April 18, 2017

Blessed 2016

Hello dear friends,

How grateful I am to be able to update you on our wonderful year. We pray that this year will be even better!

In January, Emberlee started her first dance class, and absolutely loved it.

I also got my first traffic ticket and got in my first car accident!

In February, Paxton turned five. And then the whole house got the flu. My brother Abram moved
to Phoenix to work as a roofer. It was awesome to have him around.

In March, my sister Rebekah came to visit us during her spring break

April was uneventful. But May was very busy. On mother's day we talked to my mom over Skype and afterwards John had a strong impression that we needed to move to Florida.
So we took that prompting to our Bishop and to the temple, and it was confirmed that it was what we were supposed to do. So we immediately began making arrangements.

In June we listed our home for sale, sold what we could, donated what we couldn't sell, and continued preparations. We were also able to make it to Utah to see John's family before we made the move. We were reunited as a family after our niece Mackenzie returned from her mission in Taiwan. We celebrated father's day and a few birthdays. I had fun shopping with friends and visiting some other old friends.
It was a wonderful, relaxing and uplifting visit and I was really sad to leave. Mostly because I knew I had more work to do at home.we said goodbye to our friends and loved ones in Arizona as the move date drew nearer.

July came around and our move date of June 30th got pushed back several days due to complications with our U-Haul rental. But after lots of unloading and repacking a few times, we were on the road to Florida. The kids did really awesome. We spent one night in Texas and then drove the rest of the way. I drove from Pensacola to Tampa so John could get some sleep. We made it on July 4th in time to see fireworks.

August was busy too. We did house hunting and moved again, and Paxton started kindergarten. John started his new teaching Job. We had a hurricane come through Florida and I was a nervous wreck. We were perfectly safe and got a nice long school break because of it.

In September , Maisie turned one. She is an absolute doll. John started the pathway program to upgrade his employment. And we had another hurricane! Luckily we had no negative effects, and all of the benefits. So a nice 5 day break from school again!
normal people buy non-perishables, but we buy cheesecake for our hurricane days.
critters abound in suburban florida
kids with my Dad. (grandad)
upick citrus 

we love the beach at night.

we took some of my family names to the temple. this couple was sealed together that day. it was such an amazing experience. a spiritual high, in my opinion.

Paxton overcame his hesitation and started riding his bike.

this is the only tree in a 10 mile radius that changed colors this fall.

In October John turned 30! And we went trick or treating with my sisters. The kids were wiped out by 7:30.

November was nice. The weather cooled down wonderfully. Thanksgiving was a nice occasion at my grandma's house. I hadn't been at Grandma's for Thanksgiving in probably 15 years. It was nice to see my cousins and their kids.

happy anniversary to us!
December brought a lot of joy. We had a nice school break, and made the decision to home school Paxton. My brother Abram moved back to Florida as a surprise for my mom. John and I celebrated 8 years of marriage, and are stronger than ever. Christmas was a lovely occasion. My grandma sat at her piano and played Christmas carols and we sang around the piano for her. She hadn't played since last Christmas but played like she hadn't missed a day.

This year was the year of learning. I read about 100 books this year. I was averaging 5 books a week for the first few months of the year, and then again after we made it to Florida.

My favorite book of the year was Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles.

We look forward to this year. We miss our friends. Hopefully I can post again soon.

November 14, 2015

Giant pile of feelings

I really need to make writing in my journal a lot more appealing so I can commit to writing in it daily. I get so bogged down with thoughts that really need to come out so often, that I should be writing daily, but somehow things get in the way, or the feelings aren't urgent enough to stop and take a moment to jot down my feelings when they happen. Most of the time. these strong feelings accumulate and pile on top of each other, until I can't function unless I write them out, and this blog  has become that outlet for the giant pile of feelings, matter of fact, most of my post titles, or even the name of this blog could be "giant pile of feelings" but no, I have to go all Tessa on it and try to be witty at all costs.

 I was at Time out for women this weekend (just got home actually) and a comment was made in jest that a blog is just a public journal for you to vent your problems to. It made me feel kind of guilty. I have a hard enough time with keeping a blog due to the fact that everyone else has one, (cause I love being original)  and now the way I use my blog was being mocked.

Thing is, I don't write for other people. Most of my posts are for myself, and that is because it feels absolutely stifling to keep what I have learned to myself, and it helps ease my sense of isolation and loneliness as well. Regardless of how gloomy it it sometimes, and how serious it is all of the time,  It is a tool I use to really process some hard things I may or may not have come out on the other side of.  It's a place I organize my life lessons.

I've gotten a lot of those lessons just within the last few weeks. In the period since my last post and today, I have learned a few things that I want to be transparent about, But I think I will break each down into different posts, otherwise this would be a painfully long post.

Now that I've validated myself and my purposes for this blog, I'll move on.

October 7, 2015

Harder better faster stronger: Maisie's birth story

I had contractions constantly for two weeks prior to my due date, and afterwards had a small window of time each evening of regular contractions, sometimes even waking me up at 3 am, waiting for other signs of labor to begin.. I knew my body was doing a lot of work beforehand. I was pretty unsettled by passing gobs of mucous plug for over 2 days and i was beginning to think something was wrong.

John's parents had come into town and I felt like I needed some time to myself to get anchored in a peaceful mindset in preparation for the birth. We had dinner together sunday night, and then sent the children with them on an overnight adventure, as my contractions had really started to pick up, and I was nearly certain I was going into labor. John blew up the air mattress and slept on the floor next to me out in the living room.

.I woke up Monday morning, realizing my contractions had stopped. Monday was relaxing. I had the house to myself and all was quiet. my mind was able to be focused on one thing at a time instead of six things. I watched what I wanted, ate what i wanted and didn't have to share, folded laundry and put it away without it being unfolded the moment i left the room, and read my book completely uninterrupted, all in the comfort of my underwear, lounging on the couch. John came home for lunch and we ate together in sweet silence. We went to bookman's that evening  after John returned from work, and walked around before heading to dinner for a dear friend's surprise birthday celebration. we had a good time talking and eating, all the while joking about going into labor at the restaurant. I decided I missed the kids enough to have them return home that night, and so we retrieved them from mom and dad. We all slept pretty well, John once again on the air mattress next to the couch.

Tuesday morning arrived, and I rolled off the couch onto my hands and knees so i could go to the bathroom, and realized my pants were wet. My water never broke with emberlee, and It broke when i started pushing with paxton, so I was somewhat uncertain. I went to the bathroom and saw that my pants were indeed wet, and I also had my bloody show. no contractions yet. I notified my midwife and she reassured me that everything I was describing was totally normal and nothing was raising any flags. I accepted that my water had broken and that my contractions would start soon, and i would meet my baby within a matter of hours. I handed off my adjustment appointment to John, who had called in to work to be with me. I felt really unwell and just needed to go back to bed, so I did. I felt better after an hour or so of rest.

 We had breakfast and made all the phone calls we needed to make, and arranged for the kids to spend the day with Grandma and grandpa again. John got his adjustment, and I waited for the contractions to pick up, but instead they stopped. I waited and got frustrated and worried. Why hadn't my contractions picked up? why hadn't my body started giving me other signs of labor? I cried in the car on the way home, and began to worry that something was wrong. I had the midwives come out and they were able to talk me out of my downward spiral. They checked my blood pressure, Maisie's heart tones, and swabbed to see if my water had in fact broken. Which, they confirmed. They reassured me that everything was as it should be, and to take advantage of a quite house and John at home, and to relax and spend time together. Shortly after they left, I had John give me a blessing of comfort, and I fell asleep on the couch with a book and slept for just over an hour. When My body started hurting and contractions started again, I told John I wanted to watch a movie. That was about 5 pm. We plugged in the movie, and about an hour into the movie, my  contractions start building really consistently, so I got up and walked around, and that made my contractions practically pile on top of each other. I notified my midwife and she asked if I needed her soon, and I said to give me another hour. That was at 6pm. My contractions continued and I told John we needed to go take the dog somewhere else because it was starting to rain, and we couldn't leave her outside if she got in the way.

We piled into the car (because I refused to be left alone) with the dog in tow, and brought her to our good friend's home. On our way back,  John (who is hands down the best doula I could ask for) asked me if i was hungry, and if i was, what did i want to eat? I recommended a rotisserie chicken because fast food did not sound good and i knew I needed the protein. So John took me to fry's and flew in and out of the store with chicken, a salad mix and a huge bottle of naked juice to keep my energy up for the long night ahead (keep reading, and you will find out why this sentiment is so comical) all the while I'm contracting 2 minutes apart in the car.

We get home, it's pouring rain and the wind is blowing and we get soaked walking from the driveway to inside the house. I shovel down food in between contractions and sit on the birth ball, determined to finish the movie we paused half an hour earlier. I get about 5 mintues in, and I decided "screw it, I'm getting in the shower cause my back is so sore!"

It's 6:45 and pouring rain, so I told my midwife to head on out. I get in the shower and direct that heat onto my back but it doesn't seem like it's working at all, and so I labor on my hands and knees, waiting for my body to tell me what to do next. I know that it is finally true labor, and so I begin to pour my heart out to my father in heaven while in that conducive hands and knees position. I confide all my worries and fears and the walls start coming down. I plead for forgiveness and beg for mercy. I express gratitude and confess my love, and weep, and I don't stop until I feel the peace that I know will come.

 John is bustling about the house,trying to finish his meal and do that last- minute puttering about the house before the birth can take place (taking out the garbage, putting on his swim trunks, double making the bed, emptying the Washer and dryer, emptying laundry baskets ....) and checking on me every few minutes as he does so.

The midwives finally arrive about 45 minutes to an hour later, and my hands and knees are killing me from being on the hard tile, but I felt cemented there. I couldn't seem to cope with the contractions any other way. I was worrying again because I hadn't felt movement in a while, and so when the midwife walked into the bathroom I asked for her to check heart tones right away, and she did. Baby sounded great and i was reassured again that things were as they should be. I told her "i am really regretting not having a birth pool right now!" and she sweetly tries to provide me with that option, but we both knew that by the time someone got out here with a pool, it would be too late.

 John gets in the shower with me and just holds me until more contractions come, and I hang off of him because that is the only way I can relax. I tell him " don't let me go" and relax completely into my contraction, and did another 2 like that before I started feeling pushy. I said " Time to get out, cause i can't have the baby here". So I dry off and head to the bedroom buck nekkid, and have a really intense contraction at the side of the bed, and I know I am approaching transition aka the part that really sucks. I climb on the bed and can't seem to find any other position than my hands and knees, but i was getting really tired, so i tried the birth ball on the bed, and that did help some, but it made my butt tense up during a contraction and I was strting to get really sore. It was at this moment I started transition because i hit a wall. That rock and a hard place, where I know if I keep having contractions it was going to really suck, and pushing was going to suck, and it all just sucked. but i knew the pain would be over and I would meet my baby sooner if i embraced the suckitude. So I made a compromise with myself. If I could get just a few minutes break, off of my hands and knees, I would do it. I would come back strong and finish. So I layed down on my left side on the bed and just relaxed. John brought in some music, which I had previously selected for the birth. the contractions stopped for a little bit and it was wonderful. I got to rest for about 20 minutes before my contractions came back, and then I had to get back on my hands and knees, because I knew it was go time.

I had two really pushy contractions when the rest of my water broke, and the midwives jumped up from where they were sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed, and gloved up, and came immediately down to the business end and swapped out the chux pad I had only partially soiled with my copious amounts of fluid, and placed several more down on the bed so I wouldn't be kneeling in it. I start pushing and it feels damn good. I was ready for her to be out. she made her way out, little by little, two steps forward, one step back, and the midwives say I am doing beautifully. I feel the right of fire and hold her there until the contraction ends, and then her head up to her eyes were out. I push again and the ring of fire stops. I was certain I tore up the front because It was burning like hell. (I didn't)  I push again, and with more effort than I expected, delivered her shoulders. the midwives suction her and prepare John to catch her with the last push, and on my last contraction, I  push out the rest of her body into John's hands at 8:53 pm, about an hour after the midwives arrived. It just so happens that my playlist was playing kanye west's harder better faster stronger as i am birthing , and the midwives got a kick out of that. me, the sweet little mormon girl with a weakness for dirty rap music.

my limbs are shaking with fatigue and I fall forward onto the bed to rest. Maisie was totally quiet for a few moments and then begins to cry. I realized that is MY baby and turn over and reach for her, and john puts her on my chest. I break down into tears. all I can say is "my baby! my baby!" over and over, and the sobs overwhelm me. It was the first time I have cried after having a baby. I was just so grateful she was out and in my arms with breath in our lungs.

I constantly prayed that things would be ok, and after that still, small voice told me this birth would be my triumph after the trials of this past year, I used that to lean on, during this labor, and even now two weeks later, knowing that God makes good on his promises.

September 2, 2015


I may have said this before, but it doesn't matter how many statistics I know, or how well I prepare my body- or even the fact I've done this smoothly twice before; but I still have fears around having babies. This is my third pregnancy, and my midwife calls me a "seasoned professional" at natural childbirth, but I feel like I am on total recall. This feels like my first time. I have so many questions and concerns, and every bump and click and pain I feel puts me in a state of concern.

This pregnancy has had a lot of trauma for me, with my marriage nearly ending and with unexplained health concerns coming up along the way.  Having the baby on the outside brings a whole knew list of challenges and struggles that I will possibly have to handle, and I just fear the transition will be unmanageable on my own. I fear that the state my body was in at the time of conception, and through this pregnancy will negatively affect my outcome. I fear that the state of my emotions during this pregnancy will negatively effect this baby in the long-term. I have felt pretty far from the light the last few weeks. I feel so much better, but I am still struggling against powers unseen on a minute by minute basis. Satan is real, and he hates my guts.

But, I have to give this over to God. There is nothing I can do but hope and pray, and beg that I get what I want; That I am blessed with the righteous desires of my heart. And yes, I do think having a smooth home birth is a righteous desire, and yes, I think it's okay for me to ask for what I want In this instance.

I was sitting and thinking about how to get "in the zone" and stop being so afraid this morning, and I had a really comforting and overpowering thought that my Father in heaven will make this birth a moment of triumph for me. Those words, exactly. "this birth will be your moment of triumph."
Triumph specifically means I get to win. This birth will be the opportunity to tell satan that he doesn't get to win, I do. I won the prize at the end. I get to reign victorious.

I cling to that vision of me, baby in arms, on fire with the spirit as my refining process during this pregnancy is seen to it's end.

That is what gets me unafraid.