Giving Tree

3/02/2015

I can do hard things 
Back in August, we participated in the F2TF 5K, where over 70 family members and family friends ran for Team Preslee. While we were there, each team was encouraged to put together a Giving Tree, and deliver it to a person in need.

Last Fall we were saddened to learn that one of Pat’s friends from high school had a little boy named Miles who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Here’s a little snippet of Miles’ story.

Miles' parents took him to the pediatric emergency room after a week of fever and tummy pain. After an ultrasound found a large tumor near his kidney, he was admitted to the Pediatric Dept. at Banner Thunderbird Hospital. Through the week of tests they discovered the cancer to be Neuroblastoma with a main tumor larger than a softball grown next the his adrenal gland. The tumor was too large, well supplied by blood vessels and entangled around his aorta to remove during his biopsy surgery. Further tests show his bone marrow and skull to be infected as well. Miles’ cancer is the most aggressive type with a current survival rate of 40-60%. Miles has recently been undergoing chemotherapy and will have marrow transplants, radiation and other therapies once the tumor has decreased to a manageable size.

We immediately knew we wanted to deliver a tree to Miles and his family, but living in AZ, it made it difficult. I applied with F2TF, was approved, and received everything I needed to put one together. We then waited a few months (We didn’t know how to get it to them) until my Aunt Cindy called and said they were driving to AZ and had room to take the tree with them. We were thrilled and it was delivered just last week.

Putting the three together was a positive experience. Miles is Ledger’s age, so I involved Ledge as much as I could. I asked him what he thought would make Miles happy, and he immediately replied “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys!” So we made TMNT a priority :)

Here are pictures my Aunt sent me from AZ.

  Anything For a Friend NeuroblastomaNeuroblastoma Anything for a friend
What’s on the Giving Tree? Anything For a Friend matches $500 along with donations people on Team Preslee gave (Thank you!) We folded cash into butterflies and hung them, along with gift cards, toys, and inspirational quotes. We were told to incorporate Preslee, so we added pink necklaces (He has a little sister we felt could play with them) and a couple of monkeys, because we call Pres Monkey.

Neuroblastoma
(Clayton Mortensen, and Miles)

We are still praying Miles, and are his biggest fans!
“Let’s Go Miles!”
 

To learn more about Miles,
click {here} to visit his Facebook page.
And {here} to donate.

Click {here} to learn more about Anything For a Friend
Thank you for allowing us to be apart of your organization!

Today is a Gift

2/19/2015

It surprised me.
It threw me off guard.
I didn’t even realize what it was until it passed.

My two youngest turned 18 months, and anxiety and grief took over.
I retracted.
I avoided phone calls.
I rarely blogged.
Just the thought of two new church callings about did me in.
Everything in life was overwhelming.

The day before the boys turned 19 months, the same age their sister passed away, I became extremely angry. Angry that Preslee was taken so quickly. Angry that I didn’t have a six year old in our home.
Anxiety sunk in and I couldn’t or wouldn’t let the boys out of my sight.

And then it hit me.

I had been dealing with grief for an entire month without realizing it.
I was left in a stupor, haven’t I done this all before with Ledger?

I had.

Hasn’t it been five years?

It has.

Then why am I reacting this way?
I then directed my own anger towards myself.

How did I allow myself to struggle for an entire month?
How did I not know why I was so short and moody?
Why was I struggling five years later, the second time around?

That’s when I remembered - 
that grief will forever be apart of my life.

And though my pride often gets in the way, this is why I continue to write.
I hope to let others know that five years later, grief still affects people, even without them knowing so.

So please be gentle and be kind to those who have lost someone they love.
Because we still have nights we cry ourselves to sleep, due to an aching heart.

Grief blogGrief blogGrief bloglet them be little

And to end on a happier note, three days ago, my heart was, and still is, filled with an extreme amount of gratitude. I spent the day listening to two little hearts beat, kissing every inch of their perfect identical faces, and thanking my Heavenly Father that I was still a mom, and not walking in to an empty silent house.

I have so much to be grateful for,
especially two 19 month old little boys.

You will never have this day with your children again

Phoenix, AZ (Part 2)

2/15/2015

(Click {here} for Part 1)

Dorsie and Terry left earlier than we did, and on their last day in AZ we headed to the zoo. It’s much larger than our tiny one in Idaho Falls, so we all enjoyed it. It was a really cold day! Cara insisted Pat and I jump on the random animal below, she said it was a tradition. Pat was so embarrassed. :)

 Phoenix zoo  Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Zoo Phoenix, AZ zoo  Phoenix zoo

One thing I loved about AZ, was their amazing parks! When Kash had to work, Cara took us to the cutest park to play on the toys, feed the ducks, and let the kids ride the carousel. While feeding the ducks, one walked right up to Hudson and scared the poor kid to death… haha It was pretty funny, we’re still laughing.

 Phoenix, AZ Phoenix, AZPhoenix, AZPhoenix, AZPhoenix, AZ   Phoenix, AZ

I can’t even explain how fun our week there was. We’re already saving the money we don’t have to visit again. (We’re still job hunting!) I loved watching our kids play, getting to know Owen, (We had only seen him once) late night game nights, and the fact I gained about 5 pounds because Cara is the best host. Seriously, she cooks amazing food! It was unreal, and I’m already dreaming of her crepes, Pat’s Birthday Tres Leches Cake, and chocolate ice cream.

Phoenix Arizona Phoenix Arizona Phoenix Arizona Phoenix Arizona Phoenix Arizona
Sunbeam church
First day of Sunbeams for Ledger and Roxie!

Gilbert AZ Temple
Cara watched the kids so Pat and I could attend the Gilbert Temple, it was beautiful! 
Phoenix Arizona Phoenix Arizona  Phoenix Arizona  Phoenix Arizona
Roxie loves makeup, and watched me get ready every morning. She found some lipstick when I wasn’t looking :)
Organ Stop Pizzaorgan stop pizza

We ate at Organ Stop Pizza. A guy plays the organ while you eat pizza. So random, but the kids loved it!
Phoenix ArizonaPhoenix Arizona Phoenix Arizona  Phoenix Arizona Phoenix ArizonaPhoenix Arizona Top Golf Top GolfIMG_20150105_145732
Pat is still talking about Top Golf! It’s like bowling for golf, you try to hit targets. I was really good at hitting all the targets I wasn’t aiming for!
Top Golf  Top Golf  

Thank you Dorsie and Terry for such an unforgettable trip!
Kash and Cara for letting us take over your house for eight days!
We love you!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The flight home.

(I’m recording all the details for my memory)

We were ready for the plane ride home and had a game plan. We knew we couldn’t sit by each other, so we were ready to fight for seats across the isle from each other. (We flew Southwest so there weren’t assigned seats).

I’ll be honest, the airport was stressful, but we survived! I purposely dressed the twins in matching bright orange outfits to help me spot them easily, (They are in the running away phase), which also led to many “Oh, are they twins?” conversations. We chased boys the ENTIRE time. Pat and I were both exhausted by the time we boarded the plane and I repeatedly swore to each boy that they would be attached to me by one of those kid leashes/harnesses next time we go anywhere if they didn’t stop…they didn’t listen. :)

Airport with kids  Airport with kids 

 
The plane was late arriving, (About an hour and a half) so it made for a long wait in the airport. It consisted of lots of walks and riding the escalator. It didn’t take long for our boys to make friends, and a few little boys made their way over to ours and were playing Ninja Turtles together. I genuinely appreciated the sweet old man and his wife who who repeatedly told me how beautiful my boys were and didn’t seem to notice the chaos.

Airport with kidsAirport with kids

We boarded the plane, and I about cried with happiness that nobody wanted to sit by three kids. We ended up with empty seats by both Pat and I! I strapped Cannon in the middle seat in between Ledger and I, and Pat held Cruiz across the isle. The flight home went much smoother than the first. Other than Cruiz had a blowout on Pat, it’s always happens to Pat.. haha (If you fly, always pack extra clothes and a ziplock!) I had packed an extra onesie, but no pants. When we landed in cold UT, I got quite a few glares carrying around a toddler without pants in a cold airport. Sorry Cruiz!

  Airport with kidsAirport with kidsAirport with kids

While waiting for our luggage the boys caught a second wind. It was late, and had sat still for too long.

We were that family…
Three boys running in three different directions, (one without pants) Patrick was concentrating on grabbing our luggage, so I was left to tend the kids. Cannon and Cruiz worked together, one would distract me, while the other ran for it. The first time, I was unprepared and while I chased Cruiz, Cannon successfully climbed on the luggage carousel and rode it for a few seconds before I grabbed him. Simultaneously Ledger ran after Cruiz who I had put down and tackled him, which led to two boys in tears and one with a bloody nose. After 20 minutes of chaos, (I’m not exaggerating)  I was nearly in tears myself and had everyone around us staring at me, (I vow to be a lady who offers to help instead of stares, nobody offered to help!) but we finally found all of our bags.

SLC, airport SLC, airport    

The boys and I then made our way outside to wait for our shuttle, while Pat worked on getting eight pieces of luggage out to us. I dug through the boys’ bag until I found pants for Cruiz and had absolutely no control over any of my children. A lady who was working came and yelled at them for me… Haha As weird as it sounds I was grateful, she startled them so bad that they actually listened to her… for about a minute.

SLC, airportSLC, airportSLC, airportSLC, airport

And I later learned the man who was waiting for the same shuttle had a conversation with Pat, who was holding Cruiz, as I was threatening the other two to not get off the bench…

Man:“Triplets?”
Pat: ”No, Twins, and one two years older."
Man: Chuckles, “I’m an identical twin, with a brother two years older.”
Pat: Laughs. “Oh really? Any advice?”
Man: As he looks at all the boys, “Yeah, stop now. My parents couldn’t handle us, let alone another one.”

Haha Shoot.
(No, this isn’t announcement :)

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