Happiest of Easters!

Happy Easter, my beautiful friends!!

I love this day, and this specific week, so very much! If you didn’t already know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. I believe in Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ died for all of us, even little old me, so we could all live again even after death, and that we can be eternally with our families. That knowledge I have has got me through so many anxiety attacks, stressors and worries of mine. Knowing that Christ has paved the way for me and is always there to help me…there aren’t words to adequately express the gratitude and hope that gives me.

This weekend is our church General Conference. Thats when our church leaders and our beloved Prophet speak to us. Its absolutely one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. I feel so uplifted, inspired and excited to start a ‘new’ life. Its a beautiful weekend with beautiful, inspired words.

I hope this Easter Sunday is a lovely one for you. I hope you find joy, love and peace, weather you’re a religious person or not, you deserve a great day.

Love to you all!

Memory Keeping

Since having my first child five and a half years ago, I’ve been wondering just how I would store my kids important papers/documents/keepsakes. Everyone has their own method that they’re passionate about, and I listened to so many ideas, but ultimately I (finally) landed on this, my own, method. I’ve seen this same idea all over the internet, so I’m not at all claiming it as my own. I’m just super excited about it so I’m sharing it with you in case you’re on the hunt for a good storage idea too! And believe me, if I can do it, so can you. It was super simple and very satisfying.

I ordered file folder boxes and files. The boxes I ordered came in a pack of 4, so I even have one ready for my next baby! Then I ordered a pack of files for each box – the packs I ordered came with 25 (I think) and there are several extra folders in each box, should we decide we need them for something in the kids future. I put the folders in the box and labeled them (in this order):

Baby

Toddler

Preschool

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Stats

Medical

Keepsakes

Documents

Then, with my cricut machine, I cut out their first initials in vinyl and applied them to the front and voila! Told you it was easy!

I don’t plan on keeping every single paper from school or piece of art they create (like adorable scribbles on scraps of paper, you know?) But I’m going to mindfully keep the papers that my kids worked extra hard on or are extra proud of. The papers that have a funny story behind them or are particularly adorable. The ones I think they’d be happy to see someday when they’re adults showing their own children their memories.

I have put the bracelets we wore in the hospitals for their births in the Baby folder, along with ultrasound pictures, etc. In the boys Toddler folders, I put the bag of clippings from their first haircuts. Things like that. I also knew I had to have a folder dedicated to their stats from doctors appointments. I’m obsessed with my kids stats so I wanted them readily available.

What else would you add?!

The Year We Never Saw Coming

Around this time last year, the world as we knew it, changed. There is no way that at the end of 2019 we could’ve ever imagined that 2020 would look the way it did. Its all so crazy and surreal to look back at a whole year later. Remember when the world ‘shut down’ and it was supposed to only last a couple of weeks to flatten the curve? Even then, when everything was first shut down, I don’t think we truly had any idea what was in store for us. Did anyone look at this and think we’d still be in a very similar spot a year later?

I’m grateful for the progress. There is more knowledge and security. There is more peace and hope. I’m very, very thankful for that. But its still hard to grasp. I’m still in a sort of denial that this is the new normal we thought would only have to last a few weeks.

Us, right at the beginning of quarantine

In the space of this crazy year, a lot of big changes have happened in our family.

We added our sweet little Flora to the family, thus having a pandemic baby which is the wildest of rides, and the thing that definitely rocked me the most in all of this. When I found out I was pregnant in October 2019, I truly had no idea that during much of my pregnancy I’d be stressed out about my health and a scary new virus taking over the world. I had no idea how much fear would be instilled in me about the health of my baby. I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to have a baby in the smack middle of a global pandemic. However, there were silver linings, too. Craig was working from home around this time still, so it felt like extended paternity leave. He got to help so much with the boys and the new baby. We didn’t see extended family quite as much as we would have liked to, but it forced us to really rely on one another in a way we’d never done before. It also helped me find my voice and be confident in my gut feelings, when it came to having difficult or awkward conversations with other people when it came to visitors, outings, etc.

We also moved, which is another thing we just didn’t see coming. Our new home has been such a blessing. It all happened so fast and was a lot like a whirlwind while it happened, so now that we are settled and comfortable here in our new place, I’m really seeing how great of a decision this was for our family. Our new home has space to grow and continue to build our family. This is where our kids will grow up and I’m so thankful we are in this place.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this year. We opted not to put Harrison in preschool this year and chose to do homeschool. Since Emmett is just two years behind him, I decided to do preschool at home with them both. I wasn’t sure how it would all go. I know I’m capable of teaching preschool level curriculum, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be an exciting ‘teacher,’ or if I’d be able to teach things in a way that my kids would be able to internalize. But thanks to online resources and approximately 8 billion prayers on my part, I found that not only can I do this, but I can be really good at it. The kids and I have had so much fun doing preschool together. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit sad that next year Harrison will go off to Kindergarten and Emmett will officially start in a real preschool.

We learned a lot about respecting others. I think we can all agree that wearing masks is a pain. They’re sweaty, they cause acne, they make breathing seem trickier, but I do think they’re something just fine to enforce right now. I’m definitely not against them. But even more than my feelings on masks, I’ve learned to see that wearing a mask in public is very much a way to show that I and my family love and care for others. Me wearing a mask is an outward way to show that I respect you and your health and well-being. Its also been a nice way to teach my kids about respecting others.

I learned that I’m resourceful. There was the period of time when basic food items were hard to find. I learned to be resourceful with the food I had in my pantry. I learned how to make fun, educational things out of the seemingly mundane things around our house for the kids. I was able to dive back into my love of scrapbooking in all the time spent at home, and made our families own Quarantine Scrapbook, that I really think I’ll cherish and hopefully my posterity will, as well.

My testimony grew tremendously in this year. I’m a worrier. My dad is a high-risk person. I was pregnant for a long time during this and wasn’t sure what Covid could do to a pregnant or breastfeeding woman. I imagined terrible things happening to the health of those I love, especially the people who didn’t take it as seriously as I was. I just worried constantly. I feared the worst happening. I knew the virus didn’t typically have bad things happen to young children, but I still wondered if my children would be the acceptation if they got it. I was a ball of anxiety. Well, I always am. But I was an even bigger ball. I would pray so many times a day and just beg Heavenly Father for clarity and calm. I’d pour my heart out for the well-being of my family. I’d ask for peace of mind, because at times, my mental health struggled so much under all the fear and uncertainty. Sometimes I had to learn some lessons first, or search hard for answers, but I definitely was comforted and felt peaceful. I was strongly reminded that God is in all the details and he is stronger than any earthly person, even stronger than a global pandemic. I was reminded that His plan is truly the plan of happiness, and He knows what He’s doing. I trust Him. I know He has me and my family, and everyone, securely in His hands.

We are a year into this now. I’m not sure when things will be ‘norma,’ again, or if they ever will. But I’m happy to report, that though this has all been crazy and unexpected, I’ve found joy, happiness and learning in the year of quarantine.

Us a few weeks ago

Love you all. I hope you’re all doing ok. Life is weird right now. Life is crazy. Things can be uncertain. But we can do this!

Powerful in a Sweatsuit

Did you watch WandaVision? The series just finished on Disney+, but you can – and absolutely should – still watch it if you haven’t already. I give it all the stars and all the thumbs up. Wanda Maximoff, AKA, The Scarlet Witch, has always been one of my very favorite MCU (marvel cinematic universe) characters, but I think this show put her at #1 on my list.

Anyway, this post will have very small “spoilers,” if you’re worried about that. But mostly, I just want to talk about how…

MOMS ARE FREAKING POWERFUL

Here is why my brain is in this place, and here is how Wanda is also a part of this thought: In the last two episodes of WandaVision, Wanda is in a pretty intense ‘battle.’ She is kicking butt, defending herself and her sons and husband, protecting her loved ones and what she cares about, being super amazing and super powerful….ALL WHILE WEARING SWEATS!

I mean, let’s hear it for the queen!

It made me think of real life. I can’t speak for all of you, but I know I do a lot of my mommin’ while wearing a cozy sweat suit. I also know that sometimes it’s real easy for me to get down on myself because of not always getting ready or accomplishing everything on my to-do list. Or maybe I’m feeling a little guilty because I’m not the “perfect mom” I follow on Instagram. You know?

But then I watched Wanda, who was being awesome and so powerful. In sweats. I mean, will I ever shoot magic red orbs from my palms, be able to alter reality and control things with my mind? Unfortunately, no. But I CAN do amazing, awesome and powerful things in my sweats too!!

Toward the end of the final episode, Wanda turns into The Scarlet Witch, for real. It’s soooo cool – definitely still fan-girling about this. Then she dons her new superhero suit, which, might I add, is the best MCU costume I’ve yet to see. It’s an incredible scene, I won’t lie. But you know what? The new outfit isn’t what made her so cool. It was her and her actions. Sweatsuit Wanda is just as powerful as New Outfit Scarlet Witch.

The outfit, the situation, the location… that’s not what makes us powerful. We as moms, are doing powerful things every single day. And let’s be honest, we are probably in sweats. Our powers and things we balance, accomplish and work at are tremendous. We all have a little New-Outfit-Scarlet-Witch inside of us, we’re just doing it in our Wanda Sweats – and we are awesome! I hope you know that. I hope you believe that.

Not So Much the Room, But the People

We moved into our new home in early October. We loved our old home so dearly – it was perfect for us and had been the birth place of so many of our most cherished memories. I remember when we made the decision to move, I was sure we were making the correct decision, but I was also so nervous about leaving this home that we’d made ours. One day I was sitting in one of my favorite spaces in our old home, Flora’s nursery. I looked around at this little room we spent so much of our time making perfect for our baby girl and I felt a bit devastated, fearing I’d never love a room again like I loved her room. What if I never felt the love or connection to our new home that I did to our old home? It actually scared me. How could we love a place like we loved our old home?

Now it is January and we have been in our new home for almost four months. We took the first couple weeks making some changes to the home to make it fit us. I took time to really consider the way I wanted to decorate and put a lot of thought behind what I purchased to put around our new home.

Funny enough, the room we just barely finished, and now, one of my very favorite rooms in the whole house is…Flora’s nursery.

The second her happy, pink room was all finished, I sat in the chair in her room and surveyed the space. It hit me like a ton of bricks that, yes, a home and a room can be really special and seem irreplaceable, but what actually matters is the people in that home. I mean, yeah, a nicely decorated room can sure help how you feel about the room for sure. But I was so powerfully reminded of all those cheesy quotes, “home is wherever I’m with you,” and so on. It’s not so much about the home, the walls and the decor, but the people that are within those walls. It’s the relationships you have with them, the memories made with them and the bond you have with them. That’s what makes a home so special.

Mom

Yesterday was my moms birthday. She is all things wonderful, amazing, good, happy, peaceful and magic. She is the best of the best. I try so dang hard to emulate all that she is. Did you know I’ve never been embarrassed of my mom? Never. She’s always been my best friend and I’ve always been proud of that. I always wonder HOW she somehow managed to have that same relationship with all of her kids. We are all so close to her and tell her our deep secrets that I don’t know if its super common for kids to tell their mom. My mom knows everything about me and I know that all those things I tell her and pieces of me are safe with her. She has always been a safe space for me. She listens, understands and doesn’t make anyone feel bad for feeling or thinking what they do. She understands everyone is different. She doesn’t try to change people to fit her liking – she likes them for who they are. She is patient. She is the perfect balance of mom and friend.

I want to be her when it comes to mom. I hope and pray my kids love and adore and trust me in the ways that my sisters and I do with her. I want to be the kind of mom she is so I can have the same phenomenal relationship with my kids that she has with us.

She is the grandest. I adore her. I love her and I am so proud to be her oldest daughter.

Love you mom. Happy Birthday (yesterday)!

Big News!!

Eeeeeeee!!!! I am so happy to be able to finally announce this! We moved!! We are in a different home!

It’s so crazy. Honestly, a few months ago if you would have asked us if we had moving on our radar, you would have for a big ol’ NOPE for us! We planned on staying in our home for several more years. We knew how we could make it work and we felt good about it. But then an opportunity came up with the new house. It was an opportunity that truly, we would have been absolutely idiotic to have turned down. We didn’t make the decision quickly, and we discussed the heck out of the pros and cons. We came to realize that both options were right. Staying in our old home would have been fine. So would moving to a new house. So ultimately we just had to just decide which was more right.

We knew we’d be silly not to do it. So we did. We chose to move. This new home has so much more room. It is a good home in a good area. We feel good about our decision. It’s exciting!

We are still in the phase of trying to get used to it all. Quite honestly, it feels like it happened really fast. So now that we are in our new home and slowly making it our own and personalizing it, it’s all starting to really set it.

We feel really fortunate. We feel blessed and excited. Our kids (and dogs) have transitioned into the new home really well and things are going great. Now if only I could figure out how to decorate my new living room!!

I’ll be sharing more about the house and some of the projects we are tackling as we go. Thanks for following along! I really do appreciate you being here.

Toddler-Sized Faith

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Craig and I have a phrase that we seem to repeat to each other a lot, and that is, “the faith of a toddler.” We say this in times when your kid dives off of a chair and into your arms, absolutely sure that you’ll catch them. Or when they just know mom or dad can for sure fix something. You know, things like that.

Its been over a year now since this happened, but we gained yet another reason to continue saying, “the faith of a toddler,” and its a story I think about all the time because it really moved me. It was, without a doubt, a thing that happened in our family for us to learn from for years and years to follow.

We love to go on family walks. We always have. Sometime last Summer we were out on a walk on our usual route. Both our boys had brought a small toy with them. At one point we let Harrison out of the stroller to run around for a minute when we noticed he was tossing his little toy, a very small Woody figurine, up into the air over and over. We warned him to be careful to not lose it, and for a while he did fine, but then all of the sudden, Woody was nowhere to be found. Craig and I tried to recall where Harrison had stood the last time he’d tossed his toy, but try as we might we just could not find that tiny Woody toy anywhere – and of course, he was standing in the middle of a large, grassy field. Craig, Harrison and I looked for a while, desperately seeking this tiny little toy. 

It started to get darker, but we kept on looking. My sister had texted me around this point and I explained to her what was going on, then next thing I knew, my whole family and one of my sisters friends showed up to the field to help us look. I don’t even know how long we looked, but it was a long, long time. It was completely dark by the time we finally decided to call it quits and cut our losses. We walked back home with a very devastated Harrison. My family had stayed in the field a while longer and said a police officer even stopped by to help (probably because we all looked so crazy out there digging through grass haha!) but they too had no luck.

The next day we decided to look one more time – just give it a shot. At one point, Harrison approached me and told me he was going to say a prayer. It made me pause. I’ve always tried to teach my kids that there is never a bad time to pray. Prayer is always a good idea. I’ve also tried to stress to my kids that whenever you feel a need to pray, you should pray. I’ve taught my kids this – yet, in this moment, I hadn’t thought to pray, but Harrison, my (then) 3 year old, did. I was so proud of him and so proud of the faith he had. He knew that there was no problem too small to take to Heavenly Father. So he said a little prayer asking that he would find his toy, my heart melted and we continued searching. 

My family joined again and we started combing through the grass yet again. Thinking about it now, I have to laugh thinking about how silly we looked. This field was on a main road and cars were passing nearly constantly. I told my family how Harrison had prayed about it and my dad made the comment that we better find the toy or we’d have to have a tough conversation with a three year old about how not all prayers are answered how we want them to be haha! 

It took a while, but guess what? We found it. My mom happened upon it and excitedly raised it into the air and we all celebrated! Harrison was overjoyed and we all felt a great sense of relief. The faith of a toddler is truly incredible and it reminded us all of something very important that day. There really is nothing we can’t take to the Lord and I’m glad Harrison made me recall that. Harrison victoriously took his Woody figurine home, and we then explained to him that after Heavenly Father helps us with something, we should pray to thank Him. He did that, and his little simple prayer of gratitude was incredible. I adore him. 

This all happened quite a while ago, but I still think about it all the time. The faith of a toddler is inspirational, and I’m thankful I’ve got some sweet toddlers to continually remind me of how important it is to keep your faith strong and to remember that Heavenly Father cares about everything in our life – even the tiny little things.

Birth Story

On June 11th, our little Flora was born at 8:30am after a quick and kind of crazy delivery. She is absolute perfection and has changed our family for the better. Life with her in it is pure magic. Yesterday, she turned two months old (how??) and I have finally finished up her quick birth story for you guys. I think about her delivery a lot. It was not what I planned, but it was really incredible.

Now how about a birth story?

On the evening of June 10th I’d started feeling contractions that were different than the Braxton hicks contractions I’d felt the past few weeks. These ones weren’t super painful or anything, but I could tell they were slowly and surely getting more powerful. Harrison had a soccer game and then we went to my parents house for a while and the whole time I could just tell some things were changing, but I decided not to get my hopes up yet at this point and just tried to continue to be patient.

That evening around 9:30pm I felt like there was another shift in my body. More pain. A little more intensity. But nothing serious, yet. I got some stuff done around the house after putting the boys to bed, then decided to go to bed myself around 10:30 to see if I could sleep off the pain. I could until about 1:30am. I woke up somewhere around 1:30 hurting significantly more. I decided to finally download a contraction timing app and laid there in bed, timing my contractions for a while. They were coming anywhere from every 10-30 minutes, their intensity varying all the while. I texted my sisters just to let them know I may be needing them to come over in the middle of the night, then went back to waiting and timing and breathing.

Finally around 4 I had a contraction that made me shoot up. I couldn’t do it laying down anymore. It was a real, painful and powerful contraction. I woke Craig up in the process and I just remember him rubbing my back. He told me a little while later than when he saw me sit up, he knew this was the real deal. As I stood up, my water also broke (but in the moment I wasn’t sure if it was my water or if I’d wet my pants), but when I went to the restroom and noticed blood – a true labor sign for me – I quickly convinced myself that this was it.

Craig and I got ready, I told my sisters to come over and we arrived to the hospital right at 6 in the morning. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked (I was at a 4, with contractions coming every 1-2 minutes apart) and was told I’d be monitored for an hour to see if I progressed, and if I had enough, I’d be admitted.

I don’t think it was coincidence that my nurse (who we loved) randomly decided to check me at 30 minutes. Turns out, I was progressing fast, so with that, she admitted me a half an hour early! She called for my epidural, I got my IV and things started getting real. I was in a lot of pain by this point and I was also as hot as I have ever felt in my entire life.

The next little while was just waiting for things to continue to move. I kept dilating and kept waiting for my epidural. My doctor came in to say hi and check me and asked where my epidural was and the nurses explained they’d called for it couple of times and it still hadn’t shown up. He told them to call for it again. Not too long afterwards he came back in to check again and we knew that it would be time to push soon. Its a good thing I was hurting so bad and just totally in my own head, otherwise I probably would have gone into panic mode. When I had Harrison, my epidural was only sort of working, and I just remember that hurting – so I didn’t want to have to have a painful delivery again. But I was too busy focusing on surviving each contraction and trying not to burst into flames (seriously, I was SO hot) to think too much of my anesthesiologist not coming very fast – although I sure wished he would have hurried.

Around 8:20 the anesthesiologist finally came in and administered my long-awaited epidural. This one hurt pretty bad. I’m not sure if its just because everything hurt so bad at that point or what, but I just remember so much pain. Also, Craig couldn’t fan me anymore while I got my epidural, so I felt so hot I wanted to scream at people. Immediately after laying back down after getting that taken care of, I was checked.

It was time to push. Now. She was right there. But guess what? I was told my epidural would take at least 15 minutes to start working. I asked my nurse and Craig if there was anything we could do to make it work faster (in hind site, I see thats a silly question, but I was desperate) and she very kindly told me that I could wait for the epidural to start working, but that things were moving and baby sister was coming out.

So I started to push. I can honestly say that delivering a baby with no epidural to help me was the most pain I’ve ever felt and a lot more awful than I’d ever imagined, but at the same time, doing it without an epidural made me feel powerful and strong – something I don’t feel about myself too often. It was really neat to literally feel her every move as she came out of my body. Delivering her head and shoulders were…there are no words. Just ouch, ouch, ouch. But thankfully I only had to push a few times – about five minutes – and she was born.

Everyone noticed that she was a “good sized baby,” or a, “big baby,” immediately (I’ve got that with all my kids now). Craig cut the cord and my perfect little girl, my first daughter, was placed on my chest. There is nothing more magical than those moments.

A while later she was weighed, measured, cleaned and cared for. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 and 3/4ths inches, and 100% perfection.

We only stayed in the hospital one night due to Covid, and were able to go home the next day a few hours after noon. Only a couple of hours before we left, we finally named her Flora. The boys were beyond thrilled to meet their little sister. They greeted her so enthusiastically and sweetly, it melted me.

We are so, so happy to have our baby here safe, healthy and happy!

The Big Brothers

It struck me just recently that next month, these wonderful little energy-bombs are going to become big brothers. One of them will become a big brother for a second time and the other will become a first time big brother (and new title of middle child). Like, wow.

Harrison was born to be the oldest. He was born to be the big brother. I have no doubt, that just like he did when Emmett was born, he’ll take on the new title of Big Brother x2 easily and quickly. He has always had this responsible, caring, kind and protective manner about him. Even as an almost two year old when Emmett was born, he never skipped a beat once he became a big brother. He just is meant to be one. I can’t wait to watch him interact with his new little sister and to hear what he has to say about her. I can’t wait to watch him care for her and her well-being. I can’t wait to see them grow up together.

Emmett is going to be unpredictable as a big brother. He will be sweet, excited and so happy to have a baby in the house, but I can also see him being kind of rough, wild and at times, jealous about his new little sister. However, I know overall that he will be so proud of her and eager to show her off. He loves babies, so I can’t only imagine how much he’ll love his own baby. I think he will be fascinated in everything she is doing, even when she is doing nothing. I imagine there will be so, so many questions asked and I can imagine him trying to take care of her all by himself, sneakily, behind his parents backs. He will love her fiercely and I can’t wait to see that all happen. I can’t wait to see how he helps shape his little sister and how he’ll protect her (and probably also drive her nuts) as they grow up together.

I only have sisters, but I always wished I had a big brother, so I feel really excited that my daughter gets two of the very best big brothers, ever. They will each treat her, love her and protect her so differently, and I hope that she’ll always be grateful for them, even if she doesn’t want to admit it at times. I hope they’re always close friends and that they see how much they can learn from one another. I hope they form a bond that never breaks. I’m so excited to see it all. I can’t say that enough. I’m just so excited to see it all happen.

Of course there are the pieces of guilt and worry that sneak in before you add a baby to the family and change the dynamic of the family. But I’ve felt very fortunate this time that the guilt and worry doesn’t completely consume me. More than anything, I am consumed by the excitement and wonder. I keep hearing how a little girl will change the whole dynamic of our family. I keep hearing that Harrison and Emmett are going to be the best big brothers.

I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT ALL HAPPEN!!