Sunday, August 31, 2014

DAY 1100... When Dreams Become Reality

Okay... so maybe the title of this post is misleading. Mostly because attending school has never been a dream for me. It's always just been something that needs to be done whether you enjoy it or not. It's always been reality.

High school was easy for me, I just kind of thrived on cheerleading and choir and friends and still managed to get good grades and into college. I am actually one of those people who LOVED high school for the most part! Just call me Uncle Rico.

But trust me, even I was shocked when I graduated college. I think the only reason that really happened is because I wasn't married (aka distracted), and I got free school because my Dad is a professor at the university I attended. It took me 7 years to get my bachelors. Seriously. I changed my major more times then I could count, took random breaks whenever I pleased, and just took my sweet time. Honestly, I probably wasted a lot of time. A LOT of time. But eventually graduation happened. It was a pretty amazing day. If you've read the blog for a while (meaning 3 1/2 years) you'll remember that I graduated college with my Mom and my sister and since my Dad is a professor he got to give us our diplomas. It was pretty amazing and not the kind of experience everyone is lucky enough to have.

I graduated college before Spencer and I were married... .Actually before we even met, even though I was married 5 months after graduation took place and I found out I was pregnant 7 months after I graduated. Geez, what a crazy life! Anyway, I had never intended or planned on returning to school and getting a masters. Especially since I was married, working, and we were building our family. It was important to me that Spencer be able to finish his education, and so we decided to make that happen. I guess I just got bored or something, because the crazy inside of me applied and got accepted to grad school when Aniston was just 9 months old. I really thought long and hard about it because there were so many different things to consider in my life and so many reasons going back to school might not work for me. I even wrote a blog post about it. (Read it here).

I knew that once I dedicated myself to going back to school that I needed to stick with it. I knew that it was unacceptable to use any obstacle thrown in my way as an excuse to quit or give up. I had no idea that during the next 15 months that I would go through some insane emotional, physical and mentally exhausting moments. I didn't know I would give up my dream job, get pregnant, and travel quite a bit for work. But maybe school and having something to do, having a purpose and deadlines, is what held to together and got me through those tough times. Well that and my awesome husband. It was because I quit coaching that I was able to complete my degree in 15 months as opposed to 18 and that worked out perfectly because I was able to complete my program before baby boy comes. I didn't know when I quit coaching that this would be able to happen or that I was even going to be pregnant, but I can now look back at something that was a very difficult decision and a tough time for me and see how it now has blessed my life. I LOVE THAT!

Although I LOVED my program (Sports Management with an Athletic Administration Emphasis) and I LOVED the school I attended (SNHU... I'm one of those weirdo's who love online school) I'm glad it's over. Not that I can do much with my master's in Rexburg, but I'm optimistic that I will find something someday and that I will love it. I never felt as though getting a master's was restricting me from my everyday life, it just meant that my night wasn't over once I put Aniston down for bed. Bedtime turned into homework time, and there were plenty of weekends where I was rushing to get my work done by the deadline. I learned a lot and I did it. I accomplished something that others told me was impossible and something that I told myself at times was impossible. I can be a little pessimistic at times unfortunately.

I just want to take a minute and thank my husband and family for everything that they did to help and support me during this time. Spencer was incredible! I guess it's helpful when you have a wife who is going into a sports management program so that most of the school talk deals with sports so it's actually interesting, but he was great. He never told me to stop or take a break. He watched Ani so I could get papers written or studying done. He got me treats at the end of the semester, which is very important, and I felt as though he was proud of me. My family has been awesome by supporting me through words and watching Aniston and giving me advice and help when I needed it. My Dad set the example for me of even getting a master's and both my parents have set such amazing examples of how to persevere and to keep going even when things seems impossible. I'm pretty lucky to have such great examples in my life. My sister is even getting her master's degree now and is probably about 6 months or so away from graduating. I don't think my parents imagined that their daughters would be the ones with multiple degrees and constantly continuing their education. But how can you not, when you see the blessings and opportunities it has provided for your parents? I'm pretty lucky when it comes to family.

I guess I'm still in a little shock that I'm done with my master's. It just hasn't sunk in quite yet. But despite all the obstacles and temptations to quit, I feel so amazed that I was able to do this. I can be kind of a quitter, you would know this if you've ever seen me attempt to diet. But this serves to me as an example of just what exactly I am capable of. I can do hard things. I can do things people don't expect me to do, and I can accomplish the things in life I want to accomplish. They might be difficult at times, they might stress me out at times, but they are doable and man it feels good to accomplish something like this and accomplish it better and way faster than I expected. My advice to anyone even considering something life changing, like going back to school, changing careers, or so many other things is to just do it. You know yourself better than anyone else and you know what you are capable of. Don't let other people tell you you cant or that you aren't good enough because that is not true. Aniston loves watching Blue's Clue's, and at the end of every episode they sing, "You can do anything, that you wanna do." So true. Just do it. Don't question it too much, and know that you are capable of far more than you even know!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DAY 1093.... Single Mom Status

I'll admit, there have been times in the past where I have felt as though I was doing the single mom thing. College is a tough time, and it's only harder once you have a family. Spencer does the best that he can, I definitely realize that now, but college requires a lot of work. After this week, I appreciate any and all help that Spencer gives me when he is at home because I'm pretty sure that he does more than I have ever realized. Last year Ani and I spent 2 weeks without Spencer (read about that here) but she wasn't even a year old and was so much easier to handle at that point. If only I knew that then right?

Spencer went down to Provo for the week to work on the new LDS Temple. Since his major is Construction Management we figured that this would be an amazing opportunity to increase his knowledge of different types of construction as well as to help build a temple. Aniston thinks it's a pretty cool thing. Whenever I ask her where her Daddy is she proudly responds, "He's building the temple." Always said with the biggest smile on her chubby little face. But we knew that this week had the possibility of being a rough week. It was my final week of grad school, work was starting up for me again, my family was gone to Washington D.C. for a well deserved vacation (they saw Les Miserables on Broadway!!!! I am dying that I wasn't there. The title of my favorite musical perfectly describes my feelings for this week.)

There was going to be no one to help me with Ani and I was going to have A LOT to get done. I love my little girl, you all know this... but she has sure been acting her age these days and it can be a little exhausting to deal with.

DAY 1 - This day was awesome! I really had high hopes for the rest of the week after this day. Aniston was happy and had a normal day. We even had matching sock buns! Twinners. I worked for several hours and then spent 5 hours in Ani's room rearranging (I didn't move anything heavy) and packing up old clothes. You know that's something you have been putting off when you have to try on 4 dresses to find one that actually fits your toddler. My bad. I felt good about the day and everything I was able to get done. This day gave me hope that the rest of the week would go smoothly.

DAY 2 - Aniston started realizing that something was a little different, Dad was gone, so she started acting a little more emotional. I know that she gets her drama from me and that, according to my parents, this is considered payback for my wonderful childhood, but holy cow is she a little ball of crazy! I didn't get anything done this day, except taking a 2 hour nap when Aniston took her nap. I seriously think that nap is what helped me get through the day in one piece.

DAY 3 - Aniston displayed her child from Hades side. It was the kind of day where you actually ask yourself the question, Why am I having another one? I had to go out to work to check out registration and to get some work done in my office. We were only there for about 2 hours before I couldn't handle it anymore. Aniston pulled out everything she could reach dominoes, ping pong balls, crayons, frisbees, letter tiles, legos, etc, and completely destroyed my office! Every 2 seconds she needed help or lost the toy she was playing with so I would have to stop and help her find it. It just wasn't working out. So I made a list of things I could do from home while she took her nap and packed the child up and left the school. Of course once nap time rolled around Ani decided she would rather sing Doc McStuffins at the top of her lungs for about an hour before informing me that she didn't want to take a nap. I wasn't getting any work done at all, so I brought her downstairs with me hoping that she could entertain herself so that I could get work done. But since I was using markers for my lesson plans, Aniston needed to use markers. Oh that was a big mess! Every time I switched colors she needed to switch colors. I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also be completely exhausting! Dinner went well, thank goodness, but maybe that has to do with the fact that Aniston dropped off right before finishing her mac and cheese.

I let her sleep for about 45 minutes before she needed to get in the bath and then of course she wasn't ready for bed, so I let her pick out a movie, Fox and the Hound (can we talk about how sad and violent that movie is... that's probably why her face looked like it does in the picture below for like the entire movie)

and then I put her down. That didn't last very long. Around 1am she started yelling for me asking if she could go downstairs and turn all the lights on. She refused to go back to sleep so I brought her into my bed with me. I'm not a co-sleeper kind of person, it scares me, but I put a pillow between us and on the other side of her so she wouldn't roll off and fell asleep for about 4 hours...

DAY 4 - Aniston woke me up at 5am bwoking (this is how you spell it... I googled it). She likes to wake up every morning and pretend to be a chicken. I wanted to die! Can we talk about how I only had 2 pages written for my final paper in my Sports Law class on the rights of transgender athletes at this point and my lower back was in so much pain that I was walking like an 80 year old woman? I was so tired! Of course I drank the last of the milk the night before to mild my bloody heartburn, so Ani was mad that there wasn't chocolate milk first thing in the morning. Thank goodness for Disney Junior and Daniel Tiger. I'm ashamed to admit that my toddler probably watched more TV than she should have this week, but it was the only way I was able to accomplish anything! We did make it to the store which was awesome. Who knew that a .99 cent new toothbrush could make a two year old so extremely happy?

It was a good day though because we finally hit double digits in baby watch 2014, and now I am 99 days away from my due date!!! Even though Aniston woke up at 5am, fussed a lot, said some mean things that I'm sure she didn't understand, and spent quite a bit of time in time out, I was granted one sweet and simple tender mercy. I decided to take a bump picture since we are now at 26 weeks and 99 days away (hopefully less) from meeting our man. I took several pictures and Aniston, who was watching informed me it was her turn to take a picture. She went to the exact spot that I was standing and placed her hand on her belly and waited for me to snap the picture. It made me laugh, it made me remember how much a love her and how thankful I am for her sweet spirit. It reminded me of how much she looks up to me and how much I want to set a good example for her, and how I probably could be a little nicer the next couple of days until Spencer returns home. I just love my little ham! The leg pop.... haha!

DAY 5 - Aniston slept in until 8am!!! I was in heaven! But then she woke up super crabby and a tad bit mean. We cleaned a lot, for some reason my toddler enjoys being bossed around when it comes to cleaning. We did a lot of puzzles and at 5pm Spencer called to say he was on his way home. Best thing ever! Of course there were accidents and bad traffic so he didn't get home until like 11, but it was such a relief to know that he was home and that I was finally going to be able to go to the bathroom alone and that I was going to be able to have adult conversations again! When Aniston woke up she just wanted to hug and hold and kiss her daddy. She kept saying "I love you so much, and I missed you!" It was pretty darn cute!

I know that Spencer had an amazing opportunity down in Provo, and I am thankful for that opportunity. Plus he actually made a lot of new friends down there which is awesome for him! My husband has skills when it comes to making friends. I wish I had that skill. 

But even though it was an amazing opportunity and he learned a lot, I would rather not play single mom again... EVER. I do not know how all the single mom's or wives with husbands who travel for work do it. When I was 10 I had 3 siblings and my Dad was gone Monday-Friday travelling and my mom did it on her own. Bless her heart because I have no idea how she did it! Maybe I just lack patience or maybe I'm just a little lazy or something, but the single mom life is just not for me. I am amazed and astonished at how much work and effort needs to go into being a single mom and I applaud you moms out there who do it alone or mostly alone. There's no one to talk to at the end of the day or to share your hardships with. There's no one who understands what you went through that day because they were there too. I have just felt all alone this week and that isn't a very fun feeling!

So happy to have my better half home!

PS - I am also no longer a student! I now have a masters degree!!!! More about that later though!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dear Aniston.... Part 15

Dear Aniston,

Change is inevitable. The sooner you realize that the better off you will be. I have never done well with change. I have struggled with change all of my life. I just like set schedules and organization. But I have come to learn, with time and prayer, that change is important and can bring so many unexpected blessings and opportunities that you had never even imagined could even be possible. Change can be an amazing blessing if you allow it to be.

I know that you are aware that our lives are changing and that in about 3 months one of the biggest changes that you will experience will take place. You will become a big sister. You will no longer be an only child and that change is huge! Being the oldest of 5 children, and having had been an only child for a short period of time myself, I understand the enormity of this change. You remind me daily that my belly is getting bigger and that baby brother will be here soon. I'm not sure that you know exactly what that means, but I hope that this is a change that ends up being a blessing and an easier transition than I'm told that it will be.

But expecting and preparing to receive a new baby into our home isn't the only change that I am experiencing. You are changing and growing so fast it's unbelievable! I'm not sure when you went from being a baby to being a little girl, but it has happened right before my eyes. Yesterday, I watched you take your first pony ride... well 2 pony rides actually (spoiled). We weren't sure that you were going to be able to handle it and that you might be too small to ride the pony by yourself, but we put you on the saddle and you smiled. You were beaming actually! You looked so big and so strong, but best of all you looked so happy. It was such a small and insignificant moment, but it made me so happy. My heart was happy and my world was perfect for those few minutes.

Change sometimes can make for a difficult time. It can be confusing, depressing, sad and even frustrating. Sometimes we don't understand the changes that are happening in our lives. Why do we have to move? Why did that person die? Why do they not want to be my friend anymore? Why did they say that? Why did they do that? Why did that happen? Why do I have to give up something I love? I promise I have gone through so many of these changes and I have had my heart broken, my spirit bruised and so many tears have crossed my cheeks. But I have also come to find strength in the fact that I know, without a doubt, that everything happens for a reason. I know this. It's a tough thing to come to accept, but I have had so many obvious situations in my life to prove this point, that it seems ridiculous to not believe it. You don't always know right away why something happens, but eventually you can look back and say, and sometimes this takes years, but you can look back and say, "That's why that happened." And most of the time you will be really glad that the change ever occurred.

You have shown me your strength and your incredible abilities already when it comes to dealing with change and you seem to welcome it. Let's be honest... your Dad is obviously doing something right when it comes to this. I hope that you can always be so understanding and accepting. I hope that you retain your strength and stability in change. You are a strong and beautiful little girl. There is no doubt in my mind how far you will go in this life and I couldn't be more proud or feel more blessed to be your Mom. Thank you for teaching me daily about how to be a better person and thank you for letting me be your mom.

I love you!

Love, Your Mom

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DAY 1081... Depression

The last post I wrote about depression changed my life dramatically. I was extremely discriminated against and forced to change my life in ways that maybe I wasn't ready to at the time. Since then, I have learned to accept the changes that were made and I have come to realize that the way that I was treated was wrong. Very wrong.

It may have been pregnancy hormones or it may have been the fact that the entire issue hit close to home for me because I understand the feelings and thoughts behind the actions, but learning about the death of Robin Williams yesterday was a tough thing for me. For me, it's a HUGE reminder that you never know what battles someone else is fighting and how someone may be truly feeling. I grew up watching Robin Williams movies. I absolutely love Hook, Jack, Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, and of course Aladdin. Of course I didn't know him personally, but I can relate to him and his battle with depression.

At 14 I was diagnosed with severe depression. It wasn't because my life wasn't great because it was. We had just built and moved into a beautiful new home. I had loving parents that helped me achieve my dreams. I was a cheerleader and I had a lot of friends. But I was still sad. I think know that I over think things and compare myself to others all too often, and I believe that this is something that led partly to my depression. Even though I had the world at my fingertips, it wasn't enough for me. Looking back at that breaks my heart now. I can only imagine what my parents were feeling when I was diagnosed and placed on medication. Or when they had to take me to my counseling sessions. As a parent now, I would be devastated for Aniston. It would break my heart to know that one of my children didn't understand or know their full potential. That my child was hurting and sad and nothing I could do could change that. I probably had the wrong attitude. Attitude is everything in case you didn't know. My Dad always told me that growing up and maybe I didn't understand it, or maybe I fought it because that's the kind of teenager I was. But the older I get the more I realize that Dad was kind of always right. Best day ever right Dad? My parents did everything that they could to help me, but I was still sad. I thought about sad things, I let myself and my mind travel to sad and scary places, and I denied myself so many wonderful opportunities during those times. High school was kind of a rough time for me.

As I grew older I learned my triggers. I learned solutions to my problems and how I could reach in and take my mind out of those sad and scary thoughts. I stopped taking medication because I believed that with proper brain training I could become happier and not dwell so much on things that didn't matter, but that made me sad, that I could be happy without medication. Plus let's be honest... the medication has awful side effects! Every. Single. One. I probably have been on them all. And this theory worked, most days. I still had days or moments of complete and utter sadness where even I didn't understand why I was feeling the way I felt. Keeping a thankful journal helped me to focus on the positives, but sometimes that only made the sadness more confusing because when I had so much to be thankful for, why was I feeling so stinking sad?

The older I got, the more I understood myself and my mind and depression. It got harder some days because I was getting older and not getting married. I feel as though there's a lot of pressure in my religion to marry early and quickly and to make babies fast, but that didn't happen for me. It didn't help when people would ask why I wasn't married or why my younger sister was married before I was. But I spent a lot of time thinking about my life and who I was and what I wanted and I decided that it was okay to be where I was. It was okay to wait for the person who would be perfect for me and it didn't matter what anyone else thought because it was my life and not their's. It took 25 years, but I eventually found that person who made me happy and who loved me for me. I considered myself lucky to get married at 25 and to have had the opportunity to graduate from college and to know who I was and what I wanted and to be able to learn how I could help others and make the lives of others better. I still struggled with depression after getting married. it's not the easiest thing to get married at 25 when you are kind of set in your ways and getting married is a crazy change, and change just happens to be one of my triggers. But Spencer works hard to understand my thoughts and depression even though he's never really struggled with depression himself. He works hard to know my triggers and read my body language and he knows what to do to help me pull myself out of those feelings. He's kind of great.

When I was experiencing the brutal time in my life known as Aniston's Pregnancy, being placed on bed rest and having IV's and PICC lines didn't help my depression. I eased my thoughts and sadness with preparing for my daughter and with the support of family and friends. It was tough and the thought of dealing with postpartum depression scared the heck out of me. But I talked with my doctor and let him know about my fears and we decided that we would watch carefully for the signs after I gave birth. Surprisingly, I didn't even experience anything close to what I thought I would have to. To be honest, since having Aniston I haven't experienced depression as often or as severely as I had in the past. Aniston helps me realize how blessed I am. She makes me smile everyday. Without even knowing it she has become my antidepressant.

I worry that after baby boy arrives that I may feel overwhelmed and be forced to face my depression again, but I feel as though I am prepared to deal with it. I have amazing family and friends who are there to help me. They want to help me, and that's something I never considered with I was younger. I was afraid to tell me about my depression and if I had only let them in, I might not have had to deal with the situations and feelings that I had because they were there to help me. They would have helped me, I just didn't understand.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. I understand the desire to hide depression because it seems as though it makes you weak. But it doesn't. If anything, dealing with depression and overcoming it makes you stronger than you ever imagined. I have battled depression half of my life and it has been hard. It's a trial that sneaks up on you when you least expect it and it can consume you and your life, but not if you stand up against it. Build your army with positive thoughts and realization of your blessings. Build your army with your family and friends. Let them in and help them to understand your triggers and what helps you to overcome your sadness. Don't be afraid to let people know that you just can't be alone for a day. People will help because you are loved. And if you feel like you have no one, that's not okay. You have someone, find that someone and let them in. You are not weak for facing your fears, you are stronger than ever. I love my army! They are my strength and my inspiration!

If you need someone to talk to or somewhere to turn or if you even have suicidal thoughts, even for an instant you can always contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. There is always someone there for you. ALWAYS. There are so many resources that you can turn to that can build you up and strengthen you. Prayer, scripture, family, friends, hobbies, faith. Here is a fabulous article from about suicide. The options and outlets and limitless.

Here's the kicker. You may open up to people and they may decide that they no longer want to be a part of your life. That's their loss not yours. You do not want to be surrounded by people who don't even want to try to understand you or who don't care enough about you to try to learn about your struggles. This will be hard. It will break your heart and you will probably find a great deal of sadness from that. But in the end, it doesn't matter about those people. They are not good enough to be in your life and they will not help you. It will test you though. But be strong and remember that you deserve more.

I feel blessed that I didn't succumb to depression and that I didn't take my sadness to the next level and end my life, because where I am now is amazing! It's definitely not the road I intended to travel, and some days it's still really hard, but my life is insanely blessed and amazing. I have a wonderful and loving husband, a beautiful daughter who makes me smile, a baby boy on the way who is kicking his way into my heart already, I am graduating with my masters degree next week, my husband is attending a great university and getting a wonderful education so that he can provide for our family. My parents live close by and offer their support and help daily. We are able to live close enough to Spencer's parents that we can visit them often and spend time with them frequently. I have a good job and we have strong and steady beliefs and religion. I am blessed. Maybe not the way I imagined, but our Heavenly Father has such a way of blessing our lives in ways we never could have imagined. I mean if I hadn't hung on and fought my sadness, I would have missed out on this beautiful moment with my beautiful girl today. A moment that I had never dream of, but have been blessed with.

The future is bright. I know this. I believe this, and I have been through the darkest of days. Life is going to be hard. Anyone who tells you their life is perfect and easy, hasn't been blessed with their trials or is just lying. It's just how it goes. I have considered giving it all up in the past, but I have learned to love myself and love the life I have, and that has made all the difference.

Be happy. Be strong. Be open. Be smart. And above all, be willing to love yourself and life. It always gets better. Life has the potential to give you your Happily Ever After if you just hang on and be strong. I know this because I lived it. I believe this because it's true.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

DAY 1079... The Spirit of a Child

Church is tough with a kid. All of the sudden it seems as though you are spending more time in the hallways then in classes, your pew is covered in Cheerios, smarties, goldfish, fruit snacks, and whatever other treats you thought could entertain and quiet your child. It seems as though the minute sacrament meeting begins is the moment that books, toys, coloring, stickers and movies become uninteresting and are not capable of entertainment for the next hour. As soon as you're home of course, they once again resume their characteristic of entertainment.

Normally we don't have any huge issues with Aniston during church. Spencer and I keep ourselves pretty busy keeping her happy and entertained and we are usually exhausted by the end of the first hour. It's amazing we don't fall asleep during Sunday School. Today though, there must have been something in the air. It wasn't just Ani who had a rough time, there were several toddlers in the ward that just couldn't seem to handle church today. Aniston was literally screaming with tears running down her face, and in my opinion, there was really no reason for it. When it came time for nursery, a time that she usually loves, she broke down and started screaming about how she needed to go home... this quickly changed into "I need to see the temple and listen to the temple song!" So here we were faced with a tricky decision. Do we send our insanely upset toddler into nursery and wish them luck or do we leave and spend the next hour at the temple? We made the decision to take Aniston to the temple. The way her countenance changed and the way she calmed down and just listened to the temple song she had asked for and how calmly and excited she was to walk around the temple was amazing.

At Chloe's baptism last week we sang, "I love to see the temple" and to my knowledge this was the first time she had ever heard this song, but instantly she sat still and listened to the words. 2 days later on the drive home she woke up from a nap and asked if we could listen to the temple song. I was kind of surprised and shocked that she remembered that song after only hearing it 1 time, but as soon as I started playing the song, she lite up and just was beaming. We definitely listened to it 10 times before I could convince her it was Mommy's turn to listen to a song, but it was just such an amazing experience.

There are so many times when I am so upset and mad and all I think of doing is going to take a nap, but why not take a clue from my 2 year old who only wants to go to the temple when she is upset? I remember my niece being about 3 years old and making some "bad choices" at a family dinner. When my sister asked her what she wanted to do she replied, "I want to say a prayer." I was shocked by her answer but admired my sister for teaching her this option to her anger. I am not even close to being a perfect parent, and I didn't realize that I was really doing anything right until today when Aniston asked to go to the temple because somehow she knew that it would make her feel better. It's a small victory, but it couldn't have come at a better time. I love learning from Aniston and her sweet spirit. Children seem to have a way of capturing the spirit and sharing it with others that adults simply cannot compare to. One of the biggest blessings in my life is having a child and being able to learn so much, something that I had never even considered as a possibility, from her on a daily basis. She is teaching me things that in 28 years I hadn't really ever considered and how does that work? How does a 2 year old understand and know the truth of things I have been taught my whole life by parents who I'm sure did a better job than I am doing? Children are miracles and such a blessing.

I have spent most of the day looking through books of temples that I have with Aniston or googling different temples so that she could look at them. We even printed off some pictures of temples for her to color. I don't think she understands the importance of the temple, or how because of ordinances performed there she gets to be with her family forever, but she knows that she feels the spirit when she is there and how it makes her feel happy to be there or even to listen to that song and that is just fine for a 2 year old. I couldn't ask for anything more!

And yes... Ani and I do match. I'm a cool Mom like that!

Friday, August 8, 2014

DAY 1077... 24 Weeks!!!

I have several major fears in life. Snakes, white noise and breast feeding. Don't judge me on that last one okay. I had an absolute terrible time breast feeding Aniston and I seriously hurt when I even think about it. I am going to try really hard with this new little one to be able to breast feed, but... oh gosh... my anxiety and the pain I'm feeling right now is at an all time high just thinking about that process again. But I think that my biggest fear in life is losing a child. A child is a child even if it has not been born yet. To lose an unborn baby would be insanely devastating to me. Having struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I'm just not sure I could handle that very well. I truly believe that our Heavenly Father only gives that sort of trial to the most strong and the most amazing of people. I am not one of the strong or amazing. I have many friends who are considered among the strong and it breaks my heart to see the struggles they have gone through, but I consider myself lucky to be in the company of these amazing people. About a month ago we had a little scare with Aniston.

It wasn't super super serious, but it scared me and made me realize how no matter how hard we work to help our children thrive and be healthy, but sometimes, no matter how good you do that, it isn't enough. Your child can still get sick and accidents can still happen. At Aniston's 2 year appointment everything went great! I literally posted this on instagram and then....

we got a phone call an hour later to find out that her lead test came back positive for lead in her blood. I totally thought that this was something that really only happened in like the 50's or 70's. I had never even considered this a threat or harmful to my child in any way.The doctor told me that I needed to immediately take her to the hospital for further testing. I cannot even describe the pain my heart felt and the helplessness that overcame me, just even considering that there was a problem with my little girl. I felt bad because I knew the stress and anxiety that I was having wasn't good for the baby or Aniston either. It just wasn't a very fun couple of days. The hospital doesn't bring back very good memories, especially in the lab area because that is where Aniston got her nasty scar from only days after she was born during jaundice testing. The only thing I could do was to try to put my emotions and concerns aside and just be with Ani. Just enjoy her and her amazing little spirit.

 Look at that smile. She was so excited to have a cool new bracelet, which she is still upset about because the lab tech took it off and didn't give it back. She still talks about it all the time. She really was AMAZING during the testing. They had to legit take blood from her arm and this precious child of mine didn't even make a peep or cry. She is so curious and loves to learn and watch and she just watched them stick that big needle in her arm and watched her blood come out and didn't say a word. I'm not sure even I would have that much composure during blood work! She even looked at me when they were finished and said, "I'm all better now Mama." I was a little more emotional at that point of the day than I probably should have been. Her bravery and strength is so inspiring! She even got a free treat for being so brave! Anyway her tests came back negative, thank goodness and thank you to those who we shared this time with and who prayed for our Ani Kate, but it was just scary to think that something that you never considered to be a threat could harm your child.

But this post isn't about Ani... sorry baby. Today we have hit the 24 week mark in this pregnancy!

This is my absolute favorite week in pregnancy because it means that if something were to happen, the baby is now viable and could actually survive. That relieves my over active imagination of so much worry. I know that this doesn't mean that things are perfect or that if something were to happen that the baby would survive, but the chances have dramatically increased and I am okay with that.

Things have obviously been much much better this time around. I don't have IV's or PICC lines hanging out of my arm and I'm not on bed rest, thank goodness! The biggest complaint I have is the heartburn. I finally broke down and got some medication and that has been a life savor! I tell you what though....

Aniston is still ridiculously excited to be a big sister. She listens to brothers heartbeat every single day and informs me that "he's healthy". If she accidentally kicks or hits my belly she immediately apologizes to brother and gives him a hug and a kiss. And when it comes to what we are going to do when baby brother cries...

She is going to be such a great big sister. She asks daily when she can hold him. I'm beginning to think she is more impatient than I am to have the baby here! I cannot wait to see the two of them together!

I am thankful that I am able to enjoy pregnancy more this time around and that I have such an excited healthy little girl who cannot wait to be a big sister! Only 16 more weeks until our lives change yet again and I cannot wait!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DAY 1074... The Beehive State, Best Friends and Baptisms

Sometimes the planets align and lots of good things happen at the same time. This is a good time. This happened to Spencer and I this past weekend and we headed off to Utah to have an incredible weekend! These are the days that I'm thankful that I work for the school district and don't work during the summer. We can just pick up and leave!

We started off Saturday morning with the baptism of our niece Chloe. Aniston had never been to a baptism before and she, for the most part, did a pretty good job. She was very interested in the actual baptism part, and I was so thankful that we were invited and able to attend. Aniston has a blast with so many cousins all week!

 One of the best parts about going to Utah is being able to spend so much time with Spencer's parents. Ani loves her Grandma and Grandpa!

 I love these pictures of Aniston and Chloe together! Ani had so much fun, and that is so obvious by her smile and the way that she looks up to her cousin!

Such a beautiful day to celebrate such a fun occasion!

Of course we had to hit up Scheel's while we were in Utah. We LOVE this store. Spencer fell even more in love when he saw their large selection of disc's for disc golf...

 Ani fell in love with a couple things too...

 Her own personal disc golf set. Seriously the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Such a fun toy!

 And it seems as though she may share her mother's love for skunks. That's right... I love skunks! Including their smell. I'm a weirdo...

 It's not everyday that you get to high five a bear!

Spencer's BF Jason, introduced me to my first Triple D experience and I am in love! It is a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in sandwiches. That's a lot of new things to me. Kind of scary to try new things when you're pregnant, but I am definitely not regretting this trip.

The boys settled with their traditional Pho. I tried some of the broth, and I didn't love it, but I'd definitely be willing to try it again after the baby comes.

This was my sandwich. HEAVEN in bread! It was called a Garlic-butter Ribeye Steak sandwich. It had ribeye steak, mayo, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro (best part), jalapeno, tomatoes, and black pepper onion vinaigrette. I was nervous, but this sandwich is now one of my most favorite things ever now!

While Spencer went and hung out with Jason for the evening, Ani and I headed over to my aunt and uncles house to play with my cousins. They are the perfect age for Aniston, much younger than I am, and she had an absolute blast with them! We are so blessed to have so many amazing family members to spend time with in Utah. Basically, we are dying to move back to Salt Lake! Anyone know of any amazing jobs in the sports management field down there for me? In 3 weeks I will have my masters and my athletic administration certification. Let me know!

 This was actually Aniston's first time on a trampoline and she is still talking about how much fun she had!

Look at these cute kids!!!! Love them so much!

So we are continuing our disc golf obsession and we were able to go to the most absolutely gorgeous disc golf course in Holladay while we were down there. I am still in awe over how beautiful and calming this course was. Just go if you live anywhere near this park!!! You will not regret it!

Man, Spencer and I made one good looking baby girl!

Look at that view!!! GORGEOUS!

I played photographer and bag girl so that Spencer could play the course and catch Ani after she would run into the woods. Such a fun little adventure. It's okay that we got rained out after only 6 holes. But we will definitely be heading back!

Monday, was the best day! During this trip, both Spencer and I were able to spend time with our best friends and spend some time as a family on Temple square where Spencer and I were married!

Me and my babies!

Haha! This picture makes me laugh because it's just silly!

Spencer and Jason have been friends for quite awhile and they are great together! They talk seriously almost everyday and we just love our Asian Jason! They were always together when Spencer and I met and ever since I have known Spencer I have known Jason. We really try to make time for Spencer to spend time with Jason every single time we are in Utah. he is such a good friend to Spencer! We love you Jason!

 That was then.................................................................. This is now. So much fun!

Spencer is lucky and gets to see his best friend quite often, while I don't. 14 years ago I met a girl named Nichole. I think I called her Nichole for about 3 months and from then on I have always called her Gilbert and she has called me Arnie. We had an obsession with the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape. But everyone knows who Gilbert is. And it just so happens that we were in the same place at the same time this weekend and so we made sure to get together. I get to see her once a year if I am lucky! It was such a great day!!!

This one was taken in 2001 or 2002 while the Halloween one was in 2007.

And here we are now. Look how AMAZING she looks! It was so great to see her! We had a blast at the Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum and of course eating at the Pie. Cheese Pull A-Parts are my favorite!!!

 After I decided to let Aniston hold her own ice cream... we were in desperate need of a wardrobe change!

It was a WONDERFUL trip and we feel so blessed to have been able to do so many amazing things in just a few short days!