Monday, June 8, 2015

Sleeping Beauty

My little sleeping beauty...



The past little while she's been asking me to hold her hand while she falls asleep, which I'm quite happy to do :) It means I get to see this beautiful little princess (superhero) face by the soft glow of her "monster-repelling" night-light. I sit next to her bed in the rocking chair sneaking glimpses of her intense little face and wondering what mysteries she's contemplating as she makes her way towards sleep.

That is, when she's not telling me EXACTLY what she's thinking ;)

I love it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Curse of the Birthday Date...

I'm starting to think we should just forget my birthady every year.

See, last year Karl arranged everything for us to go on a birthday date. He got a babysitter, we dropped Evie off, and then we realized I had forgotten my wallet, and so had he. We drove all the way home and Karl just ran in and got his so I wouldn't have to get out of the car and run up and down all those stairs with my huge pregnant body.

Then, we drove to Red Robins, and on the way the FedEx people finally called me back (they SAID they had delivered a package we had ordered for my birthday, but it was no where to be found!). Before we went in, Karl offered to call the FedEx people back for me since he knew how much I wanted that package and how much I hate calling people. He thought it would be a quick call, but he and the guy helping him got put on hold and he spent like 40 minutes on the phone! The guy even said that it NEVER takes this long and he had no idea why we got put on hold so long. During this time we got seated and ordered, but realized that since I hadn't grabbed MY wallet, I didn't have my ID and therefore the restaurant wouldn't honor my coupon for a free burger, which was the main reason we went to that particular restaurant...

Not the best birthday date, and not for lack of trying on my poor hubby's part. Definitely a fluke though, right??

Well, this year, we went on our date the weekend before my birthday because Karl is going to be completely swamped on my actual birthday, and next Saturday is Valentines Day, which makes it difficult to find a place that's not exceedingly busy. So, we dropped kids off at my parents' house in North Orem and headed to Kneaders down in the Riverwoods (very east and center st. ish in Orem). We stood around for awhile trying to decide what to order (we'd never been there before and we are both incredibly indecisive!). Finally we picked what we wanted, ordered, and I started rumaging through my purse looking for my wallet to pay for our meal.

It wasn't there. Karl didn't have his either.

Seriously. What the what? The last place I remember having my wallet was at the creamery the day before; Declan was getting into my purse and I saw him grab the wallet, but in our rush to get everyone out the door, I didn't check to make sure it was still there.

So, we drove all the way back to our house in North West Provo (like a 15 minute drive) to get Karl's wallet (which he thought to make sure he grabbed, but then didn't). Then we drove to the Kneaders in Provo. I was very hungry by this point. Karl called the creamery for me (sound familiar?) but they didn't have my wallet and suggested that we call the Wilk to see if it had been taken there. Annnd the the lost and found was closed that day.

We ate, and by the time the whole debacle was over, we had to just rush back to pick up the kiddos...


I'm just really thinking I've offended the birthday gods or something; the wallet gods at the very least!

Sheesh.

Here's hoping we can appease them before next year!



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam!



Today was Evie's first day of primary! Where in the world does the time go?

I was worried about how she'd take the change since she just barely turned three, and since she just started enjoying nursery on her own. She has been anxious about these sorts of things in the past, but she did very well today!

She looked a little nervous when I left her sitting in the primary room (which was bustling with people and kids trying to figure out new classes) but I walked past a couple times to check on her and she seemed fine. She even stood up to do "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" in opening exercises, which was big, because she doesn't generally like to jump right in on things in new situations.

During relief society Declan was being too noisy so we walked in the halls and when we walked past the sunbeam classroom I heard a voice I would know anywhere belting "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" at the very top of her lungs. It was adorable... I hope her teachers appreciated it ;)

I can't believe my baby girl is already in primary! Sending her off to nursery was hard enough!





Sunday, December 21, 2014

Relief Society

I left Relief Society on the verge of tears today...

After our practice song I just couldn't stand sitting there for one more minute, so I walked out to my car (trying not to run into anyone on my way out), and I just sat there fighting back tears and watching the raindrops slide down the glass....

I felt so incredibly lost and alone.

We moved into this ward three months ago, and our first Sunday here I realized it's HUGE. Seriously, like Sunday school is split into two giant rooms, and it's still packed. I admit, I have a lot of issues with social anxiety and going to a new ward in general is tough for me, but this ward is a challenge all its own.

After three years in our last ward, I was finally feeling like there were a few people I knew and who even cared that I existed, and now, I know almost no one. In my last ward I was finally starting to get a feel for who was who and who lived where, but in this ward, I feel like it's impossible to ever figure out, let alone get to know, even half the members. I do love my dear next door neighbor, Julie, but she leaves after sacrament meeting every week because of her arthritis. I've never really met the relief society presidency, I know Julie emailed them about us moving in and needing help, but we never heard anything back. I've been having a hard time with life and I don't have any visiting teachers that I know of, and I just feel so alone and forgotten by the world.

Anyway, enough back story, there I was sitting in Relief Society all by myself, and there were people (SO many people) sitting all around me and all talking to each other in these chatty little groups to the point that it was difficult for the sister conducting to start the meeting. Then a couple of sisters got up and distributed some hymn books, offering them to people around me, but I didn't get one... and the women near me didn't offer to share. I knew the first verse of "The Day Dawn is Breaking", but by the second verse, I was at loss half the time.

I felt hopelessly alone in the middle of a sea of people... and that's when it all just fell apart. I could feel the tears coming. I tried to stop them, because it was stupid to cry over something so silly, but they just kept coming despite my best efforts.

And writing it down, it really does seem so silly... I absolutely know it's silly to feel hurt, or overwhelmed, or stressed by such a normal situation. No one had done anything to hurt me or offend me. Nothing was really wrong; I should have been fine.

But I wasn't. I didn't feel fine. And I think that's part of the reason I fell apart.

I hate that I can't deal with these situations like a normal person. When I was younger I had this idea that being a grown up, getting married, becoming a mom, etc. would somehow, magically make me able to deal with these social situations. At the very LEAST I had hoped that I'd grow out of it, or gain enough experience to be able to deal with it. But no, here I am at 26 years old, with two children who need me to take them to church every week so that they can be a part of the gospel, and I am still freaking out over such simple human interactions.

I desperately want friends, but I am terrified of the small talk that it takes to make them. I know, the answer is just "put yourself out there, sit down next to someone else and strike up a conversation, bring cookies to your neighbors, join a book club..." Which would work wonders, I'm sure, were I an extrovert with out anxiety problems.

I will figure it all out in the end, I'm sure, but for right now, I just want to have it recorded that this day happened.

This is not a sympathy post or a complaint post. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, and I'm not trying to feel sorry for myself. This is also not an inspirational post where I tell you the uplifting, spiritual experience I had to get me through this. I'm not there yet, and I think that's ok.

What this post IS, is just me telling you that this happened. This is how I felt today.

There are cute pictures of my kids and funny quotes that I'll probably be putting on Facebook later, and that's all you'll see and you'll assume you know how my life is going from what pops up in your newsfeed. But, this day happened and I want it to be known.

#Honesty





Monday, December 8, 2014

Evie #3

My little baby is 3 years old!! THREE! Where has the time gone?


I was just thinking about this, since I have a dear friend who is anxiously waiting for her own overdue December girl--I remember how excruciatingly slow the time went waiting for her to finally get here! Those last weeks, days, and hours before my labor finally started were an eternity! And yet, as soon as she finally made her appearance in the world, time refused to slow down for a minute (weeeeell, except for those eternally long nights when she refused to sleep... but I digress)!


It seriously seems like just yesterday I was hurrying her out into the world, and today she suddenly seems so grown up! How is she not still that tiny little thing that we brought home from the hospital (with much care and anxiety on our first car ride)? 

In my mind she is still that scrawny little newborn, the rolly-polly, determined infant, and also the crazy kid she's grown into, all at once!

Sometimes I really wish I could save each stage of her life in a different room and could visit her at each age whenever I wished. I love the bright, beautiful child she's grown into, but I miss my bebe too.

And now I'm feeling all sentimental-y...

*sniff*


But, enough of that!! Here is our 3 year old Evie cakes!

Evie weighs 26 lbs (11 %) and is nearly 36 inches tall (21%)!

She is so smart, and beautiful, and kind. She has been a wonderful big sister to her baby brother ever since he was born... this year, lol. We've had very few jealous moments, and even then she would just say "mom, put Declan down." when she'd felt I'd been holding him all day long and just needed a little mommy-time.

Catching her brother :)
  She is always looking out for him; I was getting frustrated that she kept running ahead of me and closing all the doors on whatever floor of the house we were on... until I realized that she was closing them to keep Declan from crawling into places he's not supposed to go. I never asked her to do it or discussed it with her, she just noticed that I was always pulling him out of the bathroom and telling him not to go in there, and she decided to help! She'll also hold onto him if he starts to crawl or sit at the top of the stairs to keep him from falling. Although, if he's crawling UP the stairs from the bottom, she just runs up ahead of him, cheers him on, and tells me not to "grab him", haha.

Evie has a fantastic little memory; she loves to memorize books, movies, and songs. She knows the majority of the lines to "Frozen", of course, but some of them are lines she makes up because she doesn't understand the real ones. Some of my favorite Evie lines are: "it get's a little lonely, all these empty rooms, just watching these owls skip BYYYY" (or: watching the hours tick by), and, "(Anna:)Elsa, please! I can't look like this anymore! (Elsa:)Then leave." There are more, but I can't remember them for the life of me.


Needless to say, Evie is obsessed with "Frozen". She has basically BEEN Elsa for nearly a year now. She loves to sing every song from the movie (including the instrumentals and one on the end credits) in a row and at the top of her lungs. It makes it difficult to have any other activities occurring simultaneously, but she is very passionate about it. Her other passion is acting out all the scenes from the movie, sometimes with us, sometimes as a one-girl show, and sometimes with whatever toys or dolls she has on hand.

She also discovered a show called Peg + Cat this fall, which she loves too, probably because Peg is a precocious little smarty-pants just like her ;) The other things she likes to watch are Super-Why, Daniel Tiger, Arthur, and she recently found that she loves the movie "Maleficent".

Evie as "Peg" for Halloween
 Evie still loves books and reading. We tend to make a library trip about once a week, and every single visit we have to raid the "Little Critter" shelf. She also likes The Berenstain Bears, Piggie and Elephant books, and the Llama Llama books.

Being all mature and reading books on her Kindle...
Evie loves to go to the museums at Thanksgiving Point and the Bean museum. She also loves to go to both the malls around here... for their playgrounds ;)


She also loves to play with ooblek, paint, face-paint, cloud dough, play dough, and anything else that's messy!!




She is still very active and adventurous, and she's starting to like people again finally! Yay! She's a bit less shy these days--she still takes a minute to warm up to new situations and people, but she's come a long way in the last year! She is (generally) a very sweet little girl. She says "thank you" all the time, and is actually very good at sharing for her age.


These past 3 years have been so intense, but I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am to be this little girl's mother. She is going to do awesome things in this world if she decides to, I just hope I can help her become the amazing person she is destined to be!

Happy Birthday, Evie May!

Friday, November 21, 2014

"BATH"


There are two words that we know for certain Declan knows: his name, and the word "BATH".

I'm sure he knows a lot of other words too, but there is just no doubt with these two. When he hears them he'll stop whatever he's doing and whip his head around to look at you, and he gets this HUGE grin on his face!

He absolutely loves bath time! When he hears the water running he goes "fast crawling" straight for the tub. He loves splashing, playing with toys, and trying to stand up and turn the knobs (THAT drives me crazy).

I love that he's starting to develop very definite opinions and interests; he's such a little person these days!!




Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm grateful for my marriage.



I am grateful for my marriage.

I'm grateful for those moments when he drives me absolutely crazy, because that means he's still here to do so.

I'm grateful for those difficult moments of unskilled communication and our struggles with problem solving, because it means we're still trying and we're getting better and better.

I'm grateful for the progress we've made since we were first married at 20 years old. Marriage is wonderful, but there is so much that is tough in the learning process.

I'm grateful he's stood by my craziness, because I know I'm not always a walk in the park.

I'm also grateful for the wonderful moments. I'm so grateful that they outnumber the bad. The bad tend to seem so big in my mind, they take up more space and energy,  but there is so very much more good than bad.

I'm grateful that there is always someone there for me, someone who loves me. I'm grateful that at the end of the day I have an amazing person to listen to me, and help me with my burdens.

I'm grateful for touch, for loving hugs and gentle kisses.

I'm grateful for support.

I'm grateful for imperfections.

I'm grateful we're still here. I don't know what I would do without my husband. No matter how tough or frustrating things have ever been, life would be so, so much worse without him by my side. 






Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Morning Evie Quotes...



Evie: "Can I take little frog to nursery so he won't feel left out?"
Me: "You'll have to share him with the other kids if you bring him"
Evie: "Okay!!"
Karl: "They might want to take him and not give him back"
Evie: "Oh... I can take him in the car and he can wait for me."
*thinks seriously for a minute*
"My dress is PURPLE! Will the kids want to take my dress???"

***********************************

Me: "How about you wear your black boots, they match better."
Evie: "But... these are PINK!" 





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mornings...

I am not a fan of waking up.

I have never been an early riser nor have I ever been a morning person.

One thing I haven't appreciated so much about motherhood is the lack of sleep! Late nights, night wakings/feedings, and then on top of it all they wake you up at the crack of dawn!! And if you know anything about me, you should know that I love my sleep.

But then...

There's this:


Waking up to these smiling faces (that are just so darn happy in the morning!!) is the one thing that could possibly make it all worth it :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

He Crawls!!!

He did it! He finally did it! He CRAWLED. Declan beat his sister's record by 4 whole days, lol!

I was just telling Karl how Declan had almost crawled that morning, trying to get to Evie's little magnetic princess paper doll (Princess Olivia), when he just up and did it!


This toy is major off limits for him, so of course it would be the one thing that could get him to crawl! lol! 

He still acts like it's some sort of punishment, or torture, but I have hopes that my little cheater baby will eventually see the usefulness of the whole crawling thing ;)





Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Moving up in the world...

So, we've moved!


We've moved more than a few times in our marriage, but not since our babies came along! 

We were actually in the process of moving into our last apartment when we got those two little lines that meant Evie was about to become a reality (seriously, I took one test at our new apartment, and confirmed it with another at our old place while we packed more stuff!).

Our apartment on Cherry Lane is the only home either of my children has ever known!

Other than sentimental reasons and missing people in the ward, I can't say that I'm sad about leaving... It was a fantastic little apartment while I was pregnant with Evie, and even while she was little, but recently, it has been kind of a nightmare! With two kids and Karl working from home, our little two-bedroom place was QUITE the squeeze, but then we've had Graeme living with us since June-ish. Let me tell ya, that place was NOT meant to hold that many people!

We had no air conditioning, and with that many people, it was SO hot! Plus there's the fact that we had no dinning space/table, so our little living room/kitchen combo was kind of it. With Graeme sleeping on the floor in the living room, he was basically right in the middle of half our living space. It wasn't so comfy!

We are so much happier in our new place! We have three bedrooms, but soooo much more living space in general, and my little ones have a real table at which to eat their meals for the first time in their lives; I feel so civilized ;)

Moving was... horrible. I never want to do that again!! Lol! We've accumulated a lot of stuff, and with two little ones who constantly need something (Declan's been super clingy...), it was difficult!

It's just so much work!

Evie has been mostly ok with everything, and Declan, being only 6 months old, is pretty oblivious. As long as mommy is there, he doesn't much care where he is, haha! 

Evie has had a couple moments where she has just wanted to go back to the old house, but it's mostly when she's supposed to be going to bed. After we turn off the lights she'll ask why we moved here, and tell me she just wants to go to our old home. 

Most of the time she likes it here though. There are lots of little kids around, we have a playground and a pool, and a fenced area where she can play. I was a little worried about nursery, since she was not so happy about going alone at our last ward, but this ward has like a whole room full of toys! She walked in the first Sunday and was like, "ok... you guys can go", and when we tried to get her to leave she said she wanted to stay there forever.

The first little bit was overwhelming, with trying to get things unpacked and put away, recover from the move, and get everyone settled and back onto their schedules. I thought we were never going to figure it out! But things are getting put back together slowly, but surely, and we are so much more comfortable and so much less stressed now!

I don't know how long we'll be here, but we are so happy, we don't much care ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Declan K. is 6 Months Today!

We've had half a year with this kid already, I can hardly believe it! 

I don't know why, but unlike with Evie where I was so devastated every time I realized she was growing up, I'm so excited for Declan to get bigger and bigger and do new and fun things (and so is he, lol)!

Since it's kinda like my thing now, let's just take a quick look back, shall we?

This is Declan six months ago! All 6 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches of my cute little string bean :)


And THIS is my handsome little man today:


Ahhh! He's so big, I love it :)

Declan now weighs a whopping 18 lbs 4 oz and is 27 inches long!

He's just getting his first teeth in, which means he's been SUPER cranky and unwilling to sleep at night, like at all... So mama is tired!


 Following almost EXACTLY in his big sister's footsteps, Declan decided at around five months that he NEEDS to walk. He's always grabbing our hands and trying to get us to stand him up, or climbing on things to get into a standing position. He's convinced that walking is the only way to go, which is incredibly sad because just before that he had started working on crawling! He was doing this cute little inchworm-army crawl-roll combo, and I was SO convinced he would go for it... but no, lol. He still rolls all over, which is something Evie never did. He now cries every time we put him in crawling position, but he's really close!

 At our 6 month appointment the doctor watched Declan walking around (holding our hands) and said he's very strong and his walking skills are advanced ;)


 Declan is really into his hands... Which sounds weird, but he just loves his hands! He'll sometimes just hold his hand in front of his face and open and close it and turn it back and forth. He likes to hold things and hand them back and forth between his hands (a trick he learned from Graeme). His fine motor skills are good, which I think I just notice because Evie had no interest in fine motor at all!


Speaking of Evie, he absolutely loves her. I love it when he looks at her and giggles, and she laughs so he laughs harder, and then they're both just looking at each other giggling hysterically.

He so wants to do what ever she's doing. He wants to run and play with her. He's not as driven, personality-wise as she was, but he is very determined to be able to do everything with her!


He also loves his uncle Graeme. He thinks he has really cool hair, lol. The first time Declan saw him after work in his subway clothes, visor/ponytail he looked at him like he was a stranger. As soon as Graeme put his hair down he got that huge grin on his face that he always gets when he sees Graeme.

Annnd speaking of strangers, he is starting to get stranger anxiety and is getting super clingy. Yay

He doesn't really babble yet, he just likes to make these yelling, squealing, and coughing noises. I know he can make other noises, he just doesn't want to I guess. 



Declan loves the "hushabye" song (our version of "All the Pretty Little Horses"), if he's fussing, resisting sleep, or waking from sleep and I sing it and he calms down. It's really amazing ;) I wonder if it's because we sang it so much while I was putting Evie to bed during those early months?


As far as personality goes, baby boy is happy and fairly calm. He's a silly little one, kind of shy, but loves to smile at people. He loves to stare at people with a huge grin on his face until they notice him and smile back, then he hides his face in mom's shoulder. It is pretty cute :)


Declan is a cutie, I am so grateful we have him in our family! These last 6 months have been extremely tough, exhausting, and difficult for me to figure out. I thought for sure that being an experienced mom now it would be easier this time around, but there are so many more challenges. I'm so happy that we have waded through the challenges though, because things just feel so much more complete with Declan in our lives. After Evie, I still felt like there was someone missing, and I'm pretty sure we've found him ;)

Love you, baby boy!




Friday, August 29, 2014

Nicknames

Evie has many nicknames for her brother: Deck, Deckal, Decken, Decko, Deckie, Decka-lolo etc.

One of my favorites is when he's "in trouble" and she yells, "deck-UH-lynn!"

On the other hand, her favorite is to call him either decka-lynn-uh or deckalina, which I'm sure he will appreciate greatly when he's older ;)

Anyway, this morning I ended up with both of them sleeping in my bed (I seriously don't even know when that happened), but Declan started stirring, and as soon as Evie heard him she popped awake to play with him. They were both so happy to see each other, it was adorable. She climbed right over me so she could see him and said, "good morning, Decalily!"

Lol, I almost wish Declan was a girl, that nickname is super cute.

I hope she always loves him this much :)





 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Potty-Trained!

It's finally happened! I never thought it would! My child is so stubborn, lol!

Evie is so determined and driven that she has done a LOT of things early; walking, talking, etc., when she has her mind set to do something, she will NOT stop until she's done it. So, I was very interested to see how her personality would effect the whole business of getting her potty trained... And turns out, her drive was actually a detriment in the potty department. Figures, haha.

She's been really interested in the potty for the last year or so. She loved reading books about potty training and watching episodes of shows with potty themes, but she never seemed to really want to try it herself. We got a potty seat that attached to our toilet and could be flipped up when not in use when she first started being interested, but that ended up being a flop. She would sit sometimes, but never went and the stupid thing was a huge pain.

Then a few weeks before Declan was born I bought her a little potty (like in her book). She sat on that one too, but even if I knew she had to go, she wouldn't do it on the potty, she'd wait until she got her diaper back on. I didn't really want to push the subject while huge and pregnant or when I had a newborn, so we didn't get serious until the beginning of June.

And we tried.

I read blog post after blog post guaranteeing results with their "3 day" methods. She was interested again and I was so sure we could do it. We bought panties and got her all excited about a "potty party", with chips and cookies and juice boxes. The party was fun, but it was still so tough to get her to even just sit on the potty. The next day we had a bunch of accidents and the next she refused to try at all. The more I tried to convince her, the more she dug in her heels. We had a bag of awesome little prizes and made a reward chart; I was even reduced to offering to buy her an app for the kindle every time she went potty... aaaand nothing. She was not enticed by any of it. 

Frustrating? Yes, yes it was.

You see, the problem with Evie is that she has a lot that she wants to be doing. She's got so much that she's driven to accomplish and she just can't be bothered to stop what she's doing to use the potty every single time she needs to pee. This is also why I can't get her to nap no matter what I try.

*sigh*

Anyway, I was feeling pretty hopeless, and I will admit, had sort of given in to the idea that my child would be wearing diapers til she graduated highschool, but then, about a week or two ago, I was struck with some sudden inspiration:

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the mother of all potty training incentives:


The Elsa dress.

This is my child who runs around singing "Let it Go" for about 60% of her waking hours and will answer to the name Elsa (and occasionally Anna). As soon as she saw it, I had her rapt attention. She immediately wanted to know what she had to do to get that dress.

At first I tried telling her that if she did all her peepees and poopies in the potty for three whole days, she could have it. She ran straight to the potty, sat there until she produced something, and then wanted her dress. I tried explaining the deal to her, but she just got more and more frustrated with the whole thing and I could tell it wasn't going to work. So we had a slight change of plan.

Instead, I told her that every time she went in the potty, she could have a turn with the Elsa dress. After her turn was up we hung the dress up on her window in her bedroom, so she could always see it, but couldn't reach it (though she did try climbing up there a few times, haha).

The first day, it worked wonders! She WANTED to go potty because she WANTED that dress! She needed it so she could sing "snow glows white on the mountain tonight" (as she calls it). She would try all the time just so she could get a turn. It was really cute.

The next day I kept asking her if she had to go, and she would get mad at me every time I asked. I was super scared that we were going to have a bunch of accidents because she wouldn't try when I asked her to, but turns out, she really just didn't have to go and was annoyed with me bothering her. When she had to go, she ran to the potty and did her thing.

After a week with a couple little accidents here and there, I'm willing to call it, she's officially potty trained!!

I am so proud of my hardworking Evie girl ;)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wahoo! We've made it SIX whole years!!

In our SIX years of marriage, we've been through FIVE moves:

Good ol' A1207, Our tiny bedroom in my parents' house, D1260, 2033 N, and Cherry Lane :)

We've been through FOUR vehicles of varying reliability:

Ok, so I couldn't find any pictures of, say, the one car where we had to bungee cord the driver's side door closed... But here are the two that have featured most prominently in our relationship: the 1986 Toyota Celica and our very first car purchase, the 2008 Kia Rio.
 
We have earned THREE college degrees thus far:

An associates each, and one bachelor degree!

We have made TWO of the smartest, most adorable children ever:   

12/08/11 & 03/10/14: two dates that changed our marriage forever :)

And through the craziness of it all, I've managed to hang on to my ONE and only hubby whom I love more than anything ;) 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Declan's Blessing Day


Our Family!
We finally got to bless Declan! He's only almost 4 months old now... We were waiting to do it when Grandpa Pat would be able to participate (since he didn't get to come out when baby boy was born!), so here we are! 

Since Declan was so old, he was actually able to wear the same blessing outfit that his uncle Jo wore (he was a March baby who was also blessed a couple months later, apparently!), it was imported by Papa Gary straight from Italy, so that was pretty cool!

It being summer and with so many people coming to help us with this special occasion, it got pretty darn hot very quickly, and by the time we got everyone there, poor Declan was tired again and therefore very fussy.

The bishop had all the great-grandparents say a few words before the blessing, which was very special, and I really appreciated. Then Karl, with the help of so many people we love, gave Declan a name and a blessing. 

And Declan decided to SCREAM the whole time.

So funny, because he is such a laid-back kid! This was totally uncharacteristic of him, and of course his melt-down had to happen during this particular event, haha!

It was a short, but sweet and special blessing. I feel so very happy and blessed to have our little Declan Kelsier Smith as a part of our family!



Allergies

Thinking I may have an issue with mold?? I'm sooooo miserable!
(sorry for the scary picture!)

Pollen count taken from http://www.intermountainallergy.com/pollen.html

*Update 10/29/14
I think my horrendous allergies that have not responded to just about anything are FINALLY slowing down. My skin is getting better any way. This has been a rough allergy season, like seriously, so bad!!
 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dear Waddlers...

Dear VERY pregnant women waddling around in public places (and there seem to be a lot of you),

You may have caught me looking at you, and I truly hope you weren't offended. Your pregnant mind probably jumped to all sorts of conclusions about what I was thinking, but honestly it was totally out of empathy.

I feel your pain! It is still so very fresh on my mind!

I just wanted to walk up to you and tell you congratulations on being so close to one of the biggest, most amazing events of your life, and to tell you that it's coming soon. It may feel like you'll be waddling for the rest of eternity and that your baby will never come out, but it'll come and go before you know it! I wanted to hug you and tell you that you can do it! You can make it to the finish line; you're almost there!!

But that would have been weird...

So I just looked at you instead.

I'm very sorry if I offended you in any way.

Sincerely,

~Me (a very recent former waddler)


Friday, July 4, 2014

A year ago today


Exactly one year ago tonight, Karl and I sat together on our front lawn, watching the stadium of fire fireworks, and trying to comprehend how our lives were about to change. 

That morning, before going up to midway for family 4th of July festivities, we'd run out to wal-mart and bought a test to confirm what we already suspected... Baby #2 was on the way! 

At that moment Declan was nothing more than two lines on a pregnancy test and a whole heap of hopes and day-dreams. 

We had no idea if our baby would be a boy or girl, we had no idea who he was (or what he'd be named...). I had no idea how I'd handle this pregnancy, or whether it would be easier or tougher than the last. We didn't know how we'd handle two kids or how Evie would do with the transition.

And now here we are one year later, the four of us standing on the side walk in front of our house, watching fireworks going off in the park. 

Rolly polly little Declan is a tiny person with his very own opinions and a distinct personality. It really seems like he's just always been in our family. Evie and Declan love each other so much. Evie takes care of him and loves him (when she's not stealing his toys), and he just thinks she is the coolest person in the world!

I'm just so amazed at the difference one year can make (I know, I say it all the time), and the wonderfully crazy things that happen in life. I don't even know how to articulate what I'm feeling right now... 

I guess I'm just realizing that I spend a lot of time worrying and stressing about a future that I can't possibly predict, and I forget to spend time living and keeping memories of the moments that I'm in. 

This time next year, who knows where we'll be, but I know that I want to be able to look back and be happy with the memories I'm making today.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Struggle: a tale of health, or a lack thereof.

This is me... I don't look particularly sick, do I?

I have to apologize for my negative attitude lately. I don't mean to complain so much, but I am truly struggling right now and I'm realizing that no one really knows or understands why. 

Totally my own fault, I'll admit it. 

The thing is, I have some health issues that I don't like to talk about because:

#1. Until very recently I didn't have many answers.

and 

#2. I'm tired. I'm tired of people thinking I'm overly-dramatic, a hypochondriac, or a crazy person. I'm tired of hearing through the grapevine that so-and-so said I'm a liar or an attention seeker, just making things up for sympathy. I'm tired of feeling like a weirdo. I know I don't look like I have anything wrong with me, but that doesn't make me a faker. It's hard enough living with something that's stealing away parts of your life and having no answers, but then to have everyone from doctors to random acquaintances being... well... the exact OPPOSITE of supportive, it's really quite demoralizing. 

So I just don't talk about it. 

However, in my new quest to be more honest about my life and struggles, I've decided to finally tell my story. 

It's long, but here goes...

I've been in pain for as long as I can remember. When I was little I honestly didn't realize that it wasn't normal to be in constant pain, I thought everyone lived like that. I was tired all the time, I didn't have as much energy as all the other kids. I dreaded activities that took a lot of movement. I had my first migraine at age 7. I was pathetically skinny even though I ate a ton. I had palpitations and an incredibly fast heart rate. I was very clumsy, my ankles would give out for no reason, and it seemed like I could injure myself just walking down the street... BUT I was flexible. My arms and legs were hyper extended, I could fold myself in half backward, and put my elbows behind my head... Always great tricks to have in your repertoire as a kid ;)

Eventually, my mother realized that something was up and took me to the doctor. 

Just before my 11th birthday I was diagnosed with graves disease, an autoimmune thyroid disorder that generally affects middle aged women. 

After about 4 years on medication, (with my mom fighting the endocrinologist to keep her [the dr.] from "killing" my thyroid and dooming me to meds for the rest of my life), I finally went into remission! I've had a few relapses since, and I'm just waiting for the day that my thyroid gives out all together, but for the most part I've been very blessed in that area. 

Unfortunately, going into remission didn't solve all my problems. I did feel a ton better, but I still hurt, I had headaches all the time, I was anxious and stressed, I felt sick every time I ate, and I still had palpitations, a racing heart beat when I exerted myself even a little, and weird chest pains.

My awesome mother took me to the doctor for so many random complaints over the years, for everything from the funny way I walked to the odd bruising that once appeared on my chin out of nowhere. I'm so very grateful she took my complaints seriously. However, I never found any answers to why I was the way I was. 

My pediatrician did tests to rule out arthritis or other diseases as the cause of my joint pain... and came to the conclusion that it was most likely just growing pains. He was kind enough to send me to see an orthopedic specialist just to be sure. 

After some x-rays and exams, HE told me that I was perfect. There was absolutely no reason that I should be in pain. As flattering as that was to hear, I was actually still in pain (apparently my body didn't get the memo) and he just sent me on my way with no other options or leads.

I was so frustrated. 

In high school I was trying to be a ballerina and be on the ballroom dance team... I loved dancing so much, but it was tough. Besides the pain and little injuries it caused me, I started getting chest pains that were more than a little worrisome. Complications with the heart are scary! 

Once again, we went to my pediatrician, and he sent us to the cardiologist. I had a bunch of tests done and even wore a heart monitor for a day, but they couldn't find anything really wrong. I should have been fine, as far as they could tell. The only really odd thing they noticed was that my heart rate tended to go from abnormally low to very high, but apparently that didn't mean much to them. So, the conclusion? It was probably just stress.

At this point I felt so defeated. I felt so incredibly guilty that my parents had spent time and money (which I knew they didn't have much of) on doctors and specialists, just to have nothing be wrong with me. I was afraid they'd be mad at me for wasting time and money with my silly problems that were apparently nothing. I started to think that maybe I WAS just making it up.
Maybe I just wanted attention so badly that I was actually creating these symptoms in my body.

Maybe it really was just stress and if I could just stop being so dumb and get over it, I'd be fine.

Or maybe I was just crazy.

I kind of gave up trying to figure out what was wrong for a long time and developed a complete distrust of medical professionals.

Then I started college. I was dancing for at least an hour or two every day trying to become the dancer I had always wanted to be, and trying to get good grades in some tough classes so I could get into the nursing program. 

I was incredibly stressed, physically and mentally.

I started having fainting and near fainting spells, and at the insistence of concerned family members and friends, I went to the student health center. The doctor there told me I had syncope... or "fainting" in other words. He couldn't tell me why, but said it was probably stress.

Awesome.

One day after a pointe class I suddenly got this excruciating pain in my foot. I walked back to my dorm on the other side of campus in tears because it hurt so incredibly much.

My dear mommy took me to a chiropractor/sports specialist we knew from the ward and he told me that a bone had slipped out of place in my foot. He put it back and taped me up to keep it from happening again.

Now, I'm no doctor, but it seems to me that bones shouldn't just "slip" out willy nilly. I knew you could dislocated things if you had some trauma, but it was just a normal ballet class. Nothing special had happened. It seemed odd, but I just figured it was par for the course when it comes to living in my body.

In my short college dance career I went on to sublux a bone in my wrist on two more occasions and have dozens of various injuries, including years of achilles tendinosis that refused to heal. 

*sigh* (though, I know I should be grateful I could do as much as I did!)

On the bright side, after some research on my own (thank you internet!) I did finally get a diagnosis of IBS to explain my stomach pains and how sick I feel all the time, which felt like an absolute triumph at the time. It was short lived, however. I realized eventually that there was not only no known cause or cure, but doctors really don't even know much about managing symptoms :/

This did lead me to more and more research which is how I ended up finding fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I read so much and got pretty excited because it seemed like such a good fit. So many of the odd associated health issues that come along with fibro seemed to line up with my list of complaints.

But once again, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue have no real known cause, many doctors just treat them like a "junk" diagnosis when they don't know what is really going on. Some doctors think they are just caused by stress and are "all in your head"

So honestly, even with the fibro answer, I kind of felt like I was no better off than when I started.
I've struggled so much feeling like a failure as a spouse because I have a hard time "doing it all". I have felt so bad because I can't do things that Karl enjoys with him, like dodge ball or anything physical. 

Anyway, (relatively) recently, a relative of mine contacted me on Facebook and told me about a rare genetic disorder that she and her daughters have called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (type 3) because she thought I might have it too. It causes a defect in a person's collagen which makes people hypermobile (or double jointed and very flexible, in other words), but also causes wide spread pain, easy injuring, frequent dislocations/subluxations, skin issues, dysautonomia (problems with the nervous system and blood pressure/heart stuff), easy bruising, IBS, anxiety, and more. It's often misdiagnosed in as fibromyalgia and "growing pains" in children. Collagen is a component of every system in the body, so if it's faulty, it has an effect on the entire body. 

All the stories I've read from people with this disease have been so similar to mine! It's been like the pieces of my life long puzzle have been falling into place, I just needed this one last piece to make it all make sense. I really, truly believe that I've finally found my answer. 

I want so much to get a diagnosis but currently my insurance doesn't cover anything besides primary care visits and I can't afford to pay for a specialist or any testing on my own. And then again, not many doctors are well informed about EDS and the thought of talking to another doctor and being brushed off, talked over, or told I'm fine, gives me enormous amounts of anxiety. 

So here I am. 

Right now I'm having a very hard time. I do have good periods of time where my symptoms are so mild I start to wonder if I've just been a huge baby in the past.... and then I get hit with a "flare" and I remember exactly why I "thought" I was suffering. 

I'm currently in the middle of one of those flares. 

My pain has been so bad lately that even with pain killers taking the edge off, I still can't sleep because of the pain. I lie awake at night knowing that any minute one of the little ones is going to be up, but all I can do is hurt. I get lightheaded when I stand up and I get headaches and feel weak and sick if I go out in the heat. I feel so sick all the time and I have no energy to play with Evie like she wants me to. I have a type of tendonitis in my wrist that won't go away, and as I take care of my kiddos I can feel my other wrist starting to go too. I dread Declan's cries because the thought of lifting him one more time makes my arms want to fall off. He's only three and a half months, but he's already too heavy for me. It all wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have two little ones to take care of, but I do. 

I feel so guilty that I can't take care of them the way they deserve. I feel guilty that we eat out so much because I know it's horrible for us, but I have no energy to cook AND take care of little ones all day. I feel guilty because I just stay at home all day and I still can't take care of everything. I feel horrible for needing to depend on my hubby so much when he's already got so much on his plate. He didn't know what he was getting into when he married me. I feel guilty knowing that if I do have EDS, then my children have a 50% chance of having it too. I don't want them to have this life. I feel like a failure as a mother, as a spouse, and even as a living person.  

I think all the mental stuff is probably worse than the pain right now...

On the other hand, I think Karl and my babies are the only reason I'm still here. The only reason I haven't crawled into bed and stayed there until I withered away to nothing is the fact that they need me. It's all so hard, but they need me, and I love them so much.

Anyway... that was long. If you made it, congratulations! And thank you :)

I'm not saying all this for pity, though I guess that wouldn't be so bad, lol, I really just want, for the first time in my life, to have someone understand. To have someone know what I go through on a regular basis. To have people "get" that when I look put together, it's an incredible feat, and when I seem like I'm sitting around being lazy, it's all I can do to keep myself in one piece. 

I know I don't look sick or like I should be struggling, but I am. 

And I hate it.