Tuesday, May 22, 2012


They look so peaceful.
And sweet.
And have completely taken over my side of the bed.
If there is one thing I have learned, it's that parenting is hard. Really hard. I hit a point yesterday realizing that I have gotten into a situation that I don't like. I need to step back. The boys are yelling all the time, they're sassy, I'm constantly saying 'no', it seems they're always on a time out; it's exhausting. Out of ideas, I called my mom (which usually happens when I need advice on anything). We went through everything; the constant fighting between the two, how loud, rough and aggressive they can be, how listening seems to be completely optional for them, how I am uptight and yelling too often, etc....I felt a bit of hopelessnes.
Then, she hit the trigger. She asked, "how much time do you spend playing with them?" wham! That'll hit you where it hurts. I realized how caught up I have become in my own life. Maybe I've said "hold on", "just a sec", "in a bit" one too many times. All they really want is for me to pay attention, be present and interested. I try my best to address their issues while rushing to get ready for work and daycare in the morning, making sure things are done around the house, laundry, meals are ready and bills are paid when I'm home in the morning with Owen, making dinner, doing the dishes, more laundry, gardening, etc. in the evening.
"Mom, can we go hit some balls outside?"    "In a minute, Owen!"
I know managing a family of four with two working parents, one of which is completely consumed in a new business venture, graduate school, baseball, softball, fishing, therapy, book clubs, social activities, birthday parties, etc is a lot. But, once that becomes the way of doing things, it seems normal. Instead, I want my kids to feel relaxed, peaceful and have fun when they're at home.
So, for now, I vow to play.
Thanks, mom.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Enough said.

I wrote a lengthy blog post about this day, about the one year mark, but I erased it because it's much simpler than that:

Jess: I miss you everyday and will forever.

This past year has been a journey; a journey in healing, in self-reflection, in growth. And I made it a year, which at this time last year, I felt I wouldn't make it one more day.

And interestingly enough, nobody in our family could remember what date it was. Half of us thought it was the 28th and half thought it was the 30th, but none the 29th. It's as if this date was erased from our memories.

Your life and spirit live on forever. It's the bad times that force growth and understanding, but it's the good times that count.


Friday, March 30, 2012


"Eventually all the pieces fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason." -Carrie Bradshaw

I saw this quote on a friend's facebook page, thought about how great it was and then lost it. I went searching and finally found it. :) I cannot think of truer words. [I knew I loved those Sex and the City ladies for a reason].

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I had a therapy session last night, and it's been awhile since I've gone. I count that as progress. For a couple weeks I've been deciding what I wanted to talk about because nothing seemed pressing (!). However, a constant theme that stuck with me since Jess passed away was an ever present feeling of doom; that I am going to die soon and when so, I'm definitely going to die of cancer.

Now, I know this is definitely a skewed perception, but I just could not make the feeling go away. As better as I was feeling, that was still hanging over my head. What better subject to talk to my therapist about. I explained that I'm pretty sure everybody is getting cancer now and it is taking over the world. It's all I ever hear about now. [Though cancer rates are gradually growing, I'm sure it hasn't gone all King Kong on the world yet....]. He related it to anything else we may have a deeper connection to in terms of how noticeable it becomes in our everyday life. For instance, you decide you would really like to purchase a red car. All of a sudden, all you see are red cars. Or, your great grandmother's restaurant closed after many years causing sadness to the family and all of a sudden all you notice are restaurant closures, feeling a deeper connection to those that do.

He told me that once I realized it was a fear, I would be able to allow myself to realize that there are plenty of healthy, vibrant people out there and to let the idea of those people in providing balance to this perception I have.  Again, he has provided me with a great tool.

Feeling great about this, I'm driving to work this morning listening to MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) as I recently have been doing more of (apparently, I want to know what's going on in the world now) and they just happen to have a cancer epidemiologist from the MN Dept of Health on the air talking about a growing cancer scare in a certain Minnesota city. In that discussion, he stated that fifty percent of Minnesotans will get cancer at some point in their lives. 50%!?! My jaw dropped. Maybe this isn't new news, but hearing that 1 in 2 statistic sort of confirmed my fear. I mean, that is a bit staggering. Granted that could mean anyone from 0-150 years old, but still. I even had to check the MDH website to see if I heard this right. Sure did. That means that my cancer nightmare isn't over yet.

HOWEVER, I am taking this new information and giving it to God. I can do as much as I can by living a clean and simple life, but beyond that is not up to me. I can live with that. And living is what I do best :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Brother

Dear Jess,

I miss you everyday. No lie; every single day I think of you. And I constantly question: 'What would Jesse do in this situation?' because it always seems to give me the right answer. Thank you for that.

I have been sad the last two days, but a different kind of sad. A sad that makes me know I have come a long way since just a year ago. I can handle these feelings much better and no longer is it a feeling of overwhelming disparity, but just a sadness from that feeling of having a void.

I really cannot believe it has been a year from when we all surprised you in your hospital room with balloons, cake, cards/gifts and whole bunch of family and friends. You were so surprised and happy! And that image we all still have of all the cousins sitting on your bed. It was a great day. The circumstances sucked, but it was a great day.

So, here's to being 34, whether on earth or up in heaven. And as Dominic asked mom today, "Is my dad having a party up in heaven??" You better be. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

One Year.

I knew I wanted to write something one year from the time we went to Hawaii. Our trip to Hawaii last year embodies happiness for me. Despite my brother's struggle with cancer, it was best he felt and the best he looked since being diagnosed; his attitude was so uplifted. It was such a joyous time for all of us.

This comes at a time when I've had a slight revelation in therapy. In relying on energy psychology sessions to calm my anxiety, I've noticed it's not doing what I want or am expecting it to anymore. And in talking with my therapist yesterday, I now realize what a disconnect I have had with my thoughts and beliefs and what is actually reality. Instead of looking at the time earlier this year as a whole, a time when all these horrible things happened at once, I need to assess each one individually and see where I am on each.

He introduced me to Byron Katie's, "The Work", which includes four questions to ask yourself in trying to facilitate working a concept into reality; A way for me to get to acceptance. Starting with a belief you have about a person (most likely, a blanket statement) and turning it into what is reality and a thought that you can own individually.

For example, the first belief that came to mind when I think of my brother is, he should still be here. That's what I have thought and believed up to this point. It's why I'm so puzzled and in disbelief when I start to think about it. Now, turning to the questions and how I answered them:

1. Is it true?
Of course it's not true. None of us should be here. We just are.

2. If the answer is yes to the first question, can you absoluetely know that it's true? Do you have proof?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
I am sad, tense, frustrated.

4. Who would you be without that thought?
Happy, content, calm.

And lastly, turn the thought around so that it is true just for me, not as something that should be for all.
I wish my brother was still here.

We can all have wishes and hopes that are our own. We own them; nobody else does. And as such, we do not own anybody else's wishes, hopes, business or the way they go about their lives. He told me there are three types of business: my business, the other person's business and God's business. We cannot change anybody else's business except for our own. For instance, the weather; we can say all we want that it should be sunny today; it has to be! But really, we have no control over that. The weather is God's business. We can say, I wish it was sunny today, and that becomes our own business.

What is reality is what is (got that?). It is already here and there's nothing that we can do to change what is happening right now and what has already happened.

In talking to my husband about this over lunch today, he said something to me that made this whole process come full circle for me. He said, "Then,  Jesse is God's business now?" And I thought, yes....yes! And there's nothing I can do about that. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Long Weekend.

What a weekend! That is the understatement of the year.....

Our plans for camping were completely foiled. First, we were not able to hold our original camping reservation at our favorite campground (McCarthy Beach) because the Minnesota State government is stupid and could not agree on a budget, therefore causing a statewide government shutdown of almost all services funded by the state. People are layed off from jobs, rest stops closed, all services other than critical care were haulted and state campgrounds barricaded and closed. We were bummed.

But we were determined to go camping and found a nice little campground in Spooner, WI. We packed up and headed out Friday afternoon; 90 degrees when we left. 1 1/2 hours later we arrived in Spooner;102 degrees! I don't remember the last time I felt that kind of heat. We proceeded to set up our tent, dripping sweat and tensions rising. Afterwards, we promptly jumped in the lake to cool and calm ourselves. Life was good. The rest of the family showed up and started to set up their tents when the sky turned dark and high winds came out of nowhere. It was very scary. We were scrambling to throw all of our unpacked things into the tents and jump into our cars/trucks. Trees were bending, lightning striking and then, amidst it all, we heard sirens entering the campground. With everybody scrambling everywhere, it was hard to tell what was going on. We started to head up to the camp owner's garage for safety from the tornado warning and there on the other side of the road was a giant (and i mean huge) tree fallen over...on a tent. It was when we gathered together in the garage with solem looks on others' faces that we learned of an 11-year old girl who had been in that tent when the lightning struck that tree. She was killed instantly. Bless her family. I still can't wrap my head around it. We were all in shock while this storm was pursuing on.

After it calmed down, we headed back and my dad proceeded to finish setting up his tent. It wasn't right. It wasn't safe. Someone had to make the tough call that the right thing to do was leave. The thing was, nobody wanted to admit that we needed to leave because we were camping; we always do this as a family every year. Something was missing. We needed that level-headedness of my brother to say we needed to go. We were just lost.

We ended up throwing all of our stuff in our vehicles and left; defeated.

BUT, we pulled ourselves together Saturday morning because we still had three days to enjoy the weekend. After a morning of unpacking vehicles and laying stuff out in the yard to dry, we put out some decorations on the back porch and in the house. Later on, we headed out to the beach and spent the entire afternoon there. It was lovely! The kids had a ball as did the adults, got a nice tan and then headed over for a nice grilled dinner at my sister's house.

Sunday morning found us at my parents' house for an early morning bike ride, followed by blueberry pancakes and sausage. Yum! Then, a group of us headed up to my in-laws' cabin for the afternoon. Fishing, jumping off the pontoon in the middle of the lake, sun, rhubarb slush drinks, a bonfire, sparklers and a wonderful dinner on the grill made for such a fun day!

And the Fourth! Monday started with a lovely breakfast for just our family (and Uncle Lukey, of course) with omlets, hasbrowns, banana bread, fruit and juice on the deck. So enjoyable. The boys enjoyed throwing some pop-its (love them) on the ground with a neighbor friend and then we met my family for a parade and back to their house for some serious bike decorating! The bikes looked magnificent and the kids had a blast. (I think the adults had more fun helping them decorate though..hehe). They lined up for a mini-bike parade for grandma and grandpa. So cute! We headed home, napped and woke up to 90 degree weather again. It's slightly miserable; you can't sit outside without sweating. So, we decided to do water balloons and a sprinkler party with a watermelon snack. We loved it!

And finally, we headed down to the waterfront to take in the outdoor symphony concert followed by amazing fireworks to music. Great ending to a great weekend!

I hope everyone stayed safe and had a wonderful Fourth of July! (I think I'm done camping for awhile).