Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I wonder...

As I sit here and feel McMonkey McBean trying to fight for room in my belly, I find myself getting very sentimental and thinking about so many "what if" scenarios...

I want so much for her. There is so much that I'm nervous about and at the same time, there is this weird calm that accompanies the nerves. I already love her so much- it just seems so odd to me- this idea of loving someone that isn't even officially on this earth yet. I'm so scared for her. The world she is going to grow up in is so different from the one that I grew up in. I sit here and I wonder if I will be able to guide her through the challenges and struggles that life here will bring, I get really nervous, and then I relax because part of me knows that everything will be okay.

I remind myself about agency- She will have hers. Hopefully, I will be able to teach her the lessons she needs to use it wisely.

I remind myself about my amazing husband. We (her and me) are so lucky to have him in our lives. Jeff is really a steadying, and calming presence. If anything, I know that he will be able to come up with the answers when I don't have them. I know he will support me in my decisions and I know that I can trust and support his decisions 100%. It scares me to think about what life would be like if I ever lost him. I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love another human being. When Jeff is around, I just know that everything is going to be okay.

I remind myself about the Atonement. I remember that when you've done all that you can, our Savior makes up the difference. That is a very comforting thought as well. I know that as long as Jeff and I are working together to make decisions to raise our daughter, and we are doing all that we can- somehow we will always be able to make it- somehow we will always find the answers- somehow we will always be able to save her from the world when it gets scary.

I think about her- I think about what a special spirit she is...every spirit, every baby is special. They are all special because they are children of God, he is trusting us to help them navigate through this mortal existence. This can be overwhelming at times, but then I remember the first primary song that my mom taught me- I Am a Child of God, and I realize that I am special too...I realize that he wouldn't leave me alone to do this. He will be watching, He will keep us from screwing up too badly as long as we remember our temple covenants.

I think of the temple, I think of how lucky I am to have been married there to the best guy on the planet (I'm sure some of you want to debate that with me...but I still say he's the best). I think of the reassuring fact that God is an active participant in our marriage through the covenants we made there- as long as we remember to turn to him we are guaranteed to have the help we need to weather any storm. I realize how lucky I am to have this little baby girl that is currently bruising my ribs as a member of my family for all eternity.

I read several blogs by women who have lost children. It scares me. What would I do if I lost her? How would I handle it if she left this world all too soon? But then, my mind goes back to the temple and the covenants we made there. I realize that yes, there would be pain- almost unbearable pain- but with God's help you can bear anything. With my husband at my side I can do anything. I still pray that this will never be a part of our reality, but like I said I am pondering quite a few "what ifs" as I think about how much I love this little person that I've yet to meet...

All I can say is I feel so incredibly blessed in spite of all the stresses and nerves. Every nervous thought leads me to a comforting one...thoughts about all the blessings I have in my life...thoughts about my relationship with God, my Heavenly Father, and how much he loves me.

We're 10 1/2 weeks away from meeting our little girl. While there is that innate fear of the unknown, there is a peace. Yes, I'm terrified that we will have everything that we need...but I also have this strange sense of peace as I realize that as long as we're paying our tithing, as long as we remember that what bounty we do receive comes from a loving God, all of our needs and hers will be met.

I know not all of you have the same beliefs about God or life that I do...However, my prayer for you is that when you find yourself thinking about all the "what if's", you can find a sense of peace. I know you will find the answers you seek if you are truly ready to receive them. I know that God loves you... I know he watches out for you. He can't stop all the hurt from coming into our lives because he can't control the agency of others, and like any good parent, he has to let us experience the consequences of the ways that we exercise our agency...but He is always there and He will always try to help us.

Look for the blessings in your life and you will find that you have so much more than you think you do. You may not have a million dollars in the bank or a big enough paycheck to get everything the world tells you that you should want, but you always have what you need...and if you find that you don't- you will find a way if you are willing to ask for help.

Its as simple as that.

Hugs and loves darlings.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School Brittanyboo


Things have been crazy around here- in some good ways and in some bad ways-

Jeff started into school again on Monday...he also finally went to see a doctor about some issues he'd been having with his stomach. Unfortunately, he found out he has a bacteria in his stomach that is causing him to be sick...fortunately, its treatable...the downside- the medications that they put him on to treat it will make him more sick that he was originally feeling for a little while until stuff balances itself out.

So, poor Jeff has been dealing the best way he can with nausea and hunger pangs and not knowing which to go with (to eat or not to eat- that has been his question...)

He was feeling so icky by Friday that he finally gave in and stayed home from school (probably not the best scenario for the first week, but he definitely needed the rest.) We are very blessed that he has some good friends in his class that were willing to help him out. One friend records all the lectures on video and another one copied the videos and brought them here for Jeff so he wouldn't miss out on lecture. He has a test on Tuesday, so he gets to spend some time studying tonight. He decided he will likely get copies of all the lectures from a friend and listen to them on the way to and from school (the 45 minute commute can get pretty tedious. I'm glad he's finding productive things to do early on.)

I spent the weekend working on my first commission....did I tell you I started a business? I did! I make crocheted cuteness for people of all ages, and pretty soon I will start posting pictures of my jewelery and hairbows too. You can read all about it on my store blog Brittanyboo Designs (see, I'm even all fancy with the link....LOL) Pictures of my very first commission can be seen on Facebook, and I'm even fancy enough to have a Facebook page devoted to my cuties- you can view that here. (if you have problems viewing the links just look up Brittanyboo Designs on Facebook)


I also start into a full week of teaching voice. I have 6 1/2 students (I say half because I have one student who only wants to take 2 lessons a month.) I'm hoping to pin down some more- which reminds me, I need to update my flier and get it into the hands of the choir teachers around here. I also know I need to post myself as a teacher at Chesbro's...My goal is to have atleast 10. We will have enough money to pay bills with the money I'm currently going to be making, but I will feel a lot better if I can get a few more students to fill out my schedule.

How am I going to teach voice with a baby you may be asking? Well, I've been doing it so far with trial lessons...I figure that once Miss McMonkey McBean gets here I will take off the 2-3 weeks recommended so that her immunity can be where it needs to be, and make sure parents and students alike know that if they are sick and not on antibiotics it will be best to cancel their lesson for the day. I'm also hoping that I can see in that 2-3 weeks what kind of schedule she wants to be on- after I have that figured out, the plan is to shuffle students (if I have to ) to accommodate feeding schedules, changing schedules, etc.)

I know, any of you reading this that may have had a baby are probably laughing your heads off and thinking I'm crazy...and I probably am- but if you don't have a plan, what is there to change? Life is no fun if you aren't running around like a chicken with your head cut off, right?

As far as preschool is concerned,

We had a good day until Raylee fell off the table (she was being monkeylike in spite of my best efforts to tell her not to be). She cried for about 10 minutes insisting she wanted to go home, so she left about 30 minutes early...the funny thing is, after all her insisting that she wanted to go home, she cried because she wanted to stay and keep learning... some days you just can't win.

We learned about the food pyramid (or should I say food plate) today. We talked about what the suggested servings were of each thing on the plate and what types of foods fell into the categories (ie fruits, veggies, protein, grains, and dairy) She had a lot of fun learning it. We also learned about what the word "twin" means, and found matching things on various worksheets. We worked on our number 2's for a while and then for arts and crafts we made funny faces with some cutouts I found online and did a color by number worksheet (one of her most favorite things on the planet. She LOVES them. I help her see what color each number is supposed to be, she finds the numbers and colors the sections appropriately.) We were going to work some more on our handwriting and then we were going to make a pie for dinner tonight- but alas, things were cut short.

I have to say that once my baby gets here I am worried about missing this time with Raylee. Its fun to be able to devote my undivided attention to her. I can see in her smile how much she values and cherishes the time we spend together. I know she feels pretty special knowing that she is my only student and I am her teacher. Yes, it does take a lot of patience some days, but I am learning so much from her. I often wonder what my baby will be like when she gets to Raylee's age. All I can say is, I hope she is just as smart and wonderful. Raylee loves to learn, she struggles because she wants to know everything right now, and she wants to be perfect the first time- but slowly she is learning to be patient. Its so cute to watch her start to get frustrated, then she takes a deep breath, and in her cute little voice she says, "Its okay, right Aunt B.? We don't have to be perfect right away. That's why we practice." She says it exactly like that every time...its her new mantra (although I'm sure she has no idea what a mantra is.)

Well, time marches on, and I am supposed to be making a pie for dinner tonight at my little sister's house...I should scoot and get on that.

Cherishing every moment!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My older sister had a hair appointment this afternoon and I agreed to watch her kids. I decided that it would be a perfect opportunity to have my younger sister's oldest over to play with them. They all love eachother and love to play together, so I figured if they were playing with eachother they would be keeping each other occupied and they would have an awesome afternoon.

We started our afternoon practicing a song that my older sister's kids are singing for church this Sunday. We probably worked on that for 20-30 minutes, but I could tell I was losing them. My theory is (and I believe many pedagogues would agree with me) there comes a point when you practice where you will make things worse as opposed to better-especially if you can't focus- so I opted to let them try one more time and be done so that wouldn't happen.

Raylee (my little sister's oldest) got here as we were finishing up. We sang it one more time for her benefit because she was feeling left out (and at the age of 4, there is nothing worse in the world than being left out!)

Next, we had a story time. I read a few Shel Silverstein poems from "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and then I gave them giant sheets of paper to draw a picture based on their favorite poems. We ended up with some interesting stories and ideas about the poems, but when the kids involved are ages 9, 7, 5, and 4 that is to be expected. They got a kick out of the poem "sick" and the "Ickle Me Pickle Me Tickle Me Too". I think the best part of drawing the pictures (aside from the stories the kids told) was a time when Macee got frustrated and wanted to stop drawing. Raylee starting chanting "Don't give up!" over and over- Austin and Addie joined her- they chanted for a good two minutes, until it got really loud and we had to ask them to stop...but it was priceless.

After we finished sharing pictures, grandma got them all a snack and Austin sat with grandma at the table talking and drawing some more while Macee, Addie, and Raylee all decided to start playing "movie". It was funny to listen to Macee direct and tell the younger girls what to say...I must have heard the line "THE DRAGONS ARE COMING- BE CALM" about a million times, with a million different voices and voice inflections until Macee thought it was just right. I then witnessed the three of them walking out of the hallway all carrying purses and walking "like princesses"...they were swinging their hips and their wrists and hands were placed delicately in the air...I had to giggle a bit.

They decided they needed more room to play, so they went outside. And this is how I found them.

They said they were looking at the cloud people and trying to learn their language....

I love kids-anything is possible- its a beautiful thing.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

28 weeks and Homemade Finger Paints

Well, after the fear that they were lost to the nether regions that all digital files go to when they are deleted, I was able to save the pictures taken on Jeff's camera (or I should say Jeff was able to save the pictures...apparently I didn't have the memory card pushed in all the way when I thought I did...) So I had some fun trying to photoshop last night and building a new scrapbook page. All I can say is I felt HORRIBLE! I haven't built a new scrapbook page since 18 weeks- that is 10 weeks without a picture or a journal entry... I then remembered that I am going to build a page to put all the ultrasound pics that we got at 20 weeks on, so I didn't feel so bad after that...

So...here you go- just so you can say you've seen me at 28 weeks....(trumpet fanfare) the 28 weeks scrapbook page!!!!!I had my 28 week checkup today (even though I will very shortly be 29 weeks...) I got to have the lovely glucose test, which I managed to pass...for future reference (since I had lots of friends that failed theirs...) apparently you're supposed to fast for it for at least 1 hour before your appointment- I fasted for a little over 3 hours before mine (I ate breakfast at 7 and my appointment was at 10:45) My sugars were on the higher end of normal, but normal. My midwife seems to think my last weight gain was a fluke, especially considering that I only gained 2 pounds between this appointment and the last. Everything else is normal as well, measurements are good, and Miss McMonkey McBean is starting to enjoy a head down position.

I had been having some kind of new pain for the last few days at night. It almost felt like it might be contractions, so I was getting pretty freaked out. I will wake up with pains that are steady every 5 minutes or so for an hour or 45 minutes and then they magically disappear. Susan explained that they aren't contractions per se....they are spasms of the uterus because I am dehydrated...so I have called upon the help of my sister the nurse to get my hands on one of those hospital water mug/jug things (since she has a few floating around her house) and I will be doing my very best to make sure that I am drink, drink, drinking water all day long. My midwife also suggested trying to drink a glass of gatorade every day to keep the electrolytes up.

I definitely learned a lot at this appointment. I guess I already need to pick my pediatrician...I thought that came later- but Susan is on top of things!

I was also surprised when Susan announced that my appointments will now be every 2 weeks instead of every 4- I thought that happened at 32 weeks, so it was a pleasant surprise. I won't complain about being able to hear Miss McMonkey's heartbeat every other week at all!!!

While I wait for McMonkey McBean's arrival I have been keeping myself busy crocheting. My new blog, etsy shop and facebook fan page for Brittanyboo Designs should be opening shortly so I can share the love with everyone. I've been making some really cute stuff. Right now, I'm just limited by how much yarn I have and what colors- which has been frustrating at times, but I've still managed to put some really fun things together that I will hopefully be able to sell shortly to make a little extra cash for our household.

I also have 6 confirmed voice students (I'm hoping that number will get to 10 or 15 hint hint...) Its been way fun to pick out rep again and have a schedule for the day. Its been weird for me not being in school this semester...

Speaking of school...Raylee is LOVING preschool. It can be exhausting some days, but I am having a lot of fun too, and I am learning a lot about homeschooling in the process. The other day Raylee and I learned about the primary colors and how you use them to make all the colors of the rainbow. The next day, we reviewed the primary colors, we learned a song about the colors of the rainbow and we made homemade finger paints!!! (no cooking required, I found a lot of recipes that required cooking them, but I wanted Raylee to be able to help, and I wanted her to have some instant gratification.) I came up with my own recipe by combining 2 or 3 that I found on the net for no cook finger paints and it came out really well.

You will need:

Food color
1/2 c. white flour
1/4 c. corn starch
1 c. water.

and a holder of some kind for your paint colors ( I used a portion of an egg carton)

Mix the flour, corn starch, and water in a bowl. If needed, slowly add more water to make the mixture smooth as opposed to goopy- it should be about the consistency of gravy.

In your egg carton or smaller paint holders, use food colors to mix your desired colors (we used a toothpick to stir the colors in our egg carton- it worked famously!) You may also want to think about a smock, large T-Shirt, or apron of some kind to cover your clothes. Once the food color is in the paint mix, it won't dye your fingers but before that it can. Because of this, I covered Raylee with an apron and she was allowed to stir the paints and tell me if she wanted more color in the mix, but she wasn't allowed to drop the color in (to save mess.)

Here she is holding up our finger paints! She was so excited. We will definitely have to do this as a fun project again sometime!

Here is Raylee showing off her art work. She finally got to the point where she would dip each finger in a different color and press them against the paper. I wish I'd had some paint brushes so she could use it to paint her hand....come to think of it...we may do this again for Thanksgiving and make a Thanksgiving Turkey using finger paints! LOVE IT!

The same day we did finger paints, we also learned about the letter C and how to draw it. We learned that C makes a [k] sound and the work cupcake...(like she needed to learn that word...I'm sure she already knew it, but now she knows what it looks like.) We made a Cupcake with C's on it...yes those are real sprinkles on the top. Raylee's new favorite thing is glue. I cut out the pieces for her, she glued them together and glued on the sprinkles. When it dried I had her write her letter C's on it. She is still very proud of her cupcake and points at it on our art wall every time she comes to preschool.

On Monday we started a new unit. We are learning about health and hygiene this week. I had gotten a package in the mail and inside the package was a very large sheet of brown paper. I decided it would be perfect for this unit. I had Raylee lay on the floor and we traced her body. She got to color herself any way she wanted. Its a life size Raylee ( If she was all the colors of the rainbow...LOL) Every time we learn something new about being clean and healthy we will have a new art project that we will glue to her body to remind her about what we've learned.

Raylee's colorful rendition of herself!

After we had her body hung up, we learned about washing your hands, why we do it, when we do it, and that we should sneeze and cough into the crook of our elbows. I demonstrated by covering my hands in flour, fake sneezing and saying the flour was like the bad germs that we can carry around sometimes. I shook her hand and covered it in flour, then I let her play with her scissors, which also became covered with flour. She got the message-it was so cute...she would fake sneeze like I did and say "Gee Aunt B. Why did you have to share your germs!?" I couldn't get enough. We did an art project where she got to cut out and assemble Mr. Soap (a print out I found online.) and then we glued Mr. Soap to the body. Tomorrow we are going to learn about bathing and how to wash ourselves properly in the bathtub. I'm thinking we will make and decorate a cut out of shampoo and conditioner and the stuff you need to take a bath to hang with her other hand.

We will also learn about the food pyramid and healthy eating. I'm thinking for that lesson I will have some new foods for her to try and some of her favorites. I'm going to find a kid's food pyramid worksheet to color and then we will glue that onto her belly. This week will be lots of fun!

So, I'm keeping busy (so I don't go insane) and I'm super excited about what is coming up. I'm almost down to the single digits as far as how much longer until baby gets here (I will be 11 weeks away tomorrow, then 10...its just going so fast!) It seems like I just barely found out I was pregnant...and very shortly, everything will change. The future is an exciting, beautiful thing! God is so good...he makes sure we get just what we need, and experience just what we need to when we're supposed to!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baby Shower Invitations

Hey all-

Well, just wanted to spread the word about this:

If you didn't receive the facebook invite, let me know so you can be counted if you'd like to come. Honestly, I tried to invite people that lived close, but I was going cross-eyed by the time I was done going through my friends list. If I didn't invite you, it isn't because I don't love you. Its because we are either not friends on facebook, or the aforementioned cross-eyed-ness caused me to miss clicking on your name. If you think you can make it, and didn't get a facebook "official" invite, let me know so I can add you to the event guest list. My little sister is throwing it for me and doesn't have a million zillion dollars to send out hard copy invites via mail so we are trying to as much as we can digitally to save on postage.

If you're wondering, I was going to register places, but then I realized it was kind of a waste of time because few people actually use the registry. Jeff and I have purchased most of the big stuff. If you plan to bring a gift just know that we are in need of clothing (onesies, sleepers, outfits, you name it, we will take it!), diapers (size Newborn and 1), burp cloths, blankets...you know, the usual stuff. However, if you come, don't feel obligated to bring a gift. I know how gas prices are and if you are driving from outside of Idaho Falls, I would be honored by just your presence!

I love you all, and I am so grateful for my wonderful friends. I am feeling a little lonely these days, as Jeff is back in school, so it will be a nice break to just get together with friends and celebrate. I know that a few of "the husbands" will be throwing a party across the street (with kids) so if you want to make it a "family" event, the more the merrier is our motto. :)

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Okay...I'll admit it, I was horrible about remembering to grab the camera when we did stuff on our vacation, so unfortunately you'll just have to have the written play by play as opposed to the pictoral evidence.

To be honest, we didn't really do much of note other than bum around and while I'm sure you'd all love to look at pictures of us at the Boise mall or at my brother's house in Kuna... yeah...

We left for Boise on Saturday afternoon around 11, stopping first to cash in our change that we'd been saving in a jar in the coin star machine at Smiths in Idaho Falls. We had saved a whopping $15 (actually more than that since they take about 10 cents of every dollar out). We made our way after we used our newfound wealth to buy some snackage at the store.

A few weeks ago when I was doing a Sunday singing gig in Blackfoot we found out that they had built an A&W in Blackfoot, so we decided to stop there for lunch and enjoy some fresh draft root beer (because we didn't stop when we saw it in the first place- hey it was Sunday and we were already tempting fate by not being in our own ward...LOL) . Our only disappointment (and by ours I mean Jeff's) was that they don't serve curly fries like the one in Logan does...or fresh cut french fries like the one in Logan does- however the burgers were awesome and lived up to their pictures on the board, which is rare for a fast food restaurant. (When we left I promised Jeff we would make a special trip to the Logan A&W the next time we go to Preston so he can get his curly fries.)

The drive was long but exciting- considering that our car decided to stall going 75 on the freeway....we are testing a hydrogen cell that Jeff built to make our car into a water/gasoline hybrid- it does increase our gas mileage but Jeff needs to figure out how to avoid allowing the water that bubbles up with the newly made hydrogen into the air intake valve of the car- a fact that became painfully obvious at that moment...Fortunately, it wasn't the first time my car had done this- my parents graciously paid last summer to have the fuel pump replaced in my car because it was stalling like that and eventually wouldn't turn over at all. Since I knew what to do (having lived through it as a driver) I was able to talk Jeff through what we needed to do to get mobile again. I asked him not to turn the hydrogen cell back on, but he did...and we made it. Sadly, we couldn't test it on the way home because so much water had been sucked up that there wasn't enough left to produce hydrogen in the cell. Don't worry- Jeff was back at the drawing board today trying to spiff up his little device...LOL

We made it to Boise (well Meridian if you want to split hairs) and met Aaron and his entourage at Wahooz. We managed to eat some dinner at the cafe there and then kind of bummed around with Aaron and the crew for a while. We played a few arcade games, but we were tired and weren't much in the mood to stand around so we decided to excuse ourselves while they all went to eat a late dinner and went to a movie. We saw Cowboys and Aliens.

When Jeff and I had first seen the previews for this movie I said that it was either going to be really, really good or super duper cheesy...I have to say it did have a somewhat cheesy storyline; however, the special effects were stellar and I was reassured of the power of a really amazing actor being able to make gold out of what could have ended up iron pyrite...We were actually really impressed. I think we both agree, though, that we probably would have enjoyed the movie more if we'd gone when we weren't so tired that we were practically falling asleep during the previews (ha ha- true story).

Sunday came and we went to church with Aaron and Holly. McMonkey McBean wasn't really cooperating though and I spent most of sacrament out on the couch laying down so I could breathe. Jeff sat with me and rubbed my back and my feet(which were horribly swollen). We ended up leaving after sacrament, but had a lovely afternoon visiting with Aaron and Holly and playing board games.

On Monday we decided to trek out to the mall. I'd only ever been to the mall in Boise once, and that was a short trip with Aaron and Holly, so I didn't remember much about it other than the awesome Sweet's Candy store. We used the Tom Tom to get directions- however, the Tom Tom hasn't been updated with new maps for maybe a year- needless to say, we ended up slightly lost. The Tom Tom was trying to make us go somewhere in the same vicinity as the actual mall, but across the street. We ended up calling Holly for help and ended up finding out that we were only 2 or 3 blocks away. We made it with her expert instructions and ended up wasting most of the day bumming around.

We did manage to leave with a few souvenirs...we found a lovely white dress at the Baby Gap to complete our little one's blessing day outfit for $30 (Jeff ended up making up my mind for me to buy it. I kept going back and forth because I had every intention of making the skirt to go with the cardigan I already crocheted, but Jeff helped me realize that I can't make it until she gets here and he reminded me that maybe I wouldn't have to brain power, sleep, or patience to make it then.) He also made me buy a new dress for Sundays. Before this, I had a whopping 2 dresses that fit comfortably and 1 that I could squeeze into with some effort. I really didn't want to buy the dress because it was expensive ($50) but Jeff made me try it on and said, "You like it? Okay, we're getting it." I have to say I wanted to kiss him in the store when he half jokingly and half proudly announced to the store clerk that he was buying some dresses for his girls today. I always love him, but its moments like that that make me gush over with affection and love him more than I thought I could. We also walked away with a book for Jeff from the Border's Bookstore (that is closing and selling everything from 30-50% off) He was able to get the book Auto Repair for Dummies at a killer steal. (I actually happened upon him reading it tonight. He was super excited to have something else to use as a resource for his hydrogen cell project).

We decided to try not to use the Tom Tom to get home and went for a tour of Boise and Meridian. We stopped at the Sonic in Meridian about 5 minutes before happy hour (sad day) and we split a giant ocean water (happy day). We stopped at some stores and looked around (like Big Lots) and we ate dinner at the Texas Roadhouse later that night and bummed around a few other stores that were close by. We made it back to Aaron and Holly's house and were pretty exhausted but it had been a lovely do nothing day- which is what vacations are supposed to be about as far as I'm concerned.

While we were at the mall on Monday,we managed to find the Doc Marten's that Jeff had been wanting for $20 cheaper than we'd been able to find them here in Idaho Falls. They were still $140. I felt bad saying no on that day, but Jeff's financial aid for school hadn't come through yet and because ISU is notorious for screwing up financial aid stuff I didn't want to spend the money that day and then not have money to get home. Because Jeff is so good to listen to my concerns and try to be considerate of them we agreed that if his financial aid came through we would be back before we left to get them. Sure enough, Jeff checked the bank account on Tuesday morning and his financial aid came through. Long story short- Jeff also left with his beloved Doc Marten's that we had been trying to save for since April. I love my husband, he is so patient! I am happy he has his new shoes and he has been super excited about them since we got them.

Jeff also decided to get me some shoes too. I've been wearing flip flops since April (when my feet started to swell). I think I've worn actual shoes two times since and both times I ended up walking around bare foot for the rest of the day (or until I got home) because my feet were too swollen to fit back in them. Jeff was nice enough to see that since autumn is approaching, I may not always be able to wear flip flops. He had to talk me into the shoes again because they were more expensive than I'd wanted to spend (I was thinking more along the lines of $15 and the shoes we ended up getting we about $30) but they were worth it. They have memory foam insoles to help cushion my feet and prevent too much irritation if they start swelling. The sales lady at Payless was super helpful and sweet. She even helped me find the shoes in the color I wanted....and then there was my sweet husband saying, "Just buy them. You like them, just buy them." (Not many wives hear that from their husbands, and I reckon that it will be awhile before I ever hear it again, but it is so nice to hear him acknowledge that he knows my needs and that he knows me...if it had just been me in the store I would have walked away- no matter how helpful the sales lady was.)

We had though about going to the zoo later that day, but then we decided that maybe we'd head home because Jeff wanted to work on his hydrogen cell and had to be at home with his tools to do that. We were both exhausted...Holly ended up convincing us to stay one more night. So, instead of going to the Zoo, we ate pizza with Aaron and Holly and watched movies with Aaron and the girls while Holly was at the dentist. I made dinner that night- one of Aaron's favorite dishes (goulash) he was super excited, like a kid in a candy store. My Uncle Justin and Aunt Lanae stopped by with their little ones to drop off some clothes they had borrowed from my family here in I.F. for a wedding and missionary farewell this weekend while they'd been in town. We got to visit with them for a little while as Holly worked on sewing a new comforter for Lilly's new "big girl" room. Once they left, Aaron and Holly observed and acknowledged that night what Jeff and I already knew- we are old fogeys...we are exhausted by 8:30 or 9 and try to be asleep and in bed by 10 or 10:30 (baby permitting) we all got a good laugh out of how different we are- because Aaron and Holly said that they go lay in bed around 10:30 and are lucky to be asleep by 12:30...it was pretty funny to us.

We packed up on Wednesday morning. Holly was surprised by how quickly we were packed and ready to go. We said our goodbyes and were on the road by 10. (Thanks again Aaron and Holly for opening your home to us!) The trip home was pretty uneventful until we hit Twin Falls... we were thinking of stopping there for lunch, but I remembered the crazy construction going on when we'd stopped there for gas on the way up to Boise so I told Jeff to keep going, I could wait to eat until we were in Burley. Well, we were glad we didn't stop because we saw traffic backed up from the freeway. As we were driving I noticed a flashing notice sign at a weigh station saying that the freeway was closed from exit 201-208. We made our way to the dreaded exits and saw that there was a lot of fresh paved road. I wondered if maybe it was an old notice, but as we approached the exit we saw the yellow signs that warned that there was a wreck ahead and, sure enough, the freeway closed and they detoured us off at exit 201.

We ended up driving what we found was an old highway between Paul and Rupert (by turning on the Tom Tom later)...we also found ourselves stuck in a traffic jam on that road for about an hour...we noticed semi trucks turning off onto the country roads- we started to wonder if maybe we should follow suit. Trusting that the Tom Tom would help redirect our route, we made our way off onto the country roads that surrounded that old highway, and managed to probably avoid being stuck in traffic for another hour...it turns out the wreck as a semi that had flipped and left debris all over the freeway and the traffic jam was due to the fact that Burley was already a little overrun and busy because there was a fair going on.

Needless to say, we ended up getting to lunch about an hour and a half after we'd intended to and we had to wait for quite a while because the place we were eating was packed by fair goers.

The rest of the trip was amusing. Jeff started singing along to music in the car (I love it when he sings...no joke...) and as we got closer and closer he started getting more and more excited. We both passed the time by making stupid, obvious observations and joking with each other about them (for example, we joked about being amazed because we actually saw a single person doing road work after a sign that said road work ahead...every road work ahead sign we saw was followed by long stretches of freeway that were blocked off with nothing going on... we choose to turn what annoys us into a joke...go figure). As we got closer, I mused that if I wasn't so tired and wanting to get home, I would try to convince Jeff to stop in Blackfoot at Jensen's Grove, just so we could stick our toes in and say we'd been to the beach. Jeff agreed that if he wasn't so tired, that would actually be a tempting idea...

We made it back, exhausted but rested (funny how that works) and decided to go out and swim in the pool here at the apartment complex where we live. It was lovely to stretch in the cool water after a long, hot car ride. We came back and decided to go out for one last hurrah. We ate a later than normal dinner at Chuck-a-Rama. I had actually never eaten there before and I must say they renewed my faith in buffets. (A few bad experiences at the Golden Corral in Pocatello had ruined me...gross!) They had a fresh prime rib, ham and turkey out of the roaster, a killer salad bar, and lots of other yummies...and who can resist all you can drink chocolate milk- I know I can't. It was divine.

All I can say is- I know our vacation wasn't filled with activities- it definitely wasn't our idea of what we'd originally wanted our vacation to be (if I thought baby would have cooperated, we would have ended up camping in Yellowstone), but what I can say is that it was a chance to vacate our every day life- which is the purpose of a vacation in the first place. I got to spend some awesome quality time with my wonderful husband before he has to go back to school, and I got to have wonderful experiences that made me appreciate him even more. I didn't need to zoo or amusement parks- I just needed him. In the end, it wasn't what we planned, but we were able to relax and forget about the rest of the world, and that is all that matters.

I love you Jeffry Nielson, and I am so glad I got to spend quality time with you. I'm glad we had nowhere to go in particular and nowhere to be. I'd rather get lost on a country road with you than stay in the finest hotel in the world.

Hugs and relaxation until next time darlings!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Preschool- Day 1

Well, I announced at the beginning of the summer that my little sis and I had decided that I would take on the role of teacher for my sweet niece Raylee. She is 4 and needed some preschool education. My sister couldn't get her into preschool last year because of potty training problems. (She was good at recognizing the need for #1 but not #2- probably TMI but hey, its life everyone poops...) But then, this year came and as she researched it she realized that there was no way it could fit into her budget time or money wise.

The Head Start program is great, but is still pricey and if you do manage to get a free or reduced rate you are required volunteer hours to make up the amount of money that you aren't paying. Kiersten only has 1 vehicle, her husband uses it to go to work. She also has a 1 year old at home. So, even if she could get the free or reduced rate it brought on the new headache of getting Raylee there and finding a sitter if she was required to be there too.

This actually works out amazingly for me, as Jeff and I have made the decision that we will homeschool our kids until high school and then give them the option of going to a public high school or continuing a homeschool education. I am a firm believer that practice can only improve your skills- and teaching preschool for Raylee will give me a head start for 3 years from now when I have to teach my own little girl (who will be here in 14 weeks!!!!)

So- today was our first day of preschool. Kiersten and I went shopping on Saturday and poured over all the resource books at Barnes and Noble so that I could make sure we were getting the right ones for Raylee. (A major bonus of homeschool- you KNOW its catered to your child and their needs)

Kiersten was so excited to buy a little backpack for Raylee and a pencil box with supplies- I think mostly because Raylee was so excited. Raylee wasn't just excited about the average preschool curriculum- I had promised her that on top of teaching her numbers, letters, sight words, and phonics that we would have some beginning piano lessons. Raylee loves my piano- sometimes too much as she has broken off my damper AND sustenuto pedals, but nonetheless she loves to sit and "tickle" the piano keys to make up songs .

Raylee arrived a little late today, but we jumped right in. I think she assumed that we were going somewhere else to have preschool because at first she kept asking when we were leaving grandma's house to go- after explaining to her that grandma's kitchen was our classroom and that this was a special preschool just for her she finally understood what was going on, and was even more excited.

I hate that I couldn't find my camera until AFTER she left. There were plenty of photo ops that were sorely missed out on.

We started the day with lacing cards. They help to build hand eye coordination and dexterity in the fingers. Raylee jumped right in, she was super excited to see all the fairies on the front. She did exactly what I thought she would do and laced one up in three holes and was so proud of herself. I told her she did a wonderful job for a first try, but we needed to include all the holes. We then spent the next 20 minutes learning how to tell which hole came next and whether the lace needed to go through the front or back of the card.

I then had her help me clean up the lacing cards and take the laces out of the ones that she had laced up. She begged me to do them next time, so I think its safe to say that even though I was worried about her being able to concentrate long enough to do them they were a hit and I think besides learning hand eye coordination and dexterity for her fingers she will learn to slow down and be patient so that she can get things right.

Next we moved onto our letter for the day- A- I had her help me hang up our letter A on our letter wall and then we talked about the sounds that the letter A makes and our word for the week- APPLE. We then moved over to our "blackboard" area and I showed her slowly, step-by-step, how to draw a capital A. We then took turns making them smaller and smaller. She had a lot of fun drawing on the paper that was taped to the wall and smiled and giggled the whole time. She noticed how much easier it was getting to draw the A's as we kept at it, which signaled to me that it was time for our worksheets.

I found some really great worksheet resources on the web. I was able to download worksheets that worked specifically with my lesson plan. They were fun and managed to keep her focused. The first one was practice drawing the letter A, it came from one of the workbooks we bought on Saturday, and then we did a coloring worksheet where she had to color spaces with the capital A one color and the lower case A another color, revealing a picture. She loved it!

Next we worked on the numbers 0 an 1. I put the numbers up on our number wall and we got started. Raylee was super stoked when she realized that we were drawing on our makeshift blackboard again. We had a lot of fun learning how to draw the symbols for the numbers. I got to the point that I would sing what number I was drawing as I drew it and she would mimic and try to sing the number the exact same way that I had. We moved on to some worksheets to reinforce the numbers and then it was snack time.

After snack time we practiced cutting. Raylee got to cut out her own puzzle and put it together. They were mismatched shapes. I had her match the shapes and tell me what they were. We had a struggle with the scissors at first (she hasn't had much experience with them before now) but she started to get the hang of it by the end. The puzzle pieces were a slightly chopped up mess, but they were still recognizable enough that she could use them and identify the shapes- so all in all it wasn't a bad first outing with her "big girl scissors" as she called them.

Then it was time for the coup de grat- her piano lesson. We focused on the finger numbers. Raylee started to get really frustrated because she couldn't get her fingers to do what she wanted them to do. I quickly changed up the plan and we focused on hitting one key with one of the fingers and made up a little song using C D E F and G on the keyboard for her to play.

(Thumb-C) This is Number 1, playing the piano is fun

(Pointer-D) This is Number 2, I know just what to do

(Index-E) This is Number 3 How happy it makes me

(Ring-F) This is Number 4 It hurts if I slam it in the door (raylee got a kick out of that one, but I was coming up with rhymes on the fly and that was all I could think of. Needless to say, finger 4 was her favorite)

(Pinkie-G) This is Number 5, Its great to be Alive!

We repeated tapping on the note with that finger over and over again until she had the words and then we got to the point where we reversed order and sang the song backwards. Raylee was super excited that she finally got it. After that, I would call out a finger number and she would play whatever note she wanted with that finger. I think we are going to have to spend a little more time differentiating between 1 and 2 because she keeps wanting to use her pointer finger instead of her thumb when I say to use finger 1, but she'll get past it like a champ, I know it for sure. We then went back to the table and traced her hands and numbered the fingers on the hands and sang the song again as she wiggled each of the fingers...next Monday (Monday will be our piano day) we will work on the fingers again and if there is time left we will learn the difference between high and low and what direction you move on the piano to play high or low.

It was story time after that. We read The Berenstain Bears Clean The House. I had Raylee point to things on the page for me. She loved just snuggling up, being quiet and listening to the story.

Before we knew it, Kiersten was here to pick her up. 2 hours went SO FAST! With Kiersten there I explained her homework (yes, I sent a preschooler home with homework, but one thing I've learned in all my education classes is how important parental involvement is.) Raylee was excited to have the homework. She realized she could do it tomorrow since we're not meeting again until Wednesday for another day of preschool. I had a letter worksheet, a number worksheet, and a worksheet for her piano lessons all ready for her to take home.

This has been so much fun today. Because Raylee didn't notice how long she was here, I'm almost tempted to ask my sister if we can go until noon, but I think we will work our way up to it.

It was a special day with a special girl. Its amazing how much kids soak in if you're willing and able to give them the one on one attention they need to succeed.

Hugs and Loves until next time Darlings!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Well, we had a doctor's appointment today.

I am 25 weeks.

Things seemed normal as I went back for my appointment until it was time to step on the scale. I cracked a joke as I stepped on and the nurse started moving the little doohickey thing to figure out what my weight was...

Somehow in 5 weeks I've gained 9 pounds...which means since becoming pregnant I have gained 30 pounds already. I had expected to gain a few pounds, and hadn't really noticed much of a difference in my baby bump, but apparently I gained 9 pounds...of course this makes me worry instantly because, unfortunately (and fortunately) I am a researcher plus I have a sister who is a labor and delivery nurse...I know how dangerous it can be to gain too much weight while you're pregnant and what it can mean...

Well, they took us (meaning me and my dear husband who was along for the ride.) back to the room and a few minutes later my midwife walks in with a concerned look on her face...

"You really gained 9 pounds?!?!" She asked

I instantly wanted to cry. (I have been having issues sleeping and I think its catching up with me, it hasn't taken much to get me teary eyed the last few days....) I managed to maintain composure as we went through a list of questions to try to see if we could pinpoint what is going on...

"Are you getting exercise?" "Yes, I walk a lot." "Have you been taking your Metformin?" "Yes."

My midwife pursed her lips a bit, and sighed, "Well, it could be nothing but its a good thing your next appointment is the one where we will check your Glucose..."

Translation: Too much weight gain can be a sign of Gestational Diabetes which I am at a higher risk for since I'm Insulin Resistant...awesome...

I wanted to cry again...

My midwife measured my abdomen, "Well, you're measurements seem to be right on the mark for 25 weeks...We'll just have to see how much weight you gain in between now and your next appointment and what your glucose levels will be like. It may just be a fluke."

I still wanted to cry...if it isn't Gestational Diabetes does this just mean that I am a lazy whale? I've been trying to eat well, I've been trying to get up and out of the house to walk and do the things that I can do considering how short of breath I've been lately...I feel like a failure...I know that these thoughts are not rational, but they are seriously what went through my head and have continued to go through my head since I left the doctor's office.

Found out that my waking up in the middle of the night feeling nauseous is a sign of severe acid reflux and she is putting me on a prescription med for it because I am popping TUMS every 1-2 hours to keep it at bay. I also found out that the acid reflux is compounding the problems that make me feel like I can't breathe... I have had horrible acid reflux since my morning sickness ended. I've tried everything that I'm allowed over the counter and none of it has worked.(Besides eating Tums like candy...)

Tried to go get the acid reflux prescription only to find that Medicaid won't give it to me without preauthorization- I suppose I can handle a few more days of popping Tums.

In the midst of all this got the good news that a) my measurements are right on track (you read that earlier) b) Baby's heartbeat sounds good and c) She moves a lot ( No...really???LOL) I guess there is a d) there is a medication that can end some of my woes as far as feeling like there is molten liquid hot magma in the back of my throat and feeling like I can't breathe (and therefore I can't sleep...)

I'm really looking for the silver lining but in my sleep deprived state its been really hard today not to think about Gestational Diabetes and the ramifications of that diagnosis... the diet changes (which shouldn't be too hard since I've done it before when I was first diagnosed with insulin resistance) but also the problems of increased possibility of needing an induction and possibly a C-Section if the baby gets too big.

I'm also trying not to let myself believe that I'm a failure for gaining too much weight if its NOT gestational diabetes but its tough. I'm the one that eats...I try to eat healthily, I try not to over do it- but if its not gestational diabetes, then I'm obviously doing something wrong...

I know some people reading this may think, "You're pregnant, you signed up for this...build a bridge and get over it." and believe me, I'm trying...I guess I just need to vent to get it out of my system. I generally find that I can write something down and forget about how much its stressing me out.

I am very lucky to have an awesome husband. I managed to keep it together until he left me in the car while he went to price check something in a store after my appointment. I called my mom and the flood gates opened. He came to the car and let me finish crying to my mom. He just silently put his arm around me, tickled my back and kissed me on the forehead until I could talk to him. I think we sat in the car, in that parking lot, for atleast 15 minutes until I'd told him everything that was bothering me and had stopped crying. When I was done talking he held me close, kissed me, told me I was beautiful and he loved me and that everything would be okay (which made me cry more because he was being so sweet.)

In short- today hasn't been the best day. I need a nap...and I think I may have to break down and start sleeping on the recliner until I get my medicine....

Hugs, naps and much love until next time darlings.
(P.S. If you made it to the end of this rambling venting session, you are a true friend and an angel. Thanks for being there.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

What happpened to July?!?!?!

Well, here we are on August 1st.

My only question is: What happened to July?

Everyone told me that the last 2 trimesters of pregnancy go super slow- but for me that has not been the case. Its like all of a sudden I woke up and I was 6 months and 1 week pregnant (25 weeks for those of you who like people to say it in weeks.)

All of a sudden, I'm faced with other realities- the reality 0f my husband returning to school and me not returning to school. I am sad to think about how much I'm going to miss all my friends. I am going to miss singing and music- but the truth is I know that physically I don't think my body could have handled a semester of school while being in the third trimester. I'm hoping that I can find other things to keep me occupied (things like teaching voice lessons)

I'm hoping to scare up at least 10 students but I will be happier if I can manage more. I am fortunate to have a friend who is moving out of the area who has referred her students to me and another individual- allowing them to choose who they like better- but so far I only have 3 potential students. I hope I can manage more than that. It will give me more to focus on than growing a baby- don't get me wrong, growing a baby is actually a pretty tough job, but I am sick of sitting home all day with nothing to do. The sad reality is that even though I am highly qualified for many of the jobs around here I have 3 strikes: 1- I have a master's degree and have been told by potential employers in the past that it either over qualifies me or they don't believe it would be fair to hire me because they can't pay me what I'm worth 2- I'm pregnant- nobody wants to hire someone that they will have to let go in a few months after they have a baby, and 3- they want a year commitment, which is something I just can't do. Jeff graduates in December, so who knows where we will end up having to move and also Jeff and I have discussed it the situation and made the decision that we both feel its important for there to be one parent in the home. Neither of us want a daycare facility raising our children. (Having said that, let me give a little disclaimer: we have nothing against people that choose to work and send their kids to daycare. Sometimes the situation you're in calls for it, and there is no shame in that. We have just opted to choose to give up some of the luxuries of life in order for there to be a parent in the home)

So, this leaves me with teaching voice- nannying for my older sister once in a blue moon when she is at work- teaching preschool for my niece- and possibly substitute teaching (that is, if I can get the interviewer to take a woman who is 6 months pregnant seriously)

In the meantime, I think I may have an idea where July went...in fact July may have went to something else that can bring a little money into the house...

Introducing Brittany Boo Designs (or- How I spent the entire month of July)Here is everything I made (minus a few pairs of ballet slippers I made for my nieces)

The kitty cat hat (Tabby Boo). It took me 3 hours to make up a pattern for the ears so that they didn't look too circular.

The Puppy Boo- I'm not sure about this one. I'm thinking I will make another one without the face and with longer ears to see how I like it.

Cutie Boo with two detachable flowers. I've had a lot of fun making flowers.

The Bugga Boo with matching booties. (The flower on this one detaches too. I am giving most of the hats to my sister in exchange for my newborn pictures. I will likely keep the Cutie Boo and these booties)

Last but not least are the things I've made so far for her blessing. I definitely won't be giving these to my sister. The picture doesn't do them justice. The little booties are ballet style slippers. The ribbon will wrap up around her legs and tie in a bow. I still have to make a white petticoat skirt to go with this and we will likely just put a white onesie underneath all of it.

So friends...what do you think? Do you think I could start making stuff to sell, or should I work on improving my skills a little more? Be honest darlings- it won't hurt my feelings. All I know is I am having a blast...it definitely helps to pass the time (hopefully it won't be all I have to do once Jeff goes back to school...LOL...but if it is maybe having some special orders and building a stock pile will help pass the time...ha ha)

Hugs and little baby kicks (my new favorite thing) until next time darlings!