This week is a special week for me. I get to introduce you to my cousin, Wendy Neville. We are a little less than a year apart in age. We grew up near each other. Have you ever gone through a horrible trial, and there has been someone there to buoy you up? (I looked up the word buoy and it said: to keep afloat - to keep from sinking, and to sustain or encourage. That is the perfect word for what Wendy did for me.) Wendy had breast cancer 2 years before I was diagnosed. In fact, I was at the Cancer Walk with her right after I got a call to come back for a second mammogram. I was nervous and she calmed me down, and told me not to worry until there was something to worry about. Great advice! Pretty soon, there was something to worry about, and I called her - she told me everything she went through, and what I could expect. Then, as I continued on my breast cancer journey, she would call me every once in a while - always right when I needed to hear from her - and she would make me laugh, cry with me, let me vent, etc. She was there for me. She selflessly did for me what I didn't do for her during her trial, and I'm so thankful that she was there every step of the way. What a kind, loving person she is. I've learn lots of new things about Wendy and her family as I've interviewed her. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
KARA: "Tell us about yourself (talents, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc.). What makes you an Incredible Woman?"
WENDY: "Well, where do I begin? I'm the second oldest in my family, I have an older sister, Tina, and two younger brothers, Chris and Todd whom I love dearly!
I was born in Salt Lake City on January 9th 1967, yes I just turned 43! Scary, and I feel it too! Places I grew up in were Van Nuys, California, West Jordan, Utah and Layton, Utah. I currently live in Layton, Utah, I just could not leave this great city.
I recently went into the work force to help my son on his mission - that was hard for me because I stayed home for over twenty years raising my family and it was a big adjustment. I cried the first week driving to work, I felt guilty leaving my empty house. I work for the Davis School district and Sand Springs Elementary in their Functional Skills Unit, working with all the special needs children. This is my third year working and I've grown to love it. I love special needs children!!
Some talents, hmmm... I laugh at this because I feel that I'm the least talented person there is!! As I thought about it, there are some things that I feel I'm good at. First I feel that I'm very talented in being a mother and staying on top of things in the home. I'm not musically inclined, although I have always wanted to learn to play the piano. I love to sing in the choir at church and have done so for years and years - I don't have the most beautiful voice, but it's the singing that I love because music brings the spirit into the room and your life!! I guess you could say I'm talented in this area because I cannot read music at all, you just play through a song or play my notes, and I will get it and sing it.
I'm good at drawing and doing crafts - give me any craft and I will master it! I also have a knack at figuring things out when they break, I've fixed my washing machine twice. I have saved lots of money over the years by cutting my childrens' hair. I can cut all four of my boys hair in about 30 minutes. I got a system down and have their heads memorized! I can also talk like Donald Duck! (Wendy told me that she talks like this to the special needs kids at her job, and it gets their attention! Haha, that is so like her!)
Hobbies - well it is crafts when I can find the time. Family history work, writing in my journal, watching the Antiques Road Show, watching or reading about history, watching old movies and serving my family.
When I asked my boys what talents I have they all said, "Being a good mom, singing, cleaning, cooking (I hate cooking) and making sure they stay out of trouble."
Things I like are my favorite color (purple) first off, I guess I'm my Grandma Anderson's granddaughter, she loved purple too. I love Lilacs, sunsets, mash potatoes, kids, good music like Josh Groban and Christian music, rainbows, thunder and lightening, sitting on my porch when it rains, a good sense of humor ( you can get through anything with a sense of humor), hot chocolate ( even in the summer), and all Gods creations!!
Thing I dislike are bad breath, being constipated, not being able to sleep, someone who is not humble, a zit that needs to be popped, the ocean ( it scares me because of the constant movement and I have no control when I'm in it), clowns, seafood ( I don't like the fishy smell, maybe that's tied into the ocean thing) and people who are always over dramatic about everything!"
KARA: "Tell us about your family. Use one word to describe each of your kids, and your husband. What is a typical day like at your house?"
WENDY: "About my family... It all started when I was 16 yrs old and I met my husband. He had recently returned from his LDS mission (three days in fact) and he came to my stepbrother's mission homecoming because they were good friends in high school. He came around to hang out with my stepbrother, but really he was coming around to see me. My dad would not let us date because he said Kevin was too old for me, I was sad. So, I would sneak out my window at night and meet up with him and he would take me out on dates, that worked for a few months and then I got caught. That shut everything down for sometime and I did not speak to my dad for a long time. Then one day he called me into his office and told me I could go out with him once a month. I treasured those times! My senior year we dated all the time and I was engaged in December, we were married two months after I graduated on August 15th 1985 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Kevin is my husband - one word to describe him: Committed. He has been a wonderful husband, committed to me, our family, his job and church callings. I have never doubted his faithfulness to me, I have complete trust in him. He works for American Linen Supply Company or ALSCO. He is an internal auditor for the general office and his job requires him to travel all over the world. His international trips include Brazil, Italy, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. His current church calling is the 1st Councilor in the bishopric.
We have been blessed with five beautiful children and they have been a joy to have and to raise!! I never could imagine being a mother could be so much fun, I have loved every minute of it! Sometimes I feel that I don't deserve to be their mother, they are so good (So far).
Kasia Marie(age 22) is our oldest child - one word to describe her: Beautiful. Not only on the outside, but on the inside too. We couldn't ask for a better older sibling for her younger brothers, she has been a great example to her brothers. She has always had a kind heart and is a friend to everyone she meets. She is high strung, meaning she gets stressed easily. She was like that her whole life, always worrying. She excelled in school and has been working at America First Credit Union since she was 17 yrs old, it was the first job she ever applied for and got it! She married Cory Christensen on July 12 2007 in the Timpanogas Temple and they live in Utah. They are trying to expand their little family and she has been stressed because each month she is let down, I remind her that she is not in control, but Heavenly Father is and He will send them down when He is ready, so have fun practicing in the mean time! I could not have asked for a better daughter and I'm proud of her!
Casey(age 20) is next - one word to describe him: Honest. He has always been so honest with us that it is scary, he tells us things I wish I did not know at times. For instance, he would come home from school and tell me every detail of his day, girls he liked, when he would get in trouble and many other things. He was always happy from the time he was born and he was my only child that had blond hair and blue eyes. He thought he was adopted sometimes because he looked different from the other kids when he was younger. His hair is light brown now, but he still has those beautiful blue eyes. Sometimes people would come up and ask if Kasia and Casey had two different dads because Kasia was so dark and Casey was so light. Casey loves taking pictures and videos and always was doing stuff on the computer. He is so smart and good with his hands and good at problem solving. He did well in school and played football, although he did not play his senior year because he wanted to hang out in the stands (really he didn't like hitting people, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body). Casey is an Eagle Scout and accomplished this when he was 15 yrs old. He is currently serving an LDS mission for our church in South America, Bogota Colombia and has been gone one year on January 14th. I'm so proud of him!
Kyle(age 17) is my third - one word to describe him: Determined. He has never been afraid to try new things and he will work at it until he gets it! He was my most handsome baby when he was born, he had a full head of hair and before his blessing day I had to cut it. He looked like a little man with his hair parted on the side. He never liked to snuggle as a baby and still to this day he hates to be touched. I ask him, "What are you going to do when a girl wants to hold your hand or rub your arm or something?" He just says that it would drive him nuts, but he'll deal with it. Kyle is very athletic and his goal is to get a 4.0 in school, but he always gets a 3.9 something. He has wrestled and played football. He has taught himself to ride the unicycle, snowboard and play the drums. He saved his money and bought himself a drum set - sometimes I wonder why I said yes to that as I watch people walk by and stare at the house wondering what the noise is coming from our house. He is going to work at Camp Loll this summer and when Casey comes home he wants to work with Casey at Camp Loll too, before he leaves on his mission. Kyle is an Eagle Scout, he accomplished this when he was 13 yrs old and I'm very proud of him!
Caleb(age 13) is my next joy and one word to describe him: Obedient. I never have to tell him more than once to do something and he never makes me angry. If I raise my voice at him or seem to get mad at him he gets so sad - the thought of mom or dad being angry at him makes him so sad, which is so cute to me. He loves to read, read, read! Sometimes he reads two or three books at the same time and I don't know how he keeps all the characters straight. He loves World History and studying about the Civil War and World War II. He loves to collect different coins from other countries, he has several treasure chests full of money. Caleb has always been a momma's boy and always hugging me and giving me kisses, which makes up for the loss of loves that I did not get from Kyle. Caleb loves to snowboard and recently at the Canyons Ski Resort tried to go on the rail and fell and knocked himself out and got to have a toboggan ride down the mountain. He loves school and just got a 4.0 this last report card, he also is an Eagle Scout which he just earned in November and had his Eagle Award Ceremony January 10th 2010. I'm so proud of him!
Colby(age 12) is my surprise baby and one word to describe him: Enduring. I thought I was done having kids and I accomplished my goal of having my family of four before I turned thirty. He thought different and blessed our family 18 days after I turned thirty-one. He has endured much from the day he was born with health problems - he has been my most sickly child and I hope with age he will grow out of some things. When he was one week old he got RSV and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital and spent a week and a half in the hospital. He nearly died. The doctors told me he was the sickest baby on the floor and that he was very lucky to be alive. Colby has asthma (so does Caleb), but Colby has struggled with this so badly his whole life and has endured it well. When Colby was six he was attacked by our neighbor's dog and got his face bit up - that was horrible. We rushed him to the ER and the nurse came in and began giving him shots all over his face to numb him for stitching. His screams were all I could endure, I had to leave him with my husband and I stood outside the room and cried. When I returned the doctor came in and began stitching him up, he was screaming and screaming! The doctor said that he should not be screaming or feeling this and then questioned the nurse and found that she shot him with the wrong stuff and he was feeling everything. So, here we go again with shots all over the face to numb him and finally it worked. He had over 70 stitches in his face, looking at him now you would never know that happened because he was sewn up so well. It nearly killed me to see my child suffer and I wanted so badly to take his place, but this was a trial to endure and learn from. It gave me a glimpse of maybe how Heavenly Father must have felt when His Son was suffering and he had to watch it happen and allow it to happen to fulfill His plan. Colby loves sports and plays football and basketball, he is busy in scouts and is currently ranked a Star. I'm proud of him!
A typical day at our house? It starts out with scripture study at 6:30 am every morning followed with family prayer. Just like we won't send our kids out the door with no coat when it is cold, I don't want to send them out into the world without their Armor of God on to protect them from the evil they are surrounded by each day! With boys in the house it is never a dull moment, either broken bones or stitches. Lots of laughter, music, drums, fighting, screaming and farting. I have thought and wished that someone could find a way to make use of our "Natural Gas", like gas for our cars and stuff. Between my husband and my boys and myself we could fill up all four of our cars!! I love my home and the whole experience of being a mom, I would not trade it for anything in the world!"
Join us tomorrow for 2 more questions/answers from Wendy.