Friday, August 21, 2015


We went on a hike last weekend to one of my favorite spots, Boulder Cave. I have been coming here since I was in a carrier. I have proof! In a hikes for children book that was published in the 1990s, you can find a picture of my mother carrying me on her back as my brothers explore the end of the cave. I am probably far too proud of that tidbit of information...

So this cave is more of a tunnel and in the off-season it is a home to bats. Before you enter the cave there is a small waterfall around some big boulders that you can visit and then you walk through the cave (flashlights VERY necessary) and you can either take the dirt road back to the parking lot or keep following the water through the gorge all the way to a natural water slide. I happily went down it with my nephew a few times. Max was NOT game.

Anyways, this is one of my happy places. I have so many great memories of walking in the dark, finding my footing with the help of a flashlight, looking for frogs and lizards and salamanders, getting wet and muddy and being happy. I feel lucky to share that with my children. 

On to the snapshots!

Daniel getting a better view.

Throwing rocks takes concentration.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Funny Story About A Book

There is a haze over the valley; the state is on fire and the smoke has nestled into the hills, muddying the horizon. There are no clouds, but the sky isn't blue either.

My mind feels perfectly matched to the scenery outside. Maybe it's the move or it's the baby who isn't sleeping through the night, the still packed boxes stacked in the living room or the fact that I haven't been able to exercise in a month. Most likely it is a mix of everything. 

In the middle of feeling stuck in a haze I was scrolling through instagram and came across this quote, 

"Your story, that story that keep replaying, the interaction of your expectations and what happens, the narrative, the disappointments and the way you process it...
It's all invented.
Ambien, the popular sleep aid, doesn't actually help people sleep much more (in one study, it boosted sleep by 18 minutes a night). No, the reason it works is that it's an amnesiac.
Ambien makes you forget that you didn't get a good night's sleep.
Because a huge side effect of sleeplessness is the invented story we tell ourselves about how tired we are. Ambien doesn't help us sleep, it just destroys the negative story about not sleeping.
It's all invented. It's still real, the pain is real, the frustration is real, but the story that's causing it all is something we made up, and something we can change. The pain is real, and so is a path to changing it." 
It is from a book called, "What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn)" by Seth Godin. The quote spoke clarity to my mind and funny enough I realized I owned the book and it was sitting on the top of that stack of unpacked boxes.

The story of how that book ended up right there is kind of funny, especially considering I hadn't even read a single page of it yet.

My husband rode to a church activity two months ago with a friend from church. As they carpooled our friend mentioned that he had bought too many copies of a new book he had been excited to read. He told Kyle a little bit about the book (nothing that he remembers...) and asked if he would want a copy. Kyle had no reason to decline a free book so he accepted a copy and brought it home. This is not a normal looking book. It kinda looks like a really fancy magazine or a really skinny coffee table book. Either way I flipped through it when he tossed it my way after coming home and then set it on our side table and didn't think much of it until I had to read it through instagram.

I worked my way through the book the next two days and it was exactly what I needed to read and hear.

I smiled at the wonderfulness of it, the grace of it. I suppose I could chalk it up to happy circumstance, just be grateful for the occurrence.

I don't want to do that.

There was a time in my life where every little happy thing that happened was just that, a happy thing. Nothing more, nothing special.

But not now, now I see God reaching out to me in so many different ways. At first I only saw what was right in front of me, what was obvious. I only saw what felt deserved.

Now, I see Him blessing my life and speaking to me in the smallest of ways, but ways that make a big difference in my life.

Through a book in the right place at the right time, through the affection of my children, through the words of family and friends; I hear and see Him aware of me and my needs.

His awareness of me (of US!) reminds me of His love. His goodness reminds me that He will not leave me helpless, His arms are outstretched and where we might not have faith in ourselves, He has faith in us.

He always has faith in us.

Friday, July 31, 2015


Packing, packing, packing. This week has been full of boxes and sorting and bags to donate. We are moving next week; downsizing from a 3br/2ba to a 2bd/1ba. This is all by choice, but man it makes moving a little more complicated. I am trying to do some sorting here but will have to do more once we arrive and live in the space a little. Over the past year I have been trying to minimize, declutter, and only give room and time to that which we love or has purpose. One big sweep is my romantic notion but unfortunately two little hoodlums keep that from being a possibility. So we have been doing it in small batches, slowly, but effectively. It makes me very excited for our new home but exhausted just thinking about it.

Speedy crawler. He was going after my phone.

From a hike last week. He makes the best faces.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2 years later

Last week the two-year anniversary of James' passing.

I think too hard about how to phrase sentences like that. Not for anyone's benefit but my own. "Anniversary" is ambiguous and doesn't assume any type of celebration and "passing" is the gentlest way I can remind myself that my child died.

Obviously there is no one, correct way to approach it, to talk about it, to live with it. I have learned that no matter how many books or accounts I read, my grief is my own and I need to do what feels right for me and my family.

I have been frustrated with how difficult that can be.

Monday was actually a great day. I got a new swimming suit, went swimming and had a great time talking with a dear friend, ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant. If I picked the day out of the whole year, it would rank highly as full of sunshine and happy moments.

At the end of the day though, my heart sank. It isn't that the day wasn't great or that I regretted the way I approached the day, it was that two years later I am still just as confused and sad and angry about losing James and learning how to live onward.

Earlier in the week Kyle and I had attended the temple which was wonderful but felt premature. The weight of the day approaching hadn't really hit, the questions hadn't returned, the ache had been pushed away.

Before bed on Monday evening I realized that all I really wanted for the day was a moment of silence. Five minutes would be even better and if we are really being honest I want the whole day. A moment, a minute, a day for the world to stop moving, stop working, stop buzzing around. I wanted people to alter their plans and remember my son. I want that for all children who have been lost. For the world to stop spinning, just for a day.

Thank you to all of you who sent messages and posts of love and support. Thank you for taking a moment. Thank you to family and friends who altered their plans to support me in my grief. Thank you to those who took the time on Monday to visit his grave, to take a picture and send it to me. At the end of the day it was EXACTLY what I needed. To know that his life made someone change a moment of theirs.

Next year I have a plan and I am writing it down so that I can remember it, so that anyone who reads this can help me remember it. I want a moment of your day on July 20th of next year. A moment, a minute, a day where you do something kind, do something good, do something out of love. Let's call it The James Effect. 

Friday, July 17, 2015


I found myself making cupcakes in a nightgown with a baby on my hip this morning. I had to laugh because it was a very specific image of motherhood to me. Daniel has been teething this past week, I monitored his top left tooth as it started bulging out of his gums. His gums were so swollen for an entire week and I thought it will cut tomorrow! It cut a week later. There was a lot of lost sleep. Daniel does not teeth well. He wants to me in my arms moving at all times, but today (like mid-morning) has been LOADS better. So yay!

The cupcakes are for a birthday party for a certain four year-old I know. For his birthday he wanted a spider-man umbrella, a lego space-ship, and a blue cake (chocolate flavor). Happily I was able to deliver. His party tonight will be simple and fun. Down at our favorite park with friends and pizza and a surprise parachute I got off Amazon. Max has had a great day so far so I hope it will end even better.

Cold watermelon rinds for hurting gums.

 I was nursing (taking pictures and nursing! SKILLZ!). He was mad. This is what my home looks like 98% of the time. I hope Max mellows out as a four year-old. Either way I will love him, but I might go crazy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Maxwell will turn four on Friday.

Photo by Hannah Nielsen

At four years-old, Max is a shy class-clown. He is very energetic but he needs to warm up, assess the situation and crowd before he starts doing his thing. He likes to make people laugh and is learning (slowly) that causing bodily harm and annoying them constantly is not the way to generate laughter. He eats between 3-5 breakfasts each morning (cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, bagel with cream cheese, english muffin with jam, PB&J). He is a little attorney forcing me to improve my judicial skills each day. He loves his little brother and anxiously awaits when Daniel is big enough to really play with him; knocking Daniel down and lying on top of him will do for now. He has a sweet tooth but knows his limits (the other day he had a m&m cookie and finished half claiming that if he ate the rest that too much candy would make his tummy hurt). He gets carsick easily, loves grilled cheese, tests new shoes out for speed, always wants help putting on his shirt, is proud of his new booster seat, and requests a new lullaby each night.

I love this boy and I love being his mother. 

Friday, July 10, 2015


Things got a little insane these last couple of weeks. After traveling for basically two weeks straight, we had a lot of errands to run, people to meet up with, and laundry to clean. I dug deep on Monday and by Tuesday decided that was way too boring. So we went to the water park. Wednesday we made a visit to Yakima for a play date and an oil change. Thursday we headed to the park with some friends and it went so well that we repeated it today. It has been a great week.

Pulling himself up all over the place and being adorable while doing it.

If you can believe it, this child turns 4 next week. FOUR! My mind can't comprehend it.