The rest of that week I got ready to head off up to Utah. Jared and I figured out that if we rented a car and I stayed in Southern Utah halfway up then it would be the best option so that I could take the kids with me and see how things would work out. We were hopeful that Jared could get a last minute plane ticket if needed and come see Grandma if needed. I called Grandma on the phone each day and it got so that she’d say she had to go the minute I called. On Wednesday she actually let me tell her before she hung up that I was coming so she shouldn’t “go anywhere yet”. She laughed and said she had to go to the bathroom. I laughed and told her she knew what I meant and that was the when she finally took a minute to say she loved me with her goodbye.
Friday morning, I packed up the rental car and as I was getting all the food loaded, Christian cried that he needed to go to school “At least for an hour, mom!” So I dropped him off and then his teacher had him waiting at the front office with his homework for the next week.
After I picked up Christian, of course he needed to use the restroom so we ran into the Library and I let him pick a book on tape. He picked Jack London’s “White Fang” and I have to tell you, whoever the reader for that book was, he was doing a fantastic job putting me to sleep and I hadn’t even left Phoenix proper so we pulled that out for the remainder of the trip.
The kids were pretty good for the trip except that Vivian would get frustrated being in her car seat and cry for long bouts until she fell asleep. Once I reached Flagstaff, I got a text from my Aunt Mel that Grandma had had a stroke or something the night before and that she had no recollection of it and the nurse said her potassium was super high and that they were trying to convince her that she needed to go to the hospital but she was fighting them on it. Needless to say, I was wide awake the rest of the trip because I had so much nervous energy and just shaking praying she would hold on for me to say goodbye.
The kids and I arrived in Kanab that evening and so we freshened up at the hotel and I took the kids out to “The Three Bears Creamery” that we have passed numerous times on the way to Utah and I have always promised myself that I would take the kids there. They have lots of bear things and Christian wanted to pose in front of most of them.
This is Vivian after she soaked herself with her first drink.
Something that really struck home to me was that while we were there a girl I had met from our University ward was there with her family because they now lived there. I felt like her being there was a tender mercy to show me that someone would be there when I needed them. It was really comforting to me.
Christian was really excited to have superman ice cream for the first time and I love these expressions as he took his first bites.
When we got back to the hotel that night I got the kids settled and then started getting messages and calls to tell me that my Grandma had kidney failure and that she was dying. That was a rough night for me but I felt comforted that I was already on my way to come and see her before she left this life.
The next day, we arrived in Utah and my friend Julie was super sweet and ready and willing to take my kids the moment I got into town. Because of her, I was able to go directly to my grandma’s and visit with her for a while. When we finally got to my parent’s house it was evening. Vivian, who hadn’t been in Utah for a little over a year was not very happy…though she did enjoy roaming the house…especially once she found grandma’s cookie-cutter drawer!
Love the bracelets!
Sunday, I took the kids to church at my parents brand new ward (they just underwent an entire Stake change) and then took the kids up to see Grandma for just a minute. When Christian asked if he could play with the blocks she told him that she couldn’t clean up after him . So she was at least feisty and happy to see the kids. After our short visit, I took the kids to my Uncle Steve’s monthly Sunday drop-in and they enjoyed playing there with cousins and their toys. Christian enjoyed playing so much that I didn’t really get any good photos of him. Vivian was happy to just be near me and explore just a little. My aunt Marie, Steve’s wife, was really sweet and brought out a little people doll house that Vivian just LOVED. I got a pretty cute photo of her and my dad playing with it.
The next day, thanks to my sweet friend Charisse, I was able to spend the morning at my Grandma’s helping my Aunt Mel. She was getting so much weaker by that day that I was glad that there were two of us to help her get up and down. Then I spent the rest of the day visiting Jared’s sister Deborah, searching through family photos. That night, me and the kids relocated to my kind friend Kristen’s house, who lives a couple of blocks from my grandma’s house and had a nice sized spare room for the kids and I to stay in. She was super sweet and had a bin of toys appropriate for both of the kids to play with. It was very nice to be there with her and let her pamper me a little.
The next day, I took Vivian and Christian to see the new children’s exhibit at the Church History museum. The museum has always meant something special to me and it’s because Grandma had volunteered there for years and we would come and see her there on many occasions. She even suggested I enter a picture in the children’s art contest one year and I got in it and my picture was even printed in the Ensign magazine a few years later. (So maybe I am kind of an artist).
Vivian was more excited to push the stroller around most of the time.
This one cracks me up a bit because it looks like Christian is praying to know which direction to go.
Vivian has a really obsession with wanting to drive cars so she was thrilled this one was her size (though she kept pushing all the other kids off :/ ).
I loved that they had these large-sized blocks for the kids to build with. Christian took this task very seriously.
There’s Christian’s golden smile. When he’s not super cheesy; he’s got a handsome grin.
They also had a “garden” that the kids could pull fruits and vegetables out of and sort into bins. Vivian really was hungry looking don’t you think?
And of course, my day wouldn’t be complete without one of my kids eating BUTTER!
Vivian was kind enough to let brother join her for a minute (as long as he didn’t try to steer the car).
After the interactive section upstairs, we went downstairs to check out the art display for the children. There, they had a cool computer tablet set up so the kids could draw a picture and have it displayed on the monitor on a pillar at the display. Here are my artists at work:
Here’s a photo of their work. Christian’s is a green temple! I’m not sure what Vivian’s was.
After visiting the museum, the kids were exhausted so we went back to Kristen’s for a nap. My mom called later that afternoon and said that Grandma was having a rebound and that it would be a good time to bring the kids. Kristen came home and so she and I decided to walk over and bring the kids and let her walk back with them afterwards so that I could help for a bit.
My cousin Misty was there with her cute baby Myla so Vivian and she enjoyed playing with the fridge magnets like I used to do as a little girl.
Christian was such a good big brother, he was very helpful to me to help Vivian feel comfortable around grandma, since she’s pretty shy. Because he had a good attitude and buffered her, she was in a great mood and didn’t fuss.
Grandma looked better than she’d looked for a long time, so I decided I needed to take pictures of her with the kids one last time. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be bringing the kids back to see her after that day. I really think we got some good pictures of the three of them interacting.