The Moment He Called Me Mom

December 7, 2016 in For Mamas

I’m so excited to be collaborating with an amazing company called Stiry to help with these mama spotlights! They are ALL about sharing the good and sharing stories that stir.

Today we are spotlighting this sweet mama of a boy with Autism. Kristen is one of my dear friends and her little Nash just melts me. I remember talking with Kristen when she first realized that Nash had Autism and her strength blew me away. She’s a mom that gets up and tries her best over and over and over again and I’m so thankful for her beautiful example.

Here’s her story:

 

 

(to see more inspiring videos, head to Stiry on FB too!)

Xo,

Aubrey

Unplugged.

December 6, 2016 in Love Notes

img_9477

Have you ever driven somewhere in pure silence? (Minus the few baby/kids noise in the back seat). Or took a day off from social media? Or left your phone home for the day?

Unplugged.

Something I am a HUGE advocate of.

Everyone’s life is busy, am I right? Find me one person who isn’t because I seriously can’t. We all are running everywhere, putting our kids in every extra curricular activity, trying out new hobbies, updating our phones to the latest and greatest, constantly scrolling through Instagram while we “wait” at the doctors because we don’t know what else to do with our minds to kill time.

Noise. There is just so much noise…and it’s taking over.

I currently have quite a lot on my plate as well, so my mind is going a hundred miles an hour and I feel like I’m on a freight train sometimes!

Here’s the thing. We have the chance to stop a lot of the noise around us. And you wanta know a secret?

It’s amazing when we do.

Here’s a few things I’ve done that have helped clear my mind and soul in unplugging:

  1. Social media fasts. I don’t ever “announce” when I go on one but I do it where I will either not get on at all that day(s) or I’ll just delete the apps that my mind has spent way too much time on. I notice the days that I don’t get on, I’m actually pretty dang content with life and feel like I have it pretty good. I’m all about using social media for good, but sometimes it’s so great to unplug from it all and realize the good that’s right in front of you instead of comparing other’s “good” to your own “good”.
  2. Check your tech. My little family has a “Check your tech jar” to put our phones in. No phones from 6-8 and although we aren’t super strict on the actual jar, it has been an amazing reminder to spend that time with each other. An average person spends 7 hours a DAY on technology. That’s insane to me. 2 hours to spend together is nothing, but has meant everything!
  3. Drive without music sometimes. I say sometimes because I can’t live without music, but I’ve noticed on days that I’m super stressed, if I just turn off the music in the car, it helps my mind clear a little bit.
  4. Find a substitute. By this I mean, find something in place of scrolling on social media. Have you ever been scrolling and all of a sudden you look up and a half hour has passed by? (I’m guilty!) And then you feel like you didn’t get anything done? Whether it be a new hobby you want to try or diving into a book, I love filling my time with these and feeling like I accomplished something.
  5. Get outside. Studies have shown that those who spend time outside are more likely to feel happier and heal better. I think sunshine is good for the soul and allows us to teach our kids about nature and connect that to God. Have you ever seen a beautiful sunset, or an incredible rainstorm? If we put our phones down, we won’t miss as many and we allow ourselves to breathe.

I could go off about how much unplugging has helped my personal life, my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with my husband and family, and loving my own set of cards in my life by not trying to keep up with everything I see when I scroll.

Social media can be SUCH an amazing tool, but it can also become controlling if we allow it. It’s so easy to get sucked in! But I think there’s a whole lot of a life we can gain back if we unplug for a minute and just…be.

 

Monday Mama: Jenna

November 14, 2016 in Love Notes / Monday Mama

You guys, I’m giddy!!! I haven’t done Monday Mama’s in SO long and after a popular vote, I decided to start back up again and start spotlighting moms on my blog. These stories are to help us find our own bravery in motherhood and I’ve found a handful of moms who have shown that and I can’t wait to share their stories with you.

Today’s post is near and dear to my heart because it involves a family that I love dearly.

fullsizerender-6

Today I am spotlighting cute Jenna Richards, who actually married one of my friends that grew up down the street from me. She is from Shelley, Idaho and after being married to Chase for just a short time, he passed away. She has been able to survive this heart-breaking time with her beautiful little boy named Jack and gave me permission to share her story with all of you.

fullsizerender-7

 

“I’ve only shared my story once, and to be honest, I don’t even know where to begin… But on April 2nd, 2016, my life forever changed.

On Saturday, April 2nd, my husband, Chase, was supposed to pick Jack and I up in Brigham City, UT.  We had been at my parents’ house, but we were going to meet Chase sometime around noon to eat at our favorite restaurant,  Maddox, and head back home. That morning I texted him at 7:30 to see if he was awake and ask what time I should head out. I didn’t hear anything back. By 9:30, I called and texted again, but still no word.  This wasn’t like him, but I still wasn’t too worried because I assumed he was sleeping in due to working early mornings all week.  By 11:00, and still no answer, I knew something was wrong. I then texted his Dad and asked if he’d heard anything from Chase.  He said no, but that he would go to our house and make sure everything was okay.  He went there with Chase’s brother, and soon after I received the worst phone call ever. His voice was frantic and he said, “Jenna, Chase is unconscious! We’ve called for an ambulance. Come right now!!” I was frantically running around bawling while trying to pack our bags as fast as I could before heading to Utah. Luckily, my Dad was able to drive us, since I was in no shape to be driving. Truthfully, I don’t remember the 3-hour drive all that much. I just remember getting updates, then that dreaded message from my Bishop saying Chase was being life-flighted  to SLC. Death still wasn’t on my mind.  I was thinking more about what we would possibly have to do for recovery, etc. As soon as we got into SLC though, the reality and panic set in and I immediately grabbed a bag and threw up. It felt like forever to get to the hospital, since it was Conference weekend and the streets were packed. I was getting frantic, wanting to scream out the window, “EVERYONE, PLEASE MOVE!! I started getting agitated and just wanted to get out of the car and start running. When we finally got to the hospital, I jumped out of the car, grabbed Jack, and ran into the lobby. As soon as I walked in, I instantly got dizzy and the nausea kicked back in. I handed Jack to my Dad, ran to the bathroom, and threw up one more time. Maybe deep down I knew it wasn’t going to be good, and I was scared to face reality. 

When I walked into Chase’s room, I was shocked and taken aback, and I knew immediately this was way worse than I could have ever imagined. Within 5 minutes of being there, Chase’s doctor walked in to let us all know things didn’t look good. It was such a strange feeling seeing someone say those words so calm and collected. Shouldn’t this guy be heartbroken to deliver such hard news? I didn’t want to believe his words, so I was grasping for straws at this point, begging people to tell me everything was going to be ok. Deep down I knew he probably wasn’t going to make it, but I refused to believe it and I was not ready to face that reality.

Chase was then placed in a hypothermic state.  The doctors decided they wouldn’t be doing any MRI’s or EEG’s for 24 hours to see if the brain swelling would go down. It was then we found out Chase had aspirated in his sleep, which deprived his brain and other organs of the oxygen they needed for many hours. The next 24 hours were hell. I felt helpless watching Chase hooked up to life support, his body quivering.  The sound of a machine pushing air into his lungs and the ominous, never-ending sound of beeping machines still haunts me. This is something nobody can prepare you for. 

One of my best friends, Kim, rushed to the hospital to take Jack for the night, and by midnight I decided to go sleep for a few hours at a hotel down the street so I could function and be prepared for the next day. On Sunday Chase’s vitals were all looking good, but he was still in a coma and we still had no idea how much brain damage had been done. By this time family and friends started pouring in and showing their support, which was a blessing. I couldn’t have done Sunday without some of my best friends and family by my side. It was a long, emotional and draining day. 

That night I got to spend some alone time with Chase and i just held his hand while I talked to him. I tickled his arm and kept telling him I was there and to not be scared, to just relax, I was right there next to him, and would be throughout everything. 

By Monday morning we knew we’d be getting the news soon on his brain function and I was physically sick. By this time I had hardly eaten in two days and I was exhausted and weak. At noon Elder Oaks came and gave him a beautiful blessing.  As soon as it was over, I knew in my heart Chase was not going to be with us much longer. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I just knew. 

Hours passed and, finally, the doctors pulled us into a room and delivered the news. Chase was showing no brain function. He was brain dead. After he said those words, I just zoned out. I don’t even remember anything else he said. At the end of the conversation, he brought up taking Chase off of life support and then looked at me to get the ok. I shook my head yes with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe it. This was it. Chase was not going to be here much longer with us. 

Before the life support machines were turned off, we all took a turn being alone with him in his room for a private goodbye. I crawled into his bed, laid my head on his chest and sobbed. The tears couldn’t stop. All I could say was, “Chase, I love you so much. I love you so much.” I promised him I would always take good care of Jack and we would keep his memory alive. I apologized for all of the times I could have been a better wife, and then I gave him a final kiss on his lips. My sister then brought Jack in and we laid on the bed as a family one last time. I couldn’t believe this would be the last time our baby boy would see his Dad. My heart could hardly handle it. I just remember telling Chase that Jack would always know him, and to please take care of us. That final goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because I knew this would be the last time Jack would ever see his Dad on this earth. 

fullsizerender-10

I walked out, handed Jack to my sister, then went into the corner of the hallway and lost it. I l felt like my life was over.  How was I ever going to overcome such a trial? I had never felt so such despair in my life. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to me.  I was angry, sad, and broken.

After everyone had their alone-time with him, we all gathered in the room.  Chase and I’s bishop gave a final prayer before we unplugged him from the machines. The doctor said Chase could go fairly quickly, but we were uncertain. By this time it was around 8pm. The nurses came in and unplugged everything.  Then we just sat around his bed, held his hand, and spoke to him, hoping he’d slip away peacefully. Quickly, his breathing became labored and he seemed uncomfortable. About every 30 minutes nurses would come in to give him more sedation and pain meds to make sure he was as comfortable as possible and to keep his body calm. Hours passed, and his body kept fighting. We even said two more prayers pleading with our Heavenly Father to take him, and that we would be ok.  Finally at 3:28am, after a 7-hour valiant fight, Chase took his last breath. I remember I was at the end of his bed and I thought I was going to collapse. I had never seen someone die, so to see my own husband pass on was more than I could see or take. My Mom quickly came to my side and held me as I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t believe it. Just like that, he was gone. I kept saying over and over, “I can’t see him like this, Mom, I can’t see him dead.  Just take me home.” So we tiredly gathered up our things and went out to the car to head home. Since my Mom didn’t know her way around Salt Lake, I drove her car with her, and my Dad drove his own. I was so numb, I didn’t even know how to get to the freeway, even though I had done that route hundreds of times. Finally, clear out in West Valley, I got my bearings and made it back to the freeway. 

I remember walking in the house at around 4:15 am with the most empty feeling I had ever felt. I knew Jack would be waking in a few short hours and I wasn’t ready to face reality so soon. I went to our bathroom, filled up the tub, and sat in a hot bath as I cried the little bit of tears I had left.  Then I went to Chase’s closet, pulled out his favorite sweats and a big oversized sweater and crawled into bed with his pillow.  The sheets and everything smelled like him, and right then and there, I didn’t want to wake up. I just wanted to go. I know that sounds selfish, but I also wasn’t  thinking clearly and going on very little sleep and food. 

The next few days were a blur as we prepared for Chase’s funeral, picking out his casket, deciding what flowers, and a million other little things. I had no idea how much planning (and money) went into something so depressing. The morning of the viewing Chase’s parents, his brother, Preston, and sister, Laura, and I all gathered to see Chase’s body for the first time since he passed away.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready to see him like that, but I kind of had no choice at this point. We were led into a room where his peaceful body was laying, and I was immediately breathless, sick, and shaking. We said a prayer for peace, then dressed him slowly in his temple clothing that he would be buried in. That moment was surreal, and to be quite honest, one of the harder things I had to do that week. I wasn’t quite prepared for that moment. But then again, is anyone prepared for something like that?

Something life-changing happened when I left the funeral home that day. I remember pulling up to a red light right by Bingham High School and I looked to my right and I made eye contact with a guy in a truck next to me. I instantly thought, “this guy has no idea what I just had to do.” And right then and there I thought to myself, “how many people have I passed who were facing something so tragic in that very moment and I just walked by them not knowing?” Because of this experience, I try harder to be kinder and more patient with strangers. 

That night was Chase’s viewing.   He had such a huge turnout, along with the funeral the next day. So many people loved Chase and he made friends wherever he went. That was one of Chase’s greatest qualities. He made everyone feel like they were his best friend and always made everyone around him feel so comfortable and special. 

fullsizerender-9

After the funeral, graveside service, and luncheon, I went to our home, grabbed the last of our stuff, and got on the road to Idaho, since I would be moving back in with my parents so I could get some help with Jack and get back on my feet. 

Fast forward a few months, and here I am today.  Last Sep 6th would have actually been Chase and I’s 2-year anniversary. I can truthfully say the days are getting a little easier. I still have moments with major setbacks. But, for the most part, I am starting to slowly heal. I don’t have that panic like I did those first few months where I literally felt like my soul was broken. Not that I still don’t feel that way sometimes, but I am starting to take baby steps towards a new life without Chase. And that doesn’t mean I have to forget about him to start a new beginning, because he will always be in the back of my mind until the day I die.

I guess if I have learned one thing from this experience, it’s to always trust my Heavenly Father’s plan. His plan was obviously different than what I had in mind.   He sees the whole picture and I have to put my trust in his hands. After all, he gave his own life so I could endure this trial. My testimony has grown leaps and bounds since Chase’s passing, and sometimes I feel guilty that it took something so tragic to wake me up. But I am thankful for the many blessings and tender mercies that have come my way since April 2nd. So many life changes, mostly hard, but some, oh, so good and life altering.

 

Like Robert D. Hales said:

 

Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, “O God, where art thou?” Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When financial hardship befalls a family, a father will ask. When children wander from the path, a mother and father will cry out in sorrow. Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Then, in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying, “Thy will be done”.”

fullsizerender-12

fullsizerender-11

 

Before Chase passed away, Jenna started Munchies which is a baby clothing company. Chase was the one who really pushed her to go for it. She has a passion for baby fashion and finding good deals so she created a company of cute affordable baby clothes. Her whole site and work has been dedicated to Chase since he was her motivation behind it and gave her the confidence to go for it. She knows that she has Chase watching over her and baby Jack for the rest of their lives and holds onto that.

 

(You can find her over at @jackandjennablog)

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

DIY: Halloween Books

October 20, 2016 in DIY

diyhalloweenbooks

Hi friends!

It’s been awhile but I’m still here! I feel like blogs are a little old school but I love having a central place for my projects, thoughts, and updates! So here is a little Halloween DIY for you today!

First of all, I give all credit to my cute friend Kate who showed me how to do this. She is QUEEN of Halloween and after I saw these books and how fool proof they were I had to make them! I also love that it uses most of the stuff you have already at home and your kids can help too! fullsizerender-2

Here’s what you need:

Old books

Hot glue

Tissue paper

Paint

Liquid Gold Leaf

Mod Podge

Letter stickers or puffy paper with a sticky back

Step 1: Place your letters, hot glue, and puffy paper how you want it on your book. I made some hot glue spiders and added texture on the broom with hot glue as well.

fullsizerender-5

fullsizerender-4

(I used Elmer’s glue since I ran out of hot glue but hot glue would be a lot easier! I just had to wait longer for it to dry.)

Step 2: Glue or Mod Podge tissue to cover stickers and book completely. Make sure to make it tight around the letters so that you’ll be able to see them clearly once you paint.

Step 3: Paint over tissue and let dry. The tissue should have an old, crinkly look!

Step 4: Add some liquid gold leaf (optional, but this is what makes it look so cool! I got a little gold leaf crazy)

Step 5: Add some water to the edges of your book to make it look old.
fullsizerender

fullsizerender-1

fullsizerender-3

 

 

That’s it! So easy you guys, and so fun!

Happy Halloween!!!

Xo,

Aubrey

FHE Toddler Edition: Lesson #9

September 19, 2016 in Family Home Evening Lessons

Hi sweet friends! I haven’t been able to do too much with my blog recently, but I’m keepin’ up with these family nights we’ve been doing! I have been loving the sweet comments, e-mails, and feedback from so many of you. Knowing that you’ll be here every Monday makes it worth it for me to keep posting! (And I secretly love that we’re all doing the same thing every Monday… it’s kinda like we get to hang out from a distance! 😉 )

This season of life is busy for me… that or I make it that way. Being busy is NOTHING to be proud of, but it’s something that helps me not dwell on things or get too homesick. I have so many thoughts swarming that I want to share and updates on our family, so I hope you’ll stick with me during the slower times of my blog! And if you’re one of the ones who checks back every Monday, I just love you and know your family will be so blessed by doing these simple lessons every week. Life sometimes can be pretty rocky, but I promise that the little things are the big things. I’ve learned recently that it’s so easy to let being “busy” take front row and the important things get pushed aside, but the second we stop doing the little things, hills turn into mountains and rain turns into storms. But the second we allow the gospel in our home, life might still be hard, but we gain a light and strength that is so necessary. Necessary for ourselves, but more importantly for our babies who have yet to grow up in this world.

Here is this week’s lesson teaching one of those simple things we should always remember:

FHEtoddleredition2

 

 Lesson #9: A Child’s Prayer

Opening Prayer

Opening Song: A Child’s Prayer (here)

Scripture: 3 Nephi 18: 21 (here)

Lesson: Discuss what it means to pray and who we are talking to when we pray. Teach the steps of a prayer: beginning, end, and how we bow our heads and close our eyes.

Activity: Paint prayer rocks

Closing Prayer

Treat: Chocolate covered bananas

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

FHE Toddler Edition: Lesson #8

September 12, 2016 in Family Home Evening Lessons

Hi sweet friends! Those who are just joining us today, we are on lesson #8 but you can start whenever! I try to post these up every Monday so that you can have a quick, but meaningful toddler FHE with your family every week. I am going to figure out a way to allow you to download the PDF files of the lessons, but for now they will just be under “family” — “Family Home Evening Lessons” tab of my blog! Make sure to pin this for later too just in case you need ideas in the future!

 

fhetoddleredition

Lesson #8: I Love to See the Temple

Opening Prayer:

Opening Song: I Love to See the Temple

Scripture: Mosiah 2:6

Lesson: Show a picture of a temple and talk about how it’s the Lord’s house. Teach the importance of it and how we can get married there to be with our eternal companions forever. Talk about how it is a very special place.

Activity: Make a temple out of sugar cubes and frosting. (We ended up doing ours out of marshmallows  and toothpicks and my toddler loved it!)

Closing Prayer

Treat: Pretzels dipped in Nutella

Xo,

Aubrey

Family Pictures 2016

September 9, 2016 in Family

We recently got our family pictures done by the beautiful Amanda from Amanda G. Photography. She was whipping out all the stops and tricks to get our two year old to smile and not move at a hundred miles an hour. She was the best! Love these two so so much!

img_8401-1

img_8444

img_8542-1  img_8567  img_8612 img_8619   img_8626 img_8641-copy  img_8676  img_8723-1 img_8839 img_8860 img_8880 img_8900 img_8923

img_8401-copy img_8444-copy img_8542-copy img_8567-copy img_8612-copy img_8619-copy img_8626-copy img_8641 img_8676bw img_8723-copy

img_8839-copy img_8860-copy img_8880-copy img_8900-copy img_8923-copy

[Dress: Shop Stevie – click here to get yours!]

Xo,

Aubrey

FHE Toddler Edition: Lesson #7

August 29, 2016 in Family Home Evening Lessons

FHEtoddleredition2

 

 

Lesson #7: “Give” Said the Little Stream

Opening Prayer

Opening Song: “Give” Said the Little Stream

Scripture: Mosiah 2:17

Lesson: Talk about the importance of service and that when we do service it is showing our Heavenly Father that we love Him. Discuss ways we can serve others around us.

Activity: Do some kind of service act such as making cookies for a neighbor,      leaving extra change at a laundry map, or a love note for someone.

Closing Prayer

Treat: Popsicles

 

Xo,

Aubrey

FHE Toddler Edition: Lesson #6

August 22, 2016 in Family Home Evening Lessons

fheedit

Hey mamas! Thanks for all your amazing feedback on these lessons! I’m working out some bugs with my website so that these can get e-mailed right to you! Don’t forget to use hashtag #mamahoodfhe if you post a pic while using any of these lessons, I’d love to see! Love you all!

Lesson #6: Love One Another

Opening Prayer

Opening Song: Love One Another

Scripture: John 13:34

Lesson: Tell the story of the Good Samaritan (Scripture reference HERE). Ask how we can love those in our family and ways we can help them. Talk about how sharing is showing that we love someone.

Activity: On strips of paper, write down things we can do to show love to our families. Create a chain to help us remember to love each other.

Closing Prayer

Treat: Homemade fruit smoothie

Xo,

Aubrey

FHE Toddler Edition: Lesson #5

August 15, 2016 in Family Home Evening Lessons

FHEtoddleredition

Sorry I’m a little late posting this lesson! If you’re new around here, welcome! We are on lesson #5 of my toddler family home evenings and you can find more under the “family” tab! (and if you have no idea what FHE is go HERE). Remember, everything is linked up!

Lesson #5: Follow the Prophet

Opening Prayer

Opening Song: Follow the Prophet

Scripture: Amos 3:7  

Lesson: Explain what a prophet is and why it’s important to follow what he asks us to do. Tell the story of your favorite prophet in the scriptures and then tell how we have a current prophet. (Show a picture if possible)

Activity: Memorize the prophet’s name or other apostle’s names.

Closing Prayer

Treat: No-Bake Cookies (My healthy recipe is HERE)

 

Enjoy!

Xo,

Aubrey

 

Back to top