Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scenes from the rest of December: The Ben

The Ben turned 10 months old this December.  His hobbies include:
playing the piano

eating food by himself

splashing all the water out of the bathtub

sitting with his little feet and bum in the cutest position ever

getting into things that he shouldn't

making new faces for me to laugh at

putting things around his neck, including a scarf that his father got at a gift exchange

skating/crawling around the house with blocks making as much noise as possible.
Can not get over how big he is getting.  He has taken his first independent steps and is laughing up a storm whenever he can.  He's also taken up cage fighting, but that's a post for another day. He's a little bit on the mischievous side and for some reason that delights me to no end.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Scenes From Christmas

Jingle Bells

Stepping into the day

part of breakfast

O Christmas Treadmill, Oh Christmas Treadmill, how lovely are thy... rollers?

How it's done.

Merry Christmas from the Sullivans!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Dear David,
You are my rock. You are the one I lean on in times of trouble. You whisper words of wisdom and tell me to let it be. Thank you.

Dear Primary Children,
I so loved your sweet voices today as you sung in church.  I love your smiles and your sparkly eyes. Thank you for sharing.

Dear Ben,
It's a good thing you are cute because if not I would get really irritated by the smell of spit up on my dress right now.  As is I will just throw it in the wash... like I did last week... for the same reason.

Dear Snow,
I'm glad you have made an appearance.  I like it when you cover all the brown and ugly this time of year.  Feel free to make yourself better known.

Dear Sunday,
Thank you for coming once again and bringing hope to a troubled world.  To my troubled world.

Dear Mothers and Fathers in Conneticut,
My heart goes out to you right now.  Every time I see a child or snuggle my own I think of you and I choke back a tear.  May God bless you in this time of need and sorrow and questioning.

My love to you all,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dear December

Dear December,

You are different than I expected.  When looking forward to your coming I anticipated huge white snowflakes, a double paycheck, Christmas magic and excitement filling the air, and peace and harmony everywhere.

That is not what you have brought.  Instead it's feeling rather like Fall with slightly more rain.  The job has not fallen into place as I had hoped.  Christmas with a child is not what I expected.  Though peace and harmony are in some places, it certainly isn't everywhere.

What happened to your magic?  The magic that comes with Christmas music on every station, lighted homes, stockings hung with care, toys in every store and every other symbol that Chritmas is coming near?  It is almost as if these things aren't enough...? 


Where Did The Magic Go

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Where Did The Magic Go,

I get that alot.  The wondering and waiting and wishing.  And I can understand why you ask; in the past these things seemed to be where the magic was.  Lighted windows seemed to bring magic with them.  A tree was a magical wonderland of promis and possibility.  But you've grown.  You've become somewhat responsible.  You've become more aware and a bit cynical.  And now the magic that you thought I brought with me just doesn't seem to be there anymore.

I've got a secret for you.  One that I'm pretty sure you already know, but I'll help you out anyway.  All of those outward things, the tree, the lights, the stockings... well, they are empty.  They are just things.  You are the one that gives them meaning.  They do not have magic powers in and of themselves.  They are empty and hollow until you make them into something; until you fill them.

You are the one that fills them with peace and harmony.  You are the one that remembers the joy they brought in the past.  But they were empty even then.  The joy you remember was not in the stockings, it was in the people that were with you.  The feelings of love that come with service and giving.  The feelings that come from remembering the birth of a small child a long time ago in Bethlehem.  The child that grew into a man and became the personification of hope, peace, and love.  The person who gave us all good things.  The person who loved you first.

The magic is not gone.  You just have to remember where you put it.  Not in ornaments or lights, but in your heart.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dear Today

Dear Wednesday,

You are here and I'm not sure what to think about that.  You are the middle.  The middle of a big week.  Of friends and family.  Of politics mingled with religion.

Things I would like you to bring next time around.

1.  The ability of my baby to sit still long enough for me to get both the diaper and the pants back on before he squirms out of control.  Or faster reflexes on my part.

2.  A pair of pants that are not covered in drool and/or snot up to just past the knees.

3.  All the leaves on the ground so they can be raked up once and for all.

4.  World peace.

5.  An extra bag of pretzel M&Ms cause the one I have might not last through the week.

6.  Time with my husband.  Real time.

7.  A somewhat back to "normal" schedule for Ben that we can all live with.

8.  A return of brotherly kindness despite the politics of the day.

It's not much to ask really... when you think about it.  Well maybe the world peace thing, but wouldn't it be nice?

Don't get me wrong, you have been kind today as well.  I love friends and muffins and real talk.  I love the sunshine and the weather that still allows for walks.  A vacuumed floor that may last all the way till 5 pm.  A new print hanging on my wall.  Excitement about this coming Girl's Weekend.  And there are still enough M&Ms to last through the day and tomorrow.

Until next week...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's About...

Last Saturday I forced my husband to watch "What To Expect When You're Expecting" with me.  Good man right!  Right.

As I watched I couldn't help but relate to some of the women in the movie.  I laughed, I cried.  I spent a good deal of time caught between the two.  All those feelings came flooding back, the hope, the despair, the discouragement.  The getting pregnant at last and instead of that happy "glow" that is such a perk, hurting all over and being nauseated and big and bloated and miserable.  Ya know, normal.

But the one that got me the absolute most was the couple that adopted, Holly and Alex.  They had tried everything.  They had sunk their 401K into rounds of IVF (in vitro fertlization).  They simply could not have a child on their own.  It ate at her.  At one point in the movie she says that she feels like a failure.  It's her body that isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing.  It's her fault that they can't have a child.  She can't even do what every woman is supposed to be able to do.  Those of you who have struggled know exactly what that's like.  Exactly.

At the end they were able to adopt a child from Ethiopia.  I cried like a baby.  Cried.  I'm actually getting all emotional right now!  Nothing got me like that.  A family trying to hard to be a family but unable to do it on their own.  They needed someone else.  Someone willing to give them a child.

Adoption sometimes gets a bad name.  People get scared about baggage that may or may not be there.  Grandparents don't want to "give up" their grandchild even if their own child is still... a child.  I never quite knew what I felt about adoption until we were faced with it.  Until it became an option for hope for us.  For our family that could not be a family without someone else. 

"But Lora, you have a child of your own, what are you talking about?"  Well, you're right.  I do have a child of my own.  A miracle child.  An IVF one time shot miracle baby.  We were the lucky couple who had it work on the first try.  I'm pretty sure that's the first time that the odds have actually been in our favor.  But what about the future?  What about more children?  What about those that the odds didn't work out for?  The arms that have tried everything but cannot get rid of the feeling of emptiness.  The arms that long to hold a child.   To care for and raise a child.  To make their family complete.

Meet Brandon, Kristen, and Zachary.  
 Zachary was adopted and I'm not sure if it's possible for someone to love a child more.  They are absolutely amazing together.  All of them.  But, they don't feel like their family is complete yet.  They want a brother or sister for Zachary.  They want another special little person in their home, one they can't bring there themselves. A year has gone by since this picture was taken and they are still waiting, searching, hoping, and praying

So here's my plug for them.  You can find their adoption profile here:

You can find their blog here:

If you know of anyone anywhere that might be interested in taking a look their way for whatever reason, please pass it along.  Blessings come in several different ways.  Blessings for Brandon and Kristen, blessings for the special person who can help them be complete.

At the end of it all, it really is about Love.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Who am I?

This question has been on my mind a lot lately.  Who am I really?  Where do I stand on issues, on friendship, on parenthood? Where do I stand when tough questions are asked?  Do I help people or hurt people? Do I knee jerk react or take time to really figure things out?

What are my true colors?

I've been questioning a lot about myself.  Why I am the way I am.  About how I see things.  We all have experiences that color our vision.  Some can be helpful, some actually put blinders on our eyes to reality.  Sometimes that's okay and sometimes it just...isn't.

My main concerns have been about religion.  I grew up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  In my community it was/is a way of life.  I went through my rebellious stage and figured out that I wanted to stop fighting with my parents.  I needed to live they way they were asking me to.  I knew that God loved me and I could be reminded of it more regularly in church.  That love that God has for me was and still continues to be an anchor in my life.

After much consideration and waffling back and forth, I decided to serve a mission for The Church.  It wasn't all roses but I loved it. I love the life experience that I gained.  I loved being an instrument of good in God's hands.  I loved the people, my companions, the area.  It was hard.  It helped me learn that I can do hard things.  With God nothing is impossible.  So long as it's according to his will that is. 

Recent events (and by recent I mean as long as two years ago up till yesterday) have had me questioning.  Not the gospel, but the application of it in my life.  In the lives of those around me.  Am I actually living the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Yes I go to church.  I go to the temple.  I even try to do my visiting teaching.  I gather on Sunday with the saints and raise my voice in song.  I listen to the lessons and see what I can bring home from them.  I read the scripture, both the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon.  They work well together.  I pray daily.

All is not perfect. All is not well in Zion.  People judge.  People who are supposed to be living Christ-like lives are judging.  Sometime quite harshly.  Friends are getting called on the carpet by other "friends" about their beliefs, political and otherwise.  "How can you call yourself a good Mormon and still be_________?"  People are being judged for how they dress.  "How dare you step onto school grounds wearing flip-flops?! Don't you know that's against the honor code!"  Peace sign = hippy = anti-Christ.  Being judged against a standard that doesn't exist: The Perfect Mormon Housewife. Might as well strive to be Barbie!

So many things that just don't belong.  So many things that really aren't a part of the gospel but seem to have always been.  The green jello with carrot shavings beliefs.  When did tradition become gospel?  Oh wait... it didn't.  Not really.

I've always believed that it is okay to question.  I don't believe that wearing flip-flops at BYU-Idaho is fundamentally wrong.  I have no idea why it is part of the honor code.  I don't understand why a 5 o'clock shadow is not allowed in a testing center.  I have no idea what is so appealing about green jello with carrot shavings. The Perfect Mormon Housewife is creepy and puts me in a bad mood.  And I really dig the idea of peace.  These are all things that I have never prayed about.  They just felt... silly.  Sometimes ridiculous.  Does it shake my testimony of the Gospel? No.  "Well how come!  Doesn't it just prove that this church is run by men and not God! Men who are out to suppress one's footwear!"  No. It means that we are all still learning, even those in high places.  It means that trials come even within our own ranks.  It means that I get to learn to get along with imperfect people and they get to learn to get along with imperfect me. 

It means that we get together on Sundays to learn from each other, to grow together, to figure out how to really live the perfect Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The one that teaches us to turn the other cheek. (Oh how difficult that is when it comes from someone close to us!) The one that teaches us to love our enemies as well as our neighbors, as well as ourselves.  The one that teaches us to change our hearts.  To rid ourselves of the natural man. The one that teaches compassion and mercy.  The one that looks upon the heart, not just the action.  The one that invites all to be a part of it.

I have asked questions.  I have asked God where he would have me be.  I asked Him yesterday as I was listening to the speakers in church.  As I was pondering where things really fit.  He told me, in the calm and peaceful way he is able to communicate with my soul, that in church, that church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is where he would have me be.  To learn and grow together with the imperfect because although the people are not perfect, the Gospel is.  The Gospel in its fullness.  The Gospel that comes with a living prophet and continued revelation.  The Gospel that comes from God, not men.

I am Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I come from a long line of imperfect people trying to do the best they could.  Striving to learn to be better.  Living the gospel the best way they knew how.  I get to learn from them.  I get to continue to grow and improve and to love.  To change my heart, to do as God would have me do.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Do Over

I have had a lot of time to think lately.  Not that the amount of time in my day has increased, but rather because I have just been plain old absent from internet communications.  I check my email once a day, sometimes twice, put in a quick glance on Facebook and then just stop.  I'm woefully behind on my Google Reader and pages and pages of Pinterest items have gone unlooked at. Nothing personal to anyone out there, I just haven't had the energy lately.  It's mostly because I kept on trying to get on for a quick look and found myself losing track of time and then not having time to do the important things like Cooking Dinner or Eating.  So rather than putting off the morning meal, I put off the morning reading/pinning check and now they have gone by the way side rather than breakfast.  My husband can attest... this is a good thing! Food makes me happy.  And happy people just don't kill their husbands!

But I digress.

Do Over.

I've genuinely tried to live life with no regrets.  I remember hearing that phrase as a teenager and thinking that I knew what it meant.  Do things you wouldn't normally do!  Be brave! Don't let the world pass you by! All such vague concepts.  Trivial even.  Back then it meant to take that vacation, go on that ride, throw caution to the wind and try something new.  As I've gotten older and have had more "life" to look back on, I've realized that it means more.  It was never about taking that vacation or throwing caution to the wind, it was more about being able to live with myself.  The consequences of my actions or inactions. 

I am not without regrets.  I am not haunted by a multitude either, but there are some strong instances that stick out.  Some strong instances that really do haunt me.

One was in the mission field.  My companion and I were teaching a gentleman.  He had a desire to learn, to figure out what all this "Mormonism" was about.  His profession taught him to question everything, to research both sides, and he did his job well.  Many meetings were spent addressing these questions.  At the end of each meeting either my companion or myself would bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.  It didn't always make sense to him but he always felt something positive and invited us back.  Except for the last time.  Scheduling got in the way.  We met him at his office building and the room was only available for a limited time.  It had been an exhausting discussion.  At the end I felt that I should bear strong testimony but in the rush of the moment I decided to skip it this time and be sure to do it extra well next time.  Right?

There was no next time.  He never invited us back.  I never got my second chance, my Do Over, to make things right.  That was 15ish years ago and it still haunts me.  What would have happened if I had followed my gut?  If I had been brave enough to do the right thing?

The other haunt is in regards to someone I just don't know well at all.  Someone whom I judged rashly.  Harshly even.  Someone who really needed to be a part of something but I just wasn't brave enough to take it on.  Not brave enough to really open my heart.  Not brave enough to help someone heal theirs.  I thought there would be someone else that could step in much better than I could.  I don't really know if I could have helped, if my efforts would have even made a difference.  I never gave it a chance.

Times gives perspective.  15 years of haunting, of looking back with regret and shame; wanting to bury it, leave it in the past where it belongs; ignore it and it will go away right?  15 years of learning and growing.  15 years to get brave.  15 years to do what I should have done in the first place.  My Do Over.

I could be called "chicken" by nature, or at least when it comes to confrontation.  I don't like to call people.  I don't know how to face them sometimes.  I write things instead.  That's what I decided to do, write letters.  A heartfelt apology for not being brave enough to do what was right when it counted the most.   Pouring out my heart, asking for forgiveness, bearing my soul....  There are so many ways each could be taken.  Mocked, made the object of office ridicule, laughed at, thought about, wondered about....  I have no idea how they were taken.  But I do know that for the first time in 15 years I don't look back with shame, guilt, or regret.  I may not have made the right choice the first time around, but I took a Do Over, or rather a Try Again and that's the best I can do. 

The rest of my life is far from perfect.  Mistakes are made daily.  They just aren't the haunting kind.  15 years of regret teaches its own lessons.  I like to think that I have gained some perspective.  Realized that there are things that are worth standing up for regardless of who surrounds me.  I do not want to be shamed into making the wrong choice.  I do not want to be scared away from making the right one. 

We all have battles to fight of our own.  Choices to make, adversity to face.  Will the decisions we make today haunt us 15 years from now? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A day in the life

Tuesday 8/28/2012
This was our day.
It's not important.
It's not life altering.
But it was kind of fun in places.
Stressful in others.
Always more to do that time to do it in.
Including capturing it in picture form.
So here are some highlights.
Just the good stuff.
Ben got his first tooth.  His first real tooth.  It appeared on Sunday. In celebration I gave him an apple slice on Tuesday.  He wasn't sure what do.
He figured out it.
This is the current state of my produce corner. I keep on meaning to bottle or freeze the tomatoes, cook the zucchini and yellow squash and baby potatoes for dinner, boil the yams for Ben, leaving the pears, bananas, and avocados a sanctuary all their own to ripen and be eaten as pleased.
Breakfast of champions!  A Kefir, banana, peach, strawberry smoothie and a banana bar with cream cheese frosting.  The smoothie should balance everything out right??
We went for a walk.  Ben in his hat and me in mine.  That should work off some of those cream cheese calories right?  Ok, I don't really care about the calories, but we both enjoyed the fresh air.
The zucchini was used!  Oven baked zucchini chips to the rescue!  Surprisingly tasty too!
I finally got the chance to use my multi-pack of sharpie markers.  I'm a sucker for office/school supplies and have been wanting these for a long long time.  I found them on sale for $4 at Staples and they were mine!  So much better than $12!  I would post a picture of what I did with them, but it would ruin a birthday surprise for someone else.
Ben LOVES bath time.  Loves. The bathroom gets a shower every time he gets a bath!
Nothing like a little chocolate to end the day and something on Netflix to end a day.
More happened.
David was here for some of it.
He worked at CAPSA all day, came home and quickly grilled burgers for dinner and headed off to a Young Men's activity, thus his absence in the photo portion.
All in all, not a bad day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Remember that first of the year word that I'm too lazy to link to?  Well my goal was to simplify my life and be resourceful.  To provide on a shoestring budget.  To let go of things and find ways to do others.

I've felt a need to really take stock of where I am right now.  It's always interesting to look back and compare how things actually have been to how you thought they would be.  Simplicity came in different forms. 

*Instead of getting rid of stuff and decluttering the world, I've collected more.  But it's stuff that I love rather than just happen to have.

*I've simplified my daily structure.  Housework is no longer mandatory.  Sanity is.  There will be some sort of food on the table but the floor may not always be clean.  Or at least as clean as I like it. And that's okay.

*I've learned to combine things.  For example if I'm going to get regular exercise then it's going to be with Ben.  Gone are the days of a really hard workout.  Here are the days of a long walk with a stroller and stops to check on my baby's happiness.

*On a related note, I have let go of competing.  I'm realizing at last what real beauty is.  It really does have nothing to do with a waistline.  More on that later.

*I have let some things go.  Not physical things, but things nonetheless.  As it turns out my brain was more cluttered than I even knew!  I've decided stop being tossed about by every negative thing that comes my way and decide if I really want it taking up brain power.  If it's actually worth taking up brain power.  Why does negative seem to automatically outshine the positive?

The resourceful front has kind of been a joke. Here's what I've accomplished so far.

*I can mash fruit and vegetables for Ben to eat rather than buy the bottled baby food.

That is all.  That's it!  By this time I thought I would have made my own laundry soap and shampoo! But I get all scared of those unknown things like... borax!  It goes right along with my inability to finish my quilt because I have to change the needle on my sewing machine (with the needle that is purchased and still in the package in a bag just waiting).

So there you have it. I think next year I'll cut it down to one word and hope for maybe a month of success before laughing it off like every other New Year's goal I've ever done!  And perhaps that word should be: finish-the-dang-quilt!

Happy Wednesday my friends!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Six Months!

Can you believe my baby is 6 months old!

Me neither.

But it's true.
I tried to think of what I would be doing as this time of year if Ben wasn't a part of it.  And thinking about life without him seemed so very boring!  He has brought more laughter, more smiles, more joy than I ever thought possible.
LOVE this little guy.
What a great 6 months!