Tuesday, November 17, 2015

LucyJayne Lorraine

It had been years. Kind of crazy to think about actually. We had started trying about the same time we moved to Florida. Sophie wasn't even 2 yet. And here it was, over 4 years later. Sophie was halfway through kindergarten, James was in his last year of elementary school. We had moved across the country 3 different times, and lived in 5 different houses. A business started and lost, 9 marathons completed, different assignments in church, lots of vacations, lots of memories. And all the while, we were waiting. Wanting. Hoping. For this little one to arrive. 

I'll spare you the details of the why we weren't getting pregnant. But basically, I was constantly having very early miscarriages during that entire time and just didn't realize it. And then as mentioned in my previous post, His Name Was Fawkes, we had a late miscarriage the spring of 2014. It wasn't until that loss that I realized just HOW MUCH I wanted another baby. Losing him was beyond hard. And before I had gotten pregnant with him I had come to terms with the idea that we just weren't meant to have any more children, and that was okay. Our path lead some other direction I thought. But then, I got pregnant, and it stuck. And we were soooooooo excited and I realized it was what I really wanted, more than anything. And then, as you already know. We lost him. And that was just, the worst. So, we decided to do whatever it took to have a baby. And so off to the fertility specialist we went. Once again, I will spare you the details of all this. We all know how babies are made. ;) Haha. 

It was the Savannah RocknRoll Marathon. November 8th 2014. I hadn't super trained for it. Just enough that I wouldn't die while running the thing. The race started and I started running. And I realized a few things... every dang step I took, my chest hurt. Like, a lot. A super lot. Also, I had to pee like no other. My mind started doing all the math and I thought, "holy crap I think I'm pregnant." Finished the race, with a 3:50 time, drove home, took a pregnancy test and boom! It was positive. Now, I had taken several positive tests over the years, and still no baby. So I didn't jump for joy just yet. I shared the news with Ben, and to be honest both of our reactions...we were scared. Not of being pregnant, but of being hurt. We were happy that we had gotten pregnant, but neither of us could get excited. I wanted to, but I just couldn't.

Morning sickness kicked in right away. And I mean RIGHT away. I thought I was just being over dramatic about it, but then when someone comes up to you and tells you you look very green, you know its for real. And it wasn't just morning sickness, it was 24 hr-shoot-me-now-cause-I-am-wishing -for-death sickness. Nauseated constantly. Could smell every. dang. thing. And it made me run to the nearest sink, garbage, or toilet. Oh man it was awful. But, as friends told me, being sick is a good sign that things are going well.  And then in my mind I would think, I was pretty sick with Fawkes too. Once again, could not get excited, did not want to get hurt.

And then it happened. I started bleeding. A lot. In an instant I was angry. So angry. I couldn't even cry about it. I was just mad that once again the rug was being ripped out from under me. I was 8 weeks along. Ben and I went to the Dr. They did an ultrasound. No heartbeat. Of course. The Dr said our date could just be off and that was why we weren't seeing anything. He did see that I had an internal hemorrhage and that was what was causing the bleeding. They told us to come back in one week to see if there was any growth or heartbeat. If so, great. If not, well then this was another miscarriage. 

That was a very. very. long week. I couldn't even hope or pray for this baby to make it. I couldn't even believe that that could happen for us. It had been years of loss and I just figured that was how it was going to be. I was reading the New Testament at the time. And I read the story about Peter walking on the water, and then falling, and Christ saying "Oh thou of little Faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" and I thought, "why can't I pray for a miracle? Why can't I have a miracle?" And so, I prayed. And I called a few family members and asked them to pray for me. Ben called his family as well and asked them to pray. His parents are currently in Korea as Mission Presidents. So we literally had people all over the world praying for this little baby to make it. And I prayed. I prayed like I have never prayed before. I pleaded for a miracle. 
And then, a small voice said to me "I'm still here. I'm still here." I suddenly had this tiny bit of hope, that my prayers were being answered, that this little one of ours was indeed, still here. 

The day of the ultrasound came. I have never been so nervous in all my life. My blood pressure was through the roof as was my heart rate. I wanted to hope, but didn't dare to. I wanted to believe that the baby was "still here", But I also fully expected to hear the Dr say, "I'm sorry..."  The Dr came in, started the ultrasound, and there, the most beautiful thing my eyes have ever seen, a tiny very fast little heart beat. I broke down. I asked over and over, "There's a heartbeat? Are you sure? There really is a heart beat?!" And I just lay there sobbing. It was one of the happiest moments of my entire life. 
I carried that ultrasound pic with me everywhere I went. I would pull it out and remind myself that yes, there was a heartbeat. And yes, miracles do exist.  

Christmas was right around the corner, we were basically having weekly ultrasounds to keep on eye on the internal hemmorhage and it seemed to have finally disappeared. Baby was growing as expected, so on Christmas morning we decided to tell the kids. Sophie jumped up and down and did a little fist pump while shouting "YYYYYYEEEEESS!!".  She was by far the most excited about the news.

The pregnancy continued on as expected. The morning sickness started going away around 15-16 weeks, and for that I was very very grateful. We still hadn't announced to the world that we were expecting, just the family. We were waiting for the baby to be just a little further along just in case. Ben and I were still pretty paranoid about losing this one. I guess that's just how it goes after a lot of loss. Every appt I was nervous that they wouldn't find a heartbeat, or that something else would be wrong. And every appt, baby was fine. I was fine. But I still worried. Constantly. 

The day of the 18 week ultrasound came. I was considered high risk due to my history, and so we got to have some high tech ultrasounds done where they can literally see everything of everything. It is amazing. We would find out the sex of the baby at this appt. I knew it was a girl, mostly because of the experience I had had at the Temple as told in my previous post. And so you can imagine how thrilled we were to see that we were indeed having another little girl. And that, this baby girl looked perfect. Everything was developing just as it should be. We decided that it was now safe to announce our pregnancy to the world, and for the first time, Ben and I felt like we could actually get excited about this little baby girl. 

And so the fun began...shopping. And lots of it. We didn't own a single baby item and so had to buy everything new, but we didn't mind. It was so much fun putting together a new little nursery and picking out a crib and bedding and clothes and carseats and a stroller and list never ends. 

  Here I am at 18 weeks.



 Here I am at 25 Weeks



 And here I am at 36 weeks plus some days


I am going to tell you something right now. I was so grateful to be pregnant and to be having this baby, but oh my gosh. By this point I was way past done being pregnant. I was so so so over it. I could no longer eat more than child size portions because there just wasn't room for it. If I laid down at all ever, stomach acid just found its way right up and out. Baby girl was transverse (sideways) and had been since I was 28 weeks. So imagine a head in one rib cage and a butt and a pair of strong kicking legs in your other ribcage and imagine that for a moment. I couldn't sleep on either side because of that, and couldn't sleep on my back, so I could only sleep by propping up a bunch of pillows around me tried to sleep sitting up. It wasn't awesome. At all. 

And then there were the constant labor pains that weren't doing a darn thing. Gah!!! On many occasions I had contractions lasting 1-2 minutes and were 2-3 minutes apart. This would last all night. Or for several hours during the day. The pain was just kind of constant. I was out of my dang mind miserable. I would cry to Ben almost every night that I just could not handle another day. But then, another day would come and go, and I was still pregnant & beyond miserable. For. The. Love.

My due date was July 24th. But because of one, yes one ultrasound out of so many, they had changed my date to August 1st. Even though all the other ultrasounds had her measuring at July 24th or sooner. And here in FL, they do not induce you. They just don't. unless you are very very overdue or there is an obvious problem. So, I was figuring that I would have to be pregnant until August, in the humid summer heat of Orlando, FL. Shoot me now. 

So here I am, huge pregnant. Biting peoples heads off (seriously I owe an apology to a cashier at Tj Max) And once again I have contractions. All night long. So bad that I can't settle down at all. I'm trying to breath through them. They are very regular. 2 minutes apart and lasting 90 seconds. And getting stronger. If that isn't labor, I don't know what is. Around 5 am I finally decided to wake Ben up. We head to the hospital, which is 35 minutes away. We pull into the parking garage and BAM. my contractions stop. completely stop. GAH!! So frustrating. We didn't even go in, just turned the car around and went on home. It was a miserable day. 

They next day I went for a good long walk. No pains whatsoever. I let my kids invite friends over and we went to the pool. At this point I was in a lot of pain. But not contraction pain. Just, my whole body just hurt. So going to the pool and relaxing sounded good, and yes it felt good. We came home and the rest of the day I just hurt. But once again, nothing regular. Nothing like a contraction, just whole body awful pain. It got to the point that I couldn't even walk. That's when Ben said, "We're going to the hospital, now." I could barely make it out to the car. On the drive over, the contractions picked up. They were coming hard and fast. We found our way to labor and delivery. I really really wish I would have had Ben video me walking into that hospital. I was in so much pain and was doing that amazing crazy breathing. And everyone, everyone, was staring at me. It was amazing. 

We got to Labor and Delivery and tadaaa! I was at a 5! That means they have to admit you! YAY!! It was finally time to have this baby!!! But first, they had to give me antibiotics. 2 rounds of them, 4 hours apart. So, they basically stopped my labor and hooked me up to an IV.

 Here I am right after they admitted me. I was so happy to finally be having this baby, but also ready to not be in pain. :)


 And here I am I think just after they gave me that beautiful epidural. So grateful for that.

After they finished giving me the antibiotics, they started me on pitocin to get my labor going again. The contractions started up again, and I remembered Sophie's birth, and just how painful that was without an epidural and thought, why in the heck am I even doing a minute of this. So, I got the epidural. I was at a 7 at this point.  Now, it was time to just wait and watch the little chart that showed how painful my contractions were and be so grateful that I was not feeling them. haha. My friend, Amy Hillis came at this point, with her daughter Maddie and my daughter Sophie. We had talked about it, and Sophie wanted to be there when baby Lucy was born. I thought it would be special. So we sat, and talked. And then, pop! like a balloon, my water broke! I have always had my water broken by the Dr, so it was crazy to feel it happen on its own. And it really just felt like a balloon popping inside of me. It was kind of cool actually. 

So I told the nurse and as she came in to check me, the Dr was coming by to check on me too. I said I was feeling a little pressure so the Dr took a look and said "oh my gosh this baby is coming out, now." And sure enough, she was.  The nurses worked super quickly at this point, got me ready to push, legs up and everything (such a lovely position...) And then I pushed. and pushed again. And pushed one more time. 

And she was here.

Purpley red and crying and sucking on her hand she was here. My little Lucy.
And shocker, She looked just like James. I laughed and laughed and cried and laughed and cried. They put her in my arms and I held her to my chest. I couldn't believe it. She made it. She was a little beat up from the delivery, squished and red marks all over (she was my biggest by more than 2 inches) But she was here. Safe and sound and in my arms.

Welcome to the world little LucyJayne. 
Born July 24th, 2015
7 lbs 12 oz
20.5 inches long


 Look at Ben's happy happy face here. He loves this baby of ours. So, so much.


 This. This right here, is happiness.


 I love this picture. So much I love this picture.  You see, I need this baby. I can't even describe it really. But when she was placed in my arms, I felt all the hurt, all the pain, all the bitterness of past years trials just melt away. Like venom being sucked from a wound, it all just left me. It was like taking a breath of fresh air for the first time. This little tiny thing, she saved me. I didn't even know I needed it, but I did. She healed whatever was still broken inside me. And I am forever grateful.



 Here is the proud papa. Like I said, he loves this baby. Loves loves loves this baby.


 Me and my girls. I am the luckiest.



 And here we are, all settled into our room. That room was tiny and awful, but I had little baby there, so it made it all okay. She had some issues with her blood. It seems our blood got mixed somewhere in there so we had to stay a little longer in the hospital while they kept their eye on her to make sure her blood figured itself out. It did. And she's fine.



 And then it was time to come home from the hospital. We put her in the car. And I cried. Cried because I thought of all the other times we had brought our babies home from the hospital and cried because I knew this was our last time bringing a baby home from the hospital.



And here she is, home. Where she belongs. Where she is needed and loved so so much. She was born on my brother's, Jay, Birthday, but we had already decided on naming her Lucy Lorraine after Ben's mom, Susan Lorraine. We wanted to still keep Lorraine and Lucy as names, but we really wanted to name her after her uncle Jay who has always been one of my best friends. So, after several days of consideration we decided on naming her LucyJayne Lorraine. And I love it. And I love her. 
She is my everything.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

His Name was Fawkes

Fawkes Marshall Morrise. That was the name I had wanted to name him. I knew it was a boy. I knew he was a strong warrior type. I imagined him doing a lot of great work on this earth. But that, sadly, was never meant to be.

I know I haven't posted in almost 2 years. I think I stopped posting because it all just became too painful. Life was too painful. 

We moved, well I moved us, across the country. Literally, from FL to CA. It broke my heart to leave FL. Ben was in Chicago for 4 months working constantly one the business and I was left to get our family out to CA. So, that's what I did. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. Just getting everything packed and sorted and arranged was almost more than I could handle. But single moming it on top of all that and leaving everyone I knew and loved to a new place and starting all over again? It was just too much.

There was one weekend in there, our tenth anniversary actually, where I flew out to Chicago for 3 days to see Ben. Hadn't seen him in over 6 weeks. I had just finished the move out of FL and was working on finding us a home in CA. I remember when the weekend was over and I was once again saying goodbye to another person I loved, I lost it. Completely. I silently cried as I went through security, and then found myself a bathroom stall and bawled my eyes out for a solid hour. My heart was just constantly hurting. Too many goodbyes.

Well, I eventually made it to CA, found us a home, arranged to have our truck of belongings delivered and unloaded and was so eager to get things put back together. We had been without a home for 6 weeks and were more than ready to have a pace to call our own. The truck arrived and they started to unload our stuff. Sadly, it was not a good day. I don't know what happened or how, but in one way or another most of our things were damaged, if not completely destroyed. Broken glass was everywhere, boxes were completely smashed, every dining chair was so scraped & scratched there were chunks of wood missing. The back and sides of dresses were torn off. Couches stained and torn, book shelves and coffee tables broken. My new washing machine was in pieces. And broken dishes, lamps, & pictures everywhere.

 I remember looking at the pile of broken things and feeling like I was trying to clean up from some natural disaster. Like a tornado hit or something. As everything came off the truck and I saw all the ruined things I just kept telling myself "it's just stuff, it's just stuff, it's all replaceable, it's okay". And then I found the things that were replaceable. I guess when the guys had loaded the truck they pulled out my hand quilted pieced quilts and blankets from their boxes and used them to pad different furniture items. The quilt my sister had hand hand appliqu├ęs for Soohie when she was born, had several holes through it and an entire piece/square ripped out. That's when I lost it. The guys unloading the truck left. I went into my kitchen, sat in the pile of broken everything, held that little quilt and bawled my eyes out.
I remember thinking that would be the low point. That that moment right there in the kitchen would be the worst that it got. And that things would surely look up from there. So, I got myself and my kids some dinner. And while we ate I told them that I was sorry for crying over things, because things are just that...things, and what mattered most to me were my kids. And I had them and they were my greatest treasures. We went back to the house. I didn't know where to start, all the blankets...every blanket sheet, linen, curtain etc was either completely ruined, or just super dirty with holes all through it. I dug through and found the least awful ones. Put them in a mattress and put my kids to bed. Then I stayed up all night. Picking glass out of everything, hammering this that and everything else back together. It took about a week, but eventually I got most things back in order or replaced it. Once again, I thought that moving disaster would be our low point on this CA adventure. 
It wasn't. I'm not going into detail about everything that went wrong. But just know, that literally everything went wrong. School. Was a nightmare. An absolute nightmare. It wasn't until after Harrison had been in school for quite some time that I found out that his teacher was making an open mockery of him in class. She constant made him feel dumb and always gave him zeros on every assignment because his handwriting went outside the lines. I also found out later that he had been being bullied, a kid was taking his lunch every day. Sigh. Poor poor little buddy that never tells me what is going on. It was a really rough year with him. But I don't wonder why. 
Then there was the business. It was doing fabulously while they were in Chicago, just seemed like this awfulness was going to be all worth something  bens dream of starting a company was really happening, and for that for him I could deal with all the crap going on. But then they got to CA. Tech land USA, right? And It just went steadily downhill from there. Let me tell you what a punch in the gut it is to give something your everything, your absolute everything (finances included in there), only to see it fall apart and fail. That's a pretty deep hurt. 
And then there was the loss of our friends. I have never had trouble making friends. My heart ached every single day missing my friends in FL. They had been the best friends anyone could ever ask for. They had become family to me. And to lose them, just broke my heart. But, I was willing and wanting to make new friends and new connections. We didn't know a soul out there. But there was always church and that had always given us a good batch of friends. I am really not going to go into detail here...but let's just say no friends were to be made. Not one. 
I could keep going on and on about all the things that went wrong in CA. Yes there is more. And during all this time I just kept praying praying praying for more strength to get back up on my feet to continue on, to make it through this hard time. I felt so abandoned. I was so alone. I kept praying for comfort, peace, love, anything to help me know God still loves and cares for me and my family and sadly, I got nothing. Everything just kept getting worse.
Until one morning in December. You should know that we had been wanting and trying for another child since before Sophie turned 2. She was now almost 5. We had had multiple miscarriages, all very early on though.  Having another baby was my greatest desire. I was of course grateful for the 3 I had and had come to the realization that they might be all I get and for that I was just grateful that I ever got them. So, I really tried to just fully enjoy them and not get down about not having more. 

But then to my surprise. I was late. Not wanting to disappoint Ben or anything I didn't even tell him. I just got a pregnancy test and took it. It was positive. I sat there in disbelief. I cried and cried tears of gratitude. I immediately said a prayer of thanks to my Heavenly Father for this great gift. I knew my prayers had finally been answered, that he was listening to me and that yes, he did love me. I shared the news with Ben and we were over joyed. Nothing else mattered. It was okay if everything else fell apart because we were getting what we truly wanted, a baby. 

It seemed I knew that little spirit from the get go. His presence just seemed stronger to me than my other kids. I knew it was a boy. I knew he was the strong warrior type. I could imagine him doing great things on this earth. As a missionary, maybe a leader of sorts. Ben and I couldn't help ourselves, we started picking things out. I knew what crib I wanted, the running stroller I was going to get. Heck, we even bought a few clothes for this baby boy of ours. One of my favorite things was a pair of black converse newborn shoes. Just too cute!!!
As the pregnancy progressed and I got sick and nauseated and everything that comes with that I didn't even care that I was sick cause I was just so grateful and excited to be having a baby. As life continued to fall apart around us, it was okay, because we were getting our baby. Every morning, every night. My prayers were filled with gratitude for this little one. And then I would beg. Plead. That this baby would make it here safe and sound. That I would get to hold him in his arms. That my kids would get to know and love him too. I remember saying over and over that it was okay if we never made it back to FL. It was okay if I never had friends again. It was okay if the business failed completely. Just please. Please.
Let me keep this baby.

Well, I hit the 3 month mark. And we gave a sigh of relief. That is the riskiest stage of the pregnancy. We were sure we were good to go. So, we told our kids. They were so excited. They talked constantly of this new baby and what we would name him/her and who would get to share a room. It was so fun to watch their excitement. 
My kids had a week long break from school the last week in February. We decided to make the drive out to UT and visit family. And possibly see some snow, something my kids hadn't seen in years. We had a great visit. But, on our last day there I woke up with full on Labor pains. I couldn't walk. I couldn't move. I knew what those pains were and I knew it wasn't good. 
As I laid on a bed waiting for the pains to subside. And literally shaking from how painful it was. My sweet baby girl
Sophie climbed up on the bed next to
Me. Put her brown blankie over me. And laid next to me, and sang me primary songs. I thought my heart would burst.
The pains eventually went away, but then that night, the bleeding started. And I knew this baby wasn't going to make it. I told Ben and we sat in bed holding each other and just cried together through the night.
I knew there was nothing that could be done at this point. So we just drove ourselves on home the next morning and once we arrived in CA, went to the hospital. There, they confirmed what we already knew. The baby was not developing right, and the heart was no longer beating. They showed me on the ultrasound that I was literally about to pass everything so, I wouldn't need a D&C. Just go home. Do it there.
It was awful. Messy. And so so so painful. I lived in a bathroom for 2 days straight. And then, just like giving birth to a full term baby (just not near as painful) I felt pressure to push and there was what was left of our baby. It was done. He was gone. I was broken.
I went to my room, Ben was sitting on the bed, crying with me again. At that moment I was broken. Completely. There was nothing left. Nothing. I couldn't get "back up on my feet" again. I couldn't keep going. I was done. I was just...so broken. And so I said a prayer. I told my Father in Heaven that I was broken and that there was no fixing me. But that I needed. NEEDED. To feel his love for me that day. 
That day, the sewage in my house backed up and began to flood my house with raw sewage. And I was running buckets of poop water outside to keep my house from flooding. We had to have the water completely shut off and they wouldn't be able to fix it for another couple days. That was my day. At the end of it, I wondered how that was an snswer to my prayer. 
It was. The landlord refused to really fix the plumbing. As it turns out her house can't even handle toilet paper. That was a deal breaker for us. You need to be able to flush. She terminated our lease.
2 weeks later we had packed up and moved back to FL. God did love me. He knew where we needed to be and opened the door to get us there.
I'm not going to lie, it was beyond exhausting trying to pack up and move right after miscarrying...as in days after... But I was so happy to be coming home that it was okay and the pain of losing Fawkes was momentarily pushed aside.

We came back, and it became clear to us that we had made the biggest mistake in ever leaving FL. This was our home. These people were our people. Our ward welcomed us back with open arms and hugs and kisses and kindness and food and help and love over and over again. We were overwhelmed with happiness to be back where we belonged.

However, after things settled and we got moved in. The pain of our loss started to sink in with me. My heart hurt. I had wanted that baby so badly, I had wanted to be his mom more than anything. And he was gone. I felt cheated. I felt like he had been taken from me. I would look back on the year we had just had and wondered where in the world had God been through all of that?? What had I done to offend him? I had always given my all to the church and always believed that My Father in Heaven would not abandon me, yet it felt like he had. It looked like he had. I wanted to believe so much that he was there somehow and I just couldn't see it. And so that is what I hung on to. The thought that he was really there, somehow, I just hadn't or couldn't see it. I still felt hurt from the loss of our little one. But, I put my focus and energy on my kids and that was that. We were happy here in FL, and that softened the wound.

 It wasn't until last fall, sometime in October, that my eyes were opened. It was the most random day. My good friend Amy Hillis came over to help me get some furniture refinished. And we sat and talked and laughed and had a great day together as we often have. And after she left, it hit me. God had not abandoned me while I was alone in CA. He knew what I needed before I even knew it. He had given me the best of friends here in FL, that he knew would help me get through the rough times in CA. Amy Hillis called me throughout my stay in CA, she talked and got me through everything including the miscarriage. I wasn't alone. I had never been completely alone. God had not absndon me. He had been there all along. I felt deeply humbled. 

And then, just a few days after that, I went to the temple with some friends in the ward. I went not looking for or expecting anything. Just had this feeling that I needed to go.
And, as I sat in the celestial room. There suddenly next to me. I could feel the presence of my little boy, Fawkes. And I knew then that he had never been taken away from me, that he had only been given to me. That he was mine. And would forever be mine. That he was a special gift. The tears wouldn't stop, but they were tears of joy. I was filled with such happiness and gratitude. Yes, he had moved on, I wouldn't meet him in this life. But I know that one day, this boy and I will be reunited. And for that I am forever grateful. 
And then as I sat there, to my even greater surprise I felt another spirit on the other side of me. A little girl. One that was ready and waiting to come to our family. And now, here I sit, 36 weeks pregnant with our baby girl. My heart is full. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summer 2013 - Leaving Florida

Summer 2013. A summer I'll most likely always remember, but not with fondness. It was the summer that very nearly broke me, and in some ways probably did.

There is so much to write that I am going to do it in 3-4 parts.  I know,  I haven't blogged in almost 4 months. I haven't had a computer in that long, just my iphone. And lets be honest, blogging from an iphone is not really all that awesome. Not to mention that I have been overwhelmed in every way. From packing up my house in Orlando, to finding new home in CA to moving in and getting settled. Single mom-ing it the whole way, no husband around. It was rough, very very rough. I'll tell the story of this summer, just so that if we ever get an idea like this in our heads again I can read this and remind myself of how much I never want to do this again. And also, to one day show my kids, that life takes a whole lot of work, & sacrifice. I hope, in this case, it will all be worth it someday.

It all started with Ben leaving in May. To go work around the clock in Chicago and get this company up off the ground. An amazing opportunity for them and their company. But, also meant that at the end of the summer, he would have a fully funded company based in Silicon Valley CA and that we needed to be there. sigh. It meant that I would be moving our family, without him. He would be finishing sometime in September and I wanted to be there before the school year started to get us settled and make the transition a little easier on the kids.

So he left. For the first few weeks life was okay. The kids and I had a pretty good routine, we got chores done, we ate meals, we did homework, we went swimming, I got my workouts in...things were going well. Then the packing began.

I knew it would take me 2 weeks to get my house all packed up, because that is what it has taken the last 2 moves...3 moves in 3 years for us. Ugh. So I started. I made a master plan of what needed to be done to get it all done in time. And then each day I followed that plan. It worked...but it wore me out. Completely. It seemed I would get up at 6, take kids to their Tri team practice. Come home. Pack for several hours. Then do something fun with the kids, get them fed, do laundry, dishes all the regular stuff. Put kids to bed and then return to packing until 1 or 2 in the morning. There were many nights that I felt like I couldn't go another day. I was drained. Completely. Mentally & physically exhausted. Alone. About to have a nervous breakdown. And so much work to do. My entire body was in pain from everything, and I kept having horrible back spasms. Everyday I just kept praying that my back & body would hang in there just until I got the place boxed up. Fortunately, it did.

Now, knowing all this. Let me tell you something. I have THE BEST friend in the entire world. Her name is Amy Hillis. I love that woman. She is the best and would do anything for anyone anytime. For instance. That breaking down time I was just talking about, was while she was away on vacation.  She was home for a total of 24 hrs. at the end of that week and first thing she did was call me to see what I needed. I was beyond desperate and told her so. Next thing I knew, she had her girls watching my kids almost every day, she came right over and helped me get things boxed up, she bought me lunch, dinner, and then called to make sure I had help every single day. She then had to leave to help at a camp for the weekend. But believe you me, on Monday she was right back at my house. Packing my kitchen, buying me lunch. Making sure there was a place for my kids to go. She was a life saver. An absolute life saver. I never would have made it through that without her. She went the extra mile and then some to help me out. Like I said, I love that woman. I always say she is my other half, that we were sisters just born on opposite sides of the country. Love her forever.

She was there every day after that. Each day we tackled the list of things to do, Goodwill trips to make, rooms to clean, things to haul away. She was there to wrap up the mattresses and take apart beds. I tell you, this woman is amazing, and a godsend. She was there the day the movers came. My stuff was being put onto a trailer, that would then be stored in CA until we found a home there. So far we had had zero luck in securing a home. No one wanted to rent to us, whether it was because we were a start up company, or they hadn't met us or whatever, we kept getting rejected. It was a headache.

Anyways, trailer arrived, movers came to load the truck. They were buttheads from the start. You should know that I got rid of 50% of my stuff when we moved because I knew we were moving to a much smaller place. Anyone who saw my pile of boxes and furniture would tell you I had very little to be moved. So these guys show up, they see my stuff and immediately tell me the job is too much and there is no way they can pack it all. Bunch of lies. They go sit their butts out on my street doing who knows what until I go tell them I am not paying them until they start loading the truck. Well then they got to work and had the truck loaded in under 4 hours, and that was them moving very slowly. They had originally told me it would take them at least 5 hours with several more guys that I would have to pay them extra for. Buttheads. Aaaaand as you will find out out later it turns out these guys ruined most of my stuff and that if I lived near them they would all have slashed tires.


It was funny though, the truck got loaded, and as it pulled away, I had this image in my head of the truck falling over and the thought came to me if I would be okay if all my stuff got lost/destroyed. And after thinking for a moment I thought, yes I'd be okay. Just know that that was definitely the spirit warning me of things to come. So, I said goodbye to my stuff as it pulled away in a 20 ft trailer. I then finished cleaning out my house, final mopping and wiping things down. And then I said goodbye & went to Amy's house.

We stayed with her after we moved out of the house for almost a week. She made sure everything was 100% comfortable for us, even got a sitter for her dog since she knows James is terrified of them. I tell you, she is the most thoughtful person I know. Once the truck was gone, & both cars were shipped out. It was time to have a bit of fun as we said good bye to FL, So we spent a day at the beach. after being there just over an hour we were down poured on. We all tried to fit under a tiny umbrella, but that wasn't working out for anyone really. The kids loved it and danced around in it & we all had a good laugh. That night I went for a good long run, and then we ordered take out from Outback. We sat there late at night eating delicious steaks and just having a great time. Sunday we spent the day making soups & lasagna and talking and going to someone else's goodbye party. It was a very fun day. It seemed we stayed up every night talking until the middle of the night when we could no longer keep our eyes open.

Monday we did hair. Lots of it. We highlighted her daughters hair and it was a blast. The girls looked lovely and it was great to be doing something that was NOT packing. Just girly good fun. That night we had a girls night out with the ladies of the ward. It was fun talking to all of them and being able to say goodbye to everyone I love so much.

The next day I went on a final run with my good friend, author, & running partner, Jessica Martinez. I love this woman. She is amazing. Another sister to me. We could talk about anything, and everything. And she always helped me keep my pace. I was so sad to say goodbye to her, but glad I got one last run in with her. After our run, Amy and I took the kids to Rock Springs. It was a park where the water is perfectly clear, perfectly. And you rent tubes and just float on down the river. The one place in FL where it is safe to be in water cause they have people all along the way watching & the water is so clear you could see anything in there. My kids and I loved it. We all loved it. Amy and I laughed until we couldn't breathe about something ridiculous. James Harrison and Sophie went down the springs over and over with their friends and it was simply a perfect day.

I don't remember if I left the next day or not, but the night before I left I made rolls. My other bestie/sister from FL, Carmen, came over with her girls bringing bags of goodies. And we sat up the entire night eating warm delicious rolls, enjoying yummy treats, talking, laughing folding laundry and packing things up for me. I don't even remember what time we finally went to bed, but it was somewhere around 3. I love that memory. Just talking all night, with my very best friends. Friends who have taught me so much. I tell you what, these women taught me what it means to be a good mom, a loving wife, a great friend, and a strong woman. I can't tell you how many times they were there for me. Or all the things they helped me see clearly. Or the number of times we talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed. Carmen was another running buddy & best friend. She is 100% amazing. She and I ran nearly every Saturday, along with Jess, the entire time I lived in FL. We never ran anything shorter than 10 miles, so that tells you how many miles we put in together, and how much time we spent together. How many conversations we had. I hold these women close to my heart. They are sisters to me, and saying goodbye to them was impossible.

I stayed up the night, getting everything 100% ready to go. Kids backpacks ready for the flight, all our stuff packed up, or shipped. Every door in FL closed. All Goodbyes said. I actually hadn't cried much in all this. Here and there a couple tears, but I felt like I was too stressed out to even feel any real emotions. Morning came, and it was time to go. Amy and I piled the kids in the car, our 8 bags of luggage plus 4 carry-ons and we left. Got to the airport. Hugged, started to cry, but caught ourselves and said goodbye. I still held it together as I pushed a giant cart of luggage through the airport dragging 3 kids along with me, got us all checked in and bags checked. Got us through security, kids and all. And finally got us all on the plane and settled in our seats. The plane pulled away and headed toward the runway.

It was then, as the plane took off that my emotions finally boiled over. I looked out my window, watched as FL slipped past me and then suddenly the tears wouldn't stop. Every fun & beautiful memory I had of this place flashed before my eyes and my heart broke. My tears turned to sobs and I couldn't control it. I was leaving my home, the place my heart belonged and the people I had come to call family. My heart broke, and broke, and broke.




 Ben Leaving for Chicago. Goodbye Love, see you in September, on the other side of the country, in a new home, a new state, with a new life. Good luck to us both.




 Harrison had a Birthday. That little preemie miracle turned 7 yrs old. How did that happen? Also, can you guess what his favorite animal is??



 The Bday cake we ordered was NOT purple and pink with white polka dots, but that is what was delivered. oh well, he was still happy with it.



 This picture just doesn't do a FL rainstorm justice. That's out my front door. The street becomes a lake and all around your house is a water fall. I miss those rainstorms. Every afternoon.



 Twice a week James and I would bike 12-14 miles together. I loved it. I loved spending that time with him. Unfortunately my bike was stolen just before the move, so we haven't gone biking in a while. But I'll be honest, the bike was a piece of crap, so I wasn't too sad. 



 A day at the beach. Warm. Beautiful. And Fun.



 The boys never got tired of the water. Ever. Whether it was body boarding, or jumping waves, they were having a good time.



 James and his Best friend and athlete Trey. These boys were awesome together. They played football together in the school year and then were teammates on the tri team. Good boys. Good friends.




 My boys and their Tri Coach Morgan. I tell you what. This women is a phenomenal coach & woman. She is so great with those kids and so inspiring. She really helped them improve physically by constantly encouraging them.  My boys loved tri team. She ended every practice with a prayer. She was a blessing to us and to our family. We miss her!!!




 Just one room of boxes....there were many more. Ugh.



 Maddie Hillis. With my kids. They love Mads. I love Mads. She is a very good mama to them. But still a super cool friend.



 Hair Highlights!



 Told you that water was clear.



 There's Annie Hillis. She was/is such a great friend to James. They went on so many adventures exploring the neighborhood and making a fort and talking about their worries. My friend Amy told me Annie is still praying for James to make friends because she knows he was worried about that. Is there anything sweeter??



And off we go...sniff sniff. We'll be back. We will.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I'm Trying

I'M TRYING...

I'm trying each day to give my kids my best. To have patience with them, to show them love. Give them structure and routine. Get them to exercise, pray, clean, be kind and still have fun together as a family. Go to the pool, go for a bike ride, get together with friends, go to the beach. Keep them active healthy and happy. Read to them each night. Tell them everyday that I love them, and that they are my treasures.

I'm trying to keep in good shape. To run at least 4 times week with a weekly total of at least 30 miles. Not really training for anything in particular, just need to know that I am keeping myself fit and that I can run a decent half marathon without dying at any given moment.

I'm trying to eat healthy. I start every day with some sort of smoothie, no added sugar and usually more vegetables than fruits. Then a protein shake for lunch, a snack somewhere in the afternoon. Some sort of chicken with vegetables either in a salad form or grilled for dinner. And I end each day with a bit of a treat.

I'm trying to run a house. Keep up on the laundry, grocery shopping, random errands, bills to pay, meals to cook, floors to clean, lawns to mow, bathrooms to clean, toilets to scrub. ew.

I'm trying to prepare to move my family 3,000 miles away to the other side of the country. I'm trying to do this in the cheapest way possible, while still making it do-able since I am on my own. There are cars to get shipped, and entire house to box up and pack in a way that things won't get too damaged on the journey out there. Kids school records to be gotten, utilities to be cancelled, garbage to be thrown out, piles of stuff to be taken to goodwill. A month left on our lease that I need to sell. Tickets to be purchased and reservations to be made.

I'm trying to find a good home for us in San Francisco. A place with a decent school, a home that we can afford, but still function in. A place where my family can be happy and feel safe. A ward with welcoming people that my kids & I can make new friends with.

I'm trying to figure out how we are ever going to afford everything. Moving is never cheap. Moving somewhere that things are easily 3 times the price....that much harder to pull off.

I'm trying to figure out how to say good bye. To my home. Florida. To my friends who I consider family. To tell them how sorry and sad I am to leave them all. To tell them about the tears that don't stop every time I think about leaving.

I'm trying to be a support to Ben. To not weigh him down with things at home. To encourage him each and every day. To not complain about the kids fights, tantrums, and the days when I am just done.

I'm trying to not to freak out. I'm trying not to think about everything that can and probably will go wrong, I'm trying to keep my head above water....But sometimes...

I'M DONE.

I can't help that kid again, or clean that mess for the bazillionth time. I don't want to do the nightly routine I just want the kids in bed and have just a few small moments to myself before I have to start all over again.

Running is getting harder every time I go out. Its getting hotter each day and more humid. I feel tired and just want the extra sleep. Oh sleep. How I love thee.

Treats. Oh I love treats. Why can't I stay slim eating delicious buttery rolls, warm gooey brownies, and big bowls of ice cream??? Sometimes I find myself digging out that tub of ice cream at 11 pm or cutting another 5 "small" brownies. sigh.

No matter how many times I clean my house, or make beds or fold laundry...it all has to be done all over again. So why bother??? Add packing to all that plus kids home all day...oh boy.

Moving. 3 times, in 3 years. twice across the country. Trying to figure all this out in my head on my own sometimes gives me a monstrous anxiety attack and a serious headache.

Finding another great home...is there even a chance?

We'll never afford all this...how many credit cards do we have? And what is the max on all those? ;) ;)

I can't. I can't say good bye.

I have bad days too. And sometimes I just want to spend my day whining.

Sometimes I freak out, and my head starts to go under water.

BUT THEN..

I pray. And I pray and I pray and I pray. I give it all to the Lord. Tell him every concern struggle and frustration that I have. I lay it all out on the table. I cry for help, for strength, for the ability to handle everything that is coming my way.

AND THEN..

I am at peace. I move forward. I do my best. I keep trying. I start over. I try to be the best mom I can. I go for the run even though it's stinkin hot outside. I find a new healthy recipe & try not to beat myself up for the ice cream cone I had earlier. ;) I get the kids to help me clean the house. I buy plane tickets, reserve trucks and movers and start packing up boxes. I keep my eyes open for a decent new home and do all the research I can on neighborhoods and schools. I pay my tithing and spend as little as I can get away with. And if worse comes to worse, Ben can find a job and be employed within a week. Goodbye will be hard, so hard. But there are good people everywhere and I will keep in touch with those here. Ben needs me. No matter how crappy it is here, I have times where I can take a break...he doesn't...ever.

I trust that things will work out because they always have. I continue to pray, find that peace & strength, and I just keep on keepin on.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Single Mom-ing it Week #1

One week. It has been one whole week since Ben left. I actually can't believe how fast that week went. Let's hope the remaining 14 weeks fly by just as quickly right? One can dream right??

So let's start with one week ago, Sunday.

Since it was Ben's last day here, my good friend Amy Hillis threw a grand farewell party for Ben. I couldn't believe how many people came and what a great time we all had. There was tons of food, tons of friends, lots of laughs and just a great time. Ben had a great time talking with all the guys and I know he was sad to say good bye to all his friends here. Thank you everyone who showed up, brought food and had fun with us. We love you all!

5 am Monday morning came much to soon. It was time to drive Ben on out to the airport. Give him one lost kiss and a good long hug. And then he was off. sigh. I think if it hadn't been Harrison's Bday I might have had a very rough day.

Yes, Harrison's Birthday. I feel so bad, last year I missed it because I was at my brother's wedding. And now this year Ben missed it because he is going to be away on business in Chicago until sometime in September. Sorry little Harrison. Fortunately, he seemed to have a fabulous Bday. We started the day off with big bowls of Lucky Charms, Cartoon watching and then lots of presents to open. We had already opened a few before Ben left. But we finished the rest off that morning. He got lots of stuffed animals...Kittens to be exact. He loves cats more than anything. He meowed all day long and took them everywhere with him. He still does. They sit with him while he does his homework, chores and even eats bfast with him. So funny. His Gma Morrise got him a little Vet kit with an animal carrier, he is loving that thing. Now his kitties come along with him in the car too. Funny boy.

Anyways, after we played all morning we picked up his cake form the store....as soon as I saw it I started laughing. It was supposed to be a Beyblade cake with red & blue frosting. It was a beyblade cake...but with bright pink and purple frosting. As soon as he saw it he said "that's okay, that's fine. I'll still like it." Good boy. Easy to please. Then it was off to the pool to swim with friends and share cake. He had a great time, we all did, and we all ate too much cake. mmmm, frosting....  Then it was time for the surprise. I had told him that his dinner was a great surprise. All week he had been trying to figure out what the surprise was. I told him it had nothing to do with toys, or playthings...just food. And where did I take them? Golden Corral.

You should know that I hate buffets. Just driving by one makes me want to barf. The entire thing makes me just a little sick. So I have never taken my kids to one...ever. And then the other day a friend was telling me how her kids love Golden Corral more than anything, that it is their favorite place to go. And then I remembered how my Gma used to take our family to this Buffet every time she came to visit and how much I loooooooved going there. And I realized that it was time to share this disgusting treat with my kids.

We got there, I told the kids the magic of endless desserts and getting as many plates as they wanted and all the joys of a buffet. They were amazed. "Wait mom, we can eat ANYTHING we want? Any dessert? Anything? really?" Yes kids, make yourselves sick. Have at it. And they did. They were in love. They tasted every dang dessert there, each took a few different plates of food...including an entire plate of cottage cheese and peaches...funny. And when we were all done eating, there was Harrison. Still going back for more. That kids greatest love in life is food and he was living the dream. He sat there, having to take large breaths between bites, stuffing his cute little face until he finally said "mom, I think I need to burp.....or maybe barf."

And that was the end of eating. I told him he was done. He sat back in his chair...stuck in a food coma...for several minutes before he finally got up to leave. Ah. It was a fun adventure. The kids are still talking about it.

Tuesday it was back to school, cleaning up from a long weekend, and trying to eat a little healthier for all of us. Sophie and I went for a long bike ride. I had her in the bike trailer and while we were out the wind really picked up. So much so that I could barely peddle us home. By the time we got home both my legs were shaking and were in constant pain for a couple days.

Anyways, the rest of the week flew by. It seems I have to just keep going going going from the time my alarm goes off until I am finally laying down in bed. I feel like I've got a good schedule/routine going on to keep up on everything. I feel like I'm always on the move, but I never feel overwhelmed by it all and everything seems to get done.  It's funny, there are a few things that Ben did that I never even thought about doing. For instance. it had been several days before I realized I had never gotten the mail. Ben has always grabbed the mail from the time we got married. I don't even think about it. I didn't even know where the mail key was or which mailbox was ours. I had to call and ask him. hahaha. I haven't tackled mowing and edging the lawns yet, but that'll be a good chore tomorrow morning when it, hopefully, isn't raining.

I have been very glad each night to be able to video chat with Ben. He has even been able to have scripture study and family prayer with all of us. I am very grateful for modern technology cause I think I would just miss him way too much if I couldn't see him every day. But each night we chat and laugh together and talk about everything going on, and it doesn't feel like he is so far away. He still very in touch with our lives and what all is going on. The kids like seeing him too.

Friday we had the kids Tri team practice (they meet every Mon Wed 7 am & Fri 4 pm) after school where we practiced swimming. James of course excelled, and Harrison of course, was happy to simply float across the pool.....not even bothering to kick. funny boy. Sophie is still my fish and spent the entire time swimming across the pool or diving down for toys. After Tri team we went out for pizza...cheese pizza...our favorite. Then a movie and popcorn. We love family fun night. Saturday I slept in, it was delicious. Then the kids and I all cleaned the house. They actually all did a great job. They helped clean things up, then James Vacuumed and harrison wiped all the bathrooms down while I finished up the laundry.

 Then once I had gotten a good hot run in, we packed up the car and drove to the beach. Only to be met with a downpour. Dang it. So we went on into Mc Donalds and played & ate there until the rain stopped. Which it did. So we hurried on down to the beach and played for a good hour. THe waves were crazy so the boys had a blast playing in the water. Sophie and I stayed in the sand and played with buckets and shovels. Once it started to get dark I called the kids on in and we headed home. Onyl to be met with the worst downpour I have ever been in. I literally could not tell if we were on the road or not. I had James looking for the white lines and telling me if he could see them and if I had crossed over it or not. It lasted the entire 45 minutes home and was terrifying. Harrison and Sophie were both freaking out because the car kept getting whipped about by the wind and rain. I kept telling them we would be fine, everything would be fine....but I was really just praying that everything would be fine....I was very glad to get home safe and sound.

Anyways, week one has gone well. If all weeks go this well I will be one happy single momma. But I know that the only reason this week has gone so well is because of prayers. Both mine, Ben's and families who are thinking of us. I am always and forever grateful for the power of prayer. For the strength it gives me every single day. I know that is the only way I am going to make it through this summer, the move, and the life awaiting us in San Fran.

Right now though, it is game time. Each night about an hour before bedtime we pull out a board game, eat a snack and play. It is fun, and my kids are waiting for me so I had better go. Much love!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Phoenix Marathon

Just got back from Phoenix, AZ. What a fabulous trip that was. The race was 100% great. I got a new personal best time of 3:43:14 (an even 8:30 avg pace) but when you consider aid stations and the 2+ mile uphill climb my actual running pace was closer 8:20. Not too shabby.

For those of you that don't know there was a big of a competition between my brothers and I. We had all very similar marathon times & so this was kind of a shake down to see who would win. At the start of the race all 3 of my brothers took off and I was absolutely sure they were going to kick my butt. You can imagine my surprise when I passed 2 of them at mile 21, and then caught up to the last one at mile 25. I told him we should finish together. We ran together for about 30 seconds before he dropped back and told me to just go on, so I did. I flew through the last 2 miles (8:20 & 8:10) my legs were screaming at me and there were several times when I thought I was just going to collapse...obviously I didn't.

I saw people walking and wanted to stop and walk more than anything, but thought of all the people cheering me on, both at the race and home in FL and knew I couldn't let them down. So I pushed through and finally finally I got to the finish. As I ran through and realized I had gotten a new best and come in first in my family I couldn't help but just scream/shout "I did it!! I did it!!! I'm first!!!!" People thought I was crazy because as far as they knew I wasn't first in anything. Haha. It was a great finish and I am still on some crazy high from having such a great race.

Everyone did fabulously, my dad did his very first race, a half marathon in 2:22. A great time. I think he really enjoyed it because he came home and signed up for another half marathon. You go dad! It was so great to be with so much family, even my grandparents came out to cheer us through the finish. I love that there are so many of us that run. It makes for a great race.

Anyways, here are some pics from the race. Enjoy!





















Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Dance, A Book, & Too Much Sugar

Yep folks, another boring ol' update. Here we go.

Last Monday....I tried to run. I had run 55 miles the week before and I was scheduled to run 8 on Monday. So I laced up my shoes and started to, very slowly, run. I lasted a whopping 3 miles before I thought my legs were going to break. So I walked for a good mile, tried running another 2...and then I was done. Seriously, I think my best pace in that entire run was a 9:45. It was a sad sad run. Oh well.
For Family Home Evening we put together all of our Valentine's. For friends, both at church and school. Sophie got really into it and made them for our babysitters, all her friends at church, and even grandpa. Still haven't sent the far away family ones. sorry!

Tuesday, I cleaned up the house, went for a good bike ride with Ben, and then had a meeting with the other Counselor (Michele) in Young Women's. We were planning the food for the upcoming tri-stake dance. Then we talked and talked the afternoon away. It was actually a really fun time. She is an amazing woman, and I'm lucky to get to work with her.

That night was a Relief Society activity. It was great. It was all about love. Love in your family, in your marriage, and then a little bit about natural health/healing. There is a lady in our ward who is an expert in essential oils. I was at the table smelling all of them and asked her what would take my pre-race nerves away. She pulled out a bottle had me sniff it and seriously the effect was immediate. It was crazy weird. Completely grounded me, all nerves, anxiousness, excitement, gone. Crazy. Then she had one that I couldn't put down. It cleared your sinuses completely, made breathing a beautiful thing. I should have brought it home to Ben, he has allergies like crazy right now. Anyways, it was a great activity & I always have fun hanging out with all my fave women.

Wednesday was a busy, but great day. Sophie was playing at a friends for the morning. So I had plans to go visit my friend, Jessica, who had just had a baby girl. She was my running buddy my first year here. Our daughters look like twins, so I was excited to see what this new baby girl looked like. Plus I love babies so dang much & birthing stories so I was dying to visit her. I had plans to go running after the visit and before I picked Sophs up, but that never happened.

I went to Jess' house and that baby is the most perfect cute thing you ever saw. Seriously, she is perfect. We had so much fun chatting and looking at the sweet babe that I stayed there all morning and missed my run. Oh well, running can always happen later...babies....they grow up. It was a great time. Once I got Sophie home, the boys were due home in 30 min. So I hopped on the treadmill. Did hill intervals for exactly 30 min. Got all 6 hills in, my legs didn't break, and finished right when the boys got home. Awesome.

Then it was straight off to scouts. James had scout early that day because they were doing a bike course and I said I'd help with it. James had a great time. They were supposed to do 10 laps around the parking lot. He did 30. He definitely was the most confident on a bike. That's what happens when you ride your bike to school every day for 2 years. He seems to really enjoy scouts. He is friends with all the boys there, and I am glad he gets to go. He is just about done with his Wolf. Just a few more things, which is good because he turns 9 in just a little over a month..yikes!

After scouts I hurried on home, made a bazillion cookies for YW. Strawberry cake cookies with M&Ms and white chocolate chips...they were a little too tasty and I might have eaten a whole lot of dough. dang it! Haha. I finished just in time to head over to the Church and was very grateful for Ben for picking up Subway for all of us.

YW was a lot of fun this week. I had 2 of the girls teach everyone different ways to do your hair, and take care of it and good products to help the frizz you get when living in humid FL. I was so impressed. They did such a great job. They did almost everyone's hair, they were very sweet, and we just had fun. It was a great activity.

After I got home, I made even more cookies for friends for Valentine's day, ate more dough...grrr! And got things ready for the fam for the Holiday. I always do a fun breakfast for the kids and have a few valentines out for them. I decorated the kitchen, set up the table, and finally got my butt in bed way too late. I was really excited for the kids to see what I'd done and thought they'd be excited too. nope. they weren't. They didn't really seem to care.

 butt. heads.

That's the last time I'm losing sleep over spoiling them. ha! Not one of them thanked me or anything. In fact they seemed to just be extra whiny all morning. No, I wasn't happy about that. After they left we cleaned things on up and Ben and I went to go play some tennis. We still aren't great, in fact I wouldn't even say we are good, but we are less horrible than we were when we started. That is for sure. We picked Sophie up from the gym daycare, where she had made us a really cute Valentine and had a fun time. She looked all cute. I had put her hair into fun braids, and she had on a new shirt & sparkly shoes...she was darling.

We came home and made notes for our friends and put cookies onto plates to take around. That was when Ben pulled out his gift for me.

A book. That he wrote, about me. "50 things I love About You" Not going to lie, I cried. It was the sweetest thing I have ever gotten. He started writing it a year ago and then had it printed off. So so so sweet. I then felt lame about the heart attack I had done for him and the smattering of peanut buttery treats. Not a whole lot of thought there. I'll have to think of something great for next year.

The boys got home, Harrison was very excited to tell me that when he got to school there was a heart full of treats on his desk waiting for him. James brought home his box of Valentines. He had made a star wars box with Darth Vaders face on the front that read "Will you be my Death-a-tine?" Not sure what that means exactly, but it made me laugh really hard.

We then went on our way to take plates of cookies to people. It took a couple hours, but we had a great time visiting with friends. We went to the Turpins and saw their sweet little baby. THe kids had never seen him yet. It was fun to show them who the baby was that they had been praying for for the past 3.5 months. And I of course got to snuggle another sweet baby. He is little just like Harrison and Sophie were and I love that. He is a super sweet thing and it was fun to visit with the fam while the kids ran off and played. Then at another house we took in cookies and came out with a giant bag of clothes for the kids. I think I am going to take cookies there more often. They have a girl just older than sophie, so they often pass clothes on down to her. Which I am so so so grateful for. Sophie was so excited and has been trying on all the clothes ever since. Thank You Rachel!!
Once we got home, we had our nacho dinner. Awesome cheese sauce and all, the kids loved it. We had a good evening.

Friday, I thought for about 2 seconds that I didn't have much going on...then I remembered that I was in charge of the food at the Tri-Stake Youth Dance Saturday night and that I needed to get shopping and prepping. So, I got my run in. My legs finally felt like themselves again. And I was off to Costco. I don't normally go there, it is pretty far away. But I really hate the wholesale store we live by and decided to just go to Costco. I love that place. I know, I'm weird, but I love that store. I spent way too much time there. I got everything I needed though and headed home. Once I got home, I realized I had forgotten a few things...grrrr...why do I always do that...and so headed back out the door to Target to get the last items. Once again, it was Subway for dinner. THose $5 footlongs have become our families best friend lately.

By the time I got kid stuff done, dinner eaten, shopping completed, it was pretty late and I was just starting with the many cookie bars I was baking. I got to bed somewhere around 1 am, got up at 5 am to go running so I could get it done before James' football game. Went straight to the game after I got home. It was a good game. The other team was undefeated, same as James' team, and we tied! James didn't score a touchdown this time, but he enjoyed the game anyway. They have a really good team, and coaches. It was so stinking cold though. Sophie and I stayed huddled up in a giant blanket. Harrison kept trying to take the blanket off of us because he was "too cold" But at the same time refused to wear his jacket because he didn't need it. Whatever child.

Once we got home I showered, took a quick nap and then it was time to make buckets of frosting, bags and bags of snack mix, and chop chop veggies. whew. It was a lot. But I got it all done, Thank you Ben for helping chop things and taking care of kids. Then it was off to the Stake Center to feed many dancing teens. It was actually a lot of fun. The Hillis' were there, Michele & her husband were there. And we had so much fun together. The men went out and got us all actual dinner food, while we got treats and everything served up. Once again, I feel so lucky to work with so many amazing people. By the time we got everything cleaned up though and I got home, it was past midnight. So tired. But a good tired.

So you can guess that today I spent as much time as possible being a lazy bum. haha. Our Stake had a special meeting today. They are reorganizing the entire Stake except our ward. I guess the other wards were all too small, so they consolidated them, made fewer, larger wards. And everyone in all other wards were released from their callings. crazy huh? They had baskets for everyone to turn in all their keys. But our ward is unaffected, we still have our same callings, same Stake, no changes.
Then today we made Chocolate ice cream, lazed around and did whatever we felt like doing. Which included a lot of sleeping. :) Then of course tonight was BYD, which was also a good time. I am getting to know the Youth more and enjoying my time with them. They really are a great group of kids.

So yes, another full week. I feel bad. As I look back I don't even know what all I did with the kids. Sophie is home with me every day, so she and I generally take plenty of time during the day to play Barbies or watch a show. We painted a lot this week actually. She loves painting, and she is pretty good at it.

Since I was gone most nights, Ben was the one to put the kids to Bed and read scriptures and all that with them. maybe we need to start having scripture study in the morning. But I am so so grateful for Ben and all that he does. He is so good about helping the kids finish up school projects, or reading with them, or helping James with his multiplication facts. He always gets them to bed on time and then even straightens up so when I get home that house is not trashed. He really is just the best. I am a lucky lucky girl.

Anyways, I wanted to post a couple things from the kids over the week. Here they are.


Kid stuff:

Sophie today was running around & around the house. And when she was all done she said "Dad, am I a really fast runner?" Yeah, You know that made my day. Cute girl.

James. Folded all the laundry for me this week. He is an angel sent from Heaven I tell you. I couldn't believe he did that for me, and it made me feel like the luckiest mom to have such a great kid.

Harrison. Made me several little hearts this week. Some with cute pictures, and some with little notes that said I love you. He is still my sweetie.

Oh and one more random thing. I made fish one night this week and was all ready for the kids to just hate it. They didn't. They ate and ate and ate. They loved it. I love it when kids like healthy things. James has started liking his sandwiches with lots of veggies in there too. gotta love that. Harrison...still just wants bread and plain cheese, nothing else.

So I think that is all for this last week. I have eaten waaaay too much sugar in the past 5 days and so made a deal with one of my friends that I have to pay her a dollar every time I have sugar. I need to get off the stuff...again. need to. it messes with me. And I have a marathon in 2 weeks, gotta be eating right.  So here's to no sugar...again..we'll see how long I last this time. ;) Hahaha.