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Monday, May 18, 2015

party on wayne

I should really call this post, "Epic Dumping of All the Family Photos" but that took too long.  We had a rocking awesome barbecue while we were all together in Utah to celebrate the stud and all of his graduated awesomeness.  It really turned into a great excuse to get the family together.  So we spent the afternoon catching up with aunts, uncles, cousins, new spouses to cousins, friends who might as well be cousins, and ate everything in sight.  Why do burgers cooked outside always taste so good?!

These photos are the entirety of what I have from the party.  We took a brief break so that my dad and all of his brothers that were there could get a picture together, then one of our immediate family.  Have you ever seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?  It's a musical.  It's wonderful.  It's a bit of a family legend.  See, my dad is the oldest of eight boys, seven living, and all of them truly are as tall as church steeples, as they say in the movie.  My dad is the only brother to have moved out of the state of Utah.  These men are cowboys.  Truly.  They work hard, play hard, and love fiercely.  Sons of a carpenter, they all build and tinker and are general handy men.  And they give the BEST hugs.  No lie.  I've tested this.  With the shortest brother being about 6'1", the wingspan on their arms is incomparable.  They wrap you up, tuck you under their chins, and make you feel more safe, loved, and welcome than ever before.  At least until the next brother hugs you.  Then the feeling returns.

This is going to sound crazy, but I never realized until I went away to school that men were not always six feet tall or taller.  Being surrounded by these giants as a child, being the offspring of two tall parents, and being a woman of significant height myself, I never realized that we were the anomaly.  When Mr. F and I started dating, he would comment often to me how tall I was, never dating a taller girl.  To me, his height was normal.

So it was that I spent an early May afternoon in the mountains with a herd of gentle giants.  I don't think there are words enough to express how much I love my family, immediate and extended.  To have such a rich heritage of hard work and goodness brings daily joy to my life.  And it makes me want to improve my hug giving skills so that everyone can feel as loved as I do by these remarkable people.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I've kind of abandoned ship this last month.  Between a heavy workload, an unexpected trip to Durham, and a highly anticipated trip to Utah, April left me completely off the social media grid.  It was kind of liberating, to just live in the moment and enjoy time with my favorite people.  Siga siga I am getting back in the swing of things and trying to find my way through a pile of commissions.  (All of which are VERY cool and I can't wait to show you!)

Until then, I thought I'd share a few of our adventures from April, beginning with my brother's university graduation.  (Does anyone else call it university?  Mr. F is convinced I'm not American because I use terms like "University" rather than "College."  He might be on to something...but I still love me some apple pie and baseball, daggumit!)

Anyway.  Graduation.  My brother is a pilot.  A good one, according to everyone else in my family.  I'm the only person who hasn't flown with him, more from an exceedingly weak stomach than lack of trust in his skills.  Him I trust.  My stomach?  Not ever.  Well, to be a pilot you don't technically have to go to school, at least a formal university setting.  Piloting is based off licensing and hours.  But my brother wanted a degree as well.  So he's been flying, teaching flying, going to school, and being an amazing husband for the past several years all at the same time.  It's been chaos, but HE DID IT!  And with an amazing GPA ta boot!

There were two convocation ceremonies, the first being the large university commencement, the second the smaller college celebration.  While the college ceremony boasted a plane in the courtyard, I think we will all remember his university celebration for years to come.  The school president, Matthew Holland addressed the graduates with a brief but remarkably powerful speech.  He told the students that as they embark on their careers, they should not focus on monetary rewards or possessions, but on moments and people.  To cherish joy and happiness in worthwhile pursuits rather than chasing wealth.  It was truly awesome and I'm not doing it any justice.  Just trust me.  It was good.

It was strengthened by an address by Mitt Romney.  Politics aside, this was one of the best commencement addresses I have ever heard!  He was kind, sincere, and offered such intimate insights into living a full life.  Much like Holland, Romney emphasized the strength of relationships, familial, marital, and lifelong friendships.  He spoke of the value of service, parenthood, and enjoying small moments.  He didn't speak of making money, starting a company, or buying a big house.  He spoke of the simple things that make life full.

We all left that night feeling buoyed and strengthened.  The themes were valuable for all of us, no matter what state of life we were in and made us feel like there was plenty of good left for us to do.

The college convocation was boring beyond reason.  But we had Jamba Juices during that one, so it made up for a lot.  But The Stud crossed the stage and we screamed as loud as well could in celebration before heading outside for photos with airplanes.

I've been thinking so much about my brother and the man he has turned into.  There are four years between us in age, not a huge gap, but big enough that as children, there was always a bit of a cultural gap between us.  When I left for college, he was just starting high school.  As I was finishing college, he was heading off on his mission.  Since I left home, we have rarely been in the same place at the same time.  I missed watching him grow up and turn into a man.  But I got to see him over that weekend and basked in who he is.  He's intelligent, unbelievably hardworking, gracious, loving, kind, a caring husband, a sweet brother, and devoted son.  He's not the kid I watched playing baseball, but now a good man.  I am so proud of him and the life he and his sweet wife are creating!

Monday, April 13, 2015

fertility: waiting game

I sat down to paint with a fresh pitcher of water, clean, crisp paper awaiting me, and a vase of brushes that probably should be replaced but I’m too cheap to think about. I grabbed a smaller brush, soaked it in the water, dipped it in black paint, and dragged the bristles across the page.  The result was awful.  Sketch after sketch produced recognizable images, but nothing seemed right.  My mind was racing, filled with thoughts and emotions.

Paint was not the proper medium.  Words.  I needed words.

So here I am.  Typing away amid my art supplies that cannot seem to harness all that I am feeling.

I have been receiving inquiries about our fertility journey.  Loving, sweet inquiries by people who want to know if we have made any progress.

We haven’t.  At least, not in a way that seems tangible in the slightest.

We are both working with doctors and figuring out medical needs, all of which seems to personal too share, though none of it really is.  There just isn’t much to say about it.  But we do know a little more.

The progress has come more in attitude.  This year has been filled with medical journeys and vast preparations for business school.  The latter has commandeered most of our time, energy, and resources.  I have been fighting this.  I have been jealous of my husband having this opportunity to pursue his dream.  It’s taken me the better part of the year to realize that jealousy is because I’m not sure what my dream is.

I am quickly approaching my 30th birthday.  It is staring me down like a target that I have to hit dead center or all will be lost.  The age doesn’t worry me as much as goals and aspirations that I feel I should have accomplished by now.

At the top of this list is children.

And yet, even with our endless visits to doctors and the persistence to conceive, neither of us feel like the time is right.  What does feel right is waiting.  Does that mean giving up?  No.  Stopping medications and doctor visits?  Absolutely not.  It means, waiting.  Putting more trust in the Almighty and His plan.  Eliminating an area of anxiety over something that should be joyous, not stress filled.  It means finding joy, new dreams.  It means going to business school hand in hand and gleeful with my husband, rather than jealous and downtrodden.  Something keeps saying that this time is precious and not to be wasted. 

I don’t check the comments on this blog very often, mainly because there aren’t that many and when there are, they are typically spam.  I received notice of a new comment and ignored it until moments before writing this piece.  The comment was from an anonymous sender on my letter to my fifteen year-old self.  This is what it said,

Dear "Me", You can't begin to imagine all the beautiful adventures that await both of you in the intervening years on the way to becoming the "45 Year-old Us". Hang in there, sit back, and enjoy the journey.

While I am positive this message was not from a time travelling future version of myself, this comment brought me to tears.  Fat, necessary, grateful tears.  The words resonated with my feeling to wait right now.  To be happy.  And if it is from Future Me, all the better!

Dear 45 Year-old Us, Okay.  I will learn to embrace the journey, to savor the moments and stop worrying.  Someday we might live somewhere longer than a few years, we might have more than 500 square feet to house us.  Someday might bring an MBA, a garden, art classes, financial security, and even children.  More than likely it will bring even more moves, rentals, rental trucks, friends gained and lost, family events, quick holidays, and probably a few rainy days.  But today is happening today, and I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.