Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Sleepover with Ella

My hubs is out of town for a certain football game and I'm home with my girls for the New Year. It's fine. I'm on-call for hospital emergencies and it's nice to have that as excuse to not plan anything extravagant for the New Year. Can't get dressed. Am on call.

Last night Ava went to bed and Ella and I stayed up to make Oreo pops for our small New Years get together. Afterwards we went upstairs, read some stories, and at 9:45 I said "Oops! Time for bed!" Ella looked doubtful but I turned out the light and snuggled down. I do love my sleep.

Ella tossed and turned as usual and made many deep annoyed sighing sounds.


Ella: Mom! I'm getting scared! Of monsters!

Mom: Don't worry. There are no monsters in our house. In fact there are no monsters anywhere. And you've got mommy right here.

Ella: Yeah...mommy is the best.

Mom: uh huh.

Ella: Say "thank you dear."

Mom: Thank you dear.

Ella: Monsters aren't in the house. Only in the forest in the dark.

Mom: No, do you know what lives in the forest? Deer. And squirrels and chipmunks and bunnies.

Ella: But monsters are big! And are circles and squares and hexagons and, and....rectangles! And have a face.

Mom: ....Wow. Well that sounds like pretend to me. But there are no monsters and let's go sleep. It's very late.


Ella: Mom?

Mom: Yes dear?

Ella: When I get big I'm going to be a mommy. Just like you.

Mom: Good idea. Do you want to have a job, too, like mommy?

Ella: A job? What job?

Mom: You know, how mommy is a nurse, and goes to work?
Ella: Oh, work. Yeah, I want to work.

Mom: Well what do you want to do? You could be a nurse like mommy, which is great because it's flexible and in demand, or you could be a teacher, or write books, or work in the zoo, or cook in a restaurant, or anything at all.

Ella: I want to hang upside down. Like a possum.

Mom: Huh.

Ella: NO, no, like a monkey.

Mom: Huh. Well you could work in a zoo with monkeys...

Ella: (starting to cry) Noooo I want to BE a monkey!

Mom: Well....

Ella: (weeping) Please!

Mom: Okay you can be whatever you want to be. Let's go to sleep.

Ella: I just want to hang upside down.

Mom: Well good thing you are in gymnastics. That's a start. Sleepy time.


Ella: Mom?

Mom: hhmmph?

Ella: I want to snuggle the kitty.

Mom: Go for it. Good luck.

Ella: crawling over mom, petting kitty. "Hi Carmie."



Mom: What's up now?

Ella: Kitty is growling at me.

Mom: Oh hun that's not growling, that's purring. It means she is happy. Haven't you heard purring before?

Ella: She goes "Grrrrr"

Mom: She goes "purrrrrr." Go to sleep.





Mom: What's that.

Ella: Just a lion purring. Just go to sleep.

And I did.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This IS my Christmas Card.

Merry Christmas!

Despite everything, we had a joyful year, and we are having a fun kid centric Christmas Season.

Gingerbread Cookies...

Look at Ava's decorating skills!Ella too....oh...wait...well she did decorate some as well.

See? Well, genetically she's all mom.

Good One. Should have had this printed and mailed out. Darn it, too late.

This game is known as Five Little Monsters.

Aw, both dressed and awake, better take a picture. Of course our 7th family member is included, aka, the TV.

Family 2011 Highlight List

(off the top of my head)

Baby Lily earned her wings on February 6th. Although we miss her and grieve daily, we are so grateful we got to have her at all, and know we will see her again.

Ava turned 1 in May with a big hoopla party, and started to walk!

Erin and Zar continued working at their jobs.

The girls gained a new Aunt, Rachel, married to Erin's brother Cob.

Zar ran the American Fork Canyon half marathon.

Ella started preschool and loves it, (most days) and turned 3.

Ava's favorite words are Apple, Daddy, Minnie Mouse, Thank you, and Happy Shoes.

Ella loves running, singing, Diego, Dinosaur Train, going to the park and the Ipad.

We visited Disneyland in October with close friends and had a wonderful time!

The Utes joined the PAC 12 and Zar was pumped for his most favorite time of the year. The girls have been indoctrinated to recognize the drum and feather and yell "Go Utes!"

Erin turned 31, Zar turned 33, and we booked our trip to Glacier next year for our ten year anniversary!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Festival of Trees 2011

Super Cooperative kids taking sweet cousins picture

Zar asked me yesterday if I had simply given up blogging. I said yes, sorta, but that's not true. It's just one of those things that was much easier to get to back when my kids took multiple naps and none were mobile. Plus our lives contain much less life and death drama than it used to.

However we have been enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.

My sister and nieces were in town for Thanksgiving and it's always wonderful to spend time with them. We went Black Friday shopping and Allison almost vomited during Twilight, and we compared dull-faced Santa pictures. Tried in vain for more another Christmas card picture, but I think it's just not to be this year. Zar and I ran the Cold Turkey 5K on Thanksgiving morning and it was way fun. Not so sure I would have had such fun had it been snowing or even much colder, but it was perfect conditions this year. Of course since then neither of us have ran a step, except to catch a child and deposit them back on the Calm Down Stair.

The Festival of Trees came and went and it was a great experience, as always. The tree turned out differently than I had anticipated but very cute. My sister took better pictures of the tree which won't upload for me. The company Zar works for bought our tree and we are so touched and grateful. I am hoping they let Zar keep the carousel horse as office decor once the season is over. I had told myself I would only do a tree every other year but already I'm thinking of next year and wanting to start all over again. It's a time and financial commitment so if I can talk myself out of it I may go ahead and wait. But it adds so much to the season and is such a wonderful way to honor our girls! We shall see.

In other news I am sicker than I have been in a long time today, but have been blessed that the day has gone by quickly. The goal today was to keep the children from being seriously injured. That's as much as I could handle. So far so good. Zar should be home any moment (PLEASE!) and I'm going to fall into a coma.

Until then.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Those Magical Memories

I got myself all worked up and excited the past couple weeks over a new tradition I cooked up for my kids. It pretty much sounded like BEST DAY EVER to my 5 year old self, so I decided to start it this year with the girls so by the time they are old enough to really anticipate it they will already have warm fuzzy memories. I called it SUPER SANTA DAY. It included sleeping in (this was added on because it happened to occur today) eating a big eggy breakfast (also today's breakfast request) and then heading for the mall a couple days before Thanksgiving, before things get out of control, and see Santa. This would involve no waiting in line because it's so early and everyone is at the grocery store, plus kids are still in school. (This part will probably need to be altered as years go by, but this year--ideal.) Then we would walk on down to SANTA'S MINI-WORKSHOP aka Build-a-Bear, and each kid could pick out an animal to make and it would be incredible. Then we would make a stop at the Chick-fil-a for my favorite nuggets, and then home for naps and laundry. And then I pretty much avoid the mall until January, or later.

Of course in this fantasy my kids are darling and well-behaved and I am able to use the Santa picture for Christmas cards this year because we were sick on our scheduled family picture day a few weeks ago. They smile like angels and are grateful and sweet.
Here is the resulting Santa Picture:

Not the worst ever, but certainly not one Christmas card worthy. In fact, this is more like those pictures you see of yourself as your get older and think..."Huh. I thought I was cuter." Instead you find yourself looking perplexed and not all that intelligent, and Santa appears to be slumped to one side and ever so slightly creepy.

Santa was also not all that excited about Ella's new Tigger toothbrush she waited all morning to show him, and of course once on his lap she couldn't managed to choke out her request (an umbrella) and Ava screamed bloody murder the moment I stepped out of view. So that was fun. Luckily I'm well seasoned enough as a mom to not bend under pressure and buy the $40 picture package suitable for over the couch framing, and instead sprang for the cheap-o
"Dasher" package, as in "You will "Dash" all your children's Christmas Dreams" for $24.99. Arg. But, happily, no line.

Next on to Build-a-Bear, were I was expecting to drop a chunk of change on Childhood Magic. I had promised myself I would allow Ella to choose whatever bear she wanted, (except the ultra-luxury ones) no matter how offensive it was and even if it had peace signs on it or smelled like stickiness or was something dumb, like a stuffed vegetable or something. However I did stand in front of the stuffed Angry Birds during the choosing process. Ella chose a baby blue fluffy bear, and tried to force the pink one on her sister, but I steered Ava towards the more natural looking bears and she picked out the Midnight Bear, which would have been my fourth choice or so. So far so good.

I didn't understand that the noise maker for putting inside the bear was optional until after Ella had chosen one that sang a verse of "True Colors" so we splurged on that but Ava did not get a noise maker. They enjoyed stuffing the bears and REALLY enjoyed fluffing them in "the bath tub" where they are sprayed with air and brushed, so much so that Ella had to return 4 times to the tub and had to be carried screaming from the store after an hour. Also she chose a Buzz Lightyear costume for her bear, and after she was all dressed in it (and therefore committed to buy) she decided she needed another bath and announced she preferred her bear naked. Ava was thrilled with a striped sweater so I didn't push it. So we made birth certificates we forgot to ask for at the end, and the bears were named "Ella" and "Black Bear" and a mighty fit was thrown when they were put into boxes at the cash register, and then we left. I'm not going to share the grand total on this piece of holiday cheer because my husband reads this.

However, here is the happy at home photo of the girls with their Christmas Bears, or their bottoms anyway, to protect their identity.

Also my husband has hidden my camera, so these were taken with my iphone, aka my birthday and Christmas gift for the rest of my natural life.

Now the kids are taking little naps (we skipped the chicken in the and Ella is topless because she wants to be naked just like her Ella bear, and by the way, her name is now Mickey, you know, because the bear is Ella.

I can't help but think that for all the happy memories we made today, this little preschool place mat will become our treasured 2011 Thanksgiving tradition, and perhaps we should make one with Ava when she wakes up.

Ava even has a matching forehead boo-boo I could put an Ariel band-aid on. I think I will do that. Maybe Super Santa Day should be every-other-year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This is how the Holidays are making me feel. Well, the Holidays and Coke Zero, which is, for obvious reasons, zero points on weight watchers. Which is something I'm doing right now because things were getting out of control. And egg nog season had not even begun.
Also, I'm listening to Ella shout "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?" from her room and wondering why The Children would never let me sneak away to take a bath by myself but when I want them to come be with me, Ava falls into sleepy fits until I plop her in the crib and Ella locks herself in her room with the Ipad and yells "Mom" 97 times until I go make sure she isn't trapped under the mattress. And she's 3. Shouldn't I have a few more years until she locks herself in her room after dinner? Hopefully by then she won't be following me into the tub. So there is that to look forward to.
Speaking of the Ipad, I swore I would never expose my children to "Barney," and turns out she was yelling for me because she is having trouble finding "The Orange Barney" on Netflix and would like some assistance. I cannot stand the orange Barney. It involves a very offensive dinosaur named Riff with a voice worse than Babybops, if that is possible. And he plays the saxophone. Plus it is bedtime. Ella is not taking this news well.
And yet I keep typing.
Hmmm. Maybe needing to cut back on evening Coke Zero.
And blog some other time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Blue Heaven

I've debated about whether to blog about this for a couple of days but it's had such a profound effect on my brain that I'm going to share it. It's such a little thing but so ridiculously healing to me. I feel very whole.

Two nights ago I had a dream about Charlotte. I have always wanted one, and have occasionally prayed for one, but I've never had a really good one. People have told me they have had dreams seeing her running and playing and I'm like, hello, I'm her mother. Where's my dream? Well it was kind of silly and definitely had those funny nonsense dream aspects, but I want to remember it. It is somewhat religious. Which made it more special.

To start out, I dreamt I was in a run down toy store and couldn't get out. That has nothing to do with anything, but I remember that's what I was doing before the dream really started. Then I was falling in the dark, and I had the sense I was going to die and go to heaven, but that it was only for a few minutes, so I had to hurry. Suddenly I came out of the dark and it was very bright but not at all blinding, I could see perfectly and didn't have to squint. I remember thinking "well this is very heavenly light." And I liked it, which is cool because I hate sunlight.
Yep, I would prefer overcast any day of the week. Anyway, there were mountains around and rivers and clouds at ground level, and lots of people. I was running around calling "Charlotte? Charlotte!?" Then I thought maybe I should look for Jesus, but a voice said "No, just find your daughters." So then I yelled "BOOFUS?" and I saw a little toddler girl and ran up to her but it wasn't Charlotte. I knew I didn't have much time, I knew I was going to wake up. I ran up some stone stairs and there she was, wearing a pink shirt and standing with an adult I never really looked at. She looked about 8 years old. She turned and smiled and had the same little face and hair cut and put out her arms. I ran and hugged and her and squeezed her face in my hands and laughed and she laughed too. We talked for a few minutes but I don't remember what we said, it was quite casual, I think just like "oh I'm so glad I found you, I know I'm going to wake up and was afraid I wouldn't see you" and she said "I'm glad too Mom!" I asked her if she knew where Lily was and she said she was quite busy, but maybe she was over by those trees. I kissed her cheek and headed for the trees, and suddenly I was on a ledge looking out over a valley with yellow trees and lakes and a big sky above, and I heard a voice say "I'm so busy, I can't come, but the day I left earth was the most wonderful day, and I was so glad to get out of that sick little body. I will see you later!" comes the awesome nonsense dream silliness--a fleet of silver jets flew over with big University of Utah flags flying behind them, and I knew it was a gift from Lily. Pretty awesome. Then a breeze came up, and lots of yellow leaves came flying around me and I could see below Ella and Ava looking up at me (both about 8 years old as well ) and I woke up.

And believe it or not, waking up was almost the best part. I felt so calm and happy and warm and like I didn't have a care in the world. I started to realize I had to get up and go to work and it just seemed ridiculous, like such a meaningless thing to have to do. Well I did get up and went to work, but all day I had this little excited feeling about seeing Charlotte, and almost an anticipatory feeling as well, like she was so close and I would see her again. Which I believe but it has never felt so REAL, so literal. She felt so real.

And since then, and I realize it's only been a couple of days, but since then it's like I have zero sadness when I think of her. ZERO. I even made a point to linger on those memories of her right before she died, when she was so sick and didn't look like herself and was unconscious, and it's like there is no emotional hit. As if it just doesn't matter, because everything is fine now. I thought about my regrets, that we didn't get the g-tube sooner, that I didn't make her wear her hearing aides more, that I didn't work harder on her physical therapy. Nope, doesn't matter. It doesn't matter just like having my heart broken in 6th grade doesn't matter, like that bad hair cut in high school doesn't matter, like the fender bender I got into in college doesn't matter. It happened, I learned from it, but it doesn't matter anymore. It's an incredible feeling.

As for Lily, my little mysterious girl, I still feel sadness when I think of her. I still have regrets and don't want to think too long on certain moments of her life. That's okay. I'm not ready to be at perfect peace with Lily's life. But what an amazing gift, to feel free of any sorrow associated with Charlotte. Her name came up in conversation with a friend this morning and my friend said "Oh she was so amazing!" and I agreed and thought "Oh she is, she's such an amazing girl." And I felt like a proud mom, talking about a daughter away at Harvard or something. That familiar tightening in my chest didn't come, that wistful sorrowful moment after saying her name didn't come, there was nothing but happiness and pride and joy. It is incredible.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Pooh and Rex, the chosen souvenirs.

Buzz and Tiana

As you may recall we went to Disneyland a few weeks ago. Here are a few choice pics. It was delightful, as Disneyland always is. The company was perfect, the mid-day naps at our budget motel fantastic, and the Halloween Party was fun but PACKED but we did come home with a massive sack of candy which my mother enjoyed passing out on Halloween. We also got to go in to an annual pass holder party after closing time one night, which was awesome and ended with Ella running bare bummed through Tomorrowland, and how many kids can claim THAT? I don't know how we ended up becoming such Disney people but I guess there is no denying it. Hoping to make one more trip before our passes expire in March.

Once we got home, we enjoyed the rest of the Halloween season, and then I celebrated my 31st birthday on Friday. Fantastic. Yes, time is tripping along faster than I anticipated as a teenager, but that's fine with me. I worked on my birthday but on Thursday I got in a run, got a pedicure, (a real one) took the kids for bowling, got a nap, and had dinner and a movie with my husband. Which is an amazing day. Even my work day birthday included a sushi lunch and ended with pizza and taking Ella to see Puss in Boots (she learned some fiery Latin dancing). To top it off we went to a Hopekids birthday party for Lily on Saturday and did some skating, bouncing, and cake eating, and today my weight watchers (I'm baaaack!) weigh in was only two lbs up, for a week that included Halloween and multiple birthday celebrations. So not too shabby.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Things I would do with a couple more hours in the day:

Keep up my blog
Bag up all the tiny baby clothes in the house
Clean my refrigerator
Work out daily
Read my Scriptures
Give myself a pedicure
Do art projects with kids
Learn basic sewing skills, mostly so I could make things from Pinterest
De-clutterfy my house
Do a Festival of Trees test run
Plan and execute wonderful nutritious meals
Go to yoga
Read the piles of magazines building up behind the couch
Catch up on scrapbooking (which stops a month after Charlotte's death)
Try on all the jeans in my drawers and get rid of the ones that are hopeless or circa 1999

Am I slowing down or are the hours speeding up? As much as I would love to accomplish these things, I'm happy there aren't more kid-related things on there. I feel like I spend a lot of good fun quality time with my kids, which, in the end, is what matters most. To you moms who are somehow able to keep it all together, and do it all, (for example, my mother) I salute you. I may be just hanging on to sanity and hygiene, but maybe with tiny kids that's the most I should aspire to right now.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Lily

Last Monday, on the 17th, we celebrated Lily's birthday. We were in Disneyland. It was a good place to be on her birthday. Last year when Lily was born, we weren't even sure we would pursue "heroic measures" to keep her alive. We were hoping we wouldn't have to. Charlotte was born to a room of people who didn't expect her to breath, let alone live, so she had to take the reins and prove she could make it. We hoped Lily would do the same.
She didn't.
Within minutes she was laying in my arms struggling to breath, grunting and turning blue. Her blood sugar was tested and it was very low. The nurses looked at us and we nodded and she was whisked to the NICU. So fast. Was that the right thing to do? Should we have just said goodbye minutes after saying hello? The room was bright and everyone looked terrified. It was not a wonderful day. Later I visited her and held her and it was good and quiet and she was pink and lovely, and then I returned to my room and fell into a drugged fitful itchy sleep. It was hard.
Lily's life was touch and go from the beginning. We kept hoping and praying, we gave her every chance, every opportunity to decide to stay. A long NICU stay, a g-tube, serious talk about heart surgery. But it wasn't meant to be. She was an uncomfortable visitor here, she knew she didn't belong here. I guess we knew it too, even if we fought it. We knew she wouldn't stay for long, but a few years? Why not? I don't know if I made the most of the time she had here. I don't know how I could have done better. I do wish I had held her more, and slept with her more, and hadn't kept waiting for her to get healthier. I cling to memories of those morning coconut oil baths and the quiet days the other girls were out of the house and it was just us. Why didn't I just sit with you more? Why didn't I just stop?
Oh Lily. We will get to know you later. Or perhaps we will know you, all of you, your smile and your quirks and your likes and dislikes, from the moment we meet, and wonder how we ever forgot. But right now all we can do is send you a pink Mickey balloon, sing a birthday song with dear friends and wonder, honestly, why you had to come and go. We won't really understand for a long while yet, but I have faith that it will all make sense eventually. I hope you will know I did my best, all I could do at the time.
Happy Birthday Lily. I miss every part of you and grieve for all I didn't get a chance to know.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

From infinity and beyond...

We're back from D-land, all sugared out and headachey. Having a great Halloween season though! Hope you are too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Big Kid Stuff

The long awaited Monkey Party

First Teeth Cleaning

My big kid Ella turns 3 tomorrow. She's been growing up like crazy these past few weeks. She is fully potty trained and loving preschool, (even naming her new birthday doll after one of her teachers, Miss Karen) and yesterday we finally completed the big room switch which I started about a year ago. Finally the girl's clothes are actually in their own rooms. The girls also went to the dentist today, for Ava's first check up and Ella's first real cleaning. She was so brave and good, and it reminded me of her big sister being so brave and good though all she went through. Not that a dental visit even compares, but thankfully it's as close as we've gotten with Ella, as far as invasive procedures go.

I cannot believe Ella is three. It seems like she hasn't been here very long, and yet when Charlotte turned three it felt like she had always, always been with us. Somehow Charlotte managed to fit soooo much life into those three little years and 8 short months. Not that Ella hasn't, but time has definitely sped up since I entered typical kid life. Makes me want to slow down and enjoy the little things more, which becomes increasingly difficult as these kids get crazier and messier and so, so busy. I love it, despite the break neck pace. These kids are going to be teenagers before I know it. When Charlotte died and then Lily died, thinking of the long tedious life ahead was enough to completely overwhelm and depress me. Now this life is overwhelming me with how fast it's flashing by.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Days Like This

Ava consuming my Halloween Decor

Was almost driven crazy today. Yes, they have been little annoyances. But truly, sometimes it's the little things that drive you to the edge.
It didn't help I suppose that last night, I went back in my blog to look at some pictures of Ava and her hair line, and decide whether I'm giving her traction alopecia. (no.) This brought me back to last December, when her hair was all cutely professionally done (as in done by a friend) for our final court appearance. And then I read about Lily's birthday in October which is fast approaching, and about the NICU, and about hospice, and about her death. I had recently revisited this in my Hospital posts, but only from memory. Going back and seeing is different. Seeing her little feet, her tubes, her puckered lips waiting for chap stick. Seeing her all sweet and warm and still looking so weary. So I cried and cried, and then took Ella up to read before bed, and decided there's no reason I can't have Ella see me cry (it's okay to be sad or mad, after all) and I told Ella I was sad because I missed Lily, and that made me let forth a big ole' sloppy sob, and Ella just nodded and said "Well, she's a good baby."
I agreed and we read a Cinderella book (Ella's choice) and Little Bear, (my choice) and a weird bunny book about a baby bunny who doesn't want to be a doctor or a farmer or a lion tamer, he just wants to be a daddy rabbit with lots of children, to which I say then baby bunny better find a job.
Anyways, then we went to sleep.
Back to today. This is self indulgent but I'm going to go through my small annoyances just to make myself feel justified in being annoyed.
It started my phone claims I hit "dismiss" instead of "snooze" when my alarm went off, which means I missed my early morning all-by-myself read and work out session which I have enjoyed the past few days. When I did wake up I was glaring at my phone and it's alarm and noticed an overdraft notice from my bank, and found that Ella's preschool just barely cashed her tuition check I turned in six weeks ago. And yes, I should have known it hadn't been cashed but as I eluded to, I only started watching my finances like four weeks ago. So...totally annoyed. That of course means a fee. Grrrr and I have been so careful so that just drives me nuts.
Anyway, got up, briefly thought Ella might be well enough to go to school because she didn't weep and cough all night, but she woke up with a giant deep lung type hacking, so she missed it again. (That and the check just clearing....grrrrr, preschool.)
The morning went fine and I did get some exercise in, which doesn't work as well with kids sitting on your back when you try to do plank...or maybe that's better...but here's what happened from there:

  • Zar came home from work sick just in time to hear Ava slip and bonk her head on the wall after her bath. Much Screaming.

  • Ava, my child who does NOT like candy, found a cutely displayed jar of candy corn on a shelf, dumped it over her head and wildly stuffed them in her mouth while I tried to clean them up. Was funny until noticed orange drool all over carpet. Did I mention I was on my hands and knees scrubbing out carpet stains YESTERDAY...

  • Kids threw all my bathroom counter bottles in the slowly draining tub while I was stupidly trying to style my hair for the first time in a couple weeks.

  • Kids repeatedly slipped on wet bathroom floor (from splashing) and injured themselves while I repeatedly asked them beat it, curling iron in hand.

  • Kids feel neglected so start randomly screaming to point I am sure cops will be called. Also throw themselves on floor and hit heads again.

  • Hair looks awful.

  • Kids throw goldfish around room and grind into carpet while I dress.

  • Cat barfs on carpet. (carpet now huge mess of cat vomit, orange gold fish crumbs and massive amounts of candy corn drool, at least is festive.)

  • Ella goes out to garage to get into car while I put Ava's shoes on, and decides instead to crawl under car, where she gets her darling new cream colored dress all covered in black grime and oil.

  • Zar lays in bed and moans.

  • Meet sister, mom, and nieces at mall, eat chicken, my kids scream, her kids are angels. People stare.

  • Stupidly go to Sephora to get orange Halloween nail polish, thinking fun activity for me and kids, baby pedicures. STUPIDLY let Ella carry nail polish, ordering DO NOT DROP THIS which she of course immediately does, and it splatters all over the floor, shelves, and sister. Apologize profusely and stand them dumbly asking Ella to say sorry. Feel like jerk.

  • Rude construction worker gestures at me for who knows what, and I fight not to swerve into him on way home.

  • Glance into back seat and don't see Ella in her car seat, nearly have a heart attack, realize I forgot to buckle her in and she has quietly left her seat and is playing on the floor of the car. Feel awful.

If you have gotten this far, you will glad to know I now feel ashamed of my list, as now looks like a normal day and perhaps it was just my mood that was different. Probably due to last night's emotion fest. Anyway, both kids fell asleep on the way home and I carried them upstairs, dumped them in their cribs and got almost two hours to watch Ghost Hunters and work on my book page rosette wreath which I finally finished. And there is beef stew in the crock pot I made for my poor sick husband, who does not seem interested in leaving the bedroom. And Ella has not had an accident in days, including two full nights in big girl undies. And got compliment from black lady at mall on Ava's spiral curls. Sometimes it takes blogging to work out what's really going on. So...I had better just shut up and post.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Feeling Good

So the internet has been down at our home for the last few weeks, at first just partially so, and then completely, and no one really got around to calling on it until today. Thank goodness that someone was Zar as it took an hour and $40 to fix, which seems ridiculous, but the modem was out of warranty...or similar. But we're back up, with faster speeds, so hooray! Now maybe I will have the patience to upload more picture of my kids at the zoo. Yes.

Aside from the zoo, there are other things I've been up to. Here is a brief update.

Potty Training (warning, mentions potty stuff.): Success! Finally after months of fighting it and acting all squirrely, I told Ella that on Tuesday we are throwing away the diapers, and you are going to pee in the potty. She, shockingly, agreed. We talked about it all week and told all our friends who oohed and ahhed. Then we did it. Woke up, got naked (her), sang a song and dumped the diapers in a (clean) garbage bag. She did so great. We stayed inside and she peed and the potty all day long. It was awesome. That was last Tuesday and she is now going to preschool and Target and Costco in big girl pants and doing fabulous. We've had a few accidents obviously, a bad one with her poor sitter, but really it's been awesome. I look forward to doing a better, faster, less prolonged training with Ava. And the checkout girl at Target laughed heartily when Ella informed her that she worked at "The Panny Store."

Organization: I've decided, now not having the stress and emotional struggle of a special needs child, that I can no longer spend money like a drunken sailor. This is something I should have figured out years ago, but honestly, with everything else going on, it was just one thing I couldn't bear to think about. We were covering our medical bills, and I was happy. Even if that meant treating ourselves...okay...myself, and my kids, to little luxuries that perhaps were out of our non-existent budget. So now, having decided to look for ways to save money and pay attention to my I's and O's, turns out I need to come up with other stuff to do other than wander the mall or Target, aka, The Panny Store. This has, actually, been awesome. I have rearranged my kitchen and finally threw away the stale and spilled weight watchers cereal in my cupboard, moved the pots and pans around and used our billions of old medical tubs to organize our pantry. These tubs will be familiar to anyone with kids who frequent the hospital, but we had even more than normal due to the pumping and storing I did for Lily during her NICU stay. See tubs. Couldn't bear to cover her sweet little name on the "Snax" tub. Sigh.

I also, having discovered and explored (GO NOW) have learned to make laundry detergent from bars of Fels Naptha (smells almost as good as Pine Sol, drove around with a bar in my car for awhile) washing soda and borax. This has been fun and economical, along with my reusable dryer sheets cut from old flannel burp rags and a fabric softener concoction. I feel like a full on pioneer. With an Ipad. And pinterest. In the interest of full disclosure I get a huge kick out of scooping my little teaspoons of powder into my laundry, but I still take no joy from folding it.

More Pinterest Exploration and resulting crafts: I did a lot of pinning before our internet went down, and therefore had lots of ideas for stuff to do while I wasn't shopping and/or waiting for potty success. Here are my copy-cat Halloween decorations I stole, which have been up for...way too long already. Thank you Cricut, dead sticks, and black spray paint. Oh yes, and the dollar store, another recent discovery. Their pasta is mushy but everything else, eye opening.

Thinking About Deadly Epidemics: Yes...we have been hearing about the importance of food storage and disaster preparedness for many years...there have been entire conference weekends pretty much dedicated to it...but it took a movie about a super bat/pig virus to get my butt in gear. I guess I always assumed if there were some sort of earthquake any food I had managed to store would be buried in the basement, or I could still run up to the the Smiths and loot with the rest of them, or focus on getting to Shannon's house were the giant Shelf Reliance system is...but my goodness, what if it were a VIRUS TYPE DISASTER??? (such as in the recent movie release, Contagion)Those people were waiting in emergency food lines like 20 DAYS IN. With masks and guns. I mean C'MON. I'm happy to report I worked a couple of these beauties into the budget, so I can relax a bit, and am now focusing on the more economical beans and wheat type storage. Slowly. Oh, and I made my own tiny pantry organization thing out of an empty muscle milk box. (pinterest). For black beans. Cuz I have like NINE CANS. So...yeah, all is safely gathered in, if you know what I mean.
Feels good to be potty trained (both Ella and I), organized, somewhat in control of my spending, overly decorated, and blogging again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What we've been up to:

first and foremost... Staying cool...

hangin' at the zoo...
relaxing up the canyon...

First day of preschool!

Loving the State Fair
Enjoying early Fall to the fullest.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years

Before I was a blogger, I was a journal keeper. Thankfully, quite a dedicated one actually. Tonight I pulled out a big white Deseret book journal with a stick figure dancing to the caption "livin' la Vida loca" and the phrase "Midwives Help People Out" written inside the front cover. This book covers my life from January 1st 2000 to my wedding day, September 27, 2002. Quite a crazy, turbulent, painful and wonderful time in my life. I wanted to see what I had written on
9/11, and was pleased I had the wherewithal to take the time to write something. Although it was just the facts. At the time I had been writing mostly in a grungy yellow notebook with "Erin's House of Pain" etched on the cover. Very unfortunately, this notebook is lost to the ages, because believe it or not, it covers THE most life changing months of my life, the months in which I truly grew up, in all it's raw and painful but necessary details. But that is neither here nor there. The point is, the most personal thing I wrote on 9/11 is that I went to my Institute class,
("You were in COLLEGE??!" my then 8th grade brother squawked tonight when I mentioned this fact) and then left, because it felt inappropriate to go to Latin Dancing which was next on my schedule.
In the weeks surrounding 9/11, I had my heart broken, like really, really broken, went to therapy, wore a ring I wish I still had that said "WHOLE" to remind me I was enough on my own, got into nursing school, turned 21, moved out into my first apartment, and met my husband (and consequently wrote some major cheesy poetry).
I was so self involved that I know for a fact I didn't even cry that day. I remember thinking I should be crying, that would be the appropriate response for a young lady, but it didn't happen. I since have cried when watching old clips, movies and during embarrassing country songs in my car, but at the time it fit so neatly into the theme of my life that it hardly shocked me. I had built up walls to protect myself in the proceeding days and the sounds of terror and sorrow were muffled and far away. It was a time of tragedy out of the blue and loss and growth. It was a time of tears and pulling together and change. Of anger. Of being more careful. Of new priorities. Of innocence lost.
Tonight watching the tribute shows, I couldn't believe ten years have passed. I cried this time, and thought of my family, my kids, and how much differently I would react today than that 20 year old girl who wasn't a bit surprised the world was ending. The gravity, finally, has sunk in.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hospitals. The conclusion. Finally.

We had high hopes when Lily was born. I did, at least. Her heart looked fairly healthy on echo, her skull was pleasingly round on ultrasound, and she was big. And so, having accepted that we were getting a new membership to the special needs club, I was hoping for a chance to be amazing at it. I was counting on Lily to make it easy for me. No big surgeries, no scary unknown, and hope of hopes, no oxygen.
When Lily was whisked to the NICU at age 20 minutes, I felt those plans slipping away. Still, she graduated quickly from the little room at the hospital where she was born and was soon a big fixture in the feeder grower area, sunning under her bili-lights and taking milk by bottle. I thought she would be home soon after I was discharged. Leaving the hospital without her was so sad and felt so wrong that I have blocked it out. But I remember going back when they called in the night to say she had aspirated and would be taking no more milk by mouth. Back in the small NICU room, in the back with the sickest babies, I just wanted her transferred to the big hospital, where they would fix everything. Where they would declare that comparatively she was so healthy-so big! - and we could go home.
Lily transferred. She went to the NICU, and soon I was wondering why I thought this would simplify things. They looked closer. They saw how fragile she was, even comparatively. The NICU doctor talked to me, and said her death was a matter of now, or later. I nodded and thought "Well, isn't yours too?"
When Lily did come home, with a g-tube and oxygen and a terrible diaper rash, I thought we had made it. I thought finally our journey could begin. I could work hard with her on positioning, and tummy time, and physiotherapy, and all those things I should have worked harder on with Charlotte. Yet before I knew it I was calling across the driveway to the approaching therapist that Lily had stopped breathing and we were going to the hospital. And bringing her pulse ox downstairs to keep on her at all times because she was so sensitive to position changes. We kept taking her back to the ER, to the PICU, where she would lay quietly for a few days in one of those cage-like cribs, hooked up to even more tubes than usual and then come back home with no new miracle. I knew she was having seizures and when we finally caught one on EKG during a respiratory related PICU stay, I pulled out ice cream cups to celebrate. Now we could fix her. Now the real journey would start.
The meds seemed to work briefly. We saw the neurologist who mostly just shook his head. I stopped taking her up to the ER and instead made frequent trips to the doctor's office to get her suctioned. It took forever and I had a two year old, a six month old, and Lily with me. But at least we were together. Finally, during one of those doctor visits I mentioned hospice, then burst into tears. It felt like giving up.
But if it was giving up, it was what Lily needed. I stopped worrying so much about the journey and focused on Right Now. I gave her long coconut oil baths and massages. We played music. We let hospice bring us her meds and a suction machine. When her alarms went off in the night and she turned blue, fear would grip my throat and I would start thinking of how much to pack for the hospital. But instead, we would hold her, and pray, and eventually go back to sleep. It wasn't easy, and sometimes it still felt like giving up on her. But it wasn't.
Eventually I stopped hooking her up to her monitor except at night. Suddenly she looked pinker and my stress level dropped. The seizures, however worsened, and each one seemed like it was the end. We had hospice support, and family support, and dinners brought to our door.
I brought Lily to bed with us. I kept a hand on her all night long. I smelled her head constantly and took pictures of her big feet.
One Sunday morning just as we were waking up, it seemed like Lily was ready. Her oxygen went down down down. She was sleeping. We were crying. I began to panic, it seemed scary and wrong to do this without the hospital support. I wanted staff, and curtains pulled, and someone in scrubs with authority to tell us what to do. But the feeling passed, and I tried to be brave, even without a doctor there.
We all sat on the bed, even the babies. We were in pajamas. We were next to the window. It was sunny, and quiet. We sang to her, Consider the Lilies. And Lily, slowly, left one home for another.
Hospitals may be for healing, but when it came time for Lily to be fully healed, we had all we needed at home.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 29, 2011

Welcome Back

Well, thanks to those who let me know my blog was inaccessible for a couple weeks. After investigation, turns out my custom template was not compatible with some of my widgets. Something about javascript? ???

Anyway, I had to change my template. Kind of sad, as that was my first original, fully custom template, but change is good too.

If you have been gone, welcome back. You haven't missed much, just some long ramblings on my feelings on hospitals, which is what I thought was scaring people away.

If you are checking to see if I've fallen pregnant, or had another child dropped in my lap, I'm sorry to disappoint you. We are hoping for a long, peaceful (and 99% likely permanent) reprieve from that kind of crazy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rock Tasting

First of all, if you've had trouble accessing my blog or others from certain computers, I guess there is an issue with Google Chrome as a search engine for some blog viewing. Internet Explorer and others seem to work fine. You may be able to tell I really don't know what I'm talking about. The kids put together this "Breakfast" while the dads were cooking the real one. Ava tasted a lot of rocks and it looks as though Ella might have one stored away in her cheek as well.

Fish Lake

Had a quick(!) getaway up to Fish Lake to stay overnight with some friends last weekend. I snuck out of work early at 2:00 on Saturday and we left the lake for home 24 hours later. Sheesh! It was still good to to be up out of the city, to stand on the deck and desperately suck in fresh air, and spend time with good friends, eat like crazy, and even to have a few hours in the car with my hubs to read aloud and chat.

I cannot believe this was Ava's first trip to the lake! We were staying at a friend's cabin although Zar's family also has a cabin in the area. It's different now with the kids wildly running around, getting filthy, playing games, screaming and laughing. One of my favorite things used to be to take Charlotte to the lake where the altitude and lack of media made everyone good and snoozy. Many naps were had by all. The nappy days are done for now, I think. Hello to the rock eating days.