Mom Memories

by her family

One time while in high school, we were at some sort of ward party and I was hanging out at the dessert table with my friends (this was before dinner, of course). We had each taken a cookie, or maybe 2. And mom came over and made everyone put them back and get away from the table. I managed to palm one and she didn’t notice it so after we got away from the table I showed my friends the cookie and their response was “how did you do that??.”
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Mom never doubted when I told her that I had had a spiritual impression. I think it would have been really hard on any mother to go through planning (and paying!) for a wedding before the groom was even off his mission! I loved the time I was able to spend with Mom figuring out how to decorate for the reception, finding my dress, and catching up after my mission.
I loved going places with mom, mostly because she would often stop and get us a soda. We probably drove her crazy when we started keeping track of how many sodas each kid had gotten.

We were at a waterpark and I had went down a slide and was confused as to why mom wouldn’t enjoy such a fun activity. She asked how deep it was, to which I told her I think I touched the bottom, and she finally got the courage to go down the slide herself. She soon found out that the water was 10 feet deep and couldn’t touch the ground. She ended up being rescued by the lifeguards. She knew that she couldn’t swim, but she sacrificed (in love of her kids) to make happy memories for us. (sorry mom)

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My Dad really liked Denise and he told me that on several occasions. He always liked her no nonsense approach to getting things done. He liked that she was willing to be stern with you kids when needed. He noticed that you generally did what she told you to do. He loved our casual dress, wedding rehearsal. He especially liked the red sneakers Denise wore.

I remember waking up early and opening Benjamin’s present one year and playing with it before everyone woke up. I was all “to infinity and beyond” playing with Buzz lightyear before mom woke up infuriated and set me straight.

Nothing was too hard for mom. I remember, she really really wanted Jeremy to get his swimming merit badge, so she found a pool that did swim lessons for kids with special needs, and we went to the pool-was it every day one summer? it was a lot! And that pool was not particularly close either. But she did it and I never heard her complain. And Jeremy did get that merit badge.

One time we went to Circle K and mom was going just to get herself a Dr. Pepper. I was young, and I wanted a candy bar, so I asked mom if we could get it. She said no, so I thought I would outsmart her and take it anyways. We made it to the car, where I pulled out the chocolate bar and realized that I couldn’t open the wrapper by myself, so I asked mom if she could open it for me. She got mad and told me that was stealing and made me go give back the candy bar and apologize for what I had done.
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Mom has always driven me to work so I didn’t have to walk.
I remember feeling like I was waking up REALLY EARLY during the summer we dug out the whole backyard, just to find Mom outside all sweaty because she had been up working at least an hour before me. She usually worked after our one hour chore time in the morning too. I don’t ever remember her complaining about digging up the yard, or how we were too lazy to work outside with her longer. She was just happy to have us out for the hour at 5 or 6 am and would usually treat us with a soda.
Mom threw me a surprise birthday party when I turned 18. She was inspired when I commented that there wasn’t anything fun to do at our house, that’s why I never invited friends over. Her plans were nearly foiled, however, when I got off work super early that day. I remember Anna Hurst stalling for time saying things like “oh, come with me, I have to go home and feed my animals” and “I didn’t get you a birthday present yet, let’s go to Walmart” (then we walked every single aisle of walmart). It was weird for me to have all my friends at my house but we had fun.
I liked it when Mom used to make me finish the last part of the casseroles.
When we were decorating the cultural hall for my wedding reception, Mom and Linda Tanner got to talking and laughing like they did. I really enjoyed watching her be so goofy and happy.
Halloween every year with mom- She always made soup, dressed as a witch (and the kids hated soup), and we all had to eat all the soup before being allowed to go out on Halloween (Edit: Kayla: Wait, really?!?! I thought I was the only one who hated that soup!)
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I used to pull weeds in the yard and that taught me to work.
I will always remember how mom tried to go to every one of my baseball games, even though we fought almost every day about me having a girlfriend. She would keep the scorecard and was always so supportive of me when she knew it meant a lot to me.

Mom has never hesitated to share her testimony-building experiences with me. While at BYU, she would call to tell me about a special miracle Heavenly Father had performed in her behalf, or certain ways the spirit had touched her at different church events (I remember particularly a call after going to see the Easter Pageant). I wish that I had recorded the different spiritual lessons she had shared with me from time to time.

Best April Fools joke ever was the time we told mom the truth and she didn’t believe us, haha. I’m not sure why she wanted a newspaper that day but Jeremy and I had been sent to walk to Circle K for a paper. When we got there, they were out. So on the way home we took the plastic bag that mom had given us to hold the newspaper (we may have been guilty of dropping sections of the paper on our way home before, haha), and we filled that bag with rocks. Jeremy ran ahead with his bag of rocks, laughing like crazy and tells mom that they were out of newspapers. Mom didn’t believe him. So she kept asking me and it took several minutes before she was convinced. I suspect she went and checked Circle K herself later that day just to be sure.
I used to make everyone's lunches and I would take two packs of cookies and not pack a sandwich!
One year, Mom told me about the "story behind the dresses" I received. She had been in the mall shopping and had a prompting to go to DIlliard's and found my sage green dress with the rhinestone embroidery on top at a great price! I also remember looking for my senior prom dress. We were exhausted and about to give up, then we found the teal shiny dress, at a great price! We noticed it was missing a belt, so we got an additional 10% off the dress. Shopping with mom taught me that the spirit can guide you in all areas of your life, even to find awesome deals on clothes. Heavenly Father gives us tender mercies that are for US, to feel of HIS LOVE. A similar experience happened when we found my wedding dress. We found it at a great price and then we were able to alter it at a great price.
I also loved the time when me and Mom were ordinance workers and served in Mesa
I remember having the cast on my leg and I would go to the temple no matter what.
Mom was always trying to get my friends to come over to our house as opposed to having us go over to other friend’s houses, so one time she went out and bought a ton of super soakers and water balloon launchers and told us to go out and have fun. When we were playing, she made cookies and made my friends wanted to come over again.
Mom hated having to sign so many papers for school. Dad actually taught me how to sign his name at on point and told me I could sign my own school papers. I only ever actually did it once. I mostly just kept bringing all my papers to mom and hearing her complain about how school were supposed to give kids homework, not parents.
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I remember making hamburgers.
Yesterday Joshua wanted to take some pictures with moms ipad and asked If he can download the Facebook app. Mom said yes but make sure you delete it when you are done. Joshua asked why? Mom said that it would distract from her scripture study. That taught me Mom cares more about the gospel than anything else in the world.
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Mom has always been really good at making dinners.
Right before my mission one day Mom was worried about Joshua. She did not know where he was. I went into another room to ask in prayer to help mom. I came back and told her everything would be alright and that I knew where he was. Mom left to go to Tolleson to find Joshua. She found Joshua in the same place where I told her to look. After returning home she said you are prepared to go on a Mission.
Another person that really liked Denise was her Dad, Frank Bird. I remember a rather stern discussion I received one time. I was told that when we were out together, I was responsible for her safety and need to be properly prepared for that. ( I think I got that after we went on a trip and planned to cook our lunch over a campfire. I did not bring any matches to light the fire.) But I also remember the light and joy in his eyes when he spoke about her.
Mom has done a good job of teaching us the gospel so we can stay on the straight and narrow path.
Freshman year in high school, Mom would make me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for lunch, and she would make me two on every day I had a baseball game. I would trade the sandwiches she made with other members for other goodies, but the entire team knew that whatever my mom put into those sandwiches before placing them in my batman lunchbox made them the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches they had ever had. The team always commented on how it must have been so delicious because they were made with love, and that’s obviously the truth.
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One time, a cashier at a grocery store gave mom too much change. She went back to fix the error, and told me afterward that if she hadn’t gone back, she would not have been worthy to go in the temple, and that was more important to her than the effort it took to go and fix the mistake. I have done the same thing a few times now and it always makes me think of her.
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I never could figure out why mom, as a self-proclaimed non-swimmer, would take 5 kids to Sunsplash on her own. (I am a swimmer, but I don’t dare take more than 2 of my kids swimming on my own!) But she really enjoyed it.
I remember Mom taking me to OT so I could speak clearly.
I remember mom being a very busy person for most of my childhood. She was always going to meetings with schools, therapy appointments, mom and dad tried hard to give us lots of opportunities. They rarely if ever said no if one of us wanted to join a club or play a sport or try something new. They even let me be on a soccer team one year, during which time I remembered thinking how stupid I was to think that I would like soccer. I didn’t. But at least I learned.
Mom taught me to read the scriptures so I could have the spirit to be with me.
I loved the fact that Mom and Dad always let me go to McDonalds with my friends after church dances. I had several friends who weren’t allowed to go because of curfews, but I was allowed.
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Mom went with me to girls’ camp one year. I remember that year our ward got 2 addys (not sure how we spelled that) and everyone in the ward wanted to be in the same one. I had to be in the empty one with mom, and eventually a few girls reluctantly volunteered to join us in the empty one. By the end of the week, all the girls were jealous of our addy because we didn’t have mice, and our cabin mom didn’t try to sing us to sleep like Sister McCleery did. I remember one girl actually telling me “I didn’t realize your mom was so cool!” This was news to me. I never thought of my mom as cool. But the truth is, I probably really did have one of the coolest moms out there.

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One time I was shopping with Mom and she was trying to figure out different styles I liked. We were at Kohl’s and she asked if I liked the sweater with “this thing-a-ma-bop” on it. I told her “Yes, Mom, I do like scarves”. We both laughed really hard in the middle of Kohl’s.
For Christmas one year, I was sick. Mom had purchased apple cider since I liked it. That was my favorite present that year!
I used to hide otter pops in my clothes and casually take a bath to eat them so no one would hear me opening them. Sometimes I would take 2 baths a day!
I don't remember exactly what it was that happened, but late last night, Mom woke me up to tell me sorry for lying to me. She was in tears and said that Heavenly Father would not forgive her if she did not repent. That taught me how important her relationship with Heavenly Father was to her.
After working at U-haul one day, I had felt prompted to go to the mall and purchase more modest shirts, one that would cover the temple garment when I were to wear it. Mom and I headed to Arrowhead mall and found a few shirts for less than $10 each. The spirit had guided me to good deals for listening to his prompting. On the way home, I was driving and singing the EFY song "Beautiful to Him". As I did so, Mom reminded me that I really was beautiful to my Heavenly Father, especially for desiring to be more modest.
One time we were camping in the back yard and mom came out and read scary stories to me. I got too scared and ended up sleeping in the house that night.
When I was young up into high school, mom helped me so much practicing baseball in the backyard and at the church. She was patient with me and would pitch to me. She got hit by more wiffle balls and popcorn kernels than any other mom ever has.
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I remember being young and whenever something bad would happen, mom would sit all of the kids down to try to figure out who “did it”. She would call each of us into her room, and interrogate us with her flipper. Being honest and responsible was always something that was very important to her, and she always taught us as a family how to be better.
Mom has always helped me look for shoes.
Mom has always been good at doing her callings at church, like working in the temple and playing the organ.