Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Forever Family

I am so glad that I was able to attend my grandma's funeral. When I first found out that she had passed away we had only just been to Yakima the week before and a new semester had just started for Thomas. We are a one car family so there didn't seem any way I could go back again. My parents offered to pay for me to fly to Portland where my other sisters were flying in too and then we drove together to Yakima. I was shocked at how emotional I was. We arrived the night before the funeral along with a bunch of other relatives. It was nice being able to be around a lot of family and meeting again since I was a little girl a lot of relatives. I was so impressed that most of my grandma's nieces and nephews came from Arizona, Utah, and California to attend the funeral. I mentioned to my grandpa that it is speaks very well of my grandma and shows what a great impact she had on her neices and nephews that they would make the effort to come and his response was "I'm really proud of Vona." I want to live in a way that I can make my husband proud like that. So sweet. I must say I have some really nice family members. I didn't think that I would go into the room where they were having the viewing. I didn't think I wanted my last memory of my grandma to be of her dead. But as we arrived at the church and I sat looking at some of my grandma's scrapbooks that were laid out I started to feel like I should or else I would regret it. My sister Erin and I decided to go in together and if we didn't feel comfortable we would just walk out. When I saw my grandpa sitting there in the front row next to my grandma's open casket with my dad and mom by his side I lost it. I felt probably just a miniscule amount of his grief at losing the love of his life after 66 years of marriage and it was the saddest feeling I've ever felt in my life. I held on to my mom and cried and then held on to my grandpa and cried and cried. I can't even put into words how it felt to see him by himself, just the saddest thing ever. For about 30 minutes before the funeral services started I sat and cried hard and loud and ugly. I'd get it under control for a minute and then it would start again. I can't imagine the immensity of grief if I didn't know that my grandpa (and all of us) will be reunited with my grandma again. I know he will see her again but it still hurts that he has to be without her for awhile. I realized that 99% of the time that I'm sad or cry is because I hurt or I feel sorry for myself. But at my grandma's funeral I cried for my grandpa and his hurt. Every day that first thing I ask for in my prayers is that he will feel the comfort that comes from our Savior Jesus Christ and that there will be people who will visit him and help bear his burdens. I wanted to bear his burden so bad and all I could do was sit next to him and hold his hand during the services. At the graveside service it was so cold and he was just wearing a suit coat (which by the way he looked so handsome) so I scooted my chair next to him and entwined my arm with his to keep him warm. My grandpa is such an amazing man. He was so patient and loving with my grandma. He always helped with dishes and cleaning the house and was so handy around the house. In the limo ride back to the church after the graveside service my dad asked my grandpa what he is going to get replaced next (we had been talking about his brain surgery from earlier this year) and my grandpa's reply was "Nothing I'm ready to go meet Vona again." It wasn't said in a depressing way but just a matter of fact kind of way that was so sweet. I was really proud of how my dad stood by my grandpa all day. When they asked if anybody would like to say their last goodbye's before they closed the casket my dad went up and stood with my grandpa. My mom and dad have been going over every day with the great grandkids too and I know that makes my grandpa happy. While I was there I went over every day and would look at my grandma's scrapbooks. AMAZING she has documented every since my dad was born and up until the present. I'm really impressed with the pictures and the captions (many of which my grandpa would type). There are so many neat stories to be found in those scrapbooks. After the funeral and lunch we all met at my parents house for the night. Again it was the most comforting thing to be around all the family. The night before the funeral my grandpa was really quite and I probably only heard him say a couple sentences the whole night but the night of I think was healing for him too. There was tons of chatting and food and even laughter. I learned how maybe even if you don't think you need to be at a funeral for yourself that it's important to be there for the support of your family (and really it does help you too). I know that families can be together forever.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This past summer was the first time I realized how I grieve. The young nephew of my sister-in-law drowned and we attended the funeral. Neither Thomas or I knew Jason well but we wanted to support the family by being there. The funeral was held on the high school baseball field because he was an avid baseball player. It was a great tribute to him and his short life. On the way home I just couldn't even talk and just immediately got home and crawled under the covers and went to sleep. The next couple days I just felt in a funk and couldn't figure out why. Until finally I made a connection and realized that that was how I grieved. In my final days in Ecuador I was in the same funk. I didn't feel like talking and was just in my own thoughts for days and even felt grumpy when those thoughts were interrupted. All the other girls when they would leave the orphanges on their last shift would just cry and cry and cry. I remember that van ride home and I was just blank. Before heading back to the states we went on a week long trip to the Amazon. The whole plane ride and boat ride there which was probably around 6 hours (?) I just remember staring out the window and having the same thoughts repeat over and over in my mind. Then I thought I was just a grumpy girl now I realize that I was grieving. Coming back from the mission... same thing. I grieved a chapter of my life closing. Today I am grieving the death of my Grandma Clement who passed away yesterday. Today is when it hit me. Although Thomas and I were just there last week I couldn't go and see here in the hospital. I didn't want my last memory of her to be of her hooked up to tubes. I question if this was selfish of me but I am glad for my last memories of her. Just last month I was able to see my Grandma playing christmas songs on the piano for us. I loved hearing her play on the piano, she would put her own spin on the songs and it was beautiful. I'm glad I took a picture.
Earlier that week my mom and I had gone grocery shopping for her and my grandpa and when we returned with the groceries we sat and chatted for a bit. She was telling me about these pies they like that a neighbor brings over and that they get the pumpkin and pecan but she told me "I like the pecan one better, naturally because it has more fat :)" That just made me laugh, a woman after my own heart. I have been very lucky to have always had a pretty close relationship with my grandma. Every other summer another of my sisters and I got to go to Arizona and spend a couple weeks.
This is Bea and I outside on the swing at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Safford. We loved that swing. I loved that she had a candy drawer and it was never off limits. I loved that she had tons of old dress up clothes and enjoyed our fashion shows.
The black sparkly dress my grandma made for herself to wear. The pinkish/purplish dress with the black lace around the collar was a prom or homecoming dress of my mom's. The organ in the background was played beautifully by my grandma.
These scrapbook pages are ones that she taught me how to do :)
I loved that she took us to the local pool. I loved that she took us shopping for new clothes. I loved watching movies with her. I loved that she kept journals. From the day that my dad was brought home from the hospital til he graduated high school she kept a journal as if from his point of view. I loved reading that and getting to know what my dad was like as a kid. On my mission I sent her all my pictures and she made about five full scrapbooks for me documenting my mission. Her and grandpa also helped each month to pay for my mission and she insisted that those 18 months they recieved many blessings for contributing. Even after being back for three years she still called me "our missionary". I can't help but think that our little girl is sitting on her great-grandma's lap right now in heaven and grandma is telling her lots of stories about her family in preparation for her to meet them. I hope baby Brooklyn is learning from her and comes to us with a heart full of love and kindness just like her great-grandma Clement. My heart breaks for my Grandpa who was so kind and loving to my Grandma. A couple years ago I remember looking through a scrapbook my grandma was working on and finding a little sticky note that said "Damn she's pretty". My grandma laughed and said grandpa was always leaving notes like that for her. She said "he doesn't look at me and see me all old like I am, he sees me like I used to be" (and she pointed to an old picture of herself).
Even not seeing her as much it has been hard hearing about and seeing Grandma as she struggled and aged but I will think of her as she was and as she now is in heaven, happy and vibrant. My hope is to carry on the legacy of my grandma who was one of those people who thought so much of you that it inspired you to be the kind of person that in her mind you were. There is no doubt in my mind how much my grandma loved me and all of her 4 granddaughters. May I be as gracious, loving, and beautiful inside and out as my Grandma Clement. Some random memories of my grandma that I want to keep remembering: Indian jewerly, lemon drops, vienna sausages, bag of movies she brought with her when she came and visited us in Idaho, boxes in the mail with decorations for different holidays, trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion's national park, and pipe springs

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's a GIRL!!

Neither Thomas and I slept very well last night in anticipation of our ultrasound this morning.  We were both surprised that we were so restless because we didn't think we were that anxious.  Thomas said he just kept having dreams of an ultrasound and couldn't see the baby's parts.  I finally got up out of bed at 6am because I couldn't fall back to sleep.
Our appointment was at 8am and I'm so glad we didn't have to wait around all day.  Plus since it was the first one of the day there was no waiting :) The ultrasound tech was the same one who took the ultrasound at 6 weeks and she is super nice and complimentary.
She first checked the brain, heart, limbs, and kidneys.  The baby's head is really low so it was difficult to get some of the headshots at first. Also she kept putting her hands in front of her face.  And about 40 minutes in when we went to look for the gender she had her knees together and ankles crossed.  What a little lady right?! But we got the angle we needed and were happy to find out it was a girl :) Thomas thought it was a girl all along and I just didn't know.
Profile shot 

Little baby feet

Lady parts (See the knees together)
We are pretty set on naming her Brooklyn Brielle and couldn't be more excited to see her in person in 19 weeks!!!
Here are some short video clips of her moving a bit and swallowing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas 2011

This year for Christmas I went up to Washington a week sooner than Thomas since he had to work and I was already out of school and didn't want to just be sitting around with him gone most of the day.
My mom and Bea (and Emmett) came and picked me up in Boise and we all headed back to Yakima.
I got to spend a lot of time with my little nephews and I loved that.  They are both so darn cute I can't handle it.  Some of my favorite things Emmett would do was his big smile whenever I came in the room and said "Hi Mr. Emmett-t-t." (Alex used to repeat the "T" sound on Emmett when he was younger.) Alex heard my mom burp once and say excuse me and then he would make a fake burping sound and say "Excuse me's".  We laughed pretty hard at that one so of course then he would do it over and over again.  I also loved taking Alex outside to play and when birds would fly by he'd say "1,2,3 birds! (even if there were more) Bye, bye birds see ya later." He is also learning to say "No, thank you".  So when you ask for a hug or a kiss he will say "NO! No, thank you."  It's pretty darn cute, but frustrating too cause you just want to lay a big wet one on him but have to respect his politeness.
I thought I was done with all the throwing up but I think traveling might throw me off because I had one whole day of not being able to keep anything down and then two other days of throwing up in the mornings.  Now that I'm home I've just felt naseaus in the mornings but haven't thrown up.  Overall though I'm feeling a million and a half times better than before.
Thomas got me a pass to the gym that is like a three minute walk from our house and I have actually had the energy to go and workout.  Today I tried the kickboxing class.  The instructor was this ripped guy wearing spandex shorts with his junk very noticable and a wife beater.  When he would show us the kicks agains the punching bag it was so loud and intimidating.  I ended up being his partner cause everybody else had one and I was a little scared I might get kicked by him haha.  I made sure to let him know I was preggo :) I am excited to try out the yoga and zumba classes as well.
We ended up celebrating Christmas as on 30th since Thomas didn't get to Yakima til the 29th. Surprisingly, it really wasn't a big deal to wait and it just made the holiday season stretch a little further.
For New Years Eve we had Thomas' mom and another couple and their kids over for games.  I didn't make it til midnight.
I was able to go and celebrate Christmas with Thomas' family (Thomas was still in Boise) by having a nice dinner and then his parents got everybody presents.  I loved getting a little giraffe seat for the nursery it made me even more excited for a little baby to get here.
Thomas and I got to go out with Sandee my MIL one day and shop for fabric for the baby's room.  She will be making pillows, a valance, and the crib skirt.  We are decorating the nursery in greys, yellows, whites, and blacks so even though we don't know the gender yet (we find out Monday!) it will be gender neutral.
On our way back to Boise we finished the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy on CD.  We really enjoy listening to books on CD now as we travel it helps the time go faster.

First Grade Funnies Final Edition

Friday was my last day of my long term sub job in the first grade.  I had such a great experience teaching the first grade.  It was very fulfilling being able to plan lessons again and be able to work with the same group of students each day.

On my last day the kids were just on a role with their little funnies.

Ashlynn: "For one matter of fact..." or "You want to know for one matter of fact?!"

Ashlynn: "My feet are freezing to death!" Ethan: "Your feet can't be freezing to death they are already dead."

Ashlynn: "I am a REALLY good art worker."

Zeke: "My mom says if I put up my bad finger when Grandpa's at my house he WILL cut it off."