Thursday, April 26, 2012

Keeping my sanity

A couple of months ago I was struggling with the balance of everything. Living with my mom for the first 2 months of Max's life was wonderfully relaxing and made the transition to motherhood a bit more smooth. But then we moved to a new area and I had to face the reality that I was mostly on my own. I say mostly because for awhile I felt like I was totally on my own for the majority of the day. I had to keep up with keeping our home clean, making sure Max is changed/fed/napped, making meals, grocery shopping, budgeting in all of the other tiny things that add up eventually. It was exhausting.

Kyle would come home, I would hand over Max and focus on making dinner without disruption. It was good for awhile but every now and then I would have a bad day. A day where a was just a major grump and Kyle would come home and my mood would offset his and we would be a couple of grumps sitting on the couch wallowing in our individual grumpiness which usually left Max wondering why he got such crazy parents.

I would ponder a lot about what I needed to do and occasionally I remembered to pray about it a bit more earnestly (especially after a grump-day).

Then a few words were whispered into my heart.

Scripture Study and journaling.

A local leader of our church had just given us the challenge to study everyday, even if it is just one verse at the end of the day. Read from the scriptures. I took his challenge, falling flat every now and then. But oh my! What peace and comfort would come into my day when I actively made time for scripture study. Finding time for it is not easy. It means I have to sacrifice shower time, internet time, time where Max is sleeping and I am FREE! But when I would try to resist the spirit would whisper and encourage me to get off my lazy bum and read because it's going to affect my whole day. I am always reminded how much it does affect my day when I push away the impressions to take out a notebook and open my scriptures. I have found it helpful to read with a purpose as well, so I chose to read the Book of Mormon with the mindset of finding how merciful Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are. Wow, what a shocker for gratitude. Needless to say scripture study is now a highlight of my day and it is easier and easier to make time for it because I feel a palpable difference.

I started journaling shortly after I was baptized and it was so good to flush out my mind at the end of the day and get all the good and bad out of my system and onto paper instead. Unfortunately plannign a wedding made my daily journaling suffer and I have been so hit or miss since. But on the days when I do journal, I go to bed so incredibly content, happy, satisfied, grateful, at peace. It helps me gain perspective on the not so fun stuff that happens and helps me to see all the good that I have in my life. Most journal entries ramble but I love looking back at them and remember my emotions how that flowed out through my fingers, through a pen, and are solidified in ink. Sometimes I am shocked at how intelligent my entries are. Some entries harbor knowledge that I needed yesterday, today, or tomorrow. I am grateful for journals. Especially flowerly, pretty ones that inspire me to open them daily.

I can truly testify that daily scripture study and journal help to keep my sanity. They may not work for you but I bet there is something that does. Something that helps to keep the grumps at minimum (sometimes we need some grumpiness to contrast the happiness) and helps to gain perspective on daily life.

Oh how I love the way personal revelation works. It helps me know that Heavenly Father truly knows me and knows that I am deathly scared of the mental health issues in my family. I am grateful He has given me a way to keep them at bay. To keep myself truly in a state of ever increasing happiness.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thoughts on Nursing

*This post has the word "breast" in it many times. If that makes you uncomfortable go ahead and skip this post*

I love breastfeeding. I have loved it since the moment Max first latched on. It was an incredibly bonding experience and I instantly felt that oxtocin (a happy hormone which coincidentally triggers milk let-down) wash over me. It calmed my new mom nerves and acted as a telescope. Focusing in on this other-word child in my arms.

I feel blessed to have had very little issues surrounding breastfeeding. My milk came in all normal making my breasts rock hard a few days after having Max. Literally they felt like rocks. It hurt but I didn't mind because I knew it was a sign that my breasts were doing their job making milk for a new life on this earth. Go Breasts!

It is tricky getting used to breast feeding. You arms have to build up a certain muscle to hold the ever-weight-increasing baby in your arms and I found that sitting criss-cross applesauce was most comfortable to me. That way Max would prop up on my knee and my arms could relax a little. Because really it is so important to relax when you nurse, it makes the milk let-down quicker.

Then one day I went to bed noticing a pain my my right breast. I felt around and didn't feel anything crazy (I am one of those 0-60 jump to cancer thinkers). Nope. So I went to bed but then I woke up feeling feverish and yucky. I consulted my husband, my mother, and the internet and concluded that I had a plugged duct which could lead to full on mastitis which in the breastfeeding world is considered an awful experience. So I made sure to drain that breast completely and rest and drink fluids. It was a chilly day in November and Max was pre-rolling so he certainly didn't mind hanging out in bed all day.

By the second day I was feeling much better and went on my merry way.

But I guess after that experience both Max and I favored nursing on my left breast (it probably was a favoritism before the plugged duct that caused the pluggage). Slowly I have come to realize that my breasts are now two different sizes. Like a stark two different sizes. First off, I had to get brand new nursing bras for my breastfeeding breasts. If you can imagine, I measured at a 32G. Yes, a G. So I was sporting some rather large milk bottles. But now one breast is like an F and the other is like a C.
It's kinda depressing to look in the mirror and its even more depressing to look down and see a wonky chest. When you can see a difference, so can everyone else.

So I miss the old breasts.The ones without stretch marks and who haven't felt the pain of baby teeth.


When do you know when to stop breastfeeding?

I can't imagine stopping but obviously I don't want Max to be five pulling at my shirt. Speaking of shirts. It is really hard to dress to nurse. I miss tucking in shirts and putting belts on things. I really hope that one day my breasts will be the same size again. I don't care what size, just the same size.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some call it luck, I call it God.

Today is my husband's birthday. He has been on this earth for 25 years and I have been blessed to know him for seven of those years. Not too shabby eh?

I feel pretty lucky to have Kyle in my life and I reflect upon how we ended up together almost daily.

You see there were so many perfect coincidences that brought us together, both before and after his mission. A web of moments that perfectly intertwined our hearts to the point where we sealed our hearts together for time and all eternity.

You see I didn't have much of a role model for healthy marriage relationships. I managed to pick up a few bits and pieces of knowledge from my friend's parents but in large part I went into love pretty blind...and deaf.

But Heavenly Father sent a smiley, goofy, perfectly charming boy to me when I was 16 to teach me all about love.

He caught me early and gave me a good one so that I wouldn't be scarred by too many failed relationships. Because Kyle was my first love, it allowed for me to go into our relationship with few inhibitions.

I had only been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for about 2.5 years before I married Kyle. I have since learned that the youth are taught pretty young to aim high for their marriage. To find a worthy priesthood holder who loves you and helps you to grow to become a better person. Now men in the church are not perfect and there are some who are pretty good about pretending to be worthy or pretending to love you fully, I didn't fully comprehend this until after I was married and I realized I REALLY got lucky that I aimed high without really searching.

Without having to search and weed out the unwanted and go through heartbreak, I was blessed to have Kyle magically show up in my life. A worthy, wonderful, loving, helpful priesthood holder.

I know that Heavenly Father led us together. I don't know why...perhaps just to produce wonderfully handsome children?

Everyday I thank Heavenly Father for sending Kyle into my life. He is my comedian, my encyclopedia, my calculator, my journal, my cheerleader, my warm fuzzy blanket, and he has my whole heart. Always and forever.

Happy Birthday Suckafish.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A beautiful sight

Every spring with the early rising sun and the smell of defrosting soil, I am reminded of Italy. Spending two months in Italy for school was an incredible blessing.

The other day I was walking to the store with Max in the stroller and I was able to close my eyes and for a moment I was back there, in Rome. It was the distant sound of cars on the and the feel of stone beneath my feet.

I visualized the reflection of light of the unevenly placed cobblestones and the smell of bread wafting from seemingly every crevice. Rome is an earthy city. Ancient ruins are interjected between medieval and modern structures breaking up the threat of the future with constant reminders of the past. A past built entirely by earth.

I miss the food, the fact that you could get to die for pesto and salami and make the most delicious sandwhich and then eat it on the balcony, overlooking passerbys below.

I am not a city girl, but the city of Rome captured my soul.

Every spring with the reminder of my days spent abroad I get the travel bug. My body, mind and soul yearn for new culture, new experiences, new sights.

Besides not having means to travel it would be very difficult with a baby.

So I sit here at home and watch my son as he pull himself up into standing position and then claps in accomplishment of this great feat. It always brings a smile on my face and I am reminded...

I don't have to travel the world to see the world with new eyes.

Watching a child grow and seeing how they experience the world for the first time is a beautiful sight and teaches you just as a trip to China could.

To me, it's more beautiful than the fountains of Tivoli or the ceiling in St. Peter's Basilica.

Although watching him look at the ceiling in St. Peter's Basilica would be pretty cool too.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Okay, Sydney. I felt threatened at the end of your post so I figured I better maintain a healthy relationship otherwise you might back out of our arranged marriage for our children. : )
Post these rules.
Answer the 11 questions that the tagger posted for you.
Create 11 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag.
Tag 11 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged)

1. Why did you start blogging?

I was heading off to study abroad in Rome and wanted a place to journal/share all of my experiences. I stopped for a long time after that because I was completely exhausted from taking and uploading so many pictures and writing out every little detail. Then I got married and I wanted to start documenting that journey and then I was like this blog is BORING so I started thinking about why I blog and decided to journal/process my life through writing it out. It is extremely cathartic and great therapy.

2. Favorite store?

Gap. I love everything Gap. I love their baby clothes, their kid clothes, their adult clothes. They stay on trend and are classic at the same time. I like Old Navy (their baby sister) too, especially since it's cheaper.

3. What cheers you up on a crappy day?

My instinct was to write retail therapy, which is true. But to be honest it usually is only a temporary fix. What actually works is getting outside into the sun.  Bonus points for a river, lake, or ocean for me to dip my toes in.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Somewhere sunny and close to a large body of water. We have our first home. Max is 5 and cracking me up constantly. Kyle is loving his job. I am writing and somehow getting paid for it. Or maybe I am getting paid to read, that would be even better! Max has sibling and we might be expecting another. We take a walk as a family each night and get into our bedding exhausted from living life to the fullest extent we know how.

5. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate. Delicious, delicious chocolate.
6. Spring must have?

Strappy leather sandals, coral anything, crisp white tops and floral scarves.

7. All-time favorite movie?

Roman Holiday. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in my favorite city? Yes PLEASE!  I can rewatch this movie over and over and it is ALWAYS wonderful. I want to go back to the Spanish steps and eat gelato wearing my strappy sandals in a crisp white shirt!
8. Who/What inspires you?
My mother. Her life has not been easy but she has remained incredibly positive, optimistic, and kind through it all. I admire her for her determination to finish her education and show her children how important it is to be educated. I admire her for her dedication to her children and she is an inspiration for how to parent. She lets you know she loves you, respects your agency fully, and supports you through it all. She makes me want to be a better mother always.
9. Random fact about yourself?

I can't do basic math. Addition and subraction are my weakness. Let me multiply, divide, find x, integrate....but 32-6 makes my head hurt. I am working on it slowly though. Know how? Board games. Kyle makes me keep score and surprisingly it is helping.

10. Dream travel spot?

Greece. I want to jump into the Mediterranean ocean with Kyle and ride a donkey up steps towards our hotel. I want to eat baklava dripping with honey watching the sunset. 

11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My amount of self-control over shopping, internet, and reading. I really want to improve and thankfully this is something that I CAN change.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A quick maturation

We had the missionaries over for Easter dinner (an excuse for me to go all out with ham, potatoes, and a orange chiffon cake) and I jokingly gave them the advice to not put off having kids. I said it because I am a firm believer that having a child makes life richer, fuller than you could ever imagine. Not to say life can't be full without them, just that I think people underestimate how awesome having a kid is.

One of the missionaries, who happens to be a little blunt and outspoken said, "Actually I think it's important to wait to have kids until you are mature enough. I don't think people should have them young..." He continued on and I was in awe at his inability to recognize social ettiquette.

His comment rubbed me the wrong way mainly because we are obviously "young parents" and here he was saying without apology that it would have been better for us to wait until we were more mature.

My mind festered on this idea of waiting for maturity all evening and finally I vented to Kyle my conclusion.

I dislike that people think it's necessary to wait until you are mature enough to have kids. Because really, what is the cutoff. How do you know? Yes, I think a certain level of maturity is necessary, but in large part I think children bring with them a quick guide on how to be mature as an adult.

He was right, selfishness is out the door when you have children. It's not all about you and what you want anymore. You have to consider saving in the long term and how your actions now will affect your children later.

Nothing is greater and requires a speedy natural maturation more than having another human being rely soley upon you. 

Can you mature without having a child, of course. But I think the process is a little bit longer. A child speeds up the process considerably and it is wonderful to discover hidden fountains of responsibility within.

So I stick to my original statement that there is no reason to put off having kids. Obviously have them when you feel ready, but ready looks different to everyone so don't tell those who had them young that they should have waited and "enjoyed" life a little longer.

Because this little boy brings the greatest joy I have ever known.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend

Easter Weekend was way more than I expected it would be. Holidays weren't a big deal when Kyle was a kid so he has a hard time understanding why I want to keep certain traditions alive and celebrated. I wasn't really feeling up to trying to convince him it's fun to dye eggs and such, but then our good--no GREAT!-- friends Tyler and Becca suggest it. Thank goodness!

You see, I grew up with traditions with each holiday and every Easter my mom would boil eggs and we would dye away. It wasn't so much that dying was actually super crazy fun but the general coming togetherness and doing a wholesome activity together that I loved.
I love traditions. They are like crack to me. I wish I was more clever in creating them on my own but mainly I just like to steal other people's traditions. Becca's family had a tradition growing up that after dying the eggs and then doing an egg hunt (when they were little) they would have a competitive egg toss. The goal is to throw your egg as far as you can. You just keep trying to beat another person's throw until you give up or your egg breaks which amazingly, hard boiled eggs have a really hard time breaking.

So we made a walk to the park behind our apartment.

 It's all about form and power and unfortunately I possess neither of those attributes.  I quickly gave up trying to compete with the boys who of course used their physical therapy knowledge of static stretching whatsit knowledge to improve their throws.

 It was a wonderful day. I love what holidays do, they bring people together.  It is so wonderful to be able to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior with those we care about. Sunday was a wonderful day as well full of lots of love for this handsome stud.
So what Easter traditions do you celebrate? I must admit that beyond easter eggs, baskets (which we didn't do for a number of reasons), and a ham feast we don't have much. But I did make a orange-chiffon cake from scratch and got the idea from a youth speaker at church to watch the sunrise Easter morning. I thought the sunrise idea was so beautifully symbolic.
That's what the resurrection is really, it's the knowledge that the sun will rise. That our bodies will rise beyond death. What a beautiful time of the year to celebrate newness of life.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


This week I set out preparing a lesson on the resurrection for Easter sunday for a class of 7-8 year olds. A daunting task really to think about how to adequately convey the importance and beauty of the resurrection. My first step to preparing a lesson is just to study the topic myself. So I started reading about the atonement, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I have a firm and sound testimony of the atonement and death of our Savior. I know he suffered for all of ours sins and felt every last heartbreak everyone on this earth will feel. I reflected on my testimony happy that the memories of using the Atonement in my life remained strong in my memory. I remember repenting and getting baptized and needing the Atonement to reassure me that I was indeed clean. I also remember having a miscarriage, and needing so desperately the Savior's healing comfort in my life. He healed my broken heart and today I am stronger because of it.

My testimony of the Savior's death runs deep into my childhood. His death was a large focus in Easter programs growing up. I remember feeling deep inside me that he did die for me. In fact, He willingly died for me.

The purpose of my lesson in my manual states that the reason we celebrate Easter is because of the Resurrection. I think often we get caught up in the story of agony, pain, and death. Focusing on the great sacrifices and quickly addressing at the end, "oh yeah and then He overcame death!"



He overcame death.

For some reason His resurrection really started to stand out and shine and I started addressing whether or not I truly had a testimony of it.

So I focused my study and turned to my favorite tool, the Bible Dictionary. The resurrection is offered to us all. It promises that all who were on earth will have their spirits and bodies reunited some day. Not only will they be reunited but they will be in a PERFECT state.

I started to think about all those who I have loved and lost who will be resurrected, most notibly my grandmother Patricia Jean Turner.

She was a beautiful lady and the best grandmother a girl could ask for. She has left so many lessons with me, and has continued to teach me after her death. I think of her often and have always felt her watching over me in my journey as a convert. I like to think we are kindred spirits of sorts.

In thinking of my grandmother, I thought about how the resurrection can be such a comfort when thinking about those we lost.

We come to this earth to form bonds, relationships, to grow. We form connections and because of death those connections are rent, torn by mortality. It hurts us, breaks us, and often we are overcome by grief for the physicality of a bond. What joy and what comfort comes then when we think about the resurrection and how it will reunite those beautiful bonds and relationships in an immortal state!

It gets me excited. Really excited!

I am excited because I know that it's true! I know that I will get to sit and talk with my grandmother again and I will feel the strength of our connection. This is what the resurrection means to me.

So we celebrate Easter Sunday to think about the sacrifice of our Savior but we should also remember the joy and happiness of His resurrection. His resurrection was the first and was a promise to us all of what we can have as well.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sick day.

Max has a cold so after a quick visit to the library for chick flicks that Kyle won't watch with me we hunkered down. Thankfully instagram finally made its way to android phones so I have had some fun trying it out.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Get over yourself.

I was listening to a podcast and this advice was given, "get over yourself." It wasn't meant in a mean and spiteful way but as a way to gain perspective. Lately I have been a little to into myself if you know what I mean.

I get whiny and needy and then I really become a joy to be around.....

It's not to say that my feelings aren't real or valid, just that whiny and complaining really won't do much.

What will?

Well getting over yourself and looking towards others. Serving others. Trying to make the lives of others a little easier. Sometimes I get the notion that serving has to be a big grand display of serving cookies at a retirement home. But really when I choose to stop and hug my husband or play with my baby instead of finishing the chapter of a book, I am getting over myself. I am choosing to use my time to make someone else's life a little bit better, easier.

Plus how can you resist these two?