Progress is Progress!

In January, I decided enough was enough. I was going to make my health a priority. Healthy eating. Daily exercise. Mindfulness. Taking control of my mental health. Nurturing my spiritual health. I knew it would take a lot of self control and discipline, and truth be told, I was nervous that I’d start this goal out strong, then eventually it’d fade out and I’d go back to my past ways.

But I promised myself I’d do my best. I’d hold myself accountable. I’d believe in myself and I’d push myself.

And now I am three and a half months in and still going strong and I am freaking proud of myself!

I’ve never had a goal weight or clothing size in mind. I just wanted to feel healthy, strong, confident and empowered. I’m happy to say that I’m doing so well and 100% doing exactly what I know I should be doing right now. My self confidence is higher than it’s been in so long, I feel good, I feel strong, I feel empowered and confident and my mental health is doing leaps and bounds better.

Like I anticipated, it really has taken a lot of accountability and discipline, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and that I’m doing it in a healthy way. No foods are off limits, I’m giving myself grace and I’m being realistic. It feels good to get fit and healthy while also keeping a healthy, happy mindset! I can’t wait to see how I’ll feel months from now!

Not Defined

“If someone judges you harshly or talks behind your back, that is more of an indication of their own negativity, not of who you are.”

I wish I could remember where I heard this, but I wrote it down years ago and have never forgotten it. When it comes to my mental health, my anxiety and especially my postpartum journeys, I get so caught up in what people think about me, their judgements, and what they’re saying when I’m not around. I get obsessively hung up over it until I start to feel sick. But I try so hard to remember that people judging other people – thats negativity being spread. Its nothing that should concern me. What people have to say about the and the way I’m navigating my own life doesn’t define who I am. There’s also the possibility that this is all just my inner dialogue saying, “what if?” I don’t even know for certain there are people judging me or saying negative things I fear, but its always a thought in the back of my mind. But I do my best to not allow my mind to travel there.

This mindset is so much easier said than done, but I’m getting better at remembering I am not what others think of me. Mental health is such a rollercoaster, isn’t it?

What things are you working on remembering and implementing into your lives?! Let me know! I want to support you – especially in your mental health journey!

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!

Taking Care of MOM

You hear it all the time as a mother. “You need to take care of yourself.” But that can be so hard sometimes. Its something you just don’t totally get until you’re actually in it. I know its so incredibly important to take time out for me. I’m a better mom and wife when I make sure I’m taking care of myself and doing things for myself.

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out just what to do, though. What can you, as not only a mom, but a human being, do for yourself to rejuvenate yourself, refresh yourself and keep the relationship with yourself alive and healthy? I’m going to give you a few of my go-to self care things and some of my fantasy ones as well to hopefully inspire you to do something for yourself!!

Ideas to Take Care of Yourself

  • Take a bath. Not one to wash your hair, shave your legs and ponder the meaning of life. A bath to sit in hot water with a sparkly bath bomb, snacks, a Diet Coke and either a podcast on or something on YouTube. Lose yourself in the moment full of things you love and a whole lot of mindlessness.
  • Go get your nails done. Pick a color that makes you happy. Rock it.
  • Set aside time for yourself to read a book, a magazine, a blog or something of that nature. If reading isn’t your thing, I personally love to listen to a podcast while browsing instagram — or pictures of my kids haha.
  • Exercise. My personal faves are yoga or running. Or heck, try a new workout! Maybe you’ll find something you love and it could become your new outlet.
  • Take a nap. I know some people don’t identify as a ‘nap person,’ but I certainly am and I’m fairly certain that naps can solve lots of problems.
  • Go grab a soda. Going on a ride, listening to music or a podcast and getting a delicious Diet Coke? Sign. me. up. Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me.
  • Call your mom or a trusted family member or friend. Talk to the people who don’t live in your home and just chat. They should be some people that make you feel good.
  • Ice Cream and a show. One of my favorite things to do in the evening is to sit on the couch, watch tv, eat ice cream and play around on my computer. Sometimes I work on blog posts or sometimes I lose myself on Pinterest. Either way I feel awesome.

Those are only a few ideas, but they’re some of my tried and true ones. What are your go-to’s?!

Just remember. You’re amazing and you absolutely deserve time to yourself. You are just as important as your children and your husband. Don’t forget that!

The Start of Something New

…it feels so right to be here with you, ohh!

{bonus points for you if you know what thats from}

On Monday I committed myself to something, and I have every intention of staying committed. I started exercising and paying attention to what I’m putting into my body. I am feeling so motivated and empowered and am actually very excited for this journey I’m taking myself on.

I started working out a few weeks ago right around 6 weeks postpartum, but long story short, I just lacked the motivation. I also didn’t feel all the way healed, because while I exercised a lot still hurt and didn’t feel right. So it was a short lived thing. But now I am about 10 weeks postpartum and feelings leaps and bounds better physically and mentally, and I’m ready to do this.

I want to be clear about something though, I’m not doing this to lose weight. I’m not doing it to get my “pre-baby body,” either. I’m doing this to feel good about myself. I’m doing this to do something good for myself. I’m a mom and a wife — so I spent the good majority of my days doing things for others to make them feel good. But I need to do things for myself, too. I need to make sure I’m feeling good, as well. I’m totally a believer that when you’re putting yourself as a priority, you’re a better person all around. I need to do that. However, if I do lose some pounds and tone my body up while on this journey, then awesome – I’ll have worked hard for it, so I’ll be proud of myself. But ultimately, I want to keep my body, my wonderful body, healthy and happy.

I’m excited to start this! I’m excited to feel stronger, feel more confident and get back that body confidence thats so easy to lose when you’ve recently had a baby and all you see is flabby, stretched skin, extra pounds, stretch marks and a tired face. I’m doing this for me – to feel like me, again, and I’m ready!

Do you have a goal? Start today!! Lets reach our goals together! Lets motivate each other! We can do this!!

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!

Pregnant During a Pandemic

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I can tell you honestly, that when we found out that I was pregnant back in the end of 2019, I certainly did not foresee being pregnant during a global pandemic. I mean, who would even think that could be a possibility, right? Yet here we are. May 2020 and the world is still in the midst of the Covid-19 craziness…and I am due next month. 

Growing and having a baby during a pandemic was never, ever on my radar. I mean, I worry about out-there things happening all the time, but a global health crisis was never something I had thought up. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. I mean, I was already pregnant – so what good would worrying do? But in typical me-fashion, I started thinking and thinking more about it, reading more articles and listening to more opinions. I still, thankfully, can say that I’m not really too worried about it, but I definitely have more concern than I did a few months ago. Mostly, I just hope and pray and pray and pray and pray that me and my family will be healthy when Baby Sister decides to come. Because I am preeeeety darn sure that I’ll be having a c-section, we have this kind of weird situation where we (ok, mostly me) are stressing out about keeping Craig super healthy, because if he is ill, he can’t be in the operating room with me. That sounds like my worst nightmare ever. I had a c-section with Emmett and didn’t particularly love it, and Craig was right beside me! I can only imagine what my feelings would be about it all if my own husband wasn’t able to be next to me. I get it, but that doesn’t mean I’d like it to happen to me!

So what has helped me?

  • Accepting that this is my reality. Like I said earlier, what will worrying do besides cause me to sleep even less than I already do?  If I had the option, I wouldn’t take a time machine and not get pregnant at the end of last year – I want Baby Sister in June, exactly when she’s coming – so I’m just accepting and embracing that this is my life. This is exactly how its supposed to happen! In the long run, it’ll be cool to say I had a baby during a pandemic, right?
  • My doctors. My doctors have been so helpful. They’ve given me their honest opinions on how to navigate this crazy time, but have done it in a way that is comforting and calming and I cannot express just how grateful I am for that.
  • Talking about it. A lot. Craig, my mom and sisters hear me talk about this all the time and I bet they’re ready for it to be over, but its been super therapeutic for me and helps me process it all.
  • Sooooo many prayers. You guys, I’m already kind of a crazy, all-the-time pray-er, but now I just pray 1,000 times more. Like yeah, it can be exhausting, but its helping so much and I’m not ashamed to pray all. the. time.
  • Not dwell too much on the fact that I’ve recently found out I have to take the Covid-19 test before I have baby, because that test looks so miserable. (Sorry, I just had to add this because UGH).

In the end, yeah, I’m pregnant during a pandemic and thats crazy. Its rough and it is nerve-racking and can be a little bit scary. But its all going to be ok. Amazing women all over the world are having babies left and right during this and they’re rocking it. They’re doing well and they’re reminding me that the most important thing about all of this is your sweet tiny baby. I already know that as soon as I have my little baby girl I’ll forget all about the pandemic happening outside my hospital room door – my whole world will be my kids. Thats what’s most important. Thats the main thing that helps me, guys. Just knowing that I still have my perfect children and I get to be their mom.

If you, too, are pregnant right now and you’re stressed or you have big feelings about it, please reach out to me if you want someone to talk to! I’d be more than happy to listen, because believe me, I have stresses and big feelings about this, too!!

So Much Closer

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So its only just very, very recently occurred to me that this pregnancy is starting to wrap up. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever, so the fact that its totally nearing the end is hard for me to completely grasp. I am due next month! I’m due in six-ish weeks. I am full term in just a couple more weeks. This is crazy! I am so close to the end! We are SO close to meeting our anxiously awaited Baby Sister, finally!! Its all just so mind blowing to me. All the sudden its just…here! Or, super almost here, at least. Its so exciting and rewarding!!

Her nursery is all ready for her. The only thing missing is her. Craig and I love to spend time in there just sitting and daydreaming life with her in it. Its magical. I can’t wait to meet her and see who she is. See what she looks like. And hopefully finally figure out what in the world her name is.

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At my latest doctors appointment it was basically loosely confirmed that she’d be delivered via c-section. This isn’t how I envisioned her birth, at all. I was really hoping for a successful VBAC, but she had other plans when she decided to be a breech baby. I really disliked my c-section with Emmett, but I’m pretty sure thats because his was a scary emergency situation and he didn’t come out looking very good, at all. I’m hoping and praying that her c-section will go a lot better and change my mind about c-sections. I’m not super excited about the recovery, either. But I realize all of these reasons I’m not thrilled about a c-section are because of me being selfish. What matters is her. What matters is getting her here in the safest manner possible, which is very, very likely – a c-section. I’d much rather have her come into the world in the best way possible instead of fighting for what my idea of my third birth would be and having something not go so well. You know? I do find it funny though. Harrison was a head down baby. Emmett was a sideways baby. Baby Sister is a head up baby. Does that mean my fourth will be a sideways baby, but her head will be on the opposite side Emmett’s was?

 

Beginning Week 3

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I’m setting more goals for myself this week, and one of them has been to blog once a day, at least Monday through Friday. I mean, I’ve got plenty of time, you know? I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what all there is to talk about, but hopefully I can get kind of creative sooner than later.

Quarantine life hasn’t changed much since last time I talked about it. We still have nice slow mornings, we get ready for the day (usually) because it gives us a sense of normalcy and we spend a lot of time doing schoolwork, sensory boxes, activities, show watching, walks, chalk and coloring. Is it getting old? Just a tiny bit, but I feel like I’ve done a pretty ok job at mixing it up and keeping things ‘new’ and fun. We are having a good time, but sometimes it actually takes some work! Craig has been mostly working from home now down in our basement, which is actually really nice. Its good to know he’s down there being protected from stupid COVID-19 and its fun to see him pop upstairs from time to time. Although keeping the boys upstairs is becoming a bit of a challenge.

I feel bad for the boys. They miss going places and getting out of the house. But I also feel incredibly impressed by them. Despite their wishes to go to school, library class, church, museums, stores, grandparents houses, etc, they are going with the flow and being patient with me as I try to navigate this new journey in motherhood. I just have a lot of gratitude for them and I can’t wait until I can take them out again!

So just for a second can we talk about this virus? My thoughts have been so all over the place with this. When it first started, I was one of those people who believed it was just some bad flu and it wasn’t that big of a deal. I took precautions to make sure hands were washed thoroughly and disinfected a little more, but I honestly didn’t feel like I needed to panic. But then it started spreading faster and people kept dying. I kept thinking about my grandparents. I kept thinking about my unborn baby. I didn’t, and don’t, want them harmed by some evil virus that seemed to show up from nowhere. It started to scare me. I decided to educate myself. I have been pretty good at only paying attention to CDC articles, and I have found. lot of direction and peace in the messages from church leaders, especially our sweet Prophet, Russel M. Nelson. Between those two things I’ve come up with my own take on this, and its this:

We are following the rules. We are social distancing. We don’t go out unless we absolutely need to, and I’m seeing more and more, there is not hardly any need for us to go out – so we don’t. I don’t know how this could effect me while pregnant, or my unborn daughter, or my daughter once she’s born. I don’t know if this could take a turn and do something harmful to my toddler sons. So we are being careful. We are washing hands frequently and thoroughly. I’m disinfecting a lot. Hand sanitizer is everywhere. We are being mindful and aware. Its a little isolating and tiring, but we have chosen to do our part, follow the rules and help flatten the curve.

The Prophet has spoken about how we will defeat this. There will be relief. We just need to be smart. I take so much comfort from his words. We will get past this! I hope we can all do so safely, smartly and healthily.

Ramblings of an Anxious Mama

I woke up this morning to the aftershock of an earthquake. This, coming after a terrible nights sleep because of a two year old who was having random ear pain all throughout the night and having so much anxiety all throughout the night because its like suddenly it clicked to me that I’m a pregnant woman during a pandemic. Then I started having these scary thoughts – we already know we won’t have anyone come in and visit after I deliver baby sister (even her brothers *cue sobs*), but then I started thinking about, what if Craig gets sick and he’s not allowed in either? What if I have to do the whole thing without him?

Then I remembered I find out soon if I have gestational diabetes again. Everything I’ve been reading has said that basically, jury is still out if being a pregnant woman makes you high risk for Covid-19, but I have read since the beginning of all this that being diabetic does put you at high risk. Does that include gestational diabetes? Not to mention, I just really don’t want to have gestational diabetes again – that was a low point in my life haha. The only food I can consistently rely on during my pregnancies is candy, so you can imagine how that just really, really sucks for me.

Anxiety is fun, folks.

This is all kind of ticking me off, because up until last night, I really haven’t let the stress and panic of everything get to me. I really haven’t, and thats incredibly impressive for me! I’m not great at remaining calm, but somehow I have been. Then I went to bed last night and my anxiety and dumb brain that won’t shut up got the best of me. Then, like I said, I woke up to news of an earthquake. Now I’m making a plan on what to do with my kids in case another one comes soon (or ever), and let me tell you, for an anxious person, making a plan like this does not necessarily calm you down!

I’m just trying really hard to be mindful and aware of things lately. Pay attention. Don’t let unimportant things distract me. Hug my kids tighter and, as always, wash the crap out of our hands.