Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Week!!

Don't know what your plans are for Thanksgiving, but I'm going to be staying here,

in a room that looks like this,

and relaxing by this.

We'll probably take a walk here,

and probably hang out with these guys here!

Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be sure to share lots of pictures when we get home. :)

(Don't be too jealous. We have a 15 hour drive with Payson and Jack ahead of us. There and back. I can't wait!!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feeling a little better. :)

Although I've probably jinxed myself for just typing that. I got most of the house (still avoiding that darn kitchen) cleaned up, and the kids ready for the day. Hormones seem to be mellowing out. Maybe I'll do laundry and shower this afternoon. (Although that's probably wishful thinking with the mood I've been in today). :)

So I'm already stressing about baby names. It always takes me way to long to figure out what I like and what fits. And I'm strangely concerned with what other people think. Although in the end I'll name the kid what I like regardless of other people's opinions. And actually, I think I'm fairly settled on a boy name. Not sure on the girl names. But the middle name will either be Marie (like me, Payson, my mom, and my sisters), Beth (after my mom), or Joyce (after my grandmother. Anyway, any opinions or suggestions?

Not a great week.

I need to vent. Because I'm alone and there's no one here to vent to. So you get it. Sorry.

Jason is gone this week. He won't be home until the end of next week. My house is a mess. Well, that's not entirely accurate. The mess is mostly contained to the kitchen. But it's starting to smell. And the smell makes me nauseous. So I'm avoiding cleaning it. Jack has been a seriously pill lately. Biting, hitting, attitude. I'm ready to give him away. Any takers? I'm exhausted. I can't get enough sleep. But when I sleep I have BIZARRE dreams! I woke up so many times last night, seriously disturbed by these strange dreams. I hate that about pregnancy. I haven't worked out (well, except once) this week. I'm just too tired. And lazy. And I've eaten crap all week. So now I feel even more like crap. I'm completely off of my routine. The routine that keeps my anxiety in check and keeps me sane. And I can tell the kids are missing the structure. I cried myself to sleep last night. Mostly hormones. I hate hormones. And I'll admit that I've only showered once this week. Ew. And I just pulled my hair back and threw my sweats back on. I hate this week. I want it to be over. I want to feel normal again. Someone come fix me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weekly Weigh In - 6 Weeks

So I guess this week would be week seven if I kept going from where I left off. But I lost track. And things have changed anyway, so I'm going with pregnancy weeks now. :)

I have not lost any more weight. Or gained either. Which is great!! But also a little bit of a bummer. I mean, I know it's healthy, but it's frustrating to unexpectedly not be able to lose weight anymore. But oh well. I just have to remind myself that I can use the next several months to ingrain healthy habits into my brain so that once this baby is here it is super easy to drop all these extra pounds!!

It's sad to say, but at my heaviest weight I was considered obese. Yuck!! I hate thinking about that. However, now, I'm just overweight. Which stinks, but whatever. It's better than obese. Anyway, for overweight women, healthy weight gain throughout pregnancy would fall between 15 and 25 pounds. So that's what I'm aiming for. I'm going to try to gain as little as possible, as far as I feel okay, the baby is healthy, and my midwife is happy with my progress. I don't know what exact number that will be, but I'm just planning to play it by ear. For now, the goal is to not gain any weight during the first trimester. And less than a pound a week after that. Again, so long as it's healthy.

I'm learning to listen to my body better. I start to feel weak and get light headed if I haven't gotten enough. And I have to be better about not letting myself get to that point. It's funny because I'll eat what I think is plenty and then my body will let me know otherwise. It's sort of a strange feeling, not having control anymore.

I'm eating basically the same as before. Although I eat a little more. I get queasy and weak if I go too long without eating so I've added an additional healthy snack to my day. And I usually have a little extra for breakfast. Like an extra piece of whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter or a larger smoothie or extra piece of fruit. I'm usually super hungry first thing in the morning. But I'm trying to make sure every additional calorie is a healthy additional calorie.

And as far as working out goes, I've had to stop Bootcamp. I'm looking forward to getting back to it once I get the okay from the midwives after baby comes. But in the mean time I ordered Lindsay's pregnancy dvds (found here) and they came last weekend. I'm starting the first trimester workout today. Can't wait!! And on top of that I'll do cardio 5-6 days a week. An hour on days I don't do the video, and about 30 minutes when I do.

But like I said before, I'm learning to listen to my body. Like last Saturday I was feeling EXHAUSTED and didn't want to workout. I thought it was just psychological and pushed myself to workout anyway. You know, some days you just feel lazy, but once you make yourself DO IT you feel great!! It did feel good, but I was wiped out the rest of the day. I realized that my body was telling me it needed a break and that I should have listened. So yesterday I took the day off. Much needed!! And today I feel better. Much better. (Aside from wanting to curl back up in bed because the kids woke up a few times last night so I didn't get a great night's sleep). :(

I realized over the weekend how much of a learning process living healthy is for me. I don't think it'll ever be easy. I think it will always take effort for me. I'm sure it will get easier as I go, but it will always be work. Which is good. Work is something I have never been great at and I'm learning to be better. But one day I'll have reached my goal and will get to keep on learning while enjoying the results of all of this work. :)

And there is a lot of fun that comes along with it! Like cooking! I've never loved to cook. When Jason and I were first married, I didn't have a lot of recipes, so we ate the same things every week. That was boring to me. And all of the recipes I had included sour cream, cheese, cream of mushroom or chicken soup, etc. Fatty, creamy, yummy, but disgusting. And I hate doing dishes. So cooking was not so much fun. Now I'm finding all kinds of simple, yummy, quick, healthy and delicious recipes online! I love trying new things! It makes the cooking fun for me. I enjoy it! And because we try a new recipe or two each week it keeps things interesting. We repeat the things we really like or things we haven't had in a long time and we never get bored. Yes, it takes planning and preparation, but I rarely find myself wondering what's for dinner at 5 and stressing to figure out what to make. And there are usually leftovers, so I can take a night or two off and just have that. PLUS, it makes the occasional take out night even more fun, since it's a rare treat instead of the normal once or twice a week.

Anyway, I'm rambling on and on about stuff that I'm sure no one else really cares too much about. So instead I'll bore you for a minute with some complaints!! :)

MY BOOBS ARE KILLING ME!! Seriously, I don't remember them hurting this much the first two pregnancies! A good supportive sports bra helps, but I can't figure out how to wear it with the g's. Over? Under? It just doesn't work. Ugh.

And the bloating and gas cramps! Ugh. Ugh, ugh, UGH!! I mean, not gas like passing gas all the time, but like pointless gas bubbles in my abdomen that just cause pain. And the bloating is just annoying. I'm not showing this early, of course, but my pants, which have just started to fit well again from the weight loss, fit snug on the days that I'm bloated. YUCK. Those are the days I wear my sweat pants and cry. And has anyone else had ligament pain this early in a pregnancy? I don't remember feeling those tugs and stretching until way later on. Should I be worried??

Oh, and have I mentioned how tired I am? All. The. Time. I get up at 5 most day, but I crash around 1 or 2. Which, thank heavens, is when Payson is at school (3 days a week) and Jack takes his nap. So I take a nap too. And then I'm still out by 8 or 9 at night. The most frustrating part about that is that that nap time is when I usually get things done! Like primary stuff, or cleaning the house, or whatever else. I have to take advantage of the nap, but I feel like I'm not getting anything done because of lost too many precious hours of my day! So if I have something I promised you I'd get to or if I'm supposed to call you back, please excuse me. I was probably sleeping instead of getting it done.

Although, I really shouldn't complain about those little things. So far, I've gotten nauseous on occasion and sick only a few times. (Knock on wood). I'm hoping it stays that way. And to be honest, I would gladly keep all these other darn symptoms if it meant keeping the morning sickness at bay. I'd take just about ANYTHING over being sick. I hate throwing up. Ew.

Anyway, enough of that. I'm off to throw on my sweats and brush my teeth and take the kiddos to playgroup. Maybe I'll curl up on the floor while the kids play instead of socializing with the other moms. (Can you believe I'm literally ready for a nap at nine in the morning?!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Kind of Mother I Want to Be

We all get loads of email forwards. Some are funny, some are political, some are ridiculous, and some are inspiring. Even those that fascinate me rarely leave my inbox. I just don't take the time to forward them. However, I felt the need to share this one. I do not know who the original author is or where it came from. For all I know it could be fabricated (although I highly doubt that). Regardless, it touched me and I'd like to share it with you.

This week, at the front desk of one of the leading hair salons in Los Angeles, People Magazine was being shared by a handful of women all marveling at the poise and strength of the 21-year old cover girl, Elizabeth Smart. Just a week ago, Smart finally faced the man who violently changed her life and robbed her of her youth. Defendant Brian David Mitchell, appearing in U.S. District Court, sat in shackles opposite Smart. Ultimately Mitchell was banned from the courtroom for being disruptive, and was reduced to viewing the proceedings via closed circuit TV.
It is no surprise that magazine readers, particularly women, have been shocked and horrified by Elizabeth Smart's unveiling of her true nightmare. The women present this week at Allen Edwards Salon in Encino, California could only shake their heads and praise her for her courage, for her steely commitment to holding Mitchell accountable, and her equal resolve to be defined by all that she is, not what she has lost.
About a year ago, my then 11-year old daughter had the opportunity of being in a Sunday School class of young women taught by Elizabeth Smart, in a Salt Lake City congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The subject of Smart's lesson was how to "put your trust in God when there is nothing else you can count on." Elizabeth Smart shared with the young girls, who knew her sheer presence was a miracle, that they could survive anything if they would just understand who they were in the eyes of God.
Some skeptics in the world might brush aside such a message as sort of a lovely evangelical band-aid. If you were eleven and seated in front of the statuesque, unspotted, quietly fierce Elizabeth Smart, no more believable testimony could ever be given.
In recent weeks the media has been full of praise for Elizabeth Smart. Earlier, however, the media often questioned her courage. Why hadn't she run? Or escaped? Or screamed? Or fought back? Interviewers and reporters and anchors filled news minutes with speculation. For years. When Smart did agree to interviews, she fought off the most pressing questions, creating even more wonder.
On October 2nd, in a Salt Lake City courtroom, in a time and place of her choosing, Elizabeth Smart quietly but confidently silenced all speculators. She revealed a tale of pre-meditated viciousness and abuse that almost no woman could survive, intact.
How did a 14- year old survive such a crime, you might ask?
Because of her mother.
Several days after her kidnapping, after her father had already poured out his soul to the unknown kidnappers and sobbed for his daughter's return, Elizabeth's mother, Lois Smart, stepped in front of the microphone. She seemed so bereft that she could barely lift her face to the cameras for early morning television. I remember Mrs. Smart calling out to Elizabeth, hoping somehow she could hear. Lois Smart challenged Elizabeth, wherever she might be, to remember her great- grandmother, a Mormon pioneer, who had crossed the Great Plains. Lois Smart reminded Elizabeth that her great- grandmother had known many hardships, but had always endured, and that Elizabeth could do the same.
Elizabeth Smart has reported that the "mentally-deficient" Brian David Mitchell had acquired a small TV or radio to track the news media coverage following the abduction. Whether Elizabeth ever actually heard her mother, it is hard to know. However, as a mother of a daughter who also has a great- grandmother who forged her way across the plains with the Mormon pioneers, I know that it is likely Elizabeth knew the story well. It had been shared with her by her mother and father many times. She also knew what it said about the women who are part of the long line of Smarts.
As someone who shares the Smart family's religious convictions, I can't help but believe that Elizabeth Smart was able to survive months of captivity and sexual abuse because at 14, she already knew exactly who she was. All of her life she had been taught that she was a daughter of God and that nothing, and no one, could ever change that. She knew that her mother knew. She knew that her grandmother knew. She knew that her great grandmother had known too that she could endure virtually anything, trusting that her Father in Heaven was watching over her.
The answer to the question in everyone's mind about Elizabeth Smart is simple. Elizabeth survived by showing the kind of courage that she had always been taught was there.
That is how the witnesses and national cameras cannot ignore that Elizabeth Smart is still a young woman with a rich life ahead of her.
A beautiful, courageous 21 year old, and a presence whom six young girls in a Sunday School class will remember the rest of their lives.

My thoughts while reading this were not of how I might have handled the events Elizabeth Smart did, although those thoughts have crossed my mind. Today I thought of my children. And my own strength as a mother. I hope that I will someday be the kind of mother who has taught that indescribably important lesson to her children. If at the end of my life I can not say that I did all in my power to teach my children to KNOW who they are, to know, as stated in this email that they are "a daughter (or son) of God and that nothing, and no one, could ever change that...and that she (or he) could endure virtually anything, trusting that her (or his) Father in Heaven was watching over her (or him)", well then, my life would not have been well spent.

Thoughts like this can be discouraging. I could look at it and fear all the work I have to do to become that kind of mother. I could realize that I may fail and give up. Or I can realize who I am and I can trust that if I put every ounce of faith in my Heavenly Father, He will guide me in teaching my children and instilling in them strong, solid, enduring testimonies, like this young woman's.

That's the kind of mother I want to be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ralls Family Halloween 2009 Extravaganza!!

We celebrated Halloween all month long this year! We started out picking out pumpkins from the local "pumpkin patch" (aka Smith's Grocery Store). The kids wanted to color their pumpkins with Daddy one night. So we let them.

The city had a big Halloween activity one night. A street downtown was blocked off for the party. The kids got all dressed up. My Dorothy and Scarecrow:

They had a few games for the kids, like a bean bag toss, a golfing game, and a few others. There were prizes (i.e., spider rings and Halloween pencils) at each activity. They also had pumpkin carving and costume contests.

Then there was a trunk of treat. That's what we were really there for. :) Local business hand out candy for the kiddos and fliers, ads, and coupons for the parents. Free advertising for them, free candy and entertainment for us. The last trunk was the "Mystery Machine" van! The kids LOVE Scooby Doo lately, so they were super excited for that one! They couldn't have cared less about Shaggy or Velma or anyone else. They just wanted to meet Scooby. I tried to get a picture, but Jack took his candy and was done. :)

Later on in the month the kids and I carved our pumpkin. Guess what they picked.

For our weekly story time at the library the kids wore costumes and made these little ghost pouches. Then they trick-or-treated all the librarians.

A favorite tradition of ours is going to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point in Utah. The kids have loved going with their aunts every year. We took Madie and Maren and Maren's friend Erin.

Jack rode on this little toy while the other kids played on the giant jumping pillow:

The raced on the slides. Maren won:

There was a new little 3D fun house. I made the kids all pose in their super awesome glasses.

We went for a couple of rides. The first was cows cars pulled by tractors, the second just little carts behind a tractor. Big hit with the kiddos.

The kids spent some time in jail:

Madie and Erin made it through the haunted monster with no problem, but Maren has cried every year. This year I made her go through with me. She freaked out a little and clung to me as if I she might die if she let go, but she made it through AND there were no tears!!

The corn box is always a favorite. We took turns burying everyone from the neck down. We came home with corn in our underwear.

The kids dressed up in the little Pumpkin Princess Village. Jack showed us his muscles:

And finally we stopped to take a picture on the giant rocking chair:

Then Halloween Day we met a few of my hair school friends for a brunch at IHOP. I'm lame and didn't take my camera. :( Then we hopped onto Grandpa's trailer and her pulled us around the neighborhood behind his 4-wheeler for some serious trick0-or-treating!! The kids scored loads of sugar. I ate way more of it than I should have. The last stop of the night is always the Carroll's. Instead of candy, they always have homemade donuts and hot chocolate. They moved this year, but came back to a neighbor's house just for us!! LOVE them!!

Then it was back to Grandma's for Taco Soup, cookies, candy, a nice warm bath, and BED!!

Hope you all had as much fun as we did!! Until next year!