IVF Means…

Categories: Life

I can think of no better way to describe IVF than as one of the greatest miracles of modern science. Growing up I always wanted children and assumed I would be able to have them. Getting married in 2009 in my 30s, my expectation for a possibly large family was cut down to the idea that I might only have one or two kids. Then Lisa and I began to go through the infertility ordeal. We met with Dr. Gelety, our reproductive endocrinologist, in early 2011, and he assured us that we would be pregnant by the end of the year. I was a bit of a skeptic up until that point, but when the promise was fulfilled, and Lisa got pregnant through IVF in November 2011, I started to become a believer.

Our struggles had not ended by that time, as that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. With so many obstacles to overcome, I remember one moment of sheer desperation in mid-2012 when I was virtually out of hope and believed I would die without posterity. But through faith, prayers, sacrifices and struggles, we became pregnant again in October 2012, and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in June 2013. This was followed by a frozen transfer that resulted in the birth of our twins, a boy and a girl, in April 2015, and because the pregnancies had kept Lisa’s endometriosis at bay, we became pregnant naturally and had our final child, a boy, in June 2017.

None of this would have happened without IVF. It is astonishing to me that the first IVF baby is the same age as my wife. That means if we’d been the age of our parents, we would not have had the opportunity of raising biological children in this life. Multiplied over tens of thousands of years of human history, it is staggering to think how lucky or blessed I am to be living when I am. I love my family and thank God for providing the science that enabled it to be what it is today.

– Brett

IVF Means…

Categories: Family, Happy Things, Infertility

Forty years ago today my future changed dramatically. I was two days old and in Utah. But in England Louise Brown was born, the first baby conceived via in vitro fertilization. That fact meant nothing to me at the time. But IVF means the world to me now.

IVF means a chance when there was none.
IVF means seeing our children the size of a period on a piece of paper and joking that they had Brett’s nose.
IVF means devastating disappointment.
IVF means intense prayers.
IVF means needles. Lots of them. And bruises.
IVF means telling each other a whole lot of inappropriate jokes.
IVF means funky socks.
IVF means more doctor appointments in a year than there are weeks.
IVF means enough blood draws that I wonder how many draws it would take to equal a pint.
IVF means enough blood draws that I have a permanent mark on my arm where they all came from and got burned out on being poked there to be interested in donating blood.
IVF means sleepless nights, throw up, spit up, poop, diapers.
IVF means four children call me mom, the first three a direct result of IVF and the fourth an indirect result as the first three kids cleared up the endometriosis in my body making him possible.

IVF means fear.
IVF means waiting.
IVF means faith.
IVF means hope.
IVF means miracles.


– Lisa

Trucks and Trains!

Categories: Family, With the Kiddos

One advantage of being with small children all day is finding the joy in the small things again. With no meetings to get to and a schedule all our own we are able to take time to explore the things that make them smile.

For example, instead of hoping to not get stopped by a train on our way home, we actually do a u-turn and park next to the tracks so we can watch it.

And instead of just noticing that they’re clearing land for a new housing development as we drive down the road, we grab our water bottles, put on some sun screen, park the car, and walk down the path next to the new development to spend an hour watching the trucks and waving at the construction guys.

Big mom-ing wins are often found in the little things.

I support public education in Arizona

Categories: Education, Politics

Governor Ducey, Representative Griffin/John/Nutt,

I am a registered voter in Arizona who highly values education. This coming school year our oldest will enroll in kindergarten. She is very excited to go to her school and comments on it every time we go past. Each time we go past her school in the evening around dinner time she always asks why there are still cars there and why the teachers haven’t gone home to eat dinner yet.

My mom was an elementary teacher when I was a child and I have taught elementary school as well. I know exactly why there are still cars at the school when the school day is long over and everyone should be home eating dinner. I have been that teacher spending my evenings at school and going home after the sun goes down.

There are still cars at the school because the teachers and staff care about their students and want to make sure they have everything prepared for the next day. They are there after hours because teaching is more than just what happens during the school hours. It is preparing lessons, activities, and science experiments. It is grading assignments and figuring out how to teach the next topics based on how well the students know the past ones. It is researching ways to help students who bring to class with them their mental problems, their physical problems, their family problems, their emotional problems, because none of that stays at home when a child comes to school.

To work in a school means having your heart split amongst all your students. And unfortunately to work in a school in Arizona means trying to teach your heart without adequate supplies or support.

I will gladly provide my daughter’s teacher with however many reams of paper she puts on the supply list, with facial tissue, crayons, pencils, and whatever other supplies she needs. Because I care about my daughter’s education, and all her classmates. And I know that based on past actions my daughter’s teacher will not be able to count on the state supporting her.

You have an opportunity right now to have a positive effect on the future of Arizona. Without adequate education in this state corporations will not be able to attract employees because they will not want their children to go to school here. And the businesses, and their tax revenue, will go elsewhere. Consider the future. Make a difference.

Lisa M. G. Dennis, PhD.

Me, the Runner, Part 1

Categories: Exercise, Family

Today was the Boston Marathon. So that seems like a good time to pick back up my topical autobiographies.

I have always been a runner. When I was a baby my dad, also a runner, would push me on runs and races in the stroller. Back then they didn’t have the fancy jogging strollers we have now and I’ve been told that he and I wore out several strollers with all the miles we did. I don’t have any memory of those runs, but I’ve seen the pictures.

As with many Utah running events, competitors included everyone from very young youngsters to grandparents. There was even one report of a runner who pushed a baby buggy around the whole course.
“Lindsey Races to Easy 10,000-Meter Win,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 14, 1980

I ran my first race at 3. It was the Brigham Street Mile. My dad ran the whole thing holding my hand and my mom ran the whole thing from the side cheering for me. As the youngest runner in the race I remember being interviewed and they asked me how fast I was going to run. I replied, “Fast.” This photo was published in the newspaper.

There were 250 runners competing to set their personal best mile times and, for at least one runner, the event was especially memorable.
Kent Giles ran the distance alongside his daughter Lisa. While there are many father-daughter running combinations on Utah’s roads these days, Kent will probably always remember the sight of 3 1/2 year old Lisa crossing the finish line in the Brigham Street Mile.
“Padilla Clocks 3:44.11 Mile,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 1982

I did some Turkey Trots and other short races with my dad over the years. In the summers he’d wake me up in the morning and we’d go run a few miles and then I’d go back to bed (I’m not a morning person) and he’d go to work. I really enjoyed that special time I had with my dad and that running was a special thing that he and I shared.

Part 2: Junior High Track & Field


Categories: How To, Quilting/Sewing/Knitting/Crafting

For reasons I can’t fully understand myself, I organized an on-line talent show for a moms of multiples group I’m in on FaceBook. I gave everyone three weeks to get their talents ready to share and then this morning set up the place for everyone to share their photos, videos, links, or whatever, of whatever talents they had.

These are the instructions I gave:

Where: Right here! We’ll have a dedicated thread on the day of the “show” for you to share your talents.

How? Share a video, photo, link, etc., that will show us your talent. Unfortunately, this talent show will not allow us to actually taste any cooking talents. But otherwise, it might actually be easier to share some talents here than at a traditional talent show.

What: Definitely share any traditional talent show talents, but let’s also share those that don’t typically get included in a talent show. Some possible ideas include:
• singing
• musical instruments
• dancing
• theatrical readings
• sewing skills
• needlework
• yarn arts
• painting
• sculpting
• gardening
• writing
• poetry
• photography
• stand-up comedy
• cooking (we’ll have to settle for recipes and photos)
• skeet shooting
• deer skinning
• swimming
• diving
• skiing
• ice skating
• curling (please tell me we have a member who curls)
• organizing your car or your pantry
• make-up or hair
• keeping your house clean with multiples running around
• staying on top of laundry
• getting a good deal
• mad tandem feeding skills
• how fast you are at changing a diaper
• how many kids you can get in a shopping cart and still get groceries for your family
• things you can do while wearing a baby
• talent for getting a toddler to eat what you fixed
• car maintenance
• wood working
• making others smile

These are the talents I shared with the group:

The four quilts I designed and made for our kids. I love the set they make.

These are the wall quilts we hang by our front door, a picnic blanket I made, and the pillow covers we have for the different seasons. All designed by me.

Brett has joked with me about needing to make a tutorial for this skill of mine for a while. So I finally did. He thinks it’s very impressive.

What talents can you share?

Pyeong Chang 2018 Closing Ceremonies

Categories: Olympics

Olympic ringsAnother Olympics in the books. Thanks for joining us for our Olympic commentary. We certainly had a good time doing it. I’m excited to see what our growing commentating team does in 2.5 years in Tokyo. Enjoy!

Amanda: From a production assistant who graduated from BYU and now works at NBC.

🤦🏼‍ Canadian skier arrested, accused of stealing car at Winter Olympics
We saw Stephano at the airport. Saw his name and jacket and wondered what his sport was. Did not expect this.
Esports get a cool reception at Winter Games
Adorable children in tiger hats!
Had the first 13 minutes on mute, but they seem cool. Might have to watch this part on replay.
Definitely cool now.
The silver medalist at the victory ceremony for the men’s cross country skiing has a hat that makes him look like a Smurf.
We now have some dancing pianos? 🤨
If Beyoncé and Lady Gaga had a Korean baby, this K-pop Star would be it.
Handover to Beijing time! Of course there is a panda! No! Two pandas!
I’ve been to so many places on this Beijing video! The panda ice skates at the Summer Palace!
The heart gloves! I considered buying some!
Ooh. I think you’ll like the snow globe bit.
I saw this!

Lisa: Oyf!
Um… no.
That’s something we’ll watch for.

Amanda: Yeah. I’m fine with there being video game competitions. But I’m with Ted Ligety on this one.

Lisa: When snowboarding was invented it was called snurfing. Brett thinks we should go back to that name.

Amanda: I like it! Snow + surfing. It makes sense.

Lisa: I want a paint splattered snow suit.
Those traditional hats that keep the back of their necks warm look like a smart idea.
Tiger hats!

Amanda: Prettier than the Russian ones.

Lisa: How many countries are there in the world?
Guy from Tonga is wearing a coat.

Amanda: Wolfram Alpha says there are 206 sovereign states.
Not later he isn’t.

Lisa: I’ll watch.
Probably depends on who is counting since some countries don’t recognize others.

Amanda: True.

Lisa: The girls are doing their version of ice dancing to the music playing during the athletes coming in.

Amanda: Fun!

Lisa: We had the first bit on mute because we were talking with grandparents. I’ll watch it again on the rebroadcast.

Amanda: I was on the phone with Blake off and on the whole time, so I definitely missed things.

Lisa: Our athletes have regular mittens this time.
“The Ameri-curl on ice.” Referring to our win in men’s curling.

Amanda: Heh. I think I saw that pun somewhere.

Lisa: I want a drone light show at my next event.

Amanda: They are really cool.

Lisa: Remembering athletes who have passed away. Dandelions are for new beginnings. Turtle for long life.

Amanda: Ohhh. Interesting.

Lisa: Numbers- passage of time.
Pushing boundaries, overcoming obstacles, beating time.

Amanda: I understood none of that, it seems.

Lisa: It was the black and white light dance thing.
Accurate description.
“Why are no kids crying about the fireworks?”
– Shimei


Lisa: I do like the snow globe portion.

Amanda: The definitive ranking of Norway’s Olympic curling pants

Lisa: Love it.
Now I watch the rebroadcast to catch what I missed during the bedtime routine.

Amanda: I wonder if I can find it too. I want to watch stuff with commentary and just audio in general.

Lisa: During a lot of the Olympics I felt like I was watching the future. Today I’m watching the past. Not sure when I watched the present.

Amanda: Maybe the last time the Olympics were in your time zone?

Lisa: It was fun watching so much of it live.

Amanda: It worked well for the evening broadcasts to be the next day’s events.

Lisa: Definitely.

Amanda: Watching the replay! I’ll FF through the stuff I don’t care about. Like this interview with Ivanka Trump. No thank you

Lisa: Lightbulb in this room just blew. Lightbulbs don’t last long in our house. It’s weird.

Amanda: Don’t care or don’t need to watch. Like the athletes parade. That was long enough yesterday.
I don’t think I’ve ever had to replace one here get.
Wow to Jonny Weir’s hair.

Lisa: The tiger hats the performers wear for the ceremonies are fun.

Amanda: So stinking cute.

Lisa: Huh. 102 performers in paint splattered suits because there were 102 events.
I wish I could fast forward through the pop performances. I’m not much of a concert goer so that part of the opening and closing ceremonies never interests me.

Amanda: That makes sense.
I look forward to actually hearing the combination of traditional and modern instruments.
Did I hear right that the guitarist is a boy?

Lisa: I like the traditional type of music.
Yup. And he’s 13.
Norway should curl in those light suits.

Amanda: I thought he was a girl. 🤭
I would watch that.

Lisa: Brett thinks this tune is on his Baroque Pandora station.

Amanda: I think I saw it was Vivaldi’s Winter, so probably.

Lisa: Definitely a unique arrangement of it. Also, perfect for the Winter Olympics.

Amanda: For sure!
FFed through the parade, but caught the tail end. Way more closeups on the Americans than in the live version.
300 drones!

Lisa: Of course.

Lisa: The parade is just starting for us. No fast forwarding for us. 🙁
Iddo wanted to know why our flag bearer is called the glitter fairy so I had to repeat that she puts glitter on her cheeks for races.
The NBC Olympic website has SERIOUS design flaws because I can never find what I’m looking for.

Amanda: Ha!
Lame. I’ve been pretty happy with the Roku app.

Lisa: Brett wanted to know how the athlete from Togo fared and I had to go to Google to find it because the NBC website isn’t obvious, if it’s even possible, how to look up results by country.
I even tried searching “Togo” on the NBC site and there wasn’t even a mention of the country.

Amanda: I wonder if the official PyeongChang app or website would work better.

Lisa: The official app told me they had 1 athlete but I still had to go to Wikipedia to find out how that athlete did.

Amanda: Lame.

Lisa: Olympics.org is a bit better.

Amanda: That’s good.
I didn’t notice that the kids in the snow globe section had coats that light up! I want one!

Lisa: I know! And a tiger hat. Which apparently are not currently for sale.

Amanda: 😔

Lisa: I want fiber optics in the fur color of my coat.

Amanda: I need a new coat. Might as well be one with fiber optics.

Lisa: Exactly.
I did not know there were different flags for the Winter and Summer Olympics.
We’re having a series of Asian Olympics between now and 2022.
I like that they use the LED squares in the audience to make it look like people are taking photos.

Amanda: Are they visually different or just physically different? I must have missed that.

Lisa: Apparently they’re just physically different.

Amanda: I realized this too. If we’re still here or back or nearby, I will try to go!

Lisa: They’ve been passing this one around for Winter Olympics since 1960 something.

Amanda: That’s cool.

Lisa: I remember watching the 2008 Olympics “with” you shortly after I moved to Tucson.

Amanda: I remember that too.

Lisa: You need an LED panda suit to go with your fiber optic coat.
Apparently Tokyo is having a hard time with their mascot because it’s not as cute as the Korean one.

Amanda: You know, I think you’re right.
I don’t even remember if I’ve seen it.

Lisa: Lighted dragon!
From what I was reading, Tokyo hasn’t settled on one, but the options presented are not being well received.

Amanda: That explains why I haven’t seen one. C’mon Japan. We can do kawaii!
Kawaii = cute.

Lisa: The current options aren’t cute enough or look too much like Pokémon.

Amanda: I’m sure they’ll figure something out.

Lisa: This is what I learned while trying to figure out if you can buy tiger hats.

Amanda: Hehe. Excellent.

Lisa: Hooray for another Olympics!
Tokyo in 2.5 years. It’s amazing to think of the commentary my kids will be doing by then. All three of them will be able to pay attention to what’s going on.

Amanda: Um, four?

Lisa: Right. Four.

Amanda: You have four kids.

Lisa: Sorry. Izri isn’t fully walking yet so he’s normally tied to me so I only count three kids wandering around.

Amanda: That’s fair. But he will be much more mobile and talkative in 2.5 years.

Lisa: Although I put him down on the floor when we got to church today and in the time it took me to put our fleece tail down the crack so we wouldn’t loose a whole bunch of crayons down the crack later Izri crawled under the bench to visit the stake Primary presidency members who were visiting for ward conference and seated in the row behind us. Only Izri is having HUGE separation and stranger issues right now so he definitely wasn’t happy with where he found himself.

Amanda: Ha!