18 December 2009

God places some special people on this earth. I use the word "special" fondly, not at all in a derogatory manner. I have met two of those people in the past few days. One of whom I felt I needed to write a bit about.

My Dad and I went to Wal-Mart a couple of nights ago. As we approached the checkout line, I noticed there was an older gentleman and almost considered going to a different, longer line just to avoid the possibility of a "slow" experience. He looked over at me and had the most interesting look in his eyes. You know how you see a certain look about someone and at some point in the future you will see another person that has that same kind of look? Almost as if they belong to the same family, yet you are seeing them in completely different geographic locations and life circumstances. This man did not fit any mold of appearance I'd ever seen. I immediately knew I wanted him to be the one to handle my purchases.

As I loaded my groceries onto the conveyor belt, I noticed his shiny, new name tag and realized his name was as original as his presence. It read "Carlin". Carlin didn't have much hair left, but what he did have shone a silky, yellow-white color. I wanted to touch it, or brush it. He had the strangest, most beautiful face I'd seen on any old man. Dark, almost midnight blue, large, round eyes were deep set, but not lost, in his perfectly ivory and waxy skin. He was thin, but had the frame of a sixteen-year old athlete. His clothing seemed to be immacuately tailored and could not have fit him better. Then I noticed his hands. As if the only part of his body that wasn't angelic, his hands were battered, scarred, scabbed, and seemed to reflect a purplish-blue hue. Two large band-aids covered what were obvious to me as open sores.

Carlin never smiled, but still projected a content and calm demeanor. He kindly handed me a tiny bag of jump rings I had purchased for my hobby of making jewelry and reminded me to put it in my purse so I didn't accidentally forget it in a bag and throw it away. He was gentle with my groceries, yet still seemed to ring all of the items up before I could even truly take in how I felt near him. As we were leaving, my instinct was to give him a hug. Doing so would've been innapropriate so I withheld, but haven't been able to get him out of my mind since then.

I'm curious if I will ever see Carlin again. He seemed almost too magical to be real. But when I think of him I am happy, and for me, right now in my life, just that one experience and the memory from it is enough.

08 December 2009

I've been blogging in my journal more than here (obviously), I guess its because I actually have things to write about that I dont want to publish for any Joe on the www to read. But, here is an update:

My PPD has been worsening. I went back to the doctor after finally admitting to myself that seeing things and some other symptoms I won't elaborate on was NOT ok. Obviously a low dose depressant and a xanax to pop every once in a while isn't enough for me, although that is entirely too painful to admit. Got a more powerful med and found some other moms who are currently dealing with the same thing. I hate this about myself right now.

We are STILL hunting for a place in my son's school district. The most recent house we checked in to was perfect and I can't help but get my hopes up. We had competition though, so its totally possible that we could be confined to our small quarters for longer than we dreamed possible...or tolerable, either one.

Mike is working with the 11 and 12 year old scouts at church. He loves working with the boys and I think its perfect for him. He has finals next week and starts Upper Iowa in January. The DVA quadrupled his disability percentage the Army gave him so we are happy about that. Now he qualifies for the vocational rehab program and will be able to be placed in a job related to his field of study.

Tate is 12 now, was ordained a Deacon at church, passed Sacrament to our family for the first time last Sunday (I held back my tears for the sake of not embarrassing him), finished his b-ball clinic, and is looking forward to baseball in the Spring.

Mattea is transforming into a true 2 year old, and teaches me about sensitivity and tolerance every day. She is truly a different little girl than I ever was, but is exactly the little girl I needed to be a Mother to. I love her to pieces.

Gunnar is my wonder baby. He is very advanced in every way. Rolls, chatters, grabs, chews, stands...all at just shy of four months. He is a joy and is going to be a blast as he gets more mobile.

We are having our first blizzard of the season today through tomorrow night. Tate and I are excited to be out in it. Hopefully we can find a good sledding hill nearby!

06 November 2009

Bottle It

I often smell things that I wish I could bottle up and keep forever. I feel like in my life of chaos right now, God has blessed me with some of those smells this past week in order to remind me of simple pleasures and small but meaningful blessings.

Minced and scattered corn stalks
Rotting, wet Autumn leaves
The last lawn mow of the year
Burning leaves
Night air (yes, it has a smell)
I have been stressed out and caught up in what our future will or will not bring and have forgotten my love of God's creations in nature. I'm so grateful he reminded me.

30 October 2009


This is an amazingly inspiring message from our dear Prophet Thomas S. Monson.(click on the title to this post) I love him. I love his poetic interpretation of life. I love his smile and laugh and jokes. I love his gentle confidence. I know he is a true Prophet of God. Don't you just want to give him a hug? I often think he'd make an excellent Grandpa. I'm sure he does.

15 October 2009

Found out today that Bigunns is lactose intolerant. Ugh...goodbye cow juice...hello Silk. If you don't already know, Silk is soy milk. They have creatively flavored it with vanilla, probably because it would trigger everyone's gag reflex if it was plain. It is a brownish white color, thicker than whole milk, and has a vacant flavor to it...if that makes any sense. For two weeks we have to alternate breastfeeding and alimentum formula to get his digestive system back on track...this means absolutely no dairy for me. Eeek...we'll see how long I last with this!

13 October 2009

What happens when you don't blog every day? You find yourself driving down the interstate to drop off poo collection from your 7 week old baby and random thoughts for blog posts start popping into your head. Then you wish you had a voice recorder...or at least a child old enough to take notes in the car, so you don't forget any of them. Then you get home and realize you have, in fact, forgotten all of them. Just added voice recorder to my list for the store tonight.

Post-partum ickiness forecast: skies are looking mostly sunny today, just a few clouds and a light breeze. Leaves the color of a box of popsicles accent the gold stumps of harvested corn. And this makes for a perfect Autumn day. So...yes, the meds are working! No counseling yet because the meds are working so well I feel like I don't really need to. I will keep it in the mental filing cabinet though.

Kids...Tate is home sick today, but seems to be doing better. He started complaining last night of chest and throat pain and body aches. An early bedtime and a big breakfast of bacon and eggs seem to be helping. No fever, so no flu scares. Mattea is wearing her new pink (her fav color) kitty shirt today and we are on day two of potty training. A few accidents, but not too bad so far. We're trying out Pods, which by the way are a rip-off, and she likes them. I say rip-off because they are basically expensive maxi-pads to insert into a child's "big kid" underpants. However, they do soak up the accidents very well and she still gets to wear Dora. Gunnar is growing faster than I realize most days. He smiles, is starting to giggle, and has some nice little chubby baby rolls on this thighs now.

Mike is switching is major back to Criminal Justice and will be taking classes through Upper Iowa University (and probably some at DMACC) next semester. Iowa State just isn't conducive to his learing style and the computer science major is just not working out. I think he's suited more towards the CJ field anyway.

Iowa is still Iowa and I am still here.

28 September 2009

I never heard back from the counseling service that one of the OB doctors referred me to. Someone had left me a message on my cell phone and I called back and left her a message as well letting her know I was going to my family doctor to get a prescription for a medication to help me, but that I still wanted to hear back from her because I was interested in therapy as well. She never called back. My family doctor was great, listened to me, understood what I was saying (that I know my body, I know when I need help, etc.) and she prescribed me Zoloft and encouraged me to go ahead with the therapy. I will if they ever call me back again.

I started taking the Zoloft 6 days ago and I can already tell a slight difference. There has been a slight edge taken off my anxiety, I'm not as mad as my dogs (which doesn't sound like much, but is HUGE) for me, and I don't get as upset when my two-year-old acts out. Tomorrow I start taking a full pill (half-pills for the first week). I anticipate things only getting better.

I was nervous at first to take a medicine while breastfeeding, but I know that I wouldn't have been able to continue doing even that had I not done this. I appreciate hearing from so many people that read my blog of their experiences or support for me with this.

22 September 2009

The Blues?

I was torn about posting this on this particular blog of mine (I have another blog that is my private journal) because I didn't want anyone thinking badly of me or becoming too worried, but I actually hope that someone reading it might have a comment to make about how they might've experienced the same thing or just their thoughts (that'd be an invitation to comment!)

I love my children. I live for them and my family. Everything I do revolves around them and every decision I make is aimed toward their benefit. With that being said, I am experiencing something I've never felt before.

I talked to my doc about post partum depression. I think I am experiencing it. Its a different type of depressed/anxious feeling than I've felt before. I have a history of depression/anxiety and have taken medicine and even been to therapy in the past, so I know I'm prone to have this happen. I feel disconnected from the kids in a certain way that I haven't experienced before. I feel like I don't even want to pay attention to them unless they need something. This is so wrong and it makes me feel like an awful person! Its an enormous effort to even get breakfast going, smile and laugh with them, get down on the floor and play and interact, etc. Sometimes I'll be in such a "fog" that I'll realize all of a sudden that the baby is screaming and Mattea has the living room torn apart and I won't even really remember what I've been doing. He of course asked me if I felt like hurting the kids or myself and I DO NOT feel that way. I told him I sometimes picture bad things happening to them and then worry that those things might actually come true (this would be the anxiety manifesting itself). He said he didn't want to put me on any medicine yet, that he'd like me to try a counseling service that he knew of. I'm supposed to be getting a phone call from them today to set something up. I tend to seek help for things and then back out because I'm afraid I'm just imaginging things happening to me or I convince myself I can get over it on my own, but this is different. I still feel that urge because that is just my pattern or habit, but I'm trying to resist it. I can't have my children's memories of me be of a shell of a person that never laughed, played, acted silly, helped out, served them breakfast, etc. I want their memories to be fun, loving and lasting of me. I hope I can figure something out.

16 September 2009

The Mall

In the mall today, Mattea and Gunnar and I stopped for some water and a cookie. We sat down outside of Younkers to eat our snack and rest and a group of teens resembling darkly decorated toothpicks came and took up the opposite half of the small seating area outside of the snack stand. They commenced their convo about depression and ADHD medicine and my jaw about dropped when nearly all of them (I think there were six of them) named the depression med they take (or resist taking). One kid named the ADHD med he stopped taking because it made him depressed, then followed by naming the depression medicine he takes as a chaser and THEN followed by saying he wants to take the same kind of depression medicine his Mom takes because she hallucinated once as a side effect.

Then I'm in Von Maur on my quest to find Gunnar a white dress shirt for his blessing on Sunday, and I had to back up the stroller in a narrow isle to get to a display of clothing. As I backed up, I passed a pillar that was covered in mirrors. Of course, I didn't realize this at first, and when I saw my reflection in the mirror (or what I thought was another shopper) I caught myself as I started to apologize and excuse myself for almost running her down. This still makes me laugh...

15 September 2009

See ya in 2 years...

So husband is a full-time college student now. Being the go-getter that he is, he enrolled at ISU taking a full class load plus an extra class at a community college to work on his foreign language requirement in a smaller environment. Oops.... I think we both so badly want to get this degree done for him that we may have overloaded by poor hubby by at least one class. The other night I jokingly told him I'd see him in a couple of years, meaning he is so bogged down with homework and is gone from 0630 until at least 1900 5 nights a week (and loaded with homework the other nights/days), that I feel as if we've forgotten each other. It seems we are zombie roommates who happen to have three children in the same household that belong to us. I know he feels disconnected from us as a family and I feel bad for him. On the other hand, we remind ourselves that he has waited many, many years to have this opportunity and after months of prayer, we knew as we walked out of Uncle Sam's door, that this was what needed to happen in this season of our lives.

I'm so proud of my husband. Even before we were married, he has been willing to put us first. Our family and our well being has always been his priority. I can't count the numberless times he turned down invitations from buddies to hang out, go shooting, play golf, etc. because there were things to be done around the house and he knew he could help. Most times he just wanted to be home playing with the kids, tinkering in the garage, working out, or going places as a family. With as bogged down as he is with school right now, he still has time to come home and help do the dishes or laundry and always always always makes sure he has his bedtime routine with our daughter. He gathers us together every day for a family prayer and wants badly to be able to have the time to serve at church. I know that because of his desire, the Lord will bless him and he'll be given the opportunity to serve, whether its in an assigned calling at church or in random situations that come about.

I truly feel like the luckiest woman on the planet to have him as a husband. I know after these couple of years fly by (because they definitely will), our lives will become much simpler as he moves into a career, we put down our "roots" after all this time, and life settles down a bit. I just love knowing that we have amazing children, we love each other, we have been blessed with those things we need to get by, and we are an eternal family. This makes life rich.

24 August 2009


So...he's here! Gunnar Wayne Sesker Wright was born on August 19th at 1459 weighing in at a mere 9 lbs 6.1 oz and stretching out to 21.5 inches long!

My labor was pretty intense, but I handled it so much better than with Mattea. I was able to wait until 5 cm (partly not my choice) for my epidural. My IV stopped working and when they removed the cervidil, which was enough to not only soften my cervix but start my labor, I was already at 4 cm. I never did end up needing pitocin, which was nice.

I was given some phentynol (spelling?) to help cut the pain until they could get my epidural in because as soon as they broke my water I could barely tolerate my contractions. I had to delay my epi until I had at least half a bag of ringers in my system and that is when my IV stopped working so they had to give me a new one in my wrist (owie!). Ah...thank goodness God created someone to invent pain killers!

I got my epidural, things went great, slow but great, and then before I knew it I was in a huge amount of pain and feeling massive pressure. Come to find out later, after feeling everything about a 9.6 oz child coming out of me, that my epidural had fallen out! What?! How does that happen? Strangely though, as much as I wanted to die while it was going on, it was a really unique experience not being completely numb for it.

Anywhoo....he's adorable, looks much like my Dad's side of the family, doesn't know how to cry just ear splitting screams, and loves to cluster-feed right now. But he's perfect and fits right into our family.

I'm very thankful to everyone that has helped our family out. We had meals for three nights from the RS, people that barely even know us, visitors, gifts, and am amazing husband who allowed me to have three wonderful days of rest and peace, not worrying about the kids, cleaning, etc. I'm grateful its over and looking forward to seeing my little boy grow up!

18 August 2009

D-Day, part 2

So, its D-Day, part 2. We report to the hospital at 7:30 tonight to start Cervidil. Apparently each dose of this fake prostaglandin takes 12 hours which is why we go in tonight. Noone that has gone through having Cervidil has anything positive to say about it. In fact, I've been told the following: "you'll sit on the toilet for the majority of your waiting time" (a.k.a. diahrrea, cramps), "good luck, that stuff did nothing for me", "don't let them do that to you! it makes your labor awful!". Why can't people just lie to me and tell me that its no big deal? That's why I love my friends and family. They know I appreciate brutal honesty, I guess.

At my appointment yesterday, the doctor said I was dilated to 2 and 30% effaced. So a little bit of progress was made with my almost 48 hours of contractions that were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart all weekend. Doc walked in and said "Alright, so what's going on? This is your third baby, what's taking your body so long?". Luckily, I think he's the nicest doctor in that office and he has a funny sounding laugh so I didn't flip out on him for making one of the 10 dumbest comments to make to an overdue pregnant woman. He had me do a quick ultrasound to check my fluid levels and make sure Gunnar had enough left in the "pool" to swim in for another day and a half. During the ultrasound he balled up on one side of me in a curve around the right side of my tummy. Kind of looked like the side of a mountain range sloping to the left side of me. Ultrasound Lady said "Oh look, he's all curled up around this side with his little bum poking out up here at the top". I then said "Yeah, he seems like he's going to be a big boy!" mostly expecting her to disagree with me or at least be vocal about the possibility that he just "appears" big, but she wholeheartedly agreed with me. Eek! And she would know! Anyway, fluid levels were fine and the NST we did afterwards was fine as well.

So, my day is already dragging along nicely as I anticipate the special events of the evening. Husband took Tate to get a library card (Tater is ecstatic about this!) and a hair cut, and then we are all headed to the brand spanking new Bass Pro Shop in Altoona to eat lunch at their restaurant (woo hoo). Husband called from inside the store yesterday and said "Honey....its beautiful...". So I'm being a good sport and tagging along to get myself out of the house for a while and my mind off the "work" I have ahead of me over the next 48 hours or so.

I think this pregnancy has been so stressful, unexplainable at times, and difficult that I have detached myself quite well from any positive emotions about it and our son. Today however I am an emotional mess and can't wait to finally hold my little boy. I endured through the sickness, mystery, and stress and can finally see past it all to the miracle we'll be experiencing in the next day. I'm so thankful that we are having a boy, and my husband can hold his son in his arms knowing the Lord found him worthy to raise His child here on Earth. I pray that he's healthy and strong. My 2 year-old has been asking for Gunnar for two days now and my 12 year-old is constantly asking me "Is Gunny coming now? Is it time to go?". I love that my children are so eager to welcome him and I'm thankful we've been sealed for Eternity so that no matter what happens here on Earth, as long as we all strive to live the Gospel and stay close to the Lord we will always have each other as a family unit, beyond death and beyond any struggles and pain we experience here.

12 August 2009


Well, its D-Day...and no baby. My pregnancy ticker is down to zero but my bassinette is empty. So, what's a mama to do with no baby on d-day? Go get a pedicure and eat spicy food, of course! Both of which I did today. The pedicure was great, and my pedi-girl gave me extra massage time on my feet and calves to see if we could get some contractions going, but to no avail (is that how you spell avail?). I ate Chipotle for lunch (I should own stock in that restaurant by now) and it was spicy enough to make me "glisten"...perfect! Then we decided to try gelato for the first time. I had a turtle flavor, called kikker, and husband mixed a mint with peanut butter (ew). Anyway, it was pricey, but yummy.

So now my belly is full, hospital bags packed, baby clothes put away, my toes are pretty, my legs shaved for the week (hey, just try telling me you're 40 weeks prego and still shave your legs daily...just try...) and I'm all ready! I can't wait for my doc appt. Friday. This doctor should use caution, as I will be an emotional bomb waiting to go off if he tells me they won't induce yet. I won't leave the exam table until I get that induction date.

06 August 2009

Humans and Fruit

So I was told at the doc appt today if I haven't delivered Gunnar by next week, they may use a cervical ripening procedure to help induce labor. This got me thinking and I've decided I don't like using medical terms interchangeably with terms describing whether a piece of fruit is safe to eat. I'm human. I'm not a tomato. Can we think of a different way to say this? Perhaps "I'm sorry, you are still barely dilated to 1 cm and your cervix is not "maturing"? I like maturing. It describes how my body is NOT acting right now. Its time to grow up, cervix. Time to grow up and do your job.

30 July 2009

Dilate? Nah...

So I went to the doc today for my 38 week appt fully expecting to be told I was at least 2 cm dilated, if not more. The way I've been feeling lately (cramping, contractions, sick to my stomach, etc) would surely preface some good progress...in most women.

I start out by telling the doc "If I haven't made any progress, I give up". She gives me a "stop whining" look and checks me. "Well...you're still only about a fingertip". Hmmm...I looked at my fingertip and managed to force a whimpy smile and mumble "Yeah, I figured as much". Doc tells me I need a few more days of "good" crampiness and contractions. OK, I suppose I'll get right on that?

She closed the appointment by rubbing my shoulder and telling me "Look, don't get frustrated. Remember, everyone delivers." Mmmm hmmm.....

27 July 2009

Thoughts about....

Since I have nothing better to do most days than do a lot of thinking, I've noticed a lot of things lately that I feel like I need to make a list out of. Its simply my OCD-ness manifesting itself a little. I've also decided some of these things will make interesting chapter headlines in my future book.

*The best musicians seem to have stopped hitting the charts (for the most part) after 1980.

*The above thought is exempt when talking about foreign musicians, especially South Americans.

*I have a whole sub-list that deals with Iowans. Just a few...and I grew up here.
---short shorts that ride up in the center, and are white, are not meant to be worn. period. don't care what your size is.

---Midwesterners are plain, grumpy, frumpy, overweight, and unmotivated, at least compared to Californians. This is a generalization, and could be limited to the Des Moines area...and fabric stores and such.

---Everyone leaves plenty of time to drive the speed limit...and even then, seems to be whistling a catchy tune that goes something like "La-di-da...I will get there when the time is right...10 and 2 now, 10 and 2"

---Crispy bangs and dyed black hair with yellow bleached roots along with feathered sides and massive split ends that speak to you as you pass by are not pleasant, however very abundant here.

*Generosity can come back to you ten fold.

*Selfishness will bite you harder than the sting of your attitude on others.

*God is good, and fair, and loving, and will never allow me to know his plan until it falls in my lap. Really, I think he made notes on my file.

*I love Pandora.com.

*I will always enjoy folk music.

*Butt cheeks are not meant to be seen in public. In fact, just let that include any part of the rump.

*When backing out of a parking space in Iowa, always expect someone directly behind you to begin pulling out when you have reached halfway out of your space. When this happens, lay on your horn for at least 2 seconds and laugh as you watch the person behind you jump and then curse your California license plates as if you have done something terribly wrong by being in the same parking lot on the same day as them.

I've vowed to start carrying around a notebook to start writing random thoughts, events, and tirades such as these when they happen. I don't want to forget any of these. Perhaps a voice recorder would be a better investment. Wouldn't want to forget any of the innotation in my voice and what that adds to the situation.

21 July 2009

Tick Tock

So I just realized that my little ticker that keeps track of how many more days I have until my due date says 22 today! Woo hoo! At this point I think saying 22 days sounds like less time than saying 3 weeks. I'll just start going by days now.

I realize I've been somewhat vague about my pregnancy now that a lot of the issues I was experiencing have passed. Since moving to Iowa I have no more hives and no longer have to take Singulair and Zyrtec every day. I don't itch any more. Obviously there was something in my environment in California that was causing these reactions. My C-Reactive Protein levels were normal last time they were checked (again, days before leaving California) and I no longer feel the fatigue I did before. Don't get me wrong, I'm exhausted, but its not debilitating like it used to be.

I'm more at peace here in Iowa, less stress for sure, and I'm positive that has a lot to do with my improvement. Gunnar, upon his last ultrasound a week ago, is head down and measures two weeks longer (not bigger in weight) than gestation. He's going to have long chicken legs like Daddy, apparently. He was average in weight, but I'm still expecting at least an 8 1/2 pounder.

The ultrasound tech printed us a picture of his squishy face last week. Its a view kind of looking at and upwards to his face, so we can't see his eyes, but can see his chin, squishy lips and nose. He seems to look a lot like Mattea. I hope he gets Daddy's white blonde hair that he also had as a baby. His feet look pretty big, too and as far as I've counted, all toes and fingers are where they are supposed to be. In the past few days he's found his favorite "nook" to tuck his feet in to, which happens to be my ribs. At times it feels as if there is so much pressure in that one spot under my ribs that they might crack, but it normally goes away if I lie down and "help" him find a new position to hang out in.

I've gained way more weight than I wanted to, but really knew I would anyway. My ankles have started to swell just the tiniest bit, but if you didn't know me it wouldn't be obvious. I only know because my ankles are normally very bony and the inside ankle bone is not protruding as much now. My hair is finally growing out, which makes me happy, but I will not feel the least bit attractive again until I have this baby and start to "deflate" a little.

I continue to pray that Gunnar will be born in good health and that all the scares, medicines, stress, etc. that happened for the first 7 months will have not negatively affected him. Your prayers are appreciated, too.


I'm so happy that I've been able to see my son experience so much growth this summer. Physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Last night, my Dad surprised my mom with a helicopter ride over downtown Des Moines and back to the air strip in Ankeny. They had room in the chopper for one more person so Tater hopped on and went on the ride. Right before the pilot came out, who by the way looked like a super skinny and tall version of Keith Urban at the age of 21, I was showing Tate a brochure about becoming a cadet in the Civil Air Defense, which can transition into the Air Force if desired. He could start when he turns 12. He wasn't too impressed with it until after the flight. I said "Now do you want to be a cadet?" and he said in his too cool voice "Yeah, maybe", but I could tell he was pumped.

He's also been doing jobs for my Dad around the farm, earning anywhere from $2-5 per job. He's been able to put money away for tithing and also his mission, but has also ended up with plenty of spending money. Last night, at the Machine Shed eating for my Mom's birthday dinner, he said he needed to use the restroom. When he came back he had used his own money to buy my mom a second birthday card because, he said, he didn't get to pick the first one out by himself, other people helped. It was a cute little card and he was so proud of himself. He's always wanting to spend his money on other people and actually has a very good sense of saving and budgeting. I'd like to think I have a lot to do with that HAHA

He's grown at least an inch, if not much more, since I arrived at the beginning of June. His shoulders are getting so broad and he talks and thinks more like a teenager instead of an innocent little kid. I think he'll be fortunate enough to get through his 11-13 year old years without hitting the "ugly" phase. You know what I'm talking about, when a kid gets too tall for his skin, face covered in pimples, and everyone starts saying "Don't worry, he's going to be one handsome fella when he gets through this "awkward" stage". I really don't think Tate is going to have to deal with that. Yesterday he put cologne on before we went to the restaurant and he squirted it 4 or 5 times and I said "Woah Tater, don't overdo it". He then reminded me that putting that much on is how to get the girls' attention.

Now that he's been going to church again every week, he's really opening up about his testimony and has been great about gathering us all together every night for family prayers before bed. He almost always insists on saying it, and has enjoyed his Sunday School class teacher and activities lately. He's working through his Faith in God book getting ready to turn 12 and graduate Primary. He'll be receiving his first level of Priesthood, Aaronic, and attending Preisthood meetings with all the other boys and men over the age of 12. He's very excited to reach this goal and get away from the little kids. Mike is doing a great job teaching him about the history of the church and his responsibilities and priviledges as a Priesthood holder and Deacon.

I'm just thrilled that he is such a wonderful big brother and son. He's on pins and needles waiting for Gunnar to be born (as are we all) and is looking forward to holding him for the first time and seeing if he "smiles" at him like he claims Mattea did.

14 July 2009

Sit Still Already

So my hubby has been in Iowa for a week. In that week, he hasn't sat still for more than a minute at a time. He's put in over 20 applications, gone to the VA to turn in paperwork, had his initial physical and tests done, and met with the DAV as well...all in 5 days. He's also mowed the entire farm, managed a few games of football with Tater, as well as helped me set up the baby's area in our room.

This is such a confusing, scary, exciting, unpredictible time in his life, and he's so focused and willing to sacrifice what he could be using as a big vacation to immediately set in to start the next chapter in his life. He's getting registered to start full-time college classes in Sept on top of getting ready to become a new daddy again and hopefully start working full-time soon. He's determined to run on his knee again and get the type of job he always hoped to have on the civilian side. Already having to turn down the State Troopers and another private security company was hard for him. It was hard for me to see him have to do that. He can handle short runs of maybe half a football field at a time without his knee hurting and he's willing to look at that as progress as opposed to a disappointment.

I'm so proud of him right now. While this is hard for me to adjust to as well, it makes it all worth it to see the kids so happy having him here and me knowing that he's finally going to be able to complete his college and grad level education and realize his full potential. The Lord is good and will provide what we need. I take comfort in those promises!

02 July 2009

Oooo...pregnancy brain

Just a few glimpses of decision I have made during pregnancy that I should NOT have been allowed to make. I think my grey matter turns clear when I'm pregnant.

*Put prego capris on backwards...almost leave the house this way

*Get Dad a dog for Father's Day (as a surprise) and now end up inheriting that dog because he won't stay out of the highway (he's on a farm). This dog will make 3 for us....ugh....I can't bring myself to return him to the rescue league, even though that is what is in the adoption contract if it doesn't work out.

*Purchasing three different kiddie pools since arriving in the midwest. All inflatable...all from Wal-Mart...all but one are now in the trash because they deflated within 24 hours.

*Attempting to cook delicious meals for my parents as a way to thank them for allowing a family of four, soon to be five, move into their home for a minimum of three to four months. Not one has turned out the way it should have, nor has it tasted anything like its description.

*Cooking a strawberry rhubarb pie in my parents oven...without a cookie sheet underneath...with half the amount of corn starch necessary = taking pie out of oven and watching a tidalwave of "juice" spill out of my neat-o patchwork design top crust into the bottom of the oven.

*Eating lots of Taco Bell value meals in my early pregnancy because this is my last one and who cares, right? Who cares that I was halfway to a half-marathon before I got prego? The stretch marks on my thighs and the size XL shirts that are becoming snug say otherwise. Weight Watchers and bowflex...here I come. Give me about 6 weeks.

*Paying bills....enough said. Which is why my husband now does it until the color comes back to the "matter".

If I had any significant short or long term memory at all right now I could make this list last for a good twenty minutes of reading time. However the other day I couldn't even remember to put on a bra, let alone remember any details of my life beyond the past three hours. Oh...I need to get un-prego!!! Doc appt today, maybe they're off on my due date by 5 weeks.... ha.........ha.

27 June 2009

Made it to Iowa nearly a month ago. I've been happily going through culture shock and trying to remember how I ever grew up here. Its funny how a few years away living in different areas of the country can do that to a person. Mike clears housing at Fort Irwin on the 1st and picks up his final paperwork/leaves post on the 2nd. He will drive first to Colorado and spend a day with his Dad, and then head here. We are expecting him on the 5th or 6th.

I struggle with letting go of the feeling that I don't know how long I will be here. When you're a military spouse, each time you move, its always in the back of your mind that this isn't "home" and you are always thinking about the next move. Where it will be, what your housing will be like, etc. I still feel like that. I still feel like this is temporary. I don't have that "I'm home" feeling yet. I'm sure once Mike gets here and gets a job, we get a house, Gunnar is born, etc. that feeling will (hopefully) come back. Maybe its because I don't want this to be home? Deep down I know I need to be in Iowa right now, for my son, for my family's stability...but I never pictured us making our final move back here. So perhaps I'll never let go of that thought in the back of my mind. When will we move again? Where will we move to?

Quick update on the kids:

Mattea is loving the farm. She enjoys going outside and seeing the dog and cat and walking around and exploring. Of course she loves going over to the driveway and picking up and throwing rocks. She is, after all, a desert baby and didn't have much to play with outside for most of her life except rocks and sand. Its cute that she still makes that connection, even when surrounded by acres of grass.

Tate is growing up so fast! He recently had some testing done with a cardiologist here in Des Moines and his heart checked out great. No structural abnormalities and no murmurs. He is thriving here. Gaining weight (we took him off his ADHD medicine), keeping busy working for Grandpa doing jobs around the farm, keeping Mattea entertained and teaching her the basics of Sponge Bob and UFC watching. He is earning a little money with each job he does for my Dad and is putting away tithing as well as another 10 % towards his mission, each in a little sandwhich bag. We talked him into cutting off his "half-fro" as he called it. Its just too hot and humid here right now to have that much hair! He's now sporting a high and tight...just the way Mom likes it.

Gunnar is measuring, in length, two weeks further than gestation. I, however, am measuring right on. Darn...no changing the due date. Although I can't imagine going 40 weeks with him. I'm having many contractions each day, but still sporratic enough that I don't time them. My lower back feels "crampy" nearly all the time, and its hard to be up and on my feet for longer than a few minutes before needing to sit down and rest. The pressure in my hips is almost painful towards the end of the day. Gunny moves a lot and looks completely healthy as of this last ultrasound. In fact every ultrasound I've had has shown him to be exactly what he should. I can't wait to meet him. I picture a long, chubby baby that looks like Daddy (I hope). Maybe he'll have that white blond hair my husband had his first year. Maybe he'll get the curls my daughter didn't. Either way, I hope he knows already how much he's loved and looked forward to by everyone.

18 May 2009

Cardio Visit

Went to my follow-up visit with the cardiologist today. She told me my heart muscle is strong and working fine, I have a minor mitrovalve prolapse, and occasional sinus tachycardia. She said no medicine was necessary at this time, and that the sinus tachycardia (racing heart) would most likely go away after having the baby and was probably due mostly in part to hormones. Well...knowing this pregnancy so far, it wouldn't surprise me. So I will wait it out. I only have about 11 more weeks anyway (always say it in "weeks"...sounds shorter than months!).

13 May 2009

Things I will miss about the Mojave

Here is my list of things I will miss about California, or more specifically, Fort Irwin...Mojave desert, California.

1. The way the moon is out by mid afternoon and can look larger than life itself in the clear desert sky.

2. The smell of the desert after it rains. Like no other kind of "clean" on earth.

3. Cute desert beetles...as long as they stay out of my house.

4. How you can drive the same loooong drive hundreds of times, but always notice something new or different that would previously have just blended right in with the monotonous desert scenery.

5. The wonderful women and families from church.

6. Palm trees and century trees

7. Wild chicken-birds that run around my street and yard talking to each other.

8. The coyotes that "party" at 3am behind my house.

9. Sunshine...an forever abundance of sunshine

10. Clean, clear air

11. The occasional sandstorm...the wall of darkness that creeps towards your house and then all of a sudden engulfs it in wind and sand and leaves as quickly as it comes.

12. Pools that are open 2-3 months longer each year than pools anywhere else I've lived.

13. Shorts and short sleeved shirts year round!

14. Surprise snow storms in November!

15. Apple Valley..the happiest town "up the hill".

16. The Barstow outlet mall...as frustrating as they can be, I will miss those stores!

17. The diversity in SoCal.

18. The "short" drive to San Diego...how beautiful that city is and how lovely the military beaches are there!

19. Desert flowers in the Spring...some of the most fragrant and resilient little plants I've ever seen!

20. The strange trees that line the walking paths here...I still can't figure out what they are! Pine? The sound when the wind blows through them is like a lullaby.

21. The way my daughter squeals and laughs as she plays in the...rocks. :)

22. Watching my daughter swim in her kiddie pool in the backyard in November.

23. California produce!

24. The moviestar-esque news personalities

25. Oleander bushes

....I am sure I will think of more to add to this list!

Dogs and their Hineys

Oh dogs...

Both my dogs are butt-scooting...again. They did it before and we took them in to the vet in case there were "issues". They both had to have their anal glands expressed (I'm cracking up typing that, by the way) and they seemed fine, a little sore, but fine.

Then a couple of weeks later our smallest dog, Prancer, started scooting again. Back to the vet we go..she gets squeezed again and given some antibiotics. Fine for a few days....now they're BOTH scooting AGAIN!!!!

OK seriously...the thought of dog bootie scooting around on my rugs is making me sick. Our post housing is all linoleum flooring. Not a spot of carpet in this house except for my rugs placed randomly around the floor. I don't know if I should take them back to the vet? Should I switch dog food? Can dog food make a dogs hiney itch? What is going on here? I swear...I don't know what keeps me from giving these doggies away. They cause me more stress and I get more annoyed at them on a daily basis than any other animal I've owned. But they are cute and loving and funny (at times) and it wouldn't be right to just ship them off to a pound just because they have some stuff going on under the tail.

Anyone ever had a dog do this repeatedly? Its not worms...their behinds have been squeezed recently...I guess I'll switch dog food and see if it helps. I'm at a loss?!

Changes have come

So...this past weekend could take up pages worth of blog mess, but I'll try to summarize.

Mother's Day:

4:30am - go to ER, face swollen and throat tingling
6:30am - arrive home from ER pumped full of steriods and saline
1:00pm - eat grilled hamburgers courtesy of Chef Husband
Afternoon/Evening - lots of talking, discussing, realizing, answering, changing
***********I'M MOVING TO IOWA ON THE 25TH OF MAY*************
Yes, on Sunday we decided that Colorado wasn't the place for us...YET. We miss Tate so badly and want and need him to be near us right now, I'm having a rough pregnancy (see previous posts) and need the comfort of familiar facilities and family/friends, Mike already has credits established at a college in DSM (education is his main focus once the board goes thru)...it makes so much more sense to be in Iowa for the next few years while Mike gets through his Master's degree. Colorado is still where we want to be, but the Lord made it clear to us Sunday that we weren't ready for CO. It was such an odd, spiritual, moving day.
So the worst case scenario is this: the med board doesn't go through for some reason and Mike reclasses and we stay in the military. That isn't a BAD result, by the way, just not what we would expect. In that case, I have baby Gunnar, recover, and wait for my hubby to finish his AIT for whatever his new MOS would be, then meet him wherever our new duty station would be at that time.
In either case, the Lord will take care of us. For now, the answer we got Sunday was pronounced and powerful to our spirits and hearts...that Iowa it is..."tempermanently".
Mom is flying into Vegas on the 21st and we will take the following week to drive back to Iowa, with a stop in Utah and Idaho to see my brother and sister for a day.
I have two Sundays left in this branch and I have to say I'm heartbroken to leave these women. I've never been so close to any sisters as I am here. I think my calling as Relief Society president has obviously helped me grow closer to them, but there is also something different and special about being so isolated here at our post. We have nobody but ourselves and each other to rely on and it creates a stronger bond between sisters than I've seen in any other ward or branch. I've made lifelong friends here and will miss them dearly. Thank goodness for Facebook and blogs to keep in touch!
I reminded the Lord the other night in prayer that I was putting my entire capacity of trust and faith in Him (like He didn't know) that what we are doing is right and that we will be taken care of. That things will fall into place and whatever the decision from the board, that our family will be able to be together. I felt a lot of comfort and love. It was what I needed.

06 May 2009

Stickers and Wires and Old Folk

I had my appt today with the cardiologist in Apple Valley. Its no big deal (at least not to my knowledge), but just precautionary because during pregnancy my ticker does odd things. Anyway, we did the echocardiogram (ultrasound of heart) and the tech pointed out a slight bowing of the valve which might cause the palpitations I get. I won't know anything else until the doc takes a look at it. Then I was fitted for my holter monitor. Mattea came back in the room with me for this one so she wouldn't flip out. This kid can't leave my sight, I swear. The tech was putting the electrodes on me and Mattea started wimpering, obviously nervous that I was being hurt...or perhaps she didn't care about that at all and was just scared the same thing was going to be done to her. I told her "look! Mommy gets to wear stickers!" She just looked at me like "Do you think I'm stupid?" and then I realized stickers, to her, don't have wires coming out of them and they don't hook up to a box that goes in your pocket. I think I thoroughly confused her.

While in the waiting room in between the echo and the holter fitting, I saw through the small check-in window a man checking out behind the door to the hallway. He looked like he was stressed. I smiled at him a little and went back to helping Mattea make animal sounds. The next time I looked up he was holding his hand over his mouth and crying. I just wanted to go give him a hug. It made me realize that people are given grave diagnoses in that office. People really do walk out the door knowing they might've just been diagnosed with a life-ending condition, or that surgery is needed, or that nothing can be done. My heart broke for him. At the same time, I was filled with a reassurance that I am ok, that I am blessed, and that the trials I go through with my health are but tiny in comparison to what people like this man have to endure. I'm thankful, in a way, for the problems I've had thus far and that they've been tolerable, to an extent, and that I've been in the hands of some of the best doctors in the country in their field of specialty. This is definitely one of the reasons the Lord sent us here to this desolate and isolated area of California. To be close to these professionals who could not only care for me and my children, but my husband as well. I still look forward to leaving here, but it certainly makes it easier to bear with realizations like these.

04 May 2009


I'd like to congratulate Dr. Anonymous for FINALLY completing his report for my hubby's med board process! It only took him nearly 6 weeks to complete!

Anyway, I am glad though that its done. The med board folks here on post can finally assemble the packet and say it will be ready for Mike's review/signature by the end of the week! Looks like we might know something by the end of May. What a relief to know the process is moving again!

I also got to see my Tater on webcam this morning! Its the first time I've "seen" him since the beginning of January! He looks like he's grown about a foot, he needs a haircut (doesn't he always) and his teeth look extra gappy. I say that with the most motherly love possible :) The boy will definitely be needing braces. He and my daughter "talked" for quite a while, he got to see the dogs, and then was pretty tired from staying up all night for his neurology tests this morning. He had the EKG, labs drawn, and an ECG done but had to stay awake from midnight until the testing this morning. He's done it before with the neurologist in Kansas City when we were stationed at Fort Riley, but its definitely hard for anyone to do, let alone an 11 year-old. Thank goodness for my parents being willing to take him, stay up with him and get him to his appointments. We'll see if he can make it through his baseball practice tonight!

28 April 2009

All of the above...or below

Haven't posted in a while, so quick update...

Allergist, prego specialist, meetings, ideas, planning, printing, emailing, vacuuming, time-outs, hugs, laughing, phone calls, shopping, budgeting, shopping some more, budgeting some more, driving...driving...driving, vet visits, antibiotics, teaching, conducting, begging, praying, cooking, combing, bathing, walking, swinging, crying, napping, wishing, hoping, ultimatum-giving, bootie-kicking, dusting, smashing, freaking out, sleeping, scratching, pill-popping, rearranging, singing, no-no-ing, good-girl-ing, sniffing, washing, drying, folding, looking away, eating, wondering, opening, closing, shivering, sweating, tossing, turning, heartburning, dancing......existing.

16 April 2009

Unbelieveable Daytime Messages

I just want to say right off the bat that I'm talking about sensitive issues in this blog post. Issues that some might drop their jaw at or blush about. However I feel they are real-life issues and I am moved enough to freely share my opinion about them.

I'm watching Oprah right now and just have to say I'm shocked at the message being put out on her show today as well as another show I caught a few minutes of prior to this. I thought, its nap time, I'm going to get a little talk show fix today instead of snoozing.

Before Oprah started, I watched about 5 minutes of Maury. Ok, normally I think Maury is full of cowslop and I wouldn't give it a second of my time, however, nothing was on and I had a few minutes to kill before Oprah. They had just started talking about t-shirts they were selling on the Maury website. These shirts said something to the effect of "I AM the daddy" with a fancy "M" logo underneath. Maury was very animated and excited about the shirts and, of course, each member of the audience got a free shirt that day.

On Oprah, Dr. Laura Berman is the guest and the show started out discussing masturbation in children and teens and how important it is to teach your children (up to the age of adulthood) the importance of taking the reigns when it comes to self-pleasure and their bodies. Her justification is that by doing so our children, primarily daughters, are less likely to have pre-marital intercourse with the first person that makes them feel good or valued.

PUT THE BRAKES ON! I am shocked at the messages that are being given by these talk shows. I respect Dr. Berman as a professional, but strongly disagree with this message!! And need I say much about Maury and his promotion of celebrating the fact that on national television some dude confirmed that he is the father of the Gerber-cute baby on the big screen behind the "couple" (which loosely translates into a one night stand) sitting on the stage who were just beating up on each other because the mother didn't believe that out of the 5 men he was THE one.

I just have to say that I am extremely grateful that I know that God designed a Plan of Happiness that involves strong families with a foundation based on the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful that I belong to a church that has a rock solid program for children and youth that teaches numerous values from the age of 18 months to 18 years. I am thankful that I have raised my children to NOT be as selfish as these t.v. personalities are teaching our children to be, while masking these lessons of "me me me" with the promise of a more powerful self or a control.

15 April 2009

Pricks and Pokes

Went to the allergist/immunologist yesterday, finally! After 13 weeks of constant hives and strange swelling I was able to talk to someone that knew enough to do more than just tell me to basically deal with it. I answered 15 minutes worth of questions and was told I was going to do skin testing to find out if it is an external allergen causing my reactions. I knew what this entailed. I've seen my son tested for allergies before.We get to the "testing" room and the nurse tells me to put on this paper shirt that opens in the back, sit in the chair and face the painting and she'd be right back. OK, put on the paper shirt, which was a relief because it was like a sauna in there in the first place, sat in the chair and faced the painting. She comes in with three clear, plastic containers full of covered needles sitting in miniature pools of liquid (the allergen). Nursey proceeds to tell me she'll be right back, there are two more trays. Eek! She drew four columns of at least 10 lines across the top of my back (I lost count) and without giving me even a second to protest, says "Ok let's get started" and prick! the first stab and a split second later the second stab. This woman I swear pulled out two extra arms when she sat down behind me because it went fast. However, after the first couple of columns I was starting to not be able to fake that it wasn't hurting. I began holding my breath and gritting my teeth. I thought...ok, this is nothing compared to labor...I've been through worse...it'll be over in a minute... all the while trying to hold a conversation with her about her red headed daughter who was such a surprise because she is full Mexican and her husband is white, but tan. Huh??20 minutes and several bad magazine articles later, Nursey comes back and says "Wow, you've had no reaction at all! So that means now we inject you with the same allergens." Uh...what? Apparently you can have a different reaction if the allergen is fully injected under your skin. OK, bring it on, I think to myself. A few shots in the arm and I'm outta here! So I change back into my normal short sleeved shirt and wait. Nursey number two comes in, who, by the way, looks like she just finished junior high yesterday, with another clear, plastic container but this time its full of shots. I had myself convinced not all of those were for me, but again...wrong! She starts writing on my upper arm. This was one day I was glad for my bountiful biceps and the extra layer of mommy fat that has accumulated since I got prego! She begins injecting me and about halfway through I stop her (really because I needed to breathe for a minute) and asked her how many total injections there were. She says "Hmm...I've never actually counted...29!" 10 minutes and a weird article about elderly intimacy later (I'd read all of the others...I had no choice) Nursey #2 comes back and says "Wow! No reaction at all! Doc will be in in a minute". Doc comes in, prescribes me a double whammy of antihistamines (sinulair and zyrtec taken at opposite ends of each day) and says come back in two weeks. If this isn't working after two weeks, we'll see what else they can explore. Not much, I'm afraid, while I'm prego, but at least I'm on the right track now. He agrees it is something internal causing the reactions. He even suggested it is a freak pregnancy "thing" and it could disappear after having the baby. Well wouldn't that be nice! Only time will tell...theme of my life.

P.S. Great office, professional staff, very knowledgable and patient doc/nurses.

06 April 2009

Baseball Season

Here are a couple of pics of Tater at his first baseball game.

No Amnio

So I saw the specialist in Apple Valley last week and his opinion is the amniocentesis is not indicated. I cannot even explain the load off my shoulders at this point. He did an ultrasound, said baby looked completely normal as did his "surroundings", so no reason unless I absolutely wanted one. Nope! No thanks!

Gunnar is enjoying the strength in his little legs and arms and pretty much lets me have it all night long (and most of the day too). You know I was really hoping this would be my laid back, chill child, but alas...my children just don't come in that type of package. I'm sure he'll be spunky and rambunctious just like his brother and sister. Pregnancy insomnia is setting in nicely and I've resorted to propping myself up on all sides with pillows and listening to my Pandora station every night until around midnight before I can relax and settle my mind enough to fall asleep. I have an appointment with an allergy doc on the 14th to see about these "hives" and the swelling that I have. My OB is convinced its just PUPPS but I don't buy it. I'm waiting on a referral letter from Tricare to see a cardiologist, but I don't know if that will come together before we (hopefully) move. I swear, I'm an absolute mess when I'm pregnant. My body cannot function well with life inside! I just pray these next 4 months go quickly.

Tate has started baseball and is one of the best on his team. I saw pictures of him playing and my little boy looks like a teenager! I suppose he's not really that far off from it. I'm hoping with this possible move to CO and our exit from the Army, he will feel more comfortable coming home and staying. Part of me is dead since he left. I don't feel as happy and every time I think of him I not only realize how much I miss him but it actually causes me pain to think of him going through his daily motions, baseball practices/games, bus rides, field trips, trips to the park, sleepovers...all without me there. Come on Med Board! I truly feel like our plan is to move and have him home. It feels right. Med Board packet is supposed to go out this week. Husband had to send part of it back to the dictator because he failed to mention anything about surgery, physical therapy, unrepairable-ness, etc. All he managed to put down about his knee was that he was in pain. I wonder what qualifications one has to have to write up these critical documents for the soldiers?!

On the bright side, its bright. Sunny again, weather is gorgeous. Spring in the desert has become my favorite. The smells of the desert grass and flowers is wonderful and the temperatures stay in the 70's most days. That is until the end of the month when things will really start heating up again!

23 March 2009

Med Board Update

Just a short update on our med board process. As some of you know my husband started the med board process with the Army waaaaaaay back in December (seems like it was years ago). We thought for sure we wouldn't be here past March with how fast this process goes lately. We ended up having the paperwork put on hold because more appointments and tests were in order. Before the hold was placed, our tentative separation date was March 31st...as in next Tuesday....oh it hurts!

So now that the appointments are complete, diagnoses in place, and paperwork in order, hubs has his dictation scheduled for this Friday the 27th. He has been told we will have the initial decision/offer from the med board anywhere from two to four weeks from then. Whew! Now we're finally making some REAL progress!

We have been searching for potential jobs online since December, just to get an idea of what is out there for hubby. Lots of potential in the area where we will be settling down (CoSpgs, CO). The Federal Gov't is well established in that area (4 Air Force bases and 1 Army base just in CoSpgs area) and hubby would be able to count his time in service toward retirement if he were to be able to land a civ federal job. Let's hope this happens! We've been looking at rental homes, apartments, etc. and can't decide what we want to do for sure yet. We may just snag an apartment and try to buy a house 6-9 months down the road. All depends on how kind Uncle Sam wants to be to us when we get the boot!

Will update again soon (hopefully)!

19 March 2009

CRP and Amniocentesis

I'm back in decision mode. I'm having to make the same decision I just got done making, except now I feel more worried than ever. I had my appointment with my OB today. Routine visit. My ultrasound report hadn't been sent over yet, so we weren't able to talk about that. However, we did talk about elevated CRP levels in my blood. CRP is C-Reactive Protein. According to my OB it can indicate an infection in my body or in the amniotic fluid, which both put me at risk for pre-term delivery. He recommended I have a consult with a specialist in "Happy Valley" which doesn't seem to happy to me anymore. He wants me to have an amniocentesis to rule out or confirm any infection that may be endangering the baby.

My immediate thought was "I'm not going to do this". I just got done deciding not to have the triple screen and other controversial tests done a few weeks ago, mainly because if they came back abnormal I wouldn't be willing to risk the AMNIOCENTESIS! Now, four weeks later, I'm faced with the same decision. Perhaps the Lord is trying to tell me something. Perhaps I need to get this test done. Perhaps my baby really is in danger or at risk for pre-term birth and that risk is so real I'm being faced with this again so I will reconsider. CRP levels don't just exist because nothing is going on. That is one fact I've found is not still under research. Something, some kind of infection or inflammation, is going on in my body. I'm so worried about my little boy baby. Its tearing me apart. I don't know what to do.

I know I need to do some praying, but I feel like this is an answer in itself, its just one that I don't want to hear. I'm so scared of the risks involved with the amniocentesis test and I don't know what I'd do if I ended up further harming the baby or miscarrying because I chose to go through with it. Then again, my OB said he's never been told of any miscarriage that has happened from any patient he's ever referred to this doctor. He did tell me to prepare for his office to be small, crowded and not typical of what I might expect, but that this doctor was highly recommended. Yikes...ok....

Please keep our little one in your prayers (as many of you already have) as we push through these next few weeks facing this test and the risks involved. I look forward to the consult with this specialist. I want to be completely informed and want to hear from him what he thinks is best as well.

17 March 2009

100 % Blue!!!!!

So we had our ultrasound yesterday morning and it is, in fact, a boy!! The ulrasound tech said he'd say 100% and to go home and "paint the room blue". Of course we were given the ever-so-famous "its a boy" picture to keep and prove to everyone that doubts that nope...there's no doubt...look right here! Baby is measuring right where he should be.

Of course the guy can't say anything if he sees something abnormal or "wrong", however he did point out a few positive things. One of the measurements he took ruled out, I think he said, over 98% of neurological disorders. Yay! He also said the heart looked good and all the fingers and toes were where they were supposed to be! Oh, and no sign of cleft palate. More yay!

I have an appt tomorrow so I'm sure if anything wasn't ideal I'll be told then. I feel good about the baby though. I am still experiencing unusual things myself, but he looked healthy and was summersaulting away from the ultrasound tech being a little stinker. Definitely one of my children!

Updater on the Tater

So Tate had his first parent-teacher conference at his school in Iowa and I'm happy to say he's doing extremely well! He's at the top of his class and his teacher went on and on about how polite and respectful and smart he is. Complete turn around from how he was doing at school here in California. I'm so happy he likes his teacher and is improving. I think he has sleep-overs every weekend with his friend Nathan because every Friday night when I call him he says he has to call me back because he's at one.

Tater is on Spring break and has been able to spend several days with my parents since this past weekend. Tate has always been a sweet, smart, loving boy and he really shows this when he is around my parents. He kind of reverts back to his comfort zone and his creativity and imagination thrive when he is with them. My mom has been updating me on his adventures while he's been there and I had to put some of them here because it just reminds me he is still the Tater I know and love.

He, of course, immediately turns on Sponge Bob Square Pants when he arrives. This has been a favorite cartoon of his for several years and he and my Dad (Grandpa) have a special thing where they eat Oreos and watch Spongey while laughing and imitating the characters. He loves the farm cats, especially Calico (Callie) and wasted no time building himself and the cat a fort out of sticks and branches out by the burn pile on the farm. The second day he was there I called to see what he was up to and he was busy watching Spongey with his feet in the bubbling foot spa. Yep, this 11 year-old boy loves to soak his feet while watching his favorite show. He was preparing to go outside and play with Grandma at that time so we didn't talk long. Monday I called him and he had just left Dairy Queen with Grandpa, they'd picked up a couple of hamburgers and were headed back home to play outside some more. He needed to make improvements to the floor of the fort so his rear end didn't get wet from the ground. Last night as my mom got home from work (I was on the phone w/her at the time) she walked in the house and saw Tater wrapped up in a blanket on the chair. She asked him why he was wrapped up (it was above 70 degrees that day) and he announced he was naked because all of his clothes were in the washing machine. I love it! Last night he and my mom sat outside until around 8pm enjoying the nice weather. Tate had a ball and was pretending he was playing volleyball. He would hit it over the roof, which was the net, and score.

I miss my son in an unbelieveable and indescribable way. However, it makes me so happy to see him being himself and enjoying his time with Grandma and Grandpa. In a way, taking a break from "life" and returning to the place he knows he can relax and be silly and do whatever it is his heart desires and have a fan club at the same time. I'm expecting some pictures from my Mom of his recent visit so I can see how much he's changed and post some here as well.

11 March 2009


I think that's been the title of many of my entries before, but it fits. I'm looking out my back door at the helicopter pad just down the street. Its change of command for the post general today. Quite the big event, however I won't be going. This post is strange in that civilians don't really attend much unless it has to do with crafts or vendors or food. At our last post I went to awards ceremonies, meetings, events, etc. I miss that. Anyway, I'm looking down there wondering how our outgoing Gen feels right now knowing he's giving it all up to someone else. He's probably glad to get out of here!

Yesterday while they were rehearsing, it was noisy. Canons being shot off several times in a row...several times...singing, yelling into a very loud microphone that people weren't moving in formation correctly, etc. I was on the phone w/my mom and she asked me if I'd miss it all when I told her the canons kept scaring the crap out of me. Yes. I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the canons and heavy artillery shaking my windows and walls and stopping my heart for brief moments. I'm going to miss the helicopters taking off and landing what seems to be right outside of my back door. I'm going to miss hearing cadence called when a formation of troops doing PT at 0630 runs past my backyard fence and wakes me up. I'll miss all of it. Now this is assuming the med board goes through. Hopefully this time next month we have an answer. Hubs last appointment is on the 24th and the paperwork takes off. I'm ready for change!!!

Oh...did my first workout this morning from the dvd I talked about in my last post. Went well, feel great! My muscles were stiff but it felt so good to workout again!

09 March 2009


So I'm going to be 18 wks prego on Wednesday (feels like I should be twice that!) and I haven't been able to do much this pregnancy due to the illness and concerns. I still have my concerns and still don't feel back to normal, but there is a big issue at hand here. My weight!!

When I was prego with Mattea I started out weighing between 145-150 (can't remember, but I was darn skinny at the time). I had worked by tail end off...seriously, had no hiney to speak of...for nearly a year and was in fabulous shape, a size 8 which is good for my height and bone structure, my hair was finally grown out from a bad haircut (another one, you say?)...anyway...so I felt really good about myself. I said "Ah, I wouldn't worry, I won't gain much weight this pregnancy, not with how active I've become". Yeah...well, I gained 50 pounds with Mattea! I nearly broke 200 lbs a week before she was delivered. I had high blood pressure and was induced 5 days early, and was in physical pain my entire pregnancy. What?! I thought being in shape was supposed to make for an easy 9 months! Well, I ended up being very sick for the first 5 months with her, as well.

So after I had her I was determined to get back to that 145-150 range. I actually had plans to start studying exercise science and possibly become a personal trainer. Big dreams for a flabby, out of shape new mother. Anywhoo...I dropped down to 165 pretty quickly, within 5 months of having her and thought I was going to have no trouble at all with my weight loss. But there I was...stuck...my body refused to lose anything more. I managed to get down one more pound and found out little one number 3 was on the way! Wait! Weight! I haven't met my goal yet! I had just taken up hiking, had a half-marathon on my mind, was enjoying a new found love for weight-lifting....

So here I am, 18 weeks into my pregnancy and I'm up 10 pounds. That's 10 pounds while in my birthday suit first thing in the morning (after bathroom break). Not fully clothed at the doc's office. Think I'll get a lecture? I've heard the OB's on this post can be nasty when it comes to too much weight gain and have no problem making you feel like the model of obesity. I was so sick the first 12-14 weeks of this pregnancy I could merely exist in my home, barely maintain my composure for visitors, skimmed the surface on my calling (just enough to keep things going, basically), and was able to do absolutely nothing around my home, let alone exercise. I ate only what sounded good and that wasn't always the best thing for me, but mostly fruit, bread, broth, and the occasional treat.

So today, I was on Amazon.com and was looking at pregnancy workout dvd's. I've been taking Mattea and the dogs for a walk almost every day, but don't feel like its enough. I MUST do as much as I can while I feel good. I never know when it will start again. Its already "relapsed" once and ended again (the "illness"). I found "Gabrielle Reece: The Complete Fit and Healthy Pregnancy" and ordered it right away. She has a DVD with nine 15 minute workouts for each month of your pregnancy, including three for after delivery. Now I can handle a 15 minute workout, for sure. While Mattea is eating a snack or throwing rocks from her collection around the playroom, I can bust a move with Gabrielle and maybe maintain some sort of sense of normalcy and convince myself that I'm staying in shape. Although those extra layers of "maternal warmth" I started out with this time certainly are making me look a bit larger than I should at just about 5 months along! Wish me luck...

03 March 2009

Too many things!

I've way too many things to update about Mattea. She is doing so many things now that I haven't typed about. Her vocabulary has increased, and become much more clear, thank goodness. I put a list of her fav things to say below. Today she got her first tricycle. She loves it! She got a little bike helmet to wear, with weird looking pandas on it (only one her size), which she's not so hot on. She hasn't quite figured out the pedals yet, but loves to be pushed around. She did have her first accident already. In trying to dismount she and the trike fell forward. This brought on nap time (woo hoo!). Had to buy a new blender today. So in the spirit of amazing crushed ice, perfectly minced onions, and delicioso smoothies, I splurged and spent way too much on it. But! I'm excited to use it and will be starting out by making peanut butter cup shakes tonight! Yesterday...the big purchase was a toaster. Seems all of our appliances are finally giving out. They are, after all, over 10 years old.

My last OB appointment went well. No ultrasound, but the heartbeat sounded great. It was in the 140's, which if you're superstitious, means probably a boy due to being on the slower end of the range. Mattea's heartbeat was always in the high 150's and low 160's. I have an ultrasound scheduled for March 16th. I'll be 18 weeks, 5 days, so hopefully far enough along to tell what the baby is! The doctor will be able to take a closer look at baby and placenta and get a better idea of whether everything is where it should be.

So here are Mattea's words...

"elbow" = Elmo (her hero)

"s'go" = let's go

"kacker" = cracker

"ishies" = fishies and goldfish crackers

Mattea is also starting potty training. She has a potty chair which she goes in nearly every time we put her on it. Today she got a "potty topper" as I call it, covered in, what else, sesame street characters. You know, the seat you put on top of the "big" potty seat so they're little bums don't sink into the potty? She loves it. Too much, in fact. She's too preoccupied with talking to the characters to focus on potty time. Ah well...we're on the right track I guess.

18 February 2009

My baby and my baby

I am really missing my baby today...my 11 year-old baby. I keep thinking about his laugh, his silly dancing, showing off his skateboarding skills, how he entertains "sissy", how his room smelled (yup, I miss the 11 year-old boy smell), the sound of him practicing his guitar in his room past bedtime, his prayers, his smile, his hugs and rare snuggles, and his no-nonsense way of telling me his opinions.

The Lord is putting him through a test right now, and I know he'll come out on top. I worry that he doesn't have a true priesthood influence in his home and I know he's starting to feel the emptiness of that absence. I pray that he still says his prayers at night, which he's been so diligent about since he was just 2 or 3 years old. I pray that he's opening his scriptures and reading them and remembering the brave young men in the stories.

I know he's having a good time with new friends and he's acing his school tests. He seems to be happier in that sense. I try to arrange sleepovers with my parents as often as possible, mostly on Saturdays so he can attend church with them. He's told me he wants to come back home after school's out. Last time I spoke to him he said now he's still thinking about it. I am glad he's spending time with his siblings and dad and many other family members but I pray every day that he will want to come home. Things just aren't the same without my baby boy.

My baby baby (unborn) is still the cause of so much uncertainty for me. I've decided to opt out of the maternal serum analyte screening that will be offered to me at my appointment today. I'm 15 weeks and I cannot even fathom putting my child at a higher risk of miscarriage or injury if the test leads to an amniocentesis. I feel if the Lord is going to bless me with a special needs child I will love and care for him/her the same whether the outcome is known now or later. I put my baby at any higher risk than it is already. I just want to hear a strong heartbeat today and know that in a few weeks we'll be finding out what our little babe will be and know more from an ultrasound instead of an invasive procedure.

A few nights ago I had a dream that I delivered, prematurely, a baby boy. He was so small, but perfect, and was healthy. He had brown eyes and wisps of dark brown hair. Perhaps just a dream...but it gave me comfort.

09 February 2009

San Diego

Here are some pics of our "trip" to San Diego last week. Mike had an appointment at the Naval Hospital down there so we decided to make an overnight trip out of it. His appointment was at 0530 so we went down the night before and then headed to the zoo after we checked out the next day. It was rainy, but so green and smelly and finally enjoyable for Mattea, who is now old enough to understand what she's seeing in each display. Her favorites were the ducks and monkeys. Right when we got to the zoo it started POURING rain so we had to go straight to the gift shop, buy an umbrella and a poncho, and braved the downpour. It only rained a little on and off after that, but poor Mattea was covered in the plastic poncho for more than half of the time.

01 February 2009

I got a call today from the OB doc that saw me Friday. Yes, this doctor called me on a Sunday, actually 4 times before reaching me, to share with me initial results from my donations at the lab two days ago. Never, in my Army or civi experience, have I had a doctor go that out of their way for me. The Lord truly blessed me with these four days I've had with Dr. Patton, who unfortunately leaves tomorrow to go back to Fort Lewis. At this point, ever doc I've encountered from that post has been amazing. Kind of makes me picture this Emerald City-esque medical facility there where you walk in and are whisked away, fixed up, and your wildest wishes are granted.

Anyway, before I forget what he said, I'm going to get it all down on "paper". So, the initial liver tests that could be run on post came back normal. The trickier liver tests were sent away to the "special place" in Los Angeles and won't be back for about another week. That's the good news. The bad news, or not really bad but frustrating news, is that my HcG levels are very high. Much higher than normal, especially at this stage of my pregnancy when that hormone is supposed to decrease dramatically. Hence...feeling better in second trimester. Not so much for me apparently!

According to my "wizard", these high levels of HcG can be caused by the placenta not being ideally attached or not attached in an ideal location. This can also overstimulate the thyroid gland, causing the hives and welts all over my body. Hmm...makes sense so far. If this is the case, my baby is at high risk and its growth will need to be monitored closely. I would also be at risk for preterm delivery and bleeding issues. If you're grossed out at this point, stop reading. I'm very "ok" with being open about what is happening right now so if you don't want to know...don't read.

Rarely, these levels of HcG can indicate a genetic disorder such as Down's Syndrome. He encouraged me to reconsider taking the Maternal Serum Analyte at my next appointment. This is not normally a test I advocate for. I don't like the false positivies it creates, however under these circumstances it will definitely be something I will be praying a lot about until then.

In any case, I've realized this is in God's hands. There isn't anything, as a mother, that I can do to help this situation except take the best care of myself as possible, try to be patient, and pray until my knees are raw. You're more than welcome to join me on that one if you'd like.

31 January 2009

$100 per vile!

I've decided I'm going to start charging per vile of blood. I'm in that dinky little lab at the dinky little hospital having that not-so-dinky needle plugged into me it seems at least once a week if not twice! The phlebotomist there has started calling me "sweetie" and "hun" and you know that just means that now she feels sorry for having to steal my life juice in such large quantities!

Anyway, I finally got in to the OB office yesterday for my first appointment. Baby is fine and is measuring exactly right (12 weeks 3 days). We couldn't hear the heartbeat with the doppler, but no surprises there. We did see it beating on the ultrasound though (whew!).

Dr. Patton, who's last day is Monday (love it), ordered the fresh viles of life juice to test my liver, which may or may not be functioning up to par, and also my HcG levels, which may or may not be way too high, which may or may not mean my placenta isn't functioning or attached properly. He said this level of something (can't remember...too many terms!) in my blood was way high, but the level of the other something that is normally high with it is fine. Apparently this is unusual and indicates some type of autoimmune something going on. Confuse you? Not make sense to you? You aren't the only one! I'm just glad he's willing to test for the PROBLEM and not just give me more pills to treat the symptoms.

P P in the P!!

That's short for pee-pee in the potty! Yes, its true, Mattea has gone twice in her potty now! She thinks its her ticket into the bath, so I'll just let her think that until she gets used to going. Maybe there's hope for having her P-trained by the time he/she comes along after all!

27 January 2009

Babel...or Babble

So my sister made a post once that listed the cute words her daughter Maddy says with a complimentary translation for each one. All so she wouldn't forget the babble that was Maddy's language at that age. The way toddlers can move their tongues, lips and vocal chords to make what they think are complete sentences makes me giggle and fascinates me at the same time. I decided to make my own list for what my daughter Mattea speaks. I call her languague "blugga blugga". Her favorite, yet to be translated, phrase.

"won dow" - I want down

"won dow" - I want up (multi-use phrases....she's a genius)

"sgo" - Let's go

"doddy" - Dog (or really any other animal or object that resembles an animal)

"oh" - No!

"diss" - This...or anything she points at she doesn't feel like speaking adult for

"blugga blugga" - Usually spoken randomly, we have no idea what this one means but she's been saying it since before she turned a year old

"bye eye" - Goodbye

"teh" - Thank You

"moah" - More

"fiss" - Goldfish...the snack, not the actual fish

"whu daaaaaa" - What's that

21 January 2009

Goodbye Benadryl

I got in to see a new doctor yesterday, one who actually asked relevant questions pertaining to my symptoms AND took a family history, and I've been prescribed a daytime medicine to take which cures the burn/itch/insanity of the welts all over my body without knocking me out for hours on end. It doesn't make them disappear though. This morning I saw they are merging. They're ganging up and are planning on taking over every inch of me...I'm convinced. They are popping up on the bottoms of my feet and the palms of my hands as well.

So this doctor asked me some questions, did an exam, and I am now having my thyroid ultrasound-ed (new word) next Tuesday. They also stole 4 viles of blood from me. My vein is getting stubborn so she had to expertly, but not painlessly, move the needle around to get the blood to flow. Ooooo...ouch a little!

I'm nervous about the ultrasound. I know she wouldn't have ordered it unless she noticed something when she palpated my thyroid three different times. My sister and first cousin both have endured (and my sister still endures) thyroid cancer. I just pray that whatever happens I will be able to handle. Perhaps everything will be fine and its some strange virus that will eventually go away. Although when I suggested that to the doctor she didn't look like she wanted to jump on that wagon with me.

I plan on posting some updated pics of the kids soon. Tate is doing well in Iowa with his dad, is liking his new school, and is working on a bathroom remodeling project. I reminded him if he'd open up his Webelos book every now and then I'm sure there are plenty of goals that can be met by doing this! We talk on the phone almost daily (although he'd rather it not be so often) and he's finally opened up a little and told me he misses and loves me. Those words are the sweetest words I could hear from him right now. He is looking forward to coming for the summer and we're anxious to have him here (or wherever we live then!).

19 January 2009

Hives and my Honey

I'm nearly 11 weeks prego now and for about 8 days have been experiencing...more like enduring...hives and fatigue. I have never in my life had hives. Actually the word "hives" really creeps me out and now seeing them all over my body makes me feel, well, alien. I've gone through the list of things I've eaten, things in my environment, nope, nothing new. I can't figure out what is causing it. The fatigue is so beyond anything I've had before! On Saturday I decided I'd get out of the house and go for a walk with the hubs and my daughter. I can only stare at the school-hallway floors of my house for so many days without feeling like an insane woman, so we put Mattea in the wagon and set off. We got to the corner and went a little further and my butt was kicked. I was done. We came home and I plopped back down on the couch, which by now has a permanent indentation of where I've been sitting/lying for a week, and rested for a few. Then my honey remembered we needed a new nose-sucker (bulb syringe) for Mattea, whose nose is draining like a river of sludge) so he needed to go to the PX. What does genius here do? I whine and say I want to go with him because I was tired of sitting at home alone anytime he went somewhere. So I get in the car and by the time we'd picked up the nose-sucker from the baby department I was sweating and dizzy and felt sick to my stomach. Pathetic, indeed. We came home and I was exhausted the rest of the evening. Sunday morning brought the record number of hives yet and they'd moved up to my face and eyes.

Since the clinics at Fort Irwin feel they need to take four days off and close down completely, I am waiting until tomorrow to go back to see the doc (and DEFINITELY not the same one I saw last week for this) in hopes that someone will be able to point me in a direction AWAY from the incapacitating Benadryl I've been having to take. And gee...I'd also like to see and hear my baby before I hit four months, too. Perhaps he/she is tired of being knocked out every time I take medicine and would like mommy to try a new avenue of treatment!

I have to say though, I owe a lot of people thanks. Especially my honey, my hubby, who has been doing E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g around this house, including caring four our daughter as soon as he's home and showered, since this starting happening to me. I owe thanks to the sisters at church who've been checking in on me and who saved the day last week when I was too weak to make my hubby dinner and brownies on his birthday. I also have the most rockin' counselors in the entire world. They've stepped up and handled conducting on Sunday and at Enrichment, and have effortlessly made things happen while I've been in the pit on my couch. As soon as I can move past this roadblock in my pregnancy I plan on repaying everyone as best I can. I pray for everyone's patience and understanding that I in no way enjoy what I'm going through and hate every minute that I'm not able to be running at the speed I'd rather run at every day. The Lord knows me, takes care of me, and I know He'll lead me to answers. Perhaps those answers are "Renee, become one with the hives, there's nothing you can do" or maybe if I'm super blessed "Renee, I'll wipe away all of your hives and those freckles you hate too!". Maybe not, but you get what I mean. I appreciate everyone's prayers. I just pray for energy. I'll deal with hives, but if I can't take care of my family, myself, or my calling, I feel that these next 6 months will be the longest of my life (and my hubby's!).

08 January 2009

A jumble of stuff revisited

I said goodbye to my son tonight. Not for good, but it felt like it in the moment. Its too painful to explain exactly what I'm feeling, but if you can imagine someone squeezing your heart just enough to cause you to panic, and your lungs to tighten just enough to cause you to have to lean forward, your muscle fibers to tingle slightly from the energy and "toughness" slowly draining from your body, then you might begin to understand how I'm feeling. Putting my trust COMPLETEY in the Lord to care for my son is not something that is easy, although it sounds like it should be, right? Its the control that I feel slipping out of my hands that makes it nearly unbearable right now. I soon expect to feel the peace come back that I felt when I made this decision, but I suppose its required of me to feel this pain and emptiness so I can recognize even more clearly the influence of the Spirit and the peace of my Savior's love.

I feel old. Ages older than I should, and a little numb. I could compare myself to an old dish rag. You know, the big, square, white dish rags that your mom always has (well, maybe you do too, but whatever) that are used for many more things than just drying wet dishes. Some are made into bibs, aprons, turbans in the nativity scene reinactment, bandages for cuts, napkins, oven mits, etc. They eventually yellow a bit, perhaps dotted with brighter colored stains from wiping the jello off a baby's face and not being washed soon enough, and sometimes are frayed around the edges, but they seem to never get thrown out.

I seem to feel like pain and trials in my life are revisted more often in the past few years. Normally the Lord would throw a good, solid trial my way every couple of years. Apparently he feels I'm up for more of a challenge because this de ja vu of "mountain climbing" as I call it, seems to happen several times a year now. Perhaps I shouldn't look at it on a timeline.

I'm beginning to feel a bit nomadic, not settling in one area for more than a year, sometimes even a bit hunter-gatherer-like, too. Who knows what's going to happen with this med-board for my husband. We've been told 90 days or less but then what? I'm left with a husband that could possibly have brain trauma that was never even thought about until years after it probably happened (a big thank you to the Army doctors), a knee joint that will need fully replaced within a few years (no soldier, not now...wait until you're in excrutiating pain and can't stand it anymore...then replace it...again, thank you), and feelings of not succeeding at a career that he always dreamed of (although, if you ask me, he's definitely reached success). My children are spread across the country, I'm overweight from stress and pregnancy, my hubby is starting all over again in the not so stellar job market, and I hate my dogs....most days (the dog whisperer never answered my email).

We all have our own "plates". Some are small appetizer plates and, I admit, I envy those people. They don't have much to deal with. Mine, on the other hand, must be a flipping oversized serving platter which means I have a lot more room than I thought. However...I try to focus on the fact that our plates are only as big as we can carry and serve from, so I guess that means its true...the Lord won't give you anything you can't handle (or that is too big for your platter). I just wish it wasn't considered overstepping my boundaries to tell him I couldn't possibly take another bite...I feel stuffed!

I'm 9 weeks prego now and unless I've got two rascals in there, I've got one strong little sucker because I can already feel movement. Man...I was hoping for a laid back child this time. The kind that just likes to float around until its d-day. Not so much....