Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sam's Birth Part 1

***I wrote this at the hospital on Saturday night but fell asleep and 3 days went by before I got back to it. I figured I'd better post this now and try to get the rest finished tonight.

The last few days have been surreal. So seeing as I'm pretty much bed bound and bored out of my mind here at the hospital I thought I'd seize this soon-to-be-extinct free time and try to put down the events that have just transpired in words. I'll try to make things non-rambling but I make no promises because the pain meds are kicking in right

Where to start? Let's see....Thursday morning I had my 37 weeks appointment. I thought it would be nothing but the usual heart beat check, tummy measuring, obligatory questions, and then out the door. As my midwife was measuring me, she noticed the heartbeat was very faint when she put the monitor on the lower part of my stomach. She told me this could mean baby was breech. She did manual exam of my cervix and found that a-I was dialated to a 2.5 and b-that she couldn't feel a head near the cervix. A quick check with an ultrasound machine revealed that baby was indeed breech, head sitting just under my ribs.

I was pretty worried, but she told me there were some things I could do between now and my next appoint to help move baby around. She said we'd wait a week to do anything and then check things again at my 38 week appointment. At that point, if he hadn't moved, they may have to change me over to the OBs at the clinic and talk about "options", which I knew meant cesarean.

I went home feeling a little worried but reassured that baby had a week at least to turn and that I had some time to get him to move. I was pretty surprised that I was dialated, seeing as with Eli I was induced at 41 weeks with almost no diatation. I spent the day doing normal things, cleaning the house, scrubbing the fridge, doing loads and loads of laundry; just usual household stuff. I called the midwives around 3pm with a few questions about my morning's appointment, mostly about breech-y things and felt tired but normal.

I did notice around then that I'd been having tons of Braxton-Hicks contractions all day, but didn't really note it because I'd been having these for months. I made dinner around 5 and we sat down as a little family to eat and talk about the day. I felt exhausted after we ate so Dan offered to run some errands with Eli while I stayed home and rested. In typical mom fashion I started cleaning up the kitchen as soon as he left. At this point I finally noticed that my BH contractions had been coming on pretty regularly. I remember reading somewhere that if they got regular or stronger, even if they didn't hurt, it could mean something was up.

I decided to just ring up the midwife on call and see what she said. I felt silly doing it...I knew nothing was going on. I spent a few minutes sitting and counting the contractions...3 in ten minutes. I called and Jen Krebs, the midwive on call, answered. I apologized for calling about Braxton Hicks but told her what was going on. She sounded more concerned that I thought she would and told me to lay down and not move for 30 minutes. She said I needed to track my BH contractions and call her as soon as 30 minutes were up. I thought it seemed a little silly, seeing as I still hadn't felt a single labor pain, but I said I would.

So I downloaded a contraction monitoring app (so cutting edge) and started timing them. After about 5 contractions I looked at the numbers and suddenly my brain hurt. Each lasted almost a minute to the second and were coming every 4-5 minutes. And they were coming like clockwork...almost 8 that I could count so far. I still wasn't feeling any of them so I was sure nothing was going on...but a little alarm went off in my head that somehow this pattern meant something.

I called Jen back and told her the numbers. She said I needed to go to the hospital right away. I was stunned. I asked if I could shower and wait to help put Eli to bed. She said no, because the baby was breech they really needed to check me out at the hospital in case I was in labor. I hung up and looked around the house. Things were a mess. No crib or bassinette was set up, we had no newborn diapers around, all the things I had been putting off were suddenly at the front of my brain. I couldn't go to the hospital, because babies are born at hospitals, and I was NOT ready to have a baby that soon.

At this point it occurred to me that Dan was not aware anything was going on. When he left I was just a tired, haggered looking pregnant woman but I hadn't said anything about contractions or whatnot.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Take Two

I've been pondering a bit lately on the differences between my pregnancy with Eli and my current "with child" situation. Either I've forgotten a lot of the trials and travails with my first go-around or this time is a bit more challenging. With Eli I was so drunk on the excitement of finally becoming a mom that I think I overlooked a lot of the pains and whatnot of being preggers. This time I am, of course, barely able to contain my anticipation at meeting our new little buddy but I'm also more aware of the nastiness that follows me around constantly.

With Eli I followed everything to the book; no caffeine, lots of sleep and exercise, never lifted more than the weight of a few clothes or dishes and all that. This time I've had a diet coke or two once a week at least, have been sleeping terribly for about a month now, only exercise when it involves chasing a two year old around the house, and I lift at least 32 pounds a number of times a day. So much for caution and being in a "delicate state". It's not possible with another kid to run after.

Also, this time around I'm visiting the midwives at my clinic instead of the doctors. So far I like it. Haven't actually given birth so we'll see what happens different with this one but I like being able to talk to a woman about my bodily discomforts. None so far have given me a lecture about wanting an epidural either so it appears my previously held notions about midwives are thusly false.

Most of all I've noticed the pain this time around much more. About a month ago my hips started aching, and now they hurt 24/7. When I walk I look like a cowboy, all bow-legged and hobbly. Getting out of bed in the morning is a chore, not because of fatigue (although that is a factor) but because my body takes about five minutes to limber up enough to let me take my first step of the day.

In the end though, I am enjoying life. Every time I feel bb moves, or kick, or pummel my ribs, I just think about how much I want to meet him and want Eli to meet him. I told Dan that while I am excited to see our little son, what I am mostly looking forward to is seeing Eli meet his brother for the first time.

The miracle of life is just that...truly a miracle...because I'll tell you what, for anything else I would have hit the escape button on a long time a go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Hot Dog With a Side of Guilt

It's been a fun few days. By fun I mean horrifying. Traumatizing. A sort of "standing naked on the top of the Chrysler Building with a machine gun" few days. Over dramatic? I

Eli's been waging a war on sleepy time. It's been...unpleasant. Finally today I had to do something so I switched out the locks on his bedroom and locked his door from the outside. It was brutal. 2 hours of struggle...but finally success and he fell asleep for about an hour.

After he fell asleep I just sat on the couch and bawled. It dawned on me that I was so upset because I felt this crushing amount of guilt for having to lock my child in his room to get him to sleep. (It could have also been related to intense sleep deprivation and pregnancy). As I reflect on my reaction, I realize that as a mom I am a constant ball of parent-related guilt.

Even when I try to chill out I still think about how I'm screwing up my poor child's life. Is he watching too much tv? Is he eating too much sugar? Do we do enough educational activities together? When was the last time I clipped his nails? Dusted his crib? Checked the air filter on the furnace to make sure he's not breathing in those little cartoon character dust mites?

I think I'm a pretty average person. I try not to jump on crazy bandwagons or do any nutso "fad parenting" methods. But even with how normal I strive to be somehow mothering guilt occasionally tries to eat me alive. I guess it's a standard part of having kids. I guess this awful feeling that I'm somehow slowly ruining my son's life will never end. I guess that the fact that I dedicate my love and heart to two feet of absolute wonderful means that I've opened myself up to a whole host of emotional trauma. Oh well. In the end I love being a mom even more than I loved working at that hot dog stand. I never worked at a hot dog stand. But I couldn't think of anything that even comes close to comparison with motherhood.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dog Etiquette

We have a dog, for the lucky two of you who may not know. Come this March Indi will have survived 4 years in our house (by the grace of something). Dan and I have worked harder with this dog to teach her some sort of sanity than I have worked on almost any other ongoing project in my life. She's made leaps and bounds from where she once was, she's still a lunatic, but we kinda love her. Her tenure in our house has come into questions a few times but...well...we never could find a new home for her for I think she's here to stay...for now (I like to keep my options open).

With all that said, I've learned a thing or two over the years about how other people react to dogs. Nowhere is this more apparent than in public places where kids are around. A few weeks ago I had Indi with me at the Farmer's Market in Provo and a little boy (about 4?) came running up to her and started pulling on her ears and trying to give her a hug. Indi was on a leash sitting right next to me. After a sec she snapped menacingly at the boy. No contact was made but it scared me to death. Apart from the trauma of having her bite an unknown kid, I wouldn't want to face the probable legal issues of such an occurrence.

Since then I have been very wary to take Indi out in public. A few days ago I decided this poor dog had to get out of the house so we've been walking to the park. I ALWAYS keep her on her leash at the park right by my side. I never leave her unattended and make sure I know what's happening with her at all times.

Today I was sitting on a bench while Eli played and Indi was laying right by my feet. A little girl came running up to us and started petting Indi and grabbing at her fur. I asked the little girl to please not touch my dog but she kept petting her. Indi is generally pretty good with kids and wasn't doing much but I didn't want to take any chances. I stood up and walked over to another bench. The little girl followed and would not leave us alone. I finally spotted her mother sitting on the grass watching all this happen. As I tried to fend off the kid I just got fed up and grabbed Eli and we headed home.

That got me to thinking. Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control in public no doubt. BUT. The public has a keen responsibility to know how to interact with dogs they don't know. And parents most definitely have a responsibility to teach their kids how to treat a strange dog. So-here's my list of dog etiquette for parents with kids.

  • Teach your kids to NEVER approach a leashed or unleashed dog unless they directly ask the dog owner for permission. NEVER.
  • Have the child extend his or her hand to let the dog smell it. This is like a hand shake for dogs.
  • Teach your kids the appropriate ways to handle a dog don't let them pull fur, tails, or ears, even if the dog owner says the dog is ok with it. It leads to bad habits and they may find a dog sometime that isn't as amiable.
  • If a dog owner asks your child at any time to stop petting the dog or move away make sure they know to listen and act.
  • Above all teach your kids to respect dogs and treat them with care and caution.
If a dog bites a kid in public is is, of course, the dog owner's responsibility, but having a child who is well trained around dogs makes things easier for everyone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Milk of Human Smugness

Dear Midwife,

I understand you have to talk to many women every day about all sorts of things, and that your answers have become a bit rote. When I told you yesterday that I had a really hard time nursing my son and would like some good suggestions on how to make things easier for this next one, I didn't really need to ten minute thesis on how superior breast milk is to formula. I didn't need to hear for the umteenth time how many nan-nuero-super connectors breast milk has in it and how if a baby is able to get just a taste of that milky goodness he or she is destined for life long greatness.

I've already heard it all from the internet, friends, family, strangers, and my own inner guilt voice. I know I should have tried harder, as you implied, to nurse my son more diligently. I should have forced him to nurse even when he was screaming because he was hungry and getting nothing from my breastables. I should have forced myself to stay up longer at night to make sure I pumped every drip of milk out of my sleep deprived body I could find. I should never have started him on formula, never given him a bottle, and definitely never given up on nursing even when we were both so exhausted we spent every non-nursing minute crying.

Here's the real scoop. If a woman can't/isn't nursing her child chances are she's tried everything in her power to make an attempt first. I've heard of very few women who choose voluntarily to not breastfeed. For them I'm sure it was a very personal decision also and I'm sure their babies are fine. For me I was physically unable to produce enough nourishment for my child. With baby #2 I want to give it the ol' college try for sure but what I most definitely do not need are any more lectures on how superior breast milk is. I get it. We would never tell a mother with a kid in in a wheel chair, "Oh, walking is so much better than sitting around all day. You really should let your son get up and move around". So why all the guilt about nursing?

That is my rant.


To Each His Own

Monday, August 15, 2011

Groceries Shmoceries

Eli falls out of the grocery cart: lecture from a Macy's bagger on using the straps (but sir all of the straps in pretty much all of the carts are broken).

I get in the express lane with about 100 things in my cart on accident: lecture from an old man on proper express lane etiquette (but sir my son was screaming and I didn't notice what lane I got in...see above on cart falling out of.)

I set Eli down for a sec to load some of the groceries on the belt and he takes off running: nasty glares from all other mothers in the store who are probably thinking I am incompetent and crazy as I go tearing through the store yelling in my best Walmart voice.

I told Dan I will not be taking Eli to the grocery store again unless I can find a pet carrier for the ones the rich ladies use to haul their chihuahuas through the airport in?

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Here's a link to a great video clip from Elder Holland from our church. I watch it whenever I'm feeling like a failure and it always makes feel so much better. I am so grateful for the chance I have to be a mom. My little guy is the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me, save meeting his father. I can't wait to meet our new addidition in a few months and start another relationship with such a special little soul.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Princess List

I just realized that I'm a bit spoiled. I have an amazing husband, a great kid, life is very good. Sitting here on the couch while Eli naps, sipping an ice water and reading an obligatory NY Times article on the budget crisis, it suddenly hit me just how lucky I really am. And with all the good fortune, I starting thinking about the things I have in my life that would be very hard to give up. I'm not talking about family or religion or anything that really matters. I mean the niceties I am blessed with that I don't think I would ever want to part with. Here's a list.

-indoor A/C.
-a fabulously jungle-like back yard
-2 cars
-3 bedrooms
-our king size bed (I would give up my washer and dryer before my bed)
-car A/C (of which one of our cars is lacking at the moment...making it so much more of a priority)
-a pool pass
-a Costco membership
-a wheat grinder
-2 bathrooms
-close proximity to an Ikea, a Costco, a Target, and a TJ Maxx

That's about it. These are all things I could live without if forced to do so...but I really like my upper lower middle class American lifestyle. If we ever have to pull a handcart back to Missouri I'm going to have to get a double that bed is going to be a beast to get through the mountains.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Con Troll

Hm. I may have just experienced what the kids these days call an 'epiphany'...or at least a slight kick to the frontal lobe that has me thinking about things.

I was recently reading a friend's blog post on the birth of her new baby girl. She talked about their birth plan, which was incredibly detailed and specific. I felt a momentary twinge of guilt. When I was pregnant with Eli I never once even thought about a birth plan or course of action when labor hit. I knew I wanted drugs, I knew I was going to be in a hospital, but that is about where it ended.

Pondering on this I thought maybe it's because I'm ok with things being out of my control. That's not to say that people who make detailed plans and have very specific expectations for things are control freaks or any other pejorative phrase. I greatly respect those in my circle who are detail oriented. I just have never been like that. I seem to thrive when a a bit of chaos is present. Not too much, mind you, but just a little.

I think that's one reason epidurals and pain medication makes so much sense to me when thinking about labor. I don't have to plan anything really. I can leave it up to someone else to get things going and get the pain managed. It's probably also why I really do get a bit of a rush flying standby when I travel. I never really know what is going to happen but the decision on whether I go or not is left to a system, not to me. It's as close to gambling as a little Mormon girl like me can get.

I do love organization, don't get me wrong, but I also enjoy situations that are unplanned and unpredictable. I probably will never have a detailed birth plan when I have a baby because there are so many thousands of variables that come up I just would rather let things happen and go from there. I will probably never be the type of mom who can manage to remember every single item needed for a successful trip to the pool, beach, park, ect. (mostly because I am so scatterbrained) but at least we go, right?

Re-reading what I wrote here this all sounds like self justification for disorganization. Let me just sum up by saying I do believe very strongly in plans and forethought, but I also love when things go differently (in most situations) and life takes me by surprise. Ugh. Now I just sound like Oprah.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I'm laying in bed resting while Eli naps. I'm not quite tired enough to sleep, so I thought I'd put some thoughts I've been having lately in writing.

I have a little garden in the back yard. It's small, just a few tomato bushes and a sprawling zucchini plant, but it has been a lot of fun taking care of it thus far. Last week I was out pulling some weeds and I noticed four or five little green tomatoes poking out from the screen of green leaves. I was thrilled! To be honest...I sort of forgot that what I was working for; actual harvest.

That made me think about the relationships I have in my life. I think sometimes I treat life a lot like I treat my garden. I work really hard on the maintenance parts of things, the diaper changing, the counter wiping, the budgeting and church duties, that I forget that I get to harvest at some point.

Let me put this in perspective. Eli is a lot of work. I could spend all day (and have) tending to my Eli garden, just doing the necessary things to keep him alive. Many times I have to remind myself that I need to harvest. I need to sit down with him, play a game, go to the park, or just give him a hug. There's no sense in having a garden if you don't ever gather the fruit!

This analogy may seem corny (no pun intended!) but I really do think I forget so often that life is meant to be more than just a series of weeding, watering, and pruning. We are meant to harvest! Sometimes the harvest comes later, and the maintenance is essential, but the fruit can be so sweet.

Those are my ramblings for today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

*Cue Circus Music*

***I wrote this last night but Blogger was being a pill and wouldn't let me post it.

Ok...I know two posts in two days is a bit excessive. But I would be remiss if I didn't eulogize the events that transpired today. In retrospect they are almost too horrifyingly comical to be real. But believe you me...they were.

Enter Eli...stage right. He woke up at a nice 8:30 thank you son. That was about the only thing positive he did for the day. First item of business: orange juice all over the carpet. That wasn't so bad. I cleaned it up and fixed us some breakfast. Breakfast ended up all over the floor. Cue the dog. That wasn't so bad.

As I was cleaning up from breakfast somehow I managed to whack my hand against the bookshelf in our kitchen. A few muffled profanities later led to the discovery of a massive bruise and some nasty swelling just below my thumb on my left hand. Lovely. Ice.

After nursing the hand a little energy kicked in and I decided to deep clean my kitchen. 2 hours later and things were shiny. Unfortunately all my cleaning brought back the nausea that had subsided during the morning. I had a really good day yesterday and I over did it. After two or three offerings to my favorite porcelain god I put Eli down for a nap and laid down myself. 30 minutes later he was up. Bad nap day. Headache commenced. Went to get Eli out of his crib only to find a massive poopy had erupted.

At this point I called my dear friend Katie. Katie is wonderful. She came over and helped me. No. She came over and saved me. She made me lunch, made Eli lunch, took Eli out for a walk while I napped, and helped me clean my living room...which was buried in toys and wrappers and what-not. Dinner was spaghetti and meat balls, but spurred the second bath of the day after Eli painted himself in sauce.

Ten minutes later I noticed an odd smell...a bad smell...coming out and around my son. Then I noticed poop...massive amounts of poop...coming out of his diaper. So much poop. On the carpet, on the chair he was sitting on, on him. I grabbed him, Katie grabbed stuff to clean the carpet, I dry heaved a few times, put Eli in his 3rd bath of the day, and we started the reparations.

Ten minutes after poop-agedon Dan came home. I was almost crying, Eli was sobbing, and Katie was still cleaning the carpet. Dan got Eli's pjs on and took him with him to run Katie home. I sat down for the first time in a few hours and thought about making a run for the hills. But I was too tired. So I decided to bore you all with this epic post.

That was my day. Here's to better days tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

(Crawling) Out of the Woods

Well...since I have absolutely nothing else interesting going on in my life I thought I'd give a little update on this whole baby making mess I'm in. It does seem like things may be getting a little better...yay! I can't tell if I'm just living with it better or if I'm actually feeling better. I still have zero energy and get super sick at night but mornings and afternoons are getting better. At 11 weeks now, I'm hoping things clear up sooner than they did with Eli..which took until a good 16 weeks to get feeling %100.

I do, however, have another strange problem that maybe someone out there can help me with. When I was in labor with Eli I remember feeling the most intense brunt of the pain in my right hip. It was a searing deep pain that wouldn't go away during the contractions. Now pregnant again, I've started getting pain in the same joint. It's so bad that I wake up two or three times a night in intense pain that won't go away. I haven't taken anything for it, mostly because I'm pumping myself so full of Zofran right now I hesitate to add any more chemicals to the mix, but I really need to find a solution. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I have to limp around for a few hours because of the pain. Could it just be the baby is getting bigger? I don't remember this little jewel with Eli at the beginning.

That is my whining for the day. Other than the constant reminders of baby, life is going very well for us. Eli is the funniest little thing. I can't get enough of him...unless I've had too much of the which case Dan takes him for a walk.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

I've been so caught up in myself lately what with all this being sick and what-not that I really need to spend some times focusing on the good things in my life. Last night Dan asked me how I was feeling and it hit me that even though I may temporarily feel like crap, I am so blessed with so many things health and life related. Here is a short list of all the things I am thankful for right now, in no particular order.

*I have the best husband in the world. He really has shown his true colors these last few weeks with me being down and out. He cleans, cooks, changes diapers, and most of all takes care of me with so much love and thoughtfulness that I quite often feel very undeserving.

*Eli is a stellar kid. He is the bright spot in every day. I can't get over how independent and smart he is! Each new day brings a new trick, a new skill, or a new word. Man I love that little guy.

*I am thankful for a wonderful place to live. We really do have it good here. We have a great back yard, a lot of usable space inside, and good neighbors.

*I have been so amazed lately to find out once again that I really do have the best friends in the whole world. These last few weeks we have received so much service, so many calls, and so much love. Good friends are what make living in Utah County so much more tolerable for me.

*My faith. Yesterday I was unable to attend church and Dan had our home teachers come over and bless the sacrament for me. I am so very grateful that I have the power of the Priesthood in my home. I feel it daily. I am thankful for my Savior who bore all trials and knows all suffering. I am thankful for inspired church leaders who continue to give poignant and needed counsel. I love the peace the gospel brings into my life. I love the comfort of the Holy Ghost. And I love that I can be with my family for eternity.

*Last, I am grateful for my parents. They are so dear to me. Last week they came down and spent all morning taking care of Eli and cleaning the house. I constantly amazed at how much energy and love they share with all their children. Life is so much better when they are around.

That was mostly an exercise in pulling my head out of my shirt and seeing how much good there is in my life. I have so many blessings. So much love in my life. Now onward and upward to happier times and calmer tummies.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Cat's out of the bag. I'm with baby. Bun in the oven. All that. I am not, remarkably, handling this one well. I know I am not a tough woman. I cry when Eli gets hurt, I tear up at stupid movies, I voted for Nader once, but this whole pregnancy dealy has brought out a level of wimpiness I did not know I possessed.

Eli was a hard pregnancy. I remember being sick, I remember certain instances of close calls and feeling icky. But I do NOT remember it being this bad. In one week I have lost 7 pounds and counting. I've already had to go get an IV once and will probably have to go again soon. Every day is a massive challenge. I can't get out of bed, usually puke once or twice when I do, and have a hard time even getting off the couch when I finally make it into the living room.

All this would suck, but what I feel the worst about is how much I feel I am not giving to Eli right now. He's such an independent little guy that I can lay around and he pretty much does his own thing. I feel sometimes that the only time I interact with him is when he does something nefarious. I need to figure out a way to really interact with Eli while I'm down and out. It's hard because he isn't really a lap sitter or a cuddler. Mostly we watch Sesame Street and he plays around the house by himself.

Oh well. I guess three or four months of a dead beat mommy can't scar him for life, can it?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On Mothers

****I wrote this post about a week ago but hesitated posting it because I thought it sounded self-serving. Then I realized that my mother's entire life has been spent serving her there's no way to write about her without writing about my own life. Also, I can't find a good picture of her...will find one later.***

There hasn't been a good decision I've made in my life that wasn't the direct or indirect result of something my mother taught me. For any of you who have met my mom, and I pity those who haven't, you know she is indeed the most mothering, nurturing, caring and loving woman you will ever meet. I was fortunate enough to be born at the end of my family, and therefore had a lot of one on one time with my mom over the years that I cherish now more than ever. As this Mother's Day approaches, I pay a brief recap of the lessons my mom taught me through the years.

My mom taught me, when I was in elementary school, to learn how to fight my own battles. I remember coming home on a few occasions seething because something another student or a teacher had said. My mom would always listen, and offer counsel, but she would never intervene. She taught me that I needed to stand up for myself, but also to consider where other people were coming from.

In jr. high I started having problems with the church. I rebelled in the usual ways, ditching seminary, hooking up with dubious youths, talking on the phone at all hours. My mom was very patient, never yelled, and just loved me. I knew I could tell her things, even when I was sure she wouldn't like what I had to say. She was the driving force for me when it came to rebuilding my testimony. I remember hearing her pray for me and my siblings, seeing her love of the scriptures and the gospel, and the reverent way she always spoke of the Savior. This drew me closer to the Spirit and eventually led to my reactivation.

In high school my mom was there on the front row for all my choir concerts and plays. She murmured not as she watched some of her favorite clothes walk out the door to get used as play props...some never to return. She drove me to early morning diving practice and reminded me that modesty was always the best choice. She sewed costumes, attended young women activities, and baked cookies for my gaggle of cohorts. I guessed that secretly my friends wished she could be their mom.

As I headed off to college I took my mom with me, at heart. My first few years I went home almost every weekend. All I wanted was to sit at the kitchen table and talk to my mom about all that had happened that week. My mom was always available. She was always ready to talk. I told her about boys I was dating (not all the juicy details...she was still my mom...) and about classes I was taking. She listened, offered advice, and followed up on past counsel. She was truly my greatest ally.

The first letter I received in the MTC was from my mom. It made my very sad and lonely day so much better. I struggled in the MTC but my mother's comforting and motivating words through her letters kept me going. She wrote every week, and quite often it was the only letter I got. I read some of those letters a while ago. She was always so positive, so reassuring.

Now that I'm married and have a little guy, my mother's advice and counsel has become all the more valuable. I'm often amazed at how someone 42 years older than me can offer such contemporary and relevant input. She knows what I'm going through usually before I do. Recently she called me and said, "Roby, I couldn't sleep last night because I was worried about what you will do if you get pregnant and have Eli running around. That sounds like too much." After all these years, her children still keep her up at night.

My mother is a mother through and through. The years of advice and counsel have been invaluable, but I've learned more in what she has done than what she has said. I've watched her take food to sick neighbors when she herself has struggled with health problems for years. She taught me through example that when a person loses a loved one they like to talk about it, and need people to listen. She has loved those who are hard to love, cared for the difficult, and reached out to those who most have turned away.

This Mother's Day, I pay tribute to my mom, and to all the other women who have influenced my life. Thank you all for being examples to me. Thank you for listening, for talking, and for being friends, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces, aunts, cousins, and most of all, for teaching me how to be a better woman and mother myself. Happy Mother's Day. You deserve it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Last week I went to the Bijou Market with some friends. I saw lots of cute stuff, some I thought I could reproduce and much I knew I never would. One item that really caught my eye was this little bookshelf some clever person had come up with. When I say bookshelf...I mean book-shelf. The shelf was a book. See? Clever.

I thought "Hey, I can do that!" and home I marched with ideas a-burstin. Two days, later, after a trip to D.I and a little jaunt to Lowes I had all I needed to make my own shelves. Here are some pics of how they turned out:

I really like how they look. All you need are some old, cool looking books, a little clear-drying glue, and some L-mounts. I used pages from an old children's book to cover the bottom of the mounts (using the glue).

The whole process took me about an hour. I didn't fix the books on the mounts yes, they are just balancing there precariously, but I just couldn't bare to put glue or nails on such gorgeous books.

Fun fun fun!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

California Dreaming

Our old house.

Before there was Utah, there was California. I was born in Ojai, a little burg about 2 hours north of L.A. I don't know if it's having a little soul around that reminds me of being a young'un, or if I have just been missing the warm weather, but California has been on my mind lately. Not Cali now...but Cali then.

When I was born most of my siblings were grown and out of the house. A few of the older ones still hung about, but pretty much it was just my sister Cristy, my brother Jeff, and little me. We lived on an acre of farmy-type land, with a big barn full of chickens and bunnies and a massive Eden-esque garden tended to lovingly by my mother.

Below is a pic of me and my first K-9 crony, Buddy, playing in our driveway.

Most of my memories of Ojai involve being outside. It seems like the weather was always nice, and we were always playing outdoors. Dan has often remarked that I hold a sort of ephemeral longing for Ojai that may not be based on memories of the place may be superimposed over it's actual glory...but I doubt that...

Ojai at dusk.

Here's one of us eating dinner at our old table. It was quite the set-up; a large round slab of wood resting slightly precariously on an old barrel. If you pushed too hard on any one end, you got a quick glance at the opposing side's dishes before the whole thing went toppling over. I think my folks still have this stowed away somewhere at their new place...I would like to see about inheriting it...but only when I have a much larger house to keep it in.

Sometimes we can get lost in remembering times that will never come again. I know being a kid again will never happen for me. But I can give my little one a childhood that is just as good, if not better, and let him create memories he can look back on later with great affection. Eli may not have any California dreams, but hopefully he will have fondness for the outdoor life he'll able to enjoy wherever we plant our family roots.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Washing Day

Its me again! Look at me, posting and such.

Eli has, of late, become fascinated with our washing machine. Its a front loading dealy, kind of a cheapy, and super loud. He sits and watches it spin and thinks its about the coolest thing in the world. The problem is, the door is right at his eye level, and as such he uses it as his personal toy storage box.

Two days I had just started a load when I noticed something odd pushing itself up against the door of the machine. It was a book, a really fantastic children's book I bought Eli before he was born. It's toast now. I haven't had the heart to throw it again, so it just sits and looks at me, warped and wilted, on my kitchen table.

Ten minutes ago I started another load of laundry. This time, I noticed his pair of snow boots moving back and forth against the door. I am not stopping the load. They can use a washing, and I don't have the where-with-all to get them out at this point. Lesson: check before starting the load.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Lot of Things

Well, that whole "one post a day thing" kinda fail-whaled. Things have been busy around here. A trip to Denver, a bunch of trips to Bountiful, and a whole lotta baby-ing have made for a very busy me.

Here are some shots of a few projects I've been working on.

These bow pillows have been a lot of fun. They're super easy and a great thing to do with extra fabric scraps.

I made this diaper bag today from a pattern I found here. It was pretty easy. If you're thinking about making it, I have some pointers because the directions are a little hard to figure out.

The pockets were fun to make...but challenging with Eli crawling on and off my lap.

Bread! These represent the most successful loaves a bread I've made to date. They were't great, but at least the dough rose and the bread didn't resemble a hockey puck.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Indi Dog: The Time Has Come

Sad sad day. Very sad indeed. The following is a plea for help.

We've had our border collie Indi for 3 years now. When we first got her, she was hyper and undisciplined. We worked with her for hours to teach her commands, how to sit and stay, and how to catch a frisbee. She's made leaps and bounds from where she once was. We've had her in training classes, socialization classes, and have worked with her on our own to help her harness her energy and learn to behave.

Before we had Eli I would run with Indi every day. She did pretty well in the house but was never good with company. She jumps, licks, nips. Whenever anyone comes over now we just have to put her away.

Since baby birth things have gone from tolerable to absolutely unbearable. She's become completely out of control. She wines constantly, chases Eli around wherever he goes, nips, growls, and is generally agitated all the time. I try to give her exercise, but there isn't much I can do in the winter.

She's been progressively more aggressive over the last few weeks and yesterday we had something happen that tipped the scales for me. Eli was in a corner of the living room (out of my line of site) and Indi came up to him. I heard a snarl, a snap and when I got over to them Eli had a long cut on his face. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but that was the last straw. I can't have Indi around if there is any sign of aggression with Eli. It's a risk I'm not willing to take.

So it's come to this; we have to get rid of Indi, and we have to do it now. I can't have her in the house any longer. I've put ads up on KSL for about two weeks now but no real luck. I've called rescues and no kill shelters but all are at full capacity right now. If ANYONE out there knows of anyone who could use a good, behaviorally challenged dog, PLEASE let me know. She would make a great dog to someone without kids, who doesn't have other dogs around, and can give her lots of exercise. Indi would do best with someone with lots of land, lots of time, and a lot of patience. She really is a good dog.

Let me know please if you can help. Her fate at this point looks bleak and I have considered the possibility of having her put down. I refuse to take her to the pound or animal control where she would locked in a small kennel and eventually put down anyway.

Thanks all.

P.S. I'm past the point of taking suggestions for her behavior. We've really have tried everything. I just need to get her a new home FAST.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BLTs: This is How We Do It

I was super tired on Monday. Taking dinner inventory, we had bacon, we had tomatoes, and we lettuce. It could only mean one thing; it was time to make some sandwiches. You've all made BLTs. Here's how I make them. Probably nothing ground breaking.

Step 1: Grill the bacon (no steamy bacon sizzling in a pan...NOW).

Step 2: Toast the bread. I like to lightly toast the bread. Not too crispy. Just a little toasty.

Then I do this. After a little mayonnaise.

Then I do this.

Served up with a few carrots. That's it!

Boring day. But yummy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicken Verde Enchiladas

As noted before, my mother is an amazing chef. Not only does she cook extremely tasty food, but because of her health she cooks extremely healthy too. This recipe is a family staple, one my mom has made for years and one I love more and more every time I eat it. Its super easy, super healthy, and a treat to eat! (Am I sounding like the Barefoot Contessa yet?)

Here you go with the step by steps.

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients. Here's a list of things you will need

1 bag flour tortillas

***note, I sent Dan to the store to get my ingredients for this meal and he grabbed large white flour tortillas. I usually use the fajitas size wheat flour tortillas, because the whole wheat makes the enchiladas so much heartier and healthier. I cut these tortillas in half because they were so huge, but they worked just fine. (Thanks love for the grocery run)

1 can green chile enchilada sauce
1-2 cans canned cooked chicken (you can grill your own and shred it, canned chicken is just so easy to use)
1 large onion, diced very fine (I use a little chopper, helps with the tears)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
I mix things up and like to try new ingredients from time to time. Last night I added black beans and we have added olives in the past or bell peppers. Pretty much anything along the Mexican food line is pretty good.

Step 2: Before I start assembling the enchiladas I set everything out in a sort of assembly line. I put all my fillings in bowls and get out a large dinner plate so that I have a surface where I can roll up the enchiladas. Pour the chile sauce into a little large bowl for easy dipping.

Step 3: Take out about 8 tortillas from the bag. Once you get started your hands are going to be messy so make sure you have out your baking dish and all the ingredients you'll need. Now take a tortilla and dip it in the green chile sauce. Use your fingers to wipe off all excess sauce. You just want a thin layer of sauce on the tortilla, so wipe off as much as you can with your fingers.

Step 4: Place the tortilla on the plate you've given it it's sauce bath. Fill it in a vertical line with a little of everything; the cheese, the chicken, the onions, and anything else you want to add. To roll the enchilada, take your fingers and pull the line of filling towards you a little as you roll the tortilla away from you. Roll them pretty tight.
Step 5: Continue filling and rolling the enchiladas until you either run out of filling or run out of space in your baking dish. You should get 8-10 enchiladas. ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** You want to have a little green sauce left over after you've filled all the tortillas. Save at least a quarter of a cup of sauce.

Once you've got all the enchiladas in the pan, cover with the remaining green sauce, about a half a cup of cheese, and whatever else you've got left (beans, onions, etc.)

Step 6: Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Remove foil for the last 5 minutes of baking. Make sure the cheese is all melted and the tortillas on the edge are browned a bit.

You're done! I like to serve them with a simple green salad.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Church Follies

Dan and I are church going folk. I usually look forward to the three hours a week when I can go and rethink my life. Lately, though, things have been a little challenging, to say the least. Having a child who A-never holds still and B- runs like a gazelle makes for difficult worship. Dan and I just kinda rotate following him around in the halls while the other one tries to sit in and get some churching done.

Today was a particularly bad day at the ol' meeting house. We made a pact when we had Eli that we would do all we could to stay to the closing prayer in our last meeting so we would be motivated to stick it out. Today that did not work. About ten seconds into sacrament meeting Eli made a mad dash for the pulpit. After chasing him down the isle twice, I handed him off to Dan who took him out to the hall. About five minutes after that Dan opened the door to the chapel and motioned for me to grabbed the diaper bag and come. That's never a good sign.

I went to meet him out in the hall and Dan pointed to a large blast zone of puke. Eli had expurgated his lunch all over the hall of the church, in such a way as I have never seen him do before.

Dan knows I am not a puke person. There are many things I can deal with, puke is not one of them. So I handed Dan the diaper bag and I went to chase Eli down the hall. As I was extracting him from a hallway garbage, an older woman walked passed and said "He has ADHD. I had six of them like that. Good luck!" and cheerfully waddled off. I lost it. I had tears running down my cheeks when Dan came back from his puke cleaning. My blessed husband took Eli into a nearby classroom, closed the door, and I sat in the foyer for the rest of the meeting and listened to the speakers.

Needless to say I am home now, Dan is still at church, and Eli is cleaned up and eating a little lunch. May next week be better.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Garlic Lemon Chicken with Asparagus: Good Stuff

I like chicken. I like it cooked in just about any form. Chicken breasts are the magic food for me. You can do so many things with them and its pretty hard to have them turn out wrong. AND, chicken is super good for you.

Our friend TJ Seintenbach sent me this recipe, said its one of his and his wife's favorites. And let me tell you...its pretty darned good. I added a few changed and it was mighty yummy. Here's a step by step for you.

Step 1: Sautee minced garlic in a frying pan with a little olive oil. You want enough garlic to cover the bottom of two large chicken breasts, so don't skimp.

Step 2: Add two boneless chicken breasts to the pan. TJ says they season the chicken with Cavenders Seasoning. I found some at our local Winco, but I bet you could get it at just about any grocery store, and it is good. Very good. Check that link so you know what you're looking for.

Step 3: Sautee the chicken on the garlic, turning each breast occasionally to optimize tenderness. I had on hand a few fresh Myer lemons (I have a blessed friend in California who grows them) so I juiced them on top of the cooking chicken. I added more lemon juice every time the pan looked a little dry and seasoned them liberally throughout cooking with the Cavenders. Yum.
Step 4: While the chicken is cooking, sautee the asparagus in olive oil in a separate pan. I added a little salt and pepper and, you guessed it, a little of the lemon juice. Dan likes his veggies nice and tender, so I grilled them until they drooped when I picked them up.
Step 5: Check the chicken to ensure done-ness by making a small cut in the thickest part of the breast. If the meat is white all the way through and the juices are clear, dinner is almost done. To keep this meal super healthy as well as yummy, I served it with warmed black beans to cut down on carbs. I heated them in a sauce pan with a little salt and pepper while the other things were cooking.
Ta da! Its done! This meal was quick to make and so very tasty. I will definitely be making it again.

Baked Ziti: A Meat(less) Lovers Fancy Food

I'm trying very hard to break myself of the notion that all meals have to have meat in them. There are so many great meatless dishes out there, I just have always thought a complete meal had to have a meat and at least one starch and one vegetable. My brother-in-law Sam sent me a recipe that has no meat, but looks super easy and has the potential for becoming a healthy, quick fix meal idea. I took the directions he gave me and tried to lighten up the recipe a bit. Here goes:

Bake Ziti

1 bag of ziti pasta
1 bottle pasta sauce (I love Ragu Old World Style)
about a cup and a half of water

Mix all ingredients in a casserole dish. Bake for about 45 minutes (I'd say at about 350 degrees). Sam suggests dumping about 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese on top, which sounds amazing, but to make it a little lighter I'd sprinkle about 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan on top. After cheese, bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

I love this recipe because 1-Dan is a HUGE fan of Italian food and 2-it looks so easy. I also like it because there are about a million things you could do to it to change up the recipe. I was thinking how good it would be with a little Italian sausage thrown in (there's my meatyness coming out) or with some grilled bell peppers or onions.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meat Loaf: It Can Be Healthy

Tonight's fare: Meat Loaf, boiled potatoes, green salad, cooked green beans

Meat loaf can be a surprisingly lean meal. Dan is a big fan of meat loaf sandwiches so I make a loaf for dinner and then he eats it all week for lunch. Here's a link to my favorite meat loaf recipe. Its easy, tasty, and pretty fast. I usually use lean ground beef for the meat, but have also used ground turkey or elk. If you do use a super lean meat like turkey, I might suggest mixing in a little beef just to make the end result more juicy. Turkey and elk meat can be pretty dry. If you're not a beef eater, add a little extra olive oil to your recipe and watch the oven closely so it doesn't bake too long and come out dry.

If you don't have Lipton onion soup mix on hand for this recipe, here's an alternative. I like the above link better, mostly because its so easy, but the following is pretty doable in a time crunch.

Italian Meat Loaf (from Progresso)

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (you can use bb sauce if you don't have Worcestershire sauce)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (or use actual mustard if you don't have ground)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic (I use 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I like Italian, but the taste may be a little overwhelming for some)
1 small onion chopped (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup ketchup

1. Heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients except ketchup.
2. Spread mixture in ungreased 8x4 or 9x5 inch loaf pan. Spread ketchup over top.
3. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until beef is no longer pink in the center. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

*Makes 6 servings*

Healthy Food for Happy People

I like good food. I like eating good food and I love making it. I've never been a very fancy chef by any means. I have, however, always enjoyed cooking and have always had a knack for cooking healthy foods. This probably comes from my mother. Mama had a stroke when I was 8 and ever since then the meals in our house became very healthy, but were still always tasty.

Growing up with a mother who had extreme dietary restrictions taught me that you can cook healthy, yummy foods without sacrificing taste or your waist line. Here on Mumaday I've decided to steer things in a more culinary route. Most days, instead of random ramblings about my extremely exiting life I'm going to be posting recipes. I hope that is serves as sort of an answer to the question "what to make for dinner".

Again, I am not a culinary mastermind. I'm far from it truth be told. I have trashed more food than I've served. But I do love to cook, and I do cook healthy. My meals are simple, my recipes usually compromise of few ingredients and items that you probably have sitting on your shelve. Occasionally I branch out and make some exotic meal, but for the most part I cook simple, quick food that appeals to a range of pallets. If you have a recipe you'd like to share, send it my way.



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Waxing Personal

At the risk of turning this blog into something akin to a 14 year old's online journal, allow me to wax a little personal for a minute. I had an epiphany this morning, something that hit me in the head like one of Eli's carefully projected blocks. Let me share.

I am a person prone to moodiness. I can go from ok to on fire in about ten seconds. There are big factors relating to my drastic swings, mostly food related. As long as I have food in my system and a good night's sleep I'm usually pretty good. But get me hungry and tired...its bad all around.

On top of that I've been blacking out a lot lately, something about low blood pressure and heart irregularity stuff, at least that what my doctor brother said. I just get light headed and fall over. Nothing too worrisome, but a pain in the neck nonetheless.

So my epiphany? Here it is. Medically there are things I can do to help my crankiness and falling over. Eating, drinking plenty of water, standing up slowly, these things all help. But there is something else I believe is an extremely effective remedy. Taking three minutes, two minutes, even ten seconds to stop, relax and have a little moment of peace when the boiling point gets high helps more than almost anything else.

Its hard with an active baby to be able to stop and regroup, but it is possible. No matter what your spiritual or theological beliefs, I assure you that when problems get nasty, or your system just insists on having a melt down, taking two minutes to sit and relax helps truck loads. I don't mean I sit cross legged and say "OM" every time I get overwhelmed. I just mean taking a minute to sit undisturbed by electronic noise and other distractions, regroup, and start over.

Sounds simple...but I often struggle to grasp the most plainly laid out solutions.

Sorry for the ramblings...we will resume normal programing...NOW.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Cities

A friend recently posted a list of cities he'd spent a night in or more in 2010. I thought that was a grand idea. Here's my list. Add yours.

*Orem, Ut
*Provo, Ut
*Bountiful, Ut
*Telluride, Co
*Arvada, Co
*Colorado Springs, Co
*Ojai, Ca
*St. George, Ut
*Moab, Ut
*Placentia, Ca
*Mesquite, NV

Wow...that looks really anemic now that I write it all down...worst traveling year ever.