Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Photography, blogging, friends, family, facebook, food, life.

I am avoiding it all.

I lay in bed at night and I think about everything I want to blog about. I blog in my head about it all. The pain, the sorrows, the eating through my feelings to the tune of 15lbs. The broken heart at feeling like I am losing my mother, to once again, at age thirty, watching another set of parents get divorced, the fourth such circumstance in my lifetime. I see this and I long so much not to allow my life to end up similarly. I never want my children to know this hurt or pain that I am feeling, even at thirty years old it stings. Trying to rebuild a marriage from the brink of divorce is hard. I feel like I am building a house out of toothpicks and Elmer's glue and it has to survive a blow from The Big Bad Wolf...I think of these things, and I cry.

A lot.

Mostly when I am alone.

I cry and I am not sure why I am even crying.

The emotional weight and toll of the last two years is almost too much to bear at times. This is why I hide. I don't want to be weak. I don't want anyone to know how utterly difficult almost every single day is. I don't want anyone to think I am not strong, or that my attitude is not in the right place. I don't want anyone to think I am not grateful. I don't want anyone to judge me for feeling the way I do, because, people do. I avoid sharing who I really am right now because it is scary. It is frightening to not feel connected to anything you have known all your life. To the only person you ever loved with every fiber and ounce of you. To your parents. To your religion. To feel completely and utterly empty and overwhelmed despite all of the trying in the world.

The tears come.

In waves.

In sobbing heaps.


In. Out.


I avoid sharing that my mom almost succeeded in taking her own life earlier this year. I avoid it because people think because she is sick, I am sick. I am not sick. I am well. I am just sad. I am sad because when I see my mom now, I am worried if she is taking her medicine. I am worried that she won't forgive herself. I am worried and wonder if she really is okay, because I know she doesn't tell us things because in her mind she is protecting us.

I avoid answering, "No, I am not okay!" Instead, I say, "We are good!" "Things are great!" "Much better!" When. When? When...when it comes down to it, I am not good, things are not great, things are not better. Things are a millimeter better when they need to be miles and miles and miles and miles better.

So, I avoid. I lie. I cover up...just because, I don't have it in me to do anything but. Until I can muster the strength to do otherwise...I will avoid, avoid it all, because I have no idea what else to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Natural History Museum of Utah | Giveaway

With the big kids in school all day, it has left a lot of alone time for me and Camilla. When I am not working, I take every chance I get to snuggle on her, take her on little dates, and just remember and relish in having only one child, even if it is for a few hours.

I recently had the most amazing morning with Camilla. I was thrilled when the Natural History Museum of Utah invited me back to see the finished product of their very fancy and very new museum. When I was a kid, I went to the old museum ONCE. It was during a field trip. Guess what? I LOVED it and I can remember almost everything about my experience there. I loved science, I loved learning and I still do.

The new Museum? Well, it is just awesome. Hands down. I can't really tell you, but I took time to take lots of photographs so that I can show you:

Please enjoy Camilla only wanting to be carried.

I adored the sketches on the walls in the Naturalist Lab section of the Museum. Here we learned about animals that live in Utah. The kids were fascinated as was I.

I really wish I had taken notes, however, between wrestling Camilla and my camera, I had no hands left, but I believe this little guy (or not so) is a bullfrog. Isn't he amazing?

I love the look on some of the kids faces. Some loved just looking, while others wanted to touch. (Even though they weren't able to touch the bullfrog, the Museum guide was very sweet with the kids and taught them a lot about this little guy and his habitat and things he likes to eat, and things that like to eat him.

One of the things I love most about the Museum is how hands on everything is. The Museum is completely inviting for children. There are games and exhibits for the kids right next to the ones for adults. What I love about this is that while I am reading about ancient life, my kids can be playing a game about ancient life, and I actually might get to read some of the things I would not be able to otherwise.

I would guess that "Reading a Site" was Camilla's favorite part of the Natural History Museum of Utah experience. She got to run and jump and play and pretend to dig and discover. It definitely helped her burn off some energy, while I walked around the area and read a bit about what Reading a Site was all about.

Okay, I lied, The Chickadee Society was most definitely Camilla's favorite.

What is The Chickadee Society you ask?
Kids ages 3-6 can go to the society held every Thursday from 10:30-11:00 a.m. Here, they read science themed stories. There are hands on activities with specimens from the Museum and the kids even get to meet live animals. Kids get to move and play just like the animals they are learning about. There is even a water feature where the kids can catch toy bugs.

Possibly my favorite part of the Museum was being able to stop and watch scientists and volunteers at work in the Paleo Prep Lab. It is always amazing to me to watch the technicians work with their tiny tools to unearth creatures and nature that lived so long ago. Amazing work.

Camilla loved playing with Emily's kids and laying in the giant dinosaur print.

Millie wasn't so sure about the glass floor at first, but it didn't take long for her to figure it out and to run, jump, and fall in love with it.

You want to know something really cool about this guy? He is made up of real fossils! When the structure was built to hold him, each of the fossils was made to hang in such a way that they can be taken off easily to study by scientists. How often do you see a dinosaur skeleton that is actually the real deal? I can tell you this was my first time and I was fascinated.

Can you see how much this little monkey loved the Museum?

The Natural History Museum of Utah has graciously offered one of my lucky readers a family four pack of tickets to see the Museum too! I am also including a little goodie bag of Natural History Museum swag to the lucky winner. I cannot wait to hear what you think about the beautiful new museum, and what your kids' favorite things were.

To enter:
  • Simply leave a comment telling me something you hope to see or learn at the Natural History Museum of Utah
For additional entries:
Please leave an additional comment for each entry as well as your email address. The winner will be contacted Thursday, November 1. 2012 via email.

***Disclosure: The Natural History Museum of Utah provided Camilla and me with tickets to a guided blogger tour, as well as a delicious lunch from their cafe. All they asked me to do is tell you, honestly, about my experience and to give away a family four pack of tickets so that one of my lucky readers could experience the fun too! As always, my opinions are accurate and my own.***

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gardner Village Ride to a Witch | Giveaway

Saturday, my family and I woke up early to wander the grounds of Gardner Village. We started out with a yummy breakfast from the Wasatch Front Farmers Market, and wept a little inside that it is almost over for the year.

After breakfast we walked around and enjoyed a little witch sight seeing.

It is no secret, as you know, that I adore Gardner Village. I love the fun and unique shops as well as all of the events that are specific to the seasons. There is always something new and exciting for my kids, as well as basic traditions that we have come to create by going to Gardner Village. Ride to a Witch has become one such tradition that our family enjoys, and this year especially as my kids are just a bit older.

Our creepy ride tickets.

Enjoying a tractor ride and the crisp fall air.

Checking out the witch's house. The kids loved that they could touch EVERYTHING as long as they promised not to eat anything.

Getting a dance lesson from the resident dancing witch queen. She was wonderful with the kids and taught them a ghoulish line dance. Complete with mummy and werewolf moves.

Even if Camilla wasn't having any of it. She may have been completely terrified of the most adorable stuffed animal kitty stuck in the floor.

We ended our visit with the witches with a good old fashioned cockroach funeral. It was emotional.

Camilla and I loved this heart shaped rock.

Emmaree was the perfect age to be absolutely in love with all of the witches. They were beautiful and their costumes were out of this world wonderful. Emm couldn't get enough that is for sure. She loved that she fit right in with her sparkly purple shirt.

After all of our fun with the beautiful and sassy witches, we spent our next hour riding ponies and snuggling on animals in the petting zoo. Needless to say, my kids loved this! This was my first time being close up to animals. They are beautiful and each one had their own attitude.

Camilla is still talking about the, "Wabbit with the wed eyes don't yike me!" Precious.

Haven't been to Ride to a Witch? You must! Gardner Village is truly so amazing, and they are giving one of my lucky readers two tickets to Ride to a Witch!

To enter:
  • Simply leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about Gardner Village

For additional entries:
Please leave an additional comment for each entry as well as your email address. The winner will be contacted Friday evening, October 19, 2012. Yes, that means act fast! Can you believe Halloween is only 11 days away?

***Disclosure: Gardner Village provided four tickets to Ride to a Witch for my family, as well as petting zoo passes for my three children and asked me to tell you about my experience. As always, my opinions are accurate and my own.***