Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why we LOVE Dakota...Andrea

We finished up Dakota’s birthday celebrations this week but the month is not over!! ;)
We got treated to the movie Turbo for Dakota’s birthday by our sweet friends the Wards. It was so fun…we even grabbed some ice cream after!

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Not that you can tell from this picture…but he really did like the movie…and the fun company!!

We had our family party for Dakota last night and we just reused the pirate theme since I had all the stuff and didn’t wanna try and do anything more! I’m all pirated out now! ;)

All the kiddos

Uncle Ry & Aunt Lindsay

Aunt Jenny, Uncle Bobby, Olivia, & Tate

Aunt Ashley, Uncle Beau, Maelee, & Houston

And us! We all make a bunch of cute pirates don’t you think?! ;)

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We had some yummy peach cobbler. Aunt Jenny was so nice to help Dakota!

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He got lots of new clothes and money to go towards his new trampoline we got him!!!

It was a HAPPY day!!!
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Sure is great to be 5!!!

It’s always so fun to be with our family!!

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ALWAYS something going on!! ;)

One of my favorite birthday traditions that my mom started when I was in high school (you might have already heard about this before) was that every person in the family had to go around and share what they love about the birthday person. It’s always embarrassing to hear compliments and things about yourself but yet it also warms your heart to hear how much you are loved by those who are so dear to you! You hear things that they love about you that they don’t normally tell you on a regular basis.

So…to finish off Dakota’s birthday month I asked a handful of people to share what they love about Dakota…what they have learned from him…or how he has touched their lives! Since Dakota is loved by SOOO many…even some we have never met I thought it would be fun to hear what it is about him that has touched the hearts of SO many!! Every day til the end of the month I will try and post a new one.

If you would want to share something too…shoot me an email @ tessie11@msn.com and I will for sure post it on here as well and most importantly read it to Dakota!! I don’t think he realizes how much he is really loved by so many!! ;)

The first person whose I will post is very dear to Dakota and our family. Her name is Andrea Fife. She was Dakota’s sweet nursery leader before his accident and he loved and adored her. After his accident she found me in the halls at church when we first came back and with tears in her eyes expressed how sorry she was and how special Dakota was to her. It meant SOOOO much to me that she felt some of my pain! She then became one of my faithful weekly helpers with Dakota’s therapy and then later was called to be Dakota’s personal primary teacher. Every Sunday she takes him from me and allows him to be a part of the primary in our ward. Because of her…he is included in EVERYTHING that all the other kids get to do and Zach and I get a 2 hour break to refill our spiritual buckets in our classes. There are not tons of people who I felt comfortable leaving Dakota with…especially in the beginning but I have ALWAYS felt that he was so safe and loved in her care.

Andrea with her granddaughter

So…this is what she wrote:

From the first time I met Dakota, he won my heart. He has always had a Hollywood smile and fun personality. I have always felt that there is something special about this little spirit from the very beginning of his life. When he came into Nursery at church, he walked around with his blanky and he worried a bit about being around so many children. He would sit in my lap and I would rock him back and forth and talk with him until he was comfortable enough to get down and play with the other children. He loved books and trucks the most when he was in nursery. He was quite a talker. I was shocked at how large his vocabulary was at that age. I absolutely loved the cute conversations that we had during that time of his life.

After the accident, I had the privilege of helping Tessie with Dakota’s therapies. It was like a miracle to me to see his sweet personality is still there. His little body doesn’t work the same but he is still the same sweet little boy inside. One of my favorite moments was in Sharing time in Primary when we were learning a new song and as I sang the wrong words he started giggling. I looked at him as said, “Kota, are you laughing at me?” He laughed even harder to the point where he could hardly breathe. We have had a few moments like that and it absolutely makes my whole day and my whole week to see him enjoying primary. There are some favorite songs that I noticed he likes. When he hears, I Am a Child of God and If the Savior Stood beside me, My Heavenly Father Loves me, he makes an effort to sing along. Those are the moments when I feel like angels are surrounding us. Sometimes when he gets bored we go out and walk through the halls of the church and talk about the paintings on the walls. There is one outside of the chapel that he loves to look at. It is a huge painting of Jesus Christ. We will sit there and watch it for a long time. I know that Dakota knows Him personally. For such a little guy, he has such a strong faith and I have no doubt in my mind that he receives strength from many angels on the other side of veil. Even though our conversations are not the same as they were before the accident. I still enjoy the conversations we have and am so grateful for the opportunity to have been his Primary teacher. I have heard many comments about how good I am with him or that my calling is such an important calling and that I do so much for him. Although I appreciate the kind words of gratitude, I see things a little differently. Dakota has done so much for me. His sweet spirit and love has given me a great deal of strength on days when I have needed it the most.

I will always have a special place in my heart for you Dakota.

Love, Your Primary teacher
Sister Andrea Fife


  1. Seriously his parties are all amazing. You are a awesome family. Much love sent your way!

  2. awww! I have an awesome mom. I feel like I know ya'll so well because my mom has always talked to me about sweet dakota. He is indeed an angel. hugs!