18 Months

Sweet Kennedy is finally, FINALLY 18 months old!!!! I am not excited in the least :) She's now old enough to start some sort of toddler class somewhere (what should I put her in?) and she can finally go to NURSERY!!! Muahahaha!!!!!

She's STILL toothless. She has her same bottom two teeth (thank goodness they haven't gone anywhere ;)) and all four molars. But that's it. Still absolutely no sign of any other teeth. I'm worried. I may have to take her to the dentist and see what the heck is happening. Those teeth, specifically her two top ones, are now almost a whole year behind. It really limits what foods she can eat and whatnot. So that's a problem.

But other than her maybe needing dentures (I seriously hope this is only a joke) she's perfect! Still funny, happy, and incredibly smart. I've kind of already talked about the stuff she does these days in other posts but she does something hilarious and new almost every single day and that's too much to write down. So for now I'll just say she's got the most positive, happy, and fun-loving personality. I'm not even kidding. I don't know where her easy-going personality came from. I mean, Cory and I are both fairly easy-going but she's ridiculous. In a good way. She almost always has a smile on her face. Just not at work :).

Oh and I want to document that her favorite foods are chips and salsa and popcorn. Super healthy. She also loves French fries. But I'd better stop there before things get out of hand and someone calls CPS on me.


Christmas 2012

Wow, what a wonderful Christmas!! I have to say, Christmas is so much more fun when you're a parent. Kennedy still doesn't get who Santa is and whatnot but watching the joy and excitement of her opening her gifts was so much fun! I love gift giving!!

Anyway, we woke up and I made a simple breakfast. Have you seen these on Pinterest yet?They're canned biscuit waffles...

When I first saw that I thought it looked disgusting but whoever came up with that is a genius. I use the honey butter flavored biscuits and put honey butter over them while they're still hot. They're so dang good! It's like a scone that wasn't deep fried! Plus they take one minute to make and there's no mess whatsoever. The only sucky part is opening the can of biscuits :) Anyway, we fried up some bacon to go with our "waffles" (which DID make a mess), ate, got dressed, and headed down to the front room to open gifts. Kennedy was excited to see presents and had tons of fun ripping off the wrapping paper. She did figure out after the first few that not only was tearing paper awesome, but there was a prize under it she got to keep! I wanted to let her play with each toy for a minute or two but Cory was in a hurry for some reason so we helped her towards the end.

 Giving the doggie hugs...

Then we headed up to my parents house for Christmas madness. As soon as we walked in Kennedy headed straight for the presents under my mom's tree. It was funny. The whole family sat around and passed out our gifts for one another and had lots of fun. My mom even gave us a good laugh in Collin's card. Good enough that I almost choked on my Hersey's Kiss trying to breathe.

Thanks for the presents, Dan! Someday I hope to meet you.

After all that we headed to Cory's parents house for a super yummy lunch/dinner. Cory's mom is an excellent cook anyway, but I was having one of those days where everything tastes amazing so I REALLY devoured it. After all the crap I've been eating, a salad sounded so good and his mom delivered! I probably ate the equivalent of one of those bags at the store of the salad we had with lunch haha. I had a fair helping of potatoes too. And the ham, WOW! I'm usually not a ham person. It's not my favorite but it's one I don't mind eating anyway. My mom made ham on Christmas Eve and Shirleen made ham on Christmas and both were just divine. I went back for seconds which I never do. Ok, enough about the food....

Jason and the kids weren't able to come down until the day after so we didn't do any present opening over there on Christmas. Instead we played rummy. I got to see a side of Cory's dad I've never seen before.  It was hilarious! Loved it! We also had a little fun with the box one of Kennedy's toys came in:

 Kennedy was beyond exhausted after the game and she started to melt down. I picked her up and held her and she fell asleep in my arms. That never happens so I sat there and enjoyed it.

After about 45 minutes she woke up and had a MAJOR MELTDOWN!!! I don't think I've ever seen one that's lasted that long. She wouldn't calm down so we left. She cried in the car on the way home, and for a while after we got home. She was pissed about something. But after we fed her something that wasn't crap (maybe that was it?) she got down and played with her new toys and was back to being an angel. She even went to bed willingly. Crazy bum.

Today Jason and the kids got in to town so we headed up to open presents and have another dinner with them. It was lots of fun! I think everyone enjoyed their gifts and I know it was fun to be together as a whole family again. We got new sleeping bags and we spent a while laughing our butts off watching Kennedy play in one. She'd climb in to the bottom, lay completely flat and quiet so you couldn't tell she was there, then after about 10 seconds she'd kick her legs and giggle and squeal and then lay flat and quiet again. Once and a while we'd tickle her and she'd giggle and squeal and then lay flat and quiet again and wait for the next attack. It was so dang hilarious. Her sense of humor is way beyond her years. I love it!!

Christmas was great this year! I am so grateful for the wonderful people I have in my life and for the birth of the Savior. We're looking forward to 2013 and another wonderful year of our awesome life :) Couldn't be happier! 


Stepping Back

I have had so many thoughts running through my head this past week. There are so many things I've been wanting to blog about but I just haven't. Mostly I want to write about all the cute things Kennedy does. I can't believe we scored such a fantastic child. But there have been many other things on my mind. I feel like writing things down is therapy to me but a lot of what has been bothering me is too personal to blog about without causing some sort of drama. And the world doesn't need to know my every thought. And yet, we have all types of media and social networking sites available to do just that. Facebook always says, "What's on your mind?" hmmm... do you really want to know?

The answer is no. No, you don't. And yet we still do it all the time. Something funny will happen to me throughout the day and I think, "I've got to post about that on Facebook!" or I'll take a great picture of Kennedy or our dinner and it goes straight to Instagram. Are these things bad? Absolutely not. I love having online photo albums that help me sort through my life of pictures. I love seeing pictures of friends and their lives. I love hearing about what they've been up to. But do they love that about me? Are we really concerned for each other? Are we really communicating?

Two things people have said this week have made me think about my online social life. The first involved people not asking about my family because they assumed they knew everything through Facebook. The second involves my best friend and her struggles with losing friends just because she deleted Facebook. People went ballistic! I sat and thought about it a lot. We rely on social sites as our primary source of friendship and communication. Facebook is how we communicate. Don't believe me? How many times have you heard a conversation like this:
-"How is so-and-so doing?"
-"Oh she's fine. She put something up on Facebook today about her going out with friends so she must be feeling better."

Normal, right? Facebook is our friendship database. It's the mother ship where everyone meets to collaborate. It's where information is downloaded, processed, and broadcasted. I believe there are many great and useful things about Facebook, Instagram, and other similar sites. (Probably Twitter but I have no idea how that dumb thing works). That's why I have accounts. But there are many, many downfalls to them as well, specifically Facebook. Except for your truly close friends, when was the last time you texted someone and asked how they were? When was the last time you called them?!* Because of Facebook, we are losing valuable and meaningful one-on-one conversations and relationships. We spend our time finding out everything we can about everyone instead of finding out the truly important things about those we care about. It's warped our sense of humanity!

One of my biggest complaints this past week was the constant posting and reposting of the pictures and stories of the shooting victims in Connecticut. I know people want to stay informed and want to show their support, but within a day it became trendy and to me, disrespectful. Getting twenty thousand "likes" on a picture of their little baby isn't going to make the family feel better. Prayers, donations, and above all, PRIVACY would have helped get them through this hard time. But because our lives are almost entirely online, our society thinks that "likes" and "shares" are the way to support and care for people in need. It's not. Online communication cannot continue to be our soul source of contact with those around us. Not to mention the time we're spending away from those we actually could be talking to while we check social networking sites and ignore our surroundings. But that's a blog for another time.

I realized this week just how much my life does focus on online communication and relationships. It bothered me to discover that. I still believe these sites have great purposes and so I'm not going to be drastic and go off the grid. I'll especially never delete my blog. But it's time to refocus my efforts on the humane way to communicate. It's time to actually talk to people and find out what's going on in their lives that they choose not to share on Facebook. It's time to be a real friend.

So, I've had lots on my mind. Many things that I would never have shared with social media, but especially now. I don't need to create my own form of "The Truman Show". I need to step back. I need to get offline and live my life and spend time with people who are around me. Not social network. Look out, world! I'm about to have a lot more free time. :)  Unless of course Kennedy does something awesome, then it's a freaking slide show.

*I'm the pot calling the kettle black. I NEVER call people because I simply hate talking on the phone more than most things in life.



Cory and want to get a dog in the spring. We've argued for months now about what type of breed to get. I love shelties because I grew up with them and they were GREAT dogs. But they're extremely hairy and bark a lot. Cory grew up with huskies, which I also like, but they're huge and very strong. We both love German Shepherd's but again, they're big. I'd love a small Morkie but Cory doesn't want a dog that small. So it's been hard to decide. Until I discovered the Alaskan Klee Kai. OH. MY. HECK!!! It's basically a mini husky. So we'd get all the benefits of the husky but without the size and inability to control them on a walk. No breed has tugged on my heart strings like this one. I want one SOOOO bad. I hope we can find one for cheap when the time comes to get a puppy. I'm not hopeful though. These babies are outrageously priced. Darn mini things being so costly!! We'll see what happens. But I'm going to keep staring at these pictures with hopeful longing. So dang cute!!!!


Tragic Day

This morning I came home from work and sat down to check Facebook and saw breaking news on channel 5's newsfeed about an elementary school shooting. I stared at my phone in disbelief. Wait.... did that say ELEMENTARY school? Then I kept reading and the initial report was 18 kids were dead along with 8 adults. WHAT?! They said they were holding a press conference at 11. It was 11 so in a shocked panic I turned on the tv and sat down.

I can't put into words how it affected me. I cried for two hours non-stop. Just as I was about to get a grip, they'd release new information or show new pictures or interviews with students and I would lose it again. These were children. Young, innocent, beautiful children. Children like my sweet Kennedy who was running around shooting me looks of confusion as I sat on the couch with stunned tears running down my cheeks. They had their whole life to live!

But the sobs didn't come until they said the majority of the killed children were kindergarteners. 5 and 6 year olds. Children who are just learning how to tie their shoes and write their names. Children who still cry because they miss their parents and don't want them to leave them at school. I couldn't control my emotions as I sobbed and sobbed. That's the same age as my niece. I taught kindergarteners in Logan and first graders at Legacy. They're the sweetest little things. Someone mercilessly pointed a gun at them and pulled the trigger. 5-6 year olds had to watch their friends die. They witnessed carnage I can't even fathom.

As I saw footage of the parents rushing to find their kids in sheer terror and their cars parked in a panicked hurry, barely off the streets, not remotely in an orderly manner, I cried again as a parent. I never want to experience getting news that my kids were in danger and I didn't know if I would get good news or the worst news of my life. I ached for them. I still do. I keep thinking of the children who survived who won't really understand where their friends are and why they won't come back to school. I think of the few who survived in the classroom who now have almost no class left. I wanted to hold Kennedy as tight as I could and never let her go. As a parent, this tragedy is awful enough.

But what really got me, and made me cry and cry, was my experience as a teacher. I've taught kids that age. I've practiced fire drills and earthquakes drills. We even talked about lock down procedures and where to hide in case someone "bad" came into the school. I hated practicing all of those because just the practice and thought of that happening scared the kids. You could see it all over their faces. Each fire drill would result in tears. Lockdown discussions would lead to worried questions and nervous looks at the door. It freaked them out.

It was my biggest fear as a teacher that we'd have a disaster like an earthquake or a shooting, where I would be solely responsible for the safety and lives of those kids. The love you develop for your students is amazing and the thought of one of them getting hurt was too much to handle, much less them dying. Sometimes I would sit and think about what I would do. I knew without a doubt that I would do everything I could to protect them. It scared me, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "but no one would ever really shoot up an elementary school. An earthquake could happen but probably not a shooting."

But here we are. It happened. The terror of the students and the teachers is what stopped me in my tracks. I could see myself in their situation, trying to hide all the kids safely where no one could find them, trying desperately to keep them quiet even though they're screaming and crying in fear so they don't attract attention. They said teachers were telling their students to walk out with their eyes covered so they wouldn't have to see any of the horrible scene around them. There were pictures of classes coming out being led by their teachers, holding each other on a line with most of the kids crying. That would be hands down, the worst thing as an educator. I've seen the panic and fear with just talking about bad things happening in the classroom. I can't even imagine what they went through. I can't imagine the pain those teachers are facing. I can't imagine the after affects the students will experience. I get sick for the officers who are in charge of the investigation, who have to see those 18 little bodies on the floor. Not to mention the adults who died as well. The whole thing is tragic and senseless and rocked me to the core. It rocked our whole nation.

I don't understand why these things happen. I don't know why all those kids lost their lives today. But I know they went straight to live with God. I also know I'll be holding Kennedy tighter tonight and praying for the families involved, as well as thanking The Lord I still have my baby. Because the parents of 20 precious souls don't have their babies anymore. This was a horrible event that happened today. I know that's part of this world we live in, and one of the signs of the times, but it doesn't make it any easier to process. I just hope I can make it through life without it happening to my family.


Family Date Night

Cory and I finally had a whole day off together!! It was wonderful.

After nap time we headed down to City Creek to see Santa! There wasn't a wait so we got to go right in. You can see Santa for free but if you want your picture taken with him you need to pay $20 for the CHEAPEST package. Ouch! So we went in to test the waters. If she happened to love him I may have been talked into buying some photos. But she clung to me the second we walked in. Cory took her and tried to get her to go to him and she started crying, as predicted. So he just waved and gave her a little book and that was that. She did wave goodbye to him. Maybe next year.

After Santa we did some Christmas shopping at the mall and had dinner while Kennedy ran around the play area. Then we headed over to Temple Square to see the lights. Every year I'm disappointed in them. They're pretty but nothing to write home about. Kennedy seemed to like them though. She kept trying to take her mittens and hat off and it was too cold for that so we didn't last long. But it's not often we get to go out and have fun with just our little family so we enjoyed every minute of it. I'm pretty excited for Christmas! 14 more days!!


Hugs and Kisses

I want to write this down so I don't forget how awesome this is...

Kennedy is the sweetest, most lovable girl around. Her big thing lately has been hugs and kisses. She randomly stops what she's doing and comes and gives me hugs. Sometimes I'll be changing her diapers and she'll grab me and give me a hug and kiss. When we read books with animals she hugs and kisses each page. She also gives her stuffed animals, especially Elmo, kisses each day.

But my favorite thing ever is when we put her to bed. We read a book or two, say prayers, then we give her hugs and kisses. She gives each of us a kiss, then gives us Elmo so we can give him kisses too, and then she will wrap an arm around my neck and reaches for Cory and wraps the other arm around his neck and gives us a great big family hug. And to top off the cuteness, she also pats us on the back when she's hugging us. I'm surprised my heart doesn't melt each night. It is my favorite thing in the world because I know that's how she's telling us she loves us. Talk about a natural high!! We love her so dang much!!


Scary Feelings

I'm having an emotional night. You know, one of those nights where you're alone and lonely, you cry on every episode of your favorite show, and you consume frightening amounts of ice cream. It happens, and you can blame it on any number of female problems, but these nights suck.

Tonight in particular sucks. I've had nights like this before. A lot, actually. About every month or so. Ever since I got married it's happened, and twice as often since having Kennedy. You see, tonight is one of those nights where I keep having that "feeling" that I'm going to lose either Cory or Kennedy. I spend the entire night (and sometimes days) with a pit of anxiety in my stomach just waiting for the ax to fall. I feel sick to my stomach and my chest hurts. I get exceptionally nervous when Cory is at work because it can be dangerous there and his commute is long. I check on Kennedy 5 times more than I need to while she's sleeping just to make sure she's alive and breathing. And I cry. A lot!

I cry because nothing would cripple me more than to lose one of them. There's no coming back from that. I cry because I hate feeling so scared that my mortal time with them is temporary. I don't know if I'm just overly paranoid or if it's something else entirely. But it scares me beyond the words to describe it. And sometimes I fear that maybe I'm the one who's going to have to go and I lose it even more. I could never leave my family here with that kind of pain. The thought of Kennedy growing up without her mother.... literally.... just.... makes me ache. Leaving Cory all alone is just as bad. Would they even make it through that? It makes me so sick to think about. And yet I can't seem to shake the feeling!

I'm going to let you in on a personal secret. I've always felt deep within me that I won't be able to raise kids on this earth very long. I know that through the sealing power of God that I will be with my family forever, no matter when we die. Cory will always be my companion. Our children will remain our children. But I just keep feeling like our time here on earth is short. I've always chocked that up to the second coming happening soon - and maybe that's what it is - but it's still very scary. None of us know what our future holds or when we're going to die. Our lives can be ended in a split second. Does that scare anyone else?

I've often seriously wondered if maybe I need therapy when I feel this way. I'm sure most people don't sit around crying about losing their spouse or children when it hasn't even happened. But it is hands down my biggest fear and sometimes it consumes me. Maybe it's because I'm alone often and it gets to me. Maybe it's because I lost so much to finally find Cory and to have Kennedy that I'm scared to death of losing them, too. Maybe it's because Kennedy is an extension of myself - a part of me - and if she died I would die too. Maybe it's because I lost a close friend in the blink of an eye and I know how quickly things can change. Maybe it's because of a lot of things. I don't know where it comes from or why it won't stop. And no amount of funny shows or ice cream throughout the night will completely get rid of it.

Eventually morning comes. Life goes on. Cory comes home and hugs me and I can have that physical reassurance that he's here. He's on my time now. He's no longer out in situations and circumstances I can't control. He's home and safe and I feel peaceful again for quite a while. Morning comes and Kennedy wakes up and her head pops up over the edge of her crib and she flashes me that cheesy, adorable grin of hers with her messy bed hair and I feel complete. I have it all. My whole world exists in these two people. They're ok. I'm ok. We're together. For now, at least. All worry and anxiety is forgotten until the next night I'm alone with out of control emotions.

Is this normal? Is this a new form of married/motherhood PMS? Do I feel this way because they are my entire reason for breathing? Or am I a nut job? Am I the only one who experiences these feelings from time to time? Do I have underlying issues that haven't been addressed? Or do I really need to make every moment count because our time really will be short?

Only time will tell. And although this post is dramatic, because that's how I feel right now, these feelings don't run my life or even lower the quality of it. But they scare me when they happen. They scare me in a big way. I try to appreciate the time we have together in case it is cut short. I try to live with no regrets. I try to love fiercely. But it would sure help put me at ease to know if anyone else ever feels this way.

Am I the only one?


The Influence of Friends

What is the definition of a true friend?

I think we all have our own definition based on our own life experiences. Different things matter to different people.

In my experience, and probably many others, a true friend is one who loves you and cares for you NO MATTER WHAT. It's someone who accepts you for who you are and the mistakes that you've made. It's someone who is loyal and that you can trust to say kind things about you when you're not around. A true friend is someone who won't let insecurities or jealousies get in the way of how they view you. A true friend will tell you when you're being ridiculous. They will love you, guide you, help you, make you laugh when you need it, confide in you, keep your secrets, and push you to be better than you are today.

Over the course of my life I've had friends come and go. It's part of life. But it's always amazing to me to look back and see the influence they had on my life, both good and bad. I've made some amazing friends with incredible character.

I was thinking of one particular friend this morning and the situation in which we became friends. He knew my deepest, darkest secrets, and not necessarily because I told him. He knew the good and bad in me at that time and chose not to care. He knew the reputation I had and it didn't bother him. It was the lowest time in my life. Rumors and lies destroyed my reputation and cost me many friends. And yet, he still continued to hang out with me and make me laugh. He encouraged me to be better and see the good things in life. We're still friends to this day. Thinking about that situation made me cry in awe. What an amazing person he is! What an amazing thing he did!! I bet he was a spectacular missionary. He put the love of the person over what everyone else thought or did. He didn't care about them. He cared about me. And I'll forever be grateful.

I think every once in a while, certain people come into our lives that we have a connection with that can't be explained. Things just click and you know that you will always care about each other and that you'd do anything for them. Sometimes it's a spouse, a friend, a teacher, or whatever. I've had many of those people in my life. And I hope to have many more.

I think too often we dwell on the broken friendships or the ones that are one sided. We feel hurt and frustrated and angry that somehow what you shared with that person has fizzled and died. I do it all the time. But the fact is, they impacted your life in one way or another. If it was good, cherish it. If it was bad, learn from it. Easier said than done. But when I feel angry or upset about losing friendships, I just have to take a look around and see the many people I have around me that are still running right beside me and encouraging me to be better. They haven't dropped out of the race. Those are the ones who will help you get to where you want to be. They are the ones who will stick by you no matter what. They haven't given up on you. And they're doing it because they love you and want to. What a beautiful thing.

I'm so grateful for the friends I've had, good and bad, but mostly good. Never have I felt so loved and appreciated as when I look back and see the things people have done for me and the love they've shown me. It's very humbling. And I try to see the things they're doing for me now. I am truly blessed. I don't know where I'd be without life's little guardian angels by my side. Thank you to each and every one of you. I appreciate it more than you know. Thanks for not giving up on me and for running the race of life by my side.