Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Year in Photos

I made this for my brother, Ammon, for Christmas. So ignore the  Elder Rhodes bit. Overall I find it a good summary of our year... complete with lot's of photos of lil' one. WARNING: Approx 19 min long... you should have control to skip over more quickly, but there's still a lot!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Under Pressure

Well... hello there. Long time no see. Of course, ultimately for very good reasons. Buuuu.... uhhhuuuttt... I'm feeling this extreme amount of pressure to blog again. If only to record the beautiful things happening these days, or even the not so beautiful. In my defense I have started like a bajillion posts, including my delivery story and a day by day playback of the first two weeks of the lil' ones life. Because recording how many times she pooed is very important for posterity. You know it is.
Then yesterday she had her six month well child check with Dr. Grandpa. And I was in a panic that I haven't been recording every little thing possible. That all the little changes haven't been shared enough.
There are multiple reasons, one, being the computer I save all my pictures on has been ridiculous about connecting to the internet. And everybody knows you can't write a post after six months without including a picture bomb of the adorable daughter. Duh!
Two through five hundred include: having a baby, recovering from having a baby, feeding baby, getting mastitis twice, changing baby (times one million), not sleeping, cleaning baby puke, going back to work, find someone to watch baby, doing laundry, finding a spare moment to shower, etc.
To summarize: the first three months were HARD. Yes, all caps were appropriate in that sentence. She was colicky, had horrible reflux, breastfeeding was a nightmare, she would not sleep, and cried constantly. I only survived because I had so much help. Avery was wonderful. My mother a life saver, especially when I got mastitis the first time... which happened to be the second weekend home with her, and Avery and my dad were in Moab. Ugh. And Avery's mom, Lora, taking her so many Saturdays just so I could sleep.
I went back to work after six weeks... note to self: way too soon. Luckily, it was teaching only a day or two a week, but still with everything, it was too much for me.
Now don't get me wrong, she was beautiful and tiny and perfect. But I probably have PTSD from the 'newborn' stage.
Then magically she transformed. She decided to wean on her own, absolutely refused, so we switched to formula. Found the perfect one for sensitive tummies, added rice cereal to weigh it down, and poof.... colic and reflux cured. She stopped puking, stopped crying as much, started sleeping. *****HALLELUJAH***** Angels singing, light of heaven shining down. I suddenly had a happy and beautiful and tiny and perfect baby.
She started rolling, then never stopped, started laughing, started smiling, started playing on her own, started pushing herself up, started standing, started crawling, started pulling herself up. All in a matter of three months. Best three months of my life. I love how much fun she has become. We laugh and play and dance. She can still be super annoying, she is very high maintenance, way too independent for a six month old, and way too smart for my sanity. But now I can honestly say I enjoy being a mother.
It might have been a good thing I didn't write a post in those first few months. There would have been way too many murmurings about my mental health. The other day I finally had the thought about having another baby without dropping into the fetal position and sucking my thumb. Don't worry it still won't be for a while. A long, long while. It's interesting how badly I wanted to have a baby, how long I waited for her, how hard we tried, and then how difficult I've found every step. It's not necessarily sad, just interesting. Life is funny.
Things are lovely. I love her so much. She loves daddy more, but you can't always win. I changed jobs, which has turned out wonderfully. I love my job. I love my time with her. Teaching her things, or just watching her figure them out on her own. Which is what usually happens. I know every parent thinks this, but she's a freaking genius. It's insane. Her little serious face when she concentrates super hard cracks me up. How hard she laughs at the silly things Uncle Austin does, is my favorite. How she growls at daddy every time she sees him, because he taught her that, drives me nuts, but it's still adorable. She is my life. And I am totally okay with that.
There are still a few bad, but not nearly as much. Avery is almost done with school, but still has to work a lot on his Master's thesis and project. My work is great, though lately it's been hard to find childcare and I worry about leaving her. Our health has been good, but I'm still not 100% after the pregnancy. I swear my organs are still jacked up. Plus, the amount of Dr. Pepper I drink is unhealthy, and not helping the weight loss. Avery and I are great, doing well adjusting to being parents and partners. He is a great daddy. He comes home kissing Audrey all over, telling her how much he missed her, and how beautiful she is. And then I say "Uh, hello? I'm here too."  :)
I can't wait until we can move out and have a place of our own. But will always be extremely grateful to my parents. I worry about my loved ones' health. There's been some concerns lately. Makes you realize how lucky you are sometimes. And makes you realize how fragile we all really are. I have full blown nightmares about Audrey; being hurt, in danger, or killed. Is that normal? I don't necessarily worry as much during the day, but when my thoughts wander at night....
Luckily, my monitor has a video function that I can switch on and look in on her without waking her. And if I turn up the sound enough, I can hear her snore. Unfortunately, she inherited that from me. Like right now, if you could see her, she's all curled up with her bum and in the air and talking in her sleep. Makes me teary, while smiling.
Oh, and PS she weighs a whopping 14 lbs which puts her in the 12% (good for her) and is 25 inches long (44%) and her head circumference in the 50%. We call her 'bobble head baby': big head, skinny body. But we also call her AdeyBug, Bugga, BabyGirl, and DriDri.
You can call her Audrey. My daughter.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bumpin' Together

What do two VERY pregnant girls do for funsies these days? Well, there's the pajama party we had last week. Complete with about $20 worth of Easter candy and Taco Bell. The best part... no pants. Ugh! I hate pants. Like the real kind you have to zip up and everything. So very tight. Also, sports bras. Yay! Usually, I don't leave the house in one for the general population's sake, but when I'm guaranteed to not see anyone I know... then I'm all over that. Hanna doesn't really count as someone I know, because, well she's in the same upper-half boat.
Some days it's just the park or a walk around the cemetery block. This is if we actually get out of the house instead of just texting/complaining all day about how large we feel. I say we... I mean me.
This week we decided to be productive girls and head up to Park City for a little shop 'til you drop outing. Which to be honest, I was expecting to have happen after the first store. I have zero energy lately. Negative zero. Vacuuming nearly killed me this week. I changed the sheets and almost passed out on the bed right then and there. When we parked and I recalled really how large the outlets were, I panicked a little bit.
But... it was so very fun! I survived! I spent way too much! But hey, what can you do when Carter's has a sale? Say no?!? Pshaw! They get me every time with those summer dresses. My cute little doll/baby has some outfits I'm envious of.
Then we hit a few other stores, even grown up ones, and walked around. The most amusing part of all was our reflections in the store windows. The combined girth of the bellies is officially ginormous! In DownEast we were testing out hair accessories (since that's really the only thing in that store I fit into) and I documented part of the swelling.

Can you say Buh-Elly? Cracks me up though. Do you like how I wore black because it's slimming? Hehehe... it does make it blend a bit better. Hmmm... maybe I need more black shirts.
All in all, a good day, the sun was shining, pretty clothes, talk of babies. Oh and this kid...

He makes me happy. Something about him... dunno. He's one of the coolest kids I know. Maybe it's the fact he remembers my name. Or how he gets the biggest toothy grin when he says, "Jenn!" Or that every time his mom mentions me he asks, "Dogs?" Because he loves my puppies, except when they lick him. I guess in reality he likes the idea of them more than their actual presence. But the coolest is that he remembers my furry babies names' when I show him a picture because he is sad that I didn't bring them with me to our shopping trip. "Apollo." and "Missy" never sounded so dang cute.
Hopefully, I'll like my own daughter as much. Hopefully, she'll be as entertaining and clever. Hopefully, she'll be cute and we can enjoy shopping trips together.

Speaking of baby girl... get out of there already!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Body Is A Wonderland

Maybe I should rethink that title...
Our bodies are amazing. No, seriously, think about it. Do you know what kind of crazy stuff we can do to them, and they just heal right back up? I've seen it. I love it. I am that weird girl who was always fascinated by the human body. It is just so cool. How the different mini and not so mini systems work together. How all the little parts fit together. We went to the Bodies exhibit in Las Vegas on our first anniversary, I was giddy. GIDDY! Who does that? ...Me...

So last night I was laying there, trying to sleep... again (aren't you glad I didn't blog this time?) and my daughter was squirming around every which way, making me slightly queasy. Fetal movement does that to me. I tell you, I don't love the sensation. Plus, it just keeps me awake!

I started thinking about what exactly was going on in there. This whole reproduction deal. Now I am not going to lie. Pregnancy used to gross me out. Having this living creature grow inside you. Reminds me too much of the Alien movies. You know, where the thing squirms around beneath the skin and then SPLACK... pops out and devours everyone in the room.
Whenever one of my friends was pregnant and the fetus would push an entire foot or hand through. AAAAHHHH!!!! Kill it!!!

Maybe not kill it, but creepy, no?
But last night... it was pure magic. The fact that my body could produce another body. Magic. Everything my daughter needs to grow and stretch started out with my body and then her's took off on it's own. She has eyelashes now! Awesome. Somehow my body has just formed this other living being. Even my organs have sacrificed their personal space to make room for the bubble that houses that being. My skin has stretched and expanded to beyond reasonable expectation. I have the stretch marks to prove it. Not so much on my stomach; as my hip, thighs, butt, and... yeah... ahem.

Speaking of... The fact that my body could produce something edible. Nasty! Another thing that used to creep me right out. Anything that comes OUT of the human body should not be ingested. I've worked in rest homes before.

But now the thought that my body will soon be able to nourish and feed my daughter even after she's out and independent (so to speak), is amazing. (On a side note: has anybody researched selling/donating breast milk? I'm curious.) The fact that a human body can not only form another human body but then continue to help it grow after it ejects, is just so cool. Pretty soon I will have that little girl to hold and snuggle. She just needs a bit more time to bake.

For one small moment I treasured the feeling of her poking my ribs on one side and distending my belly on the other. I reveled in the wonder of it all. My body is cool. And guess what... so is hers. How lucky are we? Poor males have no idea what they are missing.

Then she kicked me extra hard and I was annoyed again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Reward System

Since a few of you (I'm sorry) sat through that entire post known as Jenn's brainwaves (again... I'm sorry) I thought I would keep this one light and fluffy.


So without further ado here are pictures of puppy... our new little girl Artemis.
And belly... our future little girl Audrey.

I really don't like going to bed alone. Last night, when Avery stayed up late to play his new map pack on Call of Duty, these two snuggled with me. I love furry body pillows.

This from the first week we got her. She's so tiny! Aww, they grow up so fast, don't they?

Why yes, that is a Star Wars shirt (little boy section Target).
You know how all the fancy blogs list where they got their clothes... you are welcome.

If you look really close you might be able to see her squirm.

Enjoy your warm, fuzzies!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Laaate Night

Did you know that in linguistics, technically the term for how I worded that title is representational? You have my... ahem... Avery's Engl 1200 class to thank for that one. Yes, I am the kind of wife that takes entire online classes for her husband. No, I do not do it willingly, nor often. But as he likes to point out, I actually think these sort of things are fascinating and I'm so good at it. No one can ever say that boy does not know how to work me over. A few words and a good kiss, a good one, mind you. Not those little peck things that you give to other members of your family. But the way you only kiss your wife... and I'm buttah.
In case you couldn't tell, I haven't been getting much sleep lately. Strike that. I've been in bed, but not actually accomplishing any REM cycles. Something is up. And it's annoying! I love sleep. Sleep makes everything better. And now with so much free time... hahaha, oh wait not allowed to bust out laughing yet, I thought it would come so much more readily. No more having to drag myself to the office at all early hours. BOO! Which is nice. Instead I just lay there all... night... long. Having strange night/day dreams that just leave me feeling awkward. Like the one where I was apparently back on my mission with all my elders, but they were all married, and I was pregnant because even in my daze her kicking me all night was carrying through, and this kid I dated in high school showed up and started trying to convince me he would be a better father, even though I'm pretty sure the life he has led up until now (real life time) isn't what I would want for my children, and all I really wanted was my Avery, and a riisipirakka. Mmmm.... I miss riisipirakka. They are like this rice pastry thing that you put egg butter on. Egg butter is butter that has chunks of hard boiled egg in it. Sooo good. Hey there's that representational term again.
Linguistics are interesting. It's not just English. I'm all right with English. We've always had a good relationship. Even up until AP English in high school where we had to write these short stories all the time and one of them, I wrote about walking down the halls of high school and feeling good about yourself and my friends found it and made fun of me for a good three years. Or even until my English 2000 class in college where I despised my teacher and spent the entire semester working on one writing assignment, that I chose to do on the evils of modern healthcare. See, I figured out the solution years ago, what are all the politicians doing? And I would come home and call my boy...friend... I'm not sure what we ever were, and complain but he had no sympathy. Probably why we didn't last. My feelings require constant validation. Even if Avery doesn't really care, he knows enough to lie to me, and give a good ol' fashioned, "That sucks, babe."
But linguistics are interesting because it really has nothing to do with English. In fact his/my quiz has examples of Latin, Tagalog, Fijian, Finnish, and German on it. You can imagine I was very pleased to see Finnish. It is after all a very good example of how many cases one can cram into one teeny-tiny language nobody really speaks. But linguistics is more about words. I adore words. Who knows why. It's sort of odd really. But I'm fascinated by how words became what they have, and how they come together to make new words. Like 'jeggings' have you heard this word yet? Seriously, leggings and jeans. Fascinating. Not saying I really want to use it that much, hopefully it'll die soon, like the fashion trend, but still... awesome word. Do you know what the term is for making up new words out of old ones? I do. See why Avery made me take this course.
It's making me feel a bit overwhelmed though. What if I mess up? What if he gets a bad grade? It would be one thing if it were to be on my report card. Mine's full of the freshman year overload disaster known as the retake of Precalculus. The first time I think Avery's been truly embarrassed by me was when he saw my grade from that class. Sad. But perfect 4.0 Avery!?! What if I mess up his chances of graduating next spring? What if he won't be able to get the dream job he's been aiming for going on six years now? *STRESS*
On top of that there really is a lot going on with my job right now. Yes, I still have a job. I'm supposed to be writing and editing about four power points presentations this week, and two quizzes, and a review, and researching local dentists, and reviewing marketing material, and doing deliveries to offices to pimp my course, and a career fair at a high school. *STRESS*
Not sleeping is not helping... at all.
Unfortunately, I can only find so much time to shake off the aftereffects due to no sleep. Then the end of the week ends jam packed with the to-do list that I put off and I have to spend hours staring a computer screen to catch up.
And then I lay awake thinking... How am I supposed to do all this with a baby? What was I thinking? I can't have a baby right now! How on earth are we going to pay for this? How am I going to survive this? Why won't she stop moving?
See right now it's 2:47 AM and I'm slightly panicking. I'm also up late because I started reading this blog after it was mentioned in the article. Have you heard about this article? First I have to tell you how many times I've been laughing out loud in the dark while reading old posts and trying not to wake the puppy because of the author of the blog. A woman after my own heart. Anywho. But the article itself is by a self-proclaimed atheist, childless, 20 something women who adores Mormon Mommy Blogs. And now has brought out all these questions as to why they are so popular, what does it all mean, is it a massive marketing campaign generated by the church and so forth. I felt very deep after reading it and reflecting on it. I also felt very blessed for my life. I am lucky to have it all, so to speak. Even if having it all, is living in your parents basement while your husband finishes his 90th year of school, and you're too poor to even buy a crib, and you really don't know how to sew. Like all the Mormon Mommy Bloggers too. So I guess I'm not part of the in crowd.
But my good friend Hanna and I were commenting on the article. Do you know my friend Hanna? She's probably my bestest friend in the whole world and not just because she's one of the smartest people I know, or the only one who I think I could text about this article I read and she says... oh that, I read that last week. And have something intellectual to add to my already deep thoughts. My thoughts aren't really that deep but when I spend a fair amount time on a subject I can go on for a while. Like this post...
Hanna and me are sort of complete opposites. No, really, for a best friend you wouldn't believe that, but it's true. There was a time when we roomed together, while she was in college and I was working, that I wondered how on earth we became friends. But then we would talk about things on our way to country dancing and I realized she was my soul friend. Not soul mate. Because A) I don't believe in those. B) If I did, it would be my husband.
But we do like to joke that we married each other. My Avery could be Hanna, if he wore a wig and had a pair of vans. Those two think so much alike it's scary, especially when I'm complaining about him and she's on his side! Pshaw. But on the other hand, her man, is a little more the emotional, needy type like myself. That's not to be insulting in any way because her husband is very manly. He owns a woodworking shop. Like a carpenter! Very manly. But his thought processes are probably more similar to my own, than Hanna's or Avery's. So usually I can translate for her what he's thinking.
Also Hanna served a mission with me, not in Finland, but she left at the same time I did, more or less, so our attitudes on religion grew up about the same time. Which was very fun to share with someone.
Anyways that's Hanna and mine relationship. So you'll keep all that in mind as I say that we were commenting on the article and picking out some of our favorite comments "Mormons are nice people, but their religion is some weird cross between Scientology and Budhism." And then started discussing how the author herself seems drawn to the life probably because secretly it's what everyone woman is programmed to be drawn to in a way, no matter how much they fight it. And how we really are lucky to be able to be mothers. Then we started complaining about the various body parts that hurt today, because did I tell you we are literally due like a week apart?
Then I stayed up reading this blog; and identifying with this girl's journey from being unable to conceive to now having a beautiful son and living this life I can only dream of. And I realize I'm living it.
And I'm so very grateful. And no it's not staged. Some of it does suck like being in a tiny apartment, or your parent's basement. Some of it is letting go of your pride or impatience (Thanks, Christine =) )and trusting in the Lord, after doing all the hard work. Most of it really is unglamorous with late nights and lack of sleep. Most of it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. But it's my life, my journey, and for the gifts God has given me, I am able to fulfill a small measure of my creation. I am able to find joy. I weep to think of those who do not have this. Who deny themselves this, because they are too scared to think what it could mean or what they would have to change to attain it. I am angered by those who would seek to destroy it or belittle it somehow from the truly precious find that it is. I hope to pass on this knowledge and peace to my daughter, because Heaven knows how much more she will need it than I. Even now as she's kicking the crap out of me, my panic comes not from how will I survive, but how will she. I hope she will find the gift of being a women as beautiful and lovely as I have now only begun to enjoy, and to do so with her head lifted. Pronouncing to the world, this is how God made me, this is who I will be. A mother. Or a Mormon Mommy Blogger depending on your lingo.
And all the crazy, late night hormone inducing ramblings that accompany it. Because it is now 3:20 and it's obvious from the length and apparent lack of actual content, I need to go to bed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Nursery Aspirations

The great nesting/purge has begun. Well it started last week; but after a long day of scrubbing, vacuuming, and dusting, it faded a bit. I am so tired. I grow exhausted after carrying a laundry basket. Ridiculous. So, unfortunately, my to-do list only grows exponentially longer as my energy level drops daily. Grumble... mumble. After quitting one of my jobs I had hoped to have more strength and time. Where do all the days go?!?
My job as an instructor has been me keeping busy, especially with the additional duties of office work and marketing. And luckily it's been better on my body, the actual assisting was very hard with the long hours standing, sitting, bending over patients. I miss it though. You do one thing for so long, and without it you sort of... lose your identity. I feel very much a mom. If not just old. Which is silly considering my actual age. Maybe it would help to have an actual baby around to faun over. I cannot wait!
I hit 24 weeks last week, 6 months! Yay! Only 3 more to go... well sort of. Since the little known slogan of 10 months is thrown around, it sounds better to say 9 months. If you were to tell all ladies everywhere it's more like 10... they might think twice. Double digits are just depressing. Much like my bathroom scale is these days. I feel as though time has slowed down. It might be contributed to my recent part-timeyness, or just the fact that I feel more uncomfortable everyday. And it's only going to get worse. Man, do I complain a lot.
It's sort of a let down after finding out what you're having. Now what do you have to look forward to? Get excited about just continuing the journey to whaledom? Lame. It's too far away to get too excited for an actual baby. A little newborn to snuggle and hold. Nope, not really realistic to me right now. Maybe I'm in denial. That would explain a lot. Though I have started my baby registration. Hehehe. The baby shower planning has begun. So looking at all the expensive items I have to have and all the very cute ones I want... is so very fun. Unless I count out the number of hours I have to work to just pay for a crib. Highway robbery!
I have found my inspiration for design...

What do you think? The room is already painted blue, thanks to my being absolutely certain it was a boy at first. But I still like it. Even for my little baby girl. I love all the bright colors in these, still feminine and youthful without being too... pink.
There is also these...

I love the more modern feel. But it might be a bit too pastel for my taste. Well, for what I have taste for a child's room. I do like white. Hmmm...
My crib I have picked out is white. I get to use my mother's rocking chair, that is a really pretty oak. And the floors were recently redone in bamboo. So we will have the more modern feel anyways. But I like the pizazz of not really having a theme but just brightness to it. I think I just want white or possibly pale pink sheets. I don't really think I want a crib set. I found these really great bumpers that are breathable, like a mesh, so baby doesn't smother herself. So not very cute, but I don't love a lot of characters or cutesy flowers. I am crocheting a baby blanket in bright red (thanks Hanna) that I think will be the pop I want for the bed without a comforter.
When I was younger my nickname was Jennybug. My mom would always get ladybug items to go along with that name. Since we decided on our daughter's name... Audrey... if you didn't hear... Ave wanted to know what her nickname would be. Even when we were considering boy names his question would always be, "And what would we actually call him? What would his nickname be?" Which to me is just pointless. What good is a name if you're just going to change it by pre-deciding a nickname. Why can't we just call each other by our actual name? Soap box kicked aside, I decided it would be fun to carry on the ladybug theme. To an extent. But Audrey can go by little A-D-bug... as in lady without the L. Eh eh? What do you think?
My dad already found a cute ladybug nightlight at Ikea he almost couldn't walk away from. Which would have to replace my lightsaber nightlight I already got... I thought it was a boy remember? So since then I've been trying to figure out what type of daughter I will have. Either a nerdy, odd girl like me who would love to have a lightsaber nightlight. Or a normal, little girl that would one day look back at her weird mother's taste in nightlights. Being a parent is scary. Will I ruin my child's life by forcing on her a nightlight. Ahhh!
How does everybody do it?
So much to think about... good thing I still have 3 months... or more. Grrr.