Thursday, October 1, 2009

Valentine's Day Sadness Update

I've had several people ask me how my sister is doing and what the latest is after the accident she was involved in on Valentines day (see post). Unfortunately the latest news is that she has to go to trial in December and possibly go to jail.

The highway patrolman that was on duty at the time told everyone that her tires were bald and that she was speeding. When he asked her how fast she was going while she was at the hospital (while she was still in shock) he was very rude to her and angrily asked her, "how fast were you going? 100? 80? How fast?" She said, "I don't know. Not more than 30 or 40". So from that they are charging her with speeding in unsafe conditions. She was going the same as everyone else was going. And the highway patrolman also told everyone (including my brother-in-law and the boys family) that her tires were completely bald. Her tires were worn but not completely bald. Whether you have brand new tires or worn tires, if you hit black ice you're going to slide on it. She never would have driven in a snow storm if she thought that her tires were bald. Her car never slipped even a little bit on the roads coming from Logan Canyon until she hit the exact spot of the accident over an hour later. It is the same spot that the boy who was killed slipped on, as well as the truck in back of him which ended up rear-ending him. There were hundred of accidents that day of people slipping on the ice.

The boy's family is extremely upset with my sister and wants her to suffer consequences and go to trial. They won't drop any of the charges or make them lesser charges unless she pleads guilty, and even if she does she could still go to jail. If nothing else it will go on her record and she won't be able to get a job in her field (in-home care of the elderly and handicapped). After I posted the original post about that Valentine's day, his oldest sister found my blog somehow and left a scathing remark (anonymous of course, but I have something on my blog that shows who's viewing) about how awful my sister was for killing someone and driving when she had bald tires and that she's a brain-washed mormon, etc.. It really made me sick! I promptly deleted it and felt really sorry for the families' anguish, but even more sorry that it's directed at my sweet sister who did nothing wrong that day and has ended up paying dearly already.

It's really a tragic situation because it's not going to bring their son back. It is only punishing my sister for an ACCIDENT that happened. She didn't set out to hurt anyone that morning and she certainly didn't set out that morning thinking that driving down that stretch of road could kill someone. So, now she has that looming over her head. Having her go to jail is not going to solve anything or bring him back. It's going to leave her 2 children without a mother for awhile. She has no money. Her ex-husband has been unemployed for six months now and they're living off of unemployment until next month and then they'll have nothing. The bank took their house. And now she and her kids have had to move in with my father who lives on the other side of the country. It's too bad that people can't be more forgiving. Especially those that profess to be followers of Christ. It really is sad to me. I can understand if she took a gun and shot someone on purpose, or ran her car into someone hoping to cause them harm because she was angry at them, but having your car slip on the ice and not be able to do a thing to control it is hardly a crime. I will never understand that.

So, that's the latest on the horrible Valentine's day accident! Please pray for her that the charges will be dropped and she can try to put it behind her as best as she can, and that his family can forgive her and not try and punish her anymore.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


1. As I sit here alone waiting for Todd to get home from work (10:13 p.m. already) I realize that I waste a lot of time on the computer reading people's blogs (some of them strangers) and facebook posts.

2. I have never been more in love with my husband. He is such a great guy and I am so thankful for him. He is incredibly sweet and funny, and an amazing daddy. The kids just adore him.

3. I am very anxious to get back into my own house. Living here at Gwen's with her gone now is just plain wrong. The kids are freaked out and won't go in any room of the house now without me. I thought I was anxious before but it's gotten bad.

4. I can't believe how many times I've gone over the scene in my mind of finding her in her chair. When will it stop? Todd told me that he replayed the scene over and over for years when he found his dad the same way. Great, I can't wait. :{

5. I never realized just how much we relied on Gwen to be there for us. We all feel very alone without her. It's amazing how even though she didn't have children of her own she was like a mother/grandmother to us. She was an awesome lady.

6. I love my sisters dearly. I don't know what I'd do without them!!

7. I allow my children to say words that other kids aren't allowed to say like butt, fart, suck, etc. Am I a horrible mom, or what?

8. I'm completely addicted to sugar and I hate exercising. No wonder I can't lose these extra 40 pounds. What's wrong with me that I'm such a lazy butt (oops, one of those words again...)?

9. I don't look like I did when I was married. Do you know how depressing it is when someone says that I look completely different? Not fun. But then again, completely my own fault.

10. I really miss watching So You Think You Can Dance and can't wait for it to start up again.

11. I think I've taken on more than I can handle. I'm back doing scouts since my temporary replacement just started back to work. I think I'll have to meet at the church for a few more months. I also signed up to be the room mother for Joseph's 3rd grade class this year. What on earth was I thinking? I guess I figured we'd be back in the house by now..... I'm losing my mind.

12. Today was heavenly. I had from 9:30 (when I dropped Emily off at preschool) until 3:30 alone and uninterrupted. Heather and I are doing a trade once a week and it was the first time I have had time by myself to go to a store without having to hit every restroom and deal with fussy, complaining children. I felt weird, and missed Emily since she's always with me, but I think I could get used to it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The happenings of the last few weeks

We've had an eventful few weeks around here. Maria got her tonsils out and was completely miserable for a week. Luckily she's back to her old happy self again.
Todd and I booked the Balsam campground again this year so the sisters (and possibly cousins) could go camping together again. When none of the sisters were available we decided to invite our neighbors to go with us instead (the same group of 6 families that went down to Payson last year and got evacuated in the middle of the night because of a forest fire....)

When we got to Balsam on Thursday the camp director told us that there had been several bear sightings in the area the last few weeks. We made sure that we were really careful cleaning up food and storing it in our bins and putting garbage in cars at night. Well, after dinner on Friday a black bear wondered into our campground. The kids saw it first and started yelling. Joseph thought he saw 2 bears and told me he thought it might be a mother and her cub (it ended up being just one bear that was about 200 pounds). Most of the kids were on the other end of the group site and we all panicked and tried to make sure the kids were okay. I grabbed Joseph and Emily and took them to Todd's car while Todd looked for Maria and Andrew. When I got into the car the camp director came out with his gun to check things out and asked if I would drive down to the Cherry campsites (about 7 miles away) and tell the host there to call the authorities to come up. I raced down the hill thinking it was close, but it ended up taking me 10 minutes to get there and 10 to get back. The whole way there and back I was dying because I had no idea what was happening and if people were okay or not. While I was gone Todd and the other adults rounded up the kids (luckily there was a van down on the other end of the campsite in that little parking area) and crammed them in the mini van. Then they tried to get the bear to leave by yelling, banging pots and pans, etc. It went on for about 10 minutes. It started coming towards the adults and the camp director fired a warning shot but the bear didn't even flinch. It kept coming towards them so he shot it.

It's unfortunate that it had to be killed, but it was definitely the right decision. It bit into someone's cooler too. It was a pretty traumatic experience for everyone. One family left right after but the rest of us stayed and I'm glad we did. We gathered everyone together for a prayer and thanked Heavenly Father that it turned out as well as it did and that none of us got hurt. The ones that were staying further away from the common area moved their tents onto the volleyball area next to the fire pit so that everyone felt more secure. We thought that there was a slight chance that there might be another bear but just praying that it was the only one that was spotted in the area. In the morning we had a couple of people come from the forest service and talk to us about bear safety which was really good for the kids. Then the news came and wanted to talk to us so we had our friend Dave do the interview since he's an HR guy and does stuff like that all the time. (the news also filmed a group that was further down from us for some reason)

Everyone joked that we survived a forest fire the year before, a bear this year, and wondered what would happen next year when we went camping again. What are the odds of 2 things like that happening to the same group of people? And to top it off the wheel on Todd's trailer came apart on the way home. Luckily we pulled off of the exit in time on 90th South and called our neighbors who were pretty close in front of us. We were able to pile all of our stuff (including the folded up trailer) onto their trailer. It was a pretty eventful weekend, and we were exhausted emotionally afterwards. We found out a few days later that a much larger bear was also in the same area that weekend, we we were definitely blessed that we didn't run into that one!

And, for those of you who have been asking, here are a few pictures of the house. We finally have windows and a roof. The progress has been VERY slow, but it's fun to see all of the changes and see how it all comes together.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rain, Rain, GO AWAY!!!!

What is the deal with all of this rain?  I don't think we've had this wet of a spring/summer ever!! And of all years to start construction on a house, this was not the year to do it.  It's probably cost us an extra $4,000 - $5,000 to fix everything that the rain has damaged.  Because the framers had to take off part of the existing roof to tie the new roof into, our ceilings were exposed a little bit.  And, wouldn't you know it, it rained again pretty heavily yesterday.  Last night there were little waterfalls all throughout the house.  So, we now have to replace ALL of the ceilings and light fixtures in our house.  We went there today after church and this is what it looks like......(notice the canned lights hanging?  And the light fixture behind the big beam that's still on the ceiling is filled with water).  
 On the bright side, I hated the textured ceilings, so at least we can get rid of them and get something else that isn't so gross, right?
We spent the week at April's house in Holladay taking care of Cali while they were on vacation and it was SO awesome!!  They've got a gorgeous house and we all love that dog (even Todd admitted that he really liked her, and he doesn't like dogs.  I see a dog in our future.... :))
It was kind of hard to be back in the little one bedroom basement apartment at Gwen's tonight, but at least we have a place to stay.   It can't be finished too soon for me!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We had another fun evening demolishing the inside of our house.  The kids loved it!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

More construction pics

And, I have a little girl who is very excited about her pierced ears...(her little sister doesn't want hers pierced until "she's a mom")

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's finally started

After many, many weeks of being postponed (and 9 months in the planning), it has finally begun.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day sadness.....

It's been a pretty sad week here at the McKinley household (at least for me. I think my kids have been oblivious to all of the drama).

On Saturday, which was Valentine's Day, it was snowing so hard and I remember looking out the window and thinking, "I'm so glad I'm not going out in this". A few hours later I got a call from Heather, one of my sisters, telling me that my other sister had been in an accident on her way home from Logan visiting a friend. Heather had called to ask her about something and when she answered the phone she was sobbing and rambling on. From what Heather could understand she was okay but it was a bad accident and she hit a patch of ice and her car slid into 2 men who were on the side of the road outside of their cars. Heather said that she was beside herself and not making sense but that her husband was on his way up there to be with her and see what he could do. I was grateful that my sister was okay, but sick for the 2 men that had been hit as well as for their families. All day long we waited for any word of what had happened to them. Finally that night I got ahold of Heather and she told me that one of the men was going to be okay, but the other man had swelling on his brain and that they didn't think he was going to make it. I hung up the phone and burst into tears. I couldn't help but think of that poor man's family and what they must be going through. I know firsthand what it's like to lose a family member and the pain and anguish that you feel. All of the why's and the range of emotions from anger to grief and everything else in between. When my mom died it was so hard to realize that people could still be happy and oblivious to the pain that I was feeling when I would see people going about their lives driving, being happy, having fun and living their life. I felt like the whole world needed to stop and mourn with me that this amazing human being had just been taken from me. The only thing that got me through it was the gospel of Jesus Christ, and knowing that I would see my wonderful mother again someday. And I know that if it was that hard to lose a mother, imagine how hard it would be to lose a son who is so young, and who has so much life to live. Words just can't express how devastating that would be.

On Sunday when my sister called the hospital to find out how he was doing she was told that he had died. We were all devastated. It's so interesting because I never knew him, but I feel so connected to him somehow. I've cried a lot this week over him and prayed so hard that his family would be able to find peace and be able to forgive my sister for the part that she played in his death. Wherever I went I would see people and think, "I wonder if they knew him. I wonder if they're mourning right now." We checked the papers and articles online to see if we could find out his name. A few days later she forwarded me his obituary. I googled his name and saw his facebook page. He was really an amazing young man. He was a returned missionary and was going to BYU Idaho and wanted to be a doctor. He has such a cute family too.

I kept wondering as well why this had to happen to my sweet sister? Why did she have to be at that exact spot at that moment? Why did those 2 men have to stand outside of their cars when the roads were slippery? There were so many accidents on that stretch of road that day, that a car even slid into the ambulance as they were driving the man to the hospital. Why, why, why? Why her? She's probably the safest driver I know. She was going slowly and praying the whole way home that she'd make it home safely in the bad weather conditions. She said that she was in the far left lane (the other cars were parked on the far right shoulder) and as she came over the overpass her car hit a patch of ice and she had absolutely no control of her car. Unfortunately, some of the comments on some online articles about the crash made her out to be a speed demon who has no compassion for anyone. I wanted to post a reply, but felt like it wasn't my place. People will think what they want regardless of whatever I would post. She's probably the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I know and she has been grieving so much. She's the person who all of the children adore, who loves to help the elderly, and when she's having problems, she says, "what can I do to help you?" She's also incredibly spiritual and very close to the spirit. She can't stand people to have bad feelings for each other. She found out that I was sick on that Valentine's day, and on her way home from the hospital that night she called me to see how I was doing because she was worried about me. Who else does that after just being through a traumatic event?

My sister really wanted to go the funeral but didn't want to cause anyone pain by showing up, so she went late and sat in the mother's room. She taped it and we both listened to it last night as we both cried and talked about what an awesome person he is. We talked about life and death and the things that we've learned and how we've grown stronger and gained stronger testimonies of the Savior after our mom died. We talked about what his family must be feeling and how we grieve for them and hope that they can find peace and comfort someday.

The one thing that brings me comfort is a quote by Joseph F. Smith that says, "No righteous man will ever be taken before his time". As my mom was dealing with her breast cancer she was given a blessing by our Stake President and in it he said something to the effect that the Lord knows her days and they will not be numbered less.

Life is ironic sometimes. When my sister was 3 years old and I was 8, she was hit by a truck as she was crossing a small dirt road in front of our church. We were looking at the new horse that had just been born. She was running back to church to tell our mom about it when I turned to look at her and saw her bouncing under a truck that was screeching to a stop. I ran over to her and started crying as I saw her little lifeless body lying there still with blood coming out of her eye. I was in total shock as I stood there. Someone from our ward grabbed me and took me into the church so I didn't have to watch what was going on. We waited in agony as my parents drove her to the hospital which was 20 minutes away. When we got word the next day that she was going to pull through and be okay it was such a relief. The doctors said that it was a miracle that she survived. She had a concussion and broken bones and a scar on her eye that I can see to this day. We never heard from the man that hit her but I've often wondered what he's doing and if he blames himself for what happened that day. After this week my sister has thought about that man as well. She wants to write him a letter and let him know that she forgives him and that she hopes he's happy.

So, why would the Lord allow an amazing young man who still had so much life ahead of him to be taken, and my sweet sister to have to live with that the rest of her life? I can't wait to get to the other side and find out the answers to all of life's questions someday, but until then I know I just have to have faith in Heavenly Father and know that he has a plan for all things, as much as we don't understand all of why's sometimes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who is Your Hero?

I saw this really cool ad in the LDS Living Magazine yesterday as I was waiting for the boys to finish their appointment at the dentist.  It was for these posters of people that we read about in the Book of Mormon.  (For those of you who don't know what the Book of Mormon is, check it out here: Book of Mormon.  It's a book of scripture that is about God's dealings with the people that lived on the American Continent anciently.  Jesus Christ appeared to them shortly after he was resurrected, and you can read about how he performed miracles and established his church with 12 disciples here, just like he did in Jerusalem.  It's another witness of the divinity of Christ.)  The posters say, "Who is Your Hero" and lists facts about each one.  I got on there today and ordered 4 of them for my boys' room.  There are about 12 to choose from.  I thought it was such great idea!  Here's the link if anyone's interested:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cool Disney Pictures

I saw these pictures done by Disney and Annie Leibovitzs for their Dream Portrait Series, where they've featured celebrities as traditional Disney Characters.  I thought they were so amazing!  There are a few more that I didn't post that were just okay for me.  Here's the web site if you want to check them out for yourself....

Where Every Cinderella Story Comes True (Scarlett Johansson)
Where You're the Fairest of Them All (Rachel Weisz)

Where The Magic Begins (Julie Andrews and Abigail Breslin)

Where You Never Have to Grow Up (Gisele Bundchen, Mikhail Baryshnikov)
Where Imagination Saves the Day (David Beckham)

Where Wonderland is Your Destiny (Beyonce, Lyle Lovett, Oliver Platt)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gotta Love Those Mammograms!

I had my annual mammogram a few weeks ago.  I got a letter in the mail telling me that I needed to go back in for some additional views and an ultrasound on one breast because they found something that wasn't there last year.  The letter came a few days before Christmas, so every time I would call to make an appointment no one was there.  Talk about torture!!  There's nothing like making people wait to find out if there's something seriously wrong with you. Especially since I have a family history of breast cancer and my mom died 4 years ago from it. Not fun!!  I finally got ahold of them to make an appointment, but couldn't get in for another week after that.

So, today was the day that I went in for ANOTHER fun office visit.  When I got into the room the nurse told me that they found something on the right side that looked like it might be a cyst.  I've noticed some pain on that side, and she explained to me what a cyst was.  As she was getting ready to get some more shots she told me that she was going to have to press harder on the machine to get a really good view.  I was thinking, "Press harder?  You've got to be kidding me".  So, I manage to put my very warm skin onto the freezing metal plate as she smashes (and smashes, and smashes....) the plate against me.  Holy mother of pearl!!  It hurt so badly I couldn't even breathe.  And, not once, but TWICE!!!  It's bad enough when your breasts aren't sore, but add the soreness from a cyst and it was unbearable.  At least the ultrasound part didn't hurt.  I saw this cartoon and thought it was hilarious.  I actually told the nurse today, "I don't think you're helping my saggy boobs one bit.  I think it's making them worse".
Here's another funny one.  I actually said to Todd today "Just imagine your stuff smashed into that machine as hard as it will go.  It's not pleasant".  

Just once I'd love for men to experience this, and being pregnant for one day.  Wouldn't that be great?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dog Lover

We've been watching April's dog again this week while they went to Disneyland.  I am such a huge dog lover (small dogs, that is), but Todd - not so much.  The kids have been wanting to get one for a long time now but I can't get one without Todd agreeing to it.  Maybe we can talk him into it next year when the house is all finished.

The girls have really warmed up to "Cali" this week.  They are usually very scared of dogs and weren't looking forward to having to have a dog around again, but for some reason they aren't scared anymore.  In fact, they've been quite the opposite.  They have been so obsessed with Cali and haven't given her a moments' peace, that I'm sure the poor dog is looking forward to tonight when she gets to go back to her calm family.

I sent them an email a few days ago.....

Dear Family,

HELP ME, PLEASE!!!  I am going absolutely crazy at this house that you've left me at because the little girls that live here will NOT leave me alone.  From first thing in the morning, to last thing before I go to bed, they are mauling me and petting me and walking me around the house saying "Cali this" and "Cali that".  They also like to sit in my pen with me when I'm trying to take a nap and pet me, and ask me all sorts of questions.  They keep fighting over me too.  It is getting pretty old.  I miss you all terribly and can't WAIT for you all to get home so I can have my sweet family back again and get a little peace and quiet.

Hurry back, please!!

P.S.  Don't I look just miserable?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009! It seems like just yesterday that it was Y2K. What happened?

Several eventful things have happened since I posted last......

The first thing that happened is that I got released from my Young Women's calling. I will really miss those girls though. They are really great girls!!

Then, for the next several weeks we all took our turn having the stomach flu except for Todd. There's nothing I hate worse than cleaning up vomit from kids' beds. It seemed like I was constantly doing laundry. I was sick for a few days and on the last night I had such bad stomach pains that I couldn't even sleep. I was up from 1:00 am until 3:00 just holding my stomach and moaning because it hurt so much. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom a little, so I sat there on the toilet (please don't get a visual of this.......) with my head down against my knees rocking back and forth from the pain, and tried to push anything out that I could to try and make myself feel better. Well, I pushed a little too hard because the next thing I knew I had the most intense headache of my life!! It hurt much more than my stomach did at that point, so I dragged myself back to bed and managed to eventually fall asleep. In the morning my head was still pounding so Todd gave me an ibuprofen tablet and took the kids to church while I fell back asleep. When he got home at 2:30 p.m. my head felt a little better from the pain reliever, but it was still intense. I felt really spacey and like something was really wrong with me, so I looked up my symptoms on webmd and it said that I could have an aneurism and to get to the hospital asap. Todd said that his grandfather died of an aneurism, and I was really freaked out. I called Carol and luckily she was home from Sunday School, so she came over and watched the kids while Todd took me to LDS hospital. I cried all the way there thinking about what could happen to me, and thinking about leaving my children without a mother. It was not fun!

When we got to the emergency room I told them my symptoms (including the part where I pushed too hard on the toilet - how embarrassing!!!!!), and they rushed me in to see the doctor without having to wait. They gave me a shot of morphine in my IV (which was horrible - that is the worst feeling, losing control of your body like that) and wheeled me in to get a CAT scan, at which point I started to cry again (I think because the initial rush of the morphine was making me feel really panicky and strange). I haven't been that scared in a long time. I also had to get a spinal tap to check for blood in my spinal fluid. Gotta love those spinals. Todd said it was almost identical to getting an epidural during childbirth (of which I had 6 - I had to get 3 with Emily because the first two didn't work). So, after all of that was over and all of the tests came back negative - THANK HEAVENS!!!!! - we went home. The doctor said that it could have been caused from the virus, and said that if anything got worse to let him know. I felt much better the next day and even better the day after that. So, the big lesson learned from all of this is "Don't push too hard when you're on the toilet". We just got the bill from that little ER visit and it was $2,500. It will cost us $1,000, which is our deductible. That's an expensive lesson to learn, don't you think? But, I'm just glad that I'm okay and that I am alive to see another year.

After that, I concentrated on Christmas stuff. I decided to start scanning my mothers' photo albums that I've had for over 4 years to make a DVD for my sisters for Christmas. I was just going to do a few of them but I kept doing "just one more". I scanned about 11 or 12 albums and made a slide show on a DVD, but I'm just over half way finished. It's nice to be able to have them on disc and I'll be glad to get rid of the 2 huge bins of albums that I've been storing in my garage. Hopefully it won't take me another 4 years to complete. This is a picture I found of us filming "Mr. Krueger's Christmas" with Jimmy Stewart (who's standing up in the sleigh) back in 1979 I think. Heather is in the pink coat, mom, April, Marsha and me in the yellow coat. I don't know where Carol or my dad were. That was a neat experience.

Another fun one with all of us before my mission:

Anyway, to close this VERY long post, we had a wonderful Christmas together, and it's always so much fun having kids around and seeing their excitement. Happy New Year everyone!!
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