Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Resolution Check-In, Month Six

Six months.

I'm supposed to check in at six months.


OK. Whatever. Here goes.


Attend the temple at least 10 times (Still haven't gone yet, but I've ALMOST gone a bunch. What? That doesn't count?)
At least one page of the Book of Mormon every day. (Yes-ish. And now I'm reading 8+ pages a day to read it during the summer)
Read Old Testament. (Hmmm.)
Keep journal of spiritual impressions. (I like it when I do it.)

Home Life:

Family scripture study daily. (Well. These are good reminders, again.)
Teach children responsibility. (They're actually doing their job charts with a LITTLE less nagging this summer.)
Picture of the day (Yes. I've missed three times. That's OK.)
Help Josh achieve his Deacon Duty to God (Uh-oh. One more month.)
Work on Josh’s scouting. Get ready for his Eagle in 2011. (Making some progress.)
Kitchen and great room clean nightly. (Nopedy nope nope.)
Breakfast on the table at 7:25 (Considering the big kids are waking up at 10-ish, this is NOT happening. I have fed David and Ben about that time, though.)
Menu planning (This doesn't seem important right now.)
Food storage improved (I've organized the food storage room more. And seen that I need more food storage.)
Deep cleaning daily (This doesn't seem important right now either.)
Teach Josh and Sophie piano every week (Well, Sophie's now taking from Bridget ((HALLELUJAH!)) and I'm just making Josh learn 10 hymns this summer.)
Clean desk every day (It's been clean for a month. High fives all around.)
Clean car every week (It's pretty clean right now.)
Pay bills and be aware of the money situation every week. (Kind of.)
No fines at the library. (Oh boy.)
Functioning mudroom. (Yes!)
Organized storage room. (Thanks to Malisa and David, we're pretty much there.)
Fun family outing monthly. (Forgot about this one.)
At least one family vacation. (I don't think California counted, but we are supposed to go to Cascade Lake in Idaho in August.)
At least one camping trip. (The lake trip in August involves much camping. Two birds with one stone. Victory.)


Daily service. (Pretty good.)
Weekly date night with David (Not so good.)
Weekend getaway with David (Not yet.)
Birthday cards to family. (I'm really going to try to re-motivate myself on this one.)
At least 2 dinner parties a month (I think mostly, except for June.)
Visiting teaching complete every month (I did it THIS month! Yay me.)


To bed before 11:15 consistently (Nope.)
1010 miles in 2010 (Nope.)
20000 crunches in 2010 (Nope.)
5 pull ups in a row (Nope.)
Lose those last few baby pounds (Finally moving in the right direction.)
Run a mile in 7 minutes (I think I might be able to do this if I count a downhill mile. What do you think? Is that cheating? Maybe I don't care if it's cheating.)
Add more strength training (Yes.)
Run some race some time (Trying to decide if I should run another marathon this fall. Can't decide if I have it in me to train alone. Can't decide if I want that much time to think. But we're planning on the Snow Canyon half again, and David may even decide to do it again, too.)


Read one good book a month (Yes. Depending on your definition of "good.")
Writing...not sure what yet. (Went to the Segullah writing conference. That was fun. Still blogging.)
Photography classes. Improve skills to better record family life. (Improve? Oh, really? Is THAT what I was thinking about doing?)


Recital? (No, but I've reviewed great pieces so far for our piano group.)
Have 20 pieces memorized. (OK. Time to work on this.)
Arrange 2 pieces for beginning piano trio (Forgot about it.)


Pay tithing on the Sunday after the paycheck EVERY TIME. (Mostly. And I'm caught up.)
Create working budget/envelope system/allowances (Uh-uh.)
Be proactive (Still not sure what that means.)
Don’t use credit cards (I need to find my replacement debit card so I can stop using the credit card.)
Get out of debt (Laughing.)

I guess it's good to go through these again. They seemed so important in January. Now, some of them seem important, especially those that involve building relationships with those I love. But many of them seem really really dumb.

Perspective. It's a nice gift. I just wish the gaining of it weren't so painful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dumb Blog Question. Help Me Out?

So I'm finding it really hard to want to post my pictures of the day on my main blog anymore. I want to keep doing the pictures. I want to have this view of our lives for my kids, and they love looking through them.

But it feels like they're getting in the way. And right now, when things often feel so heavy, it's hard to post Happy Picture #190 after Missing Brent Post #6.

So I'm just looking for your opinion. Here are the options:

#1. Keep everything as it is and as it has been.
#2. Create a new blog for the pictures of the day and save this blog for more thoughtful, less frequent posts. (And if this is the best option, is there an easy way to export the previous pictures of the day posts and leave the others here?)
#3 Do you have another option? Spill it.

And for those of you who have been wondering, we're getting through. This week is a little easier than last week was, we're getting through the days a little more easily, but there are (surprise, surprise) plenty of emotions roiling around inside. It just takes the littlest thing for them to erupt. Thank you for your continued kindnesses and prayers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Memorial Day 5.31.10

We miss David's dad.

We really really miss him.

Cousins 5.30.10

Dave's brother Paul's family visited Utah for the baptism of their darling Alyssa and the blessing of their new and equally darling Olivia.

I love these sweet girls (and Ben, of course) and the hope I have for their many many years of happiness growing up together.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Symphony 5.28.10

The last weekend of the Utah Symphony season was Mahler 1 and a Mozart piano concerto: such a nice combination. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to attend with David or not (due to reasons regarding children that seem less important now than they did that night...) but finally decided I wanted to be with David for the concert and the party afterward, especially because I've been in love with Mahler 1 since college.

And it was a lovely night. The Mozart was gentle, and the Mahler was emotional.

It always is.

And I think it always will be, especially after this last month. I love the third movement, the funeral march based on Frere Jacques. The countermelody, pulled from one of his song cycles, talks about the restfulness found under a linden tree, and how under the tree, all is well again.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nana Visits and We Rescue Baby Chukars 5.27.10

So this is when it starts to get hard, because life was just moving along so beautifully. Nana came up to watch Eric and Christina's kids while they went to Costa Rica. We stole her for the first day, and she "read" to the kids, just like she used to "read" to us.

And there we sat, laughing and talking and loving, and never once thought there would be loss so soon ahead... I guess that's how it should be.

When I put Sophie to bed, we found baby chukars in her window well with a cat hanging out at the top, trying to decide how to catch the babies for dinner. We shooed away the cat, pulled out the chukars who jumped through Sophie's screenless window and explored her bedroom. Then we found the loudest chukar mommy outside and opened the box in her general direction. I like to think they made a beeline to their birdie mom and lived happily ever after.

Violin Recital 5.26.10

Someone stop her from growing up anymore, because I can't take it.

Taxes. Finally. 5.25.10

And then I finished the taxes. And we celebrated.

And also, notice the clean desk? Yes. It's lovely. And guess what? A month later, it's still clean. And that's not fiction.

This Should be Censored 5.24.10

Because honestly, sometimes it's nice to have the fantasy that I live in an ever-clean and organized home.

But then, that would be fiction. And this kitchen? Friends, this is reality.

Picture of the Day 5.23.10

I think it might be helpful to get back into my Picture of the Day habit. Life has stopped for a while, and it will take time to feel like we're finding a new normal, but the business of living has to keep going.

It's been hard to look at the pictures from before June 9 and wish I could warn those innocent people what was coming. And it's been hard to look at the pictures from after June 9 and relive the pain.

But the pictures are what they Life is fragile and complex and horrible and beautiful. So here is the missing month:

Will and Kate playing games at our mass family birthday party. We covered February through May's birthdays. I love watching these two cousins together.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dance, Boys, Dance

Because I can't take any more tears for the moment, I give you for your viewing pleasure:

Matt and Dave performing the Ananda dance, much to our delight.

Sometimes life sucker punches you.

And sometimes you just have to take a moment and dance through it. Even if you look like this while doing it.

(Love you, you sweet sweet boys. Dance on.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

laying him to rest

We buried my brother today.

It was dreadful and beautiful. We celebrated his life and mourned his death, and again saw evidence of the transformative power of love.

In one room today, there were hundreds of hearts knit together in love for one young man and for his family. The spirit of God was abundant and poured out peace on us. We were not of one mind philosophically, religiously, politically. But we were of one heart.

The world glows differently after such an experience. The insignificant falls away. And what is left?


Love for Brent.

Love for family.

Love for friends.

Love for our Maker.

Love for the shining glory that lies within each one of us, but so often goes unnoticed.

The terrible price we've paid for the gaining of this understanding is too high. My Brentie is gone from this world. His body is under the ground. We miss him like missing a limb. This pain won't be healed quickly. But as we move gently back to the push and pull of our normal lives, I think it will be a reminder of the beauty from ashes that we've experienced this week. I hope it keeps us in mind of the love that ties us all together in large and small ways.

We love our Brent and we love you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Seriously Sucks

It really really does.

I'm really angry today.

I'm really sick.

I'm really miserable.

Any way I can wake up from this nightmare?

Funeral Information for Brent Youngberg

Brent's life will be celebrated this Friday, June 18 at 10 am.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
441 S. Fairmont Blvd
Anaheim Hills, CA 92808

There will be a viewing from 9 until 9:45 am.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing outpouring of love. Your generous donations to Doctors without Borders have been a remarkable representation of your care for him and for us.

We also so much appreciate your prayers on our behalf. We love you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love Unbounded, Love Overflowing

My heart is constantly full of contrasting emotions. I'm living with love and anger and pain and confusion and laughter and grief and joy. We all are. We're laughing and we're weeping and we're planning and we're questioning and we're energized and we're spent.

But mostly, we're we. We're this big mass of grieving family, loving each other more fully than ever ever before.

And we're surrounded, overwhelmed by the love of all of you, by your prayers, by your constant support. I could write all night about the amazing service you've provided. We've been blessed with financial support, gifts of time and care packages for our long drives, food, food and more delicious food, kind words and prayers. Your love is carrying us. Words are not enough now and will never be enough to thank you sufficiently.

But I'll try.

THANK YOU. Thank you with all of my heart. I've been on the other side of tragedy, wanting to help and not knowing how. And now I know that every little thing is not insignificant. Every card is read and cherished. Every bite of food is eaten with gratitude. Every prayer deepens the cushion protecting us from our pain.

Some information:

Brent's funeral will be on Friday at 10 am at the Anaheim California East Stake Center, 441 S. Fairmont Blvd, with a viewing at 9 am.

Also, we have decided to create a memorial fund to honor Brent. In lieu of flowers, donations for Doctors without Borders, Brent's favorite charity, are welcome through this link.

Again, thank you. We're getting through this one day at a time. We miss Brent.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Kurt and Brent, Havasupai, 2008

Something rubs my eyes with sandpaper.

Something burdens my shoulders with a load of lead.

Something holds my chest tightly so I can catch only shallow breaths.

Something chases my thoughts so they skitter around without a resting place.

My previous visits with this something have hardly been pleasant, but THIS something, this current grief, is raw and harsh and powerful and torments me in waves.


Last night at 10:40, I was folding clothes on the couch with David, watching So You Think You Can Dance.

Josh was off to his first three-night backpacking trip, so the house felt a little more empty than normal. Ben and Kate were finally asleep. Sophie was feeling hot and came out to beg for the fan to cool down her room.

The phone rang. It was my mom and dad. David said, "This is a little late for them to be calling."

I answered, and Dad said, his voice cracking, "We have some sad news."

I thought maybe something had happened to my sweet 93 year old grandma.

But he said, "We lost Brent today. He was caught under a waterfall at Havasupai."

And the world stopped. Just like that.

I couldn't speak. I could only wail. Mom said, "Give the phone to David." So I did. And Sophie came over and started to rub my back and hug me. I couldn't hear what David was saying. Ugly, ugly grief grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go.


My brothers Brent and Kurt had a special love for the Havasupai reservation, and I will admit I was jealous EVERY TIME they went. It's a hidden treasure at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, with pristine waterfalls and pools. They'd been looking forward to this trip for months. Four of them hiked in on Sunday and another group joined them yesterday.

From what I understand, they were hanging out in the water, jumping off rocks, talking, taking pictures, and then Brent wasn't there anymore. They searched for him. They didn't know what had happened to him. And then someone found him.

After Brent was found, a helicopter came to take him away. Kurt had to get to the village of Supai to call my dad, and then hike out with three of his friends, friends who have given so much of themselves to my sweet brothers that they should be adopted into our family. I am forever grateful that Kurt had them surrounding him through this horrible horrible time.


I wanted to have lots of pretty words to say about my brother. They will have to wait. This is not the time for pretty-ness.

Do I have faith in the plan of salvation? Yes. Will I see Brent again? Yes. Does this take away the bone-crunching grief? Maybe it will in another few days, but for now I'm wearing it like a concrete vest, not by choice, but by fact.

There are sweet moments of rest. Speaking with my family and dear friends. Playing the piano. Loving my babies.

And there are moments when the reality of this crashes down around me.

I must also say, while I should hardly be shocked at the outpouring of love from so so SO many, I am. I'm greatly humbled by your love, by your kindnesses, and by your prayers. I am so very grateful. Thank you for loving Brentie and for loving us. Your prayers have helped us and will continue to help us. I remember a time in my life a few years ago where I felt the prayers of others supporting me like an actual web of love. The physical power of prayer is real. I know we need it now and will continue to need it. Thank you for offering it.

I miss my good, sweet, smart, handsome, kind brother. I MISS him.

Kate said, "It would be great if Jesus would come again tomorrow so we would only miss Brent for one day."

Yes, Kate. Yes, it would.


Brent Youngberg
22 August 1979 - 9 June 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Silver Lining

While I don't want to say that everything is super peachy, I want to recognize the positive direction the GreenHouse plumbing problems have taken.

After the previous plumber left (without figuring out or fixing the problem and charging me $160), we tore out the pad and carpet from Josh's closet and mopped up the water in the adjoining utility room. A puddle formed again way too quickly, and I figured it looked like it was coming from the hot water heater. Then I remembered that our realtor paid for a home warranty, and I called the warranty company to place a service order. This morning, a plumber came over, said, "Oh, yeah, it's definitely your water heater" and replaced it before 10:00 am.

After he was done, I asked him if he thought this should have been a hard problem to diagnose. He said that it could have been diagnosed in 10 minutes.

Guess I know which plumber I'll call again. (The GOOD plumber, by the way is Clinton Thomas Plumbing, in case you live in UT and need a plumber.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Casualty List

In the last week and a half:

(Along with the stresses we've already been semi-handling...)

My crockpot shattered.

My breadmixer's center shaft snapped.

My food processor's bread attachment cracked.

The air mattress Ben has been sleeping on (don't ask why the poor child doesn't have a real bed yet) has a bad leak.

We had to buy 4 new tires for the van and get an alignment.

My dog ran away overnight and well into the next day.

Then she pooped in the house (last night at 12:45 am.)

Ben and Kate got hand, foot, and mouth disease.

A vole took up residence in Kate's window well.

Somehow our shower upstairs is leaking (not leaking. Pouring) into Josh's closet. The closet has been emptied. The carpet has been partially pulled up. The gallons of water have been partially sucked up. The plumber has been called. Can't wait to find out how much drywall they'll have to cut out to fix this itty-bitty problem.

I found out my piano teacher (from when I was 5 until I went away to college) is in hospice after a severe stroke and can no longer communicate, so I can't even call her to say goodbye.

Where is the white flag? I need to surrender.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Feeling Awesome

My street is just off of a crazy hill. To run any distance at all, I have to either drive somewhere or face the hellishness that is my hill. One mile. Up. Way up. Straight up. (And after you get up the hill, there are still lots of hills, but nothing even close to Hell Hill.)

When I moved in, I decided I hated the hill. I had to walk at least four times on the way up.

A few months later, I still hated the hill. I had to walk at least three times on the way up.

Eight months later, I still hate the hill. Until today, I walked at least twice on the way up.


I made a goal that in 2010 I would tackle the hill. I would make it up that darned hill without stopping once.

And guess what happened this morning?

Yup. You guessed it. I KILLED HELL HILL. I killed it.

It's not like running a race. There's no one to celebrate with me at the finish line. No one's handing me a medal.

But I've learned something about myself in the process. The hill stopped me from wanting to run at the beginning of the move. I cursed it. I complained about it.

And then I decided that since the mountain is here, I need to learn to live with it. I ran it in the sleet, the wind and the snow. I tried to push myself further every time I ran it. And eight months later, I am stronger than I was when I moved here.

I know the take-home lesson. I know it's a little trite. But it's also very true: We can't get stronger without challenges. Sometimes the challenges totally suck. But sometimes we manage to grow because of them, and find ourselves at the top of our mountains with our lungs burning and our hearts full of celebration.

Yay me!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Coldest Soccer Game in History 5.22.10

Seriously. It was SO cold. And it was the END OF MAY. This spring has been so wacked. The girls hung out in the IKEA tent we had thrown in the van. David and I tried to get warm under a sleeping bag. Ben ran around with a red nose. We wondered why we'd all driven to North Ogden to suffer.

Then we decided that we drove to North Ogden to support cute Josh in his last game of the season, and we should just deal with the cold. Josh scored the one goal for his team, and I'm glad we were there to see it.

After a while, we took turns watching from the van, which helped our spirits enormously. I won't miss driving to North Odgen, and I won't miss turning to ice on the sidelines, but I will miss watching Josh on the field.

Insta-Recital 5.21.10

Bridget's spring recital is always lovely and I look forward to hearing her talented and well-prepared students..

Kate's been learning Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's Allegro since Federation and was finally ready to perform. It was a big jump ahead in her performance level, so she had to work extra hard. Sophie is back with Bridget (hooray!) and has been working on a concerto for a while. It didn't seem quite ready for the spring recital, so we didn't plan for her to play.

We had lessons from 4:30-5:30 on Friday. The recital was at 6:30, so I brought Kate's performance clothes along for the ride.

At Sophie's lesson, she played her concerto beautifully. SO beautifully that Bridget decided she should play in the recital that night. The main problem? She was in jeans and a t-shirt.

So we left Bridget's at 5:35 and ran off to find performance clothes.

Second store = Success.

6:27. Made it to the recital hall. Pulled the tags off of Sophie's new clothes. Ran into the hall.

Sophie was relaxed and confident like I've never seen her pre-performance. Kate was excited.

They both played beautifully. I was so thrilled. Kate really worked on her piece and nailed even the chords that were tripping her up earlier in the day. Sophie hasn't always felt like she wanted to play piano (but has never decided to quit when given the option) but after this performance, she felt totally inspired to continue.

It was a lovely night.

Mess 5.20.10

I'd like to be one of those moms who take total chaos in stride.

I'm not.

And when Sophie called me to see the upstairs bathroom, I tried to take the disaster that was foam soap all over every surface of the bathroom in stride.

I didn't.

And in the process, I may have scared off Sophie's friend for a while.

Oh well, at least they won't have any more foam soap wars on MY watch......

Late Night Project 5.19.10

School is ALMOST over, so our (and by OUR, I mean JOSH'S) late night projects will soon be over too. I will not miss them. No. I really really won't.

Toothless Wonder 5.18.10

Love this girl and the now ENORMOUS gap in her smile.

Soccer Again 5.17.10

David came home. Hooray! And Josh had a soccer game. I packed a picnic dinner and off we went.

It's been a frustrating soccer season. The team has struggled. We talk a lot about how great it is to learn the lessons of being on a losing team. Josh has learned to be a good sport, to enjoy the game, not the results of the game, and to try to give off a positive vibe when everyone else seems to be feeling very negative.

It would have been nice to win every once in a while, too, though. Winning feels good. Losing teaches good life lessons, but it kind of sucks.

Lazy Sunday 5.16.10

With David still gone to Spokane, my main concern (after cleaning up the dog poop all over my carpet from the party the night before) was to keep everyone happy while staying sane myself.

A sleepover with our sweet Alysha seemed like it would help, and I certainly loved that she had the brilliant idea to make my bed as an act of service, leaving me a cute note in the process.

My other great idea was to have Ash and Holden over after church so that I could have an actual conversation with an adult. Teaching 4 year olds in church means there's no real grown-up time to anticipate at church. Sacrament meeting is all about keeping Ben from screaming and crawling under the bench to torment the innocent people behind us and Primary is all about loving the ridiculously squirrely but loving crop of kids who enjoy standing on chairs, poking each other until someone cries, coloring on my skirt, and rocking back and forth on their chair legs.

So hooray for family willing to just come and be and eat spaghetti (for like the 3,000th time. When my brain is barely working, it can only come up with spaghetti, pancakes, or pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. I really need some other go-to meals. What are yours?).

Ashleigh and I decided we've talked about eating healthier long enough. We're now off sugar until she leaves to the Bahamas at the end of June, and I decided to change up my eating a lot more, too...way more fruits and veggies and way less refined carbs. I'm hoping that losing a little weight will help my running pace get a little faster. I feel kind of stuck where I am and am ready to push it a little more.

It ended up being quite a lovely Sunday. Other than the carpet cleaning. That was not so lovely.