so, how dead after watching this video?

*and spirit says to spirit, welcome home.

Nearly 6 weeks ago Landon and I sat in the waiting room of a hospital and heard a baby cry from the surgery room around the corner. We looked at each other immediately, giant grins on our faces and said "that was her!" A minute later a nurse was wheeling her from the surgery room to the nursery and slowed down and whispered "here is your baby..." It was the most incredible moment of my life. There was our baby. This tiny perfect thing with wrinkly hands and pink lips. "Hi baby, hi baby, hi baby" was all I could say through my tears. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

Those next few hours and days in the hospital were some of the most sacred of my life. The most miraculous, beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful, sorrowful days. The story of Lula is not only my story, it's her birthmother's story too. It's a story we share and only we two mothers can fully understand. It's a miraculous thing to be given the gift of your child, literally given by another mother who loves her so fiercely.  It's the closest to Christ I've ever been. It is the atonement personified. I will be forever and eternally grateful to S for choosing us.

My sister asked me "What has surprised you most about motherhood?" My answer is I had no idea I could love a child so much. She is my heart and my soul. She has the entire world in her smiling face. She is my grace and my hope. She is an old soul and a young heart.  She is God's love. She is every good thing.

Oh Lula girl, your Mom and Dad love you so. Thank you for finding us.

(*A line from a poem my Grandma Karen wrote years ago. A line I've always remembered)


if you climb a mountain and you turn around

(^the cute neighborhood around our rental home)


- Joe, Chelsea, James, Caitlin, Landon, and I (and bonus baby Ellie) piled into my brothers car and drove to St. George to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Denhalter.
- We took the first big adoption step and did a home study and started all our paperwork
- Our second puppy, Penny passed away and it was pretty heartbreaking
- We went to our 7th supercross together
-I got promoted and transferred to the Kierland Commons Anthropologie
- Laura and I went to Peter and the Star Catcher, forever my favorite (Laura and Peter)

(^Gilbert Temple open house) 


-We played a giant kickball game with the Ray-Siens
- A last minute camping trip with the Joe Denhalter's and my parents
- We finished all our adoption certification paperwork
- A mini staycation with the Denhalter girls
- We toured the Gilbert Temple open house 

(^Landon being... Landon)


-I left Anthro and started working full time for Little Green Notebook 
-We spent a weekend hiking in Sedona with James and Caitlin 
-Drove to Flagstaff for Ezra's baby blessing 
-I did a solo Snowflake trip to hang with my Momma (and cousins lunch, duh) 

(^Easter Egg hunt at Great-Grandma Lines) 


-Jess and Darrel moved from Flagstaff to Mesa, into our ward! 
-My parents bought a 1970's trailer near Roosevelt lake and we spent a couple weekends down there fixing it up 
- The Romney's came into town for Easter 
-Laura and I saw Once at Gammage 

(^My Grandparents house in Parowan Utah) 


- My cousin lost her baby boy in a tragic accident. She spoke so beautifully at his funeral and I'll never forget her words. I learned a lot about Christ that day
-Laura and I went to St. George to see the Grandparents and check out Dixie College. We did a driving tour trough Parowon and cried most of the time
- Yet another lake trip or two
- Lots of afternoons spent at the LeSueur's playing ninja with Eli

(^the family in the hospital waiting room) 


- We celebrated our 7th anniversary! Hiking by day and St. Francis by night
- Lacey had her baby, Raelyn! We were all instantly in love
- June was our busiest month at work by far. We spent lots of weekends and late nights prepping Jenny's house for the Domino Magazine shoot. 

(^my outfit for day one of the Domino shoot) 


-3 whirlwind days of the Domino shoot. It was such a freaking cool thing to be a part of!
-10 day road trip to Idaho with James and Caitlin, we covered all our old stomping grounds and hiked, camped, ate, and rafted the days away
- I joined the Lines for a few days in California
-More weekend trips to the lake, proving how old we are by our continued level of soreness from wakeboarding
-We finally got our certification paperwork and we were FINALLY approved to adopt

(^rooster and aunt kate boat selfie) 


-We put our profile up with LDSFS and got an email from S the next day
-I went to New York for a week with Jenny, as if I need to say it... but I have the best job in the world
-Landon turned 29! 
-We went to Mexico for Camden's baptism 
-We put an offer on a house in Gilbert

(^the night we got some very good news) 


-S picked us as the adoptive parents and officially put us on hold 
- The same week, we closed on our little fixer-upper 
- I heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time 

(^midway through the kitchen reno) 


-October was renovation month. We spent hours and hours (and hours) working on the house before we moved in
-My mom and brothers came in to town and spent 3 days knocking out a huge chunk of our renovation list 
-I turned 26!
-We went to the Phoenix Temple open house with the whole Denhalter Clan 

(^my mom and sisters and my baby shower) 


-I went to weekly doctors appointments with S
-My sisters and Jenny threw me the most beautiful baby shower
-We spent a very warm Thanksgiving with the Lines family 
-We worked and worked on our house getting it ready for the baby 


-Our baby Lula Colette was born. The best moment of our lives. (Believe me, this is not all I have to say about it)