can and do are two different things

Jan 30, 2021 by

Laughing SO hard right now.

Richard: (comes in with a sheepish look on his face) I’m wondering about this mystical grocery list Annesley says you have????

Me: (giggling) What is that look on your face?

Richard: Well, Annesley told me you have a list, but I just can’t imagine that is true and I don’t want to make you feel bad by asking about it.

Me: (full blown laughter) I DO! Here it is!

Richard: WHAT? You actually made a list?

Me: Yes! Here you go!

Richard: (completely dumbfounded) Wow, this is some serious organization.

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tender times

Jul 17, 2020 by

Our Keziah-girl is getting married in 48 days. The emotions are big in all the ways. Joy, grief, longing, happiness, all the things. We are going to miss her fiercely. Her impact in our home is huge. She is loud, hilarious, determined and her presence is always known. She knows just what to say to bring a smile to Fisher’s face or to encourage him to keep trying when life is hard. She can get him to do what no one else can. She pulls her siblings together for games, adventures, and giant work projects – they would cheerfully follow her to the ends of the earth if she asked them to.

And so we cry. And laugh. And savor every moment we get with her. Everything feels precious. Every conversation. Every game. Every meal. Every story. Every prayer. We have about 25 nights left that she will sleep in our home because she will be gone a lot over the next 7 weeks. I want to spend those nights snuggled in bed with her, hearing her breathe, but she would never allow that, so I spend my nights snuggled up with Richard with tears running down my face.

This parenting thing is hard. We give our hearts so completely to these little babies, then we pour ourselves into them, teaching them, loving them, preparing them for adulthood. And then they grow up and leave and a giant hole is left.

I’m so grateful. So deeply grateful to have been granted the privilege of being a mother. Mothering our children has sculpted my soul, enlarged my view, and grown my heart. Reading to them, teaching them day after day after day, helping them discover the world around them, helping them see who they are, how God works in their lives, and who He created them to be has been an exquisite journey. Two of our children have flown the nest, two of our children are still here, finding their wings. And two of our children are still trying to come to our home and may or may not ever make it into our arms.

It’s a tender time.

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happy 50th

Mar 5, 2020 by

Today is Richard’s 50th birthday. We are not having a big celebration or anything – Carl’s removal is his present, I guess? He is in a lot of pain and last night was as miserable as can be, but we are planning on having his favorite lemon meringue pie tonight.

In honor of his 50th, I’d like to share 50 fabulous things about him.

1. He is patient with himself and others.
2. He sees the best in others and assumes the best of others’ behavior and intentions.
3. He is devoted to his wife and family.
4. He is an amazing fisherman.
5. He can eat anything. No matter how gross my food turns out, he eats it with a smile and grateful heart.
6. He naturally understands the process of learning and is an amazing teacher.
7. He doesn’t rush others.
8. He is willing to put in the hard work of learning new skills.
9. He gladly sacrifices his own well-being for his family’s.
10. He loves God with his whole soul.
11. He keeps his covenants.
12. He is humble.
13. He warms up my side of the bed so it is toasty when I come into bed.
14. He adores me.
15. He believes in my dreams, big and small.
16. The most important things to him in life are to be a good man, a good husband, and a good father.
17. He has never once raised his voice at me or our children. So incredible!
18. He takes our children backpacking and teaches them how to survive in the wilderness.
19. He was pretty much terrified of speaking to others until his mission. But he trusted God to help him and God gave him the words to say and changed him into someone who could talk to others. Now he has difficult conversations with distraught parents and frustrated teachers every single day.
20. He spends every Wednesday night with his dad helping him in the garage with whatever project they are currently working on.
21. He loves his parents and siblings.
22. He loves when I read to him.
23. For most of our marriage he has worked 60-90 hour weeks.
24. He listens to our children’s emotional upsets and is able to help them work through whatever ails them.
25. He cleans up all the throw up in our house.
26. His best therapy is walking a mountain stream with a fishing pole in his hand.
27. He wasn’t naturally good at baseball, but he wanted to play so much that he put in hours and hours and hours of extra practice time so he could compete with the other boys.
28. He loves physics. One of his dreams is to get a PhD in physics.
29. He has helped thousands of children and families with autism live more functional, productive, happier lives.
30. He is really, really good at understanding what children need to help them succeed.
31. He sees potential in everything, broken cars, homes, and most importantly, people.
32. He knows what can be done to fix those broken things.
33. He can laugh at himself.
34. He cooks all of our Sunday dinners. And many of our other dinners as well.
35. He likes to serve me breakfast in bed on Sundays.
36. He makes the best red potato-garlic mashed potatoes.
37. He loves hard labor like chopping wood, breaking down walls, and hoisting engines.
38. He loves babies. Pretty much all of them. And definitely all of ours. Between our living children and the ones we’ve lost there are seventeen and he tears up over those precious thirteen often.
39. He regularly stops to help people on the side of the road.
40. He forgives easily.
41. He loves watching his children do anything that is important to them.
42. He is gentle.
43. He is kind.
44. He is grateful for any kindness done to him or for his family.
45. He is honest.
46. He loves camping with his family in a tent in the middle of nowhere. The more rustic, the better.
47. He gets up day after day going to a job that doesn’t pay much and is full of really hard things because he knows God wants him to do it.
48. He is adaptable. Whatever life throws at him, he figures out how to work with it and does it with a smile.
49. He has great courage to overcome his weaknesses.
50. He loves all of his grandparents and was especially close to his Grandma Stella who he shared a birthday with. She always brought over a creamy fruit salad for just her and Richard to share. Today she would have been 113. With the loss of our little Stella, we are both thinking of Grandma Stella and little Stella a lot today.

He’s always wanted to live to be 100. So here’s to halfway!

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50 things for his 50th

Mar 5, 2020 by

Today is Richard’s 50th birthday. We are not having a big celebration or anything – Carl’s removal is his present, I guess? He is in a lot of pain and last night was as miserable as can be, but we are planning on having his favorite lemon meringue pie tonight.

In honor of his 50th, I’d like to share 50 fabulous things about him.

  1. He is patient with himself and others.
  2. He sees the best in others and assumes the best of others’ behavior and intentions.
  3. He is devoted to his wife and family.
  4. He is an amazing fisherman.
  5. He can eat anything. No matter how gross my food turns out, he eats it with a smile and grateful heart.
  6. He naturally understands the process of learning and is an amazing teacher.
  7. He doesn’t rush others.
  8. He is willing to put in the hard work of learning new skills.
  9. He gladly sacrifices his own well-being for his family’s.
  10. He loves God with his whole soul.
  11. He keeps his covenants.
  12. He is humble.
  13. He warms up my side of the bed so it is toasty when I come into bed.
  14. He adores me.
  15. He believes in my dreams, big and small.
  16. The most important things to him in life are to be a good man, a good husband, and a good father.
  17. He has never once raised his voice at me or our children. So incredible!
  18. He takes our children backpacking and teaches them how to survive in the wilderness.
  19. He was pretty much terrified of speaking to others until his mission. But he trusted God to help him and God gave him the words to say and changed him into someone who could talk to others. Now he has difficult conversations with distraught parents and frustrated teachers every single day.
  20. He spends every Wednesday night with his dad helping him in the garage with whatever project they are currently working on.
  21. He loves his parents and siblings.
  22. He loves when I read to him.
  23. For most of our marriage he has worked 60-90 hour weeks.
  24. He listens to our children’s emotional upsets and is able to help them work through whatever ails them.
  25. He cleans up all the throw up in our house.
  26. His best therapy is walking a mountain stream with a fishing pole in his hand.
  27. He wasn’t naturally good at baseball, but he wanted to play so much that he put in hours and hours and hours of extra practice time so he could compete with the other boys.
  28. He loves physics. One of his dreams is to get a PhD in physics.
  29. He has helped thousands of children and families with autism live more functional, productive, happier lives.
  30. He is really, really good at understanding what children need to help them succeed.
  31. He sees potential in everything, broken cars, homes, and most importantly, people.
  32. He knows what can be done to fix those broken things.
  33. He can laugh at himself.
  34. He cooks all of our Sunday dinners. And many of our other dinners as well.
  35. He likes to serve me breakfast in bed on Sundays.
  36. He makes the best red potato-garlic mashed potatoes.
  37. He loves hard labor like chopping wood, breaking down walls, and hoisting engines.
  38. He loves babies. Pretty much all of them. And definitely all of ours. Between our living children and the ones we’ve lost there are seventeen and he tears up over those precious thirteen often.
  39. He regularly stops to help people on the side of the road.
  40. He forgives easily.
  41. He loves watching his children do anything that is important to them.
  42. He is gentle.
  43. He is kind.
  44. He is grateful for any kindness done to him or for his family.
  45. He is honest.
  46. He loves camping with his family in a tent in the middle of nowhere. The more rustic, the better.
  47. He gets up day after day going to a job that doesn’t pay much and is full of really hard things because he knows God wants him to do it.
  48. He is adaptable. Whatever life throws at him, he figures out how to work with it and does it with a smile.
  49. He has great courage to overcome his weaknesses.
  50. He loves all of his grandparents and was especially close to his Grandma Stella who he shared a birthday with. She always brought over a creamy fruit salad for just her and Richard to share. Today she would have been 113. With the loss of our little Stella, we are both thinking of Grandma Stella and little Stella a lot today.

He’s always wanted to live to be 100. So here’s to halfway!

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expiration dates

Feb 22, 2020 by

Annesley holding some half-n-half: Mom, is this good? I can’t tell.

Me: What does it smell like? What does the date say?

Annesley: It says April 14, but I don’t know what year.

Me, dying laughing: We may not be totally up to snuff on our kitchen maintenance, but there is no way we would have half-n-half in our fridge if it expired last April!

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i never saw this coming

Feb 10, 2020 by

Oh my goodness, how to even start here again. I need to, because I want to remember these days forever and I want our children to have a record of this time of our lives. So much has happened since I last posted in May of 2019.

We had a glorious summer of adventure, camping and kayaking together as a family. I felt and functioned the best I have in nine years and we played as hard as we possibly could. Then September came and I completely fell apart emotionally. For seven weeks I barely functioned as I dealt with the death of our dear nephew, Kyler, mountains of survivor’s guilt, and deep personal pain.

In December we discovered we were miraculously pregnant. And on January 8, Richard was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The last four weeks have been a blur. We are surviving and holding on to faith and hope and love and each other. But the days roll on, one after another, and I can barely keep up. The first four weeks were busy, all day, every day, with phone calls and doctor’s appointments. The last few days, since his surgery to remove it has finally been scheduled, have been much needed balms for my soul. The fight for surgery with our preferred neurosurgery team and insurance to cover it was intense and now that that fight is over, I feel like I can finally breathe again.

This journey needs documented and I’m going to give it my best effort, which at this point my best is sorely lacking, but I am going to really try.

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the beginning of goodbyes

May 5, 2019 by

My mother’s oldest sister passed away today. She is the first one of the nine siblings to leave us. My heart is a jumble of emotions.

I am happy for her. Really truly happy for her to be out of pain and to be able to spend time with her son, Gary, who passed away as a little boy. I am tickled that she gets to be with her mama, my dear, dear grandma, and her father. We have a huge family of people that I know she is reuniting with and big hugs are being shared.

At the same time, there is something about her death I’m just not ready for. For a long time, our family has been a stable, steady force in my life. My aunts and uncles have always been there for me. Have always loved me. Have always listened. My childhood was surrounded by their tender care. We had frequent family gatherings at my grandparents’ home along with nearly constant interaction at our family business. If I ever needed to talk, one of them would listen.

Louise’s passing feels like the entering of a new era. One in which many people I care about are going to leave this sphere. One in which I will miss them fiercely. One in which I will have to figure out how to be a grown up, the grown up. I’m not ready for any of this. Which seems strange to me. I certainly would have thought that I would be fully into adulthood by now. But it just doesn’t feel like it. I am turning 45 on Tuesday and I still feel like a little kid in many ways.

Of my mother’s 38 first cousins, only two of them have passed away and those have both been recent deaths. This generation of relatives has been a force for good in my life and in the world my entire life. The thought of them leaving us takes my breath away. Literally. Gasping. I cannot imagine life here on earth without them.

And I really, really can’t imagine life without my mama. Taking care of her last month during her surgery was beautiful and emotionally gut-wrenching. The pain on her face brought me face to face with her mortality. She could die. She almost did die in the days following her surgery. And some day she will. And I don’t have any idea how I will live without this woman who has taught me how to live with courage and faith and forgiveness.

Several more of my aunts and uncles are in poor health and I don’t know how many more visits I will have with them. I am so not ready for any of this. I’ve never been good at goodbyes. Even temporary ones.

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annesley’s big heart

May 2, 2019 by

I’ve been sick this week with fever, chills, and a deep, painful cough. It has been miserable. I haven’t been able to read to my family.

But my delightful little girl came into bed with me and said, “Mom, you can’t read to us, so I’m going to read to you.” She proceeded to read me a Billy and Blaze book because she loves horses and Loud Emily because she knows it is one of my favorite read-alouds and she said she’d been working on the voices.

Be still, my heart.

This is the power of family-read alouds. She couldn’t bear to let me go to sleep without a story.

I’m so grateful for my Annesley-girl and the joy she spreads far and wide.

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thankful & blessed

Jan 31, 2019 by

Full heart today. I have made two kinds of delicious soup, cleaned my house, worked on our taxes, sent my kids to the temple, and spent sacred hours with my girl.

Blythe is in labor with our first grandchild. I have been preparing for this day for pretty much her whole life and now it is finally here. During our hard years of me not understanding her or her needs, I didn’t know if she would ever allow me to be at her births. And for me, a doula and childbirth educator who loves being with birthing mamas with my whole soul, that thought was deeply painful. Many mornings I would do a visualization technique where I would picture her in labor and envision our relationship at that future date. Then I would think about what I needed to do in the current time to have a future relationship that would allow me to be at her birth. It was one of the most powerful ways I was able to curb my harsh words and be the mama she needed me to be.

And now that day is here. Right now. And it is glorious.

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