Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Working on a Happy Marriage

No marriage is perfect, but we can all do more to make our marriages better by forgiving one another, praying together, and working toward eternity every day.

I am so thankful for the wonderful husband the Lord has blessed me with, and I want to do all I can to keep my covenants so we can be together for all of time and eternity!

(I love you, Russell!!!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pregnancy Update: 26 Weeks

I can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going! The baby is very active and my belly is growing every day. I'm having lots of lovely stomach muscle stretching pain-- more than I've had for years. I think it's due to the fact that I tightened those muscles up with all the Zumba classes I took. *sigh*

This past week, I wasn't eating like I should, and I could TOTALLY tell a difference! So yesterday I went back to making my green smoothies and keeping track of my protein, water drinking, etc.. In all my pregnancies, I have found I feel best when I follow Dr. Brewer's Pregnancy Diet. He originally created this way of eating for pregnant women suffering from, or threatening to have, pre-eclampsia.

For more on what the baby is doing right now, here's a quote from my Baby Center update for the week:
The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches from head to heel.


There's nothing more to report on baby names, other than the fact that I have my quirky, LONG list of names, and I know it's useless to parade all the choices in front of Russell right now. (It's his turn to pick, though I get veto power. ;-D) He never decides until after the baby gets here.

Just for fun, here are a few (the list is much longer) on my Nameberry list. (Yes, I am a major Name Nerd):

  • Arthur
  • Darcy
  • Emrys (In my dreams...)
  • Finn
  • Grady
  • Hamilton
  • Lennox
  • Malcolm
  • Thane
Quick quiz: Did you notice any Shakespearean names? Which ones?

If you'll excuse me, I must now go and make myself a spinach and avocado omelet and a cup of pregnancy tea...


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

Miss Eryn Millie

I can't believe it's been two years ago today that this sweet girl joined our family.

The time has flown by so fast! And yet, it seems she's always been a part of our family.

So sweet. (And ready to swim!)

Here's her blog birth announcement. And here's her birth story. (I'm so glad I recorded them both!)

Oh, Miss Eryn, what would we have done without your soft sweetness in our lives?

Happy Birthday, little one. We love you so much!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Thoughts in Silence

 Saturday morning I attended my third day of training on how to teach the holistic approach of math, science, art, music, farming, etc. called "The Pyramid Project." I learned so much! My perceptions of life and learning have been enhanced and my testimony of Our Creator has been fortified. All things truly testify of Him! Anyway, we got to spend Saturday morning on a short nature walk at a park across from a new LDS temple being built. We had ten minutes to sit and ponder in silence-- which for a chatterbox like me can seem a long time! When we returned to class, we were given another ten minutes to sit down and write about our experience. I thought I'd share what I came up with here. Happy Summer, one and all!
Though it's not easy for me to be silent, I am enjoying the quiet; but I love that it's not too quiet. I hear birds squawking, chirping, bickering. I hear the constant hum of traffic-- and it's comforting, somehow. I hear nieces greeting aunts, sisters laughing. "I love you"-s and "How are you?"-s and "You look beautiful!"

I see purple, greens, browns. Sunshine streaming through dappled leaves. There's water shimmering in the distance, a regal swan blessing the scene with its grace. The swan cared enough for the beauty of the place to come and rest, to float among the ducks. How did it know to come here?

I feel the energy of the huge cranes, moving, building, transporting men and supplies. The giant arms look like they hold puppet strings moving up and down, back and forth. Shaping, guiding; an almost reverent dance.

My eyes and ears are always drawn to the people. Who set up all those colorful balloons in the ramada? Whose birthday is it? The child on the bike, the martial artists in the sun: aren't they HOT?

 When I sat on the damp grass, I immediately became aware of the thousands of busy creatures on the ground next to me. Oops! Was I sitting on their anthill? Ouch. Would I end up carrying stow-aways with me? (I did.) Time to move!

I enjoyed taking some snapshots. Of trees. Of bushes, of people. Angel Moroni looming in the distance.

It's hard for me to be silent, yes. But when I do, I can hear the smiles of God.

I need to do it more often.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Baby #12 Update: June

Head profile (Yeah, kinda hard to see)
I am so, so, sooooo excited to report that we got an ultrasound last night, and we now know what kind of baby we'll be welcoming come October...

Are you ready???

IT'S A BOY!!!!!!

And he's a busy little guy! He kept moving like crazy during the ultrasound-- he was beginning to frustrate the technician to no end.

Russell and I decided that we're IN FOR IT!!! 

Then again, I can't stop grinning about having another little buddy to love. :-)

Now I need to FIND, and then go back through my baby boy stuff. (I'm so glad I didn't give it all away, as I almost did a million times!) And I think the girls and I will spend the next few months sewing. Summer is the perfect time for indoor projects 'round these parts!

I'm sharing a couple pictures, but I decided I wouldn't post the most delicate views. My boy may someday come back and read this blog, and I don't want him mad at me!!! 

View from above
I have to explain the second ultrasound picture. This little guy was doing all kinds of moving, twisting, and wiggling. The technician was laughing so hard at all our busy boy's contortions, so he just had to get a picture. In the picture above, it's a view looking down on the baby, his head is on the left, his hands by his head, his left leg is up and across his body. (On the right side of the picture.)

I think he's gonna be very cute. We're all so excited!

Friday, June 01, 2012

On Asperger Syndrome: Morganne's History Part 2

Morganne at 18 Months Old in 1995
To understand this post, please go back and read Part 1 of Morganne's story.

She's BACK!
I didn't understand the how or the why, but I did know that our Morganne was back! It was like she was a princess in a fairy tale who had woken up from an evil spell. She still didn't like being pressured, and still had some catching up to do on her speech, but she was suddenly much more aware of the rest of us-- she played more with her brothers, she could look us in the eyes, she began speaking again.

Not long after her vaccinations at age 2.  (Early 1996)
Notice the food in her hand to get her to stay put. And the wary look she has.

I was humbled, though still perplexed at where our girl had been all this time. The only thing I knew about autism was from movies like "Rain Man." And that was not anything like what we'd been going through. I NEVER considered that might be the problem.

I had never heard the term "Asperger Syndrome." We simply moved forward, relieved and ecstatic for things to calm down and be "normal." I was in awe at the hope I now held for my little girl.

Photo with my family before my brother left to serve his mission. (1996)
Russell had to hold Morganne down-- she was not happy.
Lliam was 3 months old here.  (1996)
Morganne was happy because the photographer gave her a fist full of Smarties.

Meanwhile, I was expecting baby #4-- our Miss Bonny. Morganne was very excited for a baby sister! When she came to the hospital with her Daddy and brothers, she exclaimed "Just like Lliam!!!" I was astounded that she was connecting the past when she had hardly seemed to notice or care when Lliam was born. This new excitement and recognition was miraculous!

At this exact moment, Morganne was telling me "Just like Lliam!"
When Russell brought me home from the hospital, Morganne rushed out the door and pulled my bag from the car. SHE was the big sister! She did all she could to help her mama, and loved Miss Bonny so much.

Our Family in early 1999
(See that smile on Miss Morganne? That's the real deal!)
Time passed, and one day my Aunt Ann came to visit us in Provo from Arizona. As she left, she gave me a newspaper clipping that she'd cut out of her local paper. She said that the article reminded her a bit of Morganne. I thanked her brusquely, thinking, "Nothing's wrong with Morganne, NOW. But that's nice. I'll read it sometime." 

Later, I took advantage of a quiet moment after all the kids were in bed to read the article. It was about children with autism. The more I read, the more my heart pounded-- the behaviors were so familiar. The article was describing the "old Morganne" that had disappeared.


The Internet was catching hold, and so I read online all I could on the subject. As I found out about the possible link between vaccinations and the disease, I was wracked with guilt, sobbing uncontrollably. 

Could I have done that to my baby? 

I really didn't know for sure. All I knew was that she was a different child overnight just after she turned 2 years old, right after she received her shots.

The "how" of her autism was never clear, but I was so relieved to know that none of us had imagined her difficulty. And that we were not the only family in the world who had dealt with a child changing overnight.

Morganne getting baptized at age 8 (Early 2002)
Life with Asperger's

The years rolled on, and Morganne continued to progress. But she never was the same as other kids her age. In some things, she was far beyond them. For example, she taught herself to read. She also had perfect audio recall-- she could memorize everything she heard. Her memory was astounding, too. She could remember details and events none of us had noticed or recalled.

She still could not handle being pressured in any way-- especially socially. She attended Primary at church, and loved to be around others, but she could not handle the glare of the spotlight-- any pressure to perform in front of a crowd melted her into tears. I learned more about Asperger's and about the WIDE spectrum of autism. It helped me to be more patient with her and her struggles. And it helped to share her condition with her teachers and leaders at church, all of whom were loving and supportive of Morganne and our family.

I remember when she gave her FIRST talk in Primary. She was ten years old, and was part of a class of very sweet girls who loved her fiercely. They cheered her on, smiling and encouraging her through every word. When she sat back down, her class all squealed with delight, exclaiming "Good job, Morganne!" She grinned from ear to ear, and I was so grateful! Morganne had conquered a great fear! And it was because of the love and acceptance she felt from the girls in her class.

Morganne on her 11th birthday

Sometimes, Morganne could not find the right words to say, so she would just look deeply into my eyes, willing me to understand what she needed, how she felt. This is still something she does today-- words are so elusive for her to express! But I have never had a problem understanding what her eyes are saying. Her soul speaks louder than words ever could.

Morganne also has trouble reading out loud in front of anyone-- even her family. She stutters her words; those pesky words! BUT, she can memorize ANYTHING! And when she recites what she memorizes, she does not stutter in the least!!!

Shakespeare Magic

Morganne in her first role as Olivia's maid in "Twelfth Night"

A couple years ago, we put on Shakespeare's A Midummer Night's Dream with our local homeschool group. After the auditions, I was casting the show, trying to decide between Morganne and another girl for a lead role.

I was so torn-- Morganne had stuttered a lot during her reading at the audition, but I knew what she was capable of from her tiny role the year before. (She had not only memorized her own lines, but everyone else's in the show!) 

A part of me was afraid that some of the kids or parents in the group would think I was favoring my child over someone else. It was extremely hard to know what to do. But as I prayed for guidance, the Holy Spirit very clearly told me that Morganne needed and deserved the part! So I cast her as Hermia, one of the four lovers in the show.

She did a PHENOMENAL job! She never stuttered one word. She had every line and every entrance memorized and perfected. Her leaders and friends, both from class and from our ward congregation were astounded when they saw her perform! It was another miracle, a huge blessing for us all.

Morganne as Hermia, with her Lysander

All Grown Up

Over the years, I have learned so much from Morganne! I am a VERY verbal person, and so I have not always been as patient or understanding as I could or should have been of Morganne and her needs. But she continues to be patient with me and my limitations.

Morganne still hates to be pressured into anything she is not ready for. And we have all learned to respect and honor who she is, without trying to get her to be anything other than Miss Morganne. She has a very calming, quiet spirit about her. She is patient and quiet, loving and tolerant. She loves to cook, to read, and to write in her journal every night. She wants nothing more out of life than to be a wife and mother.

She knows the scriptures better than anyone I have ever known-- she still has an incredible mastery of memorizing. If we need a scripture reference, or need to be reminded about what someone said or did in the past, we just go to Morganne and she can tell us exactly what we need to know.

Morganne loves to be HOME, surrounded by those who love and understand her. And she loves to be around her peers, though she doesn't say much, or really knows how to be an intimate friend with someone. But that does not bother her-- she loves everyone she comes in contact with.

And we love her, oh, so much. I am so grateful and humbled that I get to be her mother!

So while Morganne will not be marching down an aisle with a cap and gown this spring, and will not be leaving us to attend college any time soon, she is doing exactly what the Lord has in mind for her today.

And I am so very proud.

(I love you, Miss Morgie!)