Saturday, July 21, 2018


I haven't posted in a very long time.

Happy Birthday, Brady!!
Brady is 7 today and going into the 2nd grade!!  Time really does fly!!  We love this kid more than words can express. He was meant for this family.   He came to us at a time when we needed to know that life goes on.  We needed to know it was okay to live.  We needed to be able to open our hearts again because they were so broken.  This kid, in essence, helped save us.  We love him and couldn't be more grateful he came to us when he did.

He takes life by storm.  He is so happy all the time.  He loves friends, legos, pizza and playing with his sister, Madilyn.    We couldn't ask for a better seven year old.

Without taking away from our sweet, energetic and always moving seven year old, we realized this is a tough year for us to handle.  He is 7.  This is the age we lost our Ethan suddenly.  2011.  The year our lives changed.

We now know we lived longer without Ethan than we did with him.

We fear for Brady's second grade year.  Will something happen to him?  Should we have him checked out?  Will he make it?

These are real fears we face as we head into his second grade year.

Brady reminds us of his brother a lot, but is still very much his own person.  I had someone tell me once in a grief session.  "You are lucky.  This baby (Brady at the time) will help you grieve and will remind you of the one you have lost."  At the time, I thought this to be a weird statement.  However, as Brady has grown, it is such a blessing!  He does help us live, and he does remind us of Ethan (as if we get to see a glimpse of Ethan still living).  Because of this reminder, we do have times we fear for Brady as if the same thing will happen to him.

Brady knows he has a connection to his brother.  He knows that's how he got his name.  We keep Ethan very alive in our house - talking about him and praying for him every day.  Brady loves his brother although they were not with us at the same time on this earth.  We know some people feel it odd that we still talk about Ethan, but to us, he is family.  He always will be, and so he stays an open topic.  Brady loves to talk about him as if he knows him.

We love that Brady gets to bring up the rear and keep us forever young.

Happy Birthday, Brady!!  Thank you for being you!  Thank you for all the sweet reminders you constantly give us.  Thanks for keeping us young.  You're the best, buddy!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Realizations

Madilyn is a champ.  She is always positive, always trying to help others with whatever she can, always trying to be better, always being the best sister she can, and always working hard.  You would never know on meeting her the issues with which she lives.  She feels like she has so many things wrong, but hardly ever complains.

This little one has to give herself a shot every night.  She has Turner's syndrome, which stunts her growth.  This growth hormone will hopefully help her hit 5 ft tall some day.  She does not enjoy the shot, but will dutifully shoot herself in the leg before bed each night.

She has glasses, which she hates to wear. We struggle ever having them on her face, yet she has them and wears them (just not as often as she should). 

Recently, we have found her teeth are in a traffic jam.  We assumed this would be the case--way too many teeth trying to come in an extremely small mouth.  She really has no hope as Turner syndrome girls have smaller mouths and our family has small mouths already.  Double whammy! She has a spacer in right now that we have to crank each night to help spread her palate and make room for her teeth.  Again, she dutifully brings us the crank each night before bed. She never gets to just "go to bed."  She has a few steps prior.

When she was three she had to have her tonsils and adenoids out.  The doctor told us he had never seen such huge tonsils in so tiny a body.  

When she was four she was diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome and I cried.  I cried because she will be short.  Does that matter that she will be short?  No.  I cried because she won't be able to have her own babies.  She can carry one, but cannot have her own.  I realize now she knows there are many ways to create a family.  I also know she thinks freezing eggs is gross!

I do realize all of these things are not big things and am very grateful I have this beautiful daughter that could not be more positive.  She has an amazing soul.

However, yesterday I was saddened again.  A day later I realize still there is no need to be sad.  I need to be grateful we live in a world with such amazing technology that can help her.  She has struggled with her hearing as she has had cholesteotomas over and over.  She has had five ear surgeries.  Her hearing has gone down each time.  Over the last month the doctor has done two hearing tests.  Both times I have been asked what her grades were.  I explained she has straight A's.  The doctor looked at me yesterday and said, "The only way your daughter has straight A's is she is extremely intelligent, making her own accommodations and working ten times harder than anyone else in the room.  We don't see hearing loss like this with grades like those."  I threw out my educator status claiming I really didn't feel she needed accommodations at which point the doctor let me know I was doing my daughter a disservice.  

I watched Madilyn with a hearing aid on for about 20 minutes.  I was amazed with her amazement.  She had a grin a mile wide.  She was dropping things on the ground and saying, "Mom, listen that is so cool.  It makes a sound."  She did this one too many times. I could hardly hold back my tears (except I was determined not to cry in front of her).  I don't want Madilyn to think any of her issues are sad.  We can do hard things.  She can do hard things.  

We are now left to decide what type of hearing aid. Implant?  Hearing aid?  What is best for her?  How much does it cost?  Poor little thing.  Her words with trying to make this decision last night were, "I don't want a hearing aid.  I just want my hearing."  

We are so blessed she can hear.  We are blessed there are aids out there.  It is just tough as a parent watching her go through so many things!  I feel like we can't keep up.  If it isn't one thing for her, it's another.  Yet, she continues to amaze me with her strong spirit.  She will do whatever she has to.  She will make a difference in this world.  I can tell.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

 I have had an interesting lesson on this today.  It has made me laugh all day.  This is why:  I lost my voice.  For the first time in my life I can't talk.  Literally, my mother says I came out talking and haven't stopped.  I have not heard the sound of my voice at all today.

As we got ready as a family this morning, I realized my kids would talk to me in a whisper because I would talk to them in a whisper.  They would talk normally to each other, but not to me.  It reminded me a lot of my cousin's wife who is deaf and has four kids.  Those kids "talk" to their mom in their own language. I had a bit of my own language today.

 My neighbor stopped over before I left this morning as well and talked to me in a whisper.  She said she felt she was yelling at me otherwise.  That made me pause as I realized the normal "loudness" in which I speak.

I think I have had the desire to write today even more because I cannot speak.  I realize how much I yell out to my front desk person throughout the day.  I don't yell at her, but ask her lots of questions from my desk (and I like to make dumb comments to her too).  Hmm..I may be more considerate now?

As my day went on, I realized my teachers were also whispering when talking to me.  One teacher I congratulated for using her regular voice.  She was funny because she said she really wanted to talk to me in a whisper, but had a quick thought that it wasn't necessary.

The whole day has made me think more because I couldn't talk as much.  I had a couple frustrating run-ins throughout the day, but saw myself remaining calm because my voice didn't help me get riled up.  At one point I had a student simply walk out of my office before our meeting was done. Normally, I would have used my voice to get him to stop.  Instead, he got out of the office and I had to deal with it much differently.  It worked.  It was dealt with much more calmly and with a little more understanding as students have to listen really closely since they can hardly hear me.

I have decided I need to keep my voice down normally.  How long will that last?  Maybe not long, but I have the desire to try.  Everyone was so good to me throughout the day and I felt our conversations were much easier.  My poor kids dealing with my loud voice all the time.  Hopefully we can all try to be a little on the quieter side.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

It's About Time

I have not been on here for quite a while.  This blog has always served as a bit of therapy for me.  I have been meaning to get on here and write as this month has gone by.  March is a tender month for me, but this March has been particularly difficult.  I am not sure why.

I can't put my finger on why it's been so emotional.  I do know that for some reason five years seems like a lot and it makes me sad I have lived this long without Ethan.  I have a feeling this will be worse for me when I have lived more than 7 1/2 years without him.  Then I would have lived longer without him than with him (since I had him, of course).

I have had a couple people mention their sadness of losing their child that they experience 30 and 50 years after their child has died.  That thought makes me want to quit feeling. I know the hard times of crying multiple times a day have stopped, but constantly having this heartache that won't go away --ever--seems like more than I can bear a lot of the times.

However, I love celebrating his life every March 26.  As I sit here, I realize that five years ago I woke up (not that I really slept) knowing at 9 am we would be taking Ethan off of life support.  Because we weren't sure how long he would breathe on his own, we didn't know if he would pass right away.  Our miracle became this moment.  The moment we knew it was his time to return to his Father in Heaven. He passed within minutes of being taken off of life support.  However, when we had tested him days before he breathed for almost an hour on his own.  The doctors couldn't tell us what was going to happen that morning of the 26th.  They said, "It's up to the good Lord."

What I do know is that it is up to the good Lord.  Ethan had a plan for his life.  It was short.  I think his spirit knew it because he tried to shove a lot into his days with as busy as he was.  He lived so much in those 7 1/2 years.  I think somewhere deep down he knew when he was leaving us because of questions he asked and the way he said goodbye to his brother, Parker.

I will forever be sad about unmet expectations for my children and missing out on growing up with Ethan.  But, I know we will see him again.  All things will be made right.

I am grateful this Easter weekend for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am grateful He overcame physical and spiritual death so we can return to our Heavenly Father and see our loved ones again.  He understands our pains, our sorrows, our trials and triumphs.  Because He lives, we will live again.

I am excited to one day reunite with Ethan, my sister, my grandfathers and many others.  What a great reunion that will be!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Grief is a Constant Surprise

Grief grabs you when you are least expecting it.  I think, for the most part, that I handle it well.  I don't cry daily.  I don't sit in my bed and not go anywhere.  However, if that is how someone else copes, I do not judge.  There have been days that I don't want to move just because I am sad.

Grief seems to never grab me when I am expecting it, or at least not on a normal day.  I always expect to feel more sad on the day Ethan died and on the day he was born.  Other than that, I prepare myself for holidays, etc.  Honestly, I handle these as well as to be expected.  But, that's just it, I am expecting the grief and prepare myself for it.  It's the daily, normal things that get me.

This past Friday, I took Brady to get his shots.  I am one of those with kids who have delayed shots.  I know, I know (Leah)!  My kids are always vaccinated, but maybe just not on time.  My husband is a bit worried about the measles outbreak here in Phoenix, and Brady isn't vaccinated for it!  Ah!  I was being responsible by making my appointment and getting shots for Brady.  Sadly, they were out of the measles vaccine :-(  Now, I wait.

While in the room, the doctor had my kids' shot records.  I wanted to see what they had for Parker and Madilyn.  She saw Madilyn's and  told me what was needed.  She thought Parker only had one.  Not true!  He is all caught up.  Then, she went on to Ethan to tell me what he needed.  All I could think of to say was, "He died."  Then, I lost it.  I didn't know it was coming.  It just did.  I cried and cried.  I think the poor doctor felt worse than I did.

I kept apologizing.  I said, "It's been four years!  I don't know why I am losing it."  She responded that four years isn't that long.  She told me never to apologize. She cried with me and helped get me under control.  She asked me questions about Ethan, which I always like.  I like talking about him.  I like people remembering he is still a big part of our lives.  I like knowing that people care enough to ask.  This doctor has won me over for awhile for how well she handled my breakdown.

In her defense of showing me Ethan's medical records, it only said 'deceased' in small print in the upper right hand corner of the shot record page she was looking at.  It was weird.  I didn't think seeing old doctor records, and literally JUST his shot records, would get me.  But, it did.  Grief grabs me.  It really does.  I don't know when it is going to come.  Just know if you are around me and I get "grabbed", I just usually need a minute to compose myself again.  If you ask me a question and I start to cry, know that I still love that.  I love, love being asked about him especially as time goes by and it's not as recent.  He is my child.  He always will be.  I think about him and what he is doing  almost just as much as I think about my other kids and what they are doing. He is not living, so the day-to-day activities of my living children take precedence.  But, he is literally always on my mind.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I'll call him my Superbowl Baby!

Almost four years ago (it will be in March) we found out we were going to have a boy!  This adorable creature pictured above.  I will be honest.  I was hoping for a girl, so I would have two boys and two girls.  I had taken my three kids with me to the appointment.  Before the doctor told us it was a boy, Ethan was saying, "It's a boy!  It's a boy!"  The doctor commented that Ethan knew more than he did.  In the end, Ethan was right.  We were going to have a boy.

Ethan knew in that instant the boy's name needed to be Hawk!  I knew in that instant that his name would NOT be hawk.  Hawk?  Really?  No offense to anybody, but it just seemed a little weird to be named after a bird.  But, Ethan wouldn't let it go and was telling everybody that was going to be his name.

Two weeks after this doctor appointment, we lost our beautiful Ethan to an Arterio Venous Malformation. This was very sudden and very difficult for us, obviously.  We knew not too long after that we MUST name this child Hawk.  But, I still couldn't do it.  I don't know why, but kept trying to think of names that would go with Hawk and not have it be the first name.

Ethan LOVED football.  It was a new obsession for our little guy just the previous season.  He took a special liking to the New England Patriots.  He is actually buried in a Sunday suit with a New England Patriots hat and a Patriots tie.  Marcus and Parker wore matching Patriot ties to the funeral.  We also decorated for his funeral in red, white and blue.

In deciding a name for our new baby that was still not to be born for three more months, we kept trying to come up with a name that meant "football."  We even looked into other languages to see if football would some how fit, and he could be named football hawk???  (As a side note, Madilyn thought his name should be Sunshine).  We thought Ethan should have a large part in naming this child.

We finally decided that Ethan's favorite team was the Patriots, and his best friend's name was Brady.  With Tom Brady as the Patriots quarterback, and sharing a name with his best friend, we decided.  Our little guy was to be named BRADY HAWK.

We love that the Superbowl is the Patriots and the Seahawks!  It just seems to fit our little guy!!

Brady Hawk

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Time of Year

I had a tough weekend.  I am not sure it was just that it's this time of year, and I had to sit through Primary.  But, it has been an emotional weekend.  I tend to lead a normal, well-adjusted life from day to day.  However, there are days when it just hits.

I was reminded of Ethan quite a bit this past weekend because of the wedding of our niece.  Our niece married a young man we have known for a few years.  Ethan saw him in the first play he was in for our theater. Ethan thought he was sooo cool.  He would steal his jacket from him after performances and literally follow him around.  Not only did he think this young man was cool, but he loved the musical they were in.  He listened to All Shook Up music almost daily.  We have many a video with Ethan dancing to All Shook Up.  When he was in the hospital, we played this music for him.  Our niece even came to the hospital and played the ukulele and sang to him.

This weekend brought this flood of memories back because she and her now husband met during All Shook Up, so they both were blue suede shoes :-)  They had one of the songs on their video.  She played the ukulele during the ring ceremony.  There were so many little things that reminded me of how happy Ethan would be to be there and see these two get married.  He loved his cousin, and he loved this young man.

I was reminded in the temple on Saturday (after the reception the night before) during the sealing (a ceremony where couples are married not just til death do us part but for time and all eternity) how those who were beyond the veil (those who have gone before us) were there and "wouldn't miss it for the world."  I  felt this was a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father because I was wishing Ethan could be there.  I know he was.  I know he was there for these two whom he loved so much.  It was a beautiful ceremony.

But this lead to tears all day Sunday for me.  I have a hard enough time sitting in primary over the last few years, but this Sunday was one of the worst...and in my new ward.  It was awful.  I couldn't stop crying.  I was miserable, and I felt that know one really got it.  This was one of my worst fears when moving---I would lose it and no one knows how to handle me.  I have friends in my last ward that knew just what to do.  I feel like I am growing up all over again.  I haven't had a day I have spent in bed all day in a few years, but yesterday I did.  I love that my husband gets it and just let me lay there.