a copy of the funeral program is hanging on the door of my fridge - it's been there since the day i returned to AZ. a constant reminder to me of who we lost, who we love, and who we will see again. it's going to hang there till i get this picture framed and on my wall (this was the picture used on the program). i want it to help motivate me to be better. to be more like them. more diligent, more selfless, and more Christ-like.
it hasn't gotten easier with time, at least not for me. the pain and sense of loss hasn't lessened and at times still seems unbearable. i can't help but wonder why my family is having to endure this test, especially while we are so far apart from each other - az, ut, japan. then i remember i am learning to rely on my faith and on my Savior, and on the Atonement. and that even though this doesn't seem to be getting easier, i know our burden is still being lightened.
i think about chris constantly, being in japan. he is working so hard to be the best missionary he can, but is grieving at the same time. he sends us amazing letters that really strengthen and uplift us. and he put into words, exactly how i feel in his last letter.
I've changed my thinking, actions, and everything as a result, and hope to always strive to be better.
This trial truly is redefining my life, as I think it is all of ours.
We just need to let it, in a good way...
Let us continue, together, to live so that we might be exalted and live together forever."
i walked outside my front door today and thought i should take a picture of our beautiful, 'fall' leaves. (yes, there are a few that are yellow) i am grateful we get to experience a little bit of fall in arizona, even if we have to wait until the end of november! i almost wore long sleeves today but then remembered the high was going to be 80 degrees! but not much longer until sweatshirt weather - hooray!!
and this means christmas is around the corner because the oranges are almost ripe!
*WARNING: LONG POST
little grace occupies all my 'spare' time. i just want to sit and snuggle with her all day long. she has such a sweet temperment and takes all madison's kisses and luvs without a peep. she is a great eater and usually sleeper, but especially loves to be awake from 10 pm till 1 am. we're working on getting that changed! she has fit into our family perfectly and it seems like she's been with us much longer than 19 days. we love her every bit as much as we love madison!!!
madison is only 21 months but she seems like such a big girl now! we are introducing potty training slowly (she just sits on the toilet before bathtime), she attends nursery at church, and she is trying to talk more every day. we are so proud of her and can't believe how fast time has gone by. it seems like just yesterday it was HER that we were bringing home from the hospital. i am trying to keep madison as involved as possible with grace to make sure she doesn't feel left out or misplaced. so she is quite good at helping (holding the clean diaper and grace's hand, and then throwing the dirty one away) change diapers.
i feel so blessed, even though we are still going through a hard and emotional time. i know we are being watched over and provided for. i am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mom. i love hearing madison say,"mom", whether she is laughing, crying or screaming.
it is my divine role.
my full time job.
and i love it.
we have had our hands full the last two weeks but it has been so much fun! having two kids changes everything - but i love it. having a new baby is so much fun this time around because we know what to do. grace is a great eater and sleeper which is such a blessing. she looks VERY different than madison did so we are excited to see her grow. check out the picture of her hairline below - major cowlicks going on! doing her hair will be an adventure. i love this stage when babies are just so tiny and they eat and sleep and snuggle.
i have to give a shout out to dan, who has been amazing. he is the best diaper changer, baby burper, and lullaby singer i know. except maybe my mom. but it's close. thank you dan for all of your help. i love our family of four!
poor madison was really sick while grace and i were in the hospital and was on antibiotics the first week we were home. but after day 3 she had adjusted pretty well and now she absolutely adores grace. the first thing she says every morning and after every nap is "baby", in her cute little voice and then she wants to go see grace. she is a great helper, even when she is trying to wrestle a pacifyer into grace's closed mouth. my favorite is when madison is playing and stops, walks over, gives grace a big slobbery, open-mouthed kiss, and then continues playing as if nothing happened. i feel so lucky!
can i just tell you how much i love this little girl! and her little sister of course!!
my mom came down and we spent time at my dad's parent's house. (more pics of her visit later - can't work our new camera!)