Sunday, April 21, 2013

Disneyworld Part III

DAY V: Magic Kingdom
DAY VI: Hollywood Studios

The Magic Kingdom was by far the craziest day.  We did our best to try to navigate the crowds by using fast passes and also by running a lot.  We started off the day with the girls visiting some princesses, which may have been their favorite thing of the whole day.  They probably could have gone home after that.

I was very surprised by how nice the princesses were.  They danced with the girls and talked to them each individually.

We had fun trying to make weird faces on rides (because we are all very mature), but personally my favorite was taking Briz on Splash and Big Thunder Mountain. She loved them, and still talks about the train roller coaster.  We stayed there until about midnight.  The girls lasted strong until the parade and fireworks but couldn't help but crash.

I don't have any pictures from the next day, but we went to Hollywood Studios.  We weren't there for very long because there wasn't a ton for the kids to do and it was really really hot.  But the highlight of that day was taking Briz on the Tower of Terror.  She was so tough and kept talking afterwards (and demonstrating) how her tummy went up and down.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Disneyworld Part 2

DAY II: Blizzard Beach
DAY III: Swimming at Resort
DAY IV: Easter

Nick, Briz, Jacci, and I all went to Blizzard Beach on Day 2, and it was awesome.  It wasn't the hottest day, so there were times where we were cold, but luckily the water was warm.  

Briz went down some scary water slides but loved them.  I had a mini heart attack before.  But most of the time, we spent just swimming in the wave pool, cause Briz really just wanted to swim.  She kept getting knocked over by waves and for some reason loved it.

On Saturday, we spent the day relaxing, playing games, swimming, and playing by the beach (the resort we stayed at had their own lake and beach). 

Disneyworld?  Who needs Disneyworld when you have sand and water?

All the Cottle siblings playing in the sand.

And this is sort of how we all felt all week.  We were so tired.

On Sunday, Grandma Julie had arranged for the Easter Bunny to come bring the girls Easter baskets.  The stupid Easter Bunny came way too early!  But the baskets were adorable so that made up for it I guess.  

They had a big Easter egg hunt at the resort with all of the kids.

It was another fun day, and it was nice to relax some more before our final two theme park days.  Although the relaxing ended when we completed our championship of the world games (which included a very feisty game of charades).

Our family.  We just need to photoshop Kenzie into this picture.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Disneyworld Part I

We took off for Disneyland for Spring Break with the Cottle clan.  It was a crazy, chaotic, awesome week.  We were wiped out for about a week after.  But it was well worth it.  We did a lot in a small amount of time, so it will take a few posts.  

DAY I: Animal Kingdom

Briz hadn't flown on an airplane for about a year, and she was pretty stoked.  She had earned her backpack with stickers before we left, and she was so excited to carry it around.  It was so weird getting ready to fly, because I didn't need to pack much for the flight.  I kept thinking I was forgetting stuff, but nope, my girl is just getting way too big.

We got into our condo about 2 a.m. and woke up at 7 a.m. to go to Animal Kingdom the next day.  Yes, we are crazy (keep in mind the three hour time change).  But even still, Briz was awesome. 

We loved the Kilamanjaro Safari so much we went on it twice.  We saw cool animals, including these huge ostriches, and their huge ostrich eggs.

I don't remember the names of these animals, or most of them really, but they were pretty cool looking.

And this gorilla was huge!

We spent quite a bit of time in Dinosaur land.  And Briz went on the big, scary Dinosaur ride.  I was a little freaked out by the very real Dinosaurs continually lunging at me, so I was impressed with how brave Briz was.

Mike and Julie got Briz and her cousins, Libby and Kloey, their own special lanyard and purses.  They ordered all of these pins, and they started exchanging them with Disney workers at Animal Kingdom.    It was pretty fun for both old and young to try to find the ones we wanted.  They also got them their very own autograph books.  Briz put it to great use cause she met a bunch of her favorite characters.

Briz LOVES her cousins so much.  She had so much fun being with them and having a slumber party for a whole week (they all slept in the same bed).  

On the "Not-so-exciting-but-very-much-needed-for-rest-train."

Who knew there was a Rafiki character?  Good find Brittany!

Jacci paid for all of the little girls to get their face painted.  Briz was very serious during the painting.

In the face painting demo booklet, Seth found his twin.

Did I mention Briz loves her cousins?  Seth and Whit brought their double stroller which was so nice, particularly since, if we needed to, we could squeeze all three girls in there.  

Briz found the boy and Doug from Up.  She was pretty excited about it.  This made me laugh cause it reminded me of when Briz was a chubby little baby, and some of her friends got the boy and Briz mixed up.  They had a similar look :)

I made him pose with the Tree of Life, because it was so cool looking.  I was freaking out a bit.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brief Encounters Lessons

So I was able to go to a Brief Encounters meeting recently that was really powerful.  There were a lot of new losses there and that always makes for an emotional meeting.  There were some severely tragic stories and I just feel for these parents that have recently lost their children, often holding on to so much guilt and self blame.

There were a few things that I had reactions to, so bare with me.  The first was the story of another mother there.  For anyone who knows something about my pregnancies, I have Cholestasis the last trimester.  While it's a huge pain, it's never presented a big problem to my children (that I know of).  I have to get induced, but other than that, my babies are chubby, healthy, and happy.  But this woman's child died from her having Cholestasis.  The toxins crossed the placenta (which is something that they try to monitor) and caused traumatic brain injury to the baby.  The baby was born alive, but they had to put him on life support and eventually decide to take him off life support.  As you can imagine, this scared me a lot.  I am already anxious at the thought of having another baby, but I hadn't ever thought that my cholestasis would be a big factor in that anxiety.  Sheesh.  It just reminds of me how vulnerable we are as women and parents, and how little we can control, and that having a child is such a risk, period.

The other thought I had was about anger.  A lot of times at group, women will talk about the anger they feel at other moms, other people, and even other babies.  I have told myself that I will get angry at some point, because after all, it is one of the five stages of grief.  But I haven't too much.  And I have kind of wondered why (because getting angry isn't something I struggle with :) ).  I realized that I have had angry moments but I have very directive ways of dealing with it.  The first and foremost is spirituality.  Going to church, praying, writing in my journal, reading my scriptures, and above all, going to the temple, I believe it has helped give me perspective on Holland's death and death in general.  I have had those moments where I am mad at God and mad at the Universe and wonder "Why me?"  But I have always felt God close, not necessarily giving me the answer I want, but giving me the peace I need.  The second answer I would say is exercise.  Right after Holland died, I utilized the trainer that Nick had gotten me for my previous birthday and I worked out like crazy.  It worked out well because I wasn't working for a while and I had a lot of help with Holland.  I remember there have been many times where I have turned on my angry music as loud as I can and just tune out the world while I lift weights or run hills, and I will just cry an angry cry.  It feels good to sweat and cry and feel like I am shedding the anger.  I can feel it, but I don't have to keep it inside. The third and final thing is definitely Briz.  Not really a choice on my part.  But she makes me laugh so much that I can't help but let go of irritations and anger (I might also add there are plenty of days where she is the contributing factor to my anger).

I thought I would contribute one of my angry songs that I like to work out too (this one has no swearing :) )

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just Some Thoughts

Sometimes I will sit down to write on my blog at the end of the day, not quite sure if I am even going to post what I write.  At times it just feels too personal.  But I also enjoy feeling the catharsis that comes with sharing some of my thoughts and feelings.  And I certainly always love the support.  But I often feel greedy asking for it.  I often feel selfish. Everyone is going through their own struggles, they are getting by in their own worlds.  And it feels a bit risky, even if it just out in the "blogosphere."

I have been thinking about my sweet Holland lately.  It probably seems as if I am always writing that, but it isn't always the case.  I obviously think about her every day, but there are times where I seemed to be fixed on some element of grieving her.  And it seems to take up a lot of space in my mind when it's quiet.  But often I think about her as a simple passing thought.

For Easter we were in Florida with Nick's family at Disneyworld.  It was a total blast.  Chaotic and crowded, but a blast all the same.  And Briz and her cousins got very spoiled by their grandparents (no surprise there!).  And I was a bit torn because I thought that I would do Easter in our home when we got back.  It seemed kind of silly and I felt like Briz was already way too spoiled, so I just figured I would forget about it, no big deal.  But even though it was kind of silly, it felt like a loss.  I have a few marked occasions where I get to include Holland into our family traditions, and celebrating spiritual Holidays like Easter and Christmas are a few of those times.  So I missed it and I missed her.  Easter holds such more meaning to me than it ever did before, because my testimony of resurrection is so real now.  And I get to think about reuniting with my daughter.  I found myself wanting to remember her around this time.  I craved it and am grateful that at the very least I am able to recognize these feelings and then do something about it.  It is sad, but it brings me peace and hope.

I get jealous of other people getting to share their beautiful children with the world, which is probably why  I share way too much of Briz.  I don't like feeling that Holland is just my secret baby that I can't talk about because the sadness is uncomfortable.  Her mortal life was short but she is still my daughter and often all I have to share of her are the feelings I am left with.  But I am self conscious of being "pushy" and constantly reminding people of my dead daughter.  I want to talk about her as much as I talk about my other daughter, but she isn't growing up in front of people's eyes, I don't have new pictures of her or new stories to tell.  I have my grief and my few brief memories.  And I have my faith and spiritual experiences.  Well, that and other babies around me that I just want to love way too much!

On another note concerning Easter, this is the Easter song Briz learned and she loves it.  I love hearing her sing it, as well.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Andrew McMahon

It's been way too long since I've been to a concert, so I'm so glad Kristen convinced me to get a ticket to go see Andrew McMahon.  He was absolutely amazing and crazy.  My favorite was him jumping on his piano, walking on the piano, and sticking his tongue out.  Kristen, being the aggressive concert-goer she is, forced us up to the very front which was awesome, which allowed me to get some great video.