Monday, August 29, 2016

McKinley Ann Violet Adams

I know that it has been a very long time since I updated my blog...and for the 4 of you who actually read it, sorry about that. But, I wanted to share my birth story so that I could look back on it in case things started to fade from memory. Also, warning, this post is super long!! You're welcome...

I am going to go back a couple of weeks, just to show the progress made...and so that I can remember those details too!

I had an appointment with Dr. Skinner on Wednesday, August 10. I was scheduled to get my membranes stripped, and to check my cervix. The last time it was checked, I was barely open, and not quite a 1. So, at my appt, I was definitely a 1, and a little closer to a 2, but not quite. We decided to strip my membranes anyway. I was totally clueless when it came to this process. I told many people that I was going to get it done, and everyone just agreed that it was a natural step in the process...not a single person told me that it hurt like hell and was not very comfortable! And no one ever told me that it would be ok if I chickened out and didn't get a full sweep....bah! Well, as you can guess, I totally chickened out and didn't get a full sweep. It was not comfortable and it definitely hurt! After it was over, I called and updated my posse on what happened and all of them confirmed that it DID hurt and it was just fine that I didn't get a full sweep! WHAT THE HECK!! Oh well....

On Sunday, in the middle of the night, I actually woke up with some pretty strong contractions. I couldn't believe that they woke me up. I just thought to myself "oh crap, this is it!" So I got up out of bed, and went potty and drank a bunch of water. Then the contractions died down and I was able to go back to sleep, with no other incident.

My next appointment was scheduled for Monday, August 15. My actual due date!! We had considered getting my membranes stripped again, and since I was more mentally prepared for it, I was going to be brave and get the full sweep. Well, I woke up that morning and realized that if I was to get the sweep, then I might not make it until Wednesday, August 17, when my mom would be flying into town from Tennessee. So, before I even got to the appointment, Daniel and I decided that another membrane strip would not be a good idea. We had also decided that any other activities *cough*sex*cough* wouldn't be a good idea until mom came into town because we didn't want to risk anything!

At my appointment, I was already dilated to a 3! With 75% effacement. Dr. Skinner couldn't believe that I had dilated from a 1.5 to a 3 in just a matter of days. I should have taken that as a sign...but I was still convinced that we wouldn't have this baby before mom got here!!

Monday night, my sisters and I went to a bridal shower for our cousin Caroline. Caroline told everyone at the shower that it was my actual due date! All the women who have had babies reassured me that the first baby is always late! Caroline's wedding was August 17, and was begging me to have the baby during the ceremony so that everyone would remember her special day. HAHA

While at the shower, I kept telling Chalene that I was having mild contractions. She would feel how hard my belly got. It was actually a little painful for her to touch my belly, but I let her feel anyway. It made us more connected that way. I had been having mild contractions for a couple weeks now, but these ones felt a little more intense, and a little stronger. I was mentally keeping track of how far apart they were, and I was barely having 2 an hour. No reason to keep tracking...they weren't that close.

When I got home from the bridal shower, I got ready for bed. I got into bed at about 11:00 pm. At 1:00 am, I woke up to some pretty strong contractions. They made me feel like I needed to pee, so I got up and went pee and then realized that I was super tired, and so climbed back into bed. I decided to time my contractions using this app on my phone while lying in bed, and just see how close they were. At this point, I was awake enough to time two contractions, and they were 25-ish minutes apart. I rolled my eyes, shut off my phone, and went back to sleep.

At 3:00 am I woke up again to the contractions. Again, I went pee to see if it would help lessen the pain and discomfort. I, again, wanted to time my contractions to see if anything had changed. Again, I only made it through 2 contractions because I was super tired. Now, they were about 18 minutes apart. I grabbed the heating pad next to my bed, wrapped it awkwardly around my lower belly, and I rolled over and went back to sleep.

At 4:00 am, the pesky contractions woke me up, and I could definitely tell they were stronger. They felt like bad, bad menstrual cramps. The pain started down low, and worked its way up my belly. However, I didn't have a single ounce of back pain! That was what I was expecting because everyone talked about back labor and back pain and such. So, because of the lack of back pain, I was convinced that this was just false labor. I got up, went pee (see a pattern...) and came back to my room and just rocked back and forth on my legs while stretching my hips. I felt nice to just move and not lay in bed. However, I was still SUPER tired, and climbed back into bed to see if the pain would let up a little.

Now, it is 4:45 am and I am wide awake. The pain is not getting any better, in fact it is getting a little bit worse. I wanted to do something that would take my mind off of the pain, so I went in to the living room and sat on my exercise ball. The whole time I bounced on the ball, I had my phone with me and was timing the contractions. Between contractions, I was reading blogs and articles and anything I could about women describing their labor pains! HAHA Again, because of the lack of back pain, I am convinced it is just false labor. At this point, my contractions are about 6 minutes apart, and they are lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to 90 seconds. The rule that they doctor told us to follow was the 5-1-1 rule. Your contractions need to be 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in length, and it needs to have been that way for a whole hour. So, I kept timing them while bouncing.

After about 45 minutes, I realized that it may not be false labor, and we may need to go to the hospital soon. I didn't want to go on an empty stomach, so I grabbed two cheese sticks, an oatmeal cookie biscuit, and a gatorade and went to go rock in the rocking chair while enjoying my snack. While rocking, I kept thinking that I needed to talk to someone about what was going on. I didn't want to wake Daniel up yet because I didn't want him to worry, especially if it was false labor. I thought about calling my Aunt Jill, who was also acting as our doula, to see what she would say, but it was also 5:45 in the morning and I didn't want to wake her up for nothing. I thought about calling my sisters, but again, I didn't want to bother anyone if it was indeed false labor. So, I decided to call my mom.

It was now 6:00 am. I have been having consistent contractions for 1.5 hours, and they are now 5 minutes apart. Not every contraction lasted a whole minute. I would get a big contraction that lasted about 90 seconds, and then a medium contraction that lasted 45 seconds, and then again with the big contraction. Luckily, my mom was still in Tennessee, and they are an hour ahead of us, so it was 7:00am her time. I knew that she would either be getting ready to leave for work, or on her way to work. So I picked up the phone and called her. She was kind of surprised that I was calling so early, and the moment she asked me how I was doing, I burst into tears and told her that I was in labor. I didn't want to be in labor because she wasn't coming until the next day!! I was NOT supposed to have this baby before she got here!!!

Mom and I talked on the phone for 45 minutes. All the while, each of us were timing my contractions. They are still 5 minutes apart and getting more intense. I kept telling mom that I wasn't too sure it was time to go to the hospital. We were able to talk through a lot of things, and talking to her calmed my nerves and just made me more aware that this was probably "the time" that I had been anxiously awaiting for a long time.

I told my mom that I just needed to go on a walk to see if walking would make my contractions stronger, or weaker. I did NOT want to go to the hospital to be sent home because I wasn't consistent or in actual labor! Mom told me that I HAD to wake Daniel up and tell him I was going to go on a walk just in case I went into labor and didn't make it back up the stairs to our apartment.

After hanging up with mom, I snuck into our bedroom and climbed in bed next to Daniel. I woke him up, kissed him, and he asked me how I was doing. I asked him if he had his hospital bags packed yet! (PS: I had been bugging him for days to get his bag packed so that if I were to go in to labor, I wouldn't need to wait for him to actually pack it! LOL It was a running joke between us!) Me asking him that definitely woke him up super fast! He gasped super loud. I told him not to freak out, but that he needed to get up and get ready. I then told him that I wanted to go on a walk around the complex to see what it would do to my contractions. I wanted to walk for 30 minutes to see what, if anything, would change.

I got dressed, put on my shoes, grabbed my phone, and left the apartment. I walked around the parking lot and kept timing my contractions. The cool thing about my app is that when you hit the 5-1-1 rule, it would actually tell you to head to the hospital. So, as I am walking around in circles my contractions are now 4 minutes apart, and every one is lasting at least a minute. They are getting more intense and a couple of them made me stop in my tracks...But again, it had the same pattern of one stronger and one not as strong. The poor app kept telling me to go to the hospital, but I wanted to walk around for 30 minutes like I had planned, so I kept ignoring it.

After 30 minutes, I went back inside. Daniel had shaven his face, brushed his teeth, packed his hospital bag, and packed almost everything into the car. Including the car seat and exercise ball (our hospital has a rule about bringing your own if you want to use it during labor!). The only thing I needed to do was finish packing all of my toiletries and pillow and put them in the car.

We drove to the hospital, quite nervously, and called everyone on the way there. My sisters were both super excited and anxious to hear the news once we got to the hospital. Mom called Dad, and he texted us good luck. We called Aunt Jill and she told us that she would be ready to head down the second we gave her the heads up. (She had a 90 minute drive from her house to the hospital). We tried to call Daniel's mom LuAnn, and she didn't answer. Though when she got back to the house, she saw our missed calls and called us back right away. We got to the hospital and went up to the 5th floor, Labor and Delivery. It was 8:08 am when we checked in. We told the cute secretary that my contractions were 4 minutes apart, and lasting more than a minute. It had been consistent now for a little more than 3 hours! lol She got us all set up in labor and delivery room #28. (there are 31 rooms, and all 31 were full with women having GIRLS! That was a fun surprise!)

We started to get hooked up the machines. It took about 45 mins to get everything hooked up and started. I had the cutest nurse ever, Natalie. She really made me feel like a million bucks and really cared about what my wants and wishes were. She asked if I wanted an epidural, and I wasn't sure yet that I wanted one. I wanted to be able to labor as long as I could before I got it, if I were to get it at all. She was supportive of that and told me that she wouldn't suggest it and that it was my job to ask for it. I appreciated her willingness to give that power to me completely. After everything was hooked up, they checked my cervix. I was now dilated to a 3.5, 85% effaced, and a -2 station. That was a little disappointing to me because I was convinced that those 3 hours of contractions would have definitely dilated me to a 4...but alas, not so.

We made phone calls, updated all those waiting in the eaves, and told them that an hour later they would come and check my cervix to see if anything had happened. If I didn't dilate in that hour, then I would probably be sent home and asked to come back when my contractions were stronger. So...wait and wait and wait we did. Luckily there was a TV in my room and we flipped between a few shows while waiting. My poor mom kept calling and wanting constant updates, and we just didn't have too many updates to give her at first. While I was laying there, my contraction actually started to die down. I was super frustrated. I just KNEW that they were going to send me home now! Then about 5 minutes later, Natalie came back and told me that they needed to prop up one of my hips to help the baby a little bit. So they propped up my right hip with a towel and left. No lie, being propped up, my contractions started back up super quick and just as strong as before. That made me super happy!

After an hour, Natalie came back in and checked my cervix, I was practically dilated to a 4, effaced 90% and my bag of water was bulging more than before. Natalie told me that that was a really good sign, even if I hadn't dilated more. But then Natalie went on to say that McKinley's heart wasn't acting like it should. She described the a baby's heart should spike right before a contraction, then drop during the contraction, and then steady back out again. McKinley's heart wasn't spiking like it should, but it was dropping perfectly. So, Natalie told us that she needed to call Dr. Skinner and ask him what to do. She came back about 30 minutes later and told us that since I was technically overdue, and because of the heart situation, they were going to keep me! HOORAY! We were having a baby!!!!!

They brought in the IV, and the Pitocin, and started to make things official! They were going to start me on a super low dose of Pitocin, just because I was overdue and they wanted things to keep progressing. So, as Natalie was getting the meds started in my IV, we kept watching my contractions on the monitor. Then she told me that she was going to start the Pitocin. No lie, as soon as she said the dreaded "P" word (because Pitocin was the last thing that I actually wanted...) I got the world's biggest contraction!!! The nurse was surprised at how huge it spiked!! None of my other contractions had been that big before. Then it kept going...and going...and going.... Natalie asked him to roll to my left side to see if the contraction would subside...nothing. She then asked me to roll to my right side....nothing... We kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the contraction to subside. It kept going. I tried to remain calm during it, and practice my breathing, but man, it was a big one! FINALLY, the dang contraction subsided. Natalie was worried and told me that I couldn't do that again or they would have to rush things and get the baby here quick. That contraction really had a negative affect on McKinley. We went back and counted how long the contraction actually was TEN MINUTES LONG! Let that sink in for a minute....10 solid contraction that didn't let up once....

Whew, once that was over, we called everyone to tell them that I got to stay! It was really official that we were having a baby! It was now 10:35 am. I got checked again, and I was definitely dilated to a 4. Thank goodness the monster contraction did something good for us. Now, were just had to wait and see how the now hooked up pitocin would help move things along. Waiting got better once everyone started showing up. Emily and Chalene and Tim came together. We called Jill to tell her to come down and she told us she was already on her way knowing that we were going to stay! We called mom and gave emily the task of keeping her updated so I could focus on breathing and getting through the contractions. LuAnn told us that she would wait a little bit longer before coming to the hospital. We talked and laughed and I just laid there and focused on breathing. It was nice being able to keep my eyes closed and just listen to things going on around me. I didn't open my eyes too much, which definitely helped me to focus inward. Jill and Daniel were super nice and gave me massages. Emily kept mom updated, which was nice that I didn't need to. Daniel went and got the exercise ball out of the car for me. I wanted to get up and move around a bit to help with the pain of the contractions. I definitely got up and used the bathroom as many times as I possibly could so that I wouldn't have to stay laying in the bed the whole time. I got down on the exercise ball, and then the monitors strapped to my belly stopped working. The one keeping track of the contractions was just fine, but the one that was in charge of monitoring the baby's heart beat keep losing track of it. Poor Natalie had to come in several times to see if she could get the heartbeat back on the monitor. They said that it was most important to keep track of her heart because of what happened early with her heartbeat. Because of that, I had to give up the exercise ball and get back into the bed. That made me a little sad. So, I tried to make the most of the bed situation. It helped to lie on my side, and shake my foot every time a contraction started.

Again, Jill was there to remind me to breath deep and to focus not on the pain, but on the progress. Daniel and Emily took turns massaging my shoulders and back. I think that Emily had magical hands because every time she started to rub my lower back for me, my contractions would kick up super strong. Even if I had just had one, they would start the minute she put her hands on my back. I couldn't handle the pain of contractions and the sensation of being touched, so I would have her stop rubbing. Then my contractions would subside a little. Repeat the whole thing for about 20 minutes. I had to give up the fact that my back needed rubbing because I couldn't handle the extra pain! haha

The contractions were definitely getting harder and more intense. I was having a more difficult time trying to breathe through the pain. Jill kept reminding me to breathe deep through my mouth and out through my nose. The pain getting the best of me. Finally, I had had enough!! I wanted the epidural, and I needed it right away. I told Natalie that I was ready for it, and she told me that I was second in line! HOORAY!

The weirdo anesthesiologist came in and had me lay on my left side, and then squished me into a very tight ball. That was the hardest position to hold because my contractions were super strong and I just needed to move...but I couldn't...and I was stuck! He numbed my back twice, and then placed the epidural. I didn't feel a thing! That was grand!! I started to feel the medicine kick in about 15 minutes later. Everything went numb except my lower abdomen on my left side. Which also happened to be the spot that I was feeling the contractions the hardest! lol So, the nurse had me roll to my left side, and then I was completely numb about 10 minutes later. It was a great feeling, but also a surreal feeling. And it was completely awkward to not have any control over my lower half anymore. After the epidural was in full effect, they checked my cervix again. This time I was dilated to 7 cm, 100% effaced, and at a 0 station! WOOT WOOT! I was brave enough to make it to 7 cm before I needed relief from the pain. The epidural was placed at 1:55pm, and they checked me at 2:00pm. Things were moving along quite nicely. I also got a catheter. There is always a first time for everything. I didn't really feel them place it, but I did feel a little bit of something unique. Again, weird to not have full control over my lower half. At one point, I felt my leg start to fall off the bed, I tried with all of my might to pull it back up on the bed. But I had NO CONTROL over it! HAHA Chalene had to lift my dead-weight log I call a leg and put it back on the bed. That actually happened a few more times and we all got a great laugh out of it.

Dr. Skinner was called in to help deliver another woman down the hall, and stopped by to check in on me. It was 2:40pm and I was dilated to 8 cm. Dr. Skinner then broke my water. (Luckily it was a trickle and not a huge gush!) No one could believe how fast that went! I was also at a +1 station. Since I had the epidural placed and it was working quite nicely, I was able to be more involved in what was going on in the room. I was able to interact more with my family and even tell a few jokes. It was nice to have relief from the pain. The only thing I regret is that I was rolled on my left side, which meant my back was to the monitors the whole time. I didn't get to watch the contractions get bigger and longer and closer together, but Jill made sure to tell me how intense they were.

At 4:00pm, Dr. Skinner came in and checked my cervix again! I was finally at 10cm!! I couldn't believe how fast it went!! I couldn't believe that it was super close to pushing time. Dr. Skinner explained that we would do a "rest and descend" which meant my body would get to do the work of moving the baby down the birth canal so that she would be in a more ideal location when I finally started pushing. Rest and descend would be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. We all decided that 5:00pm would be the time that we would start pushing. So, we waited and watched the clock.

Emily got the computer all set up so that we could FaceTime mom and she could be there with us. Everyone got in to their respective positions. Daniel was on my right side, and Jill was on my left side. Chalene was in charge of the camera, and just kinda wandered around the room. Tim, luckily, left to give us more privacy. LuAnn was at the very end of the bed so she could see everything! (This was her first birth where she wasn't the one having the baby. I am glad that she got to be there!)

The nurse checked me one last time. She commented on how much hair McKinley had and that it was long enough for her to pull! That was kind of interesting to think about... Then Dr. Skinner came in at 5:05pm, and the nurse and Daniel helped to rotate me on to my back. Dr. Skinner instructed Daniel and Jill how to hold my legs, and Jill told me where to grab my thighs to be in the most ideal position to push. It was waaaayyyy weird to grab my legs and not feel a single thing! The nurse would stand by the monitor and tell me when a contraction was starting, and then we would start to push. The goal was to push 3 times per contraction. I pushed for 10 seconds each time. One time, we made a goal to push 4 times in one contraction. I don't think I could have done that each time, but I did do it a few times.

After pushing for about 20 minutes, Dr Skinner wasn't too happy about McKinley's heart rate and what she was doing on the monitor. He said that most of the time big babies have heart issues once mom's start pushing, but he still wasn't too happy about it. Dr. Skinner told me that he was going to use the forceps to try and help both of us out. I was totally ok with the forceps because it meant that I didn't have to go in for a c-section. Dr. Skinner also knew that I was extremely scared of getting a c-section, so he knew that I wanted to try any other option before we had to resort to c-section. He also told me that he would try his hardest with the forceps, but that c-section was not 100% off the table.

Because we were using forceps, I needed to have an episiotomy. Again, weird not feeling it, but more weird hearing it...and seeing what was happening....Next contraction I pushed with all my might. Dr. Skinner kept telling me to push harder and not sure how I could...but I did...I guess...They also got the stirrups out, and they lovingly lifted my dead-weight logs up on the stirrups. I kept pushing...people kept yelling...and then her head was almost out. About an hour before, we all went around the room and took guesses on how big she would be, and what time she would be born, and what color her hair would be. I told everyone that I didn't want anyone to tell me her hair color, but that I wanted to see her hair to know for myself. We concluded that people could comment on how much she had, but not the color. As her head was peaking out, but not quite out all of the way, Daniel excitingly commented "woah! Her hair is so dark!" He was just so excited to see her hair, and totally forgot about talking about the color! HAHA Good thing I love him!

I kept pushing, Dr. Skinner kept tugging, and then her head was out. I could kind of feel relief of pressure but not too much. Then next contraction I pushed hard again and her shoulders were out. That brought a huge relief of pressure! Then she was all the way out. It was exactly 5:52pm. That was the time that I guessed she would be born! I am glad I won that guess!!  :)

Dr. Skinner held her up and I got to see her for a brief second. Then came the suctioning, and Daniel got to cut her umbilical cord. Dr. Skinner laid her on my belly. I couldn't believe how heavy she felt on my belly. I couldn't believe that she was actually here and that I got to hold her. She cried a little bit, but didn't give a big enough cry to clear out her lungs. They took her over to the warmer and tried to get her to cry more. Again, she would cry a little bit, but not big enough to satisfy the nurses. Finally she let out one big cry, and that was all she was going to do. Her little personality was showing through all ready.

While they were warming her up and getting her APGAR score, Dr. Skinner and I delivered my placenta. That was really cool to see. He explained to Chalene and Daniel about it and how the sac was attached and the cord was attached. I was kind of able to see what he was saying. Again, what a cool thing to see and how miraculous it is. McKinley got to be weighed. She came in at 9 lbs 5 oz. Which is one ounce more than what I weighed at birth. LuAnn guessed her weight correctly! They measured her length and she was 20.5 inches long. No one guessed her length because we all thought she would be at least 21 inches! lol

After cleaning up McKinley a little bit more, they brought her to me and we got to lay skin to skin. That was such a sweet experience. The tears flowed freely!! It was such a sweet and tender moment having her laying on my chest. It was so spiritual to know that she came to this earth and she got to be my daughter. It is wonderful knowing that Daniel and I get to be her parents and bring her up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are so in love with our sweet baby girl and soaking up all the time we get to spend snuggling her and loving on her!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hyperbolic Planes

Did I lose you with the title? No...then, just hold on!

This has been a super hard, super stressful semester for me. It has been, by far, the hardest semester I have ever taken. I know that I am getting close to the end because it just keeps getting harder and harder. It also doesn't help that most of my friends are going to student teach in the spring and they are so much closer to graduating then I am.

As I was signing up for classes, I was required to take a Foundations of Geometry class. I was super de duper nervous for the class because it was another proofing class, and I don't feel like the proofing class I had taken the previous semester truly prepared me for this one. (I took Foundations of Analysis). Another reason why I was nervous for the class was for the professor teaching it. She scares me. And not just like Santa scaring little kids at Christmas, but like waiting-for-your-parents-to-get-home-after-you-broke-the-brand-new-couch-while-wrestling-with-your-brother fear! I had an unfortunate experience with her two semesters prior, and I am still not over it...

Anyways, I convinced The Boy to take the class with me. It was not required for his degree, so really he was only taking it so that we could have another class together. I was so excited to be in a class with him again!! The first day of class Professor Andrist told us that this class was to help us stretch and grow and whatever else...and we were not allowed to work with other students in the class on any of our homework. This broke my heart. That meant that I couldn't work with The Boy on my homework. So many times I wanted to break that rule and just ask for help, but being the amazing man that he is, The Boy always refused to help me. {He didn't even help me when I had a nervous breakdown in the car and started crying uncontrollably because this class exponentially increased the grey hairs on my head!}

As the semester was going along, things got easy, and then hard. And then easy, and then super hard. Then we finished with the part of Geometry that the regular population knows about! We moved on to what is known as Hyperbolic Geometry. In lay man terms, it is the geometry of non-flat surfaces. Like a sphere....or a water slide.

Professor Andrist had this "great" plan to assign us this project. {Yippee!} She handed out the instructions and told us that it wouldn't take very long to get done. She actually said that we should work on it while watching a movie! {Then we all laughed at her and told her that none of us had time to watch a movie!}

The following is what the instructions entailed:

Did you get lost reading those instructions? ME TOO!! Luckily, Dr. Andrist brought in a few examples of what is was supposed to look like, and we kinda went from there. 

Now, I am going to be completely honest with you! I don't want to sound whiny, but as a future educator, when I look back on this post, I want to be able to see what worked and what didn't work. And, if for any reason whatsoever, I decide to ever do this project with a future class of mine, I want the nitty gritty of it all to remind me that that would be a dumb decision!

Instructions #1:
It says to cut out approximately 20 rings. In reality, you need to cut out 29-30 circles. You should know that only ONE circle fits on a regular 8.5"x11" sheet of paper. 

When the instructions say to use good quality bonded paper, what Dr. Andrist really wanted was good ol' regular computer paper. Don't use anything too thick, or too fancy. If you do, you get to deal with the consequences weeks, days, and hours before the dang thing is due. 

Be very accurate should really say: "This project takes upwards of 7 hours. If you want to impress the teacher with your not-even-close-to-being-perfect Model, you need to spend anywhere from 9-15 hours stressing working on it. When you get together with your friends in the class to do non-school related things, this will come up. You will all compare how long it has taken you, and what it looks like. You will get your rulers out and compare how big of a gap is between each ring. {See Instruction #9 to know why this will give you even more grey hairs!} 

If I were to do this with my future classroom, I would make ONE circle, make a gazillion copies (oops...there goes all my print credit...) and then give to the students to have them cut out on their own.
Outside: 10cm
Inside: 8cm

One completed ring. 
Instructions #2: Cut open the rings, make sure you cut a straight line when doing this. Otherwise, you will hate yourself later! 

When taping together....this will take some finesse. What that should really say is: Tape some, and then you will cry. PROMISE! After you finish crying, tape some more. And keep taping! It will never turn out perfect, and it will never fit together "just right!" Accept your losses and move on. 

Use small pieces of tape. Most of the time spent working on this fun project will be cutting tape into little pieces. Since I used scrapbook paper that was a little bit thicker than regular computer paper, I needed to use packaging tape that would hold better. This required cutting strips, to then cut into smaller strips, to then cut into small pieces, to then finessingly tape to your rings. It is ok to cry....more than once. 
Do you see the billion little pieces of tape? I still didn't use enough....

Taping the rows on.

Instructions #3: You will have a flat spot. If you don't have a flat spot, stress! Because you probably did something wrong. If you do have a flat spot, stress! Because you probably did something wrong. If you follow the instructions exactly, stress! Because you probably did something wrong.

Instructions #4: You will need at least 9 rows of rings to start. What do you mean "to start"?!? I have been working on this fun project for 4 days now! I am so sick and tired of cutting little strips of tape into smaller strips of tape into little pieces to attach the thousands of rings I cut out last week.... Once I hit the 9 rows, I am STOPPING!! 

Each row grows exponentially. You will run out of floor space in your tiny apartment bedroom because your little ring has become this massive "thing" that looks weird. And your weird thing will be begged to put on your a hat...
Not quite done growing and expanding and taking over the world...

Starting to curve and grow.
Instructions #5: Draw on your wavy taped together ring sheet at least 4 circles of radius 8.5 cm. What this should say is: Cry. Get it all out, and then try to draw a circle. I will silently sit in my office and laugh as you struggle your way through this. 

It should say that you need more than once person helping you on this step. One person should hold down the waves, and one person should try and draw a circle. It should say that this is the second hardest task of the project. {No, taping is ranked somewhere down by the 8th hardest task....sorry!} It should say that, undoubtedly, you will puncture a hole in your perfect model with your compass end because you are trying to get to circle to line up. It should say that crying is acceptable on this step. It should say that you can cuss, as long as you cuss at the model and not a particular person...or two. 

Being a good student that you are, you should have read ALL the instructions before beginning, and noticed that in Instructions #9, you only need two pentagons to turn in. One pentagon comes from one therefore, Instructions #5 should say, "carefully cut out 2 circles. If you mess up, then you will need to cut out more circles". 4 circles is way too many... At least 4 circles, is way too many past way too many!

ps: Cutting into my model that has taken years months weeks days to complete was like sending your oldest kid off to kindergarten....

Circle #1

Circle #2

Again, Circle #2
Instructions #6: It is possible to construct a right regular pentagon. You're right, it is possible. However, it is also down right hard. Again, it is completely acceptable to cry on this step. Ask someone for help! Cry as you cut apart even more of your beautiful figure. 

The edges of the pentagon should be between 10.5-11 cm in length. Ok, you can do this! You measure 10.5 cm...not even close. You measure 10.6 cm...not even close. You measure 10.7 cm....not even close. You get frustrated and just jump straight to 11 cm....waaaaay too far off. Then you go back to 10.8 cm....not even close. 10.9....not even close. Then you cry! {I wish you could cry away the grey hairs....then I would have great hair!} You give up and cut out. Hopefully it works in your favor...because the important thing is to have regular right pentagons!!

Pretty close.

Instructions #7: Because of the curvature, placing the ruler flat on the model will not yield a straight line. FAIL!

Measuring Fudging!
Instructions #8: Cut out your pentagons. Again, cry about having to cut apart all your sweat and tears we are now calling a hyperbolic plane.... 
5 right angles...only 8 rows needed...
Do you see the hole...
Instructions #9: Tape together two of these pentagons. 

Again...a lot of fudging went into this figure....

Now, this is the most important step of the whole project. This step tells you how you will be graded. It helps you determine how motivated you have to be to get the best grade. This step tells you all that Dr. Andrist is expecting to see when you turn the sucker in! 

Your grade will be determined according to the following: 50 pts for neatness...50 points for accuracy. Feel free to cry at this point. You may think that you have an awesome penatagonal-figure-ish shape, but it will not look like the person's figure sitting on your right...and it won't look like the girl's figure in the front row...and it probably won't pass all your personal goals you have had for this, your new best friend! Many tears...and blood...and sweat...and tape went into this project, and you just don't want to part with it. You want to stand on the nearest corner and show all the passerby's how hard you worked and how almost-perfect your pentagons appear. You want to frame it and hang it in your future classrooms. 

You then find out that Dr. Andrist expects you to draw all over it. *GASP* You are so motivated for the high grade that you do draw on it {whilst silently crying on the inside!}. 

Hyperbolic geometry proofs...

Hyperbolic Geometry proofs.
This is what your remaining model looks like:
A little more than half is left...
Remind me again why we had to construct soooo much of it? Remind me why we didn't just need to construct half a model and use a smaller amount of supplies and time wasted used? Remind me why we didn't get to work in partnerships and share one model? Remind me again why we taped for hours to then throw away {or keep...or donate...} most of a model that is going unused?

I finally got to turn in this assignment today. But of course, it didn't go without some kind of hitch! I got all the way to school, parked in an amazing spot, got out of the car, went to grab my stuff from the back seat, and realized that my pentagons were still sitting on my kitchen table next to my apple. I had to get back in the car, drive the 4 miles home {luckily I live pretty close!} and grab it. I was then 15 minutes late to class. I still got to turn my pentagons in for a grade though.

Speaking of grades...the assignment sheet clearly says that this fun project is worth 100 points. Dr. Andrist decided at the last minute that it would only be worth 10 {ten, diez, dix, zehn, 열} points...we are still trying to figure that one out. When the math makes sense to you, please feel free to comment below and explain it to all of us!! 

Thank You Dr. Andrist for letting us work on this project. I am so grateful that it is over and done with. I hated it! Love, Gwen

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another sad day in the life of a Longshore

Do you remember how we have a birthday curse? Well, it has hit again!

November 13, 2012 was a sad day. My oldest cousin on my dad's side, Nicholas Major Wells-Longshore, and his sweet, sweet wife Caroline, delivered a perfect little boy who had returned to Heaven too quickly. They were so looking forward to raising their son here on Earth, but Heavenly Father had other plans. Colton Todd Wells-Longshore was born still-born. Nick and Caroline were devastated. Colton was named after Nick's dad, Todd, who passed away in May 2006.

Several months later, Nick and Caroline found out that they were pregnant again, this time expecting in April 2014.

Exactly one year after Colton's passing, November 13, 2013, Nick and Caroline decided to celebrate Colton's 1 year birthday. They went up to Idaho to hang out with several of Caroline's family, and to ride ATV's at the sand dunes.

Nick was riding an ATV and hit a sand dune wrong, and ended up having to jump off the ATV. By freak accident, the ATV ended up landing on him and broke his pelvis instantly. It broke in what is called an "open book" fracture. He broke several ribs, and had more injuries that we are just not too sure about. Nick was rushed to the emergency room, not really too aware of the severity of his injuries. While waiting for a doctor to come, Nick ended up coding. He wasn't breathing for at least 20 minutes.

Complication after complication happened. The next morning, Nick's mom was able to fly in from California, and the rest of the family joined them in the hospital.

Unfortunately, after several attempts, Nick was not able to be saved. Before saying her last goodbye, Caroline was able to get a sonogram and find out that her and Nick were expecting a little girl. They are going to name her Hannah Nicholas Wells-Longshore. (Hannah after our cousin who died as a baby, and obviously Nicholas after her father).

The morning of November 20, 2013, Nicholas Major Wells-Longshore returned to our loving Heavenly Father, and was greeted by the Longshore Men, including our Papa Russ, Nick's dad Todd, and their son Colton. It must have been one of the sweetest reunions ever! I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation, knowing that we get to spend ETERNITY with our families.

As I have been thinking and pondering what has happened in the last week, I realized that I would have loved to write Nick a letter and let him know how much I love and care about him!

So, I am going to write it here.

Dear Nick~
 First of all, I just want to tell you how much I love you. I love your giant bear hugs, and I love your words of advice. I love that you were always concerned about my personal life and all that I was accomplishing.

Thank you so much for being such a great example to all of us. No one better could have led our generation to righteousness! You knew how important the relationship is with our Savior, Jesus Christ, and how important Temple Covenants are. You set the example by marrying in the temple and by going on a mission.

You led all of us cousins! You served others selflessly, and loved unconditionally. You taught us, by example, how to protect our family's name, and how to stand for righteousness at all times.

I am grateful that you are just like your Dad! It was a sad time when Uncle Todd passed away, and the more I got to know you, the more I realized that you were just like him. That made his passing less painful, and our relationship with you more tender. I am grateful that you took on a fatherly role for your siblings. Their lives were blessed immensely because you cared, and were willing to step up to that hard responsibility.

I love that you cared for each of us. I love that you could tease us, just the right amount, so we knew that you loved us deeply. I love that you asked about my life, and took an interest in what I was doing.

Thank you for setting such a great example for us about the relationships we can have with our Mothers. Your relationship with Aunt DeAnn was tender and special, and you let us know how much you care for her through your words and actions.

Thank you for sacrificing a lot so that Caroline could be happy! Thank you for showing love to her, and for supporting your relationship with her.

Thank you for never giving up! Thank you for being there when we needed you, and for being so wonderful.

I will miss you dearly. However, I have a lot of fun memories to look back on and know that you will always protect us and our family.

Love always and forever, Gwen deLynn Marie

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Quality Family Time

There is this boy....who has red super tall...and makes my heart soar every time he holds my hand!

But this story is not about is about his Angel of a Mother and her awesome talent.

A few weeks ago, I was with the Adams family, and I noticed that all the girls had super cute skirts on. Being the observant person I was, I commented on the fact that all of their skirts were darling. All 3 sisters commented that their Angel of a Mother had made them. I was super de duper jealous.

These skirts were most definitely of superior quality. If Mama Adams made them for a department store, she could retire with millions of dollars. Being the person that I am, I sidled up to Mama Adams and told her that I needed a skirt too! {I, of course, told her in a nice way that didn't make me seem like I was a moocher and just wanted free things....because that is not how I roll!}

Mama Adams suggested that we get together for a girl's day and sew some skirts. Micah (Daniel's sister) called last Saturday and set up the date for today {Tuesday!}. Since I got the phone call from Micah, I have been beside myself with excitement!

Let me give you some background really fast! The Adams family is amazing. Dan and LuAnn had and raised 6 amazing kids. {However, I have only met 5 of them since the 6th is serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Massachusetts}. They are all incredibly nice, and are all respectful. I got to spend a weekend with them about a month ago, and just loved every minute of it. And, of course, they raised an amazing man that may have stolen my heart...

Of the 6 kids...there are 4 girls, and 2 boys. It goes G, G, B, B, G, G. The first "G" is Micah, and she is married and has a baby girl. The first "B" is my Daniel.

Micah and Mama Adams came and picked me up from UVU today around 12:30 so that we could go together and pick out fabric and supplies needed for the skirts. I was so excited to be with them. However, they still make me a little nervous because I feel like I need to impress them all the time, and make them love me. {I know that sounds silly....but it is just how I feel!}

We went to an awesome fabric store and picked out some great fabric. I got two different fabrics. I picked out a yellow on yellow paisley pattern {that was super on sale...YES!} and then this pink on pink that fabric that makes you feel like a girly girl. It is not really something that I would have picked out normally...but it just spoke to me! And I needed to get it for my new skirt.

We headed over to Walmart to pick up zippers for the skirts as well. After that, we headed to Adams Family Headquarters (Dan and LuAnn's beautiful home) and sat down to eat some lunch. Delish!

After lunch was consumed and cleaned-up, it was crunch time!!

Measurements were taken...fabric was spread out...scissors were flying....and thread pieces were piling up! I LOVED every minute of it. Because Mama Adams is super talented, I let her take the reins on everything so that I actually got a skirt out of the process. LOL

We talked...she sewed....we shared stories. Again, Mama Adams is an Angel. She shows her love for you openly, and lets you know that you are important through the little things she does. There were moments of silent adoration on my part. This woman was willing to take me into her home, and her life, and show me that I was cared for. It made me miss my own Mama, who I don't get to see very often. I don't think words can express how much gratitude I have for Mama Adams right now.

One broken needle...5 brads...dinner consumed...and several hours later, I was presented with a beautiful yellow masterpiece. My excitement of my new skirt was brimming! I wanted to take lots of pictures and send it to everyone I knew! I want to wear my skirt everywhere for a week so that everyone I meet can see my masterpiece. I want to shout it from the rooftops that my life was again blessed because I know Mama Adams. are pictures so you can enjoy a bit of my day too!

Cutting out the pieces of the skirt!

The first stitch! Can you feel my excitement!
The belt for the front of the skirt

Mama Adams serging the edges

Micah measuring and cutting out her own skirt.

Me and Daniel

The finished product! {Excuse my shirt...}
I love love love it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I have been slacking on my own blog. I am currently keeping up my sister's blog (Trio #3) while she is on a Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My BFF Brenna writes on her blog all.the.time. It makes me feel like even more of a slacker! LOL

I have been living with my Grandpa for the last 6 months. It has definitely had its ups and downs. Trio #1 and I were talking about how old people are very stubborn. The reason why is because they have been in charge for at least 50 years, and have been their own bosses. Then they start to diminish, and then we (their kids, grandkids, care takers, etc) want to start making decisions for them and want to take away that judgement that they have had over their own lives. Then they start to fight it, and then it turns into something ugly.

Now that I am starting to understand that, I am starting to know how best to have a good time with Grandpa. :o]

Yesterday, we were sitting down eating dessert. I had made apple pie! (Don't you just love fall?!) He was eating his with sharp cheddar cheese, and I was eating mine with ice cream. I asked him how long he had been eating his pie with cheese, and that launched stories about his childhood. {Before I tell you about what he shared, let me tell you that he is almost 89 years old, and sharp as a tack!}

He grew up in American Fork, UT. His dad worked at a creamery (that is no longer there...) and so Grandpa started working there when he was 13, only for the summers. {Year 1936}. He was on the milk truck. They drove around to many farms and were in charge of collecting cans of milk. Sometimes they would collect 2 cans from the farmers, but on the larger farms, they would collect up to 10 cans. The truck that they drove could hold about 100 cans of milk. Grandpa said that they would start at 3:30 am and would finish around 1:30 pm. He would do this everyday during the summer. 

After collecting the milk from the famers, they would take it back to the creamery. The creamery workers would test the butter fat of the milk. The higher the butter fat, the more money the farmers would get.

Then when he was about 15, he moved up in his responsibilities, and was moved to CHEESE! He was in charge of making cheese shapes (?) and then wrapping them up to let them cure. He told me that there were three different shapes. One was a three-pound block. One was about 15 pounds, and then the last one was a 50-lb wheel. The wheel was about 12 inches in diameter, and was about 8-10 inches thick. 

The cheese would be shaped, and then wrapped, and then put in a cellar, and Grandpa was in charge of flipping the cheese so that the water wouldn't settle in the bottom and cause the cheese to separate. He said they would flip the wheels every 5-6 weeks. The longer that the cheese cures, the sharper it becomes. He told me that he ate some cheese that had been curing for 45 years! He said it was super sharp!! 

During High School, he still worked in the creamery. They made cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, and butter. His favorite, though, was still working with the cheese. 

Now, most of the farms are not there. Most of the orchards are no longer there, but now the fields are houses. The house that he lived in was right across the street from the creamery. Again, both places are gone. He said that there is a Domino's Pizza where his house used to be. 

I'm so glad that I get to live with him. I really respect him and the life that he has lived. I know that he is lonely since my Grammy passed away about 15 months ago, but I hope that me being there with him makes things a little easier!

Monday, January 23, 2012

OH Man....

I was on my BFF's blog and she has a ticker on the sidelines that says that I haven't posted in 5 months...and it made my heart break a little. I always think about what I am going to write next, and then get distracted, or discouraged.

I am, however, keeping up my little sister's mission blog!! If you want to follow her adventures are she serves a Mission in South Korea...then go HERE!!


Sunday, August 7, 2011


I am in a crafting withdrawal right now! I want to make something...more specifically, I want to make these!
Pin Wheel Hair Clips

I may make them when I get home...and send them to someone who wants them....or a random stranger....