Friday, August 28, 2009


This week, in my ward, Tanya Mathison and her son Caleb were involved in a terrible accident that resulted in Caleb's death. They were trying to find the scout office because Caleb was a new cub scout- and Tanya missed a stop sign. Tonight was Caleb's funeral. I want to write this out, even if just to let my emotions out. You may find this too depressing to read. Really, there's no reason for anyone to HAVE to read about my musings in general, but this is important to me right now, so I'll talk about it.
When we heard that Tanya and Caleb had been in an accident and that Caleb had passed away, I was... well, shocked is too light a word. It was like being punched in the gut and not being able to breathe for that agonizing few seconds, which seem to stretch into minutes. I couldn't believe my eyes, so I re-read the e-mail just to make sure I hadn't hallucinated. A number of things, questions really, ran through my mind at lightning pace: How could this happen? Who was "at fault"? Could I remember Caleb's face? What can I do? How should I do it?
Then a thought came to me. This last week, in Relief Society, we had a lesson on Jesus Christ- the only name under heaven by which we may be saved. Elder Richard G. Scott related some personal experiences with the death of two of his children within 6 weeks of each other and the death of his wife 14 years ago. I recalled thinking to myself, "I can only pray that I never experience the anguish of loosing a child- in what ever circumstance." I'll reiterate that sentiment a thousand times more today.
I have previously been to 3 funerals- all of which I was a family member for: My Grandaddy- James Simpson in 2001; My Boonepa- Darrell Wardell in 2004; and Dolly Daily- my grandmother in law in 2008. I participated in the service for all of these funerals and I've always felt the comforting spirit present.
Tonight was different.
Never have I felt such a longing in my heart, a yearning and a desire to "bear one another's burdens, to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort." The anguish in the faces of Tanya and Eric I will never forget- their grief I wanted to take upon me to give them respite even if for a moment.
I wish I could have been just sympatheic- then maybe I wouldn't have felt to struck by this event. But it is in my nature to be empathetic, and the sorrow I felt for and with them was almost too much for me.
However, at the same time, I feel a strange sense of peace. When my Grandaddy passed away, I felt peace almost immediately because I knew he had lived a full life, tried to live a righteous life, and so I was comforted. I felt similar feelings for my Boonepa. I felt happy for Dolly because she was 93 when she passed away, in her sleep- and we all knew it was going to happen- it was an expected death.
Caleb's death was not expected. The result of a tragic accident is NEVER expected. But the feeling of peace stems from the precious knowledge and testimony I have of the Plan of Salvation for the children of God. We will miss Caleb terribly. I feel certain his mother will have the most difficult time adjusting to the death of her first-born son- a boy who has passed into eternity. But the hope of a reunion is still there. The great day when Tanya and Eric get to meet their son and embrace him again will be the sweetest time for their family. And the life they have yet to live is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ- that we, through the sealing power of the temple, and in accordance to the covenants made therein, may remain bonded as a family throughout Eternity is the beacon light that draws the eye towards it in the darkness.
My humble gratitude to a Father in Heaven who has made all this possible I can only begin to express with my limited faculty, but my heart is full to overflowing.
Dear Caleb, your mother and father love you more than you could have known here. Tanya and Eric, my most profound love and support to your family during this most difficult time.
The nation is mourning the passing of a great Senator- and I am mourning the passing of a sweet little boy who was excited to be a cub scout- and now cannot be.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It begins...

Tomorrow, my beautiful James begins school. Real school. At a real elementary school. He has been accepted into the 'Excite' program here in Lincoln. Excite is for kids with developmental delays among other things. There are about 10 kids in the classroom- some are model students enrolled in the 'Head Start' program- and the rest are Excite kids. James is, obviously, an Excite kid.
I met his teachers on friday, and they seem to be WONDERFUL. They were watching James as we had our classroom overview and were happy to see him be so curious and exploratory.
I would like for some things to happen this year for James in school., so I'm writing them down and giving them to the Universe with all the faith and belief in my heart that the things I'm expecting to happen, WILL HAPPEN.
1. I want James to learn to express his desires in his own words- without having to be prompted.
2. I want James to learn control over his self-stimulating behaviors- or "stims".
3. I want James to eat with a fork and spoon- to self feed.
4. I want James to play WITH children and learn to use his imagination.
5. I want James to be happy, healthy and content with himself, our home and our family.
6. I want James to respond to directions and his name.

I'm sure I'll think of more things but these are the big ones for me and for him. I am proud of the progress he has made so far- his vocabulary has just exploded this year. He loves to read, sing and play cars. He loves animals- esp. fish- and if there's a ball anywhere, he'll find it and play with whomever it belongs to. James is growing up so fast! He's excited for school and so am I!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My first project

I posted earlier about wanting to get into Quilting. I was thinking I needed a small project to give myself a little practice before I pull out the big guns and make a huge bedspread for myself! So, I decided to make a wall hanging/ crib quilt for my boys!
I found a GREAT sewing and fabric store only 3 minutes away from my home- which could mean trouble, but I won't dwell on that now- this morning. James and I were a bit early but the owner was so nice and let us in to sell me some fat quarters I could practice on until I was confident with my piecing. I was looking through her SALE fat quarters and found this:
Which is not a fat quarter, its a panel, but it was so CHEAP! And then, I found this:
And this:
AND this:
So, with all these GREAT airplane fabrics, I've found my very first project without much trouble! When I laid out all my fabric, I saw this:
I think he might like the idea, but I'm not sure:)

One thing remains: I need a fabric color for a fourth to piece with AND back with. Looking at the fabrics I have, WHAT COLOR AND TYPE OF FABRIC WOULD BE A GOOD BACKING?

Monday, August 17, 2009

My birthday celebration

Doesn't this look GOOOOOOOOD? Let me tell you about Famous Dave's.
Famous Dave's BBQ was where we went to celebrate my 26th birthday- and it was GREAT!
They have the following BBQ sauces: Sweet and Zesty, Rich and Sassy (see the pic? we got a FREE bottle for coming in our first time:), Texas Pit, Devil Spit, and Georgia Mustard. HOO WEE- the sauces were fantastic! They even brought out some of their fries so we could smaple the sauces before we slathered it all on our meat (and fingers and faces and shirt- in james' case). The wait staff wears shirts that say "We cook no swine before their time" among other catchy slogans and they are so cheerful, helpful and pleasant.
The manager came over to talk to us- he was really nice. Our dinner was served on a plastic tray lined with a wax paper- red check picnic table cloth wax paper. I had the Brisket. Drue had the chopped pork. James had the chicken fingers and he ate them ALL- and if you know James, you know he doesn't eat ALL of ANYTHING! With your meat you get a cornbread muffin, corn on the cob and 2 sides. I chose their fries and a thing called " Drunkin' Apples" which are apple slices cooked in a cinnamon amaretto sauce- SO good. I highly recommend the Drunkin' Apples:)
Famous Dave's was a great atmosphere for kids, family and good BBQ. We had a great time. So, when you come to visit, we'll go to Famous Dave's!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Doing What Boys Do

We had an exciting, but not too serious, thunder storm last night. And of course the storm left ideal little areas for boys to do what they do best: play in the gutters! It also presented a great photo opportunity. So, a "thousand words" each, here are five photos of James in his element.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Birthday James!

I love this little boy so much. He has gone through a LOT in his short life so far- some things he will struggle with for the rest of his life- and yet, he greets each day with enthusiasm (hm, wonder where that came from:). He loves so much and is LOVED by so many. These are just a few of my favorite pictures of my Sunshine, my Funny, my Sweet Baby James.

Happy 3rd Birthday sweet boy.

Birthday at the Zoo!

We took James to the Zoo in Lincoln for his Birthday. See how he's just walking by? Yep. Thats pretty much how we spent our time there. Why? Because its 11o i the shade, Lady! It has been BEAUTIFUL weather, and on James' birthday... the heat returns. Blech. Too hot for my taste (and Oliver's and James' and Drue's) but we did it anyway!
Climbing the "bug" outside the Butterfly house. James got a bit freaked out by the Butterflies. I know, weird.
But he makes a really cute little caterpillar.
And everyone knows Butterflies wear "Pearl" hats!
Close your eyes! Its the Naked Ladies! (this one's for you, mom!)
This Alpaca at the petting area was aggressive. Plus, his neck was just plain CRAZY. Look at it!
This is how you get to feed the little goats.
James didn't really know what to do to feed them, so he consoled himself by throwing left over pellets into their pens for them to pick up at their leisure. How thoughtful!
James and water. Every time we pass any body of anything looking even REMOTELY wet, he MUST throw something into it! So, this poor Duck watched as James threw straw into the pool.
We rode the train, walked along, saw some really cool stuff, saw some ho-hum stuff, did some neat little things, and it was a successful experience. How do I know? James threw a fit as we were leaving. Yeah. He liked it.

James and Oliver

I love these pictures. Just thought I'd share them with you...
Oliver is such a happy baby! Look how CHUBBY he is! I love to squeeze his "chub chubs".

We still can't decide who Oliver looks more like. Obviously, he's chubby like me (right now), but we're having fun trying to identify our features on his adorable face!
I think I love these pictures most of all- James LOVES Oliver and asks all the time to "Hold Oliver please", and when I think he's had enough, and take Oliver away James ALWAYS asks "More Oliver Please". He's such an angel. We love the way these boys interact. Oliver watches James all the time and is just happy to be with him.

I LOVE getting those great moments on camera where you'll look back and just have that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart about your children- it won't matter how crazy they ended up driving you!

Visit, 4th and "other".

True to my word, I've got an unpacked Camera and Camera cord. So, here are some pics that are well overdue:

This is Oliver's "Impressed" face- as in, "mom, I'm impressed that you were able to contort your arm in such a way as to get my face and only my face while I'm sitting on your lap."
Question in the front? This little boy is so much fun to watch do anything.
Below is Oliver's GQ face.
James gives Oliver a kiss only 300 times a day! This is good news as it's down from just over a thousand!
James had a BLAST trying to keep up with London Smith- especially when they both tried to climb up on "Camancho"- London's name for her white wagon:)
Another Ollie face- this is just before the attack of the expolode-o-bott-o.
Me and Kiersten with our babes in "arms". Her Ashton is a few months older than Oliver- I'm still working on the baby weight!
Climbing Camancho
James' first sparkler! He LOVED playing with the sparklers and the poppers! I didn't have the budget or the space or the energy to put into BIG fireworks this year, but now that we're in the midwest, Fireworks are KING. So, NEXT year should be AWESOME!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Finally Moved In!

Yep, we found this place a few days after we had been looking around Lincoln. Its a nice little duplex WITH GARAGE. Yay! Its clean, one level (we have the bottom level), carpeted, and has a great kitchen. The neighborhood is awsome! Lots of kids and families and PARKS for the boys. Actually, our house literally opens up into a park in the back yard. You can't get any better than that. We're pretty much all moved in and getting used to this being our new home for the next 3 YEARS. More pictures will come as it looks more presentable.