Sunday, January 1, 2017

LeSueur Family Baby Shower

While we were in Denver for Thanksgiving, John's family surprised us with a family baby shower! I was so touched and teared up a bit when I realized what was going on. Up until that point we hadn't had much time to think about the baby besides preparing for my maternity leave and crossing our fingers that we wouldn't lose this pregnancy. It was our first time really celebrating her and it was so fun to be surrounded by family to do it. Seeing tiny baby clothes made everything seem so much more real and helped me visualize being able to actually hold and see our little girl in a few months.

I stole this and the picture below from Amanda's Instagram :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Thanksgiving in Denver

Since Christmas is almost here I thought I'd better get these pictures up! We spent Thanksgiving in Denver with the LeSueur side of the family this year.  I wasn't able to get a whole group picture, but all of John's siblings, their children, and John's parents were there which made it a really fun and full celebration! 

The streusel topping on the sweet potatoes was amazing!

John's buttermilk pie. 

Our niece Sarah wrote these thankful letter to each family member. It was so sweet! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts on Infertility: Part 3

(Continued from Part 2)


Right now we're down to our last few IVF procedures. We've decided that after 7 years, with 10 embryo transfers, we will need to move on if we're not successful with fertility treatments this time around. We're still doing well and are hopeful.  I had to give a talk for church a couple of months ago and was researching the word hope. I liked the description I found on the church's website that hope, as viewed in the gospel sense, is a sure, unwavering, and active trust in God's promises. It is a quiet assurance. So, I have this type of hope, regardless of what happens this year, that what may be will be what is best for us.

Like I mentioned before, IVF became a way of life.  We could have planned to keep doing it, but there comes a point when both medically and emotionally it doesn't make sense. At first it was hard to let go. I felt like I was somehow giving up and if I were stronger and tried longer we could make it work.

There was another, more recent time, when it was hard again. We'd had our 3rd and latest miscarriage and I was experiencing a quiet heartbreak. It was the first time that we'd made it out of the fertility clinic's care and to an OBGYN's office. At that first appointment we found out that the pregnancy wasn't viable. I didn't cry at the office. I didn't cry in the car. I tried to stick to my resolve to not go to those darker thoughts.  The weekend I was in bed recovering from a D&C, I tried to read *a conference talk.  I thought it would help because in it Elder Eyring's daughter-in-law faces infertility. Instead it made me really upset. As a quick recap, a woman has children, but can't get pregnant to have another child. She goes on a vacation and on the beach prays that she'll sacrifice more if she can get pregnant. Then presto! She's pregnant and she and her husband go on a mission with their whole family.  The end. What I got from that story was, if you you're not pregnant it means you're not serving enough, go serve and sacrifice more and you'll get what you asked for. I had been serving my heart out for years. I didn't have any more hours in the day to devote to my calling or job. In fact I felt I was falling behind on spending enough time with my close friends and family. I didn't know what I could do more of to get this special blessing the Eyring girl earned. I also didn't get a vacation where I got to walk on the beach to ponder these things!

John came home and he could tell something was wrong. This time I wasn't frustrated with what was going on around me, but with myself. What was I supposed to give up more of to earn what everyone else seemed to get so easily? What else was I supposed to do? John, again able to diffuse the situation, found me a different article. This one was about grieving (also a church talk).  I was surprised and didn't want to read it at first but I did and it immediately made sense. John reminded me that it's alright to grieve and be sad and that sometimes we can't do anything more, even spiritually. He told me that I didn't have to do more right now, I just had to grieve. I had to accept the fact that things really might not work out. It was alright to not wear the smiling face and try to shoulder a larger load.

So, as this all winds down, we may end up with a child of our own, we may not. If I had to go back and give myself advice on dealing with these past 7 years, I don't know that I would have anything to say. I don't think it would have helped because I wasn't ready to hear advice at certain points during our trials.  For example, at first I found it offensive that people thought we should just adopt. It felt like they didn't support our decision to do IVF and that we weren't capable of handling things on our own. Of course that's not what it meant, but that's how I perceived. Now, I'm considering it. It's the right time to think about it. Every step of the way was necessary to realize the next step, to heal, and to move forward.

*I just want to clarify that I don't have anything against church talks, I think I'm just good at finding the things that rile me up. The rest of the article was fine and I just latched onto that one part.

Thoughts on Infertility: Part 2

I originally wrote these infertility posts a year ago but didn't finish posting them. I don't know if I felt like the time wasn't right or if it was all still too raw to put out there. We're expecting now, but infertility was such a big part of our life that it's still a topic that's close to my heart and my thoughts often go out to those in the middle of it. I thought I would post the rest of these and then a follow up on our current pregnancy.

(Continued from Part 1)


The next few years consisted of a cycle of waiting, disappointment, and hoping.  This wasn't easy but it was better than it had been before. Every failed embryo transfer, negative pregnancy test, and miscarriage was difficult to handle, but it did get easier. IVF became a way of life.

During these years friends had 2-3 kids. People who used the same clinic as us became pregnant and had their babies. We went to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd birthday parties. Sometimes it was very tempting to slip back into self-pitying. Part of my mind told me I'd be justified in "letting it all out" again, but I held to the idea that it wasn't for me. I didn't do that. Making that decision early saved me from slipping into depression and bitterness.

I also can't deny the role that religion played in our lives. We attended the temple monthly and the words spoken there brought comfort. We fasted and our family and friends fasted for us too. I listened to conference talks, read the scriptures, prayed and tried to apply uplifting principles to my life. I have often felt what I can only describe as a divine outpouring of love and assurance that helped keep me afloat. One very large blessing was my calling to work with the youth of our church.  I served for over 5 years in the Young Women program in my ward. Every lesson, meeting, activity, and camp helped strengthen me by letting me forget myself for a little while and concentrate on others in a positive environment. The girls themselves brightened up dreary days with their energy and enthusiasm. I am grateful that even though this calling took a lot of time, it (like my mission) gave back to me more than I could ever put into it.

Teaching was also a blessing.  Working hard and being involved in meaningful work is healing. Similar to the youth program, I work with teenagers and have the opportunity to focus on the needs of others. Having somewhere to go and people relying on me has aided in both physical and emotional recovery. I have seen so many times why choosing the major I did and the job I have has been an integral part of making it through this. Sitting around at home or engaging in mindless tasks at a different job could have made these years far worse.

Our clinic, our doctor, the other doctors that attended to us, the nurses, and the receptionists, were all wonderful. They've were always understanding and kind. Our names came up frequently in the clinic discussions where they address special cases and people would greet us by our first names there.

Of course much support came from those nearest to us. The women I work with at church were kind and sensitive to our situation. The bishops we had were aware of our struggles. My co-workers cheered me on and made me laugh. My family was there for me to talk to and sent thoughtful emails and texts. John's family would sent small gifts to cheer us up after failed procedures. Friends brought in meals and asked what was going on with our treatments. We were surrounded in love.

The waiting time became a busy time. Work, church callings, friends and family filled the hours between treatment cycles. Some days we forgot this was anything but normal.

(Part 3)

Baby Announcement Pictures

Back in November we announced our pregnancy and also our baby's gender. I knew that I wouldn't be able to convince John to do an outing specifically for this so we took the pictures ourselves with a tripod after we finished a photo session for another family.  I think they turned out pretty well considering. I picked the setting and positioned things while John ran back and forth to push the timer. We make a pretty good team! Here are the results.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Since I Have More Energy Now

We have been alive this fall, but I was feeling less energetic toward the end of the summer as my pregnancy progressed and I got to experience the exhaustion, throwing up, etc. that come with that. I'm not complaining though. I took comfort that I had these symptoms because it helped me have hope that this pregnancy was going to stick.

I thought I'd write a quick catch-up so I can remember that we did still live our lives during that time, even if I spent a lot of it sleeping on the couch. Also, I didn't take any time to really edit these pictures so excuse the weird colors on some of them. I just know that if I don't post them now I never will.

In August, John's sister Stephanie and our niece Sarah came to visit from Denver. Sarah was attending a gymnastics camp at BYU and so I got to do a lot of lunch dates with them once the camp was over each day. John joined us for dinner a couple of times.

School started again and I was really looking forward to it after such a sluggish end of the summer. It was really good for me to be forced up on my feet each morning and to start working. We got a new Utah Studies teacher on our team, Madi Feist, and we love her! She fits in so well with me and Lauren and we have a lot of fun together. Also, our students are angelic this year compared to some of our past years and I am so grateful I get to teach this group!

We also had a reunion with Franco (the former Utah Studies teacher on our team) and his wife. Franco's wife Jodi found us tickets to Newsies and we enjoyed a night downtown at the Copper Onion followed by a great show! On a scale from Eyes Wide Shut to Jaws we gave it a Goonies ;)

The Holtkamps came to visit from Austin and we had dinner at one of our favorite places: Bruges Waffles and Frites! I miss having Jen ten minutes away to hang out with, but I'm glad they've loved Austin and am excited for their next adventure in Southern California. This way I'll be able to see them more since both of our families are in San Diego! 

We tired dim sum for the first time. I was still in the nauseated stage so I don't know if I appreciated it as much as I normally would have, but I did like it! I'm a big fan of the sesame balls! There needs to be more glutinous rice in the world!

We hung out with our pet bunny who seems to be constantly shedding. She only lets us pet her when she's in certain areas of the office room. The ottoman of this reading chair is one of those places and it gets pretty furry sometimes. We go through a lot of lint brush rolls. 

For the school's UEA (Fall) Break we headed up to the mountains and spent a couple of days completely relaxing at the Stein Ericksen Lodge in Park City.  John's company does this amazing thing for their employees called a Paid Paid Vacation and we decided to go all out and use all of it on this trip.  We got a large room with a hot tub on the deck, I booked a mother-to-be massage, we ordered room service, and we let ourselves forget the world for a short while. 

View from our deck.

Not pictured were several photo sessions. The fall is always a busy time for me because it's also Christmas card season. John comes with me to most shoots to assist by holding scrims and reflectors, schlepping my camera bag, and getting kids to laugh with his antics. We both enjoy getting to know the families better that we photograph. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Denver: Hike to St. Mary's Glacier

I felt like a bump on a log a lot of the summer as far as outdoor adventuring, so it was nice to get outside while we were out of town to enjoy the fresh air. Amanda picked a great hike, St. Mary's Glacier, that was at a high enough altitude that it was nice and cool and also easy enough for the kids to walk on their own.

We left nice and early to try and avoid the crowds. It was still a little crowded, but still lots of fun. 
Snack break! I wish I had packed some fruit snacks of my own! One is never too old for fruit snacks in my opinion.
Destination reached!

People were cliff jumping to the right and snowboarding and skiing on the glacier right behind Hugo. 

Random complaint: What is up with people not picking up after their dogs?! There were frequent piles of dog poo bags that owners left on the trail and to the sides of the trail. It made certain areas look really gross and smell. Also, one lady didn't bring a bag so she just put a small rock over her dog's pile in the middle of the path. I can just imagine some poor innocent hiker sliding in that a few minutes later! I guess it's just the eco-conscience California upbringing I had. We were taught as early as elementary school that you don't litter. In our minds it was practically against the law so when I see people leave refuse in nature it bothers me.

Denver: Union Station

While visiting family in Denver this summer, we headed downtown to Union Station to watch Amanda's little ones play at the splash pad. The adults sat in the shade most of the time. We had lunch at one of the restaurants bordering the splash pad after the kids got cold and chased it down with some refreshing ice cream!

Etta shooting off toy ponies in the water stream.

Sweet baby Ruth. She is always so gentle and calm.

Shade refuge.