Friday, December 6, 2013

Make your own bean dip!

All ready to eat my chip with my homemade dip!
One of the things I stopped buying when the economy tanked was bean dip. That probably sounds funny to some of you, but really it was too expensive and went too fast for me to justify it to myself. We could quickly go through a can of Fritos Bean Dip in one sitting, along with half a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. I have to say I missed that dip, and Doritos just weren't the same without it and I rarely ate them because of that.

A few days ago it hit me: I make my own honey butter, garlic butter spread (to make garlic bread and grilled cheese sandwiches) and frosting--all things I once bought from the store without much thought. I figured out how to make those things because it was cheaper and often tastier to do them myself. So why couldn't I make my own bean dip?

I did what I do best and scoured the internet for a recipe that would taste just like the Fritos one (because you could say I'm a bit picky). I found a recipe on a site called Eat Cake for Dinner that I decided to try. It calls for a 16 oz can of refried beans, sliced jalapenos, some of the brine, paprika, cayenne (red) pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and sugar.

I keep most of these things as staples in my pantry, so I only had to go buy cayenne pepper and jalapenos from the store to give it a try. The main reason I didn't hesitate to try it was because it sounded so easy! I only had to put all the ingredients in the food processer.

The recipe is as follows:
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans 
5 slices bottled jalapenos 
1 1/2 Tbl. brine from bottled jalapenos
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

I put all of the ingredients in my little kitchenaide chopper on the puree setting and ran it until it was smooth. Then I scooped it all into a storage bowl. We did try it after only about 30 minutes in the fridge. I prefer it colder than that and liked it better after it'd been in the fridge overnight. 

I think I'll make some tweaks to it to make it less spicy (I no longer have a gall bladder and spiciness is a luxury my body can no longer afford! Haha!). Next time I'll cut it down to 3  jalapenos and keep the brine the same. It only calls for 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper, so I don't know if I'd cut that the second time I make it. I think I'll try cutting down the jalapenos first and see. Not that it's super hot as it is, but it is spicier than the Fritos dip as I remember it. So if you like spicy things, you can leave it as it is. I like a little spice, but I don't want anything burning after I've swallowed it. :)

Overall, I think it was a hit. Both my hubby and my oldest son couldn't stay out of it. It's cheap though, so for once it didn't panic me to see it disappearing so fast!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I think I just may be a scrooge

My 9 year old daughter came home from school this week and asked me if we could do "Elf on the shelf." Had she asked me this last year at this time, I'd have been clueless to what she was talking about! But in this day and age of the internet and Facebook, I've come to find out what this game is. Apparently parents buy a toy elf and move him around to let their children know that he is watching them before Christmas for Santa Claus (at least that's how I understand it, so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Some parents make the game more simple in having this elf move from one shelf to another, or even from room to room. Some parents get more elaborate and have their elves get into mischief (i.e. making messes around the house that the elf supposedly did while everyone was sleeping). I, for one, have enough messes to clean up without getting into anything like that! Hah!

I looked my daughter straight in the eyes and said, "No, I'm never doing that. Sorry." I'm sure all her childhood dreams were subsequently crushed and she'll need years of therapy to make up for this deprivation. I did go on to tell her that while I think it's a fun game for some families to play, with six children, and being the primary one responsible for researching and grabbing all the good deals for Christmas online (which takes quite a bit of research!), I just don't have the time or the desire to start this game.

I should probably note that my 9 year old doesn't believe in Santa anymore. Before you think I'm terrible, I'll say that while I love the idea of Santa Claus and we do play along with the fantasy with our children when they're young, we also have the "Honesy when asked" policy. So when she came to us last year and said she wasn't sure she believed anymore, I asked her if she was sure she wanted to believe anything other than what she knew about Santa being real. She said she really wanted to know, so my husband and I told her about the history of St. Nicholas and how the idea of him lives on in Santa Claus. She thought this was great!

Anyway, this whole thing got me thinking this year. I think in some ways some people might think I've become a bit of a miser when it comes to Christmas. I just hate what it's becoming. I remember when I was little and we had next to nothing sometimes, that it didn't really matter what I got, I just remember the time spent with those I love. Now it's all about who can get the best gadgets and gizmoes. It's all about taking away yet another holiday from workers and opening businesses on Thanksgiving so people can fight, push and shove on a day we profess to be thankful for what we already have (this is a favored holiday of mine) and it just goes on from there.

Early in my adulthood, I did try Black Friday at Walmart a few times, but the last time I did people were crashing their carts repeatedly into my heals, pushing me out of the way to get to something first and one man was even deteremined that he wanted to get into a fist fight with my husband because we walked around him while he was looking at movies in the aisle! We didn't butt in a line, we didn't shove him, we just pushed our cart quickly around him so as not to block his view for long so we could make it to the other side of the store and the bathroom for our toddler at the time. Yeah! That's what Christmas is all about! And from the news articles and YouTube videos I've seen, this seems to be the accepted norm.

After those experiences, I tried waiting to shop until the week of Christmas. Then I started doing all of our shopping online several years ago, so as to minimize the amount of time we have to spend out in the crazy stores. That's just not my thing! I really don't care about this stuff. You can't take it with you and most of it's forgotten in a month anyway. That's not to say that I don't enjoy finding gifts for my children that I think they would genuinely enjoy. I do. But in moderation, so they appreciate it when they get it.

I also don't do much by way of decorating. I hate heights. I get severe vertigo so you will never catch me attempting to hang the lights on the house. My husband doesn't mind roofs so much (he's used to it in his profession), but he's not that driven to go out there in the freezing cold temperatures to get the lights on the often slippery roof, only to have to do it again to take them all down again in a month. Not only that, but we noticed the jump in our utilities when we had all the lights up and decided it wasn't that big of a deal and we could just do the stockings, tree, wreaths, nic nacs and perhaps the ground decorations outside.

Saying all this out in the open here makes me think I probably sound like a grump. I don't really think I am. But I am practical. We have a very small Christmas budget to stretch out amongst our children here (my husband and I don't even do gifts for each other so as to maximize what we can do for our children) and if I can save money by not doing some of these other things, I will.

We do like to watch Christmas movies starting on Thanksgiving. It's a family thing and we do it several nights a week up to Christmas day with all of our children. We make goodies for our neighbors (though we missed last year because I was so sick with my pregnancy).

We do a Christmas dinner and talk about the nativity and why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Sometimes that's so easy to forget in the commercialism and age of political correctness we live in now. I don't say Happy Holidays. I say Merry Christmas because I'm celebrating Christ. I believe in Him. I'm thankful for Him and I'm not going to belittle or skirt around that and I don't want my children to either. That's not so say that I don't respect those who believe differently from me. I won't ask them to change the wording and ways they celebrate their holidays and expect the same courtesy.

So if that makes me a scrooge, because I know I'm not as much fun as some of these Supermoms out there, then so be it. That's just who I am. :)


Friday, September 13, 2013

When Unspeakable Things Happen

Alix Norman before her murder. You can help her mother here.
I grew up in a small town called Brigham City where I experienced both the good and bad parts of small town life. One good thing I remember had to do with a girl named Chrishell, whom I knew in high school. I saw her as bubbly, happy, easy-going, friendly and non-judgmental--that part was a big one for me, because I'd experience a lot of negative judgement growing up the way I did.

Chrishell always had a huge smile on her face and she was beautiful. She often invited me to go to church, but I never took her up on it, because that was during a time when I had turned my back on God. She never judged me for refusing her. She would just smile her beautiful smile and ask me to go another time. I genuinely liked her, but we never saw each other again after we graduated, and she became a distant memory.

That is how it remained until the unspeakable happened and I found out through Facebook that the tragedy I'd read about on the news had happened to Chrishell. I couldn't fathom it. How could something like this happen? When I'd first read about the apparent murder-suicide of a stepfather to his 16 year old stepdaughter, it both saddened and sickened me. But finding out that it happened to someone I used to know and liked and respected, took it to a whole new level.

I've kept up on the story since then, hoping to find out something that could make sense out of something so senseless. But really, it will never make sense, and my heart goes out to her and those others of her friends and family who were floored by this awful event.

When I got up this morning and got my kids off to school, I saw a picture in my newsfeed on Facebook which got my attention. It was a picture of Chrishell's daughter, Alix, with a link asking people to help her. I can't do much, but I figured I should do whatever I could. And one way I can help is to spread the word.

Some friends of Chrishell have set up a website to accept donations to help her through the financial part of this tragedy. If you can't afford to donate anything, please help to spread the word. Let Chrishell know that people care about her, and that her Heavenly Father loves her, by doing His work.

She once extended her hand out to me. Now I want to help her.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Working to Move on

My main purpose of starting this blog was to help people, and yes, to journal my family's journey as we go along. I still want to do this, and I hope that sharing what's been going on in my life now has been okay. This was a shock to me (understatement!) and writing is how I vent.

Anyway, I will always love my little sister and I'll miss her until the day we meet again. I don't want to drag anyone down with that. I just wanted to share her with you. She was an amazing person.

On a different note, we've had some other things going on during all of this. We've taken advantage of our Pass of all Passes a week ago for the first time this summer and I have some concerns about how it's going. It's our third year with the pass and I'm not sure I like it as much as we used to.

I'm thinking they've oversold them. To say the venues are crowded doesn't begin to paint an accurate picture. We're going to try going on a weeknight and see if that's any better. Also, a heads up on the Sandy Seven Peaks Fun Center location: it's for bowling only, and they really should change the name to reflect that. Not only that, but they charge $3.50 shoe rental, so it's not quite free with your pass (which is only valid Mon-Thurs).

There's some other things I wanted to share, but am gathering more info before I do. So hopefully I won't fall off the horse again and will be better about updating here. The kids go back to school in less than two weeks and I can't decide if that's going to give me more or less time! :)

My Tribute at Melanie's Funeral

I've been asked several times if I spoke at my sister's funeral. I did. It was the best way I could think to honor her, to share her with those who didn't know her like I did. Some of what I said I'd written here, after I first found out we'd lost her. But over the week before her funeral, I thought of more I wanted to say. Here it is for those who wanted to know what I said:

Writing this talk was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I wanted to get it just right because I want to do Melanie justice. It’s hard to describe her to those who don’t know her. She was a very diverse and complicated person. She was the type of person who made you realize that you should never judge a book by its cover, because she never fit in to any of the stereotypes.

I keep seeing her as a child. We were always together. She was my little tag-a-long. Sometimes it drove me crazy, but many times in the turmoil of our young lives, having Melanie with me was such a comfort. Things were certainly never boring with her there, she was so excited and curious about life. She was always a spit-fire too, with beautiful curls that got her complimented as a “little Shirley Temple” more than once.




I couldn’t help but be protective of her. We never knew what she was going to do next, she kept everyone on their toes and she loved to shock and surprise us—including the time she asked me to close my eyes, put out my hand for a surprise, and when I opened my eyes---behold! It was a spider! Yeah, those were good times!

We sometimes fought like siblings do. Some of those fights resembled a Junior WWF match. But Heaven forbid anyone else hurt one or the other of us. I remember a time when she was being bullied at school in the first grade. I yelled at the kids who were being mean to her and threatened them of what would happen if they touched her (since I felt invincible at a whole two years older than her). I recall saying something along the lines of, “No one can hit her but me!” To which Melanie yelled out, “yeah!” Then realizing what she’d just agreed to, she turned to me, shaking her head a little, “what?”



She had my back too. And in those times in our lives where we were both scared or hurt, we knew we could count on each other to be there. Life took us different directions, as we reacted differently to the trials of our lives. But our love for each other never changed, even as we changed in our adulthood.

When our father died, she never really got over that. She was always Daddy’s girl and I can still see her as a little girl, playing that song by Red Sovine over and over again. She would sing along to the chorus, “Daddy’s girl, Daddy’s girl, I’m the center of Daddy’s world….” She tried to find and hold on to the things that reminded her of him. She was ecstatic when she got into contact with his two older children, Kristy and Ron. Family really was important to her.



What you saw when you looked at Melanie was a woman with several tattoos, piercings (when she had them in) and extremely curly—sometimes frizzy hair (compliments of our beautiful mother). Sometimes it was even streaked with her favorite color, purple—it all depended on her mood at the time. She was unconventional and liked to dress to please herself, whether that be a comfortable pair of sweats, Betty Boop pajamas while shopping at Walmart, a costume for a Harry Potter party or some crazy Goth get-up. She even had a favorite cape she would put on for special occasions. She just didn't care what people thought.


What you didn't see when you looked at her, unless you took the time to get to know her: She was extremely generous. She'd give you the clothes off her back—literally. And the amazing thing about her generosity is that she didn't expect anything in return. She loved unconditionally, and I’m not saying that just because it sounds good. It didn’t matter what you did, once she loved you, it was forever. She forgave, even when someone did what most would consider unforgivable, and she didn't hold a grudge either. I've never known anyone who did that as freely as her. Never. And I'm sure I never will again.

She was there for whoever needed her, and did whatever was necessary to get to the place she felt most needed. She stayed with me in the hospital after my first daughter was born, because I was afraid to be alone and my husband needed to be home with our son. And if you’ve slept in a hospital sofa-bed, you know that night she spent there with me was not a comfortable one. But she never complained to me about it. She seemed happy to be there and was the perfect loving aunt.

Melanie loved her animals like they were her children, even more so when she learned she would never have any kids of her own. She sobbed when she lost one of her beloved pets and even asked to bury her oldest companion in my backyard because while her housing status was often up in the air, she knew we were planning to stay put and she wanted her Cocoa Baby to be where she could visit. She would let herself be homeless rather than go to a place that she couldn’t take her pets with her. Chicko and Princess had a wonderful mother in Melanie.

She loved my children like they were her children, and just a few days before she died, she was the only one who thought to call my 3 year old to personally wish her a Happy Birthday. And my kids love her too. Aunt Melanie is the “cool one,” or the “fun one.” She’d come over just to introduce them to a new game.

I had to be extra careful about telling her anything my kids liked or were interested in, because she would take money she didn't have to spare and spend it on something she knew they would enjoy. She did the same thing for me. I would scold her for it, but it never did any good because she'd just do it again anyway. It was her way of telling us she loved us. Truly, thinking back on her life over the years, I’d say the only person she could have shown more love to was herself.

While I like to think I know a lot about my sister, there were things about her I didn’t know until recently. I didn’t know she kept meticulous notes on just about anything-whether that be a household to-do list, a grocery list, things she wanted to remember to tell someone or, even, as I found out when going through her things this past week, a list of scriptures to look up, learn more about, or determine the meaning of. I didn’t know she kept a journal, or that she kept a book of sayings to read everyday with her husband. I didn’t know she’d talked about what she wanted done with certain things when she died. I didn’t think to ask her those things because I thought we still had time.

I guess I’ll have to wait until after this life to learn more. I don't know how I'm going to do without her. Thirty-two years was not enough. Not nearly enough. But I'm so glad I got to have her as my sister. She’s no longer in pain and that’s a good thing. She’s with our Heavenly Father and with Daddy. I have no doubt he was there to greet her when she to passed to the other side. So rest in peace, Baby Sister. We’ll be a forever family and I’ll see you again someday.

My Sister's Obituary

Melanie and Mike the day they were married.
I thought about posting the link to my sister's obituary before, but decided I would just cut and paste it here instead when I felt ready. It was changed by someone before it was published. I wasn't happy about those changes, though they were minor and no one would have known but Melanie and her husband.

What were the changes? Spelling. I'm the first to admit that I'm not always perfect at catching my mistakes when writing something, but two of the changes made were not mistakes.

My sister was given a nickname by her husband that she really liked. It made her feel special, which she totally was. He called her Sweetpea. They spelled it as one word and she even made a profile on Facebook with it spelled that way. So I honored that when writing about her, because it belonged to her.

The other change was what bothered me most, though I got over it. They changed the spelling of her dog's name. The reason that most bothered me is because I have a memory of Melanie attached to this. The proper spelling to the common world for her little Chihuahua is "Chico." When she stayed with us for a while about a year ago, I saw his dog tag. Knowing what his name was, I laughed and said, "Mel, did you know that you've got his name spelled wrong? It says 'Chicko' here." She got a bit defensive, and said it didn't matter how it was spelled to other people. She knew his name and it was the way it was supposed to be. I couldn't argue with that. Look at how people change the spellings for names and other things all the time to suit themselves.

To confirm though, I asked her husband before writing her obituary how he wanted me to spell their little one's name. He confirmed what I already suspected. So that's the way I did it. It got changed. Honestly, during those days leading up to the funeral I was probably looking for a fight to let off some of the steam I had brewing in me. Thank heavens I didn't let it loose though. I'd have regretted it, especially since the targets would have been those who did the most to help during this extremely difficult time.

So here it is:

Melanie Sue Anderson Adams, 32, of Logan, passed away unexpectedly in her sleep on July 20, 2013. She was born in Brigham City, Utah on June 7, 1981 to Julie Ann Vasquez (living) and Ron Alvin Anderson (deceased). She was married to Michael Jeffery Adams (living) on August 2, 2008 in Logan.
Melanie, known fondly as “Sweatpea,” enjoyed playing video games, reading, spending time with those she loved and writing poetry, which she hoped to one day see published in a book. She had a big, beautiful and generous heart and would give her last dollar, even if it meant she went without.  She didn't expect anything in return. She loved unconditionally, in every sense of what that word means.
Before her passing Melanie was working on getting her high school diploma and also preparing to go to the temple with her husband to be sealed for time and eternity.
Melanie was preceded in death by her step-father, DeVerl Anderson; her grandmother, Artheta Anderson; grandfather, Vern Anderson and great-grandmother, Nellie Campbell.
She is survived by her sisters, Nellie (Tony) Butler and Kristy Anderson; her brother, Ron Alvin Anderson, Jr; her grandmother Judith Vasquez and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Also surviving are her two dogs, Chicko and Princess, whom she loved like they were her children.

Anyway, Melanie knows that I honored her wishes and did it the way she would have done, and I told her husband the original way I had it too. That's all that matters. For those who want to see her tribute wall, here's the link: Melanie Sue Adams Obituary

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let's be honest, I'm not Okay

I've been getting that question a lot: Are you okay? How are you feeling? Or some other variation. I understand the mentality behind it. And I myself am guilty of asking questions like that after someone has gone through a tragedy of some kind. I know what people want to hear when they ask it, and I try to give them that answer.

Last night, after helping to go through my sisters things, to help her husband clear out their motel room, I was asked that question. I tried to give the stock answer and it came out on a sob. That's because it was a lie. I'm not okay.

I just lost my baby sister. It wasn't something I saw coming. It wasn't something I was even remotely prepared for. I'd worried for her, sure. I couldn't help that. But I didn't expect to wake up in the morning and find two missed calls from her husband that came at 2 am, and have things spiral from there.

We were going to take the kids to Seven Peaks, to finally use those passes we bought months ago for the first time. We got up early and was I was giving instructions to my kids when I noticed that the phone by my teenager's bed said it had voicemail. I thought that was strange, since I knew I had checked it before going to bed. I was surprised to see the time stamps on the Caller ID. Who would call at that time?

The message was from my sister's husband saying it was important to call him back as soon as possible. Twenty minutes later he'd left another message saying the same thing. That was odd and unlike him. I wondered if my sister was in the hospital. She'd been having terrible pain, especially in her back, and had just been diagnosed with a degenerative condition. I tried to call him back, but got no answer. So I tried her number, no response. I sent her a facebook message. Nothing. I called my mother, also no answer. So I called my Grandma. She said she'd also missed two calls just after 3 am.

It left me feeling unsettled, and I tried again to call her husband, but still got no answer. After talking about it with my husband, we decided to continue with our plans, but to keep trying to reach someone to find out what was going on. So we made breakfast, joked with the kids during meal time, cleaned up and then started to get everyone dressed. Between this time, I continued to try to reach someone to find out why we got those 2 am calls.

We were nearly ready to go, when one of my daughters brought me the phone and said I'd missed a call from my sister's husband. So I finished pulling my hair back and dialed his number. I don't even remember what his first words were. All I remember is that somewhere in there were the words, "Mel passed away last night."

I doubled over. No way!!!! I'd heard wrong. What?! No! No! No! No! And since that moment, I have not been okay. I keep seeing flashes of her. Remembering the good times. Agonizing over the bad ones. Thinking of how wrong this is--how unfair.

And then I still have to function. I have a husband and six children. My children need me. There are things that they need done for them. Band stuff for my son. Soccer stuff for one of my daughters. Appointments. Paperwork. Registration stuff....But I'm barely able to form a thought that doesn't have to do with my sister and what I have to do to prepare for her funeral--how to get through this day, the next day, this week....

Much needs to be done. Of my family, I'm the one most capable of doing this. Melanie's husband has the full support of his family and they're very willing to do everything--but this was MY sister. I can't let them take all the responsibility. She was MY sister--my only sister. I have to be there for her. I have to.

On top of this, I worry. What will this do to my grandma, who is already in very poor health? But most of all, what will this do to my mom? To lose her child--her baby. As it is, my mother's life is difficult, to say the least. But this...This is beyond difficult. There are no words strong enough to describe it. Right now though, she's handling it. She's surrounding herself with my sister's things, and trying to be strong for me, as I am for her.

So, to sum it up: No, I'm not okay right now. But I have my family with me, some very good friends and I have my Heavenly Father, and with them I will get through this and one day I will be okay again. I'm not sure how long it will take, or what steps will get me there, but second by second, I'll get there.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

For My Little Sis

Melanie Sue Anderson Adams
June 7, 1981-July 20, 2013
I can't sleep. I just keep thinking about my sister. Writing has always helped me in the past, but nothing is making this hole in my heart go away. I keep thinking of how misjudged and misunderstood she was. I keep thinking about how unfair life was to her. She deserved so much more. If only she realized that...

What you saw when you looked at Melanie was a woman with several tattoos, piercings and extremely curly and sometimes frizzy, out of control hair. She was unconventional, liked to dress to please herself, whether that be a comfortable pair of sweats, a costume for a Harry Potter party or some crazy goth get-up. She even had a favorite cape she would put on for special occasions. She didn't care what people thought.

What you didn't see when you looked at her, unless you took the time to get to know her: She would give her last dollar, even if it meant she went without. She'd give you the clothes off her back. She didn't expect anything in return. She loved unconditionally, in every sense of what that word means. She was there for whoever needed her, and did whatever was necessary to get to the place she felt most needed. She had a big, beautiful, generous heart. The only person she could have showed more love to was herself.

She loved her animals like they were her children, even more so when she learned she would never have any kids of her own. She sobbed when she lost one of her beloved pets and even asked to bury her oldest companion in my backyard because while her housing status was often up in the air, she knew we were planning to stay put and she wanted her Cocoa Baby to be where she could visit.

She loved my children like they were her children, and just a few days ago she was the only one who thought to call my 3 year old to personally wish her a Happy Birthday. I had to be extra careful about telling her anything my kids liked or were interested in, because she would take money she didn't have to spare and spend it on something she knew they would enjoy. She did the same for me. I would scold her for it, but it never did any good because she'd just do it again anyway. It was her way of telling us she loved us.

She forgave, even when someone did what most would consider unforgivable, and she didn't hold a grudge either. I've never known anyone who did that as freely as her. Never. And I'm sure I never will again.

I don't know how I'm going to do without her. Thirty-two years was not enough. Not nearly enough. But I'm so glad I got to have her as my sister.


I love you so very much, my Melanie Sue-sue.

I Lost My Baby Sister Today

Even typing it brings the tears back. I can't believe this is happening. Is this real? I wish I could wrap my arms around her and talk to her in a less hurried tone than that last time I talked. I wish I had more patience and understanding for how she was so forgiving and loving to a fault. I hated to see others take advantage of her generous nature.

If I could talk to my little sister again, I would say:

Melanie Sue, you were and are such a beautiful spirit. I wish you had an easier life. It certainly feels like you had more than your share of knocks. Growing up, it was my responsibility as a big sister to protect you. We didn't always see eye-to-eye, and when we fought, it was sometimes drop-down-drag-out. But we knew we were there for each other. Never did we let anyone else hurt each other. We were the first to come and fight for one another.

I remember a time, when we were little and had a fight over something stupid. Hours later you fell asleep and I watched you. I remember wanting to tell you I was sorry for being so angry with you, and I picked up your hand. It struck me how small it was and I felt such shame for being upset at all with you. I felt that protective instinct kick in and I stroked your little hand and whispered that I loved you.

Adulthood brought different challenges for us. Still we managed to keep in touch and I always wished I could do something to make your life better. I wanted to fix things for you. I never was able to. You were an adult and made your own decisions. Not to say you were always wrong. You have always been so generous and I worried about people taking advantage of that. I couldn't stop being the protective big sister, but know that I have always loved you and admired your heart.

I don't know how I'm going to get past this. I'm angry. It's not fair. I see all these people who still have their families and throw them away. They cut them off for stupid reasons and won't talk to them or give them the time of day. You were my only sister and now I've lost you. I still want you to be a part of my life, and while I do believe you still will be on another level, it won't be the same. I miss you already, Melanie.

I know you're with Daddy now. I'm sure he was the first to greet you when you crossed to the other side, along with Grandma and Grandpa. Give them my love, sweet Melanie, and save some for yourself. You have no idea how much I'm going to miss you. I love you so very much.

I'm trying to take comfort in knowing that this means you're no longer in pain and that you are finally at peace. I know I will see you again, I only wish that day could be sooner.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Little Late, but: Welcome our Newest Addition!

Baby Nathaniel, born May 11, 2013
One day I'm blogging about the fun pregnancy complications I had going on (BTW, the heart palpitations and extreme exhaustion were caused by anemia--Yuck!), and then nothing for months! Shame on me! I do have an excuse though--of course, don't we all! I was busy feeling sorry for myself over the following months because I was on bedrest with contractions 24/7 and just wasn't feeling at all inspired or helpful. :( I'd say maybe I'll do better next time, but this was our last time. Haha!

We love our new little baby boy though and are so thankful that he arrived healthy and strong at 36 weeks and 6 days. We had some prodromal labor--no fun, I'm telling you! So it made it hard to tell when I was really supposed to go in. I nearly didn't go in the evening of May 10th, but my hubby thought it was necessary and nudged me out the door. Turns out, that was a good thing! Not too long after midnight, we were blessed with our second son. He was seven pounds, even.

We didn't even know we were missing him until he got here. He's being loved and covered in kisses by his big sisters and even his big brother (who is nearly 16 years older) can be found holding him and talking to him. He's just melted all of our hearts.  We're all so happy to have him. And it goes without saying that I'll be juggling even more!



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Life's Little Surprises

I know it's been a few months. I'd planned on being better about blogging, but something unexpected happened in September that threw us all off balance for a bit--and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future! Hahaha!

What is this unplanned occurrence that has gotten in the way of my blogging patterns and then some? Well, we found out that we're expecting another baby! This was a surprise, for sure, as we had thought our family was feeling pretty complete with the arrival of our youngest two and a half years ago. But it seems we were wrong, and I'm sure this baby will be just as loved.

Unfortunately, it's hard to feel the drive to write when I suffer from morning-noon-and-night-sickness. So I spent the first few months with my head hovering over the toilet and then added another uncomfortable symptom about a month ago. My heart's been having a few issues. Nothing all that scary, as of now. I'm not having a heart-attack or anything, but it does race anytime I get up to move across the room. Sometimes talking a lot can put me out of breath too. But I'm not having any pain. It's just uncomfortable. I get a lot of headaches, a bit light-headed and exhausted--sounds like fun, right?

You can imagine how hard it is for me to try to keep up with my five kids (six if you count the hubby--but don't tell him I said that!), and let's not talk about the house! In fact, the truth is, I haven't been able to keep up. The best I've been able to do is VERY basic picking up, supervising little ones from a sitting position and cooking and preparing meals from a stool in the kitchen. I've felt pretty useless and it's taken a toll on my self-confidence at times.

I do have to say though, that my family, friends and neighbors have been wonderful. My husband has stepped in where he can after work (especially in helping me keep up on laundry) and my children have worked to be more helpful around the house and taken on more than their usual chores. And when some of our friends and neighbors heard about our troubles, they've come in with food, gifts and other helps for our family that have so humbled me, I can hardly think about it without crying.

We aren't too worried about my symptoms right now, since my doctor thinks it's stemming from anemia (apparently not all that uncommon in pregnancy). I've just started taking extra doses of Iron for the next little while and hopefully will be feeling more normal in the next few weeks. If not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So while life isn't easy at the moment (who'd have thought it, with all the sitting I've had to do lately?) I'm still very aware of the blessings in our lives. I'm thankful for all the Lord has blessed us with and feel so much love for the people He's brought to our lives.