Thursday, April 27, 2017

When Breath Becomes Air

Ever so often, and what I am always striving for, I find things that change me.  That because of the experience, whatever it may be, I am a different person than before.  Travel does this to me.  As I listened to over 20 hours of The Agony and the Ecstasy because of my experiences in Florence, Bologna, Sienna, and Rome I could see, hear, smell, and feel Michelangelo's story in a different way.  (Super bummer part of the story, the book is 33 hours long! And I couldn't renew the book from my library so after 20 hours of listening it expired and I have to wait to finish it after 2 other people listen to it!)  But travel changes me.  After experiencing a place I am changed. 


Last night I finished a book that has changed me more than any book I've read in years.  When Breath Becomes Air.  The book is about the life of a resident physician and his battle with terminal cancer and death.  But really his book is an introspective look at living.  About values and meaning.  And what is the point of our existence.

Spoiler alert: He dies.  And it is heart wrenching.  But it is absolutely beautiful.  Every word he writes is beautiful.  He has an 8 month old daughter when he dies.  He writes this message to her for when she grows:

“When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”

Listening to these beautiful words, I was driving home from work uncontrollably sobbing. I couldn't wait to get to Brad.  I couldn't wait to hold my baby in my arms and just love him.  As I was driving I just imagined his face light up when he sees I'm there.  I imagined just holding him and caressing his hair as he rests his head on my chest and holds tight to my shirt like he's done so many times.  Alas just like every other disappointment in life, expectations and realities never quite match up.  Brad wasn't excited to see me.  When I tried to pick him up he kicked and screamed and held on to the chair because he was having so much fun playing that he didn't want to leave.  Life, right?

There is so much I want to say about this book.  So many ways it has changed me.  Things I've always known.  Things I've always valued.  But things I feel more passionately.

The value of good literature.
The importance of family.
Constantly striving should be our goal.  
The urgency to seize the day!
In the end relationships are all that matter.

Alas, I am trying to describe the beauty of this book and as so often I don't feel I can do it much justice.  Just know, the book is so good that as soon as I finished it, I started listening to it again.  Yes, that good.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Sports

As I was reading through my journals from my early years a common theme I had completely forgotten about was sports.  From the age of 6 to 17 my free time consisted of 4 things: church, friends, Saved by the Bell, and sports.

It's crazy to think about now because it's so little of my existence now. (Well organized team sports that is) Especially since marrying Jason, sports in any form is not really a part of our life.  I can't even tell you who is playing in the Final Four!  (And I LOVE college basketball, especially March Madness!)  I love to quiz Jason on Superbowl Sunday who is playing every year.  He never knows.  And honestly, I don't mind one bit.

But I thought it would be fun to do a post on my years of sports.  But actually, I didn't start in sports.  I started in dance.  Here is me riding in a parade with my dance team, The Super Steppers!

But dance was very short lived.  Kinda feel bad about that, I might have miss my calling in life to be a professional dancer.  Oh well.  

From the age of 6-14 I played soccer, basketball, and softball. I couldn't chose between these two pictures, I think I was darling!!!

I stopped playing soccer when we moved to Cedar and they didn't have city league soccer.  So from then on I just played softball and basketball.

This was probably the summer after 7th grade when I dyed by hair pink? Who knows.
The highlight of my 8th grade year was when I made the 8th grade all-star basketball team.  This team started after our regular season and started practicing after school and playing against all of the other 8th grade teams around southern Utah.  I loved it.

And then my freshman year we had volleyball tryouts.  My whole life I had felt like I had been hiding in my old sister Sara's shadow.  She was so good at anything and everything.  4.0, artist, could 'run like a gazelle', you name it she could do it.   Anyway, the best moment of my life up to that point was when I was told I made the JV and Sophomore volleyball team as a freshman.  This was such a highlight because Sara had only played freshman volleyball as a freshman.  For once I had done something better than Sara!  It was huge.

The JV team my freshman year of high school.
I also moved up in basketball, starting sophomore basketball and playing JV.  
After my sophomore year of basketball I decided I was done with basketball but kept playing volleyball all 4 years.

All of the seniors our last season of volleyball.

All the time parents ask me advice on how to get their kid through junior high/high school unscathed.  Although I can't promise them anything, these years are rough!  But my one piece of advice is, get them a place to belong.  It doesn't necessarily matter where it is, the basketball court, the drama stage, the choir room, it doesn't matter.  Find a place where they can belong, work hard, and feel a part of something.  This will give them a place to learn and grow but feel like they aren't alone.  Although at Cedar High we rarely won any games.  (we were up against larger school with a lot more practice and club experience)   I learned a lot of lessons in that gym.  I learned how to handle physical pain.  I learned how to stick with something even when it gets hard.  I am so grateful that through those scary years of my life, I had a place to go and people who were apart of my team.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring 2011

As I was driving home from school yesterday, I was basking in all the joy that Spring Forward time change brings me.  Sunshine.  Coming home and having it be daylight outside really is a big deal to me.  I can be a normal person again!  Ah…. I turned on the radio and I instantly rewound to another time.  The Dog Days by Florence and the Machine came on and I was instantly back in an early spring memory of 2011.  It was another transition period of my life.  It was a pretty rough time.  I had just lost all my friends in Provo to the dreaded “M” word. (marriage)  And I was needing to repeat the never ending cycle of making good friends just to lose them.  I had moved out of my Provo apartment but Provo is a hard place to give up.  Provo had become my whole world.  I had spent the majority of my real adult life there.  But I figured it was time to move on.  Time to try new things.  So I moved to Cottonwood Heights with a friend from my masters program at BYU.  Salt Lake was a completely different world.  A good different and a very bad different. 

I had to keep reminding myself over and over again, “Change is hard, even when it is for the best.”  Because no matter how adventurous I like to pretend to be, I hate change.  And this change was hard.

But the best part of being in Salt Lake Valley over Provo was I was unique.  I was a 28 years old, single, beautiful, smart, educated LDS girl.  And unlike in Provo where I was just like every other girl, in Salt Lake I was of value.  I went on way more dates in this period than the previous 6 years.  But of course I found the bad boy that peaked my interest.  And he threw me on a roller coaster.

But the best thing that happened about this whole situation is it got me out of my rut.  It got me out of Provo… And the living situation was far for ideal so it made me think quickly of what I’d like to do for the summer of 2011. 

So the spring of 2011.  It was rough.  Still questioning life.  Still feeling so alone.  But it brought about the best decision of my life up to that point.  What was the best decision of my life up to that point?  Glendora, California the summer of 2011.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The daughter of an artist.

I can't draw.  Or paint. Or do anything creative.  It's not me.  Not at all.  And as much as my Uncle Leon begged me to take his art class, I wasn't naive enough to think I could.  It's just not in my nature.  I am not a perfectionist in the slightest.  I don't care about details.  (A nice way to say, I am very sloppy.)  I'll start with stating how I am not an artist because that is the question I am probably most often asked when someone hears my dad is an artist, "Oh are you an artist too?"

My experience growing up with an artist dad was probably different than most kids relationships with their dads. Until I was 6 my dad was a full time artist which meant he stayed home and painted all day every day.  After I was 6 he got a job teaching at Dixie College and so he taught school 3 days a week and painted 3 days a week.  My entire life my dad worked 6 days a week.  Essentially he worked 2 full time jobs.  I am so proud of that fact.  I am proud of how hard my dad worked.  And as he reminds me time and time and time again, "Painting is hard work."  But I am so proud of my dad and how hard he has worked because I know it is dedication more than any natural talent that has gotten him to where he is today. A quote from Michelangelo I think is so true, "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all."   But this idea of vacation or free time was a foreign concept in my childhood because my dad could always be painting.  And he did.

That being said, he never missed anything.  That is another concept that was foreign to us, "Dad has to work" was never a statement made.  Because the school year of colleges are relatively short, I don't remember not having my dad around for everything.  He could attend every sporting event, we could go to every reunion, we were never limited by a tight work schedule.  It was nice.

But I thought  I would go through the process of a painting.  First my dad has to come up with an idea for a painting.  During the majority of my childhood my dad was "commissioned" to do paintings.  That means someone would ask my dad to paint a specific painting and he painted it.  As an artist, this is when you have arrived.  You know you are going to get paid.  You always have work.  The hard part is, making the commissioner happy is not always an easy job.  Before my dad got commissioned to paint paintings, he would paint a painting and send it to an art gallery.  The awesome part about that job was if a person liked the painting they bought it.  So the pressure was to make a cool painting that people would generally like.  The pressure with doing a commissioned painting is to try and please the specific ideas of what the commissioner wants or thinks they want.  Because the painting is an idea, sometimes commissioners could have unrealistic expectations of what a painting should or could look like.  Unbelievable pressure.

When he was a "gallery painter" he primarily did paintings to be sold in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  So most of his paintings were cowboy and Indians type paintings.  Or landscapes of the Teton Mountains.  Here are a couple of examples I found on the internet.  

 
Of course being a gallery painter has a lot of pressure as well because if no one buys your painting, you starve.  Also galleries take at least 40% of the profit from the sell so an artist has to paint twice as much to make the same amount of money.

Luckily in the last 10 years because of print sells, my dad hasn't had to do as many commissions.  He now can decide exactly what he wants to paint.  But of course like I said, no matter what you are painting, it is hard work.

So here is an example of how it works.  He has an idea.  Or I have an idea.  Or someone has an idea.  The idea I wanted him to paint for a long long time and FINALLY he painted was the woman taken in adultery from the New Testament.  So we talk about exactly what should be on the painting.  We talk about what the background should be.  Who should be seen.  The positioning of it all.

And then we take pictures.  I say we because it is always a group effort.  First, there has to be models.  I cannot tell you how many times my mom, dad, or even I have walked up to someone and said, "Hey will you model for a painting?"
An example of such models.  (My little brother Craig modeling)
We have closets full of costumes for painting.  We have all sorts of lights.  When my dad is taking pictures my mom and others are holding lights for the pictures.  Taking a good picture is key to making a good painting.  I have spent hours (my dad has probably spent years) looking through slides and later digital pictures trying to find a good image to paint.

Once an image is deemed good enough to paint my dad takes it out to his studio and gets to work.  Of course I don't know the exact details of the process of painting.... remember I am not an artist.  And let's be honest, it is super duper boring watching someone paint.  It's a slow tedious job.  Although I have spent many many hours getting lectured while my dad painted.  But rarely if ever have I actually just sat there and watched him paint for enjoyment.  One memory that is cemented deep in my mind is the sound of my dad painting.  Until around 1998 my dad used the same easel to paint at our house.  It was an old broken down easel that Ricks College was going to get rid of in the early 80's so my dad took it.  Every time my dad would put pressure on a canvas to a paint the whole easel would rattle.  So the sound of my dad painting was the rattle of the easel with either a General Conference talk or baseball playing in the background.  That is the sound of my childhood. 

At many points along the way in his painting, he will bring his painting inside or ask me to come to his studio to look at his painting.  Yes, I said that right.  My dad, a professionally trained and educated artist asks me, a nobody in the art world my opinion about his painting.  (For the record my dad asks anyone and everyone their opinion about his paintings and it shocks people every time.)  Honestly, I think it is one of the best traits of my dad.  He doesn't get offended or hurt whenever anyone critics his paintings, he works hard to fix the problems. I grew up thinking this was totally normal, but when you think about it, if you had been slaving away working your tail off on something for hours upon days even weeks and someone saw it and ripped it to shreds...

Anyway, I actually blame my dad and this ritual from ruining my whole life in two ways.  1. He has groomed me into a pretty decent art critic which is great because I am now an art appreciator and feel like I can really help him, bad because I can't stand bad art.  2. He has taught me to believe that my opinion means something!  It is a terrible trait!  I hate that I think my opinion means something.  My life would be so much better if I thought my opinions didn't matter, or even better just didn't form anything opinions in the first place!

But I digressed.

So my dad would have me look at the painting, tell him what is good, what is bad.  And shockingly, 99.9%  of the time he would change what I said.  (Like I said, giving me this false impression that my opinions matter)

After he finishes the painting, the last thing he does is spray the painting with a varnish.  Although the spray is filled with all sorts of toxic chemicals, I love the smell of it.  For the rest of my life the smell of varnish will always remind me of my dad.

So back to my idea that I wanted my dad to paint, the story of a woman taken in adultery.  I love the story so so so much.  It took years for my dad to see my idea but when he did, he liked it so much that he has painted it a few times trying to make it perfect. (One attempt was purchased by the church to put into a temple so we don't have pictures of it)  But here is one:


The next attempt my dad wouldn't call the same scene but I would.  He called the painting "My Redeemer."  Jason and I loved it so much that we bought it.
Of course since we don't have room for it in our current house, and we don't want to have to move it around, my in laws graciously offered to store it for us until we have a more permanent home.   

So that is an example of what it is like to live with an artist.  



I thought it would be fun to search the internet to find my family members in my dad's paintings. 

Broc is the boy in all three of these paintings.  My mom is in blue on the end painting.

Chad is over Christ's shoulder in this painting.  

Baby Redd (Sara's son) is this baby.

Craig is being blessed in this painting.

And Craig is on the right in this painting.

My mom and Nick are on the right in the this painting.


And most important.  That bowl she is holding?  That is our popcorn bowl.  Every Sunday my whole life we ate popcorn in the evening.  It was always popped into that bowl.  


Monday, April 17, 2017

Shouting from the roof tops.

Sometimes I feel the need to tell people all the things that I am loving.  Like I am a bad person for not sharing.  Of course almost everything is food.... okay I think everything on this list is food.  But the other thing I am loving right now is books and I just did a whole post about books.  So here we go, things that I am absolutely in love with right now.

1. Quinn Popcorn

Popcorn has been a big thing in my family my whole life.  Every Sunday it was typically our evening meal.  There was only 1 way to make popcorn in my house.  Air popped with melted butter poured all over it.  I hate microwaved popcorn.  Until now.  I almost feel guilty telling anyone about Quinn microwaved popcorn because IT IS SO expensive.  Like almost $5.00 for 2 bags!  Yikes.  But it is so so so stinkin' good.  Like better than any popcorn I've ever had good.  The kernels are better than any other.  AND the dehydrated butter poured over the popcorn is DELICIOUS.  For some reason even better than just regular butter?  Weird.  I know.  But so delicious.  So like I said I feel guilty telling anyone because once you've had this popcorn it will be darn near impossible to go back to any microwaved chemical tasting stuff. 

2. Artisan Bread

Both Erica and Marcie hadn't made this, so I feel the need to share that it is the most AMAZING fool proof bread in the history of the world!  (Yes, shouting from the roofs tops, if possible)

So easy.  And looks so impressive.  I've made it a few ways.  Here is my personal favorite.

12-24 hours (I've even done it 3 hours before and just upped the amount of yeast and it turned out great)  before you'd like to eat the bread mix the following ingredients in a bowl.
1.5 c water *water temp doesn't really matter
3 c flour
1.5 t salt
.25 t yeast

stir together.  Cover with a lid or wrap.

Let sit on your counter for 12-24 hours.

About 2 hours before you want to eat the bread, turn on the oven to 450.  Either put the insert to your crock pot, or a casserole dish with a lid or your fancy dancy French named dutch oven or in our case, our actual camping dutch oven in the oven to heat up.  (If you use your crock pot insert or any other pot that doesn't have a lid, plan on putting tin foil to over the bread for the first 30 minutes of baking)

Pull the super sticky dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface.  Knead it 4-5 times (it'll be super sticky so I put flour on my hands first and just work with it until it resembles a roundish ball.  And then place the dough on a piece of parchment paper.  Let it sit for 30 minutes while the dish in the oven heats up.  After 30 minutes place the parchment paper and dough into the super hot dutch oven.  Bake for 30 minutes then take off the lid or tin foil for another 15 minutes.

Take the bread out of the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting (if you want it to look good, otherwise DIG in!)

Best easiest bread ever.


3. Brie Fondue
This recipe came from Erica.  And it made the PERFECT delicious fancy dancy meal with the bread mentioned above.

Read for how easy.

Mince some garlic.  Cook the garlic in olive oil * like a tablespoon or 2 until golden brown on medium heat.
Cut the rind off a round of Brie.
Turn the heat down to medium low.  Add the Brie and cook until melted.
Garnish with fresh or dried rosemary.

Yes, easy as that.  AND SO delicious.

4. Good Morning Power Muffins

I love this recipe because it has no added sugar, just molasses.  Carrots.  And quinoa!  When I have leftover quinoa from dinner I make these!  So so so yummy!

5. Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes
I shouldn't admit how often Jason and I eat these Lava Cakes.... ok, almost every night.  It's true!  They are soo so  easy.  And they make 6 cakes with our ramkins so we bake 2 and put the batter in the fridge for later.

Having made this recipe at least 2 dozen times.  Yes embarrassing.  Here are some things I've learned.  
Our changes:
- She talks a lot about having quality chocolate.  We aren't convinced that is really important.  We have done both really high quality and not and really can't tell that big of difference.  (Maybe our palettes aren't refined enough?)  So we now just use whatever semi sweet chocolate chips we have around.

- We cut the butter down to cube rather than 10 T because 10 T is just annoying.  And honestly we can't tell a difference.

- Also we just use 5 whole eggs rather than 3 whole eggs and 3 yolks because that just gets annoying as well.  And once again we haven't been able to tell a difference.  

- We cut back on the sugar to like 1.25 cups sugar.
- I whip the eggs like she suggests for a few minutes but then I just add all the rest of the ingredients and whip them rather than folding them.  Once again we haven't been able to tell a difference.  

- Baking time is where it really gets tricky.  It will just depend on your oven and how cooked you like your molten.  
Here's what mine looks like straight out of the oven.  Delicious! 

6. OH this reminds me of my other favorite product!  Baker's Joy
I LOVE this stuff.  It make be full of chemicals (I haven't really checked) but I love it!  It is a cooking spray with flour added!  So you don't have to grease and flour baking dishes any more.  It is wonderful.  (So wonderful Jason bought 5 cans last time we went to Walmart...)


7. Fruit AND Vegetable pouches
 
I am sorry for all mothers that had to have kids without these!!!  Finding fruits and vegetables that Brad will eat in a hurry is SO hard.  These pouches have been a life saver!  Of course they are not all created equal.  I always look from pouches that have almost 100% vitamin A because that way I know there are a lot of vegetables in it and not just apple sauce.  I laugh at all the baby products that advertise vegetables in them and then have absolutely no nutrient value.  Anyway, love these.  I have always purchased the reusable pouches.... but sadly, this working mom doesn't have energy to make my own concoctions right now.  Maybe someday....

8. Grape Ice Breakers Ice cube
A little bit random but I have been loving this gum.  And it has xylitol in it.  Which according to 2 of my best friends in my singles ward who have now made whole careers off of selling gum with xylitol, it helps to prevent cavities.  So there you go.  


9. Some other recipes I have been making a lot lately,.
 Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup  
except I leave out the bacon because I am too lazy and I think the sausage adds plenty of flavor.

Mongolian Beef

Chicken Verde Soup
except I just use bottled Salsa Verde rather than making it. 

10. Okay I'll throw in ONE none food related item:  It's hard for me to swallow my pride on this one because I am actually pretty upset about it.  Step Aerobics has been my workout of choice for 10 years.  I love how hard it is, how it keeps your mind working, and how you can easily increase the intensity if you want.  Well.... step is hard and there is definitely a learning curve.  And new gym goers aren't willing to learn it.  So it is a dying art.  So. Sad.  So let me be clear.  I will always prefer Step to any form of indoor cardio.

That being said.  I am jumping on the bandwagon.
In case you aren't familiar with the new Mormon fitness craze that's sweeping the nation... it is a choreographed hour long workout that does lots of jumping, burpees, and some body weight strength training.  I have lots of things I can easily criticize about it, mainly that I don't feel like it is that hard of a workout, but last time I attended a class I wore my heart rate monitor.  I was shocked.  My heart rate average was about 160 bpm for the entire hour.  (Which is about the same as if I was running a 7:30 minute mile for me)  So I figure I need to jump on the bandwagon.  ESPECIALLY because it doesn't feel very hard!  So I guess I have caught the High...


11. BCAAs from Idealfit
What is a BCAAs?  Honestly I have no idea.  It's the huge craze right now in the fitness world I am currently apart of.  Does it really make a huge difference?  I don't know, I love the taste and I like drinking it while I workout.  I feel it helps but who knows.  The taste of Raspberry Lemonade on the other hand, absolutely delicious.  (I just got the grape.... not bad but definitely not as good as Raspberry lemonade.)

Here is what their website says BCAAs are: BCAAs stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids, and they're essentials for muscle growth and recovery. IdealLean BCAAs not only contain a proven 2:1:1 BCAA ratio to maximize recovery and endurance, they also pack in a unique Fat-Loss Blend to help me stay lean, and coconut water powder so I’ll stay hydrated. Making weight can be the hardest part of any fight, and IdealLean BCAAs help me stay on track because they’re 0 calorie, 0 sugar, and 0 fat.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My thought on Physicians.

It's an interesting thing being surrounded by a family of so many doctors.  I took Brad to get his 15 month immunization shots yesterday and I saw a different pediatrician than normal.  (Which made me sad because I LOVE Brad's pediatrician but oh well)

I don't remember exactly why or how it came up but somehow he asked about my siblings, oh maybe because he asked about my work and asked if all my family are teachers.  I don't remember.  But I smiled and said, "One is an educator, but now I come from a family of physicians... literally."  He asked their specialties and I gave a quick rundown.  Of course he was shocked.   But it is probably because of my experience watching my husband, all my siblings and spouses become doctor that I have two very strong opinions about them.

1. I have the most absolute respect for them all.  Anyone that will put that much time and effort and sacrifice into a profession is awesome.  They deserve to be respected.  And in my humble opinion they deserve every penny they earn.

2.  I know they are only human.  I don't think they are super human.  I don't think they are all knowing.  I know they are not experts at all things and at the end of the day, the buck doesn't stop with them, it stops with me.  I think this is a very very very important thing that everyone should know.  I think this should be posted on a big sign at every physicians office.  I think that if everyone had this opinion or understood (in my opinion) this is a fact, there could be a lot less law suits.

Which brings me to the reason for my soap box today.

I feel I should update any readers on my drama called infertility.

I tried to get pregnant for 2 years and then tried fertility drugs and that roller coaster of hormones didn't work.  So if you remember I had surgery to burn off some endometriosis in January 2015.  By a total strike of luck, I had the best surgeon in the world.  I will call him Rudy.  And I adored him.  And I was the perfect textbook case of endometriosis.  Within 3 months post surgery, I was pregnant.

So after having Brad and certainly not getting any younger, when we didn't get pregnant right away I figured surgery again was the next step.  Since we live in Salt Lake now, I figured I should go to the same OBGYN clinic as before but visit the American Fork office by my school rather than travel down to the clinic in Provo.  They scheduled a consolation with a surgeon.

I met with the surgeon and explained my situation.  I assumed because he worked at the same clinic he would talk to the previous surgeon or at least look at my charts.  He said I shouldn't consider having the surgery again.  I should just have an HSG procedure done.  (They shoot dye up your fallopian tubes and for some reason it increases fertility)  The surgeon explained this is not covered by insurance so I should call around and find the cheapest place to have this procedure done.)  So I did.  $500 later, I had a very incompetent grumpy old radiologist perform this procedure and was told my fallopian tubes were blocked.  Because my body is a bit abnormal the procedure wasn't performed as easy as usual so I didn't trust this diagnosis.  But I figured my surgeon was my advocate and I would trust him to look at my situation and decide what is best for me.  Whether my surgeon actually looked at my charts I have no idea.  I called multiple times (on hold for hours) and talked to multiple nurses and each time the surgeon told the nurses that I should just go to the Fertility Clinic to get IVF.

So I called the Fertility Clinic and scheduled a consolation at the earliest time possible (3 weeks out) but I still didn't feel good about it.  I knew even a consolation at the Fertility Clinic would cost me hundreds of dollars. I felt like I should talk to the surgeon again.  I didn't trust the HSG procedure.  I didn't think it was an accurate description of what was going on in my body.

Finally I called the OBGYN one more time and try and plead my case and while talking to a nurse a final time, I said, "Do you think it would be beneficial for me to call my previous surgeon and get his opinion?"  She said, "I think that is a great idea."  I was very frustrated by this because I thought my current surgeon was my advocate and would have done this, or at least LOOKED at my charts.  I figured my previous surgeon wouldn't remember me or my case and would be confused why I hadn't just come in to visit him in the first place.  So why would he answer my questions over the phone?

This is where the story turns positive (in case you were afraid this was going to just be a terrible negative rant)

I called the Provo clinic and left a message with my previous surgeon "Rudy"'s nurse.  I never heard back from them so I figured it was a lost cause and I should just buck up and be prepared to pay $20,000 for another baby.

Yesterday I got a called from "Rudy" WHILE HE WAS ON VACATION.  Long story short, he said exactly what I had been feeling all along.  He doesn't believe my fallopian tubes are really blocked.  He was shocked that the other surgeon had me pay for an HSG procedure out of pocket.  (He tried to hide his shock because he's a rockstar good nice guy)  He said, "I think our best option is to do again what worked last time."  This is when the tears started flowing.  (I'm sure he is used to this.  He deals with hormonal women all day everyday)  But this is exactly what I had been feeling all along. So wonderful news is: I will be having the same surgery I had 2 years ago.  Insurance will cover the procedure.  And I am reminded again how wonderful some doctors are.  And I am also reminded that I am in charge of my health.  And it is my responsibility to be my own advocate.

I was so excited to cancel my hundreds of dollars appointment at the Fertility Clinic and so excited about the thoughts of not having to spend $20,000 on IVF.

But who knows.  It might still have to happen.  But for now, I am so grateful for a wonderful surgeon who cared enough about me and my situation to call me while golfing on vacation.


Monday, April 10, 2017

15 months

Although it didn't happen on his exact 15 months birthday, thanks to the throw ups.... We finally did take some pictures of Brad at 15 months.  I asked Jason last night, "What do you think, is he at his cutest stage yet?"  And I think the answer is yes.  (Although I think as parents we think every stage is the cutest so far)

A little bit about Brad at 15 months.
He started waving and saying "buh bye"
He loves to carry around any silky clothing item so he'll dig through the laundry to find anything silky feeling to hold.
He is constantly going and exploring.  Recently he has started climbing things (here we go....)  So like I'll find him stuck trying to scale the baby gate or pushing stuff up to a table to try and climb on top of it to get to things on top of the table.
He loves to read books so he'll grab and book and bring it to us to read.  He can copy my sounds for cows, dogs, monkeys, and roosters.
Whenever he sees a dog he barks.  So in the airport all of the sudden Brad barked and I looked around and saw a security dog.
He claps anytime he has done something he feels needs to be celebrated.  So if he matches a puzzle he claps or when he thinks a book should be finished he claps.
He has lots of teeth, I think 2-3 molars are coming in.
He finally has graduated to size 4 shoes.  (It has been a real challenge trying to find hard soled shoes)
And of course he just melts our hearts every minute.




This is the face he made when I pulled out his stuffed doggie.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break 2017 - Who needs sunshine when you have an Erica?

When I was trying to decide what I wanted from my birthday one thing popped out almost immediately!  Visiting Denver!  Frontier airlines now has a dirt cheap flight from SLC to Denver and Erica moved there last October and Craig will be moving from there soon so I thought this was the perfect birthday present to myself!  Brad has been such a perfect travel companion so I figured we should go for Spring Break!  

I don't think I thought much about what I would do with an almost 15 month old baby on the flight... the closer it got to take off time I was starting to get a little nervous.  Brad doesn't sit still... ever.  Well except when he is sleeping.  And he doesn't fall asleep in our arms anymore.  I will admit I probably had more anxiety for this flight than flying to Europe.  (Probably some of my anxiety is because of the last time Brad and I tried to fly without Jason.  Kinda a disaster)  Anyway, my dear cousin Alina drove me to the airport (because Jason had a huge test and there was no way I was going to try and park at the airport and take the shuttle.  Like I said too much anxiety)

Anyway, we probably got to the airport WAY too early, but we didn't mind.  I got a picture standing in our long line.  Yes, Brad's expression says it all.  He was a little nervous too.  

But of course he soon forgot and fell asleep.

So I walked up and down each of Salt Lake Airport's terminals while Brad slept.  I sure love people watching in airports.  Such interesting people in this world.  AND I was amazing at ALL the delicious restaurants at the airport!  Seriously, I had no idea!  I wasn't too hungry because anxiety.  But I made myself eat a taco at Cafe Rio (of course Brad woke up to FREE MEAL) and then Brad and I shared a Pinkberry Frozen yogurt.

Brad didn't like riding the normal way in his carseat/stroller like he had all through Europe.  He wants to see everything now.  So I called this his chariot.


A few selfies on our flight.



I should have got a picture with the angel that sat next to us on the plane.  She is majoring at BYU-Idaho in Child Development so she was happy to help with Brad.  (She was even the one that get scolded by the people in front of us that were trying to sleep when Brad was pulling down the tray on the back of the chair)

We had a wonderful conversation talking about her wedding on Saturday and we eventually talked about where she was from in the Denver area.  She is the daughter of Craig and Marcie's bishop in Lone Tree.  She said, "As soon as I saw Brad I thought of Marcie's little boy!  But I thought there was no way you guys could actually be related"  How crazy is that???  Huge compliment to Brad if people think he looks like Max!(The model child of all model babies)

My mom asked me what Erica and I did while I was there.  I had to laugh.  First off, this is what it looked like outside.  (Which is hilarious because the 10 days previous to my visit and the 10 after my visit are beautiful sunny 65 degree weather)
But Erica and I didn't mind one bit.  Our time together is one long discussion that is only interrupted by food, sleep, and kids.  I love exploring things with Erica.  I love discussing ideas.  She always has a different perspective and I always love to hear her thoughts.

Erica knows how much I love lavender.  By her parents' home in Idaho there is a beautiful lavender farm she bought special lavender for us to make lavender French Macarons.  In case you didn't know, it is quite the art to perfect.  Macarons that is.


The lavender that Erica infused in powdered sugar for months to prep for the bake off!

Here are some of the artsier macarons waiting to back.   (You have to let them set before you can bake them.  or so the hundreds of youtube tutorials say)



"Our feet" spread a little too much but man oh man oh man were they delicious!  Especially the next day, these cookies were in my top 3 favorite deserts of all time.  
(Only behind a cannoli from Sicily and lavender gelato in Florence)




Anyway, enough about macarons.  Craig is doing a Trama rotation right now so I knew there was a chance I might not get to see his family.  But luckily he got off early and Craig, Marcie and Max got to come visit!  I maybe have done a lousy job taking pictures of adults this WHOLE trip but at least I did got one of these two.  I really do hope they grow up to be the best of friends.

The next morning Golden Colorado explained it's name to me....
But technically Erica doesn't live in Golden, although her address says she does (weird.)  So Erica decided she needed to take me to Golden!  Oh but first just some pictures of Brad.  He was carrying around this button from Disneyland.  I think it is a sign...  And he wanted to go out and play in the snow so badly!

Oh blossoms and snow......
We went and did the riverwalk in Golden.  It reminded me a lot of Cedar City's Mainstreet with statues on every corner and darling little shops.  Although Golden's was a bit cooler with a river and a most cowboy feel.





So although I didn't get a picture of Erica and her darling boys or her husband Mark that came home a couple hours before I had to leave from a work trip to Houston, it was a wonderful trip and I love them all dearly.  

That being said, next time I think it is a good idea to take a 15 months old on an airplane by myself, remind me that it probably isn't a very good idea.  At least until he can sit and watch a movie for at least 20 minutes... or even 10 would be nice.