Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Programs

Had to share these cute shots of Jane before her school Christmas programs this week!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Pinterest Obsession

I love Pinterest. It's the greatest idea since this super cool website babysteals came along :) Pinterest can be overwhelming because you can love almost everything you see and can spend hours 'pinning' things you love into organized boards yet never seem to try many of the ideas. I tend to take the opposite approach and organize my boards accordingly - such as "Food to Try" and "Recipes I've Tried and loved". Every Sunday I've been trying some of the recipes I've pinned to my Food to Try board and moving them to the other board - assuming I liked it! Here are some winners I've found through Pinterest that have become traditions in my house:

Pumpkin Pancakes - I make a big batch of these on Sundays. I take what is leftover and freeze them individually, then put them all in a freezer ziploc bag. They pop into the toaster perfectly for the boys on school mornings. Top with Nutella or maple syrup - amazing!

Green Smoothie Cups - I admit these look nasty, but they're totally not! Again, I make a big batch on Sunday. I keep coconut water in the fridge so the boys can make their smoothies each morning by adding the water and one smoothie cup to the blender. They love it! For real!

Homemade Cinnamon Almonds - Trust me on this one. Stop what you're doing right now and make these- it will take less than 10 minutes to prepare them. Your house will smell incredible and you'll never buy the ones at the mall again. Except you'll have to make a lot- my boys devoured one batch in less than 24 hours.

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Homemade Ranch Dressing - There are three things I hate about store bought ranch dressing. MSG - I'm allergic and it's terrible for your body. It's fattening, and high in sodium. Totally defeats the purpose of having a salad. This recipe is fresh and much more healthy for you. I replace half of the mayonnaise with plain greek yogurt. It's amazing!

Here's my Pinterest account. If you need an invite, let me know and I'll send you one. I have many other things I use Pinterest for that I'll talk about in another post. Happy Pinning and I apologize in advance!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Woodland Forest Baby Shower

In March I threw a last minute baby shower for my sister-in law Audria. It was planned for later in the month (so I hadn't picked a theme yet) but we found out baby Bridger was coming almost a month early so I had to rally fast! It was on a Monday night and I literally planned the theme while chatting with my brilliant and crafty friend Lisa Mack the Saturday night before. Since his name was going to be Bridger, (and there is a forest called Bridger National Forest) we picked a Woodland Forest theme. I'm not sure how we pulled it off, but Lisa totally helped me rally and we put together a super cute shower for Audria! I was feeling pressure to make it perfectly cute because I'm the owner of BabySteals and ScrapbookSteals ....geez! The colors were lime green, orange, brown and blue. Oh and - I had to work on Monday, so I had it catered by Cafe Rio. Highly recommended, huge hit. :)
Here are some photos of what we did!
Oh yes, I DID make a diaper cake out of BABY LEGS in the theme colors!

The dessert and drink table
Blue and Green Jelly Belly's
Lisa designed and made these Woodland themed cupcake toppers!

I special ordered the cupcakes from Sweet Tooth Fairy

Green and Blue M&M's - right out of the regular M&M bag

Here last name is Jonas (my maiden name) so of course that means I have to get green & blue Jones Soda's and change the "E" to an "A"!
Tissue Paper Pom Pom flowers - so easy!
Table centerpiece
I made a clothes line of baby socks in the theme colors 
Not bad for 2 days planning!
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

My "Aha Moment"

I was recently invited by Mutual of Omaha to come to the last stop on their nationwide Aha Moment tour in Salt Lake City and record with them my Aha moment. It was really fun meeting them and learning about their tour around the nation. They titled my video "Create the live you want".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One year ago today ....

...was operation "We Send Joy" where my partner Rett and I flew to Canada to surprise some customers in Vancouver BC, Edmonton AB, and Calgary AB at their front doors by hand delivering some of their orders. Here is the blog post and video that details the amazing trip!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Replies to Jane

Ok. I'm sort of freaking out right now. Remember the hilarious video a few posts below of Jane's innocent plan to Kidnap Alice in Wonderland from Disneyland to bring her here to Utah for her Birthday Party?

Well, Jane was replied to by the "Alice" herself at Disneyland and uploaded to YouTube! Look at their reply!

They're even holding a picture of her...!

If you haven't seen the video, it's here or scroll to the post below.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the 4th be with you.

My two boys are giant Star Wars fans. I mean, giant. Not a day goes by without a conversation about whether "Han shot first" or how cool the Cantina band is. Both of their rooms are completely decorated in Star Wars including their bedspreads. At Disneyland, the majority of their time is spent in Tomorrowland's Star Wars store. Which is where we got these pictures. :)

Happy Star Wars Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jane's plan to steal Alice in Wonderland for her Birthday Party

Jane loves Alice

Sweet Jane woke up on her birthday and eagerly described for me what she wanted for her birthday party. 

Turns out I need to devise a plan to steal Alice in Wonderland from Disneyland to come to Utah for her party....hilarious! Here is how Jane thinks it should be done...

UPDATE! ALICE REPLIED TO JANE! Click this to see the video!

...from our Disney trip last December...
She was so intrigued by the Mad Hatter
Didn't really dig the queen...
He is so silly, mama!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jane's Birth Story

Five years ago I had the most beautiful baby in the world. I wrote her birth story a week after she was born so I wouldn't forget. I've never shared it to this point but given the business I'm in, I figured I may as well!


Written May 9th, 2006:

Jane was due on May 6th, 2006. Her birth story starts May 1st- a Monday night. After a long day of work at KSL, I spent the evening and night power washing the garage, driveway, Denali, and anything else that might have a spec of dust on it. Talk about nesting! I knew from the appt. with Dr. Chambers that we had that morning that I was 3 ¼ cm dilated and had a ‘bump’ or ‘ridge’ which I took as being 80% effaced. She said for us to call her on Wednesday if we’d like to be induced; that she was off the next day on Tuesday. She said I’d probably need about 2 hours of the pitocin to get me going. I didn't want to get induced at all unless there was a medical need for it. I just really wanted to go into labor on my own. I was planning and had prepared to go natural. I just decided to be patient and wait it out; and either go to work or make a long relaxing day at home getting light projects done. I woke up around 2 or 3 am and couldn’t sleep as usual; I was hungry so got up to have a bowl of cereal. I ended up watching about an hour of scrapbooking shows On Demand and didn’t really have any contractions; just contemplated whether or not I should go to work in the morning.

So around 6:30 am or so I woke up and had a contraction or two. They had more of a ‘pull’ to them. After three or four contractions that seemed pretty consistent and to no provoking; I started to write them down. I had several more that were 10 minutes apart. By 8am they were still coming but I still wasn’t sure if anything was going on or not. So I decided to wait to leave for work until I was sure I wasn’t in labor. I left messages for Chris and Tami and just decided to keep writing them down and wait it out. So they started to come 6 minutes apart pretty consistently. Eric took the boys to school and came back home to get ready for work himself. Tuesday is usually his day off but since baby would be here soon he decided to go in at least for a while. By 8:30am my handwriting of the time got much worse. While Eric was gone, I managed to scrub the shower, both counters and sinks in the bathroom and kitchen, even cleaned the toilets. During contractions I’d just stop and breathe through it or even just try to continue what I was doing to see if I would distract myself. I continued in ‘putter’ mode until Eric was in the shower saying he was going to head up to the office. At that time I got a contraction that brought me to my knees in the bathroom. I remember saying, “Eric, I am DEFINITELY in labor.”

At that point, they were coming on faster and faster, sometimes even only 1 ½ minutes apart. So I decided to get in the bath with lavender and see if they would calm down a little and maybe they would even stop; as they had in the past. The bath did space them out a little; put them down to about 4 minutes apart but they didn’t go away. It was amazing how much different the pain was in the water. Something about it takes the edge off. So I decided to get all ready and did my makeup as I sat in the bath. I also kept writing down the time of my contractions and would look on my cell for the time. Eric in the meantime realized that this was business, so he went outside for a while to let Comanche (the dog) out and water the plants that might be forgotten if I was in the hospital. He was like, “I have to go outside -should I leave you alone?”  I said I’d be fine, which I was but went through many hard contractions in the bath. It gave me time to do my yoga breathing and get into the zone and practice making my body completely limp to relax through the contractions and let them open up and do the work necessary. I got a text from Todd at my work around 10:30am asking if this was the day. I said, “yep, I think this is B-day, headed to the hospital soon; 3 minutes apart and they freakin hurt!” For some reason I was pretty calm about the whole thing and just very calmly kept getting myself ready and packing for the hospital. I remember asking Eric about 11am if we should be calling people to let them know I’m in labor. Like Dr. Chambers who was off for the day; Kathleen Richardson - neighbor and previous lay midwife who's attended hundreds of births who was going to act as my doula, and his mom and my mom. I think he called my mom and his mom to just let them know that we were going to the hospital and we’d call them when we got settled and were sure that this was going to happen today. He called Kathleen around 11:30.

The contractions kept coming and getting stronger and closer together. I got in a really bad mood trying to get my iPod (which I didn’t even get a second to turn on) all updated. It got to the point that if Eric talked to me during a contraction it would really tick me off and break my concentration. I was suddenly very grumpy. They really, really took concentration to relax at this point. We packed up a few remaining things while Audria got Brandon home from kindergarten. They went into Easton’s room and just played video games. I remember one contraction put me on to the floor and really killed. I told Eric we better get going while they are 2-4 minutes apart; because I knew they would only get worse and I needed to get comfortable, and in the zone. We said bye to Audria (who got all emotional which made me emotional) and I got emotional saying bye to sweet Brandon. This was the last time he'd be my youngest child. Going out to the car I got a contraction that hurt so bad all I could do was push my head against the car and bend down. After that one, I wanted to walk all around my garden and memorize which flowers would be in bloom on her birthday from now on. It's May in Utah and gorgeous and I'm a gardener! Eric at that point said, “JANA GET IN THE CAR”. Sometimes I’m stupid.

About 12:15 we left the house for the hospital. On the drive over we were fairly relaxed, I reveled in my ability to labor at home for so long with such task-oriented focus. (silly me) I was very happy that my driveway was spotless, my car was spotless, my garage was spotless, my bathrooms were spotless, the kids were in school, I slept the night before (for the most part, anyway), that it was Eric’s day off and the kids were settled, and it was a gorgeous, sunny spring day. And we very calmly spent the morning finishing last minute details and had time to pack everything and be prepared. Reveling didn’t last long with another contraction on the way. I reminded Eric that his wife was in labor and that meant he could drive a little faster than normal and even break a traffic rule or two. At that time, a very slow construction truck pulled right in front of us on our street and proceeded to go very slow the whole way out. Grrrrr, just my luck. I was flipping through the radio stations on the dial trying to find KSL (the radio station I worked at) hoping that would be distracting to the pain. Well, the next contraction came on right and I found myself saying TURN OFF KSL! Grumpy in pain, I tell you!

Right then, we turn left and BUMP BUMP! The entrances to the hospital could not be worse!! I couldn’t believe how bad it hurt to go over those bumps! We pulled right up front and it felt so weird finally walking in the hospital that you toured and wondered when it would be your day. I was very proud of baby Jane because this was HER day…the day she chose when she was ready.

We got up to the nurses station and I said with confidence, “I’m in labor”….so they walked me into the prep room, where I needed to be monitored to see if I was "really was" in labor. They asked for a urine sample and I was in the middle of that when they said they were moving me into a labor room. Guess they realized I was right. Turns out it was the room I originally saw upon my tour – the one with the fake windows. It was nice though, but RIGHT by the nurses station which lended itself to a lot of distracting noises. So I got up, went into the room and was brought right to my knees with a killer contraction. I just knelt on the side of the bed until it passed and my nurse came in to introduce herself. I changed into the gown, got on the bed with the monitors and started answering all of the nurses questions. When I got a contraction, I did well doing my yoga breath to get through them. The nurse checked me and I was 5 centimeters! It was then that I knew we weren’t going anywhere. I answered a slew of questions about my health and pregnancy while she entered it all in the computer. She was a nice nurse and I liked her. I could hear baby’s heartbeat through the monitor and that was reassuring to hear it. After the nurse was done, this nurses assistant came in to set up the delivery tray. I was very surprised they were doing that already. I looked at the myriad of scissors perfectly lined up on the tray. They should never let a woman in active labor see that many cutting devices. I told her she can go ahead and put the scissors away. She said they needed them for the umbilical cord too. This nurse bugged me. I wanted her out of the room fast. A couple contractions later and after draping a sterile sheet over all of the medical equipment, she left and I laid the warning on Eric that she comes in no more.

Everything from here is slightly a blur.. I remember getting up to go to the bathroom and having a killer contraction on the way. Then getting up and seeing Kathleen Richardson walk in. Immediately she meant business and took over. Sit here, try this, do this. It was great surrendering the ‘do this’ to someone who knew the pain and knew how to help manage it. All I had to do was breathe, relax, and say “yeah that worked’ or  ‘harder’.  This was my first experience with a doula and I am a BIG believer if you are trying to go natural.

I was getting very frustrated because hospital personnel kept coming in the room, asking questions like, “Are you giving the baby a Hep A upon birth?” “Can you sign these registration papers?”, “I am a phlebotomist and need to take your blood”…that’s not a pleasant request of a woman in active labor. But instead of complaining I sat on the chair and looked away. After that, I wanted to sit up in the bed, get in a zone, and have no distractions. I told Eric and the nurse no more unnecessary people in the room. From here, all I remember is seeing Eric on my right and Kathleen on my left and yoga breathing to relax my body during contractions. It was going well. Yeah it hurt, bad. But I could manage it and even work with it to help it do its job. Every once in a while Kathleen would put a certain kind of aromatherapy essential oil into my nose and would have me breathe. That helped to concentrate on the smell and let it do what I needed help with at the time from energy, focus, etc. Throughout this time I had an apple juice I would sip on to keep hydrated. Contrary to what I originally thought, I actually liked the monitors on, because when the contractions go so intense, they would peak sooner and sometimes the monitor would pick up on it faster. It gave something for Eric and Kathleen to look at and they would know when to be ready for the next contraction as I felt it come on and I sometimes wouldn’t need to say anything. This helped me with concentration and keeping my body limp during the peaks of the pain and not to fight the pain. I told Eric he better call my mom and his mom to let them know this was the real deal.

The nurse came in and said that Dr. Chambers was taking a shower because she was cleaning her house but she would be on her way and that she would check me when she got here. Pretty cool on her day off! When Eric left to call it seemed like forever  - two contractions without him there felt a lot worse when he was there. From here I made the mistake of wanting to get up to go to the bathroom again. That means unhooking all the monitors, getting gel all over your gown and risking a contraction out of the zone. But I did it and the contraction that ensued in the bathroom was about as bad as anything. And walking back I realized I still had on my bra and tank top underneath my gown and just as they were helping me get them off, another contraction came and all I could do was squat again up against the bed and OUCH what a mistake. I just wanted back in the bed. I remember saying something like ‘these hurt like hell’ and at that point I had officially sworn in front of Kathleen? Although I really was describing ‘hell’ as a place which makes it a noun, right? This contraction also officially kicked off "the moan". My throaty yoga breathing went from a normal ‘exhale through the nose with your throat’ to ‘exhale and make a small groan with your throat’ to ‘exhale and growl like a wolf’. None of those cut it anymore so moaning ensued. Sometimes I was too high pitched so Kathleen helped me moan lower.

After getting back in bed, hooking the monitors up wrong and trying to figure them out, it gets me out of the zone a bit. I kept thinking it would be really nice to be in that hot jacuzzi bath but Eric needed to clean it first (It was clean but I'm a germ freak) and my contractions were SO close that I worried about going to all the trouble and getting too far out of the zone with him doing that. Also by the time I got in, I would worry about having to get out and walk back to the bed risking a killer contraction along the way or even being naked in front of a bunch of people and not being able to put lotion on after. Contractions blurred from one to the next as I sat as still as I could to focus through the pain. I don’t quite remember when my mom and Eric’s mom arrived, other than it was at the height of my pain and I don’t even think I said hi to them, I just kept in my zone. I think Pam came first and jumped right in with rubbing my feet or whatever Kathleen said to do. I think Dr. Chambers came next. I was 8 CM!!! I was happy I had made it that far without even an IV.  She left the room and happily told the nurse, "she’s 8 CM!" seemingly with surprise at my progression.

Somewhere in between all that, someone turned the lights down making the room darker and it even felt like the evening to me. For all I knew, it was. I asked someone what time it was and they said ‘2pm’. I didn’t put two and two together at that point that we had only been in that room since 12:30! Lots of painful contractions blur together and Dr. Chambers walks in and says she wants to break my water. I was not happy about that and pleaded no because of how painful contractions get afterward...I had been there, done that with Brandon's birth. She said at this point being so far along it doesn’t matter and it would help with the delivery. She went in to check me again and she thought I was a 9 but turns out I was still an 8. She said baby’s head was way down and she would just put a small leak in the bag. She opened the ‘crochet hook’ with her teeth and sticking that thing up there. I just remember it didn’t feel very good. I felt a little pop and the warm leaking fluid. Not much, as she said until……….a contraction. Now it was business. Every contraction was a GUSH of hot sticky fluid. Somewhere in between my mom showed up and somehow I think I was 9 ½ CM at this time. Maybe not. But she noticed that I was pretty out of it but as soon as she realized I had no IV, no pit, no epidural or anything, she seemed pretty surprised. I don’t think I said hello, not that I wasn’t thinking it, I just couldn’t say it.

Contractions now gave very little in-between breaks and also peaked from the beginning, making moaning for one minute every other minute a must. The moaning. I felt bad for making so much noise. I probably scared the hell out of any other laboring woman entering the hospital, or scaring any poor girl getting a tour. This is when I realized that I really shouldn’t have labored in the room right by the nurses station. I’m a vocal person, I can’t expect anything different in the most intense experience of my life, right? I thought I was going to throw up and Eric quickly pulled out a bed pan but the desire passed with another contraction. The deep cleansing breath afterward was more necessary than ever and I started to realize that I really wanted that freaking epidural. Not too much, just take the freaking edge off please. I remember hearing ‘he, he, hooooo’ which I swore to Eric we could not do this time. But in my vulnerable state I tried it and for some reason it helped. I realized that at this far dilated, the only way out was to push and I knew how long my previous pushing episodes had been. No way did I want to deal with contractions this painful for that much longer and have to have energy to push and then feel that unknown feeling, too. Freak, what have I done? What was I thinking?

The medal for this natural crap better be big and I better get it fast! 

I think now in between contractions were spent telling Eric that I was very serious, I really wanted that freaking epidural and that I just don’t want to handle that amount of pain for that long. My other two labors I pushed for hours! My intellect really knew that I couldn’t get it, and I really didn’t want it (yes, I did) but just the act of saying it made me feel less trapped. Then the shaking. I read in a book that shaking during transition was normal, also phrases like "you did this to me" or "I’ll never do this again" or "give me drugs, now" were normal, too…so I didn’t feel too bad asking, and at least I wasn’t being mean to Eric. Someone was putting a cold washcloth on my face and forehead..probably Pam. I liked it because I was hot and sweating. Dr. Chambers said that I would be pushing before long and she checked me at 9 ½ CM. OUCH. She said to bare down a little with the contractions but that didn’t provide the relief and didn’t feel good. I tried that with the next two and it was very discouraging because I had read so many times that pushing helped the pain. Well, this ticked me off that I wasn’t experiencing that. Now I really, really wanted the freaking epidural.

Then comes the next contraction. Started with a fury but suddenly it MADE me push. Actually baring down is a better word. I didn’t want to push…I didn’t want to split in two! The next little bit all blurs together with phrases like, 1,2,3,4,5, wait deep breath and hold it! Don’t fight it, grab behind your legs! (I couldn’t even feel my legs my stomach was in a death grip from hell!) I couldn’t really hear the Dr. because it seemed like everyone was talking to me at once. Small feelings of encouragement ensued upon them moving the bed down, putting pans below me. Encouragement and then absolute terror that I actually had to push this thing out with nothing. Boy that was a real smart idea. Who am I, the president of the Drug Free Childbirth Association? Even SHE wants drugs at this point!

I pulled my legs back but just kept rubbing up against them, seemingly to fight it. But boy when I did push against it, really it was almost a break in itself. It really did feel good to push. But so scary. And the ring of fire. The most intense, burning, tight, pressure, stretching feeling you can imagine. Little did I know that my baby’s head was right there. I assumed in this short 10-15 minutes that there were hours left. I opened my eyes and saw my mom in front of me holding her thumbs up and saying, "she’s right there, almost done!" I had no idea I was that close. That gave me renewed energy and thinking, how the hell did this happen so fast! Dr. Chambers was doing the massage with lots of gel while I’m moaning like a wolf (OWIE) and somehow in the moaning and pushing and stretching and tightness and burning I hear that her head is out! The shoulder freaking killed and at that point I was probably screaming but that’s a blur, too. At the time of this major recalibration in my mind of what pain really was, it was also the most beautiful sensation I could ever imagine feeling. The gush and sense of incredible relief once that shoulder rounds the corner is unreal. I looked down and saw this perfect outline of a blue infant laying on a table. I kept asking, is she ok? Is she breathing? And being pissed that no one seemed to be aspirating her or getting her to breathe. Eric was saying, she’s fine, her chest is moving and then I hear “resuscitation, please”. In comes a nurse and my baby disappears on to a high table and all the attention shifted over there. I sat there in a pile of blood with a cord hanging out of me. Dr. Chambers says here comes your placenta, you need to push again. She told Pam to push on the top of my uterus which she did. That push sucked and hurt and reminded me of the original pain albeit only 45 seconds to a minute ago. Then plop, down it goes with another feeling of release and relief. I was fascinated by the placenta and really wanted to look at it and the cord and pay some kind of tribute to them but literally it was swept away in a bucket faster than anything. It was purple and looked smaller and rounder than my other ones. Dr. Chambers came back over to me and was looking at the perenium and then I hear the good news, “no repair needed, no tearing at all!” Now that, THAT was a great thing to hear after all that! That is exactly what I wanted.

Then I hear 7 lbs, 6 oz, 20 inches long!

I was proud of that, too! Then frustration. I want my baby! Give me my baby, why can’t I have my baby! “We’re just getting her stabilized and all of the procedures done”.  I became increasingly frustrated yet tried to be patient a little longer. Then I look up, and see a nurse trying to get a t-shirt on my baby! My dream of the baby plopping out, getting aspirated and handed to me for the elation was already taken away but don’t freaking GET HER DRESSED before her mother holds her and feels her precious skin! Details again blurry but some militant mean nurse that I wanted to disappear came over to me, got in my face and very rudely explained something I really didn’t want to listen to about policies and procedures. All I know is soon after I had my sweet baby jane in my arms finally. Her little face was so swollen and she was so cute and innocent and funny looking at the same time. I cried at how amazing she was just looking up at me and being frustrated that the moment was almost taken away from me. There is no better moment on earth than finally feeling the skin of your baby with no thick barrier between you. Finally seeing the face and body that grew and lived inside of you for so long. Finally feeling the real outline of that ‘bum bum’ and those precious feet and heels that you feel on the top of your belly for months. Finally seeing that wonderful angel hair and wondering how hair even grows in water inside your body. Finally having the reassurance that they have eyes and ears and 10 fingers and toes. And the blank but meaningful, innocent stare into your eyes your baby gives you as they desperately try to focus their eyes and blink to look into yours. Wow, baby Jane is here! Wait, what time was she born? 2:48pm! So strange, Easton was born at 2:42pm and Brandon at 9:48pm! And those two times I frequently mess up thinking Easton was 2:48pm.

Wow. Elation. Shock. Did I really do that? Is it really over? Did Baby Jane really do this on her time when she was ready on her very own day? May 2nd is a great day for a Birthday! Did I really go into labor on my own and was I really only in the delivery room for just over 2 hours? Were all the hormones aligned perfectly in my body and hers to make the labor as fast and unaided as it was? Does my baby seriously have the best head of black hair ever? Did I really push that baby out natural with no cuts or rips? Was I the loudest laboring woman ever in history at Cottonwood? Do I seriously not have an IV hooked into my arm? Can I really move every part of my body without a problem right now? Am I really not going to feel sorry for anyone who whines about pain again? Did my yoga training really aid in relaxing my body enough to stand the pain? Did I seriously consider going to work today? Was I seriously worried about an iPod less than 3 hours before giving birth? Am I the new president of the Drug Free Childbirth Association? When is my medal going to arrive? Did I really powerwash my freaking driveway last night? Do I really have the most beautiful baby ever?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Steal Network Warehouse

Here are photos of the signs at our offices and warehouse!
Just off I-215 and California Avenue
I admit it's pretty surreal driving by!
...and one of the 6 back loading docks!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This post has been about 7 months in progress. It just has been far too painful to think about much less write about. I just couldn't do it. It was too fresh, too open, too raw, too hurtful.


In the middle of September 2000, Eric just graduated from Chiropractic School in San Jose, California where we lived for 4 years. We drove our Uhaul filled with everything we owned to our brand new home in Taylorsville, Utah. Easton was 6 years old and Brandon was only 1 month old. As we pulled into the driveway, a red headed 7 year old boy with a sparkle in his eye ran from his home directly across the street with delight that a boy his age was moving in right next door! He came right up to Easton, introduced himself, and they both started helping unload the Uhaul.  The next 10 years they were inseparable best friends as they grew up playing in the ditch, sledding in the snow, digging in the dirt, riding bikes to the park, playing video games, playing and fixing computers, tinkering with musical instruments and playing amazing duets on the piano. Little did we know that as time went on, Brandon's best friend would be Sol's sister Caroline and Jane's best friend would be Sol's sister her same age, Sophie.
Easton & Solomon at Easton's 10th Birthday Party
Easton's 11th Birthday

Solomon, his brother Seth, and Easton on Easton's 16th Birthday 3/28/2010
Fast forward to last summer on June 21, 2010, Easton's best friend Solomon, passed away in a tragic ATV accident. {obituary}

I'll never forget Eric's entrance to the house that afternoon. The life sucked out of the house and I could tell something completely horrible must have happened when he asked me to join him in the other room privately away from the kids. My heart pounded away in fear anticipating what he was about to tell me. Never in my life have I heard such painful words. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Is all I could muster as I fell to the ground in unbelievable crying. My heart sunk as I yelled "LISA!" (his mom) then "DAVID!" (his dad) and then "EASTON!!!!!" "No! No! No! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" I shouted in the deepest most fearful pain I've ever experienced, with the realization that my son's entire childhood, innocence and memories were gone with his best friend in one moment. I was in complete disbelief as my brain literally considered if it was possible to rewind and change whatever happened. I remember pleading with the Lord that I would give every single monetary thing I had in life - everything - to change it. It was so sudden, so final. I JUST saw him! I even owed him $16 for working 2 hours at the BabySteals warehouse with Easton 3 days before! How is this possible? How on earth were we going to deliver such horrific news to a 16-year old about his very best friend?

I shifted into survival mode trying to figure out how we could get to Easton before someone else would text him the news - he was at the movies. We HAD to get to him before someone else did with their phone. Eric immediately left to race to the mall to get Easton and bring him home so we could tell him in person. I ran to the front door to look out the window at Solomon's house. Anger, sadness and confusion filled my heart with agonizing pain.

I sat on the floor crying with my face in my hands shaking and just trying to breathe - astonished at how life can change forever so suddenly. The thought of Easton without Solomon was like a piano without keys. The thought of Lisa and David having to tell Solomon's 7 other siblings. The thought never again saying "What's up, Sol?" as the front door opens and that tall, red-headed boy with a mischievous smile and sparkle in his eye runs downstairs to hang with Easton. The thought of never hearing those two boys spend hours perfecting their favorite songs on various instruments or tinker on the piano playing duets from the Mario Brothers theme songs to Viva la Vida by Coldplay as I made dinner.  The thought of never hearing Easton say, "Mom, I'm going to Sol's"..........

The doorbell rang and it was Jay and Brad - Easton's leaders in Young Men's. They didn't know Easton wasn't home but came straight to our house the moment they heard the devastating news. It warmed my heart to think about how much they cared for and knew my son that they would stop what they were doing and rush to my home in an effort to help deliver the news. Since Eric had just left, they comforted me and left to go help others.

When Eric and Easton came home, every word we said to him was a blur. No parent should ever have to deliver such terrifying news and break their kid's heart like that. It was by far the hardest moment of my life - and I've had some HARD moments. I've had my Grandpa, my beloved Uncle, and 4 cousins all succumb to suicide or die suddenly within 3 years of each other. So I had very recently dealt with a loved one's death from many different circumstances. But this was nothing I could have ever imagined. The next hour or two was a complete blur of tears and emotion. Easton of course was in devastation and shock. But as usual, he was a complete champion.

That night, our Bishop thankfully had all the young men and young women to the church for a devotional about Solomon. I am positive this tremendously helped Easton get through these horrible moments with other friends and kids his age. I was told that Easton gave the most sweet and caring tribute to Solomon to the young men and women that night. He shared thoughts with them that I didn't even know. That they planned on living by each other and raising their kids in the same ward. That he plans on naming his first son Solomon. I can't imagine how painful for him speaking to others must have been, yet healing at the same time.

The strength of Solomon's family was astonishing to me. His mother is an incredible pillar of light and faith. Without her composure, I'm not sure I'd have had any. I'll never forget her knock on my door the next morning. Tears ensued as she explained more about what happened to Solomon. She said that Solomon had been inspiring her through every move in planning his funeral. I know this to be true. She said that Solomon wanted Easton to play the Organ at his funeral. The Organ is not an easy instrument. You must practice each song with vigor before playing in public. At this time there were only 5 church Hymns that Easton knew on the Organ, and I didn't even know what they were, much less Lisa. She was inspired on a particular Hymn "Sweet Hour of Prayer". That was one of the 5 that Easton already knew. No coincidence there; that was inspiration from above.

The days leading up to the viewing and funeral were a blur as I cried almost non-stop yet tried to be strong in front of Easton. Crying not only for the loss of Solomon - but crying for his mother. For his father and sisters and brothers. But mostly, crying at the loss for my son. That every good childhood memory he thinks back on will quickly turn into sadness. I spent hours pouring over 10 years of home videos and photos to try and find every one I had of Solomon for the viewing and as a gift for the family.

The viewing was by far the 2nd hardest moment of my life. Standing in line trying to keep composure for what felt like hours as we watched videos of him and photos posted in the hall. Watching my son stand at his best friend's casket, saying goodbye for the last time. Holding his hand, and leaving with him sheet music from "Mario Brothers" they spent so many hours perfecting together with a hand written note on it. Seeing Solomon's dad hold Easton and tell him "you are like my son" was one of the most touching moments of my life. 

I wish I remember more about this moment of saying eyes were so full of tears that it took all the composure I had to just stand up. It felt entirely selfish to stand before his parents and be more of a wreck than they were.

Easton played the Organ amazing at the funeral. To say there were tears is an understatement. Somehow he went from a boy to a man as he walked in his tuxedo and sat down to the Organ and play "Sweet Hour of Prayer" at his best friend's funeral. He said that he doesn't even remember playing and that it wasn't even him - that it was Solomon who helped him through and played every note. Their last duet. His feet and hands were numb when he finished. I was so proud my heart ached.

Easton with Solomon's parents and two brothers at his burial
We did everything we could all summer to keep Easton entertained and from being lonely. Solomon's family helped in that tremendously as did so many other kids in our neighborhood that knew Easton was probably having a terrible time. Somehow, Easton is a champion.

These thoughts although 7 months ago, still hurt as deeply as if it were then. I still break into tears when I see a red-headed teenage boy. When Easton sits down to the piano and starts playing one of the songs they used to play together. When I stumble across a photo or home video with him in it. When Easton looks down at his phone, ready to text him, realizing he's not really there. When Easton doesn't have anyone to hang with at night. When I hear a sad song about loss. When I see an ATV. When I look across the street at his house. When the doorbell rings and it's not him.

This is one of the reasons why you'll never, ever hear me mutter the words "my teenager is driving me crazy." Because if he/she is, that's a blessing beyond recognition. At least they're there with you.

Solomon's 18th Birthday is this Wednesday. We'll be celebrating memories of him. I'll leave you with a duet I found of them practicing one of their favorite songs Viva La Vida by Coldplay on the piano. They eventually perfected this and could each play it by themselves amazingly by memory.................

Monday, January 3, 2011

what keeps me going

A 2-day contest on BabySteals last summer asked the simple question, "What does BabySteals and our Facebook page mean to you?"

The answers to that question is why I do what I do. This is what I sometimes refer to on late nights or moments of doubt or overwhelm and it keeps me going.  It's hard to pick my favorite from 1 to 3,176, but this quote takes the cake: "Thanks for making it easier to be a mom :)"