Sunday, January 30, 2011

Buddy Boy

I can't believe it is almost February.  We have now almost gone a complete month (January) without our little boy.  I miss him so much!  I do good most of the time, but I still have my difficult moments.  For some reason, church seems to be the hardest time for me.  Today at church, I was having a hard time singing the sacrament hymn, and Tanner turned to me and said, "Mom, do you miss Buddy Boy?" (The kids have the nicknames  Buddy Boy and Boo for Andrew)  They have been missing Andrew a lot too.  This week Travis called for Andrew on two different occasions, and Tanner randomly came up to me and told me he missed Andrew.  It is such a blessing to be able to tell the kids where he is and that we will see him again.  We are so thankful for our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
 Aubs has such a mature understanding of the gospel and life.  Sometimes she will ask us questions or say things that show how much she comprehends.  Eric was putting her to bed and talking about Andrew's Birth Mom and how she is having a really hard time because she wasn't able to hold Andrew and tell him how much she loved him.  Eric explained to Aubree what an amazing person Andrew's Birth Mom is, and he told her  that Andrew's Birth Mom decided not to hold him, because she knew that she wouldn't be able to let go of him.  She chose not to hold Andrew, because she knew it would be best for him to have a mom and dad who could love and provide for him.  She loved him so much that she chose not to bring him home.  Aubree understood and expressed that she could see how that would be really tough.  When Eric then explained to Aubs that Andrew's birth mom was sad, because she never held Andrew and wasn't able to hug, kiss, and tell him how much she loved him, Aubree said very matter of factly, "well, that's ok, because when she dies and goes to the Spirit World, she will be able to see Andrew, and she will be able to tell him how much she loves him."  She sees the events of this life from an eternal perspective.  She is an amazing girl.

We tried to surprise Eric at school this week, and as we searched the dental school for him, we got some interesting looks.  One lady looked at the kids and started counting them and couldn't believe we had four kids.  I wanted to correct her immediately and make sure she knows we actually have five kids.  I want to walk around with a big picture of Andrew so people know we have another kid, make sure Andrew is never forgotten.  I don't like it when people don't know of our sweet boy.  I want everyone to know of Andrew, because he is an essential part of our family.  We wouldn't be the family we are without Andrew.  Now, I want to share with everyone the comforting, wonderful message that Andrew is part of our family, and we can be with him again.  This knowledge and understanding has made all the difference, as we have gone through the past month.

 I can't help but smile every time I look at this picture of Andrew.  Sara took it with some mirror app on her phone.  Andrew had the cutest personality.  Love him!
The rest of these pics are from this week.  The kids have been loving wearing their dress-up.  Trav is a Spiderman/Woody.
Tanner in his Batman outfit.   Poor Tann got Aubree's hand me down bike.
 Tanner is so full of personality.  He likes to wear swim trunks on his head like a hat/bandanna.
 Aubree's Rapunzel wig got wrapped around Tanner's wheel.
 Aubree and her new scooter she got from Christmas.  She is growing up too fast.

It was pretty nice this last week so we headed to the zoo.
 Aubree and Tanner got to touch a boa constrictor.
Jared is such a nice boy.  He is always happy and just perfect!
This week we got an awesome clock sent to us from Billy and Crystal Hunter who had lost their 2 month old daughter to SIDS in March.  They started a blog and along with her sister's organization, chose us to receive a personalized clock.  We love it.  Thank You!

MEMORY: (By Eric) I loved when we would be driving places and I would reach back and just hold Andrew's hand.  He would have the cutest smile on his face and be so content.  When I would let go of his hand, I would always tickle the inside of his thigh and he would give the cutest, deep belly laugh.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

When it's dark enough...

 When Eric was getting ready to start chemo 5 years ago, he spoke to his track team at WSU about life and trials.  He shared a quote with them by Charles Beard that says, "When it's dark enough, you can see the stars."  They designed a bracelet with that quote and Eric's initials, which they sold as a fund raiser to help subsidize Eric's medical expenses.  The reason I share this story is that for the last 5 years, Eric and I have been wearing our bracelets.  They have been a constant reminder to us that our trials help us appreciate the good.  For example, Eric's bad health has helped us appreciate when he feels "good."  The morning that Andrew died, we went to the temple.  I was sitting in the back row crying my eyes out (everyone was looking at me like I was crazy), and I looked down at my bracelet and reread the quote I had read thousands of times.  When I read it this time, it had a different meaning to me.  It struck me in a way that it never had before.  Life seemed to be as dark to me as it had ever been.  I had no idea how we were ever going to get through this.
We have and are getting through it.  The Gospel is amazing.  It constantly amazes me the amount of peace and comfort we have been blessed with.  We now have a different appreciation for life and for being parents.  We have a different understanding of the gospel, our Savior, the resurrection, and many more important parts of the gospel.  
I went through all of the folders that could have pictures of Andrew to see if I missed any good ones.  I found a few that I love.
 Andrew was most content on Eric's lap.
Andrew LOVED his baths.
 Love this boy!
He had the most kissable lips ever.
 Handsome boy.
 I have no idea what Andrew is doing, but he is so stinkin' cute!

Andrew was the most patient boy.
Andrew loved his Sara.

 The rest of these pics are from the last few days.  Trav sleeps with four blankets and at least four stuffed animals.  He loves his tiger.  This is where it was when I checked on him.
 Been practicing more photography skills.

 Jared is the "spit-up monster," according to the kids.
 We took the kids bowling the weekend before Eric started school and I forgot to post this pics in the last post.  They had tons of fun for about five rounds.

I couldn't get Tann to give me a natural smile.  He is such a sweet/fun boy.

 My favorite one I got of Trav.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One Month

 We love you and miss you Andrew!
 The video above is the last one we have of Eric with Andrew.
 This video is when the kids first met Jared for the first time and we wanted to get it on video.  I am holding Andrew, because he came in first.  At the end of the video I am saying, "I missed you!"  Every time I watch this, I realize how much I really do miss Andrew.   I think this the only video we have of me holding Andrew.  

The last month still feels pretty unreal to us.  The amount of comfort and peace we have felt has been amazing and such a blessing.  We are so grateful for Andrew and the chance we have to be his parents.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This week has been better than last week. We are doing good most of the time, but we still have our moments. We have appreciated so much the love and support we have continued to feel. Aubree loves getting the mail and seeing what we get. People have been so kind and wonderful to us. The cards, flowers, calls, letters, emails, prayers, and packages have meant so much.
This girl is amazing. She just turned 5 and acts like she is a teenager. Eric and I have been approached by three different people from the primary in our ward at church who wanted to tell us how much of an angel Aubree is. Travis started Sunbeams this year and is sometimes sad about not being able to go to nursery to play with the toys. They said that whenever Travis is sad, she goes over to him, hugs him, and rubs his hair. And when Tanner gets a little rambunctious, she calms him down. Aubree knows more about the spirit world and the importance in the temple than I knew when I started college.
Aubree loved taking care of Andrew. She took care of so many of his needs. When he would climb up the stairs, she would put him on her lap and slide down the stairs with him. Whenever she is around kids Andrew's age, she tries to carry them around and baby them just like she would Andrew.
A lot of these pictures are from before Christmas break I haven't wanted to start doing normal posts again. Travis found the halloween paints and painted his face to look like a tiger.
Eric's mom made the kids scrubs for their birthdays. It is cute to hear the kids say they are dentists, not doctors.
Eric's mom is an amazing seamstress. She made Aubs and her cousin, Maycie, matching Christmas dresses.
Trav found a gingerbread apron and hat that belonged to Grandma Nygard, and he wanted to try it on. He is so cute and fun.

This picture of Aubree was the night of her birthday (the last picture I have before Andrew died). We were giving her presents. This was just after we put Andrew to bed.
Christmas had a lot different spirit this year. It was a lot easier to focus on what Christmas is really about. Our Christmases will forever be changed, with a more meaningful focus.
We planned on having a family birthday party for Aubs the day after we got there. She was really missing Andrew and having a tough time understanding things. She just wanted to sit on Eric's lap and ask questions about Andrew and our family.

Instead of having her go to the table to blow out her candles, we brought the cake to her. She just buried her face in Eric's chest, as we sang to her, and when we finished singing, she looked at Eric and with a quivering lip said, "Dad, it doesn't seem fair. Why do I get to have my fifth birthday party right now, but Andrew only got one birthday? I don't want to have my birthday party right now." She is a special girl; we love our Aubree!

We celebrated Christmas with Eric and my families all together. My family has a tradition of acting out the Christmas story.
The first weekend of December some friends from Pullman, who are starting a photography business, took some family pictures for us.
Eric is so wonderful. He has been such a strength and example to me. He is the perfect shoulder to cry on and knows exactly what to say to help me. He is the best!
Tanner is growing up too fast. He likes to tell people that is 14 instead of 4. Tanner would always try to get Andrew to come into his room to play with him. They could play for a long time, just the two of them. Andrew would climb on Tanner's bed and then Tanner would bounce him and make him giggle. They both would come out with red cheeks from playing so hard. Tanner was so good at making Andrew laugh.
Travis would ask where Andrew was for the first week after he passed away, but now he just tells us he is in Heaven with Heavenly Father. Then he says "I miss my buddy boy." Andrew would always pull Travis' hair, so sometimes still, Travis will be crying for some reason and say, "Andrew pulled my hair." Andrew sure is missed.
Classic Trav
I love this picture of Eric and his boys. Eric is such a great dad!
We've been trying to keep the kids busy. We have been doing extra crafts, decorating cookies, and painting. Aubree, especially seems to do better that way.

I have grown such a new appreciation for the Atonement and our Savior. The amount of comfort that we have been blessed with has been amazing. The hardest part for me now, is that I am forgetting details about Andrew, and I miss him. It has been such a blessing to have as many pictures of Andrew as we have of him. I really don't want the kids to forget him. We watch a DVD of him at least once a day.
Jared turned 4 months old this last week. He weighs just over 14lbs and is so much fun. He is laughing and "talking" all of the time.
My friend is teaching me photography, so I have been practicing shooting in manual. It is talent that I want to get good at.
MEMORY: I loved it when Andrew would wake up from his nap and we would hear him bang his binky's against the wall. It would and still does bring a smile to our faces.