Friday, December 6, 2013

12/6/13: Thanksgiving Break...

So Thanksgiving break in California...It was a pretty crazy weekend because we had about 14 people over for Thanksgiving dinner which meant a lot of cooking and baking but with only Emma, Corinne, Dave, me and my parents.  Usually we have about 6 more helpers when everyone else is home.  But it was worth it because we ate so well!!

So the first day we got there was strictly business--dentist appointment, haircut appointment, and all the things I like to do at home.  Now, you have to understand that I never do anything to my hair.  Like, the craziest thing I've ever done is get highlights, and I only did it because my mom wanted me to try it.  I ended up not really liking it and as soon as I could, I tried to get it back to my natural color.  So my bangs have been exactly the same since I cut them like 8 years ago to the side.  But I was ready for a change, and didn't want to change my length, so I did bangs this time!  I love them, and I'm surprised how much it doesn't bug me that they're in my eyes all the time.  The things we sacrifice for beauty, right?

Sorry about the selfie <--, but I was the only one around and I HAD to instagram it.

It's tradition for my family to see a movie on Thanksgiving day or go to the beach.  Since it was a little bit cold this year (not for me, obviously, since it feels like it's 150 degrees like ALL the time...), we decided on seeing Philomena.  It was based on the true story of an English orphan who got pregnant as a teenager and was living with nuns so she was forced to give up her child.  Not only did they force her to put up her child for adoption, they made a business out of it by selling the children and convincing this girl that this was her punishment she needed in order to be forgiven for her sin of not being chaste.

It was pretty serious, but I absolutely loved it.  Judy Dench was the main character and she did awesome.  So funny.  I would highly recommend it if you're in the mood for a great movie, if a little bit sad.

Best part of Thanksgiving if we're being honest.  Artichoke Dip . Cranberry Salsa.  Chips and Guacamole.  Vegetables and Dip.  The works.

After the movie we came back and set the table (we were really proud of our hard work on our flower arrangements).  Usually Annie does the flowers, but she was missing so all of us did it together.  It worked out alright.  I guess you can decide for yourselves?

I don't have any pictures of the actual thanksgiving dinner, but it was delicious and we had Steve and Alicia and their kids as well as Grandma and Grandpa Penrod over.  We were all exhausted by the end of the night after cooking all day and doing dishes all night, but it was a good time with everyone.  

After dinner, the kids wanted to play Just Dance because Steve and Alicia's kids are little dancers!  They had a lot of fun and even Dave and my dad got up there and did it.  It was an 80's song that inspired them I think.  They got pretty into it (see above^^), and it was so funny to watch.  Sorry Dave!

The day after Thanksgiving we went to my grandparents' house to help them decorate for Christmas since my grandma's hand is in a cast after a recent surgery.  It was so fun to see all her decorations up close and get to ask her about where all of them came from.  

Decorating the tree was my favorite :)
This isn't a Christmas decoration, but it says "Instead of my Prince, I seem to attract
the short, dopey guys."  I just thought it was hilarious, haha.  

This is one of my grandma's nativities.  It's made completely out of rocks that this lady in Idaho collects and polishes and paints.  Isn't it awesome?!  My mom wants one so so so badly.  

My grandpa has had this saddle in his family room as long as I can remember.  I think I have pictures of me on it as a baby.  He used to ride horses and he loves this saddle--as do all of his children and grandchildren.  Since this was Dave's first time at their house he needed the inaugural saddle picture :)

On the way home from my grandparents' house, we stopped at the Cheesecake factory since we were all pretty hungry, and the cheesecake we got for dessert was fantastic!  It was a s'mores cheesecake!  What?!  Delicious.  

Then we had my 22nd birthday since I wouldn't be in California for December 4th.  My parents got me a pasta roller for home-made pasta!  I had asked for it because I've loved it since my cooking class last year.  I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I hope to ASAP.  

After Thanksgiving the week got a little more relaxing visiting friends and watching movies and doing puzzles like the one below :)

Then we headed back early Sunday morning and got home just in time to fall asleep and wake up in time for school in the morning.  It was a pretty good Thanksgiving all around :)

12/6/13: Heinz Time...

So my fifth grade teacher used to call the catch-up times in class "Heinz time".  Get it?  Ketchup time...? ha.  ha.  Well, I think it's funny.  The point is that this blog is going to be all over the place to get caught up.  Where to begin...?

We left off with me spending like 5 hours writing my thesis intro and lit. review.  It actually wasn't incredibly difficult--just tedious.  It took a long time to be make sure all my research has been thorough and my thesis makes sense conceptually within the different theories I'm using.  It's pretty amazing to have a draft of my thesis done in my first semester of grad school, so I'm not complaining.  It's awesome.  Today is the next section--my methods.  So after this class (which miraculously I'm attending...) I'll be spending the rest of my day in solitary confinement pumping that thing out since I haven't started and it's due tonight.  Yayy...

I have some people asking me about my pain since it's been a while since I updated.  The drug-induced menopause HAS HELPED immensely.  I went like 2 weeks with no pain meds at all and that's better than I expected!!  My pain has gotten SO much better which means it must actually be invisible endometriosis, despite our skepticism.  Because it's worked so well, I'm going to be getting my second shot today (the current one is wearing off since it's only a month's worth of medicine) which should last for 3 months.  Then I'll get one more 3 month dose and from there we'll either have to get pregnant or the endometriosis will most likely come back.  ...We'll cross that bridge when we get to it...

So I started seeing clients!!  I was pretty nervous for my very first client, but I feel like there's so much support in this program.  While I was waiting for my client to arrive, I was freaking out and there were some second-years in the room with me helping me relax, giving me ideas of what to do in the session, reassuring me, and basically, helping me feel like I can do this.  It was so nice :)  That first session was a little scattered and I felt like I was anxious and all over the place, but it's gotten better since then.  I've been able to keep my sessions slower and more focused and overall, I absolutely love it!  I'm glad because I've been really worried about my ability to empathize and I've found that it's coming easier than I thought.  I still have times where I just can not understand some of my clients, but that usually means there's just something I need to work through about my own beliefs and expectations of people.

I have a lot of clients (more than most people start out with) because I've asked the clinic to give me as many as possible in case I need to get pregnant for my second year.  I want to be as close to done with my thesis and my 500 hours as I can before that happens.  I'm sure you can understand why.  As bad as menopause is, I imagine pregnancy will be much worse.

So overall, seeing clients has been awesome.  I do feel slightly under qualified because I just feel like I have no idea what to do most of the time.  But it seems like just being there for the clients and letting them have someone who listens to and cares about them is pretty healing.  That's comforting, right?

After starting to see clients, we had Thanksgiving Break!  Hallelujah.  I was so ready for that.  This year is my family's turn for Christmas and the in-law's turn for Thanksgiving, but Dave's family lives on the east coast so we can't afford to fly out there--especially just for a day or two.  So we decided to drive down and be with my family since we didn't want to be alone on Thanksgiving.

I think I'm going to split this blog right here because Thanksgiving is a lot, and this is already pretty long.

 (to be continued....)

Friday, November 22, 2013

11/22/13: Gone Fishin'...

I wish I was gone fishing, that's Dave right now.  I'm actually sitting here in isolation in an office on campus attempting to write my first draft of my lit review for my thesis.  It's due tonight and I haven't started writing your regular Friday blogging program will return when said paper is finished.  Wish me luck!

Until then, please enjoy this little gem of a philosophy I'm choosing to live by right now in spite of being taught to rise above this temptation during my English undergrad years :)  What can I say?  Grad school is just a different ball game.  Sometimes mediocrity is all we can afford to achieve if we want our sanity to remain in tact!

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15/13: Menopause isn't all it's cracked up to be...

I don't know what to write about today.  It's been a boring week because I haven't been feeling great, but I'm bored in class, so I'm trying to come up with something to say.  What I really want to do is just advertise the show Chuck because it is so good.  Dave and I have spent wayy too much time staying up  too late watching too many episodes because we can't get enough.  It's a show that I don't hesitate to recommend (which is rare) because it's clean, clever, has action, romance, mystery, and some talented actors!  But even though I'm loving Chuck so much, I feel like my life probably shouldn't revolve around a TV show so I'm going to write about something else.

I got my Lupron shot last Friday after I blogged and it wasn't bad.  I actually didn't even feel the shot at all because the needle was so tiny.  And I got to babysit my nieces later that night so I didn't really have time for self-pity, which was great!  I didn't feel the effects until just a couple of days ago when I started to notice my body's temperature regulation being all wonky.  (Wonky?  Who uses that word?)  I haven't been sleeping too well because I wake up completely drenched in sweat and completely sweltering when it's only like 60 degrees.  It's ridiculous.  I don't understand why more women don't complain about hot flashes!  Every time I get one it feels like my body's punishing me...I've also been slightly irritable (understatement) since the medicine started to kick in.

Fun Example:

The other night I came out to the kitchen looking for my glass of water and I couldn't find it on the counter and I completely freaked.  I started accusing Dave, "Where's my glass?  I know you put it in the dishwasher!  You always put it away before I'm done!  I'm so tired of you cleaning up for me!"  He was so taken aback he just stammered a "I...I don't remember putting it away babe.  I'm sorry if I did, but I don't think I did..."  To which I replied "Well, who else did it Dave?!  No one else is in this house!!!!"

I then took one step to the left and spotted said glass half full of water on the table hiding behind one of the chairs...woops.  I shamefacedly apologized, "I'm sorry I freaked out.  I don't know what's wrong, that just made me so so so mad."  That was when I realized the medicine had kicked in.  I was totally crazy!  Poor Dave.  But at least we're aware of it now, so I'm pretty good at checking what I'm thinking before I let the word vomit fall out, haha.  

Aside:  My professor just said, "Holy Samolies!"  Um...what?

No pain relief so far from the medicine, but I see my first client today and another one on Monday so I'm kind of distracted!  I'm so excited and anxious!  I'll let you know how it goes, maybe.  We'll see :)

Also, you all should come to my UVMCO concert on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:00 I think.  It's going to be phenomenal.  It's sounding so great!!  I feel so lucky to be a part of this choir because I've learned so much, and it's been amazing to be part of such a high quality choir.  The Christmas music is absolutely beautiful and inspiring.  It's a little pricey, but worth every penny!  Link to tickets here :)

Also, our choir performed this past Sunday and it was so gorgeous!  We had Maddy play the harp and Emma play the viola for us to "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need".  The spirit was so strong and I was so impressed with how musical the choir sounded and how well we did with all the different parts.  The choir is starting to come together and blend well and come into their own new sound.  I'm totally loving it.  Choir has been such a blessing for me this semester.  I look forward to it every week and I love conducting such a fun, hard-working group :)  Hopefully we can keep it up for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Class is over, the end!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wrong Roads...

Wow.  I just watched a video from Elder Holland where he told a story that I so needed to hear.  Here's a link to it if you're interested.

His son and he were on a trip and they were turning back home when they came to a fork in the road.  Neither of them recognized it, so they prayed about which way to go.  They felt like the right road was the correct one to take, so they proceeded to go right and found a dead end.  It was clearly the wrong road.  They turned around and headed forward on the left side of the fork, which was clearly the right road.  

When his son asked him, "Dad, why did we both feel like the right road was the one we were supposed to take, when the left one was correct?", Elder Holland answered by saying, "I think the Lord was trying to reassure us of the right road, and the quickest way to do that was to let us go about 400 yards on the wrong road so we'd be certain that the left road was correct."

This so profoundly touched me because I feel like I've seen this application in mine and Dave's lives multiple times.  This is pretty personal, but I hope it's alright that I'm sharing this on here.  Dave was engaged to a girl before me for a long time (like a 2 year relationship experience total).  Things eventually didn't work out and he ended up having to break off the engagement.  Throughout the entire engagement, though, he felt incredibly strongly that he was doing the right thing by sticking with her.  It wasn't until the night before he ended the engagement that he felt peace about walking away.  I won't go into too much detail, but there were some problems with her family accepting him and some stuff about him being short and having a Psychology degree which wasn't secure enough for her or her family.  He was hoping she'd be able to work through the issues and have an open dialogue with her family so she could make her own decision, but she never could, and he didn't feel right waiting any longer after about 2 years.

He didn't meet me until a year or so later and I have been grateful since the day he met me for his experience with this previous engagement.  When I first heard about it, we were just friends and I thought, Wow, I could never marry someone knowing they were ready to marry someone else before me...  But surprisingly, this hasn't been the case at all.  This other girl and I are pretty similar in our interests, major, hobbies, etc, but I handle difficult situations very differently.

Dave wouldn't have appreciated the qualities and abilities I bring to our marriage half as much as he does if he hadn't watched her function so differently with them first.  He's always so vocal about how much he values me because he has this whole other life he almost walked into to compare it to.  He loves my family so much and is so grateful for their support and love of us because he dealt with an "in-law" situation where they didn't support him or their daughter in anything they tried to do.  And most of all, I think Heavenly Father led him down this "wrong road" for so long so that when the "right road" (that's me!) came along, it would hardly take any time at all for Dave to know it.  And that's how it happened.  Dave knew before I did that he wanted to marry me, and I think it's because he had the certainty that comes with traveling down a wrong road first.

I think for right now, my life is full of wrong roads.  (More like a complicated freeway rather than a simple backroad fork.)  I'm constantly chasing new ideas about what could be causing my chronic pain.  And I'm not just chasing; I'm fully driving down the road all the way to the dead end.  I've had surgeries, hormone treatments, physical therapy, and other procedures that have all left me wondering, why did I feel like these were the right things to do at the time, when they were so clearly wrong?  We're getting to a point now where there aren't many possible diagnoses left, and I think Elder Holland might be right that Heavenly Father is letting me travel down all these wrong roads right now while we don't have kids, life is pretty low-stress, and we can handle the expenses of everything so that when life gets more complicated, we can feel peace about a diagnosis and treatment for whatever this is.

Maybe this is just naive optimism again, but I'm personally choosing to cling to Elder Holland's possible explanation for this wild goose chase we've been living for the past year or so.  It gives me hope, patience, and peace that I'm doing the right things by listening to my intuition and guidance from the Spirit about my health plans--even when they turn out to be wrong.

Friday, November 8, 2013

11/8/13: Slow it Down Now...

We had a slower week this week.  Well, it wasn't going to be a slower week, but I kind of broke down this week and decided something needed to change.  I can't keep running a million miles an hour every day with this pain unless I want to seriously become addicted to strong pain meds.  So Dave helped me sort through the things I don't really need to be doing right now and how I can slow down from day-to-day so I leave myself some time to rest.  Overall, it was a better week and I feel like I have more energy than I normally do on Fridays, which is great!

Sorry, I forgot to take pictures, but we had my cohort over last Friday night and unfortunately about half of my cohort was sick so they couldn't make it.  It was fun to have the spouses and boyfriends of everyone who was able to come, though, and we had some delicious treats like peanut butter bars, artichoke dip, pumpkin pie, home-made hot chocolate, and more :)  It was really great to hang out with each other in a different setting from school and get to know the spouses as well (considering we all share stories about our marriages and relationships, but no one's had a very good picture of the relationships yet).  Dave and I have kind of been stuck in a place where no one is really our age or in our life situation in our ward and neighborhood, so it's been totally awesome to have peers we get along with, and I think the next 2 years will be really fun with everyone :).

On Saturday morning we had my date for which I picked seeing the Ender's Game movie.  Now, you have to understand my possessive feeling about Ender's Game.  Ever since I read it in elementary school I've felt like it was one of those books that should only be shared with those who would really appreciate it.  This sounds totally ivory tower-esque, but I just felt like I loved it so much that I didn't want people to read it who didn't deserve to read it, you know?  (I know, that's totally bratty)  I remember seeing this first book cover in elementary school and being so upset about it.  It just made the book look so juvenile and dumb.  I thought the only cover should have been the second, "spacey" one that I grew up on!

As I've gotten older, I've come to like the Ender's Shadow side of the series a lot more, but that didn't change how hesitant I was about Ender's Game being turned into a movie.  So, after that crazy set-up, aren't you soo anxious to hear what I thought??  Haha, just kidding, but I'll tell you anyway, even if you don't care.
Can you ever go wrong with Harrison Ford, really?
I thought it was alright.  It didn't ruin the book, which was a total win in my book.  But on it's own, I don't think the movie was all that great.  It felt totally plot driven and it just glossed over the intricate relationships between the kids in battle school which is what makes the book so compelling in my opinion.  Caveat: I didn't really like how they represented Bean, which sort of killed it for me.

So after the movie on Saturday, Dave spent the entire day raking leaves, mowing the lawn, laying down fertilizer, and other stuff outside that I wanted to help with, but was just too exhausted to pitch in with.  The lawn looked almost clear of all the leaves after about 3 hours or raking, mowing, and picking up, which Dave was so proud of.  But we woke up the next morning to a lawn covered in more leaves from our tree in the front yard.  My soul just hurt for Dave :(  It's a losing battle, really...

On Sunday I hadn't decided yet to slow down and stop trying to do everything 100%, so I was covering primary as well as doing choir and it was so much fun!  Our choir's performing this week on Sunday and it's one of my favorite pieces "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need", arr. by Mack Wilberg.  Maddie is accompanying us on the harp, and Emma's playing the viola with us.  It should be absolutely beautiful if we can just not get nervous and be able to do it like we've practiced.  I'm way excited and nervous.

Primary was a blast this week as well because 1) I miss those kids like nobody's business, and 2) all the primary presidency and teachers are being switched around right now, so I felt like a veteran in there!  We played Don't Eat Pete, and I was going to use skittles, but it was fast sunday (woops!), so I just played it with beads, but the kids still totally loved it.  They learned a new song with me "Thank Thee For Everything", which is so beautiful!  And so they got to play the game.  I think I'll do the same thing this week because it'll be easy for me, and because I can actually use skittles this time which is way more fun, right?
School this week was pretty mellow because I'd already gotten most of my projects done ahead of time.  We've now officially turned everything in for us to be approved to see clients.  Dr. Harper says we should start getting assigned clients next week!  Can you believe it?!  I'm so anxious to get started, I can't wait :)

So since school was low-key for both Dave and I, we decided to start a new show--Chuck--which is basically Dave's all-time favorite show, but I've never been able to watch it because it wasn't on Netflix until this last week.  Um, you guys, it is so so so so so good!  It's totally clean, clever, a perfect mis of humor and seriousness, and it's basically a mixture of everything I like about Big Bang Theory and White Collar without the bad!  We've watched wayy too many episodes, but I feel alright about it because I've been trying to take more time to mentally relax and physically recuperate this week.  Everyone should watch it if you haven't.  It's awesome.  

P.s. Dave told me it's totally a guy show, but I really love it,
so girls would like it too, I think!
We learned this week that Dave is getting sent to Chicago in two weeks for work!  Exciting, but it's the week before Thanksgiving, so that's just a lot of travel and kind of makes school hard :/  I'm not sure of all the details yet, but I think it'll be about 5 days that he'll be gone.  We'll see how that goes...haha.

This afternoon I'm going in to get a shot of Lupron from my doctor.  Lupron basically induces a temporary menopause in women to stop the production of hormones from the ovaries.  Ideally, this should stop my pain, but it does put me into menopause, so there's a pretty good chance (like 99%) that I'll experience hot flashes, memory lapses, intense mood swings, and other menopause-effects.  I've been hesitant to do this, but I feel like the pain is getting worse so I'm willing to do just about anything at this point to try to get the pain to stop.  Wish me luck!  I'm really praying I don't have too intense of side-effects because I'm about to start seeing clients, so yeah...self explanatory.   But I'm hopeful that this will help.  

So that wraps up our week!  We're excited for the BYU football game this weekend!  Thanks for reading :)  Oh, and also?  

This is not okay...
It's freezing!!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

11/1/13: Happy November!!

It's been a busy week around here at the Rackham household, and it's a miracle because I took pictures of almost everything, so I'll just jump right in!

Last Friday night our ward had their annual Fall Festival and Dave and I had to go.  It was a chili cookoff and we signed up for cornbread to make sure we'd be obligated to attend.  It was super cute and really fun!
Loved these cute costumes!

Amazing Iron Man home-made!!

Now, please allow me to explain why we absolutely had to go:  At the time of last year's Fall Festival Dave and I had been married for just 2 months and we didn't fully understand yet how important celebrating holidays was to me.  (Read: we had no idea that ditching the Fall Festival and forgoing normal Halloween traditions would result in uncontrollable sobbing by me later that night...)

So one of the biggest things I've learned about myself since being married is that holiday traditions are kind of a big deal to me.  (HUGE understatement.)  Unfortunately, Dave isn't nostalgic or sentimental about many things, and least of all holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.  But I'm incredibly nostalgic about holidays, and when they come around I want nothing more than to be with family, eat good food, sing Christmas carols, carve pumpkins, do fireworks, and whatever else the holiday tradition dictates.

We've slowly indoctrinated Dave into the excessive celebrations that come with marrying into the Penrod family and it's been getting easier and easier for him as time goes by.  I actually think Dave might start to be nostalgic about some things pretty soon here!

So, in the spirit of holiday traditions, we went to a full on pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins this year because I cried last year after just picking them out at Walmart.  And you know what?  I'm not even embarrassed about crying either, because picking out pumpkins from a pumpkin patch is so much more fun and it's something I want to do with our kids, too!
Heaviest pumpkin ever!!

Is this not the most perfectly shaped pumpkin
you've ever seen?!

So after finding the perfect pumpkins, we carved them with Russ and Annie on Monday night.  We usually go all out with the pumpkin carving in my family, but everyone was a little pressed for time and energy so both couples just did one pumpkin each.  Dave and I found an awesome mockingjay pin stencil for our pumpkin in the spirit of the new Hunger Games movie coming out soon!  It looks way better in the picture than it did in real life, but we'll pretend it was a success ;)

This was such a hit with our primary kids who
trick-or-treated to us, haha.  They love
Hunger Games!!
So this week was Dave's week to have a date and he wanted to go fishing (of course...).  I knew I wouldn't want to go come Saturday morning, so we invited one of the guys from my cohort, Micah, to come with us.  He likes to fish, but he's never had anyone to teach him how to fly fish.  We were nymphing which is a little different than the classic dry-fly fishing, but it was so much fun!!  It took a lot out of me and I completely crashed that night and felt like I was sick with something, but we caught like 8 fish!  

Overall, the trip was a success because I think we got Micah hooked (pun intended?).  He says he's a lot more motivated to make money now so he can buy some of his own gear.  And I actually really enjoyed it.  I thought it was super fun and I caught 4 of the fish, one 14 incher!  I'd go back out with Dave again because this was way better than any fly-fishing I've done before.  He was basically on cloud 9 that night because his wife enjoyed fly fishing with him!  He was filled with hope for a bright future ;)

Please disregard the crazy eyes, but look at that fish!!  
So those were the fun things that we did this week, and now onto the not-so-fun things about the week.  ...I had a nerve-block done on Tuesday up in Salt Lake.  It was basically an hour-long procedure where I lied down in a CT scanner and a couple of doctors stuck needles in my back and probed around to find the right nerves and injected a few things in hopes of shutting off the nerve temporarily.  

It wasn't as bad as I had thought it was going to be, but it was still really draining.  I blacked out in the middle of the procedure when they hit the nerve which they said was a first, haha.  Something about having needles stuck in me and moving around for an hour solid was just too much for me to handle.  

We were really hoping once they injected the anesthetic the pain would go away, but it didn't help.  I was definitely numb all along the nerve, but it didn't touch my regular pain :/  I was really heartbroken about it because I was hoping so badly that this would solve everything.  (naive optimism, in hindsight)  So now we aren't really sure what to do.  We're going to be a little more aggressive about attacking the endometriosis we think might be causing the pain, but we'll just have to do some more trial and error to see what works.  

School was tough this week because of the procedure.  I was just feeling overwhelmed, sad, hopeless, exhausted, and everything that sometimes comes with chronic pain.  But I have an amazingly supportive husband helping me through this and my entire cohort has been so thoughtful this week with asking me if I'm alright, how everything went, if they can do anything to help me, etc.  They've been sort of like angels.  So today I'm feeling more optimistic and hopeful that there's still a chance we could figure this all out.  

Tonight we're having my cohort over for a get-together with delicious fall treats and the classic Penrod artichoke dip!!  (Sometimes I think we like to host people just so we can have an excuse to make artichoke dip all the that bad?)

We're excited, and hopefully I won't forget to take pictures!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 25, 2013

10/25/13 Just Truckin'...

Sorry I missed blogging last week, I was in Portland with BYU at the AAMFT conference they sent us to.  And I've been playing catch up all week after getting close to no sleep, expending way more energy than I'm used to, and blowing off my homework at the conference.  But now I'm in class, and predictably, I'm less-than-interested in the lecture today, so I can finally catch up on the blog!

Pre-hike excitement/hesitations.
The view from the top!

So we left off with quite the cliffhanger about whether or not I'd be able to achieve my 5-year goal to hike the Y during homecoming week with the lights on it.  And guess what?  I DID IT!!!  Dave didn't let me get out of it when I complained that I was too tired to do it, and I'm so glad he pushed me.  The actual hike wasn't all that great of course, because the Y isn't too great of a hike to begin with, but once we got to the top, we were like the only ones there and it was so beautiful to see Provo at night :)

So that was my date I picked for last weekend and then we threw it back to our dating days and got hot chocolate at 7-eleven (best hot chocolate in the world!) and came home and watched one of our 7 shows we record every week.  Is that ridiculous??  In a matter of 2 weeks, 7 of our favorite shows started new seasons and literally every single show is on Thursday nights.  Glad we have a DVR!

So then that next Sunday the choir performed and it was fun!  We were missing about half of our regulars because it was Fall Break for our school districts, but I just really enjoy conducting and it was fun to have more people than usual up there.  The best part about performing was that now we get to start working on our Christmas program!!  Yay :)

At the start of the week, I went back to my doctor since my pain's been getting worse.  He spent some more time going over all my case notes from the past few years and doing more tests and things.  He actually thinks it might not just be endometriosis because the really acute pain isn't very typical for endo pain.  He thinks it might have to do with a trapped or irritated nerve.

Now, after doing my own research a few months ago, this is what I suggested to my previous doctors because it's really consistent with ALL of my symptoms, but I got nay-sayed and decided to just go ahead with the surgery anyway.  I am grateful I did the surgery because it was great to have a diagnosis and to minimize the general pain, but we think that by taking away some of the broad pain, this specific lower left pain has become more poignant because there's nothing to detract from it anymore.

I'll be going in on Tuesday for a nerve-block injection which will hopefully help with the pain symptoms, and if it works, it'll be diagnostic as well.  If it minimizes the pain we'll know this has more to do with the nerves than endometriosis and then from there we'll make a decision about our next step in treatment.  I'm anxious because I don't do well with needles at all (understatement of the century...), and especially not painful needles, which these nerve-blocks tend to be.  I think Dave's going to take some time off to come with me to Salt Lake when I get it done, and I just hope I'll be functional right afterwards because I don't really have time to slow down with life right now.

This is off google, but it literally looked like this...amazing!!
On Thursday of last week, I drove to Portland in a BYU van with 4 other people from my cohort and it was a blast, but a loooong drive.  Needless to say, we all know each other much better now, haha.  I think I'll do a whole separate post on Portland because it was really really great, but there's so much to say about it, and lots of pictures I want to put up :).  I don't think we could've gone at a more beautiful time.  The fall colors were just stunning!!

So that'll be another post, but I'll talk about what Dave did while I was gone.  It was my Dad's 50th birthday present to fly up to Utah and go fishing for a weekend in Wyoming with his sons.  Dave was stoked obviously because he loves fishing.  They got a guide and had the best day of fly fishing of their lives!  They caught fish that were basically 2 feet long and altogether I think they caught about 35 fish or something.  It was so fun to see Dave and my Dad so excited, carefree, and happy to be out doing what they love :)

He looks soo happy :)  And he had a bigger salmon too, but I think this fish
is that's the one that made the cut, haha.

Jeremy, Russ, and Dave...brrr!

Grinning from ear to ear!

And the man of the hour with his beautiful brown!!  (p.s. Don't miss his Mickey Mouse hat.)

So the trip was a great success, even though it was freezing cold, they told me.  Dave and I were grateful to be back together on Sunday night to kind of reconnect after being apart for a few days.  After catching up, we both buckled down and got to work catching up.  So this week has been a little bit crazy with too much homework and class time on top of being tired from our weekends.

I still absolutely love my program though.  Still can't wait to see clients!  And I'm getting closer to being able to I think.  Not because I think I'm ready as a therapist, but because I'm almost done with all the assignments that need to be done before I can be cleared to see clients.  It's been fun to start going to therapy for myself as part of the program.  Things I never even knew I needed help with I'm getting help with, it's been great!

I'm about to start exposure therapy to combat my arachnophobia and then eventually my phobia of needles too.  We're hoping if I can eliminate the fear of spiders I can eliminate the nightmares about them.  Wish me luck!  I get anxious and short of breath just thinking about it, but I'm ready to be done freaking out about bees, spiders, and needles.  I hope it works!

So overall, we're happy, healthy, and just truckin' through life right now.  Hopefully I'll get my post about Portland up soon before I forget everything :)  I'll keep you posted!  (pun intended...Dave would be proud...)

Friday, October 11, 2013

10/11/13 It's October Already??

Sorry I missed last week, my class was cancelled.  Is that terrible?  I only blog when this class meets...Oh well.  I feel okay about it :)  So the past two weeks...I'm trying to remember what happened.

Well, I can't remember all the specifics, but I realized I haven't written about UVMCO yet!  So the Utah Valley Millennial Choir Organization is a choir that meets every Thursday night in Provo for about 3 hours with about 250 of us in the adult choir.  My younger sisters did OCMCO (Orange County version) a few years ago and the quality of the music and singing was absolutely incredible.  I was so excited to hear that they were coming to Utah this year.
I think this is their Arizona Concert or something...
It costs $50 to participate, but it has been so so so worth it.  I've never participated in an actual professional choir so this was a really different experience for me.  I had to audition, and the music is super difficult.  We have to have it all memorized and there are like 10 pieces (mostly Handel's "Messiah" and other Christmas pieces).  I've learned so much about being an effective choir director and a better singer in general.  It's a lot of effort because sitting that long at the end of the day is close to torture for me, but the music and the Spirit I feel when I'm singing with everyone is just transcendent sometimes.  I love it!  Our concert is in Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake on December 3rd.

I met with my mentor--Dr. Larson--last week to nail down my thesis and it was awesome!  I think it was like an hour long meeting and we got my thesis way more specific and I have my proposal outlined already.  I'm ready to start my Lit. Review which is really the hardest part of your thesis so I'm hoping to be about 75% done before Christmas this year.  This is amazing because most people don't have their proposal until this time of their second year.  I'm hoping to get everything done as fast as possible in my program in case I need to get pregnant in my second year for health reasons.  I'm setting myself up for a slightly easier second year hopefully.  Wish me luck!

So Dave and I have implemented a new thing in our marriage.  We decided that we don't have enough leisure activities that we like to do together--mostly because his are all pretty active and I'm usually in pain and don't want to go out and do something very active, but he gets stir crazy just watching movies every weekend.  So we decided we'd work on this by having each of us get every other weekend to pick the activity we want to do and the other person has to do their best to be willing to do it with them.

So the first week of this was Dave's turn and he wanted to go to this year's Reel Rock Festival.  Basically, that's a DVD they play in a theater with all the awesome climbing stories from that last year.  It was actually our first date 2 years ago, so it was kinda fun to do it again this year.  Dave was really excited and had a blast getting to see all his climbing friends and getting inspired to get in shape for this year's ice-climbing season.
Can you tell he's thinking, "Please stop embarrassing
me...people can see this and we're already late!!"?
This weekend is my week to choose and it's really not fair because what I want to do is hike the Y which is totally active!  My weeks are supposed to be the ones where we stay home and relax, right?  But it's homecoming week, and they light up the Y on the mountain for homecoming week at BYU.  I've been trying for 5 years now to hike the Y while the lights are up on it, and hopefully tonight I can muster up the energy to do that.  I'll let you know how it goes.

So we had General Conference this week as well and it was so great because there was a lot about families, hope, and my favorite I think was someone who said that we needed to return to the simple, basic truths of the gospel and not try to intellectualize them to fit into today's philosophies.  I think I'm guilty of doing this a lot when I read the scriptures and it sometimes gets in the way of letting the spirit just influence me.  

We had a breakfast at Annie and Russ' for conference on Saturday and it was so fun.  All the in-laws were missing except for Russ, which was kind of fun because it was so different.  Breakfast was delicious, (see below) and it was fun to be at Annie and Russ' for a change!

The next day (Sunday), we had Lauren from my cohort over because her husband is traveling for work so she's been all alone in her house for 2 weeks.   Emma came over as well because she was just going to watch conference alone in her apartment.  We had Eggs Benedict and it was delicious!  My hollandaise sauce didn't curdle which was a miracle because every time we have company over I ruin it, haha.  It was fun to have Lauren and Emma over.  

I got a new iPhone because mine had spots in the camera...they just replaced my old one for me which was great.  It was looking a little worn (read: damaged from being dropped daily), so now I have a conveniently new shiny one again! On my way back I got to stop by Christi's and surprise Tori and Riley.  They were so excited to see me, they almost couldn't believe I was there because I met them at the Library.  It was so cute to read Riley books and then hang out with them at their house for a bit before I had class.  Those girls are little rays of sunshine in my life right now :).
Okay, now for an update on the mundane--school and pain.  School is going fantastically well.  I don't feel overwhelmed with the readings and homework because my cohort has split up all the readings and we all do summaries to help make things a little easier.  I'm usually done with my homework by the weekend, so my week nights are left open to observe sessions of therapy at the clinic and work on my thesis or research.  I'm already done with my observation hours that need to be done before I can see clients!!  Yay!

I am so so so excited to start seeing clients!  I'm nervous, of course, but I'm sure the best way for me to get better is to start doing it so I wish we would start right now, but we have about a month and a half left before we start seeing them.

I'm loving the things I'm learning, I feel like this program is already making me a better wife, friend, visiting teacher, and sister already.

Pain hasn't been so great lately.  My night terrors have gotten worse (possible because of the medication), and the pain is getting worse or staying stagnant.  Definitely not getting better.  I may go meet with my doctor again because he was hoping to see more improvement by now.  It's hard to be in pain all the time, but there's not much to do right now except ignore it and just do my best to get as much work done as fast as I can right now in case it gets worse or I have to get pregnant.  (Getting pregnant is a pretty solid treatment for endometriosis because it suppresses it and causes it to disappear for the most part)  I worry that it might not just be endometriosis, but I'm not sure really what I think it is right now.  I'm just confused and struggling with it right now.

Dave is having fun doing some things on the side right now with Russ and Jeremy working on a new site that they're all jazzed about.  They all meet on Thursdays at our house while I'm at choir and usually stay until about 11 or midnight.  It's fun to see him love working on something so much and watch him become a faster and better coder.

So that's pretty much it right now for us!  Next week is going to be fun because I'm going to a conference in Portland that BYU is sending us to, and Dave is going for a weekend fishing trip at the Green River with my Dad for my Dad's birthday.  Looking forward to that!