Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Hoo-hoo" has an opinion?

I LOVE that my boys are strong willed.
I LOVE that they are driven, assertive and know what they want.
I LOVE that they stand up for what they believe in, without backing down, I really do.
I even LOVE their over-stated, sometimes quite surprisingly, very strong opinions...
Especially the ones that make me chuckle...
Well, we've been meaning to see this movie for a while and just hadn't made it yet.
You know, other priorities first.
But somehow it finally snuck up to the top of our list.
So we took the boys out to the Buck-Flick...
We thought they would all LOVE it...
Well, the big boys sat glued, as expected...
And Bronson, wild monkey,
took advantage of the nearly empty theatre
and ran up...
and down...
and back...
and forth...
and through...
the aisles...
just his little blonde head silently bobbing up and down,
glowing above the seat tops in front of us.
Who ARE his parents to allow that sort of behavior?
So anyway, he and I missed half of it...
But it was our D who was the surprise!
...He is such a movie buff!
He'll watch anything!
And he has LOVED every other 3D movie that he's seen,
which is why this came as such a shock!
Halfway through,
upon my return from yet another run to the Lobby
with my crazy little maniac,
I found D slumped and scowling in his booster,
glaring at the big screen over the tops of his 3D glasses.
"D, what's wrong?", I whispered.
He gruffly and not-so-quietly whispered back,
"I want to go home!"
"What?", I asked, genuinely surprised.
"I hate this movie!", again, not-so-quiet.
"Why? What's the matter?", trying to soothe him.
Then this, increasingly louder and with pure and unmistakable spite,
"I HATE owls!"
Snickers from the handful of other theatre-goers within a few rows' vicinity*...
Well, there you have it...
Hooooo knew?
*My apologies to anyone who was there, trying to quietly enjoy their night out...
But hey!
Glad we could help entertain you for the evening!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All...

And to all...
A good night!
(In case yours hasn't arrived yet, here's a peek at our Christmas Card...)

We love you all and are so grateful for your love,
prayers, friendship and support, this year and always!
Here's hoping this finds you happy, healthy
and enjoying the best of this glorious season!
Much Love~
The Staker Family
(...All 6 of us!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HERE is a good place to be...

I know it has been forever since I've posted...
More on that another day...
But it suffices to say that it has been out of necessity...
Partly because I needed a bit of a break...
But mostly because we have just plain been busy enjoying life!
And enjoying it to it's fullest!
(And when I say FULL-est, I do not believe it is an overstatement!)
Also, {sigh}...
As unreasonable as I know it is,
I can not seem to give up this crazy notion that I somehow need to "catch up".
At this point, I know that is not realistic, so I am going to try to just jump in.
Right here.
Right now.
Right. Where. We. Are.
Because where we ARE is a good place to be.
A very good place.
Today I am preparing for a Family Christmas Party, here at our home.
Tonight I will see Aunts, Uncles and Cousins I have dearly missed.
And as I tidy up and primp and polish our home to prepare for guests,
my gratitude for where we ARE overflows.
I have six beloved stockings hanging from my mantle.
Santa will fill ALL of them in just a few short days.
And we will ALL be here to enjoy watching one another
open the gifts we have so carefully selected for one another.
I could not be more grateful.
I feel as if I might burst.
A pile of Christmas Cards sits anxiously next to me on my desk,
waiting for me to find the time to finish addressing the envelopes.
I will get to them... I will.
For now, I am content to read "The Santa Claus Book"to 4 rowdy little sets of eager ears... Again.
Oh, yes.
The cards can wait.
They are darling, by the way.
The cards.
I can not wait to finish sending them.
The front is a surprise.
(If I told you here, it would spoil it.)
But I will say this...
A new, current family portrait adorns the back.
I adore it.
I gush with gratitude that we are ALL together to have it taken.
To preserve the memory of the year that changed us... FOREVER.
And that, in the end, despite what has crumbled behind us,
We are still standing... Together.
And this might just be my favorite image in all the world today.
No further explanation needed.
There are 4 very sweet faces smiling up at me from the bottom of the card.
ALL of them growing, learning, thriving. HERE.
Yes, HERE is a good place to be.
Home. Together.
Listening to Christmas tunes caroling out through our intercom.
Watching the snow fall through the fog outside.
In our jammies, making soup to serve to those we love.
Who will be here to see us and visit in just a few short hours.
I can't wait!
...Guess I better go shower!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tower of Cups and a Wheat Field...

So we blend a lot of smoothies here at our house...
Several per day, usually.
We put them in clear plastic cups so they are easy to take when we are on the go.
Which is often.
But in an effort to be conservative
(and since they melt in the dishwasher),
we wash and rinse the cups out,
then place them in the windowsill to dry
so that we can reuse them.
There are usually one... or two... in the corner of our windowsill.
But since we've had houseguests this week, we've made quite a few extra smoothies.
Even more than normal.
So we've had this little pyramid going...
Well, this morning, after breakfast,
I lifted Daynen up to the kitchen sink to wash his hands.
He looked at them and said, "Cool! Are doze Jesus cups?"
I wasn't sure I understood what he meant...
My mind was puzzling over whether he meant,
Mmm... like really big sacrament cups, er what?
So I said, "What kind of cups?"
He repeated, "Jesus cups! Let's do the trick!"
Still confused, I said, "What trick? Show me."
He reached for the center cup on the bottom row and pulled it out,
explaining, "Like when Jesus dies and dey awe come tumb-wing down
and da choo-wuch cah-w-ashes."
(Toddlerese to English Translation: ... and they all come tumbling down and the church crashes.")
I couldn't help but smile as I caught on and realized what he was saying.
I guess he really WAS listening at Family Home Evening last week
when we had our lesson about The Great Apostasy...
We labeled some of those same plastic cups and then stacked them,
creating a tower to represent the Church as it was when Jesus Christ was here upon the earth.
Then we pulled out the bottom cup (representing Christ as the foundation of the Church)
and talked about how it all fell apart after his death and the martyrdom of the apostles.
We showed the boys how many of the same principles and ordinances of the gospel remained,
but explained that some were lost, distorted, misinterpreted or even forgotten.
We told them how these scattered pieces were used to build other doctrines
throughout the ages, but remained incomplete until The Restoration.
The big boys seemed to understand the object lesson,
but of course the little ones were way more interested in just building and crashing towers.
The rest went right past them.
Or so I thought...
So imagine my surprise when my sweet, barely-3 year old replays the message to me.
All on his own!
Almost a whole week later!
It was one of those far-too-few-and-far-between "Parent Pay-offs".
You know...
When you realize something you thought went right over their heads,
actually stuck.
Even just a little!
...Guess we'll keep at it!
It also reminded me of a particularly touching talk from last fall's General Conference...
Reaffirmed to me the total and absolute truth of it.
Like many other moms, I sometimes struggle with feeling like I just try SOOO hard...
And for what?
The job often feels overwhelming and fruitless.
Trying to get everyone to cooperate and do the right thing
seems like a lot of hard work
and often even ends up feeling counter-productive.
Sometimes I feel like I. Just. CAN'T. Do. It.
So Elder Bednar's talk pierced me to the core
and warmed my very soul with a rekindled commitment for consistency.
Despite the sometimes discouraging individual instances.
I remember sitting in my car in the Costco parking lot.
Too paralyzed to get out and go inside
as I listened to his words stream in over the radio.
I could not move.
Feeling so filled that my emotions were spilling over.
Streaming silently down my cheeks.
I heard... really HEARD... his words.
Spoken as if straight to me.
It felt as if the teardrops spotting the bosom of my t-shirt
were imbedding them indellibly upon my heart.
So as a reminder to myself,
and to share with anyone reading, who may also benefit,
here is the part that I just loved:
"As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do.
We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening.
Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.
Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered
if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile.
Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts
such as “He’s touching me!”
“Make him stop looking at me!”
“Mom, he’s breathing my air!”
Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking.
And with active, rambunctious boys,
family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification.
{Uh... ya think? This sounds oddly familiar...}
At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated
because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster
did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.
Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember
about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening,
I believe I know how they would answer.
They likely would not identify a particular prayer
or a specific instance of scripture study
or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson
as the defining moment in their spiritual development.
What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.
Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content
of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome.
But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together.
The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—
a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time.
In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field.
The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—
none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive.
In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass
of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint.
However, as you gradually move away from the canvas,
all of the individual brushstrokes combine together
and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field.
Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together
to create a captivating and beautiful painting.
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study,
and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls.
No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable.
But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other
and produce an impressive masterpiece,
so our consistency in doing seemingly small things
can lead to significant spiritual results.
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing,
for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.
And out of small things proceedeth that which is great”
Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes."
That message and that image of the wheat field has stayed with me.
So, here, in this simple stack of plastic cups drying in my kitchen windowsill,
I realized...
I am painting.
Still painting.
Ever painting.
One. Stroke. At. A. Time.
Painting the portrait of my own ever-growing, testimony
and imprinting it upon the hearts of my children.
Helping them to paint their own.
As artists of their own souls.
One prayer.
One scripture study.
One Family Home Evening.
One heart-to-heart chat.
One teaching moment.
One plastic cup tower. At. A. Time...
And THAT...
Well, THAT, I CAN do.
For today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Alright, already...

Okay... This is it.
Tonight I feel really yucky.
Out of gas.
And sorta...
Strike that...
REALLY blah.
Blah... blah... BLAH!
I HATE this feeling!
Absolutely HATE it!
And even worse, I know why.
I know EXACTLY why...
You see, I usually eat really well.
By most people's standard, I eat VERY well.
I love fruits and veggies.
I eat them at nearly every meal.
I get a good balanced amount of protein and healthy, whole grain carbohydrates.
And I try to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
(Yes... That's 5-6 times per day.)
I LOVE good food...
And I eat a lot!
I also drink like a fish.
I start drinking water first thing in the morning at 5:15.
All day long, I drink and drink.
And I'm not talking soda... I despise it.
Water only.
By bedtime, I've usually consumed over 100 ounces.
Sometimes more.
And I usually have plenty of energy.
Moreso than I sometimes know what to do with!
You know me!
Me and all my big ideas...
{If only I could buy more time at the health food store!}
But this past week, I have been very "off."
No particular reason...
I've just been a bit lazy, I guess.
Slipping up in my usually good habits.
If we are what we eat, then right now, I am the city dump!
With Matt gone, I immersed myself in a project and barely slept.
We had visitors staying with us
and I was not diligent with my planned meals and regular mealtimes.
I've hardly drunk any water.
I am thirsty.
My head aches.
Even my lips and skin feel dry.
I know I am dehydrated.
So this is MY fault!
I know better!
I know what my body needs.
I'm just not giving it!
As of this moment, I am recommitting to take better care of myself.
Because I can.
Because I should.
Because I am worth it.
...And they are worth it!
{Because I know that even when they don't complain,
my boys like me even more when I am feeling good.
And fun.
And like myself.
Instead of like this... yucky... blob.}
So no more being lazy and eating crappy for me!
For crying out loud...
I do NOT need to finish my children's meals for them!
I can not.
I will not.
It is an awful habit!
...One of my worst.
Just because they decide they are "done" eating while there is still food on their plates
(food I worked hard to prepare for them, mind you ),
does NOT mean I have to consume it to prevent it from going to waste!
I do not have to dispose of it!
At least not into my own mouth!
That's why we have a garbage can.
And a disposal in our sink!
I hereby remind myself that I am a big girl.
I have outgrown "kiddie food".
I can not thrive off of the leftover Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich crusts.
Or the last few bites of their Pigs in a Blanket.
I DO deserve to take the time to prepare my OWN real food...
Even if THEY want Mac & Cheese, Little Caesar's or McDonald's
(on the rare occasion that I actually cave in and indulge them).
They are boys.
Little boys.
Growing boys!
With the metabolism of a raging bonfire!
I, on the other hand,
am aging...
I can not eat anything and everything, like I once could, and still feel fine.
And I do not have the self-discipline to deprive myself.
Or the cardio-endurance of a Madman, like my sweet-tooth husband.
{I love you, Sweets...}
So instead, I must choose well.
I must choose better.
It's sort of like the oxygen mask thing...
As counter-intuitive as it seems, it is how we ensure that we all survive.
And how we all thrive...
In order to take care of others well, we must first take care of ourselves, as well.
So for now, that means cracking the proverbial whip a bit, on my eating habits...
I start in the morning!
{I can hardly wait!}

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In-laws, er.. uh...OUT-laws...

Yep... Apparently it started young...
Someone really should have warned me what kind of family I was marrying into!
Hee hee! Just kidding!
(If anyone lucked out in the in-law department, it was certainly me!)
This is so cute, I just had to post it...
if not for your viewing enjoyment, then for their utter humiliation!
(It's an oldie, but a goodie that I just came across in Trevor's facebook pics.)
Don't think I've ever seen it, so it's giving me a good chuckle this evening...
These are the Lowry cousins, somewhere around the mid-80's, I'd guess.
Back row (Left to Right): Mike Staker (Matt's older and oh-so-much-wiser brother),
Megan Staker McMurdie (Matt's little sister) & Matt "Capone" Staker
Front Row: Ty Simcox (Matt's cousin), Trevor Simcox (also cousin),
Mindy Staker Johanson (Matt's littlest sister), & Rachelle Simcox Taysom (Matt's cousin)
Love you guys!
Glad you all gave up your "life of crime",
turned over a new leaf
and became productive, law-abiding citizens!
Wait... You did...Right?
Officer Simcox?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Footprints of Faith...

For those of you who have asked for information,
"Footprints of Faith"
will air at 1:30 pm MST,
just prior to the second session of LDS General Conference.
There will be 3 stories featured in the program.
We were told that Bronson's story will be the middle segment.
Post Script-
In reply to some of the questions and comments left in response to this post,
I am not aware of a link to view the "Footprints of Faith" program online.
However, KSL has announced that it will re-air on Sunday, May 2.
I am not sure what time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

40 Years... and still counting!

Happy Anniversary to two of the dearest people in my world!
Congratulations, Mom & Dad!
I am so proud of you!
In this day and age, it's an accomplishment only a few can claim.
And getting fewer and farther between all the time.
Thank you for loving each other.
Through the good and the bad...
The challenges as well as the joys.
And often across so many miles.
It could not always have been easy.
I could not have asked for better, more adoring parents...
Who waited and wanted for so very long before I finally came your way.
Thank you for being ready.
To love me unconditionally.
And to teach me.
By both your words and your example.
What a blessing you are to me!
I am so grateful I was sent to you.
Thanks for loving each other. For loving me. And for making us a family.
I am forever your devoted daughter!

Friday, March 26, 2010

B Strong... Be Fit... Be One... Be there!

I am posting this again as a friendly reminder...

Our wonderful, a-MAZ-ing and completely over-achieving sister, Mindy,
has put this great event together in our behalf.
The blessings just seem to have no end.
We are absolutely thankful.
(Thanks, Mind!)
We are also grateful
that this will provide us with a much-needed opportunity
to thank so many of you for your love and support,
and allow us to throw you a bit of a Thank-You Party!

So whether you run, or not... please
Come celebrate the gift of life with us
in honor of Bronson's second chance!

There will be a 5K and a Children's 1 Mile Fun Run.
Starting at 9 am
Food, Games, Prizes, Raffles, Bounce Houses!

Register online @:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interview on NBC's Today show...

For those who asked for the link to Bronson's story,
Click here...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Today is tomorrow...

Several weeks ago, just after we returned from the hospital,
we were contacted by NBC's morning show, Today.
They had been following Bronson's story and asked if they could interview us live on their show.
Of course, we declined.
We needed to be home with our boys, who had been well cared for by Alli
and spoiled by family and friends in our absence,
but WE worried about them, after all they had been through.
And knew we needed to reconnect and spend time as a family.
So NBC clarified that the offer was for all of us... the whole gang. Even Alli.
We were shocked...
They explained all the reasons that Bronson's strory appealed to them.
It was well-documented through my blog.
It had been well-photographed and we had taken video as it unfolded.
And most of all, it was miraculous.
And GOOD news to tell.
We were slightly more intrigued...
But they wanted us right away.
We said sorry, but we needed some down time.
They offered to wait until after the Olympics.
We considered...
But with everything going on, I wasn't sure that it wasn't just another distration from our focus.
Our family.
We declined again.
SO they sent us a piece they aired several years ago.
Another miracle.
About a boy from Texas who had been killed in and ATV accident.
His death announced in the local paper.
The family had bid their final farewells
and prepared to honor his wishes as an organ donor.
Helicopters were waiting on the roof.
Recipients standing by.
And yet his Grandma prayed on for a miracle.
Long story short, they interviewed him on NBC a few months later.
We were touched as we watched his parents.
Incredible and faithful people, telling the story of their miracle.
We were reminded of a scripture that has become particularly meaningful to us lately.
We know that Bronson's miracle was not just given to him.
Not even just to us.
We believe it was given for the benefit of mankind.
To show forth the all-powerful hand of God.
To remind us that our loving Father in Heaven has a plan for us and for our families.
That He hears and answers our prayers.
That He intervenes with the course of nature, when necessary, to accomplish His will.
That we were blessed enough to witness one of these occurances.
First hand.
We could not be more grateful.
We are humbled to the core and still in shock of His grace and His mercy.
That this happened for us, and not for so many others with similar stories.
So many who prayed just as faithfully...
So many who were also hopeful for their own miracle.
Maybe even more worthy.
So many who accepted the will of God,
even when it was not what they would have chosen.
And yet, somehow, for some reason,
we recieved more than we could have possibly dreamed.
We recieved Bronson.
Here. Now. Complete. Whole. Himself. Seemingly unaffected.
And with that comes a responsibility.
One that feels too big, and yet we eagerly embrace.
Knowing we have room to grow.
We promise to do our best to give back.
To raise awareness.
To help others to learn vicariously through my mistake.
Help them to reevaluate and to prioritize.
And most importantly, we commit to bear testimony and stand as witnesses of God.
At all times, and in all things and in all places.
Even moreso than ever before.
Even if that means being on camera in front of a national audience.
Matt is excited for the missionary opportunity.
I just hope I don't trip...
Or ramble. Oh, how I hope I don't ramble...
And please pray that little B behaves himself!
He is such a wild man!
I just have one word about this...
Natonal TV will get him in whatever mood he is in!
Let's hope he sleeps well tonight!
Here are a few shots from the in home interview they shot a few days ago.
A few minutes of it will air on NBC's morning show, Today, tomorrow morning, March 12.
Aye aye aye...
How on earth did we get here?
New York City... NBC... Here we are...
Be gentle with us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NYC or bust...

Off we go!
. .
Alli and the boys, curbside,with our stash of bags, etc.
Not bad... for a traveling party of 7!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A few of my favorite things...

Just came across this little diddy,
which {insert huge sigh of relief} still makes me smile...
Quite possibly my favorite picture that I've ever taken!
when I least expect it...
amid all the underwear wrestling...
the bumps and dents in our walls...
the disturbingly unexplainable "mystery" bruises...
the constant coat of caked mud on their shoes...
the stained sleeves they borrow and use as napkins...
the wall murals painted in sharpie and/or white-out correction tape (Umm... yeah)...
the glitter glue I'll never get out from between the floor boards in the Craft Room...
the incessant arsenal of whirling plastic weaponry...
the indian burns and purple nurples...
the super-hero dress ups...
the little growling dinosaurs...
the blanket forts and bubble baths...
the entire cast of miniature 'CARS' cars which magically drive themselves all around our house...
the Legos... {insert exasperated sigh}... oh, all those darn LEGOS...
the skateboards and scooters and bikes and rollerblades and ripsticks...
the crayons, paintbrushes, colored pencils and markers...
the dog-eared UNO cards...
and otterpops...
Amid Diego and Sponge Bob...
Zack & Cody, Drake & Josh...
Mario Kart and Lego Star Wars on the Wii...
Piano lessons and Pine Wood Derbys...
the grubby smears and fingerprints...
Basketball Courts...
Soccer Fields...
Football Turf...
Batting Cages and Baseball Diamonds...
Bouldering Gear and rock climbing harnesses...
various scattered ski paraphernalia...
the beloved Webkinz and super-powered Sock Monkeys...
the mountainous piles of homework...
the pirate eye-patches and the nerf dart guns...
the CTR rings and zip-up neckties...
the holes in... well... what DOESN'T have them these days?
Yes, amid merciless pillow fights until someone cries... (and that would usually be Trevan)...
the never-ending grass-stained jeans...
Amid "I Love you Stinky Face" and "Where the Wild Things Are"...
the bubblegum tape and the pixie sticks...
and pants that are too short... too quickly...
Every once in a while...
I get a glimpse of the amazing, incredible men these boys are growing to be.
And I find myself in the presence of greatness.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I absolutely adore this little sketch I found on our Mud Room Counter...
"Wow! Who drew this?", I asked my boys.
Trevan timidly but teasingly replied, "Don't you mean 'Hoot-whoo' drew it, Mom?"
{Hee hee!}
Handsome, artistic and clever ...
I like that in a guy!
(Watch out First Grade ladies! This guy is a triple threat!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh, my dear friends~
I just got this e-mail and it caught my breath...
"Dear Sara...
Please help me by getting the word out about my sweet niece.
She was found not breathing and without a heartbeat this afternoon
and is fighting for her life at Primary Children's right now.
The outlook is grim but I know how your story ended
and I am looking for that same miracle...
so please add us to your prayer list for tonight!

Thank you...
I do not know Auntie Amy.
I do not know little Sage.
But I DO know something of the heartache her poor parents must be facing.
The anguish of not knowing.
The fear of possibilities you can not yet allow yourself to consider.
The helplessness. Heaviness. Dread.
The audacity of daring to hope and to pray for a miracle...
Please, oh please pray for sweet little Sage.
And pray for her family to be strengthened and sustained.
The details are still a bit unclear,
but you can read about it here, on her Auntie Amy's blog.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I realized something when I opened my fridge this afternoon.
This is going to sound strange, so just hang tight and go with me for a sec...
First off, let's make something clear...
I am not much of a cook.
Although substantially improved by earnest effort in recent years,
I am still definitely not much to write home about.
When I do bother, I typically make things that require little or no technical effort.
We eat a lot of fresh stuff that requires no actual cooking.
Salads, veggie trays, fruit plates, etc.
And I usually, purposely, make huge amounts so that we can share
or even just eat it for several days in a row ourselves.
(Lazy... I know.)
So today's revelation came as a bit of a surprise.
As I rummaged the shelves for something to throw together, it hit me...
As it turns out,
I do not like Leftovers.
In fact, I think I might even hate them.
Aside from being a pain to store,
nothing ever tastes quite as good as when it is freshly prepared.
It's always a little too soggy.
A little wilted or a tad brown around the edges.
A bit crusty on top.
Or just a little thicker than it should be.
You know how they are.
Not quite the same, but good enough, we say.
And so much easier!
I serve them to my family all the time!
In fact, sadly, maybe more often than not.
And I don't mean just for dinner, either!
Which brings me to my point...
How often in life am I giving those that matter most, my Leftovers?
These boys, who are my heart and soul,
often get whatever is '"Left-over" of me
whenever I think I am done with the rest of my commitments.
They get the little blob of energy that's left of me, after running around all day.
A cold slab of minimal effort, because I just want to be done already.
The crumbs that are left of my patience.
(Well, any that haven't already crumbled from dealing with other people's children.)
And if they are really lucky,
I might even top it off with the tiny little dollup of fun that I might actually have left.
But more often than they deserve,
they get the frantic, task-oriented Drill-Sargent Mom who is running short on time.
Or the exhausted, Do-It-Yourself Mom who is ready to collapse.
Even, occasionally, the grumpy, short-tempered, ornery Mom who is at my wits' end.
They get a signature on their homework slip for reading a story to me
while I made a mental grocery shopping list.
They get a "Woo-hoo" from me in the kitchen, amid the dinner preparations
when they play perfectly through their piano piece, all the way over in the Music Room.
They get a smile and an "Mmm, hmmm" when they show me their latest cool Wii maneuver,
Or tell me about the awesome play they ran in the football game at recess that day.
Neither of which, if quizzed, I could describe 30 seconds later.
They get a half-hearted high-five when they tell me their chores are done.
A two minute back tickle at bedtime, so I can rush to a set of photos that need editing.
Or a quick kiss goodnight as I run out the door for a Ladies' Night Out.
How often am I half-listening?
Looking past them?
Talking at them?
Or even in the same room, but far, far away in my thoughts?
All Leftovers...
I am serving them Leftovers.
Spending the majority of myself elsewhere
and then giving the little bit that's left, to them, as if it is enough.
I'm there, always, but am I really there?
I'm going through motherhood's motions, making mental lists.
Always the lists.
Planning ahead to the next thing.
The To Do's that can never be all the way done.
You know them...
The cyclical routines that fill our days.
Well, Matt told me of an incident that was his.
It occurred when I called him from the hospital that wondrous day.
Sobbed into the receiver that I needed him to come.
That Bronson was awake.
He ran to his truck and sped the 45 minute drive, as fast as he could safely get there.
But when he started his engine, there was a CD playing.
It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing.
"Glory to God on High."
He sobbed.
The next song that came on was a Men's Chorus
"Rise up, oh men of God,
Be done with lesser things..."
He sobbed harder.
Said it struck him through the core.
He arrived at the hospital, still shaking.
As I think of that now, I realize that this is the time.
The time for me, as well, to be done with lesser things.
The time to focus on what is most important.
Most lasting. Most eternal.
More than ever before.
Not the good things.
Or even the better things.
But the best things.
The very best things.
As you approach the center of a bullseye,
the margin for possible error becomes more and more narrow.
The degree of accuracy necessary becomes more and more pointed.
We are approaching that bullseye, my friends.
At an ever-increasing rate.
I, for one, am consciously re-committing to be done with lesser things.
To stop serving the Leftovers of myself to my family.
But instead to be fresh, ready and more present in the present.
Ready for them with a Feast.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birthday Party Meltdown...

We had a little melt-down here at our home this morning...
The Mommy, who is admittedly still functioning on only half power,
completely FORGOT to take Trevan to a Birthday Party.
And not just any Birthday Party.
A very important Birthday Party.
A Best-Buddy's Birthday Party...
It had been over for an hour by the time he remembered
and asked me how much longer until it started.
Aye Carumba.
He melted...
Poor kid.
When you are six and you miss your Best Pal's Party...
the one you spent all week looking forward to...
the one we talked about just last night as we wrapped his gift...
Yeah, well when you miss THAT party
it is heartbreaking.
I felt awful.
As he shook with silent sobs,
I held him on my lap and noticed that his big, huge feet
now hang down almost to my ankles.
I took his face in my hands and asked him to forgive me.
He looked at me with those big green eyes and mumbled,
"It's okay Mom. I can go next year."
I wanted to crawl in a hole.
I called Hudson's Mom.
She saved the day.
"Yeah! We wondered where he was!", she said.
I apologized for being such a flake.
"Send him down for a cupcake and they can hang out for the afternoon," she invited.
Bless her heart.
I scraped my tender little boy up and glued him back together with this news.
He was thrilled and had totally recovered by the time he ran out the door, present in hand.
Thank goodness he is resilient.
Thank you, Gina!
And we owe you one, Hudsy!
We'll make it up to you!
Yeah, so just in case there was any question,
I am definitely NOT in the running for Mother of the Year!
I'm going to hang this photo up where I will be sure to see it... as a reminder... every day...
I have really GOT to pull it back together, uh?
I added a few pictures from the Radiothon to the 2.26.2010 post...
If you are interested, see them inserted in the text below.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Potty Success!

What a big boy Dayne has been lately!
He even stepped it up another notch today...
He peed on the potty!
He was soooo proud of himself!
Can you tell?
Look at that huge grin!
And those awesome Lightning McQueen underoos...
Well, if they aren't the dang cutest thing ever!
He was adamant about doing everything all by himself...
Flushing bye-bye...
Washing "wif soap"...
On his tippy-tippy toes...
And racing down to the Game Room Candy Store to pick out a sweet treat!
A Dum-dum, of course! His fave!
Maybe this big boy stuff isn't so hard after all!
In response to this:
(A comment left this morning at 2:44 am:)
"Sara and/or fellow commentator's...
"I am sure you are swamped and don't ever have any time to read or respond to these blog comments,
but I notice as I have read other people's comments, I noticed a few said, "erased by author".
Are there requirements for these kinds of things?
If there are I would love to know,
so that I don't make a mistake and/ or offend anyone."
and another similar inquiry...
Please know that I do, NOW,
read every blog comment, e-mail and facebook message that comes my way.
In the hospital, that was difficult because of the sheer quantity of comments.
I scanned them and did read most,
gathered their intent and was buoyed up by their sentiment.
So please accept my sincere and heartfelt gratitude.
But my emotional state,
my anxiety about staying by Bronson's side and not leaving,
and my obsessive need to document every detail of the daily occurrences
not to mention my utter lack of sleep
made it difficult to actually read them all or comment in reply.
Even once we were home, I needed a few days to just... BE.
But now that I am trying to function like a real person again, I do make the effort.
Just so you know.
I do hear you.
And thank you... Thank you all for reaching out.
We have felt so loved and supported.
So please don't think that I don't take the time to read
what you take the time to write
and to send.
Because I do.
But as for the "erased by author" question, I can not say why.
Many of them have time stamps that are identical or similar to the post above or below.
Perhaps they were duplicates or contained errors that the author wanted to correct?
And to clarify, "erased by author" means they were erased by the author of the comment,
not by me, the author of the post.
I have done no moderation or editing of comments at all.
Not even once.
I was told of only one unkind comment that came in to our blog
during the time we were at the hospital.
It was lengthy and pointed, I am told.
A dear friend was alarmed and concerned about me seeing it, fragile as she felt I was.
She petitioned another dear friend, of the tech-geek variety ;),
and together they guessed at my password, until they hacked in to my blogger account
and removed the unkind post before I could see it.
Thanks to them.
Very thoughtful.
I am guessing it included many of the same points
I was reamed for on the KSL comment boards,
after Bronson's story aired on the news.
Regrettably, those I did read.
Until Matt made me stop.
And I'll be honest,
they hurt my feelings.
A lot.
For about two days.
And then I realized that there are many people who do not know me.
Do not understand me.
Do not care to understand me.
Many people who are unhappy.
And who choose to be critical of others.
I believe this is done in an effort to feel better about themselves.
To extract some of their own pain and fling it out onto someone else.
Someone they judge.
Someone they feel that they are better than.
And I was just the one they threw their stones at that day.
These brothers and sisters in spirit who have forgotten me.
But surely they've moved on to someone else by now.
Sad. So sad.
Oh, how I wish they could see themselves the way their Father in Heaven does.
I wish they could see how much they have to share
if only they'd let themselves be opened, and then filled.
Filled with something better and sweeter than the anger, bitterness
and judgement that consumes them.
Oh, friends...
Let us learn not to judge.
But instead allow ourselves to love, unreservedly.
And to forgive, unconditionally.
Let us encircle one another in arms of safety.
With open hearts, willing to see and understand another's anguish.
Let us give freely,
benefit, that casts out doubt.
Let us leave the judging for The Judge.
And let us be masters of mercy.
And benevolence.
And so, my dear anonymous friend,
thank you for your question.
Thank you for the sweet comment that followed.
And thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this issue,
I'm sure you were not the only one wondering.
And please let yourself rest at ease...
I try never to be offended.
If you haven't guessed by now, I am an open book.
For better or for worse, I am outed.
But feelings, I think, are much better out than in.
And besides, offense has to be taken.
Picked up and owned.
And I choose to leave it lying.
Alone, by the side of my path.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today is the day...

This evening we had the amazing opportunity to go back to the hospital.
What? Why!?!
Why BACK to the hospital, you ask?
Well, quite simply, because we needed to go.
KSL Radio invited us to come and assist in their annual fundraiser
for Primary Children's Medical Center.
So of course, we absolutely agreed.
We were thrilled at the chance to give back in any way.
If there is any way we can help that wonderful place and those amazing people,
we will absolutely do it... for the rest of ever.
They gave us our boy back.
Healed and whole.
How can you ever put a price on the life of your child?
We could pay that hospital bill a hundred times over and never come close to repaying them.
They did what we could not do for ourselves.
Some people believe that medical science and faith are at odds.
At opposite ends of the spectrum.
I believe they are two languages telling the same story.
Seeking the same eventual truth. Perhaps with varying methods.
Or differing means working towards the same end. The same goal.
I believe our loving Father in Heaven guides the hands and the hearts of those here on earth
who have the knowledge and training to assist Him.
I believe that He allows us to do as much as we can do, to the best of our abilities,
to allow us to learn and grow, and to further research and knowledge.
And then I believe He steps in with His grace, and does the rest of the work necessary
to accomplish His will, whatever that may be.
In Bronson's case, it was for him to LIVE.
And not just live, but live HERE.
And not just here, but WHOLE.
Again, we could NOT be more grateful.
Ever so grateful.
Yet this gift we've been given will not go without price, philanthropically speaking.
And we are eager and ready to pay it in whatever way we can.
Expecting much of ourselves and our family.
We will serve willingly wherever we can.
Like at the KSL Radiothon.
And so we dropped everything, made the arrangements and went.
Which turned out to be very good for me.
And for my soul, still healing.
And even good for Matt, who does NOT like the spotlight.
Little B was charming, sweet and full of smiles and spunk.
He ate up all the attention.
Was into everything.
Ran around like crazy.

Played fetch with the stuffed moose.

High-fived the tech-guys.

Explored the set.

Flirted with the team of call takers.

And won over the hearts of the KSL TV and Radio personalities.
Like Carole Mikita and Doug Wright.
What a cutie.
They all loved him.
He ate popcorn from a cup and threw it onto the floor.
Which we tried our hardest to prevent, but well, that's why parents have hands.
And why they make vacuums.
To clean up messes.

So we told our story yet again.
(Twice actually.
TV News and News Radio.)
And asked for help.
Not for us, but for the hospital.
And for other children who need it.
We asked people to open their hearts and their wallets and give to a worthy cause.
There is still plenty of time.
The Radiothon goes through tomorrow.
We aren't the type that like to ask for things.
Especially for money.
But if you feel so inclined,
and if you have a dollar or more to spare,
this would be a wonderful way to spend it.
It all goes toward a deserving child.
Every single penny.
If you can find it in your heart, click here.
or call here: 1-800-762-PCMC (7262), or locally 801-575-KIDS (5437).
Maybe we can help another family take their child home!
Post script:
In reply to some of the questions and comments left in response to this post...
I apologize if I was not clear.
Thank you for allowing me to clarify...
Matt and I chose to participate in the KSL Radiothon
because it raises money to benefit Primary Children's Hospital.
We were in no way soliciting funds for ourselves.
That facility and the medical personnel who helped to heal our son
will forever be worthy of our time and our efforts.
It is a cause we hope to adopt for the remainder of our lifetime
because it is now near and dear to us.
To be clear, Primary Chidren's Medical Center is a non-profit organization.
Their mission statement is "The child first and always."
Thus, they provide medical care for all children alike,
including needy children from around the entire Intermountain Region,
regardless of that child's ability to pay.
Physicians at the hospital actually donate their services
for patients who recieve charity assistance.
Our hope was that by sharing Bronson's story, we could garner some support for the hospital.
For them to continue to help other children.
Children who can not afford to get well on their own.
There are many annual fundraisers that benefit Primary Children's,
including TV and Radiothons and the door-to-door "Pennies by the Inch" drive.
We hope to be available to assist in many of these efforts over the years.
We will never tire.
We feel that where much is given, much is expected.
And we could not have received a greater gift...
Bronson's life was literally brought back to us.
And the experience we had there was life changing for us as well.
Not only did they give full-time and ever-diligent effort to our child,
even when it seemed unlikely for him to ever recover,
but they cared for us, his parents, while we were in shock, anguish and despair.
They helped us to prepare our other boys for what they were coping with.
Truly, they treated and helped to heal our entire family.
We have very tender feelings towards them and the amazing work they do there.
Every. Single. Day.
Anything that we can do to help them continue in their efforts there
will be a very small price to pay.
While we were at the hospital, I read a poster with a quote from Abraham Lincoln.
Good ol' Honest Abe.
He really was good.
And honest.
"To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own."
It struck me so strongly.
I knew this was the key the moment I saw it.
And we have tried to do that.
Tried to share the surplus of support we have been blessed with.
Tried to share and ease the burdens of others we have met and love.
But today...
Well, today I am making a choice.
This trip to the hospital tonight was as much about healing me
as the last one was about Bronson.
I have decided.
I am done feeling guilty.
I am done being ashamed.
I am done feeling like the poster-face for negligent mothering.
I am done beating myself up for a momentary lapse in judgement.
I am done feeling feeling crappy about all the pain I have caused.
Because I am not perfect.
Never will be perfect.
Not in this life.
But I can make a difference.
I can lift another's burden.
I can look for ways to serve. Give back. Share.
And I have found a voice.
That voice is getting stronger the more that it speaks out.
And as I speak from the keys on this little laptop,
I find my heart full and overflowing, often with words that are not mine alone.
For God has found a way to use me to strengthen others.
To strengthen you.
Perhaps this was not something I did, but something He allowed to happen.
For my own good. And for the benefit of others.
Knowing that I am stronger than I feel.
And have more to share than I knew.
But believing I had the tenacity to discover it.
Knowing Bronson's miracle would lead to others as it's ripples spread,
touching lives around the globe.
And so...
Today is a new day.
The day I learn to turn my pain over
and allow it to be washed away with the joy all around me.
I am still not sure exactly how, but only that it's right.
And that it's time.