Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 7: A photo that makes you happy

The 4th of July last year was such a good day. We woke up way early to go to the Freedom Run 5k where Ben and Skylar ran with our friends, the Mailes, in remembrance of our friend, Naki. We then headed over to the parade route and joined up with other friends for some good food and fun times watching the parade, cheering for our friends, the Tongs, that were in the parade, and enjoying the celebration of our country that day. This is where this picture was taken...by the famous, talented photographer, Casey, I might add. I love it! We all look so happy, all be it pretty pooped at that point in the day. We were all together as a family enjoying ourselves and having fun. Even little Gabe was there growing and kicking and alive. It was a very happy time for us. It's strange to think that of that group of friends there, two of our families would have to experience the pain of losing our baby boys less than a year later. We could've never imagined what we were in store for on such a happy day, and that's good. I'm glad we had a fun-filled summer last year. I'm glad we had that time of anticipating and growing to love our little baby on the way. Although I don't feel like we had nearly enough time with him, I feel so grateful for the extended time we did have. People often say it would be easier on me if we had just lost Gabriel a little earlier, before I felt so bonded to him. I, on the other hand, wish that if he was going to die as part of his plan, that we had more time with him, more time to create memories for our family where he was part of them. We were so blessed that we had an amazing summer filled with lots of fun family memories, and Gabe was there for most of it. I'm thankful for every single minute that he was.

I recently found a quote that has found a special place in my heart because it shares the complete love I have for my baby boy, as his mother, the only one lucky enough to really know that crazy little kicking boy the way I did.

"I held you every second of your life."

...and I did. What an enormous gift I was given.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 6: A photo that makes you sad

Well, I guess this is an appropriate thing for today, since I've been a little blue on this first of Memorial Days without Gabriel here...and without a place to go to remember him. It's a regret I deal with every day. I wish we had buried that little body he came to earth to get. It was so perfect, too perfect to just hand over to the hospital for them to take care of. Is it crazy that I'm completely jealous that people have these beautiful headstones for their babies and I don't? I just wish I had somewhere to go that was dedicated to him, to show that he was here and he was important. In the people that I've met in this baby loss world, about half of them that lost their babies around the same gestation as Gabe didn't bury their babies. Every one of them has regretted it, like me. I wish they would just require you to bury your baby if you've given birth. It is the worst time for the hospital to ask you to make that kind of decision, when you are in such a state of shock that you can't even think how you're going to be able to make it out of the hospital without the baby that you came in with. It's a regret I'll have to live with the rest of my life, I guess.

We still tried to remember him today with a drive up the canyon while listening to his song. It wasn't the same, but we tried. Since I was still feeling sick we didn't even make it to the angel statue like we wanted to. My mom and dad were so thoughtful for taking flowers for Gabe to place on my grandpa's grave. Thanks mom & dad!! We're planning on making a garden for him near his trees that we planted so that we'll have somewhere that is his place. I guess that will have to do. How I wish it was different. Well, anyway, on to the picture and why it makes me so sad. From the looks of this picture, we look like a normal happy smiling family posing in front of Mesa Falls near Island Park, Idaho. Ben loves this picture. He thinks we all look great. I don't. If you'll notice, my eyes are all puffy. This picture was taken about a week and a half after Gabe was born. We had gone to Yellowstone with our friends the Cox's to stay at my condo for the last time. It was a trip we'd already planned before Gabe died and we felt that we should still go on for the sake of our kids. I was still in such a state of shock at that time. I kind of just was pointed to where I needed to go next and went along with the motions. In a way it was good because it got me out of the house and out of bed where I probably would have preferred to spend that first entire month. I was amazed that I could smile and even laugh on that trip. I remember my friend, Heidi, telling me how well I seemed to be doing. I told her I was just a good actress. Little did she know that every second I had alone or even with just my family, I was letting it all out and bawling. This picture was taken just after one of those episodes of me just sobbing uncontrollably...and hence the reason for the puffy eyes. The worst part of the pictures taken that trip are the fact that they were the start of family pictures where Gabe was missing. Sure, we look normal in them, and to the unknowing eye, we look like a complete family. But it aches that Gabe is never going to be in any family pictures with us, just like he's never going to be here with us for every other family thing we do for the rest of this life. There will always be someone missing, and my heart will always feel an ache for that.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 5: Twenty things that calm you

1. Saying my prayers
In this long process of grief, I think I've really learned how to pray to my Heavenly Father. I've always prayed and sometimes I've been more regular about it. But in the last 10 months, I have really learned to rely on those many conversations with my Heavenly Father to survive. Believe me, not all of those have been pleasant. I know He understands when I'm so broken that my prayers have been filled with such anguish, sorrow, and anger. He understands all of these feelings. I am so thankful for my knowledge of prayer and knowing that when no one else in the entire world wants to hear one more word from me, He does. Having the knowledge that someone is always willing to listen is the most comforting thing.

2. Reading my scriptures
....or the Ensign, or lds.org. I have found so much comfort from gospel truths. What a blessing it is to have all of these resources of God's words right at hand and available as long as we seek them.

3. Attending the temple, especially doing sealings
As I've said before, attending church is not always easy for me. Well, make that never easy for me. It's hard every single week for me to be there with all the babies and without mine. I know that sounds completely petty and I wish it wasn't how I felt, but it's true. Since I've been in YW it has been easier and I'm so thankful for that calling. Anyway, it's not a very peaceful place for me, which is hard because that's where you should go to have peace, right? I feel so blessed that I still have somewhere to go to feel close to my Heavenly Father and my baby boy, Gabriel. The temple is that place and I feel so blessed to have so many near my home. I definitely don't get there as often as I'd like with my other four littles that need supervision, but when I've had the opportunity to go, I've jumped at the chance. Ben and I have especially found comfort in doing sealings together. It reminds us that because of the covenants and promises we made in the temple, that all of our children, all of our family, will be together forever.

4. My Ben
I won't go into the gushy stuff because Ben hates that, but Ben is always, always there for me and is the one person in this world that brings me calm in all of my storms....even if he won't kiss me when I have strep.

5. Hugs from my kids
Awwww.....they are the best....and no matter how stressed out or angry or sad I am, they always make me feel so loved. I am such a lucky mommy to have such loving kids that give the bestest hugs and never make me doubt for a minute that someone on this big old earth loves me.

6. Remembering my baby
There's not much I can do for Gabriel, and that's hard being his mother. That's my job as his mother, to do things for him. I remember him always and doing things to remember and honor his memory give me the greatest sense of calm and peace. We also have this picture in our house that reminds me every day of where he is, in the loving arms of our Savior:Every day I look at that picture a hundred times and it brings me such peace to know my Gabriel is okay and right where he's meant to be. I sure love my little guy.

7. Pictures of my kids
I can't get enough of them. They are just amazingly adorable. When all else is wrong in the world, I get great peace knowing that Ben and I were sent our little ones from a very loving Heavenly Father.

8. Pictures and notes from my kids
I love pictures my kids give me. I love seeing them hung in my home. What a happy reminder they are of the joy my kids bring me. Skylar used to draw a gazillion pictures a day and I never knew what to do with them all. Now I miss them. I'm so glad that I saved at least a million of them. Nick writes the most precious notes you've ever seen and expresses so much love in them. They bring a smile to my heart. Kade is always giving me every picture that he draws at joy school/preschool. He also loves to trace his hand and draw pictures of our family...and he always includes Gabriel....I love that. Alexis loves to have me trace her hand too. I love little hands. It's hard to see them grow bigger but having those little treasures of how tiny they once were is awesome. I treasure all of the little things my little ones give me.

9. The ocean
There is not a place anywhere that I love more than the ocean. The beauty of it, the amazing sounds, the smells in the air, the breeze on my face. It is my absolute favorite place on earth. I could stay there forever and never get sick of it, I'm sure. I was meant to be at the ocean. It's my happy place.

10. Being in the canyon
My second favorite place is the canyon. I imagine heaven is the canyon opening up to the ocean. It is just so very beautiful there. When Gabe first died, I drove to the canyon nearly every single day to find peace in the overwhelming heartache I had. I would point out to my kids just how beautiful it was there and if it was so amazing there, we can't even imagine how very wonderful heaven is. We'd always talk about how lucky our little Gabriel was to be there.

11. Spring rain
I love rain. It is just so peaceful and relaxing. I love how in the spring it makes all of the colors of the blooming flowers just pop out. It makes everything smell good and look clean and refreshed. I don't as much like the cold rain we've had of late. It's been more like winter rain, which I am not a fan of. Spring rain come back!!

12. Summer nights
Oh how I love summer nights. I'm a night owl, so being able to sit outdoors on a warm summer night, without the pelting sun, but instead a warm breeze, is a little bit of heaven. I can hardly wait for those summer nights to come this year.

13. Sitting around a campfire
I love camping and my favorite part of it is the campfire. I just love the smell and the feeling you get sitting huddled around it. I love the calm watching the flames dance brings to me. I'm so excited that Ben and the kids got me a fire pit for my birthday. Now, even though I'd love to go camping every single weekend, we can still have a campfire!

14. Sleeping under the stars
There just is no better way to fall asleep than under the night sky, listening to the sounds of nature, and searching the night sky for the stars until your eyes are just too heavy to look anymore. When I was a kid I slept in my backyard almost every single night in the summer. I say almost every night because my dad made me head indoors every few days so he could run the sprinklers. I haven't convinced Ben of the awesomeness of sleeping under the stars yet, so it's something we rarely do. I guess I'd rather sleep with him, which is a smidgen better.

15. Long, hot, uninterrupted (emphasis on that) showers
I have to emphasize the uninterrupted, because it's rare that I get one that doesn't have someone coming in to see what I'm doing and letting out all of the warm air. Um, the shower is on, so I'm showering, duh. Showers are my very favorite time of my day. Most the times they are rushed, but I still absolutely love the calm and relaxation I feel from a hot shower. It's the only real "me" time I can count on each day, even if lasts only 30 seconds.

16. Massages, especially bum ones
Okay, that may sound completely weird, but do you know how much tension you hold in your bum? A LOT! I haven't always been a fan of bum massages, but I got in this major car accident once and my physical therapist begged me for months to just let someone work on my bum...not him, mind you. Once I finally gave in, I was like ahhhhh....so much relief! Now I'm a big fan of the bum massage. There' s nothing better than working out all of the kinks from a very stressed body. Oh man, I could use one now.

17. Listening to music
I'm a big fan of the music. Nothing relaxes me more than turning on some of my favorite tunes to either dance along to or just sit back and listen to. Remember that huge Eddie Vedder obsession I had? I used to actually write my English papers about how much his music spoke to me and made me chill. What a goofball I am, but it's true. Music is one of my favorite things in the world.

18. Naps
Oh man, I love the naps. Like I said, nightowl. I have always been one, as long as I can remember. Ben has always tried to change me our entire relationship. Not happening. The only thing that can get me to bed before midnight is if I'm feeling ill. I'm just a night person. This does not work well when a nightowl has to get up to care for her kids at the crack of dawn. This especially does not work well when this same nightowl is going through the grief process and waking up every day without all of your children being there takes every ounce of energy you have to just pull back those covers and swing your feet to the side of the bed. I.am.exhausted.all.of.the.time. Thank heavens for nap time. Even if I only get a few minutes, I am so thankful for the time to recharge my batteries to get me through each day.

19. Girls' Night Out
I need them. I crave them. I don't know what I'd do without them. They make me a better wife. They make me a better momma. They revive me. I think it's high time for one!

20. A clean house
Yeah, OCD, remember? There's a time, every Friday afternoon, where everything in my house is clean for the week. The laundry is done and put away. The bathrooms are clean and tidy. The kitchen is swept and mopped. The furniture is dusted and the floors vacuumed. Everything is perfect. It only lasts for about a half hour until the big kids are home from school and the littles are awake, but in that tiny moment, awww....I am completely calm.

Mother's Day Weekend

On May 7 Skylar and I had an entire day out together. We started the day going to the Remembrance Walk at Thanksgiving Point. This is put on by the support group that I attend. I guess this is the yearly thing that people keep going to even years after they've stopped attending the group. It was so nice. As everyone is gathering, they play a slideshow of everyone's precious babies. It was wonderful to see Gabriel's picture of his little feet included in that. Then they had a short ceremony and read the names of all of the babies followed by a moment of silence. It was really very touching to have Gabriel's name read in that list of names and to have him remembered. Afterwards, the members in my group walked around the astounding Thanksgiving Point gardens for a little while. It was a beautiful morning! We didn't stay too long at the gardens, although I would have loved to. We had other big plans that day....Lagoon! Skylar had her annual dance competition at Lagoon and we decided to make a day of it. Every time we've been to Lagoon in the last few years, I have always been pregnant or it was raining or something, so I've never actually been able to go on the rides. We decided this was our chance to just have some fun mom & Sky time! We were able to go on a few rides before dance time began. We went on all the wet rides first...I can't believe I didn't take pics...we got soaked!! We at least had the day to dry off. Skylar also didn't have long to stay in her wet clothes because she had to get into dance mode.

This is Sky's dance group, the Mini Starz:
Here is Skylar all dressed up for her first dance:
Their first dance, How to Believe, from Tinkerbell. They did such a beautiful job!
Dressed for her second dance:
Their second dance, A Hard Knock's Life, from Annie. They were awesome!With her medal. They give these to all the participants, but Skylar loves her collection of them. Her group did do amazing though! They won 1st place for both of their dances!! Whoohoo!! We were lucky that Sky's dances were close together because that meant that we had the rest of the day to just have fun. We joined up with Skylar's friend, Abbie, and her mom, aunt & sister. Abbie's aunt actually lost a baby in 2009 at 17 weeks. It was nice to get to meet her and talk about our babies throughout the day. Skylar and Abbie had a blast together. They've been "best dance friends" since they were 3 and always have so much fun! We had such a great day! I learned along the way that I just don't have the stomach for so many of the Lagoon rides. I'm still a big fan of the roller coasters but the ones that spin around and around like so many that do there make me feel ill! It was still fun to go and Skylar was brave enough to go on everything! Way to go Sky!! My favorite of the day was Wicked. What a thrill!!
The next day was Mother's Day. We spent the afternoon at my brother's house with the family and got a chance to talk to my nephew, Dylan, who is serving his mission in Mexico City.
Here's my mom with the kiddos:
Here is the family with my awesome 96 year old grandma:And here's me with my kiddos. I love being a momma!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 4: What are you OCD about?

Oh my gosh. I think I'm OCD about everything. Okay, not really. I can be totally chill about some things, but one of the things I am really, really OCD about is a clean house. I have a cleaning schedule and I'm pretty good at keeping with it. It honestly comes down to just focusing on a room a day and a section of the house each month, which rotates so each section of the house is completely cleaned once a quarter. It sounds kind of complicated and it sounds like I clean a lot, but I don't. It is more of a maintaining thing. I've found that a little bit of it goes a long way so that when I do clean it doesn't take me forever because it wasn't too bad to begin with. It keeps me sane and feeling a sense of control, especially in the last year when I've felt very out of control of my life.

My kids are also enlisted in the whole clean the house thing. They all have the amount of daily jobs as they are old, beginning at 2 and going up to 8 which we decided was plenty for any one kid. I'm a slave driver! Ha ha. Okay, some of those jobs are pretty simple, like wipe down the table or feed the fish, so I'm not that harsh. But their little jobs make my load a little lighter and I think giving them responsibility, even at the age of 2, helps them learn some very valuable lessons that will help them throughout their entire lives. Plus, our house remains clean for the most part!

Sometimes I can be pretty particular about the exact cleanliness or tidiness of the house. Today I'm actually on my sick bed (ugh! I am always sick these days!!) and in my moments of consciousness I've been watching Friends on DVD. I am such a Monica sometimes. There's an episode where her boyfriend makes the bed and she hurries and tries to remake it so he won't see that she fixed it. Guilty. My sweet husband often tries to make the bed and I'll redo it. The good thing is he's come to expect my OCD about weird things like that and even though I'm a neat freak, he still loves me...or at least tolerates me.

I'm also majorly OCD about planning. As I've said before, this has been one of the hardest things for me since losing Gabriel. He was a very, very planned baby. He was planned around me turning 35. He was planned around our Disneyland trip. His room he was going to share with his big brothers was all planned out...it still hurts to go in there and know he won't ever be there. He was planned to be part of our family...and he is, but not the way we planned. Planning has been a big issue for me since his loss. My brain is often muddled so unless I have a calendar in front of my face I can't remember what is even planned if I do have something planned. I completely space appointments and things, which is so unlike me.

Also, I don't know how to plan because honestly, I don't know where I'll be from day to day or even hour to hour in this grief process. I've gotten to the point where for the most part, I'm okay, but I still have unexpected things that hit me hard. So I don't plan anything...yep, that summer schedule is pretty much still wide open. It's also been hard for us in this with the whole having another baby thing, because once again, I'm faced with something completely out of my control to be able to plan. Anyway, this is one area in my life that I'm trying so hard to learn to let go a little. Someone pointed out to me that if my kids have one summer that is just completely lazy and unplanned, that they'll still survive, and might even enjoy it. I'm sure that's true. It's just hard to give up something that you're already OCD about. Darn OCD!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 3: A photo of you taken over ten years ago

Okay, here you have it. A most awesome picture of me in the 80's. I'm the one in the top right.
All right, all right, so that's not me, but the funny thing is that when I posted that pic on Facebook awhile back people actually questioned the validity of it. They honestly thought it was me!! Ha ha. I could only wish to have been that cool (or that old so I could go to all the new wave shows) back in the 80's. My brother, in fact, did have a girlfriend with such hair and I was always so jealous that she could pull it off. I tried one time to be cool back then. I wore the absolute brightest florescent green pants with a striped florescent green and white shirt with one of those florescent green jelly belts around my waist. I left to school feeling like a superstar and came home with my head hanging low in shame. That was the last time I ever attempted to "look cool."

Okay, on for the real pic. So because 10 years ago we didn't have a digital camera and right now I am just too gosh darn lazy to find one that is not already scanned in my computer, I will share this one and only solo of me that I do have scanned in. It is a picture of me with my friend/roomate's dog, Coolio. Coolio had a short stint at our house until our landlord showed up reminding us that we weren't allowed pets and hoping that the little black ball of fur he saw was not indeed one. Boo. We all loved Coolio. Anyway, right through that doorway is the exact spot where I met the one and only Ben so this picture is old, way old. Yes, I did have red hair at the time. In those years I also had blonde, a super sweet orangeish blond, ash brown (which is gray, did you know? It lasted about 10 minutes), black, and many more variations mixed in there. Ben totally thought I had red hair until we were engaged and was in for a shocker when he found out I was just a plain old boring brown. He almost broke it off. Anyway, with all the gray poppin up all over my noggin as of late, I'm thinking it's high time I went back to the bottle. Since orangeish blonde was the best and most attractive, I'm considering that one first in another attempt to "look cool."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 2: Your favorite movie

Well, wouldn't it be great if I could be one of those fancy people that states that their favorite movie is an artistic movie that moves you to very deep thoughts and makes you reevaluate your life's journey? Well, it's not. My favorite all time movie is Star Wars, actually Empire Strikes Back to be more exact. But, as nerdy as that may seem, there are those important lessons taught from these epic movies. In fact, we have a poster that states "All I needed to learn from life, I learned from Star Wars." Some of my favorite lessons are:

You must choose your own path, no one can choose it for you.

Do or do not. There is no try. (Isn't that a little similar to Spencer W. Kimball's motto? Hmmm...he does bear a resemblance to Yoda.)

Who's more foolish the fool or the fool who follows him?

When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not.

and of course, my favorite: Let the wookie win.

I have to admit that Ben and I are super fans of the whole Star Wars thing. Yep, we've been at the midnight openings. Yep, we've collected memorabilia. Yep, if we wanted to we could give each of our kids the toys we have stored away for the next 5 birthdays and Christmases and we'd still have plenty left for our own collection. Yep, before we had any kids, our 2nd room was basically a Star Wars room. Yep, we're major nerds. But have we ever dressed up as the characters (besides Halloween)? Nope. And does that mean that I like all sci-fi movies? Nope...not at all...ugh. And does that mean that we love all things nerdy? Nope....I hope no one else thinks that! So we're not those ultra weird, name all of your children (though we actually love the names Luke & Leia and our pets are all named after Star Wars) and dedicate your life to Star Wars nerds. We just really, really, really like Star Wars.

I also love all other sorts of movies. I'm a big fan of the motion pictures. Big fan! I especially love comedies and many action. I'm not a big fan of cheesy chick flicks, except for when it comes to John Hughes 80's movies. Are they chick flicks? Because if so, I'm like the biggest fan ever (almost as big as Star Wars). The top of my list on those would be Breakfast Club (I had it word for word memorized when I was 12...of course it was the made for TV edited version), Pretty in Pink, She's Having a Baby, Some Kind of Wonderful, and especially Sixteen Candles, because basically...No worries. Ben knows. I thank him almost daily for getting my panties back.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

30 Days of Me!

So we all know that for the entire last year there's been pretty much one thing on my mind-Baby Gabe. The last year I have been entirely consumed with his life and his loss. Oh how much I love my little guy. I feel that in some ways, I am moving into the whole acceptance stage of grief. Believe me, I still go through every single stage at least once a day, and even hour to hour, but I think I'm finally accepting (whatever that means) this whole life of loss. Then again, that's not true. I know I came to a time many months ago where I just knew, without the slightest doubt, that Gabriel is where he is supposed to be, with our Heavenly Father, and the acceptance began. At that time, the literal physical heartache I had faded away and my heart was instead filled with peace. That peace hasn't left and I'm so thankful for that. I still know he is where he's meant to be, but it's also so hard to be left behind missing him.

Anyway, in all of this last year, I feel that I've kind of lost myself. I'm definitely a changed person. Sometimes I'm not a fan of that person. Sometimes I am. I certainly have grown more than I ever wanted to. I've seen a lot of BLMs' (baby loss mommas) blogs that have spent 30 days of blogging about themselves in trying to get back to normal. Now, I'm sure most people don't want to hear all about me. I don't even want to hear all about me. So, for those of you that don't, just don't read my blog for the next 30 days...even though I have plenty of more subjects I'm sure I'll be blogging about along the way, especially now that I know how to get pictures off my camera! Anyway, I figured this might be a good way for me to think about the things that make me me and help me maybe find my way back to knowing me better. That sounds completely looney, but hey, I'm willing to try it. I decided to start on today, my birthday of all days, since this whole mess of a person began 35 years ago. So, here goes....30 Days of me!!

Day 1: Introduce yourself

Well, my name is Cyndi....actually Cynthia Lee Jensen Jordan. I was born 35 years (yikes!) ago today, May 25th, at 10:37 pm in SLC (that means that at this moment I am still 34!). I'm the youngest of 7 and my parents always promise I wasn't a mistake. :) I was lucky enough to be born into a family that belonged to the LDS church, a major blessing in my life. I was raised in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. I went to Canyon View Elementary, Butler Middle, Wasatch Jr. High, & Skyline High School. I pretty much rocked it in the smarts my whole life (until having kids did me in) but tried to play it off that I was dumb so boys would like me. I was always entirely too into boys my whole life. 29 years ago today I had my first kiss, with Jonathon Gaines, in the woodshed at my condo in Island Park, ID. We then went and had cake and ice cream and he cried because it wasn't his birthday (which was actually a few days before). I lost interest almost immediately and moved on to the next guy, just like I did for many years until I met the man that supercedes all others.

In high school I loved to take a gazillion pictures and scrapbook before there was even a thing called scrapbooking. I loved it so much I joined the yearbook staff for a few years there. It's my only claim to participating in any kind of high school function. I kind of saw high school as one big time for partying (the sober kind!!) and attending school as little as possible while still maintaining a 3.5 or higher GPA. I'm proud to say I still did that....my best friend at the time had a harder time with the GPA and our lack of attendance, but somehow we graduated! After graduation I came down to Provo to go to school at UVSC. I really, really, really wanted to go up to the Pacific Northwest for school. Grunge was in and I was determined to meet Eddie Vedder and join the others up there mourning the loss of the great Kurt Cobain. I was very into music at that time...and still am. However, my parents somehow bribed me into staying here in Zion. I guess I'm glad they did...it helped me meet my Ben, but I can't believe I've lived in Happy Valley for going on 17 years when I never intended to come here in the first place. Someday I will escape...hopefully somewhere without snow and with the ocean breeze!!

After coming to Provo, I soon went to a Mighty Mighty Bosstones concert at the Palace. That is the one and only concert that I ever got up on stage and actually danced with the band. It is also a significant concert because it was also the first time I saw the local hip-hop group, the Numbs, who opened for them. The Numbs would change my life. Not only did I become a major groupie and friends with that crazy group of guys, but they later introduced me to one of their friends from high school, fresh of the mish just one day. Yep, my Ben. I still remember the exact moment I met the guy. He doesn't. He was so overwhelmed with the whole concept of going over to hang out with these "really cool girls" just a day fresh from the mission, that it was all a blur to him. That night, after hanging at our way cool house for awhile, our friend, Gunnar, realized that he'd locked his keys in the car. Ben came to the rescue by promptly breaking into said car. With the knowledge that this R.M. was awesome at breaking and entering, I began to fall in love...and we were soon together forever.

Okay, okay, it wasn't exactly like that. It actually took months for Ben to look my way. Granted, I was dating one of those Numbs boys and he thought I was taken, but still. After me and the DJ broke it off, I moved in on Ben. Okay, I didn't. As much as I liked boys, I was always extremely shy around them if I totally dug them. I was lucky enough to have a friend, Kanani, who had known Ben forever, who when she found out that I was crushin' on him, stated with absolute certainty, "Oh you guys are perfect for each other. You're going to get married!" She then went to work making that happen by lining up all sorts of activities in which Ben and I would be forced to be together. One night Ben came over to our abode and somehow everyone just disappeared. We talked all night long, until the break of dawn, when finally we had our first smooch...or two. It was totally scandalous that we spent the entire night together, but it was perfect, and we were soon in love, and just like Kanani predicted, we got married on July 1, 1997 in the Mt. Timpanogos temple.

So our first years married were spent with us going to school or alternating going to school or working to pay for school. We also had a ton of fun living it up with our many awesome friends in our married student ward. Those were such fun times that we never wanted to leave and hence we were both in school FOREVER. I'm pretty sure we still hold the record for being in that ward the longest. Yeah, we're awesome. Ben went to BYU and I was at UVSC. For many of my years in life I wanted to be an OB nurse with the greatest desire. I worked as a CNA for years. After getting all of my stuff done to enter the nursing program, I decided I was done with that dream and changed my major to Elementary Ed. I had to begin all over and it took me forever to get through school but El. Ed. was awesome and I loved it! I never actually taught because in the first few weeks of my student teaching I found out that the baby we'd been trying for forever was on her way. Thank heavens for cooperating teachers because I took many a bathroom break to puke my guts out but somehow completed student teaching and graduated in April 2001.

Skylar D. was born that September and my absolute dream of being a mom finally came true. Nicky D. joined the family in April 2004, and a few days later Ben graduated from BYU. After a few months we realized our stint in the married ward needed to come to an end and we moved to our first house in North Orem. McKadey Jake was born in March 2006, Alexis Lou was born in September 2008, and our precious angel, little Gabriel, was born still in August 2010. Along the way, we also adopted a dog, Koda, a few cats-Gracie, Soffee, Q-tip, Cali, & Darth Catter (only Soffee and Catter are still with us), numerous amounts of fish, and a lizard named Luke. We live in Orem, I'm a stay at home momma, while Ben brings in the bacon being a web designer for none other than the LDS church. We enjoy the most beautiful view of Mt. Timpanogos every day, camping, Disneyland, and long walks on the beach.

Now that, was a mighty big intro, but there you have it. If you were completely bored out of your mind, tune in again in 30 days!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We did it!!!

Saturday was such a great day for the Running With Angels 5k! After raining pretty much forever, the skies finally cleared and the day turned out to be absolutely beautiful!!

Skylar stepped up and joined me in doing her second 5k...what a rockstar, eh? My sweet friend, Mindy, was going to walk with me to remember her Sarah, but wasn't feeling well. She just had surgery two weeks ago so even thinking she could do it in the first place was amazing enough! We missed you Mindy and Sarah was definitely still remembered!!
They started the walk out by releasing some doves in remembrance of all of the angel babies. It's so hard to see just how many people are at these kind of things because they have had the pain of losing a baby. My heart literally aches to see so many but it's also so inspiring to see how many don't want to forget their babies and are finding a way to honor their memories.
We started to walk and we took it slow. We were quickly passed up by plenty of runners.
Meanwhile, the littles and Ben headed over to the Children's gardens for some playing. What a bonus that they could visit there while we walked.
The walk couldn't have been in a more beautiful place. I absolutely love Thanksgiving Point Gardens!! It's just amazingly beautiful there!
After about a mile and a half Skylar was spent. In her defense, she had been at a late-over the night before so was missing out on a little bit of extra rest. She was ready to quit though and was looking for all of the escape routes along the way. I reminded her that we were doing this for Gabe and she kept on....with a lot of coaxing from me!!We made a quick stop for a pic of us at one of my favorite spots in the gardens.
The last hill was kind of killer, but we made it! Skylar was pooped!!
Towards the finish line Nick, Kade, & Alexis joined up with us. Kade had wanted to do the entire thing with us. He absolutely loves to do anything for Gabe and never forgets his baby brother. In the end, he was happy to just help us cross the finish line!
Cross it we did! Okay, so I didn't really have a goal for time or anything...I just really wanted to finish...but I kinda was hoping we'd make it in less than an hour. We had walked very slow the entire time...more for Skylar than me...but we kept at it. We were beat by a ton of old ladies and little kids but we made it at 59:59!! Woot! Woot!
Along the way, we were able to meet up with my new internet friend, Kris. Kris contacted me after reading my story on Faces of Loss (which isn't even there anymore...but is now here). She lives here in Utah and has a very similar story to mine. We lost our baby boys, both our fifth babies, at the same gestation, both due to cord accidents. We've been chatting a bit over the last few months. She's actually the one I found out about the Running with Angels 5k from....thanks Kris!! Her baby, Luke, just had his due date the day before the 5k. How awesome is she for getting out there to do a 5k in his memory in a week that I know was one of her hardest in this? I have found out through this that many of the moms of these angel babies are some of the most amazing and strongest people I've ever met. I've heard the saying..."It's a horrible club to be in but with the most wonderful members." I'm so glad we finally met Kris!!
Oh and my foot? Fine. It seriously, honestly, did not bother me at all. I consider that no less than a miracle because it has been nothing but trouble the last few months (and years). There is no doubt in my mind that my Heavenly Father and my little Gabriel helped me get through that 5k. I know for most people (um...especially my three kick-a friends that did the Women of Steel triathlon at the same time) a 5k isn't a big deal, but if you had to walk a usual day with the pain in my foot, you'd be amazed that I completed it without pain. What an amazing tender mercy...oh how I love those!! I'm so glad we did this. Next year we hope to include the whole family in it. We've already decided it's going to be a yearly family tradition as a way to remember our precious baby Gabe. We love you sweet boy!

P.S. I finally figured out how to take the pictures off our new camera! More picture posts to come soon!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Running With Angels

I don't know what I was thinking when I signed up for this, but I'm going to do a 5k tomorrow! Yes, me! I don't do 5ks and in all my life have never aspired to, but this one is different. This is the Running with Angels 5k. The proceeds go to the Angel Watch program, which helps out families who find out that their hopes and dreams have been shattered with a fatal diagnosis for their babies. It also supports the wonderful services that are provided when a baby does die...the hand and foot prints and molds, the pictures, the sweet blankets that those babies are wrapped in, the little box that holds all of these precious mementos...the only things that most families will have as memories of their babies. I am so thankful that I have one of those boxes with my precious Gabriel's things. Needless to say, the purpose of this 5k is close to my heart.

It's not going to be pretty. I will definitely be walking it, if not hobbling it. I don't run. I used to not be too shabby in that department...I could do a seven minute mile back in the day. One day I found this sign that I attached to my car that read "HIT ME!" and 10+ car accidents later, most of which ended with some major whiplash, my neck just can't handle the impact running brings with it. Besides that, I've got my stinkin' foot that is a constant source of pain. It's been killing me lately, especially since our killer week in California. It's even gotten to the point where it hurts and throbs even when I haven't been on it at all....and it hurts more when it rains (which it's been doing non-stop forever lately), as old person of me as that sounds. Ugh. Add that to a whole new list of maladies that have been kicking my butt lately, and I'll be happy if I cross the finish line. If I do, it won't be me alone doing it. I know I'll have some heavenly help that will keep me going....and the promise of my very first pedicure tomorrow afternoon.I just finished reading the book, Running with Angels, by Pamela Hansen that started this thing. It's amazing what this woman has done through her own grief. She lost two babies, one of which had a very similar story to Gabe's. She wrote in her book: " Our trials will continue throughout out lives. But we cannot give up. Even if we stumble and fall, we need to pick ourselves up and keep running. We may not win the race, but speed does not matter. What matters is that we keep going, forging ahead, enjoying the journey, recognizing and feeling grateful for the divine and earthly help we receive along the way, and ultimately finishing the course. We can overcome. We will triumph. We are running with angels." I hope that somehow I can make it tomorrow through this insane attempt to do something to honor my sweet baby's memory. I am trying my best to forge ahead with this new life and trying to look for moments of enjoying along with enduring. It's never easy, as I'm sure tomorrow won't be, but I hope that I'll have someone rooting for me on the other side. I'm doing this for you, baby Gabe. I love you, love you, love you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


That big 3-5 is looming. I've accomplished none of the three goals I wanted to do by now-learning to surf, learning to scuba dive, and being finished having my children. Isn't that just pathetic? Ben keeps telling me that the whole goal to be done having children by 35 was not really a goal I could control, so it wasn't a great goal to set in the first place. I know that. But I have my own personal reasons for wanting to be finished by now, which I won't necessarily go into, but two of them being that after 35, the risk of baby loss and infertility go up. Ironic, eh? The scariest thing for me is to think that maybe I've already done what I set out to do. Maybe I am done with this whole baby making business. Maybe the last chance I had to have a baby is actually going to be postponed for the rest of my earthly life and my empty, aching arms will remain that way. I'm trying to be okay with that, but in reality, I'm just really not okay with it at all, and that looming birthday is just a reminder of it all. Stupid, stupid birthday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Dragonfly

I've had a few people ask me about the whole dragonfly/baby loss thing. I've been trying to find the perfect description that I read that explains the significance of dragonflies and butterflies with baby loss. I can't. I know it does have something to do with some old legends that they signify the freeing of the spirit from the body and their ability to fly and do anything now. Many baby loss mommas think that when they see a dragonfly or butterfly it is a sign from their lost babies, showing them that they are okay.

Now, I'm not really a believer in all of those "signs" and things. I know Gabriel, at times, is near but when I see a dragonfly, I don't think that it's Gabriel there to see me. I certainly know that my son is not a dragonfly. But one of the hardest things about losing a baby is that you don't have those tangible things to remind you of them. You don't have many pictures...the ones I have aren't great. You don't have clothes they've worn or many things they've touched. This is even more compounded for those that haven't had the chance to see or hold their babies in their arms. These tangible things that can represent your lost child can bring some comfort when you need to remember them.

I've actually always thought both dragonflies and butterflies were beautiful, but dragonflies have always been my favorite. They are just fascinating. When I heard about the significance of them, I couldn't help but think of Gabriel when I saw dragonflies. I also like that dragonflies aren't quite as common as butterflies, so we have to look for them. When we see one now, the kids always point it out. I've gotten a few dragonfly items (and actually already had some before) and the kids always call them Gabe's dragonflies. It's helped them to have something tangible to remember him by.

I do know of this amazing story about dragonflies and I wanted to share it.
The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

I love this story and its symbolism. I know that my Gabriel is alive more now than ever before. I can only imagine the wonders he gets to see. He is where he is supposed to be and I'm sure he's busy making a difference in so many lives. I know he's made a difference in mine and I'm so glad to be his mother. I can't wait for that day when we meet again, and he can show me all of the truly glorious things he's already seen.

I love you baby boy....so very, very much!

“Even though our journey may be fraught with tribulation, the destination is truly glorious.”

—Elder Quentin L. Cook