Monday, June 30, 2014

Proceed with Caution Random Thoughts Ahead

I have put it off long enough. Totally sorry I have not been on top of the blog stuff at all. My head is so full of thoughts I don't really know where to begin or finish really. Its amazing how much writing on this blog once a week kind of keeps my thoughts straight. First off, we just got back form Park City. I had a really good time. Our family is not complete without the siblings that couldn't make it. I lost my voice and it was probably a HUGE relief to everyone because I wasn't able to talk as much as usual. Its really quite interesting to observe others and keep your thoughts to yourself. I mean you know me I tend to say what is on my mind or if I feel like something NEEDS to be said I will say it. I am kind of annoying that way. I like to speak my mind. I feel like that is why Grandma and I always had kind of an odd relationship. I didn't always agree. Most of the time I will just argue the opposite opinion because I hate when people make blanket statements about anything.  This used to drive my Grandma crazy, but she also loved it about me. Its what made me different from everyone else. I never told her just what she wanted to hear I told her the truth, as I saw it.
I miss doing her hair and painting her nails. I just miss her. I know she is happier where she is now. I don't feel devastated that she is gone. I am happy for her. Although she never approved much of me or the fact that I didn't pursue photography, or art, or floral arrangements. I guess I miss her disproval? I think her disproval made me feel like I was doing something right. Always trying to go against the grain, be the opposite of everyone else. I would talk to my Grandpa for hours about my game or sports. My Grandma would chime in but don't you love to read? I would reply something like nope, I hate reading. Then continue on with my conversation. I have actually wondered why things were this way? It's not just my Grandma though, I am this way with most things. My parents, Politics, Religion, Everything and pretty much everyone. I do wonder why I am this way?
I guess my Grandma is on my mind because we had a Barrett Reunion the week we were in Park City. Grandpa came, with no Faye by his side. Its just weird. I am not used to it at all. I can see them holding hands everywhere they walk. Grandpa always opening the door for her.  Almost waiting on her, always there to help her with whatever she needed. 
I have been thinking about this lady that spoke in church on Sunday. We are taught from the time that we are very young that we should love everyone. Obviously some people are easier to love than others. This woman mentioned that when she was younger she volunteered at an orphanage. I want to say that it was out of the country. (Side note, I miss big gaps in talks from potty breaks, spilling crayons everywhere or smashing goldfish into the carpet. So I realize I might not be totally accurate on her version. However, whether the message I walked away with was something I needed to hear.) Anyway, back to the story, She worked in this orphanage. She took care of these babies. Rocked them to sleep, nurtured them. She LOVED them. “These sweet children were easy to love”. It’s the people that are hard to love or may be more challenging that we have to work at loving. Obviously this isn’t anything new. It just touched me. Sometimes doing the easy thing isn’t enough. I feel like I have come upon a time in my life where I don’t really want to do anything difficult, I guess I have allowed myself to just stick with the easy stuff. It’s not enough. Like being a mom. I love my kids they are easy to love. What’s hard is trying to not snap when they test me or yell at everyone because my house is a disaster and I want to runaway. This is the challenge. I need to push myself to do the harder stuff. Like being happy….. all day…… no matter what. Deciding to be positive before something crappy happens and remaining positive.  Not letting other people effect my mood. Or eating whatever I want too as opposed to teaching my kids to be healthy because eating and doing what I want is easier and more convenient. There are people in my life that make it hard. They are always testing the relationship or causing drama. I will never understand why? I guess its not my job to understand. I just need to accept things as they are and love them inspire of it. I want to be a happy and loving person. The only way I am going to get there is if I don't let other peoples attitudes and hang ups effect my everyday life and relationships. All I can do is all I can do. 
Well, I know I am officially random. I actually started writing a few different times and never got anywhere. So I combined them together. Happy reading:)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

You can stuff your sorries in a sack mister

But really I am sorry that's it's taken me this long. It was madness getting ready for girls camp and I didn't quite realize I would have zero reception out there. It was awesome though! I can't tell you how strange it is that for these girls--I am their Diane Blackhurst. Not to sound super cheesy but even though it is a huge responsibility and time commitment--I don't know how I could face the trials I am facing in my personal life without the blessings of this calling. These girls are truly extraordinary and it's odd how much this calling has forced me to face up to and embrace my teenage self. Which has been yucky and liberating all at the same time. Because I am close with these girls and they want to know what I was like--and I have to be honest--I mean I'm at church, I can't lie for Pete's sake. And so I find myself confessing the truth about the SUPER insecure, awkward, angst-ridden teenager that I was, and it's ok. It's ok because while it's true, it's not the truth anymore, while pictures remain unforgiving (thank you Katie)--I have evolved and I still maintain a person's sense of humor is directly proportional to the length of their ugly phase, or at least it ought to be if there is any justice in this world.

And so, while I am working through some teenage shame issues that have manifested--let memove directly into the parenting shame issues I am now starting to face. In the past several weeks while in the midst of Maddie breakdowns ranging from the mild to the nuclear, I have received comments and unasked for advice from people who clearly think that I am a terrible parent. On the one hand I want to explain her issues and on the other hand I want to kick them in the junk. I have always been terrified and driven by what people think, but Maddie is becoming increasingly hard to manage. And I wonder/fear what this will do to my personality over time.

And speaking of weird mind games, I am in such a weird place with "my trials." If people ask me, I think I generally try to be really positive--that is how I feel a lot of the time. But then if people interpret that as a minimization of my problems--that really bothers me. Nothing is as bad as it could be, but it's still something. I'd prefer to think of myself as bravely struggling than making a bid deal out of nothing or like I have a terrible life! One of Maddie's therapists told me I had a great attitude about Maddie's diagnosis and then she said "you're probably still in shock." Oh, ok. Thanks? But then if you sympathize too much it freaks me out, like when another therapist asked me (while Maddie was wigging out)..
"so she bites herself when she's upset?"
Me: "yes."
"And hits her head on the ground I see, does she do that a lot?"
Me: "yes"
"I'm sorry, that's so hard to see your child hurt herself."

This made me cry for like 30 minutes, and I think about that exchange constantly. It is the emotional equivalent of pushing on a bruise and I don't know why I do it.

So stream of consciousness as it is, here's my entry. Our Utah plans have changed because of all this crud we have to work out with Maddie, the regional center and the school district. We will be there July 15 and stay for a couple weeks. I wish it was sooner and longer, but this is my life now. I love you guys and seriously cannot cannot wait to be together!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Train Song

Whew! well it has been a little nutsy around here.It has taken me a little while to post.

I sincerely love the summer and having my kids home all day. I love that there is time again. There is time for  breathing and being.

but also

2. We are going on a massive  cross country trip in less than a week and I have been scrambling around trying to finish my work and get our house ready for people to stay in it, and roofers to roof on it, and other fun stuff.

3. I also have a movie recommend - Nebraska. It was such a great movie and it reminded me quite a bit of Grandpa's family. It is funny and beautiful and poignant.

Dear author of the movie Nebraska,

Next time consider a different title. Movie's with a title that is a state name sound depressing as Hell.  Example: Idaho, Alabama, Nevada. Plus Nebraska is a really long boring state that never ends. Some people might hear a title like that and assume that the movie might also have those qualities.

Loved the movie, though
(my husband made me watch it)


5. I really love that train song. I love songs about going somewhere. If they are songs about going somewhere on a train, even better!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Just Accept & Embrace

I haven't read the book but I have seen the movie. The Fault in our Stars was amazing! Some people found the book/movie depressing. Although, it was definitely sad at times I walked away feeling grateful. So very grateful! Not that I am such a positive person that I always take everything and spin it into something meaningful or anything, because I would not consider myself that type of person. I actually avoid movies and books with a whole lot of real feelings or emotions involved. They affect me WAY too much. Life is hard enough as it is. I don’t need other pretend people making me feel like I can’t get out of bed or like my heart has been smashed. Guess what I have experienced loss and heartache. As far as I am concerned “check”, that’s done don’t need to experience it again. Sorry about the tangent. I do that a lot.

I don't know about you but it's easy for me to get sucked into my own world. Wake up, figure out breakfast, entertain the kids, figure out lunch, and try to do something active, figure out dinner, bath time and bedtime. I can set my clock by it. My life is predictable and I don’t mind it too much. I understand it is a phase of my life. I try so hard to remember that I just need to accept and enjoy. Easier said than done (sneer). Not that I don't naturally enjoy my life because I do most of the time. If you know me you know my heart started beating when I had my first baby girl. Being a mother has softened me. It’s morphed me into a different person. I worry, I cry, I am anxious, I have a hard time sleeping. None of that used to happen really at all. I guess I have “hormones” and “feelings” and all that crap.

       (outdated picture but I love it)

I guess that's partly why the movie was so touching. I don't feel the movie how I think a teenager would. Or a wife that was so desperate to have a child for so long. I am a mother now. I have two baby girls that rock my world daily. I know what it’s like to be so in love with someone. To feel so vulnerable to love and can't imagine what my life would be like without Troy or my girls. I see it through a mothers eyes and it’s terrifying. As they say in the move “That’s the thing about pain…it demands to be felt.” Sucky, but yet oh so true.

While watching the movie I tried to not think about the people I have lost in my life. I tried to fight the memories but they started coming up and echoing in my head. That call you get when you know something is wrong. Before you even pick up the phone. You just feel the punch in your gut. The movie shows this perfectly. One of my best friends who is also my husbands cousin received such a call when her little brother overdosed. As soon as I heard I called her. Her one year old answered the phone by accident. I heard Amber’s screams and cries. I literally heard her heart breaking. Her genuine emotion unguarded, uncensored, and it was horrible. I don’t think I ever told her that. I hung up the phone. I felt like a peeping tom or something. I should not have heard it. I try to forget it but can’t. My dear friend lost her baby brother. No matter how you look at it it’s just sad. He is missed. Why is it that everyone who dies has the most dynamic, larger than life personalities? I don’t think it's us glamorizing the person at all. I am rambling. Anyway, I guess I am just thankful. Thank you Heavenly Father for my life. For my experiences good and bad. Just Thanks.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sing Songs

I really want to make a list of songs that our family likes. ANY song you like or that we have sung together. I get these coupons for free or discounted photo books and I would really like to do one with songs and lyrics. Just add ones you can think of to the list… Porfavor:)

Here Comes The Sun
Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers
Ghost Riders
The Rainbow Song
I Feel My Saviors Love
Because I Have Been Given Much
Stay Awake
Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Baby Mine
Journey to Tomorrow
Wouldn't it be Lovely
The M.T.A
The Fox, 
Froggie Went a Courtin
Lavendar Blue Dilly Dilly
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
Big Iron
El Paso
When it's Springtime in the Rockies Sweet Baby James
Sunshine On My Shoulders
It's not easy
Winkin Blinkin and Nod
Puff the Magic Dragon
Muskrat Love
16 Tons
I often go walking
The searchers theme song "what makes a man to wander"
cool water
Country roads
The carpenters
Rag time cowboy joe
Feelin' groovy
Brothers four "try to remember," stewball was a race horse 
Blowing in the Wind
Rainbow Connection
Hold On for one more day
I'd like to make it with you

Swiper, no swiping

Warning: this will be random. Probably just like every other thing I will write on this blog. But if I fiddle with it until I'm happy with it or convinced it makes sense, it will never happen. When I used to envision being a writer...I pictured a quiet, sun-filled room, time to think, a breeze, lots of space and light. Today I am sitting at my kitchen table Teddy is screaming and playing video games upstairs, we have 3 extra kids in the house, I can hear Elsie DUMPING out every toy bucket in the playroom (and also seems to be filling things up with water in the bathroom) arm is resting on a sticky syrup spot from breakfast--and I am wearing a crown that is pinching my enormous, odd shaped head...I don't blame it for pinching me. It's just hanging on for dear life. Maddie is sitting the corner of the kitchen yelling "swiper, no swiping" at nobody in particular. These two visions of writing conditions couldn't be more different obviously, but the former seems so self-indulgent by comparison. What would you even write about under such easy conditions...

It's not that I do better with pressure--it's that I only do anything at all when pressure is applied, and I do even better with limited resources. I don't really like what this says about me so I'd rather not think about it too hard.

There are millions of trite phrases that center around the cliche that "trials reveal who you are." I thought this had largely to do with courage and a will to fight--but now I think it has more to do with consistency of character. For example, several years ago I noticed how hollow my apologies to Ben sound when they are always followed with a"it's just that.." as if external circumstances can excuse any behavior. Anybody can be happy and patient and kind when things are going your way. When kids cooperate, the house is clean, you feel well, you're not hungry/tired/stressed etc. It is how you behave precisely when the s#$% hits the fan that proves who you actually are. Don't we ALWAYS have a choice? Admit it. Of course we need to be forgiving of ourselves, but we shouldn't give our emotional cycles free reign over our personalities either. Watching Christy work through her diagnosis and treatments was awe-inspiring. I am someone who struggles to keep it together when I am hungry--and she was able to manage incredible physical and emotional pain without taking it out on other people. In fact, she became more serving and more loving. Her patience and grace was so consistent and continuous--I didn't doubt it was genuine. But in the last week of her life she was so heavily medicated it would have literally been impossible to keep up an act--if that's what it had been. But instead we got an interesting, sometimes random and sometimes funny, peek into her subconscious as she talked and acted things out in a semi-lucid state. She was not aware of our presence as we watched her pray out loud, bare her testimony, pantomime making sandwiches for her family and making quilts for the Young Women. Her faith, her love for her family and helping or taking care of others was what manifested at a time when all her filters, all the mental control of her behaviors were gone.

I want to be a person I am proud of, I want to have less guilty apologies to make and more triumphs over obstacles. I want to be self-aware enough that I can communicate my emotions clearly, navigate situations better so that I can give myself opportunities to do better and be better instead of pushing myself so hard all I do is give myself more rope to hang myself. If in go-go-going all the time, I push myself until I snap and then on top of fatigue I have to add feeling like a failure--how can I ever stay motivated to be better? I can't control my circumstances, and yet I let them control me. Grief, Cancer, Autism, loneliness, depression, mother-guilt, financial stress, my dirty house: step-off. Swiper, no swiping.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer's here and the time is right.


The weather is so beautiful right now. And I have something to say:

I am a runner.

If you saw me on the street in the morning you might not think that. You might think that I was a wogger, or a jalker, or just challenged in some way.

Well guess what? You can kiss my grits.

I don't care if I am really slow, it makes me feel so good. It didn't always make me feel good. For the entire month of April it made me feel tired and like I was fighting my body the whole time. But now baby, it is on! (JINX)(KNOCK ON WOOD).

If you saw me on the street in the morning, you might also think "Holy crap! Is that lady, full on, singing her brains out to Adele?" or "Is that lady "running" and doing air guitar at the same time?"

I might be, or I might be just lipsyncing a little.

It is probably not a seizure or  speaking in tongues or something

I love it. Here is the thing about music: It possesses my body. I don't care if it is Marty Robbins in the Grocery store or Linda Ronstandt at the gas station, Flo Rida in the mall, or any tune that they pipe through the speakers at Disneyland.  Don't even get me started on Erasure or A-HA. If I hear a song that I know it is like I am in a musical and I gotta sing and dance my way down the cereal aisle. I realize this might be embarrassing for anyone near me when this happens, but it isn't anything I can help. If you try talking to me during one of these episodes, I probably wouldn't even be able to hear your voice.

so summer is here and they are playing my song. And I am singin it with my whole heart.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


As an adoptive parent, I’m so crazy passionate about it. I just wanted to share a little of what I  feel about my daughter’s birth mom.

Infertility is hard! Like really hard!

But, when we decided to move forward with adoption, I felt like the dark clouds had parted! We both did! I felt so incredibly grateful that we got this opportunity to adopt our family!!

We felt like that was God’s  plan all along! And now that we have Jade, we KNOW it was his plan all along!

After 5 1/2 years of fertility treatments, and adoption papers.. We got the call, we had a birth mom that chose us… I can’t explain that feeling… We sobbed… We got to meet her 9 days before she gave birth. Maybe the most amazing moments of our lives ever! She told the case worker she was nervous to meet us because she thought we wouldn’t likeher! She had no idea that for the last two years we were specifically praying for her! For her life, health, and well being.  We didn’t know her yet, but we knew we loved her! And meeting her confirmed that! I couldn’t stop hugging her… She was so pretty, hysterically funny, and has deep dimples just like me.  While we were together she handed me some ultrasound pictures and looked me straight in the eyes, she told me that this was our little girl, and she knew that it was ours from the beginning. She invited us to be in the delivery room for her c-section, to watch our baby girl be born.

Nine days later, we were ushered into the delivery room to witness the birth of our baby girl.  The nurse had 3 hospital bands, one for our birth mom, one for me, and one for our baby.  I felt immensely honored to have the name of my birth mom around my wrist, we got to share a piece of heaven that was about to arrive. I held her hand as the doctor held up our new precious baby girl,  She was perfect!

Our adoption with Jade is what they call a “high risk adoption” which means that there is a possibility that there could be some hiccups in finalization down the road.

Within one week we ran into those “hiccups” our birth mom was asked to endure some enormous hurdles over the next few months to ensure that Jade could stay with us. Without question, she stayed by our side. She testified at six different hearings in our behalf, and in the end, we were able to finalize, an be sealed to our baby girl.  I know how much she loves jade. I’m so excited to tell jade all about how amazing her birth mommy is! And how very much she loved her. Without her, out lives would be incomplete.

I love her! She is our real live angel! She is the strongest, most courageous person I know, and I will always be indebted to her for the gift she gave me. She made me a mama!

Written by John & Bonnie Barrett. Posted with their permission. Check out more adoption stories at

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


“Well, I get dizzy spells, nausea, cold sweats, hot sweats, fever blisters, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, involuntary trembling, dead hands, numb lips, fingernail sensitivity, pelvic discomfort.” Ok I may or may not be as crazy as Bob. We alls gots some crazy in us! So why not get a shrink and vent my guts out? I mean I can’t guarantee that any other shrink will look as good as Dr. Leo Marvin does in a tight white pair of short shorts, but there are other redeeming things about going to a counseling session besides checking out some guys white hairy thighs. Did I just say that? 

I have been going to couseling with Troy’s family once a week for about a month. I know when I say “counseling” people probably think that we have a horrible relationship or something. We have had some misunderstandings at times. We have felt awkward bringing up issues here and there. Although our issues as a family are minor, individually we all have had experiences that have made us the way we are. Getting to understand the people in my family has been incredible. At the end of the day we all love each other, a lot.

I think of troy’s family as much like my own as possible. I am so glad that we all want to make these relationships healthier and more flexible. I mean we are going to be in each other’s lives for the rest of our lives. Why not jump in and make it the best possible? Obviously it can be a little scary to lay your feelings out in front of others but I do a little at a time. That’s not to say that everyone should do a group session. I have done it both ways. Either way it’s made a huge change. I am so much more self aware. I can definitely see some positive changes in Troy’s family. As I see it, not going to counseling isn’t really an option for us. I owe this to Troy. I owe it to myself. I owe it to my kids and I owe it to Troy’s family. I want my kids to have nurtured and healthy relationships with both sides of the family. Regardless of how much I like one person or how convenient or awkward things can be at times. I refuse to let “being in control” control my life.  I don’t want to pass on my hang-ups to my kids. I fell in love with Troy. He is a product of his family as much as I am a product of mine. We love each other and we should love each other’s families.

Sorry about the boring rant. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

All I have

Hello my name is Debbie Downer.

I don't even really know what to say or if I was going to say something, where I would really start. Ben came home this afternoon, after being gone for a few days. He flew in last night but ended up staying the night at Bill's house as it was too late to drive. With tears in his eyes he said he didn't sleep much as it was tough being in that house alone. It has almost been 4 months since his mother died, and it isn't so much getting better as the consistency of the pain changes. And by consistency, I mean the texture of it--the palpability. Sometimes her memory is light and funny, sometimes it is comforting an gratitude-inspiring, and sometimes the reality of what we are missing weighs so heavy, it is sticky and slowing. All the time it is hard to grasp that she was an alive person and now she is a dead person. And she was such an alive person, so dynamic and funny, loving and up for any kind of adventure--that doesn't sound like a dead person to me.

When we told our kids that Christy had died, they didn't have too much of a reaction, at least not what I would have expected. So I was sad to tell them that Berdella, our tortoise had died, but not worried about it. I expected them to take it in stride and, I don't know, maybe realize that it wasn't as bad as their Grandma dying. We had already buried Berdella and put a little headstone up in our backyard when we gave them the news. Both Teddy and Elsie began to cry, and Elsie tried to dig her up. It didn't occur to me that of course they would take this news harder as now they know what death means. Not t mention that kids aren't big on that whole "perspective" thing.

I didn't realize that when we lost Christy we were also losing our Bollard family dynamic; we don't love each other any less, of course. But her absence effects everything we do, Bill not having someone effects everything we do. And now that Bill is dating we are facing all the issues of a "replacement"--whoever this woman ends up being will have an enormous effect on our families future--and it has driven home the point that it will never again be the way it was. "You're all I have" Ben said, before he walked out the door.

So much for keeping things light, if I had any mustard I would definitely use it to eat through the bars.