Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I adore the 4th of July; fireworks, watermelon, swimming, concerts, sparklers, cliche matching outfits being acceptable... it is the one holiday that I don't mind practically melting in the heat.

This year we were set to head down to Oklahoma to spend the holiday with my oldest brother and his kids, my mom, stepdad, and younger brothers.

Sunday night, after a surprise birthday get together for one of Gabe's oldest friends, I packed everyone's bags (except Gabe, man can pack himself) and measured out our ridiculous ration of diapers, extra underwear, formula, and little human snacks

Monday morning I woke up feeling exhausted, and long story short ended up with an IV due to dehydration, and three days in bed. Our 4th was mostly Gabe and the kids. They popped firecrackers and dressed accordingly.

 The kids jumped on the trampoline, went swimming in the kiddie pool, and watched movies.

I ventured out for fireworks, laying in an empty kiddie pool while Zelda crawled around me, and Hazel went between being delighted for and terrified of the small array of fountains, sparklers, and roman candles we had purchased.

Roland was SO excited, he could hardly contain himself. Several times he jumped, danced, and screamed from pure excitement. It was fun to watch Gabe show him the ropes, and at times stand between him and the sparks.

And although we missed our extended family (Roland cried for almost an hour when he found out we weren't going), we enjoyed what turned out to be a much more low key holiday than expected.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hazel turns 2!

Our dearest Hazel Evangeline,
                                       We are so grateful to have you in our lives. Your squeaky voice, spunky personality, the way you have a special relationship with each member of the family, your love for music; especially dancing, the way you choose to climb up to the tallest slide every time, and declare your love for the color pink loudly, the way you say "Lobe you!" and give little kisses, the way you fight tooth and nail for what you want, even if it is the toy your brother has, how you enjoy eating bread and your favorite drink is water... each one of these things contribute to who you are.

Thank you for being a part of our lives these past two years. I remember jogging around with a fussy baby at 4AM wondering if I would ever sleep again... and here you are sleeping through the night. No, I do not wish I could go back to those sleepless nights. But I do wonder when you think you will be too old to crawl into bed with big brother, or mom and dad.

I love the relationship you have with your brother and sister. You chase after Roland and imitate so much of what he does. You hug and squeeze Zelda, sometimes a bit too tight. But they both absolutely adore you.

The way you look at me, makes me want to take on the world, and show you just what it is you can accomplish.

Two things we love about you:
1. Your affection; you do such a good job at showing each of us how much you love us.
2. Your imagination; the way you play with your toys, and can find entertainment in almost anything amazes us.

We are excited to see where you take this life Teeny. Happy 2nd Birthday darling girl.

Friday, May 26, 2017

No one deserves to be forgotten...

The past few weeks we have been purging and downsizing our personal items. As we sort through memories and mess it is easy to reflect on our life the past seven years.

It is interesting to see things that were once so important that no longer hold a purpose for us. Whether we outgrew them (here's to you RocknPlay, and all the times you helped our baby sleep longer), or they just don't fit in our priorities (I'm talking to you half finished crafts).

Call it depression, call it perspective; but when a life is shortened or an ideal falls short the trivial seems to fall to the wayside.

Adam's ashes are still sitting in our glove compartment. I know they aren't him, but at the same time it is what we have left. I haven't figured out where to scatter them, so I leave them there as part of a memory to a song we used to sing about the wrong name for said compartment. We say hello whenever we open it, where he sits among extra napkins and proof of insurance.

We were supposed to take family pictures last month, but I couldn't bring myself to get in front of the camera. So our photographer chased our littles around instead.

Hazel turns two tomorrow, and I hate that I can't fully enjoy the celebration. I promise I am trying.

I suppose that can sum up most of my life right now; I promise, I am trying.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

We've got it going on...

There are moments in the life that I can look at and see a definitive before and after; almost as if a line was drawn, a physical marker was made. Birth, death, love, loss, all the cliches apply. They apply because it is a universal thing to adapt and grow based on situations evolving.

Meeting that lifelong friend, breaking up with my first serious boyfriend, deciding to attend a college thousands of miles from home... these were some of my first truly independent choices.

But the biggest before and after in my life is dating Gabe. Notice I didn't say marrying him... because I can recall the exact moment I knew I was going to marry him, and it was years before things played out. That boy (then) changed my world in all the right ways.

I don't believe in other people being necessary to complete us, but I do believe the right ones can enhance every aspect of our being.

Gabe does just that.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The End of You and Me

Written March 2017: In eight days I will have a partial hysterectomy. Not that I am counting. But really, I am. It is a day I am both dreading and looking to in anticipation.
If medical issues make you squeamish, you probably shouldn't read this post. If female medical issues make you uncomfortable, just stop. Seriously.

Before Roland was born, and really for almost as long as I can remember I have had issues with my reproductive organs. I have had my reproductive organs a "hostile environment for a fetus." I was told having children would solve most of my issues by the same doctor who told me it would be incredibly difficult for us to conceive a child. I have been diagnosed with endometriosis and PCO/PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I have two holes in my uterus, and it is tilted. Basically, it is a miracle I was able to have children in the first place. Let alone three of them, back-to-back.

But, the time has come. My uterus has decided to break up with me. I have not stopped bleeding since I had Zelda (I warned you). Then, since I didn't get the message it decided to pull a stage 3 prolapse. So now I am walking around with a bloody uterus which feels like it is about to fall out of my body. After a lot of prayers and fasting and doctors visits and calls with the nurse, and medicine, and essential oils, and herbs, and chiropractors, and physical therapists... over years and years, the time has come.

So in the words of JoJo I told my uterus to "Leave" ... or more realistically after some scary close calls and the words "medically necessary"being thrown around my uterus dumped me. But its cool, no hard feelings. We weren't all that compatible in the first place. And while it lasted she carried six children, three of whom I carried full term, and have the privilege of raising.

So, no we won't be making any pregnancy announcements any time soon, or ever again for that matter.

We are enjoying our little family and each one of our chlidren's unique personalities.
I would write more but Roland is running around naked, chasing a screaming Hazel, and Zelda demands that her teething be soothed with some momma snuggles.

Life goes on.

**Post surgery update: I am feeling so much better. It has been years since I have been able to workout and run around with my kids without serious pain. my body was in rough shape and I am grateful this helped.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thoughts on Adam

My little brother passed away on March 16. It was sudden, it was somewhat unexpected, it wasn't natural. Adam killed himself. There are a lot of questions and some uncertainty surrounding the event. While some of those answers may never come in this life, there are a few I would like to clarify:

1. Adam was sober when he died, and he was proud of that. A few months before his death Adam told me he was sober. Honestly, I was skeptical, but wanting to believe him and seeing how proud he was of that accomplishment, I told him that was great. What I should have said was I am so impressed. I am amazed. I am proud. I do not believe his sobriety contributed to his death. I am grateful he found that strength in this life.

2. Adam struggled with many brain disorders. This was apparent from a young age. He was kind hearted and had a childlike demeanor that allowed him to reach out to others in unique and unbiased ways. But these disorders also brought Adam to dark places. He took upon him sorrows that weren't his to bear. His emotions ranged much more than the average person. He struggled with anger and depression.
While some are quick to judge one who takes their own life I believe that Joseph Smith was correct in saying "While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard. … He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. … We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ed. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 218.)
Adam was kind, he was loving, he was definitely imperfect. But please do not try to pretend you understand him enough to judge his actions.

3. The world is most definitely not a better place without Adam here. The more stories I hear from Adam's life, the more I realize this loss is felt by a much larger group than my family. Suicide is not an easy way out, it does not only affect the person who commits the act, it is not the answer to life's problems. The world needs more people like Adam, not less. I know many of Adam's close friends and family members struggle with depression. That is part of the reason he was close to them, he understood their pain. But do not think our celebration of his life is in any way supportive of how he ended it.

You matter to this world. You have a purpose. And while you may be in the midst of dark times, your life and what you do with it matters. Emulate Adam's acts of kindness, charity, and art. Those are the beautiful things this world will miss.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Roland Turns 3

My dear Roland,
                     I am so proud of the little human that you are. You look after your sisters and even me and your Papa so well. You ask questions and listen for the answers. You try so hard to do what is right, and sometimes when it is too much you put yourself in timeout. You love to talk on the phone to almost anyone, but especially to your grandparents. You love to run and jump and sing and dance. You loudly declare that you are a child of God. 
Just like anyone else you have imperfections. And that is okay. I love you just as you are. In fact, I love some of your imperfections because they are quite adorable. For the first time today I heard you pronounce the word hello correctly, instead of with our usual "Hewwow." It was a bittersweet moment. 
Thank you for being my first little buddy, for sharing cookies with me during the girls' nap time, for all the singing and dance party requests.
Thank you for giving us the privilege of sharing these past three years with you. We look forward to so many more.

Three things we love about you:
1. Your smile; whether it is mischievous, sweet, or wide with laughter.
2. Your mind; about a month ago you asked me if Papa would drink soda in Minnesota on a work trip.
3. Your determination; most days this serves you very well, and other days it really tests your parents' abilities.

Love you Budders!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


"And when a mom's heart changes, I've realized it has a lot of power to change the air that fills up a home."

I have been mulling over this quote for months now. Months. I have been thinking, planning, and deciding what it is I want my momma heart to be, what  it is I want to fill my home... 

However, the past month or so I have really put effort into being a mother and letting go of the external expectations that come along with the title. 

The changes in our home have been noticeable. Roland decided he is finished with diapers. Hazel hugs and kisses each one of her family members. Zelda... well she is as happy as ever. 

Could it be that my heart, my attitude, played a part in all of this? 

I suddenly have time and energy to make dinner almost every night. There is a twinge in my heart as I fold little pieces of laundry that get bigger and bigger as my children do too. I cook, clean, fold, sort, make, rearrange, dust, throw away, pick up, take out, and wipe. I hug, kiss, reprimand, remind, rock, sing to, and love.

I love serving my children. 

Not because I am their servant, but because I have the opportunity to show these little humans what it means to be safe and secure and taken care of. Don't get me wrong there are days I want to scream at the mundane task of picking up the same dozen toys over and over again as we sing the clean up song and I try to convince my children that this is a fun game. But, it is worth it when I consider the privilege it is to teach them and learn from them.

My mother heart has changed, and in it I have indeed discovered a new sort of power within my home.