Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hangin' with my peeps

#10- List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how. (I'm only going to do 5... ten is a lot)

1. Bishop Decker-- Bishop Decker was my bishop when I was living in St. George going to school. He was called to be the bishop of a brand new student ward, and he called me to be the Relief Society President. Bishop Decker is a pretty awe-inspiring man. He's about my parents age, but he's acheived a lot in his life. He's a marathoner, and has done the St. George Ironman. He's a math professor at Dixie State. He's raised a beautiful family. He has a zest for life that I've yet to find a match for in anyone I've met. One of my favorite memories is when our ward went to Lake Powell. I was riding in the boat, and I looked behind us to see that everyone but the bishop had fallen off the water weenie. He wasn't just riding it, though, he was riding it while doing a handstand. Bishop Decker saw me through many hard times. Together we laughed and cried, and he was incredibly influential in helping me gain a testimony.

2. Jean Falsone-- Madame Falsone was my junior high school French teacher. She has been on my mind a lot in the past few days since I learned of her passing away earlier this week. I've had many influential teachers in my life, but she really stands out. She taught me so much more than a foreign language. She pushed me to learn new things, try harder, and want to be better. She had a quick wit, a flair for the dramatic, and an impeccable sense of style. I will occasionally bust out french phrases leftover from my junior high school days, phrases that she taught me and used often. I still have, buried in the recesses of my mind, some of the strange historical facts she taught me. She had a passion for language, culture, the arts, and manners. She was incredibly confident in who she was as a teacher, a person, and a woman. She was the first teacher that I felt like I connected with on a personal level.

3. Marcie McDonald-- When I was 14 I made the decision that, come Hell or high water, I was going to France. My parents agreed that I could go, but I would be responsible for coming up with half the cost and all of my own spending money. At this point in time my mom was teaching kindergarten at Meadowmoor (now Spring Lane) Elementary, and she mentioned my plight to her principal, Marcie. Marcie took me under her wing, gave me my first job as a sweeper, and made sure that I was able to handle my new responsibilities. I'd actually known Marcie for quite a long time, her daughter and I had been Girl Scouts together as children, but she was a good person to have in my corner. She continued to be my boss for the next almost-3 years. She is the one who nicknamed me Annabelle, a name that still gets used today.

4. Floss Waltman-- For any of you who don't know who Floss is, she was the president of Brighton Girls' Camp. She, along with Duke, Cleo, and Basil, made the decision to hire me to work at Brighton when I was 17 years old. I originally applied to be a KD, one of the many young teenage girls who works in the kitchen. When I applied for the job I thought it would be a fun summer, but a long shot that I would get hired. I still remember driving to her house above Hogle Zoo for my interview. I was young, I was nervous, and I was in total awe that it was happening to me. We sat down for the interview, chatted for a few minutes, and then those wonderful women sent me into the other room while they discussed the fate of my summer. After 10 nerve-wracking minutes they called me back. Floss looked me in the eye and said, "We've talked it over and we don't want to offer you the job of KD." My heart sank, I hadn't realized how much I actually wanted the job. Then she smiled, with that wicked sense of humor she has (for she knew exactly what was going through my head) and followed up with, "We would like to ask you to be our assistant cook." She knew what I needed that summer. She is a fantastic example of how to be a strong, independent, and ever-faithful woman. Knowing her has been life changing, not only for me, but for countless young women from all over the valley.

5. T-Bone-- Ok, this one is obvious. Everyone is familiar by now with my love for my baby, and the path I took to discover that love. He is probably the most influential person in my life. Everyday he teaches me something new, tests my patience, and fills me so full of love I could burst. One smile and kiss from him makes me want to be an infinitely better person.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Burning, Fiery Passion

It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.
~T.S. Eliot

#5- What are 5 things you are most passionate about?

1. Food. As silly as it seems, I love food. I love to eat. I love the comraderie that comes from sharing a meal. I love the preparation of a meal. I love watching people's faces as they try, and delight in, something I made for them.

2. Motherhood. As has been discussed many times in this blog, motherhood has not come easily to me. It is a challenge that I grab by the horns every day of my life. My feeling is, if I weren't passionate about it, I wouldn't be able to tackle it everyday. I love the Sharkbaby so deeply, so passionately, with a love that only a mother can understand. The passion for motherhood, for raising a child into a good adult, drives me.

3. Reading. Is it possible to be passionate about a passive activity? Yes. Yes, it is. Reading, knowledge, study, these are all important things to me. We read often in our house, both separately, and as a family. One of my favorite times of day is storytime during the bedtime routine with Sharky. I love that he will bring me books throughout the day, crawl into my lap, and read stories with me. I love that he reads stories with himself. There is a power in knowledge, and if that means that I read "Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom" a thousand times this year, so be it!

4. Family. I mentioned in a previous post that I love seeing my family succeed. If I lost everything in this world, I would still make it if I had my family by my side.

“The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assitance, and private concern — will never be enough.”-Lyndon Baines Johnson

5. Education. Everything that is taught in the education system needs to be reiterated at home. Learning does not only happen in school. Our earliest learning comes from our parents. I was blessed to come from a home environment where education was not only encouraged, it was expected. After high school we would go to college. Period. End of story. Curious George, however, was not so blessed. Education was not a priority for anyone in his house. It didn't matter what sort of grades they brought home. There was no expectation of post-high school learning. What happened at school, stayed at school. I am incredibly passionate about learning in the home, and at school, working as a team with the educator to prepare my child for the best life they can possibly have. Will I have high standards set? Yes. My children will thank me some day, just like I thank my parents now.


Monday, March 19, 2012


#7- What is your dream job, and why?

I love the career path I have chosen for myself, and I love my home career of being a wife and mommy. If I had to choose my dream job within the nursing field, it would be as a private nurse for a plastic surgeon. I'd get time in the OR, I'd never have to work nights, weekends, or holidays, and the side perks wouldn't be terrible, either.

However, my ultimate dream job would be as a travel writer. I would get to combine a few of the things I love. I would get to travel all over the world, experience new places, eat new foods, and meet interesting people.

I've had a few opportunities to travel in my life, and I've always enjoyed it. I like museums, finding out about local culture, and eating in local restaurants. I love meeting locals and learning from them. And then having the opportunity to write about the places I've found would be the icing on the cake.

But while that is a lovely dream, I would never in a million years trade the life I'm living now for it... no matter how often I threaten to run away. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012


#6- What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

I've been thinking a lot about this one. We all experience hard things everyday. When compared to other peoples' hard things, mine are fairly small. But that's the thing, we can't compare our hard things to anyone else's. They are our own, and the way they affect us and shape our lives make us the people that we are. Anyway, back to my hard thing...

I've written a few times about how having a baby changed me. Anyone who even semi-follows this blog knows that I suffer(ed) from postpartum depression. For the first few weeks after I had the Sharkbaby it took everything I had just to get through each day. Honestly, there are some days that I probably wouldn't have made it out of bed if my mom hadn't stopped on her way in to work to make me get up.

Every step I took felt like it drained me of any energy. Every time the baby cried, I would cry right along with him. There were many times I considered just running away. Anywhere had to be better than where I was. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't even smile. My world was gray, and not just because it was January.

For a little while after Sharkleton was born, I lost myself. I didn't know who I was anymore. I was just floating along from moment to moment, day to day, waiting for things to get better. And that was terrifying. It took me so long to find myself, that to have that identity stripped away broke me.

And that is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. The losing, and subsequent rediscovery, of myself. Becoming a mom changed me in ways that I never could have expected. It is hard, it is scary, and everyday brings something new and unexpected. But I can do hard things.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

High Five

#5- What are the five things that make you the most happy right now?

1. The Sharkbaby- He is not, nor has he ever been, a cuddly and snuggly child. He prefers space, independence, and the ability to do his own thing at leisure. However, last week when I was having issues, he was more cuddly than he's been since he was a newborn. He would spend hours sitting in my lap reading stories to himself, watching Elmo, or just hanging out looking at pictures of himself on my laptop. He is able to sense my moods, often before I even realize how I'm feeling. He is a sweet boy that never ceases to make me laugh.

2. Sleep- Since I'm currently in the middle of a loooooong night shift floated to an unfamiliar floor, I would really like to be at home in bed. A solid, uninterrupted night of sleep hasn't happened in my house in probably 2 years (between having a 1 year old, and pregnancy-induced insomnia prior to that). So, bring on the Ambien, soft sheets, and cozy pj's. I'm ready to call it a night.

3. Watching those I love succeed- Curious George has been job-hunting. Today he received a call from a company he applied with (that we've been crossing our fingers for) to get paperwork for drug testing for an interview. My sister has spent the last 5 weeks learning about traditional Eastern medicine in Thailand. My brother has a 3.9 GPA and was on the starting line up for his Jr. High basketball team that won the championship game. My other brother is an EQP, a full time student, and works 30 hours a week. My baby learned 2 new signs today. All of these things make me very happy.

4. Getting in shape- I'm going to be at my goal weight by October. I'm eating right, I'm walking 3 days a week, and I'm going to start working with kettlebells this week. I can do it, and that knowledge makes me very happy.

5. The ability to change my hair- Anytime I experience something dramatic in my life I change my hair. I cut, I color, I style, I feel better. Monday afternoon... change is coming. Are you prepared?


Friday, March 16, 2012

Sweet 16

#4-List 10 things you would tell your 16-year-old self, if you could.

I'll admit, I've really been looking forward to this one, and thinking hard about what I want to say.

1. Nurture the friendships you are building right now, they will still be your friends in a decade.
2. Apply for a second year at Brighton Camp. I know it seems hard and overwhelming after the first summer, but you'll regret not doing it again.
3. Try out for madrigals your senior year. Trust me, you will be able to do mads and take your CNA course.
4. Don't get into online dating during college. It just leads to dating a string of lame guys. There is someone out there for you, I promise.
5. Treasure your years in St. George (yes, you will go to Dixie). You will build yourself a second family there that will get you through some hard times.
6. Pajama pants and a hoodie equals not a good look for you. Take the extra 30 seconds and put on some jeans.
7. There is no shame in asking for help. This advice will serve you well at multiple points in your life.
8. During your senior year of high school, Mr. Hummer is going to offer to tutor you so you can take the AP Chemistry test. Do it.
9. The belly button piercing is a terrible idea. Don't do it.
10. Relax. Your time will come... for everything.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


#3-Describe your relationship with your parents.

I have amazing parents. I didn't fully appreciate them until I became a parent myself. Let me give you a few reasons why my parents ROCK.

1. They taught me responsibility. For as long as I can remember I have been offered choices, and with these choices I have been allowed to reap the consequences. I have always been held accountable for the choices I make, and I was rarely bailed out of bad situations. If I owed them money, I was expected to pay it back in full (unless the debt was written off as a gift). If I was failing a class, they would help me get the help I needed to pass... but ultimately it was up to me. They had expectations of me that helped shape me into the person I am today: I was expected to bring home no less than a 3.0 GPA. I was expected to attend school, church, and family functions. I was expected to keep a job and pay for my own "fun". I was expected to be kind and respectful to my family and friends. I love my parents for teaching me to be a responsible, functioning, contributory member of society.

2. They lead by example. They are a fantastic example of communication with each other, and with their children. Everything I know as a parent I learned from watching them. They are always there to offer a helping had, a word of advice, or just a shoulder to cry on.

3. They love me unconditionally. No matter how many times I screwed up, no matter how many terrible choices I made, no matter what I said or did, they still loved me. I know, to this day, that if everything else in my life is completely falling apart I can always go to my mom and dad because they love me.

None of this is to say that we haven't had our issues. Because, honestly, with people as strong-willed as we are you're going to butt heads every now and again. We're always able to talk through it, though. I'm so blessed and lucky to have them as my parents.

(I know I promised honesty in answering all of these questions, and all of this is the honest truth. Every last word.)



#2- List 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears. First off, let me say that I think pretty much all fears are legitimate. That is not to say, however, that all fears are rational... Anyway, 3 fears:

1. I am afraid I'm going to screw up my children. As a parent I hold a tremendous responsibility. I am in charge of shaping another human being's future, life, views, etc. The Sharkbaby is only 13 months old, but the things I teach him now are things he will carry with him through the rest of his life. I don't want my child to be a holy terror. I don't want him to be rude, or manner-less, or lazy, or shallow. I want him to experience everything this life has to offer, while still growing into a mature, responsible adult. The pressure is incredible.

2. I am afraid of hippopotamus' (hippopotami?). This came about from the time I was just a toddler. I had a recurring nightmare about being chased by a hippo. I've never felt the same way about them since.

3. I am afraid I am inadequate. This applies to almost every aspect of my life. So often I feel that I am falling short of what is expected of me (by others and myself). Am I a good enough wife? A good enough mother? A good enough friend? What about being a daughter, sister, nurse, Beehive advisor, pianist, cook, housekeeper, driver... The list is endless. There is so much pressure to succeed in every aspect of life that I can't help but fear that I just don't quite measure up.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

20 things

#1- List 20 Random Things About Yourself

~I know how to say the alphabet backward. In fact, I knew it backward before I knew it forward.
~I'm a compulsive shopper, but I'm really great at finding a bargain.
~I don't like to use the end stalls in a public restroom. In the words of Sheldon Cooper, "In bladder voiding, as in real estate, it's location, location, location."
~I talk in my sleep.
~My hands and feet are always cold.
~I love to sew, but I'm not terribly good at it.
~I've secretly always wanted to be a redhead.
~I love the way I look when I'm wearing makeup, but often choose to go without it.
~I've quit biting my nails probably 20 times in my life, it hasn't stuck yet.
~I like cheese. A lot.
~When I was pregnant I couldn't stand the sight, smell, taste, or texture of chicken.
~When I can't control things happening in my life, I change my hair. (Look forward to upcoming changes, it's gonna be big)
~My favorite season is fall.
~I always swore I'd never get married in August. I got married in August.
~I've given myself 8 months to get to my goal weight. It won't be easy.
~I like to have painted toenails. It really bothers me when they're naked.
~Speaking of naked: I don't like to be naked. I think it's really uncomfortable.
~Harry Potter is my "go-to" series when I have nothing else to read.
~I do have a soft spot for all young adult fantasy novels, though.
~There is no place I'd rather be than home. I have more than one home.


I love to write. I've always loved to write. And I (sometimes) love to have my writing out here for the world to see. However, I often feel that I'm lacking proper inspiration, material, whatever. So, on my cousin Greg's blog, I found a list of 30 life-assessment-style questions. I'm going to answer each one of them as honestly as I can. If you'd like to share your answers in the comments, steal the questions for you own blog, or whatever, go for it! So, the questions:

9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.

10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.

13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

14. Describe 5 strengths you have.

15. If you were an animal, what would you be, and why?

16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

21. If you could have one super power, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years?

23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

25. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and what would you eat?

26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?

27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?

28. What is your love language.

29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?

30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

So, stay tuned for further blog posts. This isn't going to be easy, but it could make for a good read.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The One That Breaks My Heart

***I'm going to start with a disclaimer: This post has some strong subject matter. It contains some medical stuff. It is also very personal. I don't expect comments. I don't write this post for sympathy or pity. I write as an emotional outlet for something that I can't seem to form into words to force out of my mouth.***

There are some incredibly ugly and horrible words in the English language. There are also some that aren't intended to be hurtful, but they cut very deep nonetheless. This week I have spent a significant amount of time considering one of these words in particular. Here is the story of that word.

Around the Sharkbaby's first birthday I couldn't shake the feeling that it was time to start trying for another baby. I felt like someone was missing from our little family. So I broached the subject with Curious George. He wasn't sure how he felt about things, so he told me he needed a little bit of time. Within a week he was on board. So, we began trying for another baby. By March, we discovered we were pregnant.

I was elated! Our babies were going to be close in age, only 21 months difference. I was ok with that, though. All that mattered is that I was going to be a mommy again.

Things with this pregnancy were very different than my first, almost from day one. My nausea was very mild and just sort of vague. I was hungry constantly. I had to pee about every thirty seconds. It was all I could do not to shout my news from the mountaintops.

And then I hit 6 weeks and the trouble started (this is where it gets a bit graphic if you want to skip to the end). On Friday there was some light spotting. I was a little bit worried, so I called my midwives. I left a message with my symptoms and waited to hear back.

Friday, no call.

Saturday, no call.

Sunday morning, spotting is more like bleeding, I get a call back (finally). I talk to Angel (who is possibly the sweetest person on the face of the planet), she tells me to keep an eye on the symptoms, call if they get worse, and gives me my current options. We decide the best course of action is watchful waiting, and agree to just talk it over at my appointment on Thursday. On Sunday night I have my husband and brother give me a blessing. It helps.

Monday, my bleeding is significantly heavier now. I call again and they get me an appointment for that same morning. I go in, they opt to do a couple of blood draws to check my pregnancy hormone levels. They do the first draw on Monday, and ask me to return on Wednesday to have a follow up. If my hormone levels have doubled from Monday to Wednesday, they'll do an early ultrasound at my Thursday appointment to check for a heart beat.

Monday night things got ugly. I started to have some pretty severe cramping and aching low back pain. I began passing some small clots. This continued on through the night into Tuesday. I opted to call in sick and just spend the day taking it easy at home with the boy.

I spent all day Tuesday dealing with mild cramps and preparing myself for what Wednesday's blood draw would show. At this point I was already pretty sure what the blood draw was going to show. My levels won't have doubled, in fact they will probably have dropped.

And then came Wednesday, also known as doomsday. Things were going fairly well. The bleeding had slowed down and I was feeling well enough to go run some errands with Sharkbaby. While out and about I was hit with a sudden, double-me-over pain in my abdomen. I hurried to my parents house (the closest safe place I could think of) and left a screaming child with his toys to run to the bathroom. My heart sank as I realized what was there. My body had gotten rid of anything substantial left inside. I opted to just pack things up and head home.

Once there, I put the baby down for his nap and made the dreaded call to the midwives. They told me not to worry about coming in for the blood draw, just make an appointment to come in for a follow-up the next week.

So, my story comes full circle to the ugly word that has been my constant shadow this week: Miscarriage. What a horribly, ugly, foul word... somehow implying that I am to blame for what happened.

And now, I am one of the 25% of women that will experience this heartbreaking, gut wrenching, terrible trial. For now I am left with a gaping hole in my heart that was the hope I held for this future life. I am not ok.

But I will be.



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