Saturday, February 21, 2015

4 Ways out of a Funk

After having a baby I felt like Ethan in this picture. But then you slowly come out of the sleepless, zombie, recovery stage of the first two months and start to get in a routine of your new normal.  As soon as the excitement of a new baby had passed, I felt discouraged thinking about the craziness of the next few years of babies and toddlers and three kids 3 and under.  These are 4 things I tried to implement to change my level of happiness.

Fake it until you make it.
Fake people are lame, we all know. But I decided to make an effort to just try to act happy for my husband when he came home from work. At first it felt deceiving but after a while acting happy made me actually feel happy.  Instead of tiptoeing around my bad attitude or comforting my victim pleas, my husband would share funny stories or things with with me that genuinely made me feel happy.

No one has it all together.
Recently a friend said that she has always thought I "had everything together". I couldn't believe that anyone would have that perception of me but the funny thing is that I thought she was a Mom who "had everything together." The truth is no one has everything together and we need to stop comparing ourselves to imaginary perfect Moms we have decided everyone around us are.
Comparison is the thief of joy - Theodore Roosevelt

Mornings are crucial. 
Wake up way to early to whiney toddler. Hand toddler phone. Try to go back to sleep. Hear rummaging of food in kitchen.  Oh well, Try to go back to sleep. Help toddler open bag of cereal/nutragrain bar/fruit snack.  Try to go back to sleep.  Finally get up, get mad at mess toddler just made while you were asleep.  This was me. Then I realized the back and forth trying to get those few extra minutes of sleep were not worth the bad mood it put me in.  I was much happier when I just got up the first time and started the day right.

Attitude is everything.
I have two friends. One rambles about how everything is so hard and crazy and busy and the other is always happy, optimistic and has something positive to say.  Most of us are going through the same
ups and downs and screaming kids and whining kids and messes, but what makes these two Moms have such a different take on life: Attitude. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Tyler Robinson Foundation


If you haven't seen the powerful video of Tyler's story and how the Imagine Dragons were inspired to create a foundation in his name, watch this video. To find out more visit trf.org

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pistachio Ice Cream

One of Matt's favorite things are Pistachios and we got an Ice Cream maker for Christmas and I have been determined to make good Pistachio Ice Cream.  After tried several recipes; some the flavor was too strong, some it was too creamy, leaving a film after eating, and I have finally combined several recipes into a recipe I love! So, I thought I would share. Then I decided to go all Betty Crocker and take pics, but really, I think pictures help sometimes when I am making something!

Pistachio Ice Cream
Yields 2 Quarts

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream*
1 cup half and half* (can use ½ cup milk, ½ cup heavy cream)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Finely grind 1 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in processor. 
Bring 2 cups milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in large saucepan.
Remove from heat.
Whisk 4 egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl.
Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture.
Return custard to saucepan. 
Cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil). 
In separate bowl whisk 1 cup milk & ¾ cup sugar & pinch salt until sugar dissolves
Stir in 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half and half
Pour in pistachio mixture and add ½ tsp almond extract.
Chill until cold, about 2 hours.
Turn on Ice Cream maker, pour mixture into frozen bowl.
Mix until thickened about 20 min.
Transfer to container and freeze.
YUM!
*The more fat content in the cream the thicker your ice cream will be, but also more fattening. Use whichever cream you want for your preferred consistency.
While Milk 3.25%
Half-and-Half: 12% fat
Light Cream: 20% fat
Light Whipping Cream: 30% fat
Whipping Cream: 35% fat
Heavy Cream and Heavy Whipping Cream: 38% fat

Adapted from http://userealbutter.com/2009/02/02/pistachio-ice-cream-recipe/
from Epicurious.com


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lessons Learned

            Today is May 14th, what would have been Tyler’s 18th birthday. For those of you who may not know, my 17-year-old brother-in-law Tyler passed away from cancer two months ago. Although I am not usually one to share personal things, you never know what may help someone, so I wanted to share what I have learned from Tyler.
           
Trusting in the Lord
Throughout Tyler’s illness, I learned how important it is to have a strong relationship with Heavenly Father, so that you can receive His direction and He can lead and comfort you in difficult situations. Tyler’s parents Shannon and Brent had the spiritual strength to listen to the Spirit, and trust in the answers they received, even when the prognosis was grim. 
In 2007, Tyler had a life-threatening staph infection and was in the ICU for over a month. Brent and Shannon were very worried, but at the same time they said that they had prayed about it and felt that he would be okay. Tyler eventually recovered fully, just as they were told he would.
            A year and a half ago, Tyler was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, or cancer of the muscles. A week later, we learned it was Alveolar, the most aggressive type, and that it had already progressed to stage four. Tyler was given a 20 percent chance of survival. Even though Brent and Shannon were devastated, they prayed and felt again that everything would be okay. I was almost worried that they were being too positive, but we all had to trust in Heavenly Father.
            Through the next several months of treatment, Tyler's doctors became more and more optimistic as Tyler responded very well to chemotherapy.  In the fall of 2012, Tyler was officially declared cancer-free. I can't describe how relieved we were and blessed we felt to have such a miracle happen. His doctor said that in ten years treating cancer patients, he had never seen anyone respond so well to treatment. My faith and testimony were strengthened, along with my ability to believe in miracles. I remember praying every night with Matt, thanking Heavenly Father for the miracle of Ty’s healing and praying that the cancer would not come back.
            On Saturday, March 2nd, Matt got a call that Tyler had experienced a seizure. Matt was shocked, because for the past six months, Tyler had been healthy. Tyler was rushed to hospital, and doctors found three tumors in his brain. They decided to operate the next morning, but the tumors could not be completely removed, and a few hours after the surgery, the doctors told us they did not think he would make it.
            I will never forget the pain and shock we felt in that moment and the sounds of sobbing that filled the room.  Shannon answered the doctors that she already knew that Tyler wouldn't make it. She said later that after he was unresponsive after the seizure, she just knew. I am astounded that at a moment like that Shannon could be so in tune with the Spirit to have that knowledge. And in a way, it was comforting to her and comforting to all of us. Instead of saying there must be something else that can be done, or thinking about getting a second opinion, or even trying to place blame on the doctors, we were all able to start the process of finding peace. 
            They say the veil is never thinner than when a baby is born and when someone passes away. As painful and sad as it was seeing heartbroken family and friends, there was a special feeling in Ty’s hospital room. That night we gathered for a family prayer and to give Ty a blessing.  We each went around and said what we loved about Ty, said goodbye and shared some of our favorite memories. Matt said a beautiful prayer and Brent gave Tyler a beautiful blessing. I remember them thanking Ty for his example and telling him they were proud of him.
            I had never had anyone close to me die and all the feelings I felt were so new to me. The pain and endless crying; my eyes were so bloodshot they would sting every time I would cry again, adding to the pain and grief I was already feeling. I had never felt pain like that. Even though we knew a year and a half ago when Ty was diagnosed that he could die, nothing can prepare you to lose someone. And to lose someone so young when we thought he had been miraculously cured was heart wrenching.
I learned a lot about the power of the Holy Ghost and how amazing it is to feel the peace and comfort of the spirit. When my friend’s baby was born stillborn, her Bishop told her to make sure to write down her impressions and comforting feelings from the Holy Ghost, because in these situations the Holy Ghost dwells with us, but soon leaves.  I have never felt the presence of the Holy Ghost as strongly as I did the week Tyler passed. Often throughout the week, I would just be driving and start crying and feel an overwhelming presence and comfort.  It might sound weird or cheesy, but it’s true what people say in those situations, that it feels almost like someone is hugging you. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with the Holy Ghost and I need to strive to feel the spirit more in my life.

A Mother’s Connection and Love
            I also saw firsthand the love and incredible bond between a mother and her child.  In Ty’s last few hours, even though he was in a coma, often when visitors would talk to him he would move a little, or squeeze their hands back. His reaction was always the strongest when Shannon would hold his hand or whisper in his ear. In his last hour, Tyler’s breathing and heartbeat would slow, then the siblings would nudge Shannon and Brent, who were dozing off, that it was time. Shannon would come over and whisper to Ty how much she loved him and that it was okay to go and his breathing and heartbeat would increase again.  This happened over and over.  It is a testament to me of the bond between mother and child and my divine nature and role as a mother. There is nothing that compares.
            As the night progressed, Shannon realized that for Ty to let go, she would have to stop coming over to him. Ty peacefully slipped away at about 3:30 in the morning.  That day was full of all different emotions for Shannon. She and Brent were beside themselves with sadness, but I think they also had some peace. At the moment that Ty died, Shannon said she just felt angry.

God Knows and Loves Us
As shocking as Ty’s passing was, we felt that it was the right time for Ty to go, and that the way it happened was an unexpected blessing. It testified to me that God knows and loves us and knows how to comfort and bless us. Shannon said she would have hated to tell Ty that the cancer had come back, and that it had come back in his brain, where it would be terminal. Maybe others would blame doctors for not scanning his head and missing tumors that had been growing for months, but it really was a blessing that Tyler could return to normal life and high school with the assurance that he was cancer-free.  He was able to live his last few months to the fullest and we are so grateful that he didn’t have to suffer.

Family
I really feel blessed to be part of the Robinson Family. Throughout everything, I never felt like an in-law or an outsider.  When I first came to the hospital Sunday morning after dropping off the boys, I came in and just hugged Matt, then Jesse came and hugged me and said they were watching me run in from the parking lot and they were so glad I was there. That meant so much to me.  I hugged Brent and he told me that he loved me, then Jocelyn came up and hugged me so tight, I just started crying. I feel so much more bonded to Matt’s family through this experience.  The sadness that we shared and the feelings we talked about through grieving really made me feel closer to them.  There is something about supporting each other in your darkest moments that bonds you together.

Eternal Perspective
It was really amazing to see Matt step up as an older sibling and be a rock for his family. He doesn’t like to speak in public, but he spoke at the funeral and said some really wonderful things.  He talked about how we shouted for joy when we were given the plan of salvation before we came to earth (Job 38).  Matt expressed how much Heavenly Father loves us and that even though we knew we would experience trials and would be tested, we choose to come, and rejoiced to be able to come to earth.  He also said he didn’t believe that Ty had lost his battle with cancer, because the real battle isn’t if we live or die; it's how we respond to it.  I think it’s important to remember that we won’t be tested beyond our ability and that every test and trial is for our benefit to shape us into more Christ-like people.

Deep Conversations
One of the regrets Matt and I talked about was that we didn’t have enough meaningful conversations with Ty.  I think often we ask people how they are doing and we give superficial answers or tell only the good things that are happening in our lives. I need to be better at digging deeper and really understanding what people are going through. I need to make time for those conversations that bring mutual love, connection, and understanding. It’s amazing how those conversations can help people know you are there for them and how much you love them. 

Forget Yourself and Go To Work
            Before Tyler’s passing, I was feeling really overwhelmed with the twins and feeling like every day was so monotonous.  I really was just getting through the days, but not having joy in them.  Slowly after Ty’s passing, I began to realize that I am being helped in so many ways. First, I just recognized my blessings. I am so grateful to be a mother and lucky to have the joy that the boys bring into my life. I am so grateful for a loving husband and my amazing family. I am so grateful for the gospel and the strength it is in my life and for the peace and understanding it gives me. I can’t imagine dealing with a loved one's death without the assurance that you will see them again.
The other thing that has helped is serving others. Helping with the funeral and everything that needed to be done, being strong for Matt and serving and helping him in the end helped me. It really is true that if you are feeling a little down, what will help the most is to forget about yourself, recognize your blessings and serve others.
I am usually hesitant to not drop by when someone is going through a trial; I’m always concerned I’ll make things worse by making them feel uncomfortable, or that I won’t know what to say. But in the days after Ty’s passing, the Robinson house had many visitors and it really helped Brent and Shannon; it wasn’t a hinderance, it wasn’t a burden: it was helpful. It almost meant more when it was someone who the family didn’t know very well. I think Shannon said one of the more moving things to her at the funeral was seeing Ty’s soccer coach from years ago in tears. I am going to make a better effort to stop by and help anyone who needs it, regardless of how well I know them.

Ty’s Influence and Attitude
            When Tyler was first diagnosed with cancer, his Bishop came to visit and told him that when people face trials, they either become bitter and angry or learn from them and become stronger.  Tyler said he decided that night to learn from it. “It seemed surreal at first, but I was okay with it,” Tyler later wrote. “Then I went to meet with the doctors and they told me what I was facing. I needed to have 20 rounds of chemotherapy and it would take a whole year. I would also need an operation and six weeks of radiation. I would miss my junior year at Brighton High and some of my senior year. I remember going home and feeling so mad and depressed. I told my Mom that I didn’t want to go through it – not a whole year of it.”
I remember Tyler being sick from the chemo and down physically, but I never saw him down on himself; I never heard him complain. If we were together as a family and he wanted to go lie down, he never even mentioned it to the family; he would just slip away quietly, not seeking attention or sympathy. He had such a positive attitude through the year of treatment. Tyler wrote: “This year I’ve learned to be patient and no matter how bad I felt, I pushed through the pain. I found that there is no use complaining or feeling sorry for myself – it doesn’t help anything. Always try to stay positive and have faith.”
            It was amazing to see all of Ty’s friends that came to the hospital and the overwhelming support of family and friends at the funeral. When the family would get together, Ty was usually pretty quiet. We would even joke how weird it was that Ty could escape from the dinner table without people noticing. I thought he was kind of a homebody, listening to music and playing video games, but it was incredible to hear what an influence he had on his friends.  Several people said how much he would hug them and that he made them feel like the most important person in the world.  Ty has made me want to strive to reach out to others more and make them feel important.
            One family friend who had lost her baby posted a note of gratitude on Facebook after Ty’s death. She said that six months before, she had heard Ty bear his testimony. He said that when he was diagnosed with cancer he decided not to be bitter and angry, but to learn from it and become stronger. “It was as I listened to him that I made up my mind that I was no longer going to let my son’s death make me bitter and I started finding ways to make myself stronger through my trials,” she wrote. “Thank you Tyler for sharing your amazing testimony.”
Tyler’s favorite band was Imagine Dragons and when they came to town during his treatments, Jesse arranged for the band to give a shout out to Tyler.  He was reluctant at first when they called his name, but soon was singing at the top of his lungs on his friend’s shoulders. This inspired the band to start a foundation in Tyler’s name. At the end of their most recent music video they show a clip from that night and announce the foundation. The video received this comment: “I want to thank Tyler and his family. He is my hero and savior. I'm 15 years old living with my uncle. I hardly ever get to see my Mom and my brother is the only other anchor in my life. I was pretty depressed for a while. Then when he joined the United States Marine Corps a few months ago, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle it. 2 days ago, I was seriously thinking of suicide. I was a big fan of Imagine Dragons, so I watched their Demons music video. I didn't expect to see something amazing at the end. It was Tyler singing along with Dan. They were singing my most favorite song of all time. It amazed me how Tyler was full of hope and never gave up. Now, I intend to live. I want to live. It's because of Tyler. Tyler, you saved my life. Thank you. Rest In Paradise.”
It is truly incredible the influence that Tyler had on others for good, and continues to have. It makes me realize that one person really can make a difference and I need to strive to be that person.
 
A Fullness of Joy
A few weeks before his death Tyler shared his favorite scripture with Shannon. D&C 101:36-38 “Wherefore fear not even unto death for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full. Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul. And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls and ye shall have eternal life.”

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pants Perdicament

I think most of us have heard about the "Wear Pants to Church Day," and I have been reading a lot of different blogs on the subject, for and against.  For anyone who is doing the same there is a great episode on the Mormon Channel where former Relief Society President Julie B. Beck is interviewed about women's spiritual gifts and connection to the Priesthood.  If you don't have time to listen, here are some excerpts from the transcript.

"The priesthood is the power of God. It is God’s power and that is the power by which He created the worlds, it is the power by which He governs things, it is the power by which He helps us, so it is His power, and in His plan, He has given certain responsibilities to men and to women to utilize that power He has made available to bless His children. Some of that power comes to us through the gifts and blessings of the priesthood that come to us personally as gifts. Some of that power comes to us through ordinances. For instance, when we are baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, everybody gets that power if they’re worthy and that is not gender-specific. That is God’s power speaking to us through the power of revelation that He can give us through the Holy Ghost, that there are authorizations to perform ordinances. Sometimes we say, well, the men have it and the women don’t. I hear that argument a lot. That isn’t even the right question. The question we should be having in our lives is, how can I access every ordinance that’s available to me to walk back to my Heavenly Father? How can I access the gifts and the blessings He has made available to every one of His children? And those blessings and ordinances are not gender-specific, those saving ordinances that will exalt us. Now men haven’t been given the assignment to hold in trust the priesthood. To really understand this, you’d have to do a study of the family of Abraham and go all the way back to Adam and why did the Lord give Adam the priesthood to hold in trust? It was so that every child of Adam’s family would have access to the ordinances that would save them. That was Adam’s assignment, to hold in trust that authority to perform those ordinances to bless his family. Now Eve was his sealed wife. That was a priesthood ordinance that sealed them so the power of that ordinance was effective in her life. She also had assignments in her family to teach her children, to nurture her children, to create the life of that child, and by whose power does that happen? That is God’s power. Women don’t need to be ordained to an office to perform that and oftentimes I think they are confused about that. The Lord can bless us in many, many ways through the gifts of the priesthood, through the blessings of the priesthood and through those privileges that come to us if we are worthy to receive an ordinance and then value that ordinance enough to have it effective in our life." - Sister Julie B. Beck

Question: "We live in an environment that really thrives on asking these polarizing questions and pulling that discussion to the extremes. What would you say to young women who are thinking about these and getting a lot of feedback from this environment and asking a lot of these questions?"

Sister Beck's answer:
"This is Satan’s way of confusing all of us so that the men don’t understand what they have and value it and the women don’t understand what they have and value it and that neither values what the other has. If we can get into a polarizing combative frame of mind, then neither of us values really what the Lord has blessed us with in His priesthood. --> We live in an environment that really thrives on asking these polarizing questions and pulling that discussion to the extremes. What would you say to young women who are thinking about these and getting a lot of feedback from this environment and asking a lot of these questions?" - Sister Julie B. Beck 

"A lot of—in our world, women are saying, I want the power. And the Lord has the power. He has given all His children, male and female, different ways to qualify for His power operating in their lives and so the question we should all be asking is, how can I have the Lord’s power and influence in my life in the most effective ways?" - Sister Julie B. Beck   

"I would hope that the conversations about the priesthood begin to take on less of the conversation of competitiveness of who has what and what don’t I have and start to be asking, become the questions that help us understand through the Lord and His revelatory power to us, what do I have? What do I need to prepare for and receive? How can I more fully be in possession of the privileges and blessings and gifts of the priesthood that have been promised to me? And Heavenly Father doesn’t shortchange a single child of His in those blessings. That’s my testimony."
- Sister Julie B. Beck

"I know that Heavenly Father loves His children. He desires to bless them. And He has provided His priesthood power and authority on the earth in a very orderly, sweet way to lift them and carry them through this mortal experience." - Sister Julie B. Beck   

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Rock Center Special and Caffeine

First of all, news organizations reporting about the church are so weird. The Huffington Post just published this article entitled:"Mormon Caffeine Policy Clarified, Coke And Pepsi Officially OK For Latter-Day Saints." This is what they wrote:
'On Wednesday (Aug. 29), the LDS church posted a statement on its website saying that "the church does not prohibit the use of caffeine" and that the faith's health-code reference to "hot drinks" "does not go beyond (tea and coffee)." A day later, the website wording was slightly softened, saying only that "the church revelation spelling out health practices ... does not mention the use of caffeine."'
I looked at the Newsroom web site and found that they did post in their "Mormonism in the News: Getting it Right" blog the following in response to the Brian Williams Rock Center special on Mormons:
"Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine.  The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee."
So the Huffington Post thinks that is an official statement clarifying doctrine! I hope no one else thinks that! My opinion on the matter is aligned with this statement my Elder Packer:

“There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both body and spirit which are not mentioned in the [Word of Wisdom].  “Everything harmful is not specifically listed; arsenic, for instance—certainly bad, but not habit-forming! He who must be commanded in all things, the Lord said, ‘is a slothful and not a wise servant’ (D&C 58:26).” - President Boyd K. Packer, “The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” Ensign, May 1996, 17.

Yes, it doesn't specifically say, but that is what we have to do for many commandments, be guided by the spirit in how we interpret them. I think its fine to have a caffeinated soda every once and a while; even chocolate has some caffeine in it. But I do know many people who really do have to have their soda every day and they are using it as a pick-me-up. I just don't think we should be drinking caffeinated beverages if we are using them as a stimulus or aid. We should alter our lifestyles instead of relying on a pill or a drink. Also, why would the Church Office Building, BYU, and all church owned schools and institutions not have caffeinated drinks available for purchase?

In a Q & A in the New Era Bishop H. Burke Peterson answered this question:
“Is it against Church standards to drink cola beverages or any other beverage containing caffeine?”
"We know that cola drinks contain the drug caffeine. We know caffeine is not wholesome nor prudent for the use of our bodies. It is only sound judgment to conclude that cola drinks and any others that contain caffeine or other harmful ingredients should not be used."
A Priesthood Bulletin from Feb 1972 states:

“With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.”

"There is no current Church policy that would preclude a bishop issuing a temple recommend to a person who consumes cola beverages. However, Cola beverages contain caffeine in amounts that are approximately one-half to one-fourth the amount in a cup of coffee, depending upon the size of the bottle. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that certainly tends to become addictive in its use, with the attendant side effects of nervous-system stimulants. Frequent use of cola beverages can lead to an addictive pattern similar to that observed in coffee drinkers."

Monday, May 07, 2012

Leaving the Twins and Parenting

It was so weird being without the twins and Matt for a few days while I went to my cousins wedding (see below).  I hadn't been away from the twins for more than a few hours since they were born! I thought about them a lot and had to look at pictures of them on my phone, but at the same time it was almost like a parallel universe.  It was so different to me that it didn't feel like I was away from the twins, it was like they didn't exist and I hadn't married Matt yet and this was a memory of a trip I had took with my family. I also have never been to the south, so it was just really weird.

I do have to just get on my soapbox and say that I was really taken back by people's comments as I was leaving. Some were like, "oh, wow, is Matt going to survive?" or "Is someone going to help him?" and others made me feel really selfish for going, like, "Oh, I couldn't leave my kids for that long."

I'm not sure how people view parenting, but my take on it is that I am in charge of the kids when Matt is at work, and outside of work we should be 50%-50%.  If he goes to Moab and San Francisco for weekends without me and the kids, I get a weekend away too. If Matt goes Mountain biking for a few hours on Saturday, I get a few hours to myself too. I feel like a lot of women take care of their kids while their husbands do fun things, but don't ask for about the same time for themselves.  Husbands can and should be able to take care of their own kids. They may not know their exact schedules and preferences of food etc., but that is nothing that they can't be told. I think its funny how people said they didn't know how Matt was going to handle both of them, ... um, I do it everyday, so why shouldn't he be able to? I think its insulting to him as a Dad. It was weird how people's comments started making me feel selfish for going, but I think it was the right decision and I'm glad I went.

That being said, I am truely grateful for an awesome husband who I can leave the twins with. He really is a great Dad and I'm glad I feel like we are equal partners in parenting these cute little kids.  He is awesome for letting me go.

North Carolina Trip

Since the twins have been born Matt has gone on boys trips to Moab and to San Francisco to see the 49ners, so now it was my turn! Thanks Matt! My cousin Morgan was getting married in North Carolina, so my parents and Marin and I decided to go. Morgan and Neil are my twin cousins who were basically the closest thing I had to brothers growing up. We spent a lot of time together and they came on a few of our family trips.
We flew into Knoxville, Tennessee and the next day we drove through the Great Smokey Mountains and then stayed in Asheville, North Carolina. It was beautiful.  I didn't realize how tropical and green the area would be, it almost looked like New Zealand. We hiked to a waterfall and stopped in Gatlinburg for some great BBQ at the Hungry Bear.
The next day we went river rafting with Morgan and a bunch of people that came for the wedding on the French Broad River. It was more intense than I thought, a lot of Class III rapids and one Class IV rapid. I got completely soaked, it was so fun! I need to go river rafting again. I have been on a few three day trips and I definitely want to do Cataract as soon as possible. That night we went to a BBQ at Morgan's farm and spent time meeting and visiting with family and friends of Morgan and Sarah.
The next day we visited the Biltmore Estate, built by the Vanderbilt family starting in 1895. It was pretty amazing, complete with an indoor swimming pool and bowling ally.  That night we went to the wedding, which was really lovely. Sarah had it in an old schoolhouse that was on an island in the river. She got all the plates from thrift stores and they were all different, it was pretty cool. They had an awesome bluegrass band that was fun to dance to.
The next morning we drove down to Chimney Rock in South Carolina and hiked to the waterfall in the Last of the Mohicans.  It was huge and really cool. Then we went on a search for some BBQ before we left, but all the places were closed on Sunday.  Good for them! Not so good for us. Oh well. Then we flew out of Greenville, South Carolina.
More on being without the twins and Matt in the next post.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Monster Baby and Crazy Baby

Kaiden is a Monster Baby. He growls. He grunts. He snores. Ok, maybe he is more like a Shrek, cause he is so smiley and cuddly and has such a great temperament. He just makes monster noises.

Dean is a Crazy Baby. He lays on his back and kicks his legs and arms like he is trying to fly. He screams randomly. He freaks out all of the sudden for no apparent reason. He is a spaz. 

I love these boys, they are so much fun. One of my favorite things is when I come in their room after their nap and they give me the biggest smiles and they start kicking and moving their arms cause they are excited to see me. I also love making them laugh, there is nothing as cute as your own baby laughing.

I used to think the pros and cons of twins were about the same, but I think now the pros are kicking the cons butt. It is so fun to see them interact with each other. I think it is way easier to take care of two kids who are eating the same things, napping at the same time and playing with the same toys than it would be to take care of a 2 year old and a baby. Although carrying two of them at the same time is getting really tough.

I am so sick of winter, and I have been grateful for the few nice days we have had so I can take the boys on a walk.  Seriously, I never thought just getting out on a walk would help maintain your sanity so much. Sometimes I feel so bored, yet so unmotivated to do the million constructive things I can think of.  Being at home all the time is weird and I am really excited for summer. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Steamboat Springs, CO



The Decker fam decided to take a little ski trip to Steamboat which is in Northwest Colorado.  It was only a five hour drive and the boys were champs, they hardly cried the whole drive. The first few days the skiing was pretty icy and the runs were pretty bare, but it was really warm and we had a great time. The last day they got a few inches of snow which dusted the runs and made the skiing really fun. Steamboat has a lot of fun steepish groomers that we loved.  They also had some good mogul runs. I must say Colorado has way better shaped moguls than Utah. I think skiers and boarders in Utah traverse across and ruin a lot of moguls. Matt was killing it skiing, its crazy to think he had only been a handful of times when we met!  We rented this big house and cooked in most nights, so we had a lot of fun just hanging out with each other.  There was a trail down by the river that was really pretty that Matt and I ran on with the kids and then we took them around the base area and found these red wagons they have to help little kids carry their skis, so we put the boys in it! They are so dang cute.  Anyway, it was a really fun trip. I think I am crazy, we have taken the kids to Cali, Moab and Steamboat and they aren't even 8 months old!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Moab


Double Arch
Landscape Arch

So Matt and I randomly decided to go down to Moab before it got really cold and it was a blast. Matt is getting really into mountain biking and he bought a new bike and wanted to go do Slick Rock. We went with two other couples and had five kids under three, but we had great weather and did some fun hikes. On Friday the boys went and biked Slick Rock and the girls went on a walk with the strollers along the Colorado River.  Then on Saturday the girls hiked Devils Garden in Arches which I thought would be fairly challenging, but it wasn't really.  But we saw Landscape Arch which was really cool, it was huge, and Double O Arch which wasn't that cool. Then all of us went to Double Arch and hiked to Delicate Arch. I've been to Arches before, but I didn't ever remember seeing Double Arch, I think it is really cool and Delicate Arch is always amazing, but I didn't remember the hike being as long or as uphill, but I guess I did have Dean strapped to me. It was really windy as you can see form the picture, so we didn't stay long at the top.  It was a little tricky carting two three-month-olds around and trying to feed them and keep them happy, but they did pretty well. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Two Months

The twins are now two months old and I actually have started getting some sleep, hence the return to blogging. They have been sleeping about 6-7 hours straight now and its amazing the difference I feel.  When they were eating every three hours I would only get two hours of sleep straight and I seriously felt like a zombie.  I worked the graveyard shift a few years ago and I would work 11pm to 7am then sleep from 8am to 5pm and I think I have felt way more dysfunctional and tired these last two months.  I didn't realize how much your body needs REM sleep.
I'm not sure quite what to say about having twins. Overall, it hasn't been as bad as people said it would be.  A lot of people said it would just be miserable for the first few months, and its been hard, but you just love them so much that changing or feeding them in the middle of the night isn't as bad as I thought. Granted in the middle of the night when one is scream-balling while I am changing him and the other is scream-balling I have to really take deep breaths to not want to pull my hair out.  I guess I needed to have twins to develop more patience. Its funny though how when they both cry at the same time during the day I almost laugh.  Its crazy how frustrating something can be in the middle of the night when the same thing makes you laugh the next morning.
At first I was nursing them one at a time unless someone was there to help me, but now I have figured out how to feed both of them by myself and that has saved me a lot of time. Also, I'm not sure how I would live without the baby swings, the swaddle me's and my awesome jogging stroller my parents got me.  For the most part the boys are actually really good babies.  Except for the occasional tummy/gas problems, they really only cry when they are hungry or need to be changed.
It is weird to be home so much and be able to be in PJs all day and I miss working sometimes.  I have gone a few places, but its just so much effort to go somewhere that I would rather be a little bored at home or just go for a walk with them.  I went to the grocery store for the first time with them and of course it started raining right when we were leaving. So I am taking Dean out of the car seat into the carrier while trying to hold an umbrella, then getting Kaiden in his car seat into the grocery cart, it was quite the production.  Then I get all these weird looks because the car seat I found out really doesn't leave much room and I am stuffing food in around it, hoping it doesn't fall in on Kaiden. It was pretty funny.  Is it bad that I just pulled the cover over the car seat so Kaiden was a little hidden so people would just think I was weird was carrying one baby and had his car seat too, instead of answering all the questions about twins?  I don't know why I really don't like talking to strangers.  Especially when they come up to you and stick their heads five inches from the kids faces and say, "Twins! God Bless you, God bless you," and then walk away. 
We are crazy and took the twins to California when they were a month old. Matt's whole family was going for the USC game and they really wanted us to come so we went.  It really wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be.  We did get to the airport late and then somehow Matt's brother ended up with his ID after curbside check in, so I had to go through security without Matt, hoping he could find his ID and get on the flight. My parents ended up coming with us as well and everyone was so helpful.  My two sister-in-laws even watched the boys so I could go to the USC game! They are awesome.  Its kind of nice that the twins don't have two many other cousins right now cause they get lots of attention.  We put a pack n play in our room, but I kept waking up with every little coo so we put them in the shower! The next night was much better. We went to the beach and it was kind of cold and windy, but Matt insisted on giving the twins a little dip in the ocean, so he dipped their feet in.  It was pretty funny.
Anyway, things are great and I think I am getting the hang of this whole Mommy thing.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Boys


I finally feel like I have time to blog again! I guess I will just start from the beginning.  I had a scheduled C-section cause they were both breach and it was kind of weird to just have it scheduled and know the night before that you are having the babies the next day. It was just like Christmas and of course I couldn't sleep, then we had to be there at 5 in the morning so I was really tired just going into it. The one bright spot of the morning was that Matt's decans brought him over an amazing waffle breakfast at four thirty in the morning! They are such amazing young men.  But I couldn't eat it ... stupid surgery rules.  I thought a C-section would be no problem, but it was actually kind of scary.  I started shaking quite a bit, which they said was normal, but I also just felt really out of it, I can't explain it.  Its weird too cause you can't feel pain but you can feel pressure.  I don't know if this happened to anyone else, but I didn't have a "I'm a Mommy" moment when they first showed me the kids.  They were gooey at first, but then I was still kind of shaking and feeling weird and numb so I didn't feel comfortable holding them right away.  It just took a day or so for it to set in.  And it was actually hard to hold them for a while because you can't put them across your stomach cause it hurts.  It was funny though, when Kaiden came out, he grabbed the nurses mask and wouldn't let go!  I was actually really grateful that I had to be in the hospital for 5 days because having the boys in the nursery between feedings really helped.  But Dean had to be under the lights for Jaundice and I think the nurses got him addicted to his binkie because he can't do without it and Kaiden could care less most of the time.  Dean will seriously start throwing limbs and going crazy if it falls out for one second.  Its amazing how different they are.  Kaiden is a chill angel baby and just kind of starts grunting and fussing for about ten minutes when he wants something but Dean will just freak out.  He will be sound asleep and then just start wailing. Its pretty funny.  I guess that is all for now, but more to come.