Pregnancy: What Helps?

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Believe me….it’s TOTALLY worth it!

 

So in my last post on Pregnancy I took a realistic view at my personal journeys through pregnancy. Now, I want to share what has helped me to cope with the different symptoms one may face during this multi-faceted season of life. In other words, what helps?

Morning Sickness:

  1. Protein- Sandwich it -My sister calls it “Protein packing”, meaning that you begin and end with eating a high-protein food whenever you’re eating a meal or snack. At the very least end with the protein but when my sickness level is at its highest I have to begin AND end with protein to lessen the stomach upset.
  2. Frequent eating- Every 2-3 hours -Though I try to do this anyway so I don’t eat like a pig every meal 😉 but sometimes it’s hard to do! During pregnancy this is an absolute must for me if I want to lesson vomiting, faintness and extreme fatigue.
  3. Small amounts- When in doubt start with half -My stomach is extra sensitive so giving it less to process at a time just makes sense. Also, when my stomach is too full it’s that much closer to being able to leave my stomach;)
  4. Lots of liquid-Water is best, sugar is not -Honestly, I am a water person. I don’t normally drink milk, juice, nor carbonated/other beverages….However, when I am pregnant even my own saliva makes me gag (yes, I’m a camel, I spit!) so water, I’m thinking from the lack of flavor (?), is very hard to ingest and then keep down. My first couple pregnancies I could do Gatorade, now it seems to have too much sugar. It seems that the happiest medium for me is Coconut water, all-natural, best directly from the coconut (Yay for Mexico!:)
  5. Low Glycemic Index-Blood sugar rules -Sugar is my nemesis. I like it, don’t get me wrong…too much actually. In the first two trimesters of pregnancy, for me, sugar in any form, even fruits cause more indigestion and vomiting. During my last pregnancy I couldn’t even tolerate things like oatmeal and whole-wheat bread. There are a wealth of sites anymore that will tell you about the sugar levels/glycemic index of foods and for me the lower the better.
  6. Chlorophyll-Indigestion -Even when you’re being careful you’re bound to have days when you’re stomach just isn’t doing its job. For these times I use a concentrated chlorophyll that has mint extract to calm the acid. I can dilute it to my tolerance level and it’s been more effective than tums or milk of magnesia. I didn’t tolerate it well though in my first trimester.
  7. Laying on your left side- Aids digestion and blood circulation -Your stomach opening is on the left side and the main nerve and blood vessel that get “messed up” in pregnancy are on your right. So if you’re laying on the side that will aid your stomach and not smash one of your main nerves then it makes sense that it would help.
  8. No less than 8 hours of sleep- No, I’m not joking -Honestly, I do best with between 10-12 hours of sleep during the first trimester, but less than 8 is a recipe for vomiting. I’m assuming less sleep means more stomach acid, probably will have to look that up;)
  9. Avoiding “harsh foods” –spices, acidic, oily, chocolate, high-allergen, harder to digest (nuts, red meat, dark greens, refined foods/breads)-Welcome to Blah Land  -“Harsh foods” will probably mean different things to different people. Most people would probably say that spicy, oily and acidic foods make sense that they would cause more stomach upset. For me I’ve noticed that it’s those foods plus others. When pregnant my stomach does better if I avoid high-allergy foods (milk, nuts, eggs, seafood, chocolate, etc.) as well as refined foods and red meat. The last couple I have also had a hard time with harder to digest vegetables, mostly the dark green ones.
  10. Low impact/low stress- Just say “no” -If you’re not good at saying “No” or “Not now”, pregnancy is the perfect time to practice;) This is of course different for everyone due to personality and pre-pregnancy fitness levels but generally speaking high physical activity, at least during the first trimester, makes it harder to balance electrolytes and blood sugar. Also, I’m sure everyone has experienced biological issues to an extent, due to stress. Keep your stresses to a minimum, both physically and mentally/emotionally, doing only the highest priorities and your body (and babyJ) will thank you!

 

Energy:

  1. Sleep, Sleep and more Sleep -This cannot be emphasized enough! Have you ever heard the saying, “Your body HEALS when sleeping”? Well, it’s true in the sense that your body does more regeneration during sleep than any other time. So if you’re growing another HUMAN BEING inside of you, it only makes sense you’ll need some extra sleepJ!
  2. Exercise -The time and intensity of your exercise will vary according to your pre-pregnancy fitness and how your body reacts to pregnancy. However, even if you’re totally NOT an exerciser I would HIGHLY recommend SOME form of regular exercise. It makes such a HUGE difference, not only in your pregnancy overall health but in the ease of your delivery. For examples, during my first pregnancy I did some light aerobics but mostly speed walking and light weights. My second pregnancy I had a really hard time with my sciatic nerve so I switch to swimming. Third pregnancy was walking. Fourth pregnancy was swimming and walking. This pregnancy I’ve done mostly yoga, a bit of swimming and light aerobics and weights.
  3. Multi-vitamin -This is where I become a hypocrite. I KNOW by experience that multi-vitamins make a HUGE difference in my energy levels. However, I consistently throw them up if I try to take them before my second trimesterL Thus, I choose tiredness over staring into a porcelain bowl, until I’m between 5-6 months along.
  4. Blood Sugar Balance -If it’s too low I’m tired, if it’s too high I will be tired in about 10 minutes. Going back to the glycemic index thing, if my blood sugar isn’t staying at a good level I tend to crash. Actually, I can tell I’m getting hungry when I start to fall asleep and I know after I have something sugary I will start to fall asleep in about 20-30 minutes.

Body Changes:

  1. Expect and Accept -Everyone’s body will have different changes during pregnancy but the universal one is a big stomach. Be ready for it. Know that your body will change and accept it. Notice that I did not say you have to EMBRACE it. I really admire the pregnant women that I’ve seen who do truly embrace the changes and see it as a different kind of beauty. I am not one of those women though. But knowing that changes will come and also knowing they’re temporary helps be cope.
  2. Get Educated  -Whether you’re into doing everything from a medical stand-point or prefer a more natural approach to your health, education is the key. This will help you not only know what to expect, if it is “normal”, but also what you can do about it. I love this point because it makes me feel like I’m an agent and can make some improvements/changes, not a victim that just takes whatever comes along.

Emotions

  1. Be Gentle -I am not an advocate of sitting on your rear-end and allowing people to wait on you just because you’re pregnant. However, I do think one should set their level of personal expectations a bit lower or modify them at least to be realistic to needs. That means knowing your limits, and here comes the hypocrite in me again, not getting to the point where you break your limit before you relax or take breaks.
  2. Communicate -This is a hard one for me,  as I’ve mentioned in another post. Generally speaking I often ignore my own needs so getting to the point of communicating them to other people….well, let’s just say it’s not one of my strong points 😉 But then, my bad habits have helped me learn a lot about how important it is to communicate clearly what you really need from people! Especially in terms of your spouse and family, let them know what you need and expect. Of course you will first have to know your own needs first and then find/know the best way of communicating them with your closest associates. This is not being a baby, nor should you be manipulative or pull guilt-trips, this is clearly telling people what your limits are and where they can help you. If you do it in a respectful and clear way it will be one of your biggest ways to lesson stress.
  3. Step Back -Sometimes I’m just irrational. When I’m pregnant I think I’m that way more often. It has really helped me to realize this and when I feel that I’m going to explode in any emotional way I need to get away from people. For one, when I feel out of control emotionally anything I say will probably not be helpful, maybe not even coherent. Secondly, high emotions tend to breed high emotions so if I’m that way I will most likely influence others around me to be highly emotional and that’s just messy. It’s best to take a walk, say a prayer, take a nap, do whatever it takes to calm down a bit (chocolate, anyone?;) Then if I’m still feeling too emotional I journal my feelings so that I can sort them out and see what I need to do about it.

Spirituality

  1. Keep up your habits (or start new ones) -Keeping up your personal devotion habits are an absolute must during pregnancy. I would even go as far to say as double them up. If you usually do scripture reading in the morning, do it morning AND night. If you usually just pray when you wake up and at bedtime, pray three times a day. You are growing a body with a spirit inside your own body, it is essential to stay as spiritually strong as possible.
  2. Be Still -Whether you do full-out meditation or just take a daily walk in nature, learning to relax your body and concentrate your mind is very powerful. Sometimes all I seem to find time for are a few deep breaths and a prayer but it is AMAZING the difference one can feel when we stop all the activity and remember that we are spiritual beings.

So that about sums it up! These suggestions are of course taken from my personal experiences, and everyone is different, but I hope you can find something useful:)

 

Mommy said so….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou probably thought I had forgotten about it….but I don’t think any parent EVER forgets about the topic of discipline;)

Nope, sorry my writings are so random, it’s therapy for me as it helps me put my ponderings into more concrete insights, so I can actually make change….thanks for your patience:)

Anyway, so along this more recent in-depth study of discipline you know what thought keeps coming back?

“Meg, until YOU change, there will be NO change.”

Well that’s a bit disheartening for me, but it’s true. I’ve read and studied discipline since before having children and for the type of household and family culture I’m striving for, it is just NOT going to happen with my current habits.

Here the low-down:

I’m a control freak

I’m a perfectionist

I’m nearly OCD when it comes to planning and organization

I’m bossy

I’m NOT touchy/ feel-y nor do I deal well with high-emotional situations

Can you see where these traits might just cause some conflict in any home? But especially in a home where the other members are:

Care-free

Fun-loving

Impulsive

Independent

Fearless

High-emotion and physical affection oriented

Its a precarious mix to say the least.

Now, looking at it from a big picture standpoint (and considering my last post🙂  I think we have a lot to learn from each other. That being said, no one is going to want to listen to me if I’m a witchy, party-crashing, beast that only talks to give orders and demand obedience.

Besides my theological research, which I’ll share in a separate post, my latest VERY helpful book on the topic of discipline has been this book
What I love about it is it shares how societal culture has led to a shift in family culture, thus creating a need for different discipline approaches. Also, it helps YOU as the parent, define your parenting style and explains why that can cause conflict or future discipline issues.

What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about the incredibly smart author is that she’s created a whole step-by-step/systematic approach to tackling the subject of discipline AND she has a great website (www.positiveparentingsolutions.com) that offers free webinars, free trainings, and free surveys (to find your parenting style).

One of the very first things that this discipline approach suggests is to spend more quality time individually with each child, actually at least 20 minutes each day per child. This is something that I’ve been thinking about for awhile, even before reading this book, especially when I noticed that quality time and physical affection were so high on the “love languages” for my kiddos (you can find out more about love languages and discovering those of your family here) But when I heard the reasoning and statistics for the quality time, it motivated me more to try for more consistent individual time with each child.

Now, maybe it’s not a big deal for most, but when I think of 20 minutes each child, each day I think….”How in the….?”

So I figured I’d start with 10 minutes each day each child…but even that was too much and crazy/stressful for me, so I switched to once a week. We call is our “date night” each kid gets one night that they get to stay up 20-30 (sometimes more) minutes up past bedtime to have a date with me. Each child chooses what they would like to do (except for T.V ). This means Engineer usually chooses his latest project, we are currently working on a hot-air balloon. Fiesta usually wants to do nails and/or makeup or color pictures (Wanna see when she gave me a makeover? ). And Elf often does nails too but likes to read stories a lot as well.

Honestly, some nights it’s hard for me to calm my to-do list going in my head, but by the end of the date I’m always more relaxed and refreshed.

Even more rewarding has been the immediate changes I’ve seen in my kids, especially Fiesta. Most notable the day right after their date, they are more compliable, talkative (in a good way), understanding, compassionate and overall in better spirits. It has really been a blessing for everyone. Now I just need to work up to more time, on a consistent basis.

I’ve especially noticed that Elf really needs time every day, so I’ve been trying to be more creative with “dates”. We cook, bake, read, sit and talk, make something, have a tea party, go to the park or on an errand drive (if Marvel is home so we can go just the two of us). I’m really hoping it will become more natural to me as time goes on so I don’t treat EVERYTHING like a check-list. But step-by-step, here I go.

You can see other posts on my discipline journey here.

So please do share….What changes in your discipline approach have had immediate changes?

By the way, I’m not getting paid for the “advertising” on Amy McCready’s book nor website, I just love it and thought someone else might find it helpful. The link to the book is an Amazon Affiliate link, however, so if you do decide to buy the book I would greatly appreciate you using that link to support this site. Thanks!

I Lost it at 3

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And then there were three….

 

When I had 2 kids I felt right from the beginning that it was doable. Yes, tricky at times but completely doable.

I don’t remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the prospect of parenting and keeping up with my other various responsibilities. I also felt like I could get my body back. I gained the least amount of weight with my second pregnancy and had stayed pretty active the entire pregnancy. A couple stretch marks (yes, two actually) but other than that by the time my second child was 9 months old I felt like I was as in as good of shape as I had been before kids.

But I completely LOST IT at 3. I don’t know what I did wrong or what happened exactly but I feel like from child #3 on I have never been able to get completely back up in the saddle.

Yes, I’m still on the horse….mostly….most days…..but it’s a very precarious ride and I feel like I’m wearing silk pajamas on a leather saddle with no reins to grab onto….the horse definitely has no bit….it’s wild.

That’s also about the point I mysteriously started finding things like gray hairs, hidden stretch marks in crazy places, love handles and extra “padding” around my middle, not to mention the ingrained purple bags under my eyes and my increased urge to lash out irrationally.

That’s when homeschooling became a daily battle. Discipline a guessing game. And a clean house a figment of my imagination. Where did the order go? I’m an organized person….right? Aren’t I?

So, at the moment we have 4 kids and we feel like there is at least one more waiting on us….maybe more….Some days I get all motivated and psyched up and think , “I CAN DO THIS!!!!!”

About an hour later, while battling my 8yr. old over a math lesson, trying to keep my 5 year old out of the mud when she’s supposed to be working on her handwriting (come on, at least during school can we avoid filling the entire patio with mud pies? :/), finding my 3yr. old in a flooded bathroom with her messed up pants around her ankles and WAY more than enough toilet paper to clean it up with (when did she even GO to the bathroom, I thought she was doing phonics on the computer??), only to come out of there to find my 1 year old has somehow figured out how to climb into the kitchen cupboard, dump out all the garbage in the garbage can and is now eating who knows what out of it….it’s at times like this I find myself thinking, “What in the world was I thinking? THERE IS NO WAY ON EARTH I CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Well, I’m right. Actually both statements are correct if I tweak it a bit. I, personally, cannot do this. It is just not humanly possible.

The thing is it really doesn’t matter how many parenting books I read, organizational webinars I listen too, or homeschooling blogs I follow….when it comes down to it, despite my best efforts…life is still going to happen and I’m still going to mess up. Big time.

So what does that mean? Should I quit? Should I just give up and go with the flow?

No, of course not. It just means that I am me. And my kids are each uniquely made as well.

It’s like mixing up a salad. Different ingredients, some of which may not even seem like they should go together, but a really good salad has a lot of surprising variety. The ingredients work together because they are put together by a chef that knows their unique taste and texture.

So here’s the thing. I’m me. You mix me with the members of my family and there is going to be sweet, sour, soft, crunchy…. mostly nutty. But the Chef knows what He is doing because He knows each of us better than we know ourselves.

Are families are not by accident. This is God’s Plan. We have families to fulfill his divine purposes and we are put together ON PURPOSE.

I am here to learn. To learn to be more like God. And that is what each of my children are here for too.

We are ALL disciples…followers, learners, willing students….I just forget that part sometimes…ok, LOTS of times.

I’m so busy instructing, teaching…ok, ok bossing…that I’m not even opening my mind and heart to what I’m supposed to be learning.
Yeah, there is always the standard answer, Patience. Right, well as parents we definitely know we could use some of that.

But what about charity? The ability to love as God loves, just as we are, good or bad, right or wrong,….He loves us. Always and forever.

What about meekness? The ability to be teachable. To look at every situation with curiosity and desire to learn and accept situations and people as they are.

What about submissiveness? The ability to give my will up for the better good, maybe better for me, maybe better for everyone. Trusting that the Lord knows all…and thus knows best.

These are all characteristics that are naturally inherent in my children. Yet, sadly, I tend to think I’m the Mom, I know best….really? Always?

Worst of all, by my callous, prideful words and behaviors I am shaping another generation to leave their child-like natures behind and follow in MY footsteps….wait, aren’t I supposed to be leading them to Christ?

I already know, I don’t know what I’m doing. I already know, I lost it. So, stop the fight.

Let humility take over rather than pride. See my children as God sees them and love them that way too. Let them teach me. Instead of constantly thinking, “I cannot do this.” I should be thinking, “Show me how to do this.”

There are times when I have actually been able to embrace these principles. Let go of myself, my thoughts, my worries, my pride….and open my mind to learning and guidance. It always works. An answer always comes. Sooner or later, all at once or gradual…it comes. And many times….from the mouth of babes…

So, maybe that’s part of God’s plan too. I HAD to lose it. I had to get to the point where I felt like I know nothing and I can do nothing, so I could let Him guide me back to where I’m meant to be.

On Loan

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Some of the beauties that I have “On Loan” at the moment….

She looked up at me with a tear-stained face, not even capable of holding back the fountain of tears that had pushed their way up from her broken heart. “I don’t even want to try anymore,” she managed to whisper. She was still recovering from a painful miscarriage, just a little over a year after watching her son, barely a day old, die in the hospital, from what could have been a preventable infection. Honestly, I just wanted to run away. The pain was too deep and the agony was palpable in the room. I ached as I sat closer and gave her a hug. There was nothing I could do, that was the worst of it. It was all in her court. That and in the arms of the Lord. Only He could carry her through…

Being a woman, especially one with children in the home, you seem to learn more of these tragic stories either from your own experience or the other women in your circle of influence. Miscarraige, still-borns, infant death, child death…then there is a different side of the coin that is equally heart-wrenching, women who spend their whole childhood dreaming of someday being a mother and then they are unable to conceive. Some of them move forward with foster care and adoption and have to deal with the unsympathetic bureaucratic nonsense that often leaves them childless once again as they are forced to give up a child, one they have often put their heart and soul into raising and bonding with, that has become THEIR baby.
When I hear of these stories they are often close to home. I have had three miscarriages myself and nearly every woman I have been close too has a very similar story of heartache to tell. I have pondered on this subject for years. Where is the justice? Where is the mercy? What is the purpose?
When my niece died of SIDS I remember falling to my knees in prayer, nearly screaming at God, WHY!?? WHY HER? WHY THIS? That is the only time I can remember ever being angry with God. It just didn’t make sense. I knew He was a loving God, how could he allow this to happen?
The Lord comforted me and though I didn’t have answers I was able to move forward with the thought, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It wasn’t until very recently that answers slowly began to come. I started looking at the bigger picture and as I put together all my ponderings I realized that the Lord had wanted me to find my own answer.
There were two very influential statements said during this time of pondering that helped me shape my answer. One came from a dear friend that constantly inspires me with her devoted life, amidst seemingly impossible odds. She was sharing her experience of how she began to want to change her life and become a disciple of Christ, eventually leading her to baptism in our church. She said essentially, “When I came to the funeral of my sister’s infant son I felt something different. I felt that it was time to change my life…I know that part of his (the baby that had died) mission in this life was to bring me back to Christ.” When she said that it was like a lightning strike of truth entered my being. I knew what she said was true.
I believe everyone comes to earth for a specific purpose and when it all comes down to it, our main goal as brothers and sisters in God, is to make sure that we all make it back to Him. I just had never thought about even a baby having a mission and that it could be fulfilled in just a few short hours of living. As I looked back on my niece’s life I could see how she too had become a catalyst to lead many members of our family closer to Christ.
As I pondered this on the back burner of my brain, another memory came. My dear step-father had shared with me his insights with me during my first miscarriage. He too, had lost a baby when she was a mere few hours old and he shared from his journal an insight that came to him during this time. He said basically (I’m paraphrasing horribly), “We need to remember that nothing that we’ve been given is actually ours, everything belongs to the Lord. That means even our children are “on loan” to us, they don’t belong to us, they are part of our stewardship and if we prove worthy and teach them correctly then through the mercy and power of the atonement of Christ we can all live together forever. That also means that in order to follow Christ we must as he said, be willing to give up everything, even our children, whether it be for our better good, their better good, or the good of the kingdom.”
These two thoughts seemed to fill in a huge piece of the puzzle for me. We all have a mission, even our children. Sometimes ours, or their mission in this life can be fulfilled in a moment. And sometimes the only obstacle standing between us and Christ, is our inability to let go or something that really isn’t even ours to begin with.
As I’ve tried to apply these principles to the many heartaches I have witnessed, at times it is still very hard to accept.
I know a wonderfully amazing young woman that has had her share of hardship. But never the sun goes down on a day that she has not made better for someone else. She inspires me with her dedication, wisdom, creativity and tenacity. She is also among one of the army of remarkable women who whether for a time or a lifetime, has been unable to conceive.
Instead of viewing it as a set-back, she has chosen to move forward and share her mothering and nurturing talents in the foster care system. She amazes me because she knows that these children may only be with her for a matter of weeks or months, yet she puts her heart and soul into raising them as if they were from her very own womb.

It is because she is a mother, regardless of biology, she knows that as a woman, her divine purpose on this earth is to lead and guide children back to Christ. She knows that, regardless of their origin of birth, they are children of God and she will lead them back to Him. My belief is that is her divine mission.
These children, regardless of their age or future circumstance will always remember her influence and wherever they might go in life they will know that they were loved by a woman that loved Christ and taught them to love Christ. They will feel it. I believe very strongly that through these foundations, even if they stray, they will feel the pull of their heartstrings that will direct them back to Christ. The heartstrings that she, so lovingly, tied for them.
It is a journey. This relinquishing of our own will to align with God’s purpose for us and others.
All of these ponderings finally led me back to the story of Hannah and Samuel. To me, Hannah is a woman that really understood the process of consecration, that nothing is truly ours, as she gave her only child (at the time she did not know she would have others) over to life of service to the Lord.
It is also interesting to me that Hannah only raised Samuel for a short time (she gave him over the priesthood after he was weaned). Yet, Samuel was able to remain worthy, righteous, and eventually even become a prophet, despite the wickedness that surrounded him in the priest Eli’s household.
This story gives me hope and comfort. Whether we give birth to them or not, though a child is with us for a childhood or a few days, we as mothers can make a difference in their lives. Truth will find the heart, and there it will stay. Either growing or waiting for the day when it can.

Have It All

Image                                             I am so blessed to already “Have It All”

“ My husband and I have been married for 42 years. We never had much (in the way of material things). My husband made minimum wage when we got married and it increased up to 15% as the years passed. We never had a car. We never went to a restaurant. But I never regret my decision to stay home and be a wife and mother. We enjoyed coming home and preparing our meals together. We would go for walks in the park and just enjoy each other’s company. We were happy, our children were happy and I was there whenever they needed me.”

I could feel the tears well up in my eyes as this gentle, smiling woman stood up behind me in our women’s congregation at church to share her experience. She was petite, her clothes were faded and would be considered “out of style”, her face and hands wore the marks of someone that had worked hard and long her entire life. When I thought about raising a family on ONE MEXICAN minimum wage income I hung my head in admiration and a bit of shame. This woman’s contentment and peace radiated from her being and she stood up to share with us, and remind us, what we, as women, came to this earth to do.

The messages that bombard us on a daily basis are often overwhelming, sometimes downright nauseating.

Women should be equal with men, have a career that “fulfills” them, be able to come and go as they please, we travel to exotic locations, we look like a photo-shopped model at all times, we are completely up to date on all social media news, we have a delightful blog that oozes with wisdom and cuteness, our homes immaculate and beautifully decorated, our yards manicured, our gardens from which we home can all of our produce  is free of weeds, our children (2 of course, one boy, one girl) clean and neatly dressed in the latest styles, our meals perfectly balanced and prepared on time, our laundry ironed, folded and put away neatly by color and season(there are no dirty piles of course!), our budget balanced, our investments thriving, our cars (at least one for work and one for family) are washed and waxed and sitting in the spotless garage, we are involved in every sport and extracurricular  activity available, we attend and participate in all local political meetings, on the weekends we are volunteering at the animal shelter or food bank, on Sundays we’re at church, we teach Sunday School as well as facilitate other ecclesiastical meetings, a constant smile on our face and pleasant word on our lips….oh, and didn’t I mention, we’re writing a book….;)

The over-riding theme is that we can “HAVE IT ALL”. If we want it, we can have it, come and get it.

What I’m worried about is that it seems less and less women are worrying about what “IT ALL” really is, and where these messages are coming from. I find myself getting on to the treadmill of trends every so often myself. Sometimes I have to have a near breakdown before I realize I’ve forgotten my purpose.

Thus far, there have been two periods of time in my life where my desire to “HAVE IT ALL” nearly destroyed me.

The first time was as a pre-teen, going on teenager. My idea at the time of “IT ALL” was very much influenced by my passion for dancing. Unfortunately, I gave into the idea that I needed to be a certain way in order to succeed in the world of dance.

Long story short, my obsessive desires and thus behaviors led me very nearly to my death bed. Instead of fulfillment I felt emptiness and self-hatred.

Finding solace in the scriptures and prayer I remember when the sudden and forceful message came to me that I was not here on earth to be “fulfilling” myself, but to be a wife and mother. I remember the feeling that my future children were counting on me to be the mother that they deserve and I could not do that on the road I had taken. Fortunately, my ever faithful family and friends helped and supported me as I back-tracked and got on the right road.

The second time I felt myself getting horribly off track was during my last pregnancy.

As any wife and mother I have many responsibilities. Choosing to Homeschool adds another obligation, along with our extracurricular activities. I am very involved in our church and helping with our family business. Plus for me, pregnancy is hard work! 😉

Instead of pacing myself and setting priorities I started giving into the ideas of the world, of how I needed to be, what I needed to do, and how I was supposed to manage everything.

Where I ended up was one day having a complete melt-down, becoming a completely hellish beast to my family and finally driving off into the country-side, barely being able to see through the constant flow of my tears. I felt completely out of control, like I didn’t even know myself anymore.

Once again I turned to the scriptures and prayer and I felt the answers come. I slowed down. I prioritized and focused, and my patient husband and family road the bumpy road with me as I got back on the right road.

For me, the right road is focusing on the family. I believe women were put here on earth to nurture and guide their families towards Christ. The family is not a trophy nor a hobby, it is the whole purpose of life. We are here as families to return to God as a whole family.

Women are the hearth-makers, with whatever circumstances we are given we can make our house a home. Women set the mood of the home. The husband is the head, we are the neck. We prepare, love, teach, guide, listen, help and nurture. This is our sacred responsibility; this is why we are here.

So, am I against careers, cleanliness, cash, and calisthenics? No, of course not. Nor any of the other wonderful and engaging things this wonderful world has to offer. I just have to remind myself that just because it’s good doesn’t mean its best. And what’s good, or even best, for another may not be the best for me. I have to remind myself what my first priority always must be.

Because when it comes down to it, when all is said and done… if I can look back and see that my husband and family were well-cared for and happy.  If I can say that I did my very best to lead and guide them towards Christ, then that is “IT ALL”, for me.

Romantic Rendezvous

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Since Marvel and I won’t be able to celebrate on the actual Valentine’s Day, I wanted to “surprise” him with something special before he left. The limits were diet (we have a lot of food sensitivities at our house), time, budget, and no babysitter.

Well, I don’t think anything turns out the way I have it pictured in my mind but considering having to do our school responsibilities, restock our nearly empty fridge, teething baby that’s transition from 2 naps to one, and getting (threatening?) the kids to bed early (can someone tell me why kids NEVER go to bed early when you want them to?)….it turned out presentable and my hubby was happy so all’s well that ends well.

So here’s how it went.

First I made a simple invitation to leave on his computer screen while he was showering in the morning (sorry, didn’t get a picture of that one before it got destroyed).

Then we finished up with school and thankfully he took two of the girls to run errands with him, so I just took my son and baby to the grocery store.

Came home and Engineer helped me put groceries away and make the lemonade (which I added the raspberries to later) while I got the bread sticks going. Another set back was the bread didn’t rise???!! (Still no idea what I did differently) Which is why they became bread sticks and I have that corny bread heart 🙂

I cut up the filling for the Beef Milanesa Roll (I made this up  that day, you can get the recipe here), being sure I cut up enough to make something similar for the kids on the actual Valentine’s Day. When I  got to the mushroom cutting I just chopped them all and made a mushroom soup that could cook while I finished preparing the beef.

I rolled up the Milanesas and made the sauce, poured it on and popped in  the oven. Then I got the first pan of breadsticks ready, cleaned up a bit and then stuck them in  the oven.

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Next I made the layered Maple Spice Cake (get it the recipe here) that is one of the few desserts my Marvel will eat,  and put in in the oven as well ( just cut it into a heart BTW). By now the soup was cooked and I turned off the heat for it.

I got the potatoes peeled and cooking in the pressure cooker. Then I made the breadstick heart and put them in the oven as I took the first pan of breadsticks out.

Got the kids bathed and in bed, cleaned up my mess, mashed the potatoes and made the salads and finished the lemonade….then off to make myself look like I hadn’t been cooking for the last couple hours;)

While I got ready I “set-up” the room with candles and our wedding playlist of music and made everything pretty.

After I was presentable I made up the plates and set the table and called Marvel to the table.

He’s always so cute and makes a big deal when he knows I put a lot of effort into something for him. He’s such a keeper:)

So….it was really a nice evening.  We ate dinner with a real conversation, no interruptions! Watched a movie…well, I watched a movie. As usual, he fell asleep and I got one of the action movies he likes so I couldn’t turn it off ‘til I found out what happened….and then couldn’t sleep cause I thought I was being chased all night:/ …And…. Well…there may or may not have been more to the evening but I’m not tellin’… 😉

When Mama’s not happy….

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Ok, I promise I’m still talking about discipline, but let’s finish the sentence shall we? Well, in truth we could put a myriad of phrases but the one I’m thinking of is, “When Mama’s not happy, NOBODY IS!” Yep, sad, but true.

The truth of the matter is ladies, that a million other variables contribute to a happy home but one of the MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS IS YOUR ATTITUDE! You. Mom.   Youhave the majority of the say when it comes to what kind of spirit will be found in your home! I know! So amazing and overwhelming at the same time.

Fortunately, we have some amazing examples of the woman’s equivalent of Job. These ladies are AMAZING! They are a pillar of light not only to their own families but to the world.

But I’ve noticed that these ladies of Patience and Optimism seem to becoming about as rare as the pearls of which their lives reflect.

Now, what in the world does this have to do with discipline? Well, let’s remember that Proverbs tells us TWICE (21:9 and 25:24, must have been important!)

“ It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman [and] in a wide house.”

Oh dear…..again, sad, but true. I mean, have you ever been around a brawling woman? Unfortunately, I, myself, have been that brawling woman more times than I care to count and I don’t even like to be around myself when I’m like that!

So let’s think of that brawling woman in the arena of discipline….Well, there are two very important factors here:

1.)    If your kids don’t even want to be around you, they are definitely not going to want to listen to you or respect you either (unless it’s out of fear and do we really want that?)

2.)    If YOU are NOT DEMONSTRATING SELF-DISCIPLINE than how can you EXPECT it of THEM?

So what’s the deal? What is our attitude problem? Well, I think it’s as different women are but I think generally speaking the root of a bad attitude can be found in one (or a combination) of three places:

1.)    Skewed Priorities

Why didn’t I put “overwhelmed” or “on overload”? Well, cause to me that sounds like someone “put” those responsibilities on you. The majority of us, women in today’s world, choose their activities, obligations and responsibilities. We could argue on this a lot I’m sure, but all I will say is that even if you didn’t out-right choose something, you chose it by not choosing something else.

2.)    Bombardment

There are times in our lives that life just happens. The choices of others or other situations of which we have little to no control over become a main or the main obstacle to overcome. This can shape us in the way we choose to let it.

3.)    Health

There are also times or even life-times that are brought off-keel by health issues. These issue’s can be brought on by ourselves, others and sometimes by things that we can’t explain or control. This can be tricky because there are times when MORE than an “attitude adjustment” is needed.

So, now what do we do? We know there is a problem and maybe we can pin-point it and maybe we can’t. But how do we CHANGE? Well, this is what has worked for me:

1.       God

You may think I’m redundant on this but really, wouldn’t you want someone to help that knows all about you, even your potential AND can see the WHOLE picture? Asking for God’s guidance and help can lead you to finding the cause of your attitude issue, and also the solution for it. Sometimes the situation can’t or won’t change but WE can and with God’s guidance and strength, WE WILL.

2.       Slow Down

Ladies, why are we here? What is our purpose here on earth? Yes, our own potential must be reached, but I would argue that we will learn and grow more through our roles as wives and mothers than through any other endeavor. I know for myself that this is true. I have to remind myself that my priorities are my God, my husband and my family. Everything else can wait. I love this quote:

“What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence?… Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road.

Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.” Pres. Dieter F. Uchdorf, Counselor in the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

3.       Get Help

If you have yet to find the cause of your bad attitude then it’s time to seek professional help. There is just no reason for you and your family to go on suffering. No worries! There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Sometimes is simply a matter of “re-wiring” and balancing hormones and chemicals in the body. The body is like a machine, sometimes it needs a little adjusting.

Believe me, as I started studying these aspects of discipline I felt as if someone had knifed my heart and then wrenched it around in there for good measure. Ladies, I’m not preaching cause I have no room to talk. This is a daily and sometimes minute to minute struggle for me (You can tell cause posted before on it:) . But let’s rally together, as women and as mothers and make the world a better place, one home at a time.