Monday, September 7, 2009


Here are a few random pics of some fun things we've done so far here in Missouri...

One lazy afternoon we got to examining these strange pods growing on a nearby tree. Somehow our curiosity turned into a game we invented of pitching them off the porch and trying to hit them with a bat from the yard below.

Using the self timer at Stockton Lake...

Our first trip to the St. Louis temple...8 hours round trip.

My belated birthday cake...

...and then later that afternoon with another expectant mother (no, not dad, the cow!).

Adam, Eve and me

On August 6, with both of our cars packed to the brim, we gassed up and then said our last good-bye to Utah as we headed off for the little southwester Missouri town of Stockton. We were sad to leave behind family and friends and the beautiful Utah mountains, but were also optimistic about what lay ahead for us in what was to be our new home.

In the solitary hours of my drive ahead, I couldn’t help but think about our situation and feel a connection with Adam and Eve. Chad and I had both loved Utah and had been comfortable there, yet yearned for more. We knew we were taking risks by leaving the comforts of our “garden”. In fact, the risks seemed to be like a wilderness for us, yet the unknowns of the wilderness seemed to hold the needed opportunity and growth we longed for. There was something appealing about working by the “sweat of our brow” to establish a home of our own, and who knew, maybe even plant our own garden.

Things were going good until I passed Chad on a hill about four hours into our drive. He called me asking if I was aware of the big, black cloud of smoke coming from my exhaust pipe. Little did we know, that black smoke would be the beginning of transmission problems for my car. Chad drove back to a near-by town, Rock Point, Wyoming to rent a car dolly. He would have to pull my car the rest of the way to Missouri. I wondered, did Adam and Eve have this much difficulty in merely leaving the garden?

Those car problems would be the beginning of our troubles. To make a long story shorter, what was supposed to be an 18 hour drive took us 33 hours. That night, as we unpacked and rested, the tv was on in the background. A documentary about the Mormon exodus to the west came on. They too faced many difficulties as they entered their western wilderness. And even upon arriving to their “promised land”, there was much work ahead. By the sweat of their brow they would build houses and churches, plant crops and lay the foundations of new towns and cities. And after time, the desert would blossom as a rose and they would have their own garden-like Zion.

That night I was reminded that the story of the wilderness is not unique to Adam and Eve or Chad and Michelle. The Mormon pioneers, Moses and the children of Israel, and Lehi and his family all have a similar story to tell. It’s the story of all who are willing to leave the comforts of the present to face the wildernesses of their own life. But more importantly than leaving our garden-like state could possibly be the faith we maintain as we travel through the wilderness. Will we move forward with faith trusting in God as did Adam and Eve and the Mormon pioneers or feel abandoned and long for the ease of the past “gardens” as did the children of Israel or Laman and Lemuel? Chad and I have chosen to move forward with faith. We don’t know how long the wildernesses we are called to pass through will be, but we trust that there’s a promised land waiting ahead somewhere and that there can be joy in the journey.

Utah summer pics

The other day I told Chad that I almost feel like I didn't experience summer this year, because a big chunk of it was spent sick indoors. However, as I look over my pictures, we did get to do some fun things. Below are an assortment of random events from (mostly) the summer.

On mother's day, Chad & I spoke in church. His mom, grandma, and Jonathon came to hear us speak and we had dinner for them afterwards. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of everyone on this day.

Brittany had just gotten home from her mission in Taiwan and this was the day she gave us all sorts of cool gifts!

The only picture I have from the 4th of July this year :(

We had so much fun having weekly movies nights at our place with Chad's family. Before my morning sickness kicked in, we would have 'Dinner and a Movie'. We made fun things for dinner such as sushi, Cafe Rio and the pictures below are us making our own pizza! Yum!

Enjoying being with family at the Robinson's house after attending the homecoming of their son Nathaniel.

Chad's pizza-pool-birthday party

Hangin'out in our empty, boxed up apartment :(

Two of my old students and their family came over to go swimming at our pool. Afterwards we ate spaghetti and watched Madegascar 2 on our projector.

Saying good-bye to my good friend Traci before we moved. Isn't she beautiful!

Panama City, FL

I know in an earlier post, I talked about the onset of my morning sickness while we were in Florida. Although in that post I highlighted the pains of being sick on a vacation, it wasn't all cinnamon rolls and saltines, moaning and dry heaving. We did many other fun things- endless games of nerts, laying out under our umbrellas on the beach, circle tag, walks on the beach, playing in the pool, eating out at Captain Anderson's, the nightly family dinners, and just having fun company to be around.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Green Chili Burritos, Pickles, & a Peanut

As our little "peanut" (as we lovingly began to call our baby) continued to grow and develop, some other things within me also began to appear. #1- An acute sense of smell. Chad has joked that if I were a superhero, my super power would be my sense of smell. In our apartment in Utah, I kept smelling something really potent, but I couldn't figure out what it was. One day I'd had enough and decided to discover the source of the smell. I opened the fridge and took a deep inhale and gagged at the pungency. I began picking up individual jars and containers of food and smelling them. Finally, towards the back of the fridge, I came across a big jar of minced garlic. I found the culprit! Little did I know that my sense of smell was so strong that something in a closed refrigerator could contaminate the air in the whole apartment for me. I proceeded to enclose the jar in a Ziploc bag and then double bag it in garbage sacks. Then like magic, the odor disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.

The second super power that I began to develop with this pregnancy has been my very distinctive food cravings. One night I was so hungry, but absolutely nothing sounded good to me. Then ding, out of nowhere the thought of a green chili burrito from Taco Bell entered my mind and I knew what I wanted. I hadn't eaten at Taco Bell in probably over ten years! Chad, being a supportive husband, went and bought me some burritos. But this wouldn't be the only night. The Taco Bell drive-thru worker soon became acquainted with Chad and would even ask about me and how my pregnancy was going. I also took a liking to a particular brand of baby dill pickles- Steinfeld pickles. Unfortunately, Chad also developed a taste for my beloved pickles and one night finished the jar off. On my next trip to the grocery store, I was shocked to find they no longer carried Steinfeld pickles. We searched other grocery stores in vain for Steinfeld or another comparable pickle, but to no avail. Happily, my in laws found a grocer that carried my favorite pickles and bought them for me as an early birthday present.

Pregnancy and Morning Sickness

When we decided to try to get pregnant, we had no idea it would come so quickly for us. In fact, I can still remember the day when we found out. For a few days, my emotions were getting to me. I felt more prone to tears and was a little on the down side, and I had no idea why. I was in the middle of one of my emotional meltdowns, when Chad suggested, "maybe you're just pregnant". He suggested I try one of the pregnancy tests that I'd picked up at the store a few days earlier. I thought it was too soon to tell anything, but agreed to try anyways. When a faint yellow line began to appear, I initially thought that symbolized a negative sign, meaning I wasn't pregnant. But then we looked to the box for further clarification. From the box, we learned that a line meant positive! Maybe there was an explanation for my emotions after all. The line was so faint, however, that we wouldn't know for sure until I saw my family doctor a few days later.

I was about a month along when we went to Florida to spend time with the Guerras. We stayed in their grandma's timeshare that she had on the beach in Panama City. It was fun to spend time with everyone, maybe a little humid for my taste, but fun...that is, until my morning sickness kicked in. At the time, I didn't know that hunger would make the nausea worse. To me it seemed counter intuitive to eat when you already feel nauseated. Because of this I spent a good day or so rotating between tossing and turning in bed mixed with occasional moaning (I swear sporadic moaning helps take the edge off pain), throwing up, back to bed some more, back to the toilet to dry heave, etc, etc. A google search taught me of the need to constantly snack to ward off nausea. The only thing that remotely appealed to me were the cheap Winn Dixie cinnamon rolls that Chad's dad had kept buying that whole week. All of the family had given him grief about it throughout our time there, but he continued to stock up with each trip to Winn Dixie. Needless to say, he was glad to win someone over to his side in support of the cinnamon rolls. While Chad's dad stocked up on the cinnamon rolls, Chad's mom bought me a supply of saltine crackers to cope with my nausea. Sadly, these made me dry heave and didn't even phase my nausea...back to the cheap cinnamon rolls!

It was good to get back home to be sick in my own bed, but the next few months would also be a challenge for me. My morning sickness got worse and was oftentimes debilitating leaving me confined to the house while Chad was at work. I thought being sick was hard, but adding loneliness and boredom on top of it made this even more trying. I gained new appreciation of the Savior's command to visit the sick and administer to their relief (see Matthew 25:35-40, Mosiah 4:26). We continued to have our traditional movie nights with Chad's family and they were always welcome guests. Somehow their presence eased my morning sickness. There were also other visits and other visitors that gave me temporary relief. I'm grateful for them.

Even though I struggled, the Lord did not leave me comfortless. One night as I drifted off to sleep, a particular scripture came to mind. I looked it up the next morning in my scripture study. This scripture would become my theme through this time period. "And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings" (1 Nephi 17:2).

There were many times when I thought to myself, I have a high tolerance of pain in some respects, but when it comes to nausea and morning sickness, I'm a wuss! I'd always had pretty good health. My struggles had come in other areas, for example, I felt I could handle heartbreak and rejection fairly well. Surely my years of dating and serving a mission in Spain had helped me in that respect. I also felt I was pretty good at dealing with the pains of oxygen debt and lactic acid- I'd spent years lifting weights and running which had disciplined me in dealing with these types of pain. The scripture in 1 Nephi reassured me that this trial, like all trials, was to help make me "strong like a man" so that I could bear my pain without complaint. My morning sickness finally dissappeared after four months. I can't say that I was able to get to the point where I could bear the sickness without any complaint whatsoever (I'm sure it will take me a few more pregnancys to get to that point), but I did see myself getting stronger.

"And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness" (1 Nephi 17:3). I know that having this child is what the Lord would have us do. We're grateful to be entrusted with such a blessing and responsibility and I know that as we move forward with faith, the Lord will nourish, strengthen, and provide means for us to fulfill his commandments.