May 10, 2019

The Hardest Trial Of My Life So Far

I have thought about writing this post for several years now. I have gone back and forth wondering whether or not it was worth sharing and if I shared what the repercussions would be. What would people think of me if they knew what happened? Would they believe me? Would they think I was crazy? At this moment it time, I feel that it is okay to share. Hind sight is 20/20 and I hope I don't regret this later. More than anything though I hope that by sharing someone else may find the tools, strength and peace they need in their life to get through something similar.

Approximately ten years ago, one of the hardest trials of my life began. This trial is still on going and honestly I am not sure if it will ever end in this Earthly life. That being said, I think I have come to accept the fact that it may not end in this lifetime and I am okay with that. To a large degree things are out of my hands and I am okay with the stance that I have taken regarding the situation I am about to share.

As I started to say approximately ten years ago, one of the hardest trials of my life began. This trial blindsided me and I didn't see it coming. I didn't expect that I would ever experience something like this in my life, I think that is part of the reason why it took me so long to figure out what it was I was dealing with and attempt to put a stop to it. At times I have found myself wondering how I could possibly be going through a trial of this nature. This trial is called emotional abuse. This trial is also called verbal abuse. This burden is not caused by my husband whatsoever, but by two extended family members.

When the abuse first started happening, it started off as jabs, sarcasm and criticism and I shrugged it off. As time when on the abusive comments became more and more frequent. Unbeknownst to Andy and I, gossip and rumors about me where flying. At times it was so bad that I felt like I was a celebrity with my face plastered to the front of a tabloid magazine.

One day Andy and I received a phone call from someone in the family telling us what was being said about me when we weren't around. We were both shocked, surprised, saddened and hurt by the news. We couldn't think of what I possibly had done to be treated this way. At the same time we were grateful that this informant had the courage to tell us what was going on.

Frequently I would go off alone and cry by myself. I wondered how people could be so mean and cruel, especially when they were part of my own family. Where was the unconditional love? What did I do wrong? Why was this happening? How could people of the same religious beliefs as me act this way and think it was okay?

It was through talking to someone I trusted that I learned what I was dealing with was abuse.

Armed with this new knowledge that what I was going though, I began to stand up for myself as best as I knew how (I'm not one who likes conflict or confrontation). My abusers did not like it when I told them that what they were doing was wrong and needed to stop. And things got a lot worse.

Andy and I enrolled in counseling. We worked with our counselor to learn how to set boundaries and how to talk using I feel statements. At the time it was hard to go through counseling. Learning these new skills wasn't easy. We invited the abusers to come to counseling with us (for me that was a very scary thing). We thought we had worked through things and then we moved to Oregon.

Oregon was a breath of fresh air. I felt safer with the physical distance from those who had emotionally and verbally abused me. But the attacks against me resumed with our move. For a long time I asked myself why? Why was this happening? What did I do to deserve this? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

We met with our bishops here in Oregon and began meeting with a new counselor. We were pretty much given the same counsel from each of them. The most important relationship is the one that exists between me and Andy and our little boys. And if people can't be nice then they aren't welcome in our lives-- family or not. I was also counseled to continue to stand up for myself.

Even with this guidance, I still found myself asking "Why?". One day I had a paradigm shift. I was out walking and I realized that it didn't matter why these people were treating me this way-- it was wrong. Even if I knew the reason why, it wouldn't be logical or rational and knowing why wouldn't change anything because I myself would not accept it as justification for bad behavior.

I also realized that I am loved. God loves me, my husband loves me and I love myself and that is enough. Abuse is never okay. The way these individuals act, is a reflection of how they feel about themselves and they will be held accountable someday for the things they have said and done.

I find peace in knowing that I did nothing to deserve to be treated this way.  I find peace in knowing that I have forgiven them. I find peace through serving others and showing them that I care. I find peace in striving to be the best version of me.

When the thoughts of why begin to creep back in, and they do on occasion, I instantly tell myself that it doesn't matter why and the thoughts of why instantly cease.

One helpful quote that has helped me is from Rachel Hollis, she says,  "Someone else's opinion of you is none of your business." There is so much truth in that statement. More than that though, my worth is not defined by someone else's opinion of me.

I hope and pray for my abusers that they might find the joy and happiness in their lives that they seem to be lacking. I pray that their hearts might be softened. And I pray that they may see the error or their ways and have a desire to change for the better.

One day I found myself questioning what I have been going through and the stance Andy and I have chosen to take. Someone close to me shared with me a story about my Papa and my aunt.  At the time Papa had Parkinson's disease and was on the brink of death (he passed away when I was five or six years old). My aunt had been going though a trial of some sort and he asked her, "Will this matter in the eternities?" I have given Papa's question a lot of thought, "Will standing up for myself, my marriage and my little family matter in the eternities?" And I have come to the conclusion that it very much matters. I deserve to be treated with love and respect simply because I am a daughter of God. I am worth it. My marriage is worth it. And my little family is worth it. I hope someday when I am on the other side to be embraced in the arms of my loving Papa, Savior & Father in Heaven and that they will be pleased with me for standing up for myself, my marriage and my little family-- because isn't that what this life is all about? Loving families being together forever. If we won't fight for them, who will?





April 26, 2019

Meltdown Mode

Shortly after I gave birth to Bear, Bubba started throwing lots of fits. My 85 year old neighbor told me that he was likely jealous that a lot of time, attention and focus was on his new brother. She advised me to not acknowledge or look at him when he starts to whine and throw a fit. I tried doing what she told me to do, it was hard for both of us. Bubba threw his toys at me while I was nursing his brother and I didn't acknowledge it. After about a day he realized that he wouldn't get attention by acting out and he stopped having meltdowns.

About a week or so ago the meltdowns began happening again, currently their are about 1-3 a day. I attribute these meltdowns largely to the fact that he is 2 1/2, testing his limits and at times jealous that all of the attention isn't on him.

Earlier this week while at story time Bubba had the biggest meltdown of his life. I'm praying he never has another one of this magnitude again. Most of the families at story time had already left. Two friends of mine from church were the only other people in the building.

I had just finished telling my friends about Bubba having meltdowns after Bear was born and what I did about it. Moments later Bubba started to get really frustrated with a toy, the toy was well loved and not working the way he wanted it to. I asked him to put it away so we could go home. He didn't listen and was quickly becoming more frustrated with the toy. When he handed me the toy for what was likely the 15th time to fix it, I opted to put it away instead of fixing it again. He flipped out. He fell to the floor in hysteria. He was kicking and screaming, he smacked his head into one of the bookshelves and then repeatedly hit his head on the floor (cement floor with a thin office carpet). He paused briefly walked over to where I was at this Bear and resumed his fit. It was then that I noticed the blood on his face. One of my friends took Bear while I tried to calm Bubba down enough to see where the blood was coming from-- his nose. This was the first bloody nose he has ever had and it took quite a bit to get it to stop. Not only did he get a bloody nose, he bruised his nose too.

I'm really glad Bubba was okay and that nobody else was there to witness the scene. One of my friends told me that I'm a good mom. She was impressed by how calm I was through the whole thing. She said she would have been yelling at her kids if they did that.

Being a mom can be rough at times but it is so rewarding. Tantrums and all I love my boys!

April 4, 2019

A Field Trip To The Fire Station

Bubba currently loves all things trucks, tractors, cars and 4-wheelers. A few weeks ago I picked up a couple of books for him at a local consignment sale. One book is about trucks and the other book is about fire trucks and it has flaps that you can lift. We have read those two books nearly everyday, multiple times a day since I brought them home.

Recently my friend Jodie, who is a fire fighter at one of the nearby fire stations, suggested that I bring Bubba down to the fire station to see the fire trucks. I jumped at the invitation and today we went to the fire station.

When I was a little girl my grandpa worked as a fire fighter. When we would go visit my grandparents we would often make a special trip to the fire station to visit Grandpa. I have fond memories of touring the fire stations, climbing in the fire trucks, turning on the lights and sirens and honking the horn. Words can't explain how excited I was for Bubba to see a fire truck up close.

All morning I kept telling Bubba that we were going to go see fire trucks, but I'm not sure that he understood what I meant. When we arrived at the fire station he became shy and buried his face in between my butt cheeks-- I'm not sure why he does that, but he does.

Jodie took us out to see the fire trucks. Bubba refused to touch or put on her helmet. After a little coaxing I was able to get him to stand inside one of the trucks. And then he found an orange cone and that cone was the focus of his attention most of our visit.




Several of the other fire fighters came out to say hi. They showed Bubba the different compartments on the outside of the trucks, he enjoyed looking inside each one. They even put their masks on for him and he didn't bat an eye.








We'll have to take him back to the fire station again when he is a little older. I'm crossing my fingers that he will enjoy it more as he gets older. Thanks for letting us come and visit Jodie!

While Bubba was down for his nap today Bear was awake. I couldn't help but snap some photos of him. Enjoy!







Cute little baby feet! I love his little grin in this photo!


I really feel blessed to have these two sweet little boys in my life.

February 26, 2019

A Bubba Story

This story requires a little bit of background information. Bubba used to love bubbles, until he discovered that bubbles from adult shampoo can hurt your eyes. So now he hates bubbles.

Recently Andy took Bubba to the park to play. Oregon doesn't get a lot of sun in the winter, but the sun was shining on this particular day. Bubba looked towards the sun and quickly looked away covering his eyes and said, "Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!" He didn't like the sun shining in his eyes. Andy thought it was hilarious!

February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day

I feel so incredibly happy today because today is a day we get to celebrate love! I made purple colored oatmeal for breakfast-- it had cherries in it. Then the boys and I bundled up and headed out to deliver Valentine's to the elderly ladies who live in our neighborhood. Those who were home were really glad to be remembered.

Throughout the day we read books and sang songs that had to do with love.

We ended the day with heart shaped pizza-- that's a family tradition that started when I was growing up.

The Young Women left us some love notes and a plate of goodies.

Bear's feet.




When brother comes to your rescue.

So grateful for this little family of mine and the love we have for one another.

February 13, 2019

Bear At 2 Months

Has it been two months already? I can hardly believe it! These past two months have flown by quickly.

At two months old Bear's personality is starting to come out. This past week he started cooing and interacting with us. We've even heard him laugh a few times.



Some of my friends wrote messages on a package of diapers for me. Love reading the messages!

Bear is growing like a weed. He is currently wearing size 2 diapers and is ready to move out of his 3 month clothes and into 3-6 month clothes. We aren't sure what his exact weight is but we do know he weighs over 12 pounds.

He enjoys chewing on his fist.

We have also caught Bear rolling onto his side a few times already. Uh oh! He will be rolling over before we know it.





Bubba loves his little brother and goes running to his aid when he cries out. He will put the binky back in Bear's mouth, pat his head, help with diaper changes, he even tries to pick his brother up. He has recently tried driving his toy cars on Bear. When we read books together he points to all of the different cars and names them: Mommy, Daddy, Baby-- you can sure tell he loves his little brother. We love Bear too! Our family wouldn't be complete without him! We are so grateful he is a part of our little family!

Bubba wanted his picture taken too!


The proud big brother!

February 12, 2019

Valentine's

Several years ago when I was living in Utah, I received some handmade Valentine's in the mail from my Mom and my little sister. The two of them decided to make a bunch of Valentine's for some sort of non-profit group and they decided to send a few to me. I loved these Valentine's! I hung them up on the wall of my cubicle at work, so I would see them every single day and be reminded that I was loved.

Fast forward a few years to 2018. I made a bunch of Valentine's for Bubba and we mailed them out to some of the little kids in the extended family.

I wanted to make Valentine's again this year for both of the boys to send out. I knew if I was going to do it that I had to start early. Back in September I started gathering my supplies and around Christmas I started making Valentine's.

Initially I planned to just send them out to the kids again. And then I started feeling ambitious and decided to send them to all of Andy's extended family, my immediate family, some of our close friends and the elderly ladies in the neighborhood who live alone. I made more Valentine's than I would like to admit. I wanted to show the important people in our lives that we care and they are loved, I hope we accomplished that.





Bubba helped me stuff the envelopes and he tried to eat the glue stick on more than one occasion. Maybe next year he will be big enough that he can help me some more. He loved putting Valentine's in the mailbox with me and would say, "Mail" each time we would go drop them off.

Two people sent Bubba and Bear Valentine's in return. Bubba was so excited! He loved getting mail! (He's been known to cry when there isn't any mail in the mailbox).