Saturday, December 31, 2011

Things We Love About Christmas 2011

Traveling to Utah (and making all our connecting flights)
Playing with Aunt Rachel in the snow.
Playing with the snow, until realizing the snow and bare hands aren't a good mix then crying and begging to have your hands in warm water.
Beautiful, gorgeous mountains.
Cafe Rio (and maybe eating there three times...)
Free kids quesadillas at Cafe Rio
Visiting Diana
Finally getting all of the girls together. Grace, Ella, Brooklyn, and Audrey.
Realizing that Grace finally grasps the concept of a funny face picture. I couldn't have been more proud in this moment.
Running to Chick Fil A with a car full of kids
Waving to the Chick Fil A cow and literally throwing French fries to the back of the van for the girls.
Learning to play Tetris on the GameBoy.
Magelby's French toast with butter syrup. Mmmmmmmm.
Drawing with Aunt Sarah.
Laughing hysterically while playing Balderdash. Favorite made-up definitions:
Scurfer: A southern term for "What are you scared for?" (written by Aaron)
Slumboes: A slumber party for young boys. (written by Joe)
Doing the Nativity on Christmas Eve
Setting up all Nativity pieces in a chorus line rather than the usual spots.
Setting out a plate of cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer.

Being awesome at making gingerbread people.
Muumuu lady- Kara; Surfer dude- Rachel; Sumo Wrestler: Aaron
Getting out butts kicked by Grandee in a Christmas Eve game of Phase 10
A brotherly fu-man-chu shave party with matching shirts.
Lunch with Great Grandma Shirley
Searching for her hidden Scooby Doo. Seriously, where are you?
A Grace and Grace reunion

Seeing all the airplanes.
A champion flying companion. (and stickers and iPhones making it possible)
We had an incredible time with Aaron's family in Utah this year celebrating Christmas. It was the perfect way to send 2011 out with a bang.

Friday, December 30, 2011

How We Found Out

I am a fan of stories. Long stories. Stories with too many details that put you exactly in the shoes of the person telling the story. I love hearing them. I love telling them. Don't be surprised when I tell you the reader's digest version of your story really isn't cutting it for me.

So for those of you passionate about stories with too many details. I have a story for you. How we found out I was pregnant.

Like clockwork my period came. It should have. It always started light and after four days it would kick into high gear. I had the pattern memorized at this point. I had taken many a pregnancy test convincing myself that my "light period" was implantation bleeding. The tests were always negative and I wound up doing a lot of laundry. It happened more than I care to admit. A heartbreaking roller coaster that I loathed and yet could not get off the ride. This time things were different. I held no hope and moved forward with my life. Taking the necessary steps to prevent unneeded days spent in my laundry room. I was holding no hope. We had a fertility specialist appointment scheduled less than two weeks down the road. I thought about which tests would be done, constantly thinking how the doctors could probably care less about my timeline and the tests alone could take months. Oh well. I moved forward.

My Mom came in town that weekend. She was having surgery for a deviated septum and with my Dad at work she figured the best in home care would be in Texas. Stacey and I were willing to be her nurses for the ordeal. On Sunday Aaron and I drove to my sister's house for a family dinner. After good food, good conversation, and a football game, Aaron kissed me goodnight and headed home. I was spending the night at Stacey's to help get Carly to school and watch Taylor while Stacey took my Mom to the hospital. During the hustle and bustle of the nighttime routine I went to the bathroom where I made a shocking discovery. My period had stopped dead in its tracks. Three days in and suddenly nothing. I was confused and thought to myself, "There is no way. We didn't even try this month. No methods to improve our chances. Nothing. There is absolutely no way."

A few weeks back Stacey mentioned to me that she had a spare pregnancy test should I ever want to use it. I was convinced I was not pregnant and wanted instant confirmation that was the case before I rode the hope roller coaster all over again. I explained my situation and after a brief ransacking of a few bathroom drawers we couldn't find the test. Part of me was relieved. I didn't want to relive the disappointment that always followed test taking. I knew I wasn't pregnant. I didn't need a test telling me  too. Normally a situation like that would drive me mentally insane, but I was calm and confident that I knew what was happening. My body did funny stuff all the time, why would this be different. I texted Aaron and asked for his advice, he wrote back, "I would wait a week or so before you take a test. Give your body some time, it always does weird stuff." I wrote back, "Good call. You're probably right."

The next morning proceeded as scheduled. I got Carly to school and the little ones fed and entertained.

I didn't feel very well, but I chalked it up to the fact that I don't sleep well in different places. In the afternoon Stacey brought my Mom home. Drugged, dry mouth, sore nose. My heart went out for her, she didn't look comfortable in the slightest.
The little ones flocked to her and offered the best comfort they could think of. Foot massages. I'm sure Grace really had no idea what she was doing.

We made sure she was comfortable and we sat on the couch talking. In our conversation it came up that my Mom probably needed a slurpee to help with her dry throat. At one point we were quiet and my sister whispered, "Did your period come back?" for fear that my whispering would lead to questions I wrote a response back on my phone. "No." Stacey whispered, "Do you want me to go get you a pregnancy test. " I wrote back, "No. I'm scared. I don't know if I want to take one." I don't know how much time went by before I stood up and said, "Mom I'm going to go grab you a slurpee, what flavor do you want?" It was my cover to buy a pregnancy test.

My heart pounded nervously. "Why am I doing this? I'm just going to feel stupid again." My mind was in a million places yet I was oddly calm. I felt a spiritual feeling, one I equated to feeling when I was about to get bad news, and my heart sank. Heavenly Father was trying to protect me before my heart broke again, I just knew it. But I kept driving. I quick stop in Walmart. Then a quick drive to RaceTrace for a slurpee and I was on my way home. After giving my Mom her much needed cold beverage I snuck upstairs to take the test. My heart pounded so hard I could barely see. I sat with my back to the sink texting a friend about a play date we were planning for our girls. I tried desperately for 3 minutes to pretend that everything was normal. And then my timer went off.

I stood up.

The constant mental battle of "What if its positive? and What if it's negative?" played a million times in those few seconds. How would I react? How would I handle it? What would I do? I had thought millions of times how it would feel once it was positive.

I turned around.

I was scared to look down but dying to see it all at the same time and I looked. There they were. Two pink lines intersecting. Lines I had never seen before. I knew right away it was positive. I had taken enough tests to know what negative meant and this was the first test that even came close to being positive. I was shocked. Oh my gosh. oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh. It's positive. I stared at that pink plus sign with my jaw touching the floor. There is no way. I laughed and tears welled up my eyes. I had to tell Aaron.
With Grace sleeping just down the hall I snuck into my niece's room. My hands shook as I dialed his number. I kept my voice down trying keep the news a secret from the other members in the house. Aaron, "Hello?" I could hear his co-workers in the background and I could tell that he was trying to keep his voice down as well. I said, "Hey babe, remember that advice you gave me about not taking another pregnancy test for a week or so?" "Yeah?" "Well I didn't follow that advice and I just took a test and it was positive!!"Aaron, "Are you serious? That is awesome." I could tell he was desperately trying to control his voice as to not lead his coworkers to believe that something exciting was going on when it totally was. Then he said "I've never been so glad that you didn't heed my advice."

We texted shortly thereafter where we could be more cavalier with our excitement. He texted "This is so exciting." Followed by about 27 exclamation marks. I couldn't stop myself from smiling. With my newly learned secret I made my way downstairs. While putting things away in the kitchen Stacey met my eyes and mouthed "So?" I couldn't help but smile and I motioned upstairs where I showed her the test. We did our best to keep our voices a whisper. There were screams and "Oh my goshs" and Stacey hugged and congratulated me. Apparently we failed at keeping our excited whispering to an unhearable level. My niece shouted from downstairs, "What are you guys whispering about? We can hear you whispering up there." I suddenly realized that my new secret wasn't going to stay a secret for long. I tucked the test away in my pocket and casually made my way downstairs. After busying myself for a few minutes I walked over to the couch where my Mom was sitting. I said, "If we could get you a gift, any gift at all, to make you feel better what would it be?" I tried to play it off like Stacey and I were going to surprise her with a get well soon gift of some sort. My mom paused and thought for a moment, then she looked at me and said, "For you to be pregnant." I started to cry as I pulled the test out of my pocket and handed it to her. We hugged and talked and estimated when my due date would be.

Later in the day I took two more tests, just to be extra sure.
I sent it to Aaron and said "Definitely pregnant."

Later that day we called and texted our immediate family members the wonderful and unexpected news.

And that is how our story began.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back In Action

I have been out of the loop for quite some time now. I have a good reason, of course. We have been out of town celebrating the Christmas Holiday with Aaron's family. It was a long a much needed trip. We landed in the great state of Texas this afternoon and unfortunately reality and responsibilities are steadily creeping back into our lives. My anxiety levels are rising a tad as I try to wrap my mind around the to do list that is swimming around in my head. Breathe in, breathe out.

First and foremost I want to take some time to say thank you for your incredibly sweet and heartfelt comments. They meant a lot to me. So, again, thank you so much. We are very excited and things have been interesting the second time around. I have lots of pregnancy related updates, so brace yourselves.

My head is swimming, probably due to a sugar high, calorie high, nap high, and overall festive awesomeness high. Updates about Christmas will trickle in steadily, tucked snugly between moments where Grace and I soak every last minute up with Aaron before we bid him adieu to the black hole of Busy Season. 

Until then, here is a picture of Grace to hold you over.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mysterious Ways

Shortly after Aaron and I had received a call from our doctor informing us about our fertility, I asked Aaron for a blessing. My head was all over the place. I felt good, I felt afraid, but mostly I felt like I finally looked down and the ground was strange and unfamiliar. I didn't know where I was. I wanted peace, I wanted comfort. But secretly I wanted a timeline. I wanted Heavenly Father to say to me, "Here is how short or long this will take." I felt like if I knew what my timeline was, then I could power through and handle the situation with more perspective. But I knew that wasn't how things worked. You never know your timeline, ever. 

Aaron said some beautiful things. Urging me to focus my attention on the other responsibilities that I had and reminding me that I needed to be participating in those things. I gripped my seat and waited for my timeline. I wanted it, even though I knew it wasn't going to be given. Short? Long? Rough terrain? I felt like I was whisper-shouting those words despite never actually saying them. Aaron paused for a moment. Then he said, "the Lord works in mysterious ways." I let out my breath, not realizing at the time that I was holding it in. My shoulders slumped a little. He finished the beautiful blessing. I wiped my tears and hugged and thanked him.

The words "the Lord works in mysterious ways," swam through my head. They felt heavy and gave me no bearings as to where I would find the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt defeated in my timeline desires. I felt selfish. I looked at the road ahead and took the first unknown step forward.

I still felt lost and confused. My emotions ran all over the place. But I put my mind elsewhere, focusing on my other responsibilities. Moving forward. 

What I didn't realize at the time, was the statement, "the Lord works in mysterious ways," was in fact a very specific answer, despite my feelings of it being extremely vague.

It was the statement that followed a series of "Oh. My Gosh" remarks. A series of about 25 of them repeated over and over and over. 

It was the statement that would explain the positive pregnancy test that I held in my hand shortly after being told we had a fertility related issue. 

Baby Barnard #2 Due July 1st, 2012

We are excited, humbled, thrilled, and extremely extremely grateful for this little baby. And we are living proof that the Lord does, in fact, work in mysterious ways.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Epic Fail

On Sunday I started to get sick. Something nasty along the lines of tonsilitis. Fever, aches, chills, sore throat. I got medicine on Monday, but the medicine was making me sick in a completely different way. Something along the lines of the Southern hemisphere.....if you know what I mean. All in all I was a hot mess. Living off tylenol every 4-6 hours. Not showering. Desperately trying to make it to nap time or the end of the day.

By Tuesday Grace was desperate to get out of the house. Desperate. We were out of pretty much everything food wise. And I couldn't make anymore excuses. I took some tylenol. Threw on some make-up. (please take note that I still had not showered) and headed out the door once Grace woke up. She had taken a much later nap so we left around dinner time. I was hungry and needing to buy things to make dinner. It was drizzling outside but nothing too unbearable.

The shopping itself was quick and efficient. Almost all of my groceries had been scanned and bagged when I started rifling through my purse to find my wallet. No wallet. I rifled harder and started to panic. Oh my gosh I don't have my wallet. I knew exactly where it was. I had bought something for Aaron online and it was sitting on my bed. Shoot. I said to the lady, "I forgot my wallet but I have my check book, but I don't have my license to verify the check." She said "I'm so sorry, I need your license." I live just down the street so after a series of forehead slaps and "shoots" I said to her "Do you mind holding my groceries while I run home and grab my wallet?" she said "Sure."

Round two of rifling through my bag to find my keys. I couldn't find them. It isn't surprising. My bag is full of random stuff making my keys impossible to see. So I headed out to my car assuming I would find them once I stopped. In the drizzling rain, I searched, and pulled things out, and searched again. No keys. Not in any pockets. Not anywhere. Panic set in. Where on Earth are my keys? Did someone steal them? I went to call Aaron. But I couldn't find my phone. NO PHONE. I was tired, and sick, and probably should not have been allowed to leave the house considering the mental state I was ine that caused me to leave my wallet and phone at home. So I started to cry. Big sobs that require gasping breaths in. Grace was happy playing in the rain and then she stopped to ask "What happened Mama? Why crying?" People were walking by as I was crying crouched over my bag. No keys, no phone, no wallet, no groceries. I prayed, "Heavenly Father, I have no idea what to do. Please help."

Suddenly I heard a woman's voice behind me. "Is everything okay?" I turned and stood up and wiped my tears away while I sniffled, "Yeah, I just can't find my keys. I obviously had them before since I got here and my car is locked. But I need them to get home so I can get my wallet which I forgot in order to by the groceries I already collected. She said, "Oh I am so sorry. Well I'll stay with you until you get everything sorted out." She was so nice. I would not have been as nice as she was to me, but I was so grateful for her. She let me use her phone so I could call Aaron who has my spare key. He was on his way, so I thanked my modern day Good Samaritan and headed back into the store.

I retraced every single step that I made. I walked in, checked the carts, headed to the bananas. Not there. I veered toward the onions. Sitting in the pile of onions were my keys. I have no idea how they fell out of my pocket into the onions but there they were. There should have been a beam of light and angels singing praises, because that is what it felt like. Now I needed to call Aaron and tell him to turn around and head back to work. I awkwardly scanned people to try to get a good idea of who wouldn't be totally weirded out by me asking them to use their phone. Lost of people had their phones out but I was too chicken to ask. I waited in line at customer service thinking they might let me use there phone when I got the courage to ask a girl standing in line to use hers. Aaron laughed when I told him where I found them. I thanked the girl and high tailed it out the door and back to my apartment.

Grace had lots of fun as we ran up and down the stairs. I got my phone, my wallet, and made sure I had my keys when I headed back. I made my way to register 16 and there was the sweet lady, still holding my groceries despite the fact that it took my twice as long as I said it would take. She smiled and said, "You're back!" I panted a "yes" in response. I thanked her immensely for her kindness and I finally headed home for good.

I should have just ordered pizza.

But for all the fails that built up due to my lack of taking the necessary things with me, I will never cease to be amazed by the kindness of strangers.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


As per usual with the holiday season things are busy. Hustling and bustling and going here and there. Aaron and I have attended 3 different Christmas related parties through his work. We have dressed up 3 different times, and never once did we take a picture during any one of those times. Grace has been to enough babysitters that I'm pretty sure she doesn't know where home is anymore. Although, I'm sure she would prefer to hang with her friends every single night.

On one babysitting occasion I dropped Grace off at my friends house. Grace had stuck a sticker on my foot, I had completely forgotten. I got Grace settled, headed out to a Christmas lunch and ornament exchange. I spoke with many different people. We even laughed about those things that happen to you where you sometime silly happens and you don't notice until you get home. My favorite story being one where someone wore two different shoes to the gym and didn't notice until she was a mile into her run. I got back to pick Grace up and suddenly noticed the sticker Grace had placed on my foot 4 hours earlier. I asked my friend, "Did you notice this Benny the Bull sticker." she said, "Yeah, I totally noticed."
The weather is changing around here. It went from being summer to being winter in about 24 hours. The trees are suddenly and rapidly catching up with the quick change. I'm loving seeing all the fall leaves.
Although I wish the temperatures followed suit with Fall temperatures and didn't hover around 28 degrees. So much for the low being 30 degrees.
 But Grace is digging her hats these days and we don't mind wearing our winter gear.
Speaking of Grace, I was scrolling through my contacts when I came to a very long list of numbers at the bottom. It took me a few minutes of serious confusion to wrap my mind around the fact that the long list of contacts was added by my 2 year old.
What would a blog post be without a little mention of what Aaron is up to. This morning we got up and got ready. Aaron decided a change was needed and he shaved his beard and left a little 'stache. His hair is so light you can barely even see it, but the pedo 'stache was there and we were dying laughing all morning. We had to head to the church for tithing settlement and we saw a large number of people there. I kept telling him "I can't take you seriously with that thing." He was hoping to make it to Christmas, but the 'stache was a little too creepy and gave off "Hide yo kids, hide yo wife," vibes. So a few hours later he shaved it off. Aaron pulling a creeper face, with his pedo 'stache.
Happy pedo 'stache holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Girl

I love her. I really can't say it enough.

Even though when it comes to picture taking she is a pretty unwilling subject
In this picture I'm asking her to smile and she is say "Nooooo."
Did you notice the scrapes on her upper lip? Poor kiddo face planted when she was running to hug Stacey when we went to see them last week.

She has a serious obsession with all things Mr. Potato Head, or as she says it My Tato Head.
She asks to play with them every day, usually first thing in the morning. "Good morning Grace!" "Morning Mama! I play with my tato head?" She is getting pretty creative. Check out safari piggie on the right.
She usually enlists Aaron and I to join in on the fun. And there is no explanation for my hair.
She isn't afraid of the giant creepy fish at Bass Pro Shop. Even when they float and stare in the creepiest way possible.
She loves her Dad like crazy and whenever he is home, he's always number one in her eyes. Monday's are a hard adjustment.
She is the best lunch date companion. Constantly chatting and laughing and thoroughly enjoying sitting in her very own seat.
She is still a two year old that throws tantrums, disagrees with me, asks "What are you doing Mama?" about 400,000 times, and wants to do things her way. If you have some time remind me to tell you a story involving books and Grace getting back at me.

But I love her. She makes me laugh, keeps me on my toes, and knows every way in the book to melt my heart. Like she was given an instruction manual on how to love life and be happy. 
I just love her.