Thursday, July 31, 2014

DAY 1070.... How I Avoid Drowning in Motherhood

Let me start off by saying just how much I love being a mom.

It truly is one of the biggest blessings in my life and I cannot believe how lucky and blessed I am to be pregnant again and only 4 months away from welcoming a son into this world. With that said... Motherhood has been a little rough lately!

It is straight up hard being a mom. It's exhausting, emotionally draining, frustrating, time consuming, different from anything I have ever done or experienced in my life, but it's also the most rewarding. I have had to work really hard lately to keep my head above the water. I have had to dig deep and learn about myself and what works for me when it comes to being a mom. I know that it's okay to struggle. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to have weaknesses. It would be great to be able to always be comfortable and to be able to handle life all the time no matter what was thrown at you, but it doesn't happen that way. We are tested and tried and it is up to us to find the solution that works for us.

I am blessed with a wonderful daughter. She has transitioned into her "big girl bed" in the past month and after a month she still waits for someone to come in and get her before she gets out of her bed in the morning or after a nap. That's such a blessing! I was convinced that she would be the type of kid that I would find under the bed in the morning or who would constantly be getting out of bed and into our room during the middle of the night. Aniston talks wonderfully and is able to communicate with me and tell me exactly what she wants and when she wants it. For 2 years old that's kind of huge. I never have to wonder what the problem is. She makes it easy. She loves to have her hair done and will sit patiently while I braid or twist or experiment on her hair. The only big issue we have is that she always always always wants to be, what she refers to as, "naked baby". This means only  in her diaper. She's not a fan of getting dressed these days. But let's be honest, if that's my biggest issue than I am doing just fine. But Ani is just so cute when she's dressed and ready for the day... even if she is the one who picks out her clothes. Notice the boots...

My problems with motherhood are with myself. I feel as though I am not enough daily. At the end of the day when I am so exhausted, Ani loves to wake up between 6:30am and 7:30 am, and am trying to decide if I should use my last bouts of energy to clean my house spotless or walk up the stairs to my room without falling over, I tend to choose to make it to the safety and comfort of my bed. Then when I wake up to a not so clean house I get so incredibly upset with myself. It's little things like this, and yes I know they are little, that have depressing me and getting me down. So I have taken a good look at my life and motherhood and have discovered some secrets to avoid drowning in motherhood.


Take Time For Yourself
This may seem obvious, but it's not the most easy thing to do. I use to try to take this time for myself when Aniston would take her nap, but it wasn't really working out for me, so now I take that time when she goes down for bed at night. Before she goes to bed she takes a bath and while she's splashing around I make note of what I would like to do once she is asleep. Most of the time this means just relaxing and watching a grownup show on TV and not something from the Disney channel, unless it's Girl Meets World. It's absolutely terrible but I can't seem to turn it off. But I also take this time to paint my nails or work on a craft. I try to not leave chores or homework for this time because that only causes more anxiety and stress. This is a time, just an hour or two, where I can do something for me and not feel guilty about it. There have also been times when I don't take this time just for myself but for my family to go out and do something enjoyable together. That can be relaxing and a change of pace. We like to go out and do things during this time that we don't usually do, and we always have a blast doing them! This also helps me to really appreciate my family and the joy that can be had spending time together.

Ask For Help
This is something that does not come easy to me. I absolutely HATE to ask for help. I don't like weakness, and even though I am full of them, I prefer not to show others thsoe weaknesses. We are blessed to live so close to my parents who love to spend time with Aniston and are willing to take her for a few hours or even overnight, if I just ask. There have been times when my mom has offered to take her and I still say no. I don't even have a reason to say no but I don't want her to think that I'm overwhelmed or exhausted. I want to seem invincible I guess. But really, what good does that do? Who does that benefit? When I get exhausted I tend to get mean. I don't want Aniston to remember me or to think of me as a mean person. I need to know my limits and to ask for help when I know that I need it. Doing this over the past few weeks has been extremely helpful and has saved my sanity. Another way I have learned to ask for help is asking my parents to borrow different toys that we can have at our house to change things up. Recently I asked for some of the blocks that my Dad had made for me when I was almost 3 for Christmas and now Aniston gets to play with them and she LOVES them! Those blocks have been so extremely helpful lately in distracting her when I have work to do or a house to clean. I also ask my sister daily for ideas on how to entertain or teach Aniston. She has some great ideas for me and it's a way that I can ask for help, but still feel like I have control of the situation, because I can take these helpful ideas and make them my own according to what I know would work for Ani.

Count Your Blessings
When I have piles of dishes to do or mounds of toys to clean up, instead of grumbling about how I didn't dirty half of the dishes or that I didn't even play with these toys, I have taken to the mindset of how grateful I should be that Aniston has so many toys to play with and that we have had dinners and lunches and food to feed us and dirty the dishes. When I am grumbling about how uncomfortable I may be, due to pregnancy, or how hot it is, I have learned to think of how I am providing a comfortable and safe environment for my unborn baby or how lucky we are to have a wonderful fan and a freezer full of otter pops to keep us cool. It's a blessing alone to be able to have the honor and blessing to be a mother, that even though it's difficult and so trying, to have created a little being as awesome as Aniston and to be able to be carrying a second little one is such a blessing in itself. I'm not saying that I never get upset or that I don't ever lose my temper, because I do, but thinking about these few things help me to relax and calm down for a moment.

Marry Someone Awesome
Having an equal partner is HUGE! This morning around 6:45, Aniston was up and yelling, "Mom, Momma, Mommy," over and over and over again. This is usually our cue to get up and get her out of her bed. I just couldn't get my ever growing pregnant body out of bed, and quickly, by some miracle, fell back asleep. I woke up around 8am to discover that Spencer, who had been up late, had gotten up with Aniston taken her downstairs, got her breakfast and had put a show on for her. Having someone who shares the responsibility of parenting is HUGE. I'm going to be honest here, I didn't really consider these things before so much, I guess I just got lucky in having a partner who is willing to help and knows when I'm about to lose my mind. Communication in parenting is also super important. You cannot just assume that your partner knows what you are feeling, so just tell them. You don't have to do it rudely, like I probably do way to often, but just let them know that you need their help or share with them your concerns or breaking points.

Put the Technology Down
This is also a difficult one for me. With only 3 1/2 weeks left of grad school (can a get a hallelujah?) and the easiness that the internet can offer, it's hard sometimes to put down the computer or iPhone or iPad and just focus on what is happening here and now. Does it matter how many people like my post on instagram? No, not at all. I post most of my pictures to either express appreciation, to share something exciting, or to remember moments, mostly dealing with Aniston, for myself. My self worth does not depend on whether or not the rest of the world likes what happened during my day. As long as I am satisfied and happy and my family is too, that's all that matters. Why should I care about status updates on Facebook? Why do I care what everyone else is doing in their lives? It's a little annoying how much I care sometimes, but I have learned that I don't need that in my life. I have learned that it's more important to have awesome experiences than to share them with everyone every single second of every single day. I am lucky enough to live in a time where I can record TV shows if I want to watch them so that I don't have to take time to watch them while I could be at the park with Aniston or playing in her imaginary land with her ponies. I try to save technology for times where she is either sleeping or eating or when we are in the car... Spencer driving of course.

Remember to Be Happy
Although things may seem out of your control and crazy sometimes, just let go and have fun. There's no point in wasting precious moments with your family because you are stressed. Take joy in the learning of your child and in the special moments that they can give you every day. Right now Aniston tells anyone who asks, "How are you?" "I'm 2!" We get a kick out of it because she can't figure out the difference between how are you and how old are you. She picks up on so much and even just sitting and listening to her play with her toys when she doesn't know I'm there is magical. Her imagination is incredible and so fresh and pure it rejuvenates me. It's such a blessing to have the opportunity to be able to have these moments and to feel true and complete love. Why on earth would I want to waste that with worry about grownup things? There's always time enough to worry about those things, I would rather just relax and play and bask in the moment with my daughter and the kicks and movements of my unborn little man.

Keep a Thankful Journal
It may seem childish, but I have found that if I do this right before bed, that I go to bed happier than I have in the past. I usually just write down 3 things that day that I have thankful for. Some days are harder than others to come up with only 3 things, but other days I just can't stop writing. Sometimes it's just my bed I'm thankful for or for the fact that I had a glass of chocolate milk and made my heartburn disappear. I think that most days I am just so thankful that I could make Aniston smile. That means the world to me to be able to make her happy. Just remembering the little things have really helped me to keep a positive attitude and reflect on my day and what I can do the next day to make it even better.

I don't think I have ever prayed as much as I have since I have been a mom. I don't just pray for Aniston's safety or her well being, but I pray for myself and patience and knowledge and love. I pray for my husband and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with him. I pray for those who are not blessed with the same opportunities and blessings that motherhood bring me and I pray for thanks. Even when I don't feel grateful, when I pray and give thanks I am immediately filled with thankfulness and overwhelming joy and happiness.

I'm hoping that drowning in motherhood is actually more common than just a struggle to me. It's hard and tough, but it's doable. And it's meant to be enjoyed and fun. I often think that this quote sums up motherhood to it's completeness!

I know that it will be worth it. Everything else I have going on in my life is nothing compared to being a mother. Nothing else is as important and nothing else will be as rewarding. I am grateful to be a mom and to be challenged in this way. The reward is definitely worth the struggle. There's no doubt in my mind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DAY 1054... Flash Flood!!!

It was a very (probably an understatement) eventful night in Rexburg, Idaho last night. So eventful in fact, that our little city was featured on Good Morning America this morning! Watch it here! Pretty crazy!

Really it started with a little rain and some hail. I just figured it was a typical summertime thunderstorm, which usually I love. Aniston loved watching it out our enormous front window. But pretty soon it became quite clear that this was not your typical summertime thunderstorm.

I mean look at all that water!

Then, before we knew it.... FLASH FLOOD! I have never in my life ever experienced anything quite like this before! It was fast and random and so damaging!

Once the rain finally calmed down and the sun came out again the damage was unbelievable! Obviously in the GMA video you can see that in some apartments and homes the water was 3 feet deep! We were lucky enough to only have about 1 - 1 1/2 inches in our basement. It did require us to quickly move all of our storage from the basement bedroom, luckily the only "stuff" we lost was completely unimportant and wasn't being used anyway. We threw out a TON of cardboard and paper and basically anything that was wet. After that we had to remove as much of the water as we could then the carpet all had to come up. Underneath the carpet was who knows what kind of mat/tar nasty that Spencer spent all night scrapping up. So we know have cement floors in the laundry room, which is no big deal and we really consider ourselves so blessed!

We were also so blessed to have so many family and friends and our landlords and their family come over to help. Half of our basement is an apartment and it is in bad shape. But with everyone helping, it just made things easier on me, which might seem selfish but I'm doing my best to keep this pregnancy a good one, and it was much quicker for everyone. My family who only lives like 5 miles away, didn't even get a drop of rain!!! How often does something like this even happen?

I did what any good mom would do to keep a 2 year old out of the way and took her across the street to a majorly HUGE and deep puddle for her to play in. She was in HEAVEN!

I feel blessed that we didn't have much damage at all and that we were able to continue to live in our home and that Spencer was able to even go to school today. I don't know many Universities that are capable of experiencing a massive flooding but within 12 hours have the entire campus up and going again, minus one building, for learning. It's definitely an amazing experience and probably one we will never forget! It just reminds you that you never know when disaster will strike and how important it is to be prepared and ready to handle whatever is thrown your way.

Friday, July 11, 2014

DAY 1050... You Shouldn't Have to Try So Hard

I'm a little obsessed with Colbie Caillat. Also I'm obsessed with her new song "Try".

There are so many pressures in the world to "appear" perfect. I know I have felt so much pressure to lose weight especially after having a baby, to have the perfect hair or skin tone. I have felt pressure to wear the cutest clothes or to spend money on different accessories that will make me more beautiful. Since having a child it's difficult with her too. I feel like she has to be the cutest baby or take the cutest pictures or wear the best clothes or shoes. It's really hard to find a balance where you feel comfortable in this world. This shouldn't be the case though. We all come from different backgrounds and have different opinions of what we think looks best.

Why does it matter?

If we are happy with ourselves, that should be what really matters. Am I completely happy with myself? No. But I need to take a moment to pause and consider why I'm not happy. Am I not happy because I'm comparing myself to someone else, or is it truly my own desires that are making me not quite happy with myself?

Having coached high school girls for several years, cheerleaders no less, I saw these challenges first hand and was reminded of how I felt in my high school days as well. High school is a fashion show, plus the girls are really mean. At this point in your life you aren't making money and you depend on your parents to provide for you. What if your parents can't provide the right clothes because they are too busy paying their mortgage or putting food on the table? I hate to see young girls struggling with this! It's such a waste of time and effort and they are losing what they really should be focusing on and that is becoming who they really are and learning to be happy with what they have been blessed with. I would strive to compliment them daily on their attitudes or the way they would go about things in order to separate the things that really matter as opposed to material items that don't.

The only makeup that I wear is mascara... sometimes. And sometimes I use eye shadow as eye liner. I don't like the feel of makeup on my skin and I don't like having to put it on and take it off. It also smells. My super hero power is smell definitely even when I'm not pregnant. Lucky for me, I have always been like this even in high school so people don't know anything different. Even on my wedding day I didn't wear anything but mascara. But because people have never seen anything else it's what works for me. I never plan on changing that and I hope that Aniston chooses to stay as natural as she can. But sometimes I feel pressure because my skin isn't perfect and I should cover the blemishes up. But then I think my laziness takes over and I don't do anything about it. I just remember that I could spend that extra time I would spend putting on makeup with Aniston or sleeping, and it makes everything okay. I always wanted to be the kind of person who when my husband saw me when I wake up in the morning he wouldn't be afraid of me because I wasn't wearing makeup. I wanted him to know who I was.

Are we dressing so that other people will like us? Are we doing our hair or wearing makeup to get attention? Is that really important? It's not. I promise. it's not worth the money, the time or the effort to try to please other people with the way that you look. Just be yourself, your true self because that IS enough.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


I'm pretty annoyed right now.

I'm a little over social media and their distorted way of thinking and acting. What's my biggest annoyance???? The fact that I cannot post these videos or pictures of my innocent child, who is a baby (okay so not really, she is growing up) but she was a baby here...

Anyone see anything wrong with any of these pictures of a baby?

I certainly do not. But apparently these are immodest pictures. However, Instagram and Facebook will still allow teenagers who are barely dressed in the skimpiest of bikini's to post photos in provocative poses with seriously very little if any clothing on at all. I will spare you all an example photo.

From this I understand that apparently there is a perv out there who is turned on by these pictures and that's why they are immodest? I don't understand who else these photo's would offend. Please, come tell me that these pictures of a newborn infant turn you on. I will cut off your manhood and feed you to the dogs because that it absolutely disgusting! I am ashamed to live in a world where these people exist.

This is motherhood.
This is true life.

It is bloody hot right now, duh, it's July, and my 2 year old is constantly running around in her diaper most of the day. It is just too hot to put her in clothes. Of course just because she is in only a diaper she doesn't stop doing cute things, so I continue to take pictures and videos, but I can't post them because they will be censored. Why? Because she is experiencing real life and it's too hot for her to be fully dressed. Sorry, I'm not going to risk heat stroke or heat rash just so my child can be fully dressed in the dead of the summer heat.

I am ashamed to live in a time where we cannot express true life or the beauty of motherhood. Where provocative teenagers wearing barely any clothing at all are more free to show their nasty bodies, than the perfectly formed body of an innocent baby. Do I think that there is a line or an age where the line should be drawn, of course! I don't find anything wrong with a child in a diaper, but once they are potty trained in underwear, that, in my opinion, is when the topless photos should cease, at least of little girls.

I have dozens of photos of me in the tub with my siblings, are those considered offensive? I certainly don't think people had a problem with them back in the day when they were taken, so what has changed? What is different?

I have a private Instagram account... you can't see my pictures unless I say you can follow me. If you don't like the pictures I post, unfollow me. I have settings on my Facebook that keep my account pretty private, and you have to be my friend in order to see photos and what not. You don't like what I post... Unfriend me. Yes, there are pictures, tons of pictures on my blog of my daughter, but this is my blog. You don't like it, don't read it. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp? I don't follow skanky teenage girls who post nasty pictures, if my "friends" on Facebook post pictures or links that I don't like, I unfriend them. Instead of whining about what other people do, I understand that I have control over my life and what I look at. if I don't like it I don't need to complain about it, I can just change what I look at.

Don't censor my motherhood and I won't censor your life.

We are all at different places in our lives. There have been times when cheerleading and food have consumed my blog, Facebook and Instagram, but right now in my life, the most important thing is my family and that includes a half naked baby running around enjoying life. You can bet that I am going to post pictures of the people I love the most in their everyday environment. It's going to happen.

Stop censoring motherhood.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DAY 1047... The Best Two Years

I got Aniston's 2 year old pictures back last night and I could not be more happy with how they turned out! It was a miracle that we got so many adorable smiles out of my stubborn/sassy babe, but I had lemon heads and smarties for bribery! Ani's also at that stage where if you pull out a camera, she gets all cheesy and pulls out a smile. I think she has figured out just how cute she really is. I think that definitely manifests itself when she looks at these pictures and says, "Oh, I'm so cute." Oh, I just love her!

 My little Minnie Mouse lover! She is just such a cutie! The bench was actually made by Spencer's grandfather, and Aniston loves it! It's perfect for her little body!
 I love her chubby cheeks and her baby blue eyes!
 Aniston loves this hat! Thank goodness it was only $3 on clearance!!!! Thank you The Children's Place!
 Aniston definitely has inherited my eye shape. Sometimes when I smile really big, they get a little lost...
 Those lips!!! I'm so excited that baby boy has the big lips too!!! So luscious!
 I just love this picture! I always wonder what is going on in her little mind behind those blonde curls.
 PURE HAPPINESS! She was watching bubbles of course! What child is not magical entertained by bubbles? Also... the dimples! L-O-V-E!
 I still can't believe she is 2!!!
 Does this look like a 2 year old to everybody else? All I see is a little girl. Not a toddler, not a baby, but a little girl! 
 Cheeks for days!
I always wonder what Aniston is going to look like when she is all grown up... If she stays this cute, Spencer is going to have his work cut out for him!
 There is so much brightness and goodness behind her eyes! Aniston really inspires me to want to be better and do better in everything!
This picture might just be my favorite. I hope she takes a senior picture in this pose so we can put the two side by side and just love them!

Seriously, the past two years have been the BEST two years ever! I'm so blessed to be the mother to this beautiful girl!!!! Can't wait to see where the next year will take us!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

DAY 1044.... It's a Minnie Mouse Birthday Party!!!

Shut the front door, my Aniston is 2!?!?!? Seriously where does the time go? I was warned, like most first time parents, about how quickly your child will grow up. Since time had gone so slow previously to Ani being born, especially during the whole pregnancy part, I am pretty sure I chose to ignore that warning. But seriously.... Now it's been 2 years and I feel like it was yesterday that she came into our lives!

Aniston is pretty unique. She is amazing of course, but so grown up and knowledgable for a 2 year old. She talks in full sentences, still blows my mind absorbs like a sponge, sometimes Dad and I have to really watch what we say, and is just so dang smart. Her imagination is out of this world! Yesterday, at the parade, there were multiple airplanes flying by. We asked Ani what they were doing and her response was, "they need to go get food." I'm proud to say that my child understands and acknowledges the importance of food! She has these, what she calls, baby dinosaurs, that she plays with all the time, and I love listening to her in her toy room play by herself with them. She always has a mommy, a daddy, and a baby. One of them is always going to the doctor for a check up (thank you Disney channel) and they always sing songs together. It's pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen!

I'm kind of big into comparing pictures from the exact same day, in different years. Here is Ani the day she was born, the day she turned 1 and on her second birthday!

Ani's favorite thing right now is Minnie Mouse. So it was kind of a no brainer when it came to the theme of her party. Why do we spend hours and hours prepping for a 2 hour party? The things we do for our kids. I wanted to make as much as I could to save money and I am loving how it turned out! Thank goodness for Pinterest! How on earth did I ever get married and plan a reception without it? We put her to bed in her new Minnie Mouse jammies, and she woke up happy to Spencer and I singing Happy Birthday to her. I think she thought she was pretty cool.

I found these super cute invitations on etsy, but I didn't want to spend $40 for 10, when I knew I needed more. So I got onto publisher and made my own version. I got 20 invitations for less than $5! I just love to save money and still have a quality product. 

I also found a cute birthday banner on etsy too, but once again, my cheapness overcame and I buckled down and just made the banner myself for less than 75% of what it would have cost me.

I did however give into etsy for her birthday outfit! The outfit also came with leg warmers (way too hot) and a bow, but she liked wearing her Minnie ears much better. Super cute though! You will see more of her in this adorable outfit when I get her 2 year pictures next week! 

Aniston just wanted to eat Cheetos and not smile for mom...

A very important part of any part is the food of course! I probably went a little overboard, but Pinterest had the cutest ideas and I just couldn't say no. Getting a grill for Spencer for Father's Day was definitely a good choice. But we have SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much left over!!! Snacks for days, I can't complain.

We also had Minnie's Hammy Burgers and Mickey Hot Diggity Dogs! So yummy!

I found a cute cake on Pinterest, but then Aniston came over and started looking with me and informed me that she must have cupcakes. So I found a cute cupcake. Even though for whatever crazy reason we could not get the frosting to be red, they turned out pretty cute! I bought a chocolate mold for the bows off Amazon for like $1, and luckily my hubby has experience in chocolate molds. Is there anything that man cannot do? Also my youngest brother Ryan did the frosting... Cupcake War here he comes!

 I definitely made her cupcake stand out of can food and $1 poster board and I had the ribbon... I am so cheap!

So what is the best and most fun way to get candy to kids during birthdays? A Pinata of course. When I was younger my Dad would always make pinatas for our parties and most of the time we could not break them. We would break the broomstick or dowel or bat that we were using to attempt to break it before the pinata would break. So of course I asked him and my brother to make the pinata for us. It turned out as an egged headed Minnie, and ended up providing us more entertainment then we could have imagined. All of the little kids took turns hitting it, but because they all ranged between the ages of 2-4 it wasn't super successful. So we offered Spencer the opportunity to break her open. Can I just say how glad I am that I recorded this? 

As you can see, Aniston did not like it so much. I think she was pretty upset that her Daddy just broke open Minnie's head with a stick. Let's be honest, it's a little barbaric, but also pretty darn hilarious. And once she saw that there was candy all over the place her tears disappeared.

It was a lot of fun to have friends and family come spend the day with Aniston and to celebrate her. She was pretty blessed! Later that night we went into Idaho Falls with our friends Tara and Ryan and ate at Red Robin. It's kind of tradition considering we did it for her first birthday and now again for this one. She loves being sang to so it's perfect. Plus free ice cream.... kind of awesome.

Here is her reaction from last year...

Here's the reaction from this year...

We went to Walmart to pick up a few things before heading back and I couldn't help but to catch this moment between Ani and her Daddy. She just loves him so much!!!

Apparently we have a thing for shoulder riding on her birthday, because I found this picture from her last birthday pretty much doing the same thing with Dad... I just about died from the cutest of how these two bonds in the same ways and we didn't even recognize it.

She also loved all the fireworks she saw driving home at night. How many people are lucky enough to have fireworks on their birthday?

Basically we had a GREAT day! It's pretty exhausting having a child born the day after a holiday, and isn't it funny that my due date is the day after Thanksgiving? We must have a timing thing going on. But I wouldn't change anything! 

They say it takes a village to raise a child and boy is that the truth! I want to take the time to thank everybody who had helped Spencer and I survive the past 2 years. Because let's be honest... To be a parent is to survive. It's not even close to being easy and it is probably the hardest thing Spencer and I have ever done, but it's also, by far, it's definitely the most rewarding! To everyone who gave us advice, taught Aniston, played with Aniston, set good examples for Aniston (and she had so many good examples) and who have loved Aniston, thank you! She is such a beautiful, smart, hilarious, stubborn, sassy, talkative, loving but most of all happy child. We couldn't have done it without all of you! Spencer and I are so incredibly blessed to be the parents to such a fantastic child! We love you so much Aniston Kate! This year is going to change your life! But I know without a single doubt that you will be an incredible big sister and that you will only grow and develop new talents and skills from these future changes. You are such an inspiration and motivation to us! Thank you for allowing us to be your parents and for giving us the opportunity to learn about love and all that fun parenting stuff!

Happy 2nd birthday my little Minnie Mouse!!!!