Aloha 2015

Our trip to Hawaii started out rough.
LouLou, 4 months had a wheezing cough that required two urgent care and two ER visits before they admitted her. 
Poor babe had RSV. They treated her occasionally with albuterol type treatments that didn't work very well.  She was doing ok Sunday morning so he hopped on our flight. 
Mimi and Jude, seasoned travelers, see great value in following along with the safety demonstration.
As soon as we landed in humid Hawaii Baby Lou was wheezing in a scary way. Mimi and I drove straight to the hospital with Mim on assignment to not take her eyes off the baby and alert me immediately if she stops breathing.  The first hospital we found was the Kapiolani Children's Hospital and I ran that baby in, said the magic words "my 4 month old is having trouble breathing" and within seconds we were surrounded by excellent doctors.
And here is the saddest picture ever of BL getting a chest x-ray. RSV and bronchiolitis. I can't spell that.
She got a little oxygen cannula just like her namesake Grandma Betty.
Hush's plane landed and he took a cab to the hospital and stayed with that baby every second.  He even held her in the wheelchair as they took her upstairs to her room.
And here's where we spent the first three days of our vacation.  Thank heavens Pam and Jim were there and could tend to the three other children. Hush and I were on full baby duty, which did not make sleeping easy. We had one tiny cot and a baby waking up every hour. Finally I just crawled into her little baby cage with her and held her in my arms as we went in and out of sleep.  At one point a nurse came in and said, "You can't sleep there." To which I replied, "I am."
Tiniest hospital gown ever (I stole it) and a pink oxy monitor.
Sad baby cage.  Every so often the oxy levels would drop to below 88 and people would run in while I secured her oxygen mask (before I secured my own ;)
But LouLou wasn't mad at all. The nurses nicknamed her "The Happy Weezer" and fawned over her because she is so fair and they see a lot of darker toned babies. Or perhaps just because we were out of Utah and babies are more novel. But really it's because she's the most adorable and charming baby who ever lived, in my humble and unbiased opinion.
On the third day we finally left Lou for a few hours with a nurse we trusted and liked a lot so that we could meet Pam and the kids at Pearl Harbor. I love that place.  Has it always been free? I remember it being expensive.
Many thanks to Pam and Jim for their help and support during this trip. If not for them I would have packed people on the next flight home (with some sort of breathing apparatus) and given up.
When she was finally released the petridish of children were thrilled to see and love her. They'd been so worried!
Finally our vacation began.  We had excellent weather the whole trip.
Hush created a live art installation on the beach.
One day in the sun and the children look like natives.
Doing the matrix or the Michael Jackson in Smooth Criminal lean.
The hardest choice of the day was whether to walk 15 feet to the pool or 50 feet to the beach. Most days we did both.
I celebrated my 34 birthday while we were there. 34 may be the year of filters for me.
Four of my favorites eating my favorite at matsumoto's.
Jude is a born nurturer. He's conscientious and concerned with his little sister.
While we were at Turtle Bay Hush and I scouted the filming locations for Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Yoga class happened right there. This may be the closest I ever get to Russell Brand.
Mostly recovered babe.
Every time I see her nonplussed expression it makes me giggle.
We ran into some Dville friends who hooked us up with half off tickets to the awesome but over priced Polynesian Cultural Center! Aloha from the luau.
Pineapple drinks because hey, we're on our honeymoon. Right?
Honeymoon dance... sealings require dances too.
Jude achieved maximum loungy aloha.
Hush mastered the ukulele in about five minutes so he began Lou's instruction.
Romantical dinner on the beach.
Keiki: 7,6, 5 and 4 months
Brave little Mimi in the tide pools.
This picture was not staged and it shows exactly the dynamic of my kids, when they aren't teasing each other. Mimi presides, the boys trust her questionable leadership.
Me and my baby. I love babies. More more more babies.
I waited 7 years for this day and here is my second little girl wearing her big sister's teeny bikini.  Ahhh, so satisfying.
Ps, I love my baby. I'm obsessed.

Thanks to Pam and Jim, Hush and the kids for making this unusually challenging but nevertheless memorable "vacation" happen!


Temple Sealing

In the last seven years since I started this blog I have had a lot of great and important days.  I started about four months after Mimi was born and since then I had these amazing wonderful best days ever:
Jude's Birth
Silas' Birth
Wedding to Hush
LouLou's Birth (moment's pause for me to be so glad that I blogged the best days of my life so I can relive them again and again).
And a ton of other really rad fairly excellent things have happened.

But, in the words of the narrator guy from The Princess Bride, "This one left them all behind."
Two weeks from today Hush and I get sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.  Betty Lou will also be sealed to us.

In two weeks I will have everything that I'd lost in my first eternal family restored to me, plus bonuses, vast improvements and major upgrades.
Everything has come full circle, I am living my happy ending.
Second Place Christmas Card, not sent because we thought it might be too obscure of a reference?
Also, look at all my lovely freaks!

I have literally been waiting for this day since, well since before Silas was even born so over five years ago.  I'd actually given up hope that it could happen.  Even now, with two weeks left to go, I'm tentative talking about it, worried that some typical Nor-type disaster will strike and my hopes and dreams will be dashed anew.
To understand why this is such an important day for our family I need to explain the covenant we are making.  When couples are married in the temple, they are "Sealed" which means that their bonds as man and wife and parent to child will continue after the grave.  This is important in our faith because of the LDS church's emphasis on family and genealogy: they are literally trying to link the web of the human family.  When couples are sealed I believe that they are eternally married which means they will be the same family in the afterlife, or that their family can and will go on forever.  In the temples in the Sealing Rooms there are two mirrors facing one another, thus reflecting the two people eternally.
Sealing Room at Salt Lake Temple

Oddly, I relate the whole concept to the one laid out by Plato, though obviously I believe the truth and specifics are more accurate in the Mormon doctrine.  In Aristophane's Speech from Plato's Symposium he essentially described humans as being two sexes combined: four hands, four feet, two heads.  Man and woman as one -- united in purpose, sharing one body, connected in all ways.  The Symposium explains that Zeus made people that way and then cut them in half, scattered them, and left them to find one another.  I see Eternal Marriage in the same way.  When we are Sealed we become as one in purpose and body.  Though this is obviously not LDS doctrine, that's what Temple Marriage and being sealed to my children feels like to me.  It's like Mother's Intuition on steroids.  It  FEELS like part of their soul is also in my body.
(That is the end of the similarities in my own interpretations of an Eternal Marriage and Plato.  The absolute best and most touching description of the speech was in Hedwig and the Angry Inch "Origin of Love").
The LDS website has an excellent chart of what Temple/Celestial Marriage promises are made and blessings promised:

Celestial Marriage

Covenants We Make with God
Blessings Promised
A temple officiator who has the sealing power of the priesthood invokes covenants intended to be efficacious for time and for all eternity. Celestial marriage involves a ceremony performed in a holy temple (see D&C 131:1–3132:18–19).
Couples who promise to abide the law of celestial marriage:
  • Covenant in pure love to remain faithful to each other and to God through all eternity.
  • Covenant to confine their intimate affections and sexual relations to each other.
  • Commit to live in ways that contribute to happy and successful family life.
  • Covenant “to ‘be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’ (Gen. 1:28). A primary purpose of temple marriage in this life is to grow and mature in sharing God’s creative work in raising a family in righteousness. Parents enter into a partnership with God by participating in the procreation of mortal bodies, which house the spirit children of God” (in Ludlow,Encyclopedia of Mormonism,2:859).
  1. 1. 
    Husbands and wives will receive eternal life in the world to come, the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 88:4;Moses 6:59).
  2. 2. 
    They shall become gods with all power and “shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” (D&C 132:19).
  3. 3. 
    They shall obtain exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial glory (seeD&C 131:1–4).
  4. 4. 
    They will come to know God the Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 132:48–50).

I have been Sealed in the LDS Temple before to my first spouse.  I remember sitting next to him in Sacrament Meeting when people were bearing their testimonies and feeling that weird butterflies feeling that one feels before they are about to perform.  Moments later and without speaking he stood up to speak.  That is what temple sealing feels like to me: like I can feel the resonating spirituality in the members of my eternal family.  A tuning fork is a good example.  I become specifically attuned to my children and spouse.  It's my superpower.
And then it went away.

When my ex-husband was making choices that were problematic that invisible tuning fork pulled at me.  I had no idea what was going on but I remember those feelings and how much they hurt. I didn't learn the truth about what had actually been happening until after our divorce was finalized.  We were among the 6% of divorces of LDS Temple Marriages.  People who get married in the temple have a very low divorce rate.

One more note on Temple Marriage blessings.  Part of it includes blessing your offspring in this life AND THE NEXT.  That's why it has particular importance to me.  It promises me right then and there that I can have babies for all of eternity!  That's my idea of heaven.

What my heaven looks like: tons of babies wrapped in Hello Kitty!

Sealing Blessings are predicated on worthiness.  If you maintain your temple recommend and do the things you promised in the temple you are in a good spot.  If you don't you "have no promise."  This is a good explanation of Temple Covenants, specifically the article at the bottom by Bruce Hafen.

When children are born to a couple Sealed in the temple, the children are "born in the covenant" which means they have all of the blessings associated.  As long as their parents maintain their worthiness the Sealing blessings are in effect (whether or not their parents are Sealed to one another).  I've never heard of a child being unsealed from their parents, but some couples do get unsealed.  The unsealing process is tragic and unusual.  In all of my time in the church I've only known maybe two people who were unsealed from their spouse.  It's not something people commonly talk about and most members know little about the process because it doesn't apply to them.  Sealings are only broken by the Presidency of the Church: Thomas Monson, Henry B. Eyring, and Dieter Uchtdorf.  You have to apply and obtain a letter (signed in ink by all three) in order to be unsealed.  I waited until Hush and I had our Sealing planned and I was 8 months pregnant with his baby to even apply and I was still shocked it was granted.  I hope none of you ever experience that process.

But now we are finally here.  This is actually happening.  I get my tuning fork back and I get that feeling and promise of my soul being joined forever with Hush's and Lou's, to add upon that of Mimi's, Jude's and Si's.

I know I've said it a hundred times and will say it a hundred more, I am so grateful for Hush.  He's everything a man should be and words could never express how much I adore him.  He prefers to avoid the limelight and exposure, so much so that I practically have to wrestle him to look at the camera and he says that he "looks too nice" on my blog and also I'm not allowed to quote him.  But just know he's perfect and when you see him on the mean streets of Salt Lake City high five him for being the Prince Charming of my life.

I've been toying with ending this blog then, on the day when I have fulfilled my spiritual goals of getting married in the temple and having a family.  I feel like it's the end, but in my troubles I've become wiser than that.  The end of this journey to regain my temple marriage is only the beginning.

The bride sighed blissfully on her wedding day, “Mom, I’m at the end of all my troubles!” “Yes,” replied her mother, “but at which end?” 


Christmas 2014

(Mimi 7, Jude 6, Si nearly 5, Lou 3 months.)
Christmas reindeer
Unbridled joy at the weird RC dinosaur that doesn't obey.
Mr Lego (I finally caved and allowed stupid Legos into my house. Well, not exactly into my house -- they live in the art/music room on their own table. I hate Legos.)
Isolated lego room.
The elusive chatster electronic doll Mimi had been vying for. 
My sweet baby's Christmas cuddles
Woke up to this winter wonderland. 
It had not snowed (no sticking snow at least) all winter and then at 3am on Christmas morning Old Man Winter just dumped six inches of snow on us.  
I'm fairly sure some kid was praying for this and now believes there is both a Santa AND a God who listens.
Honestly, I LOVE living in the snow.  I'm shocked to realize it is my favorite season.
Baby Lou and I all dressed up for a Christmas outing to visit Hush's lovely sisters.
Impossible to put on jacket, totally worth it.
Kim snuggling baby BOB.
And these are my Christmas people. I feel so blessed to have my own growing family with whom to celebrate this holiday season. And soon, forever!  We are getting sealed January 17!