Sunday, December 25, 2011


"Somebody should have caught him"...are the words that echo in my mind as I end my Christmas day. They are the words spoken by my sweet, humble innocent 5 year old nephew to his mom tonight as he so curiously and lovingly stared at Dakota as I got him ready for bed tonight asking very inquisitive questions. He is the second child to speak those words to me since Dakota's accident. They don't offend me or hurt my feelings in any way because I know they are spoken with only the sincerity, humility, honesty, and love that a child has.
But as I ponder on those words they are what my heart longs for. Why couldn't that fence have fallen on him when an adult was nearby? Why couldn't one of his older cousins have been there to help him or get help instead of his innocent 1 year old cousin who was playing so innocently by him when  I found him?Why couldn't I have checked on him sooner? SOMEBODY SHOULD HAVE CAUGHT HIM!" I feel that same way and I don't understand why it had to happen.
This Christmas day and every day for that matter could have been so much different. Tears tonight and sitting in church wouldn't have filled my eyes today if somebody would have caught him. Instead of tears of sadness I could have felt feelings of excitement, anticipation, and pure joy today if somebody just would have caught him. Don't get me wrong it wasn't all a sad day...we had some great fun with my wonderful family but I'm not gonna was so hard to see all of my nieces and nephews SO excited and talking about everything they got and love. When you have your first baby those first couple Christmas' are not too exciting until they really start to understand. This would have been that year for us...his first Christmas that we got to experience the pure joy and excitement that a child brings into your life but it wasn't, because nobody was there to catch him.
I know everything happens for a reason and that we were given this trial to learn and grow but I still haven't gained that full insight and understanding of it all yet so it is still really hard to bear. Especially going through Zach's vision loss and then this. We were still trying to learn and grow from that trial when this happened so it is all just a huge mess of confusion that we are still trying to wrap our minds around. After Zach's vision loss Dakota was his light in the darkness. He could make Zach laugh and smile on some of his "darkest" days. So as you can imagine this has been so hard to handle for him. When he couldn't see the sweet details of Dakota's face anymore he at least had the sound of his cute voice and laughs so it was as if he could still see his sweet face. To have that taken from him too, is hard to bear.
We are still so grateful for each new day with Dakota but I just wish SOMEBODY COULD HAVE CAUGHT HIM!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Days!!! :)

There has been a huge change over Dakota these last few days that have done both Zach and I's hearts so good. The best way to describe it is to first describe some of the characteristics of Dakota. Unless you are around Dakota a lot you probably wouldn't know or notice these things but first his eye contact with people is very short lived. If we talk to him he will look at us for a second and then look away. It has always really bothered me but it wasn't until recently that Zach and I talked about it. Of course like any child or baby, it is so fun to interact with them and play but it is hard to do if your child won't look at you for longer then a second. The doctor at NACD where we just had a recent evaluation described to me that it is hard for his brain to take it all in and process it at the same time...this is why he looks away. He gave me an example by telling me to look at him and add 60+38+15. I couldn't do it without looking was weird but then it all made sense to me. Even so...I'm his mom so I have been praying lately that he will begin to look at me more and interact and communicate more with me. I NEED it!

Also, you have seen lots of pictures of Dakota smiling but most of them are smiles at his favorite movies and shows. It is REALLY hard to get him to smile at you (something you do or say). Unless it is laying him in his bed, maybe going to school, or one of his really good days...getting him to smile at me or anyone for that matter is rare. As his mom...that is HARD. That is one thing I miss the most. Before the accident I loved just being silly with him and making him smile and laugh. That is what we as parents live for. Those precious moments between you and your kid.

Anyways, all of the sudden over these last few days there has been a VERY noticeable change in Dakota and these behaviors. He has started smiling a lot and not just at shows but at Zach and I. Even today in physical therapy he started smiling and giggling. He has started looking and focusing on us more. And for the first time since Dakota's accident, Zach and I FINALLY had a very happy moment "as a family" together. Dakota was super happy one night and Zach and I were just laying on the ground next to him. We were giving him a little help to roll back and forth to us and he was doing awesome. He started smiling as if he was proud of his accomplishments (which is also a first. He normally doesn't care if he does something good and we cheer and clap for him like most kids do.) He would giggle with us and it felt like we were finally getting to actually play together again. Obviously it isn't the same kind of play that we used to be able to do together...but it was play and it felt SO good. I felt like a real mom again and not just a therapist or a nurse. It felt so good to see us ALL laughing and smiling together again like we used to.

So all of you parents out there...PLEASE don't take those moments to laugh and play together with your kids and as a family together for granted. What I would give to go back in time and just PLAY. I long to have Dakota take the lead in play again and just be his partner in crime...doing whatever, wherever, however messy he wanted. Live in the moment and don't worry about the LONG list of to-do's that we all have. They will still be there tomorrow or the next or the next...but you never know how many moments left you have to just play with your kids. You don't know what tomorrow brings and they grow up so darn fast!

Along with these changes I have noticed his head control getting a lot stronger. Even the physical and swallow therapists both mentioned that today. He is beginning to push on his crawls across the floor and not just on the inclined slide (which is easier). He is standing so much stronger with his sit and stand exercise. And most importantly he just seems to have a little more try and desire behind everything he does. Today at physical therapy I couldn't believe how much he was looking at the toys and REALLY trying to get his arm up and do the pushing. Normally he is more passive and just helps the last little bit and sometimes doesn't even look at what they are wanting him to do. It was so cool.

I just hope and pray that these changes are here to stay and not just a phase. Our lives are a constant roller coaster with highs and lows and everything in between. Things come and go but I pray that this is not only here to stay but to get even better!!!

And I am MOST grateful to a LOVING Heavenly Father who I KNOW has heard my prayers, who knows how much we needed this...even if it doesn't last. I know he heard me.

KEEP SMILING DAKOTA!!! YOU HAVE THE MOST HANDSOME SMILE I HAVE EVER SEEN! (and I'm not just saying that cuz I'm your mom)
Let's make more messes together!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I can't believe it has been a year!

It has been one year since the date of that horrible accident that has changed our lives forever! When you think of one year it doesn't seem that long but yet it seems like this is all we know anymore. When we think of our memories of Dakota before the accident, both Zach and I feel like it wasn't real. We can hardly believe that he used to say all the things he did or do all that he used to do. When we see kids his age doing things that a normal three year old does we really feel like they are super human or something. Although we remember SO much of what he used to be like it is hard to believe that this little boy we hold in our arms every day is that same boy. This year has been an emotional, spiritual, and physical roller coaster for our family that has changed us in so many ways.

About six months ago I dreaded this year mark and I hated every day that brought us closer to it. Mostly because of what the doctors said. They made it seem like the year point is where most of the progression we would see in Dakota would stop. After talking to the people at NACD I no longer fear that the year is the end. I know it is possible for him to keep progressing and I won't give up my hope and faith just because it has been a year. So as this year mark rolled around Zach and I were both doing pretty good. It really was like just any other day, mostly because every day is hard. Almost every day we are still reminded of how much we miss that little boy running and playing and it doesn't matter what day it happened because every day without him is as painful as the next. Although on the outside I didn't feel much different I can tell I have been a little on edge emotionally lately and Zach and I have had our little tiffs more often lately. I think deep down there is some pain of knowing that it has been a whole year since we have heard the voice of our most precious gift and how desperately we miss it.

A lot has changed over this year. We have come a long way with Dakota and with ourselves. There were points where we didn't think we could face another day but we have made it for 365 days (actually 366 today) and we are still going strong. We keep putting one foot in front of the other and it does seem to get a little easier as time goes on. The best way to describe our life at this year point is manageable. We feel somewhat in control of our lives again and as Dakota has continued to heal and progress we are able to do a lot more things that at one point seemed impossible. Although Dakota still has a LONG way to go, if we think back to where he was at a year ago, it is quite amazing and miraculous to see how far he HAS come. He went from not even being able to look at you or move his eyes, not being able to move his body at all, no expression, no sounds, on a ventilator to breathe for him... to a little boy with so much light in his eyes that not only can look at you but observe things around him, moving his limbs and body all over the place (still working on control and coordination), sometimes even rolling, lots of expression and understanding, babbling, and being capped with his trach (breathing completely on his own). So although it's hard sometimes to see how far we have come because I am always so focused on how far we have to go, I have to admit...this kid is giving it his best shot and I am so proud of him!
Several days after the accident. Started to open his eyes briefly but no reaction behind them.

2 weeks. Got tubes out of mouth. Trach and g-tube surgeries done.

About a month after. Head was constantly turned to the left, tounge was out a lot. Sleeping and wake cycles completely off. Lots of spasticity (legs straight out and arms bent up)

Almost a couple months out started to look and track Buzz with lights for few seconds.

Few months out. Home. Zach made this contraption to put his head in to force him to stay in the middle instead of to the left. He chunked up quite a bit from the formula. He was always hot and sweaty because he wasn't regulating his body temp right.

3-4 months out showed signs of first smile!

5-6 months out looking more like himself. Wearing the speaking valve all the time. Smile is getting bigger!

Now...looking like his handsome self and capped all day long. Getting stronger all the time!

Emotionally, time over this year and through the help of a loving Saviour, both Zach and I have healed SOME of the pain in our hearts. When that tragic day happened and I almost lost Dakota I have to admit all the life and light inside of me was gone. I was in a very dark hole that I didn't think I would ever be able to climb out of. I even thought to my self several times...I am going to need some serious help and counseling. For the first several months that day haunted my mind and the image of finding Dakota's little body laying there with no life, limp in my arms, watching them perform CPR on him killed me. It would creep into my mind out of nowhere and bring me to tears. I didn't know if it would ever go away. But I truly believe my Saviour Jesus Christ has been there for me in these darkest hours and has helped to carry this heavy load that has been weighing me down. I am okay to talk about that day and even to think about it now. It doesn't haunt me anymore although I wish with all my heart I could go back in time and change the outcome.

We spent the one year anniversary at a funeral for an amazing 30 year old husband, father of 3, son, brother, and friend who died from complications of a car accident with his wife and dad two weeks prior. My heart was broken for this family and it made me realize how much we just never know what will happen tomorrow so I can't waste today worrying about tomorrow. I want to soak up every minute of this life and recognize every blessing that I do have. As hard as it was to go through all of this with Dakota, I couldn't imagine losing Zach. So in memory of Dakota's year mark and Thanksgiving since they are so tied together, it is my hope and prayer that we will all count our blessings, forget the stupid little things that don't matter in the long run that we spend so much time worrying over, and enjoy every minute of every day...because we don't know what God's plan is for us and how much time we have....although we like to think we do...we don't. Spend time with those you love and cherish the little moments. I know for me, if I just would have know that last Thanksgiving day that this was my last day and moment to spend with my little healthy Dakota I would have done things a little different. I would have held him a little more, played with him more, got more kisses from him, raced with him, laughed with him, let him snuggle in our bed longer or all night. I am thankful that I still have him though. I do miss a lot of things but I am blessed to still be able to hold him, to look at his gorgeous face, to see his most handsome smile, to kiss that soft face, hold his tiny hands, hear his sounds and little laugh, talk to him, and just be his mom.

Last day before the accident.
Getting ready to go on a wagon ride with his cousins

Uncle Riley giving us a ride


P.S. Thank you to all of you who sent texts and messages our way during this time. We appreciate so much you thinking of us and Dakota!! I know I say this a lot but we REALLY couldn't do it without the love and support of so many wonderful people! Thank you!

P.S.S. This family who lost their dad, husband, and son (His name was D.J. Rogers) could really use some financial help from anyone who can help out. He was self-employed (we know how hard that is insurance wise) working 3 different types of jobs. His wife and dad are still both recovering physically from their injuries and now she is left with all the medical bills plus providing for 3 children. If anyone has any great ideas for fundraisors or anything please let me know. I am a horrible planner but a great worker! Or if you would just like to donate I will post more info on an account or something set up for them. I know it is Christmas time and money is tight but if everyone who even reads this can give a little we can make a big difference for a family who really needs it! Like Zach said..."If I died I would hope people would take care of you and Dakota. I don't want D.J. to have to worry about his wife and kids."

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This Thanksgiving day there is a lot to be thankful for...but the thing that I was MOST thankful for on this particular day was my little angel boys smile. That smile seriously does wonders for Zach and I and can get us through the day more then anything else in this world. If all I ever get back from Dakota's accident is a SMILE I could live with that... although hearing some words out of that sweet little mouth again would sure be mighty fine with me as well! :)

This last week we have had some really happy days with Dakota and lots of smiles and then the last couple have been pretty fussy and those really take a toll one me. I have struggled a lot trying to figure out how to be a mom to a brain injured child. There is no handbook, no friend or neighborly advice, not even any doctor advice...I sometimes feel like I am all alone in this. When he is fussy and ornery I want to treat him like a 3 year old because I know he understands a lot and I want to discipline him a little to teach him that it's not okay to fuss and whine because you want something...On the other hand...he can't talk anymore and tell me what he wants, if something is hurting or bothering him, if he's hungry or just plain old wants of course he is gonna cry because that is a way of communicating for him. So trying to figure out if he is crying because he needs something or just because he wants his 3 year old way seems impossible and it sometimes brings me to my knees in tears because it is SO hard. Before his accident if he was just having a grumpy moment we would make him go to his room and tell him he can come out when he was ready to be happy...and that TOTALLY worked with him. Sometimes he would stay in there a long time and we would go to check on him and he would still have his grumpy face...but when he came out of that room he was ready to be happy. It's not so easy anymore and I think both of us just end up frustrated.

Anyways, he woke up early this Thanksgiving day and all I could think in my head was...oh great now he is going to be really fussy (because our Thanksgiving dinner was also during his nap time). I gave him awhile hoping he would fall back asleep so at least we didn't have tiredness working against us but it never happened. When I went in to get him I was prepared for the worst but he surprised me with one of his great big cheesers which kept going and going until I started laughing and then it made him giggle, and it went back and forth like that for several minutes. You better believe I quickly got down on my knees and thanked my Father in Heaven today for that happy and most gorgeous smile. The rest of the day he was just randomly throwing smiles out here and there, letting everyone hold him, and just had a great day.

Kota and Uncle Ryan

Melts my heart every time!

Luckily grammy Vicki had her trusty camera along with her and captured some of them which I am so grateful for.

So although our life is rough and a lot of days it is hard to smile, I know that as long as my little boy can smile, I can smile too! So I am grateful for SMILES!

Heard this quote the other day and loved it...thought this would be a good time to share it
"Don’t cry because it’s over, SMILE because it happened."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Never underestimate the impossible

So pheasant season opened up yesterday. As I said's a really hard time for Zach. The day before he started talking about it and how much he wished he could hunt.
He had traded his buddy Jake's brother some stuff for some of his pheasants (he raises them) so that I could practice some before we went out...because I am a hunter and all. So Friday afternoon we went out with Jake and his brother Shawn to shoot them. Some of them were great but others didn't want to fly much but we had fun. I did pretty good...granted it wasn't like the real deal and they weren't trying to get away too fast.
Shawn, Jake, Hunter, and Me with all our birds

Me and the proud!

When Saturday rolled around all Zach could talk about was pheasants. We have some awesome fields right behind are house where we see some and Zach hunts every year. So we started talking bout going out there but weren't sure how to do it with Dakota. We finally decided to have sweet Shaylee (who babysat Dakota before his accident and who still helps me with Dakotas therapy every Saturday) come over while Dakota napped since we would be close enough if anything happened. We went and picked up Zach's parents dog Sophie to help us get some birds up. She is so old now and is probably on her last hunt but she did pretty good.
She started getting pretty excited so Zach said get ready I think she is going to get one up. So we keep following her a little more and next thing you know out pops a pheasant. I shoot boom, boom, then next thing you here is Zach...boom, boom and the bird comes down. I was way...Zach you got it! We run over to where it came down and sure enough...he got it!
The AMAZING hunter...carrying the bird in his hoodie...gross!

There is the bird!

When he grabbed a gun for him before we went out I joked with him...what you gonna back me up?! Sure enough he did and it is blind husband is a better shot then me! :) To try and describe what Zach can see is hard but in one eye he sees nothing at all. The other eye is just shadows and outlines on the outer part of his eye. So the center of his eye is completely black. So if he looks directly at something he cant see it, so he has to look to the side of it. So he watched the bird from the side and shot at it when he couldn't see it anymore (cuz that is when he knew it was right in front of him). It was seriously so amazing and I couldn't be more proud of him. He was all smiles the rest of the night and couldn't have had more fun! That's gotta be a record or something...first blind man to shoot a pheasant!

Now all he can talk about is getting a new dog since Sophie won't be around much longer. So if anyone knows of any good springers with a good hunting background...Zach is on the prowl. :)

Funny/Sweet Moment:
1. Before Dakota's accident he LOVED Sophie dog. When we got home and let Sophie out of the car and showed her to Dakota...he got a huge smile on his face and strained his head to see her. When we brought him inside and kept talking bout Sophie he just kept can't believe Sophie is at OUR house. Too cute!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not so Happy Halloween

So probably the worst Halloween ever! It started off great. Me and some girlfriends went out during the week and had a "witches night out." We dressed up as witches...all so different which was fun...and went to dinner and on the spot decided to go to a haunted house. I was so glad we did because I haven't been to one for I can't even remember how long and Zach hates them so we never have gone. I'm not gonna lie we all screamed and jumped like little girls but it was SO fun and we already have plans to do it again next year. After the haunted house, we of course had to end the night with some good ole ice cream...can you guess whose idea that was...I know I'm bad...but it was so delicious and we got some fun pics afterwards. Thanks for the fun night ladies!!
Stuffing our faces at Noodles and Company

Amanda and Heidi

Me and Natalie

Julissa joined us for the haunted house and ice cream

Me getting ready to head home. ;) So I made this witches broom to go outside my door and I thought I would really play the part and come flying into the restaurant on my broom but I chickened out when I got there...already felt kinda weird dressed as a witch. Totally should have done it. Oh well, we got some good pics with it anyway.

All of us flying away! Too funny...we are such dorks and I love it!

Friday night we had a friends party and we all brought the kids. It's always a good time seeing everybody all dressed up and the kids were so cute to Dakota. We had a great time! Thanks Clayton and Natalie for having it!
Disclaimer...Zach and I's costume is pretty gross so this is your was funny though! ;)

See if you can guess what it is...
Yes...a tampon and period...I told you it was gross!

Dakota was so embarrassed by me and Zach's costume he didn't even want to take a picture with us! Sorry bud! ;)

Dakota sharing a sucker with his girlfriend Hadlee. She was so sweet to get him one from the corn pit and she just sat by him while she had hers...too cute!

All the girls!

Eating some yummy dinner.

The Lynch family...they were too funny!

The cute proud of Steve for dressing up!

Dakota playing in the corn pit with Ty

All the kiddos, minus the 2 babies.

Friday late night into Saturday is when things started to go bad. I was up most the night trying to keep Dakota's oxygen up, it was so low. His heart rate was a little on the high side so I knew something was up. He started a fever Saturday afternoon and it was off and on from there. Sometimes I was like he is getting better, symptoms started going away and he would act fine and then they would come back. By Halloween day he was so bad we had every bit of possible oxygen we could give him and could barely keep his oxygen to the minimum. His fever wouldn't go away, he was breathing so fast, and he just looked miserable. By Monday evening his doctor told us to take him in to the ER to get checked out for pneumonia. Back to the HORRIBLE hospital we went (this time just to Brigham just to get him checked). It is sad that both Zach and I feel like this is just part of our life now. Normally we get all stressy and upset but this time it was just like here we go again...this is our life and and this is what we do. Luckily, the chest x-ray looked a lot better then the doctor thought it would so he didn't have severe pneumonia. They think it could be a little bit of pneumonia or just some kind of bacterial thing in the lungs. So, they gave him IV antibiotics while we were there and we were SO happy we got to go home for the night (we didn't get home til almost 11) but we didn't have to take him all the way to Primarys where they thought we might have to. We went back the next morning for another round of IV antibiotics and then got some oral antibiotics. Dakota is now starting to look and feel a little better and that makes my heart happy!

It made for a horrible Halloween though. He only got to wear his cute Buzz costume once at the friends party...missed the family party, his school party, and of course the best and most important part of Halloween...trick or treating. Both Zach and I just held each other and cried that night. Not because of what we are missing but what Dakota is missing. For heavens sakes he is a 3 year old boy who should be out running and playing and instead gets dragged to hospitals, poked with needles, and can't play and do all the things I know he loves to do. Seeing him struggling breathing, barely opening his eyes, and just laying there so miserable broke our hearts. What we would give to have him healthy and happy again!


Funny/Sweet Moments:
1. So we all know Dakota LOVES movies. With almost every movie he watches I can tell you the exact parts where he will start to smile and sometimes laugh. Movies are the one things that can bring a smile to that kids face over anything (I wish it was me but it's not.) So when we are in the car and we turn on a show for him he LOVES it. And Zach and I love to see that smiling face. The other day we were driving and he had his HUGE smile on his face at a part in the show and Zach looks back and says..."These are the moments when I feel true happiness. They are short but that is when I feel it." It was so dang sweet and cute of him and I totally understood what he meant. It's for that short moment everything is perfect and we see our perfect Dakota happy and so sweet! That is the only thing that matters! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Good Times

Well, like always I am way behind in life and so much to catch up on. Luckily, we have actually been busy doing some fun things which have created some awesome memories.

The first one was TAYLOR SWIFT concert on September 28!! Call me a teeny bopper or whatever you may but I just adore this girl. She is SO talented, a great singer, and just a good person (I know since we are best friends and all...;) and she did date my second crush (Zach is my first of course)...Jacob as we all know him from Twilight, so she has good taste in men too! :)
Zach surprised me with tickets because I tell him every time she time we need to go. The best part about it is how he surprised me....We were saying our nightly prayers before bed together and it was his turn. In the middle of his prayer he says, "We thank thee that we can go to Taylor Swift concert." Some may think that that is irreverent or whatever but it was too cute and funny! So Zach for ya!
We had such a fun time together and it was Zach's very first concert EVER!!! Crazy I know! As we were walking up and there were all these girls everywhere Zach said..."you probably should have brought a friend...I feel out of place." But I wouldn't have wanted anyone else there but my BFF of course! He had a great time though and she was AMAZING!! I would totally recommend it and would definitely go again.
This is the closest we could get to her...Not sure why she didn't invite me back stage since we are such great friends...she must have forgot I guess. :)

We watched the screen a lot of the night since are noses were bleeding up at the top but it was still ALL good.

Can you see her way down there tearing it up?!

She came a little closer halfway into the show and sang several songs with just her guitar on this circling tree thing. She sounded so good!

The end she flew around on this little balcony thing.

Besides being a Taylor Swift fan...I am now an official hunter!!! I still can't quite figure out how it all went down but within a month I took my hunter safety class, started practicing my killer shot ;), and went on my first hunts. Zach has always been way into hunting and that has definitely been one of the things he misses most since he lost his sight. Every year, mostly around pheasant season because that was his most favorite hunt, he gets a little down. His cute friend Jake still always invites him to go but it just isn't the same. I think he would pay any money in the world just to see for one day during pheasant season and just go at it. I still am hoping one day he will have the chance again! Anyways, he talked me into hunting "for him" this year and I was up to the challenge. I've shot clay pigeons and rabbits before but that is all I have ever done. I was excited but I think Zach was even more excited about it all. It made my day to see him light up as we were getting ready for it all and talking about it.

So, we got a tag for muzzle loader deer hunt. Jake's brother Josh was nice enough to let us borrow his gun and Jake took us out to practice a couple of times. Jake also invited us to go out on his boat opening day for duck hunt. Zach explained to me that this is a very big deal since opening day is supposed to be the best day out there, so of course I had to say yes! ;) (I even turned out a girls trip to St. George for it...true hunter dedication there right?!)
Like every good hunter ;)...we had to go scout out some spots before the hunt. So we took our ranger out a couple of nights and Zach and Jake went out a couple nights and drove around.

We practiced up...
Zach teaching me how to load the gun

Jake telling me to shoot at some birds

Dakota's girlfriend Hadlee hung out with Dakota while we shot

Zach trying to shoot at a plastic bottle

My first day of deer hunting I realized what I was in for real quick. Zach, Jake, Travis and I went out one evening and we hiked up some steep ole mountains and saw nothing!! As I was wanting to die hiking up the mountain I just thought it will all be worth it when Zach and Travis push a huge buck out to me...I'll be ready. All that came out of the bushes was Zach and Travis...I was like, what the heck! So we hiked some more and Jake and I waited and waited and waited and all that came out again was Zach and Jake. I did see a deer for a split second down below us that was in some thick trees so I guess that counts. I came to realize real quick that this isn't as easy as target practice. I was ready to shoot at something but I guess you learn patience as a hunter.
My first day

The boys...don't mind Jake's hand!

You probable cant' see us with all that camo but we are right in the middle. ;) The best part about it was the fall leaves were coming on and it was beautiful up there! It made the hiking more worth it when you got to the top and was able to check out the gorgeous views.

We had some good fires which were much needed since it was pretty cold in the mornings and nights. Jake getting the courage up to throw some gas on our weak fire.

Great action shot running away! :)

Of course we had to make smores...the best part about camping is the food of course!

Jake and I coming down the deer!

The boys

We went to lunch one day since the deer aren't out much during the day to Zach's most favorite spot ever...Carlos and Harley's in Eden. He would seriously eat there every day if he could!

Jake let me shoot his handgun and I sucked at it.

We had to do a little spousal swap in the ole ranger so Jake and I could be up front and get out quick if the opportunity arose. It wasn't so bad! ;)
Heidi and Zach

Jake and I

Roasted hot dogs of course

Not exactly sure what Zach is doing in this pic Heidi took but the leaves are sweet and that guy isn't too bad looking himself!

So I know you are dying to know how big of a buck I got on this hunt..............
but I didn't get one. ;( We only saw some bucks 2 times during our campout and both times we never got close enough to get a good shot off since you have to be pretty close with the muzzle loader. We got close enough to where I got the excited and nervous feelings of a hunter and even got my gun up and pointed while Jake tried to look through the binoculars to tell me which one was a buck but I never even got to shoot the dang gun so that was a little disappointing. It would have been nice to at least shoot at them to say I tried but I didn't even get to do that. Overall, it was still way fun even though the last day was pouring rain on us. There are always some good laughs with Jake and Heidi and maybe next time I will have better luck!
Scoping them out right before they decided to take off and we get poured on.

Jake did shoot a couple of grouse at least so we had some success!

Opening day for duck hunt was quite the experience as well. I realized I don't quite have the dedication of a true hunter that morning when my alarm went off at 2 a.m. and I wanted to stay in bed instead of go out in the freezing cold with a bunch of boys. We got out on the water about 4 a.m. and got our spot. We then waited and waited while the mosquitoes tore us up until 7:30 rolled around so we could start shooting. This time I at least shot several times but I didn't even hit one. ;( It wasn't as easy as clay pigeon practice but the boys were always there backing me up. Overall we took home like 7 or 8 I think. It wasn't as good of opening day as it usually is because the weather was still pretty warm so that is my excuse why I didn't get one. It didn't get as many chances as I should have. ;) It was fun though...I definitely need some more practice!
Jake trying to explain to me what a duck looks like and how I shoot it. ;)

Zach and I snuggled up

Jake, Zach, and I ready at all times.

Me and my cute hubby

Cheddar, Jake, Zach and I all finished up and ready for a nap!

Hunting is would have just been more fun if I was better and would have gotten something. The boys tried to make me feel better though and tell me on their first times they weren't good either and that it takes more experience. I hope they are right! ;)

We celebrated Zach's birthday on the 19th! He finally caught up to his old lady and turned the big 27! My cute friend that helps me with Dakota's therapy saw my birthday message to Zach on my chalk board and she said, "wow he's only 27! You guys are young!" I'm like I know, but with all of our life experience we should be turning bout 100 right now. At least it feels like it!
We celebrated with his family the Sunday before. His grandparents took us to dinner the day before. We didn't do a whole lot the day of cuz I surprised him on the weekend and took him to Park City for a night while his awesome sister Jenny watched Dakota. It was just a quick trip but we had such a good time just getting out of the routine of life and doing something different for a change. Zach's favorite part of it all was the massages we got the next morning...I didn't mind it too bad either. ;) I am such a lame wife though and didn't get any pictures but the memories are in our head. :)
The best present he got for his birthday though was a brand new niece. His sister Ashley had their baby girl Maelee Marie Hadley on his birthday. We are so excited to have her in our family and of course she is such a little doll.
I'm not gonna lie...I went through a stage for awhile where it was hard to hear that our friends, family and those around me were pregnant. Mostly just because of the selfish fact that that is where I thought that we would be at at this point in our lives and instead we are in a completely different world that I never could have imagined us being in. Before Dakota's accident I would have definitely wanted to have another baby by now or at least be pregnant but with how our life is right now it is not possible for us at this point. So even though I was SO happy for Ashley and Beau, it was hard at the same time. But I don't know exactly what happened that has changed me. I'm sure it is divine help from above but I have come to accept the fact that it is OKAY! I have accepted that when the time is right for us to allow our family to grow then we will know and it will be right for us. I don't know why there is this unspoken feeling that everything has to happen on a certain timeline or else. You have to get married by a certain age, have kids by a certain age, have them only this far apart, have this many kids, etc. I have come to understand that their is no right way of doing any of this and that all that matters is what is right for you and your family and the Lord will help you know and understand this. I am at peace with where our family is right now and when the time comes for a change I know it will be the right time for us. So with COMPLETELY happy hearts we welcome our sweet Mealee with hugs and kisses...sorry Ashley and Beau we have a lot of them stored up for her! :)
Maelee and Dakota

He also got to chill with Houston while we were there

Dakota just randomly got his arm up on Houstons head. It was pretty funny.

We also got to take Dakota to Punkinaze in Roy. I had been wanting to take him there since he loved that bouncy slide so I was thinking he would love the big slide there too. We invited Ashley, Beau, and Houston too. When we got to the front to pay the people that own it let us in free. They were related to some of our friends and read our blog. It was too sweet. They were so happy to see Dakota and were so cute to him.
We ended up staying a lot longer then we planned mostly because Houston was having a ball. Dakota liked it but I didn't get the same smile I did from him down the other slide.
The sun was in our eyes at first so Dakota didn't love that.

We made it!

Dakota and Houston played in the corn pit and found some treats!

It was a fun outing as a fam!

Dakota is still loving school. As we were driving to school the other day I turned down the street and said, "I see your school Dakota! We are almost there and you get to see your friends!" I turned back and he just had this huge smile and did his little laugh." It was too cute. He has the cutest nurse that has sent me pictures of him on my phone during school.
This is what he has been doing when I'm not around....
Holding other girls hands!!!! I can't believe it. The nurse says the girls just love to hug, kiss and hold his hand and now I believe it.

These 2 cute girls were helping him decide which color of hat he wanted.

He even started riding the bus home last week and they said he just looked out the window.
Getting off the bus. I am a dork and had my video camera out for the big bus moment. I was filming the front door of the bus and then as I watched the driver open up the back for the wheelchair lift I realized... duh, he can't come out the front. Just one of those moments when you realize it's not how you pictured his first bus ride to look like but oh well. He was still so dang cute getting off the bus.

Dad was there to welcome him home too and that is his cute nurse Robin that we love!!!

Get better and I'll let you call ALL your girlfriends as much as you want!!

Funny/Sweet Moments:
1. We like to give him little tastes of things we eat and he LOVES it! He just watches you eat and stares at whatever you have. Zach decided to give him a taste of his jerky and he just kinda bit down on it and it just sat there.