Saturday, January 28, 2012

because I'm their mama

And because these two are unbelievably cute (and this picture is the first time I've noticed how much they look alike--all except for their eyes, don't you think?),
I'm going to show you what it took to get this one good shot.

 He said "Mama, I'm going to look sad. Take a picture."
 Silly boy.

I told him to kiss her.
Then I told him to kiss her closer to her face.

Oh how I love my munchkins.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


When Ellie was one and a half weeks old,
the week that Kent was gone to Utah,
the week that my hormones were completely haywire,
the week that I cried probably five or six times a day,
I got a very frightening letter from the Texas State Health Department.

It simply stated that Ellie's newborn blood screens had come back with an abnormal result for her biotinidase levels. If I hadn't been contacted by my pediatrician already, I was to call the number listed immediately.
And then it ended by saying the newborn blood screens are done to detect and prevent mental retardation and other serious genetic problems.

I had not been contacted by my pediatrician.   I had no idea what biotinidase was, and I remember looking at my sweet newborn and wondering what could possibly be wrong with her and what was going to happen?

I called the number and oh so thankfully someone answered and she started to tell me about the necessary bloodwork that needed to be done,
and because maybe she was inspired, or maybe just because she's had more than one of these kind of phone calls,
she gave me a little bit of information about biotinidase deficiency.

Biotin is a vitamin.  Most people's bodies produce it and process it in quantities more than sufficient for their needs.
But some people lack the enzyme that processes it--biotinidase.

Ellie is one of those people.

The treatment is easy, though.  I simply give Ellie a liquid vitamin supplement every single day.
Her version of the deficiency is very, very mild, and we'll be taking her to a metabolic geneticist in a few weeks.  We'll probably take her back every year or so to have her levels checked because the chance is good (as I understand) that she'll outgrow it.
If not,
all she needs is to take a vitamin every day.  And that's it.

Without the vitamin, this deficiency causes some serious and scary stuff--seizures, hearing and vision loss, developmental delays; the list goes on.
But with the vitamin, there are no problems, no side effects.
She is and will be completely normal.

Oh how grateful I am for science, for technology, for medicine.   My little girl needed that newborn blood screen, and I can't even think about what would have happened if we hadn't found out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

good but still hard

How our house looked right before our friends would arrive for a night-time get together

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about our home in Texas.
I picture myself in the house, remembering the way I did things there, remembering little things,
like opening the blinds in Nicholas's room first thing in the morning so he could look down at the neighbor's dogs in her backyard,
sweeping the kitchen and pushing the broom way underneath the island,
sitting on the front porch after walking to the mailbox,
chasing Nicholas up the stairs to give him a bath and put him to bed, and then me and Kent sprawling on the couch to watch a show.

And I especially remember my winter daily walks to the park, the way the green clover grew around the sidewalks, how the dogs barked as we passed the first house on the corner, how I would dash across the street, how Nicholas would wiggle out of the stroller when he saw his friends waiting there.

It seems like, so far, the longer we are in Utah, the more intense my feelings get.  
I'm more happy about being here, more sure that this is where we are supposed to be.
And also more sad about what we've left, more lonesome for our life there.

I am so, so glad when my brother comes over for dinner and spends two hours playing with Nicholas and holding Ellie,
when we make the short drive to my parents' house to stay the weekend,
when my dad stops by on commute south for work just to say hi and deliver some fresh-made cookies,
when I see the snow-topped mountains against the clear blue January sky,
when we talk about what our new house is going to be like,

and especially every day when Kent comes home from work--unstressed, happy, and excited about what he's doing there.

Yes, moving was a good thing for our family.

But it's still hard sometimes, even though it's been a few months.
I catch myself in rare quiet moments (quiet doesn't happen much with two kids) just thinking about the friends we left behind, the life we left there,
and my heart aches.
I was cleaning up my contacts list on my phone yesterday. That was rough, thinking about all the people I used to interact with, missing them all.

Allison's parents live in Utah, so she came down to visit me when she was here for Christmas
But I am grateful for what we had.

And for the good things we have here.
Life is good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

one little word


I had an epiphany of sorts a few weeks ago.
To become the person I want to be is less a matter of stepping up a level
as it is simply making lots of little good choices
every single day.

Choose to get up before Ellie so I can spend a few minutes one-on-one with Nicholas.
Choose to eat an orange instead of a cookie.
Choose to read my scriptures instead of that yahoo news article.
And so on.  Little, tiny, everyday choices.

Simple, I know, but I guess it just hadn't clicked in my head until now.

I know what is right,
but because I am lazy or tired or overwhelmed,
I tend to make the choice that is easiest. Not always best. 

And then I get discouraged because I feel like I'm so far off from the person I want to be.

So this year, 
instead of telling myself that I am going to do something amazing or be someone amazing,

I am going to just make little good choices.  and see where that gets me.

Each month I'm going to focus on one area I want to improve, and I'm going to make good choices each day in that area, maybe do a few extra activities that relate to that area, and hopefully some of the things I do will carry over each month and
maybe by the end of the year I'll be able to look back and see that I've become better,
just by making small choices.
Every day.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ellie 2 months

 I love this girl. 
This morning, she gave me her first laugh.
Just a little one, but oh so cute!

And I guess I need to clarify.
I usually avoid talking about blogging...ugh
but if my last post came off as me complaining about how hard being a mother of two is,
that isn't what I intended.

I was feeling full of love and gratitude for my two little ones,
and I wrote the post with the intention of saying how,
even though it's super hard,
I am happier with these two kids than I ever have been.
My seminary teacher in high school was right when he told us that
with each stage of life comes even more joy than you had before.

 So now, Ellie at two months:

She is pure joy.
She's getting faster at eating (hallelujah!) and she still eats every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but with it only taking about 15-20 minutes to feed her now, I feel like I can accomplish a whole lot more between feedings.
So far, she still takes a bottle well when I need her to.  I'm doing my best to give one to her every so often so she doesn't decide to refuse them.

She smiles whenever we smile or talk to her,
and sometimes even when we're not paying attention.
I look over at her, she's staring at me with this giant grin, like "oh hi Mom! I was hoping you'd look at me soon!"

She remains a light, light sleeper,
not the best thing for a baby girl who has a noisy big brother,

but at night, when it's quiet and dark,
she sleeps.  And I sleep.
In fact, sometimes, it's me who does the waking,
because, well, I'm nursing and sometimes she just needs to eat, if you know what I mean.

I don't know how I got so lucky to be blessed with such a happy, easy baby,
but I am constantly amazed and oh so in love with her!

the truth

Attempting to take down the Christmas decorations. 3 days working on it now and I'm still not done. Almost.

Before I even got pregnant with Ellie I wondered what it was going to be like.
Having two kids.
I knew that the workload was going to increase exponentially.
And I wondered if it was even possible for the joy
to increase just as much.
I mean, with Nicholas we were happier than we had ever been before,

Could it really get better?
Or would it just get harder?

The truth?

This is hard. Between Nicholas's ever eager "helping" hands and Ellie's rotating sleep, eat, diaper schedule, I feel like I get nothing done.

Most nights, when we finally get Nicholas to bed right as Ellie starts to cry for her bedtime feeding frenzy, I find myself telling Kent how all I want is
just 15 minutes where no one little needs me.
I just want to be able to shower without getting out four times to replace Ellie's pacifier and without Nicholas opening the bathroom door over and over,
letting in all the cold air.

I feel guilt.  When I take care of one child, I feel guilt about the attention I feel like I should be giving to the other.  I know it will all get better and easier as the months go by,
but I feel guilt nevertheless.

I kind of feel like I don't have time to be fun anymore.
I'm too busy cleaning up after blow-out diapers, trying to stop Nicholas from wiping his nose on his sleeves (futile), calling hospitals and doctors to clear up the insurance mess we made with changing jobs right before having a baby, doing dishes and laundry over and over.

And yet somehow, I am happier.
I can't even explain it.   It's just the truth.

I love Kent more right now than I ever have.  As we work harder to take care of our children, I see how good of a father he is.  I see how incredible he is as a husband.  I see how well he takes care of and provides for our family.
I feel like now, more than ever before, we are partners and it is good.

There are moments, sometimes brief, when all is right and everyone is happy.
Like last night, right before Kent got home. The house was clean (miracle), Ellie was smiling and cooing on my lap, and I was helping Nicholas draw pictures of our family on his chalkboard.

Or the little moments when I hold my busy little boy close and remember how he felt in my arms when he was Ellie's age.  

Or this morning, when Ellie gave me her first little laugh.

Or when we went out to find a new favorite frozen yogurt place and Nicholas proved that he really does know his colors as he correctly labeled every single m&m in his bowl.

Or at bedtime, when I say goodnight to Nicholas and he whispers a very very sweet "Merry Christmas Mommy."  (He hasn't figured out that Christmas was only one day.)

I saw a quote this morning on Pinterest.
"The joy of motherhood comes in moments."  
-Elder M. Russell Ballard.

I think I'm learning that most of the time, being a mother is hard.
But when those joyful moments come, somehow that joy lasts just long enough to get you to the next good moment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

did we bring Texas with us?

53 degrees.
We went to the park.
It was beautiful.
I think we must have brought Texas' winter weather with us.

But it better not stick around once summer hits.
Because opening my windows at night this summer to let the house cool off?  You wouldn't believe how excited I am about that.

new years

Kent and Ellie.  11:15 pm on New Year's Eve.
We drove up to my parents' house for New Years weekend,
and crammed as much fun as possible into those four days.

A few of the things we did?

Kent and I got away to see Sherlock Holmes.  Loved it.

Nicholas learned to play Just Dance. Beyond hilarious.  "That was a good song!  I danced good!"

I learned that a marble track toy can entertain my boy for an hour and a half straight.  

Ellie slept from 11 to 6 every single night.  That's my girl!

We played laser tag.  So so fun.  And next time we go it will be even better because we think we've finally figured out the rules.

Kent discovered a new almost-as-good-as-Silva's taco truck.  He went three times.

We had a New Year's Eve party with my cousins in the afternoon on Saturday.  We had tons of snacks, played the name game and reverse charades, and Kent got to fulfill his need for giant, expensive fireworks.

I woke Kent up to kiss me at midnight on January 1st.  Then we went to bed.

I found hidden ping-pong talent with my dad's new set.

New Year's predictions
Apparently my brother Josh is going to find a sturdy Mexi-Russian who makes great tacos and whose name begins with either a C or a J.  He will beg her to date him.
They will wed on Thanksgiving, and the reception will include tacos and the mafia. 
At least, that's what Kent predicts.

We took my parents to Hamilton's--the same place we had our wedding luncheon at--to thank them for all their help with our move to Utah.

And now we're back to real life.  I've chosen a word for 2012 (more on that later), I'm working on my plans for the year, cleaning my house, and looking forward to seeing what this year brings to our family here in our new home.