Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Remember....Kicking It Taekwondo Style

I am so proud of this guy.  With a lot of persistence and hard work, Eric was awarded his advanced white belt in taekwondo.

Fine motor skills are difficult for Eric.  He was nervous when it came time to the big night.

Eric had to break a board with his bare foot, no easy feat for any person. It took multiple attempts.  His confidence wavered!

Finally, after multiple attempts Eric held the broken boards in his hands.  I loved the look of triumph on his face.  Unfortunately Michael missed it.  Of course, Sydney was starving and could not wait any longer.  Not two minutes after Michael and Sydney walked over to the nearby gas station to purchase nutritious food, Eric was called upon to demonstrate his mad taekwondo skills.  He was a wee upset with his baby sister for not allowing Dad the opportunity to see him break the massive board.

Way to go Eric!  Bring on the yellow belt!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dumb Breasts

I, literally, have dense breasts.  Do you?  If you don't know, it is important to find out!

My baby sister has stage three inflammatory breast cancer.  After her diagnosis, a mammogram and ultrasound of her breast were ordered.  NO cancer was found on either test.  Did I mention this was after the original diagnosis?

Like me, Rebecca has dense breasts.  Looking for cancer in dense breasts is like looking for a snowball in a snow storm.  I don't write this to scare you, but to educate you.

A few days after Rebecca's diagnosis, I called Huntsman Cancer Center. I spoke with someone in genetics.  I was in a panic!  My sister was dealing with her new reality, and I was selfishly worried about my breasts!  I was terrified that I was walking around with cancer.  I was sure that my mammograms had not picked up malignant tumors growing inside me. 

My MRI could not get here soon enough, and yet I was dreading the procedure and the outcome.  I was relieved to finally have it over, but next came the waiting.  It was torture for me!  I didn't want to leave home.  What if they called with the results, and I wasn't there?  I maintained an almost, constant vigil near the phone.  I was always within ear shot.

One week passed....and nothing.  Not a word, no phone call, no notice in the mail.  My mind went crazy with the possibilities. I thought about calling every day, but I didn't want to hear the results.  I put it off and unsuccessfully tried not to think about it.

When  I couldn't take it anymore, I called and left a message for the woman I had previously dealt with in Huntsman's genetics. She was quick to call back.

She explained that she had been out of town the previous week and forgot to call.

My test results showed no signs of cancer.  I was exuberant, immediately followed by guilt. How could I be so self centered?  Rebecca was bravely facing the reality of cancer, and I was the one cowering in fear.

Please do not let fear stop you from being responsible.  Ask questions!  Know what is the best screening option for you.  Take the necessary steps to be there for your family!   Education is empowerment!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Remember....The Miracle Maker

This past summer Suze and I were extras on the set of The Miracle Maker.  

It involved one sweltering afternoon sitting in a hot chapel at This Is the Place State Park and one freezing night up in Midway.  Extras deserve a lot of credit for their long hours.  You may congratulate me now!

With everything this work entails, Suze absolutely loves being on set.  She never complains, only soaking it all in.  I know I am her mother and I am a bit biased, but I impatiently wait for someone to give her the chance to actually have words.  Trust me, please!  She is one talented, little girl.

It was fantastic working side by side with this girl.  Suze grins ear to ear when she is on set.

Many thanks to Sally Meyer She wrote the beautiful script and always remembers Suze.

Suze and I went to the movie premiere on Monday.  If you look closely, you might see us!

The Miracle Maker heads straight to DVD on November 3.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sluffing at Cornbelly's

Every year the kids and I spend the day at Cornbelly's.    This year we brought a guest, Sage. You can see her long, flowing, red hair poking through the scarecrow face.  Sydney insisted that we bring her.  The only problem is that Sage does not have working legs.  Sydney promised me that, as her mother, she would carry Sage.  That lasted two seconds.  As Grandma, I had the opportunity to carry Sage the majority of the time.

The kids love these slides.  They looked like a blast, but alas someone must watch my purse, camera, water bottle and babysit Sage.

I made a deal with the kids, after each activity Mom gets to take a picture; however that doesn't mean everyone will look at the camera, SUSAN.

The Rat Racers proved much easier to move at the beginning of the day.  Before we left, the kids wanted to do the activity one more time.  Tired legs did not push these heavy barrels without help from Mom.

The theme at Cornbelly's this year was Minions.  

I had these pictures of Sydney jumping in the air all cropped.  Not sure why they didn't save so ignore the random kids.  I am too lazy to do it again.

Eric was buried by his sisters. 

Eric wasn't quite tall enough to get his head into the hole.  We tried the corn maze and definitely did it wrong.  We were in and out in two minutes.  I don't know how that happened.  (I guess I could look at it like we were too brilliant for the corn maze.)

Sydney begged me to take this picture of her kissing the cow.  She thought it was hilarious.  Eric, being a boy, got a kick out of pulling on the cow's udders.

It was the perfect day to sluff school.  The weather was beautiful, and we ended just as the masses were arriving.

Fun tradition!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Remember....Timpanogos Cave

Throw back Tuesdays, throw back Thursdays and Flashback Fridays are so cliche. Everybody is doing them.  I have a mountain of back logged posts, but I don't want to be like the rest of them.  I shall  title them, Remember....

They will appear one or two times a week.  Most will be within the last year, but some might extend past that.  I have neglected my pet blog much too often; worry, poor time management and laziness do not a good blog make.  I will not promise to be more dedicated.  Promises become broken and then guilt follows.  I will go where the wind takes me and hope for a better outcome this time.

When Jordan was here this past summer, I took the kids and hiked up to Timpanogos Cave.  That was one, tough journey.  Our "little stroll" was steep.  We wondered if we might not make it to the finish.

The views were spectacular, yet often terrifying.  It has been several years since I last hiked up to the cave.  I completely forgot how narrow the trail becomes along the wee path.  I was a basket case, trying to keep all four kids along the mountain side and away from the perilous cliffs.

Lest you think I am a complete wimp about climbing this formidable giant, one of the forest rangers told us that his legs still hurt every time he makes his way to the top.  The only difference is that he can do it in less time.

Even when surrounded by all this natural splendor, this teenager still has to take time to check her Iphone.

The caves were a cool relief from the heat outside.  If only Sydney and Susan hadn't complained about needing to go to the bathroom almost the entire time inside the caves.  Kind of hard to enjoy yourself when all you hear, "Mom, I need to go now.  Mom, I am going to pee my pants."

Are you kidding me?  I almost killed myself getting up here.  We are going to finish the caves, and no one will pee his/her pants.

Timpanogos Cave is a natural wonder, but too adventurous for my blood.  I was too worried about losing a life, mine included, on the jagged rocks far below us.

Timpanogos Cave is not for the faint of heart when it comes to heights.  We will not be returning next year.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Questioning Why?

We have all heard the stories; the ones where bad things seem to happen repeatedly to the same people.  They don't question why, they simply thrive with whatever trial is placed before them.  They are not bitter or angry.  These people bear their crosses with little complaint and only contemplate what lessons are to be gained from their experiences.

Yeah, that's not me.  I question. I complain.  I wonder; why this, again?

My baby sister was recently diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer.  She had her first chemo this past week.  She will have twenty chemo sessions.  The goal is to shrink the tumors and perform a total mastectomy.  Of course, we hope and we pray for a complete cure.  It is a scary time for my family, but we try to hold onto our hope and faith.

It is impossible for me to not ask why?  September 22, 2001, Mom lost her battle with colon cancer. Seven, short months later, April 24, 2002, Susan passed away from breast cancer. This disease has not been kind to my family. It has waged a fierce battle; an evil beast.

Two years ago, Julie was deathly ill.  We didn't realize the extent of it at the time.  I see that as a blessing now.  She had pancreatitis.  Julie lay in a hospital bed for three weeks.  She missed three months of work.  Our family had no knowledge of the high mortality rate.

Dad succumbed to heart disease on August 30, 2015.  It was a huge blow.  The captain of our family's ship was gone.  It was devastating to lose him.

Once more, we find ourselves grappling with disease.  We will surround Rebecca with warmth and love.  We will do our best to nurse her back to health.

....And still, we will ask, why?

I don't write this post to make others feel sorry for my family.  There are others who have it much worse than us.  I know that!  I just wonder, why?

I may never understand in this life why we were dealt these lousy health cards?  I do believe there is a reason; and sometime in the eternities it will become completely clear.  I am not angry at God, only sad...and a lot confused.

Whatever the reason, "Rebecca, we love you.  Stay strong.  You can do this!  Have faith...Have hope!"

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Grandpa's house was here, but not anymore.

It is an odd experience to visit the ground; nothing but trees and weeds.  Dad would have hated the weeds.  Even as old age and an enlarged heart wore him down, he fought the weeds with all he had.

There is entirely way too much dirt where a house once stood.

The owners of the property have not torn down the old swing set.  It's strange that I feel the overgrown weeds are without life.

Then this little one brings life back to Grandpa's.  She grabbed hold of the rings and began swinging with vigor and energy.

Traffic and various other noises were muffled.  Ghosts of old still hanging around.

I miss the lives that have left us:  Mom, Dad and Susan.  It is a lonely place.  

The sun has set on that part of my life.  I am grateful for this part of my life.  I love my kids..more than anything...all four of them.