Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obituary of a Lovely Lady

Vontella Burr Farr, 101, returned to her heavenly home and her eternal companion on August 20, 2009. She was born August 5, 1908 in Burrville, Utah to William Clark and Emma Constance Olsen Burr. She married Elvin Erastus Farr, September 28, 1929 in Sparks, Nevada; their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

She dedicated her life to her husband and family. She deeply loved being a mother and a grandmother. She loved to learn. She knew the value of hard work and her motto was "How can I help". She was loved and adored by her grandchildren for her kind and loving example. She touched the lives and hearts of many with her compassion, pure love and sense of humor.

She had an unwavering testimony of the Gospel, with a great love for her Savior. She faithfully fulfilled various church callings. She and her husband worked as ordinance workers in the Salt Lake Temple and served a mission at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center.

Vontella leaves behind her children: Betty Jean (Chester) Tillman, Alachua, Florida; JaneRae (Jack V., deceased) Smith, Centerville; E. Lyle (Shirleen), Greensburg, PA; Wayne L., deceased (Faye) Farr; Carma (Royal A.), Armstrong, Salt Lake City; Elizabeth (Lynn K.) Bryson, Enterprise; 35 grandchildren; 106 great-grandchildren; 27 great-great-grandchildren and two sisters, Lula Davis and Ada Neff, St. George.

Among many welcoming her into Heaven are her husband, Elvin; son, Wayne L; granddaughters, Diane Higley, Jolyn Armstrong; grandson, Alan W. Farr; great-grandsons, Brant A. Best and Benjamin W. Eberle.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, August 28, 2009 at the Centerville LDS 6th Ward Chapel, 900 South 400 East, Centerville, Utah. Friends and family may call Thursday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Russon Brothers Bountiful Mortuary, 295 North Main and Friday morning at the church one hour prior to services. Interment-Lakeview Cemetery, 1640 East Lakeview Drive. Bountiful.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gma Farr

Five Generations with Spouses.
Aug 2008.
Vontella Farr's 100th birthday.

My Great-Grandma Farr turned 101 earlier this month. On Thursday she passed away. I've been wondering how to write up this post since I heard the news. Years from now, I want Caleb to know what an influence this remarkable woman was on me. How her appreciation for the small things in life taught us all to slow down and lighten up.

I want him to know that she let us pick out whatever cereal we wanted when we went to visit. Even if it wasn't on sale. Even if she didn't have a coupon. Even if it had sugar. I want him to hear the stories she had to tell about the Native American Reservations and the friends she had when she was just a little girl. I want him to see the sparkle in her eye when she would talk about her husband-- a man who has been waiting for her to join him for twenty years.

I hope he knows how feisty she was. And how gentle. I want him to read the letters she wrote me. I want him to know that chicken soup and a handful of nuts can cure any illness-- at least according to Gma. I hope I can share with Caleb the pure joy she had when family was around. How she would never ever sit down to the table while people were eating, because she was shuffling around in the kitchen.

Most importantly, I hope I can teach Caleb that you don't have to be "important" in the eyes of the world to be important to those around you. I hope he can see that she shaped the lives of hundreds of people just by being a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a great-great grandmother. By loving the people surrounding her, she quite honestly changed their lives.

I don't know how to teach him these things, but I hope I can. I hope I can learn them for myself.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Big Apple

A few weeks ago, in between hospital admissions and surgery, we decided to escape the craziness of our lives and go someplace to relax... Of course, that means a trip to nice, calming, NYC, right?

OK, so at least we got out of our house and the hospital :)

My reason for going to NYC.

Pete's reason for going to NYC.

What Caleb thought about NYC.

Check out Caleb's expression. It's amazing.

We took the Staten Island Ferry over to the city (which is an awesome way to get to New York, I highly recommend it). Pete wanted to go check out a store called Bonobos where he's gotten a million pairs of pants in the past. That's right-- we went to NYC so that my husband could go shopping.

We spent the day wandering around, checking out the Bonobos headquarters and Canal Street. We looked at the construction going on to build the 9/11 memorial and wandered through Wall Street and the Financial District. Unfortunately, Tiffany's was closed so we didn't get to buy you all the trinkets I had planned, but maybe next time.

It was a great day and it reminded me why we like to be a family. Sometimes you forget that when you're rushing from appointment to appointment, from class to class and from playgroup to CHOP's ER.

We never remember to take family shots. Even though Caleb and I look ridiculous, I'm glad we have this one.

On the ferry ride there.

On the ferry ride back. Caleb, minus his pants. Oh well.

Since then we've been trying to get back into the swing of things. We're moving at the end of September so things are starting to feel hectic, even though there's nothing we can do right now. If it's not one thing, it's another, right?

My favorite picture of the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Don't forget to send me an email or leave a comment so that I can add you to our blog invitations.

It goes private tomorrow morning!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Death Panels

I have been anxiously watching the healthcare debate in hopes that both sides will give a little and we can get a compromise between all private and government run health care. This week this issue of "Death Panels" came out of nowhere and seems to be occupying the debate. While I don't believe that anything in this debate where there is SO much money on the line happens by chance, it is at least worth talking about.

Doctors do not like to talk about end of life care. We spend so much time trying to keep people alive with one more procedure or one more test in hopes of finding the magic bullet. It feels like the enemy lurking at the end every hallway.

I saw this week a sad example of waiting too long to have an honest discussion about end of life care. I "met" an elderly man who had long since shed any remaining parts of humanity and had become mostly machine. He was completely unresponsive and was drowning in his own saliva. He had not had a frank discussion with his doctors prior to getting sick about what kind of heroic measures he wanted. I am quite sure that if he had been conscious enough to make a decision he would have begged for the welcome relief from his worn out body.

It is no secret that we spend a ton of money on medical care in the last month of life. The number approaches 40% of every healthcare dollar spent. There are ethical issue here and no one is denying that. I believe, however, if the doctor and the patient would just sit down and have a frank discussion about end of life care, that a lot of wasted pain, suffering and money could be saved.

The patient, not the doctor, will be the one to decide when enough is enough. But the doctor and the patient need to talk more about it.

I can't understand why this is such an explosive issue. If you know anything about healthcare, you know that no one is going to pull the plug on grandma until the pt or the family member are darn well ready.

I hope that this coming week can be filled with a real debate about something actually found in one of the proposed bills. We don't need to make things up to debate about, there is plenty already there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

P Town Here We Come

Nope, I don't mean Provo. I mean Private. I never thought this day would come, but here it is.

Send me an email or leave me a comment with your email address if you would like an invitation to read our blog. Seriously, even if you are a blog stalker from a friend of a friend, let me know. We love being able to share our craziness with everyone-- just not crazy people :)

I'll check the comments every day and remove people's addresses. Or email me at
afarr04 {at} gmail {dot} com

I'll be changing it on August 18


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Yay! We're home! Caleb did really well last night and this morning, so they discharged him this afternoon. He's been such a trooper and we're so proud of him. He periodically pulls up his shirt, points to his new belly button and says, "Owies", but he's distracted pretty easily and he moves on.

The real hero in all of this though, is my mother-in-law. Pete's mom came down Friday night and stayed with Caleb for the night. It's one thing for grandparents to take the kids for a weekend trip, but it's another thing all together to come hang out in the hospital with a sick kid. Especially given that Caleb had just spent the day throwing up all over the place-- she was willing to handle it! Pete and I were able to sleep at home Friday night and it was the break we so desperately needed.

Between my parents coming up to stay with us on Wednesday and Pete's mom coming on Friday, we don't know how to appropriately show our thanks. You guys were wonderful!

Thanks for the support and prayers and words of comfort. We're hoping this is the last stay at CHOP for... umm... ever? Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Post-Op Day 2

Caleb has been having a little bit of trouble keeping food down-- and by a little bit of trouble, I mean, he's not keeping anything at all down.

He seems to go through cycles:

~Wake up happy
~Want to play
~Drink something
~Keep playing
~Realize that eating was a bad idea
~Get lethargic
~Throw up
~Go to sleep

So far we're staying positive and assuming that he just has an ileus which is rather common after surgery. It's a temporary paralysis of the intestines and it fixes itself on its own-- it just takes time. We're about to go down to have an X-ray of his abdomen, just to make sure that it's not anything more. (Plus we really just love spending tax payer money on medical tests-- kidding!)

Yesterday we were totally bummed that they wouldn't let us out of here. We figured that we would be able to eventually get him to eat and drink all on his own and we didn't need to wait around in the hospital for it to happen. We were wrong. Today Caleb's vomiting has consisted of gastric substances, meaning he's throwing up stomach acid and bile. And it's projectile. Is that enough detail for you? It should be, because seriously, it's gross.

So please keep your fingers crossed and pray to whatever Deity you pray to that Caleb will be able to keep his food down and his body will start functioning normally. We're ever so grateful that it's NOT something serious, but we would like to skip out on this joint.

He's hanging in there like the tough guy that he is, but it's sad to see him so defeated. We like the loud, obnoxious Caleb-- not the sad, lethargic one. And yes, you can remind me that I said that when he turns 13.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Caleb went through the surgery really well. He slept most of the day yesterday. My Mom and Dad came up to spend the day with him, which allowed Pete and I to get out of here for a little while.

He's thrown up every time he's had anything to eat, so we're just waiting for him to be able to keep food down before they can discharge us. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Family Fun

This past weekend we had two fantastic family gatherings on Pete's side of the family. We ate food, we played cards, we ate food, we told family stories, we ate food, we laughed at family jokes. And then we ate some food. I think that's how it went... I'm in a bit of a food coma. We're talking crabs, cheesecake, hamburgers, sausage, pasta salad, potato salad, seven layer bean dip, mint oreo brownies, I could go on....

Every year Pete's Grandma Knickerbocker's side of the family (I think... give me a break, I'm "new" at this) gets together for an annual crabfest. They all sit around a table and eat crabs-- for hours-- which means they get about 8 ounces of crab meat in total. Just kidding-- they are much more efficient at eating crabs than I am. I love this tradition though, because they do it at a time of year when there are not any holidays, so no one has any other obligations. Pete's cousins, Aunts and Uncles all come in and we have a blast. I'm really hoping that we'll be able to make it when we are who knows where for residency.

Anyway, this year, we added an extra get together, with another side of the family-- don't ask me how they are related-- its taken me this long to figure out the crabfest. :)

We all went out to Pete's parent's place and had a great cookout (see, more food!) and the cousins all played the in pool together. Caleb was completely soaked, several times. But he loved it!

So thanks Knickerbockers for being such a fun family :) I sure do love y'all.

He posed this way all on his own.

I swear he had a cute outfit on before he found the water!

But how can you complain with that grin?

****In other news, Caleb goes in for surgery tomorrow morning at 6:00 am. We should be in the hospital for one day, maybe two, provided everything goes as planned (which is silly, since we don't really have a plan). If they find that they have to resection part of the bowel, we'll be there for three or four days. All I can say is modern medicine is amazing!****