What I Hope We Remember from Summer 2019

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Dear Boys,

2019 has held my very favorite summer that I can remember, and I have you to thank for that. The season started off really rough for me. I was in a sad, frustrating, emotional spot and originally I believed my summer and maybe even the rest of the year would be stained with sadness. I wasn’t feeling motivated to be all that fun and push us to have an exciting summer. But as you two always do, you encouraged me with your adorable little voices, consistent begging and precious faces to at least try. So at the beginning of the summer I decided to go forward with the attitude of ‘fake it til you make it’ to have a fun summer with you guys. In no time, after several fun outdoor playdates, pool visits, splash pad adventures, evening walks, porch sits and so much more, we were having the best summer ever and I’d completely forgotten about the crumby beginnings of the season. Again, I have you two to thank for that.

Once the ball got rolling, I decided to dedicate the summer to you two. We didn’t have vacations planned or anything big and exciting in the warmest months of the year. So I let you guys call the shots and that was the best thing I could have done. We had a blast spending time together, the three of us, and times got even better when dad could join after work.

You two are so young still, so I don’t know what, if anything, you’ll remember, but I hope I can at least remind you often of what a great time it was. I hope we remember all the swimming in Grammy and Pops pool that happened – how Emmett gained so much confidence in the water, floating in his puddle jumper by himself and figuring out its not the worst thing ever to get water in your face, or how Harrison really started to get a grasp on swimming by yourself, pushing yourself and feeling brave in the water.

I hope you remember the trips to the farm, the zoo, the Museum of Curiosity and the Dinosaur Museum. You two were filled with wonder, excitement and lots and lots of enthusiastic pointing and squealing. You learned so much, you explored it all and you never wanted to leave. “I want to stay here forever!” – Harrison after leaving most places.

Then there were all the visits to the Splash Pad. I know we have access to our own private pool, but sometimes the Splash Pad was what you guys desired. Emmett hated it the first time. The cold water touching him upset him and he was happiest to sit on the blanket with mom, but by two or three times in, he was just as happy as Harrison to get in the water, to get splashed and soaked. Harrison made friends at the Splash Pad, he shared, he returned lost toys, he helped kids who fell down, he covered every inch of that place.

I hope as you two grow up, you always think back fondly to our family walks. We’ve done this since before either of you were born, but they just keep getting better now that we are adding kids to our evening walks. Our walks involve playful conversation, big decisions, lots of “I Spy,” animal watching and people watching, and so, so many questions from you two. Our walks are something I look forward to the very most with you little boys.

Lastly, I hope we remember the times in our very own yard. There were countless hours spent on the porch on the rocking bench, talking, watching birds fly by and chatting. There were hours in the front yard playing fetch with Penny, racing, playing Avengers and dinosaurs and riding our bikes and scooters. In the backyard, we had our tiny kiddie pool, sprinklers to run through and the large cement pad where thousands of chalk drawings were made.

There were so many wonderful, simple, perfect memories made this summer. I’m so happy for that time. I’m so happy that you two turned my whole attitude around. You two are wonderful and magical.

I love you to infinity and beyond,

Mom

Must Be Doing Something Right

If you weren’t already aware, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. I can’t tell you just how many times a week I wonder if I’m doing enough to teach my sons about the gospel, especially about Jesus Christ. I try to incorporate gospel lessons, discussions about Christ, reminders about things we’ve learned in our family scripture study and Come Follow Me study into our daily lives, and I make sure we have pictures of Christ, temples, etc up in our home, but I still feel like I’m failing them a bit. (Have I mentioned that mom guilt is the WORST?)

Over the past week I have been re-doing our living room – new paint, new color scheme, new decor, etc. As I was laying out our pictures and frames on the floor, trying to visualize where I wanted to hang them, Emmett walked over to the picture we have of Jesus. He got down on his hands and knees and got real close to the picture (like so close he kneeled on it) and just stared at Christ. I watched in silence as he pointed at Christ’s facial features and then, in an incredibly adorable act, leaned down and kissed the picture. Then he turned to me and exclaimed, “Jesus!” He said it in the same tone he chants “dad!” when Craig gets home from work.

I could tell that even at his young age, we have at least taught him that Jesus is his friend, that Jesus loves him and there is joy through Him and I could see in Emmett’s actions and the look of pure elation on his face that he really knew that.

I guess I must be doing something right, after all!

Being a Mother

This quote has been replaying in my head a LOT, lately. It sums up what I believe motherhood, for myself, to be, perfectly. Becoming a mom introduced me to a new, strong, exciting side of myself I’d never met before. It also gave me even more things for my already very worried self to fear. It opened my eyes to so many things, both good and bad, scary and exciting.

By far the thing that has most surprised me about turning into a mother is how in-tune to my children I am. I can confidently say I know them better than anyone else, and that’s empowering, overwhelming and awe-inspiring. I have been given a gift to receive personal inspiration about them and I know better than anyone else what is best for them at this point in time (oh how I know this will change, especially in their minds, as they grow older). I’ve only been a parent now for almost four years, but in that time I’ve felt a lot of power from those special feelings I, as their mama, receive. It’s validating and spiritual and like I said, so, so powerful.

I think if I could give any new mom, or mom-to-be a bit of advice, it would be this:

Only YOU are their mother. Only YOU have that deep, personal connection to them. YOU know what is best for them, yourself and your family and it’s ok to stand up for that even if it is unpopular, embarrassing or hard to admit. Stick with your gut. Follow your mother’s intuition.

I feel very passionately about this. I’m very lucky to have a husband who supports me and my intuition. I am lucky to have family who does as well. Lastly, I am lucky to have these sweet boys to mother.

Mommin’ Truth

I have good, good boys. I really do. They are sweet and my favorite little people in the whole wide world. We have way more good days than bad days, but it wouldn’t be real life if every day were 100% perfection, right? Right.

A few days ago was rough. So rough. It all started with a weirdly off and chaotic morning. The night before, E had a terrible nights sleep, so he desperately needed a great nights sleep and I really hoped he’d sleep in too. But that didn’t happen because early, early in the morning, H woke up screaming. And when I say screaming, I mean it. Screaming, kicking, yelling, punching, swinging and screaming some more. He kept yelling, “I don’t want to be home!” It took us a minute, but we realized that he’d woken up from a dream where he was at a splash pad and when he woke and saw he was no longer at the splash pad, he was ticked. Pair that with being half asleep and it was just a bad, loud, violent combination. Seeing as the boys share a room, there was no way E slept through the freakout.

So then both boys were awake for the day and the lack of desperately needed sleep really took a toll on their day and in result, our day, too. There were so many tantrums. So many tears. So many melt downs. So many fits. So much attitude. So much whining. So much stress.

I don’t blame them. I don’t function well under hardly any sleep either. Everyone has ‘those days’ and it just so happened that both my boys had one of ‘those days’ on the same day. Bad luck for us, but thats real life. Thats life as a parent.

It was a hard day. I was short with my husband. Short with my boys. Short with myself. It was, as H would say, “a tricky day.” It was absolutely a day that I went to bed feeling defeated and annoyed with myself and how I handled the day. Usually I feel like I’m good at being patient with my boys. More than anything, I want them to be able to feel how they feel. If they’re angry then I want them to feel ok about expressing their anger. If they’re frustrated or annoyed, I want them to feel free to express those emotions as well. Their feelings are valid and I feel like my job as their mother is to remind them daily its ok for them to feel whatever feeling they have. But I wasn’t very great at it on this particular day. I wished I could have a do-over.

Thankfully, the next few days following this hard day were much better. The boys slept, Craig and I slept. And our attitudes were much happier, calmer and kinder.

If thats not mom life, then I don’t know what is.

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Mom Life Realness

I don’t know what it is, but lately day to day life has been hard! My boys have been hard and emotional. I feel like I’ve lost all of my mom-skills. My brain is scattered. My motivation is is chaotically unpredictable. My emotions, especially my anxiety, are all over the map. I feel guilt about everything – all the things. I feel like I’m just trying to survive each day and make it to bedtime without a meltdown or blow up.

I know its just a phase, but geez its exhausting! Being a mom is crazy and quite literally all the emotions and just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, you learn that you actually don’t.

What a ride!

 

My Hulk Boy

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Three is a funny age. You always hear about ‘terrible twos’ but I dare say that whoever coined that phrase hadn’t parented a three year old, yet. H is hilariously unpredictable. Most of the time he is our happy, enthusiastic, curious, adventurous, rambunctious little boy. He enjoys doing good, he follows rules and he is kind.

But every once in a awhile lately he turns.

He goes from that sweet boy explained above, to a little Hulk. (fitting thats his favorite Avenger right now) He explodes with rage. He screams and starts kicking and punching. He gets mean and mad and there is no calming him down.

I’m truly at a loss right now to know how to control these outbursts, while still allowing him to be himself and let him know its ok to feel things and express how he feels. You know? But at the same time, its not ok for him to kick and punch me all the time, right? Oh, the joys of motherhood. As frustrating as it can be I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.

He is a great boy who I feel very lucky to be able to witness grow up and learn more about each day. This is fun. It really is.

E’s Ears

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but my sweet baby E has had a rough go when it comes to his little ears. In his fourteen months of life, he has had twelve ear infections, most of those happening since August/September-ish, and most of them being double ear infections. We also found our pretty recently that for a while now, both of his ear drums have been ruptured. Isn’t that awful? You’d be floored to hear this if you know him or have seen him recently though, because he’s just so happy still. But it definitely now makes sense why when he was ticked, he was ticked. The pain tolerance his little body has is absolutely incredible. During a recent discussion with E’s ENT (ear nose and throat doctor), he told me that the pain he must have been feeling was so excruciating it would send a grown man to the Emergency Room. That shattered my mom heart. I had no idea. I mean, I knew it hurt, but I had no idea it hurt that badly.

We finally got him into the ENT a little while ago where they told us E needed tubes (no shock – thats why we were there). Thats also where we learned about the double rupture. Poor baby. So earlier last week, he finally got his tubes put in, along with a small exploratory surgery just to check out his ears and make sure there isn’t anything else to be concerned with. Good news, everything looks great. I’m so grateful for modern medicine and for doctors. I’m especially for doctors who make your children feel special. I was so impressed with all the doctors and nurses we talked to on E’s day of surgery. They all got down on his level and talked to him – something that social little boy really loved. It made me feel even more comfortable and confident.

Recovery has been pretty good, all things considered. The first few days involved a lot of blood and a lot of ooze, but thats all stopped now. He hates the ear drops we have to put in multiple times a day with a passion, but those are almost over with. We are so excited for a pain-free baby who hopefully hopefully hopefully won’t have to deal with anymore painful infections anymore.

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My Potty Training Tips + Tricks

*Disclaimer: I’m not an expert at this. I made the discouraging discovery just yesterday that we’ve been trying to get H potty trained for a whole year now. This is just what worked – and didn’t work – for us.

Potty Training isn’t fun. I’ll just say that up front. But, once you figure out how to make it work for you and more importantly, your little one, it gets a lot better.

I always heard not to push potty training on your toddler, and truthfully I didn’t want to because potty training sounded awful to me. So last year (ugh how has it been that long?) when H would try to climb up on the toilet and pull his pants off, I took that as the sign that he was ready for it. So we bought some underwear, I read some articles, got advice from trusted friends and family, bought some potty treats and decided to go for it. It started off ok-ish, but he never told me when he needed to go and there were so. many. messes. So I kind of lost steam, then we had a family vacation and I put him back in diapers because I didn’t want to deal with it. Then I decided to wait a while before we’d start again.

This happened a few times. We’d get into the groove, but then something would come up where it was just easier to put him in diapers or pull ups and forget about it. Also, he’d just never tell me when he needed to go. I mean, maybe a couple times a week he would, but I got exhausted trying to remind him every half hour or so that we needed to go. To make it worse, he got to the point that every time I’d bring it up he’d scream, “no!” and run away from me. Didn’t seem like he was ready, right? So again, I’d kind of give up on it. We’d have random days/weeks where we’d put him in underwear and he’d do ok. But mostly it ended in lots of gross laundry for me and an un-potty-trained toddler.

Then something clicked, and I think this is why people tell you to wait until your toddler is ready. Like really ready. I thought he was ready all those times before, but I guess he wasn’t. Because about a month ago he brought me underwear and then a few minutes later he told me he needed to go potty! Then throughout the day he just kept telling me he needed to go! Yes, I’d still remind him here and there and pooping is always an adventure, but it was like all the sudden he just got it! So we excitedly started rolling with it and its been a dream! Well, as much as potty training a toddler can be a dream.

After a lot of hit and misses when it comes to getting your kid ok with using the restroom, here are my list of do’s and don’ts. Oh also.. Apparently its common for some kids to be afraid of the toilet or going on it. H never was, he actually thought it was cool, so I don’t have any advice as far as making the toilet not scary. We just got lucky this time.

DO

  • Find some kind of award system that works for your little buddy. Treats always were a big motivator for H. We had small candies in our cupboard and if H went potty on the toilet he got two, if he pooped on the toilet he got four and if he told us he needed to go he got a bonus one. We also had a little bit of a sticker reward system going from time to time, as well. I had a small book that we titled, “H’s Potty Book” and when he went potty he got one sticker in his book, when he pooped he got two. We had a certain amount of stickers for each page (it was quite a few) and when a page was filled he had a reward we’d predetermined that he’d get to cash in on. Sometimes it was going to a certain place, sometimes it was a toy, sometimes it was a big treat, etc.
  • Celebrate potty and poop! Such a mom thing to say, but I’m serious! Make your kid feel like a million bucks when they go on the toilet – especially when they are the ones who initiate it! Sometimes H would get so pumped up and proud of himself he’d ‘have to’ go like two or three times in a row! Toddlers respond well to excitement and praise. Remember that.
  • Also hand-wash-train them. Keep in mind that after you use the restroom, you wash your hands! Get them in the habit. You use the toilet. You wash your hands. Always. Know what makes this easier? Fun soap. For example, H loves foamy soap.
  • Buy fun underwear. Kids (mine at least) are so much more motivated to not make a mess in their underwear if its exciting!

DON’T

  • Don’t make them feel bad if they have an accident. A few times I am sad to admit I told H I was mad at him for pooping in his underwear. Whenever that happened I saw that he was extra upset when it came time to go potty again. It just made there be a yucky, heavy feeling over potty training and no one needed that – especially H.
  • Don’t make the whole process this big ordeal. When we first started, I had this big system that I thought would be awesome. It was long and complicated and there were far too many steps. It was unattainable and ended up making me frustrated.
  • Don’t let other peoples opinions change your mind. I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘is he too young for this?’ ‘is he ready for this?’ ‘you should try this instead’ etc, etc. Stick to your mom/dad gut. Do what feels right for you. Know who knows your kid the best? You. Obviously if sometimes has some awesome advice or a suggestion you totally think will work, implement it. But don’t let peoples judgements or unsolicited advice change your coarse.

WHAT I USE FOR ‘MESSES’

Laundry

  • Fels-Naptha Bar. This is what I use to initially scrub poop out of clothing. This little bar is a game changer and I absolutely swear by it. Its cheap and totally works. Highly recommend.
  • Oxi Clean. After scrubbing the clothes, if there is still some work to be done on the clothes, I soak them in Oxi Clean. Its a powder you mix in with water (i’m pretty sure you can put it in the washer too?) and it works wonders.

Carpet/Floor

  • Folex. This is all I use to get urine and poop out of the carpet. Fun Fact: it also works great for pet accidents. This stuff is insanely effective.
  • Max Odor Eliminator. I got this for our dog when we first had her as a puppy. It somehow magically takes odor right out of the carpet. Its this stay foam stuff that just absorbs into the carpet and you don’t need to vacuum it up. Its very cool.

 

Happy Potty Training! 

 

What I Hope My Kids Learn from Disney

Dear Kids,

You come from a family of Disney obsessed people. Your great grandpa started this journey, passed it to Grammy, she passed it to her kids (one of those is me) and now I’m doing my part to make sure you guys all have a special place in your heart for Disney and all its magic and wonder. I don’t know how the Disney-love will translate in your own lives as you grow up. I don’t know if you’ll find yourself saving your money to take another trip to the park or if you’ll be to every Disney movie on opening day, if you’ll have Disney decor throughout your home or if you’ll be more of a quiet and reserved fan. I’m aware of the possibility that you may not all be as Disney-crazed as some of the rest of this family, but as I said before, I just hope there is always a special spot inside of you that respects Disney and is able to identify the magic it brings into our lives.

Because Disney magic is raising you. You’re being built by Disney Magic. When I think of all the ways I want you to grow up and all the ways I want to be a good mom to you all, I find myself thinking of things I’ve learned from Disney. As silly as it sounds, its 1000% true.

Disney can teach you to dream. Disney can give you hope. Disney can remind you that there is good in the world and that most people are good. Disney can help you find joy. It can help you cope when you’re sad. It can teach you lifelong lessons and it can implant song lyrics into your mind that you’ll never forget. It can be a source of happiness. It can be a safe place you run to, to get away from reality. Disney can be a refuge. It can help you feel carefree when you are feeling weighted down. It can create magic in a regular day and a regular moment. Disney can help you embrace who you are and the unique, special individual you’re meant to be. Disney can help you change your point of view and look on the bright side. You’ll find things and characters you relate to. You’ll have moments in Disney Parks you reflect on for years and years.

Disney is a part of your childhood, I pray you always think of that with a smile on your face and are thankful for your Disney roots.

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Love, mom

E’s Birth Story

*E turned one yesterday, so I figured I better finally share his birth story!

On November 10th, 2017 I woke up to find my baby was sideways in my belly. This wasn’t abnormal though. He hardly ever was head down like he should have been and was changing positions almost daily, even though he was big and we were super close to his due date. We referred to him as a ninja a lot. Wild Man predicted he’d be stubborn. I texted Wild Man and told him the baby was definitely sideways. I could feel his head on my right side and his bum on my left. He responded by telling me not to worry yet, “not like the baby is going to come today.

Later that day we were invited to eat dinner at Craig’s parents house with his parents and brother. We went over around 6 and sat down to eat around 6:30. We hadn’t been sitting down for five minutes when all the sudden, I kid you not, the lights flickered and all the sudden I felt a strange, very wet sensation take over the lower half of me. I looked up (and locked in eye contact with my brother-in-law haha) and said, “I think my water just broke!” Except I’m not sure why I said ‘I think’, because there was no denying that was what this was. Baby time.¬†We left H at my in-laws (ugh, I hate leaving my babies) and went to our house to grab our hospital bags and I changed my clothes.

When we got to the hospital they did that test to make sure your water really broke (it did) and I was admitted. My nurse checked me and said, “you’re dilated, but I don’t feel a head,” to which I told her he was definitely sideways. By this time my contractions were coming on top of each other. Ouch. They called for an ultrasound to check my babies positioning. Sure enough, he was sideways. Then my doctor came in to look at the ultrasound and he briefly considered moving him in my stomach (he’d done this a couple weeks earlier and it HURT), but decided that with the positioning of the umbilical cord, it wasn’t safe. I remember him checking me and saying he could see my babies bottom. He looked up at us and said, “I think the safest option is a c-section.” Without hesitation we agreed to it. Whatever is best for baby, you know?

Since E was essentially on his way out bum first, we were deemed an emergency c-section and immediately people were preparing for surgery. I was taken quickly into the OR where I got all prepped and got my spinal tap (which was amazing! haha). I was a little nervous, ok, very nervous, but getting relief from pain definitely helped me relax. Then we were ready to have this baby!

Everything was routine until the very end. My doctors told me later they almost never see this, but as they were removing E, his body was outside of me and his little head got caught in a contraction basically. By this time they’d brought a mirror to me to watch him be born, and I just remember being so happy to see him, but I was also scared. Why was my baby stuck? Also his body was gray. It was a lot of emotions.

Finally, he was freed! But he was gray and not making a sound. As quickly as I could lay eyes on him, he was gone to another room. They took him and my husband and left me alone in the operating room with a team of doctors. I hated it. Oh, I hated it. I wanted to see my baby! But most of all, I knew he was in the room next door and I wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. My doctors were trying to keep my mind off of it, I could tell. I kind of remember them telling me I lost a little more blood than usual but I’d be fine. I don’t remember anything else they said. I was just listening for my baby, sad I hadn’t touched him yet.

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It felt like forever, but finally from the room next door where he was being worked on by a NICU team, I heard him scream. And scream. And scream. Hallelujah! I was still being stitched up when Wild Man came in holding our little 8.5 pound bundle. He laid him on my chest/neck and E nestled his little face into my cheek. I could hear his little snorts and grunts right in my ear. Though I couldn’t really see him, I was so happy to have him with me. Touching me. Right where he needed to be. We snuggled there for a while and then they took him and Wild Man to the nursery to do all the little tests and what not, I remember they said they’d do extra tests on his lungs and breathing, since he wasn’t breathing at birth (all came back fine – he’s been totally fine and healthy since!) and I was still getting put back together. I was sad I couldn’t go to the nursery with them, because with H, I was able to.

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Once I was all finished, I was wheeled back to the delivery room, handed my phone and given some water. Then I just sat there. No baby to hold. It was a crappy feeling, but I was happy to know he was ok. Now I just wanted to hold him! I was so shaky and a little dizzy, but I started texting my mom since I had no baby to love on yet.

Finally, about 2 hours after having him, Wild Man and E came into our room and I got to hold that sweet, sweet boy. Its been heaven ever since. He immediately nursed like a champ, he was go-with-the-flow and happy, but made hilarious grumpy faces. He fit perfectly into our family and has given us so much joy and happiness since.

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