June 29, 2011


Friday will mark 6 months since my sister, Mikel, passed away. It's still so strange typing that. I can honestly say that even in the hustle and bustle of life, not a day has passed that I don't think about her. Sometimes it's just a random memory that will pop into my head and bring tears to my eyes. Other times I see something extraordinary or beautiful and think "Mikel would appreciate that picture or song or quote."

It's still so hard without her. I've felt an ache in my heart that I've never experienced in my life. An ache that I can't hug her or hear her laugh or see her beautiful smile. Sometimes I find myself saying things in "the Mikel voice" (my family knows what I am talking about) to my kids just so I can keep her alive in my mind. I still show Toby pictures of her and ask, "Who's that?" He will usually answer right away with, "Aunt Kel!" although sometimes he gives me a blank stare. When that happens I feel a twinge of pain as I realize that the memory of Mikel will eventually fade as he gets older and both he and Aspen will not know their Aunt Kel like they should have. Toby won't remember that the last evening he spent with her was at a Maverick gas station when she bought him a sucker. I remember sitting in the car anxiously waiting for them to return. Mikel had insisted on taking him inside to give me a break. I kept picturing Toby running up and down the aisles laughing while Mikel chased after him. But he did great - at least that is what she told me anyway.

It's interesting how death forever changes ones perspective. For me, Mikels absence has taught me to hold onto my kids a little longer when I hug them. It's taught me to not sweat the small stuff (something I'm really good at) and to learn to let go of grudges or hard feelings because they're just not worth the misery and are a waste of time. Yes, this life can be so hard and even cruel at times, but if anything Mikel's death has helped me to focus on the beautiful amidst the ugly, to see the tender mercies during the hard times, and made me realize all the more what a precious gift this life really is.

The other day while stuck in traffic, I sang along to a song from my iPod playlist that I had heard at least a dozen times or more. But for some reason this time the words struck me differently. Tears streamed my cheeks as I thought about Mikel. Too often I dwell on the fact that in this life I won't be able to see her, but this song (whether it was intended to be interpreted this way or not) reminded me that I will see her again. Because one of the blessings of Christ's Atonement is that he overcame physical death, someday my sweet sister will be reunited with her body and I will have the wonderful joy and privilege of embracing her once again. I have to remind myself of that. Especially in those painful moments of "what might have been."

If you would like to listen to the song, it's on the playlist above. And the lyrics are below. The artist is Keane, a British band (all the more fitting that it reminded me of Mikel). :)

Meet me in the morning when you wake up
Meet me in the morning then you'll wake up
If only I don't bend and break
I'll meet you on the other side
I'll meet you in the light
If only I don't suffocate
I'll meet you in the morning when you wake

Me, age 14, and Mikel, age 17, at a family reunion in Eden, UT.

June 22, 2011

Two Months Four Days

Can you believe it has been two months already? Crazy!

Lately Nick and I have been fascinated with how much Aspen looks like Toby as a baby. Take a gander:

Toby 2.5 months

Aspen 2 months

This picture of Aspen is a bit deceiving. She may look chunkier than Toby, but he was actually 2 lbs. heavier at this point in time. I just took her to her 2 month appt. and she was 10 lbs, 12 oz and 23 inches long. And she's got a tiny head - it is in the 2nd percentile! It kind of freaked me out at first but the doc said there is nothing wrong with her and that she'll even out eventually. She looks proportionate to me anyway and I hope to everyone else as well.

Gotta love babies in nothin' but their diapers...

Another major difference with her and Toby is temperament. She is easily soothed with just being held or patted on the back. When Toby cried, he needed lots of rocking, nursing, singing, white noise... all that stuff to calm down. Quite often Aspen can fall asleep without a pacifier and on some nights will give me a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep. This is major as Toby was a horrible sleeper until he was almost a year old and didn't get good at it until 20 months. She is also much more talkative and doesn't make me work as hard for a smile. BUT...as with every baby, she has her challenges: she likes to clamp down while nursing and pull away frequently (while still attached). OUCH. And man is she gassy. Even on the blandest diet she will pass lots of gas. Some of their similarities: She is a huge cuddler, cat-napper, and she is very alert and curious - just like Toby was (and still is).

Some of her nick-names so far:
Grumpy grape (she has some good scowls and her head is so perfectly round it reminds me of a grape)


My little bug


I am so in love with my sweet, small-headed little girl. Can't imagine life without her now. :)

June 13, 2011

Parades and Chickens

A couple weekends ago, Eagle Mountain had their Pony Express Parade. It was just what a small town parade should be: cheesy, hot, but lots of fun for the 2.2 million kids that live here. Man, I forget how out-numbered we adults are until I go to an EM parade. It kind of freaks me out a bit, feels a little too Lord of the Flies-ish. Anyway...enjoy pics below.

He walked like this the whole way to the parade. Such a cute, quirky boy.

And he pretty much looked like this the during most of the parade...

...until the cannon came! He hated the cannon last year and only disliked it this year. I don't blame him - it's so loud!

This Cosmo pic is for all you BYU fans. You're welcome.

No parade is complete without some bag pipes.

And now for the chicken portion of my post. Some of you may remember my little squabble last year with Nick about getting chickens. He's wanted them since we moved into our house. I kept saying no because, well, they stink, I don't really eat a lot of eggs, and I really didn't want one more thing taking up space on our .14 acre lot. Well, without warning Nick suddenly started working on a "project" in the garage. I didn't think anything of it until I noticed pictures on our computer of all different kinds of chicken coops. Then it all started to come together. He actually picked a good time to start building it because it was right before Aspen came along and I was too out of it to really pick up the chicken debate again. So he got his chickens. And he actually did a really good job on the chicken coop. I was quite proud of him. Check it out...

And there they are. Toby has already named one of them Trixy (huh?) and the other two are no-namers for the time being.
I am pretty sure we won't be able to go through the 12-14 eggs they will be producing every week. So if you would like some, please let me know! That would be eggs-elent.
OK it's time to go to bed when I start saying weird things like that in my posts.

June 3, 2011

6 years

On a cool June morning, six years ago, I married one terrific guy who does the dishes for me every night and leaves me sweet little messages on our white board almost every morning. Thanks for being so good to me and our little family.

Love you always...


June 2, 2011

Funny guy

Since there has been such a huge spotlight on my little Aspen May, I thought I would share a few of the funny things coming out of T-man's mouth. Some of them are so random. I really have no clue where he comes up with this stuff, but it definitely brightens my day and gives me a much needed laugh when I'm exhausted and grumpy.

Whenever I suggest a few things for Toby to do (like play with his toys, dig in the sandbox) he will smile real big at me and say: "That is such a good idea! Thank you!"

The other day he followed me into the bathroom and said, "Mommy goes potty on the toilet? What a big boy! Good job, mommy!"

Lately whenever we offer him new food to try, he sniffs it and no matter what it is, he will shake his head and say, "Nah, it's too spicy."

For some reason Toby likes to call my pump bag (for breast milk) a punching bag. It's actually quite fitting since I hate pumping and really wouldn't mind using it as a punching bag from time to time. :)

A couple of times Toby has looked at Aspen and said, "Mommy, she is a princess." Nick and I can't figure out where he got this from, but it sure melts my heart when I hear him say it.

And my favorite: One day Nick let Toby listen to the "We Will Rock You" song by Queen. Well, Toby loved it and for weeks would walk around the house serenading us with it. But one time when he was wrestling Grandpa Sibert, he suddenly started shouting, "You got mud on your face, you big disgrace!" over and over again. I have never laughed so hard. Luckily Grandpa didn't understand what he was singing and didn't think anything of it.


And now for the BIG NEWS on the Tobester...he is pretty much potty trained!!! Hooray! For the past few months I have had a really passive approach on potty training. Everyone I gleaned advice from seemed echo the same thing: "Don't push him into it, wait until he is ready. Otherwise you will both be miserable." So that is what I did. I would ask him a few times a day if he wanted to be a big boy and go potty on the toilet. For the longest time he would say, "No, maybe tomorrow." Finally when I gave him some incentives, like jelly beans or marshmallows he started to go about once or twice a week on his own. Then last week Nick upped the ante by saying he would get a Transformers toy if he went both pee and poo on the toilet all day long. That did it.

The past few days he has actually wanted to go on the toilet because he discovered real quick that he does not like the feeling of being wet. Which means: Less laundry for us, and more importantly no more diapers! YES! Let the savings begin!

And here are some cute pics of Toby and Miss Aspen...enjoy!