Sunday, November 16, 2014

Riley Finn is 8 Months - and thoughts on having more babies


Today Riley turned 8 months old.

Time is flying WAY too fast for this mama and I just want him to stay little and immobile a bit longer. :)

Some things about Riley:

- Has 2 bottom teeth
- Is a cat napper
- Is so happy and pleasant to be around; doesn't really cry unless he is REALLY upset
- Is super chunky, I think he is 21 lbs?
- Blue eyes still.  Praying he keeps them. Got to have ONE blue eyed boy like papa.
- In size 4 diapers
- Eats solids including pureed baby foods, mashed bananas, graham crackers, baby banana crackers, and little bits of our food.  
- Still breastfeeds at least 4 times daily, and then tons in the evening and through the night.  Sigh.  Which leads me to....
- Not sleeping through the night and hasn't since he was about 4 months old.
- Sits up, but doesn't roll over or crawl. We think he is going to be a scooter like Taylor.
- Does not like his arms tied down or hands held or underneath a blanket.  This means he also DETESTS his carseat.
- Blue and orange look fabulous on him. :)
- Loves to laugh and watch his brothers, and gets pretty excited when they pay attention to him.
- Still a total mama's boy (and I love it).
- Is getting better with his pincher fingers
- Always has long fingernails and as many times as I clip them, he is pretty scratchy.
- Loves to play with anything plastic-y or loud and crinkly. Give him a piece of paper or a bag and he's entertained for at least a half hour (yes we keep an eye on him).
- Is super happy in the mornings and gives everyone huge smiles
- Still sleeps in our bedroom in the Rock 'n play but mama is finally ready to transition him to his crib - hoping that it helps him sleep more through the night (I think he is too big for his rock 'n play).
- Gets tons of compliments on his red hair.
- Lots of old ladies think he is a girl. lol.
- LOVES to eat.
- Still won't drink from a bottle.  But we do put water in a bottle and squirt it into his mouth.  He will not drink formula or breastmilk from a bottle either.
- Does not take a binkie. In fact anything that isn't a real nipple he just chews and and thinks it's some sort of joke.

He is a pretty happy little one and we are so lucky to have him in our family.

Thoughts on having more babies

I have been having sad thoughts lately about the fact that I can't have any more babies.  I KNOW. I totally never thought I would think this.

In fact, I remember being pregnant with Riley and telling Will on multiple occassions (sometimes through tears) that I "never, ever, EVER, want to be pregnant again. EVER."

Riley's pregnancy was so traumatic for me in so many ways. It was one of those "I know I need to be doing this but it is SO hard" things.  Getting through the 1st trimester when I had an irregularly shaped sac and the doctors told me that I would probably miscarry - ugh - all of the stress of each day just waiting to see blood or a heartbeat. It was hard.

And then getting through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters when I was dealing with depression so badly, and all of the usual body aches and pains I get with pregnancy as well.  Having hemorrhoids so bad that I couldn't even walk (YES that is a normal thing in pregnancy).  It was all, so very hard.  

But then he came.  And he cried, and then they laid him on my chest and it was the first time in all 3 of my deliveries that I was allowed to hold my newborn baby on my chest after a Csection.  He heard my voice and he stopped crying and just made these little lamb noises and put his head on me and breathed.  And I stroked the side of his head where his soft hair came down next to his ear, and I talked to him and tears rolled down my face.

And it wasn't hard any more.  It was complete joy.

And then my doctor took a while to sew me back up while I was bonding with this beautiful little baby I worked so hard to create, and told me "You should definitely not have any more kids.  Your uterus is in really really bad shape. I can barely even sew it back up, it keeps falling apart like crepe paper. Do you want me to do a tubal like we discussed if this happened?"

Will and I looked at each other.  It was decided for us.  There really wasn't a choice - I couldn't get pregnant again without the risk of a uterine rupture and killing the next baby and me bleeding to death.  So I had a tubal ligation. And then was sewn up.  All while holding my little Riley on my chest and nursing him.

It's now 8 months later, and he is THE sweetest baby.  Even on his bad days, on a scale of 1-10 of fussiness, he is only at a 1.  And maybe he might get to like a 4 on extremely bad moments, but it's like nothing.  Seriously.  He is so easy.

I've heard other moms talk about how they were baby hungry right after having a baby - and I thought they must be crazy. INSANE!! How on earth can you possibly be craving another baby when you are holding one on your lap right now? That you JUST gave birth to a few months ago???  Whaa...??

But I get it now.

It's the feeling of knowing your baby is growing faster than you want him to.  It's the feeling of wishing that he would just stay tiny a little bit longer because he is your last one and you know you will never get to snuggle a newborn again probably until you are a grandma.  It's knowing that even though your pregnancies were crap you would do it again if you could have all of these beautiful moments AGAIN.  It's hearing that your friends are pregnant again and more are on the way for them, but you are done with that phase.   No more baby showers. No more doctor appointments to hear heartbeats and see ultrasounds.  It's knowing that you are putting away the 0-6 month baby clothes never to get them out again, and are giving them away and it breaks your heart.

So yeah, our 8 month old still sleeps in our bedroom.  I still snuggle him EVERY SINGLE NIGHT from 7:30 until 10:00 or however long it takes for him to finally go to sleep for the night.  I love that he wants me more than he wants his Dad most of the time (sorry Will!).  I love that I can comfort him when no one else can. We go to him when he cries, and we notice every little thing he does that is new. We also notice all the things he is leaving behind and not doing anymore because he is growing bigger.

Sigh.

SO yeah.  I get it now.  And I also get why my mom and dad value SO much getting to spend time with our boys - because they miss their little ones too. 

I never thought I would be sad about not getting to have more kids.  I thought having to get my tube tied would make me so happy that I would never have to face the decision again of "Do we have another?".  But I am sad.  I will be okay, but I am a little sad.  

P.S. If anyone wants to be a surrogate for us, let me know. Haha. :) I'm kidding. Sort of.

P.P.S. I posted a new blog below about house hunting.

House Hunting on the Olympic Peninsula

Ok, so seeing how I haven't done ANY blogging since the end of September, it's obvious that I need to catch up on a lot of other things.

But since it is a little overwhelming to go back-blogging sometimes, I'll just start with the most recent.

We have been house-hunting.



Okay, well, let me say we have been house hunting since late summer.  So we are STILL house hunting.  We have a specific price range (pretty much anything below $400,000).  The homes that have everything we want (waterfront, detached garage, upstairs, 3+ bedrooms, large kitchen, large property) are of course out of our price range.

So we figure we need to find an in-between house - meaning one that doesn't have all of our criteria but will work for several years until we can get our forever dream house.


We really want to move to Sequim - where the community is amazing and the weather is usually sunny and there are beaches everywhere. However, all of the homes that we've looked at out there (that are in our price range, that is) are either 1990's ramblers (we don't want a 1-level home), or so structurally bad even with fixing up it still wouldn't be cute.

HOWEVER.

There is a house that we found not in Sequim (in Port Ludlow), which for those in the dark here, it's on the way to Sequim but further east by about 30 minutes or so.  It's not in the rain shadow so it does get the normal amount of Seattle rain (sad face), BUT....the house is kind of amazing.  It is our style.  It has 2 acres.  It has a yard that albiet neglected has all the plants there it just needs to be taken care of.  It is 3200 square feet.  It has 2 levels, a 3 car garage, a space for a music studio (a must!), a huge chef's kitchen, lots of space, open areas so you never feel crammed, a formal dining room, and actual laundry room (eek we've never had one!), 3 full bathrooms, and 3 huge bedrooms.  It even has a little outbuilding that we could turn into a play house for the boys. We could even get an outside DOG for pete's sake.

But....

The house is $450,000.  

And while I know some of you think, well what is the big deal.  It's just we don't want a huge mortgage.  We want to get this baby paid off as soon as possible.  

The good part though, is this house is in foreclosure.  It's sad but the owner's husband died (they are an older couple) and the wife couldn't afford to keep it on her own. She tried selling it many times in the $600's and kept coming down in price, but eventually had to turn it over to the bank.

So we are HOPING that the bank will drop the price and then maybe just MAYBE they would accept a low-ball offer that would be closer to our budget.  BUT we still need to finish our current house and get it on the market.  Maybe by the grace of Heavenly Father, all of these things will happen right around the same time so that we can sell our house and get this other one bam bam bam.  (I can dream right?).

Yesterday we drove over to the peninsula to look at another house that is in our price range and same square footage, but it was awful.  Totally not interested. But we decided to come look at this one again.  This one I am just so in love with and everytime we come visit it, I feel AT HOME.  Like it's already our house...

Have a look...



I have to say that the grand staircase is my favorite feature.  I keep imagining Christmas time with garland and lights down the railing.



Fire place in the living room.


This is the living room - where the piano would go.


This is the view out the living room window...had to take it because it's what I would be looking at when I play my piano...



The house was built in 1996 and so some flooring and fixtures need updating, as well as the kitchen. BUT it's not terrible.  Like we could definitely live in it and make changes as we go.  The flooring in the entry I would make marble...


Kind of like this...


Or this:


Some more pics of the staircase and entry way...




 I thought about a wood floor entry, like this....


But I would want wood floor in the kitchen, and since there is a step down into the kitchen I thought it would be smart to have a different flooring in the entry so the step is more obvious and less accidents happen.

This is the back yard, and there is a water view of the Hood Canal.


This would be the guest bedroom (a.k.a. Riley's room until he is big enough to move into the boys' room).


This is the big bonus room above the garage that would be my music studio.  It's great because it's at the end of a hallway and away from everything else in the house. We would also turn a corner of it into a movie/media place with a couch.



This is the master bedroom, and it is HUGE.  I think we would turn some of those shelvings into a fireplace, and with cupboards so not everything is exposed.


The deck off of the master suite...water view. I think this is the most romantic master bedroom I've ever seen.  I can imagine Will and I sitting out on the deck after the kids are in bed and enjoying some alone time.




View into the hallway/stairs from master bedroom.




A blurry, but cute Riley.


Ok and those are all the pics I took, but here are some pics from the realtor's ad.

Driveway


Dining Room


Master walk-in closet


This is the entry way to the front door


Living Room


Master bath


This is the kitchen, which I am really into white kitchens right now so this is awesome. Our current kitchen we designed ourselves, but I have always felt like it is too dark (we have red wood cabinets with black granite and red wood floors).


I would love to turn it into any of the following...with some new knobs, wood flooring, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances...


I really love the flooring on the next two pics...



Here is the exterior...


Garage


Water view from master suite


Entry



Master suite


There is also a family room, bathrooms, boys room, etc that I forgot to take pictures of.

Anyway, I know....we don't even have the house yet and don't even know if we will, but a girl can dream right?  I am trying to not get attached to it. I would definitely be heart broken if someone else came in and bought it before we were in a position to put an offer on it, but I know also that Heavenly Father will put us where he needs us and if it's meant to work out, then things will work out.

In the mean time, this week we are getting some new doors from Home Depot and painting them and hoping to install new doors upstairs in our current house.

After the new doors, then TRIM!

Ok bye!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A New Direction - Music is Our Family Business


So most of you, by now, know that Will quit his job and we are now doing music full time.

I did write a little blog about it on my music blog 2 weeks ago, which you can read here.  However, there is really a lot to this decision and so much more that went into this. 

Reactions have been interesting. Some people are very excited for us, and others give us the worried "Really?  Your husband quit his job at Microsoft so you can do music?  Do you even make money at music?" sort of reaction.

All I can really say is the more I have put the pieces of the puzzle together over the last 10 years of our lives together, I can now say without any doubt that it has been the Lord's plan all along to lead us to this place.  Both of us.  

SO, so, so many little things have happened, that cannot be coincidental. And I now have a very large testimony of my purpose in my music and that my Father in Heaven wants me to be doing this. He has lead me here, even through times when I thought this pathway might be lost.  And I can tell you that my ability to write music, to share it and get it out there is only by the hand of God. I would not be doing this if it weren't for Him. And I also know now that it is through my ability in music where I can finally share my testimony.  

I have never really been a good missionary, and have never felt comfortable being vocal or approaching people about the Gospel, but when you know without a doubt that you have been gifted with something from God and that you wouldn't be where you are without Him, well, you just want everyone to know it. And you want due credit to go where it's deserved.


That was me about 10 years ago, about the time that Will and I met.

At this time, I was working for the Seattle Symphony in the Education department, and also teaching a few piano students on the side.  I had been classically trained for years (starting at age 5), went to school, had some really amazing performance opportunities including being a regular performer on Temple Square, and also soloing on a piano concerto with a symphony, playing with a prestigious chamber orchestra, and more.

But I had never composed anything.

NOTHING.

And it wasn't for lack of trying.  I would sometimes sit down at the piano and dink around, but I really had no idea how to do it, or how to write melodies, or how to structure them or make it into an actual song.  I could perform an entire Chopin Etude memorized, but when trying to compose my own music it sounded like I was back to being 5 years old again and just starting piano lessons.

My ambitions at the time, when it came to my music, were just to have performance opportunities.  I wanted to keep my skills up and so I was always seeking opportunities where I could play with an orchestra, or perform for a wedding, or put on a recital.

There are parts of my Patriarchal blessing that tell me that I have been blessed with talents that will enlighten many people, and that I will also develop talents that will be a great help to the Church, my family, and to my friends. It also tells me that I will be a light to many, will have influence in my communities where we live, and that many will come to me for advice and counsel and I am to help them. And even when I don't feel like doing this, I need to do it and do it with a prayer in my heart that what I say is what the Lord would want me to do and say.

I always wondered what talents I would "develop".  I kind of figured that this was it for me.  Unless I decide to pick up basket weaving or something. :)


Enter Will - September of 2003.

It was the winter time of 2003, when I wrote my first song.  As I look back on this now, 10 years later, I can see that I only started composing music after I met Will.  26 years old at the time, and only then did I start writing music.

And I will say also that the music came by way of incredible divine inspiration. I literally went to a concert where I felt deeply inspired by the music, went home to my parents house afterwards, sat down at the piano and composed a song.  In one night.  And then the next night I composed another. Both of those songs are on my debut album.

You have to understand that this was not normal for me.  

It was really all Heavenly Father.  I know that he gave me that gift - He wanted me to compose music, and I know that He blessed me with the ability, and He opened my eyes to the possibility that I could do more with this.

Did I think it would become a career for me?  No, not at all.  Like I said, at the time, all my goals in music were to basically keep my skills up by continuing to pursue performance opportunities.  I imagined living a life with my husband where he would be the one working and supporting us - and I would be home teaching piano to our own little crew with the occasional concert where they would see me perform.

I was enjoying opportunities like performing at the Portland airport for the travelers...


Performing with orchestras...



Performing in ward talent shows hahahaha...


And meanwhile Will was working hard to graduate from PSU with a Master's degree in Real Estate Development, and a Bachelor's in Finance.  

But there is something else, in Will's blessing, it tells him specifically that music will be a big part of his life.

You have to know that his family has teased him a little bit about this because Will is not really a musician.  He does play the piano a little bit, and I will say when I first met him he played for me a few of his original compositions and they were actually very nice.  But I guess nobody, not even Will himself would imagine music playing a big part in his life.

He has always told me that I am the reason why that was in his blessing.  I am the music in his life.  And now, here we are 10 years later, and it has taken on a whole new meaning for us both.  Because now, he too, is making music a huge part of HIS life.  Again, it has been little things like this along the way - little puzzle pieces - where we are now putting them together and seeing that the Lord brought us together so divinely (you know our story of how we met), and also how the Lord has gifted me with a talent that 10 years later would grow and grow...and that I would not be composing music without Will in my life, or without the Lord.

All the pieces fit together.

Before I can go on with this post, I just have to interject that if you are ever going through a period in your life where you feel like the Lord isn't aware of you, or your needs - just know that He IS.  And while you can only see the road ahead of you, he is looking at it from an airplane's point of view and can see for miles and miles. He sees the full picture.


One day, Will tells me "Hey Jenni, I bet we could run a cord from your keyboard to the computer and you could actually record your songs."

One little idea turned into so many more, and 2 years later after many requests from people asking me to record my songs for them as gifts, I recorded an official album.  Released it. And it was only the beginning...

2 and 1/2 years after that, we had Preston and I released a lullaby album - all inspired by new motherhood.  And my mom and I collaborated together.  It was a special project. Will had been laid off from his job during this time, and so he was luckily around to give much help with Preston so my mom and I could work on music.

I was winning awards for my music that I didn't even enter but people just nominated me for.  My music ended up on the World Beach Volleyball Championships Ad Campaign on NBC. And then I was asked to score a film. I had never done this before.  But I said okay.  I finished it 2 weeks before I delivered Taylor.  And that film score went on to receive multiple awards for my music.

Both Preston and Taylor's pregnancies and deliveries were far from easy. I don't want to give you the list of the complications, but it was a lot.  



Oh my goodness that is the worst pic ever, but from a lengthy stay in the hospital after Taylor was born with Pancreatitis and Pre-Eclampsia.

And so after I had Taylor I needed a break.  And I worked very hard.  On both getting my body back, and on my music.

It took me from 2008 to 2012 to finish work on Illumination (my 3rd album), between having two small children and many late nights working on music, it just took that long.  But I put everything into the work on that album. It is my best work to date - blood, sweat, and tears.  Quality over quantity is what I say - when it comes to music.

The hard work has paid off.  From when I released it in 2012 until summer of 2013, I garnered over 20 different awards and nominations including "Best Album of the Year" and "Artist of the Year" at the IMC Awards in Hollywood - and this was competing against ALL of the music genres from the awards, not just classical.  I was not expecting that I will tell you that!












The summer of 2013 came, and I was right in the midst of things going really well for my music.

I was just about to film the rest of my music video for Illumination, I had offers from people in the UK and Russia and in the US to come and perform.  Like expense-paid everything. Full orchestras. Warddrove, staffing, you name it.

And at the same time, I had just had my 36th birthday in June.  Will had been strongly hinting to me for another baby for over a year. I kept putting it off, and putting it off...because at first I was just not ready. To be honest, Taylor's delivery kind of traumatized me and I honestly wondered if I were to have another baby what would go wrong next?  I was really nervous about it.

But when I had my birthday, another year older, past the age where doctors put you in the "high risk - over 35 years old" category for childbirth...I knew that I couldn't put keep putting it off.  And I will admit that the longer I put it off, the harder it was to want to do it.  My music was going great, I worked my rear off (literally) to lose 70 pounds, and I had all of these opportunities happening.  Like, I had already said yes to the guy in Scotland for the castle concert tour and they were getting dates locked down for the following year.

It was selfish of me, incredibly.  But I didn't want to give that up.

I knew that getting pregnant and having a baby, at least for ME, was no small feat.  I knew that basically I would have to cancel everything and put my life on hold for 2 years.  Reason being the length of pregnancy, having a newborn, and then losing all of my pregnancy weight.  AND I just don't have the easiest time with it all.

I really fought in my heart about it, until I couldn't fight it any longer.  I had a moment, or several moments, where I felt Heavenly Father and the Spirit telling me that IT. WAS. TIME. I finally decided to fast and pray about it.

And the answers I received were unmistakable.

I knew with the burning warm deep feelings in my heart that it was time to have another baby.  And the Lord knew my hang-ups and concerns, and the words specifically came to me "If you do My will, you will still be blessed in your music career."

I have to say, that there have been many times in my life where I have prayed about a decision - whether it was what college to attend, or where I should move, or who I should date...and it was usually involved me having an idea of what I wanted and checking with God to make sure that it was what He wanted for me as well.  And I know everyone receives answers to their prayers differently, but for me, the way I have always known my answers were CLARITY.  It's like I can see the road ahead of me perfectly clear and all doubt and confusion is gone and I know what needs to happen and where I need to go or what I need to do. And I never take action on anything until I receive that clarity from above.

With this, I can safely say it was the first time I took something to the Lord that wasn't necessarily something that I wanted - but I just knew in my heart that I needed to do it and needed to pray about it.  And when I received that absolute clarity that "YES" this is what I needed to do, it really took all of my faith and trust in Him to move forward.  I knew it was right, it was what needed to happen, there was another baby waiting for our family, but I had all sorts of fears.  And it really was about me just saying "Okay Heavenly Father, I am trusting you and I'm just going on faith here."


Right after, we took a trip to the Olympic peninsula....



We camped for a week out there and had so much fun.  

But I was tired.  I could not get enough sleep.  Every EVERY time we would get into the car and drive somewhere I would fall asleep.   And 2 hour naps were not long enough.  And I had weird metallic tastes in my mouth.  And the muscles around my armpits were very sore for no reason.


When we got home from the trip, I took a pregnancy test and it was a BIG HUGE POSITIVE. I took another test, and it was also positive.

We were pregnant.

I thought "No. Way."  I thought for sure it would take months of trying before we were successful, right?

3 weeks from the time I prayed and got my answer to when I got pregnant. And I've NEVER been that fertile. LOL

Obviously, a huge answer to us that there was a little person who was meant to come into our family NOW. AT THIS TIME.

During the first trimester, there were some complications and I thought that I would miscarry. It was a very very hard time for me.  And you can link to my blog (above) where I wrote all about it if you want to read.  But the good news is there was no miscarriage.  Miracles literally happened to heal what was wrong and the little jelly bean in my belly was safe.

And then he made me very sick - haha.

I was being blessed in my music though.  I had a big publishing house from NY ask to include my music in their licensing catelog.  I also was able to knock something off of my bucket list by performing with J.O.B. at Benaroya Hall with a full symphony.





I also recorded violin tracks for a couple different movie trailer music cues...




Also recorded a featured solo for a singer's album. And then Will took me on a "princess" romantic getaway to Victoria....which was very much needed and romantic...





I also performed two Christmas concerts in my parents stake...




By that time, I was 6 months along and it was getting really REALLY hard.  Trying to play the piano while that pregnant was too difficult and uncomfortable.  I made so many mistakes because my belly would get in the way of my arms trying to play large chords or cross-overs.


So I stopped.

As in I completely stopped playing the piano after that.

I quit playing the organ at church. I quit accompanying anyone. I quit practicing. I said no to any and all opportunities.

I struggled a lot with depression during Riley's pregnancy as well, and while it wasn't physically as hard as my first two pregnancies, it was emotionally incredibly difficult.  I found myself deeply burdened with the worst thoughts about myself, or just days when I was so down and would cry in the bathtub or weep all day long. Some days I felt like the only way to escape this pain would be to die.  There were days when I felt like my children deserved a better mother than I was being for them. I hate admitting that, and I would never, never, never hurt myself or my baby, but when you are going through depression those are the kinds of things you feel and think.  I spent a LOT, I mean a LOT of time praying to Heavenly Father for help - to just help me endure, to make it through and to be there to lift me up.  

And he did.  He sent me His love, and help in the form of earthly angels, which I talked about in this post.

When our dear precious Riley finally arrived in March of this year, he was truly literally a Godsend for me.  



All of my depression vanished, and it was replaced with pure joy and love.

Will could probably tell you that I turned to him at least a hundred times and said "Thank you for giving me this baby" or "I love our baby so much".  My favorite thing was the evening time when we would just snuggle.  It was a warmth I needed and truly treasured.

It's amazing that I was almost too selfish to be open to the idea of having another baby.  And now, I can't see our lives without him.  He is very very special.

And as you know, from the delivery and the wear and tear 3 csections have taken on my body - Riley will be our last baby.  It was truly a miracle and act of God that we were both protected during the pregnancy - just one more little (well, big) thing where I have been able to see the Hand of God watching over me and protecting me.  My uterus was so thin, technically, I should have ruptured.  But I didn't.  Riley came here safe and sound.

Haha, and just as a little side note, here is a little funny story that happened with the boys a little while ago:  We were hiking and when we got back to the car, I was helping the boys all get into their carseats and Preston pointed out the obvious fact that "When we have a sister, we will need to get a bigger car because there isn't room for any more carseats in this one."

It broke my heart to have to tell him that he won't be getting a sister, and that we were not going to be adding any more kids to our family.  He asked me why, and after thinking for a second, I explained it to the boys like this:  "Well you know how Riley grew inside my belly? And he got bigger and bigger?  Well he was inside of a balloon inside my belly.  And when babies get big enough, then the babies come out of the balloon and then the balloon shrinks back down.  Well, mommy's balloon had a tear in it; a hole.  And so I can't grow any more babies inside my balloon or else it will POP and the baby would die."

They both had a LOT of questions after that, but they totally understood it and nodded and it made perfect sense to their little minds.


After Riley's birth, I felt like I was in a season of pure bliss.

I was very easy on myself when it came to life.  I would rather spend time snuggling Riley and enjoying the very short newborn phase than clean my house.  I took my time in my recovery.  I spent a lot of time just, well, just enjoying him.  I wasn't beating myself up about the 60 pounds that I gained back during this pregnancy that I would have to lose for the 3rd time LOL. 

I was just so happy.  And EVERY single day, I said multiple prayers of gratitude for this baby, for my life, for our family, for being healthy, for being safe, for being so blessed.  Every time I would sit down to snuggle or nurse him, I would just pray and say "Thank you....thank you..."

Even though I was so beyond blissfully happy in my life with this new baby, and our other two beautiful children - MUSIC however was not part of it.

After I stopped playing the piano at 6 months pregnant, I didn't play again.

And with the birth of Riley, I felt no inclination towards music.

I felt no inspiration.  

And when I TRIED to play, or even think about starting up again...the very thought was so overwhelming to me.  Like stomach-turning overwhelm.  

And if people dared mention it to me, it would overwhelm me and I wanted to snarkily reply in huge defense with "I JUST HAD A BABY. LEAVE ME ALONE."

But I still remembered the answer to my prayer that I received.  "If you follow My will, you will still be blessed in your music career."

Life with 3 little ones was definitely busier and more exhausting.  And there have been so SO many times I have questioned myself and my ability to even continue in music.  

But remembering the answer to my prayer, I have thought, "Okay, well, maybe the Lord will bless me with inspiration to write some new music."  Well, NOPE.  That hasn't happened.

So I thought "Well maybe God will bless me with the opportunity to collaborate with someone super famous to help boost my career."  And a big fat NOPE to that one as well.

I went to music conferences and ended up going home early because the whole thing actually made me feel sick to my stomach and all I wanted to do was go home and put my yoga pants on and snuggle my baby and be a hermit.



Pretty much I felt like music was too overwhelming for me, I had no inspiration or desire to work on it, and was wondering when or how Heavenly Father would bless me as promised.

I felt overwhelmed trying to think about HOW or WHEN I would work on music even if I did have the inspiration to do it.  I was just exhausted.  In the past I would work on music past midnight when everyone was asleep, but now, all I wanted to do was put in a movie and lay in bed with my baby and relax. Not think. Not clean. Not manage children. Not go anywhere. Just....relax.

And yes, all of this made me sad.  

I was so grateful for Riley and all of the blessings he brought to us just by being in our family. But when it came to music...I was sad, and felt like perhaps I would just have to NOT do my music career any more.  And I would think, yeah, well Illumination took me 4 years...and that was just with 2 kids.  How in the world can I possible do that sort of work with 3?  There is no time. There is no energy. 

And one day I was complaining to Will about it all.

And he said "Jenni, you have been looking for blessings in all the wrong ways.  You HAVE been blessed in your music career!"

And I looked at him, and said "Ok, enlighten me."

He said "Well, ever since you got pregnant with Riley last year, your music income has risen considerably every single month."

Okay I'm listening.

"And where Pandora only used to play 2 of your songs from Illumination, they now play EVERY single track on your album. Not only that but they have linked you with other major artists like TPG and LS." (abbreviated to avoid search engines). 

He went on to explain to me that I was making more than he was at Microsoft now, that my music income enabled us to pay off the rest of our credit card last month, and that it was continuing to do better each consecutive month.

This may come as a shock but I never really paid attention to how much I made.  I mean, I'd see payments coming in but with music - it comes from so many different sources.  A little here, a little there, a big chunk here, medium chunk there.  But I never really take the time to add it all up.  Will has always done that for me, and if I need to purchase something major I usually just ask him "Do I have money in my account to cover this?" and he will say yay or nay.

Will is the genius at finances and can turn a dollar into a hundred.  And so I've always just trusted him and allowed him to run numbers, crunch them, do trending reports on my iTunes sales or what have you.

When he told me all of this, my jaw dropped.  I couldn't believe it.  And it wasn't just Pandora. Amazon sales were climbing, Spotify, Google Music, sheet music, and more.  

And this was all...while doing nothing but snuggling my baby, and doing "mom stuff".



The past couple of years with Will's job have been great. He had been at his job for over 4 years and counting.  And they loved him.  He was by far one of their best employees. 

But...his job had become a source of stress. For all of us.  

Will always said he didn't want to be one of "those people" who could be found on their laptops late at night working instead of spending time with their family.  But as his position grew (and so did his salary), we found him having to do that quite often.  "I need to get this report done", or "I have 523 emails in my inbox and I'm so behind."


If you want to know one of the reasons why Will runs, is because it's his stress reliever. It's his way to escape and be in his own world of freedom.  He did it for his health, but I mean he was REALLY doing it for his health and longevity and sanity.

Will was good at his job, and so they kept giving him more responsibility.  And then the big CEO's started giving him work directly instead of going through his boss, and he was just getting so many projects and demands and requests...and there was no way for him to keep up, to please everyone, or get ahead in his work.

And at home, we missed him.  7pm and still at the office.  But don't worry, he'll be home just in time to kiss the boys and read them a story before bed.  Then he's up again at 4 am the next morning.  On weekends it was a whirlwind of trying to accomplish tasks but NOT getting them done because we just wanted to spend time together as a family to be honest.  Date night?  Whew, let's hope we can find time for one and neither of us will sleep through it.

There was just never enough time.  BOTH of us were being overstretched and overstressed.  He was beginning to loathe going into his job every day, and I was feeling so overwhelmed with being a mom 24/7 with little relief.  And the times when he was there to help me, I just wanted to have some time to myself where no one was asking me questions or touching me or getting goobers on my clothes or telling me that they were hungry.

A couple of years ago, we both thought "Wouldn't it be cool if we could both work part time?"  That way Will could have more time being a Dad and being home with the boys, and I would have more time for my music and not feel overstressed with motherhood.

But, that couldn't work because health insurance required a 40 hrs/week position, and my music career was not earning enough to compensate anyway.

And then another year went by and my music income grew, and again we pondered it.  And I said "Wouldn't it be cool if one day my music made enough where it supported us and we could stay home together."  But at the time, my music income wasn't enough to do that.


And then this past summer (2014), Will had 2 months of unpaid paternity time (which my music supported us while he wasn't working), and we took our EPIC long road trip across 9 states and multiple national parks...




Something happened on that trip.

For one, it was SO so soooooooo nice to have Will around.  And we all knew it.  And Will knew it.  We LOVED spending time together.  It made us all so extremely happy.

Another thing that happened was the ocean.

It inspired me.

I heard music in my head. For the first time...in a long time.  And I felt so at home there.  So peaceful.  So blissful.  So....HAPPY.

There was one place we visited by Cape Blanco (Oregon), where Will let me out of the car for some "alone time" and I went for a walk along the bluff by the ocean.  It led me out to a point where there was a picnic bench and I just sat there in awe of the beauty and these happy feelings I was experiencing.



For weeks after that trip, I kept planting thoughts in Will's head..."Let's move to the beach."  Haha.  He teased me, and told me I wouldn't be able to handle the beach year around because of the wet foggy weather, and blah blah blah.  But I kept saying "Hey...psssst....let's move to the beach." :)

One day, we went for a long drive while the kids slept and we just talked.  And talked, and talked like we hadn't talked in a long time.  He opened up to me about a recent hike where he prayed about a lot of different things. I was a bit surprised when he said "I know change is coming, and I just want to be sure it's the right thing."

We talked about "What if..."

And "What if" turned into "How can we do this?" and "How can we make it work?"

And then it turned into "WHEN can we do this?"

We'd talked about the possibility of Will quitting, but never really thought it would actually happen.  But Will said he put a lot of thought into everything and just knew that we were finally in a place where my music could sustain our family, but also grow.  And if we put all of our efforts into it, the growth would happen bigger, faster, and better quality.

Will knew that me trying to do my music while being a full time mom (more than full time!) was not possible.  And he also knew that his job was stressing him out and he could work and work and work to make bonuses and provide nicely (which he did), but in the end it wasn't the life we wanted.  My music could provide a happier life for all of us.  We would be able to be home together, working side by side.  Instead of hiring nannies for our children so I could do music, Will would be there for our boys (who so love to spend time with their dad).  Will would manage the finances, do marketing, promotions, videography.  We would be able to set our own schedules. We would both be at home with our kids.

I told Will "Okay. If we are really going to do this, then we need to live somewhere where I feel really inspired to write music.  And it's not where we currently live." *hint hint*

We spent another 3 weeks taking weekend roadtrips up and down the Oregon and Washington coasts, looking at homes and real estate.





Nothing felt right.

That is, until we went back to the Olympic peninsula.  The place we have loved for the last 10 years and always talked about moving to but could never justify it because there were no jobs for us out there.

We spent a weekend there looking at homes, meeting with real estate agents, driving around looking at houses, went to church there...



Even though we didn't find that perfect cute little home out there, we feel that it is where we should end up.

Things started moving quickly.

Will went back to work at the end of August, and after a month back at the office realized his heart was not there. The more work his job gave him, the harder time he had focusing and getting back into it.  And knowing that we were going in a different direction with the music stuff, he had a hard time mentally focusing all of his energy at his job.  

We also need to finish our house (lots of projects!) and Will thought it would be best to do some of these during the fall before the rainy season started.

And so, instead of working until December as we originally had planned, he ended up giving his 2 week notice and as of last Friday (a week ago), he finished his job.

This past week was his first full week at home - and being the awesome numbers guy he is, he has spent the entire week crunching finance numbers to be sure we can stay afloat - haha.  We have all also been EXTREMELY busy getting in any and all needed doctor/dental/vision appointments in before our health insurance runs out at the end of September.

The plan for the next few months is Will is treating the "fixing up our house" project as his full time job, while giving me one or two days a week max to work on music and/or help with kids so I can do music-related things.  In the meantime, we are keeping an eye on the real estate market for that perfect house to come available where we would like to move.



We will then put our home on the market, hopefully sell it for twice what we paid, find a new home and buy it and move.  Once we are moved, hopefully things will all be in place for me to transition into doing music more "full time"  Meaning we will hopefully find a home that has a detached studio from the house (or a garage we can turn into a studio) where I can go and work on music when I feel inspired.  And if not, I'm in the house with the family.  We set our schedule.

I'm also going to be selling our 6 foot grand piano and upgrading to a 7'6" nicer piano to help with my music.  I know that seems unnecessary, but I don't know how else to put it other than if you are a runner running in a marathon you want to have really good shoes for the longhaul.  My current piano is kind of like wearing Converse.  For a marathon, it's not going to get you very far.



I've been saving for the piano for the last year and almost have enough. I have found one in UT through my connections that is a very good deal, so hopefully that one will work out.  We'll see. 

So that is pretty much up to the here and now for us.

We are so happy and excited to begin this new adventure.  We know that it is the right thing.  And the whole experience and seeing God's Hand in it all - has been extremely humbling.  I truly know that it is because of Him that we are where we are, and I have the ability that I do with music.  

I have often asked "What do you want me to do with my music Heavenly Father?".  There have been times when I have felt successful, and times when I have not.  But I also know that on an evening 10 years ago it was a divine gift given to me to compose music.  He wouldn't have given that to me if He didn't want me to use it  and have value in it for myself, my family, and for others.

And He would not have brought me this far only to take it away.  And he certainly wouldn't have promised me with blessings without purpose and meaning.

And you know what is the coolest part about all of this?

I was just hoping or expecting a little inspiration to write music again.  And I was disappointed when I didn't get that.  But God knew what He was doing. He could see ALL things; the big picture.  

He wasn't just going to bless me with inspiration to write some songs.  He was going to bless our family with the means to write a heckuva lot of music, for years to come, and it will bless our family, our lifestyle, or relationships, the way our children grow up, and more. And both Will and I see all of this - all of the little things that have happened to bring us here.  And we can see that it was God's will all along - pushing us eventually in this direction.

And I now know that it is through my music that I will testify of God.  And I want to do all that I can to remain worthy of the incredible blessings He is giving us. That is my testimony.

And I share this with you in the name of Jesus, our savior, Amen.