where exhaustion meets bliss

The last two days, my two littlest girls have been sick sick sick.  Grae has been the sickest of all, which hurts my heart in the most sincere way.  She has had a fever and cough and has been too congested to eat or sleep.  I was up all night Saturday, then again on Sunday.  The only way she would sleep a few minutes is if I was walking her through the house on my shoulder.  Stella was in my bed coughing, and Grae fussing through congested airways.  On Monday morning, my alarm went off without ever having gone to sleep.  I felt so exhausted I seriously did not know how I was going to survive the day – a feeling I have come to know well over the last year.

I am a mother, so of course my day must go on.  I got up, made oatmeal, poured juice, picked out clothes, did hair, changed diapers.  Brady took Harlo to school while I plopped down on the couch and wanted to sob out of exhaustion.  Grae’s fever was raging, Stella was coughing more than breathing and my stress level was at maximum capacity.  (Nothing stresses me out more than sickness.)  I sat on the couch saying a sincere prayer from my heart about helping me survive the day and please please please please please please make my kids feel better.  Brady walked in with a cup of ice cold caffeine and I took that as a prayer answered.

I wore Grae around the house all day.  Her pitiful little self was just as happy as can be – her tired body, wrapped tight against my chest.  Every time I walked past a mirror and exchanged a smile with her my heart would melt.  I pushed on through the afternoon, and poor Grae just kept getting worse.  She was as hot as I’d ever felt her and so lethargic.  Even medicine wasn’t breaking her fever.  I filled the tub full of warm water with some essential oils mixed in and got in with her.  She laid on my chest while I dumped cups of water over her hot little back.  We sat in that tub for a good 40 minutes this way.  Just the sounds of the water and her belabored breathing to be heard.

In this moment, I was every single thing Grae needed – feeling as completely defeated as I was.  I had given every last drop of myself, but still, I was enough for her.  This experience of motherhood was profound.  In my desperation, I was utterly empty – but motherhood met me right where I was, and filled me completely.  I soaked in that special, sacred moment in the tub with my baby.  I felt whole again.

Sometimes motherhood is so happy and blissful and wonderful.  Sometimes it is scary and lonely and defeating.

But in motherhood, in all the glory of highs and lows, it is everything.  


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creating on a sunday

Today we were home sick from church – again.
My family has taken turns with a flu and a head cold + fever pretty much every single week of this new year.
Today it’s Stella’s turn.
She was in my bed all night fevering and sneezing, sneezing and fevering.
Grae was up only 6 or so times, so I got a great night’s rest as you can tell.
Because going back to bed is not an option, we decided to get our creative juices flowing this Sunday morning.
The girls wanted to make a little banner to hang in their bedroom with my silhouette machine.
I agreed and snuck in a little subliminal message. ;)

It has got me thinking about creating, though.  Being creative has become so important to me in the last few years.  It has been a true saving grace through some seasons of my life.  Whether it has been through photography, writing, my blog, or little projects around the house.  Creating beauty in all aspects of my life has been a life line sometimes.

I grew up with a dad who is a brilliant musician.  He has dedicated so much of his life to perfecting his craft – He can pick up every single instrument and play a little something on it.  I was played bedtime songs instead of bedtime stories.  Our family trips were to music festivals.  We were woken up by music playing from my dad’s vinyl collection – cat stevens, dan fogleberg, the who, joni mitchell…  Our life revolved around music – there was ALWAYS music playing.  I took this for granted as a kid because I just thought everyone’s dad was like mine (not even close).  A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to sit down at my dad’s dinner concert – an event that sold out weeks in advance.  It was such a special moment for me to hear my dad play in front of hundreds of people, the songs he had sat down on my bed and played to me and my sister each night.  His creative blood pulses somewhere in my veins.  I never connected well with an instrument, but when I picked up my DSLR for the first time and clicked that shutter – I was completely hooked.  I had found it.  My thing.

As my girls are growing up, it’s become important to me for them to see me create, and getting their little hands creating.  Life does get busy, but being an artist doesn’t click on and off when you are and aren’t getting paid to be one.  Being creative is a way of life, it inspires every single aspect.  For me, it is the choice to be happy – creating beauty all around.  Creating meals for my family, creating a happy little home, creating stories and words to share and express myself.  We really are creating a beautiful life, and I hope someday my girls will realize how special that is.

A sweet LDS conference talk on making a happy home here.

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10 months of grae

My sweet, sweet , SWEET Grae Girl.
Oh my word, this baby is the most scrumptious thing I think I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
Grae is getting so much personality – she is so silly all the time!
She is constantly giving us these scrunch-nosed smiles that are sweet enough to kill.
She has gotten so much easier these last couple months.  She’s not as demanding and is much more laid back.
She is now crawling, crawling, crawling all over the place.
She is also pulling up to whatever she can.. the side of the highchair, the toy baskets in the living room, my legs…
Yesterday I set her down to do my makeup and turned around and she was gone.  I looked around my room, then in the hall, then started getting a little stressed when I heard some rustling in the girl’s room.  She had made her way clear down the hall and into their closet. Ha!
No matter what she’s doing, if I say “rawr!” she will turn and try to run away from me, giggling all the while.
She thinks her sisters are an absolute blast.
They can get her giggling and smiling and shrieking quicker than anyone else.
She’ll let Harlo tote her all around, get her out of her high chair, get her up from her crib.  It’s amazing how patient she is with Harlo.
Stella… is another story.  She loves Stella and can tell she’s the silly sister, but as soon as Stella gets too close, she’s whining to get away.
Stella is a lover, what can I say.  And for a baby, Stella might be just a little too much of a lover. ;)
Grae has recently taken such a liking to her dad.
Oh my word, melt my heart.
Each baby I swear my love for Brady grows times a thousand.
Watching him with our girls, and especially our tender little baby just melts me into a puddle.
As soon as she hears Brady walk in the door, she is all eyes for Daddy – always trying to get his attention.
I have noticed when he used to sit the high chair by me, now he’s sitting it over by him.
Oh my heart, that Daddy.
A little update on her (lack of) sleeping.. After weeks of no sleep and utter desperation, I took her to the chiropractor.  She was constipated, teething, tugging at her ears and not sleeping at alllll.
He took a look at her, felt around her neck and said “Is she constipated?” Yes. “Does she sleep on her tummy?” Yes. “Has she been pulling at her ears at all?” Yes.  He did a small little adjustment in her neck and said “that should fix that.”  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  He explained how this place in her neck was obviously out of place, it was probably hurting her when she would try to move her neck at night since she’s a tummy sleeper and that’s what was causing her to wake up every 30 minutes.  He also explained that that part of the neck is directly intact with the intestines and that when the neck is cramped up, the intestines usually follow suit.  Also, when the neck is out like that, sometimes it causes fluids to build up in the ears.  Having it adjusted drains the ears immediately.  It all made perfect sense and I was hopeful, albeit skeptical about how this magical adjustment would solve all of our issues.
That night, I put her to bed at 7:30… she slept til 6am.  And the next night, and the next.  Oh my stars, I tell you – I am a believer.  She has also been pooping without any issue.  It’s like magic.
HUGE shout out to Dr. Sorenson at Advanced Care Chiropractic.
Now that Grae is back to (better than) normal, I am having him work his magic on my poor shifted sacrum that was assaulted during my first child birth. ;)
Grae has become a great little eater.  She can pretty much eat whatever we are eating.  She eats meals with us and has packets of organic fruits and veggies in between.
She loves her teeth and anything you hand her, she will gingerly bite into it with her front teeth.  Puffs, crackers, you name it.  The tiny little teeth marks in everything is enough to do me in!
She won’t watch TV for long, but she loves Doc McStuffins.  Whenever she hears the opening song she will stop dead in her tracks and start dancing.
She has really been noticing music lately.  She loves when we all dance in the kitchen – which is our daily dinner-making routine.
She’ll squeal and laugh and dance along with us in her high chair.
She always does well for the babysitter, but as soon as I walk in she’ll burst into tears as to say “You left meeeee!”
Such a little drama girl. :)
I just finished hanging up all of her stuff in her bedroom.  She has taken a quick liking to the birdie mobile that used to hang in Stella’s nursery.
It melts my heart with memories from Stella at this age.  Every day she waves and waves to her birdies and wants to gently touch them.
My favorite part of the day is getting her up from her naps.  Every time, she lays her head on my shoulder and pat-pat-pats my back.
Oh my heart, this baby.
She is just too dang sweet.
I am the luckiest.

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Today I:

Woke up and we were fresh out of diapers, so I went to the grocery store while Brady got ready for work.
I came home, put the groceries away, did the dishes and cleaned up the rest of the dinner from the night before (some nights you just have go go to bed – am I right?)
I put Grae down for a nap and sat down to edit, write, catch up on a bit of media garbage…
Then I made Stella a Peanut-butter and Jelly sandwich – her favorite.
Then I was quite hungry so I warmed up last night’s leftovers.
After that Grae was up, so I fed her left overs, too.
Harlo – who is home sick from school today – rarely eats lunch, but I still ask her every single day what she wants for lunch.
She’ll ask for a small snack around 2pm, my little birdie.
Then we practiced writing our numbers and talked about what constitutes a “teen number”.
While we were in the dining room, I decided I would hang my new favorite birthday present – big huge EAT letters. (compliments to my mother)
I couldn’t get them to hang quite right, so I called my mom over who is the most handy handyman I know.
While she hung my letters, I tubbed my lunch-covered baby in the kitchen sink.

After Grae was out of the tub, the big girls wanted to take a shower “like big girls do”, so I turned on the water for them and let them have at it.
That kept them busy for about 20 minutes.
While all the stuff was out to hang things – I decided now was the time to finish Grae’s nursery..  since her 1st birthday is coming up and all. ;)

It has looked like this (like a baby storage unit) for, oh you know, the last 11 months.

Today it looks like this.

 When Grae girl was done crawling around my feet and getting into everything I had out, I put her down into her newly renovated bedroom.
While I rocked her, she would eat, and then look around, eat, then look some more.
I think she likes her prettied up room.
When Grae goes down for her afternoon nap, that’s my cue to start dinner.
Tonight we’ll have meatloaf.. Mr. Miller’s favorite.
Then I’ll clean up the kitchen – all the way this time so I don’t wake up to a mess.
Then I’ll tuck the girls into bed and start again tomorrow.

Today I have been thinking of our family theme this year:
“Peace will not come from the outside world.  It will come from within the home.” – Elder Richard G. Scott
(from my favorite 2014 conference talk HERE)
Nothing feels as peaceful to my heart as getting my hands busy as a mother and wife.

And that is what the heck stay-at-home moms do on a Tuesday.




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