Thursday, October 29, 2015

15 Ways to Instantly Feel Better About Yourself

The other day, after brushing my teeth and looking in the mirror, I noticed my eyebrows had been slightly {ok ok majorly} neglected. {there are things you just don't get around to thinking about when you have small humans to look after.} The kids were napping (HALLELUJAH!), so I grabbed my tweezers and went to town on my brows. And looking in the mirror afterwards at the final result felt amazing. Right then, tweezing my eyebrows stemmed that entire list of things to do to instantly feel better about yourself, or life in general. So I'm gonna share some with you! 

Instant Pick-me-ups

pluck your eyebrows. it instantly opens your eyes, making your face look brighter, more awake, and less cluttered. try it and tell me you don't feel sexier. I dare you.
brows on fleek yall.
wash your face. if only to get that clean tingly feeling. heyyyy maybe your boyfriend's obvious lie was TRUE! you DO look better without makeup! 
i LOVE this stuff, the green tea leaves you with the slightest tingle, and the exfoliant in it isn't too fine and isn't too gritty
clean your room. I hate the build-up of nerve it takes to actually start cleaning my room. and for the first 5 minutes, I hate cleaning my room. but after those first 5 minutes, I get crazy into it and end up with piles of clothes to give away (PHILANTHROPY!) and new organizational systems for all my books and a new way of arranging the throw pillows on my bed and also other things. getting the clutter out of your room will help you get it out of your mind and soul. I'm pretty sure confucius said something like that.
do some yoga. it's as easy as you want it to be, it's relaxing, and it is SO GOOD FOR YOU! and the wonderful humans of youtube can guide you through it.

isn't that guy's voice great?

soak up some sun. your body needs sunlight to function! sunshine kicks endorphins into gear and gets you some much needed vitamin D! go outside! or, when it's lame-o winter time, invest in a HappyLight. {which I LOVE.} sit next to it for a 1/2-1 hour twice a day {while relaxing and/or getting stuff done, obviously. I used to bring mine to work!} and you will seriously feel the effects. it drastically reduces fatigue and all around glumness. 

eat some fresh fruit {or veggies}. if I am ever feeling gross or super down on myself, I eat raw foods only, until I can't stand it any longer. you seriously feel a difference when eating fresh raw foods after all that processed stuff we eat all the time. and fruit just tastes so good. I recommend berries, the darker the better. they are super lo-cal and are WAY high in antioxidants.

and a weeency bit of chocolate. especially dark chocolate. a little somethin' sweet delights the tastebuds, but chocolate also helps in the release of endorphins. endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don't kill their husbands. only eat a little! overdoing it will give you that nasty sugar meltdown and/or bloat. ew.

floss your teeth. let's be real, how many of us do it as much as we should?! that's what I thought. so whip out the floss, clean up your gums, and rinse and spit. smile as you watch your bloody drool swirl down the drain (TMI? yes. truth? also yes.), and run your tongue over your teeth. don't you feel like you've accomplished something today?!


nair your stache. there. I said it. anyone who is not a toe-head blonde has a mustache. and even they have staches, you just can't see them. why is this so embarrassing to everyone?! we all shave our legs and pits -- we all eliminate facial hair. no difference. it is life and it is beautiful. embrace it. giving yourself a long overdue nair-ing totally lightens up your face and makes it impossible not to smile.

Liz Lemon's got one!
and this pretty lady has one too. she's getting rid of it like a champ.
paint your own nails. I love nail polish. bright nails are my favorite accessory. having wet nails is also an excuse to relax for a half hour {oops. can't! wet nails. sorry!}. so read a book! or better yet, a juicy magazine. OR watch that show you never get to watch. real housewives anyone?
props if your nails actually look like that after you do them yourself...!
go for a walk. {or a run, if you're into that kind of thing}. there's something about being one with nature and spending some solo time that brings all kinds of superpeace to your soul. I've never gone on a walk and come back in a worse mood than when I left.

see how much fun she's having??
drink a tall glass of ice water. staying hydrated keeps you alert, energized, and happy. it reduces under-eye circles, boosts your metabolism, clears up your skin, keeps your organs working properly, and boosts your immune system. among other things. basically, water=magic juice. soooo.....drink some. it makes ya feel better. 

write a thank you note. you are a nice person, and people probably do nice things for you all the time. take a second and write them a thank you note, and send it in the mail, old school style. there is something about sending and receiving letters that nothing else can duplicate.

take a hot shower. washing the muck away can also mean washing the stress away. the steam and smells calm the nerves and relax the muscles. like a great big incubator (-_-) also omigosh don't you love the feeling of pulling fresh clean clothes over a clean nekkid body? {sounded like a creeper line. but i'm dead serious.} and also, smelling good. 

watch this video: you guys. even if you don't believe in yourself today, Shia does. let him speak to you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

More Love

Becoming a mother is the most crazy, unreal, incredibly real thing I've ever done.  When I had Georgia, I kept looking at her and thinking, "are you really mine?? Did Cade and I really make this little human?? How did I ever love before this??"  She would look at me and the world around me would disappear.  She made me a mother.  She paved the way.  Georgia was my first everything when it comes to motherhood.  I didn't even want another baby until she was about nine months old.  That might seem soon, now that I think about it, but whatever.  I had a solid ten months of just she and I (and Cade of course, ;)

When Georgia was about 10 months old, I got pregnant with our second child.  I didn’t know what it was then, but I was pregnant! Georgia was no longer the only child.  Nine months later, we had Lucy Sue.  While laboring during transition, with Lucy, I started to feel guilty for bringing another baby into the world so quickly.  Did we give Georgia enough time to be with us? Would she resent us for bringing home a new baby?  Was it selfish of us to have another one so close? Would I be able to love another baby as much as I loved Georgia? (In my mind at the time, these were all very much valid questions to ask myself).  After having her, those worries disappeared and my heart grew to fit all the love I had for each of these girls. 

Looking back on my days spent with Georgia and how I spend my days with Georgia and Lucy now, I, again, can’t help to feel guilty..  Because I had these cuties so close together, I don’t find the time to have quiet moments with Lucy.  Our mornings aren’t quite as smooth and quiet and slow to start as they were with Georgia.  Time has slipped so much faster through my fingers, and I am scared that I have lost something with Lucy that I have with Georgia.  Maybe that is just how it goes… But I don’t like it.  I never wished for time to slow down with Georgia, because each day was filled with just her! Those “firsts” were easily noticed and time seems to have dilly-dallied just a little more with her.  Now with Lucy, she is about five and a half months old and time has literally been on a sprint! She is doing so much! So is Georgia!! She is TWO! I don’t know how that happened either!  Where did the time go? Did I use it right??

I sit here and think of all the ways I could have, would have, and should have, and I have to stop myself.  I can’t think about that.  I can think about how wonderful each day spent with each of these girls has been and how I can better use my time with them today.  I can think of ways to fill the time of each day with more of them.  More watching them.  More listening to them.  More hugs.  More kisses.  More grins. More giggles.  I can’t spend my time feeling guilty; instead, I can feel grateful for the different experiences and the lessons I’ve learned in motherhood so far.  Georgia will always be my first, she will always have my firsts, but Lucy gets a road that might not be as bumpy and a mother that is more learned.  We can be better today and we can be better tomorrow! We can change the time we spend in future, not the time that has already been spent. Has guilt like this ever trapped you?  Have you found a balance? I would love to hear your story! XOXO britt 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pillow Talk

Written By: Sally

The other night I was tucking Gunner into bed at the end of a looong day. Zack was out of town and I was feeling overwhelmed all day. Just constantly on edge and quick to snap at Gunner. There was a lot more tears, and a lot more yelling than I would like to admit. I'm not normally a yeller, but I lost my cool on several occasions that day. Gunner played his part as well. Aside from normal two year antics that drive me up the wall, he was missing his dad. He is a daddy's boy through and through and has a hard time when Zack is gone. Suffice to say, it was a gloomy day around our house.

Clearly, he has mastered the pout.
So as I was tucking Gunner into bed, we read a scripture story and I sang him songs as usual. We were snuggled up in his bed and my love for him just began to overflow. I could have squeezed the life out of him. Tears welled up in my eyes because I was looking at this precious little boy who is literally a piece of my soul. All day, in all my anxiety, I hadn't stopped to admire him and remember how fearfully and wonderfully made he is. 

As my love was overflowing, my guilt was getting heavier and heavier. I wasted an entire day being frustrated with him. A whole day! It was a whole day that we will never get back. I could have spent the day playing with him and moving at his pace. We could have made up silly songs and laughed more. But instead I let my stress and poor attitude get the best of me. That's just not fair to Gunner. He deserves better. 

So, I squeezed him really tight. Like so tight he started to gasp. And I kissed those squishy little cheeks and said I'm sorry. I said, "I'm sorry I got mad at you today Gunner. I'm sorry I yelled. I really don't like to yell. It makes me sad when I yell. I'll do better tomorrow. I love you my sweet Gunner" He didn't say anything. He just looked at me and gave me his tightest squeeze. 

We went back to talking about picking pumpkins and his favorite stuffed animals and all the other things on his wonderful, curious mind. When it was time for final good night kisses I hugged him tight again and told him I loved him. Then, he whispered in my ear, "I sorry mommy." I was really taken aback. "For what?" I asked. "For making naughty choice today." 

My heart broke and soared at the same time. I was sad that he was feeling sad, and that I had gotten mad at him. But that apology was completely unsolicited, and unprecedented. He has said sorry before. But never without our prompting. This time, he knew he hadn't been a good listener, and he was genuinely sorry. He knew that he made some choices today that made me sad, and he was genuinely sorry. How grown up of him. I couldn't believe it. I was so humbled. 

When I apologized to him, I just wanted him to know that I was going to do better tomorrow. I was not trying to get an apology out of him. But I think what he saw was that it's okay to admit when we do something wrong. And it makes people feel better when we say we're sorry. My apology helped him to feel better and I think he wanted to make me feel better with his. 

I get so wrapped up in being his mom and trying to be right all the time. But what I really want to teach him is so much more than just to be obedient and to do what I tell him. I want him to learn to make those choices on his own. Admitting that I'm wrong doesn't make him think less of me. It organically teaches him how to handle himself when he's in a similar situation. 

How many other things am I trying to teach him that he just doesn't get because I'm saying them and not doing them? They say the best way to teach is by example. But, that is so much more than imitating the proper behavior for our kids. To truly teach by example, we must be living it. We should always be striving to be the person we want our children follow. 

For me, there is no greater teacher, leader, or example than our Savior Jesus Christ. As we strive to live more like Him, our children will learn from us, how to follow Him. So after all the yelling and meltdowns and moments I'm not proud of, I'm going to consider that day a success because we both learned something really important and we're going to do better tomorrow. 

Pictures by Dianne Shumway

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Noni's House

Guest Contributor: Noni

Hello all! My name is Noni and I blog about DIY, Food and Wellness over at Noni's House I am so happy to be doing a guest post here and was so excited when Sally asked me! 

You know when you have a secret that you love and want to share with everyone you know, but don't want to because people might take it away from you? I know you do! Mine is....thrift stores!! (Actually all forms of second hand shopping: thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, estate sales and consignment shops all have their own special place in my heart.)Yes, I want to tell everyone I know about the great deals I get, but then at the same time, I don't want them knowing because they could be getting something that I need, lol. I grew up loving going to yard sales every Saturday with my mom because she had a lot of growing kids and saw no point in buying new clothes when people were practically giving them away on the weekends. After school sometimes she would take us to the Goodwill or antique shops, and I remember that I loved getting lost in all the wondrous and different treasures. Even if I did't buy anything, I loved looking and appreciating. I know that second hand shopping has a certain stigma to it, but there are so many reasons to shop second hand and not new: 

1. Money- I don't even have to get into this. But I will say, second hand shopping lets you be creative if you have a constant revolving taste in style and/or decor
2. You are literally helping the planet. Recycling, landfill space, emissions from production and distribution, and child labor are all positively affected.
3. High quality items- Hey, I can afford Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Free People, and West Elm on a weekly basis. From the thrift store!!
4. Unique- I am ALLLL about unique. My household items are unique gems that no one else has. And unique is good in my book.
5. Creative- Fiiiinally you can start doing all those pinned Pinterest DIY's that you have been wanting to do without breaking your innocent little piggy bank!! So backup and put that hammer down. 
6. Charity- yes, you are supporting charity in most cases! Just remember to give back, which is actually doing yourself a favor by keeping you clutter free. Those are just a FEW reasons why we should all be second hand shopping, even if it's not something you can do all the time.

Here are a few of my favorite second-hand treasures!

everything except table runner and marigolds thrifted/used 

100% thrifted/used or free

table $10, crock $22, everything else thrifted/used except rug

expensive mixing bowls gotten for a steal, everything else also thrifted/used

bench out of the trash, Pottery barn pillows $1 each, free brass pot, rafia rug new

all used

everything used except lit up Eiffel tower

People always ask me, 'how do you find such great things? I never find anything!' Cuz I go a lot, friends. I know when my favorite shops get their shipments in, and when they stock them. Another reason I find great stuff is because I actually look at everything in a particular department. Lets say I only have time to look at sweaters or long sleeved shirts. I zone in. I look through all of them. I know its a little OCD, I can't help it. (Once you get good at getting the feel for certain fabrics, textures, and even colors, you just know and you don't have to pull all of them out to get a closer look) and then I don't look at the rest of the store. It's hard, but it really keeps me focused. Ready for my top, #1, best ever secret???? I keep a master list of things I want. "Now in dire need"  and "I have plenty of time". Right now, my Now and in dire need=red flats for my wicked witch costume, pants for my self induced potty training 2 year old, yay. not. My Plenty of time= a fancy gold frame for my bathroom, the perfect SIZE side table (color doesn't matter, that's why there's paint). With second hand shopping, there is no knowing when you will find something you need, so I find that it's best to keep a list and stick to it as much as you can, or else before you know it, you're taking home that neon, spiked, placemat that you definitely do.not.need. 
I hope this post has inspired you to get out there and try second hand shopping with an open mind because, more good news, everything can be washed!!  Tell me if you have ever gone thrifting/second hand shopping, or if you haven't, and why you love/hate it! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Hey Friends, I just can't post what I was going to post today.. While going through photos, trying to find a background for my quote, I scrolled over images from my deployment three years ago.  All of a sudden I was overcome with emotion and I started to cry.  Nothing about today has been sad.  We had a relaxing morning, I'm wearing a cute outfit, the girls have been great and we even had a great Target trip!  It has really been a great day!  Why, then, did I have this reaction?  Luckily, my dad was home and saw me have this little break down.  He, like most veterans, has those things that set him off, so he told me about some of them.  I didn't think those photos would bring up so much raw emotion.  I felt vulnerable, weak and sad.  Those were all feelings I felt while deployed.

When I joined the military, I was ready to risk it all for my country.  I was 18, just graduated high school and boot camp was a blast for me!  (It isn't really supposed to be a fun thing... but I can make pretty much any situation I'm in, fun...most of the time)  I loved everything the Army stood for!  Little did I know that I was risking my mental health.  A couple years passed and a deployment came up for my unit.  THAT was exciting! Getting ready was full of training, constantly learning new things, being warned of different dangers and running through a billion "what if" scenarios.  The time came to board the bus, to board the plane, to leave.. It was a sad time and leaving my husband was not going to be a good time, but we were ready, it was a season in our life, and we were going to get through it!

During the deployment, I was constantly harassed by my fellow soldiers (this was in Texas, where we were doing some more training before actually leaving the country).  I had moved up in rank quite quickly, and my male counterparts were not respectful of the rank I had.  These soldiers were hostile towards me and made me feel as though I was not safe if alone with them (which I would be).  Being the only female in my platoon was already a challenge, and for a little while I made excuses for them, telling myself that it wasn't me, it was them.  They were the ones with the problem. After a couple months of this behavior, I began to believe it was me.  I didn't feel human anymore.

I confronted my leadership and was moved to a different section in the unit, I had a female battle buddy and things started to look up.  When we left for Afghanistan, I thought I was good.  But I wasn't.  Depression started to take over.  Between the stress and the harassment, I went into a very dark place.  I didn't sleep, I became extremely paranoid and anxiety ruled over me everyday.  I started to question whether or not being my existence on the earth meant anything to anyone.  Being so far away from anyone who truly cared for me, made the answer to that question a solid, "no" (in my mind).  I began to plan.

Luckily, my battle buddy could tell something was not right.  After seeing a therapist, there in Afghanistan it became clear, I could not continue like this.  At the same time, Obama had decided to "draw down" the people deployed, so I was sent home.  The depression didn't stop upon leaving Afghanistan.  I continued to see a therapist and after several months I started to feel better and the darkness became more light.

NOW, today, right now, I sit surrounded by people who love me and care for me.  I have carried two beautiful baby girls within my womb, and the man I love is texting me.  I have a Heavenly Father who watches over me and a Savior who died for me.  I don't know why I had to see those pictures to be reminded of these things, but I did.  I am so grateful.  Sometimes we need to be revisited by our past to make us appreciate who we have become and how far we have come.  I can find peace in the past because my future is bright and filled with love.  I don't get dark, hardly ever and I hope that you can see that I have found the light in the darkness I felt.  I really truly believe that all things are for our good, and there is truly a plan for each of us.  You are beautiful and you are worth more than earthly thing, because you have the divinity that comes with being a daughter of a Heavenly King.  XOXO britt

 This is a photo of a sunset in Afghanistan, over the FOB             This was a couple weeks ago.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Positively Smushy

Written by Caity

My sweet little Oliver is 4 months old, and you guys sometimes I just feel like a whale. This baby weight is wearing out its welcome. I technically only have 12 pounds left to lose, but it’s those last few pounds that get ya! Those last few pounds that say, “You are too skinny for your fat pants but too fat for your skinny pants! And you’re too fat to buy new clothes because you will likely not wear them for long! Or maybe you would, which would be even worse! muwahahahaha!!!!”

I remember being so much further in my weight-loss journey the last time around.

But ya’ll. The thing is, that with my first baby, it was easy to control what I ate. I didn’t have a toddler who wouldn’t finish her gosh dang eggo waffles in the morning {oh well more for me!} or who needed someone to split that box of mac and cheese with for lunch. I could just eat as little as I wanted {or rather, as selectively as I wanted} with little to no temptation, because leftover food wasn’t just lying around, taunting me, begging to get eaten {“I would hate for this to go to waste….”}.

With my first baby, i could just plop her in a stroller and walk for literally {ok not literally} a bazillion miles to get my exercise, because I didn’t have a toddler saying “Mom this is boring! I’m done with our walk. Can I go play on the slide now?!”
With my first baby, I could do a really long, intense workout video and even shower after, with no interruptions while she took one of those long, deep, newborn naps.

With my first baby, it was just really easy to lose the weight.

Granted, with this heavy little chunk of a baby, I lost 30 pounds within 2 weeks of his birth. So there’s that. But losing the rest feels like its taking for-ev-er. But it’s given me some nice perspective. It’s teaching me things.

It’s teaching me patience. I know you’ve heard this from like a million old people, but we really do live in a world full of instant gratification. And that idea is even more attractive when it comes to losing weight. But all this time it’s taking is giving me a chance to embrace my body. This wonderful, magical body that created a HUMAN BEING and ushered it into the WORLD by sheer grit and WOMANPOWER. I mean. This body of mine. It’s pretty great. Sometimes I walk by the mirror {and my room has mirror closet doors. too many mirrors} and just think “uggghhhhhhh” and sometimes I walk by it and stop and look at that little pooch and think “Body, you are a wonder. You are amazing. Good for you. Take your time, no rush.” and I almost mourn the fact that eventually, that slouchy pooch will be much smaller and less of a reminder of the things this body has done.

It’s teaching me persistence. Some days I resist Bea’s leftovers. Or those cookies my friend made for me. Or the oreos in the pantry. Or THE MACARONI AND CHEESE, AMIRIGHT!? Some days I don’t. But i don’t despair. I pick right back up and start at square one the next day. I’m learning that it’s ok to make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world and I can always be better the next day. I can keep going.

It’s teaching me acceptance. One day, I’ll be back in my skinny jeans. But the stretch marks will remain, my belly button will always be a little worse for the wear, and my tummy will never lay as flat as it once did. And that’s ok with me now. I’m done having kids, but I will always have those little tokens to remind me of what I’ve accomplished. What I’m capable of. What I would sacrifice for my kiddos and how strong it’s made me. I’m accepting that imperfection is my new perfection, and that’s ok.

This whole period after having a baby is unique and magical and bizarre and sweet all at the same time. I feel like coming to appreciate ourselves during the journey back to normalcy really is essential to our happiness. Who has the energy to be critical of themselves every step of the way? Certainly not me. As a favorite of mine says: "Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey….Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?” I’m doing my best to not wish these days away in exchange for skinnier ones. There’s time for washboard abs later. Right now, my little babes can appreciate my soft, smushiness. And I can too.

the slouchy belly, in all its glory. ignore my stank face. in my pajamas, because, obviously.

Friday, October 16, 2015

To Fail to Fit

Written by Brittany 

Have you ever felt like you were a “misfit”?  Like you just didn’t fit?  I have felt like that A LOT in my life.  I was never “the popular” girl, the girl all the guys wanted to date, the girl who knew how to dress, who was up-to-date on all the latest gossip… that just wasn’t me.  I was never “the sporty” girl, the one who was always winning a game, or beating the rivals… that just wasn’t me.  All the things, I just wasn’t… Even now, as a mother, I am not the mom that has the super clean house, or the mom that has dinner ready every night, or even the mom that bakes!! I am just some of those things some of the time… I have always been a little of everything.  It always upset me to never be really great at just one thing.  I never excelled at something in such a way that I was known for it.  Now, I don’t mean to say that I need recognition, or maybe I do… I don’t know, all I know is that I have always wondered why I didn’t fit anywhere.  I often questioned why God had made me this way.    Why did he make me different? Why can’t I be good at something? Why don’t I fit in?    

The other day I was watching a PBS show on “misfit” animals. It was so amazing, to me, to watch these seemingly, “misfit” animals, totally fit in where they were! In these places where they shouldn’t fit, God had helped them to fit, to evolve and change to fit in just perfectly! As I continued to watch, I saw this flightless parrot in New Zealand, seemingly out of place, be right at home…  the documentary then mentioned that there were no ground predators.   I thought to myself, “well, doesn’t he have the easy life! No one there to hunt him or hurt him, no wonder he is able to survive and their numbers are going up..”   I thought it wasn’t fair to every other animal out there, every other animal has its struggles,  “its ground predators”, why were the animals in New Zealand special? 

I started to think about myself.  I started to think about how much easier life would be if I would have just been born with this obvious destiny?! How much easier would it have been if growing up, I just always fit in?  What would I be like now??  I thought back to different times in my life when I didn’t fit in, where those times shaped me and changed me.  I thought about the times, since becoming a mother, that I compared myself to other moms who had it all together, who it seemed they never encountered any “ground predators” in their life.  I thought about where I was looking for acceptance. Then I thought about Christ. 

Of all the people who have lived on the Earth, Christ is the most well known for being different.  I mean, for obvious reasons, but just bear with me… Christ was conceived immaculately, immediately making Him an easy target for ridicule.  From a young age He already knew His purpose on the earth and could be found teaching in the temples and churches, while other kids His age ran around and hit each other with sticks.  (Obviously I’m assuming male 12 year olds run around and hit each other with sticks…) Anyways, He was always serving others, humbling Himself constantly, and always keeping His focus on His Divine Duty.  If for no other reason was He born to be the most awesome example. No one can question that. BUT He was different.  He was a “misfit” in the eyes of man and man ultimately took His life. 

I have come to the conclusion that there is no way that anyone on this earth can be a “misfit” because God did not create us to fail.  He created us to succeed! He created us to be happy! He created us to have joy!  In a world where we are so wrapped up in whether or not we fit in, we need to remember the one sure thing; we are Daughters of God.  We have a Divine Nature.  We aren’t failing to fit; we fit perfectly because this is where God has planted us.   XOXO Britt

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Name Game

Written By: Sally

If you interacted with me at all while I was pregnant with Penelope, you'd know we were having an incredibly difficult time choosing a name.
Growing up as a Sally was great. It was unique and memorable, without being weird. The only other Sally I ever met was my aunt, who I was obviously named after. So aside from family reunions, when someone called out, "Sally!" I knew it was me they were referring to. That was a luxury that Ashleys and Jessicas my age just didn't have. Both are perfectly good names, but they almost always required a last name initial to be tacked on the back.
Now, I recognize that this is not the most terrible thing in the world. In fact it's probably something that most people have never even thought about. What's the big deal with sharing a name with a bunch of other really cool girls? None. There's no big deal. It's the opposite of a big deal.

But for some reason I had this phobia of it. Like, I laid awake at night worrying about it. I had a very strict rule that the name couldn't be within the Top 50 most popular baby names of last year. I was constantly going through names and searching their rank on the popular names list. I did this for MONTHS.
Penelope had always been on our short list for girls names, but it was ranked #42 in popularity. A clear violation of my rule. Therefore, it was immediately ruled out.  At least for me. But, it was the only name Zack was even considering. Was he was crazy?? I mean, 5,062 out of the 1,896,423 baby girls born last year were named Penelope. That's 1 in every 374. Obviously she would end up branded for life with the dreaded last name initial.
Are you starting to see the level of crazy I reached? We didn't have this problem when we named Gunner. We both loved the name before we even started thinking about having a baby. Plus it was ranked somewhere in the high 300s, so I knew it was something we'd never have to worry about.
After Penelope was born we still couldn't decide on her name. We went back and forth over several names. Penelope was always floating around, but it broke my Top 50 rule! I just wasn't sure I wanted to risk it. The day we were leaving the hopsital, I went through my discharge information with the doctors and nurses and our bags were packed. All we had left to do was fill out the birth certificate information. Finally we chose a name! Eliza. I started to fill out the paperwork. But when it came down to it, I just couldn't commit to Eliza. I looked at Zack panicked. What are we going to do? Our baby will be nameless. And thats definitely WORSE than a last name initial. So, In a moment of abandon, we threw caution to the wind. She'd be Penelope! And I would just have to get over my last name initial fear. There was a chance she wouldn't be the only Penelope in her kindergarten class. And that would have to be okay.
Now, I tell you this story, exposing a quite a bit of my crazy, because God apparently has quite the sense of humor. About a month after Penelope was born a new family moved into our ward at church.  Their last name was Dupaix. Now what are the odds?? I know a lot of Dupaixs because I'm married to them. But before I met Zack, I'd never even heard the last name Dupaix. How on Earth is there another family named Dupaix in our ward?!? I have to admit, I was a little bent. (Sorry Mindy ;) ) But, you're not going to believe this. They have a son named Gunner. Yes, that's right. There are two Gunner Dupaixs in our church congregation. In the words of my favorite angry white girl, Alanis, "Isn't ironic?" From now on, my Gunner will forever be referred to as "The Little Gunner", and I'm pretty sure thats even worse than any stupid last name initial. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just You Wait - My letter to new moms and moms-to-be

Written by Caity

I remember shortly after my first baby, Bea was born, I had just put her down for the night. My husband was out for the evening, so I was on was own. She was a bit fussy that night, but I threw on a little white noise {the rainstorm one. love it} and she was out in like 20 seconds. I proceeded to take a long, hot, beautiful shower. Which got me thinking: before I had my baby, I wondered when I would ever shower. I know it's silly, but my only experience with kids was babysitting and nannying. And when I was with other people's kids, it never occurred to me that I could shower at night after they went to sleep!!! {Also during my shower, I thought how, before I had my baby, I was careful to not say things like "Well, when I have kids, I/they will never/always {insert obnoxious impossibility here}", mostly because I like to avoid looking like a moron at all costs. But I do vaguely remember saying something about wanting to not use white noise....which, to be fair, I hardly ever use. But it's a great last resort….!} ANYWAY! I digress. Back to the shower thing. It was a legitimate concern of mine that I would never shower again unless Bradley was home. I had so many concerns before Bea was born, so many worries {great and small} that  ultimately led me to believe I would be terrible at motherhood, or that at the very best it would just be a giant struggle.

I recently read an article  somewhere called something along the lines of "Just You Wait..." that basically said that way too many people terrify pregnant moms with the threatening sentiments of "Just you wait! You'll never sleep again! You'll never go out again! You'll never be skinny again! You'll never poop without an audience again! You'll never DO ANYTHING AGAIN!!!!!!" And you know what? Those people are just a bunch of liars.
I am the type of person who builds things up in my head to be a way bigger deal than they really are. Comments from the liars most certainly did not help me. Here are several concerns I had before Bea was born that just turned out to be either me giving in to other people's negativity, or me just psyching myself out. {We already addressed my shower-phobia. Moving on:}

1. That Bradley and I would never have alone time again, and that everything we did or talked about for the rest of our lives would only be our children.
This is just completely ridiculous. I would cry my pregnant self to sleep some nights, worrying about this. Turns out that Bradley and I are the same people we were before our kids were born! Shocker! We still talk about our hopes and dreams before we go to bed at night {even though we still share a room with our second little nugget}. We still laugh about stupid SNL sketches that apparently no one else thinks are funny. We still argue about how to load the dishwasher {he is just so much more efficient, dang it!}. But now, we just have one more thing in common: our undeniable and unsurpassable love and obsession with our kiddos. We talk about them too. We laugh about when they fart at inappropriate times, learn to do new things, throw up in our mouths, and all of those pleasantries. We also get out quite a bit, which, to be fair, is easy for us because we live close to our parents, but I am not paranoid about leaving them with other people and they have early bedtimes so if I can find a babysitting we like, this isn't too much of an issue.

2. That I would never sleep again.
My sleep is very dear to me. I hardly slept at all both pregnancies. With my first, it got to a point where I would sometimes get only 20 minutes per night. On top of all of this, I kept getting comments like, "Well sleep up now, because you'll never sleep again once that baby comes!" Ahem. No. Bea was and is a great sleeper, yes, but even so, I slept WAY better after she was born than I ever did pregnant. I had the same experience with my second baby, Oliver, too. Even if it was interrupted once or twice, at least there was sleep to interrupt! Plus I have a husband {and you probably do too!} that loves me and realizes how very dear my sleep is. He always takes the first feeding in the morning so I can sleep in {and by that I mean past 5:30}. I don't know why I imagined I would be doing all the nightly baby things myself, but I have a ton of help from my husband, and I sleep so much better now than I ever did pregnant. So don't let that worry you either. You will sleep again!

3. That I would be fat forever.
You know, they say "9 months on, 9 months off" about baby weight. I was frustrated at first because nursing wasn't helping me lose weight like everyone said it would. I just stayed the same weight the whole time I nursed. Since I had to stop nursing at 2 months because of medical issues, I got on the ball and started working out and counting calories. By the time Bea was 5 months old I had lost it all. And I didn’t start working out till she was 2 months old! And 2 of those weeks I was on vacation! So really, the weight does come off. And if you work at it, it comes off rather quickly. I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans at about 3 months. Granted, I needed to buy some tops that are a little more, how you say, flattering, for my new motherly shape {which can now appreciate. more on that another day}, but I'd say it's a fair trade. It’s taking a bit longer with Oliver than with Bea, but I’m still way on track for the 9 months on, 9 months off philosophy.

4. That I'd never leave my house again.
Ok I'll admit this was still a concern of mine even after Bea was born. But that's because it was winter and I had never done the newborn thing before! Duh! Of course I never left the house!  {No one leaves the house in a New England winter anyway...}. So that was rough. But, as soon as it got a bit warmer, I started taking that baby with me everywhere! With the first, it can be difficult, trying to figure out grocery carts and carseats, and "can I really take my stroller in there?" moments, but after a few weeks, I became a natural. You'll figure it out. No one will be mad that your baby is with you. {unless you are at a movie and your baby is crying. then you will be run out of town. i do not take babies to the movies.} People love babies. Well, at least people with souls. You will be fine.

5. That I would simply just not know what to do with them!
This was also a dumb worry. Just do stuff! Play with them, take them places, read to them, do tummy time, let them swat at a baby gym, sing to them, dance with them. The list goes on and on. I could write a whole other post about it! And the great thing about this is, you will never get bored, because these baby things grow so fast, that their interests and abilities are always changing, so you will literally never run out of things to do!

Now, I'm not trying to say motherhood is a cakewalk. It's not. It has its fair share of toughness. And we all have our own struggles with it. There are some mornings where I am so tired that I don't even think I'll be able to smile at my kids, let alone keep them alive for the day, but then they give me those googly early morning smiles and all of a sudden, I miraculously have all the energy I need to just snuggle all the snuggle out of those babies, and the day turns out just fine. You’ll be ok. Motherhood is wonderful. Just you wait.