Sunday, May 11, 2014


Mothers' Day. An amazing, terrible, wonderful, heart-wrenching day. Pre- 2008, my mothers' days were all about making breakfast for my own mama and writing beautiful (and often cheesy) cards to let her know how wonderful she was and is. But as of Mothers' Day 2008-- that all changed for me. As so many of you already know, our little Zoe Belle came on February 9, 2008 and only stayed for a little while. By Mothers' Day, I thought I was doing great. On the Saturday before, I talked Tyson into buying me this beautiful yellow and black dress, in order to commemorate the day. I don't think he understood, but he went along with it. And on Sunday, I showed up to church, proud, in my new dress, with empty arms. I listened to the talks and tried to focus on my own mother and how much I loved her. But the sadness crept in like a mid-winter storm. By the end of the first talk, I was teetering on the edge. And then, some friends of Tyson turned and offered to let us hold their brand new little boy. As Tyson held him and smiled at him, I tried to talk myself out of my tears--

This is a little boy, not a girl. He is nothing like our little girl.... That's right. He is NOTHING like our little girl. No one is just like our little girl. There is no one on earth that is just like her. Because she is no longer here. No longer here. Not in my arms, not in Tyson's arms, and NOT within arm's reach. She is gone.

And then, before he could push that little boy into my arms, I stood up and ran out of sacrament. I bawled all the way to the bathroom, and sank into one of the stalls. I stayed there until my tears dried up, and then when I finally came out, I listened to an older woman tell me all about her sister who had lost a baby and how she had seen a vision of what her little baby looked like now, with her beautiful hair flowing and a brilliant smile on her face and how she just KNEW that her little girl was trying to tell her that she was fine. I felt so empty. I had had no such vision. Empty and thoroughly melted, I walked out of that bathroom, and right out of the church. I stood outside the car until Tyson figured it out and came outside. We went home, and he spent the rest of the day trying to make me smile.

Flash forward to Mothers' Day 2014-- I awoke to the sound of the printer. But when I looked around the room was still dark and no one was there. I sleepily got up and went about my normal morning routine. When I opened the bedroom door 10 minutes later, two pairs of little feet ran to greet me. Quinn and Mac, both with large bags, "gifts," as Mac kept repeating, and huge smiles. They unloaded their bags on me and then followed me out to the living room. I unloaded untold treasures from those bags-- chocolate-covered pretzels, milky ways, beautiful crayon portraits of myself, and immeasurable "love notes" from Quinn- with only one discernible word, "mom." My tears were teetering on the edge as I unpacked those bags and took in those beautiful faces, going crazy with excitement. And then Tyson explained the printer-- it was his note to me and also my wake-up call. He went in and retrieved it, and as I read through his description of shopping for Mothers' Day with the children, my happiness was overflowing. These kids, these crazy, loud, annoying, BEAUTIFUL kids are mine. And though there are days that I cannot even fathom why, they love me SO SO SO much. Happiness. Immeasurable, all-consuming happiness.

You see, I have experienced both sides to this whole Mothers' Day fiasco-- the pain and the pleasure, the sadness and the happiness. And I get it. To all of you women out there, I get it. Mothers' Day is something of a symbol for motherhood. Sometimes it is terrible and frightening and just plain heart-breaking. And then there are moments or days where it is the epitome of wonderfulness-- death by happiness. It is everything all in one. And we wonder why it changes us so much...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Finding the GOOD in the sucker bowl

Yesterday I took Quinn to the doctor to get her shots for kindergarten. But as far as she knew, she was going for "immunizations." And she was happy. She never once questioned me on it. Until we got in the car to head to the doctor's office....

"Mom, what are 'munizations? I think I forgot."

The buck had to stop somewhere and I figured it would be better to get the tantrum over with before we got to the office, so I charged ahead, "Actually honey, you didn't forget. I just never told you. Immunizations are shots. You have to get shots so that you can go to the big school in the fall." 

Crickets may have actually chirped at this point. 

I looked back at my Quinn, buckled snugly into her hot pink zebra booster, thinking this was just a big breath moment before the screams erupted. What I actually saw broke my heart. Her little face had crumpled and she had big fat tears just begging to be let loose down those rosy cheeks. So I tried to explain WHY we have to get shots, why even MOMMY and DADDY have to get shots sometimes. And why baby Ti was going to be getting shots today too. 
And that was when the screaming started, not your typical, "I hate shots!! I hate hate hate HATE shots!" No. She began to bargain with me. "We don't have to do this today mommy. Let's just go home. Maybe just Ti needs shots today. I want to get sick. Mommy, can you hear me?! I WANT to get sick! See I don't need shots!" On and on, all the way there. At one point she decided maybe if she didn't have shoes on, I wouldn't make her get out of the car. So she yanked off her pink sparkly boots, and threw them on the floor of the car. 

When we arrived, I was bracing myself for the inevitable battle to get her out of the car. But it was in vain. She was out of the car, and up onto the sidewalk (shoe-less, of course). She looked like she was primed and ready to bolt. So I calmly got Ti out of the car, grabbed the diaper bag and her boots and started heading into the office. She followed, crying and yelling, but she followed. At check-in, they of course handed me a huge paper to fill out on both Ti and Quinn, so I obediently began my paperwork, while alternately trying to keep Quinn from peeing her pants just so we would HAVE TO go home. We were finally called back into an examining room and the hysterics began anew. "Mommy, I don't want to go first. Make Ti go first. Mommy I have to PEE!!" Finally Ti got his shots, Quinn got her wish and didn't have to go first. He cried for all of 10 seconds and then just looked bored with the whole situation. One of the other nurses held him while I grabbed onto Quinn and tried to calm her down once AGAIN. Finally, the older nurse told me to just put her on my lap and lean back while holding her hands securely on her chest, and they would take care of the rest. I obeyed and 10 seconds later, Quinn was crying silently in my arms with band-aids on boths legs.

And then something really unexpected happened, she laughed. I stared at her like she was crazy and she just looked at me and said, "That wasn't so bad Mom!" Like this whole time, I had been the one screaming and crying. I did the only thing I could, I laughed too. And then the nurses brought over the sucker bowl and told her to take as many as she wanted. With tears still streaming down her face, she grabbed 1, 2, 3.... 4 suckers. And just as I was about to berate her for being greedy, she said, "I'm glad I got four, now I have enough for everybody!" And she immediately pulled out the blue one, because she knows blue is my favorite color, and put it in a pocket in the diaper bag because my hands were full. But guess what? As full as my hands were, my heart was even more full. This girl. This girl.

Just constantly amazes me.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Miracle-  "A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency."

Have you ever wanted something so bad, but it seemed like such a long-shot, that you decided it would probably never happen.... so you don't let yourself think about it. But, in not thinking about it, you begin to obsess about it. But you don't talk about it, because that would be proof that you had broken your cardinal rule and actually thought about it. Maybe you've never been there, but this was me for the four months before Ti was born. Everybody talks about adoption and how amazing and miraculous it is. Nobody tells you about the harrowing, sleepless nights, and the good news and the bad news and the no news. But I digress-- that is a post for another time. This post is about a miracle. A real and true, amazing miracle, that I could not talk about for the last five months. 

How did this come about? I have been asked that about a million times by friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers. So I will tell you. Tyson grew up in Dayton, ID next to a really great (really big) family. One of the daughters in that family recently graduated high school and found herself in a difficult situation. She knew that she wanted to place her baby for adoption, but wasn't sure with whom. Now a small digression-- when I was pregnant with Mac, Tyson and I made the decision that he would be our last child that would be conceived naturally. This was because of my blood-clotting disorder, and the shots that I had to be on for the duration of any pregnancy (these shots also cause loss of bone-density). So when I had my C-section to bring Mac into this world, I also had a surgery done that would not allow me to have any future children on my own. It was a hard decision, but one that we made based on doctor recommendation and prayerful study. But at this time, we also had an overwhelming feeling that our family was not yet complete, but that other children would come to us in alternate ways. So we had been considering adoption, but were in no way ready, prepared, or ready for adoption. You catch my drift? Now back to the story. This young girl's mom talked to Tyson's mom about the situation, and Tyson's mom mentioned that Tyson and I had been thinking about adoption. Well, one thing led to another and about a week later, Tyson's mom called us and told us that she definitely wanted US to adopt her baby. We were shocked. To say the least. Also- completely dumb-founded. Also a whole lot of other things. We decided to meet with her and talk it out face-to-face. This was the best idea ever. After talking with her we were assured that she was serious about placing her baby with us. So we got started on the adoption process. We contacted a lawyer and after hearing a dooms-day address that he probably tells all potential adoptive parents, he laid out the steps to making this happen. I won't go through all of it, but there was a lot of both time and financially consuming steps. 

And then on December 27th at 1:30am we got the call that we had been waiting for. Baby Ti was about to make his entrance into the world! He came at 2am and we were able to be there for all of his firsts-- first bath, first feeding, first poo, all of it. And then on December 28th around 1pm we were able to take him home. 

The next few weeks were a blur of sleepless nights and a very angry two-year-old. And then on January 16th, 2014 Titan Benson officially became Titan Benson Allen. Oh blessed day! 

And then, just two short days later we were able to have him sealed to us in the Idaho Falls temple and blessed in our church building. Words cannot describe that day. It was just-- perfect. 

A perfect miracle.