NO More Pappies!

Lulu is such a big girl.  After my Pappy Wars post last week, I was working up a grandiose and life-damaging meltdown in my head.  I couldn't decide whether Londyn needed it to help with her grieving or whether it was just a normal pacifier situation.  Either way, I was avoiding it all together because just as much as she is attached to the pappy... secretly, so am I.  My baby is getting so independent.  Apparently, I was the one who needed to put my big girl pants on because Londyn took it upon herself to declare yesterday morning that she wanted to take her pappies to Target and trade them in for a toy.  My jaw dropped because aside from the iPad request last week, she had always said that she wasn't ready to get rid of her pappies.  I guess she needed to take matters into her own hands and parent herself.  So we bagged up all of the many pappies around the house and headed to Target.  It took two trips to the big red money-sucking building, but she did it!  

Here we go!

This was her pick on the first trip to Target....

but... she just wasn't sold yet.

Aftr about 1.5 hours of toy grabbing and oodling... she set her big brown eyes on this cash register.  She has been wanting one of these for a long time and plays pretend "store" at home on a regular basis.  I was even more happy that it was a third of the price of some of the other toys she had her eyes on.

The exchange...

It's official!

Can't get enough of her cash register.   

The true test was at about 8:30pm when it was time for bed.  Not one whimper, whine or cry for a pappy came from this little-big girl.  Instead she chanted, "NO MORE PAPPIES!  NO MORE PAPPIES!  NO MORE PAPPIES!"  In the middle of the night, she woke up frantic and told me that the red pappy wasn't in the bag that she took to Target.  Instead of wanting a pappy fix, she was worried that she didn't get rid of every last one.  I got her to calm down and then she quickly went back to sleep on her "ground bed".

It's tough watching her grow up so quickly, but I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to do so.
New life goal?  Cherish each and every moment, for it may be the last.


Beach Retreat

This past weekend, we headed to the coast for a retreat with some of my family.  Even though it didn't stop raining, we had some fabulous family time with everyone, relaxing and exploring the Tillamook/Netarts area.  

Tillamook Cheese Factory on Friday

The boys woke up at 5am to hit the bay for some salmon fishing, while us girls stayed in pj's and watched the new Barbie movie.  

The adults.

While Jenelle, Bec and my mom stayed home with the younger girls to relax... I took Lulu and the older girls to explore Tillamook.  We had fun doing a little second-hand shopping and as promised, I finally was able to find sand for Lulu.
I love these girls.

Kaylee, Mikayla, Kamry & Yours Truly

Happy as a clam!


The men didn't have much success on Friday, but as they were calling it quits and heading back in for the day... they caught a fish!  

Remembering Zoe.



I am overwhelmed with gratitude. In just 9 days, we have received donations from friends, family and strangers on behalf of our sweet Zoe's headstone. Yesterday we were blessed by a generous stranger with a $500.00 donation. This is what I wrote to their family and it applies to each and every one of our donors. 

"I really have no words to express our gratitude for your extremely generous donatio
n. What you have done for our family has made dreams come true. I didn't think we would be able to even come close to having a proper and appropriate memorial for our baby Zoe due to financial limitations. But now we can. Your donation has brought us up to the exact amount we need for the entire headstone and I am just amazed that a complete stranger would reach out to our family in such a tremendous way.

It is hard to explain the need and desire I have in my heart as a mother to have her headstone be perfect in every way. I will never be able to dress her up for prom, shop for her wedding dress or help her pick out a crib for her very own baby. But this headstone is something we can still do for her. For the rest of my life, I will visit her headstone and be able to remember her in peace. I will never forget your kindness and hope to meet you someday to truly thank you in person."

Thank you. 
Each and every one of your prayers, e-mails, comments and donations has brought our family closer to peace. 

Mommy Londyn

Londyn has always loved playing with her dolls.  She is such a sweet little mommy with her babies.  Since Zoe's passing, she often takes care of her baby dolls just like we used to take care of Zoe.  When changing her dolly's diaper, she makes sure to use "cream" just like Zoe needed with her rash from the continuous feeds.  Sometimes Londyn says her baby is sick and needs a tube to breathe or needs to go to the hospital.  

Sometimes people think that because Londyn is only three years old, that she isn't affected by the death of her baby sister.  But I know that isn't true.  We were eating lunch today after church and she said, "Jesus died for us Mommy.  He died just like Zoe."  I told her that someday we will see Zoe and Jesus again.  She then got quiet and said "I want my baby.  I miss Zoe."  

We have been told that it is healthy for Londyn to play cemetery and hospital like she does.  It makes my heart heavy but I know that it is just her way of coping.  Her daily prayers give me hope and comfort when she prays for her sister and that we will all be together someday.  I believe and have faith that Lulu will grow stronger and happier because of Zoe... that we all will actually.  


Pappy Wars

A couple months ago, I told Londyn that when she's ready, she could take ALL of her pappies (pacifiers) to Target and trade them for a toy. Apparently I should have been more specific because she crawled into bed with me this morning and said "I want to take my pappies to Target and get an iPad." What the?! Apparently her pappies are worth way more than any baby doll or Barbie. I'm in trouble.
My tentative plan was to get rid of the PAPPY (pacifier) before starting preschool in September, but with all of the changes we haven't pushed the issue.  Since losing her sister, Lulu has needed stability and comfort. Along with coming into our room around 2 or 3am every night and sleeping on the floor, her pappy has provided that.  

{Sleeping on her "Ground Bed" AKA the floor in our room}

Londyn only gets her pappy for sleeping but still... she's 3 years old and it's time to say "Adios, Sayonara, Ciao Pappies!"

Any suggestions??? 

Autumn Time

The mornings are crisp and cool, fresh pressed cider has hit the shelves and the ever changing leaves are falling.  

It's Autumn time!  

A few weeks ago, we hit up Lee Farms for the first time.  It was a perfect day!  The sun was shining with temperatures in the low 70's.  

Whenever we do something especially fun together, Londyn calls it "Family Time."  She gets so excited if we tell her we're going out for Family Time... even if it's just running errands or grabbing a Costco hot dog.  All she wants is time together as a family.  I melt every time we come home from going out and she says "That was a fun family time, guys."  

I pick the cute one in the middle!

Best hayride ever!  
We saw Christmas trees, a pond, turkey's, cows, chickens and lots more!

My favorite pumpkins

Lee Farms has so many animals to see!
Here's Goatel 6.

Chicks, Goats, Piggies & Calves

Londyn had her very first pony ride.  
Zoe was with us that day as Lulu's pony was named Gracie.  

Family Time

We didn't get pumpkins at Lee Farms because we wanted to pick pumpkins in an actual patch.  Lulu posing... again.  Such a diva!

Londyn is big on the number 3 these days.  Her number is 3 because she is three years old.  She is constantly asking me what my number is and anyone else's.  Lately, she thinks that everything needs to come in three's as well.  For example, when she has earned dessert after eating her dinner- she declares that she needs three chocolate covered pretzels because she is three.  

At the pumpkin patch, we were only going to get a pumpkin for Andrew and I to carve and one for Lulu to decorate.  But no.  We HAD to have three pumpkins.  Oh the logic of a three year old.  

Turning 26

Last Monday was my 26th birthday.  

Andrew was working on my birthday, so I got to spend it with my girl.  

I woke up to this little cutie and she said, "I got all dressed up for your birthday mom!"

She then said, "Oh!  Just ONE minute." ran downstairs and returned with this little gem.  
I've got her trained well.

 My mom and sis picked Lulu and I up for lunch at Red Lobster.  Red Lobster is one of my favorites but I rarely ever go because Andrew is not a fan.  The Endless Shrimp hit the spot and it was fun spending time with my peeps.

When they dropped us off at home, I was surprised to find cards, flowers and a balloon at my doorstep.  Thank you Bobby, Katie, Lucy, Erin & Kristen for such sweet gifts!
(Londyn takes advantage of every opportunity to pose for a photo)

 A few days before, Andrew said we were going out for a birthday surprise.  I had no clue what he had up his sleeve and didn't think he would be doing much since we just don't have the budget for gifts right now.  But he totally got me!  We went to Fred Meyer and he bought me a Nexus 7 tablet.  Ever since my friend Erin let me borrow her Kindle, I have been in love with the idea of a tablet.  Andrew used some gift cards that he had been saving from his former employer.  Those gift cards were supposed to be for him to spend on himself, since he earned them.  But instead- he used them for me!  He said that I never get toys, so this was something he really wanted to do for me and this was the only way.  I'm not going to lie, it's pretty awesome.  I absolutely love my red case too!  Thanks babe!

The party continued the very next day when I met my friend Hanna for breakfast.  I was shocked when I arrived, because there about 6 other friends there too!  It was such a fun surprise :)  Thanks Hanna!

It was a fabulous birthday!


Fresh Air

Soon after my most recent blog post, I received this e-mail from my father-in-law Tom...

"This is just a thought from a guy so please feel free to ignore it as we guys sometimes are too logical but I had some thoughts as I read your blog today. What if you could visualize what Zoe is doing daily as you do what you are doing here. If you send a son or daughter on a Mission there is a sense of loss and separation but you have a pretty clear understanding of what they do on a daily basis. You understand what their responsibilities are and that makes the separation easier to understand and accept. So if you could read the scriptures and teachings from the Prophets regarding work on the other side and then add to that by praying for further guidance and understanding in the Temple maybe you could get a glimpse of how Zoe's work is paralleling yours. That way she does not seem forgotten but instead is remembered daily. She could be included in daily prayers, that she will be successful in whatever assignment she has been given. You could seek guidance as to what you could do here that might assist her in that work. I don't know maybe I am off base but I thought I would share that with you. Pops A"

While laying in bed, I read this message and it was like cracking open a window in a stuffy room.  A breath of fresh air.  Why didn't I think of that?  Because my Heavenly Father know's that I can't do this alone.  I prayed that night, thanking Him for this new insight and the guidance to know where to begin.

The very next morning, I met my friend Erin to go walking.  As soon as she got out of her car, she handed me her Kindle and said "Here, take this.  It's this book I want you to read."  The title of the book is, "What's On the Other Side? What the Gospel Teaches Us about the Spirit World" by Brent L. Top.  God doesn't waste time, does he?  While burning calories, Erin then shared with me what she got out of the book and how it has helped her grieve the passing of her grandmother.

I started reading the book that evening and have been lifted up ever since.  Many of my questions have been answered through Prophets, Apostles and many shared testimonials.  I am so grateful to be a part of this Gospel and to have such knowledge available to me.  It is truly a blessing of comfort and hope.  I now know that Zoe has work to do beyond this life.  She is an angel among many, teaching and sharing the truths of the Gospel.

My daughter is and never will be far from our family.  We are sealed together for all eternity and that begins here and now.  She will be a part of our lives... every step of the way.  I don't have to leave her behind or fear moving forward, because she goes where I go.  Not only her memory in our family, but her spirit will always be with us.

I am starting to get used to the reminders and learning to embrace them.  This past week, we went to a pumpkin patch and Londyn rode a pony for the first time.  Of course, Londyn's pony was named Gracie.  Again, our Zoe Grace is always with us.

Another experience was at our friend Alex's birthday party.  There was another couple there with a baby named Zoe.  We were sitting right next to them.  Their baby was 5 months old, close to how old Zoe would be now.  Andrew and I couldn't stop staring at her.  It was bittersweet because I wanted to be friendly, but I was having a hard time being near them.  I usually don't have a difficult time being near other babies, but this was different.  It really hit me when her dad was playing with her and called her "Zo-zo".  I instantly looked at Andrew and fell apart in tears.  I excused myself to the ladies room.  That has been our nickname for Zoe since she was born and it caught me off guard.  I missed Zoe terribly that night.

Today is my 26th birthday and yet I feel like it's my 46th.  This year I have been tired and worn down... tested physically, emotionally and spiritually.  In the midst of all the pain, I have witnessed miracles.  True miracles.  I have been blessed countless times and continue to feel the love of my Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ.  Tonight, Bishop Jaussi stopped by for a short visit.  He gave us an envelope and enclosed was $905.00 in cash.  Earlier this week, I had reached out to our ward e-mail group to find resources for custom grave markers and monuments.  We have been wanting so badly to have something lovely placed at the head of Zoe's grave but we just don't have the funds for such a purchase right now.  I had no idea that church members would soon gather donations to help our family.  We continue to be blessed by the faith, love and service of many.  I wish I could express my gratitude to each and every individual who has and continues to reach out to us.  Your kindness has not gone unnoticed.  From the bottom of our hearts, we love and appreciate you.


5 minutes at a time

I have been feeling weak over the last few days... not physically, but emotionally.  It feels as though the world is spinning around me, the seasons are changing and lives are going on without her.  I want so badly to press pause and feel all the sadness at once, rather than gradually here and there.  I know that this progression is inevitable but I feel like we are leaving her behind.  I have already forgotten her smell and just long to feel her lay on my chest one more time.  

Feeling joy is not difficult because I have another beautiful little girl and a loving husband with me every day... but sometimes I just need to feel sad.  Sometimes I want to feel sad because it's the only way I can feel close to her and remember her.  She's always in the back of my mind, but I often feel guilty for not thinking about her constantly.  I have yet to discover how to remember her and move forward at the same time.  

This past week I have been considering my options to fulfill some of my own personal goals now that I have so much more time on my hands.  In researching these opportunities, I have felt excitement for something new and different... which is then followed by fear for change.  I have always been anxious about change and commitment.  Both of those words absolutely terrify me.  I suppose that after surviving somewhat of a change and commitment boot camp this past year, I should be armed and ready for anything and everything.  But it is different when it is about me and not my husband or children.  I overanalyze and worry that it is too soon to be making changes or that I should be focusing on other things.  I worry that change will distance me from my memories of Zoe.  I am still undecided and will have to depend on prayer and my husband to know what the best decision is for our family.  

I was missing Zoe a lot yesterday and Londyn told me, "we can watch a show and snuggle, Mom.  That make you feel better maybe?"  She was right.  Snuggling with her and hearing her laugh was the best medicine.  Later after Andrew came home from work, we still needed to to visit Zoe at the cemetery as we have been doing every Sunday.  I was going to go earlier but just couldn't without him.  I went in to help Londyn get dressed and she broke down and started crying.  In between tears and sniffles, she repeated "I miss Zoe!  I want my sister!"   Andrew and I just held her.

While visiting Zoe in the dark at 7:30pm at night, my emotions were so raw.  I found myself crying uncontrollably at her grave, asking Andrew why she had to go.  He softly said, "You know why."  That is the most painful part and beautiful all at the same time.  I do know why.  I do know that it was her time and that she is where she is supposed to be.  I know that we made the right decision.  I know that she is at peace now and that she is with our Father in Heaven.  But none of that knowing makes it any easier.  

Facebook Status after returning home:

After a 12 hour work day plus about 80 minutes of commuting on about 5 hours of sleep... Andrew still manages to be Mr. Amazing. He held me while I was a puddle of tears after visiting Zoe's grave and is now playing "Londyn's Restaurant" with a very happy little 3 year old. I am blessed.

We miss her so much... but she is all around us.  I feel her in the goodness and peace that is in our home every day.  I see her in the sunny blue skies and the peace I feel when I sit on the bench in front of the large maple tree behind her grave.  I see her in Londyn's laugh and kind heart.  I feel her love in my husbands embrace. 

One day at a time... and sometimes, just 5 minutes at a time.

SHS Homecoming 2012

This weekend was Homecoming in our town of Sherwood and now that I have three nieces in high school, we went to the Homecoming parade on Friday.  We got to watch my brother Kev drive Mikayla's float about underage drinking awareness with Kyler, Emma and Mary in the truck as well.  We also watched Megan and Kamry dance for the Arrows in the parade too.

Me: What was your favorite part of the parade Lulu?

I had the chance to do some updo's for a couple girls in our ward.  Styling hair is one of my absolute favorite things to do!  

I love this girl.  
I got to do Princess Chelsey's hair at 6:45am on Friday morning for the morning assembly.
We accentuated her fabulous blunt bangs with a poof and tightly pinned curls in a bun.
She was crowned Homecoming Queen later that day. 

 Congrats Chelsey!

Morgann wanted some loose curls, pinned half up.  It turned out super cute!

Innovative Dance

This past week Lulu attended her first dance class at Innovative Dance, a studio about 20 minutes away in Wilsonville.  Londyn absolutely adores dance and I have always wanted her to get the best dance education at Innovative, but the commute was inconvenient with my sweet baby Zoe and all of her needs.  

I have decided to embrace my new role of going back to only having one child to raise here on earth and be involved and present for Londyn.  I now have so much time and flexibility to focus on creating special moments and good experiences for our family.

With this different life of ours, there is excitement in trying new things!
At Innovative, we have a newteacher... new parents and new friends.  

The reason I chose Innovative is because several of the teachers that I trained with as a young dancer are now teachers there.  In fact, Londyn's teacher for her Tap, Jazz & Acro class was one of my absolute favorites, Creslynn.  Creslynn is an amazing teacher and choreographer.  It is so fun to watch my daughter learn from someone that taught and inspired me to dance.  

We are both excited for this new adventure and experience!


First Day

Andrew had his first day at Intel yesterday!  He left at 6:30am and didn't get home until 7:30pm.  We've all been together nonstop since Zoe died, so this was the first time I had to fly solo.  I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder, because I was so ready for him to come home.  He was done with New Employee Orientation around 3pm, but then started training for an additional 4 hours.  

To pass time, Lulu and I did a few things to make his arrival a little sweeter.

While Londyn was napping, I made this poster to put outside by the front door.

We "made" cookies (I don't bake... so this is as good as it gets around here)
Open package... place precut dough on cookie sheet... and bake!

Lulu drew a picture and made a tiger puppet for Daddy.

 I made low-carb meatloaf (delish), sautéed green beans and fried red potatoes.

I was so giddy to see my big tall white man with all of his Intel swag that I made him stop for a photo.  I know it's silly, but Intel is AWESOME!  This is Andrew's first "big boy job" and I am just so excited for him.  They really take care of their peeps.  He came home with a work phone, lanyard, bag, notebook and little Intel man for Londyn.  They even give him gift cards to use for lunch while he's in training.

I've probably embarrassed Andrew throughout this entire post... but I'm just SO proud of this man.