Thursday, December 20, 2012

The road that led me here

Last night something happened in our home that made my life choices extremely clear and important to me (again).  Back in 2005 I made the very hard decision to leave my home, my family, and my friends to move "out west" to Utah, knowing that I wanted a temple marriage and wouldn't find that by staying home.   There were lots of hard days in those few years, some bad choices along the way, but in 2008 I made the choice to marry my eternal companion, Nathan Powell.

The past 4.5 years have not been a picnic.  We have had GREAT days and really LOUSY days as well.  I am assuming that most married lives are that way.  And when my body is full of pregnancy hormones, we have had REALLY REALLY LOUSY days when I have wondered, what the heck am I doing?!

And then Morgan gets really sick in the middle of the night.  She woke up crying last night, and I could no nothing to console her.  Anyone who knows her knows this is not typical Morgan-behavior.  She is very easily content.  She is not a big crier.  And if ever there is anything wrong, Mommy can make it better very quickly.  But not last night.  Whatever was wrong with her was causing her to act as weird as I have ever seen a child behave.  She ran around screaming and crying, clawing at the couch and pillows, her little body tensing up more and more by the second.  I tried to hold her and she could not even sit still and relax with me.  She didn't want me to touch her. Her face was red, her muscles tight, crying so much she would gag and lose her breath. It was a disturbing 10 minutes as a parent that seemed to last much longer.  We knew we had to do something quick. 

And then the moment came that reiterated to me how right some of my choices have been, but most importantly, how right Nate's choices have been.  I held Morgan, he laid his hands on her head, anointed her with oil, and within seconds I started feeling her relax.  Using the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, a gift from our Heavenly Father, Nate was able to bless Morgan to be healed.  And she was.  It is that simple.  In literally seconds, I felt her body relax and heal, her breathing calm, her crying stop, and then she was asleep.

I am so so grateful for my husband, that he tries to live in such a way to be worthy of the Priesthood of God and is ready and willing to use that power.  I am so grateful to a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to be happy, He gave us gifts like the Priesthood and the Holy Ghost to help us always and especially in our times of need.  I am so grateful for this reminder during this holiday season when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the greatest gift our Heavenly Father has given us, our way to eternal life.  I hope all of you can feel that Spirit during the holiday season as well.  And tonight I am grateful for a sleeping healthy girl and a little boy who will be coming to our family soon.  I am so blessed and need to remember that more often! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life and goings-on in Boone

Our new life in Boone is not really feeling so new anymore.  Morgan has friends.  Nate has friends.  I have friends.  My family is close enough (3.5-6 hours away) that they can come visit, and do!  I'm starting to see Nate's vision that we are supposed to be here.

On October 29th Morgan started going to a pre-school.  This was a hard day for Mommy, especially considering how hormonal Mommy is right now!  She has a slight speech delay, and this preschool specifically works with kids on speech.  At first I felt like she was too young to send out into the world without me.  But we prayed about it.  And prayed about it some more.  And I finally caught up with Nate in realizing it was a great opportunity for her and our family.  It's only 2 mornings a week for a few hours each day, and she pretty much IMMEDIATELY loved it and started excelling. 

This is her first morning.  There were a few tears on her part and more on mine.  But she got over it pretty fast and had a great day.  By the 2nd day her tears lasted for about 15 seconds.  Mine lasted much longer.  By the 3rd and 4th days she was able to walk away from me with no tears!  More for me again.  I'm so glad my baby is doing well.  They love her at the school.  She is friendly and social and now talks all the time!  Apparently some of the older kids want to baby her and she has to push them away to keep her independence.  But she is doing so well, it has shown us that we truly did follow the answer to our prayers.  How do parents keep their sanity without involving Heavenly Father?

My cousin Shawn and his family only live about 3 hours away, so they came up to visit after our Halloween snow storm for a special event at church.  We took them to a pretty place we had found off the Blue Ridge Parkway called Cascade Falls.  Morgan really loves to be outside, and we're trying to get in as much outside time as we can before winter and the baby, plus I definitely need the exercise, so a nice easy hike is perfect for us.

On Sunday they joined us for church for a historical event here in Boone.  For years there has been a Boone Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and we were blessed to be here for the Branch to become a Ward.  Also, Nate was sustained as the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric of the new ward!  He will be busy with this calling and school and family, but we know we will be SO blessed as we strive to live the gospel here and strengthen our neighbors and fellow ward members.   I was called about a month ago to be the Relief Society weekday activity coordinator, and absolutely love this calling as I get to know the other sisters!  I have definitely met some of the best people I have ever known by living here for just 3 months!  Shawn was able to ordain Nate a High Priest.  It was a spiritual moment as I watched the man who baptized me ordain my husband.  Nate and I were so grateful to Shawn and his family for hearing and responding quickly to the call!  I am so glad to have other family members in the gospel who can appreciate the duty and set an example for us.

(I have mixed feelings about this picture - it was an exciting and spiritual day for us that I am glad to have recorded, and I love the people in this picture, but whoa I feel really  huge right now!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fun in the Snow

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy we got some unseasonal snow fall.  The temperature this morning was 30, but said it felt like 16.  We can attest to that fact!  This is really Morgan's first time playing in the snow, and we wondered what she would think, but really thought she would love it!  And she proved us right.

 She had so many layers of clothes on it was a little hard to walk around, but she mostly just wanted to sit and play in it anyways...oh, and eat it.
 The view from our house
 Mommy has to wear Daddy's coat with 2 zippers so she can leave the belly out
 Morgan's first snowman
 Dad looks cold
I think if you look closely there is snotty ice under her nose.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Part I

Usually one night of Halloween is enough for me, but Boone seems to offer many activities that we just couldn't pass up.  On Saturday the Branch President and his wife hosted a Halloween party on their farm.  It was the perfect setting with a big barn, bales of hay, camp fire, and lots of people and kids all dressed up.  

Hopefully I will never be this huge pregnant at Halloween again, so I figured it may be my only chance to dress up the belly.  So I decided to go as a fish bowl, Morgan as a fish, and Nate as a fisherman.  I thought my idea was pretty clever.  And I was pretty excited for Morgan's costume since it is my first homemade costume as a mommy and actually involved a little bit of sewing.

 My baby really looks like a little girl now!
 Morgan didn't know what to think at first, but once people started putting stuff in her bucket she got pretty excited and ran from car to car for trunk-or-treat.

 For those who have asked, here you go - the pregnant picture in all it's glory!  Yikes!

Morgan's first day of (insert big gulp here) Preschool!  She pretty much likes to lay low in the morning, so she wasn't happy to get dressed, but really enjoyed her day!  Needless to say, she enjoyed it a lot more than mom.

Blurry - but a much happier moment

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Visit from Granny and Papa & Morgan's 2nd Bday!

This past weekend my parents drove into town to celebrate Morgan's second birthday with us.  We sure were looking forward to their visit, and really enjoyed spending time with them and showing them the beauty of fall in the High Country.

 Morgan mostly enjoyed riding on Papa's scooter chair.  Now the word "ride" has a completely different meaning for her.  (I think Papa enjoyed it just a little bit)

This picture is one of my favorites from the weekend.  We took it in the town of Blowing Rock.  There is a beautiful pond with a sidewalk around it where we like to go to visit the ducks.  It was beautiful in all of its autumn glory.

On Friday we celebrated Morgan's birthday!  I can't believe my little girl is 2 already!  It is strange to me to hold my "baby" and feel another baby kicking her!  She got to enjoy some time at the pool with her Dad, played with her new toys, and even got to talk to her Grandma and Grandpa Powell on the computer.  We kept the day pretty low key, and really enjoyed it that way!

 Mom was super excited for this gift.  Morgan has really enjoyed playing with a little wooden doll and crib at the library, to the extent that we haven't been to the library in a few weeks because she screams to leave this "bay-bay."  So I did some research online, found out that the doll is manufactured by Melissa and Doug, and I also found a little wooden nursery set with a cute stroller, changing table, and crib made by Plan Toys.  Morgan loves taking care of her little baby now!  (And I'm pretty impressed by the furniture set as well!)  She also plays with her new Little Pet Shop bee and bear with the furniture.  It's the perfect size for her little hands.

(Don't you love how often she is wearing this hat in her pictures)

Granny made her birthday cake - and Morgan didn't eat any of it!

I love my little Morgan more and more everyday.  She has the sweetest personality that just draws people to her, and she is quickly becoming one of my best friends!  She really has progressed a lot in her speech and uses a lot more words.  Next week she will start a preschool 2 days a week where they work a lot on speech therapy.  More about this later.

Her 2 year stats:  35 inches long!  (about 75th percentile) 25 lbs 6 oz (about 15th percentile)  She's definitely had a little growth spurt lately!

 She loves playing outside with "My Dada"
 Learning more about wooly worms

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Elk Knob State Park

Fall here in Boone, NC is amazing!  Fall has always been my favorite season, and this may be the best place on earth to really enjoy it.  The temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s everyday, and everywhere the leaves are bright yellow, red, and orange.  It is beautiful.  

So on Sunday evening we drove just a few minutes away to Elk Knob State Park.  The hike is 1.9 miles each way, and we got there late, so we decided just to hike a little ways and enjoy the scenery.

 The colors aren't nearly as good in a picture as they are in person

 Morgan loved the walk, especially the rock pathway.  She's a little geologist.

 Another owwie.  Seems like those little knees just can't heal lately.  And she's learned to kiss them herself.
 When we came back down and got back to the car, Morgan decided she didn't want to leave.  She turned around, headed back to the trail, waved us good-bye, and threw us a kiss.  Off she went.  She got about 20 feet or so before Nate went after her!  Little stinker!

And this was the result of making Morgan leave.  And it did not stop until we were almost home 15 minutes later.  The worst tantrum yet.  :-(

The North Carolina Zoological Park

While Nate was on Fall Break, we decided to do a little early celebrating for Morgan's birthday and take her to the zoo which is about 2.5 hours away, in Asheboro, NC.  I had been to this zoo when I was a little-itty-bitty kid (can't believe right now that I was ever little) but couldn't remember it at all.  This zoo was amazing, maybe not San Diego, but beautiful, and earns its name of Zoological Park.  

The park was divided into two continents, Africa and North America.  I was impressed with the job they have done on creating habitats that seem native.  Instead of seeing animals in cages, you walk along a path and over the fence or down the hill or on the other side of some rocks you see the animals.  

We bought the combo pass for the day which included a Dinosaur 4-D show (which neither Morgan nor I went to), a Dinosaur exhibit with lifesize animatronic dinosaurs, the giraffe deck, and the carousel.  We were in for a treat!

First we tried the dinosaur exhibit.  Morgan liked seeing the dinosaurs, but when they moved and started making noise it was just a little too much.  Both Nate and I thought it was really cool, and I"m not even all that into dinosaurs.  They were out in the woods and you walked along a gravel path.

 You can see how large they are compared to the trees!
Morgan likes pretty much anything with tires and a steering wheel.

Next we went to the giraffe deck, which turned out to be my favorite part of the day.  I thought we would just get to walk up on a deck with a better view of the giraffes, but there was actually a zookeeper there with a bag of leaves.  Some of the giraffes would come right over to the deck, and we got to feed them.  Morgan didn't think much of this at first, but after she saw Mom do it a few times, she tried too, and then couldn't get enough of it.  We were there for a while feeding the giraffes.

 Pretty excited that the leaf isn't in her hand anymore!

 Had to go back for more!

We had a lot of fun the rest of the day, but this was really the highlight.  Morgan rode the carousel 3 times, skipped nap time, and totally zonked out as soon as we got in the car that evening.  Here are some more highlights from the day.

 The only creature bigger than me right now!
 Trees, trees, trees everywhere!  If I had to live in a zoo I might choose this one
 Too cool
 The lion queen - this reminded us a lot of the Stone Table in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  She actually rolled over while we watched her sleep, then stared at us, and walked away.

Kitty "mow" as Morgan says

Oh, one more thing that we didn't get pictures of.  A baby gorilla was born in August, and we actually saw the mom nursing her baby.  It was a really cool experience for me to see nature work that easily.  And also to see other people appreciate it.  I think it's "taboo" for women to breatfeed, and there's a lot of controversy over nursing in public, but for this animal, it was just life, and people oohed and aahed.  If it's important for a baby gorilla, isn't it important for little human babies as well?  Just saying!