Monday, December 27, 2010

The Ups & Downs of 2010 (Our Christmas Letter)

It’s been hard for me to come up with an all-cheerful Christmas letter this year, because we’ve had so many ups and downs this year. So I thought I would just highlight all of our ups and downs this year. Most of them have ended on a happy note!
The UPS and downs of 2010

We found out Adam’s mom’s cancer returned. The diagnosis was not good, but having gone though several rounds of chemo, the doctors can find no signs of the cancer in her. She has beat the odds once again!

Adam’s grandpa was lying on his death bed, but he has recovered and is home with his wife.

Adam did not get accepted to the University of Minnesota to finish his Electrical Engineering degree, but that was a blessing in disguise.  He was accepted to the University of St. Thomas, which was made free with the GI bill this year.  He likes the small school atmosphere much better than he would like the U.  We expect him to graduate in May or December of 2012, and begin his new career.

On May 17, we brought our beautiful daughter, Danielle Joann, into this world, but two very short days later, God called her home. We were both able to hold her and love her. I was able to nurse her once. We both miss her very much, and wish she could share her first Christmas with us, but she gets to celebrate with Jesus on His birthday (and I’m sure that’s the best birthday party anyone has ever been to).

The high school that we both attended closed and I lost my job as a result. In July, I found a job at a Catholic grade school, but wasn’t totally happy with it. But, we took a road trip anyway to celebrate and to get away for a while....

We visited my childhood neighbor, Brent, in Nebraska. Then we stayed in Denver, CO on our way to the Grand Canyon, where we toured the South Rim. From there, we stayed in Vegas for several nights (we didn’t win anything... though it’s kind of hard to win when you don’t play at all!), and saw a couple shows and walked the strip. Next, we went to Los Angles, CA and helped Adam’s sister, Jacque, and her family pack up for their move back to Minnesota. Finally, before we headed home, we went to Oregon to visit my grandparents and a few of my cousins.

… When we returned, I kept applying to a few public schools in our area, and was hired at Eagan High School teaching Algebra I to freshmen and Tech Math to seniors. I love my new job, though I do miss all my Saint Bernard’s family.

We hope you have a blessed new year!

All our love,
Sarah, Adam, & Danielle 

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas Grandma & Grandpa!

Adam and I debated on whether or not we would tell my parents. We really did not want to tell anyone this time at least until the first trimester screening, when we would (hopefully) be able to tell everyone we are pregnant with a healthy baby. But we knew that my parents would keep it a secret until we were ready to tell everyone else. I thought about telling them before Christmas, because I knew that mom would end up getting the baby Christmas presents then. But we weren't ready then.

I think two days before Christmas, I thought it might be fun to wrap up the ultrasound pictures we had gotten in a box full of tissue paper, and have them unwrap it. I was thinking mom should unwrap it, but Adam said that dad should. So we wrapped them up in a small box and after we had unwrapped all the other gifts, Adam handed dad the box.
Dad opened it, pulled out all the tissue paper, and saw the little pictures. Mom leaned over his shoulder, saw what it was, and started crying. She looked at them, and handed them to Jeff, then came and gave me a hug. Jeff was slightly confused, as he thought they were of Danni, but he said the date was wrong. So mom said, "She's pregnant!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Results

I called the nurse midwife line Thursday afternoon to find out the blood test results. The midwife I talked to said that my hCG levels were well within the "normal" range for how far along I am, but the levels didn't double as they would expect them to. She said she wasn't worried about it.

I asked if she could tell me what the heart rate was at the ultrasound, since Adam and I couldn't agree on what the she said. She said it was 124 bpm (I was right!). :) Then she asked if we had met with an OB or midwife after the ultrasound. I said no. So she pulled up the results of that. She said there was a medium sized hemorrhage behind the placenta (about 2x2 cm). She called it subchorionic hematoma (SCH).

I found an article online that said that 1-3% of women that get SCH end up miscarrying, but most of those cases are where the women has a large hemorrhage. I'm hoping that a medium-sized one isn't anything to worry about (the midwife I talked to said she wasn't all that concerned), but I'm still a little worried.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Ultrasound

I left school early today (after classes, but before the end of the "teacher day"), so that we could get to Woodbury in time. I had my second blood draw (they're comparing it to the first to see if my hCG is increasing), then the lady pointed us in the direction of radiology.

Our appointment was at 3:30pm, but I don't think we got called back until 3:50pm. Lindsey, an u/s tech brought us back to the exam room. I was told to come with a full bladder, something that I was never told with Danni. (For those of you that aren't sure if you need a full or empty bladder at an u/s, here's the deal... If you're not very far along (like me this time... only 6 weeks), they want you to have a full bladder so that it raises your uterus up so that they can hopefully see it with an abdominal scan.)

So Lindsey first did an abdominal scan. She found that my uterus is retroverted (tipped towards my back instead of my front). It's not a big deal, she said that sometimes they'll flip back and forth at this point, but it makes things just slightly harder to see. She could still see the baby and the yolk sac (feeds the baby until the placenta is formed). When she looked at the baby, she could see the teeny-tiny little heart flutter! The baby is okay. Of course at this point, there's no way of telling if the heart is formed properly, because for one, the baby is so small (about 1/8 of an inch), and two, the heart isn't fully formed yet.

Since I was at Woodwinds hospital, they require that she check everything. So she had to check my ovaries and measure them and check and measure my uterus and some other stuff. Then she asked me to go to the bathroom (so I would have an empty bladder), and then she would do an internal u/s.

With the internal, she checked the baby again, and we could see it a lot closer up and in slightly more detail (it still looked like a little gray ball). We could see the heart beating away again, but a little closer up. Again, she check my ovaries, and whatever, which all checked out fine.

I don't remember which part it was during, but she found the heart rate of the baby. (Which I can barely see how she could find it with how tiny it is... when they found it with Danni, it was larger and much easier to see). When I asked Adam if he remembered the heart rate he said 140 bpm, because he thought it was about was Danni's was the first time we heard her heart beat (hers was actually 150 bpm). But I thought she had said 124 bpm. So as far as trying to predict a gender at this point, we've got nothing. (They say over 140 bpm is a girl, but under is a boy). If I'm right, maybe we're having a boy. If he's right, it could go either way. I am going to try to get a hold of Elizabeth, the midwife, to see if it's recorded somewhere.

She had also taken several measurements of the baby to see how far along we are, and her measurements were only a day off of what we said. I thought she had said we were 6 weeks 2 days (where I thought 6 weeks 3 days), but the screen said we would be due August 14, and I figured August 13. At any rate, we're much closer this time than we were with Danni. So maybe I'll believe them this time!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drama-Free Pregnancy?

Adam & I had been talking about how it would be nice if this were a drama-free, "normal," or even boring pregnancy. But last week Wednesday, something not-so normal happened.

Last week Wednesday, I started spotting a little bit. So I called the nurse midwife line, and she asked a couple questions, and determined that it should be fine, and told us not to worry. By Saturday, it hadn't stopped, so I called again. The nurse again said it didn't sound too worry-some, but to call again on Monday if it still hadn't stopped and make an appointment. I would love to say it stopped on Monday, but it didn't.

I made an appointment on Monday at school, and we went in after school. The nurse-midwife that we had was Elizabeth. She asked the usual questions. We told her that it was our second child, and she commented about how I must be a busy mom having a 7-month-old. So we had to explain to her what happened with Danni.

She did an internal exam, and said that it looked like it might just be my cervix, and nothing to worry about, but I think she could tell that we were a little more worried than most expectant parents, since we had already lost one child. So she said we had two options. I could have a blood draw and come back two days later for another to make sure that my HGC (pregnancy hormone) levels were increasing, and/or we could have an ultrasound, which might be inconclusive, since the baby is still pretty tiny at this point (they might not even be able to find the baby). We said we would be fine with either or both. So she wrote up orders for both, and brought us over to the lab.

I felt bad making the lab tech find a bed for me to lay down on to get my blood drawn (I usually get light-headed and they worry about me passing out). But he found an empty room, and Adam held my hand (without looking at the needle), and he drew my blood.

In the car on the way home, I called to schedule the ultrasound for the next day, but later changed it to Wednesday. Since we had to go in again anyway for the second blood draw, it would save us another trip out there. Of course, it's suppose to snow again on Wednesday, so we'll be crawling up 494 through the snow again, but hopefully we'll find out everything is just fine.

6 Weeks, 3 Days

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Dreams...

I was talking to my sister-in-law once about baby dreams, and she said that it indicates a life change if you have one. I remember having one before I was pregnant with Danni, and then another one a couple weeks before she was born. But this time I haven't had any! (Guess my life isn't going to change with this one!)

At dinner tonight, Adam told me that he had a "baby dream." He said that we were in the labor & delivery room, but had to share a room with Courtney Cox (who apparently we knew pretty well). I guess she told me that she was really scared about having a natural birth and all. But I told her, not to worry, that it was easy. -When Adam told me the next part, I COULD NOT stop laughing!- He said I then laid down on the bed, and the baby just popped out (he said quicker than it took to explain his dream). So I told her, "See it's easy." Then I guess we came back into her room 42 hours later (yes, that was the time frame he gave me), and she was still in labor, but we had a child that was walking around. (They really do grow up fast don't they?!)

5 Weeks 3 Days

Friday, December 10, 2010

Better Kept Secret

With Danielle, we had decided to tell our parents & siblings early on, but then let the rest of the world know after we were through the first trimester. It turned out the news traveled fast, and Adam's brother, Ben, found out we were expecting from his neighbor, instead of us.

Since we had that experience, we said right after that, that with our next child, we would wait to tell everyone until the second trimester. But since our pregnancy with Danni was so public, and people we didn't even know were praying for her (don't get me wrong, we really do appreciate all the prayers), I felt the need to keep the next one to ourselves for as long as we could. We joked that we would show up with a 5-year-old to Christmas one year, and finally tell people.

So far, so good. We have kept our secret, though, we have only really known for about a week. Which I suppose is better than with Danielle, since Adam had told his brother, Jon, the day we found out. (They were up getting the cabin ready for hunting, and I think Adam was just itching to tell someone.)

4 Weeks, 3 Days
I was looking at pictures from when I was pregnant with Danni, and this one would probably compare to a picture when I was about 13 weeks along with her... Maybe we won't be able to keep it a secret for as long as we want!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New One!

About half-way through this month, I started noticing some "symptoms" that I had when I was pregnant with Danni. I figured it was the "hypochondriac" in me, trying to find little things that might suggest I was pregnant again. So I didn't get too excited or anything, as I hate it when my hopes are dashed. Besides, if we were pregnant now, then I'd miss the beginning of the school year, and I'd hate to do that.

About four days before my friend should show up, I thought I'd take a pregnancy test. I was anxious to find out, plus I wanted to know if these things actually worked "up to 4 days before your missed period." It was negative. So I figured either I'm not pregnant, or they really don't work that far in advance. So I figured my friend would show up by Tuesday or Wednesday (or Thursday or Friday). I told Adam that I would just wait until the weekend again to take another test, because by then we'd know for sure.

Well, on Wednesday morning, I figured, what-the-heck, I'll take another one. So I waited my three minutes, and then took a look. I had to squint, but I could see a very faint second line!
Adam was at work, so I couldn't tell him right away, and I would be out to dinner with the Saint Bernard's staff, and by the time I would get home, he would probably be sleeping. So I decided that I would make a slide show for Adam. (I'll see if I can post it somehow.)

I had it started on his computer, so that when he got home from work and sat down at this desk to take off his shoes, he would see a screen that said "Press Play." I sent him an email once I got to work, hoping that he would email me back, somehow letting me know that he saw it, but I never got one. So I text-ed him to see what he thought, and he said "nice show." He wasn't terribly impressed that I tried to find a creative way of telling him. (Maybe that's why he doesn't understand that it's nice to do something thoughtful & romantic for your wife every once in a while...)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meeting with Dr. Baker

Our first question for Dr. Baker was to tell us exactly what happened and when she started to go down hill. I'm sure I will describe that more when I blog about her last day, I don't really feel like typing it all right now. But one thing that Dr. Baker did say was that, she had a lot going against her. In the beginning of the pregnancy they didn't even think she would make it to term, but she did, and without developing hydrops. So that made them a little more hopeful for her, since she didn't have that going against her as well.

She had Heterotaxy, and it's kind of a broad description (people with Heterotaxy can have a huge list of things that could be wrong, or they could be perfectly normal, but backwards), and so there's rarely ever two cases that are alike. But he said that for people with similar cases, unfortunately, her outcome is more of the rule than the exception. In a strange way, I find that comforting. I don't like that it is the rule, and not the exception. But, it makes me feel more at ease that we and the doctors, did everything we could possibly do for her.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Parenting a Child in Heaven

I think the past couple days have been rough for both of us, and I think the upcoming week won't be any easier. I'm not sure why it's been harder for either of us. On my way home from work on Friday, mom called me and wanted to go put an upright marker where Danni is, so that we can find her when the snow starts piling up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rough Day for Two

Today was a rough day for both of us, I found out when I got home from work. The whole way home, I kept thinking about Danielle. There was nothing that triggered it or anything, no songs that made me think about her. She was just on my mind. I thought about how much I missed her, and how it felt when I held her the first time, and how much I wanted to hold her again.

When I got home, I curled up next to Adam and told him that I missed Danielle. He told me that he was thinking about her on his way into work this morning. When he got into work, he wanted to punch the steel door he had to go through, because it wasn't fair. He wanted his baby to come home to, but instead he comes home to pictures, an empty nursery, and a crying wife.

I think, for me, life is finally starting to settle down. All summer I was worried about getting a job. The beginning of the school year, I was figuring everything out that goes with a new school. And now, things are starting to settle down, so I have time to grieve. It seems like I'm starting to have more rough days than I was, though, I haven't cried myself to sleep in a while... but we'll see how tonight goes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grieving: Men vs. Women

At the "Fall Family Day: Getting Back to 'Normal,'" we split up, men and women (and children). The men and women each came up with their own list that they wanted the opposite sex to know about their grief.

My Grief Wish List

This isn't something that I wrote, the author is unknown, but it was given to us after the "Fall Family Day: Getting Back to 'Normal'" at Children's Hospital, and I thought I would share it with people. Maybe it will help you understand us a little bit better or be more relaxed around us. (I edited it a little bit, putting in Danni's name and "she" and what-not.)

Read more »

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Seriously Considering

After thinking that we were pregnant at the beginning of October, getting our hopes up, and starting to get very excited about giving Danielle a sibling, we started seriously considering trying to conceive right away.

I was actually quite surprised when Adam brought up having another child first. He seemed more excited about the possibility of being pregnant, than he was when I told him we were expecting Danni. And with that disappointment, he was serious about trying right away.

That is when we started researching VBACs more online. Adam found the ICAN website, and read as much as he could on there. I was still a little hesitant. I really did want another baby, but I was nervous that my body might not be totally ready to carry another child. I still had twinges of pain near my incision, and I couldn't imagine that getting any less if I had a new child growing inside me and stretching my incision.

We weighted the pros and cons of trying now and waiting until February (the amount of time that ICAN recommends). It would be a little riskier. I would be seven months pregnant at Adam's sister, Jacque's wedding, and would have to make sure my bridesmaid dress would fit right. If we waited until February, the baby would be born about six weeks before winter break (so I would have eight weeks, then Adam would be home another two or three weeks, before we would have to worry about day care).

Everything seemed to point to February, but many women have had VBACs before 18 months, and my bridesmaid dress could be altered to fit a pregnant belly. We were ready, though.

Thinking About "The Next One"

When I had my 1-week postpartum check up we had asked Dr. Ledella how long we would have to wait to have a another child if we wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). She told us two years, and at that time, we were not at all ready to have another child or to try to replace Danielle, so that seemed like a reasonable amount of time.

Though we did want to ask for a second opinion. Since we would hopefully be having our next child at Woodwinds, as was the original plan with Danni, we thought it would be wise to ask them. So at my 6-week postpartum check up, we asked Carrie. She wasn't sure, but asked the doctors. They told her one year. But we also found out that at that point in time Woodwinds did not do VBACs, but St. Joe's did.

After doing some research online, I found some women had gotten pregnant as early as three months after having a c-section, and still had a successful VBAC. Though we found that ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) recommends 18 months from birth-to-birth (nine months from c-section to conception) for VBACs and HBACs (Home Birth After Cesarean).

With ICAN's recommendation, we would be able to start trying to conceive in February 2011. Though at the beginning of October 2010, we thought we might be (though had not been trying at all) and even figured out we would be due on June 25. We were waiting to find out and were starting to get hopeful. We waited some more, and started to get excited. Then found out we weren't.

The same weekend we found out we weren't, we found out that my sister-in-law was pregnant with her eighth child, and she calculated that she was due June 25. I was very excited for them, but at the same time, not. They had thought they might be a couple months before, and were afraid that after loosing Danni, that it would be hard for us. They talked to us about it, but we both said that we would be happy for them if they were. And, like I said, we are, but at the same time it is a little hard to handle.

And actually within a couple days, we found out that two others in Adam's family were pregnant as well. Again, we were happy for them, but it was still hard.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 18-19: Homeward Bound!

We got up about 5:45am and showered, packed up the car, and waited for Myron and Kevin to show up. When they showed up Kevin was carrying a 3-gallon tub of honey asking if we had room. We found room in the back next to Corey’s tv. I’m not sure if we’ll have enough, but we might be able to share with mom and dad. :)

We all went to church at St. Mary’s in Mt. Angel, then Myron and Kevin took us out to breakfast in Canby. I had Eggs Benedict, and wondered if mom was making them for Sunday brunch for the boys at home. Then we were on the road headed for home!

We were both excited to get home and debated whether we would drive through the night or stop at a hotel (or even just a wayside rest for a nap). I took a shift in the evening and Adam ended up driving through the night. We made it home around noon, and emptied some of the car. We ended up going to bed around 2:30pm, Adam pretty much slept through the night, but since I had dozed in the car while he was driving, I got up around 7pm, but was still tired enough to go back to bed around 10pm.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 17: Woodburn, OR

This was the only morning that grandma didn’t make us a breakfast. I kept telling her that we usually just have cold cereal and that she was spoiling us, so that’s what we had! Then Adam and I ran into town to fill gas before we left tomorrow morning, and pick up some milk for grandma.

We played some cards with grandma and grandpa, then Carla showed up, and we had lunch. After lunch, Kim and Kassie showed up and we played dice, cards, and Wii all afternoon. Myron and Kevin came over and Kevin worked in the garden with Kassidy. Carla, Adam, and I ended up talking out on the swing about how every family has their goods and bads, and Carla told us some stories from growing up and when I was a kid, and I told some of my memories, and mentioned some stories Adam had told me about him growing up.

After dinner, Carla had to get going, because she had to work in the morning, and Myron and Kevin had some bees to move. Kim and Kassie stuck around for a little while and played more games, but I was tired. So they left and I packed up some of our stuff, so it would be quicker in the morning, and we went to bed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 16: Woodburn, OR

Grandma made French toast again for breakfast. Adam read his book and played the Wii, while I talked with grandpa. He shared a book with me that was a 100 year history of Hague, ND, the place where grandpa had grown up. He told me about his family, and how he had left the farm and headed to Bismark to find a job. I found my name (mentioned as a child of one of grandpa’s children) in the book, and found a copy of a contract between the school and a teacher in 1913. She was to be paid less than $45 at the end of each month for teaching several different grades.

Soon Carla came with dinner in hand and started cooking it on the Traeger, and then Kim and Kassidy showed up. We decided to go to Silver Falls State Park and walk the trails. The state park has eleven waterfalls, and we saw four of them (Upper North, North, Twin, and Winter Falls). We walked a little over three miles, and Kassidy (who has club feet) did really well with all the walking.

Before we got all the way home, we stopped at Boschler Hardware to pick up more pellets for our Traeger grill (they’re much cheaper out here then back home, plus there’s no sales tax). When we got back, Carla and Kim helped finish getting dinner ready, and we ate. After dinner, we played some cards, and Carla, Kim and Kassidy left. Myron and Kevin stuck around to watch wrestling with grandma and grandpa, while Adam and I read our books, then went to bed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 15: Woodburn, OR

Adam & I slept in. I woke up before Adam, but Adam woke up later to the smell of French toast, bacon, & sausage. We ate breakfast, and showered, but before I could do my hair, my aunt Carla showed up. We sat around and chatted, and walked around the yard. Carla showed us where she had done a lot of weeding, but you couldn’t tell anymore, since no one had done it since.

My cousin Jen had said she would come over with her new baby (who is about a month older than Danni), but her fiancé wasn’t feeling well, so Carla (her mom) went to pick her up. While she was gone, Kim and Kassidy came back over, and it wasn’t long until Carla was back with Jen and baby Madison.

Jen gave Madison to me almost right away to hold, and seemed very happy to let me hold her and play with her. I enjoyed every minute of it! Madison, with her big blue eyes, just like her mom and her granny, was perfectly content to sit in my arms and watch all the people at grandma’s house oh-and-ah over her.

Around dinner time, Kevin and Myron came home, and my cousin Kayla, and her boyfriend, Wayne, came over to see us too. Kayla hadn’t met Madison yet, but didn’t hold her (I think I might have been a baby-hog the whole time). We had to use both of grandma’s tables since so many of us were there to enjoy the tenderloin that Carla cooked on the Traeger.

After dinner, I showed some of them pictures of Danni (though Kim, Kayla, and Kassie had already seen just about all of them on facebook). But grandma enjoyed seeing pictures of her great-granddaughter, who she (and grandpa) say a decade of the rosary for everyday. But, Kayla and Wayne had to head out afterwards.

Later, we walked around outside, us girls sat on the swing and played with Madison, and walked over to the garden. Kassidy, who is the best berry-picker, found some berries for us, and Jen fed me some while I kept holding Madison. I think Kassidy was afraid I would bite her fingers off or something if she fed them to me.

Madison started getting fussy though, and so Carla brought Jen back home, and then headed home herself. Kim and Kassidy didn’t stay around too much longer, and neither had Myron and Kevin. So we headed to bed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 14: Woodburn, OR

Adam and I got up early around 5am, though we hadn’t slept very well, and hit the road hoping to beat traffic on the 405. We did, and got to I-5 just fine, heading for Mt. Angel, OR to stay with my grandparents. We listened to some CD’s that Jacque had borrowed us called “Stephen Colbert: I Am America (And So Can You).”

We ended up getting to my grandparent’s about 7pm, and my aunt Kim and cousin Kassidy had just gotten there. Shortly later, my uncles Myron and Kevin came over too. Kevin had picked up kabobs to grill on the Trager grill. Kassidy brought me back to the garden and we picked some berries. We watched Kevin feed the kitties. Myron and Kevin didn’t stick around too long, but Kim and Kassidy stuck around for a while.

Adam and I had made Mii’s on grandma & grandpa’s Wii. Grandma & grandpa love playing bowling and others games on it. Grandma is very proud of her star ball when she bowls. We played a few games, then Kim and Kassidy left, and Adam & I went to bed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 13: Los Angles, CA - PODS Day!

PODS day! They day we had been waiting for! Adam and I weren’t really comfortable packing the rest of the stuff in the house, so while Jacque and Corey were packing the last of the boxes, Adam carried boxes from their condo down to the sidewalk, and I sat in one of their antigravity chairs reading a book, making sure no one stole their stuff. I know, I really did have the hardest job! Then Corey, thinking that I had an easy job or something, gave me his cell phone for when the PODS people called to say they were on their way.

The PODS pod finally got there around 11am. It was super cool to watch then drop it off. The lady had a remote control for this pod mover that had an engine on the back and for posts with wheels that can turn on a dime. And the thing lifts the pod up off the truck, then she steers it with her remote control and pulled it into the parking space, and lowered it. Then unhooked the thing and used her remote control to steer the mover back onto her truck. Super cool.

Then the hard work began (for me anyway!). We started moving stuff actually into the pod. Jacque and Corey wanted certain things that they would need right away towards the front. So we made a pile off to the side, then started throwing the rest of the stuff in the pod, using the mattress, box spring, and some furniture to hold boxes in and help with tying things in place. Kelly came again, about half way through packing the pod, and helped.

To my surprise, we finished about 3pm, and at that point we all needed showers. Kelly invited us over after we had showered, and headed home. While Jacque and I showered, Adam and Corey bubbled wrapped Corey’s most precious belong (his flat screen tv), and packed it in our car (he worried about it in the pod).

Once they had showered, we picked up Addy from daycare and headed to Kelly’s, where we waited around for some of their friends to show up. Once most everyone was there, we headed to In-and-Out burger for dinner, as Corey had to eat there one last time before they left Cali. Jacque and Corey wanted to spend time talking with their friends for probably the last time, so Adam and I hung out at the end of the tables. But I ended up talking to one of their friends, Lance for a while. Nice guy. Before we left though, we all stood in front of the In-and-Out sign and one of the employees took a picture of all of us. Jacque and Corey, of course, donning their In-and-Out burger hats.

Then we headed back to Kelly’s house and hung out for a little while, until people started leaving (and Addy started getting tired). When we got home, Corey put Addy straight to bed, and she was out without fussing. We talked for a couple minutes, got ready for bed, and said our goodbyes, which really didn’t seem like good-bye, but more of a ta-ta-for-now. Since pretty much everything was in the pod, Addy slept in Jacque & Corey’s room in her play pen, Jacque and Corey slept in Addy’s room on the Murphy bed, and Adam and I slept on the pull-out bed (which wasn’t theirs, but was getting donated to the Salvation Army) in the living room.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 12: Los Angles, CA

On Monday, the cable internet & tv were shut off. So it was down to work. Corey & Adam went to Best Buy to get rid of a couple of computers that didn’t work. Jacque’s Mac book stopped working, and since I am going to be getting a Mac book at my new job, I got the extra charger.

Later Jacque, Corey, and Addy ran to Verizon to add Jacque to Corey’s plan, and run some other errands. While they were gone, Adam and I went to two different CVS’s to try to find SoBe lifewaters (which we had gotten a rain check for from the CVS back home when they were on sale buy one, get one – and I had buy one, get one coupons, so they would have been free!). But we had no luck. So we ended up picking some up at Target with my bogo coupons, but I had forgotten that in California you have to pay a five cent deposit on any cans and bottles you purchase. Kind of made me miss home and the good deals I know how to get there, everything is more expensive out here.

When we got home, Kelly was already over cleaning up a little. And shortly after we got back, Jacque & Corey came home too. We did some more packing, and Corey made tritip steak kabobs on the grill, and Jacque made a vinaigrette salad with blue cheese crumbled on it. (When mom makes salads at home, she always puts the stuff on the sides – kind of a make your own – and I always though blue cheese was gross, but I tried it and liked it! Look at me, expanding my taste pallet!) :)

Later, Kelly left, and Addy was in bed, so Jacque, Corey, Adam, and I all squished on the couch and watched a movie called “The Gamer.” It was about how this one guy created a video game, similar to the Sims, but players were actually controlling real people. These people got paid to “be” the game, and had no control, what-so-ever, over their bodies while they were “at work.” But then he created a new game called “Slayers” same concept as before, but this time like Call of Duty. And people actually died. But the creator said it was all okay, because these people were in jail on death row anyway… of course I won’t spoil the whole movie for you! Decent movie, but not really my type of movie.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 11: Los Angles, CA

Today we had a lot of errands to run. Jacque had to go to Verizon to get a cell phone (she had to turn in her work cell on her last day of work). So while Adam and Jacque were in the store, I walked up and down the strip mall with Addy trying to keep her entertained. She loved the carts outside one store and the plants outside the Verizon store. (She is much easier to keep up with than my nephew, Miles).

Then we went to an indoor mall that had a play area for Addy, but first we stopped at Old Navy. They were having a sale where you got 25% off if you showed your student or teacher ID. So Adam used his ID to get Jacque a discount, then Addy took the card from him before he could use it for his discount (the cashier still gave it to him). :) After we had done our shopping, Jacque let Addy play at the little play yard.

On our way home, even though it wasn’t dinner time, we stopped at Five Guys and picked up some burgers. Of course we weren’t hungry come dinner time, but when it got close to bed time, we started to get hungry. But, nobody wanted to eat right before bed, so we all went to bed hungry.

I thought we would stay up until Corey (Jacque’s fiancé) got home from a bachelor party in Ohio. But I think we were all (except Addy, of course) still awake. Adam and I could hear him come in the front door, as the Addy’s room (where we were staying) had a window looking out to the front door. And we heard Jacque get up to help him.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 10: Los Angles, CA

Today I packed up a good chuck of Jacque & Corey’s kitchen. I tried to keep out what we would still be using, but I didn’t know what Jacque would be making for dinners and what-not. (I still ended up packing away stuff that we needed, but we improvised!)

We ended up using all the boxes that they had gotten from the Home Depot, so we went back and got more. When we were checking out, I was holding Addy while Jacque was paying. The cashier-lady asked Adam a question, and Adam said he wasn’t in charge and pointed to Jacque. The cashier figured we were all related somehow (and she was right), but she was so totally way off when she guessed as to how we were related. She pegged Jacque as the mom (correct, to a point), and Adam and I as her children, and Addy as Jacque’s granddaughter (my daughter). On the way out, I made sure to ask ‘granny’ if she had her keys.

Kelly came over for dinner and brought some green beans and potato salad, and Jacque made chicken with a homemade barbeque sauce. ‘Twas delicious! Then we all pretty much say in front of the tv and vegged. After Addy had gone to bed, Adam ended up on the computer while us girls watched a documentary show about Justin Bieber. Yeah, um, no comments please!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 9: Los Angles & Hollywood, CA

Jacque had to work today, so she took Addy to daycare in the morning. Adam and I hung out at her place for a little while, waiting for rush hour. Then we headed out to Hollywood. We parked in a “parking structure” at a mall on Highland and Hollywood. Jacque said that if we went in there and just bought a bottle of water or something, that they would validate our parking, so it would only be $2. We walked around the mall a little bit, and on the third floor, we had a decent view of the Hollywood sign. It was an overcast day, so it wasn’t the greatest, but it was better than driving around trying to catch a glimpse between buildings.

Then we walked out onto the street along the walk of fame. There were a lot of names that I recognized, but also a lot that I didn’t. Then we stopped at the Chinese Mann Theater. It was neat to see all the prints from different people. We even saw one that saw Billy Hart (which is the name of one of Adam’s cousins).

Then we continued on and crossed the street to walk back towards the mall where we parked. There were a couple souvenir stores that we stopped in and walked around. Of course, they all have the same stuff that souvenir stores across the country have, but just with a different city/ state name on it. Outside the Disney store, we saw Winnie the Pooh, so I had to take a picture!

After we had enough of seeing stars, we got in the car, and headed down the 101, the PCH, the Pacific Coast Highway. We thought about getting out and walking, but it was cold (I had goose bumps just sitting in the car), and parking was fairly expensive. We saw a lot of surf boarders heading out to catch some waves.

We ended up getting back to Thousand Oaks before Jacque thought she would get off work (and Jacque ended up at work, later than she thought she would be for her last day). Until she got off work and picked up Addy, we hung out at a couple different malls. Then headed back to her house, but she was still at work. So, we walked to a mall right by her house that had mostly restaurants, but they had a “lake” with coy in it.

On our way back to Jacque’s, I saw a store called “It’s a Girl Thing” that was closing. We walked over to it, and they had some good deals on some cute clothes, but we left our cash in the car. But, I figured that Jacque and I could go back there later.

Eventually Jacque got home, and we hung out for a while, and then headed to the Wood Ranch to meet, Abe, one of Adam’s army buddies for dinner. Adam made fun of me for, again, getting a Caesar salad. He tried two of their different barbecue items, and shared a taste with me. It was a delicious dinner.

Since Addy was getting cranky at the restaurant, Jacque took her home early. When we got home Addy was sound asleep, and we all went to bed shortly after we got home.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 8: Los Angles, CA

We got up and packed our bags, and by 10am were on the road to LA. We got to Thousand Oaks before Adam’s sister, Jacque, got off work, so we hung out at a mall near her house. I’d never been to a Cost Plus, so we walked around in there. They had a lot of neat things that kind of reminded me of a Pier One.

Jacque met us at her house, then we got in her car and went to her friend, Kelly’s, house to pick up Addison. (Kelly is a fifth grade teacher, so in the summer she picks up Addy from daycare and hangs out with her in the afternoon.) After visiting with Kelly for a little while, we headed to Target to pick up some diapers and stuff. Then it was back to Jacque’s.

We didn’t really do too much that day, but Jacque had made a pork roast in the crock pot for dinner that was delicious. We slept in Addy’s room on the Murphy bed, and Addy slept in Jacque’s room in her play pen. (Apparently the people that lived here before them had three kids, two slept on the Murphy bed, and the other was in a crib.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 7: Vegas, NV

Another slow morning, we went to Subway and each got a $9 foot long (almost twice the cost of the $5 foot longs back home!). Even though I knew I would only each half of it, I still got the foot long, figuring Adam would eat it later.

We hung out in our room for a while then went down to the Hooter’s Bar for our free wings. We had 20 free wings, so I figured I would eat those, and Adam wanted a sandwich. I was hungry for teriyaki wings, but they only had mild, medium, or hot. So we got one mild and one medium, the mild were just a butter sauce, and not all that flavorful. The medium were okay. By the time I had eaten two wings, Adam had finished his sandwich, and was starting on some of my wings. I knew that would happen, but I figured I would be able to eat a few more before he got his hands on them.

After our dinner, we stepped out the door to the pool and went to the pool bar to order our free drinks. We sat around the pool and relaxed for a little while, watching people and walking behind the waterfall (it was like it was air conditioned behind it!).

Tonight’s show was a late one, it started at 10pm. Hooters had given us complimentary tickets to one of their shows, and Adam picked the only one that sounded half-way decent: The Dirty Joke Show. It was three comedians sitting in a back alley telling jokes between shows, but they had a guest there for the night. I don’t remember his name, but apparently he had another show in Vegas that he was there for.

Our show tickets had a free drink ticket for after the show, but since we were both tired, and we were leaving in the morning, we decided to go back to our room and go to bed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 6: Vegas, NV

It was a fairly relaxing, uneventful day. We ate our cold pizza from the night before for breakfast/ lunch. We tried to get tickets again at the Coke bottle for the Tournament of Kings. They were sold out, but I asked an old man working there if that meant that they were sold out at the hotel as well. He said no, just that they were sold out of the tickets they were given for a discount.

Adam had kept seeing people walking around with yard long margaritas and had been bugging me to get one since he saw them. We saw them for the cheapest we’d seen right next to the Coke bottle. We ordered a raspberry one and shared it. It was delicious in the heat of the day!
Then we walked back towards our hotel, but stopped across the street at the Excalibur to see if they had tickets for tonight’s show. They did! We bought the tickets and headed back to our hotel. We decided to kill a little time and to play our $100 promotional slots at Hooters. Other than a couple extra spins, we didn’t win anything.

Then we headed back upstairs, but since it was an earlier show, with dinner, we didn’t hang out at our hotel for too long. We were in the front row, in the Spain section. Adam said we had the cool king, because he did a back flip off the side. I thought we had the cute king. Dinner was very good: Cornish game hen, potatoes, broccoli, and a roll, topped off with dessert of an apple fritter. It was a neat show, different than most I’ve seen. The show was shorter, so we had more time afterward too.

So we went back to our room and I used more of my honeymoon coupons. I used one that said “an evening with champagne and intimate conversation,” but we skipped the champagne since we didn’t have any and Adam doesn’t like it anyway. Then I used “go to a movie of my choice,” but we stayed in our room and watched Sweet Home Alabama on my laptop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 5: Birthday in Vegas, NV

We slept in until about 9am, got up and showered. While Adam was showering, I called the 800 number to order tickets to Mystére using Adam’s military discount. We weren’t sure if they would take it when we got there, as his ID is expired, but we thought we’d give it a shot.

Adam kept asking me what I wanted to do since it was my birthday. I hadn’t been to Vegas before, but he had, so I wanted him to give me suggestions as to what we could do. We ended up going to McDonalds at the MGM Grand for lunch, then the Coke bottle to see if we could get tickets to tomorrow night’s Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur. They didn’t have tickets except for that night. So we figured we’d stop tomorrow to see if they had them then.

Later that evening, we drove to Papa John’s to pick up a pizza for dinner. We got two larges and a two-liter, so that we would have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. We watched dinner and ate our pizza, and chilled (since it was 111º outside) in our room until it was time to go pick up our tickets for the show.

We ended up leaving late, the show was at 9:30pm, doors opened at 9pm, and we were supposed to pick up our tickets at 8:30pm. We got there about ten to eight, and there was quite the line. I was worried that they would resell our tickets if we didn’t get there in time, but they said we just might miss the beginning of the show (which we didn’t!).

We got in line for our will-call tickets. When we got up to the desk, we told the lady our name and she pulled up our order. She asked for my license and military ID. Adam figured when she took it that she would see it was expired and make us pay another $106 for another ticket. But she didn’t. She just recorded his name and social number on the back. Though, she did tell us that we had a $2 balance. I told her that I had paid in full over the phone and I didn’t bring anything else with me. She said that the lady on the phone had rung it up wrong, and I still owed $2, because there was a fee for will-call tickets. I told that that was too bad, but it was not my fault that someone miss-quoted it and charged me the wrong amount. She managed to change the order somehow so that we didn’t owe more money.

Then we got in line to get into the theater. It was quite a long line, but seats are all reserved, so it didn’t matter how quickly we got in. It didn’t seem to take too long. The start of the show had an old fellow walking around and seating people in the wrong places and entertaining the crowd while we waited for the real show to start. I really enjoyed the show and all the amazing acrobatics. They did some cool stuff with a teeter-totter, and Adam asked me if that’s how me and the neighbor boys broke our teeter-totter. I told him no, but that we should try it out sometime.

After the show, we asked the bartender for a glass of ice water (which we started doing anytime we went outside to carry along our way), and we walked all the way back down to our end of the strip.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 4: Grand Canyon & Vegas

We wanted to get on the road early, so we could spend time at the Grand Canyon, and then get into Vegas at a reasonable time. Turns out getting up early saved us $25! When we got to the entrance, where you pay for your car pass, there was no one in line, no one in the booth or anything. We drove up, and there was a sign that said “Closed, please continue through.” So that’s what we did.

We drove through and stopped at Desert View, Moran View, and Grandview (which really wasn’t all that grand, surprisingly Moran View was better). Then we headed towards the Visitor Center, and jumped on the free tour bus. From the Blue Route which took us to the Red Route, also called “Hermits Rest Route”. From there, we stopped at Powell then walked to Hopi, and jumped back on the bus to head to The Abyss, and back on to Pima, where we got onto the Eastbound Red Route bus that took us back to the Blue Route, and back to the Visitor Center.

There were so many people speaking so many different languages. I didn’t realize that the Grand Canyon was a tourist attraction for foreigners also! I was amazed that Adam could tell me what language many of them were speaking (of course, he could have been making it all up, and I would believe him). I asked him how he knew what they were speaking, and he told me that when he would get on the bus at DLI (Defense Language Institute, where he learned Korean for the Army), that he would hear people talking in different languages, and watch what college they got off at (French, German, Chinese, etc.) I guess I’ll believe him, besides, it sounded pretty accurate from the little I know.

From there we were on the road to Vegas, baby! Adam continued driving, of course. We were on a highway that was one lane each way, Adam had the cruise set, I was chillin’ in the passenger seat. We would pass people once in a while when there was a passing zone. But we finally got to a stretch where there were no cars in front of us, so we were good to go. Until (you know there’s going to be an ‘until’) we passed a cop heading the opposite direction. We saw him slow down, pull off to the side of the road (only for a moment), then flick on his lights. Well, crap. So Adam pulled over, and unfortunately so did the cop, right behind us.

He came up to my window, and asked for a license and registration. Adam had already pulled out his license, and I had already pulled out our expired proof of insurance, but no registration. We were looking good already! We dug through the glove box, wondering what registration we were looking for, so Adam finally asked the cop what it was. His response: “a piece of paper,” no joke. Finally, he said don’t worry about it, and told us he’d be right back, then turned back and said, “I pulled you over because you were doing 77 in a 65.”

While we waited, Adam said he always got pulled over at least once on a road trip (he’d only once gotten a ticket – in Idaho, because apparently, by law, if they pull you over, they have to give you a ticket). I asked him if he’d be able to talk his way out of this one. He said no. When the cop came back, he had a clip board in his hand, and asked Adam to sign by the ‘X.’ He just gave him a warning, telling him to keep it to 65. Thank God! :)

We kept on driving, and a short while later, near the Hoover Dam, traffic came to an almost complete stop. I could see orange cones ahead, so we were figuring it was road construction traffic. But as we got closer, we realized we were wrong. There was a sign that said “Security Check Point.” When we got there, we had our window down, and the officer said, “Minnesota huh?” “Yep,” Adam replied. “Where?” he asked. “St. Paul,” Adam said. “Oh, I have a cousin there. Stay to the left,” he pointed us onward. Adam wondered if he said that he had a cousin from wherever, to everyone.

Traffic didn’t improve any when we got through the check point. We winded our way back and forth through the switchbacks down to the Hoover Dam, slowly creeping along. We contemplated getting out at one of the overlooks, but Adam didn’t want to have to try to get back into the creeping line of traffic. When we got to the entrance of the Dam, we found out why we were still creeping along. There was one stop sign for a crosswalk. Each car took its turn stopping, some letting walkers though, and continued, at a more normal speed, winding back up to the other side of the Hoover Dam. We had lost about a half hour sitting through the traffic for the check point and the crosswalk, and we wondered why we couldn’t travel across the bridge that we saw up above. But at least we saw the Hoover Dam.

The rest of our journey to Vegas, was pretty uneventful. We arrived around 6pm, and checked into our room at Hooters (yes, Hooters, it’s off the strip by about a block, and was the cheapest deal we could find even without all their promos). We walked around the strip, and ended up at Hard Rock Café for dinner. It was so hot that I wasn’t really hungry (but of course Adam was starving), so I just had a Ceasar salad.

We went back to the hotel after dinner and decided to go swimming. Hooters has a sand area, two pools (one is colder with a waterfall, the other is warmer), and a hot tub. We started in the pool with the waterfall, but I thought it was pretty cold, so didn’t go much past my waist. A lady from the hot tub jumped in and told us that the other pool was warmer. I quickly got out and we went to the other pool, where I got all the way in. Adam decided that we needed to go back to the waterfall in the other cold pool. He said I had to go under the waterfall for at least five seconds. I told him I would jump in right by the waterfall, but of course chickened out when I was standing at the edge of the pool. So he came over and grabbed me and held me under the waterfall. He carried me out, then dragged me right back in. We got back in the warmer pool, but didn’t stay too much longer.

We went back to our room and showered, then decided to go get tickets to tomorrow night’s show at Treasure Island (at the opposite end of the strip). I wanted to see Cirque du Soleil: Mystére for my birthday. We walked all the way there in the 100º+, with my incision getting sore, for pretty much nothing. The ticket office closed at 10pm. So we grabbed a flyer, and decided that we would call the next day, instead of walking all the way back.

By the time we got back, it was after midnight. Adam wished me a happy birthday, and we fell asleep immediately (it was after 2am back home, and Adam would be just getting up for work).