Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Miracle

Wow. Where do I even start? So much has happened lately...so many things I've wanted to blog about, but I haven't been sure just how to. So, I decided to break it up into two different posts, this one and one about our Christmas shenanigans, so you won't have to bear one monster post. I've thought about how to present this story, what parts to tell, what not to, but I've decided I'm just going to speak very candidly and openly about everything.

As many of you know, this year hasn't exactly been a smooth ride for us. Between Mike's health issues the last six months, things going on with my family, and school, there were times it felt like we just couldn't catch a break; it was just one bit of bad news after another.

Toward the end of November, I had had enough of everything that was going on. (Not to mention the stress of upcoming final exams wasn't helping.) I was just plain tired of trying to keep a happy face on. I was doing ok keeping on my feet until my menstrual cycle came - again. It was devastating. It was the end of the rope for me, and I was in tears for hours. We've been off birth control for 22 months, and I was tired of getting hopeful that each month would be the month my cycle wouldn't come, but it always did. So many of my friends are pregnant, and even though I was extremely happy for them, I couldn't help but wish it was me. No matter how hard I tried to act like it wasn't a big deal that it had been so long we were off birth control, I could never hide the fact from myself the last few months that it was wearing me down. Fast. I was tired of waiting. Tired of the relentless questions over when we were going to start having kids and why we didn't already, etc.

For those of you who don't know our situation with this, here's the background story in a nutshell:

Mike was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was 18, and was immediately hospitalized due to his tumor size and severity of his situation. Not a minute too soon. The next day his lung collapsed, and his life literally hung in the balance. In the haste of getting him into immediate treatment, they gave him minutes to get a semen sample to save some sperm. Well, needless to say he was so sick (along with having a collapsed lung) it was impossible. So, he went through chemotherapy and radiation without having been able to freeze any sperm.

Well, while he was on his temple mission once he was in remission, he went in to have a sperm count done. When it came back, they told Mike they had found absolutely no sperm. 

I knew about this while we were dating. Mike had told me, but for some reason it never really bothered me. Once we got married we didn't doubt that a way would be opened for a miracle to occur for us to get pregnant. We didn't know how long we would have to wait, let alone when it would happen, but we didn't doubt that it would.

Shortly before finals, I asked Mike to give me a blessing to simply help cope. During the blessing, I was told the time had come for us to concieve. It was quite an overwhelming though! It didn't take long for some fears to come creeping in, and a few nights later I told Mike I didn't know if I had the strength to go through another menstrual cycle. He simply took me in his arms and reassured me things would be ok.

A few days later, I was getting ready to take my last exam, and for some reason or another, I was so anxious about it I couldn't stop shaking. Mike didn't even hesitate when I asked him to give me a blessing to help calm me down. Not only did the blessing help calm me, but the last thing that was told me was the Lord had granted me the desire of my heart. I felt at that instant that I was pregnant, but I brushed it off thinking it was nothing. I wrapped up my studying a few hours later, and took the exam. When I got home, Mike looked at me and said, "Um, you're pregnant." I stared at him in disbelief because I had felt that same thing at the end of the blessing. He then told me while he was giving me the blessing the words came to him to say that I was with child, but he was so shocked over it that he said what he said instead. Needless to say I was ecstatic but dumbfounded. I couldn't believe it had happened because we've been off bc for so long! It was surreal!

It didn't take long for the Adversary to really start working on me though, making me doubt. In several subsequent blessings in the coming week, I was told not to doubt, and one in particular I was told, "As surely as the sun rises, there is a child* within you." (*We were told the sex of the baby in this, but that's another time.) I was also told that our child spends as much time with me as he/she is allowed, and is excited to come, but the Adversary is working overtime right now to try to get me to doubt and become discouraged.

Well, a few days before Christmas, I began experiencing those lovely early pregnancy symptoms. Extreme fatique, nausea, as well as others. Including the mood swings. It's been like PMS times ten! But, despite how miserable I've felt at times, I have to keep reminding myself it's all going to be worth it. Hopefully when the morning sickness hits it won't be too bad!

So, what did we get for Christmas this year? Our very own Christmas miracle. A *very* tender mercy of the Lord. I already love how Mike seems to get more and more excited each time we talk about it! I'm due September 7, which seems *forever* away, but at the same time it will go fast, I'm sure. And, I am excited to get a baby bump eventually! This upcoming year is going to be busy, but will bring a lot of new and exciting changes!

"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."    
-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One More Down

Well, Christmas break has officially started! (And so has the countdown to graduation.. It seems weird to have only 39 more credits left..) And, believe it or not, I pulled a B in physics! Divine intervention? I think so. No, but really, it had to have been.. :-)

Now, the question is, what am I going to do with myself?!? I feel like I still need to be feverishly studying for exams. Honestly, I hope we get more snow so we can hit the slopes...and so I can get my snowboarding fix in a hurry. In the meantime, it's time for a good book. Maybe some Jane Austen? I think so.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Girl's Day

School is almost done for the semester.. Only one more day of classes, three finals, and I'm done! Today though, was fabulous. After class, Heidi, one of my awesome roommates from freshman year, and I finally headed out to do a girl's day! It was a much needed break, and a fun final "hurrah" I guess you could say, before she graduates and goes off to Atlanta to get married. (Insert sad face here - not over the fact she's getting married, but over the fact she's leaving) The combination of facials, girl talk, and the temple was *just* what the doctor ordered.

I love going to the temple - life seems to be easier to handle, problems don't seem as big, and you feel more grateful for the things you are blessed with. I was thinking on the way to the temple how many people in the world have the opportunity like us where we live by 6 temples within a 60 mile radius - not many. It's such a huge blessing! If one is super busy (like Provo was today), no problem, because a ten minute drive away is another one that is less busy!

Anyway, it's going to be sad to not be able to do things with Heidi any more, but I am excited for her to start a new chapter in her life! Love ya girly!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Polatis Family Christmas Letter

So, my family hasn't done a Christmas letter for two years, and they wanted me and Mike to write about what's been going on for us.. We had too much fun writing this that I can't help but share!

Mike and I met at a BYU Family Home Evening group which is really a training apparatus for future agents. We got orders from the president of the infamous command center, code-named Kolob, to begin a deep-cover operation under the guise of husband and wife beginning January 2009. We were sent undercover to the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii, where we covertly spent nine days gathering intelligence through swimming, snorkeling, shopping, gorging on Hawaiian fruit,  getting sunburned, and even sneaking our very own pet shark through security and back to the mainland, which Mike has lovingly named Jonas. Once we arrived back at headquarters, we were sent on a second mission to Brigham Young University as experts in Business (Mike) and Exercise Science (me), and are expecting to wrap up this operation in the next 18 to 24 months. However, we periodically go missing in action and can usually be found wakeboarding at the mysterious Utah Lake in the summer,  or snowboarding at the Park City ski house, which doubles as a high-tech command center, in the winter. This coming year we are being sent on a third undercover mission for two weeks to Europe, where we will engage in several classified activities.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving this year was great. We spent it with Mike's parent's in Park City again, which was nice because I didn't have to cook! 

Getting up to Park City was actually quite the adventure. What should have taken us only an hour and a half...took us almost 3 1/2. Yep, I know. We left Orem around 11:30 (I missed class) hoping to miss the storm that was set to hit that afternoon. Well, all was fine and dandy going up through the canyon, until we came to US 40 right outside Heber. The road was closed. But, get this, it was only closed one way - northbound up the pass to Park City - which of course was the way we needed to go. The stupid thing was, there was no warning posted along the roads it was closed, nor was anything being said about it on the radio. We weren't too happy that we had spent an hour driving and were only about 15 minutes away from the house and had to turn around. And, of course when we pulled over to ask the trooper what was going on, he just about had a conniption, so we didn't bother asking and just turned around to head BACK to Orem. All the way home we were listening to the radio to see why they had 40 closed, and in an hour we only heard one little blurb that said US 40 going from Heber to Park City was closed due to "extreme weather conditions." Huh? Extreme? First of all, the storm was a few hours away, secondly, the roads were just wet with a little slush, and thirdly, we could see all the way to the top of the pass.. Extreme my foot. I was seriously thinking, "Extreme?!? I will show you extreme! Try driving home in the middle of the night, white-out conditions, barely able to see the tail lights of the car in front of you, let alone the road. That's extreme. Yep. And I've driven in conditions like that. Multiple times. Since when did a little fog and slushy roads classify as "extreme" conditions?" Haha I admit I may have been a *teensy* bit mad. ;-)

We were still ticked about things when we rolled back into Orem almost an hour later, so we treated ourselved to Taco Time and came home to talk about what we were going to do. We had only two hours by this time before the storm was scheduled to hit, and we didn't know if it was worth it trying to make it up to Parley's, which they were ready to close at any second. Well, to make a long story short, we ended up trying Parley's, and to our surprise the roads were dry until the turn off of I-80 for Park City. No joke, within minutes of us pulling up to the house, the storm came (around 3:30). It was fun to be up there for it because it came down like crazy.. A good old fashioned snowstorm.. It was awesome. 
  This was the sight we had when we got there - four feet of snow on the deck. YUM. This was *before* the storm.. The next morning the snow removal guys came and spent close to three hours clearing the deck.

On Wednesday, I was able to talk to my Grandpa Smith who is living in Australia right now, which was a nice surprise and totally made my day! Thank goodness for Skype! That night the family went to a Jazz game. Frasier had been given some tickets for a suite...so much fun!
 The only way to watch a game. ;-)
 Our view
I even got to hold baby Nathan for a quarter. He is growing up so fast! Not to mention, he is one of the cutest babies EVER! (Not that I'm biased or anything.) Oh, and in case you wanted to know, the Jazz won.

Thanksgiving day was fabulous as always. It was a pretty lazy day for the most part, just playing with Sabrina's kids and lounging around and making my rolls.
 Ben LOVES having a brother.
 Baby Nathan - already 2 months old!
 Playing on the iPad
Nathan and Dad taking a post-dinner nap together.

Friday we did a little shopping, got some stellar deals, and went and saw Tangled. The cutest movie EVER! Even Mike wants to go see it again.. We came home that night, and have been enjoying the last of our break ever since. Well, at least Mike has...I have been unable to get off the couch because of my neck...again. I think it's time to go get it x-rayed to find out what's been going on seeing as how it's been a month and hasn't gotten any better, just worse.. Ah, the joys of getting older..

Now it's on to the last week and a half of school, finals, then almost three fabulous weeks of fun and snow!
Isn't this the coolest tree ever? Jennifer got it for the Park City house this year.. Undecorated right now..

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Beginnings

I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I'm stinkin excited about next semester! There have been A LOT of changes that have happened for us the last few weeks (good changes), and I would have never guessed I could be this excited about them! It will be crazy to see where these new beginnings lead!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Leaving the Safe Harbor

Today has been an emotional roller coaster. Quite literally. Well, make that the last two days. Mike and I have *both* been facing a pretty big decisions, and have been praying about them for some time now. Well, last night and today everything came to a head, and it's been a tough pill for me to swallow, although I know what I need to do now.

We had Elder Claudio M. Costas of the Presidency of the Seventy come speak at Devotional today. I went with a prayer that I would find something that would help me in my decision. Well, I did. The basis of his talk was "Leaving the Safe Harbor." He spoke about there are times and situations in our life that we can find ourselves in a "safe harbor," and that though we may feel safe and secure there, we should only be anchored there temporarily, because there comes a time when we must venture out. As he was speaking, I couldn't help but think about how I'm finding myself in a "safe harbor" right now, and how I've become comfortable, yet restless. No joke, as soon as the thought came, "It's time for you to leave this harbor," Elder Costas used an example, which was EXACTLY what I had been thinking two seconds before and EXACTLY what I have been struggling with. He told us although that is a safe harbor, we can't remain there forever. I wanted to cry! Not to mention, I walked out of there feeling *slightly* overwhelmed.

As soon as class ended, Mike and I went to the Provo Temple before we headed home. To put a long story short, I walked out feeling the way I had been leaning in my decision was the right one, but as soon as I got home and started to get going on things, the doubt hit me right in the face...again. After struggling with things again for a while, Mike gave me a blessing, where once again I was explicitly told the way I had been leaning was the right choice. However, I could do no wrong in going the other way with my choice, but there is a direction the Lord is leading me, and the road I am on right now is at a close.

Needless to say, I feel better and more confident now about my decision, but it's still a REALLY hard pill for me to swallow. As desperately as I wanted the answer to be what I wanted, I was gently reminded that I was being faced with two good decisions, but that the Lord is now helping me to choose the better. Never, ever in a million years would I have thought my life would take this sudden turn. Ever. But, I am grateful to know that no matter how hard it may be right now, the Lord knows what I need and will be by my side helping me along. It's time for me to leave the safe harbor..

Monday, November 1, 2010

Europe Update!

Pretty sure we are going to be staying in some of the most amazing hotels I have EVER seen! We're speaking five-star here. And not just five star, but breathtakingly beautiful! Mike's dad said this was going to be "the trip of a lifetime" and he wasn't kidding! We are so stinking excited! Here's three of the hotels we'll be staying at. I can't remember where we'll be staying at in Paris or Lake Como..
1. Santorini, Greek Isles
Petra Honeymoon Villas
This is just our pool.. You'll have to visit their website to see just how breathtaking the views are! Visit here.
2. ROME!! 
Rome Cavelieri Hotel


Can you believe the view?!?!? SOOOOO excited for this hotel! Visit their website for more amazing pictures here. Mike of course wants to do the Gladiator training they offer their guests.
Wouldn't he look sexy in one of these tunics?

3. Venice
Centurion Palace
Can I even begin to tell you how excited I am we are going to stay a night here? I have *always* wanted to see Venice at night! And of course I've always wanted to take a gondola ride with my love. :-) Our hotel is right on the Grand Canal.. More pictures here.

We still can't believe we are actually going! It's almost like a dream!

Halloween

We had a pretty laid back Halloween, which was actually wayyyy nice. Friday we went to a little trick-or-treat party for our nieces and nephews at Mike's dad's work, which was a blast. For those of you who know me, I have a HUGE sweet tooth. But, surprisingly I didn't have a *single* piece of candy the entire weekend! Or for that matter, a week and a half.. I'm going no sugar baby! Let me tell you, I'm loving how I'm feeling! (Why didn't I figure this out sooner?!?) Saturday we just were plumb lazy.. (Partly due to the fact I was sick). But, despite that little fact, I still attempted to make a fun Halloween dinner!
 Mike waiting for trick-or-treaters.. We actually got some this year!!
 Halloween dinner - scab salad, worms, and mummy toes as appetizers

 The mummy toes and worms made Mike REALLY squeamish!
 But, he ended up liking them
Eating worms!
 Mummy pizza for the main course
And "snack-o-lanterns" for dessert!

Also, stay tuned for some fun news about EUROPE!!! As Mike's dad said, "It's going to be the trip of a lifetime!" Literally. Only seven and a half months! But who's counting? ;-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Waiting

As many of you know, we've been off birth control for a while now...a while as in 20 months. I'm not going to lie, it's been tough, but at the same time, comforting - if that makes any sense. I have days where I cry, ok a LOT of days, because I can feel how anxious our baby is to get here, yet other days I'm grateful we're not pregnant yet, because I don't feel ready in so many ways!

Like I said, there are those *hard* days. Days where I wonder how it's even possible for us to get pregnant, days I wish I already was, days my arms and heart ache to hold the child I know is waiting, days I get impatient, days where I think I may be pregnant only to come to find out I'm not, days I simply cry. Some of you know the story, but to keep things simple on here, we know we're going to be able to get pregnant. It's not a matter of if, and it's not a matter of our timing, it's a matter of the Lord's. And sometimes I have a really hard time accepting that. Especially when I get told, "Well, there's always adoption," or, "You really should go back on birth control for this or that reason," and other similar things. I mean, really? And this coming from people who are *fully* aware of our situation. Sometimes I just stare at them in disbelief, not knowing what to say. And it's hard.

But, there are those days I am grateful for all of this. Grateful I have more time to prepare. Grateful Mike and I have more time for just *us*. Grateful I know we will get pregnant. Grateful not to have to worry about birth control. Grateful I know the Lord is watching over us. Grateful for the strength the Lord gives me to get through those *hard* days. Grateful for how wonderful, understanding, and loving Mike is with all of this. Grateful for friends who understand, who have gone/are going through similar situations. Grateful for amazingly supportive parents-in-law. Grateful for the gentle reassurance of the Spirit. Grateful for those "moments" that make the "hard" seem more bearable. The list goes on. But mostly, grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows exactly what I need.

So, until it happens, I will keep trying to patiently wait upon the Lord..

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tender Mercies

Today I had my physics exam, and I was outrageously nervous. I'd studied for I don't know how long for this exam, and felt pretty good about the material, but was still unsure whether or not I knew it enough. Well, I got to the testing center, aaand...totally forgot they don't open until 10 am Mondays. Bummer. So I sat by the doors for an hour. A long, agonizing hour. Trying to keep my cool and not freak out too much. Finally 10 came, and I got my test, sat down, and it was amazing! I was able to think more clearly than I ever had for homework, let alone an exam, for that class! I was still nervous though as I handed in my exam. Then I saw my score for the multiple choice: 100%. What! I was soooo stinking excited! So, that's one good thing about the exam. Now I'm just waiting on the free response part, which all things considering I felt pretty good about..

Needless to say, I am still reeling over that score! To be honest, this couldn't have come at a better time. For one, I've been really discouraged about this class the last few weeks, because it has seemed no matter how long I study, it has made no difference. I was beginning to seriously wonder if the whole school thing was for me, and if it was right, because things just weren't happening, and studying was not paying off in any way, shape, or form. I finally decided to just let the Lord take care of things, and figured that if I was doing the right thing, He would let me know. Well, He did let me know. Today's tender mercy was nothing short of miraculous to me. Just when I was about to give up with everything, the Lord gave me a reminder why I'm here, and gave me the strength I desperately needed. Things like this never cease to amaze me. Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need...all we need to do it turn to and cast our burdens on the Lord, and trust everything will work out the way it's supposed to and all will be well. I am so grateful for this!!!

On a side note, I saw this funny and it made me laugh (we did springs in physics a few weeks ago), being the nerd I am.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's here!

Finally...3 weeks, $244 later...it came! AHH!!! So excited! One more thing off the checklist for Europe!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Speed Skating

I learned something cool today... My Exercise Science 302 teacher was the first woman on the first U.S. speed skating team in Olympic history.. Cool huh?!? Needless to say, class today was *awesome*. Curiosity got the better of me, and I did some googling to find out more about her Olympic career, and I found a cool little blurb about her in the Church news in 2002.. (You can read it here, just scroll down until you see Barbara Lockhart.) I love her perspective of life! While she was telling us some stories, she looked down at her legs, patted them, and then exclaimed, "They're still as hard as that wall!" All I can say is, I hope when I'm 69 I still have rock hard thighs and am able to bench 100 pounds!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Relaxation

Ahh. The week from heck is officially over. No more exams...for a week and a half anyway. And there's relatively little homework this weekend compared to what I've had the last two! Thank goodness. School is getting rough...dang physics, chemistry, and senioritis. But I can't believe how fast this semester is going.. Registration begins in two weeks for winter semester! I think next fall will come faster than I think it's going to come! Because really there's Thanksgiving, finals, Christmas, winter semester, spring semester, EUROPE, then a month and a half or so until fall semester starts...then graduation! Wow. Can I just say how crazy that sounds?!? I am so stinking excited to finally be done with school! The light is at the end of the tunnel and approaching pretty darn fast!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Old School

So I took a much needed break from studying after I *literally* failed my chem test...after studying HOURS for it. (Gah I want to slap my professors sometimes..) So, I decided I would finally get some pictures scanned...and thought I would share some! :-D
I don't know..
 And Mike wonders where my cooking skills come from! :-)
 Pretty sure this was the coolest bed ever. I could sleep on top AND underneath it! Notice this was Christmas Eve...the year our parents COULD NOT get us to go to sleep.
Proof Jonathan sat on top of the humbug money and I dug it out from under him.
 Cody must have had a bad day.. :-(
 Note the look of *sheer* terror on my face
 Cody
One of the many reasons Island Park is so fun in the winter...this is only *some* of the snow.. It gets *much* deeper!
 Amanda as a newborn.
Grandma entertaining the grandkids
This was right before the famous - "MOM! I lost my glasses!!" freak out caught on home video.

Amanda playing dress up
All of us at the Conference Center
Simple formula: balls + socks + bin = happy baby. Every time.
Look! Just the right size mom!
Eighth grade algebra. Not a whole lot of algebra went on during class haha.
Neighbors!
David playing hide-and-go-seek
Freshman volleyball. I'm second from the right. In blue. Digger blue. ;-)
This is how we keep kids in line.
Yep, I pulled out my own stitches! All 13 of 'em!
Teaching David to ski was harder than it looks.
There's a reason we're sisters.
Typical late-night playing!
ET.
First school dance.

Girls camp.. Three of the four of us are married...wow.
Guess he liked to take gum from my mouth!

Miss these two!!!!!
Winter Ball Junior year - wearing Mom's Jr. Miss dress!
Parades were the bomb.
Darla, me and Raymonda after State Junior Miss. You are missed Darla!!!!
Skipping school to go snowboarding. Perfect day.
Singing happy birthday to David as I'm running out the door for a date.
Doing the usual first day at college stuff.

Far West temple site (top), and Adam-ondi-ahman.
Hauns' Mill site (top), and Liberty Jail.
Mt. Rushmore and Nauvoo. David was OBSESSED with the little girl. He insisted on giving her kisses and hugs nonstop.
One of the few pictures we have of Mike in the mission field!
Some of my favorite pictures of him. How did I land such a freaking HOTTIE?!?!
Sabrina and Mike crusing around in the Viper.
Macho man.
MTC district. Des Moines Iowa mission.

Salt Lake Olympics - Jim Shea.
Temple mission - President and Sister Pinnegar.
Last day of chemo.
Entering the MTC
More MTC.
Des Moines, Iowa.
Serving in St. George for a while between serving in Des Moines and the temple.