Saturday, December 15, 2012

Locks of Love

For several years, I have had a dream of growing my hair out to donate it to Locks of Love. Locks of Love is an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. I first heard about it when I was 18. I thought it would be so much fun to be able to do that. The problem is, that I was blessed with really thick hair. So every time I would get close to having enough hair to donate, I would get crazy headaches that would cause me to need to cut it off. The other issue is that I never thought I looked good with short hair, so I would have to grow it super long to still have some to donate.

Well, when I got pregnant with Alexander, I had awful morning sickness. I was constantly hot, and constantly visiting the bathroom and having to tie back my hair. Scott finally convinced me to cut off my hair, and for the first time I actually enjoyed having short hair. Scott liked it too, so it was a bonus. Well, as time went on, and Alexander was born, my hair started to fall out and thin out. I just kept letting it grow because I was too lazy to cut it.

As time passed, my hair got longer and longer, and I noticed that because some had fallen out, it was much lighter. As it started to grow back in, I got these crazy short hairs that were poking out everywhere. That is when I made a decision. I decided to keep growing out my hair to see if I could donate it. This took a lot of patience because of all my crazy short hairs. Lately it has been especially annoying as those hairs that have started to grow out and made braiding my hair look funky.

Finally, I decided that I would let my hair grow out until just before the baby comes, that way it could be as long as possible, and as full and thick as possible. Since it is likely, some hair may fall out again after the baby comes, I figured I should cut it before then. Well, the day has arrived! Today I made the big plunge and chopped it off. I have to say I have NEVER had it this short before. But the good news is that I didn't just cut off the needed ten inches to donate, but twelve and a half inches! It feels so nice to donate it for a good cause, and that after ten years of wanting to donate it, I finally did it!

We went in this morning to get it cut off. Scott and Alexander came with me too! Scott was great and documented the whole thing. It was super fun! It feels so awesome to be giving something to someone in need, especially at this time of year. Afterwards, we even went to a doughnut shop close by to celebrate. Below are some of the pictures he took of the whole thing:

Well, that's all for now! Tune in next time for some holiday fun :)

Scott's 30th Birthday

On December 5, Scott turned 30! I was so excited to make him feel "over the hill" since I still have a year and a half before I turn 30. Of course I wanted to spoil him too. The first thing we did to celebrate Scott's birthday was go out with Scott's best friend, Andy, and his wife Marybeth (who is becoming one of my closest friends too)! We went to Red Lobster for dinner because Scott loves seafood, and I refuse to make it (though I did make it for him one Valentine's Day). Anyway, it was a great time and the food was yummy too. Below are some pictures of our fun at dinner:

Of course, I had to spoil Scott with some fun gifts. For his birthday, we got him a new popcorn maker, a pair of pants and some family pics to put at his desk at work. He loved each of his gifts. But, I decided that he needed a little more to make him feel special...and old. So on the afternoon of his birthday, Alexander and I surprised Daddy at work! We got him a bunch of balloons that said "Over the Hill" and some fun snacks for work. We got him oreos, popcorn, 6 packs of Take 5 candy bars (6 x 5 = 30), and some quarters for the vending machine! Oh and I brought him a chocolate milk shake too. The best part was that I carted all the stuff upstairs, with Alexander, and had a coworker let me in to his office. So he just looked up from his desk and saw us. I think he loved it :)

Finally, the last thing we did to celebrate was to go out to dinner with Scott's family. We went to Applebee's the Saturday after Scott's birthday. It was super fun. Scott got spoiled with a few gift cards too. It is crazy to believe that he is 30 already, but he is still the most handsome man I know.

Well, that is all for now. Tune in next time for Locks of Love!

Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks

35 weeks pregnant
Wow! It has been a long time since I have updated my status on the pregnancy. So much has happened in the last 6 weeks. First off, let me say that I am so ready for Jacob to come to our family. I really had it easy with Alexander, at least when it came to his kicks and contractions. Jacob, on the other hand, is a kicker! He is constantly moving and I can even feel full out limbs! Even Scott is amazed at how much stronger Jacob's kicks are. It is amazing to watch my belly go crazy as he moves. Even something as small as him having the hiccups will cause my whole belly to shake. It really is amazing, it just makes sleeping a wee bit difficult!
Lately, I have been in a ton of pain...which is no fun! I have intense contractions that will come, and then they will ease up for awhile. At the 35 week check-up, the doctor discovered that Jacob's head had dropped and that I had started to dilate (just a little to about a 1.5). It wasn't much of a surprise to me though, because I feel a lot of pressure really low in my abdomen. I was pretty sure that was his head. Anyway, between contractions, a dropped head, and the ligament pains that have recently returned, I am ready to meet my little boy! Please don't get me wrong, I know it will all be worth it in the end, it is just painful. I am ready for the cuddly times in the wee hours of the morning.

Due to all the pain, and other circumstances, I finally made the decision to be induced on December 28th. I went back and forth a ton about it. I didn't feel it was right to try and take it in my hands, but so much kept pointing towards being induced. Both my mom and brother will be here for Christmas, and my brother is leaving on the 30th. So it would be really nice to have the baby while they are both here so they can meet him. Then there is the benefit that Scott will already be on vacation from work. If you add a huge tax break and less days of pain...well how could I refuse? So, there isn't too much time left. Jacob, if you end up coming on the 28th, I hope you like your birthday, because Mommy was too impatient to wait any longer :)

Well, since we are so close to the baby coming, we had to have a baby shower! Diane threw me a baby shower at her house and it was super fun. We had yummy sandwiches, fruit and sorbet for dessert. We mainly just socialized and opened presents. Not very many people came, but that was to be expected. Despite my efforts, I still have yet to make very many friends here in Utah. I do have to say though, it lets you know who your true friends are when you throw a party. The real ones do all they can to make it. Even though not many people showed up, I still felt it was perfect. I just felt that Jacob deserved a celebration of coming into the world. We were blessed to get some fun gifts too! Russ and Diane spoiled us by purchasing our expensive double stroller for the boys. That will save us a ton! I also loved that Diane made a little table full of fun Christmas gifts for the guests to take as party favors. It was a really cute idea. And Alexander got spoiled with gifts too! Many of the guests brought gifts for him, which was really sweet.

36 weeks pregnant
At about 36 weeks pregnant, we had a false alarm. We had been shopping and I had been having some really intense contractions. When we got home, I was sure my water broke. Well...I was wrong! We spent four hours in the hospital, only to be told it hadn't. They took one test that said my water hadn't broke, and one that said it had. So they did another test, and an ultrasound. It turned out my fluid levels were just fine. It was fun being able to see Jacob again on the screen though. We got to see him sucking! Adorable! At least one good thing happened from our visit to the hospital. Though, I felt so bad for Amy (Scott's sister), who came down to watch Alexander so we could go to the hospital. He was already in bed, but I just felt bad keeping everyone up. But, I was just so sure! I guess every prego woman is entitled to at least one false alarm. Hopefully that will be our last false alarm.

37 weeks pregnant
Well, my last appointment was just a few days ago, and marked 37 weeks. I was hoping the doctor would say I had progressed a ton since my 35 week checkup, but alas, I haven't. I am now dilated to a 2, but I am just so ready for him to come! I keep hoping he will come before Christmas so we can celebrate with him. But even if he keeps baking in my belly, there is only 2 weeks left. So I will just have to excercise my patience until then!

Well, that is all for now. Tune in next time for Scott's 30th Birthday!

Nifty November

Wow! I am so behind on blogging. That is what being big and prego will do to you. Well, here goes November! Hopefully I can still remember back that far. November was filled with a little fun, and a few hard things too. Luckily, we made it through!

The first big thing that happened in November was that Scott had to go on a work trip for a week, early in the month. For his job, he occasionally travels to conferences that his company helps with. This time he went to San Francisco, California. I was a bit nervous about him traveling since he is such a HUGE help with Alexander and since I am big and prego. But, we managed just fine. Of course we missed Daddy lots, but Russ and Diane were great at helping give me a few breaks. One night, Diane came down and watched Alexander so I could go to my Bunco group (a dice rolling game with some friends from the ward that I attend once a month). That was super nice! Russ and Diane also invited us down for dinner a few nights too. That was a huge help because I needed some social interaction, and it can be hard cooking a meal just for myself. Anyway, we were super excited to have Scott come home. Luckily, he only travels about once a year for work, so we are blessed to have him around tons. Alexander was so excited to see Scott when he came home, he squealed with delight. For the next few days he also enjoyed playing in Scott's suitcase. Adorable!

The next big event that happened in November was that I (Virginia), earned my Young Women's medallion! About two years ago, the Young Women's General President invited any and all women who had never earned their Personal Progress, to start working on it. So, I took her challenge. I started working on my Personal Progress. Since I joined the church after the age of Young Women, I thought it would be a great idea to earn it, and would hopefully be a good example for my daughters (which hopefully I will be blessed with some day)! Anyway, I started to plug away at it, and then moved to Utah, where I got called to serve with the Young Women. As I was serving with them, I quickly realized that we weren't placing enough emphasis on Personal Progress. We barely even talked about it. So I came up with a plan. I created a tracking board and once a month we would invite the girls to bring in their books and if they had done at least one thing during the month, then we would give them a treat. Well, as I was trying to motivate them, I would tell them about the things I had been doing too. It was fun to earn the ribbons and such right along with them. I actually finished earning my Personal Progress at the end of September, but was finally awarded it in Sacrament Meeting the week Scott was gone for his trip (November 10). It feels like a big accomplishment! I have to say that I have grown to love the Personal Progress program, as I have earned my medallion. Honestly, I wish as a new convert I had been encouraged to go through the Personal Progress program. It really did help build my confidence and strengthen my testimony.

One of the hardest things that happened in November, was that I got released from serving as the Second Counselor in the Young Women's Presidency. You have to know, that I have absolutely loved serving with the Young Women in our ward. Since I was never in Young Women, it has been a chance for me to learn what the program is, and also regain a little bit of my youth. It was so much fun hanging out with the girls. I really felt more like a Young Woman than a leader. But, alas, as the pregnancy has progressed, it has been hard to serve in the capacity the way that I have wanted to. There were many days, pretty early in the pregnancy that I would be in so much pain that walking was unbearable and would bring me to tears. Even the smallest of household chores could send me in pain for days. This made attending activities really difficult. As I started to miss more activities, it was that much harder to feel like I was fulfilling my calling.

Finally, in a night of tears, Scott recommended that we fast about whether or not I should ask to be released from my calling. Honestly, I hated the idea because if the Lord said I should stick it out, that would be unbearable due to the pain; and if He told me it was fine to be released, that was unbearable because I didn't want to leave the girls. Well, we did indeed fast about it. The night we started the fast, I felt I should ask to be released, but the next day I got such mixed feelings about it all. The one thing I did keep feeling was that the Lord was telling me that I shouldn't run faster than I have strength and that it was okay to take a break. But, I kept it to myself. That night, Scott encouraged me to ask for a Priesthood blessing from his Dad, Russ. So I did. The blessing was beautiful and not what I wanted to hear. He told me that though the young women are important, my first priority is to my family and that is where the Lord wants me to focus my efforts right now. He also said that I shouldn't "run faster than I have strength" and that I should listen to the needs of my body. Well, as soon as the blessing ended, Russ looked at me and said, "I guess it is pretty clear what you should do." And everyone in the room agreed. The sad part is, even with all that, I didn't want to accept that he was right. As I pondered over his blessing, and the words I felt earlier at church, I knew it was the right thing for me to do (to ask to be released).

The next day, I called up the Young Women's President and told her how I was feeling. It was amazing because she said she had been receiving promptings that I needed to be released, but had ignored them due to the fact that I am so good with the girls. It just so happened that the morning before I called her, she had sent an e-mail to a member of the bishopric to ask if I could be released. It was so nice to hear that the Lord had been telling her the same thing, because I never would have imagined asking to be released from a calling, especially one that I loved. So, I was released and it was hard. But it truly does feel like the right decision. As the pregnancy has progressed, I have experienced even more aches and pains. It seems like it is what was best for the girls.

The good news is that the new leaders are great! We got a new Beehive Adviser just a few weeks before I was released, and she is great! The leader who replaced me, is also great. To ease the transition I attended one last Beehive Presidency meeting to help get them up to speed. I can see that they have such enthusiasm for their new callings and for the girls. It is funny because had I been asked who would be good in those callings, they are EXACTLY who I would have suggested! When the leader who replaced me got called, I couldn't help but giggle a little because I had told Scott the night before she is who I would have chosen to take my place. Heavenly Father really does know what He is doing! They were so sweet to me too! During our last meeting, I helped them plan a service project for the next week. Well, they threw all my plans out the window and surprised me. They showed up at our door and brought me a huge card signed by the girls, some baby stuff and kidnapped me to take me out for ice cream. During our ice cream visit, they had all the girls share something they loved about me. Our newest convert, Dayna, had the most heartwarming comment. She said that every time I share my testimony it makes her cry. It was really sweet. I am really going to miss those girls, but I know they are in good hands!

Of course, we can't forget to mention Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving was usual. We truly had a blast. We went down to Russ and Diane's and shared a nice meal. We were in charge of bringing rolls and mashed potatoes. I made the potatoes from scratch and let the Walmart bakery take care of the rolls. The potatoes turned out yummy! I left the skins on, and added garlic, cheese and lots of butter. Scott was amazed at how much butter I used, but they were super yummy. Alexander has been super picky when it comes to food, so it was hard to get him to try anything. We put a little of everything on his plate, but he basically just poked at it all. At least he tried a roll! It was great spending time with the family and thinking about all that I have to be grateful for. I have to say that I truly am so blessed. I feel like the Lord has given me so much. We have a great home. Scott has a great job. We have a sweet little boy who brings us so much joy. We have another little boy on the way, and the pregnancy may be tough, but he is healthy and growing stronger each day! I have a husband who adores me, and I truly could not have picked a more perfect mate. He makes me laugh and helps me when I am weak. I have the gospel in my life and have felt the love of the Savior in my life in more ways than I can count. I guess I could go on forever. I am just so thankful for all the many blessings the Lord has poured out upon me.

Let's see...what else has happened? Oh! All of Alexander's milestones. Well, this month he gained a new molar! This was exciting because he has been working on getting four molars since August. It was nice to see one finally break through. He also learned how to feed himself with a spoon and fork. One day, I went to feed him yogurt, and he just wanted to do it himself. He was pretty messy, but he did it all by himself that day! It was so adorable. Since then, all he wants to do is eat with a fork or spoon. He even likes stealing ours. Sometimes he will go to the silverware drawer or the dishwasher (ewww!) and pull out a fork or spoon to play with. It is so cute! He has also learned how to use a slide! We like to take him to this little play area at the mall, and one time during November he just mastered it! He would climb up the stairs, then turn himself around, and go down the slide on his belly. He has so much fun that he squeals with delight each and every time. It is so cute! We have been trying to find cheap ways for him to have fun and to be able to get out of the house, that wont wear me out too much. Another one of the things we have been going to is the library. We will all go as a family and pick out a book for each of us. Alexander mostly likes running up and down the aisles though. We are trying to teach him how to be quiet, but it is a work in progress.

Oh, and it has snowed a few more times too! We just love playing in it. We have yet to take Alexander sledding, but we finally bought a sled. So hopefully we can take him sledding soon. He just loves the snow. I have to say that I also realized how much you make sacrifices for your children during November. I realized that I had gotten him all the gear he needed to play in the snow, but had yet to think about what I might need. Being all big and prego, I had forgotten that none of my coats fit! So we went to play in the snow and it was snowing, and all I had was a sweatshirt. Let's just say I got really cold and wet really fast. But it was worth it to see my little guy having so much fun. It was a reminder that I needed to invest in a few things for the winter. Since then, I have discovered that I had a coat that mostly still fits and we pulled out the hats and gloves.

 Well, that about covers the month of November. Whew! That was a BIG update. If you made it this far, you are a true friend! Tune in next time for another pregnancy update :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Outstanding October

Well, it is now late November, so I guess I need to wrap up everything that happened in October. Luckily, I already posted about all our Halloween Fun, the pregnancy, and our fun at the aquarium. So all that is really left to report is a few small activities and Alexander's growth.

The beginning of October, brought General Conference. General Conference is always so great! I just love hearing the words of the prophet, apostles, and leaders of the church. We watched most of the conference at Russ and Diane's and had our General Conference apple pie, which is always a treat! The biggest thing that happened during General Conference was the announcement of age requirements for missionaries. Up to this point, young men could leave on missions at 19, and young women at 21. Now young men can leave at 18, and young women at 19! I was so excited to hear the announcement of the new age requirements for missionaries. I really do hope more young men and young women will choose to serve a mission. Serving a mission, really did have a profound affect on my life. It truly was an amazing experience!

Speaking of missions, the day before General Conference, I was able to attend a mission reunion with my first mission president and his wife, President and Sister Pugh. They have been serving as the Temple President and Matron of the Seattle Temple. They came back for a short trip, while serving. It was so fun to see them, and to see some of my old companions. It is so funny because many of us Sisters have small children now. The picture to the left, is of a few of my companions, with our little ones.

Okay, so here are a few things that Alexander has learned how to do this month! He really is becoming more active each day! He helps push strollers and grocery carts. We had to buy him one of those popper toys, because he just loves pushing things around. He even helps me to push the laundry sorter (that has wheels), over to the washer and dryer, so I can do laundry. He has also been trying to wear his Daddy's shoes! He doesn't usually try to wear mine, but only Daddy's. Adorable! He absolutely loves balls too. I helped teach him how to bounce a ball, and now he takes balls into the kitchen and throws balls on the ground to try and make them bounce. He also learned how to kick a ball, and started kicking it all around the house.

He also learned how to drink from a straw. We were super excited for this, because we had been trying for awhile, and one day it just clicked.

He is learning how to use his hands more each day. One day, while watching Sesame Street, he patted the top of his head, after seeing Elmo do the same thing. He has learned how to fold his arms while we pray. We will say "Prayer" or "Fold your arms" and he will instantly fold his arms to pray. It is so cute! And sometimes he folds his arms for the whole prayer! We are so proud of him. He is learning sign language words too! This month, he learned how to sign the words "Food," "More," and "Please." It is exciting to see him learn more words and to be able to communicate more easily with us.

Well, that about covers the extra fun we had in October. Tune in next time for Nifty November :)