Monday, April 28, 2014

Happenings in the Walker Family

Another picture post. Fun, fun.

We have had several birthdays in the last couple months. When we hit the end of February we have a birthday almost every 10 days to 2 weeks. That doesn't end until mid June. This year we changed the celebration up a bit. Instead of the birthday person choosing what's for dinner we now take them out to eat wherever they want. We then come home to do presents and dessert. I love it this way. The kids get the one on one time and I don't have to spend my day cooking an elaborate meal.

We have also had other activities and celebrations. We went to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point last week with Kurt and Kayla (my niece) while they were here. We have a few pictures of people but the kids had the camera and we came away with mostly pictures of flowers, the sky, fish, geese and who knows what else. Buying our pass to Thanksgiving Point was soooo worth it. We will be doing that again this year.

I forgot this picture in the Easter post.
Tyler and Jessica with baby Grant.

Scott sat in the wrong spot.
Every time someone came to the fountain they couldn't resist
putting their finger on it.
Of course, that would cause the water to spray everywhere,
including all over Scott.
After the second time he complained about it
I figured natural consequences would teach
him better than I could.
I think he secretly liked getting wet but had to make a show of it.
This is Scott, Lily, Ilee and Bria.

Some of the gang at the fountain.

Clayson secretly wants to be a baby. :)
He begged me not to post this but
Mom's get to do whatever they want,
including embarrassing their children from time to time.
I think we need to fill this stroller again.
It was sad to take it out of the back of the bus and realize
the last time we used it was for Gideon at Christmas time
when we went to see the lights on Temple Square.
We were happy it was there though.
It made things easier for Lily and Ilee.
Their little legs just don't keep up so well.
I don't know how this one got downloaded
but this is part of what we saw.
Tyler graduated from BYU in Recreation Therapy. If you want a fun major, do this one. Some of his classes were mountain biking, skiing and other kinds of fun. He did have to take harder classes but he sure loved it. His plan is to get a Masters in Social Work and become an LCSW. He wants to do family therapy but not in the normal sense. He is about healing not counseling. I love that he will be getting his LCSW. One day, in God's timing, we will need his license to help others in the adoption process and get more children in families.

Tyler in the procession.
I love this picture.
This is Tyler!
He loves people and they know it.

Tyler also is very open.
It was not surprising to see a professor give him a hug.
Can I just say, I LOVE this guy!
I am so lucky to be his mother.

Jessica and Grant with Jessica's dad.
Alex came all the way from Kentucky
to see Tyler graduate.
Tyler chose his wife well, or should I say
Jessica chose her husband well. :)
(Jessica, we all know how that courtship went)
Then along came some of the best people I have known,
Jessica's parents.

The graduate and his little family.



Well, one more Easter has come and gone. Another year with a first Easter. This time it was Scott's turn. I would love to say that he loved it, but I really don't know. I was sick in bed ALL DAY LONG! I got up for about 30 minutes and before all the kids found their Easter baskets I headed back to bed. The nasty stomach flu hit me hard. One positive thing about it, I didn't have to host. :) I love holidays but they are so much work. I got to throw up right through it. Hehe. No, being sick wasn't worth it. Because of my banishment to my room there isn't much to narrate here. What you see is what I got to experience so we will do Easter together through pictures.

On Friday we decorated eggs. We did 10 dozen.
Then added some plastic eggs filled with candy.
Friday afternoon we made Rice Krispy treats in the shape of a nest then put M&M's in them.

Bria found her Easter basket.
I have been hearing all year that Easter is her favorite holiday.
Even while I was putting out Christmas gifts,
Bria would tell me how she couldn't wait for Easter.
A couple months before Easter came Bria
reserved me to help her in the egg hunt.
Sadly, Dad got that job this year.
The good thing about that,
there are a lot of pictures of Bria this Easter.

Emma, I'm sure dug into her candy immediately.
We had to take it away so she didn't eat it all in one day.
Funny though, she doesn't usually like candy too much.

Hyrum loves everything! I could hear his squeals in my bedroom.
On Friday morning Hyrum brought me a picture and said he wanted what Gideon had.
I had to look close at the 1/2" picture and realized
Hyrum wanted the same Easter basket that Gideon had last year.
I prayed that I had not thrown it away.
I don't like those particular baskets because they are flimsy.
Every year I threaten to throw them away.
Thankfully, I hoarded them for one more year.
As soon as the Easter box was out Hyrum searched through it to find
Gideon's and now Hyrum's basket.
He misses Gideon!!

Marshall found his basket after about 45 minutes. He told me he
got to the point he didn't care if he ever got his candy.
Some of the kids asked for the basket to be hidden hard.
We did a great job.

OK, what is with the photo bombers in this family?
Tyler is loving photography and doing a great job.
Pierce has now developed an interest in photography too.
Love ya Britt.... Photobomber:)

Preston searching for Easter eggs.
Our oldest grandson. What a cutie.

Not much to see here but this picture reminded me
how big our yard is.
Doug keeps begging me to allow him to get another
riding lawn mower.
Maybe when we are all done adopting we will splurge.
For now, the kids are learning how to work.

Two of my brothers and their families came for Easter
as well as a niece and her family.
This is my brother David his wife Janet and 5 of their 7 kids.
We sure love them.
The Easter egg feast. :)

Scott's first egg hunt. He looks happy.
Pierce on the swing set.
Our yard is like a park.
If you ever need a place to gather or want to come play
come on over!
We have a drinking fountain and fire pit too. :)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Have Been Changed

Oh, there is so much that happens at our home. Always changes and looking forward. New opportunities to develop faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. We have been led and protected and can testify of the reality of angels in all of our lives. When we are open and seek for the hand of the Lord He is able to bless us in ways that we would never even think to ask. Sometimes those blessings come in the form of stripping us of much of what we thought was our security. But by this we turn more closely to God and recognize our complete dependence on Him and the Saviors atonement and resurrection. What a gift Jesus Christ is and to have the love and tender mercies of our Father in Heaven.

We were in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and the cashier said "How are you?" Our first thought was to respond with "Well our son died 7 weeks ago and this and this just happened" but we knew she wouldn't believe us (No one would!) and it would probably traumatize her the rest of the evening. At this point I feel we need to keep some of the challenges in our lives private but believe me, we are being completely humbled. And we are grateful!! It's amazing how much we can handle when we know we are on the Lord's errand.

The challenges that we have, and do face, have brought us to our knees many many times. We have been tried in the fiery furnace much of our lives. With Gideon's passing as one of these challenges we have been blessed beyond what we could imagine. Blessed to be changed forever. I hear, way to often, that with Gideon's death that I am changed. I will never be the same. Sadly, those words usually come with a negative tone. Whenever I hear them I cringe inside. No one knows that I pray that I will be able to allow the atonement to heal me completely of this loss. To look on the experiences with Gideon with joy and happiness. To never forget the blessing we have been given to have him eternally. What that means to me is not being depressed or feeling so down that I can not accomplish all the work that God would ask of me. I want to be filled with light. That doesn't mean I won't miss him and shed tears here and there. But the change that I desire is a permanent turning to God because of my love for Him and the gift of the resurrection and atonement. To smile when I see pictures of my precious son. I feel that I am in the process of receiving that gift and much more quickly than I expected. How glorious, the sacrifice of God.

I have changed, and I like it. Gideon has blessed me more than I could have ever known. Gideon's willingness to obey the Master in all things, even in death has made me a better person. I have more gratitude for the blessings that I have. In the hard moments I can still feel the presence of the Spirit and his protecting hand. Yes, I have been changed! I embrace that change. I welcome that change. I prefer that change. I have been changed for the better and I will ever be grateful for this gift.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Double Baptism

We had two beautiful girls take the step of baptism last weekend - Malia and Emma.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we baptize our children when they reach the age of 8.  That is when we consider them "accountable" or old enough to understand the commitments and promises we make to live a righteous life following the example of our Savior.  Of course, that doesn't always go as planned, so 8 years old is also the age when we are old enough to understand the gifts of the Atonement and how we can remain pure by repenting throughout our lives to bring the blessings and purification power of Christ's sacrifice.
We don't believe infants children under the age of 8 need baptism nor those who don't have the mental capacity to understand the promises we make or the need for repentance.  They have a special place in heaven with all the blessings of our loving Heavenly Father in highest levels of that kingdom.  Therefore, Emma, who has Down Syndrome, did not need to be baptized, but was so excited for it that we had her baptized anyway.
It's not very often I am the shortest one in photos.... Back row left to right - Bishop Timothy McCoy (Our bishop -6'9"), Britton (brother - 6'5"), David Wills (uncle), me (dad), Tyler (brother), Jason (brother), Jared (brother).
Front row - Malia and Emma

Mom and dad and the beaming girls.

Malia, Emma and the photo bomber, Hyrum.

Pure Innocence. Can we lock them up for about 10 years??

Friday, April 4, 2014

"Do You Love My Hair?"

Hyrum has an obsession with hair. Not just his hair but all hair.
He loves it so much that he puts things on his head and pretends it's hair.
This is a fabric book cover that he decided was hair within the
first week of being home from China.
He wore it everywhere. When I say everywhere
I mean even to the store or on family outings.
I was so embarrassed that I didn't get too many pictures.
Now that I am more mature, :), I wish I had.

Hyrum decided that his security blanket is my favorite sweater.
He wears it like this all the time.
He even sleeps with my sweater.
Sadly, I never get to wear it. I gave up and bought
a new sweater this year. It's not as fuzzy.
Hyrum is a ham!! This kid loves to have pictures taken.
I wish I had recorded his photo shoot.
I just wanted to take pictures of all his hair pieces.
The next thing I knew I was shooting in rapid fire.
Maybe I need to take photography lessons.
All I know how to do is put the camera on automatic and shoot.

Olivia has a sarong that she used to use as a blanket.
Hyrum stole it one day for his head.
Olivia decided that she would make it a pony tail for him.
That hair piece lasted months.
When I told Hyrum to go get his hair this piece was a must.

My sister Denise and niece (surrogate daughter) Kayla were here for a few days.
They are making crochet hats that look like Minions.
Hyrum couldn't keep them off his head so
I decided to try my hand at it.

The main body of the hat wasn't too bad.
I have crocheted before but only the edges of blankets.
How hard could it be?

It took me 7 tries to get the first ear flap done.
When both sides were done and I had already done the edging
I noticed that one flap was longer than the other.
I am a perfectionist in too many ways still and creating things is one.
By this time though, I was not going to start over.
I tied the braids on in such a way to try and make up that difference.
If you crochet, don't ask to see this. I won't show you. :)

Bria wanted to get in on the photo shoot.
The first picture Hyrum photo bombed.

I had to make Hyrum sit down so I could get a picture of Bria alone.

Bria is not as photogenic as Hyrum.  It was so funny to see her attempt at posing.
She will never be a model. I gave her some ideas of what to do
She liked this one best. What a sweetheart.
After two and a half years I am finally getting real hugs from her.
Her poor little heart was so bound up.

Emma needed her picture taken too.
She gets the cheesiest grin when she poses.
I told her to open her mouth and I got a smile with her
mouth open so wide you could see her tonsils and what she ate for lunch.
I didn't think anyone wanted to see her lunch so you don't get that picture.

 Scott was watching us while clipping his fingernails.
I was completely unaware that he was dropping them on the carpet.
 I should have clued in when he walked in the room with the nail clippers in hand.
But why would I think he wouldn't leave the clippings on the floor?
Silly me, why would I expect otherwise?
He's a cute kid!!! So sweet and loving. 
We have been so blessed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One Year Anniversary With Gideon

A year ago today we saw our Gideon for the first time. We had worked for 5 tireless months to get through the paperwork as fast as we could. We knew that any day Gideon could be called home. We hoped and prayed that he would make it to us. First we wanted him sealed to our family and second we had a glimmer of hope that the doctors may be able to do something to save his life.

Our Father in Heaven was in charge and we were reminded that it was through His hand that Gideon's life was preserved. We had a blessed 10 months with Gideon on this earth. Looking back I can see why we felt the need to do more playing and making memories than we had as a family in the last 15 or so years. We took a lot of pictures and had Gideon with me all the time but on our date nights. Even then, he came with us sometimes. In the last week before we went into the hospital we brought Gideon with us to a play tryout. That is just not done. I couldn't leave him. He wasn't doing well and my heart could not let go. I didn't even know how close to the end we could be but my Spirit did.

I just wanted to recognize this day and post a couple of pictures. When I was reminded that today was the day we got our Gideon I teared up but I am doing well. I love my son and am so grateful for the blessing he is to us. Gideon is very loved by the whole family and is talked of often.

The medical director for the orphanage handed Gideon over to us. Unfortunately we didn't get the opportunity to meet the foster parents. Gideon had the blessing of foster parents for about 10 months. He would not have survived in the orphanage.

Gideon was terrified of me, his mother. He allowed Doug to hold him and console him but was afraid for me to even look at him. We got back to the hotel and I tried all the tricks in my bag to soften him up. The balloons finally worked but he still took a few days to allow me to hold him and then it was forced. That didn't last a very long time. Within a moth of being home mom was his favorite.

Our first smile! A tear streaked face filled with sorrow and fear yet he couldn't hold back his smile.
I now know what that mix of emotions feels like. Gideon didn't allow us to take his clothes, coat, hat or shoes off. for several weeks he needed his coat, hat and shoes for comfort. We will never forget those precious items to Gideon.

This is the day that Gideon became an official Walker. He doesn't look too happy about it but I know now that he is grateful for his family.

We took Gideon back to the Anhui Healing Home. He was cared for there for a while. Love Without Boundaries operates this home and staff it with some very fantastic nannies. Gideon was loved and his medical needs were addressed. Gideon was a bit shy. I'm sure he didn't know if he was staying with us or at the Healing Home. It broke my heart to see the mixed thoughts and feelings but I also got a glimpse into his soul that day. Gideon was a gentle tender boy though some could not see that through his two year old antics. He LOVED babies and wanted to touch and take care of them. I wish we could have given him the gift of a little brother or sister before he died. At least he had his nephew Grant to love. He asked about Grant almost every day.

This is Gideon in just a couple of days from our first meeting.
Gideon loved his daddy so much!! In China Dad was the go to guy when Jason wasn't around. I worried that Gideon may never like me. How silly is that?!? Very normal though. After being home a month or two Gideon started calling Doug Bobby. It took me a few minutes to figure out why. Mommy is mama in Chinese and daddy is baba. So of course, to a two year old the transition from mama to mommy must mean the baba turns into bobby. I really don't want that to die with Gideon. It was so cute.

This picture is now our background on the computer. At first it was hard to see but this picture has turned into a source of peace. Many times I will hear in my head words like,
 "It's OK mom, I'm happy and I love you."