Thursday, December 21, 2006

A few shout outs

I've got a few shout outs of thanks to give to some MOF's who have really helped me out lately.

First of all, to Emily and her dh. Our computer at home crashed a few weeks ago, taking all of my pictures with it. To give you an idea of how bad this is, ALL of Camden's pictures over the past 20 months were on it and NONE of them were backed up to a disk. We had hard copies of some we printed out and I had some at school, but I thought we were going to loss over half our pictures. I was distraught and pretty much crying on our bulletin board when Em stepped in. She told me her dh was a computer genius and could probably help us save our pictures as long as the hard drive wasn't fried. She sent us a disk to help recover the pictures, Mark called her dh, her dh stepped Mark through, and we were able to recover ALL our pictures. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that we were able to get them all. I cried tears of joy seeing the pictures again. I learned to ALWAYS back up your pictures.

Second to Alissa who did our Christmas cards for us this year. She did an AWESOME job! I love them and couldn't be any more pleased with them. I love all her Christmas card designs as well as her photography. I only wish she lived close enough to take some pictures of our family for us.

Last of all, to the anonymous person who left this comment:
"(I'm debated whether to sign as anon or not...I'm a regular reader of your blog but I didn't think you'd want to read mine right now. I think of you often. Take care!)"
Please don't be afraid to sign my blog! I'm assuming you left this comment because you are pregnant and you think it may be too painful for me to read your blog because it discusses pregnancy at times. I really appreciate you thinking of me and having that sensitivity (not a lot of people have that same compassion), but I can assure you I am OK with pregnancy and pregnant people. Each of us have our trials in life. I know I will probably always struggle get and stay pregnant, but that's part of my trials and part of having a mortal body. I have come to accept this and am OK with it. I'm glad you don't have to go through the same thing and I mean that. I still love all my MOF's who are pregnant or who may become pregnant while I struggle with getting so. My trials may not be your trials and your trials may not be mine. One thing I love about MOF's and the blogosphere is the variety of people and their struggles they may post about. I learn from each one of you as I read your blogs. Please don't be afraid to comment just because you may be pregnant!! I really am OK with it.
Merry Christmas to all of you! I don't know if I will post again until after Christmas because we have a busy schedule the next few days. I hope it is a good holiday for each of you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Shameless bragging post about my son

At least I warned you up front.

Camden has had a language explosion in the past few weeks. It thrills me to no end to hear him trying out new words and sounds. Not only has he had a speaking explosion, but a signing explosion as well.

We've been using the videos from Signing Time to teach him sign language. We really wanted him to be able to communicate with us in more than one way and to be able to sign words he can't yet say. Since his spoken vocabulary is only about 20 words total, signing has been great for us.

In the last week, he has had a HUGE signing explosion! This past week, he did 14 new signs. He even signed his first sentence by signing "candy" and then "please". After I gave him a piece of candy, he signed "thank you." He's now using sign to tell us what he wants instead of just whining and throwing a tantrum when he can't say the word and we can't understand him.

For a long time, I wondered if teaching him sign was paying off. The videos entertained him, but didn't seem to be sinking in. He would do a sign here and there, but nothing with much consistency (except dog). But now I see the sign explosion and it thrills me to no end. I love watching him learn and I love that he can communicate with us better.

So there you have it - my shameless bragging post about Camden. I've been wanting to tell the world about his signing explosion because it thrills me so much. What would you like to brag about with your kids this week? Tell me in your comments!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sometimes you really need a drink of water

The problem with a child being raised with a dog as his only sibling so far is that sometimes that child thinks he is a dog.

I love that you can actually see his tongue sticking out in that last picture. Mmmm, dog water!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mourn with those that mourn

Sometimes it doesn't take much to put our trials in perspective. It's been easy to get caught up in my loss and feel sorry for myself at times. I haven't done it much, but it's happened. Then something happened this weekend that changed my outlook completely.

One of my best friends, M., was pregnant and due at the end of December. She's been like a sister to me over the years. This was her first child. The day after my D&C, she came over and let me talk as much as I needed to about my loss. Although she was big pregnant and worried about making me uncomfortable, she was there for me in a big way - one of my only in-real-life friends who was there for me.

Saturday morning I was out shopping when I received a phone call from M. She told me she had her baby that morning, a little girl. I congratulated her and then she went on to say her little girl had only lived an hour and then died. I cannot even begin to describe what those words did to me. I started sobbing then and there, my heart breaking for a friend so dear to me.

There was no indication anything was wrong with her baby until she was born. Although almost full term (born at 37 weeks) she weighed barely 3 pounds and was only 12 inches long. She also had several physical defects that many ultrasounds had not picked up. Because my friend was not able to find out the gender of her baby at the first ultrasound, several had been done to try to figure out what she was having and not one of them detected a problem. M. was in no way prepared for what happened. To top it off, the baby was breech so M. had to have a c-section. When they started the surgery, she had felt the pain of them cutting her open, so they had to put her completely under. When she awoke, she planned on being handed a perfect little baby. Instead she was being told there were problems and shortly after, her precious baby passed away.

As I sat with M. this weekend and cried with her, for the first time I was grateful I wasn't pregnant anymore. How hard it would have been to sit with her while carrying a new life. For the first time, my pain seemed so insignificant and I realized how much worse it could be. Any loss hurts and I won't diminish the pain of any loss - from early to late - for any of my readers, but I gained perspective this weekend. I am actually grateful for how my situation turned out. I realized that for me, I would have much rather gone through what I did than what M. is going through now, or what my good friend K. went through just a few brief months ago.

K. went through infertility with me. We had baby boys two weeks apart after trying together for years. She got pregnant again and in August, developed a massive uterine infection. Her baby boy was born at 19 weeks and only lived a few brief minutes.

The last several months have been filled with loss. First K., then my loss, and now M.'s. Although different in so many ways, each of us has felt the pain of losing a baby so wanted, so loved, so longed for. I realize comparing the different losses is like comparing apples to oranges, but each of these losses has touched me so deeply.

I'm at a weird point spiritually with all this. Rationally, I understand the purpose of trials. I know they are given to us to grow and to learn. And in my own trial, I have not questioned why at all. But as I watch dear friends of mine lose their children, I wonder why they have to go through this. What are they meant to learn from it? And can't they learn it in some less painful way? It breaks my heart to watch them suffer.

Life is so fragile. Bearing life is such a fragile thing. I've learned never to take for granted the birth of a healthy baby, of a successful pregnancy. I always thought that once you heard a heartbeat, you were safe in a pregnancy. And I always trusted ultrasounds to tell you when there was a problem. I realize any of it can be taken away in an instant. I have been stripped of my innocence. Never again will I feel safe in any pregnancy. Never again will I take the gift of life and of bearing life for granted. If you are one of those fortunate people who have never had a loss of this sort, count yourself lucky. If you know of anybody who has gone through such a loss, especially this time of year, give them an extra hug. I know I will be counting my blessings a little more. I will be reaching out to those who hurt a little more. As I sit with M. tomorrow as she buries her precious daughter, I will be praying for the comfort of the Lord to be upon her, upon K., and upon all who are mourning a loss.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Blogoversary to me!

I just realized I've had my blog for just over a year now. My first post was written December 5, 2005. In honor of that first post, I bring it back to you again, with new added commentary at the end!

We decorated our Christmas tree the other day. It was a beautiful, poignant moment as the memories of the past several Christmases flooded my mind. This year as we put the tree up, my adorable, almost 8 month old son played among the lights, clad only in a diaper. As I looked in wonderment at my little miracle, I couldn't help but remember the empty arms and accompanying pain of past years and the hope this year represents.

My husband and I married in July of 2000. By that first Christmas together, we felt strongly it was time to have a child, so we started trying. That first Christmas was full of hope and the promise of things to come. The following Christmas, 2001, we were almost a year into our trying to conceive a child and had suffered a miscarriage at Thanksgiving time. The doctor told me it was just a chemical pregnancy, but to me it was more. To top it off, we had found out we had fertility problems and who knew if we would get lucky again. That Christmas was sad, but I was sure that by next Christmas we would either be holding a new baby or at least be pregnant.

Christmas 2002 found me in the darkest place I have ever been. There was only blackness, hopelessness, and despair. We were now almost 2 years into our journey of trying to get pregnant. We had done seven, yes seven, unsuccessful rounds of fertility medications. We had been told our chances were slim that we would ever get pregnant on our own. Anguish overwhelmed me. All I wanted was a child, somebody to wake us early and then run down the stairs in excitement. Instead, we could sleep in as long as we wanted. There were no real surprises under the tree. And I was Scrooge. Not a speck of holiday cheer could be found in my soul. I teetered on the brink of losing my testimony, feeling lost, alone, and abandoned by my Heavenly Father. I understood the true meaning of Christmas, but it was lost on me as I wallowed in despair.

Changes occurred by Christmas 2003. We were still not pregnant, but I had found hope. We’d taken some time off from trying to get pregnant, started seeing a different specialist, and were feeling optimistic all around. It was still not an easy season, but I had hope, and after the previous year, that was a good thing.

Finally, Christmas 2004, I was 23 weeks pregnant and we had just found out it was a little boy. Mark would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I would tell him nothing – I had already been given the greatest gift and he was growing safely inside me. And now we come this year, Christmas 2005.

My son, my miracle Camden, sits playing among the lights as Mark and I decorate the tree. In the background, we have Christmas music playing. We’ve put on the lights and our themed decorations and are now pulling out our special ones. We started a tradition that each year we buy an ornament or two which reflects the events of the past year. We unpack them and begin hanging them on the tree. The Vernal temple representing the year we got married. A dog representing the adoption of our puppy. A teacher ornament a student gave me. The meaningless balls of 2001 and 2002 that we bought quickly to carry on the tradition. And this year’s special ornament reading “Baby’s First Christmas 2005.”

As we hang these on the tree, Camden starts to fuss. He’s had a cold and I’m amazed he’s been good this long. I pick him up and begin to dance around the room, holding him tight. As I do, tears roll down my face. I remember the pain of Christmases past. And I see the hope of Christmases to come. No longer will our house be silent on Christmas morning. Camden won’t know what it means this year to get presents. He won’t really care. But in a few years, he’ll run eagerly down the stairs to see what Santa brought him. There will be no more sleeping in on Christmas morning and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think of the pain of the past and then the hope this little boy represents. And I send a prayer of thanks heavenward. He’s my miracle, my evidence of Heavenly Father’s love for me. I hope I can teach him the true meaning of Christmas. I hope I can raise him right. I hope I can be a good mom. Most of all, I hope Camden never doubts how much he is loved and how much he was wanted.

As we decorated the tree this year, 2006, many of the same feelings came back to me. We added this year's special ornament - to remember the angel we lost. As we do, I send a prayer heavenward - that Camden will have a sibling and know that joy. After our recent loss, I am even more grateful to have Camden. This year he's 19 months old. And instead of watching calmly while decorating the tree, he's in the middle examining each ornament (and pulling them off the tree). Again, we danced around as we listened to Christmas music. And I delight in his belly laughs as we spin in circles. He looks at me with a face full of adoration and love. With that, the Christmas spirit enters our house.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Healing and Black Friday

Thank you for all of your well wishes. They mean the world to me. It helps to know I am not alone in this. Thank you to all the MOF's and others who have sent emails, called, and just generally been there for me. I can never thank you enough. I am doing better. I've even had a few days in a row now where I haven't shed some tears. I'm healing and moving on, slowly but surely.

Sometimes this whole thing seems surreal. I asked Mark the other night if I was ever really pregnant or if it was it all in my mind. Yes I had eight positive pregnancy tests over the course of 10 days (I'm a test-a-holic - Dollar Tree tests are cheap and great!). I had all the signs of pregnancy - tiredness, nausea, sore breasts (which I never got with Camden). I saw my baby on an ultrasound (with no heartbeat, but with definite form). But it was all over so quick that it doesn't seem like it ever really happened. There is no reminder of my pregnancy. No baby to hold and say goodbye to. No ultrasound pictures to show this baby existed. Nothing except the empty feeling in my heart and in my womb. Every morning I have to wake up and remind myself that no, I am not pregnant anymore. I have to remind myself that it wasn't a dream. I have to remind myself that our baby existed and has now said goodbye.

I have learned I am more emotionally fragile than I think I am. I think I'm doing great, handling things really well, and then somebody says something, or does something, and I find myself crying again. Like the other night when Camden came up and handed me a baby doll. As I looked at that little doll, I realized I wouldn't be having a real baby anytime soon. Or the counselor who stopped me in the hall at school and said, "Congratulations! I hear you are expecting again." And I had to tell her I had lost the baby. The worst was a parent who came into my room after school last week. He got on my case for being behind on grading. Even though I explained I'd had a personal emergency (I never told my students I was pregnant or that I miscarried) that caused me to take three days off of school, that wasn't good enough for him. He proceeded to tell me the students shouldn't have to suffer not knowing their grades because I was having personal problems. As soon as he left, I broke down. How I wanted to tell him I would give anything to have not missed those days, to still be pregnant.

I see my doctor today for the follow up of the D&C. The appointment actually scares me. Knowing I am walking into a room full of pregnant women, knowing that just a few weeks ago I sat in that office full of hope. Knowing I get to ask for all my fertility drugs all over again. I don't want to go. I think because I don't want to face another part of the reality. But I need to start one of my medications sooner rather than later, so I will go to get that.

We're going away for Thanksgiving. We're heading to my hometown in Idaho. I am looking forward to getting away. I look forward to relaxing with my son and my husband. And I get to shop at real stores and eat at real restaurants! It will be a much needed break.

I'm excited to start our Christmas preparations and shopping. Black Friday is a huge fun thing for us! We're those crazy people standing outside a store at 4 am. We go every year and love it. I've already started making my shopping list looking at the various Black Friday sites out there. I know many people who hate that shopping day, but it's a thrill for us. So if you see a frizzy haired woman with a gigantic husband going crazy at sales in Southeast Idaho, it may just be me. For now, I'm signing off until after Thanksgiving break. I hope each of you has a great one and have a fun Black Friday!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Saying goodbye to baby

My mind has been a whirlpool of thoughts since Saturday. I'm amazed at how you can go from joy to sadness in such a quick time. I warn you, the full account of my miscarriage may not be pleasant to read and it is very long. But it is healing for me to share it.

This pregnancy was much easier to obtain than our adventure in conceiving Camden had been. It only took six months and three rounds of fertility medications, which was a miracle to us. Six months may be trying a long time for some, but for us, it was quick. We were thrilled when we found out we were pregnant again and prayed that all would go well. From the beginning, I had peace this pregnancy would work out the way it was meant to. I always thought if there was a problem with a pregnancy, I would know it deep inside. I never had an impression or feeling of miscarriage with this pregnancy until the week it happened.

I was supposed to have my first doctor appointment Monday, Oct. 30. The doctor always does an ultrasound at the first visit, so I was excited to know if everything was ok with baby. After waiting in the waiting room for an hour, we were called back to the examination room. I had my blood pressure and weight taken. We were just waiting for the doctor to come in when we saw him rush by. Twenty minutes later, his nurse came and told us he had been called away on an emergency and wouldn't be back that night. We were thisclose to seeing the doctor! We rescheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 8th.

On Wednesday, the day after Halloween, I woke up with a very realistic dream. I dreamed I was spotting. It was so real I actually got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and checked for blood. The next morning, I told Mark about the dream. He looked at me and said, "I dreamed the same thing last night." Now for Mark to remember what he dreams is pretty unusual. There are only a few occasions in our years of marriage that he has remembered what he dreamed. So for him to dream the same thing as me and then remember it freaked me out. The next morning, I woke up after dreaming I started to bleed. The combination of the dreams sent shivers of fear down my spine. I still felt peaceful, but was seriously counting the days until my appointment, until we could see that heartbeat and know all was well with our baby.

Although the dreams were giving me a scare, everything in the pregnancy was textbook perfect. I was a little over 10 weeks. I was still feeling gaggy and tired. I had to pee more. And my pants were all getting tight in the lower belly. I had no cramping and no spotting of any sorts. My temperature was still high (yes, I was still charting some). Nothing pointed to a problem of any sorts, except those pesky dreams.

On Saturday, I napped when Camden napped. I woke up a few hours later after a beautiful dream. I won't share the details of that dream, but if earlier dreams were pointing to a miscarriage, then this dream points to future hope. The dream was so beautiful and peaceful. And then I went to the bathroom. As always, I looked at the toilet paper, checking for any signs of trouble. And this time, there was a single spot of red.

A single spot of red. That's it. As the reality of that spot sunk into my head, tears came. Mark was at work and I wondered what to do. Wait till our appointment later in the week? Call the doctor on Monday? Go to the emergency room? I knew spotting was entirely normal in a lot of pregnancies and it could happen for many reasons. But my fear was strong. I called Mark at work, bawling on the phone. He raced home and we made the decision to go the emergency room together. We knew there was nothing they could really do for us there, but they could at least do an ultrasound. We had to know one way or another. The thought of waiting through the weekend worrying was not an option either one of us could mentally handle.

I felt really stupid in the emergency room. As the nurses and doctor asked questions and ran tests, I felt I was wasting their time with a silly concern over a single spot of red. They didn't make me feel that way, but I felt foolish being in there over something so minor. They did a urine test in the hospital and there wasn't even a hint of anything on the toilet paper. The doctor told me they had called an ultrasound technician in and we would know shortly. As we waited, Mark and I talked quietly. Mark kept telling me we would see the heartbeat and all would be ok. I told him I had to prepare myself for the worst. I honestly hoped for the best, but had to realize the possibility that we might not get the news we were hoping for. I prayed that I could handle whatever we found out.

The ultrasound technician finally came to get me. He was the father of one of my students. We discussed his son and his grade through the beginning of the ultrasound. He wasn't too pleased to learn his son was failing and had been lying to him about his grade. I apologized for ruining his night with the news, but he'd get to ruin my night in just a few minutes, so I guess we're even.

He did an external one first, but because I am fluffy, we had to do an internal one. As he started looking around, he wasn't even looking for a baby or a gestational sac, so I thought there may not even be signs of pregnancy in there. I asked him about it and he said he was saving that for last. He needed certain measurements of my ovaries and uterus, so he would do those first and then look for the baby. Finally, he started looking at the baby in the sac. I knew right away. With Camden, I'd had an internal ultrasound done at 8.5 weeks and we had seen clearly a gummy bear looking baby and a flashing heartbeat. This time, I could see the gummy bear looking baby, but there was no reassuring heartbeat. The room had gone quiet. I told the technician, "I already know there is a problem." He looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry." He pointed out the head, which I already recognized, and then showed us where the heartbeat was supposed to be. He told me the baby measured about 8 weeks along. He then stepped out of the room to give us some time alone.

Although I had been mentally preparing myself all the way down to the ultrasound room, seeing the cold reality on the monitor shattered my control. Mark and I sobbed in each others arms. When we returned to the emergency room, the doctor came immediately in. She discussed our options with us. We could either wait for this to happen naturally or we could have a D&C. Mark and I knew we wanted a D&C. I could not emotionally handle waiting for the miscarriage to start on its own. The emergency room doctor had already been in contact with my doctor's office and he was out of town until Tuesday. The other doctor in his practice would be willing to do a D&C that night or I could go in Sunday or Monday and have it done. (I have to explain quickly that I live in a small town with another small town a half hour away. Each has a hospital. There are about 2 OB's in each town. I choose to go to the OB in the other town because I like him so much, but we went to our local emergency room. We probably should have gone to the other town in hindsight.) I asked about having it done that night in the hospital I was at. She called the OB on call and came back and told us he refused to come in because "it wasn't a true emergency." We decided to wait until Monday to have it done instead of going through another emergency room.

Sunday was a blur of sadness and dealing with the loss. Camden helped so much. When we came home Saturday night, he raced right up to me with a huge smile on his face and just hugged me. That was one of the most healing moments. We received blessings from our home teachers and I made arrangements to take the next three days of school off. It was a weird dichotomy that day. I still felt pregnant and my body still thought I was pregnant. I had very little spotting all day and no cramps whatsoever. If not for that single spot of red on Saturday, there would be no indication of a problem. At times I thought the ultrasound must be wrong, but then the haunting stillness of the image on the ultrasound would come to my mind. I had a very hard time, gagging at dinner and realizing I was not going to get the outcome I desired.

Monday I called the other doctor in my OB's practice. He got right on the phone with me and scheduled me for a D&C that afternoon at 1 pm. The procedure was actually not bad at all. The hardest part was the confirmation ultrasound they did. Part of me hoped that this time there would be a heartbeat, but again, the baby measured at 8 weeks and was still as can be. To add salt to the wound, my ultrasound technician was pregnant. I'm sure it must have been as uncomfortable for her as it was for me having her do that ultrasound. The staff was wonderful. When I came to in the recover room, a few nurses started talking about pregnancy. I don't think they knew what I was recovering from. Another nurse quickly shushed them. The whole thing was over and done quickly. I entered the hospital at 1 pm and was on my way home by 4 pm. I am very grateful for the OB getting me in and done so speedily. When he came to discharge me, Mark and I expressed our gratitude for everything. We told him how the OB in our town had refused to come in and do it on a Saturday night. He looked astonished and said, "That's what an on call doctor does." I was very grateful for that attitude and for not having to wait any longer. As hard as it was to know I was going to lose this baby, it would have been even harder to have to wait for several days to get the D&C or to have it happen on its own.

Physically I have recovered quickly. Emotionally, well, that's another story. I thought I was handling things really well. I had complete peace during the time of finding out, waiting, and then having the D&C. It wasn't until Wednesday that the full weight of the loss finally caught up with me. It's the reality of a lot of things. I'm not having a baby in May after all. Who knows when I will get pregnant again? Will I lose another baby? Is this going to become a pattern? How long will it take to get pregnant next time? It's knowing that to develop as far as it did, my baby had a heartbeat at one point. What caused its heart to stop? Rationally I know there is nothing I did to cause this, nothing I could have done to stop this, nothing that could have saved my baby this early on. But occasionally I find myself analyzing everything I did around 8 weeks along that could have killed my baby. It's the feeling alone. Besides MOF"s and a few family members on Mark's side, nobody has called, or sent a card of sympathy, or told me they are sorry, or anything. I feel forgotten and alone in my grief and pain. It's the wondering if I lost a son or a daughter. What would this child have been? It's the loss of a brother or sister for Camden, a child for Mark and I, a dream we had. It's also the loss of innocence as I will never feel completely safe in a pregnancy again.

Right now I hurt. Right now I am giving myself permission to be sad, to cry, to feel the emotions as they come. And I wonder how exactly to move past this. It's very healing to talk to others, to hear their stories, to see how they healed and moved on.

I've had a lot of MOF's offer to be there for me to talk to, but to tell the truth, I don't know how to reach out right now. So I'll be honest. I want to talk to you, I want to hear your story, I want to know what it was like for you, but I need you to take the first step. Please email me or IM me or post a message to me on one of the MOF boards. I want to have that contact with you, but I don't know where to start.

I'm very grateful for the blessings and peace I have received during this time. I can see the Lord's hand in all of this - in the diagnosis, in the day of waiting for the D&C, in having the D&C taken care of so quickly and so smoothly. It may have not turned out the way I wanted it, but I know there is a reason. This is hard, but in all honesty, it hasn't been as hard for me as the infertility was. Infertility took such a toll on me as a person, my spirit, my testimony. Unlike the infertility, I haven't been angry, resentful, or mad about this miscarriage. I haven't questioned "Why me?" because the answer to that is why not me? Why should I be spared pain and suffering? And so many people have been through so much worse. I haven't questioned what I did to deserve this or what I did so wrong that my baby would be taken away. Those are thoughts I had with infertility, but I haven't had with this. And for that, I am very grateful. I'm grateful it hasn't taken a toll on my testimony or my relationship with God. I'm sad and I grieve. There have been many layers to that grief already and I know there will be layers to come. But I am at peace that it was meant to be this way. I'm scared to try again. I'm scared of what it will take and how long it will take to get pregnant again. I don't get pregnant easily. And I'm scared I will lose another. But I have peace that I can overcome my fears. I know that I am not alone. I know my tears are noticed by my Heavenly Father. I know He knows how much my heart hurts. And I believe that in time I will understand the purpose for this loss. I believe in time my joy will be as great as my pain.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Dream Deferred

I'm losing this baby. I started spotting today and so we went to the emergency room. An internal ultrasound showed the baby died at 8 weeks. I'm supposed to be a little over 10 weeks today. Our dream shall be deferred for a little bit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A legitimate reason for my absence

I know I keep promising to return. I say I'll be back, I post, and then another few weeks go by before I blog again. I think I have a legitimate excuse this time.

This is wearing me out pretty good right now.

This is all I have wanted to blog about, but haven't wanted to jinx myself. I'm still not out of the danger zone (have an appointment in a few weeks), but I just can't keep it in anymore.

So, here is my legitimate excuse for my absence.

Estimated due date - May 31, 2007. And only 6 months of trying and 3 rounds of fertility drugs this time!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do I really look that old?

Apparently I must look really old. As you may remember, I teach junior high. And I just recently turned 31. So today a mother comes it to talk to me about her son's grade. As we're talking, my computer screen saver comes on. Of course my screen saver is pictures of Camden so I can see his cute face all day long. The mother looks at the screen saver and then says to me, "Is that your grandson?"

What the freak? Do I really look that old? I think I need to start saving for some plastic surgery so I don't look so ancient!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Can't. Fight. The. Addiction

It's one of the most wonderful times of year for me. Nope, not the start of school. Christmas is still pretty far away. So what could it be that has me so excited? It's time to buy Camden his fall and winter clothes!

Never mind I've bought clothes in advance and have a closet full appropriate for all seasons. It doesn't seem like enough. I must still
feed my addiction and buy more clothes for Cam on eBay!

I can't help it. I love to dress my child. I love to look for him. And I love eBay. So I shop, and shop, and shop some more. Somebody stop me!

To end with, one cute picture of Camden. This was his first pudding experience. He decided it was so good he had to pick up the bowl and lick it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Tribute to Astrid Elizabeth Sohan

I don't think anybody will forget the emotions they felt on September 11, 2001. With shock and horror, we watched the events unfold. For many of us, we didn't know anybody hurt or killed in the attacks, but we were affected anyway. I cried for the loss of life, the children without parents, the widows and widowers, the loss of a son, a daughter, a spouse, a friend, a sister or brother. Now that five years have passed, many of the emotions and feelings at the time of the attack have subsided, but the memories of the people whose lives were tragically taken live on. I am honored to participate in remembering the 2,996 people killed in these attacks. Today I honor and remember Astrid Elizabeth Sohan.

Astrid Elizabeth Sohan was 32 on September 11, 2001. She would have turned 33 on September 25th. She worked for Marsh & McLennan, World Trade Center #1 on the 95th floor. She began working for them in 1996. Her commitment to excellence and many talents helped her rise quickly through the ranks. She was a vice president and project manager at the time of her death.

Astrid was born in Georgetown, Guyana. She and her family later immigrated to the United States. At the time of her death, she was living in Freehold, New Jersey with her fiance. They had begun to discuss wedding plans in August of 2001.

Astrid was very energetic and could not sit still long. Five times she enrolled in college and five times she dropped out. She would rather learn through doing than through sitting in classes. She went to work learning computer operating which led her to manage the technical support department at Marsh & McLennan.

Astrid loved to shop and her salary from her job allowed her to do that. "Expensive clothes," said Clive Sohan, her father. "Ann Taylor. Talbots. Shoes — she had too many." From her mother, Barbara Sohan, a dressmaker, Astrid learned about tailoring and natural fabrics. She liked simple leather pumps and classic tailored suits. She liked to purchase only quality items.

Astrid loved to help others and solve issues. She was kind and vibrant. She was also very thoughtful. Her pastimes included shopping, traveling, dining, and being with her family and friends. She also loved tennis.

The morning of Sept. 11, she made three phone calls after planes had struck the towers.
The last call was to her parents, to tell them she loved them. "To know her," they said, "was to like her."


Friday, September 08, 2006

My Life Monday - Week 9 - a little late

I'm so sorry I am late with this! I really meant to be on time this week. But it was my birthday Monday (31 now!) and my boys kept me spoiled and busy all day long. Tuesday I was out of town for a burial and the rest of the week has been catch up at school. It's been crazy! We switched to a new curriculum this year at school, so I've been reorganizing and reformating everything I do. Plus we switched from a trimester system with only 5 classes a day to a semester system with 7 classes a day. I now have 180 students in a day instead of 120, which means more students and less time to grade in (our prep hour got cut by 25 minutes). I'm finding it's taking me longer than I plan to do anything with the changes. I know it's all excuses, but here I am, just a few days late! Without further ado . . .

I've had many fun jobs over the years. Some I've liked, some I've hated, and some have been the means to an end. So in all its glory, my jobs!

Arctic Circle - I worked here for about a year and even was employee of the month once. I had my picture on the wall for it and everything. I got fired a few months later for calling in sick to be with a friend whose mother had died that day. Nice huh? They were notorious for firing people for no real good reason.

Little Caesars - Yum, I still like their pizza. I worked here for about two years and became a shift manager. I cracked my tail bone working there because I ran out to see something funny (can't remember what now) and I slipped where somebody was mopping. It hurt like a bugger!

Cement Company - I worked as a day laborer for three summers here to earn money for college. You had to be related to somebody who already worked there (my dad as head chemist) and they paid you good money for the time to do crap work. I wore full coveralls, steel toed boots, and a hard hat. I spent my days shoveling, jack hammering, sweeping, painting, and generally dying of the heat and hating the job. I would NEVER, EVER want to do this work again! It sucked, but it paid for college. I wish I had a picture to show you of me in my full gear. I got second degree burns my last summer there. They had me work in an area shoveling cement dust (which is highly acidic) and then moved me to a wet area. The water mixed with the cement dust, rubbed on my ankles all day long, and left me with nifty scars on each ankle. My sister got them worse than me and had to go to daily whirl pool baths for several weeks to treat it. I seriously have never done so much physical labor in my life. I learned to drive big machines like front end loaders, operate a jack hammer, paint under a kiln that radiated 400 degree heat (and I got to do that in August in Idaho - what fun!), scrub tile with hydrochloric acid, and so many other such jobs.

Sales person - I worked at the jewelry Walmart counter for two years, which I loved. I loved the discounts and the people I worked with. I quit because of a psycho stalker who also worked there. I then worked at ZCMI in the juniors section until I graduated college. I did really well with commission sales most of the time there and averaged a decent amount per hour.

Teacher - What I do now! I love it most of the time. This is my ninth year teaching. Every day is a new adventure! I love my students and my subject. I'm so glad I went into teaching. There are challenges and times I want to strangle a student or two, but I enjoy almost every day.

Mom - This is my real full time job and it's the best job in the world. It's the most difficult with the most challenges, but it also brings the most rewards and joy. I'm grateful every day to have this job and be a mom! Camden is a great son and I am thrilled to be his mother. This is by far the job that I love most.

Share with me your jobs! If you did this on time, post your link now! For next week, I'm participating in 2996 in honor of 9/11. Feel free to join us if you so wish. If not, do your own thing and leave a link anyway!

Monday, August 28, 2006


My Life Monday returns 9-4-06!

I WILL be there. Will you?

Since that day is Labor Day, we'll be celebrating the jobs we have "labored" at during our lifetime. So tell us about your jobs, past and present. Don't forget to come back and post your link on that day. I'm so excited to be back up and running with MLM!

Friday, August 25, 2006

. . .

The triumphant return of . . .

Are you ready?

Are YOU ready?

It's Coming!

It's Coming!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Broken Promises

I keep promising to be blogging again regularly by a certain date, but then that date comes and goes. So I'm not making any more promises, except that I will be back blogging regularly and in the not too distant future. Between deep cleaning my house and readying my classroom for the start of school next week, I have little spare time. And what little spare time I do have, I spend it with the cutest 16 month old I know. He's too much fun and I am soaking in my last few all-Camden, all-day moments I have left. I will be back. Please don't give up on me!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The magical power of my blog

Hello fellow bloggers! I am back and feeling great! My surgery went well and I have recovered faster than I expected. I'm so glad I had it done. I feel light years better already having that thing out.

It turns out my blog has magical powers. I've long suspected it might, but it has now been proved to me. You see, any time I write a blog about something Camden is not doing, something magical happens and within a few weeks time, he's doing it like an old pro. Around Christmas time, I wrote about
Camden not eating solids. A few weeks later, there he was doing it. I've posted about how he's not really crawling or how he doesn't have teeth. And then, a few weeks later, it happens.

Remember my last post? About Camden not walking? Guess what he did today? He walked! This morning we were all lounging in the living room, getting ready for breakfast. Camden decided to take four little steps. Later this afternoon he took about twelve steps in a row before falling down. He's pretty slow walking so far and takes small steps, but he's doing it. He's so proud of himself and loves when we cheer him on. The funniest thing is when he falls down. Then he sits up on his knees and tries to walk across the room on his knees. He looks at us expecting the same reaction walking gets. It's such a funny face he makes! I know he'll just get faster from here. I'm so proud of my little boy today!

I'm wondering if the magical powers will work in other parts of my life. Maybe if I post something here that I really, really want, it will happen in a few weeks. Give me some more time and I may just test this theory out.

Well, this is a quick all about me post. I promise to check in on all you wonderful people sometime this week. And I will be back up and running with My Life Monday this coming Monday. I'll even give you a date to watch for - July 31, 2006. I'll see you all then!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A conspicuous absence

Hello blogger world! Remember me? I'm sorry I've been gone so long. The summer is just slipping away. This is just a quick update.

I really mean to blog, I do. Don't we all? I sincerely apologize for not keeping up on "My Life Monday." I thought I would have more time with not working, but instead I have less. Part of not blogging is the computer is in the room where my stepson stays when he visits. Since he spends a lot of time playing computer games and video games on the TV in his room, I get little computer time and rush when I am on the computer so I don't invade his space. But he leaves tomorrow for his home in PA (has it been six weeks already?!?!) so I will get more computer time again. Part of it is that when Camden is awake and I am on the computer, he LOVES to help type. And you can imagine how helpful an almost 15 month old when typing. Part of it is sheer laziness and business. And part of it is not feeling good. I found out a few weeks ago that my gall bladder is really bad. I've been nauseated off and on for weeks now (no, not pregnant) and the doctors finally checked that. It's being removed on Monday, July 17th. I hope to be back up and running by the following Monday with "My Life Monday." Please don't abandon me completely! I do read your blogs, but don't comment often because of lack of time. I promise to get back on track by the end of July with everything. I miss you and all your stories!

So I end today with a questions on almost 15 month old toddlers. Camden is not walking yet. Should I be concerned? Mark tells me I am crazy to worry. Cam will stand on his own and cruise around everything, but just won't take those steps yet. Did any of you have late walkers? Tell me Camden is normal. :) Also, give me your best toddler lunch ideas. Camden loves grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and quesidilla's, but we need variety. He won't eat much meat, hates potatoes, and I haven't introduced peanut butter yet. Hit me with your best toddler lunch ideas!

Thanks for checking in on me!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Quick My Life Monday

Remember this week is choose your own topic. Post below if you participate and I will check it out when I get back. Next week's topic - Tell us about your family - the one you grew up in.

For my topic, I just want to show off Camden's 1 year pics (taken when he was 13 months old, but that's ok!)

Monday, June 19, 2006

My Life Monday - Week 7

I am a bad, bad blogger. I don't know what my problem is. I just can't seem to blog (or check out your blogs like I want to so badly). I apologize and hope to get back into true blogging form soon. But I won't make any promises just yet! FYI, I will be leaving town this Friday for a week and will be sporadic between now and my return. Please don't abandon me completely!

Week 7 - Spouse Spotlight

Mark is such a wonderful husband and father. I am grateful everyday for his presence in my life. I knew Mark would be a great dad because I got to see him in action before we got married. I watched him with his two boys from his previous marriage and he was an excellent dad!

I'll never forget how Mark rejoiced when he found out we were finally expecting. He was so beyond thrilled and went to every prenatal appointment (except one) with me. And he was a champ during labor. My mom told me there is a point in every labor where you want to kill the man who got you pregnant. I never had that moment. Mark read my mind during labor. He anticipated and met all my needs and wants during labor.

When we brought Camden home, he was a smitten man. He fell head over heels for Camden and would stand by his crib watching him sleep on a regular basis. Mark was a rock during the first few months of Cam's life. Although Cam was much wanted and anticipated, motherhood hit me harder than I ever expected. I suffered from postpartum depression. Combine that with my perfectionist attitude (I must be the perfect mom) as well as a constant worrier and I was a mess for the first few months of Camden's life. The first two weeks of Camden's life, I never slept more than four hours in a 24 hour period - and not consecutively either. I was very paranoid about losing Cam and would jump up constantly all night long. And then Cam got colic and would cry for hours on end. Mark was working 50 plus hours a week during this time. He'd come home from a 10 hour day, walk in the door, take Cam from me, and send me off to sleep or rest. He never complained about the added stress on him from worrying about my mental state. He was so good to me and so patient with Camden.

When I went back to work, Mark became the stay at home Dad so he could go to school and finish his degree. I could never ask for better care for Camden. Cam transitions seamlessly from his Dad's care to my care because we have the same ideas for raising children and discuss Cam's routine on a regular basis. Mark loves and adores Cam. I love to watch the two of them interact. I fall in love with Mark all over again when I watch him with Camden.

Yesterday was one such moment. We were nearing the end of our three hour church and Camden was getting restless. Mark took Camden onto his lap and was reading to Cam. I watched him point out animals to Camden and then do the sign that goes with that animal. I watched him snuggle Camden close and kiss his little head and my heart melted once again. Mark is such a good dad!

I really am truly blessed to have Mark in my life. In addition to being a great father, he is a great spouse. I thank the Lord each day of my life for the privilege of being his wife and having his children.

Topic for next week: Choose your own! With me being on vacation and such, I probably won't get much chance to blog. I'll still put up the linky thing so leave me a link and I'll check our your creativity when I get back!

Don't forget to leave your link for this weeks topic as well as a comment! It makes me feel special. :)

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Life Monday - Week 6

Hey everybody! Again I am sorry I haven't blogged for awhile. I have good intentions. It just seems like I have less time now that I am off school. I really will try to do better this week.

Week 6 - A favorite childhood toy

I have two favorites when I think back on my childhood. The first was this giant Raggedy Ann doll my mom made for me. She made one for both me and my sister. They were huge! Or at least they seemed huge to a child. They were about three feet tall with great red yarn hair. My mom even made dresses for them. The only differences between our dolls is one had a red dress and the other had a blue dress. We played with these for days on end. They were stitched with love and it showed. My mom still has at least one of the dolls at her house. I love watching the grandchildren play with our giant Raggedy Ann.

The second toy I think of is my Cabbage Patch doll. Remember when those first came out and were the rage? They flew off the store shelves! I remember my mom finding out a store was getting a new shipment in. She planned to be there when they were put out so she could get one because they sold so fast. I remember her calling and telling me about two dolls she had in her cart. One was blonde haired, blue eyed and the other was red head if I remember right. She told me to choose over the phone which one I wanted. Being a blonde myself, I only wanted the blonde one. And so she bought it and brought it home to me. And I remember being so disappointed because my doll was ugly! It had blue eyes and blonde hair all right, but she wasn't cute at all! Plus she had an ugly name!

After awhile, she grew on me, ugly name and all. And again, my mom whipped out her sewing skills. She made me, my doll, my sister, and my sister's doll matching outfits. Yes, I matched my doll (I'll have to dig up a picture of me in my 4H sewing outfit modeling with my matching doll). She made our dolls Halloween clown costumes. My mom made cheerleading outfits, pajama's, dresses, and so many other cute little outfits. We had the best dressed dolls on the block. Again, my mom kept these dolls and their little outfits and it gives me great pleasure to watch the grandchildren play with these as well.

I realize that what makes these two toys special is the love my mom poured into making an ordinary toy a little special. The effort that went into creating first a Raggedy Ann doll and then little outfits for our Cabbage Patch dolls brings tears to my eyes today. My mom must have spent hours sewing. And she did it because she loved us. I hope I can be half the mother she was and give my children similar memories.

Share with me your favorite toys growing up! Leave your link and a comment below.

For next week, since it is Father's Day on Sunday, we'll do a Spouse Spotlight next week. Tell us what makes your spouse great!

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Licve Monday - Week 5

I apologize for my long absence! Life has been crazy! Between travel, illness, and a few other issues (anybody out there with an ex spouse in their life? It's making our life fun - not mine, because I don't have one, but dh's), this is my first opportunity to blog. Thank you to those who were concerned. I have returned - no thanks to Blogger. I've been trying to get on to Blogger forever now and finally the heavens blessed me with a log in. Woohoo! I swear on all I hold holy, if Blogger freaks out on me during the process of blogging tonight, I will jump through my computer screen and strangle some innocent Blogger worker.

Ok, now for the real stuff.

Week 5 - Pictures of something significant to me.

My pictures are actually rather dumb. But I took these pictures before the school year ended and they do mean something to me. It's the bulletin board behind my desk in my room at school.

Why is it significant to me? All the other bulletin boards in my room are educational in some way. But the one behind my desk is for me and for fun. As I tell Mark and students, I spend 8 hours of my day in this room. I want one area that feels homey. And so I fill the bulletin board behind my desk with fun little things. Each year it changes because I let the students contribute to it too. I hang up pictures they draw me (which you see a lot of), stories and poems they write, their school pictures, or whatever else they give me.

I also hang special things. This year I had about a million pictures of Camden hanging up, showing his age progression. It helped me not miss him as much. You see the little red school house and the little chalkboard looking things below it? That was made for me six years ago by a student. She made it as a wedding present to me. I treasure that handmade gift like no other.

The yellow and blue bags were bought for me by my mother, also a school teacher. They have funny little pictures, like a kid with a pencil through his head that says "Education Victim." The Christmas looking balls were a Christmas present from one of my best teacher friends this year. A framed poem was a college graduation gift (it's about teaching).

It's very special to me. When a day is stressful or overwhelming, looking at my special bulletin board restores peace. It represents a big part of who I am - a teacher.

I can't wait to read yours! Please don't forget to post your link if you participate. Leave a comment too!

Next week's topic - A favorite childhood toy. Share one (or more) of yours with us.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Life Monday - Week 4

I'm doing this early because I am leaving town tomorrow and will be gone on Memorial Day. Please don't forget to add your link and add a comment if you complete today's MLM.

Week 4 - In Memory Of . . .

On this Memorial Day, there are three people I will be thinking of. The first two are my grandparents on my mom's side (my grandparents on my dad's side are still living). My grandpa passed away in 1986 when I was only 11. I don't remember tons about him, but he was a hard working, honest man. He was gentle and soft spoken. When my mom was a child, one of seven children, my grandpa was a dairy farmer. He owned acres of land in the Woods Cross, UT area. The government decided they wanted to put a freeway through his land and offered to buy his land. He didn't think the price was fair and he liked farming, so he turned down the offer. Well, the government condemned his farm so he would be forced to sell (apparently they can do that). He could no longer sell his milk, so he lost his source of income and had to sell the land for a pittance. My mom tells stories of being very poor. In spite of that, my grandpa rebuilt their lives. He built a spacious house (for the time) with 5 bedrooms, two baths, and two kitchens. He built it himself. He saved enough money to leave my grandma well taken care of until her death. He also left a mission fund that paid for one-third of each grandchild's mission. And there are 33 grandchildren in all! Because not all of us served missions, there is money left over in the fund. The remainder will be used to pay the first and last month of the missions ALL the great grandchildren may serve. That is a great legacy to leave behind. I hope I can be half the person he was.

My grandma died last year shortly before Mother's Day. She had spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home because of severe memory loss. I always remember how welcoming she was. She opened her house to everybody. When we were younger, she held huge Thanksgiving dinners at her house. All of her seven children, and their spouses, and all 33 grandchildren would gather in the huge family room downstairs for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a blast. The adults sat at one table and the kids sat at other small ones. I loved those times at her house. My grandma was a former school teacher and had old ditto's stored in her house. We would use those and play school on a regular basis. As a teenager, whenever I traveled from my hometown in Idaho to Salt Lake City for various things, she opened her house to me and my friends, letting us come as we pleased. I rarely remember her door being locked. She welcomed everybody with open arms. She had a strong testimony that never wavered.

The last person I will be thinking of today is my stepson Tyler. He was a beautiful, pure, ACTIVE boy who died too young. I didn't get the chance to know Tyler well. He died before my husband and I got engaged. But I love him and miss him as if I had known him well. He holds a very special place in my heart. Camden has Tyler's name as his middle name in honor of him. Tyler died in August of 1999, just 10 days after his 4th birthday. He drowned in a reservoir near here. Mark and I were in the temple when it happened. When we came out of the temple, Mark's ex brother in law was waiting to tell him what happened. Mark and I both have peace that it was Tyler's time to go. We (and Mark's ex wife) firmly believe if it hadn't happened that way, it would have happened another. We still miss him daily and especially on special days. We know he watches over us and our family. I have no doubt that he has met Camden, that he and Camden were friends before Cam came to earth. I know Tyler is Camden's guardian angel. Camden already has a laugh that was Tyler's laugh. We're sure Tyler taught it to Cam before Cam was born.

To my grandparents, O and J, and to Tyler - We love and miss you. And today, we remember you and honor you.

Please share with me your memories of loved ones you may be remembering and honoring today. Leave a link below when you have done this week's MLM. Whether early or late because of the holiday, share with us.

Next week's topic - Take a picture of something (not somebody) that represents part of who you are. Share that object and tell why it is significant to you.

It may take me some time to get back and check out your blogs, but I will be back! I'll will try to check in Tuesday!

It's the Final Countdown

Woohoo! It's the last day of school for me! Grades are done and on the computer. My room is mostly ready to go. Classes are enjoying their reading marathon (with more talking than reading right now, but that's ok). And me? I am ready! Seven hours left in the day and then I am free for the summer.

But you know what? The last day always makes me a little sad. I'm going to miss this group of kids. Sure, they've been annoying at times. And sure, their work ethic sometimes leaves a little to be desired. But when it is all said and done, most of them are good kids and I am going to miss them.

A college professor once said that she always cried on the last day of school when the students left. She said she knew it would be time for her to get out of teaching when she no longer cried. I took that to heart and use it as my measuring stick each year. And you know what, every year I shed a few tears when the students say goodbye. Even thinking about it today, I'm a little teary eyed. The year I no longer cry is the year I know I need to say goodbye to teaching.

I really love what I do. I enjoy the youth of today. There are many, many problems among our youth today. This world gets more and more wicked each day. But really? Deep down most of these kids are good at heart. There are many shining examples. And once the hormones wear off, they will really be awesome.

Oh, and on a special note, this is post 100 for my blog. Woot!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A few pictures that make me happy

This is what I have been working on for the past week. These are my students autobiographical writing portfolio's. Also the inspiration for MLM (they have to write about some of the same topics I have already given you or will be giving you). The best part about those? They are all graded! Students turned them in a week ago today and now I have them all done and entered in the computer. Yay for big project being done!

These are Camden's new books. I just got them this last week. There are 24 in all. The best part? They cost me nothing! My students place book orders, I get bonus points, and I used some of those points to get these books. I LOVE getting books for Cam. You can count on a new children's book thread here in a few weeks.

And so you know, my students didn't get cheated by me using some bonus points to get books for Cam. These are new books I got for my classroom library. I love books!

And one last not so happy picture . . .

These are the papers I have left to grade for the year - the every day assignments we do. I haven't been keeping up on these because I was working on their big projects (and blogging of course - a girl has priorities!). I hope to have these done and in the computer by this time tomorrow. And then I will be done with grading for the 2005-2006 school year!

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Life Monday - Week 3

Welcome to week three of "My Life Monday"! I can't wait to read about your name. Please don't forget to add your link and add a comment if you complete today's MLM.

Week 3 - My parents named me __________ because . . .

My name really is Rachelle. No alias for me on the net. I figure, if you really want to stalk me, go ahead. It will add some spice to my life. Just stay away from my son or I will go postal on your hiney. ;)

My parents originally wanted to name me Michelle. But I had a girl cousin born a few months before me and her parents named her that. My mom thought and thought of a new name for me. After awhile, she came up with Rachelle. She thought she was being creative and making up the name Rachelle. Not so. She found out at a doctor's office a few years after I was born that Rachelle is a real name because there was another girl with that name in the office. My mom got to talking to her mom and found out, Rachelle is a real name.

I like my name. It's not a name that very many people have. I'm not one of the millions of Jennifers from the 70's (do not take offense if your name is Jennifer). I think my name fits me for the most part (unless you are one of those people who thinks of Rachelle in the trailer trash way).

One of my biggest pet peeves, however, relates to my name. Specifically the pronunciation of my name. It's just like Michelle, but with an Ra at the beginning. Say it with me - Rah-shell. It's not Rachel, Rachael, or Raquel. And I have been called all those at one time or another. I hate when people say my name wrong. To me, it's not that much of a difference from Michelle, so why is it so hard to pronounce?

So do you want to hear the mean thing I do to people with my name? It's really mean. You want to hear it anyway? Ok, here goes . . . I judge a person's intelligence on whether they say my name right the first time they see it. If they call me Rachel, they are dumb. If they call me Rachelle, they are smart. I know you are all checking to see if you said it right in your head the first time you saw it. If you said it wrong in your head, I forgive you. ;)

It is great for telemarketers. If somebody calls my house asking for Rachel, I hang up on them. Because if you can't say my name when calling my house, you probably don't really know me. And usually that means a telemarketer.

So there you have my name. Not too exciting, but I do like it. I wouldn't change it, except maybe spell it the way it sounds to stop the stupid people from calling me the wrong thing.

And for next week's topic: Since it is
Memorial Day, the topic is "In memory of . . . ". I know Memorial Day is supposed to be for those who died in war and to honor Veterans, but maybe there is somebody else whose memory you want to honor on that day. Many people use Memorial Day to honor any special person in their lives who has passed on. We'll do kind of a loose interpretation of it. With it being a holiday weekend, you may not be around on Monday itself. Feel free to post early or late. I myself will be traveling to my Idaho hometown for my brother's wedding, so I will post either late Thursday or early Friday before I am cut off from internet access for four days (how shall I ever live?!?!).

Don't forget to leave your link below if you participate in today's MLM. And leave a comment too. It makes me feel special. :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Letter Game

There is a fun game going around out there. Somebody gives you a letter of the alphabet. Then you have to choose ten words that start with that letter and explain why you chose them. You can play along too if you want. Leave a comment asking for a letter and then I'll give you one.

I asked Mama D for a letter and she gave me "Y". She said she wanted to challenge me because I am a teacher. Well, I took that challenge and decided to challenge myself a little more - being an English teacher and all. So I give you my "Y" list - all verbs AND in alphabetical order AND I will try to relate them to my life in some way. Yeah, I'm a little obsessive. ;)

1. Yak - Something I am really good at. I can yak for hours with Mark, a good friend, my family. I can yak about almost anything.

2. Yammer - Similar to yak, but with more complaining. This is what some of my students are doing right now. They are yammering on and on about the new cell phone policy in our district which says they cannot have cell phone during school hours next year and how "It's not fair" or "I'll bring mine anyway." Gotta love teenagers.

3. Yank - Maybe I'll yank their chain and tell them ipods are banned too. That will get them really yammering.

4. Yawn - Did you just yawn reading that word? I did. Think about a nice slow yawn. Are you doing it now?

5. Yearn - I yearn for another baby. A little tiny one to cuddle and hold. I yearn for new baby smell and new baby yawns.

6. Yell - Ok, who hasn't yelled in their life? I will sometimes raise my voice, but I try not to really yell. But you know what? Sometimes it just makes things better when you do.

7. Yelp - What my dog does when I accidentally step on him. I don't do it very often, but sometimes he gets under foot. And then he yelps to let us know we got him. Poor little thing.

8. Yield - I hope my beautiful grape tomato plant yields some yummy tomatoes this summer. I just started growing it from seed a few weeks ago. It has glorious little sprouts coming up now. I can't wait till it yields its crop.

9. Yodel - Can you yodel? I can't. Ok, I probably really can, but why? It's really not that pretty of a sound. Maybe it's one of those art forms I just can't appreciate yet.

10. Yoke - Are you evenly yoked with your spouse? I think Mark and I are evenly yoked. We carry that cart pretty well, being yoked together.

So there you go! Do you want to participate? Leave me a comment asking for a letter and I will give you one. And if you want a bit of a challenge, like all one part of speech or something, request and your wish shall be granted.

Don't forget "My Life Monday" for next week!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mr. Sun - We need to talk

Dear Mr. Sun,

Is it all right if I call you that - Mr. Sun? I'm not sure if you are male or female, so I took a guess. Maybe I should be politically correct and say "To whom it may concern in the sun-o-sphere". We'll just run with Mr. unless you tell me otherwise.

Now that we got that all sorted out, can we talk about the heat? I realize your job is to heat the world and I appreciate it. You do wonderful things with those rays. But don't you think you are laying it on a bit thick right now? My poor little home is reaching temperatures of 80 degrees inside. And that's just the main level. Upstairs, where we sleep, it's much hotter. And I haven't even cooked indoors the past few nights. Can you imagine how hot it would get if I did?

Remember Mark - the big tall guy? He thinks he is melting if it gets over 72 inside. Once it hits 75, it's all over for him. He's not doing so well at night right now. And Camden? The poor kid is having the hardest time sleeping. He's just too hot. I'm kind of not sleeping so well myself with the heat and the two of them.

I realize we haven't put up our air conditioning units yet so it's partly our fault. We plan to rectify that situation tonight. But even the weather man says you are a little extreme right now. He says you're not usually this warm this early in the season.

I really like how you provide warmth and all that. And your lovely rays help my flowers grow. So I'm not asking you to disappear or go away or anything like that. But if you could kick it down a notch, I would be most appreciative.

Your ever loving friend,


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Summer Plans

Summer is quickly approaching. Yay! *imagine a fat woman now doing cartwheels. Wait! Banish that image from your head - don't want to give anybody nightmares.* I only have 7.5 school days left after today; then my summer fun quickly begins. I am looking forward to unlimited Camden time, plus extra time with Mark. I'm looking forward to summer projects and vacations. I'm looking forward to long hours spent reading, staying up late, and pursuing new interests. As I think about my summer and all I want (and have) to do, I realize it's going to fly by!

We jump start the summer with my youngest brother's wedding next weekend. We'll be traveling to my hometown in Idaho for a few days of wedded bliss and festivities. I get to miss the last day of school and travel several hours with a 1 year old. Now that should be fun. Anybody have good toddler travel tips for me? We haven't taken a trip of this magnitude since Thanksgiving time.

The following weekend, we pick my stepson Kolby up at the airport for his summer visit. He'll be with us for 6 weeks. I'm looking forward to having him and Camden bond some more. There is a 13 year age difference between the two, but Kolby is a GREAT older brother and I can pretty much bet Camden will worship him by the time he leaves. Kolby doesn't know it yet, but he's going to have a small shadow following him around most of the summer.

Kolby's first week here I have get to attend a three day conference. According to No Child Left Behind, I am not highly qualified to teach English since I only minored in it. So I get to take classes to become qualified enough to teach what I have been teaching for the past eight years.

At the end of June we'll travel back to my Idaho hometown for a weeks vacation. We're also going to celebrate our anniversary early. We'll be leaving Camden with my parents for a few nights while we have some fun. *GULP* I've never left Camden overnight before and I'm not sure how I'll handle being away. My mom will do an AWESOME job with him, but still, he's my baby!

In the middle of July Kolby will fly back home. And then I will attend another week long class in my quest to be qualified to teach what I have been teaching the last eight years. Mark will also start a summer class in July.

In addition to classes and travel, I want to repaint my upstairs bathroom and cabinets, as well as paint all the doors in our house. I also want to learn digital scrapbooking. If you're into digiscrap, give me your best programs, websites, hints, tips, etc to get a beginner started.

Writing that all down, my summer doesn't sound so relaxing after all. But I'll be busy mostly because I want to be busy. I get to do what I want to (except for the few classes). Summer break - one of the big perks to being a teacher. Something has to got to make up for the pay. ;)

What are your summer plans? What do you want to do and accomplish over your summer? Share with me!

Monday, May 15, 2006

My Life Monday - Week 2

Welcome to week two of "My Life Monday"! I can't wait to read how you met your spouse and got together. Please don't forget to add your link and add a comment if you complete today's MLM.

Week 2 - The Story of My Spouse

I moved to my current town in 1998 after graduating college. I got my first teaching job in redneck ville and that facilitated a move. My job out here came to pass in an unusual way (I'll have to tell that story sometime). This was not where I was planning on living and I was very nervous about the move. One day while driving in my car, I asked the Lord why I was moving to redneck town. I felt strongly that I would meet my husband in this town and that made the move easier.

After living here about six months, I had made a few friends, but wasn't dating. Most of the guys were younger than me and very much rednecks and cowboys. There is nothing wrong with men like that, but they are totally not for me. I was beginning to think I was wrong about my earlier impression about why I moved to this town. But then I met Mark.

We met in a totally cliche way. He was the friend of a friend. We were at an LDS Institute activity one night in March of 1999 when my friend J introduced me to Mark. Right away I was taken by his gigantic-ness - his height of 6'8" tall and his Goliath spirit. We started talking that night and I found out he was divorced with two children. He was older than me and actually cultured - not into redneck stuff in any way! I was gun shy because of some previous dating experiences, so all I really wanted was a friend. I figured I would take the time to get to know him better and see what, if anything, happened.

We formed a Family Home Evening group with a bunch of other singles and started hanging out on a regular basis. Within a week I was totally hooked on Mark. We had so much in common. We could almost complete each other's sentences right away. We became instant best friends. In meeting Mark, my spirit recognized him. I knew that somehow I had known him before. And meeting again was like we had never been apart. I remember the first time I hugged him. In all the guys I had dated before, I always felt something was missing in the hug. It was like I needed something bigger to hug. And when I hugged Mark for that first time, my spirit sighed and said, "This is the size you've been looking for."

We talked and hung out together almost every night. Within a month, we started a relationship. Mark actually kissed me before he ever asked me out (I tease him about that all the time). We started dating, but Mark was very gun shy. He had been through an awful divorce and was afraid of being hurt again. Because of that, he broke it off with me several times, only to start our relationship again. I knew he loved me and I loved him, but he had too many demons to pursue a relationship with his full being. Finally, in June of 1999, Mark came to me and broke my heart for what we both thought would be the final time. He told me he had prayed about it and felt that we were not supposed to be together. I knew that I could not change his mind and that if we were meant to be together, the Lord would have to change his mind.

We remained best friends. We still hung out on a regular basis. I kept falling more and more in love. We both dated other people a bit, but nothing could replace Mark in my heart. I knew that somehow I needed to let him go and move on, especially if he felt it wasn't right. I took all of my feelings and put them in what I called my Mark box. I put all my feelings, hopes, and dreams and locked them in that mental box. There they would stay. I would continue to be his friend, be happy for him if he found somebody else, and move on with my own life.

But life or fate or heavenly powers had a way of bringing us together again and again. One beautiful day in early August, Mark and I went hiking with other friends. It was a wonderful, fun filled day. We went to the temple as a group that evening to top off our perfect day. When we came out of the temple that night, a man was waiting in a car for Mark. I found out later it was his ex brother-in-law. He told Mark that his youngest son, Tyler, had drowned earlier that evening. I will never forget watching that giant man collapse into a puddle of tears in that dark parking lot. (Tyler's death is another blog all together, so I will save the full story for a later date.) I knew I would do anything to help Mark through this difficult time. I made sure he ate, and got to work, and did anything else I could to help him through this tragedy. This was just one experience that brought us closer. A few months after Tyler's death, I went through a difficult time and Mark was there for me.

Even with all that, Mark still felt we weren't meant to be together. In spite of his feelings we weren't meant to get married, we continued to grow closer and become even better friends. I still felt like we were supposed to be together, but never mentioned it to Mark. I knew the Lord would have to smack him over the head to get Mark to change his mind. And you know what? That's exactly what the Lord did. He gave Mark a grand-mal seizure in November of 1999. The doctors could never find a reason for his seizure and he has never had one since. I feel the Lord was sending a clear message to Mark. As a result of his seizure, Mark couldn't drive for 6 months. He had to go to doctor appointments out in Salt Lake, so I volunteered to take him.

On our way out to his appointments, we engineered a way for me to get into his appointments with him. We figured they wouldn't let us in if I was just a friend, so we decided to pretend we were engaged. We even made up a wedding date - July 4th. So all day long as we went from doctor to doctor, we told them we were engaged and I was able to go to all his appointments with him. After all the appointments, we decided to take our joke a little bit further. We went to Anniversary Inn and looked at rooms for our supposed upcoming honeymoon. We found a room we loved and looked into its availability for July 4th of the coming summer.

Driving home that night, my heart was hurting again. We had spent the whole day pretending to be engaged and I loved every second of it. I only wished it was real! I had opened my Mark box and let all those bottled up feelings have free reign for that one day. But I knew that I would have to put them away for good this time and wondered how I could possibly do it. I told Mark that we needed to let each other go for good. We could remain friends, but had to let go of the love. I told him I had been praying for months now to be able to let him go, that if it wasn't meant to be, the feelings would be taken away. He agreed with me that we needed to let this go once and for all.

When we got back to his place that night, we knelt to say a prayer together. Mark prayed that we could let our feelings for each other go and let each other go. Much of what occurred that night is too sacred to share, but after the prayer, Mark told me he knew we were meant to be together. He had a strong impression during the prayer telling him I was "the one." I was kind of in shock and disbelief and afraid to open my heart. I was afraid he would tell me this just to break it off again later, so I wanted us both to be sure. Mark told me that night that he was sure, but it took me a little longer. After a few days of pondering and praying, I knew again he was the one. When I told him that, he dropped to the floor in my kitchen and proposed. We literally went from best friends to engaged overnight without ever dating again. We were married 8 months later on July 7th, 2000 (we got married as close to July 4th as we could).

If you want to read Mark's version, check out this post.

So that's the story of us - how we met and got together. I love Mark more than ever. He is the best father and the best husband. I'm grateful he is in my life. He and Cam are truly my greatest blessings.

I can't wait to read your stories! Post when you have yours done and I will check it out. And for week 3, your topic is: My parents named me __________ because . . . Tell us about your name. Do you like it or dislike it? Would you name yourself something else? Does your name fit you? Share all your thoughts and feelings on your name. If you prefer to keep your name anonymous, be creative. I think names are fascinating to learn about!

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