As a child of no older than 3, I have a very, very early memory. One of those memories where everything is beautiful and ethereal and lit by the sun. Our next door neighbors were an older couple that took pride and joy in their yard. In particular, their walkway lined with large, fragrant rose bushes. I mentioned that I was no older than 3, but even 3 is pushing it…I was young. I still remember the magical feeling when I would walk along those rose bushes and run into a strip of ground that had several hand prints pressed into the now hard cement with names scrawled next to each pair. I would kneel down and fit my tiny hand into the middle of one of those hands, fascinated that someone was able to push into cement hard enough to leave an impression. I traced the fingers back and forth. I didn’t completely understand that these hands had been pushed into newly laid, wet cement but, I was amazed with it nonetheless. I swore to myself that one day I would figure out a way to have my own families handprints molded into a cement pad of my own. Freezing the documented magic forever. Read More
I get asked often about what it felt like to have 3 babies squished into my stomach. I can assure you, they were definitely squished in there. Well, two of them were squished, Hayes was as comfortable as can be. He was casually sprawled out under my rib cage while Heath and Reese packed themselves into the depths of my belly, pushing themselves head down battling for first entrance into the world. Hayes was always relaxed and happy with where he was. When I went into labor, it wasn’t a surprise when Hayes was the last to be born…the baby of the bunch. Read More
Easter is just a few days away and for all you procrastinators, you are among a friend! I find it slightly ironic that I just confessed my shopping addiction in my last post and I am following it up with a shopping post. Gees! Now I rethink every step I take! But, Easter is this Sunday, and the Easter bunny is definitely coming to our house so I decided to help you all out and list what I am getting for my kids. All from Amazon, so easy! Plus, my guess is that if you order today, it will get to you in time for Easter baskets! Read More
I remember as a child sitting next to my dad on the couch and watching the Miss America pageant. I was fascinated. The women were beautiful, dressed in sparkly gowns, they were incredibly talented and on top of all of that, they were smart. I am sure he could see the amazement in my eyes and my dad asked me if I wanted to be Miss America. I responded with a shrug and my dad answered the shrug by looking me in the eyes and telling me I could be Miss America if I wanted. He followed it up with, “You can be the president if the United States if you want. There is nothing you can’t do.” He believed it…I had no doubt he believed it, but what I didn’t say out loud was that I doubted both…I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t pretty enough and I definitely wasn’t talented enough. I was probably 6 years old and I didn’t feel enough.
You know that feeling of letdown after a vacation. Well ever since I lost Hayes, I dread that letdown even more because I come back home from a trip that was healing only to realize life is the same. Hayes isn’t here. So when we came home from our last trip to California this past month, the feeling was no different. I really was not looking to coming home.
After a long road trip home, we pulled up to our house and oddly enough, Steve didn’t pull into the driveway. He put a movie on in the car for the kids and told me he had something to show me in the house and he grabbed my hand and walked me into our seemingly empty house. He walked me up the stairs to our master bedroom and I opened the door to a magazine cover. No way was this our house!
I was completely beyond shocked! Our house was definitely not empty. A camera crew, producers and a few other people were stuffed into our bathroom ready to surprise us. And then the sweetest couple walked in behind us to give us a hug and formally present us with the gift they had given us! Two people I did not know had taken a week out of their lives to offer us a gift I so desperately needed….a sanctuary. They were Cara and Tom Fox. A couple that designs and builds the most beautiful homes you have ever seen. They had reached out to Steve to surprise me with this unforgettable gift.
I feel incredibly grateful and still blown away every time I walk into my room. The peace, the little #HayesHints and the beauty of the room has truly lifted me up. Thanks are of course in order to Cara and Tom of Fox Group Construction and Overstock for the gorgeous furnishings! You made my home feel more like home. So thank you!
I woke up yesterday morning feeling complete. For a moment I sat in that in between time where I didn’t know what was reality and what was a dream. I didn’t feel any rush to wake up because I was in pure bliss, holding my sweet baby boy again. In my dream I was sitting in that all too familiar Hospital room at primary children’s, holding my angel Hayesey, but in my dream he wasn’t an angel, he was very much here and fighting still.
Sometimes it is hard to notice. The day to day is stressful, there is always something to want more of and it is easy to forego gratitude. A while ago I began waking up each morning, immediately shifting my mind to things I am grateful for. Every morning, before I even open my eyes, I mentally list off the things I am grateful for. Sometimes it is huge things and sometimes it is something as simple as feeling grateful for the sleep I just woke up from. Sometimes it is hard for me to see through the fog of stress to see the things that make me happy, but looking back on my life when Hayes was here, I feel overwhelmingly grateful for so many things. I recently read a quote that could not be more true and more applicable to my own situation.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
Isn’t that so how life is? It is easier to feel grateful when you are seeing things in hind sight. But, if there is anything Hayes taught me, it is that life is full of little things to feel grateful for! So, I am launching a 5 Things to be grateful for series. Once a month I will list off 5 things I am feeling grateful for. I am hoping it changes my outlook more permanently! I am hoping it reminds me to be more present and I am hoping it helps me feel more happiness during the dark days and moments.
1 – Reality TV … I know this seems incredibly shallow and unimportant, but you know what? Sometimes I need the mindless distraction. Sometimes I need to forget myself and sometimes I need a good laugh. Reality TV is one of those things for me that allows me to turn my mind off. When Hayes was in the hospital, I would put him to bed and lie in my little corner of the hospital room and watch my crap. Lift my mind out of the heaviness of childhood cancer. It was and still is a magical distraction.
2 – Coke Zero … Here is the devastating thing about Coke Zero, they are discontinuing it. Steve and I felt like crawling into the fetal position and crying many times today after hearing the news, but we stayed strong and cracked open a few extra cans of burning liquid to show appreciation for our favorite source of “hydration”….in all honesty, it really is something I am grateful for. Every day, when Hayes would take a nap, I would leave the room, go for a walk and purchase an ice cold fountain drink and the miracle was that they had Coke Zero! It was my daily vacation from the cancer unit.
3 – Summer Nights …. I am so not looking forward to fall because it means giving up the gift of summer evenings. I love when the sun is going down and everyone glows gold. I love how the air is still warm from the day. I love how lately there has been a slight breeze and birds have been chirping in the trees. I love laying on the tramp and staring up at the darkening sky and thinking of my boy. Completely immersing myself in the memories of Hayes. Escaping for a minute. It is heaven.
4 – Social Media … it is so interesting when people have such disdain for social media. I would have agreed with these people in the past, before Hayes got sick, but I think it is one of the greatest gifts of my life. Like anything, there are negative aspects, but mostly, it is a network of strangers that love and support one another. I feel lifted up daily by good people around the world that send me messages of support and love. I will always be grateful for the community and tribe that lift me up. I am beyond grateful for each and every one of you. I thank each of you for your part in my journey.
5 – I-Phone … no question, my most prized possession outside of my family, is my phone. Weird right? But, so, SO true. The amount of pictures and videos that I have on my phone of Hayes is unbelievable! Before smart phones, I never took time to document. But, every detail, every single beautiful moment was captured. I find a new video at least once a week and a new photo once a day of my perfect little boy. What an incredible blessing! That is why, my phone is my most prized possession. It is my link to my boy. A promise to myself that I won’t forget.
I love clothes, like a lot. I have a problem! But, to be honest, I probably won’t even buy one of these things. Nordstrom is a splurge I rarely allow myself, even for the anniversary sale. They will probably go on my “imagine if I bought these” imaginary shopping list. Here is the thing though, some of these are seriously affordable! A girl can dream right? Read More
One of my favorite things about celebrating Steve is being able to spoil him with gifts that I have thought through for months. If I am being honest, I dropped the ball for our anniversary. I was struggling a lot during May, I missed Hayes and frankly, shopping was of zero interest to me. I am sure this is something I will struggle with for years to come, but in order to avoid this “dropping the ball depression” in the gift department, I decided to plan way ahead for Father’s Day. Steve deserves to know how much we all adore him.