Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Spring

Spring is my favorite season, but isn't it most people's favorite season? Winter's end. New everything. It's so refreshing. While this actual spring season has been bliss for our family, I want to touch more on this spring season of my life.

I'm emerging from the longest winter season of my entire existence, and sometimes I even hesitate to say that it's over. Maybe I'll just claim early spring? I have done so much growing, stretching, and reflecting since mid 2015 that I almost don't even recognize myself anymore. In a good way though. My world has been rocked in so many ways, my children, my house, j.rue's job, my body, and my inner angels & demons.

Of course bringing a baby into the world is one of the biggest changes. Adding Fitz to our family has been so beautiful and as far from pretty and perfect as they come.  With Ellie, I felt all of the feels, but I was also transitioning from working in an office all the time to working at home all the time...and with a newborn that slept like an angel all the time. This time, I was plunged head first into life with a crazy almost 2-year-old and a newborn...with all of the feels. This time was different. My body didn't bounce back like I was hoping and neither did my hormones. To backtrack a little bit, I actually felt kind of like super mom for the first 3 months. Fitz slept all the time, Ellie had decided to hold off on her rebellion, I was healing like it was my job, and I kept up on the laundry.

Then, all of a sudden 3.5 months hit and Fitz stopped sleeping. Ellie stopped being excited about Fitz and instead tried pushing every one of my buttons. I stopped sleeping, cleaning, moving, and even leaving the house. I was paralyzed and I had no idea how to get out. It took everything I had to meet our family's basic needs and sadly, I used to rest of my energy to put up a decently strong front that everything was peaches. I confided in a few people, kind of, but really I couldn't even explain how I was feeling. I was sad, but not that sad. I kept writing it off as a serious lack of sleep, which was probably about 80% of it. The other 20% had to be post-partum, but I couldn't tell. And I don't know, maybe it's just hard to tell when you're in the thick of things. I started comparing myself to all of the moms I knew and I was a very tough critic. I was also physically in bad shape and often had headaches and stiff necks that would give me spotty vision and drained me of all of my patience. I was a mess, and not even a hot one. I've actually never understood (or had a strong appreciate for that term?) but it was not pretty.

As it started to get warmer outside I felt like I ever so slowly started to emerge from my winter fog. Very slowly. It really is truly amazing what the grass beneath your feet can do for your soul, though. It's interesting to look back. I knew that things were off, but I didn't realize that everything was off and to what magnitude. Now that I've finally come to, I'm faced with the reality of the poor habits that need to be thrown to the wayside and the good habits that I've been desperately needing in my life. Ugh, and it is going to be so much work to get myself where I want to be. I said early spring, remember?

However, my priorities are clearly defined. I have a direction and goals (so many goals). One of the few things I'm missing? SLEEP. My sweet little Fitz is still struggling with his sleep. I'm still physically drained by the end of the day, and those bad habits? They run deep. So, every day I wake up with the highest of hopes and go to bed with most of those hopes being dashed by the tantrums, the food, the yelling, and the lack of self-discipline.

I want so many things. Do you know what I mean? I want to do so many things, but the energy just isn't there. With that being said, progress is being made. I learning to not yell again. I'm learning to stick to a regular exercise routine, and just routines in general. I'm still trying to figure out how to not eat all the food. I'm trying to be present with my sweet babies. I'm focusing on self care, because I deserve it. I'm spending time in the scriptures and reacquainting myself with my Heavenly Father. Good things are happening.

Learning to pace myself is hard, though. In my mind, it needs to be 100%, but that' not realistic, and that's ok (I tell myself that about 3928 times a day). I feel like I have been whittled down to my most raw self and these next few months are vital rebuilding months. I'm in awe of the things, people, and tools that have been placed in my path to help me. I've never been at this alone. I'm finally excited to do things my way instead of everyone else's way. I wish I could write the way that makes me feel, but I supposed to best way to describe it is free. I feel free and so excited for all of the possibilities that I have to make my life how I want it to be. How I will influence my children for the better. How I will lead my family. It's a delicious feeling. Life is so beautiful and I'm so thankful that I'm here, in my now. Does any of this even make sense? If not, it's okay. This mess will also be refined.

Writing is such a therapy for me. I could probably write for hours on end, but I'm also trying to get into the habit of going to bed earlier. Maybe writing will help curb my evening eating? I think good things are going to come from this. It feels good to be here. It's going to be a bright & beautiful summer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter 2016

We had a full and fun Easter weekend this year. I always forget that J.rue gets Good Friday off, so we had an extra long weekend! Friday we spent the day running errands and cleaning out our closets. I think we ended up with 7 trash bags full of clothes plus a few a white tuxedo, that we were finally able to get rid of. That evening we went over to James and Melinda's to dye Easter eggs. Ellie kept calling them her "paintin' eggs" and she was in heaven. We stripped the girls down to their skivvies and spent a very messy 10 minutes dying eggs. They had a blast.

Before we went to bed that night we had Ellie plant some jelly beans in hope that a few lollipops would grow over night. She was stoked. She made sure to water them and checked about 5 times to see if they had started growing. Every time she would come back in she would report that they had grown "little tiny bits". The Easter bunny came late that night and him and I need to have a talk about getting his crap together and coming earlier. Same with Santa.

Our Saturday morning started early. We had a train to catch, so we woke Ellie up a little early to dig into her Easter basket. This age is amazing for holidays. I wish I could bottle up her 2 year old enthusiasm and save it forever. Any kind of surprise literally takes her breath away. I can't tell you how much I love hearing her tiny gasp as she puts her hand over her mouth. It's truly magical. She ran downstairs and ran straight for her princess peg dolls. The Easter bunny picked these up from a friend last minute and was so glad that she did! The Easter bunny also brought the usual swimsuit, outfit, and book. He also decided to throw in a sandbox, but that won't be the usual. 

After she tore through her basket she ran outside to see if any lollies had sprung up over-night. Lucky for her, they had! So, we had them for breakfast as we got ready to catch the Easter bunny train up in Heber.

In February I caught a KSL deal for the Easter train up in Heber. We had really wanted to talk Ellie on the Halloween train for her birthday, but were to slow and everything had sold out so I jumped on these tickets. I was a little sad that I wasn't thinking and scheduled it during all of the Easter egg hunts, but it was totally worth it. Ellie was so excited when we pulled up. She kept pumping her arm and saying "choo choo!". We filed onto the train, sat back, and enjoyed the slow ride forward and then backwards. I will admit, the ride itself left something to be desired, but it didn't matter. Ellie loved being on the train, meeting the Easter bunnies, dancing with them, watching a magician, eating popcorn, and petting the baby animals. I'm realizing now that I haven't mentioned Fitz through all of this. He was amazing and liked the train too. He was content just sitting on my lap and cuddling in the carrier. I gave him a few tastes of my Sprite and he thought that was pretty special too. Every time I go through my pictures I am so sad that I didn't take more, but then I realize that we're taking way more videos right now because pictures don't quite capture Ellie's essence. Hopefully I can get a few of those loaded up on here as well.

After we got off the train and pet a few bunnies and chickies we headed through Provo canyon over to Lavell Edwards stadium to watch the BYU spring scrimmage. J.rue could hardly contain his excitement and looks forward to this every year. I wasn't super excited about it, but it's fun when he's so excited and I made sure to grab Cubby's for lunch. It was chilly, but we ended up having a good time with our fam. J.rue has been teaching Ellie to say "GO COUGARS!" since she could speak so she definitely got good practice in. The best part was the pictures that J.rue got of Cosmo and Ellie.

We headed home exhausted and happy from a long day. J.rue left to play basketball and I happily made a mug cake and went to bed. 9 a.m. church always comes too early for us on Sundays, and boy did it. I was up early making a cake for Easter dinner but we managed to get to church with about a minute to spare. Ellie was in love with her Easter dress that her Nana got her and was convinced that everyone had come to church today to see her "beauty and the best dress". J.rue made to sure explain that we were here to celebrate our Savior and that her dress was just a plus. It seemed to appease her because she loves Jesus. Fitz looked as sweet as ever. Blue is definitely his color. He was happy to nurse away during sacrament meeting and roll around on the floor during Sunday school and Relief Society. Of course we were running too late in the morning to take pictures so we settled on some after church, which is never super great. But gosh, aren't they so cute?!

Later that afternoon after j.rue got home from doing tithing and we woke up from naps, we headed up to my grandparent's house in North Ogden for Easter dinner. We were lucky enough to have Tori join us, or as Ellie calls her, Aunt Tora.

We had a delicious spread of food, good conversations, and a fun Easter egg hunt. Micah and Cale were good sports and filled and hid the eggs. We also had to inform Ellie that this would surely be her last year of solo egg hunts, so I think she made sure to enjoy it. We missed my mom (who was in Ireland!) but were glad to be all together. I love spending time with my grandparents. They are the best. Really, there is no one better than those two. I love watching them love on my kids especially. They are sweet moments.

Again, we drove home late and exhausted, but oh so happy. We made sure to talk to Nana and Papa once we got home for couple of minutes (the 4 hour time difference is kind of killer) and then we were off to bed. I am so thankful for such a loving family. I am so thankful for my Savior. I know that He lives and because of him, my family can be together for eternity.

Oh, and our furnace also went out that morning, so it was a cooooold weekend. Lots of blankets, space heaters, and snuggling. I didn't mind it too much. These pictures were also a little random, but fit into the Easter theme so here they are!

Friday, March 18, 2016

St. Patty's Day 2016

St. Patty's Day has never been a huge deal in our family. Honestly, holidays have always stressed me out because I feel like I've never measured up. Luckily, I'm realizing that I'm sadder when I don't do anything, so ever so slowly am I navigating motherhood my own way and figuring out what works for us and me. I've found that I get grouchy when I try to do so much, so it's all about keeping it simple for me. Right now Ellie is at the best age ever as far as holiday excitement goes and I really really really don't want to miss out. Anyway, I thought St. Patty's day was on Friday, but it was on Thursday, so I had to improvise.


On Wednesday night I spent the evening showing Ellie pictures of leprechauns and telling her that they were coming to visit her that night, give her a little kiss on the cheek, and leave her some gold chocolate under her pillow. After she was soundly asleep I ran off the find Rolos. Rolos are the perfect gold chocolate, aren't they?! So, I couldn't find Rolos and settled on caramel kisses. I threw them in a plastic baggy, stuck them under her pillow, gave her a little kiss, and headed to bed. She woke up with no recollection of leprechauns but was stoked to find candy under her pillow.



After the candy fanfare we headed downstairs and cooked up some green pancakes. Ellie loves putting the green food coloring in and carrying her pancakes to the table. It really is just the simple things with her, she loves to help and feel involved. How hard is that?

After breakfast we got ready for the day and had a little photo shoot. Maybe St. Patrick's Day should really just be about how many angles I can get my kids at in green.  Also, I swear to you that I did zero editing to these pictures (that takes too long!) and Ellie's cheeks are really just that rosy most of the time, lucky girl! I'm a little ridiculous. Oh and Fitz's socks? He didn't have any of his own and the only ones that fit him of Ellie's...didn't match. Hashtag secondchildprobs. Once they got tired of me taking pictures we headed out to Micky D's to meet friends for lunch and a little play time. Of course I was too busy gabbing to take any pictures. That's usually how it goes.

But that's it! And you know what? It was a good Thursday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Potty Training Diaries: Ellie Edition, Pt. 1

Longest title ever, but completely necessary. I want need to remember this for the sole purpose that when we're successful (and when I say we I mean WE because this potty training is no joke) I want to be able to look back on this when Fitz has me in tears. It's amazing how quickly you forget those little but so important things. If you are not my children (and even if you are), I really don't expect you to make it through this post. I tend to write every single mundane detail. Right now I am currently catching up on the Bachelor and savoring every second of alone time. I'm totally going to stay up way too late. So, let's dive right in...

We started potty training on Monday February 29th (LEAP YEAR!) 2016. Ellie had been taking off her poopy diapers and valiantly trying to climb up on the toilet and wipe her bum like a big girl for a couple days. While I so appreciated her efforts, poop is the most difficult of the bodily excretions for me to handle. Oh, by the way, this post is going to be full of too many TMIs (sorry kids!). So we were forced into potty training with Ellie. I would have gladly waited a bit longer to do this. To be totally honest, 2 kids has kicked my butt in the ugliest way. I'm still not ready for this.

Back to Monday, I woke up to the sound of the toilet lid opening. I panicked that I would be starting the week cleaning up massive amounts of poop so I sprinted out of bed and there was my sweet little bean climbing up onto the potty on her own and going pee pee. She was SO proud of herself. So was I. Then I got all starry eyed and was like, "this potty training thing? Owned. Already." Then the drinks started flowing and so did the urine. Okay, to give Ellie credit she only had 4 accidents that day. And she pooped. Twice. Oh! and she took a 3 hour nap AND woke up dry. Do you know how much cleaning I got done in 3 hours?! magical! She rocked day one. She also is claiming that there is a poo monster in her bum. Just writing that down to have her groan at me in 10-13 years. However, potty training has also showed me that I am a selfish parent. The method I'm following has me staying hypothetically tethered to Ellie for 3 solid days. That means no (adult) shows, phone, or closet snacking for myself and no quiet/individual play for Ellie. I NEVER realized how tethered to my stupid phone that I am! It's awful and I've cried ugly tears over it. It was also awful how hard it was for me to sit and do whatever Ellie wanted to do all day while being totally present (you know, to make sure the pee didn't happen). I will be working on that. I love my girl and our moments are so fleeting. It's also amazing the difference spending the time with her has changed her general behavior. She loves, needs, and thrives on cuddles, praise, and one-on-one time. Every time she made it to the potty and even the times she didn't I praised her like I've never praised before and every time her eyes lit up and she felt so loved. I could tell. Kids are so hard but really when you take away all of those complicated layers, they're so simple. They need love.

Okay, this is getting a little mushier than I was planning on but I love my babies! I can't help it! But to keep things extra real I was also mentally and emotionally exhausted by the time Jeremy got home last night. I'm pretty sure I went somewhere to escape for a couple minutes but I honest to goodness can't remember where I went! gosh! You'll understand when I tell you about day 2.

Today, day 2, AKA hell week condensed into a single day: It started at 5:58 a.m. You guys, there are very very very few days that I have had to clock on before 7 a.m. I can probably count them on less than 2 hands. I also have never had the complaint of long days. Our days fly and I usually find myself at 7:30 p.m. every night wondering where the day went, why I got nothing done, and pretty positive that Ellie wouldn't be making her 8 p.m. bedtime. Today was so loooooooooonng. Painfully long. We had 8 accidents, 8! before 11 a.m. For some reason she woke up dead set on showing me that her bladder control wasn't up to me. Well, first she just woke up wet. At 5:58 a.m. and did not go back to bed. She also told me to "stop saying those annoying words" (!!!) which are "tell me when you have to go pee pee or poo poo!". I don't blame her, it's totally annoying! I don't enjoy it either. I've also found that treats will only get us so far. She really doesn't care much. We're going to try stickers to work towards a balloon tomorrow (thanks for the idea Lisa!).

She had accidents EVERY time I've gotten on the phone to talk both days and even had 3 accidents today within 25 minutes. Tell me, how does one tiny bladder hold 30 gallons of urine? By the 7th accident she fought me tooth and nail to stop wearing her undies. After much negotiating she won. I asked her why she didn't want to and she said she didn't want to pee pee in her undies. That softened me up a little bit. She likes to be in control and please people like I do. Sadly, her last accident (and worst) of the morning happened sans undies. I whisked her away upstairs (while getting saturated), sat her on the toilet, and cried. I shouldn't have, but I did. Ellie sweetly patted my head and said, "I so sorry mommy." That's when I realized I needed to suck it up. This is not about me at all. I'm here to teach and encourage her. So I told her that I was just frustrated because we were doing such a hard thing. That I was so proud of her hard work, and that I would be there to run her to the potty anytime she needed it. After our heart to heart over the potty, we both happily succumbed to an afternoon nap. We both woke up in better spirits. Ellie has caught onto my drinks trick and claimed that the drinks hurt her tummy, so not much pottying happened in the afternoon. I think we both needed the break. We snuggled, watched movies, and played little people for hours. J.rue finally made it home around 6:30 and I was so ready for him. After we spent some time together I high-tailed it out the door to make some returns, make some much-needed phone calls, and do some shopping. I'm trying out a new Anastasia eyebrow pencil so I'll let you know how that goes! I also got a quick workout in.

I'm feeling refreshed and somewhat ready for tomorrow and at the same time I still feel like we're going to be stuck at home potty training for an eternity. Also, are you wondering about Fitz? Probably not, but he's been SO good. Today was a little rougher because I think he was tired of playing second fiddle and those dang teeth have to be moving around like crazy because THE DROOL! Good thing he loves his sister oh so much.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Valentines Day 2016

I'm not going to lie, I'm totally back blogging. I wrote my Easter and St. Patty's post before this, so just assume everything back to Christmas was done backwards. Anyway.

A few days before the actual day, some girls in my ward put together a cute little valentines party. Ellie loves frosting sugar cookies, running around, and making her fabulous heart headband. She has the cutest little friends in our ward.

Valentines day was on a Sunday this year so it was extra fun because we celebrated all weekend. We're working on establishing a few fun traditions as a family, so we decided to take the kids to the Movie Grille in Ogden. J.rue and I had been before and we LOVE it. The food is delicious and the ability to fully recline your chair while watching a movie is second to none. However, we didn't know how the kids would do.


We ended up going to see The Good Dinosaur and feasting on a little too much food. Fitz was a dream as per usual (during the day). We were sitting in the front row so Fitz had the floor to himself. Ellie sat on mine and J.rue's lap and did great. She loved the food and watched the whole movie. I don't know how things will go next year with Fitz BUT I think it's worth a try, we loved it. It's kind of becoming our favorite place. The rest of the day we napped and lounged and we loved it.

On Sunday we set out a couple of treats for Ellie. She got some chocolates, Sleeping Beauty, and the Little People fairies to go along with it. She loved it. We got all dressed up for church and of course we were running a bit behind so we didn't get a picture. So, after church we pulled out ye olde selfie stick and this was the best we got. Ellie had already dug into her chocolate covered strawberry peeps before I could grab her. But I don't blame her, they were delicious.