Finn is 3!

Our little boy turned three yesterday. And if I think about that for too long I start to cry. Haha. He has grown so much this last year and I fall more and more in love with my little guy every day! I keep feeling pangs of guilt for not being better with blogging/journaling about all of the fun things we've done, but I decided it's time for a little update highlighting how ridiculously awesome this kid is.

He keeps us laughing non-stop. He's crazy. He's weird. He's the sweetest little momma's boy. He is smart and makes us so proud. He's so determined and curious about everything - which also means he has a hard time obeying and listening to mom and dad. He's athletic. He's a total class clown and loves attention.

He loves to sing. His favorite right now is Book of Mormon Stories and Santa Claus is Coming to Town - both of which he sings pretty much non-stop but just adds in his own lyrics. He loves to be read to and loves pointing out letters and numbers as we read. He loves going on bike rides around the neighborhood. He loves kisses and hugs and tickles.

He has the most hilarious expressions of joy, surprise, excitement and fake pouting. His personality is unbelievable - he is absolutely full of life and little quirks and joy and craziness. He's so sweet when he apologizes... he repeats what he did wrong and then says he's sorry in the most genuine little voice and then kisses my cheek and hugs me. And as soon as I say "it's okay" he gets a huge grin on his face. 

He's my best friend and I adore him.

Some highlights from this past year: 
  • He learned to go potty and it was such an easy experience I couldn't believe it! Knowing him, I thought it would be a nightmare. :)

  • He learned to ride his balance bike! We just got him a regular one with pedals for his birthday and I can't wait to see how he does with it.

  • We moved into a new house (post on that to come!) and a new neighborhood and he has done so well making new friends. Watching him play and interact with other kids is one of my favorite things.

  • This past summer he took swim lessons that we got through Groupon - they were pretty lame, but he is absolutely obsessed with swimming! I seriously cannot wait to see what sports he does as he gets older.

  • He memorized lots of songs, learned to identify letters of the alphabet, and loves to count objects. This year he is going to start preschool!

  • This year for Halloween he was Finn the Human from a show called Adventure Time. He also sat on Santa's lap this year and looked much too old for my liking.


  • He went camping for the first time and was in heaven! He had so much fun.

He's so full of love and is so good at reminding us of the things that really matter. Whenever we are not paying attention to him because we are on our phones or other "devices" he frantically shouts "Wake up Mommy! Wake up Daddy!" or if we're playing and I pull out my phone to check a text, he says "Put that back mommy, put that in your pocket!" It is such a sweet and often needed reminder that we need to wake up and enjoy these moments with our little boy.

Every night Chase lays down with Finn at bedtime and I lay down by him during naps. Just for a few minutes. We sing songs, cuddle, kiss each other's cheeks, or lately his favorite request is that we scratch his back. And without missing a beat he always pulls his shirt up so he can get a better scratch. :)

Today he told me I looked like a princess. Usually he tells me I'm handsome. He loves my hair and when he's sad or scared it's the first thing he grabs for comfort.

He LOVES his cousins and would follow them everywhere if he could.

His prayers are adorable and hilarious. He always, always asks, "please bless us to be nice and not hit" or if it's a blessing for the food, "please bless the food to be nice and not hit." And he's grateful for all kinds of things, like fire and batman and toys and RVCA.

He adores his grandparents - Grandma, Grandpa, Dude, and Grandma Child. He and my dad especially have such a sweet relationship. My dad loves to be a super hero with him - and to him. :)

My precious little boy, you mean the world to us. You teach us patience, kindness, how to laugh and have joy in the smallest things, how to forgive, humility, selflessness and a million others things that have made us so much better than we could ever be without you. You will do amazing things. People will love to be around your sweet, joyful spirit and will follow your example. Thank you for choosing us to be your parents. Thank you for making us smile and laugh every day. Thank you for always reminding us of the things that are important in this life. We love you more than you'll know until you have a little rascal of your own. Just know that you will always be our little boy and we will love you forever and always. 


The Dream

I just woke up from a dream feeling more sorrow and grief and regret than I have ever felt in my whole life. I also felt like I needed to write about it, for my sake I think. Any it's on this blog because I guess I hope this is a semi-permanent safe place for it to be.

It started out like many of my dreams do, honestly, which is like a summer blockbuster movie. It felt like I was in some kind of post-apocalypse state of the world. I was running away down a dark street from some futuristic bad guys on futuristic hover bikes, being all futuristic and stuff. Eventually I was caught.

They took me to "the" main big bad guy, who now in the fading wisps of my memory of this dream can only be described as Loki from Thor. (I'm sorry for all the plot holes, I'm sure there is a lot more to my awesome back story and why this guy was after me. My movie-dreams are usually more detailed than this... I'm a little disappointed in my sleepy brain right now, but it's 2 AM and my screenwriting career is just going to have to wait...)

Anyway, suddenly everything got more down-to-earth. Loki was with me in a room of an office building, but it no longer felt like a dream or a summer blockbuster. He told me I have to die. We talked for what seemed like hours, me trying to convince him the whole time that I can't die. It can't be my time. But somehow, he convinced me that he's right. That this is something I have to do to save someone. He left me alone in the room. I had until 4:00, and then I would die.

At first I didn't know what to do. I walked out of the room into a kind of central office area, with cubicles and front desks and a break room all in one. There were two girls there - I can't remember who they were but they were real people I've met. I started telling them - only slightly audible through my shaking and sobbing - about how I was going to die and I was scared and sad. They were only mildly sympathetic. They kept glancing at each other and then talking about really superficial, unimportant things. Like shopping and celebrities.

I kept walking into the break room area where I found a woman, who is someone I know in real life who I just met in our new neighborhood. She looked at me in a way that conveyed both resigned sadness and a look that said "you've just got to suck it up and do this, it's just how it is." And then out from behind her walked my whole world.

My little Finn.

He didn't know what was happening and just wanted to explore this big, empty, semi-dark office building. He wasn't upset, just almost bored. Immediately I realized why I had been feeling so sad and scared. I was suddenly filled with suffocating, almost debilitating grief. Not because I realized in that moment I wouldn't get to raise my precious, sweet boy - who up until this point in my dream I didn't know existed. But because he wouldn't know how much I love him - and had loved him for the first 2 1/2 years of his life. There was a part of me, behind the sorrow, that knew he would be fine and that Chase would provide and care for him. I was not worried about his welfare. My concern was just that he simply wouldn't know the depth of my love for him. It was the scariest, most horrifying feeling.

I looked at the a clock on the wall and suddenly realized it was 1:30 (which incidentally when I woke up from my dream, it was). I had almost no time left and it hit me, as I stared at my perfect son, curiously pushing buttons on the fax machine, that even if I hugged him tightly and turned his head to face mine and stared into his beautiful eyes and told him adamantly and sincerely how much he had made my life complete and how much I adored and loved him... he simply wouldn't remember. He was too young and would probably smile and give me a sloppy kiss and continue exploring the break room.

I left him to play in the safe hands of the woman and ran into the hallway. I wandered through the dark building until I found a large computer lab. The screens were all lit and waiting. I only had 2 1/2 hours of breath left. I sat down with the full intent of writing a letter. Something he could read and understand when he was older so that he would know what he meant to me. I started typing, all the while with tears streaming down my face.

I heard the door of the lab swing open and Finn wandered in. He saw me and yelled, joyfully, "Mommy!" and ran and climbed into my lap. He started playing with the mouse and keyboard and I became frustrated because it was so important that I finish this letter to him before I die. I pulled him down off of my lap and looked around and saw the woman waiting in the doorway. I nodded my head toward Finn in an exasperated way, as if saying "Can you come get him so I can get this done?!" She took him out of the room without a word.

I didn't know what to write. I started feeling panicked and suddenly looking at the clock I only had minutes left to live and nothing typed. I ran back into the main break room area and saw the two girls who looked as mildly sympathetic and uninterested as before. I searched for Finn and the woman but couldn't find them. My time was almost up. A moan/shriek of pure sorrow and frustration and regret and horror escaped my mouth...

Then I woke up in my bed next to Chase and slowly came to the realization that it was all just a dream. I was crying and my chest felt achy and tense as if I had really been sobbing for that past hour.

I had been feeling really down and sad before we went to bed. That day had been a tough day with Finn. He hadn't been listening to me at all and every time I had asked him repeatedly to do something (or more often to NOT do something) he wouldn't obey and would just stare at me until I blew up in frustration and anger at him. I went to sleep feeling like a failure in two ways. One, for not being a good enough mother because I hadn't taught him how to listen and to not hit/throw/push other kids. And two, for getting upset and losing my temper with him when he is only 2 1/2 years old and still doesn't understand so much about the world.

Still in tears, I laid in bed thinking about this dream and wondering what it meant. At first I thought, "Am going to get hit by a car and die on my morning run?" Maybe Heavenly Father is trying to warn me that my time is short. I thought about that and realized sadly that if that was indeed true, I have many regrets. I regret not being more patient with Finn... I regret the times I let him watch a movie on the iPad only to become consumed by some terribly unimportant thing I was looking at on my phone, until he finally jumped on my lap to hug me and grab my cheeks so he could look straight into my eyes, as if to remind me what I SHOULD be paying attention to. I regret the times I yelled at him to hurry because time just wasn't moving fast enough for my fast-paced schedule. I regret not playing more with him. Not teaching him more. Not reading more books or singing more songs. There were many times I could have done those things more with my precious little boy... but didn't.

No, more than likely this dream wasn't a death omen - but obviously I haven't ruled that out or I wouldn't be up in the middle of the night typing this - but I feel like it was meant to teach me and remind me of what is really important.

The idea that I wasn't worried about Finn's welfare but only about him knowing I loved him is so painfully interesting to me. Imagining him growing up without me, wondering what his mother had been like and how she felt about him literally makes me ache. I know that families are forever and that if I die I'll be with Chase and Finn again. And in my dream I was literally walking to my death (which from what it felt like was going to be some kind of execution).

In stories and movies, the people who know they are going to die and have just moments to live seem to only want one thing: to say their last words, their last goodbyes. It brings into perspective how little of the day-to-day things we consume ourselves with matter - when faced with certain death all the superficial, materialistic, worldly concerns go out the window. We can't take anything or anyone with us when we die. We can only leave behind our legacy in the form of memories.

Most people don't get to say their last words. They die unexpectedly in a car accident or of a heart attack. I think in my dream I realized that, yet I was still paralyzed by fear because I knew all the memories I had left behind with Finn would disappear because he was too little to remember them. Or remember me. And that broke my heart. I think the reason that Chase wasn't really a part of my dream is because I know he knows how much I love him. He has memories and records of thousands of "I love you's" and hugs and kisses and laughter.

At the end, when it was almost time, I started the panic. I can still feel the anxiety and fear even though I've been awake for 2 hours. The truth is that at any moment my life could end and there would be so many things I wished I had done before it did. So many things I'd want to tell my little boy who is everything to me. So many things I'd wish I had done with him so that when he was a teenager he might have some blurry picture in his head from an old memory where he could feel for just a moment how much his mommy had loved him.

When it came down to it, even with the foresight of knowing exactly, to the minute, when I was going to die - I still never got my "last words". I never wrote down my loving and perfectly eloquent letter to the future adolescent Finn that I hoped would comfort him as he grew up without me. In my very last moments, I was searching for him, wishing I hadn't left him to write that letter and pushed him off my lap when he "got in the way"... and it was too late. I wished I had instead cradled and kissed his head a million times and just stared at his beautiful little face for every second I had left to be with him. I wished I had chased him through the halls of that office building just to hear him shriek and giggle. I wished I had hidden in a doorway so that I could hear his adorable little voice calling, "Mommy? Are where you mommy?" only to pop out and startle him so that he would run to me and throw his arms around me while we both laughed.

I want to spend every moment of the rest of my life, however long it may be, being the best mother I can be to him. That might not mean he always eats perfectly healthy meals. It might not mean that I will never get frustrated with him. In fact, I'm sure I will and I will beg for his forgiveness every time I stupidly do so. But I will try harder to spend the time I have with him - with him. Not sidetracked by work or technology or cleaning or ignorant assumptions about how he should act when he's still just an innocent, curious little boy.

Today was just a rough day, and that's all. The fact is, most days with my little Finn are perfect in their own way - even with the tantrums we both have. They are full of his laughter, his questions about the world, his pure and genuine observations about his relationships with others. Each and every moment with him is a gift. His smile is contagious. His love for life is absolutely breath-taking. His humanity - his natural sympathy and concern for others - makes me sigh with gratitude that I have been blessed to raise this child who is sure to grow up to be a great man. Yes, he deserves better than me. So I will try to be better.

Finn, I love you. You are my best friend and no matter what happens, know that I love you and that our family is eternal - you are stuck with me as your woefully inadequate but determined mother. You are so loved by your mommy and daddy. You are so loved by your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The son of God suffered every pain imaginable - and everything that you will face in your life - so that He alone could be your companion, even when it feels like no one else on earth could understand how you're feeling or what you're going through. He does. For some reason, nothing has brought me more comfort than that knowledge. That's the most important thing I have ever learned and it's the one thing I want to teach you, sweet Finn. Never feel alone or unloved. He is always there for you. And so am I. 


Busy Bee

This past December had to be the busiest month of my life! I can't ever remember having so much I needed to do - all by the end of the month. On top of being a stay-at-home mom to the rascaliest child ever, I had my regular part-time web design job, several free-lance/Christmas gift design projects and the craziest of all - being the secretary for a primary of 110 children... which meant putting together 30+ manuals, designing the front bulletin and updating all the forms and rosters. I'm getting anxious just thinking about that actually. Ha. So anyway, despite it being a busy month, I really enjoyed creating some fun pieces for a few friends.

My lovely friend Amanda just had her baby shower and I was so honored to create her invitations! She is going to be an amazing mother. Baby Mufasa is seriously the luckiest kid in the world to have such great parents. Her shower was honey-bee themed so these were the invitations I made. I also made little labels for the food.

Another project I did was commissioned by our awesomely weird friends (well, one of them - she gave this to her husband for Christmas) who are seriously one of the best-matched couples I have ever met. This quote describes them pretty perfectly. :)

(if you're wondering why they're dressed like Ewoks, see here)

And lastly, I promised my awesome friend Lauren Strobot I would make her a robot print for her to hang up... And... that was like, a year ago. I'm quite the procrastinator - but I finally got it done just in time for Christmas! I printed it and put it in a 7x17 inch frame. I like that it's kind of vintagey looking - I think it will match her home decor better. I wanted it to be kind of personal to her and her husband - she loves to read and he loves basketball. And I love them. 

Anyway, these were a lot of fun to make even though I'm a huge procrastinator and had a lot of late nights finishing them up. I also worked on a birth announcement and a free-lance website that is still in the works, but hopefully things start slowing down a bit and I can post about Christmas!



Finn has taken comfort in my hair. Whenever I get him up from his nap or anytime he's been crying about something, he lays his head on my shoulder, wraps his arms tight around my neck and puts one hand in my hair and just softly feels it with his little fingers. A sweet habit that I hope lasts a while. :)


All is Calm, All is Bright

I saw this garland on Pinterest the other day and I just loved the choice of lyrics. Whenever I look at it, instead of thinking of presents and carols and holiday treats, I think only of Christ's birth, which is appropriate. And it's pretty. So win-win. I grabbed some metallic red paper, fed it into my Silhouette Cameo, and hot glued it to some twine. My favorite part from the inspiration garland (link referenced above) is this trick to line up the letters nice and neat.


So here is my version. I bought these giant antlers at a flea market a couple of weeks ago and right away I knew they needed something lovely strung between them.

Christmas time... is the best time... of all the times. 
Also, I miss when The Office was good.



Just a little logo I did for a friend's racing team. Dash on, folks.