Sunday, January 25, 2015

DAY 1244... A Couple of Months

When you're pregnant, especially the last couple of months, time seems to slow down. It takes forever for your little one to get here, and then, BOOM, they're born and time has never gone by so quickly! It's really not fair how quickly babies grow up! Benson is officially 2 months old and already weighs 12.3lbs. He's not very tall, so we have adopted the attitude of Winnie the Pooh. Benson is short fat and we are proud of that. Plus, chubby babies are kind of the best!

Benson is such a happy baby. He only cries when he is hungry, or when Spencer calls my phone. I'm thinking he's not a fan of Daddy's ringtone (Kanye West's Only One). Maybe I should consider changing it... He is sleeping like a champ, most nights, and is giving me 5-6 hour stretches of sleep. Oh man have I missed sleep! We have been sleep training the little guy and he has been doing amazing with the schedule! I have seen amazing results! We didn't have to sleep train Aniston, she just started sleeping through the night with no problem at 2 months. he has to most beautiful big blue eyes just like his sister! He still loves to be held and snuggle and he is obsessed with his swing! I am beyond excited that he is smiling now! Every morning, when he first sees me, he gets the biggest smile on his face and it melts my heart!

Benson has a ridiculously small nasal cavity, so he breaths like Vader. I don't mind it, because when I wake up to check on him at night, all I have to do is lie there and listen for him breathing. He is a master bubble blower and is starting to like bath time. He is still sporting two birthmarks on his forehead and is starting to coo a ton!

After I had Aniston I didn't know or even think it would be possible to love another child as much as I love her. This was one of my biggest fears, but it was completely ridiculous. I am so obsessed with both Aniston and Benson!

We sure to love you Benny Boo!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DAY 1232... The Responsibility Chart

I noticed several weeks ago that Aniston needed to be more directed and motivated to have a good attitude. I'm not sure if her change in behavior has anything to do with Benson being born or if she's just introducing us into the world of the terrible two's. It may be a combination of both. But she has been pushing our limits for sure. She has become louder, which I could see being related to Benson since she may feel that she needs to raise her voice in order to be heard over him. She has become more demanding, she has been throwing things, hitting things, and she has been resisting bedtime with the most insane crying/screaming I have ever heard. These things don't happen every day, but some days I feel like they all are happening without exception. So because of the crazy person she was making me, I decided to look into responsibility charts in order to motivate her to make good choices.

I'm pretty sure I stumbled upon the best responsibility chart that's made!

I had spent hours on Pinterest looking for different DIY chore/responsibility charts, but nothing really stood out to me as amazing and the perfect fit for Aniston. I had recently been introduced to Melissa and Doug and quickly became OBSESSED with their products. Aniston loves mail and mailboxes (thank you Blue's Clue's) and I got her a Melissa and Doug mailbox that we use for school and it is just perfect! So when I saw this responsibility chart from Melissa and Doug I knew that it was the right fit for us.

I love that there are so many responsibility options to choose from as well as the option to create your own. The smiley face magnets are amazing and color coded so that it's easy for Aniston to know and pick her magnet after she has been responsible throughout her day. Seriously, I have never seen a child so excited to get up in the morning and make her bed! But she knows that if she makes her bed in the morning she can come downstairs and get a blue smiley. Super motivating for her. I like that you can change the responsibilities every day if you want. We change them up every week, just so that Aniston can learn to have lots of different responsibilities. I really like how it's called a responsibility chart as opposed to a chore chart because I would like Aniston to think positively about doing daily activities that promote good clean habits as opposed to the idea that she has to do chores. I don't know, maybe that doesn't make sense but I feel as though calling her chores and daily expectations responsibilities, it makes it more positive. Spencer and I are firm believers in making sure that our children understand the importance of earning their rewards as opposed to feeling entitled to a reward. There are way too many people, especially in the town we live in, that have this sense of entitlement, and I do not understand where that comes from. Hard work is important to learn, and Aniston tells me often, "Mom, cleaning up is hard to do." But without learning and developing the work ethic to accomplish responsibilities in life, you just aren't going to get very far and that's not what we want for our children.

At first I told Aniston that if she got all of her smiley's for a week than she could go to the Dollar Tree (thank heavens for the Dollar Tree) and get a prize. However, I quickly realized that for a 2 1/2 year old, doing every responsibility, every day without fail, is really really tough. So we decided that she can lose up to 12 smiley's a week and still get a prize, but no more than that. We didn't tell her that it's okay to not get a smiley and we encourage her daily to get all the smiley's, but sometimes, it just doesn't happen.

Aniston has done such a good job staying motivated and excited about her responsibilities. I have been so impressed with her. But as I have spent so much time focusing on Aniston and helping her understand and realize her daily responsibilities and the importance of accomplishing those things daily, I realized that I was struggling to accomplish my own daily responsibilities. It's not that I don't have the time, because these days I definitely have enough time, but it's hard for me to be motivated sometimes. So, I used Aniston's responsibility chart as a template for my own. I am a list maker! I love to make lists, and even more, I love to cross things off my lists. So having a daily reminder of what needs to be done, and marking things off that list daily does motivate me and helps me to be more productive.

I never want to be hypocritical when it comes to my children. I want to lead by example. I know that in the past I haven't always set the best example, but I am capable of changing that. I am so thankful for the opportunities to change and to grow and to become better. Even though staying at home with my children everyday has been a struggle and such a HUGE change, I feel as though that this is an opportunity to become better. Being a parent has truly taught me more than I ever thought was possible. As I teach my children, I find that I learn and understand so much more than I knew before.

Being a parent is pretty cool.

Friday, January 9, 2015

DAY 1228... Beniston

Yes... I gave my children a celebrity couple name and I love it.

I am currently on my 4th day of being a stay at home mom and I am absolutely exhausted! I am also a little too emotional. Seriously, I am crying at the drop of a hat. TV is the worst. I watched the People's Choice Awards and cried like a baby. I watched Parenthood and cried like a baby (not sure that counts because I'm pretty sure everyone who watches this show cries no matter what, especially this season) I look at my kids and I cry. I'm not sure if I'm crying because I am so completely exhausted due to the fact that I haven't really gotten much rest this week or because I am just an emotional person, but it's a little bit out of control.

Besides the crying, I have been blessed to learn so much more about my children in these past few days. First of all, I am so happy that Aniston still loves Benson as much as she did when he was in my belly. She obsesses over him. Anytime he cries or fusses she wants to take care of him, she is constantly worried that he needs her. I love the love that she has for him!

I have learned that Aniston has unfortunately inherited my OCD tendencies.
I have learned that she is also capable of much more than I even knew she was capable of. She is so smart it's insane! She has had a ton of firsts this week with me being at home and focusing more on her. She ate ketchup for the first time (I don't like the smell or taste of it so I had never giving it to her before, plus washing dishes with leftover ketchup on them are the WORST) and now she is officially obsessed! She wants either ketchup or ranch on everything. I usually lean towards the ranch. We straightened her hair for the first time also. She wants to do everything that I do lately no matter what it is. I was doing the P90x Kenpo workout, so Aniston did the P90x Kenpo workout. Mom was eating eggs, so Aniston needed to eat eggs. Mom straightened her hair so Aniston needed to straighten her hair. I cannot believe how long her hair is! Plus I'm crazy jealous because she has this awesome natural ombre.
She just looked so grown up and it really made me realize how fast life happens and how quickly these little people grow up. That experience really made me feel insanely grateful for the opportunity that I have to stay at home with my kids, because someday, and someday soon, Aniston will be straightening her own hair and making her own eggs and she won't need me as much as she needs me right now. I'm thankful that I can be here with her and help her right now.

I have learned that Benson is very different from Aniston. Aniston never liked to be cuddled as a baby and this little man wants to be held constantly. Thank goodness for my wrap because if I didn't have that I would never get anything done! Aniston loved to be swaddled all the time, but at 4am every morning Benson starts grunting and fighting to have his arms free. It's also around this time that he decides that the only way he will sleep if if I lay on my back and lay him on my right side in the crook of my arm. Of course this means I don't sleep because I am not comfortable sleeping in the same bed as my infant. I have learned that Benson has inherited my grumpy sassiness that accompanies hunger. This boy can go from completely content and happy to screaming like nothing I have ever heard in the snap of a finger because he decides that he is hungry. But even if he is starving (which he never is he just thinks that he is) he will instantly calm down and almost always fall asleep if I pick him up and hold him on my chest with his head on my shoulder.
I have learned that he really needs me. He needs me more than he needs anyone else. I was worried that staying at home would make me feel useless and unneeded and unappreciated. But I am finding so much worth in myself even after just 4 days. I am finding that I am desperately needed and wanted by the people that I love the most. I am finding that even the thought of someone else watching them breaks my heart because I want to be with them all the time. Aniston says thank you for every single thing I do and constantly tells me she loves me. Although I miss and love the kids that I worked with, I would rather be at home raising my own kids instead of raising other peoples children.

I'm not going to lie. I have lost my temper more than I can count in the past 4 days. I have escaped from the neediness and cries in the bathroom for several minutes. I have even questioned my decision a time or two. But I know, without a doubt, that this is what I am suppose to be doing right now. It's the hardest job I have ever had, but I know that it will be the most rewarding. My appreciation and love for my own mom, who was a stay at home mom, has grown immensely. I never understood how hard she actually worked, and I am so ashamed to say that I really thought staying at home was easy. But it's not. I look at my friends who have been doing it for years and I just think that they are so amazing! I am thankful that I have so many women in my life that I can look to for strength and that have offered me help or just an ear to vent to. That means so much to me, especially since we seem to live in a world where friends are based on convenience.

It's been a very challenging week. But I know that being a mom is much like anything else in that it takes time to adjust and to learn the job duties. It will take time for me to be completely comfortable in this job, and I'm okay with that. I'm especially okay with that because meanwhile I get to spend everyday all day with two of the most beautiful and perfect little people ever who I have been blessed to be a mommy to. I'm so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be immersed in motherhood right now and to not miss a minute of my children growing up. It is a serious blessing that not every mother has, and I just feel to thankful that I am able to have this blessing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DAY 1225... Ch-Ch-Changes

I have always been fairly happy being a working mom. I got my job in Rexburg when Aniston was only 10 days old, so I have really never been a full time mom. To make matters worse, I have never really been a full time wife either. Work has always held me back in those regards and that's been really hard for me to accept.

A year and a half ago, I quit coaching to have more family time. It was something that I loved doing, something I think I was good at, and it was something I did for me. But in the long run, it turned out that my hobby of coaching was taking so much time away from my family and was becoming a problem especially in my marriage. Between practices, 3-4 games a week and competitions, I wasn't really at home as much as I should have been and even when I was home, I was constantly distracted. Quitting was really hard for me and I still miss it all the time. But I know without a doubt that that was the right decision for me to make in order to better my personal life.

After having Benson, 6 weeks ago today, I had a desire to stay at home with my kids instead of working. Of course, it wasn't even an option. Spencer is in school and I needed to work in order to provide for our family.

Then a miracle happened.

Spencer was offered an internship in Rigby, a close city, that pays well and fulfills 1 of his 2 required internships. After crunching the numbers we realized that he would be making more than I was and that we could consider some changes in our life. Once again, I was faced with a HUGE decision. For me, my job wasn't just about making money. My friends were at work, I loved my job, it was such a blessing to have a job like that. I was worried that if I quit my job I wouldn't have any friends. I worried that I would go days without adult contact. I was worried that I would stay in my sweat pants all day. I was worried that I was not a good enough mother to do it full time.

I spent the past couple of weeks really considering my options and thinking about what to do. I looked into child care options, but for what I wanted it basically would take a ton of money. I realized that I would rather stay at home with my children, then work and pay someone else a majority of my paycheck to watch my kids. That wasn't something I wanted to do. If something ever happened to my kids when I choose to be at work when I could've been with them, I would never forgive myself.

Yesterday, I decided I would rather be a stay at home mom than a working mom. For the remainder of the school year I will continue to do the paperwork side of the program, but that can be easily done from home.

This is such a huge change in my life that I feel so overwhelmed and scared. I'm definitely excited. I'm excited to be able to have dinner ready for Spencer when he comes home from work and to have him walk into a clean house. I'm excited to never miss a moment with my babies and to be able to get to know them even better. Work provided a wonderful opportunity for my little family. It was the perfect job for the past 2 1/2 years, but my family has changed and evolved, and so life is changing and evolving.

I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to stay at home because I know not every mom has this opportunity. I'm blessed to have a husband who feels that me staying at home is important enough that he is making it possible for me to stay at home. I am flattered that he considers me a good enough mom to take on this adventure, and that faith in me really inspires me to be the best mom that I can possibly be. I know that staying at home will be one of the biggest challenges that I have ever had in my life. I like to be accountable and I like to see my work praised, and that's why I liked to work. But I know that raising children with good values and under my own care will be the greatest work that I will ever do.

Friday, January 2, 2015

DAY 1221... This Year

A bad habit I am going to break:
I am absolutely the WORST at excepting compliments. I want to do better at accepting compliments and saying thank you as opposed to brushing off the good things that people are telling me.
A new skill I'd like to learn:
I have wanted to learn to crochet for years! This year, I am actually going to learn that skill and it's my goal to rock it!
A person I hope to be more like:
I want to be more like my Mom. She loves everyone regardless of race, sex, religion, differences of opinions, etc. She always has open arms and just loves others so completely. She doesn't gossip and she is just so Christlike. I definitely want to be more like her.
A good deed I'm going to do:
I want to teach my children about volunteer work. I want to find a place within my community that will allow a 2 1/2 year old to help them somehow. I want my children to understand and realize the importance and value of service.
A place I'd like to visit:
I want to go back to Redmond, OR where I graduated high school and visit my friends who are still there. I want to show my husband where my memories happened and where I grew up.
A book I'd like to read:
I would like to read the Book of Mormon on my own in it's entirety by the end of the year. I am so good at starting to read it, but I haven't read it all the way through, on my own, since high school. 11 years is way too long.
A letter I am going to write:
I want to write to my brother Jake, once a month, while he is on his mission. I want my children to still know their Uncle Jake when he returns in 2 years and I want him to know and feel our support during those 2 years.
A new food I'd like to try:
Humus scares the heck out of me. I don't know why, but it does. This year, I want to try humus.
I'm going to do better at:
I want to do better at focusing on the positive and not dwelling and living in the negative and in the past. There is so much good in life, that I really want to focus on that good and to embrace the positive that can be found in every day life.