Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas

Well, we did it. We somehow survived our first Christmas as a family without Brittney. The day was filled with a lot of laughter and happiness but still a few tears. I ended up not working on Christmas Eve so the kids and I went to see the new Chipmunks movie. I wasn't sure how myself or the kids were going to handle the day without Britt so my plan was to stay as busy as possible. After the movie we grabbed a few groceries then headed over to my Mom & Dad's house for our Christmas Eve dinner with the whole family. It was really nice to be together with everyone. One of the traditions we have is we take a big family picture in front of the tree. It felt odd this year to see Camille with someone next to her and no one next to me...well, Ben was next to me but I have to be honest, as much as I love putting my arms around him, I liked putting them around Brittney more. After Mom's party we headed over to our 'family friends' Jake & Amy's house for a good old certifiable Mexican Fiesta. Lots and lots of people that's for sure...and lots and lots of food. I had already stuffed myself at my moms but I found out very quickly that didn't matter as just about everyone of Ben's aunts and mother told me to get a plate and decided to eat a little. I was really hoping to get to join in the Karaokee fun but the kids were so anxious to get home and get to bed for Santa to come that we left pretty quick.

Brittney started a tradition with our family where on Christmas Eve everyone gets a new pair of pyjamas. The kids know this tradition and love it...they were worried about not getting those pyjamas this year and kept asking me about it all day...I didn't help alleviate those fears because I kept telling them I knew nothing about it. However, when we got home they were quite thrilled to find their new pyjamas waiting for them.

Chrismas morning the kids were up at 7 like they are every other day. They knew they had to wait for me to go downstairs before they could. The anticipation was killing them because I was taking my time telling them they could come down. I've never seen them sprint down the stairs so fast. I had been stressing out pretty bad this year about getting all the right gifts and making this a good Christmas for the kids. The fears were put to rest pretty quick by all the screams. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids open all their seemed odd though to sit on the couch alone without Britt as I watched the kids open their presents. A few days prior to Christmas Harmony had told me that she thought Britt would be with us on Christmas morning. I'd like to think she was there. My girls have officially gone off the deep end with gifts. They did't want much this year except ipods, Nintendo DS's and American Girl dolls...all of which are not cheap.

As usual the only thing Boston really wanted was baseball related. He got his own Wii bat, a nice Red Sox logo FatHead for his wall (maybe Dad was the one that wanted this) and a Handy Manny repair shop. I usually try to get some educational things for the kids for Christmas and this year Boston's educational gift was bases. He seems to understand everything about baseball except how to run the bases...he always runs to third when he gets a hit. So I'm hoping the bases will help fix that this spring.

That afternoon the kids and I headed over to the cemetery to wish Britt a Merry Christmas. It was so cold out that the kids didn't last long and we left about as quick as we got there which was probably a good thing for me. I still don't do the cemetery very well. We then headed over to Bart & Renae's for their family christmas celebration. This was the part of the day I was worried about the most. I had no idea how I would handle being there without Britt this year. People seemed to keep talking to me most of the night so there wasn't a whole lot of time to sit and just dwell on Britt not being there which was nice. I did have to excuse myself to the bathroom a couple times when I felt the emotion welling up but I was so happy to be there with everyone that night.
For the last couple of years Harmony will sing a song for the rest of the family. As some of the grandkids have gotten older they have enjoyed performing for the family on Christmas Day. Harmony, Mia & Meridian sang "Where are you Christmas" which is a song that Harmony absolutely loves.

The grandkids also re-enacted the nativity scene...all but Boston anyway. Seems like we couldn't get him to do it last year either.

For the last few months I've been working on a project for all the boys in the family. Every year in March we go to Arizona for several days and watch Baseball Spring Training. Christmas Day is the day we get together and plan the week and the games we want to attend. I know for several of us this part of the day is more exciting for presents. This year however I have been working on getting personalized jerseys for everyone of their favorite team. The jerseys weren't suppose to be given out until the day we were to leave for Spring Training but I got them a week ago and I just couldn't resist giving them out now. The kids and I had been given ours on Christmas Eve by my mom. It was so awesome to see the kids with their jerseys on with BrittStrong on the back. I was so excited to give these out to the family at the party. I just wanted to finally see the group of us in our jerseys. I think everyone really appreciated the gesture and they all seemed to love the jerseys.

Earlier in the day I had shown Wes & Collin my jersey. Wes asked me why #9 on the back? At the party I explained the significance of #9 to me. #9 was the first number the Red Sox ever was the number of Ted Williams who happens to be my favorite player and Britt knew I loved everything having to do with Ted Willimas. It's why I wear #9 when I play ball. But more significantly Britt passed away on 9/9/09. No other number seemed more perfect than #9. Once the jerseys were on everyone it was incredibly emotional for me to see. From our family I can't see any better tribute to Britt than to have her name on the back of these jerseys. I for one can't wait to get to Arizona in 10.5 weeks to wear this jersey...I'm sure I'll wear it a time or two...or maybe 10 before then though.

And keeping with our last tradition, we always take one family picture in front of the tree. This year I just didn't really want to do it at home so we did it while at Bart & Renae's. I can't complain too much about how our Christmas turned out. Obviously I would have loved to have Britt with us but I'm glad I have these three wonderful kids here with me and a wonderful family to help me get through days like this. I look forward to many many more wonderful Christmas's with my family.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Thanks to so many people who left things on our doorstep through out the month of December. My kids really enjoyed seeing what was going to be there each day. We are truly blessed to be loved by so many people around and friends alike. I know a lot of people missed Britt for Christmas this year...none moreso than me. But this was the first Christmas in a while that we didn't have to watch Britt be hooked up to chemo. I was grateful that she didn't have to suffer through all of those effects again this year. She's completely healthy now...what better thing could any of us ask for this Christmas....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Guess Who's 3 & the Christmas Tree...

The 30th we celebrated Boston's birthday. The day was much tougher to get through than I anticipated. I woke up and my first thought was back to that day three years ago. Britt woke up around 4am with contractions but they weren't very close. Finally at about 7am we decided to head to the hospital. I honestly didn't think we were going to make it there because she thought he was coming right then. Within about an hour of getting to the hospital Boston was born. We never thought Britt would be able to have a child again after going through chemo the first time around. When we found out she was pregnant we didn't think there was anyway the baby would be born healthy. Boston was born about as perfect and healthy as anyone could hope for. I remember the feeling Britt and I had that morning after she delivered Boston. We felt on top of the world...we had this new baby boy, Britt's cancer was long gone...we had no reason to think we wouldn't have a nice long life ahead of us as a family.

Had someone told me Britt wouldn't be here with us to celebrate Boston's 3rd birthday I wouldn't have believed it...not only would I not have believed it but I would have most certainly applied a choke hold on someone who would have told me that. It was so surreal that in such a short time after Boston was born that Britt has left us. Britt was rediagnosed with her cancer about a month after Boston was born. Life was never the same for us after that. It wasn't much fun thinking about planning his birthday without Britt. She always did such a good job when it came to birthday's. Luckily once again I have a great family who helped me make it a fun and memorable birthday for Boston.

Boston truly is our miracle baby. I like to think that Britt's last great mission on this earth was to bring him into this world. Anyone that knows Boston knows what a funny, loving little kid he is. He will melt any heart within seconds. He has brought our family so much joy despite so much other heartache in our lives. It's hard for a dad not to smile when he see's his son wake up in the morning and before doing anything else put on a baseball hat, grab his mitt and bat then go downstairs for breakfast. Happy Birthday Boston! We hope it was fun for you.

The 3rd birthday is special in our family. When one of the grandkids turn 3, Grandma Nae takes them to build-a-bear to pick out their own bear. It has become quite the anticipated event. It's probably the equavilent of a Jewish boy's Bar Mitzvah. So yeah, this is a big deal. Monday morning Grandma took Boston to get his bear, or monkey. Boston picked out a Monkey instead of a bear and he named him George...because every kid wants a monkey named George right? Well, you'll never guess what kind of outfit he picked out for his monkey...yep, baseball...full on with a bat, mitt and shoes. That monkey goes everywhere with us now and even has to have a carseat in the car.

The proud new parent.

Saturday afternoon the kids and I decided to go get our Christmas tree. This was another thing I was absolutely not wanting to do without Britt. I think she knew this and helped me out. When we got to the tree lot I walked in and pretty much looked right at the tree I wanted without having to look around forever trying to find a decent tree. We were in and out of that place in five minutes. That definately made things easier...until we got home. It's been interesting to watch Harmony these last few weeks as we've been doing Christmas things. She has just kind of naturally stepped in and filled Britt's role in helping me with a lot of things. Little did I know that while I was unloading the tree from the van and putting it in the stand she was in the house doing exactly what Britt the front room and moving the couch...yes moving the couch. I walked in the house to do this and saw that it was almost done except for getting it down some steps. I have no idea how she did this on her own but it made me laugh. I really missed having Britt tell me which way to turn the tree once it's in the house and where she wants it.

Later that night the kids and I decorated the tree. Usually Britt will unpack all the ornaments as we go and hand them to the kids while I take turns lifting each kid to put ornaments up on the higher branches. Once again there was Harmony sitting exactly where Britt always sits and was unwrapping the ornaments and handing them to Brynn and Boston. At this point I couldn't help but get a little emotional at watching this and wishing Britt were here doing this with us. The kids had a great time decorating the tree. I hope this will be a Christmas they will always remember.

I think Boston just got done doing Jingle Bell rap.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Polar Express

A few years ago Brittney & I took the girls on the Polar Express up in Heber City. They had a really good time and we had been wanting to take them again but every Christmas since that year Britt was doing chemo and so it wasn't very easy to get out and do it again. The night before Thanksgiving Grandma Nise surprised the kids with tickets for the Polar Express. They were pretty stoked to put on their pyjama's, ride a train and see Santa. It's not the cheapest thing to take your kids to do in the winter, but it's definately something they will remember.

The kids and I survived our first Thanksgiving without Britt. Before we headed over to Bart & Renae's to eat the kids and I stopped by the cemetery to wish Britt a Happy Thanksgiving. It was extremely noticeable and empty without her here this year but it was nice to have all of our family around to help us through the day. I think for the most part the kids are getting use to Britt not being around. Life seems to be normal to them now. As for me, her being gone is painfully obvious everyday especially since we are in the Holiday season and all three of the kids birthday's are coming up.

Tonight the kids and I did what I have been dreading the most since Britt passed away...decorate the house for Christmas. Every year decorating the house was one of the things Britt and I looked forward to the most. We'd pull out all of the Christmas boxes, get some pizza, put on Christmas music and spend the rest of the evening with the kids decorating the house. This has always been my favorite part of Christmas. As I pulled the boxes down tonight I was not wanting to unpack them...partly because Britt always packs the boxes up after Christmas and I have no idea how she makes everything fit back in them...but mainly I just didn't want to look around the house and not see her putting the stockings up. Britt's favorite thing to put up each year is her Nativity sets. A few years ago she got one of the Willow Tree Nativity sets and she absolutely loved it. In fact it usually never came down until around April because she loved having it up so much. Each year she unpacks each piece from its box and is very careful in arranging the scene. It was the one thing I didn't want to pull out tonight but I knew it wouldn't feel right if I left it put away. I got the sense that the kids missed Britt a little more tonight when I pulled the Nativity out. Luckily I had Harmony to help me put it up and arrange the pieces right.

Now if I could only fast forward to March or April and skip the next few months that would be fantastic.....Happy Holidays Britt...we love and miss you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy 30th Britt!!!

11/19/09 - Today is Britt's 30th Birthday. I've been dreading this day since she passed away. I thought for sure she was going to make it to her 30th birthday. This afternoon the entire family gathered around her grave and launched 30 pink balloons. The kids drew pictures and attached letters to the balloons in hopes that they would float up to her in Heaven. It was a really neat experience even though it was extremely emotional for me. After the cemetery we headed over to a new pizza joint in Provo. Britt loved pizza places like this and we thought it was fitting to celebrate her there. I miss you Britt. Hope you liked your party today. And thanks to Kat for taking all the great photos today.