Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm Back! {And a link to a giveaway!}

Hi Blog Friends,

It's been a while!  I stepped out of Utah for a little over a week for a MUCH needed vacation.  We were able to go to Washington state and visit my family.  It was amazing.  I will post all about it {pictures included!} when I have a chance to catch my breath.

Until then...

2 Guys Loans {A local Utah company and my employer} has entered into the world of social media.  Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.  And check out their website to see what they're all about.

If you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram you have heard about how much I love my job.  I truly work for the greatest people and I wholeheartedly believe in the products they offer and their stellar business ethics.  These guys really are the best.

Have I mentioned how lucky I am to be a part of the 2 Guys Loans team?  I am!  So lucky!

Now for the fun stuff...

2 Guys Loans is doing a GIVEAWAY!  Are you interested in tickets to x96's Big Ass Show?  Just like 2 Guys on Instagram, re post the giveaway photo, and like them on Facebook for a chance to win!  Good luck guys!

Xoxo, Tonja

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Decadence, Lunch Dates, and Crio Bru.

The past week or so has been rough.  I have been tired.  Really tired.  Between packing, moving, unpacking, organizing, work, and very little sleep... I am just tired.

This morning was the worst.  I got up a little early, but I couldn't drag myself out of bed.  It took me forever to get ready because I was so exhausted.  I got to work 5 minutes early.  I accomplished the things that I needed to accomplish.  I asked my boss to fix something for me and as he was fixing what needed to be fixed I dozed off in my chair.  Sitting straight up.  I am tired.

Because I am so tired I have also been irritable.  Which annoys me probably almost as much as it annoys everyone around me.

So I sent my dear friend Carissa a text that said, "Today I think it's necessary to visit Decadence and buy myself a massive Crio Bru latte."

Long story short, we met at Decadence on 1600 North in Orem.  {Best friends leave work even when they planned on skipping their lunch that day to meet a friend in need of a pick-me-up.}

{Photo taken from a Google image search of Decadence Utah}

Decadence is charming.  It is a small artisan cafe that has a drive-thru.  It has a few outdoor bistro sets and some seating inside as well.  Decadence serves pastries, sandwiches, ice cream, and most importantly, Crio Bru.  You can learn more about Decadence here.

Through Decadence I discovered Crio Bru.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you are sure to have heard about my obsession with Crio.  I love it. 

{Photo taken from a Google image searf of Crio Bru}

What is Crio Bru?  "Crio Brü is a brewed drink made from 100% premium cocoa beans, roasted to perfection. Named after the most prized of cacao beans, the Criollo, Crio Brü will astound your taste buds with its complex flavors and subtle aromas which come right from the cocoa bean itself! It is 100% natural and 100% pure."  {This is information that is found on their website.}

Basically it is cocoa beans roasted the same way that one would roast coffee beans.  You can brew it like coffee, you can french press it like coffee, you can use it as a replacement for espresso in lattes.  It is delicious.  It is chocolately and light and a tad bitter if left unsweetened.  And it is good for you!

Benefits of Crio Bru:  {Information taken from their website.}

  • Boost Your Immune System
  • Increase Energy Naturally
  • Curb Your Appetite and Lose Weight
  • Support Your Heart, Digestive System, Brain and Bones
  • Oxygenate the Blood and Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
  • Feel Great, Increase Focus, Reduce Stress, and Sleep Better
Um, those are really great benefits.  And on top of that, it just tastes amazing.

Let me tell you the way that I enjoy my Crio Bru at home:  I purchase the ground beans from Macey's in Pleasant Grove.  I follow their instructions for French Pressing the bru.  I either drink it hot with a dash of International Delight's Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream coffee creamer, or I pour it over ice and add a dash of International Delight's Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream coffee creamer.  Both ways are SO GOOD.  I have tried other flavors to sweeten my Crio Bru, but I always come back to the Cold Stone Sweet Cream because it is beyond delicious.

Even Kyle and Ayla love it.  Ayla gets her own little mug.  She always wants it hot - never iced.  She practically does cartwheels when she finds out that we're making Crio Bru because she really, really loves it.  Kyle drinks it before he plays basketball on Tuesday nights and it gives him more energy and more stamina.  It's such a noticeable difference that he's bummed when he doesn't get Crio before basketball.

And yeah, it tastes delicious.  You really should visit their website and read more about the perfection that is Crio Bru.  {I have not been asked to do share this info and I am not being paid to do so, I just really love it.}

Anyway... Back to my rendezvous with the little bird, Carissa.  We met at Decadence and we ordered our drinks.  Carissa had a house bru with a little cream, vanilla, and whipped cream on top.  I had a 16 oz. Caramel Macchiato, iced.  We both had sweet orange rolls.  Holy goodness.  Those rolls, warmed up, will change your life.  {I didn't get a picture of the rolls because we downed them in no-time.}  Our drinks were delightful.  The space where we enjoyed our drinks was cozy and beautifully decorated.  The service at Decadence is fine, but I will warn you - it is not a place that you can drop by quickly.  I waited a good 15 minutes for my Caramel Macchiato.  The girl actually helped other customers after me before even starting my drink.  By the time I got my drink I had to just walk out the door, I didn't get to sit and enjoy it.  Even the drive-thru is not a quick experience.  HOWEVER, do not let that deter you.  It is so worth it.  And really, show me someone who doesn't need the time to sit and relax for a while and I will show you a liar.  We are so used to fast, fast, fast.  Sometimes it is nice to slow down.  Just not on a quick lunch break with a friend.

Decadence {An Artisan Cafe}
Iced Caramel Macchiato.  House Bru.

I so enjoy my lunches with my friend.  Remember when I posted way back here and I said that they probably wouldn't happen as frequently as we had discussed?  I am pleased to say that they are happening.  It goes to show that young, irresponsible, flighty girls can grow up to be successful, busy working women who can find time to keep dates with their friends.  We are learning to prioritize. 

I like it.

"Don't mind my obnoxious nails."  She says.  I throw mine down.  #obnoxiousbirds

Friday, August 2, 2013

We moved.

We did it.  We moved.  We packed up everything we owned and moved it 2.9 miles down the road to a new apartment.

And when I say "we", I mean I didn't move a single box.  I packed up and I did a little cleaning, but we had some wonderful family and friends step up and haul everything, alongside my husband, while I was at work.  It was pretty strange to leave one home for work in the morning and return to a different home with all of my things there waiting.  In boxes.  Stacked.  Heaped.  All over.

Moving is the worst.  It really is.  It's so awful to have to box up everything you own, saving all of the daily essentials until the last moment where you will toss them randomly in boxes and bags and hope you remember where they ended up, and then move them to a new place where you will just have to unpack and reorganize everything.

I came home to a ton of boxes everywhere, so very grateful that they were there waiting for me.  I started unpacking the kitchen.  It's right there when you walk in so I figured it was a good place to start.  Also, we have to eat, so we need our kitchen in order.  I was able to get it unpacked and organized fairly quickly, which was great.  Then I realized it was after 9 and I didn't want to do anything else.

Except move the ginormous dresser that is in our new walk-in closet.  I noticed right away that the dresser was put on the opposite wall than it needed to be put on.  This only presented a problem because with the massive size of the dresser and the rest of our bedroom furniture being in place, we couldn't pull the dresser out, flip it around, and get it back in the closet.  So we got creative.  We picked up the dresser on one end, sat it on it's side, and turned the entire thing until it was in the right spot, then we brought it back down.  Genius!  And exhausting.

Have I mentioned how awesome it is that people came and moved my extremely heavy things for me?  Because it really is so awesome.

Before settling into our new home for the night we ran and got a few things that we needed, and we got a couple of large drinks because we were thirsty!  Ayla even got her own big drink {bigger than usual, but smaller than ours} which she totally loved.

I am so excited to be in a new place.  I'm excited about our vaulted ceilings and our 2 bathrooms and the huge laundry room.  I'm excited about our patio!  I'm excited for the next home that we share together and all of the adventures that we have ahead of us.

Yay for new beginnings!

This is the view from our new patio.  Not bad.  We still get those beautiful mountains!
Ayla dipping her fit in the pool.  She can hardly stand that we aren't ALWAYS swimming.  She sits on the patio and stares longingly at the pool.
{A super big thank you to Rick, Debbie, Charity, Jaycee, Scott, Joey, and my amazing husband for moving all of our stuff while I sat in an air conditioned office working my day away!}

Monday, July 22, 2013

Make A Fire From This Tiny Spark

I'm going to share some things in this post that I'm not necessarily proud of.  However, it's how I have been feeling and I like to be honest with myself and with others.  It's been weighing on my mind a lot, so I figured I should write about it.

“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit.” ― Richard G. Scott

Lately, I hate Sunday.  Not the Sunday dinner with family.  Sunday dinner saves the day for me.  It is perfect and relaxing and always my favorite way to end Sunday.

I hate getting up on Sunday morning so I stay in bed for way too long.  I hate getting ready for church because I have to dress super nice in a skirt or a dress.  I also hate having to get Ayla looking super nice in a dress.

And HOLY COW, what is the deal with Ayla's church shoes?  They.  Do.  Not.  Last.  They break, she grows out of them insanely quickly, she loses them, etc.  There is ALWAYS something going on with her dang church shoes.  Like her cute little heels that my mom sent - they came home missing a heel.  What?  She had to wear flip flops for a couple of Sundays.  I finally splurged and bought her adorable church sandals, which she wore once, and now suddenly one is missing.  No where to be found.  I HATE her church shoes and the constant cause of stress that they are.

I hate that I'm always running late even though church is at 1 pm.  Really, I have all morning and I am still late?!  Always.  It's ridiculous.

There always seem to be little tiny things that come up that just make me ANGRY before church.  I am mad and I have no patience and I am slamming things around and being short with Kyle and Ayla and I'm sure it sucks for them.

And then there is church.  For the most part Ayla is fine during Sacrament meeting... when she isn't on the floor, or crying for food or her toys, or pushing the metal chairs around if we're really late...  She is always so done with Sacrament meeting by the time it's over and I am so done with dealing with her in Sacrament meeting.  And that's when we go to Sacrament meeting, because sometimes I am terrible at making it to Sacrament meeting, which I am not proud of.

And then we move on to Sharing Time.  We never have enough seats set aside for our class.  I don't understand.  They give us 5 chairs.  We have 6 boys and 2 adults.  That's 8 people needing chairs and they give us 5.  So there's that.  And then while Sharing Time is going on Kyle and I are constantly playing musical chairs with these boys.  Trying to keep them from pinching each other or poking each other or talking or laughing.  Or I am trying to keep them on their chairs and off the floor.  And to stop spitting.  And to get their tie out of their mouth.  And to put their shirt down.  Put their shoes back on.  .....All of those fun things that come from sitting with 5 five and six-year-old boys.

And then Ayla is in there with her class and I don't even know how many times during Sharing Time she walks back because she needs to tell me something.  It's always, "I want a treat."  Then she starts to cry because I won't give her a treat and I tell her to go sit with her class.  And then she's back again 5 minutes later.

So when the bell rings and Sharing Time is over I am already flustered.

Then we go to our classroom.  Our classroom is the size of a closet.  I am not exaggerating.  It's one of those "half classrooms".  Maybe not even half of a normal sized room.  It's tiny.  And we all have to fit in there.  And the boys are much, much worse when we are in the classroom.  I do this thing where we go on a walk around the church every Sunday.  The purpose of the walk is to get some wiggles out because they just sat through an hour of Sacrament and an hour of Sharing Time and one more hour of class just seems like a lot to ask for them to sit through.  So we walk.  And the rules are that they have to be in a line and they have to fold their arms.  No running.  No talking.  No touching.  Be reverent.  They all have good intentions when we leave the classroom, but good intentions only get these little guys so far.

When we get back to the classroom I feel like it's a constant string of "Did you hear what I just said?  Stop climbing the wall!  Get back in your seat.  Please put your shirt back on.  We don't take our clothes off at church.  Sit back down, you do not need to go smell his fart!"  These are actual things that I say during class.

These boys are so cute.  They are 5 years old, of course they're cute.  But I struggle so badly with getting through any sort of a lesson and I leave with a headache every single Sunday.  Every.  Single.  Sunday.  The first thing I do when I get home is take ibuprofen.

I miss when I used to love Sunday.  Sacrament has always been a little stressful since having Ayla, but the rest of my meetings were great.  I love love love the lessons and discussions in Sunday School and Relief Society is always exactly what I need.  I cry every time I go to Relief Society.  I gain so much from all of the other wonderful women and those lessons that are tailored to fit our lives as wives and mothers and women.  I miss that.  I used to feel spiritually fed on Sunday's and now I just feel stressed out.  I feel a void and I feel angry and I feel tired.  It doesn't feel like a restful day or a day to nourish my soul.  I want to feel that again.

Where I stand right now, I don't feel spiritually suited to be teaching Gospel lessons to these sweet children.  How awful is that?

And how obvious is it that Satan is working overtime on me in this aspect of my life?

I am just feeling spiritually empty.

And I hate that this is something that I can be taking care of myself, but I have apparently neglected it far too long and now I am just angry with myself.

I know that I could be so much better about studying my scriptures.
I know that I can be praying much more often and much more fervently.
I know that I could be making more of an effort to get to the Temple.  {It feels like it's been ages since I've been to the Temple, though it's only been a month.}
I could be better prepared for Sunday by having all of our clothes and shoes laid out the night before.
I could have a better attitude with these cute little boys and not let their craziness get me down.

I could be doing so much better.  But I'm not.

I just want to feel spiritually fed.  I want to walk away from my church meetings with my heart feeling full and happy.  I want it I want it I want it.

I keep thinking that I want to be taken out of Primary, but then I think that if I am struggling so bad then it's where I need to be.  I just don't know what to do to stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion from this trial.  I feel stuck.

Any suggestions or words of encouragement?  They are greatly needed and appreciated.

Holy breath move in me
warm my soul and feed my need
I've grown so cold from bitter rain
I need to feel the fire again

Hold me close in love's sure grasp
don't let me go I'm falling fast
make from my embers a mighty flame
'Cause I need to feel the fire again

Like the heart of a child burning
it once was mine
with the faith of a baby wrap me safety
in His name

Here I am a wiling heart
make a fire from this tiny spark
I've known the burning of truest flames
and I need to feel the fire again

Like the heart of a child burning
it once was mine
with the faith of a baby wrap me safety
in His name

Holy breath move in me
warm my soul and hear my plea
I've grown so cold from bitter rain
and I need to feel the fire
I need to feel the fire
I need to feel the fire again

Like the heart of a child burning
it once was mine
with the faith of a baby wrap me safety
in His name

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jimmy Eat World! {I am SO lucky}


Tomorrow I am getting to cash is my Mother's Day gift from Kyle.

We get to see Jimmy Eat World!

Some of you faithful blog followers may remember a post that I wrote a couple of years ago about my experience seeing Jimmy Eat World in SLC.  My boss at the time gave me tickets and then I was able to see them a week later in Seattle when I was home visiting my family.  Both shows were amazing.  I wrote about my experience here.

It's interesting to read back to a time in my life when I was so unhappy.  I was a single mommy and I was feeling very lost and scared and unsure.  Luckily, Kyle was about to swoop in and save me and my girl from that scary place.

It's funny reading about my connection to music... These days I hear sad songs about broken hearts and I think to myself, I won't relate to this ever again.  I don't relate to sad songs or angry songs or songs for the lost souls.  I am so delighted to say that I've got Kyle forever and I've got Ayla and I just cannot relate.  I am not lost or scared or unsure.  I am here and I am happy and I am secure.


And I get to see Jimmy Eat World again tomorrow night because my amazing husband knew just what to get me for Mother's Day.


Friday, July 12, 2013

{20 Random Things About Me}

When I was younger and I used to keep a Dead Journal and then a Live Journal, I used to LOVE filling out these surveys about myself.  I saw a blogger fill out this random survey and I thought I would fill it out too.

{20 Random Things About Me}
  1. The first thing I did this morning was:  Hit "snooze" on my alarm clock.  Twice.
  2. My strength is:  My sense of humor.
  3. My weakness is:  Impatience.
  4. I feel like a beautiful person when:  When my daughter tells me that I look pretty.
  5. This weekend I'm going to:  Relax.  Clean.  Pack.  Spend time with my family.  Go to a wedding.  Go to church. 
  6. A TV character I'd most compare myself to is:  Pam on The Office.  "I used to be young and cute and sort of funny and, I could do those cute little cartoons and everyone who came through here was like, "who's that receptionist? I like her." Now I'm just a fat mom! Yeah. And you take one look at me and you're like, loser!"  :)
  7. The most important quality in a potential mate is:  Kindness.
  8. My guilty snack pleasure is:  Dirty Diet Coke
  9. My first kiss was:  Stupid.  Some boy at a birthday party when I was 14.  Spin the bottle?
  10. Someone who always makes me laugh is:  My daughter, Ayla.
  11. I'm annoyed by:  Rude, thoughtless people.
  12. The last books I read was:  Bloom, by Kelle Hampton.
  13. If there was a fountain of youth, I'd:  Swim in it!
  14. I cannot start my day without:  Crio Bru.  Yummm.
  15. My idol is:  My mom.  She is strong and caring and loving.
  16. If I was stuck on a deserted island, the one person I'd bring is:  My husband.
  17. I'd prefer to be (beautiful or book smart):  That's a silly question.  Who says you can't be both?
  18. The three wishes I'd ask for are:  Security, Heath, and Happiness.
  19. One word to describe me is:   Loud.
  20. A surprising fact about me is:  I was born in a car in England.
Currant Creek June 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dirty. Diet. Coke. {Holy goodness}

My cousin Bevany had mentioned a "Dirty Coke" to me.  She said that it was amazing and I needed to try it.

"What the heck is a Dirty Coke?" I asked.

She explained that it was Coke with coconut syrup and a lime.  Gross.  First of all, I do not like Coke, I am a Diet Coke girl, all the way.  Second, I hate coconut.  Gross, gross, double gross.  Lime?  Meh.  I don't really like lime either.  If asked if I want a lime in my DC I will generally say no.

She still swore that it was amazing.  I finally said that I would try it.  Or at least I would try the Diet version.

I decided to be brave.  I stopped at Sonic and I asked for a Diet coke with coconut and a lime.  They asked if I wanted "blue coconut" or "coconut cream pie".  Blue coconut didn't sound right, so I said I'd have the cream pie.  I paid my $2, they gave me my drink, and I hesitantly sipped it.


I sipped it again.


Every single time I took a drink I had a mini freak-out because it was SO GOOD{Picture Kevin from The Office taking a bit of a candy bar during their silent game only to exclaim, "OH YEAH!", breaking the silence.}

I Instagrammed my obsession.

I now have a problem with Dirty Diet Coke.  I shared it with my bosses who now also have problems with Dirty Diet Cokes.  And there's a new kid in here today, his name is Maxwell.  I got him one on my lunch run and he just barely came out of the office saying, "THIS IS SO GOOD!"  Um yeah, it really is.

My sister-in-law, Cherry, and I have been trying to make it at home.  We each bought different coconut syrups to mix with our own DCs and limes.  It's not the same.  Neither of them tasted right.

Then I came across this:  Our Best Bites Dirty Diet Coke Recipe.  This makes sense.  Putting the half and half in it would give it the creamy goodness that my plain coconut syrup is lacking.

This, my friends, is the perfect summertime drink.  It is sweet and tangy and delicious.  It begs to be sipped next to a swimming pool.

Try it out, let me know what you think!  I can pretty much promise that you won't regret it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Friend in Need.

My mom had a pen pal many years ago named Yvonne.  Our family was able to make the trip to Wyoming in 1997 and meet Yvonne and her family.  I don't remember every detail of that trip, but I do remember a lot.  And I loved it.  I even still have a few pictures tucked into my childhood photo album from this trip.  Pictures of me with Yvonne's girls, Tandy and Kendra.

I recently became friends with Yvonne and Tandy on Facebook.  I haven't spoken to either of them since 1997, and actually I haven't made any contact with them now, either.  I just clicked "Add Friend."

Through these recent friendships on Facebook I have learned that Yvonne's daughter Kendra is facing a heart-breaking battle.  The battle for her unborn daughter's life.  "Kendra is 37 weeks pregnant and this past week found out that the precious baby she is carrying has a severe Ebsteins Anomoly, essentially the right atrium in the baby's heart is taking up the majority of her chest cavity and is compressing the lungs. Baby "C" as they call her has an extremely small chance of survival through childbirth."  {This information was taken from her donation page.} You can read her story here.

My heart is aching for Kendra and her family.  Though I don't know Kendra, I know that she is a wife and she is a mommy, just like me.  She is a woman who only has the option to be strong when being strong seems next to impossible.

I am amazed by her courage.  Her writing is so honest and so beautiful.

While I cannot offer much in the way of help or support for Kendra, I can offer prayers.  I can share her story in hopes that others will offer their prayers to Kendra and her family.  I have faith that our prayers will be heard and they will be answered.  Pray that Kendra, her husband, their two children, and their sweet baby Capri will have angels surrounding them, lifting them up while they climb this mountain.

The financial stress of such a fight can be overwhelming.  If you would like to offer monetary support for this sweet family you can do so by donating here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Move On.

“Each new life, no matter how brief, forever changes the world.”

The morning of April 7th was a lazy one.  It was conference Sunday.  We were watching in our bed wearing our jammies.  The morning of April 7th I took a pregnancy test.  I had been feeling off for a while.  EVERYTHING was making me nauseas.  I was super tired.  My boobs hurt.  Typical pregnancy symptoms, right?  Besides those telltale symptoms I just knew.  So I peed on a stick.

A blue line!  There was a blue line!  It was so faint.  I mean I really didn’t know if it was actually there or not.  I showed Kyle and he could see it too.  Barely, but he could see it.  We laid in bed feeling a little numb.  Well, I shouldn’t speak for Kyle, but I was feeling numb.  Numb and so excited.  I held my tummy.  I just knew that I was pregnant.

I called my doctor the next day and she confirmed that there wouldn’t be any sort of line unless there was HCG present in my urine.  The pregnancy hormone.  She told me to wait a few days and take a digital test.  There are no faint lines on digital tests.  There is either a negative or there is a positive.

Wait a few days?  Yeah right.  I drove to Walmart and I bought a 2-pack of digital tests.  I went to the bathroom, the bathroom in the front of the store in Walmart and I peed on another stick.


It was crystal clear.  I was pregnant.

I immediately texted my closest friends and swore them to secrecy.  I sent them pictures of the positive result.  We exchanged excited messages that contained far too many exclamation points.  My friends were happy for me.  I was happy.  I was so happy.  I was going to have another baby.

With every wave of nausea, every food aversion, every time I yelped with pain when my chest was brushed by my arm or bounced on by my child, I was thrilled.  Kyle and I were expanding our family.

I daydreamed of a blue-eyed baby.  I wondered how different this baby would look than Ayla.  I wondered if it would look enough like me to still resemble Ayla, even though they have different fathers.  I got out my What To Expect When Expecting book.  I read and reread the chapters that I had read so many times 4 years ago.  Kyle and I discussed names.  A lot of names.  I looked at baby clothes.  I visited the doctor and they confirmed my pregnancy.  It was real.  It was happening!  I was just over 6 weeks along.

Then the bleeding started.  A lot of bleeding.  I sat on the bathroom floor and I cried.  Kyle consoled me.  I tried to remain calm but this bleeding contained large clots.  There is nothing good to be said about bleeding and large clots when you are 6 weeks pregnant.  I made an appointment to be seen by the midwife the next morning.  They did an ultrasound.  They couldn’t find a sac.  There was nothing.  My uterus was completely empty.  We sat in the little office and I cried.  The ultrasound tech hadn’t said a word but I knew what I saw on the screen.  Nothing.  The midwife came in and she spoke with me about miscarriage.  She let me know that I might keep bleeding.  I might experience pain.  She told me that they needed to take some blood to test my level of HCG and that we would need to do a couple of more tests 48 hours apart to confirm that my levels were dropping normally.  To confirm that this baby was no longer there.

I drove back to work, sobbing the entire way.  I walked back to my desk, sobbing quietly.  No one asked what was wrong.  I sat and I cried for the last two hours of work.  I assisted customers with their insurance and billing questions for two hours while tears ran down my face.  That was a terrible day.

April 19th was a hectic and wonderful day.  My stepsister Haleigh was getting married that day.  I got up extra early and went in to the clinic to have my blood drawn.  She said they were ordering it STAT and that I would get the results later that day.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I just knew that  they would tell me that the levels were falling and that my baby was gone.

We headed up to Bountiful.  Kyle and I went to the Temple and were there with Haleigh and Adam when they were sealed for time and eternity.  I cried.  I cried because I was happy for her and she looked beautiful and so happy.  I cried because I was so sad.  I cried because I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be that day,  in the Temple with my husband next to me.

Adam and Haleigh tie the knot!

The Bountiful LDS temple.

We had an amazing lunch with the Willden family at Maddox.  The food was spectacular.  Catching up with the family was fun.  The whole time I was trying to keep my head in the conversations.  I was trying to smile and stay distracted when really I wanted to be curled up in a ball in my bed crying my eyes out.

Ayla having fun with Great Grandpa Willden

In the van on the way to the reception I FINALLY heard back from the nurse at the clinic.

“You’re levels have gone up.  From these results we can only assume that you are still pregnant.”

My levels had gone up!  I was still pregnant!  Of course I was trying to stay calm.  I said things like, “It’s still early.  They need to take blood again on Sunday.  Anything could happen.”  I was really trying not to get my hopes up.  I was trying to remain calm.  Needless to say, I could finally breathe again and my smile wasn’t forced anymore that day.

My husband and I at the reception.

April 21st.  I woke up to more bleeding.  So much bleeding.  I was scared.  I called the emergency room.  They told me to come in right away.  I woke Kyle up and let him know that we needed to go to the emergency room.  I asked my brother, who was still staying with us, if he could take care of Ayla while we were gone.  We headed to the emergency room.

This time I knew.  There was no baby.  There couldn’t possibly be a baby after all of the blood that I had just lost and was still losing.  There was no way.  I wasn’t crying.  I was staying calm.  I was trying to be upbeat.  I kept reminding myself that I had already been told once this week that I had lost the baby.  I knew that I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up when that stupid nurse called me and told me my levels were rising.  I just needed to get through these tests, be told the terrible news, and move on.  However, emergency rooms are even slower than the normal doctor’s office when you aren’t first priority.  {The family who was saying goodbye to a loved-one a couple doors down was priority.}  It took forever.  Blood was taken.  An ultrasound was done.  They should have been able to at least see a fetal sac at this point.  Even I could see that there was no sac.

Stay calm.  Keep breathing.

Eventually the doctor came in.  He had looked at my ultrasound.  He had seen my levels.

“Your HCG levels still indicate a pregnancy.”

What?  How is it possible to still be pregnant after I had bled not only once, but twice.  And bled terribly!  What is going on?

He told me that my levels were still very, very low.  He said that I wasn’t as far along as we had thought.  He called my situation, because of the bleeding, a threatened miscarriage.  I was supposed to take it easy.

There was still a baby.  I had questions.  Why did I have a positive pregnancy test on April 7th when these levels are indicating that I conceived basically the day before?  Why was I bleeding?

I was fine and happy to be pregnant.  I was told to see my doctor in 4 weeks for an ultrasound, unless I bled more, of course.  In 4 weeks they would be able to find a sac.  In 4 weeks they would probably be able to see a fetal pole.  Maybe a heartbeat if we were lucky.

I bled more.  I bled for 12 days.  We checked my HCG every 48 hours.  It was rising normally.  I was still bleeding but my levels were rising.  They kept telling me that the bleeding was nothing to worry about.  As long as your levels are rising, you can ignore the bleeding.  Well, friends, that is easier said than done.  Bleeding for 12 days is not awesome.  Bleeding for 12 days after you have been certain, twice, that you have lost the baby you are carrying is unsettling.  To say the least.

Even still, I felt pregnant.  I felt so very pregnant.  These not-so-fun early pregnancy symptoms were what kept me holding on to hope.  I started holding my tummy again.  I started daydreaming about names again.  My husband sweetly kissed my tummy goodnight.  We told Ayla what was going on because somehow her cousins knew what was going on and when your cousins know what is going on, you hear about it.  {Brynn asked me, “Did your baby die?”  That was a rough one.}  We let ourselves be excited again.

My tummy started to bloat.  My pants were getting tight.  It had been a couple of weeks and I was confident in the fact that I was pregnant.  There was a baby coming!  Due December 27th, 2013.  A baby!  I bought a cute pink shirt for Ayla.  I sent it home with my friend Carissa so that her boyfriend would print the words “Only Child Expiring December 2013” on it.  This would be the way that we announced our family growing.

A week before I was supposed to go in for my ultrasound I decided to call and see if they would let me come in earlier.  The nurse said, “Why not.  Let’s bring you in tomorrow.  We’ll be able to see something tomorrow.”

Kyle, Ayla, and I headed in to the office.  I was so excited to see my baby.  Or the sac that would be housing my little baby.  Or the fetal pole that would grow into my baby.  Maybe to see his heartbeat.  I couldn’t wait!  I was on the verge of wetting my pants because I had filled up on water so that they could have the best possible view.  I mean, I could hardly walk.  I hopped up on that table, trying not to pee, and I stared anxiously at the screen.

She felt around my tummy with the wand.  She pushed really hard and I wanted to scream with every push because I was certain that I was about to pee on her table.  I stared at the screen and do you know what I saw?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Unlike the other ultrasound techs that I have had to deal with, she told me that she didn’t see anything.  She apologized for the lack of a baby.

I wiped off the goo and I ran to the bathroom.  I went pee and I cried.  How is this possible?  What is happening to me?  How can I feel so very pregnant yet be so empty? 

“Let’s do some more blood work.  Let’s see where your levels are at.”  Carol, the sweetest midwife ever, let me know that we wanted the levels to be down.  She was very sorry, and she was so gentle with her words.  At this point, seeing as there is no baby, we want the levels to be down.

I knew she was right.  The levels had to be down.  They needed to be.  I needed this to be over.   I needed someone to tell me, “THERE IS NO BABY.”  I needed closure.   They took more blood.

I got a call that afternoon.  "Your levels are high.  We don’t know what’s going on.  With these levels we should be able to see a baby.  This is worrisome.  Someone will call you."

No one called.  By the evening I was worried.  What the hell is going on?  Why hasn’t anyone called me?

I called the clinic.  I got through to the on-call nurse.  Jen.  She pulled up my information.  She apologized that no one had called.  She explained that she hadn’t been able to get a hold of either of the on-call doctors to discuss my situation, which is why I hadn’t been contacted.  She the told me that they think that I am experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.  She let me know that my tubes were fine, the baby was not in my fallopian tubes.  However, that means it was somewhere else outside of my uterus.  This is scary, and painful, and life-threatening.  For the baby and for me.  She discussed stats and options.  It was the first time I had been made aware of a possible termination of pregnancy.   We talked for a long time.  I asked a lot of questions.  She answered them the best she could.  She promised that she would let me know more once a doctor has taken a look at my situation.

A little after 9:30 PM that Friday night she got back to me and let me know that the doctor thinks I am safe to wait for another blood draw on Monday before taking any immediate action.

On Monday, May 6th, I went in to have my blood taken again.  I was praying for low levels.  I knew that they needed to be lower.  We needed to know that this pregnancy wasn’t a valid pregnancy and that my body was going back to normal.  I hated the thought of a “life-threatening” situation.  I hate the thought of having to terminate a baby who had attached outside of my uterus, where it should not be.  They took my blood and I went back to work.

An hour later I got a phone call.  It was Jen, the ever-so-faithful nurse.  The nurse who had spent almost an hour on the phone with me discussing what could possibly be happening with my body.  The only one, at this point, who had given me any information at all.

“I have bad news.  Your levels are much higher than they were on Friday.  This is definitely an ectopic pregnancy.”  I asked what my options were.  She said that we could do another ultrasound and try to locate where the baby has attached, but we would most likely need to still terminate.  She said the longer I wait the more likely it is that something will go wrong.  I would be jeopardizing my future fertility.  She said, “We need you to check into the hospital and we need to test your kidney function.  We need to terminate this pregnancy.”  I asked if I could go after work.  I had only been at this job for a couple of months and had already missed so much work for these medical issues.  Plus my boss was not super friendly and I didn’t share with him what was going on and I was dreading having to tell him that I had to leave and go to the hospital.  Her response?  “We are considering this a medical emergency.  We need you to get to the hospital ASAP, like NOW, get your kidney’s tested, and have the IV started by 5.”

So I shot my boss a quick email, sent my husband a text to meet me at the hospital, and took off.  I was shaking the whole way there.  {The whole 10 minutes.}  I felt so sick.  I hated that I was terminating my pregnancy, but I knew that I needed to do it.  I wasn’t going to risk my life or my possible chances of future babies.  I still hated it.

I checked myself in and I tried to stay positive.  I snapchatted away with my friends.  I joked with the nurses.  I pretended like my heart wasn’t shattering all over again.  Kyle showed up after they had taken my blood to test my kidney function.  They took a lot of blood for that test.  Kyle got there in time for me to learn that I wasn’t actually getting this medication that would terminate the pregnancy through an IV drip.  Kyle was there in time to be with me while two nurses injected two massive needles, one in each kidney, injecting the Methotrexate.  This hurt.  It hurt so bad.  A massive needle straight into the kidney HURTS.  The Methotrexate hurt.  It stung.  I could feel it spreading through my lower back.  It was cold but it stung so bad, which almost made it feel hot.  They put a couple of bandaids on me and sent me on my way.

I didn’t even get out of the lobby before the tears were running down my cheeks.  Kyle asked, “Are you crying because it hurt or because of the baby?”  Both.  It did hurt.  And I’m not too old to cry when a shot hurts.  But I was crying because this was it.  This was the end that I knew was coming but still hurt so very bad.  There wasn’t going to be a baby in December 2013.  In fact, this Methotrexate that was hurting me so terribly made sure that there wasn’t going to be a baby for quite a while longer.  This was the end of the road.  Only, it wasn’t.

I still needed my HCG levels to drop.  They let me know that we would need to test my blood every week to make sure that the levels were dropping.  They warned me that sometimes HCG levels will reach a plateau and I will need to have a second, or even third, injection of Methotrexate.  I crossed my fingers and I prayed that my levels would drop quickly.  I was done with this.  I was so, so done with this.

I was talked to about the rarity of my situation.  Why did I have a positive pregnancy test on April 7th only to have my levels drop and come back up?  Why did I bleed so terribly and pass blood clots that matched every description written about a miscarriage?   The midwife believes that I may have been pregnant with twins.  In separate sacs.  I lost one that would have implanted in my uterus, the second one somehow attached outside of the uterus and continued to grow.  What are the odds?  Why would this happen to me?

I have had my blood drawn every week.  I have had my blood drawn 7 times since my injections of Methotrexate.  I get to talk to Jen every week.  Every week she apologizes that I have to get my blood drawn again.  She laughs and says, "I know you hate having to talk to me every week".  I still have HCG in me.  I still FEEL pregnant.  Not as much as 3 weeks ago, but it’s still there.  It is a cruel, cruel thing to feel pregnant when you are not.  It has not been easy.  Even my last blood draw, the one last Wednesday, showed that my levels are 37.5.  It’s a very small level, but I need to be below 5.  I’m not there, but I have finally been told to stop my weekly blood draw.  We will test again in a month.  There is a light at the end of this hellish tunnel.

Through this whole situation I have tried to keep my head up.  I have kept smiling and I have dealt with it the only way I know how.  “I’m fine.  Yeah it sucks, but what can I do?”  Really I just want to sob every time someone asks me.  Really I wish that no one else knew at all so that I wouldn’t have to explain the situation or pretend like I am fine, when on the inside I don’t feel fine.

It’s amazing how quickly you become attached to a baby that is inside you.  It’s amazing the loss that you feel when you find out that there really isn’t a baby anymore.  It’s amazing how empty you feel on the inside.  It’s amazing how much it hurts my heart every time they take my blood and tell me that my levels have dropped.  It’s amazing how much it hurts every time I see someone with a cute pregnant tummy because I remember that my tummy isn’t going to look like that any time soon.  It’s amazing how bad it hurts when Ayla says, “Is there still a baby in your tummy?  Did it go to heaven?  I want you to have a baby in your tummy.”  It’s amazing how sad I am.  There is nothing that I could have done to prevent or fix this situation.  It is what it is.  And it is sad.

I am so thankful for my husband.  Kyle has been nothing but supportive through this entire situation.  He has been my rock.  He has cried with me, he has been angry with me; he has felt all of the emotions that I have felt.  He has held my hand the whole time.  I have fallen in love with him over and over again.  I am so lucky that he is the person I get to share these trials with.  I am so lucky that he is going to be next to me forever.  I am so lucky that he will be the father to our future children.  I am so lucky that he is the father to our current child.  I am so, so lucky.   I would not have made it through the past 3 months without Kyle.

Having said all of this, how sad I am and how badly I hurt, I know that I have so many great things ahead of me.  I know that it wasn’t the last time that I will be pregnant.  I know that someday I will get to see that positive pregnancy test again and someday I will actually get to feel the flutter in my tummy of an active little ninja baby, and I will hold another beautiful little child in my arms.  It’s all about timing.  I have faith that there is a plan for me and a plan for my family.  I will probably always hurt inside when I think about the baby that was never meant to be, and I will probably always cry when I read this story, but I am a stronger person for it.  I have gained some empathy.  My heart aches for every woman who has miscarried their baby or has had to terminate their pregnancy for the sake of their own life.  My heart aches.  I know that nothing can fill the emptiness that is felt.  Only time.

As for now I am really trying to be thankful for what I do have and not focus on what I have lost.  I have a beautiful family, immediate and extended, who are here for me.  I have a great job.  I have wonderful and supportive friends.  I have so much and I am so thankful.

Here’s to bright futures and better tomorrows!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Imaginary Friends and Lemonade Stands.

Did you have imaginary friends?  I'm not sure that I ever had a legitimate imaginary friend.  At least, I don't remember having any.  However, I had brothers.  And I lived in neighborhoods full of kids to play with.

Ayla is an only child.  Ayla spends most of her time with mom and dad.  She gets to see cousins on the weekends, but during the week she is generally stuck with us.  Well, us and Hildegard and Amber and Kelsi.  And her cats Ginger and Tito.  And her dogs Shasta and Zeek.  All of these imaginary.

This child's brain blows my mind.  She is so intelligent.  She understand so much.  She uses her imagination!  Like crazy!  I am often having to pet a kitty or hold an item that is not there.  I take bites of imaginary cake and I sip on imaginary drinks.  I get text messages from my husband that go like this:

Dang it Hildegard, would you please stop calling?  And these phones conversations?  They are classic, I tell you.  Complete with arguments and big sighs.  There are a lot of "okay, okay, yes.  Mhmm."  Hildegard must have a lot to say.

It really is amusing.  And I kind of love it.  Although it can be frustrating when we are getting out of the car and Ayla is having trouble deciding which friends are going to come in and which will stay behind.  "Tito, you stay here.  I'll be riiiiiight back."  And heaven forbid you close the door before Hildegard gets out of the car.  Holy meltdown, Batman.

If you haven't notice, Hildegard is her favorite and very best imaginary friend.  Here is a photo of my cute Ayla and Hildegard.  She has her arm around her, of course.  {When taking this picture I was a little scared to look at the camera afterwards because I didn't want to see a ghostly little girl with a straight face standing next to my child.  I watch too many paranormal shows.}
Ayla and Hildegard.
Here's a little background on where Ayla came up with the names of her imaginary friends.

Hildegard- She is a princess on the Disney Junior show Sofia the First.
Amber-  Also a princess on the Disney Junior show Sofia the First.
Kelsi-  I'm not sure where that one came from.
Tito {cat}-  The name of aunt and uncle's cat.
Ginger {cat}-  I'm not sure, but Uncle Jerry has a dog named Ginger.
Shasta {dog}-  The name of aunt and uncle's dog.
Zeek {dog}-  The name of a dog that lives up the street.

These are not her only imaginary friends, I have heard a few other names dropped.  And let's not forget about her other mom, Cherry.  Well, that's actually her aunt Charity who Ayla sweetly calls "Cherry".  {You will generally see me refer to her as "Cherry" in all of my posts!}  Ayla talks to Cherry a lot, as well.  She'll say to me, "My mom told me I could!"  And I say, "I am your mom, crazy girl!"  She says, "No, my other mom, Cherry!"

This is such a fun stage.  I love watching my girl and listening to the silly things that she comes up with.  Isn't it amazing watching your baby grow into a child?  Where has time gone?  I can so clearly remember my childhood...

One thing that I remember is lemonade stands.  What kid doesn't want to sell lemonade on the street and earn some extra cash for candy?  Well, I remember doing things like painting rocks and selling them to the sweet older couples on the street.  {Really, they would pay for a painted rock.}

I've seen quite a few lemonade stands recently and every time I see one I smile.  These kids are so dang cute!  Every chance I get you better believe that I pull over and hand over my quarter.  What could brighten up your day quicker than the massive smiles and yells that these kids exchange when they realize that they have a paying customer?

I have the best story about a lemonade stand in my hometown of Stanwood, Washington.  My friend and I were driving along some back roads and there were some kids sitting at a small table with some hand drawn signs advertising lemonade.  Of course I stopped.  The excited kids quickly poured me a cup of lemonade.  It was a red solo cup.  My friend asked for one as well and they filled up a cup for her.  We started to walk back to our car when they said, "Can you finish and give us back the cups?  They are the only ones we have."  We about died laughing.  I mean, I couldn't even breathe.  I gulped down my juice and handed my cup over.  She couldn't even finish hers she was laughing so hard.  These kids looked so confused.  We laughed all the way home wondering how many other people had already sipped from those two cups.

Lemonade stands are getting pretty fancy these days.  {No cup sharing!}  We have one right down the street.  This is a weekly stand where they seem to get great business.  Not only do they sell sparkling grape lemonade {hello, YUM!}, but they also offer freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and bags of popcorn.  Ayla gets to take her dollar down the street and come home with one of each.  I love this.

Check out this insanely fancy stand.  And they have a working cash register!
Summertime is beautiful.  Experiencing summertime through the eyes of a child {and her imaginary friends} all over again is even more beautiful.