December 30, 2011

Remembering Mikel

January 1st will mark exactly a year since Mikel passed away. I won't sugar coat it. Getting used to life without her is difficult. Particularly because Mikel was my closest sibling - just 3 years older than me. She is in most of my childhood memories. Sometimes in the tough moments I have asked myself, "Why does it still hurt so much? Why can't I 'let go' and just take solace in knowing I will someday see her again?" Well, one night when Nick was busy with homework I came across this little gem of knowledge that put things in perspective. It's from "True to the Faith" Gospel Resource. In talking about the pain from losing a loved one it says: "It is natural to feel sorrow...in fact, mourning is one of the deepest expressions of love. The Lord said, 'Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die' (D&C 42:45). The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life" (I bolded and italicized that last part).

Wow. After reading that I realized grieving Mikel's death won't just end one day, it will be a life- long process. Sure, getting used to new kind of "normal" will slowly get easier over the years. But I am never going to stop loving my sister...therefore I will never stop missing her or wishing so badly I could see her just for a moment. Those few sentences made me understand and not be afraid of all the little moments of sadness and pain I've experienced this past year. It's not that I can't let go, my tears are just one way of expressing my deep love for her.

But how grateful I am for memories. I've always loved the quote, “God gave us memories that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.” Mikel gave our family some wonderful memories of laughter and joy that we are always going to be able to draw upon through the years. While flipping through the channels last week, I stopped on the movie "The Music Man" and instantly became glued to the television. This was a favorite childhood movie for me, Mikel, and my brother Tim. On one part in particular I just burst out laughing because I could vividly remember rewinding it (yes, on the archaic VCR) over and over again with Mikel and laughing so hard that our stomachs hurt. Nick walked into the room shortly after the scene and said, "You've had a huge smile during this whole movie." Yep, that's what Mikel is great at doing - putting a smile on your face.

I wanted to end this post with the poem my mom shared at her funeral services. It still brings tears to my eyes but it's a sweet reminder during these tough days that I need to focus on Mikel's life and the legacy of love she left behind.

Weep not for me though I am gone into that gentle night.
Grieve if you will, but not for long upon my soul's sweet flight.
I am at peace, my soul's at rest
There is no need for tears.
For with your love I was so blessed.
For all those many years.
There is no pain, I suffer not,
The fear now all is gone.
Put now these things out of your thoughts,
In your memory I live on.
Remember not my fight for breath
Remember not the strife.
Please do not dwell upon my death,
But celebrate my life.


December 29, 2011

Our Christmas

So here's a little re-cap on the Sibert Christmas. We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve because Nick worked Christmas Day - which I was a little less than ecstatic about. But we made it work.

The little bit of purple on the tree is for Mikel. :)

The very first pic I took of Toby when he came down the stairs.

Toby checkin' out his new garbage truck.




Aspen is of course just interested in all the wrapping paper.

I'm not in any of the pics because I didn't want to scare you with my puffy, morning face. :) But my favorite present by far was my new tempur-pedic pillow. For months I have suffered from horrible neck pain and headaches. I thought it was a result from fragmented sleep until Aspen started sleeping longer stretches. I asked Nick for a nice pillow (meaning one that is more than $10) and boy did he deliver. A couple nights with it and I felt SO much more rested and I had virtually no neck pain. I was a new woman (Sheesh, I should do a commercial ). :)

December 1, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...La, la, la!


FYI -The title of this post and above image is an inside joke with my family ;)

It really feels like just a week ago I was blogging about Halloween. Anyone else feel like their life is in warp speed?

So here is a re-cap on November. On the 18th we celebrated my 29th birthday. It feels strange to be so close to 30 - though people still peg me as early twenties. I don't mind though...most of the time. :)
It was a great birth-week though. A couple days before my actual birthday, my parents took me out to lunch and spoiled me with some great gifts (my mom is THE most thoughtful gift-giver). But the best part of our luncheon was just being able to sit and chat about anything and everything. My parents are the best conversationalists. The day of my birthday Nick and I went out to lunch with little Aspen. My wonderful friend, Jen, watched the Toby-man for us. Then that evening Nick's parents came down from Logan to watch Toby so we could go to a birthday party that my friend Ashley threw for me and my other friend Amber (her birthday was on the 16th).

Left to Right: Ashley, Me, Amber. (And our funny Taylor friend in the back.)

Just a little background on my friends: I have been good buddies with Ashley since my High School days. We were on the Drill Team together. Amber and I have been besties since we were 9-years-old. They are sweet girls who I'm lucky to have known for so long. We've got some good history together.

But probably the best present of all came from Nick. A couple weeks before my birthday he asked me to give him a list of what I wanted for my birthday. #1 on my list was for him to take Sunday off. Have I ever mentioned that he works on Sunday? Sadly, he does. But you do what you gotta do to make a living eh? So last he took last Sunday off and I was in heaven. One of my friends saw me walk into church just beaming and said "Aw, it's like Christmas for you isn't it?" Yes, it was. Not only because I had extra help but because I've really missed having him sit next to me. And coming home together and having him help with dinner and bedtime was pure bliss. Yep, that was the best birthday present by far. :)

Thanksgiving was celebrated with Nick's family up in Logan. It was fun. Toby always has a blast with his cousins. The day after Thanksgiving was Mikel's birthday. She would have been 32-years-old. My family all got together at a church near my mom's house in North Ogden and did a second Thanksgiving in the name of Mikel. My mom put out a poster paper that said "Things we love about Mikel" and each of us wrote a few things and then gave it to Mikel's daughter, Azia. Then my mom, being the doting Grandma that she is, got out all these cool marshmallow guns for the grandchildren and we had a marshmallow fight in the gym. All the kids LOVED it. Afterwards, we watched "The Rarick Family Video." It's a DVD of all seven of us kids growing up. Each of us even have are own theme music hand-picked by my mom. When it came to the photo montage of Mikel, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. And the song my mom picked for her was absolutely perfect: "She's Got a Way" by Billy Joel. I actually heard it on the radio a few weeks ago while driving near Mikel's old apartment and I just started sobbing. Especially on the part that says, "She's got a smile that heals me" because that was exactly Mikel. She lit up a room with her smile and laugh. I'm still having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that she was still around this time last year. I miss her so much. The holiday's just aren't the same when there is an empty chair at the dinner table. Don't misread me, I am incredibly grateful to know I will see her again someday. That is priceless knowledge for sure. It's getting used to her not being here in this life that is so difficult and heart-wrenching at times. But I know there are probably moments when she is close by. Maybe even seeing first-hand how little patience I have with Toby or smiling when I turn up a song by The Cure and say, "This is for you, Mikel." :) In just over a month though my sisters and I will be going through the Salt Lake temple for her. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am! Undoubtedly, it will be one unforgettable, sweet day.



So that was our November and now we are officially in Christmas mode. Nick has put up a few strands of lights on our house and today we bought and decorated our tree (Alaskan man mandates a real tree every year but if I had my way it would be 100% artificial). OK so I just realized I need to end this blog post and write up a grocery list but I want to share a quick thought about Nick. Every once in a while he surprises me with how well he compensates for what I lack with the kids. For example, a couple days ago Nick made a little calendar out of construction paper so Toby could count down till Christmas Day. And then earlier today he talked about making paper snowflakes with Toby to hang from our ceiling as you walk in the front door. Doing those kinds of things with Toby would never even cross my mind. Is that weird? I'm pretty good with keeping the kids fed, clothed, bathed, entertained, and for the most part, happy...but when it comes to anything "craft" related, I totally drop the ball. I'm glad I married someone who can make-up for my "non-crafty" ways. :)
OK, that is all. The end.

November 1, 2011

Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

Halloween 2011

I was so glad Aspen's jammies could double as a costume. :)



Optimus Prime!

He actually wore the mask for most of the evening.

So I just have to put in a plug for our cool neighborhood. Between Toby getting handfuls of candy dumped into his bucket, neighbors giving out homemade donuts and root beer, and then having a flash mob of "Thriller" perform every hour in the park, we had such a memorable and fun Halloween. The Toby-man had a blast.


Hee Haw Farm with Nessa and Jade






Cute cousins


The pumpkin drop.
The one below is close to 900 lbs! Toby loved every minute of it.



A video clip of the pumpkin drop...sorry about my unsteady filming

video

My little dare devil



Cute Jade. She was saying "Cheeeese!"


It has been a wonderful fall season. Love, love, love this time of year.

October 30, 2011

The haps

I've been really bad at blogging. I keep looking at all the pictures on my computer from summer that I never posted and think, "I'll post them tomorrow." And here it is the end of October. Thus, I've decided to just update you on the here and now. So here...we...go:




1. Aspen: She's over 6 months now, weighs around 17 lbs, and is gobbling up all the solids we can give her. She's rolling, doing a little bit of the army crawl, and making all kinds of funny noises. The clip below is the noise she makes the most often. Not a high-pitched squeal, not blowing bubbles, but a strange growl. I still don't really know how to describe it.

video

I'll admit, the first time I heard it come through the baby monitor after her nap, it kind of freaked me out. But now we hear it so much we barely notice it. It makes me laugh the most when I'm going up and down the aisles at the grocery store and she keeps "growling" over and over again. We've received some funny looks. :)


She also likes to fly. It never gets old seeing her in that superman pose.


One last thing about Aspen, she is still pretty sensitive to what I eat. Way more than Toby ever was. So a few of my favorite indulgences have been put on hold until after I am done breastfeeding: Dr. Pepper, Mexican food (or any spicy/flavorful food), and chocolate. Only about 6 months to go. *sigh*

2. Now for the Toby-man. He started preschool the beginning of September. Can you believe it? I still clearly remember venting/blogging about his 5:30 wake up times (which still make an appearance now and then) and his never ending teething days. How did we get here?




Toby absolutely loves preschool though. He comes home singing songs and jabbering on and on about what he learned that day.



Lately Toby has been surprising me with how loving and sensitive he is towards Aspen. He loves talking to her, making her laugh, he'll grab a diaper for me when I need one, and he demands to know Aspen's whereabouts when she's not in the room. Little things like that make me smile and realize what a sweet, protective, big brother Aspen has. It also makes me a little more at ease when I think about her entering the dating years knowing he's got her back. :)



3. Me: I'm still half zombie these days, meaning I'm getting up about every 3 hours with little Aspen. Wow, it's been hard. Especially on the mornings Toby shuffles in my room at 6:00 (though he is capable of sleeping another hour and a half) and I know Aspen will be sleeping another 2-3 hours. But, I'm surviving. I know it's not going to last forever and one of these days she'll get this sleeping thing down. I hope. But anytime I want to throw myself a pity party I just think of my little sister, Vanessa, who is currently pregnant with twins (due in April) and suddenly my sleep deprivation doesn't seem so bad. As much as I am completely elated for her, I can't even comprehend what it would be like to get up with two babies all night long. How does one get any sleep? Ever? Oh sweet Nessa, sleep well while you still can!


I thought the above picture was the epitome of motherhood. It's around noon, still in jammies, hair pulled back with tired, puffy eyes. But the little, chubby one I'm holding is worth it right? :)

4. Nick: He's over half-way done with fall semester. It's actually blown by, at least that's what he tells me. He's got just one more semester left and then he will be done with school and I will have a husband again. I. can't. wait. I really hate trying to tell him about my whole day, discuss future events, ask him about his day, and attempt to reconnect in about 8.5 minutes every night. OK so it's not that bad, but I do have limited time from the moment he comes home until he starts his homework to get everything out of my system. All I know is that I gotta throw him a huge graduation party in May. The guy is a machine. I really don't know how he's powered through the past 4 years.

Welp, that pretty much covers it. Next post: corn mazes and Halloween pics (but don't hold your breath. At my pace, I might not get around to posting before Christmas)

October 2, 2011

He's always good for a laugh

Toby is a pro at making Aspen laugh. Quite often she will just sit in her swing and giggle at all his antics. And there is something so special about seeing your kids laugh together. It's one of those little moments that makes all the hard work worth it.

video

(And poor, neglected Kaya. I feel bad every time I see her wander off into the background)

September 30, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year

As many of you know, fall is my favorite season. I love the cooling temperatures, pumpkin pie, football games, the smell of the crisp, autumn mornings, but especially the beautiful splashes of gold, red, and orange on the mountains.

Last Thursday afternoon Nick surprised me with suggesting we take a drive through the Alpine Loop (from Provo Canyon to American Fork canyon). I was thrilled at this spontaneous little adventure. We enjoyed our trip so much we decided to go up again today. Take a gander at some of the pictures.




I especially loved all the Aspen trees. And yes, they did have something to do with why we named our daughter Aspen. :)


But as much as I love this time of year, this fall season has been laced with a bit of sadness as I reflect on the last holidays I spent with my sister. It still seems so strange to think she was actually alive this time last year. If only I had known what was coming in just a few short months. But such is life I guess.
Amidst the tears, the one thing that gives me strength as we near the 1 year mark is that soon we will be able to do her temple work. I've felt so strongly that Mikel is truly preparing for that glorious day.
And I cannot wait to be apart of it. :)


Still love and miss you so much, sweet sister.

September 19, 2011

Cinco

Our little Aspen turned 5 months yesterday. She is nice and plump and oh-so-cuddly. We started her on rice cereal a few weeks back. She didn't seem to like it at first, so we switched to an organic brand and now she loves the stuff. Funny thing, Toby was the same way.


She's still waking up about every 3 hours, but one week she gave me a few nights of only waking up once. It was heaven. And for the most part, she is still a cat-napper. However, as of late she has been giving me random 1.5-2 hour naps at different times every day. So that has been nice, but I just wish I knew when they were going to be so I could plan my days better. Those little breaks are crucial to a mom's sanity I tell ya!

Aspen is such a happy baby though. So smiley and good-natured. No matter how tired I am, sometimes all it takes is seeing one of her huge, gummy smiles and my day seems a little brighter.


We had her blessed last month. It was a great day. Nick gave a beautiful blessing. Now I just need to remember to write down what he said before I forget it all like I did when Toby was blessed.


I actually borrowed my nieces blessing dress. I guess I'm not sentimental enough to drop $50 on a dress she will only wear once.


Toby with his buddy Canton and my friend Deborah.


Ness was the only sister able to make it to the blessing. But I wore my purple necklace so I could have a little piece of Mikel with me. :)

Enjoy the rest of the pics. I kind of just pointed the camera and snapped random photos if you can't tell. :)


My cute mom.


So I have MUCH more catching up to do, so stay tuned for a plethora of posts...

August 25, 2011

And we're back


I wish I could say that the 6 week dry period of no blogging was because we were so busy with fun summer vacations and activities. Nope. We were busy sleeping. Nick has been working the graveyard shift for the past 2.5 months and wow, did it take its toll on our fam! I say that because it seemed like it threw everyone into a sleeping strike. Aspen gave up her 4-5 hour stretch of sleeping and began waking up every 2-3 hours again. And for some reason each time we had a major holiday that included LOUD aerial fireworks or a night with a major thunderstorm that kept Toby up in the night, Nick was working his graveyard shift. Thus, I was the one up all night with the kids. One night in particular I remember running back and forth between Toby and Aspen for 4 hours straight! And on top of that, I don't sleep well at night without my husband next to me. Quite often I had Kaya sleep under my bed (my little furry sausage is such an intimidating guard dog) or I would have Aspen sleep next to me. I've never been a co-sleeping mommy but there was just something so comforting being next to her fuzzy little head and feeling her chubby cheek squished against mine. Another difficult thing was trying to stay quiet so Nick could sleep during the day time. Pain. in. the. neck. Anyway...with that said, you can imagine the delightful bunch we became. To say we were a little grumpy is probably the understatement of the year. BUT...the good news is: we survived! And Nick starts the day shift again this week (yay!) along with school (boo!)

And even with all the sleep deprivation, we did manage to do a few fun things this summer. :) I will blog/post pics later. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm alive and well and hoping for a much more restful fall. :)