Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a great Christmas! Ours was fantastic. Jason was off the whole week and we did lots of fun family stuff. It was perfect! I could make this another one of my "longest posts in the history of man" but I'm tired and want to go watch a movie with mi familia, so instead, here are a billion pictures!! (Although most of the pictures are pretty fuzzy, either because kids wouldn't hold still or because of the fact that we have an old crappy camera.)

Taking the kids to see Santa Claus at the mall.

Making/decorating a gingerbread house.

All the presents ready under the tree on Christmas Eve!!

Our neighbors gifts, ready to go.

I bought a million white plates from the dollar store and then slapped some vinyl on them to make these cute plates to put our goodies on. :) They turned out so cute!!

Jason and Jack in their pajamas all ready for our traditional formal Christmas Eve dinner in our pjs!

Payson digging in!

Jack being a cheeser.

We don't have a traditional meal each Christmas. We just choose whatever sounds delicious. This year it was homemade Cafe Rio salad. SOOOOOO good! We made the pork barbacoa, the creamy tomatillo dressing, fresh pico de gallo and guacamole, and tortilla strips. We cooked up Tortillaland tortillas which are always fresh and magically delicious. We had fresh cilantro, sour cream, lime, and cheese. The works. It was perfect!! Oh! And Martinelli's of course.

The set up.

After dinner, the kids opened one gift.

Jack was so excited about his Cars ornament.

Payson got Tangled. :)

Growing up we played Christmas Bingo every Christmas Eve. Someone (I think it was your mom, Kimber!) gave us a cute set that my mom still has to this day. But it's starting to get ruined after billions of years of use and storage, so I got myself and my mom a new set this year. A friend of mine makes them and sells them. (Let me know if you want one!!)

I think this was one of the kids' favorite things.

The cute, cute Bingo cards. We used the cereal as our pieces. We planned on using Christmas candy, but ran out....oops.

After Bingo we read some traditional books. We always read "The Polar Express" by Chris van Allsburg and have a little bell we ring to see if we can still hear. :) And "I Believe in Santa Claus" by Diane Adamson, which I HIGHLY recommend EVERYONE read on Christmas Eve. I LOVE that book. It compares Santa Claus to Christ and reminds us all that Santa Claus isn't so commercial, but is a real symbol of Christ at Christmas. It's awesome.

Then the kids left Santa's goodies and a note out by the gingerbread house.

The half eaten treats and Payson's note to Santa. He wrote her a long letter back. :)

We finished by reading the nativity story from Luke. Then the kids checked one last time for Rudolph's nose glowing in the sky outside before RUNNING upstairs and going to bed easier than I've ever seen them. It was rad.

While they were sleeping, Santa filled their stockings and left behind some fun presents.

Red for Payson.

Green for Jack.

And white for the family.

The kiddos were up bright and early to see what Santa brought!

Jack was so excited about his presents! This is the least blurry photo because of ow much he could not hold still.

Payson getting in on the action.

Santa (so smartly) hit up the stores the week after Thanksgiving to stock up on dress ups! The kids have worn them just about every minute of every day.

Sir Jack, the Knight.

Cow girl, Payson.

Bumblebee was a big hit too. As was Spiderman. Payson also got Ariel and a cheerleader costume. She was beyond thrilled.

We always take a break after Santa presents for breakfast. Waffles with fresh berries and whipped cream, juice, bacon, and sausage. So yummy!

After that was all cleaned up we headed back for more presents!!

Jason with his pile of loot.

Payson's stash.

Does Jack look happy about those presents?

AWFUL photo of me! But it's the one and only shred of evidence that I participated in anything this Christmas. So you get afro haired, make up-less, pudgy prego, swollen bosomed me. Lovely.

Payson freaked out when she realized her coolest aunts ever got her a scooter. Jack got one too. They've been riding them around in circles in the house. It's hilarious. Jack even tried to sleep on his last night. :)

It was such a perfect day! We spent the whole day playing as a family. I got everything I wanted (which was simply a blender, the soundtrack to "Newsies", the movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", and a gift certificate stating that I can buy a new leather sectional. Which I've been DYING to do for EVER! I think Jason and the kids enjoyed their Christmas just as much. It was the perfect balance of STUFF and Christ and family.

Now we're getting ready to celebrate the New Year in just a few days. Hope you have all had a wonderful 2010 and are looking forward to an even better 2011!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free Willy, Flash Mobs, and Hormones

Lately I have been ridiculously weepy. Even with so many recent pregnancies, I seem to forget about that sudden onset of crazy emotions that appear as if out of no where whenever they feel like.

Example #1: The other night I fell asleep for my now usual afternoon nap. However my nap took place later in the afternoon and lasted longer than usual, resulting in me up late that night. I curled up on the couch to watch some random late night tv and hopefully fall back asleep. Free Willy was the only thing on, aside from infomercials. And I found myself sobbing at the end as Willy jumps the rock wall above Jesse while Michael Jackson sings, "Will You Be There". Cheesy much?

Example #2: Today I was sent a video of a flash mob singing Handel's Messiah in a mall food court. Again, I sobbed. The music was beautiful and flash mobs are one thing in this world that is still purely good.

I'm sure there will be more moments like these in my future where I find myself wiping away embarrassing tears while watching McDonald's commercials or see two random children holding hands crossing the street. It's silly, but I have to say I'm grateful. Grateful for the hormones that indicate a healthy baby growing inside of me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I have this funny thing with dates. I can't remember them a lot of the time. Ask me if I remember your birthday. I probably don't. But I remember all of my family members' birthdays perfectly. Even a few of my exes and my brother's ex girlfriend. :) Weird. I'll remember certain dates that are a year away, but if I have something specific coming up in a week and it's not on the calendar I won't remember it at all.

The reason I'm bringing this up at all is because I've got some other dates floating around in my head because of this last year. Lots of them. Mostly negative. And they're burned into my brain. I think about them almost daily. Which is really annoying. Especially since I feel like I've healed from our losses this last year really well. Of course I'm still sad, but I feel very much like I'm on the other side looking back most of the time. I can recall the extreme pain, but it's not so fresh like it used to be. So if I think I'm doing so great and feeling so normal, then why are these dates floating around so often??

I have this list. Our first loss was December 19th. That's tomorrow. I delivered my sweet baby boy at home. It was heart breaking. But that wasn't the only date associated with that heartbreak. We found out about our loss on the 16th. And the baby had actually stopped growing even earlier at 8 weeks 6 days. And then baby was due July 6th. Then our second loss was on July 25th. I was 7 weeks 1 day. Due March 12th. I remember all these not-so-random dates perfectly. Constantly.

So all of these dates float around in my head. I find myself marking my current pregnancy by them. Getting past 7 weeks and 1 day was the first hurdle. And it was a Sunday. Same day of the week as my second loss. It was so familiar. I woke up that morning dreaming about finding myself soaked in blood again. But we made it through the day. It was a relief. Getting past December 16th was another hurdle. And getting to today, 9 weeks, 1 day past 8 weeks 6 days, was another. Getting through tomorrow will be one more. December 19th, the one year anniversary of our first loss. Has it really been a year? An entire year of heartbreak?

And we have a few more dates coming up. I want to make it past 11 weeks and 4 days, when I lost our first. And past March 12th when our second should have been born. And July 6th again, when our first should have joined us. And then July 25th, when we lost our second.

Silly dates. Dates no one else in this world will remember. Not even my husband, really. Just me.

But the truth is, there is so much hope associated with other dates that wipe out all of these negative ones. Like July 23rd. The day this little one will hopefully heal our hearts and join our family. Like December 10th, the day we heard that beautiful heart beating away for the first time. And more importantly, like December 25th. Celebrating the birth of a Savior who lived and suffered and died to heal my broken heart. And April 6th. The celebration of His resurrection making it possible for me to live with ALL of my babies again some day. All six of my beautiful babies.

So maybe remembering all of these silly dates isn't so bad after all. Passing each one is a reminder that we have hope. Hope that this little one will be here soon enough. And a knowledge that my Savior has and will continue to heal my broken heart.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I spent all night last night either trying to distract myself with hulu or sobbing. I tried so hard to sleep, and finally crashed sometime after 5AM. Just in time to wake up a couple of hours later and get Payson ready for school (barely in time, since we slept in!) and Jack ready to go to a friend's house, let alone get myself ready.

We barely made it on time to our appointment. I kept telling Jason that the worst thing they could do was make me wait. I was already sick to my stomach. I had already convinced myself that this was going to be just like the last two. I was preparing myself for the news and was already grieving a loss in my mind. That may sound silly to some, but after the year we've had it felt like the best way to protect my previously broken to pieces heart.

They took us back to the exam room immediately and I was a little relieved to know that I wasn't going to wait. And then more than 30 minutes later the doctor came into the room.

Both Jason and I were pretty quiet the whole wait. I was just praying silently. Just for the Lord to be with me and to get me through what was coming.

The nurse and doctor both asked me how I was doing. I told them to ask me again when we were done.

I had mentioned to the nurse that all I wanted to do was see that little heart beating. She reminded me that sometimes "dates can be off and even if we don't see a heartbeat not to worry". As soon as she left the room I told Jason that I know I'm not a doctor, but my dates have always been perfect. I knew exactly how far along I was. For heaven's sake! I got a positive home pregnancy test before their fancy clinical test could tell! I know my body. If there was no heartbeat, I knew what it meant. She couldn't reassure me.

When they started the ultrasound I saw that sweet little blob on the screen. And nothing. No flicker. And my heart dropped.

(Sorry for the pictures taken of pictures. Jason's working nights and I can't seem to figure out much technology without him.)

And then for just a second, tiny movement right in the middle. I caught my breath and asked quietly, "Was that a heartbeat?!" And the tears came.

My doctor's WONDERFUL assistant unfortunately had a miscarriage shortly before my first one and has been there to talk to me and help me through this entire last year. She had the tissue handy and felt so much more like a friend in the room than medical staff. She passed me a tissue and gave me a loving pat and all I could do was stare at the screen and sob.

The baby was wiggling and it took a minute to get a clear shot of that flickering heartbeat again, but then there it was. And suddenly we could hear that little thump, thump, thump, pumping away at 171 beats per minute. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. Yes, more beautiful than my other children's heartbeats. Because with them I didn't understand what a blessing that little beat is.

(See those beautiful waves at the bottom? Funny how something seemingly so simple, little white waves on a sheet of glossy paper, can bring so much happiness!)

And then there was something else on the screen. Another tiny little blob, hiding just below the first. See it down there?

(Not the greatest picture. But it was the only one we got with both.)

Turns out, baby was twins. Who knows why, but apparently only one survived. And I'm okay with that. Does that sound morbid? That I'm okay with losing a baby? But it was so small and so early and we didn't know and I just don't know that it really was a baby. And I'm just so overwhelmed with gratitude that I can't really feel anything else right now.

Baby was also measuring big. Just by a few days. I am 7 weeks, 6 days today. You can see (barely) on one of the pictures that baby measured 8 weeks 3 day, 8 weeks 4 days, and 8 weeks 1 day on a few different measurements. This was just icing on the cake. Since the numbers are so close, my doctor didn't change my due date. Still sticking with July 23rd ish. Although both kids came early. I'm hoping that if this one continues to grow this way and ultimately joins our family that he or she follows suit. I'm not very good at that last month of pregnancy! :)

I think I'm still in shock that things are still going well. I've been so sure that this was over so many times already. And to be honest, I'm still petrified that it won't last. Sure we've made it this far and things are going INCREDIBLY well. But we lost our first baby much later in the game. Exactly 8 weeks and 6 days. Although we didn't find out until much later. I hope making it through next week and passing 8 weeks, 6 days will be one more hurdle passed and one more sigh of relief.

Even then, I'm not sure when I'll feel comfortable and confidant again. Other women I know who have experienced pregnancy after loss have told me things seem to ease up around 20 weeks or so, but never really go away. I hope by then we're relaxing a bit more. And by "we" I mean "me". :) I hope feeling the baby move will be reassuring.

I wish I could share some of the more personal details of today with you all. Some are maybe a little too sacred to share publicly, but I can't believe the blessings our Heavenly Father pours out upon us when we simply ASK Him. He has blessed me so richly, even with my lack of faith and moments of complete weakness.

I found myself thinking about some of the lessons I've learned about faith and my relationship with both my Savior and my Father in Heaven this last year. I wondered if all the pain was worth those lessons. I don't know that I'm ready to say yes. But I know that I am so, so, so grateful for the lessons! And although I have SO much more to learn through this experience and in my life, I do have a better understanding of faith and trials and my Father's love for me. And I don't know that I could trade that.

I've posted much about my Father in Heaven lately. But I haven't acknowledged someone else who has been so important this last year. Another blessing from my Heavenly Father.

Jason has been there for me through my weakest, darkest, ugliest moments. He has lifted me, loved me, and pulled me through. He has supported me and put up with so much of my crazy. He has been the positive when all I felt was darkness. He has stayed worthy to give me priesthood blessings whenever I needed them. He has prayed with me and for me and has been the best partner throughout this last year that anyone could have asked for. There are times we have laughed and wondered how we ended up with each other. This year I have seen why my Father in Heaven gave him to me. He is a more incredible father and husband than I could have imagined for myself. I'm so grateful for him and everything he's done, big and small.

And just to brag a little extra for a minute, I'll tell you a few of the incredible things he's done. Like doing ALL of the laundry one week (on HIS week OFF) so that I could nap. (First trimesters are so draining! And I've been through 3 of them this last year!) He has shuffled kids to and from school and other appointments, done the dishes, cleaned, given me massages, put kids to bed just so I wouldn't have to. And this morning, after getting 4-5 hours of sleep yesterday and then working all night long, he stayed up to come support me at my appointment today. He then came home to get maybe 3 hours of sleep and then work all night again. He may not be out slaying dragons, but he is my knight in shining armor and I love him more and more every second I have with him.

Thank you all so many thousands of times for your prayers and support and love. For your emails and calls and texts and comments. They have seriously supported me through some super rough times. I have felt so much love. And when I felt like my faith wasn't strong enough I knew I could rely on yours. So thank you all for being my friend and for loving me and supporting me through all this drama. I love you all!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting Through Tonight

My ultrasound is tomorrow morning at 10. I will be 8 weeks on Saturday.

I have loved this little being for 2 months now. Maybe 8 weeks doesn't seem like a long time to some people. Especially when you consider there are still (hopefully) seven months to go.

But I have spent every single one of the last 31 days since we found out about this little one thinking about him/her, praying for him/her, worrying about him/her, planning for him/her, and loving him/her.

So maybe it hasn't been that long, but even just one day of that would have brought a connection between us that no one else has. I am giving this child so much of me. And I don't even mean physically, although there is a lot of that kind of giving too.

And so I am petrified. Nearly paralyzed with fear. I don't know what to do with myself. I have spent today either in tears, sleeping, zoning out trying not to think about it. (Except for a much needed 2 hour escape with a friend for lunch.)

All I can do is wonder. Will there be a beautiful little heartbeat on the screen along with that sweet little body? Will that precious baby be wiggling and reassuring its mama? Will there be innumerable tears of joy shed?

Or will this be like the last few times? Will there be silent clicking as the ultrasound technologist tries desperately to find that little flickering heartbeat? Will there simply be an "I'm sorry" in place of the "congratulations" we so desperately want to hear? Will I shed tears of sorrow and grief once again for my sweet unborn babies? Will I see glances of pathetic sympathy from everyone I pass as I leave the doctor's office?

I am trying so hard to have the faith I need to get through this! I am trying so hard to not let me fear be stronger than my faith. But my fear is so strong and so real and so fresh and raw. It is so hard!!!!

I can only pray for the strength to accept my Heavenly Father's will, whatever it may be. I can only ask Him to hold me as I wait and wonder.

I don't know if I have the faith to move mountains or to prevent miscarriages. But I know that I have faith in my Heavenly Father's plan for me. I know He loves me and wants only good things for me. I know He blesses me daily with little miracles. I know He has surrounded me with the most loving and amazing people He can to help me through whatever I'm facing.

And more than anything I have faith in the power of the atonement of His Son. I know that with that power I can face the scariest and hardest things in my life and I will be okay. It won't be easy. It will hurt. But I can get through it. Whether it's just the awful waiting tonight, another devastating loss, or anything else I face. I know without a doubt that my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, are here for me through every moment of it. And with them, I'll be okay.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Am I Worth It?

I was reading the Book of Mormon this morning. We received a challenge from both our Bishop and our Stake President to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. Well, I'm a tad behind and have some catching up to do. So I was doing LOTS of reading this morning. :)

Anyway, I happened to be reading in Mosiah. King Benjamin is speaking about how worthless we all are. How our Heavenly Father has given us EVERYTHING, including lending us breath for a time so we can live on His earth. He is speaking of how we should serve one another to repay our Heavenly Father in part for all He has given us.

But then he reminds us that even that isn't enough. Heavenly Father answers our prayers and blesses us for serving. So not only has he given us life and everything on the earth, but then he gives us even more blessings when we try to repay him. So we are never even. We are always indebted to Him.

For a moment I felt pretty worthless. And then the thought struck me that those feelings came directly from the adversary and no where else.

I was immediately reminded that I am NOT worthless. I may not be able to repay my Father in Heaven or my Savior for all they have given me. But to them I AM WORTH IT. Otherwise, why would they continue blessing me with all that I have?

I'm so grateful for that reminder this morning! That even with my millions and millions of imperfections and inadequacies, I am of significant worth to my Heavenly Father. Each of us are. Simply because we are His.