family pic

family pic

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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

MOM tattoo

So i guess its stocks turn ... {though i am tempted to post a you tube clip about elves instead ... maybe later}

stocks first day of school pics. He just like miss storie chose is own outfit. I dont even buy the kid clothes anymore because this is pretty much all he will wear. wrestling/football/baseball shirts (most of which seem to be signed by some pro athlete) and sport shorts. He is changing and growing older, as kids do. For probably only the 2nd time in his life he is by choice growing is hair out. It may also be only the 2nd time i really have allowed him to. Its mostly because haircuts make him enraged and long hair requires haircuts rather then a buzz. He is heading into the 4th grade and has a fantastic (almost toooo fantastic) teacher who i am sure will become smitten with him just as fast as the others have. I think from birth he has gradually become less mine and less of me and more of nate as well as just simply his. They are one in the same in far too many ways!

Then there is the tattoo. Dont worry disclaimer upfront, i am 100% aware of the situation i have created. That this tradition could result in my children coming home with real tattoos at some point. and should they do that ... well just so long as its a heart with the word 'mom' written on the inside, i wont mind.

So first day of school i draw a heart on the inside of the kids hands with the word 'mom' in it, to remind them that i am always with them, thinking of them, love them. Its supposed to be a comforting thing, because the first day of school is often filled with nerves. but i got to be honest with you, not really for my kids. they seem far to adjusted for some reason. totally comfortable with few concerns in the world. stock would not let me put it on his hand. cause then what if his friends saw it? but then he just wouldnt stop giggling either so i know he loves that i do this! but i insisted and told him he better pick a place cause i was putting the heart mom somewhere.

stock had an extremely busy summer. and i fear that the fall will be even more busy! It started with baseball, this time around regular old city league. We wondered how this was gonna play out with intense curiosity. Stock really has NO baseball experience. Nate has always focused on wrestling and football type things with him. But it was apparent at tryout clinic that stock has the magic that nate always has when it comes to athletics. So in the end he was the star and the starting pitcher the entire season. Baseball is super fun to go watch, especially with little boys! His skills were pretty naturally good but they improved with each passing practice and game. At the end of his season his team did not make it to the playoffs but in this league teams that do can recruit other players to play for them. So just when i thought it was over ... it was extended. It was fun to see him get some more playing time.

Baseball led right into several wrestling and football camps all over the valley and pretty back to back. I am pretty confident at this point that there have been very few days in the last few years this kid didnt get a work out in. Camps went great and we were excited to even be "scholarship ed" to a few (what were you thinking i cant afford all this!) good thing the kids is well known and liked with skills or there is no way we could do all this. as nate would say (because larry miller would say) preparation mixed with opportunity = success.

AND he did swim team this year. I know your exhausted just reading this, cause i am typing it!

its clear this is a conditioning sport for him. which is good. his heart is not in it and he doesnt put that heart into that i see elsewhere but he does it and enjoys it and because he is strong he is pretty good at it. Just before county he injured his neck (which landed me in a trainers office having a conversation about my son and athletics i never thought i would, at least not this young.) so he swam but didnt do his best. i think he took 3rd in one race and DQ the others.

He also turned 9 this summer. He got BYU football camp and all sport related stuff. Nate took him and 5 friends to a movie then they came back for some football in the yard and cake. One friend gave him a cold stone gift card. One of my favorite summer days was taking him there for an ice cream date just me and him. I doubt that the friends mom has any idea that she gave him and me much more then some ice cream! I should tell her ...

In his spare time (which was next to nothing) he went to the cabin with nate to help with the hunting preparation and sharpen his own shooting skills. Both kids have become pretty accurate with the BB guns. Sometimes i wonder what world i stepped into, seems so foreign.

Then football started ... Stock really wanted to play tackle this year and nate of course was 100% behind this. I had my reservations, as any mom would. He is only 9. But you might also be surprised to hear (ok so maybe some of you wont be) that some kids start tackle in 1st grade. Ok peeps so worried my kid is gonna get hurt and then any chance of all these athletic careers will be over! anyhow its no joking kind of team. practice every single day for 2-2.5 hours the month prior to games. where after words practice continues 3 days a week for that long and games every saturday. At the first game a kid on the other team got hurt bad enough the paramedics came. I am sure you can imagine how comforting this was to me. He does look so darling in his little pads and pants, like the man i adore so i cant help but just adore him too. He is doing pretty well and as good of shape as he was in before his body has changed a lot in the last few weeks. i didnt even realize it until we went on one last swim pool trip before summer ended. and i was like hmmm. not what i last remembered. He loves football from what i can tell, and i think his dad loves it too! He is playing on both offensive and defensive lines so he plays most of the game. Though is not really playing the position he would prefer at the moment.

this isnt the best pic, i am so bad i dont take enough sport pics. but i just get all anxious when i am there and can barely force myself to be calm.

so with football comes more football. in the form of BYU games. Stock has been spoiled with team attention! our home teacher plays on the team and he has gotten some special opps (thanks to saylor more on that later.)

so with the changing of leaves arrives the boys favorite season.

soon wrestling will start .... when will i ever catch my breath!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

storie update

this is gonna be a regular part of our life all year long and nearly everyday! STORIE MADE THE TEAM! I was so nervous, i think i was more nervous and then also more excited then her! especially when i realized how their numbers of kids trying out were far more then the team even anticipated! but she made it ... she made it .. she made it!!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the bullet

I am just gonna have to skip me. The thought of writing about myself and catching you on the months of chaos that is just simply my world is far to overwhelming. so next ...

Miss storie kate i am gonna work a little backwards

The first day of skool has already come and gone. I cant believe how old my kids are getting and especially my storie kate. She is so gorgeous in who she is physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Lately i have really just felt immensely blessed by her presence. She picked out her own first day of skool out fit ... of course. she is that age now a days. 5th grade. great teacher this year, what a relief!

She has spent a great deal of the summer swimming the provo pikes swim team. This was her first year on a swim team and she proved to be as genetically predisposition-ed as stock, if not more! {insert bragging} stock can swim, he is a good swimmer, really is. super duper strong, but its more a conditioning thing for him and not a real passion like wrestling or football. that being said his best backstroke time is in the 45-48 second range on a 25. Storie .... 17! need is say more? super smooth swimmer. not far into the season her coaches started calling her the bullet. She swims strong and smooth and FAST! at county she took first in not one but TWO strokes. there had to have been at least 5 heats in her age bracket for each stroke! i was so dang proud of her.

We decided it might be a good idea to move her over to a long term year round club team. yesterday was try outs, and though initially i thought it likely was a shoe in, now i wonder. there were far more kids trying out then even the club anticipated for this year. so .... time will tell. we should know early next week. i think she made it, she did great at tryouts. strong girl. oh and did i mention county took place after only 4 days of antibiotics coming off walking pneumonia? hmmm. makes you wonder what the potential is with full health capacity.

we have spent a lot of time at the cabin (see previous post for various reasons) this year. And one of storie's fav trips (this really was a fav for all of us) was when we went up the mirror lake. we stopped at this provo river park area that was incredible. i dont really perceive the provo river as particularly gorgeous. but this area sure is! i have never seen so many falls of such glorious artistic nature. almost landscape like but natural. the rock and its natural erosion was incredible!

another highlight of her summer was acting camp with her BFF mattea. They have a strong connection! it was just destined to be that way. they did a little community acting camp series for a few weeks and then spent the weekend together via sleepover at our house. we had a fun dinner and went to the movie despicable me. it was by far one of the most entertaining evenings i have had as a mother. mattea is hilarious!

oh the moments, they are fleeting. she soon will not want me to hang with her and her friends. i am trying to capture it all while i still can.