Wash that mouth out with soap!

Driving home from church yesterday, Kate offered up what she had learned in primary.
After the usual exchange, she finally said, "And I swore in church today."
"What?!?!" I yelped.
"Well, we were playing this game where we had to come up with a word starting with the next letter in the alphabet. I got the letter 'd'. The first word I thought of was 'darn it'. "

Thinking this was the end of the story, I let out a sigh of relief.
"Kate," I said, "'darn it' is not a bad word."
She replied, "Well, I didn't stop at 'darn it'. I kept going... " then she sheepishly looked at me and continued, "I said, 'damn' next."

I know that the proper response would have been to talk calmly and rationally. But I did not respond properly. My sweet daughter, who rarely rebels or even disobeys just cussed at church.
How was I supposed to respond?!
Rather than react in a calm and rational manner-
I burst out laughing...



After taking Kate to the films in the morning yesterday, we dropped her off with Ashley so we could attend the long awaited SHORTS!
Short films are my very favorite part of the festival. I love the poignancy. There is a short time to tell a big story. Plus the filmmakers don't do it for the money, as there is virtual no revenue accumulated from short films. The people involved do it because they are passionate about the subject and art.

Upon arriving at the venue, the line was pretty long already. I had hope we would get in, but not enough to be calm. The anxiety was mounting as each pass holder stepped in the theater. That was one less seat that would be available for the rush ticket holders. I had been waiting all year for this experience. Shorts are my ultimate favorite and I had hand picked this screening. An added bonus? Some filmmakers we met last year had another film in this set. I saw them milling around and was thrilled to be able to talk to them afterwards. I remembered their film from the previous year- which is a big deal. Because we saw so many films, I can't believe I could remember these guys, never mind what film they produced.

When I reached the ticket window, I paid our fee and was thrilled to have gotten in! Not so fast... they stopped us at the door to do a head count in the theater. After a tense few seconds, we were allowed in. Jimmy and I got the LAST TWO SEATS together in the theater. It was meant to be. Then, I looked over at Jimmy and he was ashen faced. Uh oh. I hoped against the inevitable. But in this case, my hope did not work magic. Jimmy was seriously sick. He asked if we could leave. Terrible wife that I was I said, "Can't you just sleep in the car?!"

After a death stare from my beloved, I agreed to leave. While Jimmy ran to the bathroom, I went to the box office to return our tickets. So sad. My sweet husband was in the restroom long enough for me to hear the laughter coming from the theater. I was crushed. Fortunately, there was a filmmaker out in the lobby with me who was too afraid to see the audience's reaction to his film. So we got to chat a bit and he gave me his email address so I could contact him. He offered to email my a copy of his film if I promised to keep it secret. Because his movie hadn't been at all the festivals yet, the film could not be distributed. It was so kind of him to offer. And now, I have a filmmakers personal email address!!! Let the stalking commence... just kidding, of course.
This man was so kind as to check on Jimmy periodically. Honestly, Jimmy was in the can so long that I could have probably just waited for him in the theater.
But I am devoted to my husband.
Jimmy and I left the theater crying- for different reasons, of course.
But maybe I can see the shorts next year...
Of course, they will have to allow nursing babies.
Maybe two years...


A famous person knows about my baby!

This is our third year at the NVFF.
And as always we LOVED it!!
This was the first year we took Kate with us.
The first film was a special film written by a young teenager named Rena who suffered a fatal disease.
She, unfortunately, did not live to see the film finished. But the cast and crew were very clear in stating that Rena was there for it all.
Before the film was a 'making of' documentary. It was just beautiful. And I of course cried like a baby the whole time. It was just so special. I was really touched by the spirit.
After the documentary, we watched Rena's film.
We then got the joy of a q&a with a cast member and the crew.
I was really inspired by the work that hundreds of people did so Rena could have her dream.
Also, we got to meet Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper in Twilight!
It's funny, because Jimmy actually talked to him longer than anyone else there. Jimmy talked to him about being a new father and told Jackson that I was expecting. He congratulated us both... maybe we should name the baby Jackson, hahaha!

It was neat to meet everyone and a cool experience for little Kate.

This is a picture of producer and founder of Make a Film Foundation and Rena's mom:
 This is a picture of the casting director (who was like an incredible angel with Kate) and the directors. The man on the right also directed the Austin Powers movies, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and a bunch of others I can't remember right now.
 Jackson Rathbone! He was so kind and actually very witty. He looked a little Johnny Depp-ish in person. Very down to earth and talked to Jimmy longer than anyone else!
 Me and Jackson- I was the last one with a picture before he was interviewed on tv. I was pretty excited and not too shy (or 'too cool') to ask for a picture.
 We found this adorable little walkway in Calistoga. So charming!

After these pictures, we went to another screening that was less than good... We had high hopes for the screening because of its content. But the sweet horse documentaries ended up with a propaganda film as the capstone. Plus, the venue was stifling and stinky. We scurried out of that place so fast, people must have thought there was a fire...


I LOVE Elder Holland!

I got a great video in the midst of our trials that really brought me peace. In fact, in all the condolences and love expressed- this clip was revisited at least three times a day. It helped me so very much in what was a very dark time. But now that things are different, I find that it has helped me just as much. Give it a try:


I tried to embed. but blogger doesn't allow it anymore- it's worth the extra click.


The benefits of having a big gap between children

The first thing Kate asked us when she found out we were expecting:

"How do you guys have time for that?!"

So I have a daughter that is well versed in all things birds and bees.
I am a little apprehensive that I will never be able to use the stork as an excuse...


Pleased as punch

When going into our appointment yesterday, I really expected the very worst.
I had actually geared myself up for how to grieve.
In a wonderful twist of fate, Jimmy was able to be with me at the appointment.
When the doctor came in to talk before my ultra sound he asked how I was feeling. Because he is a family friend I was honest with my disappointment. He responded, "You could be wrong..."
Then he started the exam.
We continued our conversation when in the height of vulnerability he said, "I read your blog"

Awww... great. I actually thought it was just par for the course. This is my life- feet up in stirrups, emotionally spent, seriously in the worst physical position and now my doctor knows my inner most thoughts. Niiice.

And then doc says in total amazement, "There's something there!"
To be honest, my first reaction was anger.
I know that sounds silly. But really what I thought was this, "Heavenly Father- this isn't funny. Stop tricking me. I am ready to say goodbye, why this little tease?!" Then, we saw the heartbeat and it really sunk in. Then it was just pure shock. Utter amazement. And I was- if you can believe it- speechless.

After our appointment we went to my in-laws to pick up Kate. She  hadn't returned from her big appointment in Vallejo yet, so we got to be just thrilled waiting for her.
When my mother-in-law and Kate walked in the door, we eagerly asked about her appointment and how the testing went.
Then when her update was done, she looked at us sorrowfully and asked, "How was your appointment, mom?" It was so sweet and tender. The evil parents that we are played off it a little.
We acted quiet and subdued and said, "The doctor was nice enough to give us a picture."
When we presented said picture she looked at me and said, "What is this?"
Now, as most of you know- ultra sound pictures are pretty hard to discern.
So we patiently explained all the parts with a final, "And this is the baby. You're going to be a big sister!!!"

She jumped up and down squealing with delight. We all hugged and cried. It was so sweet.
And then I spent the night calling family and friends with the fun news.
It really was so special. And although I didn't get to have the great reveal the way I had planned, I am still pleased at punch to share the happy news.



My thirtieth birthday was a roller coaster birthday- not because I was turning three-oh... no, something much more juvenile than that. You see, I thought everyone had forgotten my birthday. And so, the age old story goes. I spent the days leading up to my birthday feeling unloved and sorry for myself. My sadness got to a point where I was laying in bed just crying my heart out with Kate comforting me. What my sweet daughter and I didn't realize is that there was a party in the works. A big party. My friends and family were so good at keeping the secret that I had a mental breakdown- funny, right? Funny now- not so at the time. I truly was devastated. The hurt and pain was real. I lived the reality of people forgetting me. But coming into the room to see all those who loved me yell, "Surprise!" made the heartache melt.

You may wonder why I am writing about an event that happened a year and a half ago...

Because folks, I lived through it again.
I spent the last two weeks mourning a loss.
I have spent hours praying, reading and studying.
I have sought priesthood blessings and attended the temple.
I am being honest when I say I had totally submitted to God's will.

And then the doctor found a heartbeat.


Veteran's Day

This is an amazing post that my brother Kyle posted on Facebook. I just loved everything he said and I didn't want to mess it up with my wording.
"On the left is my Grandpa (Fletcher) Smith. His mother died when he was very young and the siblings were all separated to different family members then. My understanding is that he didn't see them very much, if at all growing up. He was in
the Army Air Corps during WWII, on a campaign that would take him through North Africa, and into Italy. This picture was taken in North Africa. The gentleman next to him is his Brother, who he hadn't seen since he was a child. Just by chance, in the middle of the chaos of war, on the other side of the planet, he found his brother, who had joined the Army.

Fighting for your country is full of it's challenges, but equal or greater to that are the bonds that are formed. My Grandpa literally made brotherly bonds there, and I did too in forms of friendships that will last a lifetime. For that, I am truly grateful."



Happy Birthday, Melissa!!!

This is Melissa, Jimmy's younger sister. She's amazing! Melissa and I were born the same year, so we both enjoy the same pop culture references... it's wonderful to share the love of boy bands with someone. Missy is a great mom. Her little ones are just adorable and she is expecting a third baby this Spring. I am so excited for her!

Melissa is a hard worker and so very thoughtful. She's one of the good ones that remember your birthday and call out of the blue to let you know she's thinking of you. Even though she is busy with her family, sweet Melissa always finds time to express her love to us.
I love you Missy Doodle, have a great day!!!


Working for it

Tonight we were invited to go to a 'Friends Giving' party. It's basically a potluck in which the host makes turkey and everyone else brings the sides. Because Jimmy and I are doing Great in 8, we were probably going to have to avoid a lot of the food. However, in the rules of Great in 8, if you do a big event (i.e. a big hike, race etc.), you get a free meal. So this morning, we set out on a big hike to counter balance the big meal.

The hike was hard. Very hard. But picture the movie 'Spaceballs'  when the characters are stranded in the desert and all are chanting an item that would be salvation. You know, "water...water..."

Well, that was me. Except, rather than water, oil or room service- I was chanting, "pumpkin pie... pumpkin pie..." Honestly, I thought about all the things I would be eating that night, but what really motivated me on the hike was pumpkin pie.

After we finally finished the hike, our family went home to get ready for the party. Jimmy and I dropped off Kate and then arrived at the host's home with our stuffing in hand. The dinner was great, the conversation was fantastic and all I could think of was pie. My legs were still sore from earlier in the day and I knew that pie would ease my pain.

When dessert rolled around, there were some beautiful things that looked delicious... but *gasp* NO pumpkin pie!!!! I toyed with the idea of just eating what was there and being happy. But honestly, the whole reason I hiked was for the pie. And so, Jimmy and I left early, went to the store, bought pumpkin pie and took it home to eat it. With extra whipped cream.

I suppose if you ever want me to come and party with you, just tell me you have pumpkin pie.


Happy Birthday, Tedi!!!

This is my awesome second mama with Kate:
Tedi and I first met when I was a teenager. Most teenagers are very difficult to get along with and I was no exception. We may have  had a rough patch to get through, but it was worth it. I respect this woman so very much. Tedi (a fun nickname, although I prefer mom) is a fantastic grandmother and the hardest worker I know. She is just amazing. I cannot get over how much things are done in her home because of all the hard work she puts forth. Mom truly knows how to make a house a home. I know that all she has done for me was always because she wanted what was best for me.
I am grateful for her example and I am so glad to call this fabulous lady family!
Happy Birthday!!!



Even though my heart is still broken from our recent news.
I am at peace.
I am sad beyond compare, but I feel no anger.
Which is saying a lot... because I got pretty angry.

I spent the day thinking and praying.
And watching tv about babies.
It's not that I was trying to torture myself- I just wanted to be happy for someone. I wanted to see the miracle of life somewhere. I know that might sound silly, but I feel like it is part of my healing process. I just want to feel whole again. I know that it will take more than a day of watching TLC, but I have a great desire to heal.

I attended the temple and got some great insight.
There has to be a reason for this sorrow. I know it.
I feel like there have been so many things leading up to this that have prepared me.
I still cry. A lot. But the force behind the tears is different.
There is a strength that is not my own fueling me.

I suppose the hardest part is just waiting for the next step.
It's time for me to make the decision of how to proceed. The options of miscarriage have a wide array. So, trying to decide is difficult. I never thought I would have to make a decision like this.
Even though it takes all that's in me to leave the house, I know I can do this. Well, I can't do this- but with Heavenly Father's help I can live through it. I learned that long ago from a woman who bore her testimony shortly after her husband had passed away from a brain tumor. She said from the pulpit, "I always think, 'I can't do this!' That's right. I can't do this.  I can't do this alone. But, I can get through anything with God's help." I cannot even tell you how many times her conviction in that moment has helped me. Those words are helping me now.

Friends, I would really appreciate the prayers. Please pray for our family.


As if we're not going through enough...

So, when it rains it pours, huh?!

Jimmy called me yesterday morning because his car had stalled on the way to work. Fortunately after some time, he was able to start it back up and get to work. Because I had plans to go to the temple in the afternoon, Jimmy was going to meet me at the equestrian center and take over with Kate while I went out of town.
Just following lessons, Jimmy and Kate went to deliver bread- and his car broke down again. This time, it was in the middle of an intersection. It took 20 minutes before someone finally stopped to help Jimmy push the car off to the side of the road.
In a strange twist of irony, this is the same intersection that just a few months ago a stranger had stalled out. Jimmy was driving and the light had turned red. So, he popped out, I climbed into the driver's seat and Jimmy helped push the stranger's car to the side of the road- in his suit (we were on our way to church). I just wish Jimmy's help was as timely as Jimmy was those few months ago :)

Anyway, after the car was pushed to the side of the road, my mother-in-law came to help Kate deliver the rest of the bread. We got the car towed to a local shop and waited for the news...

Of course the cost was ridiculous with a list of repairs still needing to get done.
And so, I suppose that we will be asking Santa for some serious change this Christmas.
Pity, I really wanted a puppy...


Okay, I'm ready

Here it is folks.
I am ready to answer the question of what the big deal is here in The House of Graham...

A week ago, I took a home pregnancy test that came out positive!!!
We have not been pregnant for TEN YEARS.
Because of the surprise, we were thrilled beyond capacity. Thrilled.
We had calendared all the timing and decided that we would wait until Christmas to tell our family. Because... how awesome would have been to:
give Kate a, "I'm going to be a big sister!" t-shirt and video tape her response
and then- have her wear the shirt under a sweater to our family gathering and video tape their response when she got too hot to wear that sweater- pretty fun, huh?! I had already started daydreaming of how everything would go...

We had the whole thing mapped out.
Jimmy and I were hiding a juicy secret and called each other at least a dozen times during the day to share our excitement. We spoke in code at dinner so Kate would have no idea what was going on. I immediately made my first prenatal appointment. I swear, there was skip in my step.

The night before our scheduled appointment was the ward Halloween party.
The party where my ob/gyn was in attendance.
He was greeting people at the door and said, "You look so skinny!"
I responded with a "Thanks!" and then a whisper, "but not for long! See you tomorrow."
He got a huge smile on his face and I was so happy to finally tell someone the secret we had held in for a whole two days.

Then, when I went to the doctor, I acted a fool! I told anyone and everyone at the office who would listen that I had waited ten long years for this moment. I was like a giddy little school girl.

The pregnancy test at the dr. office came back positive and we proceeded with the appointment. When the doctor wheeled out the ultra sound machine, I was beaming.
Then, when the picture showed up on the screen, my face dropped.
There was nothing there.
It was an empty sac.
I know that my doctor is good at masking his emotions, but I didn't mistake his initial response.
This was not a viable pregnancy.

When I got dressed and met the doctor in his office, I was still too shocked to be upset.
We looked at the calendar and tried to find a reason for the ultra sound.
But, I knew deep down that there was something wrong.
Fortunately, the doctor stayed positive and scheduled another appointment for next week in hopes that something will show up on that ultra sound.

I am glad he has some hope, but I have to say- mine is dashed.
I mostly knew that something was wrong because as the doctor was out of the room getting the ultra sound machine, I said a little prayer with these words, "If something is wrong, please let me get through it."
When I uttered those words, I knew that I was being prepared for something. Something abnormal.

I just wonder...
why after going through the trial of being unable to conceive for TEN years would we be given this trial?
Why couldn't Heavenly Father just given us this baby?
Or at least not given us something and then taken it away so quickly?
I got to be thrilled for a whopping 36 hours.
It seems so unfair.

I know that everything happens for a reason and that one truth is the only thing really getting me through this right now. And tons of prayer, scripture study, priesthood blessings... you know, the good stuff.

That day was Halloween. Following my appointment, I had a few minutes to pull it together. Then I went to Kate's school for the parade, the party, the treats. You know, all these things to celebrate. I can't even tell you how excruciating it was for me to be there. Then the night is jam packed with stuff too. There was now a sad secret in place of the exciting one. It feels the same. Emotion, just under the surface- itching to get out. But this new emotion was destructive. Gosh, I couldn't even find this news out on a day when I could curl up in a ball and cry it up?

Being in public that night was the hardest thing I think I've ever done. Keeping it all in in was just...
But I did it.
I survived.
And I will continue to press forward.
Next week, I am not sure how I will handle the final appointment.
But I don't have to know that now.
For now, I am just taking things one minute at a time.


Oh Jimmy...

This morning, as we were getting ready for the day, I had mentioned that I was planning on getting some laundry done.
Sweet Jimmy said, "Remember to clean out the lint trap"
Remember to clean out the lint trap?!
Seriously, how long have I been doing laundry?!?!

I actually thought the very innocent reminder was so silly that I actually harrumphed.
I swear, I did.
Then I looked at my darling and said exactly what I was thinking.
Jimmy was just so kind in responding, "I just wanted you to remember!"

Well friends, in the House of Graham, I am never the one who needs reminding.
Far from it. That is why this morning the statement was so out of place...
Especially when we all piled in the car to leave and I had to remind Jimmy to get his lunch. The lunch that was sitting by the front door. The lunch that I put in such a place that my husband had to step over it to get outside and into the car.

And then, when I dropped him off at work, the lunch that was sitting on his lap mysteriously was left in the car. Which I noticed and went back to his work to drop it off. In which, I had to call him from my cell phone because Jimmy didn't realize he left it in the car...

And that is why Jimmy reminding me to clean out the lint trap was such an odd request...


The Mask

Today at church, I had so much turmoil...
not because of what anyone said or did- just because things have been really tricky lately.
I am sure I looked happy to be there, which I was.
But when people see me happy to be there, I bet they assume everything is great.
Do you ever feel like going out in public causes so much energy?
Because the pain/sorrow/anguish are just so close to the surface.
I always avoid people that know me well when I am in this sensitive state because I know the moment they say, "How are you doing today?", I will just break down in tears and sob on their shoulder.

Today, I wore the mask.
The mask of contentment.
The mask of happy.
The mask that everything is going just fine.
But everything is not fine.
I am a mess.

Why do I do this? Why does anybody?
Am I so afraid of someone actually caring?
I think the real reason I put on the mask is so I don't inconvenience people or make them feel bad or even pity for me. But what I need to realize is that church is the one place I should go mask-free. Those people love me. They genuinely care for me. If I had a friend in the same situation, I know I would drop whatever I was doing to help them, to hold them. In fact, I can think of more than one occasion that I have had the fortune to help. And I did not feel put out. In fact, I had a great love in my heart and was able to be strong and try my best to follow promptings to help.

I promise the cryptic manner of this post will be answered in due time. In fact, I feel a real prompting to share my struggles... but I am not quite ready. I am working on it, but the pain is so fresh that I need time to process.


Boys will be boys

After my fabulous new haircut, I had received so many compliments. My stylist is a dear friend (friend first, stylist second) and I trust her immensely. Whenever she cuts my hair, I give no direction, just tell her to do what she wants. Best decision ever. She is good, folks.

When my friend asked if I would like an asymmetrical cut, I was totally agreeable. And that trust paid off. Check out my hair:
This is the only picture I have right now, but I LOVE it!
At church last Sunday, I was pretty jazzed to show off my new cut, when I heard two old men grumbling behind me. Then I heard this, "Looks like your barber was drunk when he cut your hair!"
WHAT?! I turned around at their chuckling and gave them a look.
Then one continued, "It's not even!"
"It's asymmetrical- it's supposed to be like that!" I shot back.
Seriously, the conversation sounded like a school yard, not a chapel.
All that transpired was actually funny and I was not offended by their remarks. I actually thought it was more funny than anything. Out of all thing said of my hair, I know I will continue to trust my stylist. She's rad.



I love that November has become a widely used reason to post musings of gratitude on various social media sites.
I don't think it's an accident that the world spends a month in gratitude in preparation for a month celebrating Christ's birth.
I love this season.
The celebration season.
I love to turn on the fire, drink warm drinks and listen to sentimental music.
There is almost a rebirth to my soul in this season- A renewed faith in humankind and hope for a better world.
Wishing you and yours all the insight and perspective to truly feel grateful.