Thursday, March 30, 2017

Grief, Take 2

You know, after my brother-in-law, Verd, died, I kind of thought we were "done". That we had paid our dues...I mean, one tragedy per family is too much, right?

This familiar path is (forgive me for being a two year old for a second), so freaking unfair. SO UNFAIR.

My husband has had two brothers die. WAY before their time. Those brothers had wives and children (13 between them) and parents and brothers and sisters and in-laws and nieces and nephews and ENTIRE communities that loved them. 

I just read some of my old posts from when Verd died and yes. ALL THE YES. It still rings true. From walking through the sludge of grief to the things I've learned. It is all still so true.

You guys, these two men that we've "lost" (more on that word in a second) were two of the greatest. As I step back and take a look at my husband's family from afar I am amazed at what great people my in-laws made. And gosh dang if it doesn't take my breath away that I've been blessed enough to marry one.

Okay, back to the things I've learned and that dumb word "loss". I hate it. HATE IT. I know that death is so uncomfortable and I guess I'd rather have people say "I'm sorry for your loss" than not say anything at all but can we all make a pact to stop saying it? We didn't lose Jared...we know right where he is. But what did happen was that he died. And he left behind a whole bunch of people that miss him terribly.

Here are somethings you could say to replace "your loss":

"I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law, Jared." (Use their name and relationship.)

"Jared was such a wonderful man, I was lucky to know him." (Share how you know him.)

"I remember when Jared and I *insert memory here*." (I can not say enough about how healing memories are...the funny stories and antics of a loved one are so good to hear from others.)

Don't tell us he's in a better spot or that God has a plan...even if those words are the truth, they aren't easy to hear when you're raw with grief and trying to comfort young children. It kinda makes God out to be the bad guy.

And one last thing...lunch meat. Oh my word, all the lunch meat. Should you want to bless a grieving family with food (and thank you, thank you, thank you for doing so) skip the lunch meat aisle. So. Much. Lunch meat. ;)

Again, thank you all for your kind words and for thinking of us...most of all, thank you for your prayers. 


 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Unimaginable

Last week, life fell apart on us.

Again.

My husband's absolutely amazing brother, Jared, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving behind a beautiful young wife and 6 kids. Jared was a life force all his own...his silly antics, giant heart, and happy-go-lucky spirit was contagious and you couldn't help but love the guy.

Why is it that the good guys are taken from us too soon?

This last week has been a roller coaster of emotions; from endless tears to laughter and back again. Just when I'm feeling strong, I get a hug or an offer of condolences or a sweet email and the tears start to flow all over again.

Walking the path of grief is miserable...it is heart breaking and exhausting and gut wrenching...and it is unimaginable to have to walk this walk again. Just 6 years ago we were reeling from the sudden death of my husband's oldest brother. This feels far to familiar to have to deal with again.

Remember when I started my resolutions posts and I talked about how the start of a new year terrifies me? That ever since Verd died, I've had a fear of a New Year because you never know what that year will bring? This is what I was talking about. Life can change so quickly...it can go from being so wonderfully imperfect to absolutely soul crushing, heart breaking awfulness so quickly that you are left in a dark hole of confusion.

Like I said in that New Year's resolution post, I want to say that I will continue to choose joy over fear but let's be honest and real and raw for a second. 

I. AM. TERRIFIED.

You guys, fear and sorrow have a hold so tight on my heart right now that it seems unthinkable to be able to choose joy.

Love hard and hold your loved ones close, my friends. And please pray for strength and peace for Jared's wife, kids, and all of us left with a giant Jared sized hole in our hearts and in our lives. He was one of the good guys.

This isn't fair.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Back to Colorado

Back to Colorado...figuratively, not literally, as in "back to our trip", not "that's it, I'm packin' up and going back to Colorado!".

You know what?

I could move. Right now, I could up and move my family out to Colorado. Of course, that'd be irresponsible but OH MY HEART. I have fallen in love.

I realize I'm basing this "love" not on real life...we slept in (sorta), we had the most amazing chocolate chip cookies everyday, we walked everywhere, went out for supper every night, there was no laundry or meals to cook or homework to do or dishes to wash or jobs to report to, and...get ready for this, we ate outside SO MANY TIMES! Odd, because the CO temps were similar to MN temps and you would NEVER find us eating outside.


It was flippin' amazing. And those cookies. Ooooooh, how I want one right now. These were not "3 o'clock Base of the Mountain Cookies...these were The Pines (our hotel) cookies and they were the most amazing things I've ever had. Ever.

The first full day of our trip we went skiing. I was a nervous wreck and my husband was (mostly) patient with me. If I post a video, will you laugh at me?

Oh, who am I kidding...if I can make someone laugh, that means I've done my job for the day! Laugh away!

Here I am...only this is Day 2 of skiing. If you play this in sloooowwwww motion, you'll get an idea of how Day 1 went.


My dear sweet husband told me, "You know, you can go faster than 2 inches per hour! Even if you double your speed, you won't get hurt if you fall!"

But, I was too scared...and then he said, "I think maybe you confused downhill skiing with cross country skiing."

Smarty pants boobhat that he is.


Anyway, I discovered a few things about myself that first trek down the mountain. Here they are:

1. A blue run skier I will never be...let alone a black diamond.
2. Greens are meant for me. In fact, my favorite "runs" were the connecting paths between runs. Yes, you read that right, I went all the way to Colorado to ski and I preferred to ski the paths.
3. I don't like people when I'm skiing. People whizzing past me FREAKED ME THE HECK OUT! I was so worried about crashing into someone that I decided 2 inches/hour was my max speed.
4. As long as I can ski my greens (i.e. mountain paths) I am a happy camper but as soon as I feel pressure to do something riskier (i.e. a "real" green run), I started to sweat my mittens right off. (Quite literally, actually. We had to put my mittens on the boot dryers at the hotel...and they weren't wet from snow!)
5. For the first time in my life, I didn't care what people thought about me! I was just bound and determined to make it to the base of the mountain alive, in one piece, and without taking someone out along the way. (PS, I succeeded!).
6. I LOVE the mountains. 

If I'm going to be totally honest, I'm still having a bit of some post vacation blues. I want to go back. I want to bring the kids with us. I want to move there. (Yes, I have been searching properties. Unfortunately, we don't have a spare 30 million dollars laying around.)

I may have mentioned this before, but I felt so healthy and alive there! So active and vibrant and full of life! It was amazing and probably 90% because: no responsibility, but still.


I can honestly say that this was my favorite vacation to date. This vacation impacted me like no other vacation has...we MUST go back and if you like the outdoors AT ALL, go to Colorado. We were told by several locals that we have to come back in the summer...that there is WAY more to do in the summer.

I think we need to take them up on that.

See you soon!
M.

 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Our Colorado Trip

One week ago today, I had skied myself down a mountain (several times) and survived.

Oh, you guys...Colorado has captured my heart. I loved our vacation like you wouldn't believe and while I am not (nor will I ever be) a world class skier (let's be honest, greens are where you'll find me...and I won't be whizzing down them, either!), the mountains and the skiing and the fresh air and the walking everywhere? I grabbed a hold of me and doesn't seem to be making any moves to let go!

 
Check out this view from our hotel room!!


I just told someone today, "If I had had my kids with me, I'm not sure I would've come back." I felt so healthy and vibrant and alive...ugh, I wanna go back!

Funny story, the first evening we were in Beaver Creek, we walked down to the village and I got my first real look at the ski runs...I thought, "Huh. They don't look so bad." and we went about our business and had supper and went ice skating and tucked ourselves into bed that night, eagerly anticipating a day of skiing the next morning.


Well, when we skied off the hotel path and I was faced with the very same ski runs as I had been the night before (but this time, with skis on my feet instead of boots) I saw them in a whole new light and HOLY CRAP were they steep! I may have had a minor heart attack right there at the base of the mountain. (Thankfully, my husband was there to give me mouth-to-mouth.) ;)


But, like the big, brave girl that I am, I took a deep breath and loaded the ski lift with my handsome husband...shortly into the ride to the top of the lift (it was a LOOOOOONG lift!) the wind was blowing in my eyes, and they started to water a bit and suddenly, I was ALL OVER THE MAP with my emotions! I was scared and nervous and awestruck by the beauty around me and the fresh mountain air in my eyes and how happy I was to be on this vacation with my husband and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face...and I was laughing uncontrollably! You should have heard my husband..."Are you okay?" "Are you laughing or crying?" "Oh my gosh, what is happening?!" and it made me laugh/cry all the more!

I still don't really know if I was laughing because I was crying or if I was crying because I was laughing, all I know is that thinking back on it makes me giggle all over again.

I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot more about our vacation...but let me just tell you, if you are considering a trip to the mountains, DO IT. I am so happy and so thankful that we were able to experience the mountains!

I can't wait to go back.

See you soon,
M.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What????

So, I came across this picture yesterday:


That picture...the one you see just above these words? Yes, that one...it was taken 7 months ago. SEVEN MONTHS!! 

And now, my middle boy looks like this:


He's turned into a little man overnight. Just like that, he lost his baby face.

Help me, friends!! What is happening?? Where did my babies go??

Hold me. I can't handle this time warp we seem to be in...where you go to bed one night with itty bitty babies and you wake up the next morning and they are practically adults.

Gracious. I need to go put them all in footy jammies and stick a pacifier in their mouths.

Excuse me now, while I try to swaddle my babies and sing them lullabies. 

See you soon!
M.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Totally Winning

Give me a moment, will you? To commend myself for absolutely WINNING at life today?!

First, I wore heels to work. HEELS! And dress pants too! Anytime I don't wear leggings and flats to work makes me feel like a bonafide adult. So, there's that.

THEN, I came home and worked out. Yes, you heard that right, I. Worked. Out! I've been doing a good job of trying to get myself somewhat in shape for skiing (we leave on Sunday!)!

I whipped up a delicious supper that is baking away and so I'm sitting here, reveling in the gloriousness that is BEING A FREAKING ROCK STAR! I love this feeling...part of me wonders...is it the Vitamin D that my bestie encouraged me to start taking? Is that little pill full of sunshine kicking in and making me feel like so much less of a slug? Or, is it that I had something to motivate me (Colorado...turning 40) and so, I'm grabbin' the world by the nuts and getting stuff done?

Who knows...all I know is today rocked. Oh...OH and guess what?? Guess what I got for my 40th??


This pretty little thing (that, in the words of my aunt, looks like a suitcase on my wrist!!)...I promise it's not really that big in real life.

Kinda like these goggles. They look way smaller in real life. What is up with that?!


 In other news...please reassure me that I'm not going to get swallowed up by an avalanche while I'm skiing. I hear they're getting up to 20" of snow right now and gracious. An avalanche is my worst nightmare, so yes. Reassurance. Now please.

See you soon!
M.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

It Wasn't Half Bad

Well...I did it. I survived my 40th birthday and judging from those who've already weathered this big birthday, I think it's safe to say that 40 is going to be awesome!

I had a great day...started off with donuts with my Birthday Thief for Catholic Schools Week, then I was wished a Happy 28th Birthday during morning school announcements. The best part of my day, though, is when one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world brought me and another one of my favorite people coffee. And there, in my grimy nurse's office, the three of us had an impromptu coffee gathering and laughed and chatted and I was assured, once again, that 40 isn't half bad.

We came home and I wrapped a whole bunch of Japanese candy kits for the other birthday girl in the family. Let me digress for a sec...have you seen these candy kits? They're adorably disgusting. Tonight she made "ice cream" and I kid you not the goo that was concocted was actually cold. COLD...can you imagine the chemicals in those things? Thankfully they taste like crap and no one actually eats them.



Anyway, my beloved Gram made me my absolute favorite, Vegetable Beef Soup...with the help of my amazing Grandpa. We had a quaint little birthday gathering and I came home and guess what I did?

I worked out. Like, legit, DVD in the Xbox and Kettlebell in hand WORKED OUT. My legs shook and burned and gracious I hated it. But then...then I was done and I felt dang good for doing it!

Ask me how I feel tomorrow. ;)

Day 1 of 40 is under my belt...I got this. I TOTALLY got this.

G'night!

See you tomorrow,
M.

 

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