Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 16th

November 16th is my wedding anniversary. A happy day for me. 12 years ago, November 16, 2003, was a different story.

Two days before, I had just got word that my dad was put in the hospital for dehydration. My father had been fighting cancer for 5 months. Two of my brothers, a sister-in-law, and I decided to make a quick trip from Salt Lake City to Vegas and surprise him. As I packed for that "quick" trip, I heard a voice tell me that this would be the last time I would visit my dad. The thought was not pleasant and I pushed it out of my head, thinking I was overreacting. I finished packing and waited for my brother, still thinking about the voice. He pulled in the driveway around 10 pm. ( yes, we were leaving that late!)

We arrived early in the morning of November 15th. I don't remember who let us in and I honestly don't recall ever falling asleep. I do remember getting to the hospital pretty early, so maybe we went straight there. My dad was in bad shape. He was bleeding internally because a blood clot had passed in his colon -he was suffering from colon cancer. While passing, it ruptured. They told us they were going to do surgery to stop the bleeding. We were all nervous. He was admitted for dehydration and we were expecting him to come home, but it didn't look like that was going to happen for a few days.

Pretty soon, the doctor returned. He asked us all to follow him. Those of us there were pulled inside a room. Something was wrong. They continued to explain that the bleeding was too great. If they cut my dad open, he would bleed out on the table. He would not survive the surgery. They told us they could try to keep him alive until all of our family got there. We were spread in 3 states! It would take a while.

I called Dustin. I told him to get the kids in the car and get to Vegas as fast as he could. I let him know what the doctor had said. He said, "Okay." He was on his way.

My dad was in the ICU. They had him in an induced coma so he would not be in any pain. His belly was big and swollen from the bleeding. It's hard to see someone you love in such a state. That tube down his throat did not look comfortable. I wanted him to be comfortable. The room was quiet, The beeping of his machines kept the awkwardness at bay. No one was talking. I'm not sure who was in the room with me, we were only allowed a few in at a time because he was in the ICU. We must have caught some one's eye because soon one of the nurses was letting us all in at the same time. She knew she was breaking the rules, but I think she sympathized with us. She shared our religion and knew how important it would be for us all to be there with our father as he was given a blessing and would soon slip through the veil.

Those we were waiting for arrived in groups. With each group she would sneak everybody in, even our little ones. With each group his heart rate would drop. We knew he was hanging on and fighting. My brother from Kansas City was the last to arrive, his heart rate was now around 50. It was almost 10 pm- twelve hours later! 

My brother, Mike, gave him a blessing of release from this life. We all say our goodbyes. As I tell him goodbye and that I love him, I can see tears coming from his eyes. He could hear us! He knew we were all there. He knew we loved him! When everyone was finished- all 40 of us- my mom signed the papers to take him off of life support. It was not easy for her.

We all stood quietly as we watched him. We watch his heart rate. It falls lower. I don't remember how long, or how many breaths, but  it took longer than I thought it would. Soon he was gone. We left his body in that cold room. He would not be coming home. He was already home. 

We gathered in a waiting room for quite a while, just talking. It had been a very long day.We eventually leave. We now had a funeral to plan. The whole process would take a week. Everyone traveled to Arizona for his burial. 

I was reading the program and noticed that it read: April 12, 1937 - November 16, 2003. I did not want to share that date with my father's death! What an awful thing to have to remember every year on your wedding anniversary. This made me sad, but also mad. My mind started to think about all that had just taken place. Soon, my heart was being softened. 

While my father was dying, I was a witness to several tender mercies of the Lord. 1)  It was the Holy Ghost that whispered to me, letting me know my father would be passing away. 2) We were blessed with a kind nurse who knew and understood what our family needed. She put all 40 of us in the room! 3) I did not have to wonder if my father heard my final words that I whispered to him. He let us know he could hear us by the tears running down his face. 4) My father was allowed to stay until we were ready to let him go.

Yes, November 16th has a sad part to it, but I choose to remember the good. It is the day when my family started. But, it is also the day that I absolutely understood that my Forever Family was, indeed, forever.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Today Was a Pay Day

I was going to write about the policy change in the church that occurred over the weekend, but my mind hurts from discussing it over facebook much too much. Don't get me wrong. I love talking about things like this, but I would much rather have a face to face conversation with people. Facebook leaves me with anxiety. So, I want to write about something different all together. I will save the policy change for another time

On Sundays I make my kids work on their church programs: Duty to God, Personal Progress, or Faith in God. They only have to do one thing. But you would think I'm asking them to cut off their big toe. Kate and Becca were working in their Faith in God books. Kate worked in the "Living the Gospel" section. Becca was in the "Developing Your Talents."

Kate chose to write someone a letter. I got the letter. I don't know if it's because I'm the easiest, but I'll take it!

Dear Mom, 

I appreciate you because everything you do is for us like you keep our house clean, go to work, keep a roof over our heads. I respect you because you sacrifice a lot of stuff for us. You let us do fun stuff and cook and clean.And you have time for us. I love you so much.


I don't know why I always expect longer letters, but I do. This one was short, but oh so perfect!! It made my heart happy today!

Becca chose to write a play. She had to choose a gospel principle to write about. She decided on modesty. I was curious as to what she would do. When your kids do things like this, it really gives you a chance to evaluate what they are taking in as you teach them.

The Modest Clothes

Narrator: Once in Minnesota, a girl was walking with her friend from school.
Girl 1: Hey are you going to Joey's party?
Girl 2: I don't know what the dress code is. If I did, I would know if I would go or not.

(I cringed a little to think my daughter wouldn't go some where because of the way she is required to dress and curious that a party would have a dress code)

Girl 1: The dress code is Bikini Time.
Girl 2: Are you sure? Ask Joey to send you a picture of what we should look like.
Girl 1: Ok...done! Oh, he already text back. LOOK!
Girl 2: I don't think I should go.
Boy: (walks up) Guys, are you going to Joey's party on Friday?
Girl 1: I am!
Girl 2: I'm not.
Boy: Why?
Girl 2: Because of the clothes we're supposed to wear.
Boy: Oh, come on!  Everyone is going and it's just 1 time!
Girl 2: I know, but it's not modest...Oh! I have an idea! I'll see you Friday!

Girl 2 walks in, all stare at her

Girl 1 : WHAT are you wearing?
Girl 2: It's a bikini...with another swimming suit under it!
Girl 1: Why are you wearing it?
Girl 2: Because I still match the theme, but I also get to be modest.
Girl 1: You're right and at least you are here!

The End

This made me chuckle. I was totally surprised at the end! I'm glad that my daughter knew that if she wanted to go to a party, even if those around her were not living her standards, she could still go and live hers. We live where 70% of the population is LDS. Most places in UT is around 50%. I was worried moving here. My growing up experiences were so different and I feel they really taught me what I want to believe. I sometimes worry that the Mormon culture is so thick, that my kids will miss out on that. So I'll take this as a win in that category! My daughter knows that she can be herself and live what she feels is right in her heart no matter what others think of her. And she knows that if her friends don't hold her same standards, that's ok. 

When your child recognizes your efforts as a mother and learns what you are hoping for, that makes for a good day!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Halloween 2015

This Halloween was different from the others. We trick-or-treated for an hour. We had only one child in tow. We have 6 kids...

We are those parents that give a "too old for Halloween " age. Our kids' last year for scoring candy from neighbors is 7th grade. In 8th grade they must find something else to do. I know many who would frown on this, but for us, it works. I guess if we got more complaining from our kids we might reconsider. Out kids have been okay with it so far. Grace is 8th grade this year. Her and some friends got together and ad a movie party. they had fun. Ryan was working. Aaron stayed home to hand out candy. The other three went out for candy. Becca and Kate chose to got out with friends, hence the 1 child who remained with us.

It's kind of weird entering this new stage of life. Our kids are big. They love us, but are okay to not be with us. At least Britten wants to be our little side-kick. I'm glad we have him. I still feel young when he's around! 

a mime

Batman (he would say, "Britten Batman.")


We did pick out our pumpkins this year. This was the only decent picture. Our pumpkin is a little sad. Apparently, the pumpkin crop was bad this year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

School Year: 20015-2016

I am officially the mom of a senior in high school! I really just can't believe it. I'm not quite sure what it is, but all of a sudden i am feeling the urge to be a better mom than I was. I think it's because Ryan will be leaving home the end of this school year, like in 9 months. That's the plan anyway. 

I made sure to take the day off work so I could be with them. I got up at normal time and made them breakfast, pancakes were on the menu. To my surprise only 2 of them wanted them...isn't that how it always goes? 

I wanted to get pictures to document, so I did. Of course they all grumbled about it. While taking these, a friend of mine was chasing down her jr high schoolers. She reached them at the bus stop! heehee! "See, I'm not the only one!" I told them.

Ryan, 12th grade

he wanted a picture of the cat shirt...he really likes this shirt!

Aaron, 10th grade (really hates getting his picture taken)

Grace, 8th (love her pants!)

Kate, 6th (last year of elementary, lover of comfy clothes)

Becca, 4th grade (loves pictures!)

Britten, 2 1/2 (not in school, but didn't want to be left out either)

Hoping for the best year ever for my kids. Last year they were all new. This year I hope they feel more comfortable to be the great kids that they are!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Quick Trip to Grandma's Land

 When referring to Grandma's Land, we are talking about Dustin's Dad's mother (if that makes any sense). Karl and Coleen live in Fruitland, UT. You pass Park City and Heber. Keep going east. I believe it is in Duschene County. It's beautiful and relaxing up there.

We haven't seen them in such a long time. Britten wasn't even born and he's named after Karl Britten Merrit, so we figured it was time. We have a lot of fond memories. Our kids throw rocks in the Red River that runs through their property. One year we even grabbed some tubes. There will always be shooting practice. I'm sure that is where my boys shot their first gun. Maybe even Grace. And there is the yellow swing. It is a child's swing that hangs from a very large tree. Everyone of my kids have officially swung in it now.  The kids love it because they go so high.

We also quilt there. I have made several of my kids' baby blankets there. When we owned a motor home, Grandma made one for our bed in there. I kept us quite warm in Yellowstone. It now keeps Ryan warm on his bed. Someone is always tying a quilt!

It's a wonderful place where you can get away from the city and just enjoy family and nature. I wish we escaped there more often. It's only a 2 hour trip. Well worth the travel! You get lots of advice. Some wanted, some not. Grandma shared with my kids the importance of thanking God for all you have been given. She reminded us that all blessings come from him. And Grandpa...well, he just calls you names, but really they mean I love you. He's one big tease! Yes, I like that little place. It's a gem!

gathering rocks to throw

the Red River

Sunday, August 9, 2015

More Important Than Shoes

About a month ago was the July Fast and Testimony meeting for our church congregation. There are no formal speakers. If you have the disire to share your testimony you can go up to the pulpit and share. I knew at the start of the meeting I would go up and share. I knew because of how I was feeling inside. My heart was beating, I had a lump in my throat, and my thoughts were crazy fast in my head. Dustin leaned over and whispered, "You're going up, huh? You have your Testimony face." I never knew my face changed, but apparently it does.

For some reason I kept rationalizing that I didn't need to go up. And I kept doing it, the whole hour! I came up with a lot of reasons, but the last was that I was wearing these 2.5 inch heels and if I try to go up, I will just end up tripping. I chuckled as that image came into my mind. Then a thought entered my head, "Are you really going to meet the Savior one day and explain to Him that the reason you couldn't bear testimony of Him was because of your shoes?" That's all it took!

As I stood to go to the pulpit, my husband gently grabbed my arm and pointed to the clock, "Hun, it's over." I knew I shouldn't be standing because I would be lengthening the time of the meeting, but I had to. I basically ran in those shoes and I made it without falling over. There was no way that I was going to let a pair of shoes be the reason for not sharing my love of Jesus Christ. His first words to me will not be, "Larae, the shoes?? Really?"

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bear Lake 2015

My kids got out of school right before Memorial Day weekend this year. That's pretty early for us, but I kind of like the idea. We always leave for the Taylor Family Reunion that is always over the holiday weekend. This year we rented some cabins at Bear Lake. We were the very first family there, so we took in some sights because we were so early. I have to tell you I fell in love with the idea of one day owning a vacation home there. The lake is beautiful, the beach is sandy, and they have the best shakes you will ever have! My favorite was the chocolate brownie, but Ryan's was cheesecake. They took a whole piece of real cheesecake and blended it up in the ice cream. Too much for me, but he loved it! Yes, I could visit there often!

Our views were to die for! We sat right over the harbor, looking over the lake. We had rain the first day, Friday, but sunny and clear the next two. We were able to visit the lake on day #2. It was nice to spend some time outside. The cousins loved it! Moms and dads watched, but a few got in the lake. I was able to get a few pictures. My favorite was of Uncle Dave in the lake:

Pretty humorous! But it captures the fun we had so well. I love my family! Here are a few more from our day at the lake.

We always make sure to attend the local church on Sunday. When I was young, I used to complain about it, but now I just enjoy it! I don't get to go to church with my family every week anymore. Before we left for church, we got a few pictures. One of all who were there and then a couple with my mom and her 11 children. It was the first year in a while that we were all there. I'm so glad we took the time to do it!

I am so grateful to have grown up in the family that I did!! I am grateful that we get along and love spending time with each other. But what makes me most happy is the fact that I know whenever I need any of them, they would be there!!