life and thoughts as of right…now.

I have a lot of simple thoughts today, but I felt like writing it out.

I used to want my blog to get big, I had blogger goals and felt motivated to write and reach them. Now, that just sounds like a pain and instead writing to keep up with family and friends sounds beautiful, relaxing, and simple.

I remember when I started writing, I was surprised that family and friends actually read my blog, but whenever they did it meant so much–so much more than when others read my blog. So really, it’s just great to keep in contact. Plus, I love reading my friends blogs. Not just because they are great bloggers, but mainly because I just love ’em. So whoever actually reads this, thanks! Let me know if you have a blog, because then I could stalk you and gawk over how wonderful you are. 🙂

In other news, graduating has been such a relief. In the last week I feel like my stress has started to fall off, just like the leaves falling off the trees outside. It’s becoming more and more ingrained in my soul that a slow life is beautiful. Slow living doesn’t lack meaning or miss being involved with things, it simply enjoys the moments and packs in even more meaning. I feel so much more at peace just taking a slower pace to life and I feel like a better mom, a better wife, and a better version of myself. What a confidence boost! I can clean the house and cook a meal and be a happy person. Tada! Anyway, if you’re contemplating slowing life down more, I highly recommend it. And my husband loves it too. Win, win!!

Anywho.

Another thing I’m soaking up, is this fall weather. Fall is warming my heart x100 this year. Probably because I’m in the final stretch of my pregnancy and I’m just so excited to share the holidays with my family.

I can’t wait to make a wreath– like a cute burlap one to hang on my front door. Like this one.

Burlap fall wreathEven though, I’m not that crafty, it sounds like so much fun. Any tips? I want a cute flower in it too, or a bow… basically I just want it to look homey.

I’m so excited to make pumpkin cookies and breads with spices galore. Like these. Mmm, why do I have such a sweet tooth?? Let’s blame baby girl 😉

pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies2I’m excited to pull out my jackets and cuddle my husband and son when we walk outside. {Also, does this not look super cool??} I feel like it’s genius. People are so smart to create these things.

Belly to baby sweater

I’m seriously beaming whenever I look at the mountains and see the slight tint of orange and reds appearing. The best ever.

I can’t wait to go get a pumpkin, carve it out, let Parker feel the ushy-gushy seeds, and then put a candle inside and watch him light up! Sidenote: Isn’t watching and experiencing with your kids, the most satisfy and joyful thing ever?

Oh, and I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and all the yummy food, great family, a family {WEDDING}, and just sitting around enjoying the peace of fall. Ahhh…

Oh, and I’m really excited to meet our little girl and celebrate Christmas and then snuggle through the winter. Preferably while watching the snowfall, and of course probably telling Parker to not tackle her or pull her around or sit on her.

Of course, each of these events will probably be accompanied by a good amount of crying, tantrums, whining, and telling Parker to “please not jump off the couch,” but that’s life folks and I feel like I’m slowly learning to accept that life can still be beautiful and dang good when there is crying intermittently.

Anyway, there’s a little window into my soul as of right now. I’ll probably be blogging whenever I feel like it, but probably with no schedule. If you want to know when I post, because I might not always put my posts on facebook, then just subscribe with an email and you’ll get a little email saying that I wrote some sort of something. But, also, feel free to just meander over whenever you feel like it 🙂

Happy FALL!!!!!

What I hope I will do different for Baby #2

Even before we got pregnant with this second baby, I wondered how I would do it all over again; the sleepless nights, the teething, the sleep training, the nursing. I struggled a lot with postpartum depression with my first and so that was on my mind a ton, too. How would I prepare my family, what would I do differently, how could I prevent the onslaught of crazy emotions, and most of all–how could I make this next experience better.

Not that having Parker was bad, but it definitely was hard. A lot harder than I expected. The emotions and depression threw me and my husband for a loop. Not only was it hard to see myself in that condition, but I think it was harder for my husband to see me like that–to try to help, but not quite know what to do.

So what will I change, what will I do differently this time around? Really–what has my first baby taught me:

What I hope I will do different

1. Fill that Prescription. Like yesterday. I noticed with Parker that I was struggling. I was anxious a lot, I was frustrated a lot, and then I started having feelings of “I just want to run away” or “my family would be better off without me” or “can’t I just get out of here?!” I also started having feelings of wanting to hurt myself and my baby, which in my right mind, would not be there. Basically, I should have jumped in my car first thing and went to my doctor. DON’T wait for that 6 week appointment. That’s just 6 week’s of downright crazy. Don’t wait until you have all the signs and symptoms that every website lists. Just know if you are feeling worse and then talk to your doctor. You don’t have to be on the prescription forever, I definitely wasn’t, but it will sure help in the beginning while you’re getting used to almost no sleep, taking care of another human, and trying to wrap your mind around all the crying. Again, this is for me. It may not work for everyone, but this is for me.

2. “This will not last forever.”– Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that these stages really do not last forever. I remember crying to my mom that I was worried I would hate motherhood, because my 3 week old was just not leaving me feeling fulfilled or happy. {Not completely surprising}.

977824_10200800162741418_611722807_oThe stages of waking up every 3 hours at night or sitting in the mothers room for almost the entire church block, or being up with a teething baby DO END. They are so short. I almost have forgotten about them already, which is crazy, because they seemed never-ending at the time. But really, they pass. Soon you are getting a full night’s rest, you are sitting in church with your hands empty listening to a lesson while he’s playing in nursery, and then during the day your baby is playing with toys in the other room entertaining themselves. And then… to top it off they hug and kiss you and tell you gushy things like “I love luuu, mom!” It’s wonderful. So believe that things will change for the better, and that most likely you’ll love motherhood. There’s a reason why lots of people have multiple babies!

3. Get a routine, but let it slide- sometimes. I love routines. I thrive on them and so does Parker. He likes to know what he can expect and so do I. I like that he naturally settles down for nap when I tell him I’m grabbing a vitamin and milk… because he knows he gets to read stories and then rest. I like that I can depend on when to get things done and when to meet people for something due to being predictable. And I like having time to myself and with my husband. It just works for me.

923247_10151641119126763_1750822069_nBut, I’ve also experienced a whole lot of stress and anger (embarrassed about that) when my routine is thrown off. I’ll sit there frustrated that he isn’t in bed, even if we are doing something fun. I’ll worry that the routine will never be the same…. yaddy, yaddy, yada. But, really, it will work out. He’ll make up for it some other day that week, or he’ll take a longer nap at some point, or… he’ll teeth the next night and be up all night and then we’ll be zonked the next day. Whatev. It’s just life. So when you get handed a fun opportunity and it’s not going to be an everyday thing. Do it. Break the routine. Make a memory. And just.have.fun.

4.Thank my husband MORE and have less pity parties. Man, even though he didn’t birth the baby or carry the baby, he sure did do a lot. For me, it was easy to get into this mind set that everything was about me during pregnancy and after birth. I wined a bit, lets be honest. Granted my hormones were wacky and I was healing like no body’s business, BUT, he was doing so much too. I wasn’t the only one sleep deprived, I wasn’t the only one trying to make sense of everything that had changed.

268806_10151641119191763_2021570266_nI wish I would have realized that having a baby is a family matter, even more than I did, and that my physical scars would heal quickly.  I wish I would have thought more about my husband, instead of feeling bad for myself. From working to PAY for the babe, to being there when I went crazy. From calling my mom FOR ME at 1 in the morning, because he knew I needed to talk to someone, to loving me and telling me I was enough, over and over and over. He really was a champ. I wish I would have pulled myself out of my pity parties more and bonded more with him.

Overall, I’m just excited for another baby. I’m so grateful for what my 1st has taught me, and I can only imagine this one will teach me a whole lot more in so many different ways.  I’m excited to try the whole process again, hopefully with a little less stress than before. It’s amazing how experience can change us and teach us. Although, here’s to trying it out with having a 2 1/2 year old. We’ll see how that goes… and hopefully take it in stride.

What have you learned from your kids?… How’s that for a loaded question? 🙂

Same-sex marriage: Disagreement and love

The world is buzzing with political news about marriage, gender, love, and family. In my life, I have never seen the world so divided against each other and at the same time unwilling to see the others point of view. It’s heart-wrenching to see former friends unfollow the other, to see family members heated with frustration towards each other, and to see so much disunity.

Throughout it all, and on both sides, there’s talk of tolerance. There’s talk that love should win. There’s talk that LGBT lifestyles should not be supported. There’s talk that keeping two people apart because of religion is unchristian. Misunderstanding and anger abound.

My heart hurts. It hurts not only because of what I hear people saying to those around them, but hurt because I also feel misunderstood. I’m sure people on both sides feel this way. I believe all individuals want to agree and feel agreed with. As a result, this whole debate has left people feeling unaccepted by others, if they believe in same-sex marriage, or not.

In the end, the issue has hurt us all, in one way or another.

But, I think one thing needs to made clear. Love and tolerance are two separate things and can co-exist without disintegrating the other. Let me illustrate:

No, I do not support same-sex marriage. Yes, I know people who are LGBT. Yes, I love them. Yes, I want them to have a happy life. Yes, my religion plays a huge role in why I do not support it. Yes, I have read the bible and believe in a loving God. But, no, I’m not trying to keep people apart or make other people suffer.

Most importantly, I believe that I can love individuals and still think differently.

disagree and love 2I believe that love and disagreement can exist together. I don’t believe that to love someone fully means you agree with all they agree with–meaning high love equals high tolerance.  Nor do I believe that not agreeing with someone’s view point indicates a lack of love–meaning low love is equal to low tolerance. I believe you can love someone fully, accepting them for who they are, but still not agree with or condone their acts.

I can love and disagree, while still being respectful. So can you.

Dr. Alwi Shihab, the Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy to the Middle East taught out of the Quran when he said: “We must respect this God-given dignity in every human being, even in our enemies. For the goal of all human relations–whether they are religious, social, political, or economic–ought to be cooperation and mutual respect.” (Building Bridges to Harmony Through Understanding, Shihab)

I love that. Despite differences, we should probably stop ourselves before we speak or comment out of anger. Even if we don’t understand or value another person’s viewpoint, we can still seek to value them.

For example, I have family that embraces the LGBT lifestyle. I do not agree with their lifestyle, but I love them. We “like” and comment on each others pictures, we congratulate each other on important life events. We get together for family reunions and talk about things we both find interesting and play games we enjoy. I genuinely am grateful for them in my life. We choose to accentuate the things we agree on. We both know we don’t agree on religious or political issues, but we choose to love, see the good, and relate with each other about the things we do agree on.

We love while disagreeing.

Dallin H. Oaks, former Utah Supreme Court Justice, quoted Gordon B. Hinckley when he said: “We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse.” (Truth and Tolerance, Oaks)

This is all to say, I wish there was more love. Love that cares for people, while they believe differently than them. Love that holds onto their convictions, but still reaches out and finds similarities.

Love your friends if they disagree; love them if they agree. Love them if they accept your beliefs; love them if they don’t accept your beliefs.

You don’t have to lose your beliefs to love. You can love no matter what.

Mothers-Don’t give up

Mother.

I think I often take for granted how strong I am as a mother and how deep my influence is. I think about how I change diapers, wash in between his toes, scrub his hair, and spread the peanut butter on his sandwiches, and wonder if what I say is even sinking in.

“Am I even making a difference? Will he remember what I’m trying to teach?”

For the first few months as a mother, I almost felt like my efforts were in vain. I talked, giggled, laughed, read to, and sang to my son that was almost completely unresponsive. I held on conversations with him, even though he didn’t answer back; I told him my deepest dreams while we played; I told him of my deepest convictions–yet nothing. I almost felt silly at times. On the surface, it seemed there was no hint of understanding.

Mothers-Don't give up

Then, he began to talk. He began to respond. Now he even talks back and we can carry on a conversation. But, now I almost wonder if he hears me when I tell him how much I believe in God, how I know He hears my prayers, how I feel peace when I read His word. He runs from toy to toy and it feels like the words of my heart go in one ear and out the other–and that’s if I get lucky and they even get in the first ear at all.

But, despite all this, I have the firmest belief that in some small way he understands. He may not hear my words or listen to a complete sentence I say–but he sees me day in and day out. He sees that I care about people, he knows that I invite him to pray with me when I’m about to lose it and need extra strength, he knows that every night-without fail-we read God’s word.

We live our beliefs.

I have to think that someday he’ll look back and it will sink in–it will sink in deep.

I hope with all my heart it does.

I know that as a mother, my daily actions have more power than I realize, even if it seems like he’s not listening, we’re both crying, and there is peanut butter in everyone’s hair. I know that the simple things I do, that I feel go unnoticed–are not.

The things you do don’t go unnoticed either.

When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? – Neal A. Maxwell

Mom’s lets remember the influence we have. Let’s remember that the words we speak, the songs we sing, and hugs we give don’t go unnoticed–even if our babies are speechless and our kids run around like crazies. Because what a sad thing it would be if we gave up–if we looked around amid the chaos and threw in the towel.

Momma–don’t give up. Keep talking to your babe who can’t talk back and keep teaching that child who doesn’t have a moment to listen. Because soon, they’ll know and we’ll be glad we taught with our hearts and didn’t give up.

Healthy & Fit Pregnancy- Group info inside!

Well, the second trimester is lovely. I’m 16 weeks along and I feel like I’m mostly back to the old me, aside from the occasional headaches, stretching pains, and back aches. But, I’ll take it and I’m happy!

With this new found energy, as well as lack of nauseousness, I find myself eating allll the time and wanting to cook things. I felt like my body was just yearning from the inside out.. “feeeeed meeeee!!!” So, that is just what I did. I think I am back up to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is good. Now, the trick is for me to get out of that mindset of stuffing my face with food. I’m trying to re-train my brain that I don’t need to eat a lot of whatever sounds good. It may have worked when only one or two things sounded good during a day, but now that 50 things sound good… no bueno. It’s back to balance and remembering that I need to stop when I feel full, and to choose good foods to eat.

It’s tough though. It is hard to re-train a brain and harder to actually act on it.

But that is my goal.

My goal is an active pregnancy. My goal is to eat well and be active, in hopes that life will never be like the swinging of a pendulum, going back and forth from a “I don’t care about my health, I just want to eat what I want to eat” attitude to “I’m counting my calories, exercising all the time” mentality. Nor do I want to sign off on healthy eating and exercise simply because life is just hard right now. Life never stops being hard, and in fact when I eat worse, life gets exponentially harder. I feel guilty, I feel gross, I lose confidence, and I just feel lethargic. It’s not worth it.

SO… after all that. I guess what I’m implying is that I’m going to strive to be active and healthy this pregnancy. I’m not going to overdue it, because that isn’t balanced, but I am going to try to exercise–do at least some form of exercise each day. Something.

I want to give myself a variety and do aerobic activities and strength training. And in general, I’m going to try to watch my portions and try to opt for more whole, nutrient dense, foods. Of course I’ll give into cravings, that is life, and I don’t pretend to be able to not eat sweets. I love sweets and they will always be a part of my life. Guaranteed. But, I’m going to try not to eat them alll the time as the main course or side dish to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So, my question is: do you know anyone who is pregnant and feels like-minded? Or do you know someone who is hoping to be pregnant soon and preparing their body for the transition? If so, please send them to THIS Facebook group. It’s totally free and just for encouragement, ideas, and sharing our life.

Pregnancy Facebook Group Cover FinalI want to be accountable for myself and I often find I do SO much better when I see others around me striving to do the same. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’d love to motivate others around me too. Because why have to work so hard postpartum to “get our bodies back”, when we could have a better pregnancy, labor, and postpartum if we focused on health during the journey of pregnancy? Anyway, now I’m rambling. Here’s to a healthy life!