Saturday, April 23, 2016

Thoughts on Infertility Part 2

I've been spending the last few hours cleaning out old clothes to donate or sell. The ideas of Marie Kondo's book have reached me even though I haven't actually read it. While I was pushing back an under-bed box of old shirts I looked up and saw some of my old notebooks on the bottom of the nightstand on John's side of the bed. I started flipping through them, amused by my past musings. Most of them were filled with notes from General Conference talks, random sketches of bunnies and food, and quotes from novels I was reading at the time. In one of the books I had written a single journal entry dated August 2009.  It in I had put down a list of things I wanted improve on. The last item on the list read: "Think more seriously about having a baby." Reading that sentence made me pause. 2009 was the year before we found out we were infertile. It was a couple of years before the many years of constant medications and doctor's appointments. I started to silently chide my past self with a "If only you knew." I thought what a luxury it was to worry about having kids and how naive past me was to the trials and heart ache she would face in a few years. I began to wonder what I would tell myself if I could go back in time. The first thing that popped into my mind was "Don't waste time! Start IVF right away! Don't waste time and money on other treatments!" I'd also add advice for those IVF cycles to avoid having to do so many of them! And then I stopped and thought harder for awhile. Was that the right advice to give? Would John and I be the same people we are today without the trials we have experienced together? What happens to your character when you get everything you want when you want it? How would my personality be different if I hadn't been teaching the past 7 years? What would I be like if I didn't have the opportunity to be in YW and serve as president for as long as I did? What interactions, lessons, and development would I have missed? I look back and wonder now at all that has happened in those 7 years. I know infertility has been hard, but sometimes I think the hard parts of life teach us the most about ourselves.

Early on in this experience, John and I learned how to grieve together. We've found some very large differences with how we cope with grief and now know what to expect of each other and also what we need to ask for from each other during these times. We know how we both act after long periods of emotional stress. These things, while not pleasant, are things I am very grateful for and I feel that our marriage relationship is stronger because of them. 

I don't know that I would tell past me all that I had originally thought I would. I think instead I might tell her that some hard times were coming ahead, that they wouldn't be without moments of joy, but that they would be hard. I think I would tell her to continue to build a strong testimony, that there will be people there to support her, that John will be with her every step of the way, and to go easy on herself. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Salt Flats Birthday Drive

I kind of planned my own birthday celebration last year because I had something really specific that I wanted to do, so this year I didn't want to be in charge at all. I asked John to come up with a plan and this is what we ended up doing:

  • Breakfast at Lamb's Grill - blueberry pancakes, biscuits and gravy
  • Picked up a picnic lunch at Tulie bakery including a tart and some cookies
  • Drove to the Salt Flats while listening to a playlist of podcasts John thought I would like. My favorite was the episode called *Debatable by Radiolab.
  • Played around the Salt Flats and took pictures. John did a lot of research and brought my wellies for me. So sweet! I didn't realize that the flats were covered in a layer of water at certain times of the year. 
  • Dinner at the Copper Onion - those lamb riblets and the sticky toffee pudding!

*John lettered in debate in high school. He said he was terrible at it and hated that the main way people won was by talking faster than the other team. I never realized what real competitive debate sounded like until I listened to this!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rotating Sushi Bar in San Diego

On our last day in San Diego for Spring Break we decided to try the new-ish Kula Revolving Sushi Bar in Kearny Mesa.  We had passed it earlier in the week while going to the ramen shop and Iceskimo (more on that later) and it had a line outside both times. John and I have fond memories of our rotating sushi bar experience in Tokyo and were curious about this one. Lauren, Leah, and my dad were game to test it out with us. Overall I'd say that the sushi was alright, but the atmosphere was really fun and I would go more for the novelty of grabbing sushi off the conveyor belt.

Ew. I actually tried Natto this trip but I don't think I could eat that much of it!

A girl in the booth next to us reached back and snatched Leah's sesame balls! Thief!

My favorite was the salmon with umami oil as well as the sesame balls. 

We ate enough sushi to get the gachapon prize twice!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring Break: San Diego

We went to San Diego to visit my family for Spring Break this year. It was a much needed getaway and so nice to be separated from the snow and dreary weather in Utah. We stayed with my parents and slept in the rumpus room which is always fun for me because I like to look at our old children's books on the shelves there.

The mornings were nice and lazy. We slept in until 9 every day and walked around the backyard after breakfast. San Diego is really green right now from the El Niño rains so the grass was lush despite the continuing water restrictions and there were tons of birds chirping (towhee's, western nightingales) in all the trees. That's one thing I miss living where we do. You would think the mountain west would have more trees and wildlife, but new-ish suburban Utah is pretty barren. I like that San Diego's neighborhoods are a little older so things have had time to grow and settle in there.

Our first outing was to Raki Raki Ramen with Michelle and Andre. My co-worker suggested I watch Mind of a Chef and season one is all about David Chang (of Momofuku) and noodles! The episode had me craving ramen and since I haven't found a decent noodle place where we live to it was very satisfying. After lunch we headed to La Jolla shores. We visit San Diego about twice a year but haven't touched the ocean in awhile, so it was one of our priorities this trip.  It was my nephew, Oliver's, first time at the beach and we could tell he loved it immediately as he kept wanting to charge ahead into deeper waters! I'm still following Andre's wishes to not post any pictures of Oliver's face in full view, but trust me when I say there were a ton of really cute pictures of him splashing in the shallows. I have so many good childhood memories of trashing around the waves and digging for sand crabs here and I hope Oliver gets to have those memories too.

I thought it was going to be a lot colder and didn't dress so well for the water. I grabbed my mom's old hat when headed out the door that afternoon and it happened to match my shirt. 
Shel and Andre went back to their house to change Oliver out of his wet clothes and we headed over to the Cove to check out the tide pools. I took John here once when we were first married, but he didn't really remember it. The rock area that makes up the tide pools has eroded a lot over the years and there wasn't much to see, even though it was low tide. There were mostly just sea anemones. The seals that used to populate the Children's Pool area have taken over the northern side of the Cove, which made it stink! Apparently there's a hot debate right now about the seals and their smells between the local business owners and the environmentalists. We witnessed some naive tourists harassing the seals by trying to touch them which is also another of the environmentalists complaints.  The seal pups were very cute, but we just took a couple pictures and tried to leave them alone as much as possible.

Another day during our visit, we went on a hike through the Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve to see the famed "waterfall". Calling the rocky area were the stream trickles over the rocks The Waterfall is kind of a joke to those of us who grew up here. It's nothing like the larger mountain falls in Utah or those you'd see in Hawaii, but it's our bit of nature in the middle of suburbia. I've tried to show John the waterfall on multiple occasions, but depending on where you start hiking, it can take some time, and we'd never made it until this trip. Jen and I had this dream in high school of biking or hiking the trail to the ocean, but we never made it. I also used to run this trail several times a week when I was in high school and it was funny to me that the walking half of it tired me out so much. I blame the midday sun ;)

Oliver was so relaxed he passed out part way through the hike. 

The waterfall area. The water was nice and clean this time! No yellow foam!

One of my most exciting memories of this area was when we found a dead swan down near the stream. Dead things are exciting when you're 10 (or in your 30s).

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Favorite Winter Skincare 2016

Lately I've been trying to invest in some quality skin care products. I think being in your 30's makes you realize that fashions may come and go, but you're stuck with your skin for life. Utah winters always do a number on my face, even though I've lived here for over 9 years now. I used to consider my skin oily when I was living in San Diego, but in the mountain west it definitely craves moisture. Here's what I've been using lately to keep things in check. After the facial I had this summer I've been loving Eminence products, so you'll see a lot of those in this list.
I was using Cetaphil's moisturizing cream previous, but tried a sample of this and was instantly hooked! It holds moisture a lot better than the Cetaphil and just a dab goes a long way.

The next three items were recommended at the facial I got in the summer. This mask smells like fresh strawberries and cream and is full of hyaluronic acid. There are actual strawberries mashed in it. My face feels like it got a good drink after using it.

This toner is so nice a refreshing! I like to reach for it anytime my skin is feeling a little dry, which honestly is only when I'm home on the weekends because I don't take my products to school and even if I did I would never have time to use them. I also use it every morning and night to prep my skin for other products.

My sister Michelle had been using this serum for a while before it was also recommended by the aesthetician. It really keeps the skin hydrated, but I don't like wearing it under makeup because it can  pill up if you rub it too much. 

This mask is my favorite for a deep clean! It smells like pumpkin pie filling (which makes me want to eat it) and has a nice tingling effect to it.  I like things that make me at least feel like they're working. I also like things that smell edible if you haven't noticed.

I also want to try this one which also looks like food.

I got hooked on these Pure Smile Japanese (they're actually made in Korea) sheet masks when I picked them up at Mitsuwa in San Diego last year. They're $1-$1.50 at Japanese stores and are a no fuss quick fix to skin problems. They have similar ones at Sephora but they raise the price a lot there. The masks are soaked in a serum of hyaluraonic acid, collagen, arbutin, and vitamin-E. My favorites have been this yogurt one as well as a green tea and camilla one. There's also a set that features dessert scented ones which I want to get my hands on! 

I got a sample of this facial oil from another aesthetician. Honestly, I'm not fond of the smell but like this for mornings since it's moisturizing, brightening (a nice wake-up for morning skin), and doesn't pill up under make-up. It's pricey but a single drop goes a long way.

Besides these, I still love my staples: Kiehl's lip balm, SkinMedica 2.5 retinol, and the prescription of generic clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Christmas Morning

Wrangling 5 different groups of people, some with kids, to get ready and open presents together is a great feat! I think we finally started unwrapping packages at noon. The littlest kids had so much to open they eventually got bored and ran off to play with the first set of toys they received. I really enjoy seeing what other people get each other as gifts, partially to see if I can get any good ideas for the future, but I also think you learn interesting things about people when you see what those closest to them get them and how they react.

One thing I've missed since being married is the stockings my mom used to put together for us. I loved the little treats, random stationary supplies, socks, and girly things she would get for us. I was telling John this and he came up with a fun idea to do stockings last minute. Right before midnight on Christmas Eve we both went to the closest drugstore and picked stocking stuffers for each other. Some were random and hilarious like the lavender shimmer Star Wars lipstick, or delicious like the Korean BBQ turkey jerky. John was sweet and remembered some of the weird childhood things I used to want like ring pops, and gummy candy shaped like other food. It was also a little like playing Marco Polo because we had to avoid each other in a small space and time our check outs so we wouldn't run into each other.

Hugo thought the Spiderman stocking I got John was for him. I felt bad for him when he found out it wasn't!

My stockings! They're John's real socks . . . but they were new socks.

All the little nieces and nephew were jealous of my stocking treats. What does that say about me and my tastes?! 

John got a lot of placeholder gifts because they couldn't be wrapped or couldn't ship to Denver.  The kids also were jealous of this one. They had no idea what Fallout was but liked the pop-up. My elementary school paper skills finally came in handy! I should have tape laminated it!

This gift was inspired by Jen's and Dave's recent Portland trip.  Tip: the caramel apple one was NOT a favorite! John liked  the snickerdoodle and olive oil. I had these shipped to Utah for when we got back. 

Etta was very helpful with opening gifts. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Beginning of Winter Break

As soon as school and work let out for Winter Break, John and I threw our bags in the car and drove south to join my Dad for the Las Vegas Bowl.  BYU was playing the U which made for an exciting rivalry! It was my second football game ever (my first was on a date with John at BYU before we were engaged). My brother-in-law Greg and my niece, who is now taller than I am, came up from San Diego as well.  Even though the first half of the game was difficult to watch, it ended up being more entertaining toward the later end.

Me and my tall niece! 

We had dinner at Yuyu, an authentic Japanese restaurant off the strip. It's becoming our favorite place to eat when we visit my parents. Their katsu dinner is spot on! 

Christmas Break this year brought some unexpected turns. John's dad came down with pneumonia and had to go to the hospital.  We left Vegas early to help out in Denver and to spend time in the hospital. John's dad had a long stay during which he also had to get a peg tube put in.  We are so thankful he is home now and are hoping that he continues to grow stronger.  Even though these times are trying, I really admire John's mom and dad for their strength, teamwork, and the love they show one another as they live through the complications that have been brought on because of David's M.S.

David got home for the hospital right in time for Christmas Eve and all the holiday celebrations. We had a lovely dinner, the annual LeSueur family talent show, and bell carols. There are lot of pictures here!

They start so young with the Ipads! 

Mary leading in the chime carols is a tradition in this house.

Grandma LeSueur was visiting for the month of December from San Clemente.

Brother and Sister! This is one of my favorites!