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[Comments] (1) All in One: Happy New Year. We're sick.

Yesterday we went to see Puss in Boots in 3D at the (not)Dollar Theater with Jamie and her kids. We had our New Year celebration at Jamie's house, with pizza benders and board games. We stayed much later than anticipated, and got home just before 11. Had a good time, though I didn't get my fill of Boggle. I think Dave has been practicing...

2011 Reading Synopsis: 131 books, 42,616 pages. (plus various unpublished books via Rachel)

And last but not least, more Maggie funnies:
I found my other antenna shoes! (tennis shoes?)
She's insisted on staying 4 forever until just a few days ago. Then she decided her birthday was in 9 days. And yesterday while getting her hair cut, she told the stylist her birthday was in 8 days. I hope she isn't disappointed next week! This might be because she said she can't go to Disneyland when she's four, but we're going next week whether she likes it or not.
While driving by a fancy school (that shall remain nameless), the kind where preschoolers wear uniforms, I asked Maggie if she wanted to go there. She replied very matter-of-factly, "That school not good enough for me."

Speaking of games and Maggie being hilarious, last night at the party she got really into Catch Phrase. After the group finished playing, she stood on the couch with the game in her hand and described various things, mostly animals and dinosaurs, for us to guess. Sometimes she took the first letter of the actual word on the Catch Phrase game to inspire her thinking. It was adorable and very clever.

: We're still sick around here. John was nice enough to sleep with Dalton the last two nights, since he now gets to sleep on a comfy hotel bed with no sick kids. I took Dalton on my errands today, and he conked out when we got home. He eventually woke up enough to ask for and eat half a piece of bread and play on the floor with Maggie for a little bit. Poor thing.

I guess that's about it!

[Comments] (1) Even Sicker Kids: Around 5 am, Dalton told me "ear ouchie." Nice. When we got up, Maggie told me that her stomach was hurting, so I wouldn't let her go to school, which made her very upset. I hauled both kids to the doctor.

The doctor said that Dalton had an ear infection and RSV. Luckily his oxygen levels were fine, we just need to watch our for labored breathing. He's just 5 or 6 months older than Maggie was when she was hospitalized with RSV. I guess that "over 2" makes a big difference.

The doctor wrote a prescription for Dalton. Then Maggie threw up on the floor.
"That's why we switched to hardwood floors," the doctor said.
Good idea.

[Comments] (1) Maggie Mix:
Drip, tip, top, little rainbow shower...

Blocks are a kind of Legos.

I tried to explain some of the puns in When I See an Elephant Fly.
Maggie: My baseball flies. If I hit it very far. Snoopy doesn't fly, but he thinks he can.

The deacons came to collect Fast Offerings after church today. I had just been explaining to the kids that we are taking a long drive in the car to California. Maggie went to get her puzzle map of the US when the doorbell rang. I could hear her in the front room talking to the boys. "This is Utah and we're going all the way to California!" One of the boys asked "what's that one?" and she replied, "I don't know. I think it's Bangkok where we went in India." When I went in, she asked me what it was and after I informed her it was Texas, she proudly announced such to the boys.

This morning, the kids and I checked out all the rides at Disneyland and California Adventure. Maggie is tall enough for nearly all of them, and Dalton can now go on Gadget's Go-Coaster and Matterhorn. Maggie was especially excited about Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain (since it has dinosaur bones). She is not planning to go on Tower of Terror, and I'm not planning to take her! However, she says her favorite is the Redwood trails.

We were last at Disneyland (in California) a year and a half ago, so I was impressed when she said things like, "that's right next to Mickey Mouse's house" and "remember the dinosaurs on the train?"

I Wonder Where He Gets It: Dalton is such a tease. Maggie totally falls for it every time, and he keeps doing it. The other day in the car, she was getting annoyed with everything he said.

John: Look, there's the geese!
Dalton: Geese! Geese! Geese! Geese!
Maggie: Stop, Dalton!
a few minutes pass.
Dalton: red car!
Maggie: Stop, Dalton!
Dalton: Geese!

[Comments] (6) Miscarriage: Let's Talk About it: Women don't talk about miscarriage. They don't! Well, I'm going to.

I had a miscarriage. There, I said it. (Well, wrote it.) The first time in my life I can recall hearing those words was when I called my doctor with a question the day after we discovered our baby no longer had a heartbeat. The nurse I talked to told me her personal experience. The second time I heard it? From the anesthesiologist prepping me for a D&C. The third time? The nurse in the surgery center. And yet, 15% of documented pregnancies end in miscarriage - that's pregnant women who have already been to the doctor! Here's our story.

My first doctor appointment was at 10 weeks. Everything looked great. At 14 weeks, the nurse was unable to find a heartbeat with the monitor so she tried on the ultrasound, then called in the doctor. Obviously, by then, I suspected something was up. The doctor was able to find the baby's heart - not beating. The measurements indicated the miscarriage happened very shortly after my first appointment. This type of miscarriage - where your body doesn't immediately abort - is called a missed miscarriage. I had no idea that could even happen! Not only that, I spent another FOUR WEEKS waiting to miscarry naturally. I should have known; neither of my other babies came out on their own. During this time I continued to deal with morning sickness and none of my clothes fitting. Eventually I could tell I wasn't growing, and stopped "feeling" pregnant.

Since we are going on vacation this weekend (and I have good health insurance now), I finally scheduled a D&C (a surgical procedure to clean everything out of the uterus). Days before, I finally noticed a little bleeding and cramping, but not much. On Monday, my doctor performed a D&C. I'm still very tired, but I haven't really had any pain. This seems to be the way to go.

On to the emotional aspect of this. Things you shouldn't say to people who are grieving (and I'm not just talking about miscarriage):
You can always try again.
There must be something wrong with it.
It's part of the plan.
Your baby's smiling down on you.
You'll see her again.
Etc.

The only thing worth saying is "I'm sorry." I may think those things. John and I may even say those things to each other. But don't impose beliefs or possibilities or happy thoughts on me. Just say you're sorry. (John talked about this also)

I actually laughed at Leonard when he called. He said he was sorry and then there was silence. I told him it was perfect. There's nothing else to say. We chatted about it a few days later.

Leonard: who thinks saying that kind of thing will make you feel better?
but they keep doing it. when dad died and then again with mom
me: people who haven't experienced loss I guess
Leonard: maybe
people who say what they think they're expected to say

Now, let me clarify that if you have had a miscarriage and are willing to share your experience, feel free to mention that. But don't launch into your horror story without permission.

I'm one of those people who likes to keep pregnancy to myself (and my hubby of course). I waited for 12 weeks, and after my first doctor appointment before I told anyone, other than our family. And it didn't do any good! Sneaky.

It Takes a Village:

Thanks to Tasha for being there when I first found out.
Thanks to Brook and Erin for the late-night Gatorade.
Thanks to Linda for taking me to the hospital.
Thanks to my doctor for being as awesome removing this baby as he was delivering Dalton.
Thanks to Jamie for picking me up, listening to me talk about who-knows-what, and for not throwing up at the blood on the floor.
Thanks to Jodi for watching Dalton, spending the night - and the whole next day - and coming over again the day after that.
Thanks to Sara, Suzanne and Jana for watching Maggie.
Thanks to Jana, Valerie, Sara, Susan and Ginger for bringing us food.
Thanks to John for the Disneyland trip so we can put this behind us. And for being the best husband ever.

And, thanks to Dave for immediately saying, "Yes, I can do that" when he didn't even know it was me asking for help. The world could use more "Yes, I can!"

[Comments] (1) Disneyland, Day 1: We got off to a slow start on Saturday, with Maggie complaining of an ear infection. John took her to the instacare, and I picked up a prescription after our drive to California. She survived. Sunday we spent All Day at Disneyland/DCA. Here are the highlights.

No rain predicted.
We go outside; it's raining.
See Mickey in Disneyland before it's even open. Dalton runs up and give him a big hug. Maggie runs away. Hmm. That's familiar: that's exactly what happened when we saw Santa.
We buy Dalton a $43 sweater.
M goes on Space Mountain with Mom. She doesn't like it.
M goes on Star Tours with Dad and loves it.
M goes on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with Dad and loves it.
M sees a pattern. Dalton cries at Woody and Jessie.
M goes on Splash Mountain with Dad and loves it (the pattern continues).
Dalton is persuaded to see Tigger, then Eeyore, then he gives up and runs to Pooh to give him a hug. Maggie, true to her word, is not afraid of Winnie-the-Pooh (and Friends).
Dalton goes on Winnie the Pooh for the third time and signs more (while Maggie gets Splash Mountain turns (and soaking wet)).
Maggie doesn't complain about her wet shoes, socks, and undies at all the rest of the day.
The tippity-top of Dalton's head barely touches the 35" mark (which amazes the cast members), and he gets to ride Gadget's Go-Coaster.
We see Mickey again in California Adventure and Maggie is persuaded to see him.
Maggie goes on Soarin' Over California (with Dad, of course) and loves it.
After Maggie and I go on Soarin' Over California, it is raining again, and John has left the park with the umbrellas and raincoats.
Maggie and I run to meet John and we have a $28 dinner from Wetzel's Pretzels inside the Disney Store.
Our kids do not beg for (or even ask for) toys.
As we walk back to our car in the rain, Dalton asks for his "racing ticket". He's been carrying the Autopia driver's license around all day, and falls asleep in the car holding it in his hand.

[Comments] (4) : Two more days of Disneyland. We spent most of the day yesterday, and a few hours this morning before driving to Pat & Alan's house. Dalton sent a kiss to Rapunzel during the parade, which she grabbed and held. He was just adorable.

I also taught the kids "monorail" instead of just another old train. Dalton calls it a Mama Rail! Soooooooo cute.

We drove straight through on the 101 and it took less than 4 hours to get here from Disneyland. We didn't even turn on the DVD player. The kids loved seeing the ocean; I loved NOT seeing the ocean crashing up onto the freeway like it was last time I made this drive.

[Comments] (2) Happy Day:

Bath with "new" bath toys
Boat-themed playground at the marina
Morro Rock
Montana de Oro
Windy beach
Smooth rocks
Huge seaweeds
Sandy shoes
Nice drive
Beautiful view
Happy day

Leah went running to say hi to Uncle Garry and Aunt Joan when they arrived for dinner and my kids happily followed suit, with hugs even. Never mind that the last time we saw them was in 2007. It was so good to see them again, though. Garry brought two boxes of Dewar's chews. Shannon brought adorable cookies, including a dinosaur one Maggie ate. Peach cobbler was involved. Need I say more?

Pat looks more like Grandma Rosie than ever (except not so old, of course) and it makes me kind of lonely. My kids are having a great time. More beaching will be happening tomorrow, I'm sure.

[Comments] (1) Elephant Seals and Sand Dollars: This morning, Pat and I drove the kids up past Hearst Castle to see the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas. It's the height of birthing season and there were hundreds of seals lying on the beach - light-colored mamas, black babies and HUGE males. It was really interesting to watch, but it was realllly cold.

We had lunch (fish and chips for the kids!) with a view of the harbor seals and the rock. Then we went to the beach at Morro Rock and collected dozens of sand dollars in the low tide. The kids loved it. Maggie washed them all when we got home (Dalton was too grumpy after late nights playing with cousins and took a nap).

We had dinner with Shannon and Shaun at the golf club and the kids practically jumped into bed when we got back. Pictures from our trip to Los Osos.

[Comments] (1) It Rained All Night the Day I Left: Just a few more notes and quotes from our California trip. I drove home yesterday through 3 snowstorms. Yay.

People keep asking me if my kids slept on the trip. 31 hours of driving later, I think it's safe to say the answer is "no." Dalton took a 1 hour nap on the way down, but that was it.

Seen on storage tanks on the side of the freeway: Gasoline. Diesel. Rocket Fuel.

Best Jungle Cruise joke ever: There's something you don't see every day. But I do. Every seven and a half minutes. Stay in school, kids.

Maggie when the Disneyland railroad pulled into the Toontown station. Right next to the Princess Fantasy Faire. "This is NOT our stop!"

Dalton woke up this morning and regaled me with all the rides we went on. "Dumbo fly! Pirate ship fly! Small world. Racing. Racing. Buzz. Light. Year." Etc. Too cute.

Pictures are up. Enjoy.

Keynote Speaker: Dalton has burst into full sentences over the past week or two. He's so smart! I love listening to him carry on conversations. He especially loves to chat about Disneyland. Here's a quote from our drive to the doctor's office yesterday.

Dalton: A food! Food! Hat food.
Me: Oh, that's Pizza Hut.
Dalton: Pizza. Hat.
Me: Yeah, they're asking for that.

[Comments] (1) Taking a Step: My first semester at BYU I took a Career Exploration class. Since I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. In that class, we read a devotional given by John H. Groberg titled What Is Your mission? He says:

Start moving in some direction. Start doing something--take a course, go on a date, choose a major. Start somewhere, in some area about which you at least do not feel negative. If you feel negative about everything, start in the area about which you feel least negative. In other words, do not just sit and wait for a big revelation. Do not wait for a change, or a transfer, or a move, or a different situation. Start where you are, now.

I took this advice literally. I had the vaguest of interests in Psychology (hah!) so I declared that as my major and registered for appropriate classes. Even then, I knew that Psychology wasn't a very good major - you have to go to graduate school to make anything useful of it. However, I was taking a step.

Within a year, because of that step, two things happened that changed my life. First, I volunteered at the Utah State Hospital, and there discovered Recreational Therapy. I graduated with that degree and though I didn't work in the field very long, I loved it. And it's a useful degree.

The second thing was even more important. In a Social Psychology class, a group of students came in and did a brief presentation on the Romanian internship opportunity I ended up doing. Even just applying for that internship changed my life. It was a very volatile time of my life and this opportunity was something to hope for, something I wanted to do. Then, it was in Romania that I grew up, became grounded, developed my testimony, learned who I was, tested myself, and I came home less selfish, happier, and shining. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

(As a side note, I took over the housing contract of a fellow intern the next summer, which is where I met John. So, we'll call that a third happy consequence.)

If you "desire to know your mission and calling in life" don't tread water. Don't wait for a change. Start where you are, now.

Facebook: Here are a few of my recent Facebook posts. Must integrate with my blog!

1/23: You know that sign between Middle-of-Nowhere, CA and Middle of Nowhere, NV that says "Salt Lake City 537"? I hate that sign.

1/25: Dalton learned something from riding Heimlich's Chew Chew Train 5 times in a row. He just burped and said, "Scuse Me!"

1/26: drove 1200 miles this week, only to get a speeding ticket on the way to the zoo.

1/27: spent $70 at Wetzel's Pretzels last week...

1/28: Maggie went on a special field trip to the Planetarium to see a film in its last week showing. Her favorite planet is now Pluto. I think I know why they're discontinuing the film...

What We Did: A while ago Maggie asked to play "Away in a Manger." I eventually realized she was talking about the Fisher Price Nativity set Kyli has. Yesterday she wanted to play that game again, but she meant acting it out. I was assigned to be a camel.

The kids love to hide and yell "Surprise!" (Or in Dalton's case, "Dubrise!") Dalton hid himself in the pantry and shut the door. I was focused on something else, but eventually noticed him calling, "Mommy! Oden door!" and came to his rescue. Or tried to. I had to try several closed doors before I found him. When I opened the pantry door, my first thought was that my onions had gone bad. But nope: Dalton had used his time in his hiding spot to make a dirty diaper. In my pantry!

Maggie tucked Dalton into bed last night. I heard a lot of:
"Airplane!" "Yes, Daddy's working."
"Night Night! Say Night Night!" "Night Night!"
"Here's Mickey Mouse so you can't have to be scared."
"Scoot over so you don't fall off."
Etc. The whole process took two reminders that it was her OWN bedtime, and about 15 minutes.

Today we went to the ward playgroup, IKEA for free kids lunch on Tuesdays, storytime at the library, and Jo-Ann (for the first time since we came home). Then, my cousin Jill came over and we made some Valentine's Day projects. She made a cute pillow cover, and I made a couple heart garlands. My project didn't turn out nearly as cute as I envisioned, but that's pretty typical. At least it got me using my sewing machine.

Maggie made an elaborate Valentine gift for me during that time, using, among other things, an entire tube of glitter glue and a Pooh Christmas sticker. I love it.

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