May 19, 2013

Phil Here! My Life and Values.

Hey Everyone! It's Phil. I'm finally blogging.

I'm excited to be a dad. Last night, I had a weird realization about becoming a dad. I was thinking, "I'm not a dad. My Dad is a dad! I'm not a dad!" But then I realized I soon would be, and it's still crazy to think about. I'm looking forward to seeing what he looks like! I can't wait to hold him and be able to put a face to the name (we're naming him Emerson). I'm excited!

I just read an article about the impact of affirming your values to yourself (you can read the article here).  So I'm gonna do it. Right now.

  • I believe in the importance of family. I believe that the family is a central part of the human experience and societies worldwide.
  • I believe in the power of creativity. I believe that people (including children) are more capable than we give them credit for. I believe we're more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
  • I believe in the importance of true, honest dealings with other people (and ourselves).
  • I value my family (my own and my in-laws). They are awesome. (And my wife makes awesome cookies!)
  • I value the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know He is the Son of God.
  • I believe when we are put in the right situation and given the right tools, we can find solutions to nearly every problem the world faces. 
  • I believe that people are important. I value honest communication with people (while still being tactful (which is something I'm still working on))
  • I value humility.
  • I value curiosity about life. 
  • I value learning. I believe in the learning capabilities of children. I believe they are much more capable of learning than society gives them credit for. Kids know more about life and reasoning than just learning how to spell "dog" and "cat" and what 2+2 equals. If kids don't know how to do math with two and three digit numbers by the third grade, they have been done a huge disservice.
  • I believe that schools are meant to supplement learning, not be the sole source of learning. If we want ourselves and/or our children to excel professionally and as individuals, we must value the importance of learning. 
  • I believe we are all intelligent. I believe they have different kinds of intelligence (emotional intelligence, scientific intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, etc.)
  • I value the entrepreneurial spirit. I believe than creating jobs and businesses is far less risky than hoping to maintain employment in a single field for my entire life.
  • I believe that computer programming is going to be a key skill in our lives and in the lives of our children. I believe there are those who will learn how to code and those who will be left behind.
  • I believe that all men are created equal. I believe the little Afghani children I interacted with when I was deployed have just as much worth as Kobe Bryant, Adele, Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or anyone else on earth.
  • I believe in the power of journaling. Writing my thoughts is often a cathartic experience for me. In a way, I learn more about my life from writing it down than from solely experiencing it.
  • I believe that people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.
  • I believe in believing in things. I believe that a lack of conviction for ideas and beliefs is exactly that; a lack of conviction.
  • I believe that people are inherently good.
  • I believe in helping others. I value my parents' example of that.
  • And lastly, I believe in the power of chocolate chip cookies. If everyone would wake up and eat a chocolate chip cookie each day, we would have world peace in a week.

May 17, 2013

What I've learned about Positivity in 9 Months

I've got two weeks left on the 'count-down' until I've spent 40 weeks of my life being pregnant for the first time, well technically more like 38 weeks, but whatevs. Technicalities, technicalities, the world is full of technicalities! In this time period I've learned much, I've read much and I've experienced much. It's all been incredibly rewarding and quite simply one of the most incredible journeys I've had in my life thus far and I didn't even have to leave home to experience it. Yet despite all of these incredibly awesome experiences it's also been full of looming opposition which have only aided the impact of the experience. It wouldn't be an earthly experience without opposition, right?

Most of the opposition I've been faced with has come from within, some of it being self doubt but the majority of it being imposed by inner refusal to conform to the surrounding culture of what motherhood is, verses what I want it to be for me.

I recently read a blog post about having babies in a culture that isn't as baby friendly as it used to be. Things are definitely changing in our society and it's effecting us all in different ways; from the way we think or perceive childbirth and motherhood, down to the way we beat ourselves up as mother's for not being as amazing as Mrs. So-And-So Jones.

The writer of this blog quoted a friend's facebook status which read:

               "How is it that 9 out of 10 people who talk to me about my pregnancy have negative things to say?? The comments are endless and quite creative in their effort to convince me that I should not be as thrilled as I am. It is usually prefaced by “JUST WAIT……(insert: miserable experience/undesirable life change)” Although they have me well prepared for “impending doom,” for now I will continue to be convinced that this is the most beautiful experience of my life thus far!
And now I will bask in all the flip-flopping glory that is happening inside my tummy right now. You can kick this mama all night long sweet little one :)"
I totally relate to this woman! The 'just wait' has been the most common thread of un-requested "advice" (if you'd like to call it that) that I've experienced even before I got pregnant. They've all sounded along the lines of;
...just wait until you have your own kids and you can't do what you want anymore. 

...just wait until they're born and you loose all that sleep.

...just wait until you're bigger and more uncomfortable.

Or in the moment I look at birth in a positive way there's a 'just wait...' look on people's faces or a 'just wait...' type of deafening-silence accompanied by a change of subject. 

I know I haven't yet personally given birth to a baby yet but in part of my preparation for childbirth I've been surrounding myself with only positive birth experiences and viewing and reading about people who have a positive and in many cases a pain-free birth even without an epidural. Yes, really people have pain-free birth's! And there are many factors as to why, not just because they are one of those luck people. In my studies I've felt empowered about birth and yet my belief and enthusiasm has been met with a swarm of negativity and disbelief. Though there are more and more women choosing to birth in this way, in my close circle of family and friends I am the first or nearly the only who's done it this way and I'm not scared and I have no reason to be so. My enthusiasm and desire to talk about it, though still there has been muffled because I realize I don't want others to feel threatened or like I'm imposing my beliefs on them, making it appear as though I believe this is the ONLY way to give birth. I know it's not. I know every situation is different. Yet, I have become aware of many things that can make birthing easier for anyone, and I know that filling your mind with negativity and fear will only be a factor that can effect the birthing experience in a negative way, even if I haven't done it yet myself.

One thing I've questioned though is why is it that once people go through their childbirth or parenting experiences all they have to share with me and first-time mom's like me, are the negative aspects of what it is they went through or are still going through? Maybe because I haven't experienced it yet I can't relate to it, or frankly just don't want to. I feel completely overwhelmed when a vent session pursues and mothers begin to expel frustration about pre and post-natal misery, horrible birthing experiences, and all the awful things their kids do and how their kids drive them completely berserk. I suppose for now I'd simply like to bask in ignorance, if you don't mind me, and just enjoy where I am even if my tailbone hurts or my fingers are swollen because I'm not really all that miserable and feel no need to complain about it.

I'm not trying to point out anyone in particular because I think we all do it from time to time but I would like to point out these negativities so that if you find yourself doing them to ask yourself: Wouldn't you have liked to enjoy your pre-baby bliss untainted by other people's negative experiences? Or rather how would you like to enjoy what you have, when you have it, despite what your circumstances are? It may turn out to be something that you miss. Don't you remember the time when you were so excited for that first little one to join your family? The time where you decided that it was worth it enough to have another baby, and another? Or can't you see that there are many women who haven't experienced it yet (and some who won't in this life) and would would find nothing more than to experience what you have?

I suppose this is an aspect that is part of our culture that has been fed to our subconscious for so long that it has become our way of living. I don't blame anyone for getting caught up in the negativity, it's easy to do. It's simply something I have become hyper sensitive to being faced with it so unexpectedly frequently. I've noticed if one doesn't have kids they'll sit and criticize those who do and how they go about raising them. If one does have kids they look back longingly at the days they didn't, wishing these darn kids wouldn't have made such a disruption on their lifestyle or wouldn't be such disobedient little turds sometimes. There is opposition in all things, there's no doubt about it, but dwelling on negativity only breeds negativity and once one opens the window to vent frustration, especially around women, it lets in a flood.

This past week I received some incredibly valuable advice on the contrary. Advice that though "un-asked for" none-the-less wonderful and positive given by my sister-in-law sweetly prefaced what she said with, "not that you asked for my advice but..." She continued, "my advice is to live in the moment. That is something I wished I would have done with my twin boys. I wished I would have taken just 3 minutes every single day to simply enjoy the moment and to stop worrying." She expressed how she very much dis-liked the new-born stage with her two premature babies who spent over a month in the NICU, which uh, yeah, not many people would enjoy that... but how if she had only taken 3 minutes every day to sit down and breath she would have enjoyed that time more and could look back at that time with more fondness, instead of kicking herself now for not having taken the time to be still and at peace with the situation she'd been handed.

I believe we are in more control of our lives than we think we are and we are given more power than we allow ourselves to use. I had an incredibly powerful experience in the temple last week following a week of doubts and all the negativity getting me down, an experience which reminded me that I have been given power not only for myself but for my posterity as well. I believe that with a positive outlook and a remembrance of God, we can do all that he requires of us even if it's hard.

I don't know exactly how my birth is going to pan-out, what kind of mother I will be, or what my kids will be like. What I do know is that my little boy's birth will be a sacred experience, that I will be the best mother I know how and that whatever challenging personalities my kids have that my goal is simple; I want to spend every single day loving them more than I love myself. If I can just do that one thing then all of the 'just wait's' won't matter because it really isn't about how much sleep I miss out on, how uncomfortable I get in these next few weeks or how much work birthing this babe will be, I know I'm made to do this and that no matter what popular culture wants to feed my subconscious, that I'm trying my hardest to unearth and weed out, God has given me more power than I can fathom. I just need to trust him and the promises he has made me. Maybe trusting God and living in the moment is something we all need to do a little more in order to beat the negative culture we are building for first time moms and more importantly for our children.

May 15, 2013

life lately in iPhone photos

- we moved
- we celebrated our move in by eating Sunday breakfast on our new balcony
- we went to ikea many a time
- we potted flowers
- my sister threw me a baby shower
- we went to the temple
- I've gotten bigger, been eating lots of protein, and started swelling in my fingers and feet at night
- I went fabric shopping with my sister
- Went to the Springville splash-pad with my nephews and sister (in-law)
- Had my niece and nephew over for a pizza party to celebrate their April birthday's I painted with my niece and Phil played Nintendo 64 with my nephew.

May 8, 2013

pre-motherhood fears creeping in | late night discouragement

It's 2:56 in the morning as I lie here reflecting on the day with intermittent thoughts of the new change in my future barging in. I greatly look forward to meeting my little one yet at the same time a tinge of loneliness has been overpowering me since I rolled out of bed this morning. I've done a lot to prepare for him yet today l I feel so unprepared. I feel so incapable of being a mother.

I have longed for motherhood in so many different instances of my life. In times where I was alone in a doubted relationship as I longed for the unconditional love like a child's love that I wasn't getting from someone who had been rendered incapable of giving it to me. As I lie here now next to my fast asleep husband, my best friend who has given me more love than I could ever ask for, I reflect on that loneliness of the past and somehow my fears project those wounded emotions into the future. 

Motherhood and how motherhood is often described as a pretty lonely job sometimes has been on the forefront of my mind lately. How often mothers go un-thanked, unappreciated, and taken for granted. I look at the mothers in my life and see that their roles as mothers have changed. They're still mothers but their children have moved out and are starting families of their own. These mothers are left with an identity that for years thrived on the minute by minute nurturing and teaching of their children that has now become an identity like that of a house of empty bedrooms and phone calls few and far between. And this is where the fears of loneliness seep in. 

I've spent the last 37 weeks nurturing and bonding with this little guy and even though I've never seen his face nor touched his skin with my fingertips I love him beyond words. I love every stretch of his little limbs inside me, the hiccups he has every night, the way he reacts when his daddy touches my belly and talks to him, the way I seem to feel what he feels. It's the most incredible thing in the world to me and the thought of that being gone is already so devastating. I miss his sweet little boy snuggles as if he's already a snobby teenager who finds his mother's affection obnoxious.

Please tell me it doesn't go by this quickly. Please tell me to not fear time passing too quickly because it already has. Oh someone make it stop. 

May 5, 2013

36 weeks

Wow how time is flying!! I can't believe that in the next 3-5 weeks I'm going to have a baby boy to hold in my arms instead of my belly. I'm going to be able to see his face, know his hair color, kiss his little neck and squeeze his hopefully chubby thighs. Oh how sweet he will taste and how soft his skin will be! What an incredible miracle.

Every day I'm still in wonderment about how there really is a human being inside of me. To me right now he seems like an imagined daydream accompanied by wriggles in my growing round belly. It's amazing to fathom that there literally is a little being with a face, arms, hands, legs, feet, toenails and fingernails etc, who has his own personality, thoughts and precious spirit. He moves of his own will yet relies completely on me for survival and there he is surviving. Here he is just a few layers deep inside me almost touchable, almost cuddle-able. He is one with me for this time and yet will soon come forth and go through life having his own experiences, joys, heartaches, passions, and dreams.

I look forward greatly to this next month as I prepare for the experience of bringing him into our home. I'm so excited for his birth and all it entails. It's going to be so beautiful and peaceful. I'm confident it will be everything I hope it to be and more, an experience that will yield such an immense reward beyond words that every ounce of effort will be worth it. It already is worth it! It's difficult to put into words how wonderful of an experience simply carrying this little one has been. I'm incredibly grateful to be a woman and to have this ability. Nothing compares to it!