6.29.2014

60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration!

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Yesterday we celebrated my grandparent’s 60th Anniversary!!!

LaVell & Barbara are an amazing couple with so many people that love them. They have spent the last 60 years teaching and serving their 7 children, dozens of grandchildren and a bunch of great grandchildren {that keep on coming!}. They have also served two missions to Nauvoo and have made so many lifelong friends. We are all so blessed to be in their {large} wonderful family and have them be such an important part of our lives.

My aunt Cindi spent a lot of time putting together a great party at the park for us to celebrate them. Everything looked beautiful and all the food tasted amazing.

 

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My aunt Kim had an awesome calendar made for them that shows all of the family birthdays and anniversaries. They loved it! My grandma always remembers all of our birthdays and sends us each cards.

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Cindi made them a gorgeous cake that we had them cut into the way they did at their wedding. It was so cute to watch them feed each other- they are forever young and such a sweet couple.

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We stayed at the park for hours, just enjoying the company and the sunshine!

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There was an awesome little stream {actually a part of the Provo River} that the kids loved playing in.

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It was a great time and such an fun occasion to get the family together!

We love our grandparents~ Happy Anniversary!!!

6.18.2014

Our Little Manny Graduated!

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Well, my little sister Samantha (a.k.a. Mandy, Manny, Aslan, Sosa,  etc…) in now a high school graduate!

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She is basically super smart and an honor roll student; always doing her best in school. She recently got accepted into the School of Business at Utah State University. She also received a great scholarship for partial tuition. We are pretty excited for her and can’t believe our baby sis will be in college!

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She also graduated from LDS Seminary the Sunday before graduation. My dad even got to attend, in his white shirt and tie with his cute overalls on top. He was in his wheelchair and had to leave early, but he was glad he got to be there.  I made her a cake and our Grandma and Grandpa Veteto were also there with us.

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A few days after graduation we celebrated with the rest of my mom’s extended family. Our cousin Jake graduated this year as well, so we had a fun little joint party with photo props, candy bar cards and lots of good advice for the graduates. I also made cake pops, but apparently not enough because they were gone in like 10 minutes.

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Congrats Mandy, we are proud of you and know you will do great at Utah State! GO AGGIES!

6.12.2014

Wayne’s Memorial Service

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My father’s memorial service was really beautiful. I think the day went the best it possibly could have. It was very long and exhausting for the family, but we felt so much love and peace. We spent the whole week preparing for the service and luckily all of us children were able to get the week off from work and spend it together. We felt so many emotions and the grief hit us all so hard. It was a tough week, but we were glad we were together. This article really validated our feelings and emotions and continues to give us comfort (click here).

At the church where we held the funeral, we put up tables with mementos and pictures from my father’s life. We also put together a ‘Candy Bar’ with all of my dad’s favorite sweets. He asked us repeatedly to have this and to make the memorial happy and sweet for those that attended. We used his favorite color, orange, and a checkered pattern since his favorite shoes were his white and black checkered vans.

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The viewing was very special for us; it was so nice to see so many people come through to say goodbye to our father and give their love to our mother. My brothers and sisters stood by my mother, uncles and grandfather as dozens of family and friends talked with us and cried with us. So many people came that we had to turn them away in order to end the viewing after two hours and close the casket with a family prayer.

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After we said our goodbyes, we followed the casket to the chapel where we sat together in the reserved seating area at the front. The chapel was full and overflowing, which was heart warming to see.

Here is a copy of the outline of the memorial program.

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At our father’s request, all of his children participated in the program. It was actually a good closure for us, I think. We spent the week thinking about what we would say and at least for me, once I wrote it all down, I felt much better. We tried to paint a picture of the wonderful father, spiritual leader, worker, husband and man that he was.

After the prayer, we again followed the casket outside and were driven to the cemetery in a family limo. The pallbearers were made up of Wayne’s brothers(2), sons(3) and nephews(3).

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The cemetery service was short and sweet, but a little painful. Its just so unbelievable to know that our dad is in that casket and is gone from this life. At the grave, my grandfather gave a prayer, dedicating and blessing the gravesite from any harm. It felt so wonderful to be surrounded by so many people that loved him and felt the sorrow of his loss along with us. We sang “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again”, which is always so comforting.

Everything was so beautiful and we all really loved the casket we found for his body. It was made of cedar and we think it was exactly his style and what he would have chosen. My brothers and great uncle added to it a few of the wood projects my dad was working on and on the sides are pieces of cedar that he and his father had recently cut together. It was perfect.

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We stood by the casket one last time together and then everyone took roses from the spray to keep.

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We returned to the church for a dinner, provided by our father’s employer- Nicholas & Company. We were so honored and blessed to have them cater the meal for all our family and friends. They treated my dad so well and are the best of the best! We had such a nice time being able to finally chat with all our friends and family that had come from near and far. It was a happy end to the day and we are so grateful to all that came to support us.

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We have received so much service and truly have felt an outpouring of love. My parent’s church congregation and neighborhood has been incredibly kind and giving. They lined the neighborhood with orange balloons on the day of the funeral among so many other things that have meant so much. We cannot count all the amazing things people have done and please know we truly appreciate every note, message, flower, meal and visit. Thank you!

God be with you ‘til we meet again~

6.03.2014

Final Moments

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Our last moments with my dad were very special. My mom invited all of us into their room as my father lied on the bed, next to my her. I joined my family as we sat on and around my parent's bed singing hymns. My dad's breathing had changed and my mom knew the time was coming for him to leave. We all inwardly agreed and tears poured down our cheeks. We sang the verses of many hymns and found pain and comfort in their words. "Be Still My Soul", "Where Can I Turn for Peace", "Abide With Me ‘tis Eventide", "Lead Kindly Light" to name a few. Our voices were weak at times and strong at others. We sobbed. When we couldn't sing, someone else would keep it going. Chris' voice stayed strong to guide us on.

Dad struggled more but kept holding on. We cried as we knew this was the end. It was real and it was time. He needed to leave and we knew he couldn't stay. He was weak and his color was changing. His body struggled. We decided to give him a blessing so he could let go.

Chris gave him a priesthood blessing with Jared and Scott. He blessed him to know that his calling here on earth was complete. The men cried on each other's shoulders as they administered. Chris continued and praised my father’s efforts and duties on this earth. He told of God's love for him and his work on the other side. We cried.

Chris lingered at his head and caressed our dad. We sang on. My grandparents arrived. Vivi continued to sleep and I was so grateful. Scott held me and we cried. I walked to my dad's bedside while we began reading from his journal. The book was passed along as I held my dad's arm. He struggled and I knew he needed to let go. For awhile I placed my hand on his chest and touched his forehead. I softly said 'it's ok' a few times and shh'd him as I do my babe. I laid my head on his pillow while kneeling on the ground and resting my hand on his chest.

Time slowly passed and we all shared memories and cried and laughed. I ran my hands through his hair and rubbed his forehead. His breathing slowed. He paused for seconds between a breath. We noticed and fell quiet. I felt his heart and nothing pumped. One last shallow breath commenced. He relaxed and his face went limp. They asked if his heart beat stopped and I said yes. I held his face and sobbed. It was 1:07pm.

This was no longer my dad. I kissed his face and said goodbye to the body that once housed my daddy. My siblings came and did the same. We cried and cried. We knew that he was gone. He had moved on. He was free. I looked down and smiled through the aching pain, as I knew the joy he must have gained. He had gone home, but somehow we still weren't alone. Our earthly lives were forever changed and life would never be the same. But we had each other, something our father had given us and always would remain.

Over the past week I have often felt jealous that he is now on the other side, feeling joy and peace and beyond the daily struggles of life here on earth. I wish I was with him and all my loved ones that have passed on. But, I know my journey here isn’t done. My dad proved himself through his service to God and others over and over throughout his life. Now it is our turn to carry on. It’s our turn to commit to being a better version of ourselves, every day. It’s our turn to be warriors in this world.

My dad taught me that through Christ’s atonement, we can overcome the trials of this world and someday be worthy to enter into His Kingdom to be with Him again. I pray that we can follow my dad’s example and persevere triumphantly through this life.
 

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5.23.2014

Survive

I'm sitting next to my dad right now as he sleeps, taking in deep dry breaths. His appearance is so foreign to me; frail, thin and fatigued. He's always been a source of strength and might. I stare at him & I wonder if he is dreaming. He keeps making sounds.

When he is awake he doesn't talk much today, it takes a lot of time for him to process what you say and what he is thinking. He has said 'I love you guys' a lot today and that comes easily, as it always has. He has never held back his kind feelings towards us and always let us know how much we were loved and how proud of us he was.

I hope he is dreaming of heaven and being surrounded by love. Dreams of joy and light and peace~ where there is no pain or despair or anger. I know he has felt all of those exhausting emotions during this last week. He has endured so much, so fast. He is now ready to leave this earth, I think. Today he told me his spirit is weak and I know that means it is moving on from this life.

I know the Lord needs him on the other side, to share the gospel, be a judge and build the kingdom. But I just wonder why he can't do that here. He has always been such a wonderful missionary and faithful servant. He goes above and beyond in every calling. He can and has done so much good here. He doesn't even know the good he does, every single day, just by living faithfully.

But for some reason, God has seen it fit that he leave this world. I know that now. He is not going to be healed. He is going to leave us. It may feel like a long time until we see him again, but I know it will seem like no time at all to him. We have eternity together after all.

I begged God over and over last night to heal his ailments, if only to make him comfortable. I think he answered me. Dad seems very comfortable today. His mind is going & his body is failing, but he doesn't seem to be in pain. This is the answer to our prayers~ his pain was temporary but his love, spirit and legacy will last forever.

I don't know what we are going to do without him. I can't picture my life without him in it. He has been there for me even when I wasn't there for him. There hasn't been a moment in my life that I didn't love and adore my father and want him near.

He has always been my hero. I've looked up to him as a pillar of strength and wisdom. I constantly admired his ability to rise above his upbringing to lead, inspire and succeed. As I've grown I've come to realize that he was all the man he could be because of my mother. She was there through it all, encouraging, supporting and prompting at every turn. She lifted him, inspired him and he in turn impacted countless lives for good.

Their souls are sealed because of their service to each other and the ones they love. They covenanted with the Lord and with each other to always do God's will and I've never known them to stray. They promised to give all to the building of God's kingdom and there's nothing my dad enjoyed more. He strained himself repeatedly in the service of our Lord. He knew God's plan and taught us well. That's how I know God needs him more. I'm not sure why, I'm not sure how, but I will survive without him somehow.

5.01.2014

13 for Thursday

1. Last weekend my brother Jared and his family came into town to be with my dad and the rest of us and we had a nice, long weekend together. Their baby boy, Kenner, will be 1 soon! His eyes are so big and beautiful.

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2. A vendor from work gave me some pistachios the other day, so that inspired me to make these:

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I made a chocolate cake, topped it with chocolate ganache, a little sea salt and chopped pistachios toasted in a little coconut oil. Success! Thank you Adam’s G3 Collision for the pistachios :)

3. Scott finished finals today!!! He only has 2 more semesters and they will be pretty easy. This was his hardest semester yet, but he is still going to walk away with a couple A’s and a few B’s. He’s a smart one and he works hard for us everyday. Vivi and I love him a lot & will be happy to have our daddy back! He has spent many nights in the library away from us.

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4. We discovered Art City Donuts and have enjoyed them a few times now. Food trucks are the best and always feel like a special treat…even if you eat them multiple times a week….

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5. We got to go up the Provo Canyon with our good friends, the Thorntons, for a campfire recently. We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores and had a great time. We are so excited for summer & getting to be outside!

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6. My uncle David and aunt Anne Marie came to visit my parents and us from Arizona last week! It had been years since we had seen them and it was so great to be together. It meant so much to my dad to have them in his home. We had some good times around the fire pit at my parent’s, chatting and laughing.

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7. I have been making all our lunches for the week on Sunday nights for the past few weeks. It has made such a big difference for us! If I don’t have a meal prepped for me, I often have to skip lunch because I get too busy at the office. Or, I end up eating nasty fast food and wasting money, so this has been a huge help! Plus, I make big enough portions so that Vivi and I can share and she is obsessed with quinoa, so it works out great.       It’s the little things…

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8. I got my hair cut a few weeks ago and I love it! I found a new stylist and she cut it exactly how I wanted, so she is a keeper!    But of course now I want to grow it out   (cue Scott’s eye rolls…)

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9. I love my little girl so much! She is the sweetest thing and we have so much fun lately. She loves bath time, giving kisses, reading books (for hours), climbing stairs, waking up at 2 am, eating crackers, dancing and eating pretty much anything with beans in it.

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10. Life lately has been pretty overwhelming; emotionally, mentally and physically. Life isn’t easy and some days I just want to hide in a hole and take a break from adulthood. Luckily, Scott and I are going on a little vacation! I have next week off from work (first days off since maternity leave!) and it will be so nice to {hopefully} clear my mind and relax a little. We are headed to Vegas for a few nights & I hope to spend days by the pool and nights walking the strip & eating at yummy restaurants.

11. My dad’s well-being has been pretty bad lately. He had new scans done after experiencing some harsh symptoms and his cancer has grown rapidly since discovery in December. He has been in a lot of pain and discomfort. He is constantly in my thoughts and prayers and I love him so much. He is still fighting, but we can use any and all prayers on his behalf.

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12. Vivi has officially outgrown my office and won’t be coming to work with me anymore. The last month has been pretty difficult with her there and has truly tested my patience (& hers I’m sure!). She is not a little baby anymore and doesn’t want an exact schedule and really wants someone to play with and hold her hands while she tries walking everywhere; training someone with all that going on is not exactly ideal! So, my boss is allowing me to work from home a couple days a week! Scott will be home with her Mondays, she’ll be at my moms Tuesday & Thursday and then home with me Wednesday & Friday. I hope it works out well- I think it will be great.

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13. Scott’s sister Sammy & her family are here visiting us on their way to a wedding in St. George! We got to spend the evening with them and it is SO nice to have them here. We miss our Seattle family so much. Luckily we have the whole day tomorrow with them as well.Vivi is loving little Owen {4 years old} and constantly wanted to wave at him and touch his hand tonight- it was so sweet. He is adorable and was telling us all about his favorite colors tonight (green, blue, pink, brown, yellow, white, oh and red and orange).

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4.23.2014

A Visit With My Girl!

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In April Ella and her family came to visit us!

They stayed at my parent’s home and we got to spend a lot of time together. They were able to spend time with my dad as well, which was important to them. My dad had a pretty rough week while they were there and was in a lot of pain and discomfort. He didn’t get to do a lot with us and stayed in his room most of the time. But, he did get to play, hold and hug the girls when he could.

Since it was the week before Easter, we had a lot of fun preparing goodies and eggs for the holiday. Decorating rice krispy treats was really fun and soo much easier than making sugar cookies! 

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The girls loved seeing and playing with Vivi and she adored all the attention!

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My boss gave me a day off from work and we went swimming at the rec center together.

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One night, Ella got to have a sleepover at my house and we had a special ice cream date. She is so fun to hang out with and is very talkative. She asked some important questions about her adoption- some that I did not think would come for a few more years. But, she is very smart and aware, so she is ready to have some answers. I hope our chats gave her a better understanding. It is so important to me for her to know that I only placed her for adoption out of love- she was always wanted more than anything!

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The next day we got to go to BYU for an Easter Egg Hunt and met up with everyone again. Unfortunately, the hunt was a bust and the girls only found a couple eggs before being run over by hundreds of kids (note to self, avoid this hunt at all costs in the future). But, the girls looked adorable in their matching dresses (and Vivi could care less about finding eggs any way) and Ella found the Easter Bunny!

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We made up for the hunt by going to a fun BYU Baseball game afterwards and having a little hunt of our own at Grandma Julie’s house. She did so much for Ella and her family while they were here and is such a fun, loving grandma! Vivi wasted no time at all once she realized there was chocolate in her basket!

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Having them here was so much fun and I am so grateful that they make the effort to be an important part of our lives. It is so fun to have an extended ‘family’ and I love that Vivi gets to know her big sister!