Thursday, August 13, 2015

Celebrating


Just a really quick update-

Today we are celebrating great biopsy results by heading to Lake Powell!! Mason's heart is happy and healthy❤️..... In fact these are the best biopsy results he's had in 2 1/2 years! He still has a little bit of mild rejection but it is ever so slight now! Hooray for good news!

( For those who understand  the way Primary's scores their biopsies and for my own record keeping, yesterday's biopsy results are: 
C1 V1  ISHLT 0 pAMR 1)



We are so very grateful for Mason's special heart donor who gave our Miracle boy a second chance to enjoy life!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cherish Each Moment - June


June came and went very quickly! But, it certainly didn't sneak by us without having lots of fun, being able to cherish each moment with those we love! As for Mason... June was a healthy and happy month too! 

We started out our summer vacation with a 4 day trip to Lake Powell with our friends the Card family. The weather was a bit stormy, but we still had great time! It was an awesome way to kick off summertime!!
(Mason)

(Ammon)

(Kaitlin & friend Grace)

(Braiden)

(Preston)

(Kaitlin and Ammon)

(Kaitlin and Grace)

(Mark and Mason)

(Strickland kiddos+1 friend, and Card kiddos
= a great combination for a fun trip to Powell)


In June Mark and Braiden flew to Cooperstown New York
for a fun week of baseball tournaments...
(Braiden's darling teammate Blair traveled with Mark and Braiden.)


When they weren't playing baseball Mark took them on
  a few other fun outings! They definitely had a memorable trip!



(paddling boarding the river)

(Baseball Hall of Fame)

(Sacred Grove in Palmyra , New York)
 


(Joseph Smith's Home in Palmyra)

(The very first Book of Mormon was printed here.)


(New York City)


(Yankee Stadium)     

These boys will always remember their trip to New York! A big thank you to Braiden's Clutch baseball team, his coaches, and Mark for being their travel buddy!!!


Preston took a weekend trip to St. George with a friend's family.

They hiked Angel's Landing...
 absolutely beautiful!



Sadly, there was not the annual Strickland cousin's camp this year.
With families living around the globe and several pregnant aunts,
it just wasn't possible! But my kiddos still got to hang out with 
some of their Strickland cousins at Grandma's house.
(Ammon, Joey Thomas, and Mason)

Such cute little buddies! Cousins make the best of friends!



Preston and our 2 neighbor boys, Brevin and Cason,
have been the best of buddies since they were little...


And in June they traveled together to Woodward Ski Camp in Tahoe.
They are all growing up too fast! They've gone from digging
snow tunnels together to doing double back flips on the slopes!
Here are the three amigos with two of their Woodward ski coaches.


Whether they were doing indoor trampoline work outs
or practicing tricks in the terrain park they had a blast!
These three boys were rewarded for being the best skiers
and the best behaved boys in the camp! Way to go boys!!!




As we were enjoying our busy summer and making lots of fun memories, a tragedy struck that really made me stop and think once again how very precious life really is. We really don't know how quickly life can change forever! How quickly some one very special to us can return home to our Heavenly Father! We must cherish every single moment with those we love and care about!

My Facebook post on June 12, 2015:
"One of my dearest friends, Amy Foster Openshaw, from my teen and college years sadly passed away today with her husband and two of their children in a tragic plane crash. Please remember their family and especially their 3 sons they have left behind in your prayers at this time of great loss. Amy will always and forever hold a very special spot in my heart. All of my love to the Foster and Openshaw families."

(Above: Summer of '91, Amy and I went to Virginia to visit our roommate Stephanie)

(Click here to read one of the news articles about the crash, 

(Summer of '92, before Amy and I went on our missions)


.
(Above: Spring of '94 at BYU, 
Amy and her husband Mark were engaged in this picture)



(Below: Summer of '94, I was one of Amy's bridesmaids)

This was my Instagram post to honor Amy and her family on June 19, 2015:
"Flashback to the 90's!!! This is in memory of one the sweetest kindest best friends a college girl could've ever asked for!! Amy (Foster) Openshaw was one of those people that could make sunshine out of the cloudiest of days, she could always make you smile no matter what, and just being with her made you want to be a better person! Amy, her husband Mark, their son Tanner, and their daughter Ellie leave behind a legacy of charity and unconditional Christ-like love! They were amazing people that will always be remembered for their kind service to others! I know their 3 surviving sons Porter, Zane, and Max will carry on this legacy for them. Many hugs and prayers to the Foster and Openshaw families. Love you forever Amy"
.....until we meet again!

I felt it an honor and privilege to be able to attend the funeral which celebrated the life of these 4 very special people. The spirit there that day truly touched my heart and testified that families are forever! This family WILL reunite someday! 

(Here is a beautiful tribute to their family that was also in the news, "Openshaws' funeral tells of hope and family's zest for life". )


As I have written this post and reflected upon many old and recent memories I feel so blessed to have a wonderful family and friends! I cherish everyday that our Miracle Mason is with us, and healthy enough to enjoy life! I cherish every moment of being a mother to 5 amazing kiddos! I also hope to leave behind someday just a portion of the legacy my dear friend Amy left behind. I am trying each day to be more patient, kind, and loving... for that is how I want to be remembered! Thank you Amy for the wonderful example you always were to me!

"The trick is to enjoy life!
Don't wish away your days
waiting for brighter ones ahead!"


July post coming next! Also Mason has a heart biopsy next week on August 11, if you will please remember him in your prayers. Thank you!!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Catching Up

Once again I've let way too much time go in-between posts, so now I have some catching up to do!! But busy is good right?! And in Mason's case, usually no news is good news...  and it also means we've been busy having fun! Even with Mason staying quite immune-suppressed to treat his chronic rejection, he stayed pretty healthy this spring. With the exception of a reoccurring tummy bug that took us to the ER for some Iv fluids for one day, spring has treated Mason well!

May

May is always a crazy month with spring sports, end of the year field trips, school performances,  school projects, Memorial Day and more...

Mason will tell you that his most favorite thing about spring is BASEBALL!! He just loves it!!He played on the Yankee tee-ball team this year and had a lot of fun. During tee-ball season, that was all he could think about! On game day he'd come home from Kindergarten at noon and put his baseball uniform on, cleats and all, even if his game wasn't until 6:30pm! Silly boy!




Usually tee-ball doesn't have a catcher, but somedays Mason's team had one!! He put his gift from Santa this year (the catcher's gear) to good use!

Other days he decided that his team needed another infielder instead of a catcher!


Mason was able to have his heart transplant buddy Matthew on his team again this year. They are both so cute and amazing!!! It is so great to see them do 'normal' little boy things!!




Preston had another fun season of spring lacrosse. Rain or shine (which this year it seemed like most of his games fell on rainy or windy days!) lacrosse is a such an exciting sport to watch! Way to go #15, Preston!




Even after having foot surgery last fall, Preston came back ready to play hard! He played well and had a great Season!



Of course Braiden had lots of baseball games too! His season is just much longer than our other spring sports... He plays from February thru July!

We are certainly glad with his elbow injury that he was diagnosed with in the fall that he was still able to play this spring. It wouldn't have seemed right without his 4+ games a week to add to our crazy schedules!! Braiden went to a lot of physical therapy during the fall and winter for his OCD elbow and it sure paid off!! He still has to be careful how he throws and not to over use it, but he's thrilled to  still be playing! He even was able to pitch every once in awhile, but only for an inning or two. He also didn't play catcher very much in order to let his elbow continue to heal, but he had a fun great season. Go #7 Braiden!!!


Our sweet Ammon was always one of his brothers' biggest fans at all of their games! After a year of soccer (a couple years ago) he decided he enjoyed cheering from the sidelines more than playing. He is Mr. social at all of their games, making new friends, hanging out with old friends, sneaking money from my purse to buy treats for everyone, and just doing what Ammon does best... enjoying life!


I got to go with Ammon to the Hoggle Zoo for his end of the year field trip! We had a fun day together! He really has amazing teachers and very special classmates. I enjoyed getting  to know some of them a little better!




Ammon also performed in the end of the year dance festival at his school. His class danced to the Macrena and they were darling!! I was so proud of Ammon... he knew the whole dance and did awesome!!


Mason's and Braiden's school had a 'Hero' music program at the end of the year. (But, I only got pictures of Mason...Braiden kept hiding from the camera, the stinker!!!)




Mason had such darling and kind kiddos in his class! I enjoyed helping in his class two days a week this year and getting to know all of them. They were all such sweet friends to Mason!




Braiden graduated from 6th grade and is moving on to Jr high (my kids are growing up too fast)! I'm very proud of this boy who works so hard in school and has achieved great things!!


It has been so fun for these cute brothers to go to school together this year. All of Braiden's friends would say hi to Mason when he walked through the halls, which made him feel so cool and important!

I need to give a big shout out to Mason's teacher, Mrs. Eldredge who took such good care of Mason this year! He had a wonderful experience in kindergarten and absolutely loved going to school every day!!


As for Kaitlin, she was just excited to be done with her sophomore year! She studied a lot, got really good grades, made some great new friends, and was very very helpful to me as we would 'divide and conquer' after school getting the boys to sports, scouts, tutors, and more! Thanks KK for all you do!





Memorial Day

We had some fun family time on memorial day... roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in the beautiful American Fork canyon.



Preston and Braiden relaxed for a little while in their hammocks... (Which is the most recent trend these days. The teenagers go"hammocking". What a great way to enjoy our beautiful world!)



We ended the evening by taking flowers to Uncle Hunter's grave. We love and miss you Hunter! (Mark took the picture and Kaitlin had left to meet up with friends for a campfire.)


Thanks for checking up on Mason and our family! We are grateful each and everyday for Mason's heart donor and the gift he was given enabling him to live life to its fullest... and that he truly does!!!
Next to come are posts about our fun summer so far...