"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Party

The weekend before Halloween Jason and I were invited to a Halloween Party with some friends. It was such a blast and getting the costumes ready was a ton of fun!
I was Michelle Duggar. She is the mom that has 17 children and is pregnant with her 18th child. They have a show on Discovery Health that I can't stop watching! Here is the link if you haven't heard about them http://health.discovery.com/tv/duggars/duggars.html.

And Jason . . . well - he was Justin Timberlake from a recent skit he did on Saturday Night Live. Pretty funny, but not completely appropriate for family friendly blogs! It was really great to seem him laughing and having a fun time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grandma Cindy's October 28, 2008 Email

I thought it would be appropriate to post Grandma Cindy's email from yesterday since I have been sharing so many of them from last year. This is the email she sent out yesterday. I know Gavin's Grandma Bailey wrote a letter to Gavin also and I will try to get a copy of that as well.

October 28, 2008

Dear Gavin,

It's so hard to believe it has been a full year since you went to Heaven. Sometimes when I look at your pictures it seems as if you are still here with us. And other times it seems as if it was all just a dream. Your time here was so short. But certainly packed with all kinds of adventures and events. There was nothing routine or dull about the 94 days you spent on earth with us. We talk about you being such a good boy - other than the fact that you would forget to breathe or swallow or a host of other physical things you just couldn't do very well. But when we talk about you we smile and have fun memories. Gavin I miss you. At church or at the store I watch other little children and it makes my heart ache. And then I look at their parents or family and wonder if they have any idea how lucky they are to have a child with a body that could sustain life. I think our whole family now has a much much greater appreciation of the miracle of life and the perfection that is there in such little tiny bodies.

Your mom and dad miss you so much. I know I don't need to tell you that. I watch your dad's jaw clench and unclench sometimes and wonder what he's thinking. He doesn't laugh as easily now. But it's joyful to watch when he does. He works so hard at work and at school. He'll graduate this December with his MBA!! He really hung in there even when things were so tough with you. And your mom's brown eyes don't dance as much as they did when she was a little girl. She does still talk as much. But her questions are different now. And I don't always have an answer for her. She's studied a lot and has learned so much. She's not letting any of her experiences with you go to waste. She has been able to befriend and help other moms who have had similar experiences.

Since you left us we have watched the newspaper closely and paid a lot more attention to when other children pass away. We often comment that in our narrow "pre-Gavin" frame of reference babies don't die. But we now know that they do. And our hearts are always saddened to hear of another's loss. We feel it keenly.

Grandpa Dave misses you a ton! He loves to go to the cemetery and just sit. Sometimes he'll throw a ball against your headstone. At first I wondered if that was appropriate to do. And then I realized that you would want him to be relaxed and fun. We all love the way we feel when we go to see you. And we go often. We'll be in the middle of something and he'll say, "I miss Gav - let's go see him." And we do.

And I know that Uncle Matthew misses you too. He has the biggest picture on his wall of you holding that yellow and blue rattle and your eyes are wide open and VERY crossed. He loves it. We can see how very blue your eyes are. And we've gotten used to how crossed they are. He goes with Grandpa and I to the cemetery most of the time. This past summer we went on a Pioneer Trek. Each pioneer family had a baby doll they were to take care of during the Trek. Matthew took good care of "Alice Elizabeth". And then she passed away and his family was asked to bury her. This was very hard for him to do, but he did it. His Ma and Pa were Monte and Annette Brown who lost their son 9 years ago this November. They all deeply felt the loss of the baby. At the Fast and Testimony meeting following the Trek, Matthew was one of the first to bear his testimony and he spoke of eternal families. I had the thought hit me, "He gets it." And I know he "gets it" in part because of you. Thank you for helping him to understand the importance of eternal families.

And Rebecca is still in Utah. That surprised all of us. But not nearly as much as the job she has now. She works with handicapped people in their homes and in group homes. She loves helping them and they love her. She works far too many hours and both Grandpa and I are concerned. But we understand how difficult it is for her to quit working and helping someone. She has wonderfully funny stories to tell us about her experiences with her "handi's". She takes them to fly kites, shop at Desert Industries, dance recitals and just recently to a Special Needs Mutual program. She told me they have such a great spirit. They do. And I think she recognizes that great spirit from the time she spent by your side. It wasn't much time, but it was enough to let her know how it felt to be next to such a special boy. She has really really missed you. And it's been very hard on her, especially where she is so far away from the family. Keep on eye on her okay.

We had a great day on Saturday, October 18th. Uncle James and Aunt Lauren were sealed in the Las Vegas Temple. We now have a much greater appreciation of eternal families and were so happy they started out their family unit in the temple. James is such a tender heart. I still remember the pain in his eyes as he and Uncle Matthew arrived at the hospital shortly after you were given a name and blessing. We didn't dare wait for him and Matthew to get to Salt Lake City from Las Vegas because you had started to have so many breathing episodes. But James is strong in the gospel and he knows and understands. We were happy to have a spiritual and happy day in the temple with James and Lauren and so many family members. In fact, James, Lauren, Grandpa David, your mom, dad and I are going to the temple this evening. It will be good for Lauren to go back so soon after receiving her endowments. And we all want to go where we can feel just a little closer to you.

We are so excited for your brother to come join us here on earth. It's been a very tense and exhausting pregnancy as we are no longer naive and we realize how many things can go wrong. It's been a little hard to believe that things can and will work out and be okay. But they will. I think, if she could, your mom would make the doctors sign in blood when they tell her things look good with this little guy. And when one of the doctors asked if he could do anything else your dad invited him to move in with them until your brother is born. They need a lot of reassuring. We joke that you are having to apologize to your brother for making your mom and dad so uptight and nervous about everything. Hopefully your brother can help them calm down some, relax and believe. Maybe you could send a kiss along with your brother.....

Gavin there are so many people who have been good and kind to your parents and to us. I will always be grateful for all the goodness in the world. I want to be able to help others around me when they are having a hard time. I want to be a better person and be better to those around me. Thank you for helping me see that others might need my help. Grandpa and I were talking on Sunday about how we have realized that there are so many things that just don't matter. I guess we've been able to better focus on what is truly important. You taught us that. There's not a day that has gone by that I've not thought about you. Your picture is on my fridge - your dad is holding you. And there's a picture of you by my phone. There's a lot that I realize I don't understand or know. But there's a lot that I know and understand better now because of you. I know you fulfilled your purpose here on earth. I know that you are busy. I know that the Lord is mindful of us and of our pains. And I know that we don't have to suffer alone. He will help us. And I know that we can all be together again. It is up to each of us and how we choose to live our lives now. Gavin I hope and I think that we are all a little better and more in tune with the Spirit since you joined our family. I love you.

Grandma Cindy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gavin's First Heaven Day

Dear Gavin,

Today has been a whirlwind of emotions. It has been one year since you returned home to our Heavenly Father. I approached this day with such anxiety over the feelings we would have today. I was surprised this morning when I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of peace and calmness. I felt you by my side all morning as your dad and I walked over to the cemetery and spent time with you. Later that morning we went over to the Ronald McDonald House and dropped off all the pop tops we have been collecting this year. A sweet lady at the House noticed that you are going to have a baby brother and she gave us a beautiful blue and white blanket.

Tonight we went to the Temple with Grandma Cindy, Grandpa Dave, Uncle James and Aunt Lauren. It was a perfect way to conclude a day that was full of memories and spiritual experiences. I couldn't imagine a more perfect place to be. It was good to feel you so close.

As I have reflected on the day you left our arms I have been reminded of how many blessings and tender mercies we have been granted throughout this past year and three months. The night you returned to our Heavenly Father was a calm and surreal experience for all of us. Your dad and I felt so much peace and we knew that your mission was complete. I am amazed that you were able to accomplish so much in your brief time here on earth. You have changed so much for so many people.

There is no doubt that we miss you, Gavin. My arms ache so much to pick you up and love you. I miss having your calming presence in my life at every moment. I wish I could kiss you and rock you all day long. But, I know that the day we can see you again we will understand - and that will be a beautiful day. Keep working hard and know that your daddy and I love you very, very much. You are our beautiful angel baby.

I love you Bug,

Here are some pictures of us dropping off the pop tops at the Las Vegas Ronald McDonald House.

And the blanket they gave us for Gavin's new little brother.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

I won't say how old my dad turned today . . . WHAT?! 50?! It was really fun to get together as a family (except my sis Becca who is at college) and have a party for him.
Honestly, my dad has to be one of the coolest people I know. He has always known what was best for me and encouraged me to become an independent and self reliant individual. Through his example I have learned how to work hard, serve well and love. He has been such a strong foundation for me as I have grown up and has always been there with direction and a love when I need him.
But one of my very favorite things about my father is how much he loves Gavin and this new baby. One day when I was sitting by Gavin's bed at PCMC Grandpa Dave just appeared around the corner. Apparently he couldn't stand being away from Gavin and he took the first plane to SLC that morning. I still remember watching my dad play with Gavin that day - Gavin was so awake and responsive. I am sure he was able to feel how much his Grandpa Dave loves him.
So, Happy Birthday Dad and thanks for being the greatest dad and grandpa!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

James & Lauren's Wedding

Saturday October 18, 2008 my brother James and his fiance Lauren were married in the Las Vegas Temple. The sealing was so beautiful and Lauren's grandfather was able to marry them. As he spoke about marriage and the eternal family unit - I was once again reminded of the sweet and beautiful blessings we are promised. It was so overwhelming to watch James' face as he promised to be with Lauren for eternity. I could feel the love radiating through their eyes. It was a special day for all of us and I am so happy to have Lauren as a sister!
Here are a few pictures from the Temple.
Aren't they such a BEAUTIFUL couple?!The Mortensen FamilyThe fun bridal partyI just had to put this picture on . . . I thought it was just too fun!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Year Ago - October 22, 2007

Another excerpt from a Grandma Cindy email:
October 22, 2007
I was a little anxious to see Gavin this morning as I just didn't know how I would handle it if he seemed to be in pain from his surgery or still struggling to breathe. I went in on my own to see him while Lindsay went in to pump. As I approached the bed he opened his eyes and for the next 15 minutes our faces were 10 inches apart and totally focused on each other. I talked with him and told him how distressing it was to all of us to hear that he'd been in pain and struggling to breathe. And once again his eyes said it all. Is it so easy to forget the peace that we feel when we are able to connect with his eyes. He was as alert and bright eyed as last week when he was feeling good. And I think if his eyes could have spoken they would have told me to try harder to remember how we feel when we are able to connect with his eyes. I know it was a gift for me to have those few minutes with him. His nurse asked me a question and I turned my head to answer her. When I turned back to Gavin he was fast asleep and stayed that way for the rest of the day. So I will try harder to remember how it feels when he looks at me. And I will try harder to have the trust and the faith to know that even on a bad day, things will still work out for him.
I loved reading this excerpt today. It reminded me of the beautiful blessings and tender mercies we were given at this time last year. This week begins a painful walk down memory lane for us. However, experiences like the one my mother wrote about were so abundant during the last few days we had with Gavin here on earth. His eyes brought us comfort. The moments that Gavin was alert and focused were few and far in between, but it was during those moments that we all saw a glimpse of heaven. I am convinced that Gavin communicated, when he could, through his eyes. Looking into his alert, bright, blue eyes gave a peace that I have yet to find again - no matter where I search for it. How blessed and fortunate we were to have these moments with Gavin where he let us know that he would be okay. I remember the recurring thought I had during those trying three months "It won't be as bad as you think it will." While what we have had to do and what we will continue to do for the rest of our lives isn't easy - I do know that this is better than watching my beautiful son struggle like he was at this time last year. I hurt because I miss him but, I know he doesn't have to hurt any more. I am so grateful my mother wrote about this experience so we can go back and remember the peace and comfort we found through a three month old little boy who had more wisdom than we did.
Eyes truly are the window to one's soul . . . this picture is proof.

Aren't my two boys so handsome together?!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dear Gavin,

Dear Gavin,

This weekend your uncle James and your new aunt Lauren are getting married! It's such a big day for them and we are so excited for them to start their lives together. There are lots of family members in town and there is a lot of talk about you. We miss you. It's days like this that we wish we had you here to celebrate with us. Your daddy told me this morning that he would have purchased a little tux just for you so that you could be "stylin' at the wedding." Your uncle James and aunt Lauren love you very much. I wish you could have met Lauren . . . you would love her. We all do.

We miss you and love you so much.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

26 Week Checkup on Baby!

Today we had another visit with our Perinatologist. It's always exciting and scary to get such detailed reports on the baby. It was a good visit and things are still looking great with this little guy. He now weighs 1 lb. 13 oz. (almost 2 lbs!) and he is measuring right on track in all other aspects. The cardiologist told us that his heart looks perfect and that he will come check the baby before we take him home from the hospital - just to reassure us that things look good. (They cater to my anxiety really well - and I love them for that.) We were able to count ten fingers and ten toes and we loved watching him move around. Right now he is in a breach position, but we still have plenty of time for him to flip and move into the correct position.
Here are a few pictures we got this time :
It's kinda hard to see . . . but this is his face. Can you believe they can already see hair on this little monkey?! I know it's such a silly thing, but knowing that he has hair makes me so happy. Maybe he will have a full head of hair like his older brother!
Here is one of this cute feet - I can't wait to kiss his little toes!
And another picture of his face and cute chubby cheeks.
The doctors are still being very cautious with this pregnancy. We know all too well how delicate human life is. We will meet again with the perinatologist in about six weeks and after that he will be monitoring the baby's movement twice a week in his office until he is born. I will meet with my regular OB on a normal schedule - but he has given us very strict guidelines for the last trimester. It's a lot of appointments, but we will do any and everything that we need to so that we can have peace of mind and the best care for this little guy. We just want him here happy and healthy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Aunt Becca

Gavin was very lucky boy to know his a sweet Aunt Becca. This first picture was taken just a few hours before he passed away. He is looking at Becca with such intensity . . . I wonder what he is telling her. What is he communicating without words? What wisdom would Gavin share with his Aunt Becca?

This morning my mom called me to tell me about a conversation she had with Becca last night. Becca attends Utah Valley University full time and also keeps a full time job (her own desire) helping take care of adults with special needs who are trying to live a normal, independent life. Every day she goes into their homes and helps take care of their physical and mental needs. We always love to hear how much she loves these people and how much they contribute to her life. I think they truly make her happy.

Apparently last night, Becca was able to take one gentleman to a church activity. She met his family and they expressed such gratitude to her for loving and caring for their son. I believe Becca does an amazing job at caring for these individuals.

As a mother of a special needs child - my heart is touched when I hear about people like Becca. I have so much love a gratitude to all the people who took care of and loved Gavin. I know that he would be happy that his Aunt Becca is helping and loving other people. It takes an amazing person to be able to care for these amazing people. I know that if Gavin needed someone to help take care of him - his Aunt Becca would be the perfect choice.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pregnancy Brain

While watching Dr. Oz on Oprah yesterday - he informed us that a woman's brain shrinks by 8% during pregnancy.
It all makes sense now . . .

Monday, October 6, 2008


I have to admit I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. Life is busy - my world is still in the midst of accepting change - we are preparing for Jason's MBA graduation and we are getting excited to have this sweet baby boy come to our family in January. There are so many changes about to occur and it all seems overwhelming. Good - but overwhelming.

This past weekend Jason and I went with some of my family to my parents' cabin for General Conference weekend. (To learn more about General Conference visit this site www.lds.org.) It was a perfect weekend and perfect chance to rejuvenate our physical and spiritual selves. I came home feeling uplifted and determined to be a better person.

As I sat in the cabin on a rainy Saturday and Sunday, I listened to the prophet and apostles of our church talk about hope, peace and faith. One of the most prominent thoughts I had was that we have every reason to rejoice - even in the midst of trials. Many times I had the overwhelming feeling to "just hang in there" and I would see the reward.

I think it was Elder Worthlin who said this . . . "Come what may and love it." I assume this man has had many trials of his own - he was not belittling the trials we encounter in this life - but it was a sweet reminder that we have the ability to control what trials make of us. Will we let them destroy us? Or will we take what we can from them and become a stronger and more faithful person because of the trials we experience throughout this mortal life?

Yesterday as Jason and I drove home, I realized I had been rejuvenated in more than one way.

Friday, October 3, 2008


This time last year my amazing mother and I packed up the back of her Acura CrossOver and headed to Salt Lake City to await the arrival of Gavin's flight at PCMC. I have never been so nervous in my whole life. I was going to live in a strange place - for an undefined amount of time - under the most stressful of circumstances - without my husband - with a charge to find a "fix" for my son. The one thing that brought me comfort was that I was that I knew my mother would be by my side every step of the way.

The night before we left I packed a suitcase with enough clothes for a month. It had been a110 degree day in July when Gavin was born and now I was entering into to serene, cool fall weather of Salt Lake City, UT. We arrived in SLC on September 30, 2007 and Gavin arrived the morning of October 1, 2007 with Jason on a small plane which landed at PCMC. We proceeded to spend the next month living at the Ronald McDonald House in the Avenues of Salt Lake City, UT. My mom stayed with me during the week and Jason would come up for the weekends. It is a time that is ingrained in my brain and senses. Everything thing about fall time reminds me of Gavin.

During that month, my mom and I would often walk the streets of the Avenues to help calm the anxiety and nerves we felt on a regular basis as we searched for answers to Gavin's illness. We watched as the trees changed colors and the leaves fell to the ground covering the uneven sidewalks. The yellow, orange and brown colors of fall now have a much deeper meaning to me. It was in the shadows of those falling leaves that I came to understand the plan for my son. It was walking through the Salt Lake City cemetery in search of my mother's older brother (who passed away when he was a child) that I discovered that children do sometimes pass away despite parents' best efforts. It was during the walks with my mother that I found peace in change. It was there, during the change of seasons, that I developed a stronger, more deeper realtionship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior.

The fall time is sacred to me now in a very personal way. It is a time for change. I will never forget what my mother said as we packed up her car to leave Salt Lake City on October 30, 2007. "The leaves have fallen and winter is coming. And now, it is time to go home - Gavin has gone home."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"I Can't Believe How Big Your Tummy Is!"

Yesterday I stopped by our pharmacy to pick up my prenatal vitamins. We have a new pharmacist and here is the conversation that took place:

Pharmacist: When is your baby due?
Me: January
Pharmacist: January?! You look like you are due any day!
Me: Yeah, it's my second baby in 18 months.
Pharmacist: Yeah, well, I can't imaging how huge you are going to be by January.
Me: Ummmm . . . thanks for the refill.

I know that I am starting my seventh month looking like a blimp, but really?! Did she need to point out the obvious? HA!

The thing is . . . Gavin was so small that I really find comfort in the size of this little (or not so little) guy. Good thing I'm not vain about pregnancy size! That comment would have made me cry before . . . but now it's just a sign that we are growing! We want a healthy baby!

(Okay - I have to take back part of the vanity comment . . . I hate the way my face looks when I am pregnant! I look like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. Oh, well, it is SO worth it!)