family pic

family pic

Friday, December 24, 2010

the aesthetic of christmas 2010

This year the aesthetic of Christmas is quiet the picture. I have really grown to love this vintage home, and the designs i have chosen for it. Of course there is loads more that i would like to do to it, but i really am adoring its darlingness, {hope that doesnt sound full of arrogance} so our cozy home Christmas is aesthetically desirable for those of us living in it. two of my fav spots...

the piano area next to the tree, and of course the 2010 Christmas card collection. Love getting these!

it also includes a little magic as always ...

here you will find "buddy" our elf on the shelf, who actually looks oddly more like a girl then a boy, but who flies away each night to who knows where because here there is major confusion with just only one of us in regards to "santa" and things of this nature. But finding him each morning brings a smile to her face and joy to her heart so it works ...

the other magic just arrived last night. its my new home gnome ... i couldnt be more thrilled! thanks amy!

As many of you know i am a cautious santa supporter, but if i am gonna have him inside my home, i like him this way! and our tree for the year. Much like last year i wanted to pair the orange up against our blue walls. We added a few things including some zebra striped turkey feathers, and really they made all the difference. and yes i know i know that there is loads of gifts down there ... but keep in mind my perspective on santa. i really want this holiday to be about Christ, its true intention & recipient, so its ok that all those gifts from loving parents and friends are already under there.

the internal aesthetic of the season has been a little less refined and a little more chaotic! We are busy as usual as stock continues to pave his own wrestling career, storie swims her little heart out and performs violin and saylor happily throws at us a challenge here and there and begging to ski. Nate is busy at work and i am busy with work and all the new changes at UBB, new puclication's and recent accomplishments. But the season is about family, and this year its about extended family, our love for them and their need for us at this time. The last few weeks have brought hair pulling frustration, sobbing sorrows, and much joy and gratitude. But for front in my personal emotion is my brother joey ...

A few weeks back after months of struggling with pain and misdiagnosis we found out that Joey has cancer. I have been able to do little but stand idly by, and bend my knees in prayer. But its been a roller coaster, i am dizzy and at times nauseous and i am just watching. He had surgery only a few days ago to place protective rods in his hips and femur bone as they are quickly being affected by the cancer. Chemo will start soon and the ride will continue to move at fast pace, of this i am sure. So he has brought to me a renewed sense of perspective that i hope will also teach me a little more of the lessons i need to learn.

and for now its time to go spend some time with my not so little anymore ones and the hub who is home for one rare occasion ... Merry Christmas to all! and to all a good night ...

Friday, December 17, 2010

This brought a smile & i needed a few more this week .....

Friday, December 10, 2010

tuesdays w/morrie . pot pie . hips . uglies. wrestling . and santa

This is gonna be a multi-faceted, multi-topic, multi-visual kind of long but hopefully fun to read post. I have several things to update the blog with and it seems that i rarely can get to posting so ill just throw it all at ya now since i have some time and energy ...

first last tuesday, a tuesday with morrie.

A respected friend used to always tell me "be where your supposed to be when your supposed to be there" and that has really stuck with me. I think about it often when i am doing something i shouldnt, or am somewhere i shouldnt be. Even when i have two good choices of things to do, but i know which needs me more. I really think adding to that "doing what your supposed to be doing" is suiting to how this simple concept helps me along my way.

{disclaimer .. this story is sweet, but kind of dumb ... relevant though. I frequent the DI. I know many of my friends & readers know this, and i know this place kind of creeps some of you out, in fact i really want to a do a DI post so you no longer will be creeped out, but then that would let you all in on my secrets, so rather i think ill leave things as they are.}

So i was at DI last tuesday looking through the book section {one of my fav spots}, as if shopping is really "being where your supposed to be, or doing what your supposed to be doing" but actually it sometimes is that simple, it is what your supposed to be doing. This elderly woman began talking with me about how she came to find a specific book and was having such a hard time finding it, that she was doubtful it would be there but really wanted it. Of course what followed for me was what book she was looking for. A worthy read ... Tuesdays w/Morrie. I told her i would keep my eyes out for it as i scanned the shelves. She was scanning the same shelves i was, just a step ahead of me. But as i came to the shelf she had just passed as we concluded our conversation i found the book she so earnestly was seeking. I was so excited, i popped up to find her and shouted i found your book. Notice that i instinctively said, i found YOUR book. It was her book, all along, BUT I was meant to find it. I had such a strong feeling that i was where i was supposed to be. it felt so confirming and peaceful that i was doing at least something right. A simple thing, heartwarming non the less. I was a tool that day in the Lord's hand to fulfill something for another daughter of God. I really like being a tool!

The very next day I was the recipient of an act of service. Wednesday was super emotional for me. I just couldnt seem to hold myself together. There were some major concerns about my siblings for front in my mind, and just sadness about the hardships they were facing. A little drama accompanied some problems and it was just more then i could take and so i melted apart, letting all the emotion of saylors recent leg length discrepancy and what that would entail, going to clinic, the anticipation and some self motherly loathing all just take me over. Just as i crashed emotionally everyone was wanting dinner and congregating in the kitchen. {another disclaimer, i dont like to cook, i am not bad at it per say, i just dont like it. so having dinner planned and prepared is a HUGE deal for me and i had been doing really well at staying on top of this as of late.} and i had nothing planned or prepared for them. Just as my mind started to go into survival mode "what am i gonna feed the rats?" the door bell rang. and on my porch was a freshly home made pot pie. with this note ...

" dear o'briens, I realize that we may have not gotten this to you in time for dinner tonight, (laughing while crying insert here) but we hope that this chicken pot pie might help your week be a little bit easier. You can refigerate it for a couple of days but it is best fresh. Bake at 425 for 35 min."

I slowly while sobbing walked straight from the door to the oven and preheated. I really had only talked to one friend about the going ons of the day and my emotional catastrophe, and a few family members, all of which i could account for at that exact moment. I had this distinct whispering that it was someone closer to me, like in my neighborhood. Which brought more tears, because you see i dont feel so fit in here. After i preheated the oven i promptly walked down the hall to kneel in prayer. I learned in mere seconds, or re-learned a several lessons that are even more priceless then dinner. A reminder of so many things, including how aware my Heavenly Father is of MY needs. This tool had brought more then dinner to me!

The pot pie was incredible, beyond anything i could muster together on my best cooking day! but beyond that i hope that someday somehow this kind inspired person will embrace the huge blessing of service they provided to me and my family by this simple act. that it meant far more then they likely intended and blessed me personally immensely, that they will have that feeling that they are indeed doing what they are supposed to be, when and where they are supposed to be!

This is not saylors hip. but i had to provide some sort of visual effect, and this will do, even though its likely an old ladies with arthritis. So saylors hips have both been dislocated since birth. or even prior to that actually, since her creation. We consulted several docs back in the day about this issue, all felt that in her particular circumstances and additional challenges that really if they were both bilateral this wasnt a bad thing at all. to leave them both out. so we went with it. least of our worries in regards to her.

A few weeks ago i noticed that her left leg was a tad longer then her right. After consulting SB clinic coordinator about this i realized this could be a bigger issue then i had first thought. and the panic mounted each and every day before we finally got answers. We have always been told that there is a possibility we could have growth problems, with so many significant orthopedic surgeries behind her. So i am thinking logically for some reason one leg has been affected and the other has not. and she is gonna have major problems because one leg is gonna be longer then the other for the rest of her life, as one grows and the other doesnt. Of course i am thinking the worst right, i am her mom, its what i do, brace for the possibilities. Its usually primarily internal thought. I try to exhibit a positive attitude. I watch her ski, or walk last week in almost devastation that we may be taking a step back. anxious and nervous. It did occur to me in the middle of the week it could be a hip problem, and that would make sense as well. So i hoped for the best knowing it could be any range of things. Clinic brought that confirmation that it is indeed her hip.

See how this hip is in its socket? well saylor doesnt have hips in socket they wander elsewhere. I thought maybe one had relocated and found its place but nope they are still both out, but for some reason one has found a new home a little higher then it once used to be. Its anyone's guess how this occurred. She doesn't seem to be in pain or have sustained an injury. so for now if she is not in any pain and is minimally affected we wait and go on with our seemingly fairly normal lives, at least for the time being.

Non the less she continues to teach me through these experiences valuable life lessons as we go on this journey together. and as nate would say ... her hips dont lie!

Back to tuesday at DI. I too picked up a piece of literature i had long been desiring that day. I have been on hold for this first book in a trilogy for a several weeks and dont seem to be moving up the list fast enough. I came across this for 50 cents and was ecstatic! I love to read and i was craving a good new escape. I had it finished promptly as you could have guessed. It was a good easy read, captivating and fun. I am not a big fan of science fiction but i can do it in this type of format. The deeper idea behind the uglies is really what intrigues me. Why are they ugly? what is ugly? and the human race. One of my thoughts though was about saylors imperfect and deformed body. How when it came time to "fix" her feet i was a total mess, because her feet were beautiful to me! i didnt want to fix them anymore. I could really relate on a deeper level with the words between the lines on this one. Its a recommended read and those of you that have read it likely get what i am saying. Good escape ... cant wait to read pretties, and specials. Found specials for 50 cents too ... see without even doing a DI post i am convincing you! dont go there ... dont go there .. dont go there ... subliminal!

A little wrestling recap on how the season has been going. We have had some ups and downs. Stock had been fighting the brutal cold we all have at some point. In washington he took 5th. then the next week he took 1st at one tournament and the next day took 2nd. then last weekend he wrested again in two divisions, his own age and jr high. in his own age he took 1st and in jr high bracket he took 2nd. just in case you dont recall he is 9!

and a little holiday-ness ... lets have a santa chat. then ill wrap things up cause your about sick of me if your still reading ... which i doubt you are.

last sat the girls and i went to Hollywood connections. Somewhere we had never been before. Still nauseous thinking about watching the girls on the rides. Anyhow it was for an Angels Hands xmas party. the boys were away at wrestling as usual. This is the girls on a ride that i actually went on with them, seriously i did really think i was gonna vomit. they had a blast it was a great day. We also saw megamind that day {not recommended unless its $1:}

The previous night we were at a ward party that included santa. A weighty topic in our house as of late actually. Tuesday saylor had asked a lot of santa/Jesus questions and had long talks with both nate and I. and in fact as a family sort of the theme of our year has been making that final transition with her about believing. {disclaimer .. yes another one, this is just what we have decided we want for our family, i know this is such an opinionated subject and trust me i respect what other options there are in way of this controversy.} She is the last of our kids to realize that santa is just a symbol, that the spirit is magical but that santa is not indeed real. Storie and stock have known this for some time now, they knew even younger then her, but i suppose we have hung onto the magic a little longer with her for obvious reasons. The time has come though ... and frankly i think this clears up all the confusion about seeing one santa one min and another another min. like this weekend for example, santa at the ward party, santa at the angel hands party, and yet another santa at hollywood connections. hmmmmm 24 hours and 3 very different santa's??? I love that she knows, i love how she is now wondering who that particular santa really is? But more then that i love that we can focus on what is real to us and what we believe as a family and what xmas is really about, CHRIST.

its still fun though right? so all our presents are under the tree, they know who they come from and why they come. and thats all she wrote for today ... and probably weeks to come so enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

we have been busy this year!

Image courtesy of the fantastic mrs. darla roze!

Many of our xmas cards have gone out, one of my favorite things to send and even better to get this time of year! {Dont stress if you still havent gotten yours, i am still working on getting a few more out! and if you think you might not be on my list but want to be, well then send me a quick message!} So i thought this would be a good time to share a little bit about whats behind this years picture.

Nate & I have gotten older, and less photogenic so we were very reluctant to participate in any image that would be shared with 150 of our closest friends and family. But we are more then happy to share our gorgeous kids! But we wanted to do something a little different. Something that really showed without words what we are about these days ... and so we came up with this. Each kid is pretty decked out in just about everything that keeps us all busy!

I called up a great friend of mine and we ventured out to her studio for a quick shoot. Love what she captured! thanks darla!

And for those that read our blog, a written update on exactly what it is that they have been up to!

Miss Storie Kate ..Busy Busy and ever so talented. She is proving to have that natural Nate athletic ability in her. She is swimming on the UVrays swim team, which requires a workout in the pool every single day! She entered the swim team on team A and quickly progressed and advanced to team B where she is now. Its only been a few short months but she continues to enjoy it and is doing really well, we expecially love to go to the meets and watch her compete, it's comfortable for us, not that much different then a wrestling tournament, individual sports both structured similarly! We switched violin teachers this year and that has resulted in drastic improvements! We are really enjoying the new way to progress in this talent & its been fun to have her play xmas music these last few weeks. And then what she is most excited about and anticipating with a bit of bait in her breath .. snowboarding, which means she has a little bit of me in her too! She cant wait to hit the slopes, and I cant wait to hit them with her. She will be doing the school boarding program at sundance on fridays again this year where someone other then me can teach her new skills! And she is a 5th grader, so this means ski utah pass! cant wait to hit several resorts with her for some fun in the snow!

Stock ..... This kid keeps us running and his dad busy nearly full time. With everyone so busy I usually handle the girls, Nate usually deals with all of stocks needs along with his coaching commitments. We are in the thick of wrestling season right now! He is doing really well and we have been really blessed with some great new training opportunities. He just returned home from a tournament in washington. He hits wrestling practice every day for usually 2-3 hours and tournaents pretty much every weekend. He is thriving though and loves it, he is really self motivated and committed. several jr highs have asked to have him at practice and duals and i think nate has settled on mt view for the time being, just part time outside of already private club team training. I know your asking are we pushing? in reality the kid is pushing us! He finished up football a few weeks back but thats the other true sport love of his life! and when he is not wrestling he likely still continues to have a football in his hands. Baseball was a big part of our spring summer life, it was his first year but like his dad he soon was one of the top athletes in the league for his age, so when the snow melts he & nate will return back to the batting cages and baseball will begin. Stock did swim over the summer on the provo pikes team but its not his love, its a matter of conditioning only!

Little Saylor Jae ... she is a pretty busy cat too! This summer she played wheelchair tennis, and the fall brought a little season of wheelchair basketball. Both of which i can hardly fathom. Just think about how hard it would be to manuever a racket, chair, ball, and body? seriously, but she seems like a natural at it all and took to it well. OF course her coach quickly became smitten with her attention and dedication for her age and natural obrien athletic ability. She is very sad that they are both over! Ski season has begun and saylor couldnt be more thrilled! she is so extatic to be back on the slopes! We had our first of the season lesson yesterday and she did so well! had such a good non surgery year, got so strong that she improved drastically over the summer! She is now skiing with outriggers and is becoming more and more independent. Its so emotional, and yet lovely to watch my dreams and her own dreams come true and work towards something so amazing like skiing. I am so grateful for wasatch adaptive sports and how they have changed our lives!

On a stressful note ... saylor actually physically is experiencing some new challenges. for a good amount of time she has been stable and nearly problem free. only a few hiccups here and there that actually resulted in not much of a problem afterall. I am hoping that this too might be that same way but am also bracing myself for something more. We have recently noticed that one of her legs is longer then the other. It could be as simple as a hip reloccation on one side or as difficult as one leg not growing as a result of so much early on orthopedic surgery, which would in turn present some major physical problems. We will know a lot more at the end of next week.That ever so familiar {yet havent felt in a while} feeling is back in my heart, stomach, and head. Its a bit daunting, being out of practice. But i am sure we will find our way across this bridge too!

as nate and i were settling into bed last night we were watching the news and a story came on about a family that was really really busy with "extra" activities in their kids life. The question behind he story was how busy is too busy and what are the adverse affects? i just laughed because i understood! But our perspective has always been lead by the kids themselves rather then us, with our motivation, and encouragement behind anything that was in fact good for them. A busy kid, is usually a good kid, who is learning a lot about life's lessons early. So as busy as it is, this is beautiful to me! Its so much fun to watch this all unfold and to watch them succeed ... i couldnt be happier then i am right now, life seems as it should be and this is what i imagined parenting at its best to feel like. it feels so good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

O'Briens win at ALL costs!

This past weekend I attended Time Out for Women in slc w/my mom. I could blog & blog about my renewed thoughts, perspectives, and things attained. I cant say enough good things about this program. But today I thought I would blog about just one concept that was renewed for me.

One of the presenters reminded me of our family motto, by suggesting each family should have a mission statement. We sort of do, though it really has never been formalized. It has come to mean different things to us {especially nate & I} over the years, but we havent really talked about what it means with each other or our kids. I was really inspired to formalize this family motto and discuss it with my family, capture it in our home to remind us more frequently of what our goal is.

So on first impression {especially if you know us, and even more so if you know NATE!} it seems arrogant & competitive, and hardly at all spiritual. We have said this on a regular basis since early marriage, well actually i shouldnt take credit, nate has said it to himself for far longer then even that, its his mission statement and it has become our family motto.

"O'Briens win at all costs!"

I realize that years of saying this to our kids on occasion, could have eluded to extreme expectations on our parts, but .... when we sat down to establish exactly what this means they pleasantly surprised me with at least a little understanding.

What does our family motto mean to you ...

Storie " Doing better then before and working hard"

Stockton "taking first"

Saylor "Be the best player, and you have to pay for it"

Nate "you must be willing to sacrifice everything you can to be the best you can to actually win"

Audrey "you get what you pay for! ... pay the cost to win!"

There are so many things to win, from a spelling test to eternal life, and all the in between. I am looking forward to this christmas putting up our family motto in our house as a reminder of our goal as a family. and what our goal means, i look forward even more the the future family discussions that will surround measuring our success!

So a little call out to my peeps ... first whats your family motto/mission statement? what does it mean to you? And anyone have a great wall art company? Got to design this thing up!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i hate the mall! is that sad?

So i cant help myself but blog about this. I guess because its a good lesson even for me, i seem to have the privileged of learning it over and over again, experiencing it from a unique perspective.

A few days ago i ran into the mall to rent storie her seasonal board and drop off ink for a refill. I very rarely go to the mall. I hate the mall, for a number of reasons but we wont go there today. I forgot to go back and get the ink when we were done. So i bet you can imagine how mad i was when i realized this, nothing worse then going BACK to the mall!

Last night after storie's meet we were all starving, and the boys were at wrestling. so i just decided we would hit the food court since it was so close to the ink shop and pick up the ink and get dinner.

Again ... I hate the mall.

When we go in public, saylor is starred at by nearly everyone. Some people are discreet. others are not. The mall is somewhere i avoid for this very reason. Disney land is super hard! But even wrestling tournaments, swim meets, trafalga, what have you, pretty much anywhere that contains a lot of public. Over the years we have been the recipients of many comments, almost all of which in my opinion have a negative connotation, but many people dont realize they do. I hate the mall for this reason.

Saylor has only just begun to become aware. She is going through an interesting time as she becomes aware of her disability and her differences. She now can understand when someone says something what they mean, we no longer can shelter her, this makes it all the more hard. That being said, it has never been my intention to shelter her and to avoid public, i want her to be a participating part of the community and society. and a positive one at that!

Last night these two, i would say mid twenties, ladies were really staring at us. Like head following us kind of watching. Then one of them said very loudly "that is so sad!"

Now before i tell you how i couldnt restrain myself, here is the lesson .... I say things dumb all the time. We all do. I could use a little more discipline in thinking before i talk! When things like this happen it really reminds me that i need to think before i talk, but that i am human and so are they. I need to be more understanding and forgiving. I do as her parent understand how things look. That she is this gorgeous little tiny girl who seems incredible and her situation does seem sad, and i suppose sometimes it is. But thats not how we see it at all. Its hard but not sad! My perspective of the blessing of saylor is so positive not negative.

I usually have the restraint to not say anything, its kind of not my personality either. But emotionally i just couldnt help myself last night. Here is my question i pose to this statement that we often hear! People say this as they pass her by on a regular basis! I hear "that is so sad" or "how sad" or things of this nature often.

Is that how you want this child to perceive herself? Would that be positive and beneficial to her in her life and self esteem, self perspective? I dare say i hope that most of us would say NO! thus why this comment is so ridiculous.

So i turned around and loudly said to her, "its actually not sad at all" she was stunned! Eyes wide! She said then "its not?" i believe for lack of anything better to say! And i said "its really not!"

I dont know if she gets it ... But i hope my inability to restrain myself last night taught her a life lesson too! it did for me! once again, for the billionth time! I know it wont be the last.

next time think about the words you utter i challenge you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

halloween 2010

Halloween has come and gone. And i am kind of sad. Just realizing the kiddos are growing up fast and only so many halloweens where i dress them up and get to take them trick or treating remain. Plus it down poured {for those of you who didnt notice or dont live in utah!} so it ruined a lot of the fun. Stock was a party pooper and really wouldnt dress up, i had all sorts of great easy ideas for him, non of which he would concur. so i let him be. He put on his football pads and game day duds, not really dressing up for the little lad. and he didnt want to be in a single pick, and he wanted to trick or treat with his friends and hang with them not us ... and so you see in some cases the time has in deed fleeted me by.

The girls on the other hand, let me have some fun! storie came up with the idea of being "a storie book" on her own. I just used some crafty imagination and skills to create an easy simple costume for her. and saylor, we fought back and forth about many ideas, she finally settled on "tickled pink" and i let her, cause it was exhausting. and in the end ... she was a doll as usual!

I had to help with a YW activity so sweet neen's actually got saylor started while the two older's were out with friends! thanks neena, your a gem!

Friday, October 29, 2010

this is halloween

Halloween really speaks to me, i love the decor, the time of year, the smell in the air, the costuming, i heart it all. many of you know that my obscure mind finds tarantulas and skulls fascinating and appealing, all year round so this time of year is so fantastic with the celebration of fascinating items! In years past i have done fun crafty projects with the girls and really decor-ed up the house. this year has been a simplier turn of the leaf but my heart still gets a little twitter for it all! {that is when i can i even have time to think about something other then team.wheelchair basketball. croup. company. hunting ... and the list goes on and on}

cedit: womans day

Just a few pieces of decor inspiration that inspire and ignite me, things i would do if i had the time of course .. the money ... oh and a larger less cracker box like house to display them all in.

credit: once wed

A little kelly Edwards/Martha touch

and last but not least a majestic, yet almost eerie blue hued table ensemble. Trendy 2010 heart color.

kids in their clever & witty costumes coming soon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

in love with a man

I am in love with this man. He has ripened to the age of 34 and its true, he does get better with age! I have been thinking a great deal these last few days about marriage, and about my feelings for nate. words hardly express these things, and even in that case there are some things just to sacred to express. There have been ups and downs, and yes days that i wondered how we would make it, days i thought i loved him less but in the end made me love him more! and love him more for loving me enough to do this with me, when i am ugly, when i am mean, when i am less then my best. for loving me enough to make this journey through the good and bad days, its a mess on occasion, but its a work of art! and i am so in love with a man!

I updated and changed my blog music playlist, and i did it with nate in mind. The song just breathe by Pearl Jam just says so eloquently from my perception how i feel sometimes! marry me by train is another i just cant get enough of. Music is so powerful in its ability to increase the depth of emotion. that being said, there is just some great music on their this time around {or always ha ha i know i am biased} some have not a thing to do with my personal relationships, just great music!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I frequent DI. many of you probably didnt know that. Its an obsession of mine. I am gonna start taking pics more often of my "finds" some that i buy and some that i dont. Regardless going to DI requires time. So i thought this clock purse appropriate.

another great find, this jacket, neens actually did buy this gem.

and thats all i have to say or post about that.

Friday, October 1, 2010

well spoken

I found this video on facebook. Just when i think FB is such a waist, it allows me to be exposed to things i dont have the time or other way to fall into. this video is long. but if you read my recent post on the sacred power of procreation then you will understand and know why i feel so passionate about this video, you must take the time to watch it! its astounding. its powerful and amazing. and more then that gianna is an amazing speaker! So though she doesnt know me, though she likely will never read this blog i just want to say thank you, thank you for fighting for life! for making people uncomfortable!

Friday, September 24, 2010


So i guess its my turn right? what have i been doing you ask? Well i have been doing all that you have already ready. I am the mom right? so all those lives are also my life! And somewhere in between all that, this is a little of what is me at the moment.

i am rocking the mini van these days! yep ... i have joined the ranks.

it was a hard thing to do ... but a necessary one. And you all can be the first, second, third and through to many hundreds who can say i told you so! I do love it!

My summer was super busy with all the kids stuff and somewhere in between i did oodles of weddings ...

just a sampling ....

I went to Santa Fe new mexico to teach a real wedding one on one workshop with tansy floral design. It was such a beautiful experience full of many blessings of revelation and spirit. Sunni has become more then a floral peer, such a dear friend. Her kids were just about as hilarious as it gets, mostly because i think both sunni & josh could be the most fun people i know {since funnest is not a word} the kids left me this note when the job was all said and done ...

soon thereafter i went on a road trip to cali. I took neens with me. We were on a mission to do Jules wedding flowers on yacht in new port. along the way we stopped at a monster gas station. no i really do mean monster gas station ...

extreme sport crazy inside!

We drove it straight and went right into LA to head to the french quarter to surprise my dad at work! it was fun, i have to admit. Its always nice to surprise someone. He knew we were coming but had planned on seeing us at his house later in the evening. After our little work visit neens and i headed over to melrose. The first thing we saw after we parked ...

from the moment we stepped onto melrose until we left neens was pure entertainment. Really anyone who visits melrose for the first time is. One of my fav places to people watch. We visited several trendy second hand stores and saw things likely never to be seen again. We also scored some cute on sale stuff here and there.

We had a long few days of production in a local elementary school lunch room! sweeet!

the best part ... my dad worked for studio stems all day! priceless experience.

Julia's wedding was soooo gorgeous and we had a delightful time. Of course there was the usual husstle and bustle of working and attending a wedding that usually results in a little bit ... or a lot of chaos! and lets not forget a bucket of water spilling all over my skirt and then neena holding it out the window down the freeway in LA to dry it off! But in the end it was an amazing day. I think the Newport T might be my new favorite. Small and quaint and the simpleness i want my celestial to be.

the way home was the best reality TV show that could have ever once aired! Just out of the city and near victorville we saw two highway patrol officers on either side of a pulled over homeless man nearly naked pushing a shopping cart. We passed it far to quickly to take a pic but it was a hard one to get over i tell ya. Then just outside of barstow we hit mounds of traffic. That ultimately cost us 6 hours of traveling time. Early that day a CHP officer was hit by a car while he was issueing a sitation and killed. so the investigation shut down all of I15 for 9 hours. We sat in traffic to get out of the mess for about 3 hours then finally made our way to our own genius detour out through the desert. This meant we came home through joshua tree. Onbe of my fav drives anyhow. But our stop at the shoe tree brought about yet another death ..

i for one was devastated!

My dad returned on the drive with us ... pretty sure he will always fly no matter what at this point. It was nice to have him with us at home for a bit.

Then i soon took off to girls camp. No pics here friends. i just aint that pretty on a good day so i wont be displaying pics on bad days! Camp was great and after years of wanting to go back i found myself immersed in some pretty serious trials that carried through the week and petitioned growth i hadnt expected. so in the end, camp was what it always has been, and what it should be. spiritual.

Sometime after that i found these ...

I am pretty much dying for a pair. Here is what i figure .. I cant walk in heels very good, and i really cant swim good either. so i think this might be the answer to the whole dilema. so now you know what to get me for xmas!

I have also read a told somewhere in the in between ...

I wont review the four of these here and now but if you want to have a book discussion with me let me know. If you cant stomach serious graphics dont read tattoo but if you can and you love a great mystery its a good read. there is also a bit of language here that i could have done without. Hunger games ... good read ... disturbing ending. is this really young adult literature? my young adults wont be reading it! but dont get me wrong, i enjoyed my reading time.

and then there is UBB. so busy there as well. We just released a new look for 2011 so we are busy with updates and changes! you can view a preview here!

ok and well though i have lots more in my full life to share i have run out of blogging time so it will have to wait a bit of time ... until then ...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

life & procreation {sacred}

I taught YW today. And in fact I spoke on the same topic just a few weeks ago in another ward. Both situations took me to very different places. A testimony that the spirit guides and directs. In my final preparations this morning, the thought came to me, or rather encouraged me to share some thoughts on the blog. This is my voice in many ways, its also a tool to be a missionary of sorts, amongst other things. So I figured ... why not??? The topic & issue is weighty but is of importance to me, my opinion is passionate, there is not doubt. Its hard to not recognize that its also very spiritually connected to my own beliefs and testimony.

I was combining two lessons on "the importance of life" & "the sacred power of procreation". Of course I considered what the girls in this ward specifically needed to hear. But i had many other thoughts as well. One of the lessons touched on abortion, and also talked of a disabled individual. How much more to the heart of my home can you get?

I turned to Nate, as I often do, to contribute to my messy pile of thoughts, help me organize & construct. As it usually turns out his knowledge and perceptions were of great value. When I brought up that ugly word {abortion} he turned to his scriptures and said that abortion reminded him of this scripture.

2NE15:20 "wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

and yes there is actually an exclamation point in the actual scripture.

We talked about how far medical technology has come since the beginning of man. How its been a blessing in our lives, but is a curse to many others. Its true that these days abnormalities of all kinds can be detected in pregnancy. And in the case of spina bifida this usually results in termination. And when i say usually i am talking high stats that are documented, its kind of scattered in research but between 70-90%.

so what is it that i believe? abortion occurs {in this circumstance} out of the perceived notion or encouraged notion, that a life like saylors is cruel. That it would be evil to allow and good to spare this fetus of such a tortured life. {calling evil good, and good evil}.

But the missing element is that its not our life to take away. It wasnt ours to give either. We are just participating in the blessed gift of procreation. But we arent participating alone, nate and I. There is another element. God. This was his plan and his will for her and for us. To betray that would be to betray all that i believe. Not that i ever considered that. I didnt, though i was offered the option on a few occasions.

JOHN 9:1-3

"and as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

She was sent here for a purpose, for which i have no right to rob those who are meant to be touched by her. How many lives would not have been changed or touched? Why do so many see this outcome as a sum of sin? Even now in modern times? knowledge? understanding? religion?

Her life is sacred, all our lives are sacred! and the right to participate in giving life is sacred! is there anything else so sacred as this?

To finish up my prep for the lesson i turned to another emotional viewing of saylors baby video to figure out a good spot to share with my girls. I intended on turning down the music to read scripture while the pictures displayed, which i indeed did end up doing. But i couldnt help reflect on how the song that was playing at the spot i selected was so intertwined with the lesson, my discussion with nate, and my own thoughts.

I picked this song out years ago ... clearly this is her baby dvd right ... it was so special and pertinent to me then. Lyrically fit to perfection. I think i even shared it at some point on the blog years ago. But i cant help but want to cut and paste those lyrics in here with a few of my own thoughts and notes to suit.

Doctors have come from distant cities just to see me ok so we went to them either way not our city!
stand over my bed disbelieving what they're seeing how many times did we hear "i dont know, this may not be able to be fixed, we havent seen this before ..."
they say I must be one of the wonders
of god's own creation Doctors didnt really say this, but this is what she is. exactly what she is. she is HIS wonder to in turn provoke wonder that will hopefully be a seed.
and as far as they can see they can offer
no explanation science cant always explain.
newspapers ask intimate questions, want confessions this is society suggesting sin. suggesting something needs to be confessed, that we {man} caused this to occur.
reach into my head to steal the glory of my story fear overrides society's ability to believe that this is a wonder of God, the beauty of how he teaches us. Always trying to steal the glory that is His.
I believe fate smiled at destiny
laughed as she came to my cradle "know that this child will be able"
laughed as my body she lifted "know this child will be gifted
with love. with patience, and with faith she'll make her way" it is saylor's destiny to make her way, she has made her way. she has made it with faith, love, patience and many other Godly attributes. and so good prevails here. it shines through the theft of the story. because we used our free agency to give life.
people see me, I'm a challenge to your balance love this, balance is one of her main physical weaknesses, but spiritually it is her strength, her gift to us. how long as a society have we felt discomfort around these amazing spirits because they challenge our balance? our spiritual and intellectual balance? even i am guilty of this on some level. we all are. some more then others. but i see it, more then others. i see it in almost every strangers face that looks our way.
I'm over your heads, I confound you and astound you she is this way, but mostly to those who know her best, who know the miracles that she is constructed of. she is astounding, she has more to offer us here in this trial state then i ever will. {that the miracles of God may be manifest in her.
to know I must be one of the wonders
of god's own creation

Its is my testimony that the power of procreation is a divine and sacred gift that should not be misused or unrecognized. That the gospel sheds light on what truly is evil and what is good and that we are sent here to pass through this trial with purpose. I know that the Savior lives. I leave this with you in His name.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

saylor wants a pig {still}

Saylor .. where do I begin? As i have reflected on what to share about little miss and her summer adventures i am overwhelmed and cant help but think about how our lives revolve around her brightness in so many ways. There is so much to share when it comes to her, and truth be told i know thats what most of my readers want, they want a piece of her. Everyone does, she is so easy to be taken with. She consistently brings blessings that can not even be contained. inspiring in her very existence. So i am pushing myself to not feel guilty that the other kiddos posts were not as long as this one, and hoping you wont be too bored of it either!

I am gonna keep this post happy but insert here just a quick medical type update. She is doing well for the most part. She has struggled with back and head pain pretty consistently through the summer. This is indicative of several things, some of which we were anticipating. But for the time being she is stable and happy and for the most part pain free, at least for the last few weeks. There are no surgeries scheduled or planned for the immediate future. On a happy medical note we are super excited about a new wheelchair & crutches on the way! We went sporty for agility reasons and she can hardly wait!

As in previous posts, i am gonna work a little backwards. This is Saylor on her first day of 2ND grade! I feel like she is changing so rapidly, getting taller and bigger and just looks older through her face. That being said she really isnt big. Today while i was in her class volunteering i realized the gap has become wider. The kids her age are drastically taller then her, rather then just taller then her. Top of her head height is about their pits!

She got a hand tattoo also! but she was proud to wear it on her little hand!

School thus far has been good this year. Great teacher, good friends. She could be the most popular kid in the whole skool! The last few weeks every time i drop them off or pick them up or walk through the skool kids of all ages say Hi to her. it sounds like this ... hi saylor, hi saylor, hi saylor, hi saylor and her mom, hi saylor, hi saylor. pretty non stop. I am kind of interested in the idea behind how many older kids know and adore her.

During SEP with stocks new teacher i was explaining to her his involvement in her daily care at school and to please accommodate these needs. She asked me which class saylor was in, and i explained she is that little girl walking around with the blue crutches, and stocks teachers blurts out "are you talking about saylor?!!" i hadnt yet mentioned her name obviously, this is a 4th grade teacher mind you, that we have really have had no family interaction with. She then gushed about how much she adores her and how she brightens up the halls and her life. Even though they really have never talked. Ok then ... she is the most popular thing in the entire skool ... staff included! So skool is great. and i think this will be a welcome blessing in those hard moments when she realizes that she is indeed different.

Those moments are starting to grace our lives, like this one ....

We went bowling this summer with some friends. This is saylor bowling backwards. Pretty comical. This was a hard day for her, that turned into a hard week, hard month and more self awareness. Started a little tail spin i hadnt anticipated, but i do realize these moments, they are bound to happen. Its how we handle them that will make the difference. She was devastated that her body would not bowl like stories, that she couldnt skip to the lane and then gracefully throw the ball. and she knew inside that no matter what it would never be this way for her. Hard times .... Holy places too! (thanks Kris, for tagging these moments for me)

that being said there has been no shortage of adaptive sports in her life. In fact her life has suddenly been packed with opportunities! like ..

special needs rodeo!

my friend jamie saw this on the news and passed the info along, otherwise our lives wouldnt have been blessed with this summer highlight for the whole fam. so thanks jamie, we are glad your in our lives to bless us also! I really came to realize this summer, or rather i already knew but just had a moment of more intense reflection, that there are so many good people out there, doing good selfless things for other people! This rodeo was so well organized and soooo much fun! All the local law enforcement came and each participant got a little buddy! I felt so bad for saylors UHP officer, hobbling around on his fractured foot! But just like everyone he was smitten with her and insisted on being fully responsible for her throughout the day. She got to ride a mechanical bull, love this shot though its not too clear, i was a ways away, she is even putting up her arm! she got to ride horses, a familiar activity, pet all sorts of animals, learn to rope a steer, and many other things! we had a blast. That evening we also attended the real rodeo where saylor came in with the royalty in the back of a truck. It was a great time had by all and the best rodeo i have ever been too! We all were just giddy with happiness. Storie and stock participated in the calf chase and stock nearly scored himself a $50 butt tag.

and then there is tennis

through saylors PT at pcmc we recently became involved in a wheelchair tennis program at liberty park in slc. I was hesitant, worried that it would be too difficult. really think about it, much more complex then able bodied tennis. so such to move all at the same time! But in true O'Brien spirit she took to it! She was attentive and focused with far more endurance then the other kids her age. Full effort forward and she got better and better as the weeks went by. It didnt take long for her coach (ammmmmazing man!) to see the natural athletic fire burning from inside her genes!

so we then naturally started ...

wheelchair basketball. Same coach, different facility. More fun! Its a little brutal, even with these little kids. Lots of chair tipping, and crashing and ball smacking into faces. Several kids couldnt hack it. But not my saylor. She played for 2 hours! Storie, stock, & nate all got in a chair too. It was a hoot to watch and so much fun for the entire family. I think it was really moving to have us be like her for a change.

and YET ANOTHER SUMMER HIGHLIGHT! {bear with me here}

Thursday Hero reunion. Saylor Loves the cougs! She was beaming ear to ear! it was fun to be with and see the other hero's to and get to know there story a little. Food was great, company was great and saylor felt part of the team! Really emotional for me as a mother to see once again a couple hundred grown men dote on my baby. We spent a lot of time with coach weber, love that teddy bear. And our new home teacher who is also on the team, landon. Nate had a good long chat with Brian Logan. In fact i was kind of embarrassed, there were all these kids who wanted to get his autograph and talk to him but brian nate just ignored them and bantered on like they were bro's or something. they really connected and i must admit i was really impressed with the head this kid had on his shoulder. Which by the way is a tad shorter then nate .. here is the proof!

and then there were the PIGS!

She STILL has a pretty healthy obsession with pigs. While at a family reunion she fell in love with this cute little black baby pot belly pig. It belongs to the boyfriend of one of nate's second cousins. She didnt leave its presence much the entire evening. Good thing the boyfriend was as smitten with saylor as she was with the pig!

I thought it might be fun to take her to a friend of ours pig farm. These are BIG pigs though. But babies are born often. So she got to hold one ... they squeal really loud so this is her following suit and holding the pigs mouth shut. This one was so darling, it was a gorgeous tangerine color. and they were just so cute!

Unfortunately i just dont see how we could ever have a pig. unless of course they could function like a disability dog .... hmmmmm.

and as if this werent enough she also spent the day at snowbird with W.A.S.

It was kind of a last minute deal, but we were invited up for a day of fun in the summer sun at snowbird. We panned for gold, rode a disability trike, spent some time going up peruvian and through the tunnel and back. Went fishing in brighams pond and had lunch. Only one other WAS participant was up there and he was more or less training for a cycle race, rather then playing with us. This was a highly emotional day for me. I felt it in the morning. I felt it all day. And it made sense when one of the summers biggest blessings for me came to fruition. There was Brighams family. A little boy who used to participate with WAS, a little boy held hostage by his body, a little boy free now. His parents and siblings were up at snowbird, enjoying Brighams favorite place and his memory. I was so touched by this family, even their quiet being and spirit was humble yet powerful. I felt instantly connected with Julie, brighams mom. And yearned to know them better. the coming weeks blossomed a friendship i will always be so grateful for.

Without saylor these experiences just wouldnt be. I still dont always understand why i received these blessings, such a continuous flow. I feel so undeserving post of the time. But i am astounded by what it gives me. She is my reminder of who i am, who i want to be, and whats important in life. She is the light of our Savior shining brightly in my home, in my heart, in my life. Saylor is in us.