Thursday, March 25, 2010


The past few days have been a BLAST!!! Originally Dan and I had planned to head out to Illinois for Spring Break, but as it got closer, we realized that we couldn't quite swing it financially. So we went on a 3 day trip to Tucson with the Maltbys. I have never vacationed in Tucson, the last time I was there was probably for a chess tournament back in grade school. We ended up doing a lot, and there's actually fun stuff to do down there.
Monday morning we left. I had gotten a grand total of about 3 hours of sleep because, as usual, I procrastinated packing and whatnot until the very last possible minute. We met up with the Maltbys, who had left the night before, at Sabino national park for a nice hike. The weather was beautiful, and the hike was a lot of fun. Well, it was a baby pseudo-hike. We only went about 2 miles round trip on a paved path but still, it was nice. We ended up leaving the paved trail to sit near a stream that ran about a hundred or so yards from the path, and the kids loved it. Nate and Elara both ended up muddy, though not too wet, and I did my best to get some fun pics. Meanwhile, Dan was smoothing a huge stick. It was allegedly a "walking stick" for Nate, but I'm not buying it. Especially since it was about a foot taller than Nate. The more likely explanation, in my opinion, is that Dan wanted to play with a stick, and his knife, and that was the easiest way to do both.
After that, we headed to the Titan Missile Museum. It's an actual bomb missile launch place that has been preserved as an historical museum. It's actually pretty cool, the only downside being the need to chase small children around. Basically I missed most of the tour, running after Nate. But what I saw was pretty neat. And I got some cute photos of Nate at the control panel of the missile launch pad.
The next day was just as much fun. We went to Reid Park Zoo (got in free with our Phoenix zoo membership) and got to see the cool animals. The tiger was marking his territory, so he walked up so close to where we were. Made for some great pictures :) And I loved seeing the polar bear. But then again, I'm kind of a sucker for zoos. While Kathleen, Elara, Nate and I were visiting the animals Dan and Ed were at the telescope store getting a new filter or something. Poor Dan said that it was really cool for the first hour or so, then he fell asleep in a chair! Ha ha, that made me fun. But he said that was still better than the zoo. We did meet up with the guys for a picnic lunch at Reid Park, then the guys headed back to the hotel again while we fed the ducks. They were so bold. One duck came right up to us and stayed there. Nate was going out of his mind. He kept pointing in every direction saying "duck". Well, that one really bold one came right up to him and tried to eat the goldfish cracker right out of his hand! Nate was doing alright until I freaked out (I mean, come on, a duck bit my baby!!!) then he started crying. But goldfish and time heal all wounds. And so we moved on to the children's museum. That was rocktastic. Nate and Elara had a really great time! I thought it was awesome. I have to say, the next time we find ourselves in Tucson I am definitely taking Nate back! Tuesday evening we went to a really yummy Mexican food restaurant. It was different from anything I've ever had. Kathleen said that it's gourmet Mexican food, and I believe it. Yum! But I don't know if we would necessarily make it back there. It was a really nice place. They don't get a lot of children, so there aren't any booster seats or high chairs. And, it's a little pricey. But it was really good! :)
Wednesday was our last day. So we checked out of the hotel and headed off to the Sonora desert museum. It was like one part zoo, one part botanical garden and one part museum. Kathleen got a membership, so I think that she and I will probably end up taking the kids there for a day trip.
All in all we had a really great trip. Tucson was lots of fun and there was more to do than I thought there would be at first.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


ok, so out of nowhere this thought just hit me. Devon was 2 when we left Joel. Nate is almost a year and a half old. That means that he is getting close to the same age/size Devon was when we left. The reason that's significant is because Joel wouldn't give me any of Devon's old baby things. So I don't have his first blankie or tiny onesies and things like that. The things of Devon's that I have start at age 2 for him. So I haven't had to go through the Devon boxes that have spent the last 3 years in storage. All of a sudden this realization hit me like a a train filled with a ton of bricks. And as I type this, I made another realization. On May 1 there will be a whole new suck-tastick landmark. As of May 1 Devon will have been dead for longer than he was alive. He lived for 3 years and 12 days....and May 1 is 3 years and 13 days from the accident. Oh my gosh. Wow. My chest hurts. My chest literally hurts as I sit here thinking about this. I miss my little man. I miss him and my heart hurts, and it reaches down to the bottom of my soul and tries to rip it out of me. Why? Why is my heart beating-albeit painfully;but beating nonetheless-when my sweet little boy's heart stopped almost 3 years ago? I haven't hit this hard in a long, long time. Wow, I thought I was better. That it was still going to hurt, but that I was past the: chest hurting, paralyzing, bawl my eyes out, curl up in the fetal position in the shower and sob til the scalding water turns to ice and eventually numbs me-type pain. I am the mother of two boys. Two very sweet, very active, very accident-prone, bumped and bruised boys who love me and their Daddy and Princess the dog. So why do I have one sleeping child and one fading memory? Why do I have one child I can hold and kiss and a picture on the wall? This sucks and it hurts, and I can't do this. This is one of the nights that I haven't had in such a long time. One that in my vanity I thought I was past. It's times like this, when I'm bawling my eyes out--and trying not to let the stream of snot running down my face touch my lips--times like this when I almost begin to listen to the dark little voice. The one that asks why? Why this? Why me? The one that plants doubts. Is it all real? Do I really get to have him again? Is there really a loving Heavenly Father? And if so, why did He decide this had to happen? Why? Is he really doing work on the other side? Is that just a fantasy I tell myself to get through the day? The dark little voice asks what's the point? And is any of it Truth? Sometimes, when I'm feeling a little strength, I think of prayer. But the dark little voice asks why? why pray? The dark little voice says there's no point. There's no God. And even if there is, He doesn't care. Besides, what good will it do? Devon will still be gone, it will still suck, it will still hurt. And if I do feel better, isn't is just me deluding myself? as the shrink said, just bargaining...making myself believe that I can be a good enough person and then have Devon with me again?
Then I take a step back. I go and blow my nose, and wash my face. And think about how empty my life would be if the dark little voice is right. And I think about how I felt in the Temple when Dan and I were being sealed. I was pregnant with Nate, and he was going nuts. He was moving around so much the whole day. Before he was even born, he was a spirit, a sweet little spirit who was excited and happy that his parents were going to the Temple. We were Sealed as man and wife, for time and all eternity. Then, we were Sealed as a family with Devon. And I know that at that time, my sweet boy was there. Both my boys were in that Sealing room, and both of their Spirits were so happy. I had an experience that day. As I was in the Bride's suite, waiting, for the first time I understood. Without his death, Devon would not have been Sealed to Dan and me. There is NO way Joel would have given his permission. There was a purpose. The day that I went into court for the custody part of our divorce, I received a Priesthood Blessing. I was told that "Heavenly Father knows the righteous desires of your heart and wants Devon to be a part of your new family" The purpose of his death was to bring him into my forever family. It's the only way it was going to be possible. On that day I had a conversation with my Father in Heaven. I remember telling Him that I understood, but I still didn't like it. Like a bratty child, I told Him that I was glad that Devon could be mine forever, but that I still was mad at Him for taking him. And do you know what He did? He gave me a big hug and a feeling of peace-it didn't take away the pain, but did lessen the sting-and he gave me one of the most powerful spiritual experiences I have ever had. Kneeling in the Sealing Room I looked up at Dan and I didn't just see the representation of infinity, eternity. I saw my family. I have given birth to 2 sons, but I saw my daughter's face.
And as I look back and reflect on the brightness and light, the dark little voice goes away. Doubt cannot stand up to the light of knowledge or the bright shinning light of faith. Yes, there is a reason. Yes, there is a purpose. No, it doesn't automatically make everything all better. It does still suck. I still miss Devon, and he is still gone. And sometimes I'm still that bratty girl telling her Father that she understands it's all for the best, but she isn't going to say thanks b/c it sucks, and it's not fair. Luckily, although I am that bratty girl, I can get away with it because I have a Heavenly Father who loves me no matter what. And the pressure and chest pain is gone now. I can breathe. Ok, the pressure may not be totally gone, but the snot trail is. And the sobbing is done, and I'm not currently curled up, shivering in the shower. So I think I'm in a much better place than I was an hour ago. And that's the power of faith. I truly pity anyone who tries to go through this life without it!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

plagues and pestilence

Well, this stinks. Last week Spencer was sick, and now so am I. It all started Thursday afternoon. It was a day, much like any other day. I felt the soreness and stiffness in the muscles of my back and legs. But I attributed that to the fact that Anna and I had been walking each night for the past 2 weeks. And I am far from peak physical condition. The afternoon wore on and the children's babbling wore down my patience instead of filling me with the warm, fuzzy glow that it usually does. You see, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I watch Elara and Ed drives Dan home from school. It's a system that works out...usually. By 5pm my energy was gone. By 6 I was counting the minutes till Dan and Ed got home. Needless to say, I denied Suzanne's request to babysit Lilly for the evening. My dear, sweet man brought home jello, pudding, and chicken noodle soup for me. Huzzah! And, forgetting my disdain for the fruit, mango sorbet. Though I must say it was quite tasty in the smoothie he made for me, choosing ingredients that would diminish the mango flavor. As the evening wore on, my fever rose and spiked at the impressive 102.7 degrees. Through the discomfort and the pain, I wept. And whined. This did not endear me to my sweet husband, but in spite of his annoyance, he made me lie down so he could rub my sore back and legs. And he got me a cool washcloth to dab at my fevered skin.
Brutish taskmistress that she is, Anna answered her phone with the phrase "you're not cancelling on me again!?" Ha, ha. Anna is far from harsh. But the phrase is a direct quote. One that stemmed from the fact that I had called on Tuesday and Wednesday to cancel. Once for dinner plans, and once for scrapbooking class. But I digress. Anna had to be called because I was, in fact, canceling our plans to go walking that evening. Though she was quite understanding when she found out I wasn't feeling well. She's classy like that.
Today I thought I was feeling much better, but the simple act of driving Dan to school and waiting the 2 hours for him to get out proved to be more than I was capable of. By the end of the afternoon my energy waned. And once we got home, I took to my bed again. Leaving my sainted husband to care for the overly energetic toddler who had been cooped up all day. As the sun set and the moon rose, so too did my fever. Apparently it is somewhat vampiric in nature. It seems to be strongest during the night hours. So, here I sit, chronicling the details of my illness into the wee hours of the morning. My one hope is that I will be well by Sunday. Much as I enjoy lazing about, fighting off the infection wracking my body, it would break my hear to miss church-especially Primary. I love those kids, and I would be so sad to miss even a single lesson; to miss a single opportunity to teach those sweet spirits. Each of the kiddos has had interesting spiritual insights, and to feel the Spirit in Primary is so strong. Each of these children is so recently sent from the presence of our Heavenly Father, and the Spirit I feel in Primary dwarfs the feeling I have in any other place, save the Temple itself. Then again, they are 5 year olds. And their conversations are hilarious. One boy in particular stands out. He is smart, and amiable, and precocious. He's also the one who asked if I was having a baby. Apparently I'm "just so fat. And when ladies have babies they get pretty fat." I can't help but laugh thinking about it.