Be the Mom that you are.

I wish I could think of a better title for this post, but I keep coming back to this one sentence, “Be the mom that you are”. I’ve been stewing on this post for awhile now. It’s a motto I try to live by and get a little better at each year.

Since becoming a Mom just 4 short years ago I became aware of myself in a whole new way. My weaknesses were highlighted, my strengths were compared (probably mostly by me) and I found a whole new way to be hard on myself. Some of the many thoughts I’ve had over the years are things like,

“I’m not the Mom with the spotless house. I REALLY need to be the Mom with the spotless house. So and so is SOOO much better at this than me”.

“I’m not as patient as other Mom’s. I’m the worst.”

“I’m not a structured enough Mom. Other Mom’s are so much better at structuring their time”.

This list of draining thoughts could go on for pages. It isn’t until recently that I’ve become more comfortable with the Mom that I am and I think this will be a continual work in progress (especially as my children reach new stages). So how do I get more comfortable in my Mom skin?

Well first I recognize my strengths. Sometimes we only see our weaknesses, but if you take a moment to focus on your strengths, you will see them. For me I think some of my strengths are,

I play with my children. I have an easy time doing imaginary play.
I’m flexible and can go with the flow.
I cook meals for my family at least 4 days of the week.
I read to my kids.
I take time for myself so I usually don’t feel too run ragged.
I pray about my kids and try hard to be a good Mom.

Now I used to solely focus on my weaknesses. Instead of noticing that I’m flexible (a good thing) I only payed attention to the fact that I’m not structured. Instead of noticing that I cook half the week, I only noticed the days that I had no meal plan whatsoever.

It’s great to be inspired by other Mom’s (I am ALL the time) but it’s a waste of all my time and energy to neglect one strength in pursuit of another. I might not have a spotless house. That doesn’t come naturally to me, so I have to work really hard to keep things decent. That’s about all the energy I’m willing to expend on that pursuit right now. At this point in my life to be the “spotless Mom” I would have to give up most if not all my time with my kids, be stressed out and get very little joy out of my days. At some point this might come easier to me, but right now it doesn’t. That’s also not to say that “spotless Moms” don’t spend time with their kids and are miserable. I know quite a few women that cleanliness comes very natural to and they don’t have to expend an exhorbitant amount of energy on maintaining balance in their home. They still have time with their kids and they are happy being the “spotless Mom” that they are. Neither Mom is better, as long as you’re both being true to your own strengths.

My strengths and weaknesses might change over time and I definitely believe in pursuing new strengths, but not at the sacrifice of my existing ones. If It’s too hard for me to balance a spotless house and time with my kids (both worthy pursuits) I’m gonna stick with the strength that comes naturally to me. Make sense?

The only area that I think this concept, “Be the Mom that you are” doesn’t apply is to things that come naturally to you, but are purely a weakness and bring about no good. For example yelling is a weakness of mine that brings about no greater good. There is no upside to me yelling. Although yelling comes naturally to me, I can’t just say, “well that’s who I am”. I don’t accept that. So I work REALLY hard at not yelling at my kids and I miserably fail on some days. Working on this weakness is worth my time and energy because it only has a downside to it.

I hope when we come across a great Mom we can feel inspired by her rather than feel doubt in ourselves. More importantly I hope you can feel confident in the Mom that you are. Maybe you’re the clean Mom, the working Mom, the silly Mom, the disciplined Mom, etc… You’re probably a mix of quite a few of these. Whatever kind of Mom you are, love her. You might be Super Mom today and Failed Mom the next. It’s ok. We’re all in it together.

Pregnancy # 3

Dane and I found out a little over a month ago that I’m pregnant. We were so excited, but about 2 weeks later I was pretty certain I was miscarrying. I was crushed, but had the weekend to kind of deal with it and accept it. I went to see my Dr. on Monday and learned that I had a hemorrhage but did not miscarry the baby. The baby was 6 weeks along and we could see its little heart beat. Ahh relief!

Then the Ultrasound tech casually says, “so as you can see there are two yolk sacs”. I asked what that meant and she said, “twins! Identical”. She may as well have said, “duh!” cause that was her tone. I just laughed and said, “what?!” Over and over again, with my hand on my head. The only thing was, we couldn’t see the second babies heart beat. We would have to wait another week to see if baby #2 (or as baby is now referred to, baby A) would progress.

It was another week of worry. Gratitude that baby B was healthy, but now I had this great desire to not lose something I didn’t even know I had. I instantly felt maternal over both of these tiny little babes of mine. After a long week I had my 2nd ultrasound, this time Dane joined me. We had both done a lot of praying and studying all week to remind us to put our faith and trust in Christ no matter the outcome, so we went in to the appointment ready to accept whatever. To my utter relief both babies had strong heart beats (115 and 130 i think) and they were both measuring 7 weeks. I instantly started crying and was so relieved. Dane instantly started panicking as it was finally hitting him that we were having twins.

In my week of waiting, I did a lot of research. I was curious how the tech knew right away I was having identical twins. I learned that I was likely having Mono Mono twins and I learned about all the scary things that go along with a pregnancy like this. So when we were in our 2nd ultrasound I asked the tech if it was a mono mono pregnancy and she said, “yes”. I asked if there was anyway she maybe was missing something, maybe couldn’t see the membrane? And she said, “no”. So it was confirmed this was a mono pregnancy. She told me I would be having lots of ultrasounds in my future. The dr. on call that day told me I would be switching OBs (I needed to see one that dealt with higher risk pregnancies) but that was ok because that was my original OB when pregnant with Isaac. I was also given my official due date of January 30th.

One week later I went in for my 3rd ultrasound. Babies looked great and had grown by a week. They were measuring 8 weeks along. Baby B is big baby and baby A is the runt. The tech said there’s always a runt with twins. :) Both had great heart beats 158 and 175 and were growing right along. This time I met with my current OB and the appointment was a little hard. He was really straightforward (which I did appreciate) and just told me that only 1% of twin pregnancies are Mono and that they’re rare and dangerous. His words when we walked in the door were “This is bad Jill, this is really bad”. He told me some drs. would say to abort the pregnancy because of all the risks to Mom and babies. He seemed visibly freaked out which was a little weird to see from a Dr. He said to just plan on having a fall baby, and if my babies make it to 28 weeks it will be a miracle. The thing with Mono twins is that they share the same sac, so the main complication is cord entanglement. Survival rates used to only be 50% for these twins, but in recent years, with aggressive hospital monitoring, it’s up to 80%.

He did offer a little encouragement when he told me that on the same day I found out I was having Mono twins he met with a couple that had previously delivered mono twins at 34 weeks totally healthy. He said he didn’t think that was coincidence, and it was encouraging to him.

He set me up with a specialist in Spokane (a perinatologist) and I’ll see him in a few weeks. I’ll continue to see my Dr here as well, but if I do have to be monitored in the hospital, or deliver babies any time before 28 weeks that will all be in Spokane.

So I have a break from Drs. appointments for a couple weeks, but it looks like it’s gonna be a crazy year for us. I feel a lot of peace in some ways, but it’s also hitting me how overwhelmed I feel. I’m worried about how this will affect my family and I’m worried about my twins lives. I’m afraid to deal with a big loss but I also know it’s a real possibility. I just don’t know how to prepare for that kind of thing. I try to not get too glued to ideas of the future, but I also can’t help but picture my life with twin babies. I love them both so much now and just want them to live. So i’ve just settled on letting myself feel how I feel.

It usually hits me at night and I cry for awhile, or I’ll wake up and not be able to fall back asleep for hours because I can’t stop thinking about how everything will work out. Sometimes when I hear about sad Mono experiences It’ll stick with me for a couple days. Last night I dreamt I miscarried the babies and couldn’t fall back asleep.

It’s gonna be a crazy ride and it’s something I haven’t dealt with before, but I do feel blessed to be carrying these babies and be given this experience. If anyone else out there has mono twins and wants to chat, feel free to comment or message me!

PS I’m 9 weeks and totally showing. I have similar symptoms and cravings as my other pregnancies but I’m not nearly as sick as I was the last two times! Interesting since I’ve got twins! But I’m grateful!

Giving up the Goal

So, I’m giving up the scale and the weight goal that goes along with it.  However, I’m not giving up my healthy lifestyle.  It’s just that, every day (6 days a week) I head to the gym, I work hard, I eat well through the day, go to bed happy, and then wake up the next morning only to step on the scale and feel disappointed that i’m not at my goal.  I carry that disappointment with me throughout the day and I’ve just recently decided it’s not for me. 

Goals are wonderful to have, but I’ve lost sight of what my REAL goal is.  That goal is that I want to be a healthy weight, and feel fit.  Have the energy and fitness to run races and play with my kids.  I want to prevent diseases that are sure to come if I don’t stay fit.  I want to mostly eat food that fuels my body and occasionally enjoy my favorite treats.  Most of all I just want to care for the body that God gave me.  My body has grown babies, birthed them and sustained them.  I’d like it to do that for me a few more times, so I’ve got to take care of it!  And I am!  No need for guilt.  No need to feel bad that I’m 5 or 10 lbs away from the weight I thought I should be.  I’m in a healthy weight range. I feel very fit and I’m reasonably satisfied with the way I look.  That’s enough.  And if it’s not enough, then I need to work on my mental game…not the physical.  I’m doing all I can, and IT IS ENOUGH.  :)

I gave up the scale a few days ago and have felt liberated since!  I honestly feel better and more confidant every morning that I don’t step on that scale.  I might do a check in once a month to be sure I haven’t gotten out of my healthy weight range, but I have faith that listening to my body, (eating well and working out) will be all I need to stay nice and healthy. 

On another important note, my boys follow me around every morning as I get ready.  They watch me step on the scale every morning.  They like to weigh themselves after me.  My boys are learning that this is an important part of a morning routine and I don’t want them to think that.  Because it really, really isn’t.  We often think more about little girls when talking about body image, but I want my boys to understand what a healthy body image is too.  I want them to be familiar with what a healthy woman looks and acts like.  And I don’t believe that healthy woman lets a scale determine how she feels about herself that day. 

So I won’t either.  :)

Christmas FHE

We have a family home evening tradition around Christmas time.  Throughout the month of December, every Monday night we have a lesson on the Atonement.  We study the Atonement because it’s the Savior’s gift to us and on Christmas day we give our gift (for the year) to the Savior.  Yesterday I tried to break down our lesson to Boston’s level. I said a prayer to be inspired how to go about this and I definitely felt inspired.  Here’s the lesson, (It was about 5 minutes long) 

I started the lesson by holding a Present in my hand.  I told Boston that we were going to talk about  Jesus Christ’s gift to us. (He was excited).  I told him this is the most special gift we have in our lives and it’s called the Atonement.  Then I said,

I’m gonna show you how the Atonement works.

Then I handed Boss a glass filled with water and told him to dump it on the floor.  He knows this is a BIG NO NO in our home.  He was REALLY excited/nervous.  He started by pouring a little and then poured it all out.  After he dumped it all out I asked him what we should do?  He said,

We should clean it up

So I said,

Ok, I’m gonna help you clean this up.

I handed him a towel and I grabbed a towel of my own and we both worked to clean up the big mess.  Boston was saying “uggh” as he was trying to mop up all the water.  I said,

This is hard work, huh?

He said, yes.  After we cleaned up I said,

Look Boss it’s all clean!  

and he said,

Yeah!  No more mess!

After that I grabbed him and gave him a hug and told him I loved him and was proud of him.  Then I took his hands and looked him in the eyes and told him that this is how the Atonement works.  

When we make mistakes or make bad choices (hit Isaac, aren’t a good friend, don’t listen to Mommy) we just need to pray, say we’re sorry and ask for help.  Then Jesus Christ will help us know what to do to fix our mistakes and clean up our messes.  

Then I asked Boss,

Did you know that we won’t always live in this house?  Someday we’ll live in Heaven with  Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and all of our loved ones!  We get to do that  because of the gift of the Atonement. 

We had Boston say the prayer that night and he thanked Heavenly Father for the Atonement.  We also told Boston to start thinking about what he wants his gift to the Savior to be. It was a sweet little night and I think it resonated with Boston.  It was one of our only FHE’s that he was fully attentive.  

So grateful to have the Gospel guide my parenting.  

 

Family Update

We just had Isaac’s 15 month well baby appointment today which inspired me to write an update on our boys.

Isaac at 15 months:

Weight: 23 lbs 12 oz: 50-60th%

Height: 31 inches: 50th%

Head: 19 inches: 90th%

Nicknames:  Zeke, Zekey, Zekeyboo, Zekeyboos, Zekeybooboo, Zekey of the boos, Zekey of the booboo clans, Zekey of the clan mcbooboo (You get the idea), Zekeyboy, chub to the bub, chubs, Bupas

Isaac is growing up so fast  It seems like overnight he went from baby to big boy.  He loves to climb on everything and get his little hands into every nook and cranny he can find.  I often find shoes with the pots and pans and kitchen utensils in the entertainment center drawers.  He’s my very own Curious George.  Isaac loves to be silly.  He has the sweetest temperment and enjoys laughing and making others laugh.  Isaac still believes him and I should be attached most the day and will cry and cry if I can’t hold him when he wants to be held.  He’s my social bug and is content and pleasant 95% of the time we’re out and about or with other people.  Isaac is a little chatter box and loves to talk. From the minute he wakes up he starts pointing out things in his room and says, “Woow” or “hhoooo”.  Isaac has about 8 words already.

Hi, Bye, Uh-oh, No, Thank you, light, ball, Momma, Dadda, go and stop.  He also will try to repeat just about anything you tell him.  He has a couple baby signs and those are food, all done, bye bye, blowing kisses and Nigh Night.

Isaac’s trying to jump like brother and he loves to chase (or be chased) around the house.  I hope he doesn’t figure out how to climb out of his crib anytime soon.  :(  Our little man loves to play with cars (or anything with wheels) and I will very often find him reading books by the bookcase.  His night time song is still, “The way you look tonight” and he loves all of his small Dr. Seuss board books.  We love that Zekey boo.

Boston at 3 years old:

Length: 39 inches: 90th%

Weight: 32lbs: Around the 50th%

Nicknames: Boss, Bosty, Bostybear, Bostyboy, bud, Bossman Bing, Bossman, Mancub, little man, Bostyboo

3 has been a fun age for Boston.  His little personality is developing so much and he’s learning and growing so fast these days.  His vocabulary is huge and he loves to have long (usually hilarious) chats about everything.  Boston’s a little parrot these days so we have to be much more careful about what we say around him.  I heard him yesterday tell Isaac, “Isaac, don’t touch.  I’ve told you that a million times”!  :)  A strengh I’ve noticed of Boston’s is his memory sense of direciton.   He has a way better sense of direction than me.  He could probably tell me how to get to all of our usual places (church, gym, home, etc…) Boston can count to about 16 and knows most the letters in the alphabet well.  He still knows the pledge of allegiance and first article of faith (we’re working on the 2nd).   He also knows how to apply counting to objects and can tell how many items are there.   Daddy is still his best friend as is Isaac.  He loves his little brother so much and can’t wait for Isaac to wake up from naps and play with him.  Boston loves when he can make Isaac happy and is trying very hard to be sweet with him. I’ve noticed Boston is a very empathetic little soul and thrives on other people’s energy.  He loves to dance, sing, read, run, build and climb.  I most often find him playing some form of imaginary game.  He LOVES to play pretend.  Boston makes Dane and I laugh every day.  so far 3 has been much Imageeasier than 2.  Boston has become a much better listener and is much easier to reason with.  We love our Bosty boo.

The perfect day

I was writing in my journal during nap time and reading over some old journal entries when I came across this one below.  It was written on a rough day, and it made me smile.  :)

 If I could choose what I would do tomorrow, I would just have a day with Boston and Isaac at a big giant park. So big, and safe that it wouldn’t matter how far Boston ran, he could never get hurt.  We’d have a big picnic blanket with piles and piles of books and when Boston tired from running, we’d read.  When he tired from reading I’d put both boys on the swing set and push them till my arms felt like falling off while they laughed and laughed.  Isaac with his deep belly laugh and Boston with his loud cackle.   We could be loud and scream and run and jump and we could play music as loud as we wanted.  We’d eat a delicious homemade meal and have the most decadent, white cake for dessert, with strawberries on top.  We’d sip on cherry limeaides and then run around and pretend to be birds and airplanes. This park would look like the Arboretum in Spokane where we took Boston as a baby.  Man I have happy memories there.  In the middle of the park would stand a giant willow tree with a creek trickling by.  Under the tree would be a big beautiful, cozy bed.  The most squishy warm bed you’ve ever laid on.  Me, Isaac and Boston would curl up on this bed and read more books and do our devotional and then drift off to sleep while watching Curious George on some floating tv.  We would just drift peacefully to sleep listening to the quiet tunes of Jack Johnson.  (Ohhhh this is so my happy place).  When we wake, we’d do everything all over again but this time with Daddy and come nightfall we’d sleep in that big bed again under the stars.  Maybe we’d watch a movie or two with a nice big bowl of popcorn.  I would feel totally safe and secure.  Content and happy.  I would have no worries about my children and I would feel like a good Mom.

That would still be my perfect day.  :)

Arboretum

This is at the Spokane Arboretum on a real life perfect day. :)
PS Could that be my office/writing space/craft room? Inspiring!

Isaac 8 months

Isaac 8 month

A little Zekey update is in order.

You are 9 months old in 3 days and you’ve been officially crawling now for about 2 weeks. This last week you started climbing up on your high knees and are now pulling yourself up on furniture and standing up.

You weigh about 22 lbs and still have the best thighs.  Your still as sweet as can be.  A very mellow, easy to please babe.  You sleep (mostly) through the night.  About 5 every morning you wake up to nurse and then go back to sleep for a few hours.  What a napper you are!  You will take a nap whenever you can get one.  We aim for 2 naps a day, but sometimes it’s 1 nap with lots of little cat naps while we’re out and about.  The other day you took two 3 hour long naps.  Tired boy!  But every day I try and get you and Boss down at 2 and you both will sleep till 5 and sometimes you till 6!

You have 3 words in your miniature vocabulary right now.  They are (in order)

Dadda

Nunna/Nanna

Momma

It took awhile to get to the Momma part, but we got there.  You’re a great little eater and nurser and no allergies yet, woohoo!  Ever since you got tubes at about 7 1/2- 8 months, you haven’t had an ear infection and are sleeping so much better.

You and Boston are becoming such good buds.  You make each other laugh and Boston so looks forward to every opportunity to play with you.

Time to bring out the gates, you’ll be walking in no time…ey yi yi.