Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Clara Evelyn Pond

Our sweet baby girl is here (as of two months ago)! I really had such an easy pregnancy with no complications...right up until the very end anyway. When I went to the doctor for my 36 week check-up, my blood pressure was a little elevated, but we chalked it up to not eating well over the holidays. My doctor said we'd keep an eye on it, but that it wasn't a big concern. Same at my 37 week appointment. However, when I went in for my 38 week appointment, it was crazy high. My doctor asked me if we were ready and if I'd be mad if he said we were having a baby that day. I'd had a feeling my entire pregnancy that this baby was going to come early, so it wasn't a huge shock. I was sitting there going over all the things I'd planned to do that week (clean my house, do laundry, install the car seat, finish putting together the nursery, plus I was going to go get groceries on my way home.) But my only concern was getting baby here safely, and keeping myself safe as well. My doctor had me to go the hospital for some lab work and to be put on the monitors for a while before he decided for sure he was going to induce me, but I left the office knowing that there was a 99% chance I'd have a baby very soon. I was kind of bummed because I really didn't want to go the induction route again, but since it was what was best for baby I willingly accepted it. I got in my car and texted Jeff at work, letting him know that he should probably get ready to leave work, Then I called my mom who was watching Jackson to see if she'd need the car seat at all that day. She didn't, so I headed to the hospital. I felt weird checking into labor and delivery by myself because I'd pictured having Jeff right there with me when we went to have a baby, but he was still trying to finish up a few things at work and get the paperwork for his FMLA. Then he wanted to go home and change into something more comfortable...and I needed him to get my bag, and take a few things to my mom's for Jackson. In hindsight, I probably could have gone to get my bag and take the things to Jackson so I could have at least said goodbye instead of abandoning him. Plus, I should have eaten lunch. A bowl of Cheerios eaten at 8:00 in the morning don't carry a person very far...especially when they're in labor. But I was obviously not thinking clearly.

My labor wasn't awful, as good as it can go with no pain meds anyway. That was my choice, and given the option, that's the route I'll probably go again. They started pitocin around noon. Things were progressing, but I wasn't feeling anything beyond mild discomfort until my doctor came and broke my water around 6. Around 9:30 the nurse checked me and said that I was fully dilated so she called my doctor...but when he got there I was really only about a 6. After that I was not a happy camper and felt quite a bit of pain, but I think it was more psychological because I'd thought that we were ready to have a baby and still had so long to go. However, it only took me another hour to be fully dilated for real. My doctor came in and three pushes later Clara Evelyn Pond was born at 10:47 PM on January 10. She weighed 5 lbs. 15 oz. and was 19 inches long. My first thought was how incredibly tiny she was. She is such a sweetheart and we love her so much. She is such a good baby, sleeping 5-6 hours straight most nights. She is a great nurser. She is so happy. She loves to be cuddled, and absolutely loathes her car seat. Jackson adores her and always asks to "carry sister." It did take him a while to warm up to her, but once he did he thinks she is the greatest. He looks for her first thing every morning and smothers her with kisses. He loves to do tummy time with her.

Clara was two months old last Friday. I took her for her check up yesterday and the doctor said that she is perfect. She now weighs 10 lbs. 6 oz and is 22.5 inches long. (In comparison, she was born 15 days earlier than Jackson (10 days early vs. 5 days late) and at his 2 month check up he weighed 10 lbs. 4 oz. and was 24.5 inches long) I love her chubby cheeks and fat rolls on her legs. I never got to enjoy the baby rolls with Jackson because he was so long and skinny. We had her blessed on March 5. It was nice to have all of the family here to celebrate Clara with us.

We feel so blessed to have this sweet baby in our family. Her name, Clara Evelyn, came from two great grandmothers, Jeff's Dad's mom whose middle name was Clara and my mom's mom whose middle name was Evelyn, though that was what everyone knew her by. It is special to have part of both of our families honored in her name. Though she'll never know her great-grandmothers in this life, she will always carry that bit of heritage with her.



 








Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Baby Update

It has been a while since I posted. I was going to update the blog as soon as we found out if this baby is a boy or a girl...and then I couldn't get my phone to cooperate with the video of Jackson making our announcement. We have now known for almost 2 1/2 months. For anyone who reads this who didn't see, Here is Jackson's big announcement.


video


We are so excited for Baby Sister to join our family. Only 9 1/2 more weeks to go until she is here! It is crazy how fast the time has gone. It feels like we waited forever for the news that another baby was on it's way to our family, but this pregnancy has flown by. For the most part I feel pretty good, other than being exhausted because I cannot for the life of me get comfortable to sleep at night. I've also dealt with sciatic pain with this pregnancy that I didn't have with Jackson. I regularly ask myself how I made it the whole 9 months working 8-10 hours a day with him. I sleep in 2-3 hours later than I ever could, plus usually take a nap, or at least lay down to rest. 

Baby Sister is healthy. For a while my doctor was worried about her head because it looked funny on the ultrasounds, so he sent me to a high risk doctor, but at my appointment with him last week, everything looked completely normal. It was kind of angled at the temples, but as of last week it was mostly rounded out as it should be. He thinks it's probably just because she's breech, and has been the whole time. That has made it so her head hasn't been properly molded by my pelvis as a baby with who is head-down would be. We are crossing our fingers that in the next 9 weeks she flips over so we don't have to have a C-section. 

She is very active, which I love...most of the time. We have fun watching my belly change shape as she rolls around. She doesn't like her bubble being invaded. Whenever Jackson sits on my lap she kicks him to try to get him to move, and she always moves out of the way of the ultrasound and heart rate dopplers. Makes things a little tricky for the doctors. She also always hides her face during ultrasounds. At my last one she hid her face completely behind a hand and a foot. Out of all the ultrasounds I've had (five to this point), we only have one or two clear pictures of her face because she's always hiding it. We can't wait to see that beautiful little face when she is born.

As for getting things ready for her here, we have the crib set up in her room, but I still need to finish cleaning it out because we were using it as our catch-all/ storage room for the last 15 months. There's things I want to do in her room to decorate it, but we do have to decide on a name first for some of it. I also need to reorganize our room for the bassinet. And I have a couple sewing projects to do for her too.

Jackson is so cute, kissing my belly and saying "I love you, Baby 'ister" nightly as we're putting him to bed. We'll see if that love continues when Baby Sister actually gets here. Lol. He is still very much a momma's boy and I have to be the one to rock him to sleep at night. The rocking chair will soon be moved into Baby Sister's room because it will be more useful there than in Jackson's room. Probably this weekend when we put up our Christmas decorations because we have to take one of our arm chairs upstairs to fit the tree in, so we'll stash that in Jackson's room to try to start getting him used to not cuddle-rocking every night. Don't get me wrong, I love cuddling with my little boy, and I'll try to have their bedtimes different so I can still cuddle him as often as possible, but Baby Sister will probably rock his world regardless. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Answered Prayers

The update I posted last month may not have been a complete update on our family last month when I updated our blog. It has been an emotional almost 18 months with our miscarriage and then trying to get all of my hormones regulated as I was dealing with the depression and trying to get pregnant again. We have spent a lot of time on our knees, trying to make sense of what happened and why, but also asking for the opportunity to expand our family.

In my last post, I said I was doing much better. Really, I am. Mentally and emotionally I haven't been better in a long time. And physically I am starting to feel better too.  You see, we've been keeping a little secret for the past three months. We found out in May, after several months of tears and struggles, that I am pregnant, now 16 1/2 weeks along, due January 20, 2017.

The week we found out, we were working at getting our garden ready to plant. We had to dig out a lot of grass to do so. I did a lot of the work during the day while Jeff was at work. One day I was out working and I just felt off. I wondered if I was getting sick. My cycle wasn't late yet, so it was a completely logical thought. I had no reason to believe I was pregnant. But I had the nagging thought, "But what if I am?" The next morning, I was still feeling a little off and still had that thought, so I pulled a pregnancy test out of my drawer completely believing that there was no way it would be positive, even if by some miracle I was pregnant because I was still early. So I went about getting ready for the day while I waited. When I looked back down at the test, I was shocked. There was a faint line! Very faint, but there. I didn't believe it. I pulled out a different brand of test...it was also positive. And then, because I still didn't believe it, I pulled out a third brand of test (yes, I was one of THOSE. It probably has something to do with trying for so long.) That third test was also positive. I couldn't deny it after that. I was so happy, and couldn't wait for Jeff to get home. I wanted to tell him so bad, but that just isn't the kind of news you share over text. I was so grateful, and so excited.

But, I was also scared. I knew what could happen. I prayed so hard that day that everything would be okay with this baby and pregnancy. I was teaching piano lessons when Jeff got home. He went upstairs to change and turned on the TV. When I finished, I went upstairs and sat down next to him on the bed. I grabbed his hand, and whispered (because that's all the voice I could get out) as I put his hand on my tummy that I was pregnant. He was also excited to find out, though just as scared as I was. I had him give me a blessing, and I did feel that everything would go okay.

My morning sickness started the last week of May. I had never been so grateful to be sick in my life.  never got to that point with the baby we lost. I wasn't looking forward to months of being sick, but knew that it was a blessing and helped me to breathe a little easier. I was able to mostly control it, as long as I stayed laying down. I had two miserable days of work, but two days were all that I had left of the school year when it started, so I was grateful for that. With Jackson, I was sick the entire school year.

I hadn't been nervous, at all, until I went to my first doctor's appointment. Where it was at the doctor I found out about our miscarriage, I really started freaking out that morning. I made Jeff take the day off work to go with me...because I was NOT going to be alone again. But, we were able to see a little heart beating in the ultrasound. I was so relieved, knowing that we had made it past that crucial point. I've had two appointments since that first one, and have been able to hear a good, strong heartbeat at each of them. Next month, we will find out if Jackson will get a little brother or sister in January.

I still worry on a daily basis, and pray for the health of this baby and myself. But I am so grateful. I'm grateful for the weeks of sickness I had. I'm grateful that now I'm functioning like a normal human being again, if with a bit less energy. Lol. I'm grateful that Jackson has been so good and is perfectly content to just play while I lay on the couch to rest, or even nap on occasion. I'm grateful that I have a good husband who never once complained (out loud anyway!) when he left for work in the morning with a messy kitchen/ house and came home do an even messier one, and just cleaned it up for me. My worry is lessening now, as I am starting to feel little flutters of movement. I wasn't wanting to let myself believe that's what it was until after I went to the doctor this week and heard the heart again.

I know that Heavenly Father always hears and answers prayers. It isn't always in our desired time frame, but He does when it is right for us. I am grateful that I am able to be a Mommy, and that we will be able to bring home another precious blessing in just a few more months.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Our Updates

I have been MIA here on the blog for almost 8 months. I have been dealing with some personal issues. After we lost our baby last year, I sunk into depression. It took me months to admit it. Actually, it took a friend lovingly telling me to get help before I did. Admitting that I needed help was really hard, but I am so grateful every single day to my friend for encouraging me to go and ask for help. I am doing so much better. I can function as a wife and a mom again. I'm sleeping at night, and I can find joy in life. Things in my life still aren't perfect, but I can see the good instead of focusing just on the bad like I had for so long.

In April, Jeff was offered a job at NRF...a job we have been praying for him to get for months. This job will allow me to be a full-time stay at home mom. There is an average 6-9 month waiting period for him to get a security clearance (since he'll be working for the Federal Government) before he'll be able to start. We are hoping that he will be able to start by the end of the year, but we'll see. We know it's coming, and that in and of itself is a blessing. Right now we are waiting for his background check to come through before we can start the clearance paperwork, but he heard today that he should be able to start that next week. That starts and things will really be rolling. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Jackson just turned 3. He is a clown, and he knows it. He is always making us laugh. He loves playing with cars and trains, and he loves to be outside. That little boy brings us so much joy. He talks our ears off. We still can't understand a lot of what he says, but it is getting easier each day. One of my favorite things he says is "Mommy, I need some cocowat (chocolate) milk in this cup." We make at least one glass of chocolate milk a day. His favorite things to eat are pizza, mac n cheese,  and cereal. He loves going to nursery each week and practically runs down the hall to class after Sacrament Meeting. He still needs to be rocked to sleep each night, which I love. I love it so much. We cuddle rock for a good half hour a night, and during the day for naps...when he takes them.

Life in the Pond house is good. We are happy with where our life is going. We feel so blessed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Missing You Always

Seven months ago today seemed so far away. Seven months ago I lost my precious baby. She should have been born today. (Or next week if she was anything like her big brother.) But regardless, we should have her room all ready for her to come join our family any time. My belly should be huge and uncomfortable. We should have gifts for her waiting to be wrapped alongside those we have for Jackson. But we don't. Sure, life has gone on. But that doesn't mean that I don't think about Elizabeth Every. Single. Day. 

When we started trying again I was so sure that I would be pregnant again by her due date. Why wouldn't I be? With Jackson and Elizabeth, we got pregnant our first cycle trying. Why should this time around be any different? (I realize that I was extremely lucky and in the minority there. And I will never boast about that, especially not now that I know the struggle it can be waiting to have a baby that you want so desperately.) Well, fast forward 6 months from when we started trying again and we're still trying. But we're not just trying to have another baby. We're trying to get my cycles regulated so we can even try to try for a baby. It's been frustrating. It's been lonely. I know more about my body than I ever wanted to know. I have spent so much time on my knees, pleading for understanding. But I don't feel that it has come. Not yet anyway. And that is hard. I know that I need to move forward in faith, but sometimes it's really hard to have faith. Sometimes it is really hard to move past this. I know that having another baby will never fully heal the pain that losing Elizabeth has brought, but it will help.

There have been so many times when I have considered deleting my social media accounts because seeing pregnancy announcements is painful. But  I don't. I just hide those people from my feed so I don't see any more. It's not because I'm not happy for them. It's that I hurt for me. 

One thing I do know. Losing Elizabeth has opened my eyes to a different world. It's made me consider how I will do things in the future, because I know how it is to be on the other side of things. And it's not a place anyone deserves to be in.  

I do have a lot to be grateful for, however. Losing Elizabeth has opened my eyes to the beauty and blessing of my temple sealing. Without that, I wouldn't see her again. But I know that I will, and that gives me something to work toward every day. I am grateful for Jackson and his sweet spirit. Yes, he's 2 and won't let us forget it, but he is the most amazing little boy. He is so smart and learns things so quickly. I'm grateful for his health--which should drastically improve now that he's had his tonsils removed. I'm grateful for modern medicine that allowed us to be able to do that for him to improve his quality of life.  I'm grateful for our home and the comforts we have here. I'm grateful for our neighbors and friends. We haven't been in our neighborhood or ward long, but we fit in. We feel comfortable. People know us and love us. I'm grateful for our jobs that allow us to have the things that we do. We don't have a lot of wiggle room in our budget, but we have heat, food, shelter, clothing. That's what really matters. I'm grateful for the scriptures and the time that I am able to spend in them daily, learning from the teachings of prophets. I'm grateful that I can read. This year my goal was to read the entire standard works, and I'm almost there. I'll easily have it done by the end of the year. Next year I plan to do my scripture study in Spanish, and I'm excited to see what I can learn from that. I'm grateful that we have music in our home. I love being able to sit down at my piano and play. I'm grateful that that also can bring in a little extra money as I teach lessons. I'm grateful for the family I grew up in and the way my family shaped me into who I am. I'm grateful for Jeff's family and the person they helped him become. I'm grateful for the sweet (and the not so sweet too) children I get to see at work every week as I teach music. I'm Im grateful that I am able to work just part time and for the fun that I have doing so.I am grateful for my good husband who works hard for us and tries every day to be better. He has been a great strength to me. I'm grateful for the Atonement that allows me to be forgiven of my wrongdoings and become perfect again. And I grateful that it's not a one-and-done deal, but that I can use it every day if I need to. I am grateful for temples. With our temple closed right now, it takes a little extra planning to go to the temple, but even then, we only have to drive 30 minutes, unlike so many people in the world. I am grateful for the peace I feel when I go to the temple and for the blessing it is to have in my life. I am grateful for the sacrament that allows me to renew all of the covenants I have made with my Father in Heaven each week and become clean from my sins. I'm grateful that I was able to serve a mission and for the love I have for the people I met while serving. I'm grateful for the way that they all influenced my life. 

Yes, this year has been difficult. But I have leaned some important lessons along the way. The biggest of which being to be grateful for the day to day. Be grateful for the gifts we receive from Heavenly Father. Because you never know when it might be taken away. I wish every day that Elizabeth had been allowed to stay. But I have to remind myself that there is a reason that she wasn't. Heavenly Father needed her. She taught me all she needed to in the few short weeks we had her...but at the same time continues to teach me daily. I'll never stop missing her or wondering what she would have been like. But I will also never stop being grateful for the things she has taught me...which I feel is so much more than she could have taught me being here with us.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

Before this year I never even knew that this day existed. October 15 was always just another day. But 6 months ago...almost to the day...Something happened that changed my world. I was so excited to be pregnant again, and just starting to feel sick. I went in for a routine doctor's appointment, with the only question in mind being, "What can I do to help with morning (all day) sickness" as I had a very busy almost-two-year-old I had to chase around, and had to work two days a week. I went in for my dating ultrasound, and the tech asked if I was sure of my dates. If I'd had any cramping or bleeding. My heart sunk. By the time I actually got to see my doctor, I was in shock. And all alone. As we hadn't had any problems at all with Jackson, we had no worries, so Jeff went to work that day. If I'd had any inkling at all of what was going to happen, I would have insisted he go with me. I found out I had lost my baby. I was heartbroken. As it has been six months, things have gotten easier, but I still think of my baby every day. I feel in my heart it was a girl. I would have been so happy to have another boy, to give Jackson a brother to play with. But I longed for a girl, and feeling that it was going to be a girl, I think that almost makes things harder. Anyway, I think of my sweet angel multiple times a day, and she is always the last thing I think about before I fall asleep at night. I should be just 6 weeks away from meeting her. She was due the day before Thanksgiving, and oh how grateful I was...for that month that I knew. We had told both of our families, and they were all excited too.

From now on, October 15 will have a completely different meaning for me. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. And it has been a hard day. I didn't think it would be, but it has been. Maybe it's been posts I've seen on different forums. Maybe it's all in my head. Maybe it's that her due date is getting closer. Maybe it's because there are so many people on facebook and in my ward who are pregnant or have new babies. I can change settings on facebook to control what I see, but I'm not going to stop going to church, no matter now painful it is--and there are days that all I do is cry my way through meetings. If I avoid you, or don't respond to things you post, please don't take it personally. I just don't know how to deal with things myself right now.  I seem to have been having more hard days lately, and I wonder if that's why. Maybe it's that I got pregnant with Jackson and Elizabeth so easily, and now I'm not even having normal cycles to be able to try. I don't know. It's been a hard day. I haven't had much motivation to do things. It's been an "Eeyore" kind of a day.

I am eternally grateful for my eternal marriage and the knowledge I have that I will one day get to hold my baby. But Oh how I wish that day were sooner than it is going to be. I know that my baby must have been special to have been called Home before she even got the chance to grow up. She must have had a lot more knowledge than her Mommy and fewer things to learn. There have been so many times that I have felt her close. But that hasn't lessened the pain of our family's loss.

I am so grateful for those of my friends who have opened up about their losses as well. For me, talking about losing Elizabeth has been helpful in healing. I know that for so many people miscarriage is a Taboo subject. I don't want it to be that way. My baby lived, even if it was just a short time. I don't want her to be forgotten. And she never will by me. And the pain of losing her will always be there. Another baby--though so desperately wanted--will never replace her or completely fill the hole in my heart.

And so, to those who may be silently struggling through the loss of a baby and feeling alone--I know I felt so very alone the first few weeks before people opened up--know that you are not alone. Don't be afraid to talk to others or share your feelings. It may help. I know it has for me.

I am breaking the silence. Elizabeth Hope Pond lived, and still lives on in my heart and in her Heavenly Home, where I will one day get a chance to hold her in my arms.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Home Sweet Home


As I mentioned in my last post, (like two months ago now) we bought a house! We have been in it for six weeks and still love it. There are very few things that we don't like. It has been so much fun decorating our home and making it ours. We haven't been to our ward very many weeks because we've been out of town, (and today I'm home with a sick little boy) but it is a good ward. It is in the same stake we were in, so I know several people either because they are friends with my parents, parents of friends I had in high school, or were in my ward growing up before boundaries were changed. Kids who I used to babysit are now of babysitting age themselves, and I will probably be calling them from time to time.

I didn't take any before pictures of our yard. When we moved in there were lots of weeds (there still are, but we're getting them under control. That is what happens when your house is built on an old hay field.) The grass was in pretty sad shape too, but it is looking so much better now. The few patches that haven't resurrected will be turned into garden or flower beds next year. Jackson has had lots of fun helping Daddy work in the yard. He'll go outside and dig or rake several times a week.


We live in a town house. This is our side of the house. If you're coming to visit, it's the house with the planter filled with flowers (currently pink petunias) on the mail box post and the wreath on the front door. We love that it is an end unit, which has a bigger lot and thus a bigger yard. And there's a gate to get into the back yard.





This picture was taken standing at the front door. Just to the right are the stairs. We love the space that we have in our living room. Our furniture actually fits comfortably here, and there's really room to spare! I also love that it is an open floor plan to the dining room and kitchen.


When we were looking at houses, I saw this wall and instantly knew that's where my piano would go! Isn't that such a perfect "piano wall?" Now that we are settled in one place for long-term, I'm going to start teaching piano lessons. I have a few students lined up, and I'm looking forward to it.


Another shot of our back yard, with the grass looking so much better than it did in that first picture. We have a decent sized patio as well, which will be perfect for barbecuing, just as soon as we get a propane tank for our grill. I am in love with the view out our back windows too. Just to the left is a wonderful view of the sunset every day because it is just a wheat field off that way, and there's an empty field with a wheat field across the street behind us. And it's almost a straight shot to the end of the airport runway, which is heaven for my plane-loving little dude! Whenever he hears a plane coming, he'll stop what he's doing and run to the back door or front window to watch the plane fly overhead. And that is usually accompanied by a very excited "Wow!"


This is our dining room.  I love that there is actually space to expand our table, and move all the way around it too! In our first apartment, we couldn't even have all of our chairs, and in our next apartment, we had all the chairs, but there wasn't room to put the leaves in or walk around it. 


I am in love with my kitchen! It is huge in comparison to what we've had...and yet every cupboard and drawer is full. Wherever did I put things before?! The wood is exactly what I've dreamed of having in my home, so that is perfect. There is tons of light. I have a flat-top stove, which is second best to my true desire of a gas stove (that's not even an option here though since we don't have gas.) I also love that our microwave is built in which saves so much counter space. It is nice not having to use my table as work space while I'm cooking. The counter tops are actually identical to my mom's. Our house was built the same year they remodeled theirs, so it must have been a popular choice that year. Good thing I like her counters! Lol. And it is a gorgeous tile floor. I may not like it quite so much in the winter because it will be colder, but it looks so good in that space. It's the same tile in the front entry and the bathroom upstairs. 


I even have a pantry! It is under the stairs, so not super huge, but gives us so much extra storage! I bought these can organizers to save shelf space, but still have lots of cans sitting on the selves. I want Jeff to add a couple more shelves to give me more space, and I want him to build me a vertical can organizer for more food storage space. A re-done pantry will be my Christmas present this year.


I love my laundry room! There is a cupboard up above where I can keep my cleaners and detergent, and there is a clothes-rod above the dryer, so when I do laundry, I bring our empty hangers down with me and hang the clothes up as soon as I take them out of the dryer which saves me so much ironing time! I don't mind ironing, but if I don't have to, I am a happy girl. I love the window which gives us natural light too. Rarely do we turn on lights during the day, anywhere!


This is our half-bath downstairs. It's not even one of those itty-bitty claustrophobic half-baths like you usually see. There is actually room to move around just not quite enough to have added a shower. Jackson had fun helping me demonstrate how the built-in stool works. Is that not a genius idea?! All he has to do is pull it out and he can *almost* reach to wash his hands. He needs help stretching his arms far enough to reach the water, but give him another couple months and it will be perfect.


This is Jackson's room. He loves to stand up on his bed and look out that window to see the planes flying over. It took him some time to adjust to the new house, but he loves his room now, and usually sleeps through the night and takes great naps every day. His room has a good-sized closet, with nice built-ins for lots of storage.


This is our spare-room. I need to get a folding table so I can turn it into a craft room. I am so far behind on my scrapbooks, and I have a couple other sewing and craft projects in mind (shh...don't tell Jeff. That requires a trip to Hobby Lobby...and he says that place is forbidden.) This closet also has nice built-ins. Currently the shelves are being used to store books until I get another bookshelf and our extra towels and sheets.


Here's our main bath. I love the mirror that goes the whole length of the counter! There is lots of storage in the vanity. 


This is our room. I love our room! Those prints hanging above the bed are some Jeff brought back from France. I snuck them away and had them matted and framed for him for a wedding gift so we could display them instead of leaving them in a drawer as he had done for nearly 10 years. They are beautiful! My grandpa made the sconce on the wall. I love how all the bedrooms have ceiling fans too. That really helps with air circulation to keep the temperature of our house down.


My grandpa also made the shelf and helped my dad make my cedar chest. That space is perfect for my cedar chest. I love having it out of the walkway where I am prone to crashing into it in the middle of the night. That little cubby in the wall will one day hold a TV. Yes, that's what it was meant for. There is a cable-jack in the wall! That's just not at the top of our priority list of things to get. Jeff is saving up points at work to get one that way. 


We have a good sized walk-in closet, again with lots of nice built ins. This is the first time that we've really had enough closet space for what we need. We actually have lots of books in our closet too, at least until we get another bookcase...or four (I could almost have a private library!) 


This is the top of the stairs outside all the bedrooms and bathroom.


 We are so happy here in our home. It has been fun making it ours. We definitely prayed about the decision to purchase a home, and we feel that we were definitely led to make the right choice for our family. We will be very happy here for several years. We are excited to welcome our friends and family into our home to visit, so if you're in the area, please stop by!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Moving On

Two months have passed since the nightmare of losing our baby. I have felt so much peace through the Gospel. I know that everything will be okay. I have still had some rough days, days where I've just needed to cry. And it has been hard knowing that I would have been almost far enough along in the pregnancy to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. When I got pregnant, I figured we would find out around my birthday or our anniversary--now next week or the week after. But many times I have felt the presence of my sweet baby. They are okay. They are happy. And that makes me happy. I also feel that, when the time is right and we are ready again, more babies will come to our family. I don't know when that will be. That isn't important right now. This whole experience has taught me to trust in the Lord and His perfect timing.

As of late, I have been trying to focus on being a better Mommy to Jackson. He is so much fun, and has quite the little personality. Another post is in the works all about Jackson--he just turned two, after all, and that is big news!

Jeff and I have also bought a house! I think that has helped too, giving me something to really look forward to. We close next week and then will move in. We are ready for this new adventure. After we get moved in and have things organized, I'll post some pictures and share our home with all of you. We're also looking forward to the "Christmas" we're going to have as we open all of the boxes that have been in storage for almost a year and finding things we forgot we had :)

All in all, our life is very good. We are happy. We are blessed. And we are so grateful for the peace the Gospel brings.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Heartbreak and Healing

Disclaimer: This post is extremely long. I won't be offended if you don't read it. It is more for me than anything, but I hope that it is one day able to help someone who is going through a similar situation.

Let me start off by saying that I'm not looking for sympathy. What happened, happened for a reason. What that reason is I have yet to figure out. I just know that it is something I want to share for one so I remember, but for another to maybe someday down the line, be able to help and lift another who is struggling. I have been editing this post for a while, trying to find the best way to put into words how I am feeling, and sharing it in a way that is best. I'm posting it now because I feel that I am at a place where I feel emotionally ready, but it has taken some time to get there. There have been times through this when I have felt so very alone, and I want to share because I know that I'm not the only one struggling and I want others going through the same thing to have something to look at to know what what they are feeling is normal, though not always easy. Part of the reason I've felt alone is because often times, women going through this are often silent. I want to end that silence and be a strength to others.

April 25, 2015

One month ago today, on March 25 we found out that I was pregnant. I was due around the end of November or the first of December. I was beyond excited. I was ready to be a Mommy again, to have another sweet baby to snuggle. Being pregnant is hard, but I was looking forward to feeling my sweet baby move inside me. I was crossing my fingers for a little girl, but would have been equally as happy to have another little boy to give Jackson a little brother to play with. We told our families using a sign I made for Jackson to hold that said "Every Superhero needs a sidekick and I get mine in November." They were excited too. Both grandmas told me I needed to have a girl to even things out, granddaughter #5 for the Ponds and #1 for the Goods. Of course, they would have been happy with a little boy too.

I went to the doctor on April 6, and when I had my ultrasound, everything looked good, it was just too early to see a heartbeat, so they scheduled me to go back in for another appointment two weeks later. That appointment was this past Monday, April 20. Jeff was at work and I left Jackson home with Mom and headed out. They called me into the ultrasound and started, and as I looked at the screen and the ultrasound tech got silent, I knew something was wrong. She asked if I'd had any spotting. No, of course I haven't. I'm very pregnant. My morning sickness is getting worse. I can't wear any of my regular pants and just went to the storage unit for my maternity clothes on Saturday. But as the ultrasound continued and I didn't see much at all on the screen, my heart started to fall. I didn't give up hope though. I couldn't. I went back out into the waiting room to wait for the doctor. But when I saw the look on the nurse's face when she called me back, I knew that it wasn't good news. I sat down in the room, and saw it written across the top of the paper. "Fetal demise." My heart was broken. What had happened? When had my sweet baby died? Why hadn't I had any symptoms of miscarriage? The doctor came in and offered condolences. He told me that it wasn't because of anything I'd done. These miscarriages are usually caused by chromosomal abnormalities that doesn't allow a baby to develop. He told me that we could wait to see what would happen, he could give me medicine to allow my body to start the process, or we could do surgery. I immediately said that I wanted to let my body do it on it's own. My mind was blank, and I didn't have any questions for him...at the time. He asked where my husband was. Still being fairly new at his job, he doesn't have time to take off to make it to every single appointment with me. It was so hard for me to be alone when I received that news though. I longed for him to be there holding my hand. He told me that if Jeff had been there, he would have told him that it will be harder on me that it will be on him, and to be patient with me.

I left the office, and called Mom to let her know that I was going to drive out to Melaleuca. It was Jeff's lunch, and I needed to be with him. I needed to tell him in person. I sobbed the entire way across town. Why did I have to be alone? When I pulled into the parking lot, Jeff ran out to the car. I told him that I'd miscarried, and we cried together. He held my hand as tears flowed down my face. At the end of his lunch, I left and drove home. Mom held me as I cried some more. I went and rocked my sweet little boy to put him down for his nap as I poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, pleading for comfort.

That afternoon, I got a call from my doctor. He had reviewed the ultrasound, and gotten the opinion of the radiologist as well, and he said that he wasn't 100% positive that it was a miscarriage, he wanted me to go have my blood drawn to check my hcg levels, and to go back on Wednesday for another test to see if they were going up or down. That gave me a little bit of hope. I got back in the car and drove back across town to have my blood drawn.

Monday night Jeff held me in his arms as I sobbed. I wanted this little baby so bad. I wanted it to be okay. I wanted this to be a bad dream. He gave me a blessing that brought me a bit of comfort, but my heart was still breaking. I took a sleeping pill to help me sleep through the night. I got up on Tuesday and went to work, but my mind wasn't there. I sat in my classroom through my lunch hour and planned out sub lessons in case my situation warranted taking next week off.

They called on Tuesday afternoon to give me the number. Around 48,000. My doctor called me that night to see how I was doing. I told him that I was hanging in there. He told me to come back in the next day to see what my levels were and we'd take it from there.

Tuesday night I again broke down in tears in Jeff's arms, thinking about and longing for all of the experiences I wouldn't have with my baby. I wouldn't feel it's movements inside of me. I wouldn't know if it was a boy or a girl. I wouldn't ever kiss it's sweet face, or smell it's new baby smell, or count it's fingers or toes. Jeff told me that we didn't know for sure that we'd lost the baby and not to give up yet. It was just so hard for me to even have the thought in my mind that I had likely lost my sweet baby. Once again, I took a sleeping pill so I could sleep.

Again on Wednesday, I was at work, but my heart wasn't. Neither was my mind. I drove numbly to the doctor's office for another blood draw after I got off. I was trying to hold out hope, but I think I knew deep down that my sweet baby was gone.

Thursday was such a long day. It had been such a long week already. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I went visiting teaching, when I saw my sweet companion, I told her what was going on. She said that she's been there too, and asked me to let her know when I found out. We went to the grocery store. Still no call. Waiting was so nerve-wracking. I think I knew when I hadn't heard anything that morning that it wasn't going to be good news, because my doctor had told me that he should have the results first thing in the morning, though I also knew that he was scheduled in surgery all day. Finally, about 3:00 I couldn't take it any more and I called the office. My level had dropped to around 43,000. The nurse put me on the schedule to see the doctor at 8:30 Friday morning so we could discuss my questions and go over what path I wanted to take. I hung up the phone, and sobbed harder than I think I've ever sobbed in my life. There it was in black and white. My sweet baby who I was so excited to meet, was gone. I never would have any of those experiences that I was looking forward to.

Jeff arranged to go into work late on Friday so he could go with my to visit the doctor. I knelt in prayer before we left asking for strength, telling my Father that I was done waiting, and asked Him what would be the best option for me, whether to take the medication and have the miscarriage at home or surgery. I felt that either option would be okay, that it was my choice. I told Jeff on our way out that I was done waiting. Emotionally, I couldn't take it any more. As the doctor discussed things with us, Jeff stepped up and said that we would go ahead with the surgery. I was scared, because I would be all alone. Having surgery is scary anyway, but the situation made it so much worse. But almost immediately I felt calm. I knew that it would be the best path for us. We scheduled the surgery for 3:00 pm (because I'd eaten breakfast and it needed to be 8 hours after I'd eaten anything) and came home to wait until we needed to leave to be to the hospital to check in 2 hours before my surgery. The day crawled on. I was nervous, but calm at the same time, if that makes sense. Probably not. I think I was just glad to know that my nightmare was almost over.

When we got to the hospital, I got all checked in and put in a room to wait. I read my scriptures and the Ensign while I waited while Jeff sat by my side and held my hand while he played on his phone. I had nurses coming in to take my vitals, and blood. And the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about the anesthesia. I signed what I needed to, but really, everything went in one ear and out the other. We were both nervous, and really weren't looking forward to it. Finally I was wheeled back into pre-op and prepared for the surgery. When it was go time, I kissed Jeff goodbye and they took me back into the OR. They had me transfer onto the operating table, and covered me with some more warm blankets because I was freezing. They put the anesthesia into my IV, and the next thing I knew I was starting to hyper-ventilate because I was waking up and realized that my baby was gone. The nurse told me to breathe and at that moment I felt peace wash over me. Through the rest of the day I felt great peace. When they brought Jeff into the recovery room to see me, I told him what I'd felt. We sat and talked until they were ready to release me to come home. I felt so much peace. I can honestly say that I felt the sweet spirit of my little baby with me, letting me know that they were okay. That was such a comfort to me.

When we got home, Dad handed me a bouquet of flowers that my visiting teaching companion had brought over while I was gone. It was nice to feel that I wasn't so alone, that people were thinking of me. I was glad that I'd shared what I was going through with her. I didn't have any pain and felt good. I knew that I had made the right choice to have the surgery and that I would be able to start moving forward.

April 28, 2015

It's been a few days now. I've had some good days and some bad days.

Saturday started out okay. I was still feeling peace from Friday. Jeff's parents sent me a bouquet of white and yellow daisies that helped me to feel loved. However, as they day went on and I was doing my best to take care of Jackson as everyone else was working outside or getting dinner ready, I did a little too much and pulled something in my abdomen. I'd been told to take it easy, and I guess dragging a screaming toddler into his room to change a messy diaper doesn't qualify as "taking it easy." Up to that point, I hadn't had any physical pain, but as it set in and everyone else was still occupied with other things, I lost it. I had also been reading a book recommended to me by a friend, and in that book it stated that sometimes it helps grieving parents who have lost babies to be able to name their babies. That hurt my heart as well, because it was too soon to even know if we were expecting a boy or a girl, so I can't even give my baby a name. I wish I could, so I could refer to them with a name instead of just "the baby" or "my baby." That was the last straw for me. I had a break down. It was hard-core, ugly sobs. I physically didn't have strength to even stand up. I tried and I collapsed onto the chair just sobbing. Eventually, Jeff was able to help me up, but he practically had to carry me downstairs so we could be alone and talk and work through what I was feeling. It took me so long to calm down. I was crying so hard that I couldn't breathe. And I wonder if I was starting to go into a type of shock because my entire body was shaking and I was shivering even though I wasn't cold. Finally I was able to find the words to ask him for a blessing and that helped calm me down.

Looking back on that event now, a few days later, I can see that I just needed to let myself grieve. I needed to mourn what I'd lost. Losing a child is not an easy thing, no matter when they were lost. I was only about seven weeks pregnant, but that doesn't make my pain less. I had already grown to love that sweet baby growing inside me. I was looking forward to so many things with that baby, and it felt like it had all been ripped away from me in an instant. I had a difficult time sleeping on Saturday night.

I woke up on Sunday and got ready for church. Dad said that he would go help Jeff teach our Sunbeams because I knew I didn't have the energy to go and teach those active three and four year-olds. I wasn't sure I even wanted to stay for all three hours of meetings. I knew, however, that I needed to take the sacrament. My mind wasn't very present in the meeting, except for during the musical number, I Believe in Christ. I do believe in Christ. Through Christ I will be able to hold my sweet little baby again, just not in this life as I had planned and wanted. The last talk also really spoke to me. It was about trusting in the Lord and His timing. That isn't necessarily an easy thing right now, as I wanted that baby so badly and couldn't understand why I wasn't given the opportunity to meet my baby. I laid my head on Jeff's shoulder and let my tears flow through the meeting. I did end up going to Sunday School and Relief Society, mostly because I didn't know if I could stand to be alone for two hours until the rest of the family got home. The mom of one of my Sunbeams sat next to me and asked if I was taking a Sabbatical from Sunbeams, so I told her why I was there. That afternoon, she had her daughter bring me a couple flowers they'd picked in their garden, some cookies, and a picture she'd drawn for me.

I was able to take a nap after church, and that helped to clear my mind. I needed that so much, especially since I hadn't slept much all week long. I felt a little better after I woke up. Jeff and I kept Jackson downstairs with us that evening and played with him. It was nice to be able to talk and communicate. We watched a movie as a family, which had a few spots that made me tear up, but it was nice to spend the time together. As he was playing, Jackson dug into his toy bucket and pulled out one of his baby teethers and brought it to us, grinning. He loved chewing on those little butterfly teethers when his teeth were coming in.That set me off. All of his baby toys would have been cleaned for our new baby. Of course Jackson didn't understand. He was just showing us one of his favorite toys he'd found. Jeff just held me as I cried.

During the night on Sunday, I woke up with horrible cramps. I had been sleeping, and woke up crying out in pain. I couldn't even move. Jeff got out of bed and got my ibuprofen and some crackers and water, then held me until the pain had dissipated enough for me to be able to move, then he laid and rubbed my back helping me relax to be able to fall back asleep. I am so grateful for him. That incident was the worst my physical pain has been.

Yesterday was a good day. I'm pretty well just taking it easy, because I know if I do too much I start to hurt, so I've let Jackson have way too much TV time, but I need to allow myself to fully recover so I can be a good Mommy again. I did a lot of indexing. The needed projects right now are obituaries, and I was able to handle that just fine. I can't do much, but that is one way that I can serve right now. I received another flower delivery yesterday, some beautiful purple roses and a yellow daisy. The card was unsigned, other than my favorite quite from President Hinckley, "Don't get discouraged. Things will work out." I had that quote written inside the front cover of my scriptures that I had on my mission. It was a reminder that I needed. Things will work out. It's hard right now. But it will all be okay.

I'm taking this week off work, to allow myself time to physically recover, but start healing emotionally as well. Granted, now that I would have had one of my days of work finished already I really don't think I would have had physical energy to go today. Yesterday I was exhausted after simply taking a shower. Today I made it as far as taking a walk and helping get dinner in the crock-pot before I crashed. But I crashed hard this afternoon. If I'd been in my bed instead of on the couch I would have probably slept for a few hours. I'll just go to bed early tonight. And I am still in physical pain as well. I can control it with ibuprofen and it is very manageable. It is a hard reminder for me, however, of the sweet baby that I lost.

I'm working through the grieving process. The Gospel is helping me and bringing me strength. I can't imagine going through this loss without the knowledge that I will be able to hold my sweet baby someday. And, as I have given it lots of thought over the past days, I have realized that I am so blessed that Heavenly Father chose me to bring that sweet spirit to earth. All that sweet baby needed was a body. They didn't actually need to live on the earth. My sweet baby was a choice spirit. Heavenly Father has an important work for them to do on the other side. I know that I have been inspired to be more faithful. I've always known that I wanted to return to the Celestial Kingdom after I pass from this life, but now... I have to. My baby is there, and I know they are, because they lived a perfect life. And they are so blessed. My baby will never know pain. Never know sorrow. Never know anger, or hate, or any of the tragedies that come along with life. My baby will only know happiness and love, because that is all I felt as I carried my sweet baby for those few weeks that I knew I was. My baby sent to teach me faith, and perseverance, and I'm sure many other lessons that I have yet to learn.

 I will get through this. Last week was hell. There is no other way to put it. Knowing that I was carrying a dead baby...I've never felt anything worse. I've never felt lower, or weaker. The peace I felt on Friday was relieving. That was short lived as I broke down again on Saturday and Sunday. But yesterday and today have been good days. I realize that I will probably still have bad days as well. There will be things that touch a tender string in my heart and set me off again. This morning I was watching a show and a commercial put me in tears.

I have a wonderful husband by my side, and a handsome little boy who is always so happy. Jackson doesn't understand why Mommy is sad, but someday this will help us better teach our children about the Plan of Salvation. Jeff has been wonderful for me. He has been patient and understanding and supportive. He's held me as I've cried. He's rubbed my back and my feet to help me relax. He's given me numerous blessings. I am so grateful for my parents as well for the help they've given us this past week. My mom has tended to Jackson's needs much more than I have this week. Though I'm starting to feel more human now, I still need to heal and still need help, and I'm grateful that I have constant help. I have also felt prayers offered up by many people. That has brought a lot of strength as well.

Later

More time has passed. It has now been four weeks since I got the devastating news that I had miscarried. I am physically healing. My pain now is gone. There is nothing to physically indicate that I was even pregnant. Immediately after surgery I was able to wear my regular pants again. The bleeding has stopped. Most people I know will never know about my sweet baby. That does break my heart, but I will never forget. I have been able to get down on the floor and play with Jackson again and take him for walks which he loves. My energy is back and I am able to do everything I need to.

More importantly, however, is the fact that I am emotionally healing. Finding out that I had lost a baby was hands down the hardest thing that I have ever gone through in my life. It took me quite a while to find myself again. I was simply existing, methodically going through each day. I would get out of bed when Jackson woke up, and take care of him all day, as much as I could from the couch anyway. When Jeff got home, I would turn responsibility of Jackson back over to him. Most days I would take a nap, because I just didn't have energy to make it through the day otherwise. Knowing that I have struggled with depression in the past, usually when emotionally difficult things have come my way, I was worried. Really worried. I didn't want to go down that road again, because I know how hard it is to come back. But now, I can honestly say that I don't think I'm at risk of going there. I credit a loving husband and lots of prayer. I have had a very good support system, and that has helped me a lot. Of course there have still been times when I have felt so alone. I've had some really rough days. But I've started having some good days as well.

I can honestly say that I have felt joy again. At first, I didn't know it would be possible. It seemed my world had ended. But last Saturday, spending the day with my little family at the zoo, I felt joy. Jeff and Jackson are my life. They are what truly bring me joy. I laughed for the first time in two weeks that day, and it felt good.

My faith has been tested and tried through this, and it has been strengthened. I know it has. I am so grateful for a temple marriage that gives me that assurance that as I live my life in accordance with the Gospel, I will be able to return Home again and be able to hold my little baby in my arms. I am grateful for personal revelation that has allowed me to know without a doubt that my baby is okay.

I have learned a lot about myself the past few weeks. And I am grateful for what I have learned. The way in which I had to learn these things have been hard. I wish it could have been learned in a different way. But it couldn't. Right now I don't understand why, but someday I will. I have a loving Heavenly Father who can see the big picture of things, and He knows why everything fits into our lives in the way that it does.

I have still had bad days. Some days, I just need to let myself cry. I am trying to be strong, and I'm trying to put on a happy face, but there are days that are hard. Mother's Day was really hard for me, because I should have been far enough along to be able to announce that I was going to be a Mommy again, and that really hurt.  I snapped as we were on our way out the door to church, and had a rough time through the whole block of meetings. I came home and wrote out my feelings in my journal and took a nap and felt better. I have found that expressing all of my feelings really helps me. I can't keep things bottled up inside. It is hard for Jeff to see me still hurting, but I am so grateful for the patience he has shown me through all of this.

Physically, I am fine. I feel like I am back to my normal self. However, it will take me time to completely heal emotionally. I have had some special experiences that have brought me a lot of peace and comfort. The past week has been really good. The last time I needed to cry was on Mother's Day. Instead of putting on a happy face, I have felt happier. I know I'm not 100% healed yet, because I do still feel some sadness when I think about losing my baby, and I don't know if I ever will. But what I do know is that I can live with it, and that I am stronger because of it.

Jeff and I are went to the temple on Friday. That brought a lot of very needed peace. We hadn't been to the temple since before we found out I was expecting because the Idaho Falls Temple is closed for some remodeling, so it had been about two months, which is way too long. I left feeling rejuvenated. On Saturday we went to the Second Chance Prom and I was able to really let down my guard and just have fun. That was liberating.

As I sat in church yesterday, I knew that I was ready to finish this post and put it out there. The closing hymn was "More Holiness Give Me."

  1. 1. More holiness give me,
    More strivings within,
    More patience in suff'ring,
    More sorrow for sin,
    More faith in my Savior,
    More sense of his care,
    More joy in his service,
    More purpose in prayer.
  2. 2. More gratitude give me,
    More trust in the Lord,
    More pride in his glory,
    More hope in his word,
    More tears for his sorrows,
    More pain at his grief,
    More meekness in trial,
    More praise for relief.
  3. 3. More purity give me,
    More strength to o'ercome,
    More freedom from earth-stains,
    More longing for home.
    More fit for the kingdom,
    More used would I be,
    More blessed and holy--
    More, Savior, like thee.
These lyrics spoke to me right now. I've realized that this trial was given to me to help me be more like the Savior. I do feel stronger than I did four weeks ago. I've learned things about myself that I couldn't have learned any other way.  And I am grateful for that. My Savior has suffered for me so that I am able to overcome this.

The Gospel is true. Without it, I would be so lost right now. This experience has strengthened my faith in my Savior and my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Without a doubt, I know it is true. One day, when my time on earth is finished (and I hope it won't be for many, many years) I will be able to take my baby into my arms and hold them. My choice is to, instead of longing for what could have been, focus on the many blessings I have been given, because there are so many. In Heavenly Father's due time I will be able to add to my family. But for right now, I have a wonderful little boy and amazing husband who love me and who I love more than life itself. We are an eternal family, with one child here and one sweet Angel looking down on us from above.



Saturday, April 25, 2015

Recent Happenings

It has been over six months since I last updated our blog. Life is good. Jackson is growing up so fast. Just 2 more months until he will be two. He is a wonderful little boy. He loves playing with trains and cars, and playing outside. Oh boy does he love playing outside. He would spend all day from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed outside if we'd let him. The Easter Bunny brought him a bubble lawn mower and garden tools. He loves bubbles. We could blow bubbles all day long. He is always so excited when we tell him to go get his shoes because he knows that means going outside. He says new words each week, and is constantly babbling. We can understand a lot of what he says. It is so fun watching him discover and learn new things every day. He has such a fun little personality.

We transitioned, or rather ripped off like a band-aid, Jackson out of his crib around Thanksgiving. He was crying one night, and Jeff walked in to find him hanging headfirst over the side. We took the mattress out that night, and Jeff and Dad built him a toddler bed for Christmas. He loves his big boy bed. When we tell him it's time to go night night, he will usually run and jump on his bed. Of course, after we close the door for the night he usually gets up and plays for a while before getting in bed and falling asleep for good, but he is pretty good about going to bed. He still enjoys his snuggles from Mommy, which I love. We cuddle and rock every day before his nap, and usually for a while before bed.

We are still living with Mom and Dad. It has been eight months now that we've been here. Yes, we miss having our own space, but we do appreciate the help we've received to allow us to save money. We hope to soon have enough saved up to be able to have enough saved for our own home. We do enjoy our ward though. Of course, this is the ward I grew up in so I know many of the people who live here, but Jeff has also been able to get to know some people. He was called to teach Sunbeams with me, so together we have 7-9 active Sunbeams each Sunday. It is sometimes a bit of a challenge, but we love the sweet spirit each child has.

Jackson started nursery right after Christmas, and he is finally starting to like it. This past Sunday was our first Sunday without tears. Big progress right there folks! We have an appointment to take our little man to see a gastroenterologist at Primary Children's Hospital in a few weeks. He's never been a big eater, but was on antibiotics for an ear infection a couple months ago and actually ate well and asked for more for the first time in his life. But that only lasted for about a week and a half. Last year we had him in the doctor for what was thought to be a viral something or other in his gut, but it wasn't ever really resolved. Our pediatrician wants to be safe rather than sorry and feels that a second opinion is best, to see if maybe he has some sort of bacterial infection in his gut. It will be nice to have the peace of mind at the very least.

Jeff still enjoys his job at Melaleuca. He has been there for about seven months now. It has been good for him to be able to use his mission French. That's been fun for him.

I still enjoy teaching music at the elementary school too. I've only got another month left of the school year until I am done with that though. We'll see what happens next year whether or not I go back and teach again. I do miss teaching full-time, but I hate leaving Jackson on the days that I work. I've always wanted to be a stay at home Mommy. That is where I'm truly happy.

Life is good. We are grateful for what we have and where we've come.