Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We have been busy unpacking.  Here is a bit of the progress.  We have a lot more toys sprinkled throughout the house than these pictures lead you to believe.  We still have a bit of work to do...all in due time.  Hey, we can sleep and eat...my priorities are still in tact. 

A visit with friends.

We were lucky enough to visit with our friends the Schvaneveldt's while they were in AZ for the week.  We feel so lucky for us to have visitors so early after our move.  It's like we haven't left home yet.  Check out some photos from our trip to the Scottsdale Artfest on her blog Andiland. Andrea is an amazing photographer so it was fun to see her photos from the day.

I was so happy to finally meet her sweet 3 month old daughter, Mara Jane.  She is the tiniest little bundle, it was so nice to snuggle her.  I tell you all these babies are giving me the fever.  I remind myself how sleepless I am right now and it temporarily goes away.  

While she was out we met up several times and she even took our family pictures in old town Scottsdale.  It has such a country Arizona vibe, it was so much fun.  I'm so excited about them.  I can't wait to share them and shop for holiday cards, if I decide to add that to my "to do" list?  My favorite adventure was our trip to the Children's Museum of Phoenix.  I never been to a more creative kids space.  Chloe was elated by all the kids and the freedom to explore everywhere.  We promptly became members (a generous gift from Kevin's parents).  Chloe and I plan on making it a weekly day trip, tons of photos to come soon.

Thanksgiving, Phoenix style.

A casual morning at home.  We stayed in our pj's but used the good china...just the way I like it.  My goal is to use our china as often as possible, each day should be celebrated, right?  So here we are jammies and bedhead. 

In the afternoon we met up with Kevin's college roomate Brent, his wife Katie, their 11 month old daughter and their family at their relative place in Scottsdale.  It was so nice to be invited and enjoy a nice holiday meal with so many friendly people and to watch the girls play together.  Between the pool, rocks and box of beer bottles they got into lots of mischief.  It was great entertainment and a work out.

The evening brought out lots of emotions as we connected with family over the phone and realized this was our first Thanksgiving or holiday for that matter without the rest of the family.  I realized I REALLY missed my mom.  So moments more than others.  That was one of the intense moments.

Thanksgiving will always be my favorite holiday.  There is nothing that feels better than being thankful and with family.  Delicious food doesn't hurt either.  I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?

Special indeed.

Rifle Paper Co. card $4.50.

There really isn't anything more special.  No matter how old you are, Mothers are wonderful. 

Did I mention my childhood friend, Michelle just became a momma?  Her little Sawyer George couldn't be more precious.  We travel to CA in a week to meet him and give our congrats in person.  I can't wait!  We've been anxiously anticipating his arrival.  It's so hard not to be there with them right now.  We've known each other since we were 4.  Now our children are growing up together, pure magic to have friends for that long.  It's unique bond for sure.  Here he is:
Pure sweetness, brand new baby+momma moment.

Rifle Paper Co. makes beautiful paper, I'm addicted to perusing their site.  Thought I'd pass on the good stuff (wink).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


OH HAPPY DAY's blog, DIY Alphabet Pie Topper. 

Now isn't this the prettiest pie topper you've ever laid eyes on?  The quote is a perfect reminder for me this season, and always really.  I plan to make one of my very own, to use as a table centerpiece.

As for my grateful heart, I am thankful for:
The love of my life, Kevin Russell-
his constant love, support, humor, brains & companionship
(and major good looks)
Our precious daughter, Chloe Elizabeth-
her wild personality, giggles, hugs & kisses, her bright spirit
(and the way she says "my momma")
My loving family both small and large
The gift of Motherhood
For my health and positive outlook
For life- joys & pains
A home, a car, and so many basic comforts I take for granted
For a new place with TWO bathrooms & a washer and dryer (so exciting!)
For luxuries like abundant food, hot showers and a big tub to soak in
For laughter, friendship, handwritten cards, creativity, sunshine, the shelter of trees, the beauty of nature...

For days like today when we take extra time to remember to be truly grateful...for all our treasures.

Jannelle Lyn Bergman, my momma.

"Feet, what do I need them for, when I have wings to fly?"-Frida Kahlo

My mom's Obituary reads;
JANELLE LYN BERGMAN (DAWES) 59, of Temecula, passed away Monday morning. A Temecula native, Janelle was born July 3rd, 1952 to Robert Dawes and Connie Slaughter at Fallbrook Hospital. She grew up in Temecula when the town population was a friendly 200. Her parents owned and operated the first restaurant in Old Town, The Rite Spot, on the corner of Front and Main Streets and the B-Bar-H Cafe. Janelle attended Temecula Union School and Elsinore Union High School, class of 1970.

In 1976 she moved to Portland, Oregon where she attended Multnomah School of the Bible and traveled to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and surrounding areas. While in Oregon, she met her first husband and gave birth to her two daughters, Lisa Marie Locklin and Sara Elizabeth Bergman. In 1984, she returned to her hometown of Temecula.

1987 was a pivotal year for Janelle. Her son, Aaron Joseph Bergman, was born and she began her twenty-year career as a Jazzercise instructor. Janelle founded the local Temecula branch of Jazzercise and attracted a crowd that grew to be hundreds of students and lifelong friends. She was a driven entrepreneur who loved to dance, foster community and teach the principles of health, movement, and the importance of having fun. After a seven year struggle with cancer, Janelle passed peacefully in her home on October 31st, 2011.

Janelle's family includes her three children: son AJ Bergman of Temecula; daughter Sara Bergman of Oakland; daughter Lisa Locklin, son-in-law Kevin Locklin, and granddaughter Chloe Locklin of Phoenix; husband Peter Poole of Temecula and his three children; mother Connie Slaughter of Temecula; step-father Frank Slaughter of Temecula; sister Denice Enochs of Wildomar; brother Steven Slaughter of Temecula; brother Eric Slaughter of Murrieta and his family. She is preceded in death by her father Robert Dawes and brother Bobby Dawes.

Services will be held at 11am on Sunday, November 13th at the Temecula Cemetery. Contributions can be made to : Hospice of the Valley 25240 Hancock Ave #120, Murrieta, CA 92562-5991 (951) 200-7800

Service was held the morning of November 13th.  It was a beautiful sunny fall day. We opened with,

The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

My mom's Eulogy;
Janelle was born July 3rd, 1952 to Robert Dawes and Connie Slaughter. She grew up here in Temecula and spent her early years close with her older sister Denice at their parents’ restaurant, The Rite Spot. Janelle also spent much time with her beloved Grandma Bertie. She attended Temecula Union Elementary and then Elsinore Union High School, where she was a cheerleader for both the high school sports teams and her boyfriend Louie’s band, December’s Children. One of her favorite memories was of late nights dancing in Elsinore at the Lakeview Hotel with her dear Louie. She also fell in love with the ocean at an early age, listening to the waves in Oceanside, where she would return for peace throughout her life.

In 1971 she moved to Portland, Oregon where she attended Multnomah School of the Bible. Janelle traveled to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and surrounding areas. On an archaeological dig in Beersheba, Israel, she uncovered an amphora jug that provided a historical link of trading in the Middle East. Janelle also worked at Youth for Christ as a counselor and really found herself in the work of guiding and advising youth. While in Portland, she met her first husband, Bruce Bergman, and spent much time with his family out at their farm in rural Oregon. There they picked berries, played games and read books next to the wood stove; Janelle content with her new big family. In Portland, Janelle and Bruce bought their first home where they welcomed their daughter, Lisa Marie. Years later, they dreamt of a community farm in Ashland where they purchased land overlooking Immigrant Lake and had their second daughter, Sara Elizabeth.

In 1984, Janelle, Bruce and their two daughters returned to Janelle’s hometown of Temecula, where a few years later her son, Aaron Joseph, was born, 10lbs. 6oz. worth waiting for. After AJ’s birth, she then began her twenty-year career as a Jazzercise instructor. Janelle founded the local Temecula branch of Jazzercise and attracted a crowd that grew to be hundreds of students and lifelong friends. She was a driven entrepreneur who loved to dance, foster community and teach the principles of health, movement, and the importance of having fun.

In the early 1990’s, Janelle and Bruce separated. Janelle worked very hard as a single mother, and always cultivated a warm home with an open door for all friends and family. She obtained her license as a massage therapist and felt invigorated by her work at the Murrieta Day Spa. Once again, Janelle found herself in this work of serving others. During this time, Janelle met her second husband, Peter Poole. The two found companionship working together at Mount Palomar Winery, traveling to Europe, and hosting dinner parties with their friends. With Peter, she enjoyed the company of his children and visiting his grandchildren, Poppy and Leo, on the Oregon coast.

Shortly thereafter, Janelle was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout numerous diagnoses and treatments, she showed a strength of spirit and will to live that astounded even her doctors. While her illness compromised much of her physical ability, she enjoyed spending Saturdays giggling with her sister Denice, late-night apple pies with her brother Steve, and long philosophical conversations with her brother Eric. The family dogs, Shorty, Biggie and Rita, were among Janelle’s favorite characters, and always kept her feet warm. Just last year, her rambunctious little granddaughter, Chloe Elizabeth, was born to her daughter Lisa and son-in-law Kevin. Through her last days, Chloe provided her with immense joy and belly-aching laughter.

After a seven-year struggle with cancer, Janelle passed peacefully in her home on the morning of Monday October 31st, 2011.

Closing with, Hopi Prayer:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow
I am the sunLight on the ripened grain
I am the gently falling autumn rain

When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift upLighting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starLight at night
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.


I am so thankful that she was my mother.  I've mentioned this before but it will forever be fitting;
"I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights." -Terri Guillemets.  She is continuing to help me grow daily.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Week.

We are settling in...

...kind of.

We left my mom's home after days of sorting through her precious belongings (We still have weeks of sorting ahead of us, down the road.).  I was flooded with emotions leaving to travel to our new home in Arizona.  A state which I have so little familiarity with and a support system of possibly two.  Other than my beloved.  I think I sobbed for hours before leaving and most of thirty minutes in the car too.  Leaving my sister and brother was the hardest part.  Knowing what the feelings they were navigating through too.  It just felt right to all be together.

We have been here in North Phoenix for officially a week now.  It feels disorienting and lonely most days.  Without a schedule, friends to meet up with or my mom to call with recent Chloe updates.  Though the evenings together with Kevin and our little miss are precious.  We've been so tired, our heads generally hit the pillow near 9pm these days.

We have boxes to sort through, art to hang and closets to organize but we are taking our time.  With a toddler unpacking is nearly impossible without someone to help entertain and distract.  Not to mention, I feel a little shell-shocked still.  There are so many things about death that you never know until you experience it so closely.  I'm still getting flash backs of our last moments together, of saying goodbye...
I have so much to share yet not the right words.

Sunday, the 13th of November was her funeral service.  The details of the day will forever be imprinted in my mind.  Waking that morning, getting dressed, putting on my mom's pearls,  skipping breakfast, carrying her urn to the car, the wind blowing through the trees, our bouncing girl in a black lace dress on Kevin's knee.  My sister speaking so eloquently while I held onto my brothers knee, so tight.  So many people and so love surrounding us, yet such sadness.  

We've been here one week, our kitchen is unpacked and that is the most important part, right?  We can sleep & we can eat.  Everything else will come with time.  Although, I need to find some Merry to bring to the holidays ahead.  Perhaps some pumpkin pie will bring that out?  Let's hope.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just can't seem to sleep.

It's been a couple weeks since I could fall asleep with ease.  Even though I feel exhausted...I lay there and toss and turn, then a few hours later little miss wakes.  Time to nurse, then toss and turn a little more.  October 11th, I got the call to come home to be with my Mama.  Even before then, she's been on my mind constantly.

It's been four days since she passed away and it feels like a shock, still.  I feel so protective of our little family bubble and the time here in her home town, amongst all her beautiful things.  Reading old cards, her writings, hearing her voice here with me, wrapping myself up in her clothes, remembering what it feels like to hold her hand, kiss her cheek, smell her perfume and look at her lovely red-painted toes during evening foot rubs.  I don't want time to pass and feel further away from her physical presence.  I feel her presence here but though it seems selfish, I want her here in entirety.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Yesterday morning, October 31, while the moon was still out, my dear sweet Mama took her last breath.  I was able to be there with her in the early hours following, when hearing is still present.  I will feel forever blessed to have that time with her to say goodbye.  I haven't words to describe the day as the moments are too fresh, personal and raw to be written about publicly.  She has impacted my life beyond measure and her absence in every moment is palpable.

The outpouring of kindness from loved ones is felt throughout our family.  Thank you for your kind words, flowers and meals.  We so appreciate the extra nourishment on every level.
My beautiful Mama on Mother's Day 2011.

Our little owl.

Though yesterday was the toughest day I have experienced, I still decided to dress our little owl up for the holiday.  My mom would have wanted it that way.  I dressed Chloe up a few days prior so my mom could see her as a tiny little owl.  My mom exclaimed with delight, "Look at you!" when she saw her.  I'm so glad I did.  Those are the last words I remember my mom saying.

Here is our little sweet perched on the lawn in all her cuteness.  Mama's are allowed to be biased, right?  As I expected she did not want to wear the hat so I got a few shots before she threw it and ran to play in the sticks.  Such was the day, pretty muddy but Chloe was the bright spot that evening.

I took lots of photos but had trouble with the camera.  Kevin was in Phoenix so I didn't have tech support on hand.  Thank goodness Grandpa Bill and Grandma Karen were there to help blow bubbles and chase Chloe out of the street while I snapped a few pictures.  I'm happy with a few special shots to remember as the years go by.  This last one is extra special, with her standing in front of Gramsy (my Mom's) house.  Our Halloween may not have been happy but it was filled with memories I will cherish forever.
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