Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: Year in Review

December 2014 [Oliver: 4.5, Joshua: almost 2, Baby Girl: soon to arrive]

Another year has come and gone and it's time for my annual year-in-review here. I enjoy taking this time to reflect on the past year. 

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Experience pregnancy while taking care of two young, active boys. It's an entirely different experience than being pregnant with my first and having down-time to relax or being pregnant with my second while working full time (mostly sitting at a desk). This takes exhaustion to a whole new level. I have never been this tired. I have never felt such physical strain on my body. Plus I'm older this time around (35). 
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? My goals last year were to have more patience, be more organized and have better time management. I still struggle with all three but I have been working on them. I have prayed for patience a lot and really tried to apply it with my boys. I think I have improved quite a bit but still have a ways to go. I am still very unorganized but have tackled some big projects as of late (the guest room/nursery, the loft, the downstairs closet and the laundry room). There are still so many to go, it's overwhelming. As for time management, I'm still pretty bad at it. Sigh. 
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No. 
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. 
5. What countries did you visit? I like how this question assumes I visited other countries. Not going to happen anytime soon, while our kids are still young. 
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? More sleep. (I can keep dreaming, as a newborn will only bring less sleep into my life.)
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why? June 20, 2014 (the day I found out I'm pregnant with our third). 
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Surviving this pregnancy while keeping my boys alive. It's been rough. 
9. What was your biggest failure? Nothing big - just little frustrations - things I try to be better at and then let slip. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No. 
11. What was the best thing you bought? Wendel got me / us a Canon 6d camera for Christmas. We've had our old camera (Canon 20d) for almost 10 years so it was time for an upgrade. We are both very excited about it. 
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Oliver is doing great with his behavior for the most part. Cause for celebration, indeed. 
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? People I hear about on the news. Sad stories and disappointments in the human race. 
14. Where did most of your money go? Paying off some past debt, diapers, bills. 
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Expecting our little girl. I'm pretty thrilled we're having a girl. I'm excited to meet her (and never be pregnant again). :)
16. What song will always remind you of 2014? "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift, "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift, "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry and "Counting Stars" by One Republic come to mind. 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Just as happy, maybe happier. 
b) thinner or fatter? Definitely fatter with this baby on the way. 
c) richer or poorer? Richer, both financially and by way of feeling blessed with the addition of our little girl on the way. 
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? My answer is always the same for this question. I always wish I had more time to work on family history - mostly our boys' books. It's very important to me and I want to make it a priority but can't keep up right now with even the basics. I'm just so exhausted. 
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? No big regrets in this area. 
20. How did you spend Christmas? A quiet Christmas with our boys in the morning and then had family over for dinner (Wendel's parents, my dad and Dot, Levi and Amalie, Mitchell and Francesca and Susan and Boyd). 
21. Did you fall in love in 2014? More in love with Wendel, to be honest. I love seeing him be an amazing dad to our boys. I love his relationship with them, especially seeing how close he and Oliver are. I love seeing him fulfill his calling and strengthen the youth. I love that we have a good marriage and solid friendship and relationship. We have ups and downs, like everyone, but I have felt a definite increase in love and adoration for him this past year. 
22. What was your favorite TV program? Still Parenthood and The Big Bang Theory. Difficult to top these two. 
23. What was the best book you read? Elizabeth Smart: My Story. Excellent read. 
24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Not sure I had one, really. 
25. What did you want and get? A little girl (on the way). 
26. What did you want and not get? Nothing comes to mind. 
27. What was your favorite film of this year? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was pretty good. Wendel and I both enjoyed it quite a bit. 
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 35 this year. I was feeling sick on my birthday, in my first trimester. The only thing that sounded good to me was salad so Wendel and I met at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch. I talked to my sister, Lindsey, on the phone and she told me how much she looks up to me. It made me cry. 
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I don't know that it made my year more satisfying than last year but rendering service always brings satisfaction and joy. 
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? I've been all about comfort this year with being pregnant. 
31. What kept you sane? Wendel. Always Wendel. 
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None, really. 
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Hearing about the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, beheading reporters to make a statement. It is horrible to think about. 
34. Who did you miss? I still miss some of my coworkers from CPS. I miss my family who lives in Utah. I miss a few friends in Washington. 
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014: I can do hard things. It's okay to be tired - I'm not here on earth to feel rested all the time. I'm here to work and make a difference and raise a family. 
36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "These Are the Days" by 10,000 Maniacs. See this post for the lyrics and why it sums up my year. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A few thoughts before baby girl joins us

Five days until Christmas. It seems to come faster every year. Four days until sweet Joshua turns two. Difficult to believe he's only been here with us for two years. He is such a sweet little boy. Two months until this baby girl makes her arrival. I am beyond exhausted and happy this is likely my last pregnancy. It feels so much more difficult on my body this time around, probably because I'm older, in addition to having two energetic boys to keep up with. Some days I hardly sit down at all. I'm excited to meet our daughter and have her on the outside of my body but I'm also nervous for the newborn stage. It's exhausting as well. I feel like I have so much to do before she comes. Her room isn't ready. The walls are painted and her dresser is painted but I still have two shelves to paint white, a window seat to put together and decorating to do. I need to get our room organized since she will be in a bassinet with us for the first few months. It seems like there are a million little things that need to be done but I can't focus on them until after Christmas. I wonder who she will look like. Oliver and I talk about that sometimes. He's very excited to meet her and has been anticipating her arrival. I'm worried about Josh. He's such a mama's boy and I think it will be difficult for him to have to share my lap and attention. I'm a little nervous about going from two to three. Some people say it's not bad and others say it's incredibly difficult. I have a feeling I'll fall into the later category. Right now Wendel can take one and I can take the other but with a third we're outnumbered. I wonder what her name will be. I realize it is partially up to me to make that decision but it's difficult when we don't agree. Wendel likes to wait until after the baby is born to even discuss names, which is frustrating. I get not choosing a name before meeting the baby but not discussing the names at all kills me. I don't like waiting until I'm in a post-pardum, emotional, sleep-deprived state to make such a big decision. If it were up to only me, I would name her Kate. I like that it's an older, classic name, is easy to spell and pronounce and I love how it sounds. Kate Schultz. Wendel feels it's too popular. Speaking of baby girl, I can see my stomach moving up and down right now from her little kicks. I'm a little nervous because I had an ultra sound about a month ago and at that time the tech told me she's in the 89th percentile compared to other babies as far along as she is and proceeded to tell me she's going to be a very big baby. That makes me a little nervous. I'm grateful she's healthy, though. I'm very excited to have a little girl join our family.

I am so incredibly tired and starting to get a headache so I'm signing out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

These are the days

It's midnight. Way past my bedtime. Mornings start early around here, usually between 5:30-6:30. This morning I could hear Josh calling my name from his crib: "Mama, mama." I looked at my phone. 4:15am. I stumbled into his room, squinting in the light from his lamp. He had thrown his blankets and binki onto the floor, as he does when he's done sleeping and ready to go. I told him to lay back down; that it was still night time and time to sleep. "Ol-ver?" he asked. "Oliver is sleeping," I told him. "Daddy?" he asked. "Daddy is sleeping." That seemed to convince him and he laid back down, took his binki and favorite monkey blankie and allowed me to cover him with a blanket. Exactly one hour later, at 5:15am, I heard the same thing: "Mama, mama." We went through the exact same process and he went back to sleep. At 6:00am, he was at it again, but this time he was adamant about getting up for the day. With a heavy sigh, I took him into our room and put him on our bed with some of his books. I laid back down and closed my eyes. He shoved the book in my face, pointing at animals, wanting me to read to him. I sleepily said, "Duck. The duck says quack." He went over and put the book in Wendel's face. "Daddy, Daddy." Wendel mumbled a good morning to Josh and fell back asleep. Soon after, Oliver came into the room. Minutes later, both boys were downstairs in the kitchen and our day had officially begun.

And so it does every day. Not always as early as 4:15 but 6:00 is a guarantee. If one of them happens to sleep a little longer, the other will definitely get up by 6:00.

Tonight my friend, Autumn, asked if I wanted to go to the gym. We have been going to the gym together, on and off, for a couple of years. Sometimes we do so great and go almost every night but then we go through spells where we don't go for months. Tonight was the first time after such a spell. Being 5 months pregnant, plus getting up early and not getting to rest during the day (Oliver no longer naps), doesn't exactly instill a desire to spend my evenings at the gym when I could be relaxing with my husband, watching tv, or going to bed early. (Oh, sleep, how I miss you.)

And yet, I sit here in bed, past midnight, blogging. I think I've blogged three times in the past year but tonight I'm making it a priority. I just need to write this down.

Being a mother to young children is difficult. I've expressed that here before. It's, hands down, the most difficult thing I've ever done. But also the most amazing thing I've ever done. And absolutely the most exhausting thing I've ever done. Tonight as I was doing leg reps at the gym, the song, "These are the Days" by 10,000 Maniacs came on and I sat there, on that machine, with tears running down my face. I thought about my sweet boys, and how these are the days I'll remember. It's difficult to picture it now but someday they will be grown and on their own. They will have their own families and lives and be busy with their responsibilities. They might live far away from us and from each other. The days are numbered when sweet Joshua will lay his head on my shoulder and tuck his hands between his heart and mine, where his sweet little voice will call my name, where dancing with him in my arms will light up his face with a huge smile. And sweet Oliver, as strong willed as he can be, telling me, "I still love you, even when we have rough days" and "You're the best mommy in the world to me." The days where he begs for three books at bedtime, even if it's late. The days where he and Josh are at my feet constantly, wanting to be where I am, wanting to help me cook, bake, clean (hitting the walls with the handle of the broom as they attempt to sweep), following me upstairs, wanting to be nearby.

These are the formative years. Am I doing enough? I try really hard to be a good mom, to engage them and love them, teach and guide them, encourage and nurture them. Although it doesn't seem like it now, all too soon they will be gone. I will have a clean, quite house. But I will miss their laughter, the cute things they say, their little affections. The days are so difficult and exhausting...am I appreciating them enough? It can be difficult to appreciate the little moments when I'm so caught up in the day to day grind. So I guess this post is a reminder to myself to do just that. To sit back, enjoy and appreciate. To show love to my boys and enjoy my time with them as much as I possibly can.

"These Are Days" by 10,000 Maniacs 

These are the days.

These are days you'll remember. 
Never before and never since, I promise, will the whole world be warm as this. 
And as you feel it, you'll know it's true that you are blessed and lucky. 
It's true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you. 

These are days you'll remember. 
When May is rushing over you with desire to be part of the miracles you see in 
Every hour. 
You'll know it's true that you are blessed and lucky. 
It's true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you. 

These are days. 

These are the days you might fill with laughter until you break. 
These days you might feel a shaft of light make its way across your face. 
And when you do you'll know how it was meant to be. 
See the signs and know their meaning. 
It's true, you'll know how it was meant to be. 
Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you, to you.


Photos taken last Saturday night before our Ward Trunk or Treat. Joshua - 23 mo, Oliver - 4 1/2

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Change

Just stopping in to share a few thoughts about today. I got released from being Primary Secretary today. I've had this calling for a little over two years. I have loved it and am sad to be released. (The Presidency was released other than the President, which makes it even more difficult in a way because I loved working with the President, Tiffany.) Maybe it's because I'm pregnant but I sat in the back of the Primary room with tears streaming down my face as the Primary kids sang, "The Family is of God." I have loved hearing the Primary children sing this song this year. It's one of my favorites and will always have a special place in my heart (I used to sing it to Joshua before bed but now he only wants the songs that have actions with them). I felt the Spirit so strongly at church today. Most Sundays, I'm so busy and distracted by my kids and responsibilities, I might feel the Spirit once or twice but not the entire block. It was so strong and so present. I guess maybe to help me know it's okay to move on and to comfort me. Change is difficult, especially when I've put my heart into something. Change can also be good, though. My new calling is Activity Days Leader for the 10-11 year old girls and I'm looking forward to working with them. I think it will be good.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Parenting is the most difficult thing I've ever done.

Parenting is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It's more difficult than serving a full-time mission, more difficult than going through a painful relationship (being engaged three separate times), more difficult than going through grad school with a newborn baby who was collicy while having nursing issues...I think because those things were short-term. They were difficult while I was in them but then they ended and I took what I learned from them. And I guess I'll look back on motherhood someday and think it went by way too quickly and I'll have lots of nuggets of wisdom and I'll be incredibly grateful for the journey. I am grateful for it now, but it's just so exhausting. I try very hard to be the a really good mom to my boys; I take them to the park, play with them, chase them and tickle them, read to them, do art projects with them, take them fun places, go to the library with them, dance in the kitchen with them, kick the ball with them, laugh with them...I love having fun with them but I also feel exhausted a lot of the time. Sometimes I think if I had kids in my 20s I would have more energy. But I don't have any regrets. I'm glad I had five years of marriage with Wendel before our amazing boys came along and I'm grateful for my degrees I worked so hard to obtain during those five years. I'm incredibly thankful for Oliver and Joshua. They bring me so much joy. But as I said, parenting is the most difficult thing I've ever done. You don't understand until you get there and then you appreciate everything your parents did for you. It's kind of humbling. I just wonder if there will ever be a time when I don't feel exhausted. Maybe someday when our kids are grown but then I know I'll miss them terribly. Wendel said he already misses Oliver...he misses him at ages two and three. Parenting is emotional, too. It's so many things. But above all, I really do feel blessed. I know that I am. But I also feel exhausted and drained and it's difficult to keep up. Someday when I'm a grandma and might not remember just how exhausting being a mom was (like I could forget), I might pull up this post and remind myself. But until then, I will try to cherish the years I have with my sweet boys and do my best to keep up. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Surprise date

This is a very quick post to document the surprise date my awesome husband planned for us last night. The only thing he told me was, "Wear a (loose) dress." It started at Fired Pie (awesome, btw), followed by going to a 1940s swing dance at Falcon Field, complete with a live band. It's been about 11 years since I've done any Lindy Hop (or much of any dancing) and we definitely stumbled through it, but we had such a fun time. I don't think I stopped smiling the whole night. We took this (blurry) shot with my cell phone before going into the dance. I have a pretty great husband.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review

It's time for my annual year in review post. It's pretty sad that my last year in review post is on the same page on this blog...I only had to scroll down a handful of posts to find it. But I guess that speaks to how priorities change and how I have my hands full with my two little cuties. Still, I enjoy reflecting on the year with this post, so here it is. 


1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? I became a stay-at-home mom. 
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Yes, for the most part. Yes, I'll make a few this year but plan to keep them very short and simple. Too many is too overwhelming. 
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Friends in my ward. 
4. Did anyone close to you die? I found out a childhood friend, Dennis Stauffer, passed away in a car accident a couple of years ago. We hadn't kept in close contact so I didn't find out until last month. We had our baptisms together, were in the same ward and went to the same Elementary School. I last saw him when I was 18 and took a bus from Minneapolis, where I was nannying, to Blacksburg, VA, and visited him. It's sad, especially because he had a 1-year-old son when he died. 
5. What countries did you visit? None
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? More patience, more organization and better time management skills. I seriously want to focus on these three things this year. 
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why? April and October: I left my job at CPS in April, which was difficult for me to do. I became so attached to my job in a way that you do when you go through something that is very trying and provides opportunities for serving others and personal growth. Add awesome coworkers to the mix and it's very difficult to walk away. I then volunteered there once a week until October, when I no longer had childcare for my kids. Again, I was very sad to leave. 
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Being a stay-at-home mom has been very eye-opening. (Wow, it's difficult but I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be at home with my boys.)
9. What was your biggest failure? No big regrets but lots of little things I would like to work on. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing serious
11. What was the best thing you bought? A season pass to the AZ Science Center for $30 (a living social deal). I took the boys almost once a a week during the summer. Oliver loved it and it was a great way to fill our time in an educational way (plus being in an air conditioned building was a definite plus). 
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Oliver has come such a long way since the beginning of the year. It was rough for him after Joshua was born and his behavior reflected that. He is doing so much better (which I honestly have to credit Love & Logic to some degree...I'm not perfect at applying it but it was a turning point for me with him). We also got rid of overnight diapers this year. He's such a big boy now! 
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Politicians always seem to fall into this category. I'm not very impressed with President Obama. 
14. Where did most of your money go? Formula + diapers would be big chunk of it. 
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to Hawaii in April. It was a much-needed break for these exhausted parents. We left the boys with my mom so we got to sleep in...amazing. 
16. What song will always remind you of 2013? More than just one: Feel This Moment by Pitbull, Closer by Teagan and Sara, Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, Deamons by Imagine Dragons, Best Day Of My Life by American Authors, Royals by Lorde and Justin Timberlake (went to his concert with my friend, Autumn). 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier in general. 
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. I hit my goal weight about six months ago, thanks to Weight Watchers. I now weigh less than I did before I got pregnant with Josh. 
c) richer or poorer? About the same. 
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I would've had more time to do more family history (scrapbooking, journaling, blogging, etc. - especially the boys' books). This is my same answer as last year...still on my to-do list. I need to make it a priority. 
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Possibly Facebook. I'm not on there all the time but a couple of times a day, which feels like too much right now. (Again, I want to prioritize.) 
20. How did you spend Christmas? With our little family. It was the first Christmas in a few years where it was just us. It was nice. Wendel and I especially enjoyed seeing Oliver's excitement; this was the first year he was really into it. He loved the anticipation of opening his gifts almost more than the gift itself. 
21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Even more with my kids than before. I didn't think that was possible. 
22. What was your favorite TV program? Parenthood still remains a favorite but Big Bang Theory is a pretty close second. (Those are the only two shows we watch.) 
23. What was the best book you read? Love & Logic, followed by How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. Both were life-changing for me. 
24. What was your greatest musical discovery? I really like Imagine Dragons. 
25. What did you want and get? A vacation that involved sleeping in and eating yummy food.
26. What did you want and not get? Nothing comes to mind. 
27. What was your favorite film of this year? Nothing really amazing. There were fun ones, like Pitch Perfect, Thor and Iron Man 3. 
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 34. It was not my best birthday ever. 
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I can't think of anything. I feel very happy and blessed. 
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Comfortable, casual and inexpensive (I mostly shop at thrift stores...there are some pretty great finds to be had though, if you're willing to do a little looking.)
31. What kept you sane? Wendel. (Same answer as last year...he's my rock.)
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Um...? 
33. What political issue stirred you the most?  6,000 CPS cases were never assigned to investigators over the past four years and as a result several supervisors are on administrative leave. There's a lot of attention in the media on CPS right now. I'm always interested in following CPS in the news because the people reporting the news really have no idea what it's like to be on the front lines. It frustrates me that those who are doing the difficult job of keeping Arizona's children safe are blamed no matter what they do. Meanwhile, they are underpaid, overworked (man, are they overworked...the amount of work is literally impossible to keep up with) and get burned out. Show me a politician who makes improving CPS a priority and that person will have my vote. I did recently read these ideas from Governor Jan Brewer, which is a great start. I really hope to see these put into action. 
34. Who did you miss? My coworkers (after I left CPS). I really miss them a lot, still. 
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013: Here's two: 1.Parenting is difficult. Not all kids are the same. It's easy to judge other moms or feel judged by other moms as a result of differences in parenting. I've come to realize that there are many different ways to be a "good mom" and no matter what kind of good mom you are, be the best you can for your kids, don't judge others and try not to be offended easily. 2. It's good to be busy doing good things. I'm grateful for a busy calling (Primary Secretary) and the busyness of taking care of two, active little boys. 
36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "I just want to feel this moment" by Pitbull. And when I say "this moment" I refer to sleep and how amazing it is. I knew I wouldn't get much sleep as a mom but man, do I miss it. Sleep is really amazing. 

Here's to a wonderful 2014!