Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To Write Their Names

I finally was able to request Gabriel's name written in the sand. I love it.

I think the rule is that I can't actually copy it, so instead go here & scroll down:

Saturday, April 23, 2011


e posted this before, but I love it, so here it is again. This video has helped me through many a dark Friday. It was a Friday that I had to hold our little Gabriel in my arms for the last time, tell him goodbye, and never have the chance to hold him again in this life. There have been many painful Fridays since and I'm sure there will be many more to come. Easter is the promise at the end of those painful days. It means more to me now than ever before. I'm so very thankful to know that my Savior lives and that I will be together with Him and my little Gabriel again. I can hardly wait for that wonderful day. Happy Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nick is 7!!

Today was Nick's 7th birthday! This was his off year for a friend party, (whew!) so we spent it together as a family. Nick's request for breakfast was waffles with a candle, of course. Later, after Ben got home, we went out for a quick dinner at Sizzler!
Nick still got to celebrate with a few friends at his soccer game. He was sooooo excited that he had a game on his birthday. He was sure that this meant that he'd score a goal and the team would win. Neither happened, but he had fun anyway. It was absolutely freezing! The cold rain pretty much pelted the team for the first half and then finally tapered off to a chilly breeze towards the end. Nick didn't even care. He just thoroughly enjoyed getting to play soccer on his day. Nick had us sign up for the treat so we brought cupcakes and everyone on the team got to sing 'Happy Birthday' to him. After that we headed home for more cake and ice cream. Nick insisted I make a jungle cake since he's going to be a zookeeper/researcher when he grows up. He said the cake was way awesome.After cake & ice cream, we opened up presents. Nick got spoiled by finally getting the Nintendo DSi that he's been asking for forever. It was worth it to see the smile on his face. He was so excited & we were greatly rewarded with many Duncan hugs...which are absolutely the best!!

We had such a nice day celebrating this boy of ours. I can't believe he's 7 already. He's already so excited to get baptized next year and go to Scouts. He is such a great example of faith in our Heavenly Father and showing genuine love and kindness towards others. He is just an all around great kid and we are so blessed to have our little Nicky in our family! We love you bunches and bunches and tons and tons Dunkey Monkey!! Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Break

We had a good time during Spring Break. Yes, we got a lot of stuff done, but we had a lot of fun too. On Monday, the kids took a long break from cleaning and went to the park with their friends to play 4 square. Kade also got to go on a picnic with his friend and brave dad who was willing to take him. They all came home a nice new shade of pink. Uh, yeah, sunscreen! I always forget that during those first sunny days of Spring. We were just so excited to actually see sun!!

On Tuesday it was rainy again so we just bucked up and finished cleaning the kids' rooms, and this mean mom decided the kids need to be rewarded the with ice cream at Baskin Robbins. We never just go get ice cream! Maybe that's because I'm ice cream intolerant. Not lactose, mind you, just ice cream. It makes me feel like death. It's kind of good that I'm not a huge fan of it...the reason I could work at both Baskin Robbins and Snelgrove's all those years ago without eating tons of ice cream along the way. Anyway, the kids were stoked to get a special treat and they really deserved it after all of their hard work.

Wednesday the sun came out again and we headed out for some outdoor mini-golfing at Trafalga. I was worried that it would be super crowded, but it was just semi crowded. We had a fun time and I realized just how good Kade is at mini golf. There's some definite talent there! Is there such thing as a professional mini golfer? After doing the first 18 holes, the kids begged to do the other 18 holes. After Alexis lost her ball who knows where and Skylar hit hers into the pond, the kids pretty much gave up and started major-cheating instead of mini-golfing. They thought this was super hilarious. Silly kids.
Thursday we went to Chuck E. Cheese for the boys' birthday pizzas. It's kinda handy having their birthdays just a month apart because then I can roll the dreaded trip into one instead of two. I am not a fan of that place. I just feel like I need a bath after going many germs...ugh! My kids love it though and get so excited when those free birthday pizza vouchers arrive in the mail. They were bummed that the employee there told them that they are phasing them out. Yay for me! :)

Friday we hooked up with our friends, the Tongs and the Jensens for a day out to do something. We had a few ideas but weren't sure what. We headed north but on the way our plans fell through and we decided to make a stop in SLC and go to the LDS church history museum. I had heard it was fun and it turned out being really cool. The kids loved seeing all of the pictures drawn by kids they'd seen in the Friend at the art exhibit, climbing in the bunks that were like those on a ship, and looking at all of the other church history things. They actually have the death masks of Hyrum & Joseph Smith there at the museum. I thought that was really neat to see. I'm kind of a church history fan so I really loved it.

We even got to see a statue of Moroni just like the one on the temples.We finally made our way to the children's section and wow! It was awesome! Think a mini Discovery Gateway but church-related....and free! It was really fun. The kids had fun learning Latino dancing (Skylar was already an expert. I need to post that!), making dinner for the missionaries, planting gardens, and playing in Nephi's ship. What a fun place to visit!

So, Spring Break wasn't a bust after all. We also got in some movie nights with the Dadders and stayed up way too late every single night. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the idea of year round school, but I think it would be a fantastic idea to have these week-long breaks every couple of months. It's so fun to have the chance to just do some fun stuff for a bit and then send the kids back to school the next week. Here's my vote for more Spring Breaks!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


It's Spring Break this week for my kids. So for fun, let's see, Ben & I went to a concert (Arcade Fire...awesome!), I had a girl's night out (yay!), and my kids got to...clean their rooms. I'm like the meanest mom ever!! Nick even said "This is the worst Spring Break!" Okay, well I would agree, except that I really am excited about how clean their rooms are! Also, we also got ice cream as a reward, today, after the rooms were done, I did take them mini-golfing, and we've got big things planned the rest of the week. Spring Break wont' be a total bust!

So this wasn't just a simple clean your room deal. It was a drag everything out of the deepest crevices of the back of the closet and drawers, take out all of the outgrown clothes, dust and vaccum every nook and cranny, and completely overhaul the room-clean your bedroom kind of job. It was a huge job but it's so nice to have it done! So now I've been packing away the outgrown clothes and miscellaneous items, including all the remnants of baby stuff we still had lingering around. For the first time in 10 years, when I was pregnant with Skylar, every single item of baby stuff has been packed away. It's a sobering thought. We no longer have a baby in the house and Gabriel's presence is so greatly missed. Alexis, now at age 2 1/2 going on 15, is growing up, much too quickly for this mom. This month marks the longest we've been without the next baby being here to fill that physical role of the baby in that entire 10 years. My arms physically ache for my baby boy to be here where we want him to be. My heart aches that, for the first time in those 10 years, I have to pack away the baby stuff instead of passing it on.

I don't know if we'll have another baby. We thought maybe Gabriel was our last. We are hoping for another one, but that doesn't mean that it is part of Heavenly Father's plan for us. If I've learned one thing from Gabriel's death it is that we are not in charge. I guess I didn't learn it, I relearned it. I realized that we weren't in charge way back over 10 years ago when we started this whole baby making business and ached so badly to be parents and waited and waited and waited until we realized that we had to wait for the Lord's timing, not just ours. I forgot it along the way but I remember now. I've had a lot of those hopeless helpless feelings that I had back in those yearning childless days, but back then, I knew, I just knew that we'd be parents someday. I don't know now if we'll ever be new parents again. There's no way to know that without time running it's course. That's scary. It's really scary. It's been one of the reasons I've been struggling again so much lately. It's hard to think that maybe our last experience with pregnancy and childbirth ended in so much pain and that's how we'll always remember it. It's hard to think that the new baby brother and sister that my children pray for every day and night might not ever come. All we can do is put our faith in Heavenly Father that what is right for our family will be what happens and then do our part (wink wink Arianne) to bring that to pass.

So, as I was packing away the last of the baby stuff, including a clean out of the kitchen cupboard still holding baby bottles and such, my heart was aching. I wanted so badly to just scream how unfair this all is. I don't want this part of my life to be over. I absolutely adore the baby stage. I love every minute of it....even the late nights, though my kids have always been the best sleepers as babies, so I haven't had anything to complain about. I love all those little moments that I don't even want to mention because I ache so badly for them right now. I want my little Alexis to have that "real baby" that she always asks me for. I want the ache to leave my children's eyes when they tell me how much they long to have a baby in our home again. I don't want to ever quit the baby stage. Ever. I always want to have a baby in my home. Always. But that's not up to me...and it's also totally unrealistic, of course.

In my ache and pity for myself I realized something. Some people have never, ever had the blessings of being a mother. Some have had to work so hard to even get the children they do have into their families. I've been there, for just a sliver of a moment, and it was so very heartbreaking, so very hard. I've always ached for others having to face infertility since then. But here I am, 10 years later, and I've had 10 amazing years of always having a little one in the house, in my arms. I've had 10 years of being fascinated with every first, every achievement, every adorable thing that these little ones do. I've had that time to soak it in and try to imprint those memories in my heart and try to never forget them. I've had 10 years to adoringly behold my little ones. While I still long to have a little one, I feel so entirely blessed that I already have had that chance. If this is all I ever get in this life...because wow, I still have the enormous blessing of raising my little Gabriel in the next will be enough. It will have been an amazing, wonderful, fulfilling 10 years with little ones in my arms. It is more than enough.

Oh and 14 years ago today that most wonderful husband of mine asked me to be his bride. Best decision I ever made. Ever. In our life, we've had more laughter than tears and five incredible amazing little ones join our forever family. Like I said, more than enough. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve and beyond what I could've ever dreamed of.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Sunday was a little bittersweet. I got released from Activity Days, a calling that I have absolutely loved. It has been such a wonderful thing for me to get to have my sweet Skylar and all of her cutie friends in my group. I even begged for them to expand my calling to include the 8 & 9 year olds when Skylar was edging up to age 9 so I got to keep her longer!! It's been such a blessing to get to have such a fun time with all of those girls that I love so much. I will miss being their leader but I'm glad I still get to see these same girls all of the time since they are Skylar's friends and maybe if I stay in my new calling long enough, I'll get to be their leader again! So on to my new calling....I'm back in Young Women's as the Beehive Advisor! I'm really excited and this calling feels so right for me right now. When I got released from Camp Director I felt really torn. I felt like I was really supposed to be in YW but since the calling held such difficulty for me I knew I needed to be released. At the time there were all these changes happening in YW and I kept thinking that maybe I'd be called again to fill one of the spots but I just kept waiting for it to happen and it wasn't. I guess the YW president felt the same and was just looking for the right spot for me too. I'm glad the perfect spot opened up (but sad you had to move for it to happen, Nicole!). So, who knows? Maybe I'll be at Girls' Camp after all, but without the pressure of having to be there if I just don't feel like I can. Of course, Girl's Camp is out if I'm pregnant, which hasn't happened yet, but of course we're crossing our fingers...and fasting and praying and hoping and wishing and yearning and desiring and aching and waiting ...for that to happen. Oh, and eight months ago tonight that precious boy of ours was born. I can't believe it's almost been 3/4 of a year. We miss and love you like crazy little Gabe!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


First off, how lame am I that I asked people to comment, when really, what is there to say? I get that. I'm totally irrational at times, but grief will do that to you. Thanks to anyone who did comment. I appreciate your kind words and the love you show us. Don't feel you need to comment again, although I do love comments. Most people can see more rationally than me and sometimes I just need that. Second off, I'm pretty sure I should be banned from the computer when I'm being a nut case in my low points. Sorry for all of my ramblings. Some days are just so very, very hard. This week just happened to have more of those days than I could handle. Why don't they have secret don't publish buttons for when the computer senses those moments? But I guess those moments are the brutally honest moments and sometimes that's okay...just not pretty.

Today is the 8 month mark since the day we found out that Gabriel had died. It seems like the week leading up to those monthly marks always are tough on me because I just start thinking how long it's been since I've seen and held my little boy and how long I have yet until I see him again. This last week was particularly hard as we dealt with other stresses and disappointments. On Wednesday, we took Skylar to the Dr. after a few days of her just not feeling well and having an ache in her lower abdomen had turned into her sobbing in miserable stabbing pain. The Dr. said that it was without a doubt appendicitis. Anyone watch Friends? Well, if you remember a really old episode there's this time where Joey has kidney stones and he keeps asking the Dr. if it could be anything else and the Dr. just keeps saying, "Kidney stones." over and over. Yeah, that was our doctor. Appendicitis. But could it be anything else? Appendicitis. But anything else? Nope, Appendicitis. Then he basically says, " We'll call the surgeon as soon as an ultrasound confirms it. And by the way, get to the hospital pronto, ASAP, stat."

So, said hospital is the exact one that we had to go to when my OB couldn't find Gabriel's heartbeat. I sobbed the entire way there dreading walking through those doors again. I dreaded that the stupid ultrasound machine, who had not been kind last time, would deliver more bad news for another of my children. It was a very miserable moment for me. There was an old man in the waiting room just watching me as I sobbed with this look of helplessness on his face. I felt so entirely helpless myself. How could we possibly have to be there again, not even 8 months later? So, to make a long story short, after an incredibly long silent ultrasound the ultrasound tech. said that Skylar's appendicitis was thankfully the normal size. There were some lymph nodes that were very swollen probably causing her so much pain. Also a test, which the doctor gave us just as an afterthought, actually came back that Skylar had a UTI. With a round of antibiotics, she'd be fine in a few days....and she is, thank heavens. It was a bonus that she didn't understand what an appendicitis actually meant because despite Mom's panic attacks, Skylar, who usually freaks out at the mere mention of a shot, (and Ben, as usual) were completely calm through it all.

Last night, my friend called and asked if I'd like to join her for a late movie. We went to see Soul Surfer, which is based on the story of Bethany Hamilton, the surfer girl who survived a shark attack but lost her arm. It's a story that I've somewhat followed, because, um, yeah, she surfs (wish I did) and for two, she's awesome. While the movie was a bit sappy, it was really good. I would highly recommend it and if you don't like the sap, well, at least the beautiful Hawaiian scenery is astounding and the surfing is really cool. It's amazing how strong this girl has been despite the challenges she's faced with only one arm. She has great faith in our Savior and has not been shy to share that she's relied on His help every step of the way. She's gotten back in the water and become a national surf champion, and inspired so many on the included.

There's this part in the movie when she is talking to her minister and she says, " I just don't understand. How can this be God's plan for me?" Okay, cue the sobbing from my side there. There are so many times I've asked that question in this trial of losing my precious Gabriel. The minister replies, " I don't understand why terrible things happen sometimes, but I have to believe that something good will come out of this."

I'm still at the point of not understanding why all of these trials keep hitting us and wishing for them to stop. I know the reason that Gabriel isn't here. I know his plan was different than ours and that his plan is filled with joy. At the same time, it's hard to be included in a plan for our family that also brings so much pain to our hearts and I don't get that part. I know that trials help us to grow but I've been so overwhelmed by having so much in so little a time. I don't know why we have had additional scares with other members of our family, especially our Skylar. I don't know why we've had all the stupid things of life seem to happen all at once. I don't know why I've struggled so much instead of being able to be accepting of all of this. But I do have to believe that something good will come out of this, as hard and hopeless as it all seems sometimes. Maybe it won't be the things I really want or expect, but Heavenly Father knows what I need, and He'll always provide that.

The other day, while we were headed to the hospital, Ben texted the bishopric to find someone who could come help give Skylar a blessing before she went into the expected surgery we thought she was facing. In just a short while, the news of Skylar being sick had spread and we had all sorts of texts and calls from people wondering how she was doing, how we were doing, what they could do to help us, etc. It was once again amazing to see how much compassion and love we felt from those around us the very moment we needed it. It makes me realize that in all of this, that is one thing that has been the good that has come out of this. We have been so loved and I think that, in return, has helped us to learn to love more ourselves.

There's an old song I love by Nat King Cole, called Nature Boy. There's a line in it that I love. "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."

Thank you to all of those of you that love us, through the good and the bad, and especially through the insane rantings of a grieving mother.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sorry for the last sucky post, well kind of. I'm totally fine with people knowing how much this whole thing sucks. I'm fine with grieving out loud. I think so often, especially in this baby loss world, people don't want others to know how much they're hurting. Well, I'm hurting, a ton, and yes, still, even after all of these months. I think sometimes we, especially as members of the church, think that we should move forward and don't have the right to mourn so loudly, knowing what we know about the Plan of Salvation. While it is such a blessing to have that knowledge, it still hurts to lose someone. Even Jesus hurt. Even Jesus wept.

I think often that I'm not doing this whole grieving thing right, like there really is a "right" way to do it. Sometimes I think that I put a lot of pressure on myself to get through this with a stronger testimony that results in a more positive attitude and maybe help someone else in the process. I can honestly say my testimony has been strengthened so much by this...the positive attitude and helping thing, not so much. Instead of following one of my favorite quotes (check sidebar), I'm just enduring and not enjoying this at all. Someone pointed out to me that it doesn't mean we have to enjoy every minute of mortality, especially in our trials, but that we strive to find the joy in this life despite the unenjoyable, awful moments. They said that even President Hinkley, who the quote is from, grieved when he lost his wife. In the few years after she died before he was able to join her, he spoke often of how much he truly missed her and ached to be with her again. He, a prophet, who probably had more understanding of the plan of salvation than I'll ever fathom, ached at being separated from someone he loved.

Someone else told me that maybe the reason that this has been so hard for me is because I just love too much. If I have to be accused of doing something too much, I'll take that. I'm fine with loving too much, especially when it comes to my husband and kids. They are all my greatest dreams come true. Ben, Skylar, Nick, Kade, Alexis, and Gabe, you are loved more than words could ever express and as long as forever!! I hope you always know that I love you, even if it's sometimes too much!!

P.S. I miss comments. Even if you want to comment and say, "Seriously, Cyndi, what's your deal? You're such a loser!" and tell me not to publish it, at least I'd know you're out there. It's getting lonely on this end.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A few days ago I took my Activity Days girls to the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU. It was really amazing and I can't wait to go back when I have the time to really concentrate on the beautiful and powerful images of Christ that are there. While we were there we saw the painting The Daughter of Jairus. My friend, who came to help me, pointed out some of the symbolism in the painting and I was amazed at all that I hadn't recognized when I'd seen it before. I've been thinking so much about that painting since. In the painting the grief on the mother's face is so apparent. She is in her darkest moment of loss and despair. I can totally identify with that. I've been there. I am there still. It's a completely horrible and hopeless thing to look on the face of your child and wish for just one breath, to wish that the nightmare of their death was not a reality. It's hard to see any hope in that lasting moment of pain. In the painting however, there is hope. With dawn just breaking behind Him, the Savior is there, and so the story goes that He raises Jairus' daughter from the dead.

I've been struggling again. I've taken yet another plunge in that awful roller coaster of grief when it seems as if I just barely climbed to the top again. Since we came home from California, I've just had this overwhelming lack of hope again. I feel as if I don't have anything to look forward to right now. I look at my schedule now and I've realized how scared I've been to plan anything. Usually by now I've got most of the summer planned and this year I have nothing, not even one single thing. When my hopes have been so dashed, I've struggled to set myself up for more disappointment by making any plans. All my thoughts go to what I would have had planned had things just have been different. I planned to have a 3 month old right now, which is one of my very favorite stages, and some days the disappointment of knowing all of the little things I'm missing with Gabriel is so overwhelming and full of pain. I miss my little boy so very much.

Lately it seems as if I've heard so much about hope, in testimonies of others and in the wonderful General Conference that we just had. When I hear about it, I know that those words are meant for me but it's so hard to hope when your heart has been so broken. As I've thought about the painting of Jairus' daughter the last few days, I've wondered why I struggle so much to just turn my head and see the dawn and the hope waiting at the door. I know what lies in store for me and my family. I know that someday the dawn will break and the Savior will be at my door and Gabriel will be restored to us. Yet, like the mother in the painting, I am so intently focused on the loss that I can't see the hope. It often seems like the only hope I can muster is the hope that one day this will all be over and my family will all be together and Gabriel will be with us. It's just that day seems so very, very far away. Why can't I see any hope in this life and when I do start to see little glimmers, why can't they stay?

I've been pleading so much in my prayers for good things to happen to us. The last eight months have been such a struggle. Beyond the loss of Gabriel, we've had so many little trials and disappointments. I keep waiting for the blessings promised to us after our trials. Last weekend, in General Conference, Paul V. Johnson said, "Sometimes we see the greatest of blessings on the heels of our trials." It's something I've heard over and over again, especially since Gabriel died. I keep looking for "new blessings", for lack of a better way to explain it.

Yesterday, with the help of my amazing husband's guidance, I saw it from a different point of view. While I spend my time looking for these new things to be blessed with, I miss recognizing what I already have been given. I haven't given the Lord credit for the blessings that have come from some of these trials and tests of faith. While we've had scares in our family with my brother possibly having Leukemia, my mom having a blockage in her heart and lungs, and my sweet little Sky having both whooping cough and appendicitis, all of them, through prayers, fasting, and priesthood blessings, have turned out to be less severe than originally diagnosed, and that in itself, has been an amazing blessing.

Sometimes the answer to your most sincere pleadings and prayers is the clarity to see all that you've already been blessed with and know that it is more than you ever felt you deserved in the first place. While I feel a have a grateful heart, I know that I often lack the ability to be content with what I already have. I have more than most of the world does temporally and what a blessing that is. Even if that was all taken away, I have a faithful, caring, and wonderful husband, who stands by my side throughout all my faults. I have a beautiful daughter, Skylar, who has so much passion for life and is always excited to learn new things. I have the sweetest son, Nickolas, whose kindness and compassion, especially with me, touches my heart incredibly. I have my crazy little Kade, who keeps me laughing, always entertained, and never forgets to include his baby brother in all we do. I have my spunky Alexis who is a ray of sunshine in our house with her cute personality and sweetness. I have an amazing and perfect son, Gabriel, who is so valiant and so strong, and holds so much promise for me someday. Like Richard G. Scott shared in conference when talking of his son that had died, the covenant we made in the temple to be an eternal family means that this amazing family of mine will always be mine. I have so much and even if I was never blessed with another thing in this lifetime, I would already have been so blessed beyond measure. So why can't I be content? Why, when I recognize the blessings and truly feel grateful for them, does my heart still ache incredibly for what I don't have?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Names in the sand....

There's a group for baby loss parents where they will write your baby's name in the sand. The results are absolutely beautiful. Seeing Gabriel's name written is such a treasure to me, just like any time anyone says his name. I've wanted to get them to do it for me ever since he died but every time I've checked, they haven't been taking requests. So I did it myself...and then couldn't stop. I love the names of my children. Giving our children their names has been a responsibility that Ben and I have not taken lately. Each name has taken much thought and prayer on our part to make sure it is just perfectly suited for each one of our precious children. I'm so blessed to be a mom and to have such amazing little ones to call my own.