Monday, December 19, 2011

My Christmas Story

So, to say this has been a tough year is probably a bit of an understatement; to say that it has been hard to get in the Christmas spirit is even more so. But I want to share a story because it has reminded me the true meaning of Christmas and helped me feel Christ love this year.

For those of you who knew my Mom, I truly hope you got to be around her at the holidays. She LOVED Christmas and thoroughly spoiled everyone. Every year we would yell at her and tell her she didn't need to do so much; but I can't tell you how much I looked forward to opening my new Christmas ornament from her every year. It usually had something to do with where we were at in our lives that year, she took special care in picking out every ornament so that it had special meaning and sentimental value. I look at my Christmas tree now and I can tell a story about almost every single ornament. Without me knowing my Mom snuck in some of her ornaments with mine so this year my story tells a whole different story. In fact, some may say my tree looks pretty empty since it only has ornaments, lights and a star this year. But every time I look at it I feel like I have a piece of my Mom with me.

Anyway, that was just to give you a little background - that is not my story. My story started at my niece and nephews birthday party. I was talking to my sister-in-law Brittany and we were discussing how sad it was that everyone feels so disconnected since my Mom passed and that it feels like not much effort has been put in (by anyone) to spend time together. I don't think we had even discussed the idea of getting together for the holidays. Brittany and I decided that Mom would probably turn over in her grave if we didn't do something for Christmas so we were going to plan something. And that was the end of the discussion. Nothing was planned.

About a week later I started thinking about it again as I was going through some old papers. I thought it would be a lot of fun to have a party and invite "Santa" for the little kids; I really wanted him to give each of the grandkids their ornaments that year. Right then I found a coupon for $15 off a visit from Santa at your family Christmas party! Instantly the thought hit me - I don't want a Santa that we don't know this year. Everyone's emotions are so raw and I didn't want an outsider there who didn't understand the situation.

That is when things got a little crazy! Ab0out an hour after I put all the papers away and was folding laundry, my phone rang. It was my Aunt Rhonda. Now she is not my biological aunt but I have known here my whole life, she is one of my Mom's best friends, and was by her side the day she passed-away. She told me that she had been thinking about us kids and wondered if we were planning on doing anything for Christmas. I let her know we had thought about it, but nothing was planned. I couldn't believe it when she told me that her husband, my Uncle Kent, plays Santa at Christmas time and they really wanted to be able to do this for us. She then asked me if each parent would buy ornaments for their kids so that "Santa" could give them their ornaments - with love from up above.

My first thought was: Okay, Mom, I'm listening - I got it! But just as quickly I realized that God's hand was in this and that He was aware of us and our hardships this year. At a time when I feel so lonely, and miss my Mom more than I ever thought possible, He found a way to show me that we are all loved. My testimony grew this month and I am so excited for our family party, I hope all of my siblings will be able to feel the same love that I felt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mommy and the Boys

A friend of mine that I grew up with in Ogden Valley is starting her photography business and I was fortunate enough to find a few free minutes to get some pictures of the boys. Unfortunately poor Ryker was not feeling good and it was pretty cold the day we met up so it was one of the shortest photo shoots ever; but Amy did a great job and I'm so excited to show off how cute my boys are!! Enjoy!

Karsen - 7 months

Ryker - 3 years old

Best Buddies

Mommy and Karsen

My sweet Ryker

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween!

The older my boys get, the funner the holidays seem to be! Ryker is starting to get very in to Halloween and got to pick his costume for the first time. He really wanted to be Thor; I thought it would be really easy to find the costume - not so much! I finally found it online and when I got it Ryker had to put it on right away - then watch Thor! All through the movie he kept asking "Mom, can I pick up cars?", "Mom, can I fly?". LOL!

Karsen still doesn't know what is going on, but I will never miss an opportunity to dress my boys up in funny costumes. Karson was a little dragon and looked adorable with his chubby little cheeks!

Karsen stayed home with Rick while I took Ryker around the neighborhood. At first he was a bit reserved and didn't want to approach a door unless I was with him. After a while he got the hang of it and was running from door to door like a pro! Every time I'd ask him if he was done he would say, "after this house."

Ryker and our pumpkins - pre-carving

My cute dragon- Karsen- 6 months

Mighty Thor - Ryker, 3 years old

My Boys!

Thriller - year 3!

After our salon adventure we made it home in just enough time to shower off, get dressed and run out the door. Totally worth it!! I love Thriller, it gets better every year I swear! The zombies come out before and after the show - and 1 always seems to take me by surprise making me curse very loudly! Sorry to all the people I offended! The dancers are so talented and the show is so well put together. And Tuachan is the perfect background - an outdoor amphitheater in the middle the mountains. We had such a blast - I'm already looking forward to next year.

Zions National Park

So October is usually a crazy month in the Payne household. Rick does his Elk hunt and is gone a good portion of the month and when he gets back I get to go on my girls weekend with the Payne women. I am breaking it into a couple parts so that I can post lots of pictures!

To start, Rick's hunt was not successful this year. I know he's disappointed but I also think he just enjoys the time away from home and being out with the guys. I will say that he didn't stay as long this year as he was extremely anxious to get back to the boys - and they missed their Daddy too!

After he got home we had a week in between and I went on my girl's trip to St. George. I went with my Mother-in-law Allison, Rick's sister Nicole and Jessica, sisters-in-law Amber and Christina and my nieces Lexi and Taycie. The drive down was a little slow due to construction and a bit claustrophobic with 5 of us in a car but we still made pretty good time, we made it in time to eat at the traditional spot- Poncho and Lefties. Truly we just go for the fried ice cream - ummmmmm!

The next morning we headed over to Zion's National Park for a little hiking. I have to say - Christina was a trooper! 8 months pregnant and scaling rocks - wish I was as adventurous as her! The scenery was absolutely beautiful, I live in such an amazing place! But the company is what made it so fun!

After hiking and lunch Amber, Nicole, Jessica and I decided that we would try and find a salon to get out hair washed and styled then we would be able to get ready for Thriller faster. Well, as it turns out not many salons are open or staffed on a Saturday - who knew? So we ended up at the WalMart where there was only 1 girl working. She took pity on us - (after driving through Zion with the top down we looked a bit scary!) and let us use the salon. I wish I had pictures to show because this actually turned out pretty funny! When I went to wash Amber's hair I didn't realize that the sprayer was pointing up - so when I turned on the water full force - I got soaked! Needless to say, after out little adventure I will always have fun memories of a Wal Mart Salon!

My Mother-in-law led us on quite an adventure! Jessica provided the comic relief!

I am one with nature - but who wouldn't be in a place like this!

Jessica's got some captain in her - no surprise there!

Christina, me, Jessica, Nicole, Lexi and Taycie

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Last year was my Mom's 60th Birthday. We were fairly certain that it would be her last one and we wanted to make sure it was memorable; so, we threw her an incredible surprise party. It was so special! The word she used afterward was "honored". She felt so honored that her friends and family would come and celebrate her life while she was still around to enjoy it. Her best friends drove from Arizona to add to the surprise and it was an amazing night - one I will never forget.

Yesterday would have been her 61st Birthday; I can't even begin to describe how badly I miss her! She always made such a big deal of Holidays and Birthdays - really she just looked for any opportunity to get everyone together and make memories. I am so thankful that I was raised that way! I couldn't let her Birthday go by and not try to get as many siblings together as I could. I wish so badly that Misty and Skip and their families could have been with us, but I am hopeful that this will become a tradition on her Birthday to remember the incredible life that she lived.

We all met at the cemetery at 6:30, I couldn't believe that all the flowers were still there from her funeral, some of them were still very pretty! There were some fresh flowers too from friends that had been up that day to wish her a happy B-day.

I got to the cemetery a little early and actually looked around for the first time. I saw this statue of Christ and thought it was so beautiful so I wanted to get a picture of it. When I got up there I found this saying on the side and knew it was what I needed to see "NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE". I know that the Lord has a need for my Mom and is keeping her very busy.

After everyone was there we wrote down a memory on a piece of paper that Heidi had brought; on the front they said "In memory of Debby Adams, if you find this please consider making a donation to cancer research". We tied each piece of paper either a red balloon or a teal balloon. Red was her favorite color and teal is the color of the ovarian cancer ribbon. We all sang Happy Birthday and then let the balloons go.

The kids loved watching the balloons! We all thought it was pretty amazing the way they all stayed together, we figured that the whole bunch was going straight to her. I am so thankful that I will get to see my Mom again some day and I hope she knows how much she is loved and missed here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Black Island Farms = Fall Fun!

We had such a fun weekend! It has been such a crazy week and a half with Rick gone on the hunt so I decided that we needed to go have some fun on Saturday. In Syracuse there is a pumpkin patch called Black Island Farms, it is a fully functioning farm but during Halloween they have a pumpkin patch, games and fun things for the kids to do. We opted out of the hayride since Karsen was with us and I didn't want to lug his carseat around the pumpkin patch.

Ryker had so much fun on the slides and all the games but I think his favorite part was picking out pumpkins. I told him to pick out one but he was just so cute I came home with four! Oh well, it was worth it!! I love being able to spend the time with my boys and make these memories! My friend Heidi came with her kids Kyron and Zoe and they all had so much fun together. Ryker keeps asking when he can play with them again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Loving Memory

I have written this post about 50 different times and erased it every time. Writing has always been therapy for me, I can usually express what I'm feeling better through my keyboard than in a conversation. Maybe it is all still to fresh, I'm not sure; but I need to remember what an amazing Mother I had and express my gratitude for all that she taught me!

I was thinking the other day of words that describe my Mom; here are just a few that I came up with: fighter, independent, loving, happy, Grandma, giving, nurturer, provider, faithful, and (of course) Mom!

She loved everyone she met, she wanted to help everyone and always put the care and comfort of others before her own care and comfort. She loved spending every minute she could with her children and grandchildren, and fought for every ounce of life that she could get! When she was diagnosed they told us she only had months to live - no one would have believed that after her diagnoses she would see her 4 youngest children get married, see 8 more grandchildren be born, travel to Australia and Oklahoma to pick up her 2 youngest sons from their missions. Cruise around Alaska, spend time with her high school friends, and continue to offer service for 9 more years!

As she got sicker the thing that hurt the most, for me personally, was that my boys wouldn't remember her, that Ryker would forget her. But I think they have a better understanding than I do. Whenever I catch Karsen smiling and laughing when no one is looking at him, I know it's my Mom that's making him so happy! The last couple months of her life I would say nightly prayers with Ryker and always made sure that he prayed for Grandma Debby to be at peace and know of our love for her. The other night we were saying prayers, without my prompting he said "Thank you so much for Grandma Debby and letting her live with Jesus. Tell her we love her." I'm so thankful my boys had her example and will continue to be watched over by her. I miss my Mom so much and my heart feels broken right now, but I'm so thankful that she is out of pain, back in her most perfect form and that I will get to see her again some day. I love you Mom!

Here are just a couple pictures of her that mean the world to me!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ryker's Tumble Bus Birthday!

Where does the time go? I swear it feels like yesterday that I was trying to figure out if I was peeing my pants or my water was breaking! My life changed so completely that day! Ryker has taught me what it means to put my own needs second. I remember watching every little thing he did and being so amazed that someone so small could do the things he was doing. He is one of my favorite people to talk to and probably the one who makes me laugh the hardest. I love the special dates we get to go on and when he runs and jumps to give me a hug and kiss. It means the world to me that Mom can still fix everything. Ryker loves to play with his Dad but says that Karsen is his very best friend. He is a master negotiator, comedian, stunt man, and (occasionally) a cuddle bug! He loves music (you should see him rock out), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, waking Mom and Dad up at 6 AM, riding his bike, asking questions, and making people laugh. He loves to spend time with his cousins and his grandparents!! I am so excited to watch him grow and see what he becomes and feel so blessed to be his Mommy!

The other thing that Ryker really loves is the Tumble Bus. This is an old bus that was converted into a tumble playground. They have rings, swings, slides and even a zip-line. He goes a couple times a month through his daycare and is so excited on Tumble Bus day. So for his 3rd Birthday I decided to rent the Tumble Bus. It was great!!! You could hear them playing music when they came around the corner so all the kids started jumping up and down and yelling, they were so excited! They got to play for an hour and then do an awards ceremony. Ryker got a special birthday medal and then got to put everyone's medals around their neck, it was so cute!

No one was more surprised than me when my Mom decided there was no way she was missing Ryker's Birthday party, she hasn't missed one yet and until she has to, she wasn't gonna miss this one. It was such an incredible moment to me to see just how much she loves her kids and grandkids. We helped her up the stairs of the bus so that she could see the kids and all the grandkids turned around and started yelling for Grandma to look at them, I had to excuse myself for a minute and have a good cry - she is such an amazing woman!

Ryker on the zipline - what a cutie!

Going out the slide.

And getting his award - what a great Birthday!