Thursday, December 21, 2017

This is our 2017 Holiday card! Cheers!

Happy Holidays From The Laniel Family!
Our year at a glance:
When you're in your mid 40's developing new habits and making new friends isn't easy. 
But we dominated this in 2017.  
Brian went back to school in January to finish his business degree. Being a student again has challenged him in many ways and he has crushed it. I'm super proud of him for putting himself out there and for putting up with my cooking on days that he had a late class.
I have been lucky enough to add regular reading to my life because of a book club I was invited to join. We meet every month and while drinking wine is a big part of our get togethers, we actually read the books and discuss them! These new friends are wonderful and I am so glad that I get to interact with them and their stories.

BTW-here are my top five favorite books we read this year:
Image result for my grandmother told me she's sorry

The hightlight of our spring was embracing our Aunt-ness and Uncle-ness with our non-blood relatives. We had  the distinct privilege to attend one of our niece's graduations in Kansas City, MO and one of our nephew's graduations in Sheridan, WY.

We were bursting with pride to be a part of Elly's special day where she was the valedictorian (!!!!!!!!). Her speech was incredible and I may have cried through the entire thing. Elly is incredibly bright, funny, driven and beautiful. She is bound to change the world, she already is!  Spending time with the Puckett family is pure joy for us. I am not able to capture in words the place that the Puckett family has in our lives. To be Aunt Kari and Uncle Brian to their kids and to have the soul connection that we have with Shana and Cory is truly priceless. 

Liam will always, always hold a special place in my life. When I met him he was a one month old premie. He has grown up to be the kindest human I know. He is creative, confident, and opinionated. He's a truly talented writer and I am excited to see where his path leads him. Brian and I started "Aunt Kari and Uncle Brian camp" with the Jones boys where we hosted the boys for a few days during the summer and explored all things Denver. We look forward to continuing this tradition as they both live in Laramie, WY right now. The Jones family just "gets it" and we are so very grateful for them. 

Of course being Aunt Kari and Uncle Brian to these two darlings obviously brings us joy beyond words. Nora and Georgia, you light up my life. :)
^^^ This was taken in January^^^
And this was November!
They grow so fast!

We got to extend our blood relative Aunt-ness and Uncle-ness with the pure joy that is Maddox Stewart von Jacobsen. He's perfect. Our family got to meet him in September and I wrote a whole blog post about it here. 

We are truly lucky to have wonderful nephews in our lives. Brian's brother's kids, Khai and Finn are hilarious and wonderful. We are excited to get to know them more this year!
Teddy, Tucker and Maddox are remarkable humans and I am so lucky to be related to them. The world is a better place because of these boys. 

When thinking about our autumn season, what truly stands out is the unapologetic embrace around the "Routine of Us". I don't know what else to call it or how to fully explain it but it simply boils down to I love our life. 
Our family makes me so happy. Brian is absolutely the most incredible human being I know and I love him with my whole heart. Baxter and Birney bring me so much comfort and joy daily and I am super grateful for them! We get to see both sets of parents on a semi-regular basis and we feel lucky to have them all so close. My parents get to be Grandma and Grandpa to Baxter almost every week. He LOVES them!

We had a great year filled with tons of other memories and treasures-- 
our hearts are truly full. 

Happy Holidays!
May you and yours have a truly wonderful 2018. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dear Sweet, Sweet Maddox

Dear Sweet, Sweet Maddox,
When I told you for the first time in person how much I love you, I knew I would never be the same. 
  One of the reasons that you've stolen my heart is that I didn't expect to have you in my life. Your parents surprised us all with the news of you and I think we sort of forgot what it's like to have a little Jacobsen around. Your cousins are young men! They are incredible people that you will learn a lot from. Their kindness, purity of heart and dedication to be their best will inspire you.
 But now, here YOU are ready to make a mark on the world, inspiring them and the rest of us to be awesome.
 As your Aunt Kari, I have the honor and the privilege of loving you, spoiling you, and giving you the hope that you are NEVER alone. I also have the "Auntness" to  buy cute outfits like this to dress you up in! (To your 20 year old self, I am sorry!)
I'm also the Aunt that will think creating a Lion King moment with the whole family is hilarious and inspirational.

Speaking of family, your parents are incredible. They want the very, very best for you and will stop at nothing to make sure you know how loved you are. They are some of my best friends and my life is so much richer because of them. We are all going to have a lot of fun together over the next several years. 
 The time I spent with you in Colorado is a SMALL taste of how much love I have for you. I want you to know that I am ALWAYS going to be here for you. 
There will be miles between us, probably our whole lives, but no matter what happens or how much distance is between us, know that we are under the same moon, and know I love you more than I can promise.

Because of you, sweet Maddox, I am already a better person and I can't thank you enough for making my heart full and my life better. 

*A special thank you to Hannah Lesley Photography for the amazing pictures.
{Hers are the ones that don't look like they were from my phone. :)} 

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Space of Life

It's super vulnerable to publically process through my experience with grief, but since I chose to make it public through this little blog of mine, and because so many of you have been on this journey with me, I am continuing to process with you. Thank you for your continued Grace and support of me.

About 3 years ago I wrote this post about being in the space where some of Matt's ashes are. The poem emerged through a very ethereal experience and is one I value as a part of my journey.
I returned there this week and another poem emerged about my process with grief now and the wrestling I have done over the last several days because of it. It's a bit wobbly, but I want it documented here, with you.

The Space of Life

I am at The Sacred
where life and death
Where the majestic and
the broken
lays its head.
Where growth, change, and Life
emerge despite doubt and fear.
I’ve suffered this week--holding the
weight of what could have been--holding the
should be--
trying to recognize this weight and still
trying to see that life can be
 And here I am in the space of Life
hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, touching,

I see the pictures of you.
I cherish.
I wrestle.
I release. 
You see what I can’t;
what I shouldn’t.
You release.
You give.
You honor.   
I am free.
You were the Was.
It does not imprison me.
I am in the Is.

There is Life and Hope
and There,
in me.

If you are new to the blog or you don't know my story, I invite you to read this post or this post

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The panic attack that killed my summer buzz.

Panic attacks affect over 3 million people in the United States every year. 
I am one of the 3 million. 
Over the last 14 years I have been prone to them. For me, they usually show up in the form of shortness of breath, claustrophobia, tightness in the chest, irrational, detached from reality thinking, and fidgety, antsy behaviors. Over the years I have only had 2-3 severe attacks where all of these things play out at once. Otherwise the shortness of breath/irregular breathing is my most common symptom. 

This past week I essentially had a 4 day on and off again panic attack where all of the symptoms showed up and it turned my life upside down. It definitely took my summer buzz away as it was a very exhausting, scary, and overwhelming week. I have, for the most part, recovered and I've figured out and am processing through the triggers. But I am not writing about this to invite sympathy or to have people ask questions about what my deep, dark psyche is saying, (trust me, I am doing plenty of that myself!) but I write to document the truths that come out of such a dark time so I can remind myself (and you?) that I'm not alone in all of this.  

  A dear friend who helped me through this week said that my mind and body had to go through this process in order to heal some traumatic layers that I have incurred over the years. She said that I was "able" {the quotes are present because I certainly didn't feel able!} to do this because right now, I have everything I need to go through this and that love, connection and support are what I need to take in. If I don't take these in and then utilize them, I am merely suffering and not allowing my soul to heal.  

Even if panic attacks aren't a part of your life, I truly believe that we all need to take in love, connection, and support to survive this crazy life. But, I have learned that when one is stripped down to the purist form of vulnerability {like in a severe panic attack} these things show themselves in very simple and powerful ways. The images placed throughout this post reflect some of the love, connection, and support that held me this week.

 I am deeply grateful for the ways the Universe took care of me and for those of you who showed me, and continue to show me, love, connection, and support. You may not even know you were a part of my healing, but I know and I am so very grateful.