Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

We had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, food and festivities. The past week has been the perfect balance of relaxation and activity. Unfortunately, I left my camera cord in Atlanta so pictures will have to wait.

In the meantime let me sum up our Christmas with two words: NERF GUNS.
Our life will never be the same.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The fleeting nature of beauty

Matts: Mom, I think you're the most beautiful girl in the world. I'll always think you're the most beautiful girl in the world.

Me: Thanks Matts, but what about the girl you're going to marry, I'll bet she'll be beautiful.

Matts: Nope. I'm not getting married. Uncle Thomas and I are going to live together. What's that called?

Me: A bachelor?

Matts: Yep, me and Thomas we're going to be bachelors together.

Later that night
Matts: Mom, if you're still alive, can I sleep in your bed when I'm 15?

Apparently, my time here on earth may be short, but at least it's sweet :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Ronald McDonald House

Every year since Elle's death in 2002 Ron and Debbie Struhs have sponsored a project for the Ronald McDonald house in Denver.

Although it was just over 6 years ago it feels like just yesterday that Reed and I checked into the Ronald McDonald House in Denver with our daughter, Elle. After a flurry of activity I had found myself alone in a strange city with literally nowhere to stay. Reed had flown back to Utah for work and in our hurry to get our daughter to the best hospital for her we hadn't stopped to arrange our living arrangements. Luckily, the next morning a RMH representative came by and by the next afternoon I was settled into a cozy little room just steps from the hospital.

Today the Ronald McDonald House in Colorado has grown substantially. They now have two homes to service Denver area hospitals. With the construction of the new house, in Aurora, has come an increased financial need. Although they often receive "fun" gifts such as toys their greatest need is currently monetary. To help meet this need they are currently offering the opportunity to "buy" memorial plaques which will be displayed in the RMH. These plaques measure 12X12 and feature the child's name and picture. Obviously, the majority of the funds raised go not towards the purchase/crafting of the plaques, but are used in for the ongoing care and upkeep of the RMH and the families they sponsor. I cannot begin to explain the relief that came from living in the Ronald McDonald House. We were within walking distance of our very sick little girl, surrounded by friends who "understood" and no longer concerned with financial aspect of our housing.

Our goal this year is to raise at least $450.00. I am confident that if we come together and each donate even a little we can far surpass our goal for this worthy cause. Feel free to contact Debbie at or Kendall at for specifics on donation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why we may have the best neighbors ever...

Before I ran Matts to school this morning we stopped to drop off some dishes to our neighbors, Nima and Nalin (from the miracle drink Nima had already brought by on Saturday). In our conversation I mentioned that I still wasn't feeling great. Next thing I know, Nima has taken Gray and Matts until 3:00pm. To top it all off an hour later she brought us this:
Now that's an answers to prayers (and then some).
***Also, thanks to Ariel and Bonnie for helping with rides. My awesome training partners are a post for tomorrow :)***

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Reed

It's been a rough weekend (and it's only friday!) I've been sick and completely waylaid and Reed has had to pick up the pieces. He and Scott even cooked the turkey together. Although it may not have been his ideal birthday this weekend has cemented what I've guessed all along; I married a truly wonderful, compassionate and fun man.

Happy Birthday Reed, I love you! (I promise I'll get your presents wrapped next year :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Like father, like son

Although I at least have some part in Grayson's genetics and personality, it's clear his heart is all Reed. Tonite as I snuck in to check on my sleeping Gray I was more than slightly amused to hear him sleep talking (definitely a Kendall trait). As I leaned closer he mumbled "Daddy's car, Daddy's car". I guess it's perfectly clear who the rock star in this house is :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Gray!

Here is one of the main reasons that I can find the "invincible summer" even in the depth of winter. I always find it ironic that we celebrate Gray's birthday and Elle's death within hours of each. And yet, I think that was exactly how it was supposed to be. We're so lucky to have such a pleasant, sweet little man in our family. A little man whose favorite past-time is declaring things "funny" and chuckling to himself. Reminding us all how great life truly is.

Happy Birthday Grayson, Gray. We love you.

Our Sweetheart Sunshine

***Warning: In a departure from this blogger's usual style this post may contain few pictures, border on verbose and may even reveal deep, dark feelings***

Six years ago, today, our sweet Elle left us to return to her Heavenly Father for a time. In the past six years I have felt more joy, sorrow, peace and hope than I would've thought possible.

Throughout Elle's life I felt an overwhelming sense of hope. Since Elle's death I have become fascinated with this concept of hope. Much more elusive than faith and yet just as important in the trifecta of "faith, hope, and charity" I have struggled to understand why I was given this gift.

This past conference Elder Uchtdorf spoke on The infinte power of hope. As I realized the subject matter of his talk I was touched as my prayers and study of the past six years were answered. In his talk he defined hope as "Not the knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God's laws...we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered." Throughout her life, we prayed desperately for Elle to recieve a new heart. And I felt hope, even confidence that she would. I now see that what I felt, and was blessed with, was an assurance that God was listening to our prayers, my prayers. The tender and pleading prayers of a mother that her precious daughter be made whole.

Although those prayers were not answered in the time or manner that I desperately desired I have no doubt that they will be answered. "No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations. 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heard of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

The next time I see Elle she will be whole. My daughter's heart will be perfect and she will be mine, she will be mine forever.

This is what I have hope for, this is what I have hope in; the atonement and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. A miracle so glorious, so eternal that it encompasses all other miracles and allows me to "make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts this one writer expressed 'in the depth of winter we find within us the invincible summer."

Our precious, perfect daugther, Elle

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

We had a wonderful Halloween made even more special and fun by a visit from Grandma Diane and Grandpa Don. The boys were thrilled to have them here for the festivities and I think we packed a weeks worth of activites/cuddles/wrestling into 4 days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Grayson is now sleeping with his WALL-E shoes. I'm not sure if this validates Reed's point or mine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Shoes

It started innocently enough. Scott needed to pick up some tennis shoes for training, so I sent Reed and the boys shoe shopping with him. Next thing I know Mattson and Grayson are the proud owners of brilliant, gorgeous, flashing character shoes.

Put that down as number 101 of things I swore I'd NEVER do as a parent. On the plus side, they do love them and they are definitely snazzy


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Airshow, Part 1.

This saturday we headed up to Dobbins Air base for their airshow. We're already schedule to go to Jacksonville, Fl next friday for the NAVY airshow, but since they won't have F-22, or the Thunderbirds we HAD to go to this one too (according to Reed). I'll have to admit, the F-22 were pretty cool and the weather was beautiful, so it was a great way to spend a Saturday.
This is GREAT!!!
***We also had the great pleasure of having Scott in town. Reed loved having his first best friend around (3rd grade) and Matts loved having the best seat in the house (Scott's VERY tall)
The boys in front of an F-22 (I don't know who was the most excited)
Jackson and Mattson loved seeing "starscream" fly. They decided he's changed and is now making "good choice" so he's actually a good guy.

Singin' in the rain

When it's cold and rainy what are two busy boys to do? Read books? No. Bake cookies? No. Paint? No. Help Daddy wash the car? YES!

The Littlest helper

Still sending a big thank you to Brother and Sister Christensen for this car. Apparently somethings never get old. My sweet boy
Not so much
Definitely a sweet one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Today as I was coloring with Gray he requested that I draw WALL-E. No surprise there.

Then, he requested "Two WALL-E". Very impressed with his math and language skills I readily obliged.

Finally he handed me a purple crayon with the request "purple WALL-E". As I finished the sketch his response was priceless: "Purple. WALL-E. Funny."

Yes, yes it is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mattson's First School Picture

Thought I'd post our first official school photo.

btw - I have no idea how they got him to pose like that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making Aunt Catherine proud

Growing up my sister, Catherine, used to declare that she was going to train her children to think that work was fun and play was hard. For example, "if you're really good you can dust your room" or, "if you throw a fit I'll make you go play outside". Today as my boys BEGGED to vacuum I couldn't help but laugh and think that maybe Catherine was onto something.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Veni, Vidi, Vici

I am still alive. I swam in the ocean, with sharks (or at least a dolphin) and I'm still alive. I biked 15 miles without crying and I'm still alive. I pounded out a
5k on a bruised foot and I'm still alive. So yes, it is possible and even kind of exhilirating to buckle to peer-pressure and face your fears. All I can say to my fellow triathletes (who all smashed our goal of 1:45) is; "it's been a pleasure training with you"


We had a great time in Utah for Kyle and Hayley's wedding. It's always wonderful to see family and friends and enjoy some time together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The most unluckiest person alive

Since I am too lazy to download pics from Utah I've swiped my post from our triathlon site to keep our blog from becoming completely obselete.

It all started EARLY Saturday morning as I faithfully met Ariel at her pool to complete our "triple play" for the day. All went well with the swim; no swallowed frogs or murderer attacks. But, as we ran up the hill it all started to go horribly wrong. I (of course) forgot my keys and sprinted back down the hill. Once at the pool I couldn't open the gate. It's only a little fence, so in all my 27 years of wisdom I decided to jump it. As the ball of my left foot hit the ground it was over. I did something horribly wrong to it (bruised my metatarsal bones and some tendons). I hobbled through the rest of our workout and spent the rest of the day on the couch, miserable.

While on the couch I debated wether or not to go to urgent care. What were they going to do? Tell me my foot was hurt? Thanks, but I think I figured that one out on my own. Also, I'm an expert on the whole RICE routine, it's just hard to follow in my current situation. Let me explain:

REST: Have you met my two little guys?

ICE: I'm allergic to the cold. Seriously, I break out in hives if I get too cold. Which would you pick? Swollen, deformed foot or itchy, swollen foot?

Compression: Did I mention I got an ant bite on the arch of my foot at Matts' soccer game. This may not seem like a big deal but, I'm also allergic to our lovely Georgian ants. Reed was fascinated to watch my ankle swell up until I had no ankle.

Elevation: No, real problem here, but give me a minute I'm sure something will come up.

And I couldn't even escape into oblivion, courtesy of pain-killers. As the day went on I came down with Gray's wicked cold. No wonder the child's been ornery. This left me debating the virtues of anti-inflammatories for my foot or cold medicine for my cold.

When it rains it pours.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Elle

It may be a day late and with recycled pictures but I had to wish our sweetheart sunshine a very Happy Birthday. Six years ago Elizabeth Grace joined our family. The 77 days she spent with us were perhaps the most blissful, formative and sacred of my life.
This past Saturday at Hayley's wedding we were able to feel her sweet spirit very near. As I sat in the temple I was overcome with anticipation and gratitude as I savored her closeness and reflected on all that we have been blessed with and all that we will be blessed with as a result of the temple sealing.
Happy Birthday Elle.
We love you dearly.

Happy Dance

After a long and wonderfully uneventful flight to Utah we met my mom curbside. As soon as he saw Grandma Candi Gray bolted, his "packpack" bobbing behind him. Gray skidded to a stop in front of Grandma and froze. He then twirled in around 3 times, dropped to the floor, did a windmill and jumped up to give Grandma a hug. Now that's what I call a happy dance.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stripling Warriors

Me: Matts how was school?
Matts: GREAT! Me and my guys chased some girls around the playground!
Me (slightly concerned): What did you do when you caught them?
Matts: Oh, we played with them.
Me (still slightly concerned): Did the girls want to be chased?
Matts: Oh, yeah. It's a game.
First we circled them around the slide...(fill in five minutes of tactical playground strategy).
We're just like Helaman and the stripling warriors.
Me (slightly amused): Really
Matts: Yeah, I'm Helaman and my guys are the stripling warriors.
Me, more than slightly amused:)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Olympic dream

There once was a girl who dreamed of the Olympics. This dream included triple loops, spirals, sequins and of course, a gold medal. Her Olympic dream was realized with ginormous pictures, purple spandex, "KISS" and pyrotechnics. No one's rear should be that big

Sharing a dressing room with KISS during the closing ceremonies

Today, her Olympic dream consists of trying to stay awake long enough to watch Phelps/gymnastics, creating festive desserts and planning her boys' Olympic dreams (I'm thinking badminton and rowing).

***The inspiration for this post began as I constructed the blue ring and my thoughts returned to the joy that was my previous life. While closing a show 4 of my friends and I prepared to personify the Olympic rings. As I stepped toward the ice intertwined with the other ring bearers I proudly held my blue hula hoop high in the air. The nanosecond before I stepped onto that slippery sheet I realized that I had forgotten to remove my gaurds (blade protectors). Frantically I whispered "wait, wait." Tragically, the march had already begun and my beautiful blue ring and I crashed to the ice taking everyone and everything with us.***

Good times, Good times

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First day of school, first day of school, first day of school!

Just like Nemo, Matts was bursting with excitement to go to his first week of school. He even begged me to just drop him at the door (luckily, school policy is walk-in the first week). When I picked him up the first words out of his mouth were "That was GREAT! Can I stay longer?"

I always thought Marlin was a little neurotic, but as I watched him say "you don't have to start school this year, you can wait five, maybe six years..." I suddenly knew exactly where he was coming from.
Four going on sixteen
Ready to take on the world (or at least Mableton First Baptist)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

God's Army (oops, I mean NAVY)

The bad news is Matts is still "incessed" with the Navy. The good news is that we've learned to channel this a little in the past weeks. For example; in church the missionaries are Heavenly Father's navy, at home going to the swimming pool is "training", at school his new teacher, Miss Sandra, is his commander, you get the idea. Thank heaven we have some wonderful Elders in our ward and one of them is a "Jedi Master". Let's just say that there are many ways to achieve exaltation including indulging a 4 year-old's fantasy. Who knew that having the missionaries to Sunday dinner ranks right up there with Disneyworld?
Mini-me(Gray) takes on Elder Sanderson
They were moving at speeds beyond normal camera capacity

Tennis Rules!

Tennis has become quite the popular sport in our house. Reed has been playing with a neighbor weekly and I just finished taking a class. Of course, whatever Reed does Mattson wants to do and whatever Mattson does Gray wants to do. So, our Saturday activity of choice is a quick round of tennis followed by a dip in the pool. (AKA "training")Given my complete lack of knowledge I signed Matts up for a tennis camp and it was a hit!
Look at that form! "Mom, I'm all flushed"
This is what Gray did during camp. He's recently developed and affinity for babies. He loves to touch his hair, then their hair etc. So, you can imagine how thrilled he was to hold sweet Mckenzi.

A little bit of this...

The last bit of summer has flown by. Matts starts school tomorrow and I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

To celebrate our last weekend of freedom we headed up to "Pigs and Peaches", Kennesaw's BBQ festival. Driving up I had visions of all the peach cobblers I would be consuming (with a little pulled pork on the side). Earlier that morning I had biked 9 miles and ran 4.5, so gosh darn it I had earned whatever I could get my hands on. Well, wouldn't you know it? Of the 50 some odd contestants only about 5 were selling to the public! At least the kids had a wonderfully, sweaty day filled with all the fresh-squeezed lemonade they could drink.
I'm just happy to be here!
Not so sure about this...
My worst nightmare (a stinky, smelly hockey player for a son)...
Nope, it could be worse
A little bit of country, a little bit of rock and roll
Surviving the shark's belly (Now if I can just survive all the sharks during my swim we'll all be fine)

*** I have yet to figure out how to get pics off my phone, so the most exciting part of our summer will remain "unblogged" for now. My family (Mom, Michael and Tommy boy) came out to visit for 10 days at the beginning of August. Let's just say there was WAY too much testosterone in my house and Matts and Gray LOVED it!***