Friday, May 6, 2016

Dear Kristen Bell, can we be friends?

You just came out with your own battle with depression and anxiety, and you have the crippling fear of people not liking you.

I thought I was the only one!

True, you say that you compensate by being bubbly and fun. I compensate by acting like I don't give a damn and proceed to subconsciously sabotage friendships so I can have a reason to say nobody likes me! Yes, I am totally screwed up.

Okay, maybe we can't be friends then. Or maybe you can teach me to be bubbly.

Or at the very least, my four-year-old and I loved you in Frozen and our daughters can be friends and play together!

Maybe I'll watch you in "Bad Moms" this summer.

Anyway, thanks for being open about your own struggles with mental illness. I already thought you were awesome for being pro-vax and just being cute all around, but opening up about your own battle just makes you all the more real. Let's have a playdate sometime, okay girl? Okay!



Friday, April 22, 2016

Show me the miracle!

I had some very kind messages after my last post, and I thank all of you for them. They mean a great deal.

By some miracle, I am getting regular appointments! True, I am still on the cancellation list, but enough people are "graduating" (in the secretary's word) that stuff is opening up. Childcare has been working out so far as well--the last few appointments, my mom has been up visiting and she has been able to help with my girlies. I have had offers from friends to help as well, which again, means a lot to me.

I seriously wasn't expecting things to work out like this.

My therapist and I have started processing (DNMS therapy) and the few sessions we've had so far are already making a difference and have opened my eyes to some things. I'm even noticing a difference in my girls, especially Kate. I've told Kate that I'm going to a special doctor to help my mind feel better so I can be a better mommy to her and Livia.

Things aren't perfect--I have a ways to go, but I am seeing the tender mercies rolling in and I am very grateful for them.

So...thanks everyone :)

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I have finally gone back to therapy, after close to two years.

My therapist had been wondering about me. That's why I like her--I'm not just a number. She never forgot me!

She did a follow-up anxiety assessment. When I started seeing her a few years ago, my anxiety. was classified as "severe".

At this appointment, my level was critical.


That's worse than severe.

I had no idea that my anxiety could get any worse than severe.  

Of course, it's not like the last two years have been stressful. I mean, other than a miscarriage, my husband getting laid off, going through unemployment, husband adjusting to new job, me having a difficult pregnancy, husband's father dying, and then having a new baby...

Yeah, pretty sure most people don't have that much craziness happen in a decade. What can I say, we seem to enjoy doing all the stressful things at once in this family. I don't know why, but it is what it is.

It's one of the reasons why I haven't been posting much, other than you know, children. I have been so overwhelmed and unable to focus, not to mention worrying about people disapproving of me posting about my mental illness. Oh yeah, that's another part of the anxiety that has been showing up: basically feeling like everyone secretly hates me or just doesn't care about me...except for a few handful of people.

One of my best friends, upon telling her this, remarked, "I can't imagine how that must feel!"

Yeah, it's hard for me to understand as well. 

And I hate feeling like this. 

I told my mom about this, and she said, "It's a miracle you didn't have a complete breakdown!"

Thank God I never had one.

But oh, I'm pretty sure I got close a few times.

I finally reached my breaking point when one night, I had these horrible thoughts and visions going through my head. I couldn't sleep. When I say horrible, I mean it. It was scary. I'd rather not go into details. When I couldn't sleep, I went to the computer and just typed out the thoughts I was having, just to get them out. After I finished, I knelt down in prayer.

Heavenly Father, I need help. I need to get back to therapy, but my therapist has a long waiting list and I don't have much childcare. If it be thy will, let me get an appointment within the next month and help me to get reliable childcare for my kids. 

I called two days later, and as luck would have it, my therapist had an opening (thanks to someone canceling) in the next few days. My husband was able to take the morning off to take care of the girls for me.

I'm still on the cancellation list, but I'll have regular appointments in the next few months. That should tell you how amazing my therapist is. Childcare is still dicey. My mother-in-law works long hours currently and the friend I trust my kids' lives with just had a baby. Plus, there's my crippling fear of inconveniencing people. Yes, I am fully aware of just how messed up I am.

After my appointment, I felt more hope than I had felt in a long time. I could finally say, "I'm going to be okay."

I am going to be okay.

I just have to take it one day at a time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


  • Livia is teething. 
  • Kate is sassy
  • Stephan got a small raise
  • We are now down to four digits on our car payments rather than the five we started out with.
  • Livia sometimes sleeps 4-6 hour stretches at night.
  • We think she might be crawling really soon. Eep.
  • I want more sleep
  • I need to go back to therapy, but my therapist's long waiting list and my lack of childcare prevent that from happening. And lethargy.
  • Kate's eczema is a lot better thanks to Cerave products and not letting anyone put hand sanitizer on her hands.
  • It's coming up on that time of year where I need to start planning ICP Awareness activities in June. Woot.
  • I need a maid.
  • General Conference was good...though I slept through a couple of sessions because I was just that tired. Luckily, I was awake for Elder Holland's talk. Seriously, his talks are answers to my prayers. As for the others, well thank goodness for the internet :)
  • Aiden has a baby brother, and he's cute :)
  • I like spring
  • Livia is growing too fast for my liking. 

Monday, March 7, 2016


I feel like this blog has become just a bunch of catch-up lists. Maybe I'll get with the program. Maybe.

The big update is that we went to Disney Land last week with my husband's family. It was in the works for a long time and it finally happened. I hadn't been since I was sixteen with my high school orchestra...and it was a very limited experience even then because we got rained out. Disney Land this time around was fun and very exhausting, though I would rather not do it with a mostly nursing baby again. However, the baby care centers at both Disney Land and California adventures were wonderful.

Kate turned four a week before we left for Disney Land. We took doughnuts to play group the morning of her birthday, because I am too tired and lazy to have a big friend birthday party. Then in the evening, we had spaghetti and birthday brownie. We also Skyped with my parents. I still can't believe I have a four-year-old--it feels like yesterday that she was just a baby.

Livia will be six months old in a few days. Didn't I just have her last week or something? It's going too fast! She is rolling from tummy to back and back to tummy. Mobility here we come! She has also just started "buzzing" her lips, which never ceases to entertain me. Livia is also a very social baby, smiling at everyone she meets. Her hair is dark and fluffy and she looks more like her big sister as time goes on. I love seeing her grow and learn, but it's bittersweet because it's going too fast. Please stay a baby a little longer or else I'm going to want another one...and I'm not sure my liver can take another.

We're just convinced that we make the most gorgeous girls. ;) Then again, we are incredibly biased.

That's all for now :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Requiem for the music teacher

Today, my former violin teacher, Mr. Edward Lawrence, died from cancer.

Mr. Lawrence was not just my violin teacher. He was my older brother's cello teacher and my younger brother's violin/viola teacher. On top of that, he was also an exquisite pianist. Yes, he was indeed a man of many talents.

My dad met him in 1998 when they were in the Rice University Campanile orchestra (a non-music major orchestra)--my dad was in the violin section and Mr. Lawrence was in the cello section. I don't know the events of how they got to know each other and how my dad found out that Mr. Lawrence also played the violin, but somehow it happened. I also don't remember why my dad decided to start taking violin lessons again, but he did and he enlisted Mr. Lawrence as his teacher.

I was almost twelve years old when Mr. Lawrence started coming to our house every Friday night to give Dad his lessons. All I knew about him was that he played and taught several instruments, he was a large man, and he didn't use a shoulder rest (a matter of some controversy in the string world). I had been taking violin lessons for about a year at this point from my first violin teacher, and was very fond of my shoulder rest, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

As time went on, he and my parents would chat into the late hours of those Friday nights. A friendship was formed. When we left Katy and were in the process of moving into town, he took us out to dinner and then even brought us dinner to help ease some of the stress of unpacking. He loved to cook. He loved to eat and introduced us to a few of our favorite restaurants--including a Korean restaurant. Oh my goodness, my mouth just watered writing that.

My first violin teacher had her second child over that summer, and when fall came and I started seventh grade at a new school, my dad told me that I would be taking violin lessons from Mr. Lawrence and that I had to stop using my shoulder rest.

I was not happy about this, but I complied and sacrificed my shoulder rest upon the altar of music lessons with Mr. Lawrence. Admittedly, I wasn't a big fan of him--I thought he was too blunt and that he talked too much. I also thought he was a snob.

But I came to appreciate him over time as he more or less became a member of my family. He never married and never had children--I think his music students were "his" children. I would become friends with some of his other students and participate in the American Festival for the Arts summer program with them.

Earning praise from Mr. Lawrence was no small feat--there were times I left lessons hating the man. However, when he praised my performance of a Bach Sonata in c-minor and said that I was a "Bach person"...well, let's just say I smile with pride to this day, nearly twelve years later.

In fact, I more or less wrote the third stanza of this sonnet about him when I was seventeen (it was for a final project for my creative writing class)

I have played violin for several years
Practicing difficult music and scales
And keeping short my growing fingernails
I suppose it is something cavalier.

But I really do love all the music
It fills my heart and soul with great delight
To play music good composers write
You must know: learning is not at all quick!

Practice and listen to some strict teachers
And practice with the stupid metronome
It seems easy to compose palindromes
Tough teachers often teach you a lot better.

Before you take up any instrument
Mind you that it is not an ornament.

Oh, and he introduced the Dr. Beat metronome, whom we affectionately called "Nazi Lady" because of the option to have a voice counting. Let's just say counting wasn't my strong point in those days. Heh.

Stephan came to appreciate Mr. Lawrence too. In fact, he said that if we didn't see Mr. Lawrence whenever we visited my parents in Houston, it just didn't feel right. I used to entertain the thought that if we ever moved to Texas, Stephan could pick up the cello again (he played in middle school) and have him for a teacher.

And he did meet Kate. Several times. I have a picture of him holding her somewhere...

Mr. Lawrence, may God be with you until we meet again. Until then, I hope you will enjoy making music with some of the great musicians and composers you loved so much. You will never be forgotten.

I think I'll go play my violin. Maybe Bach.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello Goodbye

Hello 2016

Good-bye 2015

As I mentioned on Facebook, 2015 is best described as "the best of times, the worst of times". While there were great parts of the year, there were also some very difficult parts.

The best of 2015

  • Stephan's new job. While it was an adjustment at first (longer commute, longer hours, and different atmosphere), he is genuinely enjoying it now. We thought we were going to move closer, but decided that we needed to stay put, especially since...
  • We found out we were having baby #2! Admittedly, it was a wee bit of a surprise, mostly at how quickly it happened after Stephan started his new job. Thank you for waiting until Daddy had a new job, baby ;)
  • Finding out that baby #2 was going to be another little girl! I grew up with brothers and Stephan's sisters are about 12 years and three boys apart in age, so most bets were on me having a boy. Kate kept insisting she was getting a baby sister, and lo and behold, she was right. We were thrilled to be having another sweet little girl. 
  • Livia's birth. We love having her in our family and she's a sweetheart. It is an adjustment still, but we can't imagine our family without her. Her delivery was also really easy, so that was also nice.
  • Kate turning three, getting potty trained, and preschool. 
  • Getting a minivan. 
  • Just a few months after Livia was born, she got a new boy cousin. Hopefully they'll be buddies.
  • Kate and Livia got a new aunt. Ten days after Livia was born, their Uncle Brent married their (now) Aunt Michelle. Kate more or less claimed Michelle as her aunt even before they got engaged. And yes, I did attend a wedding ten days after giving birth. 
  • I turned 29. I plan to rock the last year of my 20s, and rock every birthday after that. 

The worst of times

  • Stephan's dad passed away after a very long battle with cancer. Basically our whole year centered around this. It has been hard, but we do feel his presence every so often. 
  • The pregnancy from hell. While we were delighted to have be having another baby, this pregnancy was very difficult. I was diagnosed with cholestasis at 28 weeks and had to go through nine weeks of itching hell. Then there was having gallbladder attacks two weeks before I had Livia. All of it was horrible. How horrible? I'm getting more sleep now with a young baby than I did before she was born. That's how bad. However, Livia is worth every last bit of it and I do not resent her in the slightest. 

Okay, so only two "worst of times" though our year seemed to center around both of them. I don't know what 2016 will bring us, though there are plans in place. Kate is starting a dance class and continuing with preschool. We are going to Disney Land with Stephan's family just after Kate's birthday. At some point, I want to visit my family in Texas. We weren't able to in 2015 because of my father-in-law's declining health and because I had a high risk pregnancy and wasn't allowed to travel. 

Bring it on 2016. 

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