Sunday, January 31, 2016

Faith, Family, and the 3rd Trimester

I went to a fantastic women's conference yesterday: Rejoicing in Faith and Family.  How awesome is it that the church puts on these events for us that are just above and beyond - it was inspiring and affirming, educational and totally free, though I would pay to do another one. It was just what the doctor ordered, actually, to get me out of my big ole 3rd trimester funk (starting the third trimester feels like the third part of a very long marathon. Actually, make that the middle of a very long marathon - that last three month stretch looks like quite an overwhelming hill to climb). The night before the conference I took these pictures:

Discovered there was no more "cute" angle, and then wrote this paragraph:
This week I entered the third trimester. One day I'm bubbling over about how awesome it is to not be puking and to have energy again, eating great and doing fun prego workouts on youtube, crocheting baby goods and daydreaming beautiful, tender daydreams. And the next day I tear up seeing pictures of my big belly and wondering how much bigger I can get in 3 months, waking up through the night every time I need to turn over or whenever I get a leg cramp. Popping tylenol for the SPD (look it up if you want to know. But FYI, the "P" is for pubis). Itchy exema covers my belly and my face is looking a little patchy (chloasma). The old ice craving is back, thanks iron deficiency, and I crunch on that stuff night and day. And sometimes, just to get a full breath of air, I have to puff out my chest and arch my back a little because this baby's so high and pressing on my lungs. And burning my heart. Joe is the official boot-remover, as in my boots, not his. Riley gave me a back rub while I was laying on the couch today and sighed, "oooh mooommy..."

I mean come on! I felt sorry for me too. Obviously. Hormones might have been involved. Anyways, whining is for wieners, but pregnancy is hard and that is the truth. I'm keeping this in the blog if only so that when it's all over and I forget the whole thing (to quote from the pregnant lady meltdown scene in "What to Expect When You're Expecting"), I don't go all smug and un-sympathetic to other peoples pregnancy woes. They are legit.


One of the first things I heard when I walked into the conference (late) was (to paraphrase),
"The devil doesn't so much tell us lies that are lies, but lies that are true. It is true that babies disrupt our lives, bodies, and sleep patterns. Satan gets us to focus on that. But the truth is: Heavenly Father's plan. Spirits need bodies and need to be raised by loving parents. It is true that bodies age and don't meet cultural ideals. That they all 'need help.' But the truth, the bottom line, is that bodies help us become like God..."
I was blown away. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and kind of an answer to prayer.  The speaker then went on to outline ways we can be defenders of marriage and family. How a happy marriage does not equal a carefree, easy life, but rather a committed, sacred union with each other, come what may. That parenting is hard, truly, but we should focus less on how hard it is and more on how beautiful sacrifice and love and commitment and being true to the Lord's will is, else why on earth would our children and the world want to take it on? Marriage and family will suffer if our attitude is poor and pity-seeking. When the fact is that life is hard no matter what stage you are in, but it is people who build on the positive that are happy. The Lord's plan, marriage, family should be celebrated.

Well, I could go on and on. Following the keynote speaker were three 40-minute sessions with classes to choose from (I went to For God Maketh My Heart Soft, Peace through Home and Self Organization, and Righteous Women: Fulfillment of Prophecy, but there were several others to choose from as well). They were all really well done. Helpful. A little tearful in some cases. And then there was a beautiful lunch and chit chat - everyone was discussing thoughts from the conference. Super delicious, super fun. Catered in part by Shirley's bakery and Molly's in Provo (yes that is worth a mention because it was really good.)

Then I went home and made cookies and crocheted. You know, to celebrate family :). Every now and then I'd wonder outside where Dave, Riley, Joe, plus a couple neighbor kids, were playing in the snow for over two hours. It was sublime. I wanted to bottle it up to have for the next time I feel overwhelmed. So I sort of did, by making this video using footage from the last couple snow storms and quotes/music that I heard at the conference.

And to wrap it up (church in ten!) let's balance out that early paragraph with:

Things I love about Marriage and Family:
  • Family meals: the talking as much as the eating
  • Family legacies, ancestors.
  • Miniature shoes, or anything - they're cute.
  • Support system of brothers sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents.
  • Little prayers. Even when Riley's asks God to make everyone do only what she wants them to do, and especially when they pray for things really important in their world, like puppies.
  • Little conversations. Joe: don't get your germs on it! Riley: But Joe, some germs are good! But the bad ones are really bad - they make you get old and die.
  • Dave playing with his kids. Any dad playing with their kids, but especially Dave. 
  • Exploring together, family trips.
  • Learning from each other.
  • Laughing together. Crying together. Sometimes back to back.
  • Reading the gospel together and teaching them about Jesus and God's love for them.
  • Playing games together. 
  • The miracle of pregnancy, labor and delivery, even if it is uncomfortable.
  • Baking together.
  • Anything together. Except toilet time. Privacy already!
  • Seeing them comprehend new things.
  • Watching them learn kindness.
  • Developing patience. Seriously - I'm proud of how far I've come, nevermind how far I've got to go.
  • Innocence, excitement, and interest in all the little things.
Good Sabbath, people!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Riley and Joe Learn to Ski

Milestone! First ski trip! Riley and Joe had a blast - thrilled when they got it right and no less so when they fell right on their faces. So much giggling. Dave and Jake did most of the heavy lifting, and I got to document. (I can't say I was upset about this - I'm not a big ski/snowboarder. I am a big fan of these guys though, and loved watching them have the time of their lives.)

The Sundance Film festival is going on up there right now, as was a professional snowboard competition - exciting day to be in Park City! Didn't see Brad Pitt, or go watch any cool tricks, but those couldn't possibly have been more fun than watching my family learn and laugh and, occasionally, eat it but then get back up and try again. Dave is the perfect sensei, something I figured out while we were dating and he took me up on the slopes to, you know, attempt the impossible and help me learn to snowboard. He is so patient and encouraging - none of his many students come out feeling like they are less than awesome because he believes everyone can be awesome. And tells them so. I dedicate this video to Sensei David. Even though it's mostly footage of the babies. Also, a special thanks to Jake, who made this adventure a lot easier than it would have been had I been the other wrangler over the kids. This belly of mine is getting unwieldy.

I love love love Riley's kind of tai chi pose when she is concentrating on balancing and stopping. And how about those sweet jumps? Not bad for a Texas boy, is he? (FYI - filming creds to Jake for that, and to Dave for Jake's jump at the beginning).

 Isn't it funny how Riley likes to ham it up for the camera and then you've got Joe, pulling his coat over his head or making goofy faces.

A view on the way home to end the day. That's Utah beauty!
After a couple hours of that they were pretty beat. "Doesn't all that exercise make you hungry?" I asked. (It was I that wanted to get some lunch) "Actually, it makes me sleepy," was Riley's response. I still managed to get that burger, but they slept all the way home.

The End.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Christmas 2015 and a bunch of other stuff

My blogosphere has been quiet lately - no new posts from anyone for a few days. When that happens, it sometimes motivates me to be the one to post something. Can someone psychoanalyze that?

Anyway, I have put off updating long enough. Christmas was quite an event, and the pictures/videos to be posted are overwhelming, but I'll do my best to not download every single shot of a sugar cookie or VA countryside or the family dog.  Here goes!

Christmas Sunday: The Sunday before Christmas was kind of our "first" Christmas. Danny's family was able to be there for a few days before heading to their other family for actual Christmas so we made a early holiday of it.
 It was beautiful, clear and cold.
 Aunt Andrea, baby Ari, and her tasty toes. Isn't she scrummy?
Later, the kids got to open a special gift from Grandma: hand-made dolls that matched each grand-child's eye and hair color. Needless to say, a big hit! (I don't know how many hours went into those, but if I had to guess, I'd say, many.)
 Afterwards, we took them for a walk to pay a Christmas visit to our neighbor and sainted bus driver all growing up.
Many crafts and cookies later, we said goodbye to the cousins and prepared for Christmas. (See Christmas Eve post)

Let me say one more time how much we all missed daddy/Dave. We had a lovely time nevertheless, how could we not, and I just kept the camera rolling throughout so I could send him regular updates.

I pared it down to 6 minutes for the blog though:

Oh, you know, just the culmination of months of waiting and planning and dreaming. Riley and Joseph already are looking forward to next Christmas. And I loved getting to spend time with our VA family, building memories and laughing at all the silly things. Reading through the basket of Christmas cards from family friends, making calls on Christmas day to family far and wide. I'm just so grateful for that time of year. I'm waxing Dickensian:
"There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew, "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from... the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.  Speech by Scrooge's nephew, Fred.
 That is the passage I shared on Christmas Eve, when the missionaries asked each of us what Christmas means to us.

I suppose it is good that I put off writing this post - I am getting a second dose of the Christmas spirit right here.

Well, it was just wonderful. Thank you to all who made our Christmas so special. There were many of you and we just felt loved and humbled and grateful, all at the same time!

Alright, a few more things before we put this baby to bed:

Happy New Year!

A few photos Riley took on my phone New Year's Day. Frank is in there because, "I love him - he's berry nice and I want to take him with me." haha!
 A conversation Dave and I shared on week 25 gestation of baby#3

 Thanks a bunch for having us, family! I and the kids had a great time, so thanks for putting up with us. I know, I know - we are fabulous and you are very loving and adore us, but I am aware that we bring our own brand of crazy where ever we go (oh, which reminds me, here is this video I was telling Mom about. Enjoy - I'm sure you can relate :)

Speaking of that, here is a little audio recording of the bedtime routine that Grandpa helped out with a lot while we were there. I should have gotten a video so you could see them jumping around and being crazy, but the audio kind of cracks me up.

 And I think that about sums it up. Heidi, over and out.