Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day! Nate surprised me with the prettiest red tulips & my favorite chocolates from Trader Joe's-dark chocolate peanut butter salted caramel truffles!! The best!!!! He also let me get a really cute shirt & this box that should come in the mail any day that is supposed to have lots of makeup products & other fun products too! I have been wanting to order one for so long! I got Nate all of his favorite treats- Dr. Pepper, Salt & Vinegar chips, Heath Bar, chocolate millionaire truffles, & chipotle beef jerky. We are going to go on a Valentine's date when we are in San Diego this weekend. Nate is surprising me with where we are going & I'm so excited!

Over the past few years, I feel like Nate & I have really grown closer together. I felt like we were already close, but we have really just grown extra close & really rely on each other so much. I'm so thankful to have him for my Valentine. I remember being single in Hawaii & wondering what it would be like to be married on Valentine's Day. It is the best not just on Valentine's Day but every day! We have had such amazing, happy times & also the hardest, most sad times these past few years but I wouldn't give our past few years up for anything!

Some things I love about Nate:
1. He is very sweet & always thinking of nice things to do for me.
2. He makes me laugh all the time.
3. He makes dinner for me once a week & it is always so good!
4. He works so hard.
5. He drives me everywhere & never gets lost.
6. He makes everything more fun.
7. I love going on dates with him.
8. He helps me see the good in things.
9. He is always complimenting me & says something nice each morning as I'm getting ready for work.
10. He is so forgiving & kind.

A Lesson in Faith

Well, we found out that our 2nd IUI was not successful. It was another hard day/weekend/week, but we were grateful we had the weekend to spend together before going back to work. We have faith that when the time is right, we will be able to grow our family.

My last ultrasound went well, there were no cysts!!! Such a relief! So we have been able to start a 3rd round of IUI. If this round does not work, we will be saving up for a while for IVF, which costs around $16,000-$20,000. Some other good news/ a tender mercy, I had asked the nurse on the phone if there were any sample boxes of FSH shots I could use before going into my appointment. She said she would check & save one for me if there was. After the ultrasound, I asked the nurse & she said there were no sample boxes but that someone had donated a box of shots, the exact kind I needed. I never would have thought I would have been excited about getting shots, haha! I know that this, along with many other things, was an answer to a prayer.

I have been so stressed about the costs of everything & also wondering if this will ever even work for us. It is so stressful to think that we could spend over $25,000 on treatments & still never get pregnant. But I know that Heavenly Father is watching over Nate & I. I know that when the time is right, we will be able to have children. On the drive to the appointment, I felt worried & stressed but on the drive back I felt comfort & peace knowing that my Heavenly Father is watching over me.

Melissa gave birth to a healthy baby boy a few days ago! I am so happy for her!! She struggled with infertility for several years before getting pregnant through IUI & having Jenna & then struggled for another 5 years before getting pregnant with her little boy. She has given me comfort & hope many times when I have felt discouraged. Because of my dr's appointment on Thursday & then our IUI which will hopefully be scheduled on Monday or Tuesday, I will be driving up to see Melis & baby Andy on Friday afternoon & then heading back Sunday afternoon. It will be a very short trip but I'm happy I'll be able to go!!

Here's hoping & praying that this 3rd IUI will work & that we will have a miracle!!

Lemon Tree

Two years ago we bought 3 citrus trees, one of which was a lemon tree. Our tree quickly grew lemons, but they stayed tiny & green & it took over a year & a half for them to ripen enough to pluck from the tree. I have debated what to make with these lemons, feeling like it needed to be something wonderful & unique since we had waited for them for so long. I decided on making lemon vanilla bean scones & I have to admit, they were the best scones I've ever had & I ate about 3 of them!!

Anyways, I was thinking about our struggle with infertility & not being able to have children yet. It has been about 2 1/2 years since we have struggled with this trial. It has felt like such a long time. It has been a wonderful 2 1/2 years but also very hard at times. We have done our best to have hope & faith. I feel like we are both in a good place right now, trusting in the Lord & His timing for us. I know that it could be many more years before we are able to have children, but I have faith that whenever it is, it will be the right time for us.

Tomorrow we find out if our 2nd IUI worked. Last time, I was so nervous the 2 weeks before & I didn't sleep the entire night before. Every day I thought about if I had any pregnancy symptoms, thought of baby names, how I would decorate a nursery, etc. When we got the disappointing news at 4am that it was not successful, it was such a long, hard day.

This time around, I have kept really busy & I also know that Heavenly Father has helped me to feel peace & comfort. It has been a much better experience. I know that the results may be negative tomorrow but even if they are, I will continue to have faith & hope & trust in the Lord's timing. This has been the hardest trial I have ever gone through, but I know that it has made me stronger, brought Nate & I closer together, & will make us better parents.

Just like with our little lemon tree, we are having to wait a lot longer than we expected & longer than the average famlily. But I know that when we are able to have children, it will all be worth it & this waiting period we are going through now will seems like it was such a short time. I know that I will look back on this time of waiting & be thankful for it because it helped me to be a better wife & mother.

Christmas Break!!!

This Christmas break was amazing. It was the perfect amount of being busy & also having relaxation time. The week before Christmas I made about 100 cookies to deliver to friends, family, & Nate's clients.

After my last day of work, we packed up our car & headed to Tempe for a doctors appointment that I had. We had good news at the appointment that everything looked good to start a 2nd round or IUI! We were also cleared to go on our trip & would have the rest of our appointments when we got back! So we headed straight to San Diego!

Our time in San Diego was really fun. All of Nate's siblings were there & everyone had work off, so we got to spend a lot of time together! My favorite day was Christmas Eve when we woke up early & all drove together to Mount Laguna (only a 45 min drive & still in San Diego County) where it was snowing & already had about 1 1/2 feet of snow!!! It was soooo much fun & so crazy to have a snow day in San Diego!!! It was so funny to see people using body boards as sleds down the hills! We ran around & played in the snow until we were freezing & then drove up the mountain some more. It was the most gorgeous view, seeing all of the trees covered in snow & the untouched hills at the top of the mountain.

After our snow morning, we headed back to the house, relaxed a while & then Nate & I started on Christmas Eve dinner! We made mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, brussel sprouts, rolls, & chocolate mousse pie w/ a peppermint oreo crust. Nate parents cooked a ham & Christina brought the best green bean casserole, It had bacon & the best homeade cream sauce, sooo good!!! Everything turned out really good & it was nice to sit down & relax! Christmas Eve dinner is my favorite! We stayed up late watching Christmas movies & working on a puzzle.

Christmas day we woke up, got ready, & headed to 9am church. It was such a beautiful sacrament meeting with the prettiest musical numbers. My favorite one was a harp musical number, so pretty! Then we went straight to a rest home where the ward was caroling. It was the fanciest rest home I have ever seen! It made me sad thinking of older people or anyone being alone on Christmas. It was nice to do something for others. On the drive back home we were all pretty hangry because we hadn't eaten anything yet. We got started on Christmas breakfast right away & made hashbrowns, ham, toast, & hot chocolate! Then we sat around the Christmas tree & opened presents. I was so excited to give Nate a pair of board shorts for one of his presents! I had bought them for him about a month before & right before Christmas we were at the store & he was looking at the same pair of board shorts & wanting to buy them! So crazy! I made some excuse that he didn't need them & he just started laughing when he opened them. Nate's favorite present was a shirt with a bike on it that I had gotten him! I picked out most of my own gifts but Nate surprised me with a really pretty necklace! It was really fun watching everyone open there gifts & we got some of the sweetest gifts. We took Blitzen & Cora to the dog park & the weather was soooo perfect! Then we relaxed the rest of the day watching movies & puzzling.

The rest of our trip, we got to see Ryan & Christina's new house, I met up with Clare, Kristine, & Matthew,we went to Christmas Card Lane & Candy Cane Lane to see all the lights, we went car shopping with Nicole, & we spent a lot of time visiting with everyone. It was a really fun trip & awesome Christmas!

When we got back to AZ, Nate took one more day off so we could have a fun day together. We relaxed at home watching movies, did some errands, & made dinner together. It was nice to have one more day together before he started work. I still had a week and a half of break left! I spent the rest of my time with my sisters! Ally had a few days left before going back to Hawaii so it was really fun to be able to hang out with her. We hot tubbed at Brooke's, went to gym classes together, had pizookies & watched a movie while having a hairbrushing/braiding/back scratch/massage train, & then Ally had a sleepover at my house. It was so much fun getting to hang out with Ally, she is so fun! We missed Melissa! It is so fun when all 5 of us get to be together!

It was so nice to be able to meet up & go to gym classes with Brooke & Brittany over the break! For some reason, it is so much fun with a sister there! Brittany had everyone over for homeade personal pizzas & s'mores one night & it was sooo much fun! Britt & I took the boys to the Phoenix Zoo for a day & had so much fun with them. They were so cute & happy the whole day! I am so glad they still like hanging out with us!!!

On New Years Eve, Nate & I had Brooke, Cody, Brittany, Matt, & Matt's over for a fondue party. We had appetizers, 2 cheese fondues, & a chocolate fondue & everything turned out sooooo good!!! New Years Eve fondue is one of my favorite new traditions!

Over the break, I started my shots for IUI round 2 & went in on Saturday, the 7th for the IUI procedure. I never thought I would say this but I was thankful to be having shots, just because I knew it meant we were able to be doing an IUI. Having this round pushed back 2 weeks really made me grateful that we were still able to do this round. Now for the 2 week wait! Even though it has been hard getting back to work, it has helped to keep me busy & this time I am trying to not think about whether it worked or if I have symptoms or anything, I am just trying to forget that I am even waiting for anything. I'm also very glad that when I will find out the results, that it will be a Saturday & not right at the beginning of a work week, which was hard last time. I am thankful for my Heavenly Father & know that He watches over me. I am so thankful for my sweet husband & for my wonderful family & friends. I feel so blessed.

The Nutcracker & Christmas Traditions

The past 2 weeks we have been doing lots of Christmas activities! Last week Mom, Brittany, Brooke, & I had a girls night & celebrated Britt's b-day early! We went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner & then went to the Nutcracker Ballet at Symphony Hall. It was beautiful & amazing as always. Going to the Nutcracker with my sisters & mom is one of my favorite holiday traditions. It always makes me wish I had done ballet! My favorite part was the snowflakes & Snow Queen. I love the music for that dance & they have sooo much beautiful, sparkly snow falling on the stage. I also love the Sugar Queen Fairy. It was such a fun night!

Last night we had our yearly white elephant party with Mark & Laraine's family. We had the party at Laraine's new house, which was beautiful. We had a big Hawaiian meal, teriyaki chicken, kalua pork, hawaiian meatballs, coconut rice, pani popo, pineapple, & otai. Everything was so delicious! The gift exchange was amazing as always! Some of the funniest gifts were a Nsync puppet, crazy 80's cat calendar, head in a bottle, & Lady Gaga singing toothbrush! We sang happy birthday to Dad after & had cake & ice cream since it was his 60th birthday!!!

Some other things we have done this past 2 weeks:

We decorated & delivered gingerbread cookies to some families for cubscouts. It was so fun! We have a really great group of boys right now, they are always so excited for the activities! They loved decorating & eating the cookies & we drove around & looked at some Christmas lights when we were dropping off the cookies! It was cracking me up because one of the boys decorated his cookies so carefully & one dumped about a pound of sprinkles on his. The boy who decorated his carefully kept saying, "mine are a little more basic & yours are all out of control, so we will give someone a plate of each!" Then one of the mom's texted me yesterday & said that her son loved the activity so much he made her make cookies to decorate at home & then kept saying, "These are not good like Sister Duchein's!" Haha, it made my day!

We had a big dinner at Mom's to celebrate Grandpa & Grandma Donna's anniversary. It was nice to all be together! Another night we had a dinner together, went to the Star Wars movie at a theater Cody rented out & then had hot chocolate & tim tam slams.

Ally got here a few days ago, so all of us girls hung out & made cookies together!

Today is the start of Christmas vacation!!! So exciting!!!

Decorating for Christmas

I love Christmas so much & look forward to December all year long. My favorite thing about Christmas is being able to spend so much time with family & celebrating the birth of Christ. I love how everyone is always so happy & loving around Christmastime.

Our families has so many fun Christmas traditions & it has been fun for Nate & I to add some of our own traditions. We started the tradition of getting a real Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Then we decorating the tree & making peanut blossom cookies.

Last year we had just gotten our sweet little puppy, Blitzen, & I remember him looking up at me so cutely as I was making the cookies. This year he was sitting in the same exact spot as Nate was rolling the cookies in sugar.

last year:

this year:

Here are some of my other favorite Christmas traditions:
-Looking at the San Diego Temple lights & driving through Christmas Card Lane & Candy Cane Lane (we started this tradition while we were dating)
-homemade donuts at my mom's house
-Tim Tam slams
-Nativity play & Christmas Eve program**my favorite!
-Christmas Eve dinner & Christmas breakfast
-matching sister pajamas for Christmas (usually opened on Christmas Eve)
-shopping day at Last Chance

Failed IUI

We got sad & disappointing news this morning that the IUI procedure did not work. The past 2 weeks have been stressful & seemed to go by so slowly. I was so excited to take a pregnancy test today, thinking there was a good chance it might be positive. I was told I could take it this morning & I could not sleep at all last night. I woke up at 2am, fell asleep for about 20 mins & then lay in bed, trying to fall back asleep but too anxious. Finally at 4am, I knew there was no way I was falling back asleep so I took 2 tests & nervously waited the 3 minutes. Then I checked them, both negative. It was so heartbreaking & disappointing. It seemed like everything went so well with the procedure & I let myself get my hopes up too much. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us & that everything will work out at the right time, but it is still so hard.

I love this story:
​God uses another form of chastening or correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”5
-D. Todd Christofferson

& this quote:
The Lord strengthened them and lightened their burdens to the point they could hardly feel them upon their backs and then in due course delivered them (see Mosiah 24:8–22). Their faith was immeasurably strengthened by their experience, and ever after they enjoyed a special bond with the Lord.
-D. Todd Christofferson

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