Friday, December 31, 2010

Correspondence with St. Nick

Brynlee wrote a letter to Santa:
She included our Christmas Lists:

She mailed it. . .
And Santa wrote back:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Photo Album: a short-drive-awaycation

Two weeks before Christmas Spencer had a work conference in Thanksgiving Point, Utah.  The kids and I tagged along, because that’s what we do.  We had a ball.  The only thing that would have been better was if the work conference would have quit interfering with our family vacation.  Dang work!  Spence still managed to find plenty of time to hang out with us, and since we stayed in a hotel right at Thanksgiving Point the kids and I had plenty to do while Spencer spent the day conferencing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh My Quotable Wednesday: Family

And now begins their happily ever after.

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Jake Schwartz.

P.S. Thank you a million times over for your loving comments, emails, phone calls, texts & flower deliveries!  Serious, you guys. You helped lift my spirits. It was just like a team hug in the girl's locker after the most important game of the season had just been lost. Except for without the smell of teenage hormones and Teen Spirit. And without hearing the opposing team chanting and cheering obnoxiously in the next locker room over. I mean it when I say that I love and appreciate you guys.
You are the best. Every single one of you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Because my blog (equals) my journal.

Christmas in my kitchen window box,
with a beautiful speckle of loving red roses.
That smell as pretty as the look.
Three years ago on September 12, 2007 I sent out an email to my family and a handful of my closest friends.  I was fourteen weeks along with what was expected to be my second baby.

Hello Family and Friends, it started.

 I just wanted to update you on what has been going on with Spence and I in the last little bit.  Last Tuesday I had my 14 week doctor's appointment.  I think the Lord was preparing me, because prior to the appointment I keep having feelings that something was wrong and that I wouldn't be getting good news at my appointment.  My worries increased when the nurse was unable to find a heart beat on our baby.  After an ultrasound and a few other tests, the doctor concluded that I was probably going to miscarry and that we had just happened to catch the miscarriage before it happened.  He sent Spence and I home with a couple of wet Kleenexes and a stack of paper for my upcoming lab work.  I don't know why doctors are allowed to do that...give you bad news and then hand you a stack a papers summoning you to an intolerant nurses chair with a mile long needle.  There are few things that I hate worse than having to do blood work.  Plus, can't they get a sweet grandma[ish] lady to do your blood work....why does it always have to be somebody twice your size with a manly name and a deep raspy voice.  I see the lady standing at the lab door and want to turn, scream and run the way that Brynlee does when she sees the nursery doors on Sunday.

One of the hardest things (after all the needles, of course) was waiting the LONG week between the initial 14 weeks doctor's appointment and the follow-up appointment on Monday.  Still being pregnant, still experience morning sickness, but being almost certain that it was all for not.

On Monday, Spence and I went to the doctor with a new outlook.  We concluded that the Lord knows best and that sometimes you just have to turn things over to Him and roll with the punches.  The doctor stated what we already knew and told us that the pregnancy count in my blood was decreasing everyday and that I was becoming less pregnant rather than more pregnant.  In other words, something had gone wrong with the pregnancy earlier on, however, my body just hadn't miscarried yet. My doctor, Spence and I weighed our options and decided that the best thing for us to do at this point was to get a D&C.

Yesterday morning we were at the hospital at 6:00am ready for what awaited us.  At 9:00am I was back at home in bed on my way to recovery!  Things went well. 

I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Like I said we are doing great and just turned everything over to the Lord.  I realize that we only get to see a small snapshot of the big picture...and He definitely knows what is best for us.

Love to you all,


Today I write a similar letter. A letter of blood work, and pregnancy, and bad news, and wet Kleenexes. A letter of no heart beat, and ultrasounds, and tears, and miscarriage.  A letter all to familiar.  But most importantly, a letter of turning things over to the Lord.

On Monday afternoon Spencer and I sat in the ultrasound room at the hospital. I had spent what I expected to be a routine 10 week pregnancy appointment being poked and prodded; having just been informed that it was all but certain another miscarriage was in my very near future. This was to be the final ultrasound of the day. The technician talked us through the entirety of the ultrasound. She spent a lot of her time discussing the gestational sac. A healthy gestational sac, she explained, is perfectly round or oval in shape. It shouldn't be jagged around the edges, she ran her curser over the picture on the screen, like yours is here. She would take a measurement every now and again or talk briefly about other medical terms that the ultrasound pictures revealed, but always the conversation seemed to turn back to my unhealthy gestational sac.

After the ultrasound was complete, I sat on the end of the examination table with Spencer by my side, ehausted from 10 weeks of pregancy, the news, the tears, all the tests.  The last snapshot of my unhealthy gestational sac sat frozen on the ultrasound screen. I glanced up at the screen and then through a tear stained faced smiled at Spencer, "Look! My gestational sac looks just like a heart!" And it did, too. The perfect shape, a little heart, frozen there on the screen.

You know if it wasn't to be a typical 'healthy gestational sac', perfectly round or oval in shape, I believe that a heart is the next best thing. A little hidden message from my sweet unborn baby.  Everything was going to be just fine, and I now knew it.  Through an unhealthy gestational sac, I was told it.  Isn't it funny how things like that happen?

I have now officially had as many D&C's as I've had healthy labor & deliveries. Two of each, fifty percent. But you know what? I've had two healthy labor & deliveries. And two healthy, beautiful little babies.  Right now I'm counting my blessings. And these two little angels are on the very, VERY top of my list.

Friday, December 17, 2010


With a couple of dad's old mission pictures as proof, I would like to make it known that Conan O'Brien and my dad were once mission companions. 

Wouldn't you agree?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Visiting Santa: Take One

We went to the Festival of Trees.
Santa was there.
Brynlee jumped right up on his lap.
She visited about helping her mom and making her bed.
And about the reindeer and Santa's upcoming Christmas schedule.
She told him she wanted shrinky dinks this year for Christmas.
She had written him a letter earlier in the week.
With a list of Christmas wants.
Shrinky dinks were not on that list.
Her Christmas list seems to be changing quite frequently this year.
From a Unicorn Pillow Pet.
To a Mario Christmas Tree Ornament.
To a real live jack-in-the-box that throws candy and prizes and money when he pops up!
I was happy to hear shrinky dinks. That's easy. And real.

Santa Claus's with real beards scare me.
Give me the heebie jeebies.
Something weird about an old man that really grows out a beard to look like Santa.
Scared Jace, too.

Photo Album: Thanksgiving 2010

Facts about Thanksgiving:
  • We had Thanksgiving at Jessica's house this year.
  • Do you want to know what's nice about having Thanksgiving at Jessica's house? Everything.
  • Dude! Our turkey was huge. And fresh, never frozen. Jake's mom raised it. It was at least 30 pounds, maybe more.  Jake is totally welcome into our family.
  • My Grandpa Branch joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. Love him.
  • Is your family party's short on pizzazz? Try climbing through a broom stick after Thanksgiving dinner. It's bound to entertain.
  • The girls put on the cutest little set of plays for our enjoyment. They were headed by Marie and Maddie. Word is that the two of them spent hours on the phone planning the productions.
  • I saw their notebook of play notes. ADORABLE! And very detailed.
  • They did the "The Three Little Turkeys". Which was very, very similar to "The Three Little Pigs". Expect for instead of not by the hair of my chinny chin chin. It was not by the feather of my tailly tail tail! And they were turkeys instead of pigs; well, when the narrator remembered to make the substitution while reading "The Three Little Pigs" book. Which wasn't often.
  • And then they did their take on The First Thanksgiving. And one more play, which was a story written by Marie.
  • Oh my goodness, I'm sorry you missed the production. They were perfection. I love those girls.
  • Brad made focaccia bread for the day after Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. I'm also sorry you missed that.  Also perfection.  I ate three sandwiches. No joke. Brad can cook, you guys.
  • Not to brag, but I hold the title for the "Champion of Arm Wrestling" girls division. I suggest next time you bring you're A-game, ladies.
  • And then we ate Thanksgiving dinner again at Andrew & Tammy's house with Spence's side of the family.
  • Even after I ate THREE turkey sandwiches on Brad's focaccia bread.
  • I tell you what; I was dedicated to Thanksgiving this year.

Climbing through the broom. 
It's tricky.  Really, you should try it. 
Right now.  No ones watching.  Go.  Get a broom.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


You can dress him up. . .

...but you can't take him out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There. I believe I’ve over-explained enough.

It all started with a little bribing promise. If he went potty on the big potty we would go to the gas station and get a pink sucker. He was successful {woot, woot}, and so the kids and I put on jackets, hats and gloves and prepped ourselves for an afternoon walk in quest of the pink sucker. Jace insisted on wearing his Spiderman snow boots, and although there was no snow to be walked upon, who am I to deny anyone a Spiderman boot wearing opportunity. Plus, he'd just gone potty on the big potty. I would've let him make the trek barefoot if only he'd suggested it. We walked to the gas station, and I chuckled as I eyed Jace trying to master the art of walking in snow boots. It really is an art, you know. One that takes practice. And determination.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the broken arm story; except for, I hold the Spiderman Snow Boots partially responsible.

Jace gave up on the boots and rode in the stroller on the way home. He was exhausted. Plus, he had his prized pink sucker. Everyone knows that a novice snow boot-er can't thoroughly enjoy a sucker and walk in snow boots at the same time.

While we were at the gas station, Brynlee had purchased a Barbie, some Dora bubbles for Jace, and a plastic recorder with her $10.00 coloring contest prize money. And when we returned home she immediately ran inside to learn to squeak play the recorder. I decided to sweep the last of the orphaned leaves out of the garage. And Jace asked if he could go jump on the tramp.

Again. . . empty details, people. Things that don't really need to be shared except for to say that Jace Buddy {and the Spiderman Snow Boots} were now jumping on the trampoline. Alone.

I heard screaming. I dropped the broom and ran to rescue Jace, who was {somehow} lying on the grass, behind the trampoline, next to the fence. Curses to the neighborhood kids who had ruined our trampolines safety net earlier this summer. I hold them even more responsible than the blasted Spiderman Boots. And I put A LOT of blame on those boots. {For the record, a novice snow boot-er also can't jump on the trampoline and wear snow boots at the same time. And also for the record, a new safety net is a heck of a lot cheaper, and less painful, than a broken arm.}

I brought a frazzled Jace in, rocked him, and he fell asleep for his nap.

When he awoke, I didn't think anything more about the trampoline incident. He seemed like he wasn't feeling well, though. A bit whiney, irritable, not very active. At one time he rolled over onto his arm and started crying. Big tears, real tears, painful tears. But I didn't put two and two together. Remember, I thought he was getting sick. His body probably aches, I told myself. And I gave his a dosage of Tylenol.

It wasn't until bedtime that it finally came to me. I tugged on his little arm while trying to pull it into a fitted pair of slipper-nighties. He jerked his arm back, "Hurt, hurt" he cried. I started doing the test. Moving his arm forward. Backwards. Trying to lift it above his head. Touching his fingers. Moving his wrist. It was obvious his arm was bothering him, but I wasn't sure where. I pinpointed the wrist area.  I was hoping it was just a bit sprained. Maybe jammed from trying to catch himself when he hit the ground.

The next morning we awoke to a winter wonderland. After breakfast we bundled up to make our first snowman of the season. Snowsuits, hats, coats, boots and gloves. When I tried to force Jace's tiny hand into his glove he interjected. Loudly and painfully. I knew then that something was wrong. It had been an entire day and his arm was still bothering him and it's not like Jace to let a little 'owie' slow him down.

Twenty minutes later we were at the doctor's office. Buddy was a trooper. He let the doctor examine, x-ray, and eventually cast his arm without much complaining. We told him that the doctor was going to make his arm all better, and I think he was willing to give it a try.

Spencer nicknamed his broken arm his robot arm and within seconds had taught Jace to shoot his laser cannon by holding the blue cast forward and "Pshoo! Pshoo-ing!" at Brynlee and me. Oh, daddy's are so funny.

He's only asked us to take the cast off a few times and is actually learning to cope quite well with a "robot arm". It seems so unfair to be a two-year-old with a broken arm. It breaks my heart. Yet, at the same time there is nothing as adorable as a teeny tiny blue cast on a teeny tiny arm. Watching him eat, play dinosaurs, push the play shopping cart, color, climb the stairs. It's all so new and so perfectly adorable.

The broken arm details:
        He has a buckle fracture.
        Two actually.
        In both the Ulna and the Radius.
Buckle fractures are common breaks in young children.
Because there bones aren't brittle enough to snap like adults.
He should heal quickly and without problem.
He has to wear the cast for three weeks.
It will be a nice Christmas present to get it off.
It's his right hand.
He's right handed.
Although he has adjusted to his left hand well.
Did I mention how adorable he is?
Because seriously you guys.
We love you, Buddy!
And your Robot Arm.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Keeping Score

Jace: ZERO
Trampoline: ONE

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh My Quotable Wednesday: Memories

me, jami & jessica-1984
I've been a bit nostalgic lately; this time of year always seems to do it to me. This week, more than usual.

I've been consumed by a project; one that involves piles and piles of old pictures. The dated pictures cause memories to flood my mind. Memories from my childhood: grandma's house, my siblings, the blue Smurf bike, tubing behind the 4-wheeler, clogging, rolling down cottonseed. Memories from my awkward years: moving to Filer, 7th & 8th grade volleyball, dairy heifer 4-H, playing Skip-bo on the bus, Erin, cheerleading, writing notes to Josh. High school memories: dating, sports, early morning seminary, friendships, late night talks with Lacy, Jamba Juice, football games, speech competitions, first love. And then Spence and I will start talking about remember when. Remember when we watched the fireworks from the Perkins roof? Remember when we drove all the way to Jackson Hole, and then turned around and came right back home? Remember when I whispered something to you during church at our college ward and then you answered back real loud just to be funny? Remember when we drove home from Utah in that snow storm and when we finally made it back we decided that we couldn't drive one more second in the snow. So we parked the car and walked, in the blizzard, to eat dinner at Wingers? Some of my favorite memories are remember when's with Spencer. And a lot of our memories are still in the making. Sweet memories, for us and our children, yet to be created.

I hope that my kids will have as fond of memories of their childhood as I do of mine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

It snowed today!

And in case you're wondering. . . I have a Cherry Cheesecake in the making, a small wrapped gift sitting on the counter and a bottle of {mormon} bubbly chilling in the fridge. Actually, two bottles of {mormon} bubbly. We have houseguests.

Happy 1st Snow Day, my friends.

Do tell, did it snow where you live?
Spence, me, and our very first snowman.
Made back in the dating years.  Possibly 2001?

And in case you're interested . . . an explanation of "Happy 1st Snow Day" originally published October 13, 2008.

. . . Let me explain. There are so many details that make this story more interesting, but I'm sure you have somewhere other than this blog to be, so I'll summarize.

See Spence. See Kim. See Spence and Kim meet and fall in love. See Kim get cold feet and run (stupid Kim). See Spence's truck. See the bald tires. See the first snow storm of the winter. It's a BAD snow storm. See Kim call Spence to see if he needs to borrow her car. See Spence agree then take Kim out to dinner in return. See Kim realize that she is indeed in love with Spence. See Spencer and Kim get married.

And because of all this Spencer and I celebrate the first snow storm every year. I know…were dorks, but there are just not enough holidays in the year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh My Quotable Wednesday: Roomates

*i love these gals. always and forever.
*there's other roomates, too.  that aren't pictured.
*and i love them just the same.

*picture from this par-tay.

Can’t talk long, awaiting a phone call from Oprah

Look who won a Halloween coloring contest: 

It was like the BEST! DAY! EVER! 

We celebrated by going to the ice-cream place for Family Home Evening.  And she won a candy bar, a stuffed Halloween kitty, and a ten dollar gift certificate to our neighborhood gas station. 

It was just like she had won the lottery.  Except she didn't have to pay half her winnings back in taxes and fees.  And she got a huge scoop of play-doh ice-cream. 

So really, even better than winning the lottery.

Monday, November 1, 2010

October Leftovers

Four things. Five pictures. 

Thing one. Jace learned to climb in and out of his crib all by himself. And not safely either. His dismount includes a small front flip onto the nearby rocking chair. And as his loving parents we're afraid that in the near future the crib escape stars won't align; and in consequence it won't end well for our lil' two-year-old hero.

In other news, we bought a new bed. And last night Jace spent the very last night of October in a big boy bed. And I mumbled and groaned because we're ruining it, he sleeps so dang good in his crib and how will I ever contain him at naptime and maybe if he bonked his head a time or two he wouldn't try the front flip escape route anymore and naptime would be saved. Maybe.

Thing two. Brynlee's not a big fan of door to door trick-or-treating. She loves a good trunk-or-treat, or a Halloween carnival or even trick-or-treating in a small area. But door-to-door? No way! Absolutely not. The whole ordeal is a bit overwhelming for someone as reserved and timid as her. Because, get this, you have to knock on someone's door. And then they open it. And then they stand there and look at you. And then YOU HAVE TO SAY TRICK-OR-TREAT! AND THANK YOU! AND QUITE POSSIBLY MAKE EYE CONTACT!! And all you get in return is one piece of candy. And all that knocking on someone's door, and making eye contact, and talking to people is SO NOT WORTH ONE LOUSY PIECE OF CANDY.

We trick-or-treated two neighbors' doors and then she asked if we could call it a night. And I was completely on board. Because between the ZooBoo, her preschool Halloween party, trick-or-treating at the library and our ward Halloween carnival I figured our dentist had enough job security for the upcoming year.

Thing three. And just for the record Jace doesn't care where he trick-or-treats. It's clearly just a means to an end. The source isn't important as long as a steady stream of candy gets put in his bag. Candy is his love language. But to be honest he doesn't really eat it. He samples. Opens every single piece, takes a lick, then hands it to Spencer to properly dispose of.

Thing four. Project: Master Bathroom is oh, so close to Project: Completion. Please feel free to address all congratulatory correspondence {and small gifts if you feel so inclined} to the lady who sold her sanity for an updated masterbathroom. Would it be weird to have a Bathroomwarming party in celebration? Just wondering.
Picture one: Brynlee amongst the picked {green?} pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.

Picture two: Apples and carmel.  Yum.

Picture three: Family todem pole at the corn maze.

Picture four:  Spence and our costume clad children digging for dinosaur fossils at the ZooBoo.

Picture five: Remnants of a Saturday afternoon birthday party with friends.
Happy November, ya'll.
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