I'm sitting in a quiet house this morning. Rick took the boys to the library, lunch, and to the craft store for some supplies for a school project that Vaughn is working on. We had planned on a quick camping trip to Zion National Park this weekend, but yesterday as I looked at a two week pileup of clean laundry that needed to be sorted and put away, I just couldn't mentally handle accomplishing that, packing camping supplies, and arranging food. So we decided to stay home this weekend, catch up on housework and homework, and take park and canyon trips with friends instead. We will get up to Zion soon. I must see it before fall is over!

I love Rick so much. Already this morning he sorted through all the laundry, got the boys to put theirs away, then whisked them away for a couple of hours so that I can have a couple of hours to read, write and relax. It is the one thing that I crave the most with young children still at home. Quiet, uninterrupted time in the comfort of my home. Sometimes I complain to Rick how much I need the quiet time, and he will tell me that I should go away for the weekend. Stay at a nice hotel and go to the spa. "No," I tell him. "I want you all to go away. Just leave me alone at home. Pleeeeeaaase!" I feel mean sometimes asking for the people I love most to go away, but he knows how much I love them. I get so little of these moments that I savor them. I also make sure to give Rick these moments in return. He needs time to read, draw and work on projects in quiet too. I'm grateful to have such an artistic, hard-working and caring partner in life, and that we care about each others needs, and make time for each others interests. I think it is one of the most important things that keeps our marriage and love for each other strong.

This school year we have started something new in our home that so far, is working well for us. Rick works four ten-hour shifts, Monday through Thursday, and the boys go to school Monday through Thursday, so we have a three-day weekend every weekend.  I wanted to make our Fridays a little more special as a family, and so we decided to have them be a no media day. No TV, movies, video games or computer games. Minimal phone use (though I might start turning mine off on Fridays). We've tried to make our focus on Fridays be on outside time. Parks, hiking, camping and rafting. We spend time as a family and with friends, playing games, reading, creating and resting.

I have fallen in love with our Fridays. The things the kids make and create, the friends they play with and the placees we go as a family. I always feel so much more refreshed after the day-- like we have spent our time well. It has been a good thing for me and our family.

So here I am, signing off to enjoy the rest of my quiet morning. I hope you all enjoy your weekend!



What We Said

It has been a little more than two years since I last posted here. I have decided to make writing a more regular part of my life, and so I am hoping to occasionally start writing and updating here. Today I wrote a poem-- my first in years (and years). I had a writing prompt of "Write a poem with the title 'What We Said.'" As I revise and rework it, I will possibly post those revisions.

What We Said

We hike the Spring Mountains,
our feet threading through sandstone,
Blackbrush Shrub, and Juniper.
Again and again we come
here, remember here.
We are like a flock of sparrows
stitching up the sky,
trying to say
something important.
We hold pieces of sky, rock
and memory in our wings.
Scrap by scrap we make
something seamless, forgiving.

There are Desert Poppy sometimes.
Delicate throats
opening to bright yellow mouths.
They are almost
I want to tell them
that I hear their hushed
secrets. That in return
I will leave mine
in my footsteps behind.
Only the stars will see.
After we have fallen
asleep, they will study
our shared words--
soft, sad, and brilliant.



Dear Conrad,

I just laid you down after rocking and singing you to sleep on your first birthday. We have had a fun, full day celebrating the day you were born.

When you first woke up this morning I sang you the Happy Birthday song, and you smiled the whole time. It wasn't long until Vaughn and Mason woke up and joined us, so excited to celebrate your birthday. 

You played with your brothers in the morning and had hootenanny for breakfast (one of your favorites!). After getting you down for your morning nap we got the house all decorated for your birthday party. Vaughn and Mason worked so hard making decorations and setting things up.

They made tinfoil stars that they hung from the ceiling, snowflakes that they hung on the walls, and a poster just for you (in Seahawks colors, because you are one of their biggest fans!). They helped blow up tons of balloons that they put all over the room. 

I wish I could have captured your face when you woke up and saw the room. You stared in awe for a moment and then broke out in the hugest smile and started pointing at the stars and balloons. As soon as we started calling them stars you started repeating the word and kept saying "star! Star!" all day long. You were so excited.

We invited the Shumways for your party. We ate a yummy lunch and cake and played games. We played "pass the ball to Conrad" where we all sat and passed you the ball and clapped for you. We played "See who can build the tallest tower before Conrad knocks it over" where we all sat in a circle building with blocks, and you excitedly went from tower to tower crashing them down. We played with our parachute flinging balloons into the air, and a few times even you (but not very high). You loved playing with your family and friends! 

After your second nap and Dad getting home from work, we had a yummy dinner, then went to play at the park and get frozen yogurt. 

You loved playing in the grass, playing ball with Dad and the boys, and eating rocks (and then frozen yogurt later). :-)

Conrad, I've loved thinking about you today and how special you are to me, and that day one year ago when I finally had you in my arms. We wanted you so badly for our family. The year before we found out we were pregnant was such a hard one. We were dealing with the heartache and grief of your older brother Adam passing away, and before getting pregnant with you I had several miscarriages. I didn't know if that longing for another baby would ever stop. 

There was still that sliver of hope in my heart though. That some day, if it was right for our family, we would have you. 

And here you are. You are so bright and beautiful, and happy. You smile and wave and say hi to the world and people around you. I believe that even though you are still just a baby, that you care deeply about the people around you and how they are feeling. 

You are so smart and already say so many words and communicate with us so easily. You love books and reading your favorite stories. You busily and happily explore the world around you, and play with your brothers.

You are the cutest, sweetest boy, and we feel so lucky— so blessed to have you in our family. 

I love you so much little Conrad Craig. Thank you for all the smiles and happiness you bring to me. I love you so so so so much.

Love always,


Dear Adam,

It's been two years since I held you in my hospital room for the first and last time, and cried onto your lifeless little body. My whole soul ached in that moment, and it still aches with your loss, my sweet little baby boy. There hasn't been a day in the two years since saying goodbye to you, that I haven't thought of you. 

Oh, how I wish I could hold you again, and kiss those sweet cheeks, and tell you how much I love you and miss you.

This morning, Vaughn said to Dad: "It's Adam's birthday! I was talking to him this morning. I was looking up to the ceiling and talking to him. He wasn't in the ceiling, he was in Heaven." It made me happy to think of you looking down on your family, and loving and caring for us. 

I looked through our pictures of you this morning. Surrounding the pictures of you, there are so many pictures of family-- both before you arrived, and after we lost you. 

My mind went back to the long hard weeks before you were here, and I remembered the hours and hours that my parents spent helping my family-- taking care of the boys, taking care of me, taking care of our home. They were there in the hospital room and were able to hold you, and cry with us. They helped plan your memorial service, arrange your beautiful grave site, and all the things that we were unable to do.

I remembered Blake and Sally and Scott and Heidi who came to Las Vegas right after it happened, and took my boys camping, and visited me in the hospital. I remember my Mom, Sally and Heidi coming with me to the funeral home, and sitting next to me while I got to see your body for the last time and say goodbye. It was the hardest part for me.

I remember coming home from the hospital, and the unconditional love that Vaughn, Mason and Rick gave to me. The love hearts that Vaughn kept making for me, that I taped all over the wall. The hundreds of hugs and cuddles that mason gave to me. The tears that Rick shared with me, the small little sweet services he gave to me. 

I remembered Craig and Rebecca flying from Texas for the memorial service and to be with us. 

I remember the beautiful locket that John and Kim gave me with your picture inside.

I remember my entire family and close friends surrounding me at the service, and the beautiful musical numbers sung, and the beautiful talks given. I remember feeling loved and warm and grateful.

I have pictures of Paul and Beth's family coming to visit the month after, and our visit to the canyon. Both of them playing with my kids in the grass. I remember how the love from my sweet brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephews and the warm sunshine made me feel so happy.

Looking at those pictures were a reminder to me that although there were very hard moments, and hard memories, there are innumerable moments and memories that fill me with happiness-- moments before your loss, and moments that will continue the rest of my life. It was a reminder to me that there is nothing more important in this world than family. They are eternal. They live on. I am blessed with the dearest family, both immediate, and extended. Both here on earth, and beyond my view.

Right now, your little brother, baby Conrad sits jumping and cooing in his jumper. I want to spend this day, cherishing my family, and giving my all to them. I want to remember you, my sweet baby, and with all the wishing and wanting and longing for you, I want to also remember the joy surrounding your loss, and be grateful for what I do have. 

I love you so much. I will always love you. I will always miss you. I hope you can feel my love today.



Fall Afternoon

It's fall here in Vegas. Yesterday and today it has been raining and so very cozy. Rain is so rare here, that I love the days that we can curl up and enjoy some storms.

Last week we gathered up a couple of our favorite friends and went a little ways into Red Rock Canyon to Spring Mountain Ranch. We had fun playing in the leaves, painting some pictures and exploring.

It was a beautiful afternoon-- golden and warm and fun. I love living so close to such beautiful places. I love having fun friends who will come play with us in our favorite places. I love where I live.