March Sadness

I hate March and I dread its annual rotation. Once upon a time I’m sure I loved it. Now I just can’t wait for it to be over. It isn’t just the fact that I live in Alaska and by this time of year everyone up here is itching to see and feel the warmth of the sun. It has nothing do with having already endured 6 months of winter and knowing at our northern climate there is still a couple of months yet to go. It has nothing to do with spring flowers already starting to pop up in my news feed from friends and family that don’t live in the “frozen north,” as my Grandma likes to say, or the small tinge of jealousy I feel that it will be months before I can get my hands dirty and they already have flowers. No, it doesn’t have to do with any of those things; it does have everything to do with grief.  Even though a lot of time has lapsed and my heart has been quilted back together and the memories are more good than heart wrenchingly sad and don’t always rip me to pieces, I still could do without March.

March is the month when I lost two of the most influential men in my life; my Dad and my Grandpa. And somehow “memory March” makes me not only think about those two but my Granny and my Wanda Wanda too. Obviously I don’t think of them just in March but this month has a little extra heaviness to it for me. I have had a conversation with a friend of mine who doesn’t think she will be able to live after the closest person to her passes away. All I have been able to tell her is that you don’t think you will be able to live but you will; somehow your heart will keep beating. Somehow you will laugh and smile again. Somehow you learn how to navigate life without them. Somehow you find a new happy.  I am a living testament, as are so many others, to these facts. How do you prepare someone for the eventuality of losing someone you treasure? Such immense and overwhelming heartbreak is hard to define because it is so unique to every person.

Daddy and Aunt Shirley
My Aunt Shirley and my Dad

My Dad had been sick for many years because he never placed priority on his health. As early as fourth grade I can remember that my Dad had a hole the size of the tip of a pen in the bottom of his foot that he would mess with occasionally. My Mom, a registered nurse, was pretty convinced he had diabetes and she pleaded with him to go to the doctor but her requests fell on deaf ears. Fast forward 10 years my parents were long divorced and my Dad finally got help from a doctor but only after his foot became so infected and bothersome he had no other choice. Unfortunately by this time it was too late, the doctors had to amputate a couple of toes and then eventually half of his foot. My Dad still continued to ignore medical advice and ate what he wanted; chain smoked his menthol cigarettes, and didn’t adhere to a medication regime with any regularity. As a result the infections in his foot never went away for long and eventually his left leg was amputated below the knee. We hoped this would have been an eye opener for him but over the next 8 years we got a handful of calls from family and hospital staff telling us my Dad was likely not going to make it so we needed to say our goodbyes. Somehow he would always pull through, though much worse for wear.

For eight years we walked on pins and needles and were constantly being pulled back from the precipice of grief. During this time my Dad’s right leg was amputated and he suffered several heart attacks which led to quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2006. Time never went as slowly as it did when we were told he was being put on the heart/lung machine. I swear an eternity must have passed before we were told that his heart was beating on its own again. I felt fortunate I could be there for my Dad during this time. While he was in the hospital my brother, sister, and I would have conversations with our other family members and my step-mother about how to proceed once he was discharged. I felt like this stint in the hospital was a great starting point for a new beginning. Take away the salt. Don’t buy soda or sweets. I researched recipes with a low glycemic index. If you smoke don’t smoke around him, and by all means DO NOT GIVE HIM A CIGARETTE. My Dad was the kind of smoker who lit one cigarette off of another and smoked several packs a day. I was hopeful being in the hospital, with a nicotine patch on his arm would have lessened his withdrawal symptoms when he got out. I was delusional and I think this was a case of me wanting to control a situation that I had absolutely no control over at all. It was a very harsh reality for me. The day my Dad was released from the hospital, my step-mom picked him up and the first time he asked for a cigarette she gave it to him. Being mad isn’t something new to me. I’m a Scorpio, I have red hair, I’m a first child, I know mad. But I didn’t know this mad. I had never been so angry in all my life. The kind of mad where words come out sounding like a foreign language in between gasps for air and where all I can do is cry. The trip to go see him and possibly say goodbye, was a miracle. People came together to make sure we could be there during that time for him, but I’ll be damned if I was going to sit there and watch my Dad kill himself. I flew back to Alaska.

In August 2007 when I was seven months pregnant with my son, we got another phone call telling us that my Dad wasn’t doing well and again we flew to North Carolina. The story that would unfold during the month we were there was horrific and nothing I was prepared to hear. It was discovered my Dad suffered several strokes and before my step-mother picked up the phone and called 911 she took the time to get him out of bed, in the bath, cleaned up, shaved, and his haircut because she had neglected him for so long. She was more worried about staying out of jail than about my Dad’s life. The doctor told us the bed sores my Dad had were the worst he had ever seen. He had been left in his own filth for so long, not moving, that his body was literally wearing away. There was no way he was going home as it was now apparent he wasn’t being taken care of. So at 27 years old I was touring nursing homes with my brother and sister and trying to make the toughest decisions so far in our lives. At 57 years old my Dad was placed in a nursing home and we knew he would never make it out. Even though we knew he wasn’t ever getting out of the nursing home, we were all still surprised when on the morning of March 27, 2008 we got the final call that he died – he had pulled through so many times before. Now he was really gone. No more opportunities to say goodbye. The end.

Me and Granny
Me and my Granny

One way or another I managed to marched forward. Then on Thanksgiving Day 2008 my sweet Granny went to be with Jesus. I was crushed. Again. And again I survived. By then Hiatt and I were living with my parents in Albuquerque after deciding to move there just before Hiatt’s first birthday. My Grandpa’s health was failing and after spending the majority of my childhood not having the opportunity to be around my Mom’s side of the family it was the gift of a lifetime to have the great fortune to get to know him and my Grandma better. It was the biggest honor to be with my Grandpa in his final days. Born and raised a cowboy in the vast spaces of New Mexico my Grandpa rode off into his final sunset on March 21, 2010. It hurt so much to watch my Mom and my Aunts and Uncles experience the pain I had already felt losing my own Dad and to see my Grandma’s heart break. I think by the time my Grandpa died I was numb. I had experienced so many close losses by the time my Grandpa died I was feeling anesthetized somewhat to grief. But really, as it turns out, in order to march forward I just repressed everything. I’m not even sure now if I have processed everything fully; I feel like if there is even a little crack in the façade the entire wall I have built to protect my sanity will crumble.

Hiatt and Grandpa
Hiatt giving his Great Grandpa kisses

These experiences have changed me; they have changed the nature of who I am. They have attributed to increased anxiety, fear, and pushing people away. It hurts so much to lose those you love that in some wild, twisted way I think I’m protecting myself from inevitable future heartache. Like if I keep my distance it will somehow hurt less in the end. In my logical mind I know I should cling to my remaining family members and friends because I do have a full understanding that life is entirely too short. I know it will hurt one hundred times more if I miss these connections with those I love. I think of this from time to time and I make an effort and reach out but I am my own worst enemy and I always pullback. I don’t like this about myself. I don’t like that I’ve allowed myself to be so changed by grief I am missing out on engaging in life.

Wanda Wedding
My cousin Wanda

Just when I am recognizing my own self sabotage and the need to work on my behaviors my cousin Wanda died unexpectedly on February 18, 2015. I have a lot of cousins but no two was I closer to than my older cousins Rhonda Rhonda and Wanda Wanda. Wanda was only 43 years old when she passed away and I had many hopes of getting to visit her again and making a midnight run to Krispy Kreme. She had married her prince charming not even a year prior to this and she was happier than I had ever seen her. It seems so unfair that she was robbed of her happily ever after. When she died I dropped all the way back down to the bottom again.

I understand the cycle of life involves death but I never expected to lose so many people I loved in such close succession. But would you ever want to expect that? One day March will hold the promise of spring and new beginnings again and it won’t be so heavy on my heart and mind. Until then I’m going to take a huge leap outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to reach out and love my family and allow myself to be loved by them.

The Socks Are Out of The Bag

Nobody ever warns you when you’re expecting your first child that they are messy. So, so, so messy. Nothing is safe from their dirty fingerprints, spills, coloring, painting, and all kinds of things you won’t have thought about. Hiatt tried washing his hair with Vaseline one time. Another time he had fun with old ashes in a fireplace and covered himself head to toe in ash along with about half of the living room. I was out of his line of sight for 2 minutes tops both times. I have many more stories along these same lines. Kids are messy in ways you can’t yet predict. You will be cleaning up something from now until eternity. Consider this your warning!

I don’t mind doing housework at all. I’m one of those weirdos who finds it calming and relaxing. It forces my mind to focus on the task I’m working on; it somehow slows the hamster wheel of my brain. I like to cook in a clean kitchen and walk on a floor where it won’t be death by toys so those are good motivators to just get the chores done as soon as I can. I feel so much calmer when the environment around me is in order but everyone with kids knows they are anything but orderly. It has been challenging for me as a Mom to learn how to embrace some amount of disarray. For instance, the bookshelf in our main room isn’t in perfect order because I asked Abby to put her books away and she did. They’re on the bookshelf not perfectly but they are on it and maybe the books aren’t how I would have put them away but she did her little three year-old best and I’ve learned to be okay with that. She did what I asked and it isn’t a matter of health and safety. I have to be okay with that for sanity’s sake. I’m learning as they grow too.

Now that I gushed about how much I don’t mind doing housework I’ll tell the real life part of the story. There is one thing I dread – I hate matching and folding socks so much. As a result there are still socks in that pile that used to fit chubby little toddler feet. My son is nine now. You saw the picture. The socks are out of the bag. A full size linen laundry bag to be exact. For shame, right? Whatever. If that is all that I’m guilty of along this journey of raising kids, then awesome! I don’t need perfectly matched socks to prove to anyone my worth as a mother.

But having said all that; it has become more of a chore now to actually find matching socks or socks that actually fit than to just sort through them so I have to tackle this monster. How crazy is it that sorting socks makes my anxiety skyrocket? I don’t know what to do with all of the socks. Do people give away socks? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen socks at the thrift store. It seems so wasteful to just throw them away. I bet landfills all across the U.S. have their fair share of perfectly good socks.

What are some of the things you dread doing as you go about your Mom duties? I know I’m not alone in this. I know parents who hate doing laundry, hate doing dishes, hate cooking, and all kinds of other things that someone, somewhere, once upon a time said would mean we are doing this parenting thing right. But I disagree, none of those things are fair representations of the job we are doing raising our kids. How happy and healthy our kids are and how loved they are seem to be much better indicators of our parenting skills in my mind. Getting someone else to do the dishes or cook supper, not so much.

For ease of access though today I am going to go sort socks, finally. But first maybe I’ll do some homework, or clean the bathroom, or…, or…, or…

Thankful for Noise

My poor kid, this weekend my house was full of girls, four of them to be exact and then my son, Hiatt, the lone boy child amidst them all. Meagan and I invited two of our other nieces, Sianne and Aneska, over for a long overdue sleep over. My oldest sister and her husband have one daughter, my brother and sister-in-law have four girls and one son (who lives in Arizona right now), and then of course my youngest sister Meagan with her two daughters (Izzy & Abby who we share a house with). By the time Hiatt goes off on his own life adventure he will have a ton of experience navigating relationships with women because he is surrounded by them all the time. I love getting all of the cousins together whenever possible, I want them to make memories and build strong relationships so they will be there for each other in the dog eat dog world of grown-up life.

My son is always excited to see his other cousins but I think he gets halfway through a visit and wonders what he got himself into. I mean us girls can be a little different! The girls can sit and color, play with playdough, read stories, watch movies, and play with toys for a long time but it is rare anything holds Hiatt’s attention that long especially if he isn’t moving and making noise. Even if he is sitting down watching a show on TV there is some body part constantly in motion! He wants to roughhouse and just generally be more physical, more boy. The girls can only tolerate so much before they are done and I’m done because I’m hoarse from reminding him that he cannot use his full body weight and strength and full on tackle them. Play and rough and tumble all you want kiddo but just put some thought into it and don’t use your full might! My kid is a linebacker, he could seriously injure them!

Sometimes I struggle with navigating these situations because of course I have a natural inclination to side with my kid until I hear the facts. But I know my kid, I know Hiatt doesn’t always know when to stop and he doesn’t always want to admit to his role in a situation. I also know my nieces who all have this ability to produce tears from out of nowhere and they can all cry at the drop of a hat about pretty much anything which can make it hard to tell how serious a situation is and all of the kids can turn an accident while playing into an opportunity to get someone else in trouble. So it’s challenging to say the least at times to figure out the five W’s and the how.

For the most part they all interact really well together and Meagan and I try to find a balance between the more quiet activities the girls like and the movement Hiatt likes. They all love dancing but their idea of good music definitely differs among them. It was so funny this weekend Sianne who is 10 and getting into boy musicians, was watching a couple of Shawn Mendes videos and staring at the TV with googly eyes. Hiatt was just watching her with this look of disdain and confusion on his face and asks Sianne pointedly, “Why is he even doing that?” Hiatt is very much a “Sheldon.” If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory you’ll totally get it but if not let me enlighten you. Hiatt is very literal minded, very. He is emphatic and there are very few shades of gray with him, much like the Sheldon character. He could surprise me but I really don’t think he will ever have a career that is abstract; he is far too much of a realist even at 9 years-old. He clearly didn’t like the video and didn’t understand why any of his cousins would like it (maybe for the same reason you watch Jessie reruns all the time boy-o!). Little does he know I was thinking the same thing but for a completely different reason, like why is this dude singing about “please have mercy on me. Take it easy on my heart” he looks twelve but the video doesn’t have him acting twelve and at this point I’m questioning whether it is even okay for them to keep watching it. Like what am I going to have to explain after they watch this?

After kicking butts and taking names at midnight I finally got them all settled in and the house was quiet. In the morning after breakfast and three painful mishaps for Aneska which required cuddles and owie ice, all the kids were bundled up from head to toe and sent outside to play in the snow. Our kids are tough and truly little arctic warriors not even caring that the thermometer was reading -5°; they played outside for quite a while and had it not been time for the other two to go home and frozen hands because someone left their gloves at school (my kid!) and discovered cloth gloves aren’t for arctic living – they would’ve been out longer and eventually we would have pleaded with them to come inside because our Mom brains would’ve been convinced they were going to turn into popsicles.

Later, in the quiet, calm of the evening after Aneska and Sianne had gone home and our kids had full bellies, were all squeaky clean  and smelling good from baths, and tucked away for a restful night’s sleep I was so incredibly thankful for the silence but oh so grateful for all of the noise of the day too. This noise soothes my soul because it is the noise of a house where kids are safe to laugh and cry and free to express their personal opinions. It is the noise of whispered secrets I may never know and music I don’t get. I am thankful because all of the joyful chaos and noise means each and every one of these precious, one of kind little people know they are loved and in our house they can be completely who they are. Each of them building a bond with the other that I pray lasts them a lifetime. This Mama Bear and Aunt wouldn’t want it any other way.

sleepover-pic
Finally out!

 

Friday Night

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If there is any night of the week that screams “You’re a verified adult now,” it is Friday night. Odd choice? Maybe. Just hear me out. I remember before I had Hiatt, Friday nights often consisted of late nights, drinks of the alcoholic variety, music, and laughs about all kinds of inappropriate shenanigans. Now late nights are usually because of a sick kid or because of an over anxious Mom brain that I can’t shut off. The drinks are usually non-alcoholic (though sometimes I question this – but then remember chasing kids around with a hangover is NOT fun. I repeat it is NOT fun! It’s just not worth it to me). The music is Kids Bop on Pandora (because apparently my music sucks already) complete with a dance party in the living room instead of my favorite local band at my favorite hole in the wall. The laughs aren’t from drunken antics but from ridiculous knock-knock jokes that aren’t really funny but funny at the same time because these little people think they’re the best.

This new phase of life, motherhood, is full of unpredictability. For example, not being able to predict Isabella would fall and become snow covered right as she got dropped off for school the other morning and I would have to take her home to change her clothes five minutes before the bell rang for the start of the school day. I also can’t always do what I want, when I want to do it without orchestrating childcare. But right now it is full of the predictability that the love of a child provides and the carefree way of little kids who find wonder and amazement in their world.

My son visits with his Dad most weekends so I have the opportunity to live it up pre-kid style if I choose. Honestly though between you and me, I am so tired by the end of the week that come 530 on Friday night I’m not even sure I will make it to 8! I have real responsibilities now that I can’t ignore because my choices impact another person so I try to make good decisions even when he isn’t with me. Part of that means on a Friday night and during the weekends I am getting the opportunity to refresh and re-energize for the coming week, or complete my school assignments for the past week, or get laundry washed and dried and occasionally put away, or have the opportunity to sleep. No matter what though I would still rather be with him than do all the stuff I used to do before he existed. It is an immense and profound love.

I’m not always perfect at remembering he has only been on the planet for nine years but I am getting better with practice, so when I find myself getting frustrated because he’s acting his age, I remind myself that he will never be this age again and I can never get these moments back. This is so cliché but heartbreakingly true. There are some days I really, really could use an attitude adjustment. I have no patience or I’m grumpy, hormonal, or stressed and I may not be the Mom I want to be every day but I strive very hard towards that goal and my child always knows I love him because I tell him several times a day, most especially in my failures.

Even though Friday night isn’t what it used to be it is so much more memorable and meaningful than before. I value the experiences more. Sure, I miss the companionship of my friends but I wouldn’t trade getting to be Hiatt’s Mom and Isabella and Abigail’s aunt for anything in the world. They’ll grow up and go about their own lives one day and I want them to remember my excitement for being with them. I’ll get to do my own thing again in the future but for now raising kids with faith, strength of character, integrity, honesty, a good work ethic, and manners are my Friday nights. I’m doing this grown-up Mom thing and it’s pretty phenomenal.

 

 

The Nightmare That Is School Pick-Up

Ya’ll if you have never had the experience of picking up or dropping off a child at school let me be the first to tell you that it is not the most enjoyable experience in the world! I don’t know if it has always been a nightmarish experience or if I’m just noticing because I’m the Mom now but my son’s elementary school literally has signs affixed to orange cones throughout the parking lot reminding parents that this school’s parents are “kind,” and “patient,” and “take turns.” Nope, I’m not even kidding you. I wish I were. At school assemblies, activity nights, and parent teacher conferences the parking and drop-off/pick-up issue is always addressed but apparently goes in one ear and out the other. Each man for himself!

I didn’t realize I was on the NASCAR circuit.

At what point did we go from teaching children to have manners and encouraging them to practice them to foregoing the practice ourselves entirely? The way it is supposed to work is there is one lane for curbside pick-up and one lane for thru traffic. You’re not supposed to pick-up kids in the thru lane. You’re not supposed to leave your car parked at the curb. However, the behavior I have seen exhibited by those picking up elementary aged children from school is abhorrent. There is cutting in line, rude gestures, arguing, “I got here first,” and of course those who think the rules don’t apply to them. I have to give myself a pep talk before pick up every day just so I can maintain some degree of composure, “Remember to breathe.” “You’re in no rush.” “It is illegal to rear end someone for being an unthoughtful, impatient asshole.” I don’t think my blood pressure goes back to normal for at least half an hour after we have escaped.

One thing I have noticed and I don’t know if it is just local, but what happened to kids taking buses to school? Now this isn’t an “I trudged uphill, ten miles both ways, naked to get to school” story, but seriously, I don’t remember so many kids getting dropped off and picked up from school. When I was little we always rode the bus to and from school and Lord help you if you missed the bus! I don’t mind taking my son to school and I choose to do it so he can attend a better school but I sure wish people would remember little kids emulate our behavior and act accordingly when picking up and dropping off their kiddos would sure make the whole experience for everyone so much better.

Battle Plan

It’s Tuesday morning, after the rush of “How do you want your eggs?” and “Yes, you have to wear your coat, we live in Alaska and its winter, remember?” I am finally sitting down with my first hot cup of coffee of the day (because you know the first one went down in bits and spurts and was mostly cold) and the daily drudgery of deciding what’s for dinner hits. Typically, I would never use drudgery and anything to do with food in the same sentence but in my house it has become something to dread and you either are preparing for battle or you decide not to battle and make something you know will be palatable to little mouths. Picky eaters; we all know them. Picky eaters; we all love them.

My son will eat just about anything. He’s a linebacker and he is ALWAYS hungry! He isn’t picky per se, but when the boy wants a snack what he means to say is, “Mom, I don’t want a banana I want a full meal before dinner.” Perpetually hungry. Did I mention he is only nine? Moms of teenage boys, how in the world do you ever keep enough food in the house, if this is just the beginning? The conversation after school usually involves me telling him at some point that a snack after school is meant to be just that, a snack, and whether he believes it or not he will not starve to death before I have dinner ready. Snacks versus meals are usually the battle I face with him because he isn’t opposed to many foods. I remind myself to be thankful I am able to provide food for him and that he has a voracious appetite and the ability to eat.

My sister’s kiddos are a little pickier about what they will eat. I can cook a potato one way today and cook it a different way tomorrow and Izzy, my five year-old niece, is not going to eat it. Along with eggs, cheese (but she loves pizza and pizza rolls – but try and make her a pizza grilled cheese. It’s not going to happen!), olives, anything citrusy, rice, different pasta shapes, and the list goes on. Currently she would be happy to exist on bean burritos or taquitos. When she was three literally all she would eat was canned ravioli. Then she went on a pizza roll kick. Her little taste buds are just now becoming a little more refined and often, with some prompting, or the threat of bed (let’s be real here), she will give her meal a try and more times than not she discovers she actually likes the food. Imagine that! Convincing her is work but once again I have to remind myself this phase is only temporary and even if it’s not, eventually she’ll be able to cook for herself!

The youngest in our house is Abby. Abby eats peanut butter and jelly or honey, cereal (which sounds like turtle when she says it), and cheese. That’s the jest of it. Occasionally she will try something new but it is very few and far between this actually happens. Because she has cystic fibrosis and often people with this illness find it hard to maintain weight, so it is important for her to eat. She needs a lot of calories every day because she burns so many just by breathing. Having a picky eater in this situation is particularly challenging. We always wonder if she is eating enough and hold our breath when it’s time for a doctor’s visit; did she gain weight or didn’t she? Her nutritionist has told Meagan not to worry about it, that Abby is healthy and thriving but you can’t help but keep it in the back of your mind. So, after we have debated with a very stubborn three year-old and tried every trick in the book to convince her to eat, I personally have to remind myself that she IS healthy and thriving and I shouldn’t borrow trouble.

So tonight I have to decide do I make the chicken legs with this tasty ginger soy marinade that sounds divine to me and I’m pretty sure Meagan would like and prepare to do battle, or do I stick to the regular BBQ legs that I know the kids will demolish.

The jury is still out on that one and while it is, I’m going to finish this coffee. In peace, while I devise the evening’s battle plan!

out-of-buns
I thought I had hamburger buns in the freezer one night but was mistaken. So, instead of running to the store just for buns I used ::::GASP:::: sandwich bread. You would have thought the kids were going to DIE!!!

Meet the Characters

I’m a control freak. Oldest child syndrome. Whatever you want to call it and my sister is the baby of the family and quite a bit more reserved than me. I do believe our birth order, or familial order gives us different traits. As children I gave her orders and she took the orders. This didn’t work so well as adults, and quite honestly didn’t work well as kids either. After Isabella, Abigail, and Meagan moved in and the honeymoon phase wore off so to speak, I tried hard to control the house, my house. There was no “our house,” it was mine. I am particular. I like order. I like routine. I am not the hugest fan of chaos and fly by the seat of your pants decisions. My sister doesn’t need everything to be planned out to function at her best. We are different. She was used to having her home the way she liked it too and she definitely was not used to living with a quality assurance specialist. We both had to learn to adapt. But how could we, we are so different. I wish we had learned some tips and tricks or had been prepared for this journey but like with most epic trips the best things are often not planned and come as a complete surprise.

Fast forward to 2017 and I can confidently say we still haven’t got it 100% figured out! But we have come a long way. I can handle a little more chaos and I have brought some routine to my sisro’s life. It’s working, for now!

Before I get much farther let me introduce the main characters in my story:

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This is me. Heather. The control freak. 38 years-old. Mom. I love to write. I enjoy cooking and trying to goad my family into trying new foods. I also have a tiny, weird obsession with food photography. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I am passionate about cystic fibrosis. I can appreciate a purty pitch’ure and like to try my hand at taking them whenever I have the opportunity. I have lived in places like North Carolina, New Mexico, Birmingham, England, and my true love, Alaska and each of these places has lent to my life experiences and views on the world. This of course, is just the surface. You’ll have the opportunity to learn all about me.

meagan

“Merry Mouse” the childhood nickname of my youngest sister Meagan. Towing the line of parenthood alone. Amazing Mom. Friendly. Inviting. Warm. Genuine. Caring. Gentle. Peaceful. Peacemaker. She has the biggest heart of anyone I know. Oh and she likes horror movies (blech), hot baths, and pizza!

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My son-shine, Hiatt. All boy. Tenderhearted. Literal minded. Determined. Silly. Goofy absolute light and joy of my life. If you knew him, you’d probably like him too! He is super into Minecraft videos on Youtube right now, I don’t get it at all, but I will hear him giggle when he’s watching them. I love that he still giggles. He’s nine so I imagine they’re fleeting.

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Meet Isabella. My Princess Pea. Izzy-Bee. The entertainer. The storyteller. Big feelings. She is five. She loves mermaids and bean burritos with “spicy sauce” a.k.a. taco sauce. Izzy has the biggest heart for animals and wants to save them all. She’d be over the top happy if she could have a cat. (Auntie Heather tells her it can be in her future just not today!) I think one day she will make a great leader.

flair

Happy Abby. Abigail McKenzie. Fiesty. Always happy. Adventurous. Lover of baths. Obsessed with Paw Patrol. Scratches (a.k.a. nightly back scratches and rubs that help sooth her to sleep) – she will ask for them. All the cheeese. Abigail has cystic fibrosis but she is not cystic fibrosis.

These are my people. I love them.