Friday, November 30, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks 2012

1. Today I am thankful for being able to laugh at my crazy self. Yes, I am a train wreck. ;)
2. Today I am thankful that I came home to a clean home, happy kids and migraine medication, after a very long clinical day. I'm thankful for friends and family that are understanding and patient.
3. Today I am thankful for tears. While they may solve nothing, they can relieve so much.
4. Today I am thankful for my children's ability to redirect my thinking. It can be a pain while I'm studying, but such a blessing when I am needing to be pulled out of a funk.
5. Today I am thankful for my children's health...I feel that I have taken it for granted.
6. Today I am thankful for the flexibility of my job and the great people I work with.
7. Today I am thankful for the giggles of my children and seeing them love one another.
8. Today I am thankful for my nine nursing classmates. We may have been thrown together by chance, but I couldn't make it through this without each and every one of them.
9. Today I am thankful for the people that believe in me.
10. Today I am thankful for the compliments I receive about my children. They are not perfect. They can cause mayhem. They may make me crazy. At the end of the day, they are amazing kids and I appreciate when others can see it.
11. Today I am thankful for sprite, tummy meds and a washing machine that can run a sanitary cycle...
12. Today I am thankful for friends that allow me to cry on their shoulder and those who have a listening ear.
13. Today I am thankful for doing well on my test, giving me hope that I will not be a nursing school drop out.
14. Today I am thankful for times of peace. Not peace as in "my children are quiet" (because that never happens!) ;) ... but peace as in "I got this. I'll be okay. I'm right where I'm meant to be."
15. Today I am thankful for technology and the ability to stay close with those far away.
16. Today I am thankful for spending time with friends and meeting new people.
17. Today I am thankful for my clean home, even if I did have to become Poltergeist Mom in order for it to happen.
18. Today I am thankful for the good sense to budget for Christmas all year. It is the middle of November and I am nearly done!
19. Today I am thankful for my children's patience and understanding. They love me despite of...and perhaps because faults.
20. Today I am thankful for how hard Josh works for the family.
21. Today I am thankful for tiny arms around my neck, hugging me tight and itty bitty kisses on my cheek. Happy Birthday, my Peanut!
22. Today I am thankful to be surrounded by good food, great company, love, laughter and traditions.
23. Today I am thankful for my strong, able, healthy body, that allows me to accomplish everything I need to.
24. Today I am thankful for the family that feel like friends, and the friends that feel like family.
25. Today I am thankful for a lazy night cuddling on the couch, watching movies with my munchkins.
26. Today I am thankful for the reminder that my limitations show me where I can improve.
27. Today I am thankful for my home and the love, security and peace that dwells within it.
28. Today I am thankful for migraine medication. Again. I'm thankful for the patience of those around me and the understanding that they show me. I'm thankful for bubble baths and heating pads.
29. Today I am thankful that the end is near. Soon, I will no longer be a first semester student nurse. I have a long way to go...but I have come a long way. I'm thankful for the people that trust and have faith in my advice and knowledge.
30. Today I am thankful. Thankful for those that allow me to show weakness and love me anyway. Thankful for the hard times, because they have shown me how strong I really am. Thankful for my children and the unconditional love and patience they have taught me. Thankful for the chance to go to school to fulfill my dreams, so that I will one day be able to help others. Thankful for those people in my life that respect and accept me, without judgement. Thankful for my faith in God and my faith in humanity. Thankful for the people around me who encourage me and believe that I am someone worth loving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Goodnight, Peanut

I had the hardest time tucking her in tonight.

She's four. Four. I didn't want to let her go. I wanted to snuggle her. Kiss her. Hug her. Hold her...while she was still little.

I want to forever tuck away the memory of the way freckles dust across her nose. I want to remember her shy smile, when she is being bashful. I want to remember the way the sunlight bounces off her hair, as she runs down the sidewalk. I want to remember her little voice asking me a million questions and how she always ends them with "...huh, Mom?" I want to remember the way she still loves to lay with me, with her head on my chest, my fingers playing in her hair. She's growing up so fast...I wish I could keep her little.

Goodnight, my Peanut. I love you. Forever. Plus a day.

Happy 4th Birthday, Peanut

Four years ago today, I was laying on an operating table, only 33 weeks and 1 day pregnant...

...a far cry from the full-term, natural delivery I had envisioned for myself. Josh and Mom were by my head, and we were surrounded by an anesthesiologist, two doctors performing my surgery, half a dozen nurses and a NICU team waiting on pins and needles.

After what felt like mere minutes, my tiny, beautiful daughter peeked at me from over the sheet drawn across my chest...and then she was whisked away. I had heard her shriek, a sound no bigger than a kitten meowing, and I. Was. In. Love.

She shocked the NICU, as my perfect preemie princess. She was the youngest baby they had in the unit, at the time, and from the beginning she did amazing. She never required oxygen, she nursed at a few hours old and she was ab-so-lute-ly perfect.  She was quickly nicknamed among the NICU staff, "the preemie who doesn't know she is a preemie." We were warned initially that she probably would not go home until January, when she was actually due...then it was bumped up to her possibly going home at 36 weeks gestation, because "that's the earliest that a 33 weeker ever goes home". :) They underestimated my little fighter. After only nine days in the NICU, at only 34 weeks and 5 days gestation, my baby girl came home with a clean bill of health.

Somehow...four years have now flown by and that tiny 4 lb 8 oz bundle I carried out of the hospital has turned into an amazing, smart, funny, gentle, witty, little girl. For every inch she has grown, my love has tripled.

Dear Peanut,
Your spunky personality and quick-wit has me giggling every single day. I love the ideas that you voice and the comebacks you spout off to your siblings. You have become the most adorable little girl and I am so lucky to be your Mommy. I will never forget the first time I held you. You were so small and you curled up into a ball on my chest, next to my heart, and breathed a sigh of contentment. Your tiny little body fit in the palm of my hand and in that moment my heart shattered into a thousand tiny pieces, so full of love for you.
I love you, my precious girl. You will forever be my Peanut, no matter how big you think you are. Happy 4th birthday!
Love, Mommy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Everything Is Different

Imagine waking up one day...and your whole world is different.

Oh, your family is still there and your house is still the same. Your cars are in the driveway and the laundry is still piled up. There are still bills to pay and dishes to do and children to feed...but everything...everything is different.

This happened to a friend of mine, Jackie, shortly before Halloween. It is her story to tell (which you can read here), but the "rip it off quick like a band-aid" version is this: her two year old son, Grayson, has a mostly inoperable tumor in his brain stem. Her new vocabulary has expanded in the last few weeks to include words that no mother should ever have to say, in conjunction with their child's name.

Pediatric neurosurgeon. Biopsy. Oncologist. Chemotherapy.
Malignant tumor. Benign tumor. Brain surgery. Radiation. Brain scan.

I don't want to imagine what she's going through. I don't want to think about the fear and sleepless nights and the gnawing need to wrap my child in my arms,  in an effort to protect them from a cruel world. There is no hug strong enough that can keep away a cruel world that is inside of them.

As parents, it is our jobs to keep our children safe. We buckle them up in the car, to protect them in the case of an accident. We put helmets on them, to protect their noggin from an inevitable spill off their bike. We spend summer after summer at swimming lessons, to protect them from drowning. We invest hundreds of dollars on baby gates, drawer and cupboard latches, electrical socket covers, window locks and doorknob covers, to protect them from sharp knives, tumbling down the stairs, cleaning products and my furniture from Sharpie markers. We diligently take them to every well-baby check up and have them immunized, to protect them from contracting a rare disease.

But, how do we protect them from themselves? How do we protect them their own bodies? How can we, as parents, make it better, if we never saw it coming in the first place?

I said that I don't want to imagine what she's going through, not that I can't imagine what she's going through. I can imagine. I have imagined. Often.

Josh has a little brother, Jared. He was born one year, six months and fourteen days after Josh and they had the typical brotherly type relationship. They horsed around, they fought, they drove Mom crazy...but they loved one another. One day, when Jared was 7 years old, Mom's world was different. Oh, her family was still there (Josh and Jared had been joined by two more brothers and a sister by then)  and her house was still the same. Her cars were in the driveway and the laundry was still piled up. There were still bills to pay and dishes to do and children to feed...but everything...everything was different.

Jared had a tumor and was diagnosed with cancer.

Those who know our family, know how that storyline ends.

Ever since the moment that I discovered that I was going to be a mother, nearly twelve years ago, I have had moments of panic. Moments where my thoughts overcome me and race through my head, untamed.

I was blessed with five healthy children at birth, but...what if? What if next year, next month, tomorrow, my world is different?It happened to could happen to me, too. What if I never see it coming? What if one day I'm making dinner, rocking out to Pink playing on the radio, while the kids race through the house...and the next day I'm uttering words like Biopsy. Oncologist. Chemotherapy. What if my whole world is different and I have to find out how truly strong I am? my world is not different. My family is here and my house is the same. My cars are in the driveway and the laundry is piled up. There are bills to pay and dishes to do and children to feed. The only scary words I utter are "Don't make me come down there!" and "If you do not clean this room, you are going to regret it!" I'm strong, not because I am holding down a world that is spinning out of control, but because I am a Mother. We are all a unique breed of Superhero that possess a ferocious love for our children, more powerful than anything the world can throw at us. 

So, today, while my world is not different, I'm sending all my strength and love and hope and magical fairy dust to the Savery family. May they know how often they are thought of and prayed for. May they grasp how many people love and care for them. May they be blessed with the comfort and peace they need, to make the amazingly difficult decisions they are faced with. May they know that Grayson has made me hug my kids tighter and love them harder, these last few weeks. May Jackie know that her strength and grace have not gone unnoticed, even in her moments of despair. May she wake up tomorrow and know that while her world is different...her baby boy has changed MY world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Miss Maturity

As I approach "teenager-hood" with Bay, I'm impressed more and more with this child.

Oh, the girl can throw attitude with the best of them and make me want to bang my head against the wall...but there is another (saner) side of her, as well. I love this side. She is so smart...way beyond her years...and compassionate.

She opened up to me the other day about a problem she is having...and I LOVED that she would talk to me about it. I won't disclose what it was, because it doesn't really matter and it's hers...but I was amazed at her grasp on the world. She is such a sweet girl and far more mature than I give her credit for. (In my defense, it can be hard to see when she is acting like a schizophrenic with 'roid rage...but, I digress...)


I love you. You are such an amazing person and everyone around you can see it. As long as you keep your independent spirit, you will do just fine. Keep your head up, are going to change this world. 

Love, Mom

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I Want To Be A Photographer...When I Grow Up

I love taking photos. LOVE. IT.
I've never taken a class. I don't know how to use Photoshop to save my life. (Picasa, yes...Photoshop, well...I'm still waiting for someone to teach me!) I don't know how to use half the features on my camera. But...I know what I like.
There are so many amazing photographers out there. I aspire to be them, when I grow up. When I have time to take a class or two, I will. For now, some people (usually just my kids) have entrusted me to capture some memories for them...and I thank them for their faith in me. Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos that I've taken in the last year or so. They may not be technically wonderful...but they all mean something to me.

There is nothing like catching laughter on film. It radiates from their faces.

She cute and a little shy...behind a superhero mask.

Her eyelashes...they get me, every time.

I love this pose. It makes their eyes the focal point of the picture.

I love the sweetness in her face. I took this the day that she said, "I love you, Mom", for the first time, unprompted.

This photo captures every essence of her, at three years old.

Salt Lake City Temple

I love reflection photos.

So tiny and precious.

I love the bright colors. This collage screams "childhood", to me.

Military funeral with a 21 gun salute. Need I say more?

I take one of these every year, when we let balloons fly for Mom. They always touch me.

I'm not a huge nature photographer...but I could be with this scenery to play with.


Burraston Ponds. This was a childhood memory I was able to capture for someone.

Bek's Graduation

Bachelor of Psychology photos. Taken at the International Peace Gardens in SLC, Utah.
I adore the flowers peeking from the background.

International Peace Gardens...and a sweet boy. I love the look of the stone and wood behind him.

My friend, Matt, asked me to photograph his children. Look at those eyes!

Matt's children at the International Peace Gardens

I love eyes, can you tell? I think when they are the focus, they make for amazing shots.

My sister, saying "I do."

My sister and her husband. I love the textures of the stone and the trees.

Peacock at Tracy Aviary in SLC, Utah. I was so shocked that he would let me get this close. I couldn't resist his beautiful colors!

Not the best photo, technically speaking...but the very first photo of all the grandkids on my side of the family.

Photos that touch me and stir great emotion, like this one, are unforgettable.
Salt Lake City Cemetery, Veterans Cemetery, on Memorial Day 2012

One day...I will learn the fine art of photography...for now...I'll be content with capturing some great photos every now and then. :)