May 25, 2012

by karrah jo

I was just told that this was only supposed to be a few. But these are all the songs I seriously CANNOT skip. It’s impossible. :) Laugh all you want.

Sally’s Song – Nightmare Before Christmas (Revisited)

Back To The Start – Lilly Allen

You’re Not Alone – Saosin

Pretending – Glee

Beautiful Disaster – Jon McGlaughlin

Gravity – Sara Bareilles

Colorblind – Counting Crows

Fix You – Coldplay

Taylor The Latte Boy – Kristen Chenoweth

Slide – Goo Goo Dolls

Faithfully – Glee and Journey

All This Time – One Republic

The Call – Regina Spektor

Three Flights Up – Yellowcard

Bad Medicine – Bon Jovi

Little of Your Time – Maroon 5

Nothing – The Script

Marry You – Bruno Mars

Beautiful – Akon

Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off – Panic at the Disco

Whiskey Lullaby –  Allison Krauss

All I Ever Wanted – Kelly Clarkson

My Wish – Rascal Flatts

All The Above – Maino

Retrace – Anberlin

Heaven Help Us – My Chemical Romance

I Dreamed a Dream – Glee

Blind – Kesha

Far Longer Than Forever – The Swan Princess

Robocop – Kanye West

Drops of Jupiter – Train

Another Heart Calls – The All-American Rejects

Smile – Lily Allen

Breath- Breaking Benjamin

We Are Young – Fun

Can You Feel The Love – The Lion King

Take It All – Adele

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee and Journey

So Close – Jon McGlaughlin

El Tango De Roxanne – Moulin Rouge

Without You – Usher

I Feel Pretty / Unpretty – Glee

A Beautiful Mess – Jason Mraz

I Don’t Love You – My Chemical Romance

You Don’t Have a Clue – Royksopp

Russian Roulette – Rihanna

Somewhere That’s Green  – Little Shop of Horrors

Hamburg – Keane

My Man – Glee

Let Me Be Your Wings – Thumbelina

Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) – Pink

La Vie Boheme – Rent

Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye

Just Abuse Me – Air Traffic

Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid

Separate Ways – Journey

Hide and Seek – Imogen Heep

Breaking – Anberlin

Payphone – Maroon 5

Shooting Star – Air Traffic

Lolli Lolli – Three 6 Mafia

Lady Marmalade – Christina Aguilera

Out Tonight – Rent

What I Did For Love – Glee

Shake It Off – Florence + The Machine

You’ll Be In My Heart – Tarzan

The One That Got Away – Katy Perry

Your Fractured Life – Air Traffic

Like a Song – Lenka

Sleep – Eric Whitacre

Hear You Me – Jimmy Eat World

Miles – Christina Perri

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May 16, 2012

Happily Ever After

by Shelle Marie

Now that my adorable sisters have made their opinions on weddings known, I’ll add mine. I’ve always been somewhere in the middle ground between my two sisters. I’ve had more solid wedding ideas than Whitney, but less extravagance than the queen bee Karrah. And after having an engagement broken in the middle of wedding planning, I’ve come up with the best solution: Elopement!

Yes, yes, I know. Kinda hard to do as a Latter Day Saint. But I think it’s possible. And I’m not talking about running off to Vegas, spur of the moment. Marriage is a serious and sacred business. But as long as the bride and groom are temple worthy, this is doable. All you really need to have is the necessary paperwork (ie, recommends and marriage certificate.) There isn’t anything else holding you back, other than cultural norms. My parents actually encouraged elopement. They always said all I needed to do was give them enough notice for them to show up and there they would be.

See, this is my thought. We put too much emphasis on the gown and the party and the perfect centerpieces. It seems that the wedding overtakes the marriage. I won’t lie and say didn’t fall prey to this when I was planning my wedding. It drove me nuts. I remember throwing my planner across the room, at one point. I was so done with the details. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted the wedding to be over, and get on with things. And maybe this is all because I’m not much of a party-er. I don’t like being the center of attention. I’m an introvert, so it’s just too much for me to deal with. I’m much more comfortable with small, intimate groups. (Though small is not a word that describes my family.) In the end, all that matters to me is being irrevocably joined with the one man who shares my goals, and who can keep up with me, push me along, and stand by my side forever.

So, my perfect wedding would run something like this. I’d get up in the morning and get ready, with maybe a little extra flare. My fiance would pick me up, and drive me to the temple.  There we would be sealed  for all eternity, surrounded by the people I love most in this world. After this, maybe a little luncheon or get together. I can picture it in the backyard with Dad on the grill. Then my husband and I would jump a plane for our honeymoon. And then a month or so later having an open house instead of a reception. That way the pressure is off, the nerves are gone, and my groom and I could be able to enjoy the party.

Like Whitney said, it’s the everyday things that I’m most looking forward to. Arguing about what to watch, debating which sports team is better and compromising on what to have for dinner. I’m excited to spend the rest of my life with  my best friend, the one person who will know me better than anyone else on this earth, who can love me flaws and all. But it’s the privilege of building and creating a new eternal family that has me most patiently anxious for my own wedding. Because that’s the Happily Ever After.

May 16, 2012

A Magnificent Day.

by karrah jo

What is it about weddings that I just can’t get enough of? Have I ever dreamed of anything more than my wedding? I mean, besides after my jaw surgery, that wonderful, magnificent moment I got to bite into a caramel apple. No. There has been no one thing, no moment, I have looked forward to as much as my wedding.

When I was young, first falling in love and dreaming of getting married, I used to want my wedding to be a this amazing event. I wanted to have the biggest dress possible and a party that lasted for a week. I used to dream of how it would be, what I would look like, how many people would be there, etc… I wanted all of the attention on me.

But as I get older (Yes, I realize I am only twenty years old) I realize how I really want things. Maybe this post won’t be on what I am planning my wedding to look like, but rather how I want it to feel.

I don’t want every second of my big day to be planned out.

Call me old fashioned, but I want my future husband to ask my father for my hand in marriage before he gets down on one knee and asks, “Will you, Karrah Landon, give me the great pleasure of become my wife?” Or any variation on the matter.

This is what I want:

My ring to be as perfect as this:

My luncheon to look like this:

My hair to be as perfect as this:

My bouquet to be as amazing as this:

And my dress to be as brilliant as this:

But in all honesty, these days, all I want are two things.

For my family, and especially my sisters to support me and love me enough to do this with me:

And most importantly, for my (future) husband to love me like this:

I don’t want people second guessing our decision on getting married, but if they do, I want them to ask, “Why is she marrying him?” And then without a word from anyone, from me or my husband, my family or his, I want them to see the way he looks at me. Just the way he simply smiles at me. The way he holds my hand. The way he kisses me and holds me close. I want them to see why. I want everyone to understand and know that he loves me, without a doubt. And that I’m the happiest woman on the planet.

I want him to sing me a cheesy romantic song at our reception and never let go of my hand. I want him to kiss me and smile while he does it. And for everyone to blush when he does. I want him to stare at me every moment and tell me I’m beautiful and that he’s unbelievably happy that I’m his. I want him to sing to me and hold me close during our first dance. I want him to tell everyone he loves me. Because I’m worth it.

I don’t want a big wedding. I want an elegant wedding. A wedding where everyone can feel the love and happiness that radiates from us. I want everyone that I hold most dear, to spend that day with me in my next step of life.

I just want the man that is willing to finally make me see how wonderful I am, to marry me for time and all eternity.

I want to be with someone just as much as I love them. I don’t need a big event anymore. I just need the man that loves me to spend the rest of eternity with me. I need him to love me for all of my flaws: my depression, insomnia, anxiety, the need to get ready every morning, how I take baths every single day, that I sleep too long and go to bed too late.

I don’t think that a wedding day, no matter how grand and beautiful, makes a marriage. I do believe that if most couples put as much thought and paid as much attention to details that most Mormon women do into their weddings, that marriages would last ten times as long as they do now. That you would pick the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, rather than just the person who would look the best beside you.

Weddings don’t make marriages. Love, devotion, and faith make marriages. That’s why the older I get, the more things I let go when it comes to that day and the more I hold onto finding a man that loves me for all of my flaws and imperfections. Because when it comes to that day, all I need is the man that gives himself and loves me with the same fire and devotion that I will.

May 16, 2012

Love is Not an Event (Or: Why I Don’t Have a Wedding Board on Pinterest)

by Whitney

This post, dear friends, is the discussion that launched this blog.  Karrah and I were discussing her recent trip to the newly-finished City Creek Center in Salt Lake and I asked her (an unspeakably devoted fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn) if she had walked around inside of Tiffany.  Her reply was, “No, that would give me unrealistic expectations about my wedding ring.”

I reminded her that his is not at all a problem for me, as I inherited my mother’s 25th anniversary ring and plan to use that as my wedding ring.  Save some cash for my future fiancee.  And that thing is completely blinged out.  Then Karrah proceeded to lament to me that she’s the only one in our family who seems to be preoccupied with things like getting married and having babies, and that more of that romantic streak should have gone around.

This is something I’ve been thinking about since then.  I am often perceived, in my family, as the least romantic and most pragmatic when it comes to things of this nature.  But really, I think the things that I romanticize and idealize are just slightly different from the norm.

Firstly, I would like to make completely clear that I do not begrudge girls for dreaming about their weddings.  As someone who likes to hypothetically plan things for fun (I can give you a ballpark cost for my dream trip to the Maldives, including the special resort activities I would like to embark upon), I can appreciate the amount of inspiration and the starting points they will already have covered when they get engaged.  I am also a sucker for formal events and basically any occasion that serves as an excuse to spend two hours getting all fancied up.  I definitely think that when the day arrives, I am going to absolutely love all of that planning stuff.  And the decor and wedding dress photos floating around on my Pinterest constantly are incredibly lovely.

But I, myself, do not participate in the preemptive single girl planning that so many of my Mormon counterparts have been engaging in since they were old enough to know what a wedding is.  I will say, “I like that idea”, or “I would/wouldn’t want that at my wedding.”  But I do not have a color scheme or a location picked out.  Why?

Because I do not have a husband picked out.

At this point, marriage to me seems like going to the moon.  Okay, maybe not the moon.  Marriage seems like going to Paris.  I know people who have done it, so I know that people actually do it.  And it is something that I would someday like to do myself, but it isn’t an encompassing, overwhelming desire or need.  Not super realistic for me right now.  And it doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards anytime soon.

Also, it is important to note that (like most people), my Pinterest is linked to my Facebook account.  It would not be hard for potential partners to go peruse all the weirdness that is already there.  And trust me, there is probably enough neurosis on there to send plenty of boys a-runnin.  And that is without having a pinboard with eight thousand over-priced or time-consuming ideas for a wedding.  I know most LDS men probably anticipate that any girl they propose to will have the majority of their special day pre-planned.  But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to be legitimately freaked out by the obsession with french lace and cupcake displays, as lovely as they may be.

But most importantly, I take an issue with the sentiment of the wedding day being the bride’s special day.  Since when is the bride the only one getting married? We, as a society, have created a dichotomy wherein we place a lot of superficial attention on only one half of the equation.  And considering the entire point is celebrating a union of two people, I think a wedding that has the bride’s curly-cued stamp all over it but nothing of the groom is a poor way to begin an equal partnership.

Part of me believes that this comes from the division of expectation that the wedding day is for the bride and the wedding night is for the groom.  And just how ridiculous is that?  I think that women should be unafraid to admit that they’re as excited as the men are for that.  And men should feel comfortable being equally as gushy about starting their life with the woman they love as she is.  There should be no division of labor, so to speak, when it comes to anticipation and excitement.

Do I expect my future man to have opinions on floral arrangements and the wording on the invitations?  Probably not.  But if he does, I want him to know that his opinions are just as important as mine.  And even if he has zero opinions, I would hope that I would know my fiancee well enough to make our wedding a representation of us as a couple and not just  the traditions and cliches that have been marinating in my brain since long before I ever met him.  I refuse to be Wedding Barbie who is just waiting for any Wedding Ken to come plug himself in to complete the set.

But, most importantly, I do not plan my hypothetical wedding because that day itself is not what I look forward to most.  I honestly hope my wedding day is not even close to the best day of my marriage.  I look forward to the rest of it.  The everydayness of it.  To packing two lunches in the morning instead of one.  To hearing him sing the same song in the shower for years at a time.  I look forward to late night talks and kissing every time we leave or come home to each other.

I look forward to my life with my other half.  To being told that I am loved, every day.  To having someone who loves me even when they don’t like me.  And to know that I am important enough to someone that they want to commit to working on end enjoying our relationship, even though he knows I am nowhere near perfect and that we’re going to go through hard times.

And in that way, I think that girls sell themselves short by focusing so much time and attention on their wedding day.  I, personally, think its far more romantic to focus your time and energy on becoming the kind of person that the kind of man you would want to marry would find to be absolutely incredible.  To create who you are in a way that makes you whole.  To become the absolute best version of yourself so you can bring your best you to your relationship.

Because the best thing about your wedding should be the person that you marry.  And that should go both ways.  It’s all about that person and the things they think and feel and like dislike and how that fits into your life, and how you fit into theirs.  So, for me, depending upon who I marry, that will define what our wedding will look and feel like.  A reflection of us as a pair.  A celebration of our two weird lives and how they fit together.

So I guess I’m not unromantic.  I just don’t romanticize an event that other people often do.  The important part to me is love – finding someone who can honestly love me and be able to tell me, frequently.  But I believe that love is a lifelong process, so you can’t necessarily plan just one day to celebrate it and then be done.  It should be celebrated often. Repeatedly.  Glamorous?  Not really.  Romantic? I tend to think so.

May 16, 2012

“They’re making fun of me!”

by karrah jo

There’s a reason why it has taken me three days now to write about my mother. Firstly, Mother’s Day is one of those particular days that hits the bruise in my heart. Secondly, I work retail. I actually work in jewelry in retail, so the past week and a half I have been selling expensive, beautiful jewelry to husbands and children to give to their wife’s and mother’s on what I like to call, “Hell Day.”

This year was the first without my sisters on this day, and to say the least, it wasn’t the best day of my life. I had to work, watching everyone pick up last minute gifts and 17 year old girls asking for my opinion on necklaces. That’s what did it.

I found a quote that went something like, “I love my mother not only because she showed me my strengths, but she also showed me my flaws.” Ain’t that the truth? My mother was the first to compliment on your outfit and also the first to tell you what a foul attitude you had. (The second one was usually what I was always hearing.)

I am a striking image of my mother. Both in physical looks (I had my oral surgeon give me her smile, for crying out loud) and personality wise. So, for my teenage years, we were either the best of friends watching Gilmore Girls and making lunch or throwing Diet Coke cans at each other and breaking phones.

I used to say that I got ripped off when it came to being a daughter to her, but I think it changes as I get older. I was home for every step that she was sick. From beginning to end. I watched it happen. I used to think to myself how horrible it was to watch your mother struggle through life. And then, it hit me. I spent some of her most precious moments on earth, by her side. I was always by her side. Whether we were getting along, I was always there. Listening to her. Caring for her. The summer she passed, I was with her literally every day. She took care of me after I got my jaw surgery, we went to girls camp, Coure d’Alene, and Canada. I treasure every single one of those moments. I had started to come out of my “I know everything because I’m a teenager” phase to, “Huh, I like Mom, she knows everything.” She was my best friend. Is my best friend.

I wrote this two years ago:

A year ago I was in a car on my way to Utah. So my siblings and I could catch the six o’ clock plain to Rochester, Minnesota. To see our ill mother, that had currently been in a hospital for almost a month straight, if I remember correctly. She was flown via emergency jet to Mayo Clinic, for a third open heart surgery. In between this surgery and her last, she had endocarditis, an infection in her heart. She had the heart of a hundred pound woman. She wasn’t going to last through a third surgery. We all knew that. But we hoped and we prayed unlike any other time in our lives. This was our mother. Our best friend. We knew that it was her time when she hugged us before they took her to the plane. We all knew we’d never see her spirit and her body united when we said we’d see her when she got home. When she didn’t say anything after we told her we’d all be here when she got better. Because we all knew, the next time we would get to see our mother, alive and well, the next time she would get to hold us again, and tell us how much she loves us, is when we all go back home, from where we all came from. We all knew that our mother wasn’t crying because she was scared, but because she loved us so much and she knew it was time to go meet her Heavenly Father. She cried because she knew that all of us, eventually, would be just fine. She knew that she wasn’t going to see us on this earth again through her earthly eyes, but because she knew she was going to be watching over us from that point on. Watching over us and loving us from above.

A year ago, I knew my mother was gone. I held her hand and felt her blood run cold. I watched as her broken little heart stopped beating. The breath in her lungs run out, and her eyes never open again. I was seventeen years old. No seventeen year old should be standing in an ICU room, holding their mothers hand, praying for a miracle, as the doctors turn the machines off that kept her body alive. No person should spend their eighteenth birthday without the woman that gave birth to them. No senior in high school should face the life changing decisions they will make alone.

I struggle everyday. I thought it was getting better. I thought I was doing alright. And then, out of no where, it all started to crash down on me again. I started to feel like that little girl that stood there grasping onto her mothers dead hand. I started to feel like that hopeless child laying in that hotel bed, not sleeping, not eating, just crying. I started to feel like I couldn’t move on. I started to feel as though my whole life was falling apart again.

I’m breaking. Piece by piece. Just, breaking down. I can’t seem to move on anymore. I can’t seem to let go of my mother. I wish everyday that I could just have her hold me again. I’d give anything. Because nothing can replace the love of your mother. Nothing can replace the sound of her voice telling you how much she loves you. Nothing can replace the reassuring words that she would tell you when you were hesitant about something. Nothing. Replaces the love that you have for the woman that made you who you are today.”

You never forget about your mother. Even when she’s gone. There are two people I think about every single day. One is my mother. The other, the man that helped me every step of the way during and after she passed.

It leaves a hole. A hole that you never fill. A hole that is there when you wake up, as you go through your day, and when you fall asleep. But there is also the love. The love that keeps you moving. The love that a woman so sick and trapped in a body so frail, gave to her children whole heartedly. She loved everyone, no matter where they were in life, no matter what they said to her.

She wasn’t someone to solve your problems for you. She was a listener. She sat and gave you her full attention on a Saturday morning while you laid in her bed and told her about how stupid boys were, about how much you wanted to be an actress when you grew up, about every little “problem” you had when you were young. She didn’t tell you what to do. She guided you to make the decision yourself. She was a gift from God to our family. She’s still the rock of our foundation. She has made the gospel a knowledge. It keeps us together. It keeps every one of us strong as we struggle through life, important decisions without her.

I feel her by my side every day. Hugging me. Loving me. Guiding me. The best compliment I have ever received in my life was from my Uncle Fetch who told me, “My heavens, I do believe I met Little Jenny, today.” I strive to be like her. The strong willed woman that wanted what was best for everyone else.

There is no greater gift in life then love. And my mother gives that to me every single day.

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May 13, 2012

I Love My Mom

by Whitney

This picture was taken in 2008, I believe.  In celebration of my mother’s birthday, she and I, along with my dad, Michelle, and friends Chris and Bonnie, all went to the Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick concert.  We had our blanket spread out on the lawn and my mom told us some stories about illicit drug use and she did this little rain dance around us to keep the weirdos next door out of our way.  The mother hen rain dance.  Looking back on that day, I realize that the fact that I am my mother’s daughter always meant that there was no hope for me to be anything but a hopelessly bad dancer.  Thanks for that, Mom.

This is the third Mother’s Day, since she passed away.  And I love what Michelle said about having a Mom-shaped bruise that gets bumped on certain occasions.  Mother’s Day isn’t the sorest of them, but it definitely isn’t the best day of the year.  But in a way, I kind of appreciate that people are more open to hearing me talk about my mom on and around Mother’s Day.  Because for me, talking about her is the most natural thing in the world, even though other people might find it a little awkward.

I feel like it’s pretty trite to say “I think about so and so every day”.  But that really is the case.  My mother is the undercurrent that is present in almost every aspect of the person I am and the person I want to be.  I don’t always outright think about a memory of her every day, but I do think about what she would do or the advice she would give me.  On bad days, I think about how much I just want to call her.  On good days, I think about how much she would have liked to hear about whatever it is that’s making me happy.

In a way, I feel like I’m really struggling to write any kind of memoir about my mom today, because I mention  her all the time.  There aren’t a lot of days that I don’t mention her in a passing conversation, if  only with Michelle.  So I don’t feel like I have this big storehouse of memories and emotions that aren’t getting expressed.  For me, she is always there.

Whenever I find myself striking up a friendly conversation with a complete stranger, I notice that that’s the Jenny in me.  Whenever I think about leaving the house looking like a hot mess and something stops me, I am convinced that it is due the memory of my mother and her vanity (I’m sure I’m still failing her at least a little on this front.  Good thing Karrah makes up for it).  Whenever I find myself making a decision that makes me happy but that might be considered weird or unpopular within my culture, I know that the confidence to do so came from my mom.

That is the thing that I love the most about her.  She never expected me to be anything other than exactly what I was.  As long as I was making good life decisions, she never bothered me about the fact that I didn’t dress or act like the other girls my age.  I know it wasn’t her favorite (and she legitimately sat me down one time to ask me if I was lesbian), but she didn’t ever tell me I had to change.  And she never took it personally that I’ve never felt like my life goal was to be a stay-at-home mom.  I was and am thankful for the fact that she was a full-time mom, and she knew that.  She just also knew that life probably isn’t for me.

She was also just genuinely fun to be around.  I think what I miss the most is just how much she did that made us laugh or feel special.  Like the time she faked me out on my 19th birthday, when she said she had forgotten to get my birthday cake.  I was shocked and disappointed because my birthday was always such a big deal for both of us, but pretended that it was okay.  Then later, we went into the grocery store and picked up the mother of all birthday cakes.  Shaped like a pirate ship. With sails and a treasure chest and little lego pirates and everything.

Her general demeanor made it really hard to eulogize her, in a way.  Like. . . how do you pen flowery words for someone who is still  so alive to you?  It is that impossibility and vivacity, I think, that made me positive that the only way we could ever hope to describe her in a short enough phrase to put on even the impossibly large headstone she has was simply: best mom ever.

Overall, the thing that strikes me most when I think about her, is just how lucky I am to be her daughter (her favorite daughter, no less).

Something I’ve thought about recently is her circle of influence.  I was blown away by the sheer number of people my mother came in contact with, and even more so with the ones who mentioned my mother having a big impact on them in one way or another.  At her funeral, we had walked in and sat down during the procession without really looking around.  It was only when the opening hymn started and we were hit was quite an enormous wall of sound that everyone in my family turned to see not only a full chapel, but a completely full cultural hall as well.  At the time, I found that alone to be incredible.

Over time, the thing I have found to be even more incredible is that to that woman, who had such an impact on such a large number of people, I was (and am) one of the most important things in the world.

I am a lucky girl.

May 13, 2012

Best Mom Ever

by Shelle Marie

My mother was an amazing woman. She was loving, charitable, beautiful and funny (though we did our best to make her think she wasn’t funny.) She was my best friend and she was the strongest person I knew. To this day, her strength stuns me.

She had a very slow speed. I used to say that she puttered. And after a few days of puttering around at her highest speed, she’d take a day to recover. On those days, she sometimes wouldn’t get out of her pajamas, and she’d sit in the living room with her feet up, wrapped in a blanket with Emmi (the cutest dog ever) curled up beside her. We used to schedule those days to coincide with my days off, so I could join her. We’d watch Gilmore Girls, or some other equally ridiculous show, all day, barely stopping for food. And sometimes, the food we had couldn’t really be called a meal. Like the time we cut up five pounds of strawberries, and all we had for dinner was strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Dad had to have been out-of-town, or there would have been some sort of meat involved.

She had two laughs that I remember. One for when she thought something was funny and one for when she thought SHE was hilarious. Being witty and clever was something I swear she practiced when no one else was around. After awhile we decided as children that we were going to not laugh when she was funny and giggle when she wasn’t. It confused her for all of a day. After that she started adding “I’m so funny” to the laugh.

She had a great need to make sure everyone around her felt loved. I’m sure this came from the insecurities she felt over being loved. After she passed away, it seemed that all of her nieces and nephews were convinced that they were her favorite, so I guess her efforts worked. (We all know, I’m the favorite, so it’s ok.)

After I moved away again, I think the longest I ever went without talking to her was three days. And that was once. After that, I checked in at least every other day, but more often than not, I talked to her every day. I always felt that I could talk to her about anything, but it was usually nothing special. Just two people who are connected by a fierce bond of love. It was a three-minute conversation and her “Well, I love you, dear” way of saying she hated the phone or was too busy playing Pet Society to talk longer. I think that is what I miss most.

Now, two and half years after she returned to our Heavenly Father, I still feel her loss every day. There are times I find myself reaching for the phone.  I do know where she is, what she’s doing and that I’ll see her again. It’s not just faith, its conviction. Though there are times that it hits me that she’s gone, and I’m so overwhelmed I want to turn to the nearest person and just yell “My mom’s not here and it’s not ok.”  There’s a mom-shaped bruise in my heart. It’s not a hole, because I can still feel her presence near me. But there are times that I ache for her hugs, and her gentle, or not so gentle words of encouragement and advice. It’s a hurt that will never really heal.

Like any bruise, it smarts a bit when bumped. There are a few days that I know will always suck. Her birthday, the day she died, and Mother’s Day. And it’s just because I love her, and miss her so much. On her birthday I go out for Mexican food because it was her favorite. On the anniversary of the day she died I see a movie that I know she would have loved. And for Mother’s Day, well, last year I was a Disneyland. That’s one way to deal with one of the bad days, go to the happiest place on earth. It didn’t work out for this year, though. So I’ll watch some movies that she loved, and cry through Wall-E. Maybe laugh through Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, or Penelope.

But even through the hard times, I’ll remember what she left me with. An unshakable knowledge that I am loved unconditionally. I still have her for a cheerleader, and a confidante, and most importantly, an example. She is always with me, and I try my hardest to be like her. Honestly, she is the Best Mom Ever! (It’s written in stone.)

May 12, 2012

The Whitney Burger

by Whitney

My friend Lindsay came over today.  She’s been off on a study abroad and then gettin’ all graduated, so I haven’t seen her in close to a year, I think.  I took this opportunity to make burgers for the both of us because food is always best when shared.  She always has lots of excellent and funny stories to tell, so I hope she found my food to be a decent exchange for her animated stories about neurotic roommates and attractive men who got away.

Anyways, about the burger.  Ways you can tell Karrah and I are sisters: our burgers both involve caramelized onions and avocado.  My onions were caramelized and then glazed with balsamic vinegar, and I have a portabello mushroom cap as the bottom bun.  Yes, I ate this politely with a knife and fork, because it was basically a giant stack of deliciousness, rather than a proper burger.  But seriously, there is nothing that balsamic caramelized onions don’t make better.  So good.

In addition to burgers, we had some sweet potato fries, cucumber slices, and watermelon.  In fact, I’ve eaten almost half a watermelon today.  It’s not even a great watermelon.  I’m just really excited about summer produce!

I’m off to try to combat my continuing jet lag with a self-administered pedicure and some Doctor Who.

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May 12, 2012

Om nom nom.

by karrah jo

I decided a week ago that I was going to follow in my sister’s footsteps and go Paleo. It’s been wonderful thus far. So here is my Paleo burger. I started out with grilling some lean ground beef. Meanwhile I was caramelizing some onions in coconut oil and baking my bacon. I also made some of the best jalapeno guacamole ever. Stuck that all in a lettuce wrap and BAM! Deliciousness.

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May 11, 2012

Oh, Sisters!

by Shelle Marie

Having read the sweet entries from my younger sisters, I thought it was time to add my own thoughts about sisterhood. There isn’t much more to say than they have already said. But my perspective is a bit different, having six and ten years respectively between my sister AND a brother as buffer. I felt removed from both of my sisters for a long time.

I was nearly six when Whitney was born. I don’t remember having any of that sibling jealousy that can come with a new baby in the family. No, that started a few years later. We moved toMarylanda few weeks after I turned eight. I remember coming home from school when we lived there and hearing all about the adventures Mom, Dustin and Whitney had while I was gone. It drove me nuts. And when I did go with them, everyone fawned over the beautiful Whitney.

It didn’t help that Dustin and Whitney were super close, either. I’m not sure if that was because they were only two years apart, or that Whitney is such a force that D just went along with her. Either way, when Karrah came along I became the super big sister. She was my little shadow. It was her and me against them. 

When I left, the dynamic changed. I’m kind of a homebody and intensely loyal, and pretty much a softy. I missed my family a lot, but to realize that I missed my sisters most was a revelation. Moving away removed most of the barriers that kept me from being really close to my sisters. 

Whitney and I became close in a way that wasn’t possible when we lived together. We used to chat online everyday. We’d check in, and cheer each other on. I’d give advice when I could. I loved having her come to visit. And if I got a free concert ticket out of it, all the better. 

Karrah and I have always been pretty close. I feel like I helped raise her, a bit. She’d run and launch herself at me whenever I walked in the door when she was younger. And then, I moved home for a few years to help out when Mom was so sick. Karrah didn’t like being alone, so we’d arrange my schedule so she wouldn’t be. She was my sidekick, again. To this day, she’s the only person in the world who can hit my guilt switch, and I’m the only person she can’t be outright mean to. 

Also, being the oldest, there are times I felt more like a second mother. I was more of a caregiver than a sister. I’m still known as the responsible, loving one in the family. That may have kept me a bit separate as well, but I think my sisters know that they can always come to me. If they need a hug, advice, a laugh or slap in the head, I’m more that willing to give it. I cherish being the ear to listen, and the shoulder to lean on. The role of older sister is one I would never give up 

As a family, we’ve been blessed by the best sister-in-law ever. I swear the only reason she wasn’t born into our family is so that she could marry Dustin. She is the fourth Landon sister that we didn’t know was missing. In her I’ve found a bit of a comrade. She’s been through some crazy things, experiences that can relate to my own. I thank the Lord everyday for bringing her to us. 

Sisterhood is more that just blood. It’s a special bond of heart, mind and spirit. It can be born or formed, and when nurtured, it’s a force to be reckoned with. I think it holds a close second to Motherhood. The ties of Sisterhood are forged of steel, and one would be wise not to cross or try to break them. Sisters are precious. Mine are the best ever. No one can make me laugh like they do, and no one makes me fiercer than they do. 

 In the words of Patricia Volk, “I know some sisters who only see each other on Mother’s Day and some who will never speak again.  But most are like my sister(s) and me… linked by volatile love, best friends who make other best friends ever so slightly less best.”