Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Review and 2012 Goals

I thought that I blogged about my 2011 goals but it looks like I didn't. I set the bar low this year so that I wouldn't be too disappointed at the end. I may have had a few goals that I don't remember, but here is what I can remember.

2011 Goals:

  • Host 3 reviews and giveaways on my blog
  • Attend doula training
  • Attend 1 birth

2011 Accomplishments:

  • Hosted 10 reviews/giveaways on my blog
  • Attended my doula training
  • Attended 6 births in 6 months
  • Completed my first 5K

2012 Goals-the "Biggies":

  • Attend 1 continuing education type workshop to increase my doula skills, such as the Spinning Babies workshop in February
  • Attend 5 births
  • Complete my DONA certification
  • Complete 1 5K
  • F.A.C.E. our finances

I have a few little teensy goals right now such as checking the mail every day and organizing and decluttering our bedroom. I was just thinking about how I am disappointed in myself that I don't have goals to read my scriptures more regularly and pray more, but I suppose I just think of those things as part of who I am rather than things to check off a list. Although, I really do need to read my scriptures more regularly and pray more. I think I'll reflect on that and come up with a separate list of goals and commitments for my spiritual life. 

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wean Me Gently

"Wean Me Gently"

by Cathy Cardall

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing -

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother  father*,

And my heart is tender.

*editing is mine

Last night as my husband was rocking our daughter to sleep, he had a breakthrough moment. Our little girl's sorrowful cries pierced his heart and he decided that we did not need to rush her in the weaning process. "She can take her time growing up," he said. We have been trying to gently nudge her to give up her nighttime ninnie a little bit faster than she is ready by having Robbie rock her to sleep instead of me. He couldn't stand even five minutes of Lily's poor little broken-hearted cries and sniffles. It was the sweetest moment. What was a moment of embarrassment to him was a feeling of pride for me. I was so proud of his breakthrough! 

You see, we have been having a funny little argument that it is time for Lily to wean. She is nearly 19 months old, and, well, according to Robbie, it's time. I have done very little to persuade him to come to the "extended breastfeeding" side. I have just said, "We'll just see what she has to say about that." At the same time that he has been pressuring me, albeit, very teensy weensy pressure, to wean, he coos, "Give her ninnie, " at the slightest indication that Lily is interested. Mixed signals?

As Robbie was having his breakthrough moment, I thought of this poem and how it could be his voice saying these words. This breastfeeding journey has not just been Lily and me. Robbie is the third member of this breastfeeding triad. He is our protector and our advocate. He is our support. Any time I needed to feed our baby, no matter where it was, whether it was at the mall or at Schlitterbahn, he sat beside us as our protector. He had that "I dare you to say something" look about him as Lily and I nursed. At least that's how it seemed. No one ever bothered us when Robbie was around. Come to think of it, no one ever bothered us ever. The only people to approach us as I was nursing Lily were women who were nothing but complimentary and encouraging. 

He is our advocate. He made sure that our family knew that we were a breastfeeding family and that was that. He made sure that it was clear that Lily was not to receive solids before six months and with his matter-of-fact way about him, there was no arguing with it. I could always say, "Well, Robbie and I decided..." Having the "Robbie and I" in front gave me the courage I needed to stick with our convictions. He is an advocate of breastfeeding, period. I have seen him defend other women who have been attacked for breastfeeding, even if it's a silly attack over facebook. I couldn't be more proud when I see that. 

He is our support. I could not have made it this far without Robbie. And now I know that he wants to allow Lily to wean when she is ready. It's the sweetest thing. So maybe, even after all this time, it's not Lily that asks, "wean me gently?" It's not me. It's Robbie. Her father. Her protector and guardian. 

Her Daddy.

More Christmas Preparations

I have been having a difficult time feeling the Christmas spirit this season, but I may be getting closer to feeling it. I think it is similar to feeling like I can't possibly do anything special for Valentine's Day because I love my husband all the time.

After attending my dear friend's birth, I drove home on Friday last week. That night Robbie, Lily and I did a little Christmas shopping and Saturday we spent all day Christmas shopping. I know presents and shopping isn't the reason for the season, but it helps to do those things that we traditionally do at Christmas. And shopping is a part of Christmas whether I like to admit it or not.

It has been at LEAST five years since Robbie and I bought each other a Christmas present. I know we started the tradition of only getting our family presents way before we got married and we have been married for over three years now. Since we have been married, we have never exchanged gifts. I'll admit, I got a little tired of that this year. I really wanted to get him something and he felt the same. We already "did Christmas" for each other, and exchanged our gifts already. Now we can focus on doing something nice for our families. We are still of very modest means, so we can't go out and buy huge presents like my step-brothers can. They always seem to see who can buy the bigger, better gift while I am stuck crocheting scarves or making gifts of some sort. I try to at least make something meaningful since we have a modest budget.

While I was still at my Mom's I was able to help her with her Christmas tree. We went to Wal-Mart to buy decorations and she asked, "What colors should we do this year?"

"Really?" I asked. "Purple and Gold of course!" LSU colors.

My mom picked out all the purple and gold decorations she wanted and we started to head back to the craft section to gather a few more supplies for the birth I would be attending that night. On the way to the section I noticed a really funny game.

Yes! Yes there is. There really is a game called Doggie Doo and I must have it! Somebody get it for me!!! Ha ha ha!

So that night I did nothing but try to sleep as I prepared to attend the birth. We never had a chance to decorate the tree beforehand. After the birth, we decorated the tree.

Lily really wanted to help somehow, so my mom, Lily and I came up with a little system. Mimi (my mom) would hand Lily a decoration and I let her hand it to me and I would place it on the tree. We had to do it this way so Lily wouldn't try to eat any hooks. My child likes to eat anything sharp and pokey.

Step 1: Mimi hands decoration to Lily

Step 2: Lily hands decoration to Mommy

Step 3: Pyran (my dad) teases Lily with a decoration

Step 4: Lily gives Pyran a dirty look for teasing

Step 5: Tada! Finished tree

The next day, Lily and I drove back home. We always like to make a stop half way at a certain Raisin' Cane's that I like. Lily loves the Cane's sauce and who could blame her?

As we get closer to the actual day, I hope that I can feel the spirit of Christmas more and more. There have been several bumps in the road, especially today, that I hope I can overcome. We shall see. In case I don't make it back until after Christmas, Merry Christmas, Y'all!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Awkward Social Interactions

I'm shy. I've always been shy. I always will be shy. No one believes me. It's true though. I am never quite comfortable socializing with people. I always wonder if what I am saying is stupid or weird or awkward. I wonder if I said too much, or not enough. I like talking to people, and I especially appreciate those that I consider easy to talk to. Usually that means they talk a lot and I can just sit and listen. That makes things really easy on me. Occasionally, I am that person, but it makes me feel weird to be the person who does the talking while the other person listen. Even when it's my husband who is doing the listening, and he says it's relaxing, yeah, relaxing, I feel kinda awkward.

And so it takes a lot of courage for me to say hello to someone when I see them outside of the normal arena of our social interactions. For example, my mom and I went to Wal-Mart today in my home town to look for purple and gold Christmas decorations for their LSU themed Christmas tree (my idea thank you very much) and some extra items for the birth I am attending tonight. While searching for cute cellophane bags, I saw someone I used to know who I only saw at church crouching down in the craft section. I went through the crazy, "Should I say hello? Or should I pretend I don't see her?" debate in my head before blurting out like word vomit, "Now, that looks like Fanny Fannerson*!" She looks up at me and says, "Actually, it's Suzy*. Hey Kristi." Oh man. So the very awkward situation that I was trying to avoid happens anyway. You see, Fanny and Suzy are twins. Yup. Twins. And I can't tell them apart unless they have their kids with them or are standing right next to each other. Sometimes Fanny has the longer hair, and sometimes Suzy has the longer hair. And I suppose I would be able to tell them apart better if I spent more than ten minutes a year with either one of them.

So I furiously apoligized for my error and tried in vain to save my face, but yeah, I did the same thing to her that all those other twin mistakers do that she probably gets really sick of. Of course I spent the rest of our trip thinking, "I should have thought about this or that before blurting out her name!!! Argh!!!"

And I must include this information because I know this story has been so interesting to you. I am scared of the phone. Yup. I have to really pump myself up to make a phone call. I have to set an appointment to do it and force myself to do it. I will use any excuse in my head to justify not talking on the phone. It's awkward. And I'm talking about those just-calling-to-talk-for-fun phone conversations. I just don't do well at that. I suppose once I get over the initial anxiety of dialing the number and finally am on the phone with the person, then it usually goes well. Unless we get to one of those awkward pauses. You know the ones. The ones where you're just listening to each other breathe and you're both trying frantically to think of something to say until one of you says, "Oh, my kid just climbed out the window and is now on the roof and thinks she is superman and can fly. I think I need to go now. Bye!"

So, yeah, home a grand total of about 15 hours and encountered my first social weirdness. Grrrr.....

*names have been changed to protect the innocent

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Seeing Christmas through New Eyes"

I have had trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I know why, but I am trying not to admit it to myself. I am getting caught up in the "should's" and that is not fair. I keep thinking that things are just not how they are supposed to be, and it is making it difficult to find joy in the way things are.

Long before Robbie and I got married, or even engaged, or even graduated high school, I envisioned how Christmas would be for us. After he invited me to that first Christmas over at his Mawmaw's and Pawpaw's house, I wished with all my might that one day, somehow, I could be a part of that family and enjoy those Christmas celebrations. I hoped and prayed as hard as I could, that my children, that Robbie's and my children, would be among the little children playing in the floor. I had an image in my head, and my little fingers were crossed that, one day, I could have that. I hoped and prayed that I would marry Robbie so that we could have cute kids together and fun Christmases. And other fun holidays!

But that was not to be.

Over the past six and a half years, those special people who made those Christmas celebrations what they were-namely Robbie's Mawmaw and Pawpaw and Mama, have moved on to the next life, where they are hopefully watching over us and enjoying our little Lily in whatever ways they can. Everyone else has moved away. Things are not not not the same, and I don't even recognize what they are now.

At least we got to tell Ms. Judy that we were pregnant with Lily. We told her at Thanksgiving time. I was so excited to make the announcement because I couldn't wait to see her reaction. She knew how to really celebrate people and their fantastic news. I knew she would really celebrate the pregnancy. We spent one last Christmas together and I imagined Lily sitting in the floor playing with the boxes and wrapping paper the very next Christmas. However, Ms. Judy died before Lily was born. They didn't meet. She didn't get to hug and kiss her, and that makes me very sad. I was really hoping Lily would get here before it was "too late."

Last Christmas, Lily's first Christmas, was unrecognizable. At least half of it was. I brought her along for the annual Holiday Pops concert with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, where she was able to meet Santa Claus. That was fun. Things with my family are the same as they always were, thank goodness. Then we celebrated Christmas at a different house, with different people. Nice people, but....different. It was hard for everyone involved. I don't know what everyone else was thinking, but I was just thinking about how much I missed Ms. Judy and how I wished we were over at Robbie's Mawmaw's and Pawpaw's house celebrating Christmas the way it was supposed to happen when I wished it long ago.

I haven't said any of this out loud to Robbie. I've just complained, "I just can't get into the Christmas spirit," to which he replies, "You need to focus on the family that is instead of the family that was." I guess he knows what my problem is without me even saying it. Yes, girls, he's a mind reader, and he's all mine!!!! But me being a girl and all, sometimes I just need to get the thoughts out of me. So here they are. Sorry Robbie.

I am trying. I really am trying to feel something different. Something special. Something Christmasy. I have hung decorations. I have performed in the holiday concert that usually gets me in the Christmas mood. I have listened to Christmas music during my spare moments. My latest attempt is reading a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional entitled "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes." From the title, I figured I could use a dose of "seeing Christmas through new eyes." He suggested three things we could do to study, ponder and prepare for the upcoming Christmas season.

1. Rejoice in the Birth of Our Savior

I'll admit it, I am a birth junkie. Lately my mind has been on Mary and what she must have been thinking during the birth of the Savior. Hers was the ultimate unassisted birth, I think. When I was younger, I used to feel sorry for her that she had to give birth among a bunch of animals and in some hay. At least that's how I imagined it. When I was a kid, I imagined her birthing without pain medication, moaning through her contractions, and her breath creating little clouds in the air. I imagined her being scared, and acting in the typical way Hollywood would have me imagine she would act. Now that I have experienced the birth process, I admire her. I almost envy the fact that she was able to birth without extraneous people and equipment around. I still wonder if she was worried. Did it bother her that she gave birth around animals? Or did it give her strength? How long was her labor? Did Joseph catch the baby? Did he massage her? What positions did she labor in? Did she move a lot? Did she moan or was she quiet? Did she feel powerful? I know I should be focused more on thinking about what the Savior's birth means, but so far this Christmas, I have thought a lot about Mary's role during this time.

2. Ponder His Influence in Our Lives Today

Lately, I have been thinking about my relationship with my Savior and it has nothing to do with the fact that Christmas is coming up. I've noticed how other people think about Him and talk about Him. I admire how some people truly trust Him. They really really do. They talk about Him like they know Him, like He is their very best friend or brother. They make it seem like Jesus Christ is their life. It appears as if every waking moment they spend contemplating him and living life as if He is walking every step of the way right there with them. I feel like I used to be better at that. I used to be more devoted and I used to feel closer to Him. What has happened? What can I do to get back? I need to get back.

3. Look Steadfastly for His Coming

I don't think about this one very much. I should, but I don't. I suppose what I get from this, is that I need to live my life in such a way that if He were to come right this minute, I'd feel good about it. I suppose that's the entire point, huh?

So here's to getting into the Christmas spirit!

How have you prepared for Christmas? What can you do to  see Christmas through new eyes? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Help!!! Ideas for activities for an 18 Month Old????

I'll admit it. Sometimes Most of the time, I run out of ideas of things to do with Lily. Anything we try to do together, she gets bored really quickly or she has no interest in. She'll run off and do her own thing after a few minutes, so I take that as my cue to go run off and do my own thing. WRONG! She has a Mommy-is-doing-something radar, and as soon as I start a new activity, she tries to climb all over me. I'll be honest. As cute as it is that she wants my attention, it is kind of annoying that she won't play with me until I start doing something else. I'd really like to be able to play with her, so I looked up a few ideas on the internet. One idea that I really liked was making a necklace out of Cheerios. She loves necklaces! She loves Cheerios! She loves eating her necklace...that she can eat? Why, that sounds perfect!

All we needed was a bunch of Cheerios and a piece of string. Easy peasy.

As you can see, it's very hard to have a piece of string around our kitty, Rustie. She loves string! In this last picture, Lily has stolen a Cheerio to eat as Rustie is batting at the piece of string.

They were playing together and Lily was cracking up laughing until she saw me think about taking a video.

Finished necklace

This activity took a grand total of five minutes. Sigh. What activities do you like to do with your toddlers? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finally Loving Yourself

Hey fluties!

Just a quick note before Lily wakes up and we hit the road for another Christmas Concert with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.

Have you heard of Flylady? I hope so! I discovered her as a new mom when I needed something to help me with the C.H.A.O.S. of new motherhood. I started out on a roll, receiving daily emails and trying to keep up. Even though it's not about "keeping up," I needed to stop receiving emails and just do what I could do. I tried keeping up with the Monday House Blessings, setting my timer for 10 minutes to complete chores, especially dishes, and I tried to put myself in a situation to follow, "One load a day keeps C.H.A.O.S. away." I have finally gotten myself if that situation with the laundry and I am so proud. My sink is shined. Well almost. All the dishes are clean, but the sink is a little icky. Everything in the living room has a place. We have organized Lily's nursery the way I want. The last area of concentration will be the master bedroom.

The biggest part that I wanted to talk about today was our Finances. I have felt like we have been trying to run from our finances and that created a lot of fear. Biting the bullet and doing what we needed to do is really lifting a burden! I am so happy about how we are doing. I needed to pay some bills which were a little behind due to Thanksgiving and my lack of organization, and I admit, a little bit of fear of not wanting to see all the money in our bank account disappear in an instant of paying boring ole bills. But this morning I took care of it. We are so much more ahead of where we have been since getting married. I'll admit, we are receiving so many blessings from Heavenly Father right now to be in this situation, and we are in a much better place financially now than we ever have been since getting married and moving to Texas. This wouldn't be possible without Heavenly Father pouring out His blessings upon us.

I think we are finally!


C.H.A.O.S.-Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome

F.A.C.E.-Financial Awareness Creates Empowerment (I may be wrong on this one. Someone correct me if I am!)

F.L.Y.-Finally Loving Yourself....and in our case today it could be Financially Loving Yourself

Go Fly!!!!


Flybaby Kristi

P.S. Flylady has no idea I am writing this. I realized it started to sound like a commercial or something, but these are my own thoughts and my own words. It is just a testimonial of how awesome she is, and also of how great a mood I am in right now with this weight lifted from my shoulders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Look what I made!!!

The tutu I mean....

And I did it without sewing! Yay! 

Of course, I made the baby too, but I had help with that one. ;o)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Husband, I am thankful for you

Many of my friends on facebook decided to share something they were thankful for every day during the month of November until Thanksgiving Day. I missed a few days there at the end, but today I am feeling extra thankful for my husband, Robbie.

Let me tell you about my sweetheart. First off, the first thought that would pop out of his mouth if I started telling him this would be, "Me???" That's one out of a thousand reasons why I love him. He is so modest and never has the attitude that I should love him. Does that make sense? He does so much for me and our little family, but he never has the attitude that I owe him my love or that I owe him anything really.

I met Robbie in high school and the first time I saw him, I knew he was sweet on another girl that was sitting across from me at the cafeteria table. I could tell he was flirting with her and I could tell he really liked her. I could also tell he was kind of a dork, so I thought, "Man, I feel sorry for that girl cuz he likes her so much." Little did I know his silly charm would win me over a few years down the road.

Fast forward a few years and we finally get married. I don't want to go into all the details of the nine years we dated before we got married. That is a story for many other days.

Back to the present. Today I am feeling especially grateful that I have the privilege of being a stay at home mom. My husband works hard and we make sacrifices so that I can be the one who takes care of our little girl. I have never ever ever ever heard my husband complain about being the one to go to work every day while I get to stay home. He has never given me the impression that he resents me. In fact, he supports it, and he wants this lifestyle just as much, if not more than I do. He would consider it a personal failure if I had to get a job to help support our family. Not that I want him to feel like a failure for something like that, but I truly consider it a blessing to have a husband that is not only willing to provide for his family, but truly wants to be the one to provide. I have heard of husbands that refuse to work. This is NOT my husband.

Sometimes he tells me that he doesn't enjoy his job, but he never complains about work. He is a man that is not afraid to work, and work hard, for his family. He is a man that will do whatever it takes to provide for us, and I am truly thankful for him.

My husband loves being a daddy. He is in love with our little girl, and it melts my heart to see how much he adores her. I am thankful that I married a man that takes his role as husband, provider, and father to heart. I am thankful that he saw something in me that I couldn't see. When we were in high school and college, I would speak of becoming a mother, and especially a stay at home mom, with disdain and resentment. I resented the fact that we had decided that's how our family would operate. I hated the thought of becoming a mother. I thought, "What would I do?" I am thankful that my husband, then boyfriend, knew that those thoughts were nonsense and was willing to take a chance on me anyway. Now that I am a mother, and especially a stay at home mom, I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want to have to work a full time job and not see my little girl as much as I do. I teach flute lessons for about five hours a week, two of which she spends with a family from church, and I miss her so much it hurts. I love her.

I will admit that I am thankful to be able to teach flute lessons and to pursue a doula career. I am thankful to have something of my own, something to pursue that is separate from motherhood and...wife-hood? Is that a word? And I am so thankful that my husband supports, encourages, and sometimes even pushes me to work for my dreams. Even when my dreams change from year to year.

I am thankful for my husband for so many reasons other than the fact that he supports me in being a stay at home mom, but this is what is on my mind today. I was able to start my day exactly the way I wanted, I was able to eat, go to the store, shower, and do dishes exactly when I wanted to. I was able to play with a cute baby today. Unless your job is a babysitter or working at a daycare, who gets to play with cute little babies while they are at work? Now my sweetheart is waking up from her luxurious three hour nap and I get to go cuddle and kiss her, and I get to be the first one she sees after waking up, because I have the best husband in the world!!!

I love you, Robbie. :o)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Courtship in Marriage

I saw this quote over at Sofia's Ideas and loved it. The color scheme and little house remind me of Emily's blog over at Joyful Abode, so check her out too.

As I was searching for an article to illustrate the continued courtship in marriage that I was hoping and planning to write about, I found an article by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife Patricia about courtship, problem solving and unity in marriage. If I had a highlighter in my hand, the entire article would have been bright yellow! Every word seemed to apply to me.

I love the website and all the articles in it. At the end of the articles are generally discussion questions, and this article is no exception. I will attempt to answer the four questions at the end of this article.

1. Do you find yourself trying to “rush things needlessly and unnaturally” in your life? If so, what can you do to “be happy with the season you are in”?

Yes! Yes! Yes! I have a terrible habit of assigning an age to when I "should" have accomplished so-and-so. I was supposed to graduate college at 22 and then get married immediately after. When I was in high school I wanted to be married by the time I was 20. The closer I got to age 20, the more I realized that wouldn't happen. I decided it would probably be easier to just finish college and then get married. Well that didn't happen either. I wanted to get married earlier rather than later so that I would be able to have my three children that I planned to have by the time I was 30 years old. At 30, I wanted to be "done."

I didn't get married until I was 25, but I still felt like I was "old to be getting married" and "behind." The average marriage age was 25.9 for women and 27.6 for men the year we got married, but I still felt like Robbie and I getting married at 25 (me) and 26 (him) were old for a couple o' Mormon goobers like us. Once I was finally married though, the age thing didn't matter so much. I was just soooo happy to be married! Yay! 

Now that I am 28 with only ONE baby, I can see that the whole being-done-by-30 thing isn't going to quite work out the way I had hoped. Unless, the next pregnancy....wait, no, not gonna say it. But now that I have become a birth junkie and have developed such a love for the whole pregnancy and birth experience, I am in no hurry for my child bearing years to be over. I want to hang on to this for dear life. I want to hang on to the years that my little sweetheart is just a little girl and still loves me the way she does. I whisper in her little ears, "Please don't grow up too quickly!" And as I look at her right now, she's just removed her pajama bottoms for no reason other than to learn how to do it, I just feel a warmth in my heart and want to cherish this moment forever. I want to enjoy it so much, that when I look back on it, I won't feel a need to miss it. Is it possible? 

I believe the only way I can truly be happy in the season of life I am in is to make a real effort at reminding myself to enjoy these moments. When I start getting that little twinge when I hear about another 28 year old woman who is having her 5th child and I start feeling behind, I need to think, "Now hang on a minute, Kristi, you have a beautiful little girl over there. Would you change anything? Are you truly ready for your childbearing years to be over already?" Because this is something that I am currently working on-trying to enjoy where I am in my life right now-I find that mostly what I need to do is TRY

2. Do you currently have a budget that works for you? Are finances a source of contention between you and your partner? What can you do to improve your money management skills?

Unfortunately, we do not have a budget that works for us. Finances are a source of stress in our marriage, but I do not believe it is a source of contention between Robbie and me. I am thankful that neither of us blames the other for our situation, though I know Robbie takes much of the burden of our financial struggles on himself as the provider. He blames himself a lot and he gets a case of the "shoulda's" sometimes. We are working hard to get things back on track, including paying our tithes and offerings, and searching for better employment. I'll admit, marriage has taken us on a whirlwind adventure of disorganized finances and we weren't perfect at the whole tithing thing. With the help and advice from our Bishop, we have been working for awhile to get things back on track. It's not easy, and it is not easy to do without either while being surrounded by many affluent people at church. It's humbling (I guess that's my nice sugar-coated word when what I really mean is embarrassing) to be around people our own age or even younger than us who live in huge houses and have the fantastic high-paying jobs. I suppose it's not really embarrassing to me that we live in a two bedroom apartment, because I like it AND I can barely keep up with keeping this place clean. How would I manage a house? What embarrasses me is all the things I can't do, such as bake dozens of homemade cookies for primary activities because we can't afford the ingredients or I can't make little handmade trinkets for the sisters that I visit teach because we can't afford for me to buy the materials. I can't always go to the little activities that one of my friends invites me to because we can't afford the gas to travel that far that often. But this is all part of saying no and making do. It's trying to still hold my head high as mentioned in the article. 

"Make do with what you have. Do without. Say no. You can hold your head high even if your clothing is not the most stylish nor your home the most regal."

I will admit that holding my head high is really really......really....hard to do.

To improve our finances, we need to be able to face our finances and not be afraid to open those bills each month. We need to come up with a plan and do it TOGETHER. For so long I tried taking care of our finances alone. It stressed me out way too much because I just could not make the decision of what to pay and what to delay. I had to talk about it with my husband. We are getting better at discussion and coming up with a plan, but we just couldn't do it alone. We needed to talk to our bishop and get his eyes on the situation. I feel a lot better now that we've come up with a plan with his guidance. I don't feel as if we are so alone now. I feel like we have the Lord on our side now after admitting to the bishop that we need help. I suppose if things are just so bad, and one feels like throwing in the towel, then the first step would be to talk to the bishop. Then do what he says, no matter how difficult it may be. I thought it would be terrible to talk to our bishop, I thought he would say mean and awful things and we'd be severely chastised. But we weren't! I felt like a weight really lifted and that we really will be able to get things under control. It'll take time, but with the Lord's help, we'll be able to do it.

3. Do you feel that you are fully committed to your husband or wife—that you have fully invested all that you have and are to your marriage? If you feel reluctant or doubtful, why do you feel that way? What can you do to overcome those feelings?

Now, this is one I feel that Robbie and I are pretty good at. I am sure we are not perfect, but I don't doubt that he is fully committed to me. Someone told me once that he "reeks of love" for me. I certainly can tell that he loves me. I know he is committed to me. I don't know if he feels like he is, but his actions show me that he is. I hope my actions show him that I am committed to him. 

4. Discuss the observation that “we can’t wait to be a good wife or a good husband or a good Christian just when we ‘feel well.’” What can you do on the difficult days to “bring the strength of Christ” to your union?

This part of the article was so profound and another place where I felt like the authors were in my head. Sometimes when Robbie and I are both discouraged, I feel as if I have no more strenghth left to take care of his needs. I feel as if I just don't have it in me. Some days, I just am so tired that I don't feel like doing anything, much less take care of the needs around the house. I keep waiting for when I don't feel so tired. I ask myself, "Will I ever feel good again?" Sigh. Most days I have to tell myself, "Just suck it up, Kristi. Everyone is tired." I admit, I hate having to "suck it up." It annoys me and I feel like Lily when she doesn't get her own way. I want to drop to the floor, kick my feet and whine whine whine. (Don't say it, Robbie!) 

I know know know that if Robbie and I did better at reading our scriptures, both personally and together, we would have more strength in our marriage. We do not read the scriptures together nowhere near the amount that we should, *cough-at all-cough*, so we really need to get on the ball with that one. We really need to make a better effort to spend time in the scriptures on our own as well. 

So what started as a cute picture for me to share because I liked it turned into me accidentally finding an article about something that I truly needed to read. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Musical Baby

I suppose it is no surprise that my little girl comes from a musical family. My husband and I love when she shows any inclination to have a love of music and it is so cute to watch how she reacts to various genres of music.

For a few weeks, Lily started doing a strange head bobbing motion that we could not figure out. My mom insisted that everything was okay and just a part of her development, but Robbie and I were becoming increasingly worried about her. That is, until Robbie discovered the source of her strange head bobbing.

As you can see, there is absolutely nothing wrong with our little Blue Danube baby!!!

Because I am a flutist, I have all sorts of little flute-like instruments laying around including recorders, penny, whistles, piccolos and fifes. Of course I am only kidding. They are put away in a safe place. Most of the time. I couldn't resist trying to get Lily to make a sound on one of my penny whistles, but this video turned out to be an advertisement for Fuzzi Bunz diapers more than a recording of Lily's first recital. That's okay. We love fluff!

She loves the piano too. Any chance she has to press those beautiful black and white keys, she takes. We were holding auditions at the Stake Center for the Summer Youth Musical, and during a short break, the pianist let Lily play for a little while. What a beautiful composition! I think we have a musical genius on our hands.

Lily loves the Backyardigans. She has developed her on variation of a dance to go along with the opening scenes to the show.

Her skills become a little more "advanced" and she has a little more control over her legs in this next one.

Sometimes Lily enjoys the music that we listen to during car rides, though I can never capture them on camera. One day I decided to pull into a parking lot and take a video of her head bobbing to a little bit of hip hop type music. This probably isn't the most appropriate song for a toddler to listen to, but hey, she doesn't really know what they are talking about. Hopefully.

There's just something about music that Lily loves! Even while she is eating a grilled cheese sandwich from Sonic in the front seat of the car while we take a break during a long trip home, she takes time to enjoy her music.

Nothing like some head bobbing and grilled cheese!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful for friends who give a crap

Maybe there are people in this world who want to be friends with me after all. I have been struggling for the past two years with trying to find a friend or two that I could really develop a relationship with, someone who I could confide in, someone like when I was in college. I have tried to be friendly with the people I meet, and there was one particular friend that I really hoped to develop a true friendship with. However I would always think, "She's probably not as interested in being my friend as I am in being hers." Robbie would try to convince me that she obviously wanted to be my friend because of all the things she would invite me to do and all the stuff we would talk about. I just couldn't understand it. As much as I wanted to be her friend, I just couldn't understand or believe that she truly wanted to.

Come to find out today, without realizing that it was obvious, I've built up walls around myself. She was trying to get through to me, and she would tell her husband, "I have known her for a year, but I still feel like we are just acquaintances." Oh.



I think she has been getting a little frustrated with me because I build up walls around myself due to our financial situation. My husband and I are of modest means, and we both come from modest backgrounds. We struggle big time with our finances. Not that we are irresponsible with our money, I am actually a tightwad. Majorly. But we just don't have enough income for how much it costs to live here. It's no one's fault. I suppose it was a series of unfortunate decisions, mainly what we decided to be when we "grew up," that led us to this situation now. That, combined with the fact that we are doing everything in our power so that one of us can stay home with our child(ren).

So this has led me (maybe Robbie too, but I can only speak for myself) to feel inferior to everyone around me. It has led me to question the motives of anyone who is nice to me, and it makes me feel terribly guilty that I have nothing with which to return the favors that I so often receive. I have tried, but I just can't do it. I have nothing. I have nothing to give and nothing to offer.

My friend tried to tell me that this is not true. She has tried to tell me this before, and she says I just brush it away. She can tell that it goes in one ear and out the other. I thought I was a great faker, but silly me, I should have known. I've never been good at hiding my thoughts. I've never had a very good poker face.

I finally just spilled the beans. I finally told her what the real issues are, and about some of the most humbling things we have experienced lately. It felt good to finally admit to someone what a loser I am. Only she didn't think I was a loser. Only she told me that they have a few of the same problems sometimes, only for different reasons.

I am thankful she had the courage to tell me what she was thinking and to let me know that she really did want to be my friend. I know it will be a long journey for me to try to feel like a person who has anything to offer, but hopefully it will be one where I can have success. I am thankful that she was persistent and didn't give up on me after so long of trying to get me to tear down my walls. And most of all, I am thankful that she gives a crap.

Learning to let go

I have been pondering lately that I may have reached the point in my motherhood journey that I need to learn to let go. Last year I was obsessed with doing things on my own. It caused a lot of stress that people were helping me out so much, especially with babysitting Lily. I was able to meet two very special families who watched Lily on Tuesdays and Thursdays last year. The family that watched Lily on Tuesdays watched her for free. We wanted to pay something, but we just couldn't do very much. I tried sneaking money in Lily's bag, but she told me not to do that again. Instead I would bake cookies or brownies or sweet treats to try to return the favor. However, it still stressed me out because I felt like I was mooching. I was so ashamed and the shame really did a number on my self-esteem. I would get so angry at myself and beg Heavenly Father to please just please let us be self sufficient. Please let us take care of things on our own! The other family traded flute lessons for baby sitting, so I was able to feel at least the illusion of dignity. I appreciate that they were willing to work with me in that way.

Sometimes I would have to ask my mom for help watching Lily while I would play in concerts out of town. She did that and she seemed to love it. Still, I felt so useless because I have spent so much time trying to become independent and to be "grown up," and here I was still needing my mommy and still asking my mommy for help. Sometimes we still had to ask my mommy to help pay for things and, even though I didn't ask, she would always send us home with a whole bunch of much needed food.

So I spent an entire school year feeling worthless and stupid. I wasted my time feeling angry that I couldn't do it myself. I felt really resentful that I honestly, really and truly NEEDED other people. I needed the help I was receiving, and I hated that I couldn't do everything on my own.

A year later, we still really need to rely on others to help us get through. We have to rely on others even MORE now than we did last year. We need all the help we can get raising a family, and I suppose that's just the way it has to be. I just have to hope that those that help us are being blessed for doing so, just as we are being blessed by receiving their help. I just have to hope that we don't overburden anyone. As my mom would say I just need to "Get over it." I like to think that I just need to let go. I need to let go of the thoughts that, just because someone is blessing my life with help, that I am some sort of loser. I need to accept the fact, that as a mother, I really do need help from others, especially other mothers and that's okay! I hear about mother to mother learning all the time when it comes to birth and breastfeeding. Well, there is a whole lot more learning to take place other than birth and breastfeeding! There is more to life than just birth and breastfeeding and I will always need people to help me. I also need to understand that Heavenly Father places these angels in my life to help me. He is looking out for me, He loves me and He knows what I need. He is providing for me.

Why can't I accept that? Why do I feel ashamed and embarrassed? How do I learn to not feel ashamed and embarrassed with all the help I receive from other people? How do I learn to let go?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cherishing every moment

I love Lily. I mean, I love love LOVE her. I love her like crazy. I am in love with my little girl. She is the cutest, sweetest, cuddliest and funniest little munchkin I have ever laid eyes on. I can't stand it sometimes, I love her so much.

I have been trying desperately to hang on to every age. I want to enjoy this time so much that when I am older and I look back on it, I won't miss it or long for it because I enjoyed it enough. Is this even possible? I have often whispered in her little ear, "Please don't grow up too fast!" I just love her.

My favorite time with her is when I am rocking her to sleep at night. I may moan and groan about having to do it sometimes because I am so tired, but once I am in there, I don't want to let her go. I want to squeeze her close to me and I just want to breathe her in as she nurses for relaxation. I love when she brushes her little hands across my face and even when she pokes me in the nose. I love when she looks at me intently and then gives me the biggest hug. I love how she chases my mouth to give me a kiss. I don't usually encourage mouth kissing, but if that's what she wants to give me, I'll take it. Muah!

I love when she is hugging me and she pats my shoulder like, "It's okay, Mom. I am here." I love how if I am having trouble sleeping, I can go cuddle with my little babe and it relaxes me. This is especially helpful when I have received a phone call from one of my doula clients telling me her water broke but labor has not started yet! I love that overwhelming feeling of just LOVE and giddiness when Lily is breastfeeding. I love how it feels to have her in my arms after I have not seen her in several hours. I love how precious she looks when she sleeps. I love how precious she looks when she IS. When she just is.

I love her little language. I love how she asks questions even though I have no idea what she is asking me. I love how smart she is and how much she is taking in. I even love when she gets mad at me and completely tells me off because it shows she feels comfortable telling me that she isn't happy about something. I love how much she teaches me about service and love and I love how much she has shown me how much I love motherhood. My former flute teacher told me this weekend that everything she ever did in her life was just keeping her busy until she could become a mother. Then she finally felt as if she was doing what she was meant to do in her life. I completely agree. She said so eloquently what I was only feeling and unable to express.

Sometimes I can't hug Lily hard enough. I just want to squeeze her! And I can't kiss her hard enough. I now understand the phrase, "I just want to eat her up!"

So I have made it a goal to try to cherish every moment. Have I succeeded at this? Of course not. I am not sure it is realistic to cherish every single moment because sometimes life gets in they way. But I am going to try. I am going to try my very hardest to try to memorize this time, to take it in, to savor it, to hold onto it and to love it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hard few days and a good dose of common sense

The past few days have been extremely difficult for our family. It has been trying my faith more than I think I can bear. I have to remind myself that Heavenly Father won't give us more than we can bear. Sometimes I feel like the burdens that we have are too much for me to handle with a smile. They cloud my ability to see my blessings clearly. I have so many blessings, but it is so hard to feel gratitude in my heart when these burdens seem too heavy for me to carry. I love feeling thankful! I love having gratitude in my heart! Sometimes life just gets really hard.

I started to be very negative about these things that were going on in our family, and that bugs my husband. Sometimes he just needs to set me straight with a good dose of common sense. When I start saying things like, "I have no faith! I don't know if there is a God anymore. I can't do this. I have no testimony! I have doubts," my husband feels compelled to help me get my mind right. I am thankful that he knows how to bring me back down to Earth when the occasion arises.

His common sense approach is so, well, common sense. He asked me, "Do you know that Jesus Christ is your Savior? Yes or no?" Well, yes, I know that. That's an easy one. And you know what? I don't really remember any of the other questions he asked me because that one seemed to sum it up pretty well, don't you think? If I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, isn't that pretty much the best thing ever?

He started talking about how Nephi was commanded to build a ship. We started to think about what it must have been like to be asked to build a boat. How in the world are we supposed to be able to do that? I've never built a boat before! Where in the world did Nephi learn how to build a boat? From the Lord.

"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry they people across these waters." 1 Nephi 17: 8

Being the awesome person that Nephi was, he immediately asked the Lord where he could find the materials to successfully build this boat. If it were me, I would have at least taken a moment to ask, "Huh?"

During his task, the Lord made him a promise: "I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." 1 Nephi 17:13

The Lord keeps His promises if we keep His commandments. I like the part "ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." Sometimes I don't know which was is up or down or who is leading whom.

Then Robbie told me that he was sure that things got hard while Nephi was trying to build this boat. Things may have gotten so hard that he didn't think he could handle it, and he probably had to pray for strength along the way. His brothers started to give him a hard time and he became really discouraged, especially since they were all happy that he was discouraged. Jerks.

"And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgement; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work." 1 Nephi 17:19

Sigh. Ever feel like people are rejoicing in your failures? I do. Even though no one has actually said it to my face, I worry that people say the exact same thing about what we are trying to do. All we're really trying to do is be grown ups and be independent, but it seems like we are always asking for help from others. I worry that they think, "They should just give up. They shouldn't even be trying. I knew they couldn't make it."

Of course, Robbie said other great things to me to help me remember that, yes, I do have a testimony, and yes I do know that Heavenly Father loves me. Even if I don't want to admit it to myself, this funny thing happens to me when I hear something I know is true. I start to giggle and smile really big. I couldn't hide it if I tried.

I called my mom the day after my good dose of common sense because it seemed like other things happened that were worse than the day before. She gave me a couple of scriptures to read as well. One of those was the awesome reminder that, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

I really need to remember that. It's so difficult when Robbie and I go back and forth on which one of us is the discouraged one. Sometimes he has bursts of confidence and strength, and every now and then I have bursts of confidence and strength. I think we are both looking for strength from the other one, but it's just not happening. I feel like I withdraw into myself more and more as things keep getting harder and harder. It's hard for me to give any strength to him when I can't even make myself feel better. I'm not sure how he feels, and I am not sure if he is looking for strength from me. I wish I knew how to be strong.

How can I do it? How can I be strong for him when I feel like I have no more strength left to give? I feel like I do not have any smiles in me right now. How can I smile when I really don't feel like I can? What do you do to get through your tough times?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mama musings

Remember those days when I used to blog about whatever was on my mind rather than a specific topic? Me either. Today is one of those days where I have a lot on my mind, and I need to just get it out of my head.

I don't even know where to begin. I suppose I could start back when I was in high school and I was preparing to go to college. I knew as soon as I started high school I wanted to go to LSU, I wanted to be in Tiger Band, and I wanted to major in music. I did not want to be a band director; I wanted to be a performer! I just knew that I wanted to make a career out of playing flute in a symphony orchestra somewhere, and I just knew that money issues would take care of themselves. My father used to fill my head full of nonsense about playing in the New York Philharmonic one day. What kid hasn't heard that from a parent once or twice since the first moment they mustered the first squeaks and toots on his chose instrument? My father did what any supportive parent would do. He enrolled me in lessons with the best teacher he could find. At that time she was the principal flutist with the local symphony orchestra. Another one of my future teachers was also playing in that orchestra, though I couldn't know it at the time.

I spent an entire year working hard and improving. I learned tons. After that year, I moved to another part of the state to live with my mom and her husband at the time. I begged and begged for flute lessons, knowing that I needed them in order to be good enough. Good enough for what? I wasn't sure, but I knew they were important. I begged to no avail. My mother, but more specifically her current a-hole of a husband at the time, did not see the value in continued study. "Isn't that the band director's job?" he would say. Private lesson teachers and band directors alike HATE that mentality.

I used what I learned in my one year of lessons to help me through most of my high school auditions. Finally through a stoke of luck, I attended a summer chamber music camp at LSU the summer before my senior year. While there, I met the flute professor at LSU. She was astounded at my playing ability and equally shocked that I had not taken lessons since middle school. I was on top of the world! She asked about my plans and I said that I wanted to go to LSU. Really, even then, I wanted to go to LSU simply to be in the Tiger Marching Band. I could care less about being in that flute studio. At my private lesson with her, she told me that she was very impressed with me, that she really wanted me in her studio, and that she would pay for private lessons for me. I would take with her doctoral student. Oh neat! What kid wouldn't be super excited about that opportunity?

I ended up taking lessons that year. My mom would drive me 30 minutes away to my lessons and wait in the car. I didn't get to take my lessons every week, but I took several that year. And. I. Learned. Nothing.

She just didn't seem to understand how to teach someone at my level. I was talented, but I was so behind on some of the basics. She seemed fixated on certain concepts that I just was not ready to tackle. How could she not have been able to tell that? Time went on and I practiced like I never practiced before. I worked so diligently towards my audition.

I signed up for auditions at LSU and one just-in-case school. My mom and I drove to the Just-in-case school for my audition. The flute teacher wasn't even there. I auditioned for the band directors, who loved me. I didn't love them back. Then we drove to LSU to audition for my dream school. The flute teacher and director of bands were in attendance. I played the best audition of my life up to that point and I had my sight-reading audition. The director of bands whispered in my ear, "Well, you sound great, but it's really up to her (meaning the flute teacher) whether or not you make the studio." When I was done she commented on the way I had been standing during my audition and asked how my lessons with her student were going. She also asked me if I was auditioning anywhere else. I told her I was and she replied, "Good, because you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket."

My heart sank. I knew that my audition wasn't good enough even before I left the room. I was furious and as soon as I got home I filled out my application to audition at McNeese. Still, I held out hope that by some miracle I would still get in.

That miracle never came. Two long and grueling months later, I received my rejection letter. It was devastating and heart-breaking for me. I cried and cried and stayed bitter for a very long time. I still have my twinges of bitterness from time to time, especially when someone says that LSU is the BEST in the country at something-especially music-related issues.

All of my friends were very shocked that I did not get into LSU and I remember the assistant band director at my high school getting really angry about it. What made me more upset was the fact that my friends who played other instruments, who didn't work nearly as hard as I did, were accepted. I was the only one who didn't get in. My friends who applied to LSU for other degree programs started to shun me. I don't think they did it on purpose, but I had nothing in common with them anymore. I was "the one not going to LSU." From our little town outside of Baton Rouge, that was nearly unheard of.

So I went to McNeese and insisted on majoring in music anyway. My little scheme was that I would study there for a few years, work hard, and audition for LSU again. I never got around to that. I pretty much fell in love with my flute teacher at McNeese and decided to just stay there.

Even at McNeese, I couldn't escape what I like to call my first failure. Those LSU flutists won everything. I entered tons of competitions in vain. If an LSU flutist decided to enter, that was the end of that. I just didn't understand what it was about their playing that was so much better than mine. I had asked the LSU flute teacher why I didn't get in and she told me that I had competed with students that had taken lessons for years and that I just did not have a good enough flute to be really competitive. What? My instrument wasn't good enough? Well, I fixed that as soon as I entered McNeese but I still lost all the time. As much as it hurt to fail, it probably would have been more of a favor if someone would have said, "Kristi, you really don't have what it takes to be a successful flutist. Band director, yes, but performer, no." Because, honestly, I don't have what it takes. I never had what it took.

It's okay that I lack the talent to be a successful flutist. What is not okay is that I wasted four years of my free education paid for by the state of Louisiana on getting a music degree. I regret regret regret that now. I should have used four years of my free education to get a degree in something that I could get a decent job and pay bills later in my life. Now that I am an aspiring doula, which I wish I would have known back then, I probably should have studied to become a midwife. Funny how life works though. Back in college I had no interest in birth and babies. None at all. I didn't care for babies. They annoyed me. In fact, I just didn't see how I would ever become a mother one day. I was also convinced that if I did become a mother, I would hate every minute of it. Sometimes I would secretly wish that maybe I wouldn't be able to have children. Then I would try to squash that thought quickly because isn't that just plain evil? Especially as a Latter-day Saint woman? A part of me also knew that I would regret thinking that if it actually came true.

So I wasted my time thinking that I had this great love for the flute and that I could still be successful somehow even though all the evidence showed that no, I could not be successful. Losing auditions and competitions all the time does not really equate to being a successful flutist.

I persisted. I auditioned for graduate schools and did not make any of the "good ones." I started at one school and finished at another. I took out huge student loans. And this is a major regret. I should have never gone to a school if I had to pay for it. Yes, I have a Master of Music degree. Whoop-de-doo. I also have massive debt that I get to pay off instead of paying for something like, um, a house. Why didn't someone, anyone, tell me, "Hey Kristi! What are you truly planning to do to pay the bills?" I teach private flute lessons and I play in a semi-professional orchestra a few times a year.

My family comes first, and I have tried to help supplement our family's income while most being a stay at home mom to my little girl. We have decided that's how we want our family to be run. I will say that it is very difficult to run a family on mostly a single income. We have to make tons of sacrifices in order for us to have this type of lifestyle, and we have decided that we would rather sacrifice nice cars, clothes, homes and other nice things rather than sacrificing time spent with our children.

Seems like our biggest struggle is money. Neither of us came from families with money. We both came from families that struggled to make ends meet, and now we are in the same situation. However, Robbie has told me that he never really knew how much his parents struggled with money. I did know. I don't know how many times I heard, "We can't afford it. We don't have the money." I got to the point where I just didn't ask for anything anymore and I survived without plenty of those things I thought I had to have.

I asked my mom why she didn't set me straight when I insisted on majoring in music. She told me she did not want to squash my dreams. Sigh. I suppose that was sweet of her, but here we are, ten years later, and my decision to major in music is my biggest regret in life. It was a stupid decision, and one for which my entire family and I will pay for the rest of my life. It is a decision that will cause me to feel that little twinge of jealousy every time I see someone talk about their vacation to Hawaii, or their mani-pedi or their hair appointment they made just because they were feeling stressed, or their appointment with a massage therapist, or their nice new car and house, or all the little things they get to buy in preparation for their baby, or their ability to just drop $200 on a whole bunch of Fuzzi Bunz without even thinking twice about it or to be able to go to lunch with a friend at the spur of the moment and not have to wonder if that $5 sandwich is actually going to cost $37 in overdraft fees, or who can go anywhere at any time without worrying how much it will cost in gas to get there and if that will leave enough in the tank to go teach flute lessons the next day.

I know there are probably some out there who would really want to put things in perspective for me. Yes, I understand things could be worse. They can always be worse. Honestly, I wouldn't be bothered so much if I wasn't surrounded by people with a whole bunch of nice STUFF! Those things I mentioned up there? I see that every day! We go to church and are friends with people who live in a pretty affluent part of town, and it is impossible for us to keep up. It is not only impossible, but it is pretty embarrassing to my poor husband. Because he is the provider, this effects him in ways that I could never understand. I suppose it doesn't help any when I feel sad about it. I try not to complain, but I do get pretty down in the dumps about it. For example, I am the primary secretary for our ward. On occasion we have Presidency meetings. When we get together, we talk about the needs of the children. At one particular meeting, we were planning an event in which it was decided we all needed to bake four dozen cookies. I nearly cried. First, I do not have one of those fancy $200 mixers that make baking four dozen cookies a breeze and second, I do not have the money for the ingredients to make four dozen cookies. It didn't even cross my mind to buy some Chips Ahoy cookies or something because of the company I was in. THOSE ladies have probably never even heard of Chips Ahoy cookies. I had to decline helping with that assignment because of money. How silly! At the time it really got me down. All I wanted was to fit in and to be helpful, and I couldn't do it. It is hard for me to come home and explain to my husband these things because it depresses him. So I suppose I should just suck it up and never complain about money.

Oh only those wonderful and perfect women can do that, of which I am NOT one. Nope. I am not, nor have I EVER been perfect. So I need to vent, complain, share my feelings, blow of steam, etc. It seems like it is pretty evident anyway so why not shout it from the roof tops? We do not have enough money! We have to accept financial help from our parents and other sources, which is pretty embarrassing to two  almost 30 year olds.

So then, I think about Heavenly Father. He is the one who is actually providing the help to us, although He uses other people to carry it out. He is the one on whom we are relying and on whom we need to rely. He is the only one whose opinion and judgements matter. And then all that other stuff that I just wrote about seems to disappear. It melts away. And I think of Lily. Robbie and I? Well, we're just her heroes! We're the best things that have even happened to her and she just loves us to pieces just like we love her to pieces. She doesn't care that I can't make four dozen cookies and neither does Heavenly Father. What she does care about is that her mommy is here for her when she needs her. She cares about her daddy's hugs and kisses and rocking to sleep at night. She cares about being warm and safe and loved to bits by her two silly parents.

Isn't funny how there are so many thoughts that really have nothing to do with each other but that my brain can force them to have something to do with each other? We have a very modest income and as such, we have a very modest home and we do not have tons of stuff. Somehow my brain can say, "Well, that's because you didn't make it to LSU!" or "That's because you majored in music," or "You should have gotten a USEFUL degree!" Sigh. Oh brain!

Sometimes I think about how I wish things would have gone. So what would have happened if I made LSU? What then? What about if I would have majored in something else. What then? I have to ask myself, "Would I still be married to Robbie and would I still have Lily?" Then I think, "If I am not still married to Robbie and if I don't have Lily, then I wouldn't change anything. If I have to experience all those things in that particular order in order to be married to Robbie and have Lily, then I am just going to leave it alone." I wouldn't want to change anything if it meant that I didn't have Robbie and Lily anymore. I sure to love my Robbie and my Lily.