We now have a very special angel watching over us.
I'm not sure how to do this post. I know the picture above alone will make it so at least my dad can't look at my blog, but it's the perfect picture of her.
6 years ago, Paige was diagnosed with breast cancer. 3 weeks ago, she lost her battle with it. It was something I NEVER thought would happen. Never. She was a warrior - and I don't use that word lightly.
Breast cancer has a 95% survival rate, especially when caught as early as hers was. At one point she was in remission, and there was a 2% chance of it returning - it did. There are many people that are considered one in a million - I'm not exactly sure how the math works, but I'm pretty sure these odds actually PROVE she is one in a million. I always knew I was lucky to have her as a sister. Even more, I always knew I was even luckier to have a friend like her.
She was my ultimate go to girl. I can't count the number of times in the last 3 weeks that I've had something come up that I needed to tell her about, or get her perspective on, or just hear her laugh. I don't have any idea how I'm supposed to live my life without her, but I'll learn, we all will.
All I wanted for Christmas was Paige. I got her perfume (thanks, babe), I wear her clothes as hugs every day. Our camera broke earlier this year and she had the foresight to get us one for Christmas. I wish I had the foresight to have taken more pictures of us together. In the future, I want to take more pictures. She continues to inspire me.
I know the faithful are not called home before their time. I keep thinking I could have handled her being a little less great if it meant she could stay with us longer. She was the best aunt, she was the best friend, she was the best big sister, she was the best wife, she was the best daughter, she was the best missionary - I think that's why she was called home.
Everything she did was right.
I love these pictures of her - she looks so healthy, and bright, and fun. That's who she was.
It's getting to the point where I can be happy again and soak up the splendor of my family every day. I know I'll never be OK with the way things happened, but I know it's not up to me. I know the difficulty I face and she wasn't my wife or my mother. I know as the prayers fade it will be harder for all of us and my heart goes out to James and Esme whose world has completely changed.
It is my challenge now to make the best of this life here, keeping in mind her legacy. It will be interesting to find the balance in remembering her, remembering my family and doing what is in their best interest. Sweet, sweet Esme has quickly jumped to the top of my priorities. She will know how wonderful her mother was. More than anything else out of this situation, she unknowingly has become a major target of my love.
I look forward to the challenge.
I wasn't totally convinced that the "better place" was really all that much better than here. I know it is now - because she is there. In our family prayers at night we ask Heavenly Father to tell her that we love her. I know she knows, but I just want her to be reminded.
To all those who have sent me and my family love and support - I thank you, I truly thank you. I haven't been able to respond as I feel I should, but I want you to know, it is appreciated more than I can express, and more than you can ever know. I also recognize it's not just me and my family who have suffered a great loss - and my heart goes out to all of you whose life she has touched, which I know is a great many.
Breast cancer - you picked the wrong family to mess with. You are going down.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Between the 4 visits to Urgent Care (2 with Bronchitis, one sinus infection and one topple off the back of the high chair and landing on tile floor) we still managed to pull out a pretty great Halloween. We went to the Holman's Trunk or Treat where Aunt Debra was dressed up like my mom and then we were able to go Trick or Treating with Shawn.
Jackson and Olive were the cutest, most fierce pirates ever:
Joss was a beautiful bird.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Joss has started playing soccer! It took her awhile to figure out how to NOT use her hands, but thanks to good coaching and a little practice, she's doing pretty well!
Here are some action shots at her first game:
Two-Hand overhead pass:
Get the Ball!!
SWEET! Joss and her friend, Blake
BIG THANKS to the Lignells for not only coaching, but also being the official photographers and making sure everyone gets their memories! Just our luck - our camera died after one - not very good picture!
Friday, July 16, 2010
We were so lucky be able to spend time in Montana this summer. It's so nice to be out of the Phoenix heat and with our family up north! As is the tradition with Stovalls, we were busy busy busy.
We roasted marshmallows on many occasions. I love this picture of Jackson's dirty face with a nice white marshmallow in his mouth:
We were able to visit Gramma and Ann at the cabin. My battery went dead, but we did manage to get a few pictures.
Here is us at the beginning of the Gates of the Mountain Tour - when we were still able to smile~
I think every family has a different version of this picture:
This was FHE - Jesse was entertaining the kids with stories.
You gotta love the Happy New Year crown in July!
We spent some time at Canyon Ferry with the O'Leary's. There wasn't a lot of sun, but we were able to get some time on the boat.
Belgrade has an awesome splash park. Jackson was going to get his money's worth, he got soaked!
We celebrated Jackson's birthday while we were there. He wanted a balloon cake, so we made that the theme and they spent the night throwing water balloons at each other.
I was able to run a sprint triathlon while we were there. I was proud of myself for finishing, even if it wasn't pretty:
We love having the chance to be with family - it was great to see Reid and Mishel as Montanans again. We really have an amazing family!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Joss has taken it upon herself to further her skills as a photographer. She likes to set things up around the house and take pictures of them. She also like self-portraits and capturing our family at its finest.
Jesse couldn't have taken a better picture if he stole the camera himself:
Classic- Picture of pictures:
Joss at her finest:
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Summer has officially began in Phoenix - it is HOT HOT HOT! Here are some pictures of what we have been up to. We have mostly been just eating pizza and hanging out at the pool!
Here is Olive chowing down on pizza and making goofy faces - definitely an O'Leary:
Shawn and the kids at the pool - this is pretty much what our summer is going to be like:
The kids got new sunglasses-
Is this cute or what?! I can not get enough of my kids in the pool!
We picked up Kathy from the airport and decided to go to the Visitor's Center at the Temple. Kathy is amazingly strong and I love this picture of us.
Our life has been one crazy rollercoaster for about the last 2 years! We think we know what we're doing and then circumstances change and we start the decision process over.
One thing has worked out in our favor and that is that Shawn was accepted to ASU College of Law! It was one of the best days of my life and we are excited about what that means for our family.
We were able to visit some of the law schools we were considering, but interestingly, we had never visited the ASU Law campus, so we decided to take a day and go check it out.
This is the very important ASU College of Law golf cart:
Shawn with Joss and Jackson in front of the library:
Here they are again walking up to the campus. It was the first time he had been here and it was very exciting!
We are looking forward to this summer and getting to spend some quality time with Shawn before he starts law school. We are so proud of him and are so grateful for the Lord's hand in this. Shawn is more than qualified, but we know we had some extra help!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Since it has been MONTHS since I have seen my sweet niece, Esme, I decided it was time to go to Seattle and visit her - and Paige and James! It was just me and Olive traveling this time and it was fun to have some one-on-one time with her - that just doesn't happen very often these days!
On the last day - actually on the way to the airport we went to Pikes Market. It's one of my favorite places. Here are Olive and I with the crabs.
Here we are next to the famous pig - Jesse and Tricia just got their picture here a few weeks before.
Olive and Esme got matchy-matchy "I love my Auntie" shirts - they had to show them off:
We spent a day at the Tulip festival. James' company walked in the Tulip Festival Parade in La Connor - then we went to Tulip Town to get some pictures with the beautiful flowers - Olive and Esme got to be matchy-matchy again!
Shawn got to spend some QT with Joss and Jackson in Phoenix. I got updates daily on the goings-ons. They took 5 PM naps and stayed up till 1 AM, they slept under tables, they got to see How to Train Your Dragon, and spend some time with Little Gramma. I didn't ask a lot about what they were eating (although I did notice about the same amount of fruits and vegetables were still in the fridge when I got back), but when I came back, they were happy and healthy - with the exception of Jackson's eye - apparently no one knows what happened to cause this! When the momma's away...
Thanks to everyone who helped in getting me there. Thanks to Paige and James for taking good care of me while I was there. Thanks to Shawn for being an awesome husband and daddy to be 100% willing to take on this challenge. It was a breeze for him!
I'm so lucky to have this AMAZING family of mine!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Last Saturday we went with Rod and Kathy to the Roller Derby. The Brawlerinas vs the Surly Gurlies. I thought it was amazing. It took awhile to figure out the rules and how to score points, but once we figured it out it was very exciting and fun to watch.
There wasn't a bad seat in the house (unless you got smashed into by a Brawlerina).
This blurry guy in the green was one of the mens Roller Derby-ers, Quadzilla. He was definitely the best! When he was the jammer, the other team didn't stand a chance. During half time of the girls bout, he had people lay in the lane and he'd jump over them. He kept adding more and more - I couldn't believe he cleared all these people, and I couldn't believe how stupid these people were to lay down there!
Towards the end, Joss informed us that she had finished watching - so we left a little early - but it was fun - something we haven't done before!
Every year for about 8 weekends the Renaissance Fesitval comes to Phoenix. We decided that we should finally go! They have this midevil town set up with jugglers and magicians and they have an amazing jousting show. It was a fun family day.
Here are the knights at the beginning of the jousting tournament. Our knight was the guy in red and he died right away - BOO!
Here are Joss and Jackson next to one of the buildings. They were all so cute!
Joss and Jackson's favorite part was this huge rocking horse. They loved it!
Jack(son) Spratt could eat no fat...
His wife could eat no lean...
And so between the both, you see, they had a great time at the Festival!!