That cuteness I promised.

Thanks Aunt Marita for the cute tutu's! The girls love them. I love them! LOL They are so adorable in them.

Also Abigail's little pony tail is my favorite thing in the world. And the serious expression on her face.

I love that they're kind of playing together in the last picture.

It's hot here today. This picture was taken during better cooler times. :) I know before we know it we'll be freezing and wishing for a day like this, but today it is too hot to even really play outside. Yuck! Good thing it's laundry day.

Some notable quotes from Olivia during the trip, "Mom Old Poppy is in heaven?" Yup. "Oh, is heaven in my mouth?" Where does she even think of these things??? She also told my cousin she wasn't her friend, she was family. We like to keep those things separate around here I guess.


I know this blog is in serious need of some cuteness.

It won't be in this post.

My heart still aches so much. I feel like I've been in a whirlwind of emotions. I know Poppy is still here. I have had certain spiritual experiences letting me know this. I know his spirit is eternal.

But I am going to miss that man so much.

But I'm also so grateful Olivia will only have fond memories of Poppy. There's no chance she'll remember him bedridden. Or not knowing who she was. Or mean and nasty. Or so sick. She'll remember showing him how she jumped off the diving board. And him always giving her lollipops. If she remembers at all. They will be fond. She's a lucky girl.

I have literally so much to do today. And I just can't bring myself to do any of it. I'm hoping by writing this I am getting some of it out. And I can move on, at least with my day. My heart is so broken for Nanny. Her companion of 55 years is gone. It's just heart breaking.

And then the knowledge I have of the Atonement. Of Eternal Families. I know it will be okay. We'll all be okay. But this week has been life altering. The entire dynamic of our family has changed.

I'm going back to NJ on Friday to stay with Nanny. We'll keep her busy. My kids will make her laugh. Times like this I am so so so so grateful we were prompted to come to PA. Except I wish it were even closer.


I write.

I know this blog is desperate need of baby cuteness. That will come soon enough. Abigail has been taught all kinds of tricks since we've been here. Including how to shake her head no. Just what I need, another defiant child.

But now I need to sleep because tomorrow is Poppy's funeral. I just can't believe this is happening sometimes. I keep expecting to enter a room and see him standing there. I loved watching him hold my babies. I swear I can remember him holding me like that. I know I must have a very good memory, because I honestly do remember being held by him in the dining room of his old house, and him singing, "You are so beautiful to me...". I was never 100% certain if that was a real memory or if I just made it up in my head. Then a few years ago he sent me a music box that played that song. He told me he used to sing that to me when I was a baby.

I know death is part of life. I know it's not even the end of life. I know our spirits are eternal. And that does bring me comfort. But gosh it hurts so much. The world feels like a different place without him in it. And I guess in my world, it is. It's a paradigm shift.

Poppy told me several times of several instances he really should have been dead in Korea. One time he was in a foxhole with his best friends on Christmas Eve. He had to go to the bathroom so he got up and left. When he came back a grenade had been thrown into the foxhole and all three friends were killed. Had he stayed, of course he would have been gone too. Another time a bullet went through the head of another good friend standing next to him. Poppy happened to step out of the way at the exact right moment, so the bullet avoided going through his head as well. (He then carried that man down a mountain, and got him to the medical helicopter, and saved his life.) He questioned why so many times his life was spared. He didn't think he was better than any of his brothers who lost their life in combat. Why was he saved. And I know it was because without him I wouldn't be here! Or any of my cousins, or aunts, or even my children. And then he was granted 82 years on this earth to help shape each of us into the adults we are today. And he literally lived every single one of those days.

Did you know Poppy collapsed a lung at age 80 because he was shoveling snow for his neighbors?
He took us on vacation to Washington, DC and he was the oldest there by many years, and yet we were all struggling to keep up with him.
His feet were almost amputated because of severe frostbite. Hours before the operation the color began to come back to his feet, and they him keep them. And I'm sure in recent years he may have been wishing they had just cut them off because they were such a source of pain for him. And even with that pain he worked every single day.
The day he died he pulled weeds at his daughters house. He walked down the stairs and got into the car himself, hours before he left this life. Poppy really is my hero. I don't think I'll ever stop blogging about him, sorry.



I don't know how to begin typing the words.

Poppy died last night.

He had a stroke, and a few hours later he was gone.

As soon as I heard about the stroke I hysterically told Aaron we had to go. We had to be there. So we threw things in a suitcase, put our children in pajama's and got in the car.

After about an hour of driving, with 2 screaming kids, I started to wonder if this was the best idea. We wouldn't arrive in Middletown until after 4:00am. I highly doubted Olivia would fall asleep in the car. I know most kids fall asleep in the car... and Olivia does during the day, but at night she just won't. We've driven to Disneyland through the night and she wouldn't even close her eyes. And then I prayed and prayed that she would fall asleep. And then the feeling came. Turn around. Go home. Put your babies in their beds, and get a good night's sleep. You will need it. I called and talked to my mom and Nanny. They relieved me of my guilt, and agreed. Go home. Sleep. Nothing I could do there. It was a really really hard decision, despite the peace I felt.

I got the call at 2:30am that Poppy had died. We wouldn't have made it. So now we are getting ready to go.

I don't know what to say. I love that man so so so much. My earliest memories are of him. Him teaching me how to blow bubbles. How to color in the lines. How to salute the flag (before I could walk, if the stories are true). How to peel potatoes. How to pump on a swing. How to jump rope. How to tell time. How to shoot a basketball. How to cook gravy. And the best home fries ever. And the best sloppy joes. And clams. He was a good cook. He taught me how to drive (although last time we were in a car, he asked me to please not tell anyone that, if anyone asks "my grandmother taught me how to drive"). He taught me to love my country. He taught me to be selfless. He taught me charity. And hard work. And truly caring for other people (even if at times it seems like meddling... it's always because of how much you care). He taught me that true joy comes from serving others. The woman I am today, is so shaped by the man he was.

Aaron through tears last night asked me if I remember when he took us deep sea fishing. How I didn't get a single bite. And then Poppy got a bite, and he handed me his pole so I could reel it in. It sounds so silly. But I mean you sit there with a fishing pole for hours, no one getting anything, and then you finally do... and you hand your pole to your granddaughter next to you, for the only exciting part of the whole trip. And that encompasses who he was. He would rather see me enjoy it than enjoy it himself.

When I turned 12 I got my own bedroom in the basement that my dad built for me. My Poppy painted it. Truth is, I hated it. I hated the color. And the pattern. But then I laid there and realized he did it all himself. By hand. He painted a border around my room. And every time I laid there and looked at it, I thought of his hard work, and I felt so loved. And the truth is, then I loved it.

I've written about his service to the country before. He was a marine from the Korean War. From the Chosin Reservoir. If you look it up you can learn about one of the hardest battles our country ever fought, and certainly the coldest. Poppy told me stories about that war that will be with me forever. I am forever proud of him and his service. I love to tell people Semper Fi, and feel so proud to say my grandfather was a Marine.

He once brought me a picture of a tombstone. All that was written on it was "Poppy". He told me that he would love that. It is so interesting me that all this man has done in his life, that is how he would want to be remembered. "Poppy".


Nobility in Womanhood.

I am a member of Relief Society. This is our theme. I really never took time to study it before. I did the other day and the words keep coming back to my mind.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have
meaning, purpose, and direction . As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood. This is my favorite sentence right now. I think it's interesting that we have to find the nobility. And lately I feel like I have to try really hard to find it. I mean let's face it, how noble do you feel with at least 3 different bodily fluids somewhere on you by the end of the day, none of which are your own? How can I feel noble when I have baby food in my hair, am functioning on 5 hours of sleep, and haven't put on makeup in days? Womanhood doesn't feel very joyful when my hormones are raging from breastfeeding (or weening from breastfeeding) and the artificial hormones from the Mirena?

But then I think about my pregnancy with Olivia. How magical everything was. How elated I felt. That my body was creating another. That soon I would give birth. I would bring another person into this world. I tell ya, that feels pretty noble. Being able to nourish my child, even after she was born, seeing her grow, knowing she was thriving because of me... that was pretty joyful. Sometimes I need to remember those times. They get kind of lost among the less noble day to day of butt wiping.

But I'm realizing it's all noble and joyful. Not just for the cuteness, and the heartwarming moments of the day to day, but knowing I am raising a future generation. Heavenly Father is trusting me with these sweet little spirits. My mother-in-law has 8 amazing kids. She is always complimented on her kids and how wonderful they are. She told me she always gives the same response, "They came from Heaven that way, I'm just trying not to screw them up!" It made me laugh, but I think about that a lot. I am seriously just trying so hard not to screw them up!

Anyway this got kind of random. But really I am finding nobility in booger wiping, and joy in shrinking breasts. At least working on it. :)


Weight Issues.

I like this blog to be all about my kids and keeping in touch with everyone since we're all spread out now. Occasionally I like to ramble. This is one of those times. I often toy with the idea of creating another blog for my rambling. But then I'd have to think of a name and I'm really not good at that. So if you are only interested in my kiddo's feel free to skip this post.

I started Jazzercise yesterday morning. They have a scale there. I stepped on it this morning and I weigh 226lbs. I can not believe I am posting this for the world to see, but I need to start doing something. I'm hoping by documenting it here it will help motive me... or something. Anyway, that number really depresses me. For one thing, it is heavier than I was at THE END of my pregnancy with Olivia. For another... well it just keeps going up. I am losing my mind. I got a Mirena IUD put in about 3 months ago. I was 216 when I got it put in. Or somewhere around there. So I think part of it is that. Weight gain is a side effect. And I'm afraid maybe I've used that as an excuse. So Jazzercise is seriously a good workout for me right now. Maybe it is super easy and I'm just way out of shape... but I sweat my butt off. I push myself through that class. I plan on going 5 days a week. And I'm going to try really hard to eat better. To just be aware of what I'm eating. To have self control. I am going to weigh myself every Friday. And then I'll post it here.

Anyone have any tips? I mean I KNOW how to lose weight. Eat fewer calories than burned. Drink lots of water. So besides that. Like how to stick with it. Or any tricks that make doing that any easier?


We are getting more settled. Yesterday was productive. I am so proud of myself because I have stayed on top of the laundry for 2 weeks! I think that might be a record, and I want to keep the streak alive. We got the office area set up. And I finally got the girls' clothes mostly put away. Hung a few more pictures. Kids are starting to act more normal, less cranky. I think they are settling in nicely. And then last night...

Last night I fell asleep a little after 11, or so. Then 5 short hours later Olivia woke up crying, which woke up Abigail. Olivia was soaking wet with pee. I changed her. She said she was scared, so I let her lay in our bed. All she did was talk and squirm and demand that I tickle her, and scratch her back. So she got kicked out. Which woke up Abigail again. Who was poopy. I don't mind changing diapers all that much, but at 4am, no thank you! So get her back in bed. Lay with Olivia for a few minutes, really just to keep her quiet so Abigail doesn't wake up again. Then I leave and it's 5am. What's the point of trying to sleep now? And good thing because less than 30 minutes later, Olivia is up again (don't think she ever actually fell back to sleep) claiming to be hungry.

It's going to be a long day.


Hanging in There

First full week in Erie. Maybe it's been longer than that. I know it has, but my brain won't let me think hard enough to figure out how long we've been here.

So I'll focus on what I can remember. Last Sunday I had a really bad headache. The next day I felt alright, but still not great. Tuesday I was starting to feel pretty crappy. Just blah. Same for Weds. But also my throat started hurting. And the fever. Oh wait I already posted about my strep throat. Anyway so that was that. I got some antibiotics in me and by Friday even, I was feeling much better. Still not quite 100% but worlds and worlds better.

We've gotten so much done. And still have so much to do. Yesterday we did a little more unpacking and went to the beach. It's a lake beach. But it's still way fun. Olivia absolutely loves it.
Today is the first Sunday we haven't gone to someone's house for dinner in pretty much our entire marriage. I didn't know what I was going to do with myself, until I took Olivia for a drive and she puked all over herself in the car.

I'm in the middle of cleaning that up right now. Well I guess not middle, since she's already showered, redressed and sleeping... the car seat is taken apart and in the washing machine. Cleaning puke is really the worst part of this whole mom gig. Now I'm not sure if she's getting sick or just chugged her juice too fast. She's been acting pretty normal. I guess time will tell, and I'm really seriously hoping it was the juice.

Abigail got another tooth. On the bottom. That makes 5. She's been pretty happy.

Aaron starts school tomorrow. We are excited. And now I'm back to cleaning puke.


worst day ever

The past few days I have been feeling pretty crappy. Thought it was just stress from moving + humidity I'm not so used to... I've been trying to tough it out. But hard to ignore a fever peaking at just over 102, and a throat hurting so bad I wince every time I have to swallow. So this morning drive Aaron to school for orientation. Come home and look up doctors. Can't find my phone. Check my email and find out Aaron accidentally took my phone. Drive back to school get phone, call a dr. Find out they can't see me for 3 days. They recommend a walk in place. Get lost going there. Cry. Drive around in circles crying. Olivia pees her pants. Cry some more. Wait an hour to see doctor. Olivia kicks an old lady, and keeps lifting her dress exposing her comando bottom bc I didn't want to leave wet panties on her. And I forgot diaper bag. Finally see the doctor. Tell him my symptoms. He said sounds like a typical sore throat, gargle with salt water, etc. I tell him no way am I paying 100 bucks to hear that, and asked him to do a strep test. He did. It came back positive. Hopefully I'll start feeling better soon, because seriously this is the worst. And hopefully my kids don't get it. Pray for that miracle please. Trying to take care of my kids while my throat is burning and my fever is peaking at 102... blaaahhh. Just terrible.

Almost through today. I can go pick up Aaron in an hour. Light at the end of the tunnel.


Home at last

Well we're here. We've had a ton of help getting settled and I'm so so grateful. And now today I have a sore throat and fever. Started last night actually. I'm hoping tomorrow I'll wake up feeling all better. Kids are adjusting great. They're also having to adjust to sharing a room, which has gone worlds better than I was imagining. I just wrote a detailed paragraph about their sleep but just deleted because I don't want to jinx it!

Anyway, we love our apartment. And next time I'm in AZ if I'm not at least 10 lbs lighter it will not be for lack of running up and down 3 flights of stairs multiple times a day.

Right now I'm sick, and Aaron is taking great care of his girls. I love him :)