Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma and my locket

Right before we left the hospital, and Laila behind, I asked the detective if I could cut a piece of Laila's hair.  Even though it wasn't really allowed, she had pity on me.  I cut off a small piece and bought a locket to put her hair in.  I wore it often until Piper was born and now with Felicity, I don't wear it either because babies have such grabby hands and I don't want one of the babies to break it.  It sits on my counter in the bathroom and I have to admit that when I see it sitting there, I miss it around my neck.

This week we decided not to stay in Florida for Hurricane Irma.  I had to decide what to take with us and what to leave behind.  We don't have a lot that I really care about in our house.  I mean, of course, I'd be sad to come home to our home and things destroyed but for the most part, I don't have a deep connection to the things inside out house.  There are a few items I would be really sad to lose however.  Our journals, a treasured painting, and Laila's things.  I protected them the best way I knew how and hoped for the best.  Right before we left I saw the locket and put it in my pocket.  I knew that I did not want to leave the locket behind.

The locket stayed in my pocket until Saturday morning when I threw in a load of laundry.  Later that night Mike came and tapped me on the shoulder and told me he needed to talk to me in the other room.  After following him he pulled my locket out of his pocket, broken and empty.  In the rush to leave I didn't take it out of my pocket and then once we finally got to my sister's house, I just completely forgot.

I was devastated.

I feel like my brain failed me.

I didn't even need Hurricane Irma to destroy my treasured things.  I did it on my own.

Her hair is the only physical piece of her I had left.  I have other things that were hers like her blankets and clothes but her hair is a part of her.  Mike reminded me that we still have a small amount of her hair left at home in an envelope (and it looks like the house was undamaged so the envelope should still be there).  That hair was given to me by the man that did the autopsy.  He cut a little bit more for me and put it in the envelope.  It has some embalming fluid dried on it but it's all I have.

So Hurricane Irma will always be remembered in my book as the event that caused me to lose my mind, and my locket.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Foggy, Magical mornings

Tennessee must have known how much I was going to miss the foggy, magical mornings because we were blessed with quite a few right before we moved.  I was grateful to catch them before the fog moved out for the day.  


Isaac has been wanting a skateboard for awhile.  He saved up his money and bought the skateboard and pads and helmet (we will probably reimburse him for the pads and helmet).  He has been working hard on practicing tricks.  I took him to a skate park and that was a bit much for him too soon so he's back to practicing at home on sidewalks and driveways until he's more comfortable.  

Scenes from our Summer (June)

Tea party

There is a road behind the subdivision we lived in that is so quiet and windy.  In the summer the full trees create a magical green lane that leads to an old cemetery.  Just after the cemetery is a smaller road that leads off to the side.  It dead ends and is overgrown with moss and wild flowers and vines.  You can miss the magic if you aren't looking because the main road curves around and leads to a big open field on the right and the subdivision on the left.  I've been wanting to take photos on this quiet road every time I drive by.  Our move was quickly approaching and I knew I wouldn't have many opportunities left.  One morning Piper was outside having a tea party with the baby on the porch and I had a moment of inspiration.  I loaded her up in the car and drove to the overgrown road and set up her tea party and let her do her thing with her stuffed lamb with no direction from me.  I just snapped away while she played.  There was the time when she suddenly had to go pee and I looked around wondering what the heck I was going to do and then remembered that we just picked up toilet paper from the grocery store and it was still in the back of the van.  I held her dress while she crouched and went potty.  Toilet paper is biodegradable right?!  So, I guess the experience wasn't as magical as the pictures lead you to believe but it was a funny memory regardless.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


I have pictures to upload but they are on my camera and my laptop won't upload pictures from my camera.  So this post will just be boring words.  We have finally moved.  We were sad to move but it got to the point where it was just hanging over our heads and we were just waiting.  It needed to happen finally so we could all get to getting our lives settled again.  We aren't settled yet but at least we are on our way towards that.  The boys headed to Scout Camp after the open house.  Mike went up for two days while I stayed home with the little kids to get the house ready for the packers.  It was a stressful two days because the baby doesn't like to be away from me.  She likes to be held or right next to me all the time and Mike and the two boys were gone so I had to rely on Eli and Piper for help.  Mike came home on Wed and it just felt like everything fell apart that day.  All the stress finally came to a head and came out in an ugly stress barf.  There was a decision we had to make and I told Mike I wasn't able to discuss it and we needed to wait to have the discussion later but he insisted we discuss it and make a decision and so I kind of fell apart.  Tears, yelling, more tears.  It wasn't pretty and I wish it hadn't happened.  Mike didn't yell.  He didn't cry.  Just me.  Anyway, we had the discussion and then it ended up being a moot point, which didn't help.  There were other not cool things happening at the same time that made for the perfect emotional storm for me.  Too much at one time.  Bleh.  

The packers came on Thursday and packed our house up in two days.  The two older boys came home to see their rooms packed and boxes everywhere.  We lived around the boxes until Monday when the movers came and loaded the truck.  We spent the night at our friend's house and then returned to the empty house on Tuesday morning to clean.  It was a fast and furious morning of cleaning.  At 1 we closed the doors to our house and drove back to our friend's house to shower and drop off the kids and then we drove across town to sign the papers and hand over keys to the house at closing.  It was so fast that there wasn't time to feel sad.  I briefly felt sad at one point when I was cleaning but didn't have time to dwell on it.  I guess I'm just sentimental but I kind of wish I had gotten the chance to walk around one last time before we gave over the keys.  

We headed back to our friend's house for dinner.  We had more wonderful friends come and see us to say goodbye and then we put the kids to bed and went to a late move with our friends.  The next morning, we got started late because we washed a load of laundry and repacked the van and car.  At noon, we finally left Knoxville.  We ended up reaching Atlanta at 5 PM, the worst time to try and drive through Atlanta.  I don't know how people manage living there honestly.  The traffic is so bad.  The GPS kept taking us on crazy routes making the drive even worse and at one point I couldn't see Mike's car anywhere.  I finally found him about an hour later.  Finally, at 10 PM we reached Warner Robins where we stayed in a TLF on base.  That night the two younger boys were pretty emotional.  Eli said his ear hurt and was worried it would get so infected it might have to be cut off and "what if I don't make any friends?"  He cried and cried.  Isaac was in Mike's car during the whole Atlanta traffic ordeal and Mike kept yelling and threatening to throw his phone out the window and poor Isaac was feeling the effects of all the stress so after we stopped for dinner he sat in the van with me and cried.  He missed his friends and wanted to go home.  I told him to hop out of the van and run two laps of the parking lot and he would feel better.  He ran them and he did actually feel better but he told me later that he wanted to cry multiple times in the car but held it back.  

The next day was better.  We made good time and arrived at our vacation rental at 8 PM. Isaac briefly got upset again and said he wanted to go home and were all the yards going to be so ugly?  Mike went to work the next morning and I took the kids to get some food at the grocery store in the pouring rain.  When Mike came back I told him that we needed to head over to the beach after the storm passed because the kids needed something happy to happen.  The rain stopped and we went and played in the ocean for an hour.  The kids were so happy!  The next morning we woke up, ate quickly and then headed back for an early morning swim.  It was perfect and again, the kids were so happy.  I really feel like going to the beach helped the kids have a happier outlook on life and their current circumstances.  

We went to church today and the ward is not as big as we expected and the primary is small.  It's small enough that they have combined Isaac and Will's class and Eli is also in a combined class.  There is only one other boy in Eli's class again and that makes me sad because he has been worried about making friends and I had been praying for boys to be in the ward.  We will just have to figure out how to find other friends in the neighborhood and such.  The ward was very friendly though.  Everyone was so welcoming and we have already had three invites to do things.  I'm hopeful that this can be a smooth transition.  

The kids all show subtle signs of the stress from the move.  They are a little more sensitive and get irritated at one another quicker.  Piper cries more easily.  The baby isn't sleeping again.  We finally got her sleeping without much effort at night time and now we are kind of back to square one.  She is tired and cranky and confused.  

We are in this vacation rental for ten more days and then we will have our stuff delivered and get in the rental house.  Hopefully we can rest up and make the next few days happy and fun and do some exploring and take more beach trips before life has to be stressful again.  

Moving is so tough.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Saying goodby

We have one more week here.  I have competing feelings of sadness and gratitude. A few days ago I happened to say, "Ya'll" and it just rolled off the tongue so naturally.  I couldn't help but smile.  I finally talk like a southerner and I have to leave!  Just kidding, I still don't sound like a southerner.  

When Mike was applying for schools we had pretty much decided that Texas A&M was where we were going.  When Mike got accepted to MIT of course we thought we were probably crazy for turning that opportunity down and we thought Texas was the next best choice for our family but Tennessee kept popping up in our minds.  I felt so much peace about moving to Tennessee.  We had looked for houses on the other side of town where everyone told us to live and none of those houses felt good to me.  I looked at a few on this side of town and each time I felt so much peace but we thought Mike was going to have to work at Oakridge and he did not want to drive an hour to work.  We put an offer on a house on the other side of town and when the house had termites we pulled out of that offer.  Then this house popped up and without even seeing the house we put an offer on it and hoped for the best.  Mike decided that if he had to drive an hour half of the week he would just deal with it.  (He ended up only having to go to Oakridge ocassionally).  When we moved into the house we discovered that it was in the exact area that I had felt good about when I had come to look at houses.  In fact, it was in the subdivision across the street from my favorite house on our house search.  At the time I thought, "I guess this is where Heavenly Father wants our family."  Three years later, I don't have any guesses, I know!  I feel like we were in the ward He wanted us to be in and we have made such incredible friends here.  

I feel so sad to say goodbye but I feel like Heavenly Father has placed the best of the best in our path everywhere we have lived.  I feel so grateful for the experiences he is giving us.  While I do not like to move and I'd be perfectly happy staying right where I am, I recognize that if I stayed in my comfortable little life, I'd never meet these people!  I've worried that maybe we won't make friendships in Florida like we have here.  Maybe they won't like us.  Maybe they will think we are weird.  Or, maybe they will think they already have friends and they don't need more.  Last night at the open house they had for us one of my friends came up to me.  He shook my hand and said, "Adrianne, if you stay as the person you are, you will have no problems making friends."  I had never told him my worry about not making friends in Florida so he couldn't have known how I was feeling and his comment made me feel so thankful.  I hope he was prompted to tell me that because it meant the world to me.  I hope we leave Florida with as many good memories and friends as we've made here.

Best friends!  Mike and Conan served together in the bishopric.  If Mike could hang out with anyone, it would be Conan

The Copeland's.  They have another cutie red-head not in the picture.  We love this family and have learned so much from their example and friendship.

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Mandy and Dani are niece and Aunt.  I love these two beautiful ladies.  

Camryn, Cally, Paul.  I can't wait to see what happens with Camrynn in the future.  I hope my little girls grow up to be like the Young Women in this ward.  I loved Cally from the minute I met her.  Will told me yesterday that when he met her he thought, "Mom is going to want to be her friend."  He was right!  

Dani Cruze.  Dani is quite possibly the coolest girl in the world.  I love her.

Isaac with his class of boys (one boy missing).  Brother Hughes is Isaac's teacher and Isaac loves him.  These boys have become Isaac's best friends

The Finstad's.  Emily F. and Cally C were the first people I met when we moved here.  They showed up at the house and welcomed us.  Bishop Finstad served with Mike and Conan and then Mike was his counselor when Nathan got called as the bishop.  

Two of these sweet girls were in my class last year before they headed to Young Women's.  Such sweet girls!

The Strickland's!  I admire AnneMarie so much.  She is a homeschooling mom as well and she is incredible.  I've loved being her friend.

Eli had a party in our backyard with friends.  Forts, water relay, laser guns!

These two cuties...


Crystal Copeland.  I will miss this amazing friend

an ice cream treat with friends!

swimming with friends 

Hayley and Piper--the ward's twin red-heads and best friends