Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

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We had a great Thanksgiving in Vegas (we always have a great Thanksgiving in Vegas.)

In attempts to keep this brief and concise, here are some photos of the holiday with short captions.

Girls all ready to hit the road!  They LOVE going to Vegas!!

Girls all ready to hit the road! They LOVE going to Vegas!!

Road Rally with many of the cousins.  Aunt Sarah is always good about getting the whole group together for a quick picture.

Road Rally with many of the cousins. Aunt Sarah is always good about getting the whole group together for a quick picture.

2010 Baby girls doing some Thanksgiving coloring.

2010 Baby girls doing some Thanksgiving coloring.

At one point, Coulson thought it would be fun to pull out this pouch made from a a real dead frog his dad brought him from the Philippines.  Loren and Adam refused to touch it.  Direct quote from Adam, "put that thing a few feet away from me and I will check it out on my own terms."

At one point, Coulson thought it would be fun to pull out this pouch made from a a real dead frog his dad brought him from the Philippines. Loren and Adam refused to touch it. Direct quote from Adam, “put that thing a few feet away from me and I will check it out on my own terms.”

Loren and Adam after their turkey bowls on Thanksgiving.  They both walked into the house commenting on how old and out of shape they are.

Loren and Adam after their turkey bowls on Thanksgiving. They both walked into the house commenting on how old and out of shape they are.

Alec and Levi received these matching onesies from Grandma Marshall.  They were so cute together and it's fun whenever they match,

Alec and Levi received these matching onesies from Grandma Marshall. They were so cute together and it’s fun whenever they match,

Ann made these place settings for all the children.  I ate most of the Reese's myself...

Ann made these place settings for all the children. I ate most of the Reese’s myself…

I was Sarah's kitchen assistant.  Here are some of our yummy dishes.  Mom cooked the turkey.

I was Sarah’s kitchen assistant. Here are some of our yummy dishes. Mom cooked the turkey.

The Butikofer's met Alec for the first time.

The Butikofer’s met Alec for the first time.

Jane and Isaac at Grandma and Grandpa Jo's house.

Jane and Isaac at Grandma and Grandpa Jo’s house.

Loren provididing us with some pre-entertainment entertainment.

Loren provididing us with some pre-entertainment entertainment.

Theater was empty until about 5 minutes before the movie started.  Then it was packed.

Theater was empty until about 5 minutes before the movie started. Then it was packed.

Jane and Cora resting with the Ipad.

Jane and Cora resting with the Ipad.

The people with red hair got a picture together.

The people with red hair got a picture together.

Grandma rocked Jane to sleep.

Grandma rocked Jane to sleep.

Jamison showing us how a lip sync is done. Megan trying her hardest. Ha!

Baby boys in their matching Elf on the Shelf jammies.

Baby boys in their matching Elf on the Shelf jammies.

Alec likes people's faces.  Wonder if Levi's eyes could get any bigger.

Alec likes people’s faces. Wonder if Levi’s eyes could get any bigger.

We visited Jack.

We visited Jack.

The girls on the way home.  Megan showing off the teeth she lost, one on the trip.

The girls on the way home. Megan showing off the teeth she lost, one on the trip.

The girls also did some swimming at their Johanson Grandparents house, but I didn’t go with them so I have no pictures. That was probably their favorite part of the trip though! I probably missed some other things too. Thank you to everyone who made it such a fun trip!

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Alec at 8 Months!

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Alec is 8 months old!! He is so cute and so sweet and so fun! I love him!

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Alec has 7 teeth and number 8 is just sitting there just waiting to pop through. I can’t believe he has almost 8 teeth at 8 months!!! And he has been so pleasant through all that teething. They really just do NOT come sweeter!

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Alec is also finally crawling on all fours. I say “finally” not because he’s behind the average or anything, but because he was army crawling for SO LONG! He is so cute on all fours! He started just a few days before turning 8 months and he has not looked back! He has no problem climbing all the way up our stairs, and I don’t think it will be long before he is backing down them as well. He also stands independtly for a few seconds at a time and loves to cruise along furniture…walls…people…everything! He always has been super active. He keeps this mama active, too!

There’s not too much else to report this month. I am just trying to hurry and get caught up on the old blog before he turns 9 months! Ha! Alec continues to be such a ray of sunshine to our little family. I feel like he is certainly beginning to grow up way too fast, but I am loving every minute spent with him.

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UCCU Family Festival

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On a whim, we took the girls to the UCCU Family Festival at UVU. Megan was not enthusiastic about going because it was on a Friday night and she has dubbed Friday nights as her “relaxing time.” Whatever. So we convinced her to go and we all had a great time!

Megan rushing down the bounce slide.

Megan rushing down the bounce slide.

Jane didn't remember past bounce slides.  She had a great "first time."

Jane didn’t remember past bounce slides. She had a great “first time.”

The girls made parachutes and then shot them out of a huge wind tunnel.

The girls made parachutes and then shot them out of a huge wind tunnel.

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I can't remember the point of this activity! But they liked it!

I can’t remember the point of this activity! But they liked it!

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Jane is "scared" of Elmo so Megan was trying to help her see he is not scary.

Jane is “scared” of Elmo so Megan was trying to help her see he is not scary.

We all agreed that the short train ride around the area was our favorite part.

Megan and me on the train ride.

Megan and me on the train ride.

Jane on the train.

Jane on the train.

Alec on the train.

Alec on the train.

Sweet boys.

Sweet boys.

There were a lot of other activities that I didn’t pictures of. I don’t know if we will go again next year. It was a little overwhelming and very loud. But we all had fun and made some nice memories.

Happy Birthday Balloons

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We did our traditional balloon and message release for Jack’s 5th birthday. Megan was sick all day so she released hers after a nap. She was so sweet, she must have “talked” to Jack for 10 minutes before releasing her balloon to him.

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I believe there must be some sort of Heavenly acknowledgement of the day we received our mortal bodies. Jack must have been present or aware of our celebration. Happy birthday to our sweet sweet boy.

My Five Year Old Son

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Today our son Jack would have been 5 years old.

Every parent knows that the fifth year is a banner one. The child is officially “school-aged.” They transition from baby to little kid. They are funny and busy and sweet. It would have been so wonderful celebrating today with my boy.

Birthdays are harder for me than death days. A birthday shouldn’t be mourned. It should be celebrated with cake and balloons and presents. Half a dozen five-year-old boys should be running around my house with lightsabers or shields. We should be singing happy birthday and blowing out candles. Phone calls should be rolling in from the boy’s grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins. Instead, a hush has fallen over the house. Passers-by pass by, completely unaware of the absence of what should be or the presence of grief and sorrow that is happening behind closed quiet doors.

I’ve gone various routes when it comes to celebrating Jack’s birthday. From the all out party with cake and balloons and gifts at his grave, to just quiet and simple acknowledgement behind closed doors. None seems to uplift me. Today we will release balloons with messages as we have done in the past, because I think it’s important for the children’s sakes to do something.

I did decide this year to take on a little project for me for this day. Every time I look at a family photo of ours, there is an ache in my heart that just throbs and throbs. No picture can portray our family accurately because Jack is such a real and integral part of it. When I post and share family pictures, or pictures of the three children together, I always wish there was some subtle way to include Jack in the photo. Every year when we’ve taken family pictures, I’ve included a little private symbol or token that represented Jack.

This year, for his birthday, I did something a little different with our most recent family picture. I created a composite sketch of what our family might look like today if Jack were still with us. It is a little strange and very sad for me to look at this picture. I feel like Harry Potter as he looked in the “Mirror of Erised.” Harry stumbles upon a mirror and when he looks into it, he sees himself reflected back as well as his deceased parents whom he lost in infancy. Night after night after night, Harry stares into the mirror at the image of him and his parents whom he never knew. Speaking of the mirror, Dumbledore explained, “it shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desires of our heart.”

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And that’s what this picture is to me. The deepest most desperate desire of my heart. Side by side with my husband with all our dear children gathered near. Sweet precious Jack in our life; raising him in mortality.

Dumbledore eventually removes the mirror and tells Harry to no longer seek it out. He explains that the mirror does not give knowledge or truth. “Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or have been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.”

This photo has entranced me as I have spent a great amount of time studying and staring at it. It is such an ideal image, yet it also saddens me so. Looking at this picture, it is so easy to envision what our life might be like if Jack were a part of it and we get idea of what he might look like; no longer frozen in babyhood in our minds. I have felt the danger of obsessing so much over something that is not real nor possible.

But I do have knowledge and truth. I do know that the picture of my eternal family is so much more wonderful and beautiful and glorious and desirable than this desperate attempt of my natural man to create what my family truly looks like. And what I have created is a preschool finger painting in comparison to the Lord’s veiled masterpiece.

I can’t say for sure if I won’t do this again, five, ten, maybe twenty years from now. It may seem totally inappropriate and strange to some, but anyone who knows what a loss of this magnitude feels like will understand and appreciate the motivation behind it.

A very happy birthday to my firstborn son. While I grieve deeply this day, I am eternally honored to be your mother. We love you and miss you every minute of every day.

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