to the beach!

As a "Welcome Summer & holy-cow-we're-going-to-have-two-kids-soon" celebration, we decided to take a little family vacation to California to visit Adam's family and see some sights. We started our trip off with a stop at Pismo Beach and got to spend about two days there enjoying the sand and sun. 

We were going to meet Adam's parents there but his mom got really sick and wasn't able to come. So it just ended up being the three of us and we realized it was our very first vacation with just our little family. We missed Gigi and Grandpa (Elijah asked for them everyday! and counted down the hours until we would see them at their house) but it was a nice time to bond just the three of us. 

The beach was pretty cold and as you got to the shore you would get hit with a freezing blast of wind. But that didn't stop Elijah! We couldn't keep up with him and his need for the sand and waves. While we would be bundled up in layers, Elijah was totally fine just running around in his swim suit and getting chased by the big waves. He loved watching them hit the sandy beach and ran around looking for seashells and crabs. Seriously, that kid was meant for beach life. 

We also got to see a lot of wildlife while we were there which was really awesome! Our first night there we saw dolphins from our balcony jumping out of the water. It was seriously the coolest thing ever! Poor Elijah though couldn't ever see them fast enough, so instead he would just call out "Did you see that dolphin?!?!" really excitedly even when nothing was around cause he really wanted to be part of the excitement. We also went to the pier and saw barge-loads of seals & sea lions, some even swimming right below us. And at the tide pools we saw tons of crabs, urchins, and anemones and we even saw two big starfish. Life made. 

We love Pismo and it's full of so many wonderful memories for us. Adam grew up going there as a kid with his family and then we also got to spend a few nights of our honeymoon there. Going there again with our own little family was a pretty cool "Circle of Life" moment. I hope we can keep the Pismo tradition alive for our own kids and continue to make memories there in the years to come. 

my big preschooler

It's hard to believe that this chubby faced boy.... 

is now this big & tall scholar.

Elijah finished his first year of preschool and I can't even believe it. 
He loved going to Miss Jennifer's school and talked about her and his school friends every day. Just the other day he even said, "I'm going to tell Miss Jennifer how I saw a crab and hurt my toe in the sand," even though school was already over. He loved telling Miss Jennifer his stories and playing with his friends. 

Seeing how much Elijah grew in this last year is just incredible to me. His language has exploded, he knows his letters & numbers, he can write his name {or the first part at least}, and his behavior has seemed to improve as well [in classroom settings... still working on it at home though...]. He loved preschool so much and I loved seeing him grow & learn each day.

These are some fun snapshots from this last year at school. It's so crazy to see how much he's changed in a short amount of time! Not a little baby anymore.... :(

I totally cried when I dropped him off for his first day of school and then I cried when we had to say bye to his teacher. I'm so grateful to her and her incredible patience & love for Elijah and all the children. She did what I know I couldn't do {and has 100x more patience than I ever hope to have} and both me and Elijah will miss her so much. 

First year of preschool down! On to the next big adventure for this little guy. :)

E-rock approved Carnation Fruit Smoothie

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Nestle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #BreakfastEssentials

Elijah is obsessed with having chocolate milk in the mornings. 
So much so that yesterday when we told him we ran out of chocolate syrup for chocolate milk, he cried for at least 30 minutes, begging me to go to the store at 7:00am to buy more right away. 


I usually let him have one cup along with something else for breakfast but have really been concerned about his daily consumption of it because it's obviously not the healthiest of breakfast foods. 
So when I had the opportunity to try out some Carnation Breakfast Essentials powdered drink mixes from Walmart, I was pretty excited to start a more healthy alternative to his non-nutritious-high-in-sugar morning drink routine. 

And he loved it! And I loved it too because I felt like he was getting something healthier than he was getting before. It was a win-win. 

But then we decided to step it up a notch! 
To curb his chocolate milk cravings even more, we used Carnation Breakfast Essentials in french vanilla flavor to make a delicious fruit smoothie. And Elijah LOVED it! He drank a whole huge cup by himself {even though he promised he would share with me... ;)}

So I wanted to share the E-rock award-winning thumbs-up smoothie recipe for you today so you too can impress your little picky eaters with a healthy and tasty breakfast treat!

Carnation Breakfast Essentials Fruit Smoothie

-one packet of Classic French Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials packet 
- 3/4 to 1 cup of milk 
- one cup of yogurt (we used strawberry yogurt) 
- a handful of your favorite frozen fruits (we used strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries because that what we had in our freezer)

- put frozen fruit, milk, Carnation vanilla packet, and yogurt in a blender 
- blend until smooth. 
-and ENJOY!

E-rock seriously thought it was the most amazing thing. 
He kept telling me how delicious it was over and over and would thank me for making such a yummy drink. "Smoovies are my favorite treat mom! I like the banilla one.

I'm excited to try more recipes and smoothie concoctions with the Carnation Breakfast Essentials packets. And Carnation has a great website full of tons more recipes to try out. So I know what we'll be doing this summer! 

And right now you can get a dollar off Carnation Breakfast Essentials at Walmart. Makes it an even better breakfast choice! And be sure to check out the Carnation Breakfast Essentials Facebook page for more breakfast ideas and recipes. 

Thumbs up for Carnation Breakfast Essentials!!


Some classic Elijah-isms for you today. :) 

"Elijah, stop! You're doing that just to make me mad." 
"Yes I am."
The truth comes out. 

Elijah is very outspoke about how I dress sometimes. 
He told me one day,
"Mom, remember I said I don't like that shirt. You need to go change. Go change it right now while I go to the bathroom."

He also likes to tell me how to wear my hair. 
The other night he was avoiding bedtime and asked me to come in to fix his blanket for the 12th time. When I went in he said,
"Mom, you need to put your hair up like this!"
and showed me how I should put my hair in a ponytail. 
I don't know how to feel about this new opinionated stage we've entered.

Elijah has been waking up at 6:00am or sooner. 
And the first thing he says,
"Hi Mommy! What are we doing today??"
Nothing! Go back to sleep!!! is what my brain is screaming.
{not a morning person}

Elijah knows I hate snakes. 
So naturally whenever there are pictures of snakes he calls me over to look at them. 
And laughs when I squirm and get grossed out. 
He's a sweet kid... 

And a crowning moment in the saga of raising Elijah... 
our friends were watching him one night and when we went to pick him up they said, 
"So, Elijah pooped in the backyard." 

My son, everybody!!

to the boy who made me a mother

My patience has never been tested so much. 
I have never been more tired. 
I never had to wake up so early. 
I have never been more productive. 
My body has been pushed to its limits. 
My emotions have too. 
Every weakness of mine has been magnified 
and strengthened. 

I never thought such a little person, 
with literally no knowledge about the world, 
could teach me and stretch me more than anything or anyone has before. 

Nothing prepared me for motherhood. 
But I have gained everything because of it. 

Every day I am amazed at this little son of mine. 
Every day he pushes me to be better than I am. 
Every day I think my job is to raise him when really he is training me. 

I love this sweet, spunky, energetic, smart, determined, loving, and beautiful little boy. 
He made me a mother. 
And every day I am trying hard to be the mother that he (and his baby sister) deserve! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day with those you love!

Mother's Day Inspiration

I am still a mother

My good friend wrote an amazing post today in response to National Infertility Awareness Week that was April 20th-26th. Though that week has passed, her message is still one that I think is inspiring especially this week leading up to Mother's Day. 

Her story is a different one than you may be used to hearing because unlike going through the trial of infertility with a spouse, she is a single young woman who found out at a young age after many surgeries that she may never have biological children of her own. To find out that your hopes of becoming a mother were dashed when you never even had a chance is heartbreaking. But my friend is incredible and her message is one that I think we can all appreciate and relate to; that we are all mothers, no matter our circumstances. We can be a powerful woman influence in the lives of those around us. I'm so incredibly grateful to have my friend write for me today and think her story is beautiful and powerful. I hope you take the time to read her words and be inspired as much as I have been.


In Celebration of National Infertility Week…wait..Celebration?

 I'm that girl who can put any baby to sleep. I follow children around as if they are pots of gold. Children have always been “my thing”. Babysitting- check. Nursery leader- check. Sunbeam Teacher- check. Nanny of 4 – check. Since a young age, I dreamed of my own children. I laid out my life as if I was truly the one in charge. I knew every detail of my wedding, the names of my four children, where we would live, what characteristics of mine they would have, etc. etc. etc. I would be the super mom and they would be super kids. Curing cancer, winning championships, defending the lonely kids…they would do it all. I knew I was cut out for this parenting thing.

At 17 years old, I had a series of doctor appointments. Lots of experimental medications. Lots of blood draws. And one minor surgery. And one TERRIBLE day. It was a Sunday night at 5:38 p.m. and my mom told me Dr. Jane Doe said I would never be able to bear children.

A couple weeks go by from my surgery and a beautiful tragedy happened. Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana. My town set up a shelter for the thousands of people who were now without homes or any physical belongings. I ditched school to go check it out. It was love at first sight. There was a little 6 year-old boy named Jakeem. He thought I was his girlfriend…I may have been okay with that. I spent every day with four children whose parents were going through HELL. While chatting with an old lady about my tragic news, she replied, "Well sweetie, we all gots to go through something and it seems like God may have just another plan for you". Umm..Thanks??? This is only the worst news ever. But moments later those sweet babies ran up to me. And that's when I knew. My ability to be a mother was never dependent on that stupid uterus and its ability (or inability) to actually work. My ability to be a mother is the most sacred of all callings. It couldn't be stopped by some technical difficulty.

As I was thinking of what to write I knew I wanted to tell my story, though I was unsure of what part. I've seen several articles on Twitter this week. “How to talk about infertility”, “On the kinds of infertility”, “On a state- by-state comparison for treatment”, “On the myths of infertility”…(for those who still believe that hot tubs are the cause)

So I just want to be raw. One of the reasons I adamantly follow Megan’s blog is due to her complete honesty. So here it is: the naked truth about infertility.

First of all, being at BYU was probably the hardest university I could have chosen if I was seeking to avoid my feelings about my predicament.

I suffered through some of those inevitable dumb moments that make you shake your head (sometimes your fist) and mostly just cry in a dark and empty corner. Those moments where a friend says "well at least you won't know the pain of pregnancy.” (Though, to date, I have had six surgeries and one lasting 14 days so I'm pretty sure I'm acclimated with pain) Or the moment you watch all your best friends have babies and feel selfish for having that one ounce of jealousy. Or the moment that your boyfriend finds out your body is broken. Or the moment someone at a summer church activity asks you if the scars on your stomach are from an abortion. (I mean, given this dude was a complete moron, but ouch!). Or the moment you lose your sculpted abs and get 9 ugly scars with no sweet baby to prove the worth of it all. Or the moment where a sacrament talk compares childbirth to the Atonement. Or those million moments of loneliness.

 Yeah, I’ve been there.

Here's where I went next. The wisest counsel was given by my therapist. Who would have thought?! I would tell people I had made peace with my situation, but my actions showed otherwise. She asked if I ever yelled at God about it. Seeing as she and I were both LDS I was shocked. I immediately thought, “Men are that they might have joy. I will have joy. I will be grateful. I don’t get angry. I would never question God.” She insisted I show some kind of emotion. So I did. It happened to be at a time right before surgery number 5, which was a horrible, miserable, depressing one. So I got mad. I raised my voice at God. I cried. I sobbed. I struggled and wrestled more than ever before. He listened. He is completely okay with the struggle. My complete mourning was met by a Savior who understood more than I can ever say. He can take it folks. He is strong. Our frustrations are okay by Him as long as we are struggling WITH Him by our side. He wants to provide the answers. He did indeed create us. He did indeed know that some of us would go through life with this specific pain. This means He also chose to go through it. He knows that feeling as you sit nervously in a doctor’s office. He knows the feeling of the shots. Of the complete lack of privacy. Of the 25+ exams. Of the anxiety before test results. Of the failed pregnancy tests. Of the miscarriages. Of the physically excruciating pain. He knows all of those feelings.

I don’t think I need to write what to say or what not to say. We don’t need another article on the myths. I think we all should realize that in the midst of whatever pain we have He can take it. He is outside of human weakness. He is complete love. So He gets it. Let Him get it. Let's all remember to treat others the way we would want to be treated. You never know what your neighbor is going through. It’s hard to see the pain behind the smile. There is a lot of pain in this world and there is no need for us to be jabbing one another with unkindness, whether it be gossip or judgment or cunning words. Be patient with those around you, and more so, with yourself.

Lastly, I will briefly touch on identity. This was the hardest and continues to be the most trying of all. Who am I? Who am I if I don't have my own children? Who am I if the children I adopt have adaptation issues? Who am I if my husband snaps at me about how this is my fault? Who am I if my children say the dreaded “I wish I had my real mom”? Who am I if I never have children at all?

I have a really long list of things to do in this life. I am 100% sure being a mother is on that list. Being a mother is an eternal calling without earthly limitations. I can nurture. I can teach. I can love in a way only He loves. I can mourn. I can comfort. I can lead. I can watch. I can listen. I can show. I can teach my step-sister how to cook. I can read a book to the boy next door. I can get on the ground and play with the screaming kid in line at the store. I can prepare beautiful meals for my friends. I can have a really strong shoulder to cry on for when my roommate is dumped. I can pray for my niece and nephew and love them with a love that is larger than life. I can preach to young girls and mature women everywhere that beauty is not a number on a scale. I can teach my friends about Jesus Christ.

I still daydream about my family, but they are not picture perfect anymore. I still picture four kids. They don't look like me. In fact, they are from four different countries. They don't always sit still in church because my oldest son has drugs in his body from his biological mom. My daughter has messy hair from rocking herself to sleep because she had another nightmare from her traumatic six months in an orphanage. My two year old was asked why he has darker skin than his mommy. He doesn't understand. And finally, my baby won't stop crying because she doesn't digest my fake breast milk well. But I know I love them. I haven't met them but I know who they are. They are mine. We were best friends in Heaven and I couldn't wait to spend time with them on Earth no matter how rocky the road to find them. I am grateful God has trusted me to love without bounds. I know He knows me because He knows that love is my thing. So this obstacle which sometimes feels like literal Hell is actually God’s way of saying "hey I know you. You're mine. And together we will work mighty miracles. Through the power of love."

You see, I can be a mother. Because I already am.

my stretchy pants

[top: Motherhood Maternity brand, bought from a $.25 cent sale. sweet! // pink shirt: Shade // pants: Wal-Mart // shoes: Target clearance]

I kind of hate maternity tops because I feel like they make me feel and look waaaay bigger than I really am. They're so flowy and bulky...  And yeah it adds lots of extra curves sometimes. 
But when you find one for 25 cents, it's kind of hard to pass that up! And I think this one is cuter than most. 

But really, the star of the show is these pants.! 
I got them in several colors for my birthday last year at Wal-Mart for $10. 
Yes, $10! 
They are jeggings I guess technically. But they are thick kind with back pockets! 
So they totally pass off as legit pants without the awkwardness of being too thin & see-through or the weird behind situation where you need special long shirts to cover the bum... You know what I'm saying?? 
AND they are stretchy enough that I can still wear them in my pregnancy so far and be comfortable. 
Like so wonderfully stretchy. :)

I swear everyone needs these pants!
I saw them again at Wal-Mart recently in more colors.
So go check them out right now!! 

I also wanted to say thank you SO much for the sweet words and encouragement you all left me from the last bump post. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way sometimes and that we can all help boost each other up and strengthen one another. [Especially when right after I posted that and at my last appointment they told me I gained too much already... nice.] You guys are all so amazing and I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me! 

Happy Wednesday!!


Some of my favorite pictures on my phone are ones where Elijah takes a million pictures of himself making different faces. It's like I'm catching him in his true, uninhibited form as opposed to his fake, cheesy smiles he flashes me with when I try to take pictures of him. He's just the best :) 

It's been a while since I did an Elijah-isms post. 
And made has he had some really awesome saying lately. 
So to brighten everyone's day and for my own book of remembrance I wanted to share some gems :)

One day he told me,
"Mom, let's go to the Circle Store (Target), get an ice, and pick out something for the baby girl." 
He knows my love language!

Elijah has been really into independence lately and doing everything himself.
{Except when he all of a sudden is "too little" aka lazy to do something I ask him to do.}
Part of his independence streak is making his own "lemonade juice" without absolutely ANY help from me (besides pouring the cold water). At first I was pretty against it cause I knew it was just going to be a big mess for me to clean up. But actually, I'm really proud of him for doing it! And he does it well.
So big!

He LOVES singing! And knows all the words to most songs on the radio, especially his favorites. The other day he was even legit harmonizing to One Direction. Hearing his little voice singing his favorite songs is one of my very favorite things about him.

Pretty much very day Elijah asks, "Mom, why is your belly SOOOO big???"

And then he will say,
"I'm going to cut the baby out. When is the baby going to bust through your stomach?"
That was a horrifying image.
So I tried to start the process of telling him how babies actually come out.
And when I said they come out of a hole he started laughing hysterically and thought I was just speaking crazy talk. Which really just made me feel better that we don't have to get into that conversation quite yet..

Even better. This conversation:
E: "I want the baby to come out right now."
Me: "So do I buddy."
E: "When will it come?"
Me: "After Elijah's birthday and daddy's birthday and mommy's birthday then the baby will come."
E: *smacks head* "Ugh!! That's too long!!"
Me: "You're telling me..."

Elijah, listening to the song "Brave" by Sara Barielles asked,
"Mom, what does brave mean?"
"It means you have courage and are strong to do scary things."
"Like when I cut my nails?? That's really scary. But I be a brave boy!"
But seriously cutting his nails is pretty much the most traumatic thing for him lately.

The other day Adam got a small cut and Elijah said,
"Okay. I'll call the firemen. They will help dad and make it all better."
Pro: The firehouse tour taught him all about what firemen do.
Con: Now he wants to call them for every small scrape and problem.

"Mom, I eat more candies (from Easter). But then my tummy hurts. So I'll eat one more and then we can cuddle to make me feel better."

And finally.
Today, Adam fell asleep on the couch and Elijah comes into my bedroom where I was working and whispers, "Mom, SHH! Daddy's sleeping." And if I didn't whisper back to him he would get really mad at me and say, "I said be quiet! Daddy is sleeping!" And then he would go in and check on Adam to make sure he was okay and be all concerned and sweet like.
And all I could think of was... "Where is this kind of compassion when I want to take a nap?!?!"
Anytime I am tired and start to fall asleep during the day, Elijah will climb on me and shake me and squish my face and yell,
"MOM! It's not time for sleeping!! The sun's out!"
I mean, where is the kindness and equality in this situation??

But I guess I can't stay mad at this little face for long