Here We Are

I never know how to start a post when it’s been a while. I really don’t know how to start a post when it’s been a loooong while, but oh well, here we are.

Last time I wrote, River had just been born. I will spare you the excruciatingly long details of my excruciatingly long labor, and just tell you the important parts: I did it!!! Thanks to the grace of God, an incredible doctor, nursing staff, and doula (heeeey Briana!!!), and a lot of personal determination – I had a successful VBAC and out popped the monstrosity of a child named River Righteousness Murdock. A few days after giving birth, I wrote out every single part of my labor and delivery, and I am so glad I did. I may never read it again, but just in case, it’s cool to know I have it.

Today, River is seven months old and so much fun. His life has brought so much joy, and so many giggles. <side note, I just spent 20 minutes trying to upload a photo of him but I’m having trouble… so that will have to wait until next time!>

With Branch, parenting is so different :: holding love and loss, curating his memory, doing our best to ensure he is not forgotten and his name is spoken regularly. With River, I don’t have to express love and grief at the same time. I get to snuggle him every day, I get to watch him grow instead of imagining what he would look like, and I get to be the person who knows and sees his little personality developing every day. I am oh so grateful for the precious boys God has given me.

A few months before giving birth, I somehow convinced my mother-in-law to train for a half marathon with me. She has never done one, and anytime I had asked in the past she was *very* un-interested. Maybe I was less intimidating this time, maybe she was sick of me asking, or maybe she realized spending every Saturday morning with me would actually be pretty darn fun… whatever it was, she said YES and we signed up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, taking place May 8th. We have been training since the end of July, and we are SO ready. I am excited for her to experience the thrill of a big race, and excited for us to finish this thing together.  It is honestly a huge accomplishment for both of us – this is her first time doing this type of distance, and my first race since having River. Also, we are going to wear matching tutu’s, so there’s that.

That’s it for today, but I will leave you with this little tidbit :: I drink iced Americano’s now. Black.

That’s right. No cream. No sugar. Just espresso, water, and ice. I think this is what people refer to as “growing up.”

Talk to you soon, my little raccoons!

Lately : July 2015

Last weekend we celebrated Independence Day on both the 3rd and the 4th. Double celebration!! We had ribs and watched fireworks with some lovely family and friends on the 3rd, then spent all day Saturday at the beach with this fun crew. SUPER fun. It was overcast all day, which April didn’t like one bit, but I happened to love it. What’s better than being at the beach without any sun?!?! San Diego at its finest! 🙂

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I have had a few ice cream cravings lately. Lucky for me, we had an ice cream social at work to celebrate the holiday weekend. A few days later, Glenn and I stopped by Baskin Robbins and I got a DOUBLE SCOOP. It was my 2nd time IN LIFE getting a double scoop. Glenn was shocked at that fact and promptly informed me that he “has been getting double scoops since he could walk.” Goofball. The double scoop was delicious, but it was a little intense. My body may or may not have had a negative reaction to all that lactose. Oopsie!

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My beloved car, The Camry, hit 250,000 miles. I am pretty sure that in car years this is 250. Does that sound right? So my car is a dinosaur?

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I LOVE my car. We have had some issues in the past, but we’ve worked through all of those and it has only cost a few limb’s worth of $$$ to get us to where we are today. I had the interior super-cleaned and Camry and I have made a commitment to stay together for at least another year, if not another 50, 000 miles. It’s going to be the perfect first car to take our baby around in, and I am so grateful to have it! 1999 Camry’s Forever!

 

Finally, HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?! I happened upon them while looking up prenatal yoga DVD’s on Amazon. You have got to be kidding me. There are not cuter shoes in this entire world. I just added them to my order.

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope today brings a little rain, or sun, whatever you so desire. xoxo

Psalm 28:7
“The LORD is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”

~Kristin

Welcome to July!

I could not be more excited to welcome July.

JUNE. WAS. AWFUL. Good riddance, sixth month of the year of our Lord twenty-fourteen. I am glad to see you gone!

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Patriotism and Chick-fil-A :: two of my favorite July things!

I do not know all that July will hold, but there are some fun things coming. First up, my parents are in town for the month, which is always exciting. My Mom is taking me out for lunch and a shopping date on the 3rd, which I am really looking forward to. What better way to celebrate Branch’s 7 month birthday than with lunch?!

Second, I am looking for a job! Gasp! I know — it’s thrilling! I have a couple of leads and am really hoping to hear sometime at the beginning of the month. Who knows, I could be EMPLOYED in July!!! That would be very exciting!

Third, I have started hiking Torrey Pines somewhat intensely and plan on doing so for the rest of the month. For those familiar with the area, I go up the big hill, down the beach trail *almost* to the beach but not quite, then turn around and go back up the trail and then down the big hill back to my car. When I did this for the first time last week, I wondered if it was a good idea or if I would regret it.  I am loving it! I feel strong and it definitely gives me a good workout.

What will you be doing this July?

~Kristin

Hummingbirds

This past Monday I attended the first of a four-week writing workshop that is being offered by The Elizabeth Hospice. The workshop is called “Writing Through the Grief Journey”, which obviously seemed right up my alley. I have basically turned into The Elizabeth Hospice’s biggest fan, and will gladly be their spokesperson for the rest of my life. These people are incredible!!! God’s gift, in the flesh, to the mourner.

I haven’t decided how many of the things I write through this workshop that I will want to share here, but today I wanted to share this piece. The assignment was to write about a small thing that reminds you of someone you lost. I decided to write about hummingbirds.

Hope you enjoy. Love to you all!

~Kristin

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Nothing reminds me more of Branch than hummingbirds.

Thursday, June 27th 2013. Glenn and I were eagerly anticipating finding out if our first baby was a boy or girl. I was 17 weeks pregnant, and thrilled!

We started off the day at Bread and Cie,  followed by a stroll through Balboa Park and a stop at the Coy Pond. I remember Glenn taking a video of the fish, and posting it to Instagram. We looked for little boy and little girl outfits at Baby Gap and Nordstrom. We couldn’t find anything we wanted to buy, so we left the mall empty handed and headed to Sonohealth for our ultrasound.

We were so excited. Looking back now we seem young, innocent.

We paid all sorts of money just to find out the gender of our baby earlier than the doctor would tell us. Sergio was kind. He told us our baby’s heart was beating. And then he told us there was a problem with our baby’s brain. Anencephaly. Not compatible with life.  I remember clutching Glenn, crying, shaking. I knew exactly what it was because Mara had gone through this a year before. I remember wanting to know if our baby was a boy or girl, and Sergio told us he hadn’t looked.

We left Sonohealth, after they refunded our money, which is both kind and odd, and went across the street to Old Trolley Barn Park. There are benches there, in the back corner of the park, that overlook the freeway and valley. We sat on those benches and cried and prayed and told our families and friends what we had just heard. Our baby was going to die. This life inside of me would be just fine until the day it was born, and then it would not be able to stay on earth any longer. It was heartbreaking.

Old Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful park. It is simple : a playground, some picnic tables, a few grassy areas, and a handful of benches. As we sat there, in the shock and horror of a fatal diagnosis, life swirled around us. Butterflies, lizards, little kids playing, sunshine, bees, and hummingbirds. There were so many hummingbirds.

I don’t know what it was about the hummingbirds, but Glenn and I were both struck by them. They were beautiful. They were peaceful but always fluttering. They would come close but never stay.  It was as if God were saying “I Am Here.”

Two days later, after hibernating at Glenn’s parents house, we returned home. The fig tree in our backyard had started to bloom, and the first thing we noticed was a handful of hummingbirds that seemed to surround that tree. “I Am Here.”

We unlocked the front door and saw a package had been delivered while we were away. From April and Jordan : a hummingbird feeder, and lots of hummingbird food. We started crying – how could we not? “I Am Here.” It was almost as if He were screaming it from all around us. Reminding us of His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. That in the darkness, His light remains.

I remember a few weeks ago, while on a very long walk over by the airport with Jessica, I saw a few hummingbirds. Pointing them out, we started talking about reminders of Branch, and how some people would like to say that Branch is IN those hummingbirds. We talked about how we are grateful Branch is in Heaven, and not fluttering around the earth aimlessly in the body of a bird.

In between giggles, Jessica said “Little boy! You are WAY too close to that oncoming traffic!” as if she were scolding Branch himself. It was so sweet. A reminder of all I have lost, but an acknowledgement that my baby boy matters to my friends and family. He will not be forgotten. I will not be abandoned. God promised :: “I Am Here.”

 

My Mom Came for A Visit

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My family lives all over the place.  A few of us are in San Diego now, and the other few {my parents and youngest sister} are on the East Coast. This summer marked the first time we were all back together IN San Diego since they moved six years ago. My parents and little sister were planning on coming out for a week or so, but after the diagnosis, my Mom and Dad decided to stay for a full month.  My Dad had work to do {they own a home here that he needed to fix up}, and my Mom wanted to be able to spend time with me and help me with anything I may need.

It was lovely.

My Mom and Dad left just last week, and I realized, after they were officially gone, what a comfort it was to have my Mom around for several weeks with no agenda other than being my support and assistance. She cleaned my floors and bathroom every week, did my laundry, took me out to lunch, and bought me a few maternity shirts at Gap. If I said I needed to take a nap, she had no problem sitting in the living room and doing nothing. If I said I needed a day off, she found something else to do or spent time with another friend or daughter. Overall, it was a real blessing, and I am sad she is gone now. I am, clearly, not sure how to navigate this season of grief, but having someone who is grieving with you but also knows you and supports you as only a parent can, was really helpful.

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While my parents and sisters were here, we did some really fun things. It has been interesting to observe the intimacy that comes to a family when going through crisis together. We seemed to have even more fun than usual, and, from my perspective, we also seemed to be more unified as a “clan” than we have been in the past. Since Katherine, our youngest sister, was only here for a week, we tried to squeeze in as much fun as we could for her stay. We rented bikes on Coronado and spent the day riding around the island. Super fun, and something we have done for years. Word to the wise: if you haven’t been on a bike in a year or two, your bum will be sore after a couple hours of riding around. The fun outweighs the soreness, but the soreness is still a serious factor to consider.

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We also managed to get to the beach a couple of times. Once just as sisters, and then again after Katherine had already left, where both of my parents came along. We felt like this was a major accomplishment, because my Dad, despite having grown up as a surfer/swimmer, does not particularly love being at the beach or getting sandy. I am usually scared of getting in the water {hello SHARK WEEK!!!!}, but for some reason since the diagnosis, I have decided that our baby likes to swim. It could be the fact that I am 5 1/2 months pregnant and ROASTING all the time so any chance to cool off sounds amazing… but I’m going to stick with “our baby likes to swim.”

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While my parents were here, Glenn and I also had the opportunity to go with them to Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena. My Mom is *slightly* obsessed with space, so she arranged for us to do a half-day tour, and had to sign up months in advance. We enjoyed the day together, driving up through LA, spending the day at JPL, and then introducing my parents to authentic Ramen and boba tea for dinner.

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Finally, just a few days before leaving, my Mom arranged a high tea for my mother-in-law, herself, and me. Who doesn’t love a good cucumber sandwich?! We enjoyed each other’s company {at least I think we did…. I guess I never asked either of them! ha!} and the delicious food and teas we were served.

Although I am sad my Mom and Dad and Katherine left, I am also looking forward to getting back to a more normal routine. Ultimately, I would love nothing more than ALL of my family to move back to San Diego so we could spend more time together and just live normal life in closer proximity, but I am grateful that they all make an effort to spend time with me as often as they can.

Glenn and I are blessed with families and friends who support and encourage us every day. I know this is not the case for everyone faced with a fatal diagnosis, and I am overwhelmed at the ways God is protecting us from so many other hardships right now. Thank you for reading along, for being kind, and for caring about us. Coming up next on the blog:: Gender Reveal!

~Kristin

Baby Murdock Gift Fund

My Mom’s Blog

Families CAN be Fun!

Families. We all have ’em in some way or another. Sometimes they can be stressful, sometimes they make you mad, and sometimes they are a hoot and a half. Lately I’ve been thinking about how important it is to just SPEND TIME with family, because at the end of the day they really are your history and your legacy — and you are theirs.

If it’s been a while since you have done something fun with your family, might I suggest an excessive dinner out? At the famed and oh-so-fancy Bertrand at Mister A’s perhaps? That’s how my sisters and I roll. We choose one fancy dinner with a bottle of wine and cappuccinos over eating for the rest of the month. This is moderately acceptable behavior for us, as none of us are responsible for others at this point in our lives. If you have seventeen children and are living off one income, or, worse yet, are living at your parent’s house, I would not recommend this course of action.

Wait. Did I just say living at your parent’s house? Drats. That’s me. I take it all back.

For spending time with parents, here are the activities I have found most enjoyable:

Walking or Running Marathons
Calling the political opposition idiots
Taking walks around the neighb, or around the hood – whichever you prefer
Eating tacos, burritos, Eastern European fare, or sushi {even if they fight you on it, they love spending time with you!}
Visiting historical sights

Another great option for spending time with your family? Force them to make you dinner. Check out this fig, prosciutto, and arugula pizza #3 whipped up for us last night for our Debate Party. Highly Presidential!

Mostly, this blog post was just an excuse for me to tell my family I like hanging out with them, and for me to remind YOU to hang out with your nearest and dearest. They love you, even if it’s kind of hard to tell sometimes. {yep, I’m talking to you my precious friend!}

Happiest of Thursdays,

~Kristin

 

Summer Twenty-Twelve in Pictures

There was a broken starter.

There was a race.

There was first class.

There was Japan.


There was the plague.


There was Las Vegas.

There were nieces staying with us. And nieces in the hospital.


There were babies. So many babies!





There was the fair.

There was a marriage conference in Arizona.

There was the 4th of July. And the Big Bay Bust.


There was Lake Powell.

There was hair.

Then there was less hair.

Then even less hair.

There was a road trip with Flat Stanley.

There was the beach.

There were thirtieth birthday parties.

Aaah, summer.

A Day in San Diego {La Jolla, to be exact}

Hi everybody!

Last week, when I was back home for a mini vacation {so amazing! thank you chick-fil-a for giving us the opportunity to take time off!} I spent a day with my friend Erin. Erin likes to call us “frenemies” because when we first met we didn’t exactly love each other. I thought she was crazy {which she is} and she thought I was sassy {which I am}.

One fateful day, after Erin and I were put in charge of the year-end celebration for our students, we entered real friendship. Our friendship involved weekly {sometimes daily} lunches at Nordstrom Cafe and regular trips to The Coffee Bean for iced tea.

Last week we decided to switch things up a bit and head north to La Jolla. My favorite little spot in La Jolla is The Cottage. They have THE best Eggs Benedict I have ever eaten in. my. life. Here is the California Benedict with bacon instead of turkey. I *highly* recommend this.

Just look at that egg-y avocado-y hollandaise-y perfection.

As happens with most close friends, Erin and I order together and share everything. Flying Forks, if you will. She chose wisely. Chilaquiles, or, breakfast nachos. This is served with a scone. A perfect scone. A scone that melts in your mouth and leaves you begging for more. A scone that, when covered in The Cottage’s house-made strawberry-vanilla jam is worth spending $5 a gallon to drive all the way to La Jolla from Little Rock. If only I had a car….

Following our breakfast at The Cottage, Erin politely escorted me to Lululemon where I purchased TWO pairs of the world’s greatest stretch pants. One for running, and one that can take me from “the gym, to yoga, to hanging out” which I have worn EVERY day since purchasing. This was my first Lululemon purchase, and I had been saving my spending money for mooonnnttthhhsss because, believe it or not, these things don’t run cheap.

It should be noted that Erin hates shopping, so while I was trying on everything in the store, she was looking through a gigantic scrapbook she found displaying all sorts of locals in their Lululemon gear.

Our final stop of the day was another first… for Erin. SPRINKLES cupcakes!

The coolest part of this trip to Sprinkles was that we each scored a free cupcake because of social media! I follow Sprinkles on Twitter, and periodically they tweet “passwords” you can whisper to the cashier to receive a free cupcake. Right before we ordered, I checked to see if there were any new tweets, and sure enough, if we whispered “fresh squeezed” we would each receive a FREE tangerine cupcake. It was so cool! It felt like we were part of some secret nobody else in the store knew about.

To end this post, I leave you with a short list of recommendations:

1. Befriend your enemy, you never know, you could make a great new friend.

2. Join Twitter and follow ME: @kristineats.

3. After following @kristineats, follow @sprinkles to get free cupcakes from time to time.

4. Share your food with friends. It’s really fun and sharing is caring. Sharing is some people’s love language, actually. Some people like me.

That’s all, folks! Much love to you, have a beautiful day.

~Kristin

Cool Breeze

As you read this, I am on an airplane headed to The Motherland.

It will be 60-70 degrees while I am there. I will get cold at night and put on a sweatshirt with my shorts. I LOVE wearing a sweatshirt with shorts. I LOVE cool nights. I LOVE the ocean breeze. I LOVE carne asada burritos sold by a man who does not speak English.

See you on the flip side.

~K-Money