Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday Twins

I just wanted to wish my girls a very Happy 10th Birthday today. I can't believe you are already 10?! Geez, time sure does fly by when I have been able to have so much fun with you. I'm sorry I'm not there to celebrate the fun that you have today, but I will see you girls in a few days and we can have some fun then.

Taken moments after they were born.

July 14, 2017

I started working on this video a few weeks ago, but had to stop to do your Grandpa Paul's tribute video. Luckily, with the two of you girls, all your pictures are digital files and I didn't have to scan anything. Yay for technology. After grandpa's celebration of life, I completely started over. This time, I chose one picture of the two of you for each month since your birth. Well, except for the first two pictures of me holding you for the first time (one of my favorites), and your mom looking at you cuties for the first time right after your birth, and then later on in the video it shows pictures of you cuties on our trip to California last year. I did this to help end the video when the song ended.

As you can see the video posted below, this is the only way I was able to upload your birthday video so that you and everyone else could see it. I uploaded it to YouTube a few days ago, but it was blocked. So this is the next best thing instead of clicking a link.

Also, included is one picture of each family that was alive from when the twins were born, but have passed away up until this month. That includes both their Grandpas Rex and Paul, their Great Grandma ("GG") Carson, Great Grandpa Sharich, and the family dogs Ginger and Snickers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer 2017 - Week 6 Part II (Funeral)

July 15
Our neighbor Annie came over and did the twins hair, and we got ready for the celebration of life... except Amanda.

Today was her daughters birthday, and the party for her had been planned out weeks in advance. As much as I would have loved to have Amanda with us, I totally understood why she needed to be there at her daughters party. So we dropped Amanda off at the church next to her moms house where the party was taking place, and the 3 of us headed to my moms.

When we arrived, packed up in my moms car and drove over to the funeral parlor. I’ve been there twice before for other family members for their viewing, but I would always park on the street on the south side. Well, little did I know they have valet parking on the north side. So we pulled in and they parked the car. Then we walked inside and I handed the director, from the night before, the new DVD. He started playing it. Normally the church or building will have a program of the events that will take place during the viewing, but we had a little card with my dads picture instead with a poem on the back. I grabbed a couple of those, and we started the celebration of life.

It was packed! Normally, during a viewing, people come for a few minutes and leave. At my dads celebration of life, we had it so there would be food and drinks so everyone could enjoy it. This way, the guest could talk and not feel that if they were hungry, they would have to leave and miss anything since it was an hour and a half of visiting.

I checked on the twins every once in a while, but thankfully their Aunt Aubrey came and was keeping them entertained.

I know my family was busy visiting with guest, as I was busy myself. I felt bad that I didn’t get to say Hi or talk with everyone. Also, I’m not great at funerals. I never know what to properly say.

During the celebration, they had a person playing live classic rock music (songs from the ‘50s through the ‘80s) that we know my dad would have enjoyed. The reason why live over recorded, was that if the crowd talking was loud, he could sing a little louder. Same with if it was quiet, he could sing softer. It would be better to have someone trying to control the volume of a radio/speakers each time it changed volume of the crowd.

Around 1:30’ish, we asked my cousin Charley to close the celebration by introducing himself and did great job trying to get everyone to feel happy by having us laugh with his humor, then he would introduce everyone who was part of the closing program. My sister played “Amazing Grace” on her violin, I read the obituary that was posted on the funeral parlors website, and my two aunts told quick stories of my them that had involved them and my dad from a few years ago to when they were young. Tears were shed, but it was cool to hear these stories I’ve never heard about my dad.

The immediate family then walked into the room where my dad was, and a few officers from the Department of Corrections took a folded American flag and placed it over his coffin. Those who don’t know, even though he worked at the Utah State Prison before retiring, he had completed police academy in 1999 (that was the picture of him on graduation day, on his funeral program). He had to go through certification each year (I was told) to be able to stay an officer.

We wheeled the casket out out and through the visiting area where everyone had been, then the pallbearers (including my brother and myself) loaded the casket into the hearse. We all dispersed from the parlor, and everyone loaded up in their vehicles to meet at the cemetery a few miles away. We pulled around front to wait behind the hearse, along with two other family members vehicles, waiting for the funeral parlor to do something to the hearse (you’ll see later) and then we all drove to the cemetery.

We pulled up near the burial plot, and parked behind the hearse.

They placed the license plate from his Mustang on the hearse.

We then waited for everyone to show up by standing near the hearse. The 6 other pallbearers arrived and we all unloaded his casket and walked it over to his final resting place. I don’t remember the order of the following events, but my Uncle Gerald gave a final prayer, they gave a 9 gun salute (3 x 3), and they folded up the flag (that was placed over his casket again for the drive over) and presented it to my mom. We then said our final goodbyes by placing any flower on his casket.

The woman who conducted the fire arm salute and presenting of the flag, gave the girls each a memento of an empty bullet shell. Luckily, they were actual bullets casing with the bullet portion removed, it just had the gun powder still in it.

So after the funeral we headed back over to the funeral parlor to collect all of my dads items. After loading up our vehicles of items, we headed over to my moms house to get in casual or play clothes, and to eat a little something while I tried to remove the gun powder from the empty casing. Since I could not open the end of one them, I decided it wasn’t worth it since I started to scratch the one.

The girls mom and stepdad (Rachel and Jason) were back in town again, they came over to my moms house and picked up the twins. We all said our goodbyes, gave lots of hugs and kisses, and they headed out to head home. Summer with the twins was now over.

After the twins left, I headed back to pick up Amanda at the church. We then went back over to my grandmas house so we could meet up there and eat a meal with the entire family since it was almost evening. After we all finished eating, we all headed back over to the cemetery to see how the plot looked since they placed him in the ground. We sat/stood around chatting for a little while until it was time to call it a day with everyone.

After this....... I don’t recall the rest of the day. Now, normally, I can recall details very well. I find it funny that I could remember up until when we left the cemetery... but as Amanda pointed out to me while I’ve been constantly writing and re-writing this post, it was a very busy and sad day. Plus, as of this being posted today, it’s been 5 months since my dad passed away.

I still miss him. He was my dad. He was my teacher. He was my friend. He taught me A LOT... more than I’ll ever know he did when he was teaching me at the time. Enough to help me be a man, a husband, and a father.

Love and miss you dad.

“Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mold them until they know all he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this.”

Victor Devlin

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer 2017 - Week 6 Part I

Sunday, July 9
I arrived at IHC Murray parking lot shortly after 12:30am, walked into the ER and found out where the family was at. I arrived just in time to see the doctor telling my mom the bad news. Just an FYI, I could write every detail, but I don’t want to do that to relive it... I don’t want more sadness in this blog post then there is/was. (Plus, I have had to stop writing multiple times because of the sadness)

My family was already there with him, I arrived, and then my aunts (my dads sisters), uncles and grandma arrived shortly after. We stayed in the ER room he was already in until 1:30 AM until we were moved into another room upstairs, one that would give us more privacy and quietness. I fell asleep on the floor from 4 to 6:30. I was woken up and shortly after that, and that’s when my aunts came back in from going home for a little while. The sun rose and we sat around in quietness (unless the nurse came in) until around 7:35 when my dad passed away. I’m glad it was a beautiful sunrise for my dad to enjoy one last time.

I left the hospital shortly after to make sure the girls were okay, and to break the sad news to them (their mom was on speakerphone to help me out). I notified both jobs and told them the sad news. They let me know my shifts were covered for the week. Since I only had 90 minutes of sleep in 24+ hours, I needed to get some more rest or the rest of the day would have been even more disastrous for me. Amanda helped me out with the girls while I was sleeping, but once I woke up, I got dressed and we quickly went to Costco. We came back home and dropped the food items off. By that time, the girls mom and was at our place. We agreed to let them stay until the funeral (which day was unknown at that time). They took some of the presents back home that the girls received prior and then we went to my... moms house. I remember when I said “parents”, and then I corrected myself, I lost it and started crying again.

When we arrived at her house, there were quite a few neighbors, church members, friends and family over, comforting my mom and us. My aunts brought food for everyone, thank goodness. I told my mom that I would like to do the tribute video, so we started searching for photos and found 4 totes downstairs. After a couple hours, we loaded up the car and brought everyone home. Amanda and I started to look at the (about) two thousand printed photographs so I could begin the process of scanning certain photos that would be used in my dads tribute video.

Monday, July 10
We continued to comb through pictures and continued scanning what I could. Since we had a meeting with Starks Funeral, the 4 of us with Destiny came over to my moms. Amanda and the girls stayed behind while the others and I went to Starks. We talked with a director of the parlor and planned out that we were doing for dads funeral. We planned it so that their would be a private viewing and closing of the casket on Friday evening, and the celebration of life and burial would be held on Saturday. We picked out all the items needed to have a nice celebration of life, including the casket that would be painted the same shade of emerald green (with grey decals) to make it look like his Mustang. We drove back to my moms house, and then I brought Amanda and the twins back to my home. I continued scanning through out the day. If you are asking what else I or we did, I’m now writing this at the beginning to then end of November, and all I remember is scanning, scanning, scanning. Little things didn’t stick to my memory like they normally do.

Tuesday, July 11
Since it was July 11th, or 7-11, we headed over to get free slurpies. We do this every year, and I’m glad we got to carry on this funny tradition this year since we didn’t continue on the tradition of going to Hogle Zoo.

The family had a meeting with the cemetery, about the burial plot, in the afternoon. I ended up driving over to my moms alone and staying there to continue scanning photos (since we decided I really wasn’t needed to be there). While there, I accidentally deleted the scanned photos (If you choose to delete a file(s) on a flash drive, it doesn’t move them to the Trash Bin— it permanently deletes them.) I had recovery software on my flash drive, quickly installed it and recovered some of the photos. Luckily, most of the pictures, were either sitting on top of the totes they came from, or I had to go through the 5 photo books and then re-scan each photo that I knew had been deleted. On top of re-scanning each photo, I had to first reinstall the driver software to have the printer/scanner work properly with the computer, but the computer was working so slowly that I was loosing patience and time. Then to top it off, I was really loosing it because I'm getting notifications from Amanda saying the twins were misbehaving, then from their mom because the twins were texting her. I lost it (crying) when my mom and them got back.

The girls finally were listening for the moment, and I was finally able to finish scanning what I could. I made backup of the photos on my moms computer (just in case) and then drove back home and dealt with the kids and the chaos they were causing.

Then came the next task of cropping each photograph (I originally scanned 3 to 5 photos at once to save time because of how long it would take the scanner to scan). After the girls had gone to bed, I had completed the cropping the started the process of uploading photos onto my phone. I was going to do it in chronological order, but after realizing that was not a good idea, I installed a slideshow program that could show those scan photos randomly. I could also pause the slideshow, go to my phone to find that picture and tell it to appear next in the slideshow. Once that was done by, I added the music I had picked out, trimmed it down a bit to end on the last photo and song. Immediately started uploaded it to YouTube and I crashed. It was almost 2am.

Wednesday, July 12
I woke up late to see the video had been blocked in the US because of the Elton John song in the slideshow. So I uploaded it to my Dropbox. It wasn't the way I wanted people to see it, but it was all I could do since I had no personal website to host it on (like I had in the past). Well, come to find out, DropBox only lets you watch only 15 minutes of a video... the video was 18 minutes. So I had to split and save the last 3 minutes of the video, upload it to Dropbox and post yet another link to let everyone see the last part of the video.

To get out of the house, we took the girls and Destiny over to Bountiful City Park.

I don’t remember what else we did, but I’m thinking we went to visit my mom because I have photos of one of the girls holding her hand out the car window on the way back home, just being carefree and having fun.

Thursday, July 13
We all pitched in today and did chores in the house. Mid afternoon, Amanda had the game Monopoly, and so her and I played that while the girls sat in the same room and watched Mamma Mia!. That almost ruined ABBA for me, and you know how much I love ABBA.

That night, we made dinner together. It’s hard to eat your food when it looks like and owl and it’s staring back at you.

Then we all sat down to watch Blazing Saddles (the edited version I made) with the girls... finally! I’ve been dying to have them watch it this whole summer. They liked it.

Friday, July 14
From here on out, I didn’t write down notes of what happened... so I’m going by the photographs I took, or by memory.

I don’t have anything remembered of what went on during the day, but that evening, we all were nicely dressed to go to the private viewing.

We arrived at my moms, then drove over the funeral parlor. They had it all set up so it had pictures displayed of him all around his casket, and the casket looked very similar to his Ford Mustang [picture].

As we said our goodbyes, we placed little Hot Wheels of the cars he had and loved (Shelby Cobra, Ford Mustang, Ford Ranchero...) in his casket with him. We said our final goodbyes, and closed the casket lid.

I had burnt to DVD, the slide show so they could play it during the Celebration of Life on Saturday. Another funeral director and I started playing it to test it make sure the DVD worked on their DVD players. It did... but it caught everyone's attention and they all stood around and watched it. That was compliment, because normally you can grow tired of watching a video if it doesn’t stand out or the music doesn’t keep you hooked.

While watching the DVD, I realized that this version of the slideshow was a mess up... I used the wrong version that played one song twice and didn’t end on The Beatles song I wanted it to. Although everyone enjoyed the video, I felt embarrassed, but I knew I could fix it before the next day.

Well, after the viewing, all of the family drove over to Olive Garden in Sugar House to have dinner together. The twins mentioned that they remembered the time that we let them try lemons when they were little (2009), so they had to do it again now with limes.

By the time we finished eating, it was getting late and close to the girls bedtime. So we parted from the group who were still eating and talking, and headed home to get the girls to bed... and so I could fix the video and burn it to DVD. That didn’t take long and we all got to bed because the next day was going to be busy.

(Part II coming soon...)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer 2017 - Week 5 (Part II)

July 7th (Friday)
I worked my last Home Depot shift for the week, and the girls gave Destiny a bath while I was at work. Dad went back in to have the feeding tube put in.

After getting some food at Dan's, I came home and we got ready to head out. We had plans to drive to my friend Jessica’s house so we can have a BBQ, but we first had to drive over to my parents to help put up the decorations for the twins early birthday party (the next day) while they were still up here and before they had to head home on Sunday.

After getting the decorations up, we drove down to Jessica's to have a BBQ with her and her kids. We brought Destiny with us because they have watched her in the past (and I knew they missed her), and we had a lot of fun just relaxing, eating, talking and letting all the kids play.

The plan for today was to go to Obon at the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple in Downtown Salt Lake. We first had to go to a doctor appointment of mine, then we went and had lunch at a Greek restaurant right next door to the doctor. This is where I tried and love baklava for the first time.

After eating lunch, we headed downtown to the Obon Festival. It wasn’t as big as I thought it would (thinking it would be like the Greek Festival), but we looked around in the gift shop, then headed to the Gateway because someone didn’t go potty before I pulled out of my parking spot.

So we drove over to the Gateway and parked on the north end. PLEASE DO NOT PARK THERE!!! The parking lot is not owned by the same company who owns the Gateway— and they still charge you a full hour if you park there for 50 minutes. Oh, that set my blood boiling.

But before the parking incident, all of us used the restroom in the Union Pacific Depot building. I purchased one more birthday gift for the girls at B&N, before we met up at Hot Topic to get hair dye for the girls.
They were being silly and crossing legs while walking. It reminded me of the opening theme to "The Monkees" (4 to 5 second part of this video)

So we bought the dye, and then headed over to my parents to let the girls have their early birthday with everyone (including Aubrey, who lives nearby) since the girls were going back home the next day. The twins mom and stepdad were already on their way up and we’re spending the night in Provo. The girls wanted a Japanese themed birthday dinner, so a few days prior, my mom took the girls to get supplies.

I don't know how long Aubrey worked on this, but this was incredible...
Sushi made from candy! Awesome!!!

We ate dinner with everyone, and let the girls open presents.

After the party, I said goodbye to my dad and we headed home. We took it easy and then Amanda dyed the girls hair tips blue or pink.

The girls went to bed after and I took a melatonin... but I received the a text from Annie that my dad was taken by ambulance to IHC in Murray. The girls stayed home with Amanda, I met the family there.......

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer 2017 - Week 5 (Part I)

July 2
I worked both jobs, and the girls were still at my parents having fun. Seems like a pattern, weekdays with us, weekend with them.

Monday morning, Amanda and I took took Destiny to the vet. Nothing serious, just a basic procedure and check up. That evening, I worked at Dan's.

I worked Home Depot, then went and napped at the parents house and saw that Aubrey was there. The girls were having fun with her. After my nap, I went and worked a shift at Dan's. Since my dad was having surgery in the morning, I came over after work to pick up the girls so they could be with Amanda the next day and not have my mom also worry about them. They slept on the drive back to my place.

I worked a usual morning shift at Home Depot. My dads surgery was halted because of a hernia, so they rescheduled it for the 7th. After work, I picked the 3 of them up at the 7-11 near the Millcreek Trax Station. We went grocery shopping at my old work, Super Savers, and then we came home and we all helped make dinner. We are dinner a little early this night because we were going to see another movie in the park. This was no ordinary movie, it was one I never had a chance to see on the big screen when it premiered— Napoleon Dynamite. It was a bucket list item of mine to see this on the “big screen”, and since Sundance Institute Summer Film Series was showing it this night, we HAD to go. Luckily, I was off. There was a bonus— the writers and director Jared and Jerusha Hess were there as well.

So, before we left, I rummaged through boxes stacked in the closet from moving into our apartment to find 3 of my “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts. The girls and I wore those. I had a fourth shirt, but I had ironed on letters from when I went to the 2006 Napoleon Dynamite Festival with Tristyn. So instead, Amanda wore a Pop N Pins T-shirt that I had. I had the P.E. t-shirt (light blue, when it shows him playing tether ball), but I couldn’t locate that one.

We loaded up the car (Destiny stayed home because the event was at Red Butte Gardens Amphitheater, and I didn’t want to get there to see that dogs were possibly not allowed) and headed out.

Along the way, we stopped at the same dollar store we went to a week or two prior, and got snacks. We found our way to the Amphitheater and parked. There was already a line to get in. We only had to wait a few minutes before we were all let in.

Found a spot to put our blankets down and then went to have some fun before the movie started. One of the girls and I saw a toss game, and played against one another. Another played a giant version of Jenga with one of the employees of Sundance. After playing these games for a while and growing tired of them, we had to check out one of the two tether ball poles. We all took turns playing one another, then headed back to the blankets. The girls saw something some other kids were doing and asked if they could go play with them, I said yes.

Soon, it was getting dark enough to start the movie, but before they started the movie, they asked Jared and Jerusha to speak to the crowd.
These are the actual moon boots that Jon Heder (who played Napoleon Dynamite ) wore during the entire filming of Napoleon Dynamite. They were worn extensively that by the end, they had to be duct taped and black marker-ed over because they were falling apart.

After they spoke, I actually shook their hands and had to say thank you for the many adventures and road trips I experienced because of that film. Otherwise, besides my twins being born, my 20’s wouldn’t have been as exciting as it was.

With it finally dark enough, we watched the movie and then headed home once the movie ended.
I knew with staying up late would make me tired since I had to work a 6-10 shift at Home Depot, but when would the opportunity to see the movie like this and meet the writers? Most likely never.

My dad went back in to see what options could be done to get the feeding tube in. They were going to officially put in on Friday the 7th.

After work, I stopped at Dan's to get some stuff for S'mores since I had the night off again. After arriving home and eating lunch, we took the girls swimming at Davis Rec Center. We then came home to make dinner.

Since we knew we had time, we planned it so we drive over near the Saltair to check out Black Rock. We arrived with plenty of sunlight left to walk out into the water, then Amanda and I climbed the rock. If you are wondering, we left Destiny at home because of bugs and mosquitoes.

I knew from previous times, that it was the time to drive over to the grounds where Tristyn and I would light areal fireworks (before they were allowed to be legal) so we could light a fire and make s’mores. We had a lot of fun just being us and enjoying the moment.

With it then becoming dark, we loaded up the car with our stuff and any garbage, and headed home along the side road next to I-80 while holding our hands out windows, letting bugs smash again against them freaking us out. That was freaking fun and awesome to do.

(Part II will be posted next week)