Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Yes, I have a confession to make again. I'm an extremely vain person. I've known this about myself for years. But my vanity is not the "Wow I'm so hot!" type. In fact it's just the opposite. I'm vain because of the money, time and energy I devote to trying to be slimmer, younger and better looking.

I have been blessed with the five greatest sisters on the planet. And cursed because they're all cuter than me. It was devastating in high school to watch my younger sisters getting asked out by seniors when they weren't even in high school, let alone old enough to date. And yet, I couldn't get a date to save my life. My very first date I had to ask the guy out. (And it was the 4th guy I asked, who went to a different school that finally said yes.)

I'm not having a pity party, and I'm not asking for sympathy. If anything the experiences of having five beautiful sisters has made me more determined than ever to be worthy of being photographed next to them.

And yet, that is the problem. Even though I've had a skin care routine that I love and will never depart from, I'm always willing and ready to drop big money on the lastest mask, scrub or microderm just to see if it will make a difference. I spend hours at the gym trying to burn off the pounds that packed on during my first two years of marriage when my metabolism slowed and I was eating "normal" meals for the first time in my life. I tan, I wax, color my hair, get my nails done, give myself pedicures, get facials, count calories (although I don't usually alter my eating habits, it's more to find out how many calories I'm actually taking in, than to change anything about what I'm eating) and spend more time at the gym than with my husband.

And somehow I'm still the old, short, plump sister in all of Jesse & Skye's wedding photos. Let me demonstrate:

Does Shiloh even look old enough to have six children? Not at all. Especially since she doesn't look like she's had even one! And no this picture was not taken when she was a 19 year old newlywed. This photo was taken just this Easter as a 29 year old mother of six. (Her youngest was born in December. Seriously, it's not fair!)

In high school Cami always got told she looked like Brittany Spears. Although that's not nearly the compliment now that it was in '99, it's easy to see that her looks have faired even better than Brittany's. It should not be legal for a pregnant woman to be so cute!

Between the pageants and the magazine cover, there's never been any question that Jesse's a knockout.

I've always thought that Skye should be the "Noxema Girl." She's got a perfect complexion and a fresh-faced beauty that I've always envied. She's the only sister that's shorter than me, but she's petite all over, so it's very cute. (She's also smarter than me, which is another thorn in my side, but I'll save that for a later post.)

And then there's Hillary. With piercing blue eyes and china doll features, she's easily the most striking of all the girls. She's so statuesque that her looks remind me of the runway models you see in Vogue. (And she doesn't look only 19 in any of her pictures.)

I also have the cutest and funniest brother on the planet, but this post is about the girls. Besides, I've already dedicated several posts to Cody.

I'm so proud of all of my sisters. I could go on for days about their beauty and their accomplishments. And that's why I have this problem. I feel like I don't belong in this bevy of beautiful girls. I'm out of place in the family I'm so proud of. I'm the oldest, and of course there's nothing I can do about that. I'm the shortest (save for Skye) but unlike Skye I'm not petite. And I weigh the most. (I even weigh more than Shiloh at full pregnancy weight.) So while my sisters enter the prime of their life and maintain their youthful glow and perfect metabolism, I'm fighting crows feet, cellulite, and thanks to a cruel trick by mother nature, more blemishes than I had as a teenager. (I mean, wrinkles I can handle, acne I can handle, but come on! Both at the same time! That's just plain mean!)

With Gideon it's become harder to maintain the high maintenance lifestyle I'd grown accustomed to. But instead of changing my ways, I'm sacrificing precious nap time to keep with my many beauty regimes. Since he's been born, I've still never once left the house without full make-up and hair.

The thing is that part of me doesn't want to change. I like to feel pretty. I don't usually have a good day when I know I don't look good. And I feel my absolute best in stillettos and red salsa lipstick. My self esteem, while not solely dependent on my physical appearance, is still tied to it. I know it's a lot of work, but it's what I have to do to feel like I have a chance at belonging to this family. And the other part of me doesn't know how to change. I've worked in the corporate world for so long that I really don't own many "weekend" clothes. T-shirts and jeans are great but I don't have that many (and after 4 weeks at home I'm sick of what I do have. I miss my stillettos and city shorts and red salsa lipstick.) I don't know how to start my day without "putting my face on." I don't know how to end it without night cream and eye serum. I've done my beauty routines for so long that they're just part of who I am. Same thing with how I dress. I feel like a bum wearing jeans and t-shirts everyday.

But I can't help but wonder if people look at me sometimes and say (as I've said about other people before) "Wow that lady is trying way too hard."

And today I find myself asking if it's worth it. Or if my vanity will eventually ruin me. Because when I look in the mirror each evening I still see crow's feet. And those lines on my nose and forehead from squinting too much. I see hair that probably should have been cut years ago. Nails that no other mom to a newborn has. And a body that's disciplined and very strong, but refuses to be slim.

I see a 30 year old woman who still has the same fears she's had since jr. high. That with such beautiful younger sisters, no one will even notice her.

Oh NO.......

...Gideon found his thumb! Better make sure we always have a pacifier handy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

We Survived our First Road Trip

We went to SLC with Nana & Papa over the weekend. Travis has family down there who were anxious to meet Gideon. And they about devoured him. Gideon was really good all weekend (as usual.) He slept most of the way down and back and didn't seem to mind getting passed around to family members.

I got a chance to do some shopping at stores we don't have in Idaho Falls. It was a welcome change. And we even went to Cabela's to buy presents for Travis who couldn't come along because he had to work.

We also hit the tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point. To be honest my expectations were not high, I've been to Keukenhof. Anyway, it was windy and chilly. The gardens were pretty, but due to the unseasonably cold spring you could really tell that some of the flowers hadn't even blossomed yet, even thought this was the last weekend of the festival. And many of the trees and shrubs which should have been green & blooming, were still dead and brown. Still it was enjoyable except for the weather. We didn't stay as long as we would have if it had been nice. And I loved seeing the tulips even if it did make me homesick for Holland.

Look at how darling and chubby he's getting!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yes, Pictures.

Gideon was being extremely adorable today and actually smiled a lot. But somehow, I could never quite catch the smiles with the camera.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No Pictures Today

Sorry, but for the first time since we brought Gideon home, I didn't grab the camera at all today. Which is kind of a shame because he was awake for a big chunk of the day and being super cute.

Still I thought I'd update a couple of things since I know people are curious. So I've alluded to office politics and stress there, and I know some of you won't want to hear it, so just skip this paragraph. If you're wanting to know, then keep reading. The situation which has reduced me to tears and Hagaan Dazs every night for the last 10 days has to do with the fact that I'm on leave. I didn't meet some goals that I had previously set with management for the month of April, because hello, I took a maternity leave. I had assumed that going on leave would change the expectations because the circumstances certainly changed. But when I got an email from my boss last week asking if I was going to meet the deadline I realized I was mistaken. There has also been some miscommunication or confusion on whether or not I'm coming back. (Which I made sure was clear before I left. All of my co-workers are clear on it, but management keeps calling and asking, "Okay so what's the deal again?" And I have to reiterate what was previously agreed on.) And now because of the unmet expectations mentioned above, there's even talk of whether I "should" come back. The icing on the cake is that they've hired a new loan officer and I found out when I went into the office last week to work on a file for a couple of hours that they've given him my computer. They did put a slower, crappier, older one at my desk. When I asked about it the answer I got was along the lines of, "Well, we figured you're working from home right now and probably only going to be here part time, so this guy needed it more." So yeah, stress, stress, stress. And I was already dealing with confusion and emotion about whether to go back at all, (the original agreement had me going back part time and working mostly from home.) But I don't like the idea that I feel like I'm being pushed out because I chose to take a maternity leave and stay home with my son for a few weeks. Technically it could probably turn into a legal battle, but I'm not that desperate or vindictive. Besides, that wouldn't do me any good anyway and it would only burn bridges.

So that's the work stress. I finally decided I'd had enough today and dropped Gideon off at Nana's and went for a run. Not a long run, barely over a mile. But it felt good. It was the first time I've run outside since September. It wasn't really warm, but that's okay. I forgot how hard it is to run outside at this elevation. It's seriously difficult to breathe. Anyway tomorrow I'm going to go to a spinning class at the gym. Because I miss the gym.

I'm still stressed, but I'm finally tired enough that I think I just might be able to get some sleep tonight. At least I hope so. Gideon was awake for a good portion of the day so I'm hoping that means he'll sleep well too. (Although he usually does anyway.)

Thursday we're having some professional photos taken of Gideon. I know many of you who read my blog have an interest in photography, but as you can tell based on the snapshots of Gideon so far, I was not blessed with an eye for photography at all. So I'll leave that in the hands of a professional.

Well, I'll take some pics tomorrow. Lots of Love.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Coming Unglued

I'm very emotional and completely stressed out right now over the situation at work which has reached a boiling point. But I don't want to talk about it or bore anyone with it, so instead, I'll just let you all look at the latest pictures of my adorable son.

My Sleeping Babies

Travis got home an hour ago and since then I've been busy upstairs doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. I went down to the family room a few minutes ago to put something away and what did I find?

All three of my boys stretched out in the recliner, sleeping soundly.

Healthy or Selfish?

You know, I've made peace with the fact that I'll never be the same high-maintenance, obsessive neat freak, gym junkie that I was before we got Gideon. In most areas of my life, I'm actually doing okay with it. My family especially will be impressed to hear that I went to sleep the other night with dirty dishes in the sink and laundry unfolded in baskets. Stranger still is admitting that there are some days when I don't get my make-up on or my hair done at all. And even more surprising, it doesn't bother me like I thought it would.

What's really tearing me apart is the fact that I haven't had any real exercise in three weeks. See I love the gym. The gym is my friend. I love sweating out all of the stress and worry from my day and coming home exhausted to the point that I don't stress or worry about anything unimportant. It is also where I think. We all have our places where we can meditate, ponder and reflect on our lives. Mine just happens to be when I'm lifting weights or running. Some of the solutions to my biggest problems and life's greatest mysteries have occured to me on a treadmill or a spinning bike. (I swear sometimes I pray for something and the Lord waits until I'm completely sweaty and red in the face to give me an answer.) Not to mention that there are the added benefits of exercise, I have more energy, I look better and I feel better.

But now that we have Gideon, it seems like a different ball game. On the one hand, I have people telling me that I still need to take time for me and do little things for myself each day. On the other hand after all the waiting and hoping and pleading and praying, it almost feels wrong to leave him to go do something for me. I mean, I had more than 30 years of only doing things for myself, so it seems selfish to leave him for a couple of hours each day so I can get my sweat induced endorphine high.

And yet, I know that I need it. I'm literally going through withdrawl I think. I'm restless even though I'm more tired and lethargic, I feel cranky and bloated (and no it's not PMS) my skin is beginning to look pale and break out a little more, (I'm losing that healthy glow I always have) and I'm starting to get more stress and tension headaches again. (Thanks to office politics which have somehow reached me even though I'm on leave, the stress level has been spiking like crazy the last week.) And I lie awake in bed obsessing about what I ate and what I didn't do to burn it off. (I know I have the world's worst eating habits, but part of why I exercise is so that I can support the world's worst eating habits.)

So I need exercise. I would compromise and pack Gideon in the stroller and go for brisk walks but, HELLO! I live in stupid Idaho! Between the snow and the wind and the biting cold, no way am I taking my newborn out in that.

What can I do? Is it selfish to get my daily gym fix? Or do I need that "me" time to keep from losing my mind? I don't know. I'm open to suggestions.

This is just a picture of his cuteness that I hadn't posted yet. (I don't think.)

Gideon likes to stretch. He does his exercises everyday. I'm jealous!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Guess Who's Already a Month Old!

Did the last three weeks just fly for anyone else? Because they sure did for us. Our boy is a month old today. I have no idea where the time goes!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cute Little Bug

Seriously, could he be any cuter?

This little bug outfit is what B. sent to us yesterday. What's even cuter is that it has a matching jacket and baseball cap. Too bad he whizzed all over it before I could get a photo of the entire ensemble. Oh well. Another time I guess.

We love you, Curly!

The seat was a one month birthday present from Nana and Papa. (Still having a hard time believing he's a month old tomorrow!) It vibrates and plays music and he seems to like it so far.

And always........the cat as protector.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I just figured out...

..who I am on the scale of parents. I'm that annoyingly overzealous parent who thinks that her child is the cutest, brightest, most wonderful thing on the planet. And for that reason I constantly bombard friends, family, co-workers, Jesse's co-workers, my father-in-law's co-worker's, strangers at the store, strangers at the dentists office, the girls who work at the pediatrician's office and whoever else might express an interest, however slight it may be, with photos and antecdotes about my perfect son. For proof, just check this very blog. Each day insignificant events in our journey of parenthood get cataloged on this blog, less for anyone who might read it and more for me because I'm so enamored by this boy and even more shocked that I'm actually his mother.

I'd apologize for the inconvenience to all of you, but A. I'm not sorry at all, and B. If you don't like it, then I guess don't read my blog.

Without further ado, here's today:

I know my mother-in-law says it's just gas, but I don't care what makes him smile, as long as he keeps doing it.

He loves to stretch! Also, we got the blanket today. It was a gift made by B.'s mother. She also gave us a copy of the Michael McLean book with CD that I know many of you already have, and a really darling little outfit for Gideon. (I'm having him wear it tomorrow, so I'll be sure and post pictures because that's what I do.)

We went out to eat for the first time with Gideon today. I had a Cajun burger. He had formula. Then we went on our first shopping trip. How appropriate that it was to Toys R Us.

And this is fairly typical as you already know. I liked tonight's pictures though, because Gideon and Crookshanks just looked at each other for a long time. It was actually quite cute.

Oh I almost forgot! Aunt Hillary spent this night with us last night so she was here this morning for a while. Her fiance, Jake, was also here. We love him and we can't wait for them to be married so he will officially be, "Uncle Jake."

After all of this fun, we came home and watched Moonlight (new episodes finally start next week. YES!) while the cat entertained the baby and I worked on writing thank you notes.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mommy & Me

I don't think these pictures require any explanation or accompanying deep thoughts. They're just perfect.

For Curly Top, Carrie Lynn & Grandpa Doc

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quality Time

Please tell me the secret all you mothers out there. I especially admire those of you with more than one child. See, ever since this precious boy came to us, I don't think I've been dressed before noon but maybe twice. He's so awake and alert during the morning hours that all I want to do is spend time with him. Housework, real work and getting ready don't seem to matter when I can spend time just looking at my son. I wonder if something's wrong with me. I'm supposed to be past this "honeymoon" phase by now aren't I? And yet, even now I wonder if I'll ever get over it. I look at him sleeping so peacefully and find myself amazed that he's really finally here. And he's ours. And yet, it seems like life before him is so long ago that it's hard to remember. Hasn't he always been part of our family? How am I supposed to go back to "normal" life? How can I possibly ever be "normal" again? As un-maternal as I am instinctively, I'm a mom now. Some days I still can't believe it. Each morning I wake up to the cutest sounds and I feel like pinching myself to make sure I'm really awake. That it's not just a dream. Has God really seen fit to bless me with the most perfect baby boy in the world? Most days it seems too good to be true.

So instead of taking a shower and getting dressed and being productive, I stay in my pj's and talk to him. And tell him how special he is. How much we love him. How much his birth mother loved him. I look into those huge eyes and promise him that while I'm far from perfect, I'll do my absolute best to be a good mom. And I ask him to be patient with me as I'm just learning. I'm sure I'll make mistakes along the way. Most importantly I remind him what a miracle he is for all of the lives he's touched in his short four weeks on earth.

Someday I suppose I'll have to go back to something resembling a "normal" routine. Life will demand that I learn to put him in a seat or a swing and take a shower before 8:00am. To start and finish my day on something of a typical schedule. And maybe someday I'll actually start being productive again.

Until that time, I can only hope that something of what I tell him will be imprinted on his sweet spirit. So that even if he doesn't necessarily remember our quality time, he'll never ever doubt how much we love him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

As if we needed another reason to hate this day....

Apparently Mother Nature thought Uncle Sam hadn't already ruined April 15th for the masses. this year, she decided to get her two cents worth in as well.

Last Night's Epiphany

I've been meaning to write this for a couple of days now, but it wasn't until last night that it really came to me in a coherent form. Let's hope it still makes as much sense this morning as it did at 1:00am.

Thursday was a banner day for us, not only did Gideon turn three weeks old, but it marked the 11th day that he was in our home. Meaning that Thursday, for the first time I could breathe a little sigh of relief. Not taking anything away from B and not wanting to begrudge her the time she spent with him, there was always this nagging thought in the back of my mind that she had actually spent more time with him than we had. I guess on some level I was slightly afraid that something would happen. That Gideon would suddenly realize that we weren't the family he'd spent the first 10 days of his life with and start acting out (however a newborn acts out. Believe me I worried during those couple of days he was sick.) I don't know if I can explain it, but here was this perfect boy who I love so much that even though we've only had him a few days, I can't stand the thought of living without him. And yet there was the constant reminder that his birth mother had had him longer than I had. So on Thursday, I cried tears of relief. Finally.

But somehow that relief brought on even more conflicting thoughts and emotions. I've been asked over the last couple of weeks, more times than I can count, if I feel sleep deprived yet, if I miss quiet nights and days not spent up to elbows in laundry, diapers and bottles. The truth is, I probably am tired, but I don't really notice it. The middle of the night feedings and the dirty diapers seem a small price to pay to be able to have this precious angel forever. Last night as Gideon ate about 1:00am I realized why it doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice to me. Because I know that out there not so far away is a young girl who would give anything to be the one feeding him at 1:00 am. That there is a young girl who spent 10 days with him and then placed him in my arms knowing full well everything she'd miss out on for the rest of his life. There is a beautiful young girl who I'm sure is still hurting, knowing that we've now been his family for longer than she was.

Enough rambling, I'm crying again. Gideon is starting to fill out quite well. He weighed over 8 lbs at the doctor yesterday, and as you can see from the photos, he's starting to look a little chubby. Especially in the cheeks and chin. (I LOVE IT!)

Check out our adorable new tennis shoes. We are totally stylin'.

He is so alert and focused sometimes that it's almost scary. I keep having to remind myself that he's still a newborn because I swear sometimes he knows exactly what's happening around him.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sweet Sundays

Today was Gideon's first trip to church. Doesn't he look handsome? (With the exception of the camoflauge pacifier which daddy insisted he have today.)

The little shoes were actually Travis's when he was a baby.

After church the boys watched Shrek and snacked while I went to a presidency meeting.

My boys were napping peacefully by the time I got home.