Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Dark Cloud with a Silver Lining

I have written about a hundred whiney blog posts in my head these past few weeks. They all revolve around how much I hate being sick. (Who came up with the idea that women should have nausea when pregnant. That person and I need to have a talk.)

I have refrained from writing these posts down since nobody want to a pregnant lady whine about feeling sick. Especially when it is such a blessing to be pregnant in the first place. I recognize this. This pregnancy came only after 7 months of trying and an early miscarriage the previous month. Still this being sick part has been ... especially trying this go round.

In an effort to preserve my own personal history, I want to record how I have felt. So I apologize in advance and give a warning that this will likely sound whiney. 

All my previous pregnancies, my nausea has been a sign to me of a healthy pregnancy. I have never miscarried when I have been nauseous. So it has been reassuring despite the discomfort. 

So it took me by surprise this time when the nausea this time elicited a rather different reaction in my psyche. As soon as the nausea came on I began to feel this overwhelming feeling of dread and fear and anxiety. Instead of signaling healthy pregnancy, it signaled Camille's accident. I felt nausea after her accident for weeks -- months really because I got pregnant with Noble and then it just stayed. 

I guess I didn't notice it last time because I was still so fresh in my grief that it all just ran together. But with this pregnancy, well, I have come so far in my healing that it was harsh to be thrust back into that fresh grief feeling. 

I have had trouble sleeping as the anxiety turns to adrenaline and my thoughts stray at night to that dark day. I have spent hours awake in the night, exhausted, but unable to sleep, haunted by my pain and grief.  It has been by far my most challenging first trimester ever. It has made me question how I thought I could do this again. And it has made me, for the first time, consider that this may be our last child.

The emotions have mellowed as I have endured week after week of this. I started taking Unisom to help with the sleep issue. That has helped immensely. I have been indulging any food craving I can to combat the nausea. Sometimes that works. Sometimes I just feel worse after. The thought that I have another 4-8 weeks of this is ... well hard. Is there anyway to just skip or sleep through September?

I will be 10 weeks in 2 days. I usually get better between 16-18 weeks. I was feeling really super low about this all about a week or two ago. Then I read THIS post by my fellow Angel Mom Sheye and I felt like a wimp. You should read it. It is the silver lining after this dark cloud of a post. She is my new hero. If she can do what she has done the past 3 years with grief loaded on her back, I can certainly make it another month or two, Right? RIGHT.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shiny Happy People

Here are the school kids with their new clothes and new backpacks and new shoes and new headbands ready to take on a brand new year of school. They were so excited for the first day.

Lauren had a great first day being walked to class by her big sisters. I am anxious to hear the report from the other girls. Lauren and I are making "first day of school" cookies. Here are a few individual shots.

Noble and I had a fun morning playing by ourselves and running some errands. Can't leave him out of the photos this morning. I think he wanted to go to school with his sisters.

It was awfully quiet around here with just he and I at home. Oh well, I guess I ought to enjoy it because it won't be that way for long. 

We have a little "Snickerdoodle" baking in the oven. 
Due to be done March 31st. 
Now I think I will go do something to keep me from throwing up. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to School Eve

It is the night before the first day of school for us. The backpacks are packed with school supplies waiting to be taken to classes. The new school clothes are purchased and ready to be put on tomorrow. We have seen our classrooms and met our teachers at the "meet and greet." The special french toast casserole is soaking in the fridge waiting to be cooked tomorrow morning. Somehow tonight almost has a Christmas eve feel.

I am excited for the girls to go back to school. Lauren will be starting kindergarten and she is very excited. I am looking forward to the routine school provides. I am tired of answering the question - "I'm bored. What can I do?" I feel really good about the teachers everyone got. I hope this will be a good year for them all.

It has been a long 3 week break for me. I have not been myself. I have been struggling to make it through each day. So there were no big activities planned or schedules adhered to. I did manage to finish off Date nights with Annie on Friday. We went to the mall to get earrings at Claires and then got ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. At home we played a card game together.

Annie is just such a bright star. She has a twinkle in her eye that can light up a room. She loves big. She is fast and fearless. She makes me smile. I am so glad to have her in our family.

So Noble and I will have some alone time each day now. He is so cute and fun. He doesn't talk much. Though he does say "uh-oh" very often (for valid reasons.) He has a loving heart and will give anyone he sees crying a snuggle. Sometimes I fake cry just so he will come give me a love :). He loves to put things in and out of things, especially the trash.

I look forward to sharing some alone time and nap time with him everyday. And I look forward to the book vacation I am going to give myself as soon as I catch up on my laundry and house work. Mockingjay is waiting for me and I am dying to dive in. Pictures of back to school tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Raincheck on the Sale

This sale has been postponed due to back weather forecast. Bummer. Will let you know when they do it for real.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Date Nights

We only have 3 weeks of summer here with our "year round" school schedule. And we decided not to travel for various reasons. So one of the things I have been doing to try to make the "vacation" fun is to do a Date Night for each of the girls.

After drawing straws, Sabrina won the first date. She chose to go to the mall. We got a Hot Dog on a Stick and Lemonade and went to Claires to buy earrings for her. She just got her ears pierced two months ago and is excited to wear fun earrings. We had a fun time despite the fact that I wasn't feeling all that well. It is so fun to see her growing up in to such a beautiful young lady. She has such a comforting and loving spirit. I feel completely blessed to have her pave the way for the children in our family.

Last night it was Lauren's turn. She chose a trip to Toys 'R Us followed by ice cream cones at DQ. You know, do you really ever grow out of the trill of so many fun toys at a store like Toys 'R Us? I certainly haven't. I was almost as excited to see all the toys as Lauren was. After ooooing and ahhhing over all the possibilities, Lauren picked a stuffed animal to buy. I gave into my own temptation and bought a couple of games for our family to play. We have had fun playing them today.

Lauren is growing up everyday. She has an incredible memory and will tell me details about things she has seen on television or stories she has heard in Sunday school. Her talk is getting more and more "grown up" these days. She is learning to sound out words and read and write. She can count to a trillion "in" 9. :) (She counts correctly to 109 then skips to a million and goes to a million and 9 then to a billion. From there to a billion and 9 and then to the trillions.) She also draws well, especially flowers and butterflies (or so she tells me.) She is so darn cute. I just want to squeeze her. I love her 5 year old ness.

Jon took his turn at bat and took all the kids on a date with Dad to Shark Reef yesterday. They had fun and enjoyed the fish. Next week we will have a date with Annie. More on that date to come...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Washington D.C. Trip

Hi Everyone. I know. It has been almost a whole week with no posts. No, I haven't been out of town. But I am planning a trip that I would love some help with. Jon and I are planning on taking our oldest 3 kids to Washington, D.C. this fall. I am excited to show the kids where I lived when I was in law school and take them to my favorite places out there.

One thing I am struggling with however, is where to stay. I wondered if any of you have visited D. C. and have any recommendations. I want to stay close to a metro station either in a safe part of D.C. or one of the close areas in Virginia. Any suggestions?

It has been so long since I have been back to D.C. that I can't remember which areas are safe and which are not and which hotels are nice and which are not. I would really appreciate any suggestions anyone can give me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Favorite Things

I made a new purchase recently. It is definitely one of my favorite things. It makes me feel strong and tall and capable. It adjusts to go easy on me on hard days and hard on me on easy days. It makes my jeans fit better and my body more able to accomplish its daily tasks. It is the only form of exercises that I really like. (Well running outside isn't so bad but only on good cool weather days which are few here in Vegas.)

I bought a reformer from the studio where I was taking classes. Now my trainer comes over once a month to teach me new exercises and I work out on my own the rest of the month. It has been great. I especially love that I don't have to worry about having someone watch the kids while I go. My girls are great coaches. They are now experts at counting to 16 for me as they count my reps. 

Noble loves to sit on my tummy while I go back and forth doing leg work. Sometimes he even just lays down on my chest and enjoys the ride. My girls like to try to do the exercises I do. They are too short to do most of the leg ones. But they can all do some of the arm ones and love to ask mom if they can "crack the walnut."

I know this is silly because doing Pilates is really hard when you do it right. But part of the reason I love it is because I get to spend a good portion of my workout laying on my back. That to me if relaxing. Even in my legs, or core, or booty is burning from the strain.

What is your favorite way to workout?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dance with Me

Watching the Finale tonight, a thought hit me as I watched this piece by Travis Wall. He choreographed it about his mother's battle with (what I read somewhere) breast cancer. It was touching thinking of it in that light. But tonight when I watched it I looked at it with broader eyes.

Tonight I saw myself as the woman in this piece. And immediately the one "fixing" me took on the role of the Savior. He doesn't take all the pain away. He just gently nudges here and lifts there to get me going at those moments when I just feel like I can't do it on my own.

The middle part shows the anger and passion of grief and how the Savior lets us alone to feel these but is never far from us and he understands these emotions and feels them with us. I love how it starts and she is so devastated and then he catches her in her fall and then after the passion and "fight" in the middle section she if laid low yet again and he helps her walk forward, guiding her and helping, ever so gently to lift her feet.

I am grateful for a Savior who understands and is willing to share the dance - through both the good, bad, the stumbling and the fighting with me.

Can you see yourself in this dance too?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I saw this today via Nie Nie. All I can say is WOW. Wow.

SYTYCD Finale Party my house tonight at 8:30 ish.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Know... I Know...

It is 4:19 a.m. What am I doing up? Good question. I had a big long day yesterday. I worked hard. I played hard. I got no nap. I should be snoozing right? Right. But I have spent the last hour or so laying in my bed in June 2008.

I kept telling myself, "Stephanie. It is August 2010! We are two years out. Let's close that chapter and look forward." But somehow my mind wasn't listening. So finally I thought maybe coming down here and writing it out would put the past back to bed and let me go to sleep.

We went swimming last night. Jon had to work till almost 8 so I took the 4 kids by myself to our friends house. I knew this would be too much for me to watch 4 kids at a pool when two of them are not so water safe. So I came prepared. I brought a port a crib and put Noble down to sleep in the house as soon as we arrived. He was tired and it was his bedtime so this worked well. Now I just had Lauren to worry about.

I got in the pool with the kids and we had fun. I worked with Lauren on her swimming. I helped her see that she could swim all the way across the pool by herself. We did a few laps together with her turning on her back to float to breathe. She did so well and I was so proud of her being so brave and working so hard to learn this technique. Still, it was draining to keep my eyes on her 100% of the time. It is just stressful to me. She was fine the whole time. We swam for about and hour and half in all and she got so good at flipping over on her back. As she got tired toward the end she often would stay on her back and kick to get to the side.

There were no close calls. Sabrina and Annie had a blast and Jon eventually showed up to get in with them. Still, the stress is just there for me now whenever water is near. Part of me always feels I must be missing someone or there must be some danger I am not seeing.

And so when I woke up at 3 a.m. I was back again in 2008, reliving the reason for my stress. These days, the reliving is less adrenaline filled. It is more analytical?, more of a running through the events in my head, confirming that they happened? And they are often accompanied by that nauseating feeling of the reality of my loss.

Lately I have been thinking about how different the death of a child is as apposed to losing a grandparent. I haven't really experienced other losses enough to know how this compares to them. But I was thinking how different this is because losing a child changes you as a person. Some of those changes are good and some of them are pretty not so nice. :) But it changes you. It is like a different chemical is added to your make up and it completely changes who you were before is so many ways.

The other losses I have experienced, while they were very sad to me, didn't do that. I was very close with my grandmothers and I still miss them often. But it just seemed to be part of life to lose them. Maybe it was earlier than I wanted with one of them. But she was still 80 and had lived a full life. Somehow, losing a young child doesn't seem like it should be "part of life." And yet ... for me ... it is.

And so now, I guess, is this. The stress and the reliving, at 4 in the morning, the day that changed me forever as a person.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What do Mormon's believe of the Doctrine of Grace

Dear Julie (the no longer Anon commenter from my Lesson on Exaltation Post),

First off I did do a post on this subject before that you can read HERE. But I will answer again as there are things from this post that are a bit more specific than I answered before. I will say in advance that I write to inform only. My purpose is never to convince anyone I am right and they are wrong. I respect that each of us has the right to believe, and worship or not as they choose and seem fit. Still I am happy to agree with you when you believe as I do and I think for the most part our beliefs about the doctrine of Grace are the pretty similar. At least if I read your comments right.

Mormons do believe in the doctrine of Grace. It is what saves us. No one can live or do anything that can "save" them. Only Christ can do this. Anyone who feels they can never be saved because they can't live perfectly or that they can be saved because they think they do live perfectly simply does not understand the power and necessity of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I think it is a common misconception of our church that people think we do not believe in grace. Perhaps that is because we do stress the "following Christ" part of earning Grace.

As I am sure you understand, Christ is our judge and he will be the One who decides who His grace will make perfect and clean and who it will not. He has set an example for us and asked us in the scriptures to take certain steps to qualify us for his grace. These are faith in Him, repentance, Baptism by water and Baptism by fire or the receiving of the Holy Spirit. See John 3:5 and Mark 16:16 (just to name 2).

Once we have taken these steps we must try our best to live according to the light and knowledge we have been given. And those who haven't taken these steps will also be judged by HIm according to how they lived based on the light and knowledge they are given. So we do not believe that a child in China who has never been taught of Jesus Christ but has lived a good life and done what they feel is right based on what they know is automatically damned because they don't have faith in Christ and haven't been baptized. We believe that in the afterlife that child will have an opportunity to learn of Christ from angelic missionaries and a baptism will eventually be able to be done for that child here on earth in one of our temples so that child can choose to accept that baptism and qualify for the Grace that Christ would offer him.

On the other hand, we do not believe that one who has come to know Christ and then rejects His example and chooses not to follow His Spirit will automatically be saved just because once they believed. That is the enduring to the end part. We must try our best to follow Him and become as much like Him as we can. We won't succeed but His grace will make up for all we lack (which as you noted is ALOT.) It is only by that grace that we at last can be made perfect in His kingdom.

Now we do believe that there are many "degrees" of heaven. I wrote a post on the LDS view of heaven HERE.  I would refer you to this post to explain what we think Heaven is like and whether we think we are the only ones going there. :) But to make it in the top of the 3 kingdoms I refer to in that post, we believe you must take the steps I outlined above to be "saved" by Christ's grace.

As for the other steps in my outline of my lesson that refer to going to the temple, Those are steps that we believe have been restored to us through modern day prophets. By restored, I mean that we believe they were on the earth at the time of Christ and Solomon, and Adam for that matter, but that they were lost after Christ and his apostles were killed. They are necessary for us to literally become like our Heavenly Father and to live in families - still being married and still being mothers and fathers - in the kingdom of Heaven.

I would HIGHLY recommend that you go to mormon.org. Just click on the button that says "I believe" on my blog to get to my page there. I do answer the question about what we think of the doctrine of grace there as well. More importantly, you can see what other Mormons think of this topic. HERE is a link to the very page that shows the responses to the Grace question. Regular Mormon people like me have gone there and answered this very question for themselves and you can see if my answer is in line with other Mormon's say.

Also if you have any other questions or want to know more, you can chat with a missionary online. They can answer whatever questions you have live and you don't need to be worried or scared to talk to them. They will only send someone to your home if you ask for them and give them your address. :) No pressure. Just answers. Hope that helps you understand what we believe.

While you are there you should also watch the video of my friend Ryan Wright HERE. He is awesome and a talented musician as well as a record company executive for a major label. Plus he is just a great guy. Loved his video.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crazy Lady

Do you ever feel like you are going crazy? Sometimes I do. My emotions have been all over the place lately. Not only have I had mood swings that could rock a cruise ship but I have also had a myriad of emotions all surging within at the same time. I mean, how is it that I want to laugh and cry and scream and run for no good reason at the same exact time?

I had to apologize to my kids today for being snippy. I guess it is at least good to know I am acting like a crazy lady so I can tell them so and let them know it is me not them. But it makes me wonder how I am going to survive the teenage years when we will have 4 crazy ladies in the house snipping at each other and laughing and holding back tears all at the same time.

The girls started dance classes this week. It has been fun to see them all cute in the dance clothes. Noble... well he is at a frustrating stage. By that I mean that he is often frustrated because I won't let him feed himself every meal and he only wants to eat if he feeds himself. We are negotiating. He will only drink out of big cup and only if he can hold it. (sippy cups are for shaking upside down to make it rain right?) I can't even hand it to him. I have to put the cup down and let him pick it up himself. Then I don't let him go anywhere with the cup. That is frustrating to him. At least he is getting really good at cleaning up his spills.

So many times a day I just want to eat him up. I wish he liked to snuggle because I just want to squeeze him in gratitude that he is here with me every day. But he is too busy to snuggle. There is a whole world to learn about and discover right? Today I made muffins. He got up on a stool and got a pair of tongs and tried to feed himself some of those muffins. It was so funny. By the time I got him down he had muffin all over his face and a few of the muffins had been hammered. Of course when I put him in his high chair with a muffin, he only wanted to pull of pieces to throw on the ground. When I took him out he went back to the stool and got the tongs again and went to work trying to use those tongs to get muffin in his mouth.

Sorry if these little details are a bit boring for you all. I just wish I had written more of Camille's little day to day details down. So I am trying to get my little kid details down here for myself. I don't want to forget this crazy stage of life and the wonder of watching my children discover the world.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lesson on Exaltation

Yesterday it was my turn to teach all the young women again at church. Just in case any of you will have to teach this lesson, I thought I would share what I did. Plus there was a great story that I think everyone would love (see below). I fretted quite a bit about how to make the lesson interesting to the girls. The lesson in the manual had some good information but I didn't like the way it was organized and I wanted to find a more compelling attention getting introduction.

I ended up putting 7 books around the room and had a girl walk around the room gathering books to stack on her head as she went. Before she started I gave her a card as a free gift for participating. It said I would bring treats on Tuesday to our activity. (This represented the free gift of immortality that Christ has given us all.)

Next she had to walk to room gathering books on her head as she went. Each book represented one of the steps our religion teaches are necessary for exaltation in the highest kingdom of heaven (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Baptism of the Spirit, Temple Endowments, Temple Marriage and Enduring to the End.) At the end it was really hard to walk without losing the books. I had another girl help her a bit to steady the books as she walked. (This girl represented the heavenly help we receive to endure.) At the end she got a card that told her she got to pick her favorite treat for Tuesday.

In each book I had a scripture or quote for a girl to read that said that this step is essential. We talked about all the steps and why they are essential and how because of God is a perfect parent and a perfect being who is perfectly just, he must follow through with His word. Then we talked about why we should want this "upgraded gift" of exaltation.

There was a great story in the lesson that has stuck with me and it is part of the reason I am sharing all of this with you now. I wanted to share it with all of you.

To help the young women understand the great glory and happiness of those who are exalted, read the following experience of Elder Melvin J. Ballard who, as an Apostle, had a marvelous dream or vision:


“Away on the Fort Peck Reservation where I was doing missionary work with some of our brethren, laboring among the Indians, seeking the Lord for light to decide certain matters pertaining to our work there, and receiving a witness from Him that we were doing things according to His will, I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night in that sacred building, the temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those rooms to meet a glorious Personage, and, as I entered the door, I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious Being my eyes have ever beheld or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds. As I approached to be introduced, he arose and stepped towards me with extended arms, and he smiled as he softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old, I shall never forget that smile. He took me into his arms and kissed me, pressed me to his bosom, and blessed me, until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt! When he had finished, I fell at his feet, and, as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world. The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in His hands, to have His love, His affection, and His blessing was such that if I ever can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be to feel what I then felt!” (Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], pp. 138–39).

I loved this account of this man's dream or vision. I could feel it as I read it to them. It has stayed with me since. I want to be there with Him too. I plan on being there - with Camille, with my family hopefully, and most importantly with my Savior and Heavenly Father.