Categories: Family, Musings

One of the hardest parts of motherhood for me is lasts.

You rarely get to plan them. They sneak up on you. Sometimes they pass without you noticing till it’s too late.

Brett was completely in charge of the bed time routine with our oldest daughter. He would brush her teeth, give her a bath, put on her diaper, get her in pajamas, read to her, sing to her, and then hand her to me to nurse to sleep. After over 3 years of doing that (except the nursing to sleep, at 13 months he would hand her to me and I’d sing to her and put her down), she potty trained from one day to the next. We put her in underwear after her nap and then at bed time gave her the choice of underwear or a diaper. She chose underwear. And he realized he’d already put the last diaper on her. It was an unexpected emotional moment.

Our youngest is 19 months old. He’s still waking up to nurse at night. I LOVE my sleep. But I also consider those moonlit moments of holding my warm, soft, sleeping children so close to me to be sacred moments. Our bedroom window faces south and I have a rocker-recliner next to the window. I have loved opening the blinds at night when the moon is big to let that soft blue light rest on my baby’s cheeks and feel his small hand hold on to my chest.

But I can tell the LAST is coming. And as much as I want to sleep through the night again, I’m definitely going to miss those sacred moments.

And I won’t even know to enjoy that LAST until it’s already gone.

Me, the Runner, Part 2: Jr. High Track & Field

Categories: Exercise, Family, Remembers

See Part 1 for a review.

When I started jr. high in 7th grade I considered myself athletic. So I went out for every sport. And, it turns out, I’m not as athletic as I thought I was. At least not when it comes to team sports involving balls. And I was cut from every team. Track didn’t have cuts though. They could find something for everyone to do. I was definitely not a hurdler. That ambition never materialized. But I could run distances. So I ended up running the 800m, the 1600m, the 4x800m relay, and the anchor for the 1600m medley relay (200, 200, 400, 800).

Our junior high had a dirt track which actually gave us a slight advantage when we ran on real tracks. And there was a hill on the northeast corner of the track that we’d have to run repeats on. And our coach loved to have the 4×200 and the 4×400 relays race against us long distance runners so that we were going up against fresh legs regularly. We moved at the beginning of my 8th grade year and I did track again at the new junior high as well.

I enjoyed going to the meets. I had a lot of fun being with the other runners but I liked that for the most part how I did on an event was all up to me. My mom came to all of them and my dad was there for as many as he could be. I had a cooler they’d pack for me with oranges and Gatorade in it. I had issues with shin splints so my dad would rub Icey Hot on my legs for me.

After junior high I continued running with my dad in the mornings during the summer and doing 5Ks when they’d come up but I didn’t pursue track in high school. My senior year of high school I dislocated my knee and it took a long time for me to come back from that. Knowing what I know about injuries now I should’ve done some physical therapy but the doctors never suggested it.

Next up: Running during college and my first three marathons.


Categories: Family

Well, it’s National Blog Posting Month again. And in all the history of this blog I have never not blogged every day for the month of November. That includes the year we got married (mid-November). But I cheated just a tad that month and pre-dated/post-dated a few because there was no way I was getting online the weekend we got married.

This year I will still have the goal to blog every day this month. However, because four children actually do keep a person rather busy, I’m disastrously behind on our private family blog about all their comings and goings and doings and such. So my goal for this month will be to do one catch-up post on our kids’ blog every day so that I can record all their littles while they are still little and we still remember them rather well. Because darn it all if they don’t all grow super fast. That still won’t get me caught up, but it will at least get me close enough that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wish me luck!

And if you get a chance, sit down a few times this month yourself and record parts of your own story in whatever fashion you’d like.

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.