It starts

IMG_6654Hailee has her first boyfriend! And she’s not even six yet!

Last week we went to lunch with another parent and friends from Hailee’s Challenger Pre-K class. While at lunch, the mom told me, “Vivian (Hailee’s friend) came home from school last week and said, ‘Mom, Rider is in love with Hailee!’ and then I was talking to the mom of another boy in the class and she said her son told her the same thing: ‘Rider is in love with Hailee!'”

This was NEWS to me! Hailee has never talked about Rider at all! But to be honest, Hailee doesn’t like to talk about school much, period. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to say more than how she felt about her day, which is usually a rendition of “good,” “great,” or “awesome.” The only other things she likes to talk to me about are recess and if she acquired any injuries on the tire swing.

So after the lunch date with these friends, when I had Hailee in the car, I asked her about Rider. Hailee got a silly grin on her face and said, “He is in love with me and I am in love with him.” !!!!

I asked Hailee what it is she think Rider loves about her and she said, “He loves how I push him on the tire swing. I have a special trick to make him spin fast and go up and down.” And then I asked Hailee what she loves about Rider and she responded after thinking for a second, “His curly hair.”

Aww, young love! So cute!

I asked Hailee how come she hadn’t told me about Rider and she said, “I was worried you would tell me I couldn’t love him because I’m too young.” Huh? I am pretty sure I would never say that…but that does sound like something her dad would say. Either way I tried to share in Hailee’s enthusiasm to help her continue to open up to me about her first little beau!

The next day Hailee told me that she and Rider kissed! Blink, blink! Now, at this point, I might have gotten ready to have a talk about age-appropriate behavior with boyfriends, but Hailee clarified, “on our cheeks.” Oh, ok phew.

Hailee’s birthday party is this week and Rider’s RSVP is a “maybe.” I’m hoping I get to meet this little boyfriend and watch him and Hailee play together. Cute five-year-old puppy love. Who doesn’t find that adorable!?! If only it could always stay this innocent…

13.1 fun run

The Southern Utah Half Marathon began with waking up at 5am to load onto a sticky elementary school bus where we were shuttled to a starting line and relieved ourselves in mass portapotties, then shivered and jumped around waiting for the race to start only to begin running as thick raindrops started to splatter our faces. What about that doesn’t sound fun?!

FullSizeRender(4)Kay, that may have been how the race started, but I honestly have to say, this race was an absolute BLAST!

Luckily the rain only lasted for about the first two miles of the race. And when it was raining, I actually didn’t mind because I love the smell of rain on asphalt! And, because it rained, the race was nice and cool the whole way! I know I was getting an awesome workout, but I honestly didn’t feel sweat anywhere except on my forehead, under my visor! It was the perfect temperature for running a half marathon!

Chad and I ran together for 10.5 of the 13.1 miles. I was honestly surprised he ran with me and so glad he did. We had a really nice time jogging through some amazing red rock scenery! The path was seriously so pretty as it winded along the Virgin River in St. George. We were surrounded by beautiful red rocks and greenery, and sometimes sleepy cows. We saw hawks looking for breakfast and little birds flying in and out of mud nests snuggled in the red rocks. Besides the awesome scenery, the race was all downhill! The air smelled so nice and clean! OH, and it was easier to breathe, being at a much lower elevation than Salt Lake City.It was the perfect first half marathon!

Chad and I also loved looking at all the people running with us. It was pure people-watching-entertainment. People of all different shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds were loping along the trail (we saw a girl as young as 10 and a man at least 70). I spent the last four months training by myself for this race and suddenly I felt this camaraderie with all these other people who had done the same; and here we were, together at last!

As we ran, I felt so happy! I was having so much fun!

At about mile 8 my knee started screaming at me and I felt a little worried I wouldn’t be able to run through it. (Downhill is apparently super hard on knees and I had developed runner’s knee problems as a result of my training). I had anticipated this could happen and so I slowed down for about a mile and tried to stretch and just keep going. Gratefully, my knee stopped screaming and resorted to quietly complaining, which allowed me to push through it and even increase my speed. At the end of the race, I was running 8:30 min/miles!

I finished the race in two hours and six minutes, averaging 9:41 min/miles. Not too shabby! Chad finished just about two minutes ahead of me. I was super proud of myself as I sprinted across the finish line! I felt elated and was surprised that I physically felt really good! Except that I wanted to throw up because I ran the last mile so fast. I had to concentrate to not throw up on the little twelve-year-old boy who put a medal around my neck. But the nausea passed pretty quickly and I just couldn’t wipe my stupid grin off my face!

IMG_6517 IMG_6518And of course we took lots of photos!

IMG_6523 IMG_6524I ran this race with zero expectations and only the wish to cross the finish line! This was so fun, I think I’ll definitely do it again! Chad and I are already talking about when to run another half-marthon and what time we want to shoot for (we both want to see if we can run it under 2 hours the next time).

My mom came down to St. George with us to cheer us on and she was great company on the four hour car ride from and to SLC. (Thanks Mom!) When we got home, I felt exhausted, but was excited to see my girls! They seemed less enthused to see me, however, as I guess they were having a grand-ol-time with our babysitter. I was slightly hurt by their rebuffs of my affection, but grateful that their lackluster greeting is implicit permission for more overnight get-aways!

So, in conclusion, this was a really FUN experience, a great achievement, and awesome date with my favorite person. Now to set a new goal…

But perhaps I’ll wait until after I get the results from the biopsy of my thyroid tomorrow to set that goal…I’ll give an update when I know if I have thyroid cancer or not. Right now I’m still riding the high of this awesome 13.1 mile fun run!

Three years feels different

FullSizeRender(1)Yesterday we passed Charlie’s three year angelversary. This year’s angelversary felt different. The last two angelversaries, I’ve had this frenetic energy and need to fill up the day with activities to make it “meaningful.” While my desire to pass the day in a meaningful way, was authentic, I think it also signified serious avoidance and a need to do whatever I had to in order to survive the day emotionally.

This year our house was plagued by an awful cold. Every single one of us has been mowed down by this chest and sinus infection. When I first became sick, I had an internal tantrum, screaming, “Seriously?! Of all weeks?! I do not need this!” Then, I thought about a mantra one of my friends told me a long time ago (I’m sure I’ll paraphrase it wrong): Believe that everything that happens to me is for my ultimate well-being. Great idea in theory; harder to apply in reality. But I decided to apply this mantra to being sick. So I stopped fighting and reframed the sickness as an opportunity to be present and mindful. I abandoned any ideas to fill Charlie’s day with activities.

Instead we mostly spent a quiet day spent at home. And I think that was perfect for us. Despite being sick, I didn’t feel the frenetic energy or need to make the angelversary into an event in order to mark it and survive it. It felt good to just be quiet and reflect.

Emotionally the day was sad and of course I cried. But this sadness felt different from before. It wasn’t a suffocating, dark sadness. It was just plain, unadulterated sad. And the difference felt really nice. I think it feels easier because I’m in a place where I’m ok and I knew the day would pass and I’d continue to be ok. It’s not like the early days of grief when grief waves bowl you over and leave you panicked, stricken and gasping for air. Either the waves aren’t as big anymore or I’ve developed muscles to remain standing when the waves strike, or both.

So I felt I was in a place where I could just be with whatever presented itself to me that day. And the day wasn’t bad. I enjoyed the quiet and welcomed whatever feelings I needed to experience. In many ways, yesterday was peaceful.

We had a family picnic with Charlie and sent balloons to heaven.

FullSizeRenderThe rest of the day involved lots of snuggles and naps and just being together.

Three years later it’s amazing to reflect on where we’ve come. In one way, I don’t think I felt the frenetic energy about this day because I no longer need this day to mark Charlie’s life or passing. I feel I have internalized him into my very being. I really do carry him with me, always. He informs my intentions, motivations, desires, beliefs, and spirituality. I may come across as normal now, but I’m not normal. I’m in a good place but I am irrevocably changed. And I’m glad for that change. I still feel pain, anger, confusion, and sadness and have more grief work to do. But I also hug my children more fiercely, I live more intentionally, I see beauty more profoundly, I experience gratitude more easily, I breathe more deeply, and experience the world with different eyes. I am grateful that Charlie gave me that gift.

Personal retreat

Everyone needs a personal retreat every now and then. My personal retreat comes each February, often on the week of my birthday.  I start looking forward to attending the American Group Psychological Association conference many months before and miss it almost as soon as I step off the airplane back in SLC. Chad is so awesome to make every effort possible to accommodate my absence for this week. Bonus for him: no birthday celebration or present obligations!

AGPA is a 5 day conference and is held in really cool locations across the nation. Often those locations are in the frigid northeast so I was delighted when I learned this year’s AGPA would be in lovely San Francisco!

IMG_6228I go to AGPA for both personal and professional development. I go to find connection with people, to do some personal therapeutic work, and to get inspiration for the therapy groups I run.

This year did not disappoint! In fact, it exceeded my expectations. I didn’t go to AGPA thinking, “I’m going to work on x,y,and z” but rather just an openness for the experience of it. And the personal work I ended up doing surprised me and was super powerful! Some of it involved grief work but most of it involved interpersonal struggles and the connections and feedback I received in my institute was perfect; exactly what I needed.

One of the most memorable moments of the conference, however, came outside the conference. One morning, one of my colleagues invited me and others in our group to ditch our morning workshops and spend three hours meditating in a zazenkai session at the famous San Francisco Zen Center.

IMG_6264Only three of us ended being able to take the morning off to do this excursion. Ironically, the workshop I ditched was “intro to mindfulness.” I decided a crash course would be more beneficial. And I was RIGHT! I honestly don’t think I can describe in a way that would give it justice, exactly what it was like to meditate for three straight hours! It was powerful and awesome. The session was led by a legit Buddhist monk (robes, shaved head, gong, bare feet, and all). We alternated doing silent sitting meditation for thirty minutes and then ten minutes of silent walking meditation (imagine walking at a tenth of the speed you normally walk to get an idea of what walking meditation entails). We repeated this over and over for three hours. I can’t summarize the experience because each “episode” of meditation was different for me (I almost fell asleep in one of them). I noticed I have a very active mind and it required a lot of attention to stay present. But the effort was worth it. After the zazenkai, I felt physically like I had just had a massage and that I had this invisible, light, warm blanket around me. I felt blissfully tired and hesitant to re-join reality. Definitely going to try to find a place in SLC to do similar meditation work!

Other highlights of the week included hopping a cable car and touring the city with one of my friends from grad school and favorite people: Jenn Alonso!

IMG_6138Jenn now lives and works in Florida so we only get to see each other once a year at AGPA. Jenn treated me to a yummy shake at Ghiridelli Square for my birthday.

The food this trip was also a highlight! I drool just thinking of some of the yummy meals I shared in the company of good friends!

I also fell in love with the Uber app which rewarded me and my friends with the opportunity to see this at sunset:

IMG_6204SO gorgeous! This makes me understand more why people pay exorbitant prices to live here!

Our Uber driver was super accommodating.

IMG_6191I gave him a five star review for his efforts!

I also got to meet my therapy HERO this week: Irvin Yalom!

IMG_6185You might call him the God of Group Psychotherapy. He came and gave a plenary speech at the conference and then signed books afterwards. When I met him I said, “Would it be creepy if I told you, you changed my life?” He smiled and said, “No that sounds very nice.” Seriously this man influences my therapeutic work every day! I spent so many hours in grad school watching his group therapy training videos and reading the bible of group therapy books: The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (it’s highlighted more than my scriptures). He’s written lots of books but my favorite of his, as well as my favorite therapy-reference is, The Gift of Therapy.

Oh, I also got to see a talk by Phillip Zimbardo, another God in the field of psychology (think Stanford Prison study). But I left his talk half way through to have a wonderful sushi dinner with one of my all-time besties: Robin!

IMG_6174Taking advantage to see my friend who lives thirty minutes outside of the city was the better choice! No contest!

And finally, AGPA wouldn’t be AGPA without the DANCE!

IMG_6269How often as adults do we get opportunities to Get our Groove on outside of sleezy club scenes (which who would ever frequent once married and outside their twenties?)? Yeah, um, never. This is my yearly dance therapy. This dance is a voyeuristic delight as people between 22 and 85, of a variety of ethnicities and sexual orientations, are all unabashadly throwing their bodies around in dance-like-movements to a live band singing a wicked rendition of “Love Shack”! It’s SO GRIN-PLASTERED-TO-FACE AWESOME!

The downsides of this six day retreat included a lovely sinus infection (that didn’t impede me too much with the aid of medications) and missing some good friends who couldn’t attend this year’s conference. But it was great to connect more with my colleagues/friends, as well as meet some new and amazing people. Hopefully next year some of those peeps I missed will be able to come and complete the experience!

I just LOVE AGPA! What a highlight of my year and a bonus that I get over 1/2 my required CEs from this indulgent retreat! Just the medicine I needed this time of year!

PS I did not wear that flannel shirt each day of the conference! In fact I was dressed quite professionally during the conference but threw on jeans and the comfy flannel for excursions and the like!

Nursery Update

It sure has taken me forever but life can be distracting sometimes! I’m not done decorating the nursery but one wall is finally finished!

IMG_6106I made the banner (with some help from Grammy) and custom ordered the decal. I love it! The wall, besides being cute, is so full of meaning for us. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

I also finished one project with Charlie’s clothes. Well, actually I didn’t do it personally, but sent some of his clothes to a special woman who makes special things with them:

IMG_6196These bears were ready for us on Christmas eve! Which was perfect because we wanted them to be Christmas presents to ourselves, Hailee, Cami, the grandmas, and our old nanny, Mel. I remember in the earlier days after losing Charlie I went into his nursery and pulled out his clothes one by one and just sobbed. I remember how sad it was that they were just limp, lifeless clothes. I was so desperate to hold him in some form that I put one of his onesies on my original Charlie bear and slept with the bear like that for awhile. Now that special onesie has been lovingly made into the shape of a bear that I can squeeze and hold and love on! These bears are such a treasure and each outfit was chosen for a specific reason with a specific memory attached! Thank you Heidi Hamilton for the idea!

I have more Charlie clothes and another project in mind for them, but that will come in time. Life is sure busy, and I am grateful to be in a space where I want to be more present in it with my little family.

Runner’s high?

I promise this blog won’t become a running blog or a “Let me tell you how cool I am by bragging about how far I ran!.” I try not to be a braggart (cool word huh? I learned it by first learning the Spanish word: fanfarrona and translating it to English). But since I’m training for something I’ve never done before and pushing myself toward new goals, I want to talk about my experience.

This weekend I ran farther than my two feet have ever run in one jogging episode: over 7 miles. For many people out there, especially runners, this is cake. But for me it felt like a big accomplishment! It was super cool to hear the little Australian Accented Strava Voice tell me through my ear bud, “7 miles.”

What was especially cool about this run was I think I might have experienced, for the first time ever, a runners high. Now I’m not sure because I’ve never experienced a runner’s high before. I have felt enjoyment and accomplishment and fun from running but never what I would describe as a high. But during this run this Saturday, between miles 3.5  and 5.5, I suddenly felt overwhelmingly HAPPY! This sounds so cheesy but it felt like my little heart was singing, “I feel Happy!” by Pharrell Williams. I even got goosebumps on my arms. Is that a runner’s high?

I guess I’m doubting it because after mile point 5.5 running got hard again and I felt much less happy. It became tongue wagging, feet heavy, “how much longer?” feeling. Aren’t runner’s highs supposed to last? Like all day?

Oh well, whatever it was, it was a really great feeling. I was running one of my favorite roads; the road that takes me here:


listening to my favorite empowering songs, and the sun was shining and with our bizarrely warm weather here in February, I was running in short sleeves, and it was pleasantly breezy, and just kind of perfect.

I’m super glad I had that experience because it makes me want to keep running. Before this experience I was wondering when running would get any easier? Or less painful?

But it’s super cool to feel some progress. Even if it’s “small.” Like now running three miles is now super easy for me, where not that long ago it was actually really hard. And I’ve broken my distance record and run seven miles! Those feel like cool little milestones to anchor me as I keep up this intense (to me) training.

So obviously this entire blog post is about running. What I meant by my first sentence is this blog won’t become all about my training. But it’s nice to be able to share something I’m excited about, so thanks for reading. :)

And then she ran

Or is running…or will run A HALF MARATHON! And by “she” I mean, ME.

Or rather, WE. Chad and I signed up for the Southern Utah Half Marathon in St. George this upcoming April.

I felt hesitant to admit this endeavor on here because I’m afraid I can’t actually do it! Or that I won’t. Or that I’ll get injured. Or that something in my life will derail my training. Announcing that I’m signed up for a half marathon makes me committed. It makes me accountable.

That’s actually why I am writing about it. I want/need to be accountable.

It’s easy for me to say enthusiastically, “Yeah, I’m going to run a half marathon!” when so far my longest run in training for it has been five miles! It’s going to get a lot harder for me! (Open to training advice from fellow runners out there! I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!)

I am not a natural runner. Before graduate school I had never run more than a mile in my life. Before losing Charlie, I had never run more than three consecutive miles. The farthest I’ve ever run in one shot is six miles and I can count on less than one hand the number of times I’ve done that. Sure I did Ragnar last summer but I had some of the easier legs and I practically limped my last leg!

So why would I want to run for about two straight hours? Good question.

Well, here is what I get from running:

*I feel happier

*I feel less anxious

*I feel energized

*It makes me respect and love my body

*It gives me the opportunity to reflect and gives me better clarity

*It quiets me from the chaos of my life and inside my head (it’s a source of meditation for me)

*It can be fun! (especially races)

*I enjoy having goals

*It gets me outside and in nature, which is always therapeutic! (I’m a new fan of winter running! I feel so cool being one of the only ones on the road and it feels awesome sweating and simultaneously feeling snow flurries hit my face)

IMG_5951Here is what I hope for by training for a half marathon:

*I want to be strong and healthy. I feel like running farther than I’ve ever run will help me toward this goal.

*More importantly than being strong, I want to feel strong. I want to know I can do it. That I can convince my body to run 13.1 miles. I want to believe in myself. I want to feel proud of myself

*I want to train myself to push through physical pain, exertion and boredom (mindfulness skills!)

*I want to keep healing and growing stronger emotionally!

*I want to outrun my own Blerch (My Blerch is fear, inadequacy, depression, laziness, and excessive amounts of chocolate) and find the void!

*I want a positive, fun experience both training and in the race with my hubby! I think it’ll be so fun to work toward and accomplish a goal together!

So there you have it.

And my final reason for running a half marathon: Why not?

But please quote me, “I DO NOT want to run a FULL marathon! EVER.”


Cami’s heart

Today we showed up at Primary Children’s Hospital for Cami’s echocardiogram. I’ll be brief about the boring details.

*We showed up at 7:15am.

*There was a nurse, a Nurse Practitioner, an IV team, and an ultrasound tech (all were great)

*The IV and “falling asleep” were the hardest parts. Cami was very sad. Our eyes leaked to see her so hurt and sad.

*Sleeping Cami did great during the procedure

IMG_5982*Cami was slow to wake up from sedation because they gave her a little extra medication as she was so agitated and fought the sedation in the beginning.

IMG_5980*She finally woke up and did great! (A little grumpy and groggy and snuggly)

IMG_5979*The conclusion: The doctor came and told us that the echo revealed that CAMI’S HEART IS GREAT! No concerns!!!! The murmurs are “innocent murmurs.” Huzzah! We get to move on with our life!

IMG_5985After lunch Cami was back to her usual happy self, although she was a little tipsy walking around. We prepared ourselves for a groggy, sleepy Cami but she decided today was the day she’d figure out how to crawl out of her crib and not take any nap at all! Here’s to an early bedtime!

Seriously feel SOOO grateful today. Grateful for modern medicine and competent health care professionals. Grateful for their compassion, time, and caring. So grateful our rainbow is healthy and her heart is strong. Feel like we can take a big, much needed, breath of air!

Mindfulness boot camp

The year is already conspiring to give me loads of opportunities to use my new-found, amazing mindfulness skills! HA! The whole point of my theme this year is to get some skills in an area I generally suck at! So, it seems as though the year is conspiring to throw me into a mindfulness boot camp with tasks to confront fear, trauma reminders, doubt, and anxiety. Sounds fun right?

It all started a week ago when I had a follow up appointment with my endocrinologist regarding my Large Thyroid Cyst. It had been bothering me lately as I have begun to be able to feel it when I swallow and it seemed to me that it had gotten bigger. My endocrinologist informed me that my cyst hadn’t gotten any bigger but he went ahead and aspirated it because it was bothering me. After he sucked out an entire syringe full of black fluid (old blood he said) my doctor did an ultrasound of my thyroid. With my cyst completely deflated, he was able to see my thyroid more clearly than he had in previous visits and informed me, quite bluntly, that my thyroid doesn’t look normal. To make a long story short, he ordered a lab to test for Hashimotos disease. The labs came back normal. However, my doctor still isn’t convinced it’s NOT Hashimoto’s but didn’t condescend to my level to really explain his reasoning. But if it’s NOT Hashimoto’s, then I have either a benign nodule or I have thyroid cancer. Good times.

I’ll tell you that threw me for quite a loop for a few days. I totally failed my first few days in mindfulness boot camp. But I did everything I know to take care of myself and try to manage my anxiety. By Monday I was feeling a bit better and I have a plan: Get a second opinion from another doctor…now I just need to find one.

Then this Tuesday happened and my cancer-ruminations immediately disappeared; replaced by something that scares me even more.

What I thought was going to be a routine check-up for Cami ended up being the beginning of something more.

I brought Cami to the pediatrician for her 18-month check-up. During this check-up the doctor listened to her heart for an inordinate amount of time. After listening to her heart he asked me, “Have we talked about her heart murmur before?”

GAH! Heart Murmur?! What?! Another round of boot camp just sucker punched me in the gut.

While my pediatrician tried to be reassuring, he did recommend we see a cardiologist at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Thursday morning we met with a cardiologist a Primary’s and the appointment WAS reassuring and also very NOT reassuring.

They took a chest x-ray of Cami, an EKG, four limb blood pressure readings, and pulse ox. Cami was a champ through all these tests. The cardiologist then came in and listened to Cami’s heart from more angles than I thought possible.

He told Chad and I that Cami has, not one heart murmur, but three. She also has a “click” that can be indicative of a heart valve concern. The X-ray revealed that her heart is slightly enlarged (Top Normal the doctor said) and her EKG was “slightly” abnormal. After telling us these findings, the doctor quickly moved to try to reassure us. Despite these findings, he’s not convinced anything is wrong with Cami.

Cami’s blood pressure was consistent across all four limbs, her pulse ox was 99% and she’s healthy and thriving. Plus, I guess murmurs are kind of a dime a dozen. However, given the findings, the cardiologist referred us for an echo-cardiogram next week to get a better look at Cami’s heart. This is an ultrasound and doesn’t sound like that big of deal…except it is because Cami has to hold completely still for 30 minutes. That’s impossible for an 18-month old so they have to sedate her for the procedure.

Panic and nausea set in at this point. I immediately saw flashbacks of watching a nurse carry three-month-old Charlie away with a mask on his face for his Hydrocile surgery.  I remember how helpless I felt as I waited for him to come out of sedation after his surgery. I remember being so relieved as he cried but distressed that he didn’t eat anything for many many hours later. And even though Charlie seemed to recover great from his surgery…he DIED just over three weeks later. I KNOW correlation is NOT causation but I honestly don’t know how I will handle Cami being sedated and unresponsive. I’m worried it’ll bring flashbacks of even worse memories of Charlie (dead ones). I’m worried Cami won’t wake up.

But we had a pretty great tender mercy today: our cardiologist. When I called to set up an appointment for Cami, I simply asked for the “next available” appointment. The “next available” that fit our schedule set us up with Dr. Mart. Dr. Mart shared, shortly after meeting us, that he has lost two children himself. One of them is buried in the same cemetery as Charlie! Because he quickly learned of our history with losing Charlie (there was a question on the New Patient questionnaire “Had a child die suddenly and unexpectedly?”) and I suspect, given his unique ability to empathize, Dr. Mart went out of his way to reassure us and spent ample time with us, even though he was running about an hour behind schedule and had patients que-ed up and waiting.

I asked Dr. Mart if Cami could die suddenly, the way her brother did, and Dr. Mart reassured us that Cami isn’t at risk of sudden cardiac death as her EKG did not reveal any “rhythmic abnormalities.” He tried to describe her EKG abnormality as a directional abnormality and didn’t seem to be something dangerous or life-threatening. That was reassuring (but the Snuza is going back on!).

Dr. Mart also told us that he was pretty sure nothing was wrong with Cami but he was sending us for the echo-cardiogram just to rule anything out.

Before we left he asked us what other questions we had and he looked at me and said, “I don’t want you leaving, going to your car and crying.” I told him I probably would but that it was ok. In fact, both Chad and I ended up crying in the car. I haven’t seen Chad sob like he did today, in a very very long time.

For families that haven’t lost a child, this event might be mildly anxiety producing. But for us it is straight up GUT-FREEZING-SCARY. It brings up so many memories, so many emotions, and it feels so vulnerable. Dr. Mart acknowledged that he knows, given our history, that statistics aren’t reassuring, but that he’s 99.95% everything is fine with Cami.

Fingers-crossed he’s right.

I’m not liking Mindfullness boot camp so far.

18 months!!!!

IMG_5849This sweet, yummy rainbow is a year and a half today!!! Another milestone we get to celebrate!

I often call Cami my “puppy” because whenever I get home she greets me like an excited puppy: rushing into my arms, hugging me, quickly squirming out of my arms and then grabbing my finger to pull me somewhere she wants me to go.

At 18 months this little girl still doesn’t say a whole lot but she’s building her vocabulary. For example, when she is hungry she says, “Nom nom.” How cute is that?! Her favorite and most ubiquitous word is “Momma!” which of course I love…although I think she uses it to refer to many things besides me. Like, “Momma momma momma” might mean, “Please make me a quesadilla and this time don’t sneak beans and avocado inside.” I think “Momma momma momma” also means, “I love you and think you are the most wonderful person in the whole world!” At least that’s what I choose to believe. :)

Cami also understands quite a bit of what we say to her and responds with enthusiastically shaking her head yes, or no, or doing whatever we prompted her to do. Like if she points to the fridge water dispenser and does her “Nuh? Nuh?” indicating she wants water, I’ll say, “Go get a cup” and she’ll wander to the cup drawer and pick out a cup and mismatched lid, bring it back to me, and patiently await her water.

Cami is still our little eater! She loves cheese but still doesn’t like avocados. She’s also gotten in a bad habit of putting her dinner in her hair when she grows bored of eating. Or she turns her sippy cups upside down and waters her tray, or the floor, with a big grin on her face.

The toddler tantrums have fully bloomed. But they are pretty short lived, not super frequent, and Cami is still a very happy and easily appeased child.

Cami likes coloring, especially on the couch or walls. She loves her baths and trying to wash her own hair and body. She loves waving “bye bye” and “hi” to anyone she she passes. She is super easy to put down at night and is a good little sleeper!

Speaking of sleeping, Chad and I discussed months ago that at 18 months we were finally going to stop using the Snuza to monitor her sleeping. I know in my head that Cami is super out of the SIDS risk zone now and doesn’t need to Snuza, but I love the reassurance the Snuza brings. So I’m writing this in bed with the Snuza on the nightstand beside me still deciding if I’m going to break the habit tonight or not. This is another one of those life-after-loss moments of trying to figure out what I need to do to stay sane vs. not living in fear and choosing to challenge myself. Not easy decisions.

I know people gush about their kids! It’s so easy to do! Especially when my kids are so dang gushable! I feel so grateful to have our rainbow and watch her turn from baby to toddler! I love her chunky thighs, dreamy eyes, and wispy hair. I love how Cami will run so fast it looks as if she’ll fall forward at any moment, but somehow her feet always stay under her. It’s amazing to witness her personality emerge, see her learn and try new things, and just love life! I’m so grateful she’s ours!