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AMAZON PRIME DAY DEALS!

July 11, 2017 in Love Notes

I love Prime Day! I thought it would be helpful to share a few of my favorite deals that are on Amazon right now. A lot of these sales go fast so run! (Prices will sometimes change, so click on the picture to view more info).

 

 

 

Xo,

Aubrey

Mama Spotlight: Facing Heartache and Fighting for a Family

June 30, 2017 in Love Notes

I love having the chance to share other mama’s stories. This one is near and dear to my heart both because  Ashley and Tom are my sweet cousins and because I’ve felt some of the emotions she opens up about. I love her positive outlook in facing their heartache and fighting to grow their family. I was glued to every word she said. Here is their story:

 

“Hello, to all you sweet people reading this. Today, I am opening up about my infertility and our decision to pursue adoption. Bear with me, this is a long post very much from the heart and real.I struggle to talk about this topic for a lot of reasons, mostly the fear, judgment, heartache, and tears that it brings. However, I feel that talking about it, in some ways is helpful. In meeting others that have gone through similar experiences it has helped calm my aching heart. I feel at peace knowing we are not alone in our trial and though our stories are unique, on some level I feel we understand each other.

Our journey is a long one. We got pregnant with our first baby in 2010.  Although it wasn’t a “planned” pregnancy we were excited and anxious. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until we were into the second trimester due to some medical complications. Not long after we found out we were expecting, we found out there was no heartbeat, they didn’t pay much attention to it and thought the baby was just in a strange position. We were to go back for another ultrasound a few weeks later. It was a Sunday evening and we were at my in-laws when I started to experience heavy bleeding. I was rushed to the hospital as we knew something wasn’t right. There was no heartbeat, the baby had stopped developing at 12 weeks and my body didn’t recognize it until 19 weeks. As we sat in the hospital room that night looking at a screen with a lifeless baby my heart shattered. I was broken. The doctor told us that 1 in 3 women experience a miscarriage and it was nothing to worry about, we could try again when the time was right. I was hopeful and optimistic that he was right. I will never forget all the emotions I along with my husband felt. All the unanswered questions, confusion, sadness, anger, bitterness. I was stubborn and knew we would figure things out and get the answers we were looking for. Not long after our loss, we had an ultrasound done to make sure the baby had passed, at that ultrasound the tech noticed I had a misshaped uterus and possibly a uterine septum. She sent us to a fertility specialist to confirm and it was, in fact, a uterine septum. I had a large piece of dead tissue running down the center of my uterus.  This gave me hope and I felt like it was the answer I was looking for. The doctor explained that if the baby implanted on that septum we would miscarry because of the lack of blood flow. They advised that we have the septum removed through surgery. After taking some time off from trying to get pregnant we decided to schedule the septum surgery for February of 2012. Surgery went well and afterward, the doctor said my uterus was in perfect shape and ready for pregnancy. He urged us to try to get pregnant right away as the septum could grow back. Both of us agreed after the surgery that the time wasn’t right to get pregnant, put simply our feelings had changed. We felt like all would be fine with the septum and we would try once we felt ready.

Fast forward to October 2014, we got pregnant with baby #2 very easily. We were so excited. We announced our pregnancy to the family at Christmas and it was a joyous time. We were thrilled and anxious to finally welcome a baby to our family. We were scheduled to have our first ultrasound between 10 and 11 weeks. We went in for our ultrasound and the sad news came, no heartbeat. We felt confused, angry and wanted a second opinion. This is when we found Dr. Terry. He is an amazing doctor and we cannot speak highly enough of him. He confirmed the nightmare we hoped wasn’t true, our baby did not have a heartbeat.  I had a D&C (Dilation & Curettage) on January 9th, a day my heart will always break over. Dr. Terry was hopeful that we would get some answers and thought we should try again soon, so we did. As I look back I am not sure why I felt we should try again so soon, as my heart was still very broken, but I longed for a baby more than anything, so we tried again. We got pregnant in June of 2015; we went in for our first ultrasound at 8 weeks and again, the baby had no heartbeat.  At this time, with three losses in a row, two back to back I was overcome with emotions and so much anger.  I didn’t understand what God was doing, and his reasoning for it. However, I was determined to find answers, all while knowing through my faith that God is in charge and it is His timing, not ours. I had another D&C on the 28th of July, and the testing began. Dr. Terry wanted to figure this out, I appreciated his concern on our behalf. We both had blood tests done, tests were done on the babies tissue, countless ultrasounds, Sono histograms and lab work. I quickly felt like I became a human pincushion. I was frustrated and hoped we would, in fact, get the answers we were longing for. My blood tests came back with something, I have a blood clotting disorder, known as Prothrombin 20210 for which I am homozygous, making it more severe. They felt like this might be a large part as to why I kept miscarrying. The doctors explained it was an easy fix and explained I would be on baby aspirin as well as Lovenox shots daily with our next pregnancy. At the time it seemed easy enough.  During all the testing we also had our Sonohysterogram done and found the septum had in fact grown back. Both our OBGYN and the fertility specialist felt we should have the septum taken down again and then get pregnant six weeks after. I went in for my second uterine septum surgery the day before Thanksgiving in November of 2015. Surgery went fabulous and the doctors advised that six weeks after the surgery we start on Clomid (a fertility pill) to help us get pregnant before that septum had a chance to grow back.

Things went as planned and we got pregnant with our fourth baby February of 2016. Deep down I was excited but mostly scared. This time felt different, Tom was giving me Lovenox shots every day, I was having my blood drawn to check HCG 3 times a week, my HCG was rising perfectly, and things were going very well. They scheduled an early ultrasound at 5 weeks; after our last experiences with ultrasounds we were very anxious and scared hoping that it would be different this time and sure enough, it was. For the first time ever we heard our baby’s heart beating. It is a sound that still brings tears to my eyes. It was the best feeling in the world and I felt like the miracle we had been waiting for had finally come. This time was going to be different, and it was. I had severe morning sickness; couldn’t keep much of anything down. I had to have IV’s to help keep me hydrated. I didn’t have energy, and to be honest was miserable, but I was so happy because it meant everything with this baby was going smooth. We had ultrasounds once a week, the baby was active and doing great. I made it to 14 weeks and felt we were in the safe zone, at this point I was finally able to calm down a little.

Three weeks later we were scheduled to find out the gender of the baby. I had always felt it was a girl but our doctor was convinced it was a boy, I was just hoping for a healthy baby, the gender didn’t matter to Tom and I. The day of our appointment I felt something strange happen while I was using the restroom at work, it was a sudden pop. I stood up and realized I was losing a lot of blood as well as what I thought was water.  I screamed down the hall for help and a lady at the office came running. I was shaking, in shock and completely scared beyond words. I kept asking if my water broke and they all said no, it doesn’t happen this early.  I then worried that I might be hemorrhaging as I was on blood thinners. Every worst case scenario was running through my head. Tom picked me up and rushed me to the doctor. They took me in for an emergency ultrasound and I will never forget the look on doctor face. He didn’t even have to say anything, I knew it wasn’t good. He had to excuse himself because it was too much for him to take in. It was confirmed my bag of waters had ruptured. I went from 22cm of water to 1.2 cm. It was drastic. I lost all control and could not hold it together. It was supposed to be different this time, everything had been perfect, what happened, why? The Dr. gave me the option of being induced and delivering our baby, or to go home be put on flatbed rest, drink lots of water to hopefully restore some of the water, keep an eye out for infection, pray that we could get this baby to at least 24 weeks, and hang on as long as possible. I felt hopeful that bed rest would help and would be the only option if we wanted to give our baby any chance. Unfortunately, the week at which my bag ruptured was a crucial time for the baby to have fluid, as this is what helps the babies lungs develop. I went home, stayed down as much as possible, drank as much water as I could, and prayed harder than I have ever prayed. I had a feeling come over me that this baby just needed a body and that it wasn’t going to survive. I tried my hardest to do everything to get her here but in the end, my body couldn’t do it. The biggest risk for both the baby and I was an infection. At 19 weeks, I started having horrible back pain. I thought this might be labor, then quickly thought I am losing my mind, the back pain is from laying on a couch for two weeks straight. The pain got worse but I decided I could tough it out as we had an ultrasound to check things with our Dr. the next morning. The pain and pressure I felt that morning was almost too much to bear. I remember them taking us back to the ultrasound and as I looked up at the screen, things were different; I panicked because I saw no baby. The tech saw the fear in my eyes and explained the baby was in my birth canal and on its way. She said that I was fully dilated and that the baby was coming. She ran down the hall to grab my nurse, and the next thing I knew we were down in labor and delivery getting ready to have the baby. I wasn’t ready, it wasn’t time.  I knew this meant the baby wasn’t going to survive and it tore my heart out. My biggest fear was becoming a reality. I can’t explain how I felt that day, but it was the hardest day of my life. This was something I had been dreaming of and I felt like in an instant it was taken away. I had my husband with me, our moms, and our sisters to help support us and help us through this difficult labor. After a very difficult and painful labor, we welcomed a baby girl to the world.  She was beautiful, and perfect in every way.  Our precious girl lived for an hour, her little heart was strong and wouldn’t give up. Had her lungs been more developed I am confident she would have been strong enough to survive.  We named her Grace Lynn Olsen. I remember the pain of that day being unbearable. I felt like my heart had left me, it was as if a piece of my soul left my body. I was empty, broken and knew from this day my life would never be the same. Not only was I dealing with the great grief from losing our girl, but I felt like a complete failure of a women, wife, and mother. I felt like I had let everyone down. I know many women have felt these same feelings. I knew from this day on it was the start of a journey for Tom and I that I knew would not be easy.

A few days later we had a graveside service for her and it was beautiful. The words both spoken and sung by our loved ones were inspiring, beautiful, comforting and gave me feelings I will always hold near to my heart. The day we buried her was an incredibly hard day but I felt so much peace and love and I know her little spirit was with us.  Our Grace is how we got through it. The love we felt when we delivered Grace and the day we buried her were more than words could ever describe. The days following have been full of deep heartache, grief, pain, sadness, confusion and at times anger. I long for answers and have come to a hard realization that we may never have those answers. The doctor will probably never know why my water broke, or why she came early. However, I do have one answer, and that is that our Heavenly Father has a plan, he knows the reasons and I am confident that our baby just needed a body. She was too perfect for this cruel world. I feel blessed to know that I have a little girl waiting for me on the other side. It has helped me to try to be a better person, to live with purpose and to make her proud. I smile knowing that most people dream of Angels, and I had the opportunity to hold one in my arms. I am confident she is where she is supposed to be. I still get angry and sad, but when I do, I remember that it is NOT on my terms, timing or plan, it’s our Heavenly Father’s and I know He is in complete control. I am learning to be less selfish through this process. Heavenly Father needs her at this time. I will see her again and will have the opportunity to raise her. I am choosing to take this trial and learn from it and I pray I am being shaped into the character that our Savior is wanting me to become. Our miracle did happen, we had our baby. It might not have been the way we wanted or hoped but it happened just as it was supposed to. Our miracle has wings. 

After all the loss we have experienced, I have taken the last year to reflect and take the time needed to grieve. The pain is still very deep, but I am learning to manage and take things day by day. Grieving is normal, everyone’s timeline of grieving is different. We grieve to remember and to not forget. I will never forget what our baby girl has done for us, and the gift she is to our family. We love her more than words could ever express.

That brings us to our decision to pursue adoption. It may sound silly to some but we have always known we would adopt. We knew that adoption would be part of how we grew our family. We both have a deep love and passion for adoption and always knew that we would want to help another baby and give it the best life we could. As I went through each loss, I would feel at times like I just wanted to prove that my body could do it. I didn’t want my body to fail us anymore. However, it became clear to Tom and I that we were waiting on something that we had wanted all along and that was to grow our family through adoption. I began to set my pride aside and felt the peace that adoption was the direction we needed to go. We have wanted to be parents for a very long time and we know adoption is our next step. My body, our hearts, and our emotions need a break from the loss. We are thrilled to help raise a baby and give it a life that the birthmother wants their baby to have. Adoption will not solve our grief, we will still miss our girl, however, we have chosen to stare heartache in the face and we are fighting to bring some life and joy to our family. It will not be easy, but I know the hardest of things, are often the most rewarding. I love this quote by President, Spencer W. Kimball. I pray that we can meet the needs of our baby and I know they will meet our needs. Adoption is such a beautiful gift. 

I am grateful for my trials because through them we have learned of our great commitment to each other, the beautiful miracle that each baby is, the blessing that our Grace is in our lives, and our unwavering love for each other and for our Savior. I know things happen for a reason. No, I don’t know the reason, but I choose to believe there is one. Grace changed our lives forever and touched so many others lives as well in her short time here. She has a special place in my heart and always will. Her siblings will know about her, we visit her often and she is embedded into our lives. We believe God has called us to adoption and we are thrilled to start our journey. We know Grace will be on the other side guiding us through this process. We feel blessed to have so many wonderful family and friends who support us and will be a huge part in helping us raise our baby. I think we have learned that in all of this there is sunshine down the road ahead, and although it might not be easy, it will be worth it. We struggle to ask for help, but we would feel so blessed by any help you can give. We want this baby to know of all those who helped us bring them home. Adoption is a leap of faith, there are so many unknowns, but we know with all of your support, we can do this, and it will be worth every difficult moment. I think we can all agree that this baby has been prayed for and loved by many for a very long time. Thank you for the encouragement and excitement about our adoption. Announcing that this is the next step in our journey has been so exciting. Seeing this come to life is a dream come true.”

 

To follow Ashley and Tom’s journey click HERE, and to help them out, click HERE.

Xo,

Aubrey

First Moments

December 23, 2016 in Love Notes

This week I celebrated my little one’s 3rd birthday. How am I already on the 3rd year of my motherhood!? I still feel like I am brand new, yet I can’t imagine what life was like before becoming a mom.

Having a Christmas baby was my favorite. Not only did I bring him home in a stocking, or had the chance to snuggle my newborn under the Christmas lights, but I grew a HUGE love and respect for Mary as we celebrate Christ’s birth.  What an honor and trust that the Lord had in her! I can’t help but imagine that “first moment” she had when she got to hold Jesus for the first time. Can you imagine? Holding the Savior of the world for the very first time?!

That moment has always been so beautiful to me. The second where you get to see and hold your baby for the first time. Whether you gave birth to a child in water, on a hospital bed, or on the side of the road, there is just something so beautiful about those first moments.

Every year I love collecting and posting those first moments that some of you have had. These always bring tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for all of you who shared these. Whether we birth our own children or become a mom in other ways, there is just something so amazing about it.

I’ll stop talking and let you just see what I’m talking about:

{Samantha Holmes Photography}

{Cascio Photography}

{Mamahood Photography}

{Chelsea Lee Photography}

 

(All moms above gave me permission to post. All professional photographers should be tagged, please e-mail me if you notice a mistake or change needing to be made. themamahoodblog@gmail.com)

 

Thanks to all of you who shared such beautiful moments! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

The Mamahood Christmas Giveaway

December 12, 2016 in Love Notes

MAMAs!!! I’m trying not to shout, but I’m so excited! This is probably one of the biggest giveaways I’ve done and I’m so excited because I KNOW how much it’ll benefit one of you. And I get the chance to spoil one of you for Christmas (which really is the fun part for me)!

I put a lot of thought into this and wanted to do products that I’ve tested and LOVE as well as what I think any mama needs and would be thrilled to win!

So with that said, I picked my two favorite products and companies. The winner will get a Fawn Design bag + a clutch and stroller hooks, and a 2016 City Select stroller (which is the Ferrari of strollers) in Quartz from The Baby Cubby! (Total prize worth over $700)

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Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. To enter post a recent picture (from today or tomorrow) on Instagram telling me why you want to win this giveaway. Use hashtag #spoilmethischristmas (If you are private you’ll need to tap on the (…) on the top right of your picture and e-mail it to me at themamahoodblog@gmail.com). Your picture can be of anything from a selfie with your kids, to your baby bump, or someone you would give it to if you won, or anything you can think. Just make sure to tell me why you want it! This is the first part of the giveaway and will close on December 13th at 11:59PM CST so make sure to post before then!
  2. 10 top contestants will be chosen and I will post them to my instagram account (@the.mamahood) on Wednesday, December 14th and the voting will begin! The person with the most likes on their photo by Friday the 16th at 11:59PM CST will be the WINNER!
  3. BONUS: to add 10 extra votes to your picture – just sign up for The Baby Cubby’s newsletter by clicking (HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page to add your e-mail) To keep track of this please leave a comment on this post saying you did that along with what your instagram name is.

Please note: Only the likes on @the.mamahood instagram will count as votes for the finalists. US citizens only. Please no cheating or buying likes, ain’t nobody got time for that! This giveaway is sponsored by Fawn Design and The Baby Cubby. We want to give a huge THANK YOU to them for sponsoring such an awesome giveaway! Winner will get a 2016 City Select in Quartz and a color of their choice of what’s in stock of a Fawn Design bag (plus accessories).

Good Luck!!! So excited for this and can’t wait to spoil one of you this Christmas!

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

Unplugged.

December 6, 2016 in Love Notes

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Have you ever driven somewhere in pure silence? (Minus the few baby/kids noise in the back seat). Or took a day off from social media? Or left your phone home for the day?

Unplugged.

Something I am a HUGE advocate of.

Everyone’s life is busy, am I right? Find me one person who isn’t because I seriously can’t. We all are running everywhere, putting our kids in every extra curricular activity, trying out new hobbies, updating our phones to the latest and greatest, constantly scrolling through Instagram while we “wait” at the doctors because we don’t know what else to do with our minds to kill time.

Noise. There is just so much noise…and it’s taking over.

I currently have quite a lot on my plate as well, so my mind is going a hundred miles an hour and I feel like I’m on a freight train sometimes!

Here’s the thing. We have the chance to stop a lot of the noise around us. And you wanta know a secret?

It’s amazing when we do.

Here’s a few things I’ve done that have helped clear my mind and soul in unplugging:

  1. Social media fasts. I don’t ever “announce” when I go on one but I do it where I will either not get on at all that day(s) or I’ll just delete the apps that my mind has spent way too much time on. I notice the days that I don’t get on, I’m actually pretty dang content with life and feel like I have it pretty good. I’m all about using social media for good, but sometimes it’s so great to unplug from it all and realize the good that’s right in front of you instead of comparing other’s “good” to your own “good”.
  2. Check your tech. My little family has a “Check your tech jar” to put our phones in. No phones from 6-8 and although we aren’t super strict on the actual jar, it has been an amazing reminder to spend that time with each other. An average person spends 7 hours a DAY on technology. That’s insane to me. 2 hours to spend together is nothing, but has meant everything!
  3. Drive without music sometimes. I say sometimes because I can’t live without music, but I’ve noticed on days that I’m super stressed, if I just turn off the music in the car, it helps my mind clear a little bit.
  4. Find a substitute. By this I mean, find something in place of scrolling on social media. Have you ever been scrolling and all of a sudden you look up and a half hour has passed by? (I’m guilty!) And then you feel like you didn’t get anything done? Whether it be a new hobby you want to try or diving into a book, I love filling my time with these and feeling like I accomplished something.
  5. Get outside. Studies have shown that those who spend time outside are more likely to feel happier and heal better. I think sunshine is good for the soul and allows us to teach our kids about nature and connect that to God. Have you ever seen a beautiful sunset, or an incredible rainstorm? If we put our phones down, we won’t miss as many and we allow ourselves to breathe.

I could go off about how much unplugging has helped my personal life, my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with my husband and family, and loving my own set of cards in my life by not trying to keep up with everything I see when I scroll.

Social media can be SUCH an amazing tool, but it can also become controlling if we allow it. It’s so easy to get sucked in! But I think there’s a whole lot of a life we can gain back if we unplug for a minute and just…be.

 

Monday Mama: Jenna

November 14, 2016 in Love Notes / Monday Mama

You guys, I’m giddy!!! I haven’t done Monday Mama’s in SO long and after a popular vote, I decided to start back up again and start spotlighting moms on my blog. These stories are to help us find our own bravery in motherhood and I’ve found a handful of moms who have shown that and I can’t wait to share their stories with you.

Today’s post is near and dear to my heart because it involves a family that I love dearly.

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Today I am spotlighting cute Jenna Richards, who actually married one of my friends that grew up down the street from me. She is from Shelley, Idaho and after being married to Chase for just a short time, he passed away. She has been able to survive this heart-breaking time with her beautiful little boy named Jack and gave me permission to share her story with all of you.

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“I’ve only shared my story once, and to be honest, I don’t even know where to begin… But on April 2nd, 2016, my life forever changed.

On Saturday, April 2nd, my husband, Chase, was supposed to pick Jack and I up in Brigham City, UT.  We had been at my parents’ house, but we were going to meet Chase sometime around noon to eat at our favorite restaurant,  Maddox, and head back home. That morning I texted him at 7:30 to see if he was awake and ask what time I should head out. I didn’t hear anything back. By 9:30, I called and texted again, but still no word.  This wasn’t like him, but I still wasn’t too worried because I assumed he was sleeping in due to working early mornings all week.  By 11:00, and still no answer, I knew something was wrong. I then texted his Dad and asked if he’d heard anything from Chase.  He said no, but that he would go to our house and make sure everything was okay.  He went there with Chase’s brother, and soon after I received the worst phone call ever. His voice was frantic and he said, “Jenna, Chase is unconscious! We’ve called for an ambulance. Come right now!!” I was frantically running around bawling while trying to pack our bags as fast as I could before heading to Utah. Luckily, my Dad was able to drive us, since I was in no shape to be driving. Truthfully, I don’t remember the 3-hour drive all that much. I just remember getting updates, then that dreaded message from my Bishop saying Chase was being life-flighted  to SLC. Death still wasn’t on my mind.  I was thinking more about what we would possibly have to do for recovery, etc. As soon as we got into SLC though, the reality and panic set in and I immediately grabbed a bag and threw up. It felt like forever to get to the hospital, since it was Conference weekend and the streets were packed. I was getting frantic, wanting to scream out the window, “EVERYONE, PLEASE MOVE!! I started getting agitated and just wanted to get out of the car and start running. When we finally got to the hospital, I jumped out of the car, grabbed Jack, and ran into the lobby. As soon as I walked in, I instantly got dizzy and the nausea kicked back in. I handed Jack to my Dad, ran to the bathroom, and threw up one more time. Maybe deep down I knew it wasn’t going to be good, and I was scared to face reality. 

When I walked into Chase’s room, I was shocked and taken aback, and I knew immediately this was way worse than I could have ever imagined. Within 5 minutes of being there, Chase’s doctor walked in to let us all know things didn’t look good. It was such a strange feeling seeing someone say those words so calm and collected. Shouldn’t this guy be heartbroken to deliver such hard news? I didn’t want to believe his words, so I was grasping for straws at this point, begging people to tell me everything was going to be ok. Deep down I knew he probably wasn’t going to make it, but I refused to believe it and I was not ready to face that reality.

Chase was then placed in a hypothermic state.  The doctors decided they wouldn’t be doing any MRI’s or EEG’s for 24 hours to see if the brain swelling would go down. It was then we found out Chase had aspirated in his sleep, which deprived his brain and other organs of the oxygen they needed for many hours. The next 24 hours were hell. I felt helpless watching Chase hooked up to life support, his body quivering.  The sound of a machine pushing air into his lungs and the ominous, never-ending sound of beeping machines still haunts me. This is something nobody can prepare you for. 

One of my best friends, Kim, rushed to the hospital to take Jack for the night, and by midnight I decided to go sleep for a few hours at a hotel down the street so I could function and be prepared for the next day. On Sunday Chase’s vitals were all looking good, but he was still in a coma and we still had no idea how much brain damage had been done. By this time family and friends started pouring in and showing their support, which was a blessing. I couldn’t have done Sunday without some of my best friends and family by my side. It was a long, emotional and draining day. 

That night I got to spend some alone time with Chase and i just held his hand while I talked to him. I tickled his arm and kept telling him I was there and to not be scared, to just relax, I was right there next to him, and would be throughout everything. 

By Monday morning we knew we’d be getting the news soon on his brain function and I was physically sick. By this time I had hardly eaten in two days and I was exhausted and weak. At noon Elder Oaks came and gave him a beautiful blessing.  As soon as it was over, I knew in my heart Chase was not going to be with us much longer. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I just knew. 

Hours passed and, finally, the doctors pulled us into a room and delivered the news. Chase was showing no brain function. He was brain dead. After he said those words, I just zoned out. I don’t even remember anything else he said. At the end of the conversation, he brought up taking Chase off of life support and then looked at me to get the ok. I shook my head yes with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe it. This was it. Chase was not going to be here much longer with us. 

Before the life support machines were turned off, we all took a turn being alone with him in his room for a private goodbye. I crawled into his bed, laid my head on his chest and sobbed. The tears couldn’t stop. All I could say was, “Chase, I love you so much. I love you so much.” I promised him I would always take good care of Jack and we would keep his memory alive. I apologized for all of the times I could have been a better wife, and then I gave him a final kiss on his lips. My sister then brought Jack in and we laid on the bed as a family one last time. I couldn’t believe this would be the last time our baby boy would see his Dad. My heart could hardly handle it. I just remember telling Chase that Jack would always know him, and to please take care of us. That final goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because I knew this would be the last time Jack would ever see his Dad on this earth. 

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I walked out, handed Jack to my sister, then went into the corner of the hallway and lost it. I l felt like my life was over.  How was I ever going to overcome such a trial? I had never felt so such despair in my life. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to me.  I was angry, sad, and broken.

After everyone had their alone-time with him, we all gathered in the room.  Chase and I’s bishop gave a final prayer before we unplugged him from the machines. The doctor said Chase could go fairly quickly, but we were uncertain. By this time it was around 8pm. The nurses came in and unplugged everything.  Then we just sat around his bed, held his hand, and spoke to him, hoping he’d slip away peacefully. Quickly, his breathing became labored and he seemed uncomfortable. About every 30 minutes nurses would come in to give him more sedation and pain meds to make sure he was as comfortable as possible and to keep his body calm. Hours passed, and his body kept fighting. We even said two more prayers pleading with our Heavenly Father to take him, and that we would be ok.  Finally at 3:28am, after a 7-hour valiant fight, Chase took his last breath. I remember I was at the end of his bed and I thought I was going to collapse. I had never seen someone die, so to see my own husband pass on was more than I could see or take. My Mom quickly came to my side and held me as I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t believe it. Just like that, he was gone. I kept saying over and over, “I can’t see him like this, Mom, I can’t see him dead.  Just take me home.” So we tiredly gathered up our things and went out to the car to head home. Since my Mom didn’t know her way around Salt Lake, I drove her car with her, and my Dad drove his own. I was so numb, I didn’t even know how to get to the freeway, even though I had done that route hundreds of times. Finally, clear out in West Valley, I got my bearings and made it back to the freeway. 

I remember walking in the house at around 4:15 am with the most empty feeling I had ever felt. I knew Jack would be waking in a few short hours and I wasn’t ready to face reality so soon. I went to our bathroom, filled up the tub, and sat in a hot bath as I cried the little bit of tears I had left.  Then I went to Chase’s closet, pulled out his favorite sweats and a big oversized sweater and crawled into bed with his pillow.  The sheets and everything smelled like him, and right then and there, I didn’t want to wake up. I just wanted to go. I know that sounds selfish, but I also wasn’t  thinking clearly and going on very little sleep and food. 

The next few days were a blur as we prepared for Chase’s funeral, picking out his casket, deciding what flowers, and a million other little things. I had no idea how much planning (and money) went into something so depressing. The morning of the viewing Chase’s parents, his brother, Preston, and sister, Laura, and I all gathered to see Chase’s body for the first time since he passed away.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready to see him like that, but I kind of had no choice at this point. We were led into a room where his peaceful body was laying, and I was immediately breathless, sick, and shaking. We said a prayer for peace, then dressed him slowly in his temple clothing that he would be buried in. That moment was surreal, and to be quite honest, one of the harder things I had to do that week. I wasn’t quite prepared for that moment. But then again, is anyone prepared for something like that?

Something life-changing happened when I left the funeral home that day. I remember pulling up to a red light right by Bingham High School and I looked to my right and I made eye contact with a guy in a truck next to me. I instantly thought, “this guy has no idea what I just had to do.” And right then and there I thought to myself, “how many people have I passed who were facing something so tragic in that very moment and I just walked by them not knowing?” Because of this experience, I try harder to be kinder and more patient with strangers. 

That night was Chase’s viewing.   He had such a huge turnout, along with the funeral the next day. So many people loved Chase and he made friends wherever he went. That was one of Chase’s greatest qualities. He made everyone feel like they were his best friend and always made everyone around him feel so comfortable and special. 

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After the funeral, graveside service, and luncheon, I went to our home, grabbed the last of our stuff, and got on the road to Idaho, since I would be moving back in with my parents so I could get some help with Jack and get back on my feet. 

Fast forward a few months, and here I am today.  Last Sep 6th would have actually been Chase and I’s 2-year anniversary. I can truthfully say the days are getting a little easier. I still have moments with major setbacks. But, for the most part, I am starting to slowly heal. I don’t have that panic like I did those first few months where I literally felt like my soul was broken. Not that I still don’t feel that way sometimes, but I am starting to take baby steps towards a new life without Chase. And that doesn’t mean I have to forget about him to start a new beginning, because he will always be in the back of my mind until the day I die.

I guess if I have learned one thing from this experience, it’s to always trust my Heavenly Father’s plan. His plan was obviously different than what I had in mind.   He sees the whole picture and I have to put my trust in his hands. After all, he gave his own life so I could endure this trial. My testimony has grown leaps and bounds since Chase’s passing, and sometimes I feel guilty that it took something so tragic to wake me up. But I am thankful for the many blessings and tender mercies that have come my way since April 2nd. So many life changes, mostly hard, but some, oh, so good and life altering.

 

Like Robert D. Hales said:

 

Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, “O God, where art thou?” Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When financial hardship befalls a family, a father will ask. When children wander from the path, a mother and father will cry out in sorrow. Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Then, in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying, “Thy will be done”.”

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Before Chase passed away, Jenna started Munchies which is a baby clothing company. Chase was the one who really pushed her to go for it. She has a passion for baby fashion and finding good deals so she created a company of cute affordable baby clothes. Her whole site and work has been dedicated to Chase since he was her motivation behind it and gave her the confidence to go for it. She knows that she has Chase watching over her and baby Jack for the rest of their lives and holds onto that.

 

(You can find her over at @jackandjennablog)

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

God Needs Brave Moms

August 3, 2016 in Family / Love Notes

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The other morning I woke up with half of my mouth swollen. One of the joys of pregnancy is inflammation of your gums and they can easily get infection…so when I went in for an emergency dentist visit, that was my diagnosis.

“Are you sure you’re not pregnant?” she said.

“Nope. But I have been the passed year.”

I was calculating the other day how long my body has had pregnancy hormones. It’s been almost a year and my journey gets to continue. I don’t talk the details too much because I’m in the middle of it and it’s pretty tender to me, but this week I’ve had some kind of doctor appointment every day and Friday will be my 5th surgery this year. I’ve been told that my body can get pregnant easy but has a hard time carrying and might need medical intervention to get my babies here. We are currently waiting to hear back from some tests and know exactly which steps to take. It’s been quite a road for our little family.

But I’ve come to learn that it all really is okay.

Why?

Because God needs brave moms and if this is what I have to go through to become brave, I’ll do it.

So bring on more needles, surgeries, weight gain, more bad news and empty feelings. I got this. Being far from family has been difficult but we have a village here helping us every step of the way and my heart is filled to the brim with gratitude for those who have helped in so many different ways. (You know who you are, I love you!!)

EVERY mom person has some kind of “hard” to go through. My heart aches as I watch those who go through such heart breaking tragedies. I believe that our trials are tailored to us specifically and as I learn of what others go through, I gladly take my load because so many people have it pretty tough. You can’t compare trials but you can have compassion for others and gratitude for your own.

So maybe hard is okay. Maybe hard teaches us more than anything else would. Maybe it’s shaping us into someone better. And maybe… just maybe, all of this will teach me how to be brave.

Xo,

Aubrey

(These thoughts sparked after listening to a segment of THIS amazing talk.)

To the Mom with Tired Eyes: A Message of Courage

May 9, 2016 in For Mamas / Love Notes

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Happy Mother’s Day sweet friends! I wanted to share a talk I gave a few weeks ago about motherhood and hope that on hard days this is something you can refer your mind back to.

In last year’s General Conference, Elder Nelson said, “We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.”

As most moms know, having that kind of courage seems to be a daunting task. The role of motherhood isn’t for the faint of heart and most days it requires us to have the patience and courage to keep trying. The job description for motherhood allows the most joy but also involves the most heart break as well.

Whether you’ve been through postpartum depression, a miscarriage, loss of a child, illness, or any other struggle that comes with being a parent, it is a lot to take in. So how do we even begin to have that kind of courage we talk about?

Elder Nelson says, “We are not alone and never need be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the savior’s atonement we can receive capacity and strength beyond our own.

As a mother, I rely on that strength more than I can say.

I know we are all in different stages of our motherhood. Some of us have been moms for years, some are brand new moms, and some have yet to be moms, but the principle remains the same:

We need our Savior, we can’t do it alone.

My motherhood involves the man upstairs more often than not. I thank Him for the good days and plead with Him during the hard. I wouldn’t be able to survive my motherhood without Him.

Not only do you have angels ready to leap and answer your every prayer, but you also have a Savior, who not only appreciates your efforts, but He HONORS your motherhood. Not just the good days or when you feel that everything you did that day was a success…He honors you every day. Especially the stinkin’ hard days.

So, to the mom who is exhausted from taking care of a newborn baby…He honors your tired eyes.

To the mom who is overwhelmed with toddlers and tantrums… He honors your kind spirit in the midst of chaos.

To the mom who is stressed with teenagers, schedules, and carpools…He honors your smile and selflessness.

To the mom who hides in her closet with tearful prayers… He honors those tired knees.

To the mom who lost a baby or a child… He honors your broken heart.

To the mom who feels like a failure but tries again anyway… He honors every ounce your courage.

And to moms everywhere I quote Elder Holland:

“Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are the Savior’s on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love never faileth.”

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

 

Mompreneurs: It’s Not a Race

April 14, 2016 in For Mamas / Love Notes

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I’ve had this word in my head recently: Mompreneur.

So I decided to look it up. (and yes it is in the dictionary!)

Mompreneur: a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.

Can I ask all you mompreneurs out there though, honestly… how’s it going? Like truly. I don’t want this post to come out negative in the least. I just want to show you a little bit of what my brain has been going crazy about.

The race.

Why is it that when you become a mom, all of a sudden you have this urge to create something? Whether that be blogging, photography, crafting, selling products, joining an MLM company, (and believe me, I belong in most of those categories myself). And when you create something you feel like it’s a race. Whether it’s on social media trying to get a following, the most sales, the next ranking, or wanting to come up with the next best idea to be on shark tank (Again…I plead the fifth!)

I can get pretty competitive myself, so this race has me wanting to get my tennis shoes on and go gun-ho on any project I tackle. But why?

Why is it that we can’t just be a mom? Why do we feel like we have to come up with something or do something in order to feel successful?

I get it though. Being a mom is hard and sometimes you just need an outlet. Paydays come in kisses and arms around your neck but sometimes you need something else to validate your beautiful project you’ve worked on. I think it’s great! So many women have so much to offer and whether you’re doing it as a hobby or to gain a little cash on the side, more power to you. You’re improving your talents and showing your kids how to work hard and there’s so much goodness to that.

But here’s my message…

It’s not a race.

I think it’s time for us to quit worrying about everyone else and start worrying about ourselves and the lives we are creating for our little ones. It’s so easy to compare our successes with others but really what is determined as “success”?

This week I turned off my “mompreneur” mode and decided to be 100% mom. I’ve been devoting my time to be on the floor, playing with my little boy and keep the screens turned off for a minute and focus on just being a mom–his mom. Projects are on hold and he’s center stage. I can’t describe to you the amount of laughs we’ve had and how much our connection and bond has grown just by putting other distractions aside.

I love this quote by David O. Mckay:

“This ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness, yes, longing to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world. She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, . . . deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God.”

Women are amazing at multitasking, but sometimes I think our kids deserve to NOT be one of the “tasks” we have at hand. They’re apart of our lives and our time with them being this little doesn’t last very long. I don’t want to be too busy and have this sweet time slip from my fingers.

Something that has always bothered me is the “followers” social media has. It’s like social currency or star stickers. The more you have the more successful people think you are. I feel like it’s time to care more about who our little ones are “following” and what they are “liking” instead of worrying about the numbers on our accounts.

So to all my mompreneur friends out there, I think you’re doing an amazing job. And if you’re able to balance it all I would love to hear your tricks! Everyone is doing the best they can and that’s what counts! I just think it’s important that we all remember what really matters and that by “just being a mom” and putting our kids ahead of our other endeavors, we are actually a lot more ahead and “successful” than we might realize.

Xo,

Aubrey

 

3 Ways To Have The Best Week

March 14, 2016 in Love Notes

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You guys… lately I’ve been LOVING Mondays! Mostly because it’s my “start over” day. Sometimes as moms it’s so easy to get discouraged, so Mondays are my clean slate. Today I thought I would share with you 3 things I will be doing this week to make it so great along with a bunch of other moms from The Mamahood.

 

1. Exercise:

We are all starting week 1 of BBG (click HERE if you don’t know what that is!) So if you’ve been wanting to start working out, come do it with us starting TODAY! You can get a week free from her website and can download her app for the next 30 days for $1! So there’s no excuse not to, right? Plus it’s only 28 minutes a day, we got this! I will be posting little tid bits over at @themamahoodblog on instagram and periscope so that we all keep up with each other and stay on the same page!

Monday: Legs

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Abs

Thursday: Cardio

Friday: Arms

 

2. Healthy Eating:

Every Monday I start fresh, ditch sugar and processed foods, and try to eat healthy. I write up what meals I’m making for dinner for that week (it’s best if you can do two weeks in advance), so you can follow the meal plan on the app that I mentioned above, but I kinda like to do my own, so here’s what I’m doing for dinners this week. Side note: We have busy evenings so these are all really quick and easy…my kind of cooking. 😉

Dinner Meal Plan:

Monday: BBQ Chicken Salad – I just throw cooked shredded chicken in with a bunch of spinach/salad mix, add corn, black beans, tomatoes, avacados, BBQ sauce + a ranch dressing you can get at sprouts that tastes pretty good without all the calories and fat.

Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo (sauce is from scratch) + asparagus – Click HERE for Alfredo Recipe. This is a regular at our house!

Wednesday: Turkey Wraps – We do this one on busy nights, just tortillas with turkey, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, and avocado

Thursday: Hawaiian Haystacks + Roasted Garlic Broccoli – Brown rice + homemade cream of chicken (recipe HERE), throw broccoli in a ziplock with avocado oil or olive oil and minced garlic and put in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until it’s cooked to how you like it!

Friday: Wheat Pizza – We love making homemade pizzas every Friday! Love this wheat dough recipe HERE, top with organic tomato sauce + mozzarella.

Grocery List: We will always look through the ads to see where different items are cheapest, but here is generally where we get everything:

Costco: frozen chicken, wheat noodles (you guys, these are AMAZING and taste like white noodles!), tortillas, turkey slices, cheese, milk, avocado oil, frozen veggies, frozen corn.

Kroger: black beans, heavy cream, parmesan, butter, brown rice, chicken broth, mozzarella

Sprouts: Ranch (Get the Walden Farms brand), asparagus, spinach/salad mix, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, minced garlic, organic tomato sauce

 

3.  Uplifting + Spiritual Reading:

The most important thing for me to have a good week is to read my scriptures or conference talks daily. So I linked up ones to do for this week and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should definitely check them out. They are what keep me going every single day and when I remember to do it before doing other things it helps me stay focused and get more done throughout my day. I can’t wait to hear from them again in a few weeks!

Monday: Protect the Children by Dallin H. Oaks (click HERE)

Tuesday: To the Fathers in Israel by Ezra Taft Benson (click HERE)

Wednesday: Mothers Who Know by Julie B. Beck (click HERE)

Thursday: President Hinckley’s Testimony (click HERE)

Friday: The Moral Force of Women by D. Todd Christofferson (click HERE)

I love having the chance to do this with so many of you! I would love to hear feedback from how your week is going and if any of these help you! Comment below or post what you’re doing to make this week great by using hashtag #momsbestweek so we can help each other!

Xo,

Aubrey

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