Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No-Sew Cheshire Cat Costume

I don't remember how the conversation came up, but while I was running into a store one day, Robbie and Lily got to talking about what she wanted to be for Halloween. When I got back into the car, Robbie says, "Lily, tell Mommy what you want to be for Halloween." It took her a few seconds to stop giggling, but she finally said, "Cheshire Cat!" Robbie and I were both impressed and ecstatic! She came up with a Halloween costume idea all by herself. How cool!

We started talking about where we might find a Cheshire Cat costume, and Robbie said, "Well, you're going to have to make it. Mama always used to make our costumes." So he and I started talking about how this was going to come to pass. I said, "I'm going to get on Pinterest!" I get on Pinterest sometimes, but not as much as someone like me might seem like she would get on there. 

I turned into Miss Giddy Girly Girl when I started looking up ideas on making a Cheshire Cat Costume for my daughter. I never turn into Miss Giddy Girly Girl. For some reason, the prospect of making may daughter's costume seemed like a Mom Level Up somehow.

I was a bit disappointed with the ideas I found on Pinterest. Cheshire Cat Costume ideas that actually looked like the Cheshire Cat were severely lacking. Most of the ideas were more of an artsy representation of the essence of the Cheshire Cat. I decided I needed to remedy this problem. I wasn't going to make a big blog post about it. However, after seeing how few ideas there were floating around out there, I knew I had to offer something to the internet.

One of the challenges of costume making for someone like me is that I don't sew. I don't own a sewing machine, so anything that I was going to make was going to require that I didn't need to sew.

I came across this post on Pinterest, which was the only post that helped me in the slightest. I had an aha! moment. Hot-glue! This will work. I would hot-glue the pink stripes onto the purple background.

Robbie and I took a trip to Wal-Mart to pick out the necessary supplies:

One hooded purple jumpsuit
One extra pair of purple pants
Pink Ribbon (light and dark)
Hot Glue
Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue Sticks
Face paint

Being the procrastinator I am, I didn't actually start assembling the costume until the day of Halloween. I began by gluing the ribbon onto the jumpsuit. There is no specific way to do this. Just get the stripes on there.

It might appear that I have smaller stripes on the arms of the jumpsuit. That's because there are indeed smaller stripes on the arms. That's because I bought two different sizes as I wasn't sure which would look better. I used both after all.

Once that part was done, I cut one of the leg holes off of the extra pair of pants and glued one end shut. I stuffed it and then glued the other end shut. I glued the stripes on after stuffing the tail.

I used a little bit of remaining material and ribbon to make the ears. I just glued them on, and I didn't really attempt to make them stand up. Easy peasy!

I gave Robbie the task of painting her face while I had to teach a few flute lessons.

We spent Halloween night with a few friends from church and were able to go trick or treating at a few houses once I came back home from teaching lessons. It was really late by the time we got started, so we ended up gathering a bucketful of treats at only five houses.

Lily loved her costume, and she looked as cute as ever as a little Cheshire Cat.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pulling the plug

Yesterday my family and I took a trip to Austin for the day. We needed to get copies of my daughters' birth certificates, and we needed them right away. We did not have time to wait for them to come in the mail, so we all piled in the car and took a day trip. Only it was different than the last few times we've had to take trips. This time, neither Robbie nor I had access to the internet on our phones anymore. You see, we've unplugged. We are back to using regular ole flip phones. I've been wanting to unplug for awhile, but I have also been too to. I'm not sure what my fear was about. I tried to use regular old-fashioned discipline to use my phone less, but it really didn't work. Finally, I was able to gather up the courage to let go of the iPhone. We spent the entire day unplugged. We had to get directions to where we were going before we left home and write them down on paper. Can you believe that? And we made it! Our only entertainment was each other. We talked. Robbie and I reminisced about when we first starting dating, and it made me fall in love with him all over again. He's just the sweetest guy ever. I love him. 

Our girls did such a good job for being cooped up in the car all day. We sang songs with them. We listened to the radio. We had conversations with Lily. We laughed and made funny sounds and made funny faces at people we passed on the road. We bonded as a family. We used to read articles off the internet as entertainment during long road trips. We couldn't do that this time. We were happy all day long! It was a great day.

We came home around bedtime. Lily was pretty easy to put to bed. I tried to put Kimberly to bed our usual way, but she needed time to "baby around" as Robbie likes to put it. We allowed her to do that, and that was when I decided to play "catch up" on my email and Facebook. Suddenly I began to feel angry. Facebook makes me angry! I had such a good day being unplugged, and then I just couldn't help myself. Scrolling through my news feed allows ickiness in my life. Blegh.

I sometimes think about why I got addicted to Facebook, especially the app. It's hard to read books like I used to because my nurslings tend to try to kick the books out of my hand. Plus I get interrupted every 2-3 minutes. How can I comprehend anything I read that way? I have always struggled with reading comprehension in the first place, and being interrupted so much makes it nearly impossible to do something that I used to really enjoy. 

So I needed something to entertain me during those 2-3 minutes where I wasn't being interrupted. Something that was easy to put down. Something that I could complete in 2-3 minutes. Enter Facebook. Enter blogs. Enter the iPhone. Also, the fact that I stay home alone all day with no contact with other adults makes a perfect recipe for a lonely mama. It was the perfect illusion. It sort of seemed like I wasn't alone all day. It sort of seemed like I had friends. It sort of seemed like I was getting to know people. And we all know what the reality of social media is. Everyone is presenting the very best picture of themselves, and there I was comparing everyone's public bests to my private worsts. For some reason it always made me feel like a crappy mom, a crappy wife, and a crappy human being while I was on Facebook, but I would always run to Facebook to try to escape feeling like a crappy mom, a crappy wife, and a crappy human being. It was really very strange. 

So I am glad that I have taken a huge step to unplug. This may help me with my phone phobia. I'm not sure what the proper name is, but I hate talking on the phone. I feel awkward and weird when I have to actually have a conversation with someone over the phone. When I have to make a call, I have to spend hours building up the courage to dial the number. It's such a far cry from high school. My mom used to have to limit my phone use to 30 minutes a day because I would talk on it so much.

There have been a few articles and videos that reaffirmed my desire to unplug, but the biggest source of encouragement has been from the Hands Free Mama. I love her blog and everything she writes. If you are in that in-between place of wanting to unplug but are not quite ready, I would encourage you to take a look at her blog. 

On another note....

A little more catching up....

MOPS started up again this month, and I couldn't be happier. I love love love MOPS. It is so rejuvenating to my soul to be able to spend time with other mothers of young children. I get to spend about 2.5 hours socializing with other moms while my children are playing with other children their age. It's so great! I love it! I started going around March, and I am looking forward to a great year. 

I also managed to survive September. I wasn't sure that I would. I attended four births and encapsulated one placenta this month. The mama whose placenta I encapsulated was referred to me by my midwife, which means so much to me. She actually referred her to me to be her doula, but I just didn't have the room for her. I wish she would have contacted me sooner. This is a good problem to have, but right now, moms need to contact me a few months in advance in order to have a space. I have three moms due in November, and I already have a mom booked for January. I may be able to squeeze another in at the end of December, but I really need the time to work on my study guide and reading for my Birth Boot Camp training in February. I am so happy to have been so very busy with my doula business this summer. It really enriches my life to serve women during their pregnancies and births. I have the best clients!

I am still a flutist in the middle of all this doula stuff. I have concerts in October and December, and I have twice as many students as I did last year. Things are just slowly but surely growing for me, and I couldn't be happier about that. 

Me and Kimberly (8 months)
Now, can I gush about my girls? I love them like I never thought I would be able to. It's so silly how I worried about my ability to "love another." But Kimberly is just the cutest, squishiest, sweetest little 8 month old baby. She's so beautiful, and she is so smart. She has been standing unassisted for the past several days, and she took her first step this week. We didn't help her or coax her. In fact, she had no idea we were watching her. She's just a determined little thing. I love her. She's very different than Lily in that she loves being worn. Lily didn't. She refuses to sleep anywhere but right next to Mommy. Lily probably would have been that way too, but we're being a little more lenient with Kimberly. Lily loved to breastfeed for food and comfort, but Kimberly seems to only want it for nourishment. She doesn't want it for comfort. If she hurts herself, she actually gets mad if I try to nurse her. It's like she's saying, "Don't try to hush me! You're going to hear about how I just hurt myself." 

Lily is talking better every day. She has a great memory and has a few books memorized. She's such a generous little girl. She loves to share. I don't really make her share. I probably have weird views on the whole sharing issue, but she does it on her own. I'm so impressed with that. She's such a little social butterfly and loves people. She never meets a stranger. I suppose that can be both good and bad, but as long as I am right there with her, I don't really mind her meeting new people. I really admire so many qualities about her, and she does at least one thing to impress me every day just by being Lily. And on top of being a pretty impressive kid, she is hilarious. We have an inside joke- "little poopoos." She always makes me laugh with that. Always.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer catch-up post

The past two months have been quite a blur. I lost my sweet kitty, Rustie, on my 30th birthday. The following day, my father-in-law and his wife came into town to help us celebrate Lily's 3rd birthday. I can't believe I don't have any pictures from that! I really wasn't feeling up to planning a birthday party after having to put my kitty to sleep, so thankfully, Chuck E. Cheese was just the ticket! After we came back and put the girls to bed, we adults stayed up way too late talking. As soon as we made the decision to go to bed around midnight, I got the call to head to a mama's side. It was wonderful to attend a beautiful and fast home birth as my first birth back from maternity leave. I was back home three hours after I left. I got some sleep, taught a lesson the next morning, and prepared for Kimberly's blessing day.

Me and Kimberly

The Dress

Kimberly and her MommyDaddy

Daddy's little girl

The following weekend I attended two babywearing meetings. It has been about two years since I attended anything like that. I learned a few tricks to help me with my Ergobaby carrier, but I still need to learn the back carries. Hopefully I can make another meeting soon. What's interesting about attending meetings like that is that I get to see some of my former clients at them. One of my clients and her husband own a photography business and snuck this picture in while I wasn't paying attention.

During the middle of the month of June I taught my first ever Comfort Measures class at one of the local libraries. I had a blast! Only three people showed up, but that's more than I expected honestly. There was a couple there that hired me as their doula on the spot! Before class even started! It was definitely a blessing, because I have already been hired by one of their referrals. Can you believe that? It's really very exciting. 

In July, I performed at a Stake Women's meeting with a few other sisters from the Stake, and it was really fun. I've been teaching lessons over the summer, so I am still keeping up with all the flute stuff. I am meeting a new student tomorrow, so the students that want to come to my home are increasing. One day... hopefully... I will only teach out of my home. Won't that be nice?

I taught another Comfort Measures class in July for a friend's monthly birth support group. That one didn't go as well, but I am glad that I am getting out there and doing stuff like that. 

Toward the end of the month I went home for a visit. It was pretty low-key. I ended up getting food poisoning toward the middle and had to spend a day recovering from that. As you can see, I have discovered a fun photo collage app. Here is a collage of our trip.

A few months ago I got a new calling in church. Assistant primary pianist. Can you believe that? I don't play the piano! Ha ha! Not really. I was required to play in college, but I don't consider myself a pianist by any means. I finally spent my first Sunday having to play. I worked really hard, and managed to get through it. Yay me!

This past weekend I attended The Big Latch On and spent pretty much the rest of the weekend attending another birth. It was a long one! Phew! I'm just now getting to the point where I feel back to normal from my trip home and the birth. Somehow this summer I have filled my calendar with births. I'm not sure exactly what happened. I only have one opening left for 2013 and that is mid/late December. I love feeling like a real doula with all the prenatal appointments and births lately. I have one more August birth and three September births. I am taking October off to rest and perform in a concert, and then I have one mom due in November. I actually got a phone call today from another November mom. I'm not sure if I will be able to fit her in, but it won't hurt to talk to her and see. If I do take her, I might just take December off. Maybe. If I can stand it....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers' Day

Robbie, Lily (3) and Kimberly (5 months)

Robbie, Lily (3) and Kimberly (5 months)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Big 3-0

I've been dreading 30 since I turned 20. I'm not sure what it is about the big 3-0 that evoked such fear and dread in me. I was always worried that I wouldn't be pretty anymore, that I wouldn't be youthful anymore, that my husband wouldn't think I was pretty anymore. Not that I am some amazing looking woman, but I clean up well. And my husband still thinks I'm pretty. 
Lily says, "I'm gonna get you, Rustie!"

The week or so leading up to my birthday wasn't what I expected it to be. I picked up my kitty, Rustie, and noticed that all of a sudden, she had lost what seemed like half her body weight. I was somewhat concerned, but not terribly, as it was getting hot, and my kitties lose a bit of weight when it starts getting hot outside. 

Lily experimenting with magnets
Apparently they do not stick to kitties
Then I started asking people questions about it, and they suggested just giving her some tuna to make sure she ate something. It didn't sit well with her. She couldn't contain her bowels anymore and we had to banish her to one of our bathrooms. She deteriorated quickly. I tried keeping her as comfortable as I could, and I created a little cave for her under the bathroom sink with food and water and soft blankets. I checked for jaundice and her poor little ears, eyes and lips were yellow. When I checked, they were so yellow it made me wonder, "Were they ever pink?" She started to lose her ability to walk. She started shaking constantly, and I still hoped, "Maybe she'll get better. Maybe if I could just help her eat or drink. She'll get better right? She's only nine years old!" The night before my birthday, I cried and cried and finally made the decision to try to have her put to sleep the next day. I've never had to do this before. This was MY kitty and the first kitty that ever loved me. And I was planning her death the next day. It hurt. 

Early the next morning, my birthday, I began making phone calls. It hurts my heart to go into details about how some of the local veterinary clinics are just plain crooks, but we finally found a great one who would do it that day and wouldn't charge an arm and a leg to do it AND would allow us to be with her. I called at 8 am and the appointment was at 4:15 pm. Honestly, I hoped she would just pass away in her sleep as peacefully as possible, but it just didn't happen. 

Lily and Rustie would frequently take turns having my lap.
I spent that entire morning running errands and trying to make preparations for the upcoming weekend. It was a busy one. I had Rustie's death and burial, my birthday dinner, Lily's birthday party the next day with family coming in, Kimberly's blessing, and to top it all off, I had a mama for whom I was on-call whose due date was also on my birthday. I spent time looking for something perfect to bury Rustie in and getting some groceries to prepare for our family that was coming in. I also needed to clean my apartment. I always need to clean my apartment. 

Several of our friends from church helped us so much that day. A family let us borrow their shovel because we don't have one. Another friend offered to come stay with our kids so they wouldn't have to come with us. We had to explain death to Lily for the first time. Robbie did most of the talking, and he explained it beautifully. I might just have to write a blog post on just that some day. 

I'll spare the details of the appointment, but the vet said that he was surprised that she made it as long as she did. She was a fighter. Yes! She was a feisty little thing. I can't really describe how awesome he was, but we will now give all of our business to him. He wasn't even our vet before. That's going to change. He was amazing and made it feel like we were the only people in the world. He made us feel validated in our grief. He also explained his thoughts about animals and Heaven. It was beautiful. I know he's had to explain that thousands of times, but he made it seem like he truly cared. 

People said they were so sorry that it happened on my birthday. All I could say was, that if my kitty needed to transition from this life to the next, I'm glad I could celebrate my birthday helping her in that way. I love that kitty. That kitty loved me, and she was so loving and patient with my babies. She didn't really get to know Kimberly very much, but she loved Lily too. I've never met a sweeter kitty. She didn't have a mean bone in her body.

Staying close at the end
I miss her a lot. She was always close to me. If I sat on the couch, she was at my feet or in my lap or right next to me. If I practiced flute, she sat next to the music stand. If I practiced piano, she was underneath it. If I cooked she sat right at the entrance to our kitchen. I marveled at that every other day. I just couldn't get over that she was MY kitty and was always RIGHT there. I regret that I didn't always treat her as well as she deserved. Sometimes I would let the stress of the world get to me and would get so aggravated with my kitties! 

After the appointment was over, we buried her and told our favorite memories of Rustie. It was a sweet little ceremony. Then I wanted to try to distract myself by continuing with our plans. My parents had sent me some birthday money to go eat, and I was able to enjoy a little bit of one of my favorite restaurants. While we were there a poor man had to be whisked away in an ambulance. You don't see that every day!

And that was it. The rest of the weekend was spent focusing on my girls and welcoming a new baby into the world.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Will I ever do anything right as a parent?

How much credit do parents get for how their children turn out? I hear a lot of parent-blaming, especially mother-blaming, when a child does something that isn't very desirable. Even when grown people do things, even criminal things, you often hear the question, "Where was the mother?" Less often, but still often enough, you hear, "Where were the parents?"

I have heard stories where young mothers sit in church with a crying or struggling baby and can hear the "tsk tsks" of old ladies as they scoff at her struggles. "Can't she control that baby?" You can't help but notice as parents whisk their kids out of Sacrament Meeting to go who knows where with their upset kids. Some parents can do this with a smile. Some are obviously flustered. Before I had children, I had my own "tsk tsk" conversation in my head. "Well, when I have kids, my kid won't do that! I won't do that with my kid. My kid won't be allowed to just run around in the foyer if s/he can't behave in Sacrament Meeting." Now that I am a parent, my thoughts are more like, "I am so glad that it's not my turn....yet." I just sit in gratitude most of the time that it's not my turn to do the parent-child shuffle out the door. I have had my own turns. I will have many more. But in those moments, I'm just glad it's not me for once, even if only for a moment. Sometimes I hope those mamas catch my eye so I can give them that knowing glance. You know the one, "Hang in there, Mama! You're doing a good job, and I know exactly how you feel. You get no judgement from me."

Those kids are very blessed because they have parents who are trying to teach them good things. Sometimes it is obvious with the older kids at church who has parents that have worked hard to show them how to be cool kids. Or is it? How much is it because the parents did something "right" and how much of it is because the kid is just a cool kid? What about the kids that don't seem so cool? Perhaps their parents are also amazing parents, but that kid struggles for some reason. Do the parents get all of the blame for a kid who struggles? How can you tell, by looking at the fruits of the labor, i.e. the child's behavior and accomplishments, perhaps lack thereof, how much it is because of the parents? Sometimes, despite very involved and wonderful parents, kids might become wayward. Or they might become amazing citizens. Or, despite some really awful or neglectful parenting, children grown up to be amazing adults. Or terrible adults. I guess no one really knows by looking at a child how the parents are doing at raising them. Or do they?

I am doing my best to teach my kids what I believe is a good way to live. I will give them all the tools that I can so that one day they will be equipped to make good and righteous decisions. I hope I can teach them to follow the Savior. I hope I can not only teach them, but show them how to be kind, loving and compassionate. I hope I can teach by example how to bridle their passions. I hope I can teach them how to function in society, once I figure that one out myself. I hope I can teach them to stop and think before making huge decisions. I hope I can teach them to gather all the information they can before drawing conclusions. I want to continue to nurture Lily's curiosity and wonder. She is such a curious little munchkin. She is so interested in the things around her. I hope she continues that. I hope in my effort to teach her that tables are for eating at but not standing on and couches are for sitting but not climbing that I don't stifle her enthusiasm for life. There has to be a good balance. There are limits in life, but in my teaching her of limits, I don't want to cause her to lose her wonder. She is also a sweet and generous little soul. I hope she stays that way. I truly admire her boldness and friendliness. I can't wait to get to know Kimberly better and learn what some of her wonderful attributes are.

Even with all of those wonderful things about Lily, she still struggles with a few things. For example, she just won't warm up to Kimberly very well. I think Lily is one of the sweetest and kindest girls I have ever known. How much is that because of me? How much credit do I get? How much is it my fault that Lily doesn't warm up to Kimberly? It's always interesting when someone says to me, "Well, I never had that problem, but every kid is different." It's kind of like when one kid starts walking at ten months and another starts walking at a year. For those two months, that kid's mother wonders, "Is there something wrong with my kid? Why isn't my kid walking yet?" And the other mother says, "Oh, don't worry. Every kid is different." But you know she's secretly satisfied and relieved that her kid is the one that's walking already. And I know this because I was that mother for awhile. I know I am not the only one. I felt a huge pride that my child, Lily, was scooting, crawling, and walking super early. I must have been super parent and doing something right if that was the case. But was it? Was it really anything I was doing? Or was it just Lily's time? As time has gone on, and after many doses of humble pie, I have been thinking about this. I know that I will get plenty of blame when things go wrong, when my kid misbehaves, etc. but how much of the good stuff is because of something I did right? Will I ever do anything right as a parent?

So now Lily isn't ahead of the game like she used to be. She talks, but there are kids younger than her who talk better. She knows about the potty but has no interest in potty training. There are kids who are completely potty trained at half her age. Now I worry, "Will my child be in diapers forever? Will she ever learn? What can I do to get her to be interested?" And you know the responses I get? "Don't worry! Every child is different."

But I bet their kid is potty trained.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On growing up and making friends

I wrote this last week. Enjoy!

Yesterday, as I was picking Lily up from a friend's house after teaching flute lessons, we started talking. At some point I told her, "I am just waiting for my life to finally start." 

She said, "This is it."

True. This is it. This is my life, warts and all. I really do have some wonderful things going for me, and I couldn't be happier with my family. I have the best husband and daughters a girl could ever want. They far surpass my wildest dreams. 

I am not sure what I even mean when I say I am waiting for my life to start. I talked with Robbie about this early this morning to try to figure it out. I suppose I am waiting for a time where we'll mostly just be able to coast along without any huge worries or burdens. I expect that we'll have trials along the way, but I guess I have this naive idea that perhaps we'll get to this point where things won't feel so overwhelming. 

Sometimes I look around at other people and think that they are doing so well. They seem to have it all together. I realize what I am seeing is what they WANT me to see. Most people do not care to air their dirty laundry. Most people want to look good. And a lot of the time, at least I do this, we are comparing our private worst with others' public best. I don't know what anyone else is struggling with. I know everyone has to have something. I sometimes wonder how others are doing and how they feel about how they are doing. 

On an unrelated note, I think I am finally starting to accept the fact that I am a wife and mother. I think I have been resisting this fact for awhile. Instead of a mother, I felt like a girl who just happened to have a baby. Now I have babies. Instead of a wife, I felt like a girl that just happened to have a husband. I resisted doing responsible and grown-up MOTHERY type things. For example, a lot of adults do the grown-up thing and put their dishes in the dishwasher immediately after eating. Well, poo on that. That was a loathsome chore of mine growing up. I still haven't gotten the hang of that. Some people do dishes after each meal and especially after dinner. Yuck. My method of doing dishes has always been when the sink gets full, do them. Usually I have to do them once or twice a day when I get a spare 10-20 minutes. I have always lacked discipline when Robbie is home because I would much rather spend my time with him than doing icky responsible things like doing dishes or folding laundry. But with two kiddos now, I sorta have to do icky responsible things when he is home or we will be overcome with dishes and laundry. 

Something else has happened to me too. It started about the last two weeks during my pregnancy with Kimberly. I've been baking. Yes. Me. Baking. I don't recognize myself! Just tonight I baked two loaves of pumpkin bread for MOPS tomorrow AND I didn't procrastinate. What's up with that? I won't be running around like a crazy person in the morning trying to bake pumpkin bread. It's done. Who is this lady that has taken over my body?

MOPS. What is MOPS? It stands for Moms of Pre-schoolers. It's sort of like play group, only some other people watch the kiddos while the mamas get together for talking, breakfast and fellowship. I have been twice so far and love it. I have felt the need to try to make mom friends, and this seems to be a good way. I feel kind of like a loser saying this, but my best mom friend from church moved away several months ago, and I still have a vacancy. I'm not very good at allowing people to get close to me, but I feel like we became really good friends. Now I miss her like crazy. I need a new mom friend to hang out with again. I am accepting applications! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You win some. You lose some.

When I first started my doula journey, I started a new blog specifically for my doula journey. I needed a place to process all of the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing that was specific to my doula work. Here is an excerpt of my most recent experience. 

One of the hard parts of being a doula is losing business to friends. I had my first experience in the past several days of being one of two doulas a couple interviewed where the other doula was a friend of mine that I really admire. I admire her so much that I asked her to be my doula at my own birth two months ago. She is fantastic at her job and just and all around amazing person. I knew that as soon as I found out they were interviewing her that I had no chance. Thankfully I asked her after my interview with them whether or not they were interviewing her as well, so that I could rock my interview. I did the best I could with the knowledge that I had. I felt a connection with them, at least on my end, and I hoped they felt it too. A few days later I received and emailed from the mom saying she was going to interview one or two more doulas to get a feel for it all and then let me know something later. I appreciated the fact that she didn't leave me hanging, but I knew what she was truly saying. We weren't a good fit. I was disappointed, but I couldn't squash that last bit of hope I had left that maybe I was just being negative. I decided to ask my friend if they were interviewing her and she said yes. I had that, "Dadgummit!" feeling you get when you know that you are out of the game. The hope remained even though I knew they would hire her on the spot. How could they not? She's amazing.

Continue reading here

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Should I even bother to try again?

You know how you have an amazing blog post written out and ready to publish, and it just disappears never to be seen or heard from again? Yeah. That just happened. And, yes, I am crying about it. I don't even cry like this over spilt breast milk. It's not because I am still in the postpartum period either. This silly little blog means something to me. When I write something that I feel like I wrote from my heart and it disappears, it really hurts me. It feels like I lost my journal in a fire even though, believe it or not, my journal contains things I won't even post here. This is public after all. I am a pretty open book, but there are still things that I keep to myself. My husband would disagree, but really, I don't bare it ALL. 

I happened to tell my husband a little bit about the post this morning as we were getting ready for church. I told him about it because I was proud of it and couldn't wait for him to read it. I don't know if he reads my blog very much, but there are some posts that I ask him to read. This was going to be one of them. I waited all day to be able to use the laptop to transfer the post to my blog. Usually I write posts in the notes section on my phone and then email to myself. I will copy and paste it from my email to my blog after that. So that's where I was in the process. I was just about to email it to myself when I blinked, and it was gone. I touched nothing. It just disappeared for no reason. A cruel fluke. I tried restarting my phone. It didn't helped. I did a search for it. Nothing. I cried and cried as I tried other things to try to locate my work to no avail. 

Robbie came out of the bedroom to try to convince me to re-write it. He said he was looking forward to reading it and wanted me to try. I think it's sweet that he says he wants to read it and that he is encouraging me to try. I have my doubts. I just can't recreate what I wrote the first time. I'm not really a writer, so when I get little inspirations every now and then, it's a now or never sort of thing. I haven't decided if I will try again. I'm not sure if I want to waste my time on it when it just won't be the same. 

And of course I am probably making it sound way better than it was. To me, it was one of my best, most heartfelt blog posts. The funny thing is, when I feel so good about them, they don't get very many page views. Not that I am going for page views here, but it is slightly annoying that my stupid posts seem to get tons more traffic than my heartfelt ones or the ones that actually mean something to me. 

I just don't know what I want to do. I feel like Jo in Little Women when Amy threw her manuscript in the fire. Jo was able to recreate her work because she was a writer. I am just a girl who has a blog. A silly little blog that means something to her. 

I'm tired now and ready to go to bed, so it is too late to try to re-write it tonight. I think I will sleep on it and see how I feel in the morning. Things usually seem a little better after a good night's sleep. 

So what do you think? Should I bother? Should I try again? Have you ever lost a piece of writing that meant something to you? Did you try to re-write it? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Maybe God really does know what He is doing after all

I wrote this two weeks ago after a trip to the park with my dear girls on a beautifully sunny day. It still makes me smile to think about that day. Enjoy! 

Today was the first sunny day in about a week, so I decided Lily, Kimberly and I should soak in some Vitamin D and happiness. I imagine a bar over my head that I call my happiness meter that needs filling. Sunshine is a very quick and easy happiness meter filler. Maybe I have watched my husband play too many video games. I wish I had an energy bar that actually reached the top for once. 

As I sat on the park bench watching Lily explore her surroundings I had plenty of time to think. I like to let Lily explore on her own. She knows her boundaries and limitations. I trust her to be able to climb and slide as she feels comfortable. I love when she has finally conquered an obstacle and the pride that she feels as she realizes she has done something HUGE and all by herself. It took her a long time to feel comfortable going down a slide. I didn't push her. Finally she felt ready to do it on her own, and she was wonderful! She was so happy! I trusted her time table and it was perfect. 

I wish I could say that I trusted Heavenly Father's time table just as much. As I marveled at Lily and her carefree nature, I thought about how I used to want to rush things along. I couldn't WAIT to be married. I wanted to be married by the time I was 20. Crazy, right? I was afraid of getting too old and then my future husband, whoever he would be, wouldn't think I was pretty anymore. 20 came and went without a marriage. Each year that passed I fretted about running out of time. For some reason I had it in my head that I needed all my babies out by the time I was 30. I knew I wanted 3, so I needed to get on the ball. I wanted there to be enough time to get married, enjoy time being married without kids, and then have time to pop out all 3 kids before reaching my 30th birthday. 

Well, I didn't get married until I was 25. I felt like an old spinster getting married at 25, but that's when things happened for me to be married in the temple. 

I had my first baby at 27 and it just changed my life. Childbirth was the most amazing thing, and I was hooked. All of a sudden, I didn't care that I wouldn't have all my babies by 30. I didn't want time to go by too quickly. I didn't want Lily to grow up too fast. I didn't want my childbearing years to be over in a hurry. I fell in love with this time in my life. I began to cherish this time in my life. I've made an effort to enjoy it so much, to soak it in so much, that when I would look back on this time, I would have no need to miss it. 

And today I realized something. Things had to happen exactly the way they did in my past in order for me to marry when I did, to get pregnant when I did, to meet the right people to encourage me to give birth where I did. I know there is a lot of luck in birth, but there is also a big difference in approaches to the way childbirth is handled depending on the philosophy of the care provider. And it's not just a matter of midwifery model of care versus the obstetrical model of care. What does that individual think about birth? I feel like I got amazing care and I had an amazing birth that wouldn't have happened that way if I had given birth anywhere else and any other time. Even when I begged Heavenly Father to help me get married earlier than I did, He really knew what He was doing by saying, "Not yet. It's not time yet." 

I am so thankful that He placed the right people in my life and blessed me with these beautiful birth experiences that I cherish so much. I am thankful that He has placed the desire in my heart to serve other families as they bring their babies into the world. I am thankful for each and every family I serve. Things had to go the way they did when they did so that today could be the way it is. 

I am feeling so blessed today. I have an amazing husband who, even though I am almost 30, still thinks I am gorgeous. Even after seeing me give birth twice, he makes me feel pretty. I have two beautiful daughters whose births made me realize that everything else that happened in my life before they came was just keeping me busy until I could be their mother. There are anonymous angels in my life, that for whatever reason, have taken care of our family in so many ways. Whoever they are, we are thankful and wish we could return the favor. But we'll just have to pay it forward when we can. 

So hopefully this little tender mercy I've been given, this moment of understanding that I have, this bit of testimony that Heavenly Father really does know me and love me and wants me to be happy and has a plan for me and its a plan that I'll actually LIKE, hopefully this will help me remember that while times are hard for us, while we wish things would just HURRY UP AND GET BETTER, Heavenly Father's timing really is the best timing. Hopefully this will help me remember that when I wish Lily would hurry up and potty train or Kimberly would just hurry up and let me put her down for once so I can eat, or that our current trials will just HURRY UP AND BE OVER HAVEN'T WE GONE THROUGH THIS LONG ENOUGH, hopefully I'll remember God's timing. Because today I realized, it's actually perfect. I never knew just five short years ago while I was begging Heavenly Father for things to get better, that I would be blessed with my darling husband, with my much longed for temple marriage, and my beautiful daughters that I had no idea at the time how much I would love and cherish. I just didn't know, nor could I know, the things He had in store for me. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I didn't want to be a mother

I have an amazing husband. I always knew he would be an amazing husband for some lucky lady out there. I'm glad it's me.

Want to know why he's amazing? Well, I will share just a few out of the hundreds of reasons why.

Almost daily I hear some variation of what a great mother I am. Sometimes it's, "You're such a good mom." Sometimes it's, "You're so nurturing." Sometimes it's, "You are so maternal." And it's usually followed by, "I always knew you would be." This still surprises me.

Continue reading here. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What to do when you no longer love a spouse

I have been reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey and came across a quote I wanted to share. Yes, I realize that book titles don't belong in quotes, but I am doing this from my phone. Options are limited.


At one seminar where I was speaking on the concept of proactivity, a man came up and said, "Stephen, I like what you're saying. But every situation is so different. Look at my marriage. I'm really worried. My wife and I just don't have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don't love her anymore and she doesn't love me. What can I do?"

"The feeling isn't there anymore?" I asked.

"That's right," he reaffirmed. "And we have three children we're really concerned about. What do you suggest?"

"Love her," I replied.

"I told you, the feeling just isn't there anymore."

"Love her."

"You don't understand. The feeling of love just isn't there."

"Then love her. If the feeling isn't there, that's a good reason to love her."

"But how do you love when you don't love?"

"My friend, love is a verb. Love-the feeling-is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?"

In the great literature of all progressive societies, love is a verb. Reactive people make it a feeling. They're driven by feelings. Hollywood has generally scripted us to believe that we are not responsible, that we are a product of our feelings. But the Hollywood script does not describe the reality. If our feelings control our actions, it is because we have abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so.

Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self, like a mother bringing a newborn into the world. If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others, even for people who offend or do not love in return. If you are a parent, look at the love you have for the children you sacrificed for. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Proactive people subordinate feelings to values. Love, the feeling, can be recaptured.

End quote.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Putting an end to mom guilt

Every morning as I hug and kiss my husband good-bye for the day, he says, "Text me lots." So today I sent him a message that said, "Lily did not get up until 10, so I have pretty much just been laying around cuddling babies all day. I kinda feel guilty, but I shouldn't. This is the most important thing I could be doing as a mom."

Of course it is. Right? Right??? 

Then why do I feel so guilty? Aren't so many of us trying to do better about being more present with our kids? To slow down? To enjoy the moment? To love them more? Hug more? Kiss more? Hold more? 

Why the guilt? Really? I shouldn't feel guilty.

I have dishes and laundry to do. The living room needs to be tidied. I need to organize and sort mail. Lily's room is a mess. There is clutter in our bedroom that I could always go through and organize.

I could focus on getting those things done, but I would feel guilty for that too. If I did all those things instead, my text message would say, "I'm super productive today, and it looks great in here. But I feel kinda guilty because I haven't paid much attention to the girls today."

In fact, I HAVE sent those messages. But you see what's missing? I wouldn't even think, "This is the most important thing I can be doing as a mom." Not even close. Important? Yeah, kinda. Necessary? Yes. Sometimes. Can't live in a pig sty. But THE most important? Not even close.

So that mom guilt needs to hit the road! I'm loving on my babies today. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I had a baby!

Our family welcomed our new baby girl, Kimberly Alexis, on January 11, 2013. She was born in the comfort of our home after a speedy 2 hour labor. We love her so much. Admittedly, we were very surprised that she was a girl. Although we never had an ultrasound during the pregnancy, daddy intuition said that we were having a boy. Oh well! We'll keep her.

Birth Stats:

Weight: 9 lbs 4 oz
Length: 21 inches
Time: 8:16 am

The long version of the birth story can be found here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

4 Tips to Suck at Blogging

I've been thinking about this blog lately, and sometimes I wish I could just start over with it. I wish I knew what I wanted from it. I like having it as a creative outlet and a space for my various rants and soap boxes. I like having it for a space to store memories. There was a time when I wanted to try to increase traffic and maybe get it to a point where I could make money from it. But the problem with that is you need to have something to say. I don't really have anything to say that hasn't already been said hundreds of times. I am just another Mormon Mommy Blogger that got bit by the natural birthing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering bug. I dabbled in reviews and giveaways for a little while, but I lost interest in that. You gotta hand it to the people who get good at it. It took a lot more work than I thought it would! It was pretty fun, but it just wasn't me. I wanted to be a blog that attracted readers for my content, not because I was giving something away. Now I don't even know if I want to attract lots of readers.

I've read plenty of articles about how to build blog traffic, though. Here are the 4 most popular I have read about.

1. Don't Suck

 Seems like the number one rule is: Don't suck. You need to have something to say that people want to read, and you have to be good at writing it down. You have to ask yourself, "Would I want to read this article if someone else had written it?"

2. Find your niche. 

This is my current struggle. What is my niche? I am a mommy. I am a doula. I am a flutist. I am a Mormon. I love natural birth. I love home birth. I love breastfeeding. I love cloth diapers. I love babywearing. Some people can write about these things and get lots of followers. I think it is probably because they follow the first rule of blogging: Don't suck.

3. Attract attention with a great title

I've also read that you need to have a great title. The really really good bloggers say you should start with a great title and then write out your content. You should start with a plan. Your title needs to grab people in. Once they're in, your first sentence needs to be amazing because people just don't have time for crappy writing. But this approach seems backwards to me. My title at the moment is "Clean Slate" because that's what I wanted to write about when I first started this article. Now it's turned into something about rules for increasing blog traffic. Now I feel like I need to change the title at the end. I guess that's why the GOOD ones say start with a title. They get how to do this. I didn't really get it when I had to do this for my research class in graduate school. Why would I have to come up with a title for my paper when I really haven't started researching yet? So because I know people like to read articles that say stuff like, "100 Gross Bodily Functions that Changed the Course of Human History" or "10 Things You Must Do Before You Die or Your Whole Life is a Big Fat Waste," I am now thinking about changing the title to, "4 Blogging Rules That I Always Break" or "4 Ways to Drive Away Blog Traffic" or "Want to Suck at Blogging? Read these 4 tips" 

4. SEO

And the last rule I suck at? Search Engine Optimization. Yeah. I suck at that. Don't know what that means? Google it. I've gotten bored with my own article. See Rule number one. 

So I guess I could make this like a reality show and have my readers vote on what my title should be. Because I am totally going to break rule number 3 like I always do and change the title. Now I am thinking, "4 Popular Blogging Tips That Actually Don't Really Work." Or maybe I can just say, "Boobs!"

What do you think? Which one gets your attention?