Dear Spot:

Dear Spot:
We are so excited for you to come! I can't believe it's only six more weeks until you arrive. I had a dream that you were born with a full head of black hair, bright blue eyes and the CUTEST chubby cheeks with a dimple. Didn't look anything like either of your parents, but I can't wait to see how accurate/far off my dreams are. I am not known for having reliable dreams so I figure you will probably come out bald, small, with brown eyes.

Here's the thing though; please don't come early. PLEASE. Take your time in there; grow, kick, squirm. Let's make a date in six weeks to meet each other but if you come earlier you will throw your parents for a loop (perhaps you know that, like that and will come early just for fun). We are slowly getting things ready for you but the house, room and all things baby won't be ready for six weeks sooooooo please oh please don't come early.

You're kicking me right now as I type. You are quite the mover and shaker. I hope that means you like it in there and are content to stay in for another six weeks so I can finish painting the cabinets, clean the 2" of dust off the whole house, paint the crib, unpack the house, arrange the nursery, make some freezer meals, and work for another 4 weeks.

But if you do come early, we won't be too upset. You'll just sleep in a drawer and we'll just be excited to finally meet you...


   Seriously, take your time in there...
Love you


31 Weeks!

31 weeks!
Only 9 more weeks!
I am loving being pregnant so far, I consider myself ridiculously lucky to be having such a fantastic pregnancy. 

Our lil guy is moving non-stop now and I love feeling his elbows, knees, heads, whatever poking out into my stomach and moving around and he only kicks my bladder every now and then.

I officially have no more church clothes that fit, all my dresses are a lil too short now (thanks belly) and my skirts, all three, don't fit anymore but thanks to generous friends and sisters I no have some super cute maxi dresses and a couple other adorable dresses. I am good to go till June now!

The reality of a baby coming in 9 weeks has not set in yet. At all.
Perhaps once when I go on maternity leave (May 13th! Four weeks early is supposedly recommended sooo that's what I am doing, I might go a lil stir crazy though) it will feel more real. We plan on moving into our house once I am on Mat Leave and then I will use the rest of my pregnancy getting the house and nursery ready.

Basically all I wear is my long sleeve shirts, jackets, jeans and boots...  I just rotate between three of each and BAM I have clothes for every day of the week... Variety is not my strong suit. 

We are super excited for this lil guy to come!

Easter in Kelowna

Somehow Shawn has sneaked by his whole life without really venturing in B.C. 
A travesty that had to be changed.

So when we heard that my Mum and Len were headed to Kelowna over Easter we decided to tag along to visit Mum's family. Last trip that we will be able to pack in ten minutes flat; apparently babies delay packing time a bit. 

I love traveling with Mum and Len; they have such a laid back attitude. Forget the whole rushing to get there, we took time to stop for any little reason and if we didn't then we would have missed this lil gem...

 Shawn's first view of the Okanagan Valley!

Apparently Shawn wasn't overwhelmed with the view because after awhile this is what Shawn looked like... 

It's true that Kelowna is in it's prime in the summer but we did our best to play tour guide and show Shawn some of the best views and, of course, the classic tourist stops...

Shawn thought it was nice but he couldn't get over how, to him, living on a lake would be weird as to him that's a vacation thing. Going to the lake. Not living on the lake. 

The famous(?) sail water fountain.... 

Somehow we didn't make Shawn a believer in regards to Ogopogo... 
How can you not believe in the giant sea creature that lives in the Okanagon?

Mum and Len, after their dual big wins at the Kelowna casino.
Mum took $20 and turned it into $260 playing the dumbest/funniest slot machine ever... 

My Mum's idea of a ice cream cone is more like a bite to me... 

Mum's dog Tia is quite the cute lil thing... 

Family dinner with the grandparents and Aunts/Uncle

Thanks Knokum for the baby gifts!

Shawn and I were at the Superstore picking up some strawberries and angel food cake for Easter dinner when the cashier told us to put away our money, saying that the Native man in front of us in line wanted to pay for our purchases. Apparently the guy had his eye on Superstore's gimmick (buy $155 and get a FREE .....) and since he doesn't pay HST (don't get me started on the BC's HST) as a native, he was $10 under the limit. So instead of going back and getting $10 more in groceries he wanted to buy ours. We were blown away and so grateful but I don't know who was more excited, us- getting strawberries and angel food cake for FREE or him- getting his free glass cooking ware set for FREE. He was going on how it was one less Christmas present he would have to shop for... haha... We even offered to give him cash but he was thanking us for helping him reach the limit. 
Made our day. 

Love him.

The first night we got to Kelowna, my Grandpa had made Shepard's pie (which I LOOOVE) and my Knokum handed me a plate with four veggie summer rolls on them and when I sat down after dishing out the rest of the dinner on my plate I noticed that only my Aunt Laurie, Uncle Derek and I had the veggie rolls. I offered Shawn one but I didn't think too much into it, thinking that Knokum just wanted me to have extra veggies, being pregnant and all. 
The next morning my Mum and Knokum were talking and somehow it came out that Knokum thought I was vegetarian! Apparently so is Laurie and Derek and thus the reasons why we were the only ones with the veggie rolls... I guess they didn't notice the big mass of Shepard's Pie on my plate right beside them. Ha ha. My Mum had a good laugh and informed my Knokum that I definitely am a lover of cows, pigs and chickens on my plate. 

View from the Pass on our way home.... 


6/30: The Hardest Thing

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

Appropriately, in one day it is the 2nd year anniversary of the event that threw a huge kink in my plans and taught me a lot...

I feel like I have talked this to death. Last year I blogged about it on the 1 yr anniversary of my accident here. But the reason I have talked about it so much is that it affected my life so much, still affects me and probably always will. 

On my last day in Australia I went for one last surfing ride that ended with me in the hospital.

The weeks and months that followed was hard on me physically and mentally as I adjusted to having my spine fused and the long recovery that followed. 

In the hospital I was a perfect invalid, instantly aged to be an 89-yr-old arthritic grandma. The simplest task would exhaust me; I needed help with everything. Rolling from side to side in bed or getting out of bed would wipe me. I couldn't raise my hands above my chest, couldn't shower myself, couldn't sit up for more than 20 minutes and when I got energy to walk down the hallway and back my doctor's were impressed. 6 weeks later when my mum and Len picked me up from the Calgary hospital I could feel every bump in the road and was in excruciating pain by the time we arrived in Lethbridge.

But even though this was a huge shock and unexpected trial and that this post states this is the hardest thing I have had to experience I only look back at this event as physically trying. I learned so much from this experience and my life changed so much in the course of my recovery that I can't help but look back with almost fondness. 

The first and foremost thing that was abundantly clear was the Lord's hand in my accident. Perhaps this is why this 'hardship' of recovering is overshadowed by all the tender mercy's that I experienced in my recovery.
Some examples:
 - I got injured on the LAST day of my 6 mo trip, so I didn't have to cancel further travels, just shifts on 3C... 
 - Of all the countries and towns we were in and surfed in I got injured 10 minutes away from my only Australian family's house. So instead of being released from the hospital and having the stress of finding somewhere to stay for the remaining three weeks before I was okayed to fly home, I was able to spend more time with my Uncle, Aunt and cousins whom I loved.
 - When I got injured, all I wanted was a priesthood blessing so my sister got ahold of the local missionaries which was appreciated but sometimes you just want a blessing from someone you know. Imagine my surprise when the missionaries walk in and one of them exclaims, "Valena?". Turns out that one of the two missionaries had just got transferred there a few days prior and was little Jimmy Stringham who's family was one of the 20 families from the TINY Spring Coulee where I grew up. He was so much younger than me that all we really knew about each other was basic information that neighbors know but that day I felt the lord's hand in having Elder Stringham show up to give me a blessing of comfort in my most stressful situation. 
 - After being slammed headfirst into the sandbank from the wave's force I ended up with not a snapped neck (which should of happened) I ended up with thoracic spine fractures. The doctor said my head was PERFECTLY tilted to channel the force down my cervical spine before shattering my thoracic spine. Any other way and my neck would have been snapped. 
 - I had friends and family that were at my bedside the whole time. Even across the world I was lucky enough to feel at home in the hospital.
 - Being injured extended my stay in Australia and with my Aussie family by 6 weeks. If you are gonna get injured, Australia is a good place to recover! 
 - I came home broke as a joke, unable to work for 3-6 months. But I received amazing charity from my mum's work who threw a charity bake sale and donated enough money for me to live until I could return to work.
 - Even though I have some residual discomfort/pain, I am blessed to be able to live my life completely undeterred besides the regular stretch and pop. So if you see me stealing five minutes at work to lay on a stretcher, that's me just recharging my back. 

And my absolute favorite:
 - After 24 years of perfect health when do I meet my husband? 3 months after my accident, still wearing my back brace and still quite the rickety old grandma physically. I have no idea where or what I would have been doing if I had came home in perfect health like I planned but a small piece of me thinks I probably wouldn't have been at the dance that night that I initially met Shawn. 

In my mind, I can't help but think that this accident was meant to be in my life to teach me about Heavenly Father's love for me, how I can bounce back from complete physical weakness and to help open my eyes to see the most amazing guy ever...