Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some Things that Make me Happy

AKA- random pictures I stole from Dana's camera.

Emma- demon eyes and all. This girl is the best helper, and is so smart. Sometimes I talk to her about things and forget that she is only 4 and not one of my twenty-something friends. I loved this picture because her expression makes her look older and more mature. Dana and her fluff. I am not sure what was happening here, but good Heavens, I like this girl!
The view from my parent's house. Pretty.
OK, this wasn't from Dana's camera- but it still makes me happy. These are the roses Ross got me for no reason aside from he loves me and likes to make me smile. I like that guy kind of a lot.
Jack-Face. This boy. Oh my. He really is at the very tip top of the list of things that make me happy right now. His smiles and his laughs and his snuggles and his tooth and his post bath lotiony goodness smell and just everything about him makes my heart so heavy with love and happiness.

*Please note- the title says some things. This list is in no way comprehensive so don't get your panties in a twist if you weren't featured here. :)*

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Rotary Phone

My mom has had this old, old, OLD rotary phone for ages. I think my Grandma Wallace 'lent' it to her when one of our phones died, and it just never found its way home. Anyway, now that landlines are a thing of the past for our wireless clan, the old phone has become an integral part of the toy collection at Grandpa's house.

Caulene was nice and played along on this phone concocted for her by Emma. Sara refused to talk to anyone who was not using some kind of telephonic device. That's how the game goes, apparently. Dana was a good girl doing her Algebra homework. :)
I love all of her facial expressions!
She gets so animated!
I am actually surprised that she knows how to use this.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Emma's First Field Trip

Emma went on her first field trip on Tuesday. Her class went up Provo Canyon to look at the changing leaves and talk about Fall.
Sara preferred the flowers to the leaves. She was so excited that she got to go to school with Emma!

We did a scavenger hunt where Emma had to find certain things in nature and collect them in that bag. She got all of them except for the bug which she thought was a silly thing to find because it would eat all her leaves.
That sweater is so small on Sara now, but she loves it and keeps finding it when I put it away.

Jack was the best boy ever. He always is.
I love this crazy little girl, and I can't believe she is big enough now to need a chaperone for field trips. I also like her smile-on-demand look. What a kook!
After her field trip was over (which was complete with birthday cupcakes for another boy in her class- awesome timing!) we did some grocery shopping, and then met Ross at my dad's house where we watched Robin Hood of the Russel Crowe variety on the back porch. Good day!

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Cooking Salvation

I am in love with my crock pot. Seriously. I use it all the dang time, and it makes my life so much easier. I have always used it fairly frequently, but during this last pregnancy, I pretty much depended on it, and these two websites to get me through.

They are both great sites run by stay-at-home-moms who like to make healthy meals for their families, but also have better things to do with their day than slave away in the kitchen. Both sites have easy recipes that are yummy, use ingredients you would normally have on hand, and are different from the normal repertoire. The second link even tells you how to convert each recipe to gluten-free if that is a need for you and yours.

In the past year I have used my crockpot at least twice a week, and have made everything from the expected things like soups and roasts, to more exotic (for a slow cooker at least) like pasta, casseroles, and even desserts.

Just thought I would spread the word about one of my favorite mommy secrets.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Emma and Her Soldiers

Heather and Caulene got these soldiers for my dad's birthday cake. Emma likes them a lot. I loved seeing her play with them like this a couple weeks ago.
She had a full on strategy and story line that she narrated with amazing gesticulating, enthusiastic prose, and even songs at some points.

They had a few very important missions including saving a princess, getting some ice cream, hiding from the bad ghosts, and getting ready for a dance.

Woody and the phone both played important parts.

I love this little girl so much! What I wouldn't give to be able to see what is going on in her amazing little mind.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sara and her Barbies

The first thing Sara always asks for when she comes to Grandma's house is the Barbies. These are old Barbies. Dana's old Barbies, and some given to us by neighbors.
In fact, that pink case used to be my Grandma Wallace's cosmetic case. When my mom inherited it, it was kind of messy and mistinted, so she covered it with this fun Barbie wrapping paper that Caulene picked out.

I love when Sara gets into her own little world with these. Her creativity is so fun. I love hearing what their names are, and what kind of trouble they are getting into.
Sometimes even Sam gets to play.
And sometimes her hand acts as an evil villain- but only when properly dressed.
I am certain that in 20 years if you ask Sara what she loved most about Grandma's house, the Barbies will be high on her list.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Am a Lucky Woman

I really am, especially as far as friends go in my life. I didn't write that post about my depression looking for pity or seeking compliments. In fact, I went back and forth about posting it for a good hour and a half after it had been written because I didn't want people to pity or judge me for it.

If people are judging me, they are being quiet about it, which I appreciate- so keep it up.

What I did get, in place of the pity I was fearing, was an abundance of loving and helpful messages. Comments, E-mails, Facebook posts, phone-calls- you name it- all full of love and support. Some knew just where I was coming from as they had been there before, some recently. Others had never been there, but knew me well enough to know that if I was willing to be so bold about it, it must be a big deal.

It is. This is. This is hard, and humbling, and so frustrating.

Thank you so much, to those of you who reached out. It means more than you will ever know.

That was just the first part of what I wanted to touch on. This next part may very well not make a lot of sense to anyone, but I wanted to try and piece together in language some things running around in my head.

I am a lucky woman. I really am. I am so blessed. I have had my share of misfortunes, but, in the end, I am so very, very fortunate. My husband is incredible. My children are amazing. My parents are kind and supportive, and close. I have an awesome house, car, neighborhood, computer. . . . . on and on and on.

I am a lucky woman. I know that.

One of the things I am struggling with most right now is feeling so sad during such a blessed time in my life. I look around me at everything that I am blessed with, and I feel terrible. What kind of woman cries so much when she is so blessed?!

I do. I hate it.

People give advice to focus on the positive things in life to get through depression- but what if those good things are part of the sadness? What if a good chunk of the weight on my heart is the fact that my cup is overflowing with goodness, and I am too petty to take even a sip?

Does that make any sense?

I tried to talk about it with my friend, Carrie today on the phone (thanks for calling- I love you!) but it was weird to try and express my thoughts about it- thus this strange and mixed up rambling.

That is actually one of the things that let me know that my sadness was more than just baby blues or something else innocuous and trifling. I am not generally the kind of person to mope about- at least not for extended periods of time. My little Emma came and gave me a big hug one day and all I could do was sob.

I told her I stubbed my toe and it hurt.

I wasn't upset that she had hugged me. I loved that. I love her. She is so sweet and affectionate. She loves me so much, and I am so amazed that I get to raise her! She is fantastic! She was hugging me, and she is incredible. . . . . and yet. . . . . I was still sad.

Not OK.

I feel like I am displaying such an ungrateful attitude. I'm not though. I am so grateful! I am beyond thankful for the blessings in my life- so I am not really sure what to call this strange mix of acknowledgment and sadness.

I am hoping that soon I will be able to enjoy all these blessings without feeling . . . whatever it is I am feeling about them. I still can't really find the right words here.

As a way of heading to more positive thinking, tomorrow I will start writing about what I originally set out to use this venue for- a record of things that are helping.

Thanks again to all of you who are either staying silent about your disapproval, or being tangibly supportive and encouraging. I really do, without any sarcasm whatsoever, appreciate both efforts to help me.

I am a lucky woman.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Date Night

Ross came home from work today bearing a dozen passion roses (white on the bottom, pink on the tips, and totally beautiful), a babysitter lined up (thanks, Dana!), and a bogo free coupon to one of our favorite restaurants.

It was awesome. He is awesome.

While we were there eating, we noticed that right next to where we were sitting, they were prepping a number of tables for a large party. We were not thrilled about being in such close proximity to a huge group that included the need for at least 6 high chairs.

It may sound rude coming from a mother of 3, but I was out alone with my man for the first time in a very long time, and I was enjoying the rarity of not having to scream to converse with him.

Just as I was thinking it might be best to bolt down the rest of my food and walk around outside with my hot date, the manager came over to us, apologized for the intrusion, and asked us if we would be willing to move to a different table so they could use ours for the ginormous crowd. As compensation for this 'inconvenience', he promised us both our pick from the dessert menu.

So, to recap- we got our meal half off with the coupon Ross had, we got to move away from the noisy celebrators, and we got creme brulee and a brownie sundae for $free.99.

Best ever.

P.S. It was the first time I had ordered creme brulee, and it very much will not be the last.

The Post Where I Talk About Post-Partum Depression

I have alluded to this a few times before, but I feel it is time to come right on out with it.

I have been suffering with post-partum depression.

I had a titch of this with Sara, but it was nothing like this. This has been a whole different problem and has affected me in a much different way.

I kept waiting for it to just ebb away as my hormones got under control and my body got back to normal.

I thought maybe once I found my groove, it would stop sneaking up on me and making me miserable.

I hoped that if I stayed busy and productive, I wouldn't have time to feel silly things like depression and anxiety.

I dove into spiritual practices hoping that would alleviate some of the pressure of this little demon in my life.

Unfortunately, no amount of routine, productivity or scripture reading has had a lasting affect for me. I have had temporary relief, which was extremely welcome, but I can always feel that thinly veiled despair just lurking in the back of my mind and life, waiting to pounce when I am weak or tired enough for it to floor me again.

Now, the reason I am writing this is because I am not the kind of person who would do well in therapy, which is what most of the things I have read about have told me to do. I don't like to tell my good friends when I feel weak, much less some stranger. I just don't think I would be able to really open up, and that would defeat the purpose.

I also do not want to take any medication for it. I am breast feeding, and I don't care what the label says, I have a hard time believing that a drug that is strong enough to change my chemical balance and alter my mood levels is not strong enough to affect my milk.

So, I have thought about it, and I have prayed about it and have determined that this is the most therapeutic thing in my life. Writing. Putting my thoughts into words and sharing them with the few people who wander by this blog.

Some of you are made uncomfortable by this kind of frankness where you expect only pictures of my adorable children. Sorry. Indulge me, or just play in my archives while I explore this option of dealing with this.

Anyway, after chatting with Heavenly Father a bit, he told me that I am very likely not the only woman who frequents this space that has felt/ is feeling this way. He also told me that some of my coping mechanisms, while not permanent solutions, are good steps. Basically, he told me to talk about it here. So, since I like to follow the promptings I receive in my conversations with deity, I have decided to do a series of posts about the things I have found that have helped me.

Yes, that means this is not the only time I will be burdening the blog with talk of my post partum depression. This blog is about my life, and as ashamed as I am at times about this, post partum depression is a very real figure in my life right now.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just Another Picture

I stole this from my dad's facebook page. I just thought it was a great photo. He is such a beautiful child.

Troll: [trohl]

Definition found on word

Trolls are one of the most frequent creatures of Scandinavian fairy tales and more common than elves, dwarves, witches and giants. They hoard gold and are noted by their hairy appendages, including ears. They come in any size and can be as huge as giants or as small as dwarves. Occasionally, they even steal a new-born baby leaving their own offspring, a changeling, in return.
His hairy ears are making us a little suspicious...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Labor Day

My dad gave Ross a shotgun for his birthday, so he wanted to go out and use it a bit. We bought a box of shells, some clay pigeons, and a thrower and headed out to my dad's favorite shooting spot. The kids hung out in the van and watched Beauty and the Beast on the computer, and I ran back and checked on them and tickled them from time to time.
He likes his new gun. It is very pretty.

I even got in on the action a bit. I had never shot a shotgun before. It was fun, and I even hit a couple of the clays thrown for me by Ross. (By the way, I am much better at tossing the pigeons than Ross is. That is all. )

We plan to do it again soon before the weather gets too cold.
I had a lot of fun, even if this was the result. . .
When we were out of shells, we headed over to Carrie's house to enjoy their pool and hang out with her and Liz and Patrick. Emma loved playing with Audrey and was a little jealous when she saw all the cool things she could do with Liz's IPhone. She has been asking me to get one ever since. Not happening. Sorry babes.
When we were all done swimming and visiting we dropped the kids off at my mom's house and went up Provo Canyon where we planned to bike the trail there to Bridal Veil Falls. Ross had bought a new bike a few days before for this very purpose.
The new bike was a dud. It looked all shiny and impressive, but it was hard to ride, and the brakes on one of the wheels locked up suddenly while we were going down a hill and threw Ross over the top of the handle bars. It was bad. I thought he had surely dislocated his shoulder or something the way he was laying. Fortunately, I was wrong. He ended up with some nasty road rash on his face, hands, and knees, and he probably sprained his wrist a bit since it has been bugging him ever since. Not too bad considering how fast we were going.
Understandably, Ross wasn't too keen on finishing the trail at that point, so we headed back to my mom's house where he got himself cleaned up, and Caulene made us some broccoli soup. The girls were doing some seriously cute things that my sisters took pictures of and promised to send to me.
They didn't keep their promise.
I will post them whenever they send them.
Or, more likely, whenever I steal their SD cards and load them onto my computer myself.
Anyway- it was a pretty good Labor Day even if it did end in a stressful, and painful (for Ross) manner. Poor guy looks like he got in a fight or something.
In other news, we returned the new bike, got a different (less expensive, less fancy, and less shiny) one that he likes much better. We also got a little trailer for the kids to put on the back of my bike, and we have been enjoying daily family bike rides. Good times.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Reflections of Motherhood

My friend Tracie posted this on facebook today, and it really touched me. It is quite simple. They asked some moms to write down what advice they would give themselves if they could go back in time to right before they had their first child.
Reflections of Motherhood

They were all very true and poignant, but I had some favorites, and wanted to explain them.

Forgive Yourself.
Good Heavens, that is so pertinent to me right now. I beat myself up all the time for what I perceive as failures when really, they are not even close to that. When I look back in retrospect I feel pretty awesome about my life and my children, and my mothering. Sometimes in the moment, though, those mistakes or setbacks just seem insurmountable and I make them even more so by building myself a nice mound of guilt. Not great. Forgive Yourself.

Real Men Change Diapers.
OK, this one doesn't really need any explanation except that Ross is the manliest man I know and he sure as heck changes diapers. He also plays princess, engages in tickle wars, watches Disney animated films, and sings songs before bedtime. I love him. So much.

Your Mom Was Right.
Yes she was. And is. And probably always will be. I may have mentioned in the past my dislike for unsolicited advice, but don't you for a minute think I don't get advice when I need it. Which I do. A lot. I just choose to go to my own trusted sources for thoughts and suggestions about most of the important things in my life, the very topmost of those sources being my mom. She is amazing and so smart and so extremely patient with me. I love you, Mom! So much.

You Are About To Meet True Love
This is the last one. It is so true. I never before imagined that I could love someone like this. People say it all the time, and that is for a reason. Each time I hold a new child in my arms I am overwhelmed with the love I feel for them, and a little confused at times as to how I can feel such an abundance of emotion for one being, and not have that lessen my love for others in my life. Quite the opposite actually. Motherhood has opened my heart and expanded my capacity to care for others. In a very real way, Emma taught me how to love, and I have only gotten better at it the longer I have been a mother. I can't help but love Ross more when I see what amazing little beings our mutual love produces. He is amazing, and my children are amazing, and I have him to thank for that.

Grandpa's Birthday

Sunday was my dad's birthday, so we headed down to my parent's house to enjoy a nice steak meal grilled up by Caulene, and a movie on the deck.

Yes, you read that right. A movie on the deck. My family has moved a TV and DVD player outside to the deck. They have it covered with a tarp to protect from the elements and to reduce sunlight glare. Some nights they even light up the fire pit and roast marshmallows. It's a nice little set up.

Here is Emma and the Barbies from Grandma's house enjoying a movie while the rest of us got dinner ready. That is Ken sitting alone up front. He was in time out and not allowed to sit with all the girls. I thought it was funny.
My sister's decorated the cake with some army toys, and Emma added Woody for a finishing touch. Also in this picture- two heaping plates of grilled steak. I love my dad's birthday! :)
So does Jack.
And Ross. Man food!
I love that my dad lit the canon on the tank. Nice touch.
After dinner we went out to the deck and watched Second Hand Lions. I hadn't seen it since Ross and I were dating and I forgot how exceedingly cute it is.
I love their profiles. So beautiful.
Ross and I decided that we will have her wear thick wire rimmed glasses when she is a teenager whether she needs them or not. Her eyes are just too stunning for her own good.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Jones. We love you.