Friday, December 24, 2010

REALLY???

Nicole fell 2 weeks ago and broke her right ankle, open fracture. She has been in a cast and on crutches. No weight bearing.

Then the following week she got caught up in her cast and crutches and slipped and broke the other foot. This foot in a walking cast.

2 nights ago she and Christian had been at a family gathering. On the way home they stopped for a RedBox at Maverick. She slipped in the parking lot and fell on her arm. it was hurting quite a bit but we just iced it and did some cold laser on it to help with the pain and inflammation. Well, the swelling was not going down and the pain was going up so I took her to Urgent care for an X-ray.

Dunt dunt dunt duh.....

Nicole broke her shoulder in 3 places. Are you kidding? Really? SO, here we have it. 1 broken ankle, 1 broken foot, and 1 broken shoulder. What a Christmas this will be.

This is a roller coaster that I want off of NOW.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Emergancy trip back to the hospital

Nicole and I are in California so I can go to a conference with John. She and I drove here yesterday. What a trooper she has been. Surgery a few days ago and now here. This conference was schedule months ago and this surgery was the only time this Dr. could do it while she was still on rotation. So we rolled with it.

Last night the winds in So. Cal. were very strong. A lot of junk in the air. Sitting outside on the patio enjoying the weather something got into Nicole's eye. We cleaned it out as best we could and she went to bed but when we woke up this morning her eye was swollen practically shut and had junk coming out of it. John and I got a flashlight and looked in as best as we could. It didn't look good. As a matter of fact it look as though it was cut and open about 3 mm.

Down to the ER in San Clemente we drove. I have to say, the people working there were so nice, so on top of things and so fast. We have been in many hospitals over the years and I would say they are top rated. The Dr. came in very quickly, was thorough and quick., Her bedside was by far one of the best we have come across.

Yes, Nicole did have quite a large cut in her eye and still had debris in it. It was also infected. I felt so bad. They got right to work and got her hooked up fast. Washed it out, medicated it, bandaged us up and we were out of there. WOW! Refreshing. in and out in practically no time at all and service...top notch.

Nicole is already on the mend.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Integra

Today we are seeing the light at the end of a VERY long tunnel. At 12:45pm Nicole was wheeled into surgery. The light is if all goes well this may very well be the second to last surgery. It is a 2 part surgery. Today they are taking out scar tissue and other tissue and putting in this special material (Integra)that will act in place of dermas. After the body has grown blood vessels into the Integra to surgery she will go again. This time to graphed over it.

Dr. Cochran was just here. Nicole is out of surgery now. She came out of surgery combative and ripped one surgery sight causing bleeding but that was quickly remedied. Surgery was performed on 4 sights today. Neck, both axillary and behind right knee. Each area did well. The knee was a redo. The back of her knee was an open area most of the time. This time they opened it up and found that the graph was adhered to the tendon and there fore was tight and kept the area back there from healing. Quite a large piece of Integra was put there and in turn should keep that area from re adhering again so her knee should heal fine.

I am relieved this one is over. 4 areas in a lot and a long time in surgery. Nicole has been blessed with great doctors and steady hands. We too are blessed with continued prayers on her behalf. We have many causes for us to stop and thank God for all He has done for Nicole and our family.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dallas

Nicole and I went to Dallas for 3 days to see our dear friend, Dr. Kimberly Jones. She is amazing.

I took Nicole there to have a few visits with her. She works with people who have food and environment sensitivities. Nicole, since getting out of the hospital last year has had trouble when
she eats gluten and dairy as well as she is having severe bone loss and cannot absorb vitamin D.

During the initial testing it was confirmed that Nicole indeed has a sensitivity to gluten and casein. She is also is sensitive to Calcium which may be why she is not absorbing vitamin D. A few other things showed up also which we will treat for over the next few days. Now for the the treatments to begin. They will take several hours between each treatment of each item. AND no eating of the item or anything related to it for 25 hrs after each treatment. That really doesn't leave much to eat for the next 3 days.

3 days later.....Nicole already feels a difference. She feels not as sick to her stomach when she eats. This is a winner. Now we are off to (sshh) Sam Moon. (It's a secret)

Yes, Sam Moon is my favorite place to shop in Dallas. Yes, many dollars are dropped in this store. This is why it is a secret. We don't want John to know I am shopping here again. I do have an agenda this time and I do have a budget I supposed that will make John happy. Do you want to know what is on my agenda? Only 5 bracelets to go with necklaces I already have, a pair of earrings to make up for the ones I broke the other day and a Pashmina.

My shopping trip was a hit. I did get a new Pashmina as well as 3 pairs of earrings, none of which was like the ones I broke and 4 bracelets. Total cost....35 dollars. Yeah for me. Yeah for John.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leg surgery

A while back Nicole's doctors had been talking about what they were going to do to fix her leg. One of the problems she has is the back of one leg was so severely destroyed with the burn that they had to take quite a bit of muscle and tissue out. Since then she has had many open areas that don't close because of the tightness.

Dr. Agarwal had suggested putting in these small bladders and then filling them up with fluid a little at a time to stretch the skin. After about 6 weeks the skin then would be large enough to stretch around the area in question and then hopefully given the more skin there, the area would then heal. In the mean time one of the burn docs wondered if maybe it was a tendon that was too tight causing the problem. We decided to go with the least invasive surgery and see what happens. We can do the other surgery if this one doesn't work.

So, today is the day. Dr. Cochran will open the area in question, take out some tissue and do a new graph which will come off her hip. While she is doing that she will also have her neck, in the front, where there is a very tight band and do a skin graph there also and hopefully release that area so Nicole can move her head forward and backward better. There are also a few tight bands in the axilla area that will also get skin graphs.

Good news! This was the surgery choice we should have taken. When Dr. Cochran opened up the back of Nicole's leg she found that the old graph had adhered to the other tissue making it so each time she moved her leg to walk or bend it to sit down it would rip the outside skin. Thus causing the area to keep opening and causing ulcerations and open lesions.

We are so glad this option was available before we did the other surgery to put in the bladders. That surgery would have taken 3-6 months before it was finished.

Nicole has wound vacuums on each area. Each area is hooked up to a machine that sucks the air out and puts continual pressure on the area. It promotes better wound healing. I hope these work as well as they say they do. Nicole will be staying in the hospital for about a week. She will then go home with the wound vacs that she will need to keep on for several weeks.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Denver

Oh my! I flew to Denver this weekend to meet my Lover who was attending a conference. I was like a little kid as a started preparing earlier in the week for this amazing weekend. Even though I knew he was going to be at the conference most of the time this was also a retreat for me. Sleeping in, Breakfast in bed, Hot Tubbing. AAANNNDDD Spending the evenings with my Lover.

Earlier in the week our friend of many years, Paul Roberts, passed away. Not suddenly, he has been battling cancer for months. John was asked to speak at his funeral which was Friday night. He felt honored to be asked so speak to honor his friend.

I am flying into Denver Friday morning in order to go to the Temple and relax for the afternoon preparing for my Lover to arrive. because the funeral is a night funeral, John doesn't leave Wichita until 10pm arriving at 4am. I am there waiting for him dosing on and off while reading and watching TV. Oh, it is so great to be in the arms of the one I love.

No breakfast in bed this morning. Up too late :( . John has to rush off to his conference and I am going to go with him for a while this morning in order to get a few goodies on the breakfast bar they provide.

I am off the shop at Park Meadows Mall, one of my favorite places to shop. I just love the variety of shops there. I also went back to the Temple. Even though I live near several I never pass up the chance to attend the Temple wherever we travel. I also had a chance to jsut sit outside hte Temple and contemplate the many blessings in my life. One of which is just a few miles away waiting for me. That brings a smile to my face.

I brought back takeout to the hotel so we could just have a quiet night in together. I can't tell you how many times I have eaten P.F. Changes in a hotel room. I love it AND it is still great when it is not hot off the grill and still good as leftovers.

Waiting....Waiting....Waiting.... Good thing I am a great waiter.

Do I hear a knocking on the door? Yes!! My Lover has arrived! Butterflies still invade my belly when I know I am going to see him. I open the door and my heart leaps. It is him. My day is complete.

How I am grateful for this man of mine. The one God choose for me. The one who makes my everyday. The one who without him I would only be half of me. Together WE2ARE1.

It doesn't get better then this.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Idaho, Again

Here we are in Idaho one more time to not only make sure my uncle is getting the right care but also to bring many of his belongings back to him. Last year we came here to get his most treasured belongings. He had been in a nursing care facility for many months and his home had been unoccupied. We didn't want vandals to come in and take things (that already happened with the in home care company that was coming). Now we are bringing back the things he needs most.

First we unload everything and do some cleaning to make sure all is well at the home. Lunch arrives (Meals on Wheels) while we are there so we can keep working. Just one more thing we don't have to do. Then it is off the state agencies to check on their progress. I hope we will find good things in the works.

As with anything in government it is a slow process. Yes, somethings are in place but others were kind of forgotten. I am glad we are here today to remind them what he needs and what they are supposed to provide. I guess we will be back again for another inspection.

This has been a good learning experience for my mom and Nicole. The many, many things that needs to be done and said to get through all the hoops the government makes everyone jump through. Maybe I should write a book on the ins and outs of RED TAPE.

I am grateful for the chance to help my uncle. He may not be grateful to us but I know in the long run it will not only help him but give my mom peace of mind that she is 4 hrs away and can not just run there if something happens. There are now measures put in place to help him and make sure he has food, a clean environment and health care.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Corn Bellys

CORN BELLY'S!!!!

If you have not been to Corn Belly's and you live in the SLCo or UTCo Area you really need to venture there.

This festivity is at Thanksgiving Point. There are 3 corn mazes. Nicole and I did 2 of them. They have maps and are timed. You will find clues along the way and if you have a SmartPhone you will get clues sent to your phone by your GPS. It is really fun. There really isn't any way to get lost because you can always cut through the corn hedges, but what fun would that be?

After the corn mazes we headed over to the shooting gallery. Actually, we were able to shoot gourds of all shapes and sizes. The targets? A beat-up old truck, flower pots, tires, old milk cans and moving targets. The gourds fit right into real bazookas. It was so much fun.

We took a hay ride and walked inside of a dragon, from its mouth to its tail. It even made growling noises when we got to the stomach area.

We took a break because it was kind of getting cold and headed over to one of the huge bonfires that were roaring in the area. As we approached the smell of burning wood and hearing the crackling of the hot embers was so inviting . I just wanted to stay there the rest of the night. We drank Hot Cocoa and made S'mores with the marshmallows, crackers and chocolate we were able to purchase from the country store near by. 5 dollars for a bag that made 6 S'mores and you got 2 sticks to roast the marshmallows, too. I am in HEAVEN. I love roasting marshmallows and I love hot cocoa. 2 of my most favorite things in the whole world.

To round the evening out Nicole and I had our pictures taken in a huge rocking chair that made us look tiny. Oh yeah, we had to make a stop at the pumpkin patch, too. Nothing like choosing a pumpkin right where it is grown. What a fun day out.

Dale and Teri

Our dear friends, the Orr's paid us a visit this weekend. Oh how great it was to see them. We have been friends since 1999.

Our friendship began on a temple trip from Wichita, KS to Dallas, Texas. I really didn't want to drive with people I didn't know but I am so glad I did. Teri and I forged an amazing friendship.

It is the kind of friendship that even if you don't talk to the other person for weeks you just pick up right where you left off. Our children are friends also.

We have been through many thing over the years with them. Thick and thin, Good and bad, Fun times and not so fun but always love and support from all parties on all sides.

Each one of them means something special to us. Their smiles, laughter, hugs and love makes our days even when we live many miles apart. Our sweet friends live in AZ now. All the more reason to visit them in the Valley of the Sun.

We love you guys.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Post Sugery

Nicole had her bandages taken off today. WOW! Is all I can say. The new areas look so wonderful. As the swelling comes down I know it will just get better and better. Isn't amazing the medical technology these days. I know we have great technology and have had for years but it just seems like things are getting better and better.

Her doctor is very pleased with they way her torso looks and will look as she heals more and the swelling goes away. In the next 3 months we will have the end result to look at. Thank you Dr. Agarwal for helping to make this happen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Block Party

Our neighborhood had it annual block party tonight. I know many people who have block parties in their area but I do have to say this one was rocking, literally.

We had a live band. Yup! They were terrific. We barbecued and everyone brought things to share. What great chefs we have in this neighborhood.

We loved getting to know our neighbors better and meeting several we had not have the pleasure of meeting before. We learned so much and look forward to getting to know others better.

Thanks to all who planned, set up, cleaned up, donated time and effort so everyone could have such a great time.

We are looking forward to next years festivities.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nicole's Torso Reconstruction

I can't believe it has been so long since I have updated our blog. I have a lot of catching up to do. Even though this is being typed up Feb 28, 2011 I am back dating this as well a few more so they look like they have been done on the date in chronological order.

Today, Nicole is having her torso reconstructed. This particular surgery has been a long time coming. The burn doctors did a great job when they were doing her graphs on her torso but it left her very misshapen-ed. So now is the time to fix this area and give her more shape.

We choose Dr. Cori Agarwal. She is a wonderful plastic surgeon. We had many talks about what was going to be done, how things would look different and what the end results were going to be. (She is also the doctor that will do the reconstructing of her leg.)

The surgery went extremely well. Nicole will stay in the hospital a few days and then she will be home. So far, what I know of how this went, it looks as though this was a huge success. I guess we will see in a few days when the bandages come off.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Idaho

I went to Idaho today with my mom to guide her through the maze of state agencies. Her brother is living alone in his home. It may not seem like a bad thing, he is only 73, but, he is an amputee as well and is full time in a wheel chair and has Parkinson's disease. He needs full time care but is too stubborn to accept it. Thank goodness he does allow someone to come in a couple of times a day to help him.

He doesn't always make the most logical decisions. So we have gone to Idaho to find some agencies that can render aid to him in various areas. Since working with many state agencies over the years I know my way around getting services from which place. It is a lot of leg work but so worth it in the end.

We looked at getting a circuit breaker for his taxes on his home. We also went to the state to see what medical services the could offer that they currently are not doing.

I even called the local bishop for the area which he lives. My uncle is not a member of our church and many people don't know that a bishop is responsible for ALL the people living within the boundaries of the ward, member and non member alike. He was wonderful, offering to come by each week and check on his welfare as well as getting the scouts to help with some yard and home things. I don't know if he feels the love but I sure do. I love knowing I belong to a church that is the same in KS as UT as ID. And around the world. There are people out there that care not only if you are of the same faith but care because you are their neighbor.

We didn't get as much accomplished as I wanted to, but we did get the ball rolling. I am so glad I can help him when he can't help himself. It is frustrating but I feel I have at least some knowledge to help the situation.

I know we will be revisiting this again in the not so distant future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

TOFW Boise

How I love Time Out For Women.

Nicole and I drove to Boise this weekend to attend Time Out For Women. What a weekend. TOFW is uplifting, mentally and spiritually recharging and give my whole being a tune up.

The line up:
Mercy River: This is why we went to Boise. Nicole loves her some Mercy River. 3 women who's voices are a breath of fresh air. They meld together beautifully. To top it off...Drum Roll Please.... On our way up to our hotel room we were about to step on the elevator and who was there? Yup, you guessed it 2 of the three Mercy River Gals. Brooke and Whitney. Oh my. I could hardly contain Nicole. They were very gracious. We were able to gab to them for about 15 minutes. Soni, their other band mate was resting as she was about to deliver a baby and had been having contractions all day. TOTALLY MADE NICOLE'S WHOLE WEEKEND.

DeAnne Flynn, Amanda Dickson, Emily Freeman, Linda Eyer and Shawni Eyer Pothier, Mariama Kallon and Jerico Road. ( A Boy Band ) Each of these people spoke on subjects that are dear to them. Maybe they wrote a book about it or maybe they have lectured about it before. But, whatever it may be they are passionate about it.

Each year I go a few times. I have been 16 times. I have been with Nicole 4 times. Each time I take my notebook, that I take every time, and add to it my thoughts and inspirations I receive when I hear the offerings of Time Out For Women.

One day I will get out my notebook and post some of the incredible insights and words of wisdom I wrote down.

What a weekend I had with my daughter. She so enjoyed it and in turn I enjoyed it more. Not only being able to share it with her, as I wondered a year ago if I would ever be attending another Time Out For Women with her, but to know I am a better person because of it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

UTAH STATE FAIR!!!

We love the state fair. Ever since John and I took the kids to the Texas State Fair we have been hooked.

Christian, Nicole and I headed out tonight amidst the rain as it was the only night we could all go together.

The first thing we went in search of was a fried Snickers bar. Christian said they ere amazing. We found them alright. The line was very long but we waited. Not only did they have fried Snickers but also fried Twinkies and fried Oreo's.

What would a state fair be like with out going to see the animals. We saw everything...goats, cows, chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep and horses. The Utah state fair is different then the Kansas state fair. We like to to see the buildings where everyone is hocking their wares. There was minimal at this state fair. Not that I need to buy anything but it is fun to see all the stuff.

We went to a comedy show at the grandstand. It was pretty funny. When it was over as we were walking back to find another fried snickers we passed by the giant slide. you know the one. You climb the very tall stairs, you sit in a gunny sack, push off
And swoosh...over the first hump, over the second hump and gliding into the carpet area at the bottom. That was so fun especially because we all did it together.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Canning

OH MY GOODNESS!!!

Can you say bountiful harvest?

I have been canning my guts out. I haven't canned in years and I rekindled the bug in me. I went out the the polygamist place in Draper and purchased 3 bushels of tomatoes as well as half bushel of onions and peppers. I came home and got right to work.

24 pint bottles of chili sauce. ( a recipe that has been passed down though generations) for over 150 years. I also canned 18 quarts of diced tomatoes, 6 pints of ketchup, 12 quarts of V-12, 36 pints of salsa. The salsa Nicole made this year all on her own. She did such a wonderful job.

Then I moved on to meats. 12 bottles of pepper steak, 6 bottles of Sicilian chicken soup, 12 bottles of chili verde and 8 bottles of pulled barbecued pork.

Can't can without making some freezer jam. 24 pints of UT peach freezer jam, 24 quarts of sliced peaches, 6 pints of strawberry freezer jam and peach puree.

I have to tell you also...this years fruit leather was the best I think I have ever made. Maybe because the peaches were so sweet adn fresh. I don't know btu we got about 150 rolls of peach leather, 50 of apple leather, 20 of pear leather and 50of cherry leather.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dr. Fletcher

What can I say about this man. WOW! What a God send in my life.

I was Diagnoses with Central Serous Retinopathy about 5 years ago. I discovered my vision diminishing so I went in to have my eyes examined. That doctor sent me to a specialist who diagnosed me. I couldn't believe it. Me, losing vision in my left eye. The doctor said it probably had been happening for a couple of years but because the vision in my right eye was so good it just took over.

The vision lose was so gradual I didn't even notice that my world had turned from 3-D to 2-D. My worst fear was not being able to see well enough to drive and then to lose my vision all together. The specialist said there really wasn't anything he could do but come back if I totally lost the vision and he would see what he could do then.

Well, that was unacceptable. I found another doctor who only sees CSR patients. He is in UT. We made the trek to Utah to consult with him. He said pretty much the same thing. I couldn't believe it. I started planning things I wanted to see and do in case I lost my vision.

Now, 5 years later I have started loosing the vision in my right eye as well.

Then in steps Dr. Fletcher. He practices a few days a month in Wichita as well as a few days in San Fransisco and Orlando. I thought we traveled a lot. John met him at church and told him about my eyes. He told John that he had pioneered stuff that was just for CSR. John made an appointment for the next time he and I were in town together. Well, that day was today.

I was scared and hopeful. Even though we brought the scans and test results from the other docs, he also did his own. When he was done he gave us the results. Some of the tests are test he invented that other docs use now.

Yes, I did have CSR. Yes, I was loosing vision but, I had adapted to my difficulties better then any other person he had worked with. I am a cheat reader. I have had the ability to read very fast in the past. That skill, unbeknowst to me, has helped me continue to be able to read. My eyes go over the words so fast that even though some letters are missing as I read my brain puts together the missing pieces.

He also told me that I would be able to drive for many years to come. Yes, I can't pass the eye test at the DMV but he will give me a letter stating the diagnosis and clear me to drive. I was happy about that. And he said that even though i have difficulties reading and a few other things that I not go totally blind. He gave me exercises to do to keep my eyes strong AND....

He gave me HOPE!

(By the way, he also told me that reading in dim light doesn't effect your eyes like so many people think) Good because I don't like bright light.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dad's Birthday

Dad, HaPpY bIrThDaY to you. 81, I can't believe it.

What a morning we had with you. We ate at the Dodo in Sugarhouse. We all talked about when we ate at the Dodo downtown years ago. I know you loved having the kids there to help you celebrate.

Sometimes it is hard to tell you my feelings but I want you to know I love you even tough you make me crazy sometimes.

I wish I had some childhood memories to put here but I really don't have any one my own. I only have ones that every else has told me. I don't really remember you building the tree house but I do know I played in it many many days and had many sleepovers in it.

I played every sport under the sun and you and mom were always there supporting me.

I love you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reconstruction for Nicole

Nicole had reconstructive surgery today on her torso. The doctor took out a lot of tissue and repositioned things so her torso is more symmetrical. She also did a graph too.

Nicole will be in the hospital for a few days and then she should have a short recovery.

We are grateful for the knowledge these great surgeons have. They have really brought it when they have worked on Nicole.

We will be looking forward to being recovered form this and on to the next upcoming surgeries. As it sits today there will be 6 more but that can always change. The next one will be inserting bladders into Nicole's leg and filling it with fluid to expand the skin. When it has expanded for 6-8 weeks they will take them out and pull the skin around to cover the back of her leg. If there is not enough skin, when she is healed form that they will have to do the whole process over. Hopefully that will help the back of her leg heal better.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aunt Kelli

I love Aunt Kelli. She is my husband's aunt but I am glad I can call her MY AUNT too.

She is here for a visit for a couple of weeks and love to spend time with her. We were lucky enough to have a sleep over with her. We all had fun spending time with her.

John's sisters, mom and nieces all went to Thaifoon for lunch one day. The company was better then the food but that is the way it should be.

We also had a barbecue at our home with all the family. I just love to get together with John's family. They are so much fun. They are all very good cooks so when there is food involved no one goes hungry.

The camera's are always snapping to catch a smile or a child doing something cute. We also have to have pictures with everyone together. All the nieces, all the sisters, all the sibs and so on.

Some things I love about Aunt Kelli.....

1. She is a great cook.
2. She always makes each person feel like they are the only ones in the room.
3. She doesn't judge.
4. She loves the gospel. I mean really loves it.
5. When I visit her she doesn't put time constraints on us.
6. She loves eating at my favorite place on the pier. Actually she was the one who introduced it to me.
7. She is the mother of my favorite cousin.
8. She is a great example to me.

Thank you for all the memories, all the love, all advice.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Lover

It's your birthday, Shout hooray!
I'm gonna sing to you today,
One year older and wiser, too
Happy Birthday, To You!!!

You, my lover, it's the celebration of you coming into the world. I am so glad you did. What would my life be like without you. You brighten each and every one of my days. You keep a smile on my face. When the chips are down, you are the first to help me see the chips are not as far down as I see them.

We have made many memories over the years. Some I would like to forget. A few that come directly to my mind are:

1. The day of our meeting, cold and snowy. I was so impressed you pulled the car up to the door for your mother so she didn't have to get snowy. What a gentleman. I felt the minute I saw you I knew you we would meet and be together forever. We must have been in love in Heaven.

2. The birth of our children. Each one so different. You the constant. You were never flustered. Loving them right out of the womb. Christian you took straight to your chest, muck and all. Bonding right away. Running to ICU with Nicole as they were rushing her away not knowing what was going on but making sure she wasn't alone.

3. The summer we spent in Jackson Hole with you as a river guide. Now that was a great summer. We became expert campers that year. We always loved to camp and hike but that year we fell in love with it. So then the next year we went on a 3 week camping trip to WY, ID, WA and Canada. What a trip we had.

4. Starting out our move to Texas with prayer as we each piled into our vehicles with our traveling buddy with us. You with miss Nicole and me with master Christian. Snacks to match our tastes, of course you and Nicole had to have sardines. Christian and I were so happy to NOT be in your vehicle.

That being just the first 6 years of marriage. So many, many more things to love about you.

I appreciate the kind and caring way you love me. You show me in so many ways. I love how you catch my eye from across the room and how I know you love me by our secret facial expression.

How many times you sat up with the kids when they were ill. As much as I cared for them in the day you were the one to get up with them in the night. Not only did that act of kindness show me how much you cared for our children it showed them how much you care for all of us.

I am grateful, Johnny, that you love God and Jesus Christ. I am grateful you hold the priesthood of God and you exercise it regularly. I am grateful I can come to you for a blessing of comfort, healing and health or any other reason I may need. I am grateful to know we have been sealed together for time and all eternity. One day, our family, forward and backwards, will be together forever.

You are a hero to me.

I love you.

Las Vegas

After lunch with my mom a few days ago I threw my suitcase in the car and drove to Las Vegas to meet up with John. We went to a conference but found some time to play too. We met up with people we had not seen for a while (they were also attending the conference). What a great weekend we had. I always learn something when attending things like this. I wish I had my notes with me at this very moment. I wrote down many thought provoking words. I will have to go back and read them.

Some of my favorite parts of my weekend.....sunning myself by the pool at Cesaer's Palace. Getting an all you can eat pass for a 24 hr period.you think that would be breakfast lunch and dinner. Nope. We got it at like 9am so we were able to eat breakfast lunch dinner and breakfast again. It was good at 9 hotels. If I was a big eater we could have just hotel hopped all day long and eat at all of them.

These little getaways have been so good for me and John. It is fantastic even to be with him for a few days. My most favorite part of being with John is waking up in the morning and he is right there. It makes for a wonderful day. Nothing says more to me about how much he loves me then when I wake up and he has his arms wrapped around me.

After I took John to the airport I started back to Salt Lake City. Time to just unwind, reflect on the weekend and my time with John and plan my next getaway.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mom's birthday

Happy Birthday MOM

Today is my mom's birthday. What a day to celebrate. She is 79 years old. Now years ago I would have thought that was old but today it is not how I think. She is vibrant, capable, caring for herself and my dad. Many people her age are either in a home or dead or wish they were dead.

I took her today to lunch. She has never had Thai food so today was the day. We went to Saw-wa-dee. Have you ever been there? If there is better Thai food in this valley I would like to know about it. My sister Kim went also as she was in town. What a fun time we had especially since SLC was having a "THAI-foon". (get it) It was raining heavily.

After our delish lunch we ventured over to Hatch family chocolates for dessert. Of course I had a pot o creme and a pretzel dipped in caramel and chocolate. I was in heaven.

I love you mom.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The kiddos

John, Nicole and I went to Kansas City today for a conference. Well we didn't go to the conference, it was for John. But, Nicole and I were able to stay with Ladd and Sarah. Oh how we love to stay with them and hang out. It is one of my most favorite things to do.

Nicole and I offered to hang out with the kiddos while Ladd and Sarah went out to dinner. We had ulterior motives. We brought firewood, skewers, stuff to make s'mores and a movie. We love these kiddos so much.

Well, bad news....It started to rain. We tried to start the fire in the rain but no bueno. Angi had a brilliant idea. We will roast our marshmallows at the stove. Jack-pot!

The kiddos had not ever made s'mores before. Not only was this a treat but an experience. 3 little ones sitting on the porch eating their own creations....it doesn't get better then that.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Christian - My Son

25 years ago today you burst onto the scene. Actually burst may be a strong word. You never cried when you were born. You just looked around at the world and took it all in. Beautiful was the word that was used most often. You made us parents!

I can't believe how wonderful it is to be your mom. You, my son, are the light of my life. There are many memories that are swirling around in head today and all of them make up our life.

Remember when we moved to Texas and you and I drove our vehicle all the way together while your dad and Nicole drove in the moving van. "You just wanted that time with me", you said. What fun we had singing, playing card games and eating things 'we liked'.

Remember when we stayed up until 3am watching old movies. I think that was when you started liking musicals.

Remember when decided we were going on a 2 week camping trip to Canada. We started out by teaching you to fish in Washington. You were so sad when we cleaned it and cooked it and gave it to you for lunch. I think it traumatized you forever. (is that why you won't eat fish)?

Remember when you rode your bike to Wiles gas station with you sister to buy camels. You were only 3. Crossing busy Highland Drive by yourselves no less.

Remember when you got out of the car at school and didn't kiss me goodbye. I called you back and you told me, 'I will kiss you all the days of my life.' I loved that day.

Remember when I ran you over with the car....Oh yeah, I am sure you won't forget that day. You were so brave and I was the one falling apart and you told me it was OK. And then for Christmas you wrote me a letter telling me how much you loved me and you didn't blame me for running you over.

My favorite Mothers Day card was the one you made me in 4th grade. It had pressed flowers and leaves on the front yo had put there and then wrote a poem on the inside. LOVE IT.

You have been a constant in my life. You have been there for me when I have needed you. You have been an example to me and others in your life. You have shown others what it means to be a good person at heart not just at the moment. What an example you are.

Your life has not been an easy one many times. Mostly because of challenges you have borne with our family but borne them you have and are a better person for it.

So many times I have sat back at just watched you. I watch you quietly doing for others. I watch you studying for school learning many new things and applying them in your life. I watch you mastering your chef skills and wowing others you cook for.
I watch in amazement all you accomplish. I watch....I wonder....

I wonder how I got to be so lucky to be your mom and you my son.

I love you Christian. You are wonderful.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nashville Tribute Concert

I just love these guys! Did you know I love them? I have seen them perform a few times before, but I have always had to travel to see them like OKC for example but this time they were playing right in my back yard. Not MY back yard really but still only like 5 minutes away. Let me tell you about them.

While on a Mormon mission, Jason Deere, wrote the song: Lamb to the Slaughter. That was the beginning. After graduating from BYU her moved to Nashville, TN where he has made a name for himself writing amazing country songs. In 2003 he started writing more and more songs around the restoration and with the help of Dan Truman had enough material for an album. Joseph: A Nashville Tribute.

What an amazing piece of work. If you have never listened to it get it. Since that one they have also written another called Trek. Trek is good but Joseph is GREAT!

Anyway...getting back to the concert. Due West was there with them as well as a few others including the lovely Katherine Nelson.

The music is always beautiful, carries a message, makes you feel good type of music.

John, Nicole and I attended. What a great way to spend time together for an evening.

http://www.nashvilletributeband.com/

Monday, August 2, 2010

Married to the love of my life

I married my lover today 26 years ago. What a glorious day it was. There is nothing like being in love with your one and only. My gift from God.

John, you are my dream. You make my life worth living. You make everyday a holiday just by waking up next to you.

I am grateful we were lead to each other. I am grateful for that fateful day we met. From that day forward my life has gotten better and better. No one makes me feel like you do, no one could. No other person makes me feel so alive.

You treat me like a queen. You feel my heart with joy. You fill my bucket. When I feel like I am hanging at the bottom of my rope, you tie another length onto it with a giant knot so I can hang on again.

You amaze me everyday.

Thank you for the great example you are to our children. Thank you for respecting me. Thank you for knowing what I need before I even know it myself. Thanks you for being you and for loving me.

Thank you Heavenly Father for knowing ALL my needs and leading John and I to the same space in time.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nicole's Birthday

Nicole's Birthday was yesterday. We didn't get to celebrate her birthday properly so TODAY IS THE DAY!!!

It's your birthday, Shout hooray! I'm gonna sing to you today. One year older and wiser, too. Happy Birthday, to you!!!

I can't believe that we are celebrating her birthday today. Last year I wondered if we would have any more birthday with sweet Nicole. Well, here we are sweet girl. You are 24.

We celebrated today by going to Snowbird and getting a pass to ride the zip line, alpine slide and all the other things there is to do there. We 'panned' for gem stones while there. I think that Nicole like doing this activity the best. Christian helped her 'pan'. It was kind of crazy at this time because a storm was crawling up the canyon. High winds, thunder and lightning. We had to skedaddle before the storm came, unfortunately, so we continued our party at Texas Roadhouse.

Nicole loved being on the saddle and having her picture taken for her birthday. It is kind of embarrassing but she loved it. Afterward we came home and had cake. Actually it wasn't cake, it was Nothing Bundt Cake minis. Each person got their own cake with a candle on it that Nicole blew out.

What fun we had, especially spending the day together.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Nicole!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Natalie and Spencer


Natalie and Spencer we sealed for time and all eternity in the Timpanogus Temple.

We are so proud of them. Natalie is John's cousins daughter. She is one of Christian's best friends. They have been very close over the last few years. She has spent many, many days in our home and being a part of our family. We have grown close to her especially the past 3 years.

Enter Spencer....He is the light of her life. We have been able to know Spencer this past year or so. He has brought much joy into her life.

Today we share their joy as they are sealed. We were privileged to attend the sealing and wedding luncheon. Christian also came to the luncheon but Nicole needed to rest.

Later that night we went to the reception at Aspen Grove. What a beautiful setting.

We love you guys. Many happy years to come.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time with Dawn

Dawn and I have had many adventures this week.

Monday we went to Hogle Zoo. We love going to the zoo. As far as zoos go Hogle zoo is a pretty good one although together we have been to some great zoos. Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Greater Vancouver Zoo in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, KS. I am sure there are more I just can't think of them right now.

With the myriad of things that need to happen in our home in the morning with Nicole it is hard to get out the door much before 10. Unfortunately it is already hot at that time. This has been one hot week. We melted every place we went.

Tuesday we ventured to Thanksgiving Point Gardens. They are beautiful. They have many varieties of flowers and plants I have never seen. We spoke to one of the gardeners who helped us with the names of several varieties which I wrote down and hope to have in my garden one day.

Wednesday in the evening all my sisters: Kim, Dawn, Dana, my parents and my self went to dinner at Olive Garden. I don't think we have all been to dinner together in years. It was nice to be together. After we went to my parents home for more visiting. My mom gave me my baby necklace that I wore as a baby and small child. I put it on right them. I love it.

I had so much fun this week with my sissy. We love spending time together. I am grateful for the love she shows me. I am grateful for the example she is to me of loving kindness. She is a person I can turn too. I can tell her anything without feeling judged or being belittled. I love her for who she is and her example to me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Pioneer Day

This is one day I really look forward to. I love the celebration of the Mormon pioneers coming to the the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The whole state is involved. Even if you are not of the LDS faith, this celebration represents what made this state what it is.

I have been cleaning like mad this week to be ready for this day. I didn't want anything to interrupt the festivities. We start the day with the parade. This parade is one of the largest in the country. We watched it on TV today but it is so fun to go to the parade.

My sister Dawn flew into town today to spend sometime with me before she leaves to go to Europe on a cruise (fun for her) So I invited my parents, my sister Dana and her husband Gary as well as their kids over for BBQ and home fireworks.

We had a great time. Food was fantastic. Everyone stayed late and just hung out talking. We haven't done that is so long.

When darkness descended we lit fireworks in the street. Many of the neighborhood kids came over and watched too. Nothing better then food, fun and family. (Well, it could have been better if John was here.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Reconstruction

Nicole had a consultation with a doctor to have reconstruction preformed. The doctor seems to think that she can accomplish what needs to be done. Nicole's scar tissue on her torso are tightening and pulling her forward. Her shoulders are hunched and the skin on the upper torso needs to be released so she will be able to stand up straight.

While the doctor was examining Nicole she saw some areas that needed to be addresses. They are areas that we also wanted to be looked at, for example one of Nicole's legs had extensive damage. She had to have part of her gastroc and quads removed as well as tissue. With that being done the back of her leg is concave and the graphs have not healed very well. It keeps breaking open causing open areas.

It looks as though Nicole will be able to have some reconstruction to help her live a more normal life.

We do have one challenge though. We have to convince the insurance company that these surgeries will be beneficial for her continued recovery. Our prayers today are for that. God knows what this is like for her and I knows if this is what is best, it will happen.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lamb's Day

I love Lamb's Day in Fountain Green, UT. I haven't been since the kids were young but what fun we had.

This year Nicole and I went to the celebration. We packed up yesterday and headed out. We didn't get there until after dark so searching for a camping site was a trick. But, when we woke up we did good. Our camp site was great.

We started the day off by going to the parade. You know the kind. Where everyone know everyone. The floats are from all around the area. They have the parade princesses and all the other princesses from the area ie: the rodeo princesses for 10 towns. Everyone who wants to be in the parade can be. The fire dept, the police dept, the cub scouts, the car dealership. AND everyone throws candy!!. What a treat for all the kiddos. Even Nicole got into the act, the act of getting candy that is.

While at the parade Nicole had a seizure. As it would happen the EMS was going by in the parade. The parade stopped right then and there. Everyone piled out of the EMS truck to help. Well, there wasn't much they could do as we know so they just hung out until she came around just to make sure. Well, that was exciting.

After Nicole rested for quite a while we headed out to the park where all the festivities are located. There are booths with people selling things, there are jumping things and activites for kids. One of the things we thought would be fun is the hay find. It is where they put hay on a giant tarp. Then they put candy and MONEY in the hay for others to find. We always do this activity at our family reunion. They started off with the youngest of kiddos and went all the way up to adults. We cut it off at age 12 for our reunion. Everyone dives in searching frantically for anything they can find.

What a mad house. Nicole wanted to do it when it was time for the adults. I wasn't sure this was the greatest idea but who am I to deny her a little fun.

One, Two, Three, GO!

Women diving, hay flying, arms flailing. The women are worse then kids. What is up with how competitive they are. Nicole finally bows out cuz she is scared she will get hurt. Now that is sad.

We looked through all the booths and bought a princess crown with multi-colored streamers going down the back. Very cute. We also stopped at a booth that was doing face painting. I got a Lamb in commemoration of Lamb's Day. Nicole got Paw prints running up her arm.

To top the day off we got in the humongous line to purchase lamb sandwiches. These are not your ordinary lamb sandwiches. The lambs are cooked in the ground. They are not greasy and gross like some lamb is. They are tender, grease free and DELICIOUS! Nicole absolutely did not even what to try one but they were giving little sample out. She was in heaven. She ate 2 of them.

Can you say HOT and SWEATY? Today has been so hot. We decided to go back to the camp site. Eat dinner and then have a shower before heading back to the park for fireworks.

During our wonderful shower a nasty storm creeped up. The wind was whipping, debris was flying around and our tent was practically laying on the ground. Good thing it was secured by the tent pegs.

We made a snap decision to pack up and go home. We just threw stuff into the truck. The people in the next site over saw we were leaving and trying to get things packed so some of them came over to help while the rest of there tribe secured there camper. Have you ever tried to drop a tent in very windy conditions. I am sure from looking from the outside it would have been hilarious.

Well, no fireworks for us but we had a great time. Fun was had for both of us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Empty Nesters FHE

I never thought I would be in the category of Empty Nesters FHE. What does that mean you say? This is where adult that have no children living at home get together one time a month and share FHE. (Family Home Evening) We may have a lesson or a speaker. It is a great way to meet and get to know others in our congregation that we may not other wise know.

Tonight was my first experience with this. A couple came to speak about their mission in S. Dakota. What a great experience they had. Hearing them got my juices flowing. I so want to serve a mission with John on day.

I pray each day for that opportunity. I pray for the guidance for what I need to learn, read and experience. I pray for health and continued strength to meet the challenges that lay before us. I pray...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Do yo know I travel? A LOT!!!

I am part of a travel club. It is kind of like Costco or Sam's club. You buy a membership and by doing so are entitled to go on these amazing trips at wholesale prices. Our travel club beats any trip you can find on the internet as well as our travel site for flights, hotels, cars, villas and package deals beats other travel sites % of the time.

I love to travel with my friends and family too, so I want them to join our travel club. We have over 400 trips planned this year alone. Everything from cruises to tours, Nascar to the Super Bowl. In the USA and abroad.

Today i went to Regional training in Salt Lake City today. What a day. I learned how to further my business of travel bookings and how to help others join me in the travel club.

Just wanted you to know I love to travel.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Kansas

This past week Nicole and I have been in Kansas. We a fun week we had.

We went to Exploration Place. If you have never been it is rated in the top 5 children museums in the nation. (Parade Magazine) There are so many things to do there. We loved the flight displays. The displays sow all different kinds of flight. Birds, planes, paper airplanes and how air movement affects flight.

We also saw the grossology exhibit. All different things about the body that is 'gross'. Slimy, oozy, crusty, stinky things. Quite interesting. Check it out. We can't wait to go back when the Egypt exhibit is there.

Nicole and I hung out at the North-East YMCA many times. The pool there is great. Nicole can't stay out in the sun for too long but to get out and get some sun as well as be in the cool water is wonderful. This year we purchased Nicole a board shirt (the swim shirts that are long sleeved) and longer boarding shorts that come to her knees. They help to protect her from the sun but I really want to get her a swim suit like the racing swimmer wear. Have you ever seen them? They are one piece, long sleeved and long pant to the ankle. Something like that will help to protect her more. Although they start about $350. Quite an investment.

The time we spend in Wichita always go by so fast. Seeing people we haven't seen in a while, helping with the clinic, visiting things we haven't before or haven't for a while.

We miss Wichita but we love Utah too. We are grateful for people in both areas for the love they show us and kind deeds they do for us and prayers they send our way on a daily bases.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My sissy and me



I think my sister Dawn and I are really twins born 7 years apart. When we get together it is non-stop fun. Too many times to count we have gone shopping together and pulled out the same thing at the same time for the other person to see.

A couple of years ago I was at her home in Spokane. She had been telling me she had re-decorated her bathroom and kitchen. I told her I had done the same not to long before. I was surprised when I walked in and she had the same things I did in my bathroom I started laughing so hard, tears streaming down my face. It shouldn't have surprised me at all as we have done that same thing before.

We have the same Capri's. They are so cute. When we got together this weekend we wore them together.

One year later

One year ago today Nicole was in a fire. She was burned 60% 3rd degree. She was in ICU 140 days as University of Utah Burn Center.

SHE SURVIVED!

What a year we have been through. Nicole has made amazing strides. She has healed by leaps and bounds. Even the doctors have been amazed at her progress. We can thank the cold laser therapy and the healing powers from God.

Our family has grown through many difficulties presented to us during this past year. We have grown stronger and closer as a family. We have been so close to the veil we could practically touch it. We have been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel when we didn't think there would be light there.

God has granted us another season with Nicole. God has given us new eyes in which to see life through. Through God's infinite love we have survived.

You never know how strong you are until strong is your only choice.

Strengthened
Tested
Ready willing and able
Own it
Never give up
GOD

If I ever have to go through anything like this again I know I can make it. I know the lessons I learned during this last year will get me through. I know with God beside me I can do anything.

Thanks you for your prayers and your continued prayers on our families behalf. Thank you for the cards, letters, balloons, meals, cry sessions, counseling, ice cream, love, support, blankets, friendship and service.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

David and Lisa

Last night we were supposed to fly to Spokane to my nephews reception but our flight was canceled with no other flights going out tonight and with the holiday weekend all other flights are booked. I was so upset about not being able to got here and spend this special day with them. I called and told them and in their perfect faith they both prayed that God would some how get us on a flight to Spokane.

This morning John and I went out to the airport with not very high hopes that we could get on a flight. As they were calling all the stand by passengers our hopes of getting on was more and more dismal. The guy finally said no more passenger seats left. My heart sunk. Tears leaked from my eyes, trying to be strong I went to the podium and ask the man if by chance there might be room on another flight. He asked my name....he looked at the screen and said we had made this flight after all. OH MY GOSH! The faith of two kids and my faith not as strong as theirs.

John and I flew on to the plane. We both were so grateful to whom ever didn't get there in time to catch their flight out so we could get this one.

What a fun time we had. We got to see a new niece that we had never seen before. Hayleigh Dior is her name and is she a cutie patutie.


So many family and friends were there to help them celebrate this day.



After we hung out at my sisters home. We built a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows with the biggest marshmallows I had ever seen. We talked forever. I love my sissy. Thanks for having us and letting us share this day with you .

Nicole's seizures

Nicole is having seizures again. Today she had 6 at the church while she was there helping with the July 4th breakfast. The Doctor cleared her and she went home. Through out the day she seemed fine.

Christian and Nicole had tickets to go to The Stadium of Fire and felt like she was well enough to go.

The Stadium of Fire was awesome. They enjoyed themselves and thing were going so well. Until the fireworks. Nicole started having seizures again. She had 9 this time. Of course paramedics were called and they took her to the hospital. She had stopped seizing before she arrived and they checked her out and was released.

I hope the meds she is on will continue to work and get these under control soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

West Jordan Rodeo

It's rodeo day!

We love going to the rodeo. We have been going to the Pretty Prairie rodeo yearly for about 15 years. Sometimes we go to multiple rodeos. This year we have already been to the Pretty Prairie rodeo, the Lehi rodeo and tonight, the West Jordan Rodeo.

This one is special for us because my nephew facilitates the whole rodeo and the whole family participates. His daughter, age 8, rides patterns and his wife, my niece runs barrels. Of course their son mutton busts too.

We has some much fun watching tonight but it was even more fun that we knew people there.

Our favorites are bull riding and barrels. The excitement and the electricity in the air is palpable. Its riveting to watch all the riders.

The announcer tonight is awesome. Great announcers make a rodeo. They are knowledgeable about the stock and riders. They are funny.

I want to tell my nieces and nephews what a great job they did. Thanks for all the work they have done this season.

Monday, June 28, 2010

One Scary Sabbath

Yesterday started out to be like any normal Sabbath. John is in town and we are going to church as a family. I love our ward. I look forward to see each person there each week and enjoying their friendships.

John and I are sitting in Sunday school getting ready for it to begin when the 1st councilor in the bishopric came in beckoning us. He took off at a dead run and so did I.

There was Nicole laying in the hall way passed out. Now normally I would just assess her and watch her til she came around but you really can't do that when she is laid out at church. I was calm in trying to arouse her as others around are watching. She finally comes to the party. Well, that was exciting. John helps me get her to her feet and we take her home to sleep it off. Or so I thought.

I am helping her get into her pajamas after we get home when it happens again although this time she starts seizing. She is having cluster seizures. Those are where several happen in a row.

Over the course of the next 7 hours she has about 50 seizures. By 10 PM it seems like they are finally over. We put her to bed in our room so we can hear her better. I am not sleeping very well as I think that any minute she will start seizing. Midnight, 2AM, 3AM, 4AM nothing. I fall asleep around 4AM. 6AM and they start again. This time there are not as many clustering together. By 4PM Nicole has had a total of 71 seizures.

I finally speak to the doctor who has me come in. CT, MRI of course doesn't show anything. But she is admitted for observation as well as an EEG.

Please Heavenly Father, Help the doctors help Nicole.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Parting

I put John on a plane this morning for him to go back to Wichita. I am driving back to UT. I miss the times we have together. I loved this time because even though we are working on ourselves, we have the time to be with each other, to bond again.

Thanks to the Orr's for the wonderful time we had, for opening up your home to us, for sharing your children with us.

It is a sad parting not only for John and I but for us saying goodbye to our dear friends. We love you guys. God really knew that we needed friends like you guys and I believe that is why he put us in each others paths. I thank God for you regularly.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day

With Journey over now I can concentrate on John and celebrating Fathers Day. I am so glad we are able to be together today. We attended church with our friends and after barbecued with them too.

Our relationship with Dale and Teri is so easy. I know I have said it before but I am grateful to them for being so loving and giving to us over the years. We have shared good times and bad times together.

We reminisced over how we became friends. Years ago our stake was going to the temple in Dallas. Dale knew John and John invited then to go with us in our van to Dallas. Teri was unhappy that Dale had done that because she didn't know us and was afraid that she would be stuck in a vehicle for all that way with someone she didn't know and she might not like. Well, so much for that. We hit it off right from the start. What a great friend ship we have.

Today being fathers day I want John to know what a great father I know he is. Sometimes he doesn't think he is but I know he is. Right from the start he has been a hands on dad. Changing diapers, feeding, burping, bathing. Every night he would read to the kids. That was his area and time with the kids because he worked long hours and left before the kids ever woke in the morning.

He taught the kids about nature every where we went. Look at this tree, look at the way the river flows, here is this plant or that shrub. Fishing, camping, biking, skiing, hiking are all things John taught the kids to love.

We are obsessed with the full moon. Our children will call us each full moon to make sure we know it is full.

You are my one and only, the love of my life, the most amazing father and husband. You are my rock, you and my life line, you are an example to me. Thanks you for being teh father to our children and an example for them in all you do.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Journey Day 5

Today was the last day of Journey. What a week. I am glad I went and more importantly I am grateful to have learned all the things I did about myself. John wants to attend next year and I know I will be ready to participate fully in a group setting. Nicole has been wanting to go to Journey for years and John and I both feel like next year will be her year to go.

I have a tool belt full of new tools to help me in my daily life. I have a new outlook on life. I have a new appreciation for others and the blessing I have been given.

I am grateful for the love my husband has for me, the support he gives me, the constant nourishment he gives my soul, the shoulders he bares me up with and the light he brings into my life. Thank you, Johnny, for believing in me. For allowing me to be my true self. No one else has every believed in me like you do. No one else has ever thought I could conquer the world like you do.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Journey Day 4

The best thing about today is I reconnected with an old friend. Sherida! I saw her just as John saw her. She had been attending Journey this week too but with so many people here we didn't see her. It has been a quite a while since we have been in touch. What a great reunion we had.

We went to lunch together and just caught up with each other. Good friends, good times. Thanks Sherida for making my day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Journey Day 3

Each day is more self discovery. Right now I am working in a group by myself. Last year I went to Journey and didn't finish the whole course. Not that I didn't think that it was good or it would not benefit me but it was more of not feeling like I could share my feelings openly and without being judged. When sharing feeling about yourself we all want to be in a safe place. That didn't happen, mostly because of one person who was goading me and kind of taunting me. Needless to say I left and each time I tried to return I kind of had a panic attack.

I know, you are saying to yourself about now: "That doesn't sound like her." Well, it may not sound like me now but it was me at that time. Today I have to say I feel safe and secure. But I also feel safer working in my own group for right now. It is not exactly the same as being in a group and hearing all they have to say and learning from that but I have had a lot of introspective of my life and where it is going at this time.

I am grateful that i am allowed to work as I need to to gain from this experience what I can. Not everyone would let me work on my own and I may not be getting everything out of it I could but I am learning about myself and am grateful for the knew knowledge I have.

Tonight we went to John's cousins home in Mesa. David and Sheryl opened their home to us. John and Cheri came over also with their children. It was so great to see everyone. David and Sheryl's daughter made a fabulous Lemon Pie from their own lemon tree. So great.

While we were visiting with them, we were speaking of how our children are. When discussing what was going on with Christian we learned that one of the kids there also had the same diagnosis as Christian; Neuro-Cardiogenics Syncope as well as Mitro-valve prolapse. It got me thinking that maybe it is hereditary or is it just coincidence. I will have to investigate this more. Maybe there is something to it. It would be great is there is a study going on at Mayo or Cleveland Clinic that he could get into. Anyone have an idea?

Thanks to our sweet family for thinking about us so far from home to invite us over for an evening of love and enjoyment. We love you guys and wish we didn't live so far from ya'll or you from us. We always love getting together with family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Journey Day 2

What a fun time we had with the Orr's last night. We swan in the pool although I thought it was kind of cold and we just sat around a talked forever. Our friends are the kind of friends that we just pick up right where we left off. No getting to know you stage no awkward stuff in the beginning. So nice.

So, yesterday was a really hard day at Journey. Well most of it was OK but towards the end we did this exercise where you write down all the junk anyone has ever told you over the years, for example, you are stupid, your ugly, I don't want to play with you, your not my friend, your fired, etc, etc, etc. Then you pair up with someone and the music is up really loud so you can't really hear the other person and they can't really hear you. You tell them how it all makes you feel and stuff. Then you take your paper you wrote the stuff on and put it in this huge bonfire outside and watch it burn up. Well, actually it was quite freeing. Everyone has junk in their life and everyone wishes they could get rid of it. Well this is certainly a great way to do it. John and I just stood there and watched all our junk burn up.

When we went back in to the conference center it was like starting over with a clean slate. Rebuilding who you are and rebuilding good thoughts you put in your brain and good thoughts that others put there too. We are constantly in flux about how we feel about our selves and how we want others to feel about us.

Now the work begins. It is not about me or I, it is about us and we. How we as a group, family, couple work together for the greater good of all is what it is about. We can't do anything on our own. It is not all about us and what we can do for us. 'We are a family, a community, a congregation, a state, a nation.'

What I do today can affect the rest of my life.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad


Today is my parents 60th wedding anniversary. I am so happy for them. Staying married for that amount of time shows commitment, love, sincerity, joy, selfless action, team work, dedication and forgiveness.

Anyone married that long has these qualities and more. Anyone married this long knows how to work together for the greater good.

I am grateful for them in my life. Of course life has not always been easy. They raised 5 children. Some with health issues, some not wanting to be raised their way but all of them learning and growing in a loving family.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Journey

Last night I drove to Phoenix. Today I am shopping at my favorite places; Last Chance, My Fairy Godmother and Scotties. I don't get to Phoenix that often but when I do the first place I like to head is Last Chance. They have amazing deals on over-runs, returns and seconds for clothes and shoes. I looked at the clothes and usually i find great deals but this time I don't think I was in the mood for new clothes as much as I was for new shoes because I couldn't find a thing I liked.

But shoes, now there is another story. I choose a pair of Uggs for Nicole for Christmas and a pair of Ugg slippers for her to wear right now. I also got a pair of Uggs. Plus 3 pair of Puma's 1 pair of Born's for me, 1 pair of Steve Madden for Christian as well as a pair of Cole Haun's. And a Dooney and Bourke purse. I was in heaven. What a haul and what a savings. I love to shop and get a deal.

I shopped all morning so when I picked John up at the airport for our 5 day conference I wouldn't feel compelled all week to shop.

Our conference is called Journey. It is a "Journey" to self improvement. Each day different areas of life are discussed for example, debt. There are lessons on how to get out of debt, lessons that as members of our church we have been taught our whole lives. For example: Take your debt and make a chart with the most expensive interest rate first. As you pay that one off you take the payment from that bill and apply it to the next bill and so on until you are out of debt. By paying off a bill that doesn't give you the right to use that money as free money you are to use it to free another debt. Not only do we work to get out of debt but we work to stay out of debt.

There are times we work as teams to solve problems and times we work things out our selves. Other areas we will be working on are Relationships with God, Health and Fitness, Family Relationships, Work Environment and so on. I think there are about 10 areas. I was somewhat worried when I knew we were going to work on Relationship with God. I don't like it very much when others tell me how I should believe or what I should believe or I am not right in my beliefs. I guess we will see what that entails. John has taken this course before and says I have nothing to worry about.

The best thing about this week I think will be staying with our friends, Dale and Teri Orr. We have missed them so much and can't wait to spend time with them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Liz goes home

Today Liz went home. What a sad day for me. I love her just like my own. She came into our family 8 years ago. She fit in right from the start. What a great addition to our family. The Lord could not have brought anyone better suited to our family then her.

The time she spent with us this trip was very memorable. Each one of us had different memories; John and I took her to Kennecott Copper Mine, Promontory Point, The Olympic Park, Temple Square and Saratoga Springs. Why there you might be asking your selves? We love to go out there and sit watching the lake and Mt Timpanogus. Nicole and I went to Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Christian Utah and Nevada. So much fun. I can't wait to spend time with her again.




Friday, June 11, 2010

Zions Nat'l Park




Leaving St.George today is bitter sweet. We have had a great time down here and an even better time visiting with Lisa. Thanks so much for letting us crash at your home. It is beautiful.

Headed out to Zions today. One of our most favorite Nat'l Parks. When the kids were little we camped and hiked all through this park. Their first full fledged hike on the own accord was Emerald Pools. They hiked to the very top pool, Christian was 4 and Nicole was 3. What troopers they were.

When you go to the park these days you cannot drive all the way through it like you could before. Now they have these little buses you ride that drop you off at strategically placed spots.

We parked at Zions lodge and caught the bus. First stop was the main visitors center. There you can get an overview of the park, its background and what there is to do at the park. Quite interesting.

Next we rode the bus just around to all the sites without getting off so we could just get a feel for what was happening. Nicole picked up a brochure at the ranger station on horseback riding. From that moment on she was set on riding a horse that day.

When arriving back at the Zion Lodge she made a bee line across the street to the horse corrals so sign up for a ride. No one wanted to go on a trail ride so she was on her own. Come to find out, the people running the trail rides are good friends of our Uncle Burns Black, he owns the Rockin' R Ranch in Antimony, UT. The ride was so great for Nicole. On her adventure they came across a mother dear having a baby in the brush. Very exciting for all who where there.




This is what I found upon returning from getting Nicole on the trail ride. They looked like they were having a great time together.





Nicole's bright smiley face after the trail ride. She was so happy. Especially since she wasn't able to ride horses last year at the ranch. Amazing what a horse wil do to this girl.



We picnicked on the big lawn at the lodge eating wonderful sandwiches on Hotel Utah Rolls, Salad, cut melon and chips. After this adventuresome day a nap was needed.



Before we headed out of the park we walked down the the Virgin River and Liz put her toes in.



On our way back to Lehi we stopped in Springdale to see our friends daughter Megan who is working at a hotel and going to school. It was great to see her.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

City of Lights (not Paris)

Las Vegas is one of our favorite places to go. There is so much to do with the strip, Broadway shows, concerts, food, water recreation and seeing friends. What's Vegas without seeing the 'King'




Our family has been to Las Vegas many times although Liz has not been here and she was just like a kid in a candy store. Everything was new and exciting for her.

We saw the lions at MGM, took our pictures in front of the New York, New York hotel and started up the strip on foot. As many of you know there are things you just don't do in Vegas like take cards or pamphlets from those on the street. Unless you want to get an eye full. I can't believe how much more bold they are getting.



The temp in the city today was 118. Talk about HOT. Even I was a little uncomfortable. We hunted for a long sleeved shirt for Nicole so she wouldn't be so overcome with all the sun on her skin. We finally found one in the ABC store, way in the back on clearance! What a find.

The water show at the Bellagio fountain show was just as amazing int he day as it is at night.




Of course we went in also to see the hand blown glass flowers. What a site. The gelato here is also worth devouring.




Shopping at Caesars, Fashions Place, The shops at Venetian and Fremont Street.

Oh, Fremont Street. How we love you. A visit to Vegas is not complete without going to Fremont Street. The vendors, The street musicians, The weirdos, The light show. We love to people watch and this is definitely a great place to do that. In New York City a few years ago we saw a man use spray paint on cardboard to make pictures. At first it just looks like a bunch of nothingness, then amazing pictures appear. We saw a guy here like that. He made a picture for Nicole that looked similar to the Wasatch range. Mountains, trees and a waterfall.



Each week Fremont street has a surprise concert. FREE! No one knows who it will be. You are never going to believe who was playing when we were there.

KISS!!! Now I am not a big KISS fan but WOW. They were awesome. What a concert. It was just for 40 minutes but that will be 40 minutes I won't soon forget.

Of course we had to have the buffet dining experience. We choose World Buffet at the RIO. It has never disappointed us. Although the wait was 70 minutes it was great. Food from all over the world, Americanized of course, but good just the same.

Hoover Dam



The Hoover Dam is one of the most amazing structures not only of its time but this era too. To build the dam the Colorado River had to be moved. Moved you say, How can that be?

Two cofferdam needed to be constructed. Construction of the upper cofferdam began in September, 1932, even though the river had not yet been diverted. A temporary horseshoe-shaped dike protected the cofferdam on the Nevada side of the river. After the Arizona tunnels were completed, and the river diverted, the work was completed much faster.

The cofferdams, rock barrier, and diversion tunnels were all completed before the spring floods of 1933. The engineers watched nervously to see if the dams would hold. They did, and the diversion tunnels easily handled the flood waters. The work of actually building Hoover Dam could begin.

It took over 21,000 people to build this dam.



Nicole was too tired to come with us to see the dam. So we left her resting in the vehicle. Sometimes a nap a better then the site. I know it is for her.

If you haven't been to Hoover Dam before or haven't been in a while you may not recognize this picture.




It is the Hoover Dam bypass. This bridge has been in construction for several years to divert traffic off the bridge. For the many people who have never driven across the Hoover Dam, that activity will be a thing of the past in the near future.

When you go across the bridge each side is in a different time zone. Christian is standing by each clock showing the time zones. It's awesome. Have you seen the movie 'A walk to remember'? She stands in two places at once. Well not only did we stand in two places at once but also was in two time references at once time. What a thought.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

St. George

Continuing South our next stop was St. George. Temp 113. Now, I love the heat but those with me, especially Nicole, was having a hard time of it. We decided to find an indoor activity to provided some coolness for Nicole. We came across this great find: Johnson Farm.

The Johnson Farm houses exceptionally well-preserved dinosaur tracks, fossil fish, fossil plants, rare dinosaur remains, invertebrates traces and important sedimentary structures.

This site is described by many paleontologists as "one of the ten best dinosaur track sites in the world" and is one of the most important discoveries in Early Jurassic paleontological history. It gives a 'snapshot' of an ancient ecosystem, and a wonderful opportunity to reconstruct, study and understand it.

Who would have thought right here is St. George, UT there would be this amazing find.





We topped the day off by having dinner at TX Roadhouse with our friend Lisa. We also will be staying at her home for 2 nights.

Cove Fort

This road trip is lots of first for each person. Some of us have done some things but not others.

We arrived home kind of late last night but had enough time to do laundry and pack some things for our cooler because we were headed out again early, this time with Christian.

Our first stop was Cove Fort.

The fort was built to offer protection and refreshment to the traveler. Beginning in 1847, pioneers began settling the high mountain valleys stretching from Idaho to California. They came here to worship in peace and to build homes and communities. The fort is made of lava rock, which workers hauled from west of the property. The fort is 100 square feet, 18.5 feet tall, 4 feet thick at the footings and 2.5 feet thick at the top.

In 1867, the prophet Brigham Young called Ira Hinckley and his family to come and direct the building and operations of the fort.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has restored this Fort and it is open to the public for tours. What a great place of history. I would recommend this to anyone traveling along I-15 in UT for a stop to rest your body, walk the wiggles out and see this splendid fort.



This is one of gun openings. As you can see the wall is very thick, about 2 feet.




The pioneers didn't waste space or resources. This cradle was used for their babies but when they didn't have a baby or needed more sitting space they could turn it over and it was a bench. Ingenious.



Of course we have to have the obligatory covered wagon picture.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tetons and Jackson Hole

Our dreary day continued as we traveled on the Tetons Nat'l Park on through to Jackson Hole. I so wanted Liz to see the majesty of Tetons. But, the closer we got the more I knew she was not even going to catch a glimpse of their beauty. We did see beauty of another sort though....



This mama moose was hiding her baby but with patience on our part we were able to catch a small glimpse of it.

Jackson was a treat for all of us. Liz had not been to a western town before so each thing we saw was new and exciting. We shopped, browsed, and eat. My favorite place to eat is Merry Piglets. YUMMO! It is Mexican and quite good and filling.



I wanted to go next door to this yummy bakery for a cookie but when we got there were no cookies to be found. All sold out. I guess we will have to save that for another day.

Headed out of Jackson we saw this beauty.



We took the long way home and detoured over to Bear Lake and Logan. I had forgotten what a beautiful drive that is. I wish it wasn't too early for raspberries.