Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mom and Dad Go On A Date

Author: Adam Turney

It has been wonderful having my dad home from Iraq. Everyone in the family has loved the joy of seeing his happy face around the house and now we are all able to relax knowing that he is home safe.

Within a week of arriving home he has an exciting couple of weeks planned. First my mom and dad stopped in Las Vegas to stay with us (mostly to see Hannah) and go see the "Donny & Marie Osmond" show. Then they will drive up to Utah to attend 3 sessions of General Conference, and then to Park City for a week of skiing and relaxing.

Since attending the Donny & Marie show was going to be their first date in over a year I felt like it should be an extra special experience. I felt like they deserved more than being able to sit and watch Donny and Marie sing and dance on stage. I contacted the Harrah's company and asked them for a special favor. I explained that my father had just returned from being stationed in Iraq for a year and going to the show was going to be their first date since he left. I asked if they could do something special to recognize the sacrifice that he made to serve our country. I did not get a response to my email so I figured nothing was going to happen. Boy was I wrong.

My parents purchased floor tickets (a good view and expensive, but nothing too fancy) but were directed to a seat at the very front, right next to the stage. They were handed VIP laminate passes and instructed that they needed to remain in their seats after the show so they could go with a group to the Meet & Greet. They were confused because they purchased floor seats but they were being showered with all this extra attention. They absolutely loved the experience and were able to get high fives from Donny as he sang and came near their seats. After the show they followed the group and went backstage, met Donny and Marie, and had their photos taken.

It made my day to know that I was able to do something special for my parents. I love seeing them being able to live one of their dreams. My mom said that this experience allowed her to check another item off of her "bucket list." They even brought me an autographed photo of Marie Osmond that I will have to put somewhere special.

This was a great way to start their vacation and a memory I am sure they will not soon forget. I am glad I could be part of it.

March Pictures

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: One Child

I literally finished this book thirty seconds ago. While the tears continue spilling I know I have to put my feelings into words as I reflect on this incredibly emotional, life changing book. One Child was written 30 years ago by Torey Hayden. It is the true story of Torey, the teacher, and Sheila, the child.

The book begins with Torey reading a newspaper article about a six year old girl that had abducted, bound, and set fire to a three year old boy who survived but would never be the same. Little did she know that this six year old child would be in her special needs classroom in a months time while awaiting her court ordered hospital commitment.

Sheila enters the classroom and within the first day shows her anger and resistance to authority. During lunch, she captures the classroom goldfish one by one and gouges their eyes out with a pencil, then drops them on the floor to wriggle and die in front of 8 other severely handicapped, and mentally disturbed children. All hell breaks loose and with the other children screaming, Sheila bolts for the door. Torey ends up barricading her in the gym. They stare each other down until Sheila trusts that Torey won't beat her, and goes back to the classroom. Thus entering into an enduring relationship.

Torey is one of the most incredible examples of Christlike love I've ever read about. Sheila, who lives in a one room shack with her father, wears the same clothes every day and night, wets the bed, never bathes, and still, Torey scoops her up and holds the dirty, soiled child and offers her the first affection of her life. Torey becomes a mother figure to Sheila (who had been abandoned by her mother at age four, by being shoved out the door onto the highway). Torey recognizes a spark of genius within Sheila and she ends up testing her IQ which results concluded was 182, true genius.

The pain that Sheila goes through will break your heart, and also, the small bits of JOY will break your heart. Last night when I had concluded reading for the evening, although I am often in tears when I read, I did something I'd never done before. I went into Hannah's room, scooped her sleeping body up in my arms, and sobbed for a half hour. I promised her that I would never abandon her, that her daddy would never abandon her, that she would never have to worry about being too cold, or too hungry, that she would always know that we loved her no matter what and that no matter what she would know that she was a child of God.

Another part of the book that made me cry was Anton. Anton was a 29 year old migrant worker who spoke more Spanish than English who was assigned to be Torey's aid. She was fearful that this high school drop out who had never worked with children other than his own two boys would fail to accept the challenge of these children. Anton ends up being an angel who provided much support to Torey and each of the children in the class. At one point, he tells Torey in front of his beaming wife and sons that one day he was going to get his GED, then he would go to college and become a teacher. Torey smiles but realizes that this dream would probably never really come to fruition. After all, he too lived in a one room shack with his family who was barley surviving. He didn't understand the cost and the time that goes into an education.

As I researched 'where they are now' I came across this little quip about Anton: Anton is now in his early fifties. He is married and father of two grown sons. He gained first a bachelor's degree in education and latterly a master's degree in special education with emphasis on mental handicap. Anton has recently celebrated his 20th year of teaching. He currently lives in California where he works in a special education program for Hispanic migrant children.

Oh how that touched me to know that he achieved his goal. How shamed I felt to know that his greatest dream was my reality and that so often I take it for granted that both Adam and I were able to get our educations.

This book left me extremely raw. The abuse that Sheila goes through both mentally, physically, and sexually makes it hard to recommend this book to just anyone. I would recommend it to any teacher, at any stage of their career. It is beautiful. It is Ugly. Mostly it is HONEST and REAL and I think that is what I found so humanly beautiful. It reminded me that we all go through pain, some pain runs deeper than anyone can comprehend. It reminded me that everyone needs love and affection and touching.

In case you were wondering about Sheila this is what I found out from Torey's blog:

Sheila is now in her thirties. She has moved from fast food into the restaurant business and seems to have quite an astute business mind. She remains single and shares her home with two dogs and two cats. Animal rights has become an important cause in her life and she devotes a considerable amount of free time to this work.

Sheila was asked to contribute a word to this page but she has declined. Her privacy is very important to her and she feels that she wants to do nothing to jeopardize her current life. However, she does extend greetings to everyone and thanks them for their interest and says to tell everyone she is now happy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pregnancy #2 a TMI post =)

Last night I was contemplating pregnancy and how each one is unique like each child. It has been interesting going through a second pregnancy and watching those changes occur.

It is mostly the same. Like Hannah, we were lucky enough to get pregnant right away, no months of lingering suspense. I was riddled with morning sickness and I popped out further than I think a normal pregnant woman should look at any given time haha. Other than that it has been interesting to note the changes.

First of all, the first month I was SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPER win an Oscar for the best bi-polar actress award. I was all over the place which was way different than with Hannah when I felt like nothing could make me cry. The first month was the worst but I get really emotional over everything now, and even cried when I read a description of a blond haired blue eyed girl in a book because I was thinking about my dear child.

The morning sickness felt worse this time. I don't know if it was just because I forgot how it felt the first time (thus, I got pregnant again...if I had remembered I probably wouldn't have). Smells were worse and I can't even talk about certain memories because even now I feel my stomach churn trying not to think about what I can't think about lol. The happy news was that the brunt of it ended MUCH sooner. I was expecting to feel that 'face-in-the-toilet' feeling for at least another month, and although I still throw up it is few and far between.

I have been getting splitting headaches! I wake up with them, I go to sleep with them....I know that many women get headaches the second trimester but I never did with Hannah so it is different but you know what? ANYTHING is better than the blasted morning sickness.

My spine hurts. That happened much sooner than last time.

I look like I did at 6 months pregnant but I am only 4 months pregnant.

I felt the baby move much sooner. It always puts a smile on my face.

I am more grateful and excited for welcoming a new baby this time because I know all the joy it brings.

I am more anxious and dreading labor pains because I know how excruciating they are.

I feel like it is a girl. At first in my mind it was a boy but now I feel like it is our P.L.T. coming to join the family. Last time although I was very diplomatic and insisting that I didn't care either way what I was having I really wanted a girl so bad. This time I am honestly telling the truth when I say I don't care either way because if I have a boy then the pressure is off, I have both genders, I have a new experience and I am happy, if it is a girl I am ready for that, plus Hannah will get a little sister and I remember what it felt like to get a little sister, it was one of the happiest moments in my life.

All in all, pregnancy is pregnancy. I have it pretty easy as far as it all goes. I'm happy to be pregnant (I cannot say that for the life of me while I am going through morning sickness) and I am happy to be 16 weeks along and not 13 or 9...although I still have five months left the best is yet to come and I'll enjoy every moment!

Friday, March 25, 2011


It has been proposed that next year in Nevada teachers will lose 8 percent of their salary, there will be a freeze on all future pay increases for experience and educational advancement, and teacher will have to pay up to 6 percent more into their retirement/insurance benefits. Not only that, but nearly 2,000 teachers will lose their jobs.

Perfect timing...since we have a baby on the way and Adam is just completing his degree which will allow him to move up on the pay scale.

Lots of people are happy about it. One commenter who called themselves "taxpayer" said " Yay! We get to fire 2000 overpaid teachers!" Last I checked I'm a taxpayer too...People are complaining that taxes should not be raised to compensate for the budget crisis in Nevada, and are more than happy to use the teachers as the state's ATM...but wouldn't a small increase in taxes benefit the quality of life? Last I checked, it is NOT beneficial for Nevadans to send their 4th graders to a class of 40, and class size increase is just one of the many cuts that will be made within the classroom including a 25 percent cut in supplies (hello, they are already skimping on supplies).

I just feel tired reading about all this. I don't know what our future holds. This is not the first time our salary has been cut, in fact, each year cuts are made and we lose.

We just have to have faith and continue to work hard and do what we know Heavenly Father wants us to do. Then at least if we don't have money, we'll have peace :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You know what's great?

Getting a THOUSAND DOLLARS in the mail!

Yep, I opened an envelope from UNLV expecting it to be a bill for Adam's upcoming semester. I looked into it and it turns out Adam qualified for the graduate scholarship entitling him to a refund of a thousand dollars. Great Job Adam!

So today, (or once the check clears) we can pay off the remaining balance of Adam's tuition for this semester (and next semester is taken care of) woohoo!

I do feel a little emotional and overwhelmed considering after 10 years of higher education (and my five) We will be making our LAST payment soon! At least for a good ten years :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Books again.

On Friday I read a book called Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosney and today I read a book called Night by Elie Wiesel. Both are books about the Holocaust.

I usually read about three or four books a year about WWII and this year I've already read three. The first told of the sacrifice of a family in America, the second was a story of a young French Jew who was evacuated to a concentration camp and Night is the true account of Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor.

I wasn't planning on reading Night but my friend let me borrow it last night and so I decided to give it a try and couldn't put it down. Although these books deal with much sorrow and heavy subject matter, I also find a lot of beauty in them. Elie describes a meeting with a young Jewish reporter who was also interned at a concentration camp. This young man talked about how he no longer believed in God, that part of his soul had died and God died along with it. Elie writes:

"And I who believe that God is love, what answer was there to give my young interlocutor whose dark eyes still held the reflection of the angelic sadness that had appeared one day on the face of a hanged child? What did I say to him? Did I speak to him of that other Jew, this crucified brother who perhaps resembled him and whose cross conquered the world? Did I explain to him that what had been a stumbling block for his faith had become a cornerstone for mine? And that the connection between the cross and human suffering remains in my view, the key to the unfathomable mystery in which the faith of his childhood was lost? ....The Jewish nation has been resurrected from among it's thousands of dead. It is they who have given it new life...All is grace. If the Almighty is the Almighty, the last word for each of us belongs to Him. That is what I should have said to the Jewish child. But all I could do was embrace him and weep."

A little off subject. I watched the movie Devil last week with Adam and the last line of the movie really struck me. I thought about it as I read these two books and thought about the evil that exists in the hearts of men. I keep thinking of the last line from the movie Devil: "After my mother would finish her story, she would always comfort us. "Don't worry," she'd say. "If the Devil is real, then God must be real, too."

I will be finishing The House of Riverton this week and hopefully getting at least a bigger dent in Les Miserables--boy I'm reading real bright books =)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Angels kept my baby safe today

I don't even know how to start this post. I had such a traumatizing experience today that I don't think I can fully comprehend the situation yet.

Today we went to the park like we do every Wednesday. We got there pretty early and my friends had not arrived yet. It was just me, Hannah, and a dad with his two little boys. Hannah likes to walk up the steps and look at the swimming pool water. I was watching her, and I had a random mom thought. I wondered, if she was able to slip under the gate somehow I wouldn't be able to reach her because all the gates are locked (the pool is closed until June). I thought that I'd just have to climb over the fence and hope that my other baby would be safe inside me as I jumped over.

Hannah was walking in the bushes along the fence and I was at the other end of the park watching her walk. My view wasn't perfect but I could see her well enough. Suddenly, it looked like she was swinging to the other side. I realized that the always locked gate was shutting behind her and I was on my feet running as fast as I could.

Unfortunately, Hannah shut the gate behind her and it latched locked as it should have been in the first place. I was screaming for her to stay by the gate but she was just drawn to the water. I was shaking the gate trying to get it open, yelling at Hannah to come back to the gate. Adrenaline kicked in and flip flop wearing, 15 week pregnant me somehow climbed up over the fence.

In the picture you can see a little concrete wall that I used to boost myself up, then I swung my leg over. the top and jumped down. The dad who was at the park was already ready to jump over in case he was needed but my instincts kicked in and I went flying over that fence and got to Hannah who was squatting on the edge of the pool.

My whole body felt numb. The whole thing felt like a nightmare--my child was in danger and there was nobody with access to her. I was separated by a locked gate and for a split second I felt helpless as I shook the gate and realized that I could not reach my child who was heading for danger.

Luckily, my friend Jen was getting to the park with her boys, she heard me yelling for Hannah and went right over by the pool and I was able to hand Hannah over to her (to safety!) and then climb over again (although it took me a minute to figure out how I was going to get back over).

I think I'm still in shock because I didn't cry until about an hour later and even now my heart is racing and I think I need to just calm down and say a prayer of gratitude for the angels watching out for my baby who helped carry me over that fence.

P.S. the clubhouse was made aware of the situation by both me and Jen and I will be checking the gates each time I go to the park now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sad Day for Mommy :(

Every mother watches their child hit certain milestones, and every milestone is incredible; however, some milestones rub you raw and bring tears to your eyes. The end of an era, the end of a certain aspect of babyhood or toddlerhood that means your child is growing up. Today I had one of those moments.

I threw away her binkies.

Day one. Grandma forces the binkie =)

Hannah was given a binkie in the hospital and like most new babies she'd suck on it for a few minutes before it worked it's way out of her mouth. My mom was determined to make her a "binkie baby" because "binkie babies are so much more pleasant and easier to sooth." Every time that binkie came out, my mom was right there sticking it back in. Pretty soon when she wasn't eating, a binkie was in her mouth. My mom was right. I don't know if it was because she was such an easy going baby anyway but Hannah never cried. She wouldn't even fuss when her binkie came out. When we'd go on long road trips Hannah never fussed once. We drove from Las Vegas to Utah to Idaho back to Utah and back to Vegas in an 8 day period and she didn't make one sound (at five months). Her first long road trip to California she was 5 weeks old and only cried for 15 minutes in a six hour car ride. The binkie was magical.

We would laugh when she started to crawl and her binkie would pop out and rather than pick it up with her hands she'd dive bomb face first onto her binkie. We would laugh as she got older and wiser and would carry around her red binkie and her green binkie, just so she had options (and she'd switch them out).

I was so grateful for her binkie when she was in surgery. I held onto it (along with her favorite stuffed bear) the whole time, worried about her until I could finally hold her. As you can see from this picture, we took her home and laid her on the couch with her two binkies (you can see the red one poking out from her hand).

Every day of her life for 18 months she had her binkies. Of course we got to the point where she would only use them at night time but with another baby coming I knew it was time for her to give them up. I figured she would put up a major fuss.

One night I just didn't give them to her. She asked for them and I said "nope, big girls don't get binkies." She fussed a tiny bit before falling asleep. The next night it was the same thing. She asked I said no.

She has had them a few times in the last several weeks, but for the most part, she doesn't ask. Today she saw the pile of binkies that I was preparing to throw away and asked for them again. I said "big girls who do puzzles don't need binkies," which has become my favorite saying and she accepts that.

Then she went down for a nap and I threw them away.

And I cried.

I think I need a binkie =)

(This is the last picture of her with her binkie that I took, right before we switched to only night time binkies. I think it is the accessory that makes the picture perfect.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

What the bleep?!

We put Hannah down for an afternoon nap on Sunday. Thirty minutes later we hear a crash. We went upstairs to find this.

We always knew Hannah was a climber. At 6 months she tried to climb out of her crib. At 7 months she was climbing up and down stairs by herself. At 8 months, the little monkey was pushing books and boxes up to things to try and get a leg up. At 9 months she could put her little fingers into the holes at the playground and pull herself all the way up the play ground and go down the slide. At 11 months she successfully climbed out of her crib, so we lowered it. She did it again so we lowered it again. What I'd like to know is...


Notice that all her toys are piled in one corner to aid in her escape...and apparently Buzz and Woody didn't make the jump. child.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We All Fall Down

The Royal Treatment =)

I forgot to mention in my post about the Dr. Office visit that while I'm having my check up, Hannah was sitting in the chair next to me watching Beauty and the Beast. I had the following conversation with the Doctor:

D.H. "We love Beauty and the Beast at our house"
Me: "We do too, it's one of my favorites!"
D.H. "Belle is actually a patient of mine."
Me: "Hahaha oh yeah?" (At this point I have no idea what he means)
D.H. "Yep, her name is Paige O'Hara and her insurance card has Mickey Mouse all over it. She is older now and actually staring in Menopause the Musical down on the strip. She's lived in town for quite a few years.
Me: "What? Seriously?"

So that is as close to a princess as I think I'll ever get. I'm happy to know that Belle's Royal Doctor is my Doctor as well. It makes me think I'm in good hands =) Actually I knew that before...I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE my Doctor.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Crazy hair day at school...also it's our temple date night tonight...he better fix it before then.

"Hi Baby"

Hannah is already a great big sister. She is always kissing and patting my tummy and asking about baby.

Today we went in for a check up and had a little scare. The Dr. couldn't find a heart beat so he had to do an ultrasound to check what was going on in there.

Everything was fine. The little bean jumped and wiggled and moved the whole time. At one point he/she was waving their arms around and the Dr. said "look Hannah, the baby is saying hi to you," Hannah, who had been mesmerized as the Dr. pointed out the babies toes, eyes, arms, and legs started waving back and said "hi baby." Then she turned around and gave me a big kiss which told me that she knew something special was happening (although I'm sure she'll be shocked come September when we bring a baby home haha).

It was a very tender interaction between the two siblings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Married to a REAL man =)

Last night I came home from tutoring and Adam was shampooing all the carpets. It's needed to be done and Adam took the initiative to rent the carpet cleaner and get it done.

This is just a small example of the ways Adam tries to help around the house. I try to do most of the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and Hannah duties but it gets so difficult while I'm pregnant that most of the time I end up just focusing on Hannah because I'm too exhausted to do anything else and without me even asking him to, Adam picks up my slack.

All this and he is taking 18 graduate level classes. These are not simple classes. He has had to design an electronic calculator (that actually works) an electronic reader application (like a Kindle...which also actually works) and right now is working on designing a video game...and all of that is just for ONE class.

I know I've written about him taking these classes before, but it is a HUGE deal. I'm so proud of him and I count the days down until May 8th when he is done with all 6 of his classes and he just needs to worry about his full time job and family (lol "just").

This man is up at 6:30 every day to be able to get Hannah up and ready and fed so that I don't have to get up so fast and start my day vomiting. He doesn't have to do it, but he does it for me. He does it for her too, so that she knows Daddy loves her. He also tries to spend a little time for us after school and helps me get Hannah into bed by 6:30 before he starts his homework and many times he is up until 1:00 in the morning working on his homework or classroom work. Although I don't ask him to help around the house, or with Hannah, he does it because he loves us and wants to make my life a little easier while I'm pregnant. He is always asking if I am happy, or if there is anything I need him to do.

I'm not even going to mention the time he spends in meetings and mutual as the 2nd councilor in the YM presidency, but he is quite a stud.

He only has two more full months of this crazy life. Hopefully I'll get my energy back before then so I can help to lighten his load somehow. I'm so grateful for my man. I'm so grateful for the way he takes care of us, and shows us that he loves us. I'm grateful that I chose him and for the way he supports me...although I think he will rethink another pregnancy any time soon, especially if he decides to work on his Doctorate :)