Category Archives: Marriage

Embracing my fears.

Remember those emotional anxiety symptoms I was having? Well, I couldn’t seem to shake them. As a matter of fact, they got worse. I actually found myself lying awake in the middle of the night a few times which is like adding insult to injury for a new mom. The lack of sleep only intensified my anxiety over the next couple of days. Finally, at around 4:30 a.m. one night, it dawned on me that a few specific things over the last week had really exacerbated my fears about the future and Leo’s health, happiness and general well being. Once I identified where this pent up angst was coming from my brain was able to better make sense of it all.

A blogger that I have followed for almost ten years, who now has a two year old little girl, posted about she herself having a troubling few weeks. She credited the majority of her ‘funk’ to a life long friend of her daughter (and little boy) suddenly passing away in his sleep. The thought of that happening to ANYONE, let alone Leo, is unequivocally unbearable for me to even think about. That is one thing all parents worry about and lose sleep over from the first day they bring their baby home and the fact that it actually happens to people is tough to take. I think I was in such shock to read that story on this ‘happy little blog’ I have read every day for the past 10 years that I didn’t fully process how deeply upsetting it was to me.

Another thing that happened was a colleague of Jon’s passed away. He was traveling in Europe with his wife over 6 months ago when he suddenly collapsed. He was hospitalized overseas (away from his friends and family) for many, many weeks and then finally brought home to then months later be declared brain dead. Recently, his family made the impossible choice to remove him from life support. The thought of his children, what his wife has gone through these last six months, and the fact that he had the best of his life ahead of him is just…it’s horrible.

Both of these incidents are things you think will never happen to you, could never happen to you. But they happen to people all the time and it is so, so scary. I said in my last post that it’s not all gloom and doom over here, that I’m not as paralyzed in fear as it seems, and that remains true.  I just find that it helps me to process and sort through things by writing them down and also feel that I can’t be the only one who thinks about this stuff.

All of this emotional baggage was brought to a head by a completely random night of movie viewing. I simply do not have the time or the energy to watch movies these days, but for some reason I was overcome with the desire to see the film Lion. I took Leo to three different RedBox locations before I was able to procure the DVD. That doesn’t sound like a ton of effort, but I assure you that with a three month old, it is. Once Leo was asleep I started the movie and from the opening scene until the final credits I sobbed.  I didn’t get teary, I didn’t just sniffle, I ugly cried my way through the entire thing. I already knew the true story that the movie was based on but even so, I just completely unraveled. I had to shut it off half way through and take a break because I was such a mess.

The story is about a little boy that gets separated from his family, essentially lost, and the journey that his life takes after. I couldn’t decide who I was crying for the most; the boy, his birth mother, his brother, his adopted parents…you could find reasons to empathize with them all. The mothers were an obvious place for my heart to go, but I kept going back to the little boy and putting Leo in his place. It was excruciating to imagine. The film ended with a final gut punch as they said the little boy had been pronouncing his own name wrong, mistakenly saying it was Saroo instead of Sharu, which in Hindu means Lion. Leo’s name means the same and we often refer to him as Leo the Lion. I immediately went into his room, WOKE HIM UP from a nap like a certified crazy person, and held him and cried for about ten minutes.  I told you, I was a total mess (but seriously, the movie is really good and don’t let my intense reaction to it scare you away).

The moral of the story is, the movie was tough to get through but it was also cathartic as it allowed me to release all the feelings I’d been keeping locked up for sake of putting on a happy face for my family. It was in thinking about all of these things that I was able to realize, truly, how much my husband and little boy mean to me and that it is a bit scary to admit HOW much. It’s like when we were trying to get pregnant, I didn’t want to admit how much I wanted it because then I would have to admit how sad I was if it didn’t happen. Or why it was tough for me to be unabashedly happy when I did get pregnant, because if it didn’t work out, if something went wrong, I would have to admit how devastated I was. I was protecting myself. And now, with Jon and Leo, if I really allow myself to fall as in love with my new family as I am, I have to not only wear my heart on my sleeve but have it walk around outside my body in the scary world every day.

I found this quote yesterday which could not have been more perfect or come at a better time.

No one ever told me how much fear is hidden in love.

So yes, it may seem that I have a few irrational fears right now, but just remember that I’m new to this mommy gig and having my heart triple in size overnight takes some getting used to. Going forward, the trick for me will be to just embrace the fears because at the end of the day the fears are there because of all the love that’s there too.

Yes, there are photos.  : )






This is parenthood.

I have been unusually emotional these last few days.

Perpetually on the verge of tears, it feels like my heart is being tugged into my throat. Combine that with a sudden and acute awareness of my mortality and how short life is.

I know, heavy stuff.

My worry is that these feelings have set up shop in my life and don’t plan on leaving any time soon. In fact, if I’m totally honest, I’m preparing myself to live with these exact feelings for the rest of my life. This is what parenthood is…isn’t it.


Before Leo was born, life was just sort of happening around me. Sure we made plans and propelled our life forward, bought a house, made investments, went to the dentist. But I was waiting for something, for a baby and for our family to start, and so I just sort of went through the motions thinking that once we had our baby, then life would ‘really’ start.

Well, he’s here and it has started and now I’m in a panic of how quickly it’s all going to end. I lie awake at night wondering if we should live in Denver or somewhere else, stay in our house or move to the suburbs, breast feed until he’s five or consider 6 months a success. I wonder if earlier that day when I laid him down on his play mat and left him alone for 5 minutes I did irreparable emotional damage.

You know. Things like that.  : )

I realize a lot of this is completely normal and let me assure you not nearly as distressing as it sounds. It’s just that I can see so clearly into the future now that Leo is here, the problem is that there are many different futures. How do you choose what’s right?  It’s intense!

To make the things that Jon and I dream about possible (a place in the mountains, fun family vacations and experiences, a big ‘forever’ home) he has to work really, really hard. That will likely mean less time at home for him, more Leo duties for me, and more stress all around. The alternative is he pumps the breaks at work, probably doesn’t reach his full potential, and we make ourselves ok with the fact that we’ll never have a place in the mountains or give our kid(s) the experiences we hoped to. Maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other, maybe we can have both?

Suddenly living in Denver isn’t as straightforward as it has been. Raising kids is going to look a lot different than I imagined not having my family nearby. I am constantly looking at flights home and then have to repeatedly remind myself that we live here. Not there. I can’t have one foot in one place and one in the other, as much as I’d like to. I’ve done that before and it’s torture, but you know what else is torture? Having a 3+ month old that my Mom and Dad have only seen once and that 3 out of 4 of my siblings have never met.

Moving back to Minnesota isn’t necessarily the answer either.  Jon would have to give up his career and never know ‘what could’ve been’.  We would have to give up living in a climate that we love and all the mountain activities that we enjoy.  Would it be worth it though, to raise Leo near close friends and family and give him a similar upbringing to what we had?


That’s the problem you guys.  I don’t know what the right answer is.  Hence the night time paralyzation.  The reality is that I’m only familiar with one upbringing, which is my own, and no matter how many options are in front of us, one that I know isn’t going to happen is us moving to Ada and raising Leo in my parents house in a time before the internet and cell phones.

So.  It’s going to be different from what I know no matter what.

I realize that he’ll likely be fine (probably more than fine) no matter what.  In all honesty, it’s more about Jon and I than anything else.  What can we live with?  What can we live without? What are our expectations for our own lives and do they have to change now that we have a child?

The truth is, Jon and I need to sit down and get real about what’s really important to us and how we make those things a reality. Honest to goodness I want to make a vision board (don’t tell Jon, I’m going to try and trick him into it) and hang it somewhere so that every day we have a visual reminder of what’s really important. It was tough to map all of that out pre-Leo because you never know how parenthood will change you. Now that he’s here, and we understand more clearly the love we have for him and our willingness to sacrifice for him, we can start coming up with a plan.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to adjust to living with my heart in my throat and do my best to soak up every second of my time with Leo, and be ok with the fact that I don’t have it all figured out just yet (and never will).

Wait, you thought I would actually write a post and not include any photos?

Do you not know me at all?!



“That glass coffee table is a mistake”, they all said.

“You’re going to regret that once you have kids.” they said.

Want to know how I got 30 uninterrupted minutes of laundry, kitchen cleaning and emails done?


How do you like me now?



Two down.


Yesterday, Jon and I celebrated our two year anniversary with a beautiful drive to Boulder, cocktails at Oak and a tremendous dinner at Frasca Food & Wine (which I had been anxious to try since it opened).   They always say that time flies, and it does, but when I look back at everything we’ve done in the two years we’ve been married, it’s hard to believe we packed it all in.  It truly does just keep getting better.

I’m sure I’ll get in trouble for being all mushy in such a public forum, but I will do it anyway.

I spent the better part of today trying to pinpoint why I love him so much.  Why I’m such an exceptionally lucky person to be married to him.  I came up with this.

Every single day of my life he makes me feel like the most important thing in his.

Every single day.

I know exactly where his priorities lie, I know exactly how valued and appreciated I am and our relationship is, and I know that he’d rather spend time with me doing nothing than doing anything else with anybody else.  He makes me feel that way every single day.  I try (and often fail no doubt) to make him feel the same way…but he’s just better at it.

The gift of an over the top night out with my favorite human in the world was enough, but there was more.  From the man who hates to (and won’t) buy me flowers because they soon die, I was given flowers.

But not just any flowers…

My husband went to my favorite flower shop, The Perfect Petal, and with wedding photo in hand ordered a replica of my wedding day bouquet.


It’s maybe the most thoughtful and unexpected gift I’ve ever received.

I won the damn lottery.

Flowers-6 Flowers-7This is the gesture that whenever it gets hard in the future (and I know it will) I will try to remember and remind myself of the incredible person I was lucky to marry.  Two down…lots more to go.  Can’t wait!  (mushiness ends here)  : )

Beware the Ninja

Fair warning.

I am going to use the word period in this post and I do NOT mean the kind at the end of a sentence.

Did all the boys leave the room screaming?  Alright then let’s begin.

Jon and I have very different thoughts on parenthood.

He thinks about it like all of a sudden we will have a well mannered blonde haired blue eyed athletic four year old boy living with us and his three identical brothers.

I think about it like all of a sudden our lives will be irreversibly changed in every single way imaginable.

You see the differences.

For him I think it’s still an abstract thought that he gets to sort of day dream about and convince himself that it’s going to be all awesome all the time.

For me it’s a very real part of our future that excites and yet still scares the crap out of me.


Because I don’t live in a flipping fantasy land!!!

Remember in this post when I said we weren’t really thinking about babies yet?

Well it turns out that’s not entirely true because I spent an entire day thinking about absolutely nothing else.  It was last Monday.  Memorial day.  And boy was it memorable.

At some point that morning, I absolutely convinced myself that I was pregnant.

One hundred percent convinced.

It might have had something to do with the fact that earlier in the weekend my Mom dropped a ninja (like this) in my brain.  She expressed to me that the thought had crossed her mind that maybe the reason Jon and I came home for such a quick unusually timed weekend was to announce we were having a baby.  I laughed at her, took a big gulp of my beer, and walked away.

Well like a true ninja comment, it surprised attacked me two mornings later.  We were sitting at Zorbaz having lunch and while everyone else is discussing how delicious yet similar the entire menu at Zorbaz is, my mind was doing this:

Holy shit I’m totally pregnant.

I’m sorry what?

I’ve read that your boobs get swollen and oh my GOD MINE ARE I’M PREGNANT!

Calm down.  Could you possibly be getting your period?

Are you insane?  NO!  What kind of question is that?  I’m also really fatigued so what am I going to do I’M PREGNANT!!!!

I’m not sure you’ve thought this through.

Awwww Crap!  I really like making out with my husband and now I’ll never be able to again BECAUSE I’M PREGNANT!

I think people still do that after they have a baby.

Really?  Are you sure they’re not just kissing the father of their child from then on out?

I think that’s the same thing.

Oh My God.  I just told like 100 people last week that I was in NO WAY ready to have kids.


Does it matter how many?!!!?!??  I said I wasn’t ready and I’m not and now I’m pregnant WHAT AM I GOING TO TELL EVERYONE!!!!?????

Nothing because you have no idea what you’re talking about.

My mom told me that her legs hurt when she was pregnant and mine sort of itch right now!

Ali, relax.  It’s because you have a mosquito bite on your leg.



I’ve also read that you have a heightened sense of smell and everything smells like a bonfire right now!!!!!!

That’s because you’re wearing the jeans you wore at the fire last night.  Take a deep breath.


This went on until I stood up, meal hardly touched, and disappeared into the bathroom to examine myself in the stall for signs that I was pregnant.

There were several.  At least in my mind.

I slapped on my best calm face (I’m pretty sure they all just thought I was being a bitch) and tried to form normal sentences for the rest of lunch.  Although in retrospect  I’m not sure I spoke to anyone for the next 12 hours.

Following our lovely lunch I THEN had to get in a car with Jon and both my inlaws for a 4 hour drive back to Minneapolis.


I tried watching a movie.

I tried playing angry birds.

I tried sleeping (yeah right).

I did pretty much everything I could to avoid grabbing my phone and googling “side effects of beer pong on an unborn child”.

I know it seems like I’m making light of this, but I was honestly freaking out.  All I could think of was getting to a Walgreens to buy 1 single pregnancy test because that would be all I would need because I am FOR SURE pregnant.

Well.  Following the car ride I was greeted with a 2 hour flight back to Denver and a little time to calm down and gain some perspective.  I’m 27.  It’s not the end of the world.  I’m married.  He loves me.  We want kids.  It’s fine.

Once in bed I finally told Jon what was on my mind for fear my head would explode otherwise.  I said “Honey, one of two things is going to happen tomorrow.  I’m either going to get my period or I’m going to plan a funeral for our amazing and wonderfully selfish current way of life.”

He responded with “Honey, whichever happens it’s going to be fine”.

Ignorant fool.

The next morning I had my alarm set for 7:00 a.m. with a reminder attached saying “Walgreens for pregnancy test”.  I’m not lying.  As if I might POSSIBLY forget.

Well I never made it to Walgreens because I got my period that morning.


Told you.

Shut up.

The point of this story isn’t to paint myself as a baby nazi.  I want kids.  I understand that life changes when that happens, but mostly for the better.  I think we’ll be great parents once I get some meds for my CLEAR case of anxiety.

My point is, when I got my period I was relieved, but I was also the tiniest bit disappointed.  I had sort of started to wrap my head around it.

So I guess I can’t say I’m not thinking about it at all.  I most definitely have to stop slapping people in the face when they ask if we’ve thought about having kids.  Or maybe keep slapping them but stop instantly responding with ‘oh my god no are you crazy no way in hell not for five years at least no way’.

I’m certainly not thinking about it all the time, but it’s there…being ‘ready’ for a baby.  Safely in the back of my mind – sort of like a ninja – just waiting to surprise me at ANY moment.

Weekend Recap (the best kind)

Memorial Day weekend at Pelican Lake 2012!

Several weeks ago when Jon and I realized we hadn’t been home in almost six months, we looked for and found some perfect flights for the weekend over Memorial Day.  We don’t typically go home to the lake that early in the year (brrrrr) but he was beginning to see how homesick I was getting and we had high hopes for the weather.

Minnesota, like Colorado, had an incredibly mild winter so we decided we would take the risk.  He told me we would wait and see what the weather did and if it looked nasty we’d cancel our flights and re-use the fares at a later time.  I told him he could enjoy a nice weekend alone in Denver because I was going even if I had to walk.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who won that battle and last Thursday we packed all of our winter/spring/summer clothes as we prepared to visit Minnesota, no matter the weather.

What I realized about Memorial weekend is that there are many things that need to get done with it being the ‘first’ main weekend at the lakes.  Luckily for us we got there early on Friday and the weather was average so we didn’t feel so bad dedicating our time to getting everything all set up!

One of the main things to be done was to move the boat lifts out further from shore due to the water being so low this spring.  Have to have lifts in order to have boats!  All the boys were thrilled to jump into the lake for some manual labor.

A shot and a beer to numb the pain : )

Slingin’ some boulders before moving the lift.  You know, normal stuff.

Nice job looking on the bright side!

Way to use team work!

Excellent use of the ‘if looks could kill’ face!

Great delegating!

Way to try and look busy!

Nice job looking warm, dry and happy!

They eventually got it moved, grabbed the rest of the Jameson and hit the sauna.

When the weather is sunny and beautiful at the cabin, life is simple.  Boats, beer, sand bar, tubing and skiing.  On. The. Lake.  At all times.

When it’s significantly chillier, cloudy, rainy and windy – it’s time to get creative.  Apparently our version of creativity is competing with one another.

Heidi and I had a ‘who can find the largest stick’ contest.

Livi and I raced everywhere we went.

Chad and Megan whooped our butts and took all our money at a dice game.

There was a shooting contest, dirt bike races, a beer pong contest, and a Zorbaz dance off.

I don’t have photo’s of all of them (lucky you) but here are a few (50).Larson for the win!

And now…onto the MAIN EVENT!

Jon, read us the rules…

“All ages can play, 21 and up can/must drink beer, may the best man win.”

Due to the delicate nature of having minors playing, we had only water in the cups and those of us legal held our own beers separately.  This game was more for sport than it was drinking.  I can’t say the same of the other more ‘late night’ games.

Yes, I realize he doesn’t look legal.  Sadly, that just means we’re old and don’t know what 21 looks like anymore.

Jon and I made it a couple rounds…nothing to sneeze at.

A Brandt, Kinkade and Hendrickson.  Family : )

Ty’s got a lot at stake for at this point he’s on the verge of losing to his 13 year old little brother!

The eventual 2nd place team!The 13 year old “Beer Pong Champ” aka “Juice Box Champ”  Beginners luck some say but I credit it to his wicked victory dance skills — the T-rex.

It was a rainy Saturday, but we made the most of it.  I was so happy ‘my side’ of the family came out.  My parents were actually celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary that day!Please pardon the lovely garage decor.

Two of my brothers had to work : (  Luckily Greyson still made it out!

Along with my family came Miss Livi of course and she LOVES all the action at that lake.  She was certainly a busy girl this weekend.

Let’s play ‘Two Words’ for these upcoming random shots shall we?

Tooth Less

Crystal ClearEvery NightAirplane Ride

Airplane Ride?Sisterly LoveSisterly love?

Tiny Babies
Doing WorkVery ScientificMama BearParty StartersDock ViewGood Boy
No ThanksSpeed DemonGathering PlaceJungle Gym?Manly MenCousin CooporationLake CeilingOnly ColePure HappinessNew BabyPelican Lake

Goof BallSir SamuelLittle RascalBush BudsBest InventionFamily Overload?Lake FoodQuietly ContentThe following are some photo’s I took of Livi in the most beautiful evening light imaginable.

This was Jon and my first trip back to the cabin as ‘married people’.

I guess I hadn’t really thought about it beforehand.

I didn’t really think about it right when we got there either.

But slowly, throughout the weekend, I began to realize that this is my family.  All the people in all the photos above.

I started spending time at the Hendrickson cabin when I was 19.  Afraid to get out of the car and see this boy who I had met and meet his family.  T.J. was around 7 years old.  Livi hadn’t even been born yet.

I’ve been coming to the cabin every year for almost 10 years (yikes!).

Now I’m family.  It does feel different.  It feels really good actually.  Jon and I met and fell in love there and I feel very fortunate that we get to return at least once a year and be reminded of that and of those feelings.  It’s the best part of being there…being there with him.  It’s like a recharge for us and our relationship and now marriage.  I love it there, I always have, and just like every time before it was a weekend and time very very well spent.

Tricky Combinations.

Holy blogging hiatus.

I’m not sure what to blame it on other than I’ve been working a lot lately and we’ve just been incredibly busy with things too boring for public knowledge.  Most of these boring things revolve around being newly married i.e. joint taxes, joint savings etc.  Our lives have been changing a lot in the last couple of months and depending on the day I’m either incredibly grateful and excited about it or a little bit scared and nervous.  Marriage is pretty amazing but be warned that it will absolutely catapult you into lots of little changes – ready or not.  Luckily I’m a believer that change is usually good…but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

In a new marriage the ‘combining’ of two lives can be tricky and a little uncomfortable here and there.  I like to think that the uncomfortableness means we’re doing something right.  It means we’re putting everything out there and dealing with it rather than ignoring the tough stuff and keeping to our more comfortable and separate ways.  Thankfully it’s not all been tough stuff.  As a matter of fact some of it’s been pretty fun.

One of the more fun and exciting changes keeping us busy lately that will eventually become worthy of public viewing has been the purchase of new bedroom furniture.  ‘Grown up’ furniture as I’ve been calling it.  Remember this?  Well the embarrassment FINALLY took it’s toll and we snapped into action.  This past weekend Room & Board delivered our beautiful new bed, dresser and side table to compliment our new mattress and bedding.  The room is still completely empty aside from those three pieces but it’s already such a transformation.  I’m working on choosing some art, another (hopefully antique-esque) side table and adding the finishing touches.  Photos will come at that time.

You might be thinking: “Ali, let’s be real.  Two lovely young men from the furniture store delivered, hauled up and assembled your furniture for you.  How exactly does this make you busy?”

Fair question.  I’ll explain in a long winded rant.

The delivery of the large dresser has created a lot of flexibility in terms of storage.  Jon and I live in a condo in the city, and while fairly spacious for two people, storage is hard to come by.  Our guest bedroom has up to this point served as my closet with everything getting shoved into random spaces when people stay with us.  When people are here, I have to get ‘my stuff’ out of ‘their room’ every morning and I always feel like i’m intruding.  Plus there’s really no place for them to put their things since I’m occupying the closet and dresser for myself.  So rude, right?

What I’ve been trying to accomplish is the combining of Jon’s and my things into one room, one closet, and one bathroom.  This in turn will open the second room, closet and bathroom for our guests to enjoy..with no interruptions.  Along with being my closet, the guest room has also housed random pieces of furniture that we have no other space for like a chest from Jon’s childhood, an old target bought dresser, and a ‘from college free if you want to come get it’ papasan chair.  This room has been almost as big of a disaster as our room was.  Almost.  I’ve been working on rectifying that situation since Saturday and was totally unprepared for what an undertaking it’s turned out to be.

It actually felt like a mathematical equation that took a bit of time to figure out.  There has been a lot of frustration, starting over and extreme organization.  It’s taken some letting go of things, routines, and ‘the way things were’ by both of us.  It’s also been comical at times, particularly early in the morning when Jon is wandering around in just his socks and underwear complaining that he ‘can’t find anything in here’.

As of this morning, all of our things have successfully been combined into our room, our closet, and our bathroom.  I’ve labeled drawers with post it notes until we adjust.  It’ll be interesting to see how long the meticulous organization lasts (thank goodness for the container store) but for now it feels and looks pretty good.  We’ve created a new system that we share equally, which in turn will create a better space for our many guests.

It’s been cathartic to see the light at the end of the tunnel in setting up and combining our rooms in our home like this.  Granted we’ve still got a little ways to go, but progress has definitely been made.  It helped tremendously that Jon put all his trust in me and let me do my thing.  He knows that I’m better at things like this than he is and not only does he support me doing it on my own, but he’s relieved that I can.  It’s been a surprisingly good lesson for me.  To give up some of the control in areas that you aren’t very good at, let the other person flourish at the things they’re better at, and then enjoy the benefits together.

Jon and I have always been very different…held different things at different levels of importance.  I’ve always thought that was what made us work.  I was telling my friend Ashley the other day that sometimes he annoys the shit outta me with his nonsense and then the next minute, when I pull the stick out of my ass, I find myself curled up in non stop laughter with my best friend.  We challenge each other, make each other laugh like nobody else can (except maybe Ashley) and truly respect and love each other.  At the end of the day I would always bet on us.

Who knew that redecorating a bedroom would have such enlightening effects on me?  It’s shown me that even though it can be frustrating and confusing, combining lives…changing to accommodate the other person…even if it feels scary at times, can work, can make life better, and in the end can be 100% rewarding.