Wednesday, March 28, 2007

ode to mom

51 years ago, my beloved mother was born; and this year will mark the 10th anniversary of her untimely death. This post is to honor her, and the many cherished memories that she left behind. I hope that some how she will feel and know of the love I have for her. It is so very real, and exquisite, and intense. I will warn those who are reading, this is long, really long; but, I hope you will take the time to read it, as it may give you an inkling of understanding as to why I am so crazy in love with this Woman... and why she is my hero!
Happy Birthday, my dear, sweet, angelic mom...until we meet again.

Our little eternal family, minus the youngest

1. She was born in March of 1956 to Clarence Stanley Coombs and Dorothy Beatrice Brown.
2. She loved and respected her parents, and never had a single argument with either of them.
3. She was born with a love for the Savior and a testimony of the Gospel. She loved the scriptures, and never stopped reading them, and learning from them.
4. Her mother was one of her closest friends. They talked on the phone everyday (sometimes several times a day). They were recently reunited, as Grandma was called home this past June.

5. She and my dad were high school sweethearts (in fact, my dad had had his eye on her since the 9th grade).
6. She played a huge role in his conversion to the church.
7. She attended Snow College, Utah State, and the University of Utah.
8. She always had a smile on her face…always… (and she had a beautiful, bright, shining smile).

9. If she was ever hurting, stressed, angry, sad, or worried… no one would have ever known. Simply put- she never wore her heart on her sleeve.
10. She had significant and spiritual dreams.
11. She loved movies, but almost never made it through any of them without bawling. When she cried her tongue curled up and rested on her upper lip…we always made fun of her.
12. The last few years of her life, she so looked forward to our Friday night “movie nights”, but every time (without fail), we would catch her snoring before the previews had even played through. (It wan’t until after we found her cancer, that we realized it was the metastatic disease that made her so tired all of the time).
13. One of her very favorite places on earth was Lake Powell…even though her snowy white skin always fried to a crisp…(except her legs, they always remained white).

Mom and her girls at Lake Powell

14. To this day, I can’t hear The Beach Boys’ Water or George Winston’s rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, without thinking of Lake Powell…with mom.
15. Nor can I hear Louis Armstrong’s What a wonderful World without thinking of her. (I can still see, and hear her impersonating Louis, while singing this heartwarming melody.)
16. Speaking of the Beach Boys, mom loved them, and she and my dad went to several of their shows. When they released their hit Kokomo, she fell in love with the song…so much so that she didn’t waist a minute in planning our family vacation to Kokomo. (Later we found out that there was no such place…hahaha.)
17. She planned the best family vacations ever…Fun. Creative. Imaginative. Adventurous. Unforgettable… (Creating unforgettable family memories was so important to her.)
18. She wrote beautiful poetry.
19. She was brilliantly creative. Together she, and my dad, won several national essay contests, including a grand prize trip to the ’88 summer Olympic games in Soule Korea!
20. She told the most chilling ghost stories. The one that stands out most in my mind was about a creepy night predator named Jonathon Baxter (which also happens to be the name of my brother’s best childhood friend).
21. She was the coolest mom in the neighborhood…that’s why our house was always brimming with children (and teenagers).

Mom and the kids from the neighborhood

22. When my friend’s moms were filling their days with selfish projects (or preoccupied with having a clean house), my mom was busy playing with her children. She wasn’t afraid to get dirty in the sandbox with us, or to hop on her bike and accompany us to the nearest gas station for penny candy. She built snowmen with us, rolled down hills with us, and even slept out on the tramp with us. She wasn’t just our mom, but the best friend any kid could ask for.
23. She always tuned the intercom system to FM 100 while cleaning the house. (It’s my favorite radio station, because almost every song, reminds me of her).
24. She always wore bright colorful clothing, which is also very indicative of her personality. (Years after her passing, my dad and step mom had quilts made for each of us, out of my moms clothing. That quilt is probably my most cherished possession).
25. At least once a year, we could plan on mom coming down with a case of Laryngitis (losing her voice in its entirety, for several days).
26. She was her husband’s biggest fan…together, they made a great team.

27. She was an advocate for her children.
28. She had a passion for Disney. Her favorite ride was It’s a small World…

Mom with her two favorite and hubby

29. It wasn’t uncommon for her to put a cute little note in our school lunches…we never doubted that she was crazy about us.
30. In my childhood I was plagued with frequent leg aches. Mom would apply this mentholated deep heating liquid to my legs, and literally rub them for hours (or at least until I fell asleep).
31. She had an incredibly weak stomach, and gagged every time we entered a public restroom. (This one just cracks me up…and always has!)
32. She had the most difficult pregnancies. She suffered with morning sickness the entire 9 months (with all 7). When she was pregnant with my youngest sister,her life was threatened by a pulmonary embolism (blot clot in the lung). She had to give herself shots of heparin for the remaining 6 months of her pregnancy; and, after giving birth, had to have her tubes tied.

33. Does that tell you how much she revered Motherhood?

Mom bringing me home from the Hospital May '77

Just the 3 of us

Yeah...that's me too

Can you believe she let me leave the house with that hair doo...let alone stand in the family picture? (I probably would have disowned my daughter...)

34. Her favorite time of the year was Christmas. Sadly, that’s also when Heavenly Father saw fit to call her home, making it a bitter-sweet holiday for those she left behind.

Mom (pregnant with her 6th), Grandma, and me...

35. She made the best Christmas caramels and licorice…mmmm, they were to die for…
36. She pampered us when we were sick, spoiling us with Popsicles and Sprite…and little toys or stuffed animals. She rarely left our side either, when we were sick.
37. She read the book Les Miserables when she was young, and fell in love with the story. She was so excited when she heard that the Broadway musical would be coming to Salt Lake. I know that it was a huge sacrifice for my parents to take our whole family to see the show… The next summer, when the company came for the second time, she just took me. We both had chills, and were in tears, when the orchestra began the overture. I can’t think of the beautiful story of “Les Mis”, without thinking of mom, too.
38. If my mom ever had to work, she always found things that she could do from the home. I remember when I was really young, mom was a waitress, but she never left unless dad could be home with us. That was very important to her. (Who could forget some of the crazy things she did? The Brighton Chalets. Prepping movies. Setting store schematics. Telemarketing. Somehow she always roped us (her family) into her nutty ventures, but really…how could we resist that woman?
39. She was our greatest cheerleader…never missing a game, recital, performance, show, meet, competition. And she always encouraged us to magnify our talents, try new things, and pursue our dreams.
40. She came up with great systems (household chores, incentive programs, budgets, etc.).
41. Her laughter was infectious (I can still hear it ringing in my ears, loud and boisterous). She was hilarious, and such a ham! (As evidenced in these photos!)

I was trying to pose, and mom kept popping her head up just before the picture was taken. She did it like 5 or 6 a row!

Here she is sick and suffering, yet still maintains her sense of humor...

42. She once called me a “fruit bum” in front of a guy I really really liked. She had never called me that before. I had to convince the guy that it was just something totally random that my mom had come up with, and that there was definitely not a story behind it.
43. She loved birthdays and holidays, and went all out! One year, for an April Fools Day prank, she dipped some Big Red gum in cinnamon oil, let it dry, re-wrapped it, and then gave me a piece. The oil totally burned my mouth and left red sores around my lips!

this is what she did for my dad's 4oth

The new room I got for my 8th birthday, she worked so hard on that (and managed to keep it a secret until my birthday).

She always made our costumes, never did the cheesy store bought ones. I was a witch like 4 years in a row...(the juicy, homemade scar was my dad's work of art)!

44. She mixed up her words a lot. i.e. she might have said something like “did you say your pajamas and put on your prayers?” (that was actually a line from a song she taught us, but nonetheless, this is what I’m talking about). Dad called it the Chris Pitts disease. One year for Christmas, I had asked for a New Kids on the Block tape. So mom went to the music store, walked right up to the counter, and confidently asked for the latest album by “The New Boys around the Corner”.
45. She was always optimistic, and looked for the positive in every person, thing, and situation.
46. She felt a special tenderness for animals, and even bugs. If ever we found an insect in the house, rather than smash it, she would have my dad capture it, and then release it out in it's natural habitat. (Dad, remember mom's claim to have heard a spider scream, just before you were about to kill it with a stick?)
47. She loved music. Loved to teach us songs. Loved to sing in the car on family vacations. Had a beautiful voice.
48. She didn’t aspire for the “things of this earth”, but rather, for spiritual blessings.
49. She was a true disciple (in every sense of the word) of Christ. Rather than turn her back to the homeless man, she succored him, and cared for him. (Who remembers Gibson? That’s right; she knew him by his name.) She visited the sick, and the sinners in prison. Once she even stayed home from Sacrament meeting (my dad was speaking that day), to bail out a woman’s basement that had flooded. You ask, What would Jesus do? Well, that’s what Chris Pitts did.
50. When asked (on her death bed), “Do you ever wonder why this is happening to you?”
Why not me?” was her unselfish reply.
51. She is the most selfless, optimistic, genial, free-spirited, blissful, charitable, fun loving, pure, and Christ-like individual I have ever known...and I am proud to call her...MOM!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

lentes nuevos...

ha ha...I look like a deer in the headlights!

Yep, that's right...I finally broke down and got a new pair of glasses. I tell ya, I was in desperate need. Just have not wanted to spend that kind of money on a new pair...especially since I only wear them at night, (after the contacts come out). I've had my old pair since right before my mission (so I guess that makes them like 8 years old). Those poor frames couldn't take much more epoxy, and the left lens went missing about a month ago! Oh was time! Sorry Matt, I guess we can't be twinners anymore. (We got matching frames just before we entered the MTC in '99...dang, I wish I had a picture of that!)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

from this week...

Ruby with her friend Nicole

Ruby sitting in Ruby Hovden's high chair from 1920

ha ha ha ha ha...

Oh what parents will do to make their children laugh...

Friday, March 23, 2007

roy rogers who?

Tonight we went to a ward progressive dinner, in the which John and I were definitely the "babies" of the group. We talked a lot about how the times have changed, and how sad it is that the kids of this generation are too young to know or remember anything about certain people (that made an impact), or events, or things. One of the sisters (who is a school teacher) told us that some of her students don't even know what a record player is. When she said something about Ben-Hur to them, they looked at her like...huh? And (this, I can't imagine), some of them had never even heard of Mozart. She said that one boy went to the music store wanting to get a CD of the band "mozart", and came back disappointed because the employee had never heard of that band either.
Another sister then said, "If you think that's bad, I met someone who didn't have a clue who Roy Rogers was!" Everyone started laughing, including John and myself (I wasn't about to admit that I really had never heard of the guy). They must have observed, amidst all the laughter, our looks of confusion, because they then asked "wait do you guys even know who he is?" When I replied "uh...well...the name sounds familiar...", their high pitched shrills turned into howling laughter...and then John and I joined in, of course!

But I was just wondering...should I know who Roy Rogers is?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

cords n' things...

Why is it that babies are always interested in everything but their toys? Cell phones. Remotes. Cameras. Computers. long as it's something they shouldn't be playing with. If you're not careful, they may shred the pages of your favorite book, or seize all the "breakable" household items. It's just weird.
A few weeks ago, I gave Ruby a couple toys, in hopes of keeping her busy and entertained, while I got ready for the day. After a few minutes, I could tell that she was bored, as she veered away from the toys, toward my purse that had been lying on the floor. I watched as she reached inside and grabbed, of all things, a bottle of pills! It served as a perfect rattle, which kept her entertained (under my supervision), for a good 45 minutes!
Yesterday, she started to get fussy while we were over at the church setting up for New Beginnings. I gave her a role of tape. She hated it. I gave her my necklace. No thanks. My keys. Old news mom. She wasn't happy until she had figured a way to pull herself up and nab the scissors that were sitting on a chair!

I swear, if I don't scrutinize her every single move, she wont live to see her 1st birthday...

Ruby is so infatuated with cords...

...and here she is eating a cardboard tag...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"perfect love casteth out all fear..."

I'm currently serving as the second counselor in the Young Women's Presidency of our ward. I've always dreamed of working with the young women, so when I received the call to serve in this capacity, I was super excited. For the first couple of months, however, I wasn't sure how well I was received by the girls...I felt pretty insecure, afraid of my responsibilities, and, I'll even admit, a bit intimidated by the girls.
But tonight something magical occurred...
We had our New beginnings night, and all the girls attended with their parents. I was sitting in a row up front with the YW President, the 1st Counselor, and Jenny (the Laurel that was conducting). Our chairs were positioned so that we were able to look out into the audience. Just as a side note, something that people may not know about me is that I love to "people watch". (Actually, my Dad does know this about me because the two of us sat at Disney Land, for over an hour or two, and veritably watched hundreds of people pass us by, while the rest of our group went on rides. We've talked about that experience several times since, as we were able to make some interesting observations.) So back to my story...As I looked out over the group of girls and their parents, the Spirit touched me, and literally burned within my bosom. I was overwhelmed by the love I felt for each and every girl in that room. As I looked at each beautiful face, I felt almost like I could see deep into their souls. What is she thinking? What does she feel? What is her home life like? Does she have many friends? What trials might she be facing? What are her hopes and dreams? What are her fears? My eyes welled with tears. I could hardly contain myself. I wanted to shout out (to each one individually), I love you, and your Father in Heaven Loves you even understand your self worth? My thoughts drifted back to when I was a young teen, I remembered (at times) feeling so weak, so vulnerable, so insignificant, so mediocre... My good parents, often (in such sweet and loving ways ), reassured me of my self worth. That I was important, talented, that I had a lot to offer. But, despite their efforts, I so often felt small and inconsequential. (I now realize that those insecurities came from the adversary in his efforts to demoralize me...)
As I looked at these beautiful girls, I so badly wanted them to know and feel for themselves what I felt, and what their parents must feel, and what their Heavenly Parents feel. Each so special, and unique, so important, so needed. I feel so blessed and so privileged to work with these beautiful, talented, gifted, individuals; and I no longer feel intimidated, or afraid...for perfect love casteth out all fear...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


When Ruby was born, my friend (who is an ASL interpreter), gave me the Baby Signing Time DVDs, which are supposed to teach babies to communicate long before they can actually speak (some even before 9 months). It teaches ASL signs for simple words such as eat, drink, water, milk, mom, dad, etc. When Ruby was about three months old, I started putting them on for her, and she was completely hooked from the very beginning. (Of course at that point I could have put her in front of The Grudge, and she would have been equally as obsessed.) Anyway, she's watched the DVDs practically on a daily basis for the past 6 months; and, the other day, I witnessed the fruits of my labor (not that it was really all that difficult to plop her in front of the TV)! But anyway, the other day we were sitting in Stake conference, and Ruby started to fuss a little. I figured she was hungry, and tired, and probably ready for her bottle. I had packed one in the diaper bag, but, before pulling it out, I did the sign for milk, simply to see if she would react...and she did! As soon as she saw me signing to her, she immediately arched her back, flung her head back, and lay flat and stiff, in my lap...just as she does every time we give her her bottle. Need I remind you that it was still tucked away in her diaper bag? I hadn't even said the word milk (or bottle), she just knew, simply by my signing it! John and I were flabbergasted! I thought that it may have been just a funny coincidence, but later that afternoon, I tried it again, and you'll never believe what happened...SHE SIGNED IT BACK! (I then rewarded her with a nice, warm, delicious bottle of milk!

I was hoping to be able to capture it on video...unfortunately, she became a little camera shy, and feisty (notice how she kicks her dad)! Here's our attempt anyway... (watch her little hand).

Monday, March 19, 2007

men of god

OK, so some may find this a little strange...Why, you ask, under the title Men of God, did she post pictures of Bishop Burton and Howard W. Hunter? Of course, we all know that they truly are men of God, but why these two...together? Well, this weekend we had our Stake Conference, and had the rare opportunity of having a General Authority preside over the meetings. Bishop Burton was invited to come, and oh how I felt the spirit of God when he spoke. Saturday at the adult session, he shared a scripture that I love, actually have always loved, and am very familiar with. But for some reason, as he read it that night, I felt like it was meant for I needed to hear it in that very moment.

And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and
eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise
and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
Alma 37:7

This particular scripture especially felt significant as a missionary, when I young and small, in a big city, surrounded by millions of people...
But, I realized (on Saturday) that the Lord still needs me, as small as I am, he needs little me to help build his kingdom. What am I doing to bring about the salvation of souls? the question I've been pondering over the weekend and especially today.

On Sunday, when he addressed us, Bishop Burton went down the line of prophets (beginning with Joseph Fielding Smith), and shared a personal experience that he had had with each one. I was particularly touched as he shared his story about President Hunter (I think it's because President Hunter has always had a special place in my heart to begin with). He said that years ago, he (Bishop Burton) was assigned to preside over a stake conference somewhere in California. The first thing the stake president said to him when he greeted him at the airport was, "Are the rumors true?"
"What rumors would you be referring to President?" replied Bishop Burton.
"Well the rumors that President Hunter will be attending our Stake Conference."
"No, I'm sorry, those rumors are not true." And they left it at that.
Well, lo and behold, just before the adult session was about to begin, the two chapels each overflowing with saints, in walks President Hunter, the Prophet of the Church! He walked right over to Bishop Burton and apologized for neglecting to tell him that he would be coming!
When the meeting was over, Bishop Burton had some business to attend to, and was gone for an hour and a half. When he returned, President Hunter was still shaking the hands of the saints, and it was almost 10:00 PM! What love he exemplified, in his life and during his ministry as our Beloved Prophet!

I remember, going to the dedication of the Bountiful Temple; and being overwhelmed by the feeling of love I felt for him, (as he wheeled in the room in a wheel chair), and the power of the Spirit that was present (even though we watched it on video), as he said the dedicatory prayer, and then the Hosanna Shout.

I still remember where I was the day he died. I was a senior in High School, and in a group called P.R.I.D.E. (peers responsible in drug education). We traveled to elementary schools, and junior high schools, and in a very fun way (through song and dance), admonished the students of the imperils of drug and alcohol abuse. We had been on tour in Saint George, and, in between shows, as we were warming up, one of our advisers came in the gym and said "I know several of you are Mormon, and I just wanted to let you know that your Prophet passed away."
But he just became our Prophet, I thought. But He was so loving, and so kind, and it's too soon to have to say goodbye. I was devastated...we all were. And this is the part I will never, in a million years, forget. My friend Matt, in the sweetest, most angelic voice I have ever heard, sang the familiar words, We thank thee oh God for a Prophet...
We all joined in, and came together close, and put our arms around each other, and sounded like a choir of Heavenly Angels, as we (through our tears), paid tribute to our Beloved Howard W. Hunter. I will never forget the way I felt that moment. The Spirit carried me through that day, and for several days, and even weeks after that...

I love all the Prophets, but when I think of President Hunter, I think of a quiet, sweet, humble, loving man. Do you know what his grave marker says? It says:
A Prophet, and a kind, patient, courteous, forgiving man. I never met him personally, but, to me, these words describe everything he represented and exemplified. I can't wait to meet him someday...
I am grateful to Bishop Burton, for sharing such a sweet sweet story with us.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

her widdle teefers...

Ruby cut two new (bottom) teeth today. Now she has four on the top, and four on the bottom. My girl...she's just growin' up too dang fast!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

a bit o' the irish...

My mom was seriously the cutest mom ever when it came to celebrating the holidays. Whether is was Christmas or just weird ol' St. Patty's Day...she went all out!
Every year on St. Patrick's Day, she started off by making us green pancakes or french toast, with a glass of either green juice or milk (that she had added green food coloring to). Then, she sent us off to school with the most creative lunches imaginable. A sandwich made with bright green bread (a little embarrassing to eat), green apples, usually some broccoli and celery, and some kind of treat, and drink, in green packaging. That was her tradition, and we loved it.

These fun and unique customs did not end with her passing, because (in an effort to keep her memory alive for all of us kids), my dad continued to carry them out...and still does to this day. (Even when I was on my mission, I got a St. Patty's Day package from him, that included every conceivable green treat.) I wish I was there to see what he did for the family this year! (What did you do dad?)

Well in honor of my mom (and dad), I decided to carry on the crazy tradition by putting, just a drop or two, of green food coloring into Ruby's bottle. The fact that it was a different color didn't even faze her, as she chugged it down in record time...

O' Ruby enjoying her St. Patrick's Day treat

The O'Eagleston Family enjoying a St. Patrick's Day lunch at Chili's

PS. Dad, I want to make "White Irishman" tonight...will you share your secret?

my funny girl...

Ruby has a new trick!
I looked over the other day and she had done this (with her shirt)...

I thought it was pretty funny (and cute) that she could do that all by herself. Needless to say, I helped her put it back on, and then watched as she quickly did it again...

She is a girl after her mother's own heart (no, I'm not a stripper)...but, I do (quite often) get tired of what I'm wearing, and it's not uncommon for me to change my outfit a couple of times a day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

christmas in march!

Tonight, our next door neighbor gave us this...

It's a two year old, 56 inch, big screen, HD TV! We couldn't quite understand why he would just be giving it away...until we saw the brand new upgraded version in his living room (WOW! I don't think I've ever seen a TV that big!) Anyway, John and I were happy to take the old one off his hands, (as we've always wanted a big screen, just haven't been able to justify spending the money to get one)! It's so funny because we really don't have a spot for it, but couldn't pass it up...I mean how often does someone just give you something like strings attached?!

All night we've been shifting and rearranging furniture (just trying to make it fit)...all the while as giddy as two kids in the candy store!