Tuesday, March 24, 2015

20 weeks

20 weeks down, 20 to go!

Just thought I'd give you a little glimpse into what this pregnancy is like for me right now, since I haven't really documented it at all and someone, somewhere might actually want to know (even if it's just future me).

Due date: August 11 (all my measurements have been right on for this, so it hasn't changed!)

Weight gain: Approximately 10 pounds. Possibly 11 since I just ate some In-n-Out for lunch. My belly has definitely perma-popped and my belly button is fighting to stay an innie.

Baby size: According to my tracker app, "Baby is now about the size of a Belgian endive." (And I'm like....riiiiight.)

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty good. Not proportionately to how tired I am, but whatever. I already get up at least once to pee. On a positive note, I'm finally enough of a grownup that I can pee in the middle of the night without turning on the light! No applause necessary.

Sickness: The continual sickness has ceased --thank goodness-- but every once in a while I get a weird wave of nausea that hits hard and fast, and hangs around for a while. The best way to keep it at bay is to eat pretty consistently throughout the day, but I have to eat just the right amount. And if I start to feel sick, it's over. It's a pretty delicate balance. My body is pretty picky this time around.

Aches/pains: Speaking of my picky body, it's just not really capable of handling much this time around. Everything is apparently much looser and weaker when you're on your fourth pregnancy, which equals everything being much achier, much faster. I can't be on my feet long without feeling pain from the waist down. #everythingisawesome No back pain yet, though, which has been the bane of my existence during my other pregnancies.

Cravings: My two consistent cravings have been: (1) sourdough bread (lightly toasted with butter. YUM) and (2) sour candy (the sour-er the better. Most things aren't sour enough). But it's not like those things taste good all the time, and there are plenty of other things that I want pretty badly, pretty often (helllllo, dark chocolate). My big anti-craving has been pizza. Ugh. No matter where it's from, it's always too greasy and while I can stomach eating it, it makes me feel so gross afterwards. Not cool, since pizza is obviously delicious and convenient.

Random: We just found out last week that we're having a baby GIRL, which the girls are both thrilled about, since, according to them, "We already have a baby boy." Baby girls are so fun in so many ways, so we're excited! She mostly cooperated during her ultrasound, but apparently the tech was unable to get very good angles on her head, so we're having to schedule another ultrasound in 6 weeks to hopefully get a better look. Also, she's a total wiggle worm! I feel her move way more often than I was feeling Parker at this point. That's easily my favorite part of pregnancy, so I'm loving it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My first Stitch Fix Maternity box!

{about stitch fix}

You've probably heard of Stitch Fix by now, but in case you haven't...

Stitch Fix is basically an online personal styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces chosen just for you, based off of your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can then choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and return what you don't love in your return bag (prepaid postage provided). AND your $20 styling fee gets applied to anything you buy! So that's cool. And if you happen to get a slam dunk of a box, you get 25% off for buying everything in it.

Pretty cool, right?

{stitch fix and me}

I signed up with Stitch Fix several months ago, but didn't actually commit to having a box shipped to me. I was turned off a bit by the higher prices of the items. Plus, I usually actually enjoy shopping -- so why would I want someone else to do it for me?

So what changed?

Well, a few things.

(1) I got sick of my Birchbox and Ipsy subscriptions. That may seem entirely unrelated, but let me explain. While I decided that the whole sample-sized-beauty-product-with-the-occasional-full-sized-eyeliner-which-I-never-wear thing wasn't for me, I loveloveloved getting my boxes every month. It was so fun to have something special show up just for me -- something that I didn't have to put any effort into finding or choosing. It was such a special treat. So basically, canceling these subscriptions left a $20-for-a-subscription-box sized hole in my heart.

(2) I got pregnant. With my FOURTH baby. FOURTH babies make their presence known. Quickly. They make you too big for your regular clothes. They make you too tired to shop. And the very fact that it's your FOURTH means that you basically have to make any and all buying decisions on the fly in the store, since your existing three children have the patience of your bladder (i.e. zero. Zero patience).

(3) I discovered how many of my old maternity clothes are worn out or have changed shape or whatever since being washed. I've also been trying to adjust my style just a bit -- making it a little more age appropriate and sophisticated, while still keeping it comfortable and casual. Those things, plus the fact that I was desperate to just feel cute instead of bloated, made me much more amenable to the idea of spending a little bit more on my clothes.

(4) Stitch Fix announced that they were now offering maternity-specific styling.

Well, all those things combined made Stitch Fix look pretty darn attractive. So I updated my style profile and scheduled my first fix!

{my maternity stitch fix}

So, finally...my box came yesterday! I probably don't have to tell you that I basically starting ripping the box open before the front door was even shut after I picked it up. And then I started trying things on! Here's what was in my box:

LA Made Maternity Laina Maternity Knit Top ($68)

first impressions: pretty color, super soft fabric

styling suggestions: 

on me: 

thoughts: I love the neutral color of this top, and the fabric is super soft. But...it has a weird tank top layer underneath it (I'm guessing to make it a nursing top also, which is cool) that made the fit weird and created some weird lines on the fabric. That, especially for the higher price, equals RETURN. 

Mur Mur Carlie Hooded Vest ($58)

first impressions: This is something I would never, ever buy for myself, but love the look of when it's styled into a full outfit. Nice that it's something I could wear after the baby, too. A little bit edgy, which is fun and different. 

styling suggestions:

on me:

thoughts: Honestly, I didn't give this vest much of a chance, so I just threw it on over the casual dress I was wearing yesterday. I'm sure it would look better all styled up like on the card. But the truth is...I'd never wear this. My style is a lot simpler than that. Plus, it's already over 90 degrees here, so adding even half of another layer is just out of the question until October. Sorry, vest. You're cool. It's not you...it's me. RETURN. 

Loveappella Maternity Davidi Button Detail Maternity Top ($48)

first impressions: Oh, yeah. This is definitely something I would have picked out for myself. Perfect blend of casual and put together. Oh, and stripes!

styling suggestions:

on me:

(and a close up so you can see the cute buttons on the shoulders):

thoughts: Very comfortable. 3/4 sleeve could get hot, but it doesn't need an undershirt and the fabric is super lightweight, so it should be fine even in the summer. Could be dressed up or down. Room for the bump to grow. Winner winner chicken dinner. KEEP.

Rune Porter Maternity Legging ($58)

first impressions: Ooh, these are going to be hard to let go of. I've heard so many people sing the praises of maternity leggings, and a single quality pair would get me through this whole pregnancy, I'm sure, since I don't wear them too often. 

styling suggestions:

on me: (ha, this is the worst picture ever. Don't worry, they're just black leggings.)

thoughts: Wow, so comfortable! They are even full panel (something which I usually hate) and I didn't mind at all. They feel like they're supportive but they don't make my legs look like sausages stuffed into casing. They're just...lovely. BUT, they're also expensive! Could I find similar quality leggings for significantly cheaper? Help me on this one, peeps! UNDECIDED. 

Octavia Chanelle Floral & Lace Infinity Scarf ($34)

first impressions: So pretty! And who doesn't love a great scarf?

styling suggestions:

(um, thanks?)

on me:

thoughts: Ugh, I love this scarf. Easily the prettiest scarf I've ever worn. It has the floral pattern on one side and the cream lace on the other. The colors are lovely and work well with my skin. Two problems: the price (this is way more than I would usually even consider paying for a scarf), and the fact that I wouldn't be able to wear until fall. But honestly, it's cute enough to have me still considering it. UNDECIDED. 


It was so fun getting my first Stitch Fix; fun enough to make up for the fact that there was only one thing that was a no-brainer keeper. I do take some responsibility for that: I failed to tell my stylist about the impending, debilitating heat that is already descending on my city. I think that would have made a difference. 

Also...the prices. I knew that was going to be an issue from the beginning. I think that's really going to be a matter of changing my mindset about clothes. I need to learn to buy nicer things less often, and to use key pieces in various outfits. I mean, if that gray striped shirt I'm keeping, for example, replaces two cheap $14 shirts I might buy elsewhere, then it evens out (with my $20 taken off). And if those leggings keep me from buying an extra pair of jeans that I may or may not ever wear because they only look so-so, then they're worth it, too! I just need to get into that mindset: quality and versatility versus more cheap stuff. 

So, help me out on my undecideds, por favor! And if you want to try this fun service out for yourself, check out Stitch Fix here!

Friday, March 13, 2015

I'm working on it

Wow, you guys. Just wow.

As you may or may not have noticed, the last thing I wrote on this little bloggy blog of mine got passed around, well, quite a bit. It was... new. And freaky. And wonderful. And validating.

And, ultimately... stifling.

Because, quite frankly, I felt pressure. Pressure to write something else that that many people would care to read.

And then you throw in the goings on of everyday life and it's like, "Not only do I have to come up with something great to write about, but I have to find the time to write it?"

And then you struggle coming up with a new routine when your daughter starts a new preschool year.
And then you get slammed with birthday season.
And then you travel a bit.
And then the holidays come.
And then you get pregnant.
And then you throw up (repeat this step often).
And then you start to feel the serious need to do something for yourself, because sanity may not be overrated after all.

And then your mind drifts over to that little blog you love but so often neglect, and you think "Gah, it's been so ridiculously long since I wrote anything. Anything I say is just going to sound lame."

Which quickly becomes "I'm never writing again."

And that makes you sad.

And maybe, if you're lucky, some random Thursday will come when you pick up one of your favorite books and you start rereading it. And you realize that those sadness-inducing voices inside your head just don't have to be there. They're just nasty little gremlins trying to convince you that you're not good enough.

And you'll say, "Gosh dang it, I miss writing on my blog."

And you'll want to write on your blog.

So you do.

And maybe no one will ever visit my blog again, or maybe someday I'll look back at that number of visitors I got on that one day in June and I'll laugh at how big I thought it was.

But it won't really matter either way, because this is for me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Here's why Kate Kelly was not excommunicated for asking questions

Let me first say -- I feel bad for Kate Kelly. Excommunication from the LDS church is no small matter. Depending on how she handles it, it could have devastating, eternal consequences for her and her family. It's sad, it really is. For any church members to say that they are glad she is gone, or that they are vindicated by this decision...well, it's not a very good attitude to have, friends. We want for Kate what we want for everyone -- eternal life and exaltation.

The doctrine/lack of doctrine behind the issue of ordaining women has been discussed. A lot. That's not what I want to do here.

I have to bring to light, though, a facet of this sad event that is having far-reaching consequences -- most notably, a negative perception of the church that I love.

It saddens me to see that Kate Kelly's excommunication has turned into "Mormons can't ask questions or they'll be excommunicated." Some members of the church claim to feel "silenced" by this action against Sister Kelly. They say that the church is sending a message that if you ask questions, even sincere ones, you will not be permitted membership in the church.

Here's my problem with that: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question.

I repeat: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question. Not anymore. She was sharing a teaching, a belief.

From Ordain Women's mission statement: "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to to reflect the equality and expansiveness of [the fundamental tenets of Mormonism]."

While other language on the website reflects the idea of "asking" Church leaders to prayerfully consider the topic, the fact is that they believe that women should be ordained. Not "We wonder if women should be ordained" or "We are exploring the idea of ordaining women" or "We doubt that God meant for His priesthood to be held exclusively by men." No. Their belief is set. In fact, each member profile on the Ordain Women website ends the same way: "I believe that women should be ordained."

This is not a question. This is a statement of belief. It is a teaching.

This is further supported by Ordain Women's six "discussions" that explain their cause and mission. They are trying to teach people. They are not seeking an answer. Rather, they have found their answer and are unwilling to accept any alternatives. They are demanding their solution. The very name of their organization is a command: Ordain Women.

Kate Kelly is not forbidden from wondering if women should be ordained. She is not forbidden from praying about the subject, or from discussing it with her family and friends and local leaders. She can even believe that women will receive the priesthood someday, when God reveals it. She can believe that, and not be excommunicated.

What she can't do is teach it as though it were established doctrine. Not without permission from the people who are tasked with keeping the doctrine in line with God's will. She taught it anyway. They asked her to stop. She didn't.

Here I must point out -- If any limit is placed on the questions we ask, it is this: that no person can receive revelation for an area outside their jurisdiction (for lack of a better term). Jurisdiction, for most members, means the member and his/her family. For a bishop, it means him, his family, and his ward. For the prophet (and only the prophet) it means the entire church. To sustain a leader of the church (a formal "vote," if you will, to show public support for a leader of the church) is to agree to be led by his/her counsel, and to respect his/her area of jurisdiction.

Kate Kelly was not, is not, never has been, in a position to receive revelation for the entire church. Not only that, but she sustained her bishop and stake president, along with the general leaders of the church -- the prophet and apostles. She agreed to respect them, and to allow their words and insights to help her find answers to her questions. But when they gave her counsel she didn't agree with, she refused to listen. That is not asking. That is demanding to hear an answer that she has already given herself. At some point, Sister Kelly crossed the boundary from honest questioning and well-intentioned doubting to preaching a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the church. She continued to do so after being asked to stop. This teaching needed to be dissociated with the official doctrine of the church. This is why she was excommunicated -- not because she asked a question.

Let me be clear: Mormons are not expected to believe anything. We are not expected to follow blindly. We are encouraged to ask for and seek truth. We are taught to ask with sincere hearts and unwavering faith. We are told that this sincere asking will bring us personal peace and guidance.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not prohibit, hinder, or in any way discourage questions. It just doesn't. And if Ordain Women really had been asking a question, Kate Kelly's story may have ended differently.

UPDATE, 6/30: To read the church's official statement on questions and doctrine, click here. 

UPDATE 2, 6/30: I so appreciate all of you reading and adding your comments. Please know that I'm having some problems with Blogger and comments right now; the latest comments are not being displayed for some reason. The comments ARE showing up in the backend, but are not being shown on the live blog. I'm working to fix this, but in the meantime, please only post your comment one time. Thank you!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

On the chopping block. And family pictures.

We all knew this day would come, right?

I mean, Maddy's been comfortable using scissors for a long time now.

And Charly's hair...well, it was long.

Yes. Was.

We went from this:

to this:

to this:

Yes, I know her little bob is freaking adorable. But, if I'm being perfectly honest... I MISS THOSE LONG CURLS, DANG IT. 

Ah, well. Such is life with two girls, I suppose. 

Also, did you notice how super cute that first picture is? We had family pictures taken and I kind of love them. Here's some of my faves:

I love these people. How blessed am I to be the mother of this family? Answer: very.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Parker , months 5-7

Man, time is FLYING with this little guy! It seems almost more fitting to put three months of updates into one post with how fast he's growing!



And...I'm still not caught up, since the kid is now 8 (AND ALMOST 9) months old.

Seriously, can we just slow down, universe? Geez.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm NOT Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical

Let's get one thing straight -- I am no supporter of the "Comparison Game." You know the one.

Here's how you play it:

(1) See an Instagram of the amazing "Where the Wild Things Are" birthday party that your friend threw for her one-year-old (who happens to be named Max, which makes you wonder for a second how long this has been in the works).

(2) Think about the last birthday party you threw for your three-year-old, which included a store bought cake, paper plates left over from a Christmas party, and a theme of...I don't know... "A Birthday Party"?

(3) Realize that you don't even own the book "Where the Wild Things Are."

(4) Remember that, oh wait, you do...but you've never read it to your kids. In fact, you used it as a makeshift dustpan to sweep cheerio crumbs into after your toddler threw them purposefully on the floor and then had a "wild rumpus" of sorts all over them.

(5) Cry.

Yeah, I've played that game a few too many times. And so have many other mothers. Really, it needs to stop.

And if the author of this article had stopped here, with the idea that we can be good mothers without Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, I would have supported her. Wholeheartedly. Because my word, if ombre frosting skills are what it takes to be a good mother, I never would have applied for the position (partially because I'm STILL not sure how to correctly pronounce "ombre").

But she doesn't stop there.

Instead, she says that magic is "inherent to childhood" and that parents should not try to "manufacture contrived memories" for their kids.

And that's where I call a time-out.

Sure, childhood has a lot of natural "magic" in it. The author uses snow as one example, saying "Experiencing winter and playing in the snow as a 5-year-old is magical." But what if your mom is out there with you, helping you build a lopsided snowman and showing you how to make snow angels and letting you hit her over and over with snowballs and making you hot cocoa when you're ready to come inside?

"Collecting rocks and keeping them in your pocket is magical." But what if your dad takes you for a walk to look for rocks for your collection and then helps you decorate a can to keep them in?

"Walking with a branch is magical." But what if your mom asks "What are you doing?" and you tell her you're leading a parade and she starts playing an imaginary drum and marches behind you?

Dare I say that this parental involvement might make these things... more magical? We can create magic for our kids. It doesn't always have to be with a big present or vacation. We can show our kids how to find magic everyday.

And, taking that a step further, dare I say that a little magic might happen for the parents as well?

The magic of parenthood is easily dispelled by tantrums, whining (OMG THE WHINING), rebellion, and fights -- over huge, gigantic, life-altering problems like broccoli and shampoo.

But a magic moment is precious. Those occasions when I see my children using their imaginations, enjoying the moment, smiling with their whole faces and whole hearts -- those are the moments I live for.

And I'll tell you what -- if I have to "manufacture" those moments, I will. If I can make those moments happen more often by organizing some crafts for my kids, or by hiring a princess to come to my daughter's birthday party, or by taking my kids to the park or zoo or even (gasp!) Disneyland, then I'm going to do it. Over and over and over again. And I'm going to take pictures and videos and I'm going to show them to my kids later and say "Look! Remember this? I loved having that day with you! Look how happy you are! I love it when you're happy. I love you!"

No, I don't plan on spoiling my kids. I don't buy them things for no reason. I don't keep them busy every minute of every day. They watch TV. They play outside. They play dress-up. They also help me wash dishes. And sweep the floor. And dust. I can teach them to be good children, children who appreciate hard work and beauty and relationships, while still creating exciting experiences for them. They are not doomed to be spoiled brats just because I set up that no-mess finger painting thing I saw on Pinterest (which, by the way, doesn't work too well).

So, to the author of that article, I just want to say that if you think I would create experiences for my children so that I can "win the game," you're wrong. You're wrong and you're judging me. (And by the way, by judging me, you're playing the game. Could you stop, please?). I try to make my kids' childhood magical, as much as I can, because I love them, and this is one way I've chosen to show it. I love them and I know there is only so much time before the magic fades, and they realize that Tigger is actually a guy in a Tigger suit. And man, that breaks my heart.

So until then, here's to all the magic I can manufacture, for myself and for my kids -- because we all deserve it.