Thursday, December 11, 2014

Share the Gift

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. I enjoy the decorations and the snow (that seems to be AWOL this year, at least in Provo). I love seeing little children's excitement building as they wait for Santa and presents, but my favorite part about Christmas is the greater emphasis on the Savior and all that he has done for us. There seems to be a greater sense of love and goodwill among everyone. This year, however, I'm not seeing that as much as I'm used to. In the news there are so many messages of hatred and vengeance and anger. It makes me sad that there is so much suffering and hurt in this world, but especially that people cannot find it in themselves to love each other. is doing a campaign this year called "Share the Gift." The point is to share with others the miracle and joy of Christmas: the gift of the Savior and of his love and atonement for us. They are inviting anyone and everyone to print out their sign and share how they will #sharethegift this holiday season. I would invite everyone to do this, and to consider your way of sharing to be "I will love others, even if they are unkind to me." The Savior said, "Love others as I have loved you." He also asked us to "bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Regardless of the pain and persecution we may be going through, the Savior expects us to love each other. That is the gift we can give to him this Christmas, as well as to all the world. It is also the only way that we can end this cycle of hatred. If we refuse to seek revenge, if we do our best to have Christlike thoughts and actions, if we reach out in love to those around us, then we can influence the world for good.

Here is my sign. You are welcome to borrow it if you like. If you want to print out your own blank one to fill out, click here.
If you want to know more about the #ShareTheGift campaign, watch the video below or visit

I am so grateful for my Savior; for the sacrifice that he made for me, and for every single person on this Earth. I love him and want so much to be worthy to go back to him. I am grateful for my testimony of his divinity and of his love for me individually. May we all remember to keep the Christ in Christmas.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Remembering Lila

Today marks one year since our grandmother Lila passed away. I miss her so much. She was so full of spunk and life and joy. When I met her she was very sick, but she never let it get her down. She was always looking for ways to serve others and never complained about how awful she was feeling. The first day that I met her we bonded immediately. It was like finding a long-lost sister. We were so comfortable with each other and could talk about anything.

It breaks my heart sometimes that she left before Sam was born, that he'll never know her in this life, but I feel sure that she was with him before he was born. I like to imagine that she held Sam and his cousins that have passed away all in her arms, singing to and teaching them. I've felt her close many times, and oh, how I miss her. She was such a wonderful example of selflessness and love and I will be forever grateful that I got to know her and be her friend.

I know that those we love are never far away. I am so grateful for the atonement and for the gospel. I'm grateful for the promise that those who pass away are not gone forever. I'm grateful that through the ordinances in temples we can be with our families forever. What a joyful message that is! I'm thankful for my Savior. for making all of this possible, for loving me and all of us enough to do all he had to to make this a reality.

I miss you, Grandma! Thank you for watching over our family.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nine Months!

This month has had fewer milestones for Samuel, he's mostly just getting much better at the tricks he's learned previously. He continues to be as cute as ever and make us smile! It's crazy to think that he's been out of my belly as long as he was inside. It's definitely gone much faster than pregnancy did.

One exciting thing that he is on the verge of figuring out is kissing! I'll kiss him and say "kisses!" and then he will open his mouth wide and suck on my cheek or chin for a moment. It is so sweet. I can't wait until he learns how to blow kisses (he's almost there.)

He's teething (for real this time! I promise!) and we can start to see his bottom front teeth under his gums. The doctor says they should break through any day. Sam also caught Roseola (a baby virus) earlier this month, which was no fun for him, but we're so glad that he's feeling better now! Even while being sick and teething Sam is full of giggles and smiles and it helps us to get through the harder days.

He's very patient with my increased homework load recently and enjoys playing in his bouncer. He's also bonded a lot with his daddy and they are closer than ever! It could have something to do with the fact that Sam is less and less interested in nursing, so he takes more bottles, which Cameron can feed him. But whatever the reason, it is so great to see them smiling and playing together. I love my boys.

In this cold weather Sam has reiterated to us that he dislikes being bundled up, but he's just going to have to deal with it because it has been pretty chilly! Grandma Suzy sent him a very nice snow suit that keeps him nice and cozy when we have to walk around on campus, which unfortunately for Sam, is multiple times a week.

I am so grateful for my little angel boy and his beautiful smile. He is a constant reminder of the love our God has for us. I'm so grateful for that. I will post pictures soon!

Halloween in California

Halloween weekend we had the great blessing of going to visit family in California! My mom and dad both grew up in the Bay Area, and all of my mom's family lives there now. We flew out early Thursday morning (having spent the night with Cameron's wonderful aunt Lisa since she is much closer to the airport than we are.) Sam fell right back to sleep on the airplane and didn't wake up until we landed! He's so great :)

We flew with Alaska airlines and they were fantastic! This was our first time flying with them, but if you need to fly with a baby, go with Alaska airlines! You don't need to wait in line with a copy of the birth certificate to get your baby on your boarding pass, they'll check strollers and carseats for free, (if you drop a toy at the baggage check area they might even chase you down after security to give it back to you!). Our first flight was pretty empty so they re-arranged the seating so that we didn't have anyone around us so it wouldn't matter if Sam was wiggly, and they let us board early with him. A flight attendant even came and brought us one of those old fashioned wing pins for Sam.

When we arrived my Aunt Dana and one of her boys came to pick us up and we went to their house in San Jose. We visited with them for a while before the boys went to school and then we drove to my grandmother's home in Portola Valley. It was so strange being in her home where I had spent so much time as a young child but also being a mother and taking care of Samuel. Definitely a new experience. My uncle came down for lunch with us and then we had the rest of the day to relax, then both my aunts and Dana's husband and boys came over for dinner. (My grandmother is an amazing cook! Everything we ate that week was so delicious.)

On Halloween we spent the morning with Grandma and my auntie Andy and got our costumes ready. Grandma's sewing machine wasn't running so I couldn't finish Cameron's costume, but thankfully grandma has an extensive costume collection and we managed to find him something that worked well. In the afternoon we were wanting to go see some sights around town so we drove down to Stanford and saw some other cool things but it was drizzly and cool so we didn't get out and walk around much. We still had quite a bit of time before Dana's boys got home from school so we decided to go walk around Ikea. We love Ikea. There are so many fun ideas for how to make a small space functional. Sam was awake and happy the whole time. He giggled when we spun the cart around and waved at strangers and he absolutely loved the part of the store that was lined with mirrors.

Playing at Ikea

As the case usually is when we go to Ikea, we spent more time than we meant to, but we got to Dana and Scotts house before the trick-or-treaters started coming and had dinner with them before going out with the boys. Sam was getting sleepy so we didn't walk around for very long. We came back to the house, helped hand out pencils, and read silly baby books by the fireplace.

Snow White, Dopey, and Prince Charming

Dopey with his cousins Harry Potter and Emmet (from the Lego movie)

On Saturday we relaxed in the morning, did some laundry, at more delicious food, then went to my Grandpa's house. We had a great time eating yummy food and playing with Sam. My step-great-grandma was there and she got some darling little pajamas for Samuel, which was such a blessing because just moments after we got there his diaper decided not to do its job and he needed a change of clothes, which we had neglected to bring for him. That night Dana's family spent the night at grandma's with us and we ate some more delicious food and played dominoes until bed time.

Sunday morning we had a great breakfast and got packed up. We went to church with Cameron's Uncle Richard and aunt Jenny and their four darling children. It happened to be the same ward that I was in as a little girl! There was a redwood tree in the front of the building that I remember trying to put my arms around when I was a little girl. My arms are still too small ;)
The Redwood Tree

We had a lovely time, then went to go get our bags and say goodbye to Grandma Judy and Grandpa Don, and took the car back to Dana who was so kind to let us borrow it while we were there. We had dinner with them and then Scott drove us to the airport. Lisa picked us up in Salt Lake (where it was very cold) and we spent the night with her again.

Sam didn't sleep much on the plane ride home, but he enjoyed every minute of it!

We are so grateful to all of our family for being so accommodating and welcoming when we came to visit. We love you all so much!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eight Months

Samuel is eight months! I know I keep saying this, but where has the time gone? Someone, please, make it slow down!

My little angel is so wonderful! The biggest adventure of this month was (drumroll please) sleep training. It was a hard journey but after not-too-long he's gone from having to be nursed to sleep and painstakingly laid down and keeping the house in absolute silence, being "in bed" from 11pm to 7 am AND waking up at least two, sometimes three times a night, we have a wonderful new normal! He is now going to bed around 8 every night, usually waking up once to eat, and sleeping until 6 or 6:30! The best part is that he now cries for 10 minutes tops, sometimes not at all when we put him down! Hallelujah!

Early this month we had a little scare when he was making some wheezing noises. It turned out that he was just experimenting with this vocal chords, but we took him into the doctor to get it checked out. While his breathing was just fine, we discovered that he hadn't gained any weight in over a month even though he had gotten taller. The PA was incredibly helpful and told us to start feeding him solids once a day and work our way up to two-to-three times a day. He loves it! He's eaten everything we've tried so far. He didn't like the pureed meat the first time, but then we mixed it with some sweet potatoes and he gobbled it down after that. It's a little bit messy sometimes but it's so fun watching him get better at eating off of the spoon and getting excited and opening his mouth when he sees it coming.

One of the beautiful side effects of more sleep and more food (and probably just age in general) is that he is even happier than before. He laughs much more easily and smiles at everything. He charms everyone, even random passersby on campus when we're walking to and from my classes.

He has started looking at us whenever he accomplishes something, looking for affirmation that he's done something well. It is darling, and he has lots of new tricks to show off. His scooting has turned to speedy quick crawling, and he loves to go! Before he always stayed in the living room or within a foot or so of the carpet. Now he will make a break for the kitchen cupboards or the bathroom, today he got all the way to my bedroom, and the further he gets from the living room the harder he laughs and the louder he squeals! He either feels ultimate freedom in getting around the house by himself, or he has some sneaky plans up his cute little sleeves.

He has gotten very good at pulling himself into a standing position. He still struggles on using the walls, but anything that offers him a little more grip (tables, chairs, the couch) he quickly uses to kneel and then stand, then look back to make sure we're watching and cheering for him. He has also started to learn how to get down! He'll reach one little hand down towards the ground until he falls onto it then quickly uses it to push himself backwards onto his bum.

He has some new "words," my favorite of which is "mamamama." He first started doing it when he was crying (which broke my heart during sleep training) but now every time he does it when he's happy I say, "That's me! I'm Momma! Mamamama" I do the same thing when he says "dadadada." "Yes, that's Daddy! He loves you. Dadadada." Hopefully he figures it out soon. He loves it when I copy his sounds, which now include blowing raspberries and clicking his tongue (the latter being the one he is most proud of.) He babbles a lot more than he used to, especially if he's excited or frustrated, but likes it when I coo and talk back to him.

Some other smaller things he enjoys are turning off light switches, watching the toilet flush, playing with himself in the mirror, sucking on his toes (an old favorite re-discovered) and bouncing. He's also starting to interact more with his toys, so I'm working on sewing a few more. I'm in process on a plush dinosaur and some blocks. If he's upset (like if we're putting him in his car seat) he cheers up quickly if we sing "popcorn popping on the apricot tree" or "the wise man and the foolish man" (from the LDS children's song book.) He especially loves the accompanying hand motions.

A sad stage to see go is that of the easy and happy diaper changes. He has no interest in lying still anymore. Sometimes we can get him to be good until he's wiped down, but it's usually a struggle to get the new diaper strapped on and his clothes re-snapped. We try toys and singing and anything else we can think of, but diaper time is often a two-man job now.

He's developing so quickly and we're excited to see where these next few weeks lead us! I'm so grateful for my sweet little boy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ramblings on Education and Motherhood.

Today I am grateful for my baby. I love him so much! Since he has started eating more solid food and sleeping better at night he seems happier and happier all the time. There are still rough moments, but his personality is blossoming and it is beautiful to see.

Recently Cameron and I have felt that we need to explore other options for grad school. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time because I will most likely have to do many years of taking classes through independent study to finish my degree if we leave. I started looking at options for graduating and for a brief moment I saw a glimpse of myself and my dear husband standing together in our graduation robes, holding our sweet little boy and walking across that stage together. It would be so wonderful, but unless they somehow decide that being a mom erases the need for completing a major, it's just not going to happen. It's hard to give up that dream. I may not ever dress in blue robes and a silly cap and shake the university presidents hand, because I will probably be graduating from somewhere far away, a long time down the road. It's really hard to just close that door but this is what I chose.

I felt strongly that having Sam when we did was what the Lord wanted for us. I still feel that way. I feel that taking a light load of classes so that most of my time can be spent in being a mother is the right thing for me. I have no regrets. I wish I could get a degree just for having a baby, but it doesn't work that way, and I know that I have chosen the best path for me. This is what the Lord has asked me to do and I will finish it.

My family comes first and foremost. I would not trade Samuel or my time with him for anything! I am so grateful for the joy and love that he brings to my life. Whenever I am tired or stressed his loving smiles and infectious giggles and his incessant babbling of "mamamamama" make everything wonderful! I love him so much and want to be my best for him. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Random Update on Our Life

I haven't written in forever. School has been very busy, being a mom has been busy, realizing that plans for six months from now will probably change drastically (No, we're not pregnant)
so, blogging falls by the wayside.

But life has been full of so many blessings!

Samuel continues to grow. He hasn't gained much weight recently, my milk supply has probably gone down since he has to take a bottle most days that I'm at school, but we caught it early and the doctor is helping us get a routine set up to help him get the food he needs.

I got an A on my first ASL test! Which is awesome, 'cause last semester was not quite so good. I'm also loving my English class. I LOVE the way my teacher sets everything up and forces us to work on our essays slowly by having us turn them in piece by piece, focussing on different aspects every time! It's helping my writing so much.

I have also submitted a piece to a magazine! I think I'd like to do more of that! I don't know yet if it will be published or not, but I've decided that I'd like to try to write more, and if I can get published that would be fantastic! I'm also currently working on two children's books. An illustrating major just moved into our ward, so I may have to ask if she'd like to collaborate.

Cameron is thinking of other options for grad school (we were originally planning to stay here) so that potentially puts me in a tough spot for graduating. Still totally doable, I'd just have to do online classes if we left Provo. But we're praying and counseling together and I'm sure we'll find the best solution. (I just hope it's soon so we can plan for the future!)

General conference was AWESOME. My dad was able to come out early for a business trip and spend sunday conference with us, and Cameron's mom and little sister came up for Saturday conference. It was so wonderful to see them! I also made my mom's oh-so-delicious cinnamon rolls and they were awesome! (I'll probably share the recipe on here sometime because it is SO good!)
and, of course, I absolutely loved the messages that were shared! I especially loved all the messages about being kind and courteous to others, regardless of whether we have different beliefs. I know I struggled with that a little when I was younger, and it can still be hard to respond with kindness when people are cruel or hurtful to me or others, but I have a testimony that God wants us to love each other and treat each other well. I hope that I can continue to try to become more christ-like, especially as I go back and listen to the talks from conference over again.

Sam's sleep training is going really well! (Except last night he woke up several times, but I think that he is legitimately teething this time, so we'll let it slide and hope it doesn't become the norm.) He felt so bad for keeping me up all night last night that he let me take an almost-three-hour nap with him today! It was much needed.

Thanks for letting me just blurt out random pieces of news. I am loving life! I am loving a more structured schedule for Sam, and I love the Lord!
Happy October!

(here's a sneak peak of some pictures my dad took of us over the weekend!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Seven Months Old

This month has gone by much too quickly. My sweet, sweet Samuel is growing too fast! I really can't stand it. He is now scooting all over the apartment at top speed, still mostly army crawling. The day he turned seven months he succeeded in pulling himself into a standing position without any help form Cameron or me! Now he can shuffle sideways in a standing position and gets super excited about it!

He loves to laugh. At least once a week he finds something new that makes him so happy that he has to giggle. Some new discoveries include turning a light switch on and off, the "rawr" sound mommy makes when we're playing with his lion rattle, burying his face in the soft back cushions of our new couches, flicking rain drops off of leaves.

He's done remarkably well dealing with coming to school twice a day with me, though I've discovered that I need to get a rainproof cover for the stroller. We're swapping babysitting with two other couples and Samuel loves his little friends (both just a few months older than him!) He's become much more vocal since meeting his friend K. and even though L. doesn't talk back to him much he loves to blabber to both of them. His favorite words these days are "blah" and "hi" (though I don't think he knows what they mean. He is starting to respond to his name though! That's super exciting :)

Today we started sleep training, and it is not going nearly as smoothly as all the other blogger mommies make it sound. I'm praying it starts going more smoothly soon. We're not even doing the cry-it-out method, but its still been a pretty teary experience for him, but he's asleep now! I think he's finally figuring out that I'll come back in when he's not crying and that its ok to fall asleep without eating at the same time. Here's hoping he magically sleeps through the night! And that he get's to nap tomorrow.

He is such a little angel and I am so grateful that he came to our home. I am so grateful to be his mommy, to see his sweet smiles every day, to be able to make him happy, and to be able to take care of him! It is such a blessing, and I am so grateful! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where Were You?

Thirteen years ago today I was nine years old. I was homeschooled at the time, so my siblings and I were all working on our respective assignments when the phone rang. I don't remember who called but I remember my mothers face turning white. She flew to the black tube TV and turned it on. On the screen were the images of two burning sky scrapers and the planes that had crashed into them. It looked like a science fiction movie to me, but my mother's crying scared me. I tried to console her.
"Mommy, it's just a movie. It isn't real."
I don't recall her exact response but I slowly started to realize that this was real, that it had happened on purpose. I was so frightened. 

As I think back on that day, and the anniversary every year since then, the question that always seems to be asked is "where were you?" But after thirteen years I think we have a more important question to ask ourselves: "Where are we now?" How far have we come? What have we learned? If it happened again today, would we react differently? Would we still come together in unity as a country and reach out in love and compassion to our neighbors? Would the words "God Bless America" still be emblazoned on so many memorials? Would we still be Americans?

Or would the race or religious group of the person that committed the crime be threatened and hated? Would we be quick to anger and slow to understand? Would we look for revenge?

I hope that as we remember today those who lost their lives on that day that we ask ourselves, "are we better today than we were then?" And if we find that the answer is "no," I pray that we take the necessary steps to become so.

God Bless America!

Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Have an Absolutely Fantabulous Marriage in 10 Easy Steps--Some Things Should be Sacred II

I know that a lot of people will disagree with me about this post, but I feel that it is very important that I share it.  Just because I am saying that I think you're wrong, that does not mean that I don't love and respect you, so please be kind and respect my freedom of speech as I respect yours.

Things that are sacred should not be taken lightly. Marriage is sacred, as is your relationship with your spouse and their trust. Sexual intimacy is sacred and should not be treated casually or shared outside of marriage.

Abstinence before marriage is a legitimate option. My husband and I are both so grateful that we chose not to share that part of ourselves with anyone else or even with each other until we were married. It has brought us so much closer, and enabled us to see sex as the God-given gift that it is and use it purely as an expression of love. I'm so grateful that I never have to try not to think of anyone else when I'm with my husband.

Once you're married, that doesn't necessarily mean that anything goes. You still need to respect the sanctity of intimacy, and you still need to be faithful to your spouse. Decide with your spouse and the Lord what is righteous, and what you are comfortable with. Don't push your spouse to do things that they are uncomfortable with, even if you don't think there's anything wrong with it.

Fidelity to your spouse obviously excludes having sex with anyone else, but there are other ways of being unfaithful. The Lord said "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt 5:28). (Women, this scripture applies to you as well.) Sometimes bad thoughts will come into your mind. Sometimes images or words or music that are offensive are put in front of you and it's not your fault. What is your fault is when you continue to entertain those thoughts, or keep looking or listening. When you do something with the intent to have sexual thoughts or feelings about another person besides your spouse, this is a sin.

Pornography is not a righteous thing. It is a form of infidelity, it is harmful not only to yourself, but to your marriage, your family, and it damages your view of sexuality, changing it from something Godly to something base, dirty, and sinful. Whether it's videos, pictures, books, music, you-name-it, if it causes you to think of someone other than your spouse in a sexual way, stop it. It doesn't matter the rating, the medium, or who recommended it to you. If your mind starts wandering places you shouldn't go, get away from it. Run like Joseph did from Potiphar's wife. Run and don't look back.

Porn not only ruins your view of sexuality, but of love, people, and bodies. Sex is not love. It can and aught to be a way of expressing  love, but lust is not the same as love. Pornography damages your ability to see the difference and recognize pure, godly love. Porn objectifies men and women, and their bodies, turning them into objects meant solely for gratification. We not only see this in explicit pornography, but in advertising everywhere. We need to see people first and foremost as children of our Heavenly Father, not bodies to be stared at.

Don't allow yourself to become too emotionally attached to anyone other than your spouse. Guard your emotions. Even if the feelings you have for someone else aren't sexual, they can still be unfaithful in nature. It can harm your relationship with your spouse. Remember to love your spouse more than anyone. "Cleave unto her [or him] and none else" (Gen 2; D&C 42:22.)

If you already have a problem with infidelity or pornography or anything else I've talked about, it's not too late to change. Because of the Savior's atonement you can start over, multiple times a day if you have to. He loves you, he will forgive you, and he can help you to rebuild your life. If you find that you have an addiction to pornography or anything else and can't kick the habit on your own, seek help. It's ok. There are lots of fantastic resources to help you overcome it. Talk to your church leaders, find addiction recovery groups in your community, ask your family members and friends for help and support. You can do it.

Marriage and family are central to God's plan for our salvation and happiness. Sex is also a part of that plan--not just for bringing children into the world, but for our enjoyment and for expressing love to our spouse. Because it is so sacred, we must treat it that way. The Lord loves us. We can do hard things, we can obey his commandments, and we can love and respect our spouses (current or future.)

If you're interested, here are some great talks on the same topics I covered.
Protection from Pornography--a Christ Centered Home
Personal Purity
Sanctify Yourselves: This talk was given specifically to an audience of men but it applies to everyone
Nurturing Marriage
LDS Addiction Recovery

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I never seem to feel nostaligic on Thursdays. I've really wanted to do a #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) Instagram or Facebook post for a long time (not sure why, to be one of the cool kids I guess) but I never think of it on Thursday. So, I propose a new list of hashtags for those of us who feel nostalgic not on a Thursday.

#mlm - Memory Lane Monday
#tbtu - Throwback Tuesday (cheating? Maybe.)
#wbw - Way Back Wednesday (or WABAC for you Mr. Peabody fans)
#fbf - Flashback Friday
#sts - SenTimental Saturday (because I felt like it needed more than 2 letters.)

Or maybe just
#nnot - Nostalgic Not On Thursday

Friday, August 22, 2014

Feeling Grateful Today

Being a mom is really time consuming, and mind consuming, and all consuming. I hardly think about anything else, ever (which is why I really ought to be reviewing ASL right now instead of writing this, but it's nice to do something just for fun.)

I love my life. Goodness, I get tired sometimes, like all-the-times, but it is so wonderful! I am so grateful for my Father in Heaven who strengthens me. There are many moments, like yesterday morning, when I am too tired to even think about moving but I say a little prayer and He helps me to keep pushing on without falling over or dropping my baby, and then blesses me with a nap!

I'm also so grateful for my husband who is so supportive and helpful. Even though he has a sprained ankle and a cold and is taking the GRE this weekend he still takes the time to help me and just sit and talk and make me feel loved!

I am also so grateful for my little angel baby. He is so wonderful. Yesterday was tough, I think he might be catching whatever I have, but his little smiles and giggles make me so happy. No matter what burdens I am carrying, his smile lightens them instantly. Motherhood is amazing. I can't even begin to describe how much I have grown, especially emotionally. I've always had a pretty low threshold for stress and sleep deprivation (anyone who knew me in high school can tell you I got sick all the time) but I have been strengthened in my mind and body. I've learned how to keep pushing, to just take one more step, and then another, and another, until I'm running full speed again. It truly is a miracle.

I'm so grateful for all my friends and family, for their love and support, and for the joy it gives me to know that I am not alone.

I'm grateful for baby bouncers and bagels with strawberry cream cheese.

I'm grateful for baby giggles and kind strangers and windows that open.

I'm grateful for sunshine, I'm grateful for rain, I'm grateful for this beautiful place I live in that I used to think was a barren desert. I'm grateful that my mind can change!

I'm grateful for my tiny apartment that has a full sized stove, oven, and refrigerator. I'm grateful for the concrete floors covered in cheap linoleum and million year old carpet that don't creak when I'm putting my baby down to sleep.

I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for my family members that I have known who have passed away. I'm grateful for their examples, and for the love I still feel from them.

I'm grateful for my faith: for my knowledge of a life after this where we can have a second chance and can be with our families again. I'm grateful for a merciful God who loves me, and all of us, more than anything!

I am grateful that happiness is a choice!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Six Months!

Five days late, but here it goes! Sam is six months old! (And currently asleep, can I get a "hallelujah?" I'm sick and this is his second nap today which hasn't been happening lately so I'm super excited, since I slept during his first one.)

Sleeping in the Car

Major updates for this month: Sam is scooting! I wouldn't exactly call it crawling yet but he's on his way for sure! Which means I need to make sure nothing that isn't ok to go in his mouth is on the floor. Thankfully we cleaned well before we went on our big trip so we just have to not put anything new on the floor.

Sam scooting with Daddy

Speaking of our trip, Samuel went on his first (and second, third, fourth) plane ride(s)! We had a couple plane changes. But he did really well! On the first three flights he fell asleep as between when the engines turned on and when we reached cruising altitude, and on the first and third flight he didn't wake up until we landed! The last flight, which was only an hour, he was awake and happy the whole time. Everyone on the planes seemed really happy that he was such a good baby. We were so proud of our little guy!

Sam loved the curtains at my parents' home

He did great on our trip and loved meeting his uncle Cameron, aunt Lizzie (Stein) and Uncle Bryan, Aunt Felicia, and cousin Weston.  He also got to meet my high school choir teachers, a bunch of my favorite people who still live in our home ward, and my best friends from high school! He was fascinated by my sister's dog Franky, who was equally fascinated (and a little bit jealous) of Sam. Samuel had his first trip to Zingerman's Deli and a bunch of other neat places around Ann Arbor, met a cat for the first time (who thankfully didn't mind Sam constantly reaching for it's tail) and discovered that he loves soccer!

Playing with cousin "Fireman" Weston

He also tried his first taste of real food! He has only had avocado so far, but he really likes it. After two weeks of trying desperately to eat anything we were eating I finally just took some avocado that didn't make it into my sandwich and smooshed it up for him and fed him off my plate. He was a happy camper after that! Now he wants to try everything else on our plates... We're going to try peas and sweet potatoes next. Maybe it'll get me to eat more vegetables, too!

While we were in Vegas, Sam had his first experience with swimming where he didn't look miserable. I think he actually liked it! Unfortunately, he started getting cold and shivering so I really quick took him inside and dried him off, but he liked the water, especially the little fountain in the shallow end. He also made great friends with his cousin (once removed) Ellie, who is eight. They had a blast together. He also loved interacting with all of Ellie's older brothers, and my arms got a much appreciated break.

Sam has gotten much better at grabbing things and controlling his hands. He likes to put everything in his mouth. A few times he's managed to get his bottle into his mouth all on his own a few times, but has never tipped it high enough to get anything out of it on his own.

He laughs at a lot more things now as well, including clapping, sneezing, dancing, and continues to love tickling, raspberries, and kisses. He also is starting to recognize pictures of people. I've started putting my phone on speaker when people call so I can have my hands free and he can recognize his daddy's face and voice, and I think my mom's as well (they're the only ones I have really good pictures of in my contacts.)

He will have his six month check up on Monday, but from holding him on a scale and subtracting my weight he looks to be about 16 lbs! In the last couple of days he's sat up on his own and tried to pull himself up onto his daddy's stomach. He's growing up much too fast. I never understood when parents said that until now. I really wish he'd slow down! Especially since I'll be going back to school in a couple weeks I can't bear to think that he might change or do something new when I'm not there to see it! Being a mom is hard! I can handle the crying, the late nights, the poopy diapers, but I can't bear to see him grow so fast! Sigh.

can you believe how much he's grown?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

5 Months Old!

Pictures to come later today.
Sam gets bigger and bigger every day, and so does his smile! He loves to giggle and smile and, recently, chatter and squeal. He still loves diaper changes and has taken to giggling every time I wipe him, especially if it's a very messy diaper. It sure makes my day. He also loves tummy zerberts (or raspberries,) nuzzles on his neck, being tickled in his armpits, kisses from Teddy Bear, and when mommy makes silly noises.

He's going through waves of sleep patterns, not helped at all, I'm sure, by our frequent traveling these days. He sometimes will sleep from ten 'till five, other times he'll stay up past midnight and then wake up every two hours.

In the last couple of days he has learned to roll over onto his back! Last month he was perfecting the back-to-front roll, but would then get stuck and let me know that he wanted to roll back over. He has also started sleeping on his side, which I think is adorable. I'll lay him in his crib on his back and he'll immediately roll onto his side, move his limbs around until he's comfortable, then drop right back to sleep. Cameron got me a rocking chair for my birthday and Sam loves it! I think it's good for him to be able to stay in his room to eat if he wakes up at night so that it's easier for him to fall back asleep with out being moved around so much. The rocking also helps him to calm down if he's fussy or wound up at bed time.

He's been trying hard to sit up on his own, and it is darling. If we're holding him he'll try to balance on his own, or if he's lying on an incline he'll lean his head forward and try to get himself centered. It's really sweet. He's also managed to get his toes into his mouth and he loves sucking on them. He's also frequently seen with two fingers from each hand stuffed in his mouth.

This month was Sam's first (and second) time going swimming. He didn't like it so much the first time, on a nice day in a cool pool, but he seemed to handle it pretty well on a hot, hot day at a lake.
We also took him to a movie for the first time! He was very well behaved. We went to the Scera theater in Orem to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 with my sister Mary and our cousin Raegen. This theater has a "cry room" for moms to take fussy babies into where you can still see and here the movie or play, but he didn't end up needing it. He also went to his first BYU soccer game!

Samuel loved meeting his auntie Mary. They got along the moment she got off the plane! They were instant friends and Sam treated her just the same as he does Cameron and me. It was so great to have Mary here for a few days and to have Sam be able to meet and bond with her. We're really excited to take Sam's first plane trip to Michigan to see all the family there in one week!

After a lot of driving around this month (family reunion in Draper, 4th of July in St George, day trips to Salt Lake City and Alpine) Sam has decided that he is not a big fan of his carseat. His teething is also getting worse and he seems to be in more pain, which is so sad. All in all, it has been a wonderful month. We are so grateful for all the joy that Sam brings to our home, and for the smiles, and sweet spirit, and love. We are a happy family :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Four Months

(sorry it's blurry, he wouldn't hold still but I had to get a shot of the "wreckage." He'd somehow dismantled his little playyard thing while I was in the bathroom and turned himself in a circle)

Yesterday Sam turned 4 months old! A lot has happened in the past month. For one, Sam has grown a lot. We don't go to the doctor until next week but from our measurements he's grown 5 or 6 inches since he was born and has more than doubled his birth weight.

In mid-May he had his first little giggle! He did it for my mom while Cameron and I were at the store, but thankfully she managed to get a video of it. It took a little while to get him to do it again, but now he laughs almost every day! He is the happiest little baby.

He started sleeping a lot better at night, and then he started teething and that stopped. We had a few hard days where he was crying a lot and wasn't eating enough, but thankfully with a lot of prayers and the miracle of baby tylenol and Orajel we got him eating again. He seems to be doing much better, though he is sometimes fussy and likes to bite things (like my finger) really hard.

Last week Sam rolled over for the first time! Every day since then he has rolled over at least once. It's getting even harder to give him tummy time since he can get off of his tummy more easily now, but every once in a while he'll roll himself onto his tummy at night and start crying because he can't roll back.

He's starting to interact with his toys more now, which is adorable. He has two favorites: his Teddy Bear and a giraffe. I've come up with unique voices for them and when he hears his bear (which is an overly enthusiastic, yet Eustace Scrub sounding kind of voice) he get's SO excited. He loves to hold onto that bear and give him kisses (slobber on its face) and smile and laugh at it. His giraffe doesn't talk quite so often but it comes almost everywhere with us. Apparently it's ears are very tasty (or Sam likes the way they crinkle) because they get chewed on a lot.

Sam still loves having his diaper changed. In fact, the only thing that will make him smile bigger or laugh more than a new diaper is "jumping." If we hold him in a standing position on our laps he'll start to bounce his legs and then we'll toss him up in the air as if he jumped all that way. He loves it. And let me tell you, it's a workout. My shoulders and biceps are getting a lot stronger from playing that game all the time.

His next big step will be learning to sit. He already pulls himself up if he's holding onto our fingers, and if we help him up he can balance for a few seconds, but it will be exciting when he can do it all on his own!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Time Flies

Two years ago today I met most of Cameron's extended family (on his dad's side.) We'd been dating two weeks. His grandma told him that if he left me she'd disown him and keep me. His cousin asked if I'd come to the family reunion.

Later we went for a walk around the Salt Lake Temple and I told Cameron that I loved him. I was so nervous that I'd scare him off but I felt like I needed to be honest with him. He told me he thought he might marry me, then asked if he could kiss me. I said yes.

Now, two years later, we are married and have a 3 1/2 month old baby. I never would have thought things would move so fast, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you, Darling, ever so much more than I did two years ago. I am so grateful to be your wife. You are everything to me. I can't wait to spend the rest of forever with you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Feel My Savior's Love

As a new mom I'm always busy, but I want to make sure I'm busy with the right things. It's much too easy to just pick up the iPad and play games every time I'm nursing instead of picking up a book or calling a friend or family member. I've been feeling a bit down the last few days, easily overwhelmed, short of temper: not the me I want to be.
So, a few nights ago I followed my husband's example and had a good scripture study. Not just reading a chapter, but really contemplating the meaning of what I was reading and looking for ways to apply it in my life. It felt so good. I don't know why I ever try to make excuses about why I shouldn't or can't do that.
I'm grateful for my Savior and for his love. He grants me peace and patience and inexpressible joy. I am so grateful for the many, many glorious blessings that he has given to me, and to everyone! I'm grateful for the atonement. I'm grateful that I can be with my family forever. As I was holding Sam that night, I began singing a song I learned in church when I was a little girl that touched my heart and helped me to feel the love of my Lord and Savior. I didn't know that I remembered all the words, but somehow I did and it brought me the peace that I had been seeking for days.

I feel my Savior's love
in all the world around me.
His spirit warms my soul
through everything I see.

He knows I will follow Him,
give all my life to Him.
I feel my Savior's love,
The love He freely gives me.

I feel my Savior's love
It's gentleness enfolds me,
and when I kneel to pray
my heart is filled with peace.

I feel my Savior's love
and know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart.
My shepherd he will be.

I'll share my Savior's love
by serving others freely.
In serving I am blessed
In giving I receive!

He knows I will follow Him,
give all my life to Him.
I feel my Savior's love,
the love He freely gives me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eye Color!

Sam's eyes are starting to change color! It's much too early to tell what they will be, but at the very center of the iris there are little speckles of some color other than grey. I hope he has green eyes like his daddy, but I will love them no matter what they are!

Want to take a guess at what his eye color will be? Cast your vote in the upper right corner. I'll let you know what his eye color is as soon as we can tell for sure!

Cam's eyes are green, mine are brown.
All of Cameron's siblings have either brown or green eyes, and my siblings all have brown or blue.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Open Letter to my Mother

Less than three months ago I became a mother: a lifelong dream of mine. Even as a little girl I wanted to be like you, Mom. I didn't understand all you did for me, how blessed (and a little bit spoiled) I was. All I knew was that I loved you and you loved me. Your world seemed to revolve around me and that's just the way life worked. I never even thought to worry that there might be some time that you wouldn't be able to take care of me.

You showed me compassion when you had me choose some of my toys and clothes to take to children with less than me, even when we were struggling financially. You never let me know how hard it was for you and Dad to make ends meet for those few hard years. You never allowed me to carry that burden, or worry about what was coming. I had complete faith in you to make everything turn out all right.

I remember when I was four and a balloon animal that was given to me popped. I was sad until Daddy told me, "give it to Mommy, she can fix anything." I quickly learned that a popped balloon animal could not be fixed, but far from diminishing my trust in you, I learned from Dad that I could trust you with anything.

When I wanted a fabulous Halloween costume you never failed to deliver something beautiful and extraordinary. What's more, you never complained about my high expectations or the long hours spent at the sewing machine after we had all gone to bed, even when you had a young baby to take care of in the middle of the night. I thought grownups just didn't need as much sleep, and that you always stayed up late, that you liked sewing for me more than resting. Now that I have my own baby, I know what a sacrifice it must have been for you.

You listened to everything I went through, starting with the little things (ladybugs that refused to be caught, my caterpillar that wouldn't turn into a butterfly) to the huge amounts of angst I suffered in high school as I fussed over boys and bullies. You never diminished my suffering or told me to get over it. You always held me as I cried, even if moments before I had been yelling at you, or when I had totally brought my pain on myself.

You always told me that I was beautiful, that I didn't need makeup to be pretty, but you also taught me how to do my makeup and hair so that I didn't look like a clown when I tried to do it myself. Even more importantly, you taught me how to take care of my body. You always made sure that I had a "sport" to participate in and vegetables with dinner. You taught me to brush my teeth and wash my face.

You taught me patience. How did you keep your cool with five crazy kids and an oldest daughter that always needed your full attention? You taught me to love unconditionally. You showed me how to serve others, how to be kind, and how to balance my life. You helped me by not hiding your mistakes, but using them to teach me so that I wouldn't have to make the same ones to learn the lessons that would help me be a better person.

You always had faith in me. You never told me there was something I couldn't accomplish. You helped a tone-deaf, monotone little girl work her way up into a collegiate audition choir. You helped a girl who was too clumsy to skip for years to win dance competitions.

You supported me and helped me to look for my husband with spiritual eyes. When I told you in July that I wanted to be married at Thanksgiving you jumped right in with me to make the wedding happen. You were there with me on that special day, helping to make everything perfect, and you graciously passed the baton of best friend and helper to my husband.

You've laughed with me, cried with me, and never gave up on me.

And on the day you were called at four in the morning and told your grandson was coming early, you jumped on a plane and made it in time to share the most special moment of my life so far. You stayed for two weeks and mothered me again as I tried to learn to be a mother myself while recovering from the most physically traumatic thing I've been through so far.

You are an angel from Heaven. Your love, patience, and selflessness are truly divine. I thank our loving Father that he gave me to such an amazing mother to teach me how to live, and I hope that I can be as wonderful of a mommy as you are. I love you, I am so grateful for you, and twenty-almost-two years later I still want to be like you. Thank you, Mom, for everything.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Sam is starting to experiment with talking! It is the cutest thing. If I put him down in his crib to go do something he'll start babbling to himself, or he'll respond to me when I'm talking or singing. Mostly it's just strings of vowels, but every once in a while there's a good 'h' or 'g' sound in there. It makes me smile so big. He's starting to smile more as well! He has the happiest personality and I love it. He smiled when I went to pick him up this morning, and even though I'd only gotten three hours of sleep this morning, his big grin when he first saw me made me feel so happy. It's great to feel like he loves me and appreciates what I'm doing for him.

It's so fascinating to watch him grow and learn and develop. A few weeks ago we could wave a toy in front of his face and he wouldn't even blink, and now he's fascinated with his colorful giraffe with rattles in its feet. I can't wait until he's old enough to hold onto it and shake it himself. He's also starting to put his hands in his mouth a lot, which is adorable, but reminds me that I probably need to start stocking up on toys he can put in his mouth and start babyproofing the house before he starts scooting around and "eating" books and pencils instead.

I may have mentioned this in my last post, but he also sometimes stops nursing to smile up at me and babble some adorable phrase that probably means something like, "You're the best mom in the whole world for feeding me all the time, and this milk is so good! Thank you so much, Mommy! I love you!" Or at least that's what I tell myself and it matches his level of enthusiasm.

Despite how exhausted I am, this is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. Every once in a while I think it could be nice to have a little break, but if I'm doing anything without him besides sleeping I miss my little boy so much!

I'm so grateful to have this little angel in my life and for the love I feel from him, and for the miraculous strength and energy I receive from my Father in Heaven. I see miracles every day.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to Have an Absolutely Fantabulous Marriage in 10 Easy Steps--Some Things Should be Sacred

Some things ought to be kept sacred. What happens behind closed doors should stay there. I'm not only talking about "what happens in the bedroom," although that's definitely up there on the list.

If you treat something as sacred, you make it special. It's private, and it's important. You don't tell the whole world, or facebook, or even your mother. Your relationship with your spouse is very special, and won't last if neither of you feel that you can trust each other or that you don't have the privacy you need. It will not help your relationship if you go to your friends or parents or siblings with stories about sex, disagreements, or insecurities. All it will do is damage your spouse in that person's eyes and hurt your spouse's trust and ability to be honest and vulnerable with you.

Talk things over with your spouse. If you are upset and need to vent, (it's ok, it happens sometimes) prayer and journaling are both great ways to get your emotions out and think through how you really feel without saying things that you don't mean to your spouse or saying things that are only your business to other people.

This summer I was going through a rough patch emotionally and physically (morning sickness is no picnic) and I got really frustrated with myself as well as being more irritable in general. I asked Cameron to not read my journal (not that he did before, but I just wanted him to know that I needed that to be a private place in case I ever left it out) and put all of my frustrations in there. Sometimes I've used my journal to keep my emotions pent up, but this summer I used it to let off steam. I said things in there that I didn't really mean, or would have sounded wrong if I said them out loud. I needed somewhere to gather my thoughts before I went to Cameron with problems or for help so that I didn't say something hurtful.

Before we were married I would have vented to my mom. She and I have always been close and I used to tell her everything. I've learned now that some things are meant for just Cameron and I, and that's ok. It doesn't mean I love my mom any less or that we're not as close. I can still talk to her about wishing we had a dishwasher or pregnancy questions or anything that isn't private and between my husband and I.

Don't post your feelings about relationship problems on facebook, twitter, or other social media and public places. It's not good for your relationship and it's awkward for others. If it's a cry for help and you want your spouse to see it and fix whatever problem, this isn't the place or the way to do it. Instead, talk to them in person. If you really are too upset to talk, consider writing a letter or email, carefully going over it to make sure that you're not being hurtful, only honest, and asking your spouse to read it.

Keeping these things out of public eyes doesn't mean you're lying. You don't need to pretend to anyone that you have a perfect marriage. It's ok to admit to faults and problems. However, sharing details of your personal life with your spouse is not something that should be done without careful consideration and consent. It's his (or her) relationship as well, not just yours.

Happy things can be sacred, too. There are times when I just want to tell the whole world how wonderful my husband is because he did x, y, and z for me! I have trouble holding it in, but sometimes there are things that should stay just between us, even if they are wonderful and make me incredibly happy. I try not to post the contents of the love notes he leaves me, or sometimes the gifts or acts of service he does for me. Because I love and appreciate them so much, they are very special and something that ought to be just between the two of us.

There are rare occasions when this rule needs to be thrown out the window. If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship and you have tried to communicate this to your spouse and nothing has changed, seek help. Don't try to hide or be strong. It's not selfish to protect yourself from physical or emotional harm. Do it in the proper way (again, not in your facebook status) but do something about it. You never have to be stuck somewhere where you do not feel safe. It doesn't have to mean divorce. I know people who have mended a relationship that was on the verge of falling apart and are now blissfully married, but I know others where it was good and necessary for the couple to separate. Consult the Lord as to how to deal with your specific situation. He loves you and he will not lead you astray.

Don't forget to tell your spouse how much you love them today!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Motherhood is Love

I would like to apologize in advance for the many run-on sentences in this post. I'm just letting my thoughts out and not worrying about grammar today. Thanks for your patience :)

I used to think that marriage is all about sacrifice and putting other's needs before your own--and it is--but then I became a mom.

And I realized that being a mom is really all about sacrifice and putting others first.

and then my mom, who had been staying with us and helping with baby and cooking and cleaning, went home and I realized it even more.

and then this weekend I got sick. Now I know that motherhood is really all about putting others first and making the hard choices and choosing to be strong even when you feel weak and praying your heart out because you don't want your baby to get sick because of the selfish reason of not wanting to have to stay up with him all night to make sure he can breathe but even more because you love that baby with all your heart and never want him to have to go through something as hard as a runny nose and sore throat.


I never knew that I could love so deeply and so completely. Nothing melts my heart so much as seeing my amazing husband holding our little boy, or having Sam pause his nursing just to give me a great big smile, or snuggling my baby and having his daddy wrap his arms around both of us. I never knew how sustaining love and prayers could be until I spent two and a half months waking up multiple times a night to feed this tiny little person and spent all day feeding him even more and changing diapers and still somehow have energy to go on walks and play peek-a-boo and sing until I'm horse.

Being a mom is a lot of work: exhausting, humbling, beautiful work. I have never been happier, nor more easily recognized the hand of the Lord in my life. My heart is so full of gratitude to my Father in Heaven for the many miracles he has wrought in my behalf. I am so glad that Cameron and I listened as He has guided us in the timing for beginning our family, both in our marriage and in having Sam.

As always, thank you so much everyone for your loving support as we haphazardly navigate our way through this crazy, wonderful life!

Monday, March 31, 2014

20 Seconds of Bravery

In the movie "We Bought a Zoo" the main character talks a lot about how in life sometimes all you need are 20 seconds of bravery to change your life. Cameron seems to live by that.

When we first met we were singing at a BYU devotional with the Men's and Women's Choruses. I moved in to the very edge of the alto section so I would be sitting next to the tenors. I said to myself, "I'm going to meet a tenor today." That's when Cameron's 20 seconds started. He saw me, recognized me from choir functions and the notorious Men's Chorus Comercial, and decided to sit down and introduce himself.

He had another 20 seconds of bravery when he asked for my number.

And when he found me on facebook after I was a jerk and didn't reply to his text.

And when he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Or to kiss me for the first time.

Or if I would be his wife.

He had a lot of moments when he decided to be brave the summer we met, and I am so grateful for all of them. Here's to more moments of bravery! (like raising a child, graduating college, and everything else coming our way)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Zebra is The New Pink!

Admittedly, body image is something I struggle with a little bit. I didn't think it was when I was skinny and fit and had great skin, I was fine with being in a size 6 and I didn't want to lose weight and I wasn't obsessed with the number on the scale. But once I started gaining weight I started caring more. I gained a good 35 pounds during pregnancy and sadly it doesn't automatically fall off as soon as the baby pops out.

So, my life has a new normal. I don't have as much of a waist as I used to, I have bags under my eyes from not sleeping enough, I'm closer to 150 lbs than 115, I sweat more, I smell like spit-up, and I have so many stretch marks on my tummy that I look like a zebra. But you know what? Zebra is this year's pink! I am beautiful, even with my scars. I never showed my tummy off anyways, so what does it matter? My husband still loves me, I am taking care of my body (minus the not sleeping part) and I can be confident in my own, albeit stretched and saggy, skin. I may not look like a supermodel, but I used my body, with divine help, to build another body and create life, and now I use my body to sustain that life.

So I say, bring on the stretch marks! Bring on the few more months of maternity clothes, the tired eyes, the hours of nursing, the spit-up and exploded diapers on my clothes, the sore biceps, the abs that will probably never be quite the same. They may not be glamorous, but I wouldn't trade them for anything because of what they represent. I am a mother. I have a baby boy who I love with all my heart, my husband loves me and tells me I'm beautiful, I know that the Lord loves me, and that's all I really need.

I choose to be proud of my body. I choose to love myself. I choose to be grateful for this miracle, no matter the sacrifice. I'm so grateful that happiness is a choice not a circumstance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting to Know Samuel

I love my sweet baby. I always wondered how new moms, or even "old" moms of a new baby could ever say anything about what their baby "likes," but I'm much too proud to say that I think I'm figuring out some of Sam's likes and dislikes.

He likes eating. A lot. Seems pretty obvious, but when he realizes that within a few seconds he will be eating, his eyes light up and he starts breathing fast and he opens his mouth like a little bird. It is the cutest thing :)

He doesn't like dirtying his diapers. His face always turns red and he grunts and whimpers until he's done with his business. He also strongly dislikes when he has gas in his tummy. Thankfully his grandma had the foresight to buy some baby gas medicine before she left. He seems to really like how it tastes. Why can't grown-up or even kids' medicine be so yummy?

He loves being held and snuggled. He is usually a very content baby, as long as he's in someone's arms! I love that. My arms do get tired, but I love holding him. He can nap for hours if he's being held.

He has mixed feelings about being swaddled. If he's awake, he does not like it, and will break out in a matter of minutes. If I can get him swaddled when he's dozing, then he'll sleep much more soundly than if I don't wrap him up.

He likes lying on his tummy for short amounts of time. Usually not more than ten minutes, but he's getting really strong!

He loves it when his daddy and I sing to him. It helps him calm down if he's fussy, and he seems to be more alert if we sing when he's calm and not sleepy.

He likes to hold his head up, and look at lights, or things with a lot of contrast, like our tan and brown curtains.

I can't believe it's already been a month since he was born! I'm so excited to keep getting to know my little boy and watching him grow! Family is such a blessing.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Almost One Month Old!

Tomorrow Sam will be one month old! Can you believe it? Where does the time go? We are going to have to do something to celebrate. He is growing so fast! He is already getting to the point where his newborn clothes aren't baggy anymore. It's so excited to see other little things he's learning to do. Yesterday he made his first noise that wasn't a grunt! It's so exciting to get to hear his little coos starting to come out. He's also learning to scoot! Yesterday we put them down on a blanket on the floor on his tummy and he scooted a good foot within a minute or so. We're going to have to keep a close eye on him once he can actually crawl. He's also getting pretty good at holding his head up and looking around. It's pretty darling when he's been doing it for a while and his neck starts to get tired so his head wobbles while he tries to keep it up.

This little boy always seems to be hungry. I'm pretty sure I feed him for at least six hours a day. That makes it a little bit hard to get anything done, but I really enjoy it. I love to just hold my little boy and watch him grow. I'm so excited that he's gaining weight and getting chubbier! Cameron and I were both so skinny as kids I figured none of our babies would ever have rolls. Sam isn't quite there yet, but he's on his way!

He doesn't like to sleep for very long unless he's being held. Usually I try really hard to put him back in his crib once he falls asleep so that he can be used to it, but this morning I was so tired that I just lay down on the couch holding him on my tummy and we both napped for a couple hours. That was such a blessing. Sleep is a hot commodity around here these days.

I'm so happy to be a mom and to have the blessing of being able to stay home and take care of my little angel baby myself. I love him so much and would probably go crazy if I had to spend the whole day away from him. It's going to take me a long time to finish school, but I'm going to do it! My number one goal has always been to be a mom, so I'm determined to keep working at that and putting my family first.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An OLD post: My Fiancé Loves Me

I was just going through some old blog posts and found one that I'd never published. I wrote it in August of 2012, before Cameron and I were married. It made me smile to look back on, so I thought I'd share it.

In 82 days I get to marry my best friend. I am so grateful for him. Let me tell you why...

A couple weeks ago I got the stomach flu, and it was no fun. He came down with it first, so I went over to his apartment and brought him orange juice, ingredients for a berry smoothie, a thermometer, and some crackers. I didn't stay long because I had to finish (and by finish I mean do most of) packing and cleaning and moving out of my apartment. When I got home I started feeling a bit ill and decided to try and pack as quickly as possible while my health deteriorated. I unfortunately didn't get as far as I would have liked. I started feeling like I was going to be sick so I lay down. After about two hours of sleeping I felt a tiny bit better, tried to pack a little more, and talked to Cameron for a little bit. He said he was feeling much better and asked if he could help. I didn't want to say yes since I knew he was unwell but eventually I gave it, packed what I had ready in the car and went to pick him up.

After we dropped some things off at my aunt and uncle's home, we went back to my apartment. Cam started packing up my kitchen and I continued to work on my bedroom until I had to lie down again. And that's when I found out it was the stomach flu. So as I lay on the couch becoming well acquainted with my trash can, my wonderful fiancé packed and cleaned my kitchen, bedroom, toiletry cupboard, everything. He got everything in the car, and helped me walk out.

He took me to my aunt and uncle's home where I would be staying for two weeks, lay me down on my futon, got my bucket for me, and started unpacking the car. He came in every so often to bring me water, wipe my face with a cool towel, all that jazz. After he got everything unpacked, which was very late at night, and I had fallen asleep, he went home.

And came back by about nine in the morning to take care of me. He read me books, went to the store to buy me gatorade, helped me walk to the bathroom, living room, anywhere I wanted to go and made me feel like a princess. He's so wonderful.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Labor and Delivery: First Time's the Charm!

Our beautiful little Samuel Raymond came two weeks early! Everything went so smoothly and I am so grateful for that. Honestly, I was expecting parts of it to be a lot harder, or at least longer. I'm so thankful that my dear Cameron was with me the whole time and that he was so strong for me. He is my greatest blessing.

On Valentine's Day, I was feeling really needy for some reason, so Cameron took me on our date early. We went to see Frozen (finally!), had breakfast for dinner, and spent the evening together playing games and watching another movie. Around midnight I started having contractions. They were about 10 minutes apart but stronger than they had been before so we decided to start timing them. Within an hour they were down to about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger and stronger. I asked Cameron to give me a blessing. I was kind of hoping there would be a definitive “yes, you should go to the hospital,” or “no, you should stay home.” There wasn’t, but he did say that I would have the strength to get through the day and that I would have a calm mind. Cameron felt strongly that Heavenly Father would be with us that day. In light of that and since my contractions were still getting more uncomfortable and painful we decided it was time to finish packing our bag and go to the hospital.

We got there at about 4 am and the nurse checked my cervix and said it was “closed and thick.” We thought that was strange since at our last appointment I’d been at 70% and 2 cm, so Cameron mentioned this to the nurse when she came back in to check on us and she checked again and decided we were at a little over 3 cm, and with my contractions going strong we got to stay! At about 6 am they checked again and I was at 5 cm. The nurses changed shifts and we got a fabulous nurse named Vanessa. She was exactly what I needed. She was so positive and kept telling me how well I was doing and that my body was made to have babies and that everything was going great.

I was really bummed when they told me that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink until the baby came. I expected not to eat but I was really hoping for water to be ok since I was having quite a bit of heart burn. Admittedly I still snuck some small sips since the ice chips weren't as effective as liquid water at helping with that. At Timpanogos hospital they have flavored ice chips! I was really grateful for that because I was worried about having the energy to push since I hadn't had any food since dinner the night before. I don't know if it was true or not, but I told myself there were calories in the flavoring. My favorite flavor that I tried was pomegranate.

At about 9am I fell asleep trying to relax (I guess it worked) and Cameron went to the restroom. Then the nurse came back in with the on-call doctor (my doctor was out of town.) I was a bit disoriented and having a contraction and he decided it was time to break my water. I was kind of freaking out because I didn’t know where Cameron was and I was in a bit of pain. I asked the doctor to wait because I wanted Cameron there but he waited until the monitor said my contraction was done and then went right ahead and did it. It was a bit uncomfortable, like all the rest of the pelvic exams, but the actual water breaking didn't hurt at all. I had to try really hard to hold it together. I was pretty upset with him for not waiting for Cameron and my contractions were hurting more and more and I hadn’t slept since the night before. 

By about 10am I was starting (I think) to move into transition. My contractions were really intense and long and only about 2 or 3 minutes apart. I was really struggling to breathe and relax and I couldn’t hold still. I was kind of writhing around and holding on really tight to the handrails on the bed. Cameron was trying to help me relax but I shushed him every time he said anything. I just wanted to keep my eyes shut and hold his hand. I had an IV in my left hand so it hurt to hold his hand after that so I just held one of his fingers for a while.

Finally when the nurse came in I told her I wanted my epidural. Thankfully the anesthesiologist was already on the floor finishing up a C-section so he came in about 10 minutes after I asked. I started feeling really nauseous from the pain of the contractions but managed to keep it under control until the epidural was in my back. I sat up on the edge of the bed and leaned on Cameron while he held my hands. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot of novacane or something similar and then put the epidural in. Almost immediately my feet started to feel warm and a little bit tingly. They got everything taped to my back (he used a LOT of tape) and then I laid back down. I could still feel my contractions very strongly and I was struggling so Cameron was alternating wiping my face with a cold wash cloth and holding my little barf bag (which I unfortunately did end up needing.) Within five minutes I was feeling less of the contractions and my nausea started going away. Within fifteen minutes I couldn’t feel much of anything and I had to have Cameron read the monitor so I would know when I was having a contraction. I felt fantastic! I asked Cameron if we could play a game, and if I had been able to feel my legs I probably would have gotten up and started dancing. It was amazing how that sudden relief gave me such a huge burst of energy! 

Cameron suggested I rest since I probably would need the energy once I started pushing. I figured he was right and, after telling him to go get himself something to eat, I fell asleep pretty quickly. Not too long after the nurse came back in and said the doctor wanted her to put in an internal monitor to measure the strength of contractions so we could know if labor was moving fast enough. Apparently it wasn’t, because the doctor decided I needed Pitocin to speed up my contractions (it’s normal for them to slow down after getting an epidural.) Before I got the Pitocin, the doctor got called away to an emergency at another hospital, so I had to wait until he got back for the pit because he didn’t want me to deliver when he wasn’t there.

Finally he got back and I got my meds and contractions started picking up nicely. Thankfully I didn’t feel a thing, so Cameron and I were able to take a nap for a while. After an hour or two the doctor came to check how I was doing dilation wise, and I was ready to push! I was so glad he woke me up more gently that time, I might have had a heart attack if he’d just barged in and told me to start pushing.

The nurse came back and helped for the first little bit. We got ready and Sam was crowning within one push! That was crazy to hear. I was expecting to be pushing for a long time before that happened. I only pushed through four contractions before the nurse called for the doctor. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for him, and my mom arrived from Michigan just a few minutes before he came to deliver the baby! Talk about great timing. While we were waiting for both of them the nurse asked me to push one more time just to make sure Sam wasn’t going back up the birth canal. She was having Cameron count to 10 for me for each push and before he finished saying “three,” she yelled, “Stop!” Sam had not gone back any, and she was worried she’d have to deliver the baby right there if I kept pushing.

The doctor finally came in and they raised the bed, took the end away, and got my legs up in the stirrups (which was pretty comical since I couldn’t feel them and when I tried to move them they were all wobbly and I was less coordinated than the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.) Everyone got ready and on my next contraction I pushed three times for about 10 seconds each, which is what I had been doing previously. When I finished the third push I leaned back and relaxed and everyone in the room yelled, “keep pushing!” I thought something was wrong, like the baby’s cord was around his neck or something, so I pushed really hard and I had the strangest sensation of suddenly having nothing in my stomach. Miraculously, my eyes were open for that last push and I saw my stomach fall a good six inches at least and then I looked where my tummy had been and the doctor was holding a tiny, white person! Sam was born!

A few seconds later they brought him up to my chest and laid him on my skin while they rubbed the vernix off of him and tried to keep him crying. He was the sweetest little thing I had ever seen. I don’t remember if I said anything to him or not. I was so overwhelmed at finally being able to hold and see him. I could feel the spirit so strongly. This was my sweet little angel, sent straight from Heavenly Father. I was crying and when I looked around for Cameron he was crying, too. We both touched our little boy and helped wipe him off. I was so incredibly happy and just wanted to keep holding him forever. With him in my arms and Cameron holding both of us, I knew that's what Heaven must be like. There is no greater joy than being with my boys.

A few minutes later they took Sam to the warming table to check his vitals and clean him off and Cam went with him. Cameron just talked to him quietly and Sam grabbed onto his finger and watched his daddy calmly while the nurse checked him over. They brought him back to me and he was all pink and perfect. He was hardly wrinkly or cone-headed and my reaction was, “he doesn’t even look like he was squeezed through a pelvis at all!” At some point in my bliss I realized that Cameron hadn’t had a chance to hold him and handed him to his daddy.

We made a first attempt at nursing and had a little skin-to-skin time, which apparently is very important. Eventually they wheeled me down to recovery and Cameron got to push Sam in his basinet. They brought a cot into my room for Cameron to sleep on. I was so grateful that he stayed with me because with my legs still waking up and the rest of everything below my ribs being rather sore it took me a really long time to get out of bed, so I needed his help to change diapers and hand Sam to me when he needed to eat. Cameron has always been my hero, but never so much as he was during labor and those first two nights in the hospital.

Now, we get to have our sweet little angel at home with us! He brings so much joy and wonder to our lives.