March 16, 2017

Peter turning one honestly feels like the biggest milestone of my life thus far. As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom - and here I am, I'm doing it! I know I've been doing it every day for the last year, but so much of that was pure survival mode. The fact that Stefan, Peter, and I have all made it one year together - that we've not only survived, but we're now thriving - is a miracle and a lucky blessing and the thing in my life of which I am the most proud. I am so proud of us. I love our little boy so much. I wish I could bawl my eyes out for twenty-four hours straight just so everyone could start to understand how much I love him. He is my best friend. Every day he helps me smile more, laugh more, practice more patience, feel more excited. He is helping me become who I've always wanted to be. I cannot believe I get to be this perfect boy's mama! Every day I catch myself telling him he is my handsome boy, my smart boy, my chubby boy, my funny boy. One day I listed off what seemed like a million of those and then finished it all off with my everything good boy. Because he is! Peter is so good. The best there is.

For this post I dug up some of my favorite pictures I don't think have ever been posted. Man I love this kid.

A little update:

Peter LOVES fruit - pineapple, strawberries, cuties. We're in the process of switching him over to whole milk right now. He stinkin' loves peek-a-boo of any kind - popping out from behind furniture, a doorway, anything we hold up in front of our face, really - and he's getting pretty good at pulling a blanket over his face and being the one to scare us! He laughs all the time, sometimes socially. He'll hear us laughing and totally do a fake laugh just to join in. He's good at waving, signing "more" and "milk" and sometimes "all done" - he kind of stopped doing that one? Stefan said he opened a door the other day... Right now he's a mama's boy and I honestly can't get enough. Yesterday I was trying to get everything ready for his party and he kept coming over wanting to be held and I couldn't say no! I love him and I love that he loves me! The past couple weeks there have been a few times when he has woken up at night, and I've had to go in and calm him down. I hold him and hug him and I feel so exhausted but also the happiest I've ever felt. Peter love love love love loves to be outside. Poor boy probably feels so cooped up after this winter. I'm glad it has been warming up right in time for his birthday! He is SO curious and literally never stops moving. He is the busiest human. People who meet him for the first time - and people who know him well - comment on it all the time. So grateful I get to be his mom.

March 12, 2017

Recently I've had opportunities to share a couple of stories that mean a lot to me. I've shared them in church settings and with family - I even wrote one in a real life, hard copy journal. But I decided I need to share them one more time. So what better place to do that than the internet, where literally anyone can find them!

I'll start with the older one. When I was nineteen, I started thinking a lot about serving a mission for my church. That would mean eighteen months away from my family and friends - I seriously could have ended up almost anywhere in the world - serving others and teaching about Jesus Christ. But girls couldn't go until they were twenty-one, so I still had a while to decide. Then just before my twentieth birthday, the church changed the age to nineteen. I could go! Dozens of girls I knew left right away. I was already set to do my Disney internship the next semester, and right when I finished that I met Stefan. So I never served a mission. I never felt like I had made the wrong choice, but I did wish I could have chosen both. I guess I was a little jealous of the girls who went. Maybe a little bitter. But still happy with my choice! Anyway, there are a few hymns we sing at church that are total "missionary anthems," if you will. I started to feel bugged when I would hear them. Like, "yeah yeah, missions are great. Other things are great, too! The things I'm doing are great!" And then one day I looked at one of these hymns differently, and since then it has been one of my favorites.

I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go.

It may not be on the mountain height or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle's front my Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls to paths that I do not know,
I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I'll go where you want me to go.

Perhaps today there are loving words which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the path of sin some wand'rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet: I'll say what you want me to say.

There's surely somewhere a lowly place in earth's harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life's short day for Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me,
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere: I'll be what you want me to be.

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I'll be what you want me to be.

I think it's pretty clear why that hymn means a lot to so many missionaries; it's a beautiful and empowering pledge to our Savior and His work. It means a lot to me for that reason too - even though I've never been a full-time missionary. This hymn taught me I didn't need to be, in order to follow the Savior.

It reminds me the Lord is keenly aware of me. He knows me and loves me perfectly. He has a great, big plan for me. And I'm not second-best in His eyes because I didn't serve a mission. He knows the things I do and the things I experience on my own every day - even the seemingly small ones - are important. He can use them all to help me be the best version of myself, if I trust Him and I let Him. And I do trust Him. I genuinely do want to be what He wants me to be. I want to follow Him, try to be more like Him, teach others about Him, every single day - wherever I am, whatever I'm doing.

. . . . .

My second story happened a few weeks ago. One afternoon, Peter fell and hurt his mouth. I'm not even completely sure what happened or from where exactly all the blood was coming - it's, like.. really hard to get a baby to let you look in their mouth. He didn't seem to be in pain, but the blood kept coming. It started to slow down at one point, but then he drank a bottle for dinner and I think all the sucking agitated it and made it worse again. Stefan was home when it happened, but later in the evening he had to leave. We had decided not to take Peter to urgent care or anything because, what could they do, really? He honestly would have had to be sedated before anyone could look inside his mouth, and even then - what could they do from there?

So I was alone to put him to bed, and I was really nervous. He always gets a bottle and a pacifier before he goes to sleep, and after the bottle-at-dinner incident I didn't feel like I could give him either! I tried putting him down without them, and it was a mess. He cried and cried and that probably made the bleeding worse, too - when I went to check on him it was all over his blanket and sheets and face. It was so sad! I called my sister for advice and she said the best thing was probably to give him the bottle and pacifier so he would calm down and fall asleep. Sleep was what he needed most at this point.

As he drank his bottle, I offered a prayer. I told my Heavenly Father I wished I would have asked Stefan to give Peter a Priesthood blessing before he left, but now it was too late. All I wanted was for my baby to fall asleep and heal. I asked Heavenly Father directly to please heal Peter's mouth. I don't do that a lot when I pray - ask for very specific things. But in that moment I needed it, and I knew I was asking for a good thing, so I did.

The peace I felt during that prayer brings me to tears just about every time I think back on it. As I expressed my love for Peter in that prayer I felt it more deeply than I ever have, and I honestly think I was given a glimpse of how much Heavenly Father loves him, too. It felt like He was right there with me saying, "I know how you feel. I love him, too. He's going to be okay."

Peter finished his bottle, took his pacifier, and fell right to sleep. He slept peacefully through the night, and in the morning I didn't see a single sign of any new blood. He had a bottle at breakfast and nothing. He was totally better.

I fully understand that I am his mom and because of that, the entire situation may have seemed worse in my eyes than it really was. And you know what, maybe his mouth would have healed by morning without my prayer. But I just can't deny what I felt during and after that prayer. I felt so close to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I felt a greater appreciation for Christ's atonement. I know that through it, He knew exactly how Peter and I were both feeling in that moment - afraid. And because He knows that feeling, He knows how to comfort it. I know miracles are real. I know Heavenly Father is ready and waiting to bless us every day, if only we turn to him. None of our prayers are too small to be heard. I know prayers bring us peace. And if there's one thing I want to bring in to my home and give to my family, it's peace.


February 27, 2017

Okay I have a few stories, let's start with the laughs:

Story Number One: Two days before Valentine's Day, my brother-in-law asked me to help him with something. He asked me to overnight four loaves of Grandma Sycamore bread to him in Chicago. His wife loves it, but it isn't sold anywhere near where they live. So the next day I bought the bread, a big old box, and some plastic padding. Everyone in the post office watching me pack it all up probably thought I was nutty, and honestly I wondered if I was, too. I took it to the counter and the lady helping me told me I couldn't overnight it from that location. We live in a small town, so everything has to go through Salt Lake City first. She said if I took it up to Salt Lake and mailed it straight from there, they could get delivered the next day. Super fortunately, I was already going to Salt Lake later that day! I took it to a post office up there, and it cost seventy-three dollars - and change - to get it delivered by noon the next day. Not to mention what I had paid for the bread and packaging already - our total was a little over ninety dollars. Okay. My brother-in-law didn't care, he knew it was going to be pricey, but he also really wanted to do it for his wife. The next day my sister-in-law texts me saying her husband is crazy, but thanks for helping him also be sweet. Success! Happy valentine's day to everyone.

But wait! There's more! The package wasn't delivered on time! Not that we needed it to be delivered by noon. Their 2:20PM drop off time was fine for us - except that they had given us a money-back guarantee it would be delivered by noon. So you can bet I marched back to that post office (the one in my town - not Salt Lake again), politely explained what had happened, and we got all seventy-three dollars - and change - right back in our pockets.

So hopefully that made you laugh a little. Okay, the next story is kind of a laugh/cry.

Story Number Two: The week before Peter was born, some friends invited us to see a movie with them because they had been given tons of free movies tickets. We saw 10 Cloverfield Lane - not my first choice, as you may have guessed. But during the movie, the theater had a lot of technical difficulties - the lights came on, the screen had glitches - so we all walked away with even more free movie tickets! They were good for a year so we kept saving ours since it can be tricky to get to a movie with a baby. Last weekend we finally got a chance to use them. They were AMC tickets so we found the closest AMC theater to us and went to see La La Land - my first choice, as you may have guessed. (But Stefan did want to see it too and ended up loving it.) So we're there trying to use our free tickets and the girl helping us goes, "Oh, we're not an AMC theater yet.. I think we officially switch over in March." Sooo we had to pay for our tickets - and our popcorn, obviously. We figured, oh well, we'll go see our free movie in March. THEN! Oh, then.. the next day.. I left those free movie tickets in my pants pocket..! and washed them. They're totally unusable. After a year of saving them! 

Okay so maybe that story is more of a cry.. happy though because Stefan seriously loves La La Land so much. Maybe more than I do. We already can't wait to see it again. After being months late to the party.. Also I just decided I'm saving my third story for a separate post because it doesn't really fit with these stories. Let's finish this off with some unrelated pictures of Peter in Stefan's old baby shirt and socks.