Wednesday, September 19, 2012

About a year later...

Well, it's been way too long, yet again.  In fact, I'm afraid that my recollection of the last post was what triggered my memory to write again.  Regardless, I feel like time is going too fast and too slow all at once right now.  Darren just turned one, in fact, tomorrow he will be 13 months, and Eleanor's 4th birthday is coming up.  So many milestones and the holidays coming up, makes me a bit more reflective than normal, I guess.  With #4 on the way, due sometime between late February to early March if they are full term, it also marks the end of an era of my life.  We plan #4 to be our last, and it's a bittersweet experience already, just with the pregnancy.  I am in my 2nd trimester now, and if Heavenly Father doesn't throw any curve balls I will never ever be at that stage of pregnancy again.  With the nausea and pudginess, I can't say that it's a huge loss, but the first positive test, the first appointment, the planning and calculating of dates,'s a good time, too.

Also, as my depression meds timed out, my depression is back again.  And now that I am expecting again, I felt like I wanted to try more natural methods of controlling it, if possible.  I found out I am vitamin D deficient (big shock since I hardly ever get out, right?) and am boosting that to help combat it.  Anxiety has also returned in full swing, but could be partly due to the new house we are buying by the end of this year, the new baby, trying to find a preschool for Eleanor, trying to finish editing my novel and attempt to publish it, and the typical loneliness of the stay at home mom who can't drive and doesn't have super close friends nearby.

Life has been hard.  No, that is an understatement.  But underneath all of it, I feel like we will survive this.  Somehow.  And the purpose of all this hardship will someday make better sense to me than it does now.  

As a family, we all care about each other.  No matter if Garrett won't share his toys with Eleanor or if I forget/ postponed doing laundry when Tim needed something, or if Darren tries to eat the trash.  When it comes down to it, in the end, in the grand scheme of things, these are as nothing.  We love each other, that is what makes those kinds of things fade into the background.  Time does amazing things to pain and suffering.  It doesn't necessarily delete it or reverse the effects, but it makes it tolerable.  It even can put many things into perspective.  I figure that God must have matured in similar ways, if we can even fathom what God could have endured.  And if time can do such amazing things, then how much more can love do to help us through such hard times.  Love unselfish, no matter how natural it may be for one to show love for their spouse or children or parents or a friend, seems to me to be one of the greatest sources of strength when times are hard.  

I realize that I might sound very scattered and all over the place as I write this, but it is the best I can manage in this crazy world of mine with Darren constantly trying to grab my mouse and push buttons and Garrett needing something zipped, and listening to Eleanor fixing some pretend food for Garrett.  Feeling nauseous from the pregnancy and tired from the depression and tense from the anxiety, it is the best one could expect of me, if they saw things in my life as they really are.

Judging has been on my mind a lot lately, and how careful we ought to be with each other.  So much hatred and anger out there (especially with these coming elections), growing to full bloom.  So many people, reading others' opinions online, hoping that person has the same take on things and condemning them if they don't.  "So many", I'm sorry, I meant TOO many.

I want to make the world better, I want to stop pain from growing.  I have seen it myself through the eyes of my own suffering and I know that if it can be stopped  for anyone at any point along the timeline it's on, it will help significantly.

I am grateful for my children, their sweet innocence, their good intentions, their desire to be good.  Their milestones and these holidays and family time sometimes help me see it again in a fresh light.  How much I love them, how proud I am of them, how much good I feel they could do in the world.  They are 3 teachers who tutor me constantly and help me better understand my life and what it is all about.  And my husband is such a rock of strength and comfort to me.  

If I had any advice, from one suffering person to another, it would be to count your blessings.  Find the good in your life, even when it seems pointless, even when it seems trivial or silly.  Really, truly think of them, ponder on them, and drink them in like a medicine.  Time and love and God can help us through.  Deep down I think I will always believe that, no matter how hard things get.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Well, it's nearly Thanksgiving and I'm yet again reminded that I should be grateful.  It's sad that it's taken me about a year to make another post on my blog, but better late than never, right?

What do I have to be grateful for?  The question that has been hanging over my head ever since those Halloween decorations went down and the ones with turkeys and pilgrims went up.  No, I don't think I could name all of the things, but I will mention a few of the most important.

I am very grateful for God.  I am grateful He exists and that He cares about everyone... and about me and my family- each individually, not in the manner that many think of when they hear the term "Supreme Being."  But as a friend, as true family, for we are all children of God.  I didn't believe anything of the sort for most of my life.  But after I prayed to know if God was real, if He was loving, if He was listening to me, I felt it so strongly that He is.  And it made all the difference for me.  All of a sudden life was no longer about survival, and it was about happiness.  Trying to find joy in everything and in the dark moments to see it as the small moment it is in the big scheme of things.  Even what I would have called "bad" things have turned around to bless me in some way or another, or I can feel it coming.  That is a HUGE thing that blesses my life.  My relationship with God, my sure knowledge that the Church I go to is actually true and the system of which was designed by God, the hope and meaning it gives me... these are such incredible blessings I feel anything I now say afterwards can't even compare.

But the next most important blessing I have is the lovely family I have.  Now, I may spend every day with these people, and every day they may each do something (or multiple somethings) that annoy me.  But the love we have for each other, the eternal nature of families... it is SO exciting!  It's wonderful that we CAN be together forever.  And it's wonderful that we want to be.

I am grateful for my husband.  For all his little gifts and thoughtful service.  For his patience with me.  For the way I see him striving to follow the counsel given to us on our wedding day to come home from work with a cheerful heart.  And there are many days I can tell it is so draining on him to live the life he is with all his challenges and trials.  For him I wish I could sweep it all away.  He deserves to be happy.

I am grateful to be a mother.  All three of them, now.  With all their little quirks and talents.  I love it.  They're getting older and despite the scary fact that that means that I'M getting older too... it is remarkable.  I love that 2/3 of my kids can feed themselves and are learning to be potty trained, can be polite and understand the consequences of bad behavior (some, at least).  It is SO wonderful knowing that they love me and need me, even when I have failed them in certain areas in the past/present.  I love them for loving me.  They are so sweet and pure and kind.  Okay... when they aren't shouting "NO!  Boo Boo's ONLY!" or whacking their sister over the head with a block or something.  (Those 2 scenarios might be related)  But they are seriously good kids, and all things considered, I am really quite proud of them.

I am grateful for my wonderful extended family.  From my parents and brother, to my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins, my inherited family through my marriage to Tim (that sounds so much better than in-laws, doesn't it?) that encompasses so many wonderful people I have come to love so hard it hurts.  I have had so much kindness and understanding that many people don't have in their family, and try to seek it elsewhere.  But the special bond of being relatives and actually liking each other is a wonderful thing, and I would be so ungrateful not to mention it.

Well, there are SO many things I could mention, but I do have some things to do tonight so I'll have to stop somewhere.  But I challenge all of you to pause and reflect on your lives as well.  Gratitude is not and should not be confined merely to a holiday where we gorge ourselves on turkey.  (Ooh, and stuffing!  Mmmm!)  It really is something we need to remember daily, and as we do so it transforms us into grateful people.  It transforms our lives into something happier and more worthwhile.  All the gimmicks available out there, but nothing can do it in a lasting way quite like gratitude can.

Oh, one last thing to be grateful for: thanks for reading this.  :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

At the Park

Today was a very interesting day.  I took the kids in their double stroller to the park.  I took pictures as usual... then when Eleanor wanted to go down the tall twisty slide some older kids came along and it made me nervous because I didn't know what they would be like.  Eleanor was watching them so much that she just stood there and wouldn't go then.  Then she changed her mind and said she didn't want to.

Soon after she was content to go down the smaller slide by herself while the kids played nearby on these dinosaurs.  The oldest was a boy and said Eleanor was cute.  We got to talking and I made some important realizations.  The boy was 11 and his sister was 7.5, they were incredibly sweet kids.  The boy wouldn't stop talking, it sounded like he had so much bottled up inside him he just wanted to get out.  Reminded me of growing up with MY talkative brother who was 4 years older than me.

But after going on and on about random things I saw a lot about their lives.  Their parents were divorced, his dad had been remarried two times, he made friends better with girls than boys and a lot of kids had been very mean to him.  Both the kids had medical problems.  His dad was somewhat inactive at church and he thought he liked his sister better.  He'd sworn at them before and... It sounded like a very hard life.  Yet these kids were so kind.  The girl's smile made me smile.  The boy used bigger words and more adult talk than I had ever figured he would... they were darling.

They both loved babies, so they thought my kids were just adorable.  The girl took Eleanor around, she took to her immediately.  She helped her go down the big slide, she helped her up on the dinosaur and I watched her change.  She wasn't so scared anymore, because her friend was beside her, holding her hand, telling her it was okay.  It almost makes me wish Eleanor had an older sibling or cousin, it was incredible to see the change in her, to watch her confidence grow, to see her beaming face when she made in down the BIG slide.

I am so proud of her.  I'm kind of proud of me too for letting go and letting her build these friendships all on her own.  I could see it was so important for her.  But I had to fight this horrible urge to treat her like a baby and do everything with her myself.  It's hard.  But she has a true friend, and that is priceless even if they never see each other again.  She is growing up.

These kids were so kind and I wish I could have done more for them.  It made me realize how wonderful it all is.  Having kids, teaching them, learning with them.  It's a beautiful process, and how important it is to show our kids good principles and keep them from the evils that we can.  It's hard to believe that my kids will be that old someday, and have their own complex thoughts and feelings and all.  It's easy to forget when the kids you live with talk about "Boo Boo POOPED!" and Garrett begging for "More!  More!" food.  But seeds are already planted... and my children are better than I ever imagined, really.  To see their face light up when they put on a hat or when they laugh with each other after one of them falls down.  It's precious.  All of it.

I am so grateful I have them and grateful for this new little one on the way.  I love them, and that love is eternal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Number 3 is on the way...

So yes, we are ready to announce it to the world- we are expecting baby number three to come late August/ early September.  My due date is 9/9/11, but because of the way my cycle is- to me I'm counting it as 9/6/11.  My midwives said a couple days wasn't a big deal, so they're still going on the calculation from my LMP (Dec 3rd).  To me, I'm counting it for things like telling friends and such... because I really think I'm right.  And for some odd reason, it matters a lot more to me than it does to them.  :)

It's a crazy time in our lives to be having another, but we really felt this is what God wanted us to do.  And no matter how difficult the situation, whenever I feel that way and follow through on it, God always helps me find a way to get that challenge accomplished... and usually I find out that looking back on it, it was actually the BEST choice, not just an okay one.  So we're excited.  I've really enjoyed how close in age Eleanor and Garrett are (16 months) and now Garrett & number 3 will be something like 19 months apart.  It's hard, but then we'll get those baby/ toddler stages out of the way all at once, I figure.  :D  ...Wish me luck.  ;)

So much of our lives have to do with our attitude and what we make of things.  I am still in the process of learning this, so I'm not trying to preach at anyone, but I really have seen the differences in my life after experiencing both.  When we look for blessings and things to be grateful for, we always find them, even if it is hard sometimes.

Eleanor has been getting closer and closer to the 2.5 mark and I can't believe she's getting closer to 3 than she is 2!  It really does go fast.  She loves singing and dancing, running, playing with duplo blocks, playing with her dolls, taking toys from Garrett- oh!  Whoops!  Yeah, that too.  But once he gets walking I think they'll have SO much fun chasing each other all over the place.

Garrett has moved up from "baby" to "big boy" in so many ways now, it's exciting & sad (good thing there's another on the way- lol).  He drinks from a sippy cup, insists on eating only grown up food (this can be challenging since he has 4.5 teeth & none of them molars).  He crawls and pulls up (not so great at pulling DOWN, though), he stood on his own... for about one second!  He uses toddler spoons and is learning to say the dreaded word ("No!"...  It sounds more like "Nah!").  It goes fast.

My kids are great, I really am blessed to have them.  It is SUCH a short time we have them for.  Then before we know it they've grown up and are ready to venture out on their own.  I am trying to cherish the NOW.

Here's my happy thought of the day: I'm going to have a whole new life to meet and try to raise in light and truth as best as I can.  Still have about 8 weeks until the ultrasound to see them & find out the gender, but I'm already in love.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Approaching Holidays

Well, it's been a long time, probably too long.  It's hard to know where to begin and maybe that's why I've been putting this off for a while.

The holiday season is upon us and Christmas decorating, shopping, and planning is on my mind more and more each day, it seems.  Not only that, but our 3rd anniversary, Garrett's 1st birthday then my twenty something-th birthday.  Oh man, it's going so fast, and so much needs to be done.

A couple more weeks and Tim will be in finals, then one last semester to go.  Then we are out of here.  Where?!  You might ask?  ...VERY good question, without an answer yet.  Tim has begun applying, but I don't think we'll find out right away, unfortunately. 

Everything in life is a surprise anyhow, I guess.  You think I would be used to it by now.  Funny how we think we have things "planned," isn't it?  We really can't control the future, and I guess it's best that we don't.  Left to our own we as human beings don't seem to be managing the present very well, even.

So.  What is new?  We'll start with Eleanor, I guess.  BOOKS.  Lots of books.  She's still enjoying her play food set and of course, Minnie Mouse.  She also gains a quick fondness for anything Garrett is playing with that she didn't hand to him.  But she's also learning a lot and is a pretty good big sister.  She can probably understand much more than I give her credit for.  Some days I'm reminded of this like the day she brought me the letter A that fell off the wall from Garrett's name saying "A fall down!"  My thought process: Oh my gosh!  She knows her letters- she can spell- she can read- she's writing a thesis paper!  AHHHHHHH!  This is going too fast.  :)

She also tries to say big words like "absorbent" "octagon""tortilla" and "potato chip" with some interesting results.  Her sentences seem to get more and more complex each week or so.  It's crazy.  So smart yet trapped in such a little body with little understanding of many things and BIG emotions to go along with it.  She is doing MUCH better in nursery now, thankfully.  I guess from what I hear she is also a rather dominant personality there, but very kind.  I'm really pleased to see her be confident about something, I think it is helping her a lot.  I'm not always the best example, so I'm glad she is doing so well, and not being so clingy.  NOW the struggle is just to get her to last through sacrament meeting well until she CAN go to nursery.

Garrett is doing well, too.  10 months old and SOOOO smart (okay, I may be a bit biased)!  He's said mama, dada, Boo Boo (Eleanor's nickname), bup (poop), more, puffs, hi, bye bye.  (and I know I'm missing one but can't think of it off the top of my head.)  He understands when I ask him to hold the bottle, pat the bottle, or give me a kiss (he makes a sound like MMMMUAH! after it!).  He points to things and chews on things (two teeth, still a lump on top where nothing has come through yet).  He eats meat and more chunky foods now, not just purees.  He puts things inside containers and takes them out again (most often by waving it around or dumping it out).  He's pretty good at feeding himself puffs... he's pretty easy going.  Not crawling or walking yet, but I did get him to stand holding on to the table leg for a few seconds.  He's also very interested in learning about Jesus.  I know this because he saw my church manual with Jesus on the front and he was very fascinated by it then tried to eat it.  "No, Garrett, no!  Don't eat Jesus!  No!"  :)

I am looking forward to getting all these short term goals met and will be thrilled to be settled somewhere next fall, even if it's only for a couple more years or something.  It is hard to say what to expect.

Here is my happy thought of the day: Christmas is coming and it gives us another chance to start over, to think about what we need to fix and about who we can help.  It gives us another good opportunity to get to know our Savior better and develop a personal relationship with him so that someday when we see him he will not only know us but we will know him.  And hopefully, be more like him.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A thoughtful Sunday

Well, a lot keeps happening here, it seems.  Eleanor had her birthday, a bunch of crazy un-extraordinary stuff happened, then Tim had his birthday yesterday.  Now it's Sunday yet again and I have managed to get everything done that I was supposed to.  Well, okay, other than taking out the trash.

I'm not sure how to explain my life right now.  I think I've spent a lot more time than usual pondering things.  Our future, our past, even our present.  The latter is quite unlike me, I know.  I just can't seem to help but think how blessed we are.  I know that a lot of religious people always seem to be saying that, maybe to the point where it seems trite or maybe even meaningless.  But to me it is not.  These children we have are so amazing.  They do brighten my days.  They make me forget why I'm not smiling.  So many times a day.  I really don't know what I'd do without them.

Was it hard having two kids right after we got married, 16 months apart?  Yeah, of course.  But in some ways, in wondering what our lives would have been like had we changed any of that, I think it would have been harder.  Harder in the long run.  Harder because we didn't do what God wanted us to do.  I know that seems odd, maybe backwards to many, but I can't deny that these kids were meant to grow up together so close in age like this.  I love that Eleanor is starting to make Garrett laugh all the time and that Eleanor is learning how to care for a baby already.  She loves to help in any way that she can.

I don't think words can describe what I feel for my kids.  These little... tiny people who will someday grow up to be big like us.  Who will someday be discussing things like their views on politics and what career path they might enjoy.  Who will someday get their own mail from both credit card companies and colleges.  They'll go on... dates.  (*cringe*)  They are real people now, not capable of these things yet, but it's coming.  And for some reason, it feels very real to me at the moment.  They are astounding to think about.  Their future lies before them with so many questions unanswered yet.  And for now, for this moment, I'm liking that.  They can be anyone they want to.  And no matter what, I will always love them.  I will always remember what this stage of my life was like with them and look back on it.  It won't seem so vivid then, I'm sure.  And I'll have long forgotten why I was so stressed out about all these little things.  But somewhere in my heart I will always have this captured and tucked away to remember.

Eleanor says the funniest things, whether she understands them or not.  She learns quickly and she loves people and cares about them instantly.  Garrett is chill but very tender.  Me leaving the room can cause an anxiety attack in his little world.  He is already loving laughter, to see others smile at him causes him such joy.  I can only understand the tip of the iceberg of what their personalities really are, but they are wonderful.  And they are my future.  I see them in my future through the eternities.  And I love it.

It's hard for me to think of a happier thought of the day than what I've already said, so maybe I should just leave it at that.  Life is beautiful.  Life is even more beautiful when you have children to share it with.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Tribute to Eleanor

So, I have to admit, I never really thought life would be like this, two years ago.  So much has changed.  This is what my husband and I looked like two years ago, when we were headed in to the hospital with a big baby bump we called Eleanor.

How could we possibly have known what we were doing?  REALLY doing, I mean?  We had no idea then what it would feel like to hold her in our arms for the first time, to remark at all that ridiculous mop of hair on her head, we didn't know then she would hate the pacifier, that she would have to go on formula, that she would look so cute with shoe socks, and that she would wait so long to roll over, crawl and walk.  We didn't know she would spit food at us and have trouble sleeping, and be scared of strangers.  We didn't really prepare ourselves then for being pooped on or spat up on when lifting her over our head (thankfully that one was Tim and not me), but those people in that picture really didn't have any way of truly preparing themselves for it.  Some things we just have to live to experience.  And experienced things, we have.
 I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I got.  Things were both harder and easier than I originally thought they would be.  Ultimately, they are better.  My life would be so different now without her in it.  I can't really imagine that.  When Eleanor was born I went through a terrible ordeal with PPD/PPP and have just recently gotten over it in the past couple months.  That made it hard to enjoy her.  No, that's an understatement, but it'll suffice here to leave it at that.  The challenges our family faced together were SO hard looking back at it.  I am amazed that this sweet little girl, now one day shy of two years old can look at me like she did this morning and say, "Mama happy?  Boo Boo happy!"  Yes, mama is happy.  Mostly because she is.  Now, don't get me wrong, there are still tears, time outs, and things that get destroyed (including, but not limited to my sanity).  She's a toddler.  It just comes with the territory.  But I am feeling much better.  And just looking into those big brown eyes of hers, watching her smile and going on about her day doing the random things she does (like wiping up Minnie Mouse's poop or "reading" books by herself or asking to be put in the microwave- FYI: we discourage the latter) I can't help but be pleased and honored to be her mother.  She's fun, silly, and sweet.  She looks adorable when she falls asleep in my arms.  She feels like family when she falls asleep in my arms and drools on my sleeve.
 Even in the worst of times, when I joke to Tim about putting her up for sale on ebay, ...I don't really mean it.  :)  And without the screaming and the tears (no, I'm talking about me), we just couldn't grow as we need to as a family.  It takes a lot of trials to make us better people.  Apparently God has a lot of greatness planned for our family someday, because trials keep coming, in new and mutated strands.  But when the kids are not screaming or asleep... I can have these little uplifting reflections.  And it helps me put it all into perspective.

I don't think we've made it out of the worst of the toddler years/ The Terrible Twos or whatever you want to call it.  But it's still good.  Eleanor is learning so fast.  She wants to be good (most of the time) and she wants to help others (most of the time... sometimes she'd rather help Minnie Mouse than her brother, but hey, you take what you can get).  It's not easy, but totally worth it.  I can say that in a way that is so different than what the woman in that picture at the top of this page could have ever said then.  I have SEEN hard times.  I WILL see more hard times.  I might even joke about regretting it amid the screaming, the tantrums, and the "No"s.  But honestly, this is better than anything I've ever done.

 I look forward to more funny moments.  To more laughter.  To more love as the years go by.  Maybe I should say FLY by, because they already are.  I could never be worthy of her.  God trusts me way more than I think He should, but I suppose He does see more in me than I ever have, so I shouldn't complain.  I really can't imagine what she'll be like in a couple years.  If I had to guess, these are my top ten guesses in no particular order:

1.  She'll still be a picky eater.
2.  She'll still like it when she can make people smile or laugh.
3.  She'll still love music.
4.  She'll still be a chatterbox.
5.  She'll still love to pray.  (This is the most important, so I hope I'm right)
6.  She'll still want/need/crave our love & praise.
7.  She'll still give The Boo Brow.  (just maybe not as often)
8.  She'll still have a love/hate relationship with the camera.
9.  She'll still love electronics.
10.  She'll still be kind and motherly.  (If not to Minnie Mouse, then hopefully to a sibling??)

So, here's my happy thought of the day:  life is too short to be grumpy.  Time waits for no one, not even the procrastinators.  Good things are here, right in front of us.  Sometimes we just have to remove those blinders that we put on ourselves that keep us from seeing things and people the way God sees them.  It requires some work on our part.  It may even hurt a little (or even a lot).  But it's there, waiting for us to find it.  Two years ago, I thought my life would be great.  Now, as Eleanor is nearing her two year mark on her journey in this world, I see things a bit differently.  It's greater than I ever knew great could be at that time.  No, things aren't perfect.  No, we're still living off loans, Tim's still in school, I still need to give myself a time out some days.  But it's great.  Look at that little face and try to tell me your life isn't a little bit better for having seen it.  I can't.  And that's the happiest thought of my day.