Wednesday, December 17, 2014

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

During my sophomore year of college, my roommates decided that they wanted to buy a live Christmas tree.  I was poor as dirt and didn't want to spend any unnecessary money, so the entire idea stressed me out.  Call me Grinch or call me Scrooge, but I just couldn't make myself be excited about this dang tree.

I felt like Scrooge right up until the moment they brought the tree home and decorated it.  The smell, the lights, the purple ornaments that I wouldn't have chosen but totally loved...I had Grinched myself right into loving this tree.  Every night, I studied by the glow of that tree, and every night, I realized that I spent far more time in front of that tree than any of my roommates.  And truth be told, it was probably because I needed the Christmas spirit the most that year.

I haven't made that mistake since.

And since we're talking about the Christmas spirit, let me just say that decorating a tree with my child is one of the most magical things I've experienced.

Does she pull all the ornaments off within arm's reach?  Yep.

Has she almost pulled the entire tree over in her attempts to take off a few stubborn ornaments?  Every day.

Do we love every second of it?  Most definitely.

And here's the final product:

Christmas spirit?  Check.

And here's the stocking hanger that my lovely visiting teachers from church helped me to make:

Let's also talk for a minute about Ellie's love/hate relationship with Santa for a minute.  Ever seen A Christmas Story?  Remember that kid that can't wait to see Santa Claus, right up until the minute that it's his turn to sit in Santa's lap?  THAT WAS MY CHILD.  At our ward Christmas party.  I have videos.

But first, a momentary pause to admire how cute Ellie looks in this outfit:

Ok, sorry.  Back to Santa.  She was ecstatic to meet him.  She kept saying that she wanted to give him hugs and sit on his lap, but it went downhill fast when it was actually her turn.

We obviously didn't make her sit on his lap once she decided that it wasn't actually what she wanted, but the result still totally makes me laugh.  [Too stinkin' bad that these videos don't show up in my printed blog books.  I need Harry Potter up in here!]

Last week, we also drove through the lights they had set up at Willard Bay.  Ellie was totally in love, and if we're being totally honest, so were Tim and I.  But we had the exact same experience with meeting Santa.  She was over-the-moon excited...

Right up until it was her turn to sit in his lap.  Oh, how we love that girl.

Unfortunately it has also been a time for sickness in this household.  Right before Thanksgiving, we all got a very mild version of the stomach flu.  

Then Ellie got a cold.  

[But isn't she the cutest little sick person you've ever seen?] 

[She was getting stir crazy one night, and Tim was out of town, so I took her out to eat.  She was so happy to get out of the house!  I just tried to avoid any other children.]

Then Tim got tonsillitis.  

Then Ellie got Hand, Foot, and Mouth. 

And today, we learned that the antibiotics Tim was originally given didn't get rid of his infection, so now he's on some stronger antibiotics now.  The doctor said his white blood cell count is as high as someone with appendicitis, so as you can imagine, he feels super awesome right now.  Come on, antibiotics!

But even with all the craziness, we are loving the Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 15, 2014

a very Devey thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with the Deveys is always fun.  Any gathering with the Deveys is always fun.  It's loud, chaotic, crazy fun.  Only half of the ten kids could make it to St George this year, but since all of those kids have kids (and some of those kids have kids) you can imagine...there were a lot of people running around.

I am fairly certain that Ellie loved every second of it.  She loved getting all of that attention and stealing all the toys and convincing people to giving her chips 24 hours a day.  Seriously, I've never seen her eat that much of anything.  Ever.  Combined.

 Ellie with her cousin, Burton, and Grandma Devey

The weather was so perfect on Thanksgiving Day that we all went outside while dinner was cooking.

 Love all of these lovely ladies!

 And my cute family.

The (gargantuan amount of) food was all amazing, and we loved spending all of that time together.  And there may have been a Dr. Pepper run to Maverick that evening.  (I don't wanna talk about it.)

On Friday, Brigette's family drove in and all the girls made a craft...

While the boys got everything ready for the boat races...

Which Ellie loved for all of two seconds.

That attention span, I tell ya.

Then we made everyone get together for some family pictures...

 Here are the four Devey cousins born in 2013 (with their parents) (who are siblings) (but you'd probably already figured that out) (kthxbye)

And here are just a few of the Devey grandchildren.  (Seriously, just a few.)  At first I couldn't figure out why Seth and Heather were in this picture (since they're the same age as I am), but then it dawned on me.  Yep, they're grandchildren, too.  And their kids are great-grandchildren.  And Tim technically just shouldn't be in this picture. 

I love them.

 My sister-in-law, Ali, with two cute cousins

At the end of the night, Melissa and her husband Sam, Seth and his wife Heather, and Tim and I all went out for ice cream - without kids!  It was so fun.  And Ellie got to hang out with Grandma, so I bet you can guess just how much she missed us.  The only damper on the whole evening was when Brigette's family had to leave!

On Saturday, Tim and I got to go for a nice, long walk, followed by some Christmas shopping and eating at Jimmy John's, and finally a trip to Brigham Young's winter home.  I'd been there once as a teenager, but this trip was like going there for the first time.  My memory is terrible, so it was exciting all over again!  I love being in historic places.  Ellie, however, was not as thrilled and just wanted to go take all the ornaments off the dang "Kissmas Chee" (Christmas Tree).

That night, we all went to see the Christmas lights at the St George temple.

Unexpectedly, it turned out to be a very touching experience for me.  I carried Ellie over to the large Nativity scene and pointed out baby Jesus, thinking that would be the extent of her interest.  But as the lights came on and the music started and the narrator started talking, she sat motionless in my arms.  She was totally mesmerized the entire time.  Every few minutes, she would point and quietly whisper, "Beeby Jeesus," as if somehow she sensed just how important that little baby was.  Tears came to my eyes.  It was a quiet reminder that my sad heart desperately needed that day.

She spent the rest of the evening asking over and over to go see "Beeby Jeesus" again.

It was a great weekend and I can't wait to see everyone again!

Monday, November 24, 2014

remembering my miscarriage

[If you hadn't heard that I'd had a miscarriage, you can click here.]

I found out I was pregnant on September 15th. I was due May 24th. And I miscarried on Halloween.

I don't want to dwell on this forever.

I'll probably never stop thinking about it completely, but I also don't want to talk about it day in and day out.


There are a few things I'd like to remember.

Like this video of Tim finding out I was pregnant.  I told him that someone had left this box on our porch, and that I'd wanted to wait until he got home to open it.

It was a perfect moment in time.  I'm so grateful that I caught it on video.  He was so surprised and so happy.  And so was I.

Or the time Tim told his parents while we were all visiting his sister's house.  Tim was asked to say the prayer at the end of the night, and at the very end, he threw in, "And we're so grateful for the little baby growing in Katie's tummy."  They were all so excited.

Or the way I told my family.  I got a few M&M packets and attached this little note (with a few variations):

I sent some in the mail to my grandma, aunt, and uncle in California, and timed it so that they would receive the envelope the same day we arrived in Arizona to tell my family.  It was perfect.  Everyone was so happy.

Sometimes Ellie still points and my stomach and says, "Baby."  And it will be true again someday.

Whether I meet you in this life or the next, little one, you were loved.  You are loved.  And you won't ever be forgotten.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Halloween was the day that I miscarried.

I'd known it was going to happen for one week and one day.  It was on the 23rd of October that my doctor informed me that the ultrasound was showing no heartbeat.  I was supposed to be 9.5 weeks, but the baby was only measuring 7.5 weeks.

My baby hadn't been alive for two weeks.

I cried.

I cried every day.

But by the time I started miscarrying on October 31st, I'd accepted it.  I was almost relieved when the bleeding started because then at least I wouldn't have to wonder.

Tim decided to stay home that morning so he could take care of Ellie.  Knowing what I know now, I have a strong suspicion that he was being prompted to stay home, because I thought I would be fine.  I could take care of Ellie.  It wouldn't be a big deal.

And it wasn't a big deal.  That is, until I passed out in Tim's arms and then bled all over the floor.

"Katie, wake up.  Katie, should I call an ambulance?  Katie, wake up!"

I was annoyed by that voice.  Didn't the voice know that I just wanted to sleep?

By the time I was coherent enough to realize what had happened, Tim was already making preparations to take me to the hospital.  My friend, Brittney, was going to watch Ellie while Tim took me to the ER.  Ellie was already in the car.  Just before he took me to the car, Tim laid his hands on my head while I laid there on the kitchen floor.  He quickly and quietly promised me in the name of Jesus Christ that I would stay conscious until I got to the hospital.

And I did.

I was immediately taken to a room in the ER, where two nurses from labor and delivery took care of me until my OB arrived.  Right there in the ER, my doctor fixed, without anesthesia, what he called an "incomplete" miscarriage.  It was painful and awful, but it only lasted a couple of minutes.  Then the bleeding stopped.  I started to feel better.  Tim gathered my things as we prepared to go home.  I was happy at the prospect of not being in the hospital anymore.

Then came the nausea.  And then the warmth.  And, oh, I was so tired.  I just needed to sleep.  And I knew: it was happening all over again.  My vision blurred, and the next thing I knew a stern lady with long, curly hair was commanding me to wake up.

I heard Tim talking with the doctor and the nurses.  Was she in pain?  No, I don't think so.  Had she stood up?  No, she was just lying there.  I listened in shock as he told them I'd seized after passing out, and as they explained that it can be a normal reaction to such low blood pressure and a low heart rate.  The ER doctor left the room, saying he was going to call my OB again and ask what he wanted to do.

I was scared.  And I knew I'd scared Tim, too.  My eyes filled with tears when Tim walked in a few minutes later with Ellie in his arms.  I needed that.  I needed to see her.

Eventually, we were told that I would be admitted for the night for observation.  My OB came a couple of hours later.  I told him about how I'd passed out a few months earlier for the first time in my life, with all of the same symptoms.  The nausea.  The warmth.  The blurred vision.  He ordered a couple of tests with the promise that he'd come back and check on me in the morning.

Not long after my OB left, Tim's brother, Jeremy, and his wife, Alison, came to pick up Ellie for a few hours.  Before they left with my precious girl, Tim and Jeremy gave me another blessing.  I don't remember what it said, but I knew I'd be all right.

My eyes became misty with each picture Alison sent me.  I was so grateful that they'd found her a costume and taken her trick-or-treating with their family.  I knew she was in the best possible hands.

They even made mummies for dinner:

And oreo spiders:

Both of which were far more creative than anything I'd been planning.

Apparently Ellie and her cousin, Talon, were taking turns hugging each other and giggling.  Heart. Melted.

Alison said that Ellie didn't really understand trick-or-treating at first, but once she caught on, she was very enthusiastic, and would yell, "More candy!" after every house.

This next picture was taken after they knocked on a door and no one was home.  Ellie cried and kept asking for more candy.  Ha ha!  A girl after my own heart.

Ellie and Kenzie were best buds that night.

Alison said she went right to sleep as soon as she sat down after trick-or-treating.  All that fun can really wear a girl out!

Tim spent the night at our house with Ellie.  We knew I was in good hands, because I was literally the only patient in the labor and delivery ward.  Perks of being in a small hospital, I guess.  I had the nicest nurses ever, who kindly encouraged valium when I couldn't go back to sleep the second time I was woken up to take a pill.

Four hours later, I woke up and texted Tim that he and Ellie could drive over whenever they were ready.  Not fifteen minutes later, they showed up in my hospital room.  Contrary to my previous hospital experience, Ellie didn't want to touch me at all while I was hooked up to all those cords, but I was just happy to see her.

My OB came soon after and instructed me to see my GP (an internist by training) sometime in the next few days.  I hadn't actually lost enough blood to warrant passing out twice and the manner in which I'd done it.

I was tired.  I'm still tired.  It was an awful experience, and I still cry sometimes.  But I feel a little bit better every day.  And I can't help but be grateful in the midst of all of it.  I'm not grateful I had a miscarriage, but I'm grateful for the empathy I can have for others.  I'm grateful I had a week to deal with it emotionally before everything happened physically.  I'm grateful for modern medicine and the years of medical training housed within that hospital.  And I'm grateful Tim felt prompted to stay home to take care of Ellie for me that day, because I have no idea what would have happened without him.

I went to my GP yesterday.  I don't really understand everything that he said, but the fainting had something to do with my vagus nerve and needing to drink more water and eat more salt.  And hoping that it doesn't keep happening, because in that (hopefully very) unlikely event, my future could involve a pacemaker.  But even if it's something that continues to affect my life, at least it's not something life-threatening.

I worry that my pregnant friends will feel awkward around me now.  They shouldn't.  I might feel sad inside, but I am definitely not sad for them.  I am so happy for their opportunity.  And I know it will happen for me again, too.

I also worry that this will be seen as a cry for attention or sympathy.  It's not.  I am sad, but I know it's not the end of the world.  My world is beautiful, and it will always be beautiful because I have Tim and Ellie and the most wonderful friends and family.  I write this mainly because it's the only journal I have, and I want my daughters and granddaughters to be able to read it someday.

I want them to know that I know - no matter what - God is good.  He is, oh, so good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ellie update

It occurred to me recently that I haven't given many updates on my sweet Ellie as of late.

If I had to pick one adjective that described Ellie, it would overwhelmingly be the word "sweet."  She loves giving hugs and kisses, and she uses "hold me" and "hold you" interchangeably as pleas to be held [which happens a LOT throughout the day].  She loves cuddles, and asks for them often.  Within the last couple of weeks, she has started stringing together three word sentences.  Her favorites are currently:

"I did it!"
"I got it!"
"I sit dere!"
"Daddy at work."
"Mommy hold me."

The night before we went to her pediatrician a couple of weeks ago, Tim and I decided it would be fun to count how many words she knows, just off the top of our heads.  We came up with 180+, and she has learned many more since then.

She is still tiny, and at 19 pounds, 6 ounces, she is in less than the 3rd percentile, but luckily our doctor doesn't seem too concerned because "at least she keeps gaining weight on track."  She's 30 inches tall, which as I recall was in about the 20th percentile.

 At our church Halloween carnival.

[Tim is Facebook, in case you were wondering.] 

She has just recently started becoming possessive of her toys when other kids come over, and consequently has started throwing her first tantrums.  I'm almost scared to jinx it, because right now, "tantrums" consist of planking on the floor and burying her face into the carpet.  That's it.  No crying.  No screaming.  Just the silent treatment.

 At a pumpkin patch with my cousins and their kids.

All the kids waiting for the pig race.

Overall, Ellie is extremely easy-going wherever we happen to be - at home, at the store, at church, you name it.  She has her moments, of course, but by and large she is pretty content to just go with the flow.  And, in fact, she is in love with nursery, and asks to go the entire time we're in Sacrament.

She loves counting ["two, two, five, seven"] and singing the ABCs ["c, c, g, z"], and interjecting random words as we sing other songs.

The girl loves her stuffed animals and her blankies, but doesn't really have any particular attachment to any one - just a general love for all of them.

Ellie is my little buddy, my side-kick, my friend.  I get all teary-eyed when I think about how lucky I am to have her.  And I know Tim feels exactly the same way.