Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Fun

I have not been very good about posting stuff this summer.  And it has finally gotten nice outside!  We have tried to take advantage of it as much as possible.  So here is one ridiculously long post about the fun stuff we've been up to.

 Went to our cabin at Crescent Lake and enjoyed the really hot weather.  I burned and peeled! And I even put on SPF 50.  I think that is honestly a first.  That's how hot it was.

 Which is a good thing because the water could not have been warmer than 55 degrees.  

 Still, it is gorgeous.  You can see clear down to the bottom forever and even though it's a little chilly, it felt so good.

 Went to the Splash park with friends.  Briz loves Jaron and loves giving him hugs and kisses.  She's quite forward.

 Basked in the sun, tried to improve her tan with Piper.

Has been loving her friends a little too much!

 Enjoyed her "strawberry shortcake" slurpy on 7/11 (Everything is strawberry shortcake flavor these days).

 Went fishing with Dad.  She loves it, however, her attention span is about 2 minutes long when it comes to fishing.  Nick and I have tried a few different places and have yet to catch anything, but I will!  

 Spending time with Aunt Sisi.  Briz loves Sisi.  She used to hate her, but it's all changed now.  When she was here, Briz would follow her around and anytime she left the room would yell, "Sisi, where are you going?!?"  She will now wear something if Sisi likes it.

 Briz went surfing with her Dad behind the Nelson's boat.  She was very scared, but we've been working a lot this summer on her conquering some of her fears (other huge fears she has right now are snakes and bugs).

Tubing!  I think she's crying here and Julia and I are laughing.  But she did like it most of the time.

 I totaled our Honda Civic.  Yes, the beloved green machine is gone.  It's sad, but Nick keeps telling people I crashed it on purpose, because I got this beaut in return.  We got a Honda Pilot and I could not love it more.  It seriously makes me happy.  Didn't know a car could do that. 

 Buzzed Dad's head and went to the beach (not in the same day).

Went to Farmers Market in downtown Portland.  Briz used her "own money" to buy a butterfly ring. It was pretty ugly, and I realized it was my first experience of allowing her to make stupid financial purchases.  It's a good lesson for me to start learning now because I know it will be a life long battle for me.  What can I say? I'm very uptight and controlling when it comes to money.  But I'm workin' on it.

 Got sand all over her booty at the beach.  Just like her little behind.  That's all.

 We have flown kites a few times.  One of Briz' favorite things.  

 Walked around downtown Portland without pants and shoes (only Briz did this, but I have thought about it for myself).

 Have played LOTS and LOTS of candyland.  Oh geeze, I hate this game now.

 Lots of daily battles, lots of arguing, whining, crying, and power struggles :)  This little girl exhausts me!  I continue to prescribe to Love and Logic Style of Parenting for the most part.  But somehow she has learned how to manipulate and negotiate around choices and consequences.  Sometimes I wish she were more stupid.

 Have played dress up a lot and read lots of Tinkerbell books.  

We have swam a bit.  Never as much as I would like.  But Briz has started swimming without her water wings from time to time.  Getting her to be daring in the water still generally involves me bribing her with food or money.

 Getting excited for this and Nick has been working his ass off trying to prepare for this (I also had the chance to move to London for three months but I can't talk about it right now without falling into a deep depression).

In the meantime, I have been working for this man, trying to do my part to get him elected  (Please note that the last two pictures capture about 96.4 % of what we have spent our summer doing).

Other things not captured in pictures:

- I got a stress fracture in my left foot.  I have been wearing a boot around (although  not as much as I'm supposed to because I HATE it).  I get to start going for walks this weekend!  Woohoo!

- Trying to enjoy all the time we can together as a little family, cherishing all of our fun, chaotic, busy, boring, and hard moments.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Temple Trip

We only live about fifteen minutes away from the Portland temple but we had an adventurous night there tonight as we visited the grounds after church.  Here is all of the exciting things that happened:

Part 1:  Briz was very excited about the flowers she saw at the temple.  She was also excited about posing with her dress as she sat down.

Part 2 - Perfected the posing and Dad made her laugh so hard that  . . . 

Part 3:  She took a pee right on temple grounds.  Yep, we had no warning.  All of a sudden, there was a big puddle.  We contemplated tossing her sopping underwear in the bushes, but then realized that that may qualify us for hell, so we opted for making her carry them around.

Part 4:  Like the dirty girl she is, she took it in stride and carted her pee underwear around like a champ.  She kept dropping them on the ground, saying "Woops, I dropped them!"  At one point she enthusiastically threw them in the air like a pom pom.

Part 5:  Perfecting the posing with the pee underwear.  She started to get pretty comfortable with them, and she started treating them just like an accessory.  At one point she even wacked another little girl in the head with them.  No biggie.  Who hasn't gotten hit in the head with someone else's underwear drenched in pee right?   

Nick and I felt like this was one of  the true highlights of our parenting careers thus far.  Especially when Briz went up to try to talk to other little kids and the parents gave her (and the smelly object in her hand) the stink eye.  At that point, we just ignored her.  Yep, we are excellent parents.  It wasn't quite the spiritual evening we had anticipated, but at least Nick and I had a good time laughing at our child.     

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Baby Dane

A few weeks ago my sister Mac and her little boy, Baby Dane came into town to visit us in Portland.  I am so glad they did, cause I was going crazy trying to entertain myself in this crappy weather.  Plus, it had already been way too long since we had seen Baby Dane; he had changed a ton (and his official name is Baby Dane).
Briz loved seeing baby Dane.  He slowly but surely grew on her.  At first she was a little unsure about his drooling and spitting.  Well, truthfully, she still wasn't a big fan of that by the end. But I really don't know what her problem was.  As she was in the middle of getting grossed out by his drool, she was sitting there picking her nose.  More than anything she wanted to take a bath with Dane, and the poor baby handled her aggressive bathing skills quite well.
I loved having him around too.  My sister is always protective of me and was worried it might be hard for me to be around him, and it definitely stirs up feelings.  But mostly I just loved being around him.  I laugh at every single thing he does, every look and sound (This, by the way, is only in part due to his looking a lot like Kenny from South Park).  I just wanted to eat him up.  I realize that Briz and I are not around babies very often, and I am sort of a baby person, so it was nice to get a bit of that baby fill.  I could use a bit of baby Dane probably every day.
In the meantime, I am somewhat creepy with other peoples' babies.  When I see them, I sort of can't stop staring.  And I think to myself, "Maybe if I stare long enough they will offer to let me hold them."   But no, it hasn't happened yet.  Come back soon Dane so I stop freaking out strangers.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Helping a Grieving Grandparent

It has been interesting to me to see how grief affects so many people in different ways.  I normally don't like to be too wordy or to preach at all.  But I came across this excerpt from the book, "Helping a Grandparent Who is Grieving," and I thought it was good to remember the different people that are affected by the death of a baby. I think these tips are helpful for anyone who has experienced grief.  I have learned how little we talk about death in our culture and it makes grieving that much harder. Holland has such wonderful grandparents who have experienced heartache along with Nick and Briz and I.  And we love and appreciate them more than we can say.

Realize that a grandparent's grief is unique.

When a grandchild dies, the grandparent often mourns the death on many levels.  The grandparents probably loved the child dearly and may have been very close to him or her.  The death has created a hold in the grandparent's life that cannot be filled by anyone else.  Grandparents who were not close to the child who died perhaps because they loved far away, may instead mourn the loss of a relationship they never had.

Grieving grandparents are also faced with witnessing their child - the parent of the child who died - mourn the death. A parent's love for a child is perhaps the strongest of all human bonds.  For the parents of the child who died, the pain of grief may seem intolerable.  For the grandparents, watching their own child suffer so and feeling powerless to take away the hurt can feel almost as intolerable.

 With Nona just after delivery.

With a proud Papa.

Acknowledge the grandparents search for meaning.

When someone loved dies, we all ponder the meaning of life and death.  When a child or young adult dies, this search for meaning can be especially painful.  Young people aren't supposed to die.  The death violates the natural order of life and seems terribly unfair.

For grandparents, who may have lived long, rich lives already, the struggle to understand the death may bring about feelings of guilt.  "Why didn't God take me, instead?" the grandparent may ask himself.  "Why couldn't it have been me?"

Such feelings are both normal and necessary.  You can help by encouraging the grandparent to talk about them.

 Snuggling up with Nona on a warm summer night.

  Holland loved cuddling with her Papa.

Respect faith and spirituality.

Many people develop strong commitments to faith and spirituality as they get older.  If you allow them, grieving grandparents will "teach you" about the role of faith and spirituality in their lives.  Encourage them to express their faith if doing so helps them heal in grief.

Sometimes, however, faith can naturally complicating healing.  The grandparent may feeling angry at God for "taking" the grandchild.  He then may feel guilty about his anger, because, he may reason, God is not to be questioned.  Or the grandparent may struggle with feelings of doubt about God's plan for the afterlife.

Talking with a pastor may help the grandparents, as long as the pastor allows the grandparents to honestly express her feelings of anger, guilt, and sadness.  No one should tell a grandparent that she shouldn't grieve because the child has gone to heaven; mourning and having faith are not mutually exclusive.  Listen with your heart.

You can begin to help by listening.  Your physical presence and desire to listen without judging are critical helping tools.  Don't worry so much about what you will say.  Just concentrate on the words that are being shared with you.

Sometimes grandparents, especially grandfathers, don't want to talk about the death.  They may have been raised to believe that talking about feelings is frivolous or selfish or unmanly.  It's OK; they don't have to talk.  Simply spending time with them demonstrates your love and concern.

 Grandma Julie giving Holland a bath.

Holland is not happy with Grandma for taking her out of the bath

Be compassionate.

Give the grandparent permission to express her feelings without fear of criticism.  Learn from the grandparents; don't instruct or set expectations about how she should respond.  Never say, "I know just how you feel."  You don't.  Think about your helper role as someone who "walks with" not "behind" or "in front of" the grieving grandparent.

Allow the grandparent to experience all the hurt, sorrow, and pain that he is feeling at the time.  Enter into his feelings, but never try to take them away.  And recognize that tears are a natural and appropriate expression of the pain associated with the death.

Nona was brave to allow a naked Briz to sit on her while holding Holly.

After the OSU/BYU game with Holland.  My little girl got to go to a BYU football game.  I'm proud of that :)

Avoid cliches.

Words, particularly, cliches can be extremely painful for a grieving grandparent.  Cliches are trite comments often intended to provide simple solutions to difficult realities.  Grandparents are often told, "God needed another angel in heaven" or "Don't worry, John and Susie can have another child" or "You have to be strong for your child."  Comments like these are not constructive.  Instead, they hurt because they diminish the very real and very painful loss of a unique child.

When a grandchild dies, grandparents grieve twice.  They mourn the loss of the child and they feel the pain of their own child's suffering.  Sometimes we forget about the grandparents when a child dies.  You can help by not forgetting, by offering the grandparents your love, support and presence in the weeks and months to come.

 The night before Holland died, we went to a pumpkin patch in Utah.  Grandpa is pulling all of the bigger grandkids in the wagon.  He's such a good sport.  He's always behind the scenes helping out.

Also the night before Holland died.  Grandma Julie loves having all of her family and grandkids together.  And we love being with her.  I wish I had more pictures with Holland with Grandpa and Grandma, but I'm glad they got to spend some alone time with her.  And I'm glad they were able to be there with us on the day she died.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Friend, Friends, 1, 2, 3

This is the name of the song that Briz sings at preschool.  It ends with, "All my friends are here with me."  Pretty genius if you ask me.

Briz loves Piper.  And let's be honest, I love Piper.  Megan and I generally do a swap once a week for these two precious girls and it's one of the best times of my week (although we've been slacking the last few weeks).  Mostly because Briz and Piper are hilarious together.  They have the funniest conversations together where they call each other "sweetie" and "hun."  Yes, there is some fighting over toys, but it's SO good for Briz to learn all of those things with another little person in her home.  I have had fun taking them on little outings.  Here are some pictures and videos of them at the Flower Festival in downtown Portland.  And I'm not going to lie, when Piper was being the funny yoga star and cracking up all of the people around me, I didn't NOT say she wasn't my little girl :)

 Piper really getting into the yoga.

 Striking a seductive pose.

 What can I say? Piper knows the way to Brizzy's heart.  She's feeding her fruit snacks (Although this one I think is off the ground).

 They love to pretend they don't want to hug each other.

 Doing some princess ballet (it's a very specific kind of ballet).

 Again with the forced hugs.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, these two are the coolest three and two/three year olds ever.  They are big fans of Fun, Gotye, and The Naked and Famous.  They love to cruise around listening to some Indie rock with their sunglasses on.