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Monday, 11 July 2016

How Well Do I Know My Living Family Tree?

I'm sure you can tell by now that I am a lover of family history.  I love digging through virtual and authentic records to learn about an ancestor's past, where they grew up and moved on to start families of their own.


But, just in the last few weeks, I realized that I need to make sure I know the basic details about my own living relatives.  What if tomorrow, or even today, something happens in which I lose contact with a large portion of my family?  What valuable information might I never know?  What if my posterity will one day rely on me only to pass along that information?  I can only imagine how disappointed they would feel if I didn't have the answers to their questions.

I must sound like a grandmother with those kinds of thoughts.  Isn't it only for grandparents to be concerned about passing on their heritage?  Or someone who knows they will die soon of some fatal disease?

Thank goodness, I'm still young and I don't know of any fatal disease withering me away!  (Of course, that never takes away the possibility that I might not be alive tomorrow or next week.)  I am also still full of the kinds of questions that young people might have about their family's relationships.

So... "I'm my own grand[ma]"?


The Challenge

I am currently adding to my family tree any details I can about my living relatives, especially of those I may never meet in person.  I've added most living relatives to my tree that are older than my parents, but not many cousins or younger posterity of my parents' generation.  I have access to, but I really should list full namesbirth dates and places, spouses and marriage or (so commonly now) divorce dates, and children's names for those people so that I have the information for myself.  I suppose updating phone numbers, addresses and even email addresses would be useful in case I want to stay in contact.

I know it'll be easy (just time-consuming) to gather and add information for my dad's side of the tree, but it'll be a little more difficult when doing my mom's side.  My mom hasn't see her family much since most of them live in the United States and she isn't up-to-date with children born into the family and who's doing what where.  If I can, I'd like to actually get to know her family.  That's my challenge.


Do you need to do this too?  What difficulties have you come across?

Next week's topic: [Our Family Advent Calendar 2016 - #LIGHTtheWORLD]

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sister Nelson's 3-Day Challenge

A few weeks ago, the wives of a few General Authorities visited our area to speak with the women of the LDS Church.  The meeting was broadcast to several other church buildings across Southern Alberta and some of British Columbia.

What a wonderful meeting!  I enjoyed the talks that were given, but especially that of Sister Wendy Nelson, wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson.  She is so funny!  I'd love the opportunity to listen to her speak again.


Elder Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson.
[Photo by Matthew Reier.]

The 3-Day Challenge

Sister Nelson told us of a challenge given to other women some time ago and challenged us to do the same, which is:
  1. Prayerfully study Elder Nelson's conference talk from October 2015, "A Plea To My Sisters."
  2. Choose an attribute you want to have.  Then complete the statement: "I want to be a woman who..."
  3. Develop that quality.  Analyze the way your life would be with that perfected quality.  Choose one activity a day in which you will exercise that quality.
  4. Try this for three days and keep a written log of your progress and experience.

My Attribute To Perfect

There were a few lines that rang true to me.
“'We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out. … 
“'We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.' 
"Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. ... 
"Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who ... express their beliefs with confidence and charity."

I love doing those things in the first part of the quote, but I felt that they weren't things I needed to work hard to develop right now.  Instead, I decided to focus on the qualities related to having "the gift of discernment," learning "how to make important things happen by [my] faith," and courageously defending morality and families by expressing my beliefs "with confidence and charity."

I want to be a woman who can detect the shallow and dangerous trends in the world that reject morality and the sanctity of the family unit - anything that defies the doctrine of Christ. 
I want to be able to detect all forms of deception, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. 
I want to have the faith that I can make important things happen, especially in regards to expressing my beliefs not only with confidence -- like many do -- but also with charity and compassion.


How To Develop This Quality

Now, what would my life look like with the gift of discernment?  It is such a hard thing to imagine!  I got the idea that if I broke it down into the most basic concepts, maybe I could figure it out.

  • The most basic version of "the gift of discernment" is being able to distinguish good from evil.
  • The doctrine of Christ teaches what is good and what is evil.
  • Conclusion: I can study the doctrine of Christ.

  • The gift of discernment is a "gift of the Spirit."
  • The Spirit (or Holy Ghost) communicates God's will and knowledge to me when I need it and/or ask for it, according to my obedience to God's commandments and God's will and timing.
  • Conclusion: I can live worthy to have the Spirit with me at all times and pray for guidance.

  • Communicating the hazards of following "the shallow and dangerous trends in the world" requires me to open myself up to others.
  • Faith to be heard and not ridiculed is required to express my beliefs, especially because of how personal they are to me.
  • Conclusion: I can increase my faith to do hard things by taking the chance to express myself.

  • I can communicate my love by listening to others and being careful not to judge others based on their trials and weaknesses.
  • By expressing why and how living the commandments has made my life more wholesome, I show how it might improve others' lives if they did so as well.
  • My experience does not define all outcomes or the best solution for someone else's trials in life.
  • Conclusion: I can describe my experiences but then be sure to listen even more closely to others' experiences.

After breaking it down, wow, what a lot of work to be done!  But it's in small, simple steps. It's doable.  Of course, three days will never be enough to perfect this work.


Day 1

Today, after breaking down "the gift of discernment" into its most basic parts, I began exploring the connections between the above noted conclusions.

I studied 2 Peter 1:5-9 and found that if I build on my faith by adding virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity -- and strengthen these so that they are always abundant in my nature -- then I will always have a knowledge of Christ and be able to "see" (think: detect!).

Then Moroni 10:4-5 which relates to asking for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, which will "manifest the truth," that I can "know the truth of all things."  The Holy Ghost will help me detect truth from falsehood, good from evil!

Personal Assignment:  I will ask Heavenly Father for the gift of discernment and ask for an opportunity to use that gift. 

Day 2

Today I decided to study Elder Bednar's talk, "Quick to Observe," which describes the gift of discernment and other related gifts of the Spirit, especially under the header "The Importance of Being Quick to Observe."  This quote sums it up quite well:
"... We learn that the gift of discernment operates basically in four major ways. 
"First, as we 'read under the surface,' discernment helps us detect hidden error and evil in others
"Second, and more important, it helps us detect hidden errors and evil in ourselves. Thus the spiritual gift of discernment is not exclusively about discerning other people and situations, but ... it is also about discerning things as they really are within us. 
"Third, it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in others
"And fourth, it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in us."

While reading this talk, I discovered that I've already had moments in my life where I've used the gift of discernment or "the gift of being quick to observe."  More often it has been with a focus on seeing and bringing out the good in others (the third point).  I want to extend that influence by working to strengthen all aspects of the gift of discernment.  I want to see and understand the good and evil and errors in myself and others better.  (Now that part about "in myself" ... that's going to require some humility as well for full effectiveness.)

I liked this part as well: "Discernment is so much more than recognizing right from wrong. It helps us distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant, and the necessary from that which is merely nice."  So often these issues seem to pop up!

Personal Assignment:  I will ask Heavenly Father to open up my mind to be able to make the above kinds of distinctions.

Day 3

Like I said before, three days is never enough time to perfect or experience one attribute to the fullest.  I haven't identified any specific incidences in the last few days that require my detection of good and evil, or of errors.  I believe that there probably were a few instances but that they are so commonplace that I don't even think about them.

What I've learned the most from this exercise is that the basics are so important.  Living God's commandments (ie. taking baby steps) makes it easier to attain other attributes over time.  I know that I've been lacking in those basic parts of the gift of discernment and that it is so important that I take the time now to strengthen those areas first.

Personal Assignment:  I will take the time each day to study the doctrine of Christ and pray to have the Spirit with me.  I will do my best to keep the commandments so that I can have the guidance of the Holy Ghost at all times.


Will you try this challenge too?  How did it go for you?

Monday, 13 June 2016

A *Tevia* Special

I thought I'd pleasure you all with some snippets about our life with Tevia.  She is an entertaining character - very silly - and intellectually, very alert.  It has been very difficult trying to find exactly what unique things I'd like to tell you about her.

We've got a junior bobsledding team! haha
Sadly, she's too big to be allowed inside the drawer anymore.
Tevia is now 20 months old (she had recently turned 1 year old when I started blogging).  So she's still only 1-year-old technically, but she acts a lot like a 3-year-old, and I treat her a lot like an older child.  I don't "baby talk" with her and I try to find situations where she can be the decision maker.


Her Vocabulary

I was afraid that perhaps Tevia was developing slower than other children because she didn't start making any babbling noises like other children her age.  I had nothing to worry about though because we have a non-stop talker and avid bookworm!  Tevia picks up vocabulary and names extremely easily.  She reached over 100 words by the time she was 14 months old.  The list now easily reaches about 500 words.  Our favorite words and phrases as of late are:

  • "Mommy, where are you???" (in the grocery store)
  • "Baby lion, where are you?" (on the way to Waterton, Alberta)
  • "Bye, airplane! See you soon!" (every time)
  • "Yakisoba" (she loves it and can say it perfectly)
  • "1, 2, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9..." (she loves the number 6)
  • "Two one! Two one!" (when she sees two of something)

She also will list off things or people needed for a certain activity like, "Amber, swimming, pool, bathing suit, bus, black stroller."  Obviously, Tevia wants to (or already did) go swimming at the pool with Amber, wearing her bathing suit, and she wants to take the bus in her black stroller.  If I don't quite understand a word she is trying to say, she'll list other words related to the thing, person, place, or event.  So no wonder it ends up being pretty easy (most times) to understand what Tevia is trying to say!


Her Interests

Tevia loves reading books, listening to music, singing rhymes and songs with actions, playing piano, being silly, swimming, and being outside all the time.  Since we don't have a backyard, sometimes we go on a walk or to the park twice a day when it's nice out.  We go to the library often and try to enjoy other free activities as much as possible.

She loves seeing our extended family and is very attached to her Grandpa Greep ("Papa Geep").  She knows almost all of her aunts, uncles, and (17) cousins by name.  She often talks about the people she interacts with and the things she does with them.  She seems to be a "people person" at heart.


Her Need For Independence and Routine

Here we are, nearly always hearing, "No! Teh-ya do it!" as Tevia points to her chest and refuses any help with more and more activities.  It's good to see her doing so much by herself... except for the tantrums.  I've tried to reduce her outbursts by letting her do things by herself first and then stepping in, but she still isn't pleased when I try brushing her teeth.

Thank goodness we generally have an obedient and helpful child.  She helps with chores such as putting clothes in or taking them out of the dryer, finding the matching sock, "sweeping," vacuuming, and drying dishes.  She cleans up her messes and puts things in their proper place (including stray rocks she finds on the sidewalk).

Tevia posing with her Ducky
Tevia has specialized her bedtime routine as well.  After dinner she (sometimes) has a bath, gets into her pajamas and then we start our Family Devotional.  She now likes to scribble on a piece of paper as well and put it in the Thank You Jar.  When we ask her what she's thankful for or what was a blessing for her, the responses usually include Amber, Mommy, or Daddy.

After prayer, she brushes her teeth with help, and then it's time for "mommy cuddles" with her favorite Ducky and blanket, sitting in the rocking chair.  She needs her "cow milk" and "wahgger" (water) and drinks like this: lots of milk, a few sips of water, a sip of milk, and then sometimes another sip of water, while Mommy has to hold Ducky and pass the cups back and forth.  We listen to her talking lamb recite some rhymes and do some of our own.

When she lays in bed she asks for "another one" (blanket) and makes sure that I say "good night" ("night") and "sweet dreams" ("dreams") before I leave the room.  She also likes to list with me the people that love her.  Whether or not she goes to sleep after this point is another story...


She's Mine

By the way, this awesome little girl is mine. All mine.

... And Lucas's.

I am very grateful that a rough start can end with a great finish (so far).  Even with as much emotional turmoil as I had through my pregnancy and the first year and half or so, I wouldn't give her up to anyone, never.

She's mine.


What funny things have your kids done?  How do/did you try to avoid tantrums?

An update (just so you are aware): I am now posting every other Monday instead of every week (but I'll still use "next week" when I list the next topic).

Next week's topic: [Sister Nelson's 3-Day Challenge]

Monday, 30 May 2016

What Happens When The Parents Leave Town

In the summer of 2010, my parents left my siblings and I at home for a few days while they went on a trip by themselves.  I had just graduated high school; April had finished grade 10; William, grade 7; Douglas, grade 5.

My mom remembers coming home to a clean house, the table set, and dinner and dessert ready to be served.  I don't remember anything but the silly skits we did.


Shakespeare Meets Cavemen

The first video is a rough edit of two takes.  The script was written by some friends and I for an English project in high school.  The assignment required us to have some large number of Shakespearean insults made from a combination of words in a list we were given and then perform the skit in front of the class.  For whatever reason, my siblings and I decided it would be fun to do a video of it ourselves.

To outline what you will see, two girls travel in time and come across two cavemen.  The girls are disgusted by the cavemen and the cavemen are frightened by these intruders.  Insults inspired by Shakespearean texts are tossed back and forth between all four characters as the book, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," is passed around.




The Time Machine

The following video is an improvisation inspired by the previous skit.  A nerdy girl builds a time machine and travels through time to find oddly behaving cavemen who get the chance to try out the time machine.




Have you done any silly things while your parents went away?  What did you do?

Next week's topic: [A *Tevia* Special]

Monday, 23 May 2016

Widow or Wife of a Criminal?

The county of Wayne can be seen on the far left of the state.
Let me introduce you to the Henry and Elizabeth (Farra) Noe family, some cousin offshoot of my family tree.  Unfortunately, since it's been sometime since I first discovered this family, I can't retell exactly how this family's mysteries unfolded (so please excuse the order of things).

In the county of Wayne, West Virginia, Henry Fisher Noe was born in 1885 and Elizabeth Josephine Farra was born in 1891.  On March 27, 1907 they married in Dunlow, Wayne, West Virginia, Henry at age 21 and Elizabeth at age 16.  They had their first son, Howard, early 1908.

There doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary with this family.  But take a look at the United States census for 1910 - 3 years into their marriage...

United States census, West Virginia, 1910

Elizabeth (Lizzie) is listed with her parents and younger sister under her maiden name, Farra, and her son, Howard, has the surname Noe.  We also learn that Howard is her only child because the last two columns list the total number of children the mother had and how many are still living.  And here's some sad news... she's a widow.

I don't believe Elizabeth was widowed though, and here's why: on the 1920 and 1930 census records, the same Henry Fisher Noe from the marriage record is listed with the family, sometimes under the name Howard.  I am confident these are the same person because the ages listed at first marriage match up to the ages on the marriage record.  (You can see this in the last column of the 1930 census record.)  It is also highly unlikely that she would find another Henry or Howard Noe to marry.

United States census, West Virginia, 1920
United States census, West Virginia, 1930
(Howard is listed on another record with his grandmother.)

Altogether they had a total of 11 children.  In addition to Howard, they had Bernard (1912/1913), Carlos Arlie (1913), Vivian (1916), Mildred Elaine (1917), Don Oswald (1919), Kenneth (1921), Darrell (1922), Keith (1924), Marvin (1926), and (the famous) Dale Emerson (1927).

So where was Henry?  And why did Elizabeth say she was a widow?

After some searching, I found the following census record also in 1910:

United States census, West Virginia, 1910
List of prisoners at West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville City.

Henry F Noe is listed as a prisoner!!!  How scandalous!


Conclusion

It's no wonder Elizabeth would rather pretend to be widowed.  Would you want to be known as the wife of a criminal?  Perhaps she even resorted to taking her maiden name to avoid the connection to her imprisoned husband.

This also explains the large gap between Howard and Bernard relative to the other children.  Based on Bernard's birth date, Henry may have been imprisoned until 1912.  

Census records always tell a story.  This one is different than most and now the imagination suggests oh so many possibilities as to what happened.  I haven't yet figured out how I could find the reason for Henry's imprisonment.  And, unless I'm mistaken, I found their son, Darrell, in the Kentucky State Penitentiary in the 1940 census at age 18.  Oh, the things I'd like to know now!


What would you do if your newlywed husband landed himself in jail after you had your first child?  Do you think Darrell's imprisonment may have been related to his father's influence?

Next week's topic: [What Happens When The Parents Leave Town]

Monday, 29 February 2016

Protect the Rights of Children in Alberta Schools!

Due to some disturbing policy changes in Alberta schools regarding gender self-identification, I have written a letter to the Minister of Education of Alberta, Mr. David Eggen, stating my opinion on the matter.  Many other parents (and their children) across the province have done the same.  (Links are provided below.)  This is the letter I emailed this morning:

-----

Dear Mr. Eggen,

I fear the consequences that will come if the Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions is implemented in Alberta schools.  It literally shakes me to the core of my being.

Perhaps you do not realize just how biased and disturbing this proposal is. 

In the acknowledgements, you express appreciation for “everyone who is committed to creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments across Alberta.”  Please accept my plea for safe learning environments everywhere.

I am a caring mother of a 17-month-old daughter.  My husband, a protective father, works with me in parenting our little girl.  No matter what each of us may say, we are still the gender and sex we were born as and ever will be so.  As well, if not for our difference in gender (which is based on sex which is based on anatomy), our daughter would not be a part of this world.

Even before we were married, I decided I wanted to homeschool our children.  My reason was simply that I felt like there was a lot of wasted time in school compared to what could have been accomplished if I was able to learn at my own pace.  I want my children to have the opportunity to excel in whatever area they choose at the rate they are capable of learning – but they will have the choice to learn at home or in a public or private school.

Kristin Olsen School Children Picture
By Kristin Olsen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Another reason my husband and I discussed was regarding what is being taught in the schools about sexual education to the young people around us.  I believe that sex is good and appropriate, but only between a married man and woman.  Any other sexual associations taught otherwise degrade the purpose and sanctity of the family relationship.  Else, what purpose is there to having a family?

Now, if these so-called “Guidelines” are enforced in Alberta schools, there is no way ever that I will let my daughter go to public or private school if we continue to live within the province.  I would not have peace of mind for any child sent off to school.  The “Guidelines” contain loopholes that allow for potential sexual harassment, abuse and/or rape to happen within school limits or on fieldtrips – without informing the parents of the victim or abuser.  Where, then, is the safe haven for any child of any gender-identity within Alberta schools?

The acceptance of either gender to use any gendered bathroom, the elimination of gender-segregated activities, and the opportunity to self-identify as either gender (or none) at any time will not stop bullying of students with different sexual preferences.  These “best practices” only cover up the problem of bullying and avoid dealing with the serious mental, emotional, and sexual consequences of gender confusion in children.

I do hope that, if these “Guidelines” are enforced, those parents and families who choose to homeschool their children or move outside of the province in response to the “new rules” will not be punished in any way – whether financially, emotionally, educationally, etc.

Please do not enforce these “best practices” in Alberta!  I stand with many other caring and loving parents in this.


Sincerely and hopeful of a better world,

Kristina Ogrins

-----


What is your opinion on this issue?  If you are facing this situation, whether in Alberta or elsewhere, what have you or others done about it?

Next week's topic: [Widow or Wife of a Criminal?]

Monday, 22 February 2016

Who in the World is Flora B. Caviness?

Census records are so interesting!  They help to tell the story of a family's journey through life by tracking residence, immigration, and birthplace.  They also hint at the approximate date a family member gets married (and moves away), dies, or becomes widowed.  And sometimes rare valuable information is included that can help solve mysterious family situations!

In the last two weeks I have revisited a problem area in my family tree that I identified several months ago.  While attaching sources to various individuals of my family tree on FamilySearch.org, I noticed that many children in the Caviness family were missing almost at random from census records.  After some research, I found that it wasn't as random as I thought and I learned many things about this unique family.

On the United States census records of 1900 and 1910 Jesse C. and Sarah Amanda Caviness state that they have 11 children - all of which were living at the time.  But on my FamilySearch tree there were 12 children listed in this family: Walter, Laura, William, Andrew, Ada, David, Flora, Ernest, Crecie, Clyde, Eva, and Hubert.

I made a chart to keep track of each family member as I sifted through census and other records, trying to follow each one from the 1880 census up until the 1940 census or until death.  I needed to make sure I wasn't missing any valuable information that could help me understand what was wrong with this family's size.  Go ahead and follow along as you read!

Caviness Census Tracking Record 1880-1940
Click to view larger size image.


Meet the Caviness Family

Jesse was born in Chatham County, North Carolina, USA in 1858.  His future wife, Sarah Amanda Wrenn, was born in Pulaski County, Virginia, USA in 1860.  By 1870, Jesse's family had traveled approximately 130 miles northwest to Carroll County, Virginia.  By 1876, Jesse had made it another 40 miles north to Pulaski and married Sarah on May 3.

map of Virginia, USA
Map of Virginia, USA
All of their children were either born in Carroll or Pulaski.  The map I include here shows the three main areas that significant family events occurred at.  Some documents have conflicting information as to birthplaces and many details are missing, but it suffices to say that all events occurred in very close proximity and therefore are acceptable.

Walter Andrew (1878) and Laura Blanche (1880) appear with their parents on the 1880 census in Black Lick, Wythe County - not too far from Carroll County where they were born.

United States census, Virginia, 1880
United States census, Virginia, 1880

William Harvey (1881), Andrew Neal (1884), and David Price (1889) were born in Carroll County while Ada Lou (1886) was born in Pulaski County.  All should be included as well on the 1890 census, but those records for Virginia are not currently available (or weren't completed - I don't know).

Ernest Graham (1891), Eva Mae (1898) and Hubert Clarence (1900) were born in Carroll County and Crecie A (1893) and Clyde Stanley (1895) were born in Pulaski County.  All children are included in the 1900 census shortly after Hubert was born (he wasn't even named yet!).

United States census, Virginia, 1900
United States census, Virginia, 1900
(Jesse is listed on the previous page.)

By 1910, Walter, Andrew, and Ada are presumed to be married and living with their new families.  Walter died before the next census was recorded.

United States census, Virginia, 1910
United States census, Virginia, 1910

By 1920, William, David, Crecie, Clyde, and Hubert are also presumed to be married (some found with their families elsewhere for the 1920 census).  Ernest is married too but he and his wife Lillian are living with his parents.  Laura and Eva were single their entire lives but yet Laura is nowhere to be found in 1920 census records (perhaps boarding elsewhere).  And then something else strange... a daughter named Flora B. (born around 1891) is listed with the family.

United States census, Virginia, 1920
United States census, Virginia, 1920

By 1930, Ernest and his wife have moved out and Hubert has moved in as a widower.  A newborn grandson, David, is also listed but I haven't yet figured out who his parents are.  I suspect he belongs to Hubert but I haven't figured out who his first wife was.  I assume that if Hubert is his father, his mother likely died in childbirth.  Also, guess what?  Flora B. disappears as quickly as she appeared.

United States census, Virginia, 1930
United States census, Virginia, 1930

By 1940, Jesse has passed away, leaving Sarah Amanda a widow.  Laura, Eva, and the mystery grandson, David, live with her.  Hubert remarried and is found elsewhere with his new wife and their 6-year-old son, Billy.

United States census, Virginia, 1940
United States census, Virginia, 1940


The Main Issue

"Flora B. Caviness" is listed as a daughter on the 1920 census but is not mentioned anywhere else.

Why?  Who is she if she is not the daughter of Jesse and Amanda?  Where did she come from?  Why is she listed as part of this family?

Flora is about the same age as seventh child Ernest Graham (born in 1891).  Yet, Ernest first appears on the 1900 census, again in 1910, and then in 1920 (still living at home but married this time).  Therefore, she can't be a child born after the 1910 census when there were only 11 children in the family.

I doubt Flora is a biological daughter in this family - but could she maybe be adopted or welcomed in as one of the family?  Could she have been the illegitimate offspring of another family member kept secret for many years?

Of course, if a child dies or gets married it is unlikely to find them listed in the same household as the parents in later census records.  But what other reasons might a child not be listed?

I've learned from experience with doing family history work and indexing handwritten records that there are times when names aren't recorded correctly.  So "Caviness" sometimes appears as "Caveness" or "Caviners," for example.  Sometimes individuals go by a different name or their middle name instead of their full given name or the census recorders may have had horrible spelling.  Mistakes happen.  Could Flora have been listed as a daughter by mistake?


My Conclusion

In the end, I decided to remove Flora B. from my family tree.  It would be nearly impossible to find out who she might be if her last name wasn't Caviness.  But I still wonder who she was and why she came to live with the Caviness family.  If I can track down journals or letters maybe I can find out for myself - and for poor, lost Flora B.

But now I really want to find out Hubert Clarence Caviness's story.  And where David Caviness fits into all of this!


Do you have an idea as to who this "Flora B. Caviness" might really be?  Or, do you know who David Caviness belongs to?

Next week's topic: [Protect the Rights of Children in Alberta Schools!]

Monday, 15 February 2016

3 Ways to Celebrate the Family

Today is Family Day in the province of Alberta, Canada.

Since I don't actually know how this holiday came to be, I just did some Wikipedia research.  This is what I learned:
  • celebrated by Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI), British Columbia (BC) and Saskatchewan
  • on the third Monday of February (except in BC on the second Monday)
  • coincides with Presidents' Day in the USA
  • first celebrated in 1990 in Alberta

"Premier [Don] Getty said it was important for all Albertans to take time for their families, and that this holiday would emphasize the importance of family values." [source]

So, to celebrate, here is a list of things you can do with your family today (or, really, any other day).
  1. Tell each family member what you admire about them.  If doing this verbally is too difficult (and all members know how to read and write at least a little), try this:
    • Each individual needs a piece of paper and a writing utensil.
    • Everyone writes their name on one side of the paper and places it in front of them.
    • Sitting in a circle, each person passes their paper to the person next to them.
    • On the back of the paper, each person writes 1-3 things they like about the person whose name is on the paper and flip it back over when done.
    • Continue passing papers until all family members have written on each other's paper.


  2. Read and discuss The Family: A Proclamation to the World with your family.  Some possible topics to consider are:
    • the role of each family member
    • the importance of gender
    • the purpose of marriage
    • wholesome activities to do together
    • why Heavenly Father decided to place us on the earth in families

  3. Pick a family from your family tree to learn more about.  Search for birth, death, marriage, war, and census records to find as many details as you can about each individual.  Read journal entries, obituaries, biographies, compiled family genealogies, and look at family photos (if possible).  Track family milestones (births, deaths, marriages, moves) on a map.  Visit their grave sites if possible.
    • I recommend using FamilySearch.org to track your findings.
    • Additionally, for LDS temple recommend holders: schedule a day and time to take family names to the nearest temple.

What do you do to celebrate your family?  When does your family have special time together?

Next week's topic: [Who in the World is Flora B. Caviness?]

Monday, 8 February 2016

Dream Home Floor Plans: 2-Story Library & Indoor Playground

What you are about to see is the first dream home floor plan that I've actually finished drawing.  I've never finished drawing a final version of any other plan because I'd change my mind about how to represent a certain space or scrap the idea entirely.

Lucas and I have many ideas of what we'd like to include in our dream home - so expect many more posts of this kind in the future (until we finally get to build one of our dream homes)!

Disclaimer:  Since I am not an architect, drafter, or educated in any course about home design, building, etc., be aware that these are very much hypothetical and bound to be inadequate in many areas.

An attempt to show the basic exterior of the house.
Ideally, it will be designed to represent the Victorian era.

Highlights

  • 3 floors including finished basement
  • 7 bedrooms
  • 4.5 bathrooms
  • 2-car attached garage
  • large kitchen and pantry
  • wrap-around porch
  • plenty of space for entertaining
  • playroom includes indoor playground
  • separate apartment above garage with access through laundry room
  • luxurious master suite with walk-in shower
  • cozy 2-story library with balcony access from master suite


(Click each image to view larger size.)

Main Floor

Let us begin by walking up the steps of the Victorian-style wrap-around porch and through the front door into the foyer.

To your right, over a half-wall, you can see into the main sitting room where visitors can mingle until a meal is served in the dining room.  Between the sitting and dining rooms there is a walk-in coat closet with a designated built-in shelf for shoes.

Directly in front of you is an arched hallway that passes under the stairs, past a half-bathroom into the kitchen.  A pocket door opens into the bathroom to allow uninterrupted space for walking down the hall.  The bathroom has a convenient built-in shelf for linens above the space used for shoes in the coat closet.

Walking up the stairs on your left up to the landing, you have 3 choices: continue upstairs, go down into the kitchen, or access to the magnificent 2-story library through a set of double doors.  The library is partially soundproof and has large windows opposite the walls flanked with built-in bookshelves.  The center of the room - sunken nearly 3 feet - acts as a cozy sitting area for reading and studying.

Let's take a look in the kitchen now.  There is a central island with a sink and dishwasher on one side and an eating area with bar stools on the other.  The large pantry and 5-foot wide fridge-freezer combo are within easy reach to the island and the preparation and cooking zones on the far wall.  The location of the island between the cooking zone and dining room makes it an excellent place to serve foods to eat there or to be taken into the dining room, as well as to take care of dirty dishes immediately after a meal.

The large octagonal dining room includes a built-in serving area or buffet for convenience.  A set of French doors opens onto the covered porch where there is space to set up an eating area outside.

Due to "popular demand" (ie. from me!), we also have a charging station next to the fridge and a built-in L-shaped desk in the kitchen, conveniently placed where all family members can accomplish other tasks while preparing meals.

Finally, a mudroom with a bench and storage shelves connects the kitchen to the spacious 2-car garage.  There is a door from the garage to the backyard as well as access to an outdoor storage room that could also/instead be used as a mechanical room.

Let's go upstairs!


Upper Floor

At the top of the stairs is a loft area overlooking the stair hall that we call our "Family Gathering Room."  This is where we would have family discussions, Family Devotional, or other special family-related things.  There is a built-in desk off of the family gathering room that would be used mainly for computer or laptop usage.

At the front part of the house we have two bedrooms - one with a walk-in closet - within easy access to a full bathroom with plenty of counter space.

On the opposite end we enter the luxurious master suite.  To the left of the door there is a cozy sitting space to read the books from the library balcony - accessed only through the master suite!  The master ensuite includes a decent sized walk-in closet, toilet room, double sinks, and a walk-in shower.

The final door that leads from the family gathering room is for the large laundry room, complete with a sink and ironing board that folds up against the wall.  The laundry room is shared with the *special guest* (yes, we have someone in mind) that would live in the suite above the garage.

This suite opens up into a small kitchen with a mini fridge and microwave and eating area.  (The idea is that this *special guest* would normally be eating with our family.)  Beyond the eating bar is the living room with a storage or hobby room and bedroom at the back.  The bathroom can be accessed from the living space and the bedroom and has a shower instead of a bathtub.

Now run down to the basement with me so we can play!

Basement

Before we start playing, let me note that through the door to the left of the bottom of the stairs is the food storage room that doubles as an emergency shelter.  Do you feel the need to "go" when there's an emergency?  Me too!  There is access to the full bathroom through here as well for that very purpose.  Near the bathroom a half-wall partially divides the basement for quiet living: two more bedrooms and a homeschool room (or extra bedroom).

Take a look at what there is to do down here!  There is an entertainment area for television and multimedia set-up, a sitting area to chat (or set up a pool table), and a games table next to a snack bar.

Finally, slide open that barn door!  This is the playroom with a built-in indoor playground under a 10-foot ceiling.  What fun!  (I didn't bother to design the playground - but it would be awesome!)


Thanks for checking out my dream home #1!  There will be more to come (because this is so fun to do)!


What features do you like?  What do you dislike?

Next week's topic: [3 Ways to Celebrate the Family]

Monday, 25 January 2016

Tevia's Birth Story

I was due to give birth around October 6, 2014.

Early Labor?

About three weeks before my due date, I went to the hospital to get checked because I was bleeding some bright red blood (not normal) and was experiencing some minor contractions.  My contractions were apparently quite consistent but I hardly felt any of them, just a little bit of cramping occasionally.  There was no apparent cause for the bleeding and it stopped within about an hour.

I had a cervix check and discovered I was already 3-4 centimeters dilated!  So the nurse told me to go walk as much as possible for the next two hours to see if I would progress.  I was absolutely exhausted by the time we returned.  (Note that for the past two months or so I had trouble walking half a block because of extreme back and hip pain.)  The result: no change in my cervix and the contractions were less frequent, but the baby had dropped a bit more.


"Wake Me Up When September Ends"


I had contractions on and off from then until the end of September but never too painful to handle while at home.  I desperately wanted to be done being pregnant (remember PUPPPs) and seriously considered getting induced.  I bounced on an exercise ball to help start things up (and it worked for me!).

hydroelectric waterfall
Picture this... in bed.
[Photo credit: grendelkhan]
At exactly 4:00am on October 1, my water broke in a huge flood on the bed, waking me up (cue Green Day!).  The night before I was pretty sure I had heard a "pop!" and pressure change in the upper part of my belly.  I was in such shock that I couldn't get myself out of bed until the waters reduced to a trickle, meanwhile trying to wake up Lucas.

What a mess!  I sure didn't expect things to start that way for me.  Lucas rushed me off to the bathroom while he started to clean up the bed.  I sat on the toilet to let more trickle out before I jumped in to the shower to quickly clean myself up.


The Labor

Within an hour we were at the hospital and my contractions had started.  We had to stop a few times from the car to the hospital wing for me to breathe through my contractions.  When they checked my cervix I was 6 centimeters!  I was immediately transferred to a delivery room.

While Lucas was carrying our things from room to room, I sat on the toilet to relieve myself... except I couldn't.  I instead had the urge to push and couldn't urinate or have a bowel movement like what I was expecting.  Lucas helped me onto the hospital bed and I laid on my back to help myself resist pushing.  I spent most of my labor on my back and a short time leaning over the top of the bed on my hands and knees because I didn't feel comfortable in upright positions.  I felt really light-headed and dizzy whenever I was upright and thought I was going to faint several times.

Within two hours I was 8 centimeters along and having difficulty controlling the urge to push.  It was so difficult for me to resist that I began swaying my legs and hips side to side to help distract myself.  I concentrated hard on relaxing my entire body and breathing evenly through the contractions.

I was checked frequently until I was 10 centimeters.  Finally, I was allowed to push!  I did a sitting squat for pushing, part of the time anchoring myself on the squat bar with my legs.  I think I pushed for at least an hour.  Man, am I grateful for the breaks between contractions!  I was asked if I wanted an oxytocin injection to help things move along faster and I didn't hesitate to refuse - I liked my breaks, thank you very much!

But when it was the "ring of fire" stage, I very much wanted that to be over as quick as possible.  The pain really does burn!  And then you have to endure the stretching pain during the breaks between contractions.  When I was pushing through it I wasn't thinking at all about what I was getting (boy or girl), just that there was a head of hair coming out and I wanted it out now!  I didn't want to touch the head but I did it anyway.  How strange to feel!

I did the small pushes as quick as I could once the head was nearly out.  The baby slipped out easily enough once the head and shoulders came out.  The extra pain to push out the bigger parts was minimal and lasted for only a second or two because of how quickly I pushed.  The umbilical cord was unwrapped from around the baby's neck and cries were heard right away.

The gender was announced and the purple-grey baby with brown hair was laid immediately on my chest skin-to-skin, as requested.  Dark blue eyes stared up at me.  Lucas cut the cord and then the baby was whisked away because I wasn't responding to anyone.

I was so exhausted and in shock after giving birth that I couldn't speak.  I was shaky and my legs were cramped up from the pushing stage.  After a short break to stretch out my legs and let my body get ready, I pushed out the placenta - so much easier than a baby, but my body was quite sore by now so it still hurt to push it out.  I was so out of it that I didn't notice an injection of Pitocin into my thigh to help speed up getting the placenta out.

I had some superficial tearing that was stitched up immediately after the placenta came out, but there was more severe tearing deeper inside that required surgery.  Surgery sure didn't sound so scary after going through child birthing!  Lucas took the baby and four hours later we were reunited in the maternity unit.  I think things took longer on my side of events in the recovery room because I was hemorrhaging and birthed a small amount of placenta that didn't come out earlier.

It's a Girl!

My labor lasted a total of 6.5 hours from the time my water broke to the birth of a healthy, beautiful daughter, Tevia Hazel Ogrins at 10:39am.  She weighed 8 lbs 7.6 oz, and measured 21.75 inches in length.

1-day-old Tevia Hazel

She is actually fairly dark-skinned for a white person (darker than both of us).  She has my legs and feet, long fingernails, and looks a lot like I did as a baby.  She has Lucas's ears and a combination of our lips and noses.
October 12, 2014: "She is so cute and skinny.  Her legs are as long as my forearm.  Everyone says she is super cute, cuter than most babies."

Mommy and Baby Tevia


Reflection

October 11, 2014: "I'm still a little in shock over the whole experience.  When I look back on it, it seems so much scarier than it really was.  I was actually very calm and felt right about it all as it was happening.  I refused medication and Pitocin because I wanted a natural birth experience.  I think Dr. A. and the nurses were impressed and pleased with how well I handled everything."
I'm very pleased with myself that I went through the entire experience without pain relievers.  (I felt like a wimp later though when I took pain relievers for the healing stage.)  I also had a short enough labor (due to early dilation) that I was able to bear the pain.

As hard as labor is, I preferred child birthing than being pregnant.  But that's from my experience.

Our little family


If you've had babies, how did your labor go for each?  Did anything special or unique happen in your experiences?

Next week's topic: [Dream Home Floor Plans: 2-Story Library & Indoor Playground]

Monday, 18 January 2016

My First Pregnancy

I feel guilty to have this opinion, but I do not recommend getting pregnant.  Of course, this is entirely based on my (terrible) experience so don't make any decision based on this account alone.  I just want to share my experience and explain how it has affected me and whatever decision I make as to whether or not to expand our little family.

"Morning Sickness"

I felt nauseous all the time for the first 3 months or so.  I rarely vomited - unfortunately.  (What a relief when I did!)  I had no appetite but was always starving, and if I didn't eat immediately once my stomach started grumbling, the nausea was unbearable!  Almost all scents triggered nausea as well, so cooking was left to Lucas most of the time (while I hid in the bedroom).

I began to dread tutoring because I felt sick so frequently.  It seemed to get worse whenever I was stressed.  Eventually I stopped tutoring in April 2014.  Other community activities like choir and partner dance lessons had to be put on hold as well since I was getting sick more often than not.

I often stayed in bed most of the day reading books to distract myself from the nausea and the depression that began to set in.  Lucas checked in on me whenever he could, sometimes to the expense of missing school.

photo credit: Alison via photopin (license)


My First Journal Entry About Depression

April 6, 2014:  "Over the last three months I have steadily been growing more and more depressed, manic, dark, hopeless, defeated.  You may not likely have noticed this since most of my entries as of late have been about my better days.  Especially in the last week my mood swings were becoming unbearable.  I felt like a crazy person, being ripped up inside, wanting so desperately to be happy but having no hope.  On Friday [April 4] it was really bad and delayed Lucas and I getting to [my hometown to visit family].  I was close to having suicidal thoughts (or at least afraid that I might cross that line) and I didn't know what to do anymore.  When Lucas got home [from school] I unloaded on him that it was no longer grief about moving to [our current home], that it had gone so far that it didn't matter where we went, I had no hope that I'd be the former Kristina I was in [my hometown], doing the good I had been doing.  I told him I needed help because I'm so far gone I feel unable to get back on my own. ...
 "I remember crying and Lucas comforting me and telling me to just let it all out.  Eventually I calmed down enough that he turned off the light [to go to sleep].  I can't remember very much of what was said last night [April 5], but I do remember that I began crying again and eventually said I didn't want to continue being tormented by these evil spirits (and there was even some relief in just saying this because I had just identified why I had been feeling so terrible and helpless).  Lucas verified what I said and I told him I was pretty sure there were two or three evil spirits attacking me (I don't know how I was able to identify this).  Lucas asked me if he could say a prayer for me and then rebuked the spirits for tormenting his wife and to never return in the name of Christ.  I instantly felt lighter, and sobbing again I hugged Lucas and thanked him.  I already felt different and hopeful for a bright future.  I climbed out of bed and offered a prayer of thanks.  I felt now that saying my prayers and reading scriptures wasn't so hard (like the way it used to be) and that I really would be able to do the good, righteous things I used to do.  When I climbed back into bed and closed my eyes I kept seeing pure white and I felt happy and pure.  It was like being baptized and feeling clean again.  It was such a purifying experience and now I've been able to feel the Spirit so much easier (like I used to) and have the yearning and enthusiasm to read my scriptures, etc.  I think I might have slowly fallen trap because of small inconsistencies in keeping the commandments but also because of the effects of pregnancy on my mind and body, like the dreams I was having.  For a while I hadn't been feeling like myself but now I'm really glad that it is over."
So I thought.  That was just the first deep, dark pit of my depression.  I was fortunate to have the blessing of being lifted out of that hole and back on level ground for a time.
April 24, 2014:  "[Lucas] came home to me having terrible crying fits.  I've decided to meet with the Bishop about all of these episodes (possibly depression?).  It's only been less than a month since I was released from those evil spirits, but I still wind up in the same hole.  I'm stuck again, but I don't think I'm necessarily being tormented by demons."
By the time I wrote this entry I had started to research about depression during pregnancy.  I now began to shift my original perceptions of depression as an explanation for demonic possession to being an actual illness in the brain.

Near the beginning of May 2014 I hit my next deep pit of depression.  I won't go into details, but it was really hard pretending nothing was wrong when we had friends and family over.  I kept my depression a secret (even from my family) for a long time.  Lucas was my only true support.

There were times when the depression was so bad that I couldn't be left alone, even in the bathroom.  I was so afraid that I'd do something stupid and terrible like overdose.  But I always knew that if I did commit suicide, I'd be a murderer as well.  The best thing at that time in my prenatal depression was that my baby was alive and I was still alive (though somewhat reluctantly).


Feeling Baby Move

Finally some happy news.  First hearing the baby's heartbeat at my first obstetrician appointment and then feeling movement!
April 24, 2014:  "Today was the first time I felt the baby move inside me!  Actually, the first recognized movements.  I've felt them a few times before but didn't realize what it was.  To make sure it wasn't gas inside of me I turned from one side to the other to see if it shifted, which it did.  I generally have to be quite still and laying down to notice them.  I also shone a flashlight on my belly and felt movements.  I can feel them in my left side right now."
June 9, 2014:  "...it's been very fun feeling this baby kick.  Sometimes the kicks or pressure kind of hurts or feels funny (like directing towards the cervix or bladder [or bellybutton]).  Sometimes I can see the movements on my belly.  Lucas has been able to feel the stronger kicks since 20 or 21 weeks (I am on week 23 now)."
Even more exciting was my first ultrasound!  We chose not to find out the gender.

Reaching for [her] toes!
The "Thinker" Pose

I had a second ultrasound at 32 weeks to check my low placenta.  I didn't mind because it gave me another opportunity to see my baby!
August 12, 2014:  "...this baby is exceptionally large in regards to the head size (but also pretty big everywhere else) - in the 98th percentile.  Apparently big heads run in the Ogrins side. ... And the movements I feel are very strong and frequent."
August 23, 2014:  "I wanted to add to the ultrasound results that [Baby] has huge lips (they look bigger than the nose in my opinion) and my feet (long, narrow and with the second toe longer than the big toe)!  The lips part would be inherited from Lucas since he has big, luscious lips haha..."

Big lips like Lucas!
Long second toe like me!


Other Uncomfortable Symptoms

In addition to common pregnancy symptoms like dizziness, forgetfulness, fatigue, frequent bathroom trips, etc., I also dealt with severe heartburn that required medication, terrible back and hip aches made worse by my scoliosis, a huge belly with stretch marks, and immense weight gain (about 70 lbs).
July 28, 2014:  "I am 30 weeks pregnant today and whoopie for pregnancy brain - I forgot to go to my appointment!  ... Good thing I haven't been having any issues with anything except heartburn (which I can pick up a prescription for this evening).  And I had even been talking about this appointment for days but thought nothing of it until I was in the shower shortly after [the time] my appointment was booked for."
September 14, 2014:  "...about a day or two before my last entry [August 30] I went to the hospital to get checked out for some abdominal pain.  I think I may have torn a lot of abdominal muscle due to stretching and baby kicks and pushes.  I had such terrible pain that no position was comfortable or relieving in any way.  They monitored me for a while and it showed that I was having contractions but they were all painless.  I was sore for quite a few days after."

And then the worst symptom of all (other than depression)...


PUPPPs

From mid-September until about 2 months after Tevia was born (so a total of about 3 months) I suffered immensely from the uncommon, detestable PUPPPs rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy).  I had a very severe case in which I considered getting induced and also endured the rash for much longer than normal (for most women it clears up soon after giving birth).

Final belly photo!  I was a whale of a woman!
PUPPPs usually appears in the last few weeks of pregnancy in less than 1% of first-time pregnancies on average.  Its cause is unknown but frequently occurs in first pregnancies of women who have large bellies or gained a lot of weight during their pregnancy (me, me, me!).  It's not dangerous but extremely annoying (to say the very least).

This hive-like rash starts out in the stretch marks on the belly and spreads to the rest of the body, sparing the face, bellybutton, palms of hands, and soles of feet.  I had it everywhere possible and it was so unbearably itchy that I had multiple panic attacks and couldn't sleep unless Lucas held me so that I couldn't scratch anything.  It was worse if I was hot, if my clothes rubbed the affected areas, and if I did happen to scratch it.

Since it doesn't look too pretty, I'll just leave you to look up images of it on Google...  Or just don't.



Future Pregnancies?

July 16, 2014:  "I have been very reluctant to write in my journal this pregnancy.  It has been a very hard road and there are many things that I would rather not remember...  I've just started out in my third trimester and the last month has been going so much better.  I have energy most days; my mood swings are minimal and mostly only appear when I'm tired, hungry, or hot; and I'm motivated to do certain things that I used to like to do.  Within the last two weeks I actually have started to feel like me again, emotionally and spiritually (to some degree), just with a belly full of baby.  I am concerned still about how any following pregnancies will go.  I really don't want to experience depression like that again (and hopefully I don't get postpartum depression either).  Lucas and I are going to try to plan things so that pregnancy and moving to a new place don't overlap, especially in the first half of pregnancy.  It made things really hard on me adjusting to a new environment while not feeling like myself (it's really hard to make friends if you feel like you don't know who you are)."
I still am not keen on enduring another pregnancy, especially if I have to suffer through depression and PUPPPs again.  Fortunately, no pregnancy is ever the same even for one woman, but there is no guarantee that I won't experience these things again.


To the women who read this post:
If you've been pregnant before, how was your experience?  If you haven't, what are your feelings and expectations about getting pregnant?

To the men who read this post: 
Please support any woman who ever gets pregnant, especially if they are pregnant with your baby!

Next week's topic: [Tevia's Birth Story]

For more information about PUPPPs:
Fit Pregnancy | Pregnancy Rash: Is it PUPPPs?
Pregnancy Corner | PUPPP Rash During Pregnancy

Monday, 11 January 2016

Life Before Postpartum Depression

In order for you to truly see how depression affected me, I must tell you about life before the mental plague took me down.  I say that 2013 was the absolute best year of my life; 2014 was the absolute worst.  This is not an exaggeration.

By the end of 2013, I had accomplished many great things to my benefit:
  • I was recently married.
  • I finished university a semester early.
  • I enjoyed tutoring math to many wonderful individuals.
  • I enjoyed teaching beginner piano lessons to a little girl.
  • I had many, many good and close friends that I socialized with often.
  • I felt that I had a close relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
  • I enjoyed studying the scriptures, praying, and going to church.
  • I lived very close to my loving family.

I was so enthusiastic about starting a new, exciting life in a new city with my new husband the following year.  I wrote in my journal the first day in our new ward:

"Oh, life is so good here!  Everyday I've been so content and happy and blessed.  I've loved being able to relax and be with Lucas."

Ogrins_0069
Oh, happy day!
Photo credit: John Greep

I was sad to not be able to tutor my previous students (who had become dear, young friends of mine!), but was hired to start tutoring math again almost immediately.  I also started to make friends (or at least acquaintances) and started to get involved in the community and at church.

I knew it was important to set goals for myself to help me settle into a new place and I now had time to do the many things I wanted to do for so long.  I got started right away on developing talents, skills, and just trying to be a better person.

I was then pleased to find out I became pregnant very shortly after we moved.  By the beginning of February 2014, I was already feeling the effects of pregnancy hormones: mood swings and nausea.

Sadly, it all goes downhill from there...

Have you had a distinct change from absolute joy to absolute despair that happened within a relatively short time? What caused it?

Next week's topic: [My First Pregnancy]