Friday, December 30, 2011

Exodus to Las Vegas

Well, like Moses leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land, my Mr. Nielson led our little family on the long trail to our new life and his new job in Las Vegas...it wasn't always and easy journey- in fact, its not completely over...but we're here now, learning how to navigate the big city and trying to find a few minutes outside of when we fall into bed at night to relax.

Day 1 of our journey took us to the Budget truck rental place in Idaho Falls. After researching the issue thoroughly (and by thoroughly I mean we took a facebook poll) we decided to go with the cheaper service at Budget as opposed to getting a UHaul. Budget was going to be half the cost...well, we soon found out why. After 45 minutes at the Budget and Jeff getting the run-around, we finally were told that they didn't have a working towing dolly (that we had ordered)...to make matters worse, they didn't have a 16 foot truck with 3 seatbelts- a necessity as there were three passengers partaking in our little adventure, and we were going to have to drive a massive 24 foot truck and would likely have to stop at all ports of entry....there were a few problems with this:
A) We needed the towing dolly, there was NO WAY I was driving through Salt Lake....NONE! (Oh...if I had only known what lay ahead...)
B) This 24 foot monstrosity was way way WAY too big...let's be honest...Jeff and I are still technically poor college students, its not like we have enough stuff to fill it...
C) Jeff was really, really nervous to have to tow our car behind the 24 foot beast, it would have made us longer ...that's right LONGER...than a semi!

Well, after getting the run around for 45 minutes and hearing their lame excuses about why they didn't have a towing dolly that worked even though they knew the day before that we were coming, Jeff came back to the car and said, "Take me to UHaul...we're just going to go to UHaul.."

I didn't complain. I put the car into gear and we called my dad to find out where the nearest UHaul station was. The guy at UHaul was super helpful...of course we knew it was going to be twice the cost, but they had the perfect 14 foot truck for our needs AND a towing dolly plus we could get a free month of storage if we needed it for making the one way move... well, my Mr. Nielson made the call to Budget to let them know we were dumping them (I think we thought about using the "Its not you, its me." line but we decided to be honest and say..."Its you...its definitely your fault...") and they magically had someone there fixing the flat tire on one of their towing dollies and they did their best to assure us that they would be ready for us by the time we made it back....well, by that point I didn't even care about saving the money (to be honest, Jeff's employer is going to reimburse us anyway) we were tired, we were ready to be on the road and UHaul had what we wanted and needed right now....We left UHaul with the truck, towing dolly and the urgent need to pack our stuff that was in I.F. with us ASAP!

We loaded as fast as we possibly could, hooked the car up to the dolly and made our way to Preston and the rest of the Nielson clan. It was our family Christmas party, and Jeff's brothers were kind enough to come help us load up (thanks guys!) Matriarch Nielson (aka MOM) was a little displeased when she found out we weren't staying the night...in our defense Jeff had called her to tell her, I guess she thought we would change our minds once the party got started...We stayed at the party until 7:30 and loaded up again to head for Nephi, UT.

To be honest...we were a little miffed...we had wanted to be out of Preston sooner, but mom was insistent that we stay to open presents and wanted everyone to guess what was in our niece Sidney's present before she opened it...we didn't have TIME for games...we wished we did, but we had to go...oh well, all was forgotten once we were on the road. We of course thanked mom for a good time, because, all things considered, it really was a good time...and booked it as fast as we could.

We met with some interesting construction through Provo...there were some concerned "Whoa"s heard from both sides of the moving truck as we rode over medians to follow where the construction detours took us...all the while our little diva in training slept like an angel (would that we had that ability...)

We made really good time to Nephi and instead of making it there at 1 AM as we had feared we would, we made it at a surprising 11:30 PM. Of course, our sleeping angel woke up as we made our way to our luxurious digs for the evening in the local Econo Lodge...she was less than thrilled with her accomodations...

Let's just say that my dear Mr. Nielson was able to go to sleep at around midnight and the little diva insisted that we have a private party until 2:30 in the morning, when I finally brought her into the bed to sleep with us (I know...bad mommy, but what else could I do? She didn't have her cozy leopard print blanket to sleep on in her play yard and refused to sleep in it for longer than about 10 minutes.) Of course, since our princess was sleeping in the bed with us, I was a little nervous to fall asleep myself (understandably so...). I finally managed to sleep for an hour or so around 3, then my dear husband woke up around 5 and took care of the princess for me since she desired an early breakfast in bed.... He was worried about our stuff in the UHaul outside (not that we really have anything worth stealing... but its worth something to us I suppose) and decided to go out and check on it around 5:30. He was kind enough to bring in our bags of clothes so we could find a fresh outfit for the next leg of our journey and said, "Well, I know we were planning on leaving at 8, but do you just want to get up and go now?"

"No...I need to sleeeeeeeep..." I replied. We put the princess into her play yard (she magically decided to sleep in it when she was dead to the world in a food coma...go figure) and managed to sleep until 6:30. We woke up and decided we would try to be out of Nephi by 7, but we dragged our feet a bit and didn't leave until about a quarter to 8. We ended up stopping for breakfast, so we left Nephi by 8, as originally planned.

We made a stop in St.George to gas up and see my Aunt Jann and her family. They were kind and offered us an opportunity to get out of the UHaul for about an hour. My cousins Katie and Cassie sufficiently doted on our little diva, giving her the affection befitting someone of her status (that status being cute baby) Thanks again guys for letting us stop. We needed the break.

The break was longer than anticipated, but we hadn't realized there would be a time change once we crossed the border (a fact that Uncle Mike graciously divulged to us) This put us at ease that we would pull into Vegas on schedule in spite of our hour long stop.

We pulled into Vegas and found, to our surprise, that the hotel that Jeff's employer arranged our temporary housing in was right on the strip...needless to say driving our giant UHaul with car attached to the back was soooooo easy and pleasant *note sarcasm*

We were exhausted, but we had to go apartment hunting. Our realtor had some problems with her printer in her home office and we ended up leaving later to look at apartments than we had originally planned...this ended up being a blessing/curse...a curse because after viewing the first apartment, Jeff turned on our headlights only to find that they wouldn't turn on...a blessing because we found out about it when we had help around. Our sweet realtor first escorted us to a Sears Auto Center to see if they could help and then back to our hotel to make sure we got there safely since our headlights wouldn't work.

The next day (yesterday for those of you trying to keep track of where we are on our exodus) Jeff pulled the bulbs out of the front, without tools mind you (still don't know how he did it) to find that the glass had completely shattered leaving only the exposed filament. We knew that the bumps on the trip had been pretty bad, but apparently they were worse than we'd thought because they succeeded in busting not only our headlights, but also the break light in the rear window (which still needs to be fixed...) We also found out that our first choice apartment was still available with no pending applications. We rushed over to fill out the application and pay the necessary fees...once we were there we were basically told that because the firm that manages the property does everything by the book and to the letter, we wouldn't be allowed to move in (provided there were no surprises in the credit check) until the 3rd at the earliest...(BOO!!!) but things were looking pretty good that everything would go through. We followed our realtor to look at some other properties so we could decide what our plan B would be if this place ended up not working out (we don't want to put all our eggs in one basket just yet...and can I just say how DIFFERENT it is here...in Idaho Falls they can do a credit check in one day at most apartment complexes and you can move in the next, provided the apartment is ready....Geesh...but I digress...)

We decided that we would take the UHaul back today and take them up on their generous offer of a month of free storage (even though it will only, hopefully, be a couple of days)...and I got the joy of driving the car since Jeff didn't want to put it on the tow dolly...

Let's just say that I did it! However, I will admit that once we reached our first destination I was in tears...driving in town isn't too bad because people will let you in the lane you need to be in but driving on the freeway...well, that is a different story...

Well, that is where a new adventure began...the UHaul place that the guy in I.F. had set as our return place was supposedly supposed to have storage...and they didn't...the guy in I.F. also said that there was no UHaul return place with storage in Henderson...well...there WAS...the people at this particular UHaul place were very kind about it and allowed us to turn in the towing dolly and set us up to return the UHaul at return place in Henderson so that the storage would be closer to where our new place will (hopefully) be. Then began the next leg of our journey (after more tears when Jeff came and broke the news that we would have to drive there next...Did I mention that we were clear in Northwest Vegas and needed to drive all the way to Henderson which is on the Southeast corner????)

My dear Mr. Nielson thought it would be easier if he took our GPS and I followed him...well, he hadn't had much experience with a GPS and our particular GPS warns you well in advance if you have to make a turn so that you can be in the correct lane...well when it would say something like "Take the exit Right, ahead." He would assume it was the very next exit...needless to say I got LOTS of practice getting on and off the freeway here (My heart was in my throat the whole time, especially because I had a cranky little diva in training in the backseat...)

We made it to the storage place and found that its actually pretty near to our new apartment, which makes me a little more at ease with the idea of possibly having to drive behind Jeff...but I did come up with the nifty idea of emptying our storage and instead of turning in our keys right away leaving the car, since we have to return the new truck anyway and then turning in our keys after we have our car again...and it saves us gas! I love it when I come up with devious genius plans that prevent me from having to drive on the freeway...

I guess we will just have to hope that Faith's new pediatrician, our family doctor, dentist, optometrist etc. are all in Henderson...LOL

After our adventure today, we were a little cranky. We went and got some legit Mexican food...and we're talking LEGIT!.. and then we came back to our temporary home...our plan was to go right back out and do a little grocery shopping, but Jeff decided he wanted a break...which led to another adventure...we accidentally ended up driving down Las Vegas Boulevard...we're talking the strip strip...we're on Tropicana which is one road over...and when we were trying to head to Walmart, which is on the other end of Tropicana from where we are, Jeff didn't turn right where he was supposed to and we ended up not in the right place...after sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and only making it a few blocks, Jeff managed to make it over to the left turn lane. We backtracked using our GPS to go back to the hotel (since I haven't updated it at all since I bought it and it doesn't recognize that there is a Walmart on Tropicana). Once we were back on Tropicana we were okay and made it to Walmart- unfortunately we were so tired and rushed that we forgot something very important...celery...we have no fruits or veggies and I am going crazy without them. Oh well, I guess we will have to make the trek tomorrow before all the New Year's Eve craziness starts.

On the way back Jeff got a little antsy to get into the turn lane to go back to our hotel and accidentally ended up in the U turn lane that is right before it...needless to say we got to go on another adventure...my poor sweet Mr. Nielson...I am glad he puts up with me, especially when I freak out while driving at night because my depth perception is horrible in the dark...a few white knuckle moments later (for me) we were back at our hotel with our wholesome dinner of various types of Lunchables (because that is how we roll)...

Well, that is the rundown on the Exodus thus far. If you made it to this point of the blog- bless you! Any of you praying types out there, please pray for us. Pray that we are able to move into our new apartment before our temporary housing runs out (we have to be out of here on the afternoon of the 3rd, if we have to stay anywhere else, its on our dime...we don't have many dimes left to spend since we have to wait for a reimbursement check for the move...)...and if you're not the praying type, we can always use good vibes and positive thoughts!

We are adjusting. Jeff says he already hates this town...but its definitely so different from what we're used to, I can't say I blame him. Here's hoping that he loves his new job so much that it makes all of this seem more worth it to him! Here's hoping that I stop being such a wuss and learn how to drive...

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yikes!

We planned our move in 10 days ( for after Jeff's family holiday party) and thought we had everything planned...

until this afternoon when it all fell apart.

We were going to borrow a trailer from someone and have Jeff's parents drive our stuff down after we had found a place, but alas, the owner of the trailer was a little hesitant about it going over state lines...oh well, you live, you learn...you make new plans.

Still don't have an apartment...hoping we find one quickly and that they won't make us wait to move in.

And now we don't know how we're going to get our stuff down to the apartment that we don't know the location of...AWESOME!

Atleast we know when Jeff starts work...

So far Vegas 2, Nielson clan 1...you win this round interstate move....but you won't win the match.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our First Year

video

I had originally been planning to wait until closer to the end of the year to make this video and post it, but I knew that with the big move to Vegas looming over our heads, and an unpredictable little munchkin who sometimes likes to be attached to mom like peanut butter to bread, I had to take advantage of some free time to get it made up and posted for everyone.

Its amazing how fast time flies. Its hard to believe that we've been married a little over a year, and even harder to believe that this year is already getting ready to come to a close.

Everyone told me that being pregnant would seem like it took forever, but I can honestly say that my pregnancy seemed to go so fast...granted, I did deliver almost a month early; however, I have to say that I honestly feel like it was such a short time ago that I learned that Faith was on her way to our family, its hard to imagine that she spent the better part of the year in my belly. She also has fit so perfectly into our family that its hard to remember what it was like before she came. We are truly blessed to have such a beautiful little girl and truly blessed to have each other.

Jeffry Lee, you are truly my soul mate. I love you more and more every day. No matter what you think, I know that you are the most handsome man on the planet, and the sexiest man alive (People magazine can say that its someone else every year but they will never convince me that anyone is more handsome or sexier than you!) Thank you for just being plain awesome. You make life so much more enriching and better.

So, enjoy the video- just a picture montage of our first year together set to music.

I have to give props to the artist: Mindy Gledhill from her album Anchor

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Why is my baby cuter than yours????


It simply comes down to style...

Check out her awesome hairdo, she did it all by herself somehow...

Business in the front:



Party in the back:


She also likes to help her daddy fold the laundry....

She also sleeps like a marathon runner who is winning while crossing the finishing line:
As Charlie Sheen would say....WINNING!!!!!


Cute, right???? Cuter than your baby???...I think yes....(While this topic is up for debate, and I can appreciate your difference of opinions, as queen of the universe mine is really the only one that counts...LOL)

If we brought any joy into your humdrum lives just now...your welcome.

Hugs and loves until next time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Viva Las Vegas- Anniversary Edition

Well,

Our anniversary was on Sunday. Knowing that we really didn't have money to do anything too extravagant (every penny we have is going to have to go towards moving to Vegas in January) I spent the majority of my sick day (Friday) trying to come up with ideas. Thank heavens for Pinterest....I try not to spend too much time on it, but I did find a link, which led me to another link, that led me to another link where I was able to find not only an idea for a stellar Christmas present (since Christmas is pretty much either needing to be homemade this year or non-existent...LOL) for Jeff and an idea for our anniversary date.

So... I came up with a fake travel agency that gave us a free Las Vegas travel package for our anniversary in honor of Jeff's new job. The travel package included beginning the evening with "cocktails" (i.e. mocktails) and Blackjack at Caesar's Palace, dinner at Mandalay Bay inside one of its restaurants the Shanghai Lilly (which is actually now closed and being replaced with a restaurant of a celebrity chef, but I picked it because it worked with my food theme), a special screening of a movie inside the MGM Grand Theatre, and a dip in the spa at Treasure Island.

I gave Jeff some "documents" in a manilla envelope the morning of our anniversary. He chuckled a little bit when he read it. One was a letter from the Anniversary Travel Agency, another was the menu for our dinner, and the final coup de grats was a print out of two tickets for the VIP movie.

How did I pull it off- after all I do live with my parents in a smallish apartment? Well, I had my dad reserve one of the clubhouses where we live. I lucked out and the only clubhouse available was the Parkwood Clubhouse (i.e. the old one) It ended up being perfect because I was able to separate each of the events into a different room in the clubhouse.

I designated what room was what by hanging printouts of the hotel logos on the wall outside the entrances. I also purchased about $3 worth of decorative items from the dollar store and decorated the table for the "restaurant".

All in all, it was an awesome evening. I was a little stressed because we got started late (dinner took longer to cook than I had thought it would). However, decorating didn't take too long and Jeff had a little giggle at my ingenuity. He said that the evening demonstrated one of the reasons he loves me so much, only I would think to throw something like this together.

He, of course, loved dinner. I found copycat recipes on the net for his favorite Panda Express Orange Chicken. I needed a little more spice and it would have been perfect. I also found a few other copycat recipes for some dishes from P.F. Changs. It was yummy! I honestly think it was one of my best attempts at Chinese food at home of all time...EPIC!

We decided to sit in the hot tub in "Treasure Island" before we watched the movie...which may not have been the best idea. Neither of us had been in a while and while it felt really, really good to sit in front of the jets and work out some of those knots we both came out in a hot tub induced coma...instead of watching our movie selection for the night (Harry Potter 7 Part 2- we've both already seen it, but it was fairly new on DVD and my parents had purchased it, which meant we could save some money on a rental- even if it was only $1). We ended up watching a movie that was on the television (the 2nd DaVinci code movie...I don't remember the name...LOL)

We were practically falling asleep, and I knew I needed to clean up, so once the movie was over we cleaned up and came home. My parents were sitting in the living room holding our baby, who had apparently just fallen to sleep but woke up and was wide awake until about midnight...LOL We were both exhausted and baby wanted our attention- she was punishing us for leaving her alone for a few hours...ha ha

A few days later, we had the opportunity to cap off our anniversary with a date night to the Forgotten Carols. My parents were kind enough to watch Faith for us and I spent the whole evening wishing we'd brought her. There was another mom with her baby and every time I saw her get up and sway to the music with her fussing baby I missed mine so much! I just wanted her to be there, to hear the music and feel the spirit that is always there at the productions of the show.

Jeff had never been and, in the end, when we left he lamented that he hadn't known about it when he was single. He said it would have been a perfect date night because of the end...Michael McLean has a tradition where he has the audience link arms and sing the chorus of "We Can Be Together Forever Someday"...he then recovered by saying it was even more perfect because he was sitting next to his wife and singing it...nice save Honey! LOL I think I got more of a kick out of him experiencing the show for the first time than I did out of the actual show (which is one of my most favorite things about the holiday season in Idaho Falls. I will miss it next year when we are living in Vegas. The Forgotten Carols and Christmas just go hand in hand...I'm sorry... LOL)


I do have pictures...however Blogger is being dumb and not letting me post them. Once I can get them to post you will all get to see a slice of the evening...plus some cuteness of little miss Faith.

All in all, my anniversary was pretty good. Here's to one year- its been so awesome that I can't wait to see what this next year brings. I love my Mr.Nielson more now than I did when I married him (which is saying something!) He is truly one of the biggest blessings I've ever received. He is truly proof of how much God loves me. God loves me so much that he made sure I found the one guy who would be perfect for me...and no matter what, through good and bad, nothing will change that.

Happy 1st year Jeff. You are amazing, wonderful, and I love you all the time- no matter what! :)

Hugs and Loves until next time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time Flies

Sometimes I really, really wish that new babies didn't put their parents into a sleep induced stupor. There is so much going on and there are so many changes that are being made, it almost feels like you blink and you miss it.

On 4 days my baby will be 1 month old...Considering that she wasn't supposed to be here until 3 days ago this is quite a feat in and of itself...

Let's just say that this is a pattern in my baby's life- she wants to do things early.

For example, by the time she was 3 days old she was already trying to lift her head on her own- a feat she had accomplished by the time she was a week old. The sad thing, I don't even realize when she officially lifted her head all by herself for the first time. I was in such a sleep deprived haze that all the days seemed to mold together and all of a sudden, there was my baby lifting her head all by herself!

Sunday, while I was taking a long nap, my husband was watching her and decided to give her some tummy time- what does my child do? She proceeds to roll over from her tummy to her back! And because once just wasn't enough, when my husband decided to put her back on her tummy after she'd rolled over she decided to give him an encore presentation and SHE DID IT AGAIN!

I was pretty bummed I missed it...we've since placed her on her tummy again, and she tries to show my her new trick but doesn't quite get there. P.S> she has been rolling onto her side from her back since she was about a week old, I did see her roll from her back to her belly the other day, so maybe that counts as seeing her new trick?????

I was completely bummed because I lost my camera, I have been quickly realizing that I need to capture all this cuteness before it disappears forever...my amazing husband found it for me on Saturday.

In other words, I vow that the next blog I post will be filled with cuteness!

In other news, Jeff's new employers read our minds and gave our contact information to a realtor that they use to find housing for their employees and she seems really nice. Here's hoping we can find a place...and money to pay for said place...LOL

Hugs and loves until next time

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rapid

As usual with most things in my life, when I do something for the first time I do it in a big way (well, atleast what seems like a big way for me.)

Change has been a constant companion of mine, even when I believed I was stuck in one place, things around me were changing so rapidly all I could do was grab for something sturdy and hang on.

I don't mind change, I've experienced so much in my life that it doesn't seem like a big deal- however, these latest rapid changes seem more like a big deal, mostly because we have time to anticipate their arrival.

Jeff got a job!

I don't know about him, but with the economy the way that it is, I definitely didn't anticipate him getting one so fast!

Its a great job, with great benefits and great pay.

So, why is this job such a big deal?

This job is a big deal because it means that a little over a month from now I will be on my way to Las Vegas in a UHaul, snuggled up next to my husband and a hopefully sleeping baby. (I'm hoping we can get one of the BIG trucks that we can attach the car to the back of so I don't have to drive alone with baby in the backseat that far.)

Because we weren't anticipating this job or this move, I have to say that I am a little nervous. We are essentially still going to be poor college students when we make this big jump, and we don't exactly have money saved up to move hundreds of miles away...

However, I choose to have faith. This summer when moving to Vegas was a real possibility that I had accepted (before Jeff didn't get the initial position he interviewed for) I knew that Vegas was right. It scared me to think of it being "the place" (or at least "the place" for the next 5-6 years) but I just had this feeling everything would work out.

I am working to remember that feeling. I am working on having faith that somehow, some way, we will be able to come up with the money we need to make this happen.

The company is going to cover our moving expenses (U Haul, hotel, food,etc.) but they will pay on a reimbursement basis- which means we still have to come up with the money for the drive down and hope that they will pay us back quickly...

The place to live is the trickiest part.

We're hoping we can find some way to get a home loan with 0% down- again, that darn economy rears its ugly head and I realize that this may be a dream, within a dream,within a dream... but I can't help but hope...$400 earnest money will be a lot easier to come up with than a security deposit plus first month's rent (and possibly last months rent too...)

I guess this is the time that we need to rely on our friends and family the most. If you're reading this and you happen to have friends or family in Vegas that could help us out, that would be amazing. Whether you have an uncle who owns and apartment complex that would be willing to wait a few weeks to be paid (until Jeff gets his first paycheck) or you have a cousin who is a real estate agent or mortgage broker in the Vegas area who could help us as well...anything... We would be muchly obliged to you and you would truly be the answer to a prayer.

All I can do is continue to pray. If this is right, we will find a way to make it work somehow. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Heavenly Father will move mountains to get you to where he needs you to be.

Here's to moving mountains.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adjusting

Some major decisions have been made in the last 24 hours- the first big one is that I have decided to dry up.

It was a heart wrenching decision, but my older sister and I spent some quality time together yesterday, and after attempting to see if baby would even try to latch, it became very clear that I needed to change my tactics. Amber helped me to see that there is no point in killing myself to make the pumping thing work, and with the sneaky suspicion that baby has a milk intolerance/allergy, I really just didn't think I could take on one more thing...that one more thing being completely cutting milk out of my diet on top of pumping every 2 to 3 hours to try to remotely keep up with her demands...

Some people may read this and think it sounds selfish- believe me, that is part of why it was such a hard decision to come to. The reality is that a baby needs a functioning, happy mom and with all the sleep deprivation caused by needing to pump, topped off with her fussy and gassy nature and never wanting to be put down at night, I knew that functioning and happy would not be an option if I continued on the path I was on.

Most people have been incredibly supportive. I must say how touched I am with the willingness of my friends and family to share their experiences with me and sending me the ultimate message of- its going to be okay!

I will say that things are already beginning to look up slightly. My older sister (the nurse) said that it may take 2-4 days before we would know if the formula switch was going to help anything, but I have to say that baby slept much better last night and had a lot less gas pain. She still had her moments of discomfort, but it was much easier to get her to calm down and stay asleep when I laid her down- this meant that I managed to get a little more sleep (not much, but it was more than I've gotten yet.) I still had to pump twice last night, but I am only pumping enough to take the edge off and am trying to wait as long as possible before pumping anything off. Amber says that this will gradually deplete my milk supply and help me to dry up with less discomfort...here's hoping it works soon. It will be nice to sleep until baby decides to wake me up. I think that has been the most frustrating part. She is fast asleep, and I wake up to pump, I'll just be finished and trying to lay down to go back to sleep and she wakes up....like I said, last night was better but I was definitely on the path to going crazy.

Its hard to believe that baby is almost 3 weeks old. 3 weeks ago yesterday I went into labor in the middle of the afternoon and denied being in labor for the next 48 hours...in fact more than that since I denied it until my midwife sent me up to the hospital that fateful Wednesday 3 weeks ago...

She has changed so much in just the last 3 weeks, and I almost feel guilty that I waited so long to make my decision to just move to a sensitive formulated formula all together- I wonder if I would have been able to enjoy her more if I hadn't been killing myself for the first 2 weeks trying to make breast feeding work...I guess we live and learn. I guess, in the grand scheme of things, it won't matter too much...most first time moms are just as sleep deprived and dazed and confused as I was and they somehow manage to get through the haze and back into the light...so why not me?

I found myself thinking today that I needed to try to get on a schedule. I desperately want to feel normal again, I desperately want to get out of my pajamas, feel awake enough to be a functioning member of society, and take my baby out into the world to show off how beautiful she is...however, I am beginning to realize I need to be more gentle with myself and stop being so hard on myself. You see, I have definitely been beating myself up for not being able to just bounce back and be normal- but with the help of wonderful friends who have been there- I am realizing that its okay to be in this limbo state...I still maintain my desire to be normal, but from here on out I vow not to let myself get too bogged down by the fact that I just can't seem to make my day work to get everything done that needs to be done.

Of course, as I type this I look around and my bedroom- or should I say the war zone that used to be my bedroom. Baby has peed and pooped on the sheets during diaper changes...have I washed them yet? Nope...I have probably a good 6 loads of laundry that need to be done, but have I started it yet today? Nope....

I didn't do much yesterday, but I did manage to bathe Faith (with some help from my awesome sister who came and picked us up to come to her house yesterday. A change of scenery actually did me a world of good- thanks Amber!) and I took a shower. I also did my hair, got dressed and taught a voice lesson...small victories, right?

The list goes on....

Today I managed to let baby have some tummy time today and I played with her, I also managed to get a bath in, which I'm actually supposed to be doing twice a day to help my stitches heal (yeah, it hasn't really happened, but its a nice dream...LOL) ...I suppose that is an accomplishment!

I probably could be doing laundry instead of typing a blog, but the reality is that this is therapeutic for me. I can clear my head and reassure myself that I'm doing okay. It helps me to sit and think of words to put with my thoughts and emotions and then to organize them.

Maybe, just maybe, if I tried to make some kind of schedule for myself and for baby it would possibly slightly work...

However, until we get the sleeping when its night time thing down, on top of making sure this new formula works, maybe it would be better to make goals...small attainable goals until I know I'm ready to make an actual schedule.

Wish me luck- I will let you know how it goes. Until next time, let me assure you that I am hopeful. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I just need to tie a knot in the end of my rope and hang on until I manage to make it to the light. I am acutely aware that things could be so much worse than they are. I feel so blessed to have a healthy baby, to have wonderful friends who are willing to help me and give advice, and wonderful family that helps where they can. I am also blessed with an amazing husband who works so hard to make sure that things are okay for us.

Here's to onward and upward!

Hugs and Hope until next time darlings!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The lessons of sleep deprivation

Every night I wake up every 2 hours like clockwork, and then I'm up for an hour...I have to pump to get milk for my sweet baby, and then that sweet baby wakes up after I've been awake about 1o minutes, we go through our usual dance of seeing if she will latch (and she doesn't) and then I give her a bottle, burp her till all the gas is out of her little belly and finish pumping. This dance usually takes about an hour every time it happens...

Let's just say I'm not getting much sleep.

I try to sleep when she does, really I do, but the unfortunate truth is that life is still moving on around me, and I hate feeling like a lump on a log laying in bed all day doing nothing. So, my goal has been to try to take at least an hour nap every day...it doesn't always happen but its a nice goal.

I am starting to get used to feeling like a walking zombie, but I have to admit that it is definitely taking its toll. This morning I was reduced to a wet, sobbing mess and my poor husband tried desperately to pick up the pieces and put them back together. He reminded me that I can wake him up to get help if I need it...

Believe me, I think about it every night, but I never wake him...at least not until 5 or 6 when that last feeding comes and I'm getting to the end of my sleep deprived rope. I feel bad waking him up. He has school, he has to drive, I feel like things are better and safer if I'm the only one suffering from this zombie-ish state...

However...

I am learning that maybe I am not super woman.

GASP!

But, wait- there are more conclusions I've been able to come to, conclusions that inevitably follow realizing you're not super woman....

I think, after last night, I have decided that I am giving up on breast feeding. Faith just doesn't want to do it, and I frankly am sick of trying to force her...This wasn't what I'd planned on...I had wanted to badly to be earth mamma- I wanted a natural child birth free from drugs and I end up in the hospital 4 weeks before I'm supposed to be on Pitocin because the universe had other plans...I wanted to breast feed until my baby was at least 9 months, but of course, when man makes plans God laughs...I didn't get to try to have my baby latch right after she was born, she was whisked away to the NICU- I didn't even get to hold her until 6 hours after she was born for goodness sake! My milk didn't come in because my body wasn't prepared and had been through trauma due to me hemorrhaging a bit after birth...I wasn't even getting colostrum out...I was dry as a bone. Since my milk came in on Monday last week, I'm still playing catch up. I produce anywhere from 1 to 1.5 oz (sometimes 2 if I'm lucky) in a single sitting, my baby eats 2 to 3.5 oz in any giving feeding. I'm always behind, my body just can't do what I am asking of it...

I will admit that I felt a bit of a weight lift off my shoulders when I finally came to this conclusion this morning. Part of me feels guilty...the reasons I'm giving up seem so selfish...but when I think about it, I recognize that my baby also needs a FUNCTIONING mother, and living in this sleep deprived state, I know that I am not being the best mommy I can be.

The next decision I'm weighing now is figuring out if I want to pump until my insufficient milk supply dries itself up or if I want to just dry up and move to formula and be done all the way. I figure that I will discuss both options with her pediatrician at her 2 week check up tomorrow. Her pediatrician has been great through all this. While he is normally a strong advocate for breast feeding, he has recognized and acknowledged the tough hand me and baby have been dealt. From day one he has said that in my given circumstance there is no shame in throwing in the towel when it comes to breast feeding. He made it clear at our first appointment outside the hospital that some premature babies never can get the hang of breast feeding because they miss out on those crucial first hours when term babies are given opportunities to latch right away and follow their instincts.

If my pediatrician encourages me to continue to pump until I'm out of milk, then I will try to follow his suggestion...what it will eventually boil down to is my sanity and whether or not I want to continue the regimen of waking up every 2 hours to pump when milk comes in. Right now, for me, its become about survival and I know for certain is I can't survive on 1-2 hours of sleep a night for much longer.

However, with all these hard pills that I've had to swallow, I've come to some more conclusions that are wonderful and sweet.

I am even more in love with my husband now than I ever thought would be possible. This deeper love started the first time I got to hold Faith and looked up to see tears streaming down his face. Jeff is generally a pretty solid, stoic character. He is hilarious, but I've only ever seen him cry once before this, it was after he gave me a blessing once when we were first married. Seeing him cry at this moment, and feeling the spirit that was in the NICU as we held our baby for the first time are a feeling and a sight that I won't soon forget. I. Love. That. Man.


The whole time I was in labor in the hospital Jeff was a pillar of strength. He worked so hard to encourage me and make me feel safe and comfortable. I know it was killing him that he couldn't do anything to take my pain away, but he tried to do what he could to alleviate what he could. I wish that the bed I had labored in was a bit bigger. The whole time I was in labor I just wanted to snuggle up with him and bury my face in his chest. I think he knew that, and he stayed close by. He hated that he had to leave the room for a phone interview for a job that he had scheduled the week before- but he was always right where I needed him to be. I would be closing my eyes, crying silent tears and all of a sudden I would feel his hand clasp mine. He didn't leave me alone, he always made sure I had what I needed. He is the most amazing man and I am so lucky that he chose me, as flawed and crazy as I am, to be his eternal companion. I definitely couldn't picture eternity without him- especially now.

Every time he holds Faith he looks down at her and gets this special smile that I've never seen before her entrance into our world. Its Faith's smile, a look he reserves specially for her, and it makes me love him even more because I know he has a special smile just for me too. I know he is completely wrapped around her little finger, and she didn't even have to do anything to make it happen. He is in love with her. He will hold her, look at me, and in his best impression of a 2 year old he will say "MY BABY!" He will then hold her close, breathe her in, and refuse for a time to let anyone else hold her on the grounds that she is his baby. I can't help but love him more in these moments.

Its so funny think back to how nervous he was about being a dad when we first found out that Faith was on her way to our family and see him now. He loves her, he can't get enough. He is awestruck by her. I asked him to give Faith a blessing the other night after my attempt to get more milk in using Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek ended with both of us getting a lovely red rash all over. He was quick to respond. He didn't even hesitate. When he is in the room, you can feel the love he has for both me and his little girl radiate off of him.

He thinks he is just doing what any guy would do...but I know plenty of friends who would say that their husbands wouldn't be this way, they wouldn't be as helpful, as kind, or as loving. Again, I am truly blessed.

Another conclusion I have come to...my baby wants to grow up WAAAAY to fast.

She already rolls up onto her side, lifts her head, and the other day when I was feeding her I tried to take the bottle out of her mouth to burp her only to have her grab the bottle, put it back in her mouth and hold it there all by herself for the rest of the feeding...

People definitely don't lie when they say time goes by and before you know it they aren't babies anymore...one more reason I have to get out of my current zombie-fied state...I feel like I'm missing it, like I can't fully take it in because all I want to do is sleep.

She will only be this little once. Every day she experiences some sort of first and I often don't even think about it, but when I do it makes me want to cry. Its so strange how fast we're exposed to the world, its strange how quickly the firsts start to hit us like a 2x4 in the face.

Well darlings, all I can say is, the moral for today is to allow yourself to take everything in. Drink life in, and don't take it for granted. You never realize what you've missed until you look back and realize that its passed you by.

Hugs and sleep until next time darlings.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grateful for Small Victories...


This morning was filled with a lot of hope. I spoke to the pediatrician and he was super surprised by Faith's progress. In fact, he said that if she was eating well she may even possibly be able to come home with me when I'm discharged tomorrow.

Hope welled up inside me. I had been refusing to allow myself to think of the possibility of leaving here without my baby in my arms, and for that moment it seemed like I had been doing the right thing, just avoiding and ignoring that possibility.

Our first feeding of the morning was the best we'd had yet. She latched and fed for about 5 minutes without any aids. I thought we were making real and totally doable progress when it came to the goal of tomorrow.

Then, came the afternoon feed. Faith was just sleepy and content (they still have her on a sugar solution in her IV that helps to keep her blood sugar up, which is good and necessary, but also makes it so she doesn't feel hungry.) We held her for about an hour hoping she would wake up and open her eyes, but alas, no luck.

We came back to the room with hopes that I could take a short and needed nap. My iron levels are severely low. Apparently I must have bled too much yesterday and my body just hasn't been able to bounce back. This has left me a very sleepy, very dizzy Brittany at times, but I have been trying to push through because, inevitably, I have been more worried about Faith than myself. Well, the nap didn't work because it was lunch time.

The goal then became eat and nap while Jeff went to take a nap and do some things for himself. Well, I ate, but I decided I wanted to chat. I called my sister in law and talked for over an hour...well, too bad no nap...I realized it was almost 2 PM and I should probably try to go feed Faith again.

Well, I though there was hope in succeeding at a feeding because they said she was awake and her eyes were open...a very good sign.

I have been trying to get the hang of the whole breast feeding thing. Its been frustrating because not even my colostrum had been seeming to come in yet.

Well, things went from bad to worse...

Faith would latch and then sit there, doing nothing. We tried using an SNS drip. You fill it with formula and either tape the little tube to yourself or put it underneath a nipple shield and trick the baby into eating and wanting to suck...that wasn't working either. I was trying to remain positive and simply cheered on my daughter stating that if she wanted to come home tomorrow she needed to start showing the nurses that she knew how to eat...

and then things got much worse...

The wonderful nurse running the NICU whom had been helping me with acquiring my feeding skills rubbed my back and gently explained that based off of the way Faith was acting, she was pretty sure that she wasn't going to come home with me tomorrow.

Without warning the floodgates opened. I had been ignoring the thoughts of what it would be like to walk out of this hospital tomorrow without her and now I was being told it was reality. My sweet nurse suggested we stop trying to push something on her she wasn't ready for and explained that a lot of babies born before 38 weeks have a tendency to understand the latch and not the suck part, even though they have a working and strong suck reflex when tested. Maybe Faith just wasn't ready to eat on her own yet. She said that I would be welcome to stay on at the hospital in an extra room so I could be close to her until we could take her home, but the earliest that she could see Faith leaving the NICU and coming home would be Monday.

I sat, sobbed and held my baby. I prayed quietly hoping for the hurt in my heart to go away. When you're pregnant and anticipating how things will end, you don't picture having to leave your baby at the hospital...especially when everyone keeps telling you how great she looks and how much progress she has made. The NICU nurse continued to stroke my back and tried to make me feel better, reassuring me that it was okay to cry and that everything would be fine. Reminding me of all the obstacles that Faith had overcome in spite of everything...

The nurse had to leave go help another couple with their baby. She suggested that I hold her and love on her for a minute, but that maybe I should leave and get some rest. I held her close and prayed for some hope, a little glimpse that everything would be okay. I had literally just thought my "amen" when I noticed Faith snuzzling my neck like hungry babies do. She also started to eat her hand. In my head I thought, "If she can suck on her hand than she can suck, we just need to keep trying." I lowered her back down to try again. The NICU nurse came back and said, "Oh, you're going to try again? Okay. Just let me know when you're ready for me to take her or you need help."

She turned around to talk to some of her co-workers and Faith went to town! I let her know that Faith was feeding. She turned around and looked at her with a surprised look. She said, "Well, I guess just let me know when she stops." About 10 minutes later Faith started to grunt and cry. I pulled her off the latch and tried to burp her. She got the hiccups. We had to wait for about 15 minutes to try again. I tried using the nipple shield and the SNS again in hopes of possibly getting her some actual nutrition (again, I didn't think I had anything coming in at all- not even colostrum) but she refused to take it... I had to laugh because as soon as the nipple shield and SNS were gone, she opened her mouth wide and went to latch onto the bare skin. I decided to let her have what she wanted...wonder of wonders- I realized she was swallowing, she was actually getting something! She continued to feed for another 15 minutes and pulled herself off with a grunt. I burped her and she fell asleep on my shoulder.

The NICU nurse came over to tell me that Faith's jaundice levels were higher than they'd like and that she was going to have to put her on a bili light once I left, but she definitely remarked how amazed she was with Faith. The last 15 minutes were what had surprised her the most.

I'm not going to allow myself to think that just because she finally fed things are going to turn around and she will magically come home tomorrow...especially because she is now officially jaundiced...

However, I am going to say how grateful I am for small victories and little miracles. Faith can eat, she is a little pro at it. I am so blessed by a loving Heavenly Father- he answered my prayer right away. I was witness to a miracle this afternoon, and I am truly awestruck by his ability to surprise us with an immediate answer to a humble prayer.

I think of all the people out there that are praying for so many big things, and maybe they don't see the answers right away...

My humble prayer that my baby can come home tomorrow may or may not be answered, but I am so happy for the small victories that I was able to witness today. Small victories are just one way that God lets us know that he truly is listening, we just have to be willing to look for them and wait for the bigger ones.

Thank you to all of you that have been offering prayers and good thoughts in my behalf on on my daughter's behalf- I think you should know that I truly believe that you played a huge role in this small victory today. I was just the one who was blessed enough to witness the immediate answer to my prayer added to all of yours first hand.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Well...So Much for Maternity Pictures...AKA Faith's Birth Story

Monday I talked to my older sister about shooting some maternity pics and a few hours later I started contracting..

Funny thing is, I didn't think I was contracting...I couldn't be...maybe I was constipated or something...(yes,I just used the word constipated in a blog- get over it!) I tried not to think too much of it. I went to my little sister's gender announcement party for her coming addition and they started to get a little worse. My older sister (who is also a Labor and Delivery Nurse) tried to help me time them. She put her hand on my hard as a rock belly and said that they were definitely contractions... I kept trying to track them, but they weren't steady...

Sleep evaded me that night. I would get to sleep for an hour or two and have a few contractions, get ready to try to time them thinking they were steady only to have them stop- the same process would repeat many times...

I walked all day on Tuesday hoping that things would get steady...and I was MISERABLE! I was exhausted from no sleep and the unsteady contractions would go from being super painful to annoying like a toothache or would stop all together for a few hours...

Right before I got ready to teach voice lessons for the day I sat on the couch in the living room and felt a tiny gush of water...nothing too extreme, in fact I wouldn't have thought anything of it if it hadn't been for the fact that my contractions seemed to get worse a few hours later.

My friend Erica came over that night and visited with me. All the while my personal nurse (AKA my older sister Amber) was calling me from her shift at the hospital trying to convince me to go up for a labor check...

I really didn't want to for a few reasons:

1) I didn't want to go up to the hospital and be told that I was just constipated or something and not in labor

2) It was about 3 and 1/2 weeks too soon for this baby to be making a grand entrance, therefore impossible that I was in labor

3) I didn't want to go, have them tell me that yes, I was in labor, but I would have to go home until contractions were steady...

I decided to wait it out. I called and left my midwife a message and since we had an appointment the next morning, I would let her do the labor check...

Well...

8:45 yesterday morning rolls around. My husband hesitantly went off to school and my personal nurse decided to join me at the doctor's office...

I'm kind of glad she did because I wouldn't have known where to begin...

We listened to baby's heartbeat, it was fine and my midwife decided to test and see if I was leaking amniotic fluid...she didn't even have to stick the paper all the way in, it was VERY positive...my water had either broken or I had a tear in the sack. She checked me. I was 75% effaced, but only dilated to a 1. She sent me right up to the hospital.

She felt horrible because my lack of contractions and my broken water meant I would absolutely have to have Pitocin. I told her I was okay with that because I knew it was necessary for my safety and baby's safety. My only problem with Pitocin was the use of it to "speed things along" unnecessarily like some OB's try to do.

Besides...at this point I'd already been in labor for over 24 hours and dealing with no sleep and crappy contraction patterns...I was just ready to be done and I knew this would be the only way.

I got to Mountainview and they hooked me up to moniters...apparently I was having contractions and they were pretty steady but I just wasn't feeling them- ergo they weren't doing anything.

Then came the dreaded bag of Pitocin...it actually took a few hours before I started feeling the contractions. The nurses were surprised at my level of pain tolerance, the Pitocin was pretty high before I felt the contractions.

After about 6 hours on Pitocin I felt another large gush of water. We assumed that was my water breaking the rest of the way. I got on the birthing ball for about an hour to try to help manage the pain (since I couldn't do the tub like I'd been planning on because the baby had to be on constant monitoring to ensure she was handling the Pitocin alright) My midwife came in to check me and was helping me off the birthing ball when Niagra Falls gushed...I swear I stood there for 3-5 minutes as water went all over the place. I was so embarrassed and apologized through my tears. My midwife simply said that there were towels that could clean up the water, and we needed to look at our bright sides: 1) the fluid was all very clear and 2) with the water completely broken for sure things should move along faster.

Then came the sad part...she checked me and I was only about 2 or 2 and 1/2 cm dilated. My contractions started getting more unbearable, though I refused to admit that the pain was a 10 even though it was...tears kept flowing and, of course, they only made the contractions worse because I was all tense because I was crying....Jeff was, in short, amazing. I told him that I didn't think I could do this, he quietly kept assuring me that I was doing awesome and he was on the ball. If I needed anything he was quick to be there. Anytime I was in pain as they checked me or as contractions got worse I would close my eyes and all of a sudden I would feel his hand wrapped around mine. I definitely couldn't have done it without him.

Although I was on Pitocin, I was trying to be gung ho about the no epidural thing... however, after about 10 hours on Pitocin, being so exhausted I could barely see straight, and having contractions that were about 3 times more painful than regular ones stacked right on top of each other- and not causing much cervical change to boot... I knew I couldn't do it...it broke my heart, I felt completely defeated, but I knew that if I was going to have to labor through the night (and I would have to) I needed to be able to get some sleep.

We tried Fentanyl before the epidural. It worked for about an hour and then I was a weepy, sobbing, wet mess again. My knees were starting to bruise from me having Jeff do counterpressure on them to help mitigate the pain of the contractions. My nurse came in and we had a chat about how I wasn't doing anything wrong to have the epidural; in fact, my nurse noted how surprised she and all the other nurses had been that I had lasted as long as I had. They didn't doubt that I could go all the way, but they knew because I'd been in labor since Monday I would likely be way too exhausted to push when the time came. She quietly kept assuring me that I was making the right decision.

Of course, I was a sobbing mess, I felt defeated and of course the crying made the contractions worse so I cried harder because I was in constant pain...

It honestly felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when the Anesthesiologist came in. However, he was very slowly preparing everything and I had about 6 contractions by the time he got the ball rolling.

The worst part of the epidural was the numbing shot. He called it a killer bee sting and boy howdy he wasn't lying...however, once that was set and numbing everything I didn't even feel the rest. He was even pleased with the fact that his test dose actually worked right away and I was immediately feeling some relief.


It ended up being a huge blessing that I had the epidural. My midwife and my nurse were able to do what they had been wanting to do but were too afraid to do while I was in pain...they turned the epidural down and slowly started to turn it back up so that they could get the contraction patterns steady and effective, they were also able to place a special electrode to measure the contractions more effectively because the external monitor wasn't picking up my contractions correctly and I wasn't getting credit on the monitors for how bad the contractions really were.

When the electrode was placed my midwife saw the level of my contractions and told me how amazed she was that I had waited as long as I did for the epidural...

They turned down the Pitocin and slowly started to turn it back up in hopes of getting a steady pattern going. It worked, but it still took until about midnight before I was dilated to a 4. About an hour later I was a 5...and baby got lower and lower and lower.

By 6:30 I was completely dilated, but the nurse didn't want me to push without my midwife and was concerned because I still had a lip of cervix on one side. She decided to let me labor down- this means that she decided to let my body try to push the baby down as low as she could possibly get before I did too much work to try to move her down on my own.

By 7 I was dying! The had asked me to stop pushing the renew button for my epidural because they wanted me to be able to push effectively and, while it wasn't painful like a contraction, the pressure was almost unbearable! I had to push- but my midwife wasn't there yet...she was on her way but no one could say how far away she was.

I cried tears of anger and relief when she walked through the door at 7:30, I couldn't wait anymore to push! She checked me, or should I say she barely stuck her two fingers in and said, "I'm sorry I took so long! Baby is right there isn't she!?" We got ready to push right away.

It felt good to push, it relieved a lot of the pain until I got to the famous "ring of fire" section of the birth when the baby's head has finally made it past the pubic bone...

However, apparently I am a rock star- everyone was shocked that I had her out after only 30 minutes of pushing. Most first time mom's push for hours. Part of me thinks its because by the time I was able to push the majority of the epidural had worn off so I was really, really able to feel how and where to push.

Baby came out and they laid her on my chest for about 2.2 seconds. She was small enough that my midwife knew she couldn't let me hold her at first. They had a respiratory therapist waiting in the room while I pushed and he immediately went to work. Considering how early she was, they weren't surprised she was having a little trouble breathing and had been preparing me for it since I had been admitted to the hospital the previous morning.

I think the only thing I wasn't prepared for was not being able to hold her. I didn't even get a good look at her face. All I had was pictures that my husband brought over to me... the lucky duck could walk and stand, I unfortunately could not.

Jeff came back to me and made sure I was okay before asking to go be with the baby. I told him to go.

There were concerns of infection because my water had started to break so long before the actual delivery took place, and of course there were the previously mentioned breathing problems...the breathing problems weren't too bad, her lungs were simply a little "stiff" and she needed to have some help to keep them pushed open at first.

I finally got to hold her at 2 PM. The NICU nurse is awesome. She also gave us a very positive update. Baby is almost weaned off the oxygen, has been able to suck on a pacifier, and the labs they have gotten back so far have pointed to no infection. There is one more lab that take 48 hours to get back, if that one is clear I should be able to take her home when I go home on Saturday.

I too am on infection watch because of my water being broken for so long, so I have to stay at the hospital for 48 hours as well.

Hopefully I will be able to go in and try to feed her sometime later this evening. The pediatrician has her on a sugar IV fluid that has made her not very hungry because they needed to keep her blood sugar up in case she wasn't breathing well enough on her own to feed, but they suspect she is and will be ready any time now...I'm just waiting for them to come get me.

Well, that is how my last few days have gone...who knew things could get so interesting so quickly!?

Hugs and baby kisses until next time darlings!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Well,

I woke up this morning feeling like a grumpy sour-puss...

It seems like things that normally don't bother me at all just can't seem to roll off my back. Perhaps I will blog about those things if they are still bothering me tomorrow, but I prefer not to blog about things while they are making me want to punch someone in the face...I have learned from experience that sometimes other people are feeling the same way that I am but on the opposite end of the spectrum, and I would prefer not to get more worked up by causing a heated debate...especially because we're almost to the point when baby could come any day (Thursday I will be 36 weeks...if I went into labor they wouldn't do anything to stop it...)

Anywhoo...

I decided that, in an effort to lift my grumpy spirits, I would blog about things that I'm loving right now...even if sometimes they make me tired and I don't want to do them...


I am loving baking using the seasonal fall fruits. I have had the overwhelming need and desire to make an apple pie or tart for the last few days, fortunately for my family I haven't had any apples in the house...you see, I am one of those bakers that has a tendency to bake and then not partake- leaving my family to consume the unnecessary calories. My most popular ventures have been my "crumbles", in my house we call them cobblers, even though technically they aren't a cobbler (cobblers have a cake-like crust, a crumble has a delicious streusel topping on top of the fruit.)

I made a delicious peach crumble the other day with some peaches my sister had canned and gave to my parents. I think mom and dad ended up eating the majority of that one. I also decided to try my hand at a plum crumble. My mother-in-law gave us a very large bag of plums off of her tree to use the last time we went to Preston and I hated thinking that they would go to waste. Before the batteries in my camera died I managed to get a snapshot of that deliciousness. I'd never had a plum in a baked dessert before this. I have to say that I enjoyed the tart taste.


I've also been plodding along with preschool. My niece gets super excited to come when we meet and she is super smart. I did manage to find an online program to supplement our learning process. You have to be a member to access all the content, but you can access a majority of it for free!!! The content includes learning games that help teach phonics, reading, numbers, beginning addition/subtraction...Raylee would probably play on it for the full 2 hours of preschool if I would let her. She loves showing everyone that she can read certain words or that she has done something correctly in a game.

For all my homegirls out there that are experiencing the joys of homeschooling for preschool click here to check it out!

I thought I'd also show you some of the last pictures that I have of the drawings and activities we've been doing.


Here is our alphabet wall...I have since added a few letters, but until I remember to get new batteries to put in my camera (which needs to happen soon since I need to pack it in the hospital bag) You will have to deal with a not so current picture of my cartoony doodling abilities...LOL

Here is our number wall, again, I've added a few numbers since. Raylee always gets super excited when she sees a new number or letter on the wall when she gets to class. She is super eager to be a "Number and Letter Master!" (as she calls herself.)

A few weeks ago we did our unit of days of the week. We learned a little song to remember the days of the week in order to the tune of "O My Darlin' Clementine" Every day we had school, we made a very hungry caterpillar and added a new ring with the day of the week attached and the food that made it grow.



Here is a full view of our days of the week wall (which is now a days of the week and month wall...we made a giant calendar last week for the month of October and hung it up! )

Every day when she comes to class we say what yesterday was, today is, and tomorrow will be and mark a day off of our calendar. She took her caterpillar home and insisted that her mom hang it up so that she could remember the days of the week. Kiersten says that she still talks about what the caterpillar needs to eat that day.

Well, I guess this is all you get until I get batteries. I have been writing a lot of crochet patterns and have made a few gifts (that I still need to get shipped to people) , finished a commission (that I still need to get dropped off and collect the money for), and have just been trying to stay busy...

As for completing the day thinking of things I'm loving right now, my thoughts are now turned to my husband. I'm hoping for a date night tonight (or a mini one) to get me out of my grumpy funk. I think Starbucks inside Barnes and Noble for some hot chocolate is definitely in order...or something to that effect... No matter what, I definitely need a hug from him right now... why oh why must be his college classes be so far away??!?!?!

Hugs and loves (without the grumpiness- we hope) until next time darlings!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Here I Sit

Here I sit...

Watching as my belly moves back and forth...its slightly painful each time because literally it moves from side to side as baby rocks back and forth.

I'm pretty much exhausted. I just woke up not long ago from a nap that lasted about an hour and a half and I feel like it did some good, but not enough.

However, in spite of my shape shifting belly, I sit here and think that life is pretty darn good. It could be so much worse, really. I am so grateful. Somehow, God in his mercy continues to bless me and life seems to plod ahead.

There is so much uncertainty in my life right now...will my husband graduate in December? will he be able to get a job (because we hear every day how hopeful to be on that front *sarcastic face and tone*) will my baby be healthy? on and on the questions can come....

So many questions, so many "what ifs?"

But, the more I sit here, the more I think of all the really wonderful things that continue to happen, I think of all the little ways that God blesses me and I choose to feel peace. I choose to not allow myself to be bogged down and concerned by all the "what ifs". I think of what IS, and I have the overwhelming feeling that no matter what happens, we will be taken care of.

I know without a doubt, if we continue to follow the council of the Lord given to us by his servants the prophets that we can weather any storm. I know if we follow he law of tithing, we will be able to find and open the windows of heaven and receive all the blessings we could ever want and need.

God is a loving father. He may not bless us with our heart's desire right away, but sure as I sit here and watch my morphing belly, He will always make sure we have what we need.

I also know we can't leave it all up to God. I know that we need to be making wise choices, spiritually, financially, and physically in order to be able to receive what He wants to bless us with. We can't go on a shopping spree, spending money that we don't have and then pray for and expect God to fix our financial situations when they become dire...we have to be willing to do part of the work.

Yes- God performs miracles. Through His power Christ was able to heal the sick and afflicted, and that healing continues today through his Holy Priesthood...however, in order to receive a miracle we need to BE a miracle. We can't be afraid of standing up for what we believe in, we can't be afraid to make hard decisions...

whether that decision is to move to another country or state to take a job in our field, or whether that decision is to forge ahead and grow our families in spite of economic turmoil because we know we've been directed to do so... our actions need to be worthy of those miracles.

So...I sit...I forge ahead...I work to do His will...I look for His blessings, and I allow myself to be grateful.

I think of how much worse any situation could be as I look at the trials of those around me and the trials of others that are showcased by the media....I then realize that I wouldn't want to trade my trials with anyone else. Heavenly Father knows what we can handle, he also knows when to test us.

Someday I will have the faith of Abraham, who took his son into the mountains to turn him into an offering at the Lord's request only to have the Lord stay his hand and tell him that he had passed....I don't know if my faith is to that level.

I do what I can. I just make sure I try a little harder each day to listen and do what I'm directed to do by the spirit...even if it scares me or I don't understand why.

We don't always need the "Why" at first...we just need to know that a "Why" exists, and will be revealed to us at the right time.

So...here I sit...

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Its a Peach Cobbler Kind of Day

Well,

After spending way longer than anticipated at the doctor's office (apparently it was a busy morning of labor checks and work for my poor, wonderful midwife! My appointment was supposed to be a quick one that started at 9:15, we didn't get back to a room until 10 and then we waited for a while- we didn't leave until almost 11! My poor midwife- all she could do was apologize and then tease me for gaining more weight...) I left feeling confident and very reassured about the time ahead of me.

Baby has dropped. I thought she had, but my midwife definitely confirmed that when she was shocked and amazed by how low her head is, she was also amazed by the fact that there was a whole fist's worth of space at the top of my belly where baby used to be. Baby is head down, and according to my midwife, it doesn't look like things will be changing any time soon.

At the end of my appointments, my midwife always takes time to talk to me and address any concerns or fears I have-no matter how silly they may seem. Today I definitely wanted to have a chat with her. In light of the news that yet another friend of mine was induced and had a labor that ended in a C-section, I was feeling pretty concerned. You see, I have had 6 friends over the last 4-6 months that have had babies. One of them went into labor naturally and everything went swimmingly. Out of the five that were induced, only one went on to have her baby naturally- all the rest were C-sections. I wanted to get my midwife's opinion on this. I felt like I needed to be prepared and know where to draw the line, so to speak, when it came to being induced.

My hope and plan, as of right now, is to have a drug free birth. I want to avoid Pitocin and any other hormone synthetics like the plague- and while I reserve my right to wimp out and ask for one, I want to try to do this without an epidural. Not knowing for sure where my midwife stood on induction, I felt like I needed to talk to her and see if my expectations were unrealistic.

I have to say how refreshing our conversation was. I gave her the background of my concerns, using my personal statistic of 4 out of 5 friends having an induced labor end in C-section, and I asked her the dreaded question, "I know this is a little early, but when would we start talking about an induction?" Without skipping a beat my dear midwife answered, "42 weeks, and even then we would do an ultrasound to make sure if baby is still tolerating life inside the womb. I agree with you, we should let your body do what it wants to do when its ready to do it."

I can't tell you how relieved I was.

She even described that there were more natural ways to induce labor than I had heard of and that, if a Pitocin and drug free birth was my wish, as long as things were safe for me and for baby, we would exhaust our natural options before moving to the synthetic ones. She related to me the story of a woman she had delivered on Saturday. She was 41 weeks and 2 days and had been dilated to a 3 for about a week. Susan said that, because she was dilated far enough, they were able to break her water and induce the contractions naturally. She said that this woman delivered within 3 hours of having had her water broken (P.S. it was her first baby) Susan said that she was even surprised by how quickly the delivery went, but not surprised at the same time...she said that the woman's body was ready to have the baby, it just needed the extra push of the broken waters to get things moving the rest of the way. While she can't guarantee that I will deliver in 3 hours if I happen to go over and wait it out...she said she can guarantee that if my body is ready, the experience isn't half as bad as trying to force it.

It was nice to know that I'm not taking crazy pills with my lofty thoughts of a drug free birth...but my attitude is, if my pioneer ancestors could do it without Pitocin, Cytotec, Epidurals, etc., why can't I? Again, I totally reserve my right to wimp out, but I am going to try my hardest to remain focused on what will be better in the long run, and from everything I've researched and read, the recovery from a drug free birth is faster for both mom and baby...I'm going to try to keep that and those pioneer women who delivered in the back of ox carts in mind...

So...what makes it a Peach Cobbler kind of day??? Well, not the discussion I just related, but it made me feel better, and I know that I have lots of friends expecting babies in the coming months and I thought I'd share. :)

It is officially fall! My favorite kind of weather is here! I love the brisk air, the changing colors of trees...the fruit that falls of the trees...

We have peaches that have been sitting around the house, and nothing screams fall day to me like a yummy peach cobbler...so I think I'm going to get going on that and I will let you all know how it turns out- it will be perfect with my homemade beef pot pie that I am slow cooking as I type!

Happy fall and happy babies! Keep smiling and enjoy the beautiful weather ( I love fall days, especially rainy ones...)

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Consider the Lillies

I know its been a while since I posted last. I apologize. I was told on Thursday by a devout reader (namely my cousin Lexi- Hi girlie!) that she reads my blog every day and that I needed to update it.

Things have been a little hectic around here to say the very least, well maybe not more hectic, but the more pregnant I get, the more I find that things that I used to squeeze into my schedule with ease are harder and harder to find motivation for. I've been very discouraged as of late- worried about the baby, worried if I will be a good mom, worried about finances, worried about my husband...and I definitely have felt like a broken record- a broken record that plays one complaint after another...

Lately, my solution to end the broken record feeling has been to avoid the question of how I'm doing, or to lie and say I'm fine...of course, this doesn't work with my husband or my family members who live close by because they look at me and know I'm lying...My husband has been ever so gracious to remind me where liars go...so I've come to the solution that I need a new solution.

This weekend has been a very fun filled and enlightening one.

My cousin Samantha kicked off the weekend on Thursday with her wedding. With the exception of my uncle Neil and his wife, all of my aunts and uncles came to help celebrate. As I sat at the reception visiting with family members that I haven't seen in a long while, a part of me started to get a little sad in a way...the event became almost bittersweet.

Why was it bittersweet? It was a wedding for goodness sakes! Well, the reception reminded me greatly of the family summer picnics we used to have. We'd all go over to grandma and grandpa's condo and have a big picnic lunch or dinner and a pool party. They also served our famous Winberg family punch at the reception- which of course reminded me of all the Christmas morning waffle breakfasts we used to have... I started to wonder...how did it get to be that we grew apart? We would come together at least twice a year every year when I was a kid. It was fun to see everyone and rejoice in being together. It was fun to watch my dad and uncle tease eachother and be goofballs. I remembered my grandpa wearing his "Bah Humbug!" sweater every Christmas morning and pretending to be a Scrooge until the Lil Smokie sausages were complete, making it possible for him to eat his waffle breakfast...

After my dad and grandpa died, the waffle breakfasts and picnics seemed to come to a screeching halt. I guess losing 2 vital members in one year would be a major shock for any family. For a while, we started having a pre-Thanksgiving or Christmas pizza party at Leo's Place, a local pizza restaurant in Idaho Falls. It almost felt like normal again...but gradually, as cousins aged and people became busy those get togethers eventually stopped too.

I couldn't really pinpoint it, what had happened to us? Why had it been 2 years since I'd seen most of my family members? These people are the last link I have to my dad...you would think I would be chomping at the bit to make excuses to get together...

I left the wedding excited to have seen everyone and to have had the opportunity to introduce my husband to family members that had not met him yet and hadn't made it to our wedding, glad to see that some things never change- made evident by Uncle Jeff who was the same goofball he's always been- but terribly frustrated...what was the answer? Why had we become so distant that, even though many of us live in the same town, we never see each other? (of course, this became added to my list of worries and concerns...)

All I can say is I am so grateful for General Conference this weekend. The Lord knew what was weighing heavily on my mind, and I was blessed with the answers.

What is General Conference you may ask? Some of you are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and some of you may know about the church, but don't know what the hoopla is about. Every first weekend of October and April (every 6 months) there is a worldwide meeting of the LDS church known as General Conference. Many people flock to Salt Lake City with free tickets into the Conference Center (lucky ducks that they are) or to the overflow in the Tabernacle to listen in person (or almost in person, since those in the Tabernacle watch via satellite) while other members of the church watch or listen from their homes of churches around the world. We have 4 sessions of General Conference that are 2 hours long a piece beginning with 2 on Saturday (plus a fifth general Priesthood session specially for the men) and 2 on Sunday. During this meeting, we listen to the inspired words of our church leaders (namely our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, our apostles, members of the quorums of the seventy, and other auxiliary church leaders.) No one is given a specific topic to speak on. All people called upon to speak by the Prophet are instructed to pray and speak about what God prompts them to talk about.

Some of you are thinking...this girl is nuts- she sits through 8 HOURS of church!!! To which I proudly respond- you're darn right I do!

I listen because there are always words of council and great hope. I can promise you, whatever ails you, you will find the cure in a conference address. That address may be from our beloved Prophet, or it just might be the address of the 2nd Councilor in the Young Women's General Presidency....there is something for everyone.

This weekend was a veritable spiritual feast for me. All my worries and concerns seemed to melt away.

I must admit, I'm horrible at remembering who gave what address- so bear with me as I give you the highlights.

Yesterday, there was a wonderful address that spoke to my heart in the second session of conference about the importance of families and, more importantly, our divine duty to be parents. Since I married, I have had many people that I respect question the decision of my husband and I to start our family so soon...frankly, we weren't expecting it quite as soon as it happened, but we had made the decision that we would welcome children with open arms if and when the Lord chose to bless us with them. Knowing that I had been told in high school that I would have a difficult time conceiving children, we acted in a manner that we thought was the best to increase our chances of being able to have biological children, but those sweet moments of grief where my husband held me and told me that we would travel the world and adopt from every continent will remain etched in my memory. I am so blessed to have him....anyway...back to the address... the speaker related his own story. As a young, newly married, returned missionary, he and his wife had made the difficult decision that, while they wanted to start a family, they would wait so that she could work and support the household while he finished medical school. Shortly after this discussion, they were visiting his in-laws for the weekend and happened upon an article in the Ensign (an LDS church magazine that contains articles and addresses from church leaders). This address from a then apostle Spencer W. Kimball (who would later be the prophet) cautioned the saints that they shouldn't put off having families for what the world tells them they should have. The speaker related how within 30 minutes he was in the office of President Kimball, relating his decision with his wife and their reasons. The sweet, then apostle, listened carefully to him as he related all his concerns. He simply told him that he should not delay working for eternal happiness in order to secure temporal happiness. He said that if you are working towards things that matter to God, he will bless you so that your needs are met.

In other words, we shouldn't delay in starting our families our of fear that we won't be able to give them all the latest gadgets and toys- should we be smart in thinking about our situations- yes, but, with the Lord's help, you will always be provided for. Of course, this is something that I had been telling myself over and over as I have been questioned about the choice that my husband and I made- but it seemed more striking as I heard it from the pulpit. It brought me peace. The world and the people in it may not understand what drives us to have families and children, we may be told that we should seek for other things first like world travel or riches, but we understand the riches that we will receive from heaven as we have the sacred and special opportunity to be mothers and fathers- to watch someone grow and help them navigate through this world. All the time that I could have spent singing in a foreign country or living with all the worldly goods money can buy will not be able to replace the sacred and special moments I've had while carrying this baby- they cannot replace the sacred and special moments with my husband- the moments where we make decisions and work together towards our ultimate goals with the help of God- I wouldn't trade the day that I found out I was pregnant or hearing our baby's healthy heartbeat for the first time for all the gold and riches that the world could offer me.

There were also great addresses given about how we use our time. (Hello answer to my worry about my family) We were cautioned in one address to evaluate how we are using our time and to not allow ourselves to become swept away and so concerned about social networking, tweets and facebook that we forget to make time for the Lord and our families. We were reminded that social networking and the Internet can be of great value in sharing our beliefs and reconnecting with family members (alive and dead) after hearing the several addresses given about time management, I have decided that I am going to make a few goals: 1) I will write a facebook message or email to at least 1 family member a day while I am spending my time doing my "social networking" 2) I will try to be better at writing on my blog- many of my family members use it to keep up with me and I have noticed that it has become a journal of sorts. This blog could be printed and invaluable to my children and my grandchildren on down the line. From it, they will be able to read my thoughts, feelings, and gain insight from my experiences and 3) I will replace one time that I log onto facebook to check messages and notifications with a solid 30 minutes of scripture study. Yes, keeping up with friends and family is a good thing, but I also need to keep up with my Heavenly Father and scripture study is one way to open that window of communication.

In the first session of Conference today was a wonderful talk given by one of the general young women's presidency. She addressed something that Jeff has been concerned about- What do I do with a little girl? This question has plagued him for the last 14 weeks...because that is when we found out that we were going to welcome a daughter into our family. This address really touched me because it made me even more grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such a wonderful man to share this life and eternity with. So- what do you do with a girl? You love her and you set a good example by loving her mother, by honoring your priesthood, and by acting as a patriarch in your home- asking questions and interviewing her and her friends to gain the insight you need to preside over them justly and honorably...as this sweet sister described the attributes of a good father for a daughter I was brought to tears. I have such a wonderful husband, and I know from conversations we've had before this address that he will be the kind of man to do all the things she described- he likely would have done them without there ever having been a conference address on how to be a father to a daughter- but it was nice to have some suggestions spelled out- those suggestions just made me love him even more and made me even more grateful to have him in my life.

Finally, a talk given towards the end of the last session of Conference was enlightening and brought me great peace. In this address, we were taught about the importance of prayer and the importance of understanding how prayer works. When we're out in the world in the busy hustle and bustle, its easy to forget who is the source of all the bounty, wealth and blessings we receive. Some important points were made about why we pray and why we need to pray more often, namely: God loves us, and what is important to us is important to Him. Just like any parent, if we don't approach him and tell him what we need, how can we expect to be blessed with it? We also need to remember that prayer requires action. We can't pray to do well on a test in school and expect to do well if we haven't been paying attention in class or even have attempted to study for it. We must be working with God to prove that what we want is important to us and worth our time- if its worth our time, it is worth His. Also- EVERYONE has the right to pray. The speaker said almost verbatim that thinking we are too spiritually gone to seek help from the Lord is like saying an ill man is too sick to seek help from a doctor.

So- as for all those worries I've had...well, I know that being a good mother is important to me. I know that I am doing all I can at this moment in time to help my little family be in a good financial situation. As I pray for guidance and help I know that there will be a loving God there to help me, lift me up, and point me in the right direction. Most importantly, I must remember that patience grows from long-suffering. Every trial and concern that weighs on my heart is an opportunity to grow stronger spiritually and to forge a closer relationship with God- the catch is that I have to remember to turn to Him.

I am so grateful for the spiritual feast I received this weekend. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who continues to speak to His servants today and to me. I know that as I work to be more Christ-like I will be blessed to grow closer to God and to be able to serve my friends, family and strangers in their times of need more completely and wholly.

If you read all of this- bless you- I know its probably a novel of gobbelty goop, and you may not have the same beliefs that I do. Let me say that my humble prayer for you and all of my friends, family, and associates is one of peace and clarity. I pray that everyone I meet will be able to find the answers they seek as they navigate through life, that they will be able to make good choices and be able to please themselves and God (if they believe in Him). We are so infinitely blessed. We have families and friends to surround us in times of struggle and we need to remember to call upon them. We also have a loving God- our father- who willingly waits to listen to our prayers and help us solve the problems of life and overcome obstacles and trials. We also have the ultimate big brother in Jesus Christ- who loved us so much that he chose to be our Savior and Redeemer. He paid the price of our sins so that we wouldn't have to. He also worked and continues to work to help make up the deficit when we fall short in our lives. Call upon Him and our Father in Heaven for help. While you may not see the blessings immediately, I can promise you that there will be peace, I can promise there will be love and the answers will come.

The Tabernacle Choir sang one of my favorite songs today. It is based off of a scriptural passage from the New Testament (I think Matthew) Christ addresses a multitude and shares with them the secret to having continued faith through struggles. I will leave you with those words:

Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow?
Consider the birds in the sky, how they fly?
He clothes the lilies of the field, he feeds the birds in the sky
and he will feed those who trust Him
and guide them with His eye.


Hugs and loves until next time darlings!