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by Amber H

What Happens in Vegas Gets Blogged (part 3)

October 30, 2012 in Jeff & I, Las Vegas, Traveling by Amber H

So, it’s been ages.. as usual. But this is the last entry!

So Monday morning… we ate breakfast at the buffet which ended up being a BAD IDEA. My advice is if you’re on vacation, and you’re planning on eating at a high end restaurant that evening, eat as little as possible during the day. I got a picture of one of the plates that Jeff loaded up for breakfast; it’s rather funny.

CHEESE!

He loaded it up with lunchmeat and cheese. Which are 2 of the main components of his personal food pyramid.

After breakfast we headed out and did some sight seeing.

Delicious candy.. nom.

This was in the Excalibur on the way out onto the strip. We got smart and figured out we could use the walkway between the Luxor and Excalibur and save ourselves from walking in the heat and save time.

We went to MM world and Ross again, where I ended up buying a maxi dress. I was excited about that because the dress wasn’t dragging on the floor like 99% of maxi dresses I’ve come across. I realize it’s probably supposed to be a midi dress for regular statured people but I still love it. Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures in MM world, but I did get a souvenir penny that’s currently kept in my wallet.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked in front of Monte Carlo, which had this pretty awesome black fountain.

Stunning!

And then immediately after on the wall you see in the lower left corner, we came across this hilarious advertisement for beer, and so I had to get my picture taken next to it.

Butterface Amber Beer.

The funny thing is, I never heard of “butterface” until I moved to Utah. As you can see, it describes an attractive female.. but her face. (get it?) Thankfully, this doesn’t describe me. I hope.

So we get back to our hotel room and get ready for our night out. We made reservations at Wolfang Puck’s Postrio, which was located in the heart of The Venetian where the Phantom of the Opera was located. We had considered changing our dinner reservation to Gordon Ramsey Steak which is located at the Paris, but it ended up being perfectly fine.. we ended up being really close on time. Anyway we were located outside of the restaurant.. which was off putting to Jeff at first, but it ultimately ended up being great.. we had a fantastic view during dinner.

Part of the awesome view we had during dinner!

When we walked into this part of the Venetian, I literally thought we had gone back outside. It was an open plaza and there were even PIGEONS flying around. Jeff and I were debating on the behavior of the pigeons.. he speculated they probably pooped on people, and I said they were probably trained to poop in certain areas.

And in case you were wondering, we did take obligatory food pictures. Here’s my apetizer:

Crispy Calamari and Rock Shrimp, Scallions, Jalapeno, Cilantro, Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

And here’s Jeff’s:

Artisan Cheese Selection, Grilled Bread, Seasonal Fruits, Honeycomb

We ended up getting the same entree, which was a very yummy Salmon dish. I made the mistake of getting a side of cauliflower so I ended up being VERY stuffed afterwards, which made me uncomfortable in my dress.

We made our way over to the part of the hotel where the opera was located. Obviously, no pictures were allowed during the show, but I did take a few pictures while we were waiting for it to start.

Waiting for Phantom to start

The show was AWESOME. Like, WAY BEYOND awesome. In the recent movie that stars Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, the prologue was done in black and white. Obviously they can’t make us see that in person, so they had these dark heavy black and grey curtains draped all over the place. When the music started they drew the curtains to reveal beautiful gold and red behind it to make it feel like you’re part of the opera audience within the show -it’s almost like Inception- and then the chandelier did this amazing “dance” where the 4 pieces came back together as one. Even now thinking about it, I’m getting chills! It was just that good. The cast, everything was awesome.. and they did an amazing job working on a stage.. with the movie you’ve got the ability to work with a much larger set, but they still gave a feeling of traveling down to the bowels of the Opera house where the Phantom lived. The show ended its run in the early part of September, so I’m grateful that Jeff and I were able to have an amazing experience of attending the show.

There’s a stunning fountain at the front of the Venetian, and so we managed to snag some passerby to take a picture of us in front of it.

Post show picture!

I’m happier than I look, I swear! And then of course, here’s a picture of the fountain without anyone in front of it.

Stunning fountain

 

We actually considered staying in the Venetian, but I’m glad we stayed in the Luxor. The next morning before we were to head home, we were able to go view The Bodies Exhibit. We missed out on it while it was here in Utah in 2008, so that was awesome to be able to see it. No pictures of that unfortunately, but we were awed at what we saw. The human body is truly amazing, and seeing the exhibit kind of makes you realize what our bodies do every second of our existence. They also had this room dedicated to the fetal stage of our existence.. and that just kind of really opened my eyes. It also made me incredibly sad, because each and every specimen on exhibit was someone’s child (and in one case children since it was a set of conjoined twins) that was loved, lost and mourned. I appreciate the incredible sacrifice of the parents that gave consent for their children to be used to educate and enlighten viewers of the exhibit. The thing that stuck out the most though was a plaque that had a factoid on it.. we only exist as a single cell organism for the first 30 minutes of our existence.

Our trip was amazing.. and wonderful. It was a much needed vacation to reconnect as a couple and to enjoy ourselves. I’m looking forward to our next vacation, whenever that will be! It was a truly amazing experience.

I do have a confession though; the part of the Bodies Exhibit that showed the muscular system and the skeletal system, I started craving beef jerky. I know, that’s so beyond wrong and gross, but the muscular system really looks like delicious pink beef jerky.

I’m not a cannibal, I promise!

by Amber H

What Happens in Vegas Gets Blogged (part 2)

August 30, 2012 in Jeff & I, Las Vegas, Traveling by Amber H

I know it’s been forever since I blogged about our first day in Vegas.. unfortunately I had a technical difficulty and  I’ve now been able to get the chance to finish blogging about the trip.

So we woke up the next morning and went down to eat breakfast at McDonald’s. Let me just say, McDonald’s in Vegas is way more expensive than it is anywhere else, especially when the McDonald’s is in the food court area of a hotel. After breakfast we went exploring a bit and at that point Jeff’s foot was getting to the point of interfering with walking, so we went to Ross and he was able to find a nice pair of Doc Martens and a pack of black socks for a great deal. We managed to score some cheap tickets for two shows on Sunday, so after buying Jeff shoes, we had to rush back to the Excalibur, to claim our tickets for The Tournament of Kings.

AND. IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Waiting for the Tournament of Kings, so excited!

Essentially it’s a dinner and a show about King Aurthur and the Knights of the Round Table. With Merlin, a court Jester and the Black knight. There’s singing and dancing and jousting involved. The dining area is divided up into countries, since the show heavily involves the audience; the idea is that you cheer on your knight who’s the king of the country you’re sitting in.

The Royal Court!

So, we got seated in France, which wasn’t all that thrilling for us since, Jeff has a dislike for the French language.

Sigh..

So, the dinner was pretty awesome. It was a 3 course meal, and you don’t get utensils to eat with. So the soup -which was a tomato basil soup- is in a bowl with a handle that you drink out of. The main course was AWESOME. It was a small Gaming Hen with some small baked potatoes and some broccoli. It was a TON of food, I was not able to finish it. Dessert was kind of a letdown afterwards, since it was a limpy apple strudel thing. Overall the meal was great, and the show was AMAZING. We were okay with sitting in France, since he won the tournament! We totally were engaged in the show.. cheering, booing and clapping all at the right places. I also got lucky and was able to get my picture taken with one of the handsome actors that played one of the kings.. I forgot which country.

So dreamy!

So, after this, we had to quickly skedaddle back to our hotel, because we got tickets to another show called “Fantasy: The Strip’s Biggest Tease”. It’s a show of more topless dancers, and it also features a really amazing singer named Lorena-she kept her top on- and then an AWESOME comedian named Sean E. Cooper! He was downright hilarious. There was this guy in the front row who got pulled up onto the stage by the singer, and they made him put on this crazy wig, belt, cape and gave him a guitar to do an Elvis impersonation. The funniest thing about it is that his name was Pepe and he was from Sweden.. and he was the focus of Sean’s jokes several times. Yes the comedy was a bit raunchy when there’s topless women involved what else can you do you expect- but it was still within a certain level of tastefulness. I’ve read about another comedian’s show where he just went over the top from being funny to flat out offensive, and Sean never did that; it was great.

Jeff with two of the dancers

I felt so short and stumpy next to the dancers. That and out of shape.

Me posing with the ladies.

This was actually my first show involving a comedian, so we took pictures with Sean too.

Me and Sean.

And Jeff with Sean.

Love the look Sean’s giving the camera!

And then after the show we called it a night. Mostly due to Jeff’s foot. That pretty much sums up our Sunday in Vegas!

 

I feel like I need to address something really quickly. I know some people may find the fact that we saw two shows in Vegas that involved topless women offensive; however Jeff and I do not share most people’s attitude of nudity. I realize that this may not mesh well, but I can assure you that we have a healthy respect for ourselves and each other, and due to the fact it was a mutual decision to see these shows and we saw them together, there was no ill feelings involved towards each other.

by Amber H

What Happens in Vegas Gets Blogged (part 1)

July 19, 2012 in Jeff & I, Las Vegas, Traveling by Amber H

So, Monday was mine and Jeff’s seven year wedding anniversary. Yay us! Earlier this year we decided to go to Las Vegas to celebrate.. well I decided and Jeff went along so I’d stop asking him. We left Saturday, and got home last night.. and let me tell you that is NOT ENOUGH TIME. It didn’t help that Jeff hurt his foot and was limping around the whole time we were there either. But I think we still managed to have a good time. Here’s some pictures (duh)

From the plane right after it landed.

What’s amazing is that the airport is within view of the strip and vice versa! We were still on the plane when Jeff took this picture. If you look at the grey and black tower, to the lower right of it, you can see the top of a pyramid. That’s the Luxor, where we decided to stay at. It’s pretty exciting knowing I could see our hotel from the airplane and that our trip was ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Since apparently, it didn’t sink in when I was in the plane going to Las Vegas…

The reason why we went to Vegas.

So this was one of the first things we saw when we landed at the Las Vegas airport. Of course, I had to take a picture! After riding on the longest escalator we’ve ever ridden on, and getting our luggage, we were able to catch a shuttle to the hotel. There’s this company that offers round trip deals, so of course we did that; since you save money by doing so.. and trust me saving money in Las Vegas isn’t easy. Do it however you can!

A picture from our shuttle.

While in the shuttle on the way to the hotel, I was snapping pictures; this was one of them.  I was wondering why there was a giant crane on the strip, but we later found out that there’s going to be a giant Ferris Wheel that’s essentially going to be bigger than The Eye in London.. it’s going to be restaurants or something.. not entirely sure. (I found an article here about it.) I guess according to the article they are building two.. this is the second one that’s in the article. It’s really nifty, and I can’t wait to go back to Vegas to see it completed.

So anyway we get to our hotel, and once we got into the main lobby, you can really tell that you’re inside of a pyramid shaped building:

Breathtaking!

Each floor gets smaller and smaller as they go up, and the balconies aren’t over each other. It’s insane.

EEP!

We requested a high room, and let’s just say… we kept daring each other to stare over the balcony. The Luxor has 30 floors, and we were on the 26th floor. Every time you looked over the balcony, your stomach would literally drop, and if you looked over while moving..  you’re risking losing your lunch. Even then, the view was pretty amazing.

We didn’t think to take pictures of our room -woops- but it was amazing. and HUGE. But here’s a picture of the view from the sitting area window.

Amazing!

Again you can see the Sphinx and Obelisk that are in front of the Luxor, and then you can see the airport. Jeff took this picture, mainly to get the view of the airport from our room. He really liked seeing the planes take off and land. And then on the right side are the large supports for the giant Ferris Wheel.

After getting settled into our room, we decided we were hungry so we went and noshed at the buffet. Which was all sorts of delicious. Jeff discovered right before we left that he really likes clams, so between us we ate probably 5 dozen. We ate other stuff.. crab legs, and I had tamales and several different types of salads, and fruits. After dinner we decided to walk the food off by going on the strip, and to walk to this kiosk that provides half priced tickets for various shows the night you buy them.

It’s HUGE!

This is the front of the Sphinx that’s in the previous picture; there’s a walk through coming from between its paws, or front legs.. or arms. Whatever. You can see in the lower part of the previous picture there’s some type of track; that’s a track that goes between Mandalay Bay, then the Luxor, and then Excalibur -in a south to north direction. We only rode it once, and that was to the Excalibur, so we could start walking on the strip. We eventually found the kiosk, and  purchased tickets for a show, and then continued up the strip to figure out where to catch a taxi. We eventually were able to pick up a taxi in front of Paris Hotel and Casino.. which was about a mile of walking. Jeff doing this in cheap, brand new flip flops ended up screwing his left foot up for the rest of the trip.

We get to the Stratosphere, which is where the show was. We enjoyed icecream cones before the show, which were yummy. The show we caught is called “Bite” which is essentially Vampire Rock Opera. That involved topless dancers. We managed to even score front row seats.. here’s how front row we were:

Oooh, pretty fire..

That’s the candle on our table, and you can see the stage right behind it. Considering that there was topless women, it was good entertainment. It’s not really something you’d go see for the storyline, but there was a singer that was pretty good, and there was some amazing choreography, which included one of the girls doing some amazing ribbon dancing. We’ve seen it before on TV and our reactions were always “meh.” but to see it in person.. it does not compare.

After the show, the audience had a chance to do a photo-op with the cast. So of course we did that.

Jeff with the cast of Bite

Me with the cast of Bite

Unfortunately, my picture came out horrifically blurry, which was due to the fact that we didn’t think to take our actual camera, and Jeff took the picture; he’s not all that great at taking pictures. Oh well, live and learn I suppose. We actually made this mistake pretty much the whole trip until Monday night.

After the show, we took a taxi back to our hotel and relaxed in the jetted tub that was in our room. I’ll just leave it as that. *wink*

More to follow later!

by Amber H

Ruthie’s Getting Glasses

March 9, 2012 in Ruthie by Amber H

So, Ruthie’s 4 year old well child checkup was last month, and she got a 20/30 on the vision test, and they told me ‘not to worry about it’. So, of course remembering the results that Zoe got (20/40) I was thinking, “Okay she’s got bad eyesight too, gonna go take her in as well.” Had an eye appointment with her on Tuesday and lo and behold, I was correct. Thankfully her eyesight like Zoe’s could be worse.. both girls are extremely farsighted, and Zoe’s eyes are okay, although one of Ruthie’s eyes slightly drifts in when the other one is closed.

And of course, there’s the ever important “Which glasses do we get?” Question to answer.

"I'm not amused!"

Obviously not these.. as you can tell she was NOT a fan of these glasses!

"That's MUCH better!"

She loved these, but unfortunately they were $10 over the price point where our Insurance would cover them. She looks so stinking cute in these! However the frames were just a smidgen too big for her face.

"I'm a cool cat with these glasses on."'

These are the glasses we ended up getting. They are purple, which is currently her favorite color, they were within the price range for our insurance to cover, which is what I love, and they fit her face perfectly! Of course, she wasn’t taking too kindly to the fact she couldn’t take them home, but hopefully when we pick them up she’ll be happy again.

I am finding some mild amusement due to the fact that the girls need glasses like I do; however I’m severely nearsighted so it’s the opposite vision problem. I also have mild astigmatism in my right eye due to Ruthie gouging out my cornea back in 2009. Jeff and I have discussed taking Oscar in to get his eyes checked in a few months, but for now he seems to be okay.

by Amber H

Merging of Two Domains

February 15, 2012 in Planning, Random by Amber H

Last night, while out for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day without the kids, Jeff and I were talking about websites and blogging, and he made the suggestion to start blogging here instead of my blogger domain. Quite brilliant, really I can’t understand why the idea didn’t cross my mind sooner.

I’ve been letting the domain sort of sit and rot since sometime in 2009, and then last year I made some half-hearted attempt to revive my site and integrate it into wordpress. I got bored of that pretty quick and just left it alone. Well, NO LONGER! This will be not only the home of my blog, but there will also be a full reintegration of my website. I’m actually quite excited by the prospects and it’ll look sleeker and smoother.

I really disliked blogger, and that’s why I moved my Wamber’s Whimsies blog off of the platform. It was too buggy, weird and didn’t allow for a lot of customization that I wanted. And besides, wordpress is pretty much the next thing in blogging anyway, and it allows for TONS of customization and while it’s got a bit of a learning curve, it’s getting easier to use and navigate around.

I’m quite excited about the change.. it feels nice to ‘digitally’ downsize, so to speak. While I was able to import my blogs over from blogspot, I still have work to do with re-uploading pictures and whatnot; hopefully this isn’t a major hassle.

 

So, with that said, if you’ve got a link on your blog going to my blogspot; be sure to change it over to wamber.com!

by Amber H

>25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Four

December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized by Amber H

>(Still trying to play catch up!)

Oscar’s last, but not least! I’m not really sure at this point where to start. On one hand, he’s so young, so I can’t really recollect on a few years of memories, but that doesn’t mean nothing he’s not memoriable.

It’s a funny thing, because when I was a teenager, I dated a guy who was a Momma’s Boy. Bugged the heck out of me and it ultimately lead to the end of our relationship, and I kind of at that point swore to myself that if I ever had a boy he was NOT going to be a Momma’s Boy! Already I see myself not standing up to that self promise I made to myself when I was 16.

Oscar’s birth was by far the easiest for me; even though he was the biggest. And he’s also been the most laid back baby as well in terms of sleeping and whatnot. Which is nice, considering that he’s our last baby. On one hand it’s like “Yes, we caught a break, this is our reward for having one more baby and keeping the other two safe!” But I can’t get lulled into complacency, because I know there’s a tiny voice that’s going to start chanting, “Oscar’s so easy, you should have one more because maybe the next one will be even MORE laid back.” That’s dangerous thinking.

I can say this; having Oscar has brought in my mind our family into a full circle. I can finally say without mental hesitation that we’re done; that our family is finally complete. It’s a nice feeling having that sense of wholeness within the family unit. Although if you ask the girls we’re lacking a cat; but still.

I think there’s a certain amount of hilarity involved with the fact he’s a boy and out of all my children; he looks the most like me. He’s got my hair color and skin coloration; however he looks more like my dad than anything else; particularly the ears. I kind of figured it would happen since even in his ultrasound his ears were sticking out. But that’s okay because they are his most precious feature.

Aside from Oscar, the best thing I’ve been able to take from my pregnancy with Oscar is a confirmation of my personal convictions and standing up for them. I was bound and determined to cloth diaper, and it took me a while for Jeff to say yes. I was also -with the help of a neighbor- talk Jeff out of circumcising Oscar. I don’t feel like getting into a debate about it; however I can honestly say had we gone through it, it would have put me in a horrible place mentally. Bringing him home the first night I started having these dreams where I was being chased down by very large crowds of people attempting to kidnap him so they could take him away to circumcise him; and there were even mothers with babies in their arms chasing me so they could distract me and pull a switcheroo. And they continued for a few days. Then, when he was 4 days old, Jeff finally said we didn’t have to do it after all. I was so relieved and happy I nearly cried.

Oscar for me represents that; convictions and perseverance. He’s also got that in his personality along with happiness; even when he’s sick and feeling crummy he always manages to crack a smile and continues to be happy. He’s also got sheer determination, my favorite picture of him is where he was sitting on the floor wearing nothing but socks and a diaper; I had gone to get him something clean to wear. I came back to him with his diaper undone and smiling big.

Surprise!

I ended up putting him in a diaper that has snaps instead of velcro, and I sat him back down on the floor, and of course his hands went back to the front trying to undo the snaps. I love his determination and I sincerely hope its a trait that he continues to have.

by Amber H

>25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Three

December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized by Amber H

>(Trying to play catch up here! Bear with me please)

Since she’s the next one in line, this post is gonna be about Ruthie.

We were a tad nervous about trying for another baby after having Zoe. We were concerned that my Endometriosis would cause problems; enough where I mentioned them to my doctor who said he’d put me on Clomid if we ended up not being able to conceive after 6 months. Thankfully -and yes, shockingly- It was just one try; I got pregnant right away.

So, what can I say about Ruthie? Her birth was quite a bit easier than Zoe’s, mostly due to the great staff that I had supporting me when she was born.

Hi Ruthie! She was .3 oz heavier than Zoe.

The funny thing is, she still makes the exact same face when she cries, even now. Ruthie was actually named after Jeff’s Grandma Ruth; we decided to add the “ie” to make it.. well less old lady. Of course, she’ll be an old lady someday and then it’ll fit but I think it just makes the name sound sweeter.

Ruthie’s not quite the complete opposite of Zoe. They are sisters after all, but while Zoe’s more intellect and logic, Ruthie’s more emotional and more aware of her emotions. They both still have their moments and can be equally stubborn, but it’s easy to tell that they love each other very much.

Ruthie also has a touch of absentmindedness that Zoe doesn’t have; bless her. She was easier to potty train; mostly because she fell for whatever excuse that we fed her; so as a result she was potty trained at 2 years and 4 months. Insert funny video taken while we were potty training her:

Ruthie’s best trait in my opinion though is her sense of humor, even when she’s not trying to be funny.

Example:

[We're on our way home from dinner at Jeff's parents'; Ruthie's been talking up a storm the whole ride home.]
Me [annoyed at the fact she hasn't stopped talking for 15 minutes]: Ruthie, can you please be quiet?
Ruthie [sincerely]: How do I do that?

Or more recently:
[We're pulling into the carport after running errands]
Ruthie [very alarmed]: Oh no! Our Mazda is gone!
Jeff [in a fit of laughter]: We’re in the Mazda Ruthie.
Ruthie: Oh.

My favorite though is from when my dad was here:
My dad: Ruthie, did you know you’re pretty?
Ruthie [very matter-of-factly and self assured]: Yes I am!

She also has a fun imagination. She enjoys dressing up in their old halloween costumes, and will act like whatever she’s in. The other weekend, she was in a kitty costume, and wanted me -I was in my room getting dressed- and she was on the other side alternating between meowing and saying “Mommy!”
 Zoe [slightly annoyed and impatient]: Ruthie why don’t you just knock?
Ruthie: Because kitties don’t knock on doors!

She’s also very sweet. I don’t know what happened from when I was a kid, to now, but when Ruthie’s getting picked on by Zoe, she’ll run and tell us what Zoe’s doing. Of course we’ll reply with “Do you want us to put her in time out?” or something similar and she’ll start howling “No, don’t do that to my sister!”. Back in my day when you tattled on your sibling, you did it because you want them to get in trouble and punished. Nope, not Ruthie.

And of course, like me she’s difficult to wake up.

Zzzz.

But then again, who would want to wake up this sleeping little cutie? Ruthie’s the perfect middle child, she really is; although she’s prone to acting like a diva at times.

by Amber H

>25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Two

December 2, 2011 in Uncategorized by Amber H

>Quick Note: I wrote this on Friday, but since I wanted to put up a recent picture of Zoe, I just got busy and wasn’t able to finish the post until today. Of course, I realize I need to write another three blog posts today so I better get cracking!

I’d say the next thing I’m grateful for are my children, but because they are individuals, they deserve their own posts. And because it’s convenient I’ll just start with Zoe, the oldest. One thing you’re going to see is that these posts are going to be personal.. I just hope you don’t mind.

In March of 2002, my Aunt Grace took me to see a GYN mostly because I had been experiencing painful cycles; I happened to be at her house when I had started my most recent -at the time of course- period and was concerned due to the pain I was experiencing. So, during that visit which involved a fire alarm getting tripped midway through my exam and having to hurry and get dressed so we could evacuate the building with my dignity intact, I found out I had a condition called Endometriosis. Typically, the doctors would recommend a procedure called a laproscopy to confirm the diagnosis, but due to the location of my lesion and the size, that was not necessary. At that point I got news that no female who wants children should ever hear.. I was infertile. Infertility could mean a lot of things. It can mean that you can get pregnant, but your body cannot stay pregnant, or in my case, my chances of pregnant were pretty non-existent. He advised for me to get on birth control because it can help control the symptoms, but he said in his experience, I would most likely never be able to get pregnant, even if there was medical intervention.

Even at 16, with future plans of getting married and having five kids (yeah that’s not gonna happen, I’ve discovered three is enough for me) were gone –well, the having kids part. I was pretty ambivalent towards the idea of adoption, and while adoption is a wonderful thing, I wanted the experience of having children of my own.

So fast forward to 2005. It’s no secret that Zoe was born only 4 months and a week after we got married, but was concieved some five or so months after we got engaged. I’m not going to go into details about that; but I can say we started doing that under the assumption that I wasn’t going to get pregnant.. and as the saying goes “‘Assume’ makes an ass out of ‘u’ and me”. (did I get that right?)

Here’s the thing though. I don’t think Zoe was my first pregnancy. About a month after we got engaged, I had an experience that I just chalked up to being another painful period -a side effect of having Endometriosis- but it wasn’t until after Ruthie was born that I realized I most likely experienced a miscarriage. I don’t mourn that possible pregnancy loss though, mostly because I’m not even sure if that’s what it was.

All of that aside I didn’t find out that I was pregnant until the first trimester was almost over. Another symptom of Endometrosis is irregular periods so I thought that’s what it was until it dawned on me to take a pregnancy test. And so I did, and the pregnancy was confirmed 2 weeks later.

I consider Zoe a miracle. She was the (first) child that I was never supposed to have according to medical science. When she was born (you can read my birth story here if you want to) I bawled. I probably cried more than she did when she was born. From infancy though she’s always been precocious. Her personality pretty much started from birth, from when the first picture of her was taken at the hospital on the scale and she’s glaring in the general direction of the camera. She quit crying at that point and was just staring and trying to take everything in.

Zoe was born at 12:19 pm on 11/24/05.

She took breastfeeding quite quickly and as you can tell here; she enjoyed eating with a side of problem solving…

“If Mama doesn’t feed me fast enough, I’m gonna feed myself!”

One of my favorite memories of her when she was about 9 or so months old, I left her in the front room on a blanket with toys while I went to the bathroom, and I came out to her breastfeeding her doll. I know that’s what she was doing because the baby’s head was about chest level and she was rubbing it’s back while holding it there.

I’m not going to lie and say parenting Zoe is easy and that she’s the perfect child; quite the opposite. She’s extremely intelligent, and at times it’s difficult to figure out what’ll work with her and what won’t. Things that will work for other children don’t work for her. For example, we tried potty training her from around 2.5 and it wasn’t until she was 3 years, 4 months old that she was finally potty trained. Bribing her with toys or candy did not work; she was completely indifferent. What DID work? We bought our house and told her that we couldn’t afford to buy diapers; so pick out a package of panties. And guess what she was potty trained the NEXT DAY when we finally put her in them full time. We felt outwitted by our 3 year old at that point. Even now it’s a challenge, but the only thing I can really do at this point is try and figure out different and better ways of approaching things.

On the flip side of things it’s keeping things interesting and yes, even when she’s driving me batty, I’m still okay with it. Granted she needs to learn better ways of expressing her emotions, but I’m grateful that I’m blessed with a child that can express themselves. I’m grateful that she has enough self confidence to say “I don’t want to.” or “I don’t like it.” because that means she has enough self worth to think that whatever she has to say is important enough to share. She’s by no means timid, which I’m grateful for. Her ability and willingness to communicate now will be beneficial later.

Zoe with frisbees
Zoe being her typical goofy self. I took this picture in exchange for her help taking a picture of me in my new dress.

For me, Zoe represents a miracle that defied medicine; and she’s literally been stubborn from conception; since it shouldn’t have ever happened if you consider my infertility. But that’s her best quality; even if it drives me crazy at times.

She’s my miracle, and I love her dearly.

by Amber H

25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day One

December 1, 2011 in Uncategorized by Amber H

(I’ve decided from today until Christmas, I’m going to write a blog post once a day about things I’m grateful for. Considering I’ve got three separate blogs, I will be writing my posts on the blog that’s most relevant to the subject that I’m writing about. I’ve been having a rough time as of late, and I’m hoping this will benefit me in a few ways. The first reason is to help me get into the Holiday Spirit. I can be a real Scrooge, and with 3 kids having that attitude isn’t cool. The second reason is just so I can re-channel and focus on trying to start next year off on a good foot. Something is telling me that 2012 is gonna be a very significant year. Not sure why or how; hopefully it has nothing to do with the world ending, but hopefully something positive and wonderful. And the last reason of course is to get me into the habit of blogging more.. even though I’ve said that way more than I’d care to admit. *wink)

So, the first thing I’m grateful for is my husband Jeff. We’ve been together for over eight years now; eight years, two months and 4 days now to be exact. And what an amazing time it’s been. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs -thankfully more ups than downs- and I cannot express how grateful I am to have him in my life; as my husband best friend and companion.

For those of you who don’t know; we met online on LDSchat in November 2002; just about two weeks after he came home from his mission. We were hanging out in the young single adult chatroom -where I technically wasn’t supposed to be at since I was still 17, but I digress- and we were kicked out after breaking the chat room rules of not using English -along with his friend Nate- luckily before that we had exchanged info to continue chatting on MSN messenger. I don’t remember the exact date although I’m pretty sure it was November 8th; I can remember is that it was a Friday night since his friend Nate signed off to go to some Singles Ward dance. I’m not entirely sure of the time, but considering the dances typically start at 6-7pm, it had to be around 8-9pm EST when we started chatting. We ended up chatting until sunrise the next morning; which according to a website I had found, the sun rose in Virginia Beach around 6:35am the next day. so, basically we’re talking about 9-10 straight hours of chatting and getting to know each other. Something significant happened that night; namely we learned that after a certain point, the chat window stops scrolling down automatically; which at that point you have to either manually scroll down or you have to close the window and open it again. I sincerely wished that we could recover that conversation, but it’s not that big of a deal. I just remember getting off the computer and being happy.. and of course tired. We ended up chatting EVERY single day from that point until we met in person; although there was a three day period sometime in April of 2003 where he got mad at me over a car problem -thanks to my dad’s faulty memory- and didn’t want to talk to me, and then a few days in the first part of September 2003 when we got hit with a hurricane in Virginia Beach and I lost internet for a few days.

We decided at some point in July if it would be REALLY cool if we could meet in person; but due to him having a job, he wasn’t able to take the time off to come and visit me -and in hindsight my dad would not have been cool with that- so we decided to wait until after my 18th birthday; two days to be exact. So, on September 27th, my good friend Joel came to pick me up from my apartment and took me to the airport at 3 in the morning (my dad did not have a car at the time) and he sat there with me sipping hot chocolate and keeping me company until it was time for me to board the plane. I will be forever grateful for his willingness to do that for me!

Doing this was a MAJOR experience for me. Not only was I flying over 2,000 miles to meet a guy in person that I had met on the internet, it was also my first time flying. Scary stuff I tell you. But my plane ride was uneventful and I safely landed here in Salt Lake to Jeff waiting for me with a bouquet of yellow roses that had red edges on the petals.

Seeing him for the first time was literally a life changing moment. I can’t believe I’m making a Twilight reference here, but there’s a part in Breaking Dawn where Jacob makes eye contact with Renesmee for the first time, and describes what he feels.

… All the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts that made me who I was [...] 

 I was not left drifting. A new string held me where I was.

Not one string, but a million. Not strings, but steel cables. a million steel cables all tying me to one thing-to the very center of the universe.


I could see that now-how the universe swirled around this one point. I’ve never seen the symmetry of the universe before, but now it was plain.

– Jacob Black, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

That pretty much sums up the experience of seeing Jeff for the first time. For a split second, his face momentarily took on this.. glow or something where it looked the same, yet different. Pure, as if I wasn’t seeing him through my dim nearsighted eyes. But with something else entirely different. Then hugging him and (yes even kissing him) was the sense of closure and completion that every person strives for. Hugging him, I realized This is it. I’m finally home and where I’m supposed to be. Here in his arms. It was as if every event and experience I had in my life, good and bad, amazing and tragic lead up to that critical point in time. I have no regrets, nor any desire to go back and change anything. I was so secure in my choice that by the time I left 2 weeks later, we knew we were going to end up married. And so we did on July 16, 2005.

I will be forever grateful for his presence in my life. And of course for him just being there for me in more ways than I can count. I wouldn’t trade in our 2,184 days together for anything.

First picture taken of us, taken on 10/03/2003

 

by Amber H

It’s been a while!

July 21, 2011 in Holiday, Oscar, Ruthie, Zoe by Amber H

>Man, it’s been AGES since I blogged! Things have been kind of busy around here since I had Oscar.

So, let’s see… um, Oscar is growing very well, and is doing wonderful. He’s a great eater and sleeper and has such a laid back, chill personality; very much like Jeff!

Something we did with the girls was stick a giraffe on their heads on their first Independence Day. Obviously, we had to do this with Oscar too!

He looks rather bemused actually. As opposed to Zoe’s ANGRY face:

Or Ruthie’s “I like this!” face:

I love all three of these pictures; I plan on maybe getting a picture frame that holds three pictures to put all of these pictures together. But the various reaction between the three just shows me how different they really are.

Being a mom to three kids is honestly MUCH easier for me than having two kids. I’m not entirely sure how or why; and that will probably change once Zoe starts Kindergarten; because then for a few hours of the day for 5 days a week, I’ll just have two kids at home. It’s going to be hard on Ruthie I think more than anyone else since Zoe’s been a constant in her life since the day she was born, and while he’s cute and fun, Oscar doesn’t do much. I’ve been feeling content with the number of kids I have, and I KNOW for certainty my family is now complete; everyone that’s supposed to be here are here.

Oddly enough, cloth diapering is going much easier than I had anticipated. There’s been a few hiccups along the way, but I’m seriously thinking to myself; “This is way easy and so much better than having to worry about disposable diapers!

I’m getting closer and closer to my driver’s license! I’ve done 3 observations with the driving school and one driving time; I have two more scheduled for next week. And after discussion and weighing the pros and cons we’ve decided that I will take the driving test with a private company versus going to the DLD/DMV. I’m hoping this will all be done by August 1st; however I’m not entirely sure if that will happen. At the very latest, I need to have it by August 10th; that’s the day that kindergarten registration is. That’s in three weeks; I KNOW I can do it!

Once life catches up I’ll be able to blog more.