Saturday, December 20, 2014

Using the Heimlich & Finding Gratitude for My Blessings

This morning I woke up to laughter as Mitchell made breakfast with the boys.  Mitch gave instructions - "Okay...get over here Miles MacGillicutty Borden, and Tyson Jax Adorable Borden, and Borden Joseph Emmett...." and the boys just ate up the attention.  All the commotion in the kitchen made me smile, but it made me cry, too.  If yesterday's miracles hadn't happened, we wouldn't have been sharing so much joy & laughter this morning.

Thursday night Tyson & I made some candy trains to give to his schoolmates.  It was fun, and he was so impressed by the idea that I got from my mom when I was a kid.

After school, Tyson had 6 left over candy trains, and we gave some to the friends we carpool with, and we headed off for a few errands and a play date.  I had a car full of kids - my 3 boys, and our 2 best girl-friends, Emily & Megan.  We headed to the post office listening to Christmas tunes.  We were all singing along, and the kids chowed down on chocolate and gum.  Holiday traffic was a bear:  3 schools within a mile radius of where we were had just been released from school on a half-day, it's Christmas time & the roads are crazy anyway, and it was still the lunch hour.  As we left the post office commercials came on the radio.  The noise of commercials irritate me so I turned off the radio to eliminate noise.

Little did I know that was the first miracle that happened.

As I crossed over a main road intersection, I heard a small gagging noise.  Glancing back I saw Miles in distress, reaching into his mouth with his fingers.  I wasn't sure if his fingers were the problem or not, but he never does that, and I started to panic, "Is he choking?!"  The kids confirmed, and I started to feel frantic.

I tried to find a safe place to turn off, but there were none.  I pulled into the 1st turn lane I could find to try to turn left.  But turning left anywhere during this time of year can take minutes.  We didn't have minutes.  There were 2 small pauses that I considered taking, but we could have been hit if I had risked it.  I had 3 major lanes on my right going the direction we were driving, and there were 3 lanes of traffic on the left coming towards us.  And there was no break in traffic.  Knowing I couldn't wait any longer, I angled my car just slightly, and jumped out to run around leaving the driver's side door open.

That was the 2nd miracle that happened.

When I ran around to the passenger side, I tried to open the doors, but they wouldn't open.  I pounded on the sliding door to get the kids' attention and yelled to open the door from the inside.  They tried and tried, but the car was running, so the child locks were on, and the doors wouldn't open.  All the while I could see Miles through the window - still unable to breathe or make noise - still trying to gag out whatever was lodged in his throat.  I was so scared.  I ran back around and realized several people were lined up behind me now, trying to turn. I pushed the unlock button, ran around to the passenger side, and was finally able to open the door - by this time Tyson had also been able to get over the seat & try to help unlock it, too.  I flung open the door & the kids said, "What do we do now?"

"Just pray!  Just pray!"

I unleashed Miles from his car seat and flipped him upside down - I was equally afraid of him choking to death, and of getting hit by the cars in traffic, but I had no choice.  As I pushed on his belly with my left hand, and hit his back with my right hand, I saw he started to spit up.  I thought it was working, and that he was going to be okay.  But it was only saliva that had been gathering in his mouth, and when I lifted him up, he still couldn't breathe, make noise, and his face was in shock as he was still trying to move his little tongue.  I turned him over again, pushed harder on his stomach & hit his back harder, and finally after a while of pounding, out flew a peppermint.

Staring at the toys he had been holding and the peppermint on the asphalt, I started to cry.  I didn't even know he had a peppermint, or that he could open the package on his own. Then I remembered we were still in danger & told the kids to stay buckled & re-buckle because we were in a dangerous part of traffic.  I snapped Miles in, got in the car, and as I entered the driver's side door, I realized the lady behind me was still trying to make a U.  I don't even know if she realized what was happening - I think it's possible she just thought I was a crazy woman.  Of the 5 cars behind me, only 1 followed to make sure we were okay as we parked in the closest parking lot.

The lady that followed was named Diane.  She rolled down her window and asked if she needed to call 9-1-1.  I told her my son had been choking, but I thought he was okay - she didn't leave until we pulled him out of the car again to double check.  By now he was talking and breathing normally, so she believed me that we didn't need to call the paramedics, and she asked if he needed water.   She pulled out a tall bottle of water that she had just recently opened and told me she was sorry it was opened, but she wasn't sick.  I just hugged her and cried and said, "I don't care even if you are sick!  I'm just glad my son's alive!"

Diane stayed with me - she was such an angel - I needed comfort more than anything, even though it was all "okay".  She made me laugh when she said, "Oh my gosh - are you pregnant, too?"  I must have looked like such a mess - I had 5 kids in the car, it was pajama day at school so all the kids were still in pajamas at 1:15 or whenever it was - and even though I was "dressed", my hair hadn't been fixed and my make up wasn't done for the day, and I was crying like crazy!  Haha!  It had been a traumatic situation & she told me to calm down before I started to drive again.  We wished each other a Merry Christmas, and when we she left, I stood at the van with the kids, and we said a prayer to thank Heavenly Father that Miles was okay, and that we also didn't get hit by oncoming traffic as we tried to save him from choking.

Miles returned to his usual self much faster than I did.  I went to bed so tired yesterday.  Even today, I'm different because of what happened.  His sweet little innocent mind just doesn't realize how scary that was.  I realized, also, that in 7 1/2 years of parenting, all the times I "thought" my kids were choking were nothing compared to this - this was the real deal, and if we hadn't had all the little blessings the Lord sent, we would have had a much different scenario yesterday.  I never thought I would be grateful for radio commercials, but if I hadn't had a reason to turn off the sound, I probably wouldn't have heard anything to alert me of Miles' distress.  I'm also grateful that I left my car door open - if it had shut while the engine was running, it would have locked, and we would have lost more time trying to get the vehicle doors to open.  I'm so grateful the Heimlich worked.  I'm so grateful the kids prayed.  I'm so grateful we didn't have to pay for a hospital visit.  I'm so grateful there was at least 1 person who stopped to check on us and to help comfort me, and I'm so grateful we can still plan to celebrate Christmas this year with our sweet little Miles.

EVERYTHING has been back to normal since then - we went to the park to "recover" and Miles bashed his head on the slide, splitting his skin open a little bit on his eye-lid.  I dropped my cell phone AND video camera yesterday & cracked the screens - my phone works, but my video camera is now broken.  The kids still cry over things. They still need to be reminded to use their manners.  They still need reminders picking up after themselves.  They still need help sharing.  But now I have a happier heart through all of their usual joys & struggles - I'm so grateful to be a parent and to have each little moment with my kids - every moment is a gift.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Who the Greatest Man in the World Will Be....

Meet Emmett.

He's notorious for photo-bombing, making jokes, playing tricks, getting his way, sucking his thumb, and getting mad for being called "cute".  He loves all things that are awesome, he HATES girl stuff, refuses to eat vegetables, and gives sincere (although hilariously funny) prayers.  He has more emotional ups and downs than the other kids, and consequently gives mom & dad a run for their money.  Just a tip: don't EVER try to kiss his face - he's quicker at moving his head than you think.  Emmett is now 5, though, and we have noticed a true maturing of this child as he grows up into a big boy - although he will tell you he was NEVER LITTLE, ever in his whole life.

On Monday night, Emmett's little brother, Miles, was waking up from a late nap so we could go to an Egg Nog Party.  Of course, it was the wrong time for Miles to wake up and he was crying like crazy.  All of a sudden, Emmett started singing an original and amazing song to his little brother to try and help him be happy (You'd better believe this is now copyrighted):

"You will be the greatest man in the world...
....After lots of birthdays....
You will like girls, and girls will like you....
...All the girls will like you!

You will pick one and get married.
You will only like good girls...
...not aliens or bad girls. 
And you won't marry dead people.

And you will like boy stuff.
And she will like girl stuff.

And YOU will be the GREATEST MAN in the WORLD!"

I held my breath the entire time he was singing - I knew if I laughed he would quit, and I knew if I asked him to sing louder he would stop.  All I could do was hang on every word I could possibly hear. WHAT I WOULD GIVE to know what he said on the lines that were sung just too softly for me to hear - his song was almost 5 minutes long - I'm telling you it was so good I couldn't concentrate on anything else!

When he was done singing, I asked him, 
"Were you singing that song for Miles?
Emmett responded, "Yeah, I was!"
"You're such a nice brother," I assured him.
With no hesitation of confidence he replied, "Yeah, I really am!"

I asked him to sing the song again, but he said he forgot it.  So he made up another for Miles on the ride to the party....

"When you grow up, you will have fun
And you will do what you want to!
You will have fun every day & every year!

Miles better feel pretty special - his big brother has high hopes & dreams for his destiny.  I'm pretty sure if they turn out like their daddy - all three of these boys...and their soon to be 4th brother, will be the GREATEST MEN IN THE WORLD! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Phoenix Temple Corner Stone Ceremony

I still remember the day it was announced in General Conference, that there were plans to construct the Gilbert Arizona Temple & the Phoenix Arizona Temple.  Gilbert has been closest to my heart as it's my home-town, and a dream fulfilled to have a temple here, but EVERY temple that's ever been announced in Arizona has had an electrifying effect on the people in this state, and especially on the people in the surrounding areas of the new temples.  

Time seemed to drag on before ground was finally broken.  But when it happened, we were there. (Click)  Plans for building moved forward.  Cranes filled the lot.  There were construction workers, dump trucks, cement trucks, and we heard the clanging of nails from across the street at Discovery Park.  On more days than I can remember, we were there watching it with the kids (click).  Then came the long awaited day that the Angel Moroni was lifted to the top.  I heard a rumor of leaked the information, and I camped out all day with a newborn & cancelled a dental appointment so that I wouldn't miss the once in a lifetime opportunity, and I convinced many others to take breaks from work & rearrange their day so they could be there, too.  You'd better believe we didn't miss it (click) - without a doubt, we were there!  Then came the Cultural Celebration rehearsals - inspired, and moving, and faith promoting.  Then we had the Open House, and opportunities to volunteer, and bring friends.  On the first day, the last day, and many days in between, we were there (click).  

When the celebration came, along with a torrent of rain, 
...we were there!  

On the day of the dedication, I attended the 2nd dedicatory session inside the Gilbert Temple with my husband & parents & siblings.  Being together inside the temple that day changed our lives forever, as have the moments we were able to be in the temple as an entire family since then.  

My kids were so sad they were too young to go, but at the end of the dedication, we knew the prophet would drive away, and so we were there to wave our hankies as he drove away.  


In every way possible, we tried to soak in the experience, and involve our children to make memories so they would know how important this was to us, and we hoped it would be important to them at a young age. We still hope that all these little moments will leave an impression that they will remember.  

But there WAS ONE THING we completely missed out on with the Gilbert Temple.

I distinctly remember sitting in the Stake Center with friends at the 1st morning session watching the Cornerstone Ceremony and thinking, "Why on earth am I NOT there with my kids right now?"  I didn't feel deprived. Not jealous. Just surprised at myself.  Surprised that with everything associated in the temple construction, that I would forget about the cornerstone ceremony - how could I forget that when I KNEW every temple has a corner stone ceremony?  And how could I forget that, especially when my kids longed to be a part of the dedication in any way they could?  

I resolved then and there, that when the time came, I would take my kids to the Phoenix Temple Cornerstone Ceremony.

Here we are 8 months later.  
And I'm happy to say that WE WERE THERE.

Yesterday morning, we woke up early.  Drove for an hour.  It was a total shot in the dark.  All we truly planned on experiencing was catching a glimpse of what was happening from a distance & getting to take a picture by the Phoenix Temple Cornerstone after everything cleared away.  We were prepared to walk a mile or two and stand on the public side walk, because I was pretty sure we wouldn't be allowed to park at Wet and Wild & be bused with the people who had tickets for the dedication in the temple.  As we got closer, I even began to worry that perhaps kids younger than 8 wouldn't be allowed at the cornerstone ceremony.  I was prepared to be turned away, or to have to wait until it was over to get anywhere close.

Much to our surprise, we were allowed to be bused with everyone else.  We were allowed to have little kids, and others did, too.  We didn't have to walk 2 miles, but as the unusually crisp wind blew, I realized I was prepared for every possible scenario, EXCEPT for how cold it was! 

We found a lucky blanket in the back of the van, a lucky straggling beanie cap, some lucky extra socks for my niece, and my husband gave Emmett his suit coat jacket.

When the time finally came for the Cornerstone Ceremony, we were pretty close.  In fact, we were shockingly close.  We had planned to watch it from the grass, but there ended up being plenty of room on the steps, and there was a chain blocking off the area between the steps and the doors to the temple.  Come to find out, that very place we moved to ended up being the best spot of all.  There was a cluster of kids right up front, and next to them were some teenagers.  Erin told me we should ask the teenagers to let the boys stand in front of them.  I got to looking & realized that with the way we were, and with the height of my children, if the boys stayed with me, I'd have to lift them up to see anything, or I could try asking if the boys could stand with the other kids and next to the teenagers.  I asked this amazing young man named Nate if the boys could stand by him - he had zero hesitation & said "Absolutely!"  About 10 minutes until 10am, I let my kids go by Nate, and they were stuffed in a spot where they thought they couldn't see at all.  Nate realized they were by him, and he moved them to stand right in front of him.  When the prophet walked out of the temple with Elder Uchdorf & Elder Oaks, I realized that because of where Nate put my kids, they had a straight shot view to where the prophet was.  Then I realized the prophet himself was walking right towards my children.  I was only a few feet away myself, but there were still several people in front of me.  Because of Nate's kindness, however, my kids had no obstruction to their view whatsoever.  The prophet said something & high fived the group of kids next to my boys.  Then he paused to wiggle his ears for the kids (which apparently my boys were totally oblivious to the ear wiggles, haha), and then he moved along towards the cornerstone.  I couldn't see very well anymore, but at this point I almost wasn't trying to see, because I was so shocked by what just happened.  I was so grateful, and I reached thru the crowd & squeezed Nate's arm and I told him I'll love him forever.  Then he grinned at me and said, "He talked to YOUR BOY!"  I was so blown away as the ceremony continued & as we listened to the choir.  When the ceremony was completed, all the leaders came back towards us.  I was surprised by how young Elder Uchdorf looks in person, and how old the prophet looks, and how skinny Elder Oaks is compared to the last time I saw him in person.  On the way back, I finally felt like it was okay to take a picture.  The prophet looked at the kids again, and headed towards the doors, when he decided to turn back, and go meet some kids further along in the line.

When it was all over, the crowd dispersed quickly, and my boys came over to me.  I finally found out what happened when they were at the front of the chain.  When the prophet came by them, he looked in Tyson's eyes and smiled - TWICE.   When he looked at Emmett - who was still wearing Mitchell's very large suit coat, President Monson said, "That coat is a little big for you, huh?"  And then he laughed.  My kids were shocked by Pres. Monson.  Tyson said to me, "I can't believe he made a joke instead of saying something reverent!"  I asked Emmett how he felt, and he said with some surprise, "I felt like that was funny."  It was so cute.

My kids may have not felt like they felt the Spirit in the way they normally feel the Spirit, but I did and it was just as strong as ever.  You can feel close to the Spirit when you're happy, and even amid humor, and especially when a 17 year old boy shows selfless kindness to a stranger's children so that they can see the prophet . . . you can definitely feel the Spirit then!

This is me, Emmett, Tyson, and Nate - our new forever friend from Deer Valley.

 Here's the prophet on the way back from the cornerstone.

Here's Miles watching from Mitch's shoulders--we would have considered letting him stand by Nate if he hadn't previously walked thru people's legs & right under the chain to try to march his little self into the temple - as if he owned the place. :)  He was so happy to be there & he was jabbering to strangers about the temple & pointing to it.

Not going to lie, the water coolers were an equally main attraction of the day.

 I'm so happy Mike, Erin, Hudson, & Lexi were crazy enough to wake up early and come with us.  They helped us get ready faster & out the door sooner, and they helped us enjoy the morning much better than being alone - Hudson & Miles are best friends.

The extra mortar ran out RIGHT BEFORE our group, so we didn't get to use the tools, but we were able to smooth it into the cracks with our fingers.

 Erin got snagged by the media to be on the 5 o'clock news.  Who wouldn't want to talk to a beautiful red head with a darling infant?  She did great being put on the spot.

 Hudson wanted to be in the picture with us - besides the fact that I love him like he's my own & feel like he fits right in with us - I also felt like his desire to be in a picture with us was foreshadowing to what's about to just a few months, we will have 4 boys of our own.  Oh my goodness gracious!

 Waiting for the shuttle bus

 When we got on the "to-bus" and the "from-bus" back & forth from the temple, I was disappointed, because neither of our drivers ended up being my father-in-law.  Come to find out, though, if he had been our driver, we wouldn't have really had a moment to talk to him.  When we arrived back at the parking lot, who do you think was the driver in the empty bus behind us?  DALE!  It was so great - we actually had a moment to say hi and for the boys to give him a hug as he waited for the bus in front of him to empty.  I felt like it was the PERFECT ending to the PERFECT morning - a morning that turned out FAR BETTER than I had ever imagined.

When it was all said and done, we got back to our part of the valley, and watched the 2nd dedication session from our stake center.  My dad came to join us so he could spend time with us & Mike & Erin, too - they weren't with us at the Gilbert Temple Dedication because they still lived in DC.  So my dad took advantage of the opportunity to spend time with them in this temple dedication, too.  He's such a busy man.  It means so much to me that he purposely tries to make opportunities to spend with his kids...even though we're "grown-up" kids, we need that time with him as much now as we did when we were little.  The Spirit was so strong - it made me remember that amazing day in the Gilbert Temple Dedication earlier this year & the way I felt there.  In many, many ways, the Phoenix Temple Dedication felt exactly the same - just as powerful, just as tender, just as sweet.  

Especially because of the eventful morning we had watching the cornerstone as the symbolic completion of the temple, this particular quote really hit home to me during the 2nd session: 

“Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed according to the order the Lord has revealed for his holy Priesthood, lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness.”—President George Q. Cannon

What a day.  It was a day that makes me want, at all the truly important events we may have opportunities to attend, to be able to say, "We were there!"