Monday, June 22, 2015

*Monday Memos* (McKay Leaving for Mission Edition)


 (If pictures are too small, just click to enlarge) 

dear clothes for family pictures, family pictures are of the devil!  Yep!  I couldn't sleep Sunday night and woke up feeling so overwhelmed and not liking what I had chosen for us to wear.  I still didn't have anything for Dave to wear or me really.  I was feeling really pressured and discouraged about that and all the pressure of McKay leaving this week and trying to get it all done and these pictures on top of it all.  Dave could tell I was starting to unravel a bit.  Hah  So he offered to give me a blessing. I whole heartedly accepted!  That really did help! I felt like I could do it and it would all come together.  I felt like I had to make a change in the color scheme. Karen and her girls helped me after the farewell and we still hadn't come up with anything that I really felt good with.  I decided during the night (when I should be sleeping - whatever that is!) to not go matchy-matchy because that is kind of going out according to our photographer and so I rushed off to Layton and hit Kohl's early Monday morning to start over fresh. I had very little time, but off I went! I even bagged my run because I wanted to be home as much as possible to spend that time with McKay.  I prayed for inspiration to know what to get and I was able to get it all at Kohls.  I wasn't sure how it would be accepted, but at that point it no longer mattered!  I called Karen a few times and sent her pictures and asked for her opinion.
The top photos are what I had originally chosen.  The bottom two are what I was trying to figure out how to change it.  Am I the only one that stresses so much about family pictures?  It's a good thing we only do them once every two or three years!  But I wanted them done before he left because I knew it would be at least two years again AND I also knew our family could be very different by the time we take another one. Meaning someone could married before he gets home.  I do NOT like that thought!  Listen to me!  I am the one always saying I want to be a grandma, but I don't want things to change?  That kind of HAS to happen in order for that to occur!  But I don't like big things to change!  Once they do, then I am okay, but the process and the thought of it all is not super appealing.  I don't like to think that possibly the time McKay has with his bros is now gone because one or more could be married.  I am trying to just go with the flow and accept it because change is a part of life. Change IS life really!  It's constantly changing.  So why do I fight it?  I guess because I am just so dang sentimental! 

dear packing up mckay,  I started to get all of his stuff loaded up in his suitcase on Monday. I also got his white shirts all ironed and put clear fingernail polish on every. single. button. That's supposed to keep them from falling off so easily.  I ALSO taught him how to sew on a button because I knew he would have to eventually and I wasn't convinced he really knew how.  He had done it before, but it was a good brush up.
Sewing on a button and being a screwball...

dear family pictures, you are and always have been one of my top stressers as a mom!  I used to put a lot of pressure on myself that everything and everyone had to look perfect!  I do think it was much worse when the boys were little because I was responsible to make sure they looked perfect.  Now, they have to do it themselves and if I don't approve, there is really nothing I can do about it.  The pressure now is more from actually getting everyone together at the same time so we can do them.  Sometimes that is a small miracle!  I worked on my hair and got everyone's clothes all ironed and ready to go. Then as we were getting dressed the skies darkened.  A lot.  We could hear thunder and it got really dark.  Dave said he thought we were going to get poured on.  I asked him how that could be since it was just barely sunny and no indication of rain.  Well, let me tell you, within 15 minutes all of that changed!  We loaded the car and headed to Mantua as it started to sprinkle. The closer we got, the more drops started to fall until it was a complete downpour!  The sun was hid behind dark clouds and there was lightning and thunder going at it.  We pulled up next to our photographer in her car and I rolled down my window and got soaked just talking to her.  The first thing I said was, "I am cursed!"  I really have started to think that's true.  I mean the storm came out of no where!  Just in time to ruin our pictures! She said we could wait it out 15 minutes and see if it blows over.  So we did.  It did not.  We rescheduled for the next day (the day of his setting apart and his very last day home!) to retake them.  UGH!  But at least she was able to fit us in and we still had everyone home.  I just laughed all the way home!  Once again, another major thing crashing and burning!

dear tuesday, it was a frantic busy day trying to pack and not forget anything!  I made several runs to Walmart and Shopko for last minute stuff.  McKay wanted to hang out with his friends and I can't blame him.  He is after all a brand new graduate and it's hard to just let that part of your life go so quick.  I had him finish up his thank you notes and he went swimming and to some friend's houses and just did stuff that 18 year olds should be doing.  
Mr. Cat was curious as to what was going on.  I wonder if he remembers when we did this with Taylor?  I am pretty sure he does not want to be a stow away to Russia!

dear family pictures!  Tuesday we were actually able to get them done!  No rain!  It was beautiful and much prettier than Monday and so at least that was a good thing from the rescheduling.  The boys got some serious allergy attacks though from walking in all that grass!  Red eyes and sneezing like crazy!  But we got them done and it was fast.  Shelby is fast and the boys really appreciated that!  Now, I just HOPE they turned out well! 
A few candid shots.  Dave always brings our camera and snaps some candid shots when we do family pictures and sometimes I like the candid shots even better then the professional ones!  So glad Dave remembered to take the camera.
I always breath a huge sigh of relief when these are done! 
I got a couple of him too..

Their true feelings about doing this!  Love it!  Especially the look on Skyler's face.
Taylor's pants had two holes in them!  Whaaaaat!!?  How did he sneak out with those on?
Sure do L O V E these boys!
Whew!  We did it!  Glad that's done!

And best part of all, Shelby said, "Way good job with the clothes selection!"  She had no idea what I went through to get that way!

dear mckay's setting apart, as soon as we got home from the picture session, we had to rush over to the church for the setting apart.  I just threw on a skirt and off we went.  It was kind of strange having Dave be the one that conducted it all and speak to us.  Bishop Parrish was also there and he gave McKay some words of counsel as did Pres. Wight.  Pres. Hollingsworth was on vacation.  My parents and Dave's parents came as did the boys.  I was called on to say the opening prayer and that is just not a nice thing to do to a missionary mom.  I could barely get through it and tears were just dropping down on the table and I had no Kleenex!  Dave then counseled him and he set him apart.  The blessing was such a relief for me because he was blessed with health (one of my top concerns) and he said something about as he serves for TWO years which I also wanted reassurance of because if McKay had to come home early for sickness, I know it would devastate him. I felt so much peace after that.  He was blessed that he would be protected and that he was called to Russia for a special purpose.  It was really a great blessing. I wish I would have recorded it!  Such a great feeling knowing that Heavenly Father is aware of him and that he has called him Himself to serve in the nethermost part of the vineyard.  My baby!  Going to Russia!  Still so hard to fathom!

The last time to see his grandparent's for two long years!
Us again at the church after the setting apart.  Do I look more calm in this one than in the first one?  I think McKay does!  I was feeling more at peace that's for sure.

dear mckay's last night at home, we came home after the setting apart and ate our last supper together for two years.  Sadly I can't even remember what it was!  I made ribs the night before.  Oh yes, it was pizza!  McKay wanted Papa Murphy's deep dish pizza!  We ate and then his friends started to arrive. We had a house full. 
This was just a few of them.  They ended up in the basement chilling and talking for a while.
So sad to think this is not happening again probably ever.
I told them this was a historical moment and I had to capture it. 
After I took this picture, the doorbell continued to ring and more and more kids came over to bid McKay farewell.  They ended up outside because there were so many.  I could hear them out there and I was starting to worry someone was going to get hurt and I was hoping it wasn't McKay!  That's all I would need!  This was all new to me because when Taylor and Skyler left on their missions they were 19 and had already had a year out of high school and many of their friends were either at college or already on missions or even married.  This was just so different!  I could tell it has been hard for him to close this chapter of his life.  But how could it not be!  He is being ripped from it so fast without any down time whatsoever to adjust.  I am glad this kid is tough and can do hard things because it's about to get hard for him!  They finally all started to leave about 11:30 p.m. They said their goodbyes (a few of his friends even cried!) and he closed that chapter of his life forever.  Oh man, this has been hard on me to watch.  It just seems way too fast and way too soon, but I have to faith that this is what is to be.  I keep praying for more faith and more peace and more strength!

dear last morning together for two I sound a little dramatic? haha  I'm not trying to be but it just keeps hitting me that we are doing a lot of LASTS the past couple of weeks.  I am not a fan of lasts!  I like firsts much better. They are easier on the heart!  I made Lion House Orange Rolls (McKay loves them) and we finished packing him making sure he had everything. Dave had to make a run to Walmart to grab some luggage tags because we forgot those!

I gave McKay a haircut about 6:30 a.m. because there just hasn't been ANY other time!  When I say it's been crazy, I mean C R A Y - C R A Y!

dear goodbye elder mckay for two years!
The moment has arrived...
Man, he is a good lookin' missionary! Am I really letting him leave for TWO years?  Yes, I think I am!  It's not my choice anyway.  This was solely his decision and he is ready to get on with it.
In case we don't have time to take pictures later on I made sure we got a few before we left the house...

Weston text McKay and asked if we could stop by so he could tell him goodbye.  Weston is like a bro to McKay's and so we stopped by their house.  The top right is what Aubrey posted on Instagram.↓

We then stopped in Orem to eat at Panda Express because that is what his request was for his last meal here for two years.  He loves that place.  He always gets the Orange Chicken and Beijing Beef.  He is going to miss it!  I asked him what the top three things he was going to miss while he was gone are.  He said, "Psych (TV show), the Panthers (football team), and Panda."  I told him he was wrong.  I told him that he was going to miss ME more than all three combined.  He smiled.
There was another family eating in there as well that was sending their son off for two years too.  He was going to Thailand.  We chatted with them for awhile.  Just seeing that family and knowing they were feeling the same as we were, was a killer! Wow, the emotions are so intense!

We drove to the Provo Temple to take photos and say our goodbyes.  The heart was starting to pound!  I was not liking this because I have done it twice before and I know how it feels.  However, we have never done it this way before.  With Skyler we went in the MTC with him and sat through a program and sang Called To Serve (I still can't sing that song without crying to this day!) and then watched all the families say their goodbyes and cry and sob as they said, "Missionaries out this door.  Families out the other."  That was a killer for sure. But then dropping Taylor off at the airport ALONE without any other missionaries and watch as he walked through security ALONE and looked back at me each time he turned was really hard!  I was a bawling mess!  Standing alone in the airport with tears just streaming down my face...  That was a little embarrassing!  And seeing the look on his face!  Oh man, that was torture!  So I was really hoping this way would be better.

(Warning picture overload! I did not have enough time to sort and omit and so I just added them all in hopes I can get back and do a better job of choosing the best ones! But I really like all of these anyway and so I added them for me.  You can just scroll through really fast!)

We arrived and it was SO hot and there is really NO shade to take decent pictures in!  We walked around and took some pictures and then just chilled a bit while we waited for the clock to tell us it was time.
My boys get along so well.  They really are best buds.  I am so blessed to have them all love each other so much even though they are all unique and different.  THIS IS HARD to watch knowing things will never be the same with them when McKay gets home.  Most likely one or more will be married by then.
Possibly last family picture with us as THIS family.

Clock is ticking!
He is going to be a great missionary! 
Russia needs this kid's smile and happy personality!
The time had come to say our goodbyes!  I told the boys it was time to hug him and tell him goodbye and Skyler was so funny and said, "Mom, us guys don't do that emotional crap like you women do.  We will tell him when he gets out of the car at the MTC."  I told them there probably wouldn't be time, so I did my goodbyes and hugs before!
UGH!  This is so hard!
THIS ↑ (piggy back rides and wrestling) is more of their style of hugging...
THIS ↑ is one of my favorite pictures of the day!

Then we loaded the car all knowing this was it.  I had that feeling like a lead ball was sitting in my stomach and a very heavy heart as we drove across the street to the MTC to drop him off for TWO LONG YEARS!
We all got out and sure enough the boys said their goodbyes and gave him hugs.  You could tell everyone was feeling it.  Not a lot of joking and screwing around like usual.  A sister missionary came over to get him and his stuff.  She offered to take a photo for us.

We look happy and normal in this photo, but the insides were not feeling so normal or happy!

Taylor's Snapchat post ↓
My instagram post ↓
And just like that he's gone. #calledtoserve #twoyears #vladivostokrussia #heartwrenchingjoy #proudofthatboy #chocolatestat

I called out to him to take one last picture but he wouldn't turn and look back.  Probably for the best.
We pulled away and it was the fastest goodbye I have ever had.  It was tough, and I cried but I have to say it was much easier and much less torture-some than the other two ways we have done it.  This way is more like ripping a bandaid off.  It hurts like crazy, but it is over so fast that you don't have time to dwell on it.  I think this is the best way for sure.  

To drown my sorrows, we stopped at Carrabba's and got me a piece of their Chocolate Dream Cake to go.  It was so good, but didn't really do the trick.  Only time can do that.

We also stopped at Nielson's Frozen Custard on the way home.  We really love that place.  Dave and I always get the Bumbleberry Concrete to share but Taylor got an Oreo Bumbleberry that I tried and it is my new fave! 

I have some pretty amazing friends!  When we got home there were treats and cards waiting on my porch.  Dawn had drove all the way to my house from Hooper to deliver me some mini Reese's (my fave candy of all time!) with a sweet card!  I hope she did it on her way to Bear Lake!  And Brooke left me Idle Isle nut-balls (my other fave candy of all time!) and a touching card.  Robin had brought me a book and chocolate with a nice card the night before and Jen stopped by later with more chocolate and a sweet card!  These women know me SO WELL!  Chocolate and cards!  The best combo on the planet!  It is amazing how much those kind gestures helped me.  I really have been blessed with the most amazing friends!

dear a few more memories of mckay,
The paper reprinted McKay's missionary announcement and actually got it right this time!  The mortuaries both sent us laminated copies again too!
Dave took this on his last Sunday in Priests.  Oh man...
Random shot of him with his favorite OJ!
One of my friends sent me the above picture of these cute guys when they graduated from preschool.  And the bottom one of them now graduating from high school!  Where did the time go?  I collaged them and made copies for all their moms.
McKster in the new chair that he loves so much taking a little snooze.

With his cousin Aubrey and her Instagram post.
This boy...

dear goodbye skyler!
Sky left the day after McKay did.  Saying goodbye to TWO of my boys in TWO days was not much fun!  I would have preferred to have a wart removed!  Twice!
We went to Costa Vida for a farewell lunch and it was yummy but that place is too noisy to even hear yourself talk let alone hear anyone else.  Aubrey and my parents came along too.  My Dad hurt his foot at Davis' baseball game and he thinks it might be broke!  But, we ate and then everyone said their goodbyes to him until at least Christmas time. 

I drove him to the airport.  It was fun talking to him and having some one on one time.  We didn't have any time for that this past week. I wish he could've stayed longer because it was just so crazy busy the whole time he was here.  But I loved having him home for even the five days I got to see him.
I did not love this! ↑
It seemed harder than usual to tell him goodbye... maybe because I was alone or maybe because I just told my baby goodbye the day before for two long years or maybe because I just love to have my boys nearby without an ocean dividing us.  Or maybe all of those reasons.  I got in the car and cried a little and then just told myself to buck up and SMILE!  So I did.  I love how smiling tricks your subconscious into thinking you are happy so much so that you actually start to feel happy if you can just force that smile for a while.

dear very talented niece who will one day be famous!  My gorgeously and talented niece Aubrey released her first single on YouTube this week.  It's called Look Up.  She also wrote the song.  It is incredible.  Go look up Look Up and buy it!  You will be glad you did! 

dear visit to mona, Mona has moved into a new apartment and since I haven't really seen much of her since my life has been a whirlwind lately, when I was in the area, I stopped by to say hi.  It made me sad because it is so quiet and secluded and it just felt LONELY!  I would go crazy if I had to live there!  It's also really small and she is totally alone.  No more cats, no more Bill, no more ward members to stop by, no more sitting in her chair and watching all the activity on her street.  I really felt bad she had to move.  She said it is going to be an adjustment for sure.  I hope it works out for her.  

dear mini cheer performance, my good friend Brooke had mentioned her adorable little Daisy was in the mini cheer program on Thursday night and I REALLY wanted to go watch. I called and invited Julie to go so I didn't have to go alone and she was able to come.  I needed a distraction to make me smile after the past two days of telling my boys bye!  I am so glad I went.  It was hilarious!  The best part was little Daisy decided she didn't want to do the dance or cheer.  She was so funny!  She took off for the middle of the field!  There was no way she was going to do that.  It made me laugh. I'm not sure how amused Brooke was, but it made me smile.   
We snuck out before it was over and when we got to my car I realized I didn't have my keys!  Sheesh!  My brain has been running on fumes because I have been averaging about three hours of sleep a night for the past couple of months due to worry and stress.  I was NOT about to go back in front of all those people on the bleachers and so Julie and I just checked under the bleachers where we were sitting but couldn't see them.  We peeked through the cracks and found the bench where we had sat and tried to see if they were on it.  No luck and so I yelled to the people sitting there, but no one would look.  Finally, I grabbed the leg of a lady that had been sitting by us and she kind of jumped and looked down and we both asked her if she could see any keys.  She looked around and low and behold, she found them!  What a relief!  We went and got a drink (root beer float for me!) and chatted for a while and then I had to get home.

dear adventurous run, on my Friday run this week I got stopped not once, but twice by a train!  The first stop I waited very patiently for about 15-20 minutes and by the time it had started, stopped, backed up, pulled forward, backed up again a million times, I had had it.  So, I waited until it stopped completely (it did that about three million times!) and I hopped over the connecter place.  I was a little nervous, but I knew even if it did start moving while I was doing that it would be slow at first and I would have time to get over.   
Then I got to another spot and got stopped again. I think it was the same train though quite a distance apart.  I hopped over again!  I am so glad I did because if I had waited it would have been another 20 or more minutes.  Insane!  I was just praying no one called and reported that a runner was hopping over an operating train!

dear mom visit, my Mom stopped by on Friday to come and look at my chair because she bought the same chair for her room because it is so comfy.  She is worried though that hers is more grey and less purple than mine so she brought up the pillow to check.  It is!  We figure they both must have been made from two different dye lots.  She is going to check to see if she can find one more purple. It was fun to chat.  She really cracks me up!  I am SO grateful I still have my mom!

dear first letter from mckay! Oh my gosh I was soooo excited to see that in the mail already!  What a gift!  That first letter ALWAYS helps so much!  He said he was so glad he made the decision to serve a mission and that he has great companions (he is in a trio) and the spirit is so strong!  He said that first day went very slow and the next few are supposed to as well.  He said it is starting to hit him that he is on his mission. I don't think he had time to process it all before with school, graduation, and all!  He said he knows this church is true and that he is starting to look at people the way Christ does and how it's really incredible to feel so much love for a complete stranger.  He said that this is the place he knows he is supposed to be right now and that he misses us but there is no place he'd rather be.  He said the language may be hard, the weather hot, and not being able to see us for two years even harder, but this is the Lord's work! So then what else really matters?
I can't even believe what that did for my heart!  I needed that!  He sounds like he is doing great and thriving! 
dear saturday long run, I really did not want to run long today!  But I knew I had to stay on my training plan or I would regret it. I only had to do a ten miler and so that really wasn't too bad.  I decided to run out west for a change of scenery.  Robin was doing Ragnar and so she couldn't run with me.  Boy was I glad I turned down her request to run it this year.  I have not felt up to running this week and the thought of doing Ragnar in this heat and not sleeping for two days, was just not my idea of a party right now!  It has been emotionally draining!
I found a penny, some funny cows that just kept starring at me, a HUGE snake (bottom left), and some really pretty bushes covered in butterflies.
I also ran past a house that Taylor did the curbing the day before.  He is working for a landscaping business this summer and I text him a picture to see if that was the house and he said it was and to go check it out, so I did. 
I got some more pictures with the sun rays today.  I think the effect is so cool!  

When I was about a mile away from my car,  this little puppy was crossing the busy street and nearly got hit twice!  He ran over to me and jumped up on me and was so cute and friendly. I noticed he was really panting and hot and he was also bleeding from somewhere.  He was also limping.  He ran down into a ditch to drink some really dirty water and then ran back up and jumped on me again.  I tried to see on his collar where he lived but he wouldn't hold still long enough, so I had to take his collar off.  His address was about a mile away.  I called the phone number but no one answered.  I wasn't sure what to do and so I decided it would be faster to take him to my car and then drive him to his house.  I got him to follow me for a bit, but then he sat there and stopped walking.  I kept trying but he just wouldn't move and so I picked him up and carried him!
He was heavy!  Cars kept passing us and gave me a weird look, probably thinking, "So that is how she walks her dog?".  When i was almost back to my car, a man in a flat bed truck pulled over and asked me if I was puppy rescuing today.  I said I was and then he said that the dog belonged to his neighbor and asked me if I wanted him to take it to him.  I gratefully told him yes and so he put him in the back of his truck and took off down the road.  But, he didn't turn down the road the dog lived on!  He just kept going west and there is nothing further west! I worried that he wasn't really his neighbor but some dognapper or dog molester and I just freely gave that cute little innocent pup to a mean person! 

When I got back to my car I drove to the address that was on the dog-tag and knocked on the door. No one answered and so I was starting to really worry then. I started to walk back to my car when a man opened the door.  I asked him if he owned a little black and white border collie and he said he did. I told him I found him clear down on Forest Street and he almost got hit and he was bleeding and limping but that I gave him to a man that said he was his neighbor and how that was really stupid of me.  He asked me to describe the guy and so I did and he said that was his neighbor Jeff.  I was so relieved.  Just then Jeff pulled up in his truck with the dog.  I was kind of embarrassed because I knew he would think I didn't trust him so I hurried to my car as he yelled, "Thanks again!"  I'm just glad the pup found his way home!  What I really wished is that he had been a stray and I could have taken him home! Dang it!    The funny thing is as I was driving to where I was going to run, there was a dog hanging out of a car window in front of me and I said to myself, "I NEED a dog!"  I really do want one but Dave is not on board.  But, I got one today even if it was just for 15 minutes. ☺

dear taylor parties, three times this week Taylor has had a bunch of friends over.  It may sound strange, but that was a tender mercy for me because I was mourning the fact that McKay would no longer have his buds over and feeling like that part of my life was gone for good.  So when Taylor had his friends over and they were in the basement playing ping pong with loud music on (he is now into Irish music and had it playing very loud two of the nights!) as they laughed and played, it was just such a great feeling knowing that maybe those times aren't gone just yet. 
I made brownies for his pals two of the three nights.  Thank heavens for loud music and parties! I needed that this week!

dear father's day,
Dave was gone to meetings all morning and we couldn't find a time when everyone was home to open his presents.  I gave him a disc golf basket with some putters.

This is what I posted on Facebook for my Pa: 
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to my Pa! I'm so grateful to have been blessed with such a great man to be my father. He has had many challenges in his life, but he always has a big smile on his face and like my son Skyler said the other day, "I don't think Grampy has ever had a bad day in his life"... because he never complains and just grins his way through it. He broke his foot last week at his grandson's baseball game while going to get the fly ball so he has to be off it for three months which means NO golfing all summer! Yikes! But he still has a great attitude and he will somehow survive it, though I'm not sure how! ;) Thanks for being such a great Dad and Grandpa Pa! Love you!

And for Dave...
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to this great father and husband who works so hard for
  his family! He has been such a blessing in our lives!!! I know Tyson is smiling down on him today too!

I went to one of McKay's best bud's (Cody) farewell today as well.  I had to miss our sacrament because they were at the same time.  His mom posted this picture of the dinner after and I just fell in love with it. I want to do this sometime!  Is that not just the cutest?!

We headed to my Dad's after church and my brother and his fam was already there.  We had fun and chatted but my poor Dad really does have a broken foot.  My brother took a video of it when it happened and it was awful to watch!  He will be in a boot for three months and can't put any weight on it.  That means NO golfing all summer!  Pretty sad! I feel so bad for him!  Truth is I feel bad for my Mom!  She gets to live with him while he has golfing withdrawals for three months!  hah
Poor guy!
Happy Father's Day!

With his sad face...
We then headed to Dave's Dad's.  They had a BBQ and we had fun chatting and watching the kids play soccer.  I took a million pictures of them playing.  Completely forgot to get one of Dave's Dad!  
Cousin fun!
They are reading McKay's letter in the top right pic.
Picture of my Dad and his two sisters Gay and Sharon.  He had a brother named Jerry too but he died when he was 17. 

dear mr. cat, you are still showing favoritism!  And it's not okay.  Just remember you are in need of a vet visit and those fun shots you love so much! 

dear random pix of taylor's mission... once again Taylor was tagged on Facebook in several pictures from his mission that I had never seen. 
These are great!

dear message this week,
Today, Jodi, we believe God wants you to know that ...your life is full of possibilities.
Don’t be discouraged by what seem like dead ends. Every moment in your life carries infinite possibilities, just waiting to be discovered. Like a vine finding it's way even through the slightest openings in rock solid walls, so will you.

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