. . . and i'm not even done yet

For as long as I can remember, I've been an overpacker.
{I know it's not a word, but trust me, if it were a word, I'd be it.}

I remember weekend trips with my parents when I was growing up when I would pack 5 pairs of shoes for a 3 day trip.
5 pairs of shoes, about 12 outfits . . . a girl can never have too many options.
If it was a trip to Las Vegas for my annual Taekwondo Nationals, I would have spent almost the entire Saturday barefoot anyway
but none of that mattered.
I felt better being prepared for any occasion rather than being left high and dry.

Our upcoming trip to beautiful McCall, Idaho is turning out to be no exception. We are leaving on an early flight on Thursday and are staying until Monday -- all of five days and four nights. We are vacationing with J's uncles, aunts, and cousins -- renting an awesome cabin by Payette Lake and spending some fun quality time together.

I decided to get some packing done tonight {two nights before departure}.
Not having ever been there before, I don't know what to expect -- whether in terms of weather, activities, or any spontaneous idea we all may have while up there. 
Needless to say, being the eternally neurotic planner that I am, I am making sure I am prepared:
Three pairs of pants {jeans, chino, linen}
Two pairs of leggings
One pair of workout pants
Five pairs of shorts {workout, casual, denim, chino, linen}
Twelve tank tops
One maxi dress
One skirt
Three bathing suits
Eight pairs of shoes {and counting}

I think that covers it for night one of packing. More to come tomorrow, for sure.
My only dilemma now? 
{And I say this in my best Chandler Bing tone}
Could I have any more gray clothing?!?!


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I just had to say THANKS and share a couple of things.

{this post title is goofy, I know.}
But I do have a few random thoughts tonight...

Every so often, a friend or two asks me, "How are you doing?"
Not in the "Hey, how are ya" kind of way
But in the I-really-do-want-to-know "How are you doing?"
kind of way.
Lately, it seems that I've gotten more "how are you doing's" than normal. {like a lot this week}
And that always makes this girl feel pretty loved.
So I just wanted to say Thank You to my friends and loved ones who have taken the time to send love and thoughts
{both during this week and other times}
I don't know if I can ever relay how far your sweet wishes go.


I've been missing the girls so much more this week. 
Who am I kidding . . . I miss them all the time and more and more each day.
And I wonder how people go on
and how some people tell me that I can go on
When life seems to have stopped for me.
And completely, too.
Then I came across this saying that explained it all to me:

I'm sure Mr. Poe meant this for a lover, but for us, we mean this for our little ones.

And that explains it all.


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What I Wore Today: Casual Wedding

Today, J and I drove 3 1/2 hours to Tehachapi to witness love.

My friend from high school, Shilo (who also happens to share the exact birthday as me! 10/23/1983), had a very fun and laid back wedding next to a pond / lake. 

I love when an outfit pretty much puts itself together as you go along . . .

{watch: Michael Kors @ Nordstrom - a one-year anniversary present from my wonderful husband} 

{bangle: Philippines - a gift from an aunt}
{nail polish: Turquoise & Caicos by Essie} 

{shoes: Target / toenail polish: Need Sunglasses? by O.P.I.}
{dress: Kohl's / sweater: Gap / belt: J.Crew}

I am really proud of how my hodge podge of items made for one great outfit that was perfect for Shilo & Bob's outdoor wedding! Most of all, I am glad to have been able to share in my friend's special day! Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Vigil!

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a successful {surprise} party

Last weekend's trip to Northern California was a blast.
That's a given.
But part of what made it more fun
{and yes, a little more rewarding}
was being able to be part of the planning and successful execution of
a SURPRISE 50th birthday party for one of J's aunts
{and coincidentally, one of my favorite people in the world!}.

A little background . . .
Aunt Karen is J's aunt through marriage {she is married to J's mom's brother}
and from the moment I met her, I realized
this lady and I have a LOT in common:
one of which is a love of SHOES...

And what better theme for her birthday party than that.

Aunt Karen and Uncle Jerry's daughter, Ashley 
{who we lovingly and quite appropriately call Smashley}
was one of my bridesmaids
and I absolutely {heart} her.
Good thing for good ol' Smash: she had just recently turned 21

and all in time, right before her mom's party in a WINE CAVE! {pretty rad, huh?}

The decor {if I may say so myself} was pretty fabbies.
{kudos and thanks to my husband who painstakingly spray painted each of the shoebox centerpieces days before the party!}

We had a fabulous time hanging out, drinking good wine, and seeing family!

And I am totally proud of being able to say I helped plan this surprise!


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north and south

J and I went on another of our road trips this weekend to one of my favorite areas in California: the Bay Area.

We had a surprise 50th birthday party for his aunt {which I helped plan!} on Saturday and we went on a quick culinary tour of San Francisco on Sunday for Fathers Day.

We are completely wiped from our drive back {filled with little pit stops along the way!} so here is a sneak peek of pictures from my phone. I promise to post the full schpiel this week.


no escape.

There is no escape.

They're everywhere.

As much as I know it's a reality, and I know that there is no avoiding it, I see it all the time and I find myself seething in . . . I don't even know. I just know I'm seething.

It's like a cruel joke. I have gone through this loss and I get it, when it happens to you, suddenly, you're seeing everything that hurts.

Today, I went to the store and saw FOUR (count them: FOUR) pregnant women right when I came in. I mean, really?

I get home and had a package waiting for me at the door. I had a fleeting moment of "You Got Mail" excitement, until I opened it up and it turned out to be a marketing packet. {they probably got my name from some public list} And it was the WORST marketing packet it could be:

And it's not as if it was sent to everyone on the block. I was singled out as a "pregnant" person. They meant to send it to me.

Yep, a sample tub of formula. I thought to myself, Could it get any worse?

Fate's answer: Why yes, it could... I opened up my email box to find this:
Three different emails of kid-related stuff.

On Facebook, it seems that all my friends are either pregnant, have new babies, or already have babies. 

I get it. I'm surrounded by it. Can't get away from it. The best thing I can do is just grin and bear it. I wake up everyday and go to bed every night. Each day is one step closer to the next phase of our lives.

What is something YOU try to escape from but can't?


A Letter to My Baby Girls

My Dearest Aubrey & Finley,

Two and a half short months have passed since we lost you.
Short as the time may have been since those fateful two days, I feel like the minutes and days have dragged on.
These past twelve weeks have seemed to last twelve years
even though it seems we have not moved on.

There's a small part of me that's still in disbelief that this has happened.
{ok, ok, it's a huge part of me}
I still get those surreal moments where I think,
"Did this thing really happen to me?"
"You mean there really is nothing we can do to get them back?

I've played it out in my head so many times:
Even if I know it couldn't have been detected or saved or have been stopped...
What if I had some sort of premonition at 13 or 14 weeks that there could be something wrong?
{In all my hours of wondering, I have actually been able to peg what I did on every single weekend of my pregnancy}
That weekend of my first prenatal facial, or that weekend I went to prenatal yoga, what if there was some way I had known?

And at that same moment, I somehow snap out of my fantasy
and am thrust back into this lonely world
and I'm back into my world without you.

Our time together, though short, was nothing short of magic.
There was so much fun and excitement from the moment your Daddy took me home from the doctor's office after our embryo transfer.
Despite how stubborn I was in wanting to get up or wash my hair or sneak downstairs, Daddy was so strict with me and wanted to make sure we followed all the rules to a T.
Everytime I went potty during those five long days of bedrest, I remember rubbing my {obviously} still very flat tummy, telling you girls to stay inside, already telling you how much we want you, how much Mommy and Daddy love you.

That weekend before the official tests from the doctor's, I cheated and took home pregnancy tests and there was so much excitement and nervousness in our home.
Daddy patiently bought me pregnancy test after pregnancy test to pacify my need to always be ahead of the game, to always be in control.

And then that day came. We got our phone call from June at PRC to tell us that all our hard work paid off, all our prayers were answered: we were pregnant. And even though we didn't know how many babies we had, we knew that God blessed us with being able to create LIFE.

Two and a half long weeks later was the culmination of it all: Dr. Salem told us we had two baby girls. 

My dream.
I was going to be a Mommy.
A Mommy to not just one, but TWO baby girls,
two girls that are solely mine and your Daddy's.
I was going to be your Mommy.

The first few weeks of my pregnancy were hard. I was so sick that I stopped eating. Daddy got so worried and frustrated with me because he didn't know when I would eat, let alone what to feed me. We trudged through daily hormone injections up until 12 weeks without complaint. We powered through it because this was what we wanted. YOU were who we wanted.

The magic turned more real when I started to feel you inside me. As soon as the doctors were able to label who was Baby A and Baby B, we knew who was who.

Finley, our little firecracker, you always were the wild one. Because of your position in my belly, I always knew it was you who started the middle-of-the-night dance parties. You'd start stirring and before you knew it, your sister would wake up and you two would keep me up half the night -- and even if I suffered with exhaustion at work the next morning, I relished in those moments of feeling the two of you play at 3am. I felt like it was our playtime, our secret fun time together when Daddy was snoring next to us.

Aubrey, our deceivingly calm baby, you were the "quieter" one of my two girls. Even during the ultrasounds we had, you would "wave" at the ultrasound wand and dance around when it was focused on you, while your crazy sister did somersaults, as if begging for attention. But between the two of you, you were the one who would "speak up" to Mommy when I didn't eat. Like clockwork, when we got a little too hungry, you always pinched the bottom corner of my belly, as if to tell me that I need to feed you two. Whenever we seemed to talk about Finley too much, you'd push so hard on my belly that it would almost hurt, and I'd have to rub it out to make you calm down. Daddy always said it was you demanding recognition.

And then one day, with almost no warning, we were told we had to start saying our goodbyes. I remember that night in the hospital, feeling the two of you trying to do one of your dance parties, knowing my little babes were perfect and healthy, but the pregnancy itself would not allow you to go on. I tried to talk to you and tell you it was going to be okay, but I found that I couldn't tell you something that I wasn't even sure  to be true. That entire night, in my head, in my heart, I argued with both emotion and logic. How could this happen? How could my pregnancy be in danger, when I felt my perfect little peas in my belly like nothing is going on?

It made no sense to me then, and it still makes no sense to me now. Somehow, no matter how much consoling and counseling anyone tells me, this super irrational and unbelievable situation still happened to me. At the end of the day, no matter how much reasoning I try to do, the truth and reality remains: My little girls are gone. Like, forever. 

I try to imagine what you would have been like.
Would your personalities have been as true as we had pegged?
Would we have had a ballerina and a soccer star? An artist and a scientist perhaps?
Would you have fought over headbands, whose turn it was to do dishes, or {heaven forbid} boyfriends?

And somehow more painfully, I close my eyes and dream of what you would have looked like growing up.
We already know after seeing you that Aubrey looked like me and Finley looked like Daddy...
but what color would your eyes have been? What color hair would you have had?

I know that everyday, for the rest of my life, I will have this wonder and unanswered questions and sadly, unfulfilled prayers.

More importantly, I know that everyday, for the rest of my life, I will have your memory to hold... of the two little girls who, in such a short time, changed their Daddy's life and mine in ways no other person ever could. Everyday and every night, I will dream of what could have been with my two girls and our lives together. And when I close my eyes to dream at night, I will always have a 3am playdate with you.

All my love
forever and ever,
your Mommy