Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

 Oh joyous, joyous day! The joy of our risen Jesus and the joy of seeing my family celebrate. The joy of seeing my sons in suits in ties, cuddling with their grandparents, uncle and daddy in Mass. The joy of Veronica in Mass asking to kiss the cross again today as we did two days ago, singing along with the choir, telling everyone "Happy Easter" and telling us this morning at breakfast that "Jesus is alive!" It all brings such joy to my heart. To everyone - Happy Easter!

Dying Easter eggs

Brunch this morning after Mass

Admiring her butterfly egg

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Veronica!

I have shared many posts in the past two weeks about discovering each pregnancy and the experience of each birth. When Veronica was born, I wrote a post about that birth experience here.

I can scarcely believe that was two years ago! Time moves so quickly. I have really enjoyed the process of writing these posts and reliving those memories. They are each so dear to my heart and I am so happy that I have taken the time to write them all down.

Like each of my children, Veronica is a part of me that I knew existed before she was conceived. I have dreamt of each of them since I was a little girl. I have envisioned for so long a girl who watches me put on lipstick, who bakes with me, who loves dresses as much as I do, who loves to cuddle and hug and kiss and hold hands, who sings at the top of her lungs, who loves to dance as much as I do, who loves babies and who I get to teach to be a woman who loves life, who loves God and who may someday love her own husband and children.

She is here. 

What a grand blessing she is to me!

Happy 2nd birthday Veronica!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"We're Pregnant!" -2010-

I have been sharing our experiences of finding out we were pregnant with each baby and their births.

We waited a bit longer before trying for a third. Adding a baby to your life is always difficult, but I think adjusting to two children has been the hardest change for us so far. (I hope I can still say that a year from now!) When Noah was born, Joshua was a very strong-willed two-year-old. For an entire year, and I am not exaggerating, he threw a tantrum every single morning because he had to get dressed. Between a crying infant and tantrums, we sure had our hands full. I would also say that time was the hardest so far on our marriage. It took Jason and I a while to find our relationship again in the midst of spit-up and potty training.

Trying for a baby was hard on me as I described in a prior post, but this time only lasted about six months. Who knows how many pregnancy tests I took in that six months? I realize this isn't normal. I realize it makes me slightly neurotic. I'm sure Jason is aware that I probably need therapy.

In June of 2010, I was pretty sure that I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test. Negative. A week later, I took another one. Negative. On July 1st, I went to the doctor and was tested. Still negative. At this point, a normal woman would have accepted that she indeed was not pregnant. Not me. I still felt pregnant, and then of course was the fact that Aunt Flo had not visited in quite some time.

Three weeks later, Aunt Flo still had not visited. I was sure I was pregnant but also felt so foolish and stupid for thinking so. We were about to leave on an Engaged Encounter camping trip for the weekend. Drinking would be involved. We were preparing to leave and I was going back and forth in my mind about whether or not to take another test. This was on day 77 of my cycle!

Jason had packed the car. We would be departing soon.

"Jason, can you go to the store?"

"Now? For what?"

"A pregnancy test."

"Really?" he asked, surely hiding any thoughts he must have had that his wife is slightly psycho.

"Yes. Please. I just want to be sure before we go."

"Okay . . . "

But I wasn't psycho. A little while later, a test FINALLY confirmed what I had suspected all along. I was indeed pregnant. Even though I had thought this all along, the test still shocked me. I really had thought I was losing my mind and that I just wanted to be pregnant so much that I was deluding myself. When I told Jason, he too could not believe it. We laughed and we cried and we were utterly joyful for our new blessing.

A little while later, I called Jenny to see if they had left yet for the camping trip. They had not and she picked up the phone. I shared our news with her and she was so thrilled. We kept it secret for the rest of the weekend, and as any best friend should, Jenny made the sacrifice by secretly drinking each generous glass of wine that I poured for myself. Now that's a good friend! It was a very fun weekend indeed.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Happy spring day in Seattle! We enthralled ourselves into the sunshine, enjoying the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and the park :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

When Noah Was Born . . .

The week that Noah was due, my dear friend Tracy from high school, graciously came to stay with us. This was such a gift because it gave me some adult company during the last, long days of pregnancy as I waited for labor to begin and because we would be able to leave Joshua with her when we went to the hospital.

She had one week to be with us and then she had to return to her life. Day after day passed. No baby. My due date came and went. No baby. Four days after the due date, no baby. The day before Tracy had to leave us, we were still waiting. It was a rare, sunny May evening in Seattle and I heard the music from the ice cream man driving through our neighborhood. Boy did I want some ice cream! As quickly as I could possibly move being nine months pregnant, I grabbed some cash and raced like a tortoise outside. Barefoot and waddling down the sidewalk, I chased that ice cream man in vain. He drove away, leaving this very pregnant mama overly-irritated that I didn't get my ice cream.

Well, that waddling did the trick, because that night as we went to bed, I went to lay down and clap! My water broke. When my water broke with Joshua, there was no sound. I had heard of this phenomenon and thought it was an old wives' tale. But no, there was a distinct clap! noise this time and then things got really started.

When examined at the hospital, I had not dilated at all. Contractions were happening every couple of minutes and they were intense. Hours went by. More and more contractions. After another examination, I was at one centimeter. I remember thinking, Are you frickin kidding me? All of this work and pain and I'm only at one centimeter?! I wasn't supposed to receive an epidural until I was at about 4-5 centimeters. This was partially because I was trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and also because an epidural can slow down labor. In the mean time, more and more contractions.

Jason and I tried to walk up and down the hallway. I could hardly do it. I tried to take a bath, but it only made me vomit. They tried to give me other pain medications, but they did nothing. After twenty-four hours of intense contractions, I hadn't eaten or drank anything but a few ice chips, hadn't slept and was only at 3 centimeters.

Finally, two of the nurses had pity on me. They allowed for me to receive an epidural and I will never forget the relief. I was also given just the tiniest drip of Pitocin and was able to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later, I had finally dilated to about 7 centimeters. About another hour went by and I was finally ready to push.

At that point, I was really frightened. I had delivered by cesarean with Joshua and now I needed to push out a baby. All of the sudden, I felt very overwhelmed and inadequate of the task. I was scared, I didn't think I could do it and was afraid that I would just end up having another cesarean. My shoulders were rigid with stress and anxiety, tears were fighting their way past my lashes and my breath was quick and shallow. I knew the doctor was going to walk in the door any moment and expect me to be ready. I wasn't ready. I couldn't do this.

In that moment, I prayed. I asked God to give me strength so that I could push my baby into the world. I asked Him to help me feel His presence. I will never, ever forget what I felt next.

Quite suddenly, my body relaxed as I felt the Holy Spirit spread over me. I was filled with joy, with love, with confidence, with strength and with the knowledge that God was in the room with me right there and then. All of my fear vanished and the task in front of me seemed pretty easy, exciting even. Billions of other women had done this. So could I.

I have never in all of my life felt the presence of God the way that I did in that moment.

About forty-five minutes later, our son entered the world. We had still not decided on a name, but Jason took one look at him and said, "He's Noah."

I have told Noah many times about that experience and how I have never felt the presence of God the way that I did on the day that he was born, always causing his big, beautiful eyes to light up with a twinkle and a small smile to spread over his face.

And I believe that since the day he was born, that sweet boy has been filled with the Holy Spirit in a more tangible, noticeable way than most of us are. Noah seems to understand God in way beyond his years. Before he was two, Noah told me that he had music and God in his heart. He may be very shy, but if you wait and watch, you will see the Holy Spirit work through him.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"We're Pregnant!" -2006-

When Joshua was about a year old, we decided to begin trying for another baby. We hadn't originally planned on trying again so soon, but we were so in love with our little boy and wanted to share that love with another baby.

Because we had become pregnant within just a few weeks the first time, I assumed that this would be the case again. It wasn't. Having three children now and being pregnant with our fourth, I realize I have absolutely no right to complain about our process of getting pregnant. I did not have to go onto hormone therapy, use any type of medication or even consider things like IVF. Each time we have tried, I have eventually ended up pregnant and I am so very, very grateful for that.

However, the process of trying to get pregnant can still be difficult for me. I have a very long cycle, usually ranging from 45-55 days. This means that our opportunities to become pregnant are less frequent. After several months of trying without success, we began to be a little more proactive by tracking my basal temperature each morning as well as other signs of fertility. While I know these have been very helpful tools for some couples when trying to get pregnant, they really didn't help us but perhaps only added to our frustration. My cycle is as confusing as it is long, and even with the tracking we could never really figure out when I was ovulating.

I'm not sure, but when I look back, I think it may have been a mistake to make these types of efforts. By tracking my temperature, it gives the impression that we are in control of the process. But of course we're not. The process of trying to get pregnant may have been easier for me if I had let go of my desire to control things. But of course this is so difficult. To trust in God's plan and that all will happen as it should is so very hard when you have plans of your own. 

One night after about nine months of trying, I was once again wondering if perhaps I was pregnant. But you have to understand, I felt like the boy who cried wolf. At this point, I had taken many a pregnancy test in the prior months, all of which were obviously negative. Because my cycle is so long, with each one I would become convinced that I was indeed pregnant. It really does feel like an evil trick of nature that the early pregnancy symptoms are so similar to the symptoms of being premenstrual. I would be very hormonal and hope that perhaps it was because I had become pregnant. I would be so disappointed each time my cycle started again and let's just say that sometimes I didn't handle it so well.

So on this particular night, I was again wondering if I was pregnant or just premenstrual. I expressed this thought to Jason as we were sitting on the couch, about to go to bed. "Do you want me to go to the store?" that sweet, knowing man asked. Why, yes, yes I did.

Ten minutes later, I peed on a stick in our tiny guest bathroom in our townhouse and this time, it was positive! I ran into the living room and Jason and I hugged and cried and laughed and called my parents three minutes later. Sound familiar? Yes, we realize we're not very good at waiting to tell :)

But we couldn't help it - we were just so excited!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When Joshua Was Born . . .

Today is Joshua's eighth birthday! He is our eldest, has been the guinea pig and has taught me more about parenting than anything or anyone else. He and I are alike in so many ways, creating a relationship in which I can lose my temper too easily but also where he can touch my heart in such a real, tangible way. As a tribute to my first love of motherhood, here is the story of his birth . . .

On Palm Sunday, the alarm clock went off. We would be driving from Kent up to St. Luke in Shoreline to attend Mass with my parents. As I rose out of bed, my water broke. Jason was not surprisingly still asleep, and I called out, "Jason! Jason! It's time!" He called the doctor and we drove up to Northwest Hospital in Seattle.

At the hospital, things did not go as expected. There was reason to believe that there may be complications with Joshua's health. After only a couple of hours at the hospital, it was determined that I needed to have an emergency c-section. While this was disappointing, we wanted to do whatever we could to make sure Joshua would be healthy.

I was really scared because I'd never gone through a surgery before and foolishly, although I had read so much about pregnancy, birth and babies, I can skipped right over all of the sections about c-sections. When I was rolled into the operating room to receive the anesthesia, Jason waited outside. It seemed to take forever before they let him come into the room to hold my hand.

The procedure was painless but just very uncomfortable. I remember feeling very nauseous and a sharp pain in my shoulder, which the doctor assured was normal but freaked me out anyway. After a lot of pulling and pushing performed by the doctor, he pulled out our 9 pound 14 ounce "little" baby boy. As they stitched me up, they brought Joshua over to Jason and I and we stood in awe, in tears and in utter joy over our new son.

Once back in our room, Joshua proved to be a great eater with a big appetite. Nursing came very naturally to both of us.

Because there was still a slight chance that Joshua may have contracted an infection, he began receiving medication in the NICU every eight hours. The chances were slim, but if he had contracted an infection, it could have been fatal because his immune system may not have been strong enough to fight it. The medication was preventative, just in case. This was obviously very stressful and difficult to process. We knew that most likely, Joshua was fine, but the thought of him potentially being very sick was there, sitting in the corner, a constant presence in our first days with our new baby.

On our first night, Joshua laid on my chest as he and I slept together in my hospital bed; falling in and out of sleep; staring at one another when he would open his eyes for brief periods of time; nursing and sealing the bond that was instantly created the moment I laid eyes on him when he was born.

After a couple of days, we learned that the tests that were first performed to see if Joshua was sick were inconclusive. In the end, the only way to be sure was to have a spinal tapped performed. When the doctor very graciously explained this to us, I became somewhat hysterical. While I understood that the test was necessary, the idea of this painful procedure being performed on our new infant was heart-wrenching.

My dad, who is the director of the King County Public Health Lab, was present through all of this. He was able to listen to the doctors and ask questions that we never would have thought of. If we didn't understand something completely, he was able to explain the situation to us in a way that we could. His presence, reassurance that everything would be fine and that we were making the right decisions were invaluable, providing us a comfort that nothing else could.

I did not want to have to watch the spinal tap procedure. I felt very guilty about the idea of not being there, but I was so exhausted and emotionally spent at that point. Heroically in my eyes, Jason agreed to be with Joshua during the procedure, and I tried to rest. It took a couple of hours and to this day, Jason has not told me much about what happened. We had to wait another couple of days for the results to come back and in the mean time, Joshua continued to receive medication.

Finally, five days after Joshua was born, we received the glorious news that Joshua was perfectly healthy. It seemed that we had been through a lot of needless worry and stress, but we were just euphoric that our baby was healthy and that we were finally able to go home.

I remember on our way home, feeling that scary feeling that I think most new parents do after leaving the hospital: So we just get to take our baby home now? We're just supposed to take care of him? On our own? You trust us to do this?! What if we mess up? I'm not sure that we know what we're doing!

But it didn't take too long for us to learn. And with each baby, we've learned a lot more. Each one is of course different than the last. But I don't think we'll leave the hospital this next time feeling as though we don't know what we're doing :)

Joshua's First Birthday Party

Last month at his First Reconciliation

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"We're Pregnant!" -2004-

We celebrate both Joshua and Veronica's birthdays in the next two weeks, a time that always stirs reflection about the days gone by. With this pregnancy, I wanted to take the time to write down the experience of finding out about each pregnancy as well as each birth. In the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing posts describing each of these experiences. Of course, these posts are somewhat self-indulgent and are a way for me to preserve those memories. But then of course, I guess that's pretty much what my blog is, isn't it? But I mostly wanted to give readers a heads up and let you know that this is what my posts will consist of for the next couple of weeks. If you're interested, read on. If not, see ya in April!

I graduated from the University of Washington in June of 2004 with a degree in English. Jason and I had been married for about nine months and were living in a tiny apartment, trying to save our money so that we could buy a place of our own. That June, my parents took us to Disneyland with my brothers Jeremy and Brendan and my sister Kristen as a gift for graduation.

A few weeks prior to that trip, we decided that we would like to start our family soon and I came off of the pill. But then we changed our minds. We got a little scared about the idea and decided that we weren't quite ready and began using birth control again.

During the week of the Fourth of July, we went to Lake Chelan with my family for a week. Before we left, I took a pregnancy test just to make sure that I hadn't become pregnant during those few weeks that we had taken out the goalie. I just wanted to be sure since I knew there would be a few vacation cocktails. The test was negative and we thoroughly enjoyed our week.

A few weeks later, I still had not had my period. Hmmmmmm. I told Jason as we went to bed one night that I was wondering if I might actually be pregnant. We turned out the light. A few minutes later, I asked Jason, "Can you go to the store?"


"Please. Go to the store. Get a pregnancy test. I'm never going to be able to sleep."

"Are you serious?"

"Yes. Please." And because he's a wonderful, patient and understanding husband, off he went.

Ten minutes a later, I peed on a stick and watched the two lines appear. I ran out of the bathroom and exclaimed, "It's positive! I'm pregnant! We are going to have a baby!" Jason and I cried and held each other and laughed and were completely filled with joy. It didn't matter that we had changed our minds. Three minutes later we called my parents and gave them the news.

I spent that pregnancy substitute teaching and we bought a townhouse in Kent. Jason came to every doctor's appointment and at the 20 week ultrasound, we found out it was a boy. We (and when I say "we," I mean Jason) painted the baby's room blue. In Jason's dad's family, it is a tradition for the first baby in the family to have the initials JDB. Thus, we decided on the name Joshua David Burdullis.

It being my first pregnancy, I obviously did not know what to expect in the last months leading up to the birth. I stopped teaching way too early, thinking I would just want the time to rest. Well, resting is nice and all but six weeks of it is just boring! The end of pregnancy is always long, but idle days only make that worse. It seemed to be forever before our little boy finally came . . .

(to be continued)

Friday, March 15, 2013

For Me, Being A Good Mom Means . . .

Saying no.

And I don't mean to your children, although that is also sometimes a must. It's just a completely different topic. I mean saying no to everyone else.

Lately it seems that we are reevaluating everything we are involved in and discerning once again whether it's something that is right for our family right now. This is a difficult and humbling process.
Why does it seem that everyone else has more hours in the day than I do? It is so hard to say no when you see others say yes again and again. It's hard to understand how others seem to get so much more done each day. It's even harder to understand and to accept that we all have different limitations and that just because someone else can do it, that doesn't mean I can.

I am usually a "yes" person. I like this about myself. I'm not typically lazy and usually feel capable and confident. I have a whole post titled, "Being A Yes Mom,"  and while it pertains to trying to say yes more to my children, it's still part of how I see myself. If I'm asked to do something, I will legitimately consider it and do it if I can.

It's much harder for me to say, "I can't." This is humbling and makes me feel inadequate, especially when I have to say no to something that I would really like to do.

Recently, Jason and I decided to take a step back from volunteering for Catholic Engaged Encounter, a ministry that has been a huge part of our first ten years of marriage. This was a very difficult decision. Jason and I both love Engaged Encounter and are proud of the work we've done for them, feeling as though we were able to make a difference in many couples' lives. We have been so blessed and honored to be able to do God's work through that organization. It is a ministry that we have truly cherished and hope to come back to someday when it works better for our family.

So far I've discussed how difficult this is for me. But the title of this post is "Being and Good Mom Means . . . Saying No." So, if this is so hard, why is it important? Why would we step back from something that means so much to us?

First of all, as I've mentioned before, I have a temper. I get cranky. I get tired. I get hormonal. I know there are moms who are more even-tempered and less moody than I am. But for me, I have to make sure that I am not over-committing myself. My children are not signed up for very many activities. For us right now, that works and is a very good thing. My volunteering right now consists of teaching 2nd grade Faith Formation and leading Vacation Bible School in the summer. Right now, that is enough. I would like to do more, but alas, I can't. Not if I want to try and somewhat control my temper, my crankiness and my tiredness. (Unfortunately, there's no controlling the hormones.) Not if I want to put my best foot forward as a mom.

Secondly, I need more time. Of course, there is all the time required for cooking, cleaning, shopping, running errands, laundry, lesson planning, teaching, exercise, etc. But beyond those basic things, I need time to snuggle with my kids on the couch in pajamas. I need time to read them stories and giggle with them. I need time to really listen to them, focusing on what new idea they are trying to communicate. I need time to play games with them. I need time to talk to my husband and to hold his hand. I need time to read my Bible. I need time to write in my blog, which is relaxing and sometimes therapeutic for me. This list may seem very self-involved, talking about all of my needs. But of course, these aren't just my needs. They are the needs of my children and my husband.

This is why it's important to say no. For every activity I say "yes" to, I am essentially saying no to something else. The point is to be very purposeful and intentional in what I am saying yes and no to. When answering with "yes," I must try to understand what will consequently receive the answer "no." I have to say no frequently, so that I can frequently say yes to my kids, to my husband and to my own needs.

PS - All moms are good moms. I am not just saying this as lip service. I BELIEVE it with all of my heart. I fear that my first title for this series, "Being a Good Mom Means . . ." implied that I believe that you are only a good mom if you do it the way I do. Of course this is not so. There are infinite good ways to mother. I believe with all my heart that each mother is given the children God called her to mother and that God gives the specific children to the specific mother with the specific skills needed to mother those children. This series is simply supposed to be a sharing of what I have learned in the past eight years. It is now more appropriately titled, "For Me, Being a Good Mom Means . . ."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Do!

Chopping off twelve inches of my hair last Friday was super fun :) While I really like the cut, it is so different from what I'm used to and doesn't feel totally like "me" yet. I had fun dressing it up last night for an impromptu date night with my wonderful man. I was also glad that it pretty much held up through today's Zumba class and didn't turn into an embarrassing mess by the end of it. I'm having fun experimenting with it and trying new things. I wonder how long it will take for me to stop being surprised each time I look in the mirror!

I think I will probably grow it out and then eventually chop it all off to donate again. It's fun to stay fresh and get out of my usual rut and try something different. As it grows out, I'm considering trying bangs. We'll see. Here's the new look . . .

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Morning Sickness, Tiredness, Headaches, Oh My!

Please do not honor me with a surprise visit right now.

I don't think my house has ever been this trashed. EVER. On the living room floor, we have an eclectic collection of pillows, books, boots, doggy toys, stuffed animals, an empty laundry basket (that should be filled with laundry to be done, but is not), slippers, sheets from the fort we built last week, bits of duct tape from the same project, dirty socks, dust bunnies, crumbs and some garbage.

My kitchen counters are covered with this week's mail, water bottles, walkie talkies, vitamin containers, empty fruit bowls, McDonalds cups, a humidifier, a high chair tray and dirty bib, dirty dishes, clean dishes that need to be put away, more garbage and more crumbs.

For your sake and for the sake of my nausea, I will not describe our bathrooms.

My saving grace has been that Jason has been the perfect husband for at least six weeks now. I mean, he is always amazing and incredible and has always gone above and beyond. But I am willing to say that for the past six weeks, he has been perfect. Understanding, compassionate, patient, attentive, so helpful and picking up an enormous amount of slack around the house.  But how long can I expect him to do that?

At this moment, Jason is out grocery shopping with Noah.  I was supposed to go, but I am lying on the couch with an upset stomach, a headache, much fatigue, nausea and the feeling of being sick and tired of being sick and tired.

As I lie here, a haunting question plagues me--Will I ever be myself again?

More so--Who is that person?

There is a shadow in my mind, a faint hint, an obscure remnant of this other woman who used to live here. She is like a ghost and I am unsure if she really exists or if I dreamed of her last night. This woman showers on a regular basis because she likes to do so, she has the energy to do so and the hot steam doesn't make her feel nauseous.

She gets up at 5 am on weekdays to walk her dog for an hour with a friend. She takes her children to daily Mass regularly. She goes to Zumba class two to three times per week. She meal plans for two weeks at a time, does the shopping every other week and then actually cooks those meals. She does at least one load of laundry everyday. Her house is adequately clean, but with three children, a dog and homeschooling, is rarely exceptionally so.

She's fun. She's upbeat. She's positive. She's motivated and ambitious. She's a hard worker.

Did I make her up? Has anyone seen her?

Please, please, if you see her, tell her to COME BACK! NOW! We need her. I need her. I can't do this without her. Someone needs to clean this place up.

(Please note: I wrote this three weeks ago, but didn't post it as I was waiting longer to post anything about this pregnancy. After I wrote it and described in detail the state of my house, I was suddenly motivated to get it cleaned up, which I did. And praise God - I am now slowly beginning to feel better and more like myself. Rather than feeling awful everyday, I've had some good days and when I do feel sick, it's for a portion of the day rather than for days on end. This week, I walked, grocery shopped, cooked, went to Mass and went to Zumba. Although the house hasn't been in quite the state it was on that day, it's still not up to par. So, if you do unexpectedly drop in, still be prepared to see a messy house.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's Going On With Us . . .

Test taken the day after Alicia's wedding, as the sharpie pen note indicates :)
Coming sometime around September 21, 2013 . . . 
The newest addition to the Burdullis family! We are extremely excited. I am about twelve weeks along, making me almost finished with the first trimester. Thank God. Morning sickness has been AWFUL. It's gotten worse with each pregnancy. I have a whole post to share about that, and many more that have been written as I've been laid up on the couch. Cheers to entering the 2nd trimester!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

La Boheme . . .

Last night, I went to La Boheme with Kristen. Let me say that if you were ever to see an opera, this is the one to see. It was exquisite; the last scene was the most heart-wrenching and moving I have ever witnessed in any form. The opera was full of drama, passion, sorrow and love. In my very novice opinion, it was everything an opera should be. The sets, the costumes, the singing, the acting, the poetic lyrics--all was everything I had ever imagined. I was moved to live life more fully, to cherish each moment more thoroughly and to love more passionately. The experience was proof that art and music have the power to really change us.

On a completely different note, I had fun getting all dolled up and taking the time to do my long hair the way I love one last time. This Friday, I have an appointment for a major cut to donate my hair to Locks of Love. Pinterest has helped me to visualize the style I would like to end up with - a short bob about chin length. I have been thinking about this for a long time. As my hair is well past the length requirements, it seems silly not to donate it to such a good cause. It will be fun to try a new hair style and then of course, it does grow back. I am excited, but of course a little nervous too.

Here are some before pics :)