Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Elisabeth at General Conference Rehearsal, Hallway update

 Our stake, and some of the surrounding stakes, were blessed with the opportunity to have some of their primary children sing in the choir at this Octobers General Conference. The wards were only allowed to select 6 children, ages 8-11, and total there were probably around 200 kiddos chosen from the stakes combined. Elisabeth was fortunate to have been one of the children chosen to sing and we are so thankful for this opportunity and special experience! My mom, my sister Becca and her husband Blake and daughter Bella will be joining Scott, Charles and I when we go to the Saturday afternoon session to watch her sing and to listen to conference. My mom and sister were able to get tickets for all of us to attend from their stakes in WA and ID which was so nice, because I couldn't get more than the 1 ticket they allotted to each family that had a child singing. My dad had an airline flight to come out and go see Elisabeth as well, and though he has passed, I know he will be there in attendance because he loved general conference and always watched all the sessions from his TV at home once they got the channel that showed it, and he loved Elisabeth and loved to listen and watch her perform.
These are four girls from our ward that were selected: Hayden, Abby, Elisabeth and Maddie.

 And these next three pictures I took during their 2 and 1/2 hour rehearsal the Saturday before.
 I did not realize how much time went into these general conference performances, especially when it was primary or youth singing from various stakes. They practiced every Sunday for 2 hours, at a church building near our home, for about 6 weeks leading up to the performance, plus the Saturday rehearsal which was in SLC at the conference center. They sang, they checked off clothing (modesty, right colors, no embellishments etc), they talked about behavior and gave lots of examples of what 'to-do' and what 'not to-do", like no swaying, no talking in between, arms at sides, looking only at director etc. The director was hilarious. I liked to watch her exaggerate what she saw the kids doing when explaining what 'not to-do'. She has been in a couple of LDS movies and musicals and you could tell she knew what she was doing.
Elisabeth is on the front row, in an orange long sleeve shirt, in the middle near the director.

Here's a little sneak peak:

Sunday, at their last practice at a near by church building, they had some special visitors attend. The general Primary Presidency. Elisabeth got to talk with and hug all three women, Sister Rosemary Wixom, Sister Esplin and Sister Durham. You could feel their love as they walked into the room, when they spoke to the children at the beginning of the session, during as they smiled at everyone and after as they took the time to meet all the kids that wanted to meet them. We have been blessed with such unique opportunities lately with this and with having an apostle, Elder Oaks and Elder Evan Schmutz (fifth quorum of 70) at our stake conference last week, that I know we'll cherish forever.

And last, an update on the hallway. This is what the hallway looks like at this moment, except that there is another ceiling piece in over head on that framework above. Last week I thought it impossible that we'd finish before my family arrived Friday since we missed those two weeks while in Seattle, and it still might not be all the way done, but it'll be pretty close, and I think we'll still be able to use the room even if it's not completely done. We'll be working hard this week, as we did the two weeks previous as well.
 And here's the bedroom with a couple of the ceiling pieces up and we actually put in even more Saturday so there's not much more to put up but we still need to tape, then mud and sand, texture, prime and paint; and most of those steps need a day of dry time in between. I also need to buy bead board and paint this week and put the bead board in the bedroom once I finish taking off the last bit of chair railing and baseboard. It'll be great once it's all done!

Monday, September 28, 2015

September swimsuit, daily dad playtime, singing in another funeral, 1/2 marathon prep

 It is nearly October, and Nora continues to wear swimsuits several days a week. But names of months mean nothing to her; if it's warmish, she will wear her swimsuit (or leotard, or ballet outfit). I can get her to add some pants and sometimes a top over the swimsuit, if we're going out in public.

Scott has recently made it a goal, to play with the children every day for at least 15 minutes. It was easier in the summer when the kids schedules were very open and free, and so we didn't have to plan or schedule it, it just happened. But now that they're back in school and they have homework and piano and activity days and scouts, play time with dad wasn't happening very often and so he's scheduling it it. If dinner is not ready when Scott gets home, he'll take them out as I finish, but if it is all ready, then once we've cleared the table, he'll take them outside for a bit. They LOVE it! And I love that they get a little bit of fun play time with dad every dad for a few minutes to lighten things up...I think it's good for me to be reminded that it's not just all work during the week, it's still mostly work, but a little fun with family every day is a very good thing. Here Scott and Charles were running to make a long catch with the football, and they wanted me to get it on slo-mo video, which I did. You can watch it just below.
Charles catching:

Scott catching:

Elisabeth joined Scott and Charles after a bit, and the three little girls brought some dressups outside with us, and played house. 

This past week, a friend in our ward who sang in the Stake Choir with me when Elder Oaks came, asked if I'd sing a song with her for a funeral she'd been asked to sing at. I agreed and then later realized that this month was the first time I'd ever sung at a funeral and I sang at two, including my dad's. The funeral was this past Thursday morning and we sang A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. It went well, though it was a lot higher than I'm used to singing, as I normally sing alto and both our parts were definitely soprano. I also have been suffering with allergies for the past month so I used lots of DoTerra essential oils like eucalyptus and Breathe that morning to try and help my nose stay clear; and a friend who watched Nora during the funeral, gave me some menthol on a tissue that we put in a baggie which I breathed in several times during the funeral and just before I went up which would clear my sinuses for a few minutes. I'm so grateful to Samantha and Anna for watching Jane and Nora so I could attend the funeral and sing. 

 When we were in Seattle just recently for my dad's funeral, Elisabeth and Scott missed Elisabeth's Activity Days Daddy-Daughter activity, so Scott promised they could do one on their own once we got back. This past Friday Scott and Elisabeth went on a daddy-daughter bike ride on the Jordan River Trail and then finished off the evening with smoothies from Jamba Juice.
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but just before I went to Seattle, I had been preparing (the two weeks previous since it was a last minute decision) to do a half marathon which I would have done over Labor Day weekend had I not been in Seattle. I had been running before I decided to do the half, but usually only 3 miles at a time or less, since Scott and I had just did the sprint triathlon. So the first week of training I ran 8 miles, the next week I ran 6 and then the week I made my unexpected trip to Seattle, I was supposed to do 10 and run the 1/2 marathon the next Monday, but I never did the ten when I was in Seattle, just no time for that, and I wasn't back for the half marathon, but I was glad I got some of those longer runs in; it was the first time I'd ever run 8 miles so that was a new accomplishment for me. I still would like to run a half sometime, and I'm sure I will. But anyway, just wanted to have that down in my records since when I was younger, I thought it was impossible for my body to run more than a mile or two without me collapsing, and I also thought that I could never run a mile faster than about 10 minutes. Just proves how little we know and how amazing and capable our bodies are, if we will train them and if we will train our minds to believe in ourselves and in the strength the Lord has to offer to fill in any gaps and to lead us and help us along.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Framing the Hallway, Elder Dallin H Oaks at Stake Conference

Saturday morning Scott rented a couple of tools from home depot and got started on framing the hallway. Once the kids were done with their chores (and mom was done supervising those chores), I jumped in and helped Scott wherever he needed me...which usually was helping to hold the wood planks still and level as he nail gunned them in place. And I would take the shop vac around and clean up where there were messes. It made us a little nervous having him cut into our nicer, newer carpet, but it needed to be done and he did a good job and cut nice, straight and even lines.
We worked on framing the hallway and furring down the framework of the ceiling in that room where there were pipes in the way so that we're ready to sheet rock next week. The whole process took about 6 hours, a little less for me since I still needed to help the kids when they needed assistance or food :). Elisabeth was fortunate enough to have been invited to go to a city activity with her girlfriends Abby and Maddie and Maddie's family. The other kids spent a lot of time playing with neighborhood friends and they watched a movie.

Later that evening, Scott and I got dressed up, ate dinner at Pizzeria Limone (strange but amazing pizzas. Who knew thinly sliced pears and crushed pistachos could taste so good on a pizza!) and then we headed over to our church building for stake conference where Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, was presiding. What a neat experience! I've never before had an apostle come to a stake conference and it was so fun and interesting to get to hear him speak outside of General Conference. He was cracked jokes and told lots of neat stories from his past. I thought it was interesting when he said that he doesn't ever prepare a talk when he presides at stake conferences, that they're more of a holiday for him, so instead, he comes and listens to the speakers, feels of the spirit, notes impressions etc, and then he speaks at the end and he adds on to what each of them has said, giving some of his own insights on the topic or sharing stories and experiences he's had that he feels prompted to share.

I sang in the stake choir both Saturday night and Sunday which meant I was up front and I was able to shake his hand and even visit with him for a moment. I asked him if he has a daily morning routine. He said yes, that he usually starts his morning at 5am and that he reads his scriptures, gets his shoes on and goes for a walk which is usually about 2 miles, and then comes back and gets ready for the day (shower, shave etc) and has breakfast. Stephen R Covey who wrote the book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" would call that "winning the daily private victory" . I loved his response, and though I usually get up at 530am, since our trip to Seattle a couple of weeks ago, we've been waking up around 6am and I haven't gotten back on schedule just yet, but his response motivated me to start up again and so I did.

Sunday morning I had to get to the church building early to practice through our songs and Charles came with me, hoping he'd get to shake Elder Oaks hand. And he did. Scott arrived with the girls about 20-30 minutes before the meeting started and they also were able to shake Elder Oaks hand, as Elder Oaks came out into the audience once he arrived, and greeted people for about 45 minutes until the meeting began. Seeing him meet people one-on-one, reminded me of Christ in the scriptures, ministering to others one-on-one, time and time again.

When there is a member of the 12 that speaks, a member of the quorum of the seventy is assigned to travel and speak with him and so Elder Schmootz came with Elder Oaks and they both gave inspiring and uplifting talks that I took lots of notes on and will forever cherish. Elder Schmootz, on Saturday, mentioned that his mom passed away the week before and so I felt an instant closeness to him because the of the recent experience with my dad. After the meetings were all done Sunday, I went up and talked to him for a couple of minutes and offered my condolences and told him of my dad and he said, 'so we understand each other', and he gave me a hug and asked how old my dad was; our parents were a year a part. His mom was 89. I felt like the Lord brought Elder Schmootz to me to allow me to have another person, nearby, to relate to, who has similar feelings and emotions all of which are so new and still so at the surface. It was a good weekend, one that left me feeling uplifted, motivated and inspired to be better and to do better.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Room Updates, Walking to School, Date with Annabelle

Because of our unexpected 10 day trip to Seattle, all of our home improvement projects were put on hold and so we're working extra hard right now to catch up; we have family visiting for General Conference in a couple of weeks and we're hoping to be mostly done by then so we have more space. I know the Lord's been blessing us in our efforts because I know I normally wouldn't have the time  to paint an entire bedroom on my own during the day when I still have Nora and Jane with me for most of the day, but I did it, and I did it pretty fast. I even took 3 old, really old paints I had in the garage, mixed them together (a greyish color, a cream and a tan...the cream and tan were probably 10 years old from the previous owners), said a prayer and hoped it would turn out and it did; it was a beautiful gray-beige color and looks like all the paint we have just put up in our living areas! You might ask why I didn't just go buy another gallon. Well various reasons: 1) we've had lots of extra expenses as of late with the appendectomy last month, and the trip to Seattle for Dad's funeral, and the van losing an important piece that we had to replace, and so we've been trying to be a little more frugal 2.)I have all these half gallons and pints of paint in the garage and I hate to get more when we still have so much. 

This room used to be bright yellow.

Charles hasn't had a real, finished bedroom for a couple of years, because in CO he slept in our unfinished basement, so he was thrilled to see his room all done. 
We loved this beautiful double rainbow! I think God made rainbows to put a smile on our faces :), how pretty.
Cute Annabelle was so excited to come home and show us all her 100% markings on her homework and tests. She's one smart cookie (just like her siblings).
I love that the kids can walk or ride their bikes to and from school each day. The .75 mile distance each way seems like nothing when you're walking together with family and friends. Elisabeth is a head shorter than most of the kids in her class. She's short but mighty, that one :).

September is Annabelle's month to go on a date with mom and dad. She choose to get frozen yogurt at Menchie's, and then back home to get her nails painted and watch a Descendants (a Disney movie). I've been loving our monthly one-on-one date nights with the kids. They're fun and cute personalities come out more when they've got mom and dad alone (and I think mom and dad's fun personalities come out a little more too on these dates).
And this last picture shows an update of the girls bedroom. The ceiling and wall is all done(wall was ripped open by a plumber to find a leak...ripped open in a huge way), we're just waiting on a small piece of baseboard to arrive so we can finish that part of the wall off and then we need to paint and put up the crown molding and it'll be finished! As you can see, it's done enough that the girls have already moved in.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

10 days in Seattle

 I spent a total of 10 days in Seattle, 5 of which were without Scott and the kids, when dad was in the hospital and then hospice. I'm so grateful to Scott who was so loving and supportive and who managed the house and work very well while I was gone. And I'm so grateful to several good friends of mine who stepped up and took care of Nora and Jane(she has 1/2 day kindergarten) during the day, while the others were in school, so that Scott could go into work. He made dinner, took kids to piano lessons and baseball games, helped with homework, and that was after going into work while they were at school, and then working from home at night since he couldn't get a full day in while tending the kids.

Here are some more pictures of our time in Seattle. These first three I took just after dad passed. My mom will be selling the house and downsizing, and I wanted to remember how he kept his room. He didn't have much. That probably came from his upbringing, being raised on a ranch in the 1920's in Mexico, where his toys were rocks and sticks. In his room here he had his bed, dresser and a set of drawers that kept clothes and then on his dresser and headboard and the walls in his room were pictures of family and letters and pictures from grandchildren. He loved his family.

 We had a luncheon at Michael's (brother) and we had the kids practice the two songs they would sing at Dad's funeral: I am a child of God and The Miracle.
 One night the siblings went to a soccer game because Michael has a suite and he had a lot of tickets. Dad loved soccer and played when he was younger, and most of us played as kids. It was nice to be together. The majority of my time in Seattle was spent with mom and siblings, and other family, mostly visiting and sharing memories, sometimes going to a park or on a walk. I loved my morning jogs with Luis.

 Nora and Cora are inseparable. They follow each other around everywhere and just love being together.
 One night we had a cousin sleepover. The boys wanted to play board games and the girls wanted to do makeup, so the girls agreed to play the games with the boys if they allowed them to put makeup on them when the game was done :). Shaun was the only one who would let me take a picture of him with his makeup.
 We had three grandkid birthdays while we were out there. Andre turned 22, Bella 9 and Cora 3. So we made all their favorite desserts and one night did a little celebration.

 This is a park we walked to on a nice afternoon, so the children could get out and run around and the adults could visit.
 Nora didn't take any 'real', or scheduled naps, but most days she'd conk out on the couch for about an hour when cousins weren't over (they still had school during the day so most days they didn't come over until after 3). All the kids stayed up later and just would 'go, go, go' during the day so they were pretty exhausted.
And here's Nora and Luis...Nora likes to stuck her thumb while holding her 'love' which is usually a handkerchief, but if she doesn't have one handy, she'll use her own shirt. Luis was teasing her by copying :). 

 Here are a couple more pictures from the birthday celebrations. Gotta have a pinata; it's birthday tradition.

 These last few pictures Scott texted me when I was away. Jane started her first day of kindergarten, which I was sad to miss, but grateful Scott was there and still kept me in the loop with pictures etc.

 After her first day, they had a special lunch at Arctic Circle :).
 And he sent me this picture of Little Caesars Pizza for dinner with the caption, "father of the year award". He really does deserve the father of the year award.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Daily Journal: Dads Car Accident and Funeral

8/28 Friday: My 88 year old father, was in a car accident this past Wednesday morning on August 26. He was turning left into a parking lot (not at a traffic light), while another car was going straight, and they collided. The other car hit dad's car on the right, passenger side. Dad says he(himself) wasn't wearing a seat belt. The police records show that it was dad's fault. Dad was alone, and actually he hasn't allowed anyone to ride with him for awhile now because he knew he wasn't safe, though he wasn't willing to give up his independence that came from driving, just yet. Dad was taken to the ER where they found he had a collapsed lung and a broken rib. He's still there now, though his lung is almost all the way better.

8/30 Sunday: Charles was able to talk with him on Saturday, but Saturday he was not doing well mentally and we could barely hear what he said, and none of it really made sense. He's also been reverting to full-on spanish, even when we ask him to speak in English...sometimes he'll say a few words in english but then switch back, like he can't remember how. His dementia seems to be even worse now, and besides thinking the doctors and nurses are trying to kill him with whatever they're putting in him through the IVs (which he's ripped out a couple of times), he's also repeating phrases over and over again like, "I need air" and "my sleeve".

Elisabeth was able to talk with him today, Sunday morning and he was doing a bit better. He could focus on the conversation for a few seconds before he started rambling and talking as if he was dazed. When he did focus, she told him she'd like to play him a song on the piano, which she does fairly often anyway (so does Charles), and she played one of his favorite hymns, "I believe in Christ". I sang for part of it until my voice failed me when the words touched my heart. I wasn't sure if he would recognize the song, but he began to cry and he said thank you.

 Dad's on medicine right now for pain, and he also takes something at night to help with the dementia (it was at night when he pulled out his IVs and seems to get worse). He can't walk more than one step with a walker, where as before, he could walk around with his cane everywhere, even up and down stairs though slowly, and it looked painful, but he could do it. He also can't sit up on his own right now and sometimes he asks for help to lift a glass of water to his lips. Mom's planning on having him go to a rehabilitation center for about a month after he gets out of the hospital so that he has 24 hour care and she's hoping he'll learn to become independent again. Doctors are feeling optimistic.

9/2 Wednesday: Things have changed. Becca and I flew in Monday night 8/31, Becca from ID (she moved there last week) and me from UT because I got a text from Pepa saying she didn't think he was going to make it and we felt it was true(we'd been praying ever since the accident, to know when we should go and we received confirmation that night), even though the doctors thought he was improving. We stayed the night in the hospital with dad, though we didn't sleep because dad didn't sleep. He was pleasant for the first couple of hours and kept offering us food etc, "Elisa, eat! There's plenty of food! Go in the kitchen!" (I got there around midnight), but when the nurses came in to change his bed pads and they had to roll him on his side and move him up higher on the bed, it was really painful for dad and he got very upset and said they were cruel to do this and how could they treat him like this and how could Becca and I allow it. So from then on he was mad at us and everyone and was very vocal about it. He kept trying to rip off his cords, get out of bed and go home. But he's so weak he really couldn't move so he'd very slowly take off part of his gown and try and move his legs to the side of the bed, but that's where his strength failed him. Monday night, was the last night he was really able to communicate so we're grateful we got there in time.

On Tuesday morning, Sept 1, they also discovered dad has a puncture hole in his lung so it's been filling up with fluids and he can't eat anything without having them go back in with a tube and get it out of his lung, which is where it's going. Pneumonia developed in the other lung. His oxygen is low, even with the mask and his heart rate is high. They moved him to the intensive care unit Tuesday morning. He's not doing well and he doesn't want to make it. 

Dad has been wanting his oxygen off since he got to the hospital and now that we know he's not going to get better, we decided as a family, to honor his request and allow him to breathe on his own til the end, though we did wait until Luis was here, all five of his and moms children, and Michael and Lowell, his children from his second marriage until we removed it, which was by Tuesday night. He mostly slept Tuesday though multiple times, he would wake up and open his eyes, looking up at what seemed to be where the wall met the ceiling. And then in Spanish he would say, quietly, that he didn't know who that was. He smiled and waved at whoever he was seeing and I then asked him what he saw and he would say 'muchisimas gente' (a lot of people), and then in English he added, 'millions'. 

Now he's heavily sedated and mostly unresponsive, though he'll occasionally nod his head when we play a favorite song for him. Mom, luis, Fred, Becca and I have been gathered around him all day (Wednesday), visiting and sharing stories and memories of dad.

9/3 Thursday, Andre arrived this late morning, after being flown by helicopter by the Red Cross from his ship in the middle of the ocean, for the Marines, near California. After he got here and spoke with Dad, they moved Dad to the Hospice center (around 2pm), which is just across the street from the hospital. It's a lot more peaceful and quiet here, and there's a lot more room for the family to gather with a large family meeting area, a kitchen, a much bigger room for dad with a couple of beds for visitors to stay in the room and a recliner, and a large garden area that has a spring running through it and trails throughout the garden which reminds me of some pictures and videos I've seen of Asia. I also like that you don't have doctors and nurses running around everywhere and there isn't a constant beeping of monitors. It's comforting to know that the nurses here are professionals when it comes to hospice/comfort care and so Dad is in good and capable hands.  His four children in Mexico have also called and have been able to talk with dad(or at least, talk 'at' him, since he can't speak), some of whom, made amends for past disagreements and problems.

Dad has had a lot of visitors. A LOT. Mostly family, mexican and american, some friends, and it's pretty constant. He is never left alone. Becca and I slept at the hospital the first two nights(Monday and Tuesday) and mom wanted to sleep alone at the hospice center Wednesday to have some time to herself, so Becca and I  slept at becca's in-laws house which is near by. Tonight Luis wants to sleep alone at the hospice center, so we'll stay at the Romney's again. We did sleep better there last night and it was nice to be able to get a run in, in the morning. Stress reliever.

Dad's breathing is getting more difficult, more labored, and there's a lot more gurgling in his chest. He's mostly out of it all the time now. He gets pain meds about every two hours, and after about an hour and a half, during the day, sometimes if you get up close and talk to him or play him a song he likes, he'll nod his head a bit or try and open his eyes which results in a slight flutter of just one eye and then it shuts again. I found the song he plays for me every year on my birthday, it's spanish, called Las Mananitas. When I played it he looked up at me for a second, and nodded his head. I could tell it pleased him. I told him I promised I would play it for my kids on their birthdays, so they could remember grandpa. It's hard to see him this way, though death is inevitable, for everyone. I'm grateful he's not in pain during this time. We ask him about his pain once he gets responsive again (after about 1 1/2 hours after his last pain med was administered), and usually during the first 15 minutes he shakes his head as if to say 'no' when we ask if he's in pain, but then after another 10-15 minutes, he'll nod when we ask about his pain, and then we call in a nurse to administer more medicine, through an IV.

Tonight I felt drawn to the outdoors, so I slipped out alone and walked through the gardens. Peace and serenity were in my heart. I was drawn to a large tree in the center of one of the garden areas, and with my gaze, I followed it up to the top of the tree which was quite high, and it gradually got thinner, and thinner at the top so that it looked like a pinnacle, pointing up toward the heavens. I had been keeping a prayer in my heart the entire time and when my gaze was drawn upwards I felt a closeness to the Spirit and to the Lord. I felt he was there and listening, waiting for me to share with him my thoughts and feelings, even though he already knew what they were. And so I did. I always try and pray with a "thy will be done" attitude and I really and truly do feel that way, but tonight I asked the Lord, that if possible, he bring my dad home before I had to go back Monday(off and on I was humming and singing "Bring him home" from Les Miserables), if possible, in the next couple of days, because I really wanted to be here for him and with him and with the family when he passed but that if this went on for another week or two (which my brother Luis said sometimes happens, even when they're going without any food, and he works with hospice in NY), I'd need to go home and then come back for the funeral. Also, I explained that it was so hard for us to see him suffer, and because this was inevitable, he's old and done and wants to go and his body is shutting down, that that was another reason for him to bring him home soon. Pouring your heart out, can be very difficult. You feel vulnerable. But all the while, I also felt peace. And all the while, a feeling of love and comfort. I knew He was watching over us and would take care of us. These words don't even come close to what I felt; the amount of love and comfort that I felt from Him, is inexpressible. It's overwhelming, in a wonderful way. 

9/4  This morning Becca and I got up around 630. I sent Luis a text asking how dad was and he said when the nurse came in to reposition him at 530 he had a little more difficulty breathing, struggling a bit more so he had the nurse give more pain meds, but besides that he was mostly the same.  I said okay and let him know we'd be over around 8am. I went for a jog while Becca showered and got ready and during my jog (I run without music or noise), I felt very strongly that he'd be going very soon; today. I quickly ran home and didn't shower, but just threw some clothes on and was quickly getting ready when Becca got a phone call from Luis saying that Dad just passed on. The nurse recorded the death time at 730am (though he passed at 720).  Luis said that his breathing had slowed down so that there was 10 seconds between a breath and then 30 seconds between the next and then a minute and then two minutes and then there was no more. He said he went peacefully, he never opened his eyes, but Luis felt a sense of joy and happiness in the room as he passed. The night before we had family prayer together in the room with dad and prayed that the Lord would take him home so that he wouldn't have to suffer any longer, and that he would be welcomed home by his parents and other loved ones. We were sad and missed dad but at the same time we felt an overwhelming amount of love from our Savior and that dad was well, strong and happy again. Here are a few older pictures of dad.

 Dad and his sister

9/9 The funeral will be tomorrow morning, Thursday, at 10am. We'll have the service at the Bothell church building and then have the graveside service which will be short, but the mariachi band(Jaime promised dad he'd get one) is coming which will be nice, and then we'll go back to the church for the luncheon.

Over this past week, we have felt the love of the Lord through those around us, in the flowers and phone calls, in the meals and visits. The siblings and I have gone through old pictures and reminisced, and we've each gathered a thing or two of dads that we would like to have as a keepsake. Today, at ten, Luis, Mom and I went over to the funeral home. Mom needed to go over financial business and Luis and I were there to dress dad in his white clothing. We had Amanda there helping us, she is one of the funeral directors there. Walking into the room and seeing dad on a gurney in his hospital gown, lifeless, was hard. I had tears in my eyes the whole time we were in there, dressing him. But I was grateful that it was me doing it, me who loves him and would be gentle and tender with the body that he inhabited while here on earth, rather than a stranger. I told him not to worry and that we'd get him looking nice in his white clothes. We had to cut the back of his white collared shirt in order to get it on him, and getting his left arm in his shirt was really difficult and I had to cut the shirt a bit more, because ever since he got shot in that arm back in the 1950s (I think), he hasn't had full range of motion.

Scott and the kids took off from SLC Friday night the fourth, and drove to ID where they stayed the night at Becca and Blake's house (though no one was there). Saturday they finished the drive and met us at Michael's house around 2pm where we had lunch. Once they got into WA, Scott says the car started shaking and a couple lights kept flashing on the dashboard and the power steering kept turning off. We got it to my mom's and then decided to ride with other family members to church Sunday and then take the van in Monday morning, Labor day. Monday morning, Scott and Luis went out to look in the hood and when Scott started the van, a big black cylinder dropped out of the bottom of the van and went rolling down the driveway. It looked important so we called a tow truck who took our van in to the only shop near by that was open on Labor Day. The cylinder was the harmonic balancer. They had to order another one from the east coast and we paid for two-day shipping so that it'd get there by Thursday since we needed to leave Friday morning and they said it'd only take a couple of hours to install (though we were a little nervous about them not getting it done on time, and about how the van would run after they installed it). But another tender mercy happened. Wednesday, Today, we got a call from the shop saying that the company on the East 'accidentally' over-nighted it so we didn't have to pay that extra charge, and that our van was all done and all ready to go! I don't believe in accidents, only in a loving and watchful heavenly father. We picked it up and were able to drive it around and 'test' it before our drive back home Friday...and good thing, because I did have to take it back in later this afternoon because they forgot to screw the top back onto the engine and we didn't have the tool you need to do that.

9/13 The funeral was nice, honoring and celebrating dad's life through a eulogy (by Luis), a talk on the plan of salvation (by Scott) and three musical numbers, two done by the grandchildren (I joined them in one song, "The Miracle"). The words were translated into spanish for those in attendance, and one of the songs was sung in spanish and english. Elisabeth was the pianist and organist which was nice and which I'm sure my dad loved.

 The pallbearers: sons and adult grandsons. From left to right: Kyle, Lowell, Michael, Luis, Fred, Scott, Blake, Andre and Alex.

 The Mariachi band at the cemetery was perfect and set a mood of solemnity and also celebration.
 Mom had several of her siblings come which I'm sure was nice and comforting.

The obituary I wrote for dad:
Luis Garnica-Sandoval, 88, passed away on Friday September 4, 2015. He was living in Bothell with his wife of 45 years, Rojean Garnica. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
He was born in a farming village in Laladera, Michoacan, Mexico in December of 1926. He was the son of Luis Garnica-Navarrete and Josepha Sandoval-Rios, the youngest of 14 children. He attended school in Zamora and Morelia, Michoacan and worked as a teacher in Mexico. He later worked in restaurant and janitorial businesses, but most importantly, he was a father and a good friend.
He is survived by his wife Rojean Garnica, his 11 children(Lupe, Jose Luis, Esperanza, Maria de los Angeles, Michael, Lowell, Luis, Pepa, Fred, Elisa and Rebecca), many grandchildren and great grandchildren, one sister, and other members of the extended family. As a youth he enjoyed sports, and throughout his life he loved music, nature and visiting with others. He will be remembered for his amazing Mexican food, his sense of humor and his loving kindness to family and friends.