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It's not Christmas I'm worried about

20 December 2011
Sparrow will be four years old next month.  FOUR.  Terrifying.

When he turns five, we are planning a family vacation to Disneyland.  My parents have a timeshare they've reserved, my grandma will be coming along, and Sparrow should be just tall enough to go on all of the rides (or at least the majority.)

I went to Disneyland for the first time when I was a newly-minted four year old and I still remember it.  Mostly I remember that Peter Pan promised to teach me how to fly. He did not.

Anyway, Sparrow is very excited about this upcoming adventure.  He talks about it often - "when I turn five, I will go to Disneyland!"  But I am worried that he will be sorely disappointed on his birthday this year, since I'm not sure how well he grasps the concept that he still has to wait a year to visit Disney.

So I am debating about whether or not to throw him a little birthday party.  On the one hand, children frighten me and I am no good with stress.  On the other hand, he would love to have a party with his friends.

The debate rages on.  At least I know what I'm getting for his birthday this year!

There is money; spend it, spend it.

16 December 2011
I don't know about you, but one of my goals for 2012 is to save money. This year, Hawk and I eliminated a few of our debts, but I want to get rid of ALL of them. I also want to save money for a trip to Disneyland that we promised Sparrow for his 5th birthday.

So when I discovered the 2012 Family Guide to Groceries for Under $250 a Month, I almost had a heart attack. I am so on that bandwagon. I have a couple of good friends who are crazy couponers and I am going to beg to become their pupil so that I can be an awesome coupon ninja too.

What are your best methods for saving money while kicking debt in the pants?


Visit Budget101.com

Santa pictures by Fotofly

08 December 2011
There's a company in Utah (based in Draper) called Fotofly. In June I was desperate to get Sparrow's pictures done. For his first year of life I did pictures every 3 months, with mixed results. I hate paying per sheet, not being able to buy a CD with the images on them, and not being able to run my pictures off without a copyright release (which will run you up to $300 at some major photography chains.) After Sparrow turned 1, I started doing pictures every 6 months. Except last June I had totally spaced pictures at all, so they ended up being his 3 year old ones.

We went to Kiddie Kandids first and the pictures turned out all right, but not great. You couldn't see Sparrow's devilishly angelic personality shining through, and honestly, Major Chain Photographers can almost NEVER get good pictures of Sparrow because he does not smile on command, or respond with smiles to funny things. Or look at the camera.

Enter Fotofly. This tiny company takes incredible pictures. For $79, you get a CD with the photography release form so you can get your pictures developed anywhere. But, Fotofly only charges $4 a sheet. This is an insane deal, especially if you are doing group photos (no sitting fees or per-person add ons.) Plus the pictures they take are just phenomenal. These pictures I got of Sparrow are my favorite ever. I mean, LOOK at this:

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I love that you can see his beautiful smile, beautiful eyes, and beautiful hair ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It's like a miracle.

We are going back to their studio as a family next month to get family portraits done - actually our appointment is on Sparrow's 4th birthday! I am so excited. Even though Hawk and I are not thin, dead sexy people, Fotofly has some sort of photographical magic that makes even us look great!

So anyway, Fotofly has started doing pictures this month with Santa. You can dress up as Santa and get your photo taken with your child (the photo doesn't show your face, so it looks like a Real Santa.) Visual aid:

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If you're uncomfortable with dressing up, they also have the Real Santa sitting in the tent standing by for pictures. So last week Sparrow and I went and I dressed up, and then yesterday Hawk, Sparrow and I went back and did our Christmas photos with Real Santa. It was $20 and these pictures, I just love them.

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Fotofly is an amazing company. The owner is a very sweet guy and everyone we have encountered does everything they can to make your experience a great one. I highly encourage you to check them out. Trust me, it's worth a longish trip. For the Fotofly experience, I would gladly drive an hour, hour and a half, easy. Absolutely worth every penny and every mile. Fotofly has earned our business for life!

Disclaimer: I was not paid or offered any compensation for writing this post. I just love Fotofly that much.

Five Year Anniversary

06 December 2011
My husband is awesome
My husband is good
He lets me buy clothes
And feeds me good food

He makes phone calls for me
He puts up with my quirks
He drives me to doctors
And never calls me a jerk

He lets me make off
With most of his cash
But he still doesn't say
I'm a pain in the ash

He takes care of Sparrow
He cleans the litter box
He does not get mad
When I forget to wash his socks

He is handsome and strong
Brave, wise and true
And he never threatens
To lock me up in the zoo

He gives the best kisses
The best loves, tickles and hugs
He does not mind
When I make him smash bugs

We've been wed for five years
Five years ago today
And still he is beside me
He has not gone away

He is a great father
He is a great dad
But he is the BEST husband
And for that I am glad

From the tip of my head
From down deep in my gut
Husband I'll love you
Always and forever - No matter what.

My first car accident - I did it wrong.

02 December 2011
Today I dropped Sparrow off at my mom's house and picked Hawk up from work. We were headed to Hawk's work holiday party in Salt Lake. As we drove on the freeway, traffic stalled out just ahead of us. Hawk stopped in time.

The car behind us did not.

The car behind them did not.

The car behind them did not.

The first hit, obviously, was the hardest. Hawk and I both jolted forward and I thought for sure our airbags were going to deploy (they did not.) I heard the squeal of tires behind us and I knew - and then, SLAM. It really makes a noise just like that. I was looking right at Hawk when it happened and his head and neck snapped forward just as mine did. Our car inched slowly toward the car in front of us with each successive hit. Hawk slammed his foot down hard on the brake and I threw our car into "park," grabbing for the parking brake as well. As the second and third car jolts hit, our car got even closer to the one in front of us, but thank goodness, we did not connect.

We took just a moment to breathe and assess. Then I turned around to look at the car behind us.

It seemed there was a huge gap between the car that hit us and, well, us. Like several feet of gap, enough for another car to fit in there. Did the car right behind us hit and drive away? I think this is the most likely explanation, because no way did 3 cars hit us and we go that far forward. In fact, I distinctly remember grabbing the memo pad I keep in my glove box and turning around to get the first car's license plate number, because I was worried he might drive away. That's why I noticed the gap. Odd.

There is a brand new law in Utah that if you are in a fender bender on the freeway, you must get off at the next exit and wait for police help there. You cannot pull off to the shoulders any more. I told Hawk about this and he started off toward the next exit, but when I looked back after a moment, no one else from that lane was moving. So we pulled off onto the shoulder and waited, but by that point we had made it far enough that it was hard to see where we had been. It was also very dark at this point.

I got out of the car and checked the back. Miraculously, there was no visible damage. None. I couldn't believe it. There may be a few chips to the paint, and there may be damage that we can't see, but right now I would like to publicly thank Toyota for making their cars out of AWESOME and not using cheap-o plastic bumpers.

We waited on the shoulder for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do. We couldn't see anyone else pulling off. It looked like traffic was slowed at that area, but we couldn't really tell, and if it was, how were we supposed to get back there? Back up on the freeway? Get off the freeway and circle back around to it? I realize now that we should have just waited there instead of starting to exit, but the new law was fresh in my mind and I was scared.

And I really think that the car that hit us first had driven off immediately after the accident, when we were breathing and checking to make sure our lives were still intact.

And we didn't hit the car in front of us, and there was no damage to our car, so...

We drove off (and made it to the work party on time, no less. Though I had Hawk take me home halfway through.)

I am terrified that we did the wrong thing. I know we did the wrong thing, and now it cannot be fixed, and I am scared. I'm scared because my head, neck and back are killing me and Hawk's back is bothering him. I'm scared because Sparrow very easily could have been in that car with us, and who knows how this would have affected him. I'm scared because every time Hawk has a work party, I get injured (last year we went ice skating and I got a concussion.) I'm worried for the people behind us that were sandwiched in there. I'm worried because I really don't know exactly what happened, and I have been thinking weirdly all evening. I just don't even know what to do. Except I'm not going to write about it any more, because I'm shaking too hard to type now.

So that was my first car accident. And I did everything all wrong. And I blame the stupid new law because I was too scared and fixated on getting off the freeway to stop and figure out what to do.

Deseret News linked to me!

29 November 2011
I just about peed my pants the other day. I checked my blog stats just for fun. I usually get about 5 hits a day at max - but last week the traffic went up to 5,000 hits in a day.

"HOLY CRAP," I yelled. Hawk had a mild heart attack, as we had previously been sitting quietly on the couch doing our novel writing.

Where did all those hits come from? Well, Blogger has this fantastic thing that TELLS you. Shock! So I clicked on the little incoming link and BAM. A 3 year old recites Articles of Faith and Elder Christofferson visits Argentina.

Did you see that? My little Sparrow just shared a headline with Elder Christofferson (an Apostle/leader in the LDS Church.)

Holy cannoli.

I told my grandma, who is technologically challenged, that Sparrow was "famous on the Internet!" So now Sparrow is running around saying "I'm famous on the Internet!" And I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty cute. And cool.

So thanks, Emily Jensen, for writing about Sparrow Toby and making my week - heck, my whole month! Wow!

Thankful List

24 November 2011
25 Things I Am Thankful For:
  1. Indoor plumbing.
  2. This is the first Thanksgiving in 3 years I haven't been in pain - yay hysterectomy!
  3. Hawk, who puts up with all my crap through thick and thin.
  4. My wonderful grandma.
  5. My practically perfect in every way mother.
  6. That I have been able to get to know my dad's side of the family.
  7. My brothers and sisters.
  8. Pie.
  9. My ability to read and write.
  10. Medicine.
  11. My best friends, Owly and Dove, who also put up with me through thick and thin.
  12. My cats - if nothing else, they are good entertainment.
  13. My Church family.
  14. The gospel.
  15. Music and a family who loves it.
  16. Air conditioning and heat.
  17. The Internet and all I learn from the people on it.
  18. My memories of England.
  19. Sparrow - although is a challenge, he is a wonderful little boy and a great example and motivator for me to do what is right.
  20. Hawk's amazing job and all the opportunities that lie ahead of us because of it.
  21. Health insurance.
  22. My Savior.
  23. That my family are all relatively healthy.
  24. Indoor plumbing again. Seriously.
  25. My home, my body, my life. And also, pie.

A Shark Story, by Sparrow

22 November 2011
Editors note: This child amuses me every day. "Sharks like chocolate chip and sprinkle cookies, and M&M cookies. They can eat pancakes all day. They are so so very tasty. Sharks taste some skunks. Sharks break your bed. And they break your sunglasses off. Sharks don't like sunglasses. Sharks don't like blankets and they don't want to sleep in the beds. They were touching the fireplace and they burned their tail! And they break the blinds and they push the other kids and they pushed you. Then the sharks ranned away! Wow! The sharks were pretend. They were pretend. Sharks like waterbottles. They drink it all day. They keep drinking it all gone and they ate it and then it went down to their tummy. They are so delicious. And they eat crackers. And they eat chips, and they eat spicy cheese. And good cheese, and potatoes, and broccoli trees. They ate it all up. And they were hunting for cheese sauce. They were cooking it. The little tiny wee sharks want to watch Phineas and Ferb. No, they don't like Phineas and Ferb. Maybe they can watch Balto, or Clifford. You're a nice mommy."

The Articles of Faith as told by a 3 year old.

11 November 2011
Sparrow has a ridiculous memory. We tell him a story once, and he knows it for life. He could walk to my grandma's house, which we visit about once a month because it's 75 miles away. In fact, the other day we were driving there and I took a different way than I usually use. He FREAKED out. "Mommy, TURN LEFT. YOU DID NOT TURN LEFT. MOMMY GO BACK AND TURN LEFT." Holy cow.

My point is, since he has such a great memory, why not have him learn things that are actually important and not just... well... lame? I'm all for fairy tales, but really, what life value does The Itsy Bitsy Spider or Little Miss Muffet have? None. (And before anyone freaks out, we do tell him Aesop's Fables as bedtime stories, since those actually have a point.)

So earlier this year, I started teaching Sparrow The Articles of Faith. These are 13 short, short tenets penned by Joseph Smith Jr. about what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes. To learn more about them, visit Mormon.org or this page has the actual Articles of Faith all listed out. It'll only take a second to read them.

Sparrow is so cute when he recites them that I decided to record him and put him on YouTube. He truly is already a little missionary, because he has taught and inspired me so much. I am so proud of him. We have Articles 1-6 and then 8 on YouTube and will upload the rest as soon as he learns them (I forgot to have him do #7 while we were recording, oops!) Number 4 is the longest, and I am really impressed that he has it down so well. If you only watch one, watch the sixth one. I just can't stand how cute it is.

This one is my favorite. He's just so stinkin' cute!

Quarter of a century

06 November 2011
Happy birthday to me! I am now 25. That seems very old.

022 There was cake. It was lemon flavored.

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Birthday: Success! I think I'll do this birthday thing every year. Maybe not the aging part though.

National Novel Writing Month

02 November 2011
The time has come again. It is November, which means it is National Novel Writing Month.

I am indebted to the people at Chris Baty and The Office of Letters and Light for inventing this fantastic ... thing. And especially for sticking it in the month of November. Because the more focused I am on writing a novel, the less time I have to moan and groan about my upcoming birthday. Before I know it, November 6th has passed and I am a year older, but I am unable to whine about it because I'm in the throes of writer's block. Awesome.

I have only attempted NaNoWriMo three times. Once in 2004, when I kicked noveling BUTT; last year, when I killed myself to finish the stupid thing and I did, but I hate the story and I will never look at it again so long as I live, and this year. Thus far, this is shaping up to be a lot like last year. I'm already behind on my word count and it's only day two. And obviously I am looking for any distraction I can find to avoid staring at the crap on my word processor.

I like my story idea for this year. I just wish it was easy to barf out onto the page. Remind me to write someday about how fixing my mental illnesses killed my creativity. It's worth the sacrifice, but it still sucks.

November 6th. Quarter of a century. Gulp. Let's not think about it - back to noveling!

Autism or not-autism, that is the question.

27 October 2011
Today Hawk, Sparrow and I went to the Children's Center of Utah for the second time. We had an appointment earlier this month and went in for an hour, given some paperwork and told to come back today for a diagnosis.

Sparrow has always been a difficult child. Even in utero. As a baby, he was often very fussy. Swaddling him very tightly helped sometimes, but not every time. He was fascinated by ceiling fans - weirdly fascinated. He has always been a little behind developmentally, which I put down to his premature birth, but he's mostly caught up now. And yet, he still seems behind in many ways. Socially, especially. He does not pick up on social cues. He can't follow a conversation very well - he gives lots of non sequiturs and often just spits out scenes from movies (he memorizes things very quickly, but then never stops repeating it.) I couldn't ask him a question and get an answer until May of this year. He'd just repeat the question back to me. He's extremely sensitive to loud noises - vacuums, blenders, lawnmowers, public toilets... He has to line up his cars Just So and if you move one of them he gets upset. Interrupting his routine, or not doing something the way he expects it to be done, upsets him - sometimes to the point where he's inconsolable. He does funny movements with his hands and flaps his arms sometimes. He only makes eye contact about half the time.

So I wasn't surprised when the psychologist showed us that he met all the criteria for autism. I was surprised when she said he did not score for ADHD. She gave him a diagnosis of "pervasive developmental disorder," stating that she couldn't really diagnose him with autism because he's too young. Which I kind of think is total crap.

I know he has quirks. I agree that he's somewhere on the spectrum. But even if it is autism, it's pretty high functioning autism. And I know that they can diagnosis children with it, so why not give us a straight answer?

We weren't given much else to go on. The psychologist told us to try and enroll him in the preschool at the Children's Center, and gave us the number of an occupational therapist to help with his sensitivity to noises. That was about it. I find myself a little irritated - I would have liked more support, ideas, ways to not kill him, etc. And I honestly don't really trust this psychologist who has only met Sparrow twice, for a grand total of an hour and twenty minutes.

So we'll be getting a second opinion with my family doctor, who has seen Sparrow grow up and knows him pretty well. I have decided to quit our pediatrician because every time I call them I'm on hold for 15-20 minutes and can't get an appointment for 2-5 months from the date I call. That's ridiculous.

It's hard. I wish Sparrow was a normal child. Sometimes I don't know how I am possibly going to survive the next 15 minutes, let alone the next 15 years. I love him and he's adorable and brilliant, but he is a hard child to take care of. And sometimes he's a hard child to love. I don't know. I guess we'll just keep on keepin' on, for as long as we can.

Where's a good Doctor when you need one?

25 October 2011
Earlier I was driving around with Sparrow in the backseat. In his 3 years, 9 months and 27 days on this planet I have gotten pretty good at tuning him out. You know, when he's just yappin' to hear himself talk. He does that a lot. I'm starting to feel uncomfortably like someone could draw a comparison to this blog. Moving on.

This is an approximation of what most car trips look like.

And I thought to myself, "Self, remember that time in 8th grade when you totally stalked that cute kid? And how if you ever met him again you'd drop dead of embarrassment?" (True story: I was that scary nerdy stalker girl.) "And would it not be awesome if you could go back and change that whole era of your life? Or, instead of making hugely ginormous changes, just make little ones? Like, instead of getting cats, getting a plant instead? Because plants, you know, don't claw you or harass you in the middle of the night when they want fresh water and you have deigned to turn off their faucet in order to save on your water bill."

And then, because I am logical and I know these things, I decided that obviously, time machines are not going to work out. At least not before I turn 25 (a number that frightens me somewhat, and is looming. Looming, I tell you.) So then I decided that when I die, I'm going to ask very nicely if it would be okay if I could see what my life would have turned out like had I not made some dumb decisions. Let's pretend that maybe I didn't listen to the naysayers and I went to medical school - yeah, maybe I'd have failed or dropped out halfway through the first semester, but at least I'd have tried. At least I'd know, "yep, definitely DO NOT want to be a doctor. Maybe I'll try horticulture." Or let's pretend that I served a mission before I got married - where would I have gone? And how cool would I have been? Or, hey, what if I had practiced the piano when I was 8? Would I be a virtuoso by now instead of just barely squeaking through the hymnbook?

What would my life be like had I not wasted 6 years of my life obsessing over LOST? (Just kidding - I gave up obsessing after season 2.) Or what if I had discovered Star Wars earlier? (Small miracles - if that had happened, I'd be an Unspeakable Dork.) Or what if I ... ?

Moral of this story: I really, really, really, really want a time machine. TARDIS optional. Also, I need to quit wasting time on the Internet, especially the "creative" Internet. Because when I turn 50... if I turn 50...I don't want to add "what if I had turned off the computer/Netflix for a while and actually learned/did something?"

I wonder, if I turn 50, will I still be blogging at 3 in the morning? Or do you think I will be able to sleep by then? Maybe that's something I could add to my list of Things To Go Back And Change.

Edit:

I have just discovered a sort of time machine. It's called, The Internet. And Blogging. And basically I just re-discovered this video, which may have had me in hysterical laughter, and it is awesome. And the laughter may or may not be due to the fact that it's nearly 4 a.m. and I am still not asleep.

2 year old Sparrow with laryngitis recites "The Three Little Pigs."

A new family member

20 October 2011
Today we added a new member to our family.

Meet Winslow:

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I'm pretty sure I'll be cursing his name in the weeks to come, but today we are on good terms. I met Winslow at Sears while my grandma was looking at recumbent bikes. Since Winslow was a floor model, he was on sale for $80. I also got the Sears Protection Plan for an additional $15, which means that Sears will fix anything that breaks in the next year and also send me some parts that were missing (like the back of the battery compartment, and the shoe strap things for the pedals) for free. I am pleased with this deal. It is my hope that Winslow will give me the kick in the pants I have been needing, especially since soon it will be easy to skip exercising outside with the snow.

I got a hair cut the other day. I was hoping that it would magically transform me into this:

but instead I look like this: Photobucket

Which is okay I guess.

Here is Sparrow in his new bear jacket.

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It snowed on the 6th, but has been very nice weather ever since then. Thank you, Mother Nature!

I took 2 of my brothers to Lagoon on Saturday. We had an absolute blast. It has been so fun to get to know them - only recently have we started getting close, because when we first met 5 years ago they lived 3 hours away, then I moved to Arkansas, and they moved to Idaho, and finally they moved to a city about 30 miles from my house. The one in the tan hat is the one who recently received his mission call to Perth, Australia. Also, all 3 of us are totally blind and have to wear glasses. And aren't these boys handsome? And they are the politest young men you have ever met, too. I am consistently impressed by how awesome, well rounded and brilliant they are. And also a little weirded out by their geniusness. But mostly impressed.

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And that's all I got for today.

Family Shrubbery

14 October 2011
Oh wise people of the Internets, I come to you with a question.

Let's pretend that you are making a family tree. A very small family tree that only goes back 3 generations. Something like this:

Or exactly like that.

Now let's pretend that your biological father was not married to your mother, and you didn't meet the man until you were 19 years old. Your mom raised you alone until you were 4, and then she married your dad, who formally adopted you (and was sealed to you in the LDS temple.)

But in the last 5 years, you have grown closer to your biological father than you ever were to your adoptive father. And consider that your biological grandparents (who, again, you have only known for 5 years) have been more supportive and amazing and...grandparent-like than your adoptive grandparents, who basically shunned you because you were technically illegitimate and also not of their race and who knows whatever other reasons they had.

So. You only have space for one male parent. You love and respect both of them, but your relationship is somewhat strained with both of them. Which one do you put on your tree? Or do you give up on the tree idea and go ahead and design a family shrubbery to display? Because I'm starting to lean towards that.

In other news, my brother was just called to the Perth, Australia LDS mission. He reports to the Missionary Training Center on February 29, 2012. I am so proud of him, and incredibly excited for him!

We're alive

07 October 2011
Well, Sparrow's appointment was today.  We are still without answers, and likely will be until our next appointment on the 27th.  Overall, I was not impressed.  We will give this place one more chance before I go all crazy frustrated Mommy on their butts.

I had my gallbladder removed on Monday.  I was not expecting to wake up in that much pain.  I woke up crying and feeling like I was going to vomit.  The day was very stressful as I have a high pain medication tolerance, and so none of the drugs they gave me worked.  I have been struggling with the pain over this week as well.  But hopefully today was the turning point and I will feel better now.  The hysterectomy was much easier than the gallbladder removal, but I am glad I got them both taken care of.


Meanwhile, here is what my tummy looks like.  Pretty awesome, huh?

A plea for prayers

28 September 2011
Ladies and gentlemen of the Internets, I come to you today begging for your prayers, your good vibes, your karmatic waves, your universal happy thoughts of support.

Sparrow has been getting progressively worse in his behavior and nothing Hawk and I do is making even the slightest impression on this child.  Were it not for the intervention of my local hospital yesterday, Hawk might have been the one posting this, only instead of a plea for prayers it would have been a plea for donations for my funeral. 

We have an appointment on October 7th with a child-therapy group, and I know if we can just make it there it will be okay.  We may have work ahead of us, we may have scariness ahead of us, but at least the uncertainty that plagues us daily will be gone.  Every day we question ourselves - what are we doing wrong?  What if there's nothing "wrong" with him and he's a normal child and we're just losers?  What why what?

There's something quirky in my cute little son's head.  I don't know what it is.  I suspect many things - oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, a cozy Sparrow spot on the autism spectrum, even Asperger's.  We need help.  We need help with this horrible child who has been a challenge since he was conceived.

So pray that we all survive till October 7th because seriously, Hawk and I are at the end of our collective rope. 

(P.S. Sparrow got kicked out of his preschool yesterday.  So while that solves some of my parental guilt/dilemmas over him being in there, it also makes it ten times harder - "why is he doing this? what have I done wrong?"  Boy, I sure can't wait till he's a teenager.)

Picture Essay

15 September 2011

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This became

2006

And this became
 
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2005

And then...

HPIM0783
2008 - Four Generations

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2009

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2010

irvins2Ah, family.  2009

IMG_00442010

P1000385 Don't forget the fur babies.

DSC01877 2010 - Three Generations

DSC02781 And friends are the family you choose.

DSC00302
I love you, Mom.

DSC00289 My two favorite role models.

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Here's to an eternity driving my family insane. 










Celebrate Family!

06 September 2011
I gotta tell ya, I've been having a rough time lately. It seems like no matter what I do (or don't do), there's never enough time to spend with my family. Does that sound totally lame? I admit, it sounds weird to me. And a little off-character, since I think I've spent the last 3 years moping that I don't get enough time to myself. But a couple of weeks ago Hawk and I took Sparrow to Lagoon, a theme park here in Utah, and I had so much fun spending the day with them and playing... I've been trying to recreate that, with varying levels of success.


Booyah
Are we not awesome?  Say yes, them be real guns!



We're far from perfect. Sparrow has a goal to drive me as crazy as he possibly can, every single day. Hawk suffers from Selective Sight Syndrome, which has also spread to his ears. I actually am perfect, but I don't like to rub it in. I never yell, my house is spotless all the time, I cook 5-course gourmet dinners that are perfectly balanced and have no calories. I'm surprised Sparrow and Hawk can even handle how perfect I am.

Oh my boys. They put up with me so well.

Last year a couple of my favorite bloggers had a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Proclamation to the World: The Family document. It was pretty much the most amazing thing to hit the blogosphere. This year, Jocelyn and Montserrat are upping the ante on their awesomeness and hosting another celebration on the family. It starts this Friday and we're gonna party like it's 1999. Oh yeah. There's gonna be blog hops, crafts, teaching ideas, prizes, snacks, and ceramic unicorns! Okay maybe not those last two.

Are you in? I am so in. Prepare yourself for lots of ooey gooey gross family love (no not that kind) comin' up, September 9th-23rd. Let's celebrate the awesomeness that is family.

For more information, check out this post at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, or this one at Chocolate on my Cranium.

Let us party on!

Picture party.

02 September 2011
The other day, I finished a project.

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I made this shadowbox out of Sparrow's baby junk :) Sparrow was born 7 weeks early via emergency C-section and immediately delivered to an NICU in a different hospital. The two photographs are the only glimpse of my baby I had till he was 3 days old and I was released from my hospital. There is his teeny tiny hospital bracelet, along with the ID tag that was on his incubator at the NICU and a preemie diaper I saved to remember how small his little butt was. The heart is a Valentine that the NICU nurses made and taped to his incubator (Sparrow was released from the hospital 3 weeks after he was born and came home February 17, 2008.) The outfit is one I saw at Babies R' Us during my Christmas 2007 visit to my family but didn't buy because I was trying NOT to have a preemie. When Sparrow was born I called my grandma and begged her to find the outfit for me. It's hard to believe that when he came home from the hospital wearing the snuggly puppies, it was too big for him!


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Here is Sparrow on his first day of preschool. I had more pictures but I forgot to edit out some hugely identifying info so you'll just have to wait in suspense.

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And here's a frickin' huge spider that was on our porch a few days ago. Scared the crap out of me. Its web was a good 4 feet wide (not an exaggeration.) After psyching myself up for an hour I finally braved up enough, opened the sliding glass door, sprayed it with Raid and stomped the crap out of it as it twitched. I actually felt really bad that I killed it, but sorry little spider, you can't built a web using my son's wagon as a base.

Dear Mommy

26 August 2011
Mommy,

Won't you please update the blog?

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Pretty, pretty please?

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With sugar on top?

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Love,

Sparrow

Conumdrums again.

01 August 2011
All our electronic items broke at the same time. I am displeased. I will be getting a new computer on Wednesday, but I'm not thrilled about shelling out the bucks for it.

My mom thinks Sparrow would be happiest in a preschool. I prayed about enrolling him this year, and got a pretty solid "not yet" answer. But as the time gets nearer for school to start, the less I feel good about that answer. He clearly needs something more than I can give him. And while I like having him home to fill his little mind with geekiness, I'm not exactly a good parent.

No it's okay, I've come to grips with that fact.

So the debate rages on. I have about a week to decide. Nobody ever warned me parenting would be hard in this way. (Guilt over getting rid of him for 5 hours a week. Come on brain, get over it.)

I'm An Addict Again!

22 July 2011
I've spent the last week feeling like I was dying - literally, dying. I'm having discontinuation syndrome from tapering off the Zoloft and starting Effexor. If you thought I was having a hard time in my last post, times those feelings by 3 and then you'll get a general idea of how bad the last week has been.

Today Hawk called my general practitioner's office to add his voice to the whole mess, and let her know how things looked from his point of view. Truly, there have been a few days where I probably should have gone to the emergency room for suicidal ideations, but I didn't because I was afraid that Sparrow would get taken away.

Today my GP prescribed 50 mg of Tramadol for at least 2 months. I don't know if this will be permanent, or if it will just be while my body is adjusting to the Effexor (I know it takes 4-6 weeks for SSRI's to kick in, so I was trying to be brave and suck it up, but oh it's been awful.)

Within a half hour of taking my first dose of Tramadol, I had the energy and motivation to clean. I cleaned my basement, I did the laundry, I organized my craft room, I wrote letters to people I owed letters to, guys - I FUNCTIONED. LIKE A PERSON. I feel a thousand million trillion times better.

I know Sparrow will be happy too - he has his mommy back! And I am so excited to DO things with him. I haven't felt this way in months. I haven't felt excited to play or do activities with him or take him anywhere - and now I am already making plans and feeling excited. I'm looking forward to going to church and playgroup and hanging out with friends this weekend. Hawk and I just talked for 45 minutes about improvements we want to make in our lives - a talk that yesterday I wouldn't have been able to have, because I wouldn't have had the energy, the emotional stability, or even the ability to think clearly enough to articulate my thoughts.

Tramadol is my miracle drug. I am so relieved. I have shed many a tear of gratefulness tonight. I don't care if I have to take this drug for the rest of my life - I'd rather be happy on drugs than being unable to feel or do anything.

Why I Wish I Was Still a Drug Addict.

14 July 2011
In August 2009 I had a tubal ligation after we found out that another pregnancy would kill me (literally.) About a month after that surgery, I found myself in constant pain. I was having constant, sharp, shooting cramps, like menstrual cramps, mostly on my left side but occasionally my right. My OBGYN had no real solution other than exercise (insert eye roll), shots in my stomach (insert squeal of terror) and a prescription painkiller. Ultram, or Tramadol.

Tramadol is more powerful than Ibuprofen, less powerful than Vicodin or other hydrocodone medications. It mimics an opiate, but it's not a true opiate. A few weeks after taking Tramadol daily, I found that my severe social anxiety was gone. I was able to function in normal society, I could go to church without panic attacks, and I could go to the grocery store without breaking down in hysteria on aisle 12.

My general practitioner, who is awesome, was pleased that we'd finally found something that worked with both my depression and anxiety. And thus I found myself with a prescription for Tramadol. I took 2 pills (about 100 mg) in the morning, and then the pain was gone and I was able to function. Well, in December of 2010, I started worrying that I was an addict. A counselor I was seeing was convinced that I was addicted and not happy about it. One day I came down with pneumonia and got a concussion, and since I was miserable anyway, quit the Tramadol cold turkey. It worked, until I mentioned a few weeks later to my GP that I was still having headaches and he told me to go the freak back on the Tramadol. Rats.

Basically, I arranged to have the hysterectomy for two reasons. First, so I wasn't in pain daily, and second, so I could go off the Tramadol forever. The last time I took Tramadol was the day before the surgery. I weaned off slowly.

The last two months have been horrible. I know I'm not detoxing, because the chemicals are out of my system. But I have proven to myself that I still have severe anxiety. I can barely leave my house. I can barely leave my couch. Every single day I wake up miserable and wanting to die. My very social son terrifies me - I stopped taking him to the park and playdates because I knew I would have to talk to people, and I can't. By the time my husband gets home from work, I am shot. It is absolutely miraculous that Sparrow has survived this time, and even more miraculous that I have survived.

Two weeks ago I decided that I really need help. If I have to be on Tramadol every day for in order to function and be a GOOD PERSON, then I will take it every day for the rest of my life. (This is where I don't believe I am addicted - I don't WANT to take this drug, but I will in order to be a good human being and a good parent.) I'm not going to kill my kid, but I hate that I have zero patience for him. I can't do anything but sit around my house and feel awful that I have nothing to offer him. I am not functioning.

One of the worst parts of this story is, my general practitioner has quit the medical business after a near-death experience. I am working with another doctor from his practice, but I doubt I will be prescribed Tramadol again.

So currently I am weaning off an SSRI (Zoloft, which I have been on for 2 years) in order to try Effexor, which binds to brain chemicals differently and may, hopefully, mimic the Tramadol.

Truly, I don't care. I don't care what medications I have to take. I realize that I will likely be on some sort of depression medication for the rest of my life and that doesn't bother me - it is a disease that I have been afflicted with since I was at least eight years old. My childhood and teenagehood were overall miserable because I never got the help I needed and I am determined that my 20s and 30s and on will be better.

I just wish I felt better. I wish I was a better parent without medication. I wish that I felt motivated to do anything other than sit on my couch. My house is a mess, my child is bored, my friends are neglected, I haven't been to church in over a month, all because I just. can't. do. it.

I miss being able to function.

Summer

11 July 2011
Summer is not my favorite time of year. In fact, I hate summer. I hate the heat. I hate the kids everywhere (I know, I know, I am bad.) I hate... mostly I hate the heat. When it's hot, I don't want to do anything. Including blog.

Hawk hooked up an antenna to our TV the other day. My family has been having heart attacks for the last few years over the fact that we don't have TV. We've had TV for 3 days and I am already thinking we should disconnect it. Too much crap over the weekend. And Sparrow is currently watching "Sesame Street" and it is seriously irritating. I don't want my kid acting like Elmo or singing these stupid songs - why would I have him watch this on a daily basis? Yuck.

Finally this horrible show is over. Now it is time for lunch. What will we eat? We are out of finger foods and snacks. I will have to make something. Crap.

Winner woot!

06 July 2011
Photobucket

The winner has been contacted. Pretty suite. Ha ha, I did it again.

If you're totally bummed that you didn't win, panic not. You can always purchase the software (I promise it's worth it.) Visit MyMemories.com and enter STMMMS15116 as a coupon code.

My Memories Suite Review and Giveaway!

26 June 2011
Last month I was contacted by MyMemories.com and asked to download their software and do a review and a giveaway.

I've used a LOT of different photobook creators, so I was eager for this opportunity because I consider myself pretty well versed in digital scrapbooking.

Let me tell you - My Memories Suite blew me away. It's not your typical digital scrapbook creator. Most photobook companies have a few backgrounds and templates for you to use, but not many, and very rarely do they have any fancy embellishments to "cute up" your page. My Memories Suite has everything. They have backgrounds, templates, embellishments from ribbons to brads and everything else, and just about anything else you can think of! You can even use the software to edit your photos. It's not quite as fancy as Photoshop, but it's pretty darn close, and at the teensiest fraction of the cost!

My Memories doesn't just offer digital scrapbooks - you can also create videos, cards, blog layouts... seriously, pretty much anything digitally-scrapbooky you can think of, you can make with this software. Pretty suite, huh? (Ha ha, see what I did there?)

I used to work for a major scrapbooking company and I always envied our customers and our artists for the beautiful scrapbook pages they created. Seriously, they were works of art. I tried my hand at paper scrapbooking but I am artistically challenged. I love that My Memories Suite has so many different options and doo-dads for you to play around with - it makes me feel like a scrapbook artist!

My favorite thing about My Memories Suite is that you can order your photobook straight from them! Upload your pictures, play around and create your pages, and then place your order. It's awesome.

There is a con to my review. I do think the software is a little complex and you really have to mess around with it for a while to get a feel for it. But the awesome thing is, on the My Memories website, there's a blog and a forum for you to visit in case you get totally confused. Someone is always there to help out, which is great.

You know, one thing I am really excited to use this scrapbooking software for is for my grandparents! I have one set of grandparents whose 50th anniversary is this week and I am hoping to get tons of pictures at the celebration, as well as pictures from throughout their lives, and make a book for them. I also want to write my grandma's life history and I think it would be neat to add pictures from throughout her life in the book.

I am proud to offer my first real live giveaway! One lucky contestant will receive their very own download of the My Memories Suite program! To enter, visit the MyMemories.com website and then tell me what your favorite digital scrapbooking kit is in the comments. I'm loving this one as it's just the right amount of boyish and cute for Sparrow.

You can earn extra entries by:
  • Blogging, tweeting, or Facebook-ing this giveaway.
  • Follow the MyMemories blog and/or Twitter, or Like them on Facebook.


Be sure to leave a comment for any extra entry options you do - if you blog or tweet about the giveaway, share your link/twitter name in the comments too!

This giveaway will close on Wednesday at 11 p.m. MDT. Good luck! Be sure to check back on Thursday, as I'll have the winner but also a special offer for everyone. Whee!

Yikes

19 June 2011
I can't believe it's been so long since I blogged. It kind of got to be one of those things where you remember you have to do something, then put it off for later, and then later comes, and you think "yikes, I really gotta take care of that!" and then like 12 years later you finally get around to it... sheesh!

In my defense, it's been a crazy and kind of rough month. Sparrow had a hard time readjusting to "real life" after living with Nana and his great-grandma for a week. I had a hard time learning how to parent again! We are just barely getting back into a real routine. For a while I was hanging in there by the skin of my teeth!

My recovery from the hysterectomy is going well. I took Sparrow to the zoo on June 6th and that was a very stupid idea. This kid kicked my incision while we were in line for the carousel (accident, but ah!!) and I had a hard time after that, but I can tentatively say that the pain I have been living with for the past 2 years is gone. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it stays gone! I still have a rough day every so often but for the most part, I am doing great. I can't wait till I get the all-clear from my doctor so that I can bike, swim, and lift things again!

Hawk's 3 year anniversary at his company was the first week of June. He was given a $300 gift card! It was very exciting. For Father's Day we used the gift card to buy a new TV. Our old one broke 3 days before my surgery and we have been using a borrowed 20 inch, very old yucky one. We bought an LCD TV and this is the first nice TV we have ever owned. We were very excited to play Super Mario Bros Wii today and actually SEE that Mario has hair! and you can hear the baseline to the theme music! And then we watched Tangled and it was beautiful. I'm glad we don't have channels because then the TV would be on all the time. I will have to be really strict about making sure Sparrow only watches one movie a day (or less!) (Apparently while he was at my mom's house he watched Kung Fu Panda 4-5 times a day. I almost died when I found out.)

I can't believe how big Sparrow is. He's less and less like a toddler every day. It's a little sad since I know he's our only and last. But I'm not going to lie - it's also pretty awesome. His potty training is complete (except not nighttime) and he's great! He's got a very cute sense of humor and he's so smart, it's scary. He's very affectionate and he loves us and of course we adore him. He also LOVES the cats. He spends lots of time outside on our porch with the kitties. Last night we had to pull some splinters from his foot and he was so brave! Poor kid. I can't believe he'll be 4 in just a few months. 4 year olds are like, real kids. Eek!!

So that's what we've been up to. Nothing too exciting. But stay tuned, because for my next post, I have an awesome giveaway planned. Prepare yourselves!! It's gonna be good.

Some pictures from the zoo:

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(eee!! My favorite! Sparrow was not pleased that I spent about 10 minutes just standing there, staring at the wolves. It was so amazing, they were very active!)

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Silly goobie. I love his hyper little guts.

A glimpse into my future

25 May 2011
This week Sparrow has been staying at his Nana's house in Provo.

The first day or so he was gone, it was eerily quiet in this house. Then I remembered that I used to live a very quiet life, and it wasn't so eerie any more.

Sparrow came to visit for a few hours on Sunday and it almost wiped me off the planet. Although I didn't pick him up and we did calm things (i.e. watched a movie), I was surprised at how exhausting that kid is. The hardest part was when I couldn't stay upright any longer and went upstairs to lie down. Hawk did a good job of keeping him entertained, but the whole time I was upstairs I was thinking of things we could do to entertain Sparrow or to occupy him or feed him or blah blah blah. My mommy brain would not shut down.

On Tuesday, I missed him. Yes, it took me 6 days to actually miss my child. The first two days I was on drugs, and the whole time I was in the ER I was just thinking "thank goodness Sparrow isn't here." Anyway, on Tuesday I ran some errands and missed having him to talk to and...well, talk to.

I'm not going to be homeschooling Sparrow. At least not if things work out with a certain private school near here. And well, he'll be going to a pre-school in 2012, just because he needs the interaction and the preparation for the big time. Academically, he's ready to be in pre-school now. I'm not ready for him to go yet, and emotionally/socially he isn't either, which is why he isn't enrolled this year.

This week I got a glimpse of my future - in 2 short years, I will have time. There will be time to read, time to serve, time to work, time to become a culinary ninja, time to sleep, time to do my own dang thing. This thought fills me with glee and anticipation and hope.

At the same time, I'm a little concerned. Two years is not very long. I have my work cut out for me. There's lots I want to teach Sparrow before I feel comfortable sending him off to school. I better get crackin'.

He comes home tomorrow. While I have enjoyed the peace and quiet, I'm looking forward to having the little beastie home. Except I will miss the naps. Oh, the glorious naps. Those were nice.

Adventures in the ER

21 May 2011
On Thursday night I started having some shoulder and chest pain. I figured I'd just slept on it funny and it was a pulled muscle, you know, nothing serious. Well, yesterday it got progressively worse throughout the day, so at 7 pm Hawk and I went to the InstaCare. InstaCare gave me a cursory glance and said, "Go to the hospital." Ugh, really?

So we drove back to St. Mark's hospital, where I had the surgery on Wednesday. We were told to go to the ER, but were given a "transfer sheet" and hoped that we would get in quicker with that magic piece of paper. That was our first mistake - hope.

We arrived at St. Marks at 8:50. It was busy. The level of noise could be classified as a dull roar. I realized that this could take a long dang time, but I was prepared to wait. I had been told not to take any medicine or drink anything after leaving the InstaCare, so I was a little sore because my painkillers were wearing off, but nothing I couldn't handle.

At 11 p.m., I told the admitting nurse that we were leaving and to let me sign out. He said "but you're so close," and promised it would be less than an hour. So we stayed. I had a mild nervous breakdown. The pain in my shoulder/chest was getting worse and worse, and my incision sites were killing me. I was tired and just wanted to go home. Finally, at midnight, we were taken back to the ER and I got a bed. Really, I just wanted to lie down, so that was great. It took another half hour before a nurse or doctor came by, but when they did I got hooked up to the oxygen machine, had an EKG, had a blood draw and got an IV started. They gave me 4 mg of morphine, which is surprisingly not very helpful.

They were worried that I had a blood clot in my lungs, and the blood test was going to tell them if I had markers for that. They told us it would take about an hour, and that if it came back positive I would need a CT scan of my lungs.

Two hours later, we had seen neither hide nor hair of nurse, doctor, orderlies, or anyone else. Hawk hit the nurse call button twice asking for more painkillers for me, and also asking if helloooo, what's going on?

A lady walked in and said "we're going to get a CT scan." Oh, okay, so I guess this means my blood test came back positive. She wheeled me over to the imaging room and I went through that whole process. Because she had to push the iodine in so fast, I felt very sick and was very, very worried I was going to throw up. I gagged a few times but I was able to keep it down. On the way back to my ER room, we passed a room where the doctor was saying "time of death 2:02." Yikes.

About 3 a.m., the doctor came back in. She said that my scan came back negative for blood clots, but she was concerned because my white blood cell count was elevated and because my incision sites were still tender. Of course they are tender lady, I just had surgery two days ago! She wanted to do another CT scan of my pelvic area to see if they could find an infection. I had to drink a liter of "Crystal Lite" with contrast dye in it, and it was gross. I was finally able to get more morphine, since the old stuff had worn off and besides that, it didn't even touch the shoulder pain. Lying down was agony. Ugh.

At 5:30, the tech came back to take me in for another CT scan. This time she didn't have to push the iodine in so fast, so I didn't get sick. I did have to pee like crazy. Hawk pushed the call button for the nurse, we waited 30 minutes and then I sent him out to find someone to help unhook me so I could go to the bathroom. It was ridiculous.

Here's the thing - the ER was extremely busy. So busy that they did have to call in extra nurses and even, I suspect, some members of the disaster response team. But by 3 a.m., the ER was cleared out. There was no one in the waiting room and very few patients left. I don't know what the heck everyone was doing, but they did a great job of avoiding me. We'd push the call button, someone would say "can I help you?," we'd say "I need more painkillers/I really need to go potty/The oxygen tube is killing me" and they would say "I'll send your nurse" and the nurse would never come. Three times we called and waited for over an hour before anyone came to check on me. We went a good 3 hours without seeing a doctor, nurse, or anyone. At several points, alarms went off because my blood pressure cuff wasn't hooked up right and I ended up taking off the oxygen cannula because it was hurting my nose so bad. Nobody even stuck their head in to see what was beeping.

Around 6, a new doctor came in. "Well, we've just about done everything we could possibly do without admitting you! I'm surprised you're not glowing yet from all the radioactive iodine in your system. Don't get another CT scan for like 10 years, sheesh. We have no idea what's wrong with you. If you feel worse, come back. Follow up with your OBGYN on Monday. Sorry about all this. Go on home."

It took another hour before we left the hospital. Why? Because doctor did not communicate with nurse, nurse came in and gave me more morphine, then had to unhook me from everything, blah blah blah. He asked if I wanted to walk out or ride in the wheelchair. I opted to walk - who knows how long it would have taken to find a freaking wheelchair. We might still be there waiting now if I had asked for the wheelchair.

So the verdict: You just spent 10.5 hours in the emergency room! Sorry you're in pain. We have no idea why you're hurting. You probably won't die. If you do, come back to the ER and we might see you. Maybe. If we feel like it.

Hawk and I came home and collapsed. What a nightmare. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take my painkillers and slip into a blessed hazy fog of relaxation. Sheesh.

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About 3:30 a.m.

Where's my wombat?

20 May 2011
I am home from the hospital. I am not going to lie, the hospital was very nice. I kind of liked being in that big bed that moves up and down and getting served delicious healthy meals and chatting amicably with nurses every few hours and being left to do my own thing - sleeping, watching TV, and sleeping. That's pretty much what I did. I drank a LOT, too, after my surgery.

I hate being thirsty. I am now catching up on not being allowed any fluids for 12 hours. I was very grateful for the catheter yesterday. Yeah, that's gross, but oh so true.

I am really doing pretty well. It was much less painful and scary than the tubal ligation I had in 2009. I had about 8 nurses tell me how great uterus-less-ness is and how I am never going to regret this etc etc. Apparently people who have hysterectomies feel very strongly that they are awesome. Thus far I am joining the camp, but that may be because I have access to fantastic drugs.

I will write some details later, but let me sign off saying that the cause of pain for the last 2 years was most likely some serious scar tissue (adhesions), which did make it a little difficult for them to operate so I have a few more incisions than normal. They removed the adhesions, the tubes, and the uterus, so I should be good to go now as long as more adhesions don't form. I am doing my best to be very, very, very careful this time to not go overboard. No more adhesions. They hurt.

Do not ignore my veins!

16 May 2011
We went to the hospital today to get the pre-op work done. My surgery is Wednesday.

The best part of a hospital visit though is the blood draw.

Someone who shall not be named passed on some very crappy veins. My veins are selfish. They do not want to share my blood with you. I would love to be a blood donor, but I have literally been banned from blood banks because of my awful veins. THANKS MOM.

One time, when I was pregnant, it took seven nurses to get my blood drawn. That was the best day ever.

Luckily I have a high pain tolerance. I also know that when you are going to get a needle stick, BE HYDRATED for the love of all that is holy. Only once have I attempted a blood draw while dehydrated. That was bad news. Also, if you have bad veins, warn the nurses. They appreciate it.

The worst thing about my veins is that they look beautiful. Yes I have had nurses tell me I have gorgeous veins (better compliment than "you have gorgeous ovaries." Yes I have heard that one too.) Until they try to stick me. Then the veins literally run away and hide. They flee. They collapse. They roll around. They practically stage a revolt and move to Bermuda. After a blood draw, I don't get told I have pretty veins anymore.

So the nurse today only had to stick me once, but it took her a good 90 seconds of wiggling the needle around, up, down, back, forth, sideways, etc, before the vein finally gave up some of my life juice. Honestly I thought they were going to have to amputate.

Now I get to wear some fancy hospital bracelets. This is the first time I have ever had to wear the hospital bracelets before actually going to the hospital for the procedure. Weird. But my nurse warned me - "do NOT take those bracelets off or they will have to re-draw your blood before the surgery, when you won't have had anything to drink for 8+ hours." Got it. I just feel weird walking around with these VERY OBVIOUS BRIGHT GREEN AND WHITE hospital bracelets on.

I plan on live-blogging the hysterectomy. And by live-blogging I mean blogging whenever I get around to being semi conscious and near a laptop.

Hallelujah!

07 May 2011
I have been praying my guts out to not kill my kid this week, and I think it worked. The Lord had mercy on me and upped my patience level and/or worked some magic in Sparrow's brain. No accidents yesterday or today - and today we ventured out into the great wide world for 2 hours. It's the first time Sparrow has left the house in a week. Somehow in the last week, spring has sprung and winter is gone!

Of course, I say that, and tomorrow it will snow.

A potty trained toddler is the best Mother's Day present I can think of. I am officially done with diapers for the rest of my entire life. And if I was sad about my upcoming hysterectomy, this week taught me that really having more kids would be a terrible idea. Besides the fact that I'd probably die, I also don't think I could handle 2 Sparrows running around. Yikes.

A few weeks ago, Sparrow and I drove to Brigham City Utah (about 1.5 hours north of our home) with my grandma. We wanted to see the new Brigham City temple being built. Sparrow was so excited, but when we got there he was really confused. "Where are the walls? Where is Moroni? (The gold angel statue on top of most temples) Where are the doors?" It was pretty neat to see the temple in progress, but I can't wait till it's completed so I can take Sparrow to see the inside. When a temple is built, generally the public is invited to tour it before it is dedicated. After a temple is dedicated, only worthy Latter Day Saints over age 12 are allowed inside, unless a family with small children is being sealed together for eternity. Hawk, Sparrow and I will hopefully be sealed this December.

I am really bad at explaining church things, so if you would like more information visit mormon.org as they have an excellent website with tons of answers to pretty much everything you could think to ask.

Anyway, here are some pictures from our excursions.


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Sparrow and his great grandma in front of the tabernacle.

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The temple-in-progress.

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That light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, it's an atom bomb.

04 May 2011
Holy pants, people.

Pants. Ha, ha.

This week? This week is Eeek! Week. For the last month I have had this week blocked out in my little brain as The Week In Which My Son Will Learn To Use The Toilet So Help Me God. The last 2 weeks of April were insanely, crazy, inhumanly busy, so I was looking forward to having this time to stay at home and chillax a little.

Holy. Pants.

The first day was awful. I mean, Sparrow was pretty good about the whole thing, but watching his every move every second of the day was just exhausting. Then after his nap, he was angry and i was angry and there was anger. Tuesday morning, truly, if I had had the car or access to diapers i would have caved. Yeah, I would have. My son would still be wearing the stupid things.

We had some screaming and yelling fights, but after about 10 a.m. yesterday something clicked. Firstly, I was praying like crazy to not murder the kid. And I think he realized "hey, I can't get out of this one." The boy is stubborn, that's for sure. Yesterday I had him go naked for much of the day. At nap and night, he wears a Pull-Up. I think Pull-Ups are stupid and I hated hated hated caving and buying that package but it may have saved my family.

Truly.

Today, Sparrow had one accident. Allllll day he was perfect. I asked him about every 30 minutes if he needed to go, if he did, we'd go, he'd do his thing, we're done. After Hawk got home, I went to the library for some down time and suggested Sparrow and Hawk go play on our deck. They did, and I guess Sparrow got too wrapped up in playing because there was yuck. Oh well, can't win them all.

Tomorrow we will increase my asking to every 45 minutes and see what happens. I'm also going to try him in underpants the entire day. Except for the Pull-Ups. I'm starting to think they should market those things for Mommy's state of mind and child safety. Sheesh.

Back to the Future

26 April 2011
So today I had the opportunity to drive to Ogden (about an hour north of where I live) and attend the 50th anniversary of one of the elementary schools I went to. This particular school (MarLon Hills) was one I attended from 2nd-first half of 5th grade, which translates to the longest I spent at any one school. (All told, I went to 7 different schools, including a brand new one in a new state during my senior year. Awesome.)

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This is my old middle school. It falled down. But not when I was going there, despite my best efforts.

It was pretty fun to see my old teachers. I saw all but one, and actually I'm a little nervous that she maybe passed away, because she was pretty old when I was in her class. It was really neat to take Sparrow and introduce him to some teachers who I loved and looked up to as a child. My mom taught kindergarten at this school and her room smelled exactly how I remember it. They had some yearbooks out and I showed Sparrow pictures of his Nana from 1992 and me as a second grader. The look on his face was something like this: "o_O"

Several people remarked on how much Sparrow looks like me. Well, he really doesn't. But if you haven't met my husband, then he does. Actually, Hawk and I could be siblings - which is really weird - so Sparrow is really a good blend of both of us. Except he has my eyes. And my musical inclination. And Hawk's weird toes.

And my genius.

And Hawk's weirdness.

(Take that.)

Look! More pictures!!

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I am so glad Hawk grew into his ears.

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So cute on the surface...so evil underneath.

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Unfortunately, Sparrow inherited my evil streak.



I think I was about 6 here. I'd post a picture of Hawk at age 6 but I don't have one.

Oh and, Sparrow definitely inherited my love of Diet Coke. Too bad I haven't learned how to share yet.