I Choose To Be Happy.

Being a mom is hard.

There are constant messes being made, obstinate toddlers that only want to eat crackers and cookies, you always have a tiny chaperone in the bathroom, and you sacrifice your personal hygiene daily.

With so much working against us as moms today, it is easy to forget the most important thing that is working FOR us… our children. They are miracles in our lives that can bring us the greatest of all joys. We bring these wonderfully tiny, rambunctious humans into the world because something is missing from our life…. (even if they are “accidents” each of them were brought to us for a special reason).

I am guilty of forgetting that fact. Even though I only have one child I often found myself longing for the days before I had this screaming bundle of joy. There were days that I would hide in the pantry clinging onto my sanity and a pack of Oreos. Then people began the “when’s #2 coming along?!” talk and I cringed inside even more at the thought of having another miniature 16 year old.

Finally one night as my daughter, Audrey, was dancing in the living room trying desperately to stay awake I realized how much I was missing out on. I saw what a goof ball she was and how much I envied that amount of determination she felt. At that moment I decided that I was going to be happy. It was hard the first couple of days when she was screaming at me for not knowing exactly what she wanted. But when I made it a point to figure it out instead of write her off and walk away things started to improve.

I stopped worrying about the amount of books she was pulling off the shelf and the crumbs under my feet walking through the kitchen didn’t bother me anymore. I chased her around the house playing monsters and threw toys in the air with her. Then a funny thing happened, I began to have more energy during the day to enjoy her.

Another thing I have learned is not to be afraid to go out. It is a hassle and the more kids you have the bigger a hassle it is. But you don’t have go to a movie or the opera with them… take them to the park or out in your yard if you have one. Let them dig in the dirt and scrape their knees. Its better for nap time in the long run anyway (which means better mommy time too!).

When all our time is wasted on worrying about how she’s not napping or how much of a mess she is making on top of the other things we have going on in the world there’s none left over for fun. All our babies want from us is to laugh with them! (And wipe their butts) So I say laugh and make messes! That’s what they invented 409 and washing machines for right?!

I choose to live a happy life filled with messes and crumbs, bath time and kisses, love and laughter. Sure you have to discipline and be the adult but MOM doesn’t have to mean tired, grumpy woman that feeds me if I’m good. It should be the woman who teaches you the perfect recipe for a mudpie AND how to finish your homework with out the world coming to an end.

Patience is a virtue…. and with kids its a miracle, but I’m bring happiness back into the Peterson home and I’m never going to let worry take it over again.

One year later

So far 2015 has been one for the books….

It has been a crazy ride with lots of ups and downs and innumerable blessings.

Our baby girl, Audrey Elizabeth, turned one on Saturday. The whole day I just kept thinking where the heck did the last year of my life go! I swear that I had a huge watermelon belly last month and now my baby is walking and creating chaos.

For the longest time i wanted Audrey to quit crawling and just be able to walk because my arms were turning into mush by 9 AM just from carrying her around. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. Now that Audrey walks I cant keep up! I have my own personal Tasmanian Devil….. books out of the bookcase, movies out of the cabinet, 52 card pickup…. these are a few of the games that Audrey loves to play several times a day. And its not a “I want to watch/read these things” kind of destruction…. NOOOOO it is full on Godzilla mode where she just likes to create chaos. Audrey makes King Kong look like the wind up monkey toys with cymbals and a funny looking hat.

2015 has also brought us new friends and a new place to call home.

Panaca, NV is a teeny blip of a town in rural Nevada about 2 hours north of Las Vegas. It is my husband’s home town where he terrorized teachers and, ironically, is now a teacher being terrorized.

When Doug told me that he wanted to move back here to teach government and history I told him I would support him in anything….. you know, put on the good wife face 😉

but secretly inside I was panicking a little because we still didn’t have a place to live and I was having visions of being trapped upstairs at my in-law’s house in blip-ville, USA scratching tally marks into the walls to keep track of the empty time passing… never escaping to the outside world. (could have been my crazy hormones from said watermelon baby belly)

But I must say that after a year of living in Panaca I have discovered several things.

1. Panca is the center of the universe. Even in blip-ville there are unseen ties to everyone in the world. I have seen tender mercies come from just knowing the rare world that is Panaca.

2. The people here are AMAZING. Coming from a fairly large city, I am not accustomed to the generosity of others.  In Panaca you can have tetanus shot and there would be a line of neighbors standing outside of your door bearing casseroles and cleaning supplies. In this county everyone knows everyone and everyone helps everyone…. no matter what. The saying that it takes a village to raise a child is a perfect depiction of how the kids here are cared for. When my sister-in-law had her gallbladder removed there was a different person there everyday to pick up her two younger kids to play at their house for the day so that she could recover. I witnessed day after day as our little village came willingly to help her heal in every way they could think of.

It truly is a blessing to have the friends that we have made here. We all joke with each other about how we miss running around the corner to the McDonalds to satisfy a late snack craving or only having to find a sitter for an hour for date night…. (yes there is no McDonalds and any fancy restaurant is, the closest, 82 miles away).

Like I said blip-ville.

anyway….. but at the end of the day to live in a place where you don’t have to worry about your children playing in the front yard, or whether or not you locked your car with $20 inside it, is the best place on earth to live…. and for the most part worth the segregation from the normal society of civilization. Biggest adjustment to living in Panaca is buying groceries that will last you a month or more, until you decide to trek back into the city.

3. If you want to get pregnant move to Panaca…… I’m pretty sure there is something in the water. In the last year there were 15 new babies within 6 months of each other. Call it a miracle or magic….. I call it the wonderful people here have taken it upon themselves to fulfill the commandment of multiply and replenish the earth.

4. Everyone is related to someone in the county. Again, I’m a city girl from the high desert of California…… where a few of your family members were around but here in our little podunk town…. there is no deciphering of the family trees. it is a garden of twisted vines as families cross and tangle several times over. When we first moved here it became habit for me to inquire upon meeting new friends, “who are you related to?”. Luckily my answer was always easy when the question was reciprocated. every one knows Doug and everyone loves Doug too.

and last but certainly not least….

5. There is nowhere on this earth I would rather live than in podunk, blip-ville, Panaca.

even if it does mean living a stone throw away from my in-laws…. 😉

(whom I love btw!!)

Baby Diaries… Delivery

June 27th, 2014 our beautiful baby girl, Audrey Elizabeth, came into our lives. She was 6 lbs 15 oz. and 19 and 1/4 inches long. Here is the story of D-Day!

Audrey’s due date was June 26th but by the time that day rolled around I was still lugging around a beach ball and biding my time.

Side Note: We also moved into a new house this last month so not only were we about to welcome a new baby but we had bought a house (needing lots of work and leaving us flat broke) AND Doug started a new job teaching government at a youth detention center.

Alright back to D-Day….. I hated the last month of pregnancy. I was tired of carrying around this balloon of a belly, which totally threw off my equilibrium and made me stumble and run into almost every wall in our house. I was sick of having to roll on my back like an upside down turtle, heaving myself off the bed every hour, on the hour, in order to void my exploding bladder. The absolute worst part was that I actually MISSED exercising! I mean seriously, who misses that??!!

Finally when the 26th rolled around I had been having small contractions that felt like cramps for a couple of days. When we went to the doctor on our due date I thought for sure that they would send me down the hall and I could start the eviction process for this baby but instead they found I was still only at a one but almost 90% effaced and sent me home. We scheduled a time for inducement a week later and I bawled my eyes out. I was so convinced that I was going to be walking down the hall to Labor and Delivery singing hallelujahs that I was almost done with this whole preggo thing that when they told me I should go home cause it wasn’t happening today I lost my cool. I was trying so hard to hold back the tears because my mom and Doug were both in the room. Going home meant 82 miles of without a baby.

Just another awesome side effect of being great-with-child…. raging hormones that make you relive the days of puberty as an overly emotional 13 year-old girl.

So we ran a few errands, picked up the last load from the apartment and then went back to our new house in Panaca, Nevada, an hour and half away. I was so upset the rest of the night. Doug’s family and my parents were over at his parent’s house in our new town and all I could think about was that I had to spend ANOTHER night pregnant, sweaty (its june, I mean come on summer and 9 months pregnant= WORST thermoregulation ever!) and contracting.

Everyone kept asking me what I thought about the contractions and how I was feeling. I was feeling pretty good except the disappointment that I wouldn’t have my baby tonight. My contractions were still really small and far apart so I thought labor was going to be a breeze…. BOY WAS I WRONG. Still, in my first-time-mother ignorance, I prayed that night for stronger contractions and for a new baby that night. Let me tell you Heavenly Father answers prayers because that night I woke up every five minutes from the excruciating pain of this tiny human trying get out. I woke up Doug, told him we were at about 5 minutes apart and made my way to wake up my mom. As I got dressed Doug and my mom were running all around me trying to get everything into the car and ready to go. My dad pulled up in the truck and we rallied at 100 miles an hour to the hospital in Cedar City.

We arrived at the hospital at 4 AM. They rolled me into the maternity wing and checked to see my progress. All I could think was if they send me home again I’m just not gonna have this baby at all. LOL like I had any choice in the matter! Luckily they said I was well on my way and they checked me into the hospital officially and the delivery began!

There are a few things about the whole delivery I was sure of.

1. DRUGS and lots of them! There was no way that I was going to do this all natural. I had a kidney stone during the pregnancy and I was FOR SURE that there was no way this baby was coming out the natural way.

2. Doug was going to be in the room. He pleaded with me to not make him be there but his efforts were fruitless. I was not doing this without him. He struggled but he actually cut the cord and everything!

The drugs were wonderful! I took a nap and everything! It was an awesome experience. I got to feel Audrey’s head as she was crowning, I couldn’t feel any pain, and I was getting my baby!

At 12:47 PM on June 27th, 2014 our beautiful baby girl, Audrey Elizabeth Peterson, was born! I would love to say that her emergence was a beautiful and wonderful thing but, unfortunately for the nurses and the doctor our baby girl made a mess of things. LITERALLY. As audrey came out of the birth canal she exploded 9 months of baby poop all over EVERYTHING! There was so much poop that the ran out of towels and had to use the extra linens stored in the room. It was all over me, the baby, the nurses and the doctor! What can we say? our girl knows how to make an entrance!

 

To Be or Not To Be…. A Lawyer That Is

Over the last few months Doug has been contemplating future career options. He’s gone through every idea in the book from his childhood dream as a sheriff to becoming a lawyer. His friend was in law school and they planned on opening a practice together once Doug graduated law school but Doug started to question whether that was a good idea. Doug’s major in college is History with a minor in Criminal Justice. He loves history and actually enjoyed the education classes he took, which led to the narrowing down of career choices to teacher or lawyer. 

I knew that once teacher came into the mix that was exactly what he would choose. If you know Doug he’s that outgoing, passionate and creative guy who would be perfect for making the most boring subject ever interesting. I watched him struggle with the decision for months. He really wanted the success that he knew being a lawyer would bring him but knew that he would be happiest as a teacher. 

Doug is from a tiny little town in Nevada called Panaca. Little is an underestimate….. its teeny…. but we absolutely love it there! Doug is one of those Good ‘Ol small town boys who is always being called back to his roots. One day when we went to visit for a weekend it was like it finally clicked for him, teaching in Panaca was our future. When he told me what the plan was, his whole countenance changed. I wasn’t in front of a stressed out guy anymore, instead I had my confident and goofy husband back and it was the best thing ever!! 

FAST FORWARD:

Doug is now taking extra classes in Math so that he can start his student teaching in August at his alma mater, Lincoln County High School. The goal is to eventually move into a history position but math is the way to get his foot in the door and is actually something else he enjoys. 

I love watching the reaction of the people in the county when Doug tells them that he is moving back and what his plans are. When he was a teenager he was a hooligan, but every one loves him still and…. although shocked…. are so excited to have him back. I have no idea WHY they love him so much after all of the hooligan things that he did as a kid…. but its awesome to hear that they all think its a great idea and know that he will be a great teacher.

I knew these things from the beginning but I think it helps Doug a lot with the confidence in his decision to hear the approval and confidence of everyone else too. 

He actually told me the other day that one of the biggest reasons he chose to be a teacher is to spend more quality time with me and with our family. He said, “I work an 8-5 job now and I can never get time with you. I miss the quality time that we used to have and with teaching, I can have that again. As a lawyer I would be working late nights and every holiday… WORST!” That is probably one of my favorite conversations that we have ever had 🙂 

I cant wait to see what happens next!! 

Here’s to starting another adventure together!! 

 

Summer of Coaching

Over this last summer (2013)  I was able to volunteer my time to the American Youth Soccer Organization. It was especially important to me to be able to do this because as a youth I played many years in the program. Their philosophies about developing players and emphasizing the fun of soccer has always appealed to me.

As a student at Southern Utah University I am required to complete a project through the EDGE program. In this program we are encouraged to choose a project that will benefit not only us as people but our future careers. Immediately I knew that coaching was the way for me to go. I have always been a player but had never formally coached a team before. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to make that transition. 

After going through all the proper channels of proposition and approval, I registered with AYSO as a coach. I was so excited to be able to share my knowledge of the sport I love so much with these young players who are barely beginning to dabble in its wonders. In July I received an email telling me the date and time of the coaching clinic that I needed to attend in order to be certified as a coach. At this training I received my team, equipment and lessons that would prove useful for the future. They talked to us about all of the possible challenges that would accompany the age group we were assigned to, the rules, and how we could implement the philosophies of the program through our training sessions during the season. 

The age group I was assigned to was under 8 year old girls. There were six girls on my team initially but a few weeks after practice started we were assigned another girl bringing our total to seven players. 

In this specific age group we are only allowed to play five girls on the field at a time. This proved to be a challenge since, as I found out soon enough, NOBODY wants to sit on the sideline. This tested my skills to properly communicate with the players that we needed to be fair and that everybody had to sit out at least once. 

Six and seven year old girls are not known for their ability to compromise. When it came time to decide a team name we were in a gridlock between the cheetahs and the dragons. Two completely different creatures plus seven small and opinionated girls equals a complicated problem for me! I decided to help them come up with a compromise that included both names so that everyone would be happy and I wouldn’t have to explain to their parents why their daughter was crying about weather a cheetah or a dragon. The end result was the birth of the Fire Breathing Cheetahs! All throughout the season we were complimented on our unique name and each time my girls would giggle and express their thanks.

Fun side note: One girl on my team was a strong advocate for the name Sasquatches because they’re so fast that no one can ever get a good picture of them. 

The practices were always fun with these girls. They were always so interested in learning and showing me their new skills. Based on the previous practices and games I would devise a plan on what skill we needed to work on and how to make it fun for them.

One game that the girls especially loved was one I called SHARK. This game was devised to help them develop defensive skills as well as attacking. In the game of shark we had one girl that was the shark (always a fight about who got to be it first) and the rest were in a large area dribbling the ball. When I would release the shark into open waters the girls would scream and laugh and run around in the grid. The object was for the shark to steal everyone’s soccer ball away and the last one standing was the winner. Every day we had a practice I was pestered to play this game so I made it the last activity we would do before stretching and going home. The way they would all fight for the first opportunity to be the shark still makes me giggle today. 

Throughout the season we won some games and lost some but my girls always seemed to have fun and they were improving every time they touched the ball. It was so fun to watch their eyes light up as they completed a skill we learned at practice or as they scored their very first goal! I remember what that feeling was like for me as a player and it was extremely rewarding to be able to participate and witness that in the new players of this generation. 

At the end of the season I bought all my girls pizza and we had a party at Park Discovery in Cedar City. It was a bittersweet end to the summer because I had just spent every week for three months with these goofballs. I loved every second of their silly comments, beating up the coach in drills, their laughter and even their short attention spans. When each girl got to the party they handed me a picture they drew for me. I will always cherish these crayon covered scraps of paper because it will always remind me of that awesome summer I got to spend with the Fire Breathing Cheetahs. 

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First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes………..

At the end of my Fall semester, around the month of October, I started to feel like I was getting a cold or the flu. I was feeling sick to my stomach and exhausted all the time. After about two weeks of not feeling any better I told Doug that I might need to go to the doctor to get some antibiotics or something.

We have had a joke running that every time I don’t feel well, he says you’re probably just pregnant and have a little nugget in there. Then we laugh it off and move on with our lives knowing that it’s not true. When he said it this time though, suddenly I realized mother nature was a few weeks late for her monthly visit.

HOLY….. no, no, no that’s not it. 

We had only stopped taking birth control the month before. I had ran out of pills and then kept forgetting to get it refilled since it was the end of summer and we were on vacation for a few weeks. After not taking it for a month we decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to start taking it again…. you know just in case. Little did we know.

So back to where I was miserable and had no explanation as to why.

 Not only was I still not feeling well a for the third week in a row but I felt like I was gaining weight faster than i could do anything about getting it off. My size four jeans were starting to feel like my twelve year old niece’s pants! I was so depressed that I refused to buy a size bigger and determined that I was going to get that weight off immediately! YA RIGHT! The harder I tried to get the weight off  the tighter my pants became! Ever seen the Star Wars movie where Han, Luke, and Leia are stuck in the trash compactor?? Thats how my guts were feeling every time I desperately tried squeezing into those jeans. I walked around for a month with the top unbuttoned! 

By the middle of the fourth week in october I felt like Violet Beauregarde and still couldn’t move in the mornings from paralyzing nausea. Doug came home one night and said, “Let’s go to Walmart.” Reluctantly I agreed and we went straight over to the pregnancy test aisle. He looked at me and said, “I am pretty sure that there is a nugget in there and we need to know for sure.” 

I came home with the immediate urge to pee but as soon as I got the test ready to take my bladder decided to be uncooperative…… (a problem I no longer have)

Side Note: Peeing on a stick is probably one of the hardest things to do without making a mess. 

After three excruciatingly long minutes I was able to read: Pregnant 3+ weeks.

3+ weeks??????? I was speechless, staggered back to the room where Doug was anxiously wasting time and handed him the test. His face started out as nonchalant, then moved into puzzled, then a huge expression I can only describe as Christmas faced. A huge smile spread and his eyes lit up with excitement….. until he realized it said 3+ weeks. That expression was closer to confused terror.  

“What does that mean?! How long??!!!” 

I just laughed and shrugged my shoulders. We walked into the living room where the test sat on the coffee table like the Picasso painting in a museum you don’t understand at all but just can’t stop looking at. I sat on the couch and stared for what seemed like an eternity but realistically was only about 5 minutes as Doug paced behind me and tried to figure out what had just happened. (All in joy!) 

Our friends JD and Jenny have been pushing us to pop out a baby for over a year so naturally we called them first. Well at first it was just a text that read, “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” Then the call came and Jenny was just screaming through the phone about us being pregnant and that she knew it all along! Doug and I just kept laughing because we couldn’t even respond! 

So for the last four months we have been so excited and trying to tell all of the people in our families. We have our ultrasound to find out gender on the 22nd of January and we cannot even wait!! Our baby is scheduled to be here on June 26th (only 4 days after my birthday!). 

And on the plus side…. I now know that my unexplained weight gain was just our little nugget and not my addiction to ice cream and Dr. Pepper! YAY!! 

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The Stevens: One Of Our Greatest Blessings

How our families met was pretty odd but it was the beginning of a life long friendship.

Doug and I were moving into our new apartment when we met the Stevens. We had just opened our door when we came across a card table with a laptop and a bucket of school text books. There was even a single roll of toilet paper in our bathroom. The rest of the house was empty so there was no way that we stumbled into someone else’s apartment. We searched through some of the books and found that the culprit was J.D. Stevens. We called the woman in charge of the apartments and told her about the situation and the name we had found. She told us that he worked for them and she would give him a call.

A few moments later a woman named Jenny came over with a young boy behind her. She apologized and explained it was her husband’s school material and that he had been coming to our empty apartment to study for dental school. Doug and I just chuckled, now that we knew who it was and why he was there it was a little less creepy. Jenny got all of J.D.’s stuff out and we started moving stuff in. It wasn’t long before J.D. pulled up in his truck and immediately helped us start moving our furniture in.

The next time we saw them was a few weeks later when Dawson was getting ready for his birthday. Doug and I were already his sunday school primary teachers, but we hadn’t had him in class because we were either gone or his family was. We also thought that Dawson was pretty much the most awesome kid because every time we would pull up to the apartment we would see him standing out in front of his door (we were neighbors) in a pirate costume. He had an eyepatch, a captain’s hat, and full outfit. Like I said he’s pretty awesome.

Anyway, when he was getting ready for his birthday we saw him and he immediately invited us to his party all by himself then proudly showed off his pirate piñata to us. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it but we went to Walmart and bought him a puzzle in a pirate treasure chest. We took it to him and ended up laughing and talking with J.D. and Jenny for hours. That was when J.D. and Doug’s bromance sparked too. 😉

Since that moment we started hanging out more and more. We always laughed and had a great time. Doug and I were  so excited because we finally had a couple friend that shared our same interests and humor. I was particularly excited because someone would put up with Doug besides me! This was great!

They are our best friends and just a few weeks ago received a great opportunity to move out of Cedar City, and up to Holden, Ut. Doug and I were of course very sad that they moved and still aren’t totally used to walking by their empty apartment. However, we are so happy that they are in a much better situation and that they are happier now.

I am a firm believer that people enter and exit our lives, even if not forever, to teach us something.

Here are a few of the things that J.D., Jenny and Dawson taught us:

Always remember family: Whenever times get especially rough stay with your family. They will be the ones to lift you back up and help you get through anything.

Enjoy Life and especially your kids: I’ve never seen any couple who loves and truly adores their child more than J.D. and Jenny. They are perfect role models for future parents and I hope that when Doug and I reach that point we can be awesome just like them.

Be nice but stand your ground: I love that J.D. and Jenny stand up for themselves. The helped me to realize that being nice is a great attribute but every now and again there is an appropriate time for you to stand your ground and for what’s right. An important lesson that I will never forget.

Take time to be thankful: I don’t know if J.D. and Jenny even know about this one but I have noticed that they always take time to be thankful. They thank heavenly father for their blessings and their trials. They thank friends for just being friends, family for everything that families do. Its an important thing that doesn’t take  much time or effort but makes so many lives better.

From Dawson we especially learned to be ourselves: He’s the most original personality that I have ever seen. He’s so fun and energetic Doug and I love to just be around him! No matter what he is always a genuine boy that loves his family more than anything. When he wants to be a pirate he’s a pirate when he wants to be cowboy he’s a cowboy but he never loses who he is inside and brings that out in everything that he does.

I know that we met the Stevens because it was important for us to learn these lessons along with many others. They helped our new marriage start on the right path. Doug and I laugh at each other and communicate much better as a couple. We will be forever grateful for the time that we had and will have with the Stevens. Thanks to them for everything.