Correlation is not causation. This is one of the facts that was drilled into my head in graduate school OVER and OVER and OVER. I know this. But correlations ARE powerful. Like, when I was young I had the stomach flu and ate a big bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and it all  came back up minutes later. To this day I still don’t like chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, even though I know throwing it up was simply a correlation.

Well, the association I make with travel and Charlie’s death is just like that…but a million times stronger. I know it is a simple correlation that he died while we were on vacation. I haven’t met another SIDS mom whose child died on vacation. I know traveling isn’t what killed him…at least I’m pretty sure. But because correlations are powerful, I have been terrified to travel with Cami. Like stomach in knots, wanting to simultaneously throw up and cry, just anticipating it.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said all that before but it sets the context for this story.

Because this Easter we faced the FEAR and traveled with Cami! This was our first trip in over a year and it was soo overdue!

What compelled us to take that leap?

Easter compelled us.

I kind of hate Easter, if I’m being honest. In theory I love Easter and all that is represents. I love the promise of being a family forever and am so grateful for the Atonement of my Savior that makes all that possible. I especially love the message that the grave has no victory!

BUT these last two Easters I have not felt any of that hope or peace. Instead I’ve felt this familiar swirling black vapor inflict my soul and found myself in a foul mood. Because more powerfully than the hope Easter brings, I instead associate it with our last memories of Charlie. One day I hope I won’t feel so dark around this holiday. I hope one day I’ll reflect on those memories with a smile on my face and be able to connect with the meaning of the holiday. But I’m not there yet.

So I was dreading Easter. Like, wanting to go to sleep, wake me up when it’s over, type of dread. But I didn’t want to just endure the holiday. I wanted to proactively do something.

After talking to my mom on the phone, I found my heart lift at the idea of a trip to Grammy’s house! I knew if I dwelled on it too much or planned it too far in advance, I’d chicken out. So on impulse we arranged the trip (Thanks Grammy for the tickets!) The next day we flew to Arizona for what turned out to be the perfect Easter weekend for us!IMG_4416I swear there is something so healing in the Arizona air! The temperature was perfect: in the 80s. The pool was even more perfect and where we spent most of our time.

IMG_4407If we let her, Hailee could seriously live in the pool!

Our first night in Phoenix was hard. Cami didn’t sleep well being somewhere new and Chad and I didn’t sleep well being so anxious. To manage our anxiety, we went running both days we were in phoenix. Seriously, nothing helps negative emotions like a good sweat! When we got back from our runs, we jumped in the pool, clothes and all. It felt wonderful!

IMG_4392And of course there were the Easter celebrations, which included an Easter egg hunt in the park with kids from my mom’s church, as well as an Easter egg hunt in Grammy’s house. I honestly think Easter might be Hailee’s favorite holiday. She loves searching for eggs and stuffing her face with chocolate!

IMG_4387 IMG_4401We didn’t go to church this Easter. I felt conflicted and somewhat guilty about that. But last Easter I just sobbed and couldn’t stop and had to go home. So, I don’t regret prioritizing self-care this year. And because I did, Easter was actually a positive experience!

And my mom was amazing. I feel really grateful for her. She was both a physical and emotional support this trip. She was non-judgemental, super involved, helpful, and warm to be around. We all enjoyed being around Grammy this trip!

IMG_4417So much so that Hailee cried a lot when we went to the airport to fly homee.

This trip was just what we needed in every way. We passed the huge barrier of our fear of travel and also passed another painful milestone relatively painlessly. Thank you Grammy and Arizona!



Nine months and everywhere!

IMG_4354I know this post is a few weeks late, as Cami is already rounding 10 months! It’s been a little bit of an emotional month with Charlie’s 2 year angelversary, so I’ve been engaged in a lot of self-care and haven’t tended the blog. But I’m back now! And happy to give a little update on how rainbow Cami is doing now that she is nine months!

Well, first I need to be honest and say she isn’t sleeping in her crib overnight yet. Every night Chad and I ask each other, “Should we transition her tonight?” And we always say, “we’ll try tomorrow.” Either laziness or anxiety wins the day. One night we did let her sleep in there till 11pm when she woke up crying…after which I just moved her to her bouncer. SOON she’ll be in her crib. I just won’t nail down a date.

Developmentally Cami is great. She weighs over 16 pounds (14%), wears size three diapers, and is transitioning into size 9 month clothes.

Let me briefly mention the hair: poor girl has a Mohawk on top and mullet in the back! At her 9 month pediatrician appointment they asked me if I did that on purpose. Seriously? Chad likes to spike her hair and then she reminds me of a cute troll. I just need a gem for her belly button!

This little girl is very mobile! She is not just crawling but practicing walking, holding onto anything she can grab. Her favorite activity is to walk around our ottoman and try to grab food from Hailee. I am betting she’ll be an early walker like Hailee, who walked at 10 and a half months.

Her second favorite activity is crawling into the bathroom and playing with the toilet paper. Talk about lack of privacy! And kind of gross! But who doesn’t love unrolling TP and ripping it to shreds?!

Cami is quickly losing interest in baby food and wants the real deal. We feed her tiny pieces of pancake and bread and also let her gnaw to her little heart’s delight on fruit stuffed in those mesh bag things. She must be teething as she bites everything…including a very tender part of my body when she is breast feeding! She finds my reaction really funny each time I cry out in pain.

Speaking of breast feeding, I continue to love it. I feel like if Cami naturally weaned at this point, it’d be fine as she’s almost 10 months. But I’m hopeful to keep nursing her for awhile. And she doesn’t seem eager to stop. This is the longest I’ve gotten to breast feed any of my children as Hailee quit me at 6 months and Charlie, well obviously that ended abruptly at 4 months. So I am just really enjoying the experience and as long as it works for both of us, we’ll keep going. I’m not keeping myself back from fully engaging in my life, however, in order to protect my milk. In the beginning I wouldn’t exercise because I would lose my milk. Now that she’s bigger I don’t feel anxious about that and my milk seems to be keeping pace with me as I increase my activity level.

Cami is making lots of different sounds, including a darling sound that is reminiscent of “uh oh.” Sometimes I think she is calling me “mama” too…but obviously she’s just practicing her sounds. 🙂

Cami loves her big sister so much and tries to follow her into her play room all the time. Hailee is so sweet with her and it warms my heart to see them interact. Cami’s favorite activity is being able to take baths with her big sister. When I start the bath water she eagerly crawls to the tub, stands up, grabs the rim, and bounces, trying to get in.

I am loving Cami at 9 months. While she can be fussy at times (I’ll blame teething) she is so happy, interactive, and joyful. She loves being held and while it bugs me at times, I also love seeing her crawl to me, grab my leg, stand up and whine as she demands to be held. When I do pull her into my arms she’ll often pat me a couple times on the back as if to say, “That’s right, that’s what I wanted mom.”

We’ve made it 3/4 of a year with this amazing rainbow!