Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Permission Granted

As Suzy’s birth is quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about the journey we’ve had with our little Lily for her first year of life.  In particular, I’ve been thinking about my journey through the first year of motherhood.  So, come back with me to January 2011 when my visiting teachers were over.  I was in a new ward and getting to know two sisters who I’ve since come to love.  One of them is elderly and was asking me a lot of questions about myself.  I was apparently putting on a really good show of competence and of “having it all together.”  I answered that yes, my baby was two months old and yes, she was sleeping well and yes, I was slim again and yes, I was making dinner every night again…etc, etc.  Then, my wise, visiting teacher asked, “So, what is hard for you Lauren?”  I stopped and thought about it and didn’t have an answer for her off the top of my head.  Turns out I was only fooling myself about having it all together.  As I continued on with my day though, I realized that I’d been tricking myself into thinking that because I had a new baby, everything should be perfect.  I had been pushing aside the fact that I was extremely tired and my hormones were out of whack and I was struggling with some postpartum depression.  It was as if her question gave me permission to admit that I was having a hard time adjusting.  Even with eight younger siblings, there was no way I could have been completely prepared for the rigors or having a newborn.  Her question also made me think deeper about what I was struggling with internally and helped me uncover some tricky lies that Satan was getting me to believe.  I spent the next three months or so battling the lies that I had started to believe about myself as a wife and as a mother.  I’m so grateful for that visiting teacher who followed the Spirit and helped me recognize that everything wasn’t ok – because then I had the power to start changing it, to start working on it.

Alright, so lets fast forward to June – now life really did seem perfect and it has been for a while.  Lily was sleeping through the night, I was pregnant with our second little baby and so excited to find out the gender of the baby – Jon had a stable job, we were a happy family – life seemed perfect.  In President Uchtdorf’s recent talk, “Forget me Not” he spoke about not forgetting to be happy now.  I wanted to ask him, “President, what do you do if your life is perfect and you’re incredibly happy?”  I realized that I had been tempted to feel guilty for being so happy.  The truth is that I should just let myself be happy while it flowed so easily to me.  It was as if I needed permission again to admit that everything was wonderful right now and that’s ok.  I thought about Lily and about the percentage of time that she is crying…its not that high, maybe 10% at the most.  Some of the time when she’s crying, its because I’m trying to teach her something so she’s in time out.  But most of the time she is happy and playing.  I realized that Heavenly Father does want to teach me and will allow me some heart ache, but most of the time He wants to grant me tremendous joy.  I should just enjoy it! 

I’ve learned that life does go through natural cycles of time when everything just feels hard or when everything just seems to flow easily and happiness is the default.  When things are hard, I tend to remind myself over and over again, “man, this is hard.”  When things seem easier and I’m happy, I want to be better at reminding myself often that, “I am happy!  I am blessed!  I am grateful!”  I feel like our little Terry family has been blessed with six months of pure happiness.  I’m so grateful for the blessing of being a wife to someone as wonderful as Jonathan, of being the mother to children as sweet as Lily and Suzy.  I’m so incredibly blessed and happy.  I suppose I’m ready for another phase of hard, and that’s ok.  I’m going to allow myself to admit that sometimes things are hard and I’m sad while other times I’m just happy.  Both states are normal and are part of life. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Humble Beginnings

Last Sunday was our Christmas program since so many of our ward members are students who leave for the Holidays.  As I was contemplating Christ’s entrance into the world, it struck me how humble it was and what a tender mercy that is for me.  Christ, the” King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16), “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (2 Ne 19:6), came to earth surrounded by animals.  I thought of Mary, who had to endure the rigors of labor amidst the smells of that place and of the hospital where I will soon be delivering little Suzy with an epidural and a clean environment.  I thought of Joseph, who saw his wife suffering, and wasn’t able to give her everything he wished he could have.  I then thought, “you know…if Joseph had been rich, he probably could have bribed someone to give up their room.”  But he wasn’t rich and that didn’t really matter.  I thought about how the world measures greatness and success with such inaccurate standards.  A “successful” person usually means a wealthy person – but what about family life or being a good spouse and parent?  What about the callings the Lord has given us to serve His children?  I felt that it’s a blessing that Christ came to the world in such low circumstances because it helps me realize that money really doesn’t matter as much as I sometimes convince myself.  I felt that the way Christ condescended and came to earth is a blessing to remind us that “he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (Luke 9:48)  When we measure our worth by the worlds standards, whether it’s a paycheck or our weight or our material possessions then we begin to believe a great lie.  If worth is measured by worldly success then what of Christ’s worth?  “He [was] despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isa 53:3-4).  He was cast out of his own town and people tried to stone Him (John 10:31), He was poor, and He was the greatest of all.  I know that Christ is real.  He has a body and someday we will see Him.  He has power to heal our wounds.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Lily!

 It's so fun to remember this day one year ago.  I remember Jon holding Lily for the first time and having her hand around my fore finger.  The year has gone so fast - we love you Lily.  (Thanks to Anna for taking these great pictures and letting us play, it made Lily's birthday great).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jon's Surprise Party

Since we'll probably be in the hospital on Jon's birthday and I'll be having a baby - Lily and I threw him a birthday party early. He was so shocked and it was so much fun. Thanks to everyone who came and helped make it happen.

Lily got a lot of attention from Jing with her camera. I think Lily was confused about the whole picture taking thing.

We played little kid party games including pin the antennae on the Lily bug, try to unwrap the candy bar with only a spoon and fork, and hotter/colder with the prize being whoppers.

A bunch of cute videos

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't forget the small things - they're actually pretty big

Alma 37:41 "Small means ...did show unto them marvelous works"

Alma 37:6 "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass"

This is an excellent talk. If you're a stay at home Mom, or anyone who is struggling with the amount of stuff they have to do...you should listen to at least the first 12 minutes. Or you can read it here.

I'm also finding that the small things are not only the most important in spiritual matters, but also in my happiness in family life. The small things - like Jon texting me during the day to tell me that he misses me and is excited to come home, or Lily's face and arms covered in baked beans. I remember once saying to my uncle, Tim Zeidner, "It's the simple things that count" after his little boy had done something cute. He immediately responded in a more serious tone than I'm used to hearing from him, "You know - that's really true."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fun Videos

Lily LOVES to play the guitar. Thanks again Dad for such an amazing present.

Wait till the end of this video - Lily was in a phase for a while where she loved to nod "yes yes yes."
We brought Lily to the park and she didn't really like anything there - all of it just made her nervous.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pernicious Lies

I am currently reading The Book of Mormon in Alma chapter 30. This is the chapter about Korihor - probably already know the story but the summary is that he goes around preaching that there won't be a Christ and that no one can possibly know that there is a God. He accuses the priests of only preaching the "silly traditions of their fathers" to get gain. He is brought before the chief judge, Alma, who finally tells him that if He denies God again, he'll be stricken dumb. Being the lawyer that he is, he tries saying there isn't a God without explicitly saying those words. Alma 30:48 "I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe." So, he looses his ability to speak and a few verses later says this shocking thing: Alma 30: 52 "I always knew that there was a God." His confession goes on in verse 53 as he tells that the devil deceived him and told him what he should teach. Essentially the devil lied to him and instead of choosing not to listen to his lies, Korihor says, "I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them even until I had much success" (Here comes the whole point of this post...) "Insomuch that I verily believed they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth."

My former Stake President has been emphasizing how the Book of Mormon is written for us. And, when I read that last bolded portion, little red flags went off in my head. I thought, "I've done that. I've told myself lies until I thought they were true." The pattern of Korihor was this:
1- Korihor knew the truth
2- The devil present a lie to him (this can happen in many ways, whether its the media that we see, an unkind thought about others or ourselves, there are a million lies that the devil presents to us and each is specially targeted for his audience - us as individuals)
3- Korihor entertained the lie - he told it to himself and others again and again
4- Korihor ended up believing that the lie was true even though he knew that it was a lie when he first heard it.

I thought about how this cycle happens - about how easy it can be to believe a lie about ourselves or about others which can have extremely damaging effects...sometimes even spiritual death. And when those lies are contained within our own mind, sometimes its hard to even recognize that we're thinking them. So, how do you break Korihor's cycle? I guess that leaves me with something to think about. Any ideas?

ps - "pernicious" means: having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual way.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Newborn Lily

I recently posted a bunch of videos of Lily as a little baby. Jon and I were watching them the other day and we forgot how small she was. When Jon was watching her as a two month old, he said he was almost frustrated for her because she looked like she was trying to move around but was so constricted in that little body. If you want to see more of them, then after you watch this one it will show the history kind of like on youtube, just click on one of the icons and it will bring you to my vimeo site where all my videos are.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fun Pictures and Updates

Lily surprised us by sucking through the straw...she hasn't done it since but she did it with Jamba Juice.

Above is our make shift wading pool. Lily LOVED it and we boiled water on the stove to add to the hose water so it'd be refreshing but not frigid.

Trista is our friend from the ward we met in. Jon was her home teacher and she was my roommate. It was great to have her stop by.

Thank you Delys for the cute towels for our girls! Lily's is so nice and I'm excited for Suzy to use hers too.

"Camping" at the cabin.

Yeah for our successful square foot garden! Well...maybe we haven't even come close to harvesting our fall crop but there are sprouts and that's a good sign.

Before and After

Here are the projects I've been working on this week. Redecorating our room was an especially fun birthday treat.

After: My sister came up with this idea. Its pretty much just contact paper and dollar pumpkins from Walmart. I used the plastic kind so I can use the decoration next year.

After: I painted the side tables white and spray painted the lamps. I also made the pillow covers and took three trips to Kmart to find the perfect comforter.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reliving Childhood

Every year the neighbors on the street where I grew up get together for a picnic. This year a lot of my friends who I used to ride scooters, play at the park and make crazy movies together were married. As I looked around and saw how much had changed from my childhood memories. On our way out, Jon and I drove past the the home that I grew up in until 9th grade. While we drove by I felt so nostalgic. I remembered so many times there that were wonderful. There are the classic moments that we have on video...dance competitions as kids, introducing "Sammy the Seal," John's birthday party where all throughout the happy birthday song he's yelling "Don't blow the candle Josh...don't blow it Josh and Lauren."

Then there are the memories that didn't get cemented in a video...mine and Anna's plan to make a secret hiding place under the stairs. We thought we could just cut a hole in the wall that would make a great little door and we could keep it a secret. I remember thinking it'd be better if we just started construction...Dad might not give the go ahead. But then I saw how many spiders ran under the unfinished stair case just outside our bedroom door so we gave up the plan. I remember playing in the sand box in the back yard when we were little. John, Scott (our good friend) Anna and I had an intricate game that we played, I can't remember the details but the vague idea of acting our Mega Man characters comes to mind. I remember the forest green carpet and how fitting that seemed through the Christmas season, the house felt so cozy with all the snow outside. Then there was the first Tyler snow day of every year. When the snow finally fell long enough to stick to the ground and be a few inches deep, my Mom would let all the kids stay home and play in it. We'd have pancakes and hot chocolate and spend the day outside as a family. I remember wrapping presents for a family in need on Christmas Eve and setting up the tree and present in their house, then seeing how excited they were. My Mom was so good at letting us make messes at times because she knew how much fun we'd have in the process. One example is that she'd color some salt and then pour it on a cookie sheet so that there was an even layer all along the bottom. We'd put our fingers in the salt and run it around so make art. Then, when we were done, she'd shake the pan a little bit like an etch-a-sketch and we had an even bed of salt to write/draw in again. She'd also make play dough from scratch with us. When I got old enough to make it myself, I always hoped there'd be some cream of tartar in the cupboard. I also remember one time that she found Matthew covered in flour from head to toe. She let the rest of the us kids grab flour and throw it at each other for ten minutes so that we had the entire floor, table, counters and ourselves covered in a film of fine dust. You can just imagine what a fun time that was...I don't remember the clean up either though I'm sure we all helped with that too. My Dad was so good at making us all feel loved and appreciated. I remember always knowing that he loved me. He used to make model rockets so we could go shoot them off at Bonneville park as a family. He'd load them up with their cartridges of powder...not sure what they use to propel them...and then let us take turns pushing the red button to shoot them into the air. All of us would run around on the field as it came down, trying to catch it or be the first to retrieve it. He would often get out the video camera and interview or tape all of the kids just messing around. And, Dad always, always gave Mom a kiss when he got home. I never thought it was gross even as a little girl, I always loved seeing that they loved each other and knowing that they loved us.

I remember family nights - most that I do remember in that house were right before we moved. They are characterized by Joseph and Matthew running around...they were a pretty destructive force as far as an FHE lesson goes. But, we still had them. I remember one family night in particular where my Dad said, "I'm going to teach you something very important and something that's true so I want you listen. It all comes down to messes." He then went on to teach about the Atonement and how Jesus made a way to clean up the messes we make in life; He paid for our sins and He is the one who can help us clean up the messes we make. I remember the yellow walls in the kitchen and that my Mom was almost always cheery and happy. I remember the feeling that was there - one of security and confidence and love. When we drove past that house I couldn't help but love the house itself. I was thinking about why I love that house so much and a scripture came to my mind. The verse is talking about how the people who were baptized in the waters of Mormon felt about that place. Mosiah 18:30 "how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever." I also remember learning to read my scriptures every day because I saw Anna doing it. I remember feeling the anguish of starting 7th grade, feeling like I didn't fit in and I had no friends, but being comforted as I prayed. My parents taught me so much of the gospel there - they made our house a sacred place to be - they gave me love and taught me the principles that I needed to succeed. It was in that house that I gained my own testimony of the gospel because of the atmosphere that my parents created. I just wanted to say thank you Mom and Dad for all the years of love and struggle and messes and happiness and teaching. Thank you for all the fun childhood memories that you gave us.

Since I'm so old now, having just had a birthday ;) I felt a little sad that those times of childhood were gone...that they'd passed so quickly and I was so busy having fun that I kind of missed it. Then I thought - "Wait...I have another phase of childhood to go - my children's childhood. I get to try to make it as wonderful and full of joy as mine was only this time I'll probably remember even more of it."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday

I think I'm the luckiest person in the world. I saw Jon putting Lily down for her nap this morning and thought, "This is the best birthday I've ever had." I'm so grateful for my wonderful husband and my sweet little Lily AND little Suzy who is on her way. Happy Happy Birthday to me. Although, that chocolate themed birthday was a close second to this one. Thanks Mom :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good Quote

"If you're not happy without money, you'll never be happy with it." I like that. Thanks to the BYU personal finance class online.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doing vs Becoming

I love this song because it's about a single girl who just wants to be a Mom (story of the first 21 years of my life). Now that I finally am a Mom...I found out that its pretty routine. I was climbing into bed the other night, I'd just sneaked in to look at Lily sleeping and then said prayers with my dear husband. I got in bed feeling so happy and thinking, "Almost everything I did today, I'm going to do again tomorrow...and I've been doing it for almost 9 months now." Sometimes I think about the routine (laundry, dishes, dinners, grocery shopping, dressing Lily, changing diapers, having to eat even though I'm sick of eating after being pregnant for 5 months) and I ask myself, "Is this it?"

Well, the other night I realized...of coarse that's not it! That's a total lie. A LIE. My life is not just about the routine things that I'm doing, but what I'm becoming in the process and what I'm helping the people around me become. Yes, I do the same thing every day, but in the last 9 months I've come so far, I've learned so much. There are things that one cannot see that have changed significantly. Example: Below is a picture of our next little baby girl who is due at Christmas. This ultra sound was taken at 6 weeks. The baby is between the two small white x's.
Now look at this picture, taken just three and a half months later. This is a side view of her head and arm. Just by existing and eating - that change happened.
So, maybe the whole idea of becoming doesn't seem like a very big deal but to me, it gives everything that I'm doing a purpose.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Learning to Eat Cheerios

This clip is a little old but still adorable.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garden Update

So, we made our bookshelf into a square foot garden. Can anyone spot the little problem shown below?
We didn't think about the fact that they make bookshelves out of the cheapest particle board on the planet. So, our first day we hosed down the entire box and this was the result.
Jon's parents are visiting for the day and took us to Lowe's to get some real wood and fund a better box. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) I'm sure we'll have sprouts of salad fixings in no time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lily's Walker

Lily loves her walker. Today Jon and I left her in the living room for 5 minutes while we were working on dinner in the kitchen. When we came back into the living room...this is what we saw.
She didn't cry. We didn't hear a thump or anything. She just crawled out of her walker. I can just see it - the new baby will come and she's always going to climb into her sister's crib. I guess I should've known given her history...
She just loves to climb into things, it was only a matter of time before she started climbing out of things.