Tender Mercies in Miscarriage

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the passing of my second child.  Thank you Facebook for reminding me of mine with that latest “memories” feature.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this, as I do occasionally; particularly around holiday season.  This post is an open and honest expression of the pain, sorrow and beauty that comes with the loss of a child.  I apologize in advance for any tears shed.  I shared quite a few in writing this. Ok, here we go.

This is me on my 29th birthday.

It was a great day.  My husband took the day off, we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat, go get free food at Joe’s Farm Grill and enjoyed family time.  It was a good day.  Everything seemed to be going well; with the exception of morning sickness which lasted all day.

Fast forward to a few few weeks later when everything turned grey.  Three days after Thanksgiving, I was involved in the car accident.  A teenager decided to blindly enter traffic and T-boned me.  It was in a parking lot of a shopping complex so luckily speeds were not high.  I didn’t think to go to the doctor.  Honestly, I was just happy that my kids who are almost always with me were not in the car at that moment.  A week to two weeks later I went for my scheduled prenatal appointment and found out that we had lost of baby sometime around the time of the car accident.  Whether or not the accident was the cause I will never know.  All I know is that I lost something….a part of me.

I remember the horrible feeling, that sad phone call to my husband, every pain, every sorrow, every horrible thought.  I was heartbroken.  Empty.  What made things worse was a fact that I had lost my baby but not passed him or her.  My lil’ guy was still inside of me.  The irony- my body couldn’t sustain life but would not release its mortal vessel.  Because I was 9 weeks and for a 5 days the doctor gave me the option of waiting to let it pass on its own or have a D&C.  I waited weeks and nothing happened.  It felt like it was never ending; like I was relieving the miscarriage every single day.  My husband and I took a turn for the worse.  He was still angry with God and hurt.  Going to church was even harder.  Overtime, I too became upset with Heavenly Father. I needed to move on and couldn’t knowing that there was a lifeless body inside me.  I got to a morbid place where I was literally googling how to miscarry a baby.  I was drinking raspberry leaf tea and doing all sorts of crazy things.  I was in a dark place.

My husband decided to lift my spirits by sending me to see my sister Lindsay and Indiana.  I prayed so hard that I would pass the baby in Indiana so that Jonny wouldn’t have to be there and deal with that.  Plus, I would have my sister to make things better.  And of course the week and a half past without a change. Being in Indiana was good. Sarah and I got to play in the snow, visit the Children’s Museum, and get pampered by my sister.  I was distracted but the reality never escaped me.

My absence had an even greater affect on my husband.  No one really thinks or talks about the husbands and miscarriage.  They should!  Jonny felt everything as greatly as I did.  We needed to be back together.  He needed me and our chukkas.  Needless to say, Jonny was so happy to have us home.  He immediately held Sarah in his arms at the terminal and didn’t let go.154568_10151351149210210_612961063_n.jpg

After getting home I went in for another appointment.  It got to the point where the doctor said it was no longer healthy and safe for me to wait and that I was going to have to proceed with a D&C.  We did not have the funds to go through such a surgery and frankly, I was scared.  I had read somewhere online about some pills that you could take to encourage your body to release the bad.  I guess some kind of abortion pill.  I asked my doctor about them and why he had never spoken to me about them prior.  He said they were experimental and doctors weren’t sure of dosage but we could try it.  So he wrote me prescription and I went immediatly to Walgreens.

It felt wrong giving that prescription to the pharmacist.  I’m very pro-life and here I was requesting these pills.  I read up on everything I could regarding the pills and its often horrific side-effects (labor pains, hemorrhaging and more).  I was not deterred.  I knew it was what needed to be done.  I didn’t want to scare my husband and with the possibilities of what could happen as consequence to taking the pills.  I did however tell my neighbor and ask her if she would watch my daughter in the event of something bad happening and had to go to the ER.  All the online commentors said that I was going to experience horrible cramping and the best time to take it was at night.  That was my plan.  In the evening, I took 6 pills and prepared myself mentally for the worst.  First tender mercy, I was able to sleep.  Such a blessing.

I awoke at some point with some cramping so I decided to go take a bath. The warm water helped and I was able to relax a little.  I remember the silence, the warmth of the water, the salt of the tears and the feeling the smooth porcelain on my hands as I pushed myself out of the tub.  The weight or pressure from getting out of the water released my baby.  I felt so many emotions at that moment.  Those same emotions I feel right now.  My fear and sorrow were briefly replaced with a feeling of peace.   I cradled the little kidney bean shaped sac in my hands and cried, then said goodbye.  I decided not awake my husband.  I did not want him to have to go through any more pain.  IH was horrible. But at the same time is beautiful.  Earlier that day, I had read an article about the tender mercies of the Lord.  I truly feel that He was with me.  I took six of those pills; a higher dosage than those taken by others online.  I should have had a horrible experience and didn’t.

jesus-with-child-lds-scripturesAt that moment, I truly felt that I had experienced another  tender mercy of the Lord in the passing of my little one. Everything should have been so much worse.  Heavenly Father knew that I had suffered for so long and at that time I needed peace.  The blessing I had received earlier that night from my husband came to pass.  In passing my baby I was able to finally start healing.  I needed it.  We needed it after such a long event that racked our spirituality and marital relationship.  Honestly, I don’t think we truly got better for another year or so.
Now, life is good. I am happily married with three beautiful children. I live near my dear parents who spoil my children like crazy.  Have I forgotten what transpired?  No.  It still hurts everytime I think about it or read an article or Facebook post about miscarriage.  The loss of a child leaves a hole that never really gets filled.  As I reflect on my miscarriage I can recognize the love and comfort I received from my Heavenly Father; not just that moment in the bath tub but throughout the entire process.  This particular trial taught me to have compassion for others.  I have gained empathy and a greater appreciation for life and for my family.  That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?  Learn from our trials and become more like Him.  
My miscarriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.  I’ll openly admit that I may have failed that test.  However, I can honestly say I did learn, grow, and gain positive things from it.  One such is a testimony that I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows my strengths and weaknesses.  He knows our pains and sends the Holy Ghost comfort us.  I know I have a loving brother, Jesus Christ, who suffered and felt my anguish in the Garden of Gethsemene.  It is through that sacrifice that I will be able to live with my family again in heaven.  It is through His atonement that I will experience the greatest blessings my Father has to give; that of eternal families. I love my family and am grateful for all my Father in Heaven bestowed upon me; both blessings and trials. He truly is the God of Love.
If you are interested in learning more about eternal families click here or here.  Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  I hope it reaches someone who needs it.  

Photography Tips: Tried and True

So, I love Pinterest!  I have tons of articles, tutorials, blog posts, etc pinned on my Photography board.   In reading these articles, I have found common themes and tips.  I learned from church that if something is repeated often the it’s important and you should remember it.  So when I kept seeing the same advice, I took it.  I now share them with you. Please keep in mind I am an amateur photographer.  The pictures below are from various years, taken with different cameras and lenses; many have not been edited.

Tip #1: Get to know your subject. Spend a few minutes talking with your subject.  During that time pay attention to what draws a smirk or makes them laugh.  If you tell my daughter to smile she gives some weird cheese smile.  In order to get a sincere smile from her I bring up her cousin, Jared, who she has a crush on.  You can tell the difference in these two pictures.

Here are some more shots I got after bringing up her crush. I love the smiling eyes.

By the way here’s a picture of Jared.  You can almost feel the love. HeheIMG_25051

Tip #2: Show your subject items they love like candy and toy for solid eye contact and excitement.  Candy works best for my kids.

Tip #3:  Capture the moments that highlight their personality and documents what makes them special and unique.  I try to worry less on staging and focus on the little quirks my kids have.

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Tip#4:  Remove distraction from the background to focus attention on the subject.

Tip #5: Try different angles. Also, remember it’s ok to cut part of the face off. Change the perspective and get a completely different picture.

Tip #6: The rule of thirds.  Divide your shot into thirds vertically and horizontally.  Position your subject along the grid lines for an interesting and balanced look.

Tip #7: Capture the beauty around you.

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Bribery. Reward. Tomatoe. Tomato.

When you are the mother of three young kids under the age of four, you do what it takes to survive. My oldest, Sarah is a very spirited 4 year old. She is a stubborn, sassy, 21st century spitfire. Good luck getting her to do something that she doesn’t want to do. She and I tend to butt heads often. I hate being that yelling mom but let’s face it we all do it. I’ve used my teaching strategies- redirection, timers, accountability charts, proximity and more with a varying success rate. Additionally, I’ve read blogs and magazine articles about parenting a strong-willed child.  Let’s just say  I use a lot of if/then statements.  I really try to allow her to make choices after clearly defining the positive and negative consequences of each.
What I’ve come to find is that my daughter has many sides. Yes, she is incredibly strong willed, but also kind, empathetic, helpful, creative and imaginative.  I love the kind, helpful sides of my daughter and want to see them more.  So I praise like crazy and reward/bribe when Sarah demonstrates positive attributes like helping with meal prep and execution, completing her chores, loving on her brother, etc.  Little miss has worked towards and received stickers, art supplies, an Elsa Barbie doll from her Grandma Baugh and recently some fun puppy boot socks. #BootLinerSock
Sarah was pretty stoked about the socks. They are adorable, warm boot liners that fit perfectly in her Hello Kitty rain boots.

Bonus- I received them for a heavy discount (a little under $2) in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. Sarah liked the grey and white spotted character. I quite enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I can let her play outside and she will be warm. I also love that the ears have a tag that say left and right. It’s great for word recognition!  20160104_144120And if they can’t read, kids can figure out which boot is which by matching up the white ears to touch. Even if I didn’t get the product discounted, I would have bought them.  They can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/LANS-Rain-Boot-Liners-Kids/dp/B018ZQKOG0/

Wow…got a little off topic there.  What’s the point?  Bribery, or what I term as getting your kiddo to work towards an obtainable goal, is not a bad thing.  If it means less contention in the home then by all means go for it. We’ve got to spend less time worrying about what others may say or think.  Do what you have to do to survive and if possible thrive.  Items from the dollar store aren’t going to break our budget.

The New Kissing Game


IMGP1909So my husband and I are movie buffs.  To the bafflement of my father, we watch a movie more than once.  Seriously!!!  We cycle thru all the Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Back to The Future and Lord of the Rings Series every year.  Watching movies or our favorite tv shows is our thing.  However, it doesn’t leave much space for cultivating a relationship where we are constantly learning more about the other.

A few weeks ago, my husband shared with a co-worker that he hadn’t a clue what to get me for Christmas.  I’m apparently hard to shop for  because I am simple and let’s face it- cheap.  I’m not flashy, don’t require expensive purses, dresses, jewelry, etc.  I guess I require more thought.  Tough life, right?!   Back to the point, the co-worker responded, haven’t you been married for 8 years?  Shouldn’t you know by now?  I know right!  This really hit home with my husband.  He decided we needed to truly get to know each other more and do more than sit in front of a t.v. with our cell phones or laptops.  But how does that fit in with our favorite past time?

Make a game of it.  Put down the cell phone.  Don’t pick yours up because he has his.  He’s probably thinking the same thing- “Well, if she’s on her phone than so can I.”  Sit by each other.  Heaven forbid you actually cuddle to watch a movie.  Is it me, or does that just magically go away once the promise of sex has been fulfilled?  But that’s a topic for another day.

So, last night we popped in our Netflix movie- San Andreas.  Fitting seeing how we are 10 minutes from it.  Jonny sat in the recliner playing Star Wars and checking Instagram.  I sat on the opposite couch, also on my phone.  We joked about how horrible the movie was, laughing at how incredibly unrealistic it was, the cheesy one-liners and its predictability while simultaneously engaged on our phones.  That’s when it hit me- a game. Let’s turn this movie into a game.  Every time there was a cheesy scene or one liner we would have to give each other a kiss.  Jonny was game.  We both put our cells down and he came over and snuggled.  It was like when we were dating and just had to be touching.  It was nice.  We had some fun and got plenty of kisses in.

Why am I sharing this you ask?  Because we all need to unplug and enjoy a little time with someone special.  It’s the little things like making fun of a movie together that bring you closer.  Try it!  Maybe next time, you can up the anties; like each time there’s a corney line or scene you lose a piece of clothing.  Just make sure the kids are asleep and the doors are locked.  Enjoy.

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Ten Awesome Learning Sites and Activities

I love teaching; especially my kiddos.  Hence, Pinterest has my heart.  Some of the most amazing activities are on there.  There are also some pretty dull ones.  To save you time, I’ve compiled a list of a few favorite sites and activities.

  1. Bath Tub Paint– I did this with my daughter and the two boys I babysat.  No fighting.  Only happy kids for over 30 minutes.  It was amazing!
  2. DSC04505.jpg2. Shaving Cream Fluff– Great sensory activity

3. Borax (loved by teachers and parents alike)

4. Colorful Chemical Reactions-Grab a baking dish and fill it with baking soda. Drop vinegar dyed with food coloring onto baking soda. It’s awesome.

5. Sea foam – Just make sure to have towels or a picnic cloth if doing this activity indoors.  Sarah loved it!

6. Nurturestore has a list with links to 100 activities that are amazing!

7. Excavating Dinos- Just freeze mini vinyl dinosaur figures in a regular balloon. Remove egg from balloon.  Provide spoons, toy hammers, or kitchen mallets to dig the dino out.

8. Oobleck– Literacy, Science and fun.

9. Pre-K printables and educational activities

10. Ms. Carole’s blog has some wonderful pre-k activities. A favorite of mine is the Musical Ball.

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The Other Side of Christmas

With Christmas comes joy and cheer.  Families and friends gather to enjoy each other’s company, to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and often times exchange gifts.  This can bring much joy as well as great anger and tears.  I have experienced both.

Since Christmas my two midgets have been in an on-going battle…playing with the other’s favorite toy.  Evan received Buzz Light Year from the Big Fat Guy.  It was the perfect gift seeing how my son makes us watch Toy Story at least once a day.  Christmas Day he wouldn’t let that thing out of his hands.  He ate both meals with Buzz, as well as napped and slept with Buzz that day.  And since that day my daughter has used her ability to run faster and her strength to torture her brother by taking Buzz away.DSC_0726_2

Not to be out done, said son has decided those tiny pet shop toys his sister, Sarah, got from Santa must be pretty cool.  Taking cue from his older sister, Evan has engaged in thievery.  And so the battle ensues.  Loud screams are registered as is my ever growing headache.  You would think his arm had been cut off by the sound of the bloodcurdling scream which is magnified by two tiny tight fists and a stretched out, shaking body.  It’s a thing of science how quickly Evan’s face goes red.

Just as every moment counts when talking someone off a ledge or speaking with a surrounded bank robber, I must act fast.  Using the timer  and misdirection work a decent amount of time.  I don’t have a mega phone so occasionally I have to use a slightly elevated “teacher voice” (to put it nicely) which I’m pretty sure puts the neighbors on edge.  Bribery I’ve found works better.  Surprise.  Surprise.  Thank you Christmas for developing this oh so precious hat.


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Pop Goes The Elbow

Well… I wore the medic hat. You can call me Doc Kistemann.  Recently, my family visited California Adventures at Disneyland to enjoy the holiday themed events and lights.  There I had the opportunity to wear my “hat” (not my goofy one; the medic one). While waiting in line to ride the toboggan at Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Wonderland, my son got tired of waiting and wanted some of Olaf’s warm hugs. With the full weight of his little body, he threw himself to the ground.  What would have been simply an embarrassing moment turned into a much sadder one. I was holding his hands when he dropped. Out popped the elbow. I knew he was hurt but I didn’t realize to what extent. We went down the toboggan ride and immediately went into the Frozen Sing-a-long.

That’s when Evan became a hot mess and really cried. My husband thought his elbow may have popped out of place and took him to the nurse. The Disneyland nurse gave him ibuprofen but she wasn’t allowed to set anything.  A similar incident happened to my daughter a year or two ago with my mother so I was familiar with what to do.  Last time, I contacted my brother who is a physical therapist for instructions. He told me what to do and to search YouTube for Nursemaid’s Elbow.  I did and was able to pop Sarah’s elbow back in place.  This time I quickly went to YouTube to remind me what needed to be done.  It took two or three times but I was able to pop Evan’s elbow back into place. Within minutes my son went from complete misery to a happy little boy again. Here’s a link to the video I used. I recommend this video to all moms out there because let’s be honest kids are crazy.

** Make sure to keep the arm extended and the palm of the hand facing up**




Why So Many Hats?

We all wear multiple hats.  It’s what makes our lives unique and exciting and at the same time exhausting and overwhelming.  I am no different.

Over the past few years I have worn the hat of mother, wife, counselor, educator, maid, chauffeur, daughter, friend, business partner, medic, seemstress, and more.

I have a love/hate relationship with my mom hat.  Motherhood is a blessing not offered to all. It comes with dirt, bodily fluids, tears, pain, joy and utter happiness.  Quite often I feel that my a## is getting kicked trying to get everything done while keeping the kids alive and thriving but then there are those moments when you catch your little ones playing together, being good citizens and genuinely happy that you stop, smile and straighten out your hat.

Recently, I decided to become an online produce reviewer. It’s a new hat but I quite like it.  I mean who isn’t going to like getting free and heavily discounted items in exchange for an honest review. My goal is in a years time to review big, rad items like Smart Toys, Cameras, etc. Reviewing is what initially motivated me to write this blog but now that I’ve started I’m super excited to share with you my many hats.  Hopefully you enjoy it and come back often.  Til then paka (that’s Russian for bye).


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