Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Toddler

This afternoon, I found you at the kitchen counter, intently playing with Play Doh. Playing so intently, in fact, that you had wet your pants. You turned to me before I had a chance to notice the accident and sweetly inquired:

"Mom, are you nice today? Are you?"

It gave me pause. It humbled me. So many times over the past year I have raised my voice to you in anger or frustration or sheer exhaustion. It saddened me that you, so newly potty trained, expected that short temper from me, rather than the patient, loving mother I aspire to be.

Little Man. You have had quite a year. So much growing and changing in the year from two to three. And it hasn't been an easy year....for either one of us.

In the weeks before your second birthday, I became increasingly alarmed at your lack of speech. So much so that I had Jordan School District come out to assess you. Although you could sign easily over 50 words, you rarely voiced your needs. Through the assessment we discovered that you were in the 90th percantile in all categories except for speech and for that you were less that 5th percentile. Weekly speech therapy and intensive parent interaction was strongly recommended.

But the timing wasn't right. I was in the early stages of pregnancy and exhausted. But more importantly, my dad, your grandpa Bill, was in the final weeks of life and I just couldn't muster enough strength or momma energy to put one more thing on my plate, and so I held off.

In the six weeks between Grandpa's funeral and your 2nd birthday, when I worried the grief might never lift, when I found myself more often in tears, than not; a miracle occurred. The words just started flowing from your mouth. Like my tears, once the words began, you couldn't stop them. And boy did you have a lot to say. Your sentences became stories and my loneliness was abated by sweet conversations with you.

You, my boy, made my pregnancy fly by. I reveled in one on one time with you knowing all too soon another babe would occupy my time and attention. The last eight weeks of my pregnancy were very difficult and I was as sick as I have ever been. Kidney stones, kidney infections, pneumonia, strep throat, toxemia. We were confined to the house and mostly on bed rest. So many afternoons you would drag your books and cars and toys to my bed and contentedly play right by my side. At some point each day, you would snuggle your body as close as you could to my ever growing belly and we would nap in the comfort of each other.

But then your brother Blake was born.

It would be an understatement to say his birth was difficult for you. Our little master of the house had been completely knocked off his throne. The tantrums began innocently enough when the doorbell would ring with visitors to see the new baby. Even from the deepest sleep you would wake with a scream when the doorbell rang. You wanted to be the one to answer the door. At.All.Costs. I remember well our kind next door neighbor coming one night to bring us dinner. I made the mistake of answering the door before you, which began the downward spiral of your emotions. Our neighbor went so far as going outside and ringing the bell again just so you could answer the door. But you were too far gone. You were inconsolable and my recent C-section prevented me from lifting you in my arms to hold you and soothe away your sadness. Soon I was crying right along with you.

I felt so inadequate as your mother. It seemed a constant battle trying to find a way to please you. If I was feeding the baby, you wanted your own space on my lap. If I poured you apple juice, you insisted on orange juice. And so it went. Control of opening the door was only the first of many things you wanted to own. From which clothes you wore, to buckling your own car seat, to which shoes went on which foot (and typically you wore them incorrectly). You made it clear that you didn't much care for me or the new little guy garnering all the attention in our home.

Yet, your dad and I were determined to provide consistent discipline and boundaries for you even though your will seemed so much stronger than our own. Many times after issuing several warnings to you, in exasperation we would tell you "if you do that again, you are going to your room". And you know what? You simply turned and went to your room, slamming the door behind you. No one was going to tell you what to do, but you would certainly do it on your own terms.

Just before your third birthday, I took you in for a check up, hoping the pediatrician could give me some advice on handling your fierce independent spirit. While I loved your tenacity, I simply wanted to direct it into more productive avenues than tantrums and control. His advice to me? Give up some of my need for control, and hopefully you would follow suit. Tough to do...especially because I was desperate to potty train you. And you my little man, you were completely determined NOT to potty train, simply because it was something that I wanted.

So I let you wear your shoes on the wrong feet. You often wore your football jersey four days in a row without washing, and you frequently ate ice cream for breakfast. But you seemed a little bit happier. I was certainly learning to pick my battles, but I was still determined to get you into big boy underwear.

Just days before your third birthday, we went to Palm Desert for Thanksgiving. I put you in underwear and let you pee outside to your hearts content. I was happy for dry pants. You were happy with the freedom to run around naked. Your grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins were cheering you on at every turn. It was a win win for both of us. Within just a few weeks you were completely potty trained and I, well I was stunned. I couldn't believe you so willingly and so simply relinquished your control.

And with that accomplishment came a confidence and a happiness in you that had been missing since your brother was born. It was another miracle. My little Miles was back. Almost overnight, the tantrums stopped, the power plays were over. I dare say you began to enjoy my company again. And finally, finally, you adored your baby Blake and delighted in being the big brother.

I look at you now and I can hardly believe you are the same little boy. I've been a mom long enough to know that you will surely go through another difficult stage. But I can honestly say, this has by far been my most difficult year of parenting. There were days here and there where I really didn't like you. But I never stopped loving you. In fact I loved you with a fierceness I have never known. I hated seeing you struggle. I felt so responsible for disrupting your beautiful little life with a new brother. But I learned so very much this year, probably at your expense. I'm a better mother for weathering this storm with you. I'm so grateful for the knowledge and patience I gained this year. But most importantly I am completely confident in knowing that when the going gets tough, love never fails. Remind me of that when you're a teenager, will you?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Tween

The day after Christmas, we received a phone call from the director of The Dance Club, wondering if you were available to come in for choreography over the Christmas break.

Soon after the texts started rolling in..."Can Rach play after choreography?", "Would Rachel like to sleepover after dance on Tuesday?". And so on. At first you bemoaned the long day at the studio over the sacred two week break. But as I was pulling your hair into a ponytail Tuesday morning and packing you up for a series of play dates with dance friends, you admitted that you were really looking forward to a day of dance.

Dance, moreso this year than in years past, has become your life. It is not only something that you love to do, but has become a steady source of confidence and a constructive outlet for your endless energy. Often times, after a hard day of school, you will express your desire to just go and "dance it off". I am so grateful that you have this in your life...not only for the confidence it gives you, but also for the social opportunities, and for an incredibly effective physical outlet for your stress.

Earlier this year, you were invited to join a team of dancers aged 12-13. This invitation came a month after placement auditions, and was totally unexpected. You were comfortable on your existing team and were in the enviable place of team leader, dancing front and center, the go to girl. Moving up to Company meant not only dancing with older girls, but also committing to 12-16 hours, four days per week. It was an incredible opportunity, but one that came with a great deal of worry and trepidation for me as your mother. I was concerned about the time away from home, how you would fit in socially, how you would maintain your school work and frankly, I worried about your ability to keep up. I knew in my heart you would be going from top of the heap, to bottom of the barrel, and I worried how it would effect your confidence.

What I didn't expect was the backlash we received from other parents and dancers when you were chosen to move up over them. It was a very difficult few weeks after the change was made. I felt like every time you walked into that studio, you had a target on your back. There was a lot of gossip and back biting and down right tantrums from dance moms upset that a younger, less experienced dancer was moving to Company ahead of their own daughter. Every day I worried that we had made the right decision. Every day I prayed for you as I wiped tears away from my eyes each time I dropped you off. You seemed so young, so innocent and vulnerable, and I felt as if I were sending you into the lion's den.

But you, my sweet girl, never looked back. "Mom", you would say "I didn't ask to be moved up...they asked ME. Obviously they think I can do this".

And you were right. I have never seen such poise and grace from such a young child. I was, and continue to be, humbled by your quiet confidence. While I grew angry and felt the need to defend you and retaliate with clever comebacks and putdowns, you simply went to work. Steady, determined, tenacious; you were all that and more. Not for one moment did you let the naysayers bring you down. You held your head high and just danced.

In October, you attended your first convention and competition with your new team. I was amazed at the growth I witnessed. Not only in your dancing, but in the maturity you possessed among the older girls. How they adore you. Awards fell on Halloween, which made it difficult for me attend. I was stunned to hear you'd won a scholarship which is a very prestigious honor. Yet, when I finally spoke with you on the phone to offer up my congratulations, you downplayed it, not wanting to hurt the feelings of the other girls in the car. Again you taught me the best way to behave.

The only downside to your dancing is the void I feel in your absence. I miss you. I miss your laughter and kindness in our home. I miss the twinkle in your bright blue eyes as you twirl around the kitchen telling me the details of your day. I miss your constant, unselfish help with the little boys. I miss you wanting to learn how to cook every night as I make dinner. I miss watching TV in my bed with you. I miss our girl time, and girls only errands, which may or may not include frozen yogurt or pedicures. Mostly I just miss the light and love that is my Rachel.

Some may say you are missing out on your childhood, but when I look at you and all that you have gained, I have to disagree. Not only are you growing more talented in your dance, but you possess a rare confidence that enables you to be kind, and loving, and refined. Your uncommon grace has touched me and you have taught me. The only person you compete against is yourself, always striving to become better. My wish for you my dear daughter, is that you can continue to have this gift your entire life. So much time is wasted when we worry about what others are doing or saying. How lucky you are, how brilliant you are, to figure this out at such a tender age.

And when you come home late at night, with callouses and torn skin upon your toes. I will be here waiting and watching you with love and admiration.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Teen

Today I dropped you and a friend off at Snowbird for a day of skiing. You weren't too sure of your way around the mountain, and you were skiing on loaner skis as you've quickly outgrown your skis and boots and we just haven't found the time to get you new gear. I watched you suit up, remembering very well the many days your dad had to buckle up your boots for you.

With twenty dollars and a cell phone in your pocket, you were off to conquer the mountain, carving turns with your buddy.

As I drove off, I couldn't help but wonder how we arrived at this place. I am amazed at your independence, at your confidence and bright spirit. You are quickly growing from boy to man and though I hate to watch it happen, hate to have you taller than me, I am so very proud of the man you are becoming.

This has been a year of firsts for you....first girlfriend, first heartbreak..albeit shortlived, first kiss (I kissed a girl and I liked it..sung Katy Perry style over breakfast), first time shaving, first summer cutting the grass, first solo sleepover summer camp...quickly followed by first solo airplane trip. First year of junior high, first voice changing squeak, first out of state lacrosse tournament and first time you've really ever given dad and I cause to worry. I suppose it's all part of being a teenager.

A few of my favorite memories of you this year....

  • Sitting by you at the Draper Temple Dedication and watching the Spirit touch you. I could almost feel your budding testimony well up inside of your chest and make your heart pound. Witnessing sweet tears pool in your eyes as you recognized the feelings of the Spirit and the truthfulness of blessings found in the house of the Lord.
  • Watching you take responsibility for breaking the window at the Presbyterian church while playing wall ball. Pastor Lee told you: "On the outside, you look like just a boy...but you act just like a man". You developed a nice friendship with Pastor Lee over the summer. He welcomed you each time you came to play and you enjoyed learning about Hockey and old cars from him. I was so proud of you for having integrity, for owning up to your mistakes and making the effort to set things right.
  • Having you ask me "Do you know what today is?" on the fifteenth of each month. I love that you remember and miss him as much as I do. It touches me when you share a memory with me or point out something that he would like or that reminds you of him. I love that you never complain about getting up at six in the morning on Federal Holidays to place flags in our honor him by doing that, you know how he loved the American Flag and all it represents.
  • Watching you become a leader on both your lacrosse and football teams. I was particularly proud of you in football this fall. Almost all of your friends were put on the same team together, while you were placed on a team where you didn't know anyone. I worried about your ability to fit in. I worried about your friends leaving you out. I think you were a bit worried too, but by the second week of practice, you had formed new bonds, created new friendships that still exist. I see the same thing as you play lacrosse for Team Utah. I admire your ability to make and keep friends from different schools, different backgrounds, different religions. This ability to accept and appreciate others, to enthuse them to good works, will serve you well your entire life.
There are so many things that I love about you, so many moments which have touched my heart this year. It seems silly to try to wrap it up in one single blog post. But I don't want to forget you at this age. I don't want to forget what a great big brother you are, particularly to your little brothers. How tender you are with them...and silly. I don't want to forget how you make me laugh every single day, how you are incredibly quick witted, yet kind in your humor. I appreciate that you don't make jokes at the expense of others. I don't want to forget how affectionate you are with your mom, how you give me strong hugs each morning and night, how you still say "love you mom" when I drop you off at school each morning...regardless of what your friends might think.

Dad and I laugh that you still get excited to go to the zoo, that your favorite christmas gift was your pet frogs and star wars legos. You are growing up my sweet son, but you are still just a boy at heart. How I love you.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Life is crazy. It never slows down. For one such as myself who doesn't thrive in the midst of chaos, I am still slowly adjusting to the new reality of four little people depending on me. I have not abandoned this blog. Journaling has become my new source of sanity...but the jumbled notes kept in the notebook in my purse rarely organize themselves into a sensible blog entry. I will do the weeks and months ahead, I commit to do better. For I do want to remember this crazy time in my life and I want my children to remember that though often frazzled, usually on edge and tired and constantly in motion, I loved them and was utterly devoted to their well-being.

In the meantime, I am ever so grateful. Grateful for my beautiful life filled with an amazing spouse, talented, spirited children, a kind mother and sweet brothers. My incredible nieces and nephews, supportive friends who keep me in laughter. I am blessed. Today and Every day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

On the Other Hand

Yesterday as I was changing his diaper, Miles looked up at me, brown eyes shining. Dark, curly lashes blinking, framing his innocent face. Sometimes when I look deep into those beautiful eyes, my heart almost skips a beat. I am overcome in love for him. And then:

"Momma, I don't like you anymore".

It stung. Probably more than it should have given his temperment of late. We are deeply embedded in the terrible twos. Tantrums and tears have become the rule rather than the exception.

Then today as we were leaving Kindermusik:

"That was awesome, Momma."

"It was awesome Miles. You were awesome."

"I was a rock star Momma".


"I wuv you much."

And so it goes. I know his moods are dictated by his need for control. Apparently that includes the right to change his mind.

And that is the way we roll.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone."

Jane Austen

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just Like You

This is how we found Miles last night.

The house became eerily quiet, which usually means Miles is getting into trouble somewhere.

Instead, we found him in the garage, putting on all of Cole's Lacrosse gear.

Move over Daddy, Miles has a new Role Model.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The house was quiet tonight with the exception of the constant hum of the central air. I hesitated to bathe you as the oppressive heat of the day would only be compounded by the warm sudsy water. But such is the ritual, and somehow watching you stretch and splash in the water each night washes away my stress, and soothes me as much as it does you.

With no other children demanding my attention tonight, I take my time dressing you for bed. I massage the Baby Magic into each of your tiny toes, your earlobes, the rolls of your thighs. Even with the sun still hanging in the sky, your eye lids are heavy. Quickly I swaddle you in your blanket, a habit for you since the day of your birth. You, my only baby who seems to need the comfort and security found in a few simple folds of flannel.

Greedily you eat, struggling to keep your eyes open. I stroke the peach fuzz of your soft, round cheeks and slowly you surrender. The suckling becomes slower, your breath heavier. At last I feel the full weight of your thirteen pound frame grow limp in my arms.

Quietly I lay you in your crib, tucking the "cozy" grandma gave you around your body. I stop for a moment in awe at how long you are beginning to look in what once was a spacious crib, too vast for my little baby. I close the blinds. 8:08 pm and the world outside is still buzzing, neighborhood children shrieking, a lawn mower motoring.

It isn't often that the house is this quiet. And for a moment, I'm unsure of what to do with myself. The dinner dishes are done, the baby is down and Tony and the rest of the children are, dance, a late night bike ride. Eventually I settle on a new book and climb into my own bed. Before long, darkness sets in and I too fall asleep, weary from the heat and the constant busyness that summer brings.

I awake at one and lay awake, keeping an ear on the monitor, waiting for the familiar first strains of your cry. Silence. I turn over and watch the clock. 1:37 am, silent. 1:59 am, silent still. Sleep comes again, but I wake in a panic. 2:42 am.

I quickly make my way down the hall to your room, and reach for you in the dark. You stir and I feel grateful to find you warm and breathing. Followed immediately by feeling foolish at my fear. I tip the shutter just slightly so the pale moon light floods your room. Peacefully you sleep, arms flailed above your head, lips moving slightly in a subtle sucking motion.

I return to bed, but sleep fails me. My body has grown accustom to the nightly wake up calls at 1 am and five am. It isn't that I'm not tired....of course I'm tired, as most mothers with a newborn are. But that little burst of adrenaline won't allow my mind to quiet down enough for sleep. And so I lie there and I wait for you.

Finally at 4:29 am, I hear you softly coo. Again I make my way to your room and peek over the edge of your crib. Your eyes are wide and dark. Immediately you grin, and dimples blossom on each of your cheeks. I scoop you up, eager to hold you and feed you. We snuggle and eagerly you eat, vocalizing your thirst with every suckle. Ten minutes and you are finished, satiated and arching your back as you stretch.

I put you to my shoulder and pat your back. You lay your head against my cheek and I feel your soft breath on my neck. You sigh in contentment and soon you sleep once again. This time I am in no hurry to lay you in your crib. I rock you for several minutes and savor the sweetest sleeping baby, safe in my arms.

In your first month or so of life, I spent half the night awake with you. How I longed for the day when you would sleep through the night. But now that it's here, now that you consistently sleep eight hours each night, I find it bittersweet. The truth is, I miss you Baby Blake. I miss our middle of the night snuggles. I miss rocking and holding you with no time constraints and no distractions. I miss sharing the quiet peace of the night with you on my shoulder. I will forever miss feeling the closeness of Heaven surround us as we shared our daily night-cap.

Love you Blakers,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fresh Eyes

Last night I crawled into bed before 9 pm. Tony and I have been up the last three or four nights talking. Talking about our kids, his Leadville race, business, religion. Just the general things we discuss every night, only deeper and more expansive. I've had a string of several late nights, followed by very early mornings getting Rachel to dance, combined with one little two year old who has decided to wake up every few hours now that his 4 month old sibling is sleeping through the night. I was exhausted and grumpy.

Tony came in around 9:15 just as I was drifting off to sleep. He opened the blinds a bit, turned on a light or two and noisily slurped on his slurpee, happily chatting away with me about the TV show he thought I was watching. I snapped at him that I was trying to sleep, angry at his inconsideration. He quietly left the room and left me to my moodiness borne of sheer exhaustion.

He came to bed around 11:30 and I felt his warm hand on my cheek. When I stirred he held my hand. "Susan passed tonight." He whispered. And immediately my eyes were open trying to find his in the dark.

For months and months, we have watched our friend Elden tenderly care for his sweet wife Susan as she battled breast cancer. I have never witnessed a more beautiful love story unfold as together they courageously endured this most difficult of diseases with dignity, humor and uncommon determination. Together they worked to raise over $500,000 in donations to the LiveStrong organization, hoping that this money will one day help find a cure. They are both an inspiration to me in so many ways and I am overcome with sadness for them and their four brave children.

After Tony told me, I couldn't sleep for hours, trying to process what a huge loss this is for Elden and his family. I recognize that I am only human, but I was embarrassed that I had lost my temper with Tony over something so insignificant. Especially on that night when one we care about so deeply was sleeping alone in his bed for the first time, wishing he could talk with her, hold her hand, touch her cheek as she slept.

Surviving six years of infertility has given me a profound sense of gratitude for my four incredible children. I take more time with them. I am more patient with them, more present in the day to day. Specifically, I am filled with wonder that I am blessed with their tender care, that I have the honor and privilege of being their mother.

Susan's passing brought these same feelings to my heart about my sweet husband. How often I take him for granted and simply expect that he will take care of all of us. He is such a blessing in my life and all too often I fail to tell him how incredibly lucky I feel to be his wife. There isn't anything he wouldn't do for me if I but ask. He supports me in all that I want to do. He validates my feelings. He listens to me and cheers me on. He is quite simply my best friend. Most importantly, he makes me feel safe. I trust him without question and know he would never do anything to hurt me or our children. I have never met a more loyal person.

As I watched him sleep this morning, I saw him with fresh eyes. After fifteen years, he still makes my heart race. He still makes me laugh. He makes our life together work. I am so grateful that he belongs to me and that we are headed in the same direction...together.

And I am grateful for the Nelson's. For sharing so much of their story with us so that we might be reminded of the treasures found within our own home. On his blog, Elden told us to "Fight Like Susan" and I know he intended those words to represent her incredible fight with Cancer. But for me today, Fighting Like Susan means never wasting another day Fighting or Angry with my spouse. Life is too short and he is too important to me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Outside my Window:  Hot and Breezy.  Did I mention hot?  Actually left the Draper Days parade early because it was easily 100 degrees by 10 am.

I am Thinking:  About my Dad.  I have been thinking about him a lot this past week as we marked the nine month anniversary of his death.  I can't describe how much I miss him.  So much so that it weighs me down...almost in a physical sense.  But as sad as I feel, the truth is I have been so busy lately that I really haven't had time to process all of my emotions.  Tony took me out for late night sushi last night and when we started talking about my dad, the flood gates really opened.  Poor guy.

I am Thankful For:  Sweet Baby Blake.  Happy, Smiling, Cooing, Sweetest Baby Ever.  He is like a soothing balm for my weary soul.  I am so in love with this baby.  What a brilliant bright light he is in my life.  

From the Kitchen:  Having company for dinner.  Cafe Rio...easiest dinner I've made all week.  Wink!  Then off to the park for the fireworks.  

I am Wearing:  Tan linen capri pants.  Light Blue Tee Shirt.  Now known as my favorite t-shirt ever since a complete stranger approached me at dinner last week and told me this shirt really set off my eyes.  Prettiest blue eyes she's ever seen.  Hey, I'll take my compliments where I can find them....even if they do come from complete strangers.  Ha!

I am Creating:  My grocery and to do list for next week.  I've got to get my act together.  Seriously....I should be adjusted to four kids by now.

I am Going:  To take a little nap once this post is finished.  Long night with Blakers last night.

I am Reading:  My RS Lesson for tomorrow on Charity.  And...the new People Magazine.  I bet Jon and Kate were a bit grateful when Micheal Jackson took them out of the spotlight for a few weeks.

I am Hoping:  That Miles will soon decide he's ready to poop on the potty.  Two kids in diapers is killin me.

I am Hearing:  Ah...the sweet sound of silence.  Mr. Blake is asleep and Tony and the kiddos are up at my mom's pool.

Around the House:  Clean...ready for guests.  Cool.  Calm.  Plus Tony hung a new piece in my laundry room today.  Love it.

One of My Favorite Things:  Spontaneous Date night.  Tsunami for Sushi and Red Mango for Dessert.  Time to actually talk to each other, reconnect.  Coming home to four sleeping children and a clean kitchen.  I'm a lucky girl.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week:  Spending three days in Park City with Rachel for Dance Attack.  Lots of Lacrosse for Cole this week before Football starts.  Holiday Weekend next weekend...probably most of it flying solo as Tony completes the final push in training before Leadville.

What are you doing Today?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two Months

My sweet baby is two months old today. He is a darling little baby. Sweet tempered, calm, easy. But he is very time consuming, as most newborns are. He is my last baby. I try to remind myself of this when I'm feeding him at one o clock in the morning, and again at four o clock. I'm trying not to wish his babyhood away....knowing all too soon he will be rolling and sitting and crawling and then walking. Walking away from me and growing all together too quickly.

Thomas S. Monson shared this powerful insight to happiness, “This is our one and only chance at life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”

I do find joy in this journey with baby Blake. I really can't get enough of him. I need to remember President Monson's counsel when I get overwhelmed with dishes in the sink, laundry to fold, dinner to make. Surely baby Blake is more important than all of that and I don't want it to pass me by.

Oh how I love him.
Even at four in the morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Last night as we were driving to dinner in the searing Palm Desert heat, Miles sang out from the back seat. And then, he counted to ten. Without cajole or prompt. He simply said each number in the correct order.

And I, I was astonished. I recall very well teaching Cole to count to ten. I remember practicing the ABC song with Rachel over and over until she got it right. And with Miles, I have done nothing. Somehow he knows his ABC's. He knows how to count to ten. Not because of me. But in spite of me.

My heart broke into jagged pieces as it has so many times over the past several weeks. I feel so clearly how I am failing him. How my feeble attempts to mother four children have left him without the guidance and attention my older children enjoyed.

"You need to read to him" Tony reminds me. And I do. Almost daily. But it is usually rushed and simply marked off my list as yet another chore accomplished. It isn't the unfettered hour I used to spend with my older children, absorbed in one book after another. Truth be told, the large bin of board books, most suitable for this two year old boy, remains hidden on the dark shelves of our cold storage. I've yet to dust off the box, though I know the treasure which lies therein.

Last week, as I bathed my sweet new baby. Miles broke down and begged of me to "put him down!" Over and over he beseeched me to put the baby down. The baby, past due for a feeding, cried out his own pleas, and soon a symphony of tears filled the sun drenched nursery.

For the first time in weeks, I attended to Miles' needs first. Blake lay screaming in his crib. Miles wailed in my arms and soon, I too, was weeping hot and frustrated tears.

I wish I could say this was the exception rather than the rule. But the truth is, each day I am overwhelmed in my responsibility for these four precious souls. Each day, amid requests and tears, in the midst of the constant "mom can you iron my shirt, I need a library book, can you give me a ride, I want some apple juice, I hate this dinner, can you please tuck me in, do I have any clean socks, can you volunteer in my classroom, when are you going to the grocery store and will you please, please put the baby down", I feel a sense of failure. For try as I might, there is always one of them...or more, who isn't getting enough of me. Enough of my time, enough of my attention and patience. Enough of my love. I feel it in the tantrums of my two year old. I feel it in the wistful glances of my nine year old and I most certainly feel it in the hot temper of my teenager.

I've always wanted to be a mother. And frankly, it's always come quite easily to me. I have pretty good instincts about my children and I have never really struggled in my role as a parent. Perhaps I was too quick to pat myself on the back. Too quick to take credit for their obedience, for their easy personalities and good behavior.

My shortcomings have become all too clear since the arrival of baby Blake. As I strive for more patience, more understanding and more kindness for each of my sweet children. As I struggle to love them better in spite of my weariness and daily inadequacies, I hope I am teaching my children to offer me the same.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


"It was the tiniest thing
I ever decided to put
my whole life into"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've grown Accustom to his Face.

He almost makes the day begin.

I've grown accustom to the tune

He whistles night and noon.

His Smiles

His Frowns

His Ups

His Downs

Are Second Nature to me Now

Like Breathing Out

And Breathing In.

I was so really Independent and Content

Before we Met.

Surely I could always Be.

That Way Again.

And Yet,

I've grown Acustom to his Looks

Accustom to his Voice

Accustom to his Face

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Six Months

I used to talk to my dad every day. Every. Single. Day. I worked for him for fifteen years of my adult life. But even on those days when I wasn't in the office, he would call me each day to chat.

The last few years of his life, things were a bit different and I didn't talk to him each day. I missed it. I missed him. Sometimes it would be a few weeks in between our conversations. But never more than that.

Today marks the six month anniversary of his death. I have been thinking about him so much. So many things big and small to miss about him. But I think the thing I miss most is just being able to talk to him. Just hearing his voice on the other end of the phone. I have never gone six long months without talking to my dad.

My dad was one of the most positive people I know. Always upbeat, cheerful, encouraging. I miss that influence in my life. I miss hearing his stories. I miss him making me laugh or making difficult things in my life seem light. I miss his advice. I miss him making me feel better.

I miss his voice.

I miss him.

More today than yesterday. More than last week or last month. More than four or five months ago.

The longer it goes, the harder it is to remember the sound of his voice. The harder it is to recall the warmth of his spirit.

Six months feels like forever.

Do something for your dad today and tell him that you love him.

I would if I could.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Taken just a few minutes after birth

Blake William

Six Pounds Six Ounces

Nineteen Inches Long

Fresh from Heaven

Thursday, March 26, 2009


He is.

Delicious to me.

Monday night I filled the tub with hot sudsy water, cracked open the french door to draft the room with fresh air, and carefully lowered my aching body into the soothing comfort of weightlessness only found in water.

I had a long scary day at the hospital and was looking forward to a little quiet, me time to decompress after the drama of the day.

It didn't take long before I heard him calling to me: "Mommy, Mommy 'ere ares you?".

He quickly found me in the tub and was stripping down in no time. I'm not a real lover of the tub except for when I'm pregnant, so he was so excited to see that I had entered his playground. "Mommy in the hot tubby?"

I don't know when it happened, but sometime over the last few months, his little legs have gotten long enough that he can swing them up over the tub ledge and get himself into the tub. He quickly sat down and was surprised to find the water nearly touching his nose. He giggled, not sure if this was really the tub as the depth made it feel more like a swimming pool.

Soon he found delight in rolling his toys off of my swollen belly, squealing each time an errant ducky or pirate or boat splashed into the water. "Baby stuck mommy?" Indeed, it does feel like the baby is stuck.

He made a game out of my protruding belly button, using it as his microphone to call all pirates back home. "argh, mommy! no cry stuck baby!"

Later I slathered him in Baby Magic before dressing him in his pajamas. Even though technically he isn't my baby anymore, the smell of that lotion on his skin transcends me back to the first days and weeks of his life.

In the middle of the night I hear him call to me: "Mommy 'ere ares you?"

And so I go to him. I go to him more often than I actually sleep through the night. At 2 1/2 there is no reason for him to be waking at 3 or 4 am. But he usually does, and somehow I have failed to find frustration in our late night visit.

As I enter his room, he immediately greets me with a flood of words: "Hi Mommy. Hold you Mommy? Rock you Mommy? Just one minute?"

Ah, he knows the routine. But more importantly he knows I'm a sucker for his sweet cuddle request.

I pick him up and immediately find myself enveloped in his small arms. I sit to rock him in the overstuffed chair and smile as he tries to find comfort in my lap in spite of my growing belly. Eventually, he gives up on his preferred position of knees tucked to chest, head resting on my shoulder, and allows me to cradle him as I did when he was a newborn babe. Within minutes he is sleeping soundly and I quietly tuck him back in bed.

I often have a hard time falling back to sleep. I'd like to blame it on pregnancy induced insomnia and the inability to find comfort. But truthfully, after a visit with this little love, I can't get him out of my mind. I love this age. I love his innocence, his budding vocabulary, his need for me still. I love him with a fierceness that feels foreign and yet familiar all at once. It is that ache deep within my heart that I faintly recall feeling when Cole was a toddler and I was expecting Rachel. I wonder and I worry: will I love the next one just the same? Of course I know the answer. I am well aware of the magical ability of a mother's heart to expand exponentially within just minutes of giving birth.

And yet, for the moment. Miles in all of his deliciousness, has stolen my heart.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


And so it begins.

I've anticipated it since conception. I have experienced it with each of my pregnancies. I shouldn't be surprised. And yet, there is nothing comforting about the doctor telling you to stay completely down aside from a daily shower and potty breaks.

My blood pressure is too high. The baby is too small, too early, too immature to survive outside the safety of my womb without medical intervention.

"Each day we prevent delivery is a gift to your son". He said, looking me straight in the eyes, trying to convey the seriousness of the situation. Truth be told...I have never been so panicked in all of my life. This is the earliest I have ever threatened to deliver. I asked him for some kind of hope that my baby wouldn't end up in the NICU and he simply said "Bedrest can work if you comply." Sentiments confirmed by a kind nurse during subsequent monitoring.

And so it goes. I've made it two days so far, I am hoping for fourteen more.

Lest my brain turn to total mush, I'm going to try to post once a day until my delivery. That's a pretty lofty goal that I may not make...but at least it gives me something to think about while lying around.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Near but not Near Enough

By looking just at the title of this post, one could assume I am talking about my elusive due date, which is most definitely near, but not near enough.

But this is another post about my dad. I'm sure it would be much better for the two people who actually read my blog (thanks mom and Tony) to move on to a different topic. But I sense that the feelings that creep into my heart will slowly start to fade, and because of that, I feel more of an urgent need to post little things I am feeling about my dad.

My dad used to love to give big hugs. They were full bodied and strong. He always said "Come here and let me squeeze your guts out". It was a trademark of his, one that every single grandchild will recall with fondness.

In his last weeks, Miles was just beginning to speak. I would often lay him on my dad's chest so he too could experience a squeeze your guts out hug from Papa Bill. Each day I would ask him "Who squeezes your guts out?" and he would promptly respond "Papa Bill".

I stopped asking eventually and Miles began speaking in full sentences; each of us pressing forward, moving onward.

Sunday night we gathered for family dinner. We toasted a niece on her new job, we welcomed my mother home from an extended vacation, we laughed and traded stories. It was just the kind of dinner my dad would have loved. Miles kept leaving his seat, racing to my chair, and then running back to his own. I was growing exasperated by his antics in the crowded restaurant. At last he came to me and said "Papa Bill squeezes guts out." He repeated it over and over to his cousins, his siblings, his aunt and uncle.

Perhaps Miles was the only one who could see my dad there, wrapping his arms around each one of us.

Tuesday, Cole came and lay down with me in bed. He has been recovering from a pretty bad case of strep, which he so kindly shared with me. He told me how he'd been thinking so much about his grandpa. He said when he felt so sick for just a few days, it made him realize how his grandpa had been sick for months and months and yet he rarely complained. He always remained positive, stoic.

I, too, have been having these same thoughts of my dad. Especially when I was in the hospital a few weeks ago suffering from severe pain. In those short six hours before I was able to obtain pain relief, my thoughts turned continually to my dad who endured that kind of pain for months on end. I understood on a different level his desperation and panic. I have thought of little else and have worried and wondered that we did enough to help make and keep him comfortable. Over and over I have felt him calm my fears and tell me it was enough, that we did everything possible. Perhaps the only lesson he is trying to show me is that of empathy for others pain.

On Wednesday, I was searching frantically for a lost email and came across an email written by my second oldest brother the day after my dad's funeral. Somehow it had ended up in my spam file.

"I think everything went extremely well yesterday. I want you all to know how proud I am to have you as my brothers and beloved sister. I know I don't always say it, but I just wanted you to know I love and appreciate you all, I couldn't ask for better siblings. Now pick yourself up. The show must go on!"

I wept and recognized my dad's hand in reminding me that I am not alone, that I have three of the kindest, most amazing, accomplished, compassionate brothers. Each of them possessing a portion of my dad's charm and character. What a lovely reminder found in an errant email on a day when I most needed it.

Yesterday, I attending a meeting for the American Cancer Society. Their annual Babe golf tournament will be held in honor of my dad this year. I knew that this was happening, it was the sole reason I was asked to volunteer my time on the committee. And yet, walking in that door and seeing "In Honor of William C. "Bill" Roderick" on all of the tournament literature took my breath away. I quietly wiped away silent tears as my sister in law gently rubbed my leg under the table.

I don't have any physical possessions of my dad due to some pretty unusual circumstances. But what I do have is a lifetime of memories, an over-flowing reservoir of treasured moments and tender feelings. I think he was with me at that meeting, reminding me that while I don't have his 'things', I still have him. I carry him with me everywhere I go, right here in my heart. Surely he is nearby if only the sight of his name can bring me to tears.

I know my dad is near. I feel him every day in sometimes profound, sometimes silly ways. He is here, just not nearly close enough.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Miss

I miss him.

Yesterday marked the four month anniversary of his death. In some ways it seems like yesterday and in some ways it feels like forever.

I've been sick now for an entire week. In all my life I don't remember being this sick. And something about feeling so yucky makes me emotional and sad. I miss my dad.

When I was put down on bedrest with my last baby, my dad sent me a dozen roses. He called me everyday just to check in. I've been thinking about all of the little things he did like that to make me feel loved. I miss him.

It isn't that I'm not in good hands. I have the best husband and mother. My in-laws have been amazing, my friends incredible. But something is missing.

Someone is missing.

And I'm really feeling it this week.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Love

I love him. Deeply, Madly and truly More than I ever thought possible.

I've spent the last sixteen of my years with him, but something is noticeably different the past four months. I think it's called surrender.

I've always been an independent soul. Probably too independent for my own good. And while I have enjoyed and relied upon the partnership that I share with him, I think I have always relied on myself first and foremost. Honestly, I think he would be the first to tell you that one of the things he loves most about me is my independent spirit, my determination to be my own self.

Certainly he is my partner in every sense of the word. I couldn't ask for a better father for my children, a better friend or soul mate. I can't imagine my world without him, nor would I want to. He is the first person I choose to be with, the first person I seek out when I have something to say or when something is troubling me. His is the opinion I value the most. He makes me a better person.

A few weeks before my dad died, I sat at the kitchen counter with him, trying to find words, but barely being able to choke out the sobs. I heard him quietly get up, grab the phone and cancel a much anticipated bike trip for the upcoming weekend. "I've never seen her like this. I need to be here."

And honestly, I haven't felt him leave my side ever since. Physically or figuratively. His is a constant presence that I have come to rely upon, to need, much like I need air to breathe. He comforts me and calms me in a way that no one else can. It's not even something that I can do for myself.

A parent has a remarkable unconditional love for their child. I was my dad's only daughter. I know he loved me without question. I remember sitting on his bed during one of his last days and tenderly shaving his white whiskers. "Thank you for taking care of me", he whispered. It was then that it hit me that my dad had taken care of me my entire life, that no other man would love me in quite the same unconditional way that my dad did.

And yet, I have felt the same safety, the same security with Tony, in his love for me. I have felt it in ways I never imagined possible. I am humbled in his unselfish, constant care of me. Of how he has quietly and consistently served me and put my needs ahead of his own for several months. Perhaps it has always been there, this unconditional love. Maybe for the first time I have allowed myself to let go and experience it, to surrender myself completely to the care of someone else.

In losing my dad, I have discovered what an incredible life partner I have. He has always been here, of this I am sure. But now I see him with new eyes. And the more I feel his unconditional love for me, the deeper I fall in love with him.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Still Can't Get Enough

Five days later and the excitement still hasn't worn off.

For a good read click here.


PS. What do BYU and Marijuana have in common?

They both get smoked in Bowls. ha ha ha

Thanks Coley for the funny.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


This Year We Will
Mend a Quarrel
Seek out a Forgotten Friend
Dismiss Suspicion and replace it with Trust
Write a letter
Give a soft answer
Encourage youth
Manifest our loyalty in word and deed
Keep a promise
Forgo a grudge
Forgive an Enemy
Try to Understand
Examine our demands on Others
Think First of Someone Else
Be Kind
Be Gentle
Laugh a little More
Express our Gratitude
Welcome a Stranger
Gladden the heart of a Child
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the Earth
Speak our Love
And then Speak it Again
Howard W. Hunter