Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Obituary of Rosalie Mastaler('s youth)

Rosalie Master, wife, mother, and musician, passed on quietly in the early morning hours of March 11th 2015 into adulthood. She is thirty years old.

The day was March 11th, 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed de facto leader of the Soviet Union, while Mohamed Al-Fayed purchased the London-based department store company Harrods. Elsewhere, in Whittier California, Rosalie Munden was born.

Rosalie led a simple, fairly normal childhood in the town of Apple Valley. During her formative years she had several life defining moments. One of those moments was visiting Disneyland at the age of eight. Though her parents were going through a divorce at the time, and she got lost at one point while exploring the magic kingdom, it became a light in a time of confusion and sadness. Thus began a lifelong obsession that she would share with family and friends, and eventually pass down to her own children.

Music drew Rosalie in at an early age. She recalls playing around on her babysitter’s piano when she was in kindergarten. Another girl was taking lessons at the time, and she started exploring her lesson books, hungry for the music that was already brewing inside her. In fourth grade, Rosalie learned how to read the treble clef in band class. She played the flute. Music became a sixth sense to Rosalie and throughout her life. Between lessons, band, and choir Rosalie developed her skills focusing mainly on piano and voice. She has been a part of many musical ensembles from her early years as a Phat Cat Sw!nger to A Penny A Kiss, an Andrews Sisters tribute band.

Her love for music extends to musical theater. Rosalie is a self-branded Broadway geek and has seen many incredible shows from California to the New York Island. She recently saw her favorite show, Wicked, for the fifth time, and it’s estimated that through her lifetime she will see it at least a dozen more times. Not only does she love to watch, she loves to perform in shows, her favorite roles being Ado Annie from Oklahoma and Mayzie from Seussical the Musical. Both characters are flirtatious and vivacious, not unlike Rosalie.

Rosalie’s life would change forever when she was sixteen years old and met Michael Mastaler. Michael and Rosalie were in the same seminary class, but he wouldn’t formally introduce himself until she attended one of his baseball games. Rosalie was dating one of Michael’s teammates at the time but before long Michael would sweep her off her feet and they would be inseparable. The relationship ran its course and as most angst filled youthful romances go, it ended. They went their separate ways. Michael left to Tennessee to serve a two year mission and Rosalie ventured to New York to become a nanny.

Ever the adventurer, Rosalie thrived in New York. She met many friends, ate street meat, saw shows on Broadway, and explored to her hearts content. When the time came for her to return home to Apple Valley Rosalie wasn’t ready to give up her travels. She signed up for the International Language Program to teach English in Russia.

Things were not all smooth sailing, however. As Rosalie prepared to leave for Russia, Michael returned home from his mission. The two quickly rekindled their romance (in Hawaii no less) and decided that they wanted to make their relationship eternal. Resolutely, Rosalie left for Russia, knowing in her heart it was the right thing to do but missing him every step of her journey.

Her six months in Russia passed quickly as she taught the Russian children. She enjoyed many new cultural experiences, and her sun-kissed California skin somehow survived the coldest winter Moscow experienced in over eighty years, though ice was not her friend. She traveled across Europe visiting Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Holland, and France. Her time in Russia both fulfilled and fueled her love of travel. Tolkien wrote that not all who wandered are lost and though she traveled the world her feet were firmly planted. (This is the part where I add that Rosalie met Melissa Marsden in Russia. Melissa had also left her beloved behind, and while they didn’t know it then, they were forging a friendship that would last a lifetime and beyond. Not only did they have a lot in common, Melissa was gorgeous and talented, so it was obvious to see why Rosalie would be drawn to her).

She returned to California and to her Michael and hours upon returning to the United States he would propose on one knee in her beloved Disneyland. On August 12th 2006 they were sealed for time and all eternity in the San Diego temple. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

Those early years of marriage were busy and happy. Rosalie took a job with the town of Apple Valley. She also started teaching private piano and voice lessons. Michael went through the Police Academy and began his career as an officer for the city of Rialto. She also participated in local musical theater. They bought a home and moved to Hesperia.

It wasn’t long before Rosalie and Michael wanted to start a family. After two years of hoping and praying Rosalie and Michael welcomed their first son, Hunter Michael to their family. As it turned out, marriage and motherhood would prove to be Rosalie’s greatest adventure. Rosalie quit her job for the town of Apple Valley in order to be a stay at home mother to Hunter, though she continued teaching music. Motherhood doesn’t come easy for anyone, but Rosalie embraced every challenge. She was so grateful for the opportunity to be a mother and rose to every challenge. She was then, and is now, her children’s greatest champion.

In January 2012 during a routine doctor’s visit to confirm the gender of their second child, Elle, Rosalie and Michael were devastated to learn that their daughter had Turner Syndrome, a chromosomal defect that would claim her life. Rosalie was told that the chances of Elle’s survival to birth were extremely slim. She was given the choice to terminate the pregnancy or to let Elle pass naturally. The choice was difficult. She asked herself if her baby was in pain, if she was at risk physically, if she would be able to cope emotionally. In an act of pure faith, Rosalie decided to give Elle every possible chance for life. To carry Elle until Father in Heaven decided to take her home.  A few grueling weeks later an ultrasound revealed that Elle had passed, and on January 31st 2012 Rosalie bravely delivered her stillborn daughter.

Rosalie’s grief at the passing of her daughter was absolute, yet she found eternal hope in the atonement of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. It was through that hope that she was able to continue as a wife and a mother and a teacher though her heart was broken. It was through that hope that she decided to bring another child into their family. On June 5th 2013 Cade Porter joined the Mastaler family. He brought with him the joy that all new babies bring, however, the joy was felt more deeply because of the sorrow that had been her constant companion. Cade also brought healing, and though Rosalie would miss her daughter all her life Cade was a miracle that renewed and rejuvenated her.

Rosalie, now a mother of two energetic boys worked from son up to son down. She busied herself doing the things she loved most: teaching and playing music (she now had more private students than ever before and was also teaching Kindermusic from her home), planning elaborate events for and with the people she loved, starting and performing with A Penny A Kiss, keeping up with her long distance best friends over the phone, and of course being a wife and a mother. Rosalie supported Michael while he earned his bachelor’s degree. Rosalie was a hard worker. She did what she loved and loved what she did. Nearly every aspect of her life was pinterest worthy, from the parties she orchestrated to the homemade crafts she created to decorate her home. The Mastalers enjoyed family weddings, trips to Disneyland, and a Disney cruise. Life rolled along pleasantly and time ebbed away.

Unfortunately, as indicative of her past, the final hour of Rosalie’s youth culminated in tragedy. On 
February 8th, 2015 Hunter was seriously injured in an accident involving Jango, Michael’s police dog. Time stood still as Hunter was treated in the hospital. Rosalie prayed fervently, and implored all those close to her to pray for Hunter, to pray that his foot would be saved. Regrettably, this was not to be. The thousands of prayers offered in behalf of Hunter were heard, but the answer received was a trial Rosalie couldn’t imagine. Hunter’s foot could not be saved, despite the valiant efforts of the surgeons and other medical professionals. In her darkest hours, Rosalie didn’t turn angrily away from God. Her faith was not shaken. Rather, she turned to God and begged for the strength she and her family would need to continue onward, and onward they go.

The nature of the tragedy caused a community to pull together in support of the Mastalers. Friends and strangers rallied behind them offering assistance of every kind. The response was overwhelming but not surprising. Rosalie’s constant friendship and consistent devotion to those who are in her life inspire people to give and serve. It was as much a reflection on Rosalie’s character as the scope of the tragedy that the support was given. 

If this were an actual eulogy, I suppose at her funeral it would be fitting to sing the hymn Press Forward Saints:
Press forward, Saints, with steadfast faith in Christ,
With hope’s bright flame alight in heart and mind,
With love of God and love of all mankind.
Press forward, feasting on the word of Christ.
Receive his name, rejoicing in his might.
Come unto God; find everlasting light.
Press on, enduring in the ways of Christ.
His love proclaim thru days of mortal strife.
Thus saith our God: “Ye have eternal life!”
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Fortunately, this obituary is merely a symbol of Rosalie’s passing youth. The passing of Rosalie’s youth is marked in celebration, rather than sorrow, for the wisest of us knows that growing older is a privilege. This is simply a new beginning. The start of a brand new adventure for the bravest of explorers. At her core, Rosalie is compassion and snark. Empathy and sarcasm. Comedy and tragedy. Beauty and pain. The perfect combination of trepidation and courage. That is the thing. Rosalie’s life has proven to be a thing of beauty peppered with personal tragedy. Rosalie isn’t and never will be defined by the tragedies that have befallen her, rather, she is defined by her strength and resilience in the face of those trials.

So happy thirtieth birthday, dear Rosalie. Your steadfastness in every aspect of your life in times of happiness and mourning inspire friends and strangers alike. May your next thirty years bring as much beauty (and none of the sorrow) as the last thirty years.



Friday, March 6, 2015

{February 2015}

We can hardly believe it's February with all the beautiful spring weather. We've been busting out our short sleeve shirts and ditching the long pants, but as always, the weather can be unpredictable and ranges from extremely cold to warm on any given day.

Hannah: Hannah got to participate in two color runs this month. The first was a fundraiser for Forbuss. Her class earned enough money to race a toy pig, and she was selected to race it for her teacher. Afterwards, her teacher let her take home the pig, which she named Diamond. The second color run was our traditional family run that starts on Fremont Street. It was the fourth year our family participated, and Hannah walked the entire 5k by herself. We were very proud of her! We threw a Valentine's day party at our home, and Hannah got to pick out the prizes and decorations. She was very into Valentine's day this year, and worked hard at writing each of her classmate's names on her My Little Pony valentines.

Paige: It was so fun for Paige to be in preschool this month because she was so excited to celebrate Valentine's day with her class. They passed out cards and candy, and they even made cupcakes for their mommies. Paige dutifully gave me my cupcake and then requested that I share. This month she's been very adamant about sharing because that's what they learned about in Primary. She's been a little apprehensive about Primary, but with her new teachers Peter (not Peter Pan) and his wife Sister H or Sister Two (we don't know why she calls her sister two, her real name is Elise Hervoyavitch) she's been a little bit better about attending. Paige insisted on participating in the Forbuss color run, and she ran alongside Mrs. McCormac the entire time. She told me, "I like Mrs. McCormac because she doesn't have a mad face. She also ran our traditional family color run, and ran the whole thing minus one kilometer in which she rode on her Daddy's back.

Sam: Sam continues to get stronger and more vocal. After his illness in January Sam was thrown off his sleep schedule and I started swaddling him to get him to sleep. It worked out so well, and he loved it. Sometimes he'd wake up mad that he couldn't move but he can struggle right out of it. More than any of us, Sam is LOVING the beautiful weather and enjoys feeling the sunshine on his face. Sam wasn't quite sure what to think of the Color Run, but in the end he enjoyed it. Sam is a very easy going baby, but he's entering a busy stage and it's hard for Mommy and Daddy to keep up. His personality shows more and more each day, and we are getting to know and love this sweet spirit even better.

Our family was excited when Grandma and Grandpa Marsden came for a visit! The kids were so happy to have their undivided attention. We took them a few different places like the new park and Town Square, but mostly we just hung around and played toys. It's always fun when Grandma and Grandpa come!

Tragedy struck on February 8th when our dear friend Hunter Mastaler was attacked by his father's police dog and sustained injuries that led to the amputation of his lower left leg. We were all so devastated, and it was quite scary for all of us. However, it was also a time to thank Heavenly Father for protecting Hunter's life and Hunter's parents are trying to locate the tender mercies that have come out of this, which are abundant. I was able to start a GoFundMe page for Hunter, which to date has raised almost eighteen thousand dollars. I wrote:

On February 8th, 2015, four-year-old Hunter was seriously injured when he was attacked by a dog. The injury caused severe damage to the arteries and veins in his leg. As a result of this terrible accident, Hunter's leg had to be amputated a few inches below the knee, and he will receive a prosthetic in its place. 
Hunter's road to recovery is one that will continue long after he leaves the hospital. Please consider a donation that will aid in enriching Hunter's life through development camps, educational opportunities, prosthetic equipment, and quality of life. 

The Mastaler family appreciates the overwhelming love and support.

"You've got your mommy's eyes, so big and so bright.
You look out on the world, ready for flight.
You've got your daddy's charm and good disposition. 
This life is your mission. 
Ready, set, GO!"

Hunter's Song
by Rosalie Mastaler

Finally, the best news of the month came in the form of Jack Timothy Marsden, my first nephew, who was born on February 24th. He is the HANDSOME son of Sean and Lindsey, and I adore him with all my heart! I can't wait to meet the handsome guy, and kiss him all over from his fuzzy head to his wiggly toes! 


February 1 · 
Help! Samuel is a biter! He bites me HARD every time I nurse him, the little stinker. BOTH sides. I'm at a loss... I don't want to quit nursing him. Is there anything I can do? Hannah and Paige both bit me a handful of times but never like this. And he has six teeth too. Not cool, bro.

I missed this guy's eight month mark on February 2nd! 
Little Dude loves making mischief. He crawls around to find cords and plug ins and all sorts of danger. He enjoys all foods, especially foods he can chew on like macaroni and cheese. He has a total of six teeth and loves to use them, often when mommy is nursing him...ouch! He loves to clap and will do it on command, he is our little Mimic and will say buh buh or ma ma ma. He is the happiest baby on the block, and has the funniest machine gun laugh. He loves to laugh when other people are laughing. He loves everyone but especially loves his mama.

Sitting down to watch Big Hero 6 for family movie night.

Last Saturday we watched a movie after dinner. During the middle of the week the girls started suggesting movies for tonight, and when they came up with a really good one they'd say, "We can watch that during another family movie night!" I guess a new tradition has been born, although, it's not THAT new...growing up at Tim and Margie's SeanMegan, and I would enjoy a family movie every Saturday after working all day around the house and in the yard. There is nowhere I'd rather be on a Saturday night than with Adam and the kiddos.

I'm on the few final rows of my first knitted blanket for my first nephew. It's been a really fun way to love Jack and honor my grandma but I'm really looking forward to reading again!!!!!

Poor Hannah slipped and smacked her chin on the table causing her to bite her lip tonight. I told her she was in trouble because we aren't supposed to bite people.

I talked to Rosalie tonight, and boy is she amazing. She talked about the emotional pain and trauma that their family is enduring, but then she told me about every single miracle that has occurred in the past 48+ hours. She is focusing on the very many tender mercies that are manifesting in every detail of this tragedy. She talked about the hope for the future, and all the wonderful things Hunter has in store for him. I've known Rosalie for over nine years now, and I've watched her overcome many trials from the little troubles to life changing tragedies. She is a warrior mama, and that little boy has two champion parents. Please continue to pray for their family at this difficult time, and know that every single one of them is a hero to me.

Sam has a new trick. He gives sweet hugs and smiles and offers his binkie to us as if to say "I love you." Sweet guy.

I'm going to let you in on a nerdy little secret. When I was in high school I refused to read most the books I was assigned. In fact, I think I only read two books assigned to me in English class (Cry, the Beloved Country and Their Eyes Were Watching God---both of which I LOVED). I don't know why that was. What can I say, I'm a stinker. So over the past six years or so I've been swallowing my pride and going back and reading those assigned novels I should have been reading the whole time. Surprise, surprise, they are the books that blow me away. I started To Kill A Mockingbird yesterday and can't put it down. Everything about it is phenomenal. I'm trying to figure out how to convince Adam to name our next son or daughter Atticus or Harper.

This morning Hannah stood on the edge of the bathtub and leaped off onto the floor. She's usually not so daring, and when she'd stuck her landing she said, "Mom! I was born to do that!" I smiled and validated her while reminding her not to jump off things or she might get hurt, but it made me think. How often do we accomplish things which seem incredible in our limited imagination and we declare that we were born to do it, while our Father in Heaven smiles and validates, but thinks, "My child, you were born for so much more."

I was surprised to wake up and discover that Las Vegas got some snow last night. It would probably look more impressive if the rain didn't wash it away.

Hannah's class is going to computers today so Adam is going to be Hannah's specials teacher. When I asked Hannah last week what she was going to call him, Daddy or Mr. Turney, she said she wasn't sure yet. I asked her again as I dropped her off for school she said, "I'm going to call him Mr. Turney, so that the other kids don't know he's my dad."
Oh man. Burn.

I'm so in love with this picture. My baby brother became a daddy today. I'm dying to meet my nephew Jack Timothy (8lbs 15oz). I am one proud auntie! Special props to the beautiful and incomparable mother, Lindsey, my amazing sister-in-law who is not pictured but deserves a standing ovation for this boy. Thanks, Sean and Linds for this beautiful boy! I'm lucky to be his auntie!

Working on some Pre-K skills. I'm getting a little nervous for all day kindergarten for this little stinker. It's still a year and a half away but one can never be too prepared!

So our school district will most likely be transitioning to mandatory full-day kindergarten starting next year, and I'm already stressing out about sending Paige to school all day in a year and a half. It kind of makes me want to throw up.

A few days ago Adam and I asked the girls if they HAD to pick which parent they would live with. Both of them said Mommy AND Daddy. So Adam said, "would you rather live with Daddy in California or Mommy in Utah."
"UTAH, UTAH!!!!" they shouted, though I feel like it has less to do with me and more to do with Utah. So then he said, "would you rather live with Mommy in Utah or Daddy in California, and you'll get to have your own TV in your room and your own phone."
Of course.