Monday, October 31, 2011

villains vs. superheroes

happy halloween!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

a video: june laughing (3 months)

as a debut of our first official video to be posted on this blog,
we thought it would be appropriate to make it the video
of june laughing & going insane.

of course, if i had a loony woman in my face 
giggling like a chipmunk and saying i was "CRAZY" 
over & over again,
i might act the same way she did.

yes i make a fool of myself here.....let's just focus on june though, shall we??

ALSO.  i'm doing our first video blog review over at baby half off!!

CLICK HERE to watch!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

first giveaway!!

okay, this giveaway is awesome.....seriously.  {worth almost $200!!!}

and because i'm new & not many people know about the blog yet, 
NO ONE has entered to win it. 

so CLICK HERE and enter!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


 {this is june, when she's excited.}

{caleb and leah, when they're excited.}

{ben when he's excited....or, just being a dork.}

 {annnnnd me.  i couldn't find a true "excited" picture of myself.  
it was a toss up between this one & one during labor with june, which was more "freaked out" than "excited" so i went with this one.  
which is really just a picture of me flipping my hair up & andrea snapping away.  
but i look pretty excited about it, don't i?}

so, friends.

i'm excited to let you know that i'm now part of the Baby Half Off team as their company blogger!!

this was the dream i was referring to in this post....getting paid to write and do something that i love, while also being able to stay home with my kids.  i have thought for a long time i was asking for too much, that i wouldn't be able to find something that fit me so perfectly.  i'm so grateful for this opportunity and for how much it will help our family out.

this isn't the first job along these lines that i've applied for.  there was an offer a few months ago {right after june was born} that ended up falling through.  i was disappointed, and tried really hard not to tell myself that it was because i wasn't good enough....easier said than done.

but i really feel that part of this whole thing was actually believing that i could do it.  then saying it out loud to someone, and then finally....putting myself out there and asking for what i was hoping for.  and the timing has been perfect.

the company is great, they have AMAZING deals, and the people i work with are wonderful.  

so i get to write over there, doing product reviews, hosting giveaways and also doing video blogs {yikes!  i'm much better behind the computer than i am on camera.} while also continuing to write for myself & my family over here.

anyway, that's the big news!!  i am so excited about it.  now i just have to figure out how to handle all that is on my plate without going prematurely gray....

so here's my first post, with a giveaway to follow tonight!!

an enormous THANK YOU to my friends and family who have supported me and believed in me....even before i could believe in myself. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

learning to love holland.

my fantastic friend, meggan, emailed this to me a long time ago.

i've been writing how i feel about it, but haven't gotten my jumbled thoughts just right about it yet.  about how my "trip to holland" brought out anxiety, and fear, and stress.  how i have been working extremely hard the past year and a half to try to quiet that anxiety and let go.

i will finish writing my experience, because i think it's important.  not just for me, but for other moms who have had a child with disabilities or extreme health problems that has brought out anxiety in them, because the letting go process has helped me enjoy being caleb's mother so much more than the anxiety did.  the anxiety was a false sense of security that kept me wound up tightly, hyper-alert, taking away my ability to truly enjoy.

anyway, my piece will come.  but until it does, read this.  even if you haven't ever had a child with special needs, read between the lines and apply it to other situations in your life.  whether it's becoming a parent, or a marriage that takes a turn, or a job that wasn't what you thought it would be, an unexpected death, or even that your life just isn't what you hoped.  where you went into something expecting one thing, but finding another.  there is the need to grieve the loss of certain things in life, and that's okay.  

i've learned that once i've recognized and acknowledged the loss and grieved it, the most important part is releasing it.  seeing the blessings that are there, in any situation. 

appreciating the tulips.

Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a calming influence.

on caleb's blessing day in 2005 i was an absolute wreck.  caleb hadn't slept all night, but had stayed up screaming, until he finally fell asleep at 5 a.m.  i then had to make the judgement call between getting two hours of sleep, or taking a shower and start getting ready.  i chose sleep.

so i had greasy hair, dark circles under my eyes, and probably a stress pimple or two.  i wasn't feeling my best.

ben and i were so worried that caleb would scream, or worse, have a seizure, during his blessing.  we said a prayer before we left that he would be calm, and hoped for the best.  as church started, caleb began to cry so i took him to the mother's lounge to try to feed him and calm him down.  while we were in there, he had a seizure, and fell into his deep, coma-like, post-seizure sleep.  i cried over what i could not stop, wiped my tears, and went back to sit down.  he slept through his blessing, not stirring for the rest of the meeting.

as we drove over to the park to meet with our family and friends, caleb had another seizure.  and fell asleep.  i was in the back seat with him, and i cried again over my inability to comfort him, wiped the tears away, and went to join our loved ones for food and pictures.  

mentally, emotionally and physically i was exhausted.  during the lunch, i continually heard comments like, "oh he's such a good baby!" and "it's amazing, he sleeps through everything!" and i kept quiet, not saying the reason that he was in such a deep sleep.  i'm not really sure why, except that i didn't want to sound dramatic when i expressed that caleb was actually the most difficult baby i had ever encountered {and i had encountered a few in my lifetime}.  i worried that they wouldn't believe me, because here he was, looking and acting like an angel.

i tried to focus on the positive...that he was calm during his blessing, and he was calm for others to be able to enjoy him and that even though i had felt i had aged 5 years in the 3 months he had been alive....that he was alive, and he was my baby.  i loved him with an overwhelming love and was grateful for all he had already taught me.


on leah's blessing day in 2009, stress came because i had caused it, planning too much and overdoing it.  the swine flu had just broken out, the first case of death happening about a mile or two from our apartment.  because caleb had been such a sick newborn, we were cautious with leah.  family members were concerned as they flew in for the blessing that they were going to catch it, so we changed from having the blessing at a church, to having it in our little apartment.

i was also participating in the real mom's guide online show, and they had asked to be able to film us while we were with our families.  i had agreed, which looking back now, was too much.  i stressed myself out, worrying what i looked like because i was now going to be on camera, what our house looked like, trying to fit enough chairs so that people could be comfortable in our small space, baking and preparing food for everyone.

there were a lot of fun moments that weekend, and there was happiness and laughter, but i realized when it was over, i hadn't really enjoyed the actual experience of blessing our new baby girl.  because i had crammed so much in, i had felt internally chaotic, and the chaos had taken over the joy.


two weeks ago was june's blessing day.

this time i decided to do things differently.  i wanted the day to be simple, low-key and not stressful.  my house was clean but not sparklingly immaculate, i didn't bake or cook but instead allowed others to bring food or i bought it from the store.  our clothes were set out the night before, i was showered and went to sleep at a decent time.

for me, the day was perfect. 

spending it enjoying my family and friends, and specifically this sweet baby girl.

in june's blessing, she was told that her "calming influence would bless her life and the lives of those around her."  i absolutely love those words, and have felt that since she has been born. her quiet and content spirit has been a healing piece for me as a mother.  

i know i've written a little about this already, but before she was born, i honestly had convinced myself that i was only going to be given difficult babies.  that there was some sort of lesson i needed to learn through them.  in the back of my heart, my fear was there was something that i did or had done, or was doing to make my newborns scream.  i knew in my head it wasn't true, but i couldn't convince myself entirely that it wasn't my fault. 

i know now it wasn't my fault.  

isn't that such a weird thing to say?  i don't know how to really explain it.  but i took on their inability to be comforted as my inability to comfort, wondering if i was somehow the cause of it all.

i have also released myself from doing too much.  i have accepted that i'm not one of those fabulous party planners, who goes all out with decorating and baking and hosting.  i love attending parties like those, and admiring the talents of others.  it's not that i can't do it, i just choose not to, and don't feel badly about that choice anymore.  i no longer hold myself up to the standard i see others set for themselves, and i accept where i'm at without feeling one ounce of guilt for it. 

much like my daily life, i love most just keeping things simple, and laid-back.  doing things low-key helps me enjoy the rest of it without the chaos crowding in and taking over. 

i can focus on moments like these, 

so when the day is over, i can look and see that i have enjoyed 
what i am most grateful for.

Monday, October 17, 2011

releasing my grip.

{june holds her toes together like they're fingers and i love it.}

a couple of weeks ago, i spoke a dream of mine out loud, for the first time, to a friend on the phone.

it's a dream i've been carrying around in my heart for several years now, but haven't dared to say it.  i know why i haven't dared to, because i feel insecure and like who am i to be asking for so much?  

i have accepted what i feel i am worth, and have told myself that others are the ones who go out and do.  i do not.  i like my comfort zone, and will accept what falls in my lap instead of putting myself out there.  the fear of rejection or failure or i'm just not good enough has a way of shutting things down quickly.

but i've been feeling a shift again, inside of myself.  maybe it's that the temperature here is finally {sometimes} dropping below 100 and i can think more clearly without the heatstroke interrupting my thought process.  {i am really, really wanting an evening walk in utah's october right now, with wind picking up swirling leaves as i wrap a sweater around myself.} or it could be that i am surrounded by really great, deep-thinking people who allow me to search inside of myself as i listen to them.  i am watching those i love challenge themselves, take risks and stretch in ways that cause me to ache for the same. 

so i've been listening to this voice inside, this whisper-lynsey that usually hides back in the corner of wishful thinking and push yourself harder.  i've felt for the past month or so that i've been on the cusp of breaking through some serious things.  i have made mistakes while sitting on this cusp, and have had to ask for forgiveness as i've tried to figure myself out.  i'm not sure how to do this on my own yet so i feel like i'm muddling through a bit.  but i'm getting there, and i can feel it.

i've held on a long time to the idea that i am not good enough to do what i dream to do, and the fear of failure at even trying has kept a tight grip on the lid around the jar that holds these dreams.

but i have started to loosen my grip, and allow myself to believe that i can do it, to just try.  as i spoke this one particular dream aloud to a trusted friend, i was reassured that i am good enough and it isn't too much for me to ask.  i felt that whisper-version of myself breathe a huge sigh of relief of acceptance, and start to come out of her hiding space, just a little.

the day after dreaming aloud, i met a stranger.  we were talking, and somewhere along our conversation, this whisper-lynsey came to the forefront and spoke.  and put myself out there, and tried.   

i was thinking today, as i am getting ready to begin something new this week, and i'm excitedslashnervous about it, that this has come to pass because of a willingness to let go.  i have kept myself in a certain space for so long.  one that has been created by both myself and others, and circumstances.  but i don't have to stay in that space.  i can be different, better.  i can push myself to take risks, because i don't have to hold onto these insecurities anymore.

releasing the grip, and being open. 

this is when good things come. now i am accepting that i have the ability to do them.  and actually deserve them.

{i will share what this is, soon!}

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

a blessing.

we blessed this little lady on sunday.

it was a really, really great weekend.

i'll write more about it, when i can.
it's fall break this week.
a break from school for the kids = not so much of a break for me.
i'm trying to keep the kiddos busy, 
so that they're too distracted to pick on each other
and drive me up the wall. 

at least that's my hope.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

in the eye of the beholder.

i know i'm their mom, 
so i would probably think this no matter what,

but to me,
these are the 3 most beautiful faces in the world.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

why only one of my legs is shaved.

 {yep, this is me.  you're welcome.}

i had just finished exercising, jillian michaels style.  i have decided she is a cruel, cruel woman.  but that's a different story for a different day.

my arms and legs were shaky from all of the lunges and shoulder presses.  i checked on both girls...leah, quiet in her crib, supposed to be sleeping but instead reading books & playing.  june, chilling in her swing, content.

i bring the swing into the bathroom to keep an eye on the baby while i took a shower.  5 minutes in, and i'm just about to rinse out the shampoo when june starts fussing.  i knew she was tired, so i kept my eye on her and continued rinsing. 

then i hear a wail from leah's room.  this isn't unusual, she usually drops her beloved hippo or some other toy she's playing with out of her crib and dramatically cries about it until i come in to give it back to her.  so i decide to keep showering, but hurry a little.

june's cries start going up in volume and urgency, so i rinse out the conditioner quickly.  by this time, leah is hollering and hup-hup-hup'ing and my blood pressure is rising with the combination of the two of them.  i decide i can't take it anymore and turn off the water, having only one leg shaved. 

i'm sopping wet, and wrap a towel around my hair and one around the rest of me because caleb is supposed to be coming home from school any minute and i think we are past the age where it's no longer a big deal for him to see me in my birthday suit.  i just about fall on my face on the tile of the bathroom because the floor is slippery, pick up june, get her swaddled with a binkie in her mouth.  prop her up on my bed, on a pillow.  and run down the hallway to leah's room, desperately trying not to fall while also trying not to lose my towel.

i open her door, and can tell something is wrong but can't figure out what it is.  she's laying on her stomach, sideways in the bed.  i ask her, "what's the matter?  what's wrong?"  but she's crying so hard now that she doesn't answer me.  her face is blotchy and she screams on.  i look through her crib, but still can't figure it out.  

finally, she lifts her head and looks around to her leg.  and i notice that one of them is sticking through the crib slats.  it looks normal, but then i realize that it's stuck.  and that's why she had been crying.  i try to calm her down as i start to shimmy her leg out, but it really was stuck and hard to get out.  of course as i'm moving it she's screaming even louder.  finally, it's free.  and i feel so guilty because i'd just ignored her cries while she was legitimately hurt that as i'm holding her, i tell her she can come and watch a movie on my bed.  she replies with a small "o-kaaaay" in between her racking sobs.

i pick her up with her blanket, and walk back into my room, the whole time dripping wet and still trying desperately to keep my towel up. 

as i get into the bedroom, i can suddenly hear that june is crying.  her small cries had been drowned out by leah's loud ones.  but somehow, june has rolled off of the pillow i had set her on, and now had the pillow on top of her face.  and she was squirming around and kicking her legs and clearly upset.  i lay leah down, pick up june, comfort her, get her to sleep, and throw on the closest clothes to me just as caleb comes walking through the door.


wanting to nominate me for mother of the year 2011 now, aren't you?

i'd like to say that this was an isolated incident.
that my hair isn't often wet, that my t-shirts aren't worn inside out because i've been either too frantic or too unaware to realize, and that both of my legs are shaved.

but i now realize what being a mother of 3 means.  

i'm outnumbered.  

sure, i was with 2  kids also.  but adding the third child on somehow just throws that extra little curveball in there.  the curveball that keeps me constantly on my toes, and running and feeling behind in pretty much every area of my life.

i remember someone commenting on my blog when i wrote before june was born about my fear of having 3 children, that with 3 comes the ability to let more things go.  because you don't have a choice or you'll go nuts.  

so luckily, i've quickly learned to let things go.  shower today, or put on make-up?  exercise or go grocery shopping?  eat my first actual meal of the day or do the dishes?  take the kids to the park or finally return the library books?  call a friend back or reschedule the appointments with the dentist?  

these are questions i ask myself constantly, weighing the options.  because i just can't do it all.  for a few weeks i was hard on myself because i felt this coming.....the knowledge that i'm out in public looking worn out and tired, or that i can't immediately help each child when they are crying, or that friends are dropping by and my house isn't as clean as i'd like it to be, or that i'd like to be losing more weight, or that those i need to call back will just have to be patient with me.  

even though june has been an absolutely amazing baby, newborns still take a lot of time.  and planning.  and packing the right stuff.  so she's amazing but it's all still a lot.

but once i could take a little while and look at what life is for me now, and accept where i am at and the changes and what they mean?  the letting go and owning it, and just being okay with not being all of it?  

it actually brings a lot of happiness.

even when i'm running around my house dripping wet, tending to one screaming child after another. or i'm seen walking around the grocery store with only one leg shaved, no make-up on and my shirt is still inside out.

there will be a season when life gets a little easier in some ways, when i can manage more and do more, and get out more, and feel more put together.

but right now is not that season, and it's okay.

i'm a mother of 3.  and i'm happy.