Friday, September 6, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For

Because you just might get it.

Oh sure, it might be a good four or five years later, when you aren't entirely sure that that is what you want anymore, but whatever :)

Why was the move from Texas to Utah so hard for me. I've pondered that a lot, especially lately. Do I hate Utah? Nope. It's gorgeous (though I'm the first to admit that snow is only fun for like 24 hours, maybe 48 tops). Do I hate family? Nope, quite like them actually. I love having my kids know their grandparents and extended family members better. So, what was my problem moving back here? Why did I spend my entire first year of living in Utah pining away for Texas?

I have a few ideas -

* Having to rent our house out in Texas, and having the first renters be complete morons who smoked in our house and had three Rottweilers and payed rent intermittently and partially, at best.
* Having three young children at home and no one in school. That's a rough year no matter where you live.
* Moving in to a mouse infested, dark basement apartment
* Having that basement apartment be in a neighborhood where every other resident was about 10-15 years older and earned about ten times more a year than we did. It took me a while to realize that we didn't just move in to a bum ward-- we were just not at the same stage of life as those people. Someone who is home all day with three small kids NEEDS playgroups and joyschools, etc. Someone who has all of their kids off at school does not. There were, honestly, only two other girls who were home all day with very young children. And I love them both still to this day :)
* Leaving a life behind that I loved. So, I built a life in Texas. I had friends and neighbors who I loved. I had things I did. I had a routine. I had a life. Anytime you move away from a life you have taken years to build it is a little heartbreaking.

So all of that combined in to a crazy depression cycle. It only lasted about a year. And then a bunch of things changed, all at once. So I am not sure what to credit for pulling me out of the doldrums.

*We moved in to a light and bright house. Sure it had the occasional mouse, like once a year. Not the six a day we caught through our entire nine month tenure in the mouse house.
* Gwen started kindergarten. Much rejoicing.
* I joined the gym! I was getting physical exercise for myself and a break from my children (a break where they got to have tons of fun!). Best decision I ever made! And seriously it is going to be my new advice for first time moms. "There are magical places that will watch your children for an hour or two so you can shower in peace! Or read a book on a sofa in peace! Or stare at a wall in peace! Or, if you are feeling extremely motivated-- workout - IN PEACE!". Ha ha. Seriously though, I was a member of Lifetime Fitness for at least a month before I actually worked out. I'd check in the kids, slip in the hot tub and soak my problems away. It was dreamy.
* We got new renters in our Texas house. I still wake up in a cold sweat on the first of every month, stressed about whether the rent check will come in... and it always does. I am so grateful for the new people that moved in to my Texas house. I don't know that anyone will ever understand the extreme anxiety that our first renters put upon me.

So life got better. I met some amazing friends. We've loved the law school experience. My kids are growing up and are not so completely reliant on me for everything.

Life is good.

I love a good adventure. You know I do. I loved living in Oregon, Minnesota, Texas and Utah. Each place has introduced me to amazing people, given me a new perspective, helped me figure out who I am, and on and on. But as I am getting older, and more importantly, as my kids are getting older. I find myself longing to just stay put. Let my kids attend the same school for two years in a row. That kind of thing.

It's taken me a couple years but I finally have a crazy group of friends, who I love. A dear friend from Minnesota moved in, five minutes away! I am meeting people weekly in this ward who I adore. Saratoga Springs is just gorgeous, and amazing. My kids are happy in school. I live on a cul-de-sac. There's an 11 year-old who LOVES to babysit, right next door! The houses in this neighborhood are so generously spaced out, it's fantastic. We go hiking. We go camping with my sister (having a sister with a trailer and a lot of camping supplies is a great thing to have!). We spend Sunday nights chatting away at our parents houses.  I am comfortable!

I mean, sure, a paycheck would be nice and comfortable!

And so of course, now, a good three years since my daily pining for Texas, now we go and decide to move back. Now, when I am pretty sure I will bawl my eyes out for a good few months or years.

Life is crazy sometimes.

But, we got this.

(Remind me of that when I am huddling in my closet during a Texas thunderstorm *shudder* - that's one thing I never missed :)).

I got this.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I had big plans for today. At one point I was planning on being in a hospital and snuggling a brand new baby today, August 25th. It was a perfect day for that. Blaine would have just finished his last summer externship, and school wouldn't have quite started yet, and perhaps best of all, with a late summer birthday I would finally have a child who started kindergarten shortly after turning five, rather than when they were about to turn six.

It wasn't an easy decision to try for another baby. In fact the only thing that got me through being pregnant with Ivy was that I was DONE. Finished. That was my last pregnancy. I never had to do that again. That also got me through the three whirlwind years of Ben and Ivy's toddlerhood. It was rough going there for a while, my hands were full and survival was my only goal. I survived. Barely. The decision to go for a fourth was one four years (and lots of thinking and praying) in the making.

I was quite shocked, actually, when I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test. I've never had such a whirlwind of emotions. I went from disbelief, to being terrified. It's been a while folks. I've grown quite accustomed to sleeping through the night, not carrying a stroller around, that kind of thing. Plus -- Ivy is almost  in kindergarten. I am almost to the point that I would dream about incessantly, when I was in the trenches of diapers and midnight rocking. I dreamt of sending Ivy to school one day and then finally having the time and energy to do something beyond mothering. To go back to school, to get a job, to find fulfillment in something additional to motherhood. I love being a mom, and I am grateful that I have been able to stay home with my little ones -- but for some reason I longed for a little outside-the-home fulfillment, or even just interaction.  But, to my surprise, the being terrified part of pregnancy only lasted a matter of maybe twenty minutes. I mean, sure, I could still feel the terror down deep inside, but the dominant emotion quickly became excitement. The doodle endless lists of amazing baby names excitement.

Seeing my kids older now and realizing how much I love them and their personalities made me all the more excited to have a new baby. Back when the three of them were born I had no idea what was going on. I couldn't see past the fact that I was just having a baby. I couldn't ever envision the baby growing up to be a funny, cute, amazing kid. I never relished being pregnant. I just tried to make it through each day. Survival. But this time was different. This time I didn't feel in such a daze. I was able to marvel that there was a human being growing inside of me. A really cute human being who would add so much to this family and to the world. All of my kids are so unique and different from each other, it was fun to ponder what a new little Bassett would be like. Deep thinking like Gwen? Wild and fearless like Ivy? Kindhearted and energetic like Ben? Endless possibilities. And perhaps the most exciting (and at the same time most terrifying) thing of all was thinking of my three kids being able to interact with a new sibling. They were all just babies themselves when I had Ivy so there was no positive interaction, just a lot of poking and pacifier stealing :).

I felt great. That was actually my first clue that something was wrong. It really was. Normally I get deathly ill at like week 3 (bet you didn't even know that was possible, right? ha!). I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas. I felt like a time bomb, wondering when I would first feel my stomach turn and when I would have to resign myself over to the throes of six months of all day long sickness. Wasn't looking forward to that.

But, it didn't come. I was exercising every day, eating whatever I pleased (a welcome relief from the 17 day diet we were doing at the time).

I knew something was wrong. I wanted to believe that a vomitless pregnancy was possible for me, but deep down I knew better.

In fact, feeling so great was of such concern to me that I kind of found myself hoping to feel queasy, something to prove that something was happening inside of me. I was so worried about not being sick that I called around to find a doctor who would take me as early in my pregnancy as possible. I just needed to hear a heartbeat, then I would stop worrying and just start getting excited, once I knew it was real (the twelve pregnancy tests and blood draw were not enough apparently).

Because of my apprehension, we didn't tell many people. I was nine weeks, it was a record breaking amount of time for us to not make an announcement (normally I have to announce when I apologize to people for tossing my cookies approximately every thirty seconds).

The day of my first appointment things started happening to lead me to believe that something was definitely wrong. I told the people at the front desk that I thought I might be miscarrying (side note -- no sympathy at all was offered, they just said, "okay, we will let the doctor know"). Did an ultrasound. The doctor looked at it, and said I was measuring at six weeks and they couldn't find a heartbeat, but that that wasn't necessarily abnormal at only six weeks. But from the looks of the ultrasound it looked as though I "might" be miscarrying. Come back in two weeks. The thing is-- I knew I was 9 weeks- almost 10. So if the baby was only measuring six with no heartbeat, well, yeah, I was pretty darn sure the baby had been gone for three weeks, which explains why I never got sick.

Not 12 hours later I knew there would be no going back in two weeks. It was definitely over. (Side note: Miscarrying is amazingly painful, I had no idea that that early on it would be such an ordeal. So much pain!). I was really grateful that I had been emotional prepared for this to happen. I just felt like I knew it would, and it kind of felt like that made it easier when it actually happened. I didn't even shed a tear. I made myself feel better by thinking that since the baby only measured at six weeks it's heart never even started beating at all. It was never a baby, it never got that far. That's what I told myself.

I was back in the doctors office two weeks later. Just to make sure everything was all...cleaned out I guess. And for some reason that is when it hit me. I climbed up, the tech put the cold ultrasound stuff on my belly....and I stared at a blank screen. You shouldn't see blank screens when you get an ultrasound. I guess deep down I was hoping that somehow I hadn't actually miscarried, that maybe there was some chance that everything was fine. But seeing a blank ultrasound...yeah, no denying it now. That was the first time I cried. And then I started thinking about "that thing that happened" as an actual baby, started thinking that maybe the heart had, in fact, started beating . . . and then stopped. And whoa baby, I just cried it all out.

Months later Blaine asked if I ever still thought about the miscarriage. "Uh....yeah, only EVERY SINGLE DAY!" was my response. Did he really not think about it every day? Weird.

It was kind of hard when people started announcing their pregnancies and their due dates were close to mine. Harder still when they all had ultrasound pictures to show.

And now they are all having their babies. They're adorable and I am so happy for them, I really am.

But I just thought, you case the heart actually had started beating and what I experienced was a real loss...I just thought I should document it. Write it down. It was a big part of my year. Of my life.

I'm grateful for the experience. Sure, I wish the result would be me swaddling a new little one in my arms today -- but now I can relate to the heartbreak that so many friends and family members have felt. Not in the same way. I mean... I was only nine weeks. But I can empathize more with these experience that a lot of us go through. It is certainly a different experience than I had ever envisioned prior to this.

My guess, and I guess my hope, is that I won't be thinking about it as much any more. It's over. "The pregnancy that wasn't" ends today, and that's a great feeling.

Wow, I am making this all sound so much more dramatic than it actually is. We really are just fine. I am okay with what happened, I was prepared for what happened. Just allowing a little deep-thought and emotional spillage on this special day. Kind of glad to get it behind me.


Ahem, to save myself a little frustration -- can I just say... just because we decided to try for a fourth and miscarried doesn't necessarily mean that we will try again. We might, we might not. I kind of found myself getting a little frustrated a few months after the miscarriage when it seemed that most people assumed I would be making another announcement any day. It was a hard decision for us to decide to try for a fourth, and we made that decision. It ended the way it did. It is an entirely different decision to make now if we want to try again. It's not automatic. And I am not sure why it bugs me so much if people think that it is. Did I want another baby? Yes. Yes, I wanted that baby. Do I want, or feel like I am supposed to try for another one? Still not sure. 90% of the time I think our family is complete. Don't worry. We will figure  it out sooner or later. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Girl Who Cried Fire

I had the chance to go camping this past week with my sister and her family. Blaine is busy working at his summer internship, so he was unable to go with us. The day we left for camping I confidently went and, in a noble leap of faith, purchase a one year fishing license.

I went fishing a lot as a kid and it's something I hope to be able to enjoy with my kids as they grow. Blaine mocks me and jokes about how no one wants to go fishing with me because I don't do any of the hard work. Sure, I cast, I reel in, I even bait my hook, but when it comes to things like yanking the hook out of the fishes mouth I tend to rely on whichever poor sap I've conned in to going fishing with me (Hi Dad!). 

Since my dad wasn't with us on this camping trip I was forced to rely on the good graces of my dear brother-in-law Wayne to satisfy the hook-ripping-out needs of my children and I on our fishing trip. So on Thursday night Wayne, his dad, his nephews, Bentley and I headed a half mile or so away from our campsite to go fishing. 

It had rained all afternoon but by early evening though the ground was damp, the sky was clear, the air fresh, and the lake inviting. The rain had cleared out everyone from the lake and we had the entire place to ourselves. It was so serene and peaceful. We found our respective spots and got our lines already (and by we, I mean Wayne). Got our lines in the water and enjoyed some very active fishing. 

A few fish later and one of Wayne's nephews shouted from several yards away, "hey, is that smoke?". We looked over and just beyond the lake, over a hill, we could see billows of smoke. Not such an unusual site as it was the campfire building time of the evening, but there seemed to be a little too much smoke for an average camp fire. We all nervously glanced at each other but quickly figured that it wasn't too big of a deal. 

We continued on fishing for about ten minutes when we heard the same nephew say, "whoa, look at that!". As we all turned we saw huge billows of smoke, spilling down from over the hillside and creeping rapidly across the lake and through the trees. 

That's when the panic set in.

And oh, I know what you are thinking, I am easy to panic. It wasn't even me panicking at first! It was the nephews, Wayne, and Wayne's Dad, this was like three generations of panicking people. Wayne and his dad exchanged a few exclamations of "this is not good, this is really not good." I quickly reeled in my line as the smoke billowed ever closer. It was creeping through the trees and nearly to us. 

The smoke was coming from the direction of the only exit out of the camp ground. It's one thing to think about having to quickly evacuate a mountain with countless others, down very windy, narrow road, but it is entirely more terrifying to think of your only exit being blocked by a forest fire. Thinking of being trapped or trying to outrun a fire through the bear infested woods, at night, with your three small children. Agh!

As soon as my line was reeled in, I saw the nervousness in Wayne's eyes as he looked at me and very firmly said, "GO. GO NOW! RUN!". The smoke was on our heels as we attempted to high tail it back to the campsite.

We were at least a half a mile from our campsite (where Gwen, Ivy and countless others were, blissfully unaware of our impending demise). Now half a mile isn't very far in general terms, but let's be honest, Bentley is pathetically slow at walking, let alone running. And he weighs about a thousand pounds. 

The nephews (ages 15 and 12), were so nice asking how they could help me as I fumbled up the path carrying a fishing pole and holding the hand of a tearful five-year-old, and fighting a full blown anxiety attack. I told them the best thing they could do was go alert our group to what was happening. So they sprinted ahead. I looked back to see where Wayne and his Dad were...all I saw was smoke. 

As I got in to the main camp ground I expected to see flashing lights or a flurry of activity, or hear someone barking orders from a megaphone. The reality was nothing. I could see the smoke sifting through the trees, it had caught up to me. I found the campground hosts' trailer and pounded on the door. By this time it was about 9:30PM. The poor old man groggily came to the door. "We think there's a fire by the lake!" I wailed. "Hurry!". 

He seemed very perplexed by my panic. Yet, quickly laced his shoes and hopped in his truck to go investigate. Just then my niece returned from the pathway to the lake and reported that you couldn't even see the lake through the smoke anymore. 

I made it back to camp to find everyone in a flurry. I ordered my confused and terrified children in to the van. I hurriedly grabbed our suitcases and flung them in, ready to evacuate. I was practically behind the wheel, ready to fend for my kids and leave the rest of our group behind to figure out their battle plan, but then...


 in the middle of all the chaos, and fear, and madness, the message got relayed back to us from the campground host that there was no fire. 

No smoke.


I really wish I had a video camera, or a regular camera. I wish you could see what I saw, because it was the most forest fire looking fog I've ever seen. Fog doesn't chase you, I mean, does it? It like, settles upon you. It's just there all of the sudden. This. This was demonic smoke. Like the monster from LOST. 

And once my blood pressure settled back in to the normal range (which took at least six hours), the hilarity of the situation caught up to me. And I'll always remember the day I nearly single handedly evacuated a campground because of fog.