Lessons at the Royal Gorge.

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

We’re facing some huge mountains and even deep valleys in our lives. (pun intended with this post, but I’m also quite serious) ‘The mountains’ being decisions we’re having to make and ‘the valleys’ representing the areas we have yet to face that we are afraid to, or “haven’t had time” to. We are weighed down by life’s punches and blows, the sudden ones and the old blows that still ache with each breath. Today, we just knew we had to get out – literally.  Where better to run to in Colorado than to the mountains? It’s always our favourite escape. We begin our trek usually not knowing where we are going – letting go of (almost) all control (which is why Ted drives in such circumstances), we drive until we decide where to go and what to do. More often than not, our kiddos fall asleep within the first 20-30 minutes, we roll our windows down to take in the fresh air and just listen to music.

After some time, one of the two of us speak the vulnerable, powerful words that carry so much…”I’m so sorry…”and reach for the other’s hand. Hot tears stream down our cheeks.

Here we are again, and again, and again.

So much pain and suffering shoved to the side, overlooked, or perhaps avoided, raising it’s ugly head in words spoken to one another. And life, oh life hasn’t been gracious to stop to say “Hey, it’s okay to grieve. Let’s talk. Let’s cry. Let’s scream. Let’s write. Let’s take time to heal.”

It’s been brutal. And boy, are we done.  But not done with LIFE and with LIVING. We are done with SUFFERING. Suffering, not just due to the losses we have had, but mainly the suffering due to the choices we’ve made along the way. Ones of avoidance, choices made to choose the busyness of life so not to feel and face the valleys, the deep and dark places that terrify us.

The first few months of this year have been incredibly painful, filled with sickness after sickness, hospitalization of Everly, and amidst all of that the loss of another baby (I would entering my 2nd trimester this week). From the outside looking in, we appear to be okay. And it makes sense why people around us have thought we’ve even moved on. Appearance… oh my. What a joke, am I right? How many times do we (you?) lie through your teeth “I’m doing good!”? We just keep pushing through and going and going and going. But is that strength? We know, we are anything but strong right now. We had given up just two weeks ago. We wanted to call it quits on everything. And those moments, our “rock bottom”, have led us to this moment here…

Now, we are making choices for our family that aren’t easy (the mountains) which don’t look anything like we’d imagined, or planned for. Or where we’d imagined. It actually might seem like a rather simple life, from the outside looking in. Or like we’ve given up on our dreams, our calling even. But we know this is not, and that this is the first time we are deliberate in choosing to face this “valley” that we haven’t fully faced, and that is no small or simple or weak thing. It is strong to decide this path, though it’s more painful and requires more faith (for us).

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

I stood today and looked down into the depths of this gorge. And my stomach sank due to fear (especially with my kids near!) yet once I recognized how truly safe we were, the fear naturally dissolved and I began to see the beauty everywhere. There was beauty even in the depths where the river raged below. I almost gasped, it was so stunning. I suddenly realized it was no coincidence that we were there. I felt like this was a picture of where we are at: A picture of us, facing this gorge, this valley and feeling fear as we look down. Fear of falling and being unable to get back up, or worse. Fear of the unknown in facing the raging river. But from above I can see there is also beauty below. Though it will be difficult to crawl back into that valley and face these things, the beauty that will meet us amidst all of this pain and fear, is undeniably healing.

Now, if you had told me I would get this kind of an amazing picture, just even a week ago, I would have scoffed, honestly. I have put up some major barriers in my relationship with God in my search for answers. Searching for peace and understanding in every season of life and feeling as though I come up empty handed each time, or worse – suffering more loss. And that is painful and confusing. I want to be in a place where I can trust Him wholeheartedly, again. And with this picture, I feel like once I can do what He’s wanting us to do – to truly face this valley – our fear will begin dissolve, our trust will begin to build up again.

He’ll walk us through this valley. He will be with us.

And perhaps, for now, that is my answer. That He will be with us each step of the way.

(taken with my iphone)

 And for these little eyes that are watching, and looking into the gorge but not truly knowing what their momma and daddy are giong to be facing (and honestly, I don’t want them to fully know!)… I want to do this for all of us. I want to show them that though you will face these gorges, and have to walk through these valleys, you need to and you WILL come out alive.

We are more than conquerers with Him.

 We can do this.

However difficult and painful. However long it takes.IMG_4959

Time to face this valley.

//

I’ve written posts with talk of this kind of having hope to face this. Talk of facing giants and valleys and mountains and fears, etc, etc, etc… but this time we actually have steps in place to help us. Such as long term grief and marital counseling for this year. Which is a first, the longest stretch we did was almost 2 months, and it was our healthiest 2 months since the loss of Eisley. Grief and lingering sorrow have truly seeped into every area of our lives: health – we are both the most unhealthy we’ve ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s seeped into our drive, our passions, into who we are and how we live.

I told Ted today, for the first time since Eisley passed away, I have felt it is time to move forward. I need to figure out how to say goodbye, which is something I haven’t been able to let go and to do yet. Almost 5 years later… I don’t know what this will look like, but I am ready to move forward and begin my trek through this valley.

Thankful that Jesus is walking before us.

Thank you for reading this novel. :)

-J

Happily {Ever} After – Everly’s First Birthday

IMG_4567I went a little “punny” with Everly’s first birthday. Happily Ever After, ONE(ce) Upon A Time.  Whimsical, vintage, princess’y party! (Party details and DIYs below!)L30A0531 Our sweet girl! She didn’t know what to think of all of the attention at first, but soon she warmed up and became the “Belle of the ball” and LOVED the attention and ooohing and awwwing over her. She recently learned to really walk beyond just 5 steps and now walks everywhere!

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EverlyFirstBirthday_collage5BEAUTIFUL GIRL!
EverlyFirstBirthday_collage6The headband is a Claire’s brand that I stumbled upon at Toys R Us randomly! I painted the flower teal to match for her party :)
EverlyFirstBirthday_collage7Cake time!!L30A0594EverlyFirstBirthday_collage8Probably my favourite moment was her smashing her entire face into the cake! HEHE!

L30A0675Oh how I love this photo!

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(above photo taken with iphone)L30A0643… and then she bit her finger! awww.

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My sweet and me.

EverlysFirstBirthdayMy best friends and their families drove down to celebrate with us! My friend Chey (in green) is 18 weeks pregnant with her first and we are pretty much freaking out over it!IMG_4550Ever and her best friend Poe (exactly 4 months apart)IMG_4565

(above photo: taken with iPhone)

Happy first birthday, Everly Selah!

PARTY DETAILS BELOW:IMG_4569 Almost every piece of decor you saw at the party, we already had and were using as decor somewhere in our home! The little clock you see was a hand-me-down from my madre. Most of this decor was in Everly’s room already. The mirror was a splurge – I found it at a flea market in town for $8!

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I upcycled a jar into a pretty little straw holder. Lace, hot glue and some string for a bow. The fabric you see as a tablecloth is vintage material I’ve had for years. I actually had it tacked up as curtains in Everly’s room :)

The owl above was thrifted before every was born and painted gold.

Her “smash cake” was just a muffin I frosted. I might be crafty and love throwing parties… but I am no Betty Crocker. Hence, no baking for this party. :)

Everly'sFirstBirthday_3I used a lot of golden paint for this party (well, really only one acrylic bottle!)

I painted the scrabble display pieces gold, as well as the little wooden keys I snagged from Hobby Lobby.

CAKE STAND DIY: This was a super easy and fun project! I bought two unique wine glasses/goblets from Goodwill for $.99 each. I then bought the two plates you see on top of them (which came with tea cups and also were already pink and gold! $2 for each set. SCORE!) I painted the glass with two coats of gold paint. Let it dry and then I super glued the plates to the glasses! So simple and you have cute “cake stands”!

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I used a vintage suitcase we had as decor.

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I made each girly a little crown out of lace. I modge podged the lace, let it dry and then painted each side golden. I molded them into circles for crowns, and hot glued them to stay together. I then looped a piece of string through so parents could put it on their kiddo.

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(above photo: taken with iPhone)

I took a golden frame from The Dollar Tree and hot glued the fabric border to the outside. I then added lace and a cute picture of Everly inside!

10615994_939359656074244_552055445537464960_nIMG_4566The pictures you see hung up all around for the party were taken with instagram and printed with Sticky 9 (formally known as Sticky Gram).

Everly'sFirstBirthday_4I actually only used a glue gun for this project and the other banners you’ve seen, no sewing (which is great as my sewing machine is currently broken!) The DIY you can find here.

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For party favors I used burlap bags I found 50% off at Hobby Lobby and filled them with dollar store barrettes and wands, playdoh and the little armor hands you see behind, for the boys of the party!

I might say this every party, but this was truly one of the funnest parties to plan and decorate for! LOVED IT ALL!

IMG_4544Happy birthday, beautiful girl!

Our scare with “Ev’y bear”

We had a scary week with our “Ev’y bear” (as Auntie Chey calls her) last week. She started to show signs of being sick Sunday. By Monday she was coughing constantly and I took her (and Shailo) to our pediatrician. And they sent us home saying Shailo needed his nebulizer but nothing much about Ever. To be honest, I left that day more worried about Shailo than Everly. I couldn’t have imagined how badly the next few days would be.

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By Tuesday evening she was so ill she couldn’t keep food or drink down. By wednesday afternoon she was lethargic and hadn’t peed/pooped since the night before. I couldn’t get her to nurse or eat anything. At that point we knew it was time to take her to be seen. I drove to Urgent Care (to be honest, I just didn’t realize how bad she really was otherwise I would have gone straight to the hospital). They knew right away that she was dehydrated and that they’d be sending us to the ER. Before we left they tested her for RSV. It came back positive within minutes. We went to the ER and again she was seen immediately. In her case since she was dehydrated and her RSV was determined to be bronchiolitis- which is inflammation of her small airways, but they couldn’t tell by X-ray if she had pneumonia or not due to dehydration. It was confusing, but basically once she was hydrated we would either see her begin to get better (RSV) or worse (Pneumonia) and then in that case they would put her on antibiotics immediately.

We were driven by ambulance to Children’s Hospital. Her pulse ox levels were very low and they put her on oxygen immediately. They were frustrated the previous hospital hasn’t already done so.

 

IMG_3873I had a few surreal moments one in the ER and then again at the hospital, where I felt similar, terrible, almost physically painful feelings of fear like I felt when pregnant with our Eisley-girl. I feared we were losing our Ever-girl too. (Ted couldn’t be there with us, which looking back, I wish we could have just made it work because of how terrible it was. It was too complicated… our boys were also sick and we didn’t want to bring that into other families homes!)

Having already lived the nightmare of losing a child once, it was hard to visit similar fears. Like beyond hard. My words cant even express the fear. I had to buckle down and just ride it all out as each twist and turn came to us for Ever! I didn’t want her to sense my fear, so I would sing to her, hum or try to calm her with kisses and soothing words.IMG_3663One of the most difficult things to watch was when they had to put an IV in my baby. The poked, and poked, and poked. She was so dehydrated it was difficult to put an IV in. I held her down through the entire thing. They poked both feet, both arms, one hand… she was so stressed she her clench her jaw, stopped breathing and begin to shake. After everything settled down, and I had a few moments with her to myself. I just held her and cried. Everything inside of me wanted to flip out. My amazing hubby made me snap out of my panicked state. He told me I had to keep it together for Everly. Any other time, I would have probably flipped out at his comment, but this time I just knew he was right (and this was all on the phone).

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Ted wasn’t able to be there with me at all. It was “only” all of 3 days but it felt like an eternity. It was terrible, and lonely and incredibly traumatic to be honest. I felt helpless and I knew that all I could do for Ever was to just hold her on my shoulder, the only position she would let me hold her due to her discomfort and tubes, etc. She never got used to the oxygen in her nose or the IV in her arm. They bothered her until the nurses took them out, honestly. Poor, sweet girl was SO stressed out of her mind during her stay in the hospital. IMG_3871 The first night in the hospital, Everly was exhausted and would fall asleep only to be woken up and checked on every 30 min and then an hour. She was miserably tired. I even “snuck” into her bed once, just to get her to sleep quickly. I couldn’t sleep that night, mostly due to the situation. How can you sleep when your baby is lying so sick? And see that crib above? Everly wanted nothing to do with it.

After an another exhausting day of little sleep I told Ted on the phone that we couldn’t keep going at this rate. They had volunteers, every once and a while, pop in to see if they could sit with Everly. And occasionally I would say “yes” just so I could simply pee. Once time I actually left the room for a coffee. I couldn’t leave her long, knowing how stressed and confused she was already…I just couldn’t walk away.

Finally the second night, I told the nurse I was going to sleep in the bed with her. And they allowed it.

At that point, when I crawled into bed with her.. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to function the next day without just a few hours of sleep. She needed sleep and she could recover better. I just kept wondering how on earth can she recover when she was stressed more than she’d ever been in her life! How was that healthy for her?

And that night… Everly slept SO well. A total of 6 hours off and on, which Ted laughed at, but still it was more than the 2.5hrs the night before!
IMG_3582Sure enough, the next morning she woke rested, she had slept AND nursed throughout the night. She even took her meds without getting sick and had finally peed A LOT which was good sign! She sat up and played for that morning and was beginning to be like her happy, smiley self. 10987389_10152722782831989_8919462880255251472_nBy Friday morning, not even 48 hours later, she was able to get the oxygen off and the Pediatrician told us that afternoon she could go home if she was still on the “up and up”! She said since she was hydrated and no longer needed oxygen, she would likely heal better at home in her own enviroment. I agreed and we were SO ready to get home! I felt nervous leaving, but also felt like I knew the signs now to bring her back if need be.
IMG_3661Above is Ever about to leave the hospital! WOOHOO! The blood tests she had done also revealed she’s severly anemic. So we now give her drops twice daily in juice (or applesauce, etc) like it’s pictured above, until her iron levels are better. Chase had a similiar problem, so that I am not too worried about. 10994585_10152727324571989_3574779648869888800_nValentine’s Day (well, even still!) I had moment after moment of gratefulness. When you suddenly picture the worst case scenario happening (my mind always goes there since Eisley’s death) and then you end up doing so much better than imagined. I can’t even really express how incredible and amazing that is. I feel more aware and grateful for her more than ever before. Above picture: I was washing dishes with her in the bumbo, like our normal every day life, and it just hit me… SHE’S HERE AND SHE’S OKAY. I cried and picked her up and snuggled her the rest of the evening. 1508181_10152727469696989_3150643600025849048_nIn the back of my mind, I’m always afraid of losing another one of my precious babies. And last week really took me, took us, back to memories and places we’d rather not visit again. I am so thankful our sweet Ev’y Bear is still here with us, and thriving! And guess what? One week later and she is 100%. You would never guess she was so sick she was hospitalized just last week! And this little miss has her 1st birthday one week from today!

Two things truly resonated within me this week and I want to cling to them, in seasons of darkness and light:

1. I am a good momma. I’d give anything for them. I feel like God really spoke to my heart this last week and comforted and encouraged me along the way. I don’t want to sound vain, the truth is, I’ve never felt like a good mother. This last week was really interesting for my heart. I want to move forward in confidence in this. I am a good momma to my babies.

2. Good things DO happen to our family. We can’t live fatalistically anymore. I have struggled believing good things for our family lately. I feel like we’re drowning most of the time, so many losses and changes… and the beginning of this year has been incredibly painful and confusing already. I feel that part of the “we can do this” in me just gave up. I was tired of struggle, still am, but I feel energized again. We had a miscarriage already this year, I was “just” almost 7 weeks along. But the grief and pain, stirred up and new, has been so difficult to swallow. Then with Everly so sick I thought “what next?” and “This is our life.” Ted and I have both felt that after almost 5 years of struggle in grief after loss, and then everything in between, we’ve “guarded” our hearts from believing good things like we used to. Walls have gone up in many areas of our lives. Fear based and guarded to have a sense of “protection” and maybe to feel prepared for the next thing to go wrong.

We don’t want to live this way anymore. I don’t know what this looks like. But we’re just going to take it a day at a time. Believing and hoping for good and beautiful things for out family!

Paper Heart Photoshoot – Everly Style

We have a silly, fun “tradition” of sorts each Valentine’s. Since Chase’s first Valentine’s Day we have done a paper heart photo-shoot. And it just became a little fun tradition ever since.  Well, this year, Little Miss Ever joined in :) Be ready to MELT. The beautiful dress she is wearing was made for her by my Grandma, Ev’s “GG-ma”!

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 After our scare with her last week (I have a blog post in the works about it now), these just feel especially special to me. I am so thankful she is doing so much better now!

I couldn’t find any from last year, I’m not sure if we even did it. I was huge pregnant with Ever (she’s 1 in 2 weeks!) so maybe that was why :)valentines_overtheyears (1) Chaseyboy in years past!valentinesdaycollage_overtheyears (1)

Shailo ages 3 months and 15 months.

Just a fun little tradition.

Thanks for stopping by :)

(Almost) One years worth of cuddles!

I am a lover of documenting moments in our lives. The beautiful, the messy, the posed, the candid, the hilarious, the teary, etc.

Well. this miniseries of photos wasn’t planned. These are moments that are very much real in our lives. Our bed almost always has one, most of the time two kiddos in it by dawn. When the sun rises, Chaseyboy wakes from his own bed and comes to ours to snuggle. It’s a family ordeal. One that some nights require a lot of patience and less sleep than one should have, however I know this isn’t going to last forever… and to be honest, I love it.

Below are pictures of the last (almost) year of morning cuddles with their sissy. I snapped one recently (the very last photo) and decided to look back because I remembered snapping others similar. I put them together and my heart “burst”.

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Chase 4, Everly 1 month, Shailo 2

 

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Chase 4, Everly 4 months, Shailo 2IMG_2977-0Chase 5, Everly 7 months, Shailo 2

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Chase 5, Everly 11 months, Shailo 3

And yes, you bet I will make them do a similar pose when they are adults!

Breakthrough.

 If you’ve ever been in Colorado during the winter season, you know that it can snow one day and melt the next. In fact, it often snows and melts in the same day. True story. And also why I love Colorado: It may snow, but the sun isn’t too far behind. However, with that sunshine means quickly melted sledding hills!  Chase has been wanting to go, but I haven’t had the energy to get out on those days snowy enough to sled. Last week, we finally got out, even though the hill near our home was already melting! We made it work, and the kiddos had a blast!

This day was exactly what our family needed. A little bit of sunshine and fun. As you may have read in my most recent post, it has been an incredibly difficult season for our family. More so than I want to share (at least for now).

This day was a deliberate decision to get out and do something that would impact our family in a healthy way… yes, even something as simple as sledding. I am determined to make many more decisions that are healthy for our family, despite being so “busy” or down in this funk that this momma has been in.

This is our year of breakthrough. I believe it. And this day, I felt it. Here’s to many more…SleddingCollage_1

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SleddingCollage_4Everly’s first time sledding :)

SleddingCollage_2SleddingCollage_6Sledding and snowball fights, but of course! SleddingCollage_5

Please note the boys’ faces behind me sledding! (above)

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It was such a memorable time! Thanks photographer hubby for some fab pics of that day.

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We are about to enter the “snowiest” time of our year until spring, so hopefully that means more times sledding!

Bug Museum

We visited a bug museum with Chase’s homeschool co-op just last week. It was incredible and slightly creepy :) The boys loved it. Here are some photos from that day!
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Chase’s classmates and teacher Miss Isabel 
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Obviously the butterflies caught my eye the most. I could have taken pictures of every display though, they were honestly so amazing! IMG_3236

If you know me at all, posting this photo is such a big deal :) Reminds me of my time in a Thai village!  Notice how close Chaseyboy’s hand is… EEEEEP!IMG_3237

My fave of the day. IMG_3146

The exhibits were truly beautiful! We were blessed to be able to tag along! Even miss Ever hung out, literally in the Ergo, during the field trip.

If you happen to be local, or in colorado and looking for some unique, fun and reasonable things to do with your kiddos, check out the  This link to the May Museum!

The part where I gave up.

Until 2014, I have prided myself in being “adaptive”.  5.5 years ago I had our first baby after what (at the time, before having lost a baby) I felt was the worst birth/labor ever., 14 months later we lost our Eisley-girl, 14 months after that the birth of our surprise/gift Shailo, 28 months later we had our sweet Everly!

Aside from having 4 BEAUTIFUL babies… we have moved 8 times, one of which was overseas (during my pregnancy with Everly) where I attended a counseling school. We have each had jobs simultaneously, or we have struggled along as Ted had worked his bum off. Add college for Ted for 3 of those years. Add unpredictable grief. Add all of life’s in betweens…

I felt I had (we had) taken the ebbs and flows of life pretty darn well …*pat pat pat*…

Until 2014… we entered 2014 having just moved back from Amsterdam to no home, nothing but a few boxes of memorabilia in storage. Our plans of moving to Alaska suddenly changed and we found ourselves living with family… again. (They are amazing thankfully, we were so blessed!) We had Everly just shy of 2 months into the new year, and that was INCREDIBLE. We added baby number 3 (4th baby, really. … will I ever be able to just be okay saying the number of kiddos that are with me? Probably not….) and Ted had to go back to work just a few days later. We also went through the process of finding and buying a home. Many  5 hour drives (round trip) to visit homes, and then finally at the end of May we moved and have since planted some roots.

We have a home…

And then it happened… the adaptive, roll-with-the-punches Jami snapped this fall. I have lost it.  I guess I had huge expectations that we would now have time to process the dark times of our life in a healthy way… FINALLY. And that we would have more time as a family period. But honestly, our life is so insanely busy right now, that we barely have had time to process everyday life let alone the really gnarly parts.

Also the whole “keeping the me in mommy…” I haven’t done but maybe 5 things for myself this fall, like blogging, it’s been way too long! Normally by the beginning of a new year I share a post with beautiful moments throughout our year and also a new word for our year. I’m really not in a place to do that right now. My positivity is really quenched. Maybe someday soon, or maybe this is as good as it is going to get this time around. And I’m okay with that…

This is just a season in our lives, one that I know I will look back on and be so grateful for A) making it out alive and B) I hope to make it out a stronger person … and as a stronger family. But I guess I’m kind of over the surviving and I really want to deal with the fact that we. have. lost our. child. Our Eisley-girl.. I want to STOP and just BE sometimes.

It’s ugly, it’s messy, it’s painful. I’m unbearably miserable to be around (Ted basically pushed me out the door to have time alone and to write).  I go to bed feeling guilty and I wake feeling overwhelmed…wondering how I can keep putting my family through this debilitating depression, anxiety and anger. I wish someone could shake me and scream “get ahold of yourself woman!” and I’d just simply snap out of it. But i know it’s not the simple.

I feel guilt and an ache inside when I look at my beautiful little girl as a smile brightens her face… this twinge of guilt knowing that if I continue down this path, I will look back someday, and even now, and realize what a precious time in her life that I just allowed myself to survive, instead of truly live, breathe and enjoy  these precious and fleeting moments, like I used to.

For the first time since I’ve been a mother, and particularly since we’ve lost Eisley, I have completely lost myself… even physically look in the mirror and I cannot believe my eyes. Not just the weight, but my actual eyes, seem different. You know that saying “Your eyes are the window to your soul” … it sounds dramatic but it’s almost like even my body has had enough of me trying to hold everything together over these years. It’s like screw being adaptive! Let’s face this! Every season of life we’ve entered, even when it felt impossible I always been this “I’ve got this” person and I just did it. I don’t even know how, i just thought “Well, I can’t give up” and I (we) made it.

I’ve shared briefly and vaguely on the blog about my struggle with depression. But never this transparent. Perhaps because of the stigma attached to mental illness. And even as I write that “mental illness”, I cringe. It’s like I feel I’m saying “I’m weak” but in reality I know just how strong I’ve had to be. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. I have seen MANY family and friends walk through depression and they are some of the strongest people I know.

I hide it because frankly I feel ashamed.. I feel like there is this Jami everyone thinks they know, but that’s a version of me I want people to see. But even that facade is beginning to crumble. I find myself less and less able to hide… especially in a community where you are around people all. of. the. time. I want to hide away in our home, but I actually can’t, like it’s not even a possibility due to our schedules. Which maybe is a blessing in disguise (no). But I want to just hide away from the world. I don’t want people to see me failing and falling apart. (Yet, here I am sharing! HA!)

This is a part of my journey and my process. It isn’t for attention or for people to feel sorry for me. This is just me. I want to write it out loud (and believe me this isn’t everything). I also want others who struggle with depression and anxiety and anger to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. No one wants to share this part of themselves. We always want to share the parts we feel we have all together, or appear to have figured out. I have a deep respect for those who are humble and honest with where they are at. It is beautiful to come together in these difficult and dark valleys as well as the mountain top experiences as well.

I think we often fall trap to the lie that if we share these things people will run from us or worse, stay and say something christian cliche when all I want to do is scream Do you not know the same Jesus I do?! He walked through the messy, the gnarly. I know I feel weary of the runners and cliche words hence sharing very little until now. (Unfortunately I have been a runner or a cliche talking fool myself at times!)

I didn’t make a huge list of goals this year, like last year and the years before. I actually have made very few (and that was only with the encouragement of my girl Britt!)

This fall I started believing that I just can’t do this anymore and to be honest, ALL of the members of my family have felt that. Jami – the me, the wife, the friend, the momma, the homemaker, etc…. she’s given up.

But I can’t stay here… I want to start believing that I can again even when it feels like I can’t.

Yet, I also want to be real and honest with where I am at and work through the things I need to as they come and even the moments that have past and are the darkest.

And I want to be gentle with myself along the way (I’m the hardest on myself…)

I also want to do more of the things that are me and that I love and miss.

This is a declaration…

And I’m saying it with faith because I truly don’t know how to get back up from here… but I WILL.

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For my wounded/confused/amazing husband, for my beautiful (probably traumatized) kiddos… for me.

Here’s to a year of BREAKTHROUGH …  here’s to 2015.

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas has become my favorite holiday since we’ve had kiddos.

It just seems so much more magical and joyous seeing Christmas through their eyes.

I also have loved creating traditions as a new and growing family and even carrying on traditions from our own upbringings.

This December I decided to lay aside a few traditions and we did the traditions that felt effortless and fun, but not an ounce overwhelming. In years past, I found myself to caught up and overwhelmed by too many activities. My deciding factor was the moment I found myself upset, even annoyed, with my kids because of an activity advent calendar we set up that wasn’t going as “planned”. And if we didn’t do one days’ activity, I felt like I was failing.

It was ridiculous. I may pick it back up as they grow older, or maybe not.

More than anything, I want the holidays to be filled with joyous memories, not memories of momma flippin’ out (I already do enough of that :))

One of those we did keep this year was our Christmas Eve tradition of new jammies, a new book and a new game. We get dressed, drive around to see christmas lights, and then come back home for our new story, game and hot cocoa! Here are photos from that evening:

Christmas2014Collage_2 What made this Christmas especially exciting was the pink jammy’d girly pictured. Ever’s first Christmas!
Christmas2014Collage_Christmas2014Collage_3Reality struck as quickly as the camera clicks. :) christmasjammiescollage

Looking back over the years… I am in awe of Chase’s lankiness now and how quickly Shailo’s baby-boy look turned big-boy.

And my oh my, please note how {adored} Ev is by her brothers!

Shailo’s Bug Birthday!

I cannot believe this beautiful blue eyed boy is THREE.ShailosBirthday_2

ShailosBirthday_4 Our Shai is a bug-lovin’ boy! So we planned a bug party for this amazing little guy!

There weren’t a lot of DIYs for this party, it was the EASIEST party to plan and do and also one of the funnest!

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I used a cloud bed sheet as a backdrop and added pictures and shared some stats from his actual birth day.

untitled-228Basically I went really simple:

-Dollar Tree bugs (like ten packs so each kiddo could take some home and some for decor!)

-I used faux grass (also Dollar Tree) in mason jars with faux bugs

-I used little planters (pictured above) with green silverware as “grass”

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- I saved a bunch of glass jars and we were SUPER lucky because we have SO many grasshoppers in our backyard. The kiddos spent an hour (at least) collecting them! It was a blast. Even the dads had fun with that hahaha :)ShailoBirthdayCollage_1

ShailoBirthdayCollage_2-We put a little bit of dirt and bugs in the kiddos pool so they could “dig for bugs”ShailosBirthday_3

ShailoBirthdayCollage_3ShailoBirthdayCollage_4We did a “worm” cake but of course! I think he liked it ;)

It was a dirty, messy, super fun birthday that I recommend to any momma with a boy or girl who loves bugs!
ShailosBirthday_5LOVE THIS AMAZING LITTLE WILD AND CRAZY BOY!

Here’s to many more bug catchin’ years with you, Shai!