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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

City of Rocks

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I tried google and pinterest and there really wasn't much there. My nerves rose as we got closer and closer. I was ready to unload the car, put up the tent, and start climbing immediately. I just wanted it all to start!

We followed the directions and took the turn on a bleached gravel road surrounded by sage and hills. The hill steadily crept up and then we were there. Staring at these huge rocks that looked like mud city creations I had made as a child. The rocks jutted up out of no where and all around were juniper bushes and trees and sage. It was green and granite, a beautifully strange sight.

We spent a week living outdoors, chasing the shade, meeting campsite neighbors and comparing heights reached for the day. Kyle learned how to lead climb and I learned how to let babies get caked in dirt and not even care. Max learned to warm up to new faces and Daniel learned not to eat rocks.

We got there Monday and by Friday is was so hot that I just wanted to go home. Turns out one has to pace oneself when climbing for a week. We had been so productive that we were achy all over; but still we wanted more.

So the final morning we woke up and got ready immediately. We ate a few bites of oatmeal and with the temperatures still on the lower end we head to Scream Cheese, a classic climb in the city. Kyle lead and I encouraged. He got stuck.

"Just go a little higher and check it out...." I reasoned.

He did and then he realized that it is harder to get down than to keep going up. So he kept going up until he reached the top. He made it and we were both exhilarated.

While driving home, I called my mom (who had left on Wednesday) to report our accomplishments. It had been a fun and learning trip but I questioned why we hadn't just gone to an area closer to home. After all, we had driven ten hours to reach this place where we were surrounded by much better climbers.

"Ahhh but that is the whole point of the City!" My mom explained. "You have all of these people from all over, legends and new-comers joining together from all over the world in this destination climbing spot!"

It was true. At night after dinner many climbers would gather and discuss different routes. Advice would be given and stories would be discussed. We shared our s'more fixings with a legend's 12 year-old son. He ended up playing with Max every night after that hopping around the rocks and teaching him how to perfect roasting a marshmallow.

It was still frustrating at times though, trying to climb with two small children in tow. We took turns holding and chasing babies, rocking them to sleep and applying band-aids from falls. We let Max be bored and he got better and better at entertaining himself with sticks and dirt and rocks. Life doesn't have to change completely with children, you adjust and add a lot of snacks and helping hands.

At one point a few days in, I was climbing with Kyle belaying me. I was a bit tired from the day before and lost a hold that I thought was good. I fell and was caught quickly, dropping only a little way and pushing off the rock to avoid any major scrapes. Max saw the whole thing and exclaimed with sheer glee, "MOM! I saw you fly!"

He couldn't stop talking about it all week. I won't be able to stop thinking about this trip until we get there again.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Snapshots and Consciousness

via @jamiethevwm

What can be said after a week like this. A week when racism shouts out loud. Before I share some favorite photos this week, I would also like to share some personal thoughts (however imperfect they may be). 
As a white, middle-class female I have grown up with a fairly easy life experience. I remember sitting in high school dumbfounded that anyone would feel like college wasn't an option, it was just something one does....

College made me conscious to my own privilege. It helped me to see that I could not be color blind. I could not separate the color of skin from the person before me and claim, "we are all the same." While we are all the same on the inside, the color of our skin provides much different life experiences. As I listened to classmates experiences with the color of their skin, my mind was opened up to the reality of racism. The daily and underlying ways in which it touches so many peoples lives. 

As a white, middle-class female it was my life experience that made me blind to it. I wanted to learn more. As I read and listened and studied, my mind unfolded and I saw this world as a world where there was a lot of hurt and a lot of frustration and so much fear. 

I struggled to know what to do with this new perspective. How do I show alliance and support? What do I do with this information? 

A professor would tell us over and over again because this information was bound to drown us all into nothingness that the first step always is consciousness. When you don't know what to do, be conscious. See the privilege, the persecution, the racism. Acknowledge that it exists. Do not use your privileged experience to write a different narration of someone else's story. Listen, observe, and be conscious. 

That is the starting point. 

My heart goes out to those who have been affected by the events in Charleston and elsewhere, that their pain may not be added upon by our refusal to see.

Things that have brightened my week:


Feeding baby goats.