capitola27Last month we took our first real vacation with Cami. We went to Capitola, California where my in-laws own a wonderful beach house.

IMG_4703Capitola has always been a part of our relationship and over the decade+ of our marriage, we have made many many memories there. Memories that even include our little Mister Mister as I brought him here when he was just a couple months old! Traveling, as you know, has been so scary for us since having Cami. But after our first successful trip to AZ during Easter, we felt brave enough to conquer a longer, more legitimate vacation!

Anxiety was our companion the first couple days of the trip, but as we settled in and began to enjoy time together as a family, the anxiety dissipated (not completely but mostly) and we were both able to have a really amazing time with our little girls!

IMG_4765This trip was perfect in so many ways. It was beautiful, sunny, and warm. It was the perfect kid vacation where Hailee had all the sun, sand, water, and cousin time she could ask for. Hailee and Cami’s delight at everything during this vacation was very infectious!

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IMG_4686We were also surrounded by family and friends, but also got the perfect amount of “us” time. And perhaps most important, because Capitola is so familiar, it was comfortable and relaxing.

IMG_4747I felt happy on this trip. I had great conversations with Chad, my family, and my good friend Robin. We played hard but also took it easy. We ran almost every day along the ocean walk and ate good food. We took naps. We read books. I chased endless waves with Hailee. And we had each other.

It was during this vacation that I experienced a very important revelation for my life. One evening at the beach, the sun was going down and Hailee was screaming chasing the waves, and Cami was waddling across the sand picking up objects with intense curiosity and joy, and our bellies were full of ice-cream, and I felt the familiar sea breeze in my hair and the sun on my face and, together, Chad and I were watching our little girls play when it HIT me: MY LIFE IS GOOD.

Yes, the revelation was that simple, but it felt very profound to me!

I don’t expect I will ever feel my life is right, since something so important is missing from it: my son. BUT, the life I have now is GOOD. It is NOT easy. I still grieve Charlie and worry every day I’ll lose one of my girls. But I find JOY in my life. I can feel genuine, authentic, happiness! I feel blessed!

It was a Kodak family moment, if ever there was one. My heart felt so happy, light, and content. I hope I can remember this revelation through the mundane and tough times as they are sure to come.

MY LIFE IS GOOD! And I am grateful for it!

IMG_4761A special Thanks for my SIL Elizabeth for taking some amazing beach photos of us! I treasure these family photos! She truly captured some Kodak moments!



Awhile ago I mentioned my New Year’s resolution was to have a year of Wellness. I am struggling with this goal in some ways and progressing toward this goal in other ways. One way that has been pretty consistent for me is running. Historically I hate running. Like really hate running. I didn’t run, like at all, until about four years ago. And even then, thirty minutes of running was about my limit. However, after losing Charlie and running the 10k for Grief a couple months later, I knew I wanted to run it again this year. It seemed like a good goal, especially after a year of hardly working out, growing a baby in my belly. So I got new running shoes and started running in March. It was painful at first and I am grateful for empowering music to inspire my feet to move. To further inspire me through the boring, painful monotony I consider running to be, I started signing up for races. Starting in March I’ve run a lot of 5ks this season because I find the energy of races to be intoxicating and fun!

IMG_4263 IMG_4290 IMG_4441 IMG_4510 IMG_4373As a result of all the running I’ve been doing, I have gotten to a place where I can run farther and faster than I ever have! And it feels really good! 5ks used to be so difficult for me! Now they are pretty easy. In fact, when I go running by myself I run a minimum of four miles, and if I have time, I try to push for more. I can even say I have begun to find running intrinsically enjoyable!

My goal for running this year was the 10k for Charlie.

IMG_4579 IMG_4577 IMG_4572Memorial Day, with dear loved ones, I accomplished this goal! This was a very special climax to my running endeavors.

But after finishing the race for Charlie, I had the thought…now what?

And then an opportunity arose to join a team from my work (called the Pink Freud-hehe) to run the Ragnar Wasatch Back race. Chad has run this race multiple times and always talked about how much fun it is. I decided this year I would run it!

IMG_4787So this last weekend I hopped in a van with a couple of my colleagues and their friends and together we spent the next 35 hours leap frogging across 200 miles from Ogden to Park City. I have never run so much, or so far in my life! And on so little sleep! I ran 14 miles over the course of 24 hours!

My first leg was easy: 2.6 miles with few hills. I ran that leg at an 8:40 pace and felt pretty proud of that. My next leg was 6 miles and I got to run it in the middle of the night! I literally picked up the baton (snap bracelet) from my teammate at about midnight and loped off into the darkness.

I’ve never run in the middle of the night. AND IT WAS AWESOME! It was pretty cold and I could see my breath as I ran. I could also see SOO many stars!!! Being that far away from any major city, the sky was just littered with stars! I had to resist the urge to stop and just stare up at them. Beyond the headlights on passing Ragnar vans and the bouncing headlamps from fellow runners, it was just me and nature. I felt so empowered that leg of the race. I felt so grateful for my body and for that moment to be with the stars, the cold air, the mountains, and my pumping heart. As I was running, I also felt this very subtle but perceptible change around me; where I suddenly didn’t feel alone. My mind lept to “Charlie!” and I actually looked around to see if I could see him. The feeling was so subtle I can convince myself I made it up…but I still felt it and I’d like to believe for part of my midnight jaunt, my baby boy was with me.

I ran those six miles faster than any 10k or even 5k I’ve ever run. I ran it at a 8:14 pace, finishing in under 50 minutes. I felt amazing and on such a high when I passed off the slap bracelet!

IMG_4794My high simmered down quite a bit as the night wore on. Sleep wasn’t an option until 7:30 am where I collapsed on the field of a middle school for a two-hour snooze.

IMG_4796My final leg of the relay was a 5.5 mile jaunt. I broke my two-year-no-caffiene streak and had a coke before my run. I figured there was no way I could run after already running 9 miles and surviving on two hours of sleep! As I ran, my energy felt fine and I had the goal of running at a 9:30 pace…but without my consent, my body started rebelling against me. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t run any faster than a light jog as both my IT bands flared on me and when I pushed myself my legs threatened to buckle underneath me. But I finished my legs and we finished the race!

IMG_4799I realized Ragnar pushed my body to its limits and it was an empowering experience! However, I was a bit disappointed at my body’s refusal to obey my commands that last leg of the race. So I feel motivated to train even more. But now what do I do?

Maybe a half marathon in September? We’ll see. I want to spend more time this summer hiking than pounding pavement. And it’s also always been a bucket-list item to do a triatholon…Oh decisions, decisions!

Right now in my life, I feel a lot of gratitude for my body and where it is taking me this year! It is so rewarding to push myself and see progress. It has not only been rewarding, but also so helpful as I’ve navigated painful emotions of anxiety, depression, and grief. I am a believer in exercise and respecting my body! And I am grateful for the awesome memories I’ve been able to create so far as a result of this endevour! I am glad I chose Wellness as a goal to progress toward this year.


Hailee turns 5!

Spoiler alert: I acknowledge that this post is likely only going to be interesting to me and close family as it will contain excessive detail and shameless bragging about Hailee! There are monthly updates on Cami and Hailee gets little airtime by comparison. As a consequence, this is a long post!

capitola20My firstborn is 5! Am I old enough to have a 5 year old?! Crazy! Hailee is so excited to be 5. On the day of her birthday party she walked into our bedroom very early and said, “Dad, I feel  five! I am taller! I feel as tall as Bergen!”

At five, Hailee knows how to ingratiate herself to others. For example, she will say at least once a day, if not more, “Mom, you’re the best mom I have.” Or “Mom, you’re the best mom I know.” She frequently tells people who much she loves them and calls them her favorite-this, or favorite-that and has gotten good at thanking people. “Mom, thank you for making me healthy food.” “Dad thank you for snuggling me.” etc. Or with her birthday presents; whatever it is she pulls out of the package she exclaims, “I always wanted this!Thank you!” It’s very sweet and funny.

IMG_4826Hailee also knows how to manipulate. If I discipline her she cries and says, “You are going to give me away and I’ll never see you again!” Of course, I then have to reassure her that no matter how upset I am at something she does, I will never give her away. Chad has found a clever way to effectively combat this manipulative trend. He will respond to Hailee’s statement above by saying, “You want me to give you away?” Immediately Hailee will recant and say, “No!” If she says, “You don’t want me to be your kid anymore!” Chad will say, “You don’t want to be our kid anymore?” This takes all the energy out of her tantrum really quickly and suddenly she’s the one reassuring us she wants to stay with us, opposed to us reassuring her.

Hailee is really a good girl. She is super loving and social and busy. She is good at making friends wherever she goes. I would definitely describe her as an extrovert.

Hailee has begun to grasp humor and her favorite jokes are “knock knock” jokes. The best part about these jokes is that they don’t make any sense! For example, she’ll say, “Knock knock.” Me,”Who’s there.” Hailee,”Shoe” Me,”Shoe who?” Hailee, “Shoe head!” and then she will uproariously giggle at her own cleverness. I can’t help but giggle with her. Each knock knock joke is a rendition of two objects combined like Shoe head, car nose, flower face etc.

capitola31At this point in her life Hailee is into building couch-cushion-forts (daily-sigh), coloring cards and writing notes for us to find under our pillows, reading books, dancing, snuggling, swimming (always swimming), gymnastics, building towers out of magnetic blocks, and anything active. When she isn’t moving, she asks to “watch a little kid movie” and her favorites include episodes of Paw Patrol, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Peg + Cat. For reasons I don’t fully understand, she also loves when Chad puts on 20-year-old episodes of the Magic Schoolbus (Thanks to streaming Netflix). Hailee’s favorite colors are still pink and purple. Her favorite place to eat is Noodles and Co. where she devours their buttered noodles and a “rice Christmas” (rice krispy) treat.

Hailee’s drawings have progressed from bubble-headed stick figures to other characters and objects; unicorns and rainbows making frequent appearances. She writes her name perfectly and can write anything we tell her if we spell it out for her. She is excited to learn to read and is beginning to sound out words. She is also thrilled with her new whistling skill and is excited to learn how to ride a two-wheel bike this year.

IMG_4654At five years old Hailee, as her doctor described, is “definitely not the biggest kid on the bus.” She continues to be small but is growing steadily along her own growth chart. She weighs 33.5 pounds and is almost 40 inches tall (39.8). I keep thinking she’ll have a growth spurt like her friends, especially since Hailee has become such a good eater in the last few months…but no growth spurt yet.

I was grateful that after Hailee’s two best friends both had Frozen birthday parties, with appearances by both Princess Elsa and Princess Anna, Hailee got over her Frozen obsession and agreed to do a different kind of party. Because Hailee’s favorite thing to do is swim, we decided to have a swimming party! I immediately built up enthusiasm around this idea. After having a party at our house last year that required some last minute mental/emotional/physical gymnastics because her waterslide party got rained out, I wanted a “destination” birthday that required less planning and less clean up! We rented the party room at our local rec center pool, invited some friends and cousins, and that was that! The perfect party!

IMG_4721 IMG_4800 IMG_4591Hailee’s friends came and swam to their hearts’ content and then we had pizza, salad, fruit, lemonade, and cake! Hailee was very happy!

I am loving this age for Hailee! She is loving, fun, independent, a little sassy and feisty at times, but a good minder and listener, and so enthusiastic for life! She loves learning and new adventures. The light continues to sparkle from her eyes! I’m so grateful to be Hailee’s mom and have the privilege of raising her these last five years!