April 27, 2012

We Went to the Beach

We're really lucky that on Fridays BJ's work slows down quite a bit. Today we met for lunch in Newport and then went to the beach.
I took off my shoes so I could walk barefoot in the sand.
We laid out a blanket,

and watched Ellie eat some sand.
We took off Ellie's dress,
and she liked it.
I took her to the water,
and threw her in the air.
Ellie and her dad
chased the waves.
We went back to the blanket and I admired my girl
while daddy took a phone call.
And then we gathered up our things and Ellie held onto our fingers as we walked back to the car.


When Ellie was only a few months old BJ lovingly creating the nickname "fuss-a-magoo" to use in moments of need. If someone was asked to spell "fuss-a-magoo" in a spelling bee and asked for a definition from the judge, he might hear something like,
"Fuss-a-magoo: a term used by a parent when their extremely fussy baby is testing their last nerve, and they want to express their frustration in a tactful, non-insulting way."
Lately, Ellie has taken her "fuss-a-magoo" self to a new level of fussiness. Last night I prayed that when I woke up this morning I would be ready to be a good mother again. We'll see if that prayer is answered...

April 25, 2012

The Wind Blew

The wind blew this afternoon. BJ was freezing, and my hair whipped around violently, but Ellie couldn't get enough of it.

April 23, 2012

I Heart Instagram

And We Swam

Last week the weather was so nice Ellie and I went to the beach with friends, played with the hose, and swam twice. I was disappointed when I woke up this morning and saw that the seven day forecast included rain, weather in the sixties (I know, I know- I shouldn't be complaining about sixty degree weather), and clouds. It seemed like summer was here, and I was thrilled. BBQ's, swimming lessons, visiting friends, trips to Utah, and more and more pool and beachside days can't seem to come quickly enough.
Tanner and Megan joined us on Saturday for swimming and burgers. Megan snapped photos of Ellie while Tanner and BJ grilled. It seemed like the perfect day. In fact, BJ posed the question while we were sitting in the spa, "Why didn't Heavenly Father send us to the earth to do this every day?" Good question, honey. Good question.

This Little Chick

What are we gonna do with her? :)

April 16, 2012

A Word About Our Bodies

I go to battle every day with my body- some days grateful and content for my strong, capable figure, and other days critical and harsh- hyper-sensitive to every roll on my stomach and the size of my thighs and shoulders. Some mornings I resent myself, scolding myself like a child for eating too much the day before, and some mornings I feel pretty, proud even, when I look in the mirror as I get ready. I hate this roller coaster that I seem to be perpetually stuck on. It's something men don't seem to understand or deal with to the extent that women do.
My friend came over the other night to work out with me and she was discouraged and needed to unload. We sat in my room and talked, debating whether or not we actually wanted to exercise while we laughed and cried about her frustrations. The funny thing is the trigger that set her off that day into a downward spiral of inadequacy was, of all things, chocolate. She was mad at herself for eating too much chocolate that day. No man can really understand this unrelenting torment that women struggle with, and really, why should they? I know most of my friends discuss, and encourage, and laugh, and sympathize with me about this enigma. But are we the only ones? Do you do this same type of back and forth see-saw every day too?
I like food. I love to eat; I always have, and I always will. I like to exercise. I love to move my body and feel powerful and alive. Why then, should I not be satisfied that I have a healthy body that can enjoy both? Why does food become a dreaded enemy, and exercise another necessary evil? I don't know if I sound dramatic, but ladies and friends, anyone who is reading this... do you know what I'm talking about here?
I don't write this to criticize or blame the media for setting impossible expectations for women. I write this as a reminder to myself that I love my friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews, husband and daughter in spite of, and because of their bodies. I loved my friend Logan in college who was a dancer with triple D boobs. I loved her because of her personality, and I admired her womanly shape. I love my grandpa with his rounded belly because of his wisdom, and because the crumbs from his dinner are always stuck atop his protruding stomach. I love my skinny sisters who's bodies are as unique and individual as their personalities. I love my aunt who is short and has the tiniest feet I have ever seen. I love my husband for so many reasons, but I love his body because it is lean and fit, and covered in freckles. I love Ellie's bum that is covered in dimples and her rounded, pop belly. When we love and care for someone else, we love them in spite of, and because of their bodies. 
A body is part of who we are as individuals. We are blessed to have our own unique, specially made, just-for-us body. Why does this seem to be so hard to remember?
I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not!" 
"Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard." 
-Jeffrey R. Holland
"Satan learned these same eternal truths about the body, and yet his punishment is that he does not have one. Therefore he tries to do everything he can to get us to abuse or misuse this precious gift. He has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He tempts many to defile this great gift of the body through unchastity, immodesty, self-indulgence, and addictions. 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."
-Susan W. Tanner
"Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth."
-Gordon B. Hinckley
I'm grateful for the words of the scriptures and the Lord's servants to teach me truth about the divinity, not the shortcomings, of my body. 

April 15, 2012

On Being a Mother

I couldn't wait to be a mother. Last year at this time I thought I would die with anticipation. I wanted to begin my new life as a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to see and take care of my baby. Amid all the excitement and anxiousness I felt about my upcoming role, I naturally was filled with questions. "What will it really be like being a mom?" "Exactly how tiring is it going to be?" "What will contractions feel like?" And the one that weighed the most heavily, "What if I don't love my baby the way I'm supposed to?" That, above all, was my greatest fear.
It's funny what happens when that child comes out of you though. I couldn't possibly help myself from loving her. Some great, God-given change of heart occurs, and I believe that no one woman could possibly be the same after giving birth to their own child. The love you feel is miraculous.
I love being a mother. Surprisingly though, the things about motherhood I expected to love, aren't necessarily the things that fuel me each day. 
I expected to adore being at home, all day every day. While I am more of a home body than I am an adventurer, sometimes being at home all day every day is boring. On Friday I was thrilled when the opportunity came to go to the FedEx store for heavens sake. Sometimes it's frustrating to work around naps and bedtimes and to feel so tied to your home, where everything is easier for baby.
I also expected to revel in my new role as "mother", as if some sweeping metamorphosis would rush over me and I would suddenly become this glorified version of myself. That didn't happen.
What did happen though was something I couldn't have predicted since I had never had a child of my own before. The love and concern and protection I felt for this baby were overwhelming. I sank into my role as "mother" because of my love for Ellie, not because something incredible had happened to me. Motherhood, I found, has a lot more to do with your child than it has to do with you. Motherhood is wonderful because of your baby. Motherhood is a joy because of her. 
That one silly worry I had before Ellie came to me- that for some reason or another I wouldn't love her- is the furthest thing from the reality of what actually occurred. I love being a mom because of my child. I haven't become the perfect version of myself because I had a baby, but I have found that not much is greater than the love I have for Ellie. That is why motherhood is so great. That is why I'm excited to be a mother again and again and again.

A Few of My Favorites

Ellie loves to say the word "hi." She says it over and over again all day long. She waves her little hand and is proud that she can finally communicate. She is all business. She is a busy girl with places to go. She's an expert walker and is determined to speed her walking along. She'll be running any day now. She likes to get into things and chew on everything she touches. She loves to have us read to her and throughout the day she's dragging books to anyone that'll consent. She loves dogs and birds. She loves food. The other night she ate meatballs with pumpkin curry sauce and the night before that she ate gazpacho. It's turning out that her palate is ahead of her years. (Or months.) She loves the neighbor's koi pond and we go over to see the fishies nearly every day. She loves to be outside and the downpour we experienced on Thursday had us both at our wit's end.
I never expected to love each new stage so much. The older she gets the more adorable she seems to be to me. I love to make her laugh. When she does a deep, whole belly laugh I think that there are few things in the world that are better. I love her little voice. It kills me when she babbles loudly in church. It sounds so cute I don't want to tell her to stop. I love her round belly and sway back- just like mine when I was a girl.
She knows how to point and give a high five. She makes the sound of a monkey. She loves when BJ chases her and makes scary growling noises. She loves my vibrating toothbrush so much that I finally bought her her own so that I can get through my two minutes of toothbrushing without being interrupted. She nurses 2-3 times a day. She sleeps about 12 and a 1/2 hours each night, and usually takes two naps in the day.