Saturday, November 4, 2023

Someone You Love

This morning was a tough one with Elli. She was in full angry screams mode. The other kids were wary to steer clear as I got Elli up and took her to the bathroom. Multiple times she aggressively grabbed my arms hard enough to hurt. She rarely bites anymore, but she will pull your hand to her mouth and smash it against her teeth. She is strong enough to inflict pain in a variety of ways. Externally I was extremely patient and caring. Internally it was a struggle. I asked her if she wanted to eat upstairs or in her room and she verbalized "room." Despite that decision it was a bit of a challenge to get her to her room, but I did. Her wet sheets were still on her bed, so I had to put her on her old, worn out mattress while I changed the sheets and sterilized the plastic mattress cover. She screamed for awhile and then went into an even higher gear of rage. She angrily got up and headed to the piano in her room and took out her anger on the keys for a minute or two before calming down. I left her there as I made fried eggs and brought them down. I helped her eat and also gave her a "rescue med," prescribed to help her calm down in her most agitated moments.

With a clean sheet on the mattress, I helped her lay down, got her pillow and beloved 'purple blanket' and tried to get her settled. "Daddy to sit by you," she said. I replied, "Do you want daddy to lay down by you on the mattress?"  "Yes." So I laid down and cuddled her. Soon she let out another agitated scream. I started to get up and said, "Elli, if you scream, I can't stay with you." Again she said, "Daddy to sit by you." I told her she couldn't scream any more and laid down by her. She was calm for a few minutes and then began to scream. Once again I started to get up but she quickly said, "Daddy to sit by you." I told her I would stay one more time, but if she screamed again I would leave. As I cuddled up to her she said, "Play Someone You Love." I didn't know that song by name, but figured she knew what she was asking for. I asked Alexa to play Someone You Love and sure enough, it is a popular Lewis Capaldi song. As the beautiful intro started playing and I immediately recognized it, I was suddenly struck by the thought that this was Elli's way of saying, "I love you, Dad." 

I am grateful to be "someone you love" to our sweet Elli. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Daddy Daughter Weekend

Years ago, Graci pointed out that I took the boys on father/son camping trips, but didn’t do daddy/daughter camping with the girls. So we started an annual daddy/daughter camping trip. Several of those have blog posts on this site. But after 5 years of camping trips, the girls decided they weren’t really tent campers. (Given wheelchairs, blindness, lack of appendages, etc., who can blame them???) So we changed our annual daddy daughter trip to renting an Airbnb for two nights. We go to a movie, go out to eat, play games and watch more movies at the Airbnb, and just have a generally fun and relaxing time. I’m so grateful to have these amazing daughters!
Braille Uno!

Thursday, September 30, 2021


From the first time I did Englestead in 2019, I have been excited to share it. Saturday I got the opportunity  to take Christi, Parker, Christi's brother Matthew and my old friend Mike Dorius. We started off with a 300 foot rappel, went through about 10 more rappels and then entered Orderville Canyon. As we went down Orderville we were able to play in the flowing waterpark areas. 12.5 hours. About 8.5 miles. We ended up hiking through the last section of the narrows in Zion National Park. Such a fantastic (and quite long!) day. Can't wait to do it again:) 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

They're Home!!!

Two years is too long! Saying goodbye to Taylor and Parker as they left on their missions in August of 2019 was the second hardest thing I've ever gone through. (The first was losing my sweet sister, Tiffany, in a car accident in 2004). As they walked away through security, Christi and I really couldn't fathom having these two amazing guys gone for so long. We literally cried for hours, curled up in our bed, racked with sobs. After we got out of bed, we sat out on the deck and...cried some more. It was tough. We were happy with the choice they made to go and so grateful that they would sacrifice so much of their time to share the message of Jesus Christ with others, but WOW! did it hurt. Over time the pain lessened and we were amazed at the growth they were both showing. We loved our weekly FaceTime conversations and looked forward to these opportunities to communicate. 

Then COVID hit and they both unexpectedly came home much earlier than planned. We made the most of the few months they had with lots of family time including puzzles, games, movies and shows, camping, canyoneering and just being grateful for this bonus time together. Then they left again last summer. Finally on August 3 (Parker) and August 5 (Taylor) they made it home for good! It is so wonderful to have them back with our family:). The kids are all so happy to have them with us. They both spoke in church on Sunday and shared such beautiful messages about the Savior's role in our lives and how much they love Him. I'm so grateful for these two missionaries, their love of the Lord, and the chance to have them back with us, even if it's only a few weeks before they leave for college. Love you boys!!!


Funny(ish) story: Greeting your missionary as they come off the airplane is something you look forward to the entire time they're gone. The missionary knows to expect his whole family waiting as soon as he gets past security. When we picked up Parker, all went well. When we went back to get Taylor two days later, we waited at the same spot. And waited. And waited. We finally realized that since Taylor's flight came directly from Mexico, he was arriving at the international terminal. Fortunately he took a long time to get through customs, so we ended up finding him about 3 minutes after he arrived where people were waiting. But he was pretty confused as he walked through and none of us were there. Poor guy!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Nick Vujicic

Yesterday Sophi and I had the great blessing of meeting Nick Vujicic. Nick is a motivational speaker. He is a husband and father. He was born without arms. He was also born without legs. His huge spirit is an inspiration to those he meets. He tells everyone that he loves them, and you can feel his sincerity. His topic today was turning obstacles into opportunities. Clearly he has faced almost unfathomable obstacles, and yet he continues to rise above his difficulties and see (and share!) the joy in life. My favorite line from his presentation was: If you don't get a miracle, you can still be one! 

Thank you Nick for your beautiful message and taking the time to meet with Sophi. We love you too!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Daddy Dates!

 Two weeks ago our town festival, Fort Herriman Days, was in town. There was a parade, a carnival, a big fireworks show, lots of fun. On Saturday morning I walked Elli down to the festivities. I wasn't sure how she would respond, but she used to really like rides, so I decided to try it with her. I asked "Elli, do you want to go on a ride?" In her unique way she replied, "Yes." "Do you want to go on a big ride or a little ride?" "Big ride." I figured I'd start out on a medium ride so we got on the Scrambler (sometimes called the Sizzler). She did pretty well on it and seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards I asked her if she wanted to go on another ride and she said yes. I asked, "A big ride or a little ride." "Little ride." So we rode the Ferris wheel (big in height, little in impact on your body). Afterwards she asked for another big ride, so I took her on the biggest, craziest ride there. You're clamped down with one of those large body clamps that comes over your shoulders. You're on huge swing arm that takes you above parallel with the ground as you swing on a radius of about 30 feet. At the same time, the seats, which are at the end of the arm, are spinning like a merry-go-round. It's pretty intense. She liked it as it started going but got pretty clingy by the time it was full speed. Afterwards I asked again if she wanted to go on another ride. Yes. "Big ride or little ride?" VERY emphatic "LITTLE RIDE." So we did the Yo-yo, which turned out to be her favorite. We had some lunch from a food truck and headed home.

Later in the day I went down with Lexi, Sophi, Jesi, Conner and Graci. Elli came again and enjoyed more rides. Really fun day, and it's great that it's only a couple of blocks from our house:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Fall Break in Moab

What a blast. We stayed three nights in the beauty of Southeastern Utah. Jesi, Lexi, Xander and Sophi were with us, along with Jesi's friend Paige. We visited Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, went horseback riding in the most amazing old west setting you can imagine, did some rappelling, and even had time to soak in the hot tub. All in all a GREAT trip. So grateful to have Christi Green as my partner in crime for all of this:)

Balanced Rock - Arches NP

Double Arch - Arches NP

Lexi was so proud that she wedged herself all the way back here on her own!

Sophi got a bit stuck and Jesi helped her. Then of course they needed a photo!

The setting was unbelievable. Jon Bon Jovi recorded the video for "Blaze of Glory" on one of those mesas.

Our little horse lover!

Tandem rappelling with mom:)

Xander braves a big drop.

Jesi overcomes her fear of heights.

Shafer Canyon overlook - Canyonlands NP

Mesa Arch - Canyonlands NP

Notice Delicate Arch faaaaar in the background:)

Grand View Overlook - Canyonlands NP

Green River Overlook - Canyonlands NP

This guy is so amazing! So grateful he's our son:)

The sand at Sand Dune Arch is about as soft as you'll ever experience. Shoes not necessary.

So. Much. Sand.

A few pictures with Taylor, Parker and my dad from trips down there in 2008 and 2009. So cute! Miss those kiddos.