Sunday, May 31, 2009

Family filled weekend

This weekend has been fun and full of family! On Friday night, we had Greg's brother Paul over with his 3 kids - Dallin, 8, Parker, 6, and Kyralyn, almost 3. We bbq-d and played the Wii and the boys tossed the football around the backyard & jumped off the rocks, and we watched the play-offs. Dallin is really tall for his age, and is already 5'2" - which is taller than Tayler! Kyralyn is hilarious. She is totally Greg's shadow right now. If Greg was not in her immediate line of vision, she would say, "Hea-door, where Uncle Geg?"

On Saturday we had Greg's sister Tammy, and Uncle Glenn and his wife Kathy over for dinner. It was fun to see them! After dinner we played a little bit of Hearts, with some crazy variations in the rules. I was winning for most of the game, until the others ganged up on me and I got the Queen of Spades quite a few times in a row. Uncle Glenn ended up winning, and he did not let us forget it!

After Uncle Glenn and Kathy left, Tanya, Dave, and Andrew stopped by on their way home from St. George. It was getting a little late, and Andrew was a little cranky from being in the car for a few hours. We managed to keep him entertained, though, with his baby doll, and the piano, and the race car - his favorite toys to play with at our house. I also pulled out my laptop, and showed Andrew this video of himself that I took the night we got Tayler's announcement. He laughed and laughed at himself! We must have watched it 20 times. In the video, you can hear him saying "whoa, whoa, whoa" - and as we watched it, he would say it out loud. In the video, I also ask him to say "chop, chop" - and every time, he would say it. It was hilarious to watch Andrew watch himself.
video
Tonight we had my mom and grandma and brother Jon and sister-in-law Teri over for dinner. We made short ribs, and they are so yummy! They take a long time to cook, but it is definitely worth it. I even made kraut noodles, and maybe made a couple of converts! I got the recipe from Jonette, so every time I make them I have major memories of sitting at their kitchen table eating them. Jon challenged us to a little bowling on the Wii after dinner. It was Mom's first time playing, and she did awesome! She beat Jon in the regular version, and then we played the power one on the training, and she won the first time on that as well. Go Mom!

My grandma is so cute! She is almost 94 and, in my mom's words, still very spry.

Teri is 11 weeks pregnant, and is expecting a Christmas baby. She has unfortunately been very nauseous in her pregnancy so far. I hope it gets better for her soon!

I have been so grateful in the last couple of weeks of the outpouring of support we have received from family and friends. This is definitely a tender mercy. I always knew we had amazing friends and relatives, but it has really hit home lately. Thank you for always being there for us - for sharing in our sorrows and challenges, and celebrating in our joys. Our lives are so rich because of the love with which we are surrounded.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bracken

I was able to have lunch yesterday with my good, cute, sweet, intelligent, amazing friend Beth. She also brought Jayston, who has to be the most adorable little boy ever! He was so good during our lunch. He just ate his Cheerios and some rice from Mom's meal, and smiled at me.

I borrowed these pictures from her blog:

This picture of Beth is of her 20 weeks pregnant - and she is barely showing! She has popped out a leeeetle bit since this pic was taken, though.

Anyhoo, the point of this post is to tell a story that demonstrates that all of my reading of 19th century British literature is of true value in every day life.

Beth's ultrasound shows that another little boy will join her family in the middle of September. She brought a list of names that she and Gabe are considering to get my opinions. I have no problem giving my opinions, and it was fun to read over her list.

One of the names on the list was Bracken. I read it and thought, that has a nice sound. And then I thought again - isn't Bracken a kind of a weed? Or foliage? Or something in the forest? It seems like it should be in a sentence like, "they were amazed at the verdure and bracken."

I just got an email from Beth. Bracken = a fern.

Scratch that name off of the list!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pop's Birthday

Tomorrow is my Pop's Birthday
He first taught me how to pray
He's lived 64 years
Without shedding many tears
He's happy in every single way

Pops has never been one for much napping
He enjoys wandering and tramping
He blogs lots and lots
And loves to sleep on cots
Every time he goes CAMPing

I wish him the best at this time of year
And wish that he and Pat lived more near
So that Greg and I
Could see him by and by
Because in my heart he is so dear!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Face-to-face meeting

Today was awesome! Greg and I were able to meet with Tayler and her parents for the first time. She is a beautiful young woman! She is also the teeniest little thing - so petite - as you can see in this picture. I thought my sister Bobi was petite, but she probably is at least an inch taller than Tayler...

I was a little anxious going in to the meeting, mostly because I hoped Tayler would be comfortable with us, and we would be able to have a good conversation. I think overall it went really well!

When we first walked in the room where Tayler was waiting with her parents, I just went right to her and gave her the biggest hug and started crying. I promised myself ahead of time I would not cry - but what are you going to do? I got it under control quickly, though, and did not cry again. Tayler's case worker Margaret was there, as well as Hayley (representing our case worker Adrienne, who is on vacation in Europe). So we had a full room!

I had to know first thing how Tayler has felt during her pregnancy. She said that at the beginning she was really sick, but that now she is feeling great, and just wants to eat all of the time.

Then Margaret stepped in and helped moderate the conversation. This was great because she knows the kinds of things Tayler is concerned about, and she knows the things Greg and I wanted to know about. We talked about everything from how Greg and I met, to our first date, to their dogs (2 chocolate labs), to our plans to get a lab puppy soon, to how Tayler was as a baby, to her favorite foods, to her love of turtles, to what books we have read lately, to her siblings (a brother and a sister), to what Tayler wants as far as openness after placement, to how she came to find us and pick us to parent her baby. We talked about her birthday (August 6, and her due date is August 5) and her plans for school. We covered a lot - but there is so much more to know!

We were together just over an hour, and the time flew by! Before I knew it, Margaret was wrapping things up and we were taking pictures. I cannot wait until we can get together again and learn even more about Tayler and her family.


On the way home, we stopped at Babies 'R' Us and wandered around and looked at all of the baby products. I could not resist, and we bought some adorable pink outfits, and some baby blankets, and an amazing stuffed turtle. My plan for the nursery is to paint the walls some kind of sage green, and to do everything in sage green, pink, and brown, with accents of - you guessed it - turtles.

So, that is the update for an amazing day. It feels real to me now. It feels like we will actually welcome a baby to our home in approximately 2 months. Words cannot really express how I feel right now. We have been married almost 15 years, and have been actively striving to add children to our family for over 12 years. We have had a good life together, and I cannot wait to see how much better it will be!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Best. Surprise. Ever!

This is what our yard looked like when we came home tonight. This is now, officially, the best day of my life!

I got a weird phone call late afternoon from my sister-in-law Staci. She asked me what my plans were for the night, and so I told her I had mother/daughter book club. She asked what time it started, and then made up some excuse like, "we will have to hang out some other time." Then, a few minutes later, she called me back and said that she knew it sounded really weird, but that I needed to trust her, and that I needed to leave the house, and that she had called Greg and he was coming home from a basketball tournament in Ogden to meet me in an hour.

Instantly, I was bewildered. What kind of a crazy request was that? Why would Greg need to drive all the way back from Ogden? But, like the obedient girl that I am, I left the house and went to my mom's house. Those who know me know how little I like surprises. I always like to pick my own gifts. I can't hardly stand it if I do not know what is going on. So, this was driving me crazy! I could not figure out what could possibly be happening. I instantly thought it must have something to do with a baby, but I could not figure out how Staci could possibly be connected with Tayler. Then, since Staci is a Relief Society President in her ward, I started conjecturing that she found us a baby. But that did not feel right, either. I finally decided I only had to wait an hour or so, so I would simply try not to think about it (that did not really work, but at least I had a plan!).

When Greg got to Draper he called me and I met him on the road, where I followed him home. As soon as we turned on our street, I saw a lots of people standing in the road, and lots of pink balloons floating in our yard.
Then I saw Tayler's sign, and I almost started hyperventilating - and then the tears started flowing. Was this really happening to us?

The next thing I realized was that people were cheering - everyone from Tayler's case worker to our good neighbors Pam & Doug and Jason & Jennifer to Greg's parents and some of his siblings & their families. Greg and I each got out of our cars and looked at each other, and then we were bombarded with people hugging us. I couldn't stop crying.

And then Staci's weirdness made sense, and it was all good, because this was truly the best surprise ever!

And it got even better. Margaret (Tayler's case worker) gave us a letter that Tayler had written (in her own handwriting, on Hello Kitty notepaper) that said she wanted us to raise her baby.
My heart is so full right now. I wish tomorrow was Wednesday, because that is when we get to meet Tayler for the first time. I am counting down the hours!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Gotcha Girl and other highlights of the week

I love hanging out with my friend Amy/Emily and her children. To them - or maybe just the oldest, Joshie - I am the Gotcha Girl, AKA Helen/Heather. Frankly, I am not sure her children know what to call me!

The GG nickname started when Amy's twins, Zach and Nate were toddlers, and they were living in her mom's basement while Cliff built them a house, literally with his own two hands. Amy's mom lives basically across a field from us, so I would go over once a week or so to help wrestle the twins and hang out.

One time, Amy was telling me a story, and after every point, I would say "gotcha." We did not think Joshie was paying attention, when all of a sudden he burst out with "gotcha, gotcha, gotcha!" It became a joke, and now every time I see him, we make sure to say "gotcha" a lot.

Amy just introduced the newest member of her family, little Cami. Amy finally got another girl in the family - she has been waiting and waiting! I went over to meet her and hang out for a while. Cami looks a lot like Joshie did as a baby, which totally takes me back. It was fun to see her and hang out. The twins do not really remember me, since we usually hang out just as adults. Sadly, Josh was at school, do I did not get to see him.

When I first got to Amy's house, she was in the basement doing something, and did not hear the doorbell ring. The twins are 5ish now, and I could hear them trying to let me in. It seemed to take a while, but then all of a sudden, the door was open, and they let me right in when I asked if their mom was home. We spent a few minutes talking in the foyer before Amy came back from the basement. Amy had put a child lock thingie on the front door, but the twins were motivated to let me in, and figured out how to open the door with it. Oops. So much for that plan!

Zach and Nathan wore their sunglasses pretty much the whole time I was there. They are apparently obsessed with Bono and U2 and even sang me some of their songs. Pretty funny! I also love the brotherly love they are expressing in the above picture. Are they trying to hug each other, or strangle each other?
Their cousin Addie May came over to play, and she wanted in on our impromptu photo shoot. I could not resist them doing Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil. Willing models!

Last week I was also able to go with Tanya and Dave and Andrew to see the new house that they are buying. I am so excited for them to make this step! It is a great house - feels very roomy and open. I was able to entertain Andrew while Tanya and Dave signed papers with the realtor. Bobo is too darn cute for words. He is a funny boy! He is starting to talk now, and he will count 1-2-3 and say chop-chop.

I also got to babysit Andrew Monday morning for a few hours. I had a headache, but I didn't care when he got there. He is so snuggly in the morning. We played with the baby doll (he likes to feed it because it makes slurping sounds) and with the car (which revs like a race car when you shake it) and the piano (he loves the sound effects, and to dance to the songs). It was fun! I always like it when Greg's mom is gone or unavailable on Monday mornings, because then I get to take her turn to babysit.

The highlights of my week all include children! Go figure.

I also started the summer semester, and I seem to have a great crop of students. We have already had some good discussions and good questions. Work is boring without Beth, though - she is not on campus this summer...

I have been saving the best for last: the ultimate highlight of the week was getting a phone call from our case worker to set up a face-to-face meeting with a birth mom next week. This does not necessarily mean that she will pick us, but it is a step in her decision-making process. Your prayers are working miracles in our behalf! Please keep praying for us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Primary Presidency

I love the ladies in the Primary Presidency that I work with! Nina is the Inspiration Guru - she always seems to come up with the best solutions, and once she says them, we all think it could not happen any other way. Darci is the Idea Guru - she always has the best and most creative ideas for everything from throwing parties to doing teacher appreciation. Julie is the Keep-Us-All-Together Guru - she keeps track of all of us and makes sure we are doing things correctly. I am the It'll-Be-Fine Girl - my "unofficial" policy is "If you ignore the problem long enough it will resolve itself!" Oh, we deal with issues, but most of the time it does seem like things have a way of working themselves out if we don't get too hot under the collar and add more emotions to the mix.

We hold our presidency meetings at Darci's house, and the kids play so well together. Here are Brooklyn and Matthew showing what good friends they are. They usually play in the basement, and we never even hear them (unless Brookie has to go potty). Brookie always talks to me and she is my buddy. She likes to show me her pretty outfits. Matthew will sometimes talk to me - I have been working on him for a year and a half now! I am also Nina's visiting teacher, so I work on him when I am at his house also.
Darci's baby, Cache, has been going through a stage where he only wants mom, and he will SCOWL at anyone who tries to talk to him. It is hilarious - and I had to try and capture the expression! Darci was laughing at me, because I was saying things like, "Come on Cachie, let me see you scowl." She said she is always trying to get him to smile for pictures. What is the fun in that?

He has been sick lately, and now he is starting to feel better. I am happy that he is getting to be a happier baby - but his scowl was not as pronounced as usual. I think you can get the idea, though!

Cache is also at that stage of development where he thinks no one can see him if he can't see you. This is the usual progression of our interaction:

Heather: Cachie, what are you doing?
Cache: scowl
H: Are you scowling at me?
C: covers eyes with hands
H: Cache, you are a funny boy!
C: peeks at me from behind his fingers

Cache also thinks it is pretty funny to throw everything on the floor. He has started saying, "Uh oh" when he does it, though, which is pretty adorable. I captured a little bit of him playing around with his food, and the voices belong to Nina and Julie. Watch how Cache looks at all of us while he is deciding if he should throw his cup or not. He is is so dang cute!
video

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Funny blogs

My friend Laurieann sent me some links to a few blogs she likes, and as I was clicking around, I found a link to a blog called Peeps of Mormon. You should check it out - I laughed so hard!

Also funny is the blog called What Mormons Like. I have linked up my favorite post. And here is another winner.

Thanks, Laurie, for an enjoyable hour! Now, it's time to get back to work. Maybe I should post grades for the semester. That's what I got on the computer to do...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Result: Priceless

1 Truck
2 Shovels
4 Gloves
6 Hours of Work (each)
65 Degree Weather
97 Sore Muscles
5,860 pounds of Rock

The Result:
One more section of the weed pit - um, I mean the backyard - is reclaimed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Day in the Life

Here is a glimpse in to a day in my life:

I woke up at 7:30 (before my "just-in-case" alarm went off) and got up and puttered around the bathroom a little before I decided that I did not feel like getting up yet. So I went back to bed and snuggled with Greg some more, and thought about what I needed to do. I am sure I snoozed a little...

I got up for real about an hour later and did Wii Fit. I am not that coordinated, but I have fun doing the exercises - especially all of the yoga. I have always really loved yoga, since I discovered it when we went to MSU-Bozeman. The Wii tells me funny things, like "do you have trouble walking?" I really need to work on my balance, apparently (and yet, I rock at yoga!).

Then I ate breakfast while I read my scriptures. I am currently going through the New Testament. It is always nice to read the words of the Savior from when he was on the earth.

About 10:45 I fired up the computer, got iTunes playing, and graded papers for my online class. I got through all of the semester projects (6-10 page papers that the students were supposedly working on all semester) and had them graded and recorded by 1:45. Please do not tell students how little time it takes to grade all of their hard work - it may burst some bubbles! Besides a couple of stragglers with technology problems, I have finished all of the work for my online class for the semester. That feels good!

Next I had a little lunch, read my latest book while eathng, and then hopped in the shower. I just had to take another picture of my nasty bruise, because now it is a fantastic yellowy-green hue. I got my hand in the picture so that there is some scale - it is truly huge and fairly disgusting!

The red scrape in the middle must be from where I connected with the armrest of the chair bolted down in the Marriott Center. That chair was not going anywhere; it was up to my leg to give way. Apparently the Wii is right! I do have trouble walking...


After getting presentable for other people to see, I spent just a few minutes doing domestic things (like laundry and dishes) before starting piano lessons at 3:30. It always feels good to do those little things to keep my house clean and fresh. I can really tell a difference in the atmosphere when the house is clean.

While I was teaching piano, Greg got home from work and started right in on mowing the lawn. We have had so much rain lately that it has gotten fairly long (obviously he has not been able to mow it in the rain). As soon as I got done at 6:45, I changed clothes and headed out to do some weeding. That is by far my favorite chore (NOT). I did not mind it that much tonight. Maybe it is because it is the beginning of the year, and it felt really good to be working outside. After weeding for a while, and cleaning the grass clippings off of the sidewalk and driveway, I headed back to plant some more stuff in our garden. Only about half of our initial planting of peas came up, so I replanted the peas, and planted more spinach (to space the harvest) and some more carrots.

About then (8:30ish) it was starting to get dark, so I came in and made some dinner (listening to more music, of course), and watched a little of Dancing With the Stars while I ate. How did I live before TiVo? I love not having to watch commercials, and just having my shows automatically record.

Now I am documenting the day, and then I will go watch some more DWTS and then head to bed. It's been a great day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Women's Conference

On Wednesday, I had an awesome time meeting Gwen, Shannon, and Joanna for lunch. Those ladies crack me up! Since I was going to Women's Conference, I was not going to be doing my stocking job this week, so I had to get my Jo fix in...

Thursday and Friday were spent with Gwen and Kandice at Women's Conference. It was amazing! I love the spirit that I feel when I go. Normally a lot more of the Book Club ladies go, but this year (because of new babies and husbands out of town) it was just Kandice and I. That worked out great, though, so we could also hang out with Gwen. We also met up with Judy and some of her relatives for many classes.
Kandice and I picked up a humanitarian aid project to work on for Thursday. Thank goodness we were with Gwen, or we would never have figured out the instructions. I know how to crochet a single stitch and a double stitch, but I do not know how to read crochet instructions. Gwen taught us how to do it - and amid many frustrating moments caused by the super cheap yarn - we completed very pretty flowers! At a future point, the flowers will be attached to barrettes and made into clips for little girls' hair. I am excited to have learned how to do something new, and happy to have found a project that is really fast (20 minutes-ish per flower).

On Thursday night, Gwen went home and Kandice and I stayed for the concert. We saved seats for Judy et al., but in a different place than we had originally planned on. Kandice and I saw Judy come in, so I went around the Marriott Center to retrieve her. On the way back, I was looking over my shoulder at Judy and talking with her, and I rammed my leg (HARD) in to a seat. I am now the proud owner of a nasty-looking bruise. This picture really does not do it justice - it is purple and blue and black and raised. The first night, I swear it was an entire inch off of my leg.

The concert was great. My favorite performer every year is Hilary Weeks. She combines great music with funny commentary. Her best story went something like this:
So, I read a study the other day that stated that people grow up to be like their name. Lots of George's grow up to be geologists, and lots of Dennis' grow up to be dentists. That makes me wish that I had been named Millionair-y instead of Hilary, so that I could have grown up to be a millionaire, instead of aspiring to be a small mountain.
In thinking about this, she was appropriately named, because she is hilar-ious.

Women's Conference is great because we take the time to work on projects. Judy was knitting baby hats, and Gwen was working on an embroidered quilt block, and Kandice was working on a cross stitch for her 4th girl (so she can do the one for her 5th baby after he is born in July) and I was trying to finish crocheting a leper bandage.

I find I can listen more attentively if my hands are busy doing something else. This is especially true with the leper bandages, because it is just a repetitive stitch, back and forth, and I do not have to pay very much attention.

When I was in line to get lunch on Friday, a lady walked by with a funny T-shirt on. It said:

Grain is for man
D&C 89:16
Chocolate is for woman
M&M 24:7

In the closing session on Friday, the chorister is this awesome lady that is also (usually) the chorister for Bro Wilcox's Institute class that Gwen and I attend on Wednesdays. I had to take a picture of her, because it was totally cool to see her in such a big venue.

So, it was a great couple of days filled with uplifting speakers and great messages and an amazing spirit. We also had lots of LDS celebrity sightings - like Sheri Dew and Sis Uchtdorf, and ran into lots of people that we know. I talked with Tammy and Tanya's Laurel advisor from Colorado (and I have already forgotten her name - was it Caron Nannie? She saw my name tag and brought up the connection), and I ran in to Laurieann (my coolest TA ever).

It was great to go and it was great to come home. When I got home Friday night and checked my email, there was a message from a girl in South Dakota we have been corresponding with who is considering adoption. That was super exciting, and the best moment of the whole week! Please keep praying for us, and praying for birth moms.

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