Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Festivities

We promised the kids we would take them bowling a couple weeks ago, but life got in the way and we weren't able to go, so I pulled out one of the Christmas presents I was going to give them, and we set up our own bowling alley, in the hallway of our house! Micah and Abby had an absolute blast. It was good the set came with two balls, because neither one of them was good about waiting their turn. I took the pics while Heath was in charge of re-setting the pins. Funny, I don't remember either one of us getting a turn. :)

Micah was pretty good at it. He understood the concept, but Abby decided that she liked it better to just run up to the pins and hit them with the ball. It worked in her mind. :)

Micah and Abby love their boots. They insist on wearing them everyday. We couldn't even get them to take them off for bowling.

Here is a close-up of the Christmas count down chain we made. Micah and Abby decorated each link. They were so proud of it.

Micah loves to tear off a link everyday as he leaves for school. Abby is content with watching.

One of our traditions is to have a Christmas party for all of Micah and Abby's friends. This was the first year that we had invited Abby's little friends. By the end of the 2-hour party, we had 32 kids come over to sit on Santa's lap, decorate cupcakes, and just run around.
This is my brother, Cory sitting on Santa's lap. He was trying to show his 1-year-old son, Colston, that Santa really isn't scary. :)

Micah adores Santa. It was so cute to see the belief in his eyes as he asked Santa for a "Lightning McQueen Track, a video game, and a camera."

Abby didn't want anything to do with Santa, so I got in the picture hoping to ease her fears. It didn't work. Not even a candy cane worked (and for those of you who know Abby, you know how much she loves candy). Maybe next year. :)

The real Santa (aka my dad).

Micah's preschool had a pajama party on December 16th. The kids got to wear their pj's and bring their favorite stuffed animal. Micah took his big "Sully" (the blue monster from "Monsters, Inc.) Parents were also invited to go and help their child tell the class about a family Christmas tradition. Micah and I told the class about how every year, we buy a new ornament and put a picture in it, so we can see how much we have grown during the year. We took all five of Micah's ornaments and even though he got a little shy, standing in front of the whole class, he was really proud to show them off.
The lady in the blue pj's is Mrs. Jo. She is Micah's teacher and he absolutely adores her. The other day he asked if he had school and I told him that he was out on Christmas break. He said that he didn't want "to have a break." I asked him why and he said, "Because I love my teacher." No wonder he is learning so much. :)

Micah in his striped pj's. He thought it was really neat that he could wear them to school.

Mrs. Jo helping Micah find his presents. There was a present to each of the kids under the tree, as well as a present to the parents that the kids had made. Mine was an adorable white vase with cute little lady bug stickers all over it. Micah was so excited to give it to me, he made me open it as soon as we got home. I love it and I can't imagine getting a gift that I would love any more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

15 Years Ago Today

15 years ago, my sister, Valerie was killed in a car accident. She, my brother, Cory, their best friends (Julie & Trena), and their best friends' mother (VerDawn) were driving home from school for Christmas break. Just as they entered our little town of Annabella, they were hit by a truck that did not stop at a stop sign. Everyone was hurt, but Valerie and Trena were both critical. Both were transported to the hospital and had emergency life-saving surgeries performed, and both were life-flighted to LDS Hospital within hours of the accident.
I still remember the day. It was December 20th and I was in my apartment in Provo. I had to work until the 22nd, but all my roommates had gone home for the holidays, so I was alone. Out of nowhere, there was a knock on my door. When I opened it, it was my aunt Sara Mae and uncle Kent. I thought my dad must have told them I was there alone, so they were coming to visit. But, I quickly realized that was not the case. They came inside and told me that there had been an accident involving Valerie and Cory and some members of the Wood family (lifelong friends). They quickly told me that Cory was in the hospital, but would be fine. Then they told me that Valerie was seriously injured and it did not look good. I remember I thought that it couldn't be true and this horrible feeling came over me. They asked if I wanted to go with them to their house and wait for news with them. As I walked to the closet to get my coat, my legs literally gave out on me and I collapsed as I thought about my sister.
Valerie was 3 1/2 years younger than me. She was a senior in high school and I was going to BYU. She and her best friend, Julie were planning to attend UVSC the next year, and I was so excited to have her close. The week before the accident, Valerie and my mom had come to Provo and we all spent the day together. We laughed so hard that day. I remember thinking how fun it was going to be to have my sister in Provo the next year. It was such a fun day, and I couldn't wait to finish up with work so I could go home and spend Christmas with my family. That was not to be though.
We waited for about three hours before being notified that Valerie was being transported via LifeFlight to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake. We left my aunt's house in Provo and were at the hospital when Valerie arrived. I just happened to be sitting next to the elevator as it opened and she was rushed past me on a silver stretcher. I still have that picture in my mind. It was just like in the movies. They were practically running with her. I knew things were bad, but I think that moment really put the thought in my mind that she might not make it.
The rest of the night is a blur. Trena Wood was also LifeFlighted to the same hospital, so the Wood family was there too. We all prayed together and hoped together. Sometime early in the morning of December 21st, the doctors told us that all of Valerie's organs had failed and we needed to make a choice. We could allow her to live in a vegetative state, on life support machines, for who knew how long. Or, we could allow her to pass on. The decision seemed too much. My mom, dad, and I prayed together and asked for the Lord's guidance in doing what was best for Valerie. Eventually, we came to the decision that it would be best to allow Valerie to pass on. We informed the doctor and he told us what to expect. He also let each of us have a minute alone with her, to tell her good-bye. The doctor told us that it usually takes a few hours once the machines were turned off, but with Valerie, it was a matter of minutes and she was gone. Her funeral was on Christmas Eve, 1994.
I truly believe that a piece of me died with Valerie, and life has never been the same. It's true that with time, you are able to cope with the loss much better, but you never get over it. I still think about the things our family has lost because Valerie is not here with us. I wish my children knew their aunt. I wish that I had a sister here to do sister things with.
After Valerie died, Christmas just wasn't the same. I remember waking up that Christmas morning. There were presents under the tree to Valerie and from Valerie. I've kept the one she gave me, still wrapped, all these years. It wasn't until Micah came along, that our family regained some excitement for Christmas morning. And now, we have Micah and Abby. They make Christmas exciting and we all get excited watching them.
So, even though this time of year is still painful and the memories of our beloved Valerie come flooding back, we do have the reminder of the Plan of Salvation and that someday, we will all be together again. Thank you Micah and Abby, for always reminding me of how important it is that we never lose sight of that eternal goal.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So Proud

Abby was so proud to show me her pretty face. Yep, that's black and red marker she's sporting all over her mouth, chin, and teeth. How could I possibly be mad at a face like this?
Thank heaven for washable markers!

Love you, Abby!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guess Who?

Look what sneaked up on me last night....
The Pillow Monster!
Micah was quite proud of himself for this one. Gosh, I love that kid.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Daddy's Birthday

Daddy turned 34 on Wednesday, December 2nd. He was super busy that day with work and Stake meetings, so we had to fit a little party in between things. Instead of a cake, we made his favorite cookie topped brownies. The below picture is evidence of how much Micah and Abby helped (they love licking the spoons). Micah said it wasn't really a party though, because we didn't have candles. :)
You can't see it very well, but Micah is holding the card that my parents gave Heath. It has some of the characters from "The Wizard of Oz" on it. Heath had just rented that for the kids to see and Micah loved it, so he latched onto the card. Good thing daddy got the money out before Micah got to it. :)

Here is Heath opening one of his gifts. As always, Micah and Abby are probably even more excited about the gifts. He got season 5 of "Seinfeld", and a dvd case to hold and organize all of our dvd's. It drives him nuts that we have dvd cases strung out all over the house. So, for daddy's birthday, he got an organized dvd collection. :)

Happy Birthday! We love you!