Friday, September 26, 2008


Well I have to say that this has been a great week-of course it has not been a perfect week, but a great one. I was sad to see the kids go back to school yesterday-I miss them when they go back-I was blessed with really sweet kids and I miss them when they were gone. I got to watch Kelsey at soccer last night and talk to one of the other parents. It was fun discussing what we want to be when we grow up (or the kids really...) I go back and forth between getting a nursing degree or getting a master's in antropology or history so I can teach at a JC. (That was the original plan) I am back to leaning towards the master's degree b/c it would take less time-and I enjoy teaching. I haven't in sooo long that I have forgotten if I m any good at it...So ask me in a year-once it is just Kenna at home I'll probably try to take a few classes.
I had a great time last night. Thank you Kelsey for having a birthday! Thank you Laura for sending me stay strong vibes while I was at Chili's with all of those wonderful options! It was so nice to get out and to come home to a quiet house! That was awesome. Kyle came down and said good night-that's the sweet boy that he is always making sure we are ok before he goes to bed.
But best of all I have kept a goal ALL WEEK! I have stayed on track and not consumed more than 1500 calories each day and have spent at least 45 minutes doing Wii Fit. I am getting better at the strength moves, and the aeoribic stuff and the yoga-but the best part is getting stronger on my ankle that I couldn't balance on for more than 5 sec! (my reconstructed ankle) so that has been really amazing for me to see that I will get my athleticism back-it may take forever-but I am so excited to keep moving forward! Maybe when I reach my goal I'll get lucky again and have another random stranger tell me I don't look older than 27. That would rock!
I guess I have been reflecting a lot since I am hitting 36 in 6 days. I'm only 4 years away from the over the hill b-day and it has made me stop and think.
For the past year I have been struggling with the side effects of my endometriosis. Some days are really bad-others not so much. I remember that it was so hard as a sister missionary going to see all these doctors and not one (back in the old days they told you it was all in your head-I'd never had pain that I couldn't deal with until that time) giving me an answer other than well given your family history you probably won't be able to have kids. I was crushed and I felt so alone. I thought this isn't my issue. I really struggled and couldn't believe it. I tried this and I tried that. People have asked me since what it was that they gave me and I couldn't tell you-I was trying so hard to be a good missionary that I just did what they said and kept trying. It started before I left for the field and was still a problem when I got back. I think I saw 5 doctors in CA and then another 5 in SLC. Finally, the one in SLC told me to have the surgery. My mom told me to come home so her doctor could do it. I did and that time still being set apart as a missionary is a whole different blog. But when I returned to the mission, I just believed if I still did what they said and I was faithful it would all work out. When I got married so quickly after getting home (once again another blog) after a year of marriage I was afraid if we didn't try (even if I wasn't ready) we might end up back down that road again. I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant with Kyle. It was the same thing for Kelsey, but I started bleeding really bad and they told me I was having a miscarriage and to deal with it. But Jeremy gave me several blessings and as you know-Kelsey is here.
Well, the next five years I couldn't get pregnant. People would ask questions and at times it was really hard. When you have a child, they assume things, and treat you differently than when you have none. I was grateful for the ones that I had, but no one could give me an answer as to why I couldn't seem to get pregnant and the doctors kept telling me you have two so you're fine.
I don't profess to understand many things, but I remember how much it hurt to hold other babies. It felt so foreign to me-like a world I was never going to get to visit again. One day I had had it with all OB's I sat down my regular doctor and said-look I want another baby-what can I do. He gave me several different things and 9 months later I was pregnant-but he looked at me and said-ok-let's get you another baby, and he was right there when Keira was born to make sure she was ok.
The journey to the next baby was harder-the endo always made things challenging-I bled a lot with Keira and was on bed rest a lot, but I believed I'd have one more baby. When I was pregnant with her I had a dream that I had a boy and he died and the scene flashed to another baby and it was a girl. It was so real I remember waking up in a daze, but I forgot about it until I decided to try to have another baby. It took a little while to get pregnant, but we did and I was so excited. For the first time I waited to tell anyone (even though I was feeling crummy). It was right before Easter when we did tell everyone-I was so excited to have a Thanksgiving baby. On Easter I started bleeding again. I thought-oh it is just going to be a long 28 weeks, but I'll get through it. But that wasn't to be-I lost him 4 days later. It was hard because I was still greiving when I got pregnant. Someone told me just watch-so many people who have trouble getting pregnant have a D&C and BAM! Well-welcome Kenna.
As I approach my surgery for the endo on the 24th of October-I think of the interesting road life took-the Lord blessed me with my four children. Not quite the road I expected, but I got here. I look forward to feeling better and if it doesn't work I get to move into that "H" group of old women~
But as I was "doing it wrong" last night with a sweet newborn-it hit me-each of us have these trials-having a family (however they may come) is hard enough-we need to stand strong with one another and lift each other up and bring joy. Someone once told me when the meds to try and have Keira were making me soooo sick-maybe you should just give up. I thought about it-but prayers were answered-I know that He answers them in a way for each of us that will bring us the most joy in the long run-it may not seem so right now-but we will see it and feel it.

Although it is cheesy I think we should all sing along with Demi "This is real, this is me, i'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now-gonna let the light shine on me-now I've found who I am there's no way to hold it in-no more hiding who i want to be-This is me!"
At least that's how I feel when I see Kelsey and her best friend sing along to this song-
As women we should be singing a long not worrying if we are on key or not-just happy being ourselves!

Monday, September 22, 2008


If anyone has read these books you recognize this. With the way life has been in our "sad" town I have been reading a lot-mainly to let go of all the tension and stress that came along with Ike. We are blessed and safe and I count my blessings often-but it was a hard week for the Brann Clan. Kenna had a hard time with it all-she cried and cried at Grandma's especially when we tried to leave her-even Kelsey couldn't settle her down. She is slowly getting comfortable again and I am soooo grateful to Sarah for all the advice and support she has given me this past week on how to get through the challenges of being a mom. It is a sweet boon to have someone feel the same way I do about being a mom and raising a child that has so many fears. (and sickness) On a whim I decided to read the first book of the traveling pants. The movie trailer looked cute so I thought what the heck. I got hooked and read all 4 books in 2 days. I read fast, but it was very liberating to be able to let go and reflect.
I have decided that my former self was Bee and as I tried to be an adult I was invisible Carmen. It hitme that for so many years now I was trying to be invisible. Not believing that I fit in or belonged. I wasn't sure who I was anymore and as I struggled with that I reached for food to help hide me. (for those of you who just come by from time to time-sorry about my deep thoughts) I thought about all the things that made me who I was. I didn't want them to make up who I am-at least not the bad stuff. As I read these books-it hit me. Do I have friends like the ones in the traveling pants. Not like the book but I have friends who are true and who accept me for who I am.
So for me today is a new day. I am not going to be invisible Amanda anymore. I doubt that I will get back to being Mandy, but hopefully I will find somewhere in between. I will get back to running and dancing and singing and well being spontaneous! I was pretty hyper back in the day. Nobody ever said that turning 36 in a few days meant that I had to be boring.
But life is too short to go through life without good friends and your favorite pair of pants. That may sound cheesy but it is true.
As I see all these people who have lost everything as I think about my grandfather who was a FEMA/disaster head guy back in the day-I realize that he prepared me to be a responsible woman and I have let him down by giving up on myself. I may still cry when I think about him, but I am going to live my life with knowing that I can do what I set my mind to do-I forgot that when I was 18. I believed all those who told me I couldn't, I shouldn't, I wouldn't. I believed that person who told someone-oh don't marry her she's not worth it to a former boyfriend (at age 20)...He always believed in me and he knew that he was a first responder to all of south texas.
I will keep all these people in my prayers and realize that stuff does come and go-thinking about the tree that fell and if it had been the other tree a few yards closer-i wouldn't have my husband or kenna with me right now. They mean a lot to me. Jeremy has loved me even when I couldn't love myself or felt like I deserved his love. So I am soo grateful to the Lord for keeping him safe.
yes, my family and my friends are safe-but I came out of the storm realizing that I too am safe. The storms that have come and gone in my life left wreckage I hadn't picked up yet and I can pick it up and throw it away. I can move forward and see that sunshine that is out there and realize that the storm was hard, afterwards was hard, but the cool front that followed was a blessing and a reminder that the Lord does know us and He does watch out for us-we just need to be aware and pay attention to it instead of push it aside.
Pants=Love....May I always have love in my life and good friends to walk this journey with....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


As the paper in the valley said after hurricaine Dolly "We survived" I can honestly say I never want to ri'de out a storm again. i was soo scared even knowing that i was prepared for it all. i can honestly say that i am soo grateful that i listened to the counsel to have it all. i only wish that a generator was on that list. i never really thought about it much until we didn't have power for days and had to cook all of our food on the grill and throw away the rest. it was very sad to throw out all the food in my fridge. we were gonna stay the whole time but the baby needed a nedulizer treatment and by sunday at 8pm we still didn't have power so we went to the closest grandma's house in san antonio. the kids are in heaven buti want to get back and help my friends. they are having all these drives but i wish they would show the pictures from humble and the woodlands so that others could see that the wind damage is that bad! most people just want bread and milk and eggs and they have their canned goods. they could also use gas, but we are hopefully going back in a few days and can bring some stuff home. Esther in porter, tx got told it could be 4-6 weeks before they will get power back b/c of all the damage. i can't get ahold of her and it is killing me. i know she's ok, but wish i could help more. i am grateful to the people that have been there to help thoaw around us. thanks so brenton scott for checking on us repeatedly to make sure we were ok and to help with the tree that fell in our back yard. it was a blessing from the Lord that the tree that fell was a 40 ft tree and fell from so far back b/c if it had been the one closest to the fence it would have hit the power lines and then the house where jeremy was sleeping and he would not be with us tody. we were all in the room with no windows in the middle of the storm when the wind and rain was so bad. i saw trees bend and the wind howl and it was all at night- i totally appreciate the phrase grateful for the light of day. it was still scary in the morning, but the night from 1am-5am when the eye passed over us and then strated all over again at 6am until 10 am. it was harrowing. but i am grateful and know that as my mom said-my grandfather was watching over us-he trained me well to be prepared for hurricaine and i am so grateful for that preperation. thanks to grandma kip for giving me updates to help me keep my sanity and not panic. thank you to grandma and grandpa for letting us stay here for a few days and enjoy the a/c and a little peace. there is still a lot to do and life will take time to get back to normal-or at least the new normal. my blessings are many and my prayers are for my friends that will have more to rebuild than us. we survived.....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

it looks like ike won't take a hike

well i am soo glad that I am prepared for Ike-just a few things to do here at the house and I am going to pick up TP and cat litter for a friend. I am not looking forward to the next few days with a major "hurricaine a comin'"....But if you are prepared ye shall not fear-is sooo true. So hopefully by Sunday I can post that we are all ok and that there was no damage-just rain like Gustauv....Kenna seems to be doing a ton better and so I am grateful for that-now if I could only have a better school year with Kyle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The bugs on my windshield

Well, I seem to have a sick household, but aside from the frustation of it all, I realize things could be worse. These day to day trials are like the love bug guts on my windshield. they are really annoying when they hit, they are hard to clean off the window, but they are only around for a short time every year. I have been embarrassed by the messiness of my house when people have stopped by the last few days, but I know that it won't be forever-but I miss my rescuers, Kitch and Olsen. This time last year when I was drowning in the same thing-they were here to help me with the kids and the house and my sanity. So I am grateful that the Lord put them in my life-because they have blessed my life with their example. Others have done the same things for me, but these two women really cared when it was hard to just get out of bed, let alone take care of a screaming baby and a 3 1/2 year old after I got the older kids to school. Some days I wonder what this only child was thinking about having a large family with 4 kids. I worry I fall short-but just as my challenges in raising them are like the love bugs-I will miss it when they are gone and I try to enjoy it-because really in the end it is not how clean my house was every day, but that my kids know that I love them and have taught them to believe in themselves. I'll just be happy when I feel good again and I get the endo issues resolved again. That is another love bug I won't mind getting rid of forever-but to do that it is a hysterectomy and I have to schedule that recovery time!:)
I have also realized that as I have found old friends this week that maybe I wasn't such a bad friend when I was a teenager. I was always worried that b/c of my old family that I was a bad friend and never did a good job of keeping in touch. It has really made my day when they write back on my facebook page and say they have thought about me, etc. I catch myself smiling at a Stotlar memory or a Pop Show memory or a musical memory or a choir trip memory. Last week before all of this happened I was singing Kenna to sleep with "Go Ye Now In Peace" and "For the Beauty of the Earth". It is hard to believe it has been almost 20 years since I left Kingwood the first time. I have changed a lot since then-but I am determined to sing more. I wish I hadn't stopped singing. I want my kids to believe in themselves more than I believed in me all those years ago and that dreams can come true with hard work and support. I guess now I am rambling so I better get something done today. I got the suburban clean-so I just hace to catch up to the laundry! Have a good one to anyone who reads my blog.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ok so I am not happy to post pictures of myself, but I did it. Kelsey made jeremy and I look good in this picture in spite of myself and the bad hair day, etc. It is my motivation to get in shape again. so for those of you that get on me for never putting a picture of myself up-here it is. I plan for this year's to be Aggie Maroon and looking forward to more great pictures from kelsey! she rocks!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dodging the snowballs...oh wait I'm in Tx-dodging the love bugs of life...

Well it was a good weekend. I was amazed by Kelsey in her soccer game. Her team still lost, but her and Kibri and GG and Brianna and Hannah played a great game. These girls really seem to enjoy soccer and are getting some chemistry-the others seem to struggle with it all or maybe it was just the major sand pit the girls played in!
But I'd like to thank Di and Joe for opening their house to my circus and feeding us lunch since we were in Katy and helping us not suffer through another fast food meal. They are soo sweet and I love them tons! Joe works with Jeremy and I'm glad that Jeremy found such a good friend at work. At least I know he doesn't have to eat alone!
We also played baseball in Pasedena this weekend. It was such a blessing that it wasn't ever too hot! There was always a breeze and the evening was really nice! I heard the morning game on Sunday was even better. I was so proud of Kyle. I know that I say it every time he plays, but he was finally feeling comfortable at the plate and hitting great. He even pitched really well on Saturday and on Sunday Jeremy said he did a good job as well. I was just glad that he is having fun and asking Jeremy to throw with him every night. It is neat to see him grow into this sport and love it so much.
Kenna hasn't been feeling well for about a month now and has had loose stools for about a month now. I took out all the milk products that I had been letting her have (yogurt and cheese) every now and then and she still is miserable. Well Saturday night at 11:30pm she threw up until 1am and then cried off and on all night. She had poopies all day Sunday-I thought she was doing better today, but it is all back. I am taking her in tomorrow because I am getting worried. I don't want her feeling bad anymore. She was really starting to like a few people other than me and now she just likes me or Jeremy so hopefully she'll get some answers.
Keira loves doing preschool with her mom and wishes Kenna would sleep for a really really long time so I can read her tons of books after we do our preschool pages. It has been good time for me and Keira to spend together since I only get one year left with her before she is gone for most of the day next year.
I had a bad migraine yesterday-I haven't had one of those in about 2 months and it was a doozy! I forgot how much I hate throwing up and my head hurting at the same time. I still have residual pain, but it is manageable. I can't complain other than the fact that my house was ransacked and I hope I recover it by the weekend. I go insane when it is a mess and turn into mean mommy. So I hope that I can get it undercontrol before I lose my mind. Well I may have already lost my mind-but I am trying to keep sane. I have decided that I have to find time for me. I have to lose this weight I have gained. I can admit that it came from depression all those years ago. ok so it was 7 years ago...But I want to remember what that happiness feels like and I finally feel like I can....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I hope that heaven is as small as the world can be at times so I can find treasures like this one

I have sooo much laundry to fold, but I was really touched by a conversation that I had tonight with a mom at soccer. She has 4 kids too and they are close to the same age as mine. Only her boy is the baby. We were talking about kids and babies and if we wanted anymore in spite of the fact we both had our tubes tied. We both agreed that we did and I mentioned I'd thought about it a lot lately since Christine Giles and Jenna Ricker are superheroes in my book for going through their trials and being pregnant. This mom knew Maren W and she had told her the story before I had even mentioned her name. She said that Maren described Christine the same way I had and this mom felt the same about Maren. It was neat to see that even in such a big world it is small enough that a family that doesn't even know the Giles family is praying every day for them. I love the bond that is shared among mothers. It doesn't matter what faith, race, or background we come from-if we are a mother we love our children and we want to help other mothers as they walk this journey of motherhood together. I had never really talked to Julie before but I left wanting to be a better person and mother and hope that if I came up in a conversation that my example shone as strong as Christine's. Jenna and Josie are just as amazing. They are so strong and exude while raising kids when their companion is not with them on a daily basis. Being a military wife is a noble call whatever the time of the world. Thanks Pinky and Josie and all the other women who raise kids while their true loves serve our country. Thanks to Kelsey and Sheri for being my friends when no one else seemed to care. I thank you for your goodness and kindness and help when the going gets tough. Most of all I'm grateful to call you friend. There are other women I am thankful for-if I don't mention you by name I am sure I will. I seem to be addicted to this and I seem to be long winded. Must be all the years of talking to kids.....

The truth of all things

You know it's funny the times that you have conversations with your spouse that you aren't expecting..Late last night when he got home from everything I got to talk to Jeremy and was impressed by the conversation he had earlier in the evening. You know sometimes I think that it is hard to be honest because it might tear down that "perfect family" facade even in the midst of trial. I know that I am not good at asking for help except from my true friends that have seen me in my desperate moments. I am slow to trust and loyal to those that I can trust to the bitter end. Past experiences have created this harder exterior that somes to come across as unfriendly in my later years. If anyone knew me back in the day they would never had labeled me as reserved-I was loud and outgoing and probably hyperactive. So my shock when Jermy said he was totally honest in this conversation-was shocking. I mean I am glad that he said it-sorta wishing I still had the guts to say some of it. But most of all it made me think a lot about who I have become. Most of the loves of my life-dancing, running and singing have fallen by the wayside. I plan to find them again and my other loves-right now I am just trying to get in the habit of journalling again with this blog. But I have been thinking a lot of the woman and her accusers who was found in adultery and taken to the Savior before she was stoned to death. (No I didn't commit adultery or anything!!!) I keep wondering what she must have been thinking as she sat there on the ground with everyone holding their stones and the words of the Savior. "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. "
Was she thinking-i will never sin again? did the people in the group leave realizing that we each struggle with things that are so different-how can we cast stones when we are all imperfect. I hope that even as I struggle with the wall around my heart that I still have the compassion and love for others whether I agree with them or not. My own road has it's challenges and mountains-let me be the one that helps and not hinders.
Thanks Esther for being the only person in my life that has stuck with me all of these years. I know we have changed a lot in 22 years and not always gotten along, but our friendship has survived and our girls' friendship is a sweet fruit of it all. I am grateful for Bobbi who was an instant friend back in March 2004. I feel as if I have known her forever and when I was so scared of that emergency c-section that she gave me (the stranger) the hugest pep talk that made it an easy one. Hopefully we'll get to watch some Aggie soccer and football with you this fall.
Most of all thanks to those people that have given me the example to be a good mom even thought I was an only child. I thought being a mom would be sooo easy and it is not. But it is fun and I still have days that I wish I could have one more....But that was not in the cards so I am doing my best to love each new day and appreciate all the blessings I have. Because time goes by fast and I hope that in the next life I get to be with those I love forever.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Ok-so I am probaly writing too much now-but I loved yesterday. Not because I am totally behind in everything-but I went shopping with a friend, got Keira signed up for gymnastics and laughed most of the day with Keiraisms. She loves gymnastics and it is soo much fun to have a friend in her class-tyler. Now I think I talk to Angela and keep her from watching Tyler in gymnastics-but I so enjoy it. The two of them in class together is soo cute. The running and jumping is so cute. I'll miss that when she stops doing it. I went to Taret yesterday and found these cool lunch kits for the kids so I don't have to use plastic bags and juice boxes. unfortunately I was shocked that a thermos is $16.00! remember when thermoses came with your lunchbox. Not anymore. the little ones that come with a lunch box leak all over the place and ruin the kids lunches-what's a mom to do-how do I keep the drinks cold and not leak with out spending $30 on thermoses for them? It will be $45 next year when three of them are in school? I just really want to lessen my trash output and I thought I could pick up a thermos for a reasonable price-guess not-anybody have any ideas? Ok well-if I added you to my following page-just want to keep in touch-hopefully you will enjoy my page some...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the seasons of life

I have been struck by the amount of trials that we all face as we raise our children. When I was in 7th grade my friend, John, went home from school one night and was gone the next day when his lung collasped due to asthma. When we moved to College Station, a family lost their little girl that would be Kelsey's age in June 7 years ago. We recently have learned that there are 4 families that are facing serious trials with regards to their children. Two are faced with tumors that will take them from their families too early. I don't know these two families well , but we pray for them every night for the Lord to watch over them as they endure this trial. I hear time and again how strong these families are and that is why the Lord gives these huge trials. I think of how differently we can all react to these experiences. I believe these grandparents must have taught their children the gospel of Jesus Christ so that these parents have such a core strength in the Lord that through this trial they will always know the Lord loves them and knows them. I hope that despite my weaknesses that I am helping my children love the Lord and helping them find their own strength in Him-regardless of what may come.
But what has struck me the most is 4 times this weekend I have been told-"oh-you get no break from the kids" since I don't have them in preschool or a gym membership. I know that I need to get back into physical shape-and I am walking or biking regularly to help that. But even on those rough days (for me anyway) I have never doubted that. I think of these families and think about how every minute is a treasure and a gift. These five years of each child is a gift for me. I will have to give them up to the school system soon enough-At 21 I was told I wouldn't have any or maybe just 1 like my mom. So the road it took to have them all has been emotional-but I don't want to surrender any time to anyone else. Kenna is the last one and in 4 years she'll be in school. Time goes by so fast-being a mom is hard but getting to kiss my kids every day and tuck them in and read them a story every night is a gift that the Lord gave me. I am forever in His debt for these amazing children I have. I'm far from perfect-but I love them and am soo proud of them for the love the have for each other and the good kids that they are. So-I'll get my break soon enough-in the mean time I have some playdough and tickles for today and a little "preschool" work with Keira to get her ready for kindergarten next year.
My season of life is becoming the late summer and if I don't keep my eyes open I might miss the beautiful sunsets and popscicle smiles during this time. I love my season of time-hopefully I won't take it for granted again as I have this past 1 1/2 years....