Happy 4th Birthday Liam!

Liam is four and this is what he’s like these days:

– his favorite song is “Moves Like Jagger” by Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera

– his favorite foods are: mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, pizza, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, any kind of fruit, sour cream banana pancakes, scrambled eggs and “snacks” (i.e. granola bars and fruit leather) … oh, and gum (is that really a food??)

– he loves to play outside and with Noah.

– He LOVES legos. Mostly just the lego guys. His favorite lego guy is “Commander Cody” and all the storm troopers (he loves bad guys … not a good sign).

– all of his L’s are W’s and any word ending in “ar” he adds an S to. So, for instance he says “wego” instead of “lego” and says “cars” instead of “car”, he also says “doors” instead of “door” and all of is “ar” sounds come out like a kid from Boston, “he pah-ks the cah-s at hah-vahd squeh” (he parks the car at hardvard square). It’s pretty cute.

– his favorite Sunday songs are: The Wise Man and the Foolish Man and I Am a Child of God (which he always makes us sing for opening and closing songs for Family Home Evening … he does all of the actions to the Wiseman song.) He also loves and knows Book of Mormon Stories and the alphabet song.

– he loves watching the food network or HGTV with mommy and taking naps on the couch.

– he’s a snuggler. On Saturday mornings, he’ll climb into bed with Daniel and me and just giggle and stare at us.

For his birthday this year we made it a day all about Liam. It started off at 6 am because he and Noah were too excited to sleep. He opened a few gifts in the morning before Daddy left for work – a white lego ninja guy, a lego sticker book and a Little Pookie book by Sandra Boynton. Then he played and watched cartoons all morning and had his favorite cereal that he picked out – Trix.

He didn’t have to do any chores (he relished this and reminded Noah about it several times as Noah slaved away making his bed and picking up their room). For lunch he wanted chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce, apples and apple juice (it was a very processed foods day, I don’t know how his insides can take that kind of a beating without consequences). Then we went to Target with $50 that Grandma and Grandpa from CA sent him and he blew it all on lego sets. He was absolutely delighted. He is always asking to buy expensive lego sets and we are never able to say yes, but on his birthday, all we said  was “yes” to him, all day long. I can’t believe it, but he spent $48 without even blinking. Amazing that a 4 year old could do that.

Then for dinner we took him to Chuck E. Cheese’s and he rode on rides, played games, ate pizza and drank soda. When we got home he had a yellow cake with sprinkles in it and on top of it, with chocolate frosting and he got his last two presents – a crossbow from Gammie and a left handed baseball glove from Daddy.

By about halfway through the day, the whole “king for a day” concept was sinking in and really starting to go to his head. He demanded we sing “Happy Birthday” to him several times and matter of factly told people he didn’t have to do chores “ev-ah” and he didn’t have to share anything either. hmmmmm. It was a little disturbing to watch him act like a tyrant for a day. Glad it was only a day, who knows what would’ve happened had it been longer.

But he was happy. It was a fun day for Liam. We love you Liam. You’re beautiful and I am thankful for you today!


<iframe width=”425″ height=”349″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/wvYxlSYHj2Y?hl=en&fs=1” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Mother’s Day

My day started off great and got better. It began when I woke up and went to the bathroom. As I sat there on the toilet, Noah came into the bathroom and said, “Happy mother’s day mommy! I have something for you”, he ran out and came back with a pencil in his hands. He gave me the pencil and said, “It has hearts all over it”, then he smiled. It was pretty cute.

Daniel was superb all day. He made me breakfast (eggs, bacon and toast with orange juice), cleaned up the house throughout the day and even made a quick trip home and back to church just so he could put the lasagna in the oven, so it was ready as soon as we got home from church. What a love.

We just finished dinner and he immediately cleared the dishes, then washed all the dishes and put away the food. He must know me well … and love me a lot too.

Liam is pretty distracted and excited about his birthday tomorrow, so he started singing “happy mother’s day” and it morphed into “happy birthday to me, Li-am”. I love him.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was asked to give a talk in church today. I agonize about public speaking. For some reason, when I get nervous I just say whatever comes to my mind. I have said unbelievably inappropriate things while speaking to large groups of people and it’s so embarassing – it ends up being funny, usually, but mostly emabrassing. I was so worried that I would do the same thing this time around, that I wrote out everything I wanted to say and reviewed it over and over again, so I wouldn’t “go off script” and say something ridiculous. I wanted to remember my mother’s day thoughts, so I am posting my talk.

Daniel said it went well and I stayed to what I had written, so this is pretty close to really what I said. There are some parts that are bolded, that was for me to look at and know where I was quickly. They are the points I really wanted to remember to say:

“When Brother Salvador asked me to speak on Mother’s Day, I asked if there was a specific topic besides just mothers. He said I should speak about the “blessings of motherhood”. I must have paused for a long time because after my silence in response to his declaration of the topic he followed it up with, “well, there ARE blessings, aren’t there?” … yeah, I guess there are.

Asking a 10 month pregnant mother to give a talk on the blessings of motherhood, is like asking one of the pioneers to expound on the blessings of the trek, as they marched into SLC. I have never been so exhausted, in so much pain, so hungry … can you tell if I’m talking about motherhood or the trek? You can’t. But I’m sure if you asked those pioneer saints, in the same breath they would answer, I have never been so emboldened, so strengthened and done more than I ever thought I could endure. I feel the same way as a mother.

I’m not going to lie; I have struggled with this topic.

Motherhood has been hard …

The blessings of motherhood have not really come to me easily, in fact, motherhood itself has been a crash and burn test cycle for me. I really thought I’d be good at it and I’d love it. I babysat kids when I was a teenager, I had 3 younger sisters, I even knew what it was like to get up in the middle of the night to get bottles for my youngest sister, Aria. I thought I knew what I wanted and what I was in for. I had no idea.

Motherhood has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and it has been a spiritual struggle for me as well.

I have never been so physically exhausted, as I have as a mother. I have never worked so hard at something or gone without food and sleep for it. I have never done something so mentally or emotionally challenging. The reason I have never done something so demanding is because I would never choose to do something like this to myself. It had to just happen to me, because if I had known what I would do as a mother, I would’ve never signed up.

As I thought of the hard things I’ve done as a mother, it made me think of other hard things I have done in my life?

I hiked half dome last August. That was hard. I trained for it, going to the gym several times a week in preparation for it. My husband choached me on the terrain and what to wear and what to expect. We brought water and food and wore comfortable, worn in hiking boots. And it was awful. I hated pretty much every moment of the trail and experience. Motherhood is harder than hiking half dome.

As for mentally and emotionally challenging, I sang an opera in college. I seriously underestimated the intensity of knowing the role of Carmen when I got back from my honeymoon and spent the next solid month, just playing catch up and trying to memorize hundreds of pages of music and French. I remember falling asleep to the music playing through headphones.

I remember kneeling by the side of our brown couch in our tiny apartment in south Provo and repeating the same French syllables over and over again until I found myself not able to read the music through my tears – tears of frustration and mental exhaustion. I do not know French. I didn’t then and I still don’t. So I was basically memorizing sounds, just syllables in a musical line. I had no idea what I was saying, I just had to get it in my brain and repeat it and the blocking on stage in front of hundreds in a few weeks. I stayed up late and got up early. I went to every practice whether I was performing in it or not.

Daniel did not see me unless music was in front of my face, coming out of my mouth or playing through speakers of some sort. I did it and I played the role and did it well, through much prayer and study. I thought I had never been or ever would be so challenged mentally and emotionally as I had doing that … motherhood is harder than learning the role of Carmen.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk entitled ‘Because She Is a Mother” in 1997. My friend, Christine Butler, sent this to me in a link one time and I read it and wept. It is so true. So much that rang true to me was in this talk. He is speaking directly to young mothers and in it he says this about physical fatigue:

“But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island.”

Then there is the encouraging part:

“Remember, ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven’… Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever.

You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.”

I have felt that.

Although it has been and continues to be the hardest thing I would have never picked for myself to do, it is worth it. And I’ll tell you why, here are the blessings of motherhood that I have received, two things:

  1. I have never grown so much spiritually in a shorter amount of time. I felt the NEED to beg for help to my Father in heaven, so many times. I have felt overwhelmed and that this was too much for me. I have felt stripped bare and worn out. I needed help.

Elder Holland was right. I could NOT do this alone and I came to that painful realization over and over again until I came to rely on the Lord more heavily on a daily basis.

Every morning and night in my personal prayers I plead for the Spirit to guide me each day. I learned to do this. I did not always do this. But I found it necessary.

I have felt the promptings of the Spirit tell me things. I was visiting a friend in CA and we had all of our kids and several mommies sitting around a pool. Liam asked if he could go in the water, but we had just gotten out, so I told him to wait and we’d go later. I was in a deep discussion with my friend, when for no reason, other than the Spirit’s guidance, I glanced at the empty pool to see Liam struggling for breath and drowning. I leapt into the pool and scooped him out of the water.

I have been prompted to say certain things and explain things to Noah that I didn’t know. I have been prompted to stop myself in anger and frustration and to simply give love instead. I have knelt down to give hugs and kisses instead of punishments, even when punishments were in order.

 I have done things that I was not capable of doing. I know that I have been able to do this because of the help of my Father in heaven and nothing less than divine intervention.

I have been “compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been” as Elder Holland said.

The second and last blessing of being a mother that I have found is this:

  1. My heart has been expanded to love in a way I never thought I could. I have come to know and love and associate with the best little human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. I am not saying this to brag. I have simply been touched by their sweet and tender spirits. My Noah is such a smart little man. We have had some of the sweetest and most interesting gospel discussions.

I remember driving in the car and Noah suddenly asked, “Who is that guy Alma killed?”

I had nothing come to mind, so I asked Noah for more details of the story he was referring to. He calmly said, “You know, this guy was a clever and wicked man and he wanted to be the King of the Nephites. And Alma fought him with a sword and then Heavenly Father gave him the power to kill him”. I asked Noah if he could remember what the bad guy’s name was at all and he said “Amlaci”. Now I had no idea. So I called my dad and said, “Noah has a question about the Book of Mormon that I don’t know the answer to”. My dad just burst into laughter making a remark about how he’d only be able to answer the questions while Noah was young and later, when the questions got more philosophical, he’d have to refer him elsewhere. It was awesome. Evidently, Noah was right. It was Amlaci (I might be spelling it wrong).

Or he will simply express love to me.

“Mommy, do you want me to tell you how much I love you?”

“Sure, buddy, that would be nice”

“OK … I love you as much as Heavenly Father loves kids. That’s a lot. I love you that much.”

Liam does the same thing. He expresses love so simply, so perfectly, so openly. He was walking with me hand in hand in Michaels and he looked up at me and said, “Mommy, you my fwend (friend)”. One time when we were dropping Noah off to school, Liam and I were watching as Noah jogged into the school and Liam sighed and said very seriously, “Noah is the best. I wuv pwaying wiv him”.

Their hearts are so open, so pure and so full of love right now and I love them.

My heart has been expanded to love in a way I never thought I could. That is a blessing of motherhood. They have a part of my heart and they always will. I feel this love so intensely, it surprises me.

When I was asking Daniel for advice and help on this topic of the blessings of motherhood, I asked him what he felt like the blessings of fatherhood were. He said he has learned more about our Father in Heaven because he is a father. He says he can feel and understand how much Father in heaven must love him, if this is how he feels about our children. It helps him understand his relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I echo that.

How did our brother, Jesus, go through the pain and agony of Gethsemane for us? How could he suffer so much for us and he is simply our brother? At the same time, how could our Father in heaven watch his own son bare that? I could not. But He knew it was necessary to save us, his other children here on earth. It would give us the only chance we had to come back to Him and so he bore that. My father in heaven loves me, more than I love my own children. I have come to just begin to understand this kind of love through my experience as a mother. Noah was right, Heavenly Father loves kids … and that’s a lot.

My Mother

I cannot finish this talk unless I mention my own mother and her example to me. I have a wonderful mother. I am grateful for her example of what a mother can be. When I think of her, I cannot help but think of that Primary song, “Love Is Spoken Here”.  In that song it says:

I see my mother kneeling, with our family each day

I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray,

Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears.

And I am thankful, Love is spoken here.


I can’t imagine any other woman who has prayed more for her children than my mom. That song always paints a clear picture in my head of a sight I saw so often in our home – her kneeling at the side of her bead, bowing her head in fervent prayer. I have felt the power of her prayers so strongly throughout my life, and it has been such a blessing. It is because of her superb example and love for me, that I wanted that for myself and wanted to have an eternal family.

I know God lives. I know He is my father and that I have an eternal family in heaven. I know that if I keep my covenants on earth I will be with Noah, Liam and Daniel and now this new little guy I don’t know yet, forever. This is the blessing of motherhood. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

37 weeks

Everything that happens in the bathroom has changed now: shaving my bikini line has become total guesswork, wiping is strenuous, shaving my legs has happened a lot less and the sheer number of times I find myself on the toilet has gotten ridiculous. really. ridiculous. I will go potty and feel like I’ve emptied my bladder, then 3 minutes later feel the urge to go again and 5 minutes later, again. I should stop drinking water altogether. Yes, that’s the answer. No more liquids for me.

I have started my regiment of Red Raspberry Leaf tea everyday and evening primrose oil caplets 3 times a day and some homeopathic remedies as well to get my cervix to soften.

I have started using the word “cervix” in normal conversation with friends and others.

I pretty much talk about or think about labor and delivery every day. People cannot see me anywhere without discussing my due date.

I groan every time I move, not on purpose, just involuntarily. Sometimes that’s embaressing.

I am wildly adding all sorts of projects to my “list of things to do before the baby comes”. I am truly torn between two feelings on “things to do” lately:

1. Should I sit back and relax and enjoy the last few weeks of no infant nursing and waking up all night long? or 2. Should I hurry and cram in as many things as I can – projects, trips, play dates before the baby comes and I am homebound for months?

I can’t decide.

I have an overwhelming worry that I haven’t prepared enough. I should read more about labor and delivery in my Bradley book and I should read up on the latest immunizations and I should buy a freakin car seat already because ours expired and I threw it out and I should get wet wipes … is it too soon to buy wet wipes? And I should pack my bags for the hospital, but will my fig newton treats last for three weeks? … it’s overwhleming, really.

Also, I don’t think I will have this baby in 3 weeks. I counted out 40 weeks from conception and came up with a due date of June 15th, but the due date my midwife gave me was June 1st. I am measuring at 35 weeks right now, so I am dead on for my due date, which means I probably have more than 3 weeks to go. Who knows if it will be 4 or 5 …. or more …. or less. Man, this last month is a doosey.

I really believe that the only reason you are pregnant for 9 months instead of 8 is an act of God. He knows you would only be willing to go through the pain of labor and delivery if you had already gone through the 9th month where you were so uncomfortable and antsy, you would do anything to get the baby out. I’m there now.

Good news: the baby’s head is down and he is in the right position, he kicks and moves a lot (so I know he’s alive and well), we have a name and the nursery is finished.

As much as I worry and whine, I have had a different experience with this little guy. I am more grateful and more aware of the miracle that is happening. I am also terrified that something will go wrong still. Time feels like it’s going too slow, but as soon as it feels like it’s speeding up toward delivery I think, “I’m not ready for this! Slow down! How did 9 months come and go so fast??” I am crazy these days.

Ready or not, we’re closing in on a due date.

Nursery for Baby Ray

OK, it has been a looooooong time coming, but I am finally posting pictures of the nursery I’ve been working on for months.

I still feel ike there’s more to do (like buy a crib … but we’ll do that after all the family comes to visit this summer and we actually move baby Ray into his nursery). But basically, this is it. I do love it. Especially when I was looking at the before and after pictures.

The hardest part of putting the nursery together?? … by far, picking the paint colors. The gray was super hard to pick and then I did, and then I asked my mom for a rug as her baby gift to me and the chevron striped gray and white rug came from urban outfitters and …. the gray on the wall didn’t match the gray in the rug. So, of course, it was back to Home Depot for more gray paint. I am a bit of a perfectionist (Daniel is laughing and saying “a bit??!”) Anyway, I made and painted or sewed everything in the room because I wanted everything a certain way. Even the changing pad cover. I wanted to make sure it didn’t sag but was nice and taut, so I made one myself after I ordered very specific yellow fabric online at fabric.com and added velcro to the back to make sure it didn’t sag … you get the picture. I will just show pictures now and then as we go along, I’ll describe my various projects:

First, the before pictures (I love this. It’s so satisfying and it completely bypasses about 6 months of work).

The room and closet:

 Then I organized all of the above craft stuff into my basement, here:

And then I did the nursery and here we go .. after pictures:


I sewed the elephant art myself after looking at etsy for days for a perfect elephant print and never finding it. So I combined ideas that I saw and this Dr. Suess quote and did it myself. The frame below it is something I made a long time ago and never used, so I put it away, then pulled it out when Noah made this little note for the baby (totally unprompted). Noah came up to me one day and said, “I made a card for thr new baby. He can open it on his birthday, when  he’s born. That’s his birthday right?” I love it. It’s one of my favorite parts of the room, and one of the smallest too. It’s the details that count. Look what he wrote inside:

I made these numbers … twice. yes. twice. I loved the numbered hooks I saw at potterybarn kids and land of nod, but they were so pricey. Then I saw some girl online that made her own numbered pegs by getting metal house numbers and hooks from home depot …. and this idea was born: to get wooden numbers and wrap them in yarn for a soft and textural affect, then use hooks below. The only problem was that I wrapped the numbers in the wrong color yarn. I didn’t really realize it until they were on the wall and the yarn color looked too teal. So I had to rewrap them and I did. And I love them.

The diaper bag was something I researched for a while and decided on this one. It is by Jujube and I love it like crazy. The best part? It is originally $225 and I got this one on ebay for $100 less!!! Woo hoo! I felt like I won something when I bought it. It was totally like the ebay commercial “shop victoriously” … seriously.

The hat is the infant newsie hat that Baby Ray will wear on his blessing day. I got it from Children’s Place at Easter time. Daniel asked me if I was really going to “make” him wear it. of course I am. sheesh. Silly question.

I saw something similar to this mobile online but they didn’t have the right color scheme, so I just got a large hole puncher and I already had some fishing line (who doesn’t?!) and I made it myself. It’s perfect.

These shelves and picture above were something I had been planning on doing from the very beginning. The print I bought off etsy from Lisa Barbero. I adore it. Daniel thinks it’s not that cool.

These shelves are spice rack shelves from IKEA. I’ve had them forever and used them in various ways and here’s another – as a baby library. I have been adding new board books over the past few months, because the baby books I’ve kept form the other two boys have been basically ruined – torn apart, chewed through, ripped and I thought this little guy deserved a few good books. I have lots of little favorites in these shelves:

the Sophie the giraffe toy I got form my sisters,

the Sandra Boynton “Hippos Go Beserk” book in the perfect colors of the room (aqua and yellow)

the Matthew Van Fleet “Heads” book seemed especially appropriate since Noah’s first baby book he received was Matthew Van Fleet’s “Tails” book,

and my most recent addition: the colorful tiny board books of feelings. Adorable. I love this part of the room.

It may seem silly to take pictures of the closet, but scroll back up and see those hideous before pictures of the closet and you will be as impressed as I was when it was all complete. ahhhhh, I take a sigh of relief everytime I open the closet door. This will probably be short-lived, since I will actually start using the closet soon and then it will all be destroyed, but for now – it looks divine.

Do you see the blessing shoes my sisters got me on etsy?? They are the crocheted ones, fourth ones in from the right. Wha? Too many shoes for a newborn that can’t walk?? I don’t think so.

This little elephant came from Daniel’s mom. I love it. She brought it home to Liam from the British Museum in London and when you blow on one end, it sounds like a mini horn. It’s all wood and just pretty. Liam is just loaning it to the baby room.

This has to be the easiest, yet biggest impact project of the room. Made from paper and sewn together on ribbon. It’s so cheerful.

And there you have it. I always love it when people put lots of details and pictures of their homes, so I did. Maybe too many. Oh well.


not complete until now

Yesterday I got a package from my sisters (I will refer to “my sisters” in the rest of this entry – I must clarify, this includes my mom. She’s one of the “grillz”/my sisters). I was not expecting it. It was chalked full of baby stuff and had this note inside, written by my little sister, Mina. She is a lyrical genius …

Yeah. I cried. Granted, I’m very pregnant, so I cry at lots of things … like diaper commercials, but this was actually  a meaningful cry. I love my sisters.
This is baby boy #3 and I really don’t need anything cuz I have bins and bins of baby clothes and stuff piled up in my basement from the other two boys, but there were things I wanted. Things that were extra. Stuff that didn’t matter, but seemed nice. I thought I was all ready for Baby Ray (I think that’s what we’ll name him: after my grandpa, Ray), but I was not completely ready until now.
It feels different to know my sisters think this is important. Enough to celebrate and do something about it. It was just nice. Really nice and it makes me miss them dearly. Thanks girls.
All of the things they got me were very specific to things I had talked about wanting, and even a few things I didn’t mention but had thought about. Seriously, how do they do that – know me so well?
How did they know I had looked at Sophie the giraffe and thought, “that’d be cool. That’s supposed to be the coolest teether in the world, but soooo ridiculous to spend that much money on a little teether … whatever, I have teethers. I got them from the hospital when Noah was born. I’ll just wash those”. Just amazing.
And the muslin swaddling blankets – perfect for a summer baby. The rubber blocks I didn’t know I needed until I saw them and held them in my hands … and of course, the crocheted loafers from etsy that I wanted to bless him in – they were even better in person than they were online.
The one thing not in the picture are the newborn diapers. You always need at least one package of newborn diapers and these have the cool cut out for the umbilical cord, but are also equipped with a “poop pocket”?? It’s like an extra protection against baby tar poop blow outs. If you have a kid, you know what “baby tar poop” is.
They also added the wrap shirts that you get in the hospital. The ones that don’t cover the umbilical cord, but have the mittens at the end of the shirts so the baby doesn’t scratch himself. The girls got me two sets – long and short sleeved. The attention to detail was impressive. That’s my sisters. The girls in my family are very detail oriented individuals …. yes, we’re all crazy (if the bros-in-law were reading this, which they wouldn’t, but if they were, they’d be nodding … crazy).
Last night, after Daniel got home, I laid out the blessing outfit (complete with newborn newsie hat and now the crocheted loafers) and just made him stare at it. He smiled and said encouraging things. I was delighted.
Noah keeps running through the nursery and then stopping, squeezing Sophie the giraffe, giggling and running off. In fact, as I am writing this, I just heard Sophie the giraffe going like gang busters in the nursery and I asked who was playing with it. Noah said he was. I asked him to leave it alone. Noah giggled and said, “If I were a baby, I would LOVE to play with this awesome giraffe”.
I thought everything was set up and ready for this little man. But I was missing a little bit of sister love. Now I’m ready. K, baby, you can come now …