Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blake's Blessing

Blake's Blessing

Participating Priesthood:
Chase Straw, Mike Smith, Steve Pabin, Cliff Hartley, Nick Pearson

Dear Heavenly Father, by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we take this infant in our arms to give him a name and blessing. The name by which he should be known is Blake Thomas Straw. Blake, at this time we bless you that you will have a happy and productive life. You are a special spirit. You are a window to the other side. You have two siblings, a brother and a sister, that love you very much and will watch over you. We bless you that anything you set your mind to, you will be able to do. You will overcome many hurdles that you will run into in your life. We bless you that people will look to you for inspiration. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Blake's Blessing Day

Today was Blake's Blessing day. It was a wonderful and happy day filled with loved ones. The Spirit was so strong, it was amazing. Chase gave Blake such a wonderful blessing. There were tears from the family members all around. A part of the blessing Chase gave Blake says it perfectly. "You are a special spirit. You are a window to the other side."

We know that we were surrounded by angels during that meeting. Colton turned around on the bench while I was holding him and pointed up near the ceiling of the cultural hall and said, "Mommy look! There's people up there!" I brushed it off once thinking he was talking about people coming in to sit down. But then right after the blessing he did the same thing again and everyone around us realized that Colton was seeing someone we weren't. It was incredibly powerful and comforting to have loved ones who have already passed be there with us. I truly believe and felt this powerful presence.

Today was also the primary program for our ward. It was Juliet's very first time and she did so great! She sang loud and said her speaking part confidently. She had memorized it ahead of time, but couldn't quite recall it while she was up there, so she had a little help from the primary president. It was too cute to watch her attention span fade over the length of the program. She started to get distracted and wasn't singing as well towards the end. But I just loved every little second of it and was so proud of my little princess. After they were done, I asked her if she was nervous to say her part in the microphone and she said she wasn't at all and that it was fun.

The family joined us at our house after Sacrament Meeting for a yummy brunch and stayed to visit until about 2. We loved having them all over and had a great time. The kids all played well together and Blake got passed around a ton and even passed out a few times.

Such a blessed day for our family. We are lucky to have such an amazing spirit in such a little body in our home. We love our Blake.

We had some tired kids that early in the morning and couldn't get any good family photos.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nebo Loop - 9/14/16

Chase came up with the idea to go drive Nebo Loop to see the fall leaves. We drove down to Nephi (all three kids fell asleep) and drove the loop back up to Payson. We woke the kids up when we started seeing colorful leaves. We were still a week or two early before prime color change, but we didn't have any traffic, so it was worth it. We loved the drive and even got out of the car to do the "hike" to Devil's kitchen. Not really considered a hike if it is 1/4 mile of pavement. We overprepared with the hiking packpack, but oh well. The kids had fun and we saw lots of cattle, one even right next to a cattle guard in the road as if he wasn't sure what he should do. Good to get a little family and nature time. It was wonderful.

Juliet's 4th birthday - Sept 2016

I'm going to skip around for a while here because I'm having a hard time getting caught up. I don't want to keep falling further behind.

We celebrated Juliet's 4th birthday this weekend. We started Saturday morning with Straw cousin pictures and birthdays. Chase was out of the house early doing inventory at work, so I was on my own to get the kids ready for pictures by 10:00. Everything went smooth and we made it out the door in time. I was shocked!!! We got to Draper park and Melissa took individuals of all the kids and then we were able to get a group shot of all 15 cousins. They are darling, but oh so busy! Chase joined us part way through the pictures and I was so relieved to see him.

We let the kids play on the playgrounds while all the adults tried to figure out what we were doing for lunch. Mike brought some pizza for the kids and Chase went to Del Taco for the adults. We did presents for 5 kids after that: Juliet, Benton, Kevin, Spencer, and Damien. There were a lot of presents, but it is always fun to see their excitement. We all enjoyed singing to the birthday kids and eating some cupcakes before we cleaned up and headed out.

I stopped by Chase's cousin Michelle's baby shower on the way home. It was nice to see her and the rest of the Straw side girls there. They all got to love on Blake before I had to leave to set up for Juliet's birthday party.

Juliet invited all her little friends over for a Peppa Pig birthday party. She had friends from Lehi and 2 Riverton neighborhoods, so when 11 kids showed up at 3:00, I wasn't too surprised, but it was hard to keep track of that many little bodies. We had a dance party, played with bubbles, did 'Pin the Tail on Peppa', a cupcake pinata, presents, and chocolate cupcakes with purple frosting. They all had a great time and left with their own fun little goodie bags. Luckily there was one left for Juliet since she didn't quite understand they were only for her guests. We were exhausted after they all left, but we were so glad Juliet had a fun party. She's already asking how long until her next birthday party.

I sure do love my sweet little girl. She can be sassy, and super bossy when it comes to playing with Colton, but she is also so sweet with her baby brother, Blake, and so compassionate when someone is sad or hurt. She tells me she loves her sweet baby, but she still wishes he was a girl. She hates to sleep and still struggles with bedtime every night. She loves to play with friends every day. If I ask her to quiet down at night, she always responds, “But mom, I just talk a lot.” It is so true. She never stops. Never. But I'm so glad she's my social little butterfly and that she's not afraid to ask questions so she can learn about everything that goes on around her. Sure do love my little girl who is my mini-me in every way!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trials - April 2015

We all have trials in our lives. We are given trials to see if we will have faith in our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ to help us overcome our trials. We are promised that we will never be given a trial that is too great for us individually to bear. We have experience such a trial.

Seven weeks ago, we found out that we were pregnant with our third baby. We were so excited that we were able to get pregnant the exact time that we had planned and the first month that we tried. The timeline of when I finished nursing Colton and when my cycle returned all worked out perfectly to be able to get pregnant when we wanted.

The first pregnancy test we took had a very faint 'control' line and an even more faint 'test' line. We knew this test would not be reliable, so we took another one the next day. This one was a digital test and the result was positive, but when we opened it up to see the actual lines, the positive 'test' line was again quite faint. I took one more test two days later and got the same result: positive, but faint. We still weren't sure if this really meant that I was pregnant or not. So I told my co-workers and our families, but I still didn't quite believe it because I never felt pregnant. A week or two later, I decided to take one more test, which came out with a full dark positive line. We were definitely pregnant. We still thought it was really weird that the positive lines were so faint in the beginning, because it had never been that way with the other two. I never got nauseous or felt any different at all through the next few weeks. I almost forgot that I was pregnant.

This past Saturday night, I noticed some spotting. I let Chase know and he wasn't quite as supportive and sympathetic as I expected. That, along with what was going on, made me pretty upset for the rest of the nigh, but we realized there was nothing we could do but wait and see what happened. After I got home from church on Sunday, it was more than just spotting. I decided to talk to the midwife on call for the weekend. She said it was most likely a miscarriage, but not always. She wanted me to take it easy for the rest of the day and come in to have my hCG level in my blood tested twice to see if the level was rising or falling. If it was rising, I was still pregnant. If it was falling, I was miscarrying. All I could do was wait and worry. I went to work Monday morning and snuck out between patients to run over to get my blood drawn. I was told nothing besides wait for the results tomorrow. So I went back to work for the rest of the day, but decided to take Tuesday off. Chase and I had Monday night off together and I spent it sitting on the couch. I thought I should put myself on bed rest, essentially, just in case I wasn't miscarrying. Chase didn't quite understand why I was sitting around not helping with the kids all night and got pretty upset at me, which I, in turn freaked out on him. After I was able to explain what I was doing and what I needed from him emotionally, things were much better. I spent all day Tuesday on the couch. Chase was so wonderful at taking care of the house and the kids that day. Amazing what he can do when he has to do double duty! It was definitely nice to have a day off together. I loved it!

I never got a call with my results on Tuesday, so I went in Wednesday morning to have my blood drawn again. I got the number of my results while I was there, but no other information. I went home and found out my hCG levels were that of around 6 weeks pregnant and I was 8 ½. This was pretty disappointing and made me realize this was probably a miscarriage. My midwife's nurse finally called that afternoon to discuss my results with me. My hCG was at 1060. They also tested my progesterone level because they have seen a trend in women who miscarry that they have very low levels of progesterone. My was just that. It was 0.9 and it should be between 8 and 48. So they prescribed a progesterone supplement for me to start taking right away. She told me there wasn't much else we could do but wait for the results of my second blood draw. But still, I stayed on my self-induced bed rest all of Wednesday and again on Thursday. I called Thursday just before they closed and they didn't have my results yet. Finally at 7:00 that night, I got a call from my midwife. My level had dropped to 270, indicating that I was definitely having a miscarriage. This was disappointing, for sure, but it was also a relief to finally have the answer. My midwife answered all of my questions and told me to come see her in two weeks.

I told my family and my co-workers. I cannot believe how much love and support I received from all of them. It is truly touching. It was comforting to know that there were several mothers in my support group who had gone through this same thing and had felt the way I did at one point. I told them all I was doing well, even though some didn't believe me! I had really been grieving and thinking and praying all week before I broke the news, so I really was doing better and better each day.

Through prayer, my Heavenly Father has blessed me with comfort from The Holy Ghost. I've had The Spirit as a close companion this week. I had a lot going through my mind throughout the week and many impressions given to me as to why we were given this trial.

From the beginning, this pregnancy was just a little different. We never really bonded with the baby. Since I wasn't quite sure if I was actually pregnant until 2 weeks after my first test and I never had ANY signs or symptoms of pregnancy, I still didn't quite believe it. I almost sort of knew that this one was different and to maybe not get too attached. I don't know why, I just had that feeling. I've also read that most miscarriages happen because there is something physically wrong with the baby, so that was a possibility for sure.

I had also been feeling extremely overwhelmed with my kids the week before. I had prayed a lot for help with them and to stop losing my temper so easily. Maybe Heavenly Father knew I wasn't quite ready for another one. Even though we had planned this pregnancy, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I definitely felt unsure if I could handle it all. This was probably Heavenly Father's way of helping me out a little bit. Just to give me a few more months for the kids to grow up a little more.

I also had the thought that maybe I am supposed to actually have 4 kids? We had decided on having only three kids. Before I got pregnant, I told Heavenly Father that if He wanted me to have four, he would have to give me twins. Well, this may have been his way of doing things. I believe that I will be a mother to this child in heaven and it is a very special spirit. I feel like Heavenly Father wanted to make sure I was able to be the mother of the next child I have and I would not have had that opportunity had I not miscarried this baby.

I've also been really depressed about my weight recently, since I never really took much of the baby weight off after having Colton. I kept saying I'll start working on it soon. Well, that never happened and I just became more and more depressed about it. So maybe this is my opportunity to lower my weight before getting pregnant again. I sure hope I can have the motivation and self control to accomplish it. Luckily, I have an awesome buddy to help me over these next few months.

This also could just be a trial for me to overcome. I love how close The Spirit has been through it all and that I have amazing friends and family that are so caring and concerned for my well being this week. I love you all!  

March 2015

March 1 - Colton turns 10 months old!

March 3 - Another snowy day

March 4 -
"Helping" with the dishes 
Happy Boy!

Figuring out the slinky

March 5 -

Sleepy boy with a fever

March 11 - Scott and Sirrinna came in the middle of March to stay a few nights before they went on a couples' retreat at Bear Lake. We didn't see a whole lot of them since they were visiting friends, but we got to spend a little bit of time with them.

March 20 - A few days later, Beth, James, and Emmalee came to visit. We had a great week! I kept us very busy. They flew in on Thursday night. My kids were already asleep, which helped getting Emmalee to bed when we got back to the house. Friday morning, Beth and I took the kids to the library for music time and then to the park for a while after that. The weather was so nice all week! We got very lucky. The boys were out car shopping because they both want new cars. After we all got back, we relaxed, let the kids nap, and Chase got really mad at me when I told him he couldn't get a car that didn't fit in the garage (which now we are realizing is almost impossible to do that and still be big enough to tow the boat). We'll figure it out someday. Beth and I went grocery shopping for the weekend and we spent the rest of the night at home.

Saturday, we drove up to Park City to the Olympic Park. We stopped at Arby's when we got there and noticed an elderly man that looked exactly like our grandpa from the back. It happened to be the anniversary of the day he passed away, so I like to think he put us all there at the same time just to remind us of him. It made my heart swell. Miss you grandpa! We had a great time at the Olympic Park. We made it outside where they were doing a youth competition of downhill skiing with jumps and ending with a skid across the surface of the pool. We loved it! The weather was so warm, the snow was so slushy and there was barely any left. It was perfect to be a spectator in though! After that was over, we headed back down to the Salt Lake valley through Heber and Provo canyon. The kids napped and we went to the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. We grabbed some dinner after that and spent the rest of the night at home. Gave the kids baths, got them to bed, and watched a movie (Divergent).

Some made it across...

...some didn't.

Trying out the slide for the first time.

He couldn't quite figure out why he wasn't moving anywhere...

Sunday was Stake Conference, so we didn't have to go to church. We drove around looked at houses and neighborhoods. Beth and James are planning on moving here in the next few years and so we drove around for them. We drove to American Fork canyon but turned around when we got there because the entire canyon wasn't open yet. We wanted to go explore Cascade Springs. So we drove back and up over Suncrest into Draper where we ended up at a park there. The girls got to play and we had a picnic lunch. We drove back home for naps and stayed home the rest of the night.

Monday, they packed up their bags. We drove around the valley some more to show them the different areas. We ended up at Barbacoa in South Jordan for dinner before taking them back to the airport to go home. I was so sad to see them go. We had so much fun and the girls loved playing together.

Beth helped me begin sleep training Juliet on Sunday night and we continued it for the rest of the week. It was so so hard, but in after the week was over, it finally paid off. We no longer have to sit in her room or out in the hallway until she falls asleep. My sister is the best! I cannot thank her enough! I finally have some me time at night again (so I can catch up on this blog!).

Juliet is turning into such a sweet girl who loved being a mommy to her baby doll. She sits her in her lap while we're singing songs at night and helps her do the hand motions to the songs. She changes her diaper, she cradles her and pats her back. I love it! I think it is so cute! She loves watching YouTube on the tablet and bossing her little brother around. She loves jumping on the bed and playing outside with our neighbors.
Learning letters at bedtime

Library Music time

Park time!

Thanksgiving Point Curiosity Museum

Showing her baby outside and then she put her in time out.

Loves her chick-fil-a ice cream!

First time she went up front for story time at the library

Learning all sorts of Primary Songs at night time.
"I'm so glad when Daddy comes home!"

Colton, on the other hand, is turning into a tornado! He gets into everything and pulls all the contents out of cabinets and drawers. He is still super happy and is the BEST sleeper! He does down for naps and to bed at night so well! I'm still not used to not having to fight a kid to go to sleep. I used to fight Juliet for an hour to take a nap and then the nap would only last an hour. We have to fight her that it is bed time every night still. He just drinks his bottle and I lay him in bed and he goes right to sleep. If he cries, it is for a minute or two and then he goes to sleep. I so needed a baby like him!

Colton is crawling all over the place. He's very quick if he knows you're coming after him. It's cute. He loves to rough house and is learning to walk while holding our hands. He loves baths more than anything. He has 8 teeth, is fully in 12 month clothes now, and is now officially in his own bedroom.

On Saturday, March 28th, the kids and I went to our ward Easter breakfast and Easter egg hunt. Juliet loved finding the eggs and eating all of the candy from them that morning. She was a beast after that! She was so sweet and found some eggs for Colton too. That afternoon, we all headed up to Taylorsville to attend our niece Kyah's baptism. It was so sweet and wonderful to see her dad baptize her, which he had to do three time since her feet kept popping out of the water. The rest of the kids thought it was so funny. I was asked to give the talk on the Holy Ghost after she was baptized, which was perfectly timed for me (see next entry about Trials). So thank you, Shauna, for asking me to do that. It was divinely planned. We had a great dinner and birthday party for Brynn after that.   

March 29 - Easter outfits for church since General Conference fell on Easter this year.