Sunday, September 18, 2016

Exhaling Part 1

I feel like I've been holding my breath for the past four years and nine months, and now I am finally getting to exhale. I could not write while I was holding my breath. I have never been one to only put out the "pretty" part of my life. I think being real is refreshing and since my blog is my journal that I turn into a book for my family history, I think documenting real life is important. The thing is that my life was a little too real and too raw to write about. I've needed some time and space to process the events that we've experienced before I could write. Now I have so much to say but I'm not sure how, or if, I will be able to get it all out, but I am ready to try.

First of all, I am feeling guilt about not writing. My blog books are something my kids love to read. Even today Eden spent at least an hour reading one of them. I love having so much of our life documented for them to look at because had I not documented many of those things, we wouldn't remember them. There are so many things that I didn't document that are forever lost and I am so mad at myself for that. In an effort to let of of some of that guilt, I committed to put out a post today.

So here we go!

Exhaling feels amazing, especially after holding your breath for an obnoxious amount of time. Usually that first exhale is a quick one, followed by a big breath in and lots of pants afterwards. This particular exhale of mine isn't quite like that, it's more like a yoga exhale...slowly expelling the hot air that has been suffocating me. And then slowly, thoughtfully, almost cautiously, inhaling a new breath. Although holding my breath had become uncomfortable and exhausting, letting it go was not something I would allow myself to do. The choice was always mine, whether or not I was going to let it go, but it sure didn't feel like it. I felt like I had a weight on my chest and I was slowly drowning...emotionally and spiritually drowning.

This was not all that new of a feeling. I've been in that awful heavy place before, I think almost everyone has been there at one time or another in their lives...we find ourselves dealing with the garbage life throws at us and we hate it, but we sit in it for awhile because even though it stinks, you kind of just get used to it, but after awhile you get sick of the smell and you pull yourself out, or some of your beloveds see you in your funk and help to pull you out of it. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of my beloveds near me to save me from myself and I just couldn't find the strength to pull myself out of it on my own. All of my reserves had been exhausted. It was a really scary place to be but I didn't dare let anyone know how deep my despair was. Looking back now, I was worse off than I could have ever imagined. For the most part I had become numb, which is seriously not good, but what was even worse, is that the other part of me was just angry.

I was angry because when I agreed to walk away from my comfortable life, the one I spent my who life working and sacrificing for, I did it with total faith that it was the Lord's will and our family would be greatly blessed for taking such a leap of faith and that our sacrifices would be worth it. I trusted that He would deliver us and lead us to a place that would be worth all of the madness and uncertainty that we would experience. Well as days turned into months, and months into years, and years into more years without any relief in sight...I felt forgotten. I felt like it was all for nothing and began to question everything I believed. Not the kind of stuff I really wanted to write about.

My darkest days started about a year ago, I thought God was finally hearing my pleas and was opening the doors necessary for Aric to get a new job that would take us back West. As Aric kept moving through the interview process I was sure that everything was finally coming together...the reason why we couldn't sell our house in Utah was because we were supposed to move back and not only would his job be a better use of his talents, he would be working with one of his best friends! I let hope stir in my heart that all would be made right again...sadly, that was not what was happening and everything came to an abrupt stop. The disappointment was almost more than I could bear, my faith that had once been so rock solid and secure was crumbling beneath my feet. My exhausted reserves gave me nothing to cling to...I began a quick, downward spiral into a dark place fuled by anger but I was too spiritually numb to do much about it.

*I've realized that this exhale being such a slow process requires a very long explanation. So this will have to be part one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Camden is six...wahhhhh

(Que Mariah Carey..."Always be my baby" do do do do do do do dah...) 

"I know that all those years of trying, waiting and hurting were all about this moment. I was never supposed to get pregnant. This is how my son was supposed to come to me...Instantly I knew he was  mine. The baby boy I dreamed about was finally here..."

That is an excerpt from my journal when C was born and this time every year my heart goes back to those precious moments. I cannot even believe it has been SIX years! This boy has had my heart before I ever laid eyes on him. Every single day we have a morning snuggle ritual that is more for me than him because it is only a matter of time before he will be as big as me and he won't want to...and besides, it will be super weird and embarrassing for both of us before too long. Wahhhh!!!

(48 hours old Camden)

This boy is ALL boy...Dirt, sports, food, bugs, teasing, pretend fighting, super hero loving, lego building, exploring, tree/fence/anything climbing...that is him. He is also very brave and freakishly strong.

(1 yr old Camden)

He is also tender sweet with babies, elderly people and animals but not so much with a certain sister whose name happens to rhyme with "beadin'". He tells me every day that I'm the best mom he's ever had and that he loves me soooooo much. 

 (2yr old Camden)

Camden truly loves people...he has never met a stranger. Seriously, every where we go he makes friends. Everyone in his class thinks he is their best friend. I go help in his class on Fridays and every time I go someone new tells me how special or sweet or nice Camden is...not just his classmates but other teachers too.

(3yr old Camden)

Camden has been blessed with many talents, it's amazing what he can do with just about any sport. He has natural abilities that are beyond his years. His memory is ridiculous, it's amazing the things he can vividly remember. He can also sing and memorize songs like nobody's business. Everyday he runs around singing songs from Newsies using a New York is the funniest thing ever.

(4 yr old Camden)

C is very creative and loves to draw, staple, tape and glue. I will have to do a post to document some of his creativeness...because, oh how creative he has been! He loves to read and write letters. He loves clothes and definitely has his own sense of style.

(5 almost 6 year old Camden)

Other Fun Facts about C:

He says the best prayers and he always asks Heavenly Father to bless his missionary cousin Manuel to be safe in Mexico and to bless his Tia Ines and Tio Felipe to not miss their Manuel too much.

He loves pancakes, pasta and that order.

He wears size 7 slim pants and size 2 shoes.

He LOVES his like I mean he REALLY REALLY loves him.

He has two girls in his kindergarten class who have professed their undying love to him.

He has decided that he wants to play football and basketball for Clemson after his mission.

He wants a lizard desperately.

His favorite color is blue or red depending on the day.

He loves to be outside...every minute he can get away with it he runs out the door. Rain or shine, light or dark, cold or hot, this child needs to be in the great outdoors.

He still has aim issues...Cami can I please fly you out to help with this!!!

Even with his aim issues that send me into "mean mom who makes him clean up his own pee" mode, Camden will always be my baby. Always. I still give him piggy back rides to breakfast every morning...even though he easily takes up at least 2/3 of my body and is solid muscle. He still wants me to sing to him his "baby songs" and it makes me teary every time. I have no idea how much longer I have with him as my "little boy" but I will do my best to treasure every second of it.

Happy Birthday Mr. C!!! You are the best son I ever had and I love you sooooo much!
xoxo Mama

**Six years ago today my heart was heavy and my knees were tired from all the praying...all I wanted was my baby. I had no idea that at the exact same time a sweet girl in South Carolina had a heavy heart of her own and that in a matter of hours, both of our lives would change forever. I wasn't there for his first breaths, his first feedings or to dress him for the first time, he shared those sacred moments with someone else, someone who needed those precious memories to last her a lifetime...I cannot express how deep my love and gratitude for the sacrifice C's birth mom made so that he can have a better life and so that I get to have him forever. I pray that her heart is lighter today than it was six years ago knowing that her sweet baby is growing into a smart, strong, happy boy who is loved by many and he knows and loves Jesus. She will always be in my heart sharing this special day with me.  Mr. C, I hope that someday you will truly understand how blessed you are to have two mama's who would sacrifice everything for you. xoxo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

And...We have a pulse! The blog is not dead!

So this blog has been in a coma for many a reason...but I've clumped them up into these two categories...

First I haven't had time! Between moving, Aric being gone all the time, a demanding calling, working, volunteering, advocating for dyslexia and trying to be a present parent, my spare time has become very sparse and when I have it, I feel like I'm so far behind and I have so much to say that it's pointless to even try to put a post together because it would take hours...and I HATE starting something I can't finish.

Second, I've been too depressed. Seriously, my life has been such a roller coaster the last 3.5 years and unfortunately I LOATHE roller I would rather drop a hammer on my foot over and over again than be on a 2 minute roller coaster ride and this one is still not over. I'm all about being real and not sugar coating anything that I put on my blog, there is enough false advertising out there in blogland, but at the same time I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer and fill up my posts with lame, negative stuff...besides when things are sucking in your life you kind of lack motivation for such things as blogging.

With the excuses out of the way, I can tell you why I have decided to resuscitate this blog. It's not like things are super awesome now and I'm out of my funk but I know that writing is therapeutic for me. I have been told to start writing again in priesthood blessings but I haven't followed that counsel, so in attempts to be obedient and in hopes that I will feel better if I get my feelings out of me, I have decided to get this thing up and running again. The other thing is I need to document the happenings of my family for my posterity's sake and I was so much better about it when I was blogging...AND now that we live clear across the country from our friends and family it's the best way to keep everyone updated.

Now, where do I begin?? I have been wrestling with that question for a few weeks fact, I've been sitting here for almost 45 minutes trying to this is what I came up with, I found a picture that made me want to say something about it.

I took this picture last month, on a good day. I finished up at work, like I usually do, around 1pm and Aric called me and asked if I wanted to go to lunch, he had a light day and wanted to meet up. I was a little ahead of him so I drove around a nearby neighborhood and saw this tree. I had to stop. It was a beautiful day. I remember I was wearing a short sleeved shirt with my cardigan tied around my waist because I got hot during recess. The other teachers were complaining because they are sick of it being warm and wanted it to cool off. I just smiled and thought to myself..."Bite your tongues! This feels amazing!". Then when I saw this tree it just made me happy because it still looks like fall. The colors are changing, the leaves are falling but the sky is still blue and I get to still wear my short sleeved shirts.

Aric and I met at a little family run Mexican restaurant on the corner of Pelzer Highway and Three and Twenty Road...that really is the name of the road...not 320 or 3 and sits in the middle of nowhere. We ate there once before when we we got lost house hunting in June. It is at a funny intersection surrounded by woods, a gas station and a feed/tractor store but it has amazing fajitas for two. We sat across from each other in a tattered booth admiring the cheap Halloween decorations and enjoying the two kinds of for Aric, mild for me. The old school tables and chairs around us were filled with nurses in their scrubs on their lunch break, a couple of construction/road workers filthy from their hard work, a grey haired, slow moving couple and a couple of empty nesters who looked like they were treating their Clemson going kids to lunch.

It's amazing what memories a picture can spark. I remember feeling a little down earlier that day but as the hours went on I kept finding little things to be happy about...the leaves, the weather and then an unexpected lunch with Aric. We talked about the kids and how well they are adjusting despite all the changes. We talked about how great it was to be able to meet up for lunch after spending so much time apart the past couple of years. Those were topics I needed to discuss to help me get through the blues I had been feeling. Surrounded by random people and the smell of sizzling fajitas, in the middle of some South Carolina woods, I was able to shed some tears and get some much needed comfort...something I had been aching for.

Comfort zones are nice...they are more than nice...they are FANTASTIC! It's nice to step out of them from time to time knowing you can always go back to that familiar, cozy, happy place. It's like bungee are tethered to your safe and happy place. You jump off and it's scary but exhilarating and then it's over. Afterwards you go back to your happy, safe place and stay there until you feel like taking another jump. The problem I'm having is that I am no longer tethered to that comfort zone. I have to create a happy place within myself and teach my family how to do the same...which is super hard because I can't quite figure it out for myself yet. We have to become our own comfort family, no friends, no familiarity at all...except each other.

I hate getting lost all the time and not knowing how to get anywhere. We are all tired of being the new people. I finally feel like I know my way around the church building...only because we were assigned to clean it a couple of weeks ago. I have met so many people and they all remember my name because I am the new girl, but I can't keep everyone straight because I've met so many people all at once so I can't for the life of me remember who is who. I hate that no one really knows me. I hate having to tell my story over and over again. I find myself not wanting to go that deep because (A) I don't know these people and (B) I am just plain tired of telling my story. It's exhausting. Which means most of my relationships remain shallow and that sucks. It's lonely.

So that lunch with Aric felt good. That little booth in Los Compadres has now become part of my comfort zone. I know how to get there without getting lost. I know what to order on the menu that I will like and I have a great lunch date whenever his schedule allows it. It's not much but it's a start.


And that my friends, is how your breathe life back into your blog...the coma is officially over and it feels really, really good. I didn't get it until just now, but this blog is part of my comfort zone! It will be with me always, wherever I go. It connects me to people that are my comfort zone so I don't feel so lonely. Every word I type tethers me to a place that feels safe and happy. I now know why Heavenly Father counseled me to do it...He knows me so well. It's another example to me of how I need to trust Him more and be more obedient to even the random things He prompts me to do.

Until next time...because there will be a next time really soon :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014


 He did it! 
Aric worked so hard and it paid off. The days were long, like 12 hours and longer. I have never seen him so dedicated and stressed in my whole life. Week after week he would kill it.

He met some really great people in his class...they were so good to him even though he was the old man of the group. His main partner in crime was Eric...or 'Lil E as we liked to call him. They spent a lot of time together and we loved having him around.

Shane and Krissy



I'm not sure how we didn't get a picture of JT and that makes me sad. He is a great guy who was such a huge help to us and a good friend to Aric.

So at the end of the program the class nominates someone to represent their class and speak at graduation. Aric was the big winner...he was like the big brother of the group, so I guess they thought it was fitting.

He was quite the comedian, which is no surprise...

He even managed to get one of the directors of the school to dance with him during his speech.

He did a great job balancing the humor and the seriousness of what they all had accomplished. I was very proud of him. 

 He was sweet to mention me in his speech and the whole room clapped for me...acknowledging my sacrifice and hard work to support him and take care of our three kids during this crazy ordeal. I felt a little embarrassed but mostly I felt loved and appreciated.

Aric couldn't have had a better group of people teaching him and guiding him through this process. I am so grateful for every single one of them. They were so supportive of Aric from the very beginning and had all the confidence in him. It made a world of difference for us to have them in our corner.

The graduation was nice and not too long. C still couldn't handle sitting for too long. He was the only little kid there and tried his best to be quiet and attentive...

 Aunt Carolyn and Roscoe came to show their support. It meant so much to us to have them there. They had been there from the beginning and knew how hard Aric had worked. I know that I couldn't have stayed sane without them.

I still can't believe that Aric's dad was able to be there. It was such a fluke that the only way to explain it is that GK had something to do with it on the other side. It was a neat surprise and we loved having him there to share this accomplishment with us.

I will never forget this night. The fact that we made it to this day still amazes me. It was the culmination of hundreds of miracles big and small that made this moment possible. Words fail me at this moment to adequately express the joy/pride/gratitude and relief that I experienced. Aric's name is on the diploma but we all felt like we accomplished something amazing as a family.

We are team Albrecht and we rock!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A couple of tender mercies

One of the highlights of Boston was getting an email from my friend Rochelle. We met through blogging a few years ago but since Texas is super far from Washington it was kind of hard for us to get together. When she told me that she was coming to Boston with her husband for a wedding I was so excited! We were able to get together for lunch and had the best conversation. Her husband, Greg, was a gem and was happy to entertain C so Rochelle and I could enjoy our short time together. During the few moments C was occupied with his food Greg also got to participate in the conversation. I was feeling particularly frustrated with my life at the time and they both had some great words of wisdom and encouragement. That visit was a tender mercy for me and I can't wait to see them again when they come out to Logan this summer.

Another tender mercy I had was being able to reconnect with my dear friend Sherene. We both grew up in Oregon but she moved to Boston when we were in high school. It had been over 20 years since we had seen each other. I was so happy that we were able to get together.

I especially loved that we were able to get our kids together. 

Gabby and Eden totally hit it off...and Dylan was such a good sport hanging out with C.

Being able to reconnect with an old friend is some of the best therapy. It's crazy what a couple of hours of talking and sharing can do for the soul. Spending time with these two amazing women did for my soul...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Before we left we had a goodbye/birthday dinner for me at Aunt Carolyn and Roscoe's so we could say goodbye to Neto and Tommy. 

After dinner we went to JP Licks for dessert. I was introduced to JP Licks the summer I was 12 years old when I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle. My favorite thing to do was go to JP Licks for chocolate mint ice cream and jimmies.

It has changed quite a bit since I went there as a kid but it was still so fun to take my kids brought back some great memories.

Saying goodbye was so bittersweet. I was happy to finally be done with Aric's schooling and moving on but I was so sad that it meant that I had to leave my family again. Living clear across the country from each other makes it hard to stay connected. Being able to live by each other after all these years was so great, a blessing that I am so grateful for.

Making friends was not easy in Boston but Maya found Sonija. She was an answer to my prayers! Maya and Sonija met the second day of school and they became great friends. Before we left Maya wanted to have her over for a little goodbye get together. 

Friday November ninth was the girl's last day of school. That night Aric graduated, and the next morning we headed out West. So we made sure take some pictures when we picked them up from school. This was Eden's school...

Saying goodbye to Eden's teacher, Mrs. Kearnes, made me teary. I loved her for loving my girl so much and taking good care of her. There was a little boy who was obsessed with Eden and was seriously stalking her money and gifts and making her very uncomfortable at recess. Other kids got involved because the boy would tell the other kids to pass on his messages to her. Even after the principal and counselor got involved he didn't leave her alone. Mrs. Kearnes fought for Eden and made sure that boy left her alone once and for all. She was awesome and made school a great experience for Eden.

Maya also had some great teachers too. This is Mrs. Susi, she was Maya's Language Arts teacher. She really loved Maya and went out of her way to make her feel comfortable.

This is Mrs. Foley. She was Maya's homeroom, Social Studies and Reading teacher. From day one she was so sweet to Maya, everyday complimenting her about her outfit, her hair or something else she noticed. She gave Maya an extra boost of confidence everyday, something that as a mom I cannot adequately express how much that meant to me.

Having to watch Maya say goodbye to her friends made my heart hurt...she made some very sweet friends, they really made a huge impact on Maya.

It was especially painful when I watched her give Sonija one last hug...just writing about it makes my heart remember it and it was so sad.

My dear friend Kristen made the drive out from Hull with her two sweeties Kailah and Kruz to send us off with hugs and card that I know she was inspired to give.

As much as I hate goodbyes. I need them. I need closure no matter how painful it is. I am so grateful for the special people that were placed in our lives during this crazy life detour. Saying goodbye to some of them was truly difficult because we knew we would probably never see them again but their influence in our lives during such a short time will have lasting impressions on each of us.

Saying goodbye to family is hard because now we know exactly how much we have missed over the years and living so far away means that more will be missed. Even still, as I gave my cousins one last hug, there was more joy in my heart than sadness because of the opportunity we had to reconnect.

So I will take the sorrow, and feel every heart pang that comes with parting because it meant that I got to have the sweet, sweet memories that were not just fleeting moments. Each conversation, each hug, each meal and outing...every shared sight, smell and silence has been swallowed up by my heart and has tethered me to the ones that I have been blessed to love so deeply.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Election Night...My Heart was Broken...but I was there.

I don't throw my political views out there very often but OH DO I HAVE THEM! I have a hard time expressing them in a public forum because I have people who are dear to me who have very different views from mine and my passion for my views is hard to set on the shelf. I could debate until the cows come home but to me there is no point in stirring up those kind of emotions when no matter how strong my argument is, the other person feels just as strong about their side. We aren't going to change each other's minds so out of love and respect I keep my very STRONG opinions to myself...unless you happen to share my views and then we can commiserate together. But since this is MY blog, MY journal, I get to say what I want.

I voted for Mitt Romney. I think he is an amazing human being and I believe with all of my heart that if he was president, even after four short months we would be in such a better position right now as a country let alone if we had given him FOUR years! Even if he wasn't Mormon I would think that. There are still so many things that disturb me about the election...not just the outcome. I could go on and on...AND ON. But I won't. I will, however, document how I spent election night...

First of all, it was the first time Aric and I voted together at the same time. Our voting station was at Eden's school and I thought that was kind of fun. I took a picture with my phone but for life of me I can't find it.

My friend Kristen got on facebook that evening and was all "Who wants to go to the Republican Headquarters downtown?" and I was all "Heck Yeah! I'll go with ya!" My other friend Jamie was all "I'm in!" So we put our kids to bed, left our husbands and took the T downtown. We were giddy with excitement...

We got to the convention center as Romney's motorcade was showing up. It was so cool to watch it drive in. I couldn't get a picture fast enough. 

So we ran up to one of the gates to get in the guy was all "Where are your credentials?" And we were like "Huh?" We didn't realize that you had to have "credentials" to get in. He told us to go into the hotel next door because there was a reception going on in there. We went in and tried EVERYTHING we could think of to get some credentials. Kristen asked everyone that looked remotely helpful if they could find us some...even Tag Romney! Nope, no help. We met a couple from North Carolina who were trying to get in just like us. We were freezing being stuck outside wandering around the convention center but at least we made some new friends.

Finally the guy at the gate felt sorry for us and he told us to go find Lisa in the hotel and tell her Matt sent us. So we found our girl Lisa and she hooked us up!!! We were also able to get credentials for our North Carolina friends.

Look who got their credentials!!! 

Once inside we were all smiles...until we saw the numbers from Ohio coming in :( At least we warm and there was free food.

We would have stayed until the bitter end except that the T's last pick up at the Convention Center was 11:45pm. We barely made that last train and sadly our mood was way different heading back home. Even though it didn't go the way I had hoped, I was still so glad that I got to be part of the process. My kids were absolutely heartbroken when they had to go to school the next day and face all of their Obama loving classmates and teachers. It gave me the opportunity to have a great conversation with them about how when things don't go the way we want it doesn't mean that what we were fighting for didn't mean anything. Even when you know you are in the minority, it's worth standing for what you believe is right. They thought it was the coolest thing ever that their mom was at the Republican Headquarters on election night...and it was one of the coolest things I've ever done. Sooooo Cool.