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Monday, December 27, 2010


My baby boy is one year old. I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I remember getting the phone call in the middle of the night - it was Tracey letting us know that little Benjamin had arrived, two weeks early. I made phone calls myself once morning had come and couldn't hold back the tears of joy and gratitude. 

Ben's big day was a fun one. He was a bit overwhelmed by all the people who came to celebrate with us - Grandma & Grandpa, Aunt Dawnie, Uncle John, six cousins, his birth mother and birth grandmother.

I made him a snake cake that he really enjoyed squeezing through his fingers but refused to eat. Just like his Mama, he preferred to have ice cream instead. (Pictures to come later.)

He received some pretty cool presents that made his eyes light up and kept him busy for the rest of the day - a Toy Story push & ride car, a busy ball popper (the non-pink version, though), a toy with musical buttons that light up, a Barney movie, a book, and an adventure play tent and tunnel tube. His toy selection has double in the last two days.

Some things that make up Benjamin's personality - 

 - he's a brave little soul (aka: a bit of a daredevil) - climbing on things, pulling himself out of things

 - he uses his pacifier as a chew toy

 - he's already kicking balls, like a little soccer player in training

 - he would much rather be running around than sitting still

 - he's very affectionate when you sing to him (or, lately, if you ring these particular wind chimes at my parents' house) and has started giving kisses

 - he's very observant and often tries to figure out how things work

 - he'll notice his shadow on the floor and do a little dance with it, trying to catch it

 - he's becoming very independent

To say that Benjamin is a joy wouldn't even come close to describing how we feel about having him in our family. He adds light and love to our life. I can't even remember what life was like without him. We feel so blessed and humbled to be the ones chosen to raise him. I feel like I can finally rest easy, knowing we have found our boy that was trying to make it to our family. We love him so much.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. Ben and Hugh are tucked in for the night. Marc is wrapping some last minute gifts. I'm trying to stay away from the pies until my stomach has recovered from our Christmas Eve dinner of the most delicious Maple-glazed ham. It has been a wonderful day, going back and forth from my parents' house to ours, trying to stick closely to our nap time routines but still be a part of the fun traditions and activities.

One of the highlights was acting out the story of the birth of Jesus, with my dad narrating from Luke 2 and other verses of scripture. It should be fun to go back and watch the recording we got of it. Since Hugh is the youngest member of the family here, he played the part of baby Jesus, which meant that Marc and I were Joseph and Mary. Ben was the lone lamb who was more interested in wandering than sitting calmly in our imaginary manger. Then we had three shephards - mom, Malachi and McKayla. The three wise men - John, JB, and Denison. And two angels - Dawnette and Talea, who had the cutest lines to repeat. (We had a sick Truman laying down in the other room, who wasn't able to play his part.)

Later, as I was feeding Hugh just before putting him down for the night I thought back to his birth and reflected on many of the feelings that came with his arrival - the fear, the panic, then the relief. I still find myself thanking God for his life that was preserved. I was so honored today to finally get the part in the nativity story that I've always coveted.

I thought of Tracey, who just a year ago was so close to bringing Benjamin into the world. What was it like to be in her shoes? What would it be like to carry a child for nine months and then place him in the arms of another mother? How does it feel to make a sacrifice like that, even if you know it's the right choice for you and your baby?

I don't know how Tracey did what she did. She gave us the greatest gift. Our little Benjamin. I'll never fully understand what it takes to make that kind of selfless choice, but I'll spend the rest of my life making sure Benjamin knows the unconditional love it takes to do what she did. 

Then, I thought of Mary, the mother of the Son of God. As I looked down on my little Hugh, so peacefully cuddled against my chest, I wondered what feelings she might have had as she welcomed her son into the world. Was she overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy? Was she afraid of the sacrifices that would be required of her and/or her son? Did she wonder if she'd fulfill her responsibilities well enough to raise her son in the right way?

I don't know how Mary accomplished what she did to raise and nurture the baby boy who would become the Savior of the world. I can't imagine the burden that she must have felt at times, fully aware of her own inadequacies and weaknesses.

I feel so indebted tonight to some great mothers, my own included, who have fulfilled roles and accomplished great things that have directly blessed my life. I feel a bit overwhelmed at my own responsibilities to be the kind of mother that my boys need me to be. I'm grateful, at least, to have so many good examples to follow after. 

It is really a wonderful time of year. A time of reflection. A time of gratitude for blessings. A time of renewed determination to be a bit better. A time to spend with family, making memories and strengthening bonds. 

Speaking of, I should go and do just that. Marc is snuggled comfortably on the couch, saving a spot just for me. 

Merry Christmas! I sincerely hope this season is one filled with love and hope for good things to come for all of you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grocery store drama

After the morning nap yesterday, I loaded Ben and Hugh into their double stroller and the three of us headed around the corner and down the street to the grocery store. I had a short list of items I needed to make a few pies and our Christmas ham. I purposely planned our shopping trip just before the noon rush would hit so that we would be in and out in no time.

Since these quick shopping trips are a common outing the three of us do together, I was confident that the boys would do just fine, like they always do. I was prepared with toys and blankets and crackers. Not two minutes down the first isle and Hugh was screaming, which then made Ben start crying very large tears, which then made Hugh cry harder, which then made Ben more upset - you get the picture. Usually Ben isn't bothered by Hugh when he cries, but for some reason they were feeding off of each other in a new way that I wasn't prepared for.

My attempts to calm them down weren't working. Nothing was working. I was about to abandon my little hand-held basket and make a beeline straight for home. But, I was determined to just get the few items I needed. So I pulled Hugh out and carried him in my right arm, balancing the basket on the stroller head cover thingy, and pushed the stroller with my left hand. I was totally okay with the arrangements because both boys immediately calmed right down... and that was all that mattered.

I got some interesting looks, a couple of double takes, and at least a dozen shoppers who muttered something along the lines of - you sure have your hands full. I was so focused on getting myself out of there that I didn't pay much attention to any of it. As I put the last item in my basket, I also buckled Hugh back into the stroller and headed for the check-out.

Everything was going just fine until I was waiting for my groceries to be bagged. Something set the boys off again and both were crying so loud I wasn't able to concentrate on anything except getting out of there. I started to leave as soon as I had the groceries loaded in the stroller, when the cashier lady stopped me. The transaction hadn't gone through yet because I forgot to push the "No" button for cash back. As the boys continued to scream, people in every direction were staring. I let out a bit of nervous laughter and avoided making eye contact with anyone.

Somehow over the screaming I overheard the woman behind me in line comment to the cashier - "that doesn't sound fun at all." The cashier handed me my receipt and out the door we went. Two steps out the door and both boys were suddenly calm again. I'm sure the fresh air helped, as well as the movement.

I laughed to myself the whole way home and filled Marc in on our adventure as soon as we got home. Our quick trips to the store have never turned out like that, so it came totally unexpectedly. I honestly wasn't bothered by the looks or the comments... it really must have been quite the sight. 

But I did find myself wishing people could see a true picture of these boys in a 24-hour period, rather than a brief ten minutes of uncharacteristic fussiness. Our days are filled with Ben's happy squeals while he scurries around his floor of toys, and Hugh's grunt-like giggle when he's being tickled. While I agree it isn't fun to have them both screaming at the same time, I'm just relieved that it very rarely happens. 

But, even if it did, I would still take these two boys at their very worst over those lonely days with empty arms. I've been remembering past Christmas events that pierced my heart with pain and sadness, and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude this year for our two greatest blessings.

Marc is feeling it, too. The other night as I was wrapping presents and Marc was filling out the gift tags, I handed Marc Ben's first gift and said "this one goes to Ben, from Mom and Dad." He couldn't seem to resist asking me to repeat it one more time. 

We feel so blessed and so grateful for our happy, healthy, and screaming boys.

But, I think I might just go grocery shopping alone from now on.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sleep and Bells

Have I mentioned how much better Ben and Hugh are sleeping these days? I read the book - Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - and was totally skeptical. I was convinced that the examples in the book of babies that improved their sleep habits were just naturally good sleepers. Mine clearly were not and never would be.

We were desperate, though. So, we decided to give it a try and to stay the course for at least a week before giving up. Little did we know that we'd see dramatic improvements within just a couple of days. It definitely took some determination on our part to be consistent and some will power to stay focused on the ultimate goal of helping them to sleep better.

We now put them down to bed by 6pm. Ben is now sleeping in his crib, through the night, for 12 hours. Hugh still wakes usually just once during the night for a feeding, but he's getting 11-12 hours of sleep at night, too. And, maybe the biggest change is that now we're able to just lay them down and have them go right to sleep without rocking them to sleep. That would sometimes take hours to do and was just wearing us both out. It has been really amazing to see the changes. I was so sure that we just had bad sleepers. Turns out we were doing things wrong, without even knowing it. It's such a relief to have our sleep back!

That said, Hugh woke up at 3am this morning and after his feeding just wouldn't go back to sleep. He'd had a bit of a fever last night, so I'm sure that's what was bothering him. After the morning nap, Hugh was still fussing and Ben was screaming, so I took the boys out on a walk. The sun was shining today and the temperature was in the 60s. Plus it's been a while since we've been up to their favorite fountain. 

After our quick stop at the fountain we walked down to the post office to mail a couple of things. On our way the bell tower of one of the churches near downtown rang, signally noontime. I love the sound of church bells ringing. It feels so quaint, so old, and reminds me so much of my fond memories of Italy. And, after the twelve dongs of the bell, it played a Christmas song that at the time I couldn't quite put my finger on its name. (I later discovered it was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.) 

There was something about the feel in the air, the leaves chasing down the sidewalk, Christmas bells ringing through the streets, being with my two little boys who were happily enjoying our little outing. Everything about the moment made my heart feel light. This is the feeling I'd been wanting to feel. The calm, the joy. It came in the most unexpected of ways, in a completely unexpected moment.

On a day that started much too early with a baby who was too miserable for words, I felt especially grateful for this little moment. We'll have to follow our same route and schedule in the coming days to find out if the church bells ring out a Christmas carol every day at noon or if there was something special about today. I wouldn't mind hearing those bells again and again and again.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Tis the season...

The Christmas season this year has brought with it a new magic and excitement. It's a new feeling - something I've never quite felt, not like this. At the same time I've also been feeling a bit weighed down, though I've had a hard time pin-pointing exactly why. 

The other day I was reminded of some thoughts about Christmas I shared two years ago, just after we lost our girls. As I read it again, I realized that I still feel the same struggle. The struggle to celebrate the season for all the right reasons without getting caught up in the tangle of commercialism. It is difficult to find the right balance. 

We've tried to create traditions that will keep us centered, but every year there comes the stress and frantic rush of making everything just perfect - the gifts, the decorations, the meals, the activities and celebrations. And, while all of those things are great they still seem to distract from the calm that I really want to be feeling. I don't know how to do all the fun traditional things without getting completely sucked into the chaos. Plus, with how packed my days are there is no way I'll ever find the time to do all I need to do.

*Heavy sigh*

So on that less than cheery note (ha!), here's a cute song that I'm listening to these days whenever I get too overwhelmed:

By the way, if you go here, you can download the song for free!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our expressive Hugh

For some time I've been meaning to show the many expressions of Hugh. Since the day he was born, it has been a marked trait. When I'm taking photos of him, in a matter of seconds he can go through at least a dozen completely different expressions. Here are just a few, not all taken on the same day, though.

The spaced-out look:


The happy look:

The EXTRA happy look (always consists of a scrunched up nose, an open mouth, and partial tongue):

The playful look:

The serious look:

The talkative look (this is usually his expression when he gets really verbal):

And, here are a few of Benjamin, too, just for fun:

This is actually one of Ben's most consistent expressions - just content and even-tempered...

... and a little goofy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Looking like Christmas

I think this is the first moment today when I've sat down to relax all day. It's just been one of those very busy Saturdays. Even though it was busy, it feels good to have accomplished a lot of things I was hoping to get done.

We had some free time this afternoon when both boys decided to just take a 20-minute nap. Rather than trying to force them back to sleep for longer naps, we opened the curtains and blinds and dug out our Christmas decorations. We got the tree up. (Which also involved clearing a particular space that has been collecting clutter for some time now and getting more and more on my nerves.) It feels so warm and comforting to have the Christmas lights glowing. The excitement and curiosity reflected in the eyes of our boys seemed to be extremely contagious and I enjoyed the process even more than usual.

The weather has been on the gloomy side for most of the last week, and the forecast predicts more of the same. Amid the clouds and the threat of rain, we bundled up and headed out to the cemetery. When we purchased the plot, it was actually a third of a plot with the other two sections being reserved for other babies. It was a little unexpected to see today that one of the other sections has now been claimed. I couldn't help but wonder about the story of little Oleta, while sending a quiet prayer heavenward for her family still mourning their separation.

I'm still not really sure how we'll tell Ben and Hugh about Elliana and Emmaline. I don't know what we'll tell them or how we'll celebrate or remember them as a family. Marc and I were talking the other night about how we'll talk about Santa Claus with our kids. Maybe talking about the twins will just come naturally like any other special person or holiday that we celebrate with special traditions. We still have a couple of years to figure it all out, I guess.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of our more memorable holiday seasons and I'm looking forward to every aspect of it. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2nd

For a week I've been meaning to visit the cemetery. We have the Christmas poinsettias to put in the vase at the girls' graveside. I planned on going on Thanksgiving day, but the day was packed with activity and there was no time. Every day since then has seemed to be equally packed with things - just the daily things that take up nearly every spare minute of the day.

But, today I really wanted to go. While I was getting Hugh settled for his morning nap, I had a perfect plan of how my day would go so that I could squeeze in a little time at the cemetery. Almost immediately my plans went completely different than how I hoped. 

Hugh never did really go down for his morning nap (though I gave him an hour to try) and Ben initially only went down for thirty minutes. While playing quietly with Ben (& Grandpa), he kept crawling into my lap, so I finally took his hint for wanting more sleep and cuddled him until he fell asleep again, this time for an extra 75 minutes.

So, then I played with Hugh (after his failed attempt to nap), while Ben slept. And by the time Ben woke up it was lunch time. As soon as lunch was finished, diapers were changed and then I played with the boys on the floor for a bit. 

(There was a little scare at that point, just after Marc left for a meeting, when a homeless-looking man banged loudly on our door. I'm not sure what he wanted, since I didn't dare answer the door. It gave my heart a good race, though.) 

At that point it was afternoon nap time and I was determined to help Hugh get in a good nap. (Partly so that I could also squeeze in a nap myself - going on day four of stuffy-head-cold-flu-like symptoms.) Fortunately Hugh did cooperate and, with help from my Mom, Ben went down for a second nap. As dreaded fate would have it, though, Hugh was waking up just as Ben was going down - thwarting my plans for the umpteenth time today.

By this point, I started to realize that my trip to the cemetery wasn't going to happen. I tried to not feel guilty. Thinking of the girls all day has to count for something. My thoughts were reflective more than sad, and grateful more than mournful. No matter what, I'll always associate today's date with what would have been the twins' anticipated due date. As much as I wish they could be here now, I was reminded today that sometimes our plans just don't work out like we hope and plan for. 

And, in the end, it's all okay.

In my case, I would say things have worked out far better than anything I ever could have hoped for. Maybe life is just as much about making plans as it is about being open to changes in those plans.

(I'm still determined to get those poinsettias to the cemetery before the week's end.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh Blessed Tupperware

With Thanksgiving around the corner, much of today was spent preparing for tomorrow. I made a dairy-free pumpkin pie, a caramel apple pie, and a traditional apple pie with the leftover pie crust and apples.

I had arranged with Marc to have some extra help with the boys for a couple of hours, so that I could get the pies done faster. At one point while Marc ran to the store to pick up a crucial ingredient for me, I was left with my little walking boy playing at my feet. 

I was busy peeling the granny smith apples. Ben was busy pulling out the Tupperware from the bottom cabinet and the red plastic cups. Then he found his favorite cupboard that holds the Emergen-C packets that he likes to tote around and chew on.

I paused to watch him playing at my feet, and thought of Hugh still napping upstairs... and felt so grateful for these two little boys who have come into my life. A year ago they were both on their way, but I was still feeling very hesitant to trust that they would both arrive safely and surely. But, hope was as strong as ever.

And, here we are a year later with our greatest hopes realized. Benjamin and Hugh have filled the space in my heart where pain once set up camp and threatened to stay forever. I never would have imagined life could be so sweet. Even, or maybe especially, with a kitchen floor covered in Tupperware.  

With so much to be grateful for, tomorrow is bound to be a wonderful day of celebration. Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finding my voice

For most of the last six months I haven't had much free time. When I have had free time, like when the boys are down for naps, I've been so exhausted that I've napped with them. And I've discovered that two naps a day is my kind of lifestyle!

Lately, though, we've finally had some success with the boys' sleeping habits (hallelujah!) and I'm starting to feel like I don't need my two naps as much as before. So, in those little pockets of time when I'm not running around trying to stay ahead of my little guys, I feel my writing bug itching to find release. The problem is that I'm struggling lately to find my voice.

For whatever reason words just seem to come flowing out when I'm in the middle of a crisis. Tragedy seems to be my best genre. Now that we're living in happier times, I almost feel like moving out of that valley of sorrow I somehow lost my voice along the way. Well, maybe it isn't that I've lost my voice so much as my voice has added a new octave and I'm trying to learn how to use it and feel comfortable with it. 

My head feels backed up with thoughts that have been sitting and waiting for their escape. Hopefully my voice, in all its newness and oldness, will find a way to release all that has been building up. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A walker and a talker

Ben started taking a couple of steps here and there a month or so ago. Just a couple of days before his 10-month birthday, at the end of October, he started taking 5-6 steps at a time. These days, I'd say he's walking about 90% of the time, and getting increasingly more and more steady. It is so fun to watch him grow and figure things out. 

Here's a glimpse of our little walker... and Hugh, our little talker, in the background!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sunny's Adoption Story

My cousin, Sunny, has been affected by adoption in so many different ways that I find her perspective to be enlightening. I feel so grateful  that she would be willing to share some of her thoughts and feelings, especially since I know they must be connected to emotions that run very deep. I appreciate her openness and am so grateful to get a glimpse into some of the sensitive feelings that come with adoption, from many different angles. I've always felt a special closeness to these three cousins - Sunny and her sisters (all adopted) - and am so glad to call them family. Here is Sunny's story.

Thoughts on being adopted

* My parents with  me - my first day home

I was adopted through LDS Social Services 35 years ago. Things were very private back then, so I don't know a whole lot. I was 3 days old when my parents picked me up from the LDS Social Service Office. After six years of waiting my parents were so happy to finally be getting a baby. I was told at a very young age that I was adopted and it was openly discussed at home. I really never felt any different from other kids. My parents loved me and I felt like they were meant to be my parents.  

* Sealing day

Being adopted was not an issue with me. I also have two younger sisters that were also adopted so it was just a normal thing in our home. Sometimes I would feel awkward when people knew we were adopted but for the most part it was not an issue. Some kids would make fun of us but I never let it bother me. I always knew my parents loved me.

I often wondered about my birth parents and I asked my parents several times about my them, but since it was a closed or private adoption they had no information. I have often wondered what my birth parents were like. What was going on in their life at the time of deciding to place me. What they are doing now. Even though I don't know anything I am always comforted that everything is okay and that I have a loving family now. My middle sister does not know anything about her birth parents either. My youngest sister did come in contact with her birth mother. Her adoption was through mutual friends of our family. I have always had a tender spot in my heart coming from a family that was blessed by adoption.  

Experiencing the other side

I have also been on the other end - considering placing a child for adoption. I was a young single pregnant mother. I really wanted to marry the father of my child but he was nothing I had dreamed of, and he had no desire to marry me either. My parents suggested I work with LDS Social Services. It was really not what I wanted to do. I just wanted to raise my baby, but finally I softened my heart and went and listened to what they had to say. I was really touched and reflected on the courage and strength that my birth parents had to have.  

I ended up choosing to go through the adoption process. At the time the agency had me list what I wanted the adoptive family to have. Then they narrowed it down to a few families and I had to decide from there. I took it to the Lord and asked that he would help me decide which family I should place my baby with. I really never felt comfortable but finally narrowed it down to one.

As time crept closer I just kept feeling uneasy about the decision and would talk with my case worker about all that I was feeling. She let me know that they had the family I had chosen on hold and that no one else could pick them until I made up my mind. That made me start to think even more. This family had their dreams on hold because I couldn't make up my mind. Realizing it was very selfish of me, I told my case worker that I needed to stop the process and that my heart is pulling me to raise my baby myself.

I reflected a lot on my life and how much adoption effected my life and my parents. I thought of my child and what he would think of me and my decisions. In the end I ended up keeping my baby. I struggled a lot trying to raise my baby on my own. Knowing the fact that my baby would not have a father. My parents were very supportive and helped me through the tough times.

Blessed by adoption again

When my son was three-years old I got married. Dustin and I were married in the LDS temple and one year later my husband was able to adopt my son and has since considered him as his father. Finally, my dreams had come together. I am not saying that all stories turn out like this. But I am very thankful for the chance to experience adoption on both ends of it.  

* Wedding day

Adoption is a wonderful thing. It has a very tender spot in my heart. Someday I hope to find my birth parents so that I can find out more information about them. But most of all I can tell them Thank you! It may never happen.

I love my parents and would not have it any other way. They have been the best parents to my sisters and me.

* My family (all three adopted)

For a more recent glimpse into Sunny's beautiful life, you can find her blog here.

Thanks, Sunny, for sharing your story!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


With November being National Adoption Month, I've reflected more than usual on adoption and the many ways it has blessed my life. Not only do we have our little Benjamin, but we have added a whole new circle of friends in the adoption world that have blessed our lives. There's Benjamin's birth mother and her entire family, there's other birth mothers we've come in contact with and have remained close to, there are the many other adoptive couples who have been an incredible team of support through all the ups and downs.

In my own personal life I have three cousins who were adopted and were like best friends growing up. I always knew they were adopted, but I don't remember it ever being an issue. It was just a fact... like, having blue eyes or brown hair. They were my cousins and they felt completely the same as any other cousins I had.

To help spread the good that comes from adoptions, even closed adoptions that happened a long time ago, I asked them if they'd feel comfortable sharing some of their thoughts and experiences with being adopted. I hope getting a glimpse from their perspective will help some of you that might have concerns or fears about how adoption affects the adopted child. I've been impressed with how my three cousins were raised with love and openness, as well as their level of confidence in who they are. I hope we can provide the same things for Benjamin as he grows.

So, be on the lookout in the next few days for some great personal stories that will come from my cousins and their experiences with being adopted.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hoping to Adopt - Robert and Clover

Another couple I know in real life that is hoping to adopt is Robert and Clover. You can check out their blog here, and their online profile here.

It was sixth grade band class sitting among the other flautists in the flute section - that's where I met Clover. There was a whole group of our friends that were in band together and it seems like we were pretty much inseparable even outside of class. 

* with just a few from our group of friends - Sarah, me, Clover, Casey

As far as friends go, Clover was the "first" in a few different ways - my first friend who was a vegetarian, my first friend who owned a real life-size horse, my first friend who lived "in the country" (way up in the hills on the outskirts of town), just to name a few. I remember going out to her house for slumber parties and seeing her with her horse and understanding how perfectly she was in her element in those beautiful hills with her stunning mare. It was so obvious.

Through high school with the ups and downs of school, relationship drama, and boys, Clover was one who was fiercely loyal. I remember the feeling of standing next to her and it was almost as if I could feel a surge of strength flow from her to me. There was no fear in my friend Clover.  

* Clover, Sarah, me

Just to illustrate - on one of our hikes at Girls' Camp we came across a rather large rattle snake. It was about three feet long and I was just inches away, mesmerized by the way it was coiling its lanky body together into a tight little ball. Little did I know, as an innocent 13-year old town girl, that the subsequent rattle was a sign of grave danger. I remember very clearly Clover grabbing my arm very firmly and practically pushing me out of the way, calmly explaining what rattle snakes do just before striking. Calm, level-headed, unafraid.

Unfortunately we briefly lost touch after high school. But, about five years ago we reconnected again. I still remember sitting on the steps of our family room, talking to her on the phone one Sunday evening - the first time in eight years or so. In that time she had married her high school sweetheart, and they had already experienced some great losses in their pursuit to starting a family. I was impressed with Clover's strength and faith, and knew that sharing our struggles with infertility would bring our friendship to a new level. And it did. As much as they had gone through then (six years ago), they have since gone through even more. Thirteen years of disappointment and heartache - and, still when I talk to her now I feel that same surge of strength and courage coming from her.

I look forward with great anticipation to watching Clover naturally assume the role of mother hand-in-hand with Robert. They are a good couple - solid and faithful through whatever storms they face. Lucky is the birth mother who will merge her life with theirs, as they will both immensely bless each others' lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hoping to Adopt - Sarah and Brad

I have some close friends (from real life) who are currently hoping to adopt. Because nothing would make me happier than to see them in the middle of the joys and chaos that come with a baby, I wanted to help them get the word out.

First up - Sarah and Brad. Check out their blog here. And their online profile here

They were approved to adopt a year or so ago. They have had some heartbreaking disappointments along the way, including a placement that was reversed after having the baby home with them for a couple of days. And, still, they remain hopeful and positive in the face of even the most difficult of circumstances. Which is exactly what I loved about Sarah when we first met.

We met briefly on a humid August day in Modena, Italy. I was a brand-spanking-new missionary. I honestly don't remember much from that short visit, except that she was much more energetic than any sister missionary I had yet met. It wasn't until the following January, when I found out I was being transferred to Mestre, that I really got to know Sarah much better.

* Sarah protecting me from my first exposure to the pigeons in Piazza San Marco

At first, I wasn't sure how our personalities were going to jive and I was a little nervous about being in a new area with a new companion. As it turned out our strengths and weaknesses complimented each other really well and we had a wonderful two months together. I learned a lot about Sarah during that time - about her childhood, her challenges, her determination to overcome difficulty, her ability to find good in everyone and her optimistic view even in the face of struggle. I don't remember her ever getting discouraged or upset - even when I woke her up from talking in my sleep or the time when I accidentally gave her a black eye with a frozen Snickers, our treat of choice on P-day Eve.

We worked hard, we worked together, we encouraged each other, we became really good friends. One of my favorite memories was doing "Mostra" on a busy street corner in Mestre. I had just finished talking with someone when I looked over to see Sarah in the middle of teaching this little Italian man about modern-day prophets. With her fists pumping up and down with enthusiasm, she confidently declared "C'e' un profeta sulla terra oggi!" (There is a prophet on the earth today!) Her enthusiasm was contagious, as evidenced by the reaction of the kind gentleman. It was such a perfect moment that demonstrated so much about Sarah and what I love about her personality.

I can just imagine the kind of life Sarah and Brad will provide for their children. There will be some lucky little ones who will have the blessing of being raised by them and I hope that day comes soon. 


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween Photos

Halloween five years ago Marc and I were asked to chaperone a youth dance, so I whipped out some costumes for us one afternoon... actually I think it was the same day as the dance, since that's typical for a procrastinator like myself.

*Halloween 2005

This was also a rare event when Marc revealed a more outrageous side of his personality, which left some with their jaws on the floor and their bellies aching with laughter. It included Cyndi Lauper and some Napoleon-Dynamite-like dance moves. He still gets comments about it, five years later.

So, anyway, to make costume ideas simple for this year, we dug out our old costumes and I whipped out some mini versions for the boys.

(Photo quality isn't the best when using an ipod...)

* Those are two little teeth on Ben's smiley - to match his own (except now he has a top one poking through, too)

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), for Marc's sake, there was no dancing this year. I'm sure I wasn't the only one disappointed.

And, here's just a glimpse of the craziness of the night and a first time (over) protective Mama. But, really, what 10-month old would survive a pen of crazy kids hyped up on candy (and who knows what else) without his Mom to shield him just a bit?! Ben loved it and seemed oblivious to all the crazy kids about to trample him... I, on the other hand, was a bit of a basketcase. 

(Okay, the video is taking FOREVER to upload... so, I'll try again tomorrow. I need to get some sleep!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Candy Experiment

Last night we realized that the boys' bedtime was going to interfere with Trick or Treaters (or, actually the other way around), but we were determined to get rid of the huge bowl of candy so we came up with a plan.

We put the bowl of candy on the porch with a sign - "Please take TWO pieces of candy" - hoping that would be enough to set some limits while at the same time depleting our supply.

As we were heading upstairs I made a comment to Marc about wishing I could sit and watch to see what people would do. Would one kid come along and dump the entire bowl into his bag? So, at the last minute Marc decided to set up the video camera in a perfect position to catch all the action without anyone knowing. We turned the lights out and went about our bedtime routine as usual.

I headed downstairs around 9pm, expecting to find an empty candy bowl. Instead it was still half full. I know there were kids who came by, since I was spying on a couple here and there. Apparently kids are more honest these days than what I would have expected, especially on a night like Halloween when the greed for candy is at an all-time high.

Or maybe taking a bowl of candy to fill your bucket ruins the fun of going door to door for three hours.

Or maybe they didn't like our choice of candy.

Whatever the reason we still have far too much candy than we know what to do with.

Save it for next year? Ha!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giveaway winner

I didn't win the giveaway of this CD that I was hoping for. But, I was so grateful for all the advice and suggestions received that I still wanted to give something away to one of you. (Really, I wish I could give something to each one of you.)

The lucky winner is: Liz. 

So, Liz, if you could send an email with your address, we'll get that CD to you.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone for all of the suggestions and advice! We're hopeful that nights around here will be more calm and uneventful soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Update and a Thank You

I have good news! Things have gotten progressively better this week and I feel so grateful for all the little bits of advice we received! We've tried a number of different things and I think all of it is helping. Last night Hugh was bathed, massaged and fed, and fast asleep by 8pm (at least an hour earlier than normal. We're hoping to gradually up the time a little more in the next few days.) He woke up at 10:20pm, but I got him back to sleep within ten minutes, and he then slept until 12:35am. I fed him and he was back down by 1:15am. Then he slept until 5am! I fed him and he went back down until 7:30am. We clearly still have a long way to go, but I slept better last night than I have in a long time, and I think he did, too! And, his naps during the day are going better, too.

(Poor Benjamin and Marc had a rougher night. Our sleep situation right now is Marc and Ben in one room, with Hugh and myself in another - you do what you have to do, right? Anyway, I think he's really close to getting his upper teeth in right now, so he tossed and turned for most of the night, which made for a long night for Marc. I'll have to make sure they both get a good nap in today.)

All the ideas and suggestions left me with two main feelings - ONE - hope that things will get better and - TWO - the reminder that this period of sleep deprivation is only a season that will really go much faster than I want it to. I feel so grateful for all the advice, the empathy, and the perspective that you offered!

I don't know how many of you will check back to read this, but I wanted to respond to each of you that left advice for us... so here it goes...

Deetsgirl – thanks for the dairy idea. I'm now on day three of no diary and I really feel like it's making a difference. So that might have been part of the problem. Thank you!

LilMisfit – I'm glad to know we aren't the only ones who put our babies on their tummies to sleep! I'm always a little hesitant to bring it up (like you were with your Pedatrician), but they really do sleep so much better that way. He doesn't seem to be getting teeth yet, but it could be in the beginning stages, I guess. We'll have to try the CIO method again... I'll probably have more questions about that as we try it. Thanks for the book recommendation. I already ordered it!

Karilyn – Wow! I can't believe you had 7 kids in 11 years! You clearly have some obvious experience and I'm so grateful for all the little tips you shared with me... especially the reminder to rely a little more on being in tune with the spirit to help me know what to do to help my babies. Also, I have to make sure Marc gets credit for how much he helps me with both boys, but especially that he cares for Ben during the night. If I had two babies to wake up to every night, I don't know what I would do! As it is, when I have a really hard night he makes sure I get a nap during the day while he watches both boys. He's a huge help! Thank you so much for all the good advice.

KieraAnne – He doesn't seem to be teething, but he could be just at the beginning stages where it's bothering him. I'll be watching for more cues that that's the problem, though. Thanks for the dairy idea, too. As I said above, I'm on day 3 of no dairy and I think it's helping. Thank you so much for your help! (And, this is kind of random... I don't know if I've ever told you this, but I really love your name.)

Nicole – we usually do have some white noise (a fan or some soft music), but on those nights that were especially bad I realized I didn't have anything on. Now that I'm making sure something is on, it's making more of difference than I realized. And, I still do swaddle Hugh some of the time. I need to figure out how to soothe him without rocking him... he's so used to it that anything else just seems to make him more upset. But, I think you're right. I hope we're not too late to teach him better habits!

Beckstead Fam – thanks so much for sharing your experience. We are determined to try to help both babies have better sleep habits, even if it means two weeks of it being rough. I am a little worried about being a pushover and not being able to listen to them crying. I just have to remind myself that better sleep is better for everyone, and whatever we have to do to get there will be worth it in the end.

Becky – we have been waiting to start solids until after he's six months, but if nothing else helps then we might just start him on cereal early! Thanks for the suggestion.

Inkling – It's comforting to hear that we're not alone. Thanks for the book suggestion – I ordered a copy already. And, thanks for the reminder that before I know it we'll all be sleeping through the night... being in the middle of it with the aching body and constant headache from lack of sleep, it's hard to remember I won't feel like this forever... and that actually they'll grow much faster than what I'm ready for. Thank you for your advice!

Carrot Jello – we'll probably end up resorting to something like that... how long would he cry? Did he eventually go to bed without crying? And, was it the same story with #6?

Liz – I really appreciated the perspective you offered about this period not lasting forever. I am so grateful for the situation I'm in, even with the lack of sleep that comes with it. I'll have to try the bottle before bed. Hugh doesn't know quite what to do with a bottle – he just kind of gnaws on the nipple. But, maybe he'll figure it out after a while. We've also tried co-sleeping and we all sleep terribly! I've looked for a good mobile, but I haven't found one in our little town. What kind do you have exactly? I'll see if I can order it online... I think that might really help us when we start trying to put the boys down without rocking or feeding. Thank you, again, for your suggestions!

Mindyluwho – I'll have to think outside the box and find what might work for Hugh. He hates his car seat, so that won't work, but I'm sure there are some other things I'm not thinking of. Thanks for the reminder that this will pass... and for not making me feel awful for complaining! :)

KellyLady – The scenario you describe is the perfect glimpse into my life! I can see how the two boys together might sleep better... right now I'd be most worried about Ben smothering Hugh, but maybe when Hugh is a little more mobile and we're ready to move them both into a bed, we'll try them together in a double bed. I like that idea – and I think they would both sleep well together.

Erica – Thank you for the book recommendation – we should get it in the mail any day now. I hope it works for us like it did for you! And, thanks for the article. I feel like if I can just learn how to do my part better that both boys will naturally fall into better sleep habits. I'm hopeful that things will get better from here.

Fire – I've been afraid to put the boys in a room together, but I think it's worth trying. They might just keep each other asleep rather than waking each other up. I'm glad you've had some better luck with Serenity. I thought all along she was an all-night sleeper.

Beth – My sister lent me that book and I read through it after Ben was born, mainly to help us identify his acid reflux. I'll have to go back and re-read it. Thanks for all of your other ideas... it's good to have a lot of options of things to try. Something has to work, right?! Thanks for the empathy, too! :)

Sunny – Thanks for sharing what worked for you. I'll have to try the bottle and cereal and see if they help. I'm sure the sleep deprivation will be a thing of the past before I know it!

Kelly - Even though your advice came to me via email, I really appreciated all the suggestions you offered! I've gone back to it a number of times to refresh my memory of extra things we can try. Thanks for taking the time to share so much!

You all are wonderful! I appreciate your help so much!

As for the giveaway, since I am using so many of the ideas offered and since so many of them seem to be helping, I'll just use to pick a winner from among those of you who left comments... to be announced tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleep - with Post Edit

Okay, I'm desperate enough to plead for help. I've hesitated, in part, because I haven't wanted to come across as complaining or whining, but after a really long night of very little sleep, I need to know how people do it. How do you get your babies to sleep through the night?

Ben is doing pretty good. He has a couple of nights here and there when he'll be upset for a chunk of the night, but he'll usually get in a couple of good stretches, at the very least. But, even he could be doing better. I think his longest stretch has been 7 or 8 hours. I want to know how parents get their babies to sleep 12 hours straight!

Hugh is another story. Last night he was up almost every hour. Not just stirring and making cute noises... but, crying and upset. He hasn't ever gotten close to sleeping through the night. The best night we had was him waking up at 2am and then again at 6am. But, that has only happened once or twice.

We have a really good bedtime routine - bath, massage, feeding. Everything goes smoothly through all of that, as well as putting them both down initially. I guess it's keeping them asleep for longer periods. Does it just come naturally for some babies to sleep longer? I just can't help but feel like there's some trick we're not aware of.

I've tried the "crying it out" with Hugh and it honestly just makes things worse for the poor kid. If his last feeding was more than three hours before, then I'll usually end up nursing him back to sleep, but last night was insane.

Here's the run down - he finished nursing at 8:45pm and went down great. But, was awake at 10pm crying, so I rocked him back to sleep (took about 15 minutes). Then he was awake again at 11pm. I decided then to feed him, hoping it would help him sleep better. Instead, he was up and hour and a half later, then again at 2am and 3:15am. The first two times I rocked him back to sleep, trying different sleeping positions each time when I laid him back down. At 3:15am, I decided to just wait and see if he'd fall back asleep on his own. Forty-five minutes later and two rounds of "This Little Light of Mine", he wasn't screaming, but was wide awake and still a bit fussy. So, I fed him at 4am (thinking he must be so exhausted... I'm sure he'll sleep until 8am). He finished by 4:45am and then was awake again sometime around 6:30am. I pulled him out of the crib and rocked him back to sleep laying on my chest. That lasted for an hour and then he was up for good. I'm not exactly sure how much sleep I got, but my longest stretch was maybe 90 minutes. That's hardly even a good nap.

Fortunately every night isn't as bad as last night, but his nights seem to be getting progressively worse and I don't know what to do. We both need a better night's sleep. I know some things that work for some babies won't work for my baby, but for those of you who have any ideas or things to try, I would love to hear them.

And, if I win this giveaway, I'll do my own giveaway of the same CD to whomever offers the idea that helps my baby sleep through the night. And, actually, if your trick actually does work, I'll be so thrilled I'll do the giveaway whether or not I win the giveaway.

So, get those ideas a-coming... it's been far too long since I've slept through the night.

POST EDIT: Wow, thanks for all the ideas so far. I just wanted to clarify a few things:

- Our boys are both tummy sleepers. I'll usually start Hugh off swaddled and then after his first wake up I'll lay him on his tummy. He does seem to sleep much better on his tummy.

- I feed Hugh about every four hours during the day, usually for 20 minutes on each side... except the last feeding of the night always goes a bit longer.

 - Hugh isn't on solids yet and he doesn't take a bottle.

 - One thing I worry about with leaving him to cry it out is that he rams himself up against a corner of the crib and then pushes his head up against it, making himself cry even harder. I worry about him getting stuck or hurt by doing that.

 - There are no signs of him teething yet.

 - It could be diary. It could be acid reflux, though he doesn't have the same signs of it that Ben had. 

Thanks so much for all the ideas and sharing in my pain! I appreciate it all more than you know!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter to Hugh

* getting ready for our camping trip, Oct. 14th

Dear Hugh,

All day yesterday I kept thinking back to five months ago - to the day you had finally arrived. I still have a hard time remembering your birth and the immediate days following when you were so far away and I couldn't help but worry if you would be gone forever, before I had a chance to hold you and officially welcome you into our family. I can't even begin to express how relieved I am that you're here, that you're healthy and strong. The trauma from your birth is slowly disappearing and being replaced with joy that comes from watching your personality blossom and come to life.

Speaking of your personality... I'm afraid you've inherited a double dose of stubbornness from both Daddy and me. But, I'm reassured that that same stubbornness will be one of your greatest gifts as you grow and mature. You know exactly what you want, when you want it and there is no room for debate. On most days you're not a big fan of your car seat or the stroller and aren't afraid to let us know how passionately you dislike being strapped in anywhere. As soon as we free you from your seeming captivity, we are almost always met with an immediate open mouth smile... as if to let us know that you know you've got us wrapped around your little finger. And as much as I want to, I just can't feel frustrated with your desire to be cuddled and loved.

And, there is no shortage of people ready and willing to receive some of your cuddles. This past weekend you and I ventured off together for a little camping excursion and left Dad and Ben at home to have some bonding time of their own. Your ticket in was your need to be close to your food source, making you the lone baby boy in a sea of baby-loving women (and even a few baby-loving men, including Grandpa. I loved seeing how you both lit up every time you saw each other!). You were the best little camper I've ever seen! You were so content to be out among the trees and cuddled in someone's arms for the entire 30 hours we spent away from home. And, while I love seeing you loved and cuddled by others, you must know how honored I feel to hold you tightly and know you're mine. All mine.

Well, and Dad's too. You were so happy to see Dad again that you forgot how hungry you had been for the entire 90 minute drive home. Now that's love! And, it is so clear how you love him. Next time we go camping we'll have to make sure Dad and Ben get to come too.

I have just loved getting to know your personality. You have a tender soul and a strong will. You have an ear-piercing cry when you're fighting sleep, but the gentlest of giggles when your little belly is tickled. You are so pure and innocent, I constantly want to be a better mother for you and Ben, and a better wife, sister, and daughter.

Now that you're five months old, I'm counting my blessings more and more for your life that has been preserved. You are a joy, my little Hugh. I'm so grateful you are here with us and for the role you are filling in our family. Have you noticed how excited Ben is that you're starting to wiggle your way around the floor and interact a little more with him? He sure loves having you as his little brother and is so anxious for you to be big enough to play and wrestle with.

You are well-loved, by everyone who knows you. And, that's a lot of love. I hope you'll always know just how much you are loved.

Especially by me. Oh, how I love you, my son!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dear Time...

... Please slow down!

My boys are growing like weeds and experiencing lots of firsts lately and I can't seem to find the time to sit and write it all down. 

In a nutshell, Ben is super close to walking (which we totally aren't prepared for yet... isn't that supposed to come like in six months from now?!), has two bottom teeth poking through in all their crooked glory, and is quite the little wannabe stuntman (which makes me a nervous wreck).

Hugh is rolling over, giggling, and already annoying Ben by playing with his toys.

Here are a few photos that I meant to put with the last post, to show how similar they are in size right now:

And, a family photo taken this morning, before Church (since I knew my chances of them looking like this after three hours were pretty slim - and I was right!):

* Coming soon - the boys' first trip to the ocean (this past weekend)!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Big Boys

Two days ago all four of us headed out the door just before 8am and headed down the street and around the corner for an appointment with the boys' pediatrician, who we lovingly refer to as Dr. Birkenstock. Two months ago when I made the appointment I thought my idea to schedule their appointments together was brilliant, thinking it would be easier for us and for the doc. While everything ended up going just fine, it definitely wasn't easier and we most definitely won't be repeating that again.

So, the good news is we have two healthy, growing boys. Not like we needed someone else to tell us that, but it's nice to have it confirmed in the numbers.

Benjamin at NINE months is 20 pounds 2 ounces and 29 inches long.

Hugh at FOUR months (+ 10 days) is 16 pounds 4 ounces and 27 1/2 inches long.

Both are in the 95th percentile for both weight and height. 

I still have moments (almost daily) when I pause long enough to let it sink in that this is MY life. These are MY boys. I wonder if there will ever come a time when I won't have to let it sink in anymore. After so many years of so much pain and fear of it never happening, I never would have imagined things would turn out so good. 

Now, I just hope for the same unbelievable outcome for my friends who are still in the middle of the pain and the fear. Dream big, my friends. And don't lose hope. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waking up slow

Nights at our house lately have been a little rocky... for the last two months or so. Just when Ben had started to (more or less) sleep through the night, something threw him off track. Not only has he been waking more during the night, but he wakes up screaming. Some nights aren't as bad as others, but still we are feeling a bit frustrated that we haven't been able to figure out how to help him sleep better at night. 

I've heard that when babies start to go through major changes (like eating solids, crawling, teething, walking, etc...) that their sleep can be disrupted. With that in mind we've tried all kinds of different things to try to solve the problem. Nothing seems to be working. He is really close to getting his two bottom teeth in, so for now we're focusing on that as the culprit.

Anyway, after an almost three hour period of wakefulness in the wee hours of the morning, Hugh decided this morning to wake up earlier than normal. I scooped him up and fed him quick, secretly hoping he might decide to go back to sleep for a couple more hours. But, in his typical adorable fashion, as soon as I finished feeding him, he looked at me with his bright, wide eyes and smiled with his open mouth excitement, apparently for the start of this brand new day.

But, not feeling quite ready to gallop our way downstairs, I laid both of our heads down on my pillow. It was one of those mornings when I just needed to wake up slow. So, I smothered him with kisses on his cheeks and in return he told me one of his fascinating stories. Even though I can't understand them at all, there is no mistake when he talks that he has important things to say.

As I laid there next to him, with his little hand gently touching my cheek, I felt this feeling of renewal come over me. Physically I was exhausted after another long night of little sleep, but emotionally and mentally and spiritually I couldn't have felt any better. 

After an exhausting day the other day, I was thinking back to the years we had before welcoming Ben and Hugh into our life. Mainly thinking of the lack of responsibility that gave us the flexibility to do anything at any time - going out for a jog or a bike ride, take a spontaneous day trip together, going camping and hiking, going on longer vacations to faraway places, watching a movie without interruption, staying up late and sleeping in early. 

And, as fun and exciting as those days were (and I feel so grateful that we took advantage of our situation and actually made a lot of great memories together), this morning as I snuggled with my littlest boy I knew there wasn't anything better than what I have right now. 

As I type this, both my babies are taking their morning naps (hallelujah!) and I've just taken my shower and gotten dressed for the day (yes, I know it's after noon). And, so as to not wake Ben who is napping on his make-shift bed of blankets on the floor in the front room, I'm sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning against the fridge (which hides me from his view)... because I know if he sees me when he stirs just the slightest bit that naptime is over. And, he desperately needs his naptime today.

So, even though I can't even sit comfortably on the couch and write to my heart's content like I used to, I'd give it all up again and again to have what I now I have. Long, sleepless nights and all.

As long as they are followed by mornings like I had this morning.

Jack Johnson really got it right, didn't he? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Together Forever

* Sealing Day - Sept. 4, 2010 (both boys were so tired!)

Walking into that room, full of light and so much love, I was struck with how hard it was to keep the tears from coming. We were surrounded by both of our families and the dearest of friends, many who had traveled long distances to be with us. It was a big day for our little family. And it meant so much to share it with those who were able to be there.

Marc and I sat next to each other, much like we did the day we were married eight years ago, listening to words of wisdom from an inspired man - President Hunter. (As in, the son of the late prophet. I had the privilege of getting to know him and his wife during the 18 months I worked in the temple.) While I was pleased to hear him speak to us, I have to admit that my mind was racing with thoughts about Ben and Hugh and I felt anxious for them to join us in that room of light and love. It felt wonderful, and yet not nearly complete without them.

Then from the open door and down the hall I heard the unmistakable sounds of my babies. I always wondered how mothers could tell their baby's cry from other babies... and I still don't have the answer, just the confirmation that you just do.

Ben and Hugh entered the room and, clearly, this was heaven. There in that little room my family was together. I feel certain that the spirits of those who have passed on are privy to special occasions like this one and by the overwhelming feeling alone, I was sure of it. While I don't talk much about Elliana and Emmaline these days, in public or in private, the reality of who they are and the place they have in my life and in our family comes at times with such great force. I feel at peace with where they are and I feel so grateful for the connection I still am able to feel with them.

Ben was dressed handsomely, all in white. His blue eyes were extra bright. While he was a bit more squirmy than usual, I loved that it was all because of the gorgeous chandelier hanging above our heads that captured his attention and demanded to be examined. It was just like him - our little observer. Plus, he loves light. I hope his literal love for light is just as strong figuratively. And, I hope one day he'll know how much he, himself, has been a light in our lives. 

The official part was over before we knew it. We were told 10 days prior by a judge that he was legally ours. On this special day we were told by a man with special authority from God Himself that Benjamin was ours eternally. The words that were expressed are too sacred to repeat, but the feelings and the mental images are seared in my mind and heart forever.

While Ben and Hugh are much too young to probably remember this day as they grow older, I look forward to sharing the details with them and telling them their story of how they came to be a part of our family. I've long gotten the feeling that they didn't come to us in their pair because of how great Marc and I are (because, if anything, we're below average on any measurable scale), but because of the bond these two boys share and the bond I'm guessing they shared before they were born. Even now, at their young ages, we're already getting glimpses of that bond and it is the most beautiful thing to witness.

The day Ben became ours forever is a day that might not ever be beat. It stands alone with the day we were married. I am grateful that the brief moments in that room of light and love were peaceful and calm. Especially since the days leading up to it and the days following were a bit on the crazy side, to say the least. 

But, that day... the day my little family was together... gave me a tiny glimpse into what awaits us eternally.

To say "I can't wait" is the understatement of the century.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catching up quick

Wow. What a week! It's hard to believe it was just a week ago we were surrounded by family and friends for our big weekend with Ben's sealing and both boys' blessings. The whole weekend is kind of a blur. We were rushing around, as my mom would say, "like chickens with their heads cut off." Recovering from it all has made this week feel extra long... I think that's mostly from the nostalgia that always seems to linger after loved ones have left. Everything has felt so quiet and empty, even with two active and loud babies to keep up with.

Speaking of... I'm starting to realize how quickly Hugh is catching up to Ben. When Marc came downstairs this afternoon from getting Hugh up from his nap, the first thing he asked me was if I had laid him down on his back. For naps, I always lay him on his tummy because he really sleeps better that way, so I told Marc that. Well, apparently the little guy had rolled himself over to his back at some point during (or after) his nap. We were a little surprised only because he hasn't shown any sign of rolling over at all when we're huddled over him. And, it's interesting since Ben's first rolls were from back to tummy. Funny that they're already doing things differently. 

I'm hoping to share some thoughts about our experience last weekend very soon, but for now I only have time to leave you with a few recent photos. 

* Our International Fashionistos - Ben in an outfit we bought in Australia, Hugh in a onesie from Italy... besides that - check out their sizes!

* Spontaneously holding hands

* Hugh with Grandpa

* Hugh with Aunt Celinda, and Daddy in the background

* Ben at the park with Grandpa, possibly dreaming of rockets

* Ben showing off his smooth crawling skills

* When Hugh stretches he always points his toes up... so cute!

* Ben's favorite time of day!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Best Weekend Ever

A Sealing on Saturday.

Two blessings on Sunday.

Unforgettable memories made and shared with family and friends who made great sacrifices and effort to be with us.

Needing just a little time to recover from the excitement before sharing some of the bigger details here.

But, honestly, the best weekend.