Friday, December 20, 2013

Don't be an asshole

So it's been a couple of weeks since my blog post. Wow. I have to say I was so surprised with the response.

I'll admit when I pressed the publish button I was expecting something like this:

Or this...

Surprising I mainly got this...

And maybe a little this...

Which I find a bit funny considering this...

But I digress...

After I posted my blog post I was told by many that they appreciated how I didn't seem bitter or angry. It's funny because I know exactly the type of people they are talking about. I get it. It's upsetting to see things against your church. And feel comforted that your newsfeed won't be filled with it on my behalf.

One question I have been asked several times since I posted is, "So what do you believe now?"

And honestly I don't claim to know all the answers and I don't believe that anybody does. There are parts of me that says it really doesn't make sense that there isn't a god. But then another part of me says that its very possible there isnt one. I don't disbelieve or believe in a God. I guess I just don't focus on that so much anymore. If there is a god I don't think it really matters. Should that change the way you live? Or the way you treat people? I think if there is a God he would be upset not with whether someone goes to church or not but with how much name calling and divisions there are among the people in the name of religion and politics. At least thats how I think the God I would want to spend eternity with would act.

I believe in compassion. I believe in doing good to others for no reason but just to be good. I believe in small acts of kindness. I believe in fascilitating empathy in your children so they can grow up to care about the world. I recycle because I care about my environment.

I'm just like you. I'm doing the best I can to raise my children with great values. I haven't fogotten that.

I guess all I'm trying to say is this: Just don't be an asshole.

Ex-mormon, mormons, people of the world: You can say what you believe or don't believe without being an asshole. It's really that simple.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Can I tell you a secret?

My hands are shaking as I write this post. Its nerve wracking and I feel completely exposed. Naked, really.

Back in March of this year my husband and I decided to leave the religion we grew up in and dedicated our lives to. We decided that Mormonism just isn't for us.

There I said it.

I know that people who are mormon have the first reaction to feel sorry for apostates. Please don't. Please don't feel sorry for me. I'm not sad about this decision. One bit. And I don't regret it for one second. What does make me sad is that I may lose friends or respect over this. That is what makes me sad.

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I could get into the hows and whys but I don't think that will result in any good feelings and I have no desire to "deconvert" anyone.

I will say though, that I think the mormon people are great. They are people and make mistakes. This has nothing to do with the people as many may think. I was not offended.

To be honest, I just simply don't believe the major truth claims of the religion. I found out some disturbing things about some of the doctrine and history that was contridictory to what I believed and that I was not aware of before. These have been things I didn't find on purpose and wasn't looking to leave the church over. It really just fell in my lap and when I found out it was such a painful experience. It effected me so badly that I literally felt sick, but I couldn't turn my back on the truth. I morally could not lie to myself or to my conscience.

I will admit I was angry it wasn't true. I was sad it wasn't true. I wanted it to be true. So badly. But it just isnt. It simply is not true.

If you are a believer and you are still reading, I'm sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. I know it's probably uncomfortable to hear this but it's what I believe. I respect the belief that people may worship how and what they may. Now I ask...will you respect mine too? I'm not asking you to agree with me or even to understand where I am coming from, but will you love me unconditionally and without strings attached?

"The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them." - Thomas Merton

Chase has had a much different experience in regards to the church. I don't want to speak for him and to be honest he doesn't really care to talk about it much. When I found out about some of the uncomfortable truths of the origins of Mormonism I asked someone who had left the church (who I will remain unnamed in case they dont want to be revealed) and asked him what I should do. Should I fake my way or should I tell my husband what I was going through and risk him leaving me (which sadly is a reality for some who come out of the closet of unbelief)? He said that I should fake it so I didn't ruin my marriage. It hurt, but I continued on going to church and faking it as best as I could.

About a month later we were talking to some inactive family about church. We got onto the subject and I let it slip that I didn't like going to church. Chase turned to me and said, "Well then why are we going?" At that moment I felt the tension release and I knew I could finally be my authentic self. We stayed up until 1 o'clock in the morning and talked about what we both were hiding from each other. Turns out Chase was doing the same thing I was doing. He hadnt believed for 4 years of our marriage.

I will admit I was terrified of what leaving would do not only to my social life but to my belief system as a whole. What did I believe now? What is the purpose of life now? How scary it was to go from knowing all the answers to not having any.

Those were some dark times but I will say I've come out of that darkness and have found a love for life so full and that I never knew existed. I've come to realize that I don't need to have all of the answers to have a fulfilling life. To the contrary actually.

I live life every second of the day because I don't know if it will be my last. I hold my kids close because I don't know if it is the last moment I'll ever share with them. I am more adventerous because life is about experiences and seeing the beauty in the world, instead of what is so wrong with the world. I am kind to people because it makes me feel good to give to others and not because I'm being told to so I can go to heaven. I can accept people unconditionally without the desire to change them. I can love people without qualifiers or the fear that their chair will be empty in heaven next to mine.

I quickly realized that some of the most authentic relationships I had were built on love of the person and not love of the church. I realized that I had been very unfair to my fellow men because I was so occupied with judging their choices or how they looked compared to others. I was so busy doing that when I was mormon, its an unspoken part of the culture, that I overlooked some damn good people. That was unfair of me and I'm sorry to whoever I stepped on the way to get to my heaven.

I liked Dieter Uchdorf's general conference talk this October. In his talk he said:

"The search for truth has led millions of people to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are some who leave the Church they once loved.

One might ask, “If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?”

Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations.

Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.

In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves."

I didn't leave the church because I was offended or wanted to sin. Thats a huge misconception and one that I have been guilty of assuming in the past. Sinning was so far gone from my mind. In fact it scared me to even think those were possiblities to me. I liked the rules. It was easy to follow. In fact, even now I don't drink alchohol or coffee, smoke, or sell myself on the streets. Although I'm sure I would go for a pretty penny these days....I'll think about it.

Uchdorf also goes on to say many DO leave because of unanswered questions:

"Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history—along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events—there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.

Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.

Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others."

For me, when I was presented to with the "facts" it was pretty plain as day but not everyone sees it that way. Which is ok with me. I'm following what I believe is truth and what I believe to be correct. I came to a point where I had to look objectively at the situation, without any preconceived notions or expectations. When I did that the truth could not be changed to fit what worked for me.

That's not to say I think everyone should come out of the church behind me. I don't want that. I want to follow the dictates of my own conscience which is where I am today. I love others no matter what they believe. They can believe the flying spaghetti monster is their God and I would still love and support them. Its kind of like "love the sinnner not the sin" but instead "love the worshipper not the religion".

For me I was all or nothing. I couldn't fake my way through sunday school every week knowing I didn't believe what was being taught or what I believed was only half truths just to retain some friendships.

I was appreciative of the openness of the first presidency to squash the misconceptions of why people leave, but its not enough.

"Faith is believing in things you don't see. Delusion is beleiving in something even when there is a mountain of evidence against it." -Jeremy Runnels "Letter to a CES director"

This is an uncomfortable post to write and not one that I have been looking forward to publishing. Honestly I wasn't even intending to come out about my unbelief because I felt I didn't owe anyone an explaination about my personal relationship with God, but I felt in order to be my authentic self I have to come out and share my thoughts. It's hard when you've given everything up until this point to Mormonism to just up and walk away. It's almost been like a death in my life and something I've had to grieve for some time.

I also have been scared of the backlash. I know it's hard when people voice something that is so against your thinking. It's hard to not take that as a personal attack. I hope this doesn't come off that way. I have to be true to myself and my beliefs and not be scared into silence. There are so many people that are scared to say anything and just drift away slowly from mormonism. And I'm at peace knowing that if someone cuts me off or doesn't want to be my friend then it wasn't a friendship with that much substance anyways.

Please be kind. Be my friend. Love me for who I am. Don't judge me. I'm still the same Ashley. I haven't died. And I think if you really stay to look you'll find we actually have more in common than we don't.

And I do like cookies. Just please cut the strings off before you drop them by.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dear women, lets get a hold of ourselves.

I've been itching to write this post for awhile. I really need to get some things off my chest.

Women can be mean. Really mean. And man, are we just insecure? Why do we need to constantly bring each other down just to make ourselves feel better?

I've seen it countless times whether its about how much of a genius your kid is compared to others (and NO I will not vote for your freaking kid) or whether you are 2 months post partum and fitting into your jeans. We get it. You are amazing and everyone else just sucks.

One thing though. Your life is not that great and pretending your family is this little barbie doll dreamhouse is all fantasy. I don't buy it and I guarantee no one who isnt in your little orbit buys it either.

I'm sure a lot of people were witnesses to the viral picture of athelete and mom, Maria Kang. I'll admit it. She looks DAMN good and good for her. But ya know what I don't like? The shame she projected outward. Sometimes it isn't about your explicit message but the implicit one. She was implicitly saying, "Look how great I look. Now all you complainers who use kids as an excuse to not lose your weight and look good like me are a bunch of lazy fat asses."

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Now do you think that did any good? Do you think the mom that is feeling crummy about herself will now go to the gym because of that little piece of showboatmanship? Probably not. In fact, she'll probably pick up another pack of cookies and give herself a sugar high for the rest of the day and put herself deeper into the shame hill you've flung onto her.

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After I had my first kid I felt really crummy about myself. *Cue the sad violin music* I had just had my little baby 3 months premature. Her situation after coming home wasnt normal and I felt ridiculously overweight and unhealthy. I had post partum depression and I just didn't feel like life could ever get normal again.

I constantly would make myself feel bad because I couldn't find the energy to lose the weight and I also had a baby with a compromised immune system who needed constant care and attention. Finally I couldn't handle the guilt and shame I heaped on myself daily and decided to get to work on myself. I became so unhappy with my weight that I was so desperate. I was willing to do anything. My mom had just done that dreaded HCG diet. You know that god awful diet that only gave you 500 calories a day and big red sores on your butt from the shots you'd inject into yourself? You know because thats COMPLETELY normal! She lost a bunch of weight from that diet and on our way home from her house I just started bawling to my husband. I told him I couldn't stand myself anymore and that I needed to lose the weight. We decided we were going to do it once and for all.

The diet sucked but the pounds were coming off, finally. Looking back now I just didn't know much about healthy foods. I thought a home cooked meal was a Ricearoni box and processed tortillas with cheese. At the very least the hcg diet brought me back to whole foods like vegetables and fruits that hadnt been part of my diet for awhile. I only did the hcg diet for a few weeks but those few weeks propelled me into my journey of losing the rest of the weight naturally. It gave me the motivation to work for the rest. It wasnt a conventional way to start but regardless its what worked for ME!

After the hcg diet I began to eat healthy and I took up running. I started at a couple blocks, then 1 mile and worked my way up to eventually running a half marathon. I became OBSESSED with working out and eating healthy. I lost about 30lbs and looked GREAT!

But ya know what? It wasn't good enough for me. No matter how much weight I lost, no matter how good I fit into my jeans I never looked good enough. It seemed that it wasn't about what I looked like on the outside after all that was affecting me but the shame women are made to feel if they dont look absolutely perfect. If I got to my goal weight I'd push the goal further down the scale, always telling myself I'd be that much happier when I was at 110lbs instead of 120lbs. I don't know one person who isn't striving to make themselves better but its much more than that. Women often buy into the lie that we will never be perfect enough. Never thin enough. Never pretty enough. Never stylish enough. Never expensive looking enough.

But you know what I realized? If we buy into that we will never be truly happy with ourselves. I got to a point that I was working out two, sometimes three times a day. I was working my butt off to look good. I was obsessed. And if I cheated on my diet then I felt like a complete failure. Then figured what the hell I already cheated I might as well gorge myself.

There is a big difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is actually useful because it corrects bad behavior. Its focus is on the wrong behavior and not on the person. Shame, on the other hand, is very dangerous. Instead of guilt where the focus is on the bad behavior, shame's focus is on the person being inherintly bad. At the core, shame destroys your soul and your confidence. If you use shame to correct bad behavior you will never be happy and you set yourself for a mountain of self-esteem and worth issues.

I mean if we're being honest with ourselves how many times have we uttered these words in regards to our diets, "I don't care. I'm being bad today."

Why are WE bad? Why can't we say, "I'm eating bad today."

Subtle but big difference.

I think many of us have had heaps of shame shoved onto us throughout our lives, either by the media and/or friends and family. In the age of social media its gotten even worse. It's no longer shame resulting from just magazines and tv shows. It's gotten more personal now. Its seeing our friends...sometimes not even friends but people we once knew on facebook. We often present our lives as perfect to the world on facebook and save the bad things for behind the curtain.

It's such a sham! I often say that fantasy is what pictures people post of themselves on fb. Reality is when they are tagged by a friend on fb. If you compare the two they are often drastically different. They havent been through the filter of perfection and show the person as they really are. Without make-up and without the right angle to appear thinner.

After I had my second child I didn't want to go the same route. Even though I was so healthy after I lost the weight with Jayda I wasnt truely happy with myself. Haven is now a year old and guess what? I have a ways to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I've lost about 30lbs so far but have about another 15-20lbs to go. But I'm going a different route this time. I'm going to lose it slowly and without the shame heaped on me day after day. If I want a piece of candy its OK! Just have a little peice, not an entire king sized kit kat that I feel I need since I've deprived myself of any happiness in the world. And if you know happiness you know its cholcolate! Don't lie to yourself, it's CHOCOLATE!!

I'm not going to kill myself in the gym twice a day and stay away from carbs and sugars completely. Because guess what? Thats not reality! What person truely eats "clean" for the rest of their lives? Probably dedicated atheletes. But guess what...I'm a mom not an athelete. I don't need to impress anyone. Its not an excuse but reality that I've faced. I've decided I'm going to be kind to myself. I'm allowing time to make the change. The realistic way. If I have a serving of ice cream im not turning my back on everything healthy. Im allowing myself to have a little bit of a delicious treat and thats not anything to feel ashamed of!

And until we as women present ourselves as we are, stop heaping the shame onto others to make ourselves feel superior, and live to hear how wonderful we are from almost complete strangers on fb, then it will never be corrected. And over time we will not only destroy our inner confidence which by the way is so refreshing and beautiful but we'll eventually destroy each other.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Haven's first birthday!

I know I'm 5 days late but Haven turned 1 year old!! We just had a low key birthday over at my inlaws last sunday. It was perfect!

She's such a sweet little baby! Some of the things she's doing/loves are:

-She loves to play peek-a-boo. If I say peek-a-boo she will either put her hand over her eyes and then peer around them and smile or she will take some something and hide behind it. SO freaking cute! Jayda never played peek-a-boo like that when she was that age so its fun!

-She is pretty shy compared to Jayda and definetely gets stranger danger. Jayda never got stranger danger or really seperation anxiety so its a bit new for us.

-Also she HATES going to the doctor. When she goes she just clings on to me and when the dr walks in the room she will just bury her face in my chest. She knows shes going to get poked, prodded, and bugged. We recently had to take her to the Broncolitis clinic at the hospital because she had a cold and needed the boogers sucked out to help her eat and sleep. They get gowned up in a yellow gown and then laid her on the table to suck her out. We went a few times but after the first time the minute we hit the same room she just started crying because she knew what was coming. And when that yellow gown came rolling out she became unglued. Poor thing!

-Haven LOVES her big sister and she calls her "Ja". If I ask her where Jayda is she'll stick her hand out and say "Ja? Ja?" And look around for her.

-Haven loves to eat and has yet to deny any kinds of foods. Its wierd not being able to eat anything without her getting mad for not sharing. Jayda never did that as a baby so its a bit new for me.

-She is pretty mild mannered and goes with the flow but when she does get pissed she is not afraid to tell you. But for the most part she is a pretty relaxed baby.

-She still does not sleep through the night and she wakes up at the butt crack of dawn no matter what we've tried to do to change it!

-She's almost 20lbs! Crazy to think since Jayda is only like 25! haha

-If Jayda is playing with a toy she wants it. If Haven wants a toy, Jayda wants it more. Go figure.

-Another game Haven likes to play is to hit my face and I say, "Ow! Ow! Don't hit my face!" and she just laughs and keeps hitting me.

-She's crawling everywhere and shes gotten way fast. She's pulling herself to stand but I think shes still a bit aways from walking. That'll be so weird when she does though!

Anyways thats all I can think of right now but we absolutely love our little girl! She's such a joy and even after all we went through to get her here it was worth every tear and frustration. We love you Havey girl!

Pinteresty activities: What was worth it and what was not

These are some activities that we have been busy with. Some are pinterest ones and some are just fun ones. 1. Swig sugar cookies- Sorry, but this recipe that I tried SUCKS!! It took forever to make and it tastes like flour and butter. Oh and it took 3 sticks of butter and one whole bag of powdered sugar. GROSS!! http://www.vintagerevivals.com/2013/03/swig-sugar-cookie-recipe-literally-best.html

2. Halloween candy science experiment- The picture is pretty self explanitory but it was a lot of fun and very much worth it! Jayda guessed 5 candy right! She made her prediction of whether it would sink or float and then put her results in the last column. I'm raising my own little scientist.

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3. Color making experiment- We decieded to do this one day when Jayda was learning all about colors. She now knows how to spell pink, green, black, and yellow. She's been interested in making different colors so we decided to put it to the test. It was pretty anti-climatic.

4. Halloween spider web tape- This looked fun when I saw this on pinterest but it was pretty much a waste. She played on it for like 5 minutes and then never glanced towards it again. Not worth the time or waste of tape. And its a pain in the arse to put down and clean up.

5. Easy up-do- My sister-in-law showed me how to do this and its SO easy but looks super cute! You just put the headband on but make sure to keep the band over your ears. Then you just take the hair and tuck it around the band. Then you can even put a bobbypin in to keep it in the right spot. You just continue doing that til you're done. I have really thick hair so I had to keep quite a bit out in the front but I just curled the extra. Super cute and it only takes like 10 minutes tops!

6. Pumpkin carving and painting- This was so much fun to do this year because Jayda understands the holiday a lot more. We're going to start doing this as a tradition! Love it!

7. Candy letter- Anyone remember doing this as a kid?! I used to do this all the time! I was trying to think of fun activities to do with the left over Halloween candy before it ended up in our tummy and subsequently our butt. So we decided to write daddy a letter. We played a trick of Jayda the morning after Halloween by telling her that we ate all of her halloween candy (Thank Jimmy Kimmel) which she did not like. That is what she was referring to in the letter. It sure made Chase happy when he got home and saw it!

8. Star gazing-Since I suggested star gazing Jayda wants to do it ALL the time! She loves it! One night Chase, Jayda, and I went outside in the driveway and laid some blankets down and looked at the stars. We found the big dipper and talked about space and planets. She already knows so much about the planets it amazes me!

9. Picnic with stuffed animals- When I'm feeling a little lazy I tell Jayda to go play outside while I watch from inside. One day I looked out to find her having a picnic with her stuffed animals. She also likes to line her animals up in a row and she lays in the grass and looks up at the sky. I wonder what she's thinking of.

10. Go to the library- Sometimes its the simple things. And getting a good book is always fun and you never grow out of it!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lifes Changes

I know...I know. I'm the worst blogger of all time! I havent stepped on my bitch box for awhile and honestly I kinda miss it. Tear.

First, I need to express my guilt in not blogging at all about my kids milestones, because I know everyone is dying to know whether my kids are better than yours. No need to read any further. They are.

All joking aside, I do feel really bad I havent blogged anything about Havens first year. I bitched and complained about getting her and then I just let blogging fall by the wayside. I'm reminded of hpw I used to chastise my mom for never making a baby book for me, the fourth child. Now I know why she stopped after the second. Ya just aint got time for that!

Haven is such a sweet little baby. Haven and I have a special connection that I cant even explain. We just are in sync with eachother and she is a complete mama's girl. I joke with Chase all the time that Jayda is exactly like me in every way possible and Haven is like Chase in every way possible. Both Jayda and I are very independent, high strong, we have big attitudes,a big sense of humor that can get obnoxious at times, very sentimental, and you will NEVER tell us what to do. As a result Jayda and I can have personality clashes at times.

On the other hand, Haven is like Chase in that she is super chill, loves to eat, loves to observe people, and loves cuddles and touch. Haven looks a lot more like Chase and Jayda looks a lot like me. It's like we have our mini me. And as a result, Jayda is a huge daddys girl and Haven is a huge mommys girl. Its like we're all a perfect balance. I feel utterly complete.

I can't believe that in just one week Haven will be ONE YEAR OLD!!! She is getting so big! We all have colds right now (besides Chase of course!). We went in to the drs this week and everyone got weighed. Jayda was 25.9lbs (up from 24lbs in May!!) and Haven was 19.9 lbs. Soon she is going to pass up Jayda with that huge butt of hers! I wont say how much I weigh....plus drs scales suck and dont work for adults...am I right?!

Haven started crawling about a month ago. She is so chill that she was just content on watching the world go about around her. She especially loves watching her big sissy who she just calls "Ja". Its so cute to see her first thing in the morning (except when its butt freaking early) and she just nuzzles her little face in my boobs. Chase especially likes the boob nuzzles he gets from her. Extra special moments I'm sure.

After the morning boob nuzzles she will get a big grin on her face and start waving at Jayda if she is in the room. Jayda is so good to her sister and loves to give her hugs. She'll give her a huge hug and look her right in her eyes and say, "Ohh I just love you SO much havey. You're my best good sissy." But if Haven dares touches ANYTHING of hers the devil will come out. Sometimes that little booger will just take anything Haven can find and say its hers. To irritate me I'm sure. ;)

Haven playing peekaboo with daddy. One of her favorite games.

Jayda is crazy funny! Some of the things she says is HILARIOUS and I wonder where she gets it from. The other day she drew a picture of me. She drew my face, my legs, my arms, and then she drew my butt as a big thick line. Then she drew Chase and drew all the same things except a smaller butt and then a vertical line over the butt. I asked her what the line was being very afraid of the answer. She said, "Duh mom its his line!" I said, "Oh his butt crack?" She then said, "Uhh no its that thing that makes him go pee! (as she sways back in forth while holding something in front of her)."

She is going to be a handful when she is a teenager thats for sure. She already has such an attitude and she often puts her hand on one hip, rolls her eyes, and says "duhhhh..moooom." I'm scared if this is a miniture version of what she is going to be when she is a teenager.

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This is Jayda when she put all of her boy stuffed animals in one group and the girl stuffed animals in another. She then said with her Jayda-tude, "NO BOYS ALLOWED!"

We have our special moments for sure though. We love to go on hiking adventures together, just us two. She loves nature and to feel brave hiking with her mama. She also loves learning and asking questions. If I could instill two things in her its those two things. I don't ever want her to think that if she asks questions its a bad thing. You should never supress your doubts or questions about anything because questions are a gateway to learning and greater understanding. Great discoveries have occured as a result of questions about the world. As a result, we go to the library and check out books every week. I've read 4 books in the last couple of weeks and Jayda gets at least 5 books each time we go. Usually she loves to get books about bugs. She is really into ants and we learn all about them. And really ants are freaking fascinating!! We also get books about morals and one of her other favorite things is Egyptian Gods and mummies.

I'm not gonna lie Haven has been a huge break from Jayda's first few years. I still think out of the two Jayda is still the most difficult and time consuming. Not that I don't love her spirit and her go get em attitude but it can be quite draining. I don't know how many times we've had "code adams" called in the grocery stores. A couple of months ago after one specific episode that almost gave me a heart attack I said THAT IS IT! We are getting her a leash! So I went right away to Target and got her one of those gosh awful child leashes. We had to use it a few times and I felt people's eye staring at me when I would take her out in public like that. At that point I didnt care, I was so sick of losing her in the store. And when we would lose her for 10 minutes at a time I would think how I already wanted to chop the balls off the sick psycho who may have kidnapped her. Worst nightmare of my life. We only had to use it for awhile as she finally got how humiliating it was for her and realized she had much more freedom if she just stayed by us. We havent had to use it for weeks...thank goodness!

This explains pretty much the day to day at our house. Kid screaming in the background and the baby like what the....

Anyways, thats part of my crazy life. I'm just now starting to get my energy back from Haven's newborn time (well before we got our colds that it). As a result, I am going to be blogging a lot more. I have experienced so much change in my life this past year...good and bad. Things that I may not be open to sharing just yet. Things that are incredibly personal in my life. Its caused hurt and pain and anger that I cannot even begin to express. It's been somewhat like losing an old friend. At first you're angry and bitter...betrayed really but then you learn that your life is so much less toxic without that said friend. Moving on has been hurtful, but much needed. Maybe one day I'll be open to sharing, but I'm just not feeling up to being that vulnerable and open to criticism in my life just yet. Who knows if I'll ever be in that spot. Eventually it will be obvious to those around us. No I'm not gay, getting a sex change or getting a divorce.

Right now though, I feel like my family is in the best spot possible. We've grown so much together as a family, and Chase and I as a couple. We've been able to open up and express things about our lives and thoughts that we felt we couldnt express to each other before. We've grown as an authentic couple expressing our good and bad qualities without judgment and without shame and guilt. It's the best spot we've ever been in our lives even though some people who may not know our situation may judge and paint our lives as somewthing its not. I've learned that I have to be my authentic self completely, whether it hurts or pains others because I'm not going down their path. My path is beautiful and unique, and although I may not have all the answers to where my path leads its a mysterious journey were willing and ready to take.

No I'm not dying. I'm finally living!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My 4-year-old miracle


Four years ago today my life changed forever. My little benjamin button was born into this world at a mere 1lb 9oz. It was the best/worst day of my life. Best because I was actually a mother! It was the worst because I didn't know how long I'd be one. Birth story here.

I remember looking in at my fragile little baby roo in her little plastic home and thinking about what laid before us. I just wanted to take a peak into the future and see what was waiting there. Would I be a mom mourning her loss forever? Even the thought of it made me want to throw up. Or would I someday have to worry about trivial things like staying up all night with a crying baby or worrying about her not eating all her food? Oh how I wanted to hear her lusty cry! You truly don't know what a sweet sound that is until you don't hear one.

I remember praying so fervently for her to live. I vowed that I'd never ask for anything ever again, but that just proved I was a liar since I've asked for plenty since.

Most days, looking into the future was too draining. Plus all the doctors told me was that they didn't know if she'd come out of this completely unscathed. Sure, she'd probably live...but that wasn't a guarantee and what problems awaited there if she did were unknown. They gave me good statistics but judging by the statistics of having a micropreemie with a birth defect at 20 years old I didn't trust "statistics" anymore.

Their advice: Take one day at a time. Never trust a preemie. Take two steps forward, one step back.

And so I danced the preemie dance.

Even though it was one of the hardest things I've had to face in this life I'd do it all over again to have my little bug. There are a lot of things that her early birth has taught me. One being that life is a complete miracle. Every breath we breathe is a miracle often overlooked. I remember feeling guilty having perfect lungs, most times forgetting I was even breathing at all. One of the nurses told me when Jayda was born that every breath she had to take was like taking one through a straw. It seemed cruel to make such a tiny thing work so hard.

Right after birth

3 weeks after birth

The guilt I felt was unbearable.

I think we as human beings are often too hard on ourselves. I often look at how egocentric Jayda is. For a 4 year old thats only developmentally appropriate. Everything is from her perspective. Everything is her fault. Everything revolves around her. In a lot of ways I think we never outgrow that egocentrism. We often take guilt and put it on our shoulders even when it shouldn't be. I imagine that really bugs our Heavenly Father. But here we are loading those bricks of guilt and shame on our backs day after day.

I've often imagined what would have happened had I lived 50 years ago when she would not have survived without medical intervention. How I would have had to watch my little baby slip slowly from this life. What would I have done? What would I have felt at that moment? Where would I be today? All questions I'm glad I never had to find the answer to, but guilty there are others that have.

We as mothers, take a risk. Not just when we are pregnant but each and every day we are a mother. There are so many terrible things that can happen to take life quickly away. In a few seconds everything could change. Thats a constant reality and a constant fear every mother faces. It's risky to our emotional wellbeing. On one hand, our kids are our greatest joy. On the other, losing them would completely shatter our world. Yet we all take those risks because the reward is just that fulfilling.

I would say that I feel so blessed that she is my daughter but I won't. I feel like that is a slap in the face for every mother that isn't blessed to have their child. That somehow they weren't enough. That somehow God loved me more. I don't think He works that way.

Today I watched as my little girl was more concerned with party blowers and balloons than breathing. I watched as she wanted nothing to do with her food. Most days that would irritate me but today I am grateful that thats all I'm worried about.

Happy birthday little bug. You are my little walking...err mostly runnning miracle. I'll take every day I can get.

Yesterday at her first day of gymnastics.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Girls

I fell like my blog is a ghost town lately. Honestly, I need to get back into it but I just can't find the time to sit down in all the craziness. If its not kid #1, it's kid #2. Then when I finally get both of them to bed its WAAAYYY past my bed time.

I cannot believe that Jayda will be 4 years old next week! Insane!! I feel too young to have a 4 year old, let alone a 7 month old too!! Its been a crazy 4 years that has changed my life, but for the better. And then Haven is just getting bigger and bigger everyday! I asked Chase the other day if he could even imagine what life would be like without Haven. Of course his smart arse comeback was, "I could imagine it. It wasn't that long ago she wasn't here." Men.

Haven is eating solids like a champ. It's so strange having a kid that lunges for my food. When I feed her solids she will down an entire jar of baby food and I have to cut her off. I dont think Jayda could finish a jar of baby food even now! Little bean.

Today Jayda was throwing her stuffed animal in the air and Haven was cracking up. It was the best to see Haven and Jayda "kinda" playing with each other. It's those moment I live for as a mommy. Sometimes I feel like I could be better. I could put my phone down more, turn the tv off, put the chores off, and just PLAY! Because in 10 years am I going to remember some stupid show I was watching (ok Duck Dynasty you are exempt from that comment) or if my house was clean? Probably not.

I was thinking the other day about how lucky I am to be a stay at home mom. Not everyone gets to do that but sometimes I feel like I take it for granted. I want to try not to just endure my days with the kids but to actually experience my days with them. Sure its hard with a baby and I feel bad I cant do as much as we used to with Jayda but I really need to take more time out for her.

I'm trying to soak up the baby stage with Haven too since we're not sure whether we will have any more kids. I think I just felt my uterus let out a huge sigh of relief. I know I've mentioned on here that we wanted them close in age if we were going to have another but then I realized if I had another kid anytime soon I'd probably have to shoot myself in the head and then that gets us no where. Props to you moms that have 4 kids in 4 years. You must be a whole different breed than Ashley D. Blake thats fo sho!

I honestly like having two kids. You go plop, plop in the car seats and off you go. Ok I guess whats another plop, right? A lot. Maybe down the road we'll have another one but we shall see..... Uterus...zip it. I still have yet to see a period come back even though Haven's been weaned for awhile. Good job lazy ovaries. Way to overwork yourself down there.

Ya know the plan when I was first pregnant with Haven was that we were going to have one right after the other (or at least not prevent). We were just going to lay off the birth control and let whatever was going to happen, happen. The only restriction was if we had another preemie, no matter how early Chase didn't want any more. So he won that battle....well there wasn't a battle really since I was/am on the same page. If it were up to him we'd for sure be done. I'm not sure what he'd be more scared of, another preemie or another girl. Its truely a toss up for him. Sadly.

For now I'm just soaking Haven all in since it could be my last time with scrumptious chubby baby legs and cheeks to kiss on. When I took Haven in for her 6 month appt Dr. Cain told us we should start sleep training her and letting her cry it out. I just cannot bring myself to do it though. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big believer in sleep training...at the right age. I guess I just enjoy co sleeping with her. The thought of having her in another room away from me just makes me sad. There's nothing better than waking up and looking at her face first thing in the morning.

So Chase and I came to a compromise... since hello, he's still sleeping on the couch. Poor guy has been on that thing for awhile now. First, when I was pregnant I had about 500 pillows spread all over the bed stuck in crevaces I didn't even know about. A walrus might as well have been laying in our bed. So he just crashed out on the couch. Although some nights I slept on the couch because of the back support and because I needed to be elevated. Oh those were the days. Nothing like a combination of heartburn,a cold, having to tape my eye shut for the night (thank you bells palsy), needing to pee every 15 min, and feeling like Haven was crowning all at the same time to get a good night's rest.

So Chase has been sleeping on the couch now because Haven still wakes up quite a bit at night to eat, because apparantly those thunder thighs need some grub to sustain life. Well she sleeps in bed with me half the night and then out with Chase in her little swing seat the other half so we both get some undisturbed sleep. I know it sounds awful that we dont sleep in the same bed but it really doesnt effect our relationship at all. In fact, it probably makes it better because we both get pretty good sleep considering...although those little teeth are coming in and there has been hell to pay. I swear I rejoiced when Jayda got all her teeth and somehow I'm back at square one. Another reason I'm just having two kids.

So this is where I sound like a crazy person. So were selling Haven's crib. Why you say? Because after 7 months I still have yet to cut the umbilical cord and just cant part. So what we're planning on doing is putting a queen bed in Haven's room. I'm going to set up shop in there with her and he's going to go back in bed. Eventually we will put the girls in the same room and get bunk beds and we'll use the spare bedroom as a guest room. I know that sounds crazy but I enjoy my cuddle time with her and gosh dang it I'm not giving it up just because she could sleep in her own bed. Plus a part of me is so scared she'd die in her crib from SIDS. My life is just so good where its at I couldn't imagine losing either one of my kiddos. And nothing comforts me more than seeing her little face right on my pillow if I ever get worried. So thats the plan for now. I know...crazy, but hey if it ever gets to be something I dont enjoy anymore then we will just sleep train her then.

For now I'm just enjoying my little Havers. She's SUCH a happy baby. She is always smiling. The other day I took the kids to walmart. I got them in the car and headed off. I turned the corner into Walmart and all of a sudden I see Haven's car seat topple to the side. I freaked out!! Apparantly, the base of the seat got unbuckled and she went toppling over. I immediately get out to place her back and I look in expecting her to be crying or freaked out...NOPE....she had a huge smile on her face even though she was upside down!! Crazy girl! And sweet Jayda was so concerned she wasn't ok she was near tears. Love my little girls!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Adventures at Disneyland

Man has it been busy the last little while! We went on a week long vaca with the fam. Not just the kiddos but we went with my wonderful inlaws which include Chase's parents, Karen and Kelly, and his siblings Caitlyn (her husband Taylor), Chelsea (17), Ciara (14), and Cason (11). His brother Cameron and his wife Natalie didn't make it since she is pregnant and he had to work (btw shes pregnant with ANOTHER girl for the family which 3/4 from my sister and 2/2 of mine are girls. I guess the girls in my family like to make girls!! Another reason Chase said we are done. haha.

It was a lot of fun but we didn't have the man power to just go in our car so we had to rent an SUV. We ended up getting upgraded randomly to a Ford Flex which was kinda awesome. But by the end of the trip I was so sick of that car! I forgot how crappy it was to travel with a baby! Especially when you're in bumper to bumper traffic most of the time to Cali!

At the genius idea of one of my longest and dearest friends, Pam, she suggested we break the trip up since we had the kids and come the night before and stay with her in Vegas. So we did that on the way there and the way back. It was a good way to go! Plus I was able to see my Aunt Robin and my Uncle Rod who I havent seen in awhile. It was great to chat and catch up with them!

We arrived in Oceanside on Sunday and just hung out and recouped from the trip. Monday was kinda a crappy weather day so we decided to stick around and just hang out. We went out to lunch with Cait and Taylor and then went bowling later that night. Tuesday we packed an overnight bag and stayed in Anaheim so we could be closer to Disney since we went two days.

When we were on our way to the hotel to get a parking pass Jayda told me she had to pee really really bad. We were just a few miles away from the condo but when youre a kid and ya gotta go, ya gotta go. So we ended up having to pull over on the side of the highway and I got her pants off. I told her to squat and go because there was no else. She seemed nervous about that and said, "But mom I'll get thorns in my butt." So I lifted her up (in her Cinderella dress, mind you) and put her in a seated position away from me and said, "Hurry, just go!" She peed for about 10 minutes.

Once we got there it was awesome to see Jayda enjoying herself. When we entered the park they asked Jayda what her name was and she told them. Chase and I looked at each other like, crap, maybe they are feeling her out for her age. Yeah thats right we rode her off as two, you've all done it. She told him and then he yelled out as she entered the park, "Here, Here, all hail Princess Jayda!" She had the biggest smile on her face. It was priceless. Ok...or it cost $350.

When we walked in immediately we saw Belle and suprisingly there wasn't a huge line for it so we jumped in. She was so enthralled with her! Then right after that we ran into Minnie, Mickey, and Pluto. I was shocked because the last time we were there we stood in line for 45 freakin minutes to meet Minnie! I was so pissed. I was like umm for how much money people have to freaking spend to come here they should have freakin doubles up in this joint! So I was kinda glad to see this time Mickey and his friends were actually WORKING instead of dicking around in the back. <

I don't want this to come off as ungrateful for the little monster because really it was just a error on our part but bringing a baby to Disneyland SUCKS! She was so good, dont get me wrong but shes still napping a ton during the day, not used to being outside in the hot sun and seeing these huge crowds and weird big Mouse people all day long. So it was a lot for a little baby to take in. Luckily at Disney they have a baby center you can stop at and rest, feed your baby, even pump if you need to (dont worry I didn't waste my time with that crap and my boobs looked like Frankenstein when we got back. Chase's eyes got wide and said GROOOOOSSS when I pulled those bad boys out to pump and they were square shaped monster honkers.). Anyways, it was nice but it was not really centerally located so we had to make our way back to that stupid baby center every 2 hours since Monster baby eats so much.

So pretty much it went stand in line for an hour for a 30 second kid ride, then maybe hit up another one before heading back to the baby center. I kinda felt bad for Jayda that she was reading books at a little table and chatting with ladies that looked like pioneers instead of riding rides but she seemed pretty content.

We didnt leave the park until around 8 or so and then walked to the Cheese Cake Factory right by our condo. Both of the girls were exhausted and fell asleep there.

The next day we were a bit more prepared and brought a blanket to go over the stroller to keep the sun out (I TOLD Chase we should have gotten a chariot double stroller, cheap arse!). We also went to California Adventures that day. I liked California Adventures much better because there was a lot more shade and not as many crowds it seemed. When we got there we immediately found where the baby center was instead. Then we headed to get a fast pass at the cars ride. Thats when Haven decided it was time. I was watching Chase and all of a sudden I saw a weird yellow liquid squirting all down his shirt. I thought Haven was throwing up or something but there she was chubby cheeks staring at me like "Wud up?" When I realized what was happening I just covered my mouth in shock. It was all over Chase and all over the ground. Luckily it wasnt all over her clothes which was surprising. So off to the baby center we went.

This day we were able to pawn off Haven to my inlaws (who were awesome btw) and ride some more rides which was nice. We also got away to do lunch BY OURSELVES! We had the best $35 cardboard pizza we could have asked for. I ended up eating Chases pasta instead. It tasted exactly like Hamburger helper or something. I could almost guarantee thats what it was (those chefs are actors paid by Disney), but they are laughing themselves to the bank. Regardless, it was nice to sit in the shade alone.

"Mucka" aka super grandma was such a help!

It was fun but we are def waiting until all kids who bear the Blake name will be at least 3 before we come again. Amen.

On Thursday Chase got up early and went deep sea fishing with the guys. He had fun but he was just so exhausted. Meanwhile, I stayed back and just hung out and recouped from our journey. I would've made the worst pioneer. We ventured out to go to the beach later that day. Luckily for us it was windy and butt cold but how often are you at the beach right? So I stuck Haven in the moby and we all walked down to the beach to wait for the guys boat to come in.

Chase smelled like death but he did manage to catch the biggest fish that day so he won the $100 prize! Later that night we had dinner on the pier with Chases parents. Then after that we went to the hot tub for a few minutes. I think out of it all Thursday was actually my favorite day.

Nothing feels better than walking in the door after a long trip. For a couple days I swear I assumed the fetal position on the couch and sucked my thumb to sleep. Ok thats a lie. I started working out this week and eating clean since I felt discusting after eating out so much and I still have about 15 lbs to get to my pre-prego weight and about 20 to my goal weight. Just this week I've lost 5lbs. Wud uppp!

Monday, April 15, 2013

One year ago

A year ago today I found out I was pregnant with this little thing after a lot of heartache and tears
(read about that here). I never wrote how it happened because I was trying to be sensitive to my friends that were/are going through infertility and I didnt want to "rub it in". I find myself a year later grateful and I realized I never wrote a post about it and want to remember all the details.

I had gone to my appointment six days earlier to put a plan in place for my first IUI. (that post here) I was pretty down on my luck. I had just had shoulder surgery because of an injury from of all things... church freaking basketball. BUT WE WON THAT GAME! CRUSHED THEM, REALLY...so thats all that matters. But who would've thought that during that very appointment that I was given a 3-5% of conceiving naturally, Haven was making her way down my fallopian tube to my uterus to find a nice place to snuggle.

So it was a sunday late in the afternoon and I was just waiting. I had cramps but just thought that meant she was on her way. When she never showed I didnt even think I was pregnant. I thought....ughhh I KNOW I ovulated...but maybe not? Especially since I hadnt been on any fertility drugs like the billionth other months I tried (ok 8...) so there was a chance that I didnt. BUT I remember feeling like my ovary was about to burst right around when I ovulated and thats a very clear sign that I do so I was pretty sure.

I was actually super frustrated because I just wanted her to come so that I could call the nurse and set up my ultrasound for the iui. I just wanted to get the ball rolling already. Finally Chase just told me to test because what could it hurt? What could it NOT have hurt?!

I kept putting it off and off until I caved. I peed on the stick, stuck it up to the light and saw nadda. What I thought. A couple minutes I went back in to check it again and to just throw it away. HOLY SHIZBOTS I could not believe my eyes when I saw two dark lines! I immediately ran to Chase on the couch and just started freaking out, "It's positive! It's positive! Holy crap, I'm freaking pregnant!" He was so happy and after we gave eachother a kiss and a hug I couldnt contain myself. I ran out the door and down the street just grabbing my hair and saying, "HOLY SHIZ!!!" I ran into a couple neighbor friends (Megan and Kenley...who was prego herself) and was crying and hugging them. I just wanted to tell anyone and everyone...even though I probably shouldnt have since I was only about 4ish weeks (later came to find out I was actually due on thursday not sunday).

I just remember crying out of shear joy the entire day. I couldnt eat or sleep because I was so pumped. In the back of my mind I knew I was no way out of the clear but I was PREGNANT which was half the battle and as sick as it sounds even if it hadnt worked out (i would have been devestated dont get me wrong) I still wouldve known that my body could still do it.

We decided to go over to Chase's parents house and tell them in a special way. We put the test in a diaper in a box and told them to open it. They were not expecting it at all because they knew we were planning on doing the iui and I had just had my appt. So it was pretty shocking to them! <

This was taken at my sister in laws wedding the day before I found out. I was so oblivious...and skinny then!

I'm so grateful for this little baby! As Jayda always says, "Haven is the perfect baby for me." She really is. Jayda is very on the go and always having to do something. She has always been that way. I remember even as a 2lb baby she pushed her way to the top of her incubator. Haven is the total opposite. She is so happy and lazy. She still hasn't rolled over. You can usually just find her smiling, eating, pooping, sleeping, or just eating her hand. She is so content to just sit in her little chair and watch the world around her. Jayda is such a good big sister and LOVES holding her but she is probably the hardest out of both of them because she never slows down. Its so awesome to see two total different personalities but still love them all the same! I'm so grateful for my life and the blessings I have. I'm definetly not the perfect parent and I have my moments of frustration but I dont ever want to imagine what life would be like without these little people.

We just got back from a week long vacation to Disneyland. I have some stories to tell for sure. Some of which include pulling over to hold Jayda in a seating position as she pissed all over a major highway in her cinderella princess costume. More to come later when I have a little more time, but it was definetely an experience traveling with two kids which wont be happening again for a very long time.

Chase suprised me with an hour long massage on Wednesday and I'm so looking forward to it since I need some sort of a vacation from a vacation if you will. Yes please!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Confessions of a bad mother

One thing I've learned since becoming a mother is that mothers are their children's biggest defenders. I mean why shouldnt we be? They are a reflection of us and of our parenting. But sometimes its not all cute ruffles and instagram pictures. Sometimes I look at people who flaunt their perfect life and perfect kids on instagram and facebook and wish I could be a fly on the wall in their house to see how shiz really goes down.

Case in point, yesterday we came home early from my friend's cabin because we were up all night with Jayda who was puking (whats new, right?). In the morning all of us felt a little pukey so we think it was altitude sickness because (of course) by the time we got naps, ate lunch and packed up we all felt better. We all decided we just wanted to sleep in our own bed though.

By the time we got home we were just exhausted. We had planned on playing games, drinking hot cocoa, and the girls going tubing in the snow while the boys went off to play golf. This is just one example of how in your head you have so many expectations that just don't work out the way you think it's going to work out. Happens all the time when kids are invovled.

Finally when we got home Jayda was on one. She's going through a phase where she asks the same question over and over again and if we don't tell her the answer she wants to hear she just keeps asking. Now I know where my mom was coming from when she would say, "If you ask me one more time I'm going to say no and send you to your room!"

Both Chase and I slept like crap the night before (if it's not one kid, it's the other) so we were not in the best of spirits to say the least. So Jayda decided she needed to go poop. Terrific...everyone poops. Not a big deal. So after she did the deed she comes out and tells Chase she needs him to wipe her butt. He comes over and as he does she sticks her finger up her butthole. Immediately he yells at her to get her freaking finger out of her butthole and that she needs to wash her hands. She then looks him dead in the eyes as she takes the finger right next to it and sticks it in her mouth. At this point she's got poop all the way up her front and back, not to mention her hand.

Right then I knew we were done. I said, "Chase, you better call your mother right now and get her out of here before I really lose it. I need a Jaydavacation. Immediately." I was so done with her bodily fluids. Mucka's turn!

Sometimes it's best to just take a break for not only you but for the kids. And sometimes it means taking a day in your pjs, eating chocolate and watching TV (Les miserables on DVD anyone?).

Shortly after having Jayda I heard my mother in law say that "It takes a village to raise a child." Which I took to mean she was going to be a big source in raising my child. The mama bear in me was like, "Umm heeelll naw, I will be raising my child myself, thank you very much." Now I completely agree with her. It does take so much more than you and thats a slice of humble pie I've had to consume.

I can't even begin to pick out all the things that I've had to rewrite out of my plans of raising a child because a lot of it is the opposite.

Which leads me to my second confession. As far as breastfeeding goes, for the most part I hated it! My last post I wrote about how well she was doing and it was going well. And for a few weeks it was. But even then I felt like I was jailed up and couldn't leave the house or even put a shirt on. Looking back I do think I was not at all confident and worried way too much about my supply. Live and learn.

Anywho, one day I finally came out of my bedroom after what seemed like half the day spent feeding Haven and found Jayda butt naked curled up on the couch watching TV. I felt so guilty. Here I was feeding Haven like a king and laying food out for Jayda like she was a dog.

As far as eating goes Jayda is way behind. I literally have to police her into eating her food. Sometimes I even have to feed her myself otherwise she will literally go all day and not tell me she is hungry. And even then sometimes she will literally put her hands over her mouth and say, "un-uh." She's 23lbs for a reason. Most bizarre thing ever.

Then we moved and I think Haven had a hard time adjusting to the new surroundings. She was refusing to nurse and I was so sick of having to feed her kicking and screaming and then having to pump on top of it to keep my supply up since she was refusing. Ain't nobody got time for that.

What really sealed the deal for me was that she wasn't wetting her diapers very well and in a month only gained 8oz. So after about a week of thinking it through I decided to just nurse her if she wanted to. If not then I would just pump and give a bottle. For awhile we were giving her bottles in the day and then breastfeeding her at night. Then she got her immunizations and she turned into a complete psychopath. She screamed day and night for a week. She went from sleeping a solid 8-9 hours a night to not sleeping more than an hour at a time and would not nurse anymore at night. In fact she went through 5 bottles a night!

So that was the end of breastfeeding for us. I still am pumping tons of milk out and have about 3 months freezer stash (and building) so I don't feel that bad. In fact all the stress is gone and I refused to have eating issues with another one of my kids because I was too proud to give her a bottle. I learned through that experience that breastfeeding is not frolicking around in a field of marigolds in the sunset. For some people that may be the case but it wasn't over here. AND we went back a week after the crappy weigh in and switching to bottles and she had gained almost a pound in a WEEK! So that only confirmed to me that I did the right thing and she just wasnt getting enough from me.

So here I continue the crazy adventure of motherhood. With the crazy twists and turns and trying to take life as it's handed to me instead of trying to hand life what it's going to hand to me.

After puking all night long you'd think she'd be tired. Instead she only slept a couple hours and then came and woke me up after an hour of sleeping and said, "Its a beautiful day. Let's go sledding!" What the eff. Finally, I rolled out of bed, did some stuff and then got her all ready for the snow. She spent 5 minutes outside before begging to come back in. Expectations I tell ya. Best not to have them at all!

And in other news....I cut my hair! A LOT! And I got to donate my 10inches to Locks of Love!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Endo Part 2


Ok so I lied. My life is not completely boring. I guess you can never get completely off preemie island but we like to pretend we are most of the time. Its a nasty island, but its better to be on land than stuck in the water without anything holding us up.

Today we had our follow up appt with the endocronologist for Jayda. We had to travel up north when I was 32 weeks pregnant to see the endo up there. Talk about close call with having Haven! Good thing she waited the extra week or else maybe we would've had a high way baby! Yikes! What a sight that would have been!

Ironically when we went up there they told us there was a endo that came down every so often to St. George. Why they didnt tell me that over the phone? I have no idea. I guess they just wanted to see me huff and puff my way into their office, pirate faced and all. I was quite the sight to behold when we went up there.I kept wiping my watery eyes and drool from my mouth with a tissue as she explained why my daughter might not be growing. By the end of the appt she asked me if I was ok and instead of growling at her like I wanted to I just said, "Its bells palsy. Story of my life."

When I went to schedule the follow-up they instead scheduled me with Dr. Murray who is the one that comes down to St. George. Originally after the first appt they wanted to put Jayda on growth hormones but our insurance denied it. When I went to the endo today she said she could appeal it if we wanted to. She said that she would benefit from it because since we took her in October she hasn't grown much at all. No surprise there. She's been wearing the same damn pants for a year already.

The problem is that insurance companies are being butt holes right now because they are pissed and don't want to cover anything if they dont have to. As a result they are finding any reason to do so even if the person needs it. So she's finding herself having to jump through hoopes she didn't used to have to jump through before. Super frustrating.

So at 3 1/2 Jayda weighs 23 1/2 lbs (she weighed 23lbs in October so she did gain some but scales are different so you never really know) and she grew 1/8 an inch and that was after re-meausuring her because she showed no growth at all. So still something but nothing spectacular.

She asked Jayda why she didn't like to eat. She just shrugged her shoulders. Then she asked, "What's your favorite foods? Do you like Mac & Cheese?" Answer: YUK! YUK! "Do you like chicken nuggets?" Answer: Lick, lick, nod, nod! "Do you like apples?" Answer: YUK YUK! "Do you like bananas?" Answer: Lick, lick, nod, nod! "Do you like carrots?" Answer: Lick, lick, nod,nod! "Do you like milk?" Answer: YUK! YUK! Dr. Murray said that was pretty normal kid eating behavior. So nothing horrible there. She did show me one of her lab results showed that she may not be producing enough growth hormones but she wasnt going to get hung up on one number.

I asked her what she thought we should do and she said we should just wait and see. We have enough time to just wait but after 7 or so it gets harder to start the shots. The best time to start them is between 3-4. And we would have to give her a shot every single day for 3-4 years! Talk about horrible! Jaydas ears perked up when we said a shot a day though. As soon as we got into the car after the appointment she said, "Mommy, I'm hungry." Dang straight we will hold those shots over her head for a year. Although she said the shots dont make them gain weight, in fact she may get leaner. The shots just makes them grow taller and some cases they dont even work!

Dr. Murray asked Jayda if she went to school and if she liked it. Jayda of course said yes. She asked her to try to write her name and she could write a "J" and then just scribbles. But she knows her letters and can count. Freaking smart for such a tiny little body. She even got up on the chair, flapped her arms and said, "I'm going to flap my wings and fly off!" And then she jumped off. So the fact that developmentally shes on point suggests that growing is just something more cosmetic. Luckily shes a girl so socially its not as damaging. But shes still young enough that kids dont call her short yet. I hope no one makes fun of her when she goes to school because I will come beat down a kid if I have to.

Then right on cue in the middle of having the lengthy convo with the dr Jayda said, "Mommy, I have to poop." It smelled kinda like poop and shes been known to poop her pants in the past so my mind went immediately to, "You.have.got.to.be.shizing. me.right.now."

Luckily she saved it til after the appointment where I had to take off everything besides her shirt because she is too short to make it over without having to take it all off. Then I had to leave the bathroom because lets face it no one wants to be stared at as they drop a duce. This is all while I had Haven in my moby wrap asleep. Needless to say, I was tired by the end of it all!

So overall, the endo thinks she is not gaining but holding her own too. She also said something interesting. She said her not growing had likely nothing to do with what shes really eating. Shes not a big believer in putting whipped cream or potatoes in everything. She said thats just "her" no matter what you do. That made me feel a lot better because sometimes I wonder if I'm just not offering her the right foods.

She also said that if she continues to grow at this rate she will be between 4"11 and 5'1, but that could easily drop. Once you get into 4'8 territory you're looking at a special license for not reaching the stearing wheel. Turns out Dr. Cains concerns actually are valid since he brings that up at every single Jayda appt.

We shall see, but I'm not about ready to shoot up my 3 year old with hormones just yet. I think we all need a break from shots.

Speaking of which I went to the pharmacy the other day and I saw a paper taped to the counter that said, "Different flavors for progesterone." There had to have been 15 flavors. There were pina colada, chocolate, strawberry, etc. They said they highly recommended chocolate. Strangest thing I'd ever seen. Sounds like a yummy treat. Progesterone and chocolate. I mean I thought progesterone made me want chocolate so why not combine them from the start?

Anyways, Jayda's a little bug but I love her. I hope we're doing the right thing waiting the year. I think we are but I sure hope in a year insurance will cover it or else we're gonna have a super short kid.

Monday, February 25, 2013

When Boring is Just Fine


I know I've been MIA recently. That has to do with the fact that we've moved to a bigger place, busy with 2 kiddos, and the fact that I have nothing new or exciting to add. But I guess I'm in an introspective mood. So here goes nothing.

Since the beginning of my child bearing journey I've used my blog for everything. I've used it to update people on Jayda in the NICU so I wouldnt have to talk to them everyday or ever for that matter. Sorry. Truth. I've used it to vent my feelings of having a micropreemie and then having secondary infertility. I still struggle with that word. Sometimes I feel like a drama queen saying I had "infertility". To me it felt so real. I cried many months when auntie flow showed up, threw negative tests into the trash in anger, planned sex til my hubby A MAN said "PLEASE NOT AGAIN!" But then I look at my blogger friends who started this journey with me and are now moving on to the big guns, "IVF". Suddenly my measely 20 months of not getting pregnant seem so stupid to complain about.

I feel like I can finally just bask in being boring, staying home with both my babies and not worrying about another blood draw, ultrasound or drs appt. It feels so strange to not have something to look forward to anymore. My life was built on worrying about the next step. I could see the prize but it was always just out of reach. It was always one more month. One more ultrasound. One more NICU stay.

After I had Jayda I used to be jealous of moms that seemed so worryfree. Unfortunately Jayda's early months at home were spent with me acting as her nurse instead of her mother. I had to. You know when you have a problem with a true mother/daughter bonding when holding your baby down for a procedure doesn't even phase you. I would laugh when moms would complain about their "poor baby getting their immunizations". Please. Child's play. I felt like a nurse in the fact that I had to remove all feelings and just do even if that meant hearing my baby cry until she puked her guts up. And you know its an all time low when your hubby knew how to put an NG tube down your baby's throat at home. And that the dr trusted you enough to do it yourself. I seriously considered going into nursing after I had Jayda but then I thought I just can't clean up anyone elses shit.

I know I sound like a broken record, but this time its so different. I finally feel like a mom and not a nurse. I remember during Jayda's NICU stay if the nurse started cares without me I thought, "What a biatch!" When Haven was in the NICU one of the nurses asked me if I wanted to do her cares and I said, "That's ok. I'll just feed her when you're done." I couldn't believe the words that came out of my mouth. I knew then that not only was this a whole different experience but I was a whole different person.

I hope one day when Jayda reads these entries (if she cares to) she doesn't think she was a plauge to our home. Ok maybe for the first nine months or so (kidding). But after that she's been an angel. I feel bad constantly comparing Jayda and Haven because my love for them is equal but different all at the same time. I look around at some of the bratty preschoolers around the neighborhood and think "Man I really got lucky with such a sweet little girl." That or the man upstairs finally decided to have mercy upon my soul.

With Haven I find myself in love. Like stupid love. Like the mom I hated but secretly was so jealous of. It doesn't matter if she didnt sleep well the night before or not I cannot help but just feel such a heartwarming love when I see those sweet morning smiles. I really got lucky with such a happy chill baby. Thank the Lord above! I'm not sure if its because I knew what to expect in terms of not sleeping and being attached to this thing that constantly wants your love, warmth and affection 24/7 but it sure feels good!

Sometimes I wonder if asking for one more is just pushing my luck. I mean I've ended on such a good note why ask for more? Ok maybe 33 weeks isnt a great note, but its pretty dang good to me. Some days I think two looks pretty good to me. Or as my brother Chris put it, "With two kids you can play man to man. Four you gotta do zone." Word.

Right now, man to man is looking better and better. But you can't ever throw zone out altogether. Ya never know, but right now I'm fine with boring. I finally feel complete and there's no sweeter feeling in the world.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Feeding the Human Part 2


Several weeks ago I posted about how breastfeeding was so freaking hard and I was going crazy. There were several days I just wanted to quit and give her the bottle. It seemed like she just couldn't figure it out. Some days she would breastfeed good and others days she just wanted the bottle it seemed or she wanted to be on me all day and night. Then on top of it I was pumping after every feeding to keep my supply up. It was super frustrating and there were several days that I wondered why I was torturing myself so much.

But then I read some golden advice on a breastfeeding support board: "Never ever quit on your worst day. If you are going to quit, no shame in that, but if you do quit then quit on your best day. That way you wont ever regret your decision made out of frustration."

So I did just that. On those days that I was crying and wanted to pull my hair out I thought....no not on my worst day. One day even Chase was done with it. He was sick of me complaining and just said, "Well why don't you just quit then?" I was so angry at him. And no one tells me to quit anything. So I was even more motivated to stick with it.

Well I am pleased to say its gotten a lot easier! In fact the little stink loves breastfeeding so much she wont even take a bottle! SMH! Ok well thats a little bit dramatic. She'll take a bottle if we leave her with my MIL but it takes her forever. We left her for four hours for Chases work thing (signed his contract to go on salary and out with the big wigs for lunch)and she took forever to take a bottle of 3 oz. She was fussing when I got home as my MIL was trying to feed her and the minute I put her on she just downed her feed.

If I'm home, forget it! Even if I'm in the other room she won't take it! That makes it hard at nights because she was sleeping so crappy. Literally she was up every 45 min-1 wanting to eat or come lay in bed with me. Now that we keep her up more during the day she sleeps better but still not the best. Chase wanted to let me sleep a couple of nights but nope she wouldnt eat for him. The minute he brought her in to me she ate and went right to sleep.

And no co-sleeping is not an option. I have found I'm not a cuddler by nature. At least not when I'm trying to sleep. Call me crazy but I'd rather sleep without someone sucking on my nipple all night long. I know crazy. Plus the times I have tried co-sleeping for her to breastfeed I wake up to a huge burp, the feeling of wet slime all over my body and a puddle of milk on my sheets. No thank you. Not to mention my back kills me with the side lying position. Anyone that knows me knows I'm very finnicky about my positions....er maybe not...I meant sleep positions. Sheesh.

Its the best feeling in the world to get the most smiles out of her then anyone else. And when Chase brings her to me to eat at night the first thing she does is smile when she sees my face or hears my voice. And knowing that she prefers me to anyone else and that she relies on me so much makes me so happy. Maybe talk to me in a few months but right now I love it.

Maybe it's a control thing... I dont know. But after having so many instances in my baby making career where I lost all sense of control its nice to finally feel like I'm doing something right. That I can do something for my baby that no one else can do. That is the total opposite of how I felt with Jayda first when we were in the NICU and then when we brought Jayda home and she wouldn't eat. I felt so helpless and relied heavily on Chase to take care of her because I swore up and down that she hated me and that I could do nothing to comfort her cries. She cried all the time. Then Chase would come home from work, hold her and she'd calm right down. I swore she hated me so bad she didnt even want to be inside me and thats why she broke free from my womb of death.

Its funny now we tell her what a horrible baby she was and she just laughs. I tell her that when she was a baby she said, "Waaaahhhhhhh, BARF, Waaahhhhhhh, BARF, Waaahhhhhhh." All.day.long. For months. So now she just mocks herself and laughs. Waaahhhh waahhhh waahhhh BARF. At least now we can all laugh about it. Because at the time it was.not.funny. I'm suprised we all made it out alive.

I think this time Chase feels how I felt. Like he cant do much with her but hold her until I take her to feed her and then put her to sleep. But I warned him when I was pregnant that he may have won over the first child but he was to not even think about doing the same with Haven. And my plan has been successful. Muahahahaha.

One thing that does drive me crazy is that Haven hates her nursing cover and so if were out in public I have to find some dark cold vacant room to nurse her in. Again with the dramatics. Seriously if people were cool with it I would just pop those suckers out. I wouldnt care but I know it would wierd some people out.

When I was pregnant with Haven I went out to eat with a friend and noticed a girl was breastfeeding her kid and I could see her boob although it wasnt like in your face type of thing, just the side of it a little. Most people just gawk and say how gross it is but I seriously wanted to go up to her and tell her how awesome she was. I wish I had guts like that but I understand how it could make some people uncomfortable. I guess people just dont like boobs and food. I thought that describes most men but apparantly not when in relation to a baby. Go figure.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My life with Justin Bieber


Being a mommy is exhausting. I love it of course but I forgot how exhausting having a little baby during RSV season can be so constricting. I'm starting to get out more but I'm still terrified my little baby is going to get sick so I dont take her out much.

Last night during the hour span I had of sleeping between the next waking I had a dream that I was making out with Justin Bieber. He was really into it. Of course. But I think I kind of blew it. I kept interrupting asking him if he had seen Les Miserables and if he cried. I can't believe the only dream I've had in weeks was making out with a hairless multimillionaire little boy. Kinda gross.

So another reason I've been exhausted is because my poor hubs has been working his butt off with his two jobs. So essentially he's been leaving at 9-10am and not coming home til 10:30-11pm every day. Some days I feel like a single mom. Props to single moms. And super mad props if they can even brush their hair. Some days I can't even poop, shower, and eat until Chase gets home from work.

Ok now I'm being dramatic. Its really not that bad most days.

Good news is I'm one essential oil away from being the biggest hippy I thought I'd ever be. First starting with the all natural vbac, then with the breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and now I've taken up baby wearing. Its really the only way I can get things done most days and she absolutely loves it. Shes so squished in there she instantly falls asleep. Harvy Karp is really onto something with this 4th trimester crap.

The problem is I've been having some back issues which is really ticking me off. It feels like I have a charlie horse in my neck at random times throughout the day. The pain is so debilitating I can barely walk without exrutiating pain. But if I ice it and lay down for even a few minutes most times it resolves on its own. Kind of ironic that now I have my baby its so painful just to hold her.

More good news is Chase made salary at Farmers!! So that means soon we wont be poor anymore! He's still going to work at Red Robin a couple nights a week just to keep extra cash coming in for the fun of it errrr to save it to get into a house...one day!

I feel like at last things are finally starting to look up. Chase is in a more stable job with a more stable income. I finally have my little baby and Jayda has a sibling. I'm finally graduated--now we need Chase to jump on it. I just feel more like a complete family and I could not be more grateful.

Yesterday was Haven's blessing. She was not digging the huge dress, but she looked adorbes in it (I have been watching Guilianna and Bill waayyyy too much). We had a fun time getting together with family and friends after too. Pam and Kenny came all the way from vegas so that was awesome. My grandparents and Aunt Becky came from Logandale.

We're also hoping to move in the next month or so to a bigger place. We found some town homes that are right by my best friend who just had a baby as well and its next to the river so Jayda can go play in the summer. Its also the same price we'd be paying over where we are at but the place we are looking at has a 2 car garage and a little back yard. Plus its an actual town home and not an apartment. We're hoping that works out!

I went running for the first time the other day and it was quite hilarious. I felt like such a wimp dying at 3 miles when that used to be an easy day. I'll get back...slowly. I miss running so much though. I also want to get rid of the baby weight.

The other day I stepped out of the shower and Jayda asked me what the squiggly squaggly lines on my tummy were from. I told her I survived a bear attack. Bad news shes now afraid of bears. Good news she's not afraid of having kids. Maybe I'll hang that in my holster until shes a teenager.

After 2 days of excercising and watching what I ate I lost 5lbs but the problem is my milk supply tanked. So I need to find a balance which is hard to do when I'm running on not a lot of sleep. I'll figure it out but from experience after I had Jayda I learned that I can kill myself in the gym and have an on point diet but if I'm not getting sleep then I dont shed a pound.

So for the most part were one of the same. Still slowly trying to work shirts and pants into my daily routine. One day. Oh the kind of worry I'm dealing with these days. Poor me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bring on 2013!


I cant believe 2012 is over. I remember last year at this time I could not stop wondering if 2012 would be our year or not. There were so many what ifs. I also began my last semester of college. I cant believe its already been a year since I had that semester from hell. Whoever said you'll get pregnant when you stop stressing was on crack. I got pregnant the most stressful month of my schooling. I had two 25 page papers, one 10 page paper due, and was taking statistics from the evil professor who expected perfection and didnt even flinch when he left me in tears in his office. On top of that I got shoulder surgery. So screw that crap.

I found out that I missed the deadline to apply for grad school to get my LCSW. So I cant apply til NEXT november and then start the following september. BUT then my brother and SIL pointed out that I'll never get this time back with my girls so why not take full advantage of that and just embrace every moment with them. True dat.

It's such a relief that my uterus and I dont have to talk at all this year. We can part our seperate ways and she can shut up and not give me any trouble.

Right now my life isn't very glamorous. I can count the number of times I've gotten out of my pjs since November on one hand. Most days I don't even bother putting a shirt on. Sleep is precious and far in between. I'm lucky if I get a shower. Most meals I have to wolf it down as fast as I can because thing 1 or thing 2 wants something. I feel like a cave man everytime I go outside. You know to check the mail. The highlight of my day.

Oh and to top it off I had searing hot red lumpy boob aka plugged ducts. It was fun. Nothing like dipping your swollen boob in a hot bath to fill a sunday afternoon.

BUT I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'd much rather have all these little nuisances than worrying if this was my month or whether my body was going to evacuate my baby out of the building. And I guess having control over both sides of my face is just a plus.

And from experience I know there is an end to the sleepless nights. But man at the time you cant help but roll your eyes and ask why oh why when you see those wide eyes staring straight back at you in the dark at 3am. And since Haven has come home, Jayda, who normally sleeps like a rock decided that she wants to join the party and has been getting up multiple times a night.

This is the recovery after one hellish night.

Well I knew exactly why she was waking up. It wasnt because she needed water, or to pee, or to just say "I love you daddy", it was because she is transitioning and anxious since she isnt getting a lot of attention during the day, understandably.

In my last couple of semesters I became really interested in children's trauma and anxiety. And one of the big signs that there is anxiety in their life is by their sleeping patterns. So instead of focusing on threatening her things during the night (that doesnt work) I just had to really make an effort in doing things with her during the day, even if I wanted to gouge my eyes out instead because I'm running on empty. And sure enough, she sleeps through the night again since I've been making more of an effort.

The other day I woke up with her instead of Chase because I wanted to let him sleep in since he was just so exhausted. It freaked her out and she cried the entire morning and day. It was frustrating but really it just broke my heart because I knew why. I really havent given her enough attention because Haven eats a million times a day, I have to pump a million times a day, and Haven is awake a lot more so its difficult to play with Jayda.

So I've been making an effort to do more things with Jayda and keeping her busy with things. I even got in the bath with her (she always asks to take a bath with me)and played with her princess figurines. She hates hot water so I sat in a butt cold bath naked playing with her. She had a blast and I just put on a brave face and was so happy when Haven started crying and I "had" to get out.

Today we went on a much needed mommy daughter date. We got our nails painted and went to lunch at the pizza factory. She had a blast!

This year we have so many things we want to do with the girls. In April we're going to disneyland. Jayda talks about it everyday. Now that we cant threaten her with the naughty list we told her that she needs to eat a lot so she can grow tall enough to ride the rides at disneyland. That pumped her up to eat 3 breadsticks and half a piece of pizza for dinner. We're such mean parents.

This summer were going to Lake Powell with both girls. So excited I can actually tube and knee board this year instead of being pregnant!

Hopefully in the next month Chase can meet his quota for Farmers and we can get on salary so he can quit his other job. He has to have 40 pieces of insurance and 4 pieces of life to get on salary. He's at 28 and 1 so he's super close. And awesome considering the holidays are the hardest time to sell anything. He's almost there but the deadline is the 18th of this month otherwise 10 of his items gets knocked off. Its going to be such a relief financially and time wise when he does though.

Yesterday we decided to venture out of the cave and go on a lunch date to Red Robin. We all needed it. The lady behind us had the sweetest looking hat. Of course Jayda was curious and stuck her face right by her face. Embarassing.

And I just love this little babes! After her immunizations shes acted so funky. She didnt sleep or eat well for awhile. Yesterday she started eating like she normally does. I took her to the LC this morning because she had been a little bugger and decided she only likes the left boob. She just would not latch on the left because she knows it has a slower flow. But of course right when I called the LC she started latching like a pro. And she still gained a ton even with the nursing strike. On saturday when she got her synagist she weighed 8lbs 2oz. Today she was 8lbs 9oz. Little chunk! So looks like her immunizations just screwed her up!

And the coolest part is that she said that we should just let Haven sleep at night. The neo at the NICU said we had to wake her every 3hrs but she just wants to sleep and has been gaining great so why not let her sleep? And the LC said I should just treat her like a regular baby because thats how she is acting. Shes been going 5hrs the last couple of days and its SO nice! Then instead of being wide awake after feeding her she'll gulp it down and sleep for another few hours! Hopefully it stays that way...it probably wont.