Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eight

My girl turned 8.  I'm still trying to figure out how it happened.  Certain memories are so vivid, but I've realized the majority of her toddler-hood has faded for me.  I've spent time lamenting the fact that I didn't document more of her.  Although it's been difficult figuring out motherhood with her, I'd go back and start over again in a minute and do things better.  I'd take more videos. The one or two snippets I have of her cute little voice melt me.  I'd document more of the adorably clever things she said.  I'd give her more of myself.  I'd be more patient and loving and kind.  I'd soak her in.  I feel like it's a gift she's given me in growing up too quickly- realizing how fast the time passes has helped me to enjoy her and her siblings more through each stage.  

She currently would wear a side ponytail everyday if I'd let her.  She's currently pining for colored skinny jeans and loves to accessorize.  She currently is improving at the piano and it's really starting to click for her.  She desires to do the right thing.  She's thoughtful and kind.  She's a fantastic big sister.  She is losing her status as my best eater as she's developed some pickiness, but she usually still eats even with a little complaining.  She draws several pictures a day and writes all sorts of stories and notes.  She loves to read and when she has a new book, it's usually finished in a day.  

I'm so proud of who she is and who she's becoming.  Next week she'll be baptized, and I'm so excited for her.  I'm so happy to be her mom.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A few Christmas snippets

I'm sad that Christmas has come and gone without mention here on the blog, let alone jotting down a few memories.  Every year I feel like I've planned ahead and then every year I'm still right back where I was the year before with a frantic pace from one birthday to a Christmas party to another birthday to another Christmas party until we hit the finish line of Christmas day.  Only half of my neighbor gifts have been delivered- I'm still working on those and they're turning into New Years gifts for those who haven't received one yet.  Aside from that, everything made it on time including a birthday party full of 7 and 8 year old girls 3 days before Christmas, but more on that later.

This year I missed a few traditions that we've done in the past, although we also added a few new ones.  Our tree didn't go up until December 16th, nine days before Christmas and way too late for my liking.  Not only was it way too late, but we set it up in the basement this year.  Next year I am determined to have one upstairs and one downstairs.  That was my plan for this year, but I was lucky to get one tree up with the way the month went.  One of the things that keeps me most grounded during the season is sitting by the tree each night in the glow of the Christmas lights.  I think the fact that it was in the basement and the fact that it went up so late and the fact that I've been so busy all contributed, but I think sitting by the tree only happened once for me this year, and I felt the void.  Next year will be better.

Christmas was quiet and lovely.  We opened presents and the kids were delighted.  We visited my dad. I spent the afternoon cooking dinner and we arrived at my in-laws around 4:30 to eat.  Instead of a formal affair, we ended up with a Christmas picnic for my mother-in-law who is still recovering from her surgery.  We had a nice visit and then came home, skyped with my mom, and headed to bed.

The past few days have been spent in pajamas playing with new toys, snacking all day until dinner, and enjoying the lack of structure.  A ton of snow has been even more reason to stay home.  All of the play dates I was planning on haven't happened, but I've really enjoyed hanging out with my own little family.

Hope your Christmas was merry and bright.  I am grateful as always for the birth of my Savior.  Last Sunday we did the nativity with the children at church with full costumes and a stable.  It was a great way to focus on what is really most important at Christmas- the birth of a baby sent to change the world.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Life

I've thought a lot about life for the past two days.  The events in Connecticut are overwhelming and difficult to comprehend.  Hearing the news became a moment when time stopped.  A few hours earlier I was with Nellie at her 6 month check-up finding out how my girl is growing and delighting in her development.  Shortly after I received an email with some good news from a friend in difficult circumstances.  A few hours later I received news about the chemotherapy schedule for my mother-in-law: 6 months of treatment.  So much good and bad in one day.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with all of the bad and hard and hurtful and evil things in the world.  Other times I am overcome by the goodness and love and kindness and peace that still exist.  Life is full of both, but sometimes it's hard to recognize the good and not let the knowledge of the bad seep into every thought.  

I laid in bed last night and talked to the husband about all sorts of things.  We played name that tune with the magic piano app on his iPad for way too long and talked about things we need to improve on and the coming Christmas celebrations and how to make our home a refuge and protect our children in today's world.  Events like yesterday make me want to never leave my safe haven, but living my life in fear is letting evil win.  I choose to live my life with faith instead, working hard to add a little good to the world and to teach and love and protect my family the best I can.  

I loved the message of this video.  Although the trial is completely different than what is currently being experienced in Newtown, the message that the Savior will hold us during our most difficult Christmases is my prayer for all of those affected by this tragedy.  


Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Charlie boy


Today my Charlie turns 3.  I am in love with this little boy.  He has a big personality to match his ever-growing body.  He is quite the ham and loves to charm everyone around him.  He loves to read.  He loves his siblings.  He adores his dad.  After we drop everyone off in the morning he asks if we can go pick them up.  It's followed by, "Where's Dad?" "At work." "Still?"  He loves routines and his blankets and singing and dancing and Daniel Tiger.  When I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he thought about it for a few minutes and then with great enthusiasm and his squinty smile he enthused, "CAKE!"  I asked if he wanted anything else, thinking maybe he'd come up with a desired toy, and his reply was, "DONUTS!"  He's got a definite sweet tooth. He's sweet and sensitive to the needs of those around him, and if he senses any sort of pain or distress he's quick to say "I'm sorry" and make sure you're ok.  I have loved 2 year old Charlie deeply, and I can't wait to continue to watch this boy grow.

---
In other news, I can't believe it's December.  Thanksgiving was wonderful.  My heart has definitely been full of gratitude, but I wasn't very good about documenting it.  I have been trying to do too much on my own lately instead of relying on heavenly help, and it's caused me to make things a lot harder than they need to be.  I'm working on it, taking one thing at a time in the next several weeks of craziness, and knowing that things will go much more smoothly when I include the Lord in my life.  I'm excited to celebrate Him this month!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Honesty

It's good to be back.   We spent last week in Disneyland.  It was a great semi-impromptu trip that was desperately needed, and I'm so glad things fell into place so we could have some family fun and time to decompress.

When we had Nellie in June, things were great.  I loved our slow-paced summer, and although adding another member to our family was an adjustment for all of us, we all seemed to be adjusting and things were going well.  Over the past several months, I've seen myself become more and more on edge.  It got to the point of almost constant irritation mixed with bouts of being completely overwhelmed.  One day while in a state of frustration, I had an impression that this was not normal, and that this is postpartum depression.  I never reached the point of wanting to harm myself or the baby, so I assumed all was well and didn't recognize that this could manifest itself in many ways.  But here I am, feeling so relieved that I was able to recognize and acknowledge what was happening, and hopeful that I can start to pull out of this.  I have gained so many insights in the past several weeks, and I'm hoping to share some of them soon.  I don't feel like I've totally closed this chapter yet, but I'm getting closer to the end.

This is a humbling post to write, but I've felt a need to put it out there.  I hope that others can realize that being sad is not the only symptom.  I hope others can realize that it's ok to be honest and not always feel the need to cover things up and put on a brave face and preserve appearances.  I think this is why I've withdrawn from blogging and friends and life in general.  But I'm putting the pieces back together and learning all along the way.

Hope you're enjoying this week!  I'm on turkey brining duty, and I'm excited for Thanksgiving preparations.  So much to look forward to!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

learning

Today I am grateful for struggles.  They humble me to my shoe-tops.  They teach me about myself, about those around me, and about my Savior.  They stretch me and shape me and smooth out the rough edges.  They help me rely on others.  They help me be independent.  They drain everything out of me.  They fill me with compassion.  They show me how weak I am.  They show me my strength.  They give me exactly what I need to become who I'm meant to be.  I'm grateful for a Master Teacher who loves me enough to let me struggle and teaches me everything I need to know along the way.

Monday, November 5, 2012

waste not

Yesterday I roasted a chicken.  We enjoyed it with roasted vegetables and I decided I could eat roasted vegetables everyday forever.  Last night I put what was left of the chicken in the crockpot with a bit of this and a dash of that and woke up to homemade chicken broth this morning.  Tonight we had tortilla soup for dinner tonight.  I am grateful that I have skills to stretch one meal into a few.  I am grateful that I enjoy cooking for our family.  There are times when I do not, and those weeks are miserable.  Usually it takes just powering through the rut and making one really delicious meal and I'm back in the groove again.  I am grateful that I can buy groceries and that my children don't know hunger.  I am grateful for the comfort and love that can be shown through a meal.  I am grateful for the privilege I have to make meals for my family.

Friday, November 2, 2012

family support

Today we spent some time with extended family.  I am grateful for wonderful family members.  I am lucky to be surrounded by wonderful adults (and wonderful kids!) who are funny and thoughtful and kind and inspiring.
A close family member was diagnosed with cancer today.  While we're still reeling from this news, I know that we will rely on each other for support and make it through.  We're fasting together on Sunday and will feel the blessing of many united through prayer.  I am grateful to be part of a family where we can pull together and lift each other up during our trials.  I know things will be ok because we have each other.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

perspective

Today I am grateful for the crazy.  An old friend came to visit today during the busiest hours of my day-the after school hustle and bustle with kids wanting snacks and homework to be done and everyone tired and hungry and figuring out dinner and just feeling done.  I sat and visited with her and let dinner slide (we landed ourselves at Which Wich where she helped me corral everyone).  Seeing her perspective and interactions with my kids was exactly what I needed.  She was enthusiastic over their every accomplishment.  She was charmed by Charlie's constant energy and long conversations.  She validated Sam's attempts to repeatedly do the states and capitals puzzle in faster and faster times.  She was genuinely interested in Addie's latest comings and goings.  She held Nellie and ooh-ed and aww-ed over how precious she is.

I will admit that I feel like I've been drowning lately with four kids.  I am consistently behind right now in many facets of life.  I feel like I'm treading water constantly but can never quite get enough energy to get back to a regular paced swim. It's probably contributed to a bit of quiet here- in part because I don't have time to blog, and in part because I don't feel like I have much inspiring to say.

Watching my single friend take in my daily scene, dirty floors and all (she came while I was mid-vacuum), and revel in my children made me realize how lucky I have it.  Even though I feel like I'm in the crazy right now, I am grateful for the crazy.  I wouldn't trade it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gratitude

I sure didn't try to leave the last post up for so long, but somehow it happened.  I haven't necessarily felt that much better about several of those sad things, so there it sat.  But I'm determined to turn the frown upside down starting now.  I'm planning to blog something I'm thankful for all month long for the month of November.  I'd like to say it will happen everyday, but committing to things like that is a sure way to set myself up for failure, so I'll say that it will happen most days, and if I'm lucky it just may be everyday.  I need to remember these things right now.  Hopefully I'll record a few other tidbits along the way that I've been wanting to write about.  Despite the hard things, life really is beautiful, and I need to focus on the good right now.  I'll be back here tomorrow.   


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A few thoughts

Pardon me while I indulge in a little sad tonight.  If you're here for my regular dose of happy, skip this post.

I feel sad because after a month of our major food overhaul, I'm left scratching my head and trying to recreate a new plan for eating.  The husband was losing weight that he can't afford to lose.   My milk supply is on the down turn (and then I spent tonight reading articles from breastfeeding sources about low-carb eating not being great for nursing, despite paleo sites reporting the opposite, and obviously finding I'm in the camp it doesn't work for).  Nursing my babies is a priority to me, and sitting here with the potential of losing that privilege is breaking my heart.  I'm starting fenugreek and reintroducing carbs (although they're currently making me feel pretty crappy) and hoping for a magical increase in milk production.

I feel sad because this was our plan for healing, and now we have no plan.  This was our hope after the husband spending 14 years without much hope in relation to a cure.  I feel sad because the last several weeks have been killer trying to make this work.  I've been quiet on the blog because all spare time was devoted to food preparation, recipe finding, and researching these new diets.  I feel sad because it feels like all of that work has proven unfruitful, and it's frustrating.

I feel sad because I'm surrounded by family members and friends in the middle of hard things.  Although I know that hard things make us stronger, hard things are important for growth, hard things help us become who we're supposed to be, it's still hard to watch people we love get hurt and know there's nothing we can do.

I feel sad because there are decisions I need to make and things I need to do and sometimes I feel totally paralyzed to do so.  I over think until I don't trust any of my own thoughts and can't seem to find clarity and resolution.

I feel sad because I've been really messing it up in the mom department lately.  I read a post this morning from Stephanie that totally resonated with me regarding measuring our daily successes in motherhood.  I completely agree with many if not all of her questions to review the day and see how I feel about how things have gone.  But I feel sad because there are not many days recently when I've accomplished very many things on those lists of questions.  Simple things like being kind to my kids and taking care of our home are somehow not really happening consistently.  There are always things to improve on.  Always.  But sometimes I feel sad when I think about my kids deserving so much more than what I am giving them.

I'll be back soon with some happy thoughts.  Don't worry, I still have them.  :)  I am usually pretty optimistic and can always find the silver linings, but for tonight, this is reality, and I'm taking a little time to be sad.






Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mini milestones


adorable word art via
There are a few things I love about this weekend.  The weekend after October general conference was when the husband and I went on our first date 11 years ago.  The weekend after October general conference was when we moved into our home 7 years ago.  I love remembering.  I love marking milestones, however big or small they may be.

In other milestone news, Addie bore her testimony today in sacrament meeting for the first time.  Nellie is laughing and smiling and developing a cute little personality.  Sam is reading like a champ and having friends at school and really blossoming.  Charlie is continuing to be a ham and telling me "I'm sorry" 50 times a day for the smallest infractions in a very sincere and endearing way.

I love this family.  Things are not always easy, but the good outweighs the bad.  Hope you had a happy weekend and maybe enjoyed a few milestones of your own.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Full Heart +Heavy Heart

fantastic free printable summing up my thoughts from fifth and hazel

I have a lot on my mind, tonight. This weekend was general conference.  The opening credits were barely starting yesterday and my eyes were already full of tears.  I needed conference this weekend.  Oh, how I needed it.  The messages shared are always exactly what I need to hear.  I needed to fill my cup.

My heart has been heavy this week thinking about my friend Mimi.  Her sweet daughter Mia was the recipient of a donor heart when she was 4 months old, and as a happy, thriving 4-year-old, they left for Disneyworld this week.  They were on a make-a-wish trip, but after they arrived Mia got sick and they discovered her heart was in rejection.  Today they were going to remove Mia from life support.  I cannot imagine the pain.  John and Mimi were married the same day as us and we entered our married student ward at the same time.  Knowing that their life together mirrors our own in many ways (4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, 10 years of marriage), it's hit so close to home and reminded me how precious life really is.  I don't want to take one thing for granted.  I don't want to waste one day with contention or unkindness or pettiness.  I want to fill my days with love.  

Tonight I am keeping my family close and reflecting on the messages of the weekend, the joys and sorrows of life, and the things that really matter.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Overhaul

hoping this applies to my current situation, via

Last week the husband met with his doctor.  About a month ago we learned that the heavy doses of steroids he's been on over the years for his Crohn's have killed his bones, and he has osteoporosis.  He met with a new family practice doctor to take over that portion of his care.  After running an extensive lab panel, the doctor had some suggestions for changing his diet that will hopefully improve his bones and overall health.

These are some big time changes.  I feel like we're pretty much overhauling the way we eat.  The doctor suggested implementing any/all/a combination of the following diets: GAPS, FODMAPS, or Paleo.  While they each have their own specifics, they share the commonality of pretty much no grains or legumes, no sugar, limited dairy, you know, misery.  My kids love beans.  Hummus is eaten on a regular basis.  Life without bread is going to be a change.  Ice cream has been my favorite food since I was big enough to talk.  Pat and I regularly end the night with a sugary treat.  Life changes for sure.

I spent the weekend feeling a combination of overwhelmed sorting through all of this nutritional info and deep sorrow thinking about life without chicken pot pie or cornbread with my chili or homemade pizza (dare I try a cauliflower crust?!?) or our favorite enchiladas or tortillas in general or pitas or rolls at thanksgiving or dessert or on and on.  I'm sure that sounds dramatic, but food is such a huge part of my identity as one who tries to make good food, and it's been sad to think about abandoning some of our favorite recipes.  I'm sure we'll gain some new ones.

I'm also really hopeful.  I truly believe that food can heal, and I have hope that all of the pesky health issues we've dealt with can maybe be gone, from little things like allergies to bigger ones like asthma to even bigger ones like Crohn's.  I'm hopeful that we can re-introduce sourdough bread given some of it's health properties after our initial cleanse, but I'm sure the things we will/won't eat will evolve over time as we experiment with what brings us our best health.  

I suppose I can look back and see the ways I've been preparing for this over the years, from dealing with food allergies for my boys to cooking a strict diet for my dad to eliminating dairy while nursing.  I'm happy that I can get creative in the kitchen and figure out some new things.  I've made batch one of bone broth.  I made a new dinner recipe tonight that was decent and surprisingly filling.  I'm getting ready to clean out my pantry of anything processed and refill it with our new and improved foods.

I feel kind of crazy.  I'm sure this sounds crazy.  But I have hope.  I'll let you know how it goes.  If anyone has any experience/recommendations/condolences (ha!) feel free to weigh in.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Currently...

I'm currently wanting one of these and am filled with an urgent need to learn embroidery (found via Leslie's pinterest from this great Etsy shop)

- I'm still re-reading the amazing comments from my last post.  There is wisdom in those words.  Thank you, friends, for sharing how you try to balance it all and reminding me how to be in the moment with my kids.  I'm doing much better and just trying to focus on the things I can do instead of letting my thoughts get tangled up in the things I can't.

- I'm finishing up some of the produce shared by generous friends and neighbors.  Tomatoes with a little salt+pepper=lunch perfection.

-I'm getting caught up after a few days away.  We went to Boise to visit my family and friends.  While there, I was able to attend one day of Time out for Women.  What a fantastic day- I'm sure I'll have more thoughts to share from insights I've learned.  More than anything, it motivated me to tell my story, so hopefully that means I'll be carving out time to write here more often.  At least I'm motivated again with good intentions, we'll see if they come to fruition!

-I'm enjoying the still-warm but slightly cooler temps.  I love the seasons, but part of me thinks I'd be fine to move somewhere with moderate weather year-round.

-I'm daydreaming about moving in general.  I am very content where I am.  We're not going anywhere anytime soon.  But part of me would love to pick up tomorrow and move to a neighborhood that has kids and families.  A girl can dream, right?

- I'm listening to the incessant chatter of my favorite two year old.  He's informed me that today is my birthday, so it's time for me to go join him for my party.

Happy day to all of you!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

adjusting

fantastic sentiment from illustrator Charlotte Trounce

Now that school has started, I'm in an interesting place.  My dreams of productivity are a far cry from reality.  My schedule goes something like: wake up, feed the baby, get the kids ready, drop off kids at school, feed the baby, do some dishes/laundry or run an errand, pick-up Sam, feed the baby, try to get kid(s) to nap, start dinner preparation or do more laundry or make phone calls or clean a bathroom, pick up Addie, feed the baby, make dinner, get everyone ready for bed, feed the baby, put the kids to bed, try to do a few more productive things, fall into bed. 

I lamented to the husband a few nights ago that it's a bad thing for a woman when she doesn't feel productive.  I'm having a hard time letting go of all the things I thought I'd be accomplishing and embracing the reality of my days right now.  I've watched some of my friends move past this stage and into the place where kids are becoming more independent and dreams of productivity are becoming reality.  I realize that everyone has their own timetable, but I feel left behind in some ways, like I should be moving at that new faster pace but I have two littles holding me back.  And then I feel a million percent guilty for even having that thought.  I love having kids at home with me!  I am so grateful for these wonderful people I spend my days with.  And I'm not sure that this is the end of this chapter for our family- this stage may stretch on for a few more years.  It excites me and stresses me out all at the same time.  

This time of year is a transition for everyone.  We've had one week of both kids in school, I'm sure that I'll start to find my groove more, but I'm kind of tired of feeling like we can't move beyond the bare minimum of household functioning.  When I think about what I'm wanting, it's silly that I even have these feelings.  I want to feel more on top of things at home.  Why?  To make things better for my family.  But isn't my family what I'm wanting the break from?  I want to have more time to help others.  But helping others?  Why can't I feel more content helping those within my own home?  Oh, the irony.  

It's time for an a paradigm shift around here.  I have my work cut out for me.  If you've been in this place before, tell me what's worked for you.  I need a pep talk.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A few things



be nice
+
be you


1.  School has started and I'm kind of mopey.  There are so many good things about it, but it sure stresses me out at the same time.  When I pulled up in front of the school on Tuesday, I kid you not, "God be with you till we meet again" came on the cd player.  Thank you to The Lower Lights for making me totally lose it at drop off. 


2.  I'm beginning to mark things off the to-do list that have been hanging out there all summer.  I'm feeling the urge to purge and organize since we finished the basement and then had a baby and everything hasn't quite found its home again after those events.  Slowly but surely things will find a place around here.

3. I've had many late nights over the past couple of weeks.  I'm hoping this weekend proves restful.  Aside from celebrating the husband's birthday, it's free of plans.  Hooray!

4.  Sam starts kindergarten Tuesday.  I'm definitely more stressed about his first day then I was about Addie's.  He hasn't had a great first-day drop off ever.  Usually he's peeled off of me to attend whatever class he's headed to.  I'm hopeful he'll be awesome because I'm pretty sure no one will be there to peel him off of me this year.

5.  Last Sunday we had a special family night with back to school blessings.  The husband and I had been discussing what our hopes are for our kids this school year, and he talked about wanting them to really leave their comfort zones to make new friends and include everyone.  I talked about wanting them to stick to what they know to be right and to not worry about what everyone else is thinking about them.  We came up with our theme for the year, be nice+be you.  I'm hopeful they can work on these two principles throughout the year.

6.  All summer I said that I was ok with the fact I didn't plant a garden because I was too pregnant when I should have been planting.  Now that it's harvest time I'm a little sad about it.  I'm currently hoping stray produce will find its way to my doorstep.

7.  I made peach salsa last night with fish tacos.  I love peach season.

Hope you're enjoying the back-to-school/summer cool-down/garden harvest/slow weekend time of year.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A summer re-cap

I'm so behind on so many things, this blog just happens to be one of them.  I am in denial that it's August and we're entering the last week of summer break.  I'm having a hard time imagining the routine beginning again.

I keep feeling like there are so many things that I've wanted to do with my kids, things I've wanted to implement, goals I've hoped to achieve as a family, but for one reason or another those plans don't come to fruition.  A few weeks ago it donned on me that the time is now- if I want those things to happen I can't keep putting them off, because my time with my kids is racing by.

It is terrible and wonderful watching them grow up.  Wonderful to see the people they're becoming.  Terrible as they move from one stage to the next and I'm left with a pain in my heart at how quickly time passes and a pile of fading memories of cute little voices and quirky behaviors.  I'm sure postpartum hormones and Sam going to kindergarten this year have something to do with my extra-sentimental feelings.

This has been the summer of four kids.  There have been milestones in between- birthdays and anniversaries and blessing days.  There have been house guests using our guest room regularly and making me so glad we have more space to accommodate friends and family.  There have been parties.  Oh, there have been parties.  I still have traces of them around my house.  Two weeks ago I hosted a formal dinner party/30th birthday bash for a dear friend.  Maybe someday I'll share pictures.  It.was.awesome.  The end of that week we had Nellie's blessing and threw in a birthday cake for Pat's dad during our post-blessing family luncheon.  This week is our 3rd annual back to school party (also known as my attempt to distract myself from feeling sad about school starting).  The pace is picking up again, and I'm happy when I see commitment-free days on the calendar.  There are only a few left and I'm  hoping to fill them with a few more sprinklers and popsicles and movies and naps in between the dreaded job of finding school shoes- seriously the worst thing to shop for ever.

I'm hoping to get back here more to redefine this space and return to the reasons I started this blog in the first place.  It's taken on more of a family feel lately than I ever intended, but I suppose that's the stage of improving I'm in right now.  Every day I'm trying to be a better mom of four than I was the day before.  Every day I'm hoping our routine gets better and my kids learn something and something gets cleaned and good food is consumed and I don't go crazy or get too mean in the process.  There aren't very many lofty goals towards improvement right now, and moments of reflection and learning aren't happening with the same frequency they have in the past.  I'm sure they're coming soon.  And when they do you can bet I'll be back to share them.  In the mean time I'm sure there will be more family-style posts to come.  And besides, who wouldn't want to look at this cute face?


Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Decade

last summer with my love, picture by Melissa
While going through boxes of belongings a few months ago, attempting to get rid of the unnecessary since we were finishing our basement, I came across every church handout ever collected during my youth.  99.9% of things instantly made their way to the garbage, but there were a few things I came across that made me smile.  The list of qualities I'd like in a husband was one of those things that made me pause.  As I read through my teenage dreams about my future companion, I was blessed to realize I had found a man who embodied every one of them.  Hard-working, kind, generous, funny, he really is everything I wanted, but so much more.

We spent time with our kids on our anniversary last Friday having a picnic up the canyon.  There are few places that make me as happy.  As we walked down the path to Bridal Veil Falls, I took turns pushing the stroller, corralling Charlie to make sure he didn't wander towards the river, running with Sam, and talking to Addie.  I told her that I hoped one day she'd find someone to marry who was just as great as her dad.  She agreed and added her wish that she hopes he's cute.  It was a perfect day spent together as a family (kind of what we expected with a new baby), but plans for a future celebration with the two of us next year are something we look forward to.  

My eyes welled up over and over again last week, and even now, thinking about my marriage instantly produces grateful tears.  I think part of my emotions come from a sadness that those years are gone.  They were hard and crazy and full and beautiful.  We took time last Friday to reflect on how far we've come over the last decade.  We've each grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the tender care we give each other.  He helps me to be my best, teaching me to relax and enjoy and be kinder and more forgiving.  He is my best friend and biggest supporter.  I wish for my children to someday experience the same joy in marriage that I have found.  It is a sacred partnership, and I am blessed beyond measure.    

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bits of Heaven

A few weeks ago Sam and I were sitting together with Nellie.  She was (and still is) in the phase of figuring out how to focus, and she seemed intent on something, but it wasn't either of us.  Sam wasn't aware of this being a normal baby thing, and asked me what she was looking at.  I told him, half serious and half teasing, that she was probably looking at angels.  He paused and then very seriously asked me to please not talk about that again, and I tried to explain to him that it wasn't a bad thing at all.  I've been thinking a lot about angels among us.

Time with a new baby is so precious and is gone way too fast, but every time Nellie gets that far away look I think about her looking at angels.  I think there is a special bit of heaven with us with a newborn around.  Since my conversation with Sam, my mind keeps returning to the quote "If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates."  The pace of life is picking up again, and I'm reminded daily how much I need that privilege of feeling the association of angels.  I think part of feeling that association is keeping the pace slow enough that I have time to recognize it.

I recently re-read a favorite talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on angels. One part hit me in a new way as I read it: "From the beginning..., God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children."  I realized they're not necessarily here to help me through the overwhelming adjustment of having another child, although I'm sure they're concerned about that, too.  Instead, I think maybe part of feeling those bits of heaven is to help communicate to me the love God has for His child who has just come to join my family.  I think He tries to help us understand just how special each child is so we can try to love them as He does.

I feel so humbled to be a mother.  I have gone through a cycle as each child has come- doubting my abilities, but also desiring to improve in every way so I can be the best mom for my kids.  I'm sure these feelings are fairly universal among mothers, but I wanted to record the now so I can share it with my kids someday.

I have tried to soak up these newborn days when the depth of their worth is finding a place deep in my heart.  I have loved the last 6 weeks when I've had the opportunity to do it all over again.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A new pace

Nellie has been here for 2 1/2 weeks and it's hard to remember what life was like without her.  The kids are in love with her.  Addie summed it up one day when she told me that having a baby sister is way better than having a doll.  She loves being able to cuddle and kiss on Nellie.  Sam is often too busy playing, but when he comes around for his turn to hold her, I instantly melt.  He gives her his undivided attention and is totally sweet.  Charlie is still figuring out what it means to be a big brother.  He loves having jobs to do and is eager to help.  When Nellie cries he emphatically tells her to "shhh"  repeatedly, and he seems extremely worried to hear her upset.  His turns to hold her don't last long before he'd rather be off playing, but he gives her sweet, soft kisses regularly and seems happy to have her around.  

Last week the husband went back to work and I made it through the first week by myself with everyone.  Although our pace of life is currently quite a bit different than it was before, we're all enjoying it.  Addie and Sam are the best of friends right now and currently spend their days playing non-stop.  Charlie tags along until he's worn out mid-day and takes a nap.  On Monday we made a list together of things we'd like to accomplish each day, things we'd like to do during the week, and things we hope to do some time this summer.  Our lists included things for our bodies, our minds, and our home (based on ideas from the Power of Moms).  It's been nice to have a loose framework for our days, especially when things start to get crazy.  

The house is definitely not spic and span, but I'm feeling more motivation to get things in order with the chaos of the basement/remodel still very visible everywhere.  I'm easing back into making dinners and I've attempted a couple quick runs to the grocery store.  I'm hoping by the end of this week I'll have enough stamina for a big Costco trip.  

But even though things are still in the process of getting back to normal, I am reveling in these slow days.  I tend to have a hard time creating downtime.  I love making plans and usually when normal life doesn't have enough going on, I'm busy planning and filling our days with play dates and outings and activities.  It's nice to have a reason to slow down.  It makes me think about how I can incorporate more of these peaceful days when "real life" resumes and we're back to school and all the other busy things.  For now I'm just taking it a day at a time and enjoying the things that matter most.  

Hope you're finding yourself enjoying some slow days this summer!  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

30

great print via

Today I'm 30.  It feels like such a milestone, but also such a gift to be celebrating simply today.  I'm not planning on going anywhere.  There will be no adventurous plans to mark another decade.  Having 4 kids is adventure enough right now!  Instead the best gift is being able to spend a slow day surrounded by the ones I love.  I love that family time to just BE together.  I'm excited to soak it up.
I look back at where I was turning 20, and although I felt mature and became a bride a few weeks later, I have come a long way in the past ten years.  I'm sure in ten more I'll be saying the same thing.
Life is amazing- a gift to help us become who we are.  That's how I'm feeling at 30- like I'm become more and more myself with a greater calm and quiet confidence about it all.  I think it's also my goal as a mother to help my children become who they are.  Sometimes easier said than done, but I am constantly amazed at how our lives are tailored just for us to teach us- to help us reach our potential.  What a beautiful gift from the greatest Giver.  I've been reflecting on the life lessons I've learned so far- I've always been a bit nostalgic.  Without further ado:

30 things I know
1. People are more important than things.
2. We are stronger than we think we are.  Not just me, not just you- everyone.
3.  It's important to understand where we come from.
4.  The right people come into our lives at the right times.
5.  Forgiveness is one of the best gifts we can give to others, but an even better gift to give ourselves.
6.  I can't do everything.
7.  It's ok to ask for help.
8.  Relationships take work, but the best thing I've done in my strongest relationships is to let the little things go.  
9.  Some people just don't like you, and it's ok.
10.  Gratitude makes any situation seem better.
11.  My happiness is not dependent on anyone but me.
12.  There is tremendous joy found in nurturing.
13.  My worth is not measured by what I look like.
14.  My worth is not measured by how many items I check off my to-do list.
15.  It's important to let the little things go when it comes to frustrations, but it's equally important (or maybe even more?) to appreciate the little things that are good that make up a beautiful life.
16.  I can instantly feel better by focusing on others instead of myself.
17.  I'm really good at the learning part of things, but not always so good at the doing and applying what I've learned.  I have work to do to align the two.
18.  We do not have to let our past control our future.  Our circumstances do not define us.  There is always choice.
19.  Friendships make life so much sweeter.
20.  I'm learning to be quiet.  I can still stand for something with the way I live my life instead of thinking I need to shout about it.  But if I need to be vocal, I will.
21.  Nothing brings the same satisfaction as a day of hard work.
22.  I've never regretted trusting in the plan, even when it's scary to step into the dark.
23.  Faith is empowering.
24.  What's right for us during certain times isn't necessarily right at other times.
25.  A clean house makes me a happier person.
26.  Being a mom is harder than I ever thought.  Being a mom makes me happier than I ever thought.
27.  We can choose to change.  We are often the only thing holding us back from making those changes.
28.  Marriage has made everything seem possible.  I know I can do anything with my husband by my side.
29.  My life is improved in every way when I'm building my relationship with Jesus Christ.
30.  Time flies, and it feels like it's accelerating.  I want to treasure every day.

Happy Flag Day, friends.  Hope to be back soon with Nellie's birth story+ more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our Nellie



Eleanor Joy
June 7, 1:30 pm
8 lbs, 13 oz
20 inches


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Soaking it up

one of my favorite sayings made beautiful by the nester

Tomorrow is my last day to be a mom to 3 kids.  Thursday is baby-day.  I requested the husband take tomorrow off work.  Tomorrow we get to spend the day together as a family of 5.  I'm soaking it up.

We've grown a lot in this place.  Becoming a family of 5 was one of the hardest transitions I've ever made, especially when we turned into a family of 6 for a while.  But it's been oh, so good.

Everyone is feeling the anticipation as we approach the change.  Each child has had their own way of reacting, and I know it will be an adjustment for all of us.

A few nights ago Sam said our family prayer before bed.  He prayed that Addie could feed the baby a bottle and change her diaper.  He prayed that he could rock her to sleep.  I'm pretty sure he included Charlie, but not writing it down right after it happened means the memory has been lost.  He voiced how much we love her and prayed that she would be kind.  He prayed for her to arrive safely and that I wouldn't be scared.  He offered up the sweetest, most sincere desires of his heart, and I loved hearing them.

I am excited to see how each of my kids interacts with their new sister.  It is one of the best part of having more than one child- seeing their relationships with each other.  I know that Addie will be a little mother, always trying to make everything just right.  I know that Sam and Charlie will both find her adorable until she's too loud.  I know that Sam will dote on her and be grateful for an increase in screen time that's probably sure to come.  Charlie is somewhat of a wild card, and I think he's going to be a little shocked that we really have a baby living at our house.

Besides excitement, I definitely have some anxiety.  I am still feeling unprepared and almost a little shocked that this is really happening- we're really having a baby- and soon!  But I'm hopeful that I can enjoy the moment and soak up this new phase for us- a family of 6.  I'm sure I'll check in to announce her arrival, but with the husband off work for the next little while I'm sure I'll be taking more time away from the computer to soak it up.

Hope you'll soak up these beginning days of summer and whatever they may bring for you.
xo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Current Events

number of weeks until the baby.  cool modern print via


-Yesterday was our first contractor-free day.  Hooray!  A few little details remain that need tweaked, but we're pretty much done.  There is so much to do moving things around and finding a home for everything that's been piled high around the house for the last two months.  Hoping I can create a little bit of order and kick this nesting into high gear.  My mom came last weekend and helped me get things started- huge help!  The down side is that my schedule has been busier since she left and I haven't been nearly as motivated.  I'm sure it will all get done.  The long weekend should help immensely.  I'm hoping I can squeeze in a few more get-togethers before the baby.  Sorry, friends, I haven't been ignoring you.  My house just hasn't been a safe place for your kids with piles around every corner, and I haven't really been on my game.

-This week I could have re-written this post.  Sam had preschool graduation.  History repeated itself.  He had grown so much over the past year, but the anxiety experienced when performing for a large group is still reality for him.

-We've still been in sick-kid zone.  Charlie ended antibiotics Saturday night just in time for Sam to start an ear infection.  Sam seems to be on the upswing, so I'm crossing my fingers we've entered the healthy zone again.

-This morning we went to the elementary school dance festival, an end of the year tradition where each grade learns and performs a dance for all the parents.  We stuck around to eat lunch with Addie.  I get a little tired with the constant end of year hoopla, but it was fun to see her excitement about her dance as they've been practicing.  I think about summer and get really excited for no routine.  And then I freak out when I realize we're adding a baby to the mix.

-I'm 38 weeks today.  Things are progressing.  I have an induction scheduled for June 7th if nothing happens before then.  Craziness.  I feel very unprepared for this baby.  Not just physically, but emotionally.  I'm trying to remind myself of what it means to have a new baby and how that will translate into our current family dynamics.  Yesterday Charlie dumped an entire box of couscous on the family room carpet.  I'm pretty sure more of those disasters are bound to happen while I'm feeding a baby all the time.  But I'm also getting more excited to meet this baby and see the other kids love on her.  It feels so surreal at this point, but it's going to be reality in less than two weeks.  I'm hoping I can settle down and get myself in a place where I feel ready.

May your weekend be productive and include a delicious hamburger at some point.  That's what I'm hoping for.  Have a happy one!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Moments

beautiful quote found here


On Friday we took Sam for some testing regarding the digestive issues he's been having.  Although what they're testing for could be overwhelming, I have felt that this isn't the real issue but instead just another thing to check off the list as we try to figure out what the cause is.  We went to Primary Children's Medical Center for the test, and while we were there I teared up several times thinking about the other families who were there.  I couldn't help but let my mind wander to the children who were there who would never leave those hospital walls.  We walked past the doors to the NICU and saw anxious family members in the halls with tags identifying them as parents to their babies.  I thought about the families who visit the hospital regularly because of serious health issues.  I thought about the burdens that are carried by so many mothers and wanted to give each of them a huge hug and a cheer.  They are doing this.  They are being advocates for their children, trusting their instincts, and doing their best to care for their kids with extra stresses that shouldn't be part of childhood.  I am in awe of these mothers.

After the test, we stopped for a late lunch with Sam where he explained all sorts of things about the workings of the world, impressed us with his increasing reading abilities, and imagined all sorts of amazing scenarios.  It's so fun to talk to my kids one on one, even if it takes not-so-fun appointments to make those moments happen.  I love being his mom.

----------

Early in the week when Charlie was in the peak of not feeling well, I jumped in the shower fast before we were headed to his doctor's appointment.  He waited for me by the shower door, and when I got out, he looked at me and asked in a serious and alarmed voice, "What happened to your body?"  I informed him that it had a baby in it, and with total sympathy he responded, "I sooo sorry."  I had a good laugh about his concern for my body, but also the realization that I'm not so sorry.  I'm so grateful that we're at this point- almost to the finish line- and in the place where my appearance is probably pity-inducing because that's often how you feel when you see someone who looks very pregnant and uncomfortable.  And I'm grateful for the funny things my kids say that make me laugh and keep me on my toes.  I love being Charlie's mom.

---------

If you want to feel doted on on Mother's Day, get a 7-year-old girl.  Addie has been the sweetest over the past several days.  She went on a date with the husband on Friday night, and Mother's Day shopping was on the agenda.  She informed her dad that instead of going to Costco for flowers they should go to the fancy flower shop, and she picked a gorgeous arrangement.  She also stopped by Target to pick up a journal and some mechanical pencils for me, complete with extra lead and extra erasers.  She's rubbed my back, told me Happy Mother's Day countless times, and been as sweet as pie.  (Sam also got his moment to pick out gifts for me- a hanging basket and a shirt for the baby were his choices.)  Addie is kind and tender and thoughtful to the extreme.  I love being her mom.

---------

I feel blessed to be content as a mother.  I know that there are many who struggle to feel that motherhood is enough, and I also know that for some people it's truly not, but I am glad that it is enough for me.  I feel humbled by the responsibilities I feel when I look at the beautiful spirits who are in my care.  I am grateful for the growth that it brings in me.  Nothing has improved me more.  I still have such a long way to go, but my children are forgiving and patient and I feel blessed that they continue to love me despite my mistakes in motherhood.  Days are often long and hard, nights are longer.  There is always someone in a difficult stage, someone making me rethink my approach, someone to worry about.  But there are so many small moments that fill my cup to overflowing.  I love being a mom.

Happy Mother's Day