Thursday, December 23, 2010

True Spirit of Christmas Part III

I know it is a bit late for todays challenge. Actually my own True Spirit task for the day was to visit Camille's grave. It has been a long while since we were last there. But perhaps I will tell you tomorrow's challenge today so you can prepare if you choose to join me.

Tomorrow I am going to have each person in my family write a letter to Jesus. Consider it a sort of birthday letter. We all know that some of the best gifts we can be given are heartfelt letters from those we love. We have a stocking just for Jesus. It is white velvet and beautiful. Every year we fill it with our "gifts" to the Savior. Other years we have done promises of how we will change or lists of acts of service we have performed in His name. This year we are going to do letters of love.

We will also be reading the Christmas story from the Bible before we write these letters. Feel free to join if you like.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nygard Family

I spoke with Jenny Nygard tonight. She is in the state of shock you would imagine. She has 4 other little children aged 5 and under to keep her moving from day to day. I remember being where she is. The shock and pain and inability to eat or sleep.

I will be sending a care package to them. If you would like to join me in this effort their address is
15403 Corliss Place North
Shoreline WA 98133

They are a young couple in dental school. It is not cheap to pay for mortuary and cemetery costs plus the expense of a headstone. If you want to help this family consider sending money or a care package. I remember getting packages for my kids that really helped them find joy in a very sad time. Some ideas may be, a locket or activities for kids or an angel christmas tree ornament. Let the Spirit guide you. Or just money. It will cost them several thousand dollars no doubt when all is said and done. That is a lot when you are a student.

Thank you to all of you who have gone over to leave her comments. For those who want to go to her blog you can click HERE.

The True Spirit Part II

Jesus taught us that when we serve our fellow man we are really serving Him. So what better way to get into the True Spirit of Christmas than to serve someone who is in need. Maybe we don't daily come across people in our path that have real dire needs. But there are people out there everyday, in every city, with dire needs. Maybe we feel their needs are too big for us to help in any real way. But any small offering to a person in great need will be felt in the soul with gratitude.

So my challenge today is to reach out and serve someone in need - real need. I have been in real need before and had others there to serve me in small but meaningful ways. It is the best gift ever. Today I intend to give that gift to someone else.

Perhaps you would love to join me in this challenge but can't think of anyone to serve. May I present a suggestion.

Just a minute ago I checked my email and saw a comment on my last post from Jenny (an admitted follower/stalker of my blog since Camille's passing.) In her comment she told me that her 14 month old son died in his sleep last night. I will be calling Jenny today, as soon as I can get my kids settled so that I can give her my attention.

I know how it feels to be Jenny - shell shocked and stunned and sadder than words can ever describe. I can only imagine how it would be to have this tragedy hit just before Christmas. One thing that helped me was the overwhelming support I got through this blog and all the comments of love and support and the packages that showed up from friends and strangers alike. They were small things that meant a great deal to me in my darkest hours.

So if you don't have a better idea, go over to her blog and leave a comment for Jenny and her family to let them know they are loved and supported. Then go say a heartfelt prayer for them. If I get her permission I will post an address where we can send care packages to them on this post later, after I talk to her.

Hopefully this will be the most meaningful gift we give this year, the gift of love and support to one in real need and consequently to our Savior.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Catching the True Spirit of Christmas

In an effort to really focus my Christmas celebrating on the Savior I am counting down these last days with a series of challenges that I hope will hone my focus on the Savior and His Spirit this season. I hope all who read will join me in these challenges and pass them along so that we may increase the true Christmas Spirit exponentially in these last few days.

So for the first challenge, I ask that you listen to Handel's Messiah today. I have the CDs and will be pulling them out to be the soundtrack of my day. If you can't do this, at least watch the clip below to get a bit of that true Christmas Spirit of the Savior.

Monday, December 20, 2010

25.5 Weeks

For those of you who only understand pregnancy in terms of months, this means I am about 5.5 months. I will be 6 months on New Years Eve. So I still have quite a ways to go. Here is what I am looking like these days (well this morning actually.) I guess I should note that I actually think I look much smaller in this photo than normal but then I am wearing all black and my hubby took this photo looking down at me (both seem to have a slimming effect.)

The bottom line is that my belly is out there. I feel bigger bellied than I normally am at this point. That makes me think maybe this baby is going to be a bigger baby. I feel as big as I was with Lauren at this point and she was 9 lbs. 4 ozs. So we will see if this feeling continues through the rest of this pregnancy or if it changes as this progress.

Another note about this baby. He seems rather chill. He is not a crazy active baby. Sure I feel him moving often but never with huge kicks or repeated big movements. He just shifts around and gently nudges me from time to time. I hope that is a foreshadowing of personality. I could sure use a chill baby. :) You know, the kind that hardly ever cries and loves to sleep. Lauren was like that. It was awesome.

And for our name update - we do have a name we like. But we are not so settled on it that we feel like announcing it yet. All our girls are pretty much planning on it and tell everyone that is the baby's name but Jon and I think we will may wait till the baby is born before we make it official and announce a name. We have a few back up names we also like in case one of those seems more appropriate at the time. We will see.

Anyway I thought you might like to see how the belly grows these days. It grows. And I grow with it. I am feeling much better today. So glad not to feel so sick anymore. Hopefully I can stay healthy through the rest of the holidays.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last day of School

Christmas Break starts after school today. I have an agenda of activities to do with the kids in the week leading up to Christmas. I hope I feel well enough to make it happen. I feel like I have been sick this whole pregnancy between my morning sickness for the first 20 weeks and this cold for the past 3.

But I still have hope that I will be better any day. And I have so many fun things I want to do with the kids that I hope I really am better... like tomorrow. At least my asthma is under control and I can breathe.

I follow as blog called the Family Volley. It is written by a part time professor of Family Psychology at my alma mater BYU and full time mom of 3. I like it because she has great tips for common family problems and super ideas for family fun. I particularly liked her last post on ideas for fun activities to do with your kids during this Christmas break. You can find it HERE.  Some of them were already on my "do list" but she had a few I will be adding.

What is your favorite family activity leading up to Christmas?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Today I am 36. Jon sent me to the spa as my present. It was the best present ever. I got a "mommy to be" massage and a pedicure. I was there for about 3 hours and I felt like I was in heaven and not sick for all 3 of those hours. It was great.

It made me think, as I was getting my massage and thinking of how heavenly it was, about what the soundtrack of heaven would be like? Maybe different for every person? I have to think it will be quieter there than here but I wonder if there will be music playing all the time to emote peace. Or maybe music will be on a whole new level there that we can't even imagine here.

I look forward to having all of those curious questions of mine answered someday. For now I am more than happy to enjoy the "heavenly" things of this earth - like a great spa day for a tired achy body.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Random Post

After my 3 hour nap yesterday, I ended up crawling into bed at around 7 p.m. I slept till 9, got up for an hour and headed back to bed till 8 this morning. All that sleep has really helped and I feel much more alive today. I can tell I still have a bit of a head cold but at least I have some energy and the nausea is gone.

I just got off the phone with a friend whose neighbor had a 2 year old child drown a couple days ago. She wanted my advice on how she could help or what she could do. My heart aches for this unknown family having to face this at Christmas of all times. I will be praying for them.

We have school off today for Parent Student Teacher Conferences. Going to all 3 conferences in a row this morning just highlighted to me how different each of my children are and how much work it is to figure out how to parent each of them according to their specific needs. Each kid has some totally different area to work on. Their personalities are just so different.

And then there is Noble, waking up from his nap right now. Guess I better log off as I am back on duty.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Fairy Godmother

Today has been a rough day. I don't know why but this pregnancy just is kicking my bootie. I was up last night nauseous again. What is the deal with that? Not sure. But it sapped my energy today. I have been dragging all day. But I had stuff to do so... you know. I drug myself out of bed and did my chores.

The grocery store was my first stop. Then home to make soup for my families tonight. I made cream of broccoli. It was a soup day for me for sure.  Mid day I called my mom to see if she could pick up some bread bowls for me. She said she would be out in few hours to bring them to me. Just then my soup boiled over making a huge mess of my cooktop. Oh and the phone rang.

I was dead on my feet by this point so I turned off the stove and headed up to take a nap while Noble napped. I woke up 3 hours later to find my mother in my newly cleaned kitchen with my kids. I felt like Cinderella.

I love my mother. She is the best. I am so grateful to have her close and for all the help she gives me. Mothers truly are the best invention ever.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


People often ask me if I think of Camille every day still. The answer is YES. I think of her every. single. day. And more than once a day too. I think of her every time I see the plants in our home that were given to us by people at her funeral. I think of her as I see photos of her and places she used to love to be in our home. I remember her everyday.

I remember her daily not always with sorrow. Most of the time my thoughts of her are loving and tender but not sad and filled with negative or unhelpful emotions like regret and wishing things were different. It just is what it is and she still IS and so I remember her. I remember her as I try to make choices to keep the Spirit in our home so she will feel welcome here. I remember her as I make tough choices that will help me grow closer to Christ and thus closer to being where she is.

I have had remembering on my mind a bit lately as I have friends struggling with their extended family not "remembering" their deceased child at important times. This is a hard thing. It is hard to have the world and even your family not remember your child who still IS bur just can't be seen.

It isn't that they necessarily forget your child. But not forgetting and remembering are different. You can not forget and simple not think of someone. It is natural. It happens to all of us. We move away from friends and then people we used to think about everyday are no longer a part of our daily lives. We don't forget them. We simply don't think of them everyday anymore.

And it is natural that this happens when people we know die, I suppose. That is how I am with my grandparents. I even think of them still often. But not daily. Not like Camille. When someone you are that close to dies, it is different. You remember them every single day. And it is hard to see others not remember when you remember her so well.

Last night as I was praying, I told the Lord that I remember His Son.  Then I thought about that. How well do I remember Him?  How close am I to Him? Do I really remember Him everyday? It gave me a good perspective on how my Father must want ME to remember His Son. I vowed to do better at really remembering Him. I vowed to cut through the noise of the world and the fun of the season and really REMEMBER Him and what He did for me - who He is to me - what He can teach me still.

Maybe if I work harder to really remember Him, it will be easier to become more like Him. And if nothing else I can say with a fully honest heart in my prayers to the Father that I Do Remember Him every. single. day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lost and Found

Today I went looking for some little prizes I had left over from one of our block parties. I needed them to create a little gift for a Secret Santa family. I knew they were in the closet under our stairs. I had seen them when I cleaned it out just a few weeks ago.

I didn't find them. I hate losing things. Some things I lose are no big deal - like these little prizes. They are just an annoyance. Other things we lose are kind of a bigger deal but with enough money they can be replaced - like Jon's keys to our car. Then there are some losses that can never be replaced and they just eat at you over the years.

As I was searching for those prizes I looked in a storage container with some odds and ends in it. Inside I found what I would like to think of as Camille's birthday/Christmas present to me, to Jon, and to our little family. I saw a mini DV tape with the title "Camille's birth" on it. I have been missing it since we moved into this house almost 3 years ago.

After she died I searched high and low for it. I knew it existed because I had written about it in my journaling of her birth. But for all my grief stricken searching I couldn't find it. How many times since then have I seen a mini DV tape and wondered where THAT tape was?

I called the girls together and plugged the tape in to the machine to play it on the TV. It is an hour long of her first 8 months on this earth. It has her first and only Christmas. It has lots of time with Jon just taping her newborn noises and her learning to roll. It also has adorable footage of the older girls. It has Lauren's 2nd birthday and Sabrina's kindergarten graduation and first piano recital. It has Annie at just barely 4 years old welcoming her baby sister Camille into the world, being the first to hold her hand and stroke her head.

She was so beautiful and perfect. One of the first scenes after her birth was of me holding her and dressing her at 2 weeks old. It was just me and her and Jon taping. I told of how everywhere we went everyone wanted to hold her. Now I know people love newborns and want to hold them. But this was different. Everywhere she went with me people ... strangers ... asked me if they could hold her - my 2 week old.  And I let them. She loved people. She was so happy to be out and about with other people to look at and explore.

In the tape I said, "our beautiful little Camille. She is our family's ambassador to the world." How prophetic this statement turned out to be. And she still is. I am overcome ... with joy at finding this tape ... with sorrow missing her ... with gratitude for this most precious "gift" of a find. I am simply undone.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

'Tis the Season

I have spent the week coughing. I have spent the nights trying to breathe through my asthma. Sabrina was sent home sick from school on Friday. She has a fever and cough. This morning Annie had a fever. We girls are staying home from church and trying to find our own bit of spirituality at home today -- between naps and coughs and medicine.

I guess it is the season and this is what happens. I have been thinking that if I am not significantly better by tomorrow that maybe I will go see a doctor. Then I realized I haven't been to a doctor other than my OBGYN since I moved to Vegas. That is about 4 years. Sure I have been sick with colds, a stomach bug here and there, and pregnancy related things but it has been a long time since I have been really sick. What a blessing.

And knowing how many people out there in the world are suffering daily from illnesses and chronic pain I will certainly not complain about my cough and asthma. I have come to see more clearly in the past couple years that suffering is all relative. It is all real. But in the grand scheme, it is also all relative.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I will be picking up my Christmas Card tomorrow and working on getting them out this week. Here is a view for all you who faithfully follow!

A great big thanks to Whitney Bennett who helped bring my idea for our Christmas card to life again this year. If you are interested in having her design a card for you or using one of her preset designs, shoot her an email at Custom cards run $20 and preset designs are only $10.