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!

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