Monday, December 17, 2012

halloween 2012

This year Halle desperately wanted to be Ariel, red hair and all.  Lily didn't have much of a choice, but was perfectly happy to be minnie mouse, complete with a little black nose.  
Our day started with Halle's preschool Halloween program.  I'm not kidding when I tell you I enjoyed it way too much.  This girl knew her songs and actions, and seeing in her little red wig was the icing on the cake.
That night we went to a neighborhood block party where Halle got to see all her little friends in their costumes.  Lily just liked the food, mostly the cheetos and cupcakes.  
Grandma and Grandpa came down to share in the trick or treating magic.  Halle and Lily started out together and Lily kept saying "more" after every house.  Eventually Lily was cramping Halle's style and she found a group of friends she started chasing all around the neighborhood, while Lily went at her own pace.  
They came home and unloaded and were on a sugar high in no time.  
I was so surprised at how obedient Halle was.  The next day she would only take a candy out of her pumpkin if she had asked permission and she didn't ask that often.  By the third and fourth day she had mostly forgotten about it and so I threw it out, but not before I took out all the twix for myself.
Halle is already asking when it is Halloween again.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

hello, again

I am so very behind. 
I haven't even written about Halloween or shared the pictures from that holiday.
We just got back from a week of magic in California and Disneyland.  It was wonderful and a good break from reality for Wes. 
I feel like I am not quite in the Christmas spirit.
I haven't had a chance to really listen to my Christmas music and only a bit of time to think of gifts and not nearly enough time to do all the activities I love to do in December to bring the true Christmas spirit into our home.  
I feel like we have so much looming in the near future that I need to get through before I can even begin to focus on Christmas.
Wes is having his reversal surgery on Tuesday, complete with possibly five days in the hospital and months and months of recovery.
This one is supposed to be the more painful one.  More painful than having your large intestine removed? I know.  I couldn't believe it either, but the doctors say it is true. 
He will be learning to use his new bowel system made out of his small intestine.  And apparently it is a real doozy.  
I hope to catch up soon, but in the meantime pray for my superman.  He has so many more mountains to climb.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

chemotherapy in pictures

There is a book I love called "Lincoln: A Photobiography" by Russell Freedman.  There is a certain page that fascinates me.  It shows portraits of Abraham Lincoln that were taken over the course of the Civil War.  The toll that leading the country during those years took on him physically is shocking to see when they are all put together.  He looks noticeably older and tired.  
I decided to put together my own photo collage of Wes over the six months that chemotherapy waged it's very own war on his body.  I don't know what happened after treatment six, but to me he looks dramatically different. I feel like he kind of shrinks as the treatments continued and eating became harder and harder.  He can't wear his wedding ring anymore because it just falls off.  His hair became thinner and thinner, but there is that radiant smile right up to the end.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a halloween party

Halloween is a favorite holiday around here.  I just knew I had to plan a Halloween party for my little zombie skeleton lover.  We spent the day prepping for it and she was the best little helper.  She helped make spooky decorations and set the table.  She even made little red apple marshmallow "mouth" appetizers and was so proud of them I should have taken a picture.  
 Our guests arrived and we had dinner.  They brought pumpkins and paint.  
We decorated pumpkins and even Lily got to join in.  
Halle has so much love for painting.
We played a pumpkin drawing dice game and had a dance number with spooky movements for miss Lily.  Next came the mystery feely bowls.  We used cooked spaghetti for worms, peeled grapes for eyeballs, a rough sponge for ogre nose hair, and honey for monster boogers.  Halle thought it was real and was especially grossed out by the honey.  
Finally, I planned a scavenger hunt to find our rice krispie ghost treats.  Halle wanted to do it again and again.  We sent our girls to bed very happy that night and I think it will become a Halloween tradition in the Bell home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

i am a mormon

I know it.
I live it.
I love it.
Sometimes people say to me “I don’t know how you do it” or “you are a strong person" or "I could never do what you guys have done."  I try so hard to explain to them that it is not me and yes they could do it.  And I have never truly done any of it alone.  My testimony of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His atonement have carried me much of the way.  The only reason we have “done it” the way we have is because of our faith. 
My testimony began at an early age through quiet moments of personal study of the Book of Mormon and prayer and whisperings from the Holy Ghost.  It has continued to grow as I have nurtured it over the years.  
Eight months ago, me and my little testimony were thrown into the fire.  My husband, my sweetheart, the father of my two young children, the provider of our family, one of the healthiest men I know was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. To say the least we were shocked and devastated.  But, from day one he and I have known where to look to find peace, comfort and strength that can not be found on this earth.  It is strength that has been added upon us by the prayers of others, our own prayers, our faith and the atonement of Jesus Christ. 
What a miracle it is that Jesus has atoned for our sins.  He has paid the price so that we may be washed clean and all can be forgiven as we sincerely repent.  What is equally miraculous about the atonement is the power it has to heal and succor.  In Gesthamane Jesus Christ felt it all, not just our sorrow for sin, but our pains, disappointments, sicknesses, and broken hearts.  He knows how to succor His people because he has felt what we feel.  The day we found out Wes had cancer was tumultuous.  But underneath all the confusion was a knowledge that we are sealed together forever through the power of the priesthood.  Wes would always be mine and I would always be his.  And we felt peace.  We were not alone.  Jesus Christ knew what we were feeling and we felt so close to Him that day.
I know it is the knowledge of the atonement and the plan Heavenly Father has for each of us that has kept me going and kept me smiling through these months. 
The night before Wes had his colonoscopy that eventually found his cancer we put our children to bed, his father and a neighbor gave him a priesthood blessing, we prayed together and he went to bed.  As I knelt to say my own personal prayers that night I had barely turned my thoughts heavenward when I began to cry.  At the time I was confused.  I couldn’t understand why I was crying.  The strangest feeling had come over me.  I can only describe it as a very sad peace and it lingered throughout my prayer.  After the events that transpired the next day, I now know what that feeling meant and what it was telling me.  It seemed to be saying “It’s not okay, but it’s going to be.”  I have felt it so many times since then.  I have felt my Savior take me by the hand and let me know that it may not be okay right now, but one day it will be.  That is the power of the atonement that is available to all of us through whatever trial big or small we are going through.  I don’t know if it going to be okay in this life or in the next, but I know with all my heart that one day it will be okay. All that is unfair about this life will be made equal through the atonement.  I chose this life before I came to earth and I rejoiced for the chance to live it.  The gospel of Jesus Christ gives me a reason to rejoice every single day, even on the hard ones.
There have been times through these past few months when I have felt like my faith could literally move a mountain.  If I needed to, I could push Mt. Everest out of the way.  I have that much faith in the healing power of the priesthood.  But I have even more faith in the will of God and his plan for each of us.  I know if I needed to move this mountain set before us I could.  But I know this is a mountain we are supposed to climb, not move.
I do not know what lies ahead for Wes or our family.  But I do know that whatever it is it will be made right through the atonement and it will not be done alone.  Jesus Christ will come for us if we will let Him.  I know this because it has happened for us in our darkest hour.
I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  He atoned for our sins, our pains, and our sufferings.  I know He died for us and rose again.  I know our pains and afflictions can be swallowed up in that infinite atonement and our burdens can be made light. I know that the true church is on the earth today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I know that our Father in Heaven has a plan for us.  He knows my name, He knows my heart, and He will not leave me comfortless. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. 
I am a Mormon.  If you are not and want to know more please visit 
I know it. 
I live it.
I love it.
It has helped me face trials and burdens I never thought would be placed upon my shoulders.

Monday, November 12, 2012


This morning I walked into the bathroom and caught a whiff of Wes's cologne.
He had already left for work, but his wonderful, masculine smell lingered.
I had just finished reading "a tree grows in brooklyn" and I immediately thought of this quote:
“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing," thought Francie, "something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains - a cup of strong hot coffee when you're blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you're alone - just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”
It is a bunch of little things.
And I feel like it is my job to find those little things that have been strategically placed throughout my day to make me truly happy and content.
I just need to be looking hard enough.
So, for me, today happiness is happening upon a familiar scent and knowing your sweetheart was nearby.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

kindred cancer spirits

I had a neighbor growing up who is my age.  I remember being so shocked when I learned her daughter (who is just a bit younger than Halle) was diagnosed with leukemia.  You of course never know what to say when these things happen because you never really know how the other person feels.  Little did I know, that a short time later my own husband would be diagnosed with colon cancer.  Two people in their mid twenties on the same street, right next door to each other watching young loved ones battle cancer and becoming cancer caregivers within years of each other.  
So, when the request was sent out to join a curesearch team for their daughter Taleah and walk for childhood cancer, I just knew me and my girls would have to do it.  Wes was a big maybe as he had just had a round of chemo, but felt well enough the day of to try and do it.  I am so glad he made that decision, because what we saw that day in big beautiful sugarhouse park was astounding.  Crowds and crowds of people all somehow affected by childhood cancer.  They wore matching t-shirts and bandanas.  There were pictures of children who were survirvors, who were still fighting, and some who had passed on too soon lining the paths.  There were all kinds of characters from movies, mascots from sports teams, princesses, our very own Miss Utah USA, games, and treats to make those special children smile.  
It was a most magnificent and sobering sight to see families and friends walking together for cancer.  It made me, and most importantly Wes, realize we are not alone.  There are so many kindred cancer spirits out there.  It was incredible to see how many, young and old, are affected by this disease. 
 Kendyl found these shirts for the girls and I love them, I love them, I love them.  It says, "brave men run in my family."  One day they will realize and know how very true that is.  
We didn't get to do the whole walk because we had to race to Halle's soccer game.  But I loved uniting with so many for just a moment and feeling their strength.  I am so glad we found Taleah among the crowd.  Halle was looking everywhere.  Halle had only met her once before, but she thinks they are great friends and tells me that "taleah and daddy will beat cancer."  We love you Stevenson family!
Later that day we went to the Huntsman cancer expo because Miss Utah USA was speaking about cancer in her family.  She was eloquent and gave a wonderful presentation about her relatives and Wes.  Such sweet words.  They had a 20 foot giant colon that you could walk through that the girls loved.  Gosh we really kind of hate colons.  
 It was a Saturday full of cancer and it made me realize just how much I want to reach out to others.  I want everyone facing their own cancer demons to felt what we felt that day.  That you are not alone.  I want so much to take them all, hold their hand in mine, look into their eyes and simply say, "I know."  And then I want to hug them tight and introduce them to my husband who can say "I know" even better than me.  Wes is sure that in heaven there will be a special cancer neighborhood.  All the cancer people I know are so willing to help others affected by cancer.  There is a special bond immediately forged among them.  Wes feels the same way.  We both would love to email, facebook, text, or phone anyone you may know that has cancer and is wondering what now? or am I the only one?  Feel free to send them our way!  It is a tough battle to fight alone.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

family pictures 2012

I am so glad we have these pictures of our family during this awful year. I like knowing I have something to look back on and see how far we have come even if wes was nervous about how he would look.
I know I say this all the time, but I am so very proud to call myself a Bell.
I love them like they are my very own.
Since the beginning of everything I have tried so hard to put myself in Gary and Michele's shoes.  I can't even fathom the idea of Halle having cancer.  Wes is their baby, a 28 year old baby, but their baby nonetheless.  I have admired their strength and their ability to come to the rescue.  And though much has been added to their schedules and work loads because of us I have never heard them complain once. They both have a gift where they know just the right thing to say to Wes to lift his spirits.  I can only hope to one day be the kind of caring parents they are.
I love you both.

Every time Lily hears a weed eater or lawn mower or sees a silver car, and sometimes when she sees a middle aged man in business clothes at the store she says, "bampa."  She has always had a thing for grandpa Bell and she loves when he pulls up on a Saturday to do yard work (except that one time he yelled at the bee).  We just feel better when grandpa was around and each time he came to visit Wes or give him a blessing I couldn't help thinking "everything is going to be okay now."
And there are my loves. And right after this picture was taken the storm clouds accumulated and a wild wind picked up with some rain.

I am so lucky I get to call him mine.
These girls are too much fun.  I love to be around them and hear all about the wonderful lives they are leading.  They are such good examples to my girls.  They are so very caring.  Not a week goes by that we don't hear from one of them calling or texting or playing with the girls and giving Halle makeovers, or sending us silly things to make us laugh.  Meals and treats and surprises for the girls.  Thank you for letting me in your sister club.
Halle adores them and kept asking me when she would get to take her picture with them.  It was the highlight of the session for her.  You have no idea how much her little eyes watch you.
I admire all of these women so much.  I really wish to be more like Michele.  I feel like she is the fixer.  Whatever issue any of us come to her with she can somehow find a solution.  Wes has always said from the time we were dating that he can feel when his mom has been praying for him because there strength added upon him through whatever he is facing.  I think to myself sometimes that I hope I am taking care of Wes the way she would.  She is the ultimate nurturer and hardest worker and someone I strive to be like.
 And then there are my girls who I need to do seperate updates on.  There is just way too much to say about these little ones.
Oh Miss Lily, my girl on fire.

 And sweet Halle full of life and imagination.  The other night she prayed that she would "bring mommy joy."  Kid, you have no idea.
 My goodness Wes, we sure have been through a lot.  You know I've got your back. Always.

I love you all so much and am so grateful for everything you have done for us. We truly couldn't do this without you.