Monday, January 1, 2018

Books I finished in 2017

  1. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
  2. Julius Caesar - William Shakespeare   {out loud with our kids as part of our homeschool curriculum} 
  3. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th edition) - Penny Simkin, PT; Janet Whalley, RN, IBCLC; Ann Keppler, RN, MN; Janelle Durham, MSW, ICCE, LCCE; and April Bolding, PT,DPT,CCE,CD
  4. The Bronze Bow - Elizabeth George Speare   {out loud with our kids as part of our homeschool curriculum}
  5. Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts On Kindness - George Saunders  {this is his convocation speech at Syracuse University that was made into a book}
  6. Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping - James J McKenna, Ph.D. 
  7. The Door in the Wall - Marguerite De Angeli   {out loud with our kids as part of our homeschool curriculum}
  8. The Nursing Mother's Companion (7th edition) -  Kathleen Huggins, RN, MS
  9. Amelia Bedelia Means Business - Herman Parish  {daughter checked it out from the library and I ended up reading it all to myself -- two books in one}
  10. Amelia Bedelia Unleashed - Herman Parish
  11. Reflections from a Broken Mirror: Spiritual Values I Learned as an LDS Child of Divorce - Deborah Eldredge Milne
  12. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  13. More than Miracles: Extraordinary Stories from 17 Miracles - T. C. Christensen and Jolene S. Allphin
Our family loves the Tuttle Twins books' stories and illustrations too!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

words about kindness!

The discussion in my ward's Relief Society lesson a few weeks ago made me want to look up quote images about kindness. I believe that words are powerful, with a positive or a negative effect. My sweet friend Jaimie {Brave in the Waves:} has taught me more about this truth through her writing, including personal emails. Kindness is so needed! Words about KINDNESS are motivating! That day I downloaded some of the images I loved the most, and I'm sharing them in this post. Today at church, also, one of our wonderful Sunday School teachers mentioned the kindnesses we can show to others. 😀 I feel better when I am kind, and happy when people are kind to me!



Sunday, February 12, 2017

photos from my fourth labor

Our sweet daughter number four is five months old. I'm thinking today about how it's almost Valentine's Day, and that last Valentine's Day we announced that I was pregnant. Five years ago on Valentine's Day we had a newborn who was hospitalized for a few days with bronchiolitis (she's been through some tough experiences including a broken femur last year). Twenty-two years ago on Valentine's Day my husband and I met! . . .

I'd forgotten about these photos from the days before Fourth Girl was born. I had used the camera on D's old phone that we also had the contraction-timing app on. Then I was happy to find the photos during a road trip last weekend. I fell in love with the ones of my belly with the baby lower (I don't like the word "dropped" very much) as she was working on coming out. 

We almost had a home birth and it was wonderful. I just wouldn't use that word to describe the c-section, but they wouldn't let us take pictures until the baby was born anyway. My doula sent me the last photo, showing D and me soon after we arrived at the hospital. This baby is a perfect baby. And my recovery was good -- yay placenta encapsulation!

38 weeks (compare to below):

A little past 39 weeks and in labor, less than two days before the birth:

About 12 and a 1/2 hours before the birth:

In triage. I love him for the way he supported me that week.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

beautiful quotes

Probably my favorite part of Elder Holland's April 2016 LDS General Conference talk (which I've listened to a few times including yesterday) was:
If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.”
Then this morning before 1:00 church, I listened for the third time to Sister Neill F. Marriott's talk from the General Women's Session that was part of the same conference. Actually, I had searched on the Gospel Library app for the word "baby" and found the talk.

Let me interrupt myself.  

About those New Year's Resolutions . . . I am trying to improve with them. #5 and #7 are already done. But the one about getting up by 7 a.m. has been hard. Why? Because I'm pregnant! I could have just over two weeks left (that's when my guess date is). I love pregnancy and I feel like once she's born -- a fourth girl! -- I might miss having her inside moving around. We're all really excited to meet her, though!
January 2, a few days before my expected period (but I knew that I was pregnant)

So that's why I want to keep hearing or reading positive thoughts and stories about pregnancy, birth, and newborns.

Here's what Sister Marriott said:
Mothers literally make room in their bodies to nurture an unborn baby—and hopefully a place in their hearts as they raise them—but nurturing is not limited to bearing children. Eve was called a “mother” before she had children. I believe that “to mother” means “to give life.” Think of the many ways you give life. It could mean giving emotional life to the hopeless or spiritual life to the doubter. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can create an emotionally healing place for the discriminated against, the rejected, and the stranger. In these tender yet powerful ways, we build the kingdom of God.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

for the tooth fairy

First Girl lost two teeth at the beginning of April! Both on the top. Second Girl had two loose ones too.

Together they created things and placed them on the floor of their room for the tooth fairy to enjoy. Like when people leave a treat out for Santa Claus (who we don't talk much about in our family). It was so fun when I discovered what they had done. The cookies are bits of Larabar, and they made a little wardrobe with clothes that the tooth fairy could try on. I love their creativity!

They like to keep their teeth, but luckily the tooth fairy left First Girl some coins anyway. It was $1.75 in a sandwich bag with a tiny note.

She spent $1.08 of it on a Frozen harmonica (50% off).

Sunday, January 3, 2016

first blog post of 2016

Happy New Year! It's finally the year that I was going to marry my friend who I did marry almost twelve years ago. He had asked in high school, "Hey, if you're not married by 2016, will you marry me?"

It has been snowing ALL DAY here and hasn't stopped. It's so beautiful. We had a great Christmas season and enjoyed the December snow too.

I have been outside for a total of about two minutes. We stayed home from church because of First Girl feeling sick. (She is mostly better by now but starting Friday night she didn't feel like eating.) They've watched some Veggie Tales, and we had the TV off for a while, I played some Primary songs on the piano and sang along, we read a kind of long book together, and we saw some Mormon Channel videos on YouTube. Two out of three kids had baths; the other will need one also. The four-year-old hurt the six-year-old's feelings so I helped with that. I think we should probably call grandparents, after dinner. Oh, but a lot of clean clothing still isn't put away. I can do both at the same time.

I wasn't sure how to begin this blog post. Maybe I feel like I did then. I wasn't sure what this blog would turn out to be.

I think I want to have few if any public photos of our kids now.

What do I do with what's here already? I began blogging in 2007. I could slowly use the best posts to make digital scrapbooks that I would print, and delete them from Blogger. I don't want to change it to private.

Basically, I need to figure things out, how I can best spend my time. The ones I need to communicate and share with most are my family and close relatives. I have an email draft to finish that is a simple letter and photos for our parents and siblings to see. I have other places where I share photos now, but not publicly. And if I wanted to back up with Flickr again like I did a long time ago (I think mainly in 2009), that sounds like work and I would need a new login or account. I started a private Instagram account in October, and I use Facebook.

These are the measurable goals (resolutions) I came up with for 2016:

  1. Turn off the lights to sleep by 11:00 p.m., and closer to 10:30 might be best. This is hard for me. 
  2. Wake up by 7:00 and do first things first. But 5:30 is too early.
  3. Start and end the day with personal prayer.
  4. Read / feast / ponder from the Book of Mormon daily -- the verses on @bofm365. I feel peace every time. I'm glad that my husband is going to do it too!
  5. Read more books this year than I did the last couple of years. (Only six in 2015.)
  6. Work on postpartum doula certification for at least one hour a week.
  7. Publish recipes on my whole foods plant-based blog.

That's probably enough to work on. :-) And that's how I will spend some of my time. I bought a little composition book to keep track of spiritual goals such as "✓ morning kneeling prayer".  I could get another little book for the other goals. 

Things are going well for our family. We'll be able to pay off most of our debt this year and we are so grateful. I / we will definitely spend time with new friends here too. I am looking forward to a vegan potluck next week.

I did not quite finish 360 BYU devotionals by the end of 2015 but I listened to 347! It was 360, not 365, because the idea came to me on January 5th and 360 is a nice round number. I am continuing until I have finished that goal. I listen while I get dressed, make meals, do chores, etc.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

something good happened.

I'm going to get back to blogging here a little more often than once every four months. I like to share goodness online publicly, not just on my private social media accounts.

Well, if you know me and/or my little family you know we had a big change recently!

At the beginning of July, my husband had been working at a retail store for three years and a shop manager for one of those years. It wasn't as great as we had thought it would be, and he had been very down for a few months (real depression but also just hard stuff that I'm not going into detail about). . . . Then something good happened. Okay, most things were already good, especially from my perspective. This is us honoring the fact that we had met TWENTY years earlier:

And that same week my sister let me be in the room when her third baby was born! It was the first time I had seen a human birth in person:

Those were in February, just before the most difficult months. Then we enjoyed two of D's other siblings' weddings in May and July. (His brother who is four years younger than him got married last September, so all three weddings were within less than a year. Now all but the youngest are married).

But this was extra good for D and me, and such a relief long-term. Here it is: he got an email congratulating him because the Army was considering him for an AGR position -- Active Guard and Reserve. He's been in the United States Army Reserve since before we got married. Almost everyone in a Reserve unit works two days a month and two or more weeks in the summer, but a few soldiers need to run and plan things full time. We didn't want to get our hopes up about the position (the salary would be much higher), but he felt like it was really going to happen.

A month later, on August 4th, he got the orders! On August 21st, movers boxed and took almost all of our possessions ("household goods "). That was different and kind nice, especially that the Army paid for it. That week we also had going-away parties: a Watermelon Party for our kids and their friends, and an adults-only party with our family and close friends plus our oldest girl. We spent August 26th and 27th driving a total of 750 miles to our destination, with our whole family and suitcases in a PT cruiser, which is not a big vehicle.

We used exactly ten hotel nights, of the ten that the Army reimburses, while he worked short days and we looked for a home to rent. (We saw the outside of over 30 homes, and the inside of  few. I think we signed the papers for our home on September 3rd. We started living in it on September 6th.) Here are photos of the girls doing laundry with me in the hotel, but usually it was my husband who did it. I can't remember why.

And a fun picture from the day we left the hotel:

We started living in this townhouse the day before Labor Day . . . and finally received our first paycheck besides travel pay on September 15th, and our household goods back on September 21st. We had been using air mattresses after our hotel living ended, so we were excited to have our own beds back. Oh, and we bought a nice futon since our other couch had to go to the landfill. Another exciting thing was being able to use our real dishes and have more than one pan.

This has been such a huge blessing for my husband's mental health, for our finances, etc. "Better than [we] deserve" as Dave Ramsey says. We've already started to pay off our credit card debt, more than just ten dollars above the minimum payment. It is a career, which he has wanted for years, and it's easier and more suitable for him than the retail store was.

We had thought that we would be in our previous place (our 7th home; a condo we moved to a while after I made this list) for at least two years. It was only one year, but that's okay because we like our 8th home too. We're probably going to need to move every three to five years as long as he's AGR. "Come what may, and love it," right? :-) This townhouse is perfect for us: nobody living below (or above) us! a garage! our own little fenced backyard! the church is close enough to walk to, and so are some places to shop! The neighbors are nice, the layout is better, and it's a lot newer. We have an end unit, and we have almost never heard the neighbors who are to the east; even then I barely could hear their child crying or whatever.

The other change I'm grateful for is that we decided to do a trial year of homeschool. I was interested in doing it for over a year and last year was too soon for us. This August, I found out about a homeschooling conference (an LDS one) happening in our new city starting just the day after we would arrive. The mom I talked to who had organized it let D and me, and the kids, come for free. We attended it for a couple hours Friday night and longer on Saturday. Yeah, the kids got bored, but a corner with toys, coloring stuff, and other children was helpful. Anyway, we had had a few short "practice days" of school before moving, and then started to really do it with a routine and curriculum on September 8th. I'm so thankful for my husband unpacking and assembling our things while I was teaching -- the Army gives you ten days off to get settled. I'm glad that we started even when not having Internet yet was a challenge. We had to be in my closet to use the connection from the church, on our tablet and/or my phone. So then it got much better with our own Internet, and our computer back. I love teaching our kids and not having them gone from 8:30-3:15! It has been fun to learn/relearn some things along with them. They have more time to be creative . . . I like everything about it. The Family School is excellent. Another family in the townhouses homeschools too, and we have had one play date with their boys so far after the day she came over to meet us. It's funny that we met through a facebook group instead of the little neighborhood. They attend a different Christian church. During the play date I was home by myself, which is always nice. . . .

When we had been going to our new ward for a couple of weeks both S and L got invited to birthday parties on the same day. This picture shows the ballerina that L decorated at Avery's party.

Monday, June 8, 2015

23 questions to ask kids about their mom

One of my Katie friends shared this a few days ago. Our kids (First Girl and Second Girl but I didn't have Third Girl do it) and I had so much fun with it right before bedtime!

Here is the list of questions without answers:

  1. What is something Mom always says to you?
  2. What makes Mom happy?
  3. What makes Mom sad?
  4. How does Mom make you laugh?
  5. What was your mom like as a child?
  6. How old is your mom?
  7. How tall is your mom?
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?
  9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
  10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
  11. What is your mom really good at?
  12. What is your mom not very good at?
  13. What does your mom do for a job?
  14. What is your mom's favorite food?
  15. What makes you proud of your mom?
  16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
  17. What do you and your mom do together?
  18. How are you and your mom the same?
  19. How are you and your mom different?
  20. How do you know your mom loves you?
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
  22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
  23. How old was your Mom when you were born?

These were some of my favorite answers. I asked the 8 1/2- year-old the questions quietly because she was first and I didn't want the almost-6-year-old to hear before it was her turn.

How does Mom make you laugh?
First Girl: When you make C laugh, it makes me laugh.
Second Girl: When she tickles me. You don’t really do that much, though. Well, I do it to C a lot.
[I like to think I also say things that are funny. I do. And they laugh.]

What is her favorite thing to do?
First Girl: I’m not sure, ‘cause you like lots of things. . . . Like, like, you like to play with us and read your books and go to church.
Second Girl: I don’t know. [Think about things I do. What do I like to do?] Cook.

What does your mom do when you're not around?
First Girl: I dunno, ‘cause I’m not there. [Do you wanna guess?] Um, maybe watch shows with Daddy?
Second Girl: Make presents for me, like at Christmas you made those presents for me. [You mean wrap ‘em?] Yeah, wrap ‘em.

What is your mom really good at?
First Girl: Um . . . mmm . . . helping me and L and C
Second Girl: Um, I just said that, didn’t I. [the one before about what I'd be famous for -- she said, "A famous cooker?]

What does your mom do for a job?
Second Girl: Um, clean the dishes. That’s one of the jobs you do . . . I couldn’t really think of it because you don’t go to work like Daddy does.

How old was your mom when you were born?
First Girl: Um, I think 12 or 13 or 14. [I explained.] Now that I think about that, that’s pretty young, like Erika.
Second Girl guessed 20, but I was 27.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

a little on faith, dreams, lists, and being musical

This is what I posted in a facebook group and it's how I have been feeling the last few days.
This is an exciting time to be on the earth. I definitely believe that "the future is as bright as [my] faith."
I believe we are in the last days, with both righteousness and wickedness increasing. There are things that frustrate me, and my husband and I each have our own ups and downs, but I have a lot of hope ("hope through the atonement of Christ"), and know that "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." I want to help people, most of all my husband who is going through hard stuff, and our children, whom I love so much. I have big dreams for us. I want to do a lot and learn a lot. I want to be who my patriarchal blessing says I can be. I want to shine!

I was glad that my husband was with us for this April General Conference, not working that Saturday or Sunday. Another way I have been blessed with more closeness to the Spirit is through my #‎360byudevotionalsin2015‬ project I began on January 5th. It's really easy to find BYU devotionals from BYUSpeeches on YouTube. I listen to about one per day and I'm keeping a list of them.

Another list I updated today was my list of books I have read this year. I'm re-reading the manual from my CAPPA postpartum doula training, but since I didn't read every word when I got it, it's not on my list yet. I have about three other nonfiction books I am working on also, but mostly one called Fasting -- and Eating -- for Health.

Just yesterday I finished A Natural Woman: A Memoir, which singer-songwriter Carole King wrote. I didn't know much about Carole King before this, and now I want to become familiar with more of her music. It was an impulse library check-out as I walked past books on CD -- and it turned out that I was checking it out two days before her birthday! I listened as I cleaned the kitchen, and I think it took a few weeks, but I went through the last few discs, of twelve, pretty quickly. I'm impressed by a lot of the things she has done, including homeschooling, "encourag[ing] the best in people," caring about the Earth, and writing music while she had kids. I composed three piano solos, but all between the ages of 14 and 18, and none since then except for little songs with my kids, and I have not written those down. I thought about doing so the other day, but then forgot, so it's gone from my mind.

Here's a little of what I wrote down from Carole's memoir. In probably the first chapter she said, "the first piece of furniture in my parents' home was a piano." I really liked the last part of the final chapter. She was talking about her mind jumping from one thought to the next as she was performing for an audience. She realized that she had thought music was keeping her from having a normal life, but then while performing understood that "for me, music is normal life."

I'm very confident with music, sightreading, and performing. I was able to be in our ward's talent show last month, and today I will play piano for a few ladies who will sing in sacrament meeting. The song is Oh, How Lovely Was The morning -- a new (2005) tune to the LDS hymn Joseph Smith's First Prayer. Some of those big dreams I have for my life are related to music. It's part of normal life for me as well.

Friday, March 27, 2015

what 3-year-old C said to me today

This morning after my husband left to take First Girl and Second Girl to school, I closed the door, turned to Third Girl, and said like I do nearly every week day, "It's [C] and Mommy time!"

C said, "Yayyyyy!"

me: Do you love C and Mommy time?

C (smiling): Yes! You're so adorable. I just want to eat you.

Yep, we are so happy when we're together. I was away in another room to make this blog post, but actually played a video from facebook first, and then I could hear her crying. She wanted me to sit and watch Signing Time with her. I did, arms around her the whole time. It felt so good.

Friday, March 20, 2015

unfinished posts and some pictures

Since the last time I published was January 1st (!) and March is 2/3 over (somehow), I thought you might be interested to know about my unfinished blog posts. Just neglected drafts. I think I saw Jessica do this same kind of post -- the kind of post you are currently reading -- at least once. So these are the names of some posts that I may not ever finish.

  1. cloth diapering in a small apartment (I have pictures somewhere; I sometimes dried them in laundry baskets, on the grass between our apartment and the street and parking spaces. Blogger shows a 2012 date for this!)
  2.  Toxin & Toxin (I had read this in 2011, but unfortunately only those with a TFB Membership can read it now.)
  3. mommy brain
  4. C, age two to two-and-a-half (she is now three)
  5. First Girl's first grade (she is now in second grade)

Okay, I did look through my list of published posts from 2014. I didn't share very many pictures. For now, here are a few from last fall. My brother-in-law's wedding in September was perfect.


Yeah, that's all the photos for now. I have so many (just made with my smartphone) that I have not copied to the computer.

I'm really grateful that I was able to go to the temple by myself tonight and wrote some thoughts in my journal. Heavenly Father and his Son love me.

I'm also thinking about the friends I have made in the last almost-seven months since we moved here. I will be seeing some at meetings soon, related to my future postpartum doula business I am working on. I have to complete the certification. It'll be fun and satisfying, and flexible (my own business, my own schedule) so I won't be away from my family too much.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

how I started 2015

It's past my bedtime, on the first day of the year. I am frustrated that I was trying to cut or undo something and the whole draft I'd written a few hours ago disappeared! Well, I'll start over. :0)

My friend Shelly, whose kids I babysit twice a week, had a fun New Year's Eve party with healthy food. The five of us went, so my husband was able to meet the others that I had met at a potluck back in August (he worked that Saturday). I didn't already know Amy and Nate, though. All five families including us brought our kids, who played on scooters and decorated hats while most of the adults played Five Crowns.

What I really want to write about was the great things about this January 1st. Right at midnight we were home in bed and had a quick kiss, then for fifteen minutes we continued what we were each doing. He watched videos on the iPad, and I finished reading my book: Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright.

Soon after I woke up I was kind of depressed for a minute about the way I feel in the morning and all the time. Chronic pain. I didn't cry and snowball it like I did yesterday, though. It's so good that D and I have each other. We've talked about what we want to do this year and it will be good. For example, we are determined to pay off our debt. Anyway, knowing it's now 2015, I remembered that I had thought that in 2014 I would get rid of my constant headache. I did try more than a few different tests and treatments and stuff throughout the year but I need to be patient with what I'm currently doing (my doctor prescribed myofasical release, the medication gabapentin, and flonase (I don't think the last two are doing anything for me, at least not yet)). And I am going to keep searching, too. Neil Nathan, M.D.'s book Healing Is Possible: New Hope for Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Persistent Pain, and Other Chronic Illnesses is giving me some things to think about.

A little bit after that, I played my piano for the first time this year. I chose Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain / Amen from Handel's Messiah. I bought my copy of the book while in college, for a performance with hundreds of other people; I will never forget that experience!

A few days ago was also really nice, when I played the piano to wake up our kids. That day it was the suite from Forrest Gump. Many years ago I had to tape the spine of this sheet music to hold it together. I played it in a talent show when I was in junior high.

Let's see . . . also, I let the girls watch Netflix a lot today while D was working. I watched some of my own as I cleaned the kitchen and stuff (using the iPad while they had the TV on). The show I'm binge watching is Gilmore Girls. I never saw any of it until the middle of December. 

In the morning I pondered and wrote down some things I need to do (some of them are resolutions) and had some good gospel study time. I worked out, took a long shower, and eventually we accomplished our chore checklist.

Oh! Third Girl made me laugh harder than I had in a long time. She can be pretty funny, but doesn't do this kind of thing as much when she's away from home. You won't fully appreciate it because you can't hear her tone, and I don't remember it all, but that's okay. I was with her as she sat on the potty. It was bedtime, when we always make her go, and I said that I wanted to hear her pee. Then we talked about something else, or I kissed her knees. Then suddenly she said in her voice that's higher than her normal voice, "You hear someping?" And I thought she meant her peeing, but she quickly says, "Butterflies?" As if they even make a sound! Oh, man, it was hilarious.