Sunday, December 11, 2022

January Family Box

 I'm getting ridiculously excited about this one and figured I'd share what I've got with you in case you have any desire to do it also! As I explained in the big grand post, January is supposed to be about cleaning, organizing, and menu planning. The way things have gone down, I've narrowed it down to mostly menu planning with just a couple other things thrown in there about the others (I purchased an ADHD cleaning book, so.... :) )
Ok, so for the menu planning part, I have a giant binder- like the 3" kind and pockets for each month. I'm just going to fill it with regular binder paper because I'll need to be able to tear pages out for when I go shopping. I designed some basic menu pages (you can buy other people's versions on etsy! Like this: 

Anyway, we want this to be fun and family friendly, so I made up a few games. Some I mentioned in the other blog post, some that we've just added tonight. But in case you want them, too...

Game 1. Dart Board. There are 3 Dart Boards per round. One is PROTEIN. One is VEGETABLES. One is STARCHES/BASES. I was a little creative in the last one, including things like waffles, chow mein noodles, and crackers (along with regular stuff like rice, tortillas, etc). We'll throw a dart at each one and it's then the responsibility of whoever's turn it is to make a meal out of it. It's going to be great fun. We may get some strange creations, but who knows, maybe we'll discover the next favorite.

Game 2. Favorite Characters. I'll post this one here so you can use it if you want. Have each person pick their favorite character from their favorite book. Then use this chart to decide the menu item.

Game 3. Pinterest Dice Game. You'll need a screen with Pinterest on it and a set of D&D Dice, like my children are obsessed with.

Player 1 Rolls a 6 sided dice.

Player 1 then counts to whatever number was landed on.

While Player 1 counts, Player 2 scrolls through pinterest. When Player 1 stops counting, Player 2 must stop scrolling and leave the screen as is.

Player 2 then rolls the 10 sided dice. Whichever number is landed on, that row is chosen (unless #10 is rolled, at which point Player 1 gets to pick the row).

Player 1 then rolls the 4 sided dice. Whichever number is landed on, count down from the top of the screen to that many numbers. The number chosen is the menu item. If the number rolled is higher than the amount of options in the row, Player 2 gets to choose the item in the row.

Click the link- if it's good, that's the menu item. If the link is no good, start over from the place where the screen was last left.

Game 4. Phone a Friend

I'm still working on this one as far as visuals, but I've grabbed an incomplete deck of cards from my box and on each one will attach the name and phone number of a friend we know that also cooks dinner. You pick that card, you get to call (or text) the person and ask for the recipe of what they are eating that night. We may have a bonus friend where each person with texting capabilities sends out a mass text and whichever person answers with a recipe first wins that time slot (and recipes that come trickling in later will be used elsewhere on the menu)

Game 5. Restaurant Menu

This will just be a menu. Of the our favorite dishes at our favorite restaurants. The at-home version, you know?

Game 6. Appliance Roulette

Ok, I'm not actually calling it that because I don't have a roulette wheel, lol. I'll just make a spinner with our different appliances (let's be honest, I'm just dying to use the fancy cookwear husband won at his Christmas party). Spin it and find a meal using that thing. At our house, this will include toaster oven, instant pot, steamer basket, Ninja blender, waffle iron, stove, oven, and microwave.

Game 7. Family Cookbook: Guess Who

This one will feature family recipes. Still working on the details of how it will go. Perhaps like a Guess Who board. It'll be fun and I'm sure it'll come the rest of the way to me in the middle of the night.

Game 8: The Usual Suspects

Think Clue or something similar. The things we eat all the time, but with suggestions to mix things up a bit. Like instead of just Mac and Cheese, you could choose the option to add ground beef, taco seasoning, and some salsa for Taco Mac. Or instead of just Hot Dogs, maybe this time is Pigs in a Blanket. Boom, baby.

I hope some of you enjoy!!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Family Boxes for Christmas

 The original plan this year was to get everyone subscription boxes, but DANG! That adds up fast. So I had a better idea- Family Boxes. Not that I'm subscribing to, but that we will each open on the 1st of the month. The idea is that you'll have everything you need that month to do the thing. LOL. I've decided to post about these ideas for you and your family if you're interested in doing something like this, too. On Christmas, they'd get a little sample of what each box's theme was, but not the full surprise.

We started with a list of a TON of theme ideas, then budget required that I simplify. In this post, I'll try to give ideas of as cheap as cheap can get to what I wish were going in the boxes, k? It's up to you to make them your own. I'll also include the discarded subjects at the end in case you need to further customize for your family.

To give you an idea, I have 6 kids, 5 of them living at home (one is off doing amazing things by serving in the Navy). The kids at home range from 17 years old down to 4, so I tried to have stuff we could all appreciate. Here we go:

January: Goals/Organizing/Cleaning

This box will include questionnaires to se what the kids goals are for the year. I'm hoping to have a little bucket for each kid to gather their stuff around the house in. If money permitted, I'd have what I call "cleaning toys"- like these (I get nothing if you buy these, I'm not cool enough to be linked with that):


What I will include, however, is a Menu Making Game. I know, it sounds lame. But here's the thing. Menu's are legit the hardest thing for my family. We've tried emeals. We've tried buying everything and sorting them for the week. We've tried all kinds of things. But most of my family members have ADHD, so nothing seems to stick for more than a week. Will this? Who knows. But the idea is that we're going to create a whole year's worth of menu. We'll leave room for the days when plans change and we'll work with our busy schedules. Games will include things like, "Pin the protein on the donkey" where each kid gets a tail with a different protein on it and whoever gets it closest to the right spot gets to pick a dish with their protein. We'll have a dart game where one dart board is all proteins. One is country of origin. One is vegetable. One is starch. Person A gets to throw one dart at each board. Whichever label is in that circle must be combined with the others to create a dish Like this:

Another game is "Favorite Character Generator" and I'll even add that game here if I remember. Pretty much, it's a spoof on those shower game and facebook data mining games where you take the first letter of your first name and the second letter of your last name and the last 4 digits of your social security number and create your unicorn name. Except mine will not be a breach of security. And I can't use our actual names because all of our last names are the same. So I'm going to do a list of 26 veggies and fruits. A list of 26 starches (it's finally your turn quinoa) and then 26 something else. The kids will pick their favorite character from any genre of anything and we'll do something with one of the letters in their first name, their last name, and where they are from.
We'll also play a "phone a friend" type game where they have to rely on OTHER people's recipes. And a heritage version where we make something an ancestor would make.
I have a Pinterest game in the works with scrolling through pinterest and rolling D&D dice, but I legit haven't thought more about it than that.
What I do know is that in this box will be a 3 ring binder, printed out monthly and weekly menus, binder paper (so we can write lists and not feel guilty tearing them out), and page protectors to put our recipes in. I'm weirdly excited about this. Hopefully my kids don't make too big of a stink about it.
Truth be told that if money were no issue, I'd just hire a chef. And a housekeeper. And I'd organize my whole house with a professional organizer. Notice I didn't say reorganize because...... that would infer that it had once been organized.

Clearly I don't know how to use blogger enough to make everything go back to the left side lining up. Oh well.

February: Love and Service
Last year, most of the kids and I had an opportunity to volunteer at A Child's Hope International. We all loved it, so we're going to do it again. I wish we could do stuff like this more often as we are very blessed to have what we need.
I'm also planning on including stuff to make old fashioned valentine's and a calendar of ideas of services siblings can do for each other. Maybe I'll have a bribe in there for if they do a certain number. I'm still working on that one. I just really want my kids to show love to each other and the world as best as they can.

March: Escape Room
I have zero details on this. Whether I'll be able to afford to buy one or I'll be putting Vaughn (my 14 year old) in charge and letting him do it or whether I'll find one for us to go to..... all unknown.

April: Rainy Day Indoor Fun
You know all those books out there where they have things like, "1001 screen free activities" and you buy the book and then don't turn the TV off long enough to read any of the book? Yeah, that's the idea here- skip the book part, turn off the tube, and have activities thought out for you already. Fun activities. This box will include masking tape (LOTS of it) and empty toilet paper tubes and PVC Pipe parts and marbles and cars..... Two big projects I'm thinking are a marble run. We have lots of wall space! The older kids can help as much as the little ones. We can tape a bunch of stuff to the walls and see where the marbles go.
Also, the mega track. Using the masking tape again, the older kids can help the younger ones have tracks all over the main level of the house. They can have a ramp on some of the stairs and together they can use the various Lego, Duplo, and whatever the other weird block things we've got to build cities and towns throughout the level. I hope they let me play, too.
I'd also like to include a fort building kit. I've made a few of these before, but I'll send you OVER HERE TO LEARN HOW.
This box might end up being the biggest, depending on how our budget ends up.

May: Time to Go Outside
This is kind of part 2 of the "screen free activities" book you never read, but with a definite change of setting. We are blessed enough to live on property with a forest out back, so Pinterest has given me some pretty cool ideas of activities we can do there. This box will have those activities spelled out for the kids a bit. I'm also hoping to include things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and that kind of stuff. If budget allows, then possibly a car cleaning/detailing kit. That would be cool.

June: Camping
Remember how I told you most of us have ADHD? Well, one thing that we ADHDers struggle with is time management. So even though our family HAS a bunch of camping equipment. And even though we SAY we want to go camping, if nobody sets a date or a reason..... it just doesn't happen. So we are SETTING that date and reason. Specific to our family, we are going to go to Natural Bridges State Park and camp with some friends who live a couple of hours from there.  The box will include some fun stuff, though- recipes for what we're going to eat, stuff for Smores, camping games to play (I'll probably end up making my own version of this:

July: Trip or Patriotic

That might sound confusing, but this July will be our 20 year anniversary. Again, if budget were no option, we'd fly with the kids to Salt Lake, leave them with my parents, then Roger and I would fly to Groton, CT to see our Navy kid and explore Boston and do all the history geek stuff I dream of (I even started another History Geek podcast, but then had to get a job, so there went that). But considering Navy Kid just paid over $1,000 for one plane ticket at Christmas.... I'm going to just kind of assume that won't be happening. I'm going to dream a little for a second and tell you what I WOULD put in this box if that were to happen.
If this were a trip box, then we'd make sure everyone had luggage, stuff to do on the plane (or in the car), and questions to ask Gma and Gpa. There'd be travel sized all the things and a version of their ticket that it wouldn't matter if they lost.
BUT..... It'll probably be a patriotic box with stuff to do for the 4th of July and maybe some Hamilton stuff.

August: Back to School
Ideally, this box will have their school supply lists already to go, new lunchboxes, and a gift card for clothes and shoes.
In reality, I'll print out those cute "first day of school" photo props and have some washable, reusable, personalized sandwich and snack sized bags, plus plans to have a fun Back to School Party (just family, I don't have the time or energy to invite people right now). Plus, invitations for Back to School Father's blessings.

September: Retro Family History
This is the one I'm pretty excited about. I really want my kids to be excited about Family History. I already love it (though maybe not the way that's helpful to anyone) but especially so since realizing we're descendants of Israel Putnam. And Abner Stocking was one of my relatives- and it's because of him we know as much as we do about Benedict Arnold and the Quebec campaign. Anyway, I want my kids to get excited, so I've been gathering games we can play, questionnaires for their own personal history, plus questions to ask living relatives.
But the best part- is that we want to have a Retro Party. Did you know that to be considered "vintage" a thing has to be 20 years old. I left vintage a while ago. SO- Roger and I thought it would be way fun to have a dinner/party (again, prolly just our family, but who knows how we're feeling at that point) featuring the 90s and early 2000s. Ideally, this box would include Tomagachi pets, skip-its, micro machines, TMNT, original Ninetento and Sega games...... all the good stuff from when we were kids. We fully plan on including Bonne Belle Lip Smackers,  Bubble Jug, Gushers, and Clearly Canadian. It's gonna be rad.

October: Fairs and Festivals
Honestly, this is the one I'm most nervous about. We don't really go out and do the things. We should. We want to. It's just hard when you know the kids are going to ask for this and that and especially Oct-Dec, there seems to never be any extra. Like, ever. So, in an ideal world, where money were no issue, there would be a few gift cards in here for like $100 that we could use going to like, the Wool Festival. We could use that for treats and horse rides and all the other fun stuff fairs have to offer. In reality, it'll probably be a list of free events in our area next October and we'll find a way to get some apples or pumpkins at some of them. And who knows, maybe me having a full time job will actually have next year look different than it always has before. I just kind of have a hard time hoping that when it seems that no matter what we do, nothing really makes a difference in the finance department. Sorry. I don't mean to whine. But let's be honest, like 2 people will read this far, so, sorry you 2.

November: Movie and Game Nights
It's time to freshen the game box, see what new version of Monopoly Deal is out that year, and stock up on candy that doesn't have red40. We'll pull out the popcorn recipes and spend some time cozying up together. If you were wanting to go big, this would be a good way to get your family a big ol popcorn machine- or this, which I have and LOVE, btw. I don't think it's that specific brand, but whatevs. It's awesome.

If your'e into cozy socks or individual blankets, 5 Below has fun blankets!

December: Advent Calendar
Maybe this one's selfish. LOL. But I have had my eye on this specific advent calendar for like 3 years now. I'm hoping this year, just after Christmas, to be able to get it for next year. Otherwise, we'll do an envelope advent or something we can make for free.
(They actually have several versions I love, but dreaming)

I told you I'd include other themes here that you could go with if it was more your family's speed:
Baking Day
County/State Fair
Put on A Play
12 Days of Christmas for another family
Clean Car
Neighborhood Block Party
Art Night

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Introducing Lorelai

Alright. I don't know how ready I am to write this, but it needs to be done. I don't know why, but this birth story seems more vulnerable and humbling than all the others. Probably because I went in a cocky know-it-all and then nothing went the way I thought it was going to. Ready for this ride? Here we go.

The day started out with excitement of course. The boys were with my parents, so in the house we had me, Roger, the girls, my doula Kristy ( , the doula she was training (Bailey), 4 midwives (, and a few of my friends (Susie, Ruby, and Kellie). The plan was this- Everyone arrives at 8:00AM. We break my water at 8:30 AM. I have contractions in the birthing pool until about 10:00. Then it's time to get out and push a baby out. Done by 10:30. Cleaned up and everyone gone home by noon. 

Heavenly Father, though, had very different plans for the day. I'd gotten several blessings throughout the previous weeks. They had promised me the birth I wanted. They had promised me that she would be born healthy. They promised me that I would have the strength to deliver this baby safely at home. All those things happened. I just didn't know that the birth I wanted was not the one I had planned...

(this is how I feel about red raspberry leaf tea. Super gross, but I was trying to behave and drank as much as I could choke down)

Everyone did come at 8:00, as expected. It took about half an hour to set up the birthing pool, get my stats, see where baby was and establish introductions or what not. Then we figured it was time to get this party started. We went upstairs to have the midwives break my water, but when they checked to see where Lorelai was, she had moved way up in my uterus. Why does this matter? Because if baby isn't where she needs to be and my water breaks, the umbilical cord is likely to start coming out with the fluid, followed by baby's head, which could prolapse the cord. If the cord is prolapsed, baby gets no oxygen. SO- we didn't want my water to break before Lorelai was properly in place. The midwives jostled her into place and then tied my waist super tight to hold her in place. We did this pretty much all morning. I was having contractions the whole time, but not always crazy strong ones. 

Around 10:30, the midwives needed to leave for a few minutes. They presented me with Castor oil (in apricot juice so it wouldn't be so yucky) and told me it was completely up to me if I used it and explained that the adverse side effects are exactly why it works to induce labor. They left and I asked for a priesthood blessing. Roger had given me several, so I felt a little guilty asking for another, but this one was a blessing of healing, so it needed 2 people instead of one and also used anointing oil. Jared, Susie's husband, came and helped with that. At first, I was just as frustrated as before since the blessing used words like, "in time" which are very vague to me. The blessing did say I'd have the strength to deliver her, though, so that was comforting. Kristy told us later that during the blessing is when she could feel Roger's parents there the strongest. I decided at that point that the grossness of drinking castor oil would be worth it if it meant that Lorelai would come same day. So I drank it...

And then had a good cry. I was SO frustrated. Emotionally and physically. Here we had reached the time of day when I thought I would be about DONE giving birth and the end still seemed forever away. I was starting to feel like I was holding my friends and everyone hostage. They hadn't signed up to be here all day! Luckily, everyone was So supportive. 

I tried really hard to be up and moving as much as I could, but I ended up spending most of the day on the birthing ball. Juliana was an amazing doula and helped rub my back and my arms. At one point in the day, she was playing with my hair and I'm surprised how much that relaxed me. Paisley did her part as well making sure I was fanned down when I got hot.

Around 1:15, after I had been checked again and my water had again not been broken for the same reason, contractions were at least strong enough that no amount of relaxing was going to make them stop. I decided to get in the birthing tub- that lasted like, 10 minutes total. The water was pretty toasty and it was strange to be in the middle of the room with so many people and my butt hanging out. I also tried to eat a little bit, but the heat made me totally nauseated. When I got out, I sat on the birthing ball again, but totally felt faint. Roger was holding me and I let him know that I felt like I was going to pass out. They got me to the couch and gave me oxygen and checked my blood pressure and oxygen. I had to sit there for a while.

After that, Roger and I went upstairs to just be alone for a minute (get your mind out of the gutter- that was NOT happening today!). It was kind of at that point that I realized how stressed out I was about having a full audience. I tried to take a nap, but that also wasn't happening. I went outside and visited with the midwives for a while. My contractions started picking up, so we decided one more time to see about my water breaking. (We made good use of the tub, later, though when Paisley put on her swimsuit and had the time of her life for almost an hour!).

Same story. I felt SO defeated!! Heck, at this point, all they could feel was Lorelai's hand, not even her head. At that point, we also realized that every time I was leaning forward or spending time on my hands and knees that she was popping out of my pelvis, so whatever progress we'd made to that point was completely gone. My new instructions were to lie on my back or side. I was "ordered" to take a nap (I say ordered because it  was more of a very strong suggestion and given with complete love.) Everyone agreed to go to dinner at that point, which, turns out, was exactly what I needed. I took a little nap and then things started happening.

When I woke up (around 6:15), the only people at my house were my girls and my doulas and Roger. I sent Roger to go get me a salad because I realized how hungry I was. He left and I came and sat in the recliner for a while. My amazing doulas massaged my feet. I couldn't eat any of my salad because my contractions were SO close together. They were hard and lasting 1-2 min each. Kristy recommended that I let the midwives know. They happened to text me while I was typing my text to them. I let them know that they should probably start making their way to my house. Just after pushing send, my water broke!! (7:05)
I know this photo is not flattering, but it's about as real as it gets. My water had NEVER broken on it's own before and this was so exciting! The midwives had me get on my hands and knees immediately so they could make sure the cord hadn't tried to come first. They also checked Lorelai's heart to make sure there was no duress. Luckily, all was well and like a light switch, we were back to birth being a joyful experience. Everyone happened to come at just the right time, though Ruby missed the birth by a few minutes.

Now, remember that I had a plan. I was either going to squat having this baby, have her in the birthing tub, or have her on my hands and knees. Squatting was out as I was exhausted physically. We'd put the tub away. No way was I going to hands and knees while still feeling the side effects of castor oil. So I was kind of at a loss. Someone suggested the birthing stool and I was down for that.

I'll spare you the more embarrassing parts between choosing the birthing stool and the actual birth, but let's just say that it's a good thing the people around me had a good sense of humor.

At this point (around 7:20), it hits me what has to happen next. Am I really up for this part? Can I actually do this AGAIN?! Well, I remembered the part of the blessing where it said I could, and so I did. I screamed super hard and pushed her out as fast as I could because no way was I going to prolong this in any way! At 7:28, I delivered our last baby into her daddy's arms. Several comments of, "Wow! She's not nearly as big as we thought she'd be" were flying around the room.

After each of my other births, I knew that there was still another child. I finished delivering babies with triumphant feelings of being powerful and strong. This time was different. This time, the thought that came first was, "I am NEVER doing this again!!" I was exhausted. I was vulnerable. But I was done. She was finally here. The pregnancy pains would finally go away. And my family was finally complete.
It took about half an hour before the placenta was delivered and Juliana had the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord.
About that point, it was time for me to get checked out. Daddy was excited for some skin to skin contact, so he and the girls got to bond with Lorelai for a bit.
All things checked out fine with me and I was able to settle in bed and collect myself for a few minutes. The girls had the opportunity to learn about the placenta, what it is, how it works, etc. Apparently, mine was healthy, but finished. Castor oil or no, we probably would have had a baby that day anyway.
Then came the fun part!! They brought her back upstairs and did all the necessary checks. We were all a bit surprised that she weighed 8 lbs 1.5 oz because she LOOKED so small!! She was 21" long, though, so I'm sure that helped. She was able to get her Vitamin K shot and everything looked good. 

These are my amazing midwives. I've never felt so empowered and strengthened by other women!! What an incredible experience! Everything was relaxed when it needed to be and in a moment when things could have been scary, they knew exactly what to do and how to handle the situation. I'm incredibly grateful!!!
My parents brought the boys home and met Lorelai. Sweetest thing ever!! Our family is complete!!
Thank you so much to my sweet friend Susie for taking photos and sharing Jeremy (Lorelai's future husband). Also much gratitude to Ruby who cleaned my house while I labored. Thanks to Kellie for being one of those people who helps keep me grounded and feel like I can handle whatever comes my way. Thank you to Kristy, my doula, who has now been there for FOUR of my babies and is honestly one of my favorite people on the planet. Thank you to Bailey, who jumped in and was right there for me- you're going to make an incredible doula!! I can't forget to thank my girls who would honestly make great doulas and midwives one day if they so choose.

But most of all, I need to thank my husband. I wouldn't want to take this journey with anyone else. He takes care of me in so many ways. Watching him take care of his children and still make time for me is very humbling. I hope I can serve and nurture him as he does me. 

Oh! And it would be incredibly ungrateful of me if I didn't also express gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful for his patience with me as I came many times crying and sobbing that things were simply too hard or taking too long. I'm grateful for these incredible children that He has trusted me with. I'm also grateful that He sent His son so that my family and I can return to live with Him someday.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

In Defense of Me

Disclaimer: This is not meant to sound angry. These are simply ramblings of a tired, hormonal, incredibly pregnant mama.

I understand that I am a bit scatterbrained. I have many ideas and not much follow through. I get that people see me as a generally happy person whose words don’t work right. I didn’t finish college, which many people think is just stupid of me. I’m a dreamer, forgetful, and absolutely terrible at time management.

But for once, could you just trust me? There is one area in my life that I actually know a thing or two about; my body and how it gives birth. I’m so incredibly tired of having to defend every decision we’ve made with this baby simply because none of it is mainstream. I’m going to go over a few specifics and explain to you why I’m choosing each of them.

#1. Having a 6th child in the first place. Many people think we’re being irresponsible or ask questions like, “You know how that happens, right?” People raise questions about finances and fitting them all in our house. But here’s the thing. We like our kids. We enjoy their company. We are fascinated as they learn about life and how to treat people and how to become good citizens. Yeah, it’s hard. Yeah, I yell. Yeah, I complain. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We have CHOSEN to have each of these kids and we are grateful they are part of our family. They help us become who we are. And one other thing- we’re good parents.

#2. Having the baby at home. I’ve had five children. That’s an entire handful. During each of these births, there has been a very specific pattern. While I’m not stupid enough not to realize that every kid is different and this one could very well break every pattern piece that I’ve dealt with, I’m confident that most of this birth will be much like the other five. I’ve had good experiences and bad in giving birth. I’ve been treated like an idiot by some doctors and nurses and been respected by others. Of the five births, three of them were without pain medication. Three of them (I found out rather quickly) there was no point for me to be in a hospital. My Dr only delivered one of those three. Being without pain meds meant I knew what my body was doing and I was in control of it. I know my body’s timeline, it’s signals, and it’s strengths. I’m so grateful to have a body that functions the way that it should and that I have instincts that help me along. For those of you who don’t trust me anyway, I also have the most incredible support system including a husband who has done enough research on childbirth to write a college thesis and a doula who has attended over 1,000 births. I’m also not stupid enough to deny that if something feels wrong or off or if I feel there is any danger to me or the baby, I will not hesitate to go to a hospital.

#3. Having the midwife break my water on a day that I choose. Again, I’ve had five children and noticed patterns. One of those patterns is that my water doesn’t break on it’s own. Sure, if I go to 42 weeks, it very well might. But that brings me to the second point. I have decent sized babies. I have been induced in different ways for the last four kids and I’ve been grateful for that. Let me give you some perspective. My smallest baby was 7 lbs. She was 2 weeks early, induced with Pitocin because of kidney problems. My largest baby was 3 days before the due date, induced only by breaking my water and had a placenta healthy enough to stay pregnant another week or two. This would have had me deliver a 10 or 11 lb baby. I feel confident that my chances of complications would go up by waiting too long to give birth. Also, people discount the mental part of the game. I’m trying to do so much right with this pregnancy. Trying to be a good mom to the other children, trying to not overload my husband with a million extra tasks that I simply can’t do, and trying to learn boundaries and how to let go of all kinds of emotional crap through therapy. Having a giant question mark over my head pertaining to when this baby will make her debut is causing far more stress than it would on a normally functioning, non ADHD person. Scenes playing over and over in my head of “What if it happens this day” and “What if I wait until that day” have literally taken over my nights. I’m not sleeping well. While, again, I’m not stupid or naïve enough to think that she can’t come on any different day, having a day on a calendar to look forward to takes so much of the stress off of me. An end date. Not to mention that my body is so physically done. Dealing with SPD (it pretty much feels like bone on bone when I walk), being overweight, carrying this perfect baby, and having other unmentionable issues have taken their toll. I just can’t risk being pregnant for 2 extra weeks. I need to be done as soon as safely possible.

I’ve had five healthy children. I have an amazing support system. I’ve had several priesthood blessings.  While I do appreciate it when you try to be polite when I tell you that I’m doing these untraditional things, it still hurts to see the disgust on your face or to have you straight up question me. We’ve done SO MUCH research. We have prayed and consulted and done more research. You might think that I’m just a silly girl with silly ideas, but please. Trust me on this one.

I would like to add that just because this is the way I do things, it does not by any means think it’s the way everyone should do them. I know my labors are short. I know they are easy. If they were long, I would welcome an epidural. If they were hard or scary or we’d had a history of anything going wrong, you bet I’d be close to medical intervention. How you choose to have your baby is part of who YOU are and your journey to become such and I will support you however you choose. You are an amazing rockstar for sticking to your guns.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Greatest Showman

Want to read my novel on my relationship with the Greatest Showman? Oh good!!

So this particular subject and blog post have been on my mind for DAYS. I'm not exaggerating. When it first came out, one of the first things I heard about it was from a friend that I love and respect. She voiced her concerns over the historical inaccuracies and mistreatment of those with disabilities. For good reason, too. She will be helping her ridiculously adorable son for most of his life fight for every opportunity- she even had to fight for his life when the whole world was against him (doctors included). She's the most incredible mom!! Anyway- being an empath, this kind of thing really had me thinking hard about this movie!!

In the meantime, my newsfeed and instagram and family members were abuzz. EVERYONE seemed to like this movie. My mom couldn't stop talking about the incredible message and story. And if anyone knows my mom, they'll know that she would NEVER be an advocate for treating people poorly. I was SO confused!!

Then I was invited to go see it. I'll admit, I went in wanting to be able to point out the blatant flaws and mistreatments and horrible things in this movie. But there weren't any. At least, not any that encouraged people to be rude or justified the way those with disabilities, physical abnormalities, or anything else. The movie acknowledged that PT Barnum exaggerated the truth (putting stilts on the already tall man, stuffing the fat man with more pillows, etc). He even at one point said that he couldn't trick anyone else into giving him money and that people pay for the pleasure of being hoodwinked.

And the music!!! Oh, and the DANCING!!!! It was like watching White Christmas for the first time all over again!! I was entranced. I cried. I laughed. And I couldn't get enough. But did I love it? In principal, COULD I love it?

So I sat on it. I came home and read more about Mr. Barnum's not stellar way of treating people and starting his business. And I listened to the soundtrack- over and over and over again. Those who know me well know that I do NOT like things on repeat. And yet I found myself listening to album 3 times in one day! I also couldn't stop talking about it. To anyone who would listen, I presented my moral dilemma. And then I talked to the person who instilled in me my moral compass- my mom. I said to her, "MOM! Did you know that he purchased these people from their families? Like, bought them from their homes for money?" and she had the most beautiful response. I don't remember the exact words, but it was full of compassion and love, much like my mother herself. She reminded me that at the time, many of these people were literally hidden, neglected, and their families were often ashamed of them. Whether or not their lives were improved by PT Barnum, we don't know for sure. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren't. But they at least had a chance at something different.

So with that on my note, I started thinking about standards. How many historical pictures to we shame and feel anger at because we hold them to today's standards. Is it, in any way acceptable NOW to purchase people? No. Is it ok for any kind of slavery now? No. And yet.... Do we try to change our US history because former presidents owned slaves? Do we smear their name at every chance we can? No. Why? Because his accomplishments were greater than his misdeeds. And- did he really know better? Many people slam Christopher Columbus for the terrible things he did, but how much do we know about what were HIS choices and what were by command of the crown? Remember he had to ask many people to fund his trip. We don't know what he had to agree to to get said funding. But do we refuse to live on this continent because of his misdeeds? No. We're grateful to be here anyway. His accomplishments, in the scheme of NOW, outweigh his misdeeds. After writing this today, I found this video that I found fascinating:

What if in 50 years, scientists find that the best way to keep children completely happy and cancer free is to lace all of the kids food with weevils and weevil bits? Do I want to be called a terrible mom because now, without that knowledge, I'm doing everything in my power for my children NOT to eat weevils? No. We don't know exactly what the thoughts were in PT Barnum's time. The world was a strange place where all kinds of things were acceptable. It doesn't make it ok for now's time. But he's dead. That's between him and Heavenly Father at this point. His judgement has already passed.

What good has come since his time? We're able to see people's differences for what they are and without fear. We can find out what causes disabilities and we understand now that they are people worthy of as much medical attention, care, and respect as everyone else. Do they always get that? No, because people are still people.

Anyway- I digress. So back to whether or not I'm ok to like this movie, lol. I realized that one thing different here was that I went into the movie already knowing a bit about PT Barnum's shady past. How many movies have I watched "inspired by true events" that I LOVED and then found out that wasn't really what happened, but then still loved the movie? Remember the Titans- Gosh, still one of my favorites, even though not really the way it was. Also, did you know if a movie is "inspired by" true events, it's mostly fiction. If it's "based on" a true story, it sticks closer to the truth. So there is that.

I'm almost done, I promise!! So I listened to the soundtrack- a LOT and my son said to me, "Wow, Mom. You must really love this!" and it kind of decided it for me. I love this movie/music/story for what it was, what it is. And I went again at the very next opportunity. I went in allowing myself to love it and guess what- I SO did!! THIS story (whether accurate or not) is about family. It's about accepting yourself for who you are. It's about appreciating what and who you have in your life. And the DANCING. I just can't get past the dancing.... AMAZING!!

So there you go. Go see it.