January 31, 2012

My Baby Felt Like a Baby Today

Ellie woke up today and was in the mood to cuddle. She stayed in that mood for the remainder of the day, and as a result, stayed in my arms or lap for the majority of it. She didn't squirm and reach to explore and boast her independence, she just stayed quietly in my arms. I must have kissed her chubby cheeks at least 400 times. Oh it felt good to me a mother today.
Lately I've been a little freaked out by how old Ellie is seeming. She's on the road to walking, completely bypassing the option to crawl, and I'm already fine-tuning the details of her first birthday party (still a few months away... I'm getting ahead of myself.) I'm loving how her personality blossoms as she gets older, how I can now see her hill-billy teeth as they break through the gums, and how what used to be a gentle giggle is now a full-fledged laugh from deep in her gut. But I'm sad that the "baby" stage is such a fleeting moment. My baby is gonna be a toddler before I know it. 
I just hope there are plenty more days like today... days where all she wants is to rest in the arms of her mama. I don't care if she's eight months old or eighteen years. I'll always welcome days like today.

January 30, 2012

January 29, 2012

"How much do I love you?"
I'll tell you no lie.
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?
How many times in a day 
do I think of you?
How many roses 
are sprinkled with dew?
How far would I travel
just to be where you are?
How far is the journey
from here to a star?
And if I ever lost you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?"
-Etta James

January 28, 2012

Yesterday I...

helped, encouraged, and monitored Ellie while she cruised (held onto things and walked) around the apartment,
 and made pizza,
and that basically sums up my day.

January 27, 2012

Just For the Record

I like to cook for my husband. I do. I like to cook in general, and it just so happens that my husband would be hopelessly hungry and skinny if I didn't cook for him. (BJ has a way of getting what he wants- in a very non-creepy, non-male-chauvinistic way- from the women around him. His mom started the trend... his sisters gave in a time or two... I came along... and now even my mom makes him sandwiches and guacamole and always makes sure there are goldfish and gatorades in the house for him.) BJ has a very childlike nature and has such an endearing personality about him that all of sudden, in all your effort to help him grow up and thrive independently like a big 25 year-old man...
You find yourself doing menial tasks for him that he could so easily (and should so easily) do for himself. Like: packing him a lunch every day for work, bringing him a glass of chocolate milk in bed at night, cleaning out his closet time and time again, and pulling off his cowboy boots for him at the end of the day. I say this all because I know I blog a lot about cooking for my husband, but it should be known...
I am not a perfect wife.

Now, this goes without saying that I try very hard to be a wonderful wife because my husband treats me well, he is a good man, and he deserves that, but alas, I am definitely not perfect.
I believe in old fashioned male and female roles to some extent. I have a great, big opinion about staying in the home now that I'm a mom, so I think it's only fair that if my husband agrees to work hard every day and bring home money for our family, then I should be willing to pull my side of the load by keeping house, and cooking. That, and the fact that being a homemaker is all I've always wanted to do.
My greatest fear about having children was that mine and BJ's relationship would suffer. I didn't want us to grow apart. I knew I was gonna put a lot of effort, energy, time, and attention into raising our children, and I didn't want to lose the closeness that BJ and I had with each other.
 All my life my dad has said "I love you" innumerably to me. There wasn't a day that went by growing up that I didn't hear those words from him. I remember being absolutely offended one day when my dad admitted that he loved my mom more than he loved me. "What???!!!!" I was outraged! But then I thought about it... and reason began to settle. I learned a great lesson from my dad that day.
Children have a parent's heart in a way that is indescribable. But the relationship between a husband and wife is the most important relationship to cultivate in a family. Children must come second.
Perhaps this is why I spend so much of time preparing meals for BJ. I want him to feel that my entire day is not solely devoted to Ellie. Men are simple creatures and really only want a few things. They want to be fed, they want be praised (even if just in subtle ways- i.e. BJ prefers my time to verbal affirmation,) and they want lovin'. 
I am not a perfect wife,  but I try every single day to be a great one.
BJ needs a woman to feed him, and I'm sure as heck gonna make sure that I'm that woman. 

January 26, 2012

January 25, 2012

On My Mind- Part 2

I spoke on the phone with my big sister yesterday. We of course talked about babies and motherhood- the hot topic of conversation between my sisters and me. My sister has four beautiful girls. (Seriously beautiful girls.) We shared experiences and she showered her wisdom and motherly expertise upon me. She loves being a mother, and she especially loves raising four girls. What a calling! Four daughters! We spoke about womanhood and femininity.
Isn't it nice to be a girl?
It is a noble calling to be a mother. We have such an important job. Much personal evaluation goes on in my head and prayers every day. I try to make adjustments and improvements to see that I am raising my daughter the way that she deserves to be raised. At stake conference on Saturday night the thought crossed my mind,
"If I died today could I stand before my maker and say that I had raised Ellie the way He would have wanted me to?" 
I know that I was created to be a mother. I know that I was created to be a woman that is kind, nurturing, and loving. I know that I was created to reach out to others.
I hope more than anything, when all is said and done and Ellie Layne leaves my home to venture out into the wide world on her own, I pray that she desires to be a mother. Motherhood encompasses all that is lovely about womanhood. It is the crowning jewel of being a lady.
I am so honored to be a woman, to be a mother, and to have daughter all my own. We will strive to continue the legacy our remarkable ancestors left for us.

January 24, 2012

On My Mind- Part 1

On Sunday we attended stake conference and watched a broadcast that was given for all the stakes in southern California. Paul V. Johnson shared a story about his daughter that had me in tears. It's been on my mind ever since.

A mother was out shopping one Saturday to find a gift for a birthday party her daughters would be attending for their young cousin. She spotted a beautiful music box- the kind that opens up to reveal a twirling ballerina and a sweet, twinkling tune. She stood looking at the music box, which came in a small, and large size, and knew that they were just the sort of thing a young little girl would love. After much time standing and looking she decided to buy one small music box for her niece's birthday, and two large music boxes to save and give her daughters for Christmas. 
That night as she tucked her daughters into bed she talked with them about the birthday party and before she even completed her sentence describing the music box she bought for their cousin, her youngest daughter was in hysterical tears. The mother was bewildered and asked her daughter what was wrong with the gift she had chosen. In between the broken sobs her daughter confessed, "That is the exact kind of present that I want! That's all I want is a music box like that!" 
The mother held her daughter and offered what she thought would be a glimmer of hope, "Well sweetie, maybe for Christmas you could get a music box that's even more beautiful than this one."
The daughter rebutted, "There isn't a more beautiful box than that one! That is the perfect one!"
The mother couldn't help but smile to herself knowing what her downtrodden daughter had in store. She would not only get a beautiful music box too, but her music box would be even bigger and grander than the one she was hoping for.
Through the sound of her daughter's tears and her own words of consolation, inspired thoughts came into her mind. The sweet mother thought how often times she is just like her daughter- full of hope and longing for things she think would be the very best... things she would like to have now. But often her vision is short-sighted. Often times her Father in heaven has a much greater gift in store for her than what she can even imagine, if only she would wait in patience to receive it. She thought about herself- a precious child of a Heavenly Father who loves her more than she understands. He, like this mother, knows and loves His children. All he wants is to give them gifts that are beautiful and grand. Often these gifts require waiting, just as the little daughter experienced, but if we wait patiently on the Lord and trust in His love for us, one day we will receive our big, beautiful music box.

This story inevitably led me to tears... and led my thoughts to many different places...
 3 Nephi 14:11- "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
...and, "So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket- the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings- we hope and seek after things that are virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy." The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event- our golden ticket- to appear." Dieter F. Uchtdorf "Forget Me Not"
"In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, yours education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf "Forget Me Not"
I am so grateful for moments like the one I had on Sunday- moments of clarity, moments of revelation from God, and moments of comfort from the Spirit. There is so much to be grateful for when God is in our lives.

January 23, 2012

I've had so much on my mind lately... in a good way. I feel like I'm really getting a lot out of this clean-slate feeling of a new year. I feel ambitious, grateful, contemplative, and happy. I have so much I wanna write about- a story I wanna share and thoughts that need documentation. But tonight is not the night for that. Words will come eventually, just not tonight.

January 22, 2012

January 20, 2012

Friday Fieldtrip at Roger's Gardens

A friend of mine had a great idea to go on little excursions together each Friday with our little peanuts. She has a son that's just two weeks younger than Ellie, and he's a doll. Today we went to Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach and our friend Jenna joined us with her two girls. Roger's Gardens is a nursery, or "the nursery" of Orange County- according to my mother-in-law JaLayne. The gardens are so beautiful. They go on and on and on. We three wound our strollers along the winding paths of the gardens and pointed out poppies, succulents, and "pink ones" to each other and the little ones. This trip reaffirmed my greatest desire... a home of our own with a yard and a garden. One day my friends will come to Ellery's Gardens. 
I used to describe the color of Ellie's eyes as a "denim blue," but now they're becoming a lot lighter and crystal-y. Man alive she is a pretty girl.
This lettuce... I want it all right outside my kitchen door.
My childhood best friend's dad used to call her petunia. I couldn't help but think of her... and Alice in Wonderland.
 Oh the snap dragons! These scream childhood to me!
Ellie liked them too... naturally.
Heavenly Father is so good to us. This world is beautiful. What ever would we do without flowers and plants?
It was such a nice day. I'm always amazed at how inspired I am just by seeing something beautiful. There is so much beauty in the world, and so much beauty to be created. That is why I love to stay at home. I try hard to make my home (or my temporarily borrowed apartment) a beautiful place to be.
Over and out folks.

I'm Cookin'...He's Eatin'

BJ's on a mission to gain some weight and add a little mass to his sinewy physique. Beej has never been big and bulky, but he decided the other day that enough was enough... he wants his muscles back.
Cue me.
 As a result, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately- which I love. I hate protein shakes... I hate preparing my husband protein shakes... and I hate my husband drinking protein shakes. I would prefer him to get his calories and protein in a healthier, more delicious fashion. We've been eating hot breakfasts together each day this week, and of course dinner together at night. I send him to work each day with his lunch pail packed full of goods. This is one area I feel very old-fashioned about... I love to cook for my husband. Anyone that knows BJ well knows that he does not cook for himself. This doesn't frustrate me. In fact, I relish the opportunity to pamper him in this way. I like to be the wife in the kitchen makin' some home cookin' for my man.
(Breakfast: oatmeal, egg white, and cottage cheese pancakes with peanut butter, bananas, syrup, and vanilla bean sugar. And a tall goblet of chocolate milk.)
(Lunch: red quinoa with chicken, tomatoes, corn, black beans, caramelized onions, lettuce, and salsa.)
(Dinner: Italian tortellini soup, rosemary bread, and homemade bruschetta.)
You'll have to imagine the peanut butter m & m's and chocolate chips I eat continually throughout the day yourself. I don't take pictures of those.
Happy home cookin'!

January 18, 2012

There's a Funny Thing About Being a Parent...

No matter how much you love 'em...
when your children go to bed...
it feels like heaven...

It is but 10:30 and I have...

woken up.
done yoga.
made the bed.
fed my baby.
fed my husband (pancakes.)
fed myself (pancakes.)
bathed Ellie.
lotioned and clothed Ellie.
gotten ready.
washed, dryed, and folded one load of laundry.
read my scriptures.
called three friends.
planned lunch and dinner.
mended a hole in my leggings.
read Ellie 1/2 of two books.
played patty cake twelve times.
it's a good day.

January 17, 2012

Tulips and a Kitchen Sink

It's been over a week and I'm still not in the mood to blog.
I could brag about how I'm absolutely adoring the current stage Ellie's in, or how I'm gradually falling more and more in love with living in southern California. Instead I'll simply let you know that I'm cooking, mothering, laundering, wife-ing, and happy to be back in my own domain.