Merry Christmas from the DeFords!

click twice to enlarge:

photo by Justin Hackworth

Before we do the individual breakdown, we have to get some major news out of the way.  First, another baby DeFord will be arriving mid February.  We are so excited.  It's a girl and I can't wait to meet her and get to know her.  I also can't wait to stop being pregnant.  Second, Willie was made a partner at his law firm which means we are really settling down in Grand Junction. This is a great milestone in his profession and we are really happy about it.

Now, some news.


I started off the year with another Santa Fe Photographic Workshop and it was amazing.  I had such a great teacher and loving and supportive classmates.  It was beautiful snowy weather and I had a long drive to Santa Fe and back to think and listen to books. I felt so refreshed and inspired.  This year we finally turned our garage into a photography studio which has so nice to have.

I feel like I've been pregnant most of this year but really, it's only been since May.  It's a hard process physically and emotionally for me but worth it.   I've been able to stick to a regular exercise program this whole pregnancy, but feel I myself starting to loosing steam.

I was able to take three commercial photography jobs this year that brought me to New York twice and to Arizona.  It was thrilling and exhausting. It was nice working several times for the same client since my jitters wore off a bit.  The night before my first job with this client, I was on the verge of throwing up because I was so nervous.

I am a counselor in our ward Relief Society presidency and it's been a great experience for me to serve. I find a lot of meaning in my life by being active and involved in our church.


Besides the big news of making partner at his firm, Willie has had another year full of books and music and church service.  He's been a counselor in our bishopric since January and has enjoyed serving the people in our ward and seeing the sacrifices they make to serve.

Lowlands (his electric band) is still going strong and he loves every moment of it.

During the summer Willie summited Mt. Wetterhorn with some friends to celebrate his friend's 40th birthday.  He's just gearing up to train for another Moab half marathon.  I wish I could join him but I don't see myself becoming half marathon ready one month after having a baby.

Willie is still so beloved by the boys.  I love how they squeal with joy when he gets home and right now they are over the moon that he is home all the time for Christmas vacation.


Wyatt is such an angel. He has the sweetest disposition.  He moved schools this year to a charter school right by our house.  It's been an easy transition for him and he's doing great.  He gets more art and more music education than his other school and he also has a 4 day school week.  He was also baptized and became a boy scout this year.

Wyatt has been excelling at the guitar.  He takes weekly guitar lessons but also picks it up to practice just for fun.  He is just about to pass me up in guitar knowledge (which doesn't take much) and we are so happy to see him enjoying the guitar and improving at  such a young age. I feel like we might have another Willie in the making.

When I asked Wyatt what he likes to do, he said he likes to read in bed at night and play with our neighbors Liam and Ezra.


Hank is so much fun.  He's in costume most of the time and loves working at his desk and playing around (running around the house making play noises while imagining an elaborate scenario).  He is in his second year of pre-school and really enjoys it.  Hank has a real interest in drums and got a drum set for Christmas.  It's going to be so cute and so noisy. The boys will be moving into the basement in preparation for the baby and that's where the drums will stay.

Hank is so affectionate.  He is always wanting to snuggle and hold hands. I just love it.  He also loves to help out with cooking in the kitchen.  When I asked him what he likes to do, he said he likes to watch TV.

We've had a great year and feel so blessed and happy.  It's crazy to think we are going back into the baby stage in our life.  Now if the kids get up too early for us, they leave us sleeping and get their own food and watch TV.  We'll be back to diapers and sleepless nights but it seems a small sacrifice to bring another person like Hank and Wyatt into our family.  We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year full of meaning and gratitude.


The DeFords

It's official, I'm totally pregnant. My body is right on track for putting a huge belly right out in front of me.  I've started to get the "you must be due any day" comments.  Third time around, I'm totally used to it and don't mind. I'm also starting to slow down.  I knew it would happen.  I wake up on top of the world, ready to do anything and everything and that lasts until about 4pm when I slowly start to shut down right before dinner (not helpful for our meals) and end up doing very little the rest of the night.

I'm still working out but it's getting a lot easier.  My weights are lighter and I don't have to do a lot of the hard things my workout mates do that include jumping or a really high heartrate. We also have a great time talking constantly about labor and previous pregnancies and weight gain, etc.  It's like a big slumber party while lifting weights.  I work out with 5 other women and one of them is due around the same time as me.  My elliptical has worked out great at home.  My trainer has me working out 6 days a week, three times weight training and three 50 minute cardio sessions.  I'm not sure it's helping with my weight gain much (I'm at 25 lbs) but it's really helped lift my moods and increase my energy and keep me strong.

When I went to my midwife yesterday she said that my due date had been moved to Feb. 19th after my ultrasound. I told her that I couldn't accept that and that I'm going to keep my original due date of Feb. 15th. I can't wrap my mind around those extra couple of days.  She's okay with that. I really like my midwife. She is so chilled out.  After everything I went though with Wyatt's birth, I just needed someone who is relaxed and an anchor to my tendencies to worry.

All and all things are great. The baby is growing fine and has a strong heartbeat and is wiggling all around.  Feb. still feels so far away.  We've been casually talking about names but nothing firm yet.  Hank is just tall enough to get hit by my belly a lot.  Poor dear. He's also had some minor head injuries from hitting my cameras that hang on the same level as his head.

This is quilt I started last election and thought I better finish it incase Romney won. I'm glad I have four more years to finish it. Sometimes it takes me a long time to finish a project.

Yes, I'm writing about politics.  I have to. It's on my mind and I organize thoughts by writing.  I feel like if I can get a few thoughts down I can send it off into the world wide web and I can move on.

This election has been better than others and harder than others for me.  First, not having cable TV has been a huge improvement.  I think I've mentioned this before, but TV news is the worst.  It's sensational. It's about making money. It's about keeping people emotional so they'll watch often. It's repetitive. It's negative.  Last election I declared that I was giving up politics. I didn't actually give up thinking about and learning about politics. I just stopped watching TV news and having political conversations with people who are overly emotional about politics. It's been a great four years.  I've had friends express concern about me cutting myself off from the world. I have no regrets. It's so worth it. I would never go back. I listen to NPR when I'm getting dressed or sometimes working in the kitchen.  A 15 minute update gets me the overview of the days news and Willie and I usually talk further about anything interesting that night. I sometimes check in on and scan for interesting headlines and if something really catches my attention, I read more about it on other news sites or blogs.

This election I've also looked to Nate Silver, my favorite non-emotional statistician, for predictions made from the polls. I love this guy. His nerdiness has paid off in a major way. He precisely predicted the outcome of last election and this one with his poll number crunching.

As far as politics is concerned, where I live and being a Mormon makes me a bit of an outsider.  Grand Junction is exceptionally conservative but in general I would say a lot of Mormons are too.  I solidified my political ideas at BYU. Yes, I became a liberal at the Lord's university. I was surrounded by friends and professors that were wonderful people that saw things like me. I even married one of those darn liberals. It just wasn't an issue.  Since then I've found myself being thought of as siding with the bad guys. It's such a strange feeling since my goal in life is to try and do good.

Here are a few examples.  My own father sat me down once to express his concern that I had strayed from the "right" way of being conservative and he was worried about my dedication to our church.  I received an email from an old mission friend (that I love) when she saw a clue on facebook that I was an Obama supporter. It was full of political rage and anger (directed at Obama, not me). I have been cornered by church members at book clubs (yes more than one), on runs, on hikes, at parties, and even in the church building to "talk" politics.  What they want to know is why and how I'm on the wrong side.  If I try to explain my views, all I get are talking points shot back at me. Most of these conversations are well intentioned, I'm sure, but there is always fear and anger riding just below the surface which makes it near impossible to have a level headed conversation. It's not how I want to be spending my recreational time.

I feel like I can understand and see where a conservative is coming from, if we are talking about actual issues, not made up fear tactics (like death panels or Obama being a muslim).  I even can acknowledge strong points in republican candidates. I can even relate with some of their issues and support them. I also totally understand being disappointed if you candidate doesn't win. The problem I find is that some people live in an alternate reality that is only based on binaries (black/white, us/them, republican/democrat, righteous/wicked, good/bad, save the constitution/it's the end of the world) and there is no way they can relate to what I'm saying.  There is no white on their black side of politics for me to fit in to.  Side note: binaries like good/evil are tools to understand the world and can be helpful when making decisions or evaluating the fruits of something, but they can be taken too far.

So this race made it even worse because Romney was a Mormon.  Now, Romney is a brother in the gospel to me.  I've had frustrations with him and been disappointed in him, but all is forgiven.  I know he must be heart broken after having worked so hard. I hope he can put his feet up and go on a mission or be a mission president and have some wonderful experiences. Still, I don't subscribe to the idea that he was saving the world from the utter destruction of evil Obama.  Romney and Obama are both amazing, non-evil, accomplished men.  But the binaries got even stronger with members of the church this election.  This wasn't just a normal election, this was the Lord's election.  Like Heavenly Father is all into trickle down economics and extending the Bush tax cuts. So here I fall on the side of the devil.   On election night I couldn't look at facebook and I'm not sure when it will be safe to go back.  Seeing comments from friends was making it hard not to have bad feelings.   I saw so much anger towards Obama and his supporters, cries that the end is near, true fear and worry for our country and blame for anything that's ever gone wrong being placed on Obama.

I don't think hate and anger is the Lord's way, ever.  Politics is not excluded from this.  We are all Gods children (even poor people that take advantage of the government, even illegal immigrants, even gay people, even Rush Limbah).  Negativity only damages.   We have greater things in common.  To quote my wise friend Abby, "I really don't think God is worried about our flawed, man-made political systems. I think He probably wants us to stop bickering and take care of each other already."

6 months pregnant

Things are going well. My belly is growing fast.  I have actually noticed a big change in size in the last week.  I had to do some shopping to get bigger everything.  I'm moving into phase 2 of maternity clothes, meaning less cute, more tent-ish.  I also had to buy a maternity sweatshirt and jacket yesterday. I'm totally short on warm maternity clothes since I was pregnant with Hank and Wyatt during summer.

My energy level has improved. I don't nap most days, but I do totally poop out after dinner and end up just lying in bed and going to bed early.  My mood changes from day to day.  Some days I feel pretty normal and motivated.  Other days I'm pretty blue and end up just taking it easy.

The weight is coming on pretty fast now. I met with my midwife a week or so ago.  The babies heartbeat was strong and everything looked great.  She is aware that I'm trying to gain less weight than last time so we looked through my gaining history with Hank.  Up to this point with Hank I had gained the same amount of weight, about 20lbs.  She said that in the four months after this point with Hank I gained 40lbs.  That's right. I put on 10lbs a month.  So I was kind of bummed that my healthy eating and daily exercise haven't given me any edge.  I haven't given up and we'll see what the next four months bring but I think I'm doing everything I can.

Running is officially over.  When I run now I get strange aches and it's uncomfortable.  Hiking is a great alternative but not that practical, so yesterday we bought a cheap used elliptical machine so I have an option of something to do close to home. It has become the favorite toy of Hank and Wyatt and I think they've lost 5lbs since yesterday since it's all they have been doing. 

On a non pregnancy related note, Willie made partner at his law firm.  We are so excited and relieved. It was supposed to happen last year and they put the vote off for a year which was scary.  We aren't totally sure how this will change things for us.  Willie will have to buy into the firm so there is a business loan in our future. We are hoping his pay will increase, though it will become variable since he will no longer be on a salary but taking profit splits from the firm.  They haven't given Willie the partner agreement yet, so once he does we'll know more. Oh, we'll also be able to join the firm medical and dental insurance.  Getting dental insurance and no having to pay deductibles and percentages of medical services will save us a lot of money. Mostly it's so important because Willie has finished paying his dues as an associate at the firm and is now an equal partner and valued by all the partners.  It the natural progression to his profession that we hopped would happen.  

I'm still keeping up at the gym and enjoying myself and those ladies behind me need to stop gabbing and get to work.

Hiking is my preferred way of exercise, but it doesn't always fit in my day and the kids hike a little slow for the kind of work out I want.

The new machine. I hope it can last 4 months.

We've had a busy past month, and I'm kind of behind on blogging and since my true desire is to make a blog book every year, there are some things I can't leave out.  Wyatt's baptism was such a great experience.

Wyatt was so excited to get baptized.  It meant so much to him to have my parents drive out for the event.  I was so glad they could come and support Wyatt. When I spoke at his baptism I told him some of the memories I had from my baptism.  I remembered that my Grandpa and Grandma were there and my grandma brought me a butterfinger.  In one of the pictures I had chocolate on my mouth which is a common theme in a lot of my pictures even today.  My Grandma also whispered to me that the ring she was wearing would be mine someday. I worse the ring to the baptism in her honor.

It was hard for me to speak at the baptism without crying.  I'm normally emotional, plus I'm pregnant, plus I was underslept form a work deadline.  I seriously felt like sobbing and had a hard time controlling my crying.  I just felt so happy and so much love for Wyatt.  He has such a tender heart and he is so kind and obedient and innocent.  He just came that way.  It's not something Willie and I can take any credit for.

What I told him in my talk is that I was  young when I got baptized and I don't remember a whole lot from it, but the benefits have affected me positively my whole life.  He is starting on a journey as a follower of Christ.  Baptism is the gate and the path is narrow and not everyone finds it.  The gift of the Holy Ghost will help keep him on that path and because of that he'll be happy.

We sure love Wyatt.

4 months pregnant

5 months pregnant

Incase you haven't heard, we are having a girl. I am so excited.  I would totally love another boy, but the thought of having a girl and two boys in the family is so exciting.  I kept saying to Willie, "What are the chances?"  He kept saying, "Well, about 50/50." I just feel so blessed. I wonder what she'll be like.  She's going to be so smart and creative and strong and so cute in her striped tights and little dresses.  

I see some of my friends's baby girls and they don't try to escape or get into things constantly. Once Wyatt and Hank and I visited my sister's house and they had an art easel right in their front room with open paint right over their expensive carpet.  She said the girls just didn't get into it.  Hank (1yr old at that time) went straight to the paint and stuck his hand in it. 

As you can see from the pictures, my belly is in full swing.  I tried so hard to stay within my recommended weight gain for my 20 week ultrasound (10lbs) and I squeaked by at 1 lb or two over, but since then I feel like I'm growing really fast.  My sister-in-law Starr gave me a good lecture and told me part of the sacrifice of having a baby is gaining weight.  I needed to hear that.  I'm trying to eat healthy and I'm working out every day, so besides that there's not much I can do but roll with it and realize my body will do what it needs to to grow this baby.  I have major pregnancy weight gain fears after gaining 60lbs with Hank.  Being so big was uncomfortable and it took a long time to get rid of it.  With Hank, I did not exercise besides walking and I ate really poorly (lots of sweets) so I'm poised for a better time this pregnancy.  

My new trainer Lori, has been great. I thought she might be easier than Donnie, but she's not.  It's actually a bit harder because there is more cardio like running stairs but my weights are lighter.  She's is very aware of the way I feel and lets me stop and rest whenever I need it.  She also has tons of modifications so i don't have to be on my stomach or back.  My energy is much better from my first trimester and if the work out ends up being a little too much, a quick nap can restore my energy easily.

I had a really hard last couple of weeks. I took a commercial photography job in Arizona and it probably wasn't good timing for me.  I just felt so good when they called and asked and the money  was so tempting.  It really wore me out. Willie and I have since adopted the slogan, "It's only money."

The trip itself was tiring but fine.  I was extra homesick for Willie and the boys. I think my hard first trimester brought us really close together and I hadn't been gone since. The hard part was turning around the images in one week. I thought I had two weeks but they begged for sooner and I thought I should just go for it and get them done and over with.  That ended up putting my deadline right around Wyatt and Hank's birthday parties, and Wyatt's baptism.  There were not enough hours in the day and I was up several nights in a row until 1 or 2 am.  It was a major crunch. I also had bronchitis right before my trip which drained me of my energy.  Willie gave me a blessing the night before my trip and encouraged me to go to the doctor.  I met with the doctor hours before I left and he prescribed me two medications. I just kept thinking, "The doctor probably can't do anything for me. It will pass." As soon as I started taking medicine I improved quickly, like the next day I was much improved.  It's just what I needed.

So I'm finally feeling back to normal (1 week post this crunch time). I had to sleep a lot and take it easy and now I'm feeling happy again and not crying at every little thing. I want to take pictures (not with my digital camera yet). I'm making apple butter.  I'm finally cleaning our house.  I'm happy to just be working on my Case work.  I love fall.  My kids are angels.  Life is good.

p.s.  My facebook detox period was great.  I mostly learned that I'm not missing much on facebook and checking in every now and again is still enough to be connected.  The recent election heat up has also encouraged me to keep my distance even more.  I do think there can be moderation with facebook and I'm dedicated to pull it off.

Can there be moderation with Facebook? I'm on a mission to find out.  During my morning sickness I think I experienced a total Facebook overdose. Lying bed almost all day with my phone brought me to a new level of facebook checking. I read almost every linked article and commented on almost every unimportant subject and got upset about every injustice.  This, in combination with a visit I had with our friend Abby, brought on my Facebook crisis.

When Abby arrived for a visit, I showed her where she would be sleeping, I proceeded to give her the wireless password. She laughed and said she didn't have a computer with her.  She also didn't have a smart phone. I was floored.  I couldn't understand her way of life. It was so Amish.  This made me think a lot about my dependence on technology. Am I overboard?  Am I missing out on real life connections?

As Willie and I were talking about it a few nights ago, he said, maybe you should just delete your Facebook account. I have to admit when other friends delete their accounts, I always think it's a little extreme.  I try not to be extreme, but this could possibly be a case where moderation is too hard to pull off.  We will see.

I listened to this great NPR interview about social media dependence once and some researchers found that there is actually a chemical released in the brain each time you get a notification from facebook.  Even though the notification may be someone requesting you to play a game with them, just the chance that it might be a positive comment from a friend sends a chemical to your brain.  So we check often, we post often to try and get the positive response.  And in the case of photographers, we base our value on the amount of feedback we receive regarding our images.

To start my facebook detox, my first step was to take Facebook off my phone. That took care of the mindless checking when I have a few down minutes at the doctors office or waiting in the car or resting on my bed. That was an easy transition and I'm happy to admit I've actually picked up a book instead of my phone while on my bed.  I then got all set up on Instagram so I still had a way to share and communicate with a few friends. Then i decided to check Facebook once in the morning and once in the evening on my computer.  So far, I haven't been able to strictly keep to that schedule, but I've been close.

I'm mostly finding that I feel a little lonely.  I think this could be really good for me.  Maybe I'll send out an email or call up a friend or actually go see one face to face.  This could also be bad for Willie since I might bug him at work more to talk to me. No matter what beefs I have with Facebook, I do find community there, but is it enough?  Is it just pacifying a deeper need for real conversation and friendships?  When Abby was here we spent the whole time talking about everything.  We talked about politics, religion, and every issue you can think of.  It was so great having a face to face conversation with an intelligent person.  It really filled my cup. I may need more of that.

Facebook Pros:

1. Community.
2. Knowing where to find an old friend if I need them.
3. Seeing images from the lives of people I care about.
4. Learning about big news items fast

Facebook Cons:

1. Wasting time.
2. Negativity. No matter how hard I try, I can't protect myself from people's negativity (politics, gripping, venting, complaining, etc).
3. I dont' really write anymore (like on this blog) because I can just make a quick status update about the way I feel.

Wish me luck on my detox.  I'm hoping for moderation so that I can keep my pros and eliminate most of my cons.

I'm back, baby.  I'm through the worst of morning sickness and I feel back to myself. I am so, so thankful.  There's nothing like being sick to make you appreciate being healthy.  To celebrate, how about a blog post that's not just about me and how I'm feeling.

Amy and her family came to visit and it was so fun.  Since i wasn't up for a trip to Utah they drove down to see us.  That was really nice of them.  Another great surprise is that my dad and Jewel came out for the day (driving a total of 7 hrs in one day).

We had fun just talking and relaxing.  The kids had a great time playing. I still wasn't feeling great so I took a few pictures out of obligation for preserving the memory but wasn't really into it.  Now I'm glad I made myself take pictures because I'm so happy to have them.

3.5 months pregnant

I'm starting to feel better, finally. I am so, so thankful.  I feel like I'm starting to get back to normal.  I have good days and feel like I'm back then I have a bad day and am on the verge of throwing up and lying on my bed most of the day.  Then I have a few more good days.  So the trend is improvement.

Where to start.  I've gained about 7lbs so far, which is right on track with normal weight gain, though I feel like I'm about twice my size.  I cant' fit in my normal clothes but maternity clothes look kind of funny. Brave people are starting to ask me if I'm pregnant, especially at the gym. I am still not that interested in food. I have no interest in sweets which i'm sure won't last.  My favorite things to eat have been apricots, peaches and most recently lots of carrots dipped in ranch.  Willie has been so good about keeping meals going in our house and running to the store for more carrots and smoothly supplies. I don't know what I'd do without him.  He is there for my every need. When I found out I was pregnant I made about 9 casseroles and froze them.  Now I can't bear the smell of them cooking and have no interest in eating them so they have not been useful so far.

We had another ultrasound and the baby looks great.  I met with a specialist to look at the fibroid and it was not there.  He thinks the doctor that gave me my original ultrasound made a mistake. So that was a huge relief.  I'm now back to being a normal pregnant lady, though I'm still considered high risk because i'm over 35.  The ultrasound was great because the baby looked like a little baby. It was moving all around and we saw little hands and feet.  So exciting.

I turned down a huge commercial photography job that would have gone down mid September.  They couldn't have contacted me at a worse time. I was so, so sick and I couldn't really imagine feeling better. The thought of a 5 day straight shoot, away from home, hauling all my gear around did not seem doable.  I also was unsure if I would have any limitations because of the fibroid.  So now I'm kind of dreaming about what I would have done with the money.  I think I could have pulled it off but would have been so exhausted and would have used up my blessed 2nd trimester working and being stressed out.  I'm hoping to use the time with my family, hiking, taking pictures (for myself) and playing music. Those jobs are pretty intense and I've truly learned that it doesn't matter how much money we make, if I cant' be totally aware about our finances, it just seems to disappear.

As far as photography goes, I feel myself pulling out of my creative slump. It's slow and I still don't really feel like shooting.  I did load up my hasselblad with film the other day and it's sitting next to me on my desk.  I've felt myself having renewed interest in the last week or so and having ideas and dreaming about a new lens or drywalling our garage for a studio.  These are all very good signs that I'll get back into something that makes me really happy. 

The gym is going well.  My trainer has been gone teaching a football clinic so I've been working out with friends or by myself but I've still been going every day.  Since my diet is so void of protein, I feel a bit weak. I ran some today which felt good. I couldn't run before because it made me more nauseous.  Running won't last too long.  As soon as my stomach is sticking out too far, it feels really strange.  My trainer is back on Monday and I think I'm going to switch to another trainer who is training another pregnant lady. She has also had two kids since I've been going to the gym and she knows a lot about pregnancy and fitness.  I can then go back to Donnie when I'm ready to kick it into gear post baby. He seems to have only one training mode and it's an intense mode.

Next month we'll have our 20 week ultrasound and hopefully find out the sex of the baby.  I'm pretty excited.  I'm trying not to hope it's a girl since we will love a boy or girl, but that would be pretty great.

Wyatt and Hank were interested in fibroids (non cancerous tumors) after my first ultrasound so we looked at some pictures of them on the internet.  Pretty gross.  It inspired Hank to make some fibroid art. So cute!

8 weeks pregnant

This last month has been hard for me.  I really forgot how hard morning sickness can be.  Part of my  approach with this baby has been to focus on the eventual child that will join our family and try not to think about the hard parts of getting the child here.  That turned out to be a great method because if I had remembered how hard this is, I would not have been so willing.

I started my morning sickness off with a bang by having the stomach flu.  It was so intense I was really scared that I was in for a rough ride.  Hank got it a few days later and though I was sad for him I was really happy it was a virus for me. Once the flu passed the morning sickness set in like my other pregnancies.  I didn't want to eat anything.  All food is disgusting.  Smells are the worst, including the smell of my own clothes.  My stomach is constantly upset and I'm afraid I'm going to throw up somewhere inappropriate.  After loosing several lbs and feeling pretty hopeless, my midwife put me on some anti-neausea medication and I am so, so thankful.  It has majorly improved my ability to function. It hasn't made me all better but I don't throw up and I have found some foods that I can eat.

What's been the hardest is that I feel really depressed.  I never felt this way with Hank or Wyatt but it has come on really strong.  In the morning I wake up feeling bummed out that it's the start of another day.  I have barley touched my cameras.  I don't want to play music. My house is messy.  I'm spending a lot of time lying in bed watching netflix on my phone.  Last Sunday I had no control over my emotions. I could not stop sobbing at church. It was embarrassing.

I'm also really drained by the heat.  Heat has always been my nemesis, but this is bad.  We went on a hike last week and it was cloudy and cool while we hiked deep into a canyon.  Then the sun came out it was probably 90 degrees as we hiked out.  I was going to die.  I felt like fainting, and was going to throw up.  it was like I was from some victorian novel.  The whole thing is so strange.

Besides the morning sickness and depression, I've been able to keep going to the gym with some minor adjustments to my workouts.  My weight training has stayed about the same expect I dropped down in weights a little to preserve my energy during my workouts. I cant' run because the movement makes me more nauseous, but I've been doing about 45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical.  My trainer is gone for a month teaching a football clinic and I found myself being so glad he was leaving so I could slack off.  He left me with a plan to do, which I will, but I can rest more and stop if I don't feel up to it.  We have had a bit of a hard time finding a good working medium.

I had some bleeding early on so we had an ultrasound where we were able to see the babies's hearbeat. Hank and Wyatt and Willie were with me and there have been a lot of anatomy questions from the boys ever since.  They are very curious.  They are so cute.  Having that ultrasound helped me feel more at ease.  With my first pregnancy I didnt' know until 11 weeks that the baby had died and for some reason the placenta will still growing in my uterus.  It was so sad.  Just seeing that there was a baby and a heartbeat made me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.  I know it's not a guarantee but at least we are on the right track.  In my ultrasound they found a fibroid in my uterus (a non cancerous tumor) and I'll be meeting with a specialist in a few weeks to figure out what that means. The doctor and midwife acted like it happens and though it can negatively affect a pregnancy, there are also a lot of women that carry a baby to term with a fibroid.

They boys have been angels.  I'm so thankful they have neighbor friends.  They play most of the day and come lay by me on the bed and snuggle with me.  They pray for me and the baby.  They are excited.  Hank comes in first thing in the morning to share my cup of cereal I eat before I get out of bed. Willie's been great about making dinner and running to the store to replenish whatever food I am currently eating. Right now it's peaches and bagels and sesame chicken from a local Chinese restaurant (the first meat I've been able to eat in weeks).  My diet is really poor which no doubt is affecting my depression.  I'm hoping for a great second trimeter.  With my other pregnancies I can camp and hike during my second trimeter and really feel great.

A Poem

I just had a poem published in a BYU studies journal. It was a fun surprise to get an email from them today.

Girls camp was great this year.  This image is one that I took at dusk of Ragged Mountain.  After 4 years of photographing the same place, I realized that most of my imagery was very literal.  I wondered what an image would look like that felt like a memory.  This is what I came up with.  I feel like if I had a small print of this with a lot of white space around it, that every now and again, I'd walk by and get the feeling of ragged mountain.  We'll see how it prints. I also took several rolls of film, but as we all know, it will be weeks before I see my scans.  If you are interested in other pictures you can view my digital ones here.

Part of what made this trip different for me is that I knew it might be my last.  I was pretty sure I was pregnant on the trip, but had not had a positive pregnancy test so I had a little bit of doubt. I was happy for the hike because I was blowing through all our money on negative pregnancy tests.  Once I started on the trail with my backpack on, I was so out of breath. I felt out of shape, which I'm not, so I knew something was up.  The day after I got home I finally got a positive pregnancy test. I guess you could say this is an announcement of sorts, but I feel like no one really reads my blog and I'm happy to share the info with any of my friends.  I find it old school to wait until 12 weeks to announce a pregnancy, but I see the wisdom in it, especially after miscarrying my first pregnancy.  Still it's just not me. I think I wouldn't want to make a facebook announcement or anything because that means if there was a miscarriage, that would entail another awkward facebook announcement

Anyway, back to the hike.  Knowing that I hopefully wouldn't be back next year because I'd have a new baby, made me savor the whole experience more.  Like usual I was so impressed with the girls.  They are really smart and they want to do good with their lives.  They have plans for college.  They talk about helping other people. They braid each other's hair. They are respectful and funny and emotional. I love the leaders too.  Betsy is so great.  We don't get to spend much time together during the year, but I love spending so much time with her. She's really funny and we are good friends.  This year Megan came also and it was so great having her along.  I loved getting to know her.

As leaders, we stayed up even later than the girls talking.  Part of that is that I seem to have some kind of camping insomnia and can never sleep and want to talk.  We stayed up late laughing and talking about fun things like budgeting, health insurance, our families, how we met our husbands and of course, sharing our birth stories.

We also had along some great priesthood (mormon talk for men leaders) leaders that I loved talking with.  They all carry guns, which I find comforting and creepy at the same time.  I've had several offers to help address my gun fear issues. These are great men and all of us leaders have a strong love of the outdoors in common. The girls not so much.  It's funny to me that a good portion of the girls don't want to be out backpacking.  I love it.

I was emotional on this trip and at one point we were praying together as leaders back at camp and i was overcome with a feeling of gratitude and couldn't help but cry.  It's been a great experience for me.

This last trip to New York was great.  I went out for the same private school that I've shot for twice before.  I'm so glad they have been pleased with my work and asked me back.  This time I felt like I was leaving again too soon and was homesick the day I left but but once I started working, I felt better and ended up really enjoying myself.

This shoot was different from the last two.  The last two were what I would describe as 3 day long weddings -- on crack.  It was so much shooting and lugging of gear and the volume of images was intense.  This shoot included two to three staged scenarios a day where the creative director had an image in mind for an ad and we tried to get it.  They had chosen specific students to shoot in a specific setting.  This was great for me since I had the attention of the students whereas before I was trying to capture them doing their normal thing. So the pressure was more intense since I had to create an image to match the one in the mind of the creative director but the workload was lighter.  I was also nursing a bad cold last time.  Having my normal energy level and more daylight made for a better trip.

I really like the two women I spent time with on the shoot. One is a contracted creative director and in charge of the advertising campaign for the school and the other works at the school.  We had fun spending time together and one day ate at this great street down by wall street that is lined with restaurants and there are benches for eating all in the street.  I have a few pictures below.

As always I had a great time hanging out with Travis and Sara and their kids. I was able to join in on the Mother's Day celebration at their house which was very delicious. I also had my usual sleep habits of staying up at night on Colorado time but getting up in the morning on New York time.  By the time I had to go home, I was way under slept and slept the whole plane ride from New York to Salt Lake. I also enjoyed some relaxed eating habits and had a lunch of just frozen yogurt at the Salt Lake airport.

So far we have put out one of the ads and I had to do a lot of work on the one image.  I'm not sure what  is ahead as far as work load goes.  They paid me for 12 hrs of post processing work and I think we are about 8hrs after just one image.  I knew this image would be more complicated because it was a planned composite of two images.  There was a hired retoucher involved in the process.  After we successfully go the two images combined, they kept wanting to remove things from the image which takes a lot of time to make it look good.  I had to put in some serious photoshop time.

This whole experience has been really great.  I'm so glad Case connected me to this school and helped me get this chance to really stretch myself and learn a lot.  I took more personal pictures than usual on this  trip since I had some free time and wasn't so burnt out.  Here are some below.  They are a mixture of my iphone and my Diana. It was really only sunny one day and the Diana needs sun.   I was feeling really creative on this trip. It was wonderful!  Like usual, I was so happy to get home to my family and I'm so glad my mom came out to help take care of the kids. They have not stopped talking about their adventures and I keep finding drawers and cabinets that my mom organized for me while I was gone.

I also made a video with clips from my iphone.  Here is a link to it.

I came home to some great things coming into bloom.  I've officially given our front beds over to the columbine.  I just can't control them. I'd like to see more variety and color, but the columbine rule the space. Not much happening in the vegetable garden yet. I did pick and eat several strawberries. I love how they are so soft and warm from the sun.

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