Sunday, September 2, 2012

Love, Life, and Lessons Learned

Jay and I celebrated our 17 year wedding
 anniversary August 18th!

My mind kept drifting back to our years past and I
couldn't help keep my thoughts out of memory lane.
And as I did this, I realize that everyone has their
paths they have walked and a future unknown to them.
Everyone has their story.

And, this is our story.

The first time I saw him was in the parking lot
one January evening at the St George mall. He had come
from northern utah that weekend for a trip with friends.
 I was immediatley attracted to him. I loved his big smile
 and his teasing blue eyes. Slight delima: I was on a date
with his best friend.

I boldly asked him out a month after I first met him

we hit it off to say the least
we were engaged a month after our fist date! We took
pictures at the  beautiful Layton park.
and we were promised to each other for eternity on
August 18th in the Bountiful Temple

Falling into TRUE love is
better than anything!!
We rented a cute little apartment in Layton
I worked full time for an eye surgeon while Jay worked
 full time for his uncle in SLC. We had fun dating in marriage
 too. It was awesome to have the new role as WIFE!
I had fun pretending to know how to cook and all else
that comes with wife duties around the house.
I learned that I didn't like laundry!
Playing "house" in real life is the best!
And soon we welcomed our first child!
Jayme was born in Layton, Utah on March 9th early on
 a sunday morning. The doctor actually got pulled over for speeding to the hospital! He just about missed delivering
 my baby. She was beautiful right from the start and I called
 her my angel. It was fun to see Jay as a father and he was super proud and protective of Jayme.  Every second he was home, he was holding her. When she was born, I got to stay home with her full time. I loved my new role as MOTHER!! Through the months, we could tell that right from the start
 we had been given a beautiful, smart, independant, strong,
loving little spirt.

Jayme always has acted older than her age and wanting
and ready for the next step in trying to grow up too fast!
We loved being with her and watching her experience life !!

We loved living in Layton! But after two years there,
we decided to move to Cedar just before Jayme turned
one year old to finish up Jay's Bachelor degree at SUU.

We found a little apartment in a duplex behind the DI.

I worked across the street from our apartment for a
Dentist. Jay went to school full-time and worked part time
 as a custodian at the school at nights. Grandma Graf helped  
babysit Jayme. She and Dad were so helpful to our little
family as we moved to Cedar and settled in.

My favorite bakery was directly down the street from

our apartment! Bonus! I sometimes took Jayme for several
stroller walks to get a brownie and then walk to Grandma
Graf's house to visit!


Family is everything! And the little things
mean the most! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jay changed his Major from Computer Information
Systems to Criminal Justice after he found a job working
for Youth Corrections. He enjoyed working with the
 staff there and enjoyed the idea of helping young kids turn
their lives around.

We moved to a different apartment across town. It had a playground and lots of young families just like us
(we lived there for the next 4 years). Some of the friends we
met there would become good friends for years to come.

Change is hard but brings blessings
Jay and I made sure to enjoy going to some of the
college dances, basketball games, etc. and continue to date through our marriage. I jumped back in school during this
year sinceI was close to finishing up my own Bachelor
degree. Life took a turn for the BUSY when I didn't
think life could be any busier. 

Jay and I continued to work while being in school full-time.
We decided to give Grandma Graf a break from babysitting Jayme. I drove Jayme out to enoch for several months early
in the morning before my 8am class. And then decided to
enroll her into the college daycare instead so we could
 have her close by while we were in classes.

Jay was able to go full-time at Youth Corrections. It was
 awesome to have benefits and medical insurance. It was a graveyard shift though and so he was a bit of a walking
zombie during those times :) I was so grateful to Jay for his working so hard. I jumped into criminal justice classes so
that I could see Jay since our lives were so busy. He fell
asleep in our 8am class and so I took notes for him.
Just doin' what I can for my man :)

Our car was stolen and we had to get a rental car until we
could figure out what to do. The police found our car a
week later in a common teenage party place up in the
mountains! There were only a few items stolen and we
were so grateful to have it back! We learned a new
appreciation for transportation!

Just when you think life can't get any busier...
it CAN and it DOES.
On Jayme's 3 year old birthday, she wanted this pretty
stuffed animal kitty and some candy at Bulloch Drug.  
I love that children are so simple and it doesn't take much
more than a hug and smile to make them happy. We can
learn a lot from our kids.

I finished up with all my class that winter.

The things that make us the happiest
are the simple moments with the
ones we love.
Jay was right behind me in finishing up his schooling.
He was done that spring. We graduated together! Whew!
What a relief it was to have that behind us! Family
 came to celebrate with us on graduation day! We were
 so happy and so excited and looking forward to the future.

Truly, Jayme was the biggest Hero during those busy college years. She patiently waited for our attention
and went along with whatever and where ever we needed
to take her while we were in school and at work.   No
 wonder she came into the world with such an
independence and confidence about her. She had a busy schedule herself and she even took dancing lessons during
this time! She was a very quick learner and enjoyed this!

Jayme got the chicken pox and had a broken leg
(from jumping off the bed) at the same time!
What a trooper she was!
When we set and accomplish goals,
the whole family celebrates right along
with us...especially our children!

In the months that followed graduation, our many years
of prayers were answered, when we were blessed to
be expecting our second child!
We couldn't have been happier!

Heavenly Father sends blessing on HIS
time schedule...
not on our time schedule

Trey was born in the afternoon on Feb 22nd! The
hospital gave him an Olympic baby blanket since it was
the year of the winter Olympics being held in Utah. Trey
was such a handsome boy right from the beginning!
We could tell right away that he had Jay's mouth. But, he
looked like me too. It was fun to try and claim him to look
more like one of us as we couldn't take our eyes off of him. 
He surprised us with the amount of dark hair he was born with! Jayme was so excited to come to meet her new little brother! I remember being so happy there in the hospital room with Jay, Jayme, and our new little Trey. 
 It felt like a sacred circle. 

Jay was such a proud dad and couldn't wait to spend time
with his son. I love that Jay is wearing his Incredible Hulk
shirt on the day Trey was born! haha, Trey's first lesson...
his dad loves the Incredible Hulk!

Jayme took "big sister" classes at the hospital before
Trey was born so she could learn everything she
needed to know! And it paid off...she was a great big
sister and loved helping out!!

Time really does slow down and even
seems to stop when the most important moments come into our lives.

Spending time with my kids brought me the most joy
I love being their mother!
I was fortunate to not have to work for Treys first year.
But, soon after, I did pick up a part time job working with
the school at the Youth Corrections center. And then
soon after that, I picked up a second part time job cleaning
 the dentist office every evening. I took my kids with me
 to clean. Jay was working full-time graveyard shifts.
He was busy building our home with his dad's help.
It was such a beautiful home and we planned on it
becoming our permanant place. I loved decorating it!
We got a kitty and enjoyed so much our time there.

Jayme took dance lessons and I taught her violin lessons
for a time. She also did basketball for a season and she
was really good at this too! She was doing so well in
school and had lots of friends!!

It is important for our relationship to be
solid so that no matter what is thrown into
our lives, we will continue to be happy. 
Constantly continuing to work on our
marrige is worth every effort.
Our friend took these pictures of us! Trey is forever our
shy one not daring to look at the "stranger"
behind the camera :)

My boss passed away suddenly one weekend. It was
so sad and strange to experience that. We closed the
office down for the last time. My second job was now
over and I wouldn't be replacing it. I needed to be home
with the kids at night instead of dragging them around
until late hours of the evening to a place of work. Jay
changed shifts at Youth Corrections and worked swing
shifts. He picked up a second job doing graveyard shifts
 from midnight to 4am. He was working so hard to help
make ends meet.

Jayme was in a choir group for a few months and
we enjoyed going to her concerts. Trey was in a really
 great little preschool class and he didn't talk once
during that whole year there, but he always came home
 and told me all the fun they had.

Our car was totaled from a car accident that I had. It was
 a fresh snow storm morning and I was driving extra careful,
 but still the man couldn't stop at his stop sign on the slick r
oads and crashed right into my car. It was not driveable and
we watched the tow-truck take it away. That's the last time
we saw that car. Trey was with me and neither one of us
was hurt luckily.

 Perspective is everything to
 staying happy. Look for the small
meaningful moments in the day and be appreciative of blessings.

Jay baptized Jayme and she was so excited for this...
her big day!! Here she is in her new baptism dress over
visiting Grandpa and Grandma Graf.

Leading our kids in the
right direction is the most important
and fulfilling thing we can ever do.

We sold our house at that time in an effort to move
our family down to Nevada where Jay wanted to try
and make a career change happen. We put all of our
belongings into a storage unit and moved in to my
parents home for what was to be a short time while
we figured all the moving details out. A few months
later, circumstances happened that changed our plans.
Jay didn't feel it was right to pursue this direction
(and in time it turned out to be a blessing that
we couldn't have forseen).
But, in the meantime, Jay and I struggled with
feeling discouraged and frustrated.

While trying to figure out our next new step,

we stayed in my parents home and tried to live each
day as normal as possible with the kids. Jay went part
time at Youth Corrections and enrolled back in SUU
to gain experience in business classes.
After many months, he felt it wasn't going anywhere
 positive for us.  So instead he went back
 to working fulltime at Youth Corrections.
I was still there part time. We weren't having any
luck on adding to our family during these many
months either and this became my biggest frustration...
one that I felt I should be able to have some kind of
control over. It was overwhelmingly frustrating to
not have "things" working out the way we wanted
and needed them to be for us in our lives. I feel that that
year was one of my biggest "life lessons"years. I felt I
needed to stop wanting what I wanted and start just
looking and being grateful for what was right in front
of me. I started to enjoy all the moments in my life again....with Jay...with the kids...with mom and dad...
with friends and neighbors. I was feeling so much
 happier and so grateful for the gospel and for
perspective wake-ups.

Soon I became very busy working as young womens

president which turned out to be one of my biggest
blessings during that time to keep my mind focused
and busy on serving others.

I was so proud of the kids in how they handled the

move and having to go to a different school and make
new friends. The move wasn't easy on them and they
missed their old friends.

In times of discouragement and doubt,
pray for peace and service opportunities.
We will find that we forget ourselves
when we serve others. It chases away all
our fears and frustrations and allows us
to feel happiness ! ....


This family picture was actually taken on Halloween day!
 Jayme got her hair professionaly done and she felt like
 a movie star!

Here is Jay with sunflower seeds in his mouth out at girls
camp helping me that summer. He was such a great support
 to me during that calling and did whatever I needed him
to do. I loved serving with the other leaders and the
 girls and learned so much during that time! 

We also had lots of fun building a fun relaxed relationship

 with mom and dad whie living there in their home.

The kids were doing so well too! Trey was enjoying his

preschool class and Jay and I took turns attending on
 several parent days.

Jay and I made a habbit out of putting the kids to bed

and then going out on a quick 10 o'clock walk. There was something super relaxing about the quietness of the night,
 the stars, the moon, and holding eachother's hand.

No matter what, No matter where,
It's always HOME if love is there!
We decided it was time for us to get out of mom and
dad's hair and get on our own again. We bought a way too expensive townhome across town and called it home.
The economy had skyrocketed and homes were
outrageously expensive and a townhome was the most
 we could afford. (we didn't have any way of knowing
that the economy would crash a couple years later and
people all around us would be losing their homes and
townhomes right from underneath them. And these homes wouldn't be worth nearly the price we paid for it). 
We loved being in our own place again. I loved emptying
the storage unit out and decorating our new home with
all our belongings. Unfortunatley much of our stuff was
mice infested and we had to throw away several things.
But, we made due and kept and cleaned what we needed.
We made new friends in the neighborhood and ward.

Moving the kids to a different school was hard on
them again. Making new friends and having to find a
 new normal once again was a hard thing. But, they did
amazing in setteling in fast. Jayme took piano lessons for a
couple years while we lived in the townhome. She was
a natural and a fast learner. We loved going to her recitals!
She also did dance lessons one of those years while we
lived there. She was so cute dancing in the
parade that summer!

We enjoyed lots of fun in Cedar every moment we could.
We loved going to the parades and sitting on the Pizza
Factory lawn there. We loved to go camping at
Duck Creek and fishat the lake there. Kids Pond
was also a favorite fishing spotof ours. We explored
caves up Cedar mountain. And we loved sledding in
the snow. And swimming at the city pool in the summer.
We loved parties with the other cousins in town and
 spending time visiting Grandma and Grandpa Graf 
and traveling to visit Grandma and Grandpa Fox who
 lived down south of us.

Jay picked up a new part-time job working for the
school district at the middle school. After working there
for the entire year, he said he was so sad that our kids
would be in that kind of environment. He was so
disappointed at what he saw there day in and day out
with so many of the middle school kids. I told him we
would do our best to raise our kids right so that they would
be strong enough not to follow the crowd when their time came to enter the walls of the middle school.

Don't let the little moments of fun pass us by.
Laughter is a key to happiness.
with Trey at a school class performance


I was busy during the time we lived there in the town house serving as relief society president. It was a wonderful time
where I learned how to serve in many new ways. I continued
 to work my part-time job. Jay continued to work full-time
at Youth Corrections and picked up a new part-time job
cleaning the seminary building in town. Our family helped
 him most evenings.

Trey played soccer that year and was so natural at it! He is
 a very fast runner too! Jayme, Jay, and I enjoyed
cheering him on :)

Jay and I started up our 10 o'clock walks again
in the evenings.

There is always time enough
in the day for the one's that matter most
Jay was offered a job as a Juvenile Probation officer in
St. Geroge. It wasn't the career change that he was
hoping for since it was so similiar to what he was
already doing. But, he welcomed the change and
we were super positive and decided to give it our
best shot! We loved living in St. Geroge and
particularly Ivins.

We agreed that Ivins is Heaven's best kept secret on earth.
Living there is like living in a painted portrait
every single day. It took my breath away every day.
Just beautiful.

Moving this time was the hardest on Jayme. She was
getting older and was in middle school. I prayed
 for her and Trey constantly. They did it though and met
good friends. They loved their new schools. Jayme loved
riding the bus. We loved making new memories there in
our new southern Utah surroundings.

We enjoyed climbing the "Dixie" rock, watching the
planes fly over our head at the airport, getting Baskin
Robbins icecream, shopping at the outlets, exploring Veyo,
 hiking up to see Petroglyphs, driving over to PineValley
 and seeing the fish pond and campground area, touring
the old PineValley church, driving to Gunlock to play
in the water, playing at the waterparks, eating at
the Rickshaw, watching the thunderstorms in Ivins,
 getting a treat at the tiny Ivins gas station and grocery
store, getting together with Ryans family, walking
around the temple grounds, driving for sleepovers to
Grandma Fox's house, and many more memories
we made while living there.

We enjoyed looking forward to summer Lake Powell
trips with Briana and Sharla and all other family
members that came.
I worked in the records department of an OBGYN
office at the old hospital while Jay worked at the Court house. Jay also picked up a second job cleaning the
seminary building across town. Our family went every
night with him so that it would get done faster and we
could spend some time with him at home.

We learned to Whistle while we worked
and to be grateful for the work.

It was a good experience for the kids to learn how to work
and to work together in a different kind of environment.
Plus, it was a huge bonus that the seminary building was decked out with the SPIRIT with pictures, scriptures, etc.
 it was a peaceful place to spend together as a family every night for a few hours. But, no matter how fast we tried
to go, much of our evening was gone by the time we
reached home and homework was being rushed and
dinner too. After several months of this, we decided it
wasn't worth it to have that second job.

Helping Jay to move into his new office at the courthouse.

Trey played soccer, baseball (coach pitch), and he played
flag football which Jay got to be the head coach.
We loved cheering him on from the sidelines!!

Home and family IS heaven on earth!
Jay baptized Trey and many family and friends came to
support Trey in his wonderful decision to become a
member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Trey was so happy and you could tell he knew he was doing
 a very good thing for himself that day!
He is such a sweetie!

Visiting at Jay's parents home in Nevada.

 The kids were doing so well in their schools. Jayme
earned an award in her drama class and we loved
watching her perform in her play at school.
She is a natural. Trey was learning reading and writing
and taking extra classes to help him even more.

At the temple grounds in St. George for a Family Home
Evening picnic with our family. Jayme is taking our picture
and Trey is climbing the tree next to our spot there. Jay
and I wanted to show the kids where we eat lunch together everyday. So, for FHE we took the kids there for a "lunch"
with peanut butter sandwhiches. The temple grounds are the middle mark between Jay's and my work places. We love
eating lunch there together every day because it was so
peaceful and beautiful!

Soon, we added a new tradition of eating lunch every
thursday with Dad and Ryan in the hospital cafeteria.
Sometimes Steph and Laurel would join us too. Those
were fun memories we made.

We surprised the kids for easter with a trip to Disneyland!
 We had taken them one time before when trey was 3 and
Jayme was 8. This time, the kids were older and able to
ride all the rides.

 Disneyland really is one of
the happiest places on earth!
We moved to Northern Utah.
Jay decided it was either now or never to pursue his
desires of a total and complete career change.
We love him and want to see him happy in his career
 so we supported his desires to move to attend schooling
to earn his certifications in the field of
 IT Networking.

The only thing that helped the kids with the idea of
moving again was that we were moving in with
my sister's family and our kids get along so well and were excited to be living together.  Jay started a job working
at the courthouse and I worked part-time at Trey's elementary school and part-time at the courthouse.

Kims family showed us all the fun to be had that summer we moved in. We went to parades and many many summer swimming trips to the city pool. We also had fun partying
with all the other northern Utah families too!

Jay dove right into classes and did very well to balance
work, school (and homework),and family time. 
His schooling is from 6-9pm each evening and so he tries
to make his time with us well spent. We got Hogle Zoo
tickets and enjoyed many trips there. Jay went part time
at work so that he could more easily focus on school and
getting done as fast as possible.

 No matter what, No matter where,
 It's always home if LOVE is there
(this is my motto now)
 since it's such a reoccuring theme
in our lives.
Jayme started driving with a driver's permit. She does
pretty well out there on the road. I replaced my part-
time teacher aid job at Trey's elementary school with
a different part-time job working for Corrections.
And still currently still have a second part-time job
workingfor the Courts too. Jayme started Highschool
as a sophmore. Trey is a big time 5th grader now.
Jay is on the tail end of his schooling and job hunting
in this new field of work. He currently works for
the Courts and is excited to be changing Careers soon.

Trey played soccer and our hometeacher was his coach! One of his best friends was on the team with him too. Trey was so fun to watch and he is such a great player!!

Jayme won an art award at school with prize money too :)

The kids are both loving living up north and they
really like their school and friends. They both BEG Jay
and I not to move them anymore. I want to keep that
promise to them. But, I don't know if we can. We are
still living in Limbo currently.

Trey loves the activities they do at scouts

And as this new year of 2012 is coming to an end in
a few months, and school has just started up again...
we are hoping for good things to keep coming into
our lives. We've noticed that through all the
uncertainty throughout the years, a few things have
remained sure:
The kids are landing in good friend pools,
I keep landing in good "mom job" pools,
Jay and my relationship keeps getting
stronger and closer, our testimonies are continuing to deepen and grow stronger,
and our family loves being together.
What else could we really ask for? 
We are BLESSED with what matters
most in this life.

Heavenly Father blesses us
with what matters most as we keep our covenants and
teach our family to keep the commandments.
We decided to celebrate our anniversary by a drive up to
park city for the night. It was a relaxing, peaceful, fun time.

A television show was filming the
band there that evening.

mini golf

This was my first time to Park City and I loved it!

The best food I've ever eaten (Squatters restaurant)

We went to a movie and then for ice cream afterward

our view at breakfast

we loved seeing the Olympic memorabilia there

see the skiier in the air doing a flip?

My turn!!

Jay showing me up!

holding the olympic torch!


Gold, Silver, and Bronze


we ate a yummy pizza here in this cute little restaurant

Jay and I are truly best of friends and we are more in
love than we ever have been in any time of our marrige
in years past.
We feel so blessed for our relationship and for our
beautiful kids! We are keeping a positive outlook for the future and for good things to keep coming into our lives.
We look forward to learning more life lessons with every change that life will surly bring.

It was so fun to get-away together and it was a very