how to say the wrong thing, and it's ok

As I sat on the queen mattress, without box springs, just sitting on the floor in their first studio apartment and ate my doughy rolls that didn't rise and fought back morning sickness with our first pregnancy while surrounded by my cousins and their spouses and everyone's family, I never thought about how connected our lives would continue to be. As my family and friends have grown older and started different paths and families of their own, we are all still connected, 10 years later, 20 years later, for eternity.

My friend and cousin's wife lately opened up to talk about her experience with mental illness. It is beautiful and real and...hard. I don't know what's she is going through, but I'm so grateful she is writing about it and sharing. That is such a gift to share. You can read her two posts about it here, and here.  In that order, she is an exquisite writer.  I have grieved for her, and thought about her while folding my laundry, while reading my scriptures, while running errands. All the way across the continent I feel and pray for her and her family on a daily basis.

The net of Indra is one concept from humanities I actually remember. To vaguely describe it, it's a Buddhist belief that life is like a spider web (or net, but spider web is a better visual for me), and we are all connected to each other. What one person experiences, affects all, and vice versa. There is no unique experience that just affects you. Everything and everyone experiences different things, but they are all, yes, everything, connected.

Lately I've read a lot of " Insert Various number ways to not say the wrong thing" to someone about some various hard subject. Whether someone who is grieving over a loss, or cancer, or foreclosure, or divorce, or or or or or.  At first I started reading and reading them and soaking it in because, well, I always seem to say the wrong thing.  And these were going to help me so much!  But the more I read them, the more irritation creeped in and I found that I wasn't saying anything anymore because it would probably be wrong. And apart from a small percentage of people, the majority want to say and do the right thing.  We are all trying to be kind and helpful, (at least I really hope so).

Most of the time I don't know what to say to my sister about her grieving experiences with two severely autistic sons. You can read her blog here. So I listen. And most of the time I say things, that are, most probably, wrong. But I am trying. I know everything she has been through, but I don't know what she has been through. Does that make sense? I am not her, I am not her experiences or life. But I love her, and I love her family and I have the best interest out for her when I listen and talk with her.

I haven't lost a living child, so I don't know how to talk to someone about that. But I have sobbed (sobbed!) in my bathroom over other parents' experiences with that. We haven't experienced divorce, or step children. We haven't had debilitating mental illness or chronically or terminally ill children. We haven't had cancer, we haven't lost a job or foreclosed on our house.  So many things we don't personally know how to connect to, but still affect us and we care.

But we have had our own unique experiences, that each and every time broaden our empathy and understanding for more of God's children.  Sometimes, but not all the time, I can say, "I know what you are going through, and I'm sorry. What can I do to help?".  The rest of the time though? I don't know, but I'm still trying. And I think the majority of us are. We are just trying, and we aren't perfect.

Ty's cousin's wife and my friend Jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer two months ago. She writes about it here on her blog. She is young and her children are young, and it is heartbreaking to read. I'm glad she is writing it down, and it helps us understand more what they are experiencing. I know our entire community is affected and grieving with them and reaching out in their own ways to help and comfort. I see it in their faces when they ask "How are they doing?" and "What can we do to help?"

We all are connected. Lately, especially in our close community I have felt so much love and kindness and prayers from friends and neighbors. When things are hard, I know there are people there for all of us. And you know what? Things have been really hard lately, even if I'm walking around with a smile and yoga pants on. And there have been countless people there for us, in one small way or another. We are really floored by the support and kindness.

But even when people have said things that hurt a little, I have never been upset. I know they are trying, and my experience is affecting them and hurting them also. More importantly, I don't want them to go through these trials just to be able to say the right thing to me.   I know they want to help and say something. And I think we should just say it! There is nothing wrong in trying, so I give us all permission to just do our best and try. And sure, you might just do and say the wrong thing on accident, but you tried. And that's the part that matters, because it will affect us all, that trying and loving and trying and loving until we get it just right.  I think it is far worse to let the fear of saying or doing the "wrong" thing stop us from trying.

One of my favorite scriptures is in Enos, when he says: ... And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.

Isn't it pleasure we experience when someone hugs us and we see in their face that they know?! They know every thought and prayer and fear and sob fest we have had during our trials and hard times. It is one of the most comforting experiences. And I too look forward to that day when I see in His face that he knows, and He went through it all because He loves me.


everything is going to be all right

It's pretty rare to have those "awesome mom moments", so when they come I gladly bottle them up and hold on to them as long as humanly possible.  The little notes with a mangled, smiling blob that says "mom".  When they still hold your hand after kindergarten.  Or sitting and watching a musical together and they let me sing more than one line before they start barfing. I can't sing, in case you didn't know. Just ask Jed Wheeler.

Finding lice on your kids heads was definitely not one of those moments.  In case you have never experienced finding a louse on your child's head (Heaven bless you), this is how it happens:

"What was that?!" as I was braiding her hair. That can't be what I think it was, because we've been hearing of other people having lice. But that wouldn't happen to us. Nope, that could never happen to us. And then you inspect further, and further and find that, true to life, you are the worst mother on the face of the planet. Your school kids have lice. The great black waving flag of pestilence, plague, and filthiness. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and like I had completely let down my kids. I mean, I knew I was close, and those dang bugs just closed the case. I'm good for nothing.

Luckily Danna was in town and helped me comb through the girls' hair. Each girl takes over an hour to comb through. Yes, their hair is too long. And no, you can't find anyone to cut their hair when they have lice.  So, two+ hrs a day combing through hair with a flashlight for 5 days. Plus washing every sheet, towel, clothes used that day. Plus bagging all their toys, stuffed animals, etc. etc. etc. (And when I use, etc. etc. etc. I always say it in my Yul Brynner accent)

The positive side to all of this that it has kick started my spring cleaning this year. Everything is getting cleaned and the kids' rooms are much nicer with most of the toys bagged and spending a nice 2 weeks vacation out by the shed.

And I hope your head has been itching the entire time reading this. Mine's been itching since Saturday.

ps- if your kids go to our school, please check their heads, with a flashlight and magnifying glass and every day please and thank you.

pps-our school is afraid of pure panic so haven't spread the word about this friendly lice outbreak for the last few weeks. AWESOME!!!

ppps- my favorite quote this week "There is no shame in catching lice, only in keeping it."


On having more kids

"You can try to conceive again in 3 months" the nurse said, right before she hung up from our weekly fun conversations about bodily fluid and hormone levels.  I put down my phone upset.  Do they not even read the chart anymore? Or maybe because the initial appointment was so crazy someone forgot to write down we were not trying to conceive.  

We hadn't shut the door on more kids completely, but it was definitely close. Why? Because the thought of having another baby would send me into a panic attack. I'm not kidding you, when they told me I was pregnant it felt like a death sentence. As horrible as that is to admit on the internet, it's the truth.  How would I do it?  And no, I'm not talking about the baby. I know I would love and cherish that little butterball till the end of the earth. The other kids though? Who knows when they would eat or get to school. It would be like Lord of the Flies over here. Protect yourself at all times and don't be the chubby kid wearing glasses.

I go crazy after having a kid, and I mean literally. I don't talk about it on the internet, but if you want to know the fun details just ask me in person and make sure you cancel all your appointments for the next day. Thankfully there are meds that help me through that phase called The FIRST Two Years.

I finally warmed up to the idea and put my hand in the Lord's.  I will do this.  I can do this.  I said in my prayer. And then we were told we miscarried. And then we were told I was still pregnant and how would you like to abort it?  Hello psycho hormones, how would you like to murder  me today?

So here I am today, not pregnant. And if we conceive in the next few months (on accident) the baby will most likely have severe birth defects. The shot they gave me is a form of chemo that inhibits rapid cell growth and eats all the folic acid in your body. Every mom or soon to be mom knows how important folic acid is. Very. Nothing has scared me as much about another accident than this.  I've considered separation or sending Ty to his parents house for the next 3 months. I'm that paranoid. Go ahead and judge, but when you find yourself in the "less than 1%" category you would buy a taser to take to bed too.

And here's the kicker. I'm sad to see pregnant women now. What? Where did that come from? Talk about left field. I don't personally feel emotions toward them, it just makes me sad. And I've thought about and considered actually "having" another baby. Ensue another panic attack.

After more consideration I put it in the Lord's hands. If it is His will, than we will. And I know we will be fine. Fine doesn't mean easy, or that we are capable. I can think of hundreds of women I know that would do a fabulous job having more kids, and I am not included in that list. I need sleep. I need sanity,  I need order. I'm really selfish that way.  But the Lord has this funny way of calling people to do things when they aren't qualified.

If it is not meant to be, does anyone know much vasectomies are these days?

And honestly, I look at this face and think, could we even make one this cute again?


Abby's day

Our beautiful Abby turned seven. I know, I can't believe it either. All of my labs have been in the hospital where she was born and stayed in the NICU. I drive past the Jubilee house where Ty and I lived, and it all feels like a fading memory. It's amazing what time does.

For her birthday she had a great friend party, which was full of wonderful and fun little girls. I've never seen Rodney so happy! hehe.  They giggled and laughed and played and played and went home happy (we hope!).  Abby was pleased with the party and for her birth birthday she wanted to take Daddy with us to the Discovery Museum. It was a full and fun day and Abby's wishes were granted (much to an older sibling's dismay).

 Somebody found the party cookies
She wanted computer time (on a Saturday!)

and a chocolate cake...


the grocery store is always the girls' favorite part of the museum. They love being the checker and I always get oodles of money back after shopping. I wish real grocery stores were like that.

Happy Birthday Abby! You always bring our house so much joy.


Some good things:

When you have a minute (ha!), here are some good articles that I have encountered on ze internet. I definitely don't post anything unless I feel it's worth reading. Well, maybe that's not exactly true. hehe.

My sister Danna's family has two autistic sons (my nephews!), whom are equally wonderful and smart and live in a special needs home. I really appreciated this article as it reflected many things I have heard her share from her heart, and many of my other friends with special needs children express.

The Unique Grief of Special Needs Parents: read here
I have been aiming at having a "real" dinner and better ones that keep everyone happy and at the table, and it's been working. Granted, things are a little less healthy, but you can't have it all at once right? Baby steps. Here are a few table pleasers:

The only meatloaf recipe we've ever liked here (warning:it's not healthy in any way!)

An easy and delicious slow cooker chicken teriyaki bowl recipe that everyone loved here
I'm amazed at how much this pregnancy and loss has affected me. I'm so very grateful for all of the kind thoughts and words (you all know who you are). Some people have said things, and I know they meant well, that hurt. But I know they were trying, and I appreciate that. I'm positive now that I have said some not smart things to friends who have experienced a loss. Lesson learned (ha), now that I'm in their shoes. I basically have made a resolution to not judge anyone's actions anymore, because you just have no idea what they have been through! Experience changes everything, it takes so much faith to keep having hope and smiling.

A wonderful article about grief that has helped me here
I was down in the dumps and this clip always makes me laugh. Also his book, Dad Is Fat, EVERY parent should read. Too funny.
This TED talk  (isn't TED all the rage now?), I feel that it applies to everyone. I really appreciated her comments that everyone has "hard" and you can't compare it. It also takes more effort to appreciate people's efforts at empathy then to easily scoff and make fun.
And for FHE we watched this video about Mormon temples. I don't think anyone, of any faith, can argue that they aren't absolutely beautiful on the inside.

some lovely flowers someone left us


seen and heard


In the middle of sacrament meeting (during the sacrament):
To Infinity! And BEYOND!!!!! 


In the middle of family prayers:
Rodney you're so little and dumb!  (then she leans into my ear) Your big and beautiful and I love you so much!


After watching The King and I for the first time:

I liked that so much. How did Santa know I would love that? 


Every day after school:

Guess how many AR points I have now! 

Ty every day after work:

Where did all these kids come from?

And then I look at him and go "DUR!" hahahaha
Breaking the gingerbread house after New Year's stomach flu.


wanting less

School started and everyone was "ok" with it. Not too happy, but not very sad either. I think everyone was ready to get back into a routine. My hardest part about sending kids to school? Lunches! I don't know why, but I absolutely detest making lunches. Or supervising the making of lunches. Or buying things to go in lunches.  Alas, food is important so I better suck it up on that one.

In other news, my numbers are almost to zero! So in a week I should be finally "un"pregnant. Which will be nice to be done. I was hoping this would be my last draw today, but I'm always given opportunities to have my patience grow. Right? Right? ugh.

Sunday we attended Uncle Taylor's birthday party and it was wonderful to see everyone and watch the kids play around. My favorite part is when we watch home videos, and we watched a lot of them this time. Taryn, if you weren't the cutest little girl I've ever seen! Oh!!  Some of them are strange, because things are the same as when I started dating Ty. Like couches, and cars etc. That is really weird to me, Ty and I have been "together" half of our lives now. Half!  

I also have been interested in paring down my possessions and keeping the house streamlined, well, as much as possible. I still want a good couch (not my dream couch! just a good one) for our family room, and some bookshelves. But other than that it's just little things that need work on and make the house "me".  No desire to have more of anything. When we watched the home videos Ty's parents were our age, and I noticed, there house was just, normal. That was really nice to see. Today, well, my mother in law's house is gorgeous. Like, Better Homes and Gardens gorgeous. It's a wonderful and peaceful place to be and visit and the kids love it. I so want my house to look and feel that way, but we are young. Our kids are young, we've only lived here 3 years. A lot of these years have been difficult, and hard for me mentally and physically.  There is a time and season for all things.  I think today most young couples have very nice "things' and furniture and clothing and I know I am an "instant" gratification person myself. I want it all and I want it now.

But if anything this last month has taught me, is that it doesn't really matter what we want. If it isn't aligned with what Heavenly Father wants for us, it will only bring confusion, sadness and unrest.  When I choose the better path, and try to align myself with His will, I feel peace, and happiness.  I want that for my house. I want that for my family. I want other people to feel that in my home. Someday I will have my dream furniture and I'm sure by then I'd rather have little children running around my house again with peanut butter sandwiches instead of an Ethan Allen sofa.


A New Year

We rang in the New Year in the most unusual way, and I never want to do it again. New Year's Eve morning my sister Sarah accompanied me to the hospital for more blood work and we furniture shopped until we heard the news that the shot is working! And soon this ordeal will be over (hopefully!). That made me so happy that I suddenly didn't feel an urge to have to buy furniture anymore. Funny huh?

That afternoon we came home to a puking Phoebe. We have been blessed with good health for more than half of this year, but a crazy stomach bug has been sweeping our valley and boy did we get it, just several hrs before New Year's, and it wasn't fun.

But it did make me appreciate, once I was better of course, how amazing our bodies are. And how amazing mothers are. Night after night I have been up with one child or another taking care of them, giving out medicine, rubbing tummies, cooling fevers, watching movies with them. I'm so grateful they are almost all better. And I'm so grateful for all the knowledge and experience I have that I don't freak out when every toilet in the house is being barfed in, and every sheet in the house has to be washed…again. I seem to take it all in stride, and I appreciate that.

Yesterday, I was sad. It surprised me, how sad I could be about losing a baby. It wasn't even really a baby, it never could have been. But it still makes me sad, and I know time and prayer will help me heal…eventually. Today, I'm okay being just sad.

On a happy note, I am so very excited for the New Year. I have no idea what it will bring, but I'm still excited. And that's really saying something.

Last night we ate toast in our jammies for dinner. And it was wonderful. 
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