Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tappana Times: End of School and Start of Summer

With everything that's been going on this summer, it's finally time to catch everyone up with what's went down during June.

First, Brigham and I got back from our cruise to these three sweet people.

And now my post can be over. Because, I mean, look at those FACES!

But in the interest of making sure everything is documented, I will continue on.

Ammon graduated from preschool.

It was a class of eight boys, and Ammon was lucky to have his best friend, Hyrum, among them. Mrs. Feather was great with this rowdy bunch and Ammon loved going each week.

I asked Ammon if he was excited or sad for preschool to be over, and he said he was excited because it meant he was going to kindergarten. He's so quiet and shy, and yet excited to grow up at the same time. I was so proud of this little dude, and impressed with how he's grown over the last year!

The first page is Ammon's self portrait at the beginning of the year, and the second page is at the end of the year. He progressed from a picture of himself, to one of him with a jet pack next to a tree; plus writing his name with the correct capitalization - huge.

Here is Ammon at the beginning of the school year, and then at the end.

Lydia had her own achievements by finally losing her first tooth!

She patiently waited for so long to get a loose tooth, and watched in dismay as all her friends lost teeth around her, but she remained the same. I told her that I didn't lose a tooth until first grade, but when it was close to ending the school year, even I was growing a bit concerned. Luckily, her teeth started loosening and one morning, after Lydia said that she wiggled it so hard in bed that it was almost out, I checked on it and yanked it really hard until the tooth came out.

Lydia was really brave with how hard I pulled and she was ecstatic that she lost her first tooth in time to tell her teacher.

Lydia also finished up her year of first grade. She loved her class, her friends, and pretty much everything about school. With each grade she finishes, I'm equally happy and sad that she's getting so big and learning so much!

With summer starting I went to Mormon Night at the Mariners with my parents, and enjoyed a firework show afterwards.

 And the very next morning, I ran my very first 10k.

The kids ran a short 1k, and then I was off on my race.

I was terrified! Up to that point, the longest I had run was 4.8 miles, previously that same week. Otherwise I usually run around 3-4. But everyone kept telling me I could do it, and I figured since the race was free, I might as well give it a shot and challenge myself.

Well the race kicked my butt. First of all, there was a 5k going on at the same time as the 10k, so a bunch of 5k runners started with us and I had a hard time keeping myself back from their pace and ended up running my first two miles at a eight minute pace. Which is WAY fast for me. I wondered why the first mile felt so hard, and tried to keep myself back and slow down so I wouldn't wear myself out to early. But I went way to fast the first two miles. Also, the first three miles were all down hill, and then at the half way point you turn around and run back up the steady incline you just ran down. Pair that with the side-ache I gained from running too fast, and the last half felt like death. I remember around five miles I thought to myself, "I just want this to be over. Why is this not over yet." I couldn't breath, everything hurt, and I still had what felt like forever to go.

At six miles I pushed myself to really give the last .2 miles everything I had. It felt like the longest .2 miles of my life! Some friends from the ward cheered me on as I crossed the finish line, and I was SO happy to be done! I saw my time and I felt disappointed. I wanted to finish at 62:00 or under, which meant I would average a ten minute mile. I came in at about 62:53, which doesn't sound like too much later, but I really wanted to accomplish my goal. My exhaustion got the best of me and I cried a few tears of frustration and disappointment to myself in the car.

After collecting myself, I checked what my running app tracked, and it said I ran 6.54 miles at an average pace of 9:41 mins/mile. I had forgotten to stop the app for a minute after I finished, so I figured that's why it was off, but knew it shouldn't have been that off. I realized they might have measured the route wrong!

After talking to other runners, I discovered that was just what happened. The actual route was around 6.45 miles. So I did finish at under a 10 min/mile pace average. And I realized that's why the last .2 miles felt SO long after my app told me I had gone six miles; it really was another half a mile that I ran! It all made me feel so much better that my pushing myself had paid off.

After my race I could only remember how terrible I felt during the last half and how hard it was. I was really glad I did it, but I didn't want to do it again for awhile. And I really don't understand how people run half marathons. I've never been so glad to finish six miles, and I don't know how people would only be halfway done at the point! (All you half marathoners, I'm impressed, and perhaps someday I will convince myself to do it too.) Now that time has passed, I'd love to try another 10k. As long as I prepared for it this time!

It's hard to tell, but it was torrential rain
Immediately after my run, I walked to the Maple Valley Days and meet up with my family to watch the parade. Isn't my dad cute holding Kendrick?

It didn't rain while we watch Ryan march in the parade, but we sure got dumped on walking back to our cars.

It has been one of the rainiest summers I've ever seen in Washington. Usually after July 4th, it's a beautiful, sunny place. But this year it was colder and rainy through most of June and July.

In fact, when it started finally feeling like summer, we all got pretty excited.

Especially Kendrick.

My poor kids froze at swimming lessons in an unheated, outdoor pool for two weeks.

They would be shaking so hard from the cold, with purple lips and limbs.

However, they were always excited to go and Ammon was my fearless jumper. Lydia let her fears get the best of her, until I told her she HAD to jump in. Because I'm a mean mom like that.

Besides swimming lessons, Ammon finished up his first season of t-ball. He was pretty distracted in the outfield most the season, and said it was pretty boring. But after teaching him to run to the bases after hitting the ball, and to try to get the ball when it came his way, he was getting the hang of it. I thought he would like it better, especially since a bunch of his friends were on his team, but he seems to take after his dad. I don't consider him a lost cause yet, though.

When the weather permitted, we went hiking each Friday to prepare for our Glacier Park trip. And because I love hiking.

Our first hiking trip of the season, we went to the hanging garden walls in Black Diamond. It was a short, sweet hike, and we spent most of our time skipping rocks in the river.

I think I have a million pictures of Kendrick in his hiking backpack, but he's so cute in it, I can't help it!

Another hike, we climbed to Slippery Rock, which is a natural water slide. The water was a little too FREEZING for us to actually do the water slide, but we froze our toes off and relaxed on the rocks for awhile.

This hike was super muddy from all the rain, and Ammon fell in the mud and WAILED because of it, multiple times. It was getting exhausting until my mom made it into a game, daring him to fall on his butt in the mud and calling him Ammon Muddy-Butt. Ammon and my mom raced down the trail trying to get each other to fall in the mud.

Besides hiking, Brigham decided to try to get in shape and has taken a liking to Jillian Michaels to help him with that.

I snuck this picture and admired his nice push-up form while feeling jealous of someone that is so out of shape being able to whip out pushups way better than me.

Nothing more attractive than a man working out.

And for father's day I made him and my dad these delicious steak roll-ups with a balsamic-glaze. Yes, I was quite proud of my culinary skills, which is why you get a picture of it.

Kendrick charmed us with his Houdini skills and babbling.

He also learned how to flip himself sideways out of his bumbo.

And to sit up by himself at six months old.

We always find ourselves laughing, kissing, or rolling our eyes at this boy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

My Tribute to Dan Tappana

It's taken me some time to get to this post. Mostly because it's one I don't want to rush through; one that I want to spend some time and thought on, rather than throw up some pictures with a brief description next to them.

It was a Friday night, and the kids were sleeping at my parents house because Brigham and I were to head out on a rafting trip with friends early the next morning. After we had been sleeping for an hour or so, Brigham got a call from his brother Tim. Brigham's dad had passed away in his sleep from a heart attack.

That night was very dark.

After spending a couple hazy days with my family in Washington, we left for Utah.

The kids were well behaved, but the drive was hard for Brigham. The closer we got to Utah, the more he had to accept reality. It was hard to see him suffer.

Tuesday afternoon we had a tearful reunion with Brigham's mom and brothers. And although we were sorry for the reason of our gathering, to be together and to have the support of each other was the best comfort. The hug from Nonie that night was painful and sweet.

All of the cousins knew of the circumstances and were somber at times, but still enjoyed playing and being together.

We swam, walked around downtown, visited the Church History Museum, went to lunch, and chatted at Dan and Nonie's house.

Dressing Dan for the viewing and funeral, and being with Nonie and his brothers, helped Brigham through his grief. He felt at peace seeing his dad and knowing he was happy where he was and that it was his time to go.

The viewing and funeral were emotional and hard.

It was surreal looking at Dan's body. He looked really good. But I didn't really care to linger because, although it was his body, it wasn't him. His spirit was elsewhere.

Brigham and his brothers stroke an imposing picture as the pallbearers for their father. I felt that it was a good testament to Dan, all these strong men that are his posterity.

The Salt Lake Cemetery where Dan is buried is a gorgeous, historical place, and the funeral was on a bright, sunny, beautiful day.

What a beautiful family! Dan's wife, Nonie, in the middle of all of his children: Brigham, Tim, Wes, Courtney, DJ, Tony, Paul, Sam, and Jake.

The funeral was the only time that each individual family was able to come and be together at the same time, in the same place. It was one of the most bittersweet moments of my life as we talked, and laughed, and hugged, and mourned together.

The services were beautiful. One kid from each of Dan's marriages was able to speak, and it was so enjoyable to hear the different respects they were able to pay. All of Dan's grandchildren sang "I Am a Child of God," and when Lydia broke down and started crying while singing, it was impossible to keep our composure. The love those kids have for their grandpa is touching.

Hearing all the stories and memories about Dan from friends and family meant a lot us. Especially talking with President Joe (Dan's old Bishop) and hearing how meaningful it was for Dan to get his temple recommend. President's Joe testimony that Dan was worthily with his Savior comforted Brigham more than anything else.

It was sad to say goodbye, excruciating to see Brigham in pain, and I was so grateful for the support of my family as they came to the viewing and funeral to support my husband and I. I truly was touched beyond words.

As I said before, seeing Brigham hurt so much was very difficult. Seeing all the family members in pain was harder for me than my own sorrow. Especially Nonie. Nonie - the sweetest, most selfless person - having to lose her spouse, tore me to the core.

And even in the midst of her tragedy, she was taking care of others, and sweet, and kind, and loving. Sad and grieving too, but still the wonderful women we all love. I wished we could stay and be with her for much longer than we were able to. When leaving, I was only comforted knowing that much family is still close by to be with her.

We love you Nonie. We pray for you. We can't wait to see you soon.

The week was busy and long. We stayed at a hotel close by, but besides eating breakfast and sleeping, we were rarely there.

Though, sometimes we were grateful to have somewhere to crash and collect ourselves again.

Saying goodbye to Nonie was the hardest part, and it sort of felt like I was tearing out a piece of my heart as we walked out the door and got in the car. She and Dan went together. And saying goodbye to her was like saying a final goodbye to Dan.

Through the heartache, we recognized so many small blessings that helped us know God's hand was in all of this. The timing was best-case scenario for so many of our families. Brigham was able to talk to Dan one last time before he died. Dan didn't feel pain in his death. The kids weren't home when we learned the news. We were able to make an early trip to Utah this year, and I had convinced Brigham to go when he wasn't planning on it. And many more small miracles. We don't know why Dan had to go now, but both Brigham and I felt it was his time.

Everyone got to say what they loved and remembered about Grandpa Dan. And I didn't really. I didn't feel like it was my place at that time. So I'm going to take a minute now to pay tribute to him and share what I know and love about Dan.

It was most talked about how charitable and loving Dan was. How his door was always open, and you knew he would help. And this is truth.

Anytime my siblings came to town, or any of my family, we knew Dan and Nonie would offer to feed, transport, and house them. Dan and Nonie's home became a permanent pit stop and safe house for my starving-college-student siblings, and my traveling parents. And if my family hadn't stopped by in awhile, Dan and Nonie would ask why they hadn't been around.

And this is the classic Dan that was talked about.

But there are a couple more aspects of him that are personal to just me.

I love Dan because of how much he loves my husband. Brigham needs his Dad. Brigham was the last person to talk to his dad because Brigham made his customary phone call on his way home from work. A blessing that we both give thanks for everyday.

Dan listened and participated in Brigham's rants, but he also softened Brigham. He rounded Brigham out and helped him to calm and straighten. Those two could talk about nonsense together for hours. And no matter what craziness and intensity Brigham spouted, Dan would always navigate the conversation with patience and a loving "Biggy" here and there. Brigham and I are really going to miss that irreplaceable connection and encouragement

I love Dan because of how much he loves my son. Dan had a soft spot for Ammon and he said it was because how much Ammon reminded him of Brigham as a little boy. Considering Ammon is Brigham's little mini-me, it makes sense.

 Ammon is my first boy and so he has that special first-boy soft spot in my heart, and seeing Dan's soft spot for Ammon made my heart smile.

I just loved hearing him ask about "Ammy" and picturing Dan's smile as we told of Ammon's latest antics.

Of course, Dan didn't just love Ammon. He loves all his grandchildren, and I love that too. It was a treasure knowing he was always willing to babysit and spend time with his grandchildren.

Another blessing we've recognized is being able to go down to Utah early this year for spring break, where Dan was able to to meet Kendrick for the first time.

I loved seeing Dan hold his grandchildren and hear his baby-talk voice as he cooed "that's my boy" or "that's my girl" to these babies.

My kids' favorite memories of Grandpa Dan are traveling to Utah and staying at his house. He would get them cereal or cook pancakes for them in the shape of the first letter of their name as they watched tv at the bar.

Or he would take them to McDonalds for lunch while Mom was out doing grown up stuff.

I love how much Dan loves Nonie. The experts say you need to show affection to your spouse in front of your kids to be a good example of a happy marriage. Well Dan practiced this for me. I loved hearing him call Nonie to see if she was going to be home soon, or to see if she needed a ride. His loving tone reminded me to be better.

I loved seeing his affection for her and reading the cards that he would get her for their anniversaries and birthdays. Sometimes they were funny, sometimes they were scandalous, and always they were just for her and therefore, so so sweet.

He was no perfect husband. But the beauty in that fact is, they love each other - flaws and all.

I loved knowing Dan would come to as many family events as possible.

Lydia's first birthday party
Emery's baby blessing
Jake's wedding
I loved that we always called him for help with car problems, and though he never really seemed to be able to fix them, he was always willing to help.

I love that he did what it took to provide as best he could for his family. He took jobs that were below his capabilities, and that he didn't enjoy, because he knew that's what needed to be done. That's a true man.

I love that he loved my egg rolls and stir fry and asked me to make them for him every once in awhile.

I loved that he encouraged each of us in our own passions.

And I loved that he would see something that one of us might need tweaking in our lives, give a little advice and encouragement, and then still love us anyway when we didn't listen.

But probably one of my most favorite things about Dan was his cooking and Sunday night family dinners at his house.

Relaxing, eating, chatting, teasing, and laughing. Those nights will always be some of the fondest family memories I have. Always with Dan at the center.

Looking back at my list of things I love about Dan, I realized that most of them are about the way he loved. And that's what he did: love. And when we came together at his house, and when we come together in the future, that's what we'll do too.

We love you Dan, Grandpa Dan, Dad. 'Til we meet again.