Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Liquid Medicine

This afternoon, to prepare for an upcoming medical procedure, I had to drink a disgusting bottle of liquid medicine. Jordan will be the first to tell you that I am pretty much the worst when it come to taking liquid medicine of any kind (just thinking of Pepto sends a shiver down my spine), and this was no exception.

When I took a swig, my face made a tight, ugly grimace. After swallowing the vile poison, I let out an almost involuntary "YUUUUUUUUH!"

Then Baby Jo burst into tears.

The poor kid! He was so distressed by my performance. He didn't know what was going on, only that his mom was in some sort of pain. I immediately swept him up in my arms, smothered him with kisses, and repeated the phrases, "I'm okay! Mommy's happy!" and "Everything is fine. Everything is fine." It took him a while to calm down his sobs. Luckily, Dad came to rescue with a distracting flashlight and all was well again.

Jordan and I talked this evening about how sweet and heartbreaking Jo's tears were for me. We talked about how there are so many children out there in the world who have to witness their mothers in real pain, often by the hands of someone else. So many children have to see their mothers hurt, knowing that there is nothing they can do to stop it. So many toddlers have to hear their mothers cry out in pain, being unable to do anything but cry in fear.

It can be overwhelming to think of all the pain that children have to witness and experience. It makes my heart heavy. But there is some comfort to be had in knowing that MY son will never have to worry about mom getting hurt at home. It's comforting to know that seeing mom beat, abused, or humiliated at home will never ever happen. Jordan and I have total control over preventing our sweet boy seeing mom getting hurt at home with nothing more to do than cry.

If seeing mommy almost puke over taking a medication is the scariest thing Jo has seen so far, I am okay with that.

Monday, June 20, 2016

More Books

Sorry, Nancee. I am still not on Goodreads yet.

Here are a few books I have read since my last book update.

Necessary Lies, by Diane Chamberlain: This was the third Diane Chamberlain book I read within a month. I enjoyed the first one, Pretending to Dance, and really disliked the second one, The Silent Sister. I decided to read one more of her books as a tie breaker. I'm glad that I did. Of the three books, this one was my favorite. It is historical fiction, set in the south in the 1960's. The protagonist is a brand new social worker who is ready to jump in and bite off more than she could chew, which made her easy to relate to. It was a quick read, and it was educational.

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, by Matthew Dicks: I picked this novel out for an easy read during my trip to California a few months ago. It was good, not great. It's about a woman who, after uncharacteristically having a public meltdown, goes on a trip with her angsty daughter in search of some closure from her past. I thought the author, a male, did a good job in describing the female perspective of his character, so I give him kudos to that.

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel Brown: This book was picked out for a book club I was in. It is not a book that I would normally pick for myself, but I enjoyed it. It is a nonfiction biography about the UW crew team that rowed in the 1936 Olympics, right before WWII. I enjoyed reading about Seattle back in the 30's, and I learned a lot about rowing (I knew nothing to begin with), and I was intrigued by the information about the rise of Nazi Germany just the Olympics were about to begin. It was a bit slow at times, as there is very little dialogue in the book. Still, I am glad I read it.

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer: Another book club pick. It's a sci-fi twist on the story of Cinderella. Instead of a princess, Cinder is a cyborg with an unknown history. Instead of a fairy godmother, Cinder has a friendly droid with whom she hangs out. Instead of glass slippers, she has a new mechanical foot for her cyborg leg. It was sort of fun, but not really my usual cup of tea. I was also frustrated that it was picked for book club because it doesn't have a definite ending, only an opening for the next book.

Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari: I gobbled this book up, laughing out loud along the way. If you are a fan of Aziz, aka Tom Halverford on Parks and Rec, and you can look the other way on colorful language, this book is great. It is NOT a memoir. Aziz and a sociologist studied the changes in dating for the past decade as technology has advanced. It is actually quite interesting.

The Collapse of Parenting, by Leonard Sax: Another fantastic book. Sax is a family doctor and a psychologist. He discussed the problems with modern day parenting AND how to fix it. Filled with common sense solutions AND interesting information that I never thought of before, I give this book four stars.

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo: I am still mad about this book. I read it. I enjoyed it...UNTIL THE END! Not because the ending is bad, but because the ENDING DOES NOT END. It is part of a series. I had no idea! Ugh. I was quite annoyed. I am simply not a fan of series. But this book was so captivating, I will have to surrender and read its sequel. The book is set in a fictional European dystopia. A gang of orphan teenagers are commissioned to complete an impossible heist. There is a lot of action, and I really enjoyed each character's backstory. I'd recommend the book if you are willing to get sucked into a series. Curse you, book.

Sarah's Scribbles, by Sarah Andersen: I have never related to a comic book character more in my entire life. Sarah Andersen's adorable comics have popped up here and there on my newsfeed, so I was excited to check out her new comic book. I read it in one setting, giggling and cackling the whole time. Sarah Andersen, if you are reading this, can we please be best friends?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ode to Late Twenties

Ode to My Twenties
The Late Twenties Edition
Age 27-29

 Age 27:
 Hands down, this age was my all time favorite of the decade, if not my whole life! A month after turning 27, we took our magical two week trip to Europe. It was the best trip I have ever taken to date. I am so happy we were able to do that before we had kids.

Though blurry, this cellphone picture of me in Florence is one of my favorite pictures ever.

After the wonderful trip of the decade, I finally was able to meet with my new ob-gyn
who gave me the prescribed voodoo pills that got me pregnant on the first medicated cycle. After 13 months of trying, I was finally pregnant. It was such an incredible time of my life. I wasn't working because our plan was for me to travel to see my family a bunch, go to Europe, THEN get a job. I found one but they were unable to arrange a client load for me for a long time, so while I was (technically) employed, I wasn't working. It was perfect. I got to be at home, rest as much as I like, read books, exercise, and obsessed over my pregnancy. It was the happiest I had ever been,  knowing that a baby was coming but not necessarily having to take care of a baby yet.

While in the glow of pregnancy, we bought our house AND went on a wonderful trip to New York City. It truly was just one incredible thing after another when I was 27. 
Then, with only 12 days left in this year, I became a mom. Jo was born. It was the perfect ending to my perfect age.

 Age 28:

While 27 was magical, 28 was nice and EXHAUSTING. My new motherhood was overwhelming and hard. I loved being able to be at home with our baby boy, but I feel as though this age was one sleepy, weepy, blissful breastfeeding fog.
Aside from the tiring joy of being a new mom, we were able to do some traveling. Including from Seattle trips, I took Jo to Vermont to visit my family. We spent Thanksgiving with my family in California. We also went to Hawaii with our baby and had a wonderful time. 

Another great thing about this age was how many friendships I was able to strengthen. Becoming a mother opened a door to a whole new level of bonding with my friends, and since I was going crazy being home alone with our baby all day, I became more extroverted and proactive at being social. I'm glad I did, for now I have such lovely friendships with such lovely women.

 Age 29:
Honestly, this was a pretty tough year. Probably my weepiest year of the decade. For the majority of this age, I was desperately trying to become pregnant again. The medication that got me pregnant right away with Jo has been less lucky this time. Plus, there was the grief of my chemical pregnancy, which really knocked me out spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. 

But it wasn't a year of only sorrow. I was able to travel SANS TODDLER several times during this age. We went to Vegas for four days. We took a weekend get-a-way to Dallas. And the biggest child-free vacation was our week long Caribbean Cruise we took with another couple in March. I am so grateful we were able to have an opportunity to actually miss our little guy. I look forward to more child-free trips in our future.

I was also able to see my family quite a bit during this age. Every year, I always travel back home at least once, often two or three times. On top of those common trips, I got to see my family in California and Oregon. My brother and his family was also able to come visit us here in OKC, and I loved every second of it.

I fell back in love with reading. Jordan got me a piano for Christmas and I fell back in love with playing music. I got to participate in a production called Lamb of God in the Chorus. It was a year and rediscovering my hobbies, which was greatly needed after the first tiring year of motherhood.

So to close, I will say that this past decade was full of major changes and milestones. I began the decade as a girl who had never moved from home to a woman who had experienced marriage, college and grad school, a career, motherhood, and traveling. I am happy with the woman that I have become as I entered my 30's, and I am curious to see what happens in the next ten years.

Ode to Mid-Twenties

Ode to Twenties
Mid-Twenties Edition
Ages 23-26

This time of my twenties was involved a lot of growing and adjusting, and a lot of tired nights.

Age 23:
Blurry picture from my 23rd Birthday

A lot of changes happened this year! A few weeks after my birthday, I graduated from BYU, moved home for about three weeks to prepare for my wedding, got hitched in May, and then promptly moved to Oklahoma to begin grad school and married life.

A few month into 23, I got to finally go to Graceland and get as close to Elvis as physically possible.

Twenty-three was an interesting year. Though it started out as an exciting whirlwind, it had its challenges. I was sad to move to Tulsa. Plus, going from dating at BYU to being married far from home or anything familiar was a big adjustment. Jordan and I didn't have the nice transitional period of being married while still at BYU, which was our relationship's original habitat. Instead, it felt like a million changes at once. It was tough on my 23 year old soul.

After some time, I did come to appreciate OU-Tulsa, which was very different than BYU. In January, I started my practicum as an actual therapist for adults. While I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I often felt like a little kid playing dress up. I always winced when someone asked me my age and would respond by saying, "Oh, I'm older than I look."  For the first time in a long time, I was actually looking a little forward to getting older.

Age 24:
Pictures from my actual 24th birthday

Twenty-three was a little challenging, but 24 was TOUGH. This was the year that I graduated with my MSW and got a job as a full-time children's mental health counselor. For the first six months of my career, I dreaded going to work everyday. It was so draining. So challenging. I cried a few times from being overwhelmed and questioned all my academic decisions. Plus, the whole paid vacation limitation was hard for me. I was so homesick and had to carefully juggle my vacation time to arrange to see my family. Luckily, after a while, I dreaded work a little less. I became increasingly confidant in my work and started to enjoy it ....sometimes. 

Plus, when I was 24, I got to do some cool stuff, too. We did a church history tour with my parents, Jordan and I went to Branson with his parents, and we went on a last minute weekend get-away to Kansas City, just for fun. This was also the year that I got to take Jordan to our family's traditional huge Thanksgiving in Boise. This was the final one, as we stopped the tradition after my grandfather passed away. I'm so glad Jordan got to go to one.

Age 25:
25th Birthday!

This was not a particularly noteworthy age, aside from some awesome traveling. We went on a Caribbean cruise for our two year anniversary, as well as Disneyland with my whole family. As with every other age, I visited Seattle once or twice. 

I continued to progress as a therapist during this year, and I continued to be exhausted by it.
The biggest trial of this age was brought to me by my kidney. I had to have minor surgery that ended up being absolutely terrible (See blog post from January 2012). I remember thinking that with the pain I was experiencing from kidney surgery recovery was kicking my butt so badly, childbirth was going to be a nightmare. It turns out that my kidney procedure and recovery was DEFINITELY worse than childbirth. Yeesh.

This was a pretty good year. It had some fantastic highs and a few disappointing lows.

In my career, I was able to FINALLY complete all the necessary clinical hours that I needed for my LCSW. I also took and passed the clinical test and officially became an LCSW. Holla! In my work, I continued to get better and better as a therapist, and was even offered some temporary positions due to my successes that I was experiencing. It was very validating. When I gave my supervisor my notice of leave, she told me that I was an employee that the supervisors could see as a future supervisor for our area of the agency. It made leaving my job that much  harder, as I felt as though I would be starting fresh, but I ended up not working after I left this particular job anyway!

The reason that I left my career at 26 was because this was the year that Jordan graduated from PA school, accepted a job in OKC, and we moved there in January. I actually really liked taking a few months off of work. It felt good to relax and focus on my physical health. During this hiatus from work, I really focused on exercising and got in the best shape of my 20's...not that I was in body builder shape or anything, but I certainly made strength progress. 
This was a hard year for my body, too. Shortly after turning 26, we decided to start trying to have a baby. After six unsuccessful months, I was able to get pregnant, only to painfully miscarry. I spent the rest of 26 desperately trying to ovulate once again without any luck.

My favorite trip at 26 was our lovely Christmas in Vermont to visit my brother and his family. We had a blast and enjoyed the beautiful East Coast snow. We still talk about how much fun that trip was.

Last, but not least, at 26 I was able to be in the same room as Jim Gaffigan!

Ode to Early Twenties

My twenties are over. I'm not freaking out about turning the big 3-0 as much as I thought I would be, though it does weird me out a little.

Overall, the past decade of my life has been wonderful. Twenty year old me has grown so much, and in some ways, she has not changed at all. It's been insightful to look back and mentally review my twenties.

So, without further ado, here is my ode to my twenties: Early twenties edition.

The Early Twenties

Oh, geez. Early twenties is the era in my life that makes me cringe the most. The worries that I had. The awkward way I dealt with boys. The way I viewed several things. It makes me want to say, "Uggggggghhhh". But it wasn't all bad.

Age 20:
I was a bit of a late bloomer. When I graduated high school, I was too anxious to leave home, and decided to attend a community college. When I was 19, I applied to BYU and was accepted a few days before my 20th birthday. So this was the year I finally left home. This is the also the year when I experienced a lot of heartache. A few weeks before my 20th birthday, my niave, young heart was broken by a boy (that, looking back, I wasn't very easy to date at the time). So I spent my 20th birthday in Provo visiting my siblings, mentally preparing to move there, and feeling sorry for my lonesome heart.
During the age 20, I grew a lot living away from home. I got to live with my sister, start school, meet a ton of people, and land a job that is my very favorite job I've ever had to date- working as a paraprofessional at the Career and Learning Information Center on campus. This job lead me to meet some of my dearest college friends, as well as solidify my decision to go into social work.
Twenty was also the age when I met Jordan for the first time...though when I met him, he was just a guy I was dating's roommate; NOT a potential husband. This is the first picture we took "together" and it always makes me laugh:

Age 21:
Age 21 was kind of a harder year for me. My sister, with whom I was extremely close, got engaged and married, and I had a hard time adjusting to that. I also moved to a new apartment with all new roommates and lived in three different wards during this year. I often felt unsatisfied and antsy. I also continued to be incredibly awkward with dating, despite going on what felt like 1000000 dates that year. 
Besides some struggles, there was also a lot of fun things that happened. My sister and I took a trip to Washington DC together for a week and had a blast. I was accepted into the social work program and began its classes. I ended up making some really fantastic friends, and about three weeks before my 22nd, I went on my first date with Jordan.

 This picture was taken on my 21st birthday by a guy who Molly was sort of dating named Brad....who later became her husband!

 Hitting up DC in August 2008.

Age 22:
On my 22nd birthday, my good friend at the time, Dan (below, taking a bite of cake), threw me a "surprise" party. I think it was supposed to be an ironic surprise party, because he told me about it before it started. Whatever. 
 Dan's gift to me on my 22nd birthday. You can't see it because of the glare, but it's a picture of me and him. I actually still have this book today!
At the end of my birthday, Jordan (the guy that I had been on about 3 dates with) came over, sang "Happy Birthday" to me with his guitar, made me a cheesy candy card, and brought me a gift basket from Bath & Body Works. I was very flattered. After he left, my roommate said, "Oh, he loooooves you!" Then, unrelated to that, I promptly threw up.

I remember thinking the puke on my birthday was an omen, but the age 22 was actually fantastic! It was the age where Jordan and I had our Summer of Love, which was summer 2008 when we were both were obsessed with each other.
This picture was taken a few hours before our first kiss. :)

It was also the summer that I went to New York for the first time!

In the fall of being 22, I applied to graduate schools and had my first internship with the Provo School District. I also dressed up as Princess Peach.

In the winter of being 22, I went to Mexico with some of my family, flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first time, and became engaged to the cutest Oklahoman.

Yes, a very good age indeed! My heart grew a lot Grinch-style. I was able to fall in love and learn what I really needed in a partner. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our Little Two Year Old

Last Saturday, our little nugget turned two. He has also been quite the little pill for the last couple of days....hmmmm....correlation?
Aside from his frustrating, typical toddler behavior, we think he is just the most precious, incredible creation that we have ever seen. Here are some of his stats and updates.


Weight/Height: I don't know what it is yet, but he is a little on the small side. He mostly wears 18 months size clothing, with a few 12 months items thrown in, as well as a few 24 month/2T shirts that look a little baggy on him. He wears size 5 shoes. Oh, his shoes. What is cuter than tiny baby shoes?? Sadly, Jo's fat baby feet are turning into normal kid feet. The squishiness is all but gone, but I still am in the habit of squeezing them every chance I get. He weighs about 27 lbs. He is quite muscular and lost almost all baby chub. He is pretty totable, so he gets carried around pretty frequently.

Talking: Jo is extremely verbal. It's been so fun to hear him learn new words and try to piece together sentences. He still signs a few words, mainly "please" and "more", but that's about it. He likes to repeat what we say and he has a good memory. He knows too many words to list, but here are a few of my favorite phrases (in no particular order):

1. Murcan Fwag: American Flag
2. Habbit: "Have it" , usually said with determination.
3. "No Like it, ___": When Jo does not want to do/eat/hear something, he always says, "No like it" followed by the thing he doesn't like. For example, today when I told him I had to check his bum for poo, he said, "No like it, check bum!"
4. "You": what he calls himself. Adorable. Although, just this past week he has been trying to say his own name. It comes out as "Donna"
5. Je'us Cwist: Jesus Christ. He rarely calls his by only Jesus anymore; it's always Jesus Cwist.
6. "Pway toys!": No matter where Jo goes, when we ask him what he did, he always responds, "Pway toys!" Whether he is returning from a friend's house, a store, or church. Funny boy.
7. "Bwoken!": If anything is unsatisfactory, it is declared to be broken. This includes food, body parts, toys, clothes, etc.
Singing: Jo LOOOOOOVES songs and loves to sing. It makes my singing heart so happy. His favorite song to sing, as well as to listen to is "Let's Go Fly a Kite". He also loves to sing songs from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, "I Love to See the Temple", and more. He is like his father in the sense that he can pick up song lyrics very easily. If we are singing a song he doesn't know, he still tries hard to sing along.
8. "Ay are!": "There you are" or "There it is". He exclaims this when he finds something he is looking for. I absolutely love it.
9. "The end!": This is what he shouts as he slams the cover down on any book that I try to read when he wants my attention.

Toys: Jo's favorite toy is his beloved cabbage patch doll named Baby. In August of 2015, I was at my parents' house and found my old doll. I thought it would be cute to pass it on to Jo, but I had low expectations for his interest. But something clicked in his little brain that unlocked his paternal instincts, and he is madly in love with Baby. He has a stroller for it, he loves to put it in his highchair to feed it. He snuggles in bed with it every night. The poor doll is as dirty as can be, but it very loved. Every night, he has to fall asleep snuggling his baby and his "choo choo".

Other toys that Jo likes are cars and trucks. He has an abundance. There are always at least 2 matchbox cars in my diaper bag at any given time. He likes to "cook'n dinner" at his kitchen set. He loves balls of all variety. He has his own football that he carries around nonstop, but he has a budding interest in baseball. He likes to carry an old pool noodle that was cut in half and pretend its a baseball bat.

Activity: Aside from playing his variation of sports, he loves to "wun around". He is desperate to learn how to jump, but he just can't seem to get his feet off the ground. It's pretty hilarious. He is a bit of a klutz and falls, bangs his head, or runs into things regularly. Luckily, he is very tough and rarely cries from it. When I ask, "Honey, are you ok?" He always say, "K." and continues. on. He likes to dance a little, but not much. His dancing is usually just running back and forth.

He loves parks, and would live his life in a baby swing if I let him. He is getting better at climbing on jungle gyms and goes down the big slides effortlessly.

Affection: To my delight, Jo is very cuddly. He loves to run up to me and give tight, aggressive hugs where he clenches his teeth from hugging so hard. He also is still obsessed with my hair and uses it as his most trusted comforter. He mainly rubs the tip of it on his palm or his face. Sometimes I grow tired of having my hair constantly pulled (and occasional bitten), but I do think it is sweet to see him feel calm in my locks. He gives pretty halfhearted kisses most the time, which is just him saying "muh" without a pucker or anything.

Shows: His favorite show is still Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, though he went through a Winnie-the-Pooh streak for a while. He also likes to watch Sheriff Callie's Wild West occasionally, as well as Sesame Street. His favorite screen has become the phone screen. He knows how to navigate his way through Youtube to watch various firetruck clips and songs. I limit his phone and screen time, so when he DOES get the chance to play with my phone, he acts like a junkie getting his first fix in a while. Crazy kid.

Social Life: Jo is still a social butterfly and much prefers the company of anyone over being alone. He love playing with other children, though he does not love the concept of sharing...but then again, what 2 year old does? He loves babies, and when he sees one he clenches his teeth so hard that he almost shakes. He loves to crawl next to them, pet them, hug them, and kiss them. He cannot resist a baby...just so long as it doesn't touch his stuff. He does great at the gym daycare, as well as at church nursery.

Eating: Ugh. Eating has become my least favorite verb. Jo is an incredibly picky eater, and will abandon foods that he once loved at the drop of a hat. It's been a very frustrating phase (is it really a phase if it's been going on for 3/4 of his life?), but I try my best not to get too stressed over it. His favorite foods that I can always count on him eating are pineapple, pepperoni, ravioli, and "Special Guck", which is milk with a little bit of flavored coffee creamer in it. We call it his special drink that he can have if he eats some of his dinner.

Spiritual: We are very amazed at Jo's spirituality. Admittedly, we are not the most diligent parents when it comes to teaching the gospel, though we have been getting better. He really picks up on things quickly and becomes passionate about them. For example, ONE time, we showed him a picture of a temple and talked about Angel Moroni on top, and after that, he was all. about. temples. He wanted to see pictures of them, of the statue, and talk about them over and over. Same thing with Joseph Smith. He loves to pray and folds his arm and closes his eyes habitually without any coaxing. He loves to try to say prayers and sing along to hymns in church. Every morning, when Jordan asks, "What did you dream about, Buddy?" his reply is ALWAYS "Je'Us Cwist!" Having this sweet little spirit in our home has strengthened our faith, and we are grateful for the increase of spirituality he brings.

Other funny things: Jo always hides when he has to poop, he can count to 15 pretty effortlessly, knows most of his basic colors and shapes. He remembers names well. He loves water and wants so desperately to jump. His favorite hangout spot is his crib, as long as someone is in his room with him. In fact, he wants someone to be around all the time. He likes having mom close by.

We just love this little big guy!