The Best Question: Why

I started to grind my teeth.  Not the grinding teeth in the middle of the night while I am in a light rem sleep but the kind that happens in the middle of the day, wide awake.  What is completely disturbing to me is that I am not aware of this grinding. I would not have believed Tim when he told me I was if it wasn’t for 1-my friend that is a dental hygienist that looked at my teeth back in February for fun and 2-my jaw has really been hurting.

It is more than just grinding.  I clench my teeth.  I have done this for a long time.  It seems that it only took 27 and a half years for my clenching to turn into grinding.  Who needs teeth anyway?  This week, the grinding has been especially bad.  I think it is safe to say it has to do with stress.  Just got to love it when stress has a very physical response.  I have just felt completely heart sick and violated by all the violence that is going on.  Violence is something that has been going on for a long time but it has become tangible by striking places and people I love.

2005, I left Idaho in the dust and saturated my feet in the emerald city of Seattle.  I have counted many times and always lose track of all the different houses, schools, towns I have lived in.  Lets just say that I never completed a section of school from start to finish with the same mascot and I have never lived in one place longer than five years.  That is until I moved to Seattle.  Seattle Pacific University became my home.  The place that I felt comfortable and was able to be myself.  For all intensive purposes, it was my Hogwarts.  Four years of my life were spent running from one class to another, meeting up with friends, and having my eyes open to the possibilities of what the world offered.  I felt safe and had the first consistency in my life.  I graduated in 2009 but I still have this feeling of home when I think of SPU.

Thursday June 5, there was a shooting at SPU in Otter Miller Hall.  In the building I had many classes in.  At the university that shaped my identity.  I’m not sure how to exactly express how I feel.  Are there words?

Sunday, I got to gather with some of my friends to celebrate an up coming baby.  These friends are the ladies I met the first quarter at SPU.  We forged some strong bonds.  It seemed we were all still in shock about the events that had taken place at SPU.  None of us could really grasp how we were feeling.  Ache, shattered, sick, surreal, molest…what is the right adjective?

Now, I am five years removed from my time spent at SPU and this is how I feel.  How then does my current family feel? Those that are spending their hours running from one class to another, meeting up with their friends, and having their eyes opened to the possibilities of what the world has to offer?  My heart breaks for you who are currently students.

Kaia adding flowers of the corner of 3rd and Nickerson

Kaia adding flowers of the corner of 3rd and Nickerson

During Friday’s service, my kids and I sat behind some current students.  I shared their pain as they openly wept and locked hands leaning on each other for comfort.  Our home is now violated and covered in Paul, Sarah, and Thomas’s blood.  The current students have lost their innocence.

Two days ago there was a shooting in Las Vegas.  I have a hand full of family in Las Vegas, so I was immediately thinking of them upon hearing about this shooting by Wal-Mart.  My cousin is a police officer in Las Vegas.  He is going to be getting married in a couple of weeks and the girls are going to be flower girls.  I started to grind my teeth as I talked to his fiancé the see if he was ok.  He was one of the first officers to respond during the shootout. I felt sick, I FEEL sick.  I’m thankful that he is physically safe but am sad about how much pain he must be going through with the loss of friends and the added hours of work that are now required of him.

And then today.  Yet another school shooting in Oregon. No words…

Guns are used in all of these tragedies. Yes that is true.  But taking guns out of the equation, there is something else going on.  Why are people doing this?  Why is there a need to go out and kill?  I’m just not convinced that more gun control is the answer.  I DO believe that there should be strong regulations about who can have a gun, I’m not trying to argue that. Gun control just seems like a bandaid on a severed artery.  Is it the prescription medication that people are given that is pushing them to be rash?  I do think that we should visit this idea that antidepressants can really bring out some violent tendencies.  But there has to be more going on.  I always feel if you truly know someone you will love them.  What are these ‘villains’ saying, what are they crying out?  What are we not listing to?

I have no answers.  I only have questions and a very sore jaw.

Today’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Being a parent is just simply hard. Kids drive you to breaking points that are completely unexpected and buttons are pushed that one doesn’t even know exist. I am quite certain nothing has ever been as much of a double edge sword in my life between pure unrated joy and sheer rage. But at the same time, when they are asleep and the house is quiet, I think on the day and would change nothing.

The girls are about to turn two. Like every parent, I’m wondering where time went. Seems like yesterday we were bringing Ari home from the hospital and starting our journey into parenthood. They are talking in full sentences, running marathons in the house, and laughing when things amuse them. I find myself proud of them and the way they are blossoming into individuals. It makes me beam to think of the girls as my children. I dreamt about what my children would look like and be like since I was a child and am ecstatic at Ari and Kaia are more than I could have dreamed.


The past couple of weeks have simply been TERRIBLE. I want to lose it every time they don’t listen. So far, I have been able to handle everything, but the lack of listing has driven me to the edge.

Going out in public with them has been quite a challenge. After our trip to JoAnn’s last week, I may never go anywhere that doesn’t 1.) have a cart that seats two or 2.) has a cart that will seat two in the basket. Stores are clearly not twin friendly…might just be trips to Costco for now on. They don’t hold hands, they knock/grab stuff off the shelf, and worse they run away from me in different directions. None of this is ok with me. It becomes a safety and respect issue. I usually leave the store trying to breath, holding two hands in one, holding my bags in the other hand, and holding my wallet in my armpit. When they are in the car and I’m able to sit down, I just try to not scream. I always ask myself, “Why did I even leave the house with them?!” Truly doesn’t matter where we go the scene is always the same.

I could handle the quest of taking them out in public, but to add to that, they have been a handful at nap time. So much so that somedays I don’t even want to try because I don’t want my buttons to be pushed too hard that they break. It all started because they learned…to…climb…out…of…their….CRIBS! This might not be terrible but there are two of them! They climb into each other’s crib and keep each other awake. I recently asked for advice on FaceBook. There were a lot of really great suggestions but few we could actually try. We only have one bedroom. There is no other way to put their cribs but touching in a little nook. The only thing that separates their beds from ours is a curtain. It isn’t that they are growing out of naps, I would be totally fine with that, it is that they are a complete mess without the nap.

All this ranting to share what transpired today…what wielded all three ladies to tears.

We went to the party store and the dollar store this morning. I just wanted to pick up last minute stuff for their parties on Saturday and Sunday. Does the party store have shopping carts? No. But they do have a huge closing sale of 50-75% off. I’ll let you just imagine what transpired at this store and why the owner quietly gave me candy to stop them from crying after Ari ran out the front door as Kaia was pulling all the suckers off the shelf. Dollar Tree has a cart that I can put one in the child seat and one in the basket. The whole time Kaia says, “No Mama, no!” for no reason and trying to take Ari’s candy that the party store lady had given them. Ari of course shrieks, “NO! It’s mine!”

We eventually make it home without me wanting to scream in the car and eat lunch. So far the day is sitting at a five (one being the worst and ten being the best). Average days are pretty good and desirable in my book. Things quickly changed as we approached nap time. Diapers got changed, stories got read, it was time to lay down. As my first defense, I let them choose a book to look at in bed. The rules are- you lose it if you get up or try and climb out. I kiss them and say I’ll be back to check on them after I go to the bathroom.

5 minutes later I go back in the bedroom…

I smell poop. Please let one of them JUST need a diaper change…

Must not have said please loud enough. Both girls were in Kaia’s crib. Ari just had a shirt on. Kaia had a wipe she was using to clean up the smear marks with. It was everywhere…

Their logic: Ari needs a diaper change and Kaia can help change it. They even hide the diaper and pants between the crib and wall so no one will know.

Reality: Both girls go in the shower. Daddy comes home and all three of us are crying. Bedding goes in the wash…cribs get completely disinfected…and girls are fast asleep.

This was officially a one on my day scale. Here is to hoping tomorrow will be a two or higher!



Tim’s Surprise

I have tried to write this post in different forms three times now. I finally feel I can put the work into it that it needs. I’m going on empty with emotions and might have vision loss from my eye lids swelling shut. True my short story Professor in Argentina said not to write about raw feelings when in the moment but to come back to those feelings and put the power of a cultured understanding of those feelings. But it was August last time I attempted this topic…I have some cultured understanding on the matter regardless of still going through it. Plus I just want to get this out there before I end up trying a forth time months down the road.

It is in my throat. That is where all this pressure builds and my heart starts racing against the pressure. It builds and builds. Nothing seems to help but staying away from the triggers. But what triggers my anxiety? Let alone what is this anxiety! Nothing I have EVER experienced before having the girls. It started when the girls were 7 1/2 months. I’m thinking it was because they started eating solid food and breast-feeding less. I believe my hormones went hay wire trying to find all the “normal” connections and levels my body needed.

It happened at first over going out or packing for a big trip. I would find myself paralyzed with the simple task of finding what onesie to bring. Not normal for me. I’m am hands and heart a LEAPER. I don’t need time to think about something, if I want it, I will do it. I was utterly confused as to why I couldn’t function to get moving out the door. Thankfully, it was never so bad that it interfered with my day to day life. Let me stop here, if you have anxiety or depression, ask for HELP and do not disregard what you are going through! No one should live like that.

In total, I have had a small handful of anxiety attacks. Running and friend support has really helped, but this week was another story.

I’m going to blame stress for this one. With so much family hardship going on in my mom’s side of the family, I have been a basket case.

Tuesday- I get a fever, not just a low grade can still function but a high delirious can’t move from the bed fever. To top it off, Tim was working and the girls wanted to play. No one could help. The girls were only fed dry cereal from the snack pouches in the backpack and made to watch TV all day. This is where I wished more than anything that my family lived here. My mom would have came in a heart beat. At 3:30ish, I was so far gone that I couldn’t even move when my savor Kiri came to watch the girls. To be honest I don’t remember much until later after Tim finally gave me medication.

Wednesday- I had jury duty. I was actually originally excited to be on it. I wanted to see what it was like to be behind the scenes and learn the whole process. I figured childcare wouldn’t be that difficult due to the fact my mother-in-law comes up all the time to watch my sister-in-law’s kids and my close friends could possibly help out as well. Turns out my mother-in-law could only do one of the four days because she wanted to spend time with her other grand kids too. That is fine, I can work with that. I call on the Friday before and learn I am needed a day later. Perfect only three days to cover. And covered they were until I got sick. For fear of sickness (my mother-in-law has congestive heart failure) she couldn’t come to help. After asking people, I finally twisted Pam’s arm into watching them in the morning in the middle of her busiest days of the week. Then I served on jury duty for a little over 30 minutes and was sent home. The person pled guilty before the hearing started. And Childcare was only needed for a small hour.

Today was the breaker. The girls must have sensed all my stress and anxiety about not getting help and the stress of missing my family because they pretty much lived in time out. I was on the edge. I stayed calm but made sure they knew it wasn’t ok to act out. When Tim comes home, all my rattling pieces exploded. I can’t explain any of it. My heart started to really physically hurt and swallowing was a challenge. My friend anxiety barged in with FULL force. Weight…every abstract anger, every sadness that clutched at my soul in the past week came screeching on me fast…unbelievable weight. Weight and udder numbness. I’m pretty sure I had a break down and was ready for the mental health hospital.

In my coma state I fought with Tim. “You don’t know me.” “You don’t know what I need.” I whispered to him. Hurtful words were said and tears found their way out of sorry eyes. While Tim was changing the girls, I looked at him and asked if we were going to Cirque du Soleil for V-day. For a couple weeks, he told me we had plans, but I thought nothing of it. It was Gods way of dragging me out of the black hole of anxiety. My lifeline back to reality. Tim KNOWS me, Tim LOVES me. Might sound silly to you, but it was a switch turned on for me. He REMEMBERED how much I wanted to see a show and was trying to surprise me.

Though life is hard and we make a little more than 14 dollars a day per person in our 4 person family, we truly do love each other. I would never want to go through life with anyone other than Tim, Ari, and Kaia and all our dear friends and family.

I’m please to say, I currently just have a head ache and have a pillow calling for a new tomorrow.


J.C. Steele

Everyone has those people in their lives that has always been there for them. The constant in their life that they can always fall back on. For me, my mom’s parents are my safety net. They are the ones who, for all intents and purposes, raised me up until my mom and dad got married and we moved to Montana.

Whenever I go visit I feel at home and that I can be myself. It isn’t work. I am close to all of my mom’s immediate family. In fact my mom’s youngest sister is more like a sister than an aunt. My aunt Jenn was 15 when I was born. With my mom going to nursing school and working full time you can image how much time I spent with Jenn and my grandparents.

Last Tuesday I got a call that my Grandad was in the hospital again. He has had a lot of health issues and been in the hospital on and off for several years. I kept thinking he is so young but then I remembered he just turned 70 in November. When we went for a visit last summer I remember thinking how the years were showing. The idea of death is so foreign and abstract that when I am faced with my anchor slipping away, I start to build up all the walls I can muster and beg to not feel. Death is a sure thing…but surely not for my grandparents. What would I do without them? Who will love me like they do? Selfish thoughts, but I can’t help but find it unfair for two people in my life that mean so much to me to not be immortal.

On Thursday, my mom decided to drive the 6 hours to Bend Oregon. I had decided I would drive down with the girls as well. Tim asked if he could have Friday and Saturday off but he could only get Saturday off. After Tim left the office, he got a call that the job on Friday cancelled, which never happens, and he was able to go with us. So after Rita’s 17th birthday bash, we came home and packed. At 11:56pm we loaded the girls in the car and drove all night to Central Oregon, my home.

Grandad was released from the hospital on Saturday. They still do not know what is going on. Like doctors do, they are just treating the symptoms with medication. I wish they could just fix his heart or inject him with the elixir of life.

We came home Sunday, but I keep my heart in Oregon sitting in my grandma’s elephant hole as she reads me stories. Oh what I would give to spend the last years of my grandparents with them. Right now, nothing else seems important.




Sometimes I feel like my life couldn’t be more chaotic. I am running after one girl only to find the other girl getting into something on the other side of the house. Twin families all told me things get easier as they get older…well they LIED! Feet moving is a lot harder to manage than one sitting in a stationary position. Whoever thought that it be easier to have a toddler exploring and climbing on the counters than an infant that only sleeps, eats, and poops was clearly out of their mind! And I’m sorry all you singleton parents out there, you have NO idea just how hard it is and YES it is harder than having two that are different ages!

We have been living at our new place for three months now and still haven’t moved in. We sure weren’t that bright when we moved with toddlers. I never thought it would be this hard! We still have boxes everywhere. I had this thought last month that if I just organized and unpacked one thing/one area every day we would soon be “moved” in. This was working great until the Norovirus struck us for 10 long days. One day all four of us had a little throwing up festival. Luckily we had super amazing friends that brought food and house mates that cleaned up after the girls. Needless to say, we have paid our dues this year.

Basically I feel like I am in the middle of the craziest part of toddlerhood of two incredibly busy girls. Did I mention they are 15 months. Time, I know, where did it go?

I feel so blessed to have my “double trouble!” Their smile and laughter could melt me on the spot. They have moments when they fight but even more when they are giving hugs and kisses. There is so much joy in seeing my girls play and laugh as they chase each other around the mound of boxes in our bedroom.

This picture pretty much sums it all up:


Miss Vivian

Friday our family welcomed the newest addition weighing 7 pounds 6.9 ounces.  Thunder and lightning filled the sky, and the sun came out just as Vivian Faith entered our lives.  My sister-in-law is doing amazing and practically had no labor.  Vivian did not even wait for the doctors to get in the room before she was delivered.  Sounds like my kind of lady…knows what she wants when she wants it.

This weekend has been filled with trips to the hospital everyday to see her and my sibling-in-laws.  There is nothing better than that newborn smell and hearing their little cries.  I even was the first person to change her diaper other than the nurses (ooohh lucky me).  Needless to say, I’m in love.


I can just see all the sleepovers and adventures Vivian will do with Ari and Kaia.  I have very fond memories of playing with my cousins throughout the years…it makes me happy to think my girls will have that kind of bond with their cousins as well.

On a more personal note, I had a great 3 mile run tonight in the rain.  I really think I’m going to be shaving a lot of minutes off my PR for the next half I run.  Oh! and I think I might have talked Tim into letting me run the Leavenworth half in October (I found some Christmas money I forgot about when I did the mass clean).