Monday, December 24, 2012

{{Merry Christmas!!}}

     Last year the time before Christmas was spent in the hospital with Josh, this year we are making up for all that was missed.......trips to see Christmas lights, holiday movies, baking, reading Christmas stories and Christmas shopping together.  It almost seems surreal that one year has passed so quickly.  I know that I say it a lot but it really is nice to be celebrating this time together.  In fact, I know that we cherish the time together more than before.    We really are BLESSED! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

{Contest Time!}

I recently started taking pictures on the side.....I've had a lot of fun and gotten the opportunity to photograph some great people. Because everyone likes to win things I decided to do a little contest. The details are on our photography blog....... Here is the link:  Everlasting Portraits & Design . Good Luck!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

{Christmas Recital}

The girls had their annual Christmas recital at CSI on December 6th..... They both did a great job!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

{Back to school 2012}

We have had a crazy month since school started......hence the late back to school post! Kelsie is enjoying her last year of elementary school....yes that's right next year Kels moves up to middle school ( scary thought isn't it!). Kamrin is in the second grade and loves every minute of it! I am so proud of both of them for their hard work, for the good friends they are to others, and their desire to succeed! Here's to another great school year ....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Kyler..(.a.k.a the dude, little man, etc.) turns 5!}

I cannot believe that my little boy is 5 today!

     He has been such a blessing to have in our home and we are so lucky to have him.  He has helped us see the important things in life for the past year.  He can be a spitfire and wear you out one minute and then sit next to you and cuddle.  He loves everyone he meets and tries to make them feel loved and special, it is such an admirable quality.  He is very outgoing and isn't afraid of anyone!l
Happy Birthday Kyler!!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


We signed the kids up for the Oakley Gymkhana rodeo......they had a blast!
All worn out.......
Kyler all geared up.......

{Kelsie's Primary Childrens Visit}

Kelsie had to have some tests done at Primary Children's in Salt Lake. She really wanted pictures to document her visit. She loved the slushy that she got as soon as she awoke from anesthesia. She even asked for another as she was getting ready to be discharged. "For the road,"she said!
She is spoiled and received the lavender scented stuffed animal from a friend of mine at work, so of course she needed a picture of that as well........

{The 4th}

Celebrating the Fourth with Ice Cream and Fireworks!!!


We had a few minutes as we headed to church the other day to take a quick picture.......After looking at it and realizing that over the past year we haven't taken a whole lot of time to take pictures like we used to. I looked at this picture and thought a lot about how much older they all look. I often wonder what they would tell you about the past year.....what were their fears?? their joys?? what will they remember or take from this experience?? I look at this picture and am so thankful that I had them here with me. I never had time to be angry or sad, because I always knew that they needed me to be strong and carry on. I am so thankful for each of their sweet spirits and the individual personalities that they have. I know without a doubt that they were each sent to our home for a reason, now more than ever!


Someone gave us a whole milk crate full of apricots. Every single year we make freezer jam and this year I decided that I wanted to try and make some regular jam. It wasn't any harder to make and now we have a whole lot of apricot jam and even some syrup! The girls had fun doing it and I am so glad that Josh's mom was willing to help us attempt this the first time!! We had a fun afternoon.....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

{Cheer Nationals......}

I got this CD back with some super cute pics of Kelsie at Cheer Nationals in March. There were some really good ones, so I thought I'd share!

Monday, July 2, 2012

{Update on Josh}

In the beginning of June Josh had completed all of his chemo and a PET Scan showed that there was no cancer in Josh's body...we celebrated!!  He had made it through everything and could begin the process of rebuilding strength and getting back to normal, or at least mostly normal.  We began the process of tests to see if he was ready to have the ileostomy removed.  All of the testing went well and he was able to schedule surgery for the 20th of June.  He was very excited and ready for this part of his life to be over.  We arrived in Salt Lake and he had surgery as planned.

 All went well and he seemed to recover very well.  He was released after only three days and felt great.   We drove home and we could tell that he had begun to not feel well.  Upon arriving at home he just got sicker and sicker.  He made it through the night but after calling his Salt Lake doctors we were advised to head to the ER.  While there they discovered that he had a bowel obstruction that was making him so sick and that his gall bladder was full of stones and would need to be removed eventually.  He waited in the hospital for a few days and it seemed that the blockage was only partial and things were slowly starting to move through his bowel as normal.  We were released on Thursday with appointments to see the surgeon in a month to have his gall bladder removed, giving his body some rest.  We were happy to be home!  That night he struggled with some back pain, but pain relievers did the trick and he went to sleep easily.  Friday he felt so good that he was up and about eating lunch with some friends and attending a BBQ that night.  Unfortunately, the energy and good feelings didn't last.  That night Josh could never get comfortable and began to experience severe pain.  After trying everything that we could think of to relieve the pain we headed back into the ER.  While there they noticed that many of his labs had changed, indicating a more severe problem with his gall bladder.  They determined that some of the gall stones were stuck in the bile ducts and would also have to be removed.  The plan was to have the gall bladder removed laprascopically and then a GI doctor would step in and remove the stones through a procedure called and ERCP.  The gall bladder removal went well, however the GI doc was unable to remove the stones after a marked amount of time.  A stent was placed in his pancreas in order to prevent pancreatitis.

 We were then told that we would need to move to Boise or Salt Lake in order to have it removed.  Because of the pain and and need for fluids and IV pain medication it was decided that he should be moved by ambulance.

That was completed late last night and Josh underwent a procedure this afternoon to remove the stone.  We knew that there were three options in removing the stones, they said that they would begin with the simplest and least abrasive and then progress until one of them worked.  We are very fortunate that the first, most simple procedure was successful! His pancreas and ducts show signs of distress at this point.  We will be here in Salt Lake until everything is working again and his body begins to recover from everything that has happened in the past 13 days.  We are just thankful that the healing can now begin and that Josh is still safe here with us!!

{Randome Phone Pictures}


The kids came to Salt Lake to be with Josh as he went in for surgery this time because it was summer and they could spend some time away from home.  My sister in law took us to the zoo one day and the kids loved it!  We saw some neat new exhibits and it was a very nice day so most of the animals were out. 

 Kyler was our guide, always checking the map.......

{Kylers glasses

We were finally able to get some accurate tests on Kyler's eyes because he is big enough to tell us more about what he can and can't see.....and the verdict was he needs glasses! Doesn't he look handsome! He is so excited about all of the new things that he can see!!

{Locks of Love}

Kamrin decided the other day that she wanted to cut her hair....She had grown it for so long and I was a little  hesitant to let her do it.  I thought that she would probably want her hair back quickly and that wasn't going to happen.  But, she then told me that she had heard of a place that you could cut your hair and send it to help make wigs for cancer patients.  She really wanted to cut her hair in order to do just that.  So, we went to JC Penny's and they measured her hair, they told her that she had 11 inches which was enough.  While getting her hair cut she was asked why she wanted to donate her hair.  She said in her very grown up voice that cancer was just a part of her life (Josh's mom has breast cancer currently) and that doing this made her feel like she was helping someone like her grandma. After getting it cut we took the ponytail to the cancer center at the hospital and Kamrin got to deliver it there.  She was very proud of herself and so was I!!

Here's the before picture::

After cutting it::

Monday, May 14, 2012

{ 8 Months.......}

     I can remember the day perfectly, the EMOTIONS and FEELINGS....I can see the room with perfect clarity, smell the familiar smells and hear the people around me busily attending to their duties.....The day was September 1, 2011. Although not that long ago, it now seems like it's been forever and that the changes brought upon us are just part of what life for our family is really like. That is the day that CANCER came home.  I had great intentions to keep this blog up as a journal for our family to remember this time, to learn from it and to record for our posterity....Obviously,  you can see that I failed miserably at that. I guess I figured that there were things I didn't want others to know or that I didn't want to face and seeing them actually posted or written somewhere would make this whole experience real........because for awhile it seemed like it was just a bad dream.  That one day I would wake up and our lives would be normal again.... or at least I hoped it would.  But now I am ready. I am ready to face this, because it is what it is and I can't change it, nor would I if I could.
     Not too long ago, Kyler and I were watching a movie near bedtime.  He chose UP. 

I don't care too much for that movie, I thought at the time that it was rather boring...... but, as I watched this time I gathered new perspective on the movie...I'm sure most of you have seen it, but here's a brief rundown.  Boy meets girl and falls in love, they get married and have a plan and dreams for their life together, they plan to travel the world and have a life full of adventure.  However, life happens and the plan changes to meet everyday life and the needs that they now have.  In the end his sweetheart, Elle, dies never fulfilling their dream to visit Paradise Falls, and adventure of a lifetime. Carl tries from that day on to find a way to take their house to Paradise Falls to fulfill her one final dream.

 However, along the way he finally realizes that all along they had each other and that was all that mattered, it was the most important adventure of all, and that their obstacles were just a part of life. This is exactly how I feel.....we never expect or plan for obstacles such as these to be placed in our path.  We don't plan for trials, yet they are a part of our earthly existence. I can honestly say that I finally understand.....not that I really understand why we were given this specific trial....however, the things that we have gained and learned are extremely important!

Joseph Campbell said, "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." Ellie learned early in her life, that her sweet Carl and their relationship WAS the greatest adventure of her life...albeit unexpected, as it was. 
My life isn't quite the "adventure" that I once imagined it would be. However, I am so very blessed to have learned that God has a greater plan for me...better than ANY adventure I could ever have mapped out. Much of this adventure of the past year has involved heartache and pain (ALL for a Divine purpose)....... I have learned to let go of what I expected my life to be like and have completely surrendered to where GOD KNOWS Our family belings. How liberating that much JOY and PEACE there is in a life led by HIS hand...and not limited by my own expectations.
Not long ago, I remember thinking that my world was falling apart. Little did I know, as this beautiful quote below so beautifully states, that God was simply putting my life together EXACTLY the way He wants it.

With just a mere TASTE of the miracles our family has seen in the past year, I am confident that GOD knows FAR BETTER THAN I DO, what is best for us. My life has not at all turned out the way I always thought it would. This is definitely not the adventure that I thought my life would be.
How grateful I am for my wonderful, blessed different than I ever thought it would be. I have ached more than ever thought I would.....and I have felt joy more passionate and pure than I ever thought imaginable.

Through the past year only a few things have brought me comfort and peace....I thought that I would share, just in case someone else also needed them......

1) The two quotes ( many others were great...these are just my favorite):

  No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God... and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. 
-Orson F. Whitney

2)  Hilary Weeks music......have you heard this song? BRILLIANT!

 3. This song.....

 4. Many, Many talks and devotionals from spiritual giants.....this is my personal favorite from Aprils conference

 5. Any many, many prayers, support of others, and other special spiritual experiences that are much to personal to share!!

(As I complete this post....two weeks after I started it.....Josh is finishing his last round of's to a long couple of weeks as we hope to find that the chemotherapy has worked and there is no more cancer in his body!  Then, relief for him as he regains strength, has one last operation, and can return to his normal day to day schedule!!!)