Oh Baby!

Hi Everyone,

Let me start from the beginning, a few years ago when we were considering adoption we got contacted by a lawyers office about a baby up for adoption and wanting to show our profile. We, of course agreed. Nothing came of it, but the office continued to keep our profile for future opportunities.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I received a call that a birth mother had LOVED our profile and wanted to meet us… What?! REALLY? We panicked, I cried, this had never happened before. I was SO nervous. It consumed me for the next week and it was all I could think about. What would I wear? So many questions were going through my mind. As Saturday came, we got dressed, nicely, and drove to our former church to have a meeting with her. At first glance, she was absolutely beautiful. Petite, long blonde hair, big beautiful blue eyes. And for the next hour we talked as if we were best friends. She is on bed rest so we talked about Netflix, we talked about my family and my story of my brother who recently passed.

3 weeks, 3 weeks of torture, constantly staring at my phone, hoping for a phone call. Nothing. I was discouraged, maybe she didn’t like us. Maybe the other family fit her story better. And then on Saturday, the 8th, I got a call “Hey Erica, the birth mom wants to meet you again”. YES! We met with her again on Sunday. Anticipating an answer, we talked again, we had breakfast, we laughed. She showed me the 3d ultrasound and the baby has beautiful full lips and her mothers big beautiful eyes. After an hour of no immediate answer, I simply asked her “How did you meeting with the other family go?” She quickly said “There is no other family, I chose you”. Before I could even think, I was bawling, absolutely bawling. Had this day finally came? YES! We were going to be parents. We all cried.

On Sunday, I received another phone call from the birth mom advocate, she said “Erica, I am concerned, the birth mom is questioning her decision in placing her up for adoption, please gather your troops and pray for her”. I hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out. WHY? Why was this happening? Some time ago my older brother Dan, told me when I miss Benji to talk to him. So that is exactly what I did. I sat in my car and cried to Benji, I told him to beg and plead with God to let our dreams come true. He told me before he passed away he was going to “make things happen”. Last night, Tuesday, the birth mom advocate called me again. The call I was dreading, she said “Erica, whatever you did worked, the birth mother said she just felt peace and knew it was the right decision”.  As I hung up the phone, I said out loud “Thank you Benji, I know that was you that made things happen” and before I even finished, his song “How he loves” came on the radio. In my eyes, that was him saying “You are welcome”.

So, there, is our story of how our dreams are finally coming true. 7 years of trying, of crying, of a ROLLER COASTER of emotions, is soon to come to an end as we welcome our beautiful daughter into our family.

Thank you for being apart of this journey with us. Of our emotions, of our change of hearts often. Just helping us, praying for us, and encouraging us to never give up on this dream.

My sweet sister set up this amazing fund to help with the court fees, adoption costs, etc. If you can donate any to help us, we would be even more grateful.

Thanks!

XOXO,

Kurt & Erica

Our Kitchen Fiasco

Hi Everyone,

Let’s start this story from the beginning. Back in November, our dishwasher took a plunge and died. We shopped around and found an amazing deal at Home Depot for a nice stainless steel dishwasher. I was in love, because I knew eventually I wanted to upgrade all of our appliances to stainless steel. The dishwasher was delivered at the end of November and everything seemed perfect.

Fast forward to about a week before Christmas, and I noticed a huge puddle in front of the dishwasher. We called Home Depot and they sent out their delivery guys to come fix the problem. Everything seemed perfect, until a week later I noticed the same puddle in front of the dishwasher, and this time the wood floring was starting to bubble.

Long story short, the water had been leaking for over a month, causing severe damage to our floors, our cabinets, and everything needed to be removed. So, this is how I am living for at least the next month.

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

 

Kitchen Remodel

And everything is sitting in our front room for now. Can I tell you how awful it is to not have a kitchen sink? Or counter space for that matter. Its is terrible.

BUT, as my previous blog post states, let it be. So we are seeing the positive in the situation. We get to put in dark flooring that we have always wanted, and we are going to pay a bit more to upgrade to granite counter tops. So, although this is NOT how I wanted our kitchen remodel to go, we are thinking on the bright side and soon enough I will have my dream kitchen.

XOXO,

Erica

New Year, New Me

Hi Everyone,

So, it might seem like this blog is going under, but truth be told, nope! I am still here, surviving. Surviving has been my key since my brother passed. Getting through those moments that I didn’t think I could. I am ok. I get through the days, I cry and have HUGE meltdowns that seem to hit me out of nowhere, but I am still going. Doing exactly what he would have wanted me to.

What has been happening? Well, I got the amazing opportunity to go to Hawaii the day after Christmas to nanny my 3 adorable nephews. It was a time for healing, a time for peace, and a time to get way from life. I had major meltdowns there, I got very angry. It made me so upset that we were in paradise, swimming in the ocean, watching whales, enjoying the heat with out him. I was very very angry at times.

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I walked away from Hawaii with a new perspective on life, one that Benji would want me to have and that is my new 2014 new years resolution “Let it Be”.

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I am trying to be happier, more realistic, but letting the bad and good things happen and realizing I have absolutely no control over them. A month into the new year and I feel like a new, happier person.

What are some of your new years resolutions?

XOXO,

Erica

Alone

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for all of the love and support on my Remembering series. It means a lot.

The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions, to say the least. I will be perfectly fine one day, and hear a song on the radio and it all comes crashing down. So much reminds me of my brother. Every Philly cheese-steak I eat brings back memories, every song on the radio, every book in my closet. They are all there because of him. He inspired me to always pursue, to always believe, and to never ever give up on my dreams.

So, what have we been doing? Staying busy. We are trying to keep our minds busy and focus on things that make us happy. We have been cooking more together, listening to music by our fire together, and enjoying each others company. We have been doing some DIY projects together, tackling some things we have been wanting to do the past 7 months. We both have our moments and break down, but we both know that being sad and depressed is NOT how Benji would want us to be. We are trying to remember the good that he brought into my life.

Benji brought my husband to the Lord. This is something I have been praying for, for years. And it wasn’t until Benji that Kurt actually believed. He encourages me to go to church now, we pray together now. I will never be able to thank Benji enough for the way he has changed our marriage.

Above all of this, I have never in my life felt so alone. My body aches, I sometimes feel like I am on auto-pilot. Not sure how I make it through the days, but we do, we have to. This is what Benji would want.

Kurt has been painting Benji’s house, starting today. He says it is hard, hard knowing he is working so hard but Benji won’t be able to see it. Everything seems to be hard. But we have to keep pushing on, because Benji would want that more than anything.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7

XOXO,

Erica

Remembering (Part 5)

Hi Everyone,

This is post 5 in my Remembering series. Thank you for understanding as I space it out between a few posts.

Over the next few days, Benji got worse. It was so hard to believe he could get worse after being so bad already. Heidi, his angel of a wife, made the most difficult decision to put Benji in a hospice home. She came to the realization that if he passed away in their home that would constantly remind her of such a terrible time. We all supported her in this decision.

Not that it was the best choice, but I had such a terrible time bringing myself to go see him in this home. I knew he was getting worse, but he made it clear to me that I needed to focus on what I needed to do. So I stayed away. It still hurt and I thought and prayed for him every day. But I couldn’t bring myself up enough courage to see my Brother.

Then, on September 6th, Heidi called and said it was going to happen soon. Benji was in a coma and was now non responsive. His vitals were getting worse. Without question, I decided to go up and see my brother. My oldest brother, Dan, warned me that he looks worse and it is hard to see. I was scared. I didn’t want my last memory of my brother to be like this but I knew I needed to do this.

As I walked into the room, I saw my precious brother looking so frail, so week, so not him. I sat by his side and held his hand. I cried and told him how much I loved him, how much of a fighter he was, how much I admire him. His grip on my hand tightened. I knew he heard me.

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Heidi’s mom read a beautiful passage about heaven out loud to us all. As she was finished, Benji raised his hand up in a fist. His typical movement for his famous saying of “Strength and Honor”.

Through the next several hours, we spent the time in the room listening to music, praying, crying, and being together as Benji held on. We all decided we would spend the night because we knew this was going to happen soon. Right as we all got settled in our bed, I could hear Benji moaning, more and more. He seemed as though he was in pain. The nurse reassured us he was not in pain, but that this was normal.

I paced the floor, bawling my eyes out. Could this really be happening? My brother, Dan, hugged me and we bawled. I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my brother was going to die. This was not a dream. This was real.

Everyone was in the room with him, watching him, praying for him, crying. I couldn’t take it. I put headphones in and sat right outside his room. Over and over I kept playing his favorite song “Because he loves me” by David Crowder.

And then it happened, the door opened and my step mom came running out of the room. “He is gone”. I lost it. I ran in and everyone was crying. His wife was saying “No Benji, no Benji”. We all held each other bawling. It happened. My brother took his last breath and was healed.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

XOXO,

Erica

Remembering (Part 4)

Hi Everyone,

This is the 4th post to my Remembering series.

A few days after Benji was released from the hospital, home, and on hospice was my birthday. Benji called me telling me how sorry he was but he didn’t think he could go out and do anything. He always felt like a burden to us. In all honesty, the only wish for my birthday, was to be together as a family. It just happened to be the first Broncos game of the year so we got together to watch it.

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This was, by far, my absolute favorite birthday to date. Benji and I dissected the Broncos, we laughed. We smiled. He told me how much he loved me. I will never, ever, forget this night.

A few days later, Benji asked his hospice nurse how much time he had left, he told him about 2 weeks. Hearing that news hurt. It made it that much more real. We spent as much time as we possibly could with him. Slowly, I watched my brother get weaker and weaker. He started to lose his mind a little bit and was forgetting things and getting confused easily.

In honor of him, I got a tattoo on my foot. The flower, is a gladiolus flower which means “Of character of strength and honor”. He knew I was planning on getting the tattoo and made it clear he wanted it done before he passed away because he wanted to see it.

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Being honest, it  was starting to get very difficult to go and visit my brother. As much as I loved his wisdom, his love, and his company, watching him slowly get worse and worse was heart wrenching.

He had a few things he needed to accomplish before he passed away, one of them, was to celebrate his sons birthday. Jonah, his son, asked to have his father at his birthday before he passed away. With Benji getting worse every day, we realized we needed to plan his birthday a few weeks early. But, Benji made it.

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In the end of August, I decided to go up and visit him. He was awfully confused and easily agitated. He wanted to write letters to his beautiful sons for different points in their life. He was having such a hard time with this, something that would normally take him no time to complete. We sat on the couch and I helped him finish these letters. He then looked at me and said “You and I need to go have a talk right now”.

We went to the front porch and the first thing that came our conversation went like this:

Benji: Erica, you need to put your guard down. It is okay to not be strong. It is okay to be weak and cry and hurt.

Me: Bawling

Benji: I love you so much Erica and I know this is going to hurt you more than anything. But I just want you to know how much I love you.

Me: Still bawling

Benji: It is okay to yell at God, it is okay to be angry. I shouldn’t have to die so young. It is okay to cry loud. It will be okay Erica.

Me: Gaining my composure a little bit. Benji, I love you so much and I am going to miss you so much.

Benji: I know, Erica. But I am not afraid to die. I am going to be in heaven, pain free. I am just sad for all of the people that will hurt when I die.

As I drove away that night, it made me realize that this was probably the last conversation I would have with my brother and it hit me like a ton of bricks. A usual 20 minute drive home took me over an hour as I had to continue to pull over and just cry.

This series is in a few parts, so bear with me over the course of the next few days/weeks as I write it all out.

XOXO,

Erica

Remembering (Part 3)

Hi Everyone,

This is a continuation to the Remembering Posts Part 1 and Part 2.

On July 22nd, Benji went to the ER. We received a phone call from his wife Heidi stating it wasn’t good and we needed to go there immediately. We spent the evening in the emergency room for them to tell us that Benji needed emergency surgery, now. The problem, his body was so weak that he wouldn’t be able to continue with Chemo for 6 weeks. Ouch. At this point, there was no other option. He needed to get into surgery.

As I watched them wheel my brother into surgery, he grabbed each of our hands and told us how much he loved us. I thought I was going to lose my brother this night. After surgery, he was put into ICU due to his heart rate. During surgery he was required to get a colostomy bag. This was one of Benjis worst nightmares.

When Benji awoke in the morning, he had a tube down his nose to try and release some of the bacteria that was in his stomach. He wasn’t able to eat, couldn’t drink and he was in a lot of pain. Benji was in the hospital for a total of 13 days. We, as a family, would trade of different days and nights to go spend with him so he was never alone. His 33st birthday fell on July 31st, in the hospital. He didn’t want a big deal made out of him, so we spent the evening together as a family in the courtyard of the hospital. Another one of my absolutely favorite memories.

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On one of the last days he spent in this hospital, after talking to his doctor in Texas. The doctor walked in and informed Benji and Heidi that there was nothing more to do. That it was time for Benji to get moved to Hospice.

When I heard the news, I wept. I cried like a baby. I couldn’t comprehend losing my brother. It didn’t seem right. I wasn’t sure what to think or even what to do. My heart literally hurt. I layed in bed for the next couple days numb, unable to process what was going to happen.

Please bear with me, over the course of the next few days/weeks as I write out this story in separate posts.

XOXO,

Erica

Remembering (Part 2)

Hi Everyone,

This is a continuation of the Remembering Part 1. Trying to start right where I left off.

Over the course of the next while Benji had chemo every 3 weeks for 3 days straight. Kurt and I attended a few sessions with him. I guess in my mind I had imagined chemo a lot worse than what it was. He was situated on a nice comfy lazy boy, with snacks, and drinks and just relaxed for 2 hours while the IV did it’s work.

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After each time we went, we always grabbed lunch, usually at Munchies for their famous Philly Sandwhichs. Considering the circumstances, those couple hours of just chit chatting are some of my favorite times.

After his first round of chemo, he went to the doctor and found out the tumors had done nothing. There was no change, there was no improvement. The course of action at this point was to keep going with Chemo in hopes that it would get better.

After the 2nd round of chemo, Benji had invited me to go to the doctor with him and his wife Heidi this time. It was just a few blocks from my house and I was honored to go. As the doctor walked into the room, before he could say a word, Benji said “The chemo didn’t work again right?” and the doctor slowly nodded his head. Heidi and I wept, as Benji tried to tell us that things were going to be Ok. After the doctor appointment, we came to my house and spent the evening with our family. Through a miraculous course of events, Heidi received the go ahead that Benji had been given the opportunity to go to one of the Nation’s best cancer institutes in Texas. Within a week, Benji was there talking to one of the countries best doctors about his rare cancer.

Texas brought a new hope. It gave us the idea that chemo was going to work this time. For this new plan, he would do it every single week, once a week. I went with him, just me, to one of his last sessions. We got Munchies on the way home and we layed in his bed for hours playing video games. I will never ever forget that day. Priceless.

On July 21st, Benji was messaging us telling us the pain was unbearable, he had a fever and was vomitting. He had talked to his doctor and they told him to get to the ER stat.

These “Remembering posts” will be split up between a few. I have a lot of moments I want to be sure I never forget. So bear with me over the course of the next few days/weeks as I get this story out.

XOXO,

Erica

 

Remembering (Part 1)

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I have not posted in a while. There has been a lot going on in our lives and I figured it was now time to finally sit down and write it all out. I am going to start from the beginning and try to recap everything that has happened the past 8 months.

On January 28th, we moved into our new home. With so many emotions and excitement going on, we were thrilled to have our forever home. A place we could do things we love and make it exactly how we wanted to.

On January 30th, I received a phone call that I will never ever forget it was from my big brother Benji and he said:

Benji: Are you sitting down?

Me: Yes, why? What is going on?

Benji: I have cancer..

Those 3 words still give me chills. He had been in and out of the hospital for the past 4 months with issues related to his Chrones disease, but cancer never crossed my mind, not once. He received his results just a few blocks from our house and he wanted to come over. My entire family, alone with his wife’s entire family spent the next several hours in our unpacked house, crying, laughing, encouraging, and being with each other. It was a night I will never forget.  He pulled Kurt and I aside at one point and said “Through all of this, no matter what happens, I just want people to see the glory of God”.

Brothers

That night, my siblings and I decided to “get out of town”. We booked the next flight to Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, to get our minds off of this disaster that was turning into a reality. Benji and his family and I had conjoining rooms. Every morning when I would be getting ready, Benji would slowly walk into my room and do his famous dance behind me, we would both giggle and go on our ways. The kids were in heaven in Disneyland, we ran, we laughed, we played. Benji would have plenty of energy in the morning to join us, but would be back to his bed by noon to sleep and take some meds to get rid of his agonizing pain.

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Our 7 year anniversary was on the Sunday we were there, instead of doing our usual dinner and spending time together, Kurt took the kids to Disneyland and I hung back and tried to soothe my brother “You are going to kick cancer’s ass” “Benji, you got this”. At one point, he turned to me and said “This cancer is killing me, Erica”. I quickly pushed that idea aside and reassured him that he has this, God is on his side and we will look back at this moment and say “Remember when you had cancer”.

I have to write this story over a few posts. There are a lot of emotions, memories, pictures, etc. that I do not want to miss or not include as they are extremely important to me. So bear with me over the next few days (weeks) that I get these posts on my site.

XOXO,

Erica

 

Easy Spring Wreath

Hi Everyone,

If you haven’t heard my blog was deleted. So after being absolutely saddened and even shedding some tears, I realized that maybe it was a good time to clean up this little blog of mine and make it better than before. So let’s start with a super duper easy spring wreath. I was inspired by Shanty2Chic and their wreath. I wanted something fun and easy.

First, I gathered my supplies. I spent less than $20 at my local Hobby Lobby for everything I needed.

Spring Wreath

I got the large wreath, a fabric roll, some twine, and the letter H.

I started making flowers following a super easy technique, if you want it, let me know and i can post a tutorial. I made a bunch of different sizes. I also used the twine to wrap around the H. There is no technique here, just wrap and glue.

After less than an hour, we have this beauty:

Spring Wreath

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Don’t mind the price tag that I forgot to take off. Only $4.99 to be exact. I sure love Hobby Lobby!

Have you been up to any crafts recently?

XOXO,

Erica