Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Missing My Dad.

This is my last sad post, I swear.
A year ago today my dad and I were busy in his kitchen.  He was teaching me how to make his famous ribs for Danny's birthday dinner.  We talked and laughed while putting the dry rub on over 50 pounds of baby backs.  I'm so grateful for all of the fun memories I am lucky enough to have of my dad.  But even with those memories to remember, I still can't believe how much I miss him.
Death seriously sucks.  So much worse than I could've imagined.  I guess to truly know you have to experience death.  I know why old people are so wise.  They have had so many life experiences that you just can't comprehend until you go through them yourself.  Whenever I hear of a loved one of someone else passing away, I truly hurt for them.  I have so much compassion for those struggling with the death of a loved one.  It is so hard and I feel for them.  My cousin Darcee lost her 4 year old son, Keith, just over a year ago to cancer and at the time I felt so bad for her and her family.  They were constantly in our prayers during his whole battle with that terrible sickness.  But now, after losing my dad, I have an entirely different perspective and hurt so much for her and her family.  

Part of me just tries not to think about it.  If I don't think about it, I won't cry right?  Keep it out of my memory and just try to go on with life.  Then I feel so guilty and mad.  I don't want to not think about it.  I want to remember my dad and how he was the funnest guy to be around.  I want to remember the way he smelled and the sound of his voice.  I want to remember how hard he laughed when my brothers told old stories and how uncomfortably hard he gave hugs.  I want to feel the pain that comes with death because if not, it's like I'm trying to forget about him.  

I don't want my life to feel normal without him.  

Every stupid Beach Boys song I hear brings me to tears.  I have cried everyday, minus like two, since my dad passed away.  It's more than I've cried in my entire life.  Sometimes I cry because I'm sad.  Sometimes I cry because I'm mad, or confused.  I still struggle to understand it sometimes. I know there are stages of grief that people go through but something is wrong with me because depending on the day, I'm a different stage.  Sad. Mad. I still don't think it's real.  When I see his obituary hanging on my fridge, or the disc that reads, "Rick Smart's Funeral."  I hate it so much. I can't believe it's real.
 And I know my dad would be so ticked at me if he were reading this blog.  He'd say, "Rachey, you're being ridiculous!"

Since he died I have actually had a hard time writing on here.  It sounds so silly, but he was my number one reader of this stupid blog.  Every post I did he'd have me read it to him like seriously five times and then twice more after that.  He was constantly saying, "Now read me the comments one more time." 
 I loved it.  
I loved how he made me feel like every silly post was so dang important. It made blogging so much more fun.  I seriously thought after he died I was just going to be done blogging.  I didn't care anymore.  Then I stopped and actually thought about it and realized I need to keep doing it for my kids.  They will probably like to read through and at least look at the photos someday.  So if not for me or my dad, then I will blog for my kids.

My dad is still the #1 speed dial on my phone.  I can't bring myself to change it.

He would call me every morning and ask how my night was.  "Did Pearl sleep okay?"  "Do you guys want to go get a donut or go to the Dollar Store?"  I can't believe how much I miss those calls.  I still listen to this one voicemail on my phone.  He didn't even know he was leaving it at the time but it's so cute.  My dad was constantly humming.  He didn't even notice that he'd do it.  All of our childhood videos my dad filmed, have him humming in the background.  It's the best.  But on this voicemail he is talking to my mom for part of it and then his humming starts up.  I love it so much.


The other weird thing about death is the fear I have that someone else close to me is going to die.  What a terrible thing to worry about I know.  So cynical.  I guess I just see how scary and final it really is and hate to think if I lost someone else in my life.

And I can't stop myself from thinking, "He should be here."
At Ricker's baby blessing.  At Pearl's second birthday party.  Sitting on the back row at church sneaking and passing candy around.  "He should be here."

I feel bad for my cute mom.  She has been so unbelievably strong throughout these past few months.  We've cried together and reminisced about the Ricker.   Although Cher has never been a complainer, I know she is so so sad.  I constantly wonder what I can do to take her sadness away, but I know there's nothing.  It's really hard to have such a gaping hole in my life and I can't even imagine hers.  She is so strong.  Stronger than she knows.

At my dad's funeral so many people attended.  It was special to see how many people really cared about my dad.  I had family drive 20+ hours, book expensive last minute flights, ect to make sure they were there.  It was so nice of them.  I feel bad because I didn't feel like I was overly friendly at his funeral and I want to apologize if I didn't get the chance to talk with you or catch up!  I really do feel bad because a lot of you I don't get to see that often.  And I feel bad I didn't get a big family photo of all who attended.  Such a regret!  I'm sorry.

It was a bittersweet day.  Bitter because we were all realizing how much he will be missed. Sweet because it was a whole day dedicated to recognize and celebrate my dad's life.  I hope you know I don't write this post for pity.  Everyone has their own set of struggles they are given in life.  I write this post to hopefully help someone who is going through the same thing as me.  I understand, at least partially, what you are going through.  And it is so hard and seems so unfair.  I have never struggled with depression or constant sadness in my life. Ever.  I feel like one of my talents in this life is the ability to always be happy.  This sounds dumb, but happiness has always come very easy to me.  But after losing my dad I feel a sadness I've never known.  I know it is to be expected losing such a big part of your life and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just miss him.

 I know we will see our lost loved ones again someday.  They are okay and closer than we think.  I see it when I look into sweet Baby Ricker's eyes and realize he is fresh from heaven.  My little miracle fresh from Heaven.  Though death, at times, seems so final I know it's not.  The Lord has a plan and everything will be okay.

My 83 year old grandma has now buried several loved ones including three of her children as well as her husband of 50+ years, Big El.  I asked her how she got through so many hard times?  As Grandma Phyl Phyl says, "Life isn't always easy, but it's always good.  There will be sad days, but just look for the good in every day."
So that's what I'm going to do.

My good for today:
Last night I had a dream I got to talk to my dad!  It was the first dream where I realized he wasn't alive anymore:(  (In all of my dreams he is still alive.) My mom and I were asking how he was doing.  His words, "I'm great.  Don't worry about me!  They have me running the Snack Bar up here and I'm kicking butt!"  Ha ha, yup.  Sounds about right.  What a funny thing to dream.  When I woke up this morning I couldn't help but smile remembering the happy expression on my dad's face in my ridiculous dream.
Find the good in every day.  Even if in a silly dream.



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby Ricker.

This is a long and late post.  Feel free to just scroll through and look at the photos:)

Ricker Scott Elder
Born September 25, 2013
The birth story of our son begins on the night of Tuesday September 24th, 2013.  I was almost 38 weeks pregnant, but was feeling more like 58 weeks pregnant.  I was huge.  Our baby had been measuring big since our 20 week ultrasound and it showed.  The last month I was pregnant I swear once a day I was asked, "How many were in there?"  At first I thought, man pretty annoying.  Who asks that? Then I started getting creative with my answers.  "Three!  How fun right?!" or 
"Just one.  And I can't wait to meet him this December!"  
Everyone one in my ward, my friends, extended family members were really nice liars saying, "You are tiny!"  But my immediate family were the only ones I could count on to tell it to me like it is.  My dad was constantly saying, "Man, you must be pregnant with a baby Danny, that is one big belly!  Maybe he'll play football for BYU!"  So needless to say, I had a big old belly from about 23 weeks on.  

I had my 38 week appointment with Dr. Bean and I asked him how big he thought my baby was.  He felt my gigantic watermelon and said he thought it was probably 8 lbs, maybe high 7 lbs.  So by the time I delivered there was a good chance I'd have at least a 9 lb baby!  I didn't think I would make it two more weeks to my due date and our dog Bridget's due date was in a week.  I decided I needed to have our baby that night so I could have a week to heal before our puppies came.  
I had been dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced for 2 weeks and my doc was surprised I still hadn't had our baby.

So that night after Danny and Pearl were asleep I called on the help of Cher to "Walk this baby out."  So in an unbelievably comfortable, and just as ugly, Mu Mu and running shoes I began walking around the block with my mom.  Rocky called after we had been walking for a bit.  It was 10:30 pm our time but morning in Thailand.  He said Sarah suggested walking with one foot on the curb and one on the road to induce labor.  I quickly made the switch to the uneven walking and actually did start feeling more pains after doing so.  On our night walk we also picked up Nancy Butterfield who came and walked and talked with us.  It was actually really fun. Nancy and Cher are fun ladies and even if this wasn't moving along my labor, I was having a good time.


Danny ended up calling me saying Pearl had woken up mad, so we ended our ladies night out. 
I rocked Pearl back to sleep wondering how many more nights I would have with just us two.  Wondering how much longer she would be my only little buddy.  I couldn't imagine having to try and love another kid as much as her.  My feisty little redhead that I can't believe I'd only had for 19 months. 

I went to sleep around midnight having a few pains but nothing regular.  Danny went to work at 3 am and kissed me good bye as I fixed a bowl of Cap'N Crunch.  (And I wondered why I was huge?) I went back to sleep only to wake up around 6 am feeling a pain.  I timed the next one and it was 6 minutes later.  I called Danny and told him maybe he should come home so we could go to the hospital.  He was home within a few minutes.  We hurry and packed our hospital bag and waited for Danny's sister Rachel to drive down from Alpine to watch Pearl.
I was huge.

We got to the hospital a little after 7:00 am and they checked us in.  I was dilated to a 5 1/2.  With Pearl, they wanted to watch me for an hour to see if I kept dilating.  I really hoped that wasn't the case with this baby because my contractions were getting a lot worse and closer.  When the nurse asked about my first delivery I told her it was 4 hours start to finish.  She said that was super fast especially for a first time mom and that second deliveries were usually about half the time of your first.  I questioned, "Two hours from start to finish?  I highly doubt that."  She stood firm with her answer and said she thought our baby would be born around 9:30.   She said they weren't going to wait, they wanted to get me set up to have our baby.

 Even though I was pretty sure I wouldn't leave the hospital without our baby boy, it's always been a fear of mine to have to do the "walk of shame" out of labor and delivery with a giant belly and nothing to show.
Danny was super excited, I felt pretty calm except for the killer pains I was having every couple of minutes.  For some reason these were hilarious to Danny, weirdly making them seem funny to me.  I got my epidural around 7:30 and it was so awesome.  Even better than I remember with Pearl.  I got quoted saying, "I feel like I'm warm cotton candy."

Yeah, my epidural may've been laced with LSD.
  Then the wait was on.  My mom, Roxanne, Danny and I were hanging out in AF Hospital's version of Kate Middleton's suite watching the sun come up and shine through the pink swirly clouds.  (Atleast I think they were... could've been the LSD.)  I was doing my favorite thing, eating pebbled ice and then I even painted my finger nails.


My mom ended up leaving to take Pearl's car seat to Mindy who was now watching Millie and Pearl.  A few minutes later the nurse came back and checked me, I was worried I was going to be ready to push because I was feeling a strong urge to do so and I wanted my mom there!  My suspicions were right, I was at a 10 and feeling ready.  Luckily, out of our wall of windows we saw cute Cher running across the parking lot and we waited for her to get there.  It was a good thing we did because it all happened much faster than expected.  Dr. Lamoreaux, who also delivered Pearl was the doctor working that morning.  He had me do one push then said wait a sec.  His next instructions, "Okay, and now just a half push."  Whatever the heck that is?  To my surprise after that "half push," I heard the strongest most beautiful sound ever, our baby's first cry.  The doctor handed him to me while the nurse wrapped a blanket over his shoulders.  The nurse kept commenting on his huge hands.  I instantly loved my baby man-hands so much.  He had a ton of dark curly hair that surprised us all.

 He was perfect.
Pretty red lips, furry shoulders, chubby thighs, wide hands, long toes.
7 lbs 15 oz, 19 inches of love.
Danny was beaming.  I was bawling.
There is nothing like the first time holding your newborn baby.




Baby Man-hands.



When the nurses brought him back to us all cleaned up, his hair actually was blonde! It seriously is the exact same color as Danny's, so cute:)









I can't believe how obsessed with him I was right from minute one.  He came out the chubbiest most cuddliest little man ever.  I can't believe how happy he has already made me.  He came at a good time:)

His skin coloring is definitely different than Pearl's skin.  Poor girl is white as a ghost thanks to me.  Baby Ricker has Danny's coloring and hair.  I got the mini Danny I always wanted!
We had so many visitors at the hospital and unfortunately those pics are on a different memory card.  But thank you everyone for your love and support.






Six days old.
With both babies I swore I was just going to get their newborn photos done professionally and I always just give in and take them myself.  I haven't even had time to edit any (except two of these) but you can see how small he was.









Sibling pictures are proving to be harder than expected.

Pearl loves baby, "Wickuh." (as she calls him)

I forgot how much I love babies til' we had Ricker.  I guess I was in denial and thought Pearl was still a baby.   He is such a snuggly little guy.  The first week he was born I could hardly put him down, he was just too cute and sweet.  Now he wants to be held all day which I understand I've brought on myself but really, I can't squeeze him enough.  I'm grateful he is in our family and can't help but feel sad my dad isn't here to enjoy him.  I know he would be eating him up.  I hope baby Ricker can live up to my dad's name and make him proud.

I'm so late posting this, and it's crazy how much someone can change in just a couple months. 
Little 22 lb Ricker isn't so little anymore!
I'm going to have start  trying to catch up!

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I love being a red head. My husband is goofy. We both love Chuck a rama. I love antiques, miniature things, and Diet Mountain Dew. My Motto, "Life is RRRRReeeeeeeally Guuuud!" -Nacho.