Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pops and Grandma Julie came into town to visit us.  This year, they decided to forego helping out at the Epic Relay, which they have helped with the last few years (It ended up being a good choice because the relay ran really smoothly and didn't need much help).  So this year, their trip was a bit more relaxed.  We did a lot of hanging at home.  And as always Pops and Grandma Julie were so great about spending time with and watching Briz.

On Friday, they took Briz to the beach while Nick and I went hiking.  We then met them at Lincoln City and spent a lot time swimming in the in-door pool.   We then spent the next day driving up the Oregon Coast, which I've never done and have always wanted to do.  We ended up at Canon Beach, where they were having a sandcastle competition.  Little did we know, we would have to walk 2 miles down the beach to reach the sandcastles.  Nick and I ended up jogging back so we can make it back to town in time for our family pool party.

Briz decided this would be a good place to rehearse her dance and sing to herself.   Can you say DRAMATIC?  Sheesh.  In pretty much everything she does.

We also brought Brizzy's prized kite, but it ended up being a let down.  Apparently, walking and flying a kite is just way too difficult.

The best sandcastle was Candyland.  It was pretty cool.

Right after we dropped Pops and Grandma Julie off at the airport, this was Briz and I's conversation:

Briz: "Mom open the door!"
Me: "Why?"
Briz: Because I need to get out!"
Me: "Why?
Briz: "I want to fly on the plane with Pops and Grandma Julie."
Me: "We're going to Utah next month."
Briz: "I want to go now."
Me: "Sorry sweetie, you don't have a ticket."
Briz: "I can just tell them that I lost my ticket!"

She loves them and we can't wait to see them in Utah.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rec Center

Tonight while I was cleaning out my purse and then eventually my wallet, I found Holland's ID card for the local rec center.  I felt like I had gotten punched in the stomach.  I remember leaving it in there.  I have cleaned out all of Holly's stuff, and even Brizzy's old baby/toddler stuff in our house, but when I had come across this before, I wasn't quite ready to take it out of my wallet for some reason.  It has been a while since I have noticed it in there.  I have a lot of reminders her, probably almost every day, so I was surprised at my own instinctive reaction to such a simple little plastic card.  But I think there were a few reasons it triggered a deep sadness:

- I seem to be affected most by things that catch me off guard.  We have our guest room that Briz lovingly calls "Holly's Room," because it has pictures up of her.  We have framed pictures of her in our living room, etc. When I go into these rooms, I see her face, I think of her, I smile.  But very rarely, does something enter into my world that reminds me of Holland and takes me by surprise.  It's hard to explain why this has such a strong affect.  Experiencing a traumatic death sends your brain into shock mode, and in order to protect itself, it likes plans, prediction, anticipation.  When something surprises my brain related to my daughter or her death, it doesn't do so well.  It's not a bad thing.  But it does trigger that gut wrenching pain.  And it catches me surprise because I have very few moments of that anymore.

- The second thing that I noticed was her full name written out.  I don't ever talk about "Holland Cottle."  I say, "my daughter that died," "Holly," or "Holland," and sometimes even, "Brizzy's little sister."  But I don't ever use her full name.  It was a reminder to me of the person that she is.  Not my baby that died, but the person she is.  It made me miss her as a person, not just as my baby.  And with that comes all of the missed experiences she would have had: school, playing, talking, etc.  I think it was an added element that I saw her name written.  I write Brizzy's name ALL the time.  Briz is practicing her letters a lot these days, and she writes her name on everything, so even if I'm not writing it, I see it written quite a bit.  But I don't ever write Holland's name.  I can't remember the last time I wrote it.  Occasionally in my grief journal, but hardly ever.  And I won't write her name a lot in my life.  I know this seems a little bit silly, and truthfully, they aren't even things that I think about on a daily basis.  But grief is so surprising because it shows up in such random forms in the most random times.  I try to allow myself to be sad because it is sad.  And then I try to learn from it.  It helps me eventually step out of the pain I am in, and understand the sadness I feel.  That understanding makes it easier to work through.

At times I get angry that grief still plays such a large role in my life.  But I remember how many of us experience grief in our own ways whether its through death, damaged relationships, faltered expectations, illness, divorce, disappointment, etc.  Part of God's plan was to experience grief.  That is part of the refining process that most people have to go through.  It helps me to know that I am not being punished, but that I am given an opportunity to continue to learn and grow.  And that there is a lot of help along that path.

9 years!

Nick and I celebrated our 9th anniversary this year.  The crazy thing about 9 is that it's basically 10 years, well, when you round up.  How have I been married for almost 10 years?  Once you get past 10, it all sort of becomes a blur doesn't it?
To celebrate this year, we spend half of a day hiking, one of our very first dates when we were teenagers:  Punchbowl falls in the Gorge.  It ended up being a lot easier than I remember, and so we hiked a little further.  We ended up at the High Bridge, which was this creaky little bridge ridiculously high up.

When we went as teenagers, it was a hot day and we went swimming in the water.  I got in up to my ankles and thought I was going to suffer from hypothermia.

For those that have gone to the LDS temple, this picture may look somewhat familiar.

It was such a fun afternoon of talking, laughing, and hiking.  Felt good to remember all of the ups and downs of the last 9 years, and there has been plenty of each.  Grateful to have someone who works hard with me at trying to be a good person and keep our family together.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Briz has a thing for posing with statues.  Not quite sure why.  It's kinda weird.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Crazy Weekend

That's what happens when all of my siblings are in town.  Craziness.  Luckily, we were all too tired to be our regular intense selves, so things remained relatively mellow.  But we did have a lot of fun stuff going on.

1. Sierra's Bridal Shower (for which I have no pictures).

2. Sierra went through the temple.  It was so great being in the temple with my family.  Now all five siblings are endowed: it's a good thing to remind my parents when they think we're evil.

3.  Palmer's baptism.  We drove up early the next morning to Seattle.  Palmer was so adorable.  I just want to hug this kid all the time.  And record everything he says.  He's hilarious and he has no idea.

4.  After the baptism we went to the Mariners/Yankees game.  Briz and Portia were pretty excited.  But really, they are always excited just to be together.

Landon got to sit in the trunk on the drive, which enabled him to effectively and creepily photobomb my picture.

 5.  I met Thatcher for the first time.  He is the tiniest, cutest little baby boy I've ever seen.  He's beautiful, and he has the amount of hair for an average two year old.  I also got to see little Link again.  He is talking and smiling more and more, and he is adorable.

6.  Tanner came with Sierra into town, so we all get to spend time with him.  Already feels like he is part of the family.  And Teya, in particular, loves him. It's a bit scary.

Portia and Briz are quite the pair.  Briz thought it would be a great idea post Palmer's baptism for her and Portia to baptize each other.  However, Brizzy's technique for baptizing Portia was to shove her to the ground.

I love my crazy family.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Memorial Day Always Stinks

In Portland that is.  I swear it is always pouring down rain and pretty cold.  And it's always a big bummer because we can't find anything to do.  Our friends, Amanda and Brian were in town, and we had been planning on going to Riverview Cemetery to clean graves in the infant cemetery lot, but it was, big shocker, pouring down rain.  Boo.  

But we decided to postpone our ritual a week until the sun came back out.  It was so fun noticing all of the graves near Holly's.  And it was also overwhelming how many graves could be cleaned.  We wanted to clean all of them.  And many of them looked like they hadn't been cleaned in a long time, if ever.  It might seem kind of silly because it's not like the babies would notice.  But it's nice to try to remember them nonetheless and serve their families in a simple, indirect way. 

Maybe next year won't rain and we can memorialize on Memorial Day?

Oh yeah, there was also this deer running across the cemetery.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Amander and Brian

Amanda and Brian made a very generous trip out to Portland to come visit us and to see where Brian grew up (in Vancouver).  It was so fun having them here.  We are now feeling socially deprived.

We had a blast going to Farmers Market in downtown Portland, visiting Canon Beach, playing Perplex, going to a Youngblood Hawke concert, seeing the movie Mud.

Amander wrote about it here.

We hope they come back soon!  Maybe even move here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


In this below par weather, we have been trying to stay busy.  Briz and Piper went to Tryon Creek State Park for the Ranger guided hike.  They learned all about bees this week and then went exploring in the meadow.

 They loved imitating bees with their pollen pockets.  

 Piper was devastated when they left, crying and saying, "I'll never come back to the meadow!"

We also went to the park and practiced our bike riding.  Going down the hills is quite an adventure.  Even though there is lots of owies, crying, and wrestling, these two girls love each other.  

But we miss one of our favorite little guys.  Jaron told us he wanted to move back and live with us, so we are planning on it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mother's Day

My Mother's Day was a bit lame this year.  My Saturday before Mother's Day, however, was excellent.  We celebrated Mothers day on Saturday.  Nick made me some German pancakes, got me some trashy magazines, and he got me a pedicure/manicure.  I'm not a big fan of spending money on things like getting my nails painted, but I forced myself to enjoy it, and I actually did in the end.  But now I feel pressure to continue painting my nails!

My favorite thing from the day is going to Riverview Cemetery.  I have often seen people biking/jogging through the cemetery and have always wanted to.  We did.  It was hard.  But awesome.  I want to do it again.  I love spending sunny days there.  

Briz was being a pain and did not want to smile.  She must have been exhausted from sitting in the stroller the whole run :)

That night, Nick and I went and saw Bill Cosby, ate at Cheesecake Factory, and saw The Great Gatsby.  It was like three dates in one!  It was an excellent pre-Mothers Day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Baby Link

While I was in California, Mac let me do a photo shoot of Baby Link.  It was fun, and he was seriously the best baby ever.  He is so mellow.   He was a natural.  Here are some of the ones I took (I took way too many).