Sunday, March 31, 2013


We have had such bad luck with the past few holidays. Being on bed rest for Valentines Day and now Josh and I were both sick for Easter. Josh has been battling an awful head/chest/sinus cold all week and has been down on the couch whenever he has been home. I was feeling great and had so much energy all week, but on Saturday I started getting really nauseous and having a lot of the pre-labor symptoms that resulted in me being down on the couch most Saturday and Sunday. So all the stuff I planned on getting ready for Easter didn't happen. Luckily I had gotten eggs, candy, and a few fun little gifts earlier in the week. The kids woke up and we made them hang out upstairs until about 9:30 when we were ready to get up (hence the leotards the girls were wearing dancing around while we were sleeping.)
 They were excited to see their baskets and the fun things in them. They each got a Dream Lite pillow pet and haven't put them down since.
 They loved the egg hunt and got plenty of candy.
 I had picked out their Easter church outfits months ago, and since Josh and I weren't feeling well they didn't even get to wear them :( So I'll have to take Easter pictures in a few weeks. I did run over to the church for 20 minutes to direct my choir during sacrament meeting. Towards the end of the song I started getting really light headed and wasn't sure I was going to make it. As soon as the song ended I turned and quickly headed for the door that luckily is on the stand and leads to the hallway. I was pretty dizzy and ended up stumbling into the lap of one of the speakers, then was able to grab onto the empty sacrament table as I headed out the door where I found a chair and sat down just in time before I fully passed out. A bunch of the priesthood brethren, including the speaker, all jumped up and followed me out. Awesome. I think they were half expecting me to pop out a baby right then and there. But luckily after being fanned for a few minutes I was able to leave and head home to rest. I still am getting calls from people at church thinking I had my baby right after that. But nope...still no baby.

After the afternoon naps and resting we headed to the Ericson's for an Easter dinner and another egg hunt. Because the kids didn't get to wear their Easter outfits to church, I found these matching outfits and had them wear them for the evening. The sun wasn't shining, but the kids could keep their eyes open, which means no good pictures. This one, however, turned out pretty cute.
 With little Mckinsley:
 The kids loved the egg hunt and got more candy.
 It's crazy to think that in the next 3 months we will go from 4 kids to 7. Fernanda, Natalie, and I are all pregnant. I'm due April 17, Natalie is due Jun 7, and Fernanda is due July 10. It's fun to all be prego together and so close. Natalie and I are having girls and Fernanda is having a boy. FINALLY Brayden will have a little buddy to run around with and get away from all the girls!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Escalade

The girls got a power wheels escalade for Christmas, but for obvious reasons we have had to keep it inside. We ended up leaving it in the family room since Christmas bc it has been played with more than any other toy, eventhough it couldn't be driven inside. Once the weather got warm enough we took it outside and the kids have not stopped riding it. I was surprised how fast it goes. Our yard is perfect for them to be able to drive across the lawn, turn, and come back around. Brynlee is a little too small to drive it...she has ended up in bushes and running into trees. But she loves to be a passenger and be in control of the radio. I was surprised how good Brooklyn is at steering it and even going in reverse. Hopefully they continue to enjoy it all summer long!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pregnancy Update

Here I am just over 36 weeks. The doctor finally allowed me to go off of bedrest at 37 weeks since it is safe for the baby to come anytime. I was SO excited to be able to do everything again. I got a huge burst of energy and haven't stopped cleaning the house, rearranging all the rooms, vacuuming, etc. I have felt great, but sad that I missed the last 7 weeks of enjoying the pregnancy bc we have been so worried about her coming early. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dying Easter Eggs/Easter Egg Roll

The week before Easter we had our family Sunday with my side of the family. We always do an Easter egg roll, so on Saturday we got out our eggs and the kids dyed them while Brynlee was napping. We went with glitter eggs this year. 
I forgot my camera for the egg roll, so I'll have to add pics of that later. Josh ended up winning the adults competition and Brayden won the kids! Not sure if it was bc we baked our eggs instead of boiling them this year. Congrats!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Brynlee's Room

With Rachelle and Sean moving out, we were able to move Brayden to the main floor and experiment with Brynlee and Brooklyn in the same bedroom. It has gone SO much better than I expected. I was not about to allow it if the kids' sleep habits changed one bit, so luckily the girls have continued to sleep really well and it hasn't been a problem. I was in the middle of taking Brynlee's stuff down and realized that I haven't really taken pics of her room. I will be doing a brand new girls room, so I won't be putting any of this stuff back up. I took a couple of pics to remember, eventhough I started taking the pictures after I had already started changing the rooms around. Oh well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

When the holidays are on Sundays, it seems to always complicate things. Especially bc that means I can't run to the store that day and get anything. The kids had been talking about the leprechauns coming for weeks. I didn't want to do the treasure hunt before church, so I made them wait until after. Which worked out nicely bc I wasn't able to make it through church and had to come home after sacrament meeting. So when they kids got home their treasure hunt was waiting for them. There were clues all over the house and they took turns running to find the next clue. They finally got their treasure at the end.
 Yes...the leprechaun went potty and it was green. The kids loved it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Helmets / First Picnic

We've been in the process of moving all the kids around, so now Brayden has his own room on the main floor. He was SO excited when he realized that the little BYU helmet fit on his tiger. So of course we had to take a picture, and naturally the girls wanted to be a part of it.
 The kids have LOVED the warmer weather. I couldn't resist letting them have a picnic outside with our next door neighbor, Annette, when she suggested it. So we enjoyed a yummy picnic.

New Chandelier

We have been wanting a new chandelier ever since we moved in to this house over 2 yrs ago. Last time Josh changed the lightbulbs in the other chandelier, he said that would be the last time he would do that. So we've been down to 1 light for a couple of weeks, so we finally found one we liked and had Rudy come over to install it. It was quite the process to reach the top of the ceiling, but he got creative and was able to figure it out without falling.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Brynlee is in that stage where she LOVES to make trains out of everything. Quite often we will find all of our sippy cups, bowls, and lids in a line somewhere in the house.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


The kids got on this kick to do everyone's hair. They take turns and it keeps them busy for quite a while.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Little Samantha - Final Farewell

Besides moving Sean and Rachelle to their new place, our weekend was full of preparations for the viewing and funeral. They asked me to play a medley of songs for the funeral, so I spent time putting that together. I offered to design the program for the funeral, so I was honored to put that together. I also had the idea of finding butterfly pins that we could hand out to everyone to wear at the funeral. I was able to have a bunch of purple, yellow, and white nylon butterflies over-nighted, then we glued on pin backs. It was a very busy weekend, but we were able to get everything ready. They asked for everyone to wear purple and yellow to honor Samantha's life as those were her colors. Butterflies were also all over her room so they became very symbolic and meaningful throughout the week.

Tuesday night was the viewing. Once again, it broke our hearts to see little Sammie laying there. Someone custom made her casket and it was beautiful. Sean's mom made her the most gorgeous white dress with purple and yellow accents. She looked like an angel. We took the kids at the beginning of the viewing, then Josh's dad came and got them so we could stay until the end of the viewing. We were able to spend a lot of time with people from our ward as well as friends and family.

Wednesday morning we headed back to the church for the final viewing and funeral. Before they closed the casket, Rachelle handed each of the cousins a special stuffed animal that was Sammie's. So each of the kids now have one of Sammie's animals to always have with them. We said our final goodbye's to Sammie, then Sean and Rachelle had their last moment before they closed the casket. We filed into the cultural hall for the funeral.

The funeral was beautiful, sweet, and a perfect way to celebrate the short but impactful 18 months Samantha was with us. It took such strength and courage for Rachelle to stand up and talk, but hearing from her gave us all strength. She talked about going to the temple during that week and getting the confirmation that this was God's plan for Sammie. I was able to play a medley of I Am A Child of God, I Feel My Savior's Love, My Heavenly Father Loves Me, and God Be With You Til We Meet Again. Before Sean had even asked me to play at the funeral, I had these songs going through my head and I knew I was going to be asked to play. I had the easiest time putting this medley together, because I already knew what songs were meant to be played and how to put them together. I cried the entire time I played, as I could feel Samantha's spirit so close and so strong. It was made evident to me at that moment how happy Samantha was and how happy she had been while living in our home. After the funeral we drove to the cemetery for a sweet graveside service. We prayed, sang a few songs, and enjoyed the time we all had to be together.
 Our wonderful Relief Society held a luncheon for us after the graveside service. It was nice to be able to spend a little more time with family before we all headed home. It was sweet to see all the cousins running around with their "Sammie Animals."
 It was hard to believe that the 2 hardest weeks we've ever gone through were coming to an end. Most people say that it is after the funeral that the hardest part begins, and I now believe them. The amount of people praying for our family was so overwhelming. We felt their strength, the comfort, and peace that the prayers brought. The Lord carried us all through these 2 weeks, and will continue to help us and we each try our best to heal. For us, it means continuing on with life while being reminded of all the good memories in every corner of our house. For Rachelle and Sean, it means starting a new life in a new place...without their little girl. And although they are expecting a new baby in October, nothing can replace the void that has been left behind by a very special girl with a very special heart.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Little Samantha - The Move

The weekend was extremely busy for us. Sean and Rachelle had found a bigger basement apartment to move into about 10 days before all this happened. Knowing that it would be too hard to return to our basement, they decided to continue with the plans of moving. Our wonderful relief society came over Thursday and Friday and packed up their entire apartment. Saturday, the elders quorum along with our family and friends came over to help load the moving truck and move their stuff to their new apartment. Relief Society as well as family helped unpack a lot of their stuff at the new place, and a few sisters stayed here to completely clean the basement. It was overwhelming to see the amount of support that was given. We had so many people come to help that it went really quick, and just like that our lives entered a new chapter. Our families had become so integrated together since there was no outside entrance to our basement. So for 2 years the 8 of us have loved living together and spending so much time together. It is still hard to go down to the basement, having been left with so many wonderful memories. For now, Samantha's room hasn't been touched. We will leave it as it is until Rachelle and Sean are ready to go in and decide what to do with all her stuff. I often will go into her room, sit in the middle of the floor, and cry. I look at all her clothes, toys, crib, etc. and can't help but be full of emotion as I remember all the good memories.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Little Samantha - Letting Go

Rachelle and Sean had asked all family to be done saying goodbye by about 3 on Wednesday afternoon. That way they could spend the rest of the day and Thursday uninterrupted with Sammie. Sean had asked Josh to accompany my dad and Sean's brother to give Samantha a final blessing Thursday morning. So Josh and I headed up to the hospital early in the morning. We waited in the waiting room for about 45 minutes when Sean came out, ready to take the next step. I stayed in the waiting room while these 4 priesthood holders went in and gave Sammie a blessing. Josh said when they walked in Rachelle was laying on the bed with Samantha sobbing, not wanting the moment to come. They had her dressed in an adorable little jean outfit and Josh said she looked so beautiful. After the blessing, Rachelle looked up at my dad and asked him to give her a blessing. Then they were able to give Sean a blessing. After the blessings Josh said Sean and Rachelle seemed to be more at peace then when they went in. After about another hour, they were ready to have the tubes taken out. Rachelle had a photographer come and take some amazing pictures of Samantha without all the tubes in her little outfit.
It took about 30 hours for Samantha to return to her Heavenly Father. We waited and waited, prayed and prayed, that the Lord would take her when Sean and Rachelle were ready. They were able to have all the time they needed so that when the time came they were ready as you can be.