May 29, 2010

Past and Present and a Lesson Learned

Memorial Day - 2007
My parents, Manda, and my family went to the very large and very confusing Salt Lake Cemetery to put flowers on my Grandpa Earl and Grandma Ruth's grave. It is always hard to find their grave. This was a HOT day. We were all sweaty and a bit grumpy! But life was good.

Memorial Day - 2008.
Life was different. Mom was sick. We had just found the tumors in her brain. I wanted to take my kids back to the Salt Lake Cemetery. We were able to find my grandparent's graves. (My husband is smart and has a great memory.) Pres. Hinckley had died this year so we went to see his grave too. Hayden loves Pres. Hinckley.

Memorial Day - 2009
Aaron and I spent the day with Jenn and Scott in Canada and then sailing on a cruise ship. It was a relaxing day. Life was starting to settle down - sort of...

Memorial Day - 2010

Last Wednesday, my mom's friends, Debbie Tyler and Susan Boyer, invited us to go to the cemetery to sit at my mom's grave to "remember" her. I love these moments. Debbie has had to be a "fill-in" mom these last few years. Some of us use her more then others, but she is always willing to listen, chat, or just cry with us. We could tell Susan misses her too. We all miss her.

Last night, Aaron and I were talking about Memorial Day and trying to figure out if it is for anyone who died or for just military people who had died serving our country. We decided it was for both.

A few years ago, my sister Ashley was getting ready to marry Robert. We were cleaning and decorating his house. He had the military flag with the blue star. I didn't know what it stood for or the importance of it. I certainly didn't give it the respect it deserved. Our kids got it a little dirty. Ashley was frantically trying to clean it. Once I was told what it meant, my heart was sick with shame and disappointment.

I am married to a very patriotic man. He insists we have an American flag in our front yard at ALL times. My grandpas both served in the military, as well as Aaron's dad. Ashley's husband just returned from a year long service, away from his wife and children, to serve our country. That flag has hung in her window the entire time.

I hope this year we will all remember those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom as we also remember those we miss and love who have departed this earth.

Happy Memorial Day!!

May 15, 2010

He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not...

Do you like fresh flowers???
Some people think they are a waste of money -
because they don't last.
I am not that person.
I LOVE flowers!!

I love flowers on my counter, on my dinner table, in pots, in my hair, & especially in my yard.
But, I HATE to do yard work!!!

My husband knows how much I love flowers.
(I got BEAUTIFUL red, yellow, & orange roses for Mother's day that still adorn my kitchen island.)
He also knows I don't like to do yard work. He doesn't love yard work either, but I think he loves ME.
This is why...

For those of you who saw my yard when we purchased this house - you will understand & appreciate Aaron's hard work. In September 2008, this yard was YELLOW, WHITE, DEAD, & full of STICKERS & WEEDS!!

(this photo was taken in April this year -
I don't have a Sept 2008 picture -
thank heavens...)

My sweet husband has worked his tail off for 2 years to resurrect our yard.

Thank you, Aaron Chris!!
On a side note - As you already know, I also love Tulips.
For the last 2 years I have tried to take a moment with my children & plant new tulip bulbs. They were my mom's favorite flower.

I had a conversation with one of my best friends, Alyssa, a few weeks after my mom died.
I was telling her how worried I was that my kids might not remember my mom.
(My mom was worried too. I think that is why she says, "Remember Me" on all of their Christmas bears.)

Alyssa said, "Your kids will remember your mom if you continue to tell them & remind them about your mom." She explained that I can easily plant memories in their minds by telling & retelling them stories about her. Reminding them of things THEY did with her & also things that I remember about her.

I have tried to follow her advice - Lots of memories get Planted while planting Tulips.

May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Dear Mom,
We are taking care of each other and we are doing well.
Our kids still talk about you all the time.
They "remember you".
I think you would be proud of us.
I miss you, Mom.
I love you.
Happy Mother's Day!
Love, Dawn

"There is nothing more beautiful,

no picture more lovely,
than that of a mother with her daughters."
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1984)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!!

May 7, 2010

And I would do it all again...

I think it is funny
(or humbling, or embarrassing)...
the things we are willing to do
to be recognized...
ONE day of the year.

My darling niece Jessica and me -Thanksgiving 1996
Mackenzie was born 18 days later.

My sweet little Kenzie & me - Halloween 2001
Mackay was born 12 days later.

Christmas 2006
Hayden came on New Year's Eve.

...And I would do it all again.
I am honored to be their MOM!!
Happy Mother's Day!!

May 6, 2010

Happy Birthday
to Grandma Janice!!!

Janice Kay Nielson Hall Marecek
May 6, 1950
Her birthday is always so close to Mother's Day...
they tend to blend together.
I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day this weekend
but TODAY...I am wishing Aaron's sweet Mother a
Happy Birthday!

I hope you enjoy YOUR day!!

Happy Birthday to a young mother...
(I love this picture of her - beautiful!)

Happy Birthday to a missionary mom...

Happy Birthday to the mother of the groom...

Happy 60th!!!
You still look Beautiful!!
We Love YOU!!

May 5, 2010

Babies...My Favorite!!

I LOVE Babies!!!
Babies make me happy!!
I have learned that Hayden LOVES Babies!!
He will drop anything, for a baby.

Hayden and I got to take care of Ben and Colin for a few hours today! He was such a good helper!!

Ben & Colin

Hayden playing with Ben & Colin

Last Thursday, Manda and Brett came into town.
Brett's brother got married on Friday so they spent the weekend with his family. But for 3 hours we got to enjoy:

Cafe Rio (Manda's Favorite),

ALL the Dorius siblings under one roof - reminiscing,
and ...

- BABIES (my favorite)!!

May 4, 2010


Again... I am okay. Don't worry - I am okay. As I said earlier, this time of year is a bit hard for me. It comes in waves. I am totally fine and then it hits me. Read on if you want... but know this is a post for ME.

As Mother's Day approaches, I am reminded of MY mother and how wonderful she was. She was so good. No offense to anyone, but I truly feel I got the best. I am also reminded that MY mother isn't here on earth anymore and that I still need her.

Dad & Mom - Mother's Day 2008

This was the time of year, when my prayers were filled with panic, fear, heartache, and with constant begging - that my mom would live. This time of year, my heart hurts. I have a hard time keeping my emotions in check. I cry. I smile. I say a lot of silent prayers to help me smile and not cry.

Betty & Hollis January 10, 2010 - Betty's Birthday

Yesterday was Aaron's grandpa's birthday - Grandpa Hollis. Aaron loved his Grandpa Hollis and Grandma Betty. He has an unconditional love for them filled with gratitude. He gives them all the credit for the good choices he has made in his life. Grandma Betty passed away last January. This is Hollis's first birthday without his sweetheart. I hoped she was close. I prayed that Heavenly Father would give her some time off, up in heaven, to spend time with her lonely spouse on his birthday. Birthdays are for celebrating, but I knew this birthday would be hard. I worried about him and thought about him all day.

Feb. 2010 - Aaron, Grandpa Hollis, Ryan (Aaron's brother) at Betty's funeral

I wish I didn't think so much. But I do, and it tends to get the better of me. I know that each one of us is asked to endure trials. Trials come and go. Life goes on, whether we want it to or not. We learn from our trials and we, hopefully, see the good that comes from having to endure them.

I remember in May of 2000, I miscarried a baby. I was devastated. But I was surrounded by wonderful people and two very wise friends. As I was venting to my friend Gloria, she patiently listened to me and then she said, "Wow, this must be really hard. What are you learning?" At the time, I didn't appreciate her question. In the years that followed, each time I was faced with a hardship, I could hear her voice ask, "What are you learning?"
And then as I was at work, my friend, Tracy, allowed me to cry on her shoulder. I felt silly and told her how dumb it was that I was crying over a miscarriage. She had had twins, a boy and a girl. Her little boy got sick and passed away three months later. I couldn't imagine - my hardship was nothing compared to hers. But, she calmly said; "Heavenly Father knows each of us and what we can handle. My situation wasn't worse then yours, it was different. They all hurt the same." I was grateful for her wisdom.

Trials are hard. They come in all different sizes and death isn't always a factor. My sister had to move across country the year my mom died. Moving was hard for her. She is seeing the blessings now, but it was hard. My other sister endured a divorce. She is blissfully happy now, but it was hard for her too. No one gets to sit back and enjoy life "trial-free". Whatever the trial may be - it is hard.

Last night, as I said my prayers, I cried. I miss my mom. I asked for peace. I asked for a remembrance of my mother. I sometimes feel my memory of her is fading and it scares me. I promised that I would continue to be faithful and do what is asked of me, but that I was still so sad and that I still hadn't figured out why she had to leave.

People ask if losing my mom changed me.
I know I am different.
I am more aware of the people around me.
I also know that I feel like I am missing something - a part of me.
I am more understanding of others and aren't as quick to judge.
Yet, I don't have the confidence in myself that I once had.
I listen more. I still talk a lot, but I try to listen more.
I am a nervous wreck in front of a crowd - it is hard for me to even conduct primary. I was fearless when my mom was alive.
I know that my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is different. It has grown.
I know the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us is real.
I know, without a doubt, that when we are enduring the hardest things, that our Father in heaven doesn't leave us alone.
And yet, I still struggle with me...and who I really am.

I watched a Mormon Message earlier today about Stephanie Nielsen. Please take time to watch this... amazing!!! I have been so impressed by the way she has handled HER trial. Her face and body look very different now. In the clip she says; "I am ME, I am not my body." That statement struck me. She knows who she is. She isn't broken. There are days when I feel "broken". I know I will get there, but today is just one of those days....

I know that as I cry and ponder, as I question, the trials I am asked to endure that my Heavenly Father wraps me in his arms of peace and comfort. He knows how sad I am. He knows how much I miss her. He knows how broken I feel, because He has felt all of these feelings Himself - for me.

President Thomas S. Monson said:
" those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and...they shall learn in their own experience who He is."

I am still learning... but I know He is there.

So....AGAIN, I am okay. I am happy. I am still learning. And I know I am not alone.

May 1, 2010

Need an Idea for FHE????

Last week, in the Tribune Obituaries, I read about a 15 year-old boy that had passed away. They put a blog link in his obituary. I was so impressed with the parents and appreciated their honesty. If you have a minute... it is worth reading and sharing with your children. He was only 15!!

I also got an email from my sister. It was forwarded to her by her mother-in-law, but originated from a lady in her ward - just down the street from me. This is what the email said:

Attached are photos of my grandson, Kyle. He did this on Friday afternoon. The pictures at the hospital were about 5 hours after "huffing". Pictures on the sofa were taken about 24 hours after "huffing". He used 3-M electronics cleaner. We feel lucky that his injuries were not any worse and, needless to say, he survived. Many apparently don't. We feel it is our obligation as parents and grandparents to make people aware of the danger.

I can't make these bigger.
If you want to see them full size, email me.
I will send you the email.
It makes more of an impact, especially for kids,
if they can SEE the effects, up close.

Made for a great Family Home Evening...
How do we teach our kids to make good choices??