When babies don't sleep.

After a long night with Emily (she didn't fall asleep until midnight)  and a week long cough, we hit up the doctor this morning.
My niece and my babysitter's kid recently had ear infections and Emily was showing some of the symptoms.
Surprise surprise, an ear infection.

When's my sleepy, happy baby coming back?


British Hugs Heal

This post is another dream post. I remember so many of them l lately and I believe in dreams. I believe that sometimes they don't many anything, other times they can guide you, and rarely (for me) they can give you what you need.
To say things have been stressful the last six weeks would be a severe understatement. I've been working a ton of overtime and a lot of appointments for the girls and me. It's been expensive, time consuming and so frustrating. I've felt burned out, depressed and full of anxiety.
In the dream I was at my family Thanksgiving party. We sat down for dinner and Emily started to get really cranky.
I knew she want feeling good, so I took her to the office and rocked her until she fell asleep. I put her in the pack and play and hung out in the chair to watch over her.
A soft knock plays on the mostly closed door, but before I can open it all the way- in walks the lead singer from The Struts.
He's not wearing his usual glam rock gear, just a band T-shirt and jeans.
"I just got off the plane, the manager let us leave early. I came first thing."
I'm stumbling over words, mostly asking, "What are you doing here?"
He grabs my shoulders carefully and quietly wraps his arms around me in a hug that wraps criss cross from my shoulders to the middle of my back.
In that moment, I feel free and weightless. He picked up all the pain, hurt, stress and sadness with his arms.
As all good dreams tend to end, my alarm sounded.
I can't stop thinking about the dream. I wish I could live it.  It was perfect and everything I need. I imagine it's how you would feel when you are complete.


My dad hangs loose

When my dad passed away three years ago I wanted to make a difference and I wanted a way for my children to get to know him in a way. I just finished this massive book project with pictures, articles, stories and other things he created.  The thing I miss the most is his stories. I wish I could remember more of them. So I'm tossing this one into the world of the internet because it's my favorite.
When my dad was little he moved around a ton. His parents were divorced and his dad was int he military. When he lived with his dad in the summers and around holidays, it was usually near military bases.
When he was around eight or nine, he lived in San Diego.  He had a few friends in the neighborhood, Army Brats like he was, and they lived by a military dump of some sort.
This place was like heaven to my dad and his friends. They were eager to explore and some of the dumped poles jutted from the trash piles in odd angled that would be so great for hanging.
My grandpa wasn't stupid. He knew my dad and he knew that kids would be kids and they would probably go right for the stuff at the dump. Before he went to work my grandpa pulled my dad aside and specifically told him to not play in the dump. There were a lot of things that could hurt him.
My dad played like he was listening, but like most kids, he ran there as soon as his dad left for work.
The dump was like an old boat graveyard, with long poles and hooks all around that made for great playing. They would climb aboard and pretend like they were captains or seamen.
At one point, my dad got brave and started climbing along one of the poles. He stood on the edge and probably let out a Tarzan yell or something and he felt his feet slip.  He was pretty high in the air on the pole and grasped desperately in the air for something to catch him.  
There were two hooks along the pole, probably for hoisting ropes or sails. That day, they did an extra job and caught my dad by his wrist.  
So there he was hanging by his wrists to this pole in a boat dump.  His little brother was with him and immediately ran for help.
My dad described it so terrifying, hanging there by his wrists, which sounds pretty painful and not quite sure what was going to happen.
At that very moment, his dad rushed from work and while driving home he saw my dad hanging there from the freeway. 
My grandpa rescued him and he had to get stitches on both of his wrists. My dad used to show me his wrists with their matching scars as an illustration to always listen to your parents. They know what's going on and they know how to keep you safe. 
I usually share this story in church because of the multiple meanings from this story. It's really so relatable.  
As a parent now, I get it even more. Dave and I are like crazy people with our girls.  Emily is starting to learn to sit on her own, but she will never sit alone for many months because we always put ourselves ready to catch her.  Cami is wild and loves to run and play, "Not too fast, Cami, I don't want you to fall."  
There's this great song that plays on the radio these days called, "Cecilia and the Satellite".  The artist wrote the song for his daughter to explain the bridge from life before her to life after her birth. There's this line that always gets me as a child about my parents and as a parent of children, "I'd keep you safe. I'd keep you dry. Don't be afraicd, Cecilia, I'm the satellite."  


Sharp teeth and scales

I'm a vivid dreamer, both literally and figuratively.
I like looking back on my dreams and discussions I've had about them in the past.
My dad would find something in the dream interesting. He would smile, laugh and tell me it represented change. I laughed then and now because I don't really believe all dreams mean anything.
I follow the theory of dreams being random fittings in our brain or our brain presenting scenarios for us to figure out.
Occasionally, there are dreams I've had that are life changing. Dreams that I know were more than random neurons firing.
Last night I had my second dream about being trapped in a Jurassic Park of some sort.
The dream is never scary. I don't wake up shivering or scared to go back to sleep. I wake up stressed out, trying to compartmentalize what I just imagined.
So today I'm on hold with insurance company and I Google the dream dictionary for dinosaurs (feeling like a crazy person).
Here's some of what I read:

"The dinosaurs can also reflect older habits and attitudes. The advice is that you should not give up.

The dinosaur in your dream is generally a positive symbol. It may represent a period of time when the dreamer will confront his fears and empower himself to effectively cope with negative emotions and extreme materialism, and will obtain greater inner and outer freedom."

Without getting too personal, small dinosaurs with scales and teeth are answers for some difficult questions I've been battling.


Half a Face

I don't make this stuff up.
Today I replaced three old filings that were covering up problem spots that were turning into cavities.
My wonderful dentist, Dr Staley, was midway through the second shot of anesthesia when a song comes playing through the office speakers, "I Can't Feel My Face When I'm With You".
If my life had a soundtrack, no song was more perfectly matched to events ever.
I've attached a picture of my half smile, courtesy of like six shots of anesthesia.

Guess what? I don't love it.


Loafers and cardigans

I remember my childhood fondly. It was highlighted by fantastic public broadcast network television.
Those educational shows were my jams.
I grew up among the company of statement pattern sweaters with books and guided through the Land of Make Believe with Mister Rogers.
Today my life has come full circle.
I showed Cami the wonderful world of 1980's television, specifically Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I didn't expect her to watch more than five minutes. A skinny, old man singing cheesy songs did not sound like it would entertain beyond my generation. She finished a full episode and then we binge watched three episodes.
I love the hope and joy he brings to each episode, while pointing out that everyone is special.


What's your agenda?

My opinion doesn't matter and will not change the world.
My friend shared a very personal experience from high school on social media yesterday. The update bugged me a lot and not because of what happened, but the context she presented along with i her story.
I will try to be discreet because it's her personal experience and the topic is a "hot button" topic right now.
She shared her frightening experience with a political agenda.
I think she is very brave to share her experience, especially in a social media setting. I just don't believe it should have been shared with an agenda. My personal experiences do not impact large scale political decisions or law making. It felt manipulative and hollow when the two are paired.
In a social media setting it's like she stood on a wall and shouted about something happening that is sure to draw reaction from everyone and then tacking on a demand, "THIS HAPPENED TO ME, this horrible, awful thing... So, go vote for this person/law."
It made me think about my own social media posts. Do I have an agenda when I post updates? What's my agenda? So I'm going to flip it for the few readers out there, what's your agenda?


Let's drive in my automobile

According to this article, 35% of the world drives on the left side of the road. America joins in with the majority for driving on the right side.
A few years ago, I took on a bunch of temporary jobs during the Recession of 2008. I couldn't get a full time job, so I picked up whatever I could find.
One temp job, I worked as a glorified janitor for the now South Town Expo Center during the Car Show.
It was there I met Shane, a 50 something Scottish stereotype. He had a shoulder length graying beard that sat perfectly on his giant barreled chest (I could easily see him tossing various heavy items in the Highland Games). He also had a heavy accented voice that sounded like he was shouting all the time.
Many of the temp workers didn't speak very good English, so those of us who did (including Shane) sad together for breaks and lunches.
One lunch Shane stops eating and land back in his chair, "Do ya know why we drive on the other side of the road in Scotland?"
He said it so serious and it was sure to be good trivia, but I missed the initial sarcasm.
Shane swung his right arm wide, "So we can punch other shitty drivers in the face."


Lessons from 9/11

Nearly everyone in America can tell you what they were doing when the Twin Towers fell. I'm no different, but I'm not going to talk about that now. I'm going to tell you how this huge historical tragedy affected 14 year old Michelle. I learned four lessons because of that day.
1. Fear: I was 14 years old when terrorists struck an American icon. I lived in suburban Utah, where the scariest things were the mundane worries of early teens everywhere (forgetting my locker combination, missing the bus or talking to cute boys).
After the planes crashed, the buildings fell and lives were lost; the footage replayed in all of my classes and all class work was related to terrorism.
Terrorism was a new concept for me. In my mind there was no reason for anyone to fight anyone else, let alone kill . The world became a lot bigger and more terrifying.
2. War: In my English class that year, we studied a lot about World War II. The classroom discussions changed pretty quick.
I remember one of my teachers standing in front of the class, talking about the military draft and she told us to look around our class and pointed out the boys. She said in the next few years, we could be looking at a draft for our generation.
I looked at a few guys in my class; nerdy "Stephen" or rebellious "Lyle". The idea of these people my own age being drafted seemed so ludicrous, but if a draft happened, it would be in my generation.
There was no draft mandated my the government, but many of my graduating class joined the military and faced the face of terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those fresh-faced boys watched a lot of death on both sides and felt the damage in more ways than one.
3. United: The weeks following the attack were difficult to see from a quiet, young teenage point of view. It felt like so much waiting. Waiting for reaction or for something to happen.
I saw some things change in the people around me. People were angry and itching for war, but there was a softer side that many Americans hid that started sneaking out. It was a the sense of being connected to others, a community mind, or a United State.
I collected all the newspapers related to 9/11. The progression from disaster to fear to action and community was noticeable. We banded together as a nation. It didn't matter if the war was right or wrong, just that we were all affected and we were together.
4. Pride: The biggest change for me was the sense of national pride. Sure America is a flawed nation. You don't need to go fast to see corruption and greed, but one thing this nation does well is defend itself and overcome the difficulties in one way or another. 
I'm glad to live in this nation and I'm so glad to be an American in an imperfect United States.

9/11 is a tragic event in American history. That day won't ever be forgotten and i will try to pass the lessons I learned to my children because we're American's and products of history.


Be the Change

Jumping back into a full-time job after staying home is a lot harder than it sounds. I was sure it would be okay, my job didn't change while I was fine and my co workers were also the same.
I was very wrong.
We're all human. Humans are not static. Dynamics in a work environment change.
In my role there is a fine line you have to walk between ownership and team work. I have my cases to complete every day, but I also have a responsibility within our team and their individual case loads. It can create quite the internal and sometimes external battle.
My personal upbringing in a very Christian environment tends to push my work focus on the team and their needs. It makes me mad when I see people slacking or not getting stuff done. I tried to say I was concerned about patient's testing and getting things started, but I really just needed a wake up call.
I felt really yucky about the whole thing this weekend, my anger and frustration was out of control. I tried all weekend to brain storm ideas to create a better team environment among my team members, but I came up with nothing.
So I asked Dave if he had any ideas. He was a supervisor and was bound to have some drama in his previous teams.
When I asked him, he didn't even look up from his cell phone, "You have to be the change you want to see."
It's such a simple thing. Stop trying to change everyone else, just do your best and recognize others for their achievements.
Two days into "the change" and things are noticeably different for me. My team is doing whatever they do and I'm doing my best with a reminder sticky note on my computer to see the good in everyone.
The best part is that I'm happy.
All we can really do in this life is change and grow within ourselves. We can't change others in any way. I can be the best me and cheer on others in their achievements. What a positive thing to infuse in this world!


Priorities Part 3,659

This isn't my first post on priorities and it won't be the last.
Being and adult is hard. Okay, that's the post. Stop there because you really don't need to know more.
Twice in my life I've had to evaluate my personal priorities in a serious way. There is little in this world harder than trying to figure out what's best vs what you want.
The first big evaluation happened five years ago almost exactly from today.
I just received my Bachelor's and the job market was pretty rough and I happily landed a job at Verizon Wireless doing Customer Service. It was not the greatest job, but the money was really good , which was nice to make some bigger payments on my newly acquired student loan.
Somehow, I also landed a part time dream job at a local television station. The money was awful, but it was where I wanted to be.
For about three weeks I worked both jobs. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I would get up at five and come home at 8:30. It was busy and money was good, but I was exhausted. When I wasn't working, I was sleeping.
Something had to give. I couldn't live like that. I spent a week crying, praying and doing everything I could to figure out.
I knew three things: I couldn't do both, if I worked the part time job; if I worked the part time job, I'd be happy, but I couldn't pay the bills; if I worked for Verizon, I'd be unhappy, but financially secure. It was the ultimate problem.
I  wish it my story was a Lifetime special and I picked joy instead of greed. Well, sometimes life isn't like that. The next Saturday, I went to my boss at the television station to quit because i cant live on joy and dreams.  I learned a valuable lesson about priorities that year. You can't always get what you want.

This year I had to make another hard decision that is going to make me sound shallow and human.
I love all things gym related. Before I met Dave, I went to the gym six days a week. Even after I had Cami, I did at-home work outs five days a week (T25 or Insanity). Then I got pregnant with Emily and even the thought of working out sent me to the porcelain god of pregnant women.
On maternity leave with Emily, I got back to it. It felt so good to be active again.
Oh, but then I started work again and things got crazy. Working eight hours a day and taking care of two kids is a lot of work, go figure.
I tried so hard to balance it all, but it made me nuts. I'm not exaggerating. I became this hysterical, high-strung, miserable person. Mothers around the world and groaning and judging me right now (treasure your kids when their young, being a mother is the highest calling, blah blah blah).
It seems so simple to other people. I knew working out made me happy, but it wasn't working.
Dave has this saying he repeats to me when things are hard and it finally clicked for me with this situation. It won't always be like this.
My kids won't always depend on me for so much. Work won't always be so stressful. Things will not awkward be like this. One day Emily will be crawling, playing, etc. These extra 30ish pounds won't always be there. I'll run another half marathon because it won't always be like this.
Priorities are always changing and you can't always get what you want. If you want to get dramatic:In the long perspective, none of it really matters, not even the stuff of this blog entry. Guess what? That's okay, it's life, and we figure it out as we go.


A Tale of Giants and Midgets

Emily had her four month doctor visit today, which is both exciting and awful for me.
Shots are awful. Emily is so happy on the table, smiles for everyone until the shots come. Then only tears and a look of betrayal.
I love to see her growth, especially compared to Cami. No two kids are alike, even siblings.
The doctor gave us her measurements and did a double take, "Let me check the numbers again."
He checks the measurements and the graph and gives me the percentile in an almost mumble of doubt, "5% for weight, 25% for height, 5% weight to height ratio."
I look at Cami, my giant kid. 75-90% practically her whole life. Now here's Emily, a tiny midget . I create both giants and midgets. No two kids are alike.


I'm a Reindeer

It seems like every little girl loves Frozen. While I am sure there are exceptions, Cami is part of the majority and as such there are many deep conversations about Frozen including this number with Dave.

Cami: This, this is my little sister
Dave:  That's right. If you were Elsa then Emily would be Anna
Cami: Yeah! And daddy can be Kristoff  and-and-and Mommy can be Sven.


The time I almost flashed Maintenance.

I'm not a free spirit. Nursing or not, I don't nurse Emily in public if I can avoid it. Not my thing, but if it's yours, that's cool.
She's taken to nursing really well and so I am privileged to pump milk at work.
Let's just be up front and say my work is not used to nursing women and the facilities are pretty evident.
It took a full month for them to find a place for me to regularly break and pump (aln old, empty office). The only problem I ran into, was an occasional locked door.
This was fine for a total of two weeks before I nearly expose myself to Maintenance Department .

So one day I'm hanging out (literally) in the locked office, doing my thing when the door knob starts turning. It's probably just someone trying to make a personal call, they'll leave right?
Nope, then the lock starts to turn. I'm quick to announce my presence, "I'm in here."
He leaves for like two minutes and comes back, "Still in here!"
"Maintenance. We need to get in there."
He's clearly not getting it. I call my supervisor to chat with them.
The conversation goes something like this.
Supervisor: Someone's in there. We've been instructed by Customer Service Manager that this is the place to do it.
Maintenance: she's supposed to go to the other building.
Supervisor: that's not very convenient. We've been given the okay already.
Maintenance: well, we have complaints of a chemical smell and we need to check it out. Wait, does she use any chemicals when she pumps.
Supervisor tried to keep a straight face: no

There are no words. I did not flash him and why would I used chemicals around milk I'm going to feed my baby. No words


Potty training stubborn kids, aka my worst nightmare

When potty training Cami, we read fifty articles/books etc. On potty training but none of them truly helped the process and I swore that I would write a book, a real book about the truth of potty training a stubborn child. None of that fluffy 'no big deal' or 'you can do it' crap.
Potty training a stubborn kid is not a walk in the park, it won't be done in a weekend or even a week. A stubborn personality will need a stronger personality to complete potty training. It is a battle every time your kid needs to pee or poop.
So this isn't a book, but it's now in a physical form to retain for centuries although I doubt my blog is well read enough.
1. Every kid is different. This cannot be said enough, yet every time I hear it, I disregard it. Wouldn't it be lovely if all kids were little carbon copies.
I had three different people swear by the three day method at two and three years old. We pushed it to three because Cami was a little delayed and after four days she didn't have a single success. Scratch that wonderful three day method.
2. Motivators are not always going to cut it. Cami's three years taught me this a long time ago. She did things when she wanted: walking, talking, sleeping and nothing would motivate her externally.
Potty treats are a popular trope among like 90% of parents. Well we tried everything from m&ms, to oreos, to toys. We finally just committed to m&ms but it still didn't motivate her. I think rewards are still valuable, but Cami just considered it to be extra in the end.
3. Sometimes it takes time....a really looking time. After trying the three day method three separate times over a year, we hunkered down and said we're going to get this finished while I'm on maternity leave (which goes against all parenting books and blah blah blah). But on day two we had a success. I cried, I was so happy. It took two weeks to finally have a good grasp. Two very long, laundry filled weeks. (And zero successes with number 2).
4. Regressions are real and okay. That's right, I said regressions-plural. Many regressions. Don't get mad. It will be okay.
5. Number 2 is super complicated. Cam took a really long time to get number 2 under control. She needed confidence and some prune juice. We also had to instigate quite the routine following a poop accident including: cleaning it up, putting it in the washer, shower and no frozen jammies/underwear.  There was a big potty rewards for poop: ice cream. Cami and I even made a chart to show consequences. It still took a long time.
6. Potty training is bit a reflection of your parenting. I think this is hard to remember in all factions of parenthood. Kids are kids and their choices are just that THEIR CHOICES. As parents, we do our best to teach and show them the right way and it's up to them how they take and use that information. In Cami's case she took that information and needed to process it mentally and physically before she actually used it, but that was her choice and related to her growth not my parenting skills. It's hard to remember when so many people tell you their studies as if they're the experts and their children are potty trained because of them. Punch these people in the mouth because each kid is different and it's about their understanding and growth, nothing to do with parenting (*steps off soap box*).
7. It won't anyways be like this. This is my motto whenever parenting gets hard. My mom famously says, "no kid went on their honeymoon in diapers".  Stubborn kids need a lot more time and patience, but it will happen.
Parents of stubborn children, gear up and be strong. You got this and I have your back!


Garage saga.

We were heading to bed; and when I say "we" I mean I was heading to bed while Dave went to play his games.
I shut the garage with a quick push on the button and a large bang sounds. Dave ahead me if something was in the way. Nope.
Then we spend like 45 minutes examining it before we realize the arm had broken off, so we can't even manually open it.
I've been back to work for a total of three weeks and have almost zero PTO, but it was pretty clear that I wasnt going anywhere in the morning.
Repair man is due between 8-10 am. He rolls up at 950 am. When the arm broke, the only remaining spring broke  and one of the wheels. It will take almost two hours to fix and a big chunk of money.
It's a good thing my job just awarded me a quarterly bonus. We were going to use it as a buffer.
My lesson here is n ever use money as a buffer, always have a plan because the house or your children will need it.



I had a dream last night. The setting was my parent's house. I was trying desperately to get to my dad, I needed to tell him something really important.
Every time I would find him, my whole body would seize up and I would end up on the floor, frozen in motion.
I would catch sight of his feet or his back as he walked out of the room. I tried to yell and then I tried to scream for him, but only my breath made noise. It's hoarse, sorry sound didn't make it to him.
Not the greatest start to my day.
Then there he was; on my phone, in the words by Dieter Uchtdorf.
"Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny."
"When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation.....Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.
This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind."
It seems totally random to everyone, but this is exactly what I needed to hear. I could use some "healing of the heart".


Church is hard

Here it is, my honest feelings and completely raw emotions.
It's sacrament meeting right now and I'm success to in the mother's lounge because my baby would not take a bottle. I keep repeating in my head, "Why am I here?"
With the birth of my second daughter, things changed pretty drastically in my life (as babies do). I found my newfound time in the early morning hours as a great time to finally have time to read my scriptures, general conference talks and all that great church stuff. Oddly this newfound development did not increase my testimony but I found it a real struggle to get up and go to church on Sunday. Worse than ever before, including those years I spent running away from the church.
Two weeks in a row the tasks have been about priesthood hinders in the home and the temple. It cuts me kind of hard. Dave does not currently hold the priesthood and my dad passed away three years ago. It's hard for me to understand why God would take away my greatest and stories only access to the priesthood power. You can argue that there are home teachers to help with that (never seen them) or my older brothers (with their own busy, hard lives). Man, I miss my dad lately. Maybe it's hard because I look at Emily and I see him, or the lack of him. He will never see her on this earth.
Back to my church discussion Nursing Emily is difficult to time between sacrament meeting and before my class. I have a hard time with leadership. Since Emily's birth, the primary president has been asking me when I'll be ready to go back to my class and one of the other leaders moved out of the ward so my help is needed. What happened to the understanding and kindness that I remember when I was younger? It seems like that is gone. They expect you to take on your calling and drop everything. I'm really struggling with Emily and with the church. I feel like primary is not there place for me when there is so much doubt and stress.
How do people do this every week? I feel so awful.


Crirps forever

Dave and I live in a very nice neighborhood, but like all neighborhoods, there are adobe croaks hidden behind white fences and smiling up people
The amusing thing about the criminals in our neighborhood is their inability to spell. I wish I had side pictures to include with this entry.
The first was a graffiti artist marking their territory on an auto parts store. They wrote the initials to our city and claimed it for the Samoan Crirps. Spelling is hard.
The second major incident occurred right outside our bedroom window. Our neighbors are questionable. I can't prove anything besides the bounty of trash they keep in their backyard, but let's just say I wonder about some of them.
One night some one spray painted their car with some pretty harsh accusations about some cheating guy, including the ever popular "Frck u".
Someone find these criminals a dictionary and an education.



I'm a jealous mom. I said it. No hiding. Truth talk here.
Its probably my biggest flaw and not just in motherhood. I've spent the majority of my life unsatisfied. I look in the mirror and I don't see who I am, just who I am not.
These feelings sometimes become magnified through my children and those mother's around me.
The last few days have been really hard (here comes my whining, so stop here if you don't care). Cami regressed in potty training about three weeks ago and she averages about three or four accidents a day. So I help clean Cami and the floor while Emily usually starts crying. Now I know my children's choices are not a reflection of who I am, but in the last eight weeks of my maternity leave, I've failed potty training her. Parents around me do it in three days and some of them whine about a week or two. I've also had numerous parents assure me that regression is normal, that does not help. I hate the idea of her going to preschool and/or the babysitters and peeing/pooping herself.
I've also been trying to finish up the book I started with all of my dad's writings. At the end of the book, I'm putting a photo history together. Yesterday I ran across a picture of him from my wedding, smiling like he always did. With his photo eyes looking at me, I felt sure he was disappointed. I don't lead the life he wanted for me. I'm a full-time working mom, in a field where my creativity is not used, married to a man who does not share my testimony/beliefs, I struggle to not feel empty each Sunday (going through the motions because I know the truth but I don't feel it). I'm sure he wanted more for me. He loved me.
This is where the jealousy comes in. Seeing those who have these things and more each week. Everyone struggles, I know that their struggles may not be visible. I don't have a lot of help in my life. I've worked incredibly hard to get where I am, but is that enough? Am I enough? Is this all I will ever be?


Dear Mom

Dear Mom,
My whole life I've understood motherhood wrong. After I had Cami, I thought that I knew what motherhood was about. With Emily I understand more, but I don't think I'll ever get the real meaning of motherhood.
What I do know is that mothers are about teaching,  support, sacrifice and love.
I've been watching you, you know? I learned a lot from you that way. 
Motherhood is about hard work for the family. Like hours or ironing to help provide for the family when things were hard. Or holding everything together when so individuals or family members feel like breaking.
I remember when I received my Young Women's medallion. During the program they asked me to talk about my experience. I stood up at the podium in the Relief Society room and my eyes immediately found you and I started crying, and not just a little tears, a sobbing mess because you helped and supported me in all of those projects and I felt that the projects were important in developing my skills as a woman. You have been supportive to me in every single way and never  gave up on me.
I think that's one of the most important parts of being a mom; believing in the best future for their children and never giving up on the person they have the potential to be.
Motherhood is about sacrifice. I'm learning that first hand every year. By waking up every two hours with newborns or cleaning up pee/poop/vomit out of everything and anything. Or putting up with whiny,crying, screaming children. You did all of this and more five times over whole handling other children. Like Mark and I constantly fighting at the dinner table or Dennis getting into trouble. There is the less visible  moments when you gave up things you wanted in order to take care of us kids.
These traits taught me motherly love. You are a fantastic mom. You have been when I was younger. As a grown up, I still need my mom sometimes and you are still that great mom I remember. I love you so much.
Thank you so much for everything you have done, is doing and will do.


Go Fund me; I Have a Cause

This is the age of technology and thanks to the ever need increasing accessibility, anyone with a computer and an idea can make there dreams (even the most ridiculous) a reality.
Enter gofundme.com, a place where real charity cases like kids fighting cancer or families with lost jobs can meet college students finding potato salads and prom dates.
On Facebook the other day a GoFundMe promo scrolled through my feed attached to a friend's profile and a picture of my high school.
When I click through the link, I learn that this specific link is for buying tickets to my ten year reunion and fundraising.
Within about five years after graduation, I decided not to attend any high school reunions for many reasons that will appear in an upcoming post, but this gofundme account is both super pathetic and way to hipster for suburban South Salt Lake County.
The reunion is a little over three months away and the committee has raised only $300 and only ten people have put any money into this account. It's going to be pretty lame reunion. I'm so glad this web site exists to do all the work for our student body representatives. It seems to be so successful. Maybe I should set up a gofundme for tickets.


Second Babies are Rewards after hard first babies

It's no secret that Cami was a very difficult baby, so when Dave and I decided to add a member to the family I was a little scared.
Pregnancy went relatively well and as the induction date came closer, my anxiety grew greater. Cami's birth was also a difficult experience with 18 hrs of labor and some serious puking with contractions. Even after all that, it still took 2.5 hrs of pushing to welcome my stubborn piece of joy to the world.
Emily was not all "butterflies and rainbows. From start to finish was 26 hrs and like 22 of those hrs was labor. The contractions were constant but not bad compared to Cami's and I avoided pain medication until my water broke. After that things progressed pretty quick.
There were two things from here that we decided to do very differently
1. Skin to skin: I am not a hippy, but I heard that this is pretty amazing for mom and baby. I requested it as soon as we got to the hospital. It was everything the " hippies" days it would be. Right after birth, the nurse handed me new, naked Emily and put her on my chest. Right then we bonded and I felt something immediately. It can't be matched.
2. Screw the hospital nursery: Some of you have just pulled back your head and raised your eyebrows in judgment. With Cami, countless people recommended the nursery and we took advantage and sent her to the nursery every night. The first night home was pure hell. She was accustomed to the brought lights from the nursery and knew night to be her day.
We kept Emily with us in the room the whole time with a few exceptions (various baby tests and exams). 
Honestly, it was easier. We could tell when she actually needed something, which is more important than some nurse  guessing and prodding you for feedings. When we got home, the first night went really well with minimal crying for all parties. Emily has been a champion sleeper from the beginning. 
Raising a baby again has been surprisingly good. The real challenge now is not baby related at all, it's figuring out a way to raise two kids instead of one, learning to balance your time and include big sister without making her feel like an after thought. 


The definition of "willful"

I don't know if any of you in the blog-verse has met my daughter, but let me tell you of her stubborn/strong-willed nature.
Although I can't prove it, I knew she was willful from birth. Child birth from start to finish was about 16 hrs including a 2.5 hrs of pushing (tmi sorry). She was pretty content to stay inside my belly forever.
Babies don't have vocabulary, but Cami always knew what she wanted and she let you know if you weren't helping her out...sometimes for extended periods of time until you did what she wanted, whether it was walking her around the apartment or pointing her to the window.
These days she has the words and a new sense of independence to go with it.
A few days ago her bath time routine became her personal mandate.
After said bath, the water drained down the tub as usual, while she held back her toys from "getting sucked in". After all the water has drained, I ask her four times to get out under the threat of time out. She does not respond.
I grab her by her arms and yank her out of the tub and the tantrum ensues with screaming, " Cami will do it!"
I remain consistent in my responses regarding not listening and getting out, while fighting to get her dressed. After 20 minutes if yelling/screaming/pulling her clothes off we start in time out and end up with her in her bedroom (butt naked) on her bed.
Then I practice the waiting game so she can calm down and be dressed appropriately for bed.
Surprisingly, it doesn't take long. I open her door and turn on the lights. Like a naked, midget ninja; she blurs passed me into the bathroom and into the empty bathtub and immediately jumps out.
After 20 minutes she was still going to get out of the bathtub by herself. She's going to be the death of me.


Do Mice Have 9 Lives?

I mentioned previously our problem with mice lately.  Well, update there, we have gone more than 14 days without a mouse incident. The last incident was pretty memorable due to our new "shocking" mouse trap.
We had the trap four about three days and caught one mouse beneath our kitchen sink, not exactly a colony catcher, but it was doing the job.
Cameron and I were curled up on the couch, watching Daniel Tiger when I saw him.  One small mouse scurry around the the corner of the tv stand.  This wouldn't be so bad, but the mouse turned left and began to crawl towards Cam and I. Uh, no.
I stood up, scaring the little bugger away. I could care less where he was going.  I fetched our new lovely trap and set it right next to the tv stand.
20-30 minutes later, Dave came home and the three of us were playing and talking on the couch when we hear this electric sparking noise coming from behind the tv.  It's gotta be the trap causing electric interference or something.  Stupid trap is too sensitive.
So I pick up the trap and move it away from the wiring and I see it, the mouse's nose poking out the bait holder in the back. I sucked in my scream and nearly threw the trap back on the ground.  
The little weasel was quick to get to the bait, but as a result, probably was shocked...twice, hence the electric sparking noise. 
I killed him, twice, and the last mouse to die this year so far. Maybe the shock was strong enough to go through his brainwaves to other mice nearby.
Whatever the reason, the Hunt household is mouse free. 


The Smartest, Dumb Mouse

Dave and I have been in our house for close to 2.5 years. For the first two years, we only had one unwanted rodent guest.
This year, the city started construction on a new major road by our house. This new road has apparently evac
uated all the mice to our warm, cat-free and until recently trap-free house.  We have caught five mice this winter; FIVE.
They are pretty cunning mice too. Once we noticed that this infestation was becoming a bigger problem, thanks in part to a messy three-year-old who was pretty much providing a four-course meal; we invested in a team of mouse-traps armed with peanut butter bait.  Of the seven traps, only two ever caught mice, the others remained set, but peanut butter free.  Somehow these genius mice could get in these traps, eat the peanut butter and get out without setting the traps off.
I was getting pretty anxious near the end: the traps weren't working and these "lovely" rodents were giving me a different kind of wake up call every morning.
See, my shift at work started at 6:00 a.m., so I get up by 5:00 a.m. and leave shortly before 5:30 a.m. (I am luckily a minimalist when it comes to getting ready)
Every morning, I open the pantry door, only to see one of these lovely critters run around the pantry floor and either dash behind the fridge or scurry along the cabinets until it squeezes between the dishwasher and cupboards. Nothing will wake you up faster than a small rodent jumping over your feet in the morning.
One morning I encountered one of these weasel-like creatures, who had been evading capture and getting fat off our peanut butter.  This smart mouse is also super dumb.
Cameron has a habit of putting some of her push toys (ride/push Minnie Mouse car, stroller, etc) in the pantry for storage or something.  Well that morning, her Minnie Mouse coaster was sitting in the pantry and this super dumb/smart mouse runs around the pantry until he finds this great hiding spot. Only the moron doesn't fit under the coaster, so he pushes his little bum underneath the coaster and poking out like the worst hide-and-seek player ever.

So here he is obviously still in my pantry and I'm not quite sure what do with this stupid, smart mouse. I feel like he missed the short bus and I'm not about to burst his bubble. So I try to ignore him and get my food out of the pantry. While picking up my granola bar, the mouse rushes off to one of the popular hiding spots.
I don't know how a mouse can be both dumb and smart, but there he is.  Currently, we are mouse free, so we've caught him since that day. Poor guy, he was a survivor.



It's difficult to think of the year to come, 2015 looks pretty slow for our family. It's almost a full month into 2015 and it's time to just post this blog entry, with or without pictures.  Number one on the list is the biggest for our family in almost three years.

Right now, me at 29.5 weeks
1. Julia/Juliet/Julianne: First, we're narrowing in on a final name for baby girl. No secret or surprise here. This is the biggest thing of 2015 ever.  We have about 9.5 weeks before we meet her for real. It's both terrifying and exciting at the same time. I haven't made it any secret that Cami was a very difficult baby, but I have also been reassured by mothers everywhere that no baby is the same and really it can only get better.  Either way I get to look forward to another three months feeling like a balloon/punching bag, then labor/childbirth and then adjusting to EVERYTHING all over again.  We handled baby Cam pretty well, we can do this again.....right? We are a lot better off in many ways this time around and I feel like we have a better support network in our house as well. I'm excited to see her, she's going to be beautiful.

2. Family Babies: Outside of our baby, only one baby has been announced on Dave's side.  The pregnancy isn't official yet, so I don't want to give it away.  It is the only other baby on both families and the cousin closest in age to Julie. They will only be about 2.5 months apart. I'm excited. I know they are hoping for a boy, but I'm hoping for another girl cousin for Julie to play with. As seen with Cami & Anderson, they play okay together, but they still have different interests (Ghostbusters/Mario vs. Dora//Daniel Tiger). I'm willing to bet another Hunt family member will be pregnant by the end of the year. Dave's family is still growing, while the Tate side is slowing down.

3. Cami:  I'd like to think we'll conquer the "potty monster" this year, but I don't know if we will really push it with both of us working and a new baby, we'll provider her the tools/tips and she'll catch on when she's ready. "No kid ever goes on their honeymoon with diapers."
This year could be huge for Cam's growth. I think because of her expanding understanding/knowledge and the big changes our family will experience this year, she may have a rough year.  I'd like to get her involved in some learning program/preschool. I think she'll miss the deadline this year because her birthday is in October, but I'm hoping to encourage some growth on the things she already understands.

4. Let's Get Physical: Before we decided to have a baby, I was pretty active with running and working out.  At about week 6, the thought of working out in any way, shape or form made me gag. Then there was the morning sickness and as soon as that left there's been the muscle pains and Braxton Hicks contractions.  Not exactly conducive to good health/fitness.  It's January and while everyone is making goals to get fit or active. I'm setting up some distant plans.  Looks like July, I should be good to go with my activity level again. I can't wait to run, exert some sort of energy that won't send me puking or collapsing on myself. My goal is to run a 5k this year. It's a low goal, but I figure with two kids, time for running may be minimal.

Our fancy new electrical panel
in the basement
5. Basement: Our basement will be finished this year. That is so weird to say out loud. We always pushed that priority out and never expected to finish into the third year at this house.  I'm excited to paint and rearrange things downstairs. I'm really nervous to paint or do anything to the upstairs because people see it and judge the crap out of your upstairs. No one will see downstairs besides family and friends. I feel like I have a little bit more of a creative reign in the "Nerd Lair".

These are my sweet puppets
I made for a lesson
 6. CTR: At the beginning of this year, the Primary Presidency moved me up a few years. I now teach 5 & 6 year-old's and I'm very happy.  There are about 5-6 of these kids and they are amazing.  They listen really well and participate.  It's very different from Sunbeams.  2015 has had a rough start for Sharing Time. Cam is very good about going to her class, but as soon as we get to Sharing Time, she knows I'm there and REFUSES to sit with her class. It's very difficult to juggle my wound up class and Cami at the same time with her demands and expectations from "mommy".  I'll likely be released when I have the baby and hopefully she will be a little bit better when I am not within her sight range.

7. Dad's Book:  I know some people think it's ridiculous how much I talk, blog and such about my dad. I'm sure some people chalk it up to losing a parent or what-not.  One thing my dad dreamed about his whole life was publishing a book. He was insanely creative and spent a lot of his free time writing or brainstorming books.  Due to his dreams, he had file folders filled with church talks, letters, stories, ideas, etc. My mom talked about scanning it all and giving it to the family on a cd. I have much bigger plans.  I've been working on a book featuring everything my dad has ever written.  It's a long time coming and I have a goal to get it done this year. It would mean a lot to my dad, my family and me to have his dreams before us in something physical we can hold in our hands to pass down through generations. 


Mice Corpses and Beauty

I usually think my workplace is a pretty nerdy, boring place. We all work our shifts with normal appearances, not a lot of crazies.  My coworkers are a combination of normal people (mostly middle aged women) with big hearts and super nerdy science people. Overall, I tend to think I work in a pretty normal environment.  I feel that way for months at a time until I see a post like this on the employee online bulletin board.

After reading that post, I had many thoughts and questions.
1. This girl digs through owl throw up.
2. Cruelty free? Do you think the mouse thought that it was pretty cruel free when the owl's beak sliced into its belly?
3. Does she have pet owls? Or does she know where some owls roost in order to dig through said bird yak?
4. Where did she come up with the idea to use this in conjunction with flowers and jewelry? Mice bones do not scream beauty and femininity.
5. $20 a pop for dead animal and fake plants, I'm pretty sure you could find these things in a field for free at various stages of decomposition.
6. This idea inspires me, I think I shall go dig through cow manure for some digested flower seeds to press between two pieces of glass. It's beautiful right? I'll take your money