Friday, March 15, 2013

Is this thing on??

Hi! It has been 2 yrs, almost exactly. I know this since my lil'est bee just had his 2nd bday and his birth-day was the last post. Ha! I cheat at record keeping. Nonetheless, I felt I needed to pass the time since husband came to bed at 4am and immediately woke me up with his incessant snoring. How does THAT get fixed? So, I'm awake and thought - huh, it's been a long time since I read blogs ... I'm connected with some of the authors of blogs I follow on Facebook, but FB only gives you a quick snapshot. What else is going on in life. Wow, the strength of so many people, lessons learned, sacrifices big and small, loss, pain, love.

Sometimes I think I'll just delete the blog. I don't keep it up anyway. Other times I think I'll just make it private and then I remember, no one reads it anyway, why go to the trouble to figure out how to make it private. Then I click on my saved links of blogs from old friends and many have been deleted or privated privatized private ... made private; you get the idea. Makes me sad to have lost that connection forever ... so, does anyone read this? Is it worth keeping up, active, posting an update ever so seldom?

Friday, March 25, 2011

March (with pics!)

March finally came. Normally, I have tons of hype and excitement for March because Darin and I get to go away for a couple days for our anniversary. This year we were hyped for a different reason.

Baby was born!! Baby William Ray born 3.2 at 1241pm at 7.2 lbs and 20" long with a full head of black furry hair.

None of my kids wanted to come on time according to their "due date." In fact, they didn't want to come early, either. Each one of them I had to be induced or they would cook and cook and cook. I know it is nice and cozy in there, but give me a break! With this baby #3, we expected the same thing and were ready. His due date was scheduled for 3.4.

I began having contractions about 2.25. They were mild, but they were there and I was encouraged. My Mom wanted to be here for the baby and to help us out. We were incredibly excited to have her come and support us. She was due to come in by plane 3.3 but decided with the contractions and all, she would come early. She arrived 3.1. Sure enough, the morning of 3.2 at 7am my water broke. WOW, what a feeling.

I had always wondered what that would be like. Where would I be. What would I do. How would I control (if you can) or clean up (if you can't). Would I have time to. What is the process and how fast is the process afterward. Well, I found out!! I was excited to have this experience and wanted to have it as naturally as possible. With baby #2, I wussed out at 8 cm dialated figuring I would have to rest to push. Little did I know my doc would come in right after I was given the epidural (still at an 8) and have be begin pushing. So much for rest. I lived through it and my labor only lasted 30 mins so I figured if I did it without rest from contractions the last baby, I could do it with this baby. I wanted to prove to myself I COULD! Surprisingly, too, I didn't even think about it once I declined with a "maybe not, we'll see if I chicken out" the first time they asked.

We got to the hospital at about 830am after getting myself and as much as I could anything else squared away before we made the 20 minute drive to the hospital. We checked in and as soon as I got put up in my room, the contractions began. Out of all my other deliveries, this was the best. I think because it was completely natural. I contracted until about 1215pm when the nurse had me begin pushing. It was HARD!! I haven't done anything in my life nearly as hard as this was. I had done it twice before, drugged. Doing it this way was so much WORSE. It wasn't the pain, it was the absence of a KID after all the hard work. I started to panic and Darin started to pass out!! Within a couple pushes he FINALLY came! He looked like a purple Smurf! The encouragement I received from the hospital staff was amazing. It is the only reason I didn't lose it. And now, our latest kid was here.


The first day, Wednesday, 3.2, was very interesting. Our amazing Uncle and Aunt took our kids for us so my Mom could be my coach. (Darin isn't one for surviving or support during the delivery process and that is something I desperately need in order to keep going!!) They picked up Dylan from school and kept the kids that evening until they came to visit. Both Abigail and Dylan didn't want much to do with the baby! Abigail wanted nothing to do with me!! I was very disheartened. I think she had quite a shock and was afraid to hurt me or afraid I was hurt ... her Mom in a hospital bed and who is this little thing everyone wants to hold!? It was a lot for her to process. Dylan ended up with a stomach bug while in the hospital which explains his odd behavior. They had to leave quickly after we realized there was a sick'o among us. Mainly they had to leave to clean poor Dylan up. :(

The next day, Thursday, 3.3 Abigail was so much more interested in me. I felt loved again. She still wasn't sure about the baby as I'm sure you can tell in the picture but she was a trooper. Mom and Abigail stayed with me most of the day while I was in the hospital. Darin was able to take off Wednesday, but had to be to work Thursday. Uncle Bruce got to come visit us the next day, too. That night as we sat down in for our family-hospital-room-picnic dinner, Abigail got the bug and again, Mom and the kids had to leave swiftly from the hospital to clean another poor child up. Dad; however, learned not to take too lightly when the kids say "My tummy hurts!"

The next day, Friday, 3.4, the day we were supposed to arrive at the hospital, we got to leave. We went home and got nestled into our new life with an infant. The below picture was at 1 week. He is now 3 weeks and 2 days old!!

Darin is funny! He did this with Baby #2 and now with Baby #3. When a new baby arrives he seems to require the lowest maintenance look possible. He begins to have cleanliness issues and requires hot showers A LOT. Nothing is wrong with any of this, but I do find the behavior fascinating how such a change manifests in him so physically. So ... Mom's body changed and so did Dad's. Check it out ... it is the shortest his hair has ever been.

And because I like before and after pictures ... here I am at 38 weeks and 4 days (baby came at 38 weeks and 5 days) and at 1.5 weeks after delivery. I remember being a lot bigger with Baby #2 but am glad my body is adapting so well. I still have work to do and can't wait for the 6 week mark so I can start exercising again!!

The healing and recovery was way fast, too!! Again, I think because of all the natural-ness going on. My body didn't have to adapt to foreign chemicals telling it what to do. For our next baby, I will definitely do it naturally ... if I have my awesome nurse with me again, that is! She was fantastic! Helped me through the whole thing. Best hospital, medical care experience I have ever had.


Whew ...

Reflection of the last six months.
  1. We moved across the nation to family.
  2. We moved across a valley into our own place.
  3. Darin quit school.
  4. Darin started a new school.
  5. Darin quit his job.
  6. Darin got a new, temporary job.
  7. We bought a truck.
  8. We wrecked a truck.
  9. Dylan started a new school.
  10. Mom had a baby.
  11. Abigail potty trained.
Whew! (Again!) Please tell me this is normal life. I really hope the next six months are just ...
  1. Dylan went to school.
  2. Darin went to work/school.
  3. Mom went to work.
  4. Abigail was a kid.
  5. Liam grew.
How nice would that be.

Monday, March 21, 2011


YAY!! A new month! It's here!!! It passed with no real event, thank heaven and a little too quickly.

Abigail celebrated her third birthday! She got a grocery cart with lots of food and a Chef's costume. Her and Dylan love to play house and dress up. They often come downstairs in various costumes playing some rendition of house or superheros. It is a ton of fun to watch.

Valentine's Day was uneventful. Normally we do something with or for the kids. This year was a little more crazy. We decorated a box for Dylan's first Valentine's Day at school where he could pass out and receive Valentine's cards and treats. He had a blast. The other kids in his class had super amazing boxes that you could tell Mom and Dad spent hours working on to create life size Sponge Bobs and other random kid things. I'm not that kind of Mom and proud not to be. Instead, Dylan got to express his artistic ability and drew pictures, added stickers, etc. He had fun making it. I was there for the general supervision of glue and scissors.

We had a Valentine's Day breakfast with homemade V-Day cards for everyone from everyone and the biggest heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie I could make!

Darin passed his first exams at school! He received his first professional certification, too. These certificates are huge for his profession, not just degree. The certs are often separate from a degree program at any other University but at WGU they are the degree which saves students in the IT degree program both time and money and make them even more qualified and competitive upon graduation!! There are nine certs total that he will have when he is done. He has his next two cert exams scheduled for next month. He also passed his first core course, too. He's doing SO much better at this school than any other school I know of that he has tried. The online, independent learning style was made for him!

We had a million tons of snow fall (exaggeration, naturally). There was about 2 weeks worth of snow days that were issued so Dylan didn't have to go to school. Sometimes work got canceled, as well. I work from home so I didn't get to enjoy in those spontaneous days off, but I enjoyed having my whole family with me again and for the help that I could get from Darin while I worked. The kids even got to play in the snow a couple times. They had a ton of fun. The snow was as high as they are tall in many places because of how much snow fell. Apparently, this winter was the hardest winter for this area in the last ten years! Luckily, we lived through it and we didn't have to go out much at all. We had been preparing for a month or two re-stocking our refrigerator and freezer and our food storage so we were doing ok. Now we know what we can expect, though, come next winter!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The miracle

For so many, miracles are considered big events. Not for me. I see miracles every day. The hand of the Lord in our lives is a miracle in and of itself. For me, I see his hand in our lives every day and thus, I see miracles big and small. For our little family, the miracle of having the 4Runner, a tank of a truck when it was needed most was a miracle. Having nothing wrong with my daughter was a miracle. Having nothing wrong with the growing baby inside me was a miracle. Having nothing wrong with me but some pieces of glass in my hand where my hand flew through the window was a miracle. Having an amazing husband who could sympathize when I needed it most with the weight of what just happened was a miracle.

I was in shock for about 2 days. Wednesday I finally cried. Crying for me is a big thing. I just don't. So if I cry, I needed it. I cried. I called my best friend and I cried.

The following week, I heard a news report about several other car accidents, flips and general bad-weather happenings. The difference? The driver of a truck that flipped during the same storm I was in, in the same conditions, on a freeway, died. I began to feel the weight of what could have been and I was ever more grateful.

Earlier that day we had the 2nd bump for us off the mountain top of ecstatic emotion from the week before. The job my husband was offered, accepted and started in 2 days time, was taken away from him. A youthful indiscretion he thought he had taken care of, was not taken care of and he failed the background check that was required to pass for the job. Now it was his turn to process his own trauma.

I started to feel as if I couldn't trust anything else about last week. I did a check. Ok, the baby is fine. We have a home we are still confirmed was the right decision. Will my son's school be taken away? Is there anything else that can/will go wrong? What are we learning from these things?

Gratefully, I saw the turning down of his promised job as a blessing. How many other jobs turned him down for a failed background check that we knew was going on but then he didn't get the job because of this youthful indiscretion? Those potential employers never said a word about WHY he failed a background check, if he did or WHY they turned him down. Now we have the information we need to make sure it doesn't happen again! I began the paperwork process. My husband began the grieving process for this lost job which he had put his identity and his success into which now he saw as a failure as a man, father and as a husband. We made the decision to go to school full-time without a job for him. We can do it on my salary! It is tight, but we've been tight before. We talked about what it means to be a "provider" and that he IS a provider to his family, with and without a job! Getting a degree IS providing! An argument I had been making for years but had to wait until he was ready to hear it and accept it. He will be laid off from his temporary job in mid-April. That gives us 3 months to plan, prepare and save. We have done it before, we can do it again!!

The rest of January dragged on and on and on. Never have I wanted a month to end so badly.

Dylan had his 7th birthday!! He got more Legos since the last ones were such a hit and he was running out of Legos to build what he wanted. At the end of January was our joint family birthday party for the kids since Abigail's bday is 1 week after Dylan's. It was the last day of the month. You know how things come in threes, right? We were waiting for the third event that would round out January so we could be comforted February would go uneventful. We weren't wrong. In the middle of our family party with Uncle Bruce, Aunt Chris and Karin's family, Abigail choked on her birthday cake! Last trauma for the month! I promise!!

Aunt Chris noticed Abigail struggling, we look, she's doing the classic motioning to her neck, I jump up quick-like, rush to her, and do the only CPR I have seen for toddlers that happens to be 15+ years old!! I pick her up and face-down smack her on her back. It worked. Apparently, that technique is old school. I have since learned the new way of doing it. Ugh.

What goes up ...

The following week was the week of 1.10.11. By far, the worst week we have ever had together.

After feeling so GREAT about all that we had been blessed with, we were blessed with trials. Unfortunately, these trials took away what we had worked so long and hard for. We kept the Lord close to us in our decisions. We knew the home we leased, the car we bought, the job we accepted were in line with what we felt were acceptable. Believe me, we had looked at other homes (for the last 3 months and especially the last week); we had turned down other job offers that we did not get a good confirmation for; we did not get better or cheaper cars we found. So, this week was a big blow! I still maintain our confirmations were right because if we didn't follow through, Abigail, the unborn baby and/or I wouldn't have lived and we wouldn't have found out what we needed to find out in order to get things corrected.

On with the stories ...

Monday, 1.10.11 the day started out great! Dylan was so excited to start his new school. We all went over with him, dropped him off, met the teacher, and kissed him goodbye. Dad went off to work. I went to work as normal, my afternoon break came as normal. I packed up Abigail in the 4Runner so we could make my 8 month prenatal doctor appt.

It was the first real snow storm we've seen in Missouri. On our way to the appointment, 15 miles away, I used all the same precautions I would normally use in any snow storm. I went slow, kept distance between other cars and myself, did not accelerate or brake too quickly, all the same techniques you learn and employ through years of driving in wet conditions. We had been warned that out here ice freezes first before snow sticks, regardless. So I was trying to be that much more careful since I hadn't driven these conditions before. I got on the first of 2 freeways heading towards my destination. I was going 20 mph below the speed limit, staying in the right lane which looked more plowed than the left which still had snow drifts and hadn't been plowed as lately as the right lane. Much to my surprise, I started fish tailing. I began correcting myself and of course, that is normal. My disaster driving training from high school kicked in and I started employing those techniques to allow the car to correct itself rather than me making it worse by "correcting." Then, it got worse. I heard a big "LET GO" so I did. We did a 360 degree turn and started to slow down. By now I was in the left lane, looking at on-coming traffic (luckily, there was none) and my hind hit the edge of the ditch that separates the Southbound traffic from the Northbound traffic. Once my slowing car hit that edge, it was over. I remember thinking, "Here we go." We landed on the driver's side, flipped once, twice and ended upside down.

Immediately, I went into crisis mode. I unbuckled my seatbelt and let myself fall to the ... roof, my foot was stuck (probably between the seat and the dashboard). I started panicking and heard a voice helping me to calm down. I stopped, breathed, unloosed my foot and climbed out my driver's side window. There were no windows left and I didn't notice the blood streaming down my arm. I felt a slight soreness on my head where the roof and my head connected on that first flip. My first thought, get to Abigail, get her out, check for leaking gas, call for help.

I rushed to the other side of the car where Abigail was screeching and I offered her comfort. She stopped screeching and allowed me to help unbuckle her and get her out from dangling upside down. I helped her crawl out of her window, check her over for injury and we started backing up away from the upside down wreckage of my new car! I heard a whizzing sound that I couldn't pin-point but before I could realize it was the tire losing air, a herd of strapping men came to my rescue and one sweet young lady with a toddler of her own who had pulled over and asked me to let my toddler sit in her car out of the cold. Once Abigail was gone I felt myself panic. All I could do was look for my purse for my phone and all I could think was to call my husband. The men started gathering things that had flown out of the car at some point, calling for help, and calming me down. Shock had started to settle in. As I was saying I needed my phone, one man gave me his and said not to worry about the blood. I still didn't notice. I called Darin. I left a message.

A local police officer was walking towards me. I started telling my story, looking for my car ins, my driver's license. At that point one of the men found my purse. It had flown 20 feet away from the wreck. I was summoned to the other side of the street to the car that had my sweet daughter in it who was just staring. I sucked up my panic and poked my head in. Gave her a smile and comforted her more. She wasn't crying, wasn't ... much of anything. She just stared and stared at me for any indication about how to react. Very surreal. I was pulled to the rear of the car where I could get the blood traced. Where was it coming from. I let them know I was 8 months pregnant. I noticed then how much I was shaking, how much blood was all over my coat. It didn't hurt. Surprising. My head hurt. How'd that get there!? It's a big goose egg.

Someone found my phone! It was in pieces, wet and unusable. I was given another phone to use, the police officer's. I called Darin over and over and over again. I called my boss - I had to let him know, I wasn't coming back in for the day, please let my students know. I called my Mom, please call Darin!! I called Uncle Bruce, please come pick me up. I denied an ambulance and signed ... something to that affect. What would I do with an ambulance? I have a toddler in shock, all I have is a goose egg and glass in my hand. A hospital would not be a good place for my girl. All in all, I'm fine. My husband will come and take me to the hospital. All I want is my husband. All I want is these questions to be over. All I want is these hands and helpers to know how grateful I am and to no more be needed. All I want is my husband. I want to throw this coat away! I want to go to the store now and buy new car seats. I want to purge myself of this trauma. It is unwanted and unneeded!

Finally, I saw a tow truck. How'd they get the car flipped back right? I missed it. Did I have the car seats out of the car? Yes. Was there anything else in the car I needed? Well, no. I hadn't had a chance to move into the car since we bought it only 3 days ago! Did I have insurance? Well, of course I do, but I hadn't had the chance to call my insurance company and formally add this new car. We bought the car after business hours on Friday! Finally, the questions were over. The police officer took me down the road to where Uncle Bruce was waiting for us. I started to cry - suck it up! Not yet! Abigail is still staring. I look back at her. Smile. Say something, anything! "Wow, honey! That was ... interesting!? You ok?" "Yes, Mommy."

Uh, oh. Uncle Bruce! He loves us! I see the concern in his eyes. He gives us bear hugs. Suck back the tears. Not yet! He doesn't know how to help. He ushers Abigail in the car. We say thank you to the police. Bruce wants to take me to the hospital. No. I need my husband. I will go into his place of work if I have to and retrieve him. He's the only one that can make this all go away!! We are two blocks from his work. He calls! Thank heaven! He got my messages, my Mom's messages. He leaves work. He sees me and doesn't show any emotion. Thank heaven or I would lose it. Uncle Bruce lets us know he will take Abigail, no question about it. We can come get her later.

On the way to the hospital, all Darin says is "That's the best $5,000 I've ever spent." I lose it.


2011 begins!!!

The day after New Years we began the trek home to Missouri. Dylan came home Sunday morning and Mom and I enjoyed our last 5 hours stretch together driving back to St. George. She dropped me off in St. George and we got to spend the next week visiting my in-laws. It was fun to visit Great Gma and Great Gpa, Dianna and Chad and their sweet kids. I got to go to the temple with my Mom-in-law in St. George where I just had such a wonderful and amazing spiritual time. My bro-in-law Bryan and his new wife visited and I loved seeing everyone!!

Our farewell dinner with my Mom at Cafe Rio.
Had a great visit with Grandma Linda.
My in-laws took me to the "Forgotten Carols." It was such a fun time. We got to go with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa, Diana and Chad.

The whole group of in-laws in St. George.

The week I was in St. George was amazing for our lil' family. We found out that Dylan got into Thomas Jefferson! He scored in the 87th percentile for all his tests (reading, comprehension, study skills and math). The financial aid package we got was sufficient to cover 1/2 of his tuition and he could start as soon as we got home! We also found out that Darin got the job he was praying for!! It was the job that he was most qualified for and the wage was higher than what he was earning in Utah and for a company he wanted to be with so badly!!! With each of these miraculous things we got blessed with, we needed a new car to tote Darin to and from his new job 40 minutes away and Dylan to and from his new school. We found a perfect car for us, a used 1993 Toyota 4Runner. It had 150K miles on it, but every review I read for it, it would last us another 100K miles. It was in prime condition and it was within the budget we had planned for it. We felt comforted that it was the right one for us and got the Go-Ahead to purchase it. Lastly, we FINALLY got the confirmation to go ahead and find a place for us to settle into.

We searched for more places online and found a bunch of houses to rent for a lot less than any apartment we could rent in Utah!! For perspective, a 1-bedroom apartment in Utah can run, on average $600-700/month!!! We were looking at 3 bedroom HOUSES for the same price!

Darin visited the places and walked through them with the landlords while I was online "walking through" with him on Skype. Isn't technology AMAZING! We felt the best about one place and went ahead with the down payment and signing the lease. After months of searching, pondering, praying, fasting, trying and more trying, we finally had the home, the job and the school we needed. I finally felt like we were settling down and were where we needed to be. I could breath again! Oh, it was nice. That week was the most euphoric week ever for my nerves. Darin spent the rest of the week moving in for us while I was in Utah with the kids. What a blessing! I didn't have to do any of the heavy lifting.

At the end of the week, me and my pregnant self and two young kids in tow made the trip home. My awesome friend from Vegas, Kristine, drove up to St George, picked us up and we shacked with her over night until it was time to go to the airport. She came with us to the gate (thank you so much!!) and hung out until it was time to go. We got on the plane and had a great trip home. We were SO happy to see Dad! It was amazing how much I had missed him. He wore his new suit and shaved just for me. He's so funny. That day, rather than enjoying the time home and resting, we had to pick up the new car, sign and pay for the new school, turn in the lease and contract for the new home and utilities, end our lease with the storage unit and ... THEN, we got to enjoy being home. We went to Red, Hot and Blue to celebrate - YAY, finally found one since Virginia's location shut down. It was a great day.
Yup, there I am ... pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen ... lookin' for something to EAT. I'm always hungry these days.

Finally, I got to see the new house. I LOVE it!! Darin, ya done good!!! I learned, too, Skype doesn't give you a great picture of all things. The house is so much better than it appeared online, bigger, too!

Our front door. It reminds me of a little corner shop.
The hall entrance (and Aba's lil' head bouncing in to see her new home).
The kitchen and 1/2 the living room.

The dining room.

The garage off the kitchen. Spacious enough for the car and storage.

The kids' room.
The office.
The kids' bathroom.
Our bathroom.
Our bedroom and Dylan claiming the "big room is MINE." lol