I can honestly say the last 7 years have been work.
4 moves, 3 children (2 miscarriages), 1 more college degree.
We could have done things a little differently – I could have put off having babies till I was closer to the age of 40 – I mean, it would have been a lot easier to get my husband through school without kids.
We could have stayed in Texas.
Dan could have avoided extra school all together and just started a career…
Hahaha, we would have taken way more vacations.
More time on the beach, just the two of us.
No diapers, no night time feedings or arguing over who was more tired (Mom or Dad) and which deserved the nap or night away with friends.
It seems we choose to follow Robert Frost and that darned road less taken.
In place of warm naps on a sandy beach, we get warm baby snuggles.
In place of extra vacations, we are saving for a debt-free house.
In place of the Texas economy, we are enjoying lovely Missouri summer evenings and country life.
Wiley started Kindergarten 15 days ago. My in-laws came into town 14 days ago. My husband took his dad on a much needed kayak/camping trip – just the two of them – 13 days ago. I had to finish writing music (the piano music we decided on was written for a piano/viola and I wrote the harmony part I sang) for a duet I sang in church – 12 days ago. The Total Solar Eclipse seen from our backyard – 11 days – also said goodbye to my in-laws. My Aunt came into town from Austin, TX to see the eclipse, and stayed in town to visit with me for a day. My middle child turned 3 years old – 10 days ago. Danny started school. My mother performed in a ballet – took kids down to my parents – had to see the mother perform. Racing home from my visit, to see mom on stage, to teach my Sunday School class….and so on…
All this time I’ve had to let some things slide. A grocery bag of un-openned birthday decorations still sit on my closet shelf.
Tyler, turned three, had the best day of his life. I gave him everything he asked for that day, I didn’t give him everything I planned, I gave him what he asked for and that made him happy. He wanted birthday donuts – no cake. He wanted to watch Youtube videos (supervised by me) during school hours. He wanted a tricycle – which he rides daily around my living room and kitchen – and Tow-Mater/Lightening McQueen cars. Done and done. Time in the sandbox. Play in the tub. Seems kinda like I was a lame mom for his birthday this year, but the birthday boy got everything he asked for, so I’ll call it a win.
Four days after my in-laws returned home to the Houston, Texas area Hurricane Harvey hit.
I have been glued to social media – watching through the eyes of friends – heart sick – as my old neighborhoods, libraries I visited, restaurants I frequented, trails I used to walk – all flooded.
I’ve been uniting in prayer with friends and strangers for the comfort, healing and rebuilding of Houston, Texas. Just as the country united only four or five days earlier to watch the amazing beauty of the solar eclipse, so many people united once again during the chaos and damage that hurt millions “back home.”
My husband asked me if he should take this semester off from school (where he studies civil/environmental engineering in Missouri) to help clean up and restore his home. My husband was born and raised in Houston, Texas. We met in Spring, Texas. Married in the Houston LDS Temple. Lived in our first home two blocks north of the Temple. In his mind, after spending this summer as a storm water management engineering-intern for the City of Columbia, he felt like he could do a lot of good in the after math of Harvey. My response was, “you’re eight months from graduating with a degree – you can do a lot more good when that is completed, when you’re done, you can improve infrastructure not just in Houston, but anywhere in the world.” Right now, it would only increase our financial burden with him not in school and not working.
Husband took this with his phone with a filter.
Husband took this with his phone, no filter.
Husband took with his Nikon
Husband took with his Nikon
Danny will continue to do much good for everyday life as he finishes his degree. He will continue to do much good when he graduates.
‘Great’ Aunt Laura
I’ll do good here in the home.
So, I am continuing to pray for the aid (physical, financial and emotional) of those hurt by Harvey. In all the chaos of my life, I have not forgotten you or the other people suffering in the world.
No matter what is happening in our own lives, God wants us to think about and serve others.
Life can wear you down, just stop and rest a bit, but just don’t quit.
Our Protagonists are fighting the odds, making their way towards the promise that lay in the future…one day at a time.
Can I tell you about the last few months? Then I will tell you about all the beautiful souls who helped us along the way.
Things were supposed to be really good for us, after a tough Spring and Summer, when fall came, everything would be grand. Dan would have this awesome great job and we would buy our first home!!
It was such a beautiful dream and everything was falling into place – just like dreams do – and God laughed, because like little children we were “asking our mom to open a packet of Ranch dressing mix for us to eat, because it looked so delicious – while she was busy preparing an actual meal for dinner – and she smiled at us and shook her head.”
We had several new families move into our church ‘ward’ this summer and one of those families gave us a huge pile of boxes and paper for wrapping. (then the couple who gave us all the boxes, stayed a little longer and fixed our front door!)
Things are coming together!
Ten days before we were to close on the home, Dan’s job didn’t work out, we couldn’t get our home and since we told our current landlord we were “absolutely moving” – he sold the house we were living in…
We had ten days to find a new home, we had a flea infestation, we’re packing, cleaning, looking for a new place to live, Mom got a stomach bug and the steam cleaning vacuum had to be returned three times…because it didn’t work.
Katie eventually got the steam cleaner to work by turning it on and off again. It worked for a solid 15 minutes…before it didn’t.
and as far as Mom is concerned, fleas are just as nasty as EBOLA!
Everything must be washed.
and bug bombed.
and bug bombed.
This is a sad, and somewhat comical from where I stand now, story of how to clean up after you find your small children covered in flea bites, while you have a stomach bug, during a house move.
I have had a different woman volunteer to take my children for several hours, each day the last week and a half, offers to bring us meals or help in any other way possible – here’s the kicker – without being asked for help, they just heard we were moving!
I have a visiting teacher (my previous ones are always missed!) who just moved here not long ago – we had never met – and just after being assigned to visit me, she inquired about me and found out we were moving and took my boys twice in a matter of days into her home (along with her small children) so my husband and I could tackle the cleaning and move.
Then, our home teacher called (again, another new family to the area)! Our home teacher is a new medical resident, his wife stays home with three small kids, and everyone is busy, but they wanted to help us too. Wiley is making lots of new friends.
It felt like our world had turned upside down in a time in our life when I really and truly felt like I had earned some good things in my life.
Today, I see the good things in my life.
We didn’t get the house, he didn’t get the job, we had a lot of extra physical labor and we’re all covered in flea bites…but we have been lifted by heavenly hands and helped by angelic people here in Columbia, Missouri.
It’s been nothing short of a miracle to see this kind of love. We have felt all the prayers said on our behalf and we are grateful.
I know that God is love, and He knows our needs.
I also know it’s a lot harder to feel His love, if we sit and mope about all the things that aren’t going right, so we stand up and move forward with hope.
The last thing I remember was, I had a baby…the other baby in August of 2014. Then, I was having a baby.
About the time I got serious about getting back in shape in Jan/Feb of 2015, I joined a beach body fitness group…my entire family had whooping cough (yes we’d been vaccinated, thanks).
Sick as a person with whooping cough, who is taking care of two small people with whooping cough, can be – I still started my fitness challenge the day the rest of the group did.
A month into my fitness challenge, I was growing another human again.
I was eating well, just got off antibiotics, and exercising regularly – so I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.
Well, truth be told, I knew (deep down) that I was pregnant, but hadn’t excepted or tested the fact yet.
Here I am less than a year later with another baby laying next to me. My brain is not… what it is capable of being. I can’t remember some people’s names, I can’t recall words I used to know (I think I still know them, somewhere in there…) and every day feels like yesterday.
We’ve had a wedding, births, deaths (in my extended family), holidays in all those yesterdays. Where has today gone? Just another yesterday now.
My husband has been just as tired and overworked as I am. This winter vacation has been such a blessed and lazy affair.
We have had a very short visit to see my family this break and a weekend visit with Danny’s parents.
I was mind boggling tired with each visit and forgot to get pictures of my kids with their grandparents!! I was so grateful for the time we had together.
I’m enjoying this “honeymoon” of sorts with a(nother) new baby! The long days just cuddling are slowly fading and I’m slowly pulling myself together.
It’s good to exercise my mind again – with the whole blogging thing – and having just looked at a calendar, I can see that today is Monday…January 2016!
Wishing you all the best while facing your trials and reaping your blessings of another year.
If you’re looking for excitement, go back and read about the birth of my first child, because this story isn’t all that wild and that’s how I like to keep my labor/delivery from here on out.
I was only about 37 weeks pregnant when the pain of carrying this baby became sharp and stabbing…in all the most uncomfortable places.
My official due date was November 30th, but the stabbing pains – and convenience of my husband having all of Thanksgiving break off from school – made my decision to be induced an entire week early that much easier.
Anxiously I made arrangements for my two little boys to have safe places to go while I lay in the hospital hooked up to the IV.
The small village of women I know are so fabulous (I was still anxious about not being with my boys all day and leaving them with friends) and I really had nothing to worry about – those boys had a good day and didn’t even notice I was gone.
My mom drove into town the night before induction – she and I got about 3 hours of sleep – before we arrived at the hospital at 5am.
Months leading up to the induction, I prayed and prayed for good nursing staff. The nurses can make or ruin a birthing experience. It all hinges on good nurses.
Prayers were answered each day of my hospital stay. Each shift, I was blessed with exceptional nursing care.
[I even got the same anesthesiologist from last year! Who I absolutely loved!]
When I’m anxious I tend to be more silly and I requested that my labor nurse have a good sense of humor. Not only did I get the Charge Nurse on the unit, but she was everything I wanted/needed, including an afterbirth DJ.
What?? Afterbirth DJ?
We named our little girl Adrian.
She is not named after the character in the movie Rocky, but I do happen to like that movie.
So, throughout the day my mom is giving my siblings the play by play via text message (with photos) of how I’m doing, I said, “mom, as soon as she is born, you need to caption the photo ‘Yo Adrian, WE DID IT!'”
That’s when the nurse said, “someone needs to download the Rocky song and play it when she comes out.”
We all laughed, “yeah, that would be funny, good idea.”
Meanwhile, it’s 1 o’clock and I’m still sitting somewhere around 4 to 5 cm dilated and the nurse says I’ll check you again at 3pm.
Ugh. Another long induction.
Close to 2pm I asked Danny if we could watch a movie on his laptop. He had left the laptop charger at home and asked if he had time to run home and get it. I told him, “yeah, probably.”
The nurse happened to walk in right as Dan was standing up to leave and I asked the nurse to check me again, just in case, because I wanted Danny to run home.
Well, I was 7 cm dilated and apparently moving fast now. So Danny sat down, nurse got the birth cart ready and paged the doctor.
1o mins later my OB was in my room chatting with us, camped out and not headed anywhere because I was progressing really fast.
Mom had the bed in the sitting position and I was mid conversation with my doctor when I had this overwhelming urge to vomit.
“I think I’m in transition, I feel like throwing up!”
[As Danny would later quote from Wayne’s World, “if you’re gunna spew, spew in this.” picture a Dixie Cup]
Mom handed me a trash can – doctor gowned up – I did some deep breathing and Danny was rubbing my back.
I didn’t end up spewing – I did end up pushing for less than 10 minutes and out came our little Adrian.
Moments after she was placed into my arms, my nurse played the Rocky theme song from her phone.
It was kind of a perfect moment, within a perfect moment.
This baby was a lovely surprise.
She is really heavenly, not a crier, loves to sleep all day and eat all night.
Her first four days of life I averaged three hours of sleep each day and it has been worth every sleepless moment.
I think for me, I reached a point where I had cried on and off for so long watching my Grandparents deteriorate, when I received the news that late last night my Grampa and close friend had passed away – I didn’t cry.
My mind is a unorganized matrix of thoughts and stories…what do I share?
For me, when I learned of his passing, my frist reaction was one of gratitude that he no longer suffers.
Grampa had been sick for a long time and had a great desire to be free of pain.
His life began, not far from where it ended, in Oklahoma.
After graduating medical school from the University of Oklahoma, he started in a small general practice up in Montana. It only took a year for Grampa to decide that general practice was not for him, so he uprooted the family again to Minnesota for his fellowship in orthopedics.
When his academic training was completed, he returned to Oklahoma and began the long road of building his private orthopedic practice, leaving gramma to shoulder the burden of raising their six kids.
Some things I know about Grampa White, he loved people, he admired hard work, and he appreciated beauty.
One of the greatest things I have to thank him for is he never asked me to do a job for him that he did not already do, and he took the time to show me.
He usually started out working side by side with me, until I got the job going as well as he would do and only then did he go off to complete another job he needed done.
When I moved in with my grandparents at the age of 18, there were many things I needed learn, about life and myself.
I lacked confidence in my intellectual capabilities and grampa pushed me onto things I didn’t think I could do.
Gramps paid for my college education, so naturally he had some say in the courses I took.
He still let me take music classes, fluff courses (kickboxing, intro to rock climbing..etc), but he had me take physics and other science courses.
I always had to take between 18 to 21 credit hours a semester – otherwise, I “had too much free time.” 🙂
The semester I only had to take 11 credits to graduate with an associates degree? He made me get a job, outside of working for him and gramma, too much free time made one idle.
He wrote the checks, but I was called into his office for many “dialogues” to discuss my grades, my goals, how I was spending my time.
I can say with absolute truth that I would not have graduated from college, doing as well as I did, without that kind of mentoring.
Like many 18-23 year olds, I lacked direction and he helped guide me down the right path.
[If for you it isn’t college, or vocational training, you need to have a skill, you need to be productive. Sitting around never accomplished anything.]
I really got to know my grampa well over the years while doing housework. Grampa would come up to me, coffee in hand, and start telling me stories while I was cleaning the kitchen.
It always seemed to be a good time to chat while I was cleaning the kitchen.
He would tell me stories about his children, his life as a doctor, the army years, et cetera. Sometimes we would talk about my future. Almost every story had a teaching moment for me to glean something from – and I did – I was listening.
Years down the road, I would sometimes feel like I had become a disappointment (it was during those waitressing years after my degree when I was trying to figure out what I really wanted out of life.)
I would recall the one conversation we had about the economics course I was taking and he would say, “hey, maybe you’ll end up studying economics at Cambridge.”
I never had a desire to study economics at Cambridge, whether some else was picking up the tab or not.
When I had fully committed to becoming a wife and mother, I never heard a disparaging remark, only kindness and love from my grampa.
I try to be the best, most well rounded, wife and mother I can be. An educated wife and mother. I try to pass along the things he taught me, because that is the best way I can repay him.
“It is [God] who in the beginning created Adam and Eve in His image, male and female, and joined them as husband and wife to become “one flesh” and to multiply and replenish the earth.21 ”
“Each individual carries the divine image, but it is in the matrimonial union of male and female as one that we attain perhaps the most complete meaning of our having been made in the image of God—male and female.
Neither we nor any other mortal can alter this divine order of matrimony. It is not a human invention. Such marriage is indeed “from above, from God” and is as much a part of the plan of happiness as the Fall and the Atonement.”
Marriage creates families, which is central to God’s plan of happiness.
See why this wedding was a big deal?
It was “the most complete meaning of our having been made in the image of God.”
Marriage and family has shown me how much I needed to change – to become more like Christ.
Having children has shown me how much further I need to go, to be more like Christ.
I would have liked to have spent more time, just Danny and I before we started having children.
I would have liked for him to see me normal for awhile…before the constant roller coaster of hormones.
In the four years I’ve been married, I’ll have had three kids.
When I got hitched, I was an old maid, at 29 with expiring eggs; so, you know, I had to start popping those kiddies out.
The perfect storm of stress was probably the main reason I went into the hospital two weeks ago (and missed my sisters bridal shower – sad face indeed) for pre-term labor.
I had a lot of friends, who have experienced pre-term labor, give me great comfort in knowing that things will be okay – EVEN if I have more days like that again.
So much happening right now, I haven’t been making the time to write or take quality photos with my good camera, so you all will have to settle for the photos taken by my cell phone camera; which has been dropped far too many times.
My husband has been really busy – gone for long stretches – and with me having to rest more often…things get a bit messy (which leads to more stress…I’m still learning to let that thing called, “a mess” go… but I’ve been a struggle).
My husband did have a weekend free (or took the babies to do some work one day) while I drove to Tulsa to visit my Grandparents – sans children – Gramma was admitted to the hospital for another fall.
I spent the entire weekend with her in her hospital room.
Sometimes she forgot who I was, thinking I was a nurse, she would ask me questions about myself (that she already knew about me)…she was always embarrassed when she realized who I was.
I called her 10 days after I returned home and she asked if I knew she had been in the hospital. I reminded her that I was there with her the whole weekend. She felt bad about forgetting.
I’m just glad she still knows who I am when I call. I have three remaining Grandparents and they cause me tears every now and then.
The weekend after my trip to Tulsa, my mother came up for a brief visit (for a Midwifery conference) and she and I went out shopping one afternoon.
She needed to find a dress for my sisters wedding (In August. In Houston, Texas. Because people still get married in Houston in the summer – I did).
For my trouble of helping her spend money on new clothes and jewelry, she bought me some make-up. The fancy kind of make-up I’m too poor to buy myself.
Since my husband had Scout Camp the week before our trip to Texas, and I was slowly loosing my sanity, there were many nights where I let my sons stay up late.
I was too worn out to fight the bed time routine.
Our trip to Texas was a teary one…Grandparents weren’t feeling up to a visit on our way down, and I got a call that our dog got into some trouble at my parents. I’m not overly fond of my dog in the, “I cuddle with him every day,” but I love that Boy and I was quite upset that he got in a scrap.
So, I cried.
When we arrived at my sister’s house, I was so happy to see her. She too is pregnant (currently 36 weeks and has more hustle than I do!) and two pregnant sisters together is a great comfort. We ‘get’ each other.
We normally divide our time between Danny’s family and my sister’s home, but I – not feeling well – have kept mostly to my sisters house (where she and her kids have been a great help when I need to rest).
The day after my hospital visit, we drove out to spend time with Danny’s family. My boys just love their grandparents and great-grands (on both sides). Normally Papa gets all the love, but this trip Little T Rock was loving on Gregre.
Later in the week, my sister’s family and mine drove out to Papa and Gregre’s for lunch and the kids were happy playing and running about. It really is a little slice of heaven out on their property and Danny’s family are all Southern Hospitality.
Last week my mother in law took some time off work to take me shopping! And my sister in law offered to watch my two boys. My boys had so much fun playing at her home.
A few days after our shopping trip, we went back to have dinner at my sister in law’s and when we pulled up, Wiley recognized the front door and said, “yeah, this is the good house.”
It seriously makes my day that my children love their family like they do.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.
My baby sister gets married this Friday – last Friday, while she was at work – she and Jeremiah got the keys to their new home…which didn’t have electricity yet, but the family got them moved in (through 104 degree heat) anyway.
It was the day of the move, after spending so much time in the Texas heat, Danny said he wasn’t so sure about moving back to Texas…
So, uh, I have no idea what the future holds after graduation.
I do know that we will have three children. 2 boys and 1 girl.
Danny has asked me for a few weeks why I haven’t written? Well, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”
You can go back and read my early blog posts about motherhood, they all have nothing but happiness and gratitude within.
I am going to tell you that the last few weeks have not been fun – they have been very hard for me.
My escape was always thinking about what life was like before the children came along (pooping and vomiting on everything).
College – oh I loved college – my worries were whether or not I studied enough for an exam or whether my team would win the football game – heavy stuff guys.
Traveling was much easier – there was one bag – not five – and I didn’t have to haul any extra seats or strollers around or strap any tiny humans to my chest. Hopefully not any crying (pooping or vomiting) tiny humans to my chest.
Time spent with family for reunions and weddings were much more simple. I didn’t have to worry if my child was in danger or eating to much junk food (potentially going to stay up all night with a sugar high).
I could sit and enjoy a quite afternoon with my grandparents.
It’s been months, MONTHS! since I’ve been to the Temple. Something I used to do once or twice a week – now almost never happens. I really look forward to having more time there again.
My husband is aware of my princess complex – that thing where I like people to do everything for me? Okay, but really, I loved having someone around who could do my hair for me…does my hair ever get done now? nope. Unless you count a bun or a pony tail.
I rarely leave the house (because it takes lots of bags and effort) with two small children – throw in I’m pregnant too – and you have, “I would rather lay here and read…”
So the long outdoor adventures have been replaced by long days in my house wearing pajamas.
Do I make time for silliness these days? yes, I do, but again it all occurs right here at home, in my pajamas.
There was a time I was the person in our extended family that was called upon to house sit and watch kids.
The only kids I was responsible for were the kind I could hug and kiss…then leave after a nice visit, to return home to the quiet serenity of my clean living space.
In pictures, it looks like my life was a constant party or adventure and in a way, it was.
But after a lot of time thinking about what my life used to be like, I remembered the emptiness it still held.
I don’t feel that emptiness anymore – I feel tired, overwhelmed, busy, but not empty – I am free of the longing to fill my emptiness.
My husband and children complete me in a way that brings me the greatest ups and downs that life can bring.
My sweet moments are so much sweeter, because of the hard things I endure. I sacrifice so much for these kids and the return is so much greater than a short trip or long hike in the mountains.
Kids grow up and my quiet time will return, so I’m still learning to embrace the chaos for now. Because life moves so fast and I don’t want to miss the happiness of the present.