Monday, May 31, 2010

Carrick's Last Day

I finally got the courage to download
these off of the camera today. I figured that if I didn't get them off
now, then I probably would never take another picture again, and that's
not what I want. I'll let these go without the commentary.

The Seattle Aquarium

Green anemones

Ande and Kyle looking at fishies

Puget Sound, waiting to get into the aquarium

Tide pools

Beautiful fishy cookies

More tide pools

Tired Kiddos

A last goodbye

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Up waaaaayy early this morning.

Couldn't sleep without hubby. I have tons of new crafty tut's to share though when I'm slightly more awake and my fingers actually work again. This was fun, part of a really neat post I found on about home and family, and about making sure that your spouse is the most important part of your world, something I think all of us need to remind ourselves of from time to time (I know that I'm definitely guilty). Anywho, I scored a six, check yourselves out and see.
Check out the narcissistic personality quiz

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rainy Friday

Wow.  So, long story short, but today was *not* the best day that I have ever had, despite a couple of good friends' best efforts.  Anywho, this absolutely made my day.  Now, off for some bead time with my beautiful baby girl. :-D

Friday, May 21, 2010

For the Love of Crafting

I have a small confession to make.  I am seriously addicted to craft tutorials.  I am incredibly, insanely in love with all things crafty, tiny, shiny, bright, and beautiful.  In another life, I could very well have been a magpie (except I hope with prettier feathers).  I was looking through my list of craft blogs that I follow, (those posted here on the blogroll are unfortunately, only a very small portion of those that I am pseudo-addicted to), and they number almost 100 (yikes!).  On top of that, I have well over a thousand saved tutorials on everything from scherenschnitte, to pastry (which, yes, I count as a craft), to quilting, and yada, yada, yada, yada.  It's seriously pretty ridiculous here on my end.  I have so many projects that if I stopped today, I might, just *might* have a small possibility of actually finishing them all before I have grandchildren, *maybe.*  But, the best part is, is that when I have a spare half-hour due to wonderful magic of Disney, I can immerse myself in the wonderful world of possibility. 

There are literally hundreds of projects that I want to get done for my kiddos.  I have bought tons of crafting books on top of it, and literally probably have 100 more in my Amazon shopping cart under the "saved for later" category.  If I had all the time in the world, I would just sit and craft all day, both with my kiddos and without.  Unfortunately, I am lacking in the time department, and so I never seem to have enough prep time to get things put together to craft with my kiddos, and I seem to never have time alone to work on my own projects.  This is besides the point that I am seriously hampered when it comes to coming up with craft ideas for my own two small widgets, because I have no idea what they're really capable of doing.  If I hand my 21-month-old a pair of scissors and some construction paper, will I end up with a child masterpiece, or a seriously frustrated toddler?  If I give my three-year-old a glue stick, will she figure it out, or just make messy glue "pictures" on my kitchen table?  I don't know.  I'm working on it.  I love making things.  And I by no means count myself as one of the incredible creative people who help make our world a little more beautiful every day, so I kind of sit, lost, waiting for my kids to grow up enough for me to know how to have fun with them.  The only art projects I know of for right now are pipe cleaners, beads, play dough, markers / crayons, and finger paint.  All of which are unfortunately hiding in boxes somewhere in the general vicinity of the house, but until I get hubby to bring in my craft cabinet, I have no where to put them (seriously depressed me). 

The most terrible part of all of this is that crafting, even when what I do is absolutely ridiculous and juvenile, is such a huge lift to me.  So when I have incredibly gloomy, sad, miserable days like yesterday and today, all I want to do is craft.  So instead, I settled for some instant gratification via craftzine.  There are some absolutely fantabulous postings up within the last week or so, and since I hardly ever get a chance to check them out anymore (at least not on a daily basis), it was so fun to be able to get a hardy, concentrated dose of the crafty-goodness. 

Today I think I'll take my MIL to a fun little fabric store in Renton, I haven't been before, but I've heard good things.  I'll give you guys a review after we go.  I'm also hoping to hit up the garage sales up on Snoqualmie Ridge.  Their once-a-year sales are supposed to be incredible.  I'm hoping to find both a couple of lamps for the house, and a wedding present for my niece.  I'm actually hugely disappointed to find out that her wedding is no longer cowboy themed.  I even bought a fun (and expensive) cowboy hat from a fantastic store in downtown North Bend last night.  But I also found a fantastic book on edible plants, which I'll pretend is for my preparedness kit, and not just for fun reading.  Seriously though folks, I might just have to get a job if I ever go back in there again, because I will definitely carry out half of the store on my back given the option.

We're also hoping to hit the Seattle Aquarium this afternoon given the chance.  It is so much fun to go to with the kids.  I am madly in love with their tide pool / petting zoo exhibit.  I would take the In-Laws to the Zoo, which while tons of fun, isn't as big as the Denver Zoo, but it looks like it'll be another drizzly day in the Gray Town today.  (By the way, the squirrels at the zoo completely make up for whatever lack of exhibits there might be, and the brown bear, sea otter, and apiary exhibits are so much fun, I think we could spend an entire day just at those three displays.)  I have no idea if we'll have enough time to take the kiddos somewhere fun like that though, because we got a little sideswiped last night with the news that my nephew is running in a track meet a full 90 minutes away from here at some unknown time after 4 pm today.  So now I'm trying to readjust the schedule so that my kiddos still feel like they got time with Grandma and Grandpa before the wedding extravaganza this weekend, because G&G fly out early Monday morning.    It's so hard for little kids.  Ande especially has her expectations so high, and I'm honestly not sure if she can survive a fairly intensive car trip tonight on top of massive car trips both Saturday and Sunday.  I hate playing it by ear too.  Ande's whole little world is so fragile right now, and it absolutely destroys her when someone tells her that she gets to do something and then it's canceled.  I want her to have time with her grandparents, she needs them desperately right now, I don't think they even know how much she needs them.  They are really the sunshine in her life.  But I don't feel like they're very committed to us, or to our family, and that's a lot more difficult to explain to a three-year-old.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Moving Right Along

I got a fantastic quote this morning from a wonderful talk.  "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson    All things considered, that really hit me this morning.  There is so much that I am trying to figure out, piece together, and reevaluate in my life right now, and there are days where it is next to impossible for me to understand that my Heavenly Father really does love me. 

We don't always get to make the choices that we want to make.  Free agency is a wonderful thing, but it can be hard to embrace and revel in that gift (or even remember that it is a gift) when you don't like the choices that are handed to you.  I always tend to get really down on myself when life isn't going well (or as I had hoped, I should say), and I was wondering this week if my lack of happiness was a lack of embracing my agency and utilizing it to its full extent.  There are times when it is hard to choose to be happy.  I am the type that functions well in emergencies, but easily gets bogged down by the day-to-day.  Right now, I have a really hard time choosing to be happy when Ande throws her fourth major meltdown in two hours of doing laundry.  The first time I'm patient, and loving and kind.  The second time, I'm sympathetic, and sit down with her to help explain the situation.  The third time, I try helping her to rationally see that beating her brother into submission isn't the best way to help her be happy.  By the fourth time though, wow. I really kind of have to restrain myself, because honestly, sometimes I just want to hit her.  So when she blew up as I was talking with our realtor on the phone about renting out our house in Colorado, and my predictably huge apprehension over letting other people into our house, I had a really hard time trying to be as patient and loving as I want to be, and as I know I should be with her.  I know Ande needs me, but yikes!  So free agency is a double-edged sword if ever I've seen one.

Hubby and I are trying to learn how to regroup in the aftermath of all of our recent events.  I think we're finding out that we aren't nearly as close-knit as we want or need to be.  And since neither of us feel like we grew up with wonderful husband-wife relationships to model our own marriage after, we feel like we're creating ours from scratch, and are generally completely lost on how to go about it.  I'm not sure that either of us even knows what a genuinely happy marriage really looks like, let alone how to get there ourselves.  I know that we're growing, because I have the growing pains to prove it. ; ) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Le Sigh

Yet another crazy day.  I did drop off the charm and bracelet to Julie's husband at their jewelry shop though.  Hooray!  And (shock of shocks), the engraver even did a completely fabulous job, despite the fact that my c's apparently look exactly like e's.  Oh well.  Maybe they'll let me write that off to the general level of craziness in my life right now. 

I think our cat officially got eaten this week.  I don't know by what for sure, but she's never, ever, ever run away before and apparently coyotes are really common in this part of the woods.  Come to find out, so are rabbit-sized rats, as well as an apparent smorgasbord of slugs.  I'm having a Monty Python flashback, "No, that *is* the monster."  Meh, well, what can you do?

I'm in a really funky mood the past two days, but at least I'm moderately happy.  I have totally and completely freaked out Hubby though.  Maybe we'll chalk this up as a "strengthening exercise" for him.  Something, man, yikes.  All I know, is that I don't care if the way I've felt is my fault, or the world's fault, or no one's fault at all, I just don't ever, ever, ever want to have to live that way again.  Even if I'm totally psychotic the rest of my life; I'd rather be happy.  I'm done with that part of my life, and I want sunshine and happiness.  I'm struggling with the general idea, but I'm actually starting to believe that maybe I really do deserve some sunshine in my life.  And moreover, if I can't depend upon someone else to provide it for me, well then maybe I'll just have to put on my "big girl" boots and go out and get it myself.  I've even decided to go and get a job.  I have no idea how I'll make that work, or where even I want to work.  All I know is that I'm done constantly stressing about money and whatever all else, so I'll just go start providing by myself for myself.  Wow.  That sure makes it a lot simpler, now doesn't it?

I can't even tell you what an incredible relief it was yesterday as I got to spend some time by myself in the car, to be able to think, to be allowed to think, that life didn't have to be this way anymore. I have some strength in me somewhere. I have to.  I've been through a ton in my life.  I really have.  And I must have come through it moderately well, because when I tell people even a small portion of it they go, "Wow, you're really put together.  I never would have had any idea that you'd been through all of that."  So there.  All you naysayers and skeptics (especially those living within the general vicinity of my own cranium), I really can do stuff.  And sometimes, occasionally, I can even do stuff really well.  I really like thinking of myself as a moderately capable woman.  I can be strong.  I have been strong.  And if I've been through all of the other junk in my life and handled it fairly decently, then I can do more than "just survive," I can *succeed!* 

I am so incredibly, terribly, devastatingly sick and tired of "just surviving."  Even the thought makes me absolutely want to yak.  Really, it does, no exaggeration included here (though that could partially be the massive tummy cramps).  And if that freaks Hubby out, and he thinks my britches are getting too big, or whatever, then maybe he needs to go put on his big-boy britches too. 

And, if I'm really on top of things, I might not even back down on myself this time.  That's it, my own personal goal: sunshine, lots and lots of sunshine. 

My therapist asked me a couple of weeks ago how I was able to survive everything in my life, and that question really bothered me.  I had never thought about it before.  Survival wasn't a non-option.  Survival had always been an expectation.  But then that got me thinking, maybe survival had been the only option.  Maybe, in between random, horrible, life-altering events and all of the "fillers" which have constituted my life, maybe I was so accustomed to "surviving" that when real life comes around, that's the only expectation that I have for myself.  And really, I think that it is.  I think that surviving is all that I have ever really expected.  I want more, but I have no idea how to go out and get it.  I have no expectations of success or happiness, just of surviving; of eking out one more day, every day.  If survival is all that you feel you deserve, then why strive for happiness?  If you feel like you have to feel grateful for all of the lemons, are you even going to try for lemonade?  I mean, I know that this probably sounds ridiculous, but honestly, I would sit in a corner (figuratively speaking) and go "Oh, wow, thanks HF.  These are some fantastic lemons, and wow, they're really tart, but at least they're a pretty yellow color, so I'll just sit them over here in a nice little pile in the corner with me and collect them.  Thanks, that's very thoughtful of you."

I mean, maybe I'm just the biggest bonehead that ever existed, but I'm not sure that I've ever even tried for the lemonade.  I think that I just look at my pretty little pile of lemons and stare sorrowfully at the other girls who have a bowl of cherries.  It's too bad that I don't have any cherry pie recipes to post here, because now would probably be a great time. :-D

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Mondays are pretty difficult for our family right now.  The weekends go waaaaaaaaaayyy too quickly, and inevitably, I only get about 5% done of what I had planned to get done, we spend the whole weekend rushing around doing errands and taking care of Ande's inevitable temper tantrums, and by the time 8 a.m. comes around Monday morning, I realize that I didn't actually get to spend any quality time with my family because I was so busy.  

Yesterday I got to go hang around with Georgia and her two kiddos, who are just slightly older than Ande and Kyle, so that was really great.  I think honestly, I worried Georgia just a tad with my little outburst on Sunday.  I am so incredibly grateful though to have a friend to watch out after me, because honestly, I'm pretty terrible at taking care of myself and learning how and when I need a break in life.

Today is kind of a downer.  I have another appointment set up with LDS Family Services, which while it will probably be helpful, I always dread having to feel forced into talking about my emotions with someone.  I realize that this is probably exactly what I need right now, but sometimes I feel a little resentful about it.  Inevitably, I feel like they focus on some part of my history which I really don't want to talk about, not because I'm uncomfortable so much as that I usually don't feel like it's relevant.   But then, I'm not the trained therapist, so what do I know.  Anywho, I always kind of freak out about it.  I try and pre-talk myself through imagined conversations with my therapist, trying to kind of prepare myself, and then, of course, it never goes the way that I plan.  I guess I should be familiar with that fact by now, but I am an absolutely obsessive planner-outter; I'm convinced that there's a genetic marker for it somewhere.  It probably shares an allele with the need to color-coordinate.  

I also found out today that I'm not pregnant.  And while Hubby and I weren't really trying, it's still a little depressing.  It's a relief though too in a way.  I know that I need to try for another baby, and that Heavenly Father has another "special spirit" ready to join our home, it's part of my Patriarchal Blessing.  I just hope that this spirit isn't quite as special as Carrick is.   I know that I'm afraid, and that it's normal to be afraid, but I feel really silly about it all the same.  HF has all but specifically told me that this next baby will be healthy and fine, and I'm still dragging my feet and throwing rocks in the mud, puttering around.  For a while, I even was telling myself that if I didn't lose the baby weight from Carrick, then I wouldn't have to get pregnant again!  Wow, huh?!?  That's the kind of interesting stuff your brain can do to you I suppose.  Talk about self-defeating behaviors.  It still had me in tears this morning though.

I'm at this funny crossroads where I can't decide if it would be really wonderful to have a break from being pregnant for a while, get healthy, get off of my anti-depressants (as terribly fun as those are --part of me is still terrified that they might have been what hurt Carrick in the first place, even though I rationally know that's not the case, it still terrifies me), get back into shape (those extra 25lbs. are pretty painful right about now, especially with no baby to show for it), and emotionally get back into a place where I can at least pretend to be able to take care of myself and my children.   I imagine myself taking the kids out for hour-long bike rides every morning, and us laughing and joking, and generally having a wonderful time.  I imagine Ande growing and blossoming, and really feeling comfortable and at peace here.  I imagine Kyle coming out of his shell and finally being able to take his own place in the sun.  But first, I suppose, it would be really helpful if there were any sun out here.  It *really* doesn't help that the house we ended up renting has NO natural light.  It's damp, dark, and the inside is fake dark wood paneling.  We're grateful to have someplace big enough for our family, but between not being able to run practically all of the time like we could in Colorado, and then not having any light inside, I'm going a little stir-crazy, and it's definitely NOT helping my depression.  I have to have all of the lights on indoors even when it's sunny out, just so that I can see enough to fold the laundry.  I'm being a total whiner, I know.  And it's not that I'm not grateful, I'm just kind of sitting in a corner right now pouting and going "Really HF, you couldn't give us just this one, tiny break?"    

Today I get to go pick up Carrick's charm though from the engraver's, and I'm a tiny bit nervous about it.  When we buried Carrick out here, the funeral home took Carrick's hand print and had it made into a charm for us.  My Mother's Day present this year is a charm bracelet to put it on, and I had his name and birthday engraved on the back.  I've been hugely nervous about it though, because the engraver called three separate times to check the spelling, even though I went over it with him twice in the store, and it's typed out on a sticker (compliments of the funeral home) on the back of the box.  I am honestly bracing myself for how I'm going to handle it if they really did mess it up.  I don't know quite how I'll do.  Knowing me though, I'll probably say something along the lines of, "Oh no, that's fine.  I'm sure it was all my fault. Thanks anyway." And then I'll go to my car and quietly bawl my eyes out and say some not so choice things in no one's general direction, but mostly be hugely disappointed at myself and the world.  I did find out yesterday from Georgia though, that Julie, who runs a really cool kind of co-op music time at the ward building on Wednesdays for kiddos, owns a jewelry store with her husband.  I am super psyched, because I still need someone who can solder metal, and I would feel *much* more comfortable having someone that I know would appreciate the emotional value of what I'm bringing them than some random person in a store somewhere that I'm never going to probably see again in my life.  Julie is an *incredibly* sweet woman, and I can't but imagine that her husband is probably the same way, so that makes me feel infinitely more comfortable with getting the bracelet finished.  I picked up two little charms to go on the bracelet next to Carrick's charm, but I'm not really sure if I should.  I found a cute little teddy bear (which I imagined being for Carrick), and a set of wedding bells (from our sealing).  I'm a little afraid that the two extra charms might detract from Carrick's though, and I'm not sure if that's right.  I feel like it might be betraying his memory a little, even though both of the other charms are kind of about him (which is why I got them at all in the first place).  We'll see. I'll probably get myself to the point where I don't feel quite so guilty about it, but I keep finding random little places in life where my head gets stuck.

Last Friday we went to Art Walk in Issaquah (which I highly recommend if you're into local artist displays, even though it's not really kid-friendly for the most part).  In any case, there was a really great local artisan there who had a really fun grasshopper sculpture that he had created. I saw that, and I about lost it.  It reminded me of the cute little "bed bug" jammies that Carrick had died in, and how completely awful I still feel for having the funeral home throw them away (even though they were apparently rags after the autopsy).  I feel a little like I threw away part of Carrick.  I have yet to forgive myself for throwing away those stupid pajamas, and so, to me, they mean the absolute world.  I saw that grasshopper statue, and I wanted it so, so, so incredibly badly.  There was absolutely no way though.  Our budget is *incredibly* tight.  Anywho, long story short, there was no way that I was dropping $40 of grocery money on a statue to commemorate my son and try and mitigate my grief and guilt (or at least that's what I told myself).  So anyway, I got myself pretty much okay with it, walked away, and then saw the same statue at a booth at the Issaquah Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  It was ridiculous.  I am still sitting here halway plotting a way to try and get this little statue.   In my defense though, it's an incredibly cute little guy.  According to the artist's website, his name is Lester.  I thought the little t-rex would be super cute for Kyle too, so maybe as summer goes on, I'll try to find a way to sneak it into the budget without beating myself up too much over it.

In any case, I absolutely, positively swear that I will get my laptop fixed and start pulling out some of my super-hot designer moves on this blog so that it's not quite so... well, blech, for lack of a better, or more appetizing, word.    I'll just think of this as my work in progress. ; )

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today has been ridiculously difficult, even as I have rejoiced in being able to enjoy my two beautiful children who are still with me.  After moving from Colorado to the Pacific Northwest, my daughter, Ande, has been acting out in reaction to all of the incredible changes that have taken place in a few short months.  In January she turned three, and a short six days later we had baby Carrick, a full two-and-a-half weeks earlier than we were expecting him.  Ten days later, Carrick was back in the hospital again for RSV.  Then my adopted grandmother, Mary Lou, died.  Two weeks later, we were given an effective "or else" on the transfer to come out here.  

We were prepared for it though, and had prayed and fasted about the possibility of moving to the Northwest since October's General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I had felt strongly after President Eyring's talk at the broadcasted General Relief Society Conference in September 2009 that we were being called to come out here.  So, our little family of five packed up into our new-to-us Suburban to make the drive out the first week of March.  We stopped in Temple Square on the way, which was wonderful.  I had never seen it before, and as a relatively new convert to the church (going on four years), it was quite a marvel for me.  

We arrived in a small(ish) town in Washington to spend the night before my husband would start his training the coming days.  We went to the Seattle Aquarium, and the three kiddos and I had a blast checking out sea otters, tide pools, petting sea stars, and even catching sight of a harbor seal in the sound while waiting for the aquarium to open in the morning.  We went to bed that night exhausted.  Everyone was tired and worn out from our big day out.  The kids were frazzed.  I played with Carrick, gently lifting him up by his hands to help strengthen his neck, and then asked my hubby to hold the baby for me so that I could sleep.  Hubby woke me in a panic just a few short hours later.  He had woken up with a start and Carrick wasn't breathing.  I held him in my arms, but he was limp, like a tiny rag doll.  He was still pink and warm, but he was completely non-responsive.  Hubby tried a blessing to call him back to us while I called 911.  Paramedics responded and were on site almost immediately.  I don't know how long they worked trying to bring Carrick back, but it seemed like forever while I watched those diligent heroes of the night in their efforts to save our son.  March 9th will forever be etched in my memory, and I fear in the memory of my two small children as well.

Today is two months since the death of our son, when his perfect spirit was called back home to our Heavenly Father.  While Hubby and I both feel the tender mercies of our Father in preparing us for this event, I am still devastated; perhaps more so now than I was even a month ago.  A month ago we stood firm in our purpose and resolve.  We knew that Heavenly Father needed our son more than we did.  We knew that our son was too perfect to have to fight the challenges, temptations, and sorrows of this earthly probation.  We knew that he had come to receive his physical body, and that upon the Resurrection, that his perfected physical form would be given back to him.  We knew that because of his perfection and because he was too young to have been held accountable for any sins (the age of eight is the age of accountability and of baptism for the remission of sins), his spirit was resting in the beauty of heaven while he awaited that day.  We knew that based upon our faithfulness to the covenants of marriage, and individual covenants that we have made in the temple of our Lord, that Carrick would one day be restored to Hubby and me, and that we would have the blessed opportunity to raise him without trial or affliction.  I still know these things, but that does not lessen the pain of missing him.

There have been days where I have longed to sleep and never wake up again in hopes of seeing my son again.  I miss Carrick so badly that I feel I can hardly function sometimes.  I want to lay in bed and never crawl out again.  And on days like that, I am especially grateful for Ande, because right now, she is demanding all of my attention and more.  My real problem right now is trying to feel grateful for being a mother to my two remaining children when I can't be a mother to the child that is waiting for me.  I want to say that I have lost Carrick, but I can't, because I know that it's not true.  It is so difficult for me to even want to be a mother.  I love my children more than anything on this earth.  I will absolutely, unequivocally die to protect them, but I don't know how to take care of them right now because I feel like I can't even take care of myself.  

A little over a week ago, a beautiful, dear friend of mine from Georgia (with a corresponding, incredibly cool accent) helped take Ande and Kyle so that I could go to LDS Family Services for some counseling.  And boy was I grateful, because I needed it.  Even though I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to feel joy, and sorrows over the pain that we are all experiencing over Carrick's death, I still occasionally blame myself.  I want Carrick's death to be my fault, because then I can say that I had control.  If it was my fault, then I can prevent it happening again to my other children.  I know that's not true at all; it's selfish of me to even think, but I still want to have some shred of control over the situation.  That would be my desperate OCD perfectionism coming out, but I think that it's human nature too.  I say that, even as I know that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is my responsibility to try to rise above the "natural man." That doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to feel grief, rather that I'm not allowed to use it as an excuse to be selfish.  

Lately, I have felt so whiny that I'm actually sick of myself.  A friend back in Colorado who had a miscarriage said that when she got to this point, that's how she knew that she was getting better.  I hope that's true for my sake (and for everyone else's).  I'm a totally independent DIY kind of girl normally, and I'm so unaccustomed to being labeled as a charity case.  That's why when I broke into tears during Relief Society meeting at church today, I was horrified with embarrassment even as I was relieved to finally have a break in emotion.  No more fake shiny-happy smiles, no more little-miss-perfect.  I'm a little afraid that I scared half of Relief Society though as I bawled in the next room with that same special friend who helped me get some help through Family Services (hereafter referred to as Georgia).  I'm normally terrified of what other people think of me.  Part of that is from my upbringing, the rest is probably from a little insecurity over being a convert to the church.  I think I'm just going to have to get over that.  If I keep having break downs like this, I think embarrassment is just going to become standard fare.

Overall, I would say that this weekend was relatively neutral.  There were some pretty bad breaks, but Hubby and Georgia mitigated the worst of it.  I feel so bad for my two kiddos sakes.  I love them so, so, so very dearly, and I know that I'm not being the mother that they deserve right now.  I want to take this opportunity to heal from events both recent and past to become the person that I know my Heavenly Father wants me to be.