Monday, March 7, 2016

Brent's (very) full heart

Time for a Reichman family update. Wow, so much has been going on!

Let's start with Brent for this post, because some of you may have heard some things and we'd like to make sure everyone knows what's going on so no one is needlessly worrying.

About a month ago, Brent and I were watching a movie (I don't remember which, but it wasn't a high-action or suspenseful one), and we were cuddling and I could hear Brent's heartbeat. I noticed it seemed to be beating particularly fast, so I pointed it out. He commented that sometimes that just happens, that his heart will beat fast for seemingly no reason. This wasn't the first time I'd noticed these strange and random palpitations, but this conversation made Brent wonder if he should get it checked out.

He asked his dad, who is a doctor, (an ENT surgeon to be exact), if this was something he should be concerned about. My father-in-law's usual remedy for any ailment is, "Sleep on it, you'll feel better in the morning." But this time he suggested Brent should get it looked at, just in case. We called up his Uncle Howard, a well-respected neurosurgeon in the area, if he knew anyone he could recommend, and he immediately recommended Wong and Hwang (pronounced the same), as the experts in the state of Utah for irregular heart palpitations. Unfortunately, Brent couldn't see either of them until he'd had a visit with a general practitioner, who would then refer him to a specialist.

After an appointment with a general practitioner and an EKG, Brent was possibly diagnosed with a rare but treatable condition called Wolff-Parkison-White Syndrome, or WPW (more on that later). The doctor wasn't entirely sure, and he sent the EKG off to the cardiologist, telling Brent if the doctor saw anything to be concerned about, then they would schedule an appointment with the specialist. Later that day it was confirmed that he would have an appointment with the cardiologist the next Friday. That naturally had us worrying about what could be wrong. We did what research we could on our own, but without an actual confirmation of what was wrong we were mostly left with a lot of anxiety. It also didn't help that the next day I found out that a commission I had spent a lot of very stressful hours on had arrived to Alaska, only to be damaged by a mailman determined to fit the package into the mailbox by folding it into thirds. The piece, which was extremely sentimental to the client, was irreparably damaged. Add that Caleb slept terribly that weekend because he has a bunch of new teeth coming in, and it just made for a really *awesome* weekend, and I may or may not have had a bit of an angry breakdown.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, Brent felt some pressure in his chest. Not pain, just some tightness. We thought we better play it safe, so we dropped Caleb off with a friend and headed to the urgent care. We waited 3 hours there to get another EKG done, only to be told we needed some more lab work done, but sorry it's Sunday so everything else there is closed so we need to go to the ER. We went to the ER across the street, where they took some samples, did another EKG, and we waited for almost 4 hours. The people watching was much more interesting at the ER than the Urgent Care, but at least Urgent Care had Toy Story 2 playing, which is preferable to sitting next to a poor barfing elderly patient. Still wondering what was up with the female patient who arrived with the cops in handcuffs though.

Finally we were seen by a doctor. He immediately confirmed that Brent has WPW, but was extremely matter-of-fact and optimistic about the treatment for it. He and the nurse also know the cardiologist Brent would be seeing and confirmed that he was one of the best around for this particular condition. The chest pressure remained a mystery, but seems to have been brought about by stress (probably from the recent heart diagnosis!) We left feeling so relieved and much more confident.

On Friday, Brent finally saw the actual cardiologist, who confirmed that Brent has WPW, and that a procedure called an ablation was necessary, but would totally take care of the problem. Brent needs to have an echo cardiogram done first before we can schedule the procedure (he was very careful to never use the word "surgery"), just to make sure there are no other underlying issues that could interfere with the ablation. After listening to his heart, Dr. Hwang said he was fairly positive that they wouldn't find anything new with the echo cardiogram, but it needed to be done just to be extra sure. We are still waiting to hear when the echo can be done, but once that is done the ablation will be scheduled. Our best guess is that the ablation will happen in April. Just pray it doesn't happen in May, because we got a baby due then!




So, what is Wolff-Parksinson-White?

Turns out WPW is something you are born with. This condition is when you have an extra electrical connection in your heart. Most people are born with just one, but some extra special people, like Brent, are born with two (his wonderful heart was one of the reasons I married him!). This extra connection can make your heart beat really fast sometimes. (And not just when your wife is extra good-looking.) For Brent it happens about once a month and lasts for about five minutes. About 1/20,000 people have it, and some people go their whole life without realizing they have it. So, it's rare, but not unheard of.

Now, WPW is not something to be worried about most of the time as a young person, but it can definitely be a problem in the elderly years when one's ticker starts having other issues. Because of this, the connection needs to be removed by a procedure called an ablation. In this procedure, a catheter is stuck up a vein near the groin, goes up to the heart, and the connection is burned. It lasts anywhere from 3-6 hours. Easy peasy. It's not even technically a real surgery (they don't even put you to sleep), and the success rate of this surgery is 96%, with 1% chance of complications. So the numbers are really in our favor here. As far as recovery goes, the patient stays in the hospital for a day, just to make sure there are no issues (since it's the heart they're dealing with), and then about 2-3 days of recovery at home with no heavy lifting for about a week.

So, that's what's going on with Brent's ticker. We are not worried about it at all, and feel like if Brent's going to have a heart problem, this is definitely one of the better ones to have.  I feel like we have had so many tender mercies with all of this, all of which makes me feel very reassured that Heavenly Father is watching out for us and that everything is going to be okay. For example, we are living in Provo instead of doing grad school somewhere else, and this is where one of the best cardiologists for this specific condition resides. When we went to the appointment, we found out to our frustration that our insurance wouldn't cover this doctor without a 2 week pre-authorization (even though their website stated otherwise), but when the doctor saw Brent's name, he thought he better see him, since he knew Dr. Howard Reichman. So, they saw Brent for the first visit and didn't charge us a dime, and we didn't have to wait 2 extra weeks to see the specialist. At the ER we were able to see a doctor and nurse who could actually confirm a diagnosis and answer our biggest questions and left us feeling very reassured. Caleb was an angel with the friends we left him with while we were gone for 7 long hours. So, we are feeling very good about all this. Does it stink that it's happening at all? Of course, but life is not without it's bumps.

Long story short, Brent has a heart condition, but he will have a procedure soon to get it taken care of, and everything is going to be a-okay. Special thanks to Uncle Howard and your wonderful connections, and to the Southern family for taking care of Caleb, and everyone else who has been checking up on us.

If you have any questions or concerns, please just ask us, as we don't want anyone to be worried about us. I never know how to end a blog post, so here is a comic.





Saturday, February 6, 2016

My day: a tale of the joys of nursing bra shopping

I'd like to take you on a journey with me. Now, in order for this exercise to work, you'll need to be at least a DDD cup, but preferably closer to a J. If you are smaller, have no fear. Just take two full sandbags of unequal sizes and staple one to each side of your chest. Now get a small watermelon and staple that to your belly, because--surprise!--you are also 6 months pregnant. Wait a few minutes until your back is sore. If the pain is searing, wait a couple weeks until the pain has diminished to a dull but constant ache.

 Your supplies:


If you are indeed pregnant, mentally prepare yourself to repeatedly hear, "You're how far along? You're tiny!" Big chests like to hog all the attention, so they create this crazy optical illusion like your bulging belly is in fact tiny. This is because most expecting women have bellies that protrude beyond their breasts, while you will have the opposite problem until you are around 56 weeks pregnant. If your chest could be shrunk to a normal size, you would like a normal pregnant lady, but instead you just look a little pudgy. Kinda like a cranky walrus, but not as cute.

While most mommy blogs (which are always accurate *sarcasm* and the #1 reason why American mothers are the most neurotic in the world *not sarcasm*) insist that you should wait to get a nursing bra until after your baby is born in order to buy an accurate size, you opt to not do that for the following reasons:


1) While the idea of bra shopping with an active toddler and a potentially colicky baby while functioning on high levels of postpartum hormones and little sleep sounds like a lot of fun, you have enough sense to know that employees probably won't appreciate an emotional breakdown in their store while your tot has a hay day trying on all the neat siamese hats in the store and your baby screams in its carseat. 
2) The memory of your past online nursing bra shopping experience makes you hyperventilate and you're still trying to suppress the feeling of wanting to throw your computer at the wall whenever the term "nursing bra" is mentioned at play group.
3) This ain't your first rodeo show. While yes, your chest will grow (significantly, I might add), prior experience has taught you that, no matter your size, you are going to be buying the largest sandbag holder they own. You might as well get it out of the way now while your hormonal levels are at level: caution instead of later when they are at level: tranquilizers and institutionalization needed.
4) When your milk comes in, your boobs will be so large that you'll need a wheelbarrow in order to carry them around and you won't be able to leave the house for fear that the circus might kidnap you to put in their freaky humans show. 

If my art career doesn't work out, I guess I have a fallback


Now you're ready to go! With any luck, you have at least one child, which means you'll be running lots of other errands today in a desperate attempt to squeeze all your chores into the one day Dad can stay home with them. Go drive around for an hour and a half with an incomplete address, as the closest lingerie store that *might* have something close to your size is about 45 minutes away. Once, you did try looking for a shop in your city, but it turns out that the only one listed online was put on Yelp as a prank, and when you called the number listed someone quickly became extremely cranky when you asked if they were The Love Monkey Boutique. True story. You have asked your busty relatives what they did in their child-bearing years, but instead of advice, a far-off harrowed look appeared in their suddenly darkened eyes as the memories of a horrific past and PTSD lingered near the surface of their conscience.

Back to our own shopping adventure: Arrive at your destination and enter. Walk past the cute printed bras without looking at them. Some lucky B-cup gets those, but you never will. Unless of course, you get a reduction, in which case prepare for a lot of people silently judging you when truthfully answer their question of how you magically lost all that weight and back pain. Go straight to the granny bras, which are inaccurately nicknamed, because we all know that granny saggy boobs don't need bras, they need tube socks. Speaking of which, legend has it that one of my ancestors had boobs so large, that when she became an elderly woman she would sprinkle her "girls" with baby powder (to prevent sticking) and would literally roll them up like a freaking mammary cinnamon bun and stick them into her bra. I'm not even kidding.

My future.


But I digress. 

Most shop keepers are friendly, so feel free to ask all the questions you need, but a man just sauntered into the store, so don't get too comfortable (doesn't he have a sports game he could watch or something??). Try on all the bras you think might be in your size. Don't worry, they will be easy to locate--they are the ones you used to gawk at as a kid and put on your face and pretend were sunglasses. Discover that the second largest size they have already fits snugly, even for your smaller boob. You still have 3 months before your milk will actually come in, an event that will increase your boob size by at least 2-3 cups. Doing the math, this means that the largest size they have won't actually be big enough for your needs, but since you have no other options, grab half the store's stock in that size anyway. So, 1 bra. (The loan you had to take out to afford this bra won't cover the 2nd one.)



The employee nervously tries to tell you that they really don't recommend buying nursing bras until after the baby is born. While you awkwardly try to explain your reasons without being rude, some other gray-haired customer pipes in her unsolicited opinion that she agrees, you should wait, she knows because she just had her 7th kid. Your hormonal levels, which have already been shaky, increase by 20 degrees and you want to snap, "Yeah I can tell, maybe you should stop having kids" but you refrain because 1) you are a Christian and 2) you have a creepy feeling that this elderly-looking woman might actually be you ten years in the future coming to send you a desperate warning.

Buy the bra. Try to ignore the price tag and your bulging breasts' desperate cries for help.

Now, if your experience wasn't this successful or fun, you can always order two 20-man camping tents and rig them together with bungee cords and an industrial-sized sewing machine to make your own nursing bra. In fact, all the pockets those tents come with will probably be really useful for storing the formula and bottles you'll need when your supply is low, because in a sick twist of fate big boobs don't always make very much milk for your starving and wailing bundle of joy. Heaven forbid your boobs should actually do their one job! (Okay your boobs do have another job, but we wouldn't want feminazis to think that we actually like that our husbands appreciate our curves.)

Congratulations! You have finished shopping for a nursing bra. Now go treat yourself to a kid-free Target trip and just be grateful that at least you didn't have to go maternity swimsuit shopping.

Women who just returned from bra shopping


Monday, December 14, 2015

Caleb turns 2!!

I'm super bummed because I wrote this lovely blog post already all about Caleb...and then stupid blogger didn't save it!! What the heck?? Hopefully I won't forget anything important as I try to write this again.


So, Caleb, you turned 2!!!! We can hardly believe you've been lighting up our lives for two whole years. You are such a perfect addition to our family. You are always happy and sweet and energetic, and whenever you say "Dank you Mommy!" my heart just melts into a hopeless puddle on the floor.



Favorite foods: Cheese, case-da-dias (quesadillas), candy, most fruit, pizza, pancakes, cinnamon toast, cereal (especially plain rice crispies and raisin bran...?????), donuts, and Gogurt



Least favorite foods: most vegetables


Favorite letter: W!!!!!! X and Z are also popular, but they don't hold a candle to the letter w. You point out every w you see, and always ask us to "draw a w!" when you are coloring.



Favorite activities: playing with your train set, to "run so fast!!", go outside, swim, to count, throw balls, being chased and tickled around the house, play and sing at the piano, read and tell stories, dance, pointing out letters, numbers, airplanes, and hello-copters, taking a bath, plugging in things when Mommy isn't looking (!!!), watching the garbage truck, coloring, doing "jumping jacks," watching the introduction songs on kids' shows, playing with bubbles, putting your socks on your hands and saying "sock hands!", and just being plain adorable.



Least favorite activity: sleeping


Favorite songs: I'm so glad when Daddy comes home, Baby Mine, Let it Snow, Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger, Oh Suzanna, Clementine, most nursery rhymes, and I am a Child of God



Favorite books: Dr. Seuss's ABC book; Trucks Go; The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear; The Foot Book



Funniest things you've said since you've learned to talk:

Me: "I love you Caleb!"
Caleb: "I love you too three four five"

Upon seeing his mother undress to go shower: "Mommy big naked!"

"I love you big!" (heart melt)

Alligator (elevator)
Uncle bar (granola bar)
Casset-ball (basketball)
Nummy-lade (lemonade)
Hop-hopper (grasshopper)
Goggies (doggies)


For your birthday we had a combined birthday with Daddy. It was Daddy's golden birthday, so to please both crowds we did a gold-looting' pirate themed party. Sadly, you got stinking croup on your birthday so we had to postpone the party, but you still got to play with your cousins after all, for which we were very happy!

Treasure chest cake (the lid was a rice crispy treat)

Pin the patch on the pirate


It's hard to take a good picture of so many littles!


We had a coloring station, played "pass the cannonball" (hot potato) and  "pin the patch on the pirate." Pizza, cake, and ice cream was the food fare and everyone seemed to have a great time!



Happy birthday Caleb Owen! We love you dearly!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

On the Syrian refugees: A plea for compassion

I debated writing this. I don't like to ruffle feathers. I prayed about it. And the thought came to me that so few people are advocating for this group, and my heart ached. Deeply. And maybe only people who agree with me will actually read this. But I feel really helpless right now to help these people, and this feels like the only way that I can.

"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in


Naked and clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.


Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?


Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?


And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I saw unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:35-40)






This is my plea to you my fellow Christians--will you follow Christ all the way? Even if it doesn't agree with your politics? Even if it makes you uncomfortable? Are you pro-life for the whole life? Or only as long as it isn't inconveniencing you? Because if you are shouting, "Keep them in their own country!!!" then I really have a hard time believing that you are truly pro-life.


I get it. We can't do thorough background checks on all the refugees. It doesn't seem responsible to bring in all these people we don't know. I mean, what if someone dangerous got in???? Like, someone from ISIS???


The problem I have with that reasoning, is that the above reasoning comes from a place of fear.


"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

"...I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." (Moroni 8:16)

Perhaps it isn't reasonable to allow refugees in while we are so busy trying to fix our own problems. Perhaps it isn't practical to send them from so far away when there are closer countries. And yes, I supposed there is a small risk of a bad person sneaking in. 

Some people use this cringeworthy analogy:




Let me tell you how much I hate this analogy. I HATE IT. People that would come into your home at night while you lay in bed asleep have very different intentions than a refugee literally crying and begging for help. Someone breaking in your house has no moral intention. A refugee is literally doing the every thing they can think of for self-preservation because their own country is literally killing them. They are victims of crisis in the worst possible ways. If you heard someone being raped and screaming for help outside your window, would you go help, or would you lock the door, turn up the TV and say, "Don't let her in! She'll rape you too!" At the very least, would you call upon people who were equipped to help, like the police?

Click here to read several true accounts of actual refugees who actually were fortunate enough to make it to a new country. These do not seem to be bad people to me. On the contrary, they are people who are fleeing the very thing we fear. I will tell you, if I was in these people's shoes, I would be doing exactly what they are doing. Running to save my family. Because I would rather drown than risk my son watch all his friends get blown up in the school bus in front of his. I'd rather risk going to an unfamiliar country begging on my hands and knees than risk ever seeing my brother's severed head delivered to my door. Did you see the picture of the drowned toddler washed up on the Turkish shore, who died in an attempt to flee his war-ravaged country? Does that child look like ISIS to you?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued this letter in response to the crisis. If you are LDS, will you follow the church, even if it disagrees with your politics? Or will you say, "Oh the Church doesn't know. They don't know what they are talking about. If they really knew the risks they wouldn't say that." I will boldly tell you that if you are saying that, then you are no better than the people who disagree with the church's stance on same-sex attraction. Why? Because it all comes down to revelation. Do you believe this church is guided by revelation or not? All the way, or only when it agrees with your politics? Granted, the letter wasn't asking you to take in refugees into your home. It said to be practical. But for heavens sake don't let your "practicality" rob you of your charity. 

Maybe you think that the terrorist attacks were caused by individuals posing as refugees. Did you know one of them was actually a Frenchman, not a foreigner? Did you know that many of the other terrorists had passports? Do you know how much planning it takes to get a passport, even an illegal one? That doesn't sound like people posing as refugees desperate for their life. 

Maybe you aren't convinced. Maybe we can't financially support them. ("We should be supporting our vets instead!!!!!"*) If it really is wrong for our country to actually help these people in dire need, then instead of shouting to sign some petition begging to keep the refugees out, can we at least have a civilized and compassionate conversation on what another solution could be? You know, actually be helpful??? You know, actually follow the Savior's example??

Some of you will recognize this man. 





Did you know he was once a refugee? Not just a refugee, but a refugee from a country that was a longtime enemy of the US. Can you think of his talks about love and the grace of God and still look at him and say, "Keep the refugees out!" 

Could you look at the Savior and still say it? 

Could you? 

I am pleading with each of you to have compassion. I am pleading with you to help those who are unable to help themselves if you are in a position to do so. I am pleading with you to let go of your fear of a people you do not understand, and look at them as God's children. Remember that you will one day be held accountable for how you treated God's other children during your earth life. 

If you would like to help, here are some ways you can help:




  • Donate to the humanitarian fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is done on a tithing slip, which can be procured from any LDS/Mormon Bishop. Just ask any member you know who their bishop is, or find the nearest chapel here. The Church recently made a $5 million donation to the middle-eastern refugees.
  • Don't want to donate through the LDS church? Here is another campaign donating much needed items to refugees. $15 gives a refugee a complete package.
  • If you have a baby carrier you are no longer using, you can donate it to a grateful refugee traveling with a small child. Here is how.
  • If you are a Utah resident: From Mikle South--Utah Governor Gary Herbert is now the only Republican governor in the nation who says he will still accept refugees from Syria. Regardless of what you think of his other positions, he could use some serious support right now. National and in-state members of his own party are criticizing him for his position, and his office's phone lines have been flooded with angry callers. Insiders say he very much pays attention to those calls and emails, and sheer numbers (either way) on an issue can change his mind. To voice your support, it takes one phone call or one email -- or both. Call 801-538-1000 from anywhere, or 800-705-2464 from inside Utah. Or fill out this form online: https://gocentral.utah.gov/Request/Contact Keep your comments short, and don't bring up other subjects. Just say you are a Utah resident who supports his position on Syrian refugees. You will be added to a daily tally kept by his staff. Because we're coming up on an election year, he will care most what his fellow party members from within Utah think. If you're a registered Republican in Utah or have or plan to vote in a Republican primary, note that in your comment or on the phone. It matters. You can call AND fill out the online form.
    • Know of any other ways? PLEASE comment below!

    If you made it to the end...thanks. I will end with this:

    "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
    And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12: 30-31)

    *I absolutely believe in also helping our veterans. But I do not believe one person in need must be helped at the expense of another. Let's help all within our power.

    If you comment, keep it civil. If your comments are unkind to me or anyone else on the thread, I will delete your comment, whether or not we share the same point of view.



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving

I didn't feel like posting a daily gratitude post on Facebook, so I thought I would just compile a list of 30 things here. My heart has been very full lately.

In no particular order, I am grateful...

1. That spiders don't fly.
2. For little bare bottoms attached to joyfully squealing toddlers.
3. That the doctor who thought 1-year old Caleb was so behind in his communication skills that he needed autism intervention was absolutely and comically wrong. Caleb is not even 2 and can speak in full sentences, can identify every single capital letter of the alphabet, has nearly perfect enunciation, and can finish phrases to almost every song I sing to him.
4. For helmets.
5. For clean running water that can be any temperature I want it to be
6. For a washer and dryer. Especially grateful that the dryer doesn't judge me for sometimes leaving loads of forgotten laundry within it for days at time.
7. That my child did not inherit my height.
8. For hilarious videos of cats that literally flip out at the sight of cucumbers.
9. That I am not a refugee.
10. For my marriage. I state the truth when I say that I married the very best man I know.
11. For a little boy that tells me almost daily, "I love you big!"
12. For understanding moms who don't judge my messy house.
13. For the gift of personal revelation.
14. That God knows me better than I know myself. Even more grateful that He is in charge and not me.
15. For Ghiradelli brownies.
16. That I have the best visiting teaching companion.
17. For my ward family who takes care of me, since I don't live near much of my own blood family.
18. For the temple, and that I live so close to one.
19. For my education. I may be a stay-at-home mom, but I apply my college education probably daily.
20. For nurses, doctors, firemen, policemen, soldiers, and every other career that has life-saving and protecting skills.
21. For nap time. And the fact that nap time even still exists in my house.
22. For llamas. Those things are so goofy looking.
23. For people who give me the benefit of the doubt.
24. That I was not a pioneer. Because I would have had to be left to the wolves. Most likely within city limits.
25. That I live when I do. Because CHILDBIRTH.
26. For modern medicine.
27. That I get to watch a child discover the world around him, sometimes in comical ways, sometimes distressing ways (DON'T TOUCH THAT!!!), and sometimes in reflective, thought-provoking ways.
28. For accidentally calling the wrong number and ending up with a new friend.
29. For every bathroom that has a flushing toilet, toilet paper, and soap. Do not take this for granted. I lived a year and half where that was not the norm. And you couldn't flush the TP but had to stick it in a grocery bag next to the toilet with everyone else's.

30. Most of all-- For the Savior, Who makes it possible for me to live with my family forever, allows me to change and become better, understands my weaknesses and sorrows, and makes it so I can return to live with my Heavenly Parents again.




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Blessings

Maybe it's from seeing everyone else' gratitude posts on Facebook. Maybe it's because I'm super hormonal right now. Or maybe it's something else. But today my heart just feels so full and I want to write it down or else it might explode.

In case you missed it, here is our Halloween/Pregnancy announcement video. It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

So, yeah, we are expecting! Baby #2 is due May 16th, and we will find out the gender in about a month. My OB is guessing a girl by how fast the heartbeat sounds, and since I've felt a little better this pregnancy than Caleb's, that sort of how I'm leaning too. But seriously, we will be surprised and thrilled no matter what. We just want a healthy baby. I'm 13 weeks pregnant, and I'm still barfing about once a day, but that just means the baby is still in there, and that's a very good thing. We   shamelessly watch lots of TV to survive the nausea. I'm thinking of making a little comic book series of what life is like being pregnant while taking care of a toddler--it's hilariously sad. Like when I'm barfing my guts out, Caleb thinks it's a great opportunity for a piggyback ride. And he's become very talented at imitating barfing noises and saying, "Mommy big sick!" Loads of fun, let me tell you. But that's all okay. If nausea is my big trial right now, then I am a blessed woman indeed.

Caleb turns 2 in just a couple weeks. I'm so excited. He is such a delightful, bright, funny, energetic little boy. He is just so perfect for our family. He is totally transitioned into his big boy bed and does a very good job of staying put. He still usually naps in his crib, as the daylight really confuses him and makes him think it's still playtime. He constantly talks and the things that come out of his mouth are just hilarious. He uses the word "big" to express "very" or "a lot." If he sees Brent or me undressing to go hop in the shower he gets excited and goes, "Mommy/Daddy big naked!!!!" He also always says, "I love you big Mommy!!" We thought he was conveying our size for awhile, but now we have learned that he is expressing how much he loves us. Total heart melt right there. He loves music. He would rather watch the intro song to every kid show on repeat all day than watch the actual show. He picks up the lyrics to songs really fast. Now whenever I ask him if he wants a banana he goes, "Banonneeenighty-night and kiss me..." from "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Even though that song has nothing to do with bananas. Or maybe it does and we just haven't known it all this time. Sneaky Ella Fitzgerald....

We have started introducing the idea of potty training. He has no clue that I actually want him to pee in his toilet, but he sure gets excited that he receives M&M's for sitting on it! He also thinks his pull-ups are swim diapers and keeps asking to go swimming even though it's snowing outside. We had Brent show him how boys do it, and well, let's just say that was a bit of a comical disaster. Caleb wanted to, er, "play in the fountain" so to speak hahaha. I'm still laughing thinking about it.

I could rattle forever about Caleb, but I will exercise restraint until I write his birthday post.

I am just loving my calling as the ward choir director. We are getting ready for our Christmas program on top of our Thanksgiving song, and it's all going really well. We have had such an incredible turnout. Every week we have new people show up and it makes me so happy that I could cry. Last Sunday we almost ran out of seating, and had all our regulars been there we totally would have.

I am also convinced that I married the very best man I personally know. I know people don't like to read about mushy/braggy couple stuff, but this is my blog so neener neener. Brent is without guile. He is so service-minded that his actions always inspires me to do more. He is so dang smart, and really hard worker. PhD school has been challenging, but he keeps plowing forward in spite of it. He is always showing how important his family means to him. When he is home, he does the dishes, changes diapers, and takes out the trash so I don't have to, since the sights and smells of those chores are extremely nauseating for me. He is so kind and just good. He makes me laugh, and continues to court me three years into our marriage. I really did marry the catch of a lifetime.

I'm just feeling really grateful right now. I feel like my life is practically perfect. I love our house, I love our ward, and mostly I love the peace and joy that is around us. Happy early Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you for being my friend.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A general update on our life right now

I realized recently that many people do not know why we are still living in Provo, so I thought I would write a general update of what is going on in our lives.

Right now, my husband Brent is pursuing a PhD in Acoustical Physics at Brigham Young University. He went straight from a Bachelor's degree to this program, which means it's a 5-year program. At other schools the program is even longer, so we count ourselves lucky. Acoustical physics essentially means that Brent studies sound waves. All day. Every day. He loves it. It confuses me. But I love that he loves it. At the end of this semester we will officially be halfway done.

The question we ALWAYS get at this point is, "So does he want to teach then?" A big resounding NO. If everyone could please stop assuming that a PhD means he can only become a professor I would really appreciate it. While it certainly is an option, and a noble one, it is not an option he wants to pursue. He would much rather work in a field that utilizes practical application to his research. Most of his research encompasses jet noise (my husband is a rocket scientist!! Well, sort of), and so it is very likely that he could continue in that field post-graduation working for a company like the Air Force (who currently funds him), Boeing, NASA, or a government lab. Brent did an internship at Los Alamos National Laboratories in Los Alamos, NM and we definitely wouldn't mind ending up there. There are national labs all over the country, and they tend to be good places to work, so I hear. It's also possible that he could end up in a completely different acoustical field (yes, there are surprisingly many), but we really won't know until right before graduation in a couple of years. I always hate not knowing what's coming next, but I'm grateful for the stability we are enjoying for now at least.

As far as plans after graduation, we could end up anywhere, but we would love to end up near family. Growing up near cousins and grandparents and stable aunts and uncles was such a crucial part of my upbringing that I really desire that for my own children. We will not end up in Utah. There is not a huge demand for acoustical physicists in Utah, and the siblings that are here do not intend to stay. While I love Utah in so many ways, and love so many of its people, it has never felt completely like "home," but more of a chapter in a book. A very important chapter, but one that will end.

As for me, I am a homemaker, or SAHM (stay at home mom) in today's vernacular, but I also am an artist and am trying very hard to make some money with my art. We don't need the money. It's more of a personal goal and a way to validate my work. I've actually applied to some shows this year, and I'm really crossing my fingers that I'll be accepted. If you haven't looked at it, check out my new website http://www.angelareichman.com. I used to have a website with my sister Kathryn, but she needs a break, so we decided together that it would be good for me to continue on my own now. Art has always been a passion of mine, and I have always felt a personal calling to constantly work at it and try to get my art "out there." I have been recently blessed with a lot of commissions lately, which has been exciting, but has also helped me see how I want to narrow my field and style. I'm not entirely sure what I want my ultimate artistic goals to be, but mostly I want people to be inspired and uplifted by work.

Here's a piece I worked on this year but never totally finished. Any takers?


"Hannah"
And another one I made around Easter:



It is a struggle to be both an artist and a homemaker. Both roles constantly pull at me, and I always feel like I'm neglecting one of them (usually the artist side). I have a paralyzing fear that if I focus too much on my art I will have nothing left to give my children, or worse, that they will feel like I value my art more than them. I try to work only during nap time or when Brent is home, but making it a priority is difficult, and not having a real studio space adds an extra challenge. A corner of my kitchen is my current studio, and I'm hoping that as Caleb gets older we will be able to work on art projects together, but as it currently stands Caleb thinks that anything in my hands also belongs to him. What a typical toddler. ;)

Callings--Brent and I recently received new callings. We used to co-teach a youth Sunday School class, which we loved. Those youth are amazing. Brent has now been called to be a 2nd Counselor in one of our two Elder's Quorum presidencies, and I have been called to be the ward choir director. I never in my whole life ever thought I would be called to be a choir director. To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to say yes. I didn't feel adequate, our choir numbers were pretty pathetic, and I couldn't see why this calling mattered in a ward that seems to have so many struggles. After talking with some family members, I have since repented and am trying to grab the bull by the horns. And believe it or not, I really love this calling! We don't sing anything complicated, everyone is welcome no matter age or ability, and we always have treats and babysitters. Attendance has greatly improved, and most of the people who come are actually other parents of small children. I have been very humbled as I have seen how important music is to some people, and how choir is a blessing to a ward by more than bringing more music. I am far from the most qualified person for this calling, but I have been blessed with a very supportive husband who rearranges the furniture every Sunday so we can fit everyone plus a keyboard in our living room, often makes the treats, and is always willing to step in as the pianist or babysitter if either of them can't make it. (How did I get so dang lucky??) I have felt very buoyed up in this calling in many ways, and am grateful that Heavenly Father knows me better than I know myself.




As for Caleb, he is doing so great. He turns 2 next month, but he is the size of a 3-year old. He chats up a storm, and even put together his first sentence about a month ago: "I eat yogurt." He can identify every capital letter of the alphabet as well as a few numbers, but numbers that look like letters are tricky (1 looks like I, 2 looks like Z.) He loves to repeat anything he hears people say. One of the most common things he repeats is "I'll be right back" and it's adorable. It comes out sounding "I ee rye back." We are currently in the process of switching him from his crib to a big bed, in an effort to improve bedtime, which has been very stressful the last few weeks. We have also bought a little potty to introduce the idea of potty-training, but will wait until the bed switch is well-established before we encourage other drastic changes in his world.

A donut AND a sucker while shopping? Toddler heaven right there. And with that big smile, it's mommy heaven too.

I think that's about it. Brent is about to go to Tempe, AZ for a conference for a few days, which happens 2-3 times a year. Halloween is coming up, which is one of my favorite holidays. Next month Brent and Caleb both have birthdays, so I gotta get my rear in gear to prep for those. Life is good, and we are very happy.