Monday, June 21, 2010

The Daddy to be

Little Emily wanted to get her daddy some presents for Father's Day. She got him a little Nerf football so that he can teach her to throw a football. Matt was very concerned when we found out we were having a girl that he would have no one to play football with and that he would be stuck having tea parties and playing dollies. Baby Emily assured him that she would love to play football with him.

Matt has also been very concerned that our children would never have a puppy. So Baby Emily got him a Chia Puppy.

I know that Matt will be a great daddy and I hope he had a wonderful Father's Day! I love you honey!

Also, Happy Father's Day to both my dad and Matt's dad. They are both wonderful examples of good men and thanks to them for teaching us the gospel and raising us to be good people. We love you!

My next 30 years

My birthday has come and gone. And now I'm 30. It seems kind of anti-climatic, but I had a great week of festivities. It started last week when we went to Matt's family's house for dinner. We wanted to celebrate Father's Day with Matt's dad since we were going to be going to my family's for Father's Day. But they decided to surprise me with a little birthday celebration. It was great! We even had an eclair birthday cake! Then on Monday, my student assistant put balloons up in my office to be enjoyed all week long.

I also wanted to celebrate with my friends, so on my birthday eve we went to Red Robin. It was so great...I love my friends so much and I really miss seeing them a couple times a week like I did when we were back in the singles ward. It was such a great ward and we had the best group of friends there. So it was fun to hang out with them again. Plus, I just really love Red Robin.

On my actual birthday, I went and got a pedicure with my sister. I also told Matt that I really wanted to go on a real date. He asked me what that meant and I said that it meant that he planned something fun for us to do and just told me when he was picking me up, and I didn't have to worry about any of it. And it had to be something different than just going to dinner.
So he took me to the zoo! I have been wanting to take a small child to the zoo for like 6 years, but every time we try to find a small child to take with us, it never works out. So Matt decided that we just needed to go anyway. It was fun!

Neither of us had been to the zoo since we were like 11. They had a new baby elephant that was so cute.

I managed to spill a grape snow cone all over myself. Oops!

We saw pretty much everything they had. I wondered where the lions and polar bears went? They used to have them?

We are such dorks!

Matt gave me a stuffed Nala lion for my present. I love it so much. It has a great story behind it. A long time ago, back when we were just friends, a bunch of us were going down to St. George for our very first triathlon. On the drive we were talking about which Disney character everyone was most like. Matt decided that I was most like Nala from Lion King because he said that I was tough, yet fun and playful, helped people to do things that they wouldn't otherwise have done, and encouraged people to be the best they could be. I thought that was so sweet.

So....Happy Birthday to me! I love celebrations and I love celebrating my birthday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


So I'm just curious...I would like to know from you moms with husbands in school full-time how you make it work. As far as I see it, there are 2 options...1) the mom stays home with the kids and you have no income until the hubby finishes school, or 2) the mom works while he finishes and you have to find childcare.

If you stay home, how do you handle insurance, paying for school, all the living expenses, medical bills, etc? And if you work, how do you balance working and being a mom?

Or are there other options besides those two that I'm not thinking of?

I still feel pretty strongly about not going into debt for some reason. We've done the calculations and even if we moved into a crappy, cheap apt and cut back to the bare minimum, we just don't see how we can avoid debt unless I work. We are good budgeters though. And even though I don't make a ton of money, we're not eligible for financial aid because they base your eligibility off your taxes from last year, and we made too much between the two of us last year.

I still feel like I should continue to work until Matt is done with school (which would be about 7-8 months from the time I would go back to when he graduates), but I'm curious as to how you make it work and why you choose to do what you do to handle the situation. From both working and stay home moms. If you don't want to post here, please call me or email me because I'd really like to know!

We just want to do what's best for our family, and be able to provide for and take care of our baby in the best way we can.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Up, up and away

This past weekend was Springville's Art City Days. We didn't make it to too many of the festivities, but we caught the tail end of the hot air balloon festival. So cool! Next year we will have to go earlier so we can actually ride in one.

They had free donuts, hot chocolate, cotton candy, and popcorn. And free inflatable obstacle courses and face painting. Too bad the carnival later that night was not free. But we did find an adorable little hat for baby Emily that I could not resist buying from a street vendor.

And here is my 34-week baby belly. 6 more weeks to go. I just hope I can get my cheekbones and chin back after she comes. :) I have seriously gained 10 pounds just in my face!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Practice what you preach

One thing I am constantly trying to teach my students is a concept called "strengths-based leadership". It's the idea that as you recognize and use your strengths you will be way more successful than if you try to improve your weaknesses.

There are lots of good books on this and I'm reminded of an experience I had while on my mission that I always share with my students to illustrate my point. As a missionary, I had this idea of what a good missionary was supposed to be like. And I was far from it. I thought that in order to be a good missionary, you had to love knocking on doors and talking to people in the park, etc, etc. And I was not good at that. I hated it, in fact. Then one day I realized that I didn't neccessarily have to do those things in order to be a good missionary. I started doing the things that I thought were fun and that I actually was good at. Some people thought I was weird, but I had tons of fun doing singing telegrams and putting on musical firesides and neighborhood parties and playing games in order to teach concepts. And the point of most of these things was to get the members to be more involved in the whole finding process. And it worked. We taught more investigators, had more fun, and eventually ended up having more success. And I was much happier and in the end I felt like I learned how to be a good missionary even though it wasn't in the way I had originally thought.

So my point is that I need to start practicing what I preach.

I've been thinking this week about my frustrations with my job and I think that part of the problem is that 1) I need to recognize that I do have strengths and find a way to incorporate them into my work. And 2) I need to realize that no matter how frustrated I am with this institution or the structure of my office or the lack of support and opportunities I have, that the real purpose of my job is to help my students develop as leaders.

As much as I would love to be able to be a full-time mom after this baby comes, one of my strengths is that I am a responsible person and because of that I just don't feel ok about going into debt while I have a perfectly good opportunity to avoid that situation. So I might as well give it my best shot and try to be good at this job for one more year while Matt focuses on and finishes school. And because I am a responsible person, I will also give it my best shot to do everything I can to be a good mom too. (I don't know what that is yet, but hopefully I will figure out how to balance everything.)

I also feel like this will help Matt and I to understand and appreciate both our own roles as well as the role of the other. For example, being in this situation, I will better understand what it's like to be the provider and Matt will better understand what it's like to take care of a home and baby.

I have realized this week that some of the things that are frustrating me are because of my strengths. For example, I like to make things happen. I don't just talk about things, but I do them. I think that's why it's been so frustrating for me because it seems like it takes FOREVER to get anything done around here. With all the approvals and collaboration, etc. I oftentimes can't just make something happen myself. Or when I get excited about an idea, I want to do something about it. But most of the time, I'm told I have to wait. I'm also good at generating ideas and plans and being in the development mode. Once I get something up and running, I get bored with maintaining it.

In previous jobs I've had, I haven't had to rely so much on other people to get things done. I've been able to just do things and make decisions and run with it. I think that's part of what's frustrating me too.

So anyway, I just need to focus on the things I can do and not worry so much about people who I see as barriers. And try to get excited about things even if there is a lot of red tape to jump through and not get bored when things take a long time. I need to see if any of my strengths can be better incorporated into this job and just try to make it a good experience for the students I work with.

So I'm going to start a list of strengths that hopefully I can lean on.

I am...
-good at making things happen, not just talking about them
-determined, I don't usually give up on things
-I like to try new things, I don't like doing the same thing over and over
-constantly wanting to improve
-good at developing things
-I truly like to help people
-I have good ideas

Please feel free to add to this list...sometimes I have a hard time recognizing my own strengths. :) But I am determined to make this work, because for some reason we are in this situation and there are obviously things I need to learn from it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I am slowly going crazy

I am frustrated. With everything. My sister said I was allowed to complain only a few times, and this is going to be one of those times. I just need to vent for a minute.

I am going to have to disagree with whoever said the 1st trimester of pregnancy is the worst and then it gets better. Not for me! The 3rd is definitely the worst. The 1st and 2nd were a breeze, but this 3rd one is not fun. I wake up every morning feeling like I’ve just run 10 miles, I’m sore everywhere, I can’t sleep at night, I have heartburn for no reason (I’ve never had heartburn before!), I feel nauseated sometimes, I’m always roasting hot, I am exhausted all the time, I am huge but not with the cute, pregnant lady belly, just the fat gut with the chubby cheeks look, I waddle, my legs feel like lead and my feet look like puffin fish, I get winded just climbing a flight of stairs, I have to roll out of bed in the morning, I’m a lot more moody and feel overwhelmed all the time, I just feel blah, blah, blah. Uggh!

I am having serious anxiety about this baby. I am not going to know what to do with her or how to take care of her or how on earth I'm going to balance working and being a mom. I feel like I can’t even handle the rest of my life, how am I going to add a baby to everything?

I am also feeling like I am good at absolutely nothing. There has got to be something I can be good at. But how do I find what it is? And the things that I am good at don’t matter. Like what good does it do anyone if I can read fast or do well in school or pick up after myself or remember things? Those things don’t matter at all. And the things I thought I was somewhat good at, I have discovered that I’m really not good at or that there is always someone whose skills fit the need better than me. I need to develop some talents and skills that actually are useful.

I am also completely frustrated with my job. I’m just not good at it. Everything I do is wrong and every time I have an idea that I am excited about, it gets shot down or doesn’t work. I have zero support, there’s no one to stick up for me or go to bat for me or give me opportunities or even anyone to vent to. I feel so very alone. People don’t trust me and just do things themselves that I am supposed to do, but they probably do them better than I would anyway. I feel like I’m not useful at all. I just wanted to help people and make a meaningful contribution to the world, but I am not good at doing that. And I don’t know what to do about it. But there’s got to be a way I can do something valuable. I just need to figure out what.

I just want to be useful in something. But I can’t be useful until I can figure out what I’m good at. And I just feel crappy and overwhelmed. And I need to figure this out before this baby comes and I have a million other things added to my plate. Because I want to be a good mom for my little girl and a good wife for my hubby and a good person in general. There. Vent over. I will figure out a way to deal with it. No more complaining. The end.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Georgia on my mind

Last week I went to Georgia to visit my sister, who is going to school there. It was a lot of fun. The first day I just hung out at the pool for most of the was fantastic! Then when Allison got off school, we drove up to the north Georgia mountains. I love driving through the country in the is so beautiful and you always happen upon the most random produce and boiled peanut stands!

Gotta love those boiled peanuts!

Along the way we decided to stop at the Cabbage Patch Kid General Hospital, where the Cabbage Patches are born. We got to witness a birth of a Cabbage Patch Kid.

It was hilarious! And the audience gets to name it.

We then went to Anna Ruby Falls, which was beautiful.

I had grits every morning for breakfast. Mmmm. And of course a trip to the south is not complete without a stop at the Waffle House!

We also went to Centennial Olympic Park and to the CNN building.

The Braves game had a 1 1/2 hour rain delay! They put this huge tarp over the field. But we had a lovely time cheering on the Braves while doing the tomahawk chop.

The next day we went to the Georgia Aquarium, which is supposedly the biggest aquarium in the world. It was super crowded! We then went to the most delicious cheesecake place I have ever been in my life. We ended the day at Stone Mountain Park, which has a southern plantation. The goats were trying to eat the tie stringy things on my shorts.

I just love the big southern plantation houses...they are so beautiful!

At Stone Mountain they have the most amazing laser and firework show. Stone Mountain is just this huge granite hill rising out from the middle of nowhere. They do the laser show on the face of the mountain and it's all about Georgia and life in the South and American pride. I just love it!

Sunday we went to Allison's ward, which is the same ward I went to when I lived there. I thought for sure there would be no one left that I knew, since it's been almost 7 years since I lived there. But there were still a few people left.

After church we went to Kennesaw Mountain Civil War Battlesite. It's one of my favorite places in Georgia. We had a lovely picnic. Here is my dad trying to open the pickles!

We hiked to the top of the "mountain" which is about a mile up the hill.

And once we got to the top it started to rain.

A lot. By the time we got back down, we were absolutely drenched!

On Monday, in honor of Memorial Day, we went to the Martin Luther King Jr Center that is all about the history of the Civil Rights Movement. We saw the church where he preached at, his home, and his grave.

We also went for a really nice walk along the Chattahoochee River before coming home. It was a really nice little vacation, and fun to visit Georgia again. I really did love it there. The only thing that would have been better is if Matt could have come. I came home to this waiting for me...

What a sweetie!