When I started this blog it was because we had found out about Tristan. I had intentions of making it into our family blog and I attempted to make a few entries unrelated to Tristan but I have had a hard time maintaining it and I realize that is because it has served it’s real purpose- to tell Tristan’s story. So now that his story is told I am going to take this blog down. I might replace it, I may not. It has come to our attention that people have been snagging pictures and info without our permission and I knew that was a risk in the first place. I felt like it was important, though, as a resource to others finding themselves in our shoes to keep this blog opened to the public. Like I said before though. It has served its purpose.

Thank you to all those out there who have been so supportive and loving through our most difficult trials.

Because of Tristan I am a consultant with a company called Heritage Makers. I have learned that it’s so important to write down the stories of our lives and through my business Get Storybooked, people can create their own personal libraries of the stories in their lives that are important. Anyone wanting to know more about creating their own storybooks can email me at GetStorybooked@gmail.com or check out my Heritage Makers site at GetStorybooked.com .

Here is a look at Tristan’s awarded book.

Learn about making your own books- a tribute to a loved one passed, a wedding album, baby book, or any other important stories in your life- email me at GetStorybooked@gmail.com, visit my site GetStorybooked.com,  or find out the monthly specials and other details at GetStorybooked.blogspot.com. Better still, I can show you how to help others tell their stories in a fun rewarding career as a Heritage Makers consultant. Contact me today!

This past weekend, Neil and I drove down to Phoenix to accept the Best of Heritage award for the company that I am a consultant for- Heritage Makers. I signed up as a consultant after working on Tristan’s baby book through Heritage Makers. My first big project ended up being a 12×12 album of Tristan’s professional photographs. The album was very healing, because after writing down his story and our families experience and emotions, and having his perfect little image preserved in the art of Julie William’s NILMDTS photography, I felt like I could let my mind and heart wander and heal from the pain of this. Yet anytime I wanted to go back to the beauty and love of having Tristan in our lives, it would all be right there. So I made this book and really thought it was too personal, in the sense that no one else would want to read such a sad story. But My friend saw the potential in this book and submitted it to Heritage Makers for the Best of Heritage awards. It is a great honor to have won this, but it’s even more than that.

Tristan’s Visit photography book

Thoughts for Tristan baby book

When I started with Heritage Makers as a consultant, one of my goals was to be able to donate a story book to as many Angel families as possible. This weekend saw the fruition of that dream on a level I didn’t even think of. Tristan’s book has inspired the company to team up with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep to offer a storybook to every family served by NILMDTS.  It was a dream come true to spend time with Julie and to meet with consultants around the country who are so excited about this partnership. So many came up to meet with Neil and I and to tell their own stories of loss. I am always so humbled to have strangers who hear of Tristan and our story and let me into the personal heartbreak they have experienced.

Anyway, I am thrilled with the good that has come out of all of this!

So, I decided that I would finally add a post on here. This is Neil in case you weren’t sure. I have been thinking about this for the last few months. I was hoping anyone that would be willing to share would post a comment or e-mail us directly would share with us how Tristan’s short life influenced theirs. This is something I would like to add to the things we have to remember Tristan. We don’t regret any of the decisions we made but in some ways, I think it would help us to have these stories not only for Arae and I but also for our kids.

In the near future I plan on sharing what he did for me and how my life has changed because of him and the miracle that he truly was and continues to be. I am not the writer that Arae is so it may just bore everyone, but I really feel like I need to do this. Tristan changed our lives so much that we could never repay what this experience did or fully express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the miraculous gift that Tristan continues to be. We just want to know the impact that he had on others.

I am not able to express myself very well in words. I leave that to Arae. She has a gift for that. I guess my hope through all of this is that there was even more good that came of this than even we can see in our own lives. Tristan changed the world for us and hopefully he had some impact on others as he did on us.

Thank you to anyone willing to share. It would mean the world to us.

Imagine going into work one morning and on your way through the parking lot you see a man passed out cold in his car. Fortunately, you work at a hospital so the response is pretty immediate when you report that there is a man who appears to have died in his car.

Doctors, nurses, and paramedics from the Emergency Department run into the parking lot with a gurney, IV fluids, defibrillators- the entire crash cart- and a code is called! But when they get out to the car that the dead man was supposed to be in, he is no where to be found!

Well this happened to Neil last week. But if you didn’t guess, he was NOT the one to report the dead man in the car, and he was not one of the medical staff responding to the code blue.  No.  No, Neil was the victim in the code blue!

Before work, he likes to get there a little early to read for a few minutes. But that morning his lack of sleep had caught up with him and he fell asleep before going into work. Someone noticed and reported the emergency but somewhere between the good Samaritan’s discovery and the St. Mark’s emergency team’s response,  Neil had woke up and went inside to work.  When the paramedics came out to the car the “victim”  was gone.

So while I am glad that someone was paying enough attention and cared enough to make the emergency call, just remember to knock on the window to make sure the person is not just sleeping, if you ever come across someone passed out in their car!

So while Neil was home for a weekend, I encouraged him to take McKenna outside to build a snowman. She had been wanting to do this for a while, but I don’t own a pair of snow boots (soon to be remedied by the end of season sales!) and it’s hard to take Adele out for long periods of time because as soon as her mittens get wet, we have to come back in.

So after rolling 3 roundish super sized snowballs, and stacking them on top of each other, Neil sends McKenna in to raid the pantry for features to attach to their snowman. Of course he had to have the traditional carrot nose, but then McKenna settled on a bag of 2 year old candy use for snowman parts.

Three buttons of Ghirradeli chocolate drops lined the snowman’s chest.  They shoved the carrot into the middle of the top snowball and shoved cherry tootsie pops into his 2 eye sockets. Neil used his gloved hand to carve a sinister smile for the mouth and then lined it with the fire ball candy. This was the most disturbing snowman I have ever seen, but McKenna was proud.

I didn’t get out to take a picture right away but every day I looked out the kitchen window at the frightening sculpture, the appearance got worse and worse! As the weather got warmer, the south side of the snowman was shaved down by the sun. The face on the north side melted more slowly, but as it did, the red from the fire balls drizzled around the chin and down the corners of his widening, gaping grin. The tootsie pop eyes were held firmly in place by the sucker’s stick, but as the snowman melted away from the round candy, they appeared to bug out of his head making him look even more depraved!

So after a week of staring at this hideous snowman, I took McKenna and Adele out to take pictures and… well, do away with “Frosty”! when we knocked him over backwards, his slushy head sprayed open from the point of his jaw spraying the red fire ball tinged snow out and the suckers sprawling in separate directions like a sick crime scene . And this is how our snow man lays now!

To have the sheer joy of his presence and the honor of knowing another human so intimately is a gift I have been given in my life. I am not sure, that in the almost 7 years we have been together, that most other people experience the turmoil and trials by fire that Neil and I have faced. Yet I also don’t know of many other couples that share the deep bond that has been forged between us for the work we have put into our relationship.

Neil blames himself, his weaknesses, and deficits for the difficulty and pain that has been a prevalent part of our lives. However- to have the friendship and affection for each other that we do now, and for me personally to be with the man that he is today, I truly believe that we were REQUIRED to go through almost literal hell to have it.

It was not until recently that I could truthfully say what I am about to say; but to have the man that Neil is today and to be so loved and well thought of by him, I would do it all over again.

And I am so thankful to him for the faith and trust he puts in me, to let me see his weakness, to ask for my help and forgiveness and for letting me be his everything.  The only way to have true love, I believe, is to have trust in one another enough to take every vulnerable thing in you and lay it out for the other person without any self protection, and only hope for that person to care enough for you not to hurt you. And in seeing that vulnerability of the other, are we able to empathize with and hold that person dear, despite all of their lacking.

When we look at another person, and especially in this case our spouse, let us remember that everyone is doing the best that they can. There are few (if any) people out there who would hurt us on purpose. Least of all our spouse, and because they struggle with human errors does not make them unworthy of our love. To be accurate, they are more desperately in need of it. And some weaknesses, frailties, or wrong doings can only be overcome with unconditional love.

I Love you Neil!

I expected the holiday season to be a lot harder than they were, but don’t get me wrong. There were moments I was reduced to tears at reminders of Tristan’s absence. The funny thing about keeping him as present in our family as possible with pictures and traditions and talking of him often, is that it also reminds us, painfully so, that he is not here.

The most poignant reminder for me was the empty stocking. We decided it would be a good idea to place a stocking for Tristan along with all of ours. McKenna is too young to pay close attention to the fact that we start stuffing their stockings weeks before Santa’s one-night trip around the world. So as we buy, we stuff! But as the stockings got fuller and heavier, the empty Pooh bear stocking on the end looked more and more sad and alone.

Neil and I decided to give Tristan a personal gift of self to work on through the next year; something that would help us work harder to know we will be with him again. So this year I am determined to go to the temple at least 18 times. That’s 1 and a half times a month and if I have to duck out of girl’s night, (sorry Liz and Michelle) once in a while then I will.

Anyway, it’s a new year and I can’t wait to get on with it; Good riddance 2009- I am welcoming 2010 with open arms!

We finally got our computer back from the shop! Whoo-hoo! I have felt so disconnected!

Anyway I just though I would post a few of Tristan’s NILMDTS pictures. They are SO amazing! I look at them and it’s like I am there with him again. I can never thank this organization or Julie, the photographer, enough!

Waiting in our L&D room

such a perfect little person

my dad, home early from his tour in Iraq, for this day

McKenna's expression just gets me in this one

Great grandpa

love his expression here


great great grandma



Miracle #2, Tristan meets his sisters

Miracle #1, I get to hold Tristan

an old soul

1st glimpse at all that dark hair!