Friday, May 28, 2010

A bump in the night

Last night at about 1:00 AM I heard a loud "THUD". I layed in bed trying to figure out if someone was breaking in or if it was just the cats up to their crazy shinanigans.

Then I heard the tears! I got up out of bed and realized that Lyse had rolled out of bed! Poor thing was lying on the floor crying. I picked her up and put her back in bed and gave her a kiss. She was just laying there still almost completely asleep moaning and crying.

After a few minutes of consoling, she settled down and I went back to my bed.

This morning when we were all up and running Lyse came and snuggled on my lap. As she was snuggled in there, I looked down at her sweet face to find a NASTY bruise just below and a bit over from her right eye.

At first I was like, "What the heck?!? Where did you get this?"

She was just as stumped as I was.

Then I remembered the bump in the night. Funny thing about it all - Lyse thought I was lying, that she had never fallen out of the bed! She must have been really tired and asleep to not even remember falling out and bonking her face hard enough for a bruise!

P.S. The picture doesn't make the bruise look bad at all...but trust me it is MUCH more visible in person :( Hoping my DCFS neighbor doesn't stop us and give us an interview!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cricket Fun!

I am becoming a crafty woman! Ben always said he was scared of crafty women but as I do more and more, I think he actually likes it!

My parents gave me a cricket for Christmas. If you don't know what a cricket machine it! They are amazing crafty machines that cut all sorts of fun things!! I have recently fallen in LOVE with my machine!

We have had FAMILY fun with it. The girls LOVE to pick out designs and have us cut them! The other day we made crowns for the boys and girls in Lyse's preschool. She was in heaven and the boys and girls each liked their crowns. The boys got "king" crowns and the girls got "Princess" ones. It was fun to make and they turned out super cute!is super de duper fun! is amazing!

Tonight we have been working on Thank you cards for Katy's and Lyse's teachers this year! It is so fun to be able to make fun, cute cards and envelopes for under $1 (about $0.50)!

The card says "Thanks" on the outside. There is the single pic of just that. The envelope says, "Many Thanks". There are several layers of glued paper on the envelope and the card to help create the total look.

Seriously, the pictures don't even do it justice! I am thinking of maybe starting a company selling these for $1.00 each. Takes me about 10-20 minutes to make them and with being only $0.50 to make them, I would be making $0.50 off each one! I haven't decided for sure but we shall see :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Testimony

In December Ben lost his job the week before Christmas. I was devastated. He was devastated. It was a REALLY hard time on us. A month later and still no job, we both had a feeling that we needed to look in the Washington DC area for a job for him. While we were searching and applying for jobs, we got a distinct feeling we needed to GO to DC for a job.

Making the decision to go was NOT an easy one. Being winter time, unemployed and trying to keep as much in savings as we could, it wasn't exactly the prime time to drive across the country. There was constant doubt of "what if's" a million miles long. We made the decision we would go and the Lord would bless us. I was TERRIFIED!

As we loaded up the car with a cooler, clothes and the girls, I had serious thoughts that we were just crazy. Once we were on the road, I pulled out my scriptures and we would read and discuss. Over and over again the story of Abraham and Isaac kept coming to my mind. I also had many close friends that I talked to along the way and each would bring up that exact story without me even mentioning it. I was moved by the faith of Abraham and his trusting in knowing it was the Spirit of the Lord speaking to him. I hate to admit it but I personally was struggling with "is this really the Spirit" questions.

The second day on the road, after we stopped at Winter Quarters, I felt very compelled to turn to 3 Nephi chapter 13. Verse 31 through part of 34 really hit me.

It says,
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

As I read this, the Spirit confirmed to me that we were doing what our Father in Heaven wanted. That moment in the car with Ben and my children was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. I KNEW that our Father in Heaven was in control of our situation, He was directing us, He was aware of us and that He was going to take care of us.

Ben didn't get a job but our trip to Washington DC was anything but wasted. We were and are continually blessed. Our family was able to spend time together and we were able to talk to our children a lot about the gospel, the pioneers and share our testimonies with them. For me personally, I gained an undeniable testimony that our Father in Heaven is very personally aware of our lives and the struggles we face. My testimony was strengthened in the Spirit's whisperings and that following them is never a waste, even if you don't gain what you think you should out of the experience. Whenever I start to stress or worry, my memories of that scripture will overcome me and I am reminded that our Father in Heaven is completely aware of us. And even though I am not physically present I feel as though I should end this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

DC Continued

I want to try and type the rest of the trip in this one post. It isn't going to happen but in many ways I wish I could get it all to fit. The trip seemed to go so fast but I learned so much!

Friday morning we woke up in Ohio. We got in the car and drove. We drove and drove. We had some really pretty scenery (been a while since we had that). We drove through the Appalachian Mountains. Those are some pretty awesome sites! We all kept commenting how awesome it would be to drive through those same mountains in the spring, summer and fall...when the leaves were blooming, bloomed and changing colors.

We pulled into Washington D.C. later that night. I had talked to my sister on the phone and she got us some rooms on Priceline for a decent price. We had 4 nights in the same place, a place to call home for a few days.

The girls were sad that we didn't have a pool in the room but THRILLED when they saw the room and how beautiful it was. We were at the Hyatt. I just LOVE the Hyatt Hotel Chain. I have NEVER stayed at one and not just loved the entire time I am there!!!

Friday was the first fight of the trip. The girls were done. I was so glad we were almost to DC. The girls were AMAZING troopers and considering it took them until the middle of the 3rd day driving to have their first fight, I am amazed! They are amazing!!!!

After arriving in DC we got our first warm meal in what seemed like days. We had been eating out of the cooler most of the time and honestly that wears on ya! We went to Papa Razzi's. It was good but definitely not as good as the first time I remember eating there.

Being in DC felt good. I was scared because I didn't know the future. I was excited because I knew that the next 4 days I had a place to stay and call home.

That night I slept really good. As I knelt in prayer and asked what should be done I felt a peace that the next day, Saturday, was a family day. When I got up the next morning and prayed again, same answer, I was excited to spend a day seeing the sites.

We slept in, ate breakfast then walked to the Metro station next door. I am always amazed at how CLEAN DC keeps their Metro. The Rosalyn Station is the station I have been to the most...probably cause each time I have been to DC since being married we have stayed in Rosalyn, Virginia...just across the Potomac from DC.

The day was a BEAUTIFUL day and we had so much fun. Honestly, that was probably the best day for family fun the entire trip. I was at ease. I struggle not knowing the future. I love having a plan. To be in a foreign, expensive city with no job, no plan...only know Ben was supposed to look for a job and that we were supposed to be there...that was HARD!

We walked the "Mall" of DC that day. Taking time to stop at each monument. I wish we had taken the time to stop at one or 2 museums but honestly we just didn't.

As the day drew to a close we headed back to our room. I had a compelling desire to go to the temple. We got in the car and drove. As we were driving, the most beautiful pull out appeared. The pull out let you see over the Potomac into Georgetown. We pulled off the Freeway for a minute to take in the scene...let the girls enjoy the surroundings.

We got back into the car and a few minutes later we were almost to the temple. The DC temple is surrounded by beautiful trees and rolling hills. We went to the visitors center first. We listened to a small excerpt on Christ. I held back tears. Once again I felt peace, I felt the same I had when at Winter Quarters. I felt the Spirit.

The sister missionaries, especially one Sister Crowfoot, came and talked with us. After walking around the visitors center for a while the girls needed to go to the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom, Sister Crowfoot went and talked to Ben. She found out our situation...and the Spirit spoke to her for her to know EXACTLY what I needed.

After we left the bathroom, she took us down the stairs to a little area. There was a kiosk type thing with pictures of all the 12 Apostles and First Presidency. She played a couple small excerpts of different talks by different men. As each played I thought, "How did she know I needed to hear this". Each talked about the journey of life and how we need to be prepared for it Spiritually cause we never know what will happen physically.

While drying my tears we walked back up the stairs and outside to the temple. The lights were on and the temple shone. Our family walked out onto the temple grounds. Katy wanted to take pictures and we stopped to let her take some pictures. She was soooo excited to be at the temple. I am ALWAYS amazed at children and how they are drawn to holy places! Katy oohed and awed at the temple. Lyse did too but she walked off with Ben so I wasn't there to really talk to her much.

As we were walking some deer suddenly appeared. The were right there, next to the temple. We tried desperately to get a picture but it was just too dark and the little camera wasn't enough.

We walked around the temple, the girls excited and Ben and I chatted. I don't really remember all we chatted about, I just remember how happy and complete I felt walking around that sacred building while holding my sweethearts hand and watching our children ahead of us. I felt the desire to be in the temple but honestly I knew it wasn't meant to be right temple clothes, no babysitter, etc.

Saturday ended and it was honestly a beautiful day. It was a perfect day. We felt the spirit of our nation, the spirit of freedom as we walked the grounds of the Mall area and then even more importantly we felt the Spirit of our Father in Heaven as we walked the grounds of the temple. I am sooo grateful to live in this nation, to have the freedoms we have. I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who inspired men to sacrifice so much so we could be blessed with so much.

Sunday while I wish I could say was an amazing wasn't. I was not as kind to my family as I wished I would have been. Sunday was probably the HARDEST of all the days. Sunday was a day I felt like I was the worst person in the world. Sunday was also the day that I kept feeling what we needed to do, none of it making sense and instead of following happily, I begrudged, fought and got frustrated.

Sunday I was a horrible mom to Lyse. Lyse went into meltdown. Honestly, who can blame her! We had been on the road for 3 days the site seeing all day the next day. We hadn't caught up on sleep, we hadn't had any "relax" time in which we just sat in the room and watched some TV.

Sunday morning I woke up early. I prayed and felt we needed to go get tickets to go into the Washington Monument. It was 7:00 and I got up and dressed. I was going to just drive myself, get the tickets and come back. As I was getting ready I had a strong impression that I needed to get the family up to go with me and take the laptop.

I woke Ben up and everyone quickly got dressed. The day outside was gloomy, rainy (down pouring is more like it) and honestly I felt so down and out I want to cry even thinking of it now. We got our tickets to go to the top of the monument and we headed to see if we could get some internet. We found a cute little cafe that was also a free wireless hot spot. Since we rushed out the door and didn't grab breakfast, the girls were starving. We went and got them a little something and set up on a table for a few minutes.

This is where Lyse had her melt down that continued for an hour. At the end of the hour, I had my melt down. The melt down started when we walked in the pastry cafe and the girls saw all the yummy, delicious morning treats. Katy carefully looked over her choices as Lyse grabbed the first one she saw. A few minutes later she saw another one she wanted but since she had already TOUCHED and grabbed the other one, she couldn't have the second one.

Honestly you would have thought I was starving the child. I ended up being a bad parent and purchased the second item too in order to try and stop the melt didn't work. After we left the cafe and headed to the monument to go inside, Lyse continued her fit. It didn't stop...over and over and over she cried and whined. I hit my max and lost it. We were late to the monument and I was sure we weren't going to make it. Lyse wouldn't stop crying and then refused to get out of the car. I was no longer a nice mommy. I was mean. I am thankful that Ben was there...I am thankful I am not a single parent.

From there it just seemed to fall apart, unravel. I questioned why we had come to Washington DC, I questioned why Ben had to loose his job. I had many many doubting questions and didn't want to allow the peace of the Spirit to help me. The wait in the line for the monument was cold and wet physically...spiritually I felt dead.

Why were we sent here? Where was this job? When were we going to feel the prompting, "Be here and be here now" that we BOTH felt was going to happen. I had woken up that morning feeling like, "today will be the day". I felt like the Washington Monument was where we were supposed to be. I felt like the little cafe was where we were supposed to end up...the internet a life saver. Why had it all fallen apart there?

Looking back I think if I had handled the situation better, there would have been a whole different outcome of that day and experience. I think it could have been a VERY spiritual experience for me. I should have taken the time to talk to Lyse instead of just telling her we didn't have the money for both (which I ended up getting in the end anyway). Looking back if I had been a better mom...if I had not worried as much about money as I did about...there are a lot of if's looking back!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Being an aunt is something I LOVE. I adore my nieces and nephews. Sometimes though I wonder about it all.

Being a fun aunt to some nieces and nephews is REALLY easy, to others not so much. I often wonder if that has to do with how much I feel I am accepted by that child's parents and how much the parents want me to be a part of the child's life. I think it has to do with the distance (whether literal or figurative).

I wish I could be the aunt "Teetee" to all the nieces and nephews but I KNOW I am not. I realized this the other day at my in-laws home. All the nieces and nephew that live here in Utah were there. They honestly did not know my name. That made me sad.

Yes there has been a falling out. Yes I could say a LOT more about it but I am trying to change and be better. Right now I am reflecting on me. I am sorry for the things I said. Although the relationships had a facade, there was at least a relationship.

I am not the horrible person they perceive me to be and I don't believe they aren't the horrible people I perceived them to be.

History is a tough cookie and one that can't be erased. I want to move forward and have a fresh start, a new outlook but I don't think that will ever happen. In the past I have said, I have forgiven but I haven't forgotten. It isn't only me that feels that way. I wish I could share this with them. This is a time that I wish the parents even read my blog, but they don't. I wish we could get together at family functions and not try and get out of there as quickly as possible with as few words as possible.

Yes I felt left out. Yes I felt unloved. Yes I was wrong.

So alas, I can never be that fun aunt with them. I can't take them for a day to play with me and my kids like I do others. I don't get those opportunities. That makes me sad.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I need to finish up our DC trip stuff but for now I wanted to write some fun cute things the kids have done/said.

On Saturday we spent a majority of the day hanging, chilling and relaxing outside. We went to Elyse's soccer game then we drove to the park and let the kids run and play for a little over an hour. They had a lot of fun (and honestly so did we).

When we got back we were sitting down to eat and Lyse said the prayer. It was the cutest thing EVER. As she was praying she said, "Thank you dad...well*pause* Heavenly Father please tell my dad thank you so much for letting us play at the park all day!"

First it made me so happy that she loved the park that much. Second, I had a revelation, thought. You know prayer is a special time in which we talk with our Father in Heaven about what we love, hate, struggle with. Lyse taught me so much in that. She knows that a prayer has the utmost respect tied to it. Prayer is a special way to communicate. By knowing that she wanted to let her dad know in the prayer how grateful she was to go to the park. I can't convey into words all my thoughts and feelings on this cause I don't know how but I am touched. It was dang cute too!

Katy has been sick for a couple days and today she was home from school. All day she kept talking about school and what we thought was happening at school. I know she really missed not being able to go. At first in the day she kept asking, "What do you think they are doing on the field trip" or "Do you think they are back from the field trip?". I decided to get her busy and we worked on some of her bear essentials. We did 2 book reports, a report on her Grandma (my mom), wrote a poem and a couple other things.

To do the report on my mom, we had to go to my mom's house. Before we left, Katy kept asking, "So would school be out yet?". I would answer, "No, school is still in." 2 minutes later she asked again. This happened over and over until I lost my cool and said, "Katy you can tell time! It has only been a few minutes since the last time you asked. No school is not out." I INSTANTLY felt horrible. My sweet girl was soooo sad to miss her field trip today. My sweet girl is battling with having been REALLY sick (at the ER over the weekend for it). My sweet girl is amazing and all she wanted was some information. Sometimes I feel like the crappiest mom ever.

Katy was so sweet even when I got frustrated. She said, "Oh ok. Sorry. I was just wondering how close it was to the normal time I get home." Sweet thing. She was so cute when interviewing my mom. She did an awesome job. She loved hearing the stories and it was fun to see how excited she was to know more about my mom when she was little. She was EXTREMELY interested in my mom and who she was closest to in siblings. Katy LOVES Elyse more than anything but she also strongly desires more siblings. She asks for them all the time. Oh how I wish I could fulfill that desire for her! I think she was mesmerized by the fact that my mom had so many siblings.

Katy wrote a really cute poem today about jump roping. She LOVES to jump rope so when she had to write a poem, she wanted it to be on that.

Jump Rope
by: Katlynn Hawker

Rope Rope
Around it flies
Jump Jump
Hop to the skies
Leap Leap
Quick on my feet
Around Around
It goes to the beat
Fun Fun
Jumping in the sun

Kind of amazing how you do "see" jump roping in that. Katy has an amazing way to describe things. This weekend I have really seen that talent in her...she can use words that help you to completely see what she is saying.

An example of this. She was in a LOT of pain. When I asked her what it felt like she said, "It feels like a car is driving over my chest but instead of it having tires it has needles and the needles are poking my stomach over and over."

Ummm can you think of a more descriptive way of saying, "The pain feels heavy and sharp."?

I love my children, they are amazing! I am such a blessed mom for having them be a part of my life.

Also...I am finishing up the DC trip...hoping to get that up here soon. Not sure if I am going to do 1 or 2 installments. Second, Ben is saying it is high time to do before and after photos. We were looking at photos today and I couldn't believe it! I was seriously in shock over how big I was and I didn't really realize it. I am gonna try to get the photos up here soon.

Last but not least. Last time on the Wii I was 156.5 and I have a normal BMI at 155.5 I am soooo close I can taste it and I can't wait! I am hoping that by next week I will be at 155 even! Lowest I have been in a LONG, LONG time :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Washington DC - Part 2 (see I knew I would need more than just part 1 ;) )

The funny thing about trying to do the right thing and listen to the Spirit (some call it following your gut)...if it sounds like an odd or weird thing, people (particularly parents) seem to not like it and freak a bit.

My parents didn't really like our "Washington DC" journey. While they tried to be supportive (well my dad did) it was nerve racking. My mom started calling about 2 hours after we were on the road, in Wyoming just past Evanston.

This was the HARDEST thing for me!!! Honestly I love my mom to death and she is the most amazing woman. The problem was when she called she would say things like, "Well no one will think any less of you guys if you just turn around and come back home" or "You aren't really that far, you can turn around and be home before night and not have to get a hotel room".

I was already struggling. I was questioning and doubting. Why on earth was my Father in Heaven sending me across the United States. What was there? Were we going to move there? Was there a job Ben would find there? What was the reasoning behind this? Why were we being asked to spend money when we needed to SAVE money?

I am not stupid. I really doubted myself and what I was doing but at the same time I knew that the Lord had a bigger plan for me and I needed to follow it. Much of the time spent in the car, Ben and I were reading scriptures out loud. We were both drawn to church history and spent a LOT of time reading Doctrine and Covenants.

The first day we drove to Nebraska. We stopped in a small little town called, Grand Island, Nebraska. We stayed in a little Motel 6 off to the side of I-80. As we pulled into the motel parking lot, we were all exhausted and READY for bed. We carried the girls in. When we got to our beds, we called Ben's parents. Bart was awesome and told us the aviation history of Grand Island. It was the stopping point for people flying from East to West when planes couldn't go across the continent non-stop.

That night we knelt and said our prayer and I felt a STRONG desire and pull to go to Nauvoo. I told Ben and he said he would think about it. We both still felt an urgency to get to DC but I also felt this pull that I had to do!

The next morning we were a bit slow to get up and moving. We let the girls take a bath in their swimming suits for about 20-30 minutes. It had been a 13 hour day driving the day before and we didn't want to wake them and push them back into the car.

While the girls bathed, Ben and I once again talked about Nauvoo. He felt like it just might be what we needed too. We got the information from the phone and found that we had to head the same path to Nauvoo as we did to Washington D.C.

Once we got loaded in the car, we pulled out the scriptures and once again delved into the Church History of Doctrine and Covenants. As we were reading, we realized that winter quarters was only a short distance from where we were. We typed in all the information and about 20 minutes later we were at Winter Quarters.

Even writing this now, I feel that peace. As we drove up to the temple and past the cemetery, my soul delighted. I felt a reverence for the things those pioneers had accomplished and sacrificed. They had left their homes, they had lost EVERYTHING. How on earth could I think my life was in ruins when all that had been lost was my husband's job?

As we watched the movie in the visitors center, my heart was heavy. I had sacrificed so little compared to these saints. They had buried their children. Some children had buried their parents. They walked away from homes that were barely finished in Nauvoo. They did all this to follow the will of the Lord. I was not being asked to walk away from my home, I was being asked to drive to Washington D.C. I wasn't being asked to bury my baby and walk away from the grave, I was bringing my beautiful healthy children on an adventure.

As the tears poured down my face, the Spirit uplifted me and confirmed I WAS listening to the Spirit, I was following what the Lord was asking of me. Honestly the hardest part and biggest doubt was brought to me by my parents and the fear that I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do. Listening to the Lord while going against what my parents wanted was VERY hard. I had been taught and raised that you follow the Lord no matter what but you also need to honor and follow your parents. I have never even considered that a time in my life would come in which the Lord's plan would go against what my parents wanted.

In that moment as I finished watching the movie, in which families separated and children chose to follow the Lord's plan, even though their parents advised against them leaving and going West, I KNEW that the reason the Lord had guided me towards Nauvoo was so that I would find Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska. The Lord had a plan for me and I had to listen to the Spirit, I had to follow that even if I didn't understand why.

Winter Quarters will always hold a sacred spot in my heart. My testimony grew leaps and bounds. I learned that following the Spirit isn't easy. Sometimes we end up walking in 7 miles of mud. In the end, even if we loose it all, as long as we have the Spirit of the Lord, we will be OK.

The missionaries in Winter Quarters were amazing. Our girls got to pull a handcart, dress up as pioneers and many other things. Lyse LOVED the wood block hand carts that they had to "pack" their little wagons full of the blocks and make it all fit.

I had a lot of time to think about my spiritual wagon and what I was putting in it. I realized I had to empty some of the temporal things in order to make room for more spiritual items.

After touring the visitor center, we walked across the street to the cemetery. We didn't stay there long though. After all, it was January in Nebraska and on top of that, they had just recently had a record breaking snowfall that left a LOT of snow on the ground. There wasn't much we could see in the cemetery other than the statue.

As we loaded up in the car, both Ben and I felt as though our desire for Nauvoo was to bring us to Winter Quarters and it was time to head towards Washington D.C. again. Since we weren't really even off the beaten path, we got back onto I-80 and headed out. I don't recall many things other than pointing out the Missouri River and Mississippi River to the girls. We did find a Buffalo Wild Wings and we stopped there to eat dinner.

Chicago was the next big city and it was nightfall long before we were even close to it. I would have LOVED to see Chicago during the day. The city was so bright we saw it far before we arrived there. The roads were confusing and we did loose our way momentarily. We saw the giant great lake off to our left as we cruised on into Indiana.

The second day of travel took us through many states! We went through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and we slept in a small town in Ohio; it was on the border of Indiana and Ohio.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Washington D.C. (I am sure there will be many parts to I will call this part 1 but if not then this wasn't needed I guess :)

Washington D.C. kept calling me. Seriously I kept having the feeling over and over that I needed to be there. It was a stupid feeling, one that I was sure that was just an "eventual" ending. was immediate and maybe crazy but definitely not stupid. Inspiration from the Lord is NEVER stupid. I just didn't realize it until 10:00 at night on a Monday in January. To be specific it was Monday, January 11, 2010. Ben had been unemployed for almost 1 month.

I was out with some of my best girl friends. I discussed with them how I kept feeling prompted and driven to go to Washington. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Washington D.C. It just isn't the place you head when your husband has lost his job and you have no income coming in. Basically you try and stay home and hold onto any cash you can so you can pay your bills at that point. Well that is what I thought logically.

My wise friend said to me, "Tauni go. Go now. If you are feeling prompted, follow that prompting. Go home, pray with Ben. If it is right, get in the car and drive." Her words rang in my ears and ran straight to my heart. I KNEW what she was saying was exactly what the Lord had been telling me but hearing it said out loud was a WHOLE new experience.

I think Ben thought I had seriously taken some crazy pills and fallen off the wagon when I walked in the door. As I told him of my promptings and that we needed to pray about it, tears poured from my eyes.

The prayer was one of the most powerful prayers I have ever been apart of. The Spirit pierced my soul and the answer of "Leave NOW" radiated through my soul. When the prayer was finished, Ben turned to me and said, "We need to get ready and we need to go". I was terrified.

In our kitchen cupboard, in a silly little mug, I had been hoarding money.

December 18, 2009 Ben was officially fired from the FAA. Christmas was a bleak week away. Luckily, everything had already been purchased and we had kept it small. Even with all that I was still nervous. At Christmas, my parents and in-laws had both been greatly inspired to give cash. The Lord is AMAZING. He prepares us for situations even before we know we will have them. All our Christmas cash was squirreled away in that silly little mug.

As my mind was reeling on why the Lord would ask us to go to Washington D.C., I thought of our little mug with just over a thousand dollars in it. Grateful that I hadn't spent any of the money on wants, I went and pulled out the cash. Carefully counting again the sum came to $1,120.

It was late and I started to wonder if my feelings of inspiration were really just feelings of desire for vacation and need to get away added with fatigue. Ben and I went to bed for the night.

I didn't sleep much. Many times in the night I would pray again to my Father in Heaven asking him if we were to go to Washington D.C. Once again I would get the overwhelming warmth and feeling...yes, go and go now!

I think the ONLY thing that helped me really understand that feeling was the week before the experience Ben and I had at the temple. It was a rushed session for us but one filled with the Spirit. As we pulled out into the snowy streets after the session, racing to get the kids from the babysitter who had other commitments, we both walked away knowing something BIG was coming and coming soon.

This was it...this was our something BIG and we both knew it.

The next day was a rush and blur. We went to my parents and informed them, we went to Ben's parents and informed them. I called the school and got Katy on educational leave. We finished laundry and packing.

The biggest concern we had: we didn't have a time frame. We had NO clue of knowing how long we were to be gone. This was NOT a planned vacation. We had high hopes that this was our future, Ben's new career.

Looking back now I can DEFINITELY see how it got us to where we are now and how this was the best journey we ever took. I just wish I could have been more at ease and less on edge. If i had known then what I know now...I would like to think I would but honestly I don't know. It was a learning experience for me!

Wednesday morning, January 13, we finished packing up and headed out the door on a long drive and adventure across the United States of America. The girls were excited.Ben and I were scared, hopeful, prayerful and everything else.

We were in Wyoming when phone calls started coming in.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Every year I have to reflect on how Mother's day is about more than just mothers, more than about just woman...the wonderful amazing creatures that make us mothers, children!

This morning I was woken up at 7:00 am by my sweet Katy! She is sooooo amazing! She did that on my birthday too...she was so excited to celebrate my day! Lyse followed suit quickly then they both woke up their dad so they could "surprise" me with breakfast in bed! What amazing children I have been blessed with to celebrate Mother's Day with! I love my children more than I could ever express.

When breakfast of waffles with strawberry and whipped cream was brought to me, my heart melted. What made it melt? The excitement on Katy and Elyse's faces as they also presented their presents! Lyse was so sweet and kind as she handed me my present she said, "I sure hope you will like it mom!"

She was so concerned that I wouldn't...but I don't know why! She made it at preschool and has been DYING to share it with me for DAYS! When I opened it I was once again thankful for her preschool and the amazing teacher there! The present was a BEAUTIFUL wooden heart that Elyse painted green and glued a beautiful picture of Lyse in the center. The heart has a metal hanging handle so I can hang it n the wall! I am so excited to display it! What an amazing teacher to take the time to not only cut out all the hearts but finish them up and even sand the edges to give it an "antiqued" look!

Even without all the extra effort put into it, how could you NOT love such a precious gift of a present with your child's face on it?!? It was perfect!

Katy had made me a book mark and some other craft items she had made with my mom for me. She was very please with herself in sharing those with me. I loved those too! She was so excited for me to see each new craft she had constructed.

I LOVED getting those presents from the girls, not because of the present but because of the love and excitement I see in my childrens' eyes as they experience the joy of giving. What a blessing it is to see that!

Ben and the girls gave me the new Rick Riordan book, "The Red Pyramid"...this series is supposed to be about Egyptian Gods (the last series of Percy Jackson was about the Olympian Gods). I also got a box of oreos...oh man they are my weak spot!! Have to try and avoid...err I mean share those lots!!!

I was greatly blessed today at church. Katy was one of the people asked to talk. What an amazing talk she wrote and gave. Touched my heart and soul and my eyes held the proof in tears! After Katy spoke the primary children sang. What sweetness you experience hearing them sing, "Mother I love you, Mother I do!" How can you hold back the tears on that?!?

Today has been a wonderful day and I am soooo grateful to be called a Mother, mom, mommy, mama. What an amazing blessing my Heavenly Father gave me! I am truly a blessed woman to have not only an amazing husband but 2 amazing children to travel through life with! I am blessed!

P.S. Yes, the pictures are old and from last spring in Grand Cayman and summer in Grandma's backyard. I just love those pictures and the fact that my children love to have adventures and climb grandma's tree even in swimsuits!

P.P.S. Thank you Mom for being such an amazing mother, friend, confidant and grandma! You are loved deeply and dearly!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Last post I talked about the judgment people put on those that have weight issues. I don't think there is a person alive that doesn't have a weight issue. Before you judge me on that, hear me out.

I know MANY skinny people that would KILL to be able to gain 20 lbs, put some "meat" on their bones. Some are guys, some are girls. For the guys being too skinny is considered "BAD" by popular choice, while the too skinny girls (whom some have problems with pregnancy due to weight) get the "you are so lucky".

I think MOST the people I know that are "skinny" and just that perfect size, are constantly dieting, exercising and fighting the bulge.

Then you get to the people that are over-weight, obese. These are the ones that fight it day after day. They get the instant judgment.

The other day Ben was talking to me about just that, instant judgment. Ben and I have known each other basically all our lives...we were friends for years and years before we even went on a romantic date. Ben informed me, "You are the you I knew in High School. You are no longer afraid of that instant judgment of your weight so you allow yourself to be put out there more often." I instantly agreed with him.

I was instantly judged everywhere I walked because of my weight. I was judged at the gym, I was judged at the school volunteering. If I dressed in a more slenderizing outfit I would instantly get praise and "you are looking so good". While all that was great, if I wasn't trying to loose weight I knew it was all a facade. I also knew many times it was judgment of "you really need to loose so I am going to encourage to see if I can help you continue".

The judgment you get when overweight and obese was debilitating for me. I tried to avoid social functions, especially if food was involved. I avoided getting together with old friends because I had "let myself go". I often turned to food to solve the problem rather than mentally working through it. I feel horrible that many great friendships were never discovered, lost or abandoned because I feared judgment. I couldn't be enough when I was fat.

Now when I am not enough (which still happens)...I know it isn't my weight. It is simply that I am not perfect.

I have made MANY great mistakes in my lifetime. I have treated loved ones and friends ways I never should have. While you may laugh...many of those were also weight related. I was never enough for my in-laws and they didn't understand me...that is what I saw in my eyes. My weight was the cause of that. While I now see that I was truly right in some of those assumptions, there is also part that I blamed my weight when in reality it wasn't that.

My fear of being judged over my weight put me on super high, overload sensitivity. If I sensed even the littlest of problems I immediately jumped to the greatest reason for it.

Losing weight has helped with much of this. Part has also been I have had to come to terms with myself as a person. Not everyone will like or get along with me. Some people may even hate me. That is the way life is. I can't force friendships, I can't make people like me. Before I just always had a "reason" I could finger for the I know it just be that we don't get along.

As I previously said, I had to deal with a lot when I underwent Gastric Bypass. There were several months there in which I was not getting more than 2 fl oz (which is about 1/4 cup) worth of food in during the whole day! My foods had to be simple and easy to digest. The smell of almost ALL food made me nauseated to the point I would throw up. Even being in a grocery store parking lot in which there was a fast food joint, the smell of fat in the air would make my mouth water with nausea.

After I was finally able to eat some foods, my small new stomach got an ulcer! I was on daily aspirin for my blood clots...well aspirin causes ulcers. Since my stomach is smaller, even a small ulcer is 10 times worse.

I dealt with a lot and had to come to terms with a lot of my food habits while puking over the porcelain bowl. The desire for fast food was GONE. I can now handle the smell of fast food but try to make it rare and far between (like 1 time in the month of April I took Lyse and Katy to McDonald's and that was for the play land and it was my friend that took them...I just picked them up. I actually kinda wish that I could still smell fat the way I used to...but I am also very grateful that olfactory sense has left. Seriously, no food smelled good. I like that food now smells good to me. I love that I had that time to learn what I get and gain the habits of healthy foods and eating. I had always been I am even better. Tonight my snack was a hand full of snap peas...1 year ago it would have been a bowl of ice cream or cereal.

Judgment is a strange beast because we live in a world of constant and quick judgment. I am still judged by my weight but it isn't an instant, "that person needs to go on a diet". My relationships haven't all went from toxic to amazing. I will admit some of have gotten better (which in many ways HURTS because I know it was my weight that was stopping it from being good to begin with). Some relationships haven't changed. I don't know of any relationships that have gotten worse. I think the big reason for that is...I myself have changed.

I am no longer the person I was a year ago. I am more outgoing. I don't fear judgment when volunteering or serving. I now feel like I can make a tray of brownies and take them around to friends and ward members and not have them be like, "Oh of course it is the obese lady that brings brownies". I am NOT saying that they would have said that...that is more how I felt they would feel. As I said, I am NOT perfect and I KNOW that my changing attitudes has been the biggest change.

In the end, it breaks my heart that judgment exists. It breaks my heart that I was so judgmental of not only myself but of people and their capacity to love and accept no matter the size. I have true grief over the 7 years I spent obese and 4 years I spent severely obese. I lost those years. I also feel extreme gratitude that those numbers aren't higher, that I can have the life I wanted but was to scared and held back on.

I hope and pray I can remember this lesson and be slower to judge and quicker to love. While the weight loss surgery may seem wasn't. I had to face all these demons head on and I am still facing some. It sucks at times but I am trying to keep a good attitude about it all. I am forever grateful and hope and pray I can remember this and never go back to the way I was. I never want to be there again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Start

1 year ago today I started on a new part of life and weight loss.

I don't ever talk about this with but a few people. I have tried to hide it.

I am NOT ashamed of it in any way. I am afraid of what people will think. I KNOW what some think!

I wish I could tell them what I have learned, what I know and that they are TRULY wrong in their assumption that I took the easy way out.

1 year ago I went to my first meeting for weight loss surgery.

We were truly blessed to have an insurance that paid 100% minus co-pays. That insurance gave me a new life.

The process wasn't LOOOONG and tedious like it can be with some insurances. I started the process on May 6, 2009. My surgery was on July 1, 2009, so just under 2 months...which is basically how long even self paying people have to wait.

There is a process that no matter how quickly you want it done, you still have to meet the process.

First you have to attend a meeting. They discuss all the options, what each entails and then you have time in which you can sit and talk with people that have had the surgery. I originally planned on doing lap band. I walked out of the meeting confident, sure and a re-affirmation from my Father in Heaven that Gastric Bypass was what I was supposed to do. Ben felt the same so that was a great thing.

Then comes the paperwork. You leave the meeting with a HUGE pamphlet that you have to fill out. Important decisions have to be made. One is which surgery. Another is which doctor. I had already felt very inspired to go with Dr. McKinley, after all he was the one that I had found on the internet while in Oklahoma and lead me to that specific practice.

I guess if I really talk about when my process started, I would have to say that it started in April of 2009. That is when I was trying desperately to loose weight and was not loosing any. That is when I had a night I had to read through all my information on insurance for a friend that had the same insurance and needed an answer. That is when I came across the Weight Loss Surgery area of our coverage and had such an overwhelming Spiritual confirmation that it makes me teary even thinking of it.

This decision was not a decision I took lightly. I researched and researched. A big reason I chose to do lap band before the meeting was because it was the safest. Going under the knife to loose weight is serious. I have children. I have to raise those children. Dying on the table while trying to help myself and children in the future...well the children wouldn't have me in the future. I prayed a lot, talked to Ben a lot and then I went to my mom and sister.

Everyone wanted me to do lap band and honestly I was leaning towards it because of safety but as I was lead towards it there was also this burning in my soul that told me Gastric Bypass was what I needed to do.

After the meeting and both my husband and I feeling Gastric Bypass was the answer. I filled out the paper time and had it turned in within a week (including all the copies of medical transcripts from 4 different doctors).

Once my paperwork was turned in then I had to wait. I am not patient...each day that went by I would worry and fret that for some reason my insurance would decide they didn't want to cover the surgery for me.

The day I got the letter in the mail from my insurance was such an amazing day. I was sooooo happy! I was soooo grateful and once again I received Spiritual confirmation that I was doing what I was meant to, that the Lord was guiding me here.

From that point on it was mainly timing with the surgeon and office. I had to attend 2 meetings and a pre-surgery exam. I had to get some blood work up and for 2 weeks before the surgery I had to eat under 1000 calories a day (which I did).

My surgery went perfect, my recovery didn't go perfect. Matter of fact, within the first week I had blood clots and had to go back in for surgery on the 8th of July because of complications. Recovery sucked. Anyone that was around me and supporting me during that time will fully agree that my choice for weight loss surgery was not the easy way out.

The first time I had to walk after the surgery I thought I would die. Laughing made me cry not because of joy. Food was NOT my friend...I couldn't even eat 1 fl. oz of food, much less the 2 fl. oz.

My stomach caused many problems for many months and honestly it took me 4 months to be able to eat 2 fl. oz. size portions. I can now eat 6-8 fl oz worth of food but try to stick to 2-4 fl. oz. serving sizes.

I started my surgery at 300 10 months and 6 days after the surgery I weigh 159 lbs. My doctor figured I would loose to about 180. I have had to work hard and a lot. I have to turn down food that looks good because I know my body shouldn't have it. I still have to have will power. I am NOT perfect but I am trying.

Writing about this is one of the hardest things I do. I think the biggest reason I dared do it was because I know very few people read my blog.

I want to be able to share, I want to get past the judgment that I know many people place on those that have Gastric Bypass Surgery. I want them to know it is NOT the easy way out and you still have to make choices daily. I can still get fat again if I make the wrong choices. The differences is it has allowed me to get skinny!!! I am FINALLY able to do it. I have learned so much and I will write more about it, but for now my children want me to take them for a bike ride and I can do that...something that 1 year ago I could not.

Gastric Bypass gave me back my life. That is something that I will be eternally grateful for!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Aquaintance, Buddy, Chum

Friendship is an odd duck.

Some people that you have been friends with for years. They can walk out of your life forever simply by moving to a town 20 minutes away. Instead of talking daily, you never talk again or really have any contact with each other...the friendship was one of close proximity. I think this would be called an aquaintance.

Some people you don't even know in real life but you know them via blogs and internet sites. You feel as though the person is your best friend, but if you were to see them on the street you probably wouldn't recognize them. This I would call an internet comrad or bosom buddy.

Other friends come into your life. You are casual friend, yet good friends. When times are tough it seems as though this friend just magically appears. When they are struggling, you intuitively know and help them. You can live across the continent from this friend and it won't matter cause the minute you are together again you feel as though you have never been apart. This is a person I would name a "Lifetime Buddy".

A classmate friend I would classify as some people you know really well for a short time then you both move on...maybe with or without moving from your residence. It is a short-term and wonderful friendship while it lasts.

Some people you have known your entire life and they are more like a sibling than a friend. This I call a "pre-mortal existence or soul mate friendship".

Then there are the people that when growing up you know this person but never really associate. After High School graduation you each go your own ways only to be reunited years later and have an instant bonding friendship. I don't have a name for this one...maybe just "reunited and found friendship".

The worst is the people who pretend really well to be your friend when in reality they are just too nice to say they don't want to be your friend. The realization that you really aren't friends burns and hurts. This I would call a foe friend.

The last and oddest duck out of all friendships is the one where you both want to be friends but there is just something that doesn't click. You try and try to make the friendship work but you just really don't understand and "get" each other. This is truly the saddest of all friendships. I would think this would be like a "well-wisher friendship". You both wish each other well and wish you had a friendship but it just doesn't seem to be.

Why can't you just be friends? Why does the awkwardness always have to exist.

I currently have a friendship like this and it is tearing my heart out.

I want us to be great friends, our families to be able to hang out. I think that she feels the same way but when we do get together...families or alone it seems forced.


I honestly wish I knew the answer. I love her and think she is an amazing woman. I adore her talents and want to learn from her.

I find that I am often asking myself, "What am I doing that causes this awkwardness? Why can't we just hang out? Am I expecting too much in wanting a friendship with her? Is it not her nor I but in reality her husband that doesn't like me so she is keeping her distance? Am I imagining it all and she sees my hesitant behavior and feels like it is me that doesn't want the friendship?

Whatever the cause I am finding more and more we are in the same place and while I desire to go and say "hi", it feels like I would be forcing myself on her. I find this especially to be the case when her husband is around.

I invited them over to our home 4-5 times, each time receiving a "Let me talk to my husband" and a following, "I'm sorry we are ___________." I decided maybe they didn't want to be in our small place so I took the initiative to ask if they wanted to go out to a free exhibit or such, only to get the same response. That is when I wrote off the friendship figuring she didn't want more an an aquaintance.

Once I did that, she started to call and ask me to do things.

I am truly confused. I know she is amazing and I adore her. I want the friendship to work but it seems like if I serve her or try to be a friend I am just intruding. When she offers to serve me, I feel like I am forcing her to.

I wish I could read her better to know if I was better off walking away or keep trying. I want her friendship and I think she wants mine but I honestly don't know.

I have spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and praying about this. Honestly, I don't know the answer.

My heart hurts to loose the friendship and walk away...but I am thinking it might be time to just do that. We just might not mesh like I wish we could.

Friendship is odd or maybe it is me. Maybe I am just socially dis-functional.