Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I am the Luckiest...

I don't know what I did to deserve her. I love her and consider her my best friend. She has a profoundly calming effect on me and has lifted me my whole life and showed me by example to believe in my dreams and work for them. She has demonstrated how to rejoice in the good times and learn in the harder times and has never faltered in her love of the Savior. Her lessons have been innumerable and I am the woman I am because of the mother she is. I adore her and feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have her as my mom.

There are many stories I could record here to honor my mom but one of my favorite memories that illustrates how amazing she is to me happened in November of 2000. She flew to Hawaii for a business reward trip. She had looked forward to the trip for months and was excited to be completely pampered by the USANA home office. She had earned the trip and deserved it, I was excited for her too. I hadn't been feeling well but downplayed it because I knew if she thought I was sick she would stay home. However, the day she left, things went downhill fast as they tend to do when I get a lung infection. I knew it was serious and was scared by the serious conversations I had with my doctors. I knew I needed to let my mom know what was going on but I didn't want to ruin her trip. I left a message telling her I was at the hospital. I can't remember if I asked her to come home, I just remember that the next morning when I awoke she was sitting next to my hospital bed. I gasped when I opened my eyes and saw her there and then tears of relief overflowed. I knew once I saw her that I could get through this and that everything would be alright. She came to me and kissed me on the forehead and whispered, " I'm sorry I wasn't here for you yesterday, I had to fly to Hawaii to get you this lei."

She had flown to Hawaii, and traveled to the stunning resort. Before she unpacked her bags, she listened to her voicemail messages. After she heard my message she took her bags right back down to the front desk and asked them to call an airport shuttle. She received a Priesthood blessing from some of her dear friends before she left for the airport and then she flew all night and came straight to the hospital and sat by my bed until I woke up.

This is a passionately dedicated mother to all five of her children and now an amazing Grandma to her 11 grandchildren. She has inspired me to be a loving, accepting, nurturing, adoring and fun mother to Harrison and all I have to do if I am ever stuck is ask myself, "what would my mom do or how would she handle this?" Above all her qualities, the one that is the most fun is what a spaz she is... no shame. I have peed my pants more than once laughing at her spaziness. Watching her take this photo was one of those gut splitting, leg crossing times:

Her Christlike love for everyone around her draws people to her which is why she was destined to succeed. She has influenced the lives of thousands and is a mentor to all who wish to make a difference in the world by blessing others. She does so quietly but abundantly. She is the most generous person I know. It may be easy to be generous with your family and loved ones but what I admire is her anonymous generosity to complete strangers or any random person or cause that touches her heart. This is her in Africa sharing the love.

As lucky as I feel to have her as my mom, I am even more grateful that Harrison has her as his Grandma. He is a blessed little boy to have her and I know they will continue to develop a deep relationship.

Happy Birthday mom. Thank you for everything! I am the Luckiest...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Golden Birthday

Today Lexi would have turned 28...her Golden Birthday. My mom, Chels and her kids, and Harrison and I went to visit her grave and share with the kids some of our favorite memories of her. We told them how she used to dress up her Oxygen tank in an old sweatshirt and her GAP baseball cap and how beautiful her long fingers were. We told Lauren how much Lexi loved her American Girl Kirsten Doll that she now gets to play with. We laughed about how she would do her PeeWee Herman dance on the tip of her toes and how she was a little boy crazy. We even sang her favorite Sound of Music song!

I laid my cheek down against the top of Harrison's head and again thanked Lexi silently for the lessons she taught me. My memories of her and how she lived her life still influence me every day. My hope that she is pleased with the way I am living my life puts things in perspective for me and helps me remember what is important.

Most of the time I can reflect without feeling that sadness. I know what I believe and how much hope that gives me but sometimes I just can't help it and the desperate longing comes quickly and feels as fresh as it did that first day without her. On those rare occasions, I let the tears flow, honoring them and welcoming the release they offer. This happened on the road trip I took recently with my mom to Utah. A special song triggered the emotions and my mom just looked at me and said, "I know, it's okay," and let me cry for the next ten minutes. Afterwards, I feel like I have to apologize to Lex and explain that I know she is with me and that I am okay but then I feel foolish because I know she knows and understands more than I can imagine.

Although I feel peace about Lexi's passing, it's hard sometimes to not visualize what life would be like if Lexi were still here physically with us. I think about how we might be having our babies at the same time and how Harrison would love his aunt Lex. There is never a family gathering that I don't think about her and hope she is looking down on us and smiling at our JOY and looking forward to our amazing family reunion.

Happy Golden Birthday Lexi, your birth and incredible life were a gift to everyone who was blessed to know you. Our eternal bond is one of the greatest gifts of my life and something that keeps me going when life feels hard.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Feeling...HOT, HOT, HOT!!

Interesting week... After a fun Fourth of July weekend, Harrison woke up with a fever on Monday and wanted to just be held for the next two days which was perfectly fine with me. Not the him being sick part...the me getting to cuddle him all day part : )

A few days later, it was my turn. My temp spiked and was accompanied by a searing sore throat (not just itchy), a nagging headache and sever leg cramps. The fear that often grips me when I feel even the slightest symptoms of any ailment is that I will end up at "club med," otherwise known as the hospital. I doubled my USANA and basically hit the sack. Ryan and my mom rallied and took care of Harrison, meals, laundry and the house so I could sleep, eat, do my treatments, take warm baths, sleep and sleep some more. I am so grateful that I really feel like I have turned the corner and am out of the danger zone as far as needing to call my clinic and take action. Miraculously, my lungs still feel as clear as they did before my symptoms started so I am going to keep on resting and hopefully bounce back to full capacity in a few days.

We have lots of fun things coming up that I have been looking forward to for months so my prayers have really been answered this time! On our Calendar this month: Coldplay concert, Suedy visiting, Chelsea, Cam and the kids FINALLY get here and mom's birthday... too many things to miss out on so I am determined to beat this bug FAST!

Speaking of rest, I am off to bed but before I go, here are a few of my favorite pictures from the Fourth of July:

Harrison managed to look away as I snapped every single picture that day. This is his new thing, running away when I pull out the camera (hmmm, who did he get that from?!) Any tips on getting a stubborn little boy to stay in one place long enough to get a quick shot? Hopefully you can still appreciate the adorable patriotic outfit. I couldn't resist the baseball shirt as I knew how much Ryan would love it and he did!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Larsen Family Reunion 2008...

Okay, I have finally gotten all of my pictures downloaded and this post is filled with them! We had such a great time at the LFO reunion this year. One of the best things about the reunion was the location. We went back to our roots and gathered in Rexburg, Idaho where my mom grew up.

When I pull into Rexburg after that long drive, I always feel so connected, truly like I am returning home. I have the fondest memories of summers at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Rexburg and it was so great to take my own son there where so much of our family history is. The real best thing about the reunions though is just the quality family time where we bask in the unconditional love of our greatest support system.

The highlights were the individual family reports, attending the new Rexburg Temple with many of the family, Dutch oven apple cobbler (too die for!), and listening to my Grandparents during the Sunday Service express their love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and their love for every member of our family. They have truly created a legacy of eternal love.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:


Randy, Jen and Taylor

Adorable Jackson

Bailey and Maddie



Sophie loved the pool!

Sweet Alex

Me and Ali

Adorable Newleyweds...Katie and Brandon



Shawn and Jen organized the whole event...Thank you!!

Grandpa imparting his Wisdom and Wit : )


Harrison wasn't sure about being catapulted through the air!

Grandma and Kaya

Couldn't resist a picture of Dallin in this hat!

This is the Best Father's Day picture I could get...Harrison wasn't cooperating very well...too many distractions!

This trip will definitely be one of the highlights of our year. We are already looking forward to the LFO reunion 2009!!