Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another Loss

It is hard to believe, but our family has experienced another tragedy.  Tess' husband Steve Rezendes passed away yesterday.  Too soon to experience another loss - another death.  Especially for Tess and Sarah.  These past few months have been filled with such tender and profoundly difficult experiences.  We are hoping 2013 will bring peace and joy to our famly!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Clark Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas 2012 was another first - the first Christmas without Mom.  And it felt very strange.  My mom loved this holiday - was over the top with decorations, traditional foods, parties, events, family, gifts and planning.  "Putting up the trims" at my childhood home lasted for days.  Some of my favorites were the Santa collection and the old felt and wire Mr. and Mrs. Santa and Rudolph figures - that seemed almost as tall as me when I was a child!  I loved the ornaments made of bread dough that she would place around the kitchen.  And I absolutely adored the lovely figure of Mary and Jesus that my mom would always place in the living room.  Fancy frosted sugar cookies, mushroom meringues, fudge, fondant, butter mints and other traditional treats were made for weeks before Christmas.  Lists were made, parties planned, programs and games arranged.  Neighbor gifts would slowly fill up the table in my mom's room until the evening we would haul them to the car for the deliveries.  These are only just a few of the many memories.  It was a magical time for me - and my mom (and dad) made it so.

So Christmas without my mom felt strange.  Not right.  But even though life has dealt us a heartbreaking blow - we must go on.  We have siblings, kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors and, most importantly, a father to help us.  And so this Christmas was still magical - in its own way. 

My dad wanted to host Christmas Eve - as usual (which we technically hold on the 23rd).  He put up many of the traditional decorations and made the house feel like home.  And we even had a new member of the family to make this Christmas special.      

Introducing Oakley:
Oakley is a special needs dog that has been with my dad for a couple of  weeks.  She has a deformed paw that makes her a little less mobile and she is several years old - but she is about the sweetest dog ever!  Dad named her after his home town in Idaho.
And she is adored by all (and is amazingly tolerant of the affection she receives from the grandkids).
She is especially loved by Allie.

Poor Bri has a broken heel bone.
We decided to switch things up a bit and have chicken enchiladas for our Christmas dinner.

At countless family, neighborhood, and company gatherings my father has stood in this exact spot to welcome guests and to give directions for the evening...

After dinner Tess read one of my mom's favorite Christmas stories - The Little Match Girl.  We all cried.
Then we had our traditional nativity.

As Oakley looked on.
We opened cousin and sibling gifts.
Kip gave Wes a late birthday present - a camo Snuggie!

I made a book of the transcript, program and photos from my mom's funeral for my dad and siblings .  That also brought many tears.
The kids decided to take Oakley for a late night walk.
Dad in the new down coat we gave him and Wes in his Snuggie.
We all agree with my dad when he says, "Janet would have loved this dog!"
Roasting marshmallows is always a favorite at Papa's house.

Worn to a my mom would say. 

Christmases from the past - click HERE

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Little Catching up Before Christmas

There has been a recent...shall we call it a hobby? our house lately.  It isn't that Wes hasn't always loved motorcycles - it's just that I didn't know quite how much!  He has acquired a few in the past few months and went on some awesome canyon rides.  After the first ride where it was obvious he was ill-equipped for the sport - he geared himself up in what I call his "tron" suit, helmet, boots and gloves.  I myself do not have much interest in these dirt bike adventures but I can understand the draw - the view is pretty spectacular!!  

The kids loved getting occasional rides on Daddy's bikes.

Especially I-man.  (By the way - the kids have real motorcycle helmets now.)
Isaac was such a huge fan - Wes ended up getting him an inexpensive kid's dirt bike for his 12th birthday!  
What's a mom to do?!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving was a difficult, contemplative but special day.  Dad wanted to host the dinner as per tradition but he wanted to scale it back a bit - he didn't use the chargers :-)  But the tables looked lovely as usual.

He assigned cousins to make place cards for the different families.  A very cute idea!  Cate's creation:
Sarah R.'s place cards were very festive!
Jack illustrated his place cards.
And Isaac did something a little more whimsical!
Everyone helped in the kitchen.
We thought it fitting that the only former butcher in the family should be the one to carve the turkey.

Nick gets the drumstick every year.
The meal was absolutely amazing!!!  
After lunch, we celebrated Allie's birthday and then left for the Food and Care Coalition in Provo where we were scheduled to provide some musical entertainment for the people eating Thanksgiving dinner there.  My dad had arranged for us to be there and I thought it was the perfect idea.  There were vocal solos, a cello piece and Jake did an awesome percussion solo on some mixing bowls, a muffin tin and a bucket that he got from Papa's house!  It was rockin'! 
We returned to my Dad's house for dessert.  We also read through some of the sympathy cards and emails we had received after my mom's death.  It was very emotional.
The day ended with more pie and some board games.  It was a nice day but it all felt very strange.  It was the first Thanksgiving without my mom.  There was a huge unspoken void.  The hardest part is trying to imagine all of the "firsts" we still have yet to endure.