Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ice Skating

Stanford is awesome--have I mentioned my heartfelt love for this University before? It's perfect! They organized an ice skating adventure for the families living in Escondido Village, and rented out a rink for us to use. The boys had a blast, and we didn't even have to feel bad when they only lasted an hour because it was totally free. 
 Everett kept saying "WEEEE!" and "Jump! Jump!" so that we could do tricks.

Talmage learned so quickly. He had so much fun, even when he fell! 

 Me and James with our crying, tired, semi-injured children at the end of the event!

 I was in love with how cute Evie's little skates looked. And this wasn't even the smallest size!

Talmage and his BFF Franklin holding hands and getting ready to go back out on the ice!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mommy's Baby

Where did my baby go?
You look like a 19-month-old man who can talk and run (just like Sid the Science Kid in fact!) and play and read books and sing songs.  And to be honest, it's kind of making me squirm.
Repeat after me Everett Knight, "I'm Mommy's baby. I'm Mommy's baby."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Waiting Place

{snotty-nosed, backwards hat-wearing love of mine!}
I met with my doctor this last week to discuss our plan of action. The first round of medication came with a flood of side effects that completely wiped me out for a few days and has left my poor body feeling weak, even 10 days later. All the side effects but none of the benefits--the medication did not fulfill its responsibilitiy of flushing out the residual product of conception (POC). So I met with her, and she was as sympathetic as always. We even laughed about how my body never does anything right in this department. Laughed myself straight to tears.  
Some more testing came back about the fetus and we have been recommended to genetic counseling. It seems that James and I are truly a one in a million couple, even our genes make fireworks! "We need to run even more tests," the doctor said. "But we have to wait until you are not pregnant."
Pregnant? Was she confused? Here we were trying to decide how everything leftover from the first D&C could be removed from my body before causing infection, or worse, and she was confusing me with a pregnant woman?
And then it dawned on me. My HCG levels are still extraordinarily high (a problem we are still trying to understand) and medically, I am still considered pregnant. 21 weeks pregnant, to be exact. Although instead of rejoicing over a healthy ultrasound or finally fitting into maternity clothes or preparing for our new little boy, I was sitting in a doctors office, 8 weeks after a devastating miscarriage, trying to force my body into the realization that it's not pregnant. This is not what pregnancy should be like.
Wednesday's are blood days. I will have weekly blood tests until I have 3 consecutive weeks of zero HCG levels. The way it's going, I think I might be giving blood every Wednesday for the rest of my life! Our plan is totally based on those numbers, which should be connected with the remaining POC. The concern is that the elevated HCG levels means that my uterus is housing something dangerous for my body, cancerous even, so those numbers are vital. The doctor and I developed a plan for every scenario--numbers up, numbers down, numbers same, numbers only down a little--and then we wait for Wednesday. This Wednesday things could look good, but I've been warned against rejoicing because the numbers can turn at any moment. So then we wait until next Wednesday when it starts all over again. Enter anxiety attack every Tuesday here! 
James and I had only been married a few weeks when I celebrated my birthday and he gave me a copy of my favorite Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" On the inside cover, he wrote, "I'm looking forward to many adventures with you now and in the future; I can imagine no better travel companion than you." And boy, have we had our fair share of adventures! I have often read that book with tear-filled eyes, seeing myself in the pages going through successes and failures, knowing my way and sometimes feeling quite lost, having lots of friends and then on the next page being alone. That book might have been written for children, but I'm pretty sure it provides a valuable lesson for adults.
Lately, I've found myself in Dr. Seuss' Waiting Place. The Waiting Place is for people who are just waiting for things to happen--pots to boil, the weekend to come, their hair to grow, etc. And I feel like I'm stuck in that awful world. I'm waiting for my numbers to go down, to be done with this pregnancy and to be given the OK by my doctor to excercise again. I'm waiting to know our hostile genetic odds, to receive answers about the future of our family and to have peace with my prolonged recovery. Everytime someone tries to console me with "you can try again soon" or "you'll be pregnant again before you know it" I try to calmly tell them that that part of my life is currently in the Waiting Place, and try not to wince when they tell me to have faith, or pray harder, or they just silently judge. But I do have faith, and I am praying, and it hurts--all of it. The days are passing and work is getting accomplished but I can't completely close this chapter until my body is ready--and so I wait.
But if my past adventures are any indication of the truth of Dr. Seuss' words, I'm sure before long I will be at my peak again, and maybe even moving mountains. I sure hope so.   
"Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Everett was feeling a little gypped that he hadn't lived in the Big Apple with the rest of us (out of utero, that is) so Daddy decided to appease him and accept a clerkship right in the heart of the financial district. Yep, we're moving back to NYC!
And speaking of New York, my man made the NY Times!:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Three boys on a couch

Lots of computer-watching is going on around here since we are all sick. Evie has an ear infection and RSV, Talmage has the worst chest cough you've ever heard, both have had (and broke) horribly high fevers. It's been a week to remember...or forget! Evie wants to watch "Boo Coo" (Blues Clues) or "Mouse" (Mickey Mouse) constantly and T just wants to watch as many shows as possible! We almost never watch shows normally, but when we're sick they have free reign. T always gets himself dressed for the day (even when he's feeling awful), but Evie and I are perfectly content to be in jammies until noon...or all day! I hope we're back to normal soon, but I must admit that I like the view of my 3 boys on the couch! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Surgiversary Evie Knight!

Dear Everett,
One year ago today you had your second heart surgery. Unlike the first surgery where the doctors at UC Davis went in through your back, this time you had open-heart surgery by the doctors at Lucile Packard (Stanford). You will never remember this day and I'm so very grateful for that blessing, but I can--and I assume I always will--recall every single moment of this day with ease.
I held you at 2 am on the morning of your surgery and fed you your last allowed bottle of pedialyte. I watched your Daddy dress you in a tiny green hospital gown and cried when I saw the huge smile on your innocent face. I handed you over to a tall, young anesthesiologist with sympathetic eyes that let you watch cartoons on his iPhone, and as you were carried down the hall to the Operating Room I felt my knees buckle under me. We waited for hours. You were number 224 on the patient board and even though I try not to be superstitious I smiled because 24 is my very favorite number.
When I saw the parade of nurses and doctors that escorted you from the OR to the ICU I was so proud of you, little Evie. I was nervous and overjoyed and proud. I know it sounds silly but at that moment I wished everyone on the floor would have stopped and cheered for the amazing thing that had just happened to you. Oh the mix of emotions a heart mother feels. No sooner were you tucked into your new corner of the ICU than I was a mess of stress. The recovery process is hard, maybe even harder than the waiting period (although each moment feels like the hardest when you're standing in it). The rest of the day and long into the night were spent by your side with tears in my eyes. My emotions went up and down with your ever-changing vital signs. Warning bells rang, doctors and nurses huddled over you and many prayers were said. If I had known that just five days later you would be well enough to take home I may not have been so worried, but unfortunately I didn't.  
You were the one that had heart surgery Everett, but both of our hearts were changed that day. You have helped me become so much more than I was. Thank you.
Love, Mommy  
 January 20, 2012
January 2013
(these pictures were actually taken last Sunday when Evie and I stayed home sick from church and had a sticker party...notice Evie's adorably sad sick eyes!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Breathing is the first step

On the Monday before I left on an 18-month mission for my church, my mom had every person in our family write me a letter that I could read anytime I needed a little boost. Those sealed envelopes were my most prized possessions during my time in Taiwan. There were many times that reading the kind, supportive, energizing words of my family were all I needed to make it through a hard day.

Little did my mom know that the words she wrote in her letter would not only help me on my mission, but would become my mantra during trials longafter. She told me that when hard times hit, her best advice was to "take a deep breath, have a short cry, and get back to work." My mother's voice lovingly whispers those words in my head everytime I think my life is crumbling beneath me. And when that happens, I take a moment to really let the situation settle (breathe), give myself permission to mourn (cry), and force myself not to dwell (work).

It seems that lately I have found myself in a constant rotation of breathe, cry, work, breathe, cry, work. Just when Calm gets comfortable as my dance partner, Crazy cuts in and I feel myself gasping for air. Again.

The D and C was not completely successful, so I'm currently sitting at my computer with a body full of strange medicine with weird side-effects that are supposed to push everything out. This is Step 1 of a carefully planned process, which also includes a lot of blood work and other special appointments. Because not only am I still full of POC (products of conception is what I've learned I should call them), but there is a chance that this POC is harming my body in a serious way. The genetics from the fetus came back with a shock, my HCG levels are rising, and my young and healthy body for some reason does not want to rid itself of the darn POC. So my doctor is nervous, and she apologizes for "hovering" but I'm grateful she's being my advocate. Step 1 first, and then Step 2, and then 3, and we hope we don't get any further. But if we do, we have a plan. I'm a planner, so at least that part of this experience feels normal.

It seems ironic that the challenges I've faced lately have been born of a desire to have a baby. All I wanted was to invite another spirit into our home--a good and righteous and wholesome desire in my opinion. But from that desire, I have been met with defects and death and D and C's and now this. And I find myself again gasping for air, crying, and then trying to get back to my job of being a full-time mom to two beautiful boys who I absolutely cherish.

Sometime down the line I know I'll look back on this time in my life, smile, and say, "I'm so grateful that I grew so much during that experience." I'm super looking forward to that day! But in the meantime, thanks Mom for teaching me how to get through the hard stuff--I couldn't do it without you.

Talmage is learning to write his name and is so excited about it. I love his A's and E's especially. He begs me to draw him boxes so we can write letters!
Feeling so lucky to kiss this kid!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Running

I am not a runner. I am not even close to a runner. I actually can't stand running. I played basketball in high school and running was our punishment for missed free throws or bad attitudes...and I must admit that I felt adequately punished while running my sprints down the court. So why, my friends, did I set a running goal this year? That's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately. Especially early in the morning when my freezing body is out pounding pavement!
Last year around Everett's first birthday I started having serious anxiety. Not only was I processing the anniversary of a traumatic experience, but I started stressing out about what awful fate would befall us next. When I found out we were expecting another heart baby, I started feeling guilty that maybe my thoughts were the cause. Guilty. That word can describe my feelings lately. I know it's not healthy and frankly it's neither beneficial nor enjoyable, but guilty I am. And about many things. I feel guilty about questioning whether our family and children could handle another heart baby--as if the baby was taken from me in response to my lack of faith. I feel guilty about not having the same fight and energy I had when I learned about Talmage and Everett's issues. I hope that Heavenly Father is not dissapointed with how I acted in the wake of Everett's diagnosis and surgery, but sometimes I feel like He might be. In a very loving sort of way. As if this baby was my re-test, since I failed it during the first go-around. But then I lost this baby. And I feel really guilty. I feel like I'm driving around in the passenger seat of my own life sometimes.
So back to running. Lately I think I've realized why it is important to me, and it all boils down to control. Hate it or not, I can go out every morning, huffing and puffing (both from the disdain of running and my lung's desperation for air) and finish my desired course. I may not be fast and it may not look pretty, but I can finish it. I can choose to finish it. And I'm in the driver seat. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Bubble Lady

Mark this on our list as COOLEST library activity EVER. Seriously, the Bubble Lady was amazing! She went from making bubbles with a flip-flop to completely encompassing people in bubbles. It was a great date for me and the boys!
Talmage found himself a seat front and center and loved every second of the action. Everett was scared to death of it all, but near the end warmed up a little bit and chased a few stray bubbles.
After the show we headed over a few blocks to visit our LA favorite stop, Yogurtland. It was just as good as the ones down south and it made me pretty trunky for the beach ;)
Evie gets his own yogurt now and I just let him go at it. For being so sweet he is awfully independent and will only let you help on his terms. Good thing I'm fine with messes cuz this kid makes them! 
I could be the spokesperson for loving Yogurtland. It really is the best!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

T the Sunbeam

In the January after their third birthday kids in our church graduate from the nursery and head to primary. The cute little 3-year-olds are called Sunbeams and as of last Sunday T has officially joined the ranks! He was feeling a little nervous (he even told me on Friday that he would not be attending Sunbeams because he was going to be sick that day! Oh dear--pretending to be sick to skip school has already begun! ;) but ended up loving it.
I really wanted a picture of my boys together...this is as good as it got. Either my skills are lacking or my boys just know how to push my buttons!
And believe it or not, this was the best one I got of T. Really Talmage? Help a mommy out!
A few of us parents were hiding around the door trying to sneak a quick peak at our "big kids." This was when the new Sunbeams were being welcomed with the song "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam." Tear.
Talmage came home with all sorts of stories (mostly about how he was so reverent...and then gave his teacher a run for her money!) and with a cute "All about Me" book. I love that Mema made the list of his favorite things...right next to bologna sandwiches (which he's never even seen!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

We partied and now we're home. Part 2.

Christmas Day
The boys were visited by Santa and Talmage patiently waited for Everett to wake up so we could go see what he brought (we ended up waking Evie up--the one morning he's slept in all year long!) T got an electronic drum set and Evie a basketball hoop. They were pretty excited that morning, but also a little overwhelmed. The highlight of the day by far was talking to my brother on the phone (and Skype). He is on a mission for our church and I am so proud of him. The lowlight: Everett throwing up at the dinner table right as we were sitting down to eat. Awesome! 

KaiKai at Naptime
How cute is that kid? Seriously! Cuddled on the ground at naptime with both of his monkey's (he did almost give me heart failure when I couldn't find him in his bed!)

Evie's Mood Swings
Happy Evie. Sad Evie. This was taken on blanket-washing day. It was a rough one.
California Aerospace Museum
James and I took the 3 boys to the airplane museum and they were in love! IN LOVE. They got to sit in the cockpits and Kai was the Captain (he was so excited!) They ran around and touched every single last plane. And when we were done, we went to the rocket ship playground next door and they ran some more. Let me tell you, they took some amazing naps that day!

Everett's First Day of Nursery
Evie turned 18 months on Sunday, December 30th. He was all smiles for the first half, but then started sobbing so bad that the teacher came to get me. I heard rumors that he might have been a little roughed up by some of the bigger kids so I'm hoping that that was the case and that he'll be fine next week (did that sound so callous?!) He does make a super GQ nursery-goer, agree?

The Brow Bar
My mom got Ash and I a gift card for the Brow Bar for Christmas and we are pretty sure it was a subtle hint that our eyebrows were out of control! Not anymore, thanks to the lovely Heather at Macy's...our eyebrows have never looked better. Ever. And depressingly they probably never will look this good again!
Love. This. Kid.
Really love him. Kind of like he's my own kid. I would probably take him home if Ash would let me. Just for the weekend Ash? Paaa-llleeeeeaaasssse?
New Year's Eve
We had a New Year Countdown for the kids before their bedtime. It obviously wasn't cool enough for Everett because he woke up at 11 and didn't go back to sleep until after 1. Martinelli's, the ball dropping and 2 of my 3 guys...not a bad way to start 2013!
We started the first day of the new year with a family run. Remember how I kind of hate running and remember how I set a running goal for this year. Hilarious. And ridiculous.