Challenge accepted!

11 years ago Todd and  I made the decision to move from Las Vegas back to Logan. It was a hard decision to make. We had amazing friends, a good church to go to, and a lot of fun! But our 7 year battle with infertility along with the astronomical prices of housing had put my anxiety at an unsafe level and my health was being severely threatened. So we came home to Logan, where it had all begun for us years earlier, to lay down some roots. We bought our first home together, which seemed huge at the time, and found the best infertility specialist. Within a few months we found out Ben was on his way! That same summer my Grandparents followed us to Logan and we took on the responsibility of taking care of them as they grew older. In 11 years we’ve laughed, cried, fought, said goodbye to loved ones (human and animal form), and welcomed 3 little miracles into our home. We found strength from new wonderful friends, church members, teachers, and family being close by. It’s been quite a ride and we have created a lifetime of memories.

But the time has come for us to move on and create memories in a new home. Todd has accepted a new position in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s not a big move distant wise, but it’s huge for us! Our children have only known one home, one church, one school. We have raised our children, worked hard, and taken care of my beautiful 101 year old Grandma while patiently waiting for an opportunity like this to come along, and now is finally our time! Our plan is to sell our sweet little home and relocate by September. Its a whole new territory for us moving with kids, let alone selling our home and buying a new one. We are anxious but ready to start this new chapter in our life!

My Grandma is still doing amazing. She is a serious Rockstar! 101 years old (101 1/2 if you ask the boys) and I swear she gets more beautiful with age. It’s been a lifechanging adventure taking care of her. It hasn’t been easy, but the good outweighs the bad so many times over. The boys have had a rare opportunity to have a lasting relationship with her, and for that we will always be grateful. And we are not leaving her alone. Several years ago we found a good place for her to live and have 24 hour care. She is safe and happy there and we trust both the staff and hospice care who helps her everyday. We will still work closely with them and will still come up weekly to make sure she has everything she needs.

We are so exited for our new adventure! And we are so grateful for all of the people who helped us make our memories here. Watch out Salt Lake City…here we come!

Live like Lizzy

A few weeks ago my little community went through an unspeakable tragedy. One that no community is ever prepared for. A beautiful vibrant 5 year old girl named Lizzy Shelley was taken from her bedroom by her uncle, her own flesh and blood, and went missing. The uncle was arrested within hours, but refused to reveal the location where Lizzy was. For days police officers from all over Utah and Idaho searched for her. And those people who weren’t able to search prayed….hard. Then finally 5 days later the uncle finally drew a map to her location and her little body was found. Our police chief openly cried during the announcement that she was found. And everyone who watched cried with him. Panic started to spread through the town. This doesn’t happen here. We’re safe here. But it did happen here, and nobody knew how to handle it. Quickly after that rainbow ribbons started popping up all over town. Lizzy’s favorite color was rainbow, because she couldn’t choose just one color. There were candlelight vigils and fundraisers for the community to show their support at. The funeral was private, as it should have been. But images of the tiny white coffin with rainbow butterflies spread fast. In an effort to try and pay our respects I took my kids to a spot on the cemetery route, and along with so many other families we watched the procession go by. There were hundreds of motorcycles, decorated with rainbows, that lead the procession. Then that very night, while attending an outdoor event with my family, we had a sudden 5 minute rainstorm. When it ended there were rainbows in every direction. You could feel her all around the valley. It was quite a sight and something I’ll never forget.

Lizzy’s death wasn’t random at all. The uncle didn’t have to break in or threaten to get her. He was invited into their home. And being completely honest, as a mother it is incredibly difficult to not judge Lizzy’s mother. She invited evil into her home. She knew he was unstable, she knew of his past history. He had been estranged from the family, even homeless at times. And he had struggled with substance abuse problems along with a long criminal history. But she invited him over to “drink beer and play video games” according to the local paper. And she went to sleep knowing he was still there. She neglected to protect her daughter from this evil person and his intentions.  I understand trying to mend torn relationships, putting the past behind you. But as a mother I’ve had to make hard decisions for my children to protect them. I’ve had to take people out of their lives to protect them from potential physical or emotional harm. Some of those people have been close friends or family members. I’ve missed out on parties or get togethers to keep them safe, even if the danger isn’t always prevalent. It isn’t always fun and it doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes I desperately want to let my guard down and participate in fun events. But its my job to keep them safe. We vaccinate our kids, lock up medications and cleaning products, and make them buckle up in the car. We make them brush their teeth so they don’t get cavities and bathe so they don’t stink and get bullied. And if you’re like me, harass my kids’ poor new teachers every year to make sure their safety procedures are up to date. So why wouldn’t any one of us protect them from people who could hurt them?

That being said, as difficult as it is not to judge her, it’s impossible to not hurt for her. There are no perfect parents in this world. I am most definitely not a perfect parent. I yell, swear too much, and sometimes ignore them to look at my phone. I get irritated when they ask for food every few hours and by 9 p.m. I don’t have 1 ounce of patience left in my body. Sometimes I go to bed and I cry because I’m sure I’m screwing them up for life. Parenting is really hard. Lizzy’s mother made a mistake. A really terrible one. We all do. Except most of the time our mistakes don’t take our children forever. She’ll have to live with that mistake forever. And that breaks my heart from her. Lizzy didn’t deserve any of this. She deserved to live a full life. But her mother didn’t deserve it either. Because no parent, no matter where on the “perfect level” you fall deserves this. I hope someday she can find peace.

If there is a silver lining to such a tragedy, it would have to be all the love that came from the people in this community. When we experience tragedies our town we experience them together. There is so much good in this town. Local restaurants and grocery stores donated food and drink to the searchers. Different events were held in Lizzy’s honor and pre-scheduled events donated their proceeds to her family. People decorated their homes with rainbows to remember her by, my house included. Even random people who just felt lost and confused would just post on our local Facebook page and people would chime in with support and resource options. The panic that was originally felt in this town was met with love and compassion. I was touched by the outreach, and I know Lizzy’s family was too. Our entire town was changed because of this event. I think we may be a little slower to anger, a little more patient. We might jump to support each other and help when we can. Or maybe we’ll just love and hold onto our families a little more. However we do it, may we always Live like Lizzy.