For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

An open letter to my dearest sister, Lori.

Dear Lori,

I don't know how to call you, I don't think I can. I want to talk. Correction, I need to talk. Today has been one of those days. The kind that always made you say how grateful you were that you're not me. You would listen to why I have tears streaming down my face, you would allow me to cry it out a bit and then we would get to work.

Analyzing every single detail is what we did best. Your insight and wisdom always impressed me. The way you could understand the human spirit and behavior were a gift. You didn't always see it, but I did. I would hang on every word. I would hate it when you would chastise me, and you were usually right, and I would feel such comfort and calm when you would validate me. Actually, I would always feel that calm, because I had the best sister, best friend, in the world. She would listen to every word, help me work it out and have me laughing at this thing called life all before we would hang up.

Today the tears started because of my usual life's stresses. But they continued because I couldn't call and have you help me through it. My head in my hands, tears creeping through the cracks between my fingers, for you, Lori. I am finding that trying to navigate through this pain without my best friend is beyond "not fair". Life isn't fair. I know that. I have three type 1 diabetics. I know life isn't fair. But your loss has made me ask questions I never thought I'd ever have to ask. It's brought pain that doesn't go away. Its forced me to walk alone much more than I ever wanted to.

You were always there. By text, phone...even Facebook late at night. It was like a light that helped shine the way, and I wasn't even aware of how bright it was until it was gone. Now I struggle to find that way.

I do believe you are still here. On a very sweet, spiritual level, you're here. I will never believe that the universe is as wasteful as to have the souls of those that lived just go into oblivion. They are here, they are somewhere, and I know your pain is gone now. I pray that you have found some peace. I don't currently have any. Someday it may come. In fact it probably will. I don't know if what form, or in whose form, but it will come. Because, you see, I also believe that the universe finds balance in all things. When one light is taken away, another shines through. But until I am able to find that light, I will cry those silent tears and miss you more than my heart can stand.

If you're reading this, Lori, could you please help me out on this one? Could you help me find that balance that the universe surely will provide? Life isn't easy, and maybe I am just not seeing what's right in front of me. Stand by my side and give me those soft nudges that helps me to know you are listening, still. Always listening.

You were always the most amazing listener. That's what I miss most.

I love you now, and forever.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

The littlest bits...

I had the opportunity to go to Hawaii for a few days this last month. I've had a few people request I blog about it. Good idea.

This trip was essentially me sponging off of Jon's work trip for the Laie Temple. Jon had to work most days from dawn to dusk, so I spent a lot of time alone. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Since Kara and Karlee took me to Hawaii some years ago I had a good idea as to what to expect, where to go and what I wanted to see again.

When one, who hasn't ever been to Hawaii, and even some that have, think of Hawaii they generally think of the popular spots. Waikiki, Honolulu and Maui. Beautiful places, all of them. They think of rolling blue waves and soft sandy beaches...and they wouldn't be wrong. Every one of those places offer so much. Guided tours, surfing lessons, tours of Pearl Harbor and the rich history and hotels of grandeur. It's worth seeing, truly.

When I think of Hawaii, I like to think a little differently. When Kara took me years ago, her goal was to show me what the tour guides didn't show. The local surfers at Sandy's beach, the perfect white sands of Lanikai and the quiet neighborhoods and homes of Kailua. I fell in love with Hawaii in those places.

 This trip was unique and different. I was alone much of the time. I drove for hours up and down the coast finding places to stop and take the perfect pictures. I found places to stop and eat local food, caught or made by locals that only a roadside eatery can give. I spent a lot of time in some places while just a moment in others. Most of my time was spent in the places that spoke to me, to my soul. I found Kahana Bay to be one of my favorite spots. The sands weren't as white and perfect, but the views from the Bay can't be matched. Surrounded by green, lush mountains and tall trees, that towered like guards over the bay. It was quiet there, and I felt safe. As though the landscape was trying to protect the people and animals that frequent there. It was also perfect for children, since the tide was minimal.

I found a lot of soul searching easy to do at the lookouts of Sharks Cove on the North Shore. There's no sandy beaches to play on, but the beauty of the rocks, the crystal blue waters and perfectly white foamy waves crashing with a luster can leave a person perfectly mesmerized for ages, as I was. The sounds, the smells and the sights are some of the most beautiful on the island.

And Lanikai. What can I say about Lanikai that isn't gushing with love? Pretty much nothing. It's like the pictures you see in magazines. White sands, water so clear you can see every detail of the ocean floor beneath it. A must see if you're going to be on Oahu.

Now I want to mention a few things you won't find in tour guide. The lesser places, the local favorites and the people. You haven't eaten in Hawaii until you've stopped at the most obscure eatery on the roadside. Favorite spots like Tita's grill. You haven't eaten in Hawaii until you've gone to Leonard's in Honolulu for malasada, and then shared some with a locals, because they all gush on and on about them. You haven't seen the most beautiful parts of Hawaii until you've met the locals, seen the homeless on the beaches and the beautiful children surfing the waves like they were born in them...maybe some even were. Those have to be my favorite parts of Hawaii. The parts that are overlooked by some. Those are the true things that make Hawaii Hawaii.

Like anyplace you visit, there's the popular places and then the places that the people who live there love. Whenever you go anyplace new make sure you ask friends and family where the best places to go are. I found a dear friends advice valuable beyond words (thanks again Janet!). She helped me find the best places to eat, and of course thanks to Kara and Karlee for showing me Hawaii in the first place. I knew exactly what I wanted to do because they had shown me long ago the best that Oahu has to offer.

I will go back again one day, and I will find new things to see and do. I will find the most beautiful pictures to take, of the things that most people overlook everyday. In the meantime, I will sit and enjoy the memories of this trip.

Sharks Cove on the North Shore
Lanikai Beach

Kahana Bay

Monday, July 20, 2015

Just for today....

Every now and then I have one of those days. They don't come as often as they used to. Fewer and further between. One of those days that's dedicated to thinking about her. I know, its crazy to assume my brain even works anymore. Along with the ten kids and their crazy schedule lets add a part time night job and school to the mix. Yes, I can still think, but I warn you, it can be limited.

Today is one of those days though. Today my mind is with Susie, my biological mother. For some reason I can't steer my attention away from her. It's not a sad day though. As I was doing some homework and trying to stay awake after a two night stint stocking shelves my mind kept veering off course. Or maybe it's right where it should be. Today I write to her, as though she were here.

Just for today. Just for today you're here. You are alive and well and we are together, just for today. I am making plans for my family to come to Vegas to see our "Vegas Family", including you. We talk on the phone, you complain about the noise at my house and we make plans, the kind that everyone makes with family when they see each other only a few times a year. Dinner plans, swimming plans, plans with grand kids, barbeque's and happy simple moments. We plan, we talk and we organize, just for today.

Just for today we can talk, we can call, we can text. Just like it should be, like it might have been. Your voice is only a phone call away, and it's as simple as that. Simple, yet as it should be. We can talk for two minutes, or for hours, its up to you. Just knowing I can call and chat is good enough, its better than good enough, its perfect. "Hi, mom, whats up? What are we doing for Lisa's birthday? How's work? I love you, mom...." .....Just for today.

Just for today you can be part of "the loop". Which one of us is mad at another, which one is getting a new job, a new tattoo, or a new car. That sweet intricate nervous system that makes us what we are, and how we communicate. How information gets passed from one to another, even when it shouldn't. You can pass the rumors, or get mad at the rumor passer. For today you can act like a mom. Just for today.

Just for today you are alive and well, and irritated with us all. "Those damn kids, when will they ever grow up?". It's normal, it's beautiful, its what it should be and we never knew any different. You can ignore us, yell at us and be a normal family with us. Well, at least normal for what we are. It might be seriously dysfunctional, but its us. It's beautiful. Just for today.

Just for today I will think of you with fondness and love. For today I will try to remember the few times we got to be together and dream of what might have been. For today I will submerge myself in your love, spanned over miles and years, and think about you with all the love I have to give. I can't give it to you, but can I? I can love your daughters with all I have and all I am. For today I will adore what I have been given and never take it for granted. For today you are in my heart and in my mind.

Just for today, and everyday after this I will think of you. Only, for today I will pretend I can call and say it to you. Just for today.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Too long my friends....

Well, I hate writing like this. It's like picking up a journal after too many months, or even years and trying to catch up fast. It's not a good way to write, blog, journal...whatever. This year has been good though. We decided after a year of renting we were all done with that business, and we bought our home. It's only a 1/2 mile from the last home, but it's still right by the lake. I like that. I'm a very visual person and I need to have something that satisfies my senses. The lake will do. Our home is also probably the best we've ever owned. It suits our huge family nicely, nice neighbors and the kids seem happy in school. All the way around a good move for us, in all respects.

Megan has been at boarding school for the last 6 months, which most of you know. I don't intend to hide that fact. I share it for a multitude of reasons. Megan doesn't hide it. She has told her friends, so I've told ours. Everyone has demons they fight their entire lives, and I'm proud of Megan for trying to kick hers while she's still young. Kudos to you Megan. Most people live their entire lives running away from problems and issues and she's facing them head on. Good for her. She should be home around next February sometime. I do post pictures they send me from time to time. Watch my Facebook for those.

As to the rest of us, we just are. Working, school, working and more school. That's where most of our lives reside, and it's ok. Things will change soon enough, time to enjoy the present.

With Brynlee being the only child at home I have found myself in a unique position. I have time....time....TIME! For the first time in 22 years I have time to do what I want, or need. It's weird, and great! I am still trying to figure out what to do with that time. I am working a bit online and that feels good. Making a bit of money, getting back into the professional world. It's so good for me. I'm also considering what to do long term. I'm still working towards my non profit. After the class I went to in June in Vegas I learned that I have a lot more learning to go. Hoping to make it to New York next spring to do just that. A week of intense learning. I want to make it happen. I like doing the research for it, and I love the concept of it. For those who don't know, its a foundation to support people living with type 1 diabetes. Something that's close to my heart as everyone knows, since three of my ten kids have type 1. It's something I finally have to the time to do, to concentrate on. It's a good thing.

Well, here's to many more blogs to come. I love writing about our humor, about our ups and downs. It's what connects us all....our lives. Share with me and I'll share with you!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Its a love/hate thing...

I have a love/hate relationship with January. I really do. A new year always brings new things, new hope, new adventures. Every year since my first daughter was born I have looked forward to all the new things a year can bring. Jobs, kids, baptisms, school, moves, you name it. Last year we got the house ready and sold it. Last year brought so many new adventures I couldn't possibly name them all. With our new home came a new neighborhood, friends and a new ward. I have so enjoyed getting to know so many new people. They are wonderful. We also moved so close to the lake, and bought wave runners. Let me tell you, that's a love/love relationship. It's been an adventure for our whole family.

Three years ago I started the year with hope, but spent the majority of it in mourning. After losing two babies the previous fall, I went on to lose two more that year. It was a devastating year for sure. I never gave up hope on it, but there's no way I would want to repeat it. The very next year we welcomed Brynlee into our home. That was an awesome year. Our entire family has loved that baby like you wouldn't believe, and it hasn't stopped.

It all starts with January. I hate the cold, but love that I can look forward to Spring, trips to Vegas to see my sisters, Capistrano with my family, a nice long summer spent in the sun and time on the lake. New Years Resolutions are not my thing. I don't like making promises to myself that may or may not happen. A promise can be made June 1st just as easily as it can be made January 1st. But that doesn't mean I don't sit quietly, reflect on the previous year and wonder what the new year holds for us.

This year has started off great. Abby turned 14 January 5th. I can't believe shes that old already! Wow! Then today we got to be interviewed for a piece that's going to air on Studio 5 next month. It was an amazing opportunity and we had a wonderful day with it. The camera guy came and got some footage of our family doing what our family does every morning. Eat, talk, mingle amongst chaos and get ready for school. They took footage of all the kids together and boy did they eat that up. After the kids went to school McKenna sat down and was interviewed and after her it was my and Jon's turn. That was a fun experience and I can't wait to see ourselves on TV next month. Its a great way to start the year.

I hope 2014 holds good things for us. I hope 2014 is a fun year with more adventure than we can handle. I hope 2014 ends as good as it's beginning. I hope....

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cuddling my last...

Its a landmark year for me. I have now gone longer without being pregnant than I have in more than 17 years. 10 kids. That's amazing. I have literally been nursing or pregnant for so long that Ive forgotten what its like to not be pregnant or nursing. Its a choice, and It's ok. I miss it like hell, but I know its time had come to an end.

But because of this I have spent many an extra hour cuddling this last little one, and it shows. She is stuck to me like glue. She sleeps in our bed, hates going into nursery and cries a lot when I'm gone for more than an hour. But I have to admit I am ok with all of it. I will never again hold my own little newborn, get to smell their soft brand new hair and cuddle the sweetness of their necks. Never again will I get to make all those wonderful plans and sit in the hospital with my new baby getting to know them before we go home. It makes me sad all the way around. Grand kids will be awesome, but they still won't be mine. I will have to take a back seat while my daughters and daughters in law get those sweet late night cuddles and soft moment's.

However, it was an amazing season of my life. It has been an entire dreamed realized. This new  season is going to be the beginning of my season. I have a lot  to offer the world, a lot to give. I do believe the Lord has plans for me that reach even beyond my own home. Not that I'm done here...my kids are all still home, except for Kenna, and I know they need mom. But, I want to start reaching for some of my own goals too. I need to do that.

Brynlee is going to know a much different Julie than my other kids have known. She won't know a pregnant Julie, a nursing Julie or anything of the sort. She is and will forever be spoiled. She doesn't have to share mom with any other babies. She doesn't have to get the boot out of the bed because of a newborn taking her space. She gets it all. She is the apple of every ones eye and they don't hold back on the amount of love they show her. They often fight over her. It's cute really...

So here I stand, at the crossroad to a new chapter of my life and I find that it's exciting. I'm not sure yet where that road is going to take me, maybe on a path that I haven't even planned on, but I am on my way to finding that path. Watch out world, I am going to reintegrate, and it may get a little weirder out there!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


It seems this time of year always prompts a post or two from me. It's crazy to think that its Halloween again, and then on to all the Holidays. Wow...always blows my mind. 

This year is a bit different though. Normally we would be knee deep in leaves from our big tree out front, enjoying some of our neighbors love of this holiday with their decorations and of course a house full of costumes that get worn and worn again before trick or treating has even begun. I'm not saying its a bad thing. We have new things to look forward to. The elementary school holds an annual "Hogwarts Night" every year and I have to say that was a lot of fun. The costumes are also all over the basement like usual and the kids have a bunch of new friends to go trick or treating with. It's all good...but still different. Am I ready for it?

That's a really loaded question. Financially, no, no and hell no! But then again, is anyone really ready for the financial stress that is the Holidays? Dare I say probably not. Otherwise, I think I am ready for it all. Trick or treating in a neighborhood with so many kids ought to be fun. I better stock up on candy. Thanksgiving will be new this year too. Jon and I are going to have our own Turkey with just our little family right here. I love the smell of a turkey cooking and look forward to mashed potatoes and gravy and all the fixings. We might go to my folks on Friday for a second dinner, but otherwise new again. Maybe we will find a fun hike or place to go too. New traditions can be wonderful! And Christmas....well....the kids have gone round and round as to where to put the tree and we have a proper fireplace to put stockings on. For some reason that excites the kids to no end! Change can be hard, but it can also be so good. 

Despite the new changes and all, we do miss our old stomping grounds. We stopped an ice cream by to Ray Green yesterday to say Happy Birthday and we were so so happy to see Brent Palmer while we were there. Sweet Jessi started to cry when she saw him. She said she was coughing hard and had tears from that, but I don't recall one cough...sweet girl! She and the Palmers had a very special relationship and I think she's missed it more than any of us. We also miss the yummy left over treats they always had....bummer. I am very grateful for Facebook so I can keep up those friends because otherwise who knows? I am so bad at keeping in touch with people. Should be something I work on. 

So the goings on of the season are so much the same, but so different at the same time. I am excited to have new adventures, meet new people and who knows where life will take us from here? I never was one to be super happy with sitting in one place too long. I love to keep going forward, going on and experiencing new places, people and things. But, such a huge part that I take with me is all the people we left behind and the place they have left in my heart. Palmers treats on a Sunday afternoon. Michelle McRae sitting with me during Skyler's surgery. Crying my heart out with Tanya Brimhall in church over our lost babies. The many tears Julie Green and I shed together. The late night Facebook messages with Angie Derieg. Watching with smiles as Mary Lindsay would chase her dogs down the street. My best friend living right around the corner. I am loving the change in our lives right now, but know that each and every one of you goes with us on our journey, in our hearts and our minds. Forever.