I wasn't planning on posting this but.....


Lying in bed tonight, I felt sad. I allowed myself to get sad and then feel sad, which I normally don't do. I am pretty good at bottling my deepest, rawest emotions up, unfortunately, until they come spilling out through anger or sadness. Tonight was sadness.
I got thinking about adoption and specifically our journey with Milo and it somehow, somewhere took a dark turn and I started thinking about my miscarriage. I haven't thought about that for a while, which made me all the more sad. Almost as if I was guilty and a horrible person for not thinking about my lost baby. Here's the crazy thing. I feel like either I am giving way too much thought and being overly dramatic about a baby, that was hardly even a baby, that I lost so early on in my pregnancy. Or, I feel like a horrible mother for not loving and remembering my child that was absolutely, 100% my baby, regardless of the fact that I was so early, I WAS PREGNANT.

I don't understand why it's so hard for me to figure out and grieve and move on the best way I can. I feel like I'm screwing it all up and making it worse for myself. 

But I felt sad tonight. And I cried, like I occasionally do, unknowingly, in my bed late at night while the house sleeps. I felt utterly alone. I don't talk to anyone about these things because A. no one understands, they haven't experienced anything like it or B. they act like it's no big deal and "everything will be just fine". I don't even know if I want to talk to anyone anymore. I'm choosing to type it out in hopes that I can self-therapist my way through this ordeal with out making too much of an ordeal. 

So I feel like writing my sh*t out will lay things on the table and give me a chance to say "hey, I dealt with all this sh*t and I'm doing all right!"
If not, then I learned something. 

Traumatic Experiences
#1. Harley. Ugh. I loved that dog with all my heart and he was taken from me so quickly and traumatically. I know, it's a dog, and some people think it's silly, but I freaking loved him and wasn't ready to lose him, so there. I'm sad and mad over losing my 4 pound chi-weenie.

#2. Infertility. Duh. This totally sucks. Totally blindsided by this one. Never even crossed my mind that I might have to deal with this one day. And to learn that it was PCOS and that it can "come and go" throughout my childbearing years was dumb. Screw you, PCOS.

#3. Miscarriage. The big "M" word. I swear, nobody talks about this and it's avoided like the plague but the longer I've had infertility issues, the more I meet and hear of women who go through miscarriage. Sometimes once, sometimes 2, 3, 4 times and I'm blown away by their strength to persevere. One was enough to scare me from even trying to get pregnant again, due to the fact that I might be forced to see my tiny little baby growing inside me and then have it taken away. But I get it now. It took me a while but I know I can't be a pansy and hide from the thing I want most. Stubborn little Lauren is back to show this infertility business who's boss. 

#4. Adoption. Obviously, this topic could create multiple blog posts itself. I honestly think I suffer PTSD from it, if that's possible. I mean, as cliche as it sounds, I grew so much stronger because of it but I also have bouts of anxiety from it. I was in SUCH a low place in Alaska and then such a HIGH place landing and coming off that plane into Salt Lake City but the two balanced out into a complete state of numbness. I was just existing the first few days I was home. I'm so thankful for my mom who was there with me those first few days because I was like a child after watching a scary movie at night. I just needed a physical presence there to give me safety and peace. 

#5. IHOP. This one would probably surprise those who know the story and think I've been totally fine from it. But I have yet to use any public restroom and not think and fear this incident that happened. The quick story is, I was eating at IHOP one night years ago with my mom and after I'd finished eating, I decided to use the restroom before we left. I went alone, into a 2 stalled bathroom that I thought I was alone in, and as I'm going, a guy army crawls out of the stall next to me and underneath mine. Thankfully he decided not to do anything further and retreated back to his stall but I was in complete shock. And after I told the staff at IHOP, they did NOTHING. (I called the cops later and he was arrested and thrown in jail.) 
Honestly, the whole thing is actually really weird to me but it FREAKED ME OUT. And I'm truly scared to go into a public restroom, especially if I'm the only one in there. 
--But on a really cool, look-at-me note, I went to his court hearing (which apparently "victims" hardly ever do) and after hearing the judge quickly read off his almost innocent sounding story, I raised my little hand in the back row of that room, marched my butt up to the stand and told the judge how it really went down and how much that creep should be punished. She listened. And he got what he deserved. Mic drop.
PSA: never let your children use the restroom alone. Ever

I've always told myself that even though these things happened and they totally suck, I'm grateful they happened to me. I'd hate to see my best friend or my sister or my niece go through these things. Most of the time I'd rather take the pain myself then to see someone I love go through it. But every once in a while I get tired. And I crash. And then I cry because that's what us girls do. 

So Lauren, when you read this next time your sad and lonely at 2:30 in the morning, remember that you got this far because you kicked butt. You never gave up. And you conquered. You can do hard things. #fistbump #girlpower

better late than never


I'm not a blogger and with things like instagram and chatbooks, I'm just not interested in making blog posts anymore. And I'm pretty sure no one reads this anyway but just in case one day I get the crazy feeling to print my blog out, I'll have more than 2 interesting posts to read.

A little update on the boys.

Oak is my lover boy. He has such a tender loving heart and loves people, animals and things with passion. Animals are his weakness, especially dogs. He's partly vegetarian (all his own choosing) because he doesn't like the fact that animals die. I think it's hilarious and adorable. He loves to cuddle me and show me love. I co-slept with him from the time he was born and I'd do it still if Strat let me. I still occasionally get to. Oak loves babies and still wants a baby sister so badly. He is such a natural holding and rocking babies. Sometimes when Milo was fussy we'd give him to Oak and he'd calm right down. Not only do they have a sweet brotherly connection but Oak just knows how to do it!
But with that sweet and kind side also comes a fiery side to him as well. If he has his mind set on something, he has to see it through and it drives him crazy if he can't. He's very independent and knows what he wants. He doesn't like being told he can't do something. I actually think all these things can be good things, he just has to figure out how to accept failure, or a "no" answer, a little better and not want to punch a hole through a wall (not that he's tried...yet).
I have a feeling that Oak will be more of an artist than a sports guy. That's where he naturally seems interested and I constantly find him drawing in all my notepads and on any scrap piece he can find. His imagination blows me away sometimes. Maybe all minds are like his at 6 years old but I like to think that he's pretty amazing. He loves to create and see his ideas through. Minecraft is quite the obsession with him lately but he uses it for creativity more than play and I love that he can express himself through it. It's been really good for him.
He starts 1st grade in a month and he'll be doing the dual immersion Portuguese. I can't wait to see how he'll do and how far he'll go with it. Hopefully he won't be such a social butterfly in class and pay attention. He's a great reader and gets better with every book. He doesn't like doing math. His best friend is Bryton H. and his first crush was on a girl in his class named Flora. MY HEART ALMOST BURST WHEN HE FIRST TOLD ME. Heart emojis were just flying out of my head. And her name is Flora. Could it be any cuter?! He told me he thought she was pretty and she talks about Minecraft with him. So naturally, she's the one.
We love this boy like crazy.

Milo is one feisty 1 year old. Holy moly. I'm hoping his personality right now doesn't reflect what it will be like in the future or I'm in for it big time. He screams still. He screamed until he was about 6 months old and then finally took a much needed break for a few months. Now he's back at it. This time instead of crying/screaming it's mostly just screaming. If I'm not feeding him fast enough, he screams. If I have to change his diaper, he screams. If he's already eaten an entire banana, sandwich, fruit, yogurt and some crackers and I walk away like I'm done feeding him, screams. Put him down so I can use the bathroom, screams. Won't let him put his fingers in a socket, screams. And now he's into throwing a complete toddler tantrum and will throw himself onto the floor, kicking and screaming and thrashing about. Super fun.
He knows little fear. I'm pretty sure the only things he's ever shown fear to is the hand dryer in a public restroom and my blow dryer. If I put him down to walk he will take off. It doesn't matter where, he just wants to see how far he'll get before I catch him. If he's not right under my feet whining for me to hold him or feed him all day, he'll be off somewhere touching or getting into something he's not supposed to. He does this new thing when I tell him "no touch", he'll look right at me with this big grin and then slowly go to touch it again with his little pointer finger. It's a tricky thing to be angry while also trying to hide your laughter.
My eyes and ears are on him ALL DAY LONG. We don't leave the house much....
Milo and Oak are best friends and worst enemies. This is where most of the screaming comes into play. Oak tries all the time to play with Milo but they just aren't quite there yet. I think the age gap is what makes it difficult. Milo screams at him to say no. Oak will try time after time to do something with Milo but it always ends with screaming. He also HATES it when Oak parents him. I'm constantly separating them.
Milo has given us a run for our money since day 1 but we have these sweet little moments that really keep us going. It's not easy to get him to laugh but when we do it's the sweetest sound! Or when I give him a binky for a nap or bedtime and he puts his head in my neck and hums...that breaks me! He is such a sweetie. He has big blue eyes and a toothy smile to melt you. He's dancing the second music is turned on. He's funny without even trying. He's a curious and adventurous little soul and we love him completely.

The post I've been waiting 3 years to write!


To actually be writing about the birth of our second son is surreal! I truly didn't know if I'd get to do this or not. So I couldn't be any more grateful.

(Although the entire story is very long and very detailed, I'm only going to write this short, condensed version to share publicly because the full story is too personal and still emotional for me to share.) 

Milo was a breech baby and even after a failed attempt to turn him, I figured a c-section for Anna was imminent. It was a weird feeling I had. I was really scared for Anna and sad that she'd have to go through that, especially recovery and whatnot. But on the other hand I was ok with it. It meant that we'd have an actual scheduled day to plan and be there a couple days before with Anna just like we hoped, plus it meant a safe delivery if he was still breech. Had she gone into labor naturally then it would have just been a waiting game until the last second until we could find a flight and get to Alaska, praying that we wouldn't miss the birth. So we were able to pick Milo's birthday, plan our travel and stay, and get things ready to meet Anna. 

We flew out and arrived in Anchorage on Mother's Day. Anna and her parents picked us up from the airport and we spent the next 2 days traveling around Anchorage and getting to know each other. It was, again, such a weird feeling. I felt as if I knew Anna for so long and was comfortable being with her but yet so nervous and excited to finally be meeting her. 

The morning of May 12th, Anna and her parents picked us up and we headed to the hospital! The spirit was so strong that day. Just walking into the hospital I felt so peaceful and calm for Anna. I don't remember her saying if she was nervous or not but if she was she never let it show. Love radiated from us and it was so special. After checking in we headed to our hospital room where Anna's dad and Straton gave her a sweet blessing. We hugged and said our tearful good lucks and see you soons and she was off. 

Surgery prep time took a while so we knew it would be hours before we'd get to see him so we tried to settle in and calm our nerves and excitement (mine only grew by the hour). I couldn't eat or watch t.v. I could barely focus on writing texts to my family. I was starting to go crazy. By around 11:30 the nurse who was keeping us updated had let us know that they were going to be starting soon and she'd let us know when he was here. Every time I'd see a shadow walk past our door my heart would stop. Finally, 12:30 rolled around and the nurse let us know that baby boy was born and doing fine and so was Anna and she'd give me more details when she could. A huge layer of relief flew off my shoulders!! He was here, healthy and everything went OK. Next the nurse brought in Anna's dad who happily told us that baby boy was 8 pounds 3 ounces, 21 1/4 inches born at 12:27! I could feel Milo in that hospital! I wanted to hold his little body to my chest so badly and could hardly wait to meet him. We were so excited! I wanted to run down to Anna and give her a high-five! She did it! 

Anna got moved to recovery where she got to hold and love Milo until she was ready for us to meet him. Our nurse said Anna was ready and that she would go get him for us. I never paced or tapped my feet so much. I could see my heart beating through my sweater, it almost hurt. Finally the nurse came in, asked if we were ready to meet our son, grabbed our camera and waited for him to be wheeled in through our door. When his little cart came in I lost it. I couldn't even see him in his bundle of blankets but he was here! I felt him just like when he was born but so much stronger! He was feet away from me and ready to be in my arms. Even now, writing this part of the story brings so many tears to my eyes. The love I had for him in that moment was bursting from me. Then I saw his sweet little face for the first time. All I wanted to do was learn every feature and detail of it. He was so beautiful. I picked him up and held him tightly to my chest. I could have lived in that moment. As tears fell from my eyes I felt so different. A good different. I felt like a mom again. I had two boys. Two beautiful, healthy boys! We were so incredibly blessed. He was supposed to find us.

The next couple of hours we spent doing skin-to-skin, loving, staring and calling all our family. Then we got you ready and headed down the hall to see Anna. Together we all sat and talked, held you and loved you. For me it was almost easier to sit together in silence. It just felt like nothing needed to be said because you were here and I didn't want to interrupt the peacefulness of your presence. You were so perfect. We loved Anna so much. There was no gift, no words that could express our gratitude to her and her decision. She chose adoption! What a courageous, selfless decision! It still completely blows my mind. She did it. And she chose us because she knew we were his family. It wasn't until a couple months later when Anna came to visit us that it REALLY hit me. I always felt it but I guess never gave it much thought or realized it so well that Anna and I were supposed to find each other. Milo was supposed to find us and to bring us all together. Maybe because that's how we needed to grow our family or she needed me or I needed her, I don't know. Maybe we haven't quite found the answer yet. But I truly believe that not only was Milo supposed to find us but Anna was as well. She was OUR birth mom.

We're so blessed we were able to adopt. It was a completely different experience than I EVER imagined. It was incredibly hard, incredibly sad, incredibly happy and incredibly scary but it was worth the journey. Milo will always be worth it!  

You are here...?


It's been a while.

Adoption update. Shortly after we were approved, LDS family services made an announcement that they are no longer offering adoption services. We had a tiny heads up from our case worker when we first went in to talk about adoption that some changes were coming. Good or bad, she wasn't sure. Unfortunately, it was bad. And we found out the same way everyone else did. Through the news, on the day of the announcement, which made me a little angry. There is some fine print with the changes apparently, but we have YET to learn them because we have not yet heard from our caseworker. It sounds like family services has been busy figuring these changes out as well, so things keep changing and we keep hearing lots of different stories.

This turn of events has bewildered us. Total confusion. Totally numb. Kind of sick and tired of being sick and tired...and sad. So when people ask how the adoption process is going...honestly, I hate that question. I know everyone means well by it and I'm not upset that they are being thoughtful. But there is only one obvious answer. We don't have a baby yet. There is never going to be a happy answer to that question. Because when we do have a baby one day, that question will no longer be relevant. It will be happy questions pertaining to our success like, "how's the baby doing?" or "how is Oak as a big brother?". That question to me is just a reminder of how sad I am and how awful this whole thing feels. The question isn't asking me if I'm still emotionally stable. Or offering me a hug. It's putting me back in that dark place, each and every time, forcing me to pretend to sound happy and try to give people answers that I myself can't find.

My point is, I know others are asking if there is any progress. But by golly, it sure would be nice if someone threw their arm around my shoulders and told me to keep up the good work, you know what I'm saying?!

How's the adoption process going?

It's still going. And we aren't sure if it will ever actually go anywhere. We are exhausted, confused, still looking for directions but have decided to focus on our family, especially Oak, and getting happy again. We thought we were here, but found out we were there. And then over there and then there and got lost. We're still hopeful for a family of four but right now we're also hopeful for Oak liking wrestling practice. And my new calling at church. And for Straton possibly getting a fun little side job that is more play than work for him. We're never going to stop hoping and wishing for our newest family member. We've just decided to think a little more about what's right in front of us and not let a moment pass by that we aren't filling with happy thoughts.

we're approved!


I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to spill this little secret of ours. Probably almost as long as it took me to make this stinking video. And then sadly my computer broke and I had to record a video on my phone of this video, which is why it's horrible quality (like super bad, you guys), I apologize. But until I can get the real video uploaded this will just have to do because it's 6 in the morning, I have yet to sleep and because I have to tell everyone, finally!


we're adopting! from Lauren Gerber on Vimeo.

Papers are in!


Our work is done! We've completed all our steps in order to be approved for adoption! Our case worker called last Friday to let us know that everything looked great and she was going to work hard and get us approved soon. When I asked how long she thought it might be, I thought for sure no less than a month. Tears filled my eyes when she said it would hopefully only take a week to a week and a half! I couldn't believe it. It was amazing to see things just fall into place. I couldn't have asked for an easier, faster process. People had us scared with all their "beware the paperwork!" comments but it was a breeze. Maybe we got lucky? Maybe it was supposed to work this way for us? Maybe it really is a whole lot easier than everyone thinks and says? Either way, it worked. We did it. We're so close to the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels so good. Now we wait for the news that we're approved and our profile goes live!



I found this in my drafts, unfinished, but  thought I might as well publish it. I might have to do these more often. It's fun being reminded of just how I was feeling, even a few months ago.

Making : plans. And ideas about plans.
Cooking : pork tacos and green beans.
Drinking : San Pellegrino, by the case.
Reading: books I can't seem to finish.
Wanting: energy. I have absolutely none these days.
Looking: at Oak's baby pictures and wanting to squeeze that little baby body of his again.
Playing: forty thieves. A card game on my phone. Someone make me stop!
Wasting: my gym membership. It's not easy when 11 p.m. is your only available time to go.
Sewing: unfortunately my sewing machine has been collecting dust for a while now.
Wishing: I could restart my wardrobe. How can clothing trends fade out so quickly?
Enjoying: the river in my backyard. It's truly something.
Waiting: for the fourth member of our family to show up!
Liking: this weather we've been having! 70 degrees is alright by me Logan, keep it coming!
Wondering: about what Harley's been up to in heaven lately.
Loving: my neighbors. It's nice to have some that I can communicate with. Our last neighbors all spoke Spanish.
Hoping: to make lots of fun memories this summer.
Marvelling: nature. It's incredible what animals survive through.
Needing: to start eating better. Popcorn and goldfish every night aren't cutting it anymore.
Smelling: fresh laundry.
Wearing: my pajamas, of course.
Noticing: how green all the trees are getting.