Brittny – 24 January 2010

Low: Our family had a really slow start this morning. Sunday mornings are still pretty rough since we’re not used to being up at 9am when church starts… let alone beforehand to get ourselves ready! We were late to church as a result, but…

Highs: … Sam was really cute when he woke up. At first he was *legs tired, so tired*, and just snuggling us and trying to figure out why in the world mom and dad were trying to wake us up. But when I took him into the bathroom and put him down to turn on the bathtub he immediately was happy and smiling and trying to hop in the tub. It was super cute! He also slept through almost all of church, which was definitely a blessing so that we could teach our Sunday School lesson and pay attention during the 3rd hour of Ward Conference. (yes, Ward Conference was another high 🙂

Also, Mom & Dad Hansen came over for lunch this afternoon and to visit us and play with Sam. I made our fettuccine alfredo all by myself and it turned out well (although it took me longer than I would have liked to get everything put together and on the table). We had fun visiting with them and showing off Sam’s new tricks. It’s such a blessing to have family nearby that can come and see us often.

Plus, after Mom & Dad Hansen left Sam was getting sleepy, so I took him to bed and nursed him to sleep and was able to sneak out and leave him alone in our bed. He’s still there now! Eric and I even got to spend some time by ourselves which is a definite rarity and something I really miss. I think it’s going to be a big driving factor in sleep training Sam. I just want to get to talk to Eric sometimes without a baby crawling over us! (Even if I do really like that baby 🙂

Hooray Sunday!

Brittny – 18 January 2010

Low: I spent all day yesterday in a house with cats. I think I might be allergic to cats because my throat hurts today (of course, my allergies have been acting up for awhile now anyways)

Highs: SAM IS WALKING! He’s so cute just toddling around the house now. There are few things as happy as watching that kid learn new tricks. What’s really fun is how proud he is of himself and how he’ll show off. One thing he does is he’ll crawl almost to Eric and then stand up and walk the rest of the way just to see us clap for him. He’s the best baby in the whole world!

Also, I got to spend all day yesterday helping a good friend of mine organize her bookshelves and discussing some deep topics of parenting. I’m so glad that I found Denise in our ward and we’ve made friends. I’ve learned so much from her and she’s such a great example to me.

Alexis

Alexis

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Some people come into your life for a little while and leave having changed it forever. Some people come and go without leaving much of a mark. Some people come and go, and reappear in the most unlikely places. You never know what kind of effect a person will have on your life.

Such is the case with Amy. My freshman year I lived in a ward of Amys. Literally I think we had 8 or more Amys in the ward. One of these Amys lived right next door to me. While we were always friendly with one another, I’d never say that we were fast friends. The year went by without us really getting to know each other too well.

A year or so later the Facebook craze hits BYU and we become Facebook friends and while it was nice to be able to stay in contact that way, our friendship remains at about that level.

Another couple years pass and I meet this guy, Eric Hansen. Well the story there is no secret, we met, started dating, fell in love, got engaged (about that quickly too). So, being the technological nerds that we are, one of the first places that news is announced – Facebook. One of the first people to comment on our engagement, was Amy. Why? Not only was she my neighbor for our entire freshman year, but she also happens to be Eric’s cousin. Who knew?

So, another couple years pass and Eric and I are sitting at a Hansen family reunion next to Amy and her husband Zach. Just as we’re sharing the news with them that I am pregnant, they tell us that she’s also pregnant! Furthermore, in an exciting coincidence Amy is due near her birthday and I am due near Eric’s. We are more excited still when a few weeks later we find out that she is having a girl and I’m having a boy. It feels like it’s meant to be the second generation of Amy and Eric as cousins.

So the weeks go by and we share pregnancy tips with each other over Facebook and through emails. Slowly we get close to our due dates. I go to Amy’s baby shower and we are so excited about the possibility of our kids being close friends. We commiserate about the third trimester woes and soak up all the advice that veteran moms are giving. It’s so close and our excitement is definitely high. We’re both to the point where we know that if our babies were born that, while a little premature, they would survive. The reality of becoming a mom is really starting to come home for me.

Then, not one week later, I get a phone call from Eric while I’m at work. I’d been watching for him online for hours wanting to share some link with him, so I’m really excited to finally be getting in contact with him. At the same time I’m a little confused because Eric almost never calls me at work. So I answer excitedly, not realizing what his phone call would mean. He tells me that Zach and Amy’s baby had been born that morning, which totally excites me for a moment. Until he gets to the part that warranted a personal phone call in the middle of the workday – their baby was born still. Honestly, the news doesn’t hit me right then. I know I should feel really sad about it, but it just hasn’t hit me yet. I acknowledge what he said and ask if there was anything we can do for them. He says that the only thing for us to do is pray for them and we spend a brief moment thinking about their grief. I guess it was too much for me to truly process in that short period of time because the next thing I tell him is to get online so I can send him this link that I’ve been waiting to show him. I still regret that flippant move. I don’t know what else to do though and I don’t want to focus on the somber topic at hand just yet.

For some reason grief takes a long time to hit me. When my family moved from Fairport, New York to Thousand Oaks, California I didn’t shed a single tear over that. Madness! I *loved* New York. It was my home. I had lived there my entire life and the last thing I wanted to do was to leave. Especially for California! I’d never pictured myself as a California girl and I never wanted to. But not a single tear. Until about 6 months after we’d already been in California. I was sitting down organizing our piano music one night and I just broke down. Why it hit me then I’ll never know. Why not when I was telling my dearest friends goodbye? Why not as we were driving across the country? Why not after my first day at a new school? Nope, one random night while sorting piano music.

Well, my grief for Zach and Amy didn’t take that long to hit me, but it did at least wait until the end of my work day. I kept myself busy until the moment I left. As I started to drive home I turn on one of my podcasts. But I can’t focus on it. Finally I turn it off and let all of my thoughts hit me. It all hit in a big wave. By the time I got to the end of Salt Lake and heading up to the point of the mountain, I am sobbing. I just can’t believe that this is happening. Yeah, I knew that sometimes babies were born still but the chances of that actually happening, and to someone that I really knew seemed so remote I just hadn’t thought of it. Well, I mean I had, but I hadn’t fully considered that it could happen to Amy. I’d just been at her baby shower a few days ago! She is supposed to be having her little girl that’s going to be friends with my little boy.

My heart aches for Amy. I can’t truly imagine the grief that she was going through at that time or that she’s gone through since but it wasn’t too hard to put myself in her shoes. I am only three weeks behind her. The awful thought strikes me that the same thing could just as easily happen to me in the weeks to come.

My tears were almost getting to a point where they would affect my driving so I need to find a way to calm myself down. I really want to talk to my mom and just cry to her over the phone for a little while, but I can’t get in touch with her. Luckily, about the time I reach American Fork I get on the phone with my brother Cody. Since I don’t feel like crying to him I am able to pull myself together and joke with him and talk with him the rest of the way home. While that may seem callous, it was probably for the best since it helped me get into a driving frame of mind and get home without crashing.

Over the next few days as Zach and Amy post pictures of their beautiful Alexis it hits me over and over again, the reality that their precious, perfect, beautiful baby girl was dead. That’s not what was supposed to happen! They were supposed to be able to bring her home and post pictures of all the cute things she did, and we were going to go visit them and have fun together with our babies! But that wasn’t meant to be. After awhile I have to cut myself off from looking at all the pictures and reading all the blog posts because it just hits too close to home. I start to get slightly hysterical at the thought that the same thing could happen to me and my Samuel. I know that thinking that way wasn’t healthy or helpful to anyone so for a little while I cut myself off.

I missed the memorial service they had for Alexis. I really wanted to be there but the day of the service I’d been up late working on a project that I was still working on and really needed to get completed. Plus it was a ways away and Eric wasn’t going to be able to come with me because he had class. I think though what really kept me was that I was worried about being a distraction. I was worried that at 35 weeks pregnant I was going to remind Zach and Amy that I was soon going to have – and likely get to keep – what they were there to bury. I felt guilty that it was them burying their baby and not me. Guilty for praying that I wouldn’t have to go through what they were going through. I knew I couldn’t change it, and I definitely don’t think they or anyone else would have wanted me to be praying otherwise… I just didn’t feel entirely like I ought to be there. So while I had other real and valid excuses that kept me away that day, I think deep down I just felt like I oughtn’t be there.

The next several weeks went by in a flurry of activity and excitement as we got ready for Samuel to come. But in the middle of it all, Zach, Amy and Alexis were always on my mind. We prayed for them every single night. I talked about their tragedy with anyone who would listen. I was so impressed by their openness in sharing their experience and how they used it as a way to share their testimony of eternal families.

Then Samuel was born and my life has been totally centered on him ever since. But I still think of Alexis all the time. As I watch my Samuel growing up, I think of the 2nd cousin that was supposed to be here with him. Whenever I get discouraged because motherhood is hard, I try to remember that Amy would give anything to be sitting in my shoes having those trials rather than the ones she has to bear. Recently as I’ve been thinking it’s time for Sam to learn to sleep in his own bed rather than in ours, I also want to cuddle him a little longer for Amy and Alexis’ sake. Alexis has become a very real part of every parenting decision that I make, and I think I’m a better mother because of her.

A year has come and gone since the day I got that phone call. Alexis may not have had her chance at this life, but her spirit lives on. Because of her my testimony has been strengthened in the reality of eternal families. I have seen the power of prayers given in someone’s behalf. I understand better the miracle that these precious babies are.

So, happy birthday Alexis. Your time here was short, but the world is a better place because you were in it. Thank you.

New Year’s Resolutions 2010

I already posted my report on my resolutions from last year but I haven’t yet posted my new resolutions for 2010! I want to make these more quantifiable than last year’s goals because I felt so good about being able to check those ones off, and the more abstract goals just made me feel sad that I wasn’t perfect at them (which, let’s face it, I never will be perfect in this life so why mope about it?) So without further ado…

Brittny’s Resolutions for 2010

  1. I will make it to the temple once a month. Not a new goal, but still a good one
  2. I will complete my visiting teaching monthly. Another un-original but important goal.
  3. I will exercise at least twice a week. This is going to require me to either get Eric to watch Sam a couple night’s a week or go to the gym before they are up for the day, or not worry so much about leaving Sam in the daycare at Gold’s Gym. I’ll give myself a bye for this past week since Sam was sick, but it’s time for me to step it up!
  4. I will memorize 10 scriptures. This is a goal I set just about every year and I don’t think I’ve ever actually done it. I think I’ll put picking out these scriptures on my list of things to do for this week.
  5. Get a blog post up weekly. That’s not necessarily a goal for this blog. Hopefully most of my posts will be up in our family blog, but I will count posts here or in my family’s highs and lows blog.
  6. Learn 25 new Chinese words. For each word I want to learn how to recognize the symbol, pronounce the word (with the correct tone) and be able to identify it in a sentence. Obviously if we move to China this year I will have to increase this goal exponentially, but hopefully this will give me a good start.
  7. Set up a budget and stick to it. I’m setting myself up with Mint.com and I’m LOVING it. I want to set us up with a reasonable but frugal budget and stick with it. We’ve been blessed to have good steady employment and neither of us are spendy people which I’m very grateful for. However, I want to make sure we’re using our money wisely and working towards saving money for later. I really like using Mint.com because they make it super easy to do this (I highly recommend it to anyone else who’s looking for a good way to track their money).
  8. Our condo is cleaned up acceptable for company at least once a week. I gave Eric the task of selecting one goal for me and this is the one he picked. It was a perfect pick too. Reasonable, quantifiable and will make our lives much better. Thanks Eric!
  9. I will read through the entire Old Testament. I love the scriptures but I still don’t feel I’m super familiar with the Old Testament. Since this is the course of study this year for Sunday School anyways I think this will help me to be more prepared for Sunday School each week and to gain a greater appreciation for the Old Testament.
  10. Arrange at least one social interaction for Sam each week. I worry that Sam and I are becoming too isolated. We can go an entire week without seeing anyone other than Eric and my sister and brother-in-law. Many weeks the only time we get out of the house is to go to church. Hopefully this will help Sam overcome his stranger anxiety and help us both feel less isolated. Of course I will suspend this goal if Sam is sick. Isolation is a fair price to pay to keep other kids from getting sick!

I feel good about these goals. Even if I don’t achieve all of them I feel like the pursuit of them will help me be a better person. And now you are all out there to hold me accountable for them! Ideally I’ll post each week to see how my progress is going, but realistically… I’ll probably post about them again in 2011 😛 Here’s to 2010!

Brittny – 10 January 2010

Low: Being *really* tired this morning. Between our alarm going off I dreamed that Eric and I were in a special husbands-and-wives unit of the army. But we’d just been transferred to another base that was two hours away from where we lived. We realized that with 9am church that meant that we’d have to get up at 6am to get all ready and back to our ward in time. We were really conflicted as far as what we should do because we were supposed to be teaching Sunday School (which we really were), but since we hadn’t gotten to bed before 2am we would be really tired and that was a long trek. So we were about to email our friends in the ward to see if they would teach the lesson we had prepared…. when I woke up to the alarm for reals. We weren’t any less tired than we were in the dream but twenty-five minutes later we were all up, dressed, with dinner in the crockpot and out the door to church. Ick, not a great way to start the day.

High: Because church is so early we have ALL afternoon to nap… which we did. Also, this was a really productive weekend! I got a few things checked off of my task list which have been on there for months. That felt good. Additionally: we got the apartment all cleaned up, I got my New Year’s Resolutions posted, Sam slept on his own on the futon for a couple of short naps, I got to spend time with Eric, I got another offer for a freelance job, I got my hair cut and I have my task list ready for the new week. Yay for the weekend! Although, I am excited to start another week too, I like getting things done and being productive 🙂