Saturday, October 27, 2012


It snowed a little here on Thursday and my kids were in Heaven. They went and got their friend, Sam, and spent hours outside. You would have thought they had never before seen snow.  Notice the angle of the camera? I was warm and snuggly inside watching through a window. I am way too smart to get cold on purpose.

And as Grandma requested...


There were many ways that skip manipulated me. Remember that he was practiced and quite good at it long before I ever showed up on his radar. But there were a few things that stand out in my mind.
He manipulated my parents. He gave our family low cost dental work, invited our family over to their house for meals or family home evenings, made sure that my parents knew how involved in our church he was, which church leaders he knew and had worked with, and made a point of letting them know how respected he was in the community, again name dropping.. My parents gradually began to trust him. There were times when they felt that something just wasn't right with him but the evidence of his greatness was overwhelming. Their hearts were telling them to be wary but they almost felt ashamed for doubting him.When he began singling me out more and more, again their gut instinct was telling them to intervene but in what? They had no way of knowing what was happening and so many others were dazzled, they just felt silly. Lesson here-ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! You may be wrong or hurt someones feelings but so what? This is your little one and they are more important than anyone Else! Looking back, my parents are heart sick that they let themselves be taken in by this guy, but they are no more at fault than I am. We were all victims.
He manipulated his wife. She knew what was happening. On one occasion, he had me in his bedroom with the door locked.  She came home early and came to her room and, finding it locked, asked what was going on. skip quickly had me hide in the bathroom before opening the door and taking her into the hall to talk. After a few minutes I could no longer hear voices so I came out. There they both were and when she saw me, she whirled around and marched out. skip turned to me, and while I don't remember the words, I remember the feeling he wanted me to feel, he was really angry, we were both in  trouble, and it was my fault. Later that day, Barbara (his wife) came to my door and without saying a word, handed me a note, then walked away. The gist of the note was to stay away from her husband or she would tell my mom. I wish she would have. But even though she absolutely knew what was happening, she kept her mouth shut and played the dutiful wife. Years later, after he was arrested for abusing another girl, the police went to find her over at the church. When they told her what had just happened, she passed out but got one thing out first, "The Burtons." Upon hearing that and knowing that was a new name to them, the Detectives did a little searching which led them to see that the Burtons had lived next door, years before, and were now in San Antonio, and they should probably talk to their daughter, Jodi (me). So I guess I have Barbara to thank. Shortly after this she was asked, "Why do you stay? Look at what he has done!" She answered, "What would I do without him? I would have no money and nobody would ever love me, only him." Obviously he had spent years breaking her down.. No matter what he did, she felt dependant on him.
He manipulated me. he manipulated me in many, many ways but I will only go into two. 1. If I ever refused him or even just avoided him, he would act like I was really hurting him and pout and act sad. At the same time he would refuse promised things to his kids or just be blatantly mean to them. His looks to me made it very clear that their unhappiness was my doing. It was well understood by all of his children that if they needed or wanted something, have Jodi ask for it. 2. One day while he had me in his gazebo, I told him that this just didn't feel right and that I thought people who were married shouldn't do this stuff with little girls. He told me that we knew each other in Heaven, before coming to Earth, and that this was Gods way for a man to show love to a woman. (a 13 year old woman?) and all of this was okay. How could I doubt him? He was a leader in my church so he must know more than I, right? Wow. Looking back on it, this makes me sick.
All in all, he knew what he was doing. But he was anything but unique. Pedophiles often follow a script of sorts, and skip was no exception.
I usually like to end on a happy note but there is nothing happy about abuse. I am really happy now and that is wonderful revenge though, huh?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Who wants cookies?

Two things from my children:.
Jain: "Do you know who I love most? Daddy, Grandma, Wendy, and Jeeter & Coda (dogs)."  I laughingly asked, "What about me?" She quickly answered, "I don't even like you that much because you're too strokey." I burst right out laughing! This is the same girl who, during her soccer game, kept yelling, "I love you mom!" Saying she didn't like me that much was not smart considering I was rolling out cookie dough.
Aleq: "Mom, do you realize how important your children are?"  I replied that daddy and my kids were the most important things in my whole world. Then he said, "Do you realize how happy your kids are because of you?" My heart almost burst and then melted. Now he is getting cookies!!

Friday, October 19, 2012


These are just some random pictures I found. They are lovely.

24 days before.

Believe ir not, I was actually much better here than at first. This is about 1.5 months after the stroke.

Ana Jain's blessing day. We did it at my moms instead of at the church. Notice my  feeding pump behind me. 5 months out.

My contraption to stretch my leg muscle. It hurt. A lot. about 9 months out.


Just now Tommy was telling me that I have to see the X Box that my neighbors have. Never mind that we already had one. He wants me to see a certain video game that they have.  He has it all figured out.
These neighbors live right behind us and there is a gate between our yards but my critters know that walking on grass is not my favorite thing in the world. So Tommy said we should all drive over and then Aleq could hold my hand as we walk in so I don't fall. He was very matter of fact about it.
It made me realize, again, how normal this all is to the kids. They had just had their 5th and 2nd birthdays and Ana Jain was only weeks old when I had my stroke. They either don't remember or, in Jain's case, have no reference for me before. That is both good and bad.
It is good because I am just mom. I have not really changed much in their minds. My slow pace, my frequent naps, my inability to fight back when Robert tackles me on the bed and they all take turns "getting" mama, (truth be told, I wouldn't fight back anyway), are all normal to them. They see my differences with their friends moms much the same way they see differences in hair color or shoe size. It makes us all easier to recognize but it's really unimportant.
It is bad for much the same reason, though. They don't see the stroke as the lightning strike, one in a million, freak act of nature that it was. When my friend had her 3rd baby and again when my sister-in-law had hers, Tommy remarked that it was time for them to have strokes. I had to explain that not every mom has a stroke. He and Aleq were quiet for a minute and then they started naming moms who are not strokey. It seemed to hit them hard that other families don't have this. That wasn't an isolated incident. They forget about our family's differences and then it smacks them in the face at times. I wish they could see the good outweighing the bad but at these moments all they see is STROKEY MOM. The moment usually passes quickly and we all go back to our healthy state of denial.
Another good thing we have been able to teach them is that every family has sadness and the stroke is ours (for now). Some families have sick children, some kids are not able to have both parents live with them, some people have bad things done to them, etc. We have tried to show them that we are actually very blessed.
The other day Jain got her kindergarten shots and they left bruises on her little legs. When she saw that, she looked at me in a panic and asked if that was going to make her strokey. I hugged her and assured her that she was safe. My heart broke. Although our lives have become so normal, she still knows that a stroke is a bad thing.
At times I just have to shake my head and sigh. None of this makes sense and it's so not fun.
But on the flip side, there wouldn't be nearly as much laughter in the house without strokey mom. They love when I try to say chicachica (from a song) and the half of the word won't come out, or when I try to run away from daddy and the only way they can tell is that I say I'm running.  I'm lucky I am so amusing!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Most Humiliating

Notice that this post is not called most embarrassing. Embarrassing implies humor (maybe for others)  or an eye roll at the very least. Humiliating is a whole different thing.
Did you know that many insurance companies have a million dollar cap per lifetime that they will pay? Ya, I didn't either. But sadly, I had reason to find out that little nugget of information. The first few months in the hospital cost dangerously close to that cap. Fortunately, on our policy, we had an out of pocket maximum. Unfortunately. I was in the hospital for the last few weeks of 2007, and the first few months of 2008 so we had to pay 2 years worth. I should have timed that better.
We were able to work out a payment plan with the University of Utah but they never seemed to get everything together.  Robert spent hours on the phone with different people in different departments, trying to make sure we had all the bills covered. But still we would receive letters from collection agencies demanding payment. Robert would have to call the attorneys and straighten things out and then call the U and add that payment to the total, asking every time, "Is this everything? There are no other bills?"
One day last year I was at home when I heard a knock on the door. When I answered, a man handed me some papers and said, "You've been served."
I was stunned into silence. I just stood there while he returned to his car. When I recovered enough to think, I looked around to see if any of my neighbors were out and had seen. They wouldn't have known anything but that didn't stop me from worrying. I then walked in the house, closed the door, and broke down crying. I mean really crying. It took me quite a few minutes before I could even call Robert and explain what had just happened.
He was furious! He immediately called the U and was not nice. He told them that his disabled wife had enough to worry about without answering the door to get a summons. He told them that we had never been late on a payment and this was THEIR oversight. They apologized and got supervisors and fell all over themselves trying to make it better.
I had people see me naked, had people shower me, had people help me in the bathroom, but nothing compares to that day. It was terrible.
Luckily that night, I got a foot massage. That made my day better.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Surgeries, Soccer & SEP

I have been too tired/busy to even think of posting this week. I think all the stress just got to me and all I have wanted to do is sleeep! But, being a mom  makes that impossible. How boring would my life be without my critters? Here is a quick summary of our week:
Robert:  He is healing well but still in some pain. His Doc found a hernia and removed it during the surgery, two birds, one stone. The pain is minimal, mostly annoying, and belts are now an enemy.
Jodi: Yesterday was 5 weeks from my hysterectomy. The infection I got after has been taken care of and I am feeling great. My Doc asked if I wanted a moment of silence for my periods. I answered emphatically, "No!" I have started back to exercising, as much as I didn't want to. When Jain saw me dressed  for the elliptical, she asked why I always have to exercise. I told her that it was really good for my body and that strokey moms can't jump on the trampoline, run around the yard, or play soccer like she can. That seemed to make sense to her but now she feels the need to tell me EVERY SINGLE TIME that she gets exercise. Good grief!
Aleq: He started a new pill 3 weeks ago. We had SEP conferences this week and finally it was a pleasant experience. His grades are always really high but behavior-wise... His teacher was all smiles and couldn't say enough about how fun he is to be around. He tells me every day how fun school is and that his teacher is so nice! Unlike previous pills, this one does not keep him awake all night, mellow him out like a zombie, or decrease/eliminate his appetite. It is like it is helping him control some impulses and allowing him to just be himself. Now others can see what we already know, that he is awesome!! He seems to be loving it. We have gotten our hopes up before, though, and about 5 weeks things seem to go south. We are all really hopeful.
Tommy: His SEP conference was great. He is doing really well in reading, math, etc. The only problem was his handwriting. He goes too fast and isn't always neat. I'm okay with that- maybe he will be a doctor. We went to dinner the other night and it was funny to watch him inch closer and closer until he was snuggled up next to Robert. That's normal for him but usually he ends up on our laps without us being fully aware of what is happening. I love it.
Ana Jain: She has school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday she notices the difference and asks when school is. Yesterday she told me that she has school on every tomorrow. She continues to love playing soccer and starts on Sunday to count the days until she gets to play again.  Her team name is the Pink Watermelons and she tells us that she is tough and always hustles. Super funny.
Our week was pleasantly normal. We needed this after our last few weeks.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Don't Tell Robert

I was asked to speak at my ward Relief Society on Thursday night. Actually Robert was supposed to speak with me but he REALLY didn't want to so he went and had his appendix out. He could have just said no. But it actually turned out better for me to go it alone. Most people in my ward know much of my history so I was able to talk about other aspects, mostly Robert. He hates being singled out and having me say things about him with him right there would have made him really uncomfortable. After, though, I realized that I had never written these stories down. Luckily, he never reads this blog so he will never know, unless someone tells him...
I don't remember this first thing at all, but my mom told me that it is one of the most tender moments she had ever seen. Very early after my stroke, while still in ICU, I woke up once and looked at my mom. Remember that most of my family only knew the sign language alphabet, so I spelled, "Tell Robert to leave me." Robert only caught some of what I had spelled so he had to have my mom tell him. Upon hearing what I had signed, he came to my bed, held my face so I had to look at him, and said, "You are my eternal companion and I will never leave you." My mom said she just stood there and cried.
We had our 9th Wedding Anniversary while I was in the hospital. Obviously we could not do much to celebrate but we both realized how precious it was to get to this day. So, Robert brought me flowers and a movie and we snuggled on my little bed. That was difficult due to my many tubes but we figured it out. It may not have been lavish but all we wanted that night (and every night) was to be together.
I have often felt guilty for all the changes, sacrifices, and things I have made impossible for our family to do together. But Robert is always incredulous when I apologize. He seems to honestly feel that we are all in this together and often remind me of some of the ways he and our kids have been blessed by all this. And he always points out that our family is doing very well and the most important thing is that our kids have their mommy with them.
Before my stroke, I had my voice on the voicemail. The stroke permanently changed my voice. For months Robert would call our home just to hear my voice.
Along those lines, my PT called my house once and left a message. When I returned his call, he asked if that was my voice. He could not believe the difference and even asked if I sang before.
This morning when we woke up, I asked Robert how he had slept. He replied that he had not slept well and that it's all my fault. Now, you might assume it is my snoring, sleep talking, or even stealing the covers but you would be wrong (for last night at least). When I was in the hospital, he would often get calls from the nurses requesting permission for something or letting him know of some crisis that had happened. He was almost afraid to go to sleep. Even when I lived with my mom he would get calls at strange hours from both my mom and me. He has never quite recovered from that and wakes often in the night. I am only slightly saddened by this because sometimes when he wakes up he snuggles up close. If I am awake enough to notice, it sure makes me happy.
There are so many stories about Robert and I could go on and on but for now, the pumpkin cookies need baking!
Oh, some more mommy proud stuff--
Jain's prayer from last night:
Heavenly Father, we love your son. His name is Jesus. I love Disneyland more than ice cream. I love You and Jesus more than Disneyland and ice cream.
Yesterday Robert asked Tommy if he had remembered to bring his jacket home from school. Tommy said that he mostly did. Robert understandably had no idea what this meant and asked Tommy to clarify. An exasperated boy looked up from his video game and said, "Dada, theres a high percentage that I did and a small percentage that I didn't." Percentage? What?
He and Robert were talking the other day and he said something that made Robert laugh. Tommy said, "Dada, I never know whats going to set you off."
I hope he never stops calling Robert Dada.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Can't Buy A Break!

As I have said before, "When it rains, it pours!"
The antibiotics I was on were not working so I started a new type. Should be no big deal, right? Wrong. Ever since the stroke, even the tiniest thing is huge to me and has me right down in bed.
Then, Friday Aleq was sick and stayed home from school. Really fun with the two of us trying to take care of each other. And then, out of the goodness of his heart, he shared his cold with me. Isn't he sweet?
Then Saturday night, Robert got really sick. I have never seen him in that much pain! I can handle a lot but seeing him hurting like that was almost more than I could take!
On Sunday night, Tommy got sick. So he slept on the floor in our room and stayed home Monday. That morning, Robert left early to try and see our doctor friend, Scott, and I was nowhere near up for driving so Jain missed school. Boy did I hear about that! I got a lecture about calling Roberts parents to drive her and how her friends and teacher would miss her. I won't be doing that again any time soon. That girl can lecture with the best of them!
Meanwhile, our friend, Scott examined Robert and thought it might be appendicitis. But he wasn't showing the classic symptoms so he ordered a CT scan. Sure enough, appendix. So he had it out last evening and came home this afternoon.
I broke down and called my sister, Wendy, and her daughter, Olivia, to clean my house and she even treated my kids to McDonald's. My ward has stepped up with rides, sitters, dinners and prayers. My wonderful brother, Matt, is bringing us dinner tomorrow. Roberts parents left on vacation today but yesterday they did everything they possibly could for both Robert and me,  and his dad even stayed at the hospital until very late so that I could be home with the kids and get some good sleep.
All in all it has been a very chaotic few days. I have been reduced to tears on more than one occasion. But we have been taken care of by everyone. Heaven knows it hasn't been ideal, but it could have been a disaster!!
And the kids loved it tonight when we had a picnic on our bedroom floor with Subway for dinner.  I guess even broken parents can be cool if you know the right tricks.