The one that I tried to keep light but some heavy stuff snuck in (THE STRING PROJECT)

I'm gonna try to keep it light because this blog seems really heavy sometimes. But I'll keep it light for the first bit.

Life has been pretty nuts. I haven't been HOME home in ummmm a month. We spent the last week of June with my family in Utah, came home for a week-ish, went to Utah again for Joe's brother's wedding, came back to house sit for a while. I still make it home every day, to make sure the candles and paint and electronics aren't physically melting in this heat. But it's just not the same. That's ok though. We're coming to the end of the craziness here.

Life with the kid is pretty neat too. He's 6 months old. He crawls. He yells at me. He laughs a lot. He stands. He grows much too fast.

Life with the husband is wonderful as usual. He's 327 months old. He walks. He doesn't yell at me. He laughs a lot. He stands. He doesn't grow anymore physically because his growth plates have closed but he grows emotionally and mentally and spiritually.

Oh it's my birthday this week? So now when I tell people I'm 24, I won't be lying! (Note: I've only been saying I'm 24 for the last few weeks. I'm a rounder. I round. Makes life more spicy.) The spoils for my birthday have been spoiled already, with a sewing machine from my mother that I use to make dresses that make me look like a hospital patient (because I'm not great) and dozens of pillow cases. You can just let your mind imagine what I'd do with that many pillow cases. And the other spoil is yoga gear that my Joe needed me to pick out so I wouldn't raise eyebrows at him when he presented it to me.

I've been seriously kicking my butt with yoga and kicking yoga's butt with me. It's an every day thing. It makes me feel alive and wonderful. It gives me the connection I need. I'm ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE NOW where people are all "Oh I have this problem" and I'm all "OH YOGA FIXES THAT ASAP."

So I fill my days with yoga... having a kid that likes to yell means I'm interrupted a lot, and I read books to him and play with him until he's fine with me leaving him alone for another 5 minutes. So while normal people can do the routines I like in an hour, takes me about 3. I don't mind. I love it.

I fill my days with website testing, where I go on this website and they have me record myself saying "Oh uh yes this head bar is really uh... striking. And I like the... intuitiveness of the... intuition... buttons." But I make pretty good money doing it. I mean.... as much as a baby sitter would make. But I don't have to actually baby sit anyone besides the baby that lives in my house already! Score.

I miss teaching. Oh so much. I don't think a day goes by where I don't think of it. I feel blessed to have found my passion in life as fast as I did but it makes it hard to miss. What's that saying... "How lucky I am to have someone that makes missing them so hard..." Except replace those human words with like.... teaching word things.

That sentence there is a prime example of what makes me a fantastic educator!

And now for the deep stuff.

This week has been hard. I do a good job of keeping the hard stuff to myself. I think it's the lack of home-ness? Part of it is that my home is tidied and in tip-top-spark-joy fashion and being away from that for extended periods of time causes me to lose things and feel out of place. That doesn't make me boring. I think it's good for a person to have found a place of tranquility, and even better if that place is their own home. So it's fine for me to miss it. Do I love travel and visiting and such? Oh so much yes. But yeah, I miss my own home, and it brings challenges.

Also maybe it's the time of year? The extreme heat that drives me to clothes that aren't my comfort zone (sweaters and long pants for life... that doesn't make sense for a desert girl but then again I don't make sense, pretty much ever, so c'est la vie, which is pronounced Say - lah- vee- and not pronounced phonetically, which I learned recently.) Because this time last year was hard too. So here I am again.

But I've become much more disciplined. The hard times I just take rather than panicking over and worrying about. I know they come and I let them hit me and pass. I don't enjoy the hit but I let it pass.

Anyways what am I talking about.

Let me preface by saying that I appreciate my friends and family and well wishers so much. And when you say things like "You don't need to worry about that, you look great!" I really appreciate it. I know you mean it and I know it comes from your heart.

But I deal with body dysmorphia. That means essentially that whatever it is you see, I don't. Maybe my eyes are broken or something but I truly see someone different in the mirror.

Yoga has been a passion of mine because after my first month of doing it, I think I saw the real me for the first time since I can recall. That was wonderful. It didn't last forever, but I remember that. And things have been much better since doing yoga, in general.

And yet those hard times I talk about still come. And I don't let them totally consume me but they do hit me. And I look in the mirror and think about throwing out all of my clothes because who am I kidding, they don't fit, they make me look like a sausage in casing and blah blah blah.

Melece, my dearest friend, has gotten the brunt of my venting. I feel bad about it but I think it may be because she doesn't think it's the end of the world for me when I do come to her with my challenges. So she gave me homework last night.

"Take a roll of string, and think about how big you are in the place you think you are biggest. Take that roll and cut the string to the circumference of what you think the biggest part of you is. And then actually hold the string around you, to see what you really are."

Well, essentially that. Sorry if I slaughtered your words, Melece! I didn't go for the biggest part of me, but I went for where I was bothered at the moment.

It took me a while. To estimate what the circumference of "where I was bothered" was. (So many "w" words there.)

I wanted to be honest. In the moment I was struggling, but whenever I held out the string my mind kept saying "No, that's too big. Be honest. Be honest with how you feel right now. Don't be excessively mean right now, because you will know that you weren't being honest."

And yet I wondered what would happen if I estimated myself too small. I think that would be even worse. I think that would have ruined me. So I sat there for a good long while, holding up different lengths of the string until I came to something I thought was accurate.


And I held it around me.

And I took the ball of string and wrapped it around me once and cut the string to compare what I thought I was with what the reality was.

There was a marked difference.

And as Melece said "You will see that you tend to be mean to yourself."

I held the strings in my hand for a while, and stared at the difference, then wrapped them into loops and put them in my wallet as a reminder that I'm better than I think.

I stared at the strings though, for a good long while. And I thought about how I treat myself vs how I deserve to be treated. You always see those things that say "Find a man or friend or something like that who treats you how you deserve to be treated" and honestly that wasn't that hard. I live by the golden rule and people treat me with fairness and kindness, because usually I treat them the same. But I don't apply the same principle to myself. My body has done me so much good and I think of it in such low regard. That's not something I intentionally do. It's not something I can just fix with a flip of a switch. But those two strings helped more than I could have helped myself in that moment.

And then I thought about Melece, and THIS IS WHERE IT'S BOUT TO GET SAPPY Y'ALL but have I ever told you how I met Melece, or most of my dearest friends? It's because once upon a time I sent out letters once a week to some guy and I needed  a support group while I did that for some reason, so I joined one, and met my friends. Sometimes one of them would message me and we'd start talking and become soul sisters, and sometimes I got the guts to message them. But that's what happened and I was lead to people like that. People like Melece, who, in that exact moment of my life knew exactly what to do to help me.

I'm grateful for my family and husband who do that so often, who I met through just being born, or met through a blind date (hint: That one is about my husband)... but those random friends I met on the internet are something unusual, I think. And I'm so grateful for them. Call these things what you will... fate, karma, "the universe", or God (personally, I attribute it to my God), but these were friends I needed for various stages in my life and I believe they were put here for a reason.

So now this got WAY more deep than I intended but there you go. I guess I got bored and needed to write. So.... yes. Ok bye now!


How To Survive Your First Born

I used to blog like.... every day as a college student! Why was that?! I blogged about the most random stuff in the world, like the in-proportionate ratio of cookie dough to trays of cookies and scooters. I talked more about scooters than the people who make scooters.

And maybe I grew up and lost my sense of humor or maybe I grew up and started caring more what people thought of what I wrote. Oh the joys of childhood, when you knew nobody cared.

Well I want to blog more. I really do. Sometimes I toy with the idea of become blog-famous and then decide not to do that. It's all for you, readers, so that if you say you read TNW, you can be all hip in saying that, because you're literally the only one who does. Keeping my readers fresh and hip.

Today I'm here to talk to you about....

 ... Because if anything makes me an expert on this subject in its entirety, it's the fact that my first born is only 5 months old and I haven't been doing this for that long.

But maybe some of you out there have first borns that are like... a week old. So that makes me something of a bit more experienced. Hah. Who am I kidding. We're all winging it.


There are a few things I've learned.


There's got to be a few things I've learned....


OH! Like. Ok. So, you know how before I had a baby, I had dreams all the time of walking into our nursery and finding a baby there and realizing I already HAD a baby and I'd just forgotten about him, and he was suddenly very sick and hungry due to me forgetting about him? Well. I've learned that babies cry. If they want your help, they cry. So: Tip: If your baby cries: Figure out why and: Feed/change/play with said baby... and they usually stop crying.

Except for if they're colicky, then you're just out of luck, fellas, sorry about that. I hear like... gas drops help with that but I also heard something about the fourth trimester that NO ONE tells you about so it could be that too.

Something else I've learned. Hmmm... There will come a point when your baby will become very interested in your food. And up to this point, you or your husband may have enjoyed holding baby on your laps during meal time, and that's ok. And it's ok if you want to keep doing that too! But BE AWARE that those babies hands reach further than you expect, and you very well may end up with soup poured all over you. It happens.

Or you may leave your husband at the table at Zupas with your baby and your cup of soda so you can go wash your hands and when you come back, your soda is spilled all over the table and your husband shyly explains that he thought he had a strong enough grip on the cup to keep the kid from ripping it out of his hands, when he was sorely mistaken.

I guess that's pretty much it. In reality I could tell you things like "Get a convertible car seat and skip the baby bucket... baby wearing is funner and it's cheaper to skip the bucket!" or "Get a stroller and go for lots of walks" or "Buy bibs" or "Read lots of books" or "Make funny faces and teach your baby to blow raspberries because it will keep him entertained for life" but really...

Parenting is one of those conundrums. No matter how many advice blogs you read, no matter how many books you read, you're still going to end up with a baby. And it's going to be easier to take care of him/her than you though, in many ways... your instincts will likely kick in and you get to know that tiny human and pick up on their cues pretty quick. And then on the reverse side of it, no amount of book reading will ever prepare you for how little you will sleep or how tired your arms will get or how run down your molars will get as you grit your teeth trying to comfort the baby that is screaming in your ear and confused about the amount of hair you have as he tries to pull it ALL out...

So in reality. I guess just.... do your best. If it's any comfort, people have been doing that for millenia and almost all of humanity has turned out to be pretty normal. I mean... there's a few here and there that you'll notice *cough*2016presidentialelectionbringsoutthewildinpeople*cough* but could anyone have really done anything to stop that? It'll work out guys.


Things That I Do

What oh what have I been doing.


Tsk tsk tsk.

Well, I haven't been blogging, that's for sure.

Other than that, it's hard to say.

I guess it all started around 12 months ago, or so, when I found out I was pregnant. So, for the last 4ish months I've been raising a human. He's at that fun stage of being very very cute. He smiles and laughs and is ticklish and talks and blows raspberries and plays and is very very curious. I'm gradually getting busier and busier with him. Today we drew eyebrows on his face, played with red paint in a bag, and played with a tub of water and got very soaking wet. And then the normal like looking in the mirror (because the kid is VERY conceited) and reading books and stuff. You know. It's pretty great stuff.

Last weekend the mister (as in, B├ęcar) and I went up to the mountains. There's a beautiful place about 2 hours from our home. On the Mongollon Rim. You turn left at the visitor's center and drive down the road about 1.5 miles and there's a small parking lot with 5 stalls and you feel like you're on the top of the world. The rocks are placed so seemingly-intentionally and the world just drops off, almost beneath your feet. And you're on the top of the world. There's a paved path, and we thought it would be fun to go up and walk the path and have a picnic. It was in the high 90s when we left home, and the low 50s when we got there. We were dressed for the high 90s. And let me tell you... low 50s in AZ is like low 10s anywhere else. Never mind the wind that would blow you right off the tops of those perfectly placed rocks if you let them have the chance.

Needless to say, we didn't hike it. But we'd driven 2 hours up there and we had a picnic and we weren't about to give up and go home. So, on the hunt for a new small trail to walk/hike. The hunt lead us to a sign that said "Fish Hatchery, 5mi -->" When you see a sign like that and you have time to spare, you follow it. We ended up, essentially, in the middle of nowhere. A forest, in the desert. And a park, in the forest. With trees and grass and verandas and cabins. And a pool full of fish. A couple of sticks with fishing line, and what must have been crack-for-fish stuck to the hook, and before we knew it, we had two very expensive trout in our buckets. Joe managed to rip the jaw off one of the fish, thus the bucket full of blood. The baby was enthralled. A picnic in the woods and a splash in the river later and we were home. A year in the state already, and there is still much left to discover.

Other things I've been doing: yoga. If you know me, then you're sick of hearing me talk about it, so move along. Or read on, I mean, you're welcome to do so, I won't stop you. But I get all preachy about yoga and that's dull.

Mah BFF got me started doing yoga after I expressed a desire to be a hot mama jamma, yet, because of my "history" I was worried about starting a serious, strenuous work out routine and diet. Thus, daily yoga was born into my life. Every morning I wake up, change and feed the baby, and put him in his play gym while I stretch out a beautiful mat on the floor next to him so he can laugh at me while I do yoga. It doesn't insult me, his laughter, because he laughs at everything. He's got a weird sense of humor. I've been yoga-ing it up every day now for ehhhh almost a month. And it feels fantastic. My abdominal muscles magically vanished post baby (you'd think that the act of HAVING a baby would help you develop muscles but you are wrong there. Very wrong. It's ok. I was very wrong too). But slowly those abdominal muscles are creeping back. My posture is fixed. My headaches are fading. And I'm quite enjoying myself. Mornings no longer are the bane of my existence. It helps, since the young boy-child is a morning person himself, so I'm mimicking him now. The first few days I felt so much stress and frustration in my body just doing a simple downward dog. But now I'm enjoying all of it. The burn in my muscles and bones and skin. It feels less like the fire of death and more like the fire of living. I've found danger in the past in self awareness, but yoga is teaching me a new form of self awareness and it's leading more and more to self acceptance. I've been glad to find something that I like!

Well. Ok so that's all the things I do, lately... besides cooking and cleaning and walking and working and visiting and all those other things. Reading writing so on and so forth... watching. Yeah I watch Netflix. What of it. You know you do it too. It's all good. It's all love. Nothing but love for you all.

Peace -- <3


That Book About Cleaning Everyone Likes

Alright. Yeah. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna blog about that book.

That book that it seems every mom on the internet has read. Apparently I'm one of them now, I've joined the club.

I'm not ashamed!

I wish I joined sooner.

Let me tell you.... My story. *dim the lights*

It all started when I moved to Arizona. My mom had just read this book. I was talking to her about how I was wanting to get our house unpacked and in order, and she shared a few tips from this book from me.

Mainly.... throw away my stuff.

"But mom, I can't throw away my stuff. I have a lot of stuff I need!"
"Like what?"
"Well... my teaching things... Christmas decorations..."

And then I thought about it. In our house we have three huge walk in closets, a laundry closet, a pantry, and a hallway door closet. Were all of those things truly jam packed with teaching supplies and decorations? Short answer, no. True answer? No. So I started throwing away things based upon my mom's tip of throwing things away. She briefly told me about the "Spark Joy" method, which essentially boils down to... if you don't love something, why do you have it?

I rid myself of many clothes and many boxes of things I knew I would never use. The months passed and still my house was cluttered. I had my excuses. I was busy, I had a baby on the way, I was tired and pregnant, or my favorite "It's not that bad!" I'd justify the mess, I'd get it to livable and then live in it and do nothing about it.

Everything changed one day, a Sunday, when someone noted that their Sabbath day observance was hindered if their home was a mess. I reflected on my life and noticed that if my kitchen, in particular, was a mess, then I couldn't focus. My mind would wander back to that kitchen and stress over the mess I had to clean. So I got to work on getting the kitchen clean. But not always clean. It was a disaster Saturday night, and then 5 minutes before going to bed I would rip my hair out, pretty much, and polish the thing down, only to then return home from church that day and destroy the house once more.

I'm not a clean person, guys, I'm not. I just never really HAD to clean. My mom was a great cleaner. And I didn't have that many things in college, so I didn't end up in a mess.

But that there was the key, I didn't have that many things.

Two weeks ago, I decided to pick up that book. It had been sitting on my bookshelf since Christmas, my mom brought it to me. I picked it up and read it. I had been hit by an urge to clean, and I thought if the book had some tips on how to do it, might as well read it.

The next day, this all happened...

The picture on the left shows the clothes I threw away, the picture on the right, the clothes I kept. Before you get all panicked, I didn't throw them away in the trash. They're sitting in another room in bags, waiting for me to take them to be donated or sold. It's not a waste.

And now, my wardrobe is full of clothes I love. I tried that "spark joy" method. I thought it was nuts at first. But I notice days when I put on clothes just for the sake of needing to wear something, and I notice other days when I put on an outfit that I truly love, first time. The first day described, I find myself throwing outfit after outfit on the ground, trying to find something I actually like, before getting frustrated and giving up. And I haven't done that for a few days now, ever since doing this. Every item of clothing I wear is something I love. Every outfit I don gives me confidence. That is an amazing feeling. 

I still have a lot of cleaning to do, but I've gotten started on the rest of it. I stress... let me tell you my stress.

The first time I cut down a Christmas tree, Joe's family tied it to the top of their car, and Joe and I followed behind them. Joe said "Doesn't the tree look a little sad on top of the car?" and I was ravaged with guilt. That poor tree... cutting it down in its prime, taking it away from its family....

Simply put, in my mind, my things have feelings, and to discard of something, to me, was to tell that item that I didn't love it anymore.

But think about this now. All of my things were sitting in boxes and drawers, the most of which were never seeing the light of day, and the things that were being used were being thrown about with no true home. To give my things a NEW home, they could go to someone who would use them! Maybe not immediately, maybe they'd be sent to the thrift store a few times, but eventually they would find a permanent home. That's better than I could give them. A home where they would be out in the light of day, being valued. 

There were some things about this book that stressed me out. For example, she goes through the process of throwing away books. That is just... nearly blaspheme in my mind. You can't throw away books. You can't donate books. She mentions at one point, something along the lines of "Are you truly happy surrounded by books you've never read?" and in my case, the answer is yes. Yes I am. But the true brilliance of this book is that YOU are the standard of clean. When you start to discard, you throw things away until you are content. And for me, I noticed I had two copies of the full works of Oscar Wilde, and so I discarded one, and I was content. I am happy surrounded by books, and that is ok. Others may see my shelves lined with books and feel uncomfortable, but I do not. 

Now, there are some things I got rid of that were securely fastened to memories. Tiny golden snitches. Wrapping paper. Notes passed in high school. I held onto these things, sure that one day I would pull them out and the memory would flood me. And as I cleaned, the memory did flood me. I thanked the item for the memory it gave me, and I discarded it, while writing down the memory in a journal. Some day will come in which I would pull out those items and be unsure of why I kept them, and the memory would be gone. Writing the memory in a journal allows me to preserve the memory while keeping my space clear and open and fresh and clean. I anticipate those bookshelves full of books will soon be full of journals, and I will need to buy more shelves! But that only means that my dream of a Beauty and the Beast Library is close at hand!

And lastly. 

The part that I thought was the best. 

The author discusses why this is life changing. Let me share with you a quote. 

"The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don't."

I don't know how to explain how, but this book has helped me find peace with where I am at in life right now. It has helped me let go of things, forgive people, and embrace what is most important NOW. It feels great to walk through the store and not be filled with the impulse to buy everything. I brush an object with my finger tips and feel no joy in doing so. Why would I purchase something that does not add joy to my life? This has been particularly useful as we're saving to buy a house! Simplifying has freed my mind of stress, and filled my days with time.

As Marie Kondo boasts, tidying only has to be done once. You simply have to discard what you don't need (or decide what you do love) once, and then find a place for what you have. Now those Saturday nights are no longer full of stress as I frantically clean the kitchen. I'm not done tidying, quite yet, but my house sings of the difference already! The big tasks of cleaning wait for the weekend when Joe is home, and he can help me with the baby (while I've taken a liking to tidying, Isaak has not taken a liking to me not giving him constant doting attention...) but the small tasks each day take little to no time, and I find myself looking forward to them, to returning my items "home" and thanking them for their service. 

I've truly been blessed by this book. I believe even the cleanest person could benefit from reading this book. It's kinda a silly notion, a book on tidying... but truly. The author is very engaging. And the concept is quite fascinating. I give it all the thumbs up that I have. For just about any problem in your life.... struggling with a break up? This book. Unhappy at work? This book. The concepts in it can reach you wherever you stand, and lift you up!


Things that have made me a bad mom

I HAD ALL THESE PLANS. About what I was gonna do as a mom and what I definitely was NOT going to do as a mom.

And Joe laughs about them because he notices them now. He remembered them. He remembers that I'm giving up on all the plans right away. And *I* am the one with the killer memory, not Joe.

Like... first day of middle school I wore a yellow shirt and tan shorts and had my hair in two side braids and the principal told me my shorts were too short and she was wrong, because they weren't, but she didn't like me. And that's ok, because I didn't like her. That's my memory. Or I remember the exact day Joe and I saw Interstellar... it was Feb 13, 2015.

But Joe is remembering things even I don't remember now and it's giving me a run for my money.

So I was gonna be the perfect mom because to the outside world, my degree in school was "How to mom other people's kids" even though my degree was "How to make kids be brilliant, confident, world changing geniuses." But both of those should mean I'm an excellent mom.

Teaching elementary school is a lot different than momming.

I have read extensive books and research articles on everything under the sun, and if you try to tell me something that isn't true, I will come back at you with "Actually!" followed by a really annoying statistic. Just ask anyone in my family. I am a very fact and research driven person.

And then I put none of it into practice.

So it may have seemed that I would be just MOMMING UP THIS PLACE LIKE CRAZY. But nope. And if some of you wonderful women are feeling like you're not doing great, just look over here. I, who allegedly and self proclaimed-ly knew everything.... I am not perfect.

Because no one is.

And if anyone wants to feel better about themselves. Here are some examples that will make you feel better.

One time I was eating oatmeal and coke for breakfast. Because these days, every morning is an "I need a coke morning" and if that caffeine is getting to the youngling somehow, so be it. And the youngling was screaming and both of my hands were occupied with trying to eat as fast as I could, and I was sitting on our bed and he was laying next to me, so I pulled out a great contortionist trick and held his binky in his mouth with my toes. It was rough.

I was never going to bed share because it is dangerous and SIDS and dependency and bad habits and so on and so forth until one night I was so tired and he wouldn't sleep, so I sat him next to me, and curled up around him trying to get him to be quiet so he wouldn't wake daddy and my next memory was 3 hours later, when we both woke up. And now this happens a few days a week. Oops. Sorry, hospital, who told me to never ever. Sometimes you gotta.

I forgot to feed lil lion before going to the grocery store for 20 minutes, and he wasn't thrilled about that, and was very vocal about disagreeing with my choices, in the form of screaming loudly in my ear. And I just let it happen for the duration of the shopping trip because I was frazzled and had no idea what to do. And someone in the cereal aisle glared at me for treating my child in such a way.

I needed to do the dishes so badly, so I put Bug in his bassinet and closed the door and did the dishes while he cried. And I let him cry. And he will likely resent me for the rest of his life because of that but part of me needed a break for a few minutes and the other part of me needed the dishes done.

Along those same lines. I am a mom but I also keep the house, and in addition to that, my eyes reflexively twitch when the kitchen is messy. But lil Bug doesn't like to be alone. So I put on Gilmore Girls and turn up the volume and put it by his bassinet so he thinks someone is there. That's right. TV is watching my child. Unfortunately he is getting too smart for this so I will have to learn a new trick.

One Joe especially teases me about is this "routine" I definitely was going to have. Some routines are still set and solid, and I'm proud of those. But diaper changing. It was going to be a very strict routine. With the mat on his changing table in his room. He'd get used to diaper changes being in there, every time. And then the first night home.... yeah I wasn't going to get up in the middle of the night to go change his diaper in a different room. I dragged the mat into our room. BUT DURING THE DAY! The changing pad was in HIS room. That was where diaper changes happened! Er... during the day. And by the end of the first week, the changing pad was in our room. And it's been there ever since. I'm not dragging that thing all over. When Bug is old enough for his own room, then it will go back in his room. But today is not that day.

There's lots of other things. Like, feeding things... I've gone back and forth a billion times on a billion different feeding routines and options and methods. All in all, life is very different from what I planned it to be. And that is ok, because life is what is working. My son is just as strong willed as I am, and it's a lot harder to convince a baby to follow your plans than it is just to compromise. And that's what we do. A lot. As parents. We compromise.

Despite things being different than planned...

The youngling is healthy. He is happy. And he is loved.


Things I'm Figuring Out

.... Probably only to forget them later on.

It all started when I got my hair done. This was daunting. There were two things I wanted. Well.... one thing I really wanted. And that was to go back to my natural hair color. That's easy peasy. Especially considering my natural color has changed since the last time it was natural. It's a very very very dark brown now. Makes me look dramatic. I like being dramatic. I always wanted dark hair. Like in Anne of Green Gables when she dies her hair raven black but it turned out green? I sympathized. Dark hair always looks so sleek and beautiful and I wanted it. Anyways. That was easy.

The second thing I did want, don't get me wrong, but a lot of me wanting it was because Joe wanted it. And that was.... bangs. Cutting bangs again. I haven't had bangs since we got married 3 years ago! And now that I'm down to washing my hair once a week, I didn't know how it would go with bangs. I thought they'd get dirty or something, and be hard to maintain. But my lil sis got bangs recently, and she doesn't wash her hair all the time either, and she liked them, so I TOOK THE LEAP.

And I like it. I really do like it. But let me tell you what I'm figuring out.

I watch the Bachelor. And I'm on pinterest. And the internet in general. And these haircuts that everyone loves, and all the girls that are typically the "it" girls... they don't have bangs. They have this swept to the side look and when I got bangs it took a toll on me.

This is sounding all so materialistic and shallow.

But  it was a little hard at first, because this look made me look different. I didn't feel conventionally beautiful anymore. I felt "edgy" (because aren't bangs just super out there and weird? Jokes, my friends.) but I did feel different.

But what am I figuring out about this?

I had to grapple with this for a little bit. Because how I perceive myself is very important to me. I wish it weren't so, but I often struggle with my appearances, as much as any girl does, but maybe a bit more, and I see myself differently than most do, and when I see myself differently, I assume everyone sees me that way. So if I don't like what I see, then I only imagine that no one does, and I spiral downwards and end up in a pretty dark place.



What I am figuring out.

Not everyone has the same hair I do. Not everyone dresses the same way I do. But does that mean I'm not beautiful? Well, first off, beauty comes from the inside, and all that jazz-stuff-that-is-written-on-motivational-posters. But second. Just because I look a bit different, this doesn't mean it is bad. Maybe I don't have to look like other people. (Though I suppose I look like Carly Rae but that's not exactly a goal of mine). Maybe I can just look like me and have hair like this because I like having hair like this, and not because other people like having hair like this. I can just like it because it is me, maybe. So I'm trying that. And I do like it.

So there you go. The first thing I'm figuring out. I'm probably the only person who thought this much into bangs. It probably makes me seem ridiculous but there you go. You can call me shallow if you'd like.

The second thing I'm figuring out.

I live in AZ where we deal with reverse-Winter. I made that term up, but it essentially means that our Winter is great and our Summer is awful. We stay inside for the Summer and go outside for the Winter.

Now how does this match up with the rest of my life.

Scroll backwards in time in your brain to Summer 2014. That was uhhhhh about a year and a half ago. Joe and I were living in Provo, going up to the mountains and running, and it was so much fun. I loved it. But I would get burned out pretty quickly, and our running streak would last a few weeks and then be done. And I would blame my ankles or my heart or my lungs, and those were the reasons I couldn't go running.

Then came Fall, we didn't run, Winter, it was gross so of course we didn't, Spring, we were busy finishing our degrees and preparing to move, Summer we were here where you don't run, Fall and Winter I was super pregnant and wasn't going to run.... and now here we are. A year and a half later.

We bought a jogging stroller.

And we go running.

And this is what I have figured out with running. It is super easy. When you go out.... don't push yourself to the point of death in the first 3 minutes. Pace yourself. I feel like everyone in the world knew this except me, but maybe not. Start out comfortably, then push yourself until you are slightly outside your comfort zone, and keep at it until it becomes comfortable. And then run in comfort for a little bit before pushing yourself out again, into discomfort, but only slightly, and run until that becomes comfortable and stay there for a little while again.

This may mean you are running very slowly.

In fact, sometimes my starting run is slower than my brisk walk. Which doesn't make sense, but there you go.

And sometimes we start out and I'm feeling uncomfortable and Joe says "So we're just gonna take it easy today?" and I think "THIS IS NOT EASY FOR ME, BUB."

But maybe this is an analogy for life. 10 points if you can figure it out. And now the babe is crying for me, so goodbye until next time.


My First Baby

I lay awake, staring at the ceiling, and my mind wandered to my first born, my first baby... this blog. And I realized how much I had neglected it. It has been over a month since my last post. Posts are few and far between. And the thought crossed my mind....

What if I just quit?

I started this blog as a just for fun thing. And eventually it grew into a bigger thing, people read my posts, I dreamed of being famous. Then I realized how much work it took to become famous and I was content with not doing that. But I feel I've lost my sense of humor now, or something. I was filled with ideas to write before, and now I'm just not. The last few months, I thought it was because I wasn't working or going to school, so my life was boring. My life most certainly isn't boring now, with a 46 day old small growly lion child.

So what if I just never wrote again?

And I thought of those cheesy pictures on the internet with things like "There will come a day that you pick up your child, and then put them down, only to never pick them up again..." all melancholy and getting you to SEIZE THE DAY and I realized I don't ever want me quitting writing to be a conscious decision.

I always wrote.

I wrote a book in 4th grade about some ghosts. I don't even remember what it was called, there was a family of ghosts and the father was very smart and named Braindy. It was pretty much a cheap plagiarism of "Dial-A-Ghost" by Eva Ibbotson (hey, if anyone knows how to get me in touch with that author, let me know. She was my everything when I was little.) But my mom loved that cheap plagiarism. I wrote poetry. I wrote a poem for the 2002 Olympics.... "You can be a swimmer, when the water is tame. Watch the water glimmer; you can win the game. My metal will so shimmer; I will have the fame. Will the light grow dimmer? No! For I played the game." In 5th grade I was selected to be the head editor for the class publication and it was a great honor.

I loved writing. I don't know where that love for writing went. It's not really that I don't love writing anymore.... it's just.... what do I write about? What do I talk about? What is important enough for me to put to solid word? What is something others will read? Is it even important that others read it? If others don't read it, then what was the point? Why did I write it? See, if others don't read it, then it has to be something VERY important, I think, because I wrote it purely for myself, and these days I'm not in the habit of doing things strictly for myself.



An update on my second child, Small Lion or Youngling or Bug or whatever it is I want to call him for the day. The one who makes me laugh. He still makes me laugh. Yesterday was a hard day, he didn't nap at all and just wanted to be awake and making eye contact all day long. We were rushing to get him ready for church, because somehow we still end up rushing even with 1pm church. And Small Lion picked an inopportune time to throw up on his father. And it made me laugh. I'm so sorry, Joe.

Small Lion is small, he growls, he kicks a lot, he's got a pretty solid scream... but he doesn't do a WHOLE ton as far as people go, and even less as far as people-who-qualify-as-my-best-friends go, but still, somehow, having his tiny warm body in the house, next to me, fills me with comfort and company. And somehow we manage to have a lot of fun together, especially after discovering DubSmash.

I like him a lot, I guess. I like Joe a lot too. It's crazy how much love grows in your heart when you watch the man you love fall in love with a little person you created with  him. Parenthood has been.... indescribable.

That's all for now. Maybe y'all can remind me to write more often.


The Birth Story

Because this is apparently a rite of passage, and every blogger needs one.

I never thought I'd write a birth story, I didn't think the event would be one worth sharing or remembering... I mean, I think remembering the birth of your child is obviously important, but what more was there to it, besides "He was born and I felt like this..."

There's a lot more, apparently.

Let's start with 36 weeks. The Braxton Hicks contractions started getting much more intense and I was feeling pretty good about labor coming soon.

37 weeks came and I was all excited about it "most likely" being the last week I'd have to squish into my dresses for church. 1cm dilated.

38 weeks came and I was DONE. If he wanted to be here in time for Christmas, he was making a pretty late show of it. I was getting contractions that would keep me up for about 3 hours every night, but they'd fade during the day. Still just 1 cm dilated. Frustrated me that the contractions to me didn't seem like they were doing anything.

39 weeks and things just seemed impossible. I was definitely going to be pregnant forever. December 30th though. December 30th Joe and I went to bed and I put on Iron Chef to watch as I fell asleep. After 4 episodes, I realized I wasn't gonna fall asleep any time soon, and I realized the contractions hurt, and I realized they were 5 minutes apart and getting closer. Adrenaline kicked in and then sleep was impossible. I told Joe, and the two of us mustered up enough excitement to keep ourselves awake all night long, certain that baby boy was on his way. At about 3am, we packed our bags and drove to the hospital, where we stayed for an hour, and then were sent packing, STILL ONLY 1CM DILATED. And I felt like a failure. I felt like I didn't know my body. I cried the whole way home. We got home at 5, and slept until 11, and I woke up angry and certain I would be pregnant for forever.

After 40 weeks my doctor set an induction date for January 7th at 3:30pm when I was at a 1.5cm dilated at best. I resigned myself to this but I was so disappointed. It was the DAY before my mom would fly home. And getting induced at 3:30 doesn't mean you have a baby at 3:30. I didn't think she'd be there. I spent a couple hours crying in the bathroom feeling like a failure again. The last week of pregnancy involved a lot of self blame and feelings of letting people down.

So that appointment was January 5th at 8:30 and contractions started right then, every few hours, but very intense. I got to sleep that night and woke up at 3:30am feeling even worse. I was told to wait to go to the hospital until I couldn't walk through contractions, so I decided to try and walk them off, and I effectively couldn't. But they were about 10 minutes apart, and that didn't seem good. I did eventually get to sleep again, and woke up to the contractions back to 30 minutes apart, but getting closer, and more intense. I still couldn't walk through them. I called up my mom and told her what was going on by the time they were about 15-20 minutes apart, and she came over to keep me company while I played Just Dance for a while and waited for my doctor to call me back and tell me what to do.

When you go to the hospital only to get sent home, you're hesitant to go again.

The doctor called back and told me to head to the hospital if only to get monitored to make sure baby was handling the contractions well. I called Joe, and he headed back from work, and my mom and I met him at the hospital.

Monitoring went on for an hour, and they came back to tell me that YES my contractions were intense (thank you!) but I was dilated to just a 1cm STILL and that the contractions weren't close enough together to progress me. So if they got to be 2-3 minutes apart, then I could go in. But until then....

And it didn't help that the woman in the room next to us was screaming. I can't compete with that.

We all headed home a big bundle of annoyed and frustrated, probably most of all me... and on the ride home the contractions bumped from 10 minutes apart up to 4 minutes apart. Joe and I did some passive aggressive angry laughing awkward kind of thing like "OH LET'S JUST GO TO THE HOSPITAL AGAIN NOW! And come home! We can do this TWENTY FOUR HOURS, RIGHT?! Until the SCHEDULED INDUCTION TIME?! AHHHHHH."

Joe worked from home the rest of the afternoon while my mom and I got pedicures and made lots of jokes to the Asian man working on my feet that if he put me into labor, we'd tip him well.

Came home, did some Just Dance, contractions got to be 3 minutes apart, I still wasn't buying it... And Joe needed a new drivers license so my mom and I dropped him off at the DMV while we walked around some stores. Where the contractions started coming 1-2 minutes apart, stopping me in my tracks.

We picked up Joe and headed back to the hospital.

I got to triage at 6, where we were met with shouts of "You're back!" and they were met with our (mostly my) dirty glares. When you're having 1-2 minute contractions, you don't have time for silliness.

And I was dilated to a grand total of.


1 centimeters. An entire. One. Centimeters. I gave up. I cried. I couldn't do it, I was so frustrated. They watched contractions for an hour, agreed that they were intense, and put me on a morphine drip to try and relax me and hopefully get me to dilate. An hour later and!

1cm dilated. But I was in pain at this point, and was vocal about it. Remember that hollering lady? I thought maybe if I hollered, they'd hear me. But really I was in pain enough to yell, so I did. The morphine did nothing for me.

The nurse came back and told me she talked to the doctor and.

The words I'd been waiting to hear.

"We're admitting you."

Me and my party of three headed to our labor room where they put me on pitocin for about an hour or two, and I labored drug free. I was pretty confident in my pain tolerance ability, boasting of broken bones and feeling fine and blah blah blah.... And at midnight I snapped. I couldn't do it anymore. My face was rubbed raw from burying it in a pillow to scream, and I hated everything. I called for the epidural.

At this point I was 2.5 cm dilated!

And they put me on the epidural, and took of the pitocin because the contractions were coming often and strong.

At 1am I was at a 4. After 5 weeks of being told I was 1cm, it was a miracle to hear 4. And let me tell you about this epidural. Pure heaven. The epidural wore off again at 9am or so, and when they re-dosed me,.... let me tell you. That relief is just OTHER WORLDLY.

Ok, I was at a 4, they gave me a few hours to let my water break on its own, saying that when they broke, I'd move really fast. But after a few hours, there was still very little progress, and they called in the doctor at 7am to break my water. That was a weird experience. When pregnant, you have this idea of what your water breaking would feel like. But remember the epidural? I didn't feel anything. The doctor got up to leave and told me I'd progress more quickly now and I said "Wait, what? You broke my water already?" Turns out yes. Zero feeling.

I don't really remember the next few hours. I was trying my best to sleep as much as possible. My husband and mom had the fun experience of not sleeping at all.

Let me talk to you about them. I couldn't have done it without either of them there. Their support and encouragement and distraction was what got me through the hard parts (i.e. epidural not working, or getting sent home the first time, and the general discomfort of it all....)

At noon, the nurse checked me again and I was fully effaced and dilated. Baby was still sitting up very high, though, and she told me she was going to let me labor down for a little while so I wouldn't exhaust myself pushing. She said I still would have a ways to go, and left.

20 minutes passed and I was in so much discomfort. I was feeling a lot of pressure, and at some points feeling like I was having to hold something in. I kept having this horrible nightmare of the baby coming when the nurses and doctors were out of the room. Joe kept telling me to call the nurse back in but it hadn't been that long since she told me the baby was so high and I had a while to go, it had only been about 10 minutes. And I was full of experience of being told I was 1cm dilated for weeks on end that I was sure I would always progress slower than I thought I was. So no, I didn't call in the nurse.

It had been 20 minutes since last being checked and, the other nurse came in, told me that she had sent the first nurse off to lunch, and she was going to check me, which she did. She said if I had made any progress, they'd let me start pushing. And she checked and shouted "YEP. The baby's head is RIGHT THERE. Ok!" He was so low she couldn't get the catheter out and had to do some tricky maneuvering to figure out how to get it out, and eventually it did come out thank goodness. The other nurse came back into the room and they helped me get all situated while my doctor drove over.

Ok but actually it wasn't my doctor, he was in with patients, so Doctor Kale, a doctor I'd met with a few times during my pregnancy came to my aid. It took her about 15 minutes to come over, and the nurses helped me push during that time.

And then the next little bit is a blur. But at noon, I was told to labor down, 20 minutes later I was ready, 10 minutes after that I was pushing, and 30 minutes after that he was born. A really chaotic rush and blur of one hour.

Baby boy was born at 1:01pm, sunny side up with one hand by his face. 7lbs and 15oz. I was told he would weigh around 6lbs, with 7lbs being the maximum, so we were really surprised by his size. He's 20.5 inches long.

And true to his name, he continues to bring laughter into my life. Laughing is hard when your ab muscles are numb and you can't feel them. Laughing is hard when you're very sore. Laughing has been hard for me, but he's been making me laugh. Like when he startles when we rustle paper near him. Or when he spit up all over his homecoming outfit. Or when he still hadn't peed after 24 hrs and we were starting to get worried and when Joe changed his diaper, he peed all over Joe. Maybe I wouldn't have been laughing if it was me, but maybe I would have still.

I love this little boy. It is surreal to have him here and to see his face and to feel him move outside of me. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed at times but the overall feeling is just happiness and love, love for him, love for my husband, and the feeling of love coming from angle around me as my friends and family shared their support from around the world. Thank you to all who supported me through this pregnancy. It has been quite the adventure, and I'm excited for the adventure to follow.


Pregnant Lara and the Unexpected

See how it sounds like a Harry Potter book? Only slightly? Because it follows the same format? Does that make me cool? Guys?

Lately I've been reflecting on what I expected pregnancy to be. I read a lot. I read a lot. That sentence is typed twice, but pronounced two different ways. It's important that you understand that. Read. Read. Two different words in those sentences. One is past tense. And that is the first one. It's important that you understand that.

Back to where we were.

I read a lot. I read a lot. This makes me feel confident, and makes me a really annoying patient since most of what the doctor is saying, I've heard somewhere, and I'll interrupt and add things to his sentences. Or maybe this means we're soulmates, the doctor/patient kind of soulmate. You decide. I'll let you decide. I like reading, because reading gives me knowledge, and "Knowledge is Power!" So I spend a lot of time on research based websites reading lengthy studies. I'm grateful for my stats class that has given me the information I need to dissect studies. (Y) <-- Thumbs up sign that won't show up on blogger. (Y)

So I consider myself more informed than the average pregnant woman. This made itself manifest when my doctor was trying to figure out my due date and I pulled out my phone, equipped with three apps that had charts on them, depicting the exact date of conception. How many normal people know THAT?

There's been a lot of things I expected to come with pregnancy. And many of those things did come! But in unexpected ways. So lemme break it down for you. Drop a beat for me, DJ.

Expected: You will be hungry all the time!
Reality: I'm not hungry ALL the time, but I am a lot more hungry than normal. This hunger typically strikes at 3am, when I'm too tired to get out of bed. So I lay there and whine a little bit, and the whining puts me back to sleep. Hey, that's a good thing, right? If I can sleep through the sound of whining? Maybe that will come in handy?

Expected: You're eating for two!
Reality: Sure, inside my body are double the major organs right now (cool Time Lord reference here) BUT my exterior is more or less the same size as it's always been. Besides the frontward growing that's happening. But it's not quite enough, see, I'm trying to fit a squirmy human into that space, and that space is where my tummy used to be. My tummy was evicted and sought residence in the "Rib Cage" region, but my lungs are hostile neighbors to my stomach. My stomach, being the timid organ that it is, sacrificed his (why is my stomach male?) flexibility and space to make room for a human, it was the only organ that seemed to be willing to do that. So maybe I'm eating for two humans, maybe I should be, but I'm doing it with the stomach of a early-spring squirrel. I've got a teaspoon amount of space. I'm hungry, I want to eat the things, but I have to carefully choose what I get to eat because, again, teaspoon amount of space. The extra fun bit of this is that my stomach uses up that food just as fast as it did before, though. So I quickly get hungry again, after dinner is cleaned up and put away and the dishes are washed.

Expected: Say goodbye to your toes!
Reality: This boy of mine carried pretty stretched out, with my bump being equally distributed through the majority of my torso for quite some time. Until last week when baby boy changed position very suddenly and my bump got all put into one place. Reality? I didn't get to say goodbye to my toes. They were taken from me all too soon.

Expected: Cravings will be INSANE.
Reality: Along with this, I thought I'd have them all the time. The truth is, I've had them four times. Twice for root beer, once for salad, and once for straight up grenadine, much to the disgust of my husband. He hid his eyes as I drank a couple sips of grenadine from the bottle.

Expected: Oh that pregnancy GLOW!
Reality: I feel like an elephant and blush red enough to look like a tomato when people tell me things like "You know what they say, you're your most beautiful when you're pregnant! You're radiant, Lara!" What am I supposed to do with that? "Thanks for saying that! I've never felt so weird about my looks in my life, so it's great that you think this is my peak. No where to go from here but down; that makes me feel REAL good."

Expected: You'll bond with the baby before he's here.
Reality: Ok, for me this has been an understatement. I had to end this blog on a positive note. I feel I know this boy already. He has a strong personality. He has likes and dislikes. He loves the sound of my voice. And when I've cried during this pregnancy, his movement becomes so calm and tender as if he's trying to comfort me. I've never met him but I know I'd move mountains for this boy, I'd stop trains for him and cross seas for him. The bond keeps me going through the fear and uncertainty and stress and anxiety and every unpleasant symptom and every sleepless night. I can't wait to meet my son.


Give Me A Break!


It's been a busy bit here. I knew this would happen. I'm glad this has happened! A baby being born just after the holidays means LOTS OF STUFF TO DO before he comes. Like have the holidays. Prepare for the holidays. Lots of visits and trips. And of course everything that goes into getting ready for baby.

So here's a quick update on my times.

I'd been feeling a lot of stress/depression/anxiety over baby. I was ashamed of that, because half my brain was saying calmly "It's ok, this is a big transition, it's ok to feel this way." while the other part of my brain was shouting "NO SHUSH UP! EVERYTHING IS BAD FOREVER!" As hard as it was for me to go through it all, I can't imagine what it was like for Joseph to watch his normally very happy/reasonable wife cry into a pillow for several days on end. He did everything perfect though, I'm glad to have a support like him.

Through that, my dad thought it would be a good idea to come give me a visit and keep me company for a while. And that was the best idea ever. I had an amazing week with my daddy! I love my dad so much and it has been so long since we've had one-on-one time. I was so grateful he took time from his schedule just to see me! We drove some cars for fun, discovered new neighborhoods and areas and parks, found a diamond of a mountain park in Phoenix. The week came and went too fast, and I'm excited to see my family again in a few weeks for Christmas!

Next up, Joseph and I flew to Colorado for my last week of travel. Doctor won't let me go anywhere anymore! We brought beautiful sunny weather with us to Colorado for the first few days! We went to a football game, rode a train up to Pike's Peak, saw some great views and walked around in a cloud, saw The Martian, had "Mexican Thanksgiving" to test out food for my sister-in-law's wedding coming up soon, and had a wonderful time just visiting family! Thank you so much Becar family for your incredible hospitality! We're sure excited to see you next time when our little boy is here!

And now to the second part of this post. One of those "writing-down-thoughts-and-experiences-for-my-own-safe-keeping" things. I'm home a lot. I find myself with a lot of free time. And I spend most of that free time on facebook, reading the same things over and over, watching meaningless videos, listening to the problems of others. And before I knew it, my life became so wrapped up in the lives of others that I was losing track of myself in the process. It's a little pathetic how much time I spent with Joe, talking about things like "Oh em gee, you wouldn't believe what so-and-so said today" and such as and. They were things that weren't important anymore.

And for the first time, I took a facebook break. I've taken a break where I can't even check it because I'm camping or out of town, but being off facebook is a side effect of those things, not an intentional action. This time I wanted to test myself.

And surprise, I really didn't miss it. I deleted it from my phone, knowing I wouldn't be near my laptop at all that weekend, and it was fine. There was a time where I was waiting for a class to start that I thought "Huh, I'm bored, what should I do right now?" and I pulled out my phone to check facebook, only to realize I had to do something else to fill my time.

It's been two weeks now and I think I'll go back to it maybe after the weekend. But it's not something I'm counting down the days to. And I don't think I'll become so absorbed in it.

This isn't to say I loath social media. I do like it. I like how I can follow the lives of my family and friends who live far away. I like how it can allow me to share in the joys and pains of others. But I don't like how it had become reflexive for me to check it, I don't like how a website was taking priority in my life over things that are really important. This break has given me a chance to reground myself and refocus my priorities, especially at a time in my life when my priorities will be changing a lot in the next few weeks!

So anyways.


It's ok to take a break sometimes.