Sunday, August 28, 2016

We are alive and oh so well!!

It feels so wierd to be sitting here writing a post! It has been SOOO many months since I have done it. (Seriously 9!!) I have even had people ask me if I still blog anymore? My answer is YES…but the reality of life has not allowed me to like I desire!! I write so many things in my head in hopes to sit at the computer, to write them down so that the memories, the lessons, the inspiration isn’t lost…but then more time goes and then my mind has been SO flooded with SOOO many things left unwritten that the very thought of sitting down at the computer to write a post is overwhelming. So I just don’t!!

But today is a VERY significant day for me, my family, and our healing that I forced myself to sit here, forget about all that I haven’t written about and just write about today!

Why is today significant? Today Navy…this darling little heaven sent angel of a sister, is the EXACT age Dakota was on the day of his accident.
It may seem wierd that I calculated the exact day but it was so important to me because I feel like EVERY day after today is new. I feel like a first time mom in a way, experiencing things that I never had the chance to see, feel, and live. Time stood still for a LOOONG time after Dakota’s accident. He stayed 2 years, 2 months and 16 days to me…even while his body grew and time went on.
(Family picture taken the month of his accident)

I mourned a lot over those next few years each milestone the kids his age lived and got to experience. I will never forget the day the tears ran down my cheeks as I saw the kindergarten kids that were HIS age standing at the bus stop at the top of our neighborhood. Dakota was still going to school…he even had a REALLY convenient little bus that came right to my driveway so I didn’t have to rush to that bus stop in my pajamas and face all the other mom’s looking my worst…BUT I wanted THAT!! I was even JEALOUS of that chaos!!! I wanted to be normal and watch Dakota interact with those kids, go to the same school with those kids, play sports with those kids, and even become better friends with THOSE moms…but it wasn’t MY reality!!!

Obviously as time has passed I learned to accept MY reality! In fact I LOVE my reality now! Every day Zach or I tell each other how grateful we are for our family, our life!!! I feel blessed beyond measure to have learned all that I have over these difficult years, to know and FEEL what true happiness is, and to have Dakota’s sweetest, sweetest spirit and light in my home. I now feel like he is 8 (as he just had his big birthday this month!!!)
(His DARLING superhero cake made by our sweetest friend Rachel Bitton!!)

(It’s not a party without LOTS of food!!)
(Cousin party crew! I love how Dakota’s eyes are sneakily looking at the camera! Winking smile)

(This was the first birthday that Dakota showed true reaction, expression, and excitement! Each present, each hand written birthday card from his cousins recieved a genuine smile and Dakota thank you!! It melted my heart to think back to all of his past birthdays and how far he has come!! He really is a superhero!)

(The cake didn’t just look good. It tasted good too!!)

(Our “SUPER” family!)

BUT I would be lying if I didn’t say how excited I am to get to know now what it is like to be a “normal” mom. I want to know the answers to all the questions I NEVER got to know for myself…Are the 2’s really THAT terrible?! What is it like to NOT have to change diapers?! Will potty training be hard?! What will be the first sport I put my Navy in?! Will she be good at it or will she hate it?! When will she not let me dress her anymore?! Can I even handle that?! LOL!! Who will be her best friend?! Will she cry on her first day of school?! Will she miss me?! Will she be kind to others?! When she learns to write will she write me love notes?! I wonder who her first crush will be?! How old will she be when she first tells me she hates me?! Will I cry? Where will HER choices in her life take her?!

The unknown is exciting but also scary!! Not knowing the answers to all of those questions and knowing who my little girl will become is a little nerve wracking. Their is a peace in knowing that Dakota is perfect. That he will NEVER make a wrong choice.
(I mean look at that perfect angelic little face!! He can do NO wrong!!)

I thought that him turning 8 and not being able to be baptized (since he has the trach) would be one of the “hard moments” that would bring me to tears…but it didn’t! I found SO much peace in knowing that he was already perfect, that he didn’t NEED baptism like the rest of us because he was unable to make a bad choice!! He gained his eternal reward at the age of 2 years, 2 months, and 16 days!!! THAT is remarkable!!!

It will be hard to let Navy go and be independant and make dicisions that will sometimes bring a lot of pain! I can’t have complete control over her little world like I have with Dakota but I am SOOOO excited to experience life with HER. To hopefully teach her the important things in life that really matter and HOPEFULLY get to watch her go out in the world and remember and apply them in her life!! I pray every day that she will have a good and kind heart! That she will LOVE unconditionally ALL people. That she will care more about others then herself…that she will live a Christ like life!! I don’t know how well I am teaching her but I know with ALL of my heart her precious brother is doing one heck of a job. As I watch their daily interactions I can’t help but melt! Their is no doubt in my mind our loving Heavenly Father hand picked this little girl to come to OUR family, to compliment our home, and be the sister her brother so desperately needed, and the daughter we craved!!!!!

So wish me luck as a first time mom!! I may have an 8 year old BUT I have NO idea how to be a mom to a 2 year, 2 month, and 16 day old child on up!! This is a new and exciting adventure for ALL of us!!!
(I might just need superpowers!!)

Friday, November 27, 2015

5 Years an Angel: Finding Joy in the Journey

I have OBVIOUSLY been neglecting this blog, much to my dismay!! There is SOOO many things I have wanted to sit down and write about (Dakota's killer Halloween costume Zach built, Navy is 18 months, how I randomly decided to become a permanent makeup artist, Zach's new Germavoid product we are working on, and life) mostly for my own memory. But life has been CRAZIER then ever lately and there has not been enough time in ANY day to be honest!! It is a good crazy though so I can't complain!!

It is 2:30 A.M. I'm MORE then tired. It has been a long but great Thanksgiving surrounded by our wonderful family we love BUT I couldn't lay my head on my pillow tonight without dedicating a post to sweet Dakota...because let's face it...this is really HIS blog, not mine!! Any that still read this read it because of HIM...because of the SWEET, SWEET spirit they feel through each picture and post that he is in. It ALWAYS amazes me at how even through a simple picture people can feel what I feel in his presence. It is AMAZING. So for him...I post!

5 years ago our lives were changed!! I thought for the worst. I relived that day yesterday as we had Dakota's quarterly check up at Primary Children's Hospital. They built a new outpatient wing, separate but connected to the hospital recently, so we rarely walk the same halls we once did. But this particular appointment they told me he could get a flu shot while we were there but we would have to walk over to the pharmacy connected to the hospital. No big deal!! But on this particular night as we approached his 5 year anniversary the next day...being in those same halls, eating the same cafeteria food, it was different. I allowed myself to relive those dark, difficult, and life changing days. I observed my surroundings and watched the people, staff and parents. My heart ached as I watched a dad walk in with his pillow and suitcase, the woman carrying in a large ziploc baggy full of breast milk. I ached that they would be spending their Thanksgiving a hospital. I longed to stop them, hug them, and tell them to NEVER give up!! That the light WILL come and there will be GREAT blessings and happiness ahead. Your future REALLY is as bright as your faith as President Monson has said!!

I didn't as I'm sure they would have thought I was a crazy lady and called security on me!!

But my message tonight is just that!! I have learned A LOT of life changing things over these past 5-6 years from Zach's blindness to Dakota's accident to now. I am a COMPLETELY different Tessie Friedli then I once was. My life was changed, my perspective is different, and my focus is forever better...thanks to my dang trials that I wished had NEVER come as I was living through them.

I have been asked to speak at several different types of settings..woman, young woman, and youth over the past few years. Public speaking is NOT my favorite thing...AT ALL!! But I have never said no, (except once only because it was soon after Navy would be born) because I feel that if I can help just 1 person in my lifetime through their life and trials then ALL of the sleepless nights, tears, and heartache I have experienced is not in vain. Helping others is what gives purpose to the madness. EVERY time I speak my own testimony of EVERYTHING I have learned and gained through my challenges are strengthened and I am reminded over and over how important the lessons I have learned truly are!!

Each time I have been asked to speak the focus/topic has always been a little different although each time they want me to share my story...because let's face it...I AM my story!! It has defined who I am. Just a couple weeks ago I spoke to a group of Young Woman. They asked me to share about Finding Joy in the Journey. Tonight as I sit here on this 5 year anniversary I want to share what I shared with them because EACH and EVERY person on this entire planet will experience pain, heartache, and sadness. It is part of our earthly experience. I don't know what it will look like for each person...but I can promise it will come. But the great thing is not our life experiences that define is what we CHOOSE to do with them that determine who we are and how happy we can be!! No matter what has happened in your past, what you are facing now, or what your future holds...YOU get to decide whether your story has a happy one else can!!! honor of Dakota...Here is what I shared in hopes that whoever may read this can learn to find JOY in their Journey because as I LOVE to say, "Life Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful!"

At the end of this post I made a slideshow of OUR story to date. I am not a technologically advanced person so I won't tell you how many hours it took me to do this! LOL!! But it represents our story, our fight. I chose to do it to the Fight Song because I feel like life is a fight at times...sometimes we are winning and sometimes we are down. I LOVE this song and so does my whole family!! We blast it in our home or in the car and Zach and I sing like we are on stage, Dakota smiles, Navy dances and then as soon as it ends she says "GO!" (which means play it again.) So ENJOY and keep on fighting!!


Tonight they asked me to talk about how I have found joy in MY journey!! I have been pondering this thought and I feel like our lives, our journey, is broken up in to a 3 sequence story!!

First sequence of our story involves our pre-earth life…when we were just cute little spirits flying around naked without a body to clothe us!! The second sequence to that story is the here and now…our Earth life. The last sequence of our story is our return home back into the presence of our loving Heavenly Father!!! It’s a book that we can’t even comprehend because we have NEVER experienced, read or seen anything like it!!

I don’t know for sure what it was like in the first sequence but I can imagine our Heavenly Father sitting down with us and preparing us for the 2nd sequence. Telling us what might happen in each chapter. I’m sure he explained to us that it was going to be REALLY hard at times but that He would ALWAYS be with us to help us through. I can imagine Him taking the time to explain that this was THE MOST important sequence to be written because we would be the co-authors of this story. We would make choices that would determine how this book would end and what the last sequence would entail. I can only imagine how many time He probably told us to REMEMBER who we are!! Reminding us of who He created us to become and how important, valued, and special we were and telling us HOW BADLY he wanted us to return back to live with Him again!! The feeling we must have felt as we left His presence and came to earth I’m sure was pretty powerful!!

So here we are!! Each one of us at different points in our story. Have we ALREADY forgotten who we are, where we came from, and why we are here??? I hope not! I hope that you will NEVER forget that!!
You girls are still at the beginning of your stories… with SO much yet to be written. SO many choices and decision to make…and so many unexpected surprises along the way. I’m about 32 years into my story and I can tell you…It has been quite the duesy!! Trust me…you will want to read this!!! It is better then any scary movie or reality show you have EVER seen!! I’m thinking I should get my own show…keeping up with the Friedlis. I’m totally kidding…kind of!!!

But I started off chapter 18…leaving YW and out into the big wide world. I was ready for this new and exciting chapter in my book!! I had a whole rough draft already written in my head of EXACTLY the way that I thought it should and would go! I was going to meet my handsome returned missionary prince charming, get married in the temple, have 5 or 6 beautiful and amazing babies, live in a big beautiful white picket fence house, and be THE WORLDS BEST mom and wife EVERY day!! My happy ending looked good!!!!! Now don’t raise your hand…but how many of you have your rough draft all perfectly written like me, ready to send to the printer for a final draft?!

Well don’t hit print because guess what?! We don’t ALWAYS get to choose what happens in each chapter!!!! Your life will never go exactly the way you had planned. If it does…I want you to find me because I will probably want your autograph or take a picture with you or SOMETHING!!!

I do have to brag…I DID get to meet my handsome prince charming and I DO have 2 BEAUTIFUL children BUT that is about all that got printed in my book! There was A LOT of editing to be done between all the lines!!!

My handsome husband and I got married in January 2007 in the beautiful Mesa, AZ temple. This was THE BEST and MOST important decision I have EVER made in my WHOLE life!!  I can’t stress to you girls enough how important that decision of who to marry is. It doesn’t just affect you, it affects your family, your children, and your future posterity. It will affect EVERY chapter of your book so make that decision with LOTS of prayer and DON’T COMPROMISE your standards!
We gave birth to our sweet son Dakota in August of 2008. I was a stay at home mom and he was running his own landscaping company and going to school. Life was good…although I didn’t realize how good it really was at the time.
In August of 2009 just a short week before our darling boy was going to turn 1… My husband was driving to work and realized cars were passing him on left side and he wasn't seeing them till they were in front of him. He had already lost complete sight in his right eye at the age of 15 so he knew this was not a good sign. We went immediately into the eye doctor and they told him that it wasn't looking good. His optic nerve was swelling and if they didn't stop it he would lose his sight in his only good eye.

We spent the next 3 weeks in the hospital as the doctors did everything they could to stop the swelling and save his sight.
Now I can tell you right now…this was NOT part of my rough draft plan!! We were scared to death!! My husband and I spent every second of every hour PLEADING to the Lord to grant us a miracle. I had read lots of scriptures of how Jesus had healed the blind man and I thought…why not this blind man?! HE is a good of man as any!! He has kept the commandments, he is temple worthy, he DESERVES this miracle.

As many times as we prayed and as much faith as we had…he still woke up EVERY morning seeing less and less until he was pronounced legally blind and could no longer see mine or my son’s face but just the shadowy outlines of our bodies.
This was devastating!!
I learned the hardest lesson I had EVER learned at this point in life...that sometimes no matter how much faith we have or how many times we pray to get the answer we so desperately think is right...Heavenly Father is truly the one that knows what is best for us! He sees the end from the beginning. He knows us inside and out! This is why he is the co-author of our life! He gets to add in sections to our book that we don’t always think should be there because we don’t know how it ends!!

Life got REALLY complicated for us as you can imagine. Life from that point on was different and it was hard. But together and with the support of friends, family, ward members, and most importantly our Savior we were learning to “get by.” I was helping him with his school work, miraculously he was still landscaping although it was far from easy.

About 1 year later our story took another turn for the worse!

In November of 2010 our son Dakota who was now 2 at the time, was outside playing at my parents house in AZ with his cousins. There were lots of family and friends inside and out of the house setting up and getting things ready for my brother's wedding reception that night. I was inside cutting vegetables and my husband came in from outside and asked me to go check on Dakota since he hadn’t seen him in a little while. Dakota was always the sweetest most cautious kid ever so I wasn’t worried…. I went to check on him to see what he was doing and found him lying under a fence panel totally blue in the face, no heart beat, and no pulse.

The worst fear of EVERY parent had come upon me. I received the hardest news I had EVER received from the doctor when he said he wasn't sure if Dakota would live or die and if he did live he didn't know what kind of recovery he would make from the brain damage that was done. As we sat by our only child's bedside unsure of what was going to happen, I felt COMPLETE helplessness!!

This chapter was NEVER supposed to be written in MY story!! This kind of thing only happened to OTHER people NOT ME!!

I turned to the only person that could help me and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father to save my little boy!! To not let this chapter end the way I feared it could end! I knew that heavenly Father knew me and loved me! I knew that He was fully aware of my situation. I knew that He knew how much we needed Dakota in our already dark and difficult world!
But this time the answer was yes...he can stay...but NO he won't get to make a full recovery and be the boy that he once was. The 2 year old active little boy that I had watched go out to play that day was now a different little boy who couldn't walk, talk, eat, or even breathe on his own. He was physically with us but I felt like he was gone!! 

After TWO huge NO's, that meant the Trials in my life would NEVER stop..that they would be something I would wake up to EVERY day for the rest of our testimony was shaken!!

My perfect little story that I had written in my head was COMPLETELY erased.. I didn’t even want to continue on and keep writing!! I wanted this book to END!!!

I had NO idea how to be a mom to a brain injured child!! On top of trying to be a wife to a blind man!! It was OVERWHELMING to say the least. I struggled in every aspect of life. I struggled physically trying to care for Dakota. He didn't sleep, he needed constant care around the clock and was physically unstable. I struggled emotionally with the loss of the boy that once was...trying to find him in this boy that I now had. Worst of all I struggled spiritually trying to understand why God was allowing all of this to happen to ME!

I didn’t think it was even possible to write a happy ending to my story! I didn’t even know if I could EVER FEEL happiness again!!!
But guess what I learned?? Through a lot of sleepless nights, pillows wet with tears, on my knees pleading to my Heavenly Father for help and mercy… I slowly came to learn  and understand that…Happiness IS NOT dependent upon circumstances…happiness comes from knowing WHO you are and WHOSE you are!!!

As hard as Satan tried to bring me down…as many hard and overwhelming days as I went through in those next few years…I could not deny my knowledge and testimony that I was a daughter of God, He created me, He LOVED me, He KNEW ME Tessie Friedli…and He had sacrificed HIS son Jesus Christ for ME…so even though there was not one single person on this earth that could understand my pain and heartache…not one single friend, sister, Not even my mom! But My Savior knew because He had suffered pains deeper then I could even imagine so that He would know how to help rescue and save ME when NO ONE else could!! Only through the loving compassion of my Savior was I able to find the hope, faith, and strength to move forward…to get out of bed and keep going!! Only then was I able to trust in my Heavenly Father’s plan for ME!! 
I knew that because my Savior had died for me and my family…one day they would be made whole again!! I stopped questioning and asking Heavenly Father WHY?! It no longer mattered why all of these bad things happened to me because I knew that 1 day I would understand everything COMPLETELY. That in my 3rd sequence EVERYTHING would be made right!!! The pain that I felt would be compensated 100 times greater with JOY…and oh how beautiful that sounded!!

I felt like the Lord was telling me exactly what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said has counseled: “Don’t give up. … Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. … It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”10

I didn’t know how or when these good things would come…I wondered how many chapters it was going to take before good things really did come…But as I put my trust in my Heavenly Father, accepted His will in my life…my eyes were opened to the blessings and beauty that was ALL around me!!!

It has been 5 years this month since Dakota’s accident. They have been some of THE HARDEST years of my life but I can say with complete honesty that they have also been the VERY BEST!! I can honestly say that if I could go back and rewrite those chapters the way I thought they should have gone I wouldn’t. Because as hard as they were, they brought me to my knees in COMPLETE humility and forced me to come to know my Heavenly Father and Savior in a way I had never before known. As I turned to them…They helped me to see who I was, to see the DIVINE NATURE inside of me and have taught me what TRUE HAPPINESS really is!!

Happiness does not come from the amount of friends or followers you have, or the number of likes you get, how good you are at sports or dance, the amount of money or talents you have…Happiness come from within…it is realizing your DIVINE nature!! It is having the ability to focus on ALL 3 sequences and allowing your life to be filled with things of eternal worth!! It is seeing who your Heavenly Father sees you as and living each day to make him proud!!

Sister Wixom in this last general conference said, “God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.”9 That future, a day at a time, comes alive when you do more than just exist; it comes alive when you live your life to fill the measure of your creation. This invites the Lord into your life, and you begin to let His will become yours.
Because you are His child, He knows who you can become. He knows your fears and your dreams. He relishes your potential. He waits for you to come to Him in prayer. Because you are His child, you not only need Him, but He also needs you. Those sitting around you right now in this meeting need you. The world needs you, and your divine nature allows you to be His trusted disciple to all His children.

Now I don’t know what your story entails…what types of chapters might be written in YOUR sequence. You may lose a loved one, you may struggle to have a child, you may never get married, you may battle with a debilitating illness, you may face betrayal from someone you love…There will be chapters like mine that are so hard that you wish they were NEVER written! Ones that you wish you could stop and erase! But I promise that if you can get to the end of that chapter, relying on your Saviors love, help, and strength as you go…keeping your eye on the eternal perspective you will not only make it through…but you will find JOY in your journey!! It is through those hardest of chapters that we learn, grow, progress, and become the person our Heavenly Father knew we could become!!

When Heavenly Father sent you into this second sequence he didn’t send you into it to be sad…he sent you to be happy…to share your light for ALL the world to see!

My daily life is STILL hard. I still have to help my husband and take care of ALL of Dakota’s needs…but I am happier then I have EVER been because I have learned to find joy in the simple and beautiful things in my life!!  My favorite quote is “Life Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be WONDERFUL!”

No matter what your story has looked like in the past, looks like right now, or will look like in the future…YOU get to write the ending!! YOU get to decide if it is a happy ending…no one else can decide that for you!!

It is my hope for each one of you that you will make it to that 3rd sequence where you will get to look your maker in the eye and hear him say Well Done my Good and Faithful Servant!! And you might say back to him as Sister Reeves put it…Was that ALL that was required??

“What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?”

It is my hope and prayer that each one of you will feel the love your Heavenly Father has for YOU!! That even in your darkest of days that you will NEVER forget who you are and that that knowledge will give you the strength to keep going and to find JOY in your journey!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Whirlwind is the best way to describe our life as of late! But a GOOD kind of whirlwind not a bad...Everything about our life is falling a part kind of whirlwind...I know that one all too well and I don't want to go there again! Life is a whirlwind but in the best way possible! Zach has has had a SUPER busy landscaping summer...which means he has had lots of work which is GREAT...not for his back but for our family! ;)

WE MOVED...which is complete CHAOS (I DESPISE moving) but we are FINALLY at the place we get to call home for the next long while!!! It took 6 months to actually get our house built but the house designing, and lot finding has been over a year in the making! I still have to pinch myself that it is real! That we REALLY live here and that we aren't just visiting! It is only 3 miles from where we have been renting so for the last 6 months we have driven by and walked through almost daily! (I know we are crazy...but I TOTALLY recommend it if you are building because SO many little things come up that you notice and your builder might not or that you might want to change or add before it is too late!)

So now instead of just driving by every day, I actually get to drive HOME!!! It is SERIOUSLY our happy place!! EVERYTHING about it was thought out and planned JUST how we wanted it (with our budget in mind of course! ;))  It is DAKOTA friendly to the max and that is my FAVORITE part! Not ONE single step ANYWHERE!!! His shower is a DREAM! No more back breaking over a tub...just roll him right into the shower and stand and bathe him!

I don't have many pictures at the moment (although Zach has banned me from posting any...but not like he reads my blog anyways, so...;)) because for the last 2 weeks it has been a full force packing, moving, unpacking and cleaning of our rental!! There have been WAY too many late nights and early mornings now that school started. We have all been sick except for our healthy Dakota man (we all need to eat like him! ;))

There are still a few boxes that need going through and MUCH decorating to be done but for now we are just enjoying that we can function and live in this space! I'm not going to lie...building a house is A LOT of work...LOTS of decisions...and for this indecisive girl it maxed me out! I LOVE to decorate but all the decisions I had to make on the house have maxed me out for the moment and my mind needs a little break from any more decisions! ;)

We feel at home though! Everyone has been SO kind and welcoming and we look forward to ALL the memories that will be made here in this home...the good AND the bad...although I sure hope their are a lot less bad ones! ;)

Dakota Man started FIRST grade!!!
I still can't believe my little boy is a FIRST grader!! It is the weirdest thing but for some reason first grade was harder on me then KINDERGARTEN!! I was literally in tears the night before as I was getting him ready for bed!

As hard as summers are to keep Dakota entertained...I wasn't ready to let him leave ALL day! I was going to miss our morning runs together, his random smiles and laughs throughout the day, his sweet spirit in my home ALL day!!

BUT I knew school is a happy place for him and a place where he gets to not only learn and develop...BUT a place where he gets to share his light, touch lives, and fulfill his little mission on this earth!! I can't keep him to myself ALL the time...He has WAY too much to give! So I cried my own tears and then the next morning put on my big girl panties and sent him to school!!

He tried to make me feel better by not smiling when we got there so I wouldn't feel too bad that he wasn't going to miss me!

He didn't fool me though when the nurse sent me ALL of these pictures!!! (Having a nurse is the best because it lets you see a REAL glimpse of the day! ;))

I love that kid!!

Grammy brought him a first day of school surprise! He enjoyed it after school!

Navy is growing and changing EVERY day!!

 I just looked at her little body that doesn't walk but RUNS everywhere and I wondered what happened to my baby!! She is still a tiny little thing for her age (less then 3% in height and weight!) but she is turning more and more into a toddler every day!!

I just LOVE her little legs in skinny jeans!!

She is as sweet as pie and gives hugs and kisses (especially when you give her food)! She has learned to sign (she won't say it) please! She says thank you like a minion...Tank Uuuu. Her little voice SERIOUSLY sounds like a minion every time she says it...the way she pronounces it and everything! Her other words are mommy, daddy, more, NO :), Kota, ball, dog, milk, banky/binky (sound the same), HI is most definitely her favorite, and I can't think of more at the moment but I know there are more. She is starting to repeat a lot of words you say to her.

She LOVES her blankies...ALL of them! And still says the sweetest little prayers! She folds her arms so perfectly like this and just rambles in a soft sweet little voice. Often times she is the one reminding me at meal time by just folding her arms and starting to pray!! She is a little sweetie!!

Navy and cousin Cord! Are they just the cutest together?!

As sweet as she TRULY is and may look in this picture...she is a wild child! She runs, dances HILARIOUSLY, throws a tantrum like it's nobody's business and then is over it in less then 30 seconds, she LOVES being outside and will escape as much as she can (we need grass...where is my landscaper?! ;)), she rides her little 4 wheeler like it's going out of style, and she is just a ball of energy...everywhere and into EVERYTHING!! Church is a bit rough at the moment! ;)

She would be more then happy to play in the dirt ALL day long if you let her!

I realize picture quality is horrible! ;)

She loves her dolls but also loves tractors! ;) She got that from her brother!

You can't tell by how tiny she is but she LOVES to eat...healthy and unhealthy! ;)

She is still THE FRIENDLIEST little thing on the planet! She doesn't reach out to go to strangers anymore but she says HI to EVERYONE in this cutest, highest, enthusiastic pitch. HI-EEE! I LOVE watching people's reactions because it surprises them every time! They are she talking to me?! And then she just keeps saying it over and over again!! I love how happy it makes people! She is just the brightest little light! I get so many comments from people about how happy she is. The funniest is when she says it to little kids. Just yesterday her and a little boy were like a broken record saying hi to each other back and forth even when they couldn't see each other anymore. They were shouting hi from all the way across the store!! We love her!!

The best thing of over these past couple months their is this connection that is forming between Dakota and Navy like never before and it makes my mommy heart want to jump for joy!!

 I knew this day would come, at least I hoped it would...where they would bring each other joy and comfort. Lately, Dakota lights up more then he ever has at the sight of Navy. She makes him smile more and more often.

She not longer ignores him but she is SO aware of him and will come over and tickle his feet when he is in his chair, kiss his head when he is laying on the ground, or even climb right on top of him and ride him and make horse noises as she goes.


If she hears Dakota cry in his room she looks up, makes a gasp, says Kota, and runs to his door! She lights up when he comes home from school, and she tries to help me more and more with his cares...brushing his teeth, wiping his face, or starting his feeds.

Just the other day we were out for a bike ride. Navy was riding her 4 wheeler but it was too slow so she jumped off and ran to his bike and just wanted to push!! It was heavy but her little body worked so hard!

Her face says it does Dakota's! ;)

Although neither of them can say it in words...their is a love growing between them and I hope and pray it grows stronger EVERY day!


Just a random moment where Navy was LOVING on him without ANY prompting!! Melt my heart!!

Oh how they both NEED each other! Dakota can teach Navy things that I could only dream of and Navy can bring Dakota joy only a sister can give!!

My heart is SOOO full right now and I feel a little guilty! As the recent news of my friends cancer was announced, our new neighbor who just lost her husband, friends who are trying and trying to have a child with no success, watching those I love dear go through divorces and battle addictions, watching some of my heroes like Mckindree battle EVERY day with her transplant, seeing other friends who are fighting with their children in the hospital EVERY day, hearing accidents of another child almost daily on the news...I feel guilty that things in my life are calm, because I have been in the storm and I know how dark and difficult each day is!! I don't take ALL of these blessings for granted! I know we will each go through our highs and lows and I am not naive AT ALL to think that things will always be this good! But for this moment I will continually count my many blessings and thank my Heavenly Father for these happiest of days...and then I will go and do my very best to help lighten the load of someone else today...that they may have the strength to get through their storm and find THEIR rainbow waiting for them at the end!!
As much as we would like, we can't take away others pains and trials...they are theirs to experience, learn and grow from BUT we can help lighten their load and help them carry their burdens by loving, serving, and being there for them through it all. As many times as I prayed for Heavenly Father to give me a heal my boys and take away my burdens (too many to count!) I can honestly say I am grateful he did not! I didn't know it at the time but He knew what I needed. He knew it would take me a lot of sleepless nights, pillows wet with tears, and time on my knees to learn the things that I needed to learn. If I hadn't had my turn in the storm I wouldn't be able to fully appreciate THESE tender  miracles and blessings I am experiencing RIGHT NOW!! I know for a fact that the greater the pain that we feel...the greater our ability is to feel JOY!! I know it because I am experiencing it!! My life is still VERY hard, BUT I feel a greater sense of peace and happiness then I EVER have in my WHOLE life!! THAT IS MY MIRACLE!!

May we all take the time to look outside of our own little worlds and lift someone in need TODAY!! May we be the hands that help lift the them strength and hope to make it through another day!! How grateful I am for all of the angels in my life that NEVER let me give up...that carried me when I was down and gave me the strength to endure!!