Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are YOU naked?

Trying to keep clothes on Sariah is like getting glue to stick to oil. Here's a little inside look at her stripping abilities:










Lately, her thing has been to take off her pj's and fall asleep in her diaper. Here's how we found her last night.




And how I found her this morning (shades are pulled close, so the lighting is terrible):
video



I am trying my hardest to hang on to each stage. I don't want to say "I miss when Sariah was...." because then I won't live in the now. Each stage of life is different, and is marvelous! She's learning so many new things, and the world is her playground right now. We should all be so lucky to look at our children, and enjoy the moment. I may take back those words when she's 15 and we're arguing about a belly button ring!

Our Christmas

I'm a loser, forgive me. These are almost a week late, but at least they made it up here!

Christmas this year was so much fun, because Sariah actually got the hang of what was going on...sort of. By the time the last present was opened, she knew the fun in opening the gift.

My Christmas decorations are still up, because I just can't bear to take them down! I love the holiday season, the charitable attitudes, the anticipation of Santa, the baked goods (oooooh, the baked goods), the ambiance of Christmas tree lights at night.

Santa visited our house! Santa doesn't bring very much, but he sure brings fun things.



Sariah loved the soft athletic balls we got her! She insisted on carrying them around, all 4 of them, the rest of the morning.


As my children get older, Christmas will change. The types of gifts will change, and the attitude of Santa will change.

What I hope will never change is how our thoughts turn to Christ. His birth was the first step in being able to return to our Heavenly Father, and I know we will always have that be a part of our celebration.

Oh yeah...and I also hope the baked goods will never change. =) Our unborn child greatly appreciated those!

Monday, December 29, 2008

7

Yesterday was our 7th anniversary.

How time flies!

Our tradition is instead of giving gifts, we go away for the evening...just the 2 of us.

Friday, we packed up and headed to Phoenix where we stayed at a hoidy-toidy resort.

Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

Temple the next morning, complete with a little shopping on the way home.

A lovely over-nighter, but we missed our girl terribly.

Isn't it amazing how you love your husband more and more with each passing day?

I am grateful for these last 7 years...the memories...our growing family...and can't wait to see what the next few years cook up!

Monday, December 22, 2008

For the Record...

I, personally, think we're having a boy.

No dreams.

No revelations.

No reason to think this other than mother's intuition.

I knew Sariah was a girl. Maybe I'm right again with this one.

All I know is that I keep calling the baby "him" in my head.

I keep calling him by his name.

When I peruse Craigslist, I only pay attention to boy things.

Just mother's intuition.

Did anyone else "just know"?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I didn't sign up for this...

SERIOUSLY.

Sariah poops in the bathtub??

C'mon!!

Seriously. SERIOUSLY?!?!?

That's all I'm going to say about that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Weeks

Well, no baby bump to write home about, but I feel a change.

7 weeks (basically the "before" picture):



And this morning, 12 weeks:

Miracle on Emberwood Dr.

I first heard of this contraption on the local news.

I wasn't sold.

It was just another gimmick.

I then saw it on Oprah, and Dr. Oz RAVED about it's success rate of 86%.

I was curious.

I ordered one, knowing there was a full 30 day money back guarantee.

The night it came, for the first time in I don't know how long, I slept through the night without the constant lullaby of Jared's snoring.

It was a miracle.

It worked.

TOTALLY worth the $60 to cure my husband of his ever-present guttural noise pollution.

Curious? Check it out HERE.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Drug Addict

Sariah LOVES medicine, or anything we call "medicine" (such as apple juice, or a fig newton, or even a hug).

When she's legitimately sick, all I have to say is "Let's go get you some medicine."

She RUNS to the kitchen and points up to the cupboard, where we have her Tylenol and Motrin stashed on the highest shelf of the highest cupboard.

Well...

Sariah saw her cousin, Emerson, get some Tylenol this morning.

She didn't get any.

She threw a fit.

Crocodile tears, screams, banging her head on the floor, grab mommy's pants and pull her back in to the kitchen, laying on the floor sobbing fit.

So what did I do?

Let her play with the medicine. She didn't get any, but she was perfectly content to play with the syringes and bottle.

Our little drug addict.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Pregnant Lady's Lunch

When I'm pregnant, all I crave are carbs. Bad...I know. Oh well, it's one of the only times in my life when I'll get to eat what I want and not feel guilty. I only gained 18 pounds with Sariah...let's hope I'm that lucky again.

Here's what I had for lunch:

Green corn tamale with salsa.

Original Pringles.

Bowl of Cocoa Puffs.

Yum.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dressing Sariah

My daughter has a perpetual need to move.

Forget not a still bone in her body.

Forget not a still muscle in her body.

She doesn't have a still CELL in her body...nothing ceases to move.

She dances, wiggles, jumps, runs, and has fun with everything she does.

This includes getting dressed.

Getting Sariah dressed is about a 5-step process.

The other morning, it included getting her shirt on...and then her wiggling out my hands, pajamas still attached.



She eventually pulled off the pj's, and then would turn and dash in the other direction when she saw me with pants in hand. That day was a shirt-only day.

Imagine what she's like in Relief Society...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh Yes...

And when/how do I wean Sariah from her pacifier?

She only uses it at naps...

And at bedtime...

And when she hurts herself and needs some extra soothing...

So how do I get rid of it? I definitely want it gone before this baby gets here.

Ideas?

Is it hard...

Going from one child to two?

Did you ever wonder if you will love the new baby as much as you did your first, and then feel completely overwhelmed with guilt for even having that thought?

Will I ever sleep again?

Did your labor with the 2nd one go faster than the first (as they say is the trend)?

What do you do with your first child when you go in to labor, and you want all of your family at the birth? Who takes care of the first child?

Maybe I'll get to nurse this one (OK not a question, but a thought).

What do I do when I'm nursing this second baby (optimistic!) in the mother's lounge, and the rest hymn comes up and I need to play the organ?

How do I teach my first child that this new creature is to be loved, not to hit and be jealous of?

How will I survive the first couple weeks when I'm not sleeping and still have another child to take care of?

If you could go back and do it over again, what would you change or do different?

Just some thoughts and questions that have been going through my mind these last few weeks. Please, any and all advice you have is welcome!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I've got rhythym...I've got music...

Sariah is incredibly musical.

She'll dance to anything.

She plays the piano all the time.

I'm convinced it's because I played music so much when I was pregnant with her. I usually have some kind of music going, so music is naturally a part of her life.

Lately, I've been playing Christmas music...and I LOVE it! Without knowing it, I'll conduct the music sometimes. It's like my chorister brain takes over, and I start waving my arms to the orchestra.

Sariah has started copying me, and leading the music. As soon as the Christmas music plays, she runs around waving her arms in the air! One evening, I had it playing during dinner. While she was eating, her arms began waving. Sorry it's a little dark...we need a new camera:
video

She also will throw temper tantrums if I don't allow her up on the piano bench with my students. They know this, and they love having her climb up there with them for a minute or two. Here's Sariah with one of my students, Bailey.


It will be fun to see if she has musical talent, or if this is just a love for music. Maybe it will turn out to be both!

Ditching Church

Jared and Sariah both stayed home sick from church yesterday. Apparently, they had a wonderful time!

Here's Sariah being a Dare Devil on her police rocker. She has amazing balance and is now standing on everything from the top of the couch to climbing the piano:
video

And playing in her tent:
video

Looks like fun, huh? Daddy and Sariah were SUPPOSED to be resting. Apparently, they were just having too much fun. =)

A Night in Bethlehem

My parent's ward doesn't do anything simply. Their ward Christmas party is always a sight to behold!

Last year, the theme was "The Polar Express," with a tree-lined forest, a conductor, the young women doing the "Hot Chocolate" dance, and Santa Claus. It was truly amazing.

This year, the theme was "A Night in Bethlehem." The activities committee wanted this night to be as authentic as possible. The members were asked to come dressed in period-style clothing, we traded cans of food for "script" to pay for our dinner, they had a barn converted into a market place, and authentic food. We didn't stay for long because Sariah became beside herself about 6:30, but we were there for a good hour. It was amazing! Here are a few pictures.

Here is my sister's family. Didn't they dress up fabulously?


There were soldiers guarding the gate:


Once you pass through the gate, you "claim" your family and animals. They give you money according to how many members of your family there are and how many camels/goats/pigs you had:


Then you went to the tax payer and paid your "taxes" (cans of food):


You could buy a basket:


You could buy an oil lamp:


You could eat food:



There was a woman at the well:


We didn't dress up, but sure had a great time! Here's Sariah and daddy:


I, for one, can't wait to see what they come up with for next year!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Few More Pregnancy Details

Is it sinking in yet?

I've known for 6 weeks, and I'm still not sure it's sunk in!

I am due JULY 1. Sariah was born on July 16. These babies will be almost exactly 2 years apart! Help!

I thought I'd post a few more details to help you better understand what's going on.

When I was 14, I was diagnosed with PCOS, which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. My cysts constantly produce cysts. Most of them are harmless. Over the last few years, I have had 2 pretty significant cysts removed. One was the size of an apple. PCOS is very common among overweight women.

When Jared and I wanted to start a family, I got pregnant almost immediately. However, shortly after I discovered I was pregnant, we lost the baby. For the next 2 years, I tracked my cycle and learned almost everything there was to know about human reproduction and how the female system works. While I was in school, I took a class detailing human reproduction. BEST thing I ever did because it was in that class that I figured out what was going on. (For details on how I figured this out, see the bottom of the post).

I wasn't making enough progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that allows a fertilized egg to implant. Without enough of it, there won't be a pregnancy. You can still have a fertilized egg, but it will not implant.

I talked to my OB/GYN and she said she couldn't help me in this area - I needed to see a fertility specialist. We did. I have to admit, he was pretty impressed that I had diagnosed my own fertility problem! I started some progesterone boosters and was pregnant within a couple months. Sariah!

Now it's this summer. I have made a commitment to lose weight before I get pregnant again. We were going to THINK about having another baby and start the progesterone boosters in the spring. This would give me almost a good year to lose weight. Thankfully, I am a healthy person. No high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes...nothing typically associated with being overweight. I wanted to keep it that way. I started to lose...and kept track on my blog for all the world to see. I lost almost 25 pounds! Weight Watchers says that losing 10% of your body weight gives you almost all of the health benefits of losing all your weight. 25 pounds was way more than my 10%, but little did I know what kind of benefits it was already starting to have!

I haven't been on birth control for about 4 1/2 years...even when I WAS keeping track of my cycle, I couldn't get pregnant.

Lo and behold, losing 25 pounds was enough for my body to kick in and start regulating the hormones on its own. At least enough for me to get pregnant. All of those thoughts I posted yesterday was EXACTLY what was going through my mind the day I found out. I really could not believe it. I didn't want to get my hopes up that I was actually pregnant, so I kept thinking there really wasn't a 2nd pink line.

As soon as I found out, I raced to the fert doc to check my hormone levels. All looked good. They did ultrasounds every week to make sure things were progressing as they should, and checking my hormones weekly.

Then one week, my levels had dropped significantly. Had they dropped one point lower, I would have had a miscarriage. I went back in that afternoon for a booster, and the fert doc put me on a progesterone supplement (pill form). I now go every 2 weeks, get an ultrasound, and get my blood drawn.

When I hit 12 weeks, I can be turned back over to my regular OB/GYN. I love her. She is amazing, and I just love her. However, when I go, I'm going to ask her about her thoughts on a midwife. I know she'll be honest and won't be offended.

When I had Sariah, my doctor was part of a large practice. Now, she's on her own.

My labor and delivery with Sariah was quick and everything went really smooth - but the doctor on call did things that I didn't think were necessary. She gave me an episiotomy before Sariah was even crowning and before she really knew I needed it. When I was ready to push, the nurse didn't want to check me because I'd only been in labor for 5 hours and didn't think I could be complete that quick with my 1st baby. Thankfully, the doctor walked in right after that, checked me, and Sariah was born 3 pushes later. I didn't like being confined to the bed, laying on my back, with a needle in my arm.

On the other hand...there's a brand new women's center in the hospital with birthing tubs and new nurses that specialize in natural birth. Maybe now that my doctor's on her own, it will be different. It's a tough decision and I'm still working on it. Any thoughts?

I feel GREAT. I am so sorry to all of those who are reading this that are sick through their pregnancies. I don't get sick. I get tired, and a little queasy at night...but I generally feel great through my whole pregnancy. I look forward to being pregnant, feeling this baby move, and finding out if it's a boy or a girl.

So this is really long! You asked for details, Amy! =)

I'm not going to post bare-belly pictures. I am a woman who has stretch marks. I don't care that I have them...Jared doesn't care that I have them. However, I want us to be the only 2 people who see them. I will post pictures of me as I'm growing, but they won't be of a bare belly! (I did put on my jeans a week ago and couldn't get them anywhere near closed. I cried.)

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ummmm.....



Is that a 2nd pink line?


It can't be a 2nd pink line.


So what if I'm 2 days late? So what if I'm NEVER late?


It took us 3 years to get Sariah (we needed a little hormone help).


I can't get pregnant on my own...I know that.


We weren't even trying. I wasn't tracking my cycle...but we weren't exactly being careful.


But it doesn't matter because that's not a 2nd pink line.


It's not as dark or as bold as the "test line."


It's not as wide as the "test line."


It's fuzzy, and the "test line" isn't.


But it doesn't matter because that's not a 2nd pink line.


JARED: Amber, you mean that 2nd pink line that I can CLEARLY see? I think you're pregnant.


No I'm not because I can't get pregnant on my own.


Just to be sure, I'll take another test in the morning with fresh pee.




Still no REAL 2nd pink line. If I was pregnant, you'd see a CLEAR pink line...not this fuzzy, faint wanna be.


Just to be sure, I'll take another test later this morning with a DIGITAL pregnancy test. The word(s) "pregnant" or "not pregnant" will be hard to argue with!



Umm...I guess that was a 2nd pink line.


*** Doesn't matter that I spent 5 years of college studying biology, and almost 2 entire years studying the human body. I taught human anatomy to college-bound high school students who challenged my ever wit with their amazing questions. We spent 2 months on sex ed and reproduction alone. I should know that even if there's a HINT of a 2nd pink line, that I'm pregnant. Can we say DENIAL? ***


Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving "Wilkes" Style!

My family usually doesn't do any holiday "traditionally."

We didn't have the Easter bunny growing up - we had the Easter pig (a javelina that made its way into our backyard one Easter and ate all the hidden eggs).

While I was a tweenager and a teenager, we fed Christmas dinner to the homeless on Christmas day - foregoing our morning of sleeping in and opening presents.

Thanksgiving is no exception! We don't cook turkies in the oven. We cook them in our PIT!

What is a PIT? It's a brick-lined hole in the ground that cooks the meat overnight. Here's the steps.

STEP 1: Mom starts the fire at noon on Wednesday. This is a TREACHEROUS job involving gasoline, an empty milk carton, matches, newspaper, and lots of wood.


STEP 2: Mix the spices. Each turkey/slab of meet is doused in spices. What's in the spices? Only my dad knows!


STEP3: Jared makes the beans (a combo of beans, raw bacon that cooks in the pit, and white onion).


STEP 4: Load up the turkeys/slabs of meat on the table, ready for the assembly line preparation.
The line goes like this:
a. unwrap the bird
b. spice the bird
c. replace the bird back in its aluminum pan
d. double bag the bird in muslin sacks
e. tie a wire around the neck of the bags
f. attach a metal tag with a number on it (how we keep track of who's turkey is who's)
g. place on pallet awaiting fire


STEP 5: Stack the "packages" on a pallet. This year, we put close to 40 "packages" of meat in the pit.


STEP 6: We don't put the sacks right on the fire (for obvious reasons). First, they're soaked in water. Next, a couple of metal plates are lowered on to a lip on the inside of the pit. This cuts out the oxygen and forces the fire to burn down to coals. In the following steps, you'll see how the heat is kept in to do the cooking. In this picture, you can see the huge hooks used to pick up the metal plates and lower them into the pit.


STEP 7: The "packages" are carefully lowered, by hand, on to the metal plates. They're kept flat because as they cook, they secrete yummy juices. You want to keep these juices in the pan...they make amazing gravy!


STEP 8: Put wood planks on top of the pit (no picture!).

STEP 9: Lay a tarp on top of the wood planks (you'll see why in a sec).


STEP 10: Cover the entire area with dirt (hence the need for the tarp - this keeps dirt from getting down in the pit, and into the meat). The dirt is then sprayed with water to make a "seal." No heat escapes!



STEP 11: Cook the meat overnight. Essentially, you have a giant crock pot that is cooking the meat via steaming. There's mequite wood in the bottom, so you have mesquite-smoked, home-spiced meat that falls right off the bone. It is AMAZING and we love doing it every year!

STEP 12: Watch helplessly as your 16 month old finds a giant puddle to play in. Once she found the puddle, she immediately dropped to her knees and started splashing. It was a lot cause.



We sure missed all our family that wasn't with us, and we commented several times about how it just wasn't complete with them all here.

I hope everyone else had as nice of a Thanksgiving! We sure are blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How Can You Not?

A lot of you have been following Nie Nie.

Waiting.

Watching her sister's blog, C Jane, for updates on how Nie Nie and Mr. Nielsen are doing.

Praying.

Hoping.

Fasting.

Today, Mr. Nielsen sends his heartfelt thanks.

Go HERE to watch it.

How can you not be touched?

How can you not cry?

How can you not be thankful for everything the Lord has given you?

How can you not donate to their recovery fund (millions of dollars)?

How can you not have a greater testimony of the divine healing power, of prayer, and of family?

It doesn't help that the song in the background is my favorite...

What touches me the most is the way their family has pulled together. Sisters lovingly and without hesitation took in Nie Nie's 4 children, love them, send them to school, and try to make life as normal for them as possible.

I know my family would do the same for Jared and I, and I would do it for them. Because that's what families do.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight

What can I say about Twilight?



I LOVED it.

Was it cheesy? Of course.

Was the music a little strange? Yup.

Were the actors and actresses a little too pasty white? Uh huh.

But I still loved it.

My favorite character in the movie was Alice...maybe I just envied her short hair.


I even loved the character that played James - very creepy.


I ADORED Charlie. A cute, bumbling dad of a teenage daughter who's not really sure what to do. Simply adorable.


I didn't really like Bella, but maybe she'll grow on me.


Rosalie was hot (of course).


My favorite character in the series of books was Jacob. A very complex individual who is torn between so many things! We don't get much of him in the first book, and he didn't become my favorite until the 2nd book. However, I HATED his character in the movie - I'm even pretty sure he wasn't native american.



My favorite scene was when Bella and Jacob were up in the tree, overlooking the river and the forest. Breath Taking.

It was very enjoyable, and I easily sat through it. If you enjoyed the book, you need to see the movie. Yes, it's worth it to see in the theater!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Prankster

We have a prankster in our neighborhood! At least it's not a vandalizer.
Pumpkins are a fall decoration, I think...not just a Halloween decoration. We leave our uncarved pumpkins outside until Thanksgiving is over - yes, they do last that long.

One morning, I drove out of the garage. As I was leaving, I noticed our pumpkins weren't in their usual spots.

They were here...right in front of our garage door.



Thank goodness I didn't run over them!



Then, Saturday morning, we noticed that someone had sliced our pumpkins...



And GUTTED them!



Maybe our friendly pranksters will carve them for us next!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daddy and His Girl

I love my spouse for many reasons.

The one I'm thinking of this evening is how he tends to our daughter.

Today, he came home...tired...no - exhausted...back thrown out the day before yesterday...

And STILL.

He took our precious wee one outside to play (by rolling rocks down the slide - her favorite)...


So I could cook us a home-cooked family dinner.

It was only cantaloupe, salad, and grilled cheese with avocado.


He was just grateful to have a warm meal cooked by his spouse (me).

Yet another reason why I adore my husband - he loves my cooking.