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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Letter 21


My mother-in-law Mary has Alzheimerʻs disease. As hard as that is to say in my letter tonight, I need to say it first to show why Iʻve come to hold tight to the memories Iʻve made not only with her, but in all aspects of my life. I have a brain that works hard to store so many thought-processes, muti-tasking abilities, walking, and storing pictures and words.  In that, I am grateful. 

My twin babies would have had a very different first year if it hadnʻt been for two motivations: yoga and Mary. Yoga because it has taught me to live in the present and for Mary to write down and hold on to the joys the moments brought into the exhausting and redundant. From the first wonderment of looking to finally getting Vanessa to laugh, the memories I kept and retain are precious. 

Not only personal memories of my babies important but hugs from best friends, pep talks from coaches, applause from audiences, support from family, tears with God, silliness with nieces and nephews, closure with death. My life has become enriched and enhanced with memories Iʻve held close. 
I am a more passionate thinker because of the learning Iʻve done through mistakes. 
I take pictures with Mary so I can remember to tell stories for Chancey and Vanessa to know their grandma. 
I remember the day I married Matt so I can recall why I made the eternal vow to stay with him. I chose him and continue to remember why I love him. 

What are your most valued memories? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Letter 20

To my appliances both big and small,

Iʻll start out with my top two favorites:

#1. My food processor. You have allowed me to make so many pumpkin recipes, hummus, relishes, sauces... oh, the list goes on... Thank you for letting my life be a little easier and my wrists hurt a little less.

#2. My Kitchen Aid. Another one I am grateful I donʻt have to mix many things by hand when it comes to creaming cream cheese or making cookie dough. Youʻve lightened my loud and stepped in when I have needed you. Thank you!

I could continue the list with so many handy things in the kitchen... my toaster (also a favorite) as well as my Vitamix (OH!!! A GLORIOUS invention!) hand mixer, hand blender, magic bullet... oh, the list is so very long!

Then, there are the bigger delights: a washer and dryer! I am SO grateful I put things in a machine to wash instead of going out to some creek some place! SO nice! I have refrigerators and a chest freezer. I have stoves and ovens and so many things that create more time and happy eating! We have so much to be grateful for in 2015!

To you, my handy tools, thank you for making life effortlessly better!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Letter 19

Tennis, Football, Lacrosse and Basketball, and all the other sports too,

Thereʻs nothing better than to get out with my tennis racket and run around a court hitting your frustrations as well as competitive spirit out with the ball! I love the exercise, I love the hissing of the can of tennis balls when you open it up, I love sweating hard and wanting to be better!

If anyone knows me, I bleed scarlet and gray. I love my Buckeyes and and the rush of welcoming the football team on the field. I am so grateful I get to watch great sports whenever I want! What fun!

I love to watch basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, soccer... the list goes on! I love that we have something that brings the nation together as well as the world. Disagreements and differences in opinion fade when youʻre cheering for the same win.

Iʻm grateful for the package that comes with sports: fans, food, family, and friends!! ISnʻt it so awesome that we can just be happy for people trying their best?!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Letter 18

To: my appendages.

Yes, this one extends to my toes and fingers, but let us not leave my arms and legs out of this one.

I feel very fortunate that Iʻve only had one cast for a fracture in my foot, arm in a sling, and finger in a splint in my 34 years of living. That is pretty good knowing my risking lifestyle. Given, Iʻm not jumping off.... well, I have done that into water. At least Iʻm not parachuting out of a... oh wait, yes I have. Well, at any rate, I donʻt race dirt bikes by any means!

I do love my that my long fingers are able to reach from C to C on the piano. I am able to lift and flip a spatula to cook meals. I can type in my blog with ease! I am so grateful for my ten little additions to my hand!
I am really glad my hand is there to lead in my yoga practice,  high-five my twins, and wash my body!
I am grateful that my foot is there to walk me to the ocean. I love that it makes it easier to exercise with feet. I am happy I have two feet to keep me balanced; Which the toes are also responsible! I can grab things I drop with my toes! I can reach for something higher in my cupboards just by standing on tip-toe. I am so thankful for my ten piggies.

WHAT a blessing my arms and legs; toes and fingers are to the enhancement of living. I am grateful for the endless possibilities to go anywhere with what I have been given.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Letter 17

Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouth wash, 

I need you, and appreciate you four in my life very much. Thank you for cleaning and cleansing and whitening and leaving my mouth a refreshing! 

Floss, for getting what I canʻt, 
Toothbrush for doing all the dirty work,
Toothpaste, for cleaning up after, 
Mouthwash, for the rinse and squeaky clean feeling! 

I am better knowing you as well as more pleasant for others to be around me! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Letter 16

Dear spectacles,

I suppose I need to begin by saying I am grateful for my glasses. It is true, I am grateful for you, glasses. If I did not have you on my face then I would not be able to see too many feet in front of me, so for that, I thank you. Itʻs also nice to have a fashion change at times, and when I want to be a little lazy, I can put on my glasses and feel a.o.k!

I know I have gotten a little angry with you recently due to the fact that you have been a little annoying since I have not had the luxury of switching to my contacts, and I apologize.  You do slide off my face when I bend over, and there are lame fogging up annoying times when I get frustrated. It is not because I do not appreciate you though. I really do!


You are my favorite though. I have to admit. Youʻre there to pop in when I need you, and you really do make things better in seconds. No peripheral when wearing my glasses? You say, "No problem!" Playing tennis and sweat is running everywhere? No problem! I donʻt have to worry about taking my glasses off and wiping my face!

Thank you contacts for helping me see all things all the time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Letter 15

To Libraries and books everywhere,

I am a little partial to the local branches that reside close to me, but if I can go anywhere in any state and get some kids books or adult classics whenever I want them, I need to be grateful for all.

It has been a refuge for me when I bring Chancey and Vanessa into our library here in Salt Lake City. It is somewhat stressful trying to make sure they arenʻt running, throwing, ripping, screaming their way down any isles, and they tend to not want to leave when I want them to leave. I have to appreciate the fact: they want to stay, and that is a reassurance of safety.

Thank you for giving me some time to myself when I pick out a book I would like to read from your shelves. You donʻt know how nice it is to either escape from life into a good plot or at least read words that are new or bigger than, "donʻt," "play nice," "eat..." etc. I feel a little better about the education I chose as well as the motivation to sooner than later get back into the inquisitive minds of college.

You didnʻt have to keep puzzles and games there for kids. You didnʻt have to put together story time or other activities for children to gather. You did though, and thank you for thinking of our inquiring offspring.

Thank you for letting me take advantage of your building, being free to the public and facilitating the love of reading to all ages! 

What book should I start next? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Letter 14

Dear Food,

Hello. I love you.
Never were more wise words spoken than, "Food, glorious food!" From the musical, "Oliver!"
Tonight we had Carmelized Butternut, Crispy Kale and Fontina Pizza. WOW! WOW! It was delicious! All the different flavors rolling around on some pizza dough! The salty and sweet put me over the top!
This, of course, is just an example of what you do for me at least 4 times a day. I wake up thinking about you and what I can create for my kids to enjoy, then thereʻs lunch and snacks and dinner and deserts... OH MY!
And let me TELL you about the extravagant parties we have with friends! I call them parties because thatʻs what they feel like to Matt and me. There may just be two others joining us, but itʻs what we EAT which presents the party atmosphere! The party IS the meal. From appetizers to hor dʻoeuvres, from the salad to the main course, from the bread to the dessert! Exceptional!
Iʻm so grateful for the foods and recipes we find from around the world as well! Oh sushi, I could eat you everyday if I could. Curry and hummus: so divine! Dim sum, more some! Iʻll even take some veggie-mite on a piece of toast and be content! I love to experiment with a variety of spices and fill my nostrils with the aromas of mixing flavors!
I donʻt typically get too thrilled having to bake since I feel like I canʻt really get artistic with the recipe, or else it is completely ruined. However, when I get a hankering for some good chocolate chip cookies, I do like to follow a recipe and find the best just to satisfy a craving.
Thank you for allowing me the hours to explore new frontiers for food! Thank you for being there to always give when needed.

Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale. - Elsa Schiaparelli

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It's not about nutrients and calories. It's about sharing. It's about honesty. It's about identity. - Louise Fresco
If you really want to make a friend, go to someoneʻs house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart. - Cesar Chavez

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Letter 13

Dear Laughter,

Iʻm grateful for what you do for my brain and for my relationships. My health is also grateful for the attitude change since it helps in my energy levels as well.

Thank you for being a choice. I need to remember to smile instead of yell or giggle instead of getting frustrated. There are worst things. And no, my appliances are not out to get me.

Hereʻs to you, my hardy bellied, tear-flowing, abdomen stinging, mouth aching, belting laughter!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Letter 12

Volvo wagon, 

I have always loved Volvos but didnʻt truly understand what I had until Matt, Chancey, Vanessa and I were driving you on our way up to Idaho and going about 75-80 miles/hour in the dark. Wouldnʻt you know, a deer came out of nowhere and stood dead in itʻs tracks. Seconds from that moment, the hit, then nothing. 
Whatʻs the damage? Our heart sank and we pulled over. 
We couldnʻt believe it! The deer took out the front right blinker and dented the right fender, and as far as we could tell, ran off?
That was all! Dead center on the deer, and nothing else. The babies who were asleep didnʻt even wake up. 
That made me a believer in you. WHAT a safe vehicle! I was so grateful and am so grateful we you, the Volvo now! 
Itʻs easy enough to pack the kids in quite comfortably, Matt and I have plenty of leg room, there is so much room in the back, HEATED SEATS!!!!... The list could go on! You know what you are giving us. I wonʻt bore my audience with any particulars. 
I do love you and grateful you are so reliable and so lovable. Please keep working being the best car ever, and weʻll keep you sparkling clean inside and out! 

Thank you my Volvo! I should name you.... 

(I am also VERY thankful I married someone who 1. Likes to work on cars and 2. CAN work on our cars, both Volvos, and save us money!)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Letter 11

Past, Present and Future friends,

For the past friendships, thank you for either coming into my life when I needed you.
You taught me lessons and brought about changes to move me forward into who I needed to be for the present. Those of you who were with me in Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and college, thank you for teaching me the fun as well as the pain. I went through some happy moments of teasing, sport winnings, theatre acting, silly tricks and very needed compliments. On the flip side, learned quickly about heart-ache, losing, betrayal and loneliness. Both were valuable, and both strengthened my character.
Donʻt we all need the hurt to know absolute joy?
For some of you long ago friends, we have moved on from one or more of those stages of life. We have changed our likes/pursuits or just moved away from each other and therefore, lost touch. That is alright by me. You have made an impression and in so doing, have inspired in some way. However, for some of you, we have continued our friendship and held strong to the value of the other. Thank you for traveling with me and living your life with me! If we only talk here and there or every couple of days, your friendship is important and needed.

Which brings me to the present.
Thank you friends who I have met recently or have known for a long while for sharing your life and family with me. I appreciate the stories, honor time spent and love knowing you! Thank you for supporting me in my ambitions and sharing in creating! We laugh, cry, yell, giggle, love... We think of every emotion and are passionate about it too!
If you are currently my friend, I hope you feel I support you in your dreams and pursuits of happiness. Please let us continue to fulfill the needs of one another. Thank you for your genuine good-nature and honest respect for my morals. I likewise hope I do the same for you.
Thank you for being my friend, I hope to carry you with me.

For future friendships:
I hope only for more quality of character, motivation to be better and more loving with these friendships. I want to be a better friend, and hope we can strengthen each other. To the peace I find in caring for you and the serenity I find feeling content in my own skin with you. Let us cherish the memories, live in the present and seek for happiness in the accomplishments. I love you friends already. I canʻt wait to find more of you and with those already tied to me, I canʻt wait to find out more about you.

I cherish my friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Letter/Poem 10

I wrote this poem flying away from Hawaii in 2008; One of the most mournful days of my life.  
Every day I think of Hawaii. 
Every day I am grateful I took the leap to risk my heart to love and fly out to Hawaii. And then, turn around after heartsickness, to create my own world and establish myself freely of no one elseʻs ruling. 
I was in a land of strangers in the beginning and upon leaving, I left behind so many familiar hugs. So many smiling, loving faces come into my mind as I write this; so many people helped me find my voice. Literally as well as figuratively. 
I am so grateful for my home: Hawaii. I crave it.  

Built Upon Rocks

I'm leaving you. 
    Choosing to no longer breathe the air you breathe;
Touch the same soil you touch. 
I am leaving my physical closeness to you- 
I have used my agency to transition away from where you stand: much higher than I think I could ever be. 
You have constantly remained stalwart and unmoving.  
You have changed with me, however. 
You have grown deeper, richer and helped me climb higher than I ever thought was possible; 
All within me.
You have experienced anguish as it has poured from your clouds, into my eyes and left trails from sidewalks to streets of employment and education to my residence as well as homes of caring friends. 
Your relationship to me has molded me into a someone my past can never recognize. 
Thank you. 
I have improved and changed for the better... 
But oh, how there's much more to 
So it is thus:  progression and advancement from you.
Oh-how you have provoked me to stare at your fresh greens, dreamy blues and secure browns; 
Become lost in your ever-present scorching yellows, or calmness of black cloth stretched above me...
Always showing me that what I see is never really what I'm putatively to see.
What is it I need to learn from you that I have not already? 
What have I missed? 
What haven't I not dove into?
What explorations have I not yet mastered? 
Who have I not shared with more valuable time? 
You have been the foundation of people who have moved within and out of my existence; 
Sharing a commonality of carefree principles and appreciated legs and arms to know your sands and freedom. 
Do you want me to run away?  
Do you want me to keep looking back? 
You are all I want to see. 
Years spent demolishing pride and building-up confidence... 
Months residing in your stress-free environment to try and emulate moderation and meditation in every motion...
And still feeling like you are so much more the wiser. 
Will I ever understand?
Selfishly, I am clinging on to the comfort of your presence.
You have given with ease your ownership of land to borrow and delve, and still feel in-debted to my new creation of spaces I have found in you - 
brimming full of imagination and originality.
You have blessed me with the involvement of faces, hours and exposures of all senses; 
Helped me conquer  myself so many times by crying out to your sky or scouring-out answers as I hoped they would roll-in from your waves. 
You have been my macrocosm. 
The holistic woman I have become has been simply because of your forever majesty, perfect masterpieces and patient knowledge that I get closer to God as I drink refreshment from and feast with gluttony upon your grandeur. 
Just know I leave you only to carry you with me. 
I know you now:
My Hawaii.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Letter/Poem 9


I am 60% of you.

Pools to puddles;
Showers to sinks;
Drinking fountains to deep falls;
Sprinkle to seas.

Rejuvenate, rehydrate.



A flick,

I am spoiled!
I am so grateful.

Thank you water, for providing without wanting.

Letter 8

Briana, Amber, Kimberly, Elise, and Aubrie,

I am so very grateful that I have you five as sisters (although, growing up with you I was singing a different tune sometimes...)! You all have a different sense of style, focus and presence about you, and I get to be in the mix of it all!

Yes, I know we all have our quirks, and through growing up, made choices we didnʻt/donʻt necessarily agree with, but before going to bed at night, I love each of you and there isnʻt really enough room to be annoyed or frustrated. Also, you better believe I will bust out some mamma bear if ANYBODY threatens my sisters!

You five also know that at anytime if you need anything, please ask me.

Iʻm really thankful that I have time to spend time with each of you. That may be face-to-face, video chat, phone or text messages, social media or even prayer. Thank you for wanting to continue a friendship and cultivating a relationship with me! Iʻm so happy we want to try and see each other and drive distances to close gaps. You each are willing to help when you can as often as possibility allows.

Briana, thank you for the late night texts. Itʻs a wonderful way to calm, vent and end my day!
Amber, thank you for your hospitality always. Itʻs fabulous to know Iʻm always welcome in your home, eating your food, and late night talks.
Kimberly, thank you for your love for me and my kids. Your heart is so full and so willing to help where you can!
Elise, thank you for driving down to see me. I know itʻs hard to load the four kids on a trip! I value the times we laugh hard and bond with tears.
Aubrie, thank you for be willing to watch kids, and try new things. Your innocence is needed to keep me set for adventures!

I love you five much more than I let on, Iʻm sure. Thank you for your lives and being in mine. Thank you for your example, help and love for me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Letter 7

My neighbors and neighborhood,

Hello new friends as of July 1st of this year! Thank you first of all, for being welcoming! Iʻve walked up and down our streets quite a few times with my kids and I can always count on a wave or even a little chat as we roam. What a difference it makes when you are around genuine people! Thereʻs no need to show off, but when you do, itʻs not your yard, itʻs your neighborʻs! Thank you for asking if we need anything or offer up starters from your yard to beautify our home! Thank you for giving!

We have really enjoyed the location as well! We like being on the end of the street, and grateful we have good neighbors that will watch our house while we are gone out of town. Thanks Gary for doing that without us even asking while we were in Ohio! WHAT a guy! We donʻt have really any traffic at all, and when we do, we know itʻs for whatʻs happening at our house! Weee!

Really though, this post is for our neighbor Santina. She was a God-send! I honestly believe you are not placed somewhere by accident. She is the type of neighbor everyone should be jealous about having living next to them! (We have her though, so continue to be jealous!) She is kind enough to watch our kids in a crunch, let us borrow dishes, pans... you name it! (Her daughter, Sophie, is the sweetest little girl, who is so very good with my two.) Letʻs be honest though, I love all who live with her!

I have had some fantastic neighbors in college in UT living in apartments, Hawaii: Auntie Mavis and all the Fonoimoanas AND their cooking.... YUM! I have had great neighbors in the different homes Iʻve grown up in with my family out in Ohio, and have appreciated that I was raised with an inclusive perspective!

Thank you neighborhood and most especially, thank you Santina for helping me want to be a better neighbor.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Letter 6

Thank you added income: Banana Republic, Yoga, Voice and Piano lessons.

Iʻm really trying to get back into the swing of things with more students in the 3 Iʻve actually gotten certified and degrees in teaching. Iʻm grateful for the times I am able to teach though, and grateful for the students I do have currently. I love feeling like I am providing some help towards our family and they are in avenues in which I love! 

Each of these jobs have their perks and unleashes a favorite aspect of my personality. Banana Republic: 
How better to meet new friends than to talk to some one different as often as I work? I love telling people how great they look in whatever they are trying on, or at least be honest with them with the style or size. This past Saturday, I met two Tongan guys and told them they should come over for dinner. This will be happening as a triple date and will be joyous for all involved, Iʻm sure! 
Itʻs also a break from my daily routine while being silly and OCD with organizing all at the same time! Quite the contrast, but I love it! 

How better than to help women and men feel relaxed, comfortable in their own skin, and that someone is supporting them in being healthier in body, mind and spirit? I feel confident in my approach to teaching yoga, which helps me in my own wellness, and I learn so much about the human body! 

There is nothing sweeter in finding out HOW a child/teenager/adult needs to be taught! I find creative routes in how to inspire their mind by finding out their own interests and loves. I have had so much fun with my niece lately correlating a piece of music to reading/writing a book! I love playing piano and it always jolts me in practicing more myself! 

My passion. If I could, I would take only middle school-high school age girls and teach them (through music) self-confidence. There is nothing like teaching girls to find their own voice by showing them how to find their own voice! I have tried explaining a technique and been lost for words in how to convey it to them, but then quickly been led by God in helping girls and boys find the light of understanding. You are nearer to heaven when the voice is exploring their true tones, I believe! I am most happy sitting at the piano teaching an eager pupil my love! 

Iʻm grateful I know what I love and if not doing them all the time, moving towards that goal! I am so happy I have these "jobs"! 

(And hopefully soon enough, I WILL be singing too for a job!)

Letter 5

Hello house,

I am grateful that you keep my family warm. I REALLY hate being cold and walking from the outside into a warm home is so very gratifying!

I am grateful for the windows that let in the natural sunlight; the happiness that ensues after opening the blinds is almost touchable!

I am grateful you are big enough to house friends and family when they come to visit! We can have a party or just a get-together and all fit comfortably. AND at any time we want, we can shut the windows, blinds, and doors altogether and feel safe, secured and private!

Iʻm grateful for what happens in our cute house! Thank you for facilitating actions such as: hide-and-go-seek, chasing, jumping, and hugging! Also, having room for toys, books, clothes, and furniture! As well as cooking, eating and loving all of our favorite people.

We even have space AROUND our house! We can do all sorts of projects, grow food to eat and again, have friends over TO eat!

Thank you for spoiling us with a roof and basement; electricity and gas! We also have plumbing and water that we can simply turn on and off! THINK of it!

Thank you for being our house. I like to decorate you and clean you. I like to show that I appreciate you by doing such things. Then, I feel like I deserve my living space.

May I continuously be grateful for the walls, roof and floors that make up my home!

May peace, laughter and love always reside within.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Letter 4


Oh! My favorite thing lately is you telling stories! I canʻt understand half of what you say with all the made-up language youʻve invented. (I think Chancey understands it, and thatʻs what matters mostly.) The story always begins with or at least ends with you telling us that you got a "bonk" of sorts. Your expressions are priceless! You are so intense with how it all happened. I love, love it! 

Your little long fingers are just like mine! You point and gesture the same ways too! You will be my mini-me, I do believe. You are so attentive to details and like to create stories to go along with what you are playing with at the time. You get VERY heated when Chancey comes in to mess it up or try to play a game of it. Your fuse is short when it comes to things. Iʻll work on that too since you probably inherited that trait from me. 

You are so obedient! If I tell you to come, you are always the first to put on your shoes or your jacket or go get a diaper. You may get side-tracked with a fish or toy, but thatʻs alright, it happens. When itʻs time to clean-up, you are SUCH a good helper! You will pick-up and sing along with it! (I also love if you find a piece of string, scrap piece of paper or crumb of some kind, you will pick it up and throw it away!)

Speaking of singing, you LOVE to sing! I think your favorite songs are, "Horsey, Horsey," "5 Little Ducks," (But we sing 2 since thereʻs only two kids in our family) "Old McDonald Had a Farm," and you like "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." You love to do the motions! You are so smart to know so many body parts! You are smart always! You know so many words! You are also starting to echo what mom and dad say, and learn spanish like daddy is teaching you! There is nothing cuter, really! 

You love best: avocados, oranges, tomatoes, and yogurt. You love all of mom and dadʻs cooking though as well. You are SUCH a great eater! 
You love to read books! You will sit with me for hours (if Iʻd let you) and we get new library books once a month! Your favorite book is probably "I Love You Stinky Face." But, you really donʻt care as long as I am reading to you. 
You love your butterfly blanket with the satin edges best. You love to sleep with it and carry it around. You like the other 3 blankets in your bed alright, but if you donʻt have your butterfly one, you arenʻt happy. You like the little dog I gave you to sleep with too. (Your favorite toys though are small cups, and Chanceyʻs little car at the moment.) 

Vanessa, you are my very best sweet little friend. I love that I get to see you grow-up and learn so many new things each day. I love that you teach me how to relax, to be silly sometimes, that life is simple and happy! You love me and I love to hug you! Your little laugh was hard to wiggle out of you for a long time, and now itʻs savory! I love that I get to do your hair and dress you so pretty! 

I love you Vanessa Kane! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Letter 3

I could say ladies first and start with Vanessa or I could say Chancey is an hour older, so I should start with him... Choices...


Since I can hear you coughing in the monitor, my sympathies are enhanced, so I will begin with my boy. What a little lover boy you are to your mom! You come up to me randomly just to glue your whole self and wrap around my leg. You love me so much! You hate it more than your small body can stand it to see me leave to go to work or even to walk out the door for the mail.

You are so good at saying "taytou" when I give you a cracker or your "bankie". (Speaking of, Chancey, you LOVE your blanket. You donʻt really have a preference for one over another, just as long as it is one of the favorite four that reside in your bed. ) You also love the little bear Grandma Smith gave you to be in bed with you when you sleep. Your favorite toy, however, are any toy cars, any size balls, small cups (at the moment), and a tri-cycle your dad had when he was your size.

 You love to serve though! You are smart enough to get a diaper when we ask you, youʻll help daddy with Vanessaʻs water or get her blanket without being asked. You want to make your sister happy; you most of the time want to make your parents happy...

You love to give hugs and kisses though! Some of my most cherished memories are when you go up to Vanessa and want to play ring-around-the-rosies, or simply just want to hug her more than she can handle the heavy attention. The best was when we were putting on shoes to go to the library and you kept hugging Vanessa and giving her kisses. Vanessa got into it too since we both were laughing and having the best time. The kisses and hugs eventually turned to me as well, and all three of us got hugs and kisses to last the rest of the day! Heavenly!

One thing Vanessa will want to do with you: race with you! (The competitive spirit runs on both sides kids!) Iʻm so glad you both have a built-in running partner. Iʻm sure youʻll get better at playing with each other, creating stories and adventures, instead of wanting the same toy or trike the other one has at the moment. You think Vanessa is pretty funny though and laugh at all of her silly faces and side-ward glances.

You love bananas, and eat a whole one in a sitting, tomatoes you love just as well! You also love veggie straws and the baby crackers. You and Vanessa love the squeezable baby food, which I love because they travel so well!) You arenʻt very good at first with new foods, but you will always eat everything. You are a very good eater... You just get so hungry you can hardly bare it sometimes... I wonder who you get that trait from...???

I think your favorite color is yellow. You say that color for any color though, so...
You LOVE to read books!! You will sit so attentively if I read and keep reading books! (You think we go to the library only for you? No, I donʻt want to get sick of reading the same books!) Your favorite book is "Going on a Bear Hunt" and/or "Hi." I should really buy that book since we get it every time we go to the library.

You love a bath, you love singing and dancing to "Happy" by Pharell. Your top three songs to sing are, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" and the "ABCʻs". You think itʻs the best thing to jump. You havenʻt quite gotten any height to the action, but man, you think itʻs the greatest still. You are so good at building things! Youʻve surprised me on many occasions where Iʻve looked and thought, "I canʻt believe he knows how to do that!" I mean, itʻs no wonder. Your father is a builder as well.

Look at these valuables I get to keep with me? These memories of the bleach-blonde boy who always loves me? (Remember when you are a teenager.) I am so grateful I get to be your mommy! Look at all the things you are already teaching me? Unconditional love, patience, long-suffering, happiness, gentleness, a better listener...

I love you Chancey James.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Letter 2

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your phone call today just to say hello and see how I was doing. It was certainly not expected, but I guess thatʻs one of the reasons I am grateful for you. Yes, your ideas change from minute to minute and I may get to see you here and there over a weekʻs time. I like how different it is though and for the fact that life wonʻt ever be stagnant and we will always be transition. It is helpful for our communication, for it keeps us on our toes and we constantly have to check in with each other. Thank you for wanting to talk it out, over and resolve controversy.

Weʻve only been married 3 1/2 years, and known each other for 4 1/2, so I suppose we wonʻt be completely in-sync with our thought-processes, we will have baggage that will regurgitate itself in angry tiffs, and we will continue to disagree on certain things when it come to raising our two children. However, Iʻm grateful for the honesty, and simply, that you wonʻt agree with me on some points; very refreshing I have to say. I do appreciate that we agree on those things that matter the most to the both of us. Hence, the reason I married you in the first place.

Thank you for your help, carefree attitude, and the acceptance of my family.
Thank you for unloading the dishwasher, changing poopy diapers, and hanging shelves.
Thank you for your determined work ethic, serving others (even though our house projects usually come after), and for loving dogs.
Thank you for knowing how to fix our cars, loving to teach, and hugging our kids as soon as you come home from a full-loaded work-day.

I donʻt want to forget these things because I love you a lot and I want to be with you forever. So, you know, when I get in the thick of annoyance, I can be reminded... later. :)

Thank you for being the one I trust and hug the tightest.
I love you Matthew!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November Letter 1

Iʻm a little late starting since itʻs already the 3rd of the month. However, my heart is heavy and sometimes itʻs better just to write it all down. Especially when I can return back any time and refer to what I deem worthy enough for my top 30 "gratitude notes." 

We begin:

Dear God, 

I think it is best starting with you because everything in which Iʻm grateful stems from you. I am grateful for the mere idea that Iʻm actually acknowledging your presence. There are many who do not know of your existence, shun the thought of you, or just think of you as someone in the hereafter. 
I know you are as real as I live. Thank you for that truth. 

It wasnʻt because my parents told me or my friends. It wasnʻt because the thought of you is "nice" or an experience of life or death that shook me to reconsider avenues. Iʻm the sort of person who wants to know truth, yes. But even more than that, I want to be loved. Thank you for that adoration. 
I remember when I was converted to that simple principle.

I would say my middle school years were probably the worst two years I could handle (at the time). Girls were vicious, cruel, threatened to beat me up... it was unbearable. It seemed like it was a daily occurrence. I would come home to my mom and feel safe and knew she was probably the only person I could trust. I needed something bigger though. 
I had prayed up to that point many times, but in routine of unemotional progressive thanks forʻs... etc. was the result. The night before high school I was scared of having similar problems with people leading to paranoia. 
So, I talked to You. I wanted so bad to know you loved me and didnʻt want me to feel that sadness. 
I found out soon enough you listened to a 14-year old girl. 
There wasnʻt any voice from above, no shifting of the elements. There was, however, an overwhelming warmness that covered my whole body from head-to-foot. For someone who is always cold, it was my euphoria. 
That was the beginning of my conversion. I have only strengthened it from that day. It will continue to be a process, a challenge at times. I will question certain things about religion and spirituality, of course!  
I will not question, the love that prevails between my Father in heaven and me. 

I cannot! There is a dependence that I have grown to love. You will always know more than me, you will always love more than me, and I am grateful! 

And God, for the times I have hurt more than I thought my heart could handle; for the hours when pain was so unbearable that living seemed too daunting of a task; for the mourning over losses so forcefully lonely I felt the dark hole inside me... thank you for being the ears to hear my screams. (I am sure you didnʻt appreciate some of the verbiage...)

And better yet, thank you for sharing the hidden excitements, the found trinkets, and in my bubbling-over-with-happiness-I-couldnʻt-contain-it hours in which you have participated. And we canʻt forget the jokes. I know, you know what Iʻm talking about. 

Thank you for being there before I knew it was possible. Thank you for saving me before I knew I was lost. I am grateful for the peace we share. 

Thank you God, my Father. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A little light in the life of two

When your conversation is fragments and "noʻs" and your only exercise is grabbing a baby and pulling another one away, I suppose you are moved to write.

This post is mostly for my friend Brandi who is expecting twins, but also for those who need education in knowing friends, relatives or just some lady walking down the street who has twins. Letʻs show a little more empathy. There are books who preach, there are teachers who teach, there are lactation consultants who think they know boobs and body better than your life and tell you so. They donʻt really know your situation, and you really cannot know what they are talking about until you have twins, but at least this will give you somewhat of an idea of what they go through each day. (It is safe to say, Iʻm sure parents who have adopted children have similar discontent with ignorant bystanders.)
In no way am I complaining or using my children as an excuse. Do I want to throw a fit from time-to-time because itʻs the SAME THING EVERY DAY? Sure, but then I think of my sisters Briana and Elise who have 4 kids and a set of twins each and my cousin Meaghan who has 5 kids and 2 sets of twins, and then I realize, my life is a cake-walk to what they had/have to go through. Iʻm just telling you, the twin schedule IS the rule and you cannot mess it up or change it. If you do, it is hell for you and your husband.

Let me give you a run-down of what my day looks like:

9:30:  babies wake up, they get changed and clothed. Then, itʻs my turn.
10:00: breakfast time
11:00 milk time
11:30 I get to eat
12:00 play and probably change 2 soiled diapers during this time as well.
1:00 lunch time
1:40 milk time
2:00 nap time
2:30 This is where I get my time. I get to choose, do I exercise or clean? Or maybe half and half? Today Iʻve decided to write and maybe get in 40-45 min of cycling.
4:30 Chancey wakes up and gets to stretch a bit with me. Chancey doesnʻt sleep as long or as heavy as Vanessa. Just as long as they both have 2 hours at least, that is great!
Oh ya, I forgot about lunch for me. Oh well!
5:00 Vanessa wakes up and I start dinner. I can usually get away with them playing well together or maybe Matt has come home and he can watch them a bit before they eat.
6:00 They eat and if I plan it right, Matt and I can eat at the same time. Sometimes this works. Otherwise, they play or hang off our legs while we eat. Not as fun.
7:00 Milk and they go down for a little 1-hr nap
8:00 or 8:30 Dinner time (again)
9:00 Every other night itʻs bath night
9:30 or 10:00 Vanessa and Chancey go down for the night
10:30 I get to shower, clean up what I can and try to get to sleep before midnight.

Brandi, the best advice I got was take whatever anyone wants to give you! They are just trying to help in the way they know how! Even if you donʻt end up keeping it. (That goes for the hospital too!)

The best advice for those who want to help? Do things like clean the dishes, dust, go get groceries, hold a kid!

This schedule is, of course, when they turn about 9 mo or 10 mo. These kids were eating every 2 hours sometimes. At the beginning when I tried breast feeding, they wanted to feed every other hour. Thatʻs when I decided pumping was the route for me, and could see how much milk they were getting. That was also quite time-consuming. What am I trying to say? I think you know: your life is babies.

Matt and I figured we changed about 1,000/ month for the first little while. :O

Yes, theyʻre twins, no, they arenʻt identical. Yes I do have my hands full, no, I didnʻt know I was going to have twins. Yes, itʻs a lot of work, no, Iʻm not going to tell you if I want more children right now or any at all after twins! And if I used or if I did not use fertility is NONE of your business!