Last Friday I had the opportunity to be a chaperone at Golf Boy's field trip to the zoo. It's funny, I actually remember going to the same zoo in the same grade when I was a little girl. (Same school district too!) Our zoo has made many wonderful improvements in the recent years. Sea Lion Cove is absolutely amazing. One of the best things about this trip was the amount of animal babies. For my first time ever I got to see orangutang babies and tiger cubs in person. They were so adorable! My favorite part about this trip, aside from being able to hang out with my boy all day, was the tiger mama. Yes her cubs (three of them I think) were so cute and playful, but I really enjoyed how she played with her cubs. Look at that exchange between the mama and her cub in the first picture. It's so beautiful!
Tiger Cub: "I'm going to eat you!"
Tiger Mama: "Not if I eat you first!"
After this playful exchange, the cub scampered off and wrestled one of it's siblings and the tiger mama just laid there supervising. Good Mama Tiger!
Why do I have a blog? Does that sound like a silly question to ask? Well when I first began my blog, it was because of being inspired by a friend who had a blog and the realization that it was a good way to document all the happenings in my family and projects that I had been working on. That was six years ago. Over the course of time my blog evolved into much more then what it had started out. I blog now because I know that there are others out there who feel and experience a lot of the same things that I do. I know I don't handle every situation exactly perfectly. That's another reason I blog, to show I'm human and make mistakes. But I also have a lot of hope and faith in my Savior. It is because I love Him that I share with others how he has strengthened and uplifted me. Yes I do still have my projects that I share, but in the age of pinterest, what keeps me blogging are my experiences.
I have occasionally been met with criticism by people who do not see things the way I do. That's fine. We all have our own opinions. That's one of the wonderful blessings that come from being a part of this country and having the gift of agency. In this past year however, criticism of me as a person and what I write, has increased in volume, vulgarity and harshness. Lucky for me, I have comment moderator and a site meter. Through these tools, I have a pretty good idea of where some of the harshest comments have come from. However, it doesn't matter where they come from. The comments are designed to stir up anger in me and to discourage me. Well, instead of anger I feel sad for the people who leave the harsh comments. Instead of being discouraged, I will choose rather to stay the course. I must be doing something good if I am being met with so much opposition. So, I will continue to talk about motherhood even though I know that there are some out there who haven't yet had the opportunity to be a mother. I will continue to talk about the beauty of nature, even though I know some are blind and can not see it. I will continue to talk about my faith and my love for Jesus Christ, even though I know some of you do not believe in him. But most of all, I will continue to be who I am, a flawed person, who through faith, is trying to be the best they can be.
Today was a beautiful day and Tank and I decided to go on a walk. Tank wanted to walk up the hill instead of walking down to the road. I love how green and beautiful everything has turned. I know it isn't going to last long so I wanted to take full advantage of all the beauty. The above picture is the view on our way up.
Next is our view looking down.
Tank and I decided to extend our walk further then we normally do and we discovered all kinds of beauty.
We walked so far that we made it to the very top. I carried Tank on my back for a lot of the way because he wanted to keep going but his legs were tired. When we got to the top, we were rewarded with this beautiful view.
And this one . . .
And this one.
I carried Tank all the way home, listening to him chatter in his own little way about the flowers and the sticks. He had so much fun just being with me and exploring all around. I didn't mind all the work of carrying him and it was confirmed to me for the second time this week that my body is strong. In a recent conversation with a dear friend we both shared with each other how we felt like our bodies had been broken down from having and nursing babies. We both felt this was worth it because of the little beauties we now had in our lives. Last Tuesday while at yoga, a powerful realization came to me that my body wasn't broken. I am a strong person.
I haven't felt this way recently. Some of you know how nursing Baby H has been a struggle for me. Nothing hurts so bad as desperately wanting to nourish your baby in the best possible way but having it cause so much pain. I sought help, believe me. There was nothing wrong, at least nothing that was obvious. For nine months I struggled with this. Baby H also refused to take a bottle which meant there was no relief. Constant pain and something called weening depression (even though I wasn't trying to ween) hit me hard and it was like someone had thrown me down a deep dark hole with mud up to my waist and no possible way to escape. It was like nothing I had ever felt before. It turned me into a person who was unrecognizable to me all while knowing that it wasn't me. It was like a constant out of body experience where I could see this person and what they were doing and feeling, knowing it was me doing it but while not having the control to stop it. Bryce ended up giving me a blessing one evening after a particularly difficult day and I was told that I needed to seek medical help immediately and that I shouldn't wait. The very next day I was in to see my doctor and he told me what should have been so obvious to me. I was depressed. He talked to me about hormones and pain and how the best way to give my body a fighting chance to get back to normal was to stop nursing. It wasn't the answer I wanted to hear but it was the one I needed. He said it was up to me though. I could keep nursing if I wanted but things weren't going to get better.
Well I didn't want to just quit nursing. It made me sad to think that I could possibly be ending my breastfeeding experience on such a bad note. That evening when it was time to put the kids to bed I cuddled Baby H in my arms and proceeded to try and nurse him. Before getting very far, he bit me so hard I nearly threw up from the pain. My heart sank and I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I prepared a bottle and steeled myself for the fight I knew was going to happen with him refusing the bottle. I gave it to him and he eagerly drank. No complaining. No crying. No turning away. In that moment a miracle happened. As I held him in my arms while he drank, the Spirit whispered to me that this was ok. Everything would be alright.
Well, as you know, formula is a little expensive. In my hormone raddled brain I thought that I would get better if I didn't have the pain anymore so I decided I would pump breast milk as often as I could to give to Baby H and then he could still have the benefit of my milk without me having the pain. So for the next few days I pumped. One evening, something horrible happened and I discovered that I was pumping blood. I immediately stopped. I cried that night in frustration, truly believing that I was broken. From that time on, Baby H only received formula.
More miracles happened. Baby H became a happier baby. He was more satisfied and he went through a growth spurt. With the pain gone, my nerves began to relax. I began taking yoga which gave me an opportunity to get out of the house, be with other women who were in all stages of life and share in their experiences. I was taught a new way to relax. I also received more blessings from my husband and my bishop. Talking with my bishop was a great blessing to me and his counsel helped lift me. Prayer, fasting, and having faith in my Savior helped the most. Only He knows perfectly what I have gone through and I feel as though I have drawn closer to him through this process. This experience truly has been a beautiful journey. It has changed me. I've been remolded into something more then I was. I will never be my old self again. That's ok though. I'm not broken. My body is strong. I am strong.
Yesterday I had all kinds of energy. I don't know where it came from either. I took advantage of it though. After giving the kitchen a really good cleaning, I made three batches of jelly from juices that I had in my freezer. I made two batches of Elderberry Jelly (right) and one batch of Elderberry Pear Jelly (left). I had never made Elderberry Pear before and I couldn't find a recipe for it. So . . . I just made one up and it set perfectly. I really like the Elderberry Pear because it's a little bit more mild then the straight Elderberry. They are both very very yummy.
Then after I was done cleaning up from the jelly making, I started making soap. It's been well over a month since I've make soap and my supply was getting low. I made two batches. Ocean Rain and a new fragrance called "Sunny Herb Garden." It's a delightful fragrance and I'm excited for it to make it's debut in a month.
About the time I was done making soap, it was time to pick the kids up from school. After school, Princess had ballet class. When we got home it was time to make dinner, then after dinner clean up, play time, baths then bed for all the little munchkins. After the kids were in bed I practiced some watercolor painting. I've been feeling kind of artsy lately and began drawing and painting again after a very, very long hiatus -seven years in fact. I may show you all what I've been working on in a little while. Right now I'm still doing a lot of re-learning of things I used to know.
Ok, that's it for now. Sorry about taking so long to update my blog. I promise you I have been busy. Not just laying around being lazy. :-)
Well I have bunch of pictures to show again with little snippets of info but not enough to constitute a blog post all on their own. Here we have Baby H sneaking out of the open door while I was distracted taking pictures of chickens. He's got a little mischievous streak to him which you will see a little later.
We've finally had some rain. It hasn't been enough though. We are grateful for what we've gotten but still praying for more. But this was a beautiful and interesting sunset that we had gotten one evening after it had been raining. The light all around us was very dark with the exception of brilliantly bright rays of light that would light up chunks of the ground around us. It was eerie in a way but very neat.
A couple of days ago, I went on a walk with Tank and after taking some silly ones of him and our dog, he actually let me take some very nice one.
Pretty clouds on a very blue sky! One of my favorite things to see.
Meet our Delaware pullet. She might possibly be laying already but until we get three brown eggs in one day, we won't really know for sure. I have been discovering a few brown eggs that look very different from the ones my Red's usually lay so it's very suspicious. Don't worry, there's a whole chicken post coming soon because I know you've been going through withdraws lately.
More Baby H mischief! He also likes to help me load dishes into the dishwasher.
And last but not least, Princess got student of the month for academics. If you are wondering about the grumpy face, she was looking for me and couldn't find me. We tried to get her attention but she wouldn't look at us. She was sad the rest of the day and didn't believe that we were there until I showed her the pictures that I took.
Ok, well there's some pictures for you. Now I'm off to do some mommy stuff.
I'm not really one to get sappy and gushy. Decorating for holidays is tedious and there are some holidays that I seriously question the purpose of. However, this year I sort of got into the spirit of Valentines Day. I think it's because I needed something else to focus on, a distraction and something to be happy about. I also wanted to do something different. Bryce has had to put up with a lot from me, the kids, work, etc. (though he doesn't put it this way) and regardless of any outward appearance, he's been stressed. We're really good about talking to each other and helping each other through things which is why we're able to just plod through challenges the best we can, but this year I wanted to do something a little extra special for him. So for fourteen days, starting on February 1st, I began making him little cards and writing him letters. I would leave them out for him the night before after he had gone to bed so that when he woke up the next morning, he would find one waiting for him next to his phone, by his keys, on his church bag or where I knew he would find it in the morning.
You might wonder what I found to write about for fourteen days. That really wasn't as hard as you would think. I would relate a lot of what I wrote to what was currently happening that day, had happened or was about to happen. Sunday morning before he left for early morning meetings, he found a letter from me where I thanked him for being so willing to serve Heavenly Father and fulfill his church callings. On another day when he had to be out of town for work, I left a note on his suit case to find in the morning telling him how much I loved him for working to provide for our family and how lucky I was to be able to be home with the kids. Another day I thanked him for putting up with my crazy ideas. Most of all I would tell him how much I loved him and appreciated him.
I also left little candies and love coupons on some of the days. I tried to be creative about it. The main gifts though were the cards and letters themselves. Some were hand painted water colors that I did one night when he was away. Others were the wax paper and crayon art that I had talked about in my previous post. Others were stamps with embossing, some stickers. Each one was different. Then on Valentines Day, after he had gotten all his cards, I hung them up on a heart garland I had made a few years back. And do you know what the end result was of all of this, a more meaningful Valentines Day. I couldn't have asked for any better.