Thursday, September 3, 2015


Parenting. It's what consumes my life right now and I wouldn't have it any other way but wow am I exhausted. I am so tired, I'm actually going to have a blood panel done to see if something is wrong with me. I don't really think there is but I just feel like I can't ever catch up. I eat healthy and exercise and I am just always dragging. These are days of propping Norah's bottle on my chin to feed her while I do other things (she is now starting to hold it herself more often, thankfully), saying "Ot-oh, that's sad" a million times a day to show empathy rather than frustration, lots of self talk, lots of second guessing, lots of patience testing, little sleep, honey on my floors and chairs, smudges on the sliding door, the door left open and flies coming in (I really dislike flies), every time I sit down to eat someone needs something (every single time)... I have a difficult time keeping up with my house too. I hear people say, "The dishes can wait. Enjoy your children." I get that but I would love to have my home presentable so I can have people over. I know it's just a small part of the big picture. In a few years, all of my children will be in school and I will have time to clean my house. I will be able to take a nap. Right now my focus is more on them. Rough and tumble play (my boys' favorite), baking, science experiments, going to the park, visiting the library, reading books, doing puzzles, singing to Norah, dancing with Josh, tossing a ball back and forth to music. I try to balance it with cleaning but only get to the basics and feel like I can't ever catch up in that area either. But I'm trying. And I'm trying to focus on my strengths as a mother. My kids know they can count on me. They know I'll always be there for them, even when they don't make the best choices or if we have rough days. They know they are loved and valuable. They know their boundaries and they know we will be consistent with them. We also make it a priority to nourish their faith and provide opportunities for them to learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus and feel the Spirit. But for some reason I see my inadequacies like a neon sign and feel discouraged at times.

I'm writing these thoughts down, mostly so I can remember them when I'm past this season of parenting. When Norah calls me someday and is feeling drained and discouraged, I can remember that I felt that too.

A couple of quotes that have resonated with my lately:

"The influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world." - Richard G. Scott

“We hold in our arms the rising generation. They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. We cannot be casual in how we prepare them. Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eleanor Kate

I can't believe it's been two months since our daughter's birth and I still haven't written about it here. I remember when blogging was such a big part of my life and I wondered how people could just stop blogging. I loved recoding my thoughts, accompanied by photos, telling the story of our lives. The desire is still there but the demands are many with three little ones. Therefore, I'm copying my entry from Miss Eleanor's blog so it is at least recorded here. (As I am typing, she is laying next to me, kicking my arm with her adorable little feet.) 


Dear Eleanor,

You are finally here (and finally have a name)! You were born one week ago from today: Monday, February 16th at 6:53pm. We are so happy you're here. You have filled our home with your sweet spirit and disposition. We absolutely adore you.
Six days old. 
We arrived at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa a little after 7:00am for my scheduled induction. After filling out the paperwork, our nurse, Liz, escorted us to our "new home" (as she called it). I put on a gown and got "comfortable" in the hospital bed. 

Since I'm positive for Group B Strep (I was with your brothers as well), I had to have four hours of penicillin, then wait a couple of hours and have more penicillin. My doctor started the induction process with a balloon catheter, which took me from 3cm to 5cm while I was receiving the penicillin. Like with Josh, the penicillin was the worst part for me because it felt like my left arm was on fire for hours as the penicillin traveled through the IV. Liz would turn the dosage down, which felt so much better, but would have to turn it up again after a short time so we could complete the dosage before starting the induction. At 3:45pm, I was 6cm and 80% effaced. The contractions weren't too bad; I really tried to focus my breathing through them and it helped. A little after 4:00pm, I started feeling cold and shaking, which I knew meant I was getting closer. I felt I was at a 4 or 5 on a 1-10 pain scale. I knew I wanted an epidural (unexpectedly not having one with Oliver was a bit traumatic for me) so I got the epidural before starting the Pitocin, even though the pain wasn't too intense yet. The epidural made me a little nervous this time because I felt a bit of cramping in my back when it was administered but I was told this was normal (I just don't remember it from my epidural with Josh). I was told the anesthesiologist was the best and could do this with her eyes closed. That made me feel a little better. After getting the epidural, I felt so much better. So warm and relaxed, I almost fell asleep during the Pitocin (I had only had 3.5 hours of sleep the night before; I just couldn't sleep, which was so frustrating.). By 5:40pm, I was at 8cm and 90% effaced. Dr. Labesky came a short time later to break my water. Not long after that, I started pushing. I only pushed for 12 minutes and then heard your sweet little cries at 6:53pm. 
Left: Alex (Dr. Labesky's intern), Dr. Labesky, and our nurse, Kristal. They were all amazing. I love my doctor! We were sad Liz's shift ended and she had to leave (the nurses refer to leaving before the baby is born a "Labor Looser") but Kristal was also an amazing nurse. We loved all of the staff. 

They laid you on my chest and my eyes filled up with tears. It's such an amazing feeling to hear those little cries for the first time and to see you for the first time. It almost felt surreal. I felt gratitude and love wash over me. My first thought when I saw you was that you look like Oliver did when he was a newborn (your dad told me he thought this when he first saw you, too). 

(More pictures - being weighed, Wendel putting diaper on, etc.) 

We wanted Grandma, Oliver and Josh to be able to see you that night but we had to stay in the L&D Room for two hours before being moved to the Recovery Room (where visitors are allowed), so they had to wait until the next morning. Oliver was so excited to see you the next morning. Josh was a little apprehensive but also very curious. 

I love these pictures. Your brothers love you so much. It was so sweet to see them meeting you for the first time.
First picture as a family of five.
Choosing your name wasn't easy for us. We had a difficult time choosing your brothers' names, too. Your dad likes to wait until after he sees you to decide on your name. I love older, classic names and really wanted to name you Kate, which has been on my name list since 2008. I liked the name Genevieve for your middle name because it's a family name (my maternal great grandmother's name and my paternal great grandmother's middle name. Both women were wonderful, charitable women. I was reading recently about my PGG. She met a man on a bus who needed dental work done so she took him to a dentist and paid for the work to be done. She also saw a little boy who needed a coat so she bought him one. What a great example to look up to!) Your dad liked the name Genevieve for your middle name but didn't like Kate for your first name at all. He felt it was too popular and just didn't really like it for your first name. But there weren't any other names he felt strongly about. And he wouldn't discuss names until after your birth, which was stressful for me. 

The day after your birth, one of the nurses told me she was a little concerned about your right eye because you weren't opening it. She said it looked like it was fused shut and she had called a specialist to come look at it. She told me he would likely have to cut it open or you might possibly need surgery to open it. 

So we were sitting in the hospital room, you asleep in the bassinet between us, discussing names the day after you were born. The eye doctor, Dr. Underdall, would be coming soon, and we had a little time to ourselves before he arrived. Your dad was looking up names online and said, "What do you think of Eleanor?" We had friends back in WA who named their daughter Eleanor years ago and at the time, we had both said we really liked the name. I still liked it but wasn't sure if I wanted to use it. You dad read the meaning: "A light that shines in darkness." Right then Dr. Underdall walked in. The nurse had already put numbing drops in your eyes. He used a metal clamp to open your right eyelid so he could examine your eye. The nurse assisted him, which they did in a far part of the room, so we couldn't see. It hurt my heart to hear you scream the way you did. We expected him to tell us he would need to cut your eyelid open or something along those lines. Instead, he told us you were born with Microphthalmia, which means your right eye is about half the size of your left eye. He said your right eye stopped developing in utero, around 20 weeks. He said he could see cataracts on your eye and that you would likely need surgery to remove them. He said you may not have vision in that eye. He referred us to some specialists in the valley and then left. 

Two days later, still in shock and feeling uncertainty, we were sitting in the waiting room at the Retina Specialist's Office in Phoenix. Your dad again brought up the name Eleanor. I needed to let it sink in a little more. I liked the name and liked the meaning a lot. I just didn't like making such a big decision under pressure (we had to let the hospital know by Friday and it was Thursday). 

At your appointment, Dr. Bryan did an ultra sound of your eye and found cataracts and a thin rod, connecting from the back of your eye to the front. He said usually this rod goes away in utero but didn't in your right eye. He said surgery would be necessary to remove the rod and the cataracts, to give you the best chance for vision in that eye. He also said it looked like the retina was attached but surgery would let us know for sure. He wanted the surgery scheduled when you were one month old. The thought of my little one month old baby having surgery made me nervous. It was a lot to take in in only a few days. He said considering the spectrum of Microphthalmia, you are on the better end of it. You have an iris and a pupil. Your retina appears to be attached. You may have vision in that eye. 

Your dad and I talked on the way home about what a special girl you are. We talked about the strengths you will be blessed with to help you in this life and how you are blessed with wonderful older brothers to look out for you and be an example to you. We talked about how we hope we can be what we need to be for you. We let our tears freely fall as we talked about these things. We then decided Eleanor is the perfect name for you. You may not have vision in one eye but you will always be a light shining in darkness. I requested Kate as your middle name. I still liked Genevieve but I liked how Kate sounded with Eleanor. It took your dad a few minutes to think it over but he agreed. We think we'll call you Norah for short. We have always loved Norah Jones' music (The Long Way Home was our wedding song) and considered Norah for you as an option for your first name, so it seems to be a fitting nick name. 

We love you, sweet girl. You have already blessed our family with your sweet, amazing spirit. I look into your eyes and mine fill up with tears because I can feel the Spirit. We can't wait to see the great things your Father in Heaven has in store for you here on earth. We're so glad you're here. 

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 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


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. :)