Friday, June 29, 2012

Roller Coaster

I would have enjoyed riding a real roller coaster with its thrills, twists and turns instead of taking a ride on this emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on this past couple of weeks.   

The “Ups”

I’ve really enjoyed the summer so far with the kids.  In the past, our summers have had to be full of schedules and routines down to the hour.  That was the only way I could survive these long days with 6 little ones at home.  But this year, I decided to do something way out of the norm for me…and that was to have absolutely no schedule.  I thought it would be fun to try and the kids and I have responded to it well.  If we decide we want to get out of the house and do something, we do.  If we don’t, then we  just stay home, play with friends and hang out.  We are taking it day by day and it has worked out well for us.  These have been joyful days.    

The “Downs”

Two and a half weeks ago, I had the shock of seeing those 2 little blue lines on a home pregnancy test!  It was quite a surprise because technically, it only took us a day to get pregnant once we decided to stop birth control.  We are impatient people who thrive on instant gratification, but this was unbelievable and we were in awe as to how easy it was to get pregnant once we decided it was time!  It was no secret, so we started spreading the happy news.  The kids started picking out boy names and girl names.  We were all thrilled to have this “link” to bind our blended family together.  We knew nearly 3 years ago that this was in our plan, but the timing never seemed quite right until now. 

2 days after finding out the good news, I started spotting.  After a few days, I called my doctor.  He ruled out an ectopic pregnancy via ultrasound and through HCG quant testing the pregnancy looked like it was going in a positive direction.  My levels were doubling every 72 hours, so things looked good.  I tried not to worry, but was a nervous wreck anyway!  I’ve never even had an ultrasound until week 20 with any of my pregnancies!   We had Justin’s mom’s wedding in Lake Tahoe the following week and in the back of my mind, I was still anxious because the spotting continued and I did not want to miscarry while out of town!  Yuck! 

Then, news of the wildfire threatening our home (see previous post) compounded my anxiety because now I was not only anxious about my pregnancy, but about not having a home to come home to.  I thought the odds were in my favor, however.  There was no way I could lose a home and a pregnancy in a week.  What are the odds of having such bad luck?  Luckily, with a little cleaning of soot and ash off the exterior, our home was in perfect condition upon our return.  That part of the story has a happy ending.  

The not-so-happy ending happened Tuesday.  I began cramping and bleeding and knew in the back of my mind that a miscarriage was on the horizon.  I went for another ultrasound hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.  The dr. couldn’t see anything in the sac.  More HCG tests were done, levels still had increased, but not at the rate they were supposed to.  This pregnancy officially did not stick. 

I’m more than bummed.  My pregnant body is quickly changing back to normal and I hate the transition.  I love being pregnant.  When I start feeling sad, I realize how thankful I am that I’m able to get pregnant and have “textbook” pregnancies when they do stick.  This is my 3rd miscarriage.  Each time I have had one, I have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy child the following pregnancy.  And I hope this is a precursor to something good that will happen soon because we are ready to add that little spirit waiting to come down from heaven to our family.      

And because I can now, I am going to take advantage of that real roller coaster ride very soon…

Monday, June 25, 2012


This word does not express the gratitude I have in my heart today for the firefighters who worked tirelessly to save our home this weekend.  I believe we were watched over by a higher power as well.  Here’s what our home sweet home looks like today…


…which is nothing short of a miracle since just 72 short hours ago this was headed our way

Rocky Ridge

Here’s how the story of this miracle unfolded from our point of view:

On Thursday, June 21, 2012 we left for Lake Tahoe for the weekend to attend Justin’s mom’s wedding.  That night, we heard a small fire had been started out west by the dump the day before due to some target shooting.  Not losing any sleep over it, we soundly slept through the night anxiously awaiting a beautiful wedding ceremony the next day on Emerald Island. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Besides waking up, showering and brushing his teeth, Justin’s usual routine is to grab his iphone and check the news and Facebook.  We were in shock when we saw updates of the fire and people talking about the sudden mandatory evacuation of our neighborhood.   The wind shifted drastically causing the fire to head directly for our homes.  Most of our neighbors only had 5 minutes to grab their belongings and leave.  This is what it looked like around 9:50 a.m.  We heard it was “raining ash”.  This street feeds into ours:

Meadowcrest during evacuation

The tears started flowing like a torrential rainstorm.  I was hundreds of miles away.  There was nothing I could do but helplessly worry about our cat (who was saved by a generous neighbor who lied to get back into the neighborhood), our newly-built  home, and our neighbors.

I was addicted to checking facebook like a drug addict looking for its next “hit”, although my “hit” was  to get the latest information of what was going on.  I considered my neighbors "status” updates a more reliable source than the news.  Although I, too,  scoured all the news websites for photos of the fire.  Here’s what I stumbled upon during the next 24 hours:

This part of the fire was west of our house.  Our home is built on the most western, newest part of the neighborhood.  Looking at aerial maps, it was just within blocks of our home, and within feet of the homes in the subdivision south of ours. 

Rocky Ridge 2

Our house is in that black cloud of smoke somewhere!

View of fire from redwoodAcross RedwoodSaratoga Springs Fire

The fire crews in action

Helicopter dumping waterBig Flames on the MountainHelipter dumping water 2Plane Dropping Fire RetardantProtecting our homesTop of Grandview

Night fall came and the blaze had spread to over 4,000 acres.  This photo was taken by Robert Boyd, our neighbor and talented artist.  He captured the Milky Way and the fire below: 

Bob Boyd's night sky

When I saw these pictures posted on Facebook from Saturday morning, the waterworks started again and I can barely hold back the tears each time I see them.  I can’t believe the dedication, determination and perseverance of these firefighters.

Firefighters sleeping arrangements


The flames engulfed 5,507 acres and took 450 firefighters from around the country to extinguish them.   The fire should be completely contained by tonight. 

Aerial View 2Aerial View 3Aerial View

This is what I learned from this experience:

1.  Family and friends are most important.  If everyone is safe, everything else can be replaced

2.  I am thankful for my community and home being watched over by a higher power

3.  Having neighbors that are willing to check up, watch out for and help one another during a crisis is priceless

4.  Be prepared!!  Have those 72-hour kits updated and ready just in case!  Put all important items/documents all in one place.  You never know when you will be given 5 minutes to evacuate your home! 

*I have reposted these pics from Facebook and some are from the Deseret News picture file, but am not sure of who took what to give credit to.  Sorry!