It has been really special to everyone.  My mom has been doing ok, but is starting to complain more and more of pain.  It is hard to see her not be able to do what she wants to do. More than anything she wants to be able to play with the kids, enjoy life, and treasure the time she has but her body limits her.  She still has control of one hand so can feed herself and do small things with her hand, but it is tiring.  She remains optimistic amidst her pain and her struggles.  I can't imagine what she must be feeling and going through at times.  I try to just listen and encourage her and let her know that she is loved.  The peace that she once felt seems more distant now which is kind of sad to see. How grateful I am to know that there is a better world to come, free from the pain and illnesses of this world.  I wish that she had that knowledge and peace of that hope.  That is perhaps the hardest part of this journey for me.  So we just try to fill her day with love and be there for her and help her feel our love.  How grateful I am for my family.  You realize at the end of life that relationships are significant and everything else is insignificant.  She led such a wonderful life full of family and friends which is so wonderful to see bless her life now.

Heidi.  My thyroid has been out of wack again.  It has such a huge affect on your health.  It is crazy.  For the first time since after my mission I have to watch what I eat.  My hair is a straw mess again and I can easily sleep for 12 hours a night.  I should probably go get it tested and medicated.

I talked on loving the Lord with all your heart, might, mind and strength.  I like posting my talks so that I have them for future reference, but every time I sat down to write my talk, ideas came, but nothing came on the paper.  I had an impression that I should just organize my thoughts and be led by the spirit.  I woke up that morning, hoping to organize my ideas, but had a hard time doing it probably because I wanted more than a general out;line.  Finally, a couple minutes before leaving, when I had no time left, I wrote down a simple outline. I am never nervous before speaking, but was slightly nervous before church.  It is so easy when you have everything you are going to say in front of you.  But I knew that everything would go alright and it did.  A couple of people have sent me nice little cards saying how the talk helped them so of course the Lord knew what people needed to hear better than I knew.  It was definitely inspired and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be led by God and grow.The gist of the talk ended up being how we can love the Lord our God amidst hard times, why trials come into our lives and the importance of loving him 100%.

I have been busy writing a book which is kind of like a bible study.  I really feel it is has been inspired and what I need to do now.  I have no idea why, but excited to see what the Lord has in store.  So just plugging along.  Trying to work on my patience and not dwell on the insignificant things in life that sometimes get me frustrated or frazzled.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trunk or Treat

Saturday was the church's trunk-or-treat at Paul Krey's orchard.  Heather and Jason came and that was fun.  We ate chili, there were carnival-type games, and a spook alley.  Then the kids loaded up on sugar as they made the rounds of the cars' trunks.  Then the sugar withdrawal hit in the morning.

Earlier this week, Tyler's class had a pizza party.  I picked up the pizza and helped the class.  

After we ate, Tyler and I played on the blacktop.  Their game is called "kick-back," and I still don't know the rules, but while Scott and his friends were kicking it to me and my team, I kicked it real high in the air.  The kids were all going nuts about how high it was and the principal approached and said, "Hey, do me a favor.  Don't kick the ball so high.  See, cuz the kids raise their hands and then they jam their fingers."  

So I'm getting in trouble even as a parent.  

Heidi spoke in church today and did a good job.  She asked whether she should sit with us in the audience or up on the stand.  I told her that if she sits on the stand that the kids will be bad and she'll be able to observe us that way, but that if she sits with us, the kids will be better.  Right from the start, Blakey was fussy and Heidi took him out.  When it was her turn to speak, she went up and began her talk.  Kira then bolted up to the stand and the bishopric was amused.  She didn't want to sit still, so the bishop sat her on his lap.  She didn't like that either and I had to walk up and escort her off the stand.  I didn't bother to see who was watching me, and I wondered what would be the right thing to do.  You don't want that the sideshow be more entertaining than the main event, and Kira has a knack for obtaining the spotlight.  

Fortunately, we could hear her talk from the foyer.  Now I gotta make a different partition on the 20" iMac since Minecraft seems to be writing files to the startup disk.  So, bye.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Soccer with the big didge

Soccer season is almost over.  Scott has been playing at Shady Oaks park in Oakley and the other kids like to play on this play structure.  The game this morning was early and the lighting was good so I took some portraits.  

Tyler doesn't like having his picture taken sometimes and I have to do more candid ones.  He spends a lot of time with his iPad, which I guess is okay, given his diagnosis.

Blakey looks like Scott and me with his squinty eyes.  Heidi's sad that he's no longer a baby, but I'm glad.  Let's get him outta diapers!  Yeah.

Not their best smiles, but we don't have many posed pictures of them together.  All this while Scott played soccer.

They got smoked.  Scott likes when the ball comes to him but he's not aggressive.  He's good at goalie even though he didn't goal tend today.

Derrick has been a patient coach.  I wonder if he gets frustrated when the kids kick the ball the wrong direction or get caught staring at the sky.

TV update:  I hope this is Revenge's last season.  It's getting too slow and dark and evil.  Plus, Jack's character is turning into a depressed loser.  Charlotte's bangs look good but she seems to be turning into her mom.  I like Nolan's haircut but I miss his hacking feats.

Modern Family had a pretty funny episode this week.  I wonder how long they can keep it going because Luke's getting pretty old and the girls have to be getting into college soon.

Instead of Heidi watching Gossip girl, she's just been going to bed at eight.  Her thyroid seems to be off again.  My back's still jacked up even though I can now swim 500 yards in 10 minutes without stopping and I did DeNa's yoga class on Thursday.  I'm the least flexible in there and need the most help, but I don't mind when DeNa helps me.   I'm hoping that acupuncture sets things right because I'm tired of being in pain all the time.  I can't complain too much, though, because I can still work.  I had a good work week even though the VFR cut out on Thursday.

Okay, time to update this operating system and then I'm going to bed.  Night night.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The kids' photo skills

The kids wanted to take pictures this morning.  Scott grabbed the original didge and started taking these.  I told him about composition and using the zoom, vs. just moving closer to his subject.  I was pleased with how he took these.  Well, he coulda moved over so Tyler wasn't right in front of the computer, but let's not be too critical.  I had to take several courses before understanding the importance of composition.

Unfortunately, this newer ELPH's flash doesn't work.

Then Scott wanted to use the ten second timer so we could all be in the picture.  Heidi wasn't feeling well, so she stayed in bed while I did breakfast, church preps, and piano.  Here's the little didge's timer shot.

Next, Tyler asked to use the big camera, so we did a timer shot with it too.  I think it looks better, especially when you see it full size.  

Here's Tyler trying to compose the big camera on the big tripod.

 The kids wanted to do a silly shot, so here it is.  Good times.

Yeah, so Heidi stayed home from church.  I was happy to have dressed the kids, put them in the van, and arrived to church on time.  Sacrament meeting was a challenge though, and Marc commented that I had had a busy meeting.  I was like, "You could tell, huh?"  We were way at the back in the noisy section and I had to rescue the wandering Blakey about seven times  Even Kira refused to sit quietly, so I had to take her out.  She yells, "I'm sitting by TYLER!  Stop holding my arm!