Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas on Saipan

Christmas Eve was when the fun started. Usually on Christmas Eve we do the whole build up with nativity, Christmas stories in the BoM and Bible, Christmas books, Twas the Night Before Christmas, new PJs, Christmas carols and hymns, etc. But this year we decided to get the kids kittens (remember the shrew problem ;)) Jacob picked them up on his way home from work (just worked til noon) and we spent the afternoon playing with them, then in the evening we went to get dinner (Taco Bell) and went to a Christmas Mass for a little while. It was in Chamorro, so we couldn't understand, but you could still feel the spirit as they celebrated Christ's birth. We only lasted 20 minutes (kids) and then went to meet up with friends for Dodgeball. ---sidenote: whenever someone invites me to play dodgeball I ALWAYS think in my mind that it is kickball! And I LOVE LOVE kickball, so I'm always all pumped to play kickball and then it's dodgeball and I get a little alarmed because I am horrible at throwing and great at getting hit in the face and I haven't had time to mentally prepare! I DO like dodgeball, I just don't love it like I love kickball, and I need to mentally prepare for the onslaught of painful balls being thrown at me--- Anyway it was tons of fun, I got a nice bruise on my leg, did not get a single person out, but also did not get hit in the face! Success! It was great. Then we went to a friends house and decorated Christmas cookies and just enjoyed life and hung out. It was way fun. We didn't get home until after 10, so we just did a quick nativity thing and Twas the Night Before Christmas, and put stockings out.

2 of my cookies- Peace on Earth.. ha! yeah, I think I'm funny ;)

post signatureOur Christmas was pretty relaxed. We just did the normal stockings, presents thing, haha :) We like to keep things simple and low key, and this is the first year where we even had the financial option to do a little more, but we did not :) It's just something that works for us. We had breakfast of poptarts and oranges (Did I mention we like to keep things simple? lol) We played around for awhile, then everyone took naps. After naps we played with our new stuff a bit, Jacob and I read, the kids watched Frosty the Snowman, and we did our nativity and BoM and Bible story stuff, and I made cinnamon bread for dinner. Dinner was knock-off Kneader's french toast. If you live in Mormonville, check out Kneader's.. holy yum. My fav is their chicken caesar salad, and their turkey pesto panini. While the bread was baking, we went down to the beach for a walk. It was amazing. It was so beautiful out, and I feel a lot of gratitude living here. Looking at everyone's pictures makes me miss home and family and snow and mountains, but we are blessed to be here. Our time here is a gift. After our beach walk we went home and had dinner, then went down to the beach for a fire and s'mores. The marshmallows were forgotten, and there was too much chocolate, but it was so perfect. The moon shining brightly on the water. I felt so alive and so at peace. The kids were playing and searching for creatures. One of our friends brought his ukulele and it created the perfect atmosphere. It felt so surreal and I never want to forget that night. Everyone was relaxed and happy. My senses were so alive and the ocean breeze on my skin and in my hair, and the sand in my toes and the fire crackling, and the laughter of easy conversation. It was magical (friends tell me I'm in the honeymoon stage here, ha!)
We had to cut Everett's hair :( Jase cut the sides and it looked AWFUL. I cried. These are before.

Our beautiful walk.
I tried to capture my magical Christmas fire on the beach moment... without success. :)

The day after Christmas was a day spent in the water! (My favorite) We went down to Sugar Dock with some friends and their kayak. Sugar Dock is a "pretty" beach with nice sand calm water and pretty lagoon colors. We took turns on the kayak, and took the kids over to jump off the dock. I'm so proud of both my kids! It's hard to jump from high heights, but they did it! After Sugar Dock we had lunch and naps. 

After naps we went to Bird Island for some snorkeling and beach combing. Bird Island is a fairly rocky beach with a  lot to explore underwater.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Well we have been here for 2 1/2 months already! On one hand it feels like we have been here forever, on the other it feels like we have been here only a few days.
Saipan is a lot of things. It is paradise. But it is also a third world country. It is breathtakingly beautiful. We are so blessed to be here. One of my favorite things here is to sit in our living room and read with the windows and doors open and feel the ocean breeze on my skin, and listen to the waves crash, and watch the birds fly. It's incredible. We are adjusting. It is a difficult adjustment for most people, and we are included in the "most". It is so hard to describe it here. All of the Americans here seems to agree with that. There aren't many of us. The island is mostly locals (Chamorro), natives from nearby islands, and Filipinos. I know most of you are probably thinking "You live on a tropical island! What is there to adjust to?!" It's not the tropical island part.. That is the blessing that helps us get through everything else. It is truly a different world, in a third world country. Working internet, reliable cell service, hair appointments, and house decorations are all luxuries of the past. We actually don't even HAVE internet at our house, because it isn't available. And the cell data is "3G", but speed wise, is 2G at best. We have shrews that come into our house, and the ONLY thing we can do about it is get a cat.. so we are getting a kitten for Christmas. Shrews/rats/mice in the house... that is a first world "problem" and is just life here.  And geckos? We welcome them in and sometimes catch them and bring them inside to eat the bugs. haha :) And grocery shopping can be very frustrating. You go to the store to get ingredients, only to find that they are out. And it could be months until a new shipment of it comes in. Groceries are extremely expensive. $8/gal for shelf stable boxed milk. Milk that needs to be kept cold is $12/gal or more. I don't want this to sound like complaining, because I am Not complaining. I'm just trying to describe it here. Decorating your house? Definitely a first world thing. It isn't a thing here, and one I am getting used to. I like having things on my walls. Though really, they are completely unnecessary. And maybe that is what it boils down to. Unnecessary things like nice vehicles, new clothes and working internet aren't actually a necessity, and therefore not a part of life here. There are some great things about it that go hand in hand with that though! Consumerism and materialism are pretty non-existent, and "Keeping up with the Joneses?" well, there isn't anything to keep up with! We are enjoying that part of life and living here makes it clear how blessed we are, even here with so little. Most people have less than us. We have neighbors whose houses and all of their belongings blew away in the typhoon (western pacific name for hurricane) a few months ago. It is humbling to see.  The people here are so good and kind and put family above career. You don't see people here working 60+ hours/wk to get ahead. You see people taking off early to spend time with family. They know that family is more important than things. And another of my favorite things: I RARELY see people hunched over electronic devices. I'm sure that is mostly because people can't afford them here, but it's so refreshing to see people constantly engaged with each other, with their full attention, not constantly checking their phones. I love it. So there it is. Life in Saipan in a nutshell. It's amazing and frustrating and beautiful and we will do a lot of learning and growing here. We have a lot to learn from these beautiful and humble and people!
View from Capitol Hill of the lagoon side of the island.
Above picture is our view from our balcony- Lau Lau Bay
Pau Pau Beach, on the lagoon side of the island. We LOVE having the lagoon-- no waves, so the much less dangerous for the kids to play in!
Jacob and I on Managaha (a little island in the lagoon) Saipan is in the background
The view from the apartment the hospital put us in for a month. You can see Managaha in the lagoon there :)

Rainbow at Ladder Beach

                           Morning sunrise from my bed.

This one I took when we went to Lau Lau Beach, Jacob took the kids to collect shells and I laid down and read.

pride, charity, and body image.

I've been thinking a lot lately. Mostly since the Ezra Taft Benson lesson on pride back in....September? (Had it again here on Saipan in November) In that lesson it says (quote by President Benson) "The proud stand more in fear of men's judgement than of God's judgement. 'What will men think of me?' Weighs heavier than 'What will God think of me?'" It also talks about comparison and how putting yourself above others and basically all forms of comparing yourself to others are prideful. I have spent a LOT of time thinking about pride since then (as I discovered I am EXTREMELY prideful, haha) Not comparing myself to others is something I have been working on for a Long Long time. It is difficult for me, but I have noticed as I have gotten better about it, I am happier with myself, and happier in general. Something that has helped me stop comparing is trying to see others as God sees them, and to focus on the good in people and to love them for who they are. So as I have lessened my comparing, my charity for others has improved. Crazy how that works! :) (also, if you want some real food for thought about charity, check out all of 1 Cor. 13, in particular verse 13. crazy cool.) I have been focusing more on pleasing God than man, and I try to ask myself what my motive is for doing something. There are many things we do that are "good", but what is our motive? For example- do you keep your body healthy to obey the word of wisdom, or to get the praise of men for having a "hot body". I used to be a combination of the two, and I still am to a very small degree, but trying to improve :)
Yesterday I received a compliment about how amazing my body is, especially for having 3 kids. (her words- NOT mine! ha) I mostly felt awkward. There are so many things that I want to be and are so much more important than being thin. And I know some will say 'oh you can say that, because you are slim' but it's not true. I weighed 115 (at 5'7") and had major body issues. You can love your body at any size. Anyway- 3 years ago, that compliment would have made my whole week. But yesterday I realized that I didn't really care that much what my body looks like or what other people think about it. That being said- I believe my body is beautiful. Not in a worldly way, but in an "I am a woman and have a beautiful body that God gave me and that does amazing things" way. This is hard to explain, but I strongly believe Heavenly Father wants us to take good care of our bodies and treat them properly and keep them healthy. I also believe he doesn't care about their size or shape (assuming we are living the word of wisdom and keeping them healthy!!). I have cellulite all over and some stretch marks on my inner thighs... and I sag in places that I never did prior to having kids.. But I don't really care. Isn't that completely normal? Doesn't pretty much everyone that's had a kid and/or is over 30 have all that (minus a very small percentage)? Who decided it's "ugly" or "bad"? It's all a lie! It's perfectly normal and it isn't "ugly" at all. I am still beautiful. I guarantee Heavenly Father doesn't think it's ugly, and I also guarantee it saddens Him when we listen to the lies, created by Satan, and deem ourselves "ugly" or "not enough". Just live a healthy life and your body IS enough! We are all enough! I have ways that I need to improve in the health department, I am not perfect (ahem.. total sugar addict..sigh.) but I AM enough. And it doesn't matter where someone else is in their journey. And not because you are probably further along in some things than they are (not cool when people say that, that is still comparing!) but because we are all human and we are all progressing. Sometimes slowly, and sometimes quickly. It's a beautiful life, and I don't see any sense wasting it on things that will never bring happiness. That's the thing about comparing- it will NEVER bring happiness. Doing things to please men- will NOT bring happiness. Knowing Heavenly Father loves you, and loving and caring for His children- that brings happiness.

I'm hoping to sit down and start writing about our Saipan adventure soon! It's a crazy place here, but very difficult to describe! We are adjusting. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I am a breastfeeding mama!! As some of you may know, this is my first time breastfeeding. I just wanted to post this so that others maybe can feel like there is hope for them.  I honestly didn't feel like there was any hope for me in breastfeeding. It was a deep desire in my heart to breastfeed, and I was absolutely devastated when it didn't work out with Samantha. There were a LOT of reasons it didn't work out, and that is okay. It again didn't work out with Jase, but I hadn't allowed myself to be as emotionally invested in it, so it was hard, but it wasn't crushing, when it again didn't work out.  My plan this time around was to wing it. If I felt like giving it a try, I would. If not- then no! :)  Well little Everett came and when the nurses left me alone with him and Jacob I decided that I was NOT going to. I didn't want to deal with the heartache. And Jacob (who, prior to this whole thing said that he would be completely on board and supportive of whatever decision I mad and not be ANYTHING but supportive!!) sad: "Well, it won't hurt to just try once". I wasn't pleased with this, but I kept hearing my mother's words in my head "Just because it didn't work out the first 2 times, doesn't mean it won't work out this time", and just decided to try one time. Wellll I put him on and it went pretty well. I requested a lactation consultant for the next feeding. He was doing great and she gave me some pointers. By this point in life, I'd met with so many lactation consultants on my previous attempts and read so much on it, that there wasn't anything new said to me.. but for some reason this lactation consultant just said things in the right way and helped me so that things really clicked. It went so well! That was my last time to nurse before he got taken away from me to the NICU. I figured it wasn't going to work out, because the hours in the NICU are limited and there is no privacy at all. It was discouraging. I pumped a couple of times, and I got like... half an ounce or so. -I've done the pumping thing before for the other 2 and the one thing I had promised myself this time was that I would NOT put myself through the torture of pumping. Spending 12-14 hours a day between pumping and cleaning bottles and feeding and cleaning pumping equipment was not going to happen this time around. I was thoroughly displeased to be pumping and decided I was done. It was a good feeling, but frustrating too. I started only pumping every 8 hours and was fine with that. Everett got dismissed from the NICU and I decided to put him on just to see. It went pretty well, and I decided to just go with it and see how it went. I pumped at home at night while I was away from him. The first few days of him being in the nursery he had formula and nursed interchangeably, but by the last 2 nights I'd pumped enough that they were feeding him just pumped milk and I was nursing. His NP also came in and gave me some tips. I learned from the lactation consultant and the NP that I have a harder time nursing because of a small physical difference in myself. It wasn't anything I didn't already know, but it was nice to have some validation that not all of my failures are because I didn't try hard enough in the past :).  That week that Everett was in the nursery had ups and downs.  One of my friends told me I just needed confidence. Being postpartum and hormonal I was a little annoyed (she is a nursing pro, and I really admire her, but at that point it was envy! haha!) and stewed over it for a few hours before I came to the realization that she was 100% correct. That was the last factor that I needed- confidence.  When it hurt so bad I was in tears and so frustrated I would think back to all the hard stuff I went through while I was pregnant, which was soooo much worse, and it gave me the strength to push through. I know I can do hard things. And having that knowledge and believing it was the last factor I needed to succeed at breastfeeding. I will say it is much harder to endure pain when it is self inflicted and something you can stop, than much more severe pain that you can't do anything about and just have to deal with. I know there are MANY reasons that breastfeeding doesn't work out, but maybe this will help someone else out there who has struggled with it in the past who wants to give it another shot.  I prayed so hard that I would be able to breastfeed, if it was the right thing for me, and I know that Heavenly Father set everything up for me so that the things would happen that needed to so that I could succeed. I know it isn't right for everyone, and that it doesn't work out for everyone and I know the heartache and depression and frustration and the tears all too well. But there is hope for everyone! Don't be afraid to try again. YOU can do hard things!! And if it doesn't work out for other reasons, that is fine too!! Don't worry about it!

Friday, July 11, 2014


The evening after Everett was born he had to go to the NICU. Earlier in the afternoon his breathing was extremely fast and he had Stridor breathing.. If you don't know what that is here is a video  it's scary! His wasn't as bad as the baby in the video, but much faster. He was at over 100 respirations/min and babies should be 40-50 and should NOT be higher than 60. We didn't really know what was going on with him. So they whisked him away that afternoon and took some blood samples to see if he had an infection. I am group B strep positive so they were Very concerned about that, and worried he had sepsis. Sooo sad. They came back with my sweet little baby (still nameless.. I think at this point we were thinking about Grayson and Oliver) and told me they had to take him to the NICU. He wasn't doing terrible at this point, they just wanted him hooked up to everything and right there in case he got worse. His oxygen was low (they put him on oxygen at first), and they could tell his circulation wasn't that great because he had poor perfusion.  So we called our home teacher and he came and assisted Jacob in giving Everett a blessing.

See the IV in his poor little head on his upper right side? So sad. 
 It was HORRIBLE letting the nurse take him off to the NICU.  I wasn't going to be able to see him until the next day(it was around 8 or 9pm that they took him). I think it was after 10am... I can't remember exactly. It was a long night, stuck in the hospital with no baby. It was very strange! I pumped for him and stressed about him. I had no desire to try breastfeeding him at that point, as I would have had a lot of spectators, so pumping it was.  I was so happy when they finally let me go see him! By the time I got to see him he was no longer on oxygen.  Before we went to see him, my doctor came and talked to me about what had happened (I LOVE my OB and he is in our ward, which is nice). He said that basically what is supposed to happen is while the baby is in the birth canal, all the fluid that is in their lungs get squeezed out with all the contractions and pushing. And what happened is Everett was in the birth canal for such a short amount of time (through one contraction/ 2 1/2 pushes..) that all the fluid didn't get pushed out of his lungs.  This is not uncommon, but usually the body absorbs the leftover fluid in the longs within a couple of hours.  Everett's was in there longer, and somehow he got an infection in the fluid that was left in there. So that was that.

 Everett was in the NICU less than 48 hours so it really wasn't all that bad. They started him on an antibiotic that first evening (Thursday) and he stabilized the next day. He needed to be stable for 24 hours before moving to the nursery. Next I got checked out of the hospital. Luckily my OB is the director of the L&D, so even though they had to check me out in the morning, I got to stick around and use my room and I still even got meals! It was super nice! It was heart breaking to leave him that first night. I had a hard time sleeping and hurried to the hospital first thing in the morning. Ariel (Jacob's little sis) flew out to help and it was such a blessing having her there. I was able to spend the day at the hospital with Everett, and she would bring the kids over for a little while then take them home and watch them. It was nice not having to worry about them or where they were going or who was watching them, or worse having them there with me. I was able to take care of my little boy :)
 At the hospital they get a lot of clothing donations in the NICU, and our nurse sent Everett to the nursery in this cute (but funny) little elf outfit someone crocheted then donated :) It was one of the few things there that was big enough!

After he was stable for 24 hours they released him and he got to go to the nursery!! yay! The nursery doesn't have weird visiting hours, or scary machines, ha :) He had to stay in the nursery until the following Thursday morning so that they could administer his antibiotic through his IV twice a day. That week is a bit of a blur in my mind. I spent a lot of time at the hospital with him and my days consisted of traveling back and forth from the hospital so I could nurse (!! I know! Another post) and see him. It was exhausting. I distinctly remembering repeatedly telling myself it was for the better because he was learning to sleep through noise and lights and I was able to sleep at night straight through. Haha, I think that thinking helped me feel better about it, but looking back I think I might have been better rested had he just been home with me, as I was getting home very late, leaving early, sleeping fitfully, and traveling back and forth so much :)  It was very difficult for me to be away from him. Any mama out there knows that when you have a baby they feel like an extension of you for that first 6 months or so. My heart goes out to any of you out there that have had to deal with babies at the hospital for longer and babies in much more critical condition. I do realize I had it easy!!
Thursday came and I was soooo excited to pick up my little sweety pie and take him home!! I got to the hospital early and we waited and waited for the NP to see him and give him the go ahead so he could come home! And of course he peed all over his take home outfit and ended up going home in donated WV Mountaineers pajamas... Which was fitting :)  haha. He is my whole world (so are my other kids and hubby :)) and I adore him to no end.  I am so grateful to have him as part of our family!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Birth Story

Today Everett is 4 months old! I realized I have not yet written down his birth story (oops!) so here goes! I had a difficult pregnancy with him. There was a lot of sickness and a LOT of pain, and, unfortunately, a lot of anger (anyone else experience pregnancy anger? How did you deal? What helped? I need to figure this out if I'm going to get pregnant again). I was very anxious about having Everett.  I was terrified. I wasn't very nervous about having Sammi or Jase.. I knew I'd love them and I knew I could do it. I have a Lot of love to give, I wasn't concerned about loving Everett as much as my other kids (I know some are concerned about things like that) or anything along those lines. I was just worried about being able to handle 3 kids, and TERRIFIED of colic. Jacob puts in 70-80+ hours/wk into school. It doesn't leave a lot of time for helping. Samantha had colic and Jacob was only gone about 45-50 hrs/ wk and it was sooo nice to catch a break from the screaming when he came home! Turns out Heavenly Father knows what we can handle and I was correct in assuming I couldn't handle colic by myself, haha! Everett is the perfect baby. He smiles and giggles and he only cries is he is wet or tired or if something spooks him.  I don't think he has full out screamed more than twice, and it was less than a minute both times. He is a joy and my little ray of sunshine. It is an almost daily occurrence for me to be extremely frustrated with one of the older kids and feel at my wit's end, when I turn and see Everett just smiling at me happily and my heart is immediately softened. Don't get me wrong, he is a baby so still a lot work, but he has brought a special light to our home.

Well, back to the birth story. At my 34 week ultrasound we saw that baby boy was already about 6 pounds.. ha! That made me nervous! He was estimated to be about 9 pounds if I reached 40 weeks. Sheesh!  I planned everything out with Jacob's little sister Ariel, who was coming to help out. My due date was Dec. 12, the day Jacob would be finishing his finals. I was very concerned about baby boy coming early (I had Sammi at 37 weeks and Jase at 38 weeks) and having no help for Jacob's finals week (a typical finals week for Jacob is him getting up at 4am, going straight to school and coming home 9:30-10ish and going straight to bed), or for him coming DURING finals week. So I decided to plan an induction for 39 weeks (Dec. 5) so that I could be guaranteed to have help during his finals week and also not interrupt his finals with baby boy coming.  My doctor was on board (esp since baby was so big! He doesn't like complications, he likes things to go smoothly) so we scheduled my induction for Dec. 5.  Just like when I was pregnant with Jase, I was dilated to a 5.5 and not very effaced or in labor. Things go really quickly once labor hits, if you're already at a 5.5 :) So Dec. 4 we went in at about 10 to get the cervadil stuff (ripens the cervix), turns out I'd progressed and effaced so I didn't need it.

 They hooked me up to an IV (group B strep positive.. gotta have those antibiotics for at LEAST 4 hours, preferably 8).. and that was horrible!! Ugh!! Sooo I'm pretty sure the girl that was doing the IV was new or just awful at it and practicing on me. I have decent veins on my wrist and I was super hydrated (over 90 oz of water that day!). She was soooooo slow at it and was digging around for forever. If you are a nurse, just get in there and jab it in! Seriously! My stomach still churns thinking about her digging around in there for a vein! I get really anxious when it comes to needles, and she just kept digging around. Then she thinks she has it set up and going and gets it all taped up, then it didn't have a good flow and she announces it had to come out.  Everything started turning black  and spinning (I almost lost my cookies.. except I don't have a gag reflex so I don't throw up, haha! but there was intense nausea) and I said something about not being able to see very well and feeling ill and they reclined my bed and started putting a cool washcloth on my head.. then they had to hook me up to oxygen- haaa! So embarrassing! :)  The same nurse tried AGAIN and failed. She left the room and I told one of the other nurses that somebody else was going for it because that girl was NOT coming near my arm again.. haha.  Third time was NOT the charm, unfortunately. That nurse was a digger too. So they went and got their "IV pro" and she came in, lined up her needle and BAM, fast as can be, she got it in!  Piece of cake. I have GOOD veins, I am telling you! Nurses: digging is bad when your patient gets anxious around needles!  Thank you for all the bruises and puffy veins and soreness. :)

Back to the story.. Well I didn't sleep much, because I was so excited and anxious about everything. In the morning around 7:30 or so they started me on some pitocin. I'm not crazy enough to go drugless on pitocin, so when they started hurting I got the epidural (again, needles make me anxious, so I have to wait until I'm in pain til I can suffer the terrifying epidural) but I reeeeeallly wanted just the lowest amount possible of medicine through my epidural. Just enough to take the edge off. I wanted to be able to feel how hard I was pushing and be able to feel so I can try to prevent a tear.. So I'm all hooked up and ready to go, feeling my contractions and in a little pain, but not a lot. About an hour later they check me and I'm at an 8 and decide to call my doctor, who is 20 minutes away. Less than 10 minutes later everything got more intense and I wanted to push soooooooo badly! So Jacob got a nurse and she checked me and I was complete. I couldn't control my urge to push, so the nurse reached over and pushed my epidural button THREE times!! Immediately everything went numb :( I no longer had the urge to push! So sad! My doctor came about 10 minutes later. I was SOO numb. They could have cut off my body below my rib cage and I would have been none the wiser!

 At this point there were at LEAST 10 people in my room.. Some nursing students had asked to see my birth and they were in there with their supervising nurses, then there were my nurses, and Everett's nurses and Jacob, and my doc.. it was a PACKED room! So doc tells me to push and I push and everyone starts cheering for me and saying how great I was doing! It was funny. And I was just soaking it up, enjoying being the star of the show! haha! My next push wasn't nearly as good cause I was focused on the other people in my room, not on pushing... However, his head had come out and I had NO idea!! So my doctor told me to give one really good push (I was thinking 'The head must be right there, I need one big push to get the head out!') so I pushed with all my might... and Jacob said Everett came flying out like a bar of wet soap. My doctor literally had to catch him.. haha!! I was so bewildered when they said I was done! What???!!  He was born at 9:46 am 8lb 7oz of pure love and joy :)
Next up: His time in the NICU

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lessons in Judging

2 months ago during Jacob's semester break I learned a couple of lessons in judging others. The first happened when I went with the girls to get  a pedicure. We went  to a beauty school (ya really can't beat the price!).  The girls that were doing our pedicures came to greet us and one of the girls had a buzzed head with a slight faux hawk.  She wasn't dressed "immodestly", necessarily, (maybe slightly, but not at all trashy or sleazy looking) but you could totally tell she had fakies.  I inwardly rolled my eyes, thinking she must be "expressing herself" when in reality just trying to find herself.  Come to find out I was totally wrong.  The young woman had just finished battling breast cancer, and had only been back at school for 3 weeks.  Hence the buzzed head and implants.  I felt really bad.  I kept thinking over and over how your really don't know anyone's story, and it's so unfair to judge them.

The following day I had my second lesson in judging.  So here in WV our temple is a little over 3 hours away. By the time we go down, take turns doing sessions, eat something and come home it's easily a 12 hour day. And with Jacob putting in around 80 hours/ week into school (8ish hours on Saturdays), we don't exactly get to go every single month.  Anyway, during Jacob's semester break we made it twice! Only the second time I was THAT person at the temple... the one with the cough.  I remember when we lived in Provo I would feel frustrated when people would come to the temple that were obviously sick.  I didn't go to the temple to get sick! It was easy to take temple attendance for granted there.  Being able to go whenever I wanted, I selfishly thought it was selfish of them to go when they were sick.  Anyway, I wasn't super sick or anything, I just had a cough and it wasn't a nasty mucous-y cough, just a dry annoying cough.  If it had been "productive"or if I had been all snorty or runny and gross, I would NOT have gone, but I just had a cough and it had come from a teeny tiny summer cold! It taught me a lesson in judging others. We really don't know people's circumstances.  My heart ACHED to go to the temple. I really missed going, and I couldn't bear to pass up another opportunity to go, especially knowing it would be awhile until we could make it again. Lesson learned: Don't be annoyed by sick people at the temple. You have no idea what they have been through to get there, or what their circumstances are.  That being said, if you're sick and it's EASY for you to get to the temple and you are able to go often, just think about it before going. If you need it- go, if you can wait a week- then wait :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Well, I'm pregnant again (as you all know). It's my 3rd pregnancy, and I promised myself this pregnancy would be different.  And I'm happy to say it is. My other 2 pregnancies I found myself frustrated with my body. I felt "fat" and "ugly" and "slow" all the time. When I'm pregnant, I gain a lot of weight on my hips and my thighs, and get love handles. After reading this amazing post by a friend from high school almost 2 years ago, I decided to change my attitude. I often reflect on the post (it truly is an inspiring post- please read it).

It would be silly of me to assume that this time around my body wouldn't gain weight on my lower half. So why be annoyed about it? Why believe I'm ugly? With hard work and a good diet I can get back to my healthy weight. I've done it twice before, so of course I'll do it again. I've really tried to embrace and love my extra curves while pregnant. I have born 2 healthy children, so obviously my body knows what it's doing! God gave us beautiful bodies that can do AMAZING things. It still blows my mind that I have created LIFE with my body.  I know it saddens Him when I don't see myself as the beautiful woman that I am.

I do not need to live up to an "ideal". I need to be healthy and take care of myself and Love myself. Our bodies are created in the image of God. We need to love these beautiful bodies that are GIFTS to us.  One of the reasons we came to earth was to receive a body, right? So why tear it down and despise it? It saddens me that I did this through my other 2 pregnancies. Our bodies are one of the most amazing gifts from our Heavenly Father. YES we need to take care of our bodies, but we also need to be grateful for and love our bodies.

It is hard to be pregnant! For some harder than others. I know many have it far worse than me, but I have my own limitations that prevent me from staying as active as I would like to be. For someone who usually exercises regularly- Yes, it can be frustrating. But, it is all worth it! I'm so excited to give birth again! I'm so excited for that flooding of overwhelming love. That indescribable moment when you finally get to meet your baby.

In October 2005 Susan W Tanner gave a talk about the sanctity of the body- I want to share a quote from it "(talking about Satan).... He seduces some to despise their bodies; others he tempts to worship their bodies. In either case, he entices the world to regard the body merely as an object. In the face of so many satanic falsehoods about the body, I want to raise my voice today in support of the sanctity of the body. I testify that the body is a gift to be treated with gratitude and respect." I am grateful for my body and want to treat it with the respect it deserves. I am still a work in progress, but I am getting better.  I have a beautiful body. And so do you.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


This morning I had what I like to call a "successful" shower. Aka one where whiney and/or demanding children don't barge in.  At the end of my shower I stood there with the water running, dreading turning it off and returning to "real life".  I was enjoying feeling like a person. With a sigh, I turned off the water and was greeted by the sound of my sweet little babies giggling, squealing and playing.  It was a good reminder that "real life" is a beautiful thing, and I am greatly blessed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sweet little Saylor- an update

So various people have been asking about my cute little niece Saylor, who got a liver transplant. I guess I owe it to the blogging world to make an update, since I wrote my other post, ha :)   Saylor got her liver transplant!! She took a turn for the worse and was given a higher need score. She was the sickest baby in the region (CA,AZ, UT, ID, NM, WA, OR and possibly other states in the west) in need of a liver transplant and she got one soon after her higher ranking! I can't remember, but I think it may have been the next day. Maybe one more day after that, not sure.  The sweet little baby she got her liver from died of RSV. Please pray for the donor family. It still baffles me that because someone else DIED my niece gets to live. I felt so strange praying for her to get a liver, because it meant that someone else would have to die. Then I reminded myself that whoever she ended up getting her liver from wasn't dying so Saylor could have her liver, but was dying no matter what. What a miracle that we can bring life from death! And what a miracle for modern medicine! I definitely love using essential oils and other natural remedies and I love how they can help with things, but if it wasn't for modern medicine, Saylor would not be with us! Even if she had been born 20 years ago they would not have been able to properly treat her. I'm so grateful for everyone's love and support and prayers. Saylor is doing great with her new liver. It started working before they had even sewn her back up! Isn't that crazy?! She now looks like she is caucasian, she has white skin and white eyes and is sooo soo cute! I love her! They wait about 6 months before officially declaring whether her body has accepted or rejected the liver, so only time will tell with that, but so far she is doing great! She is recovering faster than the doctors could have hoped, and doing very well! We are so happy for her and her parents!

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