Friday, November 18, 2011

Attack of the Rooster

Well sleep time at our house since we got married has been a little interesting. Chris warned me beforehand that sometimes he wakes up finding himself standing in the middle of his room not knowing what the heck he was doing, but I did not know what I was in for. Our wedding night was the first eye opener and it only got worse from there. He was talking to our photographer in his sleep (who was also Chris' good friend from high school). I was a little jealous, you know, wishing that he was thinking of me. Although later in the night he did say "you look great," and we will just assume he was talking to me. :) Other times I have caught him getting up to "clean up the garbage" or put the clothes in the dryer, and once he was talking to what I think was a dog, wanting it to come to him. There's usually no reasoning or talking to him while he's asleep, but he usually wakes up after a second and goes back to bed. This is the best one though-One night I had just fallen asleep (after being awake for like 3 hours), only to be woken up by Chris slapping me in the face like 4 times. I yelled "ow!" and yelled for him to stop. He woke up right away and realized what he was doing and immediately apologized. He felt really bad. He then told me how he was dreaming that he was in a chicken coop (for those of you who don't know there is a chicken coop, with chickens, and a turkey, and birds, and llamas, and goats, and all sorts of animals at his dad's house where he lived before we got married). Anyway he was in a chicken coop being attacked by a rooster, and so he was hitting it back, but actually was hitting my face. It wasn't hard, just startled me more than anything. I told him I need to wear a face mask when we go to bed. A couple weeks later he dreamed that there was a cat on his neck, and he whipped his head around really fast to get it off, and hit me in the head again (also after I had just fallen asleep). haha.

I like to give him a hard time about this, but the last few days he's been entertained as well. The other night I was really sick during the night and had taken a bunch of stuff to try to feel better and apparently it made me a little loopy. He was very very excited to tell me first thing when we woke up that I asked him to take the chicken pot pie out of the oven at 2 am. Also I said something about a bicycle and the garage. Random, I know. A couple nights ago I was out of it after I had taken a sleeping pill. Usually if I take one then I do it right before I'm going to go to sleep. But for some reason we were still awake for awhile and I started doing weird things, which I vaguely remember but I couldn't stop. I kept laughing hysterically and telling Chris that he had 4 eyes. Also apparently I was telling him I loved him like every 10 seconds. At least I wasn't talking about our photographer. :) It sure has made for some good stories, though, that's for sure!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude, Prayer, and Personal Revelation

Well with Thanksgiving coming up I have been thinking a lot about gratitude and being thankful. I mentioned in my last post that I haven't been feeling well lately, and I have to admit that I haven't been as grateful to my Heavenly Father for everything that I do have as I should be. So here is a list of some things that I am thankful for:
1. My wonderful husband Chris, he takes such good care of me and I love him so much.
2. Eternal families-I love my family so much (my new family just as much) and am so thankful for the opportunity to be with them forever.
3. Temples-I have loved going back to the temple since I took out my own endowment-there is such a feeling of peace and comfort there.
4. Priesthood-Chris has given me 3, yes I think 3 blessings in the middle of the night since we got married (poor guy) :), and I am so thankful that I have that blessing in my life.
5. My job-I have really struggled lately with having to go to work because I haven't felt well but I am so grateful to have a good job with good benefits. Also I enjoy the people I work with and have made really good friends there.

I could go on and on but I think I will stop there so that this post doesn't go on for an eternity. :) I know that if we show our gratitude to the Lord for the blessings he gives us, we will be blessed.

Going along with this, I have been grateful for trials that I have in my life. Lately I have been feeling very frustrated with my health, but I know that we have these trials in our lives for a reason. Without this trial, I wouldn't have the strength or testimony that I do, and I wouldn't have a need to draw closer to my Heavenly Father. This morning I read a couple of conference talks since I was a little out of it during conference. I love the talk by J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy called "The Privilege of Prayer." It really helped me to know that I just need to be patient and things will be ok. He says,
"Little children, young people, and adults alike, please believe how very much your loving Heavenly Father wants to bless you. But because He will not infringe upon our agency, we must ask for His help. This is generally done through prayer. Prayer is one of the most precious gifts of God to man.

Sometimes we seem to get no answer to our sincere and striving prayers. It takes faith to remember that the Lord answers in His time and in His way so as to best bless us. Or, on further reflection, we will often realize that we already know full well what we should do.

Please do not be discouraged if this does not work for you all at once. Like learning a foreign language, it takes practice and effort. Please know, though, that you can learn the language of the Spirit, and when you do, it will give you great faith and power in righteousness.

I cherish the counsel of our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who said: “To those within the sound of my voice who are struggling with challenges and difficulties large and small, prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace. Prayer is the means by which we approach our Father in Heaven, who loves us. Speak to Him in prayer and then listen for the answer. Miracles are wrought through prayer”

I have been praying for so many things lately: strength to go to work every day, praying that I can sleep well, feel better, and especially for emotional strength to be happy and not get so discouraged. I am grateful for these words to help me. Chris and I have also been trying to make decisions regarding work and school for him. I am just so thankful that we do not have to do it alone. Sister Barbara Thompson's talk called, "Personal Revelation and Testimony" also goes along with this. She says:

"The way to receive personal revelation is really quite clear. We need to desire to receive revelation, we must not harden our hearts, and then we need to ask in faith, truly believe that we will receive an answer, and then diligently keep the commandments of God.

Following this pattern does not mean that every time we ask a question of God, the answer will immediately appear with every detail of what to do. However, it does mean that if we diligently keep the commandments and ask in faith, answers will come in the Lord’s own way and in His time.

Our testimonies fortify us and strengthen us as we face challenges in our daily lives. Some people struggle with difficult health problems; some experience financial problems; others have challenges in their marriage or with their children; some suffer from loneliness or unfulfilled hopes and dreams. It is our testimony, combined with our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our knowledge of the plan of salvation, which helps to get us through these times of trial and hardship."

I am thankful for my doctors who are so concerned about me. Last week I had an appointment at the University of Utah with the nurse practitioner there that I've seen a couple times. Chris was able to go with me. We talked about basically the same things we've talked about before. She wants me to continue to do what Dr. Smith is having me do as far as prednisone. He's having me take 30 mg right now, and then go down to 25, and then jump down to 5 and start taking another steroid called Entocort that has about 1/10th the steroid in it that prednisone does. That way I can get off of it faster, which I will be really excited about. I hate that it makes me not sleep well and irritated. I am also taking an antibiotic right now that I think is helping. I've only tried it once before and it was only for a few days, so we are trying it for longer this time. The NP at the U of U said if this doesn't work then my next option is probably Remicaid, the medication that is only available in an IV. I would have to get it about every 6-8 weeks. It's something that I've talked about with doctors for 6 years and it's always been the last resort, but now it seems it is getting closer. She also is having me go back in December to have a sigmoidoscopy there in Utah. I had one in February here in Twin when I was in the hospital which didn't show much, but she wants to check again. She wants to make sure that they look above my pouch to make sure that there is not active ulcerative colitis still going on. Dr. Smith said he looked there but that he wants a second opinion. This sounds bad, but she's hoping that by December when I've tapered off the prednisone again I will get sick, and then the test will show something's wrong, and I do too. It's frustrating to feel so crummy when everything looks great. The NP in Utah brought up my weight and said that I looked a lot skinnier than last time she saw me (remember last time she was so proud that I had gained wt)! I admitted that yes, I have had a poor appetite and lost weight again. I have missed a lot of work lately too and have hardly any PTO hours (paid time off) left. That's not good. My boss is very understanding though so I am really lucky. I have felt better the past 3-4 days than I have since before I got married, so that's a good sign. I have decided that for whatever reason I just have to deal with this, so I might as well try to have a good attitude. It has been harder to deal with lately because it has just been so constant and won't get better, but I know it will eventually. Sorry if this post has too much complaining, I won't complain anymore after this. :) Just have to keep being patient, praying, and thanking the Lord for the wonderful things I do have in my life! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bahamas Baby!

For our honeymoon we were fortunate enough to get to go on a cruise to the Bahamas. It was, in a word, incredible. We sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line, aboard the Norwegian Sky. Their big thing is "freestyle cruising," so we could pretty much do whatever we wanted when we wanted, including eating whenever we felt like it. There were two buffets and two really nice sit down restaurants that we ate all our meals at. We had a wonderful time being with each other, eating really good food, and enjoying the warm weather. I had a hard time narrowing down the pictures, so sorry but there are a lot. Enjoy. :)

The pics aren't numbered but imagine that they are going from right to left and top to bottom:
1). We flew out of Salt Lake on Sunday morning (the picture where we are still wearing our coats) :). We got to our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale Sunday night and then got on the ship around 11:00 or noon Monday.
2 and 3). We left our port in Miami about 5:00 Monday night. This is when we are pulling out.
4). Eating dinner the first night-I also have to say that I was proud of how much I ate on the cruise. I was feeling pretty good most of the time so luckily I had a much better appetite than I had had for like a month. Chris was very excited to see how much I weighed when we got home but I still weighed the same, go figure.

Day 2 consisted of stopping in Freeport Bahamas. I was surprised at how spread out everything here was. It was like driving along in the country, with every now and again spotting a school or a few houses. We visited a bunch of shops and bought most of our souvenirs here. We had to bargain a little with the people there but it was kind of fun.
1). We thought this sign was pretty funny so I just had to throw in a picture of it.
2). We went to this beach and walked along it for awhile. We were just planning on shopping this day so we didn't bring our swimming suits with us, but it was nice just walking in our bare feet.
3). Norwegian Sky :)
4). The beach again
5). Freeport

That night we went to a dinner and a show (which is what we did every night). They had really great live entertainment. The first night it was dancers and singers singing hit songs throughout the years. The second night it was the same dancers performing a bunch of songs from Broadway plays (Wicked, Mama Mia, etc) and it was really good!
1-3). These are just pics from the second night walking around the boat and eating another delicious meal.
4). Our elephant that was left for us by our steward Nyoman, some guy from like the Philippines. If he was out in the hall whenever we left our room he would always so "Good evening Miss Jill, Mr. Christopher" in his awesome accent. We were fans of Nyoman.
Wednesday was our second stop at a private island that the cruise line owns. It was basically just a big beach, but it was a wonderful beach. :) We went snorkeling here which was so cool. Unfortunately we didn't get any pics on the beach because the camera battery died (my bad!) but it was really nice just relaxing, swimming, and eating all day in the sun!
1). On the "tender" (another small boat) taking us from the ship to the island. The ship could not dock right next to the island so we had to ride another boat there.
2). On our way back after a long day at the beach.
3). Us with our ship in the background. It looked really cool just sitting our there in the ocean.
4). The Norwegian Sky
This is a picture that we bought from the cruise line that was taken of us. It was the only one we got of us snorkeling so we bought it. The water was so amazingly clear and warm-it was awesome to swim in. Much better the California coast. The sand was soft and wasn't hard to walk in. We went out snorkeling a couple different times and saw some cool fish. Chris said he saw a jellyfish a couple feet in front of his face-he swam away pretty quickly I think.
Here are just some pics from that night:
1). Right before going to the show-it was a comedian that night. He was pretty entertaining.
2). Me showing off my sunglasses purchase -they are pink if you can't tell.
3). Eating dinner of course.
4). A crab, courtesy of Nyoman.
Thursday was our last stop, at the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau. This was a very exciting day because we went parasailing! It was kind of a last minute decision but it was sooo worth it! It was something I had always wanted to do.
1). This is right before we went-we were a little nervous (especially Chris, haha just kidding).
2). They put us up for several minutes and the guy on the boat had our camera and took lots of awesome pictures of us up there. It was actually really relaxing and we didn't feel like we were going fast at all. We were just hanging out.
3). These are kind of out of order but this is when we got done-we had so much fun!
4). After several minutes they brought us down and gave us the camera and then sent us back up, so we took a bunch of pictures as well. I'm crazy. :)
This pic is later that day when we walked around Nassau for awhile.
1). Just a pic to show our view from way up there-we were pretty high. At one point we even passed another cruise ship and we were taller than it was. It was so weird.
2 and 3). We ran into a pirate museum and took these pics outside of it. We didn't go in the museum but we were pretty entertained just from these things.
4). Another pic of parasailing, this time taken from the boat. Again you can see that we were pretty high.
1). Just a pic of us in Nassau. We walked around for awhile and went to some more shops and whatnot that day. We liked these ones better because they were actual stores instead of little crowded shops full of local people yelling at you to buy their stuff. It was really gorgeous there too and we did not want to leave!
2). On the boat that night when we were pulling away=Goodbye Bahamas :(
3). Standing on the staircase that was in the middle part of the ship, kind of like the main lobby. The ship was like a really nice hotel. I was surprised at how big it was. I expected to feel crowded but we couldn't even tell we were on a boat.
4). And our last night of dinner. We also went to a show that night was a variety show put on by employees and cast members of the ship. It was really funny.

We were really not ready to come back to reality (aka work). We flew back to Salt Lake on Friday and stayed the night there and then drove to Burley Saturday morning. We opened our presents at my mom's house and it was fun to have Chris' parents and sister be there too. Then we loaded everything up and went back to our house in Twin. We are very fortunate to have a good place to live-Chris' mom owns a duplex and we live next door to her in the other side. Before we moved in it got new paint and carpet. We are really enjoying it.

Also I have to say that it has now been one month since we were married and I have enjoyed every minute of it! I love being married to Chris. He's pretty much amazing. I haven't felt well pretty much since we got back (but that's another post) and he has been so good. I feel bad that I wake him up so many times during the night but he never complains. He picks up my prescriptions for me so I can come home straight from work (he and Troy the pharmacist are pretty tight now) and he is always asking if I need anything. I love him!