Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy bath

Our baby has been so fussy the past couple of days. Today she finally had a huge (and we're talking huuuuge) diaper, and boy, did she feel better. :)

She went right in the bath, of course, and I just had to take these pictures of her, to show just how happy she was!

Can you tell she feels better?



The funniest thing of all was that, through most of the bath, she was kicking back with her leg crossed over the other one, like this:



She was laaaaaaaid back. :) Much happier little girl. :)

Our 5-year-old came in and saw her doing that and said, "That's the silliest baby I've ever seen in my whole life!" That made me chuckle. :)

Seeing life through rose colored glasses?




I put this picture up today because it makes me feel better. :) I think I just need to write it down, that I know everything will be alright. Today is one of those days where discouragement and doubt seem to crowd around me. We have been blessed time and time again, each moment of our lives. Heavenly Father has brought us this far...He is going to help us get through all of this! :)




Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gratitude

Today I found myself getting frustrated and upset at a person, and a set of circumstances. It is amazing how frustration can tighten us up inside, and make us feel so poorly. I recognized what I was doing, and prayed for help. I felt prompted to pick up a book on my shelf while I rocked the baby for her nap. What I read changed my outlook and cleared my heart, as I started to ponder not on frustrations, but on what I was grateful for in this situation.

Gratitude calms you down. Gratitude quiets the incessant whining critic who hates everything about us, our lives and our homes, and doesn't even let us have a moment to focus on what's good about them. Gratitude creates a space where we can pause and just be. Be quiet. Be in the room. Be receptive. Be creative. Be whimsical. Be able to look with one eye seeing and the other feeling. Like a gentle giant...making space for us as we pass through a crowd, Gratitude clears the way for us to say, "see, it's not that bad," so whatever it is we're looking at becomes exactly that: Not so bad. And there we're inspired in unexpected ways to make the "not so bad" even better...

Gratitude doesn't ask us to stay stuck in lack or live in denial but to acknowledge and accept the reality of our situation so we can get our bearings before moving on to our highest good.

-Sarah Ban Breathnach

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sand in my bed...

Today while Matt and I did yard work outside, the baby slept in our bed and the other girls played out in the sand box. They had a great time. Right as it was time to come in, we could hear the baby crying on the baby monitor. I told the girls to go on in and wash their hands and take off their shoes. They did so, and our day went on.

I just barely put the baby down in my bed for a nap again, and I laid down on my pillow to look at her for a minute. My pillow was scratchy. Very scratchy. And the sheets felt grainy.

I think someone got in my bed before they washed up from the sand box. :) Maybe a few someones, who were trying to help their baby sister stop crying. :)

The yard work went really well today. Matt did such a great job, getting the outside looking so nice so we can sell the house. We put a really cute little scalloped edge around the front, with lots of nice red mulch around the tree and the irises. As we stepped back to look at the work, we were so happy with how it turned out, but so sad, too. We felt so sad that we have lived here all these years and never invested the relatively small amount of money that it took to make our little home look so much better.

How often do we put off something that we know we should do? I find myself, so many times, knowing that there is a part of myself, or something that I don't do, but that I should, and I think, "Someday, I think I'll be better at that," or, "Someday, I'll change that." Looking at my little home today made me realize that there are things in myself that I do want to change, things that I know would make me better. Why am I putting them off? I am going to try to stop doing that. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

We'll find the place which God for us prepared...

(For those of you who don't know those words, they're from a hymn.) :)

Well, life has been very interesting lately, and I have felt so strongly the hand of our Father in Heaven in our lives. We have felt a pull for a while now...a desire to move forward with Matt's career and our life. We have known that eventually we would leave this area, but were not sure where we would go.

Months and months ago, a headhunter called Matt about a job in Colorado. The company sounded perfect, absolutely what Matt wanted. He was very excited about it, but the headhunter had to come back and tell him that the company was looking strictly at local candidates, and his resume wasn't considered. It was a bummer, but we assumed it must not have been right. However, that company seemed to stay in our minds over the next few months. We checked on their site occasionally, and last month, during a trip out west, we decided to contact them and try to set up an interview. Matt had a wonderful interview with them, and over the course of the past weeks, has secured a job with them as a Web Developer! He is happier than anything, and we feel so blessed. I cannot imagine a more perfect job, or a better move for Matt's career than this position.

It is truly amazing how blessed we have been. At first, when he wasn't considered, it seemed so disappointing. We were sad because it had seemed so perfect. But if we had not been here over the past few months, my medical situation could have been very difficult. It has been a blessing that we did not go when we wanted to. :) And then, after his in-person interview, it did take some time to get the job. At first, we were discouraged, but I am so proud of Matt for not giving up! Once again, just looking at what has happened to us this past week, if we had not been here with doctors, family, and friends who were familiar with my situation, things would have been very difficult. It is truly amazing how, when we trust the Lord's timetable for our lives, we are abundantly blessed and everything works out as it should. :)

Stalker that I am, I took some pictures of my handsome sweetheart as he was going in to his interview. :)



This is where he will be working:


I had a conversation with my mom last month that meant a lot to me. It was on Pioneer day, which to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a day where we celebrate the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley. It has been difficult for my mom, and for me, that we do not live closer together. It has been a very hard thing. I know how sad it makes her, and I miss her a great deal. There is an old pioneer hymn that we often sing on that day, and as she sang it that day, it touched her and gave her comfort:
We'll find the place which God for us prepared, far away in the west.
She felt comfort on that day, knowing that Matt and I were trying to do the best we could, and that God had prepared a place for us, as well, and that if we strived to do the best we could, we would be blessed, whether we were in the "west," like her, or somewhere else. I do feel that we have been led to each and every home we have had, and though this will be a big change for our family, I know that we have been led there, as well, and I am happy and very excited about it. It is always very hard to leave your home. I love it here, as I have never loved a place before. But I know we are being led to our next home, as well, and we will be together!
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King!
Above the rest, these words we'll tell:
"All is well! All is well!"
Congratulations, Matt!! :) I Love you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Talent Show


I have been promising pictures of the talent show, and here are some of the girls! Our primary group did a talent show this past weekend and they all did such a tremendous job! I was so proud of them!! :) They danced together and it was so sweet and so much fun for them. Also, we had a piano duet, and a demonstration of a really helpful sister. :) Video to come one of these days, when I am a little more together with everything! :)







Has the day of miracles ceased?

The past few days have been ones which have been deeply personal for our family. We have been through a deeply spiritual experience which is difficult to put entirely into words, and some of which is too personal to share, but I do want to share my knowledge of God's love and power for His children.

As some of you know, I have been struggling for months with blood clots and trying to get my body to "uncoagulate." It has been a difficult experience. Blood clots are more dangerous than I ever realized, and are very life-threatening and can be instantly deadly. I have been on different blood thinners as we have been trying to get my body to do what it should. This past weekend, I began to experience a great deal of dark bruising, as well as a tremendous amount of pain. Upon checking my blood on Monday morning, we discovered that my blood was at a "panic state." I had a CT scan to determine if there was abdominal bleeding causing my pain.

We learned that there was thankfully no bleeding, but that there was another blood clot, in the vein connected to my left ovary. It was completely cutting off blood flow to my ovary, causing the intense pain. The danger was very real, because at any time, it could dislodge and travel to my lungs, causing another pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. I was very ill, and in a great deal of pain. We were very frightened of what could happen.

Matt asked our friend to come over and help to give me a priesthood blessing. In our church, we believe that God has restored His holy priesthood to the earth, and that priesthood holders are able to administer to those who are in need of comfort or healing, as James talks about in the Bible. As I recieved the priesthood blessing, I felt such love and comfort, and a tremendous amount of peace in my heart. I was told that my body would be made whole, through my faith in the Savior and the restoration of the Gospel. The next morning, I went in to the hospital again to get a more detailed CT scan of the clot, to determine what we needed to do next. The same man read my scan that had read my scan the day before. He was stunned to see normal blood flow and no clotting. He told me that I looked completely normal, and could not tell that there had ever been a problem.

Today, I have no pain and my blood levels are fine for the first time in months.

I know that I am a child of a kind, loving Father in Heaven, who is loved and who is watched over constantly. We all are. He is there, and His power is real. He is compassionate and merciful. I feel that I have been blessed beyond anything I have deserved, but I will strive to deserve it all my days. I have learned in the past few days that truly, we need not fear, but that faith in Him will enable us to have the power to get through anything that we need to do. He has not ceased to speak to us. He loves us and answers our prayers. No one can tell me that miracles have ceased! After these past few months, I feel that every moment of my life is a miracle.
"And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men."

Friday, August 15, 2008

The neurosis of perfectionism

Don't get me wrong. I am all about self-improvement and progression... it's one of the big reasons we're here. But I have been so troubled lately by the need of so many women to present a perfect life, one that doesn't show any struggle, blemishes, or imperfections. Too good to be true perfect. Perfect hair, perfect meals, perfect hostesses, perfect projects, on and on.

Please don't misunderstand me... I truly believe we should be striving to do our best, to be constantly trying to improve and progress. We are commanded, aren't we? "Be ye therefore perfect." But we misunderstand. We misuse that term. Neal A. Maxwell said,
"If we love Him, we will strive to keep [this commandment]: 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' The Greek rendering for 'perfect' is, by the way, 'complete, finished, fully developed.' . . . One of the problems we have in the Church is that we consider perfection in abstraction, and it becomes too intimidating. But when we think of it in terms of the specific, cardinal attribute, and we strive to develop these in a steady process of self-improvement, it is quite a different matter."
Fully developed. A steady process of self-improvement. We need constantly strive for perfection, which is, in reality, a process of developing ourselves fully. Our society of instant gratification has created somehow a need for instant perfection, also. We all think suddenly that if the baby shower we're throwing or the tiny living room which should have been decorated lovingly on a tiny budget doesn't look like Martha Stewart did it, we have failed. We forget that Martha has 600 people working for her to make it look like that. We will kill ourselves outright to look perfect. I feel like this syndrome is taking us over.

I've been reading this amazing book, which was given me by my dear sister, and I'll write more about that another time. But something the author wrote in it really struck me.

Even our most cherished image of perfection--Home--has turned into something sinister and macabre, giving rise to a culture that worships domestic goddesses, whom we have unconsciously allowed to become graven images that diminish rather than enrich our creative life at home. ...

The neurosis of perfectionism is feminine self-loathing disguised as self-improvement. It's an insidious, invisible addiction that's difficult to recognize because perfection is culturally sanctioned and socially approved; the pursuit of perfection allows us to run away from our pain and problems but be in plain view, fully present, and looking fabulous to the rest of the world.
Please don't get me wrong. I think we should always be striving to be our best selves. But the thing I find so discouraging is the perfectionism that we inflict upon ourselves that causes us to run away from ourselves, to try so hard to be the perfect person to everyone else. There's nothing wrong with Martha Stewart's recipes or ideas. I think that they're just as cute as everyone else! But the problem lies in striving so much to do everything that perfect, that we run away from reality. It will drive us mad. In the words of Sarah Ban Breathnach, "Domestic goddesses are bad for your health."

Let's give it a try today, shall we ladies? Try to give ourselves some genuine time to progress, without worrying about how we look? Stop running away from our problems by being the perfect woman, but deal with them through genuinely striving to progress and improve? Let's cease to run ourselves ragged, and find peace in taking a breath and realizing our potential. Our own Savior told us, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Even as your Father. Not even as Martha. :)

Martha has 600 people whose job it is to make something everyday that you can't possibly reproduce, because it's not real. Your Father provided you a Savior, and a way to perfect yourself and become like Him. And you know He's real. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Richmond Olympiad

I love the Olympics...I think they'll always have a special place in my heart. I have enjoyed them thoroughly this year, as I've been able to watch them through the eyes of my children. Tonight we were watching the women's vault in gymnastics for about the 5th time (the girls are enthralled with it), when my girls asked me, "Could we be in the Olypmics someday?" I told them that they can do or be anything that they want in their lives. :) That made them pretty excited, and my 5-year-old decided to start her training tonight in our living room. :)

It was pretty amazing to watch her "vault" over the edge of the couch! (Don't worry, she's not naked...she has on her flesh-colored leotard. And the wild hair is because she is jumping, lol!) :)




She's cheating on me!

Ha ha! I am still laughing out loud about this one... :)

Tonight at dinner, I had our baby in her car seat, and the other three girls were sitting down eating pancakes (they wanted Nate the Great's favorite thing for dinner). :) I noticed our three-year-old laughing and looking at the baby.

She kept saying, "She's cheating on me! She's cheating on me!" and laughing hysterically.

I was a bit perplexed by the statement! I couldn't figure out what she meant until I actually looked over at the baby, who was turned at such an angle from the 3-year-old that just her little eyes were peeking up over the car seat to look at her sister.

I remembered that a couple days ago, my 3-year-old was trying to peek at something that was supposed to be a surprise, and I had told her that peeking at the surprise was cheating! Since her little sister was peeking at her, she was calling it "cheating!"

I just think that the phraseology made it so darn funny. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Speaking of Yoga... :)

I must say, I am humbled and grateful and completely astonished at the success of our MommYoga videos. I am so grateful! It has been amazing!




Once the videos all started doing really well, it was a strange sensation for me... one that is hard to describe. I expected to be ecstatic beyond belief, and I was in part, but there was another feeling, too... it was really difficult to describe. I have been able to figure it out since, and it has been an interesting phase of life for me. The feeling was almost one of discomfort, even guilt. People I knew started to see me differently, like I floated around in a meditation cloud of tranquility all the time. I felt guilty because I was afraid that I was being dishonest in some way, that through gaining success in my yoga ventures, I was painting a picture of myself for people that was inaccurate. Though I do strive for peace constantly, I am human and don't always do the best job. (That's an understatement. ) But yoga does help me tremendously, which is why I made the videos in the first place, to try to share that with others.

I've since come to terms with it, and realized that people are always going to have impressions of other people that may not be accurate. :) I never try to present a version of myself that is different from what I really am, but I do strive for improvement and progression. So that's me. :) And I'm happy that they're doing so well! The reviews that I have gotten, both from kind loved ones and from people I don't even know, have been so touching to me. It means I did what I set out to do, in all my wild dreams...help other people feel better!

Mommy Yoga

No, not my yoga business...

I came across this book by accident, when I was doing a random Amazon search for my own videos. It is entitled Mommy Yoga: The 50 Stretches of Motherhood, by Julie Tilsner, ill. by Susan McKenna. It looked so cute that I bought it, and I must say, I highly recommend it to any yoga mom that needs a good laugh! I have laughed and laughed. :)

Here is an example, which is rather indicative of how my day has been:

Slop



From a standing position, forward bend to floor and make large wiping motions until all lunch is cleaned up. Slowly curl up, one vertebra at a time, until facing baby again. Accept strained peaches on face with serenity. Breathe!



Monday, August 11, 2008

Shots

Well, today was the much-dreaded day for mom and baby alike. :) Today our little one got her six-month shots. That is never very fun for either of us. In fact, it's pretty awful. It's very hard to hold her down and see her eyes as she looks at me, trying to understand why in the world I would do this to her! It's been hard with every single one, as any mother knows. :) But what gets us through it is the knowledge that this terrible pain is actually very good for them...that it will help and protect them all their lives.

As I held my daughter today while she got her shots, my heart was filled with compassion and love for her, and I thought of my own Parent, my Father in Heaven. As I held my crying child, I thought of myself. Often, in this life, we feel as though we are being "held down," stuck in an incredibly painful course of events, and we feel scared and confused. We may wonder why we are being put through such a painful experience, and why our loving Parent would hold us there. But He knows that whatever He is asking us to go through is actually for our benefit, even though we, like our infants, may not be able to comprehend why.

Today, as my sweet little girl went through the pain and fear of her shots, I held her close and whispered, "Just trust me. It's because I love you." I could not help but think of my Father, holding me through my personal pain and fear and whispering, "Just trust me. It's because I love you."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Six months old!


Our baby is six months old now! I cannot believe it in so many ways. This time is different for me...usually I get to this point and think, "Wow, I can't believe it's already been six months!" This time, it has been more a feeling of, "I cannot believe all that has happened in six months." Her turning six months old this week has caused me to do a lot of reflecting and to experience a lot of introspection.



I have pondered again and again just how blessed we have been, and how tremendously grateful I am. These six months have been a time of joy and of grieving, and most of all, of learning and growing. Through all of it, I have felt grateful beyond words for this perfect child. She is so full of joy and love, and she has been a comfort and a joy to me in every moment that she has been with us. :)



She seems at times to be an angel sent to my life to whisper to me the love that my Savior has for me, and the potential for joy I cannot comprehend. I have been so grateful for that.






We love her so very much! I am so grateful she is with us!




Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Love to See the Temple

Today our family had a wonderful experience together. We were able to travel together to the Temple to be with some good friends of ours who were being sealed as a family for time and all eternity. It was wonderful to feel the peace and joy there, and to be there together as a family. The girls were very tired from the early trip, but they still loved being there and feeling the peace and light of the Temple. They were able to reverently walk around with daddy outside while I went in to be with our friends.














I am grateful beyond expression for the blessing and knowledge that our family is going to be together forever! I know that we will be. I know that our kind Father in Heaven would never give us such joy as we know in our families, not to allow for a way for it to continue beyond this earth life. I am so grateful that our family is forever!



Thursday, August 7, 2008

His name is...

Today our 3-year-old was pushing a Barbie around in a stroller. She came up to me and said, "Do you know what his name is? R...U...N...T."

I don't know which awed me more...that she could spell "runt" or that she would name a doll "runt." I sat there in awe of my brilliant child for about 20 more seconds, until I watched her stroll away, and heard her singing, "There must be something more to us than you and meeeee..."

(Think Charlotte's Web.)

Okay, so she really has no idea what "R...U...N...T" means, she just remembered it from a movie, but hey, I still think she's smart for remembering it!! :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Two great friends!!

Recently, two of my dearest friends in the world have been doing great things!! My dear, sweet friend Tara just became a mother, and her son is about the cutest boy I've ever seen in my life!! :) I love her dearly and I am so proud of her!

My wonderful, beautiful friend Nicole just started a new blog. In it she describes tips and recipes for eating better, more whole and natural foods. Check it out!! She is so wise and so wonderful!! I love her very much, and I am enjoying her new blog! :)

Congratulations to both!! :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Such a big girl!!



Our 5-year-old has been working really hard for a while now on a deal that she made with her daddy to earn a bike. She has wanted a bike for so long. Last night, she finally made it! So this morning, she and daddy had a special date and went out to get her bike!

I wish this video was a little higher quality on blogger, so you could see her huge smile!! :)


video

(Hopefully you can read this...she was sitting on the bike while writing it, so it may not be the clearest!) :)


Friday, August 1, 2008

Let's go fly a kite!

We made kites today, and it was so fun, I just had to post a few pictures!! :)







Why do people get covered in heaven?



My 5-year-old asked me, "Mommy, how come people get covered up in heaven?"

I was puzzled...I asked her what she meant.

"Is Grandma-Grape ["grandma great," aka great-grandma] all covered up with blankets in heaven?"

I asked her again. "Oh, you know, mommy. They're covered!"

After pondering for a little while, I surprisingly remembered that there was a line in Ratatouille the other day when we were watching it: "She believed in heaven, so she's covered, you know, after-life wise."

Poor girl heard that and her little mind latched onto it and misinterpreted it! But it was actually wonderful, because we had the best discussion about, for one thing, people not being covered up in heaven. But also, we were able to talk about heaven, and how we really get there, and about trying to do our very best to keep the commandments and be like Jesus all the time.

"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."
-3rd Nephi 22:13