Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

This has been a crazy holiday season. Its a different experience, navigating Christmas with two small and very active children. I went back and forth from packing way to much in to being antsy that we weren't doing enough. Today was a great day for the kids...and an absolutely exhausting day for dan and me. I don't know what the secret is to pulling off a successful holiday season with kids in tow and not being absolutely dead at the end of it. Honestly though, the good moments have far outweighed the bad. Here are a few highlights from our past month of holiday events.

*Visiting Santa at Festival of Trees. Dan would interject that this was NOT a highlight of our year. We waited in line for 45 minutes with post-bedtime children for a 20 second visit with a rather grumpy Santa and in the end Sammy freaked out and Eli didn't have much to say to the man in red. BUT...it was a great learning moment for me; while I wanted my kids to experience the joy of meeting Santa...I think I may have pushed this one a little too much. Next time we'll opt for a non-peak time visit and a good prep before.

*Driving around and looking at Christmas lights. This was much less stressful. The kids were strapped in, we sang songs, and despite a few car-seat meltdowns we had a great time. So much so, in fact, that we went out to look at lights a lot...like maybe 5 or 6 times?

*Making a ginger bread train for FHE. This was another great learning moment for Mom; don't plan a candy/sugar infused activity and then freak out when all the toddler wants to do is cram the sweet stuff. In the end I just gave up and Eli and I wiped frosting on each other in a sort of 'battle to the death'. It was fun.

*Visiting Temple Square to see the lights. This actually turned out to be one of our best outings this year. We parked a long ways away from the center of town. It wasn't too freezing out and the walk was actually lovely. The kids behaved relatively well despite Eli's constant escape attempts (he does NOT care about where we are when we go out...its getting to be a real problem) and we enjoyed seeing all the sites and taking it all in. I was so thrilled that Macy's started up with the candy window displays again. This was a must-see when I was a kid. It was so fun to see them all again.

*Christmas Eve dinner with siblings and folks. This year we invited my parents and two single siblings over for dinner. It went surprisingly well...cooking a big meal with kiddies running around seemed like an impossible prospect but we all pitched in and things came together nicely. The best par of the night? A spontaneous poetry read-off after the kids went to sleep. We all picked our favorites and either recited them from memory or looked them up and read them. Mine was "Annabel Lee" by Poe and an excerpt from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Dan read "The Jabberwocky" and recited a few from memory from his childhood.

*Christmas morning. This morning was crazy, but we decided to let the kids go at their own pace and things worked out nicely. This was our first ever Christmas with just our little family. I really liked it. Dan and I had so much fun setting up toys last night and were probably more excited than the kids this morning when we woke up. Eli loved his train set and RC car...Sammy seemed genuinely taken with his set of stacking cups and little piano. It was just lovely to sit and watch our kids enjoy playing with toys and interacting with each other. The rest of the day sort of digressed into a candy-gorge and nap-fight followed by a nice but non-relaxing dinner at my parent's house (see aforementioned candy-gorge and nap-fight).

All in all it was a good time. I learned a lot...and I'm ready to take on next year with my trove of lessons. I wish a very Merry Christmas to all my dear friends and family and hope you have a wonderful start to 2013. MWAH!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Children's Lifestyle

So yesterday was Eli's birthday. In preparation for his party I did a little work on the internets looking for a ideas for decorating and games. After about ten minutes of searching around my head started hurting. Not only had I not found anything useful at all but it seemed to me that the only ideas out there were published by crazy people. And by that I mean people (parents) (mothers) who insist on spending dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars planning and executing birthday parties for their poor children who really would have just been happy with Pin the Tail on the Donkey and a little crepe paper.

In the end I opted for the party decor section at Walmart, spent very little, and Eli had a fantastically fun party jamming with a few friends and making a ruckus. I didn't spend hours gluing pinwheels together or hand-dipping confectionary wonders for the party guests. I didn't hand-make anything really. I just decided it was Eli's party and the focus was supposed to be on him and having fun. So that's what we did.

This brings me to a bigger issues: the so-called "children's lifestyle" craze that's going around. You know what I mean; photo shoot after photo shoot of babies in wicker baskets. Birthday parties that are so precious I bet the poor birthday child didn't even get a say in what he or she wanted. Baby fashion that is absolutely over-the-top absurd (we'll talk about that one more in a sec) and a general ambience in the parenting community that every detail of our child's life has to be Etsy inspired, Pintrest worthy, and vintage approved.

Stop. It. Just stop. Because here's the big secret: the poor little kids who's mother's make them live like that are miserable. I guarantee it. As a (sort of) young mom I totally get it though. There is all this pressure to make everything perfect looking when it comes to our children and their lives. This is why places like Baby Gap exist; they sell a lifestyle, not clothes.

This is mainly why I don't use Pintrest. I went on there once and was flooded with Precious Children's Lifestyle ideas. I couldn't take it. Also, I've been trying to cut down on my internet time and this was the one to go. (Couldn't part with my Instagram, Reader and Facebook...) I read a few design blogs for home stuff, a few trusted sites for kids ideas, and I try to steer clear of the "this is vintage and precious and your kids and your house need if for reals" type of blogs. I don't want to get stuck thinking that if my house and my kids don't look exactly like every other house and kids out there that somehow I've failed.

Ok, now to bring it home...kid's fashion. Double and triple Stop. It. Seriously. If I have to see a link on Facebook one more time to some amazing new hip clothing designer for kids or see $50 pairs of baby shoes advertised any more I may lose it. Again...our kids don't CARE. Eli could care less if he is dressed hip and cool. Sammy cares not at all. So who does care then? The parents. And that's all good and fine until you find yourself spending ridiculous amounts on clothes that your kids will grow out of in a day and Don't Care About.

For my boys I make sure they are dressed clean, conservative, and cartoon character -free (don't love me the Walmart Cars shirts). Other than that if it fits, it goes on. There's nothing wrong with having a few cute outfits that your kids can wear for church and pics. I'm talking about the poor little guys whose moms won't let them out of the house without skinny jeans, moccasins, bomber jackets and all that jazz. I'll admit...Eli has a few pairs of skinnies and I love them. I also paid less than $5 a pair for them at D.I. I don't buy anything for him that cost more than I'm willing to invest in for 6 months tops.

In the end, I guess what this muddled rant is getting at is that we need to stop, as parents, and take a minute to remember what is most important for our kids. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on clothes they don't care about, buy a season pass to a museum or indoor play area. Instead of creating the perfect party, perfect play-date, perfect perfect just let them have fun and make messes. In the end we'll all have much happier kids. And if you think about it...do you really want to raise kids who are obsessed with clothes?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Few of my Thankful Things

Its 11:40 at night but I have to take minute before I drift off to add my list of thankful things to this years season of gratitude. Here it goes.

I am thankful for family...my little family for starters. Dan, Eli and Sammy are the best things that ever have come into my life. I am thankful for every day I have with my lil guys. Today Eli looked at me and said, "Mom...I pooped my pants". I am thankful for moments like that...because they mean I have something funny to think about later.

I am thankful for my extended family. Its been a bit of a rough year for my crew...I won't elaborate here but I've had to grow up a little more and face some harsh realities. I haven't liked it. But we're sticking it out together and I've grown closer to some family members and learned a lot about others. All in all my siblings and I are a close knit little (big) group that, despite our age differences and lifestyle choices are all pretty good friends.

I am thankful for my parents. With each passing day I am learning more and more about the sacrifices they must have made to keep us kids afloat. 7 kids!!?? Can you imagine? I have two and feel like my life is in chaos. I'm amazed either one of them still have any sanity left.

I am thankful for my country. This last election left me a little disillusioned as far as government goes...not because of the outcome of any particular race but because I HATE the backstabbing and mudslinging that comes out in these things. But then I read the news, and see the atrocities and injustices and horrors playing out around the world and it makes our country look so much better. I truly am grateful for this amazing nation.

I am thankful for health. Recently a friend lost her husband to cancer. They have two young children and the passing of this young father made me think about my own little family. I'm so grateful that, for now, we are healthy and hearty. Things can change so fast, but for now I have a plucky little group.

Lastly, I am thankful for my Savior and for my Father in Heaven. I heard a really cheesy quote one time that said "If God seems far away ask yourself 'who moved?'". I think about this one a lot. My faith and testimony are tried on occasion but I keep coming back the the fact that I have felt things I can't deny. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who is so merciful and so patient and allows me to make so many mistakes and STILL offers peace and comfort. I am so unworthy of all the blessing heaped down on my shoulders.

Life is wonderful. I can't get over how beautiful everything is. I could go on and on with all the things I'm thankful for but now its midnight and I have to sleep. "Because I have been given much I too must give". Goodnight!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Holiday Traditions

Hey! I LOVE the holiday season. I think I love it in an almost unhealthy way. There may be some subconscious madness to the fact that we have had both our kids during the holidays: MORE FUN!! (K..not really...I kind of hate that my kids birthdays will forever me mired by bigger holidays.)

This year I feel a sort of crazed urgency to squeeze all the good times I can out of the next few months. I think its because Eli is really starting to get things and I can't help but feed his almost tangible excitement over things like pumpkin carving, hanging Halloween lights, talking about Christmas and Santa and planning his birthday party together. I should hold back and teach him a little decorum but decorum has never really been my wheel-house.

With all that said I'm trying to instigate some sort of Garfield family traditions. Its harder that I thought. I always assumed traditions just come organically, like they always felt growing up, but I realize now that may have been because I was getting the end of my parent's child-rearing career and they had things down by then. We do all the regular stuff but I'm having a hard time making things really unique for our family.

What are some good ideas for traditions you all have? What are some things that work and don't work when it comes to prepping kids for the holidays? Go!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Telephone Line Through Time

My mom is an amazing lady. I love her more than I could ever express. Sometimes though, because 43 years separates us, I forget that she was once a young mom like me raising a big family, dealing with all the same struggles and trials that come with it.

Today I was up in Bountiful for a visit with my folks. Yesterday was their 53rd wedding anniversary and they had brought out some old photo albums and journals to peruse. I was flipping through an old journal of my mom's and looked at the date. It was from February of 1983.

I'm the youngest of 7 children. There are almost 6 years that separate me from my closest sibling. I have always wondered about the reaction my mom had when she found out she was expecting another baby when I'm sure she thought she was done. I read the following exert from her journal in February:

"I guess I haven't mentioned something very important. I haven't talked about it here because honestly I don't know how I feel about it. Heavenly Father has decided to bless our family with another baby. I really did feel like our family was complete with six, but I think the Lord has other plans for us. I can't really get my head around the fact that we're having another baby."

As I read on about how my mother was enduring intense nausea with the pregnancy, and how she was coping with the emotions of being pregnant while mothering a range of children from ages 6-22, I couldn't help but tear up a bit. My emotional reaction was in no way related to my mom's trepidation about having another child. I understand now what that really meant for her. She was older, and I think her and my dad were looking forward to a little calmer life. Having another baby meant starting over, it meant dealing with a newborn, a two-year old, potty training and kindergarten, all things I think she thought she had left behind. 

The rest of the journal posts were upbeat and cheerful. I was 13 days over due and I think that was probably the hardest part of things for my mom, who is very organized and had a large family to take care of. 

It made me think a lot about my little family. What lies in store for us? What will be the big events of our lives that will someday be looked at by our children and grandchildren as monumental? What photos will they love and laugh at? What hair styles will they mock and then eventually revamp? Taking care of Eli and Sammy is exhausting but it hit me today more than ever before that we are creating a legacy. We are making stories and creating moments that will be shared and talked about for years to come. I hope we can make a good start for our little group. 

Looking back at my mother's reactions to finding out she was expecting another baby really made me feel a closeness to her I hadn't ever felt. She was just like me once; tirelessly working day in and day out to make sure her little group was well taken care of. She talked in her journal of late night and early morning feedings, of diapering issues, of colic and baby clothes and it just made me feel so close to her. Not just close to her now but close to her then. Legacy and history does that. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Dan and I just watched this video. If you have a few minutes to watch I highly recommend it. I haven't been so inspired in a long time.

I keep thinking, "How can I make a difference in the world? How can I help other people out especially when I'm so so busy with my own little family?". It's women like this that really answer the question so profoundly...you just go out and do something! I want my boys to grow up knowing that there are other people in the world, people whom we can serve and help. My mom was so wonderful at teaching her kids that. I remember so many nights when dinner was late because she was out taking someone else a meal first. I want to make my home a place of service just like that.

Tonight Eli and I were talking before he went to bed. I cuddled him and told him how much I loved him. I felt, like I have so many times, a wave of love and happiness flow over me. I wanted to spend hours laying there in his bed with him giggling and talking. I realize that I am so blessed with all I have. I wish there were more opportunities for me to help others feel that same happiness.

Anyway...holy heavy-handed blog post Batman! I just feel so happy tonight, and watching this little video made me realize just how much good there is to do in the world.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Today I was able to attend the Brigham City temple dedication. It was lovely and reminded me just how much I love the temple. This dedication came at a particularly nostalgic time for me as yesterday was the 8 year anniversary of when I went to the temple for the first time and received my endowments.  

September 22, 2004 was an amazing day for me. I would enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo in less than a month but for now I was entering a building I had loved for a long time. It was just my parents and myself, at my request, and I loved the sweet peace I felt being able to just take it all in.

For those of my friends who read my blog who aren't familiar with what Mormon temples are, here's a quick primer. In the church we have meeting houses where we attend weekly church devotionals and services. All are welcome to enter these buildings and we encourage visitors. In the temple only members of the church with recommends (obtained after a process of personal preparation) enter and perform what we refer to as 'temple work'. Members of the church 12 years and older are able to enter to participate a limited number of services, ordinances as they are called, and members a little older (there's no real set age) are able to obtain a full use recommend and participate in all the ordinances available.

The temple is, above all, a place of peace and meditation. It is a place to go to work, think, and take time out from life. It is a place of solace and revelation. It is one of my favorite places on earth.

Dan and I were married in the Bountiful Temple. Every time I enter the temple, especially that one, I feel an intense feeling of love and appreciation for the opportunity I had to be sealed eternally to my dear spouse.

Thinking back on my last 8 years of temple attendance I have only warm, fuzzy memories. I wish everyone could experience the peace I have found within those walls. Today I re-dedicated myself to attending more frequently, being always worthy to enter, and make my home a place that is akin to the spirit felt in the temple.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Milky Musings

First off, "stop talking about your boobs already!" and second off "we don't care anymore!".

Point taken. But you came here...and here I am. For whatever reason the last few weeks I've been feeling very sad (again) about my inability to nurse my son. I have no doubt in my mind that he is fine, formula is fine, bottles are fine, and everyone is great. But my little boy, my baby, is getting so big and independent that I just yearn for some sort of infant/mother connection. He used to like it when I rocked him while he took a bottle but now that he can hold his own he'd rather scoot around and grab a drink here and there and resume activities.

I know every mom goes through a sort of aching when her baby gets big. With Sammy though, there's something more to it. I'm not sure if its the drama of his birth, the subsequent depression and (partial) recovery, or just the fact that my 3 year old is less than cuddly and I really loved having this little bundle around who wanted nothing more than for Mommy to hold him and snuggle him. I know he's only 8 months old. I know he'll be a baby for a while still. But something about him lately is just screaming "I'm independent Mom! Look at me!"

He crawls at lightning speed and does everything he can to keep up with Big Brother. He loves to be cuddled, but only in small, short doses. I have been longing for a reason to get him to stay close to me, want to me near me, but without mommy milk he would rather take his lunch on the go.

I have an odd relationship with nursing. Yesterday I had a few friends over and we were talking (of course) about babies and what-not and they were swapping nursing stories. I added input only in the form of "and then I mixed a bottle and he went to bed" but I suddenly hurt a bit for this experience that I was missing out on.

On one hand, I think not being able to nurse has been a real blessing for me. Its given me a chance to let others help with my children in ways I wouldn't have been able to. It has given me mobility and a little more freedom. Sammy is an amazing sleeper and minus the current ear infection has had a pretty spotless bill of health in his little life.

On the other hand I wish so much that I could still share a closeness with my baby other mothers do. I always feel like I have to explain myself to moms when I pull out a bottle of formula. I know they most likely don't care but I want to make sure they know I'm not doing this voluntarily. It's silly really, I shouldn't care what other people think about me...but I do.

Oh well, sorry for the downer today. I'm just feeling a little sad about the progress of time I guess. I love my kids so much it makes me cry. Sammy is so big and strong and happy. Eli is so smart and funny. I just want them to stay little forever. Is that possible?

Friday, September 14, 2012

This American Wife

My kiddos are driving me crazy today so I thought I'd take a minute to give myself a break and do something just for me. Like...share all of my new crafties with you! I've been making lots of stuff lately....some of it out of bordom...some of it out of insanity...some of it out of "everything I do is taken apart by small hands so I need to work on something that will not get destroyed in a minute"...ness. 

Here are some pics. 
Hair pins! I know everyone does these...but my hair has been driving me crazy and I've been looking for something to use that's not just a plain old bobby pin.  

 Boat pillow. I love this one. It's for a birthday present for a friend so...I hope she doesn't check this post until Sunday!
Chrysanthemum wreath....I like the way this turned out. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Now For Something Completely Different.

Do you have dreams? I know I do.

I write. A lot. I do a lot of creative writing, writing for money, editing, poetry, writing here on my blog, producing hilarious and unforgettable commentary on social media outlets, and so forth.

It's not a passion, but it is a hobby, and sometimes a livelihood. I do have a dream though. A deep-rooted and undying dream. I want to be published. I'm not talking internet published...I mean really actually legit have a book or a story or something I write in print.


What am I going to do about it? Well...this for starters.

I want to go to that conference so very very much. I've been saving my pennies and working on stuff to take for a few months now. I have a creative fiction piece that I want to polish up and take with me.

Do you have dreams? Please do tell. We're adults, but we're allowed to talk about what we want to be when we grow up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On the Lighter Side of Life: A Tribute to Buddy

***My sister Cristy just sent me this email she wrote to a friend when he asked her to share a personal story from her childhood. Since things have been so heavy around here...I thought I'd share it because 1-its so well written and 2-Its about my best friend growing up. Note: I am "little sister".

When I was about 10 or so, our neighbors’ dog started coming to our place and hanging out.  There were a few problems with this new arrangement: one, he was absolutely covered in fleas, this being California and fleas enjoyed life on a dog in the sun; two, my little sister, who was about 4 at the time, loved him and wanted to hug him and carry him around inside the house (see problem one), and finally, it was only barely apparent that this animal was, in fact, a dog and not a large rat who had escaped from a border town.  Buddy was ugly on a competitive level—small and nervous, he was a truly hideous mix of a terrier and something else that should never have mixed with a terrier. At best he looked like an evil wizard and at worst, like an overgrown rodent.  When my mom realized that our neighbors, who were preparing to move, intended to leave Buddy with us, she gave the dog a bath and he was ours. 

Buddy had a driving, all consuming passion: he loved tennis balls.  He didn’t care if they were dingy and flat or if they were florescent and bouncy, he loved them all equally.  And his love wasn’t passive; Buddy would go to any lengths to find and retrieve a tennis ball.  You could throw it up a tree and Buddy would climb the tree.  Put the tennis ball at the top of a dense five foot high hedge and Buddy would work his way through the hedge and get the ball.  Bodies of water, over the next hill, it never mattered where you threw the ball, Buddy would get it, bring it back to you, dropping the slimy greenish sphere of rubber and fuzz expectantly in front of you.  He always brought it back. More than once when we took Buddy hiking or camping, he would grow frantic in one particular area of the campground, barking, running around in circles, and then he would start digging.  Once he dug a 4 foot hole and there, underneath it all, was a filthy tennis ball that he triumphantly carried up out of his hole and dropped in front of us.  His dedication to tennis balls would have shamed the even the most crazed fanatic.

Buddy was small—about the size of a large cat.  But despite his diminutive stature, Buddy survived a rattlesnake bite (we got him to the vet in time to save him), an attack from a bobcat who ripped a gash in his side and years later, an attack from a protective mother deer who slashed his nose open and gave him a concussion. He fell in a 20 foot hole. I once accidentally slammed 2 inches of his tail in the door, cutting off its tip so that blood flung around the room with every wag of his tail. 

Tennis balls were his life’s work, but Buddy still found time for romance.  He found love in the form of a green and purple knitted afghan that he humped with joy and shameless abandon just about every day of his life.
Buddy must have also felt a certain affection for us, his people.  He allowed my sister to regularly dress him up in a bonnet with lace trim and put him in her doll stroller.  He’d sit there, if not exactly proud, at least resigned, like Merlin’s less attractive wizard counterpart with shaggy whiskers and fugitive eyes darting from underneath a pink bonnet. 

I was living across the country when old age and sickness brought Buddy’s life to an end.  I wasn’t there when his eye sight deteriorated, but from all accounts, poor vision never stopped him from darting off after a tennis ball rolled across the room.  He didn’t need to see it; like anyone with a consuming passion, he found a way to continue to do what love ‘til the end.   I suppose he knew  tennis balls by their smell.   We buried him at home, marking his grave with a tennis ball nailed to a wooden slat.  

Some Kid's People


I hate when things online get me all ruffled up. I have to save whatever patience God gives me for dealing with my sweet little albatross. Being mad at people whom I've never met is a waste of my time and is more like beating my head against a wall than having any sort of meaningful adult interacting, which is why I think subconsciously I do it...

Anyway, yesterday the AAP published a study about male circumcision in infant boys. I thought "interesting, good info". And that was about it. We have chosen to circumcise our boys. It was a personal and very informed decision based on research, love, and preference. On the other hand, I don't think anything malicious of people who choose not to do it. This is one of those instances where the data is split and it comes down to your own desires for your own kids.

However...people seem to care A LOT about this issue. People who don't have kids seem to care A LOT about this issue. People who have never had to make the decision want to yell and scream and accuse you of doing all sorts of nefarious and completely horrendous things to you kids. People make you want to cry. People on this website even accuse you of rape (read the comments...).

Here's what I say about it. By popular kid trends I've failed. Eli is an induced labor, epiduraled, formula fed, vaccinated, circumcised, tv and sugar infused everyday ruff and tumble kid. Sammy was an epiduraled, c-section (oh the horror!), formula fed, vaccinated, already has watched tv in his 8 months of life(d) roly poly baby. I've really screwed up. According to tredy baby rhetoric, all of those things equals one heck of a messed up kid.

But here's the deal. None of it matters. Do you know what does matter? What will have a lasting and profound effect on kids? It's not the presence of a few cubic centimeters of skin, or the absence of breastmilk, or whatever kinds of pain meds the mom chose to use during labor. What matters is LOVE.

I know that sounds like a Beattles song. But really, all that matters in your children's lives in love. Last night Eli woke up at 11:30 with a high fever and was throwing up. Dan and I spent two hours cleaning him up, getting him medication, cuddling him and making sure he was comfortable. Sammy woke up at 6am and I was up making sure he was feeling ok, was fed, dry, and happy.

Being a mom has very little to do with how we get our kids here or what scientifically neutral procedures we choose to have done for them. What being a good parent entails is loving, nurturing, and caring for the emotional and temporal needs of these little souls who have been given to us. It means getting down on the ground and playing cars with a roudy 3 years old (even when Mom's back hurts so so bad). It means getting up at 4am to feed a baby. It means driving to the beach, the park, the dino museum, the zoo, the whatever will make your kids happy and engaged.

I know I'm preaching to the choir. I just get so mad when I hear how caustic people can be towards another person's decisions. There are issues that need attention...like people choosing not to vaccinate their children, because that is destructive and uneducated and there is NO science to back it up. Circumcision though, like epidurals and breastmilk and c-sections are things parents have to choose based on the medical data and their own hopes for their own kids.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Here's a list of things that are making me happy...I feel like I've been kinda down lately so I thought it would be good to do a little blessing counting.

-The way Eli says "Mama kiss pweez!"
-Whenever Sammy giggles...his laugh is like pure happiness in sound form
-The fact that Dan comes home every night from work and gives me a kiss before he even puts his laptop bag down
-My small but fertile garden. I have been eating fresh tomatoes and mint like a crazy person. 
-The color blue of my freshly painted kitchen.
-OLYMPICS! Definitely a favorite.
-The heat. I LOVE summer. LOVE LOVE LOVE. 
-Our Thanksgiving Point Pass. We go all the stinking time and I'm still not sick of it. 
-The air conditioning in my car...two summers without it makes me very appreciative. 
-Imagine Dragons...k I know their single is waaaay popular right now but I don't care...it makes me happy. 
-The arrival of canning season. Its the only hobby I have that I'm kinda fanatic about. 

Oh, I also love the fact that my son calls the moon Endor when it's out during the day. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

La Logic League

Oh gosh. I'm mad. If you didn't know by now...lots of things make me mad. But today...extra mad with a side of super irritated. Topped with a hint of self-righteous indignation and served over a bed of leafy green go-to-hell. That kind of mad.

I read this article yesterday on the webnuts:


It made me the above mad. Let me go off for a sec.

When I had Eli I expected to hook up my newborn to my overflowing mammaries and nurse him. I pictured sweet moments of maternal bliss as I cuddled my baby and we skin-on-skinned...or whatever the crap it's called.

That did not happen. Two days after Eli was born my milk hadn't come in. Three days....four days...five six seven. Never. I had a light trickle of milky goodness that I would pumped out for him...never more than a few ounces at at time. I tried everything. Herbs, foods, pumping, consultations, crying, singing to my boobs, chanting to the Leche Gods, lighting candles, and so forth. Nothing worked. I nursed Eli for 2 months, supplementing with evil evil formula until I just had to stop. I was exhausted. Night time feedings were lasting 3 hours, after nursing on each side for at least 30 minutes, giving baby a bottle, getting him back to sleep, and pumping for at least another 30 minutes.

I tried. Dangit all I tried. I also cried, a lot. All I heard during my pregnancy was how bad formula was, all the crap about "nipple confusion" and so much more whatever, that when I was faced with the prospect of not being able to provide the one thing my son needed more than anything else in his infancy, I felt like a complete failure.

I wasn't though...I know that now. I now know formula is just fine. Eli has honestly been sick maybe 2 days in his almost 3 years (minus searing seasonal allergies) and is off the charts for growth. Still though, I tried even harder to nurse with Sammy but gave up much sooner, because at that point I knew formula was just fine. Expensive, but totally fine.

Do I wish I could nurse my kiddies? Oh absolutely. Do I know that mother's milk is superior to formula? Meh, I don't think at this point there's that much a difference to be honest.

The problem with stuff like this NYC ban is that the people who are instituting it think somehow they are sticking it to the man but they are, most definitely, sticking it to the woman. Formula companies probably don't really care. But I'll tell you what even getting a few small samples at the hospital helped out so much in those first few days with my kids at home. I didn't have to the store to buy it. I didn't have to worry about the expense for a few days. I have actually solicited my friends who have had babies recently if I could have their hospital samples.

All a ban like this does is create more guilt. And we as mothers do NOT need anything else to feel guilty about. Add the fact that Sammy was a c-section birth and I'm a poster child for the modern day irresponsible mother. Jeepers. Keep your high-minded ideas to yourself.

Oh, and I just found this article...so THERE. Rant over.

A victim of formula. See how unhealthy he looks...SEE?????

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Artistic Problem

I'm a big art snob. I feel I can be. If there's anything I have a legitimate reason to be uppity about, it's art. It can't be food...I'm no great connoisseur that's for derned sure (Arby's anyone?) and I am most definitely NOT a clothes snob (most of my wardrobe has come, electively, from DI) but I do know art. I worked in an art museum for 3 years, I studied art and humanities at BYU, I lived in Spain, and consequentially, at the Prado for 3 months and I have been to more art galleries and museums across the country and world than I have been to H&M...and that's saying something (K...maybe I'm a little bit of a clothes snob...)

The one area of art I've always struggled with is religious art. Most of it I think is crap. There, I said it. Even the most popular depictions of Christ make me want to close my eyes and sing Neil Diamond songs (for some reason...). It gets so bad sometimes that I find myself being REALLY irreverent when I'm in, say, a Deseret Book Store (the mothership of all bad religious art distributors).

I'm trying to get better, but the problem is, I now have a kid that I have to teach about Jesus and the only way to really do that is introducing him to pictures of Jesus...most of which I HATE. There are a few I love, like most anything by Minerva Teichert, and most of Carl Bloch's stuff. It's hard though, to find children's books with their paintings featured. 

I also hate (I'm using that word liberally in this post!) when I hear people talking to their kids and they say stuff like, "Don't be naughty, Jesus is listening..." and point to a pic of Christ they have in their house. Wo be unto the idolatrous! says me. 

So conundrums abound. I want my son to start learning about Christ and his teachings, but I have a really hard time showing him pictures of Christ. Anytime I do I find myself, almost by rote, saying, "now look here Eli, here is an artist's idea of what Christ would have looked like, although in Jewish tradition he would have had a longer beard, less of a flowy robe on, and would probably not be glowing...". 

I think I have a problem.....suggestions?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Party On Wayne

So, for whatever reason, in the last few months I have been invited to soooo many parties. I know what you're thinking, "Popular Popular POPULAR!". No. Let me splain'.

I'm talking about 'lady parties'. You know..."come to my house for a totally non pressured sales pitch on something you NEED to have and then munch down some cookies and Shasta". THOSE types of parties.

Now, I don't mean to offend, and if you are part of a 'party business' then that's just fine. However, after working at NuSkin, the mother of all multilevel marketing groups, for an entire 6 weeks way back when Dan and I were first married (I did Spanish customer service support) I came to the absolute conclusion that I would not ever participate in "direct sales" types of marketing. I also decided that I would avoid going to 'parties' when at all possible because they just make me feel super awkward...no matter how 'low pressured' or casual they are supposed to be.

With that rant over, there's a clip from my favorite TV show 30 Rock that always comes to mind whenever I hear about someone's awesome product they are selling...that I have to come to their house and sit in their living room to buy, that for some reason I can't just go buy at a normal store....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Social Notwork

I'm very proud of that title.

Anyway...since we moved a few months ago Dan and I have been trying to get to know people in our new neighborhood. Church is sort of a bad place to get a real vibe on what people are actually like. I've met some other moms at the park and gone to a couple of play-dates around the area but its also very hard to get to know someone when your child is either puking on their floor or pooping in their kiddie pool (true story...).

All the new social efforts have made me tired. It's also drawn attention once again to how hard it is to make good friends as a married couple. You not only have to find someone that is compatible with one member of the partnership but you have to find TWO compatible individuals...this is hard. 

I wish there was some sort of site, like they have for single peeps, but for marrieds. Somewhere I could go, fill out a dual profile, and have them hook Dan and I up with other married couples looking for a good time (ok...that sounded creepy...but not in my brain.). Like an eHarmony...but for people who are too lazy to get to know other married couples the old fashioned way. I would make sure this site had a place where you could check things like "sometimes makes off-colored remarks, needs to be paired with couple of similar humor", or "talks mostly in Arrested Development quotes...other couple needs to be down with that".

This system would make my life soooo much easier. Dan...can you design this with your webnut magic? Aaaaand GO!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

Yesterday evening Dan and I (plus small family) rolled into our driveway after a week in Denver spending some fun time with the Garfield group. We had a great visit but were looking forward to getting back home and, above all else, sleeping in our own bed.

The trip home was traumatic, to maybe be slightly dramatic. Eli was sick of being in the car after about an hour but refused to take a nap. All he wanted to do was watch cartoons on Youtube on my phone but there are surprisingly few internets out in the middle of nowhere. Explaining this to Eli just made him angrier and louder. By about Rock Springs Dan and I were both ready to jump out the window.  I put on headphones at one point and tried to block out the yelling.

Because Eli was so irate Sammy had a hard time sleeping too. He soon joined in the noise and there was little Dan and I could do but look at each other occasionally, laugh really hard, and then go back to quietly crying to ourselves.

The problem with situations like this, ones where there is no way to really get the kids to calm down, is that my Patience-O-Meter starts to drop and then pretty soon I have had It. You know...It? I hate when I loose my patience with Eli. It makes me feel awful terrible. I will go weeks and feel like Saint Roby the enlightened and then WHAM...stick me in a car with him yelling at me for 8 hours and I just want to run screaming off into the horizon.

Then this morning in preparation for church I watched this video. I love these Mormon Moments. As I listened to President Monson talk about what it important and what is not...I was reminded again that being a mom is my full time job and if I can't find joy on some level being with my kids even when they are screaming in my face then I don't deserve this incredible task.

Eli is 2. That is all there is to it. Sammy is 6 months. That is all there is to that. Someday my little boys will be grown up and will no longer need me like they do right now. I need to just slow down and not wish a moment of this away. Sure I'd love to spend summers traveling like I used to and I would LOVE to be able to go anywhere at the drop of a hat but that is not as rewarding or even as exciting as my life right now.

Does it seem like this blog is turning into more of a personal journal lately? Sorry about that. I'm just super tired today and trying, honestly, to get up the energy to take Eli to church...a happening that will surely take a good deal of patience and love on my part. But we do the important things so we can reap the rewards later...right?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Reason Number 98 Why I am a Bad Person

I am a person with many glaring character flaws. I could name them all...but...I don't want to. One of them, though, is my inability to Let Things Go. Not so much when it comes to things involving my relationships with other people, or important things, or things that matter. Mostly I can't let trivial and insignificant stuff go...like when people say idiotic things on the internet or when I find copy errors in the instruction manual of my new vacuum.

Today Sammy woke up at 5:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep. I tried everything and finally just resigned myself to an early rising. I, unfortunately, have a smart phone and popped open Facebook at this un-godly hour and started browsing. My early morning brain is two things, 1-very foggy and 2-very irritable (ask my poor poor husband..). This makes for some very dangerous social networking. My not letting of things go comes out in odd and embarrassing ways.

So...as I was perusing the Facebook...I came across a post on KSL Deals...with what I saw as a glaring gramatical error. Now, in my lucid awake state I would have just moved on by. In my sleep deprived morning self-righteous state...I could not let it go.

There is it, like a visual representation of my tired internet self and my more awake self. First the correction...and then the guilt and a sort of patronizing pat shoulder. Oh well...maybe I should enable some sort of feature that makes it so I can't comment on stuff until I'm able to answer a math problem or something..

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fourth Reflections

As Independence Day approaches with all its watermelon-ing and rocketeering my mind is pulled away from thoughts of patriotism to what the fourth was like for me a year ago. It was, in my estimation, a very memorable holiday weekend for me. Not because of anything red white and blue, but more due to the fact that, for three days, I thought I was going to die (jeepers I'm so dramatic).

Dan had left the Friday before the Fourth (which was on a Monday) to help his folks move out in Denver. I was about 13 weeks pregnant with Sammy and had Eli in tow. I decided Saturday morning to drive up to SLC and meet my folks at the Farmers Market. My morning sickness had seemed to be getting a little better and I thought I could handle a little outside, normal people activities. As you may recall...I had not been having a very glamourous pregnancy up to this point but I thought things had been getting better.

After about 10 minutes navigating the market with my folks in almost 100 degree weather I knew I was in trouble. I could barely walk and was feeling so so tired and sick. My mom decided I needed to get home and we started to the car. Right outside Pioneer Park, with Saturday morning hipsters enjoying their freshly purchased lettuce and what-nots, I started puking. I still can't look those bushes in the face when I see them. It was...not good.

My mom loaded Eli up in my car and drove me up to my parents house in Bountiful. I staggered into their house, collapsed on the couch, and didn't move for three hours...loosing any remaining nutrients I had in my system about every 30 minutes. I was worried for Baby...I was worried for me...I was worried for my parents house...

I tried to stand up once and blacked out. My dad decided I needed some professional help. Dan and I are big Instacare people so we found one in Bountiful and my pops drove me down. The doctors were very friendly...but not super helpful. I told them I hadn't been able to keep anything down in hours and that I was afraid I'd gotten heat stroke. In a grand act of demonstrative cooperation my body decided to puke 2 or 3 more times while I was at the clinic. I did make them hook me up to a little sonogram machine so I could hear Baby Boy's heart beat. It sounded good...so I felt a little better. They didn't want to give me an IV...for whatever reason..and just gave me a shot of Zofran and sent me home.

The next day or so I couldn't get off the couch. I was so sick I felt like I would barter anything to get the nausea away. I talked to my doctor brother and he projected that the heat had exacerbated my morning sickness and things would hopefully get better.

By the actual holiday I was feeling a little more person-like and was able to enjoy some festivities with my fam. Eli didn't seem phased by Mom's sickness. He just wanted to see the fireworks...that made me happy.

SO....why am I regaling you all with tales of puke and wimpiness? Because. I will tell you what. Now that a year has passed and Sammy is here and that whole pregnancy thing is history I don't even think about all it took to get him here. Even now as I watch him roll around on the carpet and giggle at his toys the trials seem like a far off memory. Five months of intense morning sickness and the inevitable c-section seem like dots on a road. I would do it again in a heartbeat to get my little boy to us.

Mostly I'm writing that to remind myself next time I get pregnant that there is a purpose to the suffering.  My body hates being pregnant and likes to remind me of that pretty much every day of the pregnancy. But at the end it is so worth it. I don't look forward to the time when I have to endure all that again...but I need to remind myself that it will be ok, and somehow it will work out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Thrifty Addiction

(For some reason this posted before I could write anything...sorry I screwed up your RSS feed Jimmy.)

I have a wee bit of a problem. Not a glamourous problem like drugs or "Spice" as the kids call it these days...but a thrifty problem. I can't stay out of DI or off KSL...I love buying stuff on classifieds and Craigslist...It's an odd sort of thrill...like a treasure hunt or something like that. I'm not really a 'bargain hunter' or a couponer (at all) but before Dan and I buy anything new I always check second hand first (food excepted...).

Since we've bought a new house things have only gotten worse (or better??). Now I have an entire home to decorate and what's all the rage right now in decoration? THRIFTY VINTAGE CRAP! I'm in hog heaven.

I thought I'd share pics of a few of my most recent second hand finds. Before you call up Hoarders though and nominate me...just remember I only buy what I know I have a spot for...anything else goes back on KSL or gifted out to unsuspecting friends and neighbors.

 This chair isn't from a thrift store...my folks gave it to me...but it's still old and awesome. I recovered the seat and stuck it in our bedroom. I'm playing around with it in a bunch of different locations in our house. 
 Favorite chair ever. I bought this off a friend who was selling it on a dangerous little Facebook group
 I'm a part of. 

 This little treasure made my heart so happy. I found it at DI for $7. It's a 1960s era Viewlex 35mm movie projector with the carrying case. So so cool. My dad told me he thinks he has some old 35mm reel of home movies from when he was a kid. As soon as I get the bulb fixed I want to have a movie night. 
 Ok this guy. I saw it at DI and thought it was a little end table. Looked cute and I needed one so I decided to buy it. When I was trying to open the drawer I noticed it didn't open out but rather the whole top opened up to reveal...??? A 1973 Kenmore electric sewing machine! I almost peed a little (ew). The machine works great and I am so exited to have this little piece of sewing history. And the best part? I paid $25 for it! 
 A reeeeaaaallly bad shot of the sewing machine folded away under the table...I was being lazy and didn't want to take all the pics off the top to open it up. 
I bought Eli a little chalk board at DI. This may be one of the few things I really don't have a place for but he's wanted one for so long and it was only $5 and and and....(so...maybe I do have a problem).

Lastly....this was not a thrift find but an incredible new addition to our little art collection. My brother Greg has established himself as an incredibly talented artist in recent years and I have about 4 of his paintings in our home. This morning I went and visited his studio and saw this little gem. It's an homage to Edward Hopper...who may just be my very favorite 20th century American artist...maybe. Greg saw me eying and said I could take it home. I am so excited for this. It really is an amazing piece of art. It looks so much like a Hopper but with just enough of Greg's style in it to make it unique and wonderful. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Melancholy and the Infinite Playlist

10 Points to Griffindor if you get the reference in that title...10 more points for enduring my pretension!

I've been dabbling in the running arts lately. I took a bit of a hiatus (how old is Eli? Ok, a 2.5 year hiatus) but I've been getting back into the swing of things and it is wonderful. Our neighborhood has a few fantastic trails and running paths I've been exploring and, although the mosquitos are thick in the evenings, the sunsets are worth the blood loss. 

When I run I have to have music. It sort of motivates me and I can get lost in the songs and forget about the burning in my legs and the general pain of the experience. I thought I'd share my must-have playlist and ask if anyone has a favorite running song or songs they could recommend...I like them bouncy.

Here's what's on my phone's music cache right now:

I Feel Better-Hot Chip
Heartbeats-The Knife
Sail-AWOL Nation (I know...I know)
Ring of Fire-Jonny Cash
Star of Wonder/None Shall Pass (Its a Tor/Sufjan Stevens mash up and if you haven't heard it do it NOW) language NSFW

Welcome Home-Coheed and Cambria
All Along the Watchtower-Jimi Hendrix

That's it....any thing I must add???

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poetry in Motion

So I started a little creative writing club with some friends for the summer. We share stories and narratives we're working on and send critiques back and forth. Last week I wrote a poem to submit and decided I liked it enough to share it here on my blog. So...here it is.

Smoke Rises

I sit low, on the ground
I hear anger rises, like smoke
so I stay down low
My mind breaks for the 5th time
in at least as many hours

I remember that first second
a small head on my wet chest
lifted up, gazing around
I loved you intensely,
saw fire in your tiny eyes

first jolting steps propelled you up
no longer needing a mother’s hand
heading towards perpetual motion
never stopped since
little legs, small feet
so much movement for such a quaint frame

independent, head up and eyes flared
small hands creating so much chaos
my feet take a million steps before 9
and still you run and run and run
I sit in tears and you pat my head

I dreamed you here
wanted you so bad
I stand in constant amazement at your presence
but here I sit, low and exhausted
you sleep above me
I can almost hear the rhythm of your lungs

The beast of rage that so often kicks against its cage
has once again been silenced and shut up
everyday is a fight, but like a rough stone in water
I feel worn down yet somehow smoother

I get lost in the routine, but today, I stopped
I looked at your curls
at your fire-eyes and at your smile
and I felt, so authentically,
the reality of your existence in mine

So I take my break and recharge my brain
thank heavens for bedtime, time out, and
thanks heavens for my little boy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Little Pay-out

Eli has been extremely challenging lately. He just finds my buttons and then pushes them...all day long. He beat on the dog, gets into the fridge, climbs on top of everything, runs out the front door anytime I turn my back, dumps cereal talks back poops on the floor draws on the walls and it goes on and on. I love that little squirt...but there are days I just fall against his door at night after tucking him in so exhausted and defeated I'm not sure I have the energy to crawl into bed. 

On the other hand...Eli is also the sweetest little creature on the face of the planet. He LOVES to give hugs, give kisses, hold hands and sit on laps. He is quick with a smile and genuinely feels sorry for people when they get hurt. I am in constant awe of the unconditional love he radiates every seconds of every day. 

So, with all that said, we had a little moment the other day that I thought I'd share. I share it not for any sort of self-aggrandizing gratification but rather to let you all share a moment that I will not soon shelf away. 

The kids and I were bouncing along the road running errands in the car. Eli and I usually chat while we drive but I noticed he had been quiet for a minute or so. Then I heard:


"Yes Honey?"

"Mama...ummm. Best mama....whole world."

I cried...a bit. 

I don't know where he got that...and I haven't heard it since...but dang it made my day. I don't by any means agree with his sentiment...but I do agree that I may just be the best mama in the world for my little guys. That's the right of most moms...we know our kids better than anyone else and as such can determine their needs and wants quicker than any other person on the planet. 

For what it's worth...I'll take it. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cesarean Aversion

Today as I was drying off from my shower I caught sight of my c-section scar. I don't pay much attention to it usually...it's just become sort of a part of me. I was reminded of the night Sammy was born, with all the drama and miracles that surrounded it, and was filled with a sort of odd gratitude for the scar and what it meant for my sweet baby: a healthy, problem-free birth.

From time to time I talk with other moms about our birth stories. It's sort of how I picture soldiers must converse when they return from war. We all have had something happen during the extraction of our children from our wombs that makes for great story telling. Whenever I get in one of these conversations I mention, of course, that Sammy was a c-section. It's odd to see people's reactions. Most always give some sort of small condolence or shake their heads at the 'tragedy' that has become a Cesarean nowadays.

In such situations I immediately correct any feigned or sincere apologies. I remind them that Sammy would have lost his arm, and I may have died, had we not be in a hospital and privy to excellent and immediate medical attention. Sammy came out happy and healthy...that was the only part of any sort of 'birth plan' I was adamant about.

I think it's odd we have become a society where things like c-sections and 'medical intervention' have become taboo when it comes to child birth. I am so grateful for my midwife who recognized immediately Sammy was presenting arm-first and for a doctor who was able to get him out within 10 minutes of this discovery. Had I opted for no 'intervention' the outcome would have been much much worse.

C-sections may not be the ideal way to pull a baby out of his or her aquatic habitat but if it saves a life, or two, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. There should be no stigma attached, and no apologies given, to a birth that happens surgically rather than vaginally. I feel sometimes like we're losing focus on what is the essential part of a birth; getting a baby out of the mother in a healthy and logical way. If you want to sit on a ball and sing sea-chanties so be it, but don't begrudge me of my 'intervention' birth...I am so eternally grateful I was in a hospital when Sammy was born and that the medical team around me was able to make educated and thoughtful decisions on behalf of me and my family.

I read a quote in my birth book (written BTW by a CNM). She said, "Remember no matter how it's done you are still 'giving birth'". C-sections save lives and should not be marginalized...especially by those who have never had to hear those life changing words "we have an emergency here...we need to rush you into surgery".

***In case you didn't catch the post on Sammy's birth here's the second half here.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I realize I've been blogging WAY too much lately but I just have to get a few thoughts out here. I just read a story of a woman who lost a baby during pregnancy. I read these stories from time to time but they never really hit me as hard as I feel tonight. I am so very very grateful for my boys. I am so very unworthy to have these sweet little lives surrounding me. I don't know why I've been so lucky to have them in my life. I really don't. But here they are and I am in constant awe of their existence.

We took Eli to Thanksgiving Point tonight and as I watched him run around and play my heart just wanted to jump out of my chest. He is my life. Him, and Dan, and Sammy...I would not survive long with out these people around. Sammy is the sweetest little soul. He cuddles and smiles and warms me up by just being in the same room with me.

I need to realize how very very fortunate I am. Sometimes I get in a rut of silly self pity but I need to be much more grateful than I am. I've been thinking so much lately about my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I feel like spirituality is sort of like a light bulb...it can fade occasionally but we just need to replace the dimness of doubt with the brightness of faith. I sometimes loose sight of the most important things in my life...but in reality all I want to be right now is a mom. All I want to do is hold my little boys close and thank Heavenly Father for the chance I have to be a part of their lives.

Occasionally I sneak into one of their rooms when they go to bed and sit and watch them sleep (they may someday read this and think I'm creepy). I like to whisper things to them I didn't find the time to say during the day. I hope that sometime my words will find their way to their heart..like a sort of osmosis of words.

Life is beautiful. There is so much good in the world. I just need to remind myself of that from time to time. My husband, my children, my faith and my family...these are the most important assets I will ever posses.

Sorry for the dumpage of emotions...I just feel so overwhelmed with gratitude right now.

Hobby Horse

Before I had kids I would look at moms I knew and think "why do these women have such intense hobbies?". Scrapbooks, crafting, sewing, quilting, canning, furniture restoration, gardening, running, cooking, etc....these things all held some mild interest for me before I had kids but only as past-time snacks. I've always loved to cook, enjoyed sewing, and dabbled in craftiness, but never with much intensity or dedication. And then I had kids.

Now I find myself starving for a creative outlet. I've thought a lot about why it is I blog so much, why I spend so much time working on seemingly pointless crafts (see: fabric salad bowl covers, re-covered throw pillows, and so on) and I finally get it. I spend so much time everyday working on temporary projects. Eli needs his shoes put on...ten minutes later, ten tries later, and they stay on for ten seconds before he takes them off. Sammy needs a diaper change and then immediately poops in the clean one I've just put on his. I need hobbies because I need. something. to. stay. put.

There are other reasons I like to work on non-related kid projects. There's something satisfying in knowing I still have a me-ness. I still can do things I enjoy that are separate from kid work. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE being a mom and am SO very very grateful I get to stay home with my boys...but there are times I just need to do something non kid related.

The problem is...I kinda suck at most conventional hobbies. I'm a mediocre sewer..even though I enjoy it. I can cook...but not anything fancy-pants or cable TV worthy. I mostly just love love love to write but many of my personal writing projects have been sitting in dusty files for months if not years. I just don't seem to have to time to open up stories and writing projects and dig in anymore.

I asked Dan last night "am I really good at any one thing?". After some thought he said, "you make a really good crock-pot lasagna". I decided then and there to make this year the year I get good at something I can be proud of. I really do think I need to start writing again. It's been too long. I just don't have the skill and patience to get really good at conventional mom stuff. I do love home-making stuff....just don't really have to stick-to-it-ness of it all to be The Best at anything domestic. Every time I finish a project that made me happy I realize that my widow's mite of a craft holds no comparison to the golden-robed proverbial Pharisees of the Craft Masters (see...I'm being a pretentious writer already!).

This post seems rambly....in a nut shell...moms (and I think anyone working a full time job really) need a creative outlet. Finding what that might be may take some trial and error. If starting a female fight club or learning how to knit with your toes is your thing....go forth! There's nothing more satisfying than doing something, even if its just once a day, that stays put.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Baby Blues

I've debated and debated writing a post about my postpartum depression. I really don't like to be that person who goes on and on about my personal life to any and all who pass by my electronic door. But I really feel like talking about it here will in some way help me to cope with the illness that has taken a hold of my brain since little Sammy made his glorious entrance a few months ago.

When I had Eli I was so overwhelmed the first few months with the duties of motherhood it was dizzying. But I was also so amazed at the fact that I had indeed produced viable offspring and that that offspring was still alive despite my *worst* efforts I didn't notice any real depression issues.

When Sammy was born I was similarly dizzied. Having two kids rocked my little world. I noticed right away that every time I'd nurse him I'd get this rush of terribly dark hormones during the first few minutes. I looked it up and found out that sometimes women experience what is called something like "let down depression". Most of the time when a woman nurses, her dopamine levels shoot way up. For whatever reason, mine plummet. It was getting so bad that every time I nursed I felt incredibly despondent and dark. That was a huge factor in my decision to stop nursing Sammy so early on, along with the fact that I really produce little to no milk.

I noticed though that after I stopped nursing I still got these terrible spells of darkness and despair. They came on with no provocation and lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes. I knew it was hormonal, not just situation reliant. I went to my doc and he prescribed me Zoloft.

The Zoloft didn't really seem to do anything for me. I took it for about 6 weeks but never seemed to get any better. The spells kept coming and things seemed to be getting worse. I eventually just took myself off the meds and decided to figure out another option. That was a BAD idea. Apparently the Zoloft was doing something because when I went off it I crashed hard. The spells of depression came more and more frequently and I felt like things were getting out of my control. I cried all the time for no reason. It got so bad that poor little Eli would just look up from what he was doing and say, "Oh, mommy sad..." and go back about his business.

My biggest worry was what this depression was doing to my kids. I could deal with being chemically out of whack...Dan could deal with it and had been incredibly supportive with everything I'd gone through but I did NOT want it affecting my 2 year old. I wanted him to have a happy mommy.

I made an appointment with my midwife and we counseled together about what may be the best course of action for me. She prescribed me a combination of Xanax and Wellbutrin (sp?) and gave me some great suggestions for coping with depression.

For whatever reason I filled those two prescriptions but never started taking them. I knew I needed to...I just couldn't do it for some reason. Things seemed to be improving but then one day I had a serious anxiety attack at church. I came home and decided to take a Xanax just to see it if would help.

Within 20 minutes I was immobile. Turns out I'm one of the like .0001% of  people who have serious adverse reactions to Xanax. I couldn't move, could barely talk, and was so dizzy I just sort of drifted in and of consciousness. Dan was understandably nervous so he dropped the kids of at a friend's house and drove me down to Instacare. The doc checked me all out and said I was to never take the full dosage of Xanax again. He said maybe cut the pill in fourths or try something different.

After that I was VERY wary to take any sort of anti-depression medication. I started exercising more and tried to get more sleep. This didn't cure things up in a day or anything but things did improve. My dark spells come less frequently and I felt better more often.

Now that Sammy is almost 4 months old I feel good most of the time. I still have times when the chemicals go wonky and I feel depression kicking in. I'm a total advocate of anti-depression medication...I just never found anything that I particularly liked.  I feel lucky that the worst of it has subsided without having to be permanently dependent on any medication.

Being a mother is incredible. Somehow my life is so much bigger now with these two little spirits in it. Dan has been so amazingly supportive through everything and I am so thankful I have such am amazing husband.

 A few weeks ago I went to a church meeting where a woman spoke who had been a counselor for women with postpartum depression for many years. She started the meeting by asking us to list things that brought peace to our lives. People said things like going to the temple, reading scriptures, praying and meditating. She wrote them all in a list on one side of the board. The she said, "ok, so when these things don't work, here are some suggestions", and wrote down items on the other side like "medication", "therapy", and things like that. I really liked that. It made me feel like even though I was doing the right things, and still felt depressed, that I had more and probably better options for my situation.

God wants us to be happy. Sometimes it takes more than just singing a church song or saying a prayer. Sometimes we need and have to rely on medical help, professional counseling, and above all, on the kind ears of friends and family who are there to help and do not judge us. I'm actually really grateful for my experiences with postpartum depression. I learned that I need to rely on others more for help and comfort. It taught me that I have limits emotionally to what I can do in my life. Above all I learned that I'm not alone. Millions of women struggle with similar sorts of pregnancy related depression. I now feel like, even though I still have rough days, I can get through them and maybe I'll be able to help someone else in a similar situation someday.

Whew! Sorry for the long-winded personal monologue. I really feel like writing all this down is one more step for me to get feeling like my old self. Group therapy and all that. If you checked out and went to get ice cream a few paragraphs back, bring me over some and we can talk about much more silly things. Like reality TV, and the existence of things called 'jeggins'. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parenting for Dummies

As you may have guess from my last post Eli has been a little challenging lately. He's a crazy wonderful kid and is hell-bent on doing his own thing no matter who steps up to the plate. Since it seems we've turned up the heat on parenting lately, I've been thinking in great deal about the topic and have some thoughts to share.

Every child is different and amazing in his or her own way. Every toddler comes with a set of challenges unique to his environment and genetic disposition. In that same vein, every parent is unique and sets his or her own boundaries for the children in his or her own life. With Eli, I've read endless amounts of toddler discipline stuff online and let me tell you...not one word of it has made a difference in the way my child interacts with his surroundings. He is his own little drummer and has the most remarkably strong and independent personality. He is, in a nutshell, one tough cookie.

Somehow though, as a new mom, I often get caught up in what I'm going to call "ego parenting". I worry more about what people around me think about me as a mother than I worry about how I'm actually handling my crazy little ball of boy. I think its inevitable, on some level, to worry about what other people think about us. But I realize it has been dominating my public parenting to a level I'm not entirely comfortable with.

Here's a good example. Eli is two, and because of that struggles *GASP* with the concept of sharing. It's nothing new for his age group, but he is so much bigger than other kids he tends to get pretty physical when he wants his way. The other day I was at an indoor play area with him and he was off playing while I sat on a bench and fed Sammy. I scanned the room at one point and couldn't see him. Then I noticed a dog pile of toddlers and of course, Eli was in the middle of the fray throwing punches and being a two year old. I made my way over to the skirmish, but apparently wasn't fast enough because when I arrived on the scene another mom was pulling Eli off the other kids. She threw him at me and said in a very angry and rude voice, "your son was hitting and kicking the other kids!".

Now...I know what he was doing was completely out of line. I know that he was acting in a way inappropriate for social interactions. I ALSO know all the other kids were fine...and were playing happily again as soon as the pile broke up. Instead of sitting with Eli and calming him down and then letting him go back to playing, I made a big scene of taking him away from the group while he was kicking in screaming and then left the indoor park.

Looking back, leaving was a silly thing to do. He was having a good time, save a few seconds of rough play, and I was enjoying being able to sit and watch him and maybe, just maybe, relax for a minute or two. The only reason I made a big show of wagging fingers and talking in my loud Walmart mom voice was so that I knew the other moms there knew that I was a Good Mom. That I was going the discipline the hell out of my son for being...well...a two year old.

I realized that I do things like this way too often. And I think if we were all honest with ourselves as mothers we would all admit that we "ego parent" much more often than we'd like. I decided that from now on I'm going to try interact with my child in public the same way I do in private. At home the one way I've figure out to get Eli's attention is to stay very calm and be very in control of the situation. I move slowly to get him when he's being naughty so as not to excite him into an escalated tantrum. I've found over and over again that the calmer and more in control of my emotions I am when I need to discipline him the better he responds.

The problem is, in public, this method is very hard to employ because we all want other moms to see us Take Action and really lay into our kids when they're misbehaving...especially if our child does something to hurt another kid. We want immediate and dire consequences for every infraction. But I just can't put my son in time out twenty times every time I go to a play date. It's not fun for anyone. I can't be on top of every skirmish or kerfuffle. I try to be, but dang...they're just two year olds. They are going to fight, they are going to grab, they are going to push and shove and except for immediate physical intervention...that gets EXHAUSTING...we as parents can't resolve every incident.

So I guess my point is; moms, dads, let's be a little easier on each other. If you're at a park and another kid is beating on your kids chances are their parents are horrified, or at least acting horrified, and are doing their best to teach their kids how to behave themselves. Instead of berating other parents, both to their faces and behind their backs, let's just agree that we're all trying, that there is no right way to be a parent, and that we all need to give each other a break.

I can't live my entire life disciplining my son. Believe me...if I wanted to I could probably put him in time out at least once every ten minutes both at home and in public. But the thing is, I love this little guy so much I want him to be happy. I want him to have realistic consequences for his actions but I also want him to breath and run around and get dirty and maybe even shove or get shoved so he can learn that somethings work and some don't when it comes to building relationships with those around him.

I think that's enough of a diatribe for tonight. Let's just all give each other a little more breathing room ok? I promise if you come to my house for a play date I am going to try very hard not to judge you as a parent if you do the same for me. At the end of the day, a small fight between toddlers is not the end of the world. We just need to give them never ending love and making sure they know boundaries, but that they also know that no matter what they do we'll still be here to guide them along.