Friday, May 24

End of May Celebrations

Last night, we finally stopped being anti-social (not that this was ever our intention--we're just really busy) and had our friends Daniel and Rachel over for dinner. We had delicious cold chicken breast sandwiches with DELICIOUS corn on the cob (it's 4 for $1 at Macey's right now!) and lots of juicy watermelon. After we ate Rachel's warm chocolate chip cookies. Everything was so good. We had a lot of fun talking about our pregnancies (Rachel only has 3 weeks left, max!) and sharing notes with each other about our individual experiences. After, we cleared the kitchen table and played this card game that Dalin and I love called Bohnanza. We played it for the first time at Daniel and Rachel's one Sunday and thought it was fun and different. It's like some German card game and involves various types of beans and harvesting as many as possible. Anyway, it is a pretty awesome game. We played a few rounds of Bananagrams after (which I somehow owned at for once) and then said goodnight. It felt nice to have people over again.

Random picture of me at 29 weeks pregnant. As you can imagine, the baby is pretty heavy.
Now we are just beginning to get excited about this Memorial Day weekend! We both work tomorrow, but I have Memorial Day off at work, and then Tuesday evening we leave for Lava Hot Springs near Pocatello, Idaho to go camping with the boys from Dalin's work! I LOVE camping, for the record, and am especially pumped because my family always used to go camping on Memorial Day weekend to the Joseph Smith Memorial in Sharon, Vermont, but I haven't been in forever. So the plan is to camp at Lava Hot Springs on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then drive over to Boise from Thursday to Sunday to visit Dalin's family! It's going to be so much fun and probably one of the last time's (if not the last time) we get away before our little daughter is born!

Now we just need to find someone who will let us borrow their sleeping bags and hopefully a sleeping pad, or I'm going to be one sore pregnant lady.

What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend? 
Do you have a family tradition that you do each year?

Wednesday, May 22

The To Do List: Provo & Orem Edition

I'm not going to lie--I am starting to like Utah a little bit. You may be thinking, "Sheesh, it only took two whole years..." but seriously, we have found a few things around here recently that we never knew about until now (like a sweet short-cut to Orem for one...) and it has changed my outlook on living here dramatically. Not that I would want to make it a long-term thing--I'm still an east coast girl who needs the clear blue lakes and ocean--but I need to take the advice of numerous sisters in the church and "bloom where [I'm] planted." 

So I'm creating a "To Do" list, which will also be a bucket list of sorts, or basically a compilation of ideas and suggestions from people in the area (or previous residents). It can include restaurants, cafes, sights to see, or fun places. Or it can just be something we should do at a certain time of year and get a good deal (like near particular holidays for example).

What I would like from those who make suggestions are the following:

  • the name of the place
  • a summary of what it is/what there is to do (or what YOU did/ate there)
  • the general location (preferably Provo/Orem area because we don't travel much)
  • an idea of the cost (FREE, cheap, or kind of costly)

If you could give me a few ideas, I would SO appreciate it! We have just one year left here and I'm going to do my best to make it fun. So please,

Give us your suggestions! :)

Tuesday, May 21

Reflection on Jealousy

Sometimes, it's hard for me not to be jealous of what others have. I guess I'm a human...but seriously, when I hear about other couples going on amazing trips or adventures, I get a little bit frustrated. Don't get me wrong, I love our life together as we are both working hard to save for the future right now, but sometimes it just feels like everyone is having fun except for us. I know that this is not true and that we are doing the most important thing we possibly could be doing by preparing for the beginning of our eternal family, but it is not always easy. 

I just need to remind myself of our many blessings. First off, we are living independently. We don't rely on the support of our parents or the government (not because we don't want to, we just don't) and we are doing completely fine. We can afford our lifestyle because we don't spend money on frivolous things. We save and only splurge on rare occasions. We are saving for our family, our future, and for those many trips and vacations we feel like we're missing out on right now. The fact is, we are extremely blessed. I am thankful that we are both frugal and that we both know how to manage and save money. We are not rich by the world's standards, but we are extremely wealthy in blessings. Everyday I am so grateful that we can afford such a great, clean, reliable car. We had so many problems with our last two vehicles that it's a huge relief to have one that functions without needing constant attention. I am grateful for our apartment because, as much as I want a home, it is helping me appreciate how wonderful home ownership will be. It is also a place where we began our journey as a newly wed couple and where our family will start. And those reasons alone make it special. Sure I would love a dishwasher, our own washer and dryer, and A/C unit (particularly while I'm pregnant this summer...). But someday we will have those things, and it will be that much sweeter because we did without. And survived. 

Thomas S. Monson reminds us: 
"May I assure you that there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save. It is generally during these challenging times that you will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions."

I am so thankful for the life that we have! And so thankful to our parents who taught us excellent principles to live by.

Have you felt the same way I do?
What do you do to save money?
Do you try to live in the moment or plan for the future?

On a different note, my best friend since 4th grade, Sarah Morgan Ayer--who is currently Hermana Ayer as she is serving a mission in Ecuador (Guayaquil South fyi)--emailed me today telling me her mission president gave her permission to write whomever she wants!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!! I sent her one letter via pouch mail (which goes through the MTC) a few months ago but it took a year to get to her basically, and she sent me a letter in the meantime in which I had pretty much already answered all her questions. So I haven't written her again since in case she thought I'd sent that letter after she wrote me and wrote me again--I didn't want us to be off track the entire time she's gone. But now that's not an issue! I'm so excited!!!!! Especially because my other best friend since middle school, Megan Louise Wernig, is currently on a study abroad in Italy and also pretty much impossible to contact so it's been kind of lonely at times when I need a friend who isn't my sweet husband or my awesome mom. 

One friend teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Ecuador, one friend learning about amazing historic art and literature in Italy, and one friend in Provo preparing to have a baby. We are living the life ;)

I can't wait until the three of us are reunited!

Sunday, May 19

Controversy: A Woman's Role

I am responding today to a powerful article entitled: "How my mother's fanatical feminist views tore us apart." As I read, I found myself sympathizing with the author and wanting to reach out to her and tell her I'm proud of her for the choices she has made in her personal life. Her mother is very apparently a poor example of what a woman should be: tender, caring, full of love, willing to serve others, kind toward children--she  has not truly developed any of these qualities though she may make impressions otherwise. 

The fact that Walker neglected her own daughter shows she lacks good character and, to be frank, good sense. How can she support the view that children enslave women? Does she not care about raising the next generation to be one that honors women? How does she lack the foresight to recognize that children are going to be born no matter what and that without strong, willing mothers, they will be raised just as poorly as today's generation? 

As someone who is strongly anti-abortion, I feel very sorry that Rebecca had that heartbreaking experience at the age of 14. It makes me sad that she was put in that position as a youth and that her mother displayed no interest in her daughter's situation at the time. Her mother's lack of approval was a selfish act, meant only to hurt her daughter who obviously tried very hard to please her mother regardless of their differing views. This quote regarding her mother's attitude toward her lifestyle sickens me: "But she wouldn't back down. Instead, she wrote me a letter saying that our relationship had been inconsequential for years and that she was no longer interested in being my mother." How utterly despicable and hateful Walker has been toward her daughter. It is a miracle that Rebecca has been able to look past her mother's faulted ideas and cultivate an entirely new set of beliefs on her own. 

Rebecca's views on feminism align well with my own. I consider myself the complete opposite of a feminist--at least the opposite of the extremists. I am aware that it has had its merits. Feminism has given women opportunities. It has opened doors to higher education, better workplace conditions, and involvement in politics. But in my mind it has gone much too far and is essentially destroying the most important and crucial unit in society: the family. 

I liked this quote of Rebecca's:
"Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating."

It is very devastating. How sad for those women who selfishly deny themselves the power to create and support life. It is the one power we possess that men do not and our divine responsibility as women. Yet so many turn away from that role and later find that they have missed out on a great happiness. This particularly saddens me when I think of how many women abort the life they have created, while so many women suffer from loneliness--many are single and unable to have the family they dream of, many are barren but yearn to be a mother more than anything else, and many have had tragedies befall them or their children leaving them in what must feel like a perpetual state of helplessness. 

Rebecca sums up her mother's greatest fault with this quote. "But, while she has taken care of daughters all over the world and is hugely revered for her public work and service, my childhood tells a very different story. I came very low down in her priorities--after work, political integrity, self-fulfillment, friendships, spiritual life, fame and travel." Selfishness is evident in Alice Walker's every deed. She may have incorrectly believed that she was living a life of freedom and independence, but in actuality she behaved for her own good and no one else's. 

The greatest point Rebecca makes in her article is how her experience as a mother has been more freeing than she thought possible: "The other day I was vacuuming when my son came bounding into the room. 'Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, let me help,' he cried. His little hands were grabbing me around the knees and his huge brown eyes were looking up at me. I was overwhelmed by a huge surge of happiness. I love the way his head nestles in the crook of my neck. I love the way his face falls into a mask of eager concentration when I help him learn the alphabet. But most of all, I simply love hearing his little voice calling: 'Mummy, Mummy.' It reminds me of just how blessed I am. The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother  -  thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman. You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale. In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Far from 'enslaving' me, three-and-a-half-year-old Tenzin has opened my world. My only regret is that I discovered the joys of motherhood so late  -  I have been trying for a second child for two years, but so far with no luck." 

I am grateful for Rebecca Walker's courageous example. She has taught me that there is more to be gained as a woman through motherhood than anything else. She emphasizes that the truest source of happiness has been her family. She recognizes her mother's many errors of thinking and has developed her own set of principles to live by. She is someone that I personally look up to for her faith and commitment to her family. 

Now I want to hear your thoughts and feelings. 
What did you think of her article? 
Do you agree with her like I do or disagree and why? 
What joy, in your mind, could possibly be greater or more important than having a loving family? 

Saturday, May 18

Separation Anxiety: Missing My Husband

Call me weird, call me a baby, or call me whatever you want, but I hate being away from my husband. Especially at nighttime. Simply put, Dalin is my very best friend and I don't enjoy being away from him. At all. I hear lots of women say, "Someday you'll love having time away from your husband," or "It is nice to have some time to yourself," or "It brings us closer together because it makes me miss him more." Well, I'm sorry but that doesn't sound like me. I happen to like being in my husband's company. Sure, we argue about silly things, but we forgive quickly and forget.

When I married Dalin, I knew it was for eternity. There were no implied breaks in there and I don't want there to be any. I already hate being away from him while one or both of us is at work. For one thing, it's boring being away from him. And he makes me happier than anyone I know. We don't need to be apart to rekindle our love for each other. Pretty much every day after work is a reunion when we're finally together again. I just love him so much and feel in my heart that he truly makes life worth living. He's just too good to be away from... ;)

Since we've been married, (you can check out "Our Eternity" countdown at the bottom of the page if you'd like to know the exact timing) we have only been apart on two occasions--the first was at Thanksgiving when I had to fly back to Utah early from Mesa, Arizona because I worked at Dillard's and stupid Black Friday was the next day--the second is tonight because Dalin was asked to do the grave shift at the residential treatment center he works for. The first occasion we were apart did not go so well. I cried the entire stupid flight to Salt Lake and much of the next three days and nights. It was the worst being away from him for a lot of reasons, but particularly because we were fairly newly married and of course it was Thanksgiving. I wasn't so happy. I remember sleeping on the couch the night they were driving back to Utah from Mesa. Sometime very early in the morning, I heard the front door open and saw Dalin and his dad coming in. I jumped off the couch and gave Dalin a tremendous hug and several kisses. Then, because it was early in the morning still, we took a rest in our bed, holding each other, and I remember stroking Dalin's hair in his sleep and not wanting to be away from him ever again. 

It was hard for me to leave him again tonight. I struggled not crying as I drove home in the rain and darkness, worried I'd be unable to sleep without him by my side. I called and talked to him as I walked through our dark parking lot and entered the apartment, where we set up FaceTime and read scriptures together before saying goodnight shortly before midnight. Although I am still feeling lonely, I know he is thinking of me and that we will be together again in just a few short hours. 

He is my protector, my love, my sweetheart, my best friend, my eternal companion and I never wish to be away from him. 

Have you ever had a difficult time being separated from your husband for any period of time?
Do you like getting time to yourself? Why?
What helps keep the two of you close? 

Friday, May 17

Sister Frances B. Monson: Home-Maker Supreme

Until today, I knew very little about the wife of our beloved prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Upon learning that she passed away today at the age of 85, I immediately felt sad for President Monson and his children. I proceeded to look up Frances Monson and read about her life. I love reading the life stories of others, and particularly of those who were raised in a different, and well (what I consider), a better time. I have learned so much about what a wonderful example of Christ-like love and service Frances was, as well as how delightful a mother and friend she proved to be. 

She studied hard in school and excelled in math and science. After marrying Thomas, the couple had three children and quite the variety of family pets. She practiced good bookkeeping and budgeting, applying Church principles of thrift and self-reliance. She was an excellent bargain shopper. Whenever there were things to fix or assemble in the home, Frances was the one to do it. She served well in the Church and supported her husband in every calling he was given. About this, her husband says, “But never once has she complained. Never once. Not in our entire married life has she done anything to keep me from any aspect of my service. I have never received anything but support and encouragement from Frances.” She was hardworking both in and out of the home and enjoyed serving others. She took care of her mother for many years. She lived with a sense of humor that brought her family joy. "She also delighted in being a mother, continually teaching her children the importance of sacrifice and serving the Lord." She "radiated patience and compassion when serving others" (Church Newsroom).

“My mother is unlike many of the women of today’s generation. Instead of looking for the recognition of the world, she has always received her acknowledgment of worth from such things as the happy smile of a son or the outstretched hand of a grandchild. President Wilford Woodruff once said that the mother has greater influence over her posterity than any other person can have, and her influence is felt through time and eternity. I am grateful to my mother, thankful for her influence and pray that I might always be worthy of her love. As I reflect upon the many blessings which I have received as the daughter of an apostle of the Lord, the one which means the most to me is the gift and blessing of the woman he married, my mother.” 
~Ann Monson Dibb

Such a beautiful woman.
Frances with her husband, Thomas, and three children.
What a happy couple they are! So sweet.
So much tender love and happiness in this photo of the two.

If you are interested in learning more about this terrific woman, read this article from the Church newsroom. 
You can also read this excellent article from about the Monson's wonderful marriage and life together, entitled "I Knew I'd Found the Right One."

Because of who she was during her life, I am confident that Frances Monson's reunion with her husband will be a very joyful one. I would be filled with happiness to know I would be remembered in the way that she will be.

Have you ever met Sister Monson? What stood out to you about her? What principles from her life are you trying to develop in your own home?

Thursday, May 16

Olivia's Famous (& Favorite) Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Are you looking for the most delicious pie recipe you've ever tried? Congratulations! You've found it! 

But seriously, this is my all-time favorite pie by far. I even make my own pie crust. Back in New Hampshire, my LDS ward used to host an annual pie and cake auction every June or July to raise money for Girls' Camp and Scout Camp. It is our one fundraiser a year, so it's kind of a big deal. My signature dessert was this exact recipe. People would bid somewhere around $100 for a good cake or pie, and since a lot of people had tried my recipe, my pies always did really well. I tell you this not to brag, but to convey how serious I am about this being a sweet recipe (literally, ha ha...).

So when I cook or bake, I'm all about using as few dishes as possible. For this dessert, I usually get out two big bowls, one spatula, measuring cups (which I barely use if truth be told), a rolling pin, and of course a pie plate. 

Pie Filling Ingredients Needed: 

2 cups sliced strawberries (fresh are better!)

2 cups sliced rhubarb (1-2" pieces)
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp butter


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl and allow them to sit for a while...the sugar will liquify and create a pinkish glaze on the fruit. Begin making the bottom pie crust. 

Pie Crust Recipe (made twice...once for the bottom crust, once for the top--I prefer not to double the recipe):

1 stick of salted butter (softened)
3 Tbsp shortening
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
3-5 Tbsp cold water (start with 3, add more as needed)

Instructions (continued):

I think homemade pie crust is always better. I have never made this pie with store-bought crust, but you may try it if you dare. Otherwise, mix the pie crust ingredients in the order they are listed with a spatula (I usually just rinse the spatula I used to mix the pie filling). It won't look like much until you blend everything thoroughly. I start with 3 Tbsp of cold water and add additional as needed. Be careful not to add too much or you'll just have one soggy crust (which adding additional flour would probably fix). Take off any rings you might be wearing, and blend the dough by hand after mixing the best you can with the spatula. 

Now you have a few options for getting the pie crust to come out successfully in one or two tries. First, you really need a pretty wide space...wider even than the circumference of the pie plate because the dough needs to extend over the sides. A wide counter (cleared off) or a kitchen table should work fine. Next, you need something to roll the dough onto. My mom uses pieces of saran wrap on the counter sprinkled with flour to roll the pie crust out on. I use that method sometimes, but I also have a large plastic cutting board sheet that I can roll the dough onto (lightly floured also) and I tend to use that more often.

I usually flatten the ball of pie crust the best I can with my hands, then flour the rolling pin before beginning to roll out the crust. If the rolling pin begins to get sticky at all, flour it, or it will pull chunks of your crust off the cutting board. Roll the dough out as evenly as possible and as thinly as you can without it tearing. It should look something like the picture below. 
Once you have reached this stage, you will want to place your pie plate nearby. You don't need to treat the pie dish with cooking spray or anything because the pie dough has so much butter and shortening in it that it doesn't stick. 
Carefully (super carefully, or you'll have to start over) flip the cutting board over the pie plate so the crust covers the entire dish. The dough does not move easily, so it's important that you aim well the first time. My cutting board is super flat and bends like paper, so it is really easy for me to maneuver the crust over the dish. It should like something like the picture below. If it doesn't look perfect, just remember it's the bottom of the pie so no one will see it anyway.
Using a knife, carefully cut the excess dough away. I just set my knife against the edge of the dish and saw around it so all the extra falls off, leaving a nice smooth edge. Next, use the spatula to carefully scoop the pie filling into the dish. It should look moist and be spread around as evenly as possible like the picture below. 
Now comes the most challenging part--the top pie crust. This part is mostly hard because you want it to look nice. I sometimes do the top crust over if it doesn't roll out nicely the first time. Use the same steps mentioned above for rolling out the top pie crust. When it is time to place the top pie crust, ask someone to help you if you have unruly dough. Two extra hands can make this much easier. The crust should cover the entire pie dish and run over the edges when placed like in the image below. 

Now you can try different techniques for sealing your top pie crust to the bottom, but I like to cut off the excess (not right to the edge of the dish like the bottom one--it still needs to be a little bit longer) and then fold the sides under all the way around and pinch the dough like the birds do on Snow White. Here is a little video to show you what I'm talking about: 
She makes it look super easy, but I wouldn't pick the pie crust up like she doesn't work. 
Anyway, you can pinch the edges, or you can create ridges (which kind of looks more professional...) as shown in the pic below. 
Once you have sealed the top pie crust, cut some slits in the center--unless you want an explosion in your oven. I like to do five slits evenly around the center like the five legs of a star. You can get crazy like Snow White and add things on top made from the leftover dough (my mom will roll the extra dough out and cut out mini hearts with cookie cutters to place on top) or you can carve patterns like the person did in the picture below.
Pre-baking. In my hand is the recipe card I use when making my favorite pie.
Whatever you choose to do is fine. Now the last step before putting your precious pie in the oven is to stick that 1 Tbsp of butter (mentioned under Pie Filling Ingredients) on the top of the pie to melt into the slits you carved. My mom puts it under the crust, I put it on top. It doesn't matter either way. 

Now just stick the pie in the oven (which you hopefully preheated to 425 degrees) and set a timer for 30-40 minutes. (Start with 3o or 35 and check on it). The edges of the pie should be a light brown when it is ready. You'll be able to tell. The pie crust pictured above is a little too dark for my taste as you can see from the very first image, which is the only one here that is actually mine. 

Note: It may be a good idea to stick a cookie sheet or some foil on the rack below the pie--especially if yours is overflowing with pie filling. The juices in the pie boil and leak out making a messy oven. If your pie crust is flat across or shrunken in, you probably won't have that problem, but it's better to be safe than sorry. 

When your pie is baked to perfection, let it cool for a while and serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. If it isn't delicious, you may have made a mistake. I really hope you love it.
My pie :)
Please let me know if you try this recipe! I would love to hear about how it turned out--good or bad. Chances are, this will become your new favorite pie. 

Real Role Models For Little Girls

I read this:

And this is what I thought: I agree with this mom that there is nothing wrong with loving Disney princesses. Nearly every child loves to dream about that stuff. I still do in fact, though I am not technically a child. But it is definitely a good idea to give children real role models as well--especially in case they eventually grow out of the Disney phase (which hopefully no child of mine will ever do...). I agree with her choices of good role models...Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, and Jane Goodall. There are probably several women I could add, but for the sake of time, I will add just a few for now.

Madam Marie Curie. She won two Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry, discovered elements radium and polonium, and coined the term "radioactivity." She also opened the doors for women in the sciences. She said, "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."
Rosa Parks. She had the courage to stand (well, sit...) for what she knew was right. She was a well-known civil rights activist because of her actions. She shows women that simple acts can lead to great things. Rosa Parks said, "I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." She also said, "Each person must live their life as a model for others." What a great example she set.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley. A wonderful wife, mother, and role model for women, particularly those of the LDS faith. She encouraged youth to seek higher education. She was an excellent example of service to others. She tells us simply to, "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I love that she is reminding us to humanize people rather than objectifying them, and that she reminds us to avoid making judgements about others. Another great quote from Marjorie: "We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are."
There are many, many other women who could and should be added to this list. Maybe I will find the time to add to it. But for now, I just want to say that I am thankful for those women who recognized their individual worth and divine natures and did not let the ways of the world discourage them. They found the inner strength to go on and set positive examples for many generations to come. Thank goodness for good women. "May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them."

What other women have been great role models to you or someone else?

Wednesday, May 15

THIRD TRIMESTER!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!

As far as ultrasounds go, yesterday's went pretty great! I had to leave work early (and get a ride to the Health Center) but I met Dalin in urgent care then we headed into the ultrasound room. Our technician squirted tons of gel onto my belly (at least it was warm) then proceeded to find the baby. She's kind of huge now, so it wasn't hard. 

Everything looked great, the female technician said. We saw the four chambers of her heart very clearly, her brain, her eye...sockets, and apparently she was able to see the lips and nose...I only caught a glimpse of her profile, but baby girl did not make it easy. She wiggled around and kicked the entire time, and she kept covering her sweet little face with her arms. It was really cute watching her try to hide from us. She is already so precious! The technician told us she weighs about 2 lbs. 7 oz. which is right where she should be! Hopefully that means we won't have to worry about the due date getting pushed back (which really shouldn't matter, but it's been a concern of mine because I want her to come already!!!).

So that was great and the pictures they gave us after were slightly better than last time. Dalin had to hurry back to work right away and I had to see another doctor so I waited to be called in again. I have been waking up with a sore throat the past several mornings and I was concerned it was probably the beginning of my allergies coming in. For some reason, I've only gotten allergies since I have been coming out west for school. There must be some dumb plant out here that I'm allergic to...but it makes me feel terrible--I get a wicked cough, sore throat, itchy eyes, among other things. I went to the doctor because I want to try and beat the symptoms. My doctor had me take a strep test just in case but it was negative, so she prescribed Claritin (but she said I could buy the generic kind) and some saline nose drops. Hopefully they help!!!

Then, having no ride back to work (and only having about an hour left anyway) I texted my manager to see if I could just go home. She was of course fine with it, so I walked from the Health Center to our apartment where I pretty much just watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. It was really frustrating because I solved like three of the puzzles way before the contestants did and I usually stink at them. Plus no one was around to be impressed. Then, starving like always, I decided to make my favorite strawberry-rhubarb pie. I had to borrow some strawberries from a nice neighbor in the ward (because the ones we had tasted TERRIBLE for some reason...) but the filling and crusts came out well and I was so happy to have been able to prepare the surprise for Dalin. 

Shaina and Layton came over for pie around 9pm and spent some time with us. It was a nice, relaxing Tuesday. Also, the weather was gorgeous. It was dang hot at work, but our apartment has been surprisingly cool, thank heavens. I am so happy it is finally Springtime!!!!!!!

How have you enjoyed the warm weather?
Any suggestions for a pregnant woman about keeping cool? ;)

Saturday, May 11

Self-Motivation...Not Super Effective

Umm, beautiful right? I love Provo in Springtime. It's the best time to be here.

Some days you just need to sleep in, relax, and enjoy a delicious pink Otter Pop.

Especially after hosting a humongous dance party that lasted until after midnight. I definitely enjoyed hosting those events in the past, but it has just gotten to the point where I am just done. I am pregnant, less balanced, and more tired. Yesterday's turnout was really great though. The dance was huge. I was really grateful for the help of the two new RA couple's at King Henry. They are awesome.

Dalin had to work today which is lame, but hopefully we will have all of tomorrow to be together. I am getting so excited for Mother's Day. I wish I had been able to do more for my own mother. I ordered her something kind of cool and unique on Etsy and had it sent to the house. She reads my blog, so obviously I can't talk about it anymore now, but I think it's cool and I wanted it for myself. The gift I got for my wonderful mother-in-law also came from Etsy. It's supposed to be here today...hopefully it is since Dalin's parents will be in town on Monday!!!!

Anyway, my mom sent me a package for Mother's Day and Dalin ordered something from Amazon so I am excited for tomorrow!

Now what I really ought to be doing....
  • Reading some British literature for my Independent Study classes (which I kind of hate right now)
  • Doing anything at all for Independent Study (which I stink at doing)
  • Organizing the baby's room (believe it or not, there are still a few boxes that haven't been touched yet...)
  • Taking a nap because I am simply exhausted and baby girl probably is, too. Though I'm not sure why she would be, other than the fact that she's a baby...she gets to ride around everywhere with me without any effort
  • Getting the heck off the computer and actually doing something productive like serving someone else. The trouble is, I can barely keep my eyes open.
Well, wish me luck. If I accomplish any two of these things today I'll be proud of myself. 

Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 10

The Final Week of My Second Trimester (!!!!!)

Baby girl was sure kicking last night. I am not sure why but she just felt like pushing her little foot out by my belly button a bunch of times...and she did it so forcefully that I had to push her foot back in because it felt super weird having a little hard lump on my belly. Then after I did that, she just kept kicking. I kept exclaiming when she did it because they really were super hard kicks and Dalin asked me if she was being naughty. I said she was because she wasn't stopping and I had to keep adjusting myself in an attempt to make her stop. Finally she did...after a long time. This little girl better not be a real handful. 

Here is what it looks like inside me right now supposedly.
Things I am noticing: 

  • My belly button is totally flat and the top is starting to poke out just a little. It freaks me better go back to normal after the pregnancy!!!
  • Baby girl is kicking ALL the time. They are definitely visible kicks now. Dalin always laughs when we're in bed and I grab his hand suddenly to put on my belly because she pushes so hard. There is no question as to whether he is feeling her or not now. 
  • I have even fewer things that fit me. I forget that I am the size that I am when I get dressed, then I'm frustrated when something doesn't fit right anymore. Soon I'll be wearing dresses and skirts only...
  • I can usually tell when she is going to kick or continue kicking. I must be able to slightly detect her small movements inside me because I can tell when a kick is coming when I'm in bed.
  • She has the hiccups right now. Her lungs must be working as she is breathing in some of that amniotic fluid. It's a good sign!
  • Walking long distances is getting tiring. My feet are just not used to the weight of my body. Not looking forward to them swelling up in the hot summer. So far I've been lucky. 
  • No stretch marks yet. I am hoping they don't come until the end...I still have three months to go, ahhh!!!!
  • My milk is coming in. I've noticed this at night. It's kind of gross. I won't get into it but I am really hoping this means breastfeeding will be easy for me. 
  • The round ligament pain I was experiencing for a while hasn't happened much recently. The only time I feel discomfort (minor cramps) is after I've been walking for a long time.
  • Sleeping is okay. I have to be surrounded by pillows but it's more bearable now than it had been. Still, little girl is getting heavy! 
I have an ultrasound next week! Hopefully we'll be able to see her nice and clear since she's so big now. The funny thing is, she probably only weighs about two pounds at the most right now and is the size of an eggplant (apparently). I can't wait to meet her in person!!!!

Tuesday, May 7

Mini Breakdown: Pregnancy Stress

Last night, out of nowhere, I had a mini breakdown. 

Normally that isn't something I would want to admit but I felt I had a good reason. 

After reading some stupid article on a pregnancy website, I started to panic about giving birth. Not being a mom per se, but actually having the baby. Obviously I knew it was inevitable these whole six months and I guess I had seemed okay with it before, but that stupid article got me to start over-thinking things and I freaked out. I called my home, my dad answered, and when I began crying he handed the phone off to mom. 

Luckily, my mom comforted me a million times over. She reminded me that billions of women have done it and many didn't even have any type of epidural or good medical help. She reminded me about those moms that have lots and lots of kids and said that they wouldn't do it if it wasn't worth it. She said that every single woman gets scared at some point beforehand and it's completely normal to be worried. She also told me that her contractions were like really bad menstrual cramps except instead of being continual, they only last about 15 seconds and you have breaks in between. Since I can relate to that, that was very comforting to me. She told me I will probably have an advantage over a lot of girls because I have had such bad cramps before (bad enough that I had to miss school and other things because I was curled up in a ball) and they aren't much different than that. She also reminded me that the end result makes it all worth it--at least you have a sweet and new little baby in the end! 

My mom also reminded me that while still in the hospital after having me, she said, "I could do that again." I guess it must be worth it if she could say that not too long after having a baby. 

As we were talking, I kept asking Mom things like, "Which was worse, breaking a bone or having a baby?" She said breaking a bone. I guess that was kind of a pointless question since I have never broken a bone before and can't relate to that kind of pain, but it definitely comforted me because that sounds SUPER painful to me. We talked for a long time and when I finally stopped crying, I felt much better. 

Today I am feeling much more positive about things. My mom suggested I find a birthing class to sign up for and begin attending classes asap. She told me I could get a blessing beforehand if I was scared. And on my own, I've decided I am not going to read so many pregnancy articles...especially any that are negative or scary. They just bring a lot of unnecessary stress.

Finally, when I spoke on the phone with my grandmother this morning, she reminded me that God doesn't give us more than we can handle and that I will be just fine. I just need to have faith. 

What was your biggest apprehension about giving birth? How did you get over it?
If you had a surprisingly positive experience, will you tell me about it? (I don't really want to hear any scary parts...for obvious reasons)

Sunday, May 5

Mother. The Most Important Job.

My lovely, lovely mother :)
Mother's day is coming, men and children. And women with everyone. You now have just over a week to prepare. Now is the time to think about finding a way to make up for all the naughtiness and trouble and grief you caused your mother growing up. She made tons and tons of sacrifices for you, the least you can do is write her a note. If nothing else, be sure to call her and tell her you love her. She probably already knows it, but I guarantee she never gets tired of hearing her children say that to her. For you married men who do not yet have children, think of this: Someday, your wife will be giving birth to YOUR child. She has dedicated her whole life to preparing for this position, and in the meantime, she is probably mothering you so be sure to do something for her. Even the smallest gesture will mean much more to her than you might think. I know I can't help but hold onto every single little note Dalin writes me. I love them so much. I even hang some on the fridge because they make me so happy every time I see them. And just one more thing--do not forget those women in your life who have, at times, been like mothers to you. There are so many women out there who have not had the opportunity to have children of their own and so have dedicated much of their lives to being a mother to everyone. I can think of a number of women who fall into this category for me. They probably do not even know the impact they have had on my life. So if you get the chance, thank those women who have similarly impacted you, too. It will bless their lives. 

In honor of all mothers, I wanted to talk about how completely ecstatic I am to be given the opportunity to be one myself. I love my baby girl and cannot wait to see her and get to know her personality and become her friend. I can tell by the way she wiggles all the time that she is going to be so much fun and a joy to raise. 

Society has an unfortunately negative perspective of motherhood. Many call it a pain, a hassle, a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice. But the best definition of sacrifice in my mind (straight from is: "the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim." Interesting that it mentions surrendering something desirable (also good) for something of higher or more pressing claim. The value of a good mother simply cannot be communicated in writing. One HUGE reason the world is growing so wicked (I believe) is because of the destruction of the family. Women just are not taking their responsibility of motherhood serious enough. And the family is suffering because of it. As all Latter-day Saints know, the family is "the fundamental unit of society." This means when society suffers, it is because the family is suffering.

Dalin and I have been very fortunate to have support on both sides of our family. They both are excited for the growth of our little family. Not everyone is so lucky. Many couples are encouraged to "wait to have kids--travel first--you have plenty of time." These are common phrases heard by young married couples. And to me, it's sad. Because when is anyone more happy than when they are with their parents and siblings and loved ones? For me, never. 

I loved this article which describes many of those negative experiences I mentioned. This woman does a fabulous job at creating a positive outlook on motherhood and bearing children. I loved in particular these lines from it:

"If you are a pregnant woman, boldly declare your excitement for your baby bump! 
When you are in the midst of bottles and binkies and spit up and tantrums and sleepless nights – do not let the enemy whisper in your ear – “this is too much.” Lean on Jesus and thank God for giving you SO much!
When the world says, you are too young, remember: Mary was young.
When the world says, you are too old, remember: Sarah was old.
When the world says, you don’t know what you are doing, remember Eve – who had no role models at all…she just walked with the King."
I thought this was great. I mean truly, what job out there is more important than motherhood? There is literally nothing I want more than to be a great mother (other than being with my family forever). And although it is wonderful in some ways that Dalin and I will have had two terrific years of marriage all to ourselves, I wish in many ways that we had just ignored the words of others about waiting to have children (which is not why we did wait, by the way) and started sooner. I have already loved this part of our marriage possibly more than any other part and I know it will only get better. We can hardly wait until we can hold our baby girl and love her and raise her to be a righteous daughter of God. 
There are so many things I never thought I would care about until I was put into the position I am in now (being pregnant I mean). Like modesty, for example. My mother was pretty strict when it came to modesty and now I am so grateful she was. It drove me crazy that she cared about it so much and even though I was obedient to her and chose not go against the standards, I was annoyed and embarrassed when she let me know something was too short or too low or too revealing in any way. She was also always sure to inform me if I was wearing too much makeup. That embarrassed me and usually made me upset with her but looking back, I am so glad she cared enough to tell me no. Especially now when I see so many girls whose moms clearly did not tell them "no" enough. 
I know I will be following in her footsteps because I care. A lot. I do not want ANYONE looking at my daughter in a disrespectful way. I want my daughter to have enough confidence in her inner beauty that she does not become absorbed by her outward appearance. I want her to know that her body is a temple and that it should be treated sacred. Our bodies are on loan. They eventually will be returned and hopefully they will be in better than "fair" condition. I hope I can help my daughter to understand that as a daughter of a Heavenly King, she is royalty. And as such, she should behave like it.
Growing up, I had the Gospel Standards poster put out by the Church for Primary children hanging on the inside of the door of my wardrobe. I read it frequently and these lines in particular have stayed with me: 
I will keep my mind and body sacred and pure, and I will not partake of things that are harmful to me. I will dress modestly to show respect for Heavenly Father and myself.
At the time, I couldn't understand how dressing immodestly was disrespectful. Since reading The Anatomy of Peace, I think the best way to explain how it is disrespectful is by describing how it is a way of willfully objectifying oneself. As I now have been trying hard to view others as human beings and individuals rather than objects or obstacles, I can clearly see why immodesty turns women (in particular) into mere objects. I certainly am no feminist, but I think many of those with feminist views would agree that women who do not respect the privacy of, and in reality, the sacredness of their own bodies, cannot expect men to respect those things. That would be both unfair and unrealistic. If we want to be empowered as women, we must do things that empower us. Only we can bear our own children. Only we can know what it is to truly nurture and care for a newborn. Only we can follow our natural maternal instincts to know what our child needs. I think many feminists have it all backwards--we shouldn't push away our God-given role as mothers because we mistakenly believe it is demeaning--we should embrace our Individual Worth and our Divine Nature and recognize that we are creating and managing the very unit which is the cornerstone of a functioning society. 
If you do not believe me, please ask yourself where would anyone be without their mother. For one bleak moment, consider what society would be like if there were no mothers who cared. I'm going to take a leap and hypothesize that there would be a lot more crime and sadness in the world. I have a very loving and caring father, but my mom is the one who for the most part taught me how I should treat others. She taught me the importance of being kind and the importance of sharing. She taught me how to make friends and how to keep them. She taught me how to apologize and how to be forgiving. She also taught me the importance of being sensitive to the feelings of others. That's just how it is--most women are better at understanding the emotional needs of a person. It's just a part of female nature. 
I am so grateful for my mother and for all that she continually does for me. She made sacrifices, some of which were probably difficult to make. But they were for the purpose of building something greater. I am thankful to have had morals instilled in me while growing up. I am only now realizing how uncommon that is. Some families just don't have good values like integrity, service, hard work, etc. I am doing my best to follow in my mother's footsteps by building a home that will be a place of peace and joy, where the Spirit can always reside. In a very small way, I am contributing to the building of the Kingdom. I love you, Mom. Thanks for being my second best friend ;)