It seems like the topic of death is continually being brought up in my life. People tend to share stories of families they know who have lost someone. I’ve been surprised how often comments are made regarding any family who has left pictures or personal items up of their loved one after they passed away—their tone implying they think it just isn’t right, (I’m not meaning a shrine, just a picture or two). Over the past few years, I’ve learned many people feel after someone dies, they are gone, therefore, there’s no need to mention that person again, or keep anything related to them. The thought of anything tied to death seems to scare the people I’m talking to. And I should mention each person I’ve had this similar conversation with has never lost anyone close to them.

grief blog

As I’ve tried to relate to this way of thinking, I remember being invited to Sunday dinner at my FHE brother’s home while attending college at BYU-I. While waiting for dinner, I remember they had a wall decorated with a picture of each of their kids in their family room. I walked over to look at he pictures, as I glanced over each picture, my eyes rested on one of their teenage daughter. Something was different about it... I realized all the pictures were up to date, except for this one. Before I could think too much into it, my FHE brother quietly stated she had passed away years ago. Death was something I wasn’t used to back then, and I remember freezing, not really sure what I should say back to him. But the thing that caught me off guard was how nervous he looked as he waited for me to respond.

Fast forward just a few years later, and suddenly I’m placed in his shoes. Countless people have entered our home and when their eyes rest on a picture of Preslee, many act uncomfortable or even nervous. It used to make me feel uncomfortable, and many times made me feel like I was doing something wrong by keeping Preslee’s picture up in my own home. I now understand my FHE brother’s nervous response.

But the truth is, I have multiple pictures of our daughter displayed in our home. I also have little subtle reminders that strangers wouldn’t realize have any meaning. And if you think I’m crazy for doing so, here’s a little glimpse inside my head as to why I love each picture or reminder.

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It’s been four years since I lost my daughter, and there hasn’t been one single day that she hasn’t crossed my mind. As time continues onward, I realize just like every other mother who continues to care or think about her child when they are out of sight, I do too. I think about Preslee, just as I do about my boys. Death didn’t strip away Preslee’s relation to me. She is still my daughter and I still love he fiercely. When grief consumed me, I honestly tried not to think about her at times, but I couldn’t do it. I found it’s innate, it’s part of being a mother, and as painful as it is at times, I now find it a blessing. Even though people might see our situation as our daughter is dead, we view our situation as our daughter is in a different place. Though we’re forced to be separated during the remainder of our lives, I know for a fact Preslee continues to exist—just somewhere else.

So it only seems natural to keep up a few reminders of our daughter, we didn’t disown her because of her death. And trust me, the separation is painful, horrific at times. I leave pictures up to remind me—remind me that it isn’t the end.


Preslee’s pictures mingled in with the rest of the family pictures reminds us that our family can be together forever, and teaches her brothers they have a sister.

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The shadow box in my room filled with Preslee’s sandals make me smile each time my eyes fall on it. I’m reminded of the chubby toddler feet I squeezed in there on a daily basis—that I am still her mother.

death of a child

The drawing of Preslee in Christ’s arms reminds Pat and myself that we don’t have to fear, that she is being taken care of. It also reminds us there are things we need to do in order to be reunited with her.

I know I’m not alone in this way of thinking. I remember a friend telling me that her brother died many years ago while in high school. She smiled when she shared that to this day, you can see smudged kiss marks on her brother picture. Her mom still walks by and from time to time gives it a kiss.

Even if you still don’t understand, and the topic of death still seems…well, scary. Please go easy on momma’s like me. While you get to enjoy thousands of moments with your children, we’re left with two things—memories and heartache.


And if a picture sparks a good memory, I’ll take that over heartache every day.



Boys, let me tell you about today…motherhood lds

Today I woke up to one of you crying. When I opened the door I saw Ledger laying in bed playing peek-a-boo with Cruiz across the room. Cannon, you had wet through your diaper and were obviously upset. :) But the giggles coming from Ledger and Cruiz were contagious, and before long Cannon, you joined in. The perfect way to start out our day—laughing.

The laughing didn’t last long, once we walked out of the bedroom all three of you broke down, Ledger explaining, “We’re hungry, mom!” The twins held on to my legs and cried while I desperately tried to make all of you breakfast. I gave up on eggs, and gave in to cereal. You were all thrilled when I poured Life into your cereal bowls. Cruiz, you didn’t eat much, you were more interested in feeding Pog…

motherhood ldsmotherhood lds motherhood lds

We played hard today. The front room instantly became a disaster, which we are all used to. Cannon, you ripped a few books up while I was changing your brother in the back room. Cruiz, you fell off the couch and practically did a back flip and landed on your neck, which led to about 30 minutes of crying in my arms, and me making sure you were really okay. Later, I heard a thud in your bedroom and Ledger came running out and exclaimed, “Don’t worry mom, I didn’t hurt my brain inside my head!”

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I already forgot what I fed you all at lunch, my guess is a PB & J sandwich. And Cruiz, I’m sure you fed half of it to Pog…motherhood lds

Cannon, you refused to sleep (Just like the night before) so I took you out of the room so Cruiz could get a nap in. You became angry when I didn’t pull the baby gate down to let you in to the kitchen while Ledger and I finished a task, so you did what made sense in your little head, you stood in front of the door to your room and and yelled until you woke your brother up so you wouldn’t be alone. Let me tell you, I was thrilled.

Your dad didn’t make it home in time for dinner, and with three sleep deprived kids, I gave in and fed you before five. The few minutes of silence was completely worth it. Nobody wanted to eat the rice, chicken, and black beans, so I took turns feeding all three of you. Pretending the spoon was an airplane, convinced Ledger the meal was edible.(Okay, maybe it was was the bribe that anyone who finished their food got a piece of my leftover Birthday cake). Cannon, you got sick of waiting for your turn, and while I was focusing on Ledger, picked up Cruiz’s plate and threw it at the baby gate. The food landed on the carpet in the hallway and generously fed Pog your brother’s entire meal… (No exaggeration, I promise!)

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After dinner, all three of you were in hysterics, and for all of our sanity Cannon and Cruiz, you were put to bed by 6:45. By the time I came out to grab Ledger, well, he was asleep on the couch. Ledger, when I lifted you up to take you to bed, I heard, “Mom, I lub you, and you’re the prettiest.”

My heart instantly melted, and just like that, everything that happened today was worth it. Motherhood is a crazy adventure, and at times I feel like I have NO idea what I’m doing. But thank you. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for being so forgiving when I lose my cool with all of you. Thank you for the millions of hugs and kisses that are given to me each day. And thank you for filling my once empty arms, I know you’ll never completely understand, but just know your chaos saves me, even if it seems like I don’t appreciate in the moment.

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I could go on and on about how much I love you, but you’ll have to forgive me, putting you to bed at 6:45 means an early morning for all of us, so I’m off to bed myself. See you bright and early.


Giving Tree


I wrote about this event back in August, but I thought these two videos captured the feeling of the race perfectly so I wanted to share. It was fun to see family and friends in their Team Preslee shirt again.

Each team was encouraged to put together a Giving Tree (What the donations were being raised for) and deliver it to someone battling a life threatening illness. Team Preslee just picked their recipient and will be putting a tree together hopefully in the next few weeks.

Thank you Anything For a Friend letting us be apart of something so incredible,
we can’t wait to spread a little hope.

Find Ambit Films’ video {here}

And here is the second…

Paw Patrol!


 Paw Patrol

Are any of your boys obsessed with Paw Patrol like ours?
We own Marshall, and I think a few more puppies will have to be on our Christmas list this year.
Ledger talks about each puppy like they are his best friends.

Ledger and I were both absolutely thrilled when I discovered these Halloween coloring pages,
along with these adorable printable puppy masks!
They have kept him entertained for days!
I think t
he only time Ledger has taken off his mask was for church :)
He’s obsessed, and I love that it has sparked his little imagination.

Paw PatrolPaw Patrol
(Ledger cracked a joke about Chase (The mask he is wearing) and busted up just in time for this picture) 

We’ve had so much fun with these I thought I would share.
Are any of you doing any fun crafts/activities for Halloween?

October Update


grief blog Patrick – is one busy boy! School started the second week of September, and he is currently taking 14 credits. He is enrolled in a research course in place of an internship, (Research deals with cardiorespiratory fitness in crossfitters compared to runners). Classes start at 7:45 AM and he is gone most of the day. He rushes home to spend time before the boys go to bed and then dives into homework. He graduates in December, (10 weeks, just 10 weeks! But who’s counting?) and is literally ecstatic about it. He was recently released as Gospel Doctrine teacher and currently enjoying not having a calling and spends his time chasing babies in the hall :)

grief blog Ashley – is staying busy. The house has been neglected for nearly two years (being massively pregnant and having the boys) so she’s been playing catch up with deep cleaning the house. She’s finally found time to really cook again, and the family is thrilled to be eating better and healthier. When the babies nap, she’s been working with Ledger on letter recognition and sounds. She is still serving on the publications committee and helps with the monthly ward newsletter.

638Preslee – is still influencing. Ashley and the boys have been making it a priority to get out of the house each week, and when people see the boys together, they tend to recognize who they are. Ashley has had multiple people stop her and share how their story has influenced their life. Ashley was overwhelmed with gratitude when a lady stopped her in Target and handed her a $40 gift card, and explained she reads the blog.

Grief blog

Ledger – is one funny kid. We’re savoring this age, even though he’s an emotional three year old, he really is one loving kid. He’s constantly telling us how much he loves us, how we’re his best friends, and giving us hugs and kisses. Just today he told his mom that he wants to be married to her forever. He’s all about Paw Patrol and Rescue bots. He suddenly has learned who his brothers are and no longer calls them both Cannon. He’s been talking and asking a lot about Preslee, his little brain seems to be attempting to figure the whole situation out.

Grief blogCannon – is a pretty happy kid. He plays well by himself, and with others. He seems to be developing an imagination, and it is fun to watch him play in his own little world. He loves hats and and is always trying to put something on his head or around his neck. He recently started giving kisses which melts his momma’s heart, along with walking around the house repeating “Momma,” all day long.

grief blog Cruiz – is a climber, but ironically is afraid of heights. He climbs on everything, and then screams for mom to let him down. Let’s be honest, out of all the kids, Cruiz requires the most attention…but there’s an upside, he always gives back by wanting to cuddle, which makes it all worth it. He’s a passionate kid, so when he’s up, he’s really up, which makes life fun.  He flirts with anyone who looks at him, and uses his irresistible grin to melt any lady ooing and ahhing over the fact he’s a twin.

grief blog (Cruiz, Cannon)

Twins – They get their own category, because together they can accomplish what it takes five kids to do. Our house is baby proofed, yet they still manage to destroy things on a daily basis. We still call them Seek and Destroy, because there are days I feel like their sole purpose in life is to destroy our house. They now fight, tackle, punch, pull hair, and have even given each other bloody noses. They’ll be fighting, and then within seconds can be found hugging and giving each other a kiss.

They are rarely separated, but over the past month there have been a few times when one baby (the trouble maker) needs to be removed from the situation to help calm all three boys down. They’ve been placed in their crib for a few minutes while the other two calm down. Within minutes the twin not in the crib, will notice his brother is missing and will literally walk around the house looking for him and then pound on their bedroom door to be let in. Once the door is open, he’ll sit at the bottom of his brother’s crib and begin to babble to him, almost like he is saying, “It’s okay dude, she doesn’t know what she’s doing. I’ve got ya.” all the while glaring at mom… It’s the first time I’ve seen them become super protective of one another.

Though it might sound chaotic, this stage is by far the easiest we’ve experienced with both boys, and we’re still trying to embrace the chaos.

Now we are anxiously awaiting Ashley’s Birthday and continue to discuss Halloween on a daily basis.

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