I created this blog when my sweet little girl, Kristen, was diagnosed with cancer, for the third time. After fighting for almost 3 years Kristen was called home to that same God who gave her life. I've contemplated on many occasions rather I should quit this blog or not. Each time I am inspired that I should not. One of my favorite quotes comes from Neal A. Maxwell- "Those who "plow in hope" not only understand the law of the harvest but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. True, those with genuine hope may see their proximate circumstances shaken like a kaleidoscope at times, yet with the "Eye of faith" they still see divine design." Kristen blessed lives and continues to do so. Her light continues to shine. As for me, I continue to "plow in hope" knowing well that Kristen is mine for eternity. Families can be together forever! This I know. Our family continues to live and to love and this is our story...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

crafting for kristen

you are always in our thoughts
and forever in our hearts.

love you to the moon and back

Monday, January 23, 2012

Angels and such

Yesterday in church, Brooke was sitting next to me. She was excited to see that I had  
both a new box of crayons and a notebook in my bag. She quickly drew this picture for me,
she then leaned over and whispered, "It's Kristen"
I thought to myself,
"I'm the mother of an angel."
And then another thought came into my mind,
"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away."
A few quiet tears began to stream down my face
and then
I felt peace.

Last week Cody had a space derby at Cub Scouts.
His rocket took first place!
Way to go Cody!

I know it's a bit early for Valentines stuff, but I couldn't help myself.
I had to purchase this sparkly pink heart for Kristen,
and the bright red one for my dad. 
As I drove away from the cemetery, they were both sparking in the sun.

"They say that time in heaven is compared to 'the blink of an eye'.
 Sometimes it helps me to think of my child running ahead of me through 
a beautiful field of wildflowers and butterflies; 
so happy and completely caught up in what she is doing 
that when she looks behind her, 
I'll already be there."
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

breathing easier

This past week our family had a scare.
Richard's mother had gone in for a routine mammogram.
She was called back and told that they found something and a biopsy
was needed. This past Friday she went in for the biopsy. 
We waited through the weekend until yesterday she finally got the call.
She feels very blessed and knows that many prayers were answered.

 Grandma Kirton has always referred to herself as the funny grandma.
Most of the time she is right about that.
Grandma has 8 children and 30 grandchildren.
Traditions have always been important to her.
I thought I might share a few of her favorite traditions.

She is always looking to celebrate every single holiday and every birthday.
Here she is walking to a neighborhood 4th of July parade this past year.

Every single year our family has gone on a family camping trip to Pinedale, Wyoming.
It is not uncommon to see her riding with grandpa throughout the campground 
or showing up on the beach in her bathing suit.

She has taught all of her children how to cook. She has been canning forever and 
has passed the tradition on to all of us. We all agree there is nothing like
a bottle of fresh peaches on a cold winter morning.

Last summer all of the grandchildren were sliding down the hill on a home made 
slip and slide. Soon grandma showed up in her bathing suit. She made sure
she put on fresh lipstick just for the ride down the hill.
She loves to make us all laugh and laugh we did.

Grandma is known for her Halloween party.
She makes sure there is plenty of homemade chili, breadsticks and root beer.
Her and Dick dress up EVERY single year. We can hardly wait to see her in her costume.
One of her favorite costumes was Miss America. 
(I'm still searching for a picture of that one.)

 And then there is the dancing. She LOVES to dance in her kitchen.
It is always a special treat for her when someone will jump up and dance with her.
She also LOVES to juggle eggs right there in the kitchen.

Grandma is also known for her Christmas tree. Every year she spends hours looking
for the perfect tree. She then flocks it herself and carefully places birds and nests
throughout the tree. She then tells the grandchildren stories about all of the birds.

She is also know for her candy making skills. Every Christmas she makes several
batches of fondant and then dips them herself. Her pecan rolls have nearly made her famous.
She has also perfected the skill of making toffee. 
Each time she is ready to make a batch, 
she calls to see if any of my daughters want to come and watch and learn. 

When Kristen was born she made this dress for her. 
Much of it is hand stitched.

She also made this awesome quilt for Kristen's birthday.
It kept Kristen cozy and warm as she spent so much time in bed.

We are all thankful that Grandma's test came back negative for cancer.
Grandma will turn 80 this year and we can't wait to CELEBRATE.
We are also looking forward to seeing her next Halloween costume.
We love you Grandma Kirton.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

mending hearts and some resolutions of sorts

For some time I have been wondering what might become of Kristen's blog.
Kristen's blog was started as a journal to track her progress as
she fought leukemia. It was also a way to keep family and friends posted on the
latest happenings. Little did I know that it would also become a place to 
meet friends and gather together to celebrate each others triumphs and gain
strength as others suffered tragedies. Kristen's blog is very dear to my heart.
It holds pictures, daily updates and many of my heartfelt feelings as
 I have just experienced the most difficult  3 plus years of my life. 
I've thought about starting another blog where I could continue to journal the
 happenings of our lives. 
But I just can't bring myself to leave this spot.

Kristen is still so much a part of us.
She continues to be in my every thought.
Her name is mentioned several times a day.
Just last night Ryan asked me if I would make his some creamed eggs.
They were Kristen's favorite. The whole time I was making them I
was wishing I could take a plate up to Kristen.

I still have a lot of healing to do.
I'm still trying to learn how to enjoy life again.
I'm still trying to figure out who I am without her next to me.
My heart has hurt for so long.
I am hoping this new year will bring
~some mending of my heart
~more giving
~more listening
~more joy

I have decided rather than to start another family blog
I would like to stay right here and share more about our family
for I know family is the first place I find joy.
Because I print my blog into a book, don't be surprised to see a few
recipes and more about our day to day happenings.
I might post a simple saying or a simple picture that warms my heart.
I am hoping this will be a healing place for me and others.
I have said it before and I try to remember this every day,
I will not allow Kristen's death to put a black cloud over my head.
Although I feel lost and much heartache, I know there
is still reason to rejoice. She is still very much alive.
Her spirit is soaring and she is free of cancer.
I know she will be in my arms again.
I will continue to spread her light. I know her light can shine
through me as I continue to be remember the things that matter most in life.

~I will continue to raise awareness for children with Down syndrome.
 ~I will continue to fight for a cure for childhood cancer.
~I will continue to be a voice for the children who because of their
Down syndrome have been discarded into orphanages and institutions.

Thanks again to so many who have given me support over the past few years.
You have truly lit the path and shown me the way.

Now a little family cuteness...

Kali just turned 6 months old on Sunday.
I have already shown Kali many pictures of Kristen.
I take her in Kristen's room and show her all of Kristen's treasures.
She likes the snow domes, especially the ones that play music.
Kali is one blessed little girl as I am sure she has
 a special little angel watching over her.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lives forever changed

There should be a law against the making of little caskets.
It just isn't right.
As I was getting ready to go to Luca's funeral today, I knew it 
was going to be difficult. I never imagined it would be as difficult
as it was. As the family entered the chapel, Annalisa, Luca's mother
was beside the little casket with her had on it, sobbing. 
No mother should ever have to go through a day like today.
Luca fought leukemia for 27 of the 36 months he was on this earth.

"As we sat in an emergency room some 27 months ago and heard the words,
your son has leukemia,
our lives changed forever." 
~Luca's dad

A sweet little girl named Piper stood and sang a song called,
If I listen with my heart, I hear the Savior's Voice.
She was almost to the end of the song when her emotions
took hold of her and she began to cry. 
There was not a dry in the entire chapel.
Bishop Richard C. Edgley then stood to offer a few words.
He reminded Luca's parents that as they listen with their hearts,
they will hear Luca's voice. 

I really hate cancer.
However, I was again reminded today that there many 
things cancer can't take away.
It can't take away love, memories or families.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

one of my fav things

One might say that I'm obsessed with Jello.
Hey, I'm from Utah, what do you expect?

I have heard that 
 Salt Lake City, has earned the dubious distinction of having the
 highest per capita consumption of Jell-O not only in the US, 
but in the whole world.

 Anyway, I have been making these cute little jello cups obsessively for the past
few weeks. I even switched to the sugar free version.
It really is a Delicious snack.
Tomorrow I am going to try lemon jello with shredded carrots.

What's your favorite?

P.S. Kristen loved jello too, but it had to be plain.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

more pictures

Yesterday my niece, Hailey, came over toting her photo albums.
She said she had been looking through them and had some cute pictures of
Kristen. We scanned them and then laughed at how funny they were.

This first one is the cousins at a sleep over at Grandma Kirton's house.
Grandma bought all the girls matching nightgowns for Christmas.

 Half Moon Lake 1993 or 1994

Kate's wedding 2001

Hailey's Birhtday

Kristen is between her cousins and sisters holding a flashlight.
She loved flashlights.

Hailey thinks Kristen was just about to push someone in the pool.

I love to see pictures of Kristen, I especially love to see the pictures that
I have never seen before. I also love to hear stories about her.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another Angel

Sweet and amazing Katie lived a full life in thirteen years.
 Katie was a perfect example of living life to the fullest. 
She was always full of so much love and kindness for anyone she met. 
Katie loved to sing and dance.
This past December she performed  her last
dance recital. Her family had no idea this would be 
her last dance here on earth.
Katie's brother said,
"A person can change eternity for a person 
with one smile, one laugh or with one moment,
and our Katie did that for everyone."

Just a few weeks ago Katie was dancing and full of life.
Please keep her family in your prayers.

I have said this many times before
and some might not agree with me,
but I believe these precious children of ours 
are sent here only for a short time.
They come into our lives and change them for the better,
and then they are gone. Our children can accomplish
in just a few short years, what takes some of us an eternity to accomplish.

Hold yours extra close today.

not about the politics

This isn't about politics, at all.
This video has been floating around Facebook for the past few days.
I wanted to share it because this man truly loves his daughter.
She is the center of their universe.
I have often said the same about Kristen.
She is truly what makes my world go around.
Our children truly do make life better.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

First off...
Every single child on Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree 
made their goal!
Thank you for those who supported Maribel
 and all of the other angels.
Hopefully each of these children will be blessed with
 a family in 2012, and families will be
blessed with these precious children.

Our New Year celebration began with the
annual blowing up of the gingerbread houses

followed by the annual
burning of the Christmas tree and 
many fireworks

and a lantern for our girl. 

I wish I had something profound to say as we begin yet another year.
But, I'm still trying to find my own way.
Something that I am seeking for, something that might seem simple to some,
yet for me, for the past 17 1/2 months,
has been anything but simple...
Peace and Joy 
Hopefully, we can all find it in 2012