Friday, November 29, 2013

Mi CumpleaƱos & Thanksgiving

The amount of love I was shown on my birthday was truly overwhelming and meant more to me than anyone could ever know!  My family, friends and of course my amazing husband treated me too well this year!  People often tell me they feel bad I have to "share" my birthday with Thanksgiving but I love it.  This is my absolute favorite time of the year so I can't think of a better time to have a birthday.

As our family has grown it has gotten harder and harder to celebrate everyone's individual birthdays so we just celebrate once a month now.  My dad and I share November so we went to dinner with the fam a few weeks ago and, like always when we're together, had a great time!  


There's definitely nothing I love more than spending the night with just me and my wonderful Logan!  We went to dinner at my all-time favorite restaurant--Tsunami.  We both love sushi so it was heaven!


Thank you, thank you to everyone for the kind posts, messages and phone calls that made me feel so loved!  Your love and support brightened my day as we thought of our little Eli who left us just over 6 months ago.  Miss you more than ever, little man!

I love simple pictures like this one that remind me of his tube/cord free days
Yes, those are socks on his hands :)
Thanksgiving was a wonderful, relaxing day.  We were with Logan's family this year and had a great time celebrating with both his mom's and dad's side.  What's better than two feasts?!  Logan played football in the morning while I slept cozily in bed and then it was off to our parties for the afternoon/evening.  Logan loves looking through all the Black Friday ads but we're not too into all the shopping.  I went for the first time last year and that was more than enough for me.  I'd rather spend a bit more money and avoid all the crowds while hanging out with the fam!  I was awful with my camera and took virtually no pictures but the three "Fs" sum up our day best: Family, Food & Football!

Like many other people, I always spend the day after Thanksgiving putting up Christmas so that's what happened today.  I always get so discouraged thinking about pulling everything out of storage but I'm always so happy with how it turns out!


Last year we bought Eli a stocking that matched ours even though he wasn't due until January so unfortunately he never got to use it but I pulled it out today and was so grateful we have it.  It makes me so happy seeing the three of our stocking hanging up together!

I have been looking forward to next week for so long and am so excited it's almost here!  The Festival of Trees has always been a favorite tradition of ours but I know it will be extra special this time around.  I've only seen tiny glimpses of all the work that's gone into the tree so I can't wait to see the finished product!  I hope many of you can go and support the hospital and all the work that goes into the Festival!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happiness

I was hanging out with a few friends last week and we were having one of our many wonderful conversations about life when someone said to me: "Liz, you always seem so happy.  Is it a front you put on around people or is it real?" Without hesitation, I responded: "It's real.  It's absolutely real."  Although I'm sure she already knew what I said next, I added: "It's amazing what the gospel can do for you as long as you allow it to bless your life."

From the time I was little and attending primary I remember being taught by my family and church leaders that the gospel would bring us peace and comfort during all phases of life and that the gift of the spirit would be one of the greatest blessings we would ever receive.  What I don't remember learning is that we would have to allow the peace of the gospel into our lives--it would never force its way in.

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this but I don't think I fully understood the concept of allowing the gospel to bless my life until recently.  Logan and I had received the heartbreaking news of Eli's diagnosis, we were living in a hospital and we had told our family and friends that in order to keep Eli as healthy as possible we didn't want any visitors coming to see him.  While we knew this was the best decision for his health, it was very difficult isolating ourselves for so long.  The staff was incredible and I care about them more than they'll ever know, but I desperately longed for the life I imagined we'd have when I got pregnant.  

While I knew those thoughts were only natural, I hated that I was feeling and thinking that way.  I wanted to wake up each day excited about my life and anxious (in a good way) for what was to come.  I told myself that in order to genuinely feel those things, I needed to first pray and ask for those blessings and second, prove to God that I had the necessary faith in his promises to bring me that peace and happiness I wanted so much.

Many things in life are much easier said than done and for me, this was one of them.  I knew I needed to give up all fear and doubt so I could prove that I trusted in God's plan for Eli and for me and Logan but that was so difficult when so much was at stake.  The best example I can compare this to is when you are asked to close your eyes and fall backwards and someone promises they will catch you.  You stand there with your eyes closed, often for awhile, before reluctantly allowing yourself to fall.  Fear and panic rush through you and you're sure you're going to hit the ground hard when at last someone catches you.  There's no better feeling, is there?  That is exactly what I experienced, but 100x better, when I finally stopped trying to do things on my own and allowed God to truly take over.

Rather than celebrating milestones parents typically look forward to, we found joy in things like successfully taking 5+ oral meds in one sitting, bravely completing a dose of chemo, not fighting the nurses too much when a new IV was placed or mouth care was done and most importantly: doing all of the above mentioned things plus much more with a smile on his face!

I would be lying if I said things were never difficult after that because boy they sure were but I am still amazed to this day at how much love, peace and comfort I felt and continue to feel every single day.  Logan and I experienced a parent's worst nightmare yet the happiness we feel is almost tangible and we know that has come, just like we were promised in primary, because we allowed the gospel to work miracles in our lives.

Life couldn't be more different right now from how Logan and I imagined it would be yet it's still wonderful.  My heart aches to hold Eli and watch him grow up and not an hour goes by that I don't think about him and long to see his all-telling eyes stare up at me with all the confidence in the world but I know my time to experience those things will come sooner than I can imagine and I would hate to miss out on this incredible chance at life I have been blessed with.  While I am tempted at times to ask god: "Why?" I instead thank him for the perfect guardian angel Logan and I now have and offer all the gratitude I can muster for catching me before I fell.   

~My Perfect Baby Angel~

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Festivities

We have officially reached my absolute favorite time of the year.  Don't get me wrong, I love Summer but there's nothing better than the holiday spirit and spending extra time with family.  The weather has been perfect so I hope it stays this way for awhile before the snow arrives!

Logan and I had our annual Halloween party with our friends from high school last week.  It was our turn to host this year but due to the fact that we have a tiny abode, we crashed at my parents' house. Thanks, mom and dad!

Everything was planned last minute but it turned out great and we had a lot of fun!  I don't love spending a ton of time coming up with clever costumes so we typically find whatever we can in the closet but it's always fun seeing what everyone else dresses up as.


Logan's guy friends will appreciate this belt buckle


Logan set the timer on the camera and had it take like 10 photos so everyone started having fun after the first one.
Reverse Charades was included in the evening and oh my goodness, it was hilarious!  I spent most of the time laughing at everybody else rather than participating like I was supposed to. Some of these candid shots show you how much fun we were having.


 


Logan had an online test on Halloween night so I walked around the neighborhood with my friends from Tangled.  


Lily turned one the day before Halloween and her mom had these adorable pictures taken of her:




Lily and Eli are going to be best buds one day.  They were only 2 months apart and every time Lily sees a picture of Eli she gets the biggest grin on her face and talks non-stop. Happy Birthday, Lil!

Only four more weeks until the best holiday of the year!