Friday, December 21, 2012

Cute Baby Photo Friday

I like to call this photo "Hey look!  There's a baby in the mirror!"

Alternate title: I Can Sit Up!

Or: Momma Did Not Pick This Outfit

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Love You THIS Much

The following conversation happens three or four nights every week, whenever Shawn is the one to check on Eliza right before we go to bed. The lights are out and we're laying in bed just about to fall asleep.

Me: Is she OK?

Shawn: Yes

(pause)

Me: Is she breathing?

Shawn: Yes

(pause)

Me: Is she beautiful?

Shawn: (sigh) Yes

(pause)

Me:  Does she know how much we love her?

Shawn: Yes, now go to sleep.

It feels so important that Eliza knows how much I love her at every minute of the day.  I hope she can feel the love that is coming out of my every pore.  I adore that little girl, everything about her, and I want her to know that.  I think this must be genetic, or maybe a Mom thing because I recently found a Valentine's Day card my Mom sent me three or four years ago.  The line "Please know how much we love you" was repeated four times.

Thank you, Mom.  I now am beginning to understand how much you love me.  But you can keep telling me anytime you want.

Five Months

Dear Eliza,

You are five months old! And you are getting more and more fun every single day! You can now roll over from your back to your belly!  And now you LOVE being on your belly!  So much has changed!   You love Christmas Music!  Momma has a strict no Christmas music before Thanksgiving rule, but when we found out how much you love it she had to change her rule.

You love standing on your feet!  You are so close to sitting up.  We put you in your Bumbo but are more interested in leaning over to eat it than sitting up and looking around!

Momma is working on helping you sleep and it's working!  You are back to waking up once or twice a night (so much better than 3-4 times!) and napping is getting better.  Momma added reading a book to our pre-nap routine and that seems to have made a huge difference.  You will now nap for over an hour at least once a day rather than just 30 minutes at a time.

It's hard to get up in the middle of the night, but I secretly love it too.  I love holding you close as you nurse and fall back asleep.  I snuggle you a little tighter and kiss your sweet cheek before I put you back in your crib at night.

Daddy is your best comforter. If you don't want to eat it's Daddy you need in the middle of the night to help you sleep.

You smile at anyone who smiles at you.  When we go someplace new or different wether it's a store or Grandma Harrell's house you love to look around to take it all in.

You love Scooter.  And now that you are learning how to reach and grab you are more likely to reach out and grab for Scooter.  You can reach and grab things on purpose now, not just accidentally or in passing.  Momma loves to give you things to hold onto as we walk around the house, sometime's it's a clean diaper, sometimes it's a toy.

You love your cloth diaper burp rags. You love to hold them and grab them and pull them into your mouth.  We play a game where we cover your face with the cloth and I say "Where's Eliza?!" and then we uncover your face and you giggle and smile when I say "There she is!"  Now you are starting to move the cloth yourself and find me!

In the morning we sing "Oh what a beautiful morning!" and you always find my eyes and smile at me. And sometimes when you are sad I can sing that to you and you will smile at me.

Everything goes into your mouth now.  You put Momma and Daddy's hands in your mouth, all of your toys, anything you can grab.

You are still happy and sweet, a content baby.

We love you so much! We love spending time with you, how sweet you are, watching you sleep.  We love watching you learn and grow!

Love,

Momma

Monday, November 26, 2012

Missing

I'm starting to miss work, which is totally unexpected.  I'm starting to think of ways I could have done my job differently, or how I could have improved.  These are things I could never see as I was in the middle of it, day by day, but now that it's all over, I can see how I could have been better, and part of me wants to go back, wants a second chance.

I'm missing people mostly.  I miss my coworkers.  I miss driving to work with Kathy, and having cake for birthdays.  I miss Diane's weekend stories every Monday morning, and talking to Julie and Tamme. I miss asking Tori's opinion and having Caryn come in to my office.  I miss talking to Angela about my clients. I miss being downtown.  I miss going to City Creek and Gateway for lunch.  I miss lunches at the COB with The Hawaiian Haystack Thursday gang. I miss Relief Society with Emily. I miss hanging out at Apricot with Laura. I miss window shopping.  I miss putting on nice clothes and wearing heels every day.  I miss knowing everything that's going on in the city.  I miss the excitement of Outdoor Retailers.

I love Eliza and there is no part of me that would give her up to do any of those old things, even at 4:00 in the morning.  But right now I'm wishing I lived closer to downtown so it was easier to capture those old things.  I wish I could run away to Laura's for an evening of TV together.  I wish I could do lunch with Cary and Kathy and Allison at City Creek.  I miss my old friends and lately it's been harder to be so far away and in such a different spot in life.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So Fast

Dear Eliza,

You are growing up so fast and I just want to put you in a time capsule and tell you to stop!  Everyone at church today was telling me how big you are getting and I wanted to pout, stomp my feet and say "No, she's not!" to each and every one of them.  You are adorable and perfect right now and part of me wants to keep you just like this for a while longer, but part of me knows that it's impossible, and of course I want you to grow and learn and change.  I get excited every time you do something new.  The night you started eating your foot I called Grandma and Grandpa to let them know.  Daddy and I love to watch you splash and splash in the bathtub.  You are so close to rolling over both ways, and Daddy and I can spend hours watching you try.  Right now is my favorite time with you so far as you learn to interact, to watch, and to try new things.  But every time has been my favorite time.  I loved having a newborn asleep in my arms.  I loved one month old you as you started to smile.  I loved two month old you and three month old you, and I love four month old you.  I'm excited for you to sit up soon, and to crawl and walk, to learn to talk and say my name.  I'm excited for you to learn to tell jokes and sing songs.  I 'm excited for you running to your Daddy when he gets home from work.  But I can wait for all of those things because today I am just enjoying you as you are.  You are perfect.

Love, 

Momma

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blissfully Quiet

It's blissfully quiet in my house at the moment.  The baby is asleep, the dog has been put in his kennel for the night, and Shawn is at class.  It wasn't like this last night.  Last night was the hardest night I've had as a Momma so far.  Eliza's bed time is at 7, and we followed routine and she was down by 8.  But then at 9 she woke up, which is very strange for her, but we got her back to sleep.  Only to have her wake up again at 11:30, which is sadly when Shawn and I were heading to bed.  And then she kept us up literally all night long.  Shawn and I traded off taking care of her, and we would get her to sleep, put her back in her crib, and just as our heads hit the pillows and we thought, ah, sleep, she would start crying.  All. Night. Long.  We're pretty sure she had an upset belly last night.  Poor little thing.  We just didn't know how to help her, she was so sad, crying so much, not a happy camper.  And by 7:00 am when we were up for the day I was so exhausted I couldn't see straight and I kissed my poor exhausted husband goodbye for an incredibly long day.

But really, what I'm grateful for today are small tender mercies.  Because my day has been filled with them.  After not having slept I expected Eliza to be fussy all day long, but she wasn't.  Right from the beginning of the day she was smiling and happy.  She played with her toys so I could eat breakfast, she smiled and giggled at me.  Then my lovely parents watched Eliza so I could nap for a couple of hours at their house.  It is so nice to have someone I trust so completely with Eliza that I don't worry about her and can nap.  When we got home I was eating a bowl of cereal with Eliza on my lap and she reached out and grabbed the bowl and the cereal went all over the table, my jeans, the dog, and the floor.  And you know what I did?  I laughed!  I was so proud of her for reaching and grabbing and pulling and learning.  And I'm so glad for that tender mercy of my attitude at the end of a long day and long night.  Then at bathtime she started eating her toes and splashing and was just so happy again.

I was nervous about being a Momma, that I would be impatient and not understanding, especially with a little baby.  I know that there are still years to come, I know that I will have impatient moments, but I'm so glad, relieved, and thankful that today, which I expected to be hard and impossible was filled with joy and fun and a beautiful, happy baby.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Four Months!

Dear Eliza,

Four months!  I can't believe it!  You rolled over this month.  The first time it was an accident.  Then we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Wyoming and we couldn't stop you from rolling over from your belly to your back.  We tried to capture it on video, but every time you would roll before we could even get to our cameras.  It's made tummy time more challenging because you just won't stay on your belly!

One night you didn't sleep at all unless Momma or Daddy was holding you.  It was a hard night for all of us, but the next day you were your adorable self.  Spending the day with you, watching you smile and giggle made the night worth it.  That was the day you found your feet.  That was also the first time you grabbed Momma's cereal bowl and tipped it over all over the table, the floor, Momma and Scooter!  Momma was just so excited that you are learning new things, that you are reaching and grabbing that she laughed and laughed and let Scooter eat it all up.

You still love baths, and you love it most when Daddy bathes you.  You started to splash in the bathtub this month.  You love to be naked.  You hate it when we get you dressed in the morning and put pjs on after a bath.

You love music.  We also love the singer Adele.  Whenever we put her on in the car you calm down and fall asleep.

We go to Grandma and Grandpa Harrell's house every Wednesday.  Grandpa scares you a little bit, but you love being there, looking around at everything new.

We can't believe how much you are growing, how much more we love you every single day. You are a happy baby. You love to be held.  You love to bat at the toys in your play pen and can now grab them and sometimes even pull one down!

Sleeping has been challenging this month, you've stopped being a good night time sleeper and now get up 3-4 times every night.  Napping is still challenging, but we found a bottle you like!

Love,

Momma

Dear Eliza,

I am typing this on my phone as you sleep in my arms. There is nothing quite like holding you in my arms as you sleep. Photographs cannot capture your sweet angelic face, or your breath in and out. They cannot capture your warmth and heaviness, or your occasional sigh. I think I could sit and hold you like this for hours. Each night as I put you to bed my heart fills and grows and I feel like my body won't be able to contain it. I didn't know love until I met your daddy, and then again, I didn't know love until you were placed in my arms. You and daddy have captured my heart and I gladly give you posession of it.

With all of my love,

Momma

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3 Months!

Dear Eliza,

Oh my sweet girl, I can't believe that you are THREE MONTHS OLD!  You are sweet and smiley and such a joy.  My favorite time of day is when I get to come in and get you when you first wake up in the morning.  You are just laying there waiting for me and when you see me you get this huge grin on your face.  It melts my heart every time.  Last weekend when Daddy was home and we heard you awake we had a race to the nursery to see which one of us got to get you up.  You just looked back at us and smiled and giggled.  We just started putting you in a swaddling blanket that velcroes your arms in because just this last month your arms started waking you up in the night.  When we get you up in the morning and open up your swaddle blanket your arms go straight over your head and you stretch and stretch and make funny faces.  When you've finished stretching you go back to grinning you sweet toothless grin and giggling at us.  Your gummy smile is my favorite, but I can never quite capture it on film!

We've been working with you on taking a bottle this month, and you just refuse.  You used to cry and cry when we put a bottle in your mouth, but now you just sit there and let us hold it in your mouth.  You'll swallow eventually when enough milk drips in, but you refuse to suck on it.  You just don't know what to make of that plastic thing in your mouth.

We're also working on naps.  Just when I thinks I has nap time figured out you go and change your mind.  For a few weeks you would nap in your swing in the bathroom while I showered.  Then you would cry while I showered but would smile and fall asleep as soon as she got out of the shower.  Then you weren't content until you were back in my arms.  So, we'll keep working on nap time.

You still loves baths and bath time is probably your favorite time of day.  You love it when Daddy comes home and as soon as he walks in you only have eyes for him.  Even if you were starving hungry you'll stop nursing as soon as you hear Daddy's voice.  You're starting to be more aware of Scooter and you want to reach out and touch him.  Scooter is very patient with you, but still tries to get Momma or Daddy's attention when they are on the floor with you.  You definitely follow sound with your eyes and your whole head, and you'll follow Daddy too with your eyes when he's walking around.

You are still a great nurser, wanting to eat every two hours for anywhere from 20 minutes to a full hour.  You sleep so well at night usually only getting up once at night.  For five nights in a row you slept for 12 hours without getting up at all.  Momma and Daddy were grateful for the sleep, but I worried about you and still woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep until I heard you on the monitor.  (Apparently I wasn't worried enough to actually get out of bed and check on you.)

You found your hands this month and will bring them together.  You also found your legs and when we change your diaper you always reach down and grab your legs.  You haven't quite found your feet yet, but I'm sure it's coming any day!  You hate tummy time with a passion and will scream until we pick you up.

We love you more and more every day baby girl!

Love,

Momma

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nursery


My favorite room in the house is now the nursery. I find myself in there throughout the day, even when I'm not nursing Eliza.  Here's a little tour.  I don't have the best camera, photography skills, or photo editing software, so enjoy them for what they are.

My favorite spot in the nursery is definitely this chair.  It was our splurge for the nursery, but for how many hours I spend sitting there holding Eliza it's totally worth it.  The blanket on the chair was made by my lovely mother, and the blanket on the crib is from Shawn's Grandmother Helen Walker, whom Eliza's middle name come from.  (Chair from Buy Buy Baby, crib from Babies R Us, table from Ikea, lamp from Target, drapes from Ikea)


This is our changing table/dresser which I love, and our big blank wall I don't know quite what to do with.  I want to put the Alphabet on that wall, but I also want to hang something above the changing table that Eliza can look at while I'm changing her.  


We have a weird angled wall in the nursery, but it's the perfect spot for this bookcase. I love that it's filled with kids books that I've been collecting for years, books from my childhood, and new books just for Eliza.  



This is a close up of the top shelf of the bookcase.  It has two of my toys from childhood, my Annie doll, and my toy clock.  I also love the little ballet slippers, too bad they won't stay on Eliza's feet, and her ladybug bank from her Grandma Harrell.  The three photo books are still empty, and the basket contains her hair bows.  


I made this cute art piece for Eliza with a paper punch and scrapbooking papers I had around the house.  I love the little pop of color.

This is one of my favorite pieces in the nursery!  My Mom made this for her best friend in 1983 and it hung in her house ever since then.  When I had my baby LaryAnn gave it to me!  LaryAnn is my "second mother" and it means so much that it's both made by my Mom and from her best friend.  If you can't read it, it says "I hope my children look back on today/And see a mother who had time to play/There will be years for cleaning and cooking/For children grow up while we're not looking."  I think for me it might need to read "There will be years for email and facebooking."  


Shawn painted this when he was in gradeschool.  (There's a debate wether this was done when he was when he was in 1st grade or 5th grade.)  Grandma Walker had this hanging in her house for years, which of course makes it special. 


This is a painting done by Shawn's mom and it's one of his favorites.  Most of her paintings that we have are landscapes, so this one with kids is fun.  I like having things in the nursery that represent so much of Eliza's family.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Recently. . .

Things have been busy here in the Walker household and we've had no time to blog.  Except at night when I'm falling asleep and composing amazing blog posts in my head as I drift off.  Too bad those will never get published.  But I have a feeling they would be rather long, sometimes it takes a lot to get me to fall asleep.

What we've been up to recently:


  • Experimenting with ways to get Eliza to A) nap and B) nap not in my arms after nursing.  For about 10 days she loved napping in her swing in the bathroom while I showered.  Then she would cry while I was in the shower, but fall asleep as soon as I got out.  Now she will do neither.  Sigh.  
  • Right now she is sleeping in her swing with the vacuum running next to her.  At least my living room got vacuumed.  For the first time I find myself wishing our house was carpeted instead of mostly wood floors on the main level.  It doesn't take long enough to vacuum my 6'x4' rug.
  • Bonus, vacuuming also drives Scooter nuts! It's kind of fun to watch him "attack" the vacuum.
  • Thank goodness for white noise apps.  I was just able to stop the real vacuum and turn on the vacuum sound on my iphone.  I hope this lasts, mama needs a bit of a break!
  • Lots of baking has happened around here.  I tried some awesome browned butter cookies I found on Pinterest.  I had wonderful plans to post about them, but that didn't happen.  The browned butter icing was the best part.  Seriously so good.
  • We also made Cinnamon Rolls for General Conference Sunday.  Yum! And I used it as an excuse to make browned butter icing again.  Even better the second time.
  • I baked Smitten Kitchen's Peach Pie with Creme Fraiche again this year.  
  • We grew Kale in our yard, so we tried Kale chips and some Kale soup.  Neither was wonderful, so we'll be looking for new recipes.
  • We went to the Home Show because we got free tickets and I was DESPERATE to get out of the house.  And then decided we're not Home Show people.  But it was nice to get dressed up (meaning makeup and earrings and an extra check of the clothes to make sure they didn't have spittup on them) and hold my husband's hand while walking around the Expo Center.
And for making it all the way through the post, here's a picture of the cutest member of our family.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Windows

Not my kitchen, but we do have a lovely bay window.
Do you read Design Mom?  I started reading her blog when she was getting ready to move with her kids to France.  It's a dream of ours to move to another country (preferably Europe) for a year or two.  I was fascinated by her descriptions of what was different in France, particularly how school was different for her kids.  What I really like about Design Mom is the variety of topics covered on her blog.  Sometimes it's book reviews, sometimes it's about clothing in Sweden.  Today's post on Window Treatments got me thinking.  Strange that such a simple topic, why did it strike such a chord?  When I was growing up I decided when I had a house I would always keep the windows uncovered.  I loved taking walks with my family and peeking in windows.  We're not talking about stalker peeking in windows, just wondering past houses, and wondering about the people who lived in them.  We had a big picture window in our living room, and I think it was usually left open to let the light in, but we had sheer curtains too, maybe those stayed closed most of the time.

Now, here I am in my own house, home all day and my windows stay covered.  I wish I could uncover my windows and let the light in all day long.  But I have a problem, a dog, who likes to bark.  He barks at everyone who drives by or walks by or even thinks about our house.  So if the windows were uncovered he would stand by them and bark. All. Day. Long.  And so our windows stay covered and I sit in a dark house.  Maybe one day I'll be brave, and open all the windows and just let the dog bark to his heart's content.  Except when the baby is sleeping.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

Little Pumpkin wishes everyone a Happy October! 
(Especially her Aunt Stacey for whom this month is only knows as her birth month.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Phone Makes Me Swear

Have you ever seen that segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show called "Clumsy Thumbsy"? She shows text messages where autocorrect got the best of the message.  My favorite is a dad sending a message text to his child that he and his mother were getting divorced.  The child is upset and the dad responds "DISNEY!  We're going to Disney!  Stupid autocorrect!"

Well, I had my own version of clumsy thumbsy this week.  I was trying to text Shawn to tell him that I saw a bucking horse in a pasture.  My husband loves horses and I knew he'd be excited about that. I was using the text to speech function on my phone, which is usually great.  This is the result.

Attempt #1: I saw a bucking horse in a Pastor today. . .

grrr, pasture, not PASTOR! OK, we'll try field instead.

Attempt #2: I saw a King horse in field today. . .

Well, that doesn't make any sense at all!

Attempt #3: I saw a F***ing horse in a field today. . .

WHAT?

Attempt #4: F***ing, f***ing, f***ing!

(Yep, that's me trying to say bucking, bucking, bucking!)

I give up!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

This is how I found Eliza when I went to get her out of her crib the other morning. Can you tell what's wrong? I don't usually put my baby to sleep naked! She had wiggled her way out of her nightgown until it was down around her thighs! (That's the nightgown, the blue thing that looks like it's around her waist, it's actually down around her thighs.) What a clever little girl! It's definitely time to modify her sleep arrangement. I'm thinking a zippered sleep sack rather than the traditional blanket swaddle. (And can you see that we're still using a hospital blanket to swaddle her?)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2 Months

Dear Eliza,

You are now two months old! You love to smile and will smile at anyone who smiles at you.  I love it when I come in to pick you up in the mornings and you give me that big smile that says, "Hey, I know you!" You always smile at your Daddy when he comes home from work.  You are a great sleeper and will usually sleep 6-7 hours at night, and even slept 9 hours Saturday night!  I was a bit freaked out when I realized it was 7:45am and you had just barely started to make noises.  But you don't like naps and do your best not to sleep during the day.  You still love baths and being naked in general.  You are starting to pay more attention to noises like Scooter's barking or music.  You don't particularly like the car but will fall asleep if we turn the radio on.  You will coo and giggle at your Daddy and I.  You weigh 9lbs 13 oz and are 22 inches long.  You have chubby little thighs that I love to kiss and cheeks I could gobble up.  You love to grab my fingers when I'm feeding you, and you are still a good nurser, but have started to be more interested in what's going on around you during the daytime feedings.  You love to be held on your belly, and you still suck on your fist like it's a piece of candy.

This was a big month for you.  You spent your first night at the cabin and took your first trip to visit your Grandma and Grandpa Walker in Wyoming.  We went to the Doctor and you got your first set of shots which may have been harder on your Momma than on you.  You looked shocked and then cried, but fell asleep as soon as you were in your carseat and slept for several hours.  You took it all in stride and just got a little fussy, but still were all smiles when Daddy came home.

You also had your first bottle, and your first trip to the babysitter, who was your Aunt Stacey.  You also are sleeping all night in your own room now.  I think those firsts were bigger for me than you!  I am still tempted every night to sleep on the floor next to your crib, but I think we all sleep better now.

You have stolen my heart and keep it tight in your little fist. I learn from you every day and am thankful every day that you have come into our lives.  I love you more than I ever thought possible.

Love,

Momma

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Difference

There are a lot of things that are different about having a baby about the house, and here are some of them:

Things we now have in every room in the house: baby blankets, baby socks (they just fall off!), burp rags (multiples in every room, they're everywhere!), pacifiers (and she doesn't even like them!)

I do WAY more laundry than ever before, at least a load a day, and that's BEFORE cloth diapers! Wow, does this girl produce a ton of laundry!

Showers are optional, or at least it feels that way.  It takes some serious juggling or scheduling to shower.  At least I've figured out that Baby Girl will fall asleep in her swing when I shower, so now showering and nap time are combined.

I schedule everything in two hour increments, because that's how often she will need to either nap or eat.  I ask myself: Can I get that done in two hours?  Is it far enough away she'll fall asleep in the car so it can count as a nap? Is there a place where I can feed her?

We have a lot more quiet time around the house.  Both when she is sleeping, and when she is awake we love to just sit and absorb the world.

My clothing choices revolve around easy access to be able to feed a baby.  I don't miss work, but I do miss dressing up.

I feel a mighty sense of accomplishment every time I get her to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time.

My heart melts when she smiles at me first thing in the morning.

I do and say sill things just to get her to giggle.

I'm learning how to do a lot of stuff one handed.

I never knew how much joy I would find in having a baby!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More Cloth Diapers

I promise this will not turn into a blog where all I write about is cloth diapers, but it's currently on my mind, and what good is a blog if not to help you figure out what is currently on your mind.

So, cloth diapering is going really well.  We don't use them every day because we only have six currently, so it's usually a day or two between times we use them.  But I did decide that my favorite are the Bum Genius Freetime diapers, so I made a bulk order for 14 more which will give me 20 total diapers, enough to last 2 days, so I can wash them every other day.  I've been told 20 is a good place to start with cloth diapers, so we'll see how it works out.  But we did run into a snag that we didn't anticipate with cloth diapers, what to do with the wipes.  We've been using disposable wipes, and of course with disposable diapers you just put the wipe in the diaper when you fold it up and toss it, but with cloth diapers you don't do that.  So, we tried just putting them in the garbage can.  And we do have a garbage can with a lid, but after a few days the smell from the wipes can get pretty powerful.  So, we made the decision to go ahead and try cloth wipes too.  We'll always have some disposable diapers and wipes on hand, but I'm feeling very green with my cloth wipes and diapers.  I've ordered the Cotton Babies cloth wipes as well as another brand, and a wipe warmer which apparently is important if you use cloth wipes.  The wipe warmer comes with cloth wipes as well, so I'll get to figure out which cloth wipes I like if we ever need to order more.

The next snag we've run into is our diaper pail.  We got a great diaper pail that my sister recommended.  It really cuts the smell, but you don't have to use a specific brand of refills, just a regular trash bag will do.  And with disposable diapers it fits about 30 diapers, so we only have to empty it twice a week.  But with the cloth diapers it only fits 6 diapers!  That's fine since that's how many we have right now, but once we go full time with the cloth, we're going to need a new solution.  Fast!  I'm dubious wether a regular garbage can will keep the diaper smell inside.  I've read about wetbags that are made of fabric that you just toss in the wash with your cloth diapers, but I wonder how well they work at containing the smell too.  Does anyone else have experience with cloth diapers, and if so what did you use that worked?  My priorities are a container that will hold up to 20 cloth diapers AND will keep the smell contained.  And if it was also cheap that would be nice too.

Final question, I want a nice wetbag that I can keep in the diaper bag for on the go diaper changes, but Shawn thinks just taking ziploc baggies will be just as effective and cheaper.  Any thoughts?

This is Real Life

I had a really good life as a single girl.  I had a good job, bought my dream car, got to travel, had amazing roommates, life was good.  But even though life was good I always had this feeling, when does REAL life begin?  I'd tell myself, this is it, this IS REAL LIFE!  But I always felt like something was missing.  I kept searching, and kept trying to improve myself.  I took ballet lessons, ski lessons, I learned how to rock climb and fence, but something always felt like it was missing.  Marrying Shawn helped, that giant portion of what had been missing was filled in by marrying Shawn.  But even after we were married I felt like something was missing.  I was still waiting for real life to begin.  Shawn and I have so much fun together.  We both love to travel and explore, wether it's our own neighborhood or traveling abroad.  He makes me laugh and can change my mood in an instant. I love him more than I ever though possible, but day in and day out I was waiting for real life, where was it?

Last week I was loading some laundry into the dryer and I had that old familiar nagging, something was missing, where was real life?  And I thought as I usually do, this IS real life.  And for the first time, I did feel it, this IS real life. I am satisfied and fulfilled in a way I never have been before.  I love being a mother, and this is the best job I have ever had.  This is real life!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11

Every generation has it's "where were you when. . ." events.  For my parents it was probably when JFK was shot, for my grandparents it was D Day.  I remember being about 12 and the Berlin Wall falling, and my mother said "you will always remember this day, you will tell you children about this day."  And that's all I remember about that day.  I don't think I'll be telling my children about the Berlin Wall falling.  I think my generation's "where were you moment" was September 11, 2001.  I can see myself sitting down with Eliza one day and explaining what happened that day and what that means for all of us, how the world changed.  It's the day in my life that defines other days because normal changed that day.

I was in my senior year of college and still living at home in September 2001.  I got up and started to get ready for school, but instead of turning on the radio as was my routine, I listened to a classical music CD.  And then I got in my car and started pulling out of the driveway and the radio personalities were talking about planes and buildings and New York City and I couldn't figure it out.  They were the type of radio show hosts who pull jokes on people so at first I thought it was a joke, but by the time I got to the end of the driveway I realized it was real, something had happened, but I couldn't figure out just what.  My Dad rushed out of the house in his bathrobe telling me to turn on the radio and I could see that the TV was on in the house.  I drove to school and remember just being confused, wondering what was going on.  My first class was a religion class, and my teacher acted as if nothing had happened, which seemed wrong to me.  If any class should discuss the events, should provide some sort of comfort or understanding, it should be a religion class, right?  My friend Trisha and I walked to the Union next.  She didn't have class and my yoga class had been cancelled, and I knew that there were televisions in the Union and we could watch the news.  It seems strange to say now, but for me the moment I realized just how big and scary it was, was when they said on the news that they had closed Walt Disney World for the day.  I had worked for Disney the summer before, so that was relatable for me, that made it huge.

What I'll tell Eliza is that after September 11th nothing seemed normal for months.  Yes, our routines went back to normal, but the fear, the uncertainty lasted for months if not years.  I'll tell her how we used to be able to go to the gate at the airport to wait for people coming home from trips, but how that changed, and how liquids and shoes at airports have changed.  But I'll also tell her that our country came together after September 11th, that we felt unified, if only for a short while.  I'll tell her about the Olympics in Salt Lake in February 2002, because that is all part of September 11th for me.  How we watched the flag from the World Trade Center march into the Olympic stadium and we fell silent in memory not only of those who died but also of our lives before.  I'll tell her how I marched into the stadium representing the USA during a rehearsal for the Opening Ceremonies and how my heart swelled with pride because after such a tragedy we were hosting the world.

But part of my memory of September 11, 2001 happened two days before, on September 9, 2001.  I went to a fireside with President Gordon B. Hinckley where he told us to "embrace more fully the sunlight."  Two days before the events of September 11th he told us that life was going to change, that things would feel dark, but that we needed to step out into the sunlight.  And I remembered that as the world changed.  Yes, things were scary. Yes, our enemies felt closer than ever before, but a Prophet had told me to have faith, that everything would be OK.  And my faith is as much a part of September 11th for me as anything else.  When things seem dark and scary or unbearable, I remember to embrace the sunshine, to look for the good, and to know that things will get better.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cloth Diapering Day 1

Our Stash! (Sorry for the phone picture)
We got our cloth diapers on Thursday!  I was so excited, it was like Christmas Day opening our box from diapers.com.  In fact, I waited all day for the UPS delivery guy to arrive just waiting for our diapers.  (He naturally arrived just as I had gotten Eliza to fall asleep, so I opened the door when I heard the truck pull up in hopes that I could head him off before he rang the doorbell and prevent Scooter from barking, but naturally Scooter barked anyway, Eliza woke up, and I might have cursed at Scooter, maybe.)  First step in cloth diapering, preparing the diapers.  I had read stories of having to wash diapers on hot FIVE TIMES without detergent to prepare them, but luckily I found this website that explained how to prepare diapers, and also that if I didn't get cotton diapers I would only have to wash them once to get the shipping residue off, just like I do with any of Eliza's clothes.  Shawn was almost as excited as I was.  The diapers got washed and the covers air dried while the inserts went into the dryer, and they all got stuffed and folded Thursday night so I could start cloth diapering Friday morning.

I have to say, cloth diapers are CUTE! They look so cute on a little baby bum, but at the same time, they do look pretty huge on our little tiny baby.  They fit the way they are supposed to, but since I got one-size diapers that fold and snap smaller and will grow with our baby, they look pretty bulky on our baby girl.  Now, why are disposable diapers so ugly looking?  What newborn cares if they have Elmo or Winnie the Pooh on their diaper?  Why not make diapers that appeal to the adults who change them?  There are no characters on our cloth diapers, they're all just solid colors (but I did want to try a different diaper brand simply because they had this cute pattern with flowers, but they were too expensive to really justify it to Shawn).

When the diapers came I was most excited about the Flip diapers. I liked the idea of an outer cover and an insert, and I can pull out the insert and reuse the outer cover. (We got a deal with two outer covers and six inserts.)  So, they were the first diapers I put on Eliza, and they really are easy.  Of course her first diaper was messy, not just wet, and the mess got onto the outer cover, so I tossed the entire thing in the diaper pail.  (Yep, the diaper pail works for cloth diapers too!) Next I tried the Bum Genius Freetime diaper.  These diapers have the inserts semi-attached, so you don't pull them out when you change the diaper, but throw the entire thing in the pail.  I was least excited about trying these diapers out, but after a couple of days, they are definitely the easiest to change, the most like a disposable diaper.  The third type of diaper I tried was the Bum Genius 4.0. This was what I had read the most about, and what really sold me on trying cloth diapers.  Like the Flip diapers they have a separate insert, but unlike the flip they inserts are put into a pocket in the outer cover, so you pull the insert out of the pocket to wash them, and you still have to wash the outer cover every time too.

Overall, after two days of using cloth (Friday and Sunday, since I have a limited supply I washed them on Saturday and used disposables) I have to say that the Bum Genius Freetime are my favorite.  I like the ease of throwing the whole thing into the diaper pail and laundry.  Pulling a wet insert out of the Flip Diaper or the Bum Geinus 4.0 isn't that bad, but pulling a messy diaper insert out is still a little gross.  And the poop does have a habit of getting around the insert on the Flip Diaper and getting onto the cover, so if it's a poopy diaper I definitely have to change both the cover and the insert.  But if it's just wet, I still like the idea of not having to put the whole diaper in the wash, and just changing the insert. The biggest thing I like better about disposables is the convenient yellow line printed on the diaper that turns blue when it's wet or messy.  With cloth diapers you have to touch them to tell if they're wet.

I'll give them another few days to try out, but if I was ordering my supply tomorrow I'd go with the Freetime diapers.  As it is, I want to try them out longer, see how they do with more messes, if I get blowouts or other diaper problems.

Do any readers have experience with cloth diapers?  Do you have a kind you love?  We're just working on the diapers right now, but I'm starting to research cloth wipes.  And I want a couple of wetbags too (waterproof cloth bags you throw your diapers in but can also throw in the laundry) but Shawn is pretty determined we'll just use plastic bags.  And since we're not doing this to be environmentally friendly, but just economical, it seems the most economical way to go about it.  Advice?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blessing Day

Dear Eliza,


Sunday was a very special day.  Sunday was your blessing day. You had so much family come to celebrate you and be a part of the day.  You wore the same dress that your Momma wore when she was blessed, and both of your grandmas were on hand to help you get dressed and ready for the occasion.  Your Daddy blessed you in our ward and then our family came over to our house for lunch and you slept right through it!

You, Daddy, and the men who blessed you

Sweet girl, I have been to so many baby blessings in my life, but none have compared to this special day.  I feel so blessed to have you in my life, to be your Momma.  You have brought an amazing spirit into our house.  When you smile at me I melt.  When I am away from you all I can think about is getting back to you.  I can sit and watch you sleep for hours.

Daddy gave you a sweet blessing, baby girl.  You started to get a little fussy, but Daddy always knows how to make you happy, and you fell asleep and slept the rest of the meeting.  You were so beautiful in your white dress with your big white bow in your hair and white socks on your feet.  You've always been Eliza to me, but part of me felt that it wasn't officially your name until you received your blessing. Now it feels permanent, you feel permanent.  You aren't going anywhere baby girl, we are a family.  I love you more every day.

Love,

Momma

Our Family

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I have a confession. . .

I feel like I need to make a confession.  I am going to use cloth diapers.  Why should that be a big deal?  I've told a few people, friends, family, other mothers, and they all look at me as if I'm insane.  Why oh why would someone use cloth when they could use disposable diapers?  Why wash cloth when it is so much easier to throw them away?  I had the same initial reactions my friend, until I started reading more about cloth diapers.  They have come a long way in the 20 years since I last changed a cloth diaper.  There's no more folding and pinning and plastic pants.  Now they have diapers that are basically all-in-one, and they close with velcro or with snaps, easy peasy!  And they're so cute! Just look at that baby! I also learned that babies who wear cloth diapers are less likely to get diaper rash and typically potty train earlier and easier.  But the major factor for Shawn and I in deciding to use cloth diapers is really a financial one.  We were given a TON of diapers before Eliza was born, but even with all those diapers we've easily spent $50 for more disposable diapers.  Cloth diapers is a larger initial investment, we're looking at $250-$300, but once you get your supply, that's it, you are done.  Yes, you have to wash them, but as one mom pointed out, you are already pretty familiar with your baby's poop, and changing a cloth diaper isn't any worse than a disposable diaper.  Just today I've already been peed on and pooped on, how much harder will it be to wash a diaper than my own clothing.  

We've ordered our initial stock of diapers, just two each of three different kinds to figure out what works best for us.  I'll try the cloth diapers for a few days to decide what we like and then we'll do a bigger order so that we end up with 18-20 diapers.  Our diapers will arrive on Thursday, I'll let you know how it goes!

Mommy Lesson #1

Note to self: Taking care of myself makes me a better mommy.  On those days when Eliza is crying and won't sleep and won't eat and I can't seem to make her happy, if I take even just five minutes to myself, even if she is crying, it is so much easier to take care of her.  Often those five minutes are just brushing my teeth, washing my face and changing out of my PJs for the day, but those little things make a big difference and those five minutes make the next few hours better. And when I'm calmer she is calmer as well.  When I feel good, she calms down.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Martha Stewart Decal

I saw this Martha Stewart Dry Erase decal on another blog, and now I want it!  I keep thinking of wonderful uses for it, and love the fact that you can move it to another location.  Dry erase board on my fridge to make a grocery list?  Wonderful!  On the door of the nursery to keep track of feeding/changing/napping schedules?  Perfect!  What would you use it for? (It's out of stock at Amazon, but theoretically it's also at Staples!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

We Still Love You Scooter

One of the questions we get the most about our baby girl is, how is the dog with the baby?  The answer is, Great!  Mostly.  After Eliza was born Scooter was staying with Shawn's brother and sister-in-law, so we had them take home the little hat she wore right after she was born to let Scooter get used to the scent of the baby.  When we got home Scooter wasn't there and Shawn and I both remarked about how our family didn't feel complete without Scooter in the house too.  Shawn's brother brought Scooter over a few minutes later.  I stayed back in the bedroom with Eliza so Scooter could say hi to Shawn and get his energy out a little before we introduced him to the new baby.  But Scooter ran right past Shawn to find me and was naturally curious about what I was holding.  We let Scooter sniff Eliza to his heart's content, and then he was good, over the change.  And really, that's what he does most of the time.  He wants to sniff her, but mostly he ignores her.  Until tummy time and then when we get down on the floor with Eliza Scooter tries to get right between us.  He was so careful around her when she first came home, but he's getting a little less careful, and I'm getting a little more protective.  But overall, he really loves the baby.  When she's crying he always runs into the room to see what's wrong. And if I'm not with the baby when she's crying he comes to get me.  The biggest change with Scooter is when visitors come over, he LOVES them.  He's always loved visitors, but now he really tries to get them to pay attention to him.  It's like he's saying "Finally!  Someone to play with me!"  Poor guy, we are trying to make sure he's still getting a lot of attention, but it's true that he's not getting as much as he used to.  I think the older Eliza gets the more Scooter will love her.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Poppy!

Because I love a good flashmob, and in honor of my sweet Dad's 75th birthday (which was yesterday) please enjoy these two awesome videos. (Mom, you'll have to click through to watch them.)



Saturday, August 25, 2012

My New Job


The decision to leave work and be a stay at home mom was both the easiest decision I have ever made and the most difficult one.  We considered every option, every possibility, money, the commute, daycare, insurance, everything.  If I had been in this position ten years ago I wouldn't have wanted to stay home with my kids. Ten years ago I wanted to be a career woman, I wanted the job and the office and the travel.  I guess getting all of that changed my perspective, and somehow having the job, the office, the travel made me just want family, kids, and to stay home and watch them grow.  But even knowing before I ever got pregnant that I wanted to stay home, once the dream of kids became a reality I still had to make the decision, weigh the factors.  Could I really stay home with my baby girl, or was it just a dream?  

Shawn and I talked over everything, and the biggest negative was definitely the money.  Shawn is in school and will graduate in a year, which will hopefully mean more money.  Could we afford to have me stay home and not bring in any money for a year?  The truth is, at some point I may need to go back to work part time, so the first thing I did was discuss that possibility with my boss.  But, ultimately, what I really would want would be a flexible schedule so I can work when Shawn is home and not have to put Eliza in daycare at all.  And even if a part time position was available, it would mean I would still have the commute, which was one of the biggest negatives about my job.  And let's just be honest here, I didn't exactly love my job, and that's probably one of the biggest factors.  If I loved my job I might be more inclined to go back to work for a year.  I loved the people I worked with, and there were aspects of my job that were really great and fun, but ultimately it wasn't for me and it was getting harder and harder to stay motivated.  I just couldn't see myself dropping off my precious baby in daycare and driving for an hour each way to go to a job I basically dreaded.  But, I was also worried about how I would do NOT working.  I've had a job since I was in highschool, is there some part of me that needs to work?  It's only been two months, and the first two weeks before Eliza came I did get pretty stir crazy in the house, but I love being home with her.  I look forward to a time when I can do a bit more like making dinner and cleaning, so far Eliza is pretty demanding of my time and attention.  (It's taken me a week to write this blog post.)  But I do definitely need some adult interaction, and have started to find my network of fellow stay at home moms to get together with.  

I had a few people tell me to not even think about making the decision until Eliza arrived, to just wait until I was on maternity leave and then decide if I wanted to go back.  So, I researched that possibility and discussed with my HR what it would mean if I didn't come back while I was on maternity leave, and basically, that's a really expensive option.  Sure, you get paid and have insurance for those weeks, but if you decide not to go back, you get to pay back that insurance and most of the salary, so I knew I had to make a decision upfront.  I thought about going back for a short period of time, but then it was the finding the daycare again and the commute and the leaving my baby, so I decided that was also not an option, even if it was temporary.  

I agonized for weeks, months over the decision.  Then once I had made up my mind I agonized over when to inform my boss.  We were going through redeployment at work, and what I decided and when I announced my decision would effect other people. I didn't want to announce too soon and have them let me go before I was ready.  And waiting to tell work made me keep reassessing my decision.  So, I waited until about a month before I was supposed to go on "maternity leave" and then my boss came to me and asked what my plans were for maternity leave and even though I hadn't mentally prepared to have the discussion right then, I told him, I'm not coming back.  And at that moment I was liberated.  My boss was great, very encouraging about my decision being the right one and that he would not hesitate to hire me again.  And my timing was perfect.  The redeployment meant someone else was able to take over my accounts, and I had a month to close things out and transition everything over to them.  And while I miss my coworkers, I haven't missed my job, not even for a second.  Being a mom all day every day is so much harder than my job ever was.  And at the same time so much more rewarding.  I feel a fulfillment in being with Eliza that I never felt in my office job.  I truly feel like this is what I was meant to do, even on the days when she cries and I can't put her down for more than a minute.  I love this little girl more than I ever thought possible.  

I am so blessed to be able to stay home with Eliza.  I know plenty of moms who don't have that option. I also know plenty of moms who don't want that option.  And for me, for right now, this is the perfect decision.  

Picture found here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

One Month


Dear Eliza,

You are one month old!  I can remember life a month ago, a year ago, before you were here, before you were part of our family, but at the same time I can't imagine a time that I didn't know you.  Holding you in my arms right after you were born wasn't like meeting you for the first time, it was more like seeing a good friend again after a long time.  Did we know each other before we came to this earth?  Did you know that I was going to be your Momma?  I can't imagine life without you!

You are a wonderful sleeper, only getting up once at night and letting Momma and Daddy sleep five or six hours at night. You have to have your arms free when you sleep, you love your hands right by your face.  You love bath time, and never cry when we bathe you, but instead just look peaceful, like you are taking everything in.  You love being naked. You love going outside and going for walks with me in the mornings.  You'll immediately calm down if we take you outside.  You don't like your carseat.  You love your Daddy and if you are crying you calm down when he picks you up, he's magic.  You have dark hair and we wonder where it came from.  It curls when we wash it, but then goes wild and sticks straight up when it dries.  You have long finger and LONG feet.  You have skinny arms and legs but chubby cheeks that get chubbier every day, and a big Buda belly.  Your eyes are an amazing dark blue.  You love to just absorb the world looking around you or at whomever is holding you.  You are starting to smile and watch people, especially Momma's lips when she is talking.  Sometimes you even copy what Momma does with her mouth.

We love you more than we ever imagined was possible.

Love, Momma

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm a Mom

I'm a Mom.  Those three little words are so overwhelming and encompassing right now.  I've been reflecting for days on what that means.  I'm a Mom!  My love for this little girl is overwhelming, a lot of things are overwhelming right now!  I look at her and can't believe that I created her, that she is part of me and part of Shawn, and yet she is more beautiful than I ever imagined she would be.  Seeing Shawn as her Daddy is amazing, watching him hold her, listening to him sing to her, incredible.  I could sit and hold her all day long and never get anything done around the house.  When she cries my heart aches to comfort her, to make it all better, but I also have all the patience with her, waiting for her to get the cry out.  When she looks at me I feel like the most important person in the world.  I want to tell her everything at once, and yet have no idea where to begin.  How do I help her know how special and important and beautiful she is?  What is she thinking?  What does she know or remember from before she came to this earth?  Welcome to the world Baby Girl.  I can't wait to get to know you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Introducing. . .

Eliza Helen Walker
July 10, 2012 9:40pm
7lbs 2oz 20.5 inches



Thanks for the photo Laura Durham

Friday, July 6, 2012

40 weeks, 6 days. . .

Baby Girl Walker is not making any sort of movements that she either wants to or is planning on making her entrance into this world any time soon, but here are my top 10 signs it's time for her to come:

1) The carseat has been installed (for 2 weeks!)
2) I finished the pregnancy book I bought the week I found out I was expecting.
3) I finished the most dreaded task on my to do list
4) I ran out of all of the pre-natal vitamin samples my sister-in-law, the midwife, gave me.
5) The Nursery is ready and waiting.
6) I am done with work (again, 2 weeks ago).
7) My Mom is done with working in the Temple for the summer (she didn't want the baby to come before she finished at the Temple so she could come and stay with us for the first few days.)
8) Shawn's papers are all written.
9) The closets have been organized.
10) The cradle Shawn's parents made for us has been delivered and is sitting in our bedroom waiting.

See Baby?  It's time for you to come!  Well, I'm off to my OB's office for a Non-Stress Test.  We're scheduled for an induction on Tuesday if she doesn't make her own appearance into this world before that.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Having It All

I love this post by The Frugal Girl about "having it all."  It's definitely been on my mind as I decided wether or not to continue to work after Baby Girl Walker joined our family.  I have to agree with her in so many ways, to me "having it all" never included having a family and a career.  When I was in my 20's I might have wanted both, but the older I've gotten, the longer I was in a career, the longer I waited to start my family, the more I've wanted to be able to stay home with my children.  I definitely have friends who are moms who work full time, and while some of them do it out of necessity, and some of them do it out of choice, I don't know that any of them would say that they "had it all."  Just in the last week and a half that I've been at home waiting for Baby Girl I've definitely wondered if I made the right choice, if I'll be happy being home all the time, taking on most of the housework and cleaning and child care.  I realize that I might have to take a part time job, not just for financial reasons, but maybe for my mental stability having worked outside the home for more than half of my life.  But at the same time I love that for right now my focus can be on Baby Girl (when she decides to come that is) and Shawn.  And I'll figure out the cooking and cleaning and homemaking, and who knows, I might love it.  And here's to the opportunity to figure out what "having it all" means to me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A New Debate

The photo in question. . .
Yesterday on Facebook I had several friends request an update, was I giving birth?  What was the news? So, I decided to answer their questions by posting a picture of my baby bump saying "I'm Still Here."  This morning my niece, who is 13, decided to share my photo on her wall.  Which brings up a whole new debate for me, privacy issues online, especially when it concerns my soon to be here little girl.

So, back before I was married I was pretty private online.  My pictures were marked so that only friends could see them.  I only had adult friends who I knew in person and who didn't feel the need to post my photos on their walls.  Then I got married, to a person who has a facebook account who doesn't really use it.  And then I started to get friend requests from his friends and family members whom I didn't necessarily know.  But I accepted them because they were now my friends and family, even if I had never met them.  Strange how marriage changes your definition of friends and family.  And when it came time to post pictures of our wedding online, I knew that there were friends and family of Shawn who would want to see them, so I marked "friends of friends" on the privacy of those albums so that Shawn's friends I didn't know would be able to see them.  And it's actually been nice to read those comments too.  And I was fine with it, until this morning.

Now, I know my cute niece didn't mean anything by taking my photo and sharing it on her facebook wall.  She just thought it was cute.  Our dog is in it too, and she LOVES our dog.  But I feel strangely protective of it.  You can't see my face, but it is a shot of my belly afterall!  And what happens once the baby comes?  I want to be protective of images of our child, but at the same time, I want to share it with those who are important to Shawn and I.  But I don't want THEM to have the ability to continue to share that image.  And so far looking into it, the only way to protect that image is to mark it as "friends only" can see it.  Which eliminates some of Shawn's friends and family who aren't my friends.

And when you start thinking of privacy online I naturally have to think about this blog too.  How much am I going to share on this blog about my child?  Will I show pictures of her?  And while I don't like the idea of making this blog private, I also don't like the idea of strangers having access to pictures of my child.  I like this as a place to share things, thoughts about how my life is changing as I become a mother and wife, stories about motherhood and marriage and just life.  But now I feel like I need to think of clear parameters, what is for public consumption and what is too private to share?

How about you?  Those of you who are parents, how have you handled this debate?  And even if you aren't parents, how do you decide what to share online?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Still Here. . .

Well, my due date has come and gone.  I'm still here, still pregnant, still just waiting.  I might have begun the official nesting phase, but personally I feel like it's more because I'm bored that I'm cleaning out closets than because I'm nesting.  So far the kitchen drawers have been reorganized, the hall linen closet has been reorganized, and the cabinet in the master bedroom has been cleaned out, all tonight.  Shawn is even installing a dimmer switch in the nursery as I write this.

If you are friends with me in real life you likely know that I left my job to be a stay at home mom.  I do hope to write a post about that decision, it certainly wasn't one that was made quickly or lightly.  I've been unemployed for just over a week, and part of me still feels like I'm just on vacation and will be returning to work soon.  Part of me is kicking myself that I'm 3 days overdue and I could be working because really I feel great, and we need that money, and blah blah blah.  But most of me knows that work was so hard at the end, just getting there every day had become a real accomplishment.  It's hard to get out of bed early in the morning when you are exhausted all the time, and the hour long commute had become pure torture by the end.

So, here I am sitting around my house spending a lot of time reading one of my favorite books (it's 900+ pages, so it's taking a while) and catching up on facebook, and emailing friends from my office every day.  If I get one thing done from my to do list every day I feel like I've accomplished something. I get tired very easily and have to sit down a lot.

I go to bed every night wondering if tonight is the night, if I'll be woken up with contractions or my water breaking.  And every time I do wake up in the middle of the night I lay there for a moment analyzing my body, trying to figure out what woke me up, contraction? The ever present need to go to the bathroom? A cramp? Just need to turn over?  Every morning I wake up with a mixture of relief and disappointment.  I know it's necessary, but I'm still a bit apprehensive about the whole labor and giving birth to a baby thing.  And don't even get me started on the bringing home a baby and being responsible thing.

I was really REALLY hoping she would come in June.  I really wanted a June baby, and even more I wanted her to be born on June 29, my Grandma Knudsen's birthday.  No such luck.  And now I equally want her to be born on July 4th so she comes and don't want her to be born on July 4th so she doesn't have a holiday for her birthday.

But, there is an end in sight.  After tests and talking with my Dr. we've decided that if she doesn't come by July 10th I'll be induced.  One week left.  I still want her to come on her own, but at the same time am so relieved to know that there is a definite end date.

I've got lots of great posts in mind, and maybe with all this waiting for Baby Girl to come I'll actually get to them.  Is it nesting if it's getting my blog in order?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh yeah, I'm pregnant!

Here I am, 8.5 months pregnant, and it's still surprising to me.  I really have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I'm pregnant, and then again around the fact that in just a couple of short weeks I will no longer be pregnant, but will be a Mom!  I never really thought I would be pregnant.  I thought I would be a Mom, but strangely I never thought that I would get there the normal way.  I had a pretty strong feeling all through my teenage years and adulthood that I would adopt, but that I would never carry a baby.  And here I am, feeling like a whale, huge and ready to pop. Sometimes I catch the sight of myself in a mirror and an so surprised that I'm pregnant, and that I've reached the huge point.  And on the very rare occasion when I've found a comfortable position to sleep in I'll wake up and try to move and have to remind myself that Oh, yeah, I'm pregnant.  I also have to remind myself that it's not going to be like this forever.  One day it won't be quite so difficult to turn over in my sleep. One day I'll be able to look at my whole closet again, not just the small portion with maternity clothes.  One day I'll feel confident enough in my balance to wear my beautiful high heels again, and maybe I'll even be able to do it while carrying this little girl in my arms.  One day soon I'll be on the other side of this pregnancy, and then I can start thinking about how strange it is that I am now a Mother.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Five Examples of Motherhood

As I contemplate becoming a mother (in less than a month!) I think of the great mothering examples I've had in my life.  There are surely countless women I could add to this list, the Orlobs, Judy Cannon, Shawn's Mother all come to mind, but these are the examples that truly stand out for me.

Diana Wiseman is my childhood best friend's mom.  I'm sure that in the summer months I spent more time at her house than my own.  Diana was always kind to me, but not afraid to discipline me when I needed it or send me home when I'd overstayed my welcome.  Diana taught me the importance of suncreen which she liberally slathered all over her girls all summer long, and posture.  I remember being 14 and staying with the Wiseman family for a week and having dinner.  I sat up my tallest with my best posture knowing that Diana would tell her girls to sit up straight.  At the end of the meal she complimented my on my posture and I think it was the best compliment I ever got from her!

Lary Ann Bateman was my second mom growing up.  She is my Mother's best friend and she lived just down the street from us.  LaryAnn gave me my first babysitting job, and probably fired me from it too.  She would let me sit on her lap and drive her car down our dead end street.  She taught me how to make Quesidillas and about Ebelskeevers.  She makes the best home made rootbeer and carmel popcorn.  She is the first person I know who has this ability to make everyone she comes in contact with feel like her best friend.  All through school everyone I came in contact knew LarryAnn, and for good reason.  She knows how to love unconditionally.

Stacey is my oldest sister.  I remember being small, about 4 years old when my parents were going out for the night and my Mom put Stacey in charge.  I cried and cried about wanting my Mommy when Stacey, who was only 12 or 13 said she would be my Mommy for the night, my other mommy.  It worked and a few days later I cried and cried and when my Mom asked what was wrong I proclaimed "I want my Mommy!"  Exasperated, she said "I'm right here!" and I said "NO!  I want my STACEY MOMMY!"  Stacey has always been the coolest person I know, the kind of person who you want to be in her group.  Whatever she's doing seems to be the funnest, and she draws people to her.  She has been another mother to me all of my life advising me on boys and surviving teenage hood and broken hearts.  But what's truly remarkable is seeing my sister become a mom herself.  She is the best Mom, with endless patience for her son, and endless joy.  My niece said once that Stacey was her favorite Aunt now because Stacey was more fun, and I couldn't disagree.  I'm so glad my kids will have Stacey as an Aunt.

David is my brother, my sibling closest to my age.  I know it's a little nontraditional to list a man in a list of mothers, but my brother is an amazing single Dad.  He lives in Alaska, so I don't get to see him often, but every time I do I am impressed by his ability to parent his girls.  His oldest is the smartest kid I know, waxing on and on about geography at five years old.  His youngest is as stubborn as can be, and to watch him patiently work with her, whether it's to convince her to wash her face or just listen to her talk, I think it's remarkable.  He loves them fiercely for the independent people they are.  I hope I can appreciate my children for who they are the way David appreciates his.

And really, what would any motherhood list be without including my own Mom, Mary Jo Harrell? I don't really know where to start here.  My Mom has always been my example.  I've been so lucky to be the youngest, and live at home the longest, so I have gotten to know my Mother as a woman and friend.  I know her flaws, but also understand them, and that is so helpful to me as I become a Mom.  My Mom taught me love for reading and learning.  She went to college when I was a little girl, teaching me the importance of higher education, but when she saw that her family needed her more, she quit, teaching me that I (and my siblings) are the most important thing to her.  Instead of being a failure for not finishing, she is an incredible example of sacrifice and putting the most important thing first.  She always works hard and gets the project done.  She is the best person to have on your team if you need something done.  She is humble, always amazed when people ask her to do things or head up committees, not seeing her own power and strength.  She is a true example of a Christian woman, always helping others.  There is always room at her house whether it's for the homeless woman we found in the park, friends of her kids, or the autistic man in her ward, everyone is welcome.  I've seen my Mother only eat half of her meal at a restaurant so she could give the other half to someone who needed it. She loves me and forgives me.  There is no higher honor than to be known as her daughter. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Favorite Beauty Products - Makeup edition

Whether I'm pregnant or not, these are my top three beauty products.  I try to stick to a pretty simple makeup routine because if I make it complicated I'm less likely to do it, but I know I feel so much better if I just put something on, even if it's just mascara.  First up, Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream. This is a pretty new product for me, but I loved it from my first application, and it hasn't disappointed yet!  My OB wants me to wear something with at least SPF 30 on my face (apparently pregnant skin burns more easily) and since my motto is the simpler the better I wanted some sort of multitasking tinted moisturizer, and this is what the kind people at Sephora helped me find.  I tried on a few different kinds, and this has the best shade for my face, plus some of the others don't go up to an SPF 30.  It's heavy enough to provide coverage and make me feel like my skin is flawless, but light enough I don't ever feel like I've got a makeup on, just a nice moisturizer.  Plus it's a major multitasker, moisturizing and protecting and a bunch of other things that are mostly mumbo jumbo to me. 


 My second favorite product is clear mascara.  I always use Maybeline's Great Lash because it's easy to find in the drug store, and it does it's job, which is not on my eye lashes.  No, my friends, I use this product on my eyebrows.  Now, maybe I'm the only one, but I have seriously unruly eyebrows.  They hairs tend to go every which way, so I used to spend time with a nice eyebrow brush trying to get them to all go the same way.  Then, an hour later they'd be all skiwampus again.  (Is skiwampus one of those made up words?) So, then I would take hairspray and spray my eyebrow brush, and it worked in keeping my eybrows in place, but they would be crusty from the hairspray.  So, finally I heard about clear mascara, and I've never looked back.  My eyelashes stay in place all day and I feel more put together.  This is one of my most basic products, I'll use just this and regular mascara on my easiest days.


And finally, NARS eyeshadow base.  Did you know that eyeshadow base even existed?  I didn't for a long, LONG time.  I would get so tired of my eyeshadow either coming off halfway through the day, or just creeping into my creases so it looks like I drew lines on my eyelids.  And I thought, hey, they should make something that takes care of that problem, like an eyeshadow base.  So, I went to Sephora to look for an eyeshadow base, but in my typical Sephora fashion I got so distracted by all the pretty! new! products that I forgot about the eyeshadow base.  Until I got to the checkout line where they were giving it away as their sample!  It was fate!  I took it, I loved it and went back probably the next day to buy the full sized version.  Or maybe I ordered it online because these were the days before we had our very own Sephora in Utah.  You know what?  I wear eyeshadow a lot more now that I have this base.  It works perfectly, it's easy to wash off, but doesn't let my eyeshadow disappear or smudge or smear all day long.  Love it. 

What about you?  What are your live without beauty products?  I'm still looking for the perfect mascara.  One that's not too goopy, but I don't have to put on several coats, but also comes off easily when I wash my face at night.  Suggestions?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Low moment or highlight?

I had an experience this past weekend and I'm not sure if it qualifies as a pregnancy highlight or a pregnancy low moment.  Shawn and I were on our way to my family cabin 90 minutes away to do our annual Memorial Day Weekend cleaning and special this year, to rebuild the deck.  About halfway through the ride I was so uncomfortable that we had to stop just so I could get up and walk around, so we decided to stop at the Walmart.  And since we were there and their garden section looked well stocked we decided to get a watermelon and honeydew plant.  And then we decided we had better get a card for our nephew's high school graduation.  And then. . . and then. . . and then. . . we ended up doing a lot more shopping! Well, even after walking around my maternity jeans just weren't cutting it.  They felt too small (HELP!  I'M EVEN GROWING OUT OF MY MATERNITY CLOTHES!) even though they're the over the belly kind, so I put the panel part under the belly, but that's STILL uncomfortable and cutting into my belly.  So, since we're in walmart, what do I decide to do?  I bought a pair of sweat pants.  Yep, I stopped halfway to my cabin and bought new clothes since the old ones were uncomfortable.  I've decided, there's nothing to be sad about, the new pants are the most comfortable ones in my closet currently, and it's a funny story.  Definitely a pregnancy highlight.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Grateful. . .

Today I am grateful. . .

. . . for a body that is healthy and strong enough to carry a baby.
. . . that it was easy for Shawn and I to get pregnant.  We were so worried that it would be hard, and I'm so grateful it wasn't.
. . . that pregnancy is nine months long, giving me enough time to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually.  (I have 4+ weeks to go, and while I'm prepared spiritually, and almost mentally, the physically part is still a work in progress!)
. . . for a husband who has supported me in every way, has lifted my spirits, taken care of me, loved me, and listened to my concerns both valid and irrational.  In every ways I couldn't do this without him.
. . . for family and friends who have shared in our excitement and joy.
. . . for a generous friend and sister-in-law who have kept me in clothing during my pregnancy, even down to a maternity swim suit.
. . . for modern medicine that allows me to see my baby at 20 weeks and lets me listen to her heartbeat.  That's my favorite part of every appointment, hearing her heartbeat calms any fears I may have.
. . . for a loving Heavenly Father who is trusting me with one of His children to raise on this earth.  I may not have any idea yet what it means to be a mother, and I may not truly understand for years to come, but I am grateful to get the opportunity to find out.