Monday, June 21, 2010

Time for a little Nap {Break Time}

I will be out of town visiting family and having fun so this is your chance to get some guest posts written and submitted to!

Submit mommies that you feel should be spotlighted in our profile section!
Write about your crazy stories!

I'll return on July 5th to post your blogs, return with more mommy profiles, and lots more!

Enjoy your summer festivities! See you in July!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Post: Nurturing your Marriage

This guest post is brought to us by Rosalie Mastaler. After a year of trying to conceive, Rosalie is awaiting the arrival of her first child in a few short weeks. Rosalie has been married to her high school sweetheart Michael for four years. She loves music and preforming, and teaches piano to students in Apple Valley and Hisperia California. I met Rosalie almost 5 years ago through an international teaching program in Russia. Rosalie is a great friend, selfless and full of joy. I'm grateful to know this awesome mommy! I thought this post was especially appropriate this week as we celebrate the fathers in our lives.

Recently, as I await my son's arrival, something hit me a little harder than it ever has before. Although I've definitely thought about the change Hunter will bring, and how Michael won't be alone much longer, for the first time I was a little saddened by it. For four wonderful years it has just been the two of us. Even before we were married we'd known each other for nearly ten years, and although those past ten years we weren't always together, we were always just us, we were never parents. Now the time has come to be bringing new life into this world and it's going to be the most incredible experience we have shared. I know it's going to be life changing, and more than I could ever expect, but one thing for sure is that the relationship between Michael and I will change. I don't mean that in a negative way, AT ALL, but it will be a big change in our lives. Don't get me wrong, we can't wait for a little man to arrive. We are counting down the days, hours and minutes, and we look forward to and are so incredibly thankful for this is amazing blessing.

Last night I cuddled with Michael and I told him, "I'm going to miss it just being you and I." He innocently replied, "Ya, you're going to have a new love of your life," so I told him "You will always be my number one!" I told him that we'll still have to hang out, with just him and I! These feelings DO NOT take away from the excitement of having our little Hunter, but I've seen more and more cases where the wife/mother, forget about their husbands because they are so infatuated with their children.
It's not healthy. Heavenly Father first gave me a husband and then we will have our dear, sweet children. We will raise them together, as a team, and we will be a foundation for them to rely on. How could we do that if we are not one? Husband and wife time is so important and it makes me sad to see mothers who have forgotten that. I will be attached to my children (How could I not be!?) But I'm already attached to my husband and will be forever. Besides, before we know it, our kids will grow, and then it will be just Michael and I again. These feelings and thoughts DO NOT take away from motherhood whatsoever, but I hope that mothers/wives remember to keep a strong and eternal bond with their husband so that they may raise their children together as one.

*A Note from the Blog Author*

Rosalie and I have talked about this at length. We have decided that it is easy to place an emphasis on the children rather than your marriage, after all a husband can clean, care for, feed himself where a baby relies only on their caregivers for physical and emotional well being. If you neglect your child they will suffer physically right before your eyes. They will scream and shout. It often takes several months and even years to actually see the toll neglect in a marriage will take. Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, authors of Baby Wise emphasize the importance of fostering this sacred relationship with your spouse. "Healthy, loving marriages create a sense of certainty for children. When a child observes the special friendship and emotional togetherness of his parents, he is more secure simply because it isn't necessary to question the legitimacy of his parent's commitment to one another. If a child perceives more weakness than strength in this relationship, we believe this perception produces a low-level anxiety in the child. Ultimately, the anxiety affects all of the child's learning disciplines."

Ask yourself, "What have I done for my marriage today?" How do you continue to share a special relationship with your spouse while raising children?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

{Why a Daughter needs her Daddy}

When we found out I was pregnant with a little girl, Adam was terrified. "Daughters are different from sons," he said, "they are precious." In his mind, Adam thought he was going to have a son to play with, to mess around with. When he found out it was a girl, he didn't know what to do with himself.

I have always had a close relationship with my dad. Perhaps it is because we are so alike in every way. To this day, as we drive to the airport, movie theater, or any other even where timing is essential, I get flustered and cranky if we are running behind schedule. I got that from Dad. Adam and my mom have to deal with our overly cautiousness and empathize with each other.

We once took a personality test independent from each other and scored the EXACT SAME. It was extremely eerie. I am such a huge part of him. Even now, having lived away for years I'll tell my parents stories and they will just laugh at "Tim Jr." In the words of my father "different people are different," so along those same lines I guess I could say similar people are the same. I could always trust the advice of Dad. Because we are so similar, it was almost as if listening to him was listening to my future self. Unfortunalty as a teenager, I got really good at tuning my future self out...even when I didn't mean too, I'd be off in some other wold and suddenly I'd realize my dad was trying to tell me somthing and I'd have to fight my way back into the conversation. He always seemed to know how I was feeling. I remember my first heart break. My dad sat me down and told me about his first heart break and how life goes on. He told me stories I'd never heard before and was SO simpathetic. He told me I would feel better, he didn't tell me to feel better. He always let me cry and then I'd move on.

I tease my dad because when I was pregnant and even after I took Hannah home from the hospital, he would randomly call me up and say "do you know about babies and plastic bags? Make sure you keep her away from plastic bags," or "do you know about leaving babies in cars? You don't do it, especially in the summer." It was pretty funny because they were obvious things but I knew he was just looking out for his granddaughter.

My dad always tells me that he is proud of me. I appreciate this because I always know he is telling the truth. I know he is proud of me and I know he loves me and his support has always meant the world to me.

His influence was evident especially in making a decision to marry. I knew I had to marry someone who was as kind and loving and respectful to me as my dad was to my mom. There are not many men out there like my dad so I knew Adam would have a lot to live up to. He's getting there ;)

I'm grateful for a wonderful dad and I'm grateful for Adam who is a wonderful dad to Hannah as I mentioned in previous posts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fathers and Sons: Part 2

When my husband was 4 years old, he didn't really have a father in his life. His parents were divorced and living in different states. That is when he met his dad, Terry. Terry knew that when he married his wife, he was becoming a father. Terry has never treated Adam, or his brother Austin, any differently than his other children. He adopted him happily, and then raised a wonderful man. He taught him how to take care of things around the house and work on cars. As a high school teacher, then administrator, Terry influenced Adam to seek his Education degrees.

Adam often says that the best thing his mom ever did for him, was to marry Terry and give him a father. Terry continues to be a wonderful father, father in law, and grandfather even as he serves our country in Camp Buehring, Kawait.

For years I've loved this song, but when I married Adam it became especially relevant. This is Terry's song.

Fathers and Sons: Part 1

My dad was so excited to have a son. Someone he could share his love of sports with, to coach and to play games with. Someone to share an interests. He wanted to raise a boy to become a man.

Like many men, my dad is a fan of high action movies. The explosions, the intrigue, all manly and fun. He was excited when my brother became old enough to enjoy some of these things with him. They would watch James Bond movies together then talk about the cool things that happened, their favorite parts.

One day, while working in the yard. My brother Sean, who was still just a kid at the time, was contemplating the awesomeness that is James Bond. He turned to my dad, and with all the wisdom of a child, made a comment about how, James Bond didn't really make the best life decisions (smoking, drinking, women...etc.) In that moment. My dad realized that while James Bond is THE Man, he didn't want his son to look up to him as a role model. He didn't want his son to grow up, thinking that the decisions James Bond made were right because James was "cool." My dad decided to get rid of his James Bond movie collection. Now, it was a bold move, perhaps one that most people would make. He could have just stopped watching them, or stopped sharing them with his kid, but my dad wanted the house to be free of negative influences that had the potential of directing my brother.

Sean recognized from an early age that my dad treated him differently than his sisters. He was the one who would get yelled at if he ever physically hurt us because "you NEVER hit girls, you NEVER treat women with disrespect." He didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to cry over something, when I would cry over the same thing. He was always expected to work harder and sacrifice more. As girls, we never got off easy, but my dad was always on top of my brother, making sure he was developing into the man he was supposed to be.

A few months ago, Sean talked to my dad about this. He thanked him for the firm, but loving way he raised him. He thanked him for pushing him to be a hard worker, devoted, and respectful. Sean is grateful for the solid foundation that his father provided him.

M. Russell Ballard says "Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor, and believe it or not, you are their hero in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them."

Be grateful for the men in your life who raise the men in your life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quote {s} of the Week! Celebrating Fathers!

In honor of Father's Day on Sunday I wanted to share several quotes relating to FATHERHOOD that I really enjoyed.

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys."
~Harmon Killebrew

A father carries pictures where his money used to be. ~Author Unknown

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
~Mark Twain

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Edition: Daddy Profile {Adam}

Sunday is Father's Day and I wanted to do a special profile on one of the greatest Dads I know, the father of my daughter, Adam.

I always say that Adam is the best thing I could have ever given my children and I'm so grateful for him.

Meet Adam: Husband, Father, Teacher.

Adam is the oldest of six kids and grew up in California. He served an LDS mission in Sydney Australia. Adam graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education and currently teaches in Las Vegas. Last spring, Adam graduated with his Masters degree in Administration. I met Adam over five years ago while he was getting his undergraduate degree from BYU-Idaho. He is my best friend, my husband, and my own personal stand up comedian. I had the pleasure of being there every step of the way for Adam's transition to Fatherhood. I'll never forget the look on his face when he found out he would be a daddy, when he felt her move for the first time, and when he looked into her precious face and fell in love.

For her first two months of life, Adam stayed home and was the primary caregiver, so that I could finish my degree. It was a precious time for daddy and daughter as they grew to love and to know each other more every day.

Adam is an exceptional father. Not only is he loving and playful with his girl, he is always ready and willing to care for her needs. He has never complained about diaper changes, feedings, baths, clothing, or any of her essential needs, not even in the early hours of the morning. In fact, he always asks if there is anything she or I need him to do before doing anything for himself. Adam takes on an equal parenting attitude when he is at home, rather than shirking from his fatherly duties, which is very appreciated. There is nothing he won't do for Hannah.

My most precious memories of the last ten months of parenthood are when I catch Adam and Hannah reading a book together, or singing a song together, or just talking. I also love when he attempts to comb her hair in a part, or to put a bow in her hair...most always he ends up bringing her to me for that part, but at least he tries right :)

Every morning Adam calls "dibs" on getting Hannah out of the crib. He wants first hugs, kisses, and smiles. If Adam goes to work before she wakes up Hannah always looks over my shoulder and out the door to try and find him, calling "Da,...DADA?" Adam also called "dibs" on putting her to bed every night after I've nursed her.

Not only is Adam a great father to Hannah, he is also a wonderful partner to me. If ever I have concerns over her safety or health, Adam always strives to accommodate me in my concern, and never tries to tell me I'm being irrational. He is very supportive of my decision to stay at home with Hannah, and very supportive of the way I care for her. He has such a wonderful heart and I couldn't have married a better man.

I am grateful for his wonderful, righteous heart and the way he serves his family. As you can see he is an amazing man and I'm glad I got the opportunity to introduce you to him!

Leave a comment! Tell about the wonderful Father's in your life!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Be kind to EACH OTHER

I was reading a lovely book called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. In the book there is a chapter about an brand new, unwed mother who loves her baby completely despite her unfortunate circumstance. It talks about the other women on the block who heckle her, and even throw rocks at her (which ceases only when a stray rock hits her baby boy, causing him to bleed).

This is all observed by Francie, a 13 year old girl who can't understand why these women are being so cruel. It says:

"Remember Joanna. Remember Joanna. Francie could never forget her. From that time on, remembering the stoning women, she hated women. She feared them for their devious ways, she mistrusted their instincts. She began to hate them for this disloyalty and their cruelty to each other. Of all the stone-throwers, not one had dared to speak a word for the girl for fear that she would be tarred with Johanna's brush.

Most women had one thing in common: they had great pain when they gave birth to their children. This should be a bond that held them all together; it should make them love and protect each other against the man-world. But it was not so. They stuck together for only one thing: to trample on some other woman...whether it was by throwing stones or by mean gossip. It was the only kind of loyalty they seem to have."

I have been blessed, unlike Francie, to be surrounded and raised by strong, confident, loving, compassionate women. The disloyalty of women that Francie perceives is not uncommon, but it is not as absolute. I love being a woman and I love being a part of the universal sisterhood, and it is my belief as women and especially as mothers raising children that will socialize and run the world together we should stick together and as Francie suggests "love and protect each other."

Ask yourself, have you done something lately to uplift and love a fellow sister?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quote of the Week

"It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding."
-Erma Bombeck

I love this quote! I usually spend a long time looking for quotes but today when I saw this I knew I had to use it. I feel that my heart has been softened toward most of humanity, not just my baby, since becoming a mother. I feel I've been a little less critical and a little more compassionate and that is why I chose this quote.

Do any of you have a similar experience?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I am Mommy! Hear me ROOAAAARRR

Today I did something amazing. I shaved my legs, while nursing my sweet baby.

It made me start to think about the things mommies do for their kids, the way their bodies have to be available at all times for comfort, nourishment, and care. It also got me thinking about how many times I find myself on my knees during the day, caring for my little girl whether it is fixing her hair, changing a diaper, picking her up after a fall, cleaning up after a spill etc. I don't know if it was designed this way, but it serves as a reminder to pray in gratitude for my healthy child, and for the strength to get up off the floor and continue through the day, teaching her, loving her, caring for her.

Before I had a baby, I couldn't fathom the physical toll it would take on my body. I am constantly running around, chasing, bending, stretching, lifting, carrying, etc. It made me grateful for pregnancy which was at times very difficult. They say that which does not kill us only makes us stronger and I feel stronger (and a little more tired) as a mom having gone through pregnancy.

By design, mothers have strong hearts, strong bodies, and strong minds. We may not feel it at the time, but we are called to do hard things and bear heavy burdens. Recognize that within yourself today. Remember what Miss Molly told her son, "I am capable of hard things, and so are you."

Have you ever been faced with a difficult challenge but felt strength because you knew as a mother you had to do it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Past Post: Rocken the sTrEtCh MaRkS

There is an excited buzz in the air as one of my dearest friends awaits the arrival of her first born son who is expected to debut in the next month, however, as the time draws closer and closer she is becoming more anxious for the whole process and everything to follow.

I am reminded daily of the day I welcomed my baby into the world, not only because of her precious presence but also, from the physical reminders that came with her. I decided to post something that I wrote for Becoming Lovely last November. Some of you may have read it.

(These are not my stretch marks, image via Google)

I was recently saddened by a status update from a pseudo friend of mine who is 25 weeks pregnant. She said “_____ told me today that cocoa butter doesn’t work on stretch marks... sad face.” I can’t fully blame her for her dismay. I admit that I, too, had qualms about my post-baby body while I was pregnant, as my body was distorting to epic proportions. But I also recognize that I’ve never felt more beautiful than when I was pregnant. If pregnancy is wonderful and beautiful, then post-pregnancy is a mess.

Before I had Hannah, I had a pretty average body. I weighed in at about 130 pounds; my boobs were small, but firm; and my skin was all around smooth and stretch free. Naturally as my body changed I became a little self conscious. While I’ve never had to really watch what I eat, I confess it took a while for me to eat fast food in public because I didn’t want to be the girl with the pudgy tummy eating a Big Mac. I didn’t even enter the building to buy any food until I had an obvious baby bump that was obviously not just an extra flab of fat.

My friends told me that it was the coolest thing to give birth and watch your stomach go flat (in reality it is the coolest thing to actually give birth and watch a human come out of you… a human you already love so completely). I was intrigued by this, as I could no longer remember what it was like to NOT have a pregnant body. About thirty minutes after I gave birth (I was a little too occupied with my new daughter to care about my body) I finally looked down to notice my stomach. To my amazement it WAS flat. Hallelujah! Unfortunately, to touch it felt like kneading dough but who could have time to care about that (TOES! HOW I MISSED YOU!) when my body was so small. Well... not quite. I stood up for the first time and my flat stomach became a replica of 4 month pregnant me. Did I miss something? Twins perhaps? Alas, I still looked pregnant when I stood up and let it all hang loose--literally. Not only that, but my body continued to change drastically over the next few weeks. My small but firm boobs had become large and voluptuous during pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to try those babies out after the stomach was gone. Unfortunately, they were still NOT sexy. They were leaking all the time and when they were not large and in charge, they were shriveled and resembled old man breasts.

I have to admit for about a month I didn’t want my husband to see me naked EVER. I didn’t even want to see me naked. The boob situation got worse as I’d lie down and they would flop to their respective sides of my ribcage (lovely), and I had long circular marks stretching across my once taunt stomach. I was not an attractive sight. Then something happened that changed my whole perspective…

I went to church two months after Hannah was born and a woman stood up to the pulpit. She introduced herself and her husband. She talked about how they had been married for five years and had been very blessed in the beginning. They managed to buy a house in a time when the sellers had the upper hand, and decided to start a family in their new home. While they were blessed in almost every aspect in life, they were not conceiving a child--and after over a year of trying they were told that the woman would never carry a baby conceived naturally. They started on fertility treatments. Nothing worked. They went into debt to try costly alternatives and still nothing worked. Finally, they gave up their house in order to do invitro fertilization, and happily, she is expecting a baby girl in February.

I sat there and listened to her story, sobbing as I held my baby close to my imperfect body. That imperfect body had created, carried, and delivered the perfect little angel who now lights up my life. My unattractive breasts now sustain that life through the milk my imperfect body creates. I went home, bound and determined to be grateful for a body that was so perfectly able to conceive with hardly a thought and have a successful, comparatively easy pregnancy. A month after that life changing moment, I still am in awe at my beautiful stretch marks swirling around a body that obviously has accomplished something miraculous. I roll out of bed, pick up my boobs off the floor, and face each day feeling more beautiful than ever, and grateful for the opportunity to be a woman. Grateful to carry the scars of childbirth, the dark circles from a lack of sleep, the lines on my eyes from smiling too much; and grateful for the perspective that I may now share with my daughter when she is feeling less than perfect.