3 years ago today my life changed forever. I had come to terms with the fact that I may never be a mother. And while that fact was a sad to me, I had faith in my Heavenly Father plan for me and so we moved forward with joy that all would made for our good. Nothing in this life happens by chance and I believe we are lovingly guided through this wonderful and sometimes tumultuous life. The rungs on the ladders of our life guide us heavenward and sometimes those rungs let us feel the love of heaven more intimately. That was what happened on this day three years ago. This little angel was loving placed in my arms, and I could feel that Heavenly love. The miraculous story of my sons coming to us is just that miraculous. No other word can describe it. I have often heard that miracles no longer exist in our day but I attest that I have been the beneficiary of one. I can’t help but be grateful and humbled by this realization. I have no doubt that my son was meant to come to us. That he found his way through these incredible birth parents who honored us with this gift. What sacrifice is more Christ like, and more representative of Him during this time of year than that? My love for them is more than I can state, together we share this eternal glimpse of family and it is truly amazing.
(To me this photo is Happiness. watching my sweet son running ahead in a place that is so special to me, getting the opportunity to share this with him makes it more meaningful)
Our annual crabbing, camping trip went off without a hitch. We were prepared and ready to eat until we were sick. Getting together with this group of amazing people is something we look forward to every year and since last year My Mr. mistakenly planned his Alaska fishing trip (he’s still trying to make up for that) during the same week as this I really look forward to this so as you can imagine he was on my naughty list for a little while. Little Mr. is an amazing camper, he runs through the forest like a mountain man, and sleeps like a bear during hibernation at night. Yep he’s a born camper, which couldn’t make his father more happy! We couldn’t wait to take him out in the canoe! He had a brief trip earlier this year but he has never helped pull of the crab pots and see the crab. This was such a fun experience. As we rowed out he was cautious but by the time we reached the 1st pot he had his hands gliding through the top of the water and me holding on to his life jacket while I rowed, I won’t tell you how I was able to do that but it’s a mom thing I guess. The first pot was empty to our disappointment, as we discarded the bait, which was a new mixture then what we typically use, the seagulls began to circle hovering over the water to grab the floating bits. As our friends canoe, piloted by Landon, joined us to convene on the catch (or lack of) we made no notice of the birds darting about us. The next thing we knew a bald eagle swooped down and grabbed some of the discarded bait! It was amazing, it was like 10 ft away. But that wasn’t it, it continued to hover and dive the bay for the next 10 minutes. Then it silently swooped onto a branch overlooking the bay. We then caught eye of another one that came in to land in another tree just above the other. It was majestic and I forgot my telephoto lens to capture all this, ahhhhhhhh! It was majestic, I mean that’s the only way I can describe it. Every time we go to this location we have one of these “eagle experiences.” They always amaze me, I never tire of seeing the enormity of their wingspan flying over head. Even after that incredible animal planet moment, yes we caught some crab and had enough to take home and enjoy for the next few days. Little Mr. loved watching as Dad and Mom pulled the crabs from the pot and he even helped release one that was too small back to it’s watery home. So how would I rate that trip? Even with a few tantrums, and rainy patches? Perfection.
I really love Provo UT for the 4th of July. They have so many family friendly activities with that down home feel. One of these such events is the balloon festival which spans over a few days but that’s mostly because a) there are so many balloons that enter to they need multiple days, b) you never know with wind if there will be a cancellation or delay. Not wanting to risk to or fight the crowds on the 4th we went the Friday before this year. I wanted to take little Mr. to experience this at a young age and he is fascinated with all things balloons, rubber fabric, whatever form. What is particularly fun is that they lay out all kinds of different balloons and were talking like 20+ in one morning. You get to see the whole process of that balloons rise right up close. You can go right up through them touching the fabric as it gets larger
and larger. It’s like a maze of balloons rising on all sides of you! Watching the large fans the blow so rapidly and hard that they are filled to capacity in no time flat. I don’t know am I the only one that finds this whole process fascinating? And then if all that wasn’t cool enough those things actually lift off the ground, I mean come on it is incredible! No I don’t really have a desire to go up in one, but I think they are so beautiful rising in the air with all the colors swirling. Growing up in Utah Valley we saw balloons all the time as it is apparently a great location to fly. We would often see them land in the park across the street from our home. I think this all contributes to my love of this fun fourth of July activity. Watching My little Mr’s excitement at they filled them was so fun and then it only increased as they took off one by one in rapid succession. We had to cheer “Wahoooo!” As they rose in the sky preparing to compete in the various activities we laid down and watched. Another lovely memory, you know those are my favorite things to collect and having them with this precious little boy and My Mr. fills me with joy. Ok sorry for the cheese, I am just so grateful. Hope you like the rainbow of color in these photos, I just couldn’t stop snapping. I love color so much that I think I was overwhelmed and lost control. And so here I am throwing all my colorful balloon photos up all over you! Lovely description I know, so enjoy lovelies!
Our little Mr. has sensory disorder. There I put it out there. Why? Because when my little miracle, wonder boy, is screaming in the store and throwing the ice cream container on the floor you’ll give me a sympathetic smile and say “you go girl.” And you’ll realize this is only a second of him, a snip, he’s pretty great, just give him a minute and you’ll see.
Several months ago I just didn’t get it. Why did my precious, scream, cry and hit me when the doorbell rang and the dog barked. Or how leaving him in nursery would insight a catastrophic break down that would end with me staying or him crying himself to sleep. How a tantrum over a simple break of an object could elicit a breakdown that requires a quarantine to his crib for 30+ minutes. We were baffled. I expressed my concern to a friend at the park and she, gratefully, empathized with me, having a sensory kid herself, and recommended I have him seen. I worried, had I done this? Had timeouts made him more tenacious than other kids? As first time parents we were baffled that the regular old parenting techniques didn’t work for him, in fact they sent him into a tail spin. I soon came to find out that this was him regardless of us. A mix of his own special temperament sent from above, some prematurity factors (most premies have some sort of varying degree of sensory disorder, duh that totally makes sense now), and a strong willed nature. This is our boy. So much like myself without my even realizing it. As his Occupational Therapy (OT) began we clamored for anything to help him work through the barrage of information shooting at him. Any way to help him cope with it before it sends him skidding to uncontrolled rage. He’s sensitive, he’s incredibly observant, he’s spiritual. Now I know how can a 2 year old be spiritual, but he is. He’s keenly aware to the feeling and spirit floating around a room and will react in the like. It’s amazing to watch. I was daunted by all the information at first, but gratefully reminded by our OT that this is a marathon not a sprint. So take it bit by bit. He will be learning how to cope with this for years, or a lifetime to come. And if we can help give him the right tools he will eventually be able to do it himself. I so want that. It is hard in the trenches day after day, and yes I’m human I get frustrated at times. It’s a lot of mental analysis having to retrace the signals of what may have set him off. What stimuli he was reacting to. What his signs of overstimulation are. And finally how I teach him to cope with them before or after they happen. Each day is a lesson in patience, compassion, self control and the most amazing love. To show you just how astute this sweet boy is he will have an episode, a breakdown an atomic explosion that will send me reeling. And given some quiet time, he will eventually lay his head on my shoulder and say; “I sorry.” “Oh I luv u.” All his little neurons are finally calm, and he relaxes his body onto mine. I envelop him in a gently firm hug, no rocking or rubbing (that’s too much stimulation), just stillness and we find peace again. He knows he went off the rails, he knows he shouldn’t, but the gravity of all his senses taking it all in at once; the sound, the feelings/emotions, the sight, the touch, the smell. It overwhelms him and he reacts. He feels it all and he feels it deeply, deeper than we understand. He’s amazing.
He’s doing better. Somedays are great and other days we are the shrieking family in the grocery aisle as he tries to comprehend the transitions he had to go through just to get in the door, and now we are filling the cart item after item, the temperature changes from warm to the cold dairy section, the baby on the aisle over crying. He’s feeling it all and expressing it . . . . loudly. But were working at it, we’re a team. It’s not a 30 day quick fix. It’s a catalyst. One driving me to push myself to be a better me. To work on things that if he didn’t have this character trait might go unnoticed, or brush it off. From the minute he was born he has made me better, made me take stock of the person I am and make changes to draw closer to the person my Savior wants me to be. I look at this, curious, tenacious, determined, loving, spiritual little boy and think “Wow, you are miraculous!” He is!
In January we needed to escape, we needed to get out. So we did a quick VRBO booking and we were off to the coast for a little overnight trip. We rode the ferry across the sound, Little Mr. first time. The loved watching the water even in the chilly breeze. Pax preferred to stay away from the rail at all costs and put up quite a fight when we pulled him a little closer so we could see. Then it was on to the driving. You think it shouldn’t take that long but with the twists and turns of the peninsula we didn’t get to our little place until dark. Got some shut eye and the lovely people we stayed at left some carrots for little Mr. to feed their horses. He was timid at first but soon was handing out carrots as quick as he could, and the horses didn’t seem to mind! Side note: I love the fog as you come through the hills and valleys of the pacific northwest. I love how it gathers in streaks across the roads, yeah probably dangerous at times but geesh there is something beautiful about the way it plays with our view.
We then headed for the beach located on “wolf territory” for all you twilighters. The winter seas and storms had filled the beach with massive tree longs, I had to sit on one to show the gravity of this incredible sight. There are moments where I get to remember that I’m a photographer, or at least I use to be. My Mr, bless him, likes to remind me and get me to bring out my old SLR and look for the shot, watch for the light, the instant, the memory. The hike along the beach was amazing and though we probably pushed our little Mr. to the brink of his hiking capabilities and had a breakdown we did it and regardless made a memory and had a good time! It was quick but you gotta take those moments right? Especially when you live in a place as beautiful as we do.
I have to take a moment and relive last summer when WICKED came to Seattle. My Mr. bought us tickets and surprised me. I am an avid fan of the music from this show. I have been known to lipsync specific number for friends (you know who you are). Anyway I was so excited to go and finally see the play that goes along with the show and how they make the story working instead of me trying to imagine how I would do it. My Mr. got us a few treats to share and we joined the throngs of people. More than the show which was great, for me it was practically a sing-a-long. I knew all the words and even amazing my Mr, no I wasn’t the annoying neighbor who sang the whole time but I lightly mouthed most of it, I can’t help it. You just have to sing a long right. Oh what a fun memory with me and my man!
We got to plant in our grow boxes this year! We were so excited. My Mr. got them tilled and ready. Then he and my little Mr get to planting. It’s little trial and error here in Washington for us as we didn’t grow up in the climate to know what to grow and how to take care of it so it does actually grow. So whats on the docket this year? Sweet peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and pumpkins. Little Mr. was actually really good to help put the seeds in the ground, not always in the hole mind you but luckily his mentor Daddy was there to help. I love garden season regardless of the insane amount of work the fruits are so worth it!
It’s the season ladies and gents! I look forward to this every year. We kick it off with strawberries in June. This was little Mr.s first time, and as an avid lover of all things strawberry, and yes he did break into the fridge after some and the outcome was not pretty. This was going to be exciting! He watched us, the wheels turning, as we picked
and put them in the bucket. He was so helpful couriering the berries from us to the bucket. Then came a moment of realization and well hold up in the berry acquisition. As Dad popped a berry into his mouth. Colin saw this and it came to him, “there are the same berries from the fridge!.” Now we had to not only fill our buckets but also fill his tummy. But soon enough he was berry’d out and back to helping, in his own way. Yep he became my little 30lb weight for my picking squats. Not bad a workout, beautiful location and yummy rewards! 15lbs later we were ready to head home.
The next time we headed into the fields was more recently during Raspberry season! This time Colin was prepared having visiting Grandma Cox and her small berry patch. He went to picking though none ever seemed to make it into the basket. I have to admit this are more tempting to me and I had a hard time filling my bucket, I made a deal with myself 5 in 1 for me. Mmmmm, they are so good! 20lbs later we were done and so was little Mr. He’s such a good sport and a sucker always helps! Home we went and bottled some jam for the pantry and froze a little too. A few days later I got a little hankering so back out to the field we went, my boys are so good to me. This time we kept it to 4lbs for our snacking pleasure. Ohhhh I love this season. Now on to blueberries! We planted 6 plants this year and already have a few handfuls yield. The obviously won’t be enough, so I’ll be updating you with when we get that picking done!
With Christmas break in full swing we sought a bit of the snow we grew up with as kids. The idea of seeing our little Mr frolicking in the snow just made us giddy! So with a great tip we headed up the mountains for a little snow day. As we got higher and higher the scenery got more spectacular. Trees draped in thick layers of snow, the mountains capped in snow slipping in and out of wispy clouds. I am constantly in awe of this beautiful place we live. Arriving to knee high snow, we pretty much jumped in! Well we jumped in and little Mr. crawled. He was a little short to plow through the snow on his own though he gave his best effort to walk, chest high snow is really heavy. We eventually showed
him how to throw it in the air which delighted him. But the big hit was when we showed him he could eat it! Yeah that may be a little gross but you know you all have done it and who better to learn from than Mom & Dad. He was gracious enough to share a couple handfuls with us, so nice right?! Mmmmmm nothing like the taste of mountain snow, it always has a hint of dirt. Next up was snow angels which he enjoyed laying on Dad and watching Mom. We had a blast! He didn’t want to stop, but soaking wet pants made us put a stop to the fun. We ate a quick picnic lunch in the car and started back. Nothing better than cozy feet on the dash, My Mr. by my side, a sleepy, happy boy in the back and beautiful mountains ahead. Perfection!
Our new house has been wonderful but also brought some challenges as we re configure how we function with our furniture in our new place. I had been toying with the idea of building a bench for our eating area. The space just seemed to lend itself to one rather than chairs, glad I bought my nice ones, Awhh well. Anyway I can still use some chairs so not a total loss. Regardless I didn’t just want a un-comfy wooden bench and there were space constraints so I really had to figure this out! While doing my usual craigslist searches I stumbled upon a tufted headboard. I thought gosh I like that wish I had a place to use it. Well two months later it hit me and the head board was still posted. I enlisted my handy mans advice on how I might turn this headboard into a bench. Which essentially gave him another crazy project to think about, he doesn’t have enough :). So we thought it through and made a plan, I talked the seller down to a quarter of her asking price I mean it had been up for a while, and they wanted it gone, right? We brought it home and promptly destroyed it! Yep I carefully cut the fabric back and we sawed the puppy down the middle, in essence making a back and seat for our bench. Then we added the fabric staples to secure the cut fabric, not an easy task but we made it work! Then came the wood working for My Mr. I of course didn’t want average legs, NO I wanted custom corbels. I mocked up a general design and wished My Mr. luck. He researched and diagrammed, cut and cut again, then finished sanded. And he created my corbels! Beautiful! A little paint and My Mr’s handy wall mounting skills (my little Mr. getting into the mix and learning from Dad), we tested and bounced to ensure it was secure. Then over the Thanksgiving holiday tested it with 4 adults and well total Success!!!! It is awesome! It is Beautiful, It was made with love, I know I know cheesy but it was actually a really fun project for us to do together. Now our wall seating is perfect and comfortable, even little Mr likes it, of course another place to climb on, how could it possibly fail. So another project under our belt in 2015!
Today we celebrate the changing of our lives forever. After years of trying to begin our family in every way imaginable our little boy found his way to us. It was the guiding hand of a loving Heavenly Father who set in motion a string of life-changing decisions and events that lead to his special addition to our family. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a sense of fear on the day of his birth. I mean, how could anyone have the courage to place a child they had carried and couldn’t help but love to someone else? It was something even I, as much as I wanted, could understand how unfathomable this decision was. It took a very special birth mother. The moment I held my son for the first time I thought “whether you get to be mine forever or someone else’s you are a miracle and have changed me forever.” I held him and allowed myself to drink in the moment. My Mr. and I looked at this little being and emotions overwhelmed us. This season has forever taken on a new meaning and I cherish this beautiful little boy who is forever ours. I am reminded of the birth of our Savior, for whom this season is truly about. I have an abiding love for the miracle of His birth and coming into this world giving light and life to the world. I am grateful for this personal reminder to me of the grace and mercy of a loving Savior who has borne the sadness of the years when we felt this miracle might never come, and who through His life made it possible that we will be together forever. We pray that we may live a life of gratitude for our special Christmas miracle as he is truly a gift from God.
Happy Birthday My Little Mr. We love you, more than you know.
On a relaxing Saturday morning in our rather, well unkempt back yard, yes it’s a work in progress it’s been neglected for a few years. Anyway, we looked out our lovely bedroom window, talking and enjoying the fact that our little Mr. was sleeping in. Soon we noticed a white fuzzy thing in the corner of the yard. We automatically thought it was another local cat prowling the yard, Spike our neighbors cat is a regular, he’s nice so we don’t really mind their coming and goings and hey they keep down the rodents. But this was not Spike or the Orange tabby that he buddies around with. Nope this was a white spotted fuzzy one, or so we thought! The one mass melted into two and I yelled to My Mr. “They’re possums!” Oh dear, I remembered the episode of parks and recreation with the possum, and while not exactly accurate I knew I didn’t want them around. They scurried around and made themselves at home under our deck for the day, PERFECT, nocturnal animals, grrrrr! For the remainder of the day they tormented Pax with their very presence (smell mostly). But with our yard cleaning noise and lack of sustenance, (they’re meat eaters) they must have pack up and headed out under the cover of night. Thank heavens for that, let’s hope they don’t remember our cozy deck and decided to raise a family there, that would be a nightmare! Possums beware!