Friday, February 25, 2011


Just so you all don't think I have an awesome day every day... Today is a blah day. Last night I couldn't get to sleep until after midnight (I went to bed at 9). Among other things I was thinking of Brigham and missing him terribly. I hate to admit, but it's 3pm and I'm still lounging in my pajamas. I'm being a bum today, but I feel like it's been building up lately and I deserve a bum day. My 20 day supply of memories are already fading and it makes me sad. Good thing I have a ton of pictures and journaling. A good friend of mine said that "through [my] blog, Carrie will know her little brother". I'm glad we have good friends.

I feel like nothing has been happening lately to blog about. I also feel bad about not posting any pictures recently. Maybe if I just bust out the camera, I'll find good stories to take pictures of and blog about. Until then...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dwelling on the Positive

I'm reading a novel right now by Anita Stansfield called, "The Silence of Snow". It's book 5 in "the Jayson Wolfe story", they're good, look them up. Overall a laid-back, easy read, LDS romance series that sucks you in for hours at a time, my favorite...

Anyways, to condense the first 4 books and give you a reference for what I'm reading, (without giving too many spoilers), Jayson has a hard life growing up, but is extremely talented in music, and eventually becomes a rock star. To make a long story very short, he eventually finds the Gospel and is living a good, happy, righteous family life. He's still a rock star though and has some very big trials with tabloids etc.

This little excerpt comes from a part of the book where he was trying to figure out how to deal with a trial and learn from it.

"[Jayson] came to see that he had the power to encourage negative thoughts and worries, or to consciously replace them with a trust in the Lord to help take care of the problems that might arise. He discussed the theory with [his wife] and they talked about the difference between this theory and being in denial about a problem. She believed that when a person could honestly acknowledge a problem he was facing -rather than ignoring it- and then do all that was in his power, the Lord would make up the difference according to His will."

As I read that, I had a "hallelujah" moment. This is exactly how I feel about Brigham! Someone recently asked my mom how I was doing lately. She responded that I was doing pretty good. The person then asked if I was in denial about the situation. Thankfully, my mom knew enough about me to truthfully answer that I was not.

I often have times when I feel bad for not being more obviously upset over Brigham's passing. While I've given the good "excuse" that I'm being protected by the Holy Ghost through the prayers of friends and family, I was glad to see this paragraph in the book. I feel like when I have a inner rush of emotion, I have been able to take a deep breath, lift the burden off my own shoulders and place it on the Lord's. In an instant, I feel physically lighter, my rush of emotion passes, and I'm ok. I can go on with my day.

And it's not that I don't want to think about Brigham, or acknowledge my pain that he's gone, I just also recognize that letting myself fall apart and dwell on the negative will not reverse the situation. I personally feel that when I'm whole and doing my best to take care of our home and our family, I am honoring Brigham. I'm certain he's extremely busy as a member of the army in Heaven, so why should I not be anxiously engaged in Heavenly Father's Earthly army, doing my job as wife and mother?

So if you see me or talk to me and wonder why I'm not always crying or how I can possibly handle it.... I have chosen to dwell on the positive things in my life. And my knowledge that someday we will live with Brigham again. We miss him, and definitely still have moments of crying, but we really are doing "pretty good".

Monday, February 21, 2011

Prayer and Potty Progress

On Sunday, Carrie started to get antsy the last few minutes of Sacrament Meeting. She said, "Mommy, I wanna play with my friends" (go to nursery). I whispered to her, "Ok sweetie, in just a few minutes when this man is done talking, we'll sing a song, say a prayer, and after the prayer, you can go play with your friends."

Apparently she just focused on the last part. She thought for a second, said, "Ok" and proceeded to fold her arms, bow her head, and say a prayer on her own. Justin and I were having a hard time trying to not laugh out loud! It was the same quick little prayer she always says, and when she was done, she looked up and said, "Go play with friends?" What a smarty pants! I'm sure her thought process was, "Hmmm, mom said after the prayer we can go.... I can take care of that!"

Moving on to potty training progress. We had a super success for a couple hours Saturday night when she went in the potty 4 times! We went out to the bathroom 3 times during Sacrament Meeting, one of which she actually went on the potty. Sunday afternoon, she had her first success at #2 on the potty! Needless to say, it was really exciting! (I love being so excited about such a weird thing! Being a mom is the best!)

She's picked up on me saying "Good Job!, High Five!, I'm so proud of you!" etc. and she's started saying them for herself. She'll reach out to give me a hug or high five before I even have a chance. The best though, is when she squeals, "I DID IT!!"

I've decided to change my strategy a little. Instead of putting her in panties all day and changing clothes all the time, I'm keeping her in a diaper with panties on top and having her sit on the potty a lot more often. Yesterday I only changed one diaper. All. Day. We're catching it before she has a chance to wet her diaper. I've noticed she is a lot happier with it.

I know some kids do better with the shock of feeling wet and it makes them catch on really quick. Carrie was starting to hate sitting on the potty and would freak out every time she wet her pants. Since "the switch", she's been much more willing to "work with me" and we've had more success! We'll keep it up and hope progress keeps going forward!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Sincere Prayer

Carrie has totally picked up on prayers, and it's adorable!

A few days ago at dinner, she didn't want to say a blessing. So Justin and I turned away from her a little bit, and told her we were going to pray by ourselves so we could eat. After we finished our blessing, we started to serve up our plates. Carrie said with a little frown, "Mommy, I want some dinner..." I asked her if she wanted to say her own blessing so she could have some. She quickly agreed.

Justin prompted her to start, but after that, she took off on her own. It went something like this, "Heavenly Father, thank you this day, please bless it, be healthy and strong, name Jesus Christ, AMEN!"

We were amazed. Justin shouted out, "I LOVE YOU! YOU'RE AWESOME!" She's so dang cute, I don't know how we stand it...

As far as potty training goes, we haven't made much progress in the last few days, but only because I haven't been very committed. We've had places to go, and things to do, so I've been putting a diaper on her occasionally to avoid accidents in the carseat etc. I think she's getting the general idea though. She's telling me as soon as she goes in her diaper, so that's a good step. It's not like she's going off to Kindergarten next week and it HAS to be done. She's still young, I'm not going to rush it and make her hate it. This next week I just have to be a little more dedicated.

We had a ward adult "Valentine's" party last night. It was called, "Shanghai Love You". We made stir-fry as a table together and after dinner, we had a speaker on Love and Family relationships. He talked about strengthening love between a husband and wife, but also between parents and children. I know we got lucky with such an adorable, well-behaved little girl, but it also makes me think that maybe we're doing something right to get to be her parents.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Decorating for an Angel

We've been doing a little extra decorating around here lately. Here's a few pictures from around the house.

This wall is in the loft. The plaque says, "Our children are our greatest treasure"

This picture was a gift from a friend from high school. The card it came with said she had it hanging in their nursery for the last few years. She'd always thought it represented the great farewell babies have before they come to Earth. After Brigham died, she said it took on a whole new meaning for her, what a great reunion they must have... Thank you Sara.

This one was a gift from my aunts and uncles on my mom's side. We decided to hang it in our entryway. It will be the first thing people see when they come to our house. It is called, "In His Constant Care"

A picture of our completed master bedroom (finally)! I've been slowly painting, hanging pictures, covering pillows etc. to get it done.

A close-up of the pictures above our bed. The top left and bottom right are the newest ones. Brigham is now represented on that wall.

Although, he pretty much gets his own wall in our bedroom. It wasn't necessarily my intent, but once I started arranging pictures to be hung, I realized they are almost all for him.
The picture on the top right is something I got while in nursing school. It shows Christ watching from the doorway as a mom and dad take care of their sick daughter. The artist had originally wanted the picture to depict Christ caring for the girl while the parents watched from the doorway. Someone pointed out to him that that's not how it works though. The mom and dad are the ones physically caring for a sick child while Christ watches over them. I hadn't yet found a place to hang this in our new house. When I was sifting through the closet, I had an overwhelming feeling that this is exactly what we just went through. We were in Brigham's NICU room every day, trying our best to take care of him, while Christ watched over all of us.

Brigham's shadow box (next to the brush and comb is hair from his first and only haircut. We trimmed the back after giving him his bath)

The hand and footprint frame was a gift from Justin's cousin Jenelle. The rock plaque was a gift from Grandpa Mark. Definitely words to remember

A gift from Great-Grandma and Grandpa LaPray. The inscription says, "Brigham, We Love You Forever". My favorite part is that it plays "Hush Little Baby" like a music box, while the horse slowly spins.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Growing Up is Hard to Do

Shhhhh.... Don't tell Carrie. We're on day 5 of the "B and binky diet".

For a long time she had them only at bedtime or on very long car rides. During our "Brigham month" she got spoiled and had them whenever she wanted. (And rightly so, it was a long, traumatic month). The immediate drama is over however, and it was time to put my foot down...

And by that, I mean, politely tell Carrie that B and binky need to go night-night and stay in her bed. She can only have them if she is in her room, in her bed. At first, when I asked her if she wanted to go sit in bed, she said yes (through her binky) and started walking towards her room. By the time she got there she had changed her mind, threw them both onto her bed and walked out, shushing me and whispering nigh-night as she closed the door behind her.

A couple of times over the weekend we've taken "long" car rides into town (30 minutes) and she's asked for them in her little high pitched whiny voice. I knew the car was going to be the hard part. We sang songs, counted to 50, she read every book in her diaper bag, and survived without them! Yeah!

Part two of "growing up".... Yesterday Carrie didn't want me to put a new diaper on her after changing it in the morning. I asked if she wanted to wear panties on top of her diaper. This seemed to work for her, so that's what we did.

This morning, not so much... As I was changing her diaper, she jumped up and started repeating, "I wanna sit on the potty!!" When she was "all done" (without having actually gone to the bathroom of course), she did NOT want to put a new diaper on. I asked if she wanted to wear panties today. Her answer was a very emphatic "YES!"

And so our day began. So far today she's peed 7 times, only one of which was actually in the potty. And even that one was while she still had her panties pulled up. It's a slow learning curve :) So far, she's already gotten a tiny bit better at "telling me" (yelling, "oh no! pee-pee!") and running toward the potty.

We'll see how it goes. I know if I want it to work, I'm going to have to be very committed! What did I get myself into?! ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is Carrie's first Valentine's Day where she actually got to celebrate! She was invited to a party on Friday afternoon with all her little friends from the ward. They decorated bags, exchanged valentines, frosted cookies and played in the backyard! She had a blast!


I captured this great picture of her adorable new haircut! Last week I took out my frustration of "my hair is in the in-between stage" on her. (I can't decide if I should get my hair cut, or grow it out....) Lucky for her, my spur-of-the-moment hair cutting decision turned out super cute! (I love toddler-bobs)

Yesterday, we made valentines cookies for a couple widowed sisters in the ward. Of course, she had to wear her apron to help!

We made a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, but added red food coloring and used white chocolate chips instead. Cute and delicious!

Then we went out with a friend to "heart-attack" their houses!

Carrie's friend Hudson posing for the camera


Happy Valentine's Day! Hope everyone's day is full of love!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Random Things I Forgot to Write

1. First of all, here is Justin's Brigham Beard on January 28th, the morning after Brigham passed away. He shaved it right after I took this because even though Brigham didn't come "home" like we thought he would, he still went "home".

2. During Brigham's last few days, he was on a medication called Sildenafil, better known as Viagra... Little known fact, viagra started out as a cardiac medication because it helps dilate blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and allows the heart and lungs to function easier. Anyways, we thought it was funny :)

3. Justin was able to give Brigham his "name and a blessing" blessing in the hospital, the day of his surgery. It made Justin a little teary-eyed when we got the certificate last week from our Bishop.

4. You all know Brigham's birth weight: 6 lbs, 5 oz. They weighed him the night he died, while we were doing his bath etc.... 10 lbs, 8 oz! He never had a chance to eat, so it was allll "water" weight! Poor kid, no wonder he couldn't breathe! He gained 2/3 of his weight in swelling! For a little perspective, that would be like me gaining 90 pounds in 3 weeks! I'd have a hard time breathing too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Remembering Alana

I was able to attend Alana's funeral service today. Justin had to miss it because of a work career fair that he had registered for months ago, he was very sad he couldn't come with me.

Anyways, the funeral was beautiful. There was a slideshow of pictures going, and there were flowers everywhere! Alana was in a beautiful white dress with all her stuffed animals around her.

After the pastor said a few words and read a scripture, he said there were a few family members who had some things to say and then they would allow other members of the congregation to come up if they wanted to.

After an uncle, a grandma and a grandpa went, the pastor asked if there was anyone else who wanted to come up. I was inwardly excited at the opportunity to say something.

When I said my name, there were a few "a-ha" faces. When I said I was Brigham's mom, there were a lot more. I briefly explained how my son had the same condition, was her NICU neighbor, and had passed away after 20 days (only 2 weeks before Alana). I shared my feeling of Brigham and Alana's pre-mortal friendship and now post-mortal friendship. I truly believe there is something that Trent & Christi and Justin & I need to learn from each other.

I was hoping to be more inspirational, or spiritual, or comforting in my thoughts, but I was glad to be able to attend anyways. We've built a friendship with the Larsons that we'll have forever.

Alana's funeral was held only about a mile from Brigham's cemetery so I went there afterward and got to spend a few minutes by myself at his grave. It's so beautiful there...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bragging About Carrie

Carrie had her 2 year old check up last week, and basically, she's totally awesome. :)

33 1/2 inches ........ 40th percentile
22 lbs ............. 7th percentile

She's picked that growth curve and stuck to it! So even though she's a lightweight, she's growing and learning like crazy!

To prove my point, here's how the conversation with the doctor went:

Dr: How is she on vocabulary?

Justin: Um, good. This morning she told me , "I don't want that."

Dr: Oh... A 4 word sentence... We would have been happy with two word phrases. Can she count? (laughing and joking)

Rebecca: Actually, she can. Carrie can you count?

Carrie: 1, 2, 3, 4, ... (5 & 6 with prompting), 7, 8, 9, 10!

Dr: Oh... Wow.

Rebecca: Carrie, can you sing your abc's for Dr. Macko?

Carrie: (on tune, mind you) a, b, c, d, e..... h, i, j.... lmnop, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, and z, Now I know... abc's, next time... sing... me.

Dr: *deer in headlights look*

Rebecca: (enjoying showing off by this point) Carrie can you sing twinkle twinkle little star?

Carrie: *whole song, with actions...*

Dr: Um, ok.... How about motor development? How is she with walking/balancing?

Justin: Great. She walks, runs, spins, jumps on a trampoline and sometimes gets both legs off the ground at the same time...

Dr: Well, she's pretty much hit every developmental milestone we would expect to see by her three year old checkup, so you don't have much to work on this year. Basically just potty training. See you when she's three!


Things she's done lately that are so adorable we love her even more!

-Changes her baby doll's diaper, complete with wipes and wrapping up the "yucky" diaper
-Says, "Good morning mommy!" when I go to get her in the morning
-Has learned, "That's mine!" with a tiny whine and frown (I'm sure it won't be cute for long, but good thing she's also great at sharing once I remind her!)
-Just yesterday she told me, "I sleeped good!" after waking up (and no that's not a typo, I know the word is slept. She said "sleeped") :)
-Will randomly ask for ice cream. We don't even eat it all that often... I'm not sure where she learned that.
-Dances like a wild woman! To anything that resembles music. Sometimes even a good commercial will do.
-Super independent, "Carrie do it!" is a common phrase around here, and she usually can :)
-Often says, "I want to see baby Brigham" at naptime or bedtime. I finally just moved his picture into her room...

I'm so glad I have her to fill my days. A few of my friends that have lost babies didn't have other kids at home. While she certainly doesn't fill the hole from Brigham, she definitely helps distract me from it. I still have someone who calls me mommy and gives me hugs. Someone to tuck into bed and sing songs with. I've never been more grateful for her than I am right now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Alana Elaine Larson

I'm not sure if I mentioned that when Brigham was 2 weeks old, he got a little "girlfriend" in the room next door who was born with the same condition, congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Her name is Alana. Between the time she was born on the 21st, and when Brigham died on the 27th, we became quick friends with her parents, Trent and Christi. We were all going through the same things. They even took time to come to Brigham's memorial to support us, even though Alana was "testing them" that day...

I'm sad to say, Alana passed away last night. She was 18 days old.

She and Brigham had some similarities and some differences. Alana was "healthy enough" in the beginning that she had her surgery at only 5 days old. Brigham didn't have his until he was 2 weeks old, and even then, it wasn't because he was healthy enough yet, it was because it was really the only thing left to do.

We went to visit them last Friday. When I read the blog update on her and found out she would be coming off ECMO that morning, I told Justin, "We have to go to the hospital and see Alana." With Brigham, the day he came off ECMO was the day he died. That's all I knew. I had a twisted-gut feeling all day. When she made it through Friday, then Saturday, and then Sunday.... it started to look like things might get better. For a while she was having decent blood gases and high oxygenation numbers pretty consistently. We were hoping and praying that she would pull through. She lived 5 1/2 days after being taken off ECMO. Like Brigham though, her lungs couldn't keep up well enough. (to read more, go to

Heavenly Father is building quite the "baby angel army" in heaven. My good friend Corynn also lost a NICU baby a few years ago. This morning when I told her Alana had died, she texted me, "Even though I know this is better for the babies, it doesn't make it any easier on us mommies and daddies."

Trent and Christi, if you're reading this, we love you. We know exactly what you're going through. I wish it were otherwise. We just went to the funeral home today to order Brigham's headstone. We chose the one with a giraffe on it... We will always remember Alana.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


For lack of better words, I had a "doom and gloom" feeling from day one of my pregnancy with Brigham. To the point where, 2 or 3 times in the first few months, I asked Justin for a Priesthood blessing for peace and comfort. I was always antsy; worrying something would go wrong; hyper-aware of the possibility of miscarriage (although I have no track record/history of this). I think Heavenly Father began preparing me to let go of Brigham, long before he was born.

Without going too into it, I'll mention that my Patriarchal blessing talks a lot about my role as a mother. The last sentence in the "mother paragraph" says something to the effect of, "long-suffering, patience, understanding, forgiveness, and lots of love will make you a successful mother."

I remember thinking, "Oh no.... what am I going to go through?...." Never once, in the several years between receiving that blessing in high school and now, did losing a baby cross my mind. I thought it would just be something "easy" like having a delinquent teenager (although who knows, that may be in the cards too. I hope not).

Justin and I were able to go to the temple last Friday and do sealings. It was a wonderful reminder of our wedding day and our eternal commitments. Our children are ours forever. We are guaranteed to have at least one of our children in the Celestial Kingdom. While this is comforting, it's also scary. That means the rest of us have to work even harder to make sure we get there to be with him!

Anyways, afterward we were sitting in the Celestial Room. A friend from my home ward walked in (he had just finished a session). A quick version of his "story": Almost 2 years ago, his wife wasn't feeling well, went to the doctor, who sent her to the hospital for some tests. A few days later, she was diagnosed with leukemia. They started treatment, but it was too late and a few days later she passed away. She left her husband and 5 children.

As we were quietly talking to him in the temple, he said, "I will never be thankful for that trial, but I'm thankful for the things I've learned because of it."

I couldn't agree more. No matter how long I mourn, I will never be thankful that I lived on edge for three weeks in the NICU waiting to see what would happen; I will never be thankful that I had to bury my baby boy; I will never be thankful that I have to live the rest of my mortal life without Brigham.

But I am ETERNALLY thankful for my faith that has grown, that I have learned to trust more in my Heavenly Father, for my love that has increased for Carrie and especially for Justin.

I've been having both "up" and "down" days since he's passed. It's actually very exhausting. I feel like my good days are really good, but my bad days are equally just as bad. It's like I hold my breath and then crash. I know this sounds silly, but I feel like I'm not mourning "the right way". I don't know how I'm supposed to feel... The hard thing is, no one can tell me either. Apart from completely ignoring it and allowing it to completely overtake me, there is no "wrong" way to mourn. There are no rule books.

We put flowers on his grave last week. It felt strange. I promise I have a grip on reality, I'm not in denial at all, but I think all the prayers have been protecting my mind from over-thinking it while the wound is still so fresh. You know when you try to fathom "eternity"? It just doesn't make sense in your finite mortal brain? That's what it feels like when I think about what actually happened. We had a baby die. I can't fully process it yet.

He will never come home and sleep in the room I decorated for him. We won't be able to snuggle him, bathe him, read him books, kiss his owies... We will never get back to normal. Normal has changed. It's going to take a little time for me to figure out what my "new normal" is.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Small Way to Help

We've had a LOT of people ask us what they can do for our family at this time. We feel like we don't know quite what to say. One of our friends had the idea to open the "Brigham Greer Memorial Fund" (account # 5012602446 at any Wells Fargo Bank). This fund will be used mostly to help with Brigham's hospital expenses.

Because of the amazing missionary spirit Brigham brought to us all, we have also decided to take a small portion of donations and start a Greer Family Missionary fund that as our children grow, we will continue to make contributions to. Our hope is for this to help support Brigham's siblings in the future as they serve formal church missions here on Earth.

If this is something you would like to do for our family, it would be great, but if not, we still appreciate all the many, many prayers that are being offered in our behalf. We are certainly feeling the comfort of the Holy Ghost with us as a result.

Remembering Brigham

First, a few pictures from the night he passed away. These were taken in the hospital in the early hours of Friday morning.

Justin loves how prominent his CTR ring is in this picture. What a great "Choose the Right" reminder Brigham is

All the many stuffed animal friends Brigham had watching over him in the NICU. He certainly wasn't lacking for cuddly friends

These next three pictures were taken Monday night after Justin and I got him all dressed up. We rubbed baby lotion everywhere (he smelled delicious, just as a baby should). We were so happy to have the outfit Justin was blessed in when he was a baby. It fit perfectly and made Brigham look even more like the angel we know he is.

His AWESOME hair... We still can't believe how gorgeous it is

Brigham was buried with his monkey "B" and two binkies. Essentials for a long nap ;)

Decorations at the viewing. This get well poster was made by my mom's 6th grade class when Brigham was only a few days old.

The only picture we have of the four of us

He looked so handsome we couldn't help but stare

Carrie in her gorgeous angel dress

A flower from big sister Carrie

After the dedicatory prayer we passed out balloons for family members to let go in Brigham's honor. (20 balloons to represent his 20 days on Earth)

As I was passing them out, one balloon slipped out of my hand and started heading towards heaven early. Even though I was trying to hold on so tight, it left my hands earlier than I wanted it to. Just like Brigham...

We are so glad to have had both of our families with us on this important day (minus two brothers-in-law and two nephews). We are definitely surrounded by love and support.

We are so grateful for the sealing power of the Priesthood and that our little family has been sealed in the temple for all eternity.

Until we meet again Brigham...