Monday, March 30, 2009

A Sudden Trip to St. George

It was an eventful weekend. On Saturday I got a call from my Dad telling me that my grandmother, his mom, has only 2-3 hours to live. Rinar and I packed up all of our stuff around 2:30 pm, jumped in the car and started to head up to St. George. It is a 1 hour 45 minute drive, so we were pretty confident we could get there in time. We had been planning on picking up Rinar's cousin Bethany at the airport and having her hang out at our house for the day until her late flight. However, we had to ditch her. I felt kind of bad for her. We arranged for some friends to pick her up at the airport and take her back, but it was sad that we couldn't visit. Beth is a pretty cool chick!

We went straight to the hospital, but we couldn't visit her because she was in ICU and visiting hours were closed for a little while. So, we sat around and waited. They decided to move her to a regular room and just see what would happen. I thought that she would pass away, but she didn't.

As far as I know, she is still alive. There may even be an outside chance that should could make it through the whole ordeal. Grandma has emphysema so it is very hard for her to breathe. She looks like she is very uncomfortable. I hope she will be okay. We will see what happens.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Junior Festival Virtuosos

I feel incomplete without my camera.

Yesterday, Raef and Zach participated in a violin festival. It is a competition where they play two songs and then are evaluated by 3 judges. They are only competing against themselves. I was so nervous for them. I am sure I was more nervous than they were. I know that they practiced a lot and just wanted them to do their very best.

And they did!

They played back to back at the end of the recital. Raef went first. He played "Bouree" and "Gavotte" from Mignon. He did an excellent job and was very precise. He messed up just a little bit but was able to adjust when he got a little bit sharp in a few places. I was so proud of him and his teacher Catherine was beaming also as she listened to him play. It was cute to watch her face of encouragement and also her smile when he did fix a note that was wrong. He has come a long way and can really play the violin.

Zach was up next and he just plowed through his songs. His repetoire was "Gavotte" by Lully and "Minuet in G" by Beethoven. There was only one part I was worried about him doing, and that was when to repeat and when not to repeat. He did get a little confused at one point, but was able to get back on track quickly. Zach is very entertaining to watch. He is a performer and interacts with the crowd. He was smiling at the judges and swaying his body. He really gets into it and I love it.

They both got a superior rating and it was a good experience for both of them. I was a proud Mama.

Rinar was the accompanist for them and also for our neighbor Hannah. When they would finish their set, he would stand up and they would bow together. It was adorable. Raef does a pretty normal bow, but Zach takes a very deep, head to the ground kind of bow. What great kids I have.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cabo San Lucas

I just returned from Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. We stayed at the Villa del Arco Resort right on the beach. The flight there was not too long. We had a layover in San Francisco and were at the resort for a late lunch.

A popular profession in Cabo is timeshare salesman. When you exit the airport and attempt to find your pre-arranged ride, you must walk through the timeshare gauntlet; a small hallway lined with cubicle-like desks and 8 million salesmen. One guy almost roped us in by pointing to a badge to look very official, and tell us that he was TRANSPORTATION!!!! I was momentarily confused but gratefully led safely through by our travelling companions, Dan and Jen. They had had a previous experience with it in Puerto Vallarta. Dan works with Rinar and they had both won the same trip, so we decided to go together.

Therefore, we had endless material to joke about. Everything was timeshares. They were lurking in every corner trying to coax us into a harmless presentation. We managed to avoid all snares are were able to have a relaxing weekend.

The pools at the resort were very beautiful and we made good use of them. We also decided to go to church, which was about a 15 minute taxi ride to the other side of the peninsula. It was all in Spanish and I started to get exhausted trying to understand what they were saying. I have therefore resolved that I will learn to speak Spanish. I have the resources at my fingertips and I have run out of excuses. Church was a lovely experience and the people were wonderful. I think every person in the branch came up and welcomed us. It was awesome!

We decided to do some ocean kayaking and we paddled out to the famous landmark cape with a beach that is only accessible by boat. Everything went fairly well on the way out. We made good time and saw a seal in the ocean swimming around. I was a bit uncomfortable thinking about what other sea creatures could be right underneath me. I just tried to put it out of my mind and paddle on.

This picture shows the distance we paddled from the beach the the end of the rock to the left. It didn't really take very long. We made it round trip in one hour, with a stop at Lover's Beach.

We paddled between these rocks to get to the beach around the bend.

Of course, we had to make a stop on the beach, which would require a smooth glide onto the beach, catching a wave to the shoreline. That sounds easy enough, right?

Well, things did not go according to plan. We hit a cross-current because we did not go down far enough. Rinar got out and I didn't and another wave whacked me and the kayak over. I held my breath and was very annoyed that I was in the predicament I was in. I didn't panic, but I was not happy. When the pummeling stopped, I got up and realized I was still alive. Then I started to panic that I had lost my paddle. Luckily, a lady caught it for me. Rinar saved the kayak and his paddle. However, there were two casualties: my sunglasses, which were still attached to my head somehow were missing a lens. Bummer. Rinar had our camera in a ziplock bag in his pocket. FYI people: ziplock bags are not waterproof against the power of the ocean.

So, no pictures for the trip. You may ask how I have these wonderful pictures? I stole them off the internet.

This is what the Sea of Cortez looks like from Lover's Beach. I would have taken this exact picture if I had a working camera.

I was terrified to go back into the water. The waves were high and very eradict. I felt like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Some locals helped us get on our way, but not before I got nailed again by a rather large wave. It completely covered me, but I stayed on top of the kayak this time. Hallelujiah.

We made it back without incident and then they had us ride in water taxi back to our hotel. It looked like this and I think we would have had a picture almost identical to this one of Jen. She was blonde and stuff so I thought this was close enough.

The rest of the trip involved a lot of pool lounging and eating.

We did alot of eating on the boat there and at the restaurant just to the left. It is right on the ocean and has a beautiful view. The grounds are immaculate and it is enjoyable to sit outside all day and enjoy the ocean breezes.

Rinar and I did some shopping also. The vendors are very funny and we know we have "sucker" tattoed on our foreheads. I don't think we got the best deals we could but it was still cheaper than the hotel gift shop by a mile. They would say stuff like, "I have a great price for you, practically free!". It was amazing. Everything was practically free. I mean, 3 pairs of earrings were practically free at $40. Isn't that awesome? I did manage to get the prices down some, but I didn't stress over a few dollars.

I did see some whales from the hotel veranda. They were splashing in the water a lot. I wish I had gone on a whale cruise. I am sure it would have been a fruitful excursion.

All in all, iIt was a fun trip. I know I will never go again, as there is not much to do if you don't drink a lot of Tequila and beer. I would describe it as a smaller version of Las Vegas with an ocean! If that is your thing, you would probably love it a lot more than I did.

RIP: camera. :(

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Joy is in the Journey Journey

This last week has been eventful, to say the least. After the "thrill" is gone, it is all starting to sink in...and I am scared to death!

Oh, let me catch you up, if you haven't heard the news.

I am pregnant...with TWINS!

This is not a typo. For those of you who do not know my family very well, I already have twins. They are seven.

After seven years, you forget a lot of the bad stuff and only harbor a place in your heart for the wonderful things two bring you. However, since I found out last Tuesday that I am having twins, again, many things have started to come back. These are the things you try hard to forget about.

Let me take you back: on Tuesday I went to the Fertility Center of Las Vegas for my ultrasound to see if the "glue" they used was any good. They must have used the good glue, because both embryos implanted. I was laying on the table and she turned the screen my way and it was very obvious. My mouth was doing an involuntary grin, but I felt like I wanted to throw-up and it was not from morning sickness, I can assure you.

Rinar is absolutely thrilled. He was in Albuquerque and so I called him as soon as I could. Then we decided to tell the kids. They jumped up and down with joy. It lasted for about 1.5 seconds and then Raef asked me if he could play a computer game. As you can see, they have really taken this to heart.

We decided there was no way we could keep this a secret because too many people knew too much to begin with. Also, it probably doesn't help that I wrote a lengthy blog on the whole IVF ordeal. So, I guess secrecy was out of the question. It all started to unravel like an onion anyways.

Now that everyone knows and reality is starting to hit me like an anvil hurled down from Mount Olympus, I have been thinking of the many obstacles I will be facing really soon.

First of all, I feel great and the pregnancy seems to be going well. However, when I was pregnant the first time, I went into pre-term labor at 28 weeks. It was a little scary (although I was too dumb to realize how precarious it really was) and I was put on strict bedrest. It was probably because I was dilated to a 2 and 80% effaced. I had to have a muscle relaxer constantly pumped into my body through a catheter in my leg and it required twice daily contraction monitoring and a whole lot of doctor's visits. Suffice it to say, I don't have time to be on bed rest this time around.

What am I going to do?

I am not worried about Raef and Zach. They can do most everything on their own, including making breakfast and lunch. If I really work with them in the next few months, I am sure I can teach them how to make a few dinner meals as well, like macaroni and cheese. Hey, you have to learn it some time, so why not now?

The wild card in all of this is Eli. He is a baby. When I am due, he will only be about 20 months old. He needs a lot of attention and love. I need to pick him up and take care of him. He can easily get sick or hurt. How am I going to do it? Plus, Rinar is out-of-town several days a week and so I am really on my own.

Which brings me to another point: three small children to take care of by myself. I remember waking up in the middle of the night because one of the twins was crying. I would pick him up and take care of him and not even have a clue who I was holding. This happened to me many times. However, I could take turns with my wonderful husband. This time around I will have to do the brunt of the work. Rinar also changed an incredible amount of diapers with Raef and Zach. I have changed the majority of diapers with Eli because it has just worked out that way. Now I get to triple the amount. It is going to be an incredible amount of work. There were also a million doctor's appointments that first year because they were premies. I just hope I can make it further along so that these babies will be healthier from the get go. If not, it is going to be even tougher.

These are just a few of the things I have thought of these last few days. However, there is one thing that has continued to dwell in my thoughts. I must not be ruled by my fears, but by faith. As the fear started to set in, I prayed fervently to my Heavenly Father. Then I opened the scriptures and ended up reading this verse in the Book of Mormon:

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." -Mosiah 4:9

Wow. It really hit me. Do I believe in God? YES! Do I believe that he created everything, including me? YES! I know that I cannot comprehend all that He comprehends...not now, not for a very long time. However these are the things that I know...

God has worked many miracles in my life. When they were happening, I could not see them. I did not comprehend why things happened the way that they happened. But in retrospect, there is absolutely no doubt that He had a hand in all of it. My timing is not the Lord's timing and things happen for a very specific reason. For some inexplicable reason, my Father in Heaven has led me most assuredly to this place. I have complete faith in that. I must be ruled by my faith in Christ.

It is no coincidence that the Proclamation that has been hanging in my bathroom has haunted me with the scripture, "Children are an heritage of the Lord" and that we are supposed to have joy and rejoicing in our posterity. I have no desire to populate the earth by myself, for heaven's sake, but I know that I have a very specific role I need to play in bringing children to this earth, to a happy and loving home. Motherhood is not a complete definition of who I am, but it is a vital part of me. Yes, I have many interests that are my own and goals that I would yet like to achieve that have nothing to do with kids, but this is the time to have my family. I will rejoice in my posterity; just please ignore the yelling you hear occasionally emanating from the walls of my house, okay?

So, the reality is that I am having twins. I am going to say it now and then try to forget about it for the next little while. I have a lot I need to do for myself and for the children that are running around as we speak. I know that there are some really tough times ahead, but it will be an incredible blessing to hold those babies in my arms and love them with everything that I have.

The joy is in the journey.

Monday, March 2, 2009

School Update

We had a good day with school work. I kind of had a slacker week last week. The kids managed to weasel out of all math assignments, because I was just too tired to fight them on it. Therefore, I devised a new strategy. I put 10 math pages in their notebooks and informed them that all the pages had to be done by the end of the week. They did two today fairly quickly. I am hoping that they will just take it upon themselves to get it done on their own time. I am sure there will be resistance this week, but over time they will learn that math is not an option.

In addition to math, we reviewed all 19 poems in their memorization book. Level One is almost done. It is great. I love the fact that one word will trigger a poetry recitation while we are driving in the car or at the playground or the zoo. It is wonderful. Today, Zach was excited to find "Who Has Seen the Wind" by Christina Rossetti in another poetry book we own.

They made additional progress with their spelling words. Of course, Raef missed all of the words he missed last week. I hope he passes them off tomorrow. It is time to move on!

We are halfway through book #4 of the Odyssey series by Mary Pope Osbourne. The goddess Athena visited Odysseus' son Telemachus to help him get Odysseus to come home. She came disguised as a man named Mentor. I can see why the Odyssey continues to live on, century after century. It is a fun story.

Then we headed out to co-op. The kids are going to do a play at the end of March. Zach is going to be an inch worm and Raef is a narrator frog. Zach gets to turn into a butterfly! How fun is that.

They both had their art class and then joined me for astronomy. We covered Uranus and Neptune. I am soon going to have the kids start working on a model of the solar system. That should be a lot of fun. At the end of class, I decided to play a review game with all of the kids. It was tic-tac-toe and they could put an 'x' or an 'o' when they got the answer right. Zach's team was winning and his teammate decided to put the 'o' on a spot that would not win, even though the to right corner spot would give them the win. Zach almost had a nervous breakdown because Nicholas put it in the wrong spot and didn't win. He started bawling. He couldn't turn it off. They did win anyways, but he was really mad. Oh my word! He is so much like me, it is scary: competitive, control freak.

It carried over into PE and he was still upset so I took him to the store with me instead of subjecting everyone to his drama. We went to Trader Joe's and after he got some food in his stomach, he was much more pleasant. Aha! Maybe he was just hungry.

When we got home, I told them it was reading time. For the next hour, Zach read books to Raef. It was very adorable. Zach loves to read, and Raef loves to be read to. It worked out really well and I was able to load old high school photos onto facebook. What fun!
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