Thursday, May 15, 2014

Families Can Be Together Forever

Three days after Darrell's kids were here, my sister Lois and I loaded up the van and headed to Utah.  My brother's baby daughter died shortly after birth.  We wanted to be there for the funeral and to spend time with them.  I am so glad we went.  I wish we could have stayed longer to help out.

I want to throw in a little plug for emergency funds here. We have a six-month emergency fund in case of, well, emergencies.  (And you probably aren't wondering, but, if Lee were unable to work, after the six-month money runs out, our long-term disability insurance would kick in. That lasts till age 65, covering basic expenses.) After learning about the situation of my niece before she was born and the plans of having a funeral, I definitely wanted to go to Utah. For me, I considered this a good use of my emergency fund and was able to just go.  I didn't have to worry about coming up with the money or try to rearrange budgets.  Being prepared blessed me to be able to be with my brother and his family.  I admit saving for an emergency fund is actually the most boring thing for me financially.  Sure, I am glad we have money sitting in an account, but it's just sitting there, doing nothing.  I think this is the first time we've used money from the six-month fund.  And it felt like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to save up the money. Anyway, following counsel from my church leaders and that one guy, Dave, has blessed us.

Here is the first leg of our trip.  Elden, Shanna and Haley were so excited to go.  I must say, Lois and I did great on leaving every leg of the trip.  Our second day on the road overall was slower going, but that's okay. On Wednesday when we initially took off, we met up in Hagerstown, Maryland at 5am.  We were both there at 5am!
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We stopped in Iowa at Sam and Shawna's house--my brother and sister-in-law.  They fed us a yummy dinner, gave some travel goodie bags to my kids and let us sleep there for a few hours.  On Thursday we were back on the road at 3am....if I remember right. I even stopped at a grocery store in the wee hours of the morning, about 2:45, ha ha.
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Lois received this water bottle as a gift and the thing popped off the top of the lid. So weird for a Nalgene.  Well, we saw a Target (that is where it was bought originally) and I went in and told them that it was a birthday gift awhile back, but the thing popped off. They let me do an exchange.  Sweet!
April 16, 2014

Somewhere in Wyoming.
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Of course we had to stop at Little America to get ice cream cones!
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We pulled into Salt Lake City around 10:30 that night.  We swung by Roger and Brittany's to say hi, then headed to Steph's for the night.

Friday was the funeral for my niece, Holland (I LOVE the name!).  My uncle and several of his kids came, along with a cousin from St. George and Brittany's family was there as well. Also another aunt and her daughter came too.  It was so sweet of them to be there. My parents and three other siblings were there as well too (not counting Lois).  Six of the siblings were there, out of the ten. There was a viewing beforehand, followed by a funeral service. After the viewing, when just close family was in the room, they closed the casket for my niece.  That was so sad and the tears came freely.  Seeing a mother saying goodbye to her child was heart wrenching.  I have never really been affected by a death before.  The passing of my grandparents was, for lack of a better word, natural. They all lived good, long lives. Though I don't know what Roger and Brittany went through specifically or will continue to go through, but this has definitely touched my life more than I thought it would. I love the scripture about how the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.  I definitely felt that there.  Even though it was sad, desperation and inconsolable pain were not the feelings I felt there.  Check out verse 7 and 8.

During the funeral Roger and Brittany's old bishop from their singles ward spoke-it was so beautiful. I gave the closing prayer.  That morning I thought about doing a prayer of gratitude, and I decided to go with that.  I had to take a second to compose myself before the prayer.  It was so wonderful being with family, being with Roger and Brittany. My heart was full.  It is so wonderful knowing what I know, that this separation from Holland is temporary.  Someday we will get to see our beautiful niece again.  Our spirits and bodies will be reunited and we can live eternally with our families because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Here is a "person" Elden drew at the church that day.
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At the cemetery with Holland's casket behind us.
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We spent the rest of the time at Roger and Brittany's.  Well, we slept there, hung out there, visited Stephanie a few times and went on some fun outings.
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Shanna with Stephanie's cute baby, Maggie.
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Uncle Sheldon is a favorite!
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On Saturday Sheldon (my youngest brother) and his wife Ciera ran the Salt Lake City marathon.  The day before Lois and I went with them to register for the race and Dannon was giving out free yogurt and coupons.  It was fun getting some free yogurt!

Roger and Brittany got some foam board and helped the kids make signs to cheer on Sheldon and Ciera.  We were close to the finish line waiting for them.  It was fun being there.  I need to run a half marathon sometime!
April 19 2014

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After the race the girls and I went to the Dannon yogurt truck.  It was there at the race.  After I got yogurt for the kids and I, I asked to get some for some other people. They gave me a whole case--12 more yogurts, ha ha.

Later that afternoon we had an egg hunt at the pavilion at church.  I had about 350 that I brought. It's much more fun when kids can pick up as many as they can, without a number restriction.
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Sweet baby Rhett.
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We taped an egg to my mom's sweater to see if Rhett wanted to grab it.  He was not interested, ha ha.
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He would not grab it! (Though the pictures look otherwise....)
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Can you see the tops of the bags and how full they are? We don't do the "Easter Bunny" but I love doing an egg hunt.  I set aside some eggs for the boys at home which Lee set out for their own little hunt.
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Blake ate a jelly bean that he didn't like.
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On Sunday we went to church with Brittany and Roger.  They have such a great ward (congregation).
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My parents and some of their grandkids! Seven out of the thirty-six...or something like that.
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Well, it is a photo shoot with kids!
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Stephanie fed us lots of awesome meals!  It's nice that she and Roger live so close to each other.
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This photo cracks me up.  The joy and sibling bonding is just oozing out of this photo...all because they are holding a worm!  Elden looks so handsome!
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We stopped by Holland's grave on Sunday too, which was really nice.  It's a pretty cemetery.
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After a yummy Easter dinner provided by Steph and Andy, Roger showed the kids some magic tricks.
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Roger took two days off so we could spend some time together. Monday we went to a park and Orson GyGi-a restaurant supply store.  So fun!
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Tuesday we headed to Sandy and went to Scheels.  Roger treated us to a ferris wheel ride--inside the store.
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They had these cool photo "booths".
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On the way back home we left about 2am. We hit snow heading out of Utah.  Thankfully it didn't last too long because it was pretty bad. We were getting the warp speed look from Star Wars. I stopped at the first Little America you come to on the I-80 heading West, but the cafe area was closed.  I was going to have an ice cream cone around 4am, but had to forgo.  We stopped a little later and all got one at the next Little America.
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We drove back to Iowa (I drove all that day I might longest driving record yet! And I drove all the way to Iowa the first day too), arriving a little after 8pm.  It was Deborah's birthday-my oldest sibling.  It was so fun seeing her on her birthday and celebrating for a couple of hours with her.  She made these amazing au jus meat/sandwiches.  So good.  And there was quite the delicious spread for the birthday treat!  Three kinds of ice cream, chocolate cake and cheesecake!  The Bunkers know how to celebrate birthdays!
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Doesn't she look great for 42?! She looks the same age as me-maybe younger!
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We left the next day around 2:30am or so.  I arrived home just before 9pm (I think) that same night.  We got stuck in traffic in Dayton, Ohio, I believe.  We could have arrived home a 1/2 hour earlier! Oh well. 

It was great visiting with everyone out in Utah.  We enjoyed staying up late talking, playing some games and eating some delicious food!  I wish we could have stayed a little longer.  Lee re-arranged his schedule so he would be in town after school.  That way Clark and Cal could hang out together before Lee came home. Everything worked out really well.  And Lois and I found the best candy...dark chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups.  Um, yeah--so amazing! I am so thankful I could be with my family at that time.  Families can be together forever!


andyandsteph said...

I'm so glad you and Lois could be out here. I love the worm picture!

BWei said...

A beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes.

britt said...

Im kinda slow and am just reading this, thank you so much for coming out here, it means so much that you came! It was bittersweet and I'm glad we could spend such a sacred time with you. Thanks for taking care of us, and for watching the girls too so we could go to the temple. And it was nice to have some fun times too, I'm so glad you were able to come out! Love you!