Monday, October 7, 2013

Growing up too Fast at the Right Pace

Lil Cody is going up so fast! He is amazing. So big, yet so little! He is so cute. Kindergarten is going well. He loves learning and all the kids. He is having a blast. He is riding the bus for the first time today. He is so excited.  When we walked up to the bus stop he just started talking to all the kids. “My jacket is red.” Hahaha. “Don’t you go in the street.”  A kid from his class recognized him and introduced him to all the other kids. Awww. Mommy took a pictures as he was getting on the bus. Then I got a lump in my throat and a wee bit choked up. My lil Cody is not so lil any more.  I sure love this guy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little Surgery; Big Scare

Subtitled:  Miracles do Happen Today

So, sweet crazy Darth Vader breathing Caden had surgery on Monday.  It was a simple procedure. Done at a surgery center not a hospital since it was very low risk. Adenoids removed and little slits in his ears to drain the fluid. Take away that minor ear pain and removing the adenoids to help him breathe. They were so enlarged he struggled to breathe out of his nose and really breathed so loud kids in church felt compelled to tell me my baby breathed loud. Ha!

His awesome Pediatric Ear Nose Throat Specialist he has had since he was born did the surgery. It went perfect. Took less that 30 minutes. "The surgery was quite boring," the anesthesiologist told me. What happened after that not so much.  When Caden started waking up from the anesthesia his voice box expanded and caused the airflow to his lungs to cease. Usually they can force the oxygen past and this relaxes the voice box once the oxygen is back in the lungs and all is well. Well, this didn't work. They could not get the air past. The had to take him back into the operating room and intubate him again.  They gave him more medicine (Propofol, I think) and his voice box relaxed and he seemed ok at first. He started to come out of it and the same thing happened. So again they took him back to the operating room and did it again.  After this he didn't want to wake up. 

Between the first and the second time the doctor called me back and told me what happened. She mentioned they'd be calling me back shortly to be with him.  When 15 minuted passed I was a little worried. My mother in law and I prayed. Then I talked to my grandma. She suggested asking others to help pray, too.  I did. I texted people and solicited prayers and good vibes on facebook. in the mean time it tried to happen 2 more times but, they were able to force the air past the swelling in these next two incidents. Once I asked for the prayers the response was beautiful, loving and so kind. The Lord listened to these united prayers coming from all over and after only 15 minutes I was able to go back and sit with him and hold him. 

He at this point had to have Oxygen just held in front of his face but he was breathing. He was still having trouble waking up though. He was sleeping. He got more (a different kind) of medicine to help clear the lungs.  The anesthesiologist stayed with us the whole time. As I held my sweet little guy for an hour there in the recovery room your prayers and well wishes did not stop.  When after 30 minutes he was still de-sating every time the oxygen was moved away we knew we were heading to the hospital.  He woke up for about 20 minuted while waiting for the ambulance. 

We went to the hospital and prayers kept pouring in. When we got to the hospital he woke up again. He didn't need the oxygen any more. 

We stayed over night. By 8am he was back to his usual self. 

I know that Heavenly Father listens to and answers our prayers. I know he heard all the voices and thought united for this little boy and our family on this day and answered this. It was amazing how fast after the prayers started coming in that his condition started changing. 
 The hospitalist too a long time to come release us on Tuesday. So finally I unhooked all his cords and monitors and took him for a walk. He looked like himself again except in the hospital gown. 

I know the Lord still performs miracles in our day. We deeply from the bottom of our hearts want to tank all of you who prayed for our little man. You helped in our miracle. 

On a side note: he is even happier and in less pain than usual for a kid his age who has had this procedure. Speedy recovery, you say? You ask? Ok says the Lord. 

Thank you!

Caden and his Mommy & Daddy

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We celebrate 17!

Mariana turned 17. We were so happy to spend time with her. We love her. 
And Grandma Alice and balloons!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Good Bye to you My Bestest Friend

Usually the blog here is not so sad. But, this event looms so large in our lives. It will effect me for the rest of my days.
Jeaniece left this world on August 24, 2013.  Her funeral services were August 31, 2013. I spoke at her funeral.

Rachel “Jeaniece” Graves Compton

October 6, 1978
Long Beach, CA
August 24, 2013
Gilbert, AZ

Funeral Services
August 31, 2013
Family prayer………..…William Kern, grandfather
Conducting………….….….…..Bishop Scott Turner
Chorister……………....Lauren Graves, sister-in-law
Organist……………….…..…..Suzanne Lunt, friend
Opening Hymn………….……………………….#98
“I Need Thee Every Hour”
Invocation………………...…....Abe Graves, brother
Life Story……………..……Shawndel Mantor, sister
Musical number..…….…...Heather Fáanunu, friend
“Where Can I Turn for Peace?”
Accompanied by Marlea Knighton
Speaker…………………..…Adam Hellmann, friend
Hymn, sung by congregation…………………#301
“I Am a Child of God”
Closing Remarks…………….....Bishop Scott Turner
Closing Hymn…...………………..…………….#152
“God Be with You Till We Meet Again”
Benediction………..… Meagan Graves, sister-in-law

There will be a dedication of the grave
following the funeral service
City of Mesa Cemetery
1212 N Center St
Mesa, AZ 85201
Dedication of the grave……... Benny Graves, father
Ethan Graves Matt Compton
Benjamin Graves Ryan Graves
Abe Graves Mark Tippetts
Michael Tippetts Adam Hellman
Honorary Pallbearer, Drew Compton
There will be a luncheon for family and close friends
held at the church following the graveside service.

On the back of the program:

May God grant you always… A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a
sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.

These are the words I shared:

For those of you who have never been to a Mormon church before, we don't normally take pictures in the chapel. But I am going to take a picture now, of all of you because she would like that. ... Ok, one more.....

J-E-A-N-I-E-C-Eeeee! what’s it spell Jeanieceeeeee!  You’ve heard my cheer it’s full of pep! Do we need that kind of energy in our lives? Yep Yep Yep!  My name is Jeaniece and I am running for president, eh, vice and if you vote for me it would sure be nice. I modified that intro just a little. This was the start of a speech Jeaniece gave when running for vice president of our High School.  This was my sister. Energy, pep, life.

We always tend to put a person on a pedestal when they die. We remember them as better than they were. As perfect people.  Now I get it. I see why we do that.  I don’t want to remember Jeaniece’s mistakes. I don’t want anyone to.  But I don’t want us to forget that she was real.

Ethan and Drew, your mom was such a fun amazing person. She loved you boys so much. She loved hanging out with you. She loved showing you the world. We promise, I promise to never let you forget her or how great she could be.  So, as much as they are for everyone these stories are twice as for you, Ethan, Drew and Kindsey. To know this wonderful woman who gave birth to you. 

The truth of the matter is that Jeaniece was one of the best people I ever met.  She was my best friend. I know a lot of you make that same claim and that is just the kind of person she was. The kind that made you feel the best. She made you laugh. She made you smile. She made you want to be a better version of yourself.  She made you want to root for her and cheer her on and celebrate her life with her. That is what we are doing today. Celebrating her life with her. She would want to this to be a happy time of remembering her. So today I am going share with you a bit of her life story.
Jeaniece was born Oct 6th 1978. We are 18 months apart. We were close from the beginning. Best friends from the start. She was always the out going one. The adventurer.  More on that in a bit. When she was just over a year old my mom had this pattern in the mornings. She would put Jeaniece in the play pen and give her a few toys to play with. One morning mom was really tired so I told her I'd give the baby some toys. About 30-45 minutes later my mom heard a thug followed by hee hee hee. The a couple seconds later thud....hee hee hee. This happened for several minutes. She kept hearing the two of us giggle after the thud. She came in to see what was going on. She could not see Jeaniece. Every book, toy and pillow we owned was on top of the play pen. In the pen. This was one of those 1970's pens. Every time I threw something on top Jeaniece and I would giggle and giggle. Jeaniece had rolled into the mesh of the pen and was laying on the floor with her face pressed laughing and laughing.

A few months later my mom got married. We went from a party of 3 to a party of 7. Jeaniece was so happy to get a new dad and another sister and 2 brothers. Right from the beginning she loved having a big family an being part of a big group of love. Even though Melissa and Ryan didn't live with us all the time Jeaniece still knew, as we all knew they were hers /ours. Then a year or so later Abe was born. And there were 6 of us kids and mom and dad.

She loved going on family vacations. Mom and Dad would load us all in the station wagon and drive for hours. When it was us girls turn to sit in the back of the wagon we would play cards for hours. Jeaniece Melissa and I would pretend the cars coming up behind us were our customers and we would try to get them to wave to us or laugh. Never a stranger did Jeaniece meet.

She loved putting on shows for people. As kids we were always performing. On one vacation in Oregon we got on a stage at the state fair and started a performance of Oh Gee how happy I feel.   When we were done a crowd had gathered with our family to watch us. Jeaniece loved it. She bowed again and again with her little ringlets bouncing around her smiling face with each bow.  

Melissa recalled to me a story about our lives and how funny Jeaniece was in a dance off performance we had. She was about 7 or 8 years old. She was wearing a red leotard with a white vest. she got out there rocking to the music dancing for all she was worth. And then she took the vest off and threw it. On the long lost video of this performance you could hear all the grown ups go, "Ooooh?" It was so funny!!

Jeaniece was the adventurer. Always willing to try new things or go along with my plots and ideas. One time when we were little kids around 10 – 12 my dad took us to the beach of a thousand stairs. For some reason my mom didn’t come that day.  When we got there us kids started playing and dad went off a little ways and started fishing. We started talking and someone wondered what it would be like to be buried naked. So we dug a hole. Jeaniece was our guinea pig. We buried her naked in the sand. Then we got this idea to throw bread on her to feed the seagulls. When the birds started landing on her saying, Mine, mine. She was laughing. And said it tickled. We were all laughing so hard. Then suddenly Jeaniece started wiggling and shouting no! We realized the birds thought her toes were bread. They were trying to eat her toes. Her toes actually started to bleed.  Melissa, Ben Ryan and I seriously fell on the ground laughing. This is the only time in my life I can actually remember rolling on the floor laughing!  “My dad yells what is going on over there?” Nothing dad!  We got up and me and liss covered her with the towel and ran her down to the water to rinse off and get dress.   Oh Jeaniece. Always willing to get the laugh. Always ready for a new adventure and to try or new things.

Jeaniece was so smart. She was jealous when I started kindergarten. When ever I got home from school she would insist I teach her everything I knew. By 3rd grade she was so ahead that she went to 4th for reading and by 4th grade she was going to 5th grade for reading and math. They didn't know what they were going to do for her 5th and 6th grade so when we came back from Christmas break instead of going back to the 4th grade class Jeaniece was moved up into 5th grade. She skipped whole grade in school. From then on we were in the same grade in school.

Once in high school we decided to go to each other's classes. We decided to do this since I did not like my math teacher or class. Now, Jeaniece and I look a like, I will give you that.... but not that much alike! She was a bit worried how we’d pull it off. I told her just to put her head down when the teacher came to stamp the home work and she would never know. Then in her class the teacher called, "Jeaniece Graves." I said, "Here." He said you are not Jeaniece. I just told him I was her for that day. He laughed and said, “Oh you Graves girls.”  Well everything was going fine much to the amusement of the kids around us I am sure, until I got a slip to come to the office. (my mom scheduled a doctor appointment for me I didn’t know about.)  When Mrs. Ward called my name Jeaniece panicked. She froze. The teacher must have said my name 5 times. Finally Jeaniece got up. Oh boy was that teacher mad. She wouldn’t let her go get me or anything. The office aide had to do it.  We thought it was soo funny.  We totally would have gotten away with it if not for that call to the office. And to answer your question, no we did not get in trouble. Not at all, you can even ask my mom.

I remember in high school some kids were being rude at a foot ball game. Our older brother Ben was a big bad senior and he stood up for her. He said no one got to be mean to his lil sisters like that. She was so proud to have you for a brother, Ben.

After high school Jeaniece lived with my grandparents for a while in California. She always had a special bond with them. She loved just driving out there for weekend trips to visit them and our cousin Colissa.

When Jeaniece was young she had a beautiful baby girl that she gave up for adoption. Kindsey was adopted by a wonderful family who Jeaniece knew loved her so much.

When Jeaniece was 21 she had Ethan. She was so happy to have this sweet lil boy. Ethan went every where with her., You were her little buddy.  She was working at AT&T and she met this guy who sat near her. She was so excited when he'd call and invite her over. She loved going to his place. She loved how he was willing to love and accept her and her son. It was such a happy time for her when her and Robb decided to build a life together. Before too long they were married and then along came Drew and their family was complete.  I can not tell you enough how much joy she had in her kids. She was always telling me  (and you too, I am sure) the funny things Drew said and did.  She was so pleased and happy to know the boys have such a wonderful father to raise them.

As you know she loved attention. She loved being in pictures.  I bet at least 80% of you have a smoochy face picture with Jeaniece.  On vacation this July she taught my son a new thing. Every time the camera was out and she thought a photo was being snapped she hopped right into the picture. I commented on how she was “Photo bombing.” Now every time I want to take a picture of my baby Caden my 5 year old son Cody jumps in and say, “Photo Bomb!”  Thanks Jeaniece for that one.

 She loved our family. Family was so important to her. She was so happy for this reunion we just had. We were counting down the days to be together for almost a year. She figured out how long it had been since we the 8 of us had all been together the last time, too. (8 1/2 years.)

She took pride in the fact she was the first to meet all her nieces and nephews.  She was so happy she got to come to Texas and meet Caden my son in May. We went to the beach down there. We spent hours in the surf just like we did when we were kids. We did that again in July, too.  She loved Abe's girls so much. She was always bragging to me about how she got to spend time with them and sending me squishy face pictures of her and Ella.

We would always talk about who was mom’s favorite. Jeaniece and I voted. We know it is you, Meagan. She is Abe's wife. Our sister in law!! But we also know how much our mom loves all of us. I say this now because I want to make sure my mom knows that Jeaniece knows that you love her so much that you cared about her and only wanted what is best for her and her kids.  And we love you. You too dad. She couldn't have asked for a better family. And I know she never did.  Her family and her kids were everything to her.

She loved the color purple (like her boys and Robb are wearing today) weekend road trips, Disneyland, travelling, bacon, movies, popcorn, reading, crime drama, reality t.v., dance dance pee your pants. I mean revolution.  It didn’t matter that she might leak she still had to beat that game. And get the best score she could Ha. I see some of you nodding, you know.

She loved helping others. The last 3 Christmas's she got up before the sun to feed the homeless on Christmas morning.  She loved life and all her friends. She needed her friends having you around helped her so much., You all talk about how much Jeaniece helped you and loved you. You helped her, too. She loved chairing meetings and found a great joy in that. She was so happy to help at Saturday night live and be a host of that meeting.  She loved helping people and being around people.

One person shared a story on facebook about when she came back to a meeting for the first time and how she was so nervous to show up. Jeaniece greeted her and welcomed her and just stayed with her the whole meeting making her feel so welcomed and accepted.

She was given a patriarchal blessing from the Lord that told her that she would be  blessed with the ability to help others for good.  Last holiday season women from her ward volunteered and helped her with a 40 days of scripture program. She was so amazed at all the love that poured out to her at that time. That these wonderful women sacrificed their time to be with her every day for 40 days.

So on our last night of our vacation seen round the facebook world this past July we were at a family party. When my kids were tired and ready to go I started quietly telling ever one good bye. Jeaniece and the kids and me and my kids were staying at a hotel about an hour away on our way home. I  figured we'd leave and when Jeaniece and Ethan and Drew were ready to leave they would follow.  When Jeaniece realized I was leaving she got so mad. She was like, "I knew I should have put the hotel in my name!" I asked her why and she said, So you couldn't leave with out me!" I said are you ready to go? She said, "No!"  Um, ok. I don't know why this is funny to me, it just seemed so silly. It made no sense. She was so funny.  We were always doing this by the way... telling on each other. Like I am now on her to all of you.  Ha. Even at 34 & 36 years old we still told on each other.  

She was planning on changing her life again. She was just looking at houses and talking about how nice it would be for her and Ethan and Drew to move and start a better life.

When I think of Jeaniece and her life story I feel like it becomes a drama or a dramedy because it has a sudden sad tragic ending. I don’t like that. I don’t want it to be like that. That is not how her story gets to end. The credits do not get to roll yet. Don't close the book. There is an epilogue. Each of you close your eyes. Put a picture in your mind of Jeaniece. Maybe the one you brought. Maybe it's your favorite facebook photo of her. Or the last time you saw her happy with you.  That is how you remember her. Heavenly Father knows Jeaniece. He has always known her and her spirit. He loved her so much. He saw her trying better herself to fix her life. He saw how much she touched the lives of others and he saw her struggles, too. So on August 24th 2013 he said, come on home Jeaniece, just come home. I've got work for you to do here.  So, before you close the book. That last scene you can remember is her being welcome home in to the loving arms of her father in Heaven. After they embrace she turns around now she is looking at you and smiling down on you watching over you and your life. And she will be there when you get done with your journey here on Earth. When your story here ends. Now the credits can roll.

I know I will see you again one day Jeaniece. I miss you. I love you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

From Sea to Shining Sea

In July of 2013 we took a vacation of a life time.  I posted day by day photos on Facebook from my phone. (My Samsung Galaxy Note II aka Lil J.)  I also took pictures on my camera at some of the locations. Those are not on Facebook at this time.  Some of those will be blogged here. 

our trip started July first. We got to spend the 4th of July in Florence Arizona with Grandma Karen and Grandpa Benny and Abe and his kids. And jeaniece and her boys. It was so much fun!  Those pictures are mostly on the face book. 

My niece Ella the dancer

Then we took Ethan and went to the Hoover Dam on our way to Las Vegas! These our some of our Dam pictures.