Monday, August 18, 2014

Hostage

Well, I certainly had a memorable experience today. My family was held hostage in a KFC in Shiprock, NM.

After an emotional morning of saying goodbye to our extended family, we loaded up the kids and set out on day 1 of our drive to Austin.

We stopped for dinner an hour outside of Farmington, NM (where we were going to be staying for the night). After a quick vote we decided to eat at KFC. It was getting dark and the baby had been screaming throughout the entire last leg of the journey, so I was anxious to feed her as soon as we stopped. I sent Blaine, my parents and the kids inside to order and get started while I fed Tess in the car. My car was facing away from the building. I got cozy feeding Tess and catching up on e-mail and Facebook. I got a text from Aunt Liz (who we were to spend the night with in Farmington). She thought it was funny that we would stop in Shiprock, made it sound like it was a pretty shady place. Ten or fifteen minutes quickly passed and I was ready to head inside to join the family.

I glanced quickly in the rearview mirror and was puzzled to see that all of the lights were out in the KFC. A power outage? That's weird. I noticed there were two flashlights on in the building and people were walking around with them. All of the lights were on at the stores across the street. Something felt very wrong. Why was no one coming out of the building? Certainly if it were dark and the power went out while I was standing in line I would leave. No one was going in or out.

I started to feel a little panicky. I called Blaine but he didn't answer.  I could see two or three people in black pants, shirts and hats walking around the restaurant with flashlights. It started to make sense why Blaine didn't answer, and why no one was going in or out. They were being robbed, they were locked in! For all I knew someone had a gun to their heads and they were down on the ground. My heart was racing. Was this really happening? I hopped out of the car. Just then one of the people with flashlights started coming out of the building. I ducked behind my car. It seemed like he was looking around for people who were still in their cars or outside the building. Or in short, he was looking for someone like me. Someone who could see what was going on and alert authorities. I thought my heart would explode as I hid behind the car, it was beating so fast! The guy looked around for a minute and then went back in.  It was then that I noticed the giant unmarked white van near the entrance to the store.

I have never been more horrified. This really was happening. What should I do? Speed off in my car with Tess and call police? Charge inside? Hide? Think! Think Kristi Think!

I got in my car and locked the door. Just then I noticed the flashlight guy was coming out of the building again, with someone else this time. My Dad! Oh no! He had my dad. He was standing right behind my dad and shining the flashlight over his shoulder (was he holding my dad at gunpoint? I couldn't tell!) What was going to happen? My Dad came and rapped on the window, "come out. . .you need to come inside now". What? I was certain I was going to die from heart failure. I had been caught.  The guy must have seen me when he came out of the building earlier, and demanded someone in the restaurant who knew who was hiding in the van come out and get them with him. I glanced very nervously between my dad and the punk robber who was escorting him out to get me. "They want everyone inside so they can lock the doors" my dad said calmly. What to do! What should I do? Kick the guy? Punch him? Beg him to let me leave the baby outside? Visions of being shot and laying on the floor of the KFC with my kids raced through my head. It took everything I had to not lose control of myself.

The guy told me to lock my car. He shone his flashlight around, as I fumbled for my keys to lock the door. He was likely checking out what goods we had in the car, or looking for my phone (which was stashed in my pocket) to make sure I wouldn't call for help. "Take it all!" I thought "Give me my family and you can have it all!". I didn't say anything. When the guy turned to escort us to the building I quickly pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed 911. As he turned around to check on me I  slid my phone in my back pocket before he could see. Dang it! Maybe the operator would be able to track my phone and know someone needed help at that address. That would have to do. At least it was something.

Tears welled in my eyes as we got closer to the building. The man went to open the doors for us but they were locked. One of his partners must have locked the doors again to keep everyone else inside. He ran around to the other side to get someone to unlock the door.

This was my chance!

Should I scream for help? Run? Should I call 911 and risk him seeing me and shooting me? I didn't know how many precious seconds I had until he would turn around and see me. I whispered quickly to my Dad, "are we being robbed?! What is happening?"

"I don't …. think so…" he replied, calmly. He always could keep his cool in times of crisis. I was like, "Dad, it's okay, just tell me what is going on?" my voice trembling.  "I don't think anything is going on" he replied, "they just want us to come in so they can lock the doors". Could my dad really be that naive? At least they hadn't hurt him… yet. Bah!

Cautiously glancing around, I shakily dialed 911 again. Hoping I could eeek out some information before the guy came back. They answered, "I think we are being robbed!" I wailed. "They cut the power at the KFC  and they are locking everyone inside!" The operator quickly said, "well the power is out on a big block in Shiprock". Oh great, they like… blew up a whole transformer or something! My mind was racing. "They came out to get me from my parked car to bring me in and lock me inside!" I insisted.

And it was then that Blaine came out the front door. Annnnnd…. only when he told me that no, everything was fine. . . the power was just out, that I burst in to tears and collapsed in his arms. He was very, very perplexed. As you would be if you had been inside the KFC and had the whole thing happen from that perspective.

I still can't even process it. The whole situation was SO WEIRD. There was never any danger. Apparently the power had gone off right after my family got their food, and it was off on the whole block, but still on across the street (what I had used for comparison). My Dad overheard the employees (whose uniforms were black pants, black shirts and black hats) talking about how it was protocol to lock all the doors if the power goes out to make sure they don't get robbed, so he got an employee to come with him out to get me before he locked the doors. The employee was trying to be nice and shining his flashlight around my van so I could find my keys and get what I needed. Who knows who was driving the giant white unmarked van. The kids were being crazy which is why Blaine never picked up his phone.

Talk about a series of unfortunate events.

I seriously lost about ten years of my life.

And I am pretty glad that I didn't try to bargain with the robber/KFC employee to spare the life of my family in exchange for my van and all of it's contents. That would have been a real win for him, seeing as he had no interest in taking the lives of my family. And also glad I didn't bust out my kickboxing moves on him.

Sheesh. Why do these things happen to me? And on the bright side, nothing makes a day brighter than the beautiful realization that you and your family are actually NOT being held hostage at a KFC in Shiprock, NM.

The End.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Birth Story . . .

Wow, two posts in a year, I am really killing it in the blogging department :). You know, I remember at one point finding my dad's old journal and reading through it. I realized that there had only been one entry in my entire life, shortly after I was born. At the time I was deeply offended, but the older I get and the more kids I have the more I am thoroughly impressed that he even had a journal, let alone that he wrote in it after I (the caboose of the family) was born.

With my first three kids I had written their birth story within hours of their arrival. I can't on earth figure out how I had the time and gumption to do that. Tess is now over a month old and if she is asleep then I am trying to sleep and if she is awake it's all I can do to pull my eyes off of her to accomplish anything. Plus, she really likes being held and really doesn't like anything else. And, truthfully, I don't mind. I realize now how quickly she is going to grow and so I indulge myself in holding her almost all of the time. Yeah, the house is a total disaster and we have absolutely made no progress on how we are going to move our household from here to Texas in about six weeks. I bet I will blissfully keep neglecting my other duties as long as possible. Babies were meant to be savored.

So yah, since my last post I managed to get pregnant, endure (not well) a very miserable pregnancy and finally birth a beautiful baby. It's a lot more complicated than I make it sound there, there were complications, sleepless nights of worry and prayer, ultrasounds, NSTs, meetings with perinatologists and calls from genetic counselors. And everything has revolved around the complications, but I kind of just want to post her birth story. You know, one without all of those stresses. So hopefully I will post more about the trials and miracles of her gestation and birth and first month... but not today.

----


I scheduled my induction about two weeks beforehand. I was feeling all self righteous and didn't want anyone to know I was getting induced. You might wonder why, and the short answer is that I think I am a nut case. We have always kept the name of our babies a secret (even our list of possible names). Somehow though my older kids got wind of the names I was considering and all converged on one name from the list. Tess. And then when said complications arose they prayed mightily for "Tessie" and talked about her and to her and...how could I possibly name her anything else after all of that? The problem was they were open with the name Tess and before long everyone who was anyone knew that her name was going to be Tess. I didn't like that. I like having a surprise name announcement. So much so that I almost named her something else simply because so many people knew about Tess. All this is to say that because many people knew the name I channeled all of my energy in to making her arrival a surprise.

The logical way to do that would probably have been to not schedule an induction at all and let nature take its course, but when push comes to shove if someone hands me a "get out of pregnancy a week or more early" card I take it.

So my induction was to take place on May 21st. I had to tell my parents so that someone could come and watch the kids. We held off telling anyone else though, which I was pretty proud of. My parents came early the night before so Blaine and I could go on our traditional "night before induction" date. We went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and then grabbed an Italian Ice at Rita's. We were going to go to a movie but I was just. SO. TIRED. And knowing that it would probably be a good four or more years until I would get a decent night of sleep again, we headed home at about 10:30PM. It was kind of a fun surprise to arrive home and find our kids all still awake (this was a school night) watching a movie with Grandma and Grandpa. What can I say? My parents are partiers.

We woke up early and headed to the hospital for our 7AM induction. We had chosen to deliver at Orem Community Hospital on the good recommendation of Laurie, plus the fries at their snack bar are to-die-for good.

I started getting awfully nervous about the whole thing. I did a lot more thinking about this pregnancy than the others, as, barring any heavenly messengers commanding us otherwise, this will be our last. Did I want an epidural? Did I even really want to be induced? Lots of time thinking about this things. They quickly got me hooked up to an IV and got the pitocin going. It was kind of a fun feeling being there and starting labor and no one even knowing. We felt very sneaky. I'm so weird.

Deep down I know I am an epidural type of girl. I have a pain tolerance of about zero. With the other kids I asked for the epidural as soon as they would give it to me (because I knew I would cave eventually, and if you are going to cave eventually there is no sense in trying to be a hero for a while). But this time I thought I would give it a go and see how long I could make it. Try to really experience labor for as long as I could. Who knew, maybe I would surprise myself.

It took a bit for the contractions to get going, and once they did I was just so darn proud of myself for breathing through them. Maybe I really was a hero. The baby's heartbeat was doing weird things. It would speed way up and slow way down. It was all over the map. They had me flip sides and do all sorts of things to try to get it to regulate. I believe they eventually put something in my IV to help. Things were all quiet when I told Blaine it would be okay for him to go and get some food.

Sure enough as soon as he left things kind of went to pot. The heart rate was even more erratic. People came in, they put me on oxygen. And the really ironic thing is that the exact same thing happened with at least Ivy, and Gwen, if not all three other kids. Blaine leaves and chaos sets in. Just a fact of life I guess.

They decided they better put on an internal monitor on the baby (you know, the one they poke into the baby's head. Sad.). And this is where the details are a little fuzzy. It seems like they did this before breaking my water, but wouldn't the act of doing that break my water? No idea. At some point they put on a monitor and things seemed less traumatic after that.

So by 10:30AM I was still busy proving what a capable birther I was by not getting an epidural. Sure the contractions were painful, but nothing I couldn't handle with a little dramatic breathing. Then my OBGYN waltzes in, "hey sorry I am late! You ready to get this party started?!". And there I was, like an idiot, thinking the party had already been going for some three hours.

So he breaks my water.

And oh was there ever water! Water and water, from the expressions of amazement from all in the room you'd think I nearly flooded the hospital. So. Much. Water. Everyone was duly impressed.

I've read a million times how contractions get worse once your water is broken. And let me just tell you, they aren't kidding. The very first contraction after that basically had me in tears and washed away any superhero resolves I had. Epidural, Stat! Seriously. The party had started.

My OB had made it sound like the anesthesiologist was waiting in the hall for me to say the word. Wrong. I begged and pleaded with Blaine to find the guy and drag him in! It took like almost an hour to get the guy in. And I know that isn't a super long time, but I am convinced this was the most painful labor ever experienced so it felt like an eternity. I wanted to go back in time and slap the earlier version of myself who no less than five times told the nurse that "no, no epidural yet, I'm doing jussssst fineeeee". Why self? Why?.

Then once the anesthesiologist and his partner (who was not actually his partner but turned out to be my new nurse...but I didn't know that) arrived it took forever to get the epi in place. They were sitting there talking about the most random lame things, like where to get good mexican food, and where they were going to go on vacation. I was gritting my teeth and just really wishing we could all focus on the task at hand. I could tell they were trying to get my mind off of the pain by asking me questions, which I refused to answer. Poor Blaine, he kept apologizing "I'm sorry, she's normally very friendly... I think she's in a lot of pain". Yeah, I was. They had me sit up, which was a little better. But man, it took them an hour to place the epidural, an hour! In my past experience it seems like it normally took like ten minutes max. The guy was having some trouble placing the catheter? Or something. But that didn't stop him from discussing with my nurse where the best salsa in Utah County could be found. I was thinking all sorts of mean thoughts like, "oh yeah let's talk about salsa while we mess around with the nerves in my back, that's a brilliant idea". Anyway, definitely not my finest hour and I was sure I was going to die from the epidural being placed wrong because no one was focusing on their jobs ;)

So there we were at like noon with an epidural in place and sweet relief flowing through. I apologized to my nurse for being mean. It's amazing how much more I liked her once I had an epidural. She was totally great. Pain can be really blinding.

I think my contraction monitor must have fallen off or slightly off or something because I couldn't feel my contractions and according to the monitor I wasn't really having any. But I must have been because all of the sudden I was a ten! Then there was my OB again. And it was time to push. Would I push for three hours like with Gwen? Ten seconds like Bentley? I always expect it to take a long time. And again the OB and my nurse were discussing good places to go eat. I don't know what it is about me giving birth that inspires these conversations :). Anyway, it was a matter of a few pushes, like say six, and she was here! 2:05PM 5/21/2014.



I am always amazed at the incredible relief I feel immediately after my babies are born. Pregnancy is so cruel to me, and immediately after the baby is born I start feeling better. She cried her little newborn cry and I just couldn't believe that she was finally here! Finally! And she was okay! And she looked beautiful! And it was over, I never have to be pregnant again :). It was amazing to just sit and marvel. A baby girl. My third girl. I have three girls and one boy. I spent so many nights as a kid dreaming about my future family, wondering how many boys and girls I would have. What they would look like. Finally they are all here and I know and love them all.



9lbs 6 oz, 20.5 inches. My biggest baby yet. And later I would be so grateful for every one of those blessed ounces as she still had so much to endure ahead of her. But that's another story for another day.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For

Because you just might get it.

Oh sure, it might be a good four or five years later, when you aren't entirely sure that that is what you want anymore, but whatever :)

Why was the move from Texas to Utah so hard for me. I've pondered that a lot, especially lately. Do I hate Utah? Nope. It's gorgeous (though I'm the first to admit that snow is only fun for like 24 hours, maybe 48 tops). Do I hate family? Nope, quite like them actually. I love having my kids know their grandparents and extended family members better. So, what was my problem moving back here? Why did I spend my entire first year of living in Utah pining away for Texas?

I have a few ideas -

* Having to rent our house out in Texas, and having the first renters be complete morons who smoked in our house and had three Rottweilers and payed rent intermittently and partially, at best.
* Having three young children at home and no one in school. That's a rough year no matter where you live.
* Moving in to a mouse infested, dark basement apartment
* Having that basement apartment be in a neighborhood where every other resident was about 10-15 years older and earned about ten times more a year than we did. It took me a while to realize that we didn't just move in to a bum ward-- we were just not at the same stage of life as those people. Someone who is home all day with three small kids NEEDS playgroups and joyschools, etc. Someone who has all of their kids off at school does not. There were, honestly, only two other girls who were home all day with very young children. And I love them both still to this day :)
* Leaving a life behind that I loved. So, I built a life in Texas. I had friends and neighbors who I loved. I had things I did. I had a routine. I had a life. Anytime you move away from a life you have taken years to build it is a little heartbreaking.


So all of that combined in to a crazy depression cycle. It only lasted about a year. And then a bunch of things changed, all at once. So I am not sure what to credit for pulling me out of the doldrums.

*We moved in to a light and bright house. Sure it had the occasional mouse, like once a year. Not the six a day we caught through our entire nine month tenure in the mouse house.
* Gwen started kindergarten. Much rejoicing.
* I joined the gym! I was getting physical exercise for myself and a break from my children (a break where they got to have tons of fun!). Best decision I ever made! And seriously it is going to be my new advice for first time moms. "There are magical places that will watch your children for an hour or two so you can shower in peace! Or read a book on a sofa in peace! Or stare at a wall in peace! Or, if you are feeling extremely motivated-- workout - IN PEACE!". Ha ha. Seriously though, I was a member of Lifetime Fitness for at least a month before I actually worked out. I'd check in the kids, slip in the hot tub and soak my problems away. It was dreamy.
* We got new renters in our Texas house. I still wake up in a cold sweat on the first of every month, stressed about whether the rent check will come in... and it always does. I am so grateful for the new people that moved in to my Texas house. I don't know that anyone will ever understand the extreme anxiety that our first renters put upon me.

So life got better. I met some amazing friends. We've loved the law school experience. My kids are growing up and are not so completely reliant on me for everything.

Life is good.

I love a good adventure. You know I do. I loved living in Oregon, Minnesota, Texas and Utah. Each place has introduced me to amazing people, given me a new perspective, helped me figure out who I am, and on and on. But as I am getting older, and more importantly, as my kids are getting older. I find myself longing to just stay put. Let my kids attend the same school for two years in a row. That kind of thing.

It's taken me a couple years but I finally have a crazy group of friends, who I love. A dear friend from Minnesota moved in, five minutes away! I am meeting people weekly in this ward who I adore. Saratoga Springs is just gorgeous, and amazing. My kids are happy in school. I live on a cul-de-sac. There's an 11 year-old who LOVES to babysit, right next door! The houses in this neighborhood are so generously spaced out, it's fantastic. We go hiking. We go camping with my sister (having a sister with a trailer and a lot of camping supplies is a great thing to have!). We spend Sunday nights chatting away at our parents houses.  I am comfortable!

I mean, sure, a paycheck would be nice and all....but...so comfortable!

And so of course, now, a good three years since my daily pining for Texas, now we go and decide to move back. Now, when I am pretty sure I will bawl my eyes out for a good few months or years.

Life is crazy sometimes.

But, we got this.

(Remind me of that when I am huddling in my closet during a Texas thunderstorm *shudder* - that's one thing I never missed :)).

I got this.









Sunday, August 25, 2013

Due

I had big plans for today. At one point I was planning on being in a hospital and snuggling a brand new baby today, August 25th. It was a perfect day for that. Blaine would have just finished his last summer externship, and school wouldn't have quite started yet, and perhaps best of all, with a late summer birthday I would finally have a child who started kindergarten shortly after turning five, rather than when they were about to turn six.

It wasn't an easy decision to try for another baby. In fact the only thing that got me through being pregnant with Ivy was that I was DONE. Finished. That was my last pregnancy. I never had to do that again. That also got me through the three whirlwind years of Ben and Ivy's toddlerhood. It was rough going there for a while, my hands were full and survival was my only goal. I survived. Barely. The decision to go for a fourth was one four years (and lots of thinking and praying) in the making.

I was quite shocked, actually, when I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test. I've never had such a whirlwind of emotions. I went from disbelief, to being terrified. It's been a while folks. I've grown quite accustomed to sleeping through the night, not carrying a stroller around, that kind of thing. Plus -- Ivy is almost  in kindergarten. I am almost to the point that I would dream about incessantly, when I was in the trenches of diapers and midnight rocking. I dreamt of sending Ivy to school one day and then finally having the time and energy to do something beyond mothering. To go back to school, to get a job, to find fulfillment in something additional to motherhood. I love being a mom, and I am grateful that I have been able to stay home with my little ones -- but for some reason I longed for a little outside-the-home fulfillment, or even just interaction.  But, to my surprise, the being terrified part of pregnancy only lasted a matter of maybe twenty minutes. I mean, sure, I could still feel the terror down deep inside, but the dominant emotion quickly became excitement. The doodle endless lists of amazing baby names excitement.

Seeing my kids older now and realizing how much I love them and their personalities made me all the more excited to have a new baby. Back when the three of them were born I had no idea what was going on. I couldn't see past the fact that I was just having a baby. I couldn't ever envision the baby growing up to be a funny, cute, amazing kid. I never relished being pregnant. I just tried to make it through each day. Survival. But this time was different. This time I didn't feel in such a daze. I was able to marvel that there was a human being growing inside of me. A really cute human being who would add so much to this family and to the world. All of my kids are so unique and different from each other, it was fun to ponder what a new little Bassett would be like. Deep thinking like Gwen? Wild and fearless like Ivy? Kindhearted and energetic like Ben? Endless possibilities. And perhaps the most exciting (and at the same time most terrifying) thing of all was thinking of my three kids being able to interact with a new sibling. They were all just babies themselves when I had Ivy so there was no positive interaction, just a lot of poking and pacifier stealing :).

I felt great. That was actually my first clue that something was wrong. It really was. Normally I get deathly ill at like week 3 (bet you didn't even know that was possible, right? ha!). I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas. I felt like a time bomb, wondering when I would first feel my stomach turn and when I would have to resign myself over to the throes of six months of all day long sickness. Wasn't looking forward to that.

But, it didn't come. I was exercising every day, eating whatever I pleased (a welcome relief from the 17 day diet we were doing at the time).

I knew something was wrong. I wanted to believe that a vomitless pregnancy was possible for me, but deep down I knew better.

In fact, feeling so great was of such concern to me that I kind of found myself hoping to feel queasy, something to prove that something was happening inside of me. I was so worried about not being sick that I called around to find a doctor who would take me as early in my pregnancy as possible. I just needed to hear a heartbeat, then I would stop worrying and just start getting excited, once I knew it was real (the twelve pregnancy tests and blood draw were not enough apparently).

Because of my apprehension, we didn't tell many people. I was nine weeks, it was a record breaking amount of time for us to not make an announcement (normally I have to announce when I apologize to people for tossing my cookies approximately every thirty seconds).

The day of my first appointment things started happening to lead me to believe that something was definitely wrong. I told the people at the front desk that I thought I might be miscarrying (side note -- no sympathy at all was offered, they just said, "okay, we will let the doctor know"). Did an ultrasound. The doctor looked at it, and said I was measuring at six weeks and they couldn't find a heartbeat, but that that wasn't necessarily abnormal at only six weeks. But from the looks of the ultrasound it looked as though I "might" be miscarrying. Come back in two weeks. The thing is-- I knew I was 9 weeks- almost 10. So if the baby was only measuring six with no heartbeat, well, yeah, I was pretty darn sure the baby had been gone for three weeks, which explains why I never got sick.

Not 12 hours later I knew there would be no going back in two weeks. It was definitely over. (Side note: Miscarrying is amazingly painful, I had no idea that that early on it would be such an ordeal. So much pain!). I was really grateful that I had been emotional prepared for this to happen. I just felt like I knew it would, and it kind of felt like that made it easier when it actually happened. I didn't even shed a tear. I made myself feel better by thinking that since the baby only measured at six weeks it's heart never even started beating at all. It was never a baby, it never got that far. That's what I told myself.

I was back in the doctors office two weeks later. Just to make sure everything was all...cleaned out I guess. And for some reason that is when it hit me. I climbed up, the tech put the cold ultrasound stuff on my belly....and I stared at a blank screen. You shouldn't see blank screens when you get an ultrasound. I guess deep down I was hoping that somehow I hadn't actually miscarried, that maybe there was some chance that everything was fine. But seeing a blank ultrasound...yeah, no denying it now. That was the first time I cried. And then I started thinking about "that thing that happened" as an actual baby, started thinking that maybe the heart had, in fact, started beating . . . and then stopped. And whoa baby, I just cried it all out.

Months later Blaine asked if I ever still thought about the miscarriage. "Uh....yeah, only EVERY SINGLE DAY!" was my response. Did he really not think about it every day? Weird.

It was kind of hard when people started announcing their pregnancies and their due dates were close to mine. Harder still when they all had ultrasound pictures to show.

And now they are all having their babies. They're adorable and I am so happy for them, I really am.

But I just thought, you know...in case the heart actually had started beating and what I experienced was a real loss...I just thought I should document it. Write it down. It was a big part of my year. Of my life.

I'm grateful for the experience. Sure, I wish the result would be me swaddling a new little one in my arms today -- but now I can relate to the heartbreak that so many friends and family members have felt. Not in the same way. I mean... I was only nine weeks. But I can empathize more with these experience that a lot of us go through. It is certainly a different experience than I had ever envisioned prior to this.

My guess, and I guess my hope, is that I won't be thinking about it as much any more. It's over. "The pregnancy that wasn't" ends today, and that's a great feeling.

Wow, I am making this all sound so much more dramatic than it actually is. We really are just fine. I am okay with what happened, I was prepared for what happened. Just allowing a little deep-thought and emotional spillage on this special day. Kind of glad to get it behind me.

----

Ahem, to save myself a little frustration -- can I just say... just because we decided to try for a fourth and miscarried doesn't necessarily mean that we will try again. We might, we might not. I kind of found myself getting a little frustrated a few months after the miscarriage when it seemed that most people assumed I would be making another announcement any day. It was a hard decision for us to decide to try for a fourth, and we made that decision. It ended the way it did. It is an entirely different decision to make now if we want to try again. It's not automatic. And I am not sure why it bugs me so much if people think that it is. Did I want another baby? Yes. Yes, I wanted that baby. Do I want, or feel like I am supposed to try for another one? Still not sure. 90% of the time I think our family is complete. Don't worry. We will figure  it out sooner or later. 





Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Girl Who Cried Fire

I had the chance to go camping this past week with my sister and her family. Blaine is busy working at his summer internship, so he was unable to go with us. The day we left for camping I confidently went and, in a noble leap of faith, purchase a one year fishing license.

I went fishing a lot as a kid and it's something I hope to be able to enjoy with my kids as they grow. Blaine mocks me and jokes about how no one wants to go fishing with me because I don't do any of the hard work. Sure, I cast, I reel in, I even bait my hook, but when it comes to things like yanking the hook out of the fishes mouth I tend to rely on whichever poor sap I've conned in to going fishing with me (Hi Dad!). 

Since my dad wasn't with us on this camping trip I was forced to rely on the good graces of my dear brother-in-law Wayne to satisfy the hook-ripping-out needs of my children and I on our fishing trip. So on Thursday night Wayne, his dad, his nephews, Bentley and I headed a half mile or so away from our campsite to go fishing. 

It had rained all afternoon but by early evening though the ground was damp, the sky was clear, the air fresh, and the lake inviting. The rain had cleared out everyone from the lake and we had the entire place to ourselves. It was so serene and peaceful. We found our respective spots and got our lines already (and by we, I mean Wayne). Got our lines in the water and enjoyed some very active fishing. 

A few fish later and one of Wayne's nephews shouted from several yards away, "hey, is that smoke?". We looked over and just beyond the lake, over a hill, we could see billows of smoke. Not such an unusual site as it was the campfire building time of the evening, but there seemed to be a little too much smoke for an average camp fire. We all nervously glanced at each other but quickly figured that it wasn't too big of a deal. 

We continued on fishing for about ten minutes when we heard the same nephew say, "whoa, look at that!". As we all turned we saw huge billows of smoke, spilling down from over the hillside and creeping rapidly across the lake and through the trees. 



That's when the panic set in.

And oh, I know what you are thinking, I am easy to panic. It wasn't even me panicking at first! It was the nephews, Wayne, and Wayne's Dad, this was like three generations of panicking people. Wayne and his dad exchanged a few exclamations of "this is not good, this is really not good." I quickly reeled in my line as the smoke billowed ever closer. It was creeping through the trees and nearly to us. 

The smoke was coming from the direction of the only exit out of the camp ground. It's one thing to think about having to quickly evacuate a mountain with countless others, down very windy, narrow road, but it is entirely more terrifying to think of your only exit being blocked by a forest fire. Thinking of being trapped or trying to outrun a fire through the bear infested woods, at night, with your three small children. Agh!

As soon as my line was reeled in, I saw the nervousness in Wayne's eyes as he looked at me and very firmly said, "GO. GO NOW! RUN!". The smoke was on our heels as we attempted to high tail it back to the campsite.

We were at least a half a mile from our campsite (where Gwen, Ivy and countless others were, blissfully unaware of our impending demise). Now half a mile isn't very far in general terms, but let's be honest, Bentley is pathetically slow at walking, let alone running. And he weighs about a thousand pounds. 

The nephews (ages 15 and 12), were so nice asking how they could help me as I fumbled up the path carrying a fishing pole and holding the hand of a tearful five-year-old, and fighting a full blown anxiety attack. I told them the best thing they could do was go alert our group to what was happening. So they sprinted ahead. I looked back to see where Wayne and his Dad were...all I saw was smoke. 

As I got in to the main camp ground I expected to see flashing lights or a flurry of activity, or hear someone barking orders from a megaphone. The reality was nothing. I could see the smoke sifting through the trees, it had caught up to me. I found the campground hosts' trailer and pounded on the door. By this time it was about 9:30PM. The poor old man groggily came to the door. "We think there's a fire by the lake!" I wailed. "Hurry!". 

He seemed very perplexed by my panic. Yet, quickly laced his shoes and hopped in his truck to go investigate. Just then my niece returned from the pathway to the lake and reported that you couldn't even see the lake through the smoke anymore. 

I made it back to camp to find everyone in a flurry. I ordered my confused and terrified children in to the van. I hurriedly grabbed our suitcases and flung them in, ready to evacuate. I was practically behind the wheel, ready to fend for my kids and leave the rest of our group behind to figure out their battle plan, but then...

somehow...

 in the middle of all the chaos, and fear, and madness, the message got relayed back to us from the campground host that there was no fire. 

No smoke.

Just...fog.

I really wish I had a video camera, or a regular camera. I wish you could see what I saw, because it was the most forest fire looking fog I've ever seen. Fog doesn't chase you, I mean, does it? It like, settles upon you. It's just there all of the sudden. This. This was demonic smoke. Like the monster from LOST. 

And once my blood pressure settled back in to the normal range (which took at least six hours), the hilarity of the situation caught up to me. And I'll always remember the day I nearly single handedly evacuated a campground because of fog. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Phantom

I'm not sure if the Halloween Phantom is a Utah phenomenon or if he knows no state boundaries, but it's a fun little tradition that we've enjoyed the last few years. Early in October someone starts the phantom going by dropping off some goodies and two papers. One paper is one that says "we've been booed!" to hang in your window so the phantom has a chance to visit new people and not duplicate who gets treats. The other paper is a little instruction sheet that tells you to make copies of the papers and go "boo" two of your neighbors, to see how far the phantom cheer can spread.

(Confession: Normally my house is a place where Halloween Phantoms come to die. My sheer laziness - and lack of a copy machine - usually means I don't spread the love and I sometimes forget to hang the sign, which means the treats just keep coming in all month long! It's actually pretty awesome, but it comes with a certain amount of unbearable guilt, so thick skin is required.)

This year I actually had the wherewithall to make some treats yesterday and I intended to make copies of the sheet and spread the cheer. I explained to Gwen what we were doing and she got really excited and wanted to make her own sheets to pass along with our treats. I didn't see the harm in it. So I told her to make it and we would spread the love later in the evening.

She made a darling paper to send to our victims. 


And we were about to head out, when I noticed she had decorated the back too...


And all the sudden the Halloween Phantom seemed really creepy. I mean, "promise painted by blood!". And by addressing it to a random human that "still lives" I think it goes without saying that on the said Halloween "vizziet" something life-ending might happen.

And I really don't think we would be making any friends by passing along death threats. But maybe that's just me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Three Fish, Two Fish, One Fish

*note: this is a pic of a caterpillar on one of our hikes, not the fish the story is about :) I'm not that gross!

This little man turned 5 last week. I remember when I was pregnant and found it I was having a boy I kind of panicked. Boys are scary, mean, and disgusting. At least that's what I had gathered in my experience. But then Bentley came along and (after seven months of non stop screaming) proved me wrong.

Bentley is the funniest, sweetest boy you could imagine. He is the only one of my kids who shows any inkling of remorse ever. The only one who will apologize ever. And the only one who cries for things besides physical injuries. His bottom lip quivers when he knows you are disappointed. When he falls down and gets hurt if you ever apologize and say, "oooooh buddy, I'm sorry!" his immediate reply through the pain and tears is, "It.....*sniff* ....wasn't....*sob* ....your fault!".

After the movie theater shootings in Colorado, Bentley noticed that the flags were flying half-mast. He asked me why. I told him the story and he was visibly upset about it. And for days, maybe even weeks afterward at random times he would just say, "that is so sad what that man did at that movie theater". And ever since he will notice the flag half mast and ask what sad thing happened.

He gets sad if you forget to give him his goodnight kiss.

Basically, the kid feels. And honestly there are times when I think that maybe Gwen doesn't. I love her, you know I do, but comparing the two kids the contrast is stark! You could offer that girl $20 to apologize for something and she wouldn't do it (Blaine would tell you she gets that from me! Hmph!)

So for his birthday we got the boy some fish. It was really cute as I sent him on a scavenger hunt to find the fish. He was so excited when he found them, and even though he's never implied in any way that he had an interest in fish, he jumped up and down, "it's what I always wanted! A FISH TANK!".  After consulting family and friends he named the three fish Pa, Teddy, and Lightning. I had gotten two cheap-o goldfish and one bigger one (two whole dollars, I know, my generosity knows no bounds!).

A few nights after his birthday he burst in to our room in the morning and sounded like an episode of Little House on the Prairie gone wrong when he exclaimed, "something horrible has happened to Pa!" And after giving Pa a couple of hours we concluded that indeed he had gone the way of all the earth, and was not just sleeping as we had dared to hope.

I was impressed at Bentley's coping ability. We flushed Pa (which I realized later I should have done in private, all the kids were very perplexed by it). It came up every once in a while ("that was horrible what happened to Pa!"). But no tears were shed and we pressed through the pain.

Not 48 hours later it appeared that Lightning was fighting to stay belly-down. And sure enough we woke to "something horrible has happened to Lightning!". Flush.

Well, Teddy was still going strong and he was the expensive one anyways. So all was well. Occasionally Lightning and Pa were mentioned, but not extensively. That was maybe two or three days ago.

Then in the middle of the night last night Bentley burst in to our room in hysterics. I was sure he had either a) wet the bed or b) Teddy was toast. Through his tears I learned that neither was true. Teddy was alive, the bed was dry, but oh the tears! The compulsive sobbing, the likes of which I've only done in times of extreme distress. He wailed, "Ohhhhh it's just so sad what happened to Lightning and Pa! Teddy is so lonely! He's all alone and he doesn't know what happened to his friends!". This went on for...well, nearly an hour. In fact there were still sniffles and tears as he hopped on the bus to school. It was a powerful reaction and I wasn't sure how to handle it! Has the poor guy been up the last two nights thinking of how awful the whole experience was? I feel really bad that I didn't set him down and make him talk about his feelings. I had no idea! I figured he kind of understood that goldfish just don't last.

I don't know you had to be there I guess, but this kid. He feels things. He's so sensitive to the feelings of others, both of the human and aquatic variety. And I think whatever girl gets him for a husband is going to be one lucky, well cared for lady.