Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend Getaway

We have been trying to get back to a normal routine/life since my grandma died but it has been hard for me. The past couple of weeks I haven't felt like doing much and I have been wishing that the world would stop with me! I am always thinking about my grandma. Well, sadly, the world hasn't stopped so we have kept moving forward. My family had a trip planned to come and visit us over Memorial Day weekend, but since my grandma died they decided it was best to stay home and take care of things there. My dad had rented a lake house on Lake Champlain so instead of cancelling it, he let us go stay there with some friends. My dad is the best!! It was a much needed getaway and we had a blast! It was so nice to go and relax and just hang out as a family. The girls had so much fun.

Here are the girls after church on Sunday. I love Chloe's pose in this picture!

Bryan started pulling the kids around in this hand cart thing and they wouldn't let him stop. I think he got a good workout in!! Niah and Chloe playing in the dirt.
Chloe loved the kayak. She fell sound asleep yesterday when I took her out in it.
Bryan had the creative idea of tying the kayaks together and pulling Niah around. She loved it because she thought she was paddling all by herself!

Lake House

Chloe was a little top heavy in her life jacket. Here is Niah trying to fish. She loved it!
Niah and Chloe had fun throwing rocks in the lake. When we left the house last night, Niah cried the whole way home saying, "I had so much fun throwing rocks in the lake."
Here's Chloe enjoying her baked potatoe and kabobs! Niah ate every last bit of her shrimp kabob- she loves shrimp!
There were lots of dandelions for Niah to pick. She gave me many flower bouquets!
We had so much fun and are grateful for the chance we had to getaway for a few days. Thanks Dad for making it possible for us! We love you. Hopefully, we can do this again soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grandma's Funeral

I am so glad that we got to go back to Utah for my grandma's funeral. It was nice to be there and I'm glad I was able to see my grandpa at this hard time. On Sunday, the whole extended family got together at my grandpa and grandma's house for a family prayer. Everyone was there- my grandma's sisters, her dad, my grandpa's family, all the cousins, my whole family, etc. It was nice to all be together even though we were missing my grandma. We could feel her presence with us. The viewing was Monday. There were soooo many people there. The line wrapped all around the church and then the chapel was full of people waiting to move up in line. My grandma knew so many people. Tuesday was the funeral. I couldn't believe all the people who came to pay tribute to my grandma. It looked like a stake conference- the church was packed! At the funeral my mom and her sisters spoke. My two sisters sang and my cousin Chase played the violin- they sang "You Raise Me Up". Then all the other grandkids talked about our grandma. One of our family friends sang "For Good" from the broadway play Wicked. It was perfect! My grandpa was so strong and the funeral was amazing. I can't believe that my grandma is gone. I was so close to her and I miss her terribly. I know that she is ok and that she loved me. Now she will be with me all of the time, I can feel her around me. Everything reminds me of her- especially the smell of Trident gum. She always had some in her purse and her car even smelled like it! I get the giggles when I think about some of the memories I have of her. She will be my gaurdian angel. I can't wait until I can give her a big hug again. I miss you Grandma.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Saundra Stephens Toole

Saundra Stephens Toole
Saundra Stephens Toole 1943~2008, 64, beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend passed away due to a tragic accident on May 8, 2008. She was born on June 28, 1943 to Edison J. Stephens and Beulah Bond of Henefer, Utah. She, along with her six brothers and sisters were raised on a farm where she learned to work hard while enjoying a carefree and wonderful childhood roaming the fields and mountains on the ranch. She married Douglas Boyd Toole on November 23, 1960 in Coalville, Utah and they set forth on a journey of 48 years together. She lovingly spoiled Doug and literally carried him through life's experiences. They were a team! She was his cheerleader and best friend. They had three daughters. She was a gracious, noble woman who loved unconditionally and blessed the lives of those who came in contact with her. She had dear friends throughout the world. She cared for many and always had a "pot on the stove" for anyone who cared to stop by. Her home was the gathering place. She was the organizer of parties and kept both sides of the family together. She loved her heritage and recently completed a book entitled "The Family and History of Parley Robert Stephens and Elthera Videan Fawcett". She was an accomplished gardener, seamstress, cook, world traveler, and was active in the community affairs, from 4H, Girl Scouts, PTA, to the local homeowner's association. She was fearless in the face of adversity surviving Multiple Sclerosis, a brain tumor and other health challenges. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in many callings. Her family was the most important part of her life. She was the most beautiful, kind, talented and caring mom. Her pride and joy were her daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was their biggest supporter and encouraged them in all of their many endeavors. She instilled in them confidence and a love of life and compassion for others. They knew they were loved. Survived by her father Edison J. Stephens and Erika Stephens; husband, Douglas Boyd Toole; her daughters and their spouses; Melanie and Michael Forbes, Draper, UT; DeAnn and Darren Olsen, Wellsville, UT; and Jennifer and Tony Cantafio, Long Beach, CA; 10 grandchildren, Natalie (Bryan) Mason, Colchester, VT; Tamara (Todd) Jacobs, Bluffdale, UT; Colin, McKell and Kaitlan Forbes, Chase and Land Olsen, Jaden, Luke, and Dylan Cantafio; three great-granddaughters, Niah and Chloe Mason, Preslee Jacobs; brothers, Dee (Kathryn), Kyle (Joann); sisters, Marsha (Ralph), Launa (Blaine), Lori (Tim), Becky (Todd); brother-in-law, Thomas Toole (Judy); many nephews; nieces; cousins; and friends. Preceded in death by mother, Beulah Bond Stephens; motherin-law, Hazel Marie Toole. Services will be held at the Coalville Utah Stake Center on Tuesday May 13, 2008, 40 North Main Street, Coalville, Utah at 11 a.m. Viewing will be held at the same location, Monday May 12th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and also on Tuesday May 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Interment will be held immediately following the services at the Coalville cemetery. Donations may be made at any branch of Zions Bank to the Saundra Stephens Toole Youth Scholarship Fund. Funeral arrangements under the direction of Leavitt's Mortuary. Send condolences to the family at: http://www.leavittsmortuary.com/

Happy Mother's Day Grandma. I love you and miss you.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Until We Meet Again...

My dear, sweet Grandma Saundra was killed yesterday in a tragic tractor accident. It was a normal day- I was doing the dishes last night at about 6:30 when my sister called to tell me the news. I was shocked. It is amazing how fast life can change. My grandma has been through so much- she had M.S., she was diagnosed with a brain tumor (a Meningioma tumor) almost four years ago and had brain surgery- I just can't believe that this is how she left us. I feel so bad for my grandpa. He was there when it happened and was driving the tractor. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday because he was so sad and he is blaming himself for the accident. I can't imagine what he is going through right now. My thoughts and prayers are with him. They had almost finished the house they built in Henefer, Utah- the place they grew up. It was my grandma's dream to move back there and be by my great-grandpa so that they could help take care of him. Last night as I was trying to sleep, I had flashbacks of being with my grandma. We had so much fun together. I remember when I had my miscarriage, I was at my mom's house and when I woke up from a nap my grandma had come to make me some 'Chicken Bite' (chicken noodle soup, my family calls it chicken bite). That meant so much to me and she was always doing things like that for everyone. She traveled to Europe with my mom, dad, sister, and I and we had so much fun with her. She was always up for an adventure. Last night after I talked to my sister, I tried to remember the last time I saw her. It was on Bryan's birthday in February when we were there visiting family. I wish I could remember what she was wearing and what the last words she said to me were. It was probably "I love you or I'll see you soon." I wish I could remember. I know that she is happy and in a much better place than here. She has probably had a big reunion with her Mom, Beulah, and my grandpa's parents, Hazel and Nathaniel. I hope she is happy and I hope that she knows how much I love her. I am devastated by her death and will miss her terribly. I'm sorry if this blog is depressing but I had to write my feelings down- it has helped me to feel a little better. We will probably be going home for the funeral so I will post about that later.
I miss you Grandma Saundra- until we meet again...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cinco De Mayo

Our friends, the Smiths, threw a Cinco De Mayo party on Monday night. I have never celebrated Cinco De Mayo before- it was a lot of fun! We ate taco salad and apple enchiladas- the food was really yummy! The kids got to take turns hitting a pinata. It has been a while since we had a party with all of the families in Bryan's class- it was a great time. Here are a few pictures of the girls hitting the pinata. Chloe and Niah loved it! (Thanks Vanessa for taking the pictures- they turned out really cute.)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Niah's First Sleepover!

A few days ago Niah and her friend Addi had their first sleepover. It was a lot of fun and the girls were very good. Both girls insisted on taking a bath with Chloe so after all three of them got out of the tub, the night started with some ice cream cones. Then the girls decided they wanted to dance and 'rock out' as Niah calls it. Chloe had a blast too. Niah and Addi love to dance together and pretend they are at the ball.
We rented Alvin and the Chipmunks for the girls to watch. Niah thought the Chipmunks were so funny! They were all settled in their sleeping bags. Before the movie started they switched 'comfort items'. Niah slept with Addi's cow and Addi slept with Niah's puppy. It was really sweet.
The girls ate popcorn and watched all of Alvin. I was hoping they would fall asleep to that movie, but they didn't. Enchanted was the next movie of choice so about halfway through they finally fell asleep, at about 10:30. They both slept really well- all night- and they were happy to see each other in the morning.
I had to throw this picture in of Chloe. She thinks she is three sometimes- acutally, all of the time! She played and acted like a big girl. She is so funny, she loved dancing with them.
It's weird to me that Niah is old enough to do things like this. She is growing up so fast! I loved hanging out with Niah and Addi, their conversations and pretend play made me laugh. I hope to have more sleepovers in the future- it was a blast!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday!! I would write how old he is but he might get mad at me for announcing his age! My dad is the greatest dad in the whole world. He is the most unselfish person I know. He is always thinking of others and he is good at taking care of everyone. He is funny and is always making or telling jokes. He is very patient. He is dedicated to his family and church callings. He is a hard worker and I'm glad he taught me to be a hard worker too. My dad was the one who tucked me in at night and he would tell us stories every night. I love to remember the bear stories and moose stories that he made up for us at our cabin. We would always want him to tell us more! They were so good. When we (my siblings) were little my dad took us to 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee every Saturday for a Daddy/Daughter/Son date. When he was bishop, I remember going to the church building that was being built and hanging out with him while he made sure everything was going okay. He was bishop when I was baptized and I remember going to his office for my interview- it was nice because I wasn't nervous at all! At the beginning of every school year he gave me a priesthood blessing and I know that it really did help! I am grateful that he was a worthy priesthood holder! He took us on awesome family vacations every year and I love that I have so many memories of us on vacation! We went to some amazing places. I could go on and on telling about memories I have with my dad... there are so many.
My dad is a great grandpa to my girls. They love him to death. Niah and Grandpa Mike are best buds, she loves to call and talk to him on the phone. He is very involved with the girls- he tells them stories and plays hide and seek with them. He even took them to see Hannah Montana in the movie theater- that's love!! My dad is easy to talk to. He helped me get through high school- I hated high school. I could always talk to him about my struggles. My dad is a great example to me and I am still learning from him.
Thanks for all you do for us Dad!! We love you and can't wait to see you when you come to visit. Have a great birthday.

Here we are at the top of Niah's castle!

Here's Niah and her best friend Addi playing in the dirt!

Bryan's favorite things:

  • BYU Football
  • Pandora.com
  • Surfing the Internet
  • Mountain Biking
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Kayaking

Natalie's Favorite Things

  • Naps
  • Blogging
  • Cooking
  • Going on dates with Bryan
  • Reading good books
  • Being a mom

Niah's Favorite Things

  • Hannah Montana
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • High School Musical
  • Reading books with her dad
  • Singing
  • Disney Princesses
  • Playing outside with her friends

Chloe's Favorite Things

  • Being outside
  • Her binki
  • Bananas
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Playing with Niah
  • Taking a bath