Thursday, December 23, 2010

We Gave Thanks

Over Thanskgiving Break we spent 10 days with people, in places, and with things that we are indeed greatful for....

We gave thanks for connections made (and connections kept) with mission companions. For the memories relived. The abundant laughter. Of our children's acceptance of one another.

We gave thanks for friendship. The oldest kind imaginable. Where there was never a time without that bond. Where generations before us had already created memories of their own together and then watched as we did the same. For the sharing of mothers and grandmothers. The second home (that was just 2 doors down). For the ease of reunion as if time and distance had never made it's interruption. For the promise to make more time in the future. For "Sister Friends".

We gave thanks for weather. A different kind of weather that is found about 6,000 feet above our very comfortable climate here at sea level. The kind of weather that offers four seasons. The smell of static in the air and the shock of it on my fingertips as they brush a child's cheek or grasp a door handle. Struggling to catch leaves mid fall. Praying to stay on icy roads. My children's fascination at holding frozen water in their hands. Capturing the token of a promise made long ago.

We gave thanks for family. Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. Great-Grandparents. Siblings. Nephews. Nieces. Parents.

We gave thanks for delicious food. For sharing our thoughts and shedding some tears over heaping plates. For mass quantities of soda (100 oz to be precise). For having enough and for having excess.

We gave thanks for temples. For forever families. For covenants. For
Freedom to worship the way we believe. The way we know. To stand in holy places. For scriptures. For missionaries. For those who stayed faithful despite persecution at it's worst.

We gave thanks for all this and more. For sharing childhood places, people, and memories with my children. For the visit back home. Not home as a location; one made of wood, stucco, and cement or a valley nestled in the mountains. But home as in people. Special beings that we've shared pieces of time with, having gleaned something (many things) from each of them that have shaped us into who we are today. We huddled closely with these people, this home, and together... We Gave Thanks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cruz Thayer Sowards

Dear Cruz,

This blog post is about 5 months past due. Not very good repayment for a baby boy who treated his mommy well during the 9 months she housed you.

You tricked me in the beginning. I thought you were going to be a girl. I felt so different than I did with your two older brothers. But Daddy knew all along that we'd be opening up our stored boxes of blue. I went to the ultrasound with visions of pink and an eagerness to shoot Daddy the "I told you so" look. Instead I left with the peaceful excitement of bringing another boy into the world. A boy that we would teach to be a man. Another missionary to prepare. I was wrong about you being a girl. But it was so right.

A few days later I received a disturbing call. Your ultrasound showed a worrisome cyst on your brain. "No need to worry just yet.", they said. "It could be Trisomy 18 or it could be nothing. These things come and go during pregnancies. We just want to rule out the worst case scenario." I feared the worst and missed you already. We had to talk with a genetic counselor before seeing you again and she happened to have an opening the very next day. We were so greatful and relieved to see that the cyst had already dissipated and we were in the clear. The ultrasound showed that you were going to have all your fingers, toes, organs, and....even hair.

I always feel vibrant and healthy during my pregnancies but even more so with you. We were a good team. I felt light on my feet. Sometimes I would even forget that I was pregnant. I never even got the pregnancy waddle swagger that I did with the others.

Your due date was June 22nd. I thought you'd decide to make your appearance later rather than earlier. But you surprised us by coming exactly on your due date! The night before we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Less than 6 hours later I was up walking the floor and timing contractions.

Daddy rushed us to the hospital.... 45 minutes away.... and we literally barely made it. I don't know how we did it. If it took us any longer, if the traffic had been any thicker, if I had stayed in the truck while daddy parked it then you're name would have HAD to have been "Ford" because that's where you would have been born.

You took your first breath just over 3 hours after my labor had begun; 6 minutes after arriving at the hospital; 3 minutes after Daddy made it up to the 5th floor. I was officially admitted to the hospital while holding you tenderly close to keep you warm. It was all so shockingly easy that it didn't even seem real.

We are so glad you're here. We are so glad you're healthy. You've taken up ownership of a piece of all of our hearts and our family wouldn't be complete without you. I'm sure there is a lot you could teach us if you could talk. I wonder if the veil is thin for you. Right now you are our little piece of heaven and it is our responsibility to make sure you get back there someday. That we all do. Together.

So this is your story. Minus a lot of details of course but we can fill those in later. Welcome to the family baby Cruz.

I love you,


Friday, November 5, 2010

Making lemonade out of lemons

Lemon: Losing my picture files to who knows where. The process of setting up a new computer and learning a new operating system.

Lemonade: Having a new computer! I miss my Windows XP (Windows 7, why do you hate me so much?) but it was time for that Pentium III to go!!! True story... the young sales associate couldn't believe our computer was beige. He's never seen one that old before. He's been looking for one to display on his shelf at home like an antique.

Lemon: My baby boy having a nasty cold. Watery eyes. Congested and runny nose at the same time (how does that happen?) Sneezing. Grumpiness. Slight fever. Wanting to be held all the time.

Lemonade: Holding my baby boy all the time!!

Lemon: Tweaking my back and having to forgo the half marathon I've been looking forward to running. A mini vacation to Santa Barbara, reaching a goal that's been a year in the making, fun time spent with friends, and a visit to a mouth-watering steak house is gone. POOF. Just like that (until next year).

Lemonade: Finally making an appointment to see the chiropractor which should have been done weeks ago. Not having to take my sick baby on a road trip. Not having to dump my kids off on friends for the night. Saving myself the calories that I surely would have justified myself into consuming. Saving myself the embarassment of what extra baby weight would have done to my race time

That last glass of lemonade isn't as sweet as it sounds.

I think I'd rather have the lemon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Days of summer

We did a lot of fun things this summer. I was very pregnant but determined to make sure we packed in as much fun as possible before my attention was drawn away toward the new boy that was about to enter our lives.

Daddy decided that this was the summer to start teaching the kids to surf. He chose the perfect day. The conditions couldn't have been better. The tide was low and there wasn't a cloud in sight. One little taste of that salty sea water and they were hooked! As they say..."The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." We visited the beach several times a week. These are some favorites of my "tree" and our little "apples".

Beau found this broken sand dollar on the beach and said, "Look, Mom. A fifty-cent piece."


We interrupt this blog post to bring you some devastating news. In an effort to step into the 21st Centruy we purchased some new computers . Many pictures were lost and or accidentally deleted during the transferring of files. This post and many others are currently unable to be completed. Every effort is being made to salvage lost picture files and restore them to their proper place. This is not a test. I repeat, This is NOT a test. :-(

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Runner's Amnesia

I have to admit... since I started training for my half marathon over a month ago it's been difficult to recall why I ever enjoyed running. I think it's been a culmination of extra baby weight, pushing a crying baby in a jogger, bouncy parts of my chest that never used to bounce like that before (gotta love lactation!) and just a general lack of motivation. I have found myself searching for good reasons not to run. But tenacity is a bugger and I've been cursed blessed with large doses of it. So I hit the pavement; Loathing every. single. step.

Until today.

Today the true runner in me resurfaced. The runner that felt light on her feet. The runner that felt strong, almost warrior-like. The runner that could seperate her legs, lungs, and mind into three distinct areas and only focus on the latter. I'm not sure if it was the number on the scale or the husband so willing to offer her some baby-less time to herself that brought her out of her Rip Van Winkle dreamland but she's awake! I feel her taking over and I love it. Together we ran 6.04 miles in less than an hour. Something totally unattainable on my own.

Today there was no crying baby. No jogger to push. It was just us and my iPod. 57min48sec of running bliss. "Running bliss". Not an oxymoron to me any more.

Today I fell in love with running again. For all of the reasons I loved it before. The true runner in me is back. She's here for good. And I welcome her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Spring Break 2010: Pismo Beach

Over Spring Break we tried something new. We camped at Pismo Beach. This is why we want to go back EVERY year (and why YOU should go if you've never been)...

The Bike Rides

The Walk Through The Dunes To The Beach

The Beach


Quality Family Time

Our Awesome Campsite

Cruisin' Through Pismo In The Scout

The Pool At Our Friends' Hotel

The 4-Wheeling

The Scouts (and the Landcruiser)

Driving On The Beach