Saturday, April 30, 2016

Maren is 1

Today is Maren's birthday. That did not feel like one year. I still think of her as my little baby, but she's not a baby anymore. At one year old she is:
-Crawling really fast
-Standing up on her own
-Walking along furniture
-Taking a few steps with her push toy
-Sleeping through the night (yay!)
-Eating and eating and eating - her favorite baby food is sweet potatoes. She won't eat any green baby food like peas or green beans. She loves to eat anything mom and dad eat.
-Growls like a dog for food - she growls more than Sadie. She even barks sometimes
-Playing, exploring, learning, and laughing

We love our sweet girl

I caught her mid sneeze

I love my babies!

This is her excited face

Of course Gavin wanted me to take a picture of him too

Learning to walk

This girl will not keep headbands on

I finally wrote down her birth story. It only took me a year. I still haven't even written Gavin's yet (sorry Gavin). Don't worry - there aren't any graphic details.

With Maren being due on May 13, I purposely scheduled my end of the year concert early so there wouldn’t be any issues. I scheduled the concert for April 30, a good two weeks before the baby was supposed to come. Gavin came 10 days early, so I figured Maren would be similar. But Maren taught me a lesson – she does things on her schedule -  not mine. This is the story of the baby who couldn’t wait to get here and caused me to miss my own concert.

April 29 – 6:30 PM – I started noticing contractions. This time I actually knew what they were so it only took a few to realize what was going on. They were about 30 minutes apart so I knew labor was still far off. I went to bed early, with contractions still half an hour apart.

April 30 – 6:30 AM – I woke up early because I was too uncomfortable to sleep. I took a warm bath to try to alleviate the pain. Contractions were about 10 minutes apart. Morgan wanted me to take the day off from work, but I couldn’t. It was the last rehearsal before the concert that night and we needed to practice with our pianist.

7:30 AM – I left for school. The plan was to work until lunch, then take the rest of the day off and relax until the concert. I texted my mom that I thought I might be in labor and my contractions were 10 minutes apart.

8:00 AM – School started. I had my high school choir first. We warmed up and started rehearsing. I wasn’t planning on saying anything about my labor because I didn’t want anyone to worry. We made it through a few songs before I felt bad about the pained expressions I was making. I told my students, “I’m not making faces at you because you sound bad – I’m making faces because I’m in labor.” They freaked out. Half of them wanted me to leave and go to the hospital. The other half (mainly just the boys) wanted me to stay and have the baby at school. I told everyone I was fine and we should just keep rehearsing. My good friend Jillea was there because she was our pianist. I’m SO glad she was there or I might have ended up doing what the boys wanted and having a baby at school. She wasn’t convinced that I was fine so she started secretly timing my contractions.

8:30 AM – We finished running through all our pieces. Jillea told me my contractions were about 6 minutes apart and that I should go to the hospital. I really didn’t want to go. I had been working so hard on this concert and so had my students. I wanted the baby to wait until the concert was over. I couldn’t just leave. Jillea and I debated back and forth for a while, my students siding with Jillea that I should leave. Since I wasn’t listening to anyone, Jillea called Morgan and told him what was happening. Morgan finally talked sense to me by asking, “What’s more important in the long run? This concert or our daughter?” So I finally reluctantly agreed to leave.

9:00 AM – Since I wasn’t planning on being gone, I had to hurriedly pull together some substitute lesson plans for the rest of the day. Jillea then drove me home where her husband Andrew met us. Andrew and Morgan gave a priesthood blessing. Morgan quickly packed a bag for Gavin (Jillea and Andrew watched Gavin while we were at the hospital) and for me.

9:45 – We left for the hospital. It was a 30-minute drive. I timed my contractions the whole way and they were consistently 5 minutes apart.

10:15 – We go to the front desk of the hospital and tell them I’m in labor. An older lady immediately springs into action, gets me into a wheelchair, and takes me to Labor and Delivery. I get changed, they set up a fetal monitor and start measuring my contractions. They are still 5 minutes apart. The nurse tells me that she’ll check to see how dilated I am and that I might have to wait a while before anything happens. She checks and finds out I’m already dilated to an 8 (for those who don’t know, 10 is fully dilated). She said, “You’re having a baby now. I’m going to go get the doctor.” When Gavin was born, I went to the hospital not actually knowing I was in labor. When they told me I was having the baby right then, I cried. I wasn’t ready for it. This time was so different. I knew it was happening. I had already accepted that I wasn’t going to be at the concert. So this time when the nurse said I was going to have a baby, I said, “Let’s do this.” While we were for the doctor, the nurses biggest struggle was monitoring the baby. Maren would not hold still, so they kept losing her and would have to move the monitor around to find her again. I was strangely calm through this whole thing. I was having strong contractions 3 or 4 minutes apart but I didn’t even cry out. The nurses were shocked by how relaxed I seemed. I just remember being freezing cold. They had to get me socks and a heated blanket because I was shivering like crazy.

The head nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. I already knew that I didn’t. The epidural was the worst part of Gavin’s birth. It took them an hour to get then needle in a good spot, and then it didn’t even work so they had to do it again. The second time was a little faster, but it still didn’t work all the way. I ended up having Gavin half naturally. This time I decided I didn’t want to go through the awful pain of getting an epidural. I already knew I was capable of a natural birth so I went with the route that was less painful. Plus, there is a mild painkiller given through the IV so I just figured that would be enough. The nurse tried to start my IV but missed. Just as she was starting it the second time, the doctor came in and said there wasn’t time for an IV – he was going to break my water. So I ended up having Maren completely natural. Not a drop of painkillers. It wasn’t what I expected, but I actually loved it.

11:30 AM – The doctor broke my water. Last time my water broke before I got to the hospital, so it was weird to have it broken for me. It was a really cold and gushing feeling. Then I started pushing. Pushing is the worst part of labor. It’s so painful. With Gavin, I was half drugged so I didn’t scream at all, I just cried. This time, there was no crying. Only screaming. I felt bad for Morgan and the doctor because I screamed loudly on every push. But luckily, Maren came fast. I only ended up pushing for 23 minutes.

11:53 AM – Maren is born. The doctor (very roughly) handed her to me and I held her on my chest. I absolutely love giving birth (I’m a weirdo, I know) because it is the coolest sensation. You go from extreme agony to extreme bliss in one second. Once you’re holding the baby the pain isn’t noticeable and all you care about is the precious baby you are meeting for the first time. Anyway, I had only been holding Maren for about 5 minutes when she peed on me. I survived 16 months without Gavin ever peeing on me, but Maren pees on me 5 minutes into her first day! The took Maren to get cleaned and weighed. While she was on the scale, she pooped. The doctor said, “Well at least we know everything works.” I guess she came so fast because she really had to go to the bathroom. Then they gave her back to me and Morgan and I got to have some private family time to adore our new baby.
Later in the day, Andrew and Jillea brought Gavin to meet his little sister. He was only 16 months old at the time, so he was too young to understand what was going on. He didn’t care about the baby at all. He only cared about the remote on my hospital bed. Morgan went home that night so he could stay with Gavin. Maren slept the entire 24 hours we were in the hospital. She wouldn’t even wake up to eat. She ate a little in her sleep, but that’s it. The nurses and I tried and tried to wake her up, but she wouldn’t have it. I guess labor wore her out too. I’m glad she slept because I got to sleep a lot too. The great thing about an un-medicated birth is that the recovery time is much shorter. I was up and walking about 6 hours after Maren was born, and I felt like mostly myself after 24 hours.

I’m glad I ended up having a completely natural birth. I am so proud of myself for doing it. It is something I never thought I would be able to do and something I was terrified of doing. But I did it, and I did a pretty good job. I’m still sad that I didn’t get to see my students perform. I wanted to watch their hard work pay off. But at least my high school choir has a good story to tell. And I will probably tease Maren forever about making me miss the concert. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...

We don't really have any nicknames for Gavin. Sometimes we'll call him Gavin boy, and rarely we'll call him Gav, but he's usually just Gavin. When we were first thinking of a name for him, we knew his middle name would be John. I didn't want anyone to calling him AJ or TJ or anything like that, so we wanted to have his first name start with a letter that doesn't go with J. About half the alphabet was out. AJ, BJ, CJ, EJ, DJ, JJ, LJ, OJ, PJ, RJ, TJ. So the letters we were left with were F, G, H, I, K, M, N, Q, S, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. I don't know why I was so set against a two letter nickname, but I was. In the end, Gavin was the name we were both drawn to, and it worked perfectly. No one was going to call him GJ. The funny thing is, sometimes I call him GJ as a joke.

Oh my silly, silly Gavin boy.

Maren, on the other hand, has lots of nicknames. We started out calling her Maren-Barren, but we thought it was mean and sad to call her barren, so we shortened it to Mare-Bear. Because that sounds like Care-Bear, sometimes we call her Care-Mare. We also call her Mare-Mare. She also has a nickname given to her by Gavin. One day he walked up to her, pointed at her, and said "Kovack." I have no idea what that means, but it was really funny. Since it kind of sounds like an orc name, we use Kovack when Maren is being grumpy.

Kovack is not impressed.

Oh how I love my sweet babies!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Start Where You Are

Hello again my incredibly neglected blog! I want to start writing again, and I want to tell you why.

I have always hated writing. I have lots of ideas in my head, but I have a hard time getting them out. I want the words to come out perfectly, but they don't. Words don't flow for me, and I get frustrated by that. When I have to write something, it takes me forever to do it (mostly because I spend my time distracting myself so I don't have to write). One time in high school, I had to write a 10 page research paper. For me that is the worst. I wrote most of it, but it just wasn't coming together right. I cried and cried (I did that a lot in high school) and finally my dad caved in and wrote the introduction and conclusion for me. He just wanted me to stop crying. The other day, Morgan had to write a 5 page paper, and I needed to send four work-related emails. Guess who finished first? Morgan. I just want my words to be right, and I worry I'm not using the correct language. So this is why I don't write. 

Anyway, I have been wanting to start writing again, but obviously, it's hard for me, so I haven't been doing it. About a week and a half ago, my church had General Conference, where our leaders speak to us about modern day issues and give us guidance. Like most people, I love General Conference, but I'm not an avid note taker or anything. Most of the time, I listen to conference, but forget about it soon after. This year I wanted to try to get more out of it, even though I knew that would be a lofty goal since I have two young children. Conference started and in the very first talk, I heard exactly what I need to hear. President Ucthdorf's talk had the phrase I needed most - start where you are:

"Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not “more” of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.”Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying."

I'm a perfectionist. If I can't do something right, or do it the way I want it, I give up and don't do it at all. I don't only do this with writing, I do it with a lot of good habits I want to have. If I'm bad at something I stop doing it. If I try to improve a weakness but fail at first, I don't try again. I have lots of things in my life I want to improve, but I haven't been improving because it's too hard to do it all at once. 

The other talk that spoke to me was Elder Lawrence's talk entitled "What Lack I Yet? Elder Lawrence told stories of people who asked God what they lacked and he answered, but not always with an answer that was expected. When I first heard the talk I thought, "I already know what I lack, I don't need to ask." I know that I need to fix things in my life before I am ready to ask God what else I need to fix. I was very discouraged by this talk, because I have so many weaknesses. Then Elder Lawrence said this: 

"Be persistent, brothers and sisters, but never be discouraged. We will have to go beyond the grave before we actually reach perfection, but here in mortality we can lay the foundation. “It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today." If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us."
I don't have to fix everything all at once, but I do need to be on a "course of steady improvement". So I decided to do it. I want to start having better habits. I tried this in the past, but I tried doing it all at once and that failed, so I never tried again. But after listening to these two conference talks, I felt like improving slowly is something I can do. So I made a list of all the things I want to add or remove from my daily life and I started with one. The first one I chose was exercise, which is something I've always been terrible at. I don't necessarily want to exercise to lose weight or look better, I just want to feel healthy. I want to have a stronger body so I can live a better life. Anyway, I started doing T25, which is an exercise Morgan does everyday. Each exercise is 25 minutes long, but my goal is only to see how far I can go. I don't have to be perfect and do it all, I just want to get through some of it and improve each day. I have now done T25 5 days in a row (excluding Sunday which is my rest day). Now that I have established a daily exercise routine, I have moved on to the next item on my list.
I'm not going to share my list with you, because I am embarrassed by most of the items on that list. Although you have probably guessed by now that writing is on my list. I just wanted to share my plan to improve and how it is different from how I used to try to improve. I'm not going to give up if I miss a day of exercise, or scripture study, or something else on my list. I am going to steadily improve and someday I will be where I want to be and be the person I want to be. Then I can continue to improve by asking God to show me what else I lack. I will never be perfect in this life, but I can improve myself each day and be a better person than I was the day before. 
I want to write because I want to record the precious moments in my life and my children's lives. I want to remember the good times and see how I overcame the bad times. I'm not going to try to be a perfect writer anymore. I'm just going to try to be me. 

P.S. I wrote this whole post in one sitting. That's a huge deal for me. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

God Help the Outcasts

I have some thoughts I needed to get out, but it would be too long for a Facebook post, so I’m turning to my sadly neglected blog. It’s very typical of me though. I always think I’m going to write a lot, it was the same way with my journaling, and then I don’t. It’s funny because my last post says that I will blog more. Ha! Even as I wrote that I knew it was probably a lie. Sorry about that…so after this post, I can’t promise anything. I probably won’t write for a while. But that’s just who I am. Anyway…moving on.

We watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame earlier this week. It is a fantastic but forgotten Disney movie. When you watch it as a child, you miss all the funny jokes and the deep meanings of things. As we watched, I was constantly struck by the deep meaning and messages in the dialogue, mostly in the songs. One song in particular struck me hard and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Have a listen.

In this song, Esmeralda is alone, outcast, and hunted and looking for help. She prays that God will help all outcasts who just don’t find help in this world. This part is what gets me. The regular, normal people are saying their prayers. They say,

I ask for wealth 

I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can posses
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

How often do our prayers sound exactly like this? Please help me get that job. Please help me pass this class. Not that these are necessarily bad things, but it is the excessive use of the word 'me' that is troubling. What do I want? What do I need? It is so easy to put ourselves first. Even in our prayers we ask for blessings mostly for ourselves. 

Esmeralda offers this prayer instead,  

I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and down trod
I thought we all were
The children of God

She asks for nothing for herself, although she could really use the help. She asks for blessings for all those who are less fortunate than herself. This hit me so hard because I have been incredibly selfish lately. In my grumpy, morning sickness state, I always think about what I need. I pray so many times a day for God to help me get through. I do need the help, but I have completely forgotten about the needs of others. What does Morgan need? My perpetual sickness affects him too. What should I be doing to help him get through this? What does my little brother need? I completely forgot to wish him a happy birthday. What about my cousin who is having troubles at work, or my friend who just lost a family member? There are so many people out there who have greater needs than I do. In reality, I am already so blessed. I have many things that others do not. I should spend more time praying for others instead of only praying for myself.

I challenge everyone tonight when you pray to pray only for other people. Ask for blessings for the people you know, or don’t know, who may be struggling with something right now. I know it’s hard to do (I tried the night we watched the movie), but there are so many people less lucky than us who need the blessings. What if everyone in the whole world, just for one day, put the needs of others first? That day would be full of service and kindness. If we truly believe that we are all the children of God, we should try to treat others as such.

I know that prayer works. I have seen it work so many times in my life. I know that I receive many of the blessings I ask for. Since I know prayer works for me, I know it works for others people too. God can and will answer our prayers on behalf of other people. Let us all try harder to think more about our neighbors, and spend more time praying for blessing that can help the people we love. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm back (hopefully to stay)

I sort of gave up on blogging. Mostly because I feel like I have nothing interesting to say. My life isn't all that exciting. But my brother and sister-in-law have encouraged commanded me to start up again. They are moving to North Carolina and I won't see them for a long time, so they want to keep up with my life. So fine, I'll do it. Just for you, Nancy. But it won't be as awesome as yours.

If you know us pretty well then you'll know that we just got back from working at Salmon River High Adventure Base. I will tell you all about it later, but right now it is 10 pm and my bottom hurts. Yes, it hurts bad. You see, I was at my parents house yesterday and I fell down the stairs. The wood stairs. I slipped at the top and slid to the bottom. Not very comfortable. It would have been funny had it not hurt so bad. Now I have gigantic bruises on my rear end. I wish I could show them to people because they look really cool, but I don't think people would like it if I walked around showing off my bottom. Maybe if I was two I could get away with it. So no pictures, but believe me when I tell you that my bruises are awesome. And they hurt. I've  been sitting in a car all day driving back from Utah and it didn't feel very good.

Well there you have it, I blogged. I'm a blogger. I will blog later about Salmon and our trip to Utah and our new house. But my fall down the stairs should keep you entertained enough for now.

The end.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Musical A.D.D.

Yes, yes I know I haven't blogged in a long time. I knew it was going to happen. It happens to me every time I try to keep a journal. I get excited about writing and I do well for a few weeks and then I get too behind and I stop. It's a vicious cycle. Anyway, I'm back now. I found that I miss writing down my feelings. I have so much on my mind lately and I'm sure Morgan is getting tired of me repeating myself.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about myself as a musician. I started playing the violin in 4th grade. I took lessons and really enjoyed it. I was also taking piano lessons. Then in 7th grade, I started developing what I like to call Musical ADD. I would sit in orchestra, wishing I was playing a different instrument. So in 8th grade I started playing cello as well. I loved playing both and I had so much fun being in two different orchestras. Then I wanted to play the bass. My mom said no because she didn't want to haul it around everywhere.Then in 10th grade I found a flute in our closet that my sister had only used for two weeks once. I asked my friend to show me how to play it. The first time I practiced the flute at home, my dad came in and told me that I should stop. He said I was already playing violin, piano, and cello, and that I didn't need another instrument. I didn't listen to him. I joined the band and kept learning how to play the flute. Then in 11th grade I joined marching band. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. I made amazing friends and learned so much about myself. But I still had ADD. My senior year, I picked up the bari sax. Then I went to college and discovered how little time I had for everything I wanted to do. I played piccolo in marching band and cello in symphony. If not for marching band, there wouldn't have been much to keep me at school. Then I auditioned for the Nauvoo Brass Band and was able to serve as a performing missionary (take that Dad, I can play the flute!). Now I'm at BYU-I majoring in music education with an emphasis in orchestra. I'm playing cello and taking lessons and playing in orchestra.I chose to do cello at school because I thought that's what I could be the most successful at.

The other day I got really frustrated in orchestra. I'm not the best cellist, I know this, but I feel like I should be better. I was wondering if I should never have added all those other instruments and just focused on cello. I could have spent more time on it and been so much better at it. I was wondering whether it would be better to be really good at one thing than to be fairly decent at several things. I thought about it a lot, wondering if I made the right decisions. Then yesterday I played my flute for the first time in a while. That's when I remembered how much I love it. I couldn't tell you what my favorite instrument is to play. I love to play the piano. I love to play the violin. I love to play the flute. I love to play the cello. I love to play the piccolo. I love to play the bass (that's what I'm learning at school right now). Music is my life. I am grateful for every musical opportunity I have had. My life would be so different if I wasn't in marching band. If I never learned to play the flute, I would never have gone to Nauvoo and met my husband. I know I'm not the best cellist and I'm starting to accept that. I will practice and do my best, but I'm never going to be the best. But I have the opportunity to play other instruments, which other people in orchestra don't have. I'm so happy to be in my string methods class where I'm learning how to play bass and viola. A lot of people in my class complain about having to learn a new instrument and say that theirs is so much better. I'm not like that. I LOVE to learn new instruments. It is my passion. I will never be a professional on any of them (I just don't have the time), but  I'm so blessed to have the ability to play so many instruments. It's what makes me happy. Next semester I'm taking the brass methods class. It will be hard, but I know I will enjoy it.

Moral of the story - it's ok that I'm not the best cellist. As long as I do my best and can pass my juries, I will be ok. I'm grateful for my talent that allows me to live my passion. I'm so grateful for my parents, who let me take on new challenges and payed for lessons and instruments. I'm grateful for my many teachers who inspired me and helped me to be a better musician. I'm grateful for the gift of music and the blessings it brings to my life. I love music and I love playing instruments.

P.S. I still have ADD. My current fascination is the harp. I hope I get to play it someday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grover Day 1 (July 27)

We were going to leave for Grover right after we got up the morning, but we discovered the many things to do at my parent’s house. Morgan started watching a movie from their vast collection, and of course he had to finish it. Meanwhile, I rediscovered the joys of their digital piano. Morgan then spent over 20 minutes playing with the various percussion sounds. Then we found the Nintendo 64, so we played that for a while. Needless to say, we didn’t leave right in the morning. We would have stayed longer, but we didn’t want to get to Grover too late.

The drive wasn’t too bad. I always feel bad on long road trips, because I sleep for the majority of them. That’s how I like to pass the time, because when you wake up, you’re much closer than you were before.  It’s fine to do that on a family trip, but when it’s just me and Morgan and I’m sleeping, he has no one to talk to. I tried not to sleep too much because I was supposed to be giving directions. I’ve been to Grover year after year, but I’ve never driven there myself and I never really payed attention (because I was sleeping). We managed to find it all right. I was so excited to be there again and show Morgan the places I used to go while growing up.

When we got there around 4, only my mom was there. Everyone else was coming back from Goblin Valley. We had time to explore a bit and set up our awesome tent (courtesy of Heather, Talysa, and Dan). 

Everyone came back soon after and I was excited to see my adorable nieces. I saw them in May, but Morgan hadn't seen them since April. I love spending time with them, especially Miriam. She's so darn cute!

It was a bit rainy on the way down and it had rained on and off on everyone who was hiking. It didn't rain anymore after we got there, but we got to see the beautiful rainbow. It was a great start to a great trip.