***I'm determined to catch up on cataloging our family's events this year. Be ready for outdated posts galore!


To Strip Or Not To Strip?

i started having contractions this morning before we went in for my 39 week check up but they were spaced a ways apart. well come to find out, i am 4 cm dialated and 85-90 % effaced. so the answer to the question: definitely strip. my ob stripped my membranes (sorry if that is too much info for a public blog) and set us off with an induction scheduled next tuesday night in case the baby hasn't come.

well, she's coming. today. maybe tonight/tomorrow. contractions are five minutes apart.

my house is scrubbed from top to bottom, my bag is packed, madison is down for a nap, my sister-in-law is on her way, contractions are five minutes apart, and we are good to go!

check back for the good news!


In The Meantime...

... we are enjoying the waiting game. friday afternoon my mother-in-law came to my rescue again and helped me make these bite-size caramel apples for a Halloween block party we had. they are so cute and so good! you just need apples, caramel, and colored chocolate to make these miniature pumpkins. they were gone in a hurry.

our good news is that dan made it home safely!! no more away rotations, no more good byes! we are so excited to have him home and madison has been clinging to him nonstop. this pic is right after he got home as we were headed to the block party (she's a bumble bee fairy!).

friday night we walked up and down our street for over an hour - no labor, no contractions, no luck. so now we are just waiting this out. hopefully we will get a lot done this week as we finish projects around the house. dan has been working hard putting together bookshelves and moving stuff around today.

to sum up how we feel:

"i'm so glad when daddy comes home, glad as i can be
clap my hands and shout for joy and climb up on his knee
i put my arms around his neck, hug him tight like this
then i like to give him... what?... a great big kiss - Muah!!


We Have Progress!

the magic numbers are....

three and eighty and five.

3 cm dialiated
80% effaced
5 hours till dan gets home

i think i might take a long and strenuous walk when madison wakes up



this is the only homecoming picture i have of her right now - hannah don't kill me!

my sister is amazing

she's a senior in high school
she's taking several AP classes
she's the honor society secretary
she was voted Homecoming Queen
she played varsity soccer
ran varsity cross country, both this fall
she came in 10th overall at the state meet yesterday

she used to be my mom and dad's whole world (only child at home still),
and now she is quietly in the background as the world focuses on my mom, kamber and now little porter.

she has handled all of this with a grace that inspires me

she is one of my best friends
hannah, i love you

here is a quick video produced by Deseret News about hannah and cross country, from just yesterday at the state meet in salt lake. a reporter found out about the crash and did a quick interview and videoed hannah running and my mom cheering. i think it was really well done. hannah has been such a trooper. i feel like my life has been changed but she lives with the absence of my dad everyday. she said that sometimes while she's been running this season, she would find herself listening for his voice, for him to be cheering her on. he loved going to her meets and would arrange to get off work whenever possible.

about homecoming queen: hannah was worried about getting 'pity' votes because it was just a few weeks after the funeral. she was voted in as a finalist. at the school assembly, normally the girl's dad's escort them into the auditorium all dressed up, to find out who won. of course i cringed when i was reminded of this detail. thankfully the school was conscientious of this and changed it so the girl's dates escorted them for the assembly. (thank you to whoever recognized that and made the change!) hannah did end up being voted homecoming queen. thank you to the students of cedar high who rallied around hannah and showed her love and support in a way that they were able to.


Two Months

it's getting harder.
people said it would.

i bought a pomegranate last week when i saw them at the grocery store. it's sitting in my fruit basket. i hate pomegranates. but it made me think of my dad. i remember countless times, when in AZ for christmas, my dad would crack one open and spit the little seeds at us. he loved them. i showed it to madison and explained why we bought it. maybe she will grow up liking them like her grandpa!

my mom mentioned today that porter was at a little meeting with her - when the man sitting next to her began to speak, porter woke up and looked around. he never hears men's voices!

hannah and kamber said porter smiled in his sleep a couple days ago and they said, "dallin must be telling him a joke right now." i wish we got the chance to see him hold his little baby boy, at least once.

i dropped dan off at the airport sunday and it reminded me of all the times my dad came down to visit. he would work a long day thursday, drive straight from work to vegas, fly to phoenix, spend a couple days with us and my grandparents (mostly madison) and then fly back. i was proud to be his 'shuttle service'. this would be about the time he would come visit - every couple of months.

i feel like my world is continuing to turn upside down. i don't think in the beginning i fully comprehended how this would affect me, in every aspect of my life, and for the rest of the time we are on this earth.

luckily we have been given our agency. i know that there can be happiness amidst tragedy, we just have to choose it. there are so many memories that make me sad and so many times i think of my dad and dallin and cry. but more often i think of them and smile - laugh at memories that come rushing back. my parents have a really steep driveway and my dad used to pull half way up, in our big, huge van and then shift into neutral and coast backwards down it. back and forth. back and forth. i hated it! but when chris wrote from japan and reminded us of that small memory, i laughed and i appreciated it.

i miss them so much and still can't believe this happened. i feel like i might still wake up from this nightmare. but at least we have the chance to choose happiness. we have the hope of the Gospel. i am grateful for that.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

i just need to mention how amazing MY MOM is because i can't be with her in person. she is the mother of four, grandmother of two(almost three)and the rock of our family. she is diligent, faithful and has incredible strength. she has suffered more than anyone of us can comprehend during this recent trial and holds her head up high, enduring on. what an example to me. mom, i love you and i hope you have a special day today!

the top picture is when she couldn't resist visiting us in AZ to see madison - the pull on a grandmother's heart! (and don't we all wish we could look like that as a grandma!) this picture of her and my brother chris is from the funeral - she never stops worrying about us and looking out for us even though this has been incredibly hard and painful for her too. again, i love you mom!


Surprise, Surprise!!

madison and i got home from church on sunday and were walking to the front door when it opened and dan was standing there! to say i was shocked is an understatement. afterward dan said he thought i would have been more excited to see him but i was trying to figure out, logically, how he was back home.

dan was at a derm conference in san fransisco this weekend and was scheduled to fly back to NM sunday. turns out he changed his flight and landed in phoenix so we got to spend the day with him before he flew back sunday night. what a surprise! we were so excited. the picture above is from last time dan came home for the weekend and we had a "family hug". madison was SO excited to see him!

we spent the rest of the afternoon together, had a great dinner at my in-laws, and played with madison on the trampoline before i had to take him back to the airport. she turns into a crazy person who just giggles and runs out of control until she falls over, and starts again. i love the faces she makes and one picture shows her hair 'flying' in the wind. (warning: picture overload!)

i look exhausted and huge - and unfortunately, both descriptions are accurate. i wish it was just the picture!

madison LOVED playing with her dad and it's always hard to see him go. she is his best buddy and clings to him the whole time he is home. the poor girl has had to say so many good byes with all our traveling and dan being gone. she has been a trooper. but now just four days left and dan is home for good, after twelve weeks of away rotations. i am ecstatic that it is almost over

The Red Bulls-Eye

it makes me SO happy every time i see one and i especially get excited for their commercials - fun, bright and upbeat. where else can you get just about anything you need in one trip? (minus groceries and walmart doesn't count - it doesn't even compare in quality!) i can spend HOURS just browsing around the home decor, maternity clothes, baby clothes, shoes, purses, seasonal displays, you name it! and i don't even consider myself a shopper.

cedar city has grown like crazy and gotten a lot of new stores since my family moved there but i think the most important store thats still missing is TARGET!

last week we were looking at halloween costumes and madison found a little horse that she liked- she was the back legs and then just hugged the front end to keep it up - so funny. she just walked around holding the thing. we tried elmo, a witch hat, a candy corn, and a bumble bee fairy. nothing lasted more than two minutes. so you will have to wait and see what madison ends up dressing up as!


Blonde, Blue-Eyed Beauty

i can't seem to conquer anything technological these days - i am struggling to even upload these pictures. bear with me!
madison found this infant beanie while i was washing and putting newborn clothes and thought it was so much fun to wear and show off. i took five pictures in a row that all turned out to be cute faces. although her aunt stephanie was holding her so that could have been enough to keep her happy by itself.

my in-laws set up their trampoline because madison LOVES to jump. she turns all black from the mat and her hair sticks out from the static, all around her whole head.

grandpa skinner's purchase for madison - another thing she loves!

love the pony tail! we got some height that day!

notice nash's head is higher than the kitchen table and he is just sitting down - easy target when madison wants to share her doritos.

perfect match - red gingham top and glasses


Photo Link

someone suggested the novel idea of a public link to facebook allowing access to the funeral photos without needing an actual account. (hadn't thought of that!) so here it is and there you go!


Sorry, No Belly Pic

i went in for my 37 week + 1 day appointment this morning and.....

no change from last week. bummer. honestly it's really a blessing - considering dan is completely unavailable at a derm conference in san francisco this whole weekend. and he won't be returning to az until next friday.

but i was pratically delivering madison at this point last time so only being 1 1/2 centimeters and 75% effaced is a little bit of a bummer.

but i will take what i can get. baby girl #2 - stay until next friday, then we are going to start doing everything in the books to get you out!


Check'em Out On Facebook

i want to post a slide show of the funeral pictures because they turned out beautifully but i have been struggling with picasa (i know, how hard can it really be?). in the meantime, i posted some on my facebook account for anyone who would like to look at them.

and sorry for that last post, quite a downer - but it seems to be getting harder and i seem to miss them more and more as time goes by. and this is where i talk about it!


The Men In My Family

10 days till i see dan again
20 months till chris is home
a lifetime for dad and dallin

i miss them!!!


Patterns Make the World Go Round

at least for people like me! i do not have crafty, creative bone in my body but i have found i can follow a pattern.

i know it's bright and you might be thinking it looks kind of boy-ish for someone about to have their second girl. but i bought this material the day before i had madison, thinking i wanted a gender neutral quilt and i just barely got around to making it- now i wish it was pinks or purples. but i am still pleased with how it turned out.

i cut everything , pieced it together, hired out the quilting ($30 was SO worth it), and then bound it. i was in over my head and but luckily i made it in cedar so my mom could rescue me occasionally. everything considered: it was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and i won't be making anything like this anytime soon.

my next adventure: HOOTER HIDERS! check back in soon for my next pattern following project!


Pray Always

i have been trying to teach madison to fold her arms during prayers for months now and she will only do it occasionally for attention. while we were in utah for the 6 weeks, she got in the habit of kneeling down with my family twice a day for family prayer so i thought i would try to continue the trend in az.

now our morning and evening routines, right after she gets out of her crib and right before she gets in it, is to kneel down next to the ottoman in her room. she gets down on her knees, folds her arms and puts her head down while i say a quick prayer. then she jumps up at "amen" and walks to her toddler bed and kneels down again, ready for another prayer. this goes back and forth, several times, morning and night. so we are pros at prayers at our house.

but try to get madison to fold her arms sitting at the dinner table, and she will have nothing to do with it!

False Alarm

stressed, sleep deprived, and the stomach flu = CONTRACTIONS!! not a good combination

3 hours in the labor and delivery triage room, cups of water (couldn't keep down), IV fluids, a dose of phenergan and sent home = NOT FUN!!

all in all i am so grateful the contractions stopped, Dan was able to stay in New Mexico, people came to my rescue to watch madison, my mother-in-law once again was amazing and stayed with my the whole time and even drove us home and put madison to bed for me (i was SO loopy from the phenergan!) it was quite the night!


The In-Laws

we all know many, many people who have the dreaded, stereotypical in-laws. they make sunday dinners, family trips, and holidays a nightmare. thankfully this is not the case for me! i not only have an amazing immediate family, i have incredible in-laws also!

i already posted pics of little porter and in case you didn't notice i was able to go to cedar city this last weekend to see him. it never would have been possible without my in-laws. i was able to leave madison with a cousin-in-law until my sister-in-law lindsay got off work and she watched madison all weekend for me. and poor lindsay got more than she bargained for - madison got the stomach flu and diarrhea - not a fun combination! thank you michelle and lindsay!

the other catch is that i am 36 weeks pregnant, and driving to utah by myself didn't seem like the safest or most appealing thing to do. so my mother-in-law, who teaches 2nd grade, arranged to get out early and drove me up friday and back sunday. i could not have made that drive myself at this point. thank you laura for making it happen!

i was able to surprise my mom, who didn't know i was coming, and we had a nice relaxing weekend up at the cabin watching general conference. we also got to see kamber and porter several times and that was wonderful! it made me so excited for our little girl to arrive this month, and it was such a blessing to be part of that experience and see dallin's son. what a special little boy he must be to be sent here without his dad! i can't wait to start telling him all about dallin.

all in all, a wonderful weekend: general conference, quality time with my mom and sister, relaxing at the cabin, seeing little porter and kamber, a quick break from being a mom, fall weather with red and yellow leaves, and well worth the drive. thank you again laura and lindsay and everyone else who helped with madison. this is only the most recent thing you have done for me - thank you for the endless service i have recieved since i became part of your family and especially since the crash. i love you!

(all the pictures i have of my in-laws are on Dan's lap top so i will add them this weekend when he comes home to visit!)


AUNT Marie!!

Porter Dallin Ellsworth was born on October 3, 2008. He was a whopping 8 lbs 15 oz and 21 inches long! Kamber and Porter are both doing well and are home safe and sound from the hospital.

Kamber and Dallin hadn't decided on a name before he died. But Kamber told us after the crash that Dallin used to call the baby Porter when he was talking to him "in utero". Porter's middle name is obviously in honor of his dad.

It was a bittersweet day but the next best thing to having Dallin here with us is having his son. Porter will be loved and adored and will grow up hearing all about how wonderful his dad was. Once again, families are forever!