Baby Owen’s Birth Story

I wanted to share this story while it’s all still so fresh in my mind. Let’s start by going back to Tuesday afternoon. I had just gotten home from getting a nice prenatal massage. I sent a text to my midwife asking her when she wanted to come over for our next and hopefully our last prenatal appointment. I was like most women in their last week of pregnancy, getting extremely anxious. She said she had just delivered two babies recently and needed a day to re coop. So that night I had it in my mind that I did NOT want to go into labor. Very different from every other night the previous week. It was about 11:30 at night, Sean and I were in bed watching a show together when I started noticing some light contractions. I thought they were just some Braxton hicks, but then they seemed to be coming pretty frequently. I thought, shoot, not tonight, of all nights, just not tonight. So I waited a little longer and the contractions continued to come. I got out of bed and started cleaning everything like crazy. Doing laundry, dishes, cleaned my bathroom, cleared everything off my bathroom and bathtub counters. I wanted everything to be perfectly ready just in case.

After I was done with that I was going to try to get some sleep. Before I got into bed I went to the bathroom and noticed some blood in the toilet. I thought, Oh boy, this is really happening tonight. I began to time the frequency of my contractions and found they were coming about every 4 minutes. I went in to tell Sean. He had just barely fallen asleep. He got right up and was ready to go.  We then preceded to get even more ready. I sent a text to my midwife and photographer just giving them a heads up. I brought my fitness ball upstairs, turned on my essential oils defuser with lavender oil, Sean made me some tea, got my birthing audios playing in both the bathroom and bedroom, and filled the tub. We got some candles going, set up some seating, put cushions in the tub and outside of the tub, and got a bunch of towels out ready to go. I did my hair and put on a little make up too :). I had to look good while giving birth. 

So finally I felt ready to relax and focus on labor. I first sat on the fitness ball for a while, just rolling my hips around. Sean was there by my side catering to my every need, getting me drinks, giving me massages, and just making me feel relaxed. This time around I wanted to labor more without everyone there. With Brooklyn’s birth I called everyone over right away and found it hard to focus on relaxing. So it was nice to be alone with just Sean and I for a while. I got to a point where I started shaking a little. I was trying so hard not to let fear into my mind. The contractions were getting more intense and I was beginning to fear the pain. I suggested we say a prayer together. I needed God’s help to keep me calm, and praying really soothed me. It was about 3am and Sean knew things were progressing fast so he called over my midwife and photographer.

I decided to get into the bath. I labored in there for about 20 minutes, then my midwife came. She checked the baby’s heart rate, then I asked her to check me. I wanted to see how close I was to 10 centimeters. She checked and I was 8 centimeters dilated. I was relieved to hear that and felt proud that I had managed the pain so well.

I decided to get out of the bathtub for a bit. I thought I might try some different positions, thinking the contractions would be easier. I first went to the bathroom, I sat there for a minute until a contraction came. It was so intense I felt the urge to push. I got up as fast as I could after the contraction was over and Sean helped me get right back into the tub. I knew I was getting close. I had about 3 contractions that were so unbearably hard I began to get discouraged. I was remembering Brooklyn’s birth and how I had to endure those hard contractions for a whole hour. I just couldn’t imagine having to do that again. Sean was amazing, he was coaching me and giving me words of encouragement. Then the next contraction came and I just had to push. As I did, Owen’s head came right out. I was so relieved his WHOLE head came out instead of just half way like Brooklyn’s did. This gave me a little break until the next contraction came and I pushed the rest of him out.

I was overwhelmed with happiness. Happy to be holding my baby boy after 9 months of anticipation. Happy that he cried and started breathing right away. Happy that the labor went so quickly and so beautifully. It was just all out amazing!

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Right away we sent someone down to get Oliver and Lily. Oliver was too out of it I guess and said he’d be up in a minute. Lily of course came right up and was so excited. Oliver came up a little while after, took one look and went right back down to bed.

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I felt amazing afterward. Everything went exactly how I had imagined it over and over in my head. I didn’t need any stitches. I loved that I chose to labor and deliver in my master bed and bath this time. I loved being in my own home. I love that my kids could be there so soon after. I loved getting to sleep in my own bed WITH my husband. A few of the many perks of a home birth.

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At 6:00am everyone left and Sean and I got into bed with our little baby boy. I tried to sleep but wasn’t able to. I was on such a high. Brooklyn woke up at 7:30. Sean brought her into our bed. We didn’t say anything about the baby yet. She fell back to sleep for about an hour until she was awoken by little baby Owen cries. She jumped right up and said, “my baby”! I grabbed him out of the basinet and brought him to her. She was so adorable I wish I had it on video. She was all giddy and excited, just kept saying, “oh, my baby Owen, he came out”.

I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out. Love my baby Owen :). Thank you to my wonderful midwives Melissa and Heidi. Thank you to my incredible photographers Stacey and Corinne. And of course thank you to my most amazing husband Sean! I couldn’t have done this without you.

More pictures and a video of the birth is yet to come.

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Trusting In God

Today Sean and I  had the opportunity to speak in church and I would like to share my talk with all of you. Here it is below.

The topic given to us to speak on today is, PUTTING YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD. The first thing that comes to mind is of course FAITH. The opposite of faith is fear, and fear is one thing that I’ve really struggled with over the past few years. So I was kind of excited to get to speak on this because it’s something I’ve been meaning to study up on. I think a lot of you can relate to the kind of fear I’m talking about. It’s the fear and worry that comes with being parents.  We hear of all sorts of tragedies going on around us and we pray daily that God will protect our own little families from these sad awful things.

We know we are here on this earth to learn and grow through our trials and tribulations, but we still often fear and wonder why God will ALLOW bad things to happen.

Although I know and believe that God has a purpose for everything, I still sometimes lack the TRUST that no matter what happens, it will be OKAY.

We cannot comprehend completely why God allows certain things to happen, but there are many stories in the scriptures that can bring us a little more peace in the matter. Even though we can’t understand everything about it, we can understand SOME things.

First of all, God gave us Free Agency, which is a huge blessing, but also when not used wisely, can bring tragedy and suffering. He also said that there must be opposition in all things. We cannot know and appreciate the good if there wasn’t the bad.

I read a great article on this topic by a Christian Author, Lee Strobel. He brought up a good point. He said,“Look at it this way: many of you are parents. Even before you had children, couldn’t you foresee that there was the very real possibility they may suffer disappointment or pain or heartache in life, or that they might even hurt you and walk away from you? Of course—but you still had kids. Why? Because you knew there was also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning.”

Although pain and suffering is not good, one thing we know is that God can use it to accomplish good. Just like the scripture in D&C 122 says, all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good.

He promises to cause good to emerge if we’re committed to trust and follow him.

Another quote I want to share with you is from the same article by Lee Strobel.

“God took the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe- the death of God on the cross- and turned it into the very best thing that has happened in history of the universe: the opening up of heaven to all who follow Him. So if God can take the very worst circumstance imaginable and turn it into the very best situation possible, can he not take the negative circumstances of your life and create something good from them?”

He can and He will. God can use our suffering to draw us to Himself, to mold and sharpen our character, to influence others for Him- He can draw something good from our pain in a myriad of ways… if we trust and follow him.”

Recently I heard a great example on how our struggles will be turned into something great. It’s like making chocolate chip cookies. What if you ate each ingredient by itself? They weren’t meant to taste good by themselves, but when you mix them all together, THEN do they become something amazing! That’s how our lives are. All things work TOGETHER for our own good.

I remember back when I was in 6th grade. I lived in a small town called Tooelle. I absolutely loved it. I loved my neighborhood, my school, I had so many friends and was just completely happy and content. Then my parents told me we were moving back to Salt Lake. I was devastated. At the time, it seemed like my whole world was caving in. I only had a month left of 6th grade and then I would be starting junior high. Can you imagine? Going into junior high as the “new student”? How could my parents do this to me? I thought.

 

Well, we moved and I changed schools. I had to try to make friends fast before I entered those dreaded junior high years. It was not easy. In a matter of days I went from having lots of friends and feeling pretty “popular” to hiding out in the bathroom at lunch time because I was embarrassed I didn’t have anyone to sit with. It took me a few years to rebound from that. Junior high was hard, but high school turned out to be a lot of fun. Now when I look back at that experience, I’m grateful for it because I saw how it pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and make new friends. Not only that, but ten years later I realized even more why it was part of Gods plan for me. If I hadn’t of moved then, I would have never met my best friend who would one day introduce me to my husband. And of course I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

The other day I woke up from having a dream that inspired me to share my friends Caeli’s story. She is actually a former mission companion of mine. We became good friends on the mission and have kept in touch ever since.

A couple of years ago she became pregnant with her first child. At the 5 month routine ultrasound appointment they discovered that their baby girl wasn’t developing properly and had no chance of surviving after delivery.

They continued out the pregnancy and delivered a beautiful baby girl whom they named Hope because of the deep hope they had that the doctors would be wrong and she would be their little miracle baby.

Sadly it wasn’t the case. She lived for 5 weeks until one night, passed away in her mothers arms.

My friend Caeli wrote all about her experience on her blog, Caeli Ocea and I wanted to share a portion of it. She is just such an great example of someone who has taken a tragic experience and turned it into something good by inspiring others. She allowed it to help her grow closer to Christ. She saw the beauty within the trial.

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“The 37 days with Hope changed me…I try to have more patience with tele-marketers now.  I say nicer things to the crazy drivers on the road.  When I think of time, I don’t think 5 or 10 or 30 years down the road.  I’m thinking about 60 or 70 when I join Hope and what I want to have become by then and what I can do now to be that way.

My time with Hope was THE sweetest, THE most consecrated time of my life.  I know I walked with Christ.  She made me feel like no one has ever made me feel.  To this day I have never felt the exquisite happiness I felt watching Tyler hold and blow raspberries and talk to his little daddy’s girl.  Hope’s smiles changed my world.
I can say that was the sweetest time of my life, not because every minute was peachy, but because of Hope and family and of what I was able to overcome.  To me, the sense of accomplishment that I endured well, without ending up a bitter, fearful, doubtful person means everything.  And in that sense, I have come to believe that hard knocks, or trials or whatever you call them are one of the most EMPOWERING things in our life.  Sooo…Come what may, and love it.”

So I’m learning that instead of fearing what the future may hold, I can find peace and comfort in knowing that what ever happens, it’s all part of our Heavenly Father’s brilliant plan for us. To me, trusting the Lord is letting go of the fear of tomorrow and enjoying this day that I have right now, leaving the details of my future up to Him. I know that God wants us to learn important lessons in this life so that we might experience eternal happiness.

 

The Wrong Road

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Yesterday Sean shared a video with me that brought major clarification to a question I’ve had about prayer. My question is, why do we sometimes feel, after praying about something, that one way was the right way, when in the end it wasn’t. Watch this 3 minute video by Jeffrey R. Holland and you too will have a greater understanding to why this is sometimes the case.

A few years ago I had an experience similar to this and have always wondered why I felt so strongly to do what I did when in the end it didn’t work out the way I had hoped.

One of my really good friends and I had a falling out about 8 years ago. I couldn’t help but want to hold onto that friendship because of our history. She was a huge part of my teenage years.  I prayed and prayed about what to do and felt very strongly that I should reach out to her again. I didn’t want any feelings of regret, nor did I want to feel guilty, like maybe I hadn’t done enough. I wanted to be humble enough to apologize for anything I may have done to cause contention between us. So I reached out and we were able to resolve our issues and become friends once more. I felt great about it for a few months but then the same old things began to happen. I felt judged, belittled, left out, unappreciated and eventually I realized that this person was bringing me down. Instead of feeling good and fulfilled after being with her, I felt drained and really down on myself.

I couldn’t understand why, when I prayed about this, I felt so inclined to contact her. This friendship was so obviously not doing me any good.

After watching that video I finally have more clarity on this situation. God wanted me to know with a SURETY that I did all I could do and that some friendships and people were meant to be left in the past. Which brings me to a few more quotes I’ve recently come across on Pinterest.

“We cry over friends we will never have back

People we once loved

Bridges that have been burnt.

But there’s a reason the past is in the past.

You only have so much room in your life,

Save it for people that deserve it.

Chances are, if someone’s in the past,

They deserve to stay there.

-A.M.

 

Cutting people out of my life does not mean I hate them, it simply

means I respect me!

 

Life is like an elevator:

On your way up, sometimes, you have to stop and let

some people off.

 

I have great memories of my friendship with this person and I will cherish them forever, but it’s time to let go and move on. I’ve done all I could do and through this experience have gained some closure to that chapter of my life. I’m finally at peace with it and so grateful for the power of prayer and how it has gotten me through so many of life’s challenges.

Extended Nursing

I’ve been wanting to talk about extended nursing (nursing beyond the first year) for a while. Brooklyn is the first baby that I’ve attempted extended nursing with and I loved every minute of it. She will be turning two in about a month and I’m proud to say we just barely quit last week.

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I really enjoyed every bit of time I had nursing her. So much snuggle time that I will forever cherish. I felt like I was really able to enjoy her baby stage. We all know how fast they grow, and I felt like I was able to extend it just a little longer. I also enjoyed the convenience of nursing. Never once had to make a bottle in the middle of the night like I did multiple times with Olly. I loved that I was always able to soothe her no matter what. She actually never even had rice cereal or baby food either.  She nursed for 9 months and went straight on to regular food. I of course tried feeding her baby food multiple times starting at 5 months, but she didn’t want anything to do with it. I figured as long as she was healthy and growing then I had nothing to worry about. I actually felt pretty proud that my body was solely producing all the nutrition she needed to grow up until that point. My goal was to nurse her for 2 years and I basically reached that goal. Just shy one month but only because being pregnant has made my milk dry up.

Extended nursing is quite foreign here in the U.S. I didn’t even consider it with my first two for this reason. I never heard of anyone doing it, so I didn’t bother reading up on it. Since taking a more natural approach to things, I’ve become quite educated on the benefits of nursing past the first year.

Some of the benefits include:

info from Babycenter.com

  • Even though your child now gets most of his nutrition from solid food, breast milk still provides calories, valuable immunities, vitamins, and enzymes. In fact, studies have shown that breastfeeding toddlers get sick less often than their peers.
  • Breastfeeding is good for your health, too. According to the surgeon general, exclusive breastfeeding for longer periods is associated with a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers in women.
  • As your child becomes more independent, breastfeeding can be an important source of reassurance and emotional support. The strong connection your child feels with you while nursing will foster independence, not make him overly dependent or clingy as some may have you believe.Our culture tends to believe that pushing children away helps them develop a strong sense of self-worth and independence, says Kathleen Huggins, author of The Nursing Mother’s Companion, when in fact, the opposite is true. Forcing a child to stop nursing before he’s developmentally ready won’t necessarily create a more confident child – rather, it could make him more clingy.
  • If your child is sick, breast milk may be the only thing he can keep down. You’ll feel better too, knowing that you’re helping him fight off the illness.
  • If you travel a lot, breastfeeding is a lot easier than carrying around formula or worrying about having to buy it at your destination. And when you stay overnight in a strange place, the comfort of your breast may be the best way to ease your child’s fears and make him feel more secure.
  • You may be able to put off getting your period for a year or more, an advantage for anyone who dreads the thought of dealing with cramps and bloating again. But keep in mind that nursing isn’t an effective form of birth control, especially after your baby is 6 months old (when you’ve introduced solids and you might not be nursing as often). It’s a good idea to use a backup birth control, such as a condom, every time you have sex if you’re not ready to have another baby.
  • Continued breastfeeding may help to keep your weight in check. Some research shows that breastfeeding combined with a healthy diet and exercise may keep you trimmer for years to come. Other research shows that extended breastfeeding protects against excessive weight loss in women at risk of being extremely underweight.
  • Weaning your child when he’s ready is more natural and less abrupt than picking an arbitrary end point. Nursing a child beyond the first year was common around the world before the invention of formula and still is in some cultures.

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I noticed many benefits with Brooklyn. First of all she hardly ever gets sick. She’s had a few colds here and there, and did get the stomach flu once, but I was grateful that I was still nursing her since that was the only thing I could do to comfort her. Plus, she obviously didn’t want to eat anything else, so I felt good knowing that she was getting nutritionally hydrated through my milk. I’ve never had to take her to the doctor once and I’m pretty proud of that.
The ONE downside to extended nursing, which really wasn’t that bad, is that it was harder to wean her. I never had trouble with that in the past. I weaned Lily at 8 months (and I really don’t even know why I did), and Oliver sadly weaned himself at 3 months :(. So when I tried to wean Brooklyn, I had a  hard time. I hated telling her no more “boo boo”. I admit, I gave in several times, even though I wasn’t even producing much milk. I just felt bad withholding something that brought her so much comfort. Not only that, but I was having a hard time letting go myself. I was sad that my nursing time with her was coming to an end. It’s a fact that holding and snuggling babies releases endorphins, and once babies reach a certain age, they don’t want to snuggle as much. They are just too busy :(.

I’m still amazed with how much I DIDN’T know when I first became a mom. Thank goodness I still have time to put into practice what I’m learning:).

 

Homeschool Public School

To fill you in on our homeschool situation. So far I’ve homeschooled Lily through kindergarten and first grade and now we’re beginning second grade.

For the last month of first grade I put Lily into public school. Not because I had given up on homeschool, but simply to allow Lily to try it out. She had a great time and absolutely LOVED it!  As you all know, the last month of school is filled with activities, parties, and field trips. So of course she was loving it. She insisted on going to public school again for second grade. I do want her to have some say in whether or not she goes to public school. So I told her she could go again for 6 weeks while we were down in St. George. This time she experienced REAL school because there weren’t quite so many parties and activities going on. She still liked it to a certain extent, but was complaining about it being so LONG and boring. She asked if she could do school at home on some days and I told her “no”. I didn’t want her to think that public school and homeschool was a daily option. So I made her stick it out for the full 6 weeks.

It’s not that she didn’t like public school all together but I think her experience there came to my benefit. Now that we are back to homeschooling I see a dramatic change in her. She fights me less on things and just does her work without complaining. So I think it was good for us both in many ways because we have come to appreciate homeschool even more.

When she first went off to school I hate to admit this, but I was on cloud 9. I suddenly had all this free time to do the things I wanted. The house was more quiet and peaceful, I had more alone time with Olly and Brooklyn. I was less stressed, and just felt relieved. It was nice to hand over the responsibility to Lily’s teacher. Also, it was a good chance for us both to see where she stood academically. I always wondered if I was doing enough with her and if she was on track. So when I got great feedback from her teacher on how well she was doing and actually above average, I felt even better. It was nice to know that I had done my job.

During the summer we kept up on a little homeschool. I just required that she read every day, wrote in her journal and did one math worksheet daily.

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Lily’s first day of second grade in public school.

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When second grade came around and she was back in school, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I did the first time. I missed our homeschooling days, crafts, and activities. My day was so open while she was gone, that I was even a little bored. I tried to continue planning fun lessons and activities for AFTER school, as well as work on the kids doing regular chores. But once school got out the days just kept slipping away so fast. Lily wanted to play with friends every day, so I let her. Then we’d have dinner, do homework, and rush off to bed just to do the same thing the next day. I wasn’t getting ANY time with her. I had lists long of things, lessons, and activities I wanted to do with her, but just never had the time. I was competing with her friends and never won the battle.

So this public school experience has just made me appreciate the TIME I have each day with homeschool. Sounds like it should be the other way around right? But, like most cases, you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone. I appreciate being on my own schedule, no rushing, just laid back days full of learning, activities, and time together. I have the time to teach my kids more life lessons, not just math and reading. We have time to be consistent with chores, daily devotionals, relaxed meal times together, playing outside, being creative, going on field trips, ect. We are never rushing, just enjoying life TOGETHER.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are still many things I love about public school. For instance, less responsibility for me, more social interaction for her. I love for her to just have the experience of GOING to school. I didn’t homeschool growing up, so it’s weird for me to think of Lily’s life without public school experiences. Just the little things like getting to bring lunch from home, or having school lunch, and recess, learning tricks on the bars, riding the bus, making friends, school performances and assemblies. Those things were the things that I remembered, not so much what I learned, but those memories are great.

So many choices we have as parents. *sigh*

We are all just trying to do our best, hoping that we are making the right decisions for our children’s future.

Isn’t it tough being a parent? One of the hardest jobs on earth, but of course, the most rewarding. All we can do each day is continue to do our best, follow our hearts and cherish this season of our lives.

Update!

Wow, I can’t believe the last time I blogged was in May. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do :).

Most of you are my friends on Facebook or we are following each other on Instagram, so you probably know the gist of what I’ve been up to. But for those of you who have no clue where I’ve been, here’s a little update in a little more detail than what I post on Facebook and Instagram.

Our awesome fun filled summer full of theme parks, fireworks, and swimming, came to a crashing halt when Lily woke early one morning with what we thought was the stomach flu. That whole day she complained about a sharp pain in her lower right side. We didn’t think much of it until we noticed the pain seemed to be getting worse. Sean being the more proactive parent he is, started doing research online. He came to the conclusion that it was probably her appendix and from what he learned, if you don’t have it treated, it could turn into a very serious problem sometimes even fatal. So he took her to the ER at midnight. When they got there Lily seemed to be doing fine, so they turned around and went home. She woke up again early the next morning crying because she was in so much pain. She threw up again, and of course at that point we took her straight to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and sure enough, it was her appendix and it had slightly ruptured. They transferred her to Primary Childrens hospital to have the surgery to remove the appendix. She was SO not happy about this whole thing, the shots, the surgery, and having to stay in the hospital for 3 days. Then of course, she had to really take it easy for the next couple of weeks. No jumping, no monkey bars, and no swimming. So sad :(.

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The last 2 days Lily was in the hospital I started feeling nauseas, had bad headaches and was extremely tired. I thought maybe it was just the stress of Lily going through such trauma. Or maybe the hospital food, not sleeping well, ect. After feeling this way for 3 days in a row I started to really wonder. Then I thought MAYBE I was pregnant. Didn’t think it was possible because first of all Sean swore his “birth control/timing method” worked. Second of all, I don’t usually get nauseas right away. I did however realize that it had been a while since I had my period. It was like 10:00 at night when I decided to take a pregnancy test. I thought it probably wouldn’t work even if I WAS pregnant because you know they say it’s best to test first thing in the morning. So I was shocked when the test came out clear as day positive. I ran in to Sean all giddy and showed him the test. He of course didn’t believe it. For some reason he never believes the tests right away. So we went to bed thinking that maybe it was wrong. I couldn’t sleep though of course, I just HAD to know. So about every 3 hours I’d wake up and take another test. After the 5th positive test I was starting to believe it and so was Sean. He was still skeptical that the tests were accurate because I bought them in bulk and they were way cheap. So I told Sean to pee in a cup for me. I tested his urine to see if he was pregnant :), thank goodness he wasn’t, lol. So I think that’s when we both started to believe that it was real.

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So I think it’s safe to say that Sean’s birth control method does NOT work.

Even though we weren’t planning this pregnancy, I’m totally excited! It’s really fun to a SURPRISE baby!

I’m 15 weeks now. Baby is due March 25th, 2014. I plan to have this baby at home again. It was such an amazing experience with Brooklyn and I just can’t wait to do it again. So far the pregnancy is going well, just got over the awful first trimester thank goodness. We got to hear the babies heart beat yesterday which is always a comfort. All the tests came back perfect. So, I’m just incredibly grateful to be having another baby, and for good health thanks to Isagenix.

That’s the first segment of my update. Next I plan to fill you in on my homeschool public school changes. Kind of a crazy long story, so I will be sure to share that soon. Hopefully within the next couple of days.

 

Feeling Beautiful At Any Age

I’m reading this awesome book right now called Change It Up and I just read something so profound. I immediately grabbed my laptop because I felt you all should hear it too. Aging is not something we get too excited about, right?  I know in the past I’ve spent way too much time worrying about my saggy butt, age spots and fine lines. I’m slowly but surely learning what true beauty really means.

   “The way to feel beautiful at any age, with any body, is to shift the focus. We no longer need people to look at us to feelScreen Shot 2013-05-27 at 11.17.43 PM beautiful–we need to look AT PEOPLE. We become the mirror for them.

Beauty, real beauty, truly is in the eyes of the beholder and not the “beheld”. The beholder feels beautiful herself because she loves what she beholds.

When our toddlers throw their arms up into the air for us to scoop them up, we feel beautiful. When our husbands run to greet us when he returns home from a long trip, we feel beautiful. When our children get married and tell us they’re expecting their first child, we feel beautiful. None of those feelings requires that we look any certain way for other people to admire. We can be thin or heavy, wrinkled or smooth, tan or pale, weak or strong. We can “let ourselves go” or stay in perfect shape. We can be exactly the way we are right now at this moment… and we can be the way we’ll be in five years and twenty years and beyond. We can age without any concern for stretching our face until it feels smooth. The feeling of beauty requires only that we look at the objects of our love and devotion.

This is finally it–the end of needing to be seen, and the beginning of seeing.”

-Amanda Dickson

Don’t you love that! She just said it so perfectly! I’m beginning to understand this more as time goes on. It’s simply switching our focus and being grateful for each moment we have with the ones we love. I truly feel beautiful when I hold my babies, care for them and love them. It’s really amazing how this works. No more worrying about our aging bodies. Lets BE beautiful, because it really is up to us. We have the power within ourselves to FEEL and be beautiful. It’s an attitude of gratitude.

 

Baskets

First of all, wow! I know it’s been FOREVER since I last blogged. Life is just crazy busy with three little ones. Maybe now that school is out I’ll have a bit more time. I don’t know, we shall see.

Anyway, I wanted to quickly share something funny going on over here. It’s called baskets… I’m kind of obsessed with them. Bins, buckets, baskets, you name it. EVERY time I go to the store I can’t help myself. I just NEED MORE!

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I love how they create a cleaner look. Just bundle all your junk in a basket and now you have a clutter free counter.

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Isn’t it beautiful!!!  I think so… but Sean seems a little perplexed with the whole idea. Tonight I added these two gray ones in the kitchen. Sean said he didn’t understand the purpose. I tried explaining it to him but he just wasn’t getting it. Or so I thought. Later that night I came down to find he had decided to join in on the basket fun. Here is what I found on my kitchen counter.

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Yes, that’s right. It’s a LAUNDRY basket.

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He said he was trying to create a CLEANER look.

Recycling Empty Shake Canisters

Most of you already know  Sean and I are huge fans of Isagenix. It’s what we do full time and it’s all we’ve done for the past 8 years. I drink the shakes EVERY day for breakfast, so you can imagine how much of these canisters I’ve gone through over the years. After throwing away dozens of empty canisters, I finally decided to make use out of them. I wanted to show you just a few of the ways I’ve re-purposed these things.

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I’ve used them in my pantry to hold different things like rice and oatmeal. I use them in my bathroom, school room, and nail salon. I just washed them out and covered them with some cute shelf paper. I even spray painted some of the lids just for fun.

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Some other ways I’ve covered them is by using mod podge to stick on some cute scrapbook paper or photos. Look how nicely they fit in my IKEA shelves.

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This may seem a little funny to you, but I just like the uniform look in my pantry so I made a removable fabric slip for the shake canister that I’m using. When it’s gone, I just remove the slip and slide it on a new canister. The slip is a “no sew” project. Took my about 5 minutes. Just cut a piece of fabric and hot glued the edges to make it look like I hemmed it :). It’s cute right:). We all know how important it is that your pantry looks CUTE :). It’s just one of those things that makes me feel good when I see it.  I don’t know why.

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Here’s a fun little idea. I hot glued a magnet on the bottom of this one and decorated it with some shelf paper and gems. You can use this little guy for lots of different things. In your office you can put paper clips, or thumb tacs in it. In your craft room you can use it for safety pins or sequens. In your pantry you can use it for spices or sweeteners. The ideas are endless.

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Here’s a fun one. We call it the “I’m Bored Jar”. It’s filled with little folded up papers, each one has an activity idea for the kids to do when they are bored. I think they like the idea of not knowing what they might draw. I’m always adding new things to it too. When ever I see something fun on Pinterest, I add it to the pot. It’s actually used quite a bit too. The activities include things like, play house, have a puppet show, make an obstacle course, scavenger hunt (I’ll give them a list of items they need to find around the house), play legos, play-doh, write a story, read a book, draw, color, paint, hide and go seek, Barbies, cars, board games, put on a play, make up a dance, write a letter, dress up, tea party, ect.

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The last idea is this one. I spray painted it, added some ribbon and now I’ve got a cute pen holder for the school room.

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Motherhood

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The other night I had quite the scare. Sean was gone doing an Isagenix meeting and I was home trying to get the kids to bed. I went to put Brooklyn to bed first. Usually I nurse her for about 10 minutes to help her wind down. When I came out I didn’t see Oliver anywhere. I asked Lily where he was and she said she didn’t know. After looking throughout the house and not being able to find him I started to get a little worried. We have an alarm on the house so the doors beep when they are opened. I didn’t recall hearing any of them beep. I began calling out his name… no answer. I called out the back door, called out the front door. At this point I really started to panic. I was running around the house like a mad women. Screaming his name. On the verge of tears, hands shaking as I tried calling Sean’s cell. By now I’m desperately looking in every little nook and cranny of the house until finally… I found him… asleep in a closet.

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I have never been more scared in my life. I thought maybe he wondered off, or he was hurt badly, passed out somewhere, choking, drowning, suffocating. It all crossed my mind. It took me a good 2 hours to calm down. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking. I felt so overwhelmed with the feelings of fear. Fear of something happening to one of my little babies.

Last night I came across a story about motherhood. Tears filled my eyes as I read this. It describes so perfectly what it’s like to be a mom.

From the book Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul.

MOTHERHOOD

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.” “We’re taking a survey,” she says half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”

“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming
children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

By Dale Hanson Bourke
‘Chicken soup for the woman’s soul’!

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