Monthly Archives: December 2011

3 Years Ago


Yesterday was the three year anniversary of our Jack’s death.

We visited the cemetery in the morning before heading back to Utah after our Christmas vacation. It was a beautiful morning and we were all in high spirits. When we arrived to Jack’s headstone, we found some other visitors there as well.

We all got a good chuckle about that.

We spent the rest of the day driving back to Utah, and Adam and I shared some thoughts and memories about that day three years ago. The grief wasn’t quite so strong, however, for either of us. In fact, Jack’s birthday was a lot more emotional for me then this death anniversary.

For me, I think it’s just a toss of a coin whether or not Jack’s death date is an extremely difficult day for me. Sure, it’s a sad, sad, day. And I don’t look forward to it. At ALL. But, I could wake up on any given day of the year and just be totally devastated and heartbroken about losing my son. Yesterday morning, I woke up still riding on the shirt tails of my sweet Jane’s first birthday, so this anniversary, I was at peace.

Three years is a long time to miss your baby though, and we sure do miss Jack. I wish he was here with us. I think he would have a pretty happy life with us. I am certain he checks in on his family from time to time and he knows how very much we love him. One year down until we meet again.

Birthday Photoshoot!


My brother-in-law Anthony took these wonderful pictures of Jane on her first birthday. I am so grateful that Anthony is always more than willing to take pictures at all the various family gatherings.

A couple photos of the cupcakes and cake:

These were so fun to do:

I am so glad to have these memories. Thanks again Anthony!

Jane’s FIRST Birthday Par-tay!


It was fun to still be in Vegas for Jane’s first birthday party. Her uncle Sam was able to be there, and her Vidal cousins, as well as her Grandma Marshall AND her Johanson Grandparents. We had the party after dinner, and just did cake & ice cream as well as gifts.

The spread:

I did cupcakes in baby food jars, and a little rainbow smash cake for my little rainbow baby.

All of Jane’s party guests ate their treats out of baby food jars while she enjoyed a cake all to herself.

She didn’t quite know what to do at first, but she REALLY liked the cake after she dug in and tasted it.

Jane’s mommy had a pretty good idea of what to get Jane for her first birthday. This girl is CRAZY about Sing-A-Ma-Jigs. I mean CRAZY!!! In fact, one night, in the middle of the night, she woke up, sat up in bed (wide-eyed) and started whining. I picked her up and she struggled to get out of my arms. I put her down and she crawled around until she found one of her Sing-A-Ma-Jigs on the floor, clutched it in her arms and went back to sleep. She LOVES those silly things!! She got two for Christmas (in addition to the three we already own) and then one more for her birthday. SHE LOVED IT! Also, I got her two dollies that I KNEW she would love. Her grandparents got her great gifts, her aunts and uncles got her great gifts, but that night she only had eyes for the dolls and the Sing-A-Ma-Jig. Mother knows best, indeed!!! (She has since rediscovered all her gifts and LOVES them all!!!)

Clutching her loot:

Giving the “don’t you dare try to take my toys” look to the other children:

I’m outta here!!!

Thank you to everyone who made Jane’s first birthday a success! She is a sweet girl and she is so loved by so many! Here’s to year two!!!

Christmas 2011


We had a really wonderful Christmas this year. We were able to spend it down in Las Vegas with both of our families. It was probably one of the better Christmases we have had in our married years. It was sweet and calm and fun.

Christmas morning Megan woke up around 7:00 and opened her stocking and saw the huge mound of gifts Santa and his helpers had left in the night. She was in such a great mood. She loved everything in her stocking and was so excited for the other children as they opened their stockings.

After stockings, we all got ready to go to church. All the children were so patient and in high spirits. Church was at 9:00 and we attended my mom’s ward. My sister Sarah was invited to sing a beautiful solo (“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”) and other members of my mom’s ward were asked to share their favorite Christmas songs which we then all sang together as a congregation. It was a great meeting.

After church was present time!!! Megan was so delighted with all her gifts. Jane fell asleep early on during the gift opening festivities, but she woke up at the end and enjoyed opening her gifts. It was SO FUN watching all the children open up their surprises.

After Marshall gifts, we headed over to the cemetery to leave some flowers for our Jack. It was pretty heartbreaking to see how many people were at the cemetery on Christmas. My heart ached for so many grieving families.

We then went to Adam’s parents for more gifts and some yummy food. We received the news that morning that Adam’s sister Carrie got engaged on Christmas Eve (YAY!!!) and we got to hear all about it from Carrie and her fiance James. We were able to spend some time with James over the holiday break, and we welcome him into our family whole-heartedly. We are so happy for Carrie!!

I am sure I am leaving plenty out, but we really had a great holiday. Megan’s favorite gifts were perhaps her Lalaloopsies (from her Grandma Marshall) and her Medical Kit (from her Grandma Johanson). She also LOVED the pink Razor Scooter she got from Santa.

Jane LOVED her new Sing-A-Ma-Jigs, and her latch board.

Adam really appreciated the new white shirts and dress socks he got. He’s so easy to please!

My favorite gift came from my little brother, Sam. Three years ago, when they were sealing up Jack’s coffin, Sam pocketed the backing of the tape they used, thinking he could use it for “something” for us “someday”. Well, this Christmas, Sam used that backing to frame our most recent family picture. I love the thought that went into that gift. I love that Sam held onto that backing all this time, just waiting for something to do with it. It really meant so much to me.

Thank you to everyone who made our Christmas so wonderful!!! We truly had such a happy holiday season.

Christmas EVE 2011


On Christmas Eve, we enjoyed the most delicious spread of yummy food at Adam’s parent’s house. In true Elizabeth fashion, I forgot my camera, but the girls had a great time spending the afternoon in their grandparents yard. The weather was ridiculously wonderful for Christmastime!!

We also sang some Christmas songs with Adam’s oldest sister and her family, as well as his sister Carrie and her then boyfriend NOW fiance!! Adam’s dad told the story of Luke 2, and we just spent some time chatting. The night before, we also spent some time with Adam’s brother Jake and his family. I love that we get to see so many family members at Christmas!!!

We then joined my family for The Marshall Christmas Eve Program.
I was the host for the program. Tyson was Santa.

The children all got their Christmas Eve pjs. Megan loved hers. She said, “these are the most wonderful pajamas ever!”

We then watched the newly released Nativity story from The Church. And then we read Luke 2.

I am not sure why I was the one chosen to read Luke 2 this year, but I did and I became quite emotional. Especially when I read the part about Mary laying her firstborn son in the manger. My own first-born son immediately came to mind and I thought about how Jesus was born, and lived and died for my little family to be together forever. I love the little moments when the true meaning of Christmas come pouring out in abundance.

Afterwards, Torie played “Silent Night” on the piano, and the older girls told a sweet story using M&Ms.

As you hold these candies in your hand
And turn them, you will see
The M becomes a W, and E and then a 3
They tell the Christmas Story
It’s one, I’m sure you know
It took place in a stable
A long long time ago.
The E is for the East
Where the star shone O so bright
the M is for the Manger
Where the baby Jesus slept that night.
The 3 is for the wise men
Bearing gifts, they say they came.
W is for worship, Hallelujah
Praise to His name.
So as you eat these candies
Or share them with a friend
Remember the Spirit of Christmas
And never let it end.

Then Sarah directed us in a game of left/right.

Afterwards, the children left out their stockings for Santa and went to bed. Megan and Jane were out in NO time at all.

After the last of the children was down for the night, all the adults got together and played our traditional gift exchange game. I think Adam and I made out pretty good with a donut maker and a tripod. Pretty much everyone was happy with the gifts they got.

Santa arrived shortly after the game and he and his helpers loaded up the tree. Then we ALL hit the hay!