This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.


March Marathon and Spring Break

We kicked off March with the Phoenix Marathon.
No, I was not a participant.
We get involved because it benefits Azbrainfood and it's a great event for our city to host.

There are plenty of opportunities for my kids to help out before and during the event.
I love putting them to work.

The Azbrainfood shirts turned out great this year.  
We sold out quickly.  We also ran a raffle.
$20 a ticket--feeds a child for a month and enters you in the raffle.

 Isaac was eager to help out at the finish line.
As time went by, I noticed he was a little more 
energetic than usual and I kept asking him to relax a bit, take a breather. 
It was a warm day and I noticed him drinking something out of a can.
"Mom, you should get one of these drinks.  They're just handing them out for free."
He had been downing energy drinks all morning....great.

(I just noticed the runner in the back ground....what is that flesh colored thing he is wearing??)

Good thing he wore the sweat band...he needed it from all that energy he was burning off.

 Summer and Meg were helping ice, stretch, and wrap runners in the Recovery Tent
(Cole was at a volleyball tournament all day and so Tom took off to go watch.  
I hated missing it but we find that we are "double-booked" a lot these days.)

So I get a text from my friend with this picture of Isaac stretching a marathoner in the recovery tent. 
This busy 9 year old was now offering to stretch any cramping muscles.
This woman was probably wondering why we had kids working the recovery tent...we didn't. 

After I got my energetic helper a ride home with his Nana,
I headed back to the finish line to see some family and friends cross.

My sister in law Meghan Bunker looked so 
strong finishing her first marathon....great job M!

My darling niece, Joanna Gurr finished her first 1/2 marathon.  
She is such a beautiful, well-rounded girl.
At her age, I was just trying to ditch out of running the mile in gym class.

My brother-in-law Jason Cooley ran the last 
stretch with his youngest, Cavan (batman), in his arms and the family cheering him on.  
I was so moved, I forgot I was holding a camera.
Right after he finished, Tatum provided literal support for her dad.
Loved this scene.

After the marathon was over and everything was cleaned up in the recovery tent.
Me and the girls headed out to the car.  I was anxious to get home, shower and head over
to my in-laws to see how Ross was doing. 
It was so deflating to find that my car battery was dead and to remember that I had taken my jumper cables out a few days ago to make room for a trip to Costco.

After getting rescued by the helpful Jarvis family,
I got to the house right after my father-in-law passed. 
Even though I knew it was close-- it was still a shock.  
I gave him one last hug and goodbye.  
He always told us that he believed the spirit lingered for a time.
 We felt him there. 
It was comforting to think of the happy reunion 
he would be having with so many friends and family on the other side.
We began naming some of them.

Brigham Young wrote in his journal, 
“We have more friends behind the veil than on this side, and they will hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and friends in this world; and you will rejoice more when you meet them than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life; and then we shall go on from step to step, from rejoicing to rejoicing, and from one intelligence and power to another, our happiness becoming more and more 
exquisite and sensible as we proceed in the words and powers of life” 
(Discourses of Brigham Young, pg. 379–80). 

Spring Break

Last Christmas we wanted to keep it simple and do a family trip instead of presents.  
We decided to take the kids to Hawaii for spring break. 

So glad the Shills went with us.
These kids feel like my own.  I can't even think of Rock graduating
in a couple of months...change is hard.

We stayed on the west side of Maui.
 I had no idea it was whale season.  There were dozens 
jumping right along the beach we were staying on.
Highlight of the trip.

The second day there, we booked a snorkel trip out to Molokini Crater.  

When we arrived there, the wind and waves kicked up making the visibility poor.
We changed plans and found a calm little cove that was perfect. 

(Photos courtesy of an underwater photographer on our boat)  

We learned that you never approach a sea turtle from the side because they can see you.
If you swim up from behind or straight on they can't see you and so you can get really close.

The next day the boys attempted paddle boarding.

 Again, that pesky wind and strong current were not helping...
They gave it a valiant effort but the current made it a little more work than fun.
After the current took them down the beach it was a chore to paddle back.

We will definitely try it again .

Our last day we headed to Lahaina
 (a historic whaling village with some fun shops)
In the center square there is this enormous banyan tree.

 Ike is always fascinated with any creative process.  
He bought himself a little souvenir after watching this carving technique.


Honoring our Father and Papa

This is probably my sixth attempt to write about the passing of my father-in-law.
 I don't know how to convey the tender experience 
that these past few weeks have been for me.  I wish I was a gifted writer.

Our family was overwhelmed with all the kind phone calls, letters, notes on the door,
flowers, treats, texts and visits.   
It really made this such a sweet experience for our family to be thought of.

Sorrow was overpowered with Gratitude.

Ross went in a beautiful way.  
He was at home, surrounded by lots of love, family and singing.
 He loved hearing his children and grandchildren sing.
On one night when he was not doing well, the Ashby boys came and sang hymn after hymn
to him.  Ross awakened enough to mouth some of the words.

He went peacefully on March 2nd in the late afternoon.

The night after his death, the children and spouses met with Anita 
to make the necessary decisions and arrangements.  We got our assignments. 
I got the chance to gather photos and make a video of his life.
It was a special experience for me to be immersed in photos of his life and with the people he loved.

Funeral Program
(Thanks to Allison Jones for putting this together)

(This bottom portion was an insert)

The grandchildren and great-grandchildren each made a scrapbook page 
about Papa.  I loved this idea because it gave the kids a way to honor him.
  They were displayed at the viewing and funeral.

The Viewing 
was held the night before the funeral at Ross and Anita's stake center.
Prior to the public viewing, we had an hour together with just the family.  

It was so nice to see so many friends and extended family that night.
Tom and I came home full of gratitude for all the support.

The Funeral

Before the funeral, I snuck into the room where the men were practicing their song.  
Tom and my brother-in-law Fred Ashby sang with all the grandsons that are 18 and older.
I don't think I have ever heard anything more beautiful.  
"Go Ye Now in Peace" 
I still keep singing parts of this song in my head.  

I love that Parker wore one of Ross's ties.

As we left the church it began to rain.  
When we arrived at the graveside the rain stopped and 
the dark clouds opened up to let a little sunlight through. 
The contrast was fitting of this whole experience. 
I felt Ross there with us.

Anita asked that each person grab a rose off the casket to remember this day.

12 children with my beautiful mother-in-law.

We will always love and remember what you taught us.
'Til we meet again.