Survival and Love and Loneliness


I love most days. I get to spend the entire day hanging out with two little people, two little boys, who I love a lot. They are amazing. Every little thing they learn and do is incredible to me. I get to see it all and I am so grateful.

Most days are hard. These two little boys can be challenging little creatures. Surprisingly, they don’t always do what I want them to do!

I like to nap, especially when I have been up a couple times during the night. My dear husband lets me sleep in every morning while he gets up with the older one and feeds him breakfast and takes him and the dog for a walk. But every time I think I can have a nap the little one wakes up! And then he will fall asleep for a super long nap when the older one wakes up from his nap. Which is nice for me to spend time with Brody but is heartbreaking to have missed out on a nap! And anyone who knows how much I love a nap knows how heartbreaking that is!  The baby has been eating every 1-2 hours for the past 2 days, which is exhausting and means that I have to eat just as often to keep up with the demand! Often he will only sleep when I am bouncing him and he knows the exact second I try to sit down for a break. How does he do that?

Our little person, the older boy, is starting to say words. It is amazing! He is actually responding to the things that I say! He can finally understand! But he can’t quite answer yet. And there are times I just wish for a conversation with a person who can answer back. So when my husband comes home from work, I tend to say everything I have wanted to say all day! It is an earful for him! There are still many elements of miscommunication with the older baby. He indicated he wanted to go for a walk by pointing to his stroller but then when we were out for a walk he did not seem like he was enjoying himself as he whined and cried most of the time. Actually, there are times when he does that for a long period of time and it can feel very long! But then he goes to bed for a nap and usually walks up as usually self…happy, smiling and laughing. His toys cover the floors in every room…and not only toys but every other thing that can be pulled onto the floor. I wrestle him away from opening and emptying every drawer in the kitchen. He’s getting strong but he is also learning what ‘no’ or ‘nem’ (no in Hungarian) is and will clearly say it repeatedly! I think he does know what it means! He has started standing up and running around on the couch. He is actually climbing on everything. Part of me is so excited that he is learning this skill and taking these risks, but the other part of me has a little heart attack every time he does something where he could fall and hurt himself.

Eating is important to me. I don’t do well when I am hungry and since I am breastfeeding, I am hungry ALL THE TIME.  I am trying to avoid cow’s milk protein because the baby seems to have difficulty processing it. Who knew cow’s milk protein was in EVERYTHING?!! It can be hard to find foods that I can eat quickly and one-handed. I eat a lot of peanut butter, cereal, and bananas which is good since those are my favorite foods!

So many people advise to “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “enjoy every minute because it goes by so quickly” and “don’t worry about the cleaning” but sometimes the baby doesn’t sleep and one day seems like an eternity and we need clean dishes and clean clothes. And it gets lonely. Trying to have an adult conversation is nearly impossible with the little ones around…they cry loud and need LOTS of attention. Sometimes  I think I am forgetting how to have conversations with adults because I feel like I can’t form the proper words and sentences. That might also be because my brain is full of information about caring for children and all the other brain cells are gone but hopefully will return one day!

So despite the joy and gratefulness and love for these two little boys, I am in survival mode. Survival means leaving all the toys where they land and maybe picking them up later but usually I just don’t have the energy. Survival means giving him bread and peanut butter to eat for lunch most days because it is easy and I know he will eat it and not give it to the dog. Survival means the baby wears his pajamas all day and using a wet wipe when he only spits up a little bit.

And despite the times when things are hard, there are always the beautiful moments that make it all easy again. The little one will smile and laugh when I talk to him. The older one learned how to give kisses and wants to give his baby brother many, many kisses. He loves his little brother so much. And the little one loves watching his older brother. And I love them both.

Sad and Glad

My Mom’s birthday is on May 5. She was born in 1944 so this year would have been her 73rd birthday. She just missed her 71st birthday when she passed away in February, two years ago.

It has been hard to talk about this massive loss in my life. I don’t know what to say. Our relationship and lives together were complicated. We were very different in some ways and very much the same in other ways. I am beginning to see ways of honouring both aspects of my memories of my mom. The ways we did connect and how we clashed at times. It is all part of her and us and how we related and that is ok.

I feel shock and sadness still even two years later. I don’t think that will ever go away entirely.  I am sad that my mom never got to meet our two little boys. I am sad that they will never meet their Oma here on earth. I have fear as well. Fear that something like could happen again to someone else that I love. Fear that I might lose someone else.

I am also grateful. I believe my mom is in a better place. She is with Jesus in heaven and she is happy. She has no pain or difficulty. I am happy for her and the comfort I have in knowing this. I am glad for all the time I had with her. I am thankful for all the people she knew and the lives she impacted here on earth (which was many)!

Although it has not been easy figuring out loss like this, I am slowly understanding and resolving it for myself. My comfort and focus is on God and knowing that He is with me. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be other losses or difficulties in my life but at least He is on my side. I can’t fully understand why it happened and I guess I probably never will but I am slowly becoming ok with that.

*“Have I not commanded? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9*

What makes me smile about my mom?
– Since we had a big family and we were living somewhat spread out, when we did get together, Mom would try to combine as many celebrations as she could: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. There would only be one cake but it would acknowledge everyone and everything within a 3 month time span, often leaving only enough room for initials in the icing. I don’t even know what we were celebrating in the photo below but she managed to acknowledge all of it on the cake!

– We could always count on having some random and interesting person or people in the house. Mom would say “oh have you met… who we knew 100 years ago in some random place that we lived or visited? You remember him/her/them, don’t you?” I rarely did remember this person but she always tried!
– One of my favourite memories of my mom was several years ago when I was visiting home in February. We are an active family and all of us love to play sports. Mom didn’t usually participate because she wasn’t the most athletic and usually was more interested in cheering us on. But this time we were all outside playing road hockey and she was there too, playing goalie for one of the teams, screeching and shouting and saving some goals!

Happy Birthday, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

Baby Jude John Gibson

Jude John Gibson arrived on February 26, 2017. He is a beautiful, dark-haired little boy. He is adored by his older brother. He sleeps and eats a lot. It has already been two months since he was born and he smiling and becoming stronger and more amazing every day!

Life has taken a whole new level of crazy and busy. I am at home taking care of two babies currently both under the age of 18 months. There are times when both of them are crying and I don’t even know what to do. And there are times when both of them are happy and smiling and I feel like I am doing it all right. And the best times, when both of them are sleeping so that I can take a nap too!

The days are pretty tough. On a typical day, I have been spit up and spilled on three times before I have eaten breakfast. I can’t take a shower without the older one trying to get in with me, even though he is fully clothed. Most days, I have anywhere from 2 minutes to 1 hour of time that I am not holding, feeding, or playing with one of the boys. And I do not sleep more than 4 hours in a row.

But these boys are pretty awesome. Brody is almost 1 and a half and he is learning so much! He loves to point to the sky when he hears an airplane. He likes seeing big trucks and tractors on the road. He will play with a ball, squealing and trying to throw it for long periods of time (which is like 10 minutes for him). He is sensitive and doesn’t like seeing his baby brother crying. He will cuddle both his baby brother and our puppy every chance he gets because he loves them so much.

Jude is just starting to smile at us. He can get pretty fired up when he wants something that he doesn’t get right away. He is also so peaceful and content when he has everything he needs. He likes to be outside in the stroller while we go for walks. He also likes to take baths. He is a pretty consistent baby and tends to eat and sleep at similar times most days. And he loves to cuddle with me while he naps.

Although it is not easy, I wouldn’t trade being with these two for anything else right now!

What just happened?

I am forcing myself to sit down and write this blog. It is hard to stop to do this when there are toys all over and the dishes aren’t done and I have to figure out what to make for dinner and I have to prepare for Brody’s birthday party tomorrow. It has been a long time since I wrote one, although I have written many posts in my head as I go about my day. The ideas are there and someday I may get them out!

What just happened to the past year? Brody is one and I can’t believe it. The cliches are true…”where does the time go?”

Brody is truly a joy and blessing in our lives.

He is active. He plays and learns and studies and plays some more. He loves to touch the handles on drawers and cupboards. He opens drawers and likes discovering what is inside. He likes to ‘help’ load and unload the dishwasher, which involves taking the cutlery and throwing it on the floor. He can spend periods of time playing in his playroom. He stands up at the shelves and looks at toys. He likes to remove the toys from wherever they are. He pulls himself up on anything he can, coffee table, chairs, my legs, anything.

He loves books. He particularly loves to look at a Winnie the Pooh folding book. It doesn’t really have a story but it has lots of colourful pictures. I can occasionally find him laughing at this book. He also loves books that aren’t stories but just pictures and words. He can listen to us reading these a lot!

He sleeps! He has two naps per day and then sleeps about 12 hours at night. After our harrowing sleeping training/crying it out during the summer, he does so well going to sleep and generally staying asleep, especially at night. Although it was horrible at the time, the sleeping training worked for us. I am so glad we get to sleep all night and that Brody gets the sleep he needs.

Brody loves to eat. He particularly likes lasagna and spaghetti. He eats tomatoes, avocado, most fruit, and meat. He loves cheese! He has recently started spitting out the foods he doesn’t like or doesn’t want to eat at that moment. It is quite funny and adorable when he does this, although I probably shouldn’t be laughing at him.

He plays with the dog, Hamish. He loves Hamish. He takes Hamish’s toys and Hamish takes them back. They get each other because Hamish is always careful when he plays with Brody. And Brody needs to work on being gently with Hamish but Hamish does so well at taking Brody’s ‘aggressive’ petting and love for him.

Up until now, Brody has been our little baby. But now that he is one, is he still a baby? Seems hard to imagine that he won’t always be so little and need us so much. Already he can do so much and he does more and more every day. He even started kind of using a fork to eat his food! Amazing!

And now with another baby on the way, due to arrive in March, Brody will grow up even more quickly. Having a tiny little one around will make him seem so much bigger! It continues to be truly amazing to see him grow up into the beautiful, happy little boy that he is.

Happy first Birthday, Brody! We love you!



7-10 Weeks Left

It has now been 30 weeks of being pregnant. And there are only 7-10 weeks left. I can’t believe it is coming up so quickly. We are going to have a baby soon!

Baby Room and Supplies: We have a crib and a whole bunch of toys and a stroller and an amazing video baby monitor from some wonderful friends. The baby’s room has been painted and the clothes have been unpacked into drawers according to size. We have some clothes and a beautiful snowsuit!

Shopping: Sometime in the next week or so we are planning to get a car seat and a bassinet attachment for the stroller. I would also like to get a package of newborn diapers. I am not exactly sure why that is something I want, but it seems to be important for me. I asked all my mom friends what they would recommend as the ‘must need’ thing to get for a baby and the most recommended items were either a swing or a bouncy chair so those are also on the list of things to get.

Cloth Diapers: We are planning to use cloth diapers. It sounds like a big deal, but from all the research I have done, I don’t think it will be that bad (hopefully). I have done a lot of research online and talking to people who have used cloth diapers. There are two parts to the diaper, the inside part (prefold) and the outside cover. The inside part absorbs the pee and poo. When we change the diaper that part goes into the diaper pail. The cover part can be reused if it hasn’t been exposed to the pee or poo. We will plan to have 20-30 diapers and do laundry every other day or every third day. Although we hope this works, if it doesn’t that is okay and we can always go back to disposable diapers.

Research and Information: I like to be informed. I don’t like to go into too many situations without some idea of what I am getting into. So I have read a few books:

  1. “Why Love Matters” by Sue Gerhardt – A book about a baby’s brain and social/emotional development both in the womb and after birth. I found this one very interesting probably partially due to my background in psychology and counseling. A VERY basic synopsis of the book is that babies need love and attention. They have many needs and their parents/caregivers should meet their needs as best they can as quickly as they can. If babies have their needs met, their brains will develop well and they will grow up to the appropriately social and emotional human beings.
  2. “Top Tips from the Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg – A book about how to get a baby to sleep. When we were first pregnant, I asked all my mom friends what books I should read to prepare for having a baby. This one was one of the most recommended. I have only read half of the book so far, I feel like it will be very valuable once our baby is a few weeks old. It gives us an idea of what kind of routine we should have for his sleeping and other activities.
  3. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel – Great informational book for the whole pregnancy. I have been reading it off and on trying not to overload on information.
  4. “1000 Questions about your Pregnancy” by Jeffrey Thurston – Another informational book I am reading in bits and pieces.
  5. “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp – I have not read this book yet but it has come highly recommended by a dear friend who just had a baby so it is next on my reading list. It is also about helping the baby to sleep.

Despite reading and intending to read these books, I realize that we might not be able to follow every idea or suggestion in them. I appreciate learning the information and having some idea of what we will need to do with a newborn, but I also appreciate that we will need to learn about our baby and what he needs and what he is like.

Name:  This is one of the most popular questions I am asked. Yes, we have chosen a name for our baby. But we are keeping it to ourselves until the baby is born. We chose the name by it being the only name that we both liked. Done!

Hospital: My doctor delivers babies at three different locations (1. private hospital, 2. private maternity ward in a local hospital, and 3. a local hospital) in Budapest. We are planning to have the baby at the private hospital, which is located just across the river. I am a little nervous about this whole delivery location situation because it feels very different than what I would expect at home. And I am not even sure what questions to ask to help. But we have a meeting at the hospital next week so hopefully that will help!


Five Things About Being Preganant

Being pregnant for the first time, there are a few things that I have noticed. Here are some of my thoughts on these things:

  1. Clothes don’t fit anymore. I have heard from others that I can just do various tricks with hair ties around buttons of pants or wear leggings but I am just not finding that is working. It is uncomfortable. It doesn’t help that the weather here has been insanely hot. I finally went shopping last week and bought several maternity clothes items and I have not been so comfortable in a long time! It was such a simple thing that made me so happy.

2.  I got a pregnancy pillow. It may seem like the most ridiculous thing for some of you reading this but I love it. It is so comfortable. It has changed my pregnant life.This is what it looks like:


3. Pregnancy brain or baby brain is a real thing in my life. I have it. I did not know it was actually a thing but now I know. I went to the grocery store the other day and filled up my cart. I finished shopping and went to the checkout. I took all the items out of the cart to check out and realized I had no money and no cards to pay. I had to communicate this to the lady at the checkout who thankfully spoke enough English to understand me. I then waited in the freezer section of the store until my wonderful husband came to pay.

4. Babies kick a lot. And it is really cool to feel. I have had mixed feelings about it sometimes, thinking that maybe the baby really wants to get out. I think the kicking baby has been such a neat part of feeling like there is a real live baby growing inside of me. Sometimes that miracle is still a bit hard to comprehend.

5. Preparing for life after preganancy is important. When the baby comes, initially my life is going to need to be about taking care of this little tiny human being who cannot do anything on his own. I’m a bit nervous and a bit scared but mostly excited.

3 years in, and this is what I know.

It’s our anniversary and I really like this blog post about someone else’s anniversary. I think it says a lot of what I would like to say about our amazing first year of marriage! Thank you to “The Art in Life”!

The Art in Life

Today marks three years that I have been able to call James my husband. There are a lot of things that I still do not know at all about marriage or him or love. But three years in, here is what I know.


I know that eating ice cream on the couch in sweatpants is totally a date, so is grocery shopping at 11 pm.

I know that sometimes I will cry about my clothes and he will not understand, and he knows to just back away slowly.

I know that it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love me just because he leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor.

I know that, while I can survive on variations of exactly the same thing, for every meal, for all of time, he cannot.

I know that I become a fire breathing, flesh-eating, dragon-beast-woman when I go too long between…

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The Next Adventure

Adventure can take many forms. I like to view almost anything as an adventure, from travelling to a new country (big adventure) to the next trip to Ikea (small adventure) or the next walk with Hamish (always an adventure).

The next adventure for Niall and I: a baby! This is going to be a big one! But first, being pregnant! Also, kind of a big adventure! Baby Boy Gibson is due to arrived at the beginning of December. We are about half way there with another 20 weeks or 4.5 months to go before he comes along. We are very excited!

As ecstatic as we are about our next adventure, we also worry. I know I do for sure. I try not to but it is so hard. At first there is so much worry about miscarrying. Now every time I go to the doctor, I worry there is going to be something wrong. Then I also think about the actual delivery and I worry if I will be able to handle it and if everything will go well. Even in my daily activities, I worry that I have done something or eaten something I am not supposed to and something will go wrong. I am beginning to understand that being pregnant could be the beginning of a lifetime of worry for one’s child! But I have also decided that I am not going to allow myself to be continually worried and anxious about everything that could wrong. Although this is part of my nature and personality, every time one of these worries comes up, I follow it up with other, more positive thoughts. We will be able to deal with the challenges that we face. There are many difficulties in life and anything can happen at any time. This is one of the reasons that I believe in God and trust in Him. He is with me in the difficulties and I find true comfort and relief in that.

Being pregnant has some disbelief and awe about it for me. As in, I can’t believe it is me, it’s us. And that it is hard to imagine a child coming at the end of the pregnancy. I know it definitely happens to other people but it is just hard to picture our lives with a baby. Fortunately we have many incredible friends who are helping us prepare with books, baby items, and support. Through their excitement and giving, I can imagine that we will be able to handle it! We are getting more and more used to the idea of the baby by talking about it a lot together and talking to the baby bump. Somehow it helps!

This week we are preparing the baby room…or I should say, Niall is. He is painting the room from the ‘beautiful’ pinky-purpley colour it was, to white. We have one piece of furniture, a cabinet or dresser, to put in there. And then we will eventually need a crib. Yikes, it it still weird to talk about it – needing a crib!!

So that is where we are the baby adventure front…less worrying, imagining our lives with a baby, and doing some preparations. We are also halfway through summer in Budapest right now and we are loving it! It is beautiful place to be for heat, sun, and fun in the summer!


Daily Walk Post


As Hamish and I did our almost daily walk around Margit Island today, I was thinking about how I had not written a post in awhile. From that point on, I pondered this post.

First I thought about some of the things that had been happening lately and what I had been doing. One of the big things was a trip home in May. It was a good and difficult trip home. I was going back to see my family for the first time after the tragedy of the accident and my mom’s funeral. I felt a strong desire to go home but I wasn’t sure for what exactly. But as I have found out, in grief, there isn’t always a way to explain things. So I picked a time when my brother would be home as well so the whole family would be together and went. It was hard to be home because my family and I, we are all still very raw and grieving. Despite the tragedy, the same joys, but also the same tensions still exist and are even somewhat amplified due to the raw emotions. It was also very good to be a part of being home again. There is something comforting about it.

While I was home, we went through all my mom’s belongings, clothes, jewellery, shoes, etc. My sisters, my dad, and I sorted, removed, kept, and cried. It was stressful but also healing. There is healing in being able to let go. We kept a few things that we each felt were special or important. There is sadness but also healing in remembering Mom in her favourite sweater or necklace. It felt good to be close to her that way. But also be able to let her go in a small way, knowing she wouldn’t need those things anymore because she is rejoicing in heaven.

While I was home, there was a wonderful trip to Niagara Falls with some amazing friends. There were six of us. We ate and drank, we laughed and cried, we played and had lots of fun! It was both light hearted and deep. It is amazing to be together with friends who know me and who I know so well.



Then it was time to go home again. Back to my husband and my puppy. To get back on a plane again and do the jet lag all over again. I was not eager to do that but I was eager to get home. To be with my family and see my Budapest “family” and friends. And to stop travelling for a little while.

Although I am very thankful that, as humans, we have the ability to fly on airplanes. I appreciate that I can live far away from my home and still be able to go there occasionally. But after so many years of flying long flights and jet lag, I hope to avoid travelling on a plane for awhile. If I could avoid it for at least the next 6-12 months that would be amazing! It would also be weird but I think I would just be so glad.

Since being back home for the past month, I have been enjoying the quietness and peace of my daily life. I walk our puppy and then I come home and I clean the house and I make dinner. And I love it! Last night, Niall came home late from an event he had, and I had been home most of the day. By about 4 or 5pm, I felt like I had done everything that I needed to do that day and I almost felt bored! It was a strange but kind of nice feeling. I usually have so many things to do that I never feel bored! I don’t think I will always want to feel bored but for that moment it was okay.

Summer is coming and we have a mostly quiet summer ahead. We both have some work to do on courses we are taking. We will spend some time vacationing in nearby Croatia. We will have a few visitors to Budapest throughout the summer. And we will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Every day I am thankful for our amazing, wonderful wedding that we had last summer. And every day I am thankful that it is done. I am thankful that I don’t have to do wedding planning and think about avoiding tan lines. I am thankful that I feel such peace and relaxation and I pray it will continue throughout the summer!


A Message to You: Thank You Again

I just read this article, Technology and Grief, and I can relate to the author and her connection to Facebook in her time of grief. The messages and love that my family and I received through social media in our initial time of grief (and shock and disbelief) was amazing. I still feel overwhelmed from the support. Every time I read another message, I cried and felt comfort.

To our friends and family from around the world who wrote messages, who sent flowers, who sent a care package full of our favourite treats, who drove long distances to see us, who gave gifts for comfort, who gave donations that honoured my Mom because she would have loved to know that others are being helped…thank you. You have given us so much comfort and love and support.

To our church community who cooked meals, who shovelled the snow off the driveway, who cleaned the house, who visited and continue to visit Dad, who supported us financially, who prayed and prayed and still pray for us, who did more than we can know because we were in such a fog of disbelief…thank you. We would not have made it through that time or continue to make it through as ‘well’ as we are without you.

To our friends in Budapest who offered to take care of our puppy and take us to the airport and help us as we rushed to the airport, who made meals, and who sent flowers and cards, and who are sharing our lives and grief with us now…thank you.

Thank you.