Lucky's First Birthday

Dear Alexis,

I've been saying "Third time's the charm!" for a year now.  YOU are the charm.  You came to us with your curly hair and your daddy's dimple and the mildest disposition. You charm us all with your sweet, happy spirit. We are so lucky to have you in our family.

Somehow you're jolly and snuggly and fearless at the same time.  You never care about getting hurt.  You'll climb all over things, fall and smack your head, cry for a second and try it again. Rinse, repeat. That's why you walked early. It drives me totally crazy.

Your brother and sister LOVE you, and you want to be like them so badly.  You chase them up and down the hall (and stairs!), reach into their bathtub, grab their toys, and give them multiple kisses before going to bed.  They laugh and kiss you back, tickling to hear you giggle and begging for more hugs.  Your favorite thing in the world is eating.  And it shows.

We didn't have the easiest start, you know.  For the first months of your life I was stressed beyond anything I'd experienced before.  My milk wasn't fatty enough, you didn't gain weight, and you didn't (couldn't?) take naps in our tiny house with two noisy toddlers.  We were trying to move.  I fixed and painted and cleaned and nursed and stressed and cried, feeling all alone with your dad gone as much as he was.  It was HARD.  And I was so grateful for the help I got from my parents, siblings and friends, without whom I surely would have landed in a mental hospital.

Things got better!  You took bottles and slept better, we sold the house and Daddy finished his fire training.  You got your own room.  We spread out in our new house and it made a huge difference.  We are in a good place as a family.  We've been so blessed.

When I look back at the last year, I can see the wonder of God's timing.  He knew when to send you to us, so all the other things we didn't know we needed could work themselves out.  I'm grateful for you and the sheer joy that you bring to my life every single day. I hope you keep your curiosity and love for life always. I adore you.



Two days after the car accident, my sister and her husband came back to Roosevelt.  Sunday evening our favorite Dr. offered to do an ultrasound, just to make sure everything was okay with Ki's 17-week pregnancy.
It wasn't.

The ultrasound showed no heartbeat, and after some other tests, they decided to admit her into labor & delivery the next day.  Ang and I stayed up late trying to put together a baby quilt like my mom has made for all of her grandbabies.  It wasn't perfect, but it was something to take to the hospital.

She delivered a broken baby boy, and they buried him in the local cemetery.

We all kind of sat around for a week, visiting and grieving and being with each other.  Brent & Megan came from Missouri (to attend another funeral, actually).  We talked about the most important things.  We remembered that the most important thing is being together.

Eventually, Ki and Sheldon still had to go home, to heal and get back to their "normal" lives.  The new normal.


the UBOC

There's a new thing in the Basin, an audition-only orchestra and choir that is under the great umbrella of the USU-UB extension.  They've put on a few concerts over the last year and a half; in December my Mom, Aunt Lana and I decided to try to join.
The last time I auditioned was for BYU's Concert Choir (didn't make it - it was a strange and terrible audition), so I was expecting to be nervous. Glory be! I wasn't.  I made it in, even with a less-than-perfect sightreading performance, and my family members did too.  We geared up for the first 4-hour rehearsal in Vernal on Saturday, January 10th.

Friday night we gathered to talk carpool. Then Mom got a text from Kiana saying she and Sheldon were in a serious car accident and in the hospital.  My parents left almost immediately for the 1 1/2 hr trip over the mountains to Price.

The next day during rehearsal, I sang as my phone buzzed over and over in my lap. Texts from Mom and Dad and Ki, showing damage to their car and detailing injuries, marveling that they were even still alive.  I muddled through Cindy while Dr. Craig Jessop stood four feet from me (shorter than he looks on TV. conducts with a weird wrist flick). (Completely delightful to sing for.)

Thou gracious God, whose mercy lends
the light of home, the smile of friends,
our gathered flock thine arms enfold
as in the peaceful days of old.

Wilt thou not hear us while we raise
in sweet accord of solemn praise
the voices that have mingled long
in joyous flow of mirth and song?

For all the blessings life has brought,
for all its sorrowing hours have taught,
for all we mourn, for all we keep,
the hands we clasp, the loved that sleep.

The noontide sunshine of the past,
these brief, bright moments fading fast,
the stars that gild our darkening years,
the twilight ray from holier spheres.

We thank thee, Father; let thy grace
our loving circle still embrace,
thy mercy shed its heavenly store,
thy peace be with us evermore.

 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., 1869


Gathering Speed

Sometimes, it's hard to write.  Sometimes it's harder to not write.  And sometimes I've been not writing for so long that it seems impossible to start writing again.

Lately, in my mind I've been picturing life as a huge hill.  A mountain, maybe.  But I'm not trudging up it, I'm rolling down it on wheels, gathering speed.  It's exhilarating and terrifying and I don't know how long the ride will last, or what will happen along the way, or how I'll do everything that I need to do. I'm clinging to my loved ones in the hopes that we all make it through in one piece.

Over the last few months I was "officially" diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder.  My thyroid is fighting itself, and as far as anyone can tell, it's slowly dying.  The main effect I have is exhaustion.  I get easily overwhelmed, occasionally dizzy, my hair falls out, and I can't stand anything touching my neck. But mostly it's the exhaustion.  I can't do everything I want (and need) to do, and that bothers me.

The oilfield is suffering now too, and although Slice's job seems secure, we know the industry is unstable.  We've been saving for many months but feel like we can tighten our belts a little more, in case things don't get better in the near future.  Thank you Dave Ramsey for motivating us to have a 6 month emergency fund. The peace of mind it gives is incredible.

In other news, we had a delightful Christmas break at home with family.  After a miserable Thanksgiving holiday, it was just what we needed.  I sang in the annual Messiah performance, and had a few solos, and I was pleased with them until I watched the recording on our camera. (Me to Slice: "Don't ever record me singing ever again. Ever.")
Emma had a super-fantastic birthday and then she potty-trained in about 3 days.  Hallelujah!
Emma;s birthday cake.  I'm a slacker ok?
the singing crew
On Christmas Eve we continued our tradition of a progressive dinner, including a musical program at the assisted living center nearby.  Slice didn't even get yelled at by any of the residents this year.

There's always more of us than there are of them.  It's awesome.
Nativity at Lana's this year.  None of my kids were naked or violent!  We're making progress!
 Christmas Day we got to Skype sweet Em, who was giggling at everything and crying at the rest.  Her Spanish sounded great to me!

Now, let us not forget my Lex, my precious chubby snuggly baby girl.  All she got for Christmas were bath toys and socks. She didn't even care.
This girl was crawling at 7 months and walking at 10.  She is now growing out of her 18-month clothes.  Girl can eat.  I love that about her.