Thursday, April 30, 2009


The past 36ish hours I've been sick. Bleh! A couple in our branch told me a few weeks ago that all those folks from out west get sick when they first move here. New set of flu bugs and lots of humidity to keep those bugs alive. Our family could add weight to that theory.

Having said that, there were some good pluses today:

  • I found out my new washer and dryer arrive tomorrow. (We weren't expecting them for a week so Mike hurried and posted the old ones on craigslist and they were sold almost immediately.)
  • Abby has developed an interest in the apostles. She has the First Presidency mastered so she has been asking me to practice Quorum of the 12 with her using a centerfold from a recent Church News. 12 is a lot more than 3 so we're still working on it, but she is getting Elders Hales and Bednar consistently. She says, "Elder Bednaro." I try to tell her that it is Bednar, but she keeps saying Bednaro. It sounds pretty cute and we don't do it disrespectfully:)
  • We got babysitters for both nights this weekend! Friday=date, Saturday=Stake Conference.
  • We got to spend lunch with Mike. We weren't doing anything too interesting - registering our car and getting new drivers' licenses (we must be very official now) - but it was nice to hang out together.
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Friday, April 24, 2009


Here are a couple limericks that I spent about 1.5 minutes writing in honor of my brother's trip to visit us following the Boston marathon this week. Way to go on reaching your goal, Bri! We must have been worth the $50 more in plane fares that it took to add a 48 hour "layover" here to his trip back to Salt Lake. We really appreciate him coming out to see us!

My young brother's name is Brian.
He came here and I'm not lyin'
He went on a long run
Then we had lots of fun
Now without him Abby's cryin'.

The Boston marathon's all done.
The midwest has even got sun!
So Brian said, "Maybe
I'll go see the baby!
'Cuz the Wessman's are really fun!"

We loved having him here and Abby mauled him the entire time.

We visited the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids (very cool):
Can you find Abby in this picture?Abby knows that engineers need to be reminded of the benefits of good literature...
We took Brian to Bravo! and the MSU Dairy Store (i.e. Creamery) - both yummy.

Today we went to a very fun playground on the way back to the airport.
This merry-go-round was pretty speedy. I was a bit nervous a couple times, but she loved it.
This was Briton's first slide ride. (He was embarrassed though to be wearing a girls' hat!)
Thanks again, Brian! It was lots of fun! (We hope you thought so, too.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Take a look - It is for a good cause!

Where to start?

On an unsuspecting Sunday in January 2005, my bishop gave me a calling that really surprised me - Ward Choir Director. OK, so I can read music and kind of carry a tune, but I didn't see this one coming!

The next day we found out about Hope's problems. I was about 20 weeks pregnant at the time.

In the neighboring ward, so I am told, Carolyn Kasteler was also called to be a choir director around that time. My Relief Society President gave me her phone number and insisted that I call her so that we could coordinate/commiserate. I believe there might have been ulterior motives on the part of RS President LouAnn! You see, Carolyn is an RN who operates the Angel Watch program. This program helps families whose unborn children have problems that will likely take their lives either before or shortly after birth. Carolyn offered some much needed comfort and a perspective that no one else was able to offer at the time. (By the way, I am pretty sure that a big reason for the calling was to meet Carolyn. Another calling necessitated a release just 3 months after Hope was born.)

Now, skip forward 4 years.

Last Sunday, Mike and I were driving home from Easter dinner and started talking about what we could do to celebrate Hope's 4th birthday this year. (I can't believe she is almost 4!) We threw out a few ideas. On Tuesday this email showed up from Carolyn Kasteler (see flyer at the bottom of the post). To us it is significant that this race is being held only 2 days after Hope's birthday. (Maybe we can go on a 5K run/walk out here:)

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, I have been directing a program called Angel Watch for the last several years. It is a program that gives emotional and social support to families when the parents learn that they are pregnant with an infant that has a potentially lethal diagnosis and is not expected to live much past birth - if at all. It is currently funded almost entirely by donations through the McKay-Dee Hospital Foundation. At present, it is at risk for funding next year. Therefore, the reason for this email message.

There is a wonderful way you can help, if you would like. Pam Hansen, who is the author of a book, Running With Angels is co-sponsoring a 5K Run/Walk on May 16, 2009 along with the help of Intermountain-Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. It is at 8:00 AM at Thanksgiving Point, in Lehi. This year, she has designated that ALL of the proceeds of the race are to go to Angel Watch to support our program in the Utah South area, with any special donations going to our statewide program! We appreciate her kind generosity!

As the statewide Angel Watch program is in danger of going away because of lack of funds, I would like to encourage you and your families and friends to register for this walk/run and participate on May 16th as you can, so that future potential Angel Watch families can receive support as they have in the past.

The link to the race/walk information and the registration form is attached! Thanks for your support and...See you at the race!

Carolyn Kasteler, RN
Director of Angel Watch

PS - For those of you who are not able to attend the race but would like to make a donation to Angel Watch, please go to to make an on-line donation? Just go to "Ways to Give" and click on it and then on the button for "on-line donations" and then designate Angel Watch as the recipient. Thanks in advance for any support you can give us!!

Mike and I really believe in this program and have been able to participate in a small way since Hope's death. If we were in Utah, we would certainly be participating on May 16th.

We'd like to invite any of our Utah friends and family who are interested to participate. It is a great cause.

To our friends and family outside of Utah - We invite you to donate to the McKay-Dee Foundation or the next time you are looking for a worthy charity to donate to, consider contacting your local hospital about their infant bereavement programs. There really is a need.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Poor Baby, Part 2

Abby went back to the hospital on Friday. That was no fun. In a nutshell:

  • The pediatrician who did her follow up visit (and who had never seen her before) said that she was dehydrated again and all but insisted that she go back.
  • Mike and I questioned it because we could see a huge difference between how she was then and how she had been on Tuesday.
  • I took her in after debating for a while and then watching her throw up again. (It's pretty tricky to get a sick toddler and an infant--who you don't want to touch anything or anyone or any-germ--into a hospital and admitted with a single stroller. So Friday evening I went out and bought a double stroller. Love it.)
  • The hospital doctors (who had seen her Tuesday and Wednesday) pretty much concurred with us that she wasn't nearly as bad as before (but still somewhat dehydrated), but she was already admitted so they kept her and did all the tests and stuff. Poor thing. Like a friend said, "Once they get in there, it is pretty hard to get them out!"
  • She came home Saturday afternoon.
I am so grateful to Mike for all he has done through this. He took time off work, spend two nights at the hospital and spent most of the days there as well. He just keeps saying that there wasn't a choice. (We wanted to keep Briton away as much as possible.) I suppose he is right. There wasn't much of a choice, but he did have a choice in how he dealt with it. He didn't complain. He has a ton going on at work right now and was able to drop it and come to the hospital as he was needed. He is so wonderful with Abby. (She adores him.) He dealt with lots of yucky messes. I appreciate him so much.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poor Baby

Monday Abby was fine.

Tuesday she threw up all day.

Tuesday night marked Abby's second visit to the ER. (The first involved the possible ingestion of a Christmas tree ornament that made for a better story, but this is all I put on the blog.) She was really dehydrated. It is crazy how fast their little bodies can do that.

Luckily, she also got rehydrated pretty fast, but then they admitted her to make sure that her labs improved.

Mike stayed with her the whole time except for a few hours yesterday morning when he went to work and Briton and I were with her. (I hated to have Briton in the hospital too much.)

It's got to be pretty scary for a 2-year-old. Funny bed. People doing strange things to her. Tubes coming out of her arms. Not feeling well. She did pretty well with letting the nurses take her vitals at first. Then they took some blood and put in a catheter for a bit yesterday. After that nurses were the bad guys.

Luckily, all the lab results came back good and we all got home at around 10 pm last night (22+ long hours, but counting our blessings it wasn't worse).

Here are some lessons I learned:

As previously mentioned, it doesn't take long for a little person to get dehydrated. 11 hours is a long time to go without a wet diaper.
We were in a shared room. Our roommate was a little tiny one (not more than 3 or 4 months, probably). Her mom was with her and I ended up learning quite a bit about her dad. (Maybe in the process I learned a lot about her mom, too.) Mom sat on her cell for a couple hours and told multiple people all sorts of cruddy stuff about her estranged husband. It was really sad. I was reminded of a quote that Cheree L. referred to in Relief Society a while back. It is from Sister Marjorie Hinckley and I think about it a lot in terms of not talking negatively about spouses.
  • "I think any marriage, to be successful, you have to be fiercely loyal to each other. Fiercely loyal, and I think that's happened with us."
Finally, this morning Abby and I were playing like usual. It made me realize how much I missed the real Abby the past two days. It was as if I had forgotten how she really looks, talks and acts. I love having the real Abby back!

We love new nieces (and nephews, too)

But this time it is a niece.We can't wait to meet you, lovely Natalie.

She looks just like her mom. You did well, Lara and Nate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Wrap up

We had a very busy weekend. I feel like I haven't really been home in three days.

It started like this (at the branch egg hunt):

So far as I can tell it was while we were at the hunt that the Easter Bunny stopped by our house (sneaky guy) to drop off baskets and hide some eggs in the living room.

After an hour or so, we piled into the car (again) and headed here:

Abby was so excited to go to the temple, but disappointed she couldn't go inside with mom and dad. Mike took her inside the first set of doors and that seemed to be good enough. Do you remember the quote from the last session of conference? “As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us.”

After a more than we had planned for trip to Costco and a 1.5 hour drive we made it home in time for Abby's bedtime.

That was Saturday. Sunday was calmer after we took care of this - Abby keeps life so interesting:

The kids looked darling.

Church was very nice. We had a nice musical program in Sacrament Meeting with quotes from the prophets about the Savior, his Atonement and Easter - how appropriate. I got a new calling. I am back in Primary and very excited about it.

After church we went to the home of the Smiths in our branch. They live in a nice home on 60 acres out in the country. (Our branch covers a lot of country.) "The country" is to Michigan like the mountains are to Utah (at least around here). They were so generous to invite several of the transplant families (like us) over for dinner. The food and the company were fantastic.

Happy Easter!

Easter means so much. Without the resurrection of the Son of God, life would have no meaning. Life would have an end. Miraculously life does not end.

Yesterday I thought a lot about Hope. I really wish I knew her better. My life operates in the "2 kids" mode, but I really have 3. Sometimes that can be hard. She really is a part of our family but she isn't here.

It is the miracle of Easter, though, that takes care of all of this. Hope lives on. She is an eternal member of our family. We will be with her forever and our relationship will grow and develop throughout eternity. What a great reason to celebrate!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

There is a lot to say about a two-year-old

Alternate title: What I have learned about zinc oxide
From what I have heard about "typical" two-year-olds, Abby is an extraordinary, typical two-year-old. She is inquisitive, in to everything and amazes her parents with her memory and intelligence.

She has certainly developed some loves.

She loves dress ups and dresses. She roams the house in princess shoes and today she told me that her princess crown is "very special". (It joins the ranks of the Draper Temple, which the first thing that she called "very special". The list is growing.)
Also, she loves things in bottles and squeeze tubes. Abby will squeeze, pump, spray or ooze anything liquid (especially those things a bit viscous).

I suppose this isn't anything unique to Abby. I remember as a child (between ages 5 and 9 based on the house we lived in) hiding out in the basement bathroom--dad's--mixing up potions. I combined his mysterious delights - shaving cream, aftershave, shampoos, etc. fully expecting some sort of a chemical reaction to cause bubbling, foaming, an explosion or at least a dramatic color change.

Abby isn't to the chemical reaction stage, but still can squeeze stuff with the best of them.

This morning's simple pleasures were squeezing hand sanitizer into my hands, washing her own hands (many, many times) and insisting that I not forget the hairspray.

Tuesday late afternoon - not such a pleasurable moment. Briton and I were hanging out in the playroom (after a busy and very fun/good mothering day). The nagging voice inside of me was warning me to get downstairs and find out why Abby was being so quiet or else the "good mothering" part of the day would end:) After a couple minutes we heeded the warning and headed downstairs to diaper cream - everywhere, on the carpet, in the hair, throughout the diaper bags. I think that she realized that she wasn't supposed to be doing it. I can't remember exactly how I reacted. I hope I wasn't too extreme. She's only two, but still needed to know it wasn't the best of choices.
3 people I told about our predicament responded the same way. "Oh, that stuff is hard to get out!"

It has been 2 days. I think the hair is just about back to normal. (If you need to know how to get it out, ask. I have tried a few remedies.) The carpet rebounded much better than I expected and diaper bags and contents fair well in the washing machine.

Abby keeps me busy. Some days I feel that I am just following her around cleaning and picking up. Other days (hopefully more often than not), we are in it (the messes and the fun) together!

I love my two-year-old!

PS Since I wrote this post this morning, Abby has graduated from liquids and lotions to granules--1/2 of a tub of OxiClean turned into an Abby-proclaimed sand box. (I promise it wasn't within her reach.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Conference on Sunday

I can't wait to go here this month...My theme for today:

How to stay happy regardless of our circumstances
  • Press forward with faith without concern for setbacks
  • Remember that the Savior has experienced all in order to succor us in our experiences
  • Focus on what is really important (i.e. keep the gospel the center of our lives)
  • Serve and sacrifice
  • Line up our lives with the temple (live worthy of a recommend and use it often)
I have to also make note of Elder Perry's talk. I need to be a better missionary so it is good for me to remember the talks (there is always at least one) on missionary work. I don't want to be missing in action!

Conference was fabulous. I feel so uplifted and inspired. Everything seemed to fit together so well and I found lots of applications. What a blessing! Mike and I feel very blessed and grateful.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Conference on Saturday

We enjoyed conference today. It was my first non-Utah conference in a long time. We watched the morning (which didn't occur for us in the morning) session on the internet. It (the internet, I mean) wasn't too bad. With the buffering and resultant catching up, the first session lasted about 2 hours and 15ish minutes. We drove up to the branch for the afternoon session (and I mildly stressed about whether or not my kids were being quiet enough). Tomorrow, we plan to watch the (non) morning session at the branch, join them for a potluck and then return home for the afternoon.

I was amazed (as always) at how well the talks meshed together. My theme for the day (and it seemed to shout out to me) is the Primary song (that Abby calls the "Sand Song") "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man". For me the big ideas were:

  • Rough times are here and none of us can escape the storms of life. (That is the rain.)
  • The world’s solutions aren’t going to solve the problems. (That is the sand.)
  • We can try to search in a lot of places for answers,
  • But the only place we’ll find a true foundation is in the Savior, Jesus Christ. (That is the rock.)
  • If we return to the basics (i.e. our faith in Jesus Christ), our problems won’t go away, but we’ll have the spiritual strength and POWER necessary to successfully endure our trials. He is our only foundation.
And, referring not just to homes:
  • "Building a house” with money that we don’t have (or using money we have on “home furnishings” we don’t need) is foolish – resembles building on a sandy economic and spiritual foundation.
(I think I used too many parentheses in this post.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A tag...

Cousin Carli tagged me...

5 things I was doing 5 years ago:

1. I had been married for about 3 weeks 2. I was teaching Kindergarten
Hmmm...that was most of my life...

3. I was living in Murray 4. And I think I was a Primary teacher 5. And I was quite happy!

5 things on my to-do list for today:

1. Fold laundry!!!! (the JOYs of a newborn - I've read a few blogs today that have put some things into proper perspective - I'm grateful to have my kids to fold laundry for)
2. Mop the floor (I'd be very surprised if I actually do this one)
3. Maybe watch American Idol (more likely than mopping the floor)
4. Reheat leftovers for dinner:)
5. Write a to-do list for tomorrow so that I can be really productive
Follow-up: It is now bedtime. I started this post earlier today. The results? I did #4. That's all. (I should've put "Plan for Seminary" on the list, but I forgot - not that I forgot I was subbing tomorrow morning (6:15 am), just forgot to put it on the list. I did that, though.) So who was eliminated? Haha, I'll look it up.

5 things I would do with a million dollars:

1. Pay for my kids' education 2. Make sure that our retirement is taken care of (exciting, I know) 3. Travel 4. Visit Utah/family often 5. Remind myself that a million dollars doesn't go as far as it used to:)

5 places I have lived:
1. Texas 2. California 3. Indiana 4. Alabama 5. Nebraska

5 things I want to be doing in 5 years:

1. Helping out in my kids' classrooms at school 2. I'd like to have 2+ more kids...but probably not be pregnant
Hmmm...I'm not thinking too well tonight so for the last 3, fill in the blanks with some really cool things.

3. 4. 5.

And, to add to the list:

5 things about Abby:
1. She loves her dad a lot. Anytime (oftentimes when) she and I have a slight disagreement, she is tending to cry, "I want my daddy come home..."
2. She wanted to play with some ABC flash cards. I showed her the "U" and she said "semi-circle". Impressive.
3. She decided to make herself some "purple stuff" yesterday. Purple stuff is Gatorade. We have some of the powdered Gatorade mix. Independence=sticky floor.
4. She was looking at some pictures on this here blog and when I asked her where the picture from Briton's blessing was taken, she said, "Church" and "Missionaries". I wasn't sure why she said missionaries until I remembered that the missionaries had taken that particular picture. Good memory...
5. For Shana - Also, while we were looking at blogs she really just wanted to see pictures of Cooper. I can't wait to see pictures of his new little brother!

5 pictures of Briton: