Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas recap

Josh and I spent Christmas in northern Utah this year, since we spent Thanksgiving with my family in southern Utah. His family Christmas party was Friday, Dec 21, so we spent this Christmas morning without any fanfare. We slept in until after 8am, then Josh finally got up to shovel the "White Christmas" driveway and sidewalks while I made us breakfast. Josh got me a Presto Professional Salad Shooter for Christmas this year, but let me open it early to make au gratin potatoes for the non-denominational holiday feast we shared at Lacie's Christmas Eve, so I used it to make homemade hashbrowns. They were so yummy! We feasted on potatoes, scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa, raspberry muffins and hot chocolate. It was so nice to sit down and enjoy a hearty breakfast together. I can't remember the last time we were able to enjoy a morning together like that.

Santa didn't quite make it to our house this year, and in addition to my Presto, we already bought and installed flat screen computer monitors and this headboard for Christmas,
so we weren't expecting to have many gifts waiting under the tree. We were so wrong! Maryann's family gave us Blokus, Josh's folks generously gave us "Dinner & a Movie", Nate & Holly gave us the Scene It? movie trivia game, Penny sent up a beautiful Christmas plaque, Duane & Amanda sent up a super-cute photo calendar set, and Holly gave us a book of her family's top recipes. We totally made out like bandits! We felt so loved. The spirit of Christmas filled our home and we felt all warm and tingly inside.

We spent part of the afternoon visiting at Josh's folks' house, then on to Gary & Wendy's to visit with the Heaps family, and finished the day off at Jon & Maryann's where I got to put together a huge fire engine puzzle with Riley, Preston, Hailey and Hunter. It was such a beautiful day and I loved every minute of it.
It was the perfect Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Baby update

Quick update on December 20 ultrasound...

Our little boy is growing very well and just as he should be. My abdomen is measuring small because my amniotic fluid is low, but it's not low enough to cause concern or change any behavior. He's measuring due Jan 29 now, but I'm still keeping Feb 5 as my due date and the doc is keeping Jan 26, so who knows when he'll come. He's already 5 lbs, 3 oz, and still ridiculously active. The ultrasound tech couldn't believe how much he was moving around and how difficult he made it to get a good profile picture, but boy, did we get another great shot of his boy parts! It's nice to be 100% confident in his gender, but I secretly can't wait for him to get a little bigger, leaving less space for him to move about while he finishes baking.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Only 7 more weeks!

I had Josh take this picture after church yesterday when it dawned on me that we're fast approaching the home stretch. We're still so nervous, but now the excitement is starting to creep in.

33 weeks and growing

Friday, December 14, 2007

I 'Heart' Howie

I absolutely love this SNL skit of Howie Mandel and Deal or No Deal. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bad news?

I can't believe I forgot to post about my last ob visit. It was Thursday, December 6, exactly five weeks after my November 1 visit and guess what? I only gained one pound in those five weeks. My doctor was concerned, primarily because most of his patients gain too much weight during the holidays, not too little. He asked me if I thought I was measuring normal compared to my last pregnancy. Well, that *was* eight years ago, but yeah, I think so. He says I'm measuring a little small, but he wasn't concerned about it because I'm a small person, I'm fairly active, I've had the picture-perfect pregnancy, and I've always had regular weight gain. Until now.

Personally, I don't think there's anything to be worried about. I think I just got extra exercise while we were gallivanting about during Thanksgiving. Believe me, I ate more than my fair share of goodies.
All I know is I've already gained 21 pounds and I still have eight weeks to go! I gained 27 pounds total with Amanda. But even though my blood pressure was good, the baby moves constantly, his heartbeat sounded great, and I haven't had any pain/cramping, I'm going to have another ultrasonic look at the little guy on December 20 'just to make sure he's still growing.'

So naturally, we've begun worrying, even though we really don't think there's reason to, and we began altering our normal routines slightly to keep me from
unnecessarily going out and about. We decided against me helping Josh shovel the driveway and sidewalks Friday night after our ward Christmas party, 'just in case.' I'm more aware of when the baby's moving or not, and Josh is constantly lecturing me to eat something and 'just sit still.' He ran errands yesterday so I could stay home and relax, so I got to bake four 'thank-you cakes' and finish putting up Christmas decorations - yay, all done!

But I knew it was stressing me out subconsciously after the dream I had last night. I was competing on the TV show The Biggest Loser, and the dark-haired girl, Jillian, was my trainer, and she was telling me that if I didn't lose any weight I would be kicked off the show. I was crying because I didn't want to lose weight but she didn't care that I was pregnant and was being very mean and threatening. Then she told me my baby didn't have to lose weight because I could lose a couple of pounds in my bum! I was so embarrassed and completely devastated. No one was happy with me.

After I woke up and processed it all, I started laughing. Just yesterday I told my friend Shama that I thought my bum was getting longer from the pregnancy. Not wider (my hips are still super narrow, oddly enough), just longer, but I didn't realize it would sneak into my subconscious and stress me out.

Anyway, we're a little worried about it, but trying not to be. This same thing happened to my sis-in-law Holly and my friend Sarah as well. Even the doc said he thought everything was fine -
it's just a precautionary ultrasound. The silver lining is that I scheduled it for a time that Josh could take off work to be there, and we get to see our baby again!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Forgotten Carols

After having him around so much the last little while, I've been missing Josh this week. After working late at Utah Valley Tuesday night, he flew down to St. George early Wednesday morning to fix a problem at Dixie. He flew back late that evening, but was up and at 'em again early yesterday and didn't make it home before I left at 7pm to go see The Forgotten Carols for girls' night out.

Last night was the third time I've seen Michael McLean's Christmas production, and it was incredible. While I don't think the Cottonwood High venue is the nicest I've been in, last night's show was perfect. I had never heard of Jordan Bluth before, but wow, what a voice! I had to look up his name in the program about 30 seconds after he began singing, his voice was so striking. His tone is quite rich and powerful - I could easily listen to him all day. I also really liked Kelly Shepardson's voice (Connie Lou) and Michael's wife, Lynne, sang the absolutely beautiful song of Sarah in the maternity ward. It's hard to choose a favorite song out of The Forgotten Carols, but that one will always be in my top three.

Anyway, Josh and I are hoping to spend some quality time together tonight before 10pm rolls around and I'm too tired to make it through the news. We'll probably just hit up RedBox and watch a video as we snuggle by the fireplace after dinner. There are several movies we always intended to see, but never got around to. Shrek 3,
We Are Marshall, 300, Superbad, Surf's Up, and Premonition are all currently available. Any recommendations?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Vacation highlights

We finally returned from our 2-week excursion all over Hell's half-acre during the end of November. Here are some highlights (in no particular order):
  • Pam's homemade black forest banana cream pie
  • The new kid-sized 4-wheelers and all the crashing and dirt that ensued
  • Cards, cards, and more cards - including a magical win for Josh and I at hand and foot!
  • Seeing my father sealed to his parents
  • Zeno, Sapheneous, and Milo - my ancestors
  • Maryann's pregnancy announcement over dinner
  • Grandma's reaction to said announcement
  • Don's Lake Powell response
  • Target's rain check and our new monitors
  • Family Flag Football
  • Dice with Dennis and Raleigh
  • Finally seeing Bourne Ultimatum at the dollar show
  • Staying up 'til 2am with Russ and Hill
  • Lots o' rain in Las Vegas - it never poured like that while we lived there!
  • Inheriting a crib, dresser, Boppy, and Moses basket for the coming addition
  • Coming up with a name (but we're not telling anyone what it is)
  • Family pictures!
  • Jon Schmidt at Tuacahn, even though it almost rained out
  • Hot chocolate that made the concert bearable
  • Emily's blessing and the party afterward
  • Perfect weather for driving home with a trailer carrying all our junk
All the pics are still in southern Utah on my Mom's camera and computer, so I've no proof that we had a great time. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Family Flag Football game, Thanksgiving Day, 2007

The Tigersvs.
The Panthers

The game was fierce and highly competitive. Every player was there to win, no matter the cost. Even Grandma was beat down by an opponent twice her size! The Panthers eventually succombed to the brute strength and experience of the Tigers, but gave them one heck of a catfight in the process. I didn't play because I used my pregnancy as a copout and hung out on the sidelines to take pictures of all the action instead. Below are the fruits of my labors.

Pam blocks as Grandpa hands the ball off to Josh.
I can't remember if they scored on this play or not, but I was sure proud of this photo! This was by far the best action shot I took. You'd never guess my Dad has a bum knee, and Josh looks like he takes ballet lessons!

Grandma and Duane let Holly slip by

Don, Penny, Grandpa, and Josh, quarterback extraordinaire

Great "D" Tigers!

That white girl, Penny, sure can jump!

Pam, Greg, Steve, Josh, Grandpa

Josh and Grandma are open, Cade!

Holly, Steve, Pam, Grandpa, Grandma

Grandpa, Duane, Grandma talk strategy

I also took some short video clips with my mom's camera. Below are my first and second attempts at posting video on my blog (sorry for the poor quality - not sure what to do).

Amanda rallies for a First Down!

Hailey makes a run for it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November whirlwind

November is fast approaching its end, and I've seriously slacked in my 'online' time - only one post all month long! The worst part about being offline for so long is that I got such great responses to my last post and failed to recognize and thank everyone for weighing in. So thank you all for giving me your advice regarding the Mother Nature vs. Induction debate!

At this point, I'm leaning toward Mother Nature, but an induction would be tons better for Josh (like
Tim, he doesn't have a set work schedule or office, so he travels a lot for his job). There would be a chance that our little one could decide to come while Josh is far away - as in hundreds of miles and hours away. Given possible weather conditions in Utah in January/February, that could be a real problem. The good news is we only live 7 miles from the hospital where I'll deliver, so even in poor weather we should be okay. I don't have another appointment until December 6, so we still have some time before my doctor will bring it up again. At any rate, we're both intrigued by Sara's suggestion of 'nipple stimulation' and may contact her for some more information (but we'll keep that to ourselves).

Anyway, November has been really fun for us. Josh got called to work down in St. George/Las Vegas two weeks ago, so we left SLC on Nov 6 to head down to warmer weather. We were in Toquerville Nov 7-8, and got to meet Emily, the newest niece, for the first time. Then down to Vegas Nov 9-10 while Josh worked and I spent a little time visiting with the Graziano girls. We stopped by the RC Willey clearance center and scored ourselves a beautiful headboard in excellent condition for only 175 bucks! We drove back up to Toquerville that night and went to Penny's ward on Nov 11 to see Glenn in the primary program. Luckily, Steve and Cyndie were in town meeting a birth mother that has chosen them to adopt her baby next March, so we all got together for tacos and games Sunday night. Back to Vegas in time for Josh to work on Nov 12 and spend FHE with the Stewart clan, then Nov 13 we enjoyed a session in the Las Vegas Temple and drove back up to SLC.

Too much driving for my pregnant body, but we thoroughly enjoyed our little vacation, and the best part was that Josh's company paid for most of it! Sometimes job travel isn't as inconvenient or annoying as it seems. And in between alla the running around, I successfully changed my name (officially married after 2 years!), was granted residency at UVSC, registered for the HOAE and a class next spring, finished the covers for my super-awesome family Christmas gifts, and bought $300 worth of cloth diapers.

Now we're back in southern Utah for the Thanksgiving holiday and we've planned Josh's work and vacation days just right so that we get to see the Blue Man Group in Vegas next week, pick up a crib from Russ and Hill, hopefully see Jenise, Kimmy, and Sandy, go to Emily's baby blessing, and relax for a few days before going back to a dreary and cold SLC on Dec 3. Two more weeks away from home, visiting with family and friends. This is the life, folks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

For Vanessa...

Baby belly at 26 weeks, 4 days pregnant.

All right, so I'm not huge. Believe me, I am *not* complaining (although it would be nice if my hips would widen just a little, to help keep my pants on). My breasts are bigger and I almost have a complete 'outy' belly button now, but those are the only physical changes I've had so far. Most people are surprised to learn I'm already six months along because I don't look big enough. But my weight and abdomen gain are right on and very consistent. I guess I'm just a little person that has little babies. Amanda was only 6lb, 8oz when she was born (although she did come two weeks early).

My last ob appt was November 1 and I passed my glucose and hematocrit tests with no problems. My appointments are always very boring. I did mix it up a little this time by getting a flu shot, but all that did was leave my shoulder a little sore for a few days.

Sometimes I feel bad that I have such easy pregnancies because it seems so many people I know have way more than their fair share of problems. Aside from the occasional sciatica (which is currently in remission) and daily heartburn that's easily corrected with Tums, my only complaint is how much this kid moves! I remember thinking Amanda snuck a punching bag into my tummy and was constantly practicing her roundhouse kicks when I was pregnant with her, and this one is no different. Sometimes he kicks me so hard I literally jump! Josh feels him move all the time now, which is really cool, but then it dawns on him that the baby is real and coming quickly, and he has to stop touching me before we both get freaked out about being parents.

I'd like a little feedback from all y'all about something, so if you have two cents to throw in, please do so. My doctor kept my due date at January 26 (based on ovulation) instead of February 5 (based on ultrasound measurements), but I tell everyone Feb 5 so that if he doesn't come by Jan 26, I won't be disappointed. Anyway, at my appointment on Thursday, I mentioned that I hope the baby comes early so I can avoid being super-pregnant on my birthday (February 1) and the doctor said he'd induce me before Jan 26 if I wanted him to.

At first I was a little peeved that my doc would be so cavalier about taking my baby out before he's done cooking, even though I'm the one that brought it up. But then I started thinking...if the baby doesn't come by Jan 26, maybe I *will* have the doctor induce me so I can be out of the hospital by my birthday. But I also really want the baby to come when he's good and ready - I figure Mother Nature knew what she was doing with Amanda (my water broke), so she'll know what she's doing with this one, too. It'll be the middle of winter in SLC, and I don't think he'll be a big guy, so I want to give him every opportunity to be and remain healthy when he's born, so right now I'm leaning toward waiting for him to come. But man, that temptation keeps creeping into my brain. What would you do??

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Update on whatever

Ugh. I need to finish writing our talks for sacrament meeting tomorrow, but I'm having a hard time concentrating. I went to southern Utah with Josh Tuesday to see my folks while he worked at Dixie on Wednesday. On our drive home Wednesday night we got a call from the Bishopric requesting we speak in sacrament meeting on Sunday (tomorrow). We almost said no - it was after 9pm Wednesday night, we were barely out of Cedar City, and Josh wasn't going to have much time to prepare one - but we guilted ourselves into saying yes.

Well, Josh worked at IMC until 9pm last night and has already been there since 8am this morning. Poor guy. I hate it when he works late, but I extra hate it when he sacrifices his weekends and doesn't get a decent break from work. Anyway, his talk isn't getting written, so we decided that instead of writing two 12-minute talks on the two subjects they gave us, I would write one 24-minute talk on one subject, and Josh could give half of it. I have my doubts about our probable success, but we've concluded that if we bomb these talks, they won't be asking us again anytime soon, so either way we win!

In other news...
I got a kicking maternity skirt for only $15 at Motherhood Maternity that will easily last me through these last three months. I officially start teaching the 6 & 7-year-olds in Primary tomorrow, so I wanted to get something now that will be comfy enough that I'm not constantly shuffling around in front of the kiddies, but
that will grow with me so I don't have to buy another later on. This skirt is perfect. It's a little big right now, but it still stays up (and I can use my black belly band to help!), and it's dressy without being flashy. It's a long, black, skirt, and perfect for wintertime. I love it so much I might not get any others and just wear this one every week until the baby comes.

I'm making great progress on my crafty Christmas gifts for all the siblings this year. I'm more or less done with gifts for my side of the family, but Josh's side is another story. We've talked about it a bit, but haven't had any great revelations yet. What are some gifts all y'all are giving your parents this year??

Josh and I cannot agree on a single name for this baby, so he will probably not have a name before he is born. Suggestions are welcome and appreciated, but chances are we won't know his name until after we look at him.

I made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a ward function this week, and Josh confessed to me that "they are the best cookies you've ever made." I was surprised at first, but then I realized I don't make cookies very often. In fact, the only other cookies I've made since we married are "secret surprise cookies" and those are strictly a Lake Powell tradition. I'm a big fan of brownies, rice krispies treats, and even cakes (especially cheesecake - yum!), but rarely will I put in the time to make cookies. But now that I know he liked them so much, I might make them as an occasional special treat for him. Nicey!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stake Conference

Our stake was one that got invited to attend the multi-stake stake conference gathering at the Conference Center yesterday. Although tired from arising early in order to get downtown, find parking, and secure a decent seat (pregnant women need an aisle for the least-disturbing bathroom access possible), we were thrilled with the conference and very happy we made the effort to attend.

While I enjoyed all the talks (although the two boys behind me prevented me from hearing the majority of President Packer's talk), I especially loved President Hinckley's talk. He spoke of marriage, and the duties each spouse has toward the other in making a marriage successful. Neither spouse is exempt from loving and respecting the other, forgiving him or her, or working on the union. It was nice to hear a friendly reminder that marriage requires work. I remember attending my singles' wards and there was so much emphasis on marriage it seemed that was all we needed to finally be complete. However, in my own marriage, I have learned it's merely the beginning to an entirely new chapter in life.

Josh and I have had our ups and downs together, although I dare say we've had many more ups (knock on wood). During the talk, I kept thinking of how lucky I am to have Josh. I know he loves me and treats me the way I deserve, even better! He speaks a quiet truth, and he has never held himself above me as "the man of the house." I know he listens to me and that we have an equal say in family decisions. He freely compliments me, and in turn, I want to please him even more. I am so grateful for him, his patience, his work ethic, and his standard of living. He is an incredible man.

I'm especially grateful for our love for each other now that we'll be welcoming our first child into our home. I'm pleased that our son will grow up knowing that he is wanted, loved, and that his parents have a real commitment to one another. I pray every day that God will see fit to continue blessing us as He has these last two years. I don't know what I did to deserve such happiness, but I hope I keep it up.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Belly bands

Ladies, if you're expecting, you should buy these belly bands (or make them yourselves, I'm sure it's not too difficult). I bought some last week and have worn the white one pretty much every single day since. My only regret is not buying them earlier when my pants started getting tighter.

You see, I'm one of the lucky women whose tummy reaches out far and wide during pregnancy without much change to my bum, hips, or thighs. This means that when I put on jeans to fit my belly, they drown every other part of me and look terrible. So I'm stuck. I'm too small for maternity pants, but too big to do up my zippers all the way, and using a rubber band to keep my pants buttoned up isn't the most attractive thing I've ever done. What I really need is a way to give myself an extra inch or two around the waist of the pants I already own that fit the rest of my body.

Bring in the belly bands.

I first did a google search for belly bands because Katie told me to check them out. The BellaBand is what I initially found. The reviews on Amazon were all positive, but I didn't want to drop $26 plus shipping for just one band, and I didn't find them much cheaper on other sites, so I kept looking. I found another brand of Belly Bands for $20 each, but still couldn't justify the expense.

I was about to call up Lacie and ask her to help me make my own when I had the thought to look on eBay. There were several used bands for sale, but I found this Massachusetts homemaker that makes her own, cheaper, version of the BellaBand. She had good feedback so I thought I'd give her product a try. I bought two bands (one white and one black) for a mere $21, including shipping.

What a miracle they've turned out to be! I've been wearing my favorite jeans and casual pants for the last week, and rekindled an old love affair with a favorite pale blue daisy skirt on Sunday (blogger's photo service is broken right now). These bands are perfect because they're just tight enough to keep my pants up for now, but have plenty of stretch to grow with me during the rest of my pregnancy. It just looks like I'm wearing a t-shirt underneath my top. While it does take me longer to put myself together after using the restroom, it's been so nice to go back to wearing clothes that fit my body and my skinny bird legs.

So I'm officially endorsing these bands as a pregnancy must-have. Get some now, and get your comfortable confidence back!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ultrasound video

October 4 2007, 22 weeks pregnant

All right, I put the ultrasound video on YouTube and embedded it above. I also posted a breakdown of what you see and approximately at what times. The video and text should stay at the top of my blog long after this post has been buried.

Here is what you see in the ultrasound and at roughly what times:
  • 10:00-9:25 - legs & ankles crossed (side view)
  • 9:15-8:20 - lots of moving, boy parts! (bottom view)
  • 8:15-8:00 – boy parts again
  • 7:45-7:15 – arms & hands (top view)
  • 6:35-6:25 – boy parts again (he's obviously not camera shy)
  • 6:15-5:40 – super-wiggly & kicking (side view)
  • 5:40-4:00 – various profile shots
    • 4:54 – profile with cute little nose!
    • 4:35-4:30 – heartbeat
    • 4:35-4:15 – jaw movement & sucking
    • 4:05-4:00 – heartbeat
  • 3:45-3:30 – face (front view)
  • 3:15-2:40 – FOOT TAPPING!
  • 1:45-1:20 – more profile & heartbeat
  • 1:20-0:00 - measurements & EDD of February 5, 2008 (but they kept my official EDD of January 26, 2008)
This video is long and I know no one is as interested in it as I am, but you should at least scan to the foot tapping part - it's so cool! Our ultrasound tech said she'd never seen a fetus do that before. I'm already so pleased with our baby's health and personality. What a good boy!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Girls' Night

We finally had another girls' night October 5. It's been much too long since we all got together, and we had a fantastic time. We celebrated Rach and Danielle's birthdays by going to Mimi's Cafe for dinner, then heading up to Holly's for cake, ice cream and lots of chit-chat. I stayed up way too late of course, but couldn't have had more fun. At times like these, I am so happy to be back in Utah, even though it's been really rainy and cold. I just hope more of us can make it to December's outing!

Maryann, Patsi, Holly
Rachael, Paige, Christy

In other great news, all my plants and paintings made it safely up here from my folks' house this weekend. My peace lily, prayer plants, and baby rubber plant obviously suffered from a lack of regular watering, and my philodendron and dumb canes were never rotated while in my mother's care, but a little trimming, replanting, water, and open blinds has already helped so much. I'm just grateful my mom was willing to take on the task of plant-sitting for the last month. Home just wasn't home without 'em.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I finally had my first Utah ob appointment today and it turned out to be the perfect day. When I originally made the appointment, I asked the girl if I could schedule the ultrasound as well, considering I'd be 22 weeks by the time they could fit me in. Unfortunately, I could not, as the doctor must 'prescribe' the ultrasound and I hadn't yet met with him. So I made the appointment with the understanding that I probably wouldn't get the ultrasound until the following week.

In the meantime, Josh got a call for service at Dixie, so he couldn't go to the appointment with me, which was a real let-down. I wanted so badly for him to be able to hear the heartbeat because it makes the whole baby concept so much more real, you know? So he re-scheduled an IMC install for Monday so he could spend Friday at Dixie instead of Thursday. All that shuffling meant he was able to go to my appointment during work hours then drive down on his own time afterward. What a sweetheart! And the best part is I got to go down with him so we didn't have to spend the night apart. I just love that man.

So we get to the office and my doc's medical assistant comes in to take my blood pressure (117/78) and weight (+13 pounds already, oh my!). As she's looking over my Vegas records and making notations in my chart, she asks why I haven't gotten an ultrasound yet. I tell her I couldn't book it until the doctor told me to, and it was too early to get one when I last saw my Vegas doc. She didn't seem too concerned that it took nearly two months for the office to get me in, but she was greatly troubled there was no ultrasound. So she talked to the doctor about seeing if she could sneak us in to the ultrasound room downstairs after he did his examination, and he said to go for it.

Boy, it sure helps to have the right people working your case! We waltzed into the ultrasound room like we owned the place and spent the next 45 minutes looking at every baby detail that popped on the screen.
We are delighted and relieved to report that our baby is healthy and whole. All the toes, fingers, arms, legs, brain parts, and heart chambers are present and accounted for. We saw kidneys, umbilical cord blood, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't think of right now.

Oh, and we saw a penis.

Our son is so active. Josh didn't believe how much I feel him moving and kicking around inside me until he saw the little bugger on-screen.
The office gave us the last 10 minutes of the ultrasound on video and we've showed it to most of our family and friends. No one knew we were going to get the ultrasound, so we got to surprise everyone with our results! My dad was absolutely stunned at how much babies move, and how incredible it is that he got to see it. And the ultrasound tech noticed our baby tapping his foot in perfect rhythm near the end of the ultrasound - we're guessing he taps to my heartbeat. Only 1lb, 3oz big, but already so talented!

Anyway, here are a couple of highlight pics from the ultrasound, and if I can figure out how to do it, I'll put the foot-tapping on youtube. It was undeniably the best day I've had in a very long time. I'm *very* happy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not dead (yet)

We're alive and in Utah. It's been a rough couple of weeks, but we managed to survive. One day when I have internet at my house and some time to tell you all about it, I'll dish. In the meantime, get excited because my first Utah OB appt is October 4, and then we'll get to find out what we're having!

We have not prepared one single thing for this baby other than get a free bottle from Babies 'R Us and take Bronson's old carseat off Katie's hands. Now that I'm approaching the mid-pregnancy mark and people are expressing relief that I'm pregnant and not just getting fat, I'm starting to feel like some baby preparaton is long overdue.

But we still need a few weekends to finish getting settled, so the baby will have to keep waiting. I did finally call my Vegas OB's office to find out where my refund check is for overpayment, but they said I had a zero balance. After spending twenty minutes on the phone and speaking to three different people, they discovered that I was correct and they do owe me the $26.15 I had calculated, so they're sending me a check. Cox Communications, you're next.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Two great years, baby

Today marks two years since Josh and I were married in the St. George Temple. Here is a picture of Josh stepping on the back of my dress on our way out of the temple. Even though they're horribly embarrassing, I love these candid shots!We decided to celebrate today by packing and cleaning some more of our house. We just took down our bed, wrapped the mattresses and hauled them out to the garage for 'the big move' this weekend, so we're going to sleep on the Aerobed downstairs in the living room tonight. I'm so excited! Downstairs is much cooler and darker than the upstairs, so it should make for a wonderful evening, even if we are sleeping on a glorified air mattress.

To celebrate our anniversary for real, though, we finally treated ourselves to the Bodies exhibit at the Tropicana. I've really wanted to go since I started my A&P classes and it was as incredible as I thought it would be. One of my favorite things was seeing the small intestine laid out in its full length. I mean, it's one thing to learn that it is 18-22 feet long, but it's quite another to actually see it. The human body is so amazing.
The most amazing part (but saddest, too) was the fetal development section where we got to see exactly what our baby looks like inside my tummy! For anyone that's considering going, do it! And the audio tour is definitely worth the extra six bucks.

Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm so crafty!

So I put on some crafty gloves this week and made something for my niece's baptism on Saturday (tomorrow). I'm really excited to give it to her, and although I could have just bought her one for half the cost, I'm so pleased with how well it turned out and that *I* made it special for her.

I made Aubrey a bracelet of her two favorite colors - teal and purple. I bought a chain and affixed some beadwork off the links so they would dangle.
In the very middle of the bracelet, I put these three little bead squares that say "I am a child of God" on them - so cute! I got to use headpins to make the beadwork and jump rings to attach them, and even though I got really frustrated a few times, I had a great time making it for her. Special thanks to Holly for all of her help and instruction and to the lady at The Bead Fairy for not only giving me 15% off all my supplies, but for teaching me how to use the headpins.

I took a picture with Josh's phone, and of course it was dark and I couldn't figure out the flash, so the photo is unfocused. But Aubrey loved the bracelet and wanted to wear it right away. I'm really hoping for a baby girl now so that I can make her pretty baby bracelets and cute binky chains. I think I may have found a new hobby!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Christmas stories, please

Friends, family, and strangers...I need your favorite Christmas stories! I'm planning a huge undertaking for family Christmas gifts this year, and would love your input. I need a variety of stories - funny and sad, Christian or not, long and short. Please email them to me at Thanks!!

I've not much else to say, except that I've been having some serious headaches the last three days. I don't know if it's because I'm constantly walking up and down the stairs carrying boxes, or if it's from working so hard in this blasted heat, but it doesn't feel very good. I hope the baby isn't retaliating for me bending over so much. If she is and doesn't shape up, she's not getting anything for Christmas this year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Soon there'll be three of us!

This might look like a simple picture of Josh and I with our dear friends' little girl, Maddie, but it's also a glimpse into what's coming for us in just six short months:
We are going to have a baby. Yes, we are excited, and yes, the thought of being parents for the rest of our lives and all eternity scares the daylights out of us. But it is a mandatory first step in the circle of life, and we seriously need the tax break.

Due date: Feb 5, 2008
Gender: unknown
Misc. details: Just one heartbeat, thank goodness!

This pregnancy has been very standard and healthy so far (knock on wood). I had a very easy pregnancy and delivery with Amanda, so
we're hoping for something similar with this one. So far, so great!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

And the packing begins.

Katie and Bronson left me yesterday. Even though I got to sleep without socks and pj's on last night, and now I don't have to feel guilty for keeping the a/c above 80 degrees, I was sad when Bronson wasn't there to greet me this morning. I'm gonna miss that little boy. I'm so pleased it was *my* stairs he learned to climb. It's like I got to make a permanent mark in his ever-changing world.

Today is supposed to be my first official "get serious about packing up to move" day, and all I've accomplished so far is washed two loads of laundry and read up on everyone's blogs. But the packing will resume soon, very soon. I'm going to repack the guest bedroom and bath first, then do the up- and downstairs closets. There are 5-6 boxes in the garage on shelves that I want to go through before I relocate them to the "ready for moving" side of the garage, and then I'll start boxing up the kitchen dishes I don't use often. I have a lot of bedding, cleaning supplies, house plants, and misc items to freecycle, so those should be gone in the next few days, and I started one bag of clothes for the Big Brother, Big Sister dropoff last night.

I'm so grateful I have these next two weeks to take some time to go through everything and not drag it all up to Utah with me. I'd go crazy if I had to sift through all of this stuff before I could settle into my new home.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Move

School is over! Well, for now it is. My final was Thursday, Aug 2, and I think I did well. We shall see when this semester's grades post.

What comes next? The big move. We have to be out of our home by August 31, so I've already begun boxing things up and stacking it all in the garage. The guest bedroom and bathroom are empty and ready for me to clean, and the computer room and hall closet have almost reached that point. Biggest shock so far? The amount of bedding we have. Worst fear? Going through our bedroom closet.

It's actually been a lot of fun for me to go through things, organizing and getting rid of some stuff. Josh has sold some valuable geekware on craigslist, but
I've listed most items on Freecycle for people to haul away if they want it. I've taken down my paintings, bubble-wrapped them, and will store them at my folks' house in Toquerville so I don't have to worry about throwing them in the back of the moving truck. I'm also nervous about moving my houseplants. My mom said I could temporarily store them at her house while we get settled, but I have 24 total, and I don't think she's ready to take on that kind of responsibility.

We've gotten several bites on our housing wanted ad on Craigslist, and are looking at a home in the Daybreak subdivision in South Jordan and one at Traverse Mountain in Lehi. They both have the space we're looking for at the price we want. The home at Traverse Mountain is actually in a better location for us, but I've heard it's very windy out there. Anyone know if that's true? Josh is now working in SLC full-time, so we want to find something soon, get an official move-in date, and get serious about hauling all of our junk up there. Fun, fun!

Friday, July 27, 2007

What a week!

I took two tests yesterday. Very difficult tests. I feel pretty good about the test I took in lecture, but I didn't do so hot on my lab. 86% was my grade. Ugh. My overall lab percentage is 92%, though, so it turned out okay. It was hard to prepare for the lab practical. It was the same day as the lecture test, so I didn't focus on it as much, and those blasted slides are just so difficult to identify. I missed the tongue, bronchus, and the lung slides. But I got the pancreas, thyroid, pituitary and testis! Here is an example of what we see and are supposed to identify: In case you don't know (and care for some reason) that is the thyroid gland. I actually couldn't remember what it was, but I recognized it as an endocrine structure, so I made a list of all the slides we learned for the endocrine system and systematically marked off the ones I knew I could recognize. The thyroid was the only one with a question mark, so I put it as my answer. It worked!

Anyway, the time I've spent *other* than studying has been most delightful. Josh's aunt and uncle are visiting from Maryland this week so I've gotten to spend some time with them. They are gems! Very personable and entertaining. We did a Vegas-style buffet last night and it was the perfect release to a stressful day. They are good company and I'm so glad I got to know them a little better.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Saturday evening, Josh and I went to St. George to attend a surprise birthday party one of his favorite Dixie IHC coworkers threw for his wife. There was a dreamy chocolate fountain, the surprise was a success and it was fun to meet new people. And it just so happened an old friend of mine was the DJ for the party! I haven't seen Lex for about eight years (although the occasional 'update' email has been exchanged between us) and I had a great time catching up with him.

But the highlight of our little trip was that Gregg (the party-thrower) had gotten rooms at the new Marriott for some birthday guests that came up from California. We had planned to drive back down to Vegas after the party, but Gregg mentioned that one couple didn't make the trip, and would we be interested in staying in their room? Heck yes! Sleeping in a bed is much better than falling asleep in the car on the drive home, leaving Josh alone with the BBC news on NPR. We went to Target and got some toiletries then went back to the hotel and had ourselves a mini-vacation. That one night of luxury was sooooo nice. We slept in Sunday morning, had a delicious hot breakfast, and then drove home. It was lovely.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Josh

Josh is so dreamy.

I had a hard time sleeping the other night and he came in and started rubbing my feet without giving it a second thought. He lets me interrupt his work to ask him trivial questions just because they're important to me. He drives for hours every weekend to spend what time he can with me. He tolerates my inability to fix the hole in his work pants and doubles up wearing his others instead. He's selling his extra 'geek ware' on Craigslist so we don't have to haul it all to SLC. He lets me rest my head on his shoulder during sacrament meeting and strokes my hair. He understands when I need to be by him, even if I just want to sit there and not say anything. He lets me sleep when we're driving at night, even though it means he's no one to talk to. He works his tail off to meet our financial obligations and allow me plenty of time to earn good grades in my classes. He
drove all over, finding the perfect spot for us to watch some fireworks for our first and last Fourth of July in Vegas. He lets me run off to play with my nieces and nephews instead of spending time with him at my family get-togethers. He understands my fuse is a bit shorter than his but doesn't hold it against me. He doesn't complain when it takes me too long to scrub the shower and the soap scum starts taking over. He always looks for something nice to say about me, and then he says it.

If Josh read my blog, he'd be so embarrassed that I've rambled on about him so - even though there are a million more little things he does and says that melt my heart every day. I hope all of you are as lucky in love as I am.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The "cool" aunt

Thursday night I drove to St. George after I got out of class and spent the night at Duane's so I could watch his kids Friday while Amanda was at girl's camp and he went to the auction. We were all tired and it was nearing 11pm so Duane told the kids to get their pj's on. I mentioned that I needed to "put on my jammies" as well, and Cade started making fun of me for being an adult that wears pajamas. Aubrey, always the sweetheart, immediately came to my defense, saying, "Duh Cade, of course Paige wears pajamas. She's the cool aunt."

We had so much fun together! Grandma drove up from Toquerville to spend the day with us and treated us to a nice lunch, then we went bowling on the $20 Duane had left for us. Chad was too young to bowl, but we set him up at the arcade on a car racing game that he really enjoyed. We only bowled one game, and Grandma beat us all with her 150 score. It was so nice spending time with them because we don't see them too often. Cade and Aubrey are very busy with school and sports, and they don't make it to as many family functions because the in-laws live so close we have to share them more. But they sure are good kids and I love 'em.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lake Powell

The Lake Powell trips for 2007 have begun! Because of my school schedule, we can only go out for Friday and Saturday, but it's a lovely vacation regardless.
A couple of daisy floaties in action!
Riley took a picture of me and Josh,
so Ashley asked if she could also take a picture of us.
Then Josh took a picture of me and Riley, complete with Ashley's smudge marks on the lens.
Maryann and Jon brought this giant rafty-thing.
Josh played lots of volleyball all weekend and got really tan!
I played cards on the beach (I guess I needed a nap!),
and watched the kiddies make dirt roads and sand cakes (yummy!).
Lake Powell makes us so happy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I am happy to report that I haven't posted anything in almost two weeks because I've been busy. And as you all know, when I'm busy, I'm happy.

Josh is still working in Utah a lot, so I drove up to SLC with my mommy last Friday to spend the weekend with him. We played lots of games with my family and surprisingly enough, I made it to the semi-final round of Don & Holly's biannual cribbage tournament! This was only my second time playing ever, and man, were those cards good to me. Josh liked it too, so we now have a new game to obsess over.

I went to the dentist this morning, and like usual, I was complimented on how well I care for my teeth. I'm telling you folks, flossing is where it's at.

So, I just got a ring of the doorbell and guess who it was? The new missionaries! For some reason, the pres swapped out both of them and sent two new ones to this area. Now we have Elders Olsen and Wilcox and they seem very nice. I felt bad because I couldn't invite them in, but they did accept some water out there on the porch. I *may* give them a dinner opportunity next time Josh is in town. Actually, I'm certain I will. It's not fair to make them pay for the transgressions of those who labored before them, right?

But enough breaking - back to studying the lymphatic system for my lab quiz tomorrow. TTFN!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Happy birthday, Brother

Today is my brother's birthday. If he were alive, he'd be 33 years old. He'd have at least one youngster running around, maybe two. He'd bring his family down often to visit us in Las Vegas, and he'd ask me about my Amanda. Dana would be pleased with Treg's growth, and he and Maryann would have a kick-ass garden. I bet he'd buy cars at the auction to work on and resell and he'd have 'projects' strewn up and down the driveway. He'd be driving Maryann nuts!

But he's not alive. He's eternally 29 years old, and I haven't talked to or pretend-karate-chopped him for nearly four years. I think about him all the time, but not usually in a sad way. I think of him at Lin’s with that maroon apron on. I think of the grin on his face when Maryann took him skydiving. I think of how diligent he was in heading out to the lake early to get the good water. He would invite me along and teach me how to pull a skier vs. a wakeboarder.

But I rarely think of him consciously. Instead, he usually just pops into my mind at random moments and I suddenly realize he's there. I don't know why, but I just start thinking about him. But I don't think of memories; rather, I get pictures of Dana in my head. It's odd to think about someone that's been gone for so long. You stop remembering actual events, and instead remember them in pictures that you've seen. I always think of this picture first:

Most of you know that Dana is/was my 'favorite' brother - meaning we were the closest in age, in silliness, in interests, and in attitude. This is what I wrote about his death in my old blog. I miss him. I miss him a lot. I missed him the most on my wedding day. I'm really going to miss him when I have children that he won't be around to play with. But it generally hurts less and less as time passes.

I've had a few dreams about Dana, and one in particular has really stuck with me. I kick myself for not writing it down the morning I woke up and remembered it, but I estimate I had this dream last October. I woke up and told it to Josh, then I called Russ and told it to him. I'm pretty sure I told it to Maryann and my mom, and I've gone over it a thousand times in my head and remember it almost perfectly.

We were riding in the back seat of my mom's old blue car. It went Maryann, Dana was in the middle, and then me on the right. We were being silly and laughing and I suddenly turned and said to Dana, "Wait, we've had this conversation before. You're dead, aren't you?" and Dana smiled at me. Then suddenly it was just me and Dana on the side of a road (I think it was down the street from my folks' old house, near the winery) and we were standing next to a car with either the hood or the trunk up. We were talking and laughing again and as he shut the hood or trunk, I asked him why he didn't come back. "Don't you miss us? Don't you miss Maryann?" I asked him. He smiled at me again and told me that I didn't understand how great things were 'up there.' Then I woke up.

His smiles were peaceful in my dream - not creepy or weird. I think Dana is happy in Heaven. It will be so nice to see him again.

Happy birthday, Brother. I love you.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Get a Job?

Not much to say, but thought I'd check in and say hello. We're going to Utah to spend some time with both of our families over Memorial Day - yay for automatic vacation days and families!

I've been thinking about getting a part-time job this summer, for a lot of reasons. I'm only taking one class, so I have lots of free time I didn't have before, and Josh is gone a lot now, working up in Utah. And we recently discovered that when I'm bored, I spend money. Money we don't want me to spend. I did the first half of May's budget, and I had already spent the entire monthly allowance for entertainment, and we're still in the hole from April's gifts (but Josh lets that one slide because of my New Year's Resolution not to miss a single family member's birthday - so far so good!).

Anyway, any money I overspend comes directly out of our 'House Fund' which always makes us cringe because we
both desperately want to own a house and we haven't saved enough for a down payment yet. Housing is a bit cheaper in Utah, but not drastically, so we've still got a ways to go. Throw in that we now pay state tax in Utah where we weren't paying it in Nevada and suddenly we can't save as much as we used to. With gasoline going up, milk at $2.50 a gallon, and Nevada Power increasing rates by 11% effective June 1, it's gonna be another financially miserable summer in Vegas, baby. Blech.

Which brings me back to the part-time job thing. It would only be for June-September, so what kind of job should I look for? I'll feel really bad about finding a job, getting trained for it, then taking off after only a few months, so I don't want it to be a critical job that will screw the company when I quit, but I do feel like I need to get employed and do it quickly. Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I am just so mad at Josh right now. Actually, I'm not mad, I'm really sad. Sad and disappointed and frustrated.

I could go on and on about how I've now taken five classes at CCSN that aren't needed at UVSC, and about how I now need two classes from UVSC that weren't required at CCSN, and how I now have to pay non-resident tuition, and how I still can't register for fall semester because Jan at ext. 7196 won't call me back, and how sucky it will be to finish my summer class here on August 2 and start up there August 22, and how my chances of getting accepted into the program will now drop from 1:2 to 1:5, and how now I don't foresee any available time to visit Isaac & Shama in Texas or go see Jeddy in NY...

But mostly what I feel is sad and lonely because he's been gone for so long. I wish we could live like normal 30-something's. I wish he came home for dinner every night and didn't give so much of his personal time to his job. I wish we had a house payment and planned big annual family vacations. I wish we were friends with our neighbors and went on walks together in the evenings. I wish we did fun stuff on Saturdays instead of doing errands around the house. I wish he would worry about me and our future instead of his parents'. Mostly I wish I was a mom that had children to raise instead of giving them away. I know that's not fair because it's not his fault, but it still makes me sad, and I feel cheated for us not being able to start our family yet.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The fruits of (the rest of) my labor

Not 'real" labor, mind you, as I'm not even pregnant, but rather the fruits of my study labor. I started my summer Anatomy & Physiology II class today and it just so happens that this is the same professor I had for A&P I, so he had my final test score and semester grade available.

drum roll...

I am one of only two students that earned an A in his course! Even better than that, the course is so difficult, a percentage of 87% or higher is awarded an A, and my final score was 93%!! My professor said it's been a long time since he's seen a score that would have earned an 'A' grade without the curve.


It sure would be nice if my husband were here to share it with me, though. :-(

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A job well-done

Sweet! The score for the semester's test I was most worried about (Chem 121) was posted online today. I got 81%! That may not seem like an excellent score for me until you realize that Chemistry was my most difficult class this semester and that score was for the standardized test given to all Gen Chem students across the United States. I'm smarter than 80% of the students who took that test!

After my professor weighted it against the topics we didn't cover in class, I ended up with an even 90% on the final. I only needed a 78% on the final to earn an A, so the 90% brought me to a solid A for the class. I am so happy and Josh is so proud.

PS - Lest you think I got lucky in the class or don't know a difficult class when I see one, here is a letter of commendation given me by my Chemistry lab instructor. It's so nice when hard work pays off, and I worked my ass off in this class.

On the flip side, I got an A in my English class and I didn't do much in there. That class was ridiculously easy, which just goes to show that if someone tests out of a class, you shouldn't make them take it anyway, just for a stinking letter grade. I mean, if you test out of a class, shouldn't it be obvious you'd do well if you actually took it? I skated through that class and my professor still called me an exemplary student. What does that tell you about the work-ethic-less students that accompanied me to class everyday? I'm still bitter about CCSN wasting my time and money, grrrrr.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Feed My Sheep

I'm 0 and 2 with the missionaries.

Several months ago in Relief Society I signed up to feed the missionaries. We ran into them about a week before said dinner and persuaded them to tell us what they *really* wanted to eat. Turns out they were both huge fish fans, but no one ever made it for them. So I found a dreamy recipe for lemony halibut served over steamed vegetables and rice. I even practiced it one night for me and Josh to make sure it was edible, and it was fantastic! I called the missionaries the afternoon of our dinner date to ask when they were going to come over that evening, and the Elder says to me, "Oh, didn't Elder so-and-so call you? We made other plans to eat dinner with some investigators tonight." Now, even though I was planning a special meal for them, it didn't bother me, because I figured if the missionaries can have dinner with investigators, that's better than dining at our investigator-less table, and I just stuck the two extra halibut fillets in the freezer for another day.

Fast-forward to last Saturday when the missionaries were tracting in our area and we invited them in for a break from the sun, some water, and some snacks. New missionaries, new dinner opportunity, so I offered to prepare dinner for an evening they had available. That available evening ended up being the following Saturday (today). These missionaries had no special requests, so I decided to make my fool-proof cranberry chicken with a green salad and rice pilaf. Everyone loves it.

Everything was set for dinner at 6pm at our house. We confirmed with the missionaries the day before and they had our address and phone number. At 6pm, the rice and salad were done, I had baked brownies, and the chicken had 10 minutes left in the oven - perfect, because the missionaries weren't there yet. At 6:10pm, I put the rice back on a semi-warm burner and covered with a lid to keep in the moisture, and left the chicken in for "five more minutes." At 6:20pm, I had Josh call their house to see if they remembered how to get to Melocactus Court (no answer - good sign, right?), turned off the oven, but left the chicken in it to keep warm, and put the salad dressings back in the fridge. At 6:30pm, I sat down and debated whether or not to keep the chicken in the oven, fearing it would dry out. I decided against it, because I had just baked it in a mixture of whole cranberry sauce, honey, and lemon and orange juices. I figured leaving it simmering in all those juices would keep it moist. At 6:45pm, I pulled the chicken out of the oven and told Josh if they didn't show up by 7pm, we were going to eat without them.

The missionaries arrived for our 6pm dinner appointment at 6:53pm.
They offered no excuse nor apology for being late, and I didn't ask where they had been, figuring it was none of my business and hoping they had been connecting spiritually with someone while teaching a discussion. So we sat down to dinner. I dished everyone a chicken breast and cranberry mixture and we all served our own rice and salad. The conversation was good and all was well until I took a bite of chicken and nearly choked on it. The chicken was nearly bone-dry! I was so embarrassed. I looked at Josh and shook my head. We both know how juicy the chicken normally is, so it was a real disappointment to eat it in such terrible condition.

Stupid missionaries. They not only ruined my dinner, but o
nly apologized for arriving late to dinner after I apologized for the chicken. I think the senior companion caught on that the extended oven time is what dried out the chicken.

Friday, May 11, 2007

How my garden isn't growing

My garden has been doing so awesome since I planted last month, but Vegas has sustained 98+ weather for the last week or so and it's really taken a toll on my little plants. :( The heat plus the wind have been drying out my blossoms before they have a chance to become much more. My pea plants have basically dried up now, and my zucchinis haven't produced any fruit yet, even though they're blossoming like mad. It's really quite frustrating because my peas were sooo delicious back when they grew. Here is a picture of one of my peas compared to a frozen pea. plump and delightful!
The good news is strawberries grow splendidly in the heat, and my plants are cranking them out! Here is a picture of one of my strawberries compared to one of my peas. They're huge and taste like they're straight out of California!
I got my first blossoms on my jalapeƱo and cucumber plants yesterday, and I still have about 10 tomatoes that are growing nicely - just need to ripen up. If there's a silver lining to moving back to Utah, it's that my gardens there flourish.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Wedding Bells

Jamie got married on Saturday. My lifelong friend and debate partner finally tied the knot! The ceremony was beautiful and the reception rocked, but mostly she and Chad looked so happy together that it melted my heart. I am so excited for her and wish her a lifetime of marital bliss! Josh and I at the dinner reception. The reception was at The Point, and for those of you that know, the view from way up there is breath-taking, but none of my pictures did it justice.As fun as the wedding and reception were, the real party started back at Don's house, when I got to play with some of 'my kids'. I love these rascals, even when they don't "touch me a little more softly" - you sick woman, Rach!

Friday, April 20, 2007

By the way... Virginia Tech thoughts

I don’t know why Virginia Tech has affected me so. I have never lived there, I have never known anyone to attend school there, and I didn’t know any of the victims or their families. But that hasn’t stopped me from spending the last three days pouring over online articles and readers’ comments until 2am. My seeming ‘removal’ from the situation failed to prevent an onslaught of tears as I tried so desperately to comprehend the horror I’ve seen plastered on my computer screen.

It seems to me there must be something wrong with the American lifestyle, something we need to fix. There must be angry, suicidal people in other countries, but why don't they go on shooting rampages? Are Americans more aggressive? More culturally diverse? Does America have too many minorities or not enough? Is it something Americans eat, listen to, or watch? Why has our patience run so thin? What "sets off" this American tradition of violence?

Is it pride? Americans are great at "knowing" their way is the absolute best, and even better at cutting down anyone who thinks/looks/believes/drives/votes/eats/lives/works differently. I'm not talking about America v. other countries - I'm talking about Americans v. other Americans. There's an overwhelming lack of acceptance for one another and when we don't accept each other, we certainly can't respect or love them.


Is this just the way it’s going to be? My greatest fear is there’s not only more, but much worse, to come. Current or future gun laws can't win this battle. The Virginia Tech shooter bought his guns legally, anyway. Anti-gun rhetoric says to eliminate gun purchases, enforce more gun control. I say someone that is willing to plan out a revenge like this one is also willing to obtain any weapon possible by which to carry it out. Pro-gun rhetoric says that if the victims had been armed they could have stopped the shooter before he did more harm. I say that the numbers don’t add up. On a campus of 25,000 people, only a few hundred may have encountered the shooter’s path that day – let’s say one percent. For only five of those people to have been armed, you’d have to arm another 495 people on the rest of the campus. That’s a lot of random people roaming the campus with guns. I doubt the increased risk of accident would be worth it.

Josh and I have wondered at times if we should arm ourselves against the outside world. We don’t live in a bad part of town, but we’ve had our fair share of sketchy neighbors. We’ve gone back and forth and back again several times over and only now, after days of sadness, horror, and unbelief, have we made a decision. As for me and my house, we will not own a gun. Josh can go shooting with his friends if he wants (as long as he wears ear protection) but he won’t bring a gun into our home. People have asked why we don’t want to protect ourselves, but I wonder exactly from whom do we need protection? We aren’t members of a gang, and we don’t use or sell drugs, so who exactly would be out to get us? Why have we let the media instill such a fear of the extraordinary that we let that fear govern our ordinary lives? I attended classes the same day the Virginia Tech students were killed. In fact, hundreds of thousands of students attended college classes across the United States and were not shot while doing so. While the shooting was tragic, we have to remember it wasn’t normal, and there is no way to ‘protect’ ourselves from every possible, yet unlikely, harm.

So that is our decision. We will teach our children not to touch guns or play with them, but knowing that children are curious and don’t always do exactly as told, we won’t tempt them by bringing one into our home. The increased risk of having a gun-related accident in our home far outweighs any harm that may or may not materialize, regardless what the media tells us.