Spring Break in Colorado!

Since it’s almost summer break, it’s only befitting I talk about SPRING BREAK!

The Redwood Forest has been on our family bucket list for ages and we had planned to go there for Spring Break…but back when I was at BYU, our biggest event of the year is the following week. I knew I wouldn’t be able to slip away for an entire week and a few days is just too short to drive all the way to California.

So, when I was approached by the glorious Westin Beaver Creek about doing a Spring Break campaign in trade, I was all-in. We already have season passes for Vail Resorts so that, coupled with lodging made for a fun and affordable family vacation.

This was our third time at the glorious Westin Riverfront.

Stay #1: Bode and I went a day early, skied our hearts out in the torchlight parade, dined fireside and then he was up all night with the stomach flu. We went home early before Hadley and Jamie drove up.

Stay #2: Rescheduled a few months later for Spring Break. Hadley got the stomach flu at home so Bode and I left with the plan that she and Jamie would join us when she was feeling better. Bode and I dined at the chophouse and it was Groundhog Day when he caught the stomach flu that night. Hadley and Jamie joined us the next day for a sick day in our room…and then Jamie had to go back to work the next day while the kids and I skied.

So, the questions on this trip were:

1) Would Jamie ever ski Beaver Creek?

2) How long did it take before Bode puked?

BEAVER CREEK

Well, I’m thrilled to tell you that Jamie finally had his day at Beaver Creek! The late-season conditions were crunchy at first but quickly softened up for an amazing ski day with sunshine and zero crowds (yay for mid-week, late-season skiing!)  and we had a fun time grilling our own burgers atop Mamie’s 360-degree perch.

Pictured: Bode pretending to vomit. Not pictured: Hadley playing an April Fool’s Day joke by telling her dad she was feeling queasy right before we skied. Because what could be funnier than the stomach flu ruining three Beaver Creek vacations in a row?

After an over-the-top dinner at Richard Sandoval’s MayaModern Mexican Cuisine, we went hot tubbing, which is secretly the best part of any ski vacation. Nothing beats soaking your muscles after a long day on the slopes.

And Hadley looking like she is flipping me off.

Here is a fun glimpse at parenting our beloved Hadley. She skied down an unfamiliar resort early for her first-ever massage and headed to the gym by herself after hot tubbing. Just as I was starting to get impressed that she is becoming independent and oh-so capable, she never came back. It was getting late so Jamie eventually went to find her. And there she was trying to jimmy the door open because she was locked INSIDE the gym after the attendant left.

And did she think to call or text? No, she DMed me on Instagram, which I don’t check regularly.

The good news is she wasn’t alone: She was locked inside with an old Asian man who had about 10 water bottles of weird tea lined up around his workout area.

Or is that bad?

VAIL

My first job out of college was as Ski Utah’s Craaaaazzzzy Canuck ski report where I skied all 14 of Utah’s resorts that season.

Our family set the goal of skiing all 33 of Colorado’s resorts which has become a bit trickier since moving away but the kids finally skied #28: Vail Mountain!

The first and only time I skied Vail was shortly after we got married. We walked a mile with all our gear because we didn’t want to pay $20 for parking, skied to one of the back bowls, got caught in a blizzard, Jamie forgot his goggles so I loaned him mine and it was a hot mess with zero visibility. We went home early.

Fortunately this time around, it was an amazing end to an amazing ski season!

And best of all, nobody puked.

HANGING LAKE

This iconic 2-mile hike outside of Glenwood Springs has been on my bucket list for years. Due to popular demand and their small parking lot, the forest service recently announced they will be implementing a paid shuttle system beginning in May. And because paying $50 to hike is ridiculous, I suggested we finally hike it on the drive home.

The parking lot was abandoned (bonus for mid-week, early-April) and the trail was dry as we started out.

But before long, the steep terrain turned to snow, then long, icy stretches. We carefully navigated it all but only had one-fourth of a mile left when we ran into an avalanche blocking the path that we turned back.

Or at least the wise 3/4 of us.

If there is anything Adventure Girl HATES, it is prematurely turning back. I get it. I’m the same way and hate to have unfinished business.

However, this was one of those cases where there were a lot of avalanche chutes in the valley, the snow was melting fast and conditions were dangerous. She insisted she climb around the avalanche to see if she could find a trail, which she did but after a few minutes, she refused to come back despite our shouting match for her to return. I thought Jamie was going to explode at her recklessness and it wasn’t until we heard The Voice of God in the form of a WHUMPF (the sound of the collapsing snowpack as a boulder was launched from the cliffs above) that we convinced her to high-tail it outta there.

Colorado River

Hanging Lake is still on my bucket list but the good news is we’re still alive to climb it another day.

 

Happy 15th Birthday, Hadley!

Dear Prinny-Princess,

Just as your nicknames frequently change, so do you! You’re wrapping up your freshman (9th grade) year and though you’re still figuring out your path, high school proved to be exponentially better than middle school and have pulled off mostly A and A- for grades! Unfortunately, you got cut from the volleyball team but fortunately, you took two art classes–painting and pottery–and reminded yourself that art is your passion and talent. You spend hours in your room painting and people have taken notice: you’ve had some friends ask you to paint their laptop covers, which I think could turn into a business opportunity. You also love photography, much to your brother’s chagrin, who takes every chance he can to avoid “the paparazzi.”

Oh, and let us not forget about your “My Little Pony Addiction” and the hundreds of hours you spent in Equestria this year. It could be worse, right?

I introduced you to yoga when you were around 7 which you described as “the worst pain ever” so I was surprised that you wanted to take a yoga class at the high school and even more shocking: you enjoyed it! You went from the least flexible person in the world (barely able to touch your knees) to a passably flexible person and can almost touch your ankles. However, your yoga enjoyment only goes so far. You went on a class field trip to a hot yoga studio at Thanksgiving Point, which you described as “the worst experience of my life.” No judgment here about your hatred for hot yoga; I won’t even do “cold” yoga.

You have had some fun trips this year. Canada for Christmas, Grandma’s funeral and last summer at the lakehouse in B.C. and Calgary.  The Johnson family reunion at Henry’s Fork Landing near Yellowstone. Our beloved Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. Youth Conference at Bryce Canyon National Park.  Especially for Youth (EFY) in Provo. Trek in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming. YW Girl’s Camp at Bear Lake. Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts for Spring Break where you skied #28 of Colorado’s 33 resorts.

A broken shoulder (Aqua X Zone), a busted back (skiing) and last summer was The Sailing Disaster, which has prompted me to officially pass my Murphy’s Law torch to you.  Your tiller broke at sailing lessons at Jordanelle, your sailboat capsized and while you and your partner clung to the side of the boat, the wind whipped them to shore, almost running over a [terrified] elderly woman in a kayak. You somehow emerged unscathed but the bright side is you were a celebrity when I checked you into sailing lessons the next day. Takeaway: Being a Murphy is nothing if not notorious.[/caption]

You’re still suffering PTSD from last year’s ski accident so you skied down Beaver Creek by yourself early for your first-ever massage at the Westin’s spa. That night after we went hot-tubbing as a family, you headed to the gym by yourself and just as I was starting to get impressed that you are becoming independent and oh-so capable, you never came back so Dad eventually went to find you. And there you were trying to jimmy the door open because you were locked INSIDE the gym after the attendant left…with a creepy old Asian guy who had lined up about 10 bottles of weird tea around his workout area. It’s like trying to parent myself.

You have been begging us to get braces and we will just as soon as we pay off my knee surgery and all of your medical accident debt (it never ends). You’re hankering to get a job and make your own money but pickins are slim out in these parts and 16 is the golden age. We need to make a plan for  summer because it’s wiiiiiiide open. You have had a tough time since we moved to Utah and that’s hard to witness as a mom because I felt–and still feel–we made this move for you. You have had a lot of setbacks and you often feel so defeated you just want to sleep. But sometimes we get glimpses of your former self and it’s reconfirmed to me that this journey, as hard as it is, is the path you are supposed to go through.

Broadmoor Santa

During our recent trip to Colorado for Spring Break, we saw the return of Adventure Girl (AG).  I have wanted to hike popular Hanging Lake for years and their recent announcement requiring a $shuttle$ starting in May spurred us to action. The steep pitch didn’t deter us, nor did traversing the long, icy stretches but when we came across an avalanche 3/4 of the way up that completely blocked the path, you climbed over it and wouldn’t leave until you relocated what was left of the icy “trail.”

The three sane ones in the family turned around, an argument ensued that we were ruining your life and it was only when we heard The Voice of God in the form of a WHUMPF (the sound of the collapsing snowpack as a boulder was launched from the cliffs above) that we convinced you to high-tail it outta there. Takeaways: You may the most stubborn person on the planet, even at the detriment of your own safety but my gosh, you’re determined.

You recently had a Young Women retreat at the Kuch’s cabin and I was asked to write a little something about you:

Hadley is artistic, hilarious, free-spirited and when she sets her mind to something, she is unstoppable. Don’t ask her to turn around on a mountain because you’ll never hear the end of it. You were born to Summit.

And don’t you ever forget it.

Love,

Mommy

P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, read letters for your 14th birthday,  13th12th11th10th, 9th 8th7th6th5th4th3rd2nd and your birth story.

Teaching art for FHE

Beaver Creek Girls

The Broadmoor

Bryce Canyon

Deer Valley

The Duck Whisperer at Wasatch State Park

Cascade Springs

Ice Castles

Hanging Lake

Moraine Lake

Lover of babies

Razor racing

Trek with Allie and Jodi

Troll Falls, Canada

Yellowstone

Singing “As Zion’s Youth in Latter-days”

Waterton Lakes, Canada

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A final farewell

I returned from Calgary on Friday and I’m still processing the myriad of emotions from burying my mother.

Mom took a turn for the worst shortly after Christmas and we were sure it was time. She spent several weeks in the hospital as my family started planning her funeral. I stressed about immigration. My passport and green card expired in March. Should I roll the dice and send everything in to be renewed, praying she didn’t pass away and I wouldn’t be able to get home? Or should I delay the renewal until March and run the risk of letting everything expire? I ended up rolling the dice and submitting everything in January…which turned out to be a big stress because my passport application got returned, along with a myriad of other problems.

Mom has been on the cusp of needing to go in a care facility for a few years now but my Dad has somehow continued with her care with the help of daily visits from Alberta Health.  The week prior to my mom’s passing, he took a mental health vacation to Mexico. My mom has been vehemently opposed to being left in a care facility for fear that she would never come home again. Fortunately, my brother and his family have been living with my parents so they were able to watch her at night while women in our ward stayed with her during the day.

Her Passing

When my mom returned home from the hospital a few months ago, she had bounced back and though she still had a poor quality of life, she was in a much better place. She attended family dinners (including Easter where they rolled her wheelchair to roll Easter eggs down the hill) and was happier than she had been in a while.

The night before my dad left for his early-morning flight to Mexico, she told him, “I’m not even going to have a chance to say good-bye to you.” My dad interpreted that to mean saying their farewells the next morning but maybe it went deeper than that.

The week she spent with my brother’s family was the best she had in a long time. She had some semblance of her former self and was in good humor. When Jamie and I were saying good-bye to her at Christmas, we saw a glimpse of her former spunk when she reacted incredulously to our 6 a.m. flight. It was good to hear her laugh again.

She was also manic at times the last week of her life. My brother and his wife Jennifer would hear her rummaging through the kitchen at all hours. On Saturday, she fell–hard–and her glasses cut her face. They rushed her to the hospital for her to get stitches and did an MRI because she hit her head. Nothing showed up and amazingly, she was still in good humor. “I can’t figure out why I have such a bad headache,” she said in the hospital. Maybe because you slammed the floor, hard!

Jen and Jade took away her walker when she wasn’t supervised because they were worried she would have another bad fall. On her last night on earth, my brother Jade woke up at midnight to her cooking toast in the kitchen. He was frustrated and tired.  Jade has had poor health for months as he has battled kidney stones, failed surgeries and other major hardships. He patiently waited for her to finish and he was granted a sacred moment with her.

“I want to go home,” she quietly told him.

She has said this a few times the last several months, which my family interpreted to mean she was confused with where she was. “You are home,” my sister-in-law, Jane told her. But slowly it started to sink in. “OK, Christine. You can go home.” After years of fearing death despite her hellish condition, she was ready to go home.

My mom started to have trouble breathing that final night and Jade debated taking her back to the hospital but when he went to check on her around 2 a.m., she had fallen asleep in her beloved chair. Four hours later on April 30, 2019, Jen went to check on her and realized she had passed. Or rather, Jen was “99% sure” she had passed away.  She frantically called my brothers. Pat called me at 7:05 a.m. with the news. Dad was flying home from Mexico that day he eventually got the message to call home. After years of taking care of her, he was spared the horror of being the one who found her, calling the funeral home, and seeing her taken away. It was a tender mercy for her to pass away at home, in her chair.

The Dressing and Viewing

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our view of death is an eternal one. We believe we lived as spirits in a pre-mortal existence with God (but that we have always existed as Intelligences). That we came to earth where our spirits gained a mortal body where we grow in wisdom and faith. When we die, we are reunited with loved ones in a world of light: the spirit world, where we await judgment and resurrection through Jesus Christ. (Learn more about the Plan of Salvation, Great Plan of Happiness here).

My mom didn’t want a large funeral. Her final requests were for a simple graveside service with a closed casket at the Okotoks Cemetery. I flew in a day before Jamie and the kids so I could go to Pierson’s Funeral Home with my Aunt Sue, sister-in-laws Jane and Jennifer, and nieces, Ashton and Emily. Our purpose? To dress my mom’s mortal body. Mike Pierson walked us through the process and we began with a prayer prior to entering the Rose Room (which I thought was the perfect location because of her love of roses).

Seeing her for the first time was a beautiful experience. She had sustained a large bruise and stitches on her face from her fall a few days prior to her death but she looked at peace. Mike assisted Jane and me in dressing her in her temple dress and clothing. Her skin was cold and hard, yet smooth. My nieces did her hair and make-up to look like the beauty she always was.  “She is not here,” the spirit kept whispering. She was free. We placed her in the beautiful pink! coffin. Attending to her–as she always attended to me–was a final act of service.

That evening, we had a viewing for family and close friends. Many traveled to honor her and it was a close-knit, memorable night as stories and tears were shed. My mom’s best friend, Brenda, passed away when I was 12. Her daughter, Stacey, attended the viewing and the grief of losing her mom resurfaced and she struggled to leave my mom’s side. It made me think about her loss..and mine. I was about 13 when Mom was diagnosed with MS. Her journey has been a long, difficult and painful one but unlike Stacey’s mom, she was still here. As it came time to leave, we gathered around her coffin. I kissed her for the last time, softly placed her veil on her head and covered her face. The last, hardest good-bye.

The Graveside Service

On Friday, we met at the Willow Park Chapel to caravan to the Okotoks Cemetery. I was touched by the outpouring of friends and family on that cloudy morning. I hopped in the back of my Aunt Sue’s van with Jamie and Bode for the 30-minute drive. We were part of the caravan…until we weren’t. Jamie and Sue had assumed the cemetery would be outside of town so missed the turnoff. We finally pulled over to Google map the route and turned back.

Then, the phone rang; it was my brother Jade wondering where we were. “At least it was the nice brother,” Sue joked, but then the “not-nice” brother Pat came on the phone to not-so-nicely guide us back to the cemetery.

When we arrived 15 minutes late, everyone was already seated but with two pallbearers (Jamie and Bode) and the eulogist (me), we figured they couldn’t start without us. I wish I had time to regain my composure from being late but immediately, the pallbearers carried the coffin to the graveside before I was able to process what was happening.

The service was short. The bishop shared some remarks and then it was my turn to give the eulogy. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to hold it together but the previous day’s dressing and viewing were my good-bye; this eulogy was about sharing funny stories and touching tributes about my mom (I will post it separately).

Then, we had Open Mic. My dad shared the story of winning a vacation to Hawaii when I was 5. My dad was out snorkeling waaaaaay past the reef when he heard my mom yell at him from across the waves, “Stan, get back in here. You’re going to die and ruin everyone’s vacation.”  Always thinking of others. :-)

Aunt Sue shared stories of my dad’s devotion and losing her sister. Pat shared a story that he was out playing street hockey with his friends and Mom threatened him to come rest and get cleaned up before his hockey game, saying he would be too exhausted to play that night. They made a bet that she’d pay him $100 if he scored two goals…he went on to score three and she gave him a $100 bill after the game. For Jade, he had the special experience of being the final one to be with my mom and he shared her story of wanting to go home.

Granddaughter Ashton shared some of her fun Grandma Christine stories and the true showstopper was my nephew Jaxson. We all held our breath as he walked to the pulpit because he’s often king of the inappropriate but my gosh, he gave the most beautiful tribute to his grandma. Mom’s cousin Lynn Wilde gave a spiritual message, longtime family friend Colleen Low led us in song with”God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again,” Jade dedicated the grave and Jane gave a beautiful prayer of farewell.

It was perfect.

Our family’s tradition of going out for Chinese food was rooted in Southern Alberta years ago when we would drive into Lethbridge and the Chinese restauranteurs would declare, “The Wildes are here again.” It is one of our favorite traditions and my dad generously took everyone in attendance out for Chinese food. It was the perfect way to honor her–with stories, laughter and ginger beef.

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As we raced in late to the graveside service, several people told me I was my Frenzied Mom Incarnate. When I gave the eulogy, I shared the story of when my mom was late (as usual) for a class at BYU. Her instructor required latecomers to announce their last and first name and so she hurriedly shouted in the quiet room:

“WILDE CHRISTINE” which was met by laughter.
Wild, indeed.
How honored I am to be her daughter…and for her great legacy that will forever live on.

FHE Fun

One of my favorite things about the Church is the emphasis we place on families. Every Monday night (or whenever it fits into our schedule), we are are encouraged to spend time together for a lesson or just to have fun.

Hadley recently complained that we never do anything *she* wants to do so I figured FHE would be a great place to be more intentional with our activities and let each individual shine.

For Hadley, we did art.

For Bode, we had a fitness/nutrition night.

For me, we’ll hike.

For Jamie, he will probably make us haul rocks in the backyard.

Some shining is more brilliant than others.

Hadley’s paint and canvas are really expensive and I didn’t want to waste them so the rest of us used some old, cheap paint and ripped up a cardboard box for our masterpieces. Hadley chose a fairly easy design for us to follow and I was actually really impressed with her patience as she taught us. 

Can you figure out who drew what?

 

Hadley: Top left.

Bode: Top right

Me: Bottom left

Jamie: Went rogue and did his own thing. WHATTHECRAP? We’ve been married 15 years and though I knew he took some painting classes when he was younger, I had no idea he was so talented. If he can do that on a crappy piece of cardboard with old paint brushes, what can he do with good materials?

Bode and I were disasters which is OK because we have other talents (repeat 100X).

I mentioned that Bode has recently become dedicated to exercising several times a week and eating better.  We launched a no-sugar challenge as a family and for his FHE, we made a meal plan and then spent the night reading nutrition labels at the store.

The previous week, he downed an entire box of Ritz crackers and as he was reading the label at the store, he asked, “how much is 24 x 80?” When we joked ore calories and fat than he wanted to know, he defended himself: “Hey, I’m not proud of my past.”

 

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In memorial on a hill

I have had so many emotions since my Mom’s death. My dad asked me to give the eulogy which has resulted in lots of laughter and tears as the wonderful tributes from her family and friends have poured in. On the final night she was alive, she quietly told my brother, “I want to go home.”

The spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. -Alma 40:11-12

Today, I will participate in the sacred practice of dressing her in her temple clothes, a family viewing tonight, followed by her graveside service tomorrow.

I didn’t leave the house on the day she died but the next afternoon, I rode my bike to the top of Memorial Hill in the middle of our mountain hamlet. The site is dedicated to those from our valley who have served in any United States military conflict and it is a place we hold sacred. I was mercifully alone (it’s a popular destination) and I plopped myself down on the grass in front of the “Final Salute” bronze statue of a soldier’s boots, gun and helmet as I looked out over the valley. I talked to her, REALLY talked to her, something I haven’t been able to do since the illness took over a few years ago. I told her I missed her. That I was sorry for her suffering but that she was finally free. That her teenage grandchildren really need her help and even on the other side, I knew she would be in a position to call upon other ministering angels from our family to guide, comfort and inspire. I know this because I have felt her mom and dad–my Grandma and Grandpa Wilde–protecting me during some of my most vulnerable times.
As I sat in silence overlooking our view, a light breeze rolled through the valley, rustling the dog tags hanging from the statue. They read: “To all in God’s Grace. Never Forgotten.” 
For the first time, I noticed a bell attached to the front of one of the boots. How peculiar, I thought, and I reached over to ring it, chuckling with surprise that it actually worked as I remembered Jamie’s favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life:  “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
She was there with me on that hilltop and it was a tender moment as it was confirmed that she would be looking out for me and our family…and that I could go to this special place whenever we needed to talk and that she would never be far away.

Christine Ririe Borowski

A lot of people associate me with being the writer in the family but I love the sweet and funny tribute my dad wrote about my mom.

BOROWSKI, Christine Ririe
July 12, 1944 – April 30, 2019

Christine Ririe Borowski passed away on April 30, 2019 at the age of 74. Despite being a life-of-the-party type of person, at her request there will not be a funeral service or public viewing (she didn’t want people staring at her), only a graveside service. Her request for no obituary is being overlooked (maybe at great peril).

Christine Wilde was born in Magrath, Alberta on July 12, 1944, the first daughter to Wallace and Virginia Wilde. Two more daughters, Miriam and Susan, came along later to complete the family. Many of her fondest memories were of living on a farm a few miles outside of Raymond, Alberta where she enjoyed growing up with her ‘Wilde’ cousins who lived half a mile down the lane. The family moved to the bright lights of Raymond when she was around Grade 8.

Chris attended Rick’s College in Rexburg, Idaho for a year and then moved on to the larger social scene at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Age 22 found her in Calgary, working for an insurance company. Chris enjoyed curling and her roommate Francis invited her to join a Catholic youth curling league. Well, the ‘Mormon’ girl ended up on Stan Borowski’s curling team which led to dating, a proposal and finally marriage on July 8, 1967. A honeymoon to Hawaii started their married life.

Chris was a stay-at-home mom for Patrick, Amber and Jade. While the kids were growing up, she demoed food products at the grocery stores on weekends and Friday nights. She smiled at the masses and handed out food samples. And then there was the “route.”  She worked tirelessly delivering The Bargain Finder newspaper every week, lugging those bundles of newspapers into her gold Mini Cooper and out to the businesses. She always wanted her kids to have a few extras. She sewed, cooked, camped, did crafts, church callings and set an example of a woman who was talented and devoted to her family and was a hard worker. It was in her genes.

As the kids grew older, a new adventure awaited her. Chris and her friend, Lin Snowdon, launched ‘The Old Curiosity Shoppe’ in Glenmore Landing. This popular and beloved tea room was to be her passion for the next 12 years. Following the shop’s closure, Chris and Lin ran a wedding decorating/catering business for a few years.

Family vacation time usually took them to British Columbia and the western United States in the Nomad travel trailer. Later in life, the trips were mostly to New Jersey and Colorado to visit her children.

Chris was diagnosed with MS while in her 30s, but that didn’t slow her down much until the last 5 years of her life. She had an outgoing and fun personality and was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Chris was a collector. People who knew her would recall her passion for baskets (100+) and hats (100+), several closets full of clothes, many, many shoes and an impressive collection of rings and jewelery as well as many hat boxes. The few times they had a garage sale, Stan was instructed not to sell any of her stuff. So, Stan has been quietly taking trips to Goodwill as well as being a regular contributor to charities collecting used clothes.

Chris liked buying “brand name” clothes but didn’t particularly like paying “brand name” prices. This led her to roam around places like Winners and TJ Maxx.

Christine is survived by her devoted husband of 50 years, Stan; sister, Susan; her children. Patrick (Jane), Amber (Jamie) and Jade (Jen) as well as 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

A Graveside Service will be held at Okotoks Cemetery on Friday May 10 at 11:00 a.m. Please meet at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Willow Park Chapel (940 Acadia Drive, Calgary) Procession will depart at 10:30 a.m.

Messages of condolence may be forwarded to the family at www.piersons.ca.

“Maman”

My beautiful mom passed away on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

For those who knew and loved her, she was a hilarious spitfire who could cook, craft and create anything. She was an entrepreneur who built a charming restaurant/gift shop, and was renowned throughout Calgary for catering huge parties and her larger-than-life personality. When Jamie asked my dad for my hand in marriage, she interjected in her typical Christine way, “YOU CAN HAVE HER.” (It was, after all, very difficult to have an unmarried 30-year-old Mormon daughter).

I was around my kids’ age when she was diagnosed with MS and she spent more than half of her life with a crippling disease that slowly stripped her of her every gift and passion. It has been a slow, painful death and I’m so grateful my dad, brothers and their families have been her selfless caretakers. She passed away in her sleep at home–a tender mercy after so many years of suffering. My sadness is trumped by the peace that she is finally free of pain.

I have no doubt in addition to some joyous reunions with her parents, sister and best friend, she is having a blast raising a ruckus on the other side in her unforgettable way. She is, after all, a Wilde.

Youth Conference at Bryce Canyon!

Having a mom who is the Camp Director in your Young Women’s organization is a double-edge sword. Or maybe it’s just edges at every angle if you ask Hadley. :-) I was recently called upon to be one of the leaders for our ward Youth Retreat for teens ages 14+ in Bryce Canyon National Park.

It has been several years since I’ve been in Bryce Canyon, the last time with my friend Kristy when we participated in a biathlon through Utah Winter Games (a hilarious read if you have a moment). The canyon is perched at about 8,500 feet, which makes it a fantastic winter destination. However, our visit was mid-March so we weren’t sure just how much winter we would get and how much mud.

The outdoor rink had recently closed down but other than that, it was a winter wonderland! We stayed at the Best Western Ruby’s Inn, which is the the ultimate family-friendly property with a huge restaurant, general store, swimming pool, and loads of activities. I would love to go back with our boys and a big group of friends.

We played lots of fun games and had inspiring youth battalion devotionals in our conference room, swam, and hiked to the rim of the canyon.

On the last day, I was put in charge of cross-country skiing. The area is famous for its glorious network of Nordic trails but we were at the very end of the season so we didn’t know what would be opened, much less groomed. Miraculously, we found the most amazing 5K loop that took us right out to the rim of Bryce Canyon that been groomed for the final time of the season. Many of the teens had never been Nordic skiing and they ROCKED it. And I’m salivating to go back there with Bode to ski. It was just that good.

Hadley and I returned home after 48 hours of inspired adventures to our boys…who skied, ate fast-food for every meal (yet somehow didn’t clean a single dish even though they’re disposable) and the worst trespass of all: Bode’s introduction to the movie “Dumb and Dumber.”

Apparently they can’t be left along for even one weekend without adult supervision.

Winter 2019 is a wrap!

I was supposed to publish this on March 20 but never finished it and hit publish. How quickly this month passed!

How did winter 2019 slip by so fast? We have had a lot of stress with my mom’s health the last few months (and my passport problems added to the panic in case I needed to get home) but after an extended stay in the hospital, she is home for now.

But we’ll focus on the fun parts of Winter 2019 because there were plenty in one of my snowiest winters since I have lived in the U.S.

Snow. So much glorious snow. Oh, wait. I already mentioned that. I truly can’t remember enjoying myself so much in years. We’ve had almost constant snow since Christmas which is pretty funny because very few people around town have taken down their outdoor Christmas decorations and it’s totally OK (edited to note: they finally came down April 17). We haven’t had very many huge snowfalls but rather, just nice and consistent almost every week. After two grueling years of landscaping our yard (and we’re still not finished), we had a great winter where we were finally able to play with lots of snow days.

Jamie, Hadley and I went to the Midway Ice Castles preview party. Translucent blue, green and red sculpted waves danced on the walls, showcasing our very own aurora borealis…without the Arctic temps. 

That night was a win for all except for Bode who winter cabin camping with the Scouts.

Luckily for Bode, he got really sick the following month when they did their winter cave camping trip. He wasn’t disappointed to miss it.

DOWNHILL SKI

Lots and lots of ski days. Bode is totally rocking the slopes, Hadley is still struggling with PTSD, Jamie is skiing stronger than ever and I’m getting worse in my old age and am the slowest of all. But we still love it!

Day date!

I only had one girl’s day this year but it was memorable. As we were driving to Park City, I realized my ski boots were SOAKING wet on the inside, which was particularly suspect because I hadn’t skied in over a week. My girls Rachel and Julie to the rescue! I went through an entire roll of paper towels trying to soak up the moisture during the drive and in a stroke of brilliance, we picked up plastic bags that I wore as booties to keep my feet dry.

Girl’s day with Rachel and Julie

Redneck ski boots.

On Saturday, we did a Couple’s Day Out with Jamie’s college friends, Jim and Lindsay. First and last on the slopes, zero drama/whining, gorgeous conditions and a leisurely 1.5-hour Legends burger lunch. That day was a rare glimpse at the fun side of adulting.

NORDIC SKI

Bode and I Nordic skied twice a week after school at Soldier Hollow. This will likely be our third and final year of Kickers and Gliders ski program because he wants to try their DEVO ski team this summer and next winter. The first year we did the program, it was epic because of the incredible snow. Last year was horrible due to the lack of slow and the man-made 5K icy track we looped over and over again. But Bode didn’t mind. Whenever it did snow, the groomers made these huge piles of snow to later distribute that the kids called “snow whales.” They looooved racing down their steep slopes.

This year, Bode got bumped up to the advanced class while I happily stayed back with the intermediates who, by the end of the season, were skiing some pretty crazy stuff. I love the uphill and flats on Nordic skis but if you’ve ever attempted the downhill, you know the terror I’m talking about with no edges and the inability to turn. Regardless, it was fun seeing Bode fall in love with cross-country skiing as well.

Hula hoop obstacle course racing

He did DEVO “tryouts” last week where they could try out the team and I saw his competitive edge kick in as he raced to the top and came in second.

For the first time in his life, he is actually trying to get into shape and goes on the elliptical in the basement…except for when there are spider webs because THAT, my friends is a deal-breaker. I hope he enjoys their summer training program!

Hadley and Jamie, on the other hand, hate cross-country skiing. We planned to ski on my birthday but it was brutally cold that Wednesday morning and I was told the ski crowds would be bad. I let Hadley skip her state testing that day and she promised to do anything I wanted…so she made me crepes for breakfast and we went cross country skiing at the golf course at Wasatch Mountain State Park for the first time. Hadley hated every minute of it but bless her heart, she tried to be *kind* of positive because it was my birthday. Jamie didn’t even bother coming. :-)

The Duck Whisperer

I went back a few days without her and discovered a secret network of trails that climbed for miles and miles in the foothills. I went about a half hour before reluctantly turning around because 1) remember how I’m not great at the downhill and I didn’t want to get stranded? and 2) due to the high snow levels, we have had a lot of cougar and moose in the valley and I didn’t want to get attacked. I’m already chomping at the bit just thinking about exploring this next year:

SNOWSHOEING

During our first winter in Midway, I organized a memorable couple’s full moon snowshoe night. We skipped last year due to abysmal snow but this year, we reintroduced Soup ‘n Snowshoes with these crazies under a full moon, followed by wart removal New Year’s resolutions, and late-night game night with leg wrestling champions, pumpkin-orange diarrhea and the very salacious Song of Solomon. #WhyParentsShouldn’tStayUpLate 

And of course, there was our memorable Valentine’s Day overnight yurt retreat!

I had quite a few fun outings with friends, none of each involved plastic bag booties.

Big Springs

Wasatch Mountain State Park

 

North Fork in the Uintas

2) Jamie’s parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary later this month and that will be a different post unto itself.  Last weekend, we drove 45 minutes to the Art City Trolley because Jamie was craving the best wings ever. Little did I know that just two doors down was the home his parents rented the first four years of his life: 107 Main Street, Springville. For being so young, he remembered quite a bit. Winning a fish at a competition at the church across the street. Burying the fish in the backyard. Visiting the lady next door who ran a headstone company (it’s still there) who would give him hard candies. The huge lot across the street where his dad would garden (it’s now a 7-11). Progress, folks!

Now, let’s hear it for our rainy and snowy spring after our glorious winter!

Overnight welcome to puberty

When you live with someone, you don’t always notice big or small changes right away. Hadley’s entrance to puberty has been fairly gradual (despite shooting up the summer before fifth grade and being a foot taller than everyone).

Almost overnight, I started getting a lot of comments about Bode.

“Have you noticed his voice has dropped?”

“He lost his baby fat on his face and he grew two inches!”

And my favorite from his piano teacher:

“Oh my gosh! Your little boy’s voice is dropping lower and his cute cheeks are hollowing out–he’s entering testoterone-land. He’s going to be a handsome man.”

And then I tuned in that they were right! That boy of mine is entering teen-dom.

He’s still really easy-going and sweet but there is definitely the occasional dose of moodiness. He has taken more care in his appearance and actually started styling his hair this year. For the first time in his life, he’s interested in eating healthier and has put himself on a fitness regimen by running on the elliptical for a mile every day as he tries to get in great shape for soccer and summer ski season. WHAT?!

I can find awesome brand-name clothes at a thrift shop in Provo and have always done his shopping for him because he just hasn’t cared…until last week when I came home with a haul of clothes and he said he wanted to come with me from now on to pick them out. Fortunately, there was only one shirt he didn’t like, which is a far cry from Hadley who hates 95% of what I buy for her…and that is why I don’t shop for her anymore. He hasn’t surpassed me in height–yet– but the countdown is on.

Last week, he was really tired and a bit grumpy racing out the door in the morning. I soon realized he forgot his lunch so I drove to meet him at the bus stop. He sheepishly and affectionately thanked me, grabbed his lunch and I caught a glimpse of my little boy as my teenager walked to the bus.

These are tough years for mamas but what a wonderful young man he is becoming.