Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It is spring! at least for today

^^ Watching "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" this morning in my favorite old man cardi. ^^
So the other night I walked into the kids' room to check on my sleeping babes only to find Ryan tucked into bed with her daddy's hoodie.
Now typically I sleep with it; you know, I turn down the bed, spread out the sweatshirt on "his" side with the hood on the pillow, like he's sleeping there.
Because I am a fruit cake.
I know it isn't him, although sometimes I drape my arm over the deflated sweatshirt the way I used to when he laid there.
I am doing it less and less.
I used to lay in the dark, squeezing that sweatshirt like my life depended on it, sniffing in the last wisps of his lingering cologne.
Now I just go in and get Micah and snuggle his teeny sleeping body instead.
And then, in his sleep, he turns over and casually lays his hand on my neck and I get a lump in my throat.
But that right there is a reason to be grateful, isn't it?
Anyway, as I was saying.
Ryan had the clothing all laid out and had positioned her body right in the middle with both arms of the garment wrapped around her.
Like a hug.
It makes me cry just typing it.
It is a funny thing, loving someone, and then losing them.
Right when it was getting good.
But I believe that he would want us to be happy.
Even though he can't participate.
And it is sunny today. Another reason to be happy.
It was genuinely spring yesterday here in Eugene.
The sun was shining.
There were pasty, white legs flashing themselves all over the darned place.
Today is supposed to be even better.
Which means I should probably go out and enjoy it.
Or go grocery shopping.
Did I mention I hate grocery shopping?
But I will speed shop and the go out into the bright day.
It makes me feel invigorated, like life is waiting to be seized, on days like this.
Yesterday I got so invigorated I painted the bedroom walls and ran 18,324 errands.
I get a spring in my step and feel like everything is going to be okay.
I can do this.
I can do this.

^^ Enraptured by PBS. I think I look slightly Asian sans makeup. Weird. ^^
^^ He's such a good sport. I make him do this all day. ^^

Monday, April 28, 2014

Your anthem

So I was watching a movie last night, all by my lonesy.
Maybe because it is the kind of movie you watch in secrecy.
Not that my taste in cinema is juvenile, but my taste in cinema is completely juvenile.
In fact, it is a safe bet that if a movie's target audience is the teenage demographic, than I will like it.
Anyway, what am I saying? this is a movie everyone should watch if only for the self-empowering anthem in the middle.
I am talking about the movie Burlesque.
You haven't seen it? Then you haven't lived.
So the song in the middle is sung by Cher because no self-respecting anthem can be sung by anyone else and take themselves seriously.
It is called the "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me."
And yes I am going to make you listen to it.
Because after it is over you will feel passionate about your life again.
You will attack your struggles with vigor.
You will be ready to punch your fears in the face.
I know personally, I am doing a victory lap right now fist-pumping the air.
Everyone wants to start their week off on the right foot.
 ^^ ^^
Sometimes, when I am feeling down, I just need a little boost.
I did also listen to this and it was a little more spiritually uplifting.
I say listen to them both.
You are strong.
And you are welcome.

Friday, April 25, 2014

11 years

You guys, tomorrow would have been Scott and mine? mine and Scott's? myself and Scott's anniversary.
We would have been married for 11 years.
Which is a very long time. I am quite old.
And a lot of work.
Especially for such a pair of stubborn mules as we were together.
But I spent the better part of yesterday bawling my eyes out, and I cannot cry another tear.
Not just about that, but about everything.
Fear over not performing well on the GRE, and then being rejected from graduate school; irrational anger over Scott abandoning me with crazy mini-clones to take care of; concern that I will become a sad, lonely, spinster who is then obligated to collect cats and plants; having to get dressed.
I also threw in a good sob over our would-be house and tortured myself by mentally visualizing exactly how it would have looked once I finished decorating it, just to be thorough.
So, once I got all that out of my system I fell asleep.
Now that I am physically incapable of crying anymore, the next option is to be happy.
I thought I would share a few things that make me happy.
And maybe they will make you happy too.

#1 My new bikini
I use the term "bikini" loosely because really there is only a sliver of my upper stomach showing.
But I am obsessed with the high-waisted variety because it covers my stretch marks and tricks the eye into seeing hips.
It is super cute on and really comfortable.
And since I have nowhere or anyone to wear it to/for, I just wait for everyone to go to work and then try it on and stare at myself in the mirror for a bit.
Then I fold it up and put it away. But I am happy.

^^ It also makes me look busty. Bonus. ^^
#2 Jimmy Fallon.
Late night has never been better.
I seriously think he is the funniest.
I could watch him alone for the full hour.
And when he laughs he looks like a very handsome turtle.

^^ This lip-synch off cracks me up every time. Watch it. It will be the happiest 9 min. of your life. ^^
#3 Tween pop songs
There. I said it. I enjoy all the obnoxious Top 40 hits.
Like more than any other age-appropriate, sophisticated, unshameful music
I know all the words and will sing along in the car at the top of my lungs despite the perplexed looks from those driving in the cars next to me.
I am childish.

#4 Snuggling with Micah
Micah is my worst sleeper.
Even now, closing in on the age of three, he still wakes up multiple times every night.
However, ever since Scott passed away, instead of going in to help him get settled in the middle of the night, I just bring him in to sleep with me.
He is nice and warm and not super fidgety.
And then I am not all alone. It is good for now.
Until he gets old enough to realize it is not cool.

^^ Yes. It was this kind of day yesterday. I had to hit the treats pretty hard. ^^
#5 Hope
There is always hope.
And the possibility of things getting better makes me happy.
And helps me out of any funk I fall into.
Because it will. Get better, that is.
Happy Friday.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sharen Kim Beard

^^ My mom's headstone. If you knew her, you would know how perfect this is.
(Nanny is the name my kids called her, she wasn't an actual nanny.) ^^
* Sidenote: I meant to post this yesterday but when I sat down to finish it, I just got too overwhelmed and was feeling really emotional. There was a lot of crying. And then some more crying. So I decided instead to watch Eat Pray Love, which may have been a mistake. It made me feel homesick? I don't even know what that means. I also spent a majority of my morning today crying. Except not about my mom. It has not been a good day. I am still in my pajamas. It's 2 p.m.

Yesterday marks four years time since my mom passed away.
It has been that long.
And that short.
Time really and truly does feel fleeting and lengthened simultaneously.
Kind of like when you look at your children and are confused by how you all of the sudden have kids instead of babies.
Like, didn't you just birth them from your body yesterday?
And now they are growing hair places and borrowing your car.
Oh, you know what I mean.
^^ Isn't it beautiful? I love the trees there. It is tucked away and always very quiet.
The two umbrellas are standing right where both mom and Scott are buried. ^^
Anyway, last night, around midnight, I woke up in a panic.
I was worried that I was forgetting my mom.
I grabbed a notebook and frantically began writing down everything I could think of that made her special.
Some of her characteristics that I didn't want to lose.
I'll just list them off as I scrawled them down:
1. her soft arm skin?
2. big knuckles
3. always wore lipstick
4. walked in heels like a brand-new baby deer, hobbling around, knees buckled & legs wobbling
5. always kissed me right on the lips
6. answered the phone in a sing-song voice
7. ate popcorn for lunch every day
8. very high-strung and could never relax (reminder: this is a list about my mom)
9. was a bad dancer, there was a lot of sporadic bouncing
10. list-maker. Pretty sure she invented list-making.
11. hardest. worker. ever.
12. selfless
13. the embodiment of a MOTHER with a capital M.

Time is tricky and I still can't wrap my mind around her absence in my life for the last four years.
She has missed so much.
Oh I know, she can still see everything but really it isn't the same.
Not even a little.
Anyway, my sister and I decided to go and visit mom under her tree in Cottage Grove.
She is buried at the prettiest cemetery.
It is on a hill with a lot of tall, old trees.
And very green, kinda like Scotland.
We all wrote (or drew) a note for her on small pieces of paper, then tied them to six helium balloons.
Which were green, her favorite color.
We meant for the balloon release to be synchronized, but it is really hard to hang on to those strings.
Two floated up early in order to pave the way for the remaining four. It was a small crisis.
It was a sweet, short event but perfect nonetheless.
I am glad we made the trip and we said a quick hello to Scotty too.
He was laid to rest right next to her.
^^ Right before the "official" release. ^^
^^ There they go! Technically they got caught in the beautiful trees. But eventually wiggled their way free. ^^

^^ As we watched them float away, the kids said, "Next year, we should buy more balloons, just in case
we accidentally let some go. And we should release them away from the trees so they don't get stuck."
So clever, those kids. ^^
I miss her every single day.
I am grateful for all the things she taught me and did for me.
I am who I am because of her.
I love her. Always.

p.s. Yesterday I was working on the Pythagorean Theorem and I wanted to pluck my eyes out. I may not be proficient enough for graduate school. Or junior high, for that matter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Just us eating out

Saturday night I took the kids out to dinner for the first time on my own.
It wasn't the first time I have taken them out alone, but as a single parent.
In fact, in the last three months, we have not done a lot of activities unaccompanied.
As just a family of four.
So I got the idea in my head that a nice dinner out would be fun.
A good, basic activity that I could handle with ease.
I drove us to Red Robin (we're classy) and got everyone settled in the booth.
Then Ezra had to go to the bathroom.
Usually I have someone to tag in when I need to be in two places at once.
Tonight, Ryan graduated to that person.
She very capably took Ezra to the ladies room so that I could remain in my seat with the devil child, who was on the floor probably picking chewing gum off the bottom of our table.
They returned a few minutes later in one piece and drew themselves up to the booth.
The older kids finished their meals without incident, and I was so proud.
I though to myself, "Hey, look at us. We can do this by ourselves! We are so awesome! Air high-five to myself!"
Then Micah started scaling the bench behind us, and we were done.
It wasn't the biggest deal in the world.
Whoopidy-doo, we went to dinner.
But really it was more of a symbol. (I am about to get my metaphor on).
Even though it was a task I had done before without Scott, it was the idea that I didn't have a partner as an option any more that changed the experience.
Does that make sense?
I felt competent as a single parent in just that moment.
Because I was the only one there.
And it was enough.
And then we went outside, Micah let go of his balloon, and the rest of evening was very sad.
Will I feel like this every time we are out on our own? No, the answer is no.
Mostly I feel envy and self-pity.
I look at all the husbands and fathers and feel longing.
Not for those men, just for the idea of someone.
But then I slap myself in the face and remember I have a high-strung controlling willful strong personality (the term Scott sassily used) and realize that Heavenly Father has given me all the tools to deal with this.
And not just deal, succeed.
It's in there somewhere. It is in everyone.
You would be able to do it too because there isn't another choice.
We made it home sans balloon and the Ezra very generously shared his balloon with Micah.
It was sweet.
Then I waited for them to go to bed and I popped them.
Balloons are a huge pain. Ezra probably would have retracted his offer in the morning, then someone would be left out.
Balloons = tears. Every. time.
Now you know how mean I am.
The end.
^^ Just enjoying the good life: crackers, glass of water, outdoor lounge chair, and necklaces. Always necklaces. ^^

^^ What I actually look like every day. No makeup, a hat to cover the bedhead, my BYU-Idaho workout tee, and an all-day pass to zit city. I like to think that because I continue to exercise everyday, I have not completely let myself go.  ^^

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter ... a success story

Easter is probably one of my favorite holidays.
Other than my complete disdain for egg dyeing (why is this a thing?), it is a celebration that I really enjoy.
It is a good time to reflect on our Savior and His resurrection, and it is a good time to count our many blessings.
Because of His sacrifice, I can live a fulfilling, happy life.
If I take advantage of His atonement, I can make wrong things right.
I can choose to believe that if He loved me enough to die for me, He loves me enough to stand by me when things aren't unfolding the way I had planned.
I think that if I work hard, try to make good decisions, and remain receptive to any inspiration I might be privy to, I will be guided in the direction that will bring my family the most peace.
That doesn't mean the road to the aforementioned peace will be easy.
In fact, right now I can't even see the road but I am sure I will stumble upon it eventually.
So with great effort to be a real mother, I started preparing for Easter weeks early.
I am not typically one of those moms.
You know, the ones that plan well in advance, have all their custom ordered paper goods and décor from Etsy waiting in the wings while they execute a flawless holiday extravaganza, all while in color-coordinated party clothes.
I think we all feel we should be that mom.
And some of you are, because you are rock stars and have your shite together.
My kids are lucky to get an improvised celebration most of the time.
I don't know why. It isn't a secret that I have never really gone balls to the walls with any festivities.
Maybe I am just a lazy kind of party gal.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday I was ON IT.
Saturday night I hid the eggs, stuffed the baskets full of thoughtful, non-candy items, had breakfast prepped, had a small "spiritual" message prepared, and all the new/thrifted easter clothes were pressed and laid out. #parentingwin
And then on Sunday morning, the kids got up at the buttcrack of dawn, woke everyone up screaming about their presents, fought over all the eggs I had so cleverly hidden, turned my devotional into a brawl, and refused to eat my fruit salad. With marshmallows.
It was so rewarding.
Anyway, I patted myself on the back for trying to create memories and got everyone ready for church.
After our meetings, we headed to my sister's beautiful new house in Cottage Grove.
I helped, and by helped I mean hindered, my sister's efforts to pull a delicious dinner together.
She is an amazing cook. And my best friend.
And she is an amazing hostess. (And she caters)
She had hand-stamped place cards, little treats by each plate, and a "better-than-sex" cake all ready.
It was delightful. It always is.
Her home is so cozy and clean and bright and home-y.
So naturally as soon as we left and I was driving away, I started crying.
I was crying because I wanted my own home.
And to have my little family host a party.
Even though I am terrible at party planning, as mentioned above.
Did I ever tell you Scott and I were building a house?
It was a beautiful house. Big and new and right down the street from my sister.
I got to pick out everything. The flooring, the paint colors, the countertops.
It was my most prolonged dream come true.
I haven't seen it since it's completion because I don't want to.
I believe it was never going to be ours. I also believe no one goes before their time.
Scott's time was Jan. 31, 2014. So the house (slatted to be finished in March) was never really going to belong to me.
I have to think about things that way.
How else can you move forward, when you are thinking about the way things were "supposed" to be?
They are as they are supposed to be.
Anyhoo, I wiped my tears and cranked up the tunes and by the time I got to my parent's house I was fine.
It think it was a success overall.
And I even have photographic evidence that I am morphing into Conan O'Brien. Awesome.

^^ So pretty. And really grumpy. But at
least for the pictures she turned on the charm ^^
^^ Here we practiced sitting "like a lady." ^^

^^ It went from baby-model ... ^^
^^ ... to this. ^^

^^ And from normal ... ^^
^^ ... to mini-Scott. ^^

^^ Micah's smile ... lovely. ^^
^^ WHAT is going on with my hair?
#Conanwannabe ^^
^^ My cute family. ^^

Friday, April 18, 2014

The secret of change

It has been 11 weeks since Scott passed away.
Is it weird to be counting my time this way?
Every Friday I add it up in my mind.
Although, I will say, today it feels much more distant.
Like it was always this way.
And my life with Scott was a dream.
Which makes no sense, since we spent nearly 13 years together.
Which is what percentage of my life?
I am going to compute that right now.
I believe that the equation would look like this: 32/13 = .40 and .40 = 40%.
I am relearning percentages this week while I study for my GRE.
Next week is simultaneous equations which means I should probably start trolling Craigslist for a new project.
Heather says that really those tests are only designed to tell a university whether or not you are mentally handicapped and cannot handle advanced curriculum.
I am worried that my test score will reflect just that.
I don't even know if the answer I arrived at is accurate.
But 40 percent of my life sounds about right.
Which is a lot of time to spend with someone.
Can a hole in your life close that quickly?
I have thought about stories I've heard of widows spending decades in mourning, wearing black, and sentencing themselves to social isolation.
Do they do that because they are really distraught?
Or because they think that is the appropriate way to act?
^^ Right when he wakes up is the only time he is snuggly and calm.
The rest of the time he is racing around like a bat out of hell. ^^

^^ My little family. I am not sure why it appears Ryan is foaming at the mouth. She isn't. ^^

I know this lady.
She is one rad lady.
She lost her husband to a long, drawn-out fight with cancer about 18 months ago.
She has since been happily remarried and calls me on a weekly basis.
She is really bubbly and her positive mood is contagious.
After her phone calls I always feel so good.
She says, "Brianne, you are going to be so happy. Your life is going to be so wonderful. You will succeed because you have hope. As long as you have that, you cannot fail."
I think she is right.
She also says, "You can be sad. But you can also be happy. You have a lot of reasons to be happy. It takes a lot of energy to be depressed. And so sometimes it is easier to feel okay. Don't feel guilty for smiling and laughing. Enjoy yourself. You can still miss someone and be happy."
I like her.
There is a time and place to be upset.
But doing that all day, every day is really draining.
I know because I am just emerging from that place.
So instead I crank up One Direction like the tween I am, take care of the kids, make dinner, watch Mad Men, and then take a minute to sob into my pillow at night.
I miss him. Every day.
But my situation cannot be reversed.
Is that callused?
I would not be the person I am without having spent all that time with Scott.
I would not change the things I have learned from him. And the babies we had together.
I try to make him a present part of our children's lives daily.
And I will keep doing just that.
But my life has to keep going even though he is gone.
In fact, this week marks a record-breaking streak of four days in a row that I have pulled myself together, showered and applied makeup in the last three months! Go me.
And because I spend far too much time on the internet, a little prezzie to send you into a great weekend.
I love her. She is so wild and her style is fearless.
And her band is pretty fun.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I have a pretty, pretty credenza

Micah spends the majority of his days crying.
For no apparent reason.
In fact he is crying right now as I type because I cleared away his empty lunch plate without his consent.
He gets easily worked up.
He is always wailing when my dad and Heather come home.
To their house.
That we have bombarded.
I have a hard time believing that they enjoy our company 100% of the time.
Which is what they say.
And I love them for saying it because it takes an enormous amount of pressure off me for the time being.
But I don't even enjoy our company all of the time.
Like right now, Micah has thrown himself on the ground and is sobbing, very earnestly about his forbiddance to the dishwasher.
I am about ready to run away.
We are loud, and by we I mean my kids, and messy, and by messy I mean my kids, and whining every minute of every day, and by whining I mean me.
I digress.
Oh yeah, so dad and Heather are extremely generous with their home, time, and patience.
But it can't be a long-term solution, you know?
I want to have my own home.
Because I am a grown adult with three children.
And as much as I would love to remain a stay-at-home mother and tend to my family's physical, emotional, academic, and spiritual needs, I can't.
Someone needs to fund those needs as well.
And that someone is me.
I used to envy Scott a little when he took off to work every morning.
He was going to be productive, and earn money, and talk to adults.
I thought to myself, "Sheesh, motherhood is such a thankless job. Even though I am "working" all day, often there is very little evidence of that. And my kids complain about my cooking."
But now I realize how blessed I was to have someone else to work, worry about our finances, and support us.
Even though he only made real money for a short period of time, I always knew he would take care of us.
I really didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how we would make ends meet.
And now that is almost always what I am thinking about.
It sucks to be the head of the household.
I don't envy the dudes anymore.
Annnnnnnd I am thinking I should go back to school.
And earn a master's degree in something in order to be more marketable in the long run.
And then I will move my keister outta my dad's guest room. #loser
Anyway, here are some pictures of a piece of furniture I was working on.
Because when I am stressed, instead of working on the problem at hand, I avoid it altogether by focusing my energy on something completely irrelevant.
Like painting furniture.
So this scrap treasure was 20 bucks and was in sad shape.
I couldn't preserve the natural wood because some of the drawers were chewed up at the corners.
And the top was tarnished and really pitted.
So I filled in all the gouges with wood filler, sanded, primed, painted, and polyed.
My dad help me retrofit the top two drawers with hinged doors, so that I could use it as a media cabinet.
It is now beautiful and I just want to rub my face on it all day long.
Because anything mid-century or even claiming any resemblance to mid-century is my cup of tea.
Me and everyone else in America.

^^ Fuuuugly. And orange. It has great lines and was a great price. Would have liked to stain it.
You know, something more the color of actual wood. ^^

^^ After the primer and shelf inserts. WTH is going on with this garage? #someonehashoardingissuesanditain'tme ^^

^^ All done with a beautiful, glossy coat in my room.
I will eventually use this in a living space. But for now it's a dresser. ^^

^^ One more look at the sexy hardware. Aren't I the trendiest? ^^
p.s. I am a decent cook. Them fools don't know how lucky they are.
Just kidding. My kids are not fools.
They are.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

That girl

I am that girl.
You know, the sister of your cousin's friend that has the sad, sad story.
The one you bring up when you hear another sad story.
And you are so happy it is her and not you.
Not in a mean way.
Just relieved that you have your hardships and not the ones she has.
It's cool.
I'm okay to be that girl.
I would rather be that girl than have someone else I know be her.
And maybe my quota of heartache will be met.
And if not, maybe my heart will be tougher.
Like a boxer who gets beat-up and pushed down but realizes that such is the nature of boxing and stands back up and squares his shoulders, ready for the next swing.
Or maybe squaring one's shoulders in boxing makes you more vulnerable and you don't do that.
Either way, I want you to tell people about my situation.
Go ahead, bring me up.
And then tell them about this blog.
Because maybe something I write here can make someone else feel better.
Maybe something will resonate with them, will help them to know that there are other people just like them.
Because I may not know what direction I am going to take my life;
Or even what master's program to pursue.
But I know how to write.
So that is what I am doing every. damn. day.
I know I want to grow from this.
And I want to share my experiences with those it could help.
So many people have stood by me and held me up when I felt too tired/scared/sad to stand.
This might be one small way to pay it forward.
That's a thing right?

p.s. Are you growing tired of my sob story? Me too.
I realize that not only is this a place of therapy and honesty, but should also be a place of hope.
And I hope to include more hope.
p.p.s In other news I am trying to learn how to use my fancy new camera.
And I am killing it. See below.

^^ Self-timer probably shouldn't be complicated. To other people. Except maybe to babies.
That and my legs look hyper-extended. And beefy. #rollerderby4life ^^

^^ Here we're a little closer. At least you can see my entire torso.
And my pensive gaze. I would be a great male model. ^^

^^ Nailed it. Except that I am scowling at Micah who has just screamed, and
I quote, "Mama, you crazy!" Nice. ^^
p.p.s.s. I have an amazing piece of mid-century furniture that I have been working on.
It turned out pretty great.
Considering it was a piecer.
I'll show it off tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Keeping it real

^^ The only photographic evidence of my fat face.
Is it a little blurry? Yeah, that is the point. ^^
I try to keep this space as uplifting and authentic as possible but sometimes the honest truth kinda blows.
Sometimes my days are hard, as are a lot of other people's.
And I certainly do think it is important to see the glass as half full.
Because dwelling on the bleak is no way to live a happy life.
But today, I am going to go ahead and say that all that mumbo-jumbo is hogwash.
And act like a self-absorbed adolescent who just needs to vent a bit.
Then I will get over myself and jump back on the party wagon.
The party we call life.
Here is what stinks today:
1. Doing taxes, during our most entangled financial year, without the person who usually does the taxes and knows where all the tax information is.
Because Scott was an independently contracted optometrist last year, we don't have a regular W-2 form.
Because that would make things too easy.
And we are all about turning unpleasant activities into really overwhelming ones.
The silver lining is that I have a good friend that generously volunteered her brilliant accountant husband to help me navigate all that nonsense.
He very graciously spent 5 1/2 hours pouring over all of my fragmented paperwork the day before the deadline in order to help me file on time.
2. Going to your regular family ward (congregation) at a church that emphasizes family  ... alone.
Family = wonderful.
A incomplete family = awkward, jealous, resentful glances spitting fire from your eyes at every happy couple sitting with their arms around each other in the chapel.
It is completely nonsensical to be bitter, but there it is.
I want to be sitting beside someone who is lovingly sharing the childcare responsibilities with me and then rubbing my back just for good measure.
This results in me forcing my children to kiss me a stupid-crazy amount of times daily.
Moving on.
3. Not being able to eat popcorn.
This may not seem like much of a downer, but when it is your primary dietary staple it is devastating.
It is pretty much worse than all those previously mentioned things.
4. Grocery shopping.
I just don't like grocery shopping.
That is all.

In conclusion, sometimes all you want to do is sit down after completing your taxes (and collecting a hefty return) with someone's arm draped around your shoulders and eat popcorn.
But sitting on the couch, surrounded by your sweet children, reading "Are You My Mother?" for the umpteenth time while enjoying tapioca is just as nice.
Maybe even nicer.

Hopefully with a tax-return.
^^ My kids get frecklier by the day, and I love it. ^^
^^  Pretty ^^

^^ Missing two teeth! She got it yanked lost it Sunday ^^

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How an oral surgeon is a little like God

Yesterday, during a bout of drug-induced delirium, I drafted a post.
It was an analogy about how getting your wisdom teeth pulled is a lot like losing a loved one to death.
Because they are the same, right?
Anyway, I will share it with you because Scott loved himself a good analogy.
Every time we would get into an argument a discussion, he would pull some analogy out of his butt and drone on and on about how our situation was like ... fill in the blank.
It would naturally make me more livid.
Because the last thing I want to hear whilst fighting having a dialogue is an analogy.
Despite that fun memory, I am going to tell you why they are similar.
In this parallel, the oral surgeon (who was the friendliest, stout man-pixie) is being likened to our Heavenly Father.
He can see the big picture and why this procedure/experience is necessary.
He can see what is good for your overall health, spiritual or physical.
And even though he might be taking something away you deem to be vital, really it is opening up room for less pain/more blessings down the road.
Ironically, I got my teeth pulled in two different sessions.
The pain and recovery had to be endured twice, but the second time I was more prepared for the incident.
Kinda like losing both my mom and my Scott.
Even though both experiences hurt just as much, my recovery is going smoother and quicker because I know that time will heal and everything will be okay.
I will still be missing a piece of myself, but my body will rebuild itself in a place where there was a fresh hole.
I am also a little older than the first time something close to me was taken.
I have matured a little and learned a little more about myself and how to deal with loss/pain.
And a final similarity would have to be that my face looks like a punching bag following both the surgery and the passing of my family members.
Ezra told me today, "Mom your face looks fat, but not that fat because it is unkind to call people fat."
Yes, yes it is.
Yesterday, per my recovery instructions I pressed two bags of frozen peas to my face and had Heather saran wrap them to my head.
It was pretty.
And yes, I forbade a picture to be taken to document the occasion.
However, if you would like to see something fantastic that will make you really happy, check out this video:

My sister introduced it to me and then against my better judgment I watched it shortly after coming home from the doctor's office.
My face hurt so bad from laughing.
It is also a little sad.
In a good way.
Poor Alex.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My teeth

Tomorrow is the day.
The day my life changes forever and I lose a piece of myself.
Two actually.
I am getting my top wisdom teeth pulled and it is going to be awful.
I am not looking forward to it, and instead of resting well the night before per my oral surgeon's instructions I am messing around journaling.
I am going to wake up at the crack of dawn, because that is when my appointment is, looking like a rooster and just drive myself to the office in my pajamas, like a sloppy mess.
Oh and I am only getting local anesthesia instead of being put under.
Frankly I am scared of the thought of being unconscious for the procedure and I certainly don't need anyone making a YouTube video of me as I come to looking like a buffoon.
My dad suggested I just take a few shots of whiskey instead if I was trying to be tough.
I am not trying to be tough, I am cheap.
I am saving a lot of money by enjoying my surgery fully awake.
So that is my life.
Sorry I am not all that interesting.
I will definitely think of a more enthralling post for tomorrow.

p.s. This is Micah's new favorite song.
I am a really responsible parent.

p.p.s This is what I have been enjoying.
They are a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I need your opinion on my potential derby name

^^ James Van Der Beek's epic ugly cry. Ironically, I was watching this the
night I lost Scott. And I probably look just like this when I cry. Grody^^

Last night was the first time that Ryan had a gasping, sobbing meltdown over Scott's passing.
You may think that this is weird since he has been gone now for nearly ten weeks.
At first, right after he died, I was actually quite upset over my kids' lack of hysteria.
There were a lot of people that traveled to attend his funeral as well as friends and family helping locally, so what was a blurry, heartbreaking, and paralyzing time for me felt like a party to them.
They were receiving a lot of attention and toys, in addition to having play dates back-to-back.
I would try talking to them.
I would remind them of our situation and try to evoke some tears, which sounds kind of cruel, but I wanted them to be as upset as I was.

Ryan, I could tell, was carefully disconnecting her feelings and not allowing herself to concede to our new reality.
She was very purposefully avoiding the admission that he was gone, and instead sidestepped that emotional mess altogether.
She focused her energy on basking in the fuss being made of her and her brothers.
Ezra didn't really understand.
He continued to pray every day for, "daddy to get better and come home from the hospital."
I would gently remind him that daddy could not come home and now lives in heaven.
He would snap, "I know, stop saying that," to which I would nod and apologize.
He still "wishes" for daddy to come home every time he picks a dandelion and blows all the fluff off.
And even mentioned to me the other day that it doesn't feel that different without daddy since he was gone (at school or work) all the time anyway.
I hate that.
Micah is fairly oblivious.
He still squeals in delight every time he sees a picture of Scott, and screams, "Daddy! In hea-ben."
So I moronically thought that maybe my unbroken presence in their lives and my dad and Heather filling in for Scott was the explanation for their mild reaction to Scott's death.
But really, Ryan breaking down last night was a good reminder that they may be suffering just as much as I am, they just don't know how to handle it.
I know the kids are concerned when they see me crying, and I don't want to scare them, but I want them to know it is okay and even healthy to cry.
I don't hide it from them, but I don't walk around all day blubbering either.
There is a balance in there somewhere.
Where am I going with this?
I have no effing clue.
I am just winging this whole thing and trying every day to make them feel loved and safe.

On a more uplifting note, I am getting my wisdom teeth pulled on Friday and may even be game to writing a drug-induced post.
Although, I am not being put under so it really could be quite a disappointing read.
I will just look like a chipmunk and be eating my meals through a straw, so pretty much the same as every other day.
And I also passed my Tier 2 assessment skills in roller derby with a score of 100%!
Which to 99.9% of my dozen readers probably means nothing.
Translation: I will now be hitting people more and be preparing to scrimmage.
I am no longer a hazard on skates and can be trusted to hurt others responsibly.
Also I may have settled on a derby name: Bri-Anarchy.
Thoughts? Bad-a$$ or lame?

p.s. I apologize from the bottom of my heart for failing to post yesterday on Rex Manning Day! Opportunity missed. #namethatmovie

Monday, April 7, 2014

There is good

I received a letter today.
Two actually.
I have received a lot of sweet letters over the past months.
The first one was from a woman I have never met.
This isn't the first one sent to me from someone I don't know personally.
However, it takes me by surprise each time.
What kind of person writes a touching, personal letter, including a check to a stranger?
The kind of person I want to be, that's who.
I opened the unfamiliar letter first and burst into tears.
She was a friend of a friend, just writing to tell me that she had been thinking of me and my kids.
Praying for us.
Sometimes I think it is the prayers of others that is the only thing buoying me up.
I wish there were some way to hug every single individual that has reached out to me.
Hug them tight and tell them how much I appreciate their thoughtfulness.
How each note made me feel loved and special.
And how it made me feel that there is a lot of rad people out there and this world isn't all bad the way we tend to think it is.
Good is out there, all around, often in quiet and unassuming ways.

^^ I took this last week. Dr. Brist asked if I minded if they left up the
sign until they brought on another doctor. I don't mind.^^
I have been sent blankets, money, chocolate, prezzies for my kids, and cards filled with the most kind sentiments.I bawl over every single one.
Bawling happens a lot around here.
So after that happened I opened the other letter.
It was from Scott's former employer, Dr. Brist, at EyeCare Focus here in Eugene.
He truly is the sweetest man and was very enthusiastic to have Scott join their optometry family.
Plus he is tiny and cute and looks a little like an elf.
Anyway, he was writing about some optometric equipment that belonged to Scott.
But it was the paper the note was written on that sent me over the emotional edge.
It was written on the office letterhead.
Dr. Scott Pitts, Optometric Physician was printed neatly alongside his colleagues.
Just seeing his name on top of the office stationary upset me.
Mostly because they were so invested in him as a member of their practice.
They had the stationary printed right away, hung his name outside the building, and welcomed him with open arms.
They felt that he would be a permanent fixture there for years to come and were so confident in his skills and talents.
I guess the idea of our dreams unrealized was what made me sad.
That and the thought of all that effort and hard work he put forth only to utilize it for such a short period of time.
I am just sad a lot.
But every day it gets a little bit better.
Sometimes it feels as if he has been gone a very long time and other times it feels as if he has only just left.
But instead of ending on a very somber note I will share with you something awesome.
It makes me happy and is incredible.
And I only just discovered it and am probably the last person on earth who hadn't heard of this group.
If you have, you will have in indication of how lame and out of the loop I am.
If not, you are not lame and out of the loop.
Then watch all their other songs.
Because that is what I did.
For like an hour with my eyeballs glued to the screen.
Happy Monday.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I want to live in Europe

My little family and I spent the day watching conference.
I also ate ibuprofen like candy and fretted over a very uncomfortable wisdom tooth that really wants to come down in a place already occupied by another tooth.
I asked my sister all day if my teeth looked as if they had shifted.
"Are you sure they don't look crooked already?"
"No, Brianne. They look exactly the same. How would they have moved that dramatically in one day?"
"I think they could."
"Well, they haven't. They look exactly the same as they did when you asked me ten minutes ago."
You can never be to cautious with your teeth.
I absolutely don't want any movement after 643 years of orthodontia.
It is pretty much all I have talked/thought about all day.
I am a really fun person to be around.
Oh, also I had a really wierd dream.
And chatted on and on about it when taking a break from my snaggletooth drama.
I am not a fan of people who recount their dreams in great detail.
I mean who cares?
The answer is no one.
So as I was saying, I dreamt I was dating a young man named Tim.
He was tall, and slender and was really quite pleased to be dating me.
He showed me lots of attention and got on really nicely with my children.
I remeber feeling happy and loved.
I woke up in a good mood.
And then I felt confused. And guilty.
I miss Scott.
I am not ready for any of this dating.
I don't even know how that works anymore.
I hear it is all online now.
Which sounds dreadful.
Plus it is far too early to be thinking about any of that.
Except that I do.
Not in a going-to-do-anything-about-it way, but in a lonely way.
Which is pretty much the worst reason to be dating.
I certainly don't want to be entering into any kind of relationship because I have to, or feel incomplete, or lonesome.
I want to be healthy, and strong, and confident before barking up that tree.
And so I just watch sappy chick flicks to "fill my canteen."
I am watching Notting Hill tonight.
Because the only thing better than watching a rom-com is a rom-com that takes place in Europe.
Leap Year, Under the Tuscan Sun, Chocolat, Love Actually, The Wedding Date ...
I could go on and on.
But I won't.
To sum up: dating sounds terrible, my tooth hurts like a mother, and I am that annoying person who tells everyone about their irrelevant dreams.
You're welcome.
The end.

Friday, April 4, 2014


^^ The life of a princess is hard. ^^
Roller derby has proved to be a fairly good distraction from my self-pity.
All the ladies are super supportive and want everyone to succeed.
I always come home feeling empowered and bruised.
I read an interview in a very cultured and important magazine called Glamour about Lena Dunham.
Do you know who she is?
Apparently she is a talented young writer/director/star of the show Girls.
I have never seen the show.
It is on HBO, which means that it is probably racy too mature for my delicate virtue.
That or my dad doesn't believe in television.
Anyway, in the article she talks about how nobody's life is made worse by anybody else succeeding.
Meaning one's opportunities to succeed are not contingent on whether or not others fail or flourish.
We can all triumph. In different ways, in different arenas.
We should all be supportive, empathetic, and encouraging.
I want others to be happy.
Life is not a competition and comparing myself to others is not healthy or advantageous.
Just because I see on Facebook that someone is really "struggling" in their life because their brand-new McMansion has yet to be completed and they are renting, and their rental has mice, I should not roll my eyes into the back of my head and mutter berating and sarcastic remarks about how "hard" their lives are.
I should just realize that their perspective and life experiences or lack thereof put them in a position of discomfort and that their trials are not my trials.
And then I block them from my feed.
Because ain't nobody want to hear all that whining.
It will not always be my turn to be hurting.
Everyone has their challenges and a lot of those hardships are suffered behind closed doors.
So who am I to suggest that my life sucks the most.
Even though it does.
But it won't .... eventually.
Which is what I tell myself every morning.

^^ Already has another one growing in. Like a shark.
Seriously look at her top teeth! So small. ^^
In the mean time, I yanked out Ryan's first tooth yesterday.
It was very dramatic.
There was a lot of pre-yank crying.
But once I wrenched it out, as fast as greased lightening, she was all smiles and showing everyone her miniature baby tooth.
It is the smallest tooth on the planet.
Probably ever, in all mankind.
I could barely grip it.

^^ There are no words. ^^
And then there is Ezra.
He insists I draw a mustache on his face every day.
And then goes to school.
Looking like Captain Hook.

That's all I got.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


^^ Could my "selfie" be any more tacky? My hair is like Bruno Mars ^^

^^ So this happened. Again. For the fourth time. Why? I don't know.
I am desperately attempting to cling to my youth. #Fail. ^^
Lest I lead any of my four readers to believe that I have my shite together I will tell you what a disaster today was.
Doesn't that sound compelling? And uplifting?
I peeled myself out of bed at 7:30, rushed Ryan out the door to school, set the boys up with Cocoa Puffs and Sesame Street and went back to bed.
I kept drifting in and out of sleep ALL MORNING because I was being a lazy, piece of crap.
I dreamt that I was dating a 21-year-old man-child.
It was awful.
I finally emerged from my room with only one hour to get Ezra dressed and onto the bus, half-heartedly (< I am pretty sure that isn't a word) do a Jillian Michaels workout, shower, dress the baby, and race over to a preschool interview for Micah, since he is a maniac and I am attempting to start school in the fall.
Since then I have sat around feeling sorry for myself and eaten my weight in chocolate-covered coconut.
I am super productive.
And definitely moving forward.
Except not.
My dad keeps telling me it takes time to reset and it has only been two months, but I spend an unhealthy amount of energy worrying.
About everything.
Am I going to try to get a job? Should I try and pursue a Master's degree?
How am I going to provide a home for my kids all on my own?
And not the ghetto apartments they are used to.
So instead of doing all that, I am going to eat some popcorn lunch and pull out my GRE study guide.
Because that is what I should be doing.
Or I will watch a movie.
And avoid my life.
Cheers to a better day tomorrow.

p.s. Sorry for the dismal rant. And those pictures. Good grief.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda (taken from the front of Scott's funeral program)

Tuesday was the day we had the funeral.
It was short and sweet.
If he could have planned this ceremony personally, it would have happened exactly the same way.
The director at the funeral parlor suggested they help with the flowers, program, and music but I thought that was pretty much the worst idea. Ever.
I wanted it to feel like Scott.
So I said, "Ex-nay on the help. I'll do it up right."
True story.
Ironically, Scott liked to make other people laugh but didn't like to be the center of attention.
He was somewhat introverted?
He did not even enjoy celebrating his birthday.
Who doesn't enjoy birthdays?
Hooligans, that's who.
So we kept the service simple and brief.
We absolutely did not sing "God Be With You 'til We Meet Again."
That song is the lousiest.
We sang it at my mom's funeral and it was the saddest part.
If you were to have asked Scott what his favorite hymn was, he most likely would have answered, "If You Could Hie to Kolob" because it is obscure and strange.
We sang, "Nearer My God to Thee," and "Abide with Me, 'Tis Even Tide."
They were beautiful, although I couldn't choke out a single bar.
And the flowers! The flowers were perfect.
There was a lot of curly willow, and drippy, earthy stems.
My instructions were specifically, "I want the arrangement to be something you would find sprouting from the forest in Middle Earth."
^^ Where Scott is most likely living right now ^^
That is a Lord of the Rings reference. I think.
Truthfully whenever Scott talked about that trilogy, my eyes glazed over and crickets began chirping.
But he loved them. blah blah.
My sister and girlfriend nailed it.
But the piéce de résistance was the bagpiper.
He was the bomb dot com.
No, we aren't Scottish.
And no, Scott didn't know how to play.
But he really wanted to learn.
After the only vacation we literally ever took (to the U.K.), Scott yearned to play.
He brought it up all the time.
And I quote, "I really want to learn to play the bagpipes. On a hilltop. Wearing a kilt. That is blowing in the breeze. Sans underwear."
Anyway, he really honestly did want to learn and I knew that I had to have a piper play.
Just one really beautiful, loud song.
And I did it to make Scott happy.
Because I completely think he was there. I think that sort of thing is allowed.
Even if no one else understood why in the world we would have a bagpiper blaring at his funeral, he would get it. And probably laugh.
He played, "For the love of the Princess," which is the theme song from Braveheart. Another one of Scott's cinematic favs.
Following that, I got up to speak.
Truthfully, it was somewhat of a blur.
I talked about who Scott was. And how much I love him.
I wasn't sure how I would feel standing at the pulpit, delivering his eulogy, but it didn't really feel like a choice. I just had to. I never really considered not doing it.
And I felt remarkably calm. I don't remember stuttering through it.
I felt strong in that moment.
And then I tripped down the stairs on my way back to my seat.
His dad was the concluding speaker, and really brought it home.
He talked about Scott as a willful, yet playful child. But also how smart, talented, and versatile he was.
It was just right.
As the pallbearers rose to escort the casket out of the chapel, I stood, gripping my sister for stability. Then a quiet, wistful melody tinkled from the piano.
I recognized it; couldn't place it; and then began crying as I identified the theme from Lord of the Rings float softly through the room.
My mother's best friend stayed up all night in order to learn that song, as a gift to me. And a tribute to Scott.
It makes me ache when I hear it, because I feel like I just had him with me. Like I couldn't possibly have lost him.
And we're laying on our couch, relaxing to Enya, on a lazy Sunday.
It was the most thoughtful token, one I weep just thinking about.
I am actually crying right this minute.
Because I just can't wrap my mind around my new reality.
He was so full of life, maybe a little too full at times.
And he worked so hard. Made so many sacrifices. In my behalf and in our children's.
How can that be gone in an instant? How can someone so young, so strong, just be gone?
I think about that a lot.
But I know he isn't really gone. He's around.
Sometimes, when I am laying in my bed at night, I imagine that he might be there, laying on his side, stroking my hair or holding my hand. Just so I don't have to be alone.
And sometimes I think maybe my mom could be there too.
You know so there are three of us in there, instead of just me.
I was told she was at his funeral, beside me as I stood and talked about him.
I like that idea. And I think that is also allowed.
I am grateful for my family. The ones around me in body and spirit.
Sure I wish they were all here in the flesh, but I am starting to realize that having them during this part of my life was never the plan.
I thought it was part of my plan, but I can't see the whole plan.
Only my Heavenly Father is privy to that kind of info, and His plan leads me down a totally different path.
The more willing I am to accept that, the easier my days go.
Does that make sense? The life that Scott and I spent so much time building was never going to come to fruition.
It wasn't. I wanted it to.
Heck I still want it to.
But my path veers in a totally different direction.
One that I have yet to pinpoint.
Right now the path includes getting out of bed in the morning, taking care of my children, stressing out the remainder of the day, and tucking myself in with a sleeping pill at the end of the night.
But I am trying to remember that there are always things to be grateful for.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The funeral prep and all those damned decisions

When Scotty passed away, I lay in bed for two days.
My kids were doing who knows what.
I lay curled up inside Scott's hoodie, buried in the bed.
It had the smell of his cologne natural musk in it still.
I was letting everyone else around me take care of the children, take care of travel arrangements for family coming to his funeral, take care of phone calls, and visitors.
I could hear everyone talking about me; most of the time I was right in the same room.
I didn't care.
Every time I would start sobbing, my dad would hand me a xanex.
I obediently swallowed them without question and allow myself to be numb.
It was a small reprieve.
On Sunday, I had to go the funeral home to make all of the burial/funeral arrangements.
Scott and I had never talked about our wishes if one of us were to die.
I guess we figured we had time to make those kind of plans.
I do remember forcing him to swear he would never remarry and would spend the remainder of his days pining for me if I were to go first.
That conversation proved to be less than helpful.
Scott was 34.
We had no life insurance, or any medical insurance.
We had been students and therefore owned nothing of any value.
Funerals are expensive.
So are medical bills.
And you are expected to pony up and pay right away.
My sister, dad, step mom, and best friend came with me to the funeral home to help me sort out all the details.
We had to come up with a service program, flower arrangements, burial plot/location, and then I had to go in the room with all the teeny baby coffins to select a casket.
I just wanted to huddle in the corner.
It was the most distressing decision.
Do I pick a really expensive one because I love him and don't want to be a cheapskate?
Does it make sense to choose an overpriced casket when I believe that it is a temporary refuge designed to harbor our bodies until the resurrection?
Can I just go outside and throw myself into traffic?
Because frankly that seemed like a more appealing option.

^^ My daughter, Ryan. No, that is not her hair. Yes, she insisted on wearing this tremendous hat to school every day.^^
My very practical friend steered me toward the more affordable options and we made a decision.
It was exactly what I needed.
Someone who knew me and Scott well enough to help me make those really hard decisions without fuss.
After settling all the other preparations, I wiped my eyes only to find myself staring at a hefty bill, which my dad quietly paid until I could sort out my financial situation.
Speaking of which, my most thoughtful cousin and grandfather-in-law ended up splitting the check and covering the funeral arrangements when it all shook out.
If there were ever a way to thank two people in an appropriate measure for something so big, so significant to me, well I just don't know what it is.
A thank you card hardly does this generous act any justice.
Zak, Grandpa Bob, thank you from every single bone in my body for what you did.
It can never be said enough.
I went home drained and sat down at the computer to write his eulogy.
I had to.
How could I not speak at his funeral?
I knew him the best. Loved him the hardest. Shed a lot of blood, sweat, and tears over that man.
Maybe not blood.
I wanted him to hear what I had to say. I wanted him to know how much he was loved.
How much I would miss him.
How unfunny I thought he was and how much of a nerd he had turned out to be.
So I stayed up until 2 a.m. writing that damn thing.
Then I got a wild hair and cleaned out my closet.
By then my eyes looked even more swollen and asian than normal.
It was a long couple of days.
It never really ends.
It just goes on and you can never escape.
But the service was lovely.
That'll be next.