Monthly Archives: April 2013

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A Simple Meal?

I have been trying to simplify my life, cutting out things that take too much time to make time for the really important things, for memories made, and time doing what really matters to me. Part of that simplification is making mostly quick meals, or low impact (on my time and dishes). Yesterday I decided to just pull out some fish (7 minute cook time), frozen edemame (4 minutes in microwave), bagged salad, and boxed pre-seasoned couscous (5 minutes). This was going to be a quick meal done in 10 minutes with only two pans! Well then we decided that the fish will be smelly so we should grill it. The grill was out of propane, so Ky ran to the hardware store to fill it up. They were closed. And the next thing I know I am standing outside forty minutes later stoking a fire to grill our fish.

So much for simple, but dang that fish was so good with a little smoke from fresh fir wood. Yeah Kace won’t touch fish with a ten-foot pole so he had hot dogs, plural.

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A Bad Day, a Lesson Remembered

When Jonah was called of God to cry repentance to the city of Nineveh he did not stoically respond and willingly journey 500 miles East, through a land infested with blood hungry Assyrians, to what he knew he ought to. No. Instead he boarded a boat to run 2,000 miles in the opposite direction. Sometimes as a mom I sure don’t feel like doing what I know I ought to. Sometimes I just wanna run away. Last week I had one of those moments

9:00 a.m.

I was loaded with both kids in the car heading towards a play date. Why couldn’t Kacen just get over this fixation for a stupid pancake and stop freaking out?

My day actually started much earlier than this, it started at 2:00 a.m. with Andie waking up, and because I was so uncomfortable from her not eating her evening meal I nursed her, totally off schedule. She then woke again at 5:00 a.m. and would not fall asleep not matter how much rocking, soothing or singing I did. So…..I fed her. Again. Hoping she would be pacified and go back to sleep. Nope, not a chance. We rocked for about 30 minutes then I had to get the most rest I could sitting in the rocker. Finally at 7:00 a.m. I threw in the towel and just went to my bed. As soon as we laid down she shot up with a smile on her face ready to start the day. I groaned and wanted to go back to sleep.

We had a really fun day planned, a play date with friends, a trip to the library and of course outside time. However, as soon as I was gathering things up to head out of the house Kacen became insistent that he needed a pancake. Really? We had just eaten breakfast plus I was going to stop and get pastries for a snack for our play date. Bottom line I was not about to whip up a pancake like some short order chef. Instead of trying to find some compromise or trying to gently explain to him the situation I scooped him up and dragged him to the car.

Then the screaming began. I go nuts on limited sleep, poor Kace. The screaming was starting to make me twitch, I really was going to loose it. Whoops yep just lost it. Like some psychopath had taken over I was screaming just like Kacen in a stupid twisted attempt to prove how unbearable it was. He didn’t care. So then being real mature I pulled the car over took him out of his seat and told him, “Then walk home and go cook a pancake.” (Haha those of you who know me are totally judging right now, that’s ‘aight, it is the truth, sometimes I do stupid things like this). But man, he was so sad, the poor thing. He turned around and just walked into my legs sobbing. I picked up my little man and just hugged him there in the road. Things were made up for and he got back in his seat.

Ahh here comes the screaming again. I had to stand outside of the car and through the window explain to Kacen that I could not get back in that car if he was screaming. He quieted down for a bit and things went relatively well that morning…until nap time.

In my sleep deprived state I just needed both kids to take their scheduled naps. A mountain of dishes was ready to be climbed and aching feet were looking for rest. Kacen, on the other hand, had other plans, toys were colliding, he was screaming and I, being the genius I am, forgot to turn off the monitor receiver in our room connecting to his room so little miss Andie fast asleep got rudely awakened by his playing. Really, this time I was going to loose it. After reprimanding Kace with stern talking too, much finger pointing and lots of “No screaming Kacen, no no no,” I rocked Andie back to sleep. Begrudgingly I made it mostly through the dishes, leaving three baking sheets to wait until tomorrow, finally I laid on the couch ready pass out.

But little Kacer-roo just kept screaming! Kyle finally got home and I was a basket case, I picked up my keys and left.

Yeah just like Jonah I ran far away from the task at hand and what really needed my help.

But I didn’t make it further than the car in the driveway because as soon as I sat down I just opened the windows set back the seat and fell asleep. The sort of wonderful sleep where you feel like real life doesn’t even exist, like you can just sleep all day long without a worry. I think I finally stumbled back into the house around 6:00 p.m.

Wearily dinner was made, the family fed and children readied for bed. The usual bedtime routine went well and I figured both kids were down for the night.

10:37 p.m.
Ky was sleeping on the couch, I was blogging, of course, and Kacen was up in his room screaming :) Apparently someone did finally take a nap and was allowed to sleep until 5:45 p.m. What a train wreck of a day. But the beautiful thing about a day is that it ends, and tomorrow is always a new one.
Days like this aren’t all for naught if you take the opportunity to learn from it. Unlike Jonah I don’t ever sit at the end of the day wishing that I had died rather than help my kids, so that is good. Even in the mist of the whole debacle I took time to reflect, with the help my loving sister, and decided that my reactions to Kacen’s fits weren’t working so time to change. Upon reflection, if I would have simply got on knees and gave Kace a hug before heading out the door, telling him, “Mommy can’t make a pancake right now, but how about we grab you a cracker and go play with friends?” it may have all turned out a little different. Maybe. And luckily bad days come and go and most of my days end pretty darn good with these two kiddos.
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The Business of Being a Mom

In a search for mental stability after the birth of my daughter I went to a self help group, that teaches coping skills for everyday life. The model of the group is that you have different “spots” you say to yourself when you feel stress, anxiety, depression, addictive tendencies or anger coming on. One spot I heard frequently during the one hour meeting  was “Treat mental health as a business and not as a game.” Great advice really. But I thought it related well to being a mom.

Treat being a mom as a business not as a game.

It is tough work being a mom. It is even tougher if you decide to invest in your children. Letting your children watch hours of tv a day, eat whatever they want, do what they want when they want is much “easier” than order, reason, coming to understand each child and their needs and why they do what they do. Been there done that. I often gave into Kacen’s behavior with the excuse that he is simply a difficult child but I was not putting forth much effort to help him. It took this meeting a month ago to make me really want to change.

So obviously I am no pro at it but I have seen marked changes in my children and myself as I have tried to truly find what works best for our family. And man it is hard, it is like going back to school again, but this time in being a mom. I will be posting reviews of some of my favorite books that I have read on the subject. Of course there is, oh my, just too much information out there on the subject of parenting. And I believe that all parenting material is like a good menu where you thoughtfully pick and choose what will work best for your family. If you don’t want to wait for the reviews here are the books I am currently reading, and yes I do read them simultaneously some days I need to hear this and other days that.

  We are capable to think for ourselves and come up with answers to parenting questions, but sometimes it is wonderful to get some help from people have a deeper understanding of childhood behavior, communication and emotions.

On Communication
 On lifestyle
 On Sleeping and Eating
Book One
 Book Two
 
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Do Something You Did Before Kids

This week on doing something I did before I had kids
Painting my nails
I know that some, well probably most of you are pretty good at taking care of yourselves, I guess I am too, most of the time. Showering at least twice a week counts right? Oh man I remember when I was single and showered every day, went to the gym, did my hair every day and always had cute toe nails. I actually remember being sixteen and looking at the moms in church and thinking, “Seriously, they can’t wake up early enough to at least curl their hair and put on a dab of makeup?” Now I see it is much less about the time and much more about the will, not as if I have a ton of “free” time these days either. 
In fact, the whole painting my nails thing only worked today because both kids went down to naps simultaneously… and I choose to ignore the host of other tasks that are always there waiting to be done when nap time comes. Cuz you know that as soon as you put that polish on fifty new things will pop into your head bidding for you attention. But if you don’t wait the full fifteen minutes until the polish is set and hard your are gonna make a mess and the whole thing will be for naught.
Here is the mess I was in
 Pretty sure that has been sitting on those not so pretty piggies since last Summer or at least Fall
Shopping for polish was fun, except I am so cheap and don’t know what colors are “in,” but this is what I came home with
And here is the final product.
 And just for fun, I did my nails too. As I was painting them my mother-in-law said, “I don’t think I have ever seen you with painted nails.” And she is probably right, between sports and food service I have not often painted my nails. But I think I kinda like it.
PS to you moms out there who do rock it and get your self together every day, hair, make up, shoes and great outfit power to ya. Seriously that is awesome and I idealize you. But to you that don’t that is ok too man, it is all about feeling good and being happy in your own skin. These pretty girl things do make me feel happy and I do like my nails being done, that is why when I thought about some of the things I did before I had kids this was the first thing I decided to try.
So get out there and do something you enjoy that you haven’t done in a while.

Update

* I just want to clear up any possible misconceptions about what I have written and what this “quest” if you will, is all about. I am a happy person and I am really happy with my life. I do know I am a pretty good person and a pretty good mom but there is always room for improvement and change. And just because I am generally satisfied with my life, every aspect of my life and every day lived in my life isn’t puppies and rainbows. Being a mother is important and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be a part of my children’s lives. This quest to “find myself” is not about some downer pity party about me not having enough “time, money, mental capacity, etc” to partake in my own hobbies; it is about my change and growth and finding what really makes me happy in all facets of our life, emotional, social, physical, tactile and cultural. And I want to find the best way to integrate who I am into our family, to show my children the value of motherhood and individuality within a family. 

Anyway thanks everyone for reading! And thank you for all of the wonderful comments. I love to hear from you. I just don’t want anyone to worry that you need to talk me off of any ledges or anything, I am ‘aight. But your loving encouraging comments are always welcome.

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Getting Started: Putting Aside Regrets and Making Resolutions

This much I do know: I am a woman of religion, I love and live the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons or LDS). I know God hears me when I pray to Him and I know He loves me.

This knowledge has helped me through many of life’s situations but most recently after giving birth to my daughter, at which point postpartum depression set in. Man that was the craziest and most terrible portion of my life. I was feeling and thinking crazy horrible things that were so off it was nuts. To all of you who suffer with depression daily I give you all my love, that is so hard to have something consume your thoughts and body that is so different from who you truly are or who you want to be.

One night after a particularly tough day I knelt in earnest prayer for help with my feelings of hopelessness and defeat. As I was pondering my situation and reflecting on what I could do to help myself, the thought came to me that I should listen to the speeches given in the semi-annual General Conference of the LDS church. When I turned on my iPod and scrolled through the talks I came to a speech given by Dieter F. Uchdorft, a leader in the LDS church, titled “Of Regrets and Resolutions.”

He speaks of three common regrets:

    *I wish I would have spent more time with those I love.
        *I wish I would have lived up to my potential.
            *I wish I would have let myself be happier.
              Along with those regrets he issues a challenge to make three resolutions:
                *Resolve to spend more time with those we love.
                  *Resolve to strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.
                    *Resolve to find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.

                      Starting this journey to reinventing my self as a mother has required mentally putting aside my regrets over the past three years and setting resolutions.

                      I am a list maker and decided to put to paper the resolutions I needed to make. Here is what my bedroom door now looks like.

                      The full text of the talk can be found here, if you have the time take five minutes to read his views
                      on regrets and resolutions, or you can download it for free to portable devices and listen to it. It is a great motivator to be better and to not get bogged down with regrets of yesterday.

                      Please do not interpret this one situation as me saying that God or religion can heal depression without you putting forth effort and sometimes that does mean medication and therapy. This talk did not heal my depression but it was a great starting pointing for me to reach mental healthfulness. 

                      I am not perfect at any of these yet but these papers serve as a great reminder of what I want to do and who I want to be. I am sure when all is said and done in this life that I won’t be regretting not doing my dishes enough, or not keeping up with my neighbors and the latest fads, I bet my regrets will be more along the lines of who I was as mother, wife, daughter, friend, etc. The moments I missed to live life to its fullest and the moments I missed to feel enriched by another persons’ presence.

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                      My Story

                      My brother-in-law and I were talking about finding yourself and I told him that I recently decided to find myself so I started a blog and joined Pinterest. Funny. But true.

                      Here is the back story, a little about who I am and where I am now:
                      In 2009 I found myself four month pregnant and feeling completely hopeless. I had come to the selfish realization that I would be giving up myself completely for the baby boy in my womb. I would give up my active, slim, trim body to house his growing body. I would give up the whole ski season, rock climbing, and had already had to give up the wake boarding season. I would give up mytime to care for him. I would give up my job and career to be home with him; thus, giving up my extracurricular spending money. In my mind there was a lot I was going to be giving up and frankly, the payoff wasn’t going to be worth it. 
                      Then, one day I was sitting in church and I read in the bible John Chapter 15 verses 13 and 17 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends…..These things I command you, that ye love one another.” In that instance my whole body filled with the deepest love for the little being growing in me. If Christ commands that we love one another and the greatest love that I can give is to give my life for my baby then I would try my best to do that.
                      In 2010 I was blessed to welcome that baby boy into my arms and man, I just love that kid. 
                       
                      Two years later we welcomed our daughter Andie into our lives. I love both of my children so fully that some days I am just amazed that this frail human body of mine has the ability to feel so much. Yet with all the good experiences and feelings have come equally bad experiences and feelings.
                      Photo Courtesy of L. Montgomery Studios

                      My body was/is physically messed up from giving birth. There was depression so deep that I didn’t want to get up in the morning, there were emotional roller coasters wreaking havoc on my marriage. And yes there was even moments of resentment. While I love being a mom and feel so much reward from being with my children it doesn’t always make it easy.

                      Over the past three years I feel that I have lost a little bit of who I am in being a mom. It wasn’t always a constant thing, there were moments of Heather peeking through, but somehow I just couldn’t find the right balance.

                      It is so silly to me that I gave up on being myself to be a mom. No one asked me to, and in fact things would probably have been a little easier, and a heck of a lot more fun, for the past three years had I not.
                       

                      Now we’re up to the present. I’m a 26 year-old fly mamma of a toddler and a new baby, who doesn’t feel that she knows quite who she is any more. A mama who wants to try harder every day to be a better person, more involved, more seeking, more happy. A mama who is feeling mentally healthy and well, who loves her children more than life and wants to do all in her power to bring them the most amazing life they can get.
                      Have any of you ever felt lost as you entered new phases in life? Please share.  

                      * UPDATE. I just want to clear up any possible misconceptions about what I have written and what this “quest” if you will, is all about. I am a happy person and I am really happy with my life. I do know I am a pretty good person and a pretty good mom but there is always room for improvement and change. Just because I am generally satisfied with my life, every aspect of my life and every day lived in my life isn’t puppies and rainbows. Being a mother is important and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be a part of my children’s lives. This quest to “find myself” is not about some downer pity party about me not having enough “time, money, mental capacity, etc” to partake in my own hobbies; it is about my change and growth and finding what really makes me happy in all facets of our life, emotional, social, physical, tactile and cultural. And I want to find the best way to integrate who I am into our family, to show my children the value of motherhood and individuality within a family. 

                      Anyway thanks everyone for reading! And thank you for all of the wonderful comments. I love to hear from you. I just don’t want anyone to worry that you need to talk me off of any ledges or anything, I am ‘aight. But your loving encouraging comments are always welcome.