Recent projects

I haven’t been very creative lately – or anything, really, except lazy (maybe “relaxed” is a nicer word). But I’ve done a few projects since my last post about commissions.

For Jarom's birthday, I made this lemony quote from Portal 2. I haven't played the game, so I can't comment on that, but I worked really hard on making something Jarom would love. It's hanging in an awesome frame (and hand-painted mat!) in his office, so I guess he likes it well enough.

For Jarom’s birthday, I made this lemony quote from Portal 2. I haven’t played the game, so I can’t comment on that, but I worked really hard on making something Jarom would love. It’s hanging in an awesome frame (and hand-painted mat!) in his office, so I guess he likes it well enough.

Overall I still looooooove these baby shower invitations I did for my friend Bridget.

Overall I still looooooove these baby shower invitations I did for my friend Bridget.

My friend Kimberlee's daughter had a pink poodle-themed first birthday party.

My friend Kimberlee’s daughter had a pink poodle-themed first birthday party.

I got to design my own alphabet of drop caps for the four-volume hardcover edition of Spark. Go me!

I got to design my own alphabet of drop caps for the four-volume hardcover edition of Spark. Go me!

This wasn't my original idea for our 2013 Christmas cards - I hoped to actually screen print a folk design - but I ended up with this cross stitch-inspired card.

This wasn’t my original idea for our 2013 Christmas cards – I hoped to actually screen print a folk design – but I ended up with this cross stitch-inspired card.

I did these for a fellow babyloss mom (surely there is another term, but I usually say "Dead Baby Club buddy" and that's maybe worse) when she and her husband were able to adopt a baby boy last year. Hooray!

I did these for a fellow babyloss mom (surely there is another term, but I usually say “Dead Baby Club buddy” and that’s maybe worse) when she and her husband were able to adopt a baby boy last year. Hooray!

One of my favorite quotes: "There is adventure in simply being among those we love." From one of my favorite series (The Prydain Chronicles). Unfortunately, I hate my handwriting! It just looks so . . . unpracticed.

One of my favorite quotes: “There is adventure in simply being among those we love.” From one of my favorite series (The Prydain Chronicles). Unfortunately, I hate my handwriting! It just looks so . . . unpracticed.

My brother- and sister-in-law had me design 2 baby announcements: this narwhal and the hedgehog below.

My brother- and sister-in-law had me design 2 baby announcements: this narwhal and the hedgehog below.

OH MY CUTE.

OH MY CUTE.


101 things I didn’t do

A long time ago, I made a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. And guess what? Didn’t finish. My 1001 days ended the day I graduated from BYU – so it’s been a good two years now. But why not revisit my list and see what I’ve managed to cross off since then?

Goal progress: 64/101

1. eat a Kong Kone
2. go fishing
3. keep the house tidy for 1 week
4. catch a butterfly
5. have a family portrait done
6. eat lamb. RARE lamb.
7. go walking at least once a week for a month
8. take lunch to Jarom on campus
9. make a pillow
10. see a movie on opening day
11. read 15,000 pages in a year
12. potty-train Evan
13. memorize the state capitals
14. donate blood
15. fly a kite with Evan
16. finish my degree
17. finally make that quilt for Grandma Hillery
18. go horseback riding
19. hike the Y
20. have a picnic
21. watch It’s a Wonderful Life
22. watch Miracle on 34th Street
23. teach Evan what noises animals make
24. go to the dinosaur museum
25. bring my total reading to 100,000 pgs since 2004
26. get a pedicure
27. drink an entire bottle of Martinelli’s
28. go Christmas caroling
29. hang up the laundry when it’s done for 5 loads
30. go to the temple every week for a month
31. go to a photo booth even though Jarom thinks I won’t
32. make bread
33. drink enough water every day for a week
34. complete the 100+ Reading Challenge
35. complete the Classics Challenge
36. complete the Countdown Challenge
37. complete the What an Animal II Challenge
38. complete the What’s in a Name? Challenge
39. write a letter to my folks
40. take a picture of the kids every day for a month
41. stop eating dessert/snacks/treats for a month
42. invent a recipe
43. enter a cooking contest
44. give a talk or lesson in church
45. go camping
46. win something
47. volunteer
48. buy 5 books
49. paint a picture
50. make this mirror
51. fill up my moleskin journal
52. write in my journal at least once a week for 6 months
53. talk to the landlord about a recycling bin
54. play chess with Jarom
55. buy a vacuum
56. read at least 50 of the books on my list
57. eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies daily for a month
58. no fast food for 2 months
59. get our portraits framed
60. read 5 books to Evan
61. find an album for our wedding photos
62. buy new cushions for the kitchen chairs
63. open a savings account for Evan
64. don’t get a haircut until 2011
65. watch 10 new movies
66. write a poem
67. create a piece of art and frame it
68. travel internationally
69. send 5 postcards
70. make a birthday calendar
71. teach Evan to sing 3 songs
72. create a “me” style
73. make a pizza from scratch
74. bake madeleines
75. make maple-walnut cup pies
76. pick fresh fruit off the tree
77. get a 4.0 one semester
78. stick to a routine for 1 week
79. go to the lighting ceremony at Temple Square
80. finish reading Crime and Punishment
81. make root beer
82. host a Murder Mystery dinner
83. get away for the weekend with Jarom
84. finish the cool onesies for Krista’s babies
85. grow herbs in the kitchen
86. win a game of six-dice
87. learn a new word
88. go on a bike ride with Jarom
89. buy a bike trailer for Evan to ride in
90. start or join a book club
91. write a living will for myself
92. do yoga 5 times
93. write a personal statement for my law school application
94. read the Book of Mormon in 1 week
95. bring cup pies to the sisters I visit teach
96. grow a hyacinth
97. watch at least 1 extended edition Lord of the Rings
98. watch all the Harry Potter movies in 1 week
99. introduce myself to 5 new people
100. do the assigned reading for church before class for 2 months
101. go to the zoo with Evan

Well. The few things in red are my since-graduation accomplishments. Here’s the deal, though: a lot of these are goals I no longer care about. For one, I have no plans of going to law school anymore, so #93 (write a personal statement for my law school application) is irrelevant. I’m not willing to submit myself to a Kong Kone (#1) again because it will just make me sick, which is a stupid thing to do intentionally. And do I really want to go fishing? I’d rather stay home and sleep. Or read. Or discover a way to sleep AND read at the same time.

So I’m revising my list, replacing some undone items with more reasonable and relevant goals. (As a side note, I must have originally started before we had June!)

1. have lunch with Brandon Sanderson
2. make a king-size crochet blanket
3. keep the house tidy for 1 week
4. go to a temple open house
5. have a family portrait done
6. eat lamb. RARE lamb.
7. go walking at least once a week for a month
8. take lunch to Jarom on campus
9. make a pillow
10. see a movie on opening day
11. read 15,000 pages in a year
12. potty-train Evan
13. memorize the state capitals
14. donate blood
15. fly a kite with Evan
16. finish my degree
17. finally make that quilt for Grandma Hillery
18. go horseback riding
19. hike the Y
20. have a picnic
21. get 50 people to participate in Doubleplusgood Day 2015
22. watch Miracle on 34th Street
23. teach Evan what noises animals make
24. go to the dinosaur museum
25. bring my total reading to 100,000 pgs since 2004
26. get a pedicure
27. make a crochet doily like my great grandma did
28. go Christmas caroling
29. hang up the laundry when it’s done for 5 loads
30. go to the temple every week for a month
31. go to a photo booth even though Jarom thinks I won’t
32. make bread
33. drink enough water every day for a week
34. complete the 100+ Reading Challenge
35. complete the Classics Challenge
36. complete the Countdown Challenge
37. complete the What an Animal II Challenge
38. complete the What’s in a Name? Challenge
39. write a letter to my folks
40. take a picture of the kids every day for a month
41. stop eating dessert/snacks/treats for a month
42. invent a recipe
43. enter a cooking contest
44. give a talk or lesson in church
45. go camping
46. win something
47. volunteer
48. buy 5 books
49. paint a picture
50. complete my 30th birthday reading goals
51. fill up my moleskin journal
52. write in my journal at least once a week for 6 months
53. talk to the landlord about a recycling bin
54. play chess with Jarom
55. buy a vacuum
56. read at least 50 of the books on my list
57. eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies daily for a month
58. no fast food for 2 months
59. get our portraits framed
60. read 5 books to Evan
61. find an album for our wedding photos
62. buy new cushions for the kitchen chairs
63. open a savings account for Evan
64. don’t get a haircut until 2011
65. watch 10 new movies
66. write a poem
67. create a piece of art and frame it
68. travel internationally
69. send 5 postcards
70. make a birthday calendar
71. teach Evan to sing 3 songs
72. create a “me” style
73. make a pizza from scratch
74. bake madeleines
75. figure out how to actually do calligraphy
76. pick fresh fruit off the tree
77. get a 4.0 one semester
78. stick to a routine for 1 week
79. go to the lighting ceremony at Temple Square
80. finish reading Crime and Punishment
81. make root beer
82. host a Murder Mystery dinner
83. get away for the weekend with Jarom
84. finish the cool onesies for Krista’s babies
85. grow herbs in the kitchen
86. win a game of six-dice
87. learn a new word
88. go on a bike ride with Jarom
89. teach June how to read
90. start or join a book club
91. have Jarom do a will for me and whatever other legal stuff would be useful
92. do yoga 5 times (4/5)
93. frame a picture of Christian
94. read the Book of Mormon in 1 week
95. design the most amazing baby announcements EVER
96. grow a hyacinth
97. watch at least 1 extended edition Lord of the Rings
98. watch all the Harry Potter movies in 1 week
99. introduce myself to 5 new people
100. do the assigned reading for church before class for 2 months
101. go to the zoo with Evan


Doubleplusgood Day 2014

I am so touched by the many acts of service, big and small, that you did in honor of Christian’s birthday. Here are the good deeds I heard about (if I missed yours, please leave a comment or email me so I can add it to the list):

  • Took a loaf of homemade banana bread to a friend in need. -HS
  • Put together a bouquet for a sick neighbor. -TH
  • Planted flowers for a neighbor. -KH & family
  • Cleaned the house in preparation for wife’s social event. -GH
  • Took an extra shift so a coworker could go on vacation. -JL
  • Made small, cheery flannel blankets to keep other Tiny Babies warm. -CH
  • Patiently extricated son from a creek. -JO
  • Helped pick up brother’s toys without being asked. -CC (age 5)
  • Wore a smile for as much of the day as possible. -CB
  • Took extra time to help a coworker deal with a frustrating situation. -JR
  • Gave a meal to a homeless man. -DS
  • Made a set of 3 bracelets: one for a tiny baby to be buried with, one for the keepsake box, and one for Mom to wear. -KB
  • Delivered supplies to local shelter. -RW
  • Babysat a neighbor’s kids so neighbor could go see her sister’s family be sealed.
  • Visited a friend in need. -KA
  • Volunteered at school for a few hours. -JC
  • Baked cookies for a new neighbor. -LZ

Yesterday was a strange mixture of sadness and gratitude – sort of like last year. I went to bed overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready for a new day – sort of like last year. But I will say that today has been so much better than a year ago. I have hope for the future. I know I can have a happy life despite my loss, and, most importantly, Christian isn’t gone forever.

Thank you for making our first Doubleplusgood Day so full of love and service!


Year 1

In preparing for Christian’s birthday, I’ve tried hard to make it a positive experience. I want his birthday to be something that makes the world a better place, even if only briefly – because a year ago today, my world was destroyed. Something good should come out of that.

Last night I went to bed around 6pm. Yes, I was tired, but also I wanted to avoid thinking about today. In a lot of ways I still want to avoid it. While I planned Doubleplusgood Day I was excited – it’s a great way to commemorate Christian and to help me focus outward instead of just pitying myself. But today . . . today I want to curl up in a hole and be left alone. I want to shout that there’s nothing to celebrate because my son died, he’s gone, I haven’t gotten to see him learn to crawl or to wash him down after feeding him pureed carrots or to even hold him more than that one time. These are things I hoped Doubleplusgood Day would overcome, and I would feel so compassionate and charitable toward others that today didn’t hurt.

Taking a step back from my immediate emotions, though, I can see how much my grief has changed over the past year. I feel so much more normal than I could have dared hope! To a large extent, Christian’s death is a part of my life I’ve become accustomed to, and I go about my days in the regular sort of happy-frustrated-lonely-overwhelmed mix of a stay-at-home mom. I no longer experience the agonizing despair of postpartum + grief, my moments of sadness are fewer and further between, and those moments don’t last long. So I cross my fingers that although today might be filled with sad moments or loss and painful memories of last year, there will also be some service, some kind words from friends and family, some happiness. And cookies.

Baby Christian-99


Remembering the past year

Will you do me a favor?

Let me know what you remember about how you’ve experienced Christian’s short life and his death. How has it affected you? What did you think or feel when you first read about the diagnosis or when you heard about his birthday?

I really want to feel like this is bigger than me.


Coming soon: Doubleplusgood Day

Christian’s birthday is a week from today.

I thought for a long time about how to make it a special day, something that would reach a lot of people and be meaningful. I got a lot of suggestions and decided on initiating Doubleplusgood Day.

doubleplusgood

Here’s how it works: you do a good deed on April 24. It can be big or small, for a friend or stranger, part of your daily routine or out of the ordinary. Then you tell me about it by commenting on a post (there will be another on April 24 for you to comment on), emailing me, sending a text or Facebook message, or visiting me in person. If you come to my house, you’ll get a doubleplusgood cookie and a temporary shark tattoo (like Jarom and I wore to the hospital when Christian was born) as a reward.

And I’ll write all of the good deeds down in a Doubleplusgood Day book, to which I can add every year.

If you want to do something else to celebrate Christian’s short life, or if you want to count this as your good deed, please consider donating to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I’ve mentioned them before – it’s an organization that provides free professional photography to families who lose a baby to stillbirth or neonatal death. Our photographer, Heather Ellis, took some beautiful pictures of Christian. She and the other photographers volunteer their time, so your donation helps run the organization and provide training to the volunteers.

So please, spread the word! I’d love for this to reach as many people as possible. Let’s make Christian’s birthday a great day that brings a little more kindness and happiness to the world.

xo Mika


Not what you were looking for

Dear 100 Hour Board readers,

I didn’t even know the 100 Hour Board was still running. Cool!

I doubt that my blog was what the reader was looking for (more likely it was baby Amelia’s story), but my husband and I did have a baby last year who died at birth. He lived for an hour and a half. You can read from the beginning of our experience here or read about his birth here.

As a side note, the pictures of Christian were taken when he was alive, with the exception of the final image where he is not being held.

Happy reading!

Mika