Saturday, December 13, 2008

Camping @ Refugio State Beach

We went camping at Refugio State Beach in July last year. We were invited to go with the McDermott family, who has done this every year for forever (translation = many years). This was by far my kids best 2008 memory. They absolutely loved it! Noah is always asking when we can go back to the beach and the hotel (4th of July "getaway" to Mesa).

Keith & Ammon (barely walking)

Sometimes you've just gotta go ... right? (David wants me to hang this in their room :)

Noah rolling in the sand to get warm.

Riding Bikes

Sand Castle Time

Noah with his "girlfriend" Maddison, love connection at the beach

Lacey & Hanna (niece) boogie boarding

Jacob, rowing his little pool?

Playing in the sand.

Courtesy of David

Friday, December 12, 2008

Angels Among Us, by Simon Dewey

Have you seen this?
I walked in to Seagull Book today and this picture stopped me in my tracks.
I was frozen as I just stood looking at it.
That's my mommy holding the little baby girl inside of me to soothe my pain.

If not for the $300 price tag, I would have walked out of the store with that picture.
Instead a rationally came home looked it up on the Internet and found a smaller print
with a more feasible price tag and ordered it.
I can't wait to hang this by my bed.
Merry Christmas to me. Thanks honey!
I love the present you don't even know yet that you bought me :)

Our Merry litte Christmas Tree

This year, in order to get through the holidays, I am keeping it simple. Presents, parties, decorations and yes the Christmas Tree.
So I purchased a little fiber-optic table top tree that I didn't have to decorate and I could literally throw away after Christmas if I didn't want to deal with it. My children were thrilled to have a Christmas Tree up, despite its small size and lack of dazzle.

If you look closely you can see it's sparkly :)

Well come to find out, when they very excitedly showed their Christmas tree to "Grandma Barbara" they explained to her that their tree was little because they were growing it! So basically they believe that this little artificial fiber-optic Christmas tree is something we have harvested to grow into a great big Christmas tree by Christmas! :)
I don't have the heart too "correct" them. I'm just hoping that when Christmas comes they will be so distracted by presents that they will not take note that their little tree failed to grow.

In Honor of Mom, I Will Be Better

This morning, I sent this email to my siblings. I am sharing it with you because perhaps you will be inspired by Marjorie H. Weeks to become better as well.

"Mom was such an excellent example to everyone; especially us, her child, that had the privilege of interacting with her regularly and knowing her so personally. She taught us how to be good people, to be honest and hardworking. She taught us to love, one another and others, despite their weaknesses. She taught us that family is priority. She taught us that parenting is difficult but rewarding. She taught us that Jesus Christ is our Savior & Redeemer that he suffering all that we may have the opportunity to return to live with our Eternal Father in Heaven; together as families with joy immeasurable and peace eternally. She was passionate and emotional about her testimony.

Mom also taught us that we should always be striving to improve ourselves. She did this daily. In honor of that profound example that she set, this year on the anniversary of her death, I will reflect upon my life and what I could or should be doing better and make a commitment in my heart to select something I would like to improve about myself. While we should be striving everyday like she did, this will be a special and very personal commitment that I will work to improve."

We all grieve and are able to handle things differently; so I don’t know what your plans are for next Wednesday. I am going to spend most the day at the temple, free from the burdens of life and surrounded by love. Later that evening, I would like to go to the cemetery. If anyone else would like to meet there that would be wonderful; family soothes. Perhaps we can light some candles or something as we remember her?

We are so lucky to have had her love and example. She has given us the tools, know we must find them and use them. I love you all!

Acceptance ... Timeline

Frequently, my grief work has been interrupted as I have questioned whether my grief was accepted by others. For example, I have worried that others may be thinking or feeling; "Why can't Angel just accept that her mom is gone and more on?" "It's been a year, is she ever gonna let this go and live again?" "She knows that she will see her again, why is she still such a mess?"

Now whether this is true, a product of my own distorted thoughts or an influence of the Adversary. In my mind, I then begin to formulate a timeline and evaluate where I'm not at yet and why. This is toxic and unproductive. I quit concentrating on the present and how I can overcome today and begin focusing on why I am not further progressed.

Then, in an answer to prayer, because I had been praying with discouragement about why I was where I was and not where I wanted to be, I received this answer. It has really only been 6 short very rocky months that we have had to work on our grief. The first 5 months (12/17/07 - 5/28/08) was devastation, shock, numbness, death, as we faced and pursued the criminal proceedings. Trauma, Trauma, Trauma as we uncovered all the details of the accident that took moms life.

After the sentencing, (5/29/08 - 12/12/08) has been interrupted by difficulties with Bruce's boy regarding the estate. This seemed to upset me as much as the criminal proceedings because their actions questioned and/or undervalued my relationship with mom which was equally devastating. First someone kills her, then these idiots have the nerve to minimize her significance to us or our significance t her!?! This made my head spin with emotion, leaving me feeling out of control. The emotions dictated my days; whether it was one where I could fight the despair or one in which I could not and would just agonize in grief and pain.

That being said and considering the ever quickly approaching anniversary of her death and Christmas, I am satisfied with my level or amount of recovery. I work and fight everyday to get better or improve. I am striving to create a new normal and to redefine life without the person who continually feed me acceptance, always and unconditionally.

For Better or For WORSE .....

At some point early during this year I recall having a conversation with my husband concerning the loss of mom and the affects that it has had on me. Feeling appreciation for his patience and long suffering for me and my grieving, I turned to him and sad "I'm sorry! This isn't what you signed on for!" To which he casually replied, "Yes it is! I agreed to the better and the worst!"

Over the past several months, that casual statement has really been put to the test as David has carried the burdens so that I can mourn. He has had to do more, give more and learn to be tender with my fragile heart. He has loved me when I have felt so unlovable. The wife that he had on 12/16/07 is no more and he has had to watch every painful step of recovery as his "new" wife is created. Honestly, I don't know how he maintains his hope, when the end is so far away it is not even in sight?

While mom was living, she was impressed with David's love for me. She was proud of him for loving me so deeply the way she desired for me to be loved. She loved him for the man that he was, for his determination and hard work. She respected him for the testimony he held sacred and was able to love him from the inside out; soul -- weaknesses. She appreciated that he allowed her to be close in our lives. She felt accepted and wanted by him. It was a blossoming relationship.

It is interesting and wonderful to feel the development of our relationship, as our trust and commitment to one another has been deepened through this adversity.


My Little Goblins ....

Ammon the Lion

Lacey the Nice Witch

Spiderman Jacob & Noah the Clown

Everyone LOVED trick-or-treating! "Walking around and getting free candy ... could this be real?" Just having difficulty explaining in little people language why we can't trick-or-treat every night!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hello Again!

Ya know when you feel overwhelmed because you have so much to do you don't even know where to start? Well, that's how I feel about blogging right now. I haven't blogged in so long (like 3 months) I'm conflicted with whether I should go backwards and catch up or just start from today .....? I've decided to do a little of both!

Here's what I would have blogged about but didn't:
Ammon's 1st Birthday
Vacation- Camping @ the Beach
Jacob's 3rd Birthday
Noah & Jacob begin preschool
Lacey's begins 3rd Grade
Girls Weekend

Eventually, I hope to get to blog about each of these .... when is the only question. Ya see, I really don't like blogging for the 1 reason that I am not creative by nature. I can be creative but it takes me a long time and I just don't have extra time laying around waiting to be used. If there is a moment of "me time" I'm working on my grief work or doing what I can to self soothe through the difficult days.

3rd Grade

My sweet Lacey started 3rd grade! Okay, I remember when I was in 3rd grade, how is it possible that I now have a child in 3rd grade? Am I really that old? When did that happen?

Hurray for Preschool!

Several monthly ago, I went round and round with the decision of whether to put the boys in preschool. For some reason I felt guilty that I would be paying someone else to teach my children when that was my job. Well because I have so many other jobs and quite frankly they were just driving me crazy, I signed them up! Can I just say, I love it! It's only 2 1/2 hours a day and they don't go on the same days (there are in different classes) but they are stimulated and excited to have something so important to do :)

Jacob could hardly wait for the day to come! That morning, he joyously ate his breakfast and packed his "backpack" (really just a lunch box) for school. After taking his picture, he gave me a big goodbye and walked out the door .... only problem, I was driving him to school. When I explained that he wasn't being picked up by carpool (like Lacey) and that mommy had to take him to school, he said okay but I don't want you to go to school with me though. Yeah, I could tell we were on the verge of some real seperation anxiety .... he could wait to get away from me and be the big boy. In fact, when we got to school he didn't want me to walk him to the door. Really?!

Noah was equally excited about school and had been anticipating this day for so long. He was happy to allow me to drive him to school and went in without looking back. When I picked him up, the first words out of his mouth, as I fired him with questions about his day, was "Mommy! It's just a house!" You see, their preschool is at the home of a lady in our ward. Well, he was expecting a school "like the one Lacey and Oliver go to!" So now at least once a week I explain to him that he can't go to Lacey's school until next year when he is 5 years old.

Mom's Headstone

While another one of the tediously painful tasks of bearing a loved one is completed. Mom's headstone is in and has been placed. It was of course very difficult to go and see. I sat and talked to her for a bit .... but mainly just baffled at the fact I was sitting at my mom's grave.

How Am I?

I know that many of you have used the blog as a way to keep tabs on me and I love you for it. Since I haven't been blogging I have received emails and text messages inquiring on my emotional well being.

I love my new counselor! From the first session, I have felt very soothed by her. She challenges me to journal my feelings and get to the real source of various questions or pain. I have learned that Grief requires WORK and Trauma is not something you get over, it is something you work through! I love that, because I was becoming so discouraged with the amount of time that had passed and the depth of pain that still plagued me. I think I expected that after sufficient time had passed, I would wake up one day and be okay or reconciled with my grief. This is CLEARLY not the case. The more time that passes the more devestated I am with the reality that she is not coming back. (Yes people, deep down inside I am still hoping for her to come back. I know the Lord has the ability, why not?)

I also have come to believe that by doing my grief work, I will eventually adjust to a new normal and be reconciled with my loss. Recovery for me is to come back to life on the inside and look forward to living in the future. This "end" has been so far out of sight for me that I didn't believe it exsisted. Now I am trying to not focus on when I will get to that point or the fact that despite the work and pain, I am still not there. Just trying to focus on the present. How am I today? What are my needs, self care? Only look at the next 3 or 4 steps I need to take.

I still cry nearly everyday and I am always 1 feeling away from tears but I am learning how to cope with these feelings better and have had days where I see rays of sunshine.

This entire year, I have often struggled with the thought, "Where is my faith?" I have the knowledge of the gospel, I know where she is, yet I am still so completely shattered?! Do I even have faith? When one Sunday during Releif Society, the spirit whispered to my heart, that my fight to recover from my grief, came from my faith. Without faith in a Loving God and the Great Plan of Salvation, I would not be fighting the daily despair. Quite literally I would have died from the pain; either by the taking of my own life (know that is heavy) or by just giving up and self medicating with substance to "treat" the pain.

The reality is, my mother was emotional there for me during various trauma's throughout my life (death of my father, divorce, sin) and many, many joyous occasions (my temple sealing, the birth of my children, annual women retreats, holidays) this bond and relationship was created over the better part of 30 years! It's gonna take lots of time to adjust to that new normal; I just have to allow myself that time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Martha's Hands & Mary's Heart

I must have the hands of Martha; Hands that scrub and cook and sew;
I can have the heart of Mary while I do these things, you know;
Though my hands are in the dishpan, this soul of mine can soar;
And in thoughts sublime and lofty go right up to heaven's door.

I must cook, oh endless dinners, for dear ones have to eat;
But my soul need not be cooking --It can sit at Jesus' feet!
Help me, God, while doing duties, against which my soul rebels;
Meekly still to peel potatoes, but not to grovel in the shells.
Grant me, God, 'mid things prosaic, Ere to choose the better part;
Grant that while I must be "Martha", I can have a "Mary" heart.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tribute To The Greatest Woman I Ever Knew & The Best Mommy I Could Ask For

Did a Whole Year Really Pass Already?

I made this video after he was born ... it still makes me cry!

"5 Years of Wedded Bliss"

When David and I meet, I was recently divorce with a young daughter. While I was not opposed to another relation and hoped that someday I would marry again, I did not understand how those things would come about. Between working full time, fulfilling my church calling in the Primary Presidency of my Family ward and caring for the needs of my young daughter who was adjusting to all this change in her life. Needless to say, I did not have many opportunities to meet new people.
In response to these feelings, I half joking told the Lord that if he wanted me to marry again he was going to have to drop him on my doorstep.
Essentially that is what he did, David was my neighbor; he lived 2 doors down. We had been neighbors for almost a year before we had any interest for one another. I later found out that David had been praying for an "Angel" . . .
We were married in July of 03 giving new meaning to the command “Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor.”
Lacey was 3 years old when we were married; 11 months later, we welcomed Noah; 14 short months later we received Jacob and 22 months following that our sweet Ammon came into our home. Apparently, we are in a hurry?
At 5 years, we still have much love and passion for one another! This has been a difficult year and in some ways has put our marriage to the test, but it has also brought us closer than we have ever been before. He has truly exceeded my expectations, I love him eternally!

Anywhere But Home ...

We had made plans to go on a multi-family camping trip over the 4th of July weekend; however, due to the price of gas and the lack of resources, the trip was canceled. Desperate get away from my "work" I insisted (more like begged) to do something where we didn't have to be home. So, we rented rooms at the Mesa Hilton with the Earlywines! It was fairly inexpensive and just what I needed; sorrounded by family and away from home.

We made a fort for the kids to watch their movies in.
Jacob & Noah relaxing, watching a movie, before bed time!

Macy Earlywine showing off her cute little swim suit.
Jacob ... playing with Ammon's water toys!
Daddy and Ammon
Big Boy Noah swimming with his Super Man swimming suit on.

Noah the Sea Monster .. Thanks Oliver :)
Olvier, Dave and Lacey - splish, splashing
Hanna and Little Boy - She has become quite the little babysitter!
Ammon cuddling with his Daddy

Jacob flying from bed to bed ...
Jacob's crash landing

Noah's turn to jump and leap!
A near miss but he made it.
Oh yeah, didn't think that I would miss the opportunty to jump on hotel beds? According to Noah, this was the Pocohantas jump

(ya know when she dives off the rocks in the beginning?)
We could see the fireworks from our "balcony"
(it was really more like a window ledge)
This was the best of both worlds; beautiful fireworks, great seats and air conditioning!
Some of the show ...

It was great to get away and be with family! Thanks honey for accomodating my "requests!" :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Love 4 Years Old!

Joy does not accurately describe the feelings of my heart when Noah was born. For I was so happy not to be pregnant anymore! I got very big and the last 6 weeks before I delivered was so difficult; but he was well worth the suffering. I have never seen David so happy; his baby boy, his son. When he was born, David took him in his arms, looked into his eyes and named him on the spot. Noah was not a name that we had discussed. He was going to be Hyrum James Kriser.
The date of his birth was bittersweet. You see that was the date (6/19/91) my father died 13 years earlier. It had always been a sad day in my life. A day I remembered and felt the pain of not having my father on this earth anymore. Now it was a joyous and happy day. Perhaps it was his grandfather that sent him on that day as a message for me to not be so sad?
David continued to be enamored by him. They were buds from day one. Noah loved to sleep on David's chest and snuggle with him. Having Noah was better than David could have every imagined. My heart swelled with love for both of them when I saw them together. David would hold Noah on his forearm facing outward and Noah would go right to sleep.
He was a fairly easy baby. I got to know his different cries quickly, could translate what he wanted and soothe him easily. No real complications, although he did develop thrush, which made nursing very painful!
Believe it or not, this is Noah at 4 weeks. He changed so much!
Noah was instantly independent and oh so active! He began crawling at 6 months. (I’m not talking army crawling or scooting but hands and knees crawling.) From then, he never stopped. I was a bit taken back by how busy he was; always discovering. Lacey was much more passive and less curious. Noah was ALL boy. I could not stay a step ahead of him; I was unable to predict what his next move would be . . . David would have to explain to me that that was what boys did. At 8 months, he was pulling himself up to the bathtub and flipping into it. He loved the bath and always wanted to get in it. I really had to watch him on this one.
He potty trained at 2 years and 7 months, because I was yet again pregnant (with Ammon) and nauseas; changing diapers for both Noah AND Jacob was too much! I literally wore a medical mask over my nose and mouth because it made me so sick. In an attempt to brib him to go #2 in the potty I asked him what he wanted; donuts, candy, money .... his response was "A Birthday Party!" We had several birthday parties with balloons, cake and candles before he got the hang of it! :) Whatever works!
Noah began walking at 10 months and by that time I was pretty pregnant with Jacob so carrying him was difficult. No problem, cuz he mastered walking and enjoyed the even greater freedom he had because of it.
By age 2 he was lots and lots of work; out to discover life to the fullest. He taught me so many things I never learned from Lacey; like locks and necessity to baby proof. If I told Lacey not to touch something she didn’t. If I told Noah not to touch something he thought that meant just not to touch it while I was looking.
Jacob was born when Noah was 14 months old. Noah loved him instantly and tolerated the fact that he required so much of his mommy. Good thing Noah loved his daddy so much because David had to do lots more to help; because my hands were full!
Birthday Fun, the boy loves to party!
Animals are so exciting to Noah; all animals, any animals – especially elephants. He is fasinated by sharks and crocodiles. He loves playing with trains and riding his big boy bike.
Christmas 2006
In our ultrasound of Noah when I was pregnant, he was sucking his thumb and shortly after birth he found it again. For a few weeks I made attempts to take it out of his mouth and try to prevent him from sucking it, but he would find it in at night and suck away. By 2 months (8 weeks) he was a regular thumb sucker when he was tired or needed comfort. It was soooooooooooo cute. (He successfully stopped sucking his thumb with the aid of a thumb guard in February '08.)
He is a picky eater and hates vegetables (anything green)! He is in love with "his" Grandma Kriser and can't go more than a week without spending time with her. He is her "Grand Darling."
Noah has the BEST excited reactions to things. It doesn't take much for him to screech in delight about something he finds exciting. He is grateful and easy to please!
He is learning the importance of telling the truth, which is difficult because "Jacob did it!" is so automatic! Thanks to the Leap Frog Letter Factory movie, Noah recognizes almost all of his letters and knows theirs sound.
Snuggling with his daddy!
Noah likes to sleep in our bed … ever since I told him the story of Goldie Locks and the 3 Bears, his bed is "too hard," Jacob’s bed is "too soft" and our bed is “just right!” Needless to say, he starts out in his room and usually ends up on our floor before morning. When David leaves for work, he is quick to sneak into bed with me.
He is truly a JOY!
Happy 4th Birthday Day Noah!