Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A new blog

So I have started a new blog.
It is kind of a jumping off point for our new situation.
I am talking about what happened with Scott.
If anyone has any questions, just ask.
I want it to be a place where I can talk about loss and hope.
Kinda like cheap therapy.
Plus I want to include things happening with the kids and our little family.
It's called Square One.
You know because I am starting over, kind of.
Clever, huh?
Come check it out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


My Scotty passed away on Jan. 31, 2014.
It has been exactly 32 days.
When my mom passed away in 2010, I felt the very deepest despair and mused that it could not possibly get any worse than that.
I could not possibly feel any sadder.
I suppose that trial was to prepare me to deal with this.
Because this, this is much worse.
It hurts so much more.
It feels so much emptier.
I am having a difficult time letting go of him, and of the life that we worked so long to build.
It is worse because I am so lost; I feel as if I have lost my identity and don't know who I am anymore.
I was always quite certain of who I was.
I was obnoxious, opinionated, loud, a little OCD, impatient, and quite embarrassing for Scott.
And I knew that secretly he liked it.
But now I feel alone, unsure, and like I am trying to hold it together for my kids and for all the people who think that I am strong.
And really he was the glue.
I didn't realize (or maybe didn't want to admit) how much I relied on him.
He knew how to fix anything.
He understood electronics. I don't.
He shouldered our financial burdens and, in large part, our future security.
That has shifted.
And I didn't want it to.

It was called atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.
His doctor said he had never heard of anyone die from this condition so young.
The autopsy revealed that this complication had been the result of years and years and years of buildup.
Because Scott had a tough time dealing with stress or any strong emotion, his body overproduced adrenaline.
And because his body could only absorb so much adrenaline, it began to accumulate, like plaque, around his heart.
His arteries were 75 to 95 percent blocked and his heart just blew out.
I had watched him grow more and more tired over the previous weeks. And he had been complaining of back pain.
But it wasn't until after midnight, early Friday morning, that he called me frantically into the living room of my dad's house (where he was trying to get comfortable) asking for an aspirin and a priesthood blessing.
By the time I roused my dad from sleep and brought the aspirin, he was already seizing.
My Scotty.
I have replayed those last 25 minutes over and over in my head.
As if rehashing again and again would some how help me to wrap my mind around the event.
Or help me just to get it. To get that it is permanent, that it really happened and my new reality is so very different.
I still think of his eyes, searching for me when I called his name in the middle of a seizure. He tried to speak to me, tried to answer.
When the paramedics showed up, he was lucid and I felt that everything would be okay.
You hear about things happening like this on the news or in a TV show, and even though it is completely awful and very scary, it turns out all right.
But then his face relaxed and his arm fell off the stretcher. They started chest compressions and I became hysterical.
How did this become my story?
His heart beat jolted and they rushed him out the door. They lost him before they reached the hospital.
I lost him.
He looked so handsome there in the hospital. Even though he was gone, I could feel him.
He was warm and smelled just like himself. I knew he was still near me.
I didn't want to leave. I stared and stared.
I held his hand the way we used to.
I tried to memorize his face.
Even though I had looked at it a thousand times before, I wanted to remember every single freckle.
He had a lot of freckles. They were my favorite.
I am proud of him, what he accomplished, and who he was trying to be.
He was coming around to thinking I was right most of the time.
He was such a good dad, and a good doctor.
I miss him every single minute. I can't ever stop thinking about him really.
I am trying to come up with a plan B, or maybe a plan C and D.
Some days I feel like I know what to do, what direction to go.
And then the next I am in my pajamas at 4:30 in the afternoon on the couch (where I have been all day) as my kids mindlessly watch TV.
It has only been 32 days.
I have to remind myself not to push too hard.
It is okay to not know what to do.
I feel envious of the people around me who are happy, who are realizing their dreams and watching all their hard work come to fruition.
It is shocking that so many people can go on with their lives as if nothing is changed.
I know we are an eternal family. I know that I will see him again.
But it doesn't change anything. It doesn't make me feel better.
If I have learned anything from losing my mom it is that time takes the sting away.
So I will just keep my head down, and try to dance with my kids and read them stories.
Eventually it won't be my turn to be in so much pain.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The dog days of summer ...

So it is truly the middle of summer.
I am glad that it is half over, truthfully.
But before you shake your fists and curse at your screen in outrage over such foolishness, hear me out.
Because that is definitely how I react to most things that make me mad, like when I cut my own bangs and they turn out like this:

Instead of this:

Or when I am certain a new episode of Glee is on and I frantically hurl my kids into bed early only to flip on the T.V. and find that Wipe Out is on instead.
That show. It is really bad.
Or when I get out of the shower and find Micah unloading an entire bag of popcorn kernels onto the floor, right next to the couch that he drew on with a pen, gorging himself with a sticky fruit-by-the-foot that is oozing down his chin and onto his clean clothes. That I just changed. Right before my two-minute shower.
A lot of fist shaking and silent cursing happens in my life.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, my life is tedious and involves a lot of cleaning.
That, and I am not a fan of hot weather, or warm weather even.
Plus I crave structure and schedules.
And for Micah to start acting like an adult.
Oh, and at the end of summer we will be moving away from Crapwater Tumwater.
I cannot wait to head back to Oregon.
But until then, I am trying to stay sane by locking my kids out of the house and turning up the fan full blast.

This is what happens on my back patio. We live in a community of townhomes. And so do a lot of other children. Obviously. Where are their parents? I don't know. Lucky for them, I don't like other children and will not steal theirs.

And our home is very near a sweet, little lake. With a stellar playground.

Excuse the quality of my photographs. I do not yet know how to use my camera, that I have had for a year. And, yes that water is really cold.


But apparently, Ezra does know how to use my camera. To take a picture of me and my skin mustache. Seriously, could I look any more like a man? The answer is no. I buy man glasses and cut my hair to look like the Biebs. Why do I do this? Because that is how I roll. At least I am wearing a swimsuit, you know, to show off the lady lumps.
p.s. I reread this post, and realize it has no point. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What is going on here

Well, I am back to dust off the 'ole blog.
I have had nothing of note to really report, hence the radio internet silence.
Now if this were a blog about all the embarrassing things that happen to me, I could post daily.
Because I embarrass myself and those around me constantly.
You know, perhaps I should begin sharing all the things I do that subsequently make others uncomfortable and feel sorry for me.
I don't do it on purpose.
Similar to Zooey Deschanel's character Jessica on New Girl, except without all the hunky roommates, and Donald Trump's hair.
Moving on.
Now I know that it is summer, and most people spend it outdoors doing fun things, but here in the Pacific Northwest we have a different tradition.
We stay inside while sheets of rain pour down and stare at each other, just as we did the previous nine months.
So I have, like, eight pictures of my family playing in the sun, that were all captured on the same day, right before buckets of rain flattened us to the sidewalk.
We tried to take the kids to a spray park in Oly (that's what the cool kids call Olympia) and force them to run through the water on a windy summer afternoon.

Micah never really got "into the spirit of things." Maybe because it was 65 degrees outside. Or perhaps because the jets were very vigorous. Not sure.

Ezra on the other hand, had to be dragged away from this park, not even to be dissuaded by the storm that erupted 30 minutes after we laid out our towels to dry. Figures.

Ryan was enthusiastic, clearly, despite the ominous clouds towering behind her. This pose is very natural.

What the ...?
I was zooming in to capture a picture of Ezra and instead got a look at this man and his enormous red underpants.
I don't understand this fashion choice.
But wanted to make sure everyone else got a good look too.
Kinda like when Scott and I are cruising Wal-Mart (we're classy) and he spots the long and hairy
crack of someone's buns and instead of discreetly turning away, points to it and says, "Brianne, I want you to see something ..."
Like that.

Anyway, despite the fun we have in our apartment, breathing in each other's personal space, we decided to visit school friends in Portland once more before they all scattered to the four corners of the earth now that their hubbies have also graduated.
We really miss them.
And by we, I mean I am a huge lonely loser.
And luckily they don't mind me calling them today only to announce our arrival tomorrow, and can we all crash at your house and eat all your food and wake you up in the middle of the night with our crying?
I have the best friends.
And their kids are pretty cool too.
And I don't normally like kids.
So there you go.

These sweet littles were my kids' playmates for four years. In fact some of them didn't even exist when we came here.

And these were my playmates. Seriously I was crying as we left. Because I love them. Now who am I going to talk to (in a fake southern accent) about thrifting and food and why our boobs deflated after having all those children pictured above? (There are 14 kids between the five of us. I know.)

And another shot of most of our kids playing one more time. I can't believe I just wrote that. I take it back. It will not be the last time. Not while I am alive and kicking.

And finally a shot of my kids, as they looked today. They requested this picture. And, yes, that is the foam from the inside of a bike helmet on Ezra's head, that he insisted on wearing to the library so, and I quote, "my hair won't get wet."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Moving, furniture, and eyeball cupcakes, how's that for a title?

 This is what we have been up to:

Yes. We moved. Again. And then again a week later.
The first townhome we moved into was awesome.
Awesome if you are a dog, and you need to use the bathroom.
Our carpet would have served you well.
And did, in fact, do just that for the four-legged canines who resided there before us.
As you can imagine, it was ripe.
And as soon as we stopped dry heaving, we called and complained loudly with really descriptive words.
Needless to say, we were then given a new apartment.
One with clean carpet, new flooring, and no odor.
Kinda like the one they showed us before we signed the paperwork.
Anyway, once we got settled into our "new" 70s-tastic pad, I turned my attention to my furniture.
Because our housing sitch is temporary but my furniture is forever.
First up is our entertainment center.
We have had this piece for a while.
We picked it out when we got married.
Oh yeah, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary in the midst of our move.
We basically turned to each other, and said, "This blows. Our ten-year anniversary and we are living in a dump, paying way too much into student loans to go out, oh and our kids are insane. Fun for us."
Next year will be better.
Anyway, I digress.
The entertainment center started off as a blonde-colored wood with glass doors.
I don't like light-colored wood.
So I painted it a bright, cheerful turquoise.
Which I loved.
All of our other furniture is neutral, so the pop of color worked perfectly.
That lasted about five years.
But after I accidentally busted off one of the doors by close-lining myself during a frantic run to the stove to keep a pot of rice from boiling over, he got another mini facelift.
I started by tearfully removing the other door.
You know, to keep the cabinet from looking like a pirate wearing an eye patch.
Luckily, he still looked okay sans doors, and I didn't do any structural damage with my acrobatics.
So now that you have heard his entire life story, I can reveal my latest update.


He's green. Clearly.
I love it.
I wanted a rich color and I needed some new doors (mostly to discourage the he-devil from playing with our electronics) and so I picked a glossy emerald and my dad made and attached the doors.
I added the loooong handles and I think it pretty much turned out perfect.
I have always loved this sleek look and I also enjoy how high he stands.
So sexy.

This picture is the best example of his true color. Not sure when "he" became a he. 
Moving on.
Next is a picture of the coolest napkin holder you will ever see.
And you will only see it here because I found this treasure at the Goodwill.
Brass seashells? Yes. Always.

And last, but very certainly the opposite of least is my table.
I made him.
Okay, so really I forced Scott to drive all the way to Seattle to pick up these hairpin legs I found on Craigslist, then swing by IKEA to grab an unfinished tabletop.
I stained and polyed the top, and bolted on the legs.
I still think that means I made it.
In any case, I love the way it turned out.
I would love to have a bigger table (one that could seat at least 8-10) but we aren't quite ready for a beast that large.

Another shot.
Isn't it pretty?
I seriously love the clean, simple lines.
Although I think white chairs would look better with it.
Perhaps that will be my next project?

And a picture of eyeball cupcakes.
Don't they look morbid scrumptious?
We celebrated Scott's birthday, and being the innovative person I am, I made eyeball cupcakes for our eye doctor.
My creativity knows no limits.
Anyway, I also got him a new pair of dress shoes and a cool, vintage satchel.
His reaction?
"Oh honey, you are so thoughtful. Did you keep the receipts?"
On the plus side, I am now the proud owner of a cool, vintage satchel.
And I have store credit for the cost of the shoes.
Next year, he is getting a gift certificate to Cabela's.
Which really was my initial gut instinct when thinking of a gift.
Darn my creativity.

He works really hard for us and we really appreciate his sacrifices.
Happy Birthday to my handsome Scott!
We love you.


Saturday, April 13, 2013


I like Easter.
To me it signifies the beginning of things.
The atonement provides an opportunity to start anew anytime we seek forgiveness.
It is sweet, calm, and bright.
And it was also the only half day in the last 8 months that it hasn't rained here in Olympia, so that's noteworthy.
I mean, really and truly, it rains every darn day in this city.
I don't generally mind the weather in the Pacific Northwest, but enough is enough.
Anyway, we had company for the holiday which was good because I am not very good about celebrating holidays with any kind of fervor and the kids would have missed out on egg-dying had it not been for Grammy Heather.
I despise egg-dying (and pumpkin carving for that matter) so there you go.
It is fun to be my kids.
But despite my complacency, I did deck out a basket for each of them (as did my folks) so the kids weren't totally deprived.
We still have stale peeps and all the gross-flavored jellybeans in a bowl on top of the fridge. Barf.
So, as I was saying, my Dad and Heather came to visit, which we love.
And we had a very fun and productive weekend.
We did haircuts, cabinetry, thrifting, Easter things, and Heather and I wept our way through Les Miserables.
Okay, Heather held it together, while I sobbed like an infant.
Even though I have already seen it. Twice.
Anyway, now I am going to show you 3 million grainy pictures.
Starting with a baby in a cabinet.
Don't worry, he was fine.
Moving on.
Ryan and Ezra did most of the egg dying. With their fingers.
They have on their "art smocks" which I also make them wear when eating dinner.

 Everything was going really well until Ezra dropped one of his eggs on the ground.
 It was upsetting.
And yes that tacky man, with a see-through shirt and black bra is me.

The kids were very excited to find their baskets Sunday morning.
Especially Micah.
See below.
Then we headed outside for an egg hunt.
The older kids were super sweet and let Micah "find" a lot of the eggs.
And there wasn't any fighting or tears over the amount of loot each kid collected, which as any parent knows, is a Christmas Easter miracle.

So happy. Obviously.
And last, but not least, a picture completely unrelated to any of the previous ones.
This is the face Micah makes when he has done something naughty.
I believe it is a defense mechanism.
As soon as he knows he's in trouble, which is hourly, from doing any number of things, like, I don't know, jamming my nails files into the dvd player, filling the toilet with an entire box of tampons, pushing the whole pot of soup off the counter and onto the floor, smearing the syrupy contents of three ant traps all over the walls, or perhaps unraveling at least a dozen spools of Christmas ribbon, he flashes this grin, showing all of his teeth.
And no, he is not being neglected. And usually has proper supervision.
This usually happens when I am using the facilities. Ahem.
Anyway, this smile makes is much more difficult to reach the right level of anger when dealing with his shenanigans.
We've started calling him Turd Ferguson.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ryan the Lion

So I am going to end my little "series" and then move the heck on.
I mean we have been talking about my kids for like a month.
It is time to refocus on what this blog is really about ... me.
So last but certainly not least is my girlie.
The first-born of my womb.
I once heard someone compare their first child to the first pancake.
They are the "experimental" pancake. 
This is true to some extent, but unlike my first pancakes, Ryan does not belong in the trash.
She is bright, attentive, creative, and a good helper.
She is a sweet sister and obeys everyone else me most of the time.
She excels at school and makes friends easily.
She loves kindergarten. Her classmates' examples have done wonders for her once cooperative attitude.
Apparently sassiness is the new polite.
And I hear that this behavior will only blossom.
I can't wait.
But honestly, we can't blame all her bugging on the public school system.
She is, after all, related to Scott and myself.
She is emotional and dramatic.
So basically she is Scott and I in a little girl body.
And just to clarify, Scott and I are both emotional and dramatic. Equally.
She is a perfectionist.
And a hoarder.
She saves every single thing that has ever come into her possession. I hate it.
I am constantly sneaking things into the garbage and then quickly taking the trash out before she digs through it to find all her tossed-out "treasures."
She has also decided that she wants to be a singer.
Because, and I quote, "Singing is my life."
She knows all the words to every Top 40 song playing with any regularity on the radio.
Which is slightly inappropriate for a small child.
Have you heard the song "Scream and Shout" by Britney Spears or "Whistle" by Flo Rida?
I cannot reiterate enough what a good mother I am.
Anyway, back to the sinful music (which thankfully she doesn't really understand).
She belts them all out, but they are usually sung off-key.
Or not in any key I recognize.
Maybe some sort of music lesson would strengthen her ability to recognize whether or not she is in tune?

Oh, and I need to mention that Ryan is ALL girl.
In fact, she was putting on her chap stick makeup the other day and turned to me with all the seriousness a six-year-old can muster and said, "I'm so glad we're ladies. We can wear makeup. We need to stick together since there are only two of us in our family."
Well said.
She loves it all: the nail polish, the sparkles, the heels, and the long hair (just as long as it never needs to be combed or "done").
She literally screams over each individual hair as I try to brush through it every morning.
And styling it?
You'd think she was being tortured.
The other day, she actually bawled, "You are torturing me."
Her words. Which, of course, is exactly what I do.
Yep, right after the French braid is finished I shove bamboo rods up her fingernails.
While playing a tape of crying babies in the background.
So dramatic. And emotional.
Anyway, a few more things I don't wanna forget about this silly girl.
She isn't a breakfast person.
She doesn't want to eat before school.
I didn't realize one started to develop those kind of opinions/habits so young.
And who doesn't like to eat?
And speaking of eating, the two things she absolutely cannot manage to gag down?
Salmon and honey. Not necessarily together.
And she loves to snuggle.
Actually I think that I have written that about every one of my kids.
Well, apparently they ALL want to be touching me at all times.
Which I have been told I will miss one day.
And I probably will.
Even though it sounds heavenly today.
And she also has had the same baby blanket her whole little life.
It is a huge pastel afghan. What the ...?
And she pokes her fingers through it every night in order to soothe herself to sleep.
I often come in to check on her only to find all ten fingers and both big toes sticking through all the stretched-out holes in her blankie.
She is funny and has the prettiest, freckliest smile. You can see all her top teeth.
And I love that she wears glasses.
She is very responsible with them and always removes them and puts them somewhere safe before karate-chopping Ezra and goading him into a fight.
I am so glad I have my Ryan, the lion.
I just love her so much.
She will always be my baby girl.
And we girls gotta stick together.

p.s. Is that singing not the cutest thing you have ever seen? I love listening to her. It is a medley from the movie "Pitch Perfect." This movie is so funny and totally has a PG-13 rating for good reason. Seriously, I should get an Awesome Mom Award of some sort.