22 October 2009

Additional pics of U2

More pictures to enjoy of the biggest band in the world.....U2!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug and Jodi @ U2

Hey family....most of you probably know that Jodi and I took a quick trip down to Phoenix to see the best band in the whole world, and my personal favorite....U2.......it was amazing....the best show I have ever seen, and I've seen them a few times. The Black Eyed Peas opened for them...and they were great as well. They played in front of 90,000 people at Cardinal stadium...and we were about 12 feet from the stage...so I got some great footage of Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam....thought I'd share them with you.....all great songs, and good vibes everywhere.....good times.. Mom was good enough to come down and spent the night with the kids, so we are most grateful to her.....this Sunday they will be playing their concert live from the Rose Bowl on You Tube.....


15 October 2009

a perfect fall day

2 best friends + 1 hayride+ 3 GIANT pumpkins= a perfect fall day!

mary, nelson and i went on a fun outing to the pumpkin patch with my friend heidi's preschool class. it was fabulous! it cost $3 a person and you got to pick ANY size pumpkin you wanted! so naturally nelson picked one that seriously weighed 50 pounds. i'm serious...i had to carry it back to the hayride! i think it was over half as tall as he was! makes me want to eat donuts and drink cider.
thanks for the invite heidi!

Evelyn's Birth

It has been a while, but I felt like I couldn't post until I could post the thing that any interested readers would really like to hear. So finally, here is Evelyn Rose Ragsdale's birth story. If you would like to read my doula's account click here. If you cringe while reading words such as "contraction" or "vagina" beware!

Dear Evelyn,

It was over Christmas break at the Rivendell cabin in Wyoming when I missed my period. Daddy and I had to work to hide our excitement! Within a month, I had to work to keep my belly hidden! I avoided visiting family too much because every time I did, someone would ask. Aunt Kayla, Uncle Bo, and Aunt Emma were especially perceptive. Our goal was to announce our happy news once Uncle Austin got home from his mission on February 9th. During the month of January I started getting really sick. One time and threw up so hard I actually threw out my back! It worked out being a great excuse to give friends and family for the look on my face or for not visiting. Grandma Ragsdale insisted I needed some nice new walking shoes and bought me some. Then Aunt Erin set up a massage appointment for me to pretend I was her. That actually didn’t work out because when I went in, they had me fill out a general health form where I felt I should check the pregnancy box. Once I was all undressed and snuggled under the sheets, my masseuse came in and informed me that they had a corporate policy about not massaging during the first trimester of pregnancy. I had told him about my back and he knew I needed some help, so he said, “Look, I can’t give you a full massage but If I work on you for 20 minutes you just need to leave and act like you are really miffed about it. We will freeze your account so your monthly massages don’t expire and this won’t count for anything.” So he did! Unfortunately, I had to call Aunt Erin and tell her why her massage account had been frozen, so she had to keep a secret for a couple weeks!

Finally, Granna and Grandpa Graham flew up to Canada to get Austin and I actually stayed at the Graham house to babysit everyone while they were gone. I wore big sweaters and baggy pants the whole time. When they got home and Uncle Austin met your big brother Graham for the first time. (Daddy and I were excited to announce you especially because Uncle Austin had left at about the same time during Graham’s pregnancy and had never seen me pregnant.) I had made Graham a little shirt that said “Big Brother” and he was wearing that under his jacket. After dinner, Daddy announced that we had a present for Austin. We stripped off Graham’s jacket and with Grandpa smirking over his shoulder, Austin read it aloud. Granna’s face went from confused to surprise to ecstatic! I unzipped my jacket to reveal a tidy but well developed bump and everyone exploded! There was a lot of “I knew it! I knew it!” from Kayla and Bo and Grandpa just kept smirking like he had known all along.

Then day we found out you were a little girl was a lot of fun. Daddy came to the appointment with me and as soon as the nurse but the ultrasound on my belly he said, “Oh, that’s a girl!” The nurse said, “Well, I don’t know, we’ll see…” and she took her time doing all the other measurements before she finally got down to get a look. And sure enough! We both started crying we were so happy! Then we spent the drive home calling everyone to let them know.

I had a lot of hopes for your delivery Evelyn. For one, I didn’t want another C-section. I knew that would limit the size of family we could have and I knew it was better for both of us if I could go vaginally. I think my biggest oversight with Graham is that I wasn’t educated or prepared in anyway. I was determined to learn everything I could this time to give myself the best chance of succeeding. So I checked out every book the library had on the topic; natural birthing methods, VBAC helps and informations, and then I also researched the policies and procedures of the hospital so I could know what to expect and what to demand. When I was eight months pregnant I changed care providers. I had previously gone to an OB-GYN. She was nice enough, but I never bonded in anyway and she was only ever passive and even dismissive about my desires and chances for a VBAC. So I found a group of midwives that worked in a closer hospital. I know I was led by Heavenly Father. I have noticed through my life that when I need to go a certain direction, He opens it up to be the path of least resistance and things get settled very quickly. That is what happened here. I had called several midwife groups and there was always something wrong: they didn’t accept my particular insurance, they didn’t take on patients already 8 months along, or they didn’t work with VBACs. When I called this group, everything was a go and the gal that helped me was so nice and enthusiastic. She got me set up quickly with appointments to see all of the different midwives in the few weeks I had left. At my first appointment, I came with a long list of questions. But first, she just sat and listened to the story of Graham’s birth and what I wanted for your birth. Then as I went down my list, she answered questions I hadn’t even asked yet and everything was what I wanted! She was positive and enthusiastic about my chances and when she checked me I was already dilated to a 1 and 80% effaced. “Oh honey,” she said, “if you are like this at 39 weeks you’ll go into labor!” I came out of there singing! For one, it felt so nice to have someone listen, understand, and want to help me have the birth I wanted. And for another, my body was already doing the things it should have been doing to prepare! They also felt my belly and said that you wouldn’t be as big as Graham’s 8lbs 8oz. We were so excited.

As I researched and read, I learned about doula’s. They are hard to find and rather expensive but I liked the idea a lot. Then just a few days before my due date, a friend gave a recommendation for her doula and even called the doula that night to let her know I would be calling. The next day I called and she answered and called me by name! Her name was Hannah Reasoner and she agreed to meet with Dad and I the following night. We both loved her and she gave us a discount since we were three days away from the due date. Again, we felt that Heavenly Father was very involved in our situation. Hannah was also a masseuse and agreed to try labor inducing acupressure techniques if I went to 41 weeks.

The due date, September 5th, came and went, but I was at peace. Somehow, I found a comfortable quiet place with this pregnancy and was content to wait for you. The Wednesday before you were born, I took castor oil and had my first real labor contractions till late into the night. It was so exciting! I had never felt real natural contractions and found I could deal with them wonderfully. Thursday I had a midwives appointment and they scheduled me for the fetal stress-testing the following morning to check up on you. Hannah came over that night and I had some great contractions with her working the pressure point. Friday morning I went in and they monitored your heartbeat for 20 minutes. I was having regular contractions but the closest they got were 7 minutes apart. They were also concerned that I might have a slow leak in my sac because I had so much discharge. If that were the case then they would have kept me in the hospital and tried to get my labor going. I didn’t want that, I wanted to labor at home. The nurse let me go home and get packed and pick up Daddy in case we had to stay. Then we came back for the midwife to check me. I was dilated to a 4 but didn’t have a leak so she said to go home and do whatever we wanted because you were coming regardless. Hannah came again that night and again I reacted well to her massage. Saturday morning, daddy checked me and we guessed that I was dilated to a 5 or 6. But, for some reason, I didn’t have as many or as hard of contractions that day as I had been having. Hannah came over again at about 4. Granna Graham and Kayla were freaking out that I was walking around at a 5 or 6 and they were an hour away so they showed up around 8pm. I also took some more castor oil after much gagging and griping…but still nothing was happening. Daddy was giving me a hard time because I was complaining about the castor oil so much. “It’s probably not that bad, it’s all in your head, stop making such a big deal out of it…etc.” So in empathy, he took a sip too. Hannah finally left at about 9 and Daddy and I went for a walk. We turned on a movie at about 11pm but about ¾ of the way through I had to pay attention to the contractions because they were picking up. I rolled around on the exercise ball, Daddy used counter pressure and Granna used some other relaxation techniques I had learned about. Then I started to feel nauseous during the contractions and it occurred to me that this was probably the result of the castor oil. So I went to the bathroom and the castor oil did its job. I am pretty sure this is when I went into transition. We called Hannah, (it was almost 2:30 in the morning,) and asked if she thought we should head to the hospital. She said she wouldn’t decide that for us but that she was on her way. My contractions didn’t stop of slow afterwards so that clued us in – this was it!

Granna suggested we try hydrotherapy with a hot bath. I was hesitant because honestly sitting on a hard surface getting soggy didn’t sound all that nice. But I was wrong! It was wonderful. The contractions really kicked it up a notch and yet I was able to deal with them and keep breathing…even though I started making a fair amount of noise. Granna said I was a lioness! I hadn’t let Dad check my since that morning because I didn’t want to be disappointed. But he checked me after about 10 minutes in the tub because I was starting to get a hitch in my breathing because I was feeling the need to push. Dad said, “uh, guys? I think we need to go. I can’t feel how big you are…I can’t feel anything…uh…you’re this big,” and he held his first two fingers about 5 inches apart. We agreed it was time so they helped me out of the bath and got me dressed. Every time a contraction came I had to grab Dad and just hang on him because my legs couldn’t support my weight. We made it to the front door and another contraction came and then my water broke – it sounded like a water balloon hitting a brick wall! I said, “There goes my water!” Then I think Daddy’s urgency doubled. He called Hannah and told her to meet us at the hospital.

It was pouring rain but we made it to the car and Dad drove very vast and broke all sorts of traffic laws. I, however, was very lucid. I kept saying, “Lee, slow down. Be safe. I’m fine. We are going to make it.” Also interestingly, I only had 2 contractions on the way to the hospital, and that was about 10 minutes drive. My body knew I was not in a safe place to deliver and it totally slowed down. Granna noticed and tried to get me to focus and keep labor going. I knew it would keep going though. I just wanted to get there safely and I was trying to not push because I could feel you in between my legs and said so. We finally got there but they wheeled me up to Maternal Observation instead of Labor and Delivery. I still don’t know why I didn’t protest here, but anyway. All the way in passersby would call, “don’t push!” like it was a hospital greeting. Then once we go up there, the Observation Nurse said, “Hi, what’s your name? And your birthday? Are you contracting?” Wasn’t that obvious? So they started changing me into a gown and Daddy felt the Call of Nature…or rather the castor oil! He dashed out just as the nurse looked under the gown and said, “Oh my goodness!” She held my knees together while she and another lady grabbed my bed and started shouting at people to move things and get out of the way as they ran to labor and delivery! “She’s crowning! She’s crowning!” I kept asking for someone to go and find my husband because he didn’t know where we were! Then everyone seemed to get there at once. Hannah got there, Dad found me, and Granna got in from parking the car. A midwife walked in and said, “Okay, grab your knees and push!” She tried to massage my perineum but your head was already there. Another nurse tried to put monitors on me but was pushed off (much to my triumph!) Dad pushed his way up to hold my hand and Granna and Hannah came up to my left side. Granna kept talking to me, “Estee, you’re doing it and you’re beautiful! This is what you wanted! And now you get to push – this is the good stuff. This is the fun part. You’re awesome!” She said I was smiling the whole time. And I truly was happy! Happy to have labored at home, happy to have it finally happening, happy to be doing it the way I wanted!! In about 4 contractions you were out. It was 3:24, Sunday morning. You were 9 lbs and 6 oz and 21 inches long.

The first thing I saw was your feet and I said, “Lee! Look at her feet! She’s got your feet!” You were bigger then we were planning on – your going home outfit came to your knees! They put you right up on my chest and you latched on and nursed for an hour. I knew they only needed to take measurements and things within the first hour so I said no thank you and held you and nursed you till the hour was up. (You nursed so well you actually brought my milk in the next day.) By that time the O.R. was ready for me too. So I handed you to Daddy and they took me out. Because you were much bigger then we were anticipating, because you came SO fast, and because you were my first in many ways, I tore badly. You Evelyn, however, were perfect. You had less of a cone-head then Graham! My perineum actually didn’t tear very much, but you tore the left side wall of my vagina as you came down. Whew! So, it ended up that I had to have a spinal block, an IV, and a catheter to get that fixed…some of the things I was trying to avoid! But it actually didn’t matter much; I got the birth I wanted. You came vaginally and completely drug free! Many of the nurses were totally amazed. An all natural Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I did it.

08 October 2009

Engagement Pictures

It seems as if many of us have stopped our vigilant blog watching, but Tyler and I have our engagement pictures now. They are so wonderful. We are so excited :) so here they are for you all to enjoy a couple

01 September 2009

yay for mady!

everyone! this is mady- and i'm following in my sisters footsteps and as well as the rest of the family! i have made my own blog! woo hoo!



23 August 2009

shelby's blog!

i finally got a blog! here's the link in case anyone's interested:

(dallas, i used that little john milton quote you put on your quilt square!)

22 August 2009

Continued love story.

So yes, Tyler and Abby are engaged. And what a wonderful engagement it is. November 20 is the big day and we are so excited. The past couple weeks have been challenging in the fact we needed to get our school stuff all ready. But we have had so much fun. Its such a blessing and I know now, of the reality of the plan of happiness. The temple is our goal and eternal happiness is our reward. Its well worth it I am thinking. I will get a picture of the rock that he has on my finger. He did a perfect job picking out a ring all by himself. Proud I am. I love him. He loves me. We will be a happy family. Next Graham gathering we will come up. love love love you all. Families are Forever :)

26 July 2009

Abigail+Tyler=twoe wove

Abigail is engaged....more information soon :)

18 June 2009

Wasatch Back Relay1

I know it is way late, but I haven't checked the blog for a while. What I dummie I am. I am going to start urging everyone to check it at least each day. I love it. Our big anxiety is observing the preparation for the big relay. Boy, I have to tip my hat to these kids who are doing the running. Some of the runs are soooooooooo difficult. I will just keep my fingers crossed and keep praying. Wish you could all be there to cheer and holler for our family. I am so proud of Dallas, Joni, Angie and Abby! Wow! They are stellar examples of determination and committment. Let's all give three big cheers!!!!!! Hip hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gooooooooooooooooooooo Legstrong Armstrongs!!!!

11 June 2009

An update from Duvall!

I just wanted to share a few photos and let you all know that we are all alive! We've been in our house for almost 2 weeks now...and thanks to Mom, we're almost "there"...thank you SO much Mom! So, here are a few photos of the last month or so...

Tyler's birthday party...or should I say Darth Vadar's b.day party! The kids had a great time helping me get the decorations. They were so excited to have a Star Wars party! We found these masks, and just couldn't pass them up! And yes, that is a Darth Vadar holding the "red light saber" candle too!
This is a photo of my little Ruby...in all her glory on our "patio" in the appartment. She loved going out to "play" in the backyard, which just consisted of walking in and out of the sliding door. She was awesome to never venture into the grass...until the day before we moved out! The grass was still a bit SOGGY and she was covered in mud...so wonderful!!
In this photo of Lucy you'll need to look at her lashes extra close...yes, she has put mascara on for the first time. I've been trying hard to keep her away from wanting to wear make-up but she is a girl and really wants to wear it! I let her use powder and that has been sufficient--until this day. She had been playing with her dolls in the bathroom-doing their hair and such. I didn't think anything of the length of time she was in the bathroom-she loves to take care of her dolls and does it all the time. So, she walked out of the bathroom one day and was just playing...and I looked at her...and her eyes were so striking! I thought, wow, she is beautiful!! Then I looked a bit closer...she had found some mascara that I had discarded earlier that day...and put it on! There was no mascara anywhere but on her lashes--she did an awesome job putting it on! But, then later as she was sad, she learned why little girls don't get to wear mascara!! Yes, it runs down the face!!

Anyway, just wanted to share and say hey! I feel like I'm finally getting back to "normal". I even moped and vacuumed the floor today-which means the boxes are less and less!! YEA!! Oh, and guess what, I am going to be published in another magazine in November!! YEA!!!! xoxooxoxox

09 June 2009

Graham's School of Aquatics . . . coming soon!

Check out my new blog page, grahamsaquatics.blogspot.com. We will be starting our first swim session June 15th. Second session begins June 29th, third session begins July 19th. Of course, there will be no lessons the week of July 13th! Wish you all lived a litte closer so you could come and have your kids take lessons!! Love you all and soooo loooooking forward to seeing you all next month!! PS Just found out Elder James Graham will be landing back in Utah on July 16th!! That will be quite the homecoming, Heh!!

20 May 2009

Coming this September...something PINK

G is for Giggling, Googoo, etc

I is for Itty bitty Infant

R is for Really excited

L is for Little Lass

12 May 2009

Shelby here!

Well hi! This is Shelby. I am currently finding ways to avoid studying for my anatomy midterm...For some reason I can't post on this blog so I decided to use my mom's name. You guys are probably all dying to know what's been going on with my life! I am doing spring semester at BYU. I absolutely love anatomy and pretty much live in the anatomy lab with the cadavers...SO COOL! If I didn't want to be a mom I'd probably want to go to med school. Just thought I'd put some pictures up so you guys can see what I've been up to!
Here's me and some cousins on conference weekend when Austin came up to visit. Skipped class to play Risk...I dominated...until Austin undermined all. It'll be nice to have him back to kill us in games at reunions again.

This is me and a bunch of my good friends wearing XXL BYU Faculty t-shirts. Probably taken in the early hours of the morning...we had so much fun together our last nights in Heritage!

And this is Curtis and I. If you don't know who Curtis is by now...well, you should. Haha.

Well, I love you all! Time to study!


03 May 2009

Dallas' Concert

Just returned from another phenominol experience! It was the UCA Colage concert at the Cathedral of the Madeliene. Hooray for the UCA!!!!!!! It was just fantastic! Dallas we are so proud of you and the wonderful talent that you have. We are thrilled to have you a part of such an extraordinary and gifted group! The music was so difficult, I can't imagine how anyone could possibly learn it. Foreign languages and all. We were transported to a higher realm as we sat there feasting on this wonderful music. Thank you for all the hard work that you personally accomplished. Few know just how much effort it really takes to perform this quality of music with the expertise that the UCA perform. Another great thing is that we get a chance to hear it again tomorrow night. Congratulations and kudos to you, dear son! xoxoxo Mom

14 April 2009

Happy Happy Easter!

ONE of the Easter Egg Hunts!

The kids had such a great time---don't we always love this?--i sure do!

24 March 2009



22 March 2009

Hey All!

Hello dear ones! I wanted to take a few minutes and say hey! As most of you are aware--sorry that maybe not all of you are--but we are moving home to the Motherland on Saturday April 4th! I can't believe that our time here is over...I've got a lot of mixed emotions. It will be wonderful to be home--but this has become a very special home too! We love it. I cried my little eyes out at church today...so much love there! I will really miss the relationships I've made here-friends from around the globe...some we probably won't see again and that kills me!

Tyler has been in Seattle this week, we're counting the hours until his return! He's been in meetings and such, getting everything squared away for his return in a few weeks.

We'll be in temp. housing for about 6 weeks, while we patiently;) await our shipment of goods from across the sea! We're planning on coming down to Utah for a couple of weeks-at least the kdis and I spending a couple of weeks there. Right now it's looking like the last 2 weeks of April--so I hope we can get a get-together scheduled so we can see those of you that live there!

I can't leave w/o a few photos! We went to Frankfurt last weekend to the temple--we stopped somewhere before-but I can't for the life of me remember the city name! This beautiful building that Ty is posing in front of is a beautiful palace....BEATUIFUL inside! And one of the only buildings like this that we havn't been allowed to take photos in...bummer! Isn't he handsome!?
This next photo is of us at the temple in Frankfort. We stayed at the little appartments they have there next to the temple and had a great time. We did have a photo of our whole family but my eyes were closed...that is why you ALWAYS take at least 2 photos...always!
Love you all...please know that! We miss you!!

11 March 2009

Yes...I coupon

so....i coupon...and would like to guess my price for this purchase at Target?  go ahead guess.

i should make you wait and guess but i can't keep it in!!  i paid a whoppin' $2.97!!!!  that $2.97 bought:: two packs of huggies wipes, 2 packs of goldfish, 2 lbs of cheese, 2 things of mott's applesauce and some carpet powder stuff.  yes, it was such a rush!!!

09 March 2009

Euro Field Trip

I won’t try to recap the entire two weeks that Bev & Bo were with us in Europe – I would need a bit more space (and time) to write about it all. Needless to say, it has been a fun two weeks - we really packed it in. Thought I'd share with you the highlights from the last field trip we took this past weekend.

3: countries (Czech Republic, Poland, & back to Germany)
3: days
1450: Kilometers driven (~900 miles)
7: people packed in our little 7 passenger Touran (yes, you really can fit 7 people into this little thing)
1: Thule car topper - filled to max (especially on the way home)
1: picture of all 7 of us from the entire two weeks: a nice couple from Arkansas took our picture in the Old Town Square in Prague - see picture below

Over 30: pieces of Polish Pottery we picked up real cheap in Boleslavic, Poland (the home of Polish Pottery). Lucky us that the US Dollar has gained about 30% over the Polish Zloty. I must admit the pottery was much nicer than the parts of the town – much of it was pretty run down, but we had a good time going from store to store and enjoying Polish pizza for dinner. We went to this small little pottery shop and met a super nice couple whose family business is making and selling pottery (mostly to the US). They gave us a personal tour of their facilities and that is where Jen and Bev found their favorite patterns. Such nice people. Here is a link to their website.

1995: The year the church building was dedicated in Gorlitz Germany, by President Monson and President Uchtdorf. This is where we went to church on our way home on Sunday. Gorlitz is on the border of Germany and Poland and has been spoken of by Pres. Monson in his book, Faith Rewarded as well as in a number of talks he has given (Thanks Be to God and Patience, A Heavenly Virtue). The spirit was so strong as we participated in sacrament meeting. This was the highlight of our trip. They asked Bo to share his testimony - and through a translator they were able to hear his strong testimony of the gospel. We met and talked with some wonderful people – and I came away with a great admiration for the pioneering saints who do so much in the small, remote branches of the church around the world.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, we are moving back to Seattle on April 4th. Two years has gone by very fast (right Austin?). Looking forward to seeing you all this summer.