Monday, December 20, 2010

Our December so far...

I have way too much to catch up one, so I decided to make it one big post! We've had quite an eventful December so far! The first thing on our list was Haylee's Winter Dance Recital! Her costumes this year are to die for! She's the cutest Snow White you've ever seen! If she didn't have to wear it one more time in the Spring, I'm pretty sure she would live in it! She was so excited to get all dressed up with make-up and go dance with all of her friends!

Dylan (the proud brother) and Haylee all ready to go!

a quick picture with her friend Hadley. These two can get quite silly!

getting her smile on before the music started!

following along with her teacher

what you didn't see was, Haylee was the last one down! Better late than never :)

our beautiful dancer!

she loves when her cousins come to watch her!

Matalie (Haylee's biological half-sister) and Haylee

Cindy, Mindy, Matalie, and Haylee

Haylee, Shelby, and Jake

Haylee loves her uncle Jason!

Haylee and Grandma Pam

Jason, Meghan, Beka, Davis, and Jaxon

Kenzie, Jojo, and Haylee!

Theresa (Mimi T) and Haylee

The proud parents and our silly little girl

Daddy's girl

Grandpa Steve and Grandma Lucy
The second thing on our list this December was a visit to Santa's house. Every year we go to the same Santa. He's the real deal and our kids love him! This year they both sat on his lap without our help and actually smiled!!
Haylee made sure to tell Santa that she wanted a baby alive and Dylan was just happy that he got a candy cane!
After experiencing such heartache this past month, it was nice to have something good and exciting happen for our family! My brother Jake got engaged to Shelby! I won't tell their story since I don't really have permission, but what I can tell you is... Shelby is perfect for Jake. She came into his life at a perfect time. It's one of those times where you know the Lord's hand played a part in bringing them together. There are too many coincidences to say otherwise. Shelby is also a sweetheart. She is one of the most sincere girls I've ever met. You can tell she truly cares and loves everyone in our family. She loves to be apart of our lives. She's tender, and honest, and has an inner and outer glow that is contagious!
When Jake was trying to figure out a way to propose, he called on me to help! While they were out with her parents and my parents I decorated my mom's house with rose pedals and candles. He had a present waiting for her that had everything they loved together. She was super surprised and tears were definitely shed. It was perfect!
waiting for them to come home to

some of the things they love together

the happy couple

I just love these two!!

Jake and Shelby with Kenzie and Jordan

Her beautiful flowers and ring!!
Most people know that I have the most hard working husband in the world! To top off his normally busy schedule, when December comes he works even longer hours!! We're talking 7 days a week and 16 hour days! To stay busy and to keep the kids from climbing up the walls with me at home, we have to think of things to do without him! Friday night I thought it would be fun to head over to Thanksgiving Point to see their holiday lights. I invited my mom and Mark to come along! The kids had a blast! They loved seeing and waving to all of the lights! At the end of it all, they have an area where two of Santa's real life reindeer live. The kids couldn't get enough of looking at them and yelling "Hi Reindeer!" Haylee was convinced she was going to see them fly :)
glued to the pen

the real deal

posing with Grandpa Mark

my best attempt to getting a picture of the kids together
Now that it's the week of Christmas we just have one day of pre-school and the rest of the week of late nights and play (for me and the kids at least. Brett will join us for fun on Christmas Eve). I just love this time of year. I love all of the family time we get to spend together. I love all of the new memories we get to create. I love the birth of our savior we get to celebrate. It's just a magical time of year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Haylee turned 4!!

I'm in a little bit of denial that I have a four year old. I can remember the day she was born like it was two weeks ago. Haylee is the sweetest girl I know. I also can't get over how beautiful she is. The fact that Brett and I were actually chosen to be her parents is completely overwhelming! We just love her dearly and can't get over her little personality.
Haylee is still into princesses big time! So, when we were trying to come up with an idea for her birthday party, Brett suggested that we hire Cinderella to come. Lets just say, it was the cutest party I have ever seen! Cinderella was a big hit and kept all 11 girls entertained, which right there in its self was worth every penny!

this picture has nothing to do with the party. I just love it because this is what she was wearing when she stepped off the bus from school!

ready for her royal ball

her princess cake

a warm welcoming hug from Cinderella herself!

loving her stories

the girls were glued to her the whole time!

what a bunch of beautiful princesses!

the birthday girl

posing with her flower

learning the proper way to twirl like a princess

ring around the rosies

getting a birthday crown from Cinderella

"thank you Cinderella! Come back tomorrow!" were Haylee's words

opening presents

blowing out the candles

after the party Mindy, Cindy, Marco, and Matalie came over to say hello and give Haylee some darling sparkle clothes and paper doll!

after they left we gave Haylee the last of her presents. She loved her bike! I told her she couldn't ride it in her dress, so she just stripped down and took off :)
Haylee had such a great birthday and has been playing with every toy and riding her bike around the house like crazy this morning! Thanks everyone for making it so special and a special thank you to Brett's parents for letting us host it at their house so all of our friends could come!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I don't even know how to begin...

It's been three weeks now since my dad opted to leave us and I've really wanted to write down my thoughts. I just don't know where to begin! I've debated whether or not I want to share the details about how I found out. I'd like to remember certain things, but when this is such a touchy subject, I just don't know how much I really want people that read my blog to really know. As much as I really do speak my mind, I am a private person. I guess I'll start with my last pleasant memories...

My dad called me around mid-October and announced to me that he was getting married. He had been dating his girl friend for a little while now and decided they had found their soul mates. They were going to be married in Vegas since they were going down there for Theresa's niece's wedding anyway. He didn't want to make it a big deal, so didn't think that any of his kids would want to come. Especially since they'd be getting married on Oct. 30th, which was technically Halloween in Utah. I didn't really give my dad a choice. I called up my brothers and we all figured out how to make the quick trip work. My brother Jared who lives in California even made the trip to Vegas. Jake and I got there on Friday night around 9:30 Vegas time, went and grabbed Jared, checked into our hotel, and headed out for people watching at its finest. First we stopped by my dad's hotel to tell the happy couple good luck! We stayed and chatted for about a half hour, then left to hit the city. Jason, Jordan, and Kenzie finally arrived around 3:30 am Vegas time, then we all hit the sac. That morning we met Dad, Theresa, her brother Kevin, her son Chanse, and his wife Janell at the court house. My dad looked so excited and I hadn't seen him that happy in a very long time. His ceremony was very casual, everyone wore jeans. We teased that the clerk couldn't even pronounce his name- she kept calling him "Dougruss." All in all, it was a happy time. After their ceremony we headed over to a wonderful cafe at the Wynn hotel. Their breakfast was seriously the best I had ever tasted! We were all together laughing and happy. When breakfast was over, my brother Jason and I had to head home to be with our kids for trick-or-treating. I remember giving my dad a big hug. He had tears in his eyes, which made me teary too. I remember him saying "I hope you know how much I love you Boo!" I said "I love you too dad." and gave him a kiss. He thanked me for making it down there for his wedding and I told him I wouldn't have missed it. Then as we walked away, we just sort of held hands for awhile. Being my dad's only daughter, we have a very special bond. Then we came to the point where we had to go our separate ways. And that was the last time I really saw my dad alive.
Jared, Jason, Me, Theresa, my dad, Jake, Kenzie, and Jordan at the court house

Fast forward to Monday... I called my dad to see how the rest of his weekend was and he told me it didn't go too well. Him and his wife had an argument over something that was a misunderstanding. I told him things would work out. He had to catch the other line on his phone, so I told him I loved him and that was the last time I talked to my dad.
Fast forward to 3:30 AM on Tuesday... I walked through the doors of my house exhausted. I had been at the hospital since a little after 9:00 PM. While at the hospital I had to sit in a tiny room full of my family, my dad's parents, my brothers and their wives, my husband, my dad's brothers, Theresa and her sons. We all had to talk to doctors and decide if we wanted to pursue surgery to save my dad's life. Knowing that this surgery might not work. Knowing that this surgery if it did work wouldn't fully return the dad that I knew and loved. His personality wouldn't be the same. That was one of the things I always loved about my dad. He would probably need 24 hour care. That was something my dad always made clear to us that he would never want. We had to decide whether or not to pull the plug on my dad's life. Talk about the hardest decision I've ever had to make. Someone that is 28 shouldn't have to decide whether or not to pull the plug on their dad who is only 52. Who just got married two days before. Who had 5 beautiful grandchildren. But, with a lot of family prayers and priesthood blessings, we were able to let my dad go. We decided to donate his organs, so they would work on that all night long. That would give Jared enough time to fly in from California to say good bye as well.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM. We all met back up at the hospital (actually Jason hadn't ever left). My dad was moved to the ICU and his face had been wrapped like a mummy so you couldn't see anything. I finally decided to join all of my brothers to say our last good byes. My dad was perfect from the shoulders down. I made sure to hold his hands. I always loved his hands. I actually have his hands (just not as chubby). He had worker's hands. Something I always loved about him. We were all able to hold another family prayer and finally release him. Most of us stepped out of the room, but some stayed until he took his final last breath. It only took ten minutes for him to pass on. At 10:40 am on Tues, Nov. 2nd my dad returned to Heavenly Father. He returned to live with his brother Jeff who had passed away a little over eight years ago. He returned to grandparents who are now taking care of him since we can't.

After he passed away they wrapped him back up and we went in the room. You could tell that his spirit was gone. There was a peaceful void in the room that hadn't been there before. My dad was officially gone from this life. After regaining our composure, we met in a chapel that the IMC hospital has to talk about funeral arrangements. My dad had always talked about being cremated. He wanted his "5 J's" to hike Red Castle in the Uintah mountains to spread his ashes. So, we started to call crematories in Salt Lake. We made arrangements to have his funeral at my brother's ward house "The Douglas Ward" actually, so that seemed pretty fitting. We also decided to hold it in the gym so that it was more laid back. The way my dad would have wanted it. We also decided to divide his ashes into several urns, so that we could spread them all over the places he loved. My dad loved the outdoors and was an avid fly fisherman. Our first place to spread his ashes would be up the Provo Canyon. He loved fishing up there and that is actually where he proposed.

Friday, Nov. 5th was his funeral. All of us kids spoke about all the great memories we had. My grandparents, bless their hearts, shared their thoughts. Theresa and her son shared words. His brother Ron recalled some childhood memories. A lot of tears were shed. A lot of love was shared. After the funeral, just family, headed up to the Provo River. My brother Jason gathered all of my dad's fishing gear and hats to change into. Brett stepped in my place, although I wore the hat until it was time to fish. We found the prefect place to spread my dad's ashes and officially named it "Doug's Spot." Spreading his ashes was very peaceful. Everything felt right. You could just feel that we were doing exactly what my dad would have wanted us to do.

me and my rock

making our way over to the perfect spot. (my dad would be proud, Brett had to carry me on his back accros the river, then I had to hop on rocks in black boots:)

spreading his ashes

walking away

I love this picture of my brother Jason and me. We're probably talking about how perfect it all was...

After we spread his ashes, the boys and Theresa fished for a little bit. It was a perfect end to a horrible experience.

It has now been three weeks to the day, and maybe even time, since I said good bye to my dad. I miss him everyday, but time has definitely helped heal. I don't know where I would be without my testimony of the gospel. Especially of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We had no idea what my dad was dealing with inside. Only God knows that. I have faith that he will be judged justly. Heavenly Father knows each one of us individually and will take care of us. We'll never know if my dad had a chemical imbalance. We'll never know what reasoning my dad had to take his own life. Only our Savior and God do, and I have peace in knowing that everything will be taken care of. We are now looking forward to the mini trips we have made to spread the rest of my dad's ashes around. We are also looking forward to doing his temple work. He has one year to get ready for us to re-baptize him and to take care of his endowments. Now more than ever do I have the hope that we will live for eternity with each other again. I now need to do my part to make sure I make it back to live with him again.

I have been so lucky to receive such great service from great friends and family members. All of the prayers that have been said in our behalf have been felt. I know that there will still be good and bad days. I just hope I never forget the good times.

I love you dad and I can't wait to be held my your loving arms once again.

IWUWE Always, your little Boo.