Happy Anniversary

The cutest love-babies I’ve ever seen…Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

Married in the temple

It’s been a heckofa year.  365 more days in love.

To remember the year we ate way more chicken nuggets than we should have (thanks a lot, pregnancy):

chicken nugs

I’m glad I got to have your baby.  I’d do it a million more times.  Maybe.

I want to have your babies

i love you gif

 

Thanks for the beautiful love Aaron Crowder.

Finding Forgiveness

I had the TV on this afternoon, while I was feeding Evelyn.  Just background noise.  This program came on and captivated me.  And I know it was not by coincidence.

It pierced my heart.
It was an answer to my prayers.

For the past 5 years, I have been harboring a deep grudge.  It hasn’t held my life back.  I have been able to move forward.  I have a happy life, a wonderful husband, and a miracle baby.  However, there are moments when I look back to 2008-2010 and a hatred poisons me.  I have had very ill feelings when I think of the experiences I went through because of the actions of another.  I have felt wronged and jaded.  I never thought it was fair that this person “got off the hook.”  I wanted justice served.  I have always tried to hold tight to my testimony of The Law Of Compensation, that eventually, through the justice and mercy of The Savior, that all things will be made right (in this life or the next).  But it still has always bothered me.  The fact I never received an apology.  The fact that this person isn’t the slightest bit remorseful.  The fact that I suffered intense emotional damage.  I clung to the atonement for healing.  I’ve prayed so long to be able to let go and not be bothered by this person’s “happy life with no consequence.”

This real life story was exactly what I needed to see and hear.  My heart was touched, and I was in tears.

I know I will never receive an apology.  I know that.  But I know that I can find peace and happiness for the rest of my life.  I don’t need to hate.  I don’t need to feel wronged.  I can forgive.  I can love.

If these people can become a family after such a tragic accident, and find forgiveness in the death of their mother, I know that I can find forgiveness in something trivial in comparison.

Take the time to watch this video.  You might be able to find the strength to forgive.

You’ll never know the miracles that come from giving love.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

PCOS Lifestyle

PCOS is a peculiar thing.

It is the most common, under-diagnosed disease among women.  1 in 10 have it.  Many don’t know they have it.  The problem is the vast array of symptoms.  Because not all symptoms affect every woman with PCOS, the treatment for each woman is different.

There is no cure.

As a teenager to treat PCOS, I took birth control.  It didn’t help much.  In my mid-20′s as it got worse, I took a more drastic approach to treating it.  Under the direction of my doctor, I began to eat gluten free, sugar-free (no added sugar, or less than 5 grams per serving), and take Metformin.

Months after being gluten free/sugar free/ on Metformin, I was able to get pregnant.  I continued gluten free & sugar free into my pregnancy, until my 2nd trimester.  When I still hadn’t gained any weight, and I was so ill, my doctor wanted me to eat anything I could keep down.  For 6 months I ate anything.

I knew that when I had Evelyn I would need to go back to gluten free and sugar free.  And I knew it would be hard.  (Like it was the first time.)

But as hard as it is, it is worth it.  My whole body feels better.  I have more energy.  I sleep better.  I have less PCOS pain.  I have less anxiety.  I’m happier.

I try to retrain my brain’s way of thinking about food.  My attitude is that I’m not missing out on anything.  I get to try new things and eat more delicious and healthy things.

My favorite breakfast is a hearty omelet.

PCOS friendly recipes

I also enjoy my take on “banana pancakes.”  (In the blender I mix 2 eggs, 1 banana, some honey, some peanut butter, a shake of baking cocoa and fry like a pancake.)

PCOS friendly recipes

And a lettuce wrapped sandwich for lunch.

PCOS friendly recipes

 

I try to exercise 5 days a week.  Sometimes it’s only 3.  But I make sure to be as active as life permits.

Even though these things are hard, they have drastically improved my life and my health.  I hope that other women with PCOS know they aren’t alone in their struggles.  The biggest thing I’ve learned in the past 10 years about PCOS is that if something doesn’t work, try something else.  Giving up simply is not an option.

When I look at her face, I want to be as healthy as I can be.  I want to have the energy and strength I need to keep up with her.  I want to set an example to her of health and positive body image.
Evelyn Faye

My two Loves

I don’t write poetry very often anymore. I actually used to write a lot more than I do now. Things sorta flipped with Kenz and I when we started to get busier with our house, my advancing career, and having a baby.

While she began to write more and more and more, I fizzled out. I’d like to say it’s because I didn’t have the time to write, but that wouldn’t be true. The fact is that I just didn’t make the time.

Kenz has been encouraging me to make the time and pick it up again. So tonight I sat down at my desk and wrote a poem. I was nervous to inflict it upon the world, but Kenz has assured me that it’s not the worst form of torture know to mankind. So without further adieu, here it is.

My two Loves

The love I feel for you sweet dear,
is rivaled by but one.
Though none could ever pass you by,
she is almost next-to-none.

You are the one who makes me fly,
you give me my own wings.
Because of you I float above,
my biggest shortcomings.

Her precious smile is big and wide,
her giggle loud and clear.
She makes me want to do my best,
to wipe away her tears.

I love you both so very much,
I give you both my life.
She is the one I call Daughter,
but you my dear are Wife.

Bloom Where You Are Planted (Activity Days Recognition Night)

The theme for our recognition night was “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”  We wanted to focus on them finding and developing their talents, using their talents to serve others, and not being jealous of someone else’s talents.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Activity Days

At the previous activity, I taught the girls how to make tissue paper flowers using this tutorial.  They had so much fun making them.  We took pictures at the activities to display using twine and clothes pins.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Activity Days

We also had the girls make these spoons for the dessert.  They hot glued the flower decals to the spoons.

Bloom Where You Are Planted Activity Days

I made the easy cup of dirt for dessert.  There are brownie crumbles in the bottom, pudding, crushed Oreos and a gummy worm.

The cup of dirt garden :)

Bloom Where You Are Planted Activity Days

I love working with these girls and sharing my talents with them.

 

3 Months

Everything they say about 3 months old is true.  She is officially an infant, and no longer a newborn in the slightest.  Evelyn is so aware of everything around her.  You can just see it in her eyes as she registers things in her mind.  I would give anything to peek inside her head to see the world as she does.

Evelyn Faye actually interacts now.  When you look at her and smile, she smiles back.

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This month has been a busy one for all of us.  We’ve had Evelyn’s cousin Molly with us during the days.  Molly is almost 11 months.  I have SO much respect for people with 2 babies.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Kami and I took Molly, Evelyn, and her niece Emery to the zoo.  It is frightening being outnumbered by children.  But I think we did well.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn’s snappy eye for fashion.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

We’ve finally felt brave enough to take lil miss to church.  And she does great.  She’s a perfect reverent angel…  for now.  haha

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

 

This month we had to make the switch from breastmilk to formula.  It was really hard on me.  Physically and emotionally.  The process of stopping making milk was extremely painful for me.  But there was a medication I needed to take for PCOS that couldn’t be taken while nursing.  Evelyn completely rejected formula.  She wouldn’t eat.  She would spit it out.  She was starving and screaming, but wouldn’t eat.  She went a whole day without anything to eat.  We tried to sneak formula into the breastmilk, but she knew.  It was a very very rough transition.  It took about a week for her to finally start eating.  She still isn’t great at eating, but she will eat enough to not starve.  She was only eating 2 oz at a time.  Starting YESTERDAY she finally started eating 4 oz per feeding.  It has been a tough 4 weeks, but seeing her formula-eating improve makes me very happy!

We got this formula mixer to help the transition be easier for US.  haha.  And I have to say, I LOVE it.  It’s so nice to push a button, and have a bottle instantly ready.  We call it “The Baby Keurig.”

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn is very picky in the way she eats.  She does not like to be held.  She prefers to be laid down on her back to be fed.  #missindependent

Evelyn Faye Three Months

She’s getting more and more independent by the day.  She only likes to snuggle on her terms.  Being in the wrap isn’t her favorite.  She tolerates it though if she can wiggle her arms out.

Mama likes to do squats while wearing baby.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

The dogs now follow her around.  Indy brings her toys.  Buster watches over her.  They still don’t touch or cuddle her, but that’s okay.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

 

I feel incredibly blessed that I get to be a stay at home mama to Evelyn.  I take every opportunity to hold her while she sleeps and count my blessings.  I never want these moments to become “normal.”  They are special.  They are moments I dreamed of my whole life.  I memorize everything about these moments,  because I know there will be a day where I don’t get to rock her to sleep.  If I don’t soak it all in, I know that I will regret it.  My heart bursts with gratitude.  It’s humbling to know I’m trusted with such a precious Being.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

When Evelyn is awake, she pushes the envelope of what she can do.  Her neck and back are so so strong.  She enjoys sitting in her Bumbo.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

We took Evelyn to her first home show.  She was awake the whole time.  I think all the people, sounds, and lights were stimulating to her.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

In the evenings when Daddy is home from work, he loves to play and cuddle, until we all fall asleep.

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Evelyn Faye Three Months

Life is good, my friends.

This post brought to you by Wiggly Jo.

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 And a puppy in a baby swing.

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Evelyn Faye’s Baby Blessing

The leading reason for this blog is to keep a journal.  I was a major journal-keeper when I was younger.  I wrote in my journal every.single.day through jr high, high school, and my early 20′s.  Since getting married, I have been awful at it.  And it really nagged at me.  Aaron taught me to love blogging.  I love that I can use this blog as a journal for our major events.  

Every girl dreams of her wedding dress from the time she’s a little girl.  From the second I knew we were expecting a little girl, I dreamed of her blessing dress.  The process of creating it was very similar.

Marlene Shepherd is a very special person to me.  She is more than just a friend and neighbor.  She loved me like one of her own children.  She is an incredibly talented and skilled seamstress.  She has made every important dress I’ve worn, including my blessing dress, all my dance dresses, my wedding dress, and my temple dress.  It was only fitting that she would make my daughter’s blessing dress.

Of course we needed to take a picture of Evelyn Faye wearing my blessing dress.

Evelyn Faye Blessing

My mom, my mother in law, me, and Evelyn all packed up and went to Marlene’s house to design and come up with a plan for this special dress.  It was the quintessential planning committee.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

We went through boxes of patterns, and tons of pictures on Pinterest, and lots of fabric samples.  Evelyn had a good time hanging out in them.  It was so fun to have the grandmas involved.  :)

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This was the design we came up with for her sweet dress.   It had a peter pan collar, with a half circle skirt and lace overlay.  We decided to go with an ivory satin instead of a bright white.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This was the finished product!  Marlene is incredible.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn looked like such an angel in it.  She’s quite sassy.  Taking names, and throwing punches.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This was the morning while we were finishing getting ready for church.  I’ve never seen anything sweeter.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

She had been really sick the week leading up to this, so we were really nervous how she would do.  She had been really really fussy all week long.  But she slept the whole time.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

March 2nd was an extra special blessing day.  Evelyn got to share it with her 2nd cousin Felix.  My cousin Adam & his wife Beth got to bless Felix on the same day.  We love being in the same ward as them.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Every day it’s still so surreal that she is my daughter.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn is a complete miracle to us.  She is the most beautiful and perfect manifestation of our love and God’s love for us.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

I would do anything to keep her safe from any unkind thing in this world.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This is a special rocking chair made for her by her Grandpa Burton.  He makes a rocking chair for each of his grandchildren to give them on their blessing day.  He also made one for her dolly.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Having Evelyn has brought so much gladness into my life.  It has strengthened my relationship with my own parents.  It has strengthened my relationship with my inlaws.  It has strengthened my relationship with God.  I find that my prayers are a lot more heartfelt and earnest.  I pray for her safety and well being.  I sacrifice myself and my desires to take care of her needs.  I cling to the Savior for strength in ways I never did before.  I’m so grateful for motherhood and the ways it has changed me.

Healthy Green Dressing Recipe

Before I got pregnant it came to our attention that I had a gluten intolerance.  When I started eating gluten free, it started tremendously helping my PCOS symptoms.  Eating gluten free meant getting creative with food and coming up with new delicious things to avoid food-boredom.

I made this delicious dressing, and it was SO easy.

I put a head of cilantro in the blender, a couple cloves of garlic, a dash of salt, a jar of olive oil mayo, and about 1/4 c water.

Green Dressing Recipe

It took just a few pulses to blend it all together.

Green Dressing Recipe

It is SO yummy.  It tastes a lot like Cafe Rio’s house dressing.  A tablespoon is 50 calories, so not too bad for a creamy dressing.

Green Dressing Recipe

Two Two Two Fast!

Evelyn Faye is 2 months.  This age is so much fun.  Evelyn is absolutely enjoyable.  Her temperament is cheerful and charming.  She has captivated our hearts.  Every minute with her is most excellent.

We had to put away her newborn clothes because her tiny body outgrew them.  Many Kenz-tears were shed.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

For awhile, 3 month clothes were too big, but newborn clothes were small.  The generic 0-3 onesies fit pretty well, so I got creative with them.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

This is how we spent Valentine’s day.  Sewing, Great Mouse Detective, and sleeping.  Aaron was pretty sore from his car accident, so he rested up.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

We were sad to say goodbye to the Scion.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

This little number was on Valentine’s day.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

The puppies like Evelyn heaps more these days.

Evelyn Faye is 2 monthsAnd Buster is sweet on the Boppy.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Every once in awhile we put peanut butter on Evelyn’s tummy to facilitate the dog-Evelyn (and Heidi) relationship.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Papa Crowder calls Evelyn a clothes horse.  She definitely has an abundance of outfits.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn loves her car seat.  I tell her it’s like a Disneyland ride.  It makes me think she’ll love Disneyland in June.  Time will tell!

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

We underwent using diapers from The Honest Co. this month.  We love them!  They are eco friendly,  and extra gentle on Ev’s bum.  Did I mention they are extra absorbent and flexible?!  We haven’t had any blow outs since switching.  And they’re pretty dang adorable.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Speaking of blowouts…

It was a Sunday morning.  Seconds after taking this picture, Evelyn was still sitting there, propped up on Aaron.  When she had the most massive blowout.  There was poop all over Aaron, and all over our bed.  Poop everywhere.  It got in her hair.  I don’t know how.  But it was a hot mess.  Needless to say, we did not make it to church this day.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn got to meet cousin Felix who came six weeks early, and was born 4 days after her.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

We went to Aunt Kami’s PTA school so they could practice pediatric physical therapy.  It was really neat to watch the reflexes and exercises they do with a 2 month old.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

One of our biggest discoveries is how much Evelyn loves taking baths and showers with us.  It must be a combination of the skin to skin and the warm water.  In the bath, we use Lush all natural bath bombs.  The aroma always calms Evelyn down and sends her into a nice little slumber.  It’s adorable.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn is the most beautiful sleeper.  I could watch her sleep for hours.  I also think she looks the most like me when she’s asleep.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn and Aaron are a napping team unlike anything else.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

The most unusual things calm Evelyn down when she is fussy.

Nyan Cat will stop her crying instantly.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

She also loves to “swim.”

Evelyn loves her baby gym.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

She has an incredibly strong neck and back.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

It is boggling how rapidly she is growing.  It’s like she changes right before my eyes.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

 

When she is awake, she doesn’t like to hold still.  Aaron nicknamed her Wiggly Jo.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

I love taking her on adventures with me during the day.  Of course, we frequent our favorite store, where she’s always a crowd favorite.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

And sometimes the middle of the night warrants a selfie.

Evelyn Faye is 2 months

I love every minute with Evelyn.  She is a miracle in our lives, and quite the dish!

Mortality

Sick Baby

 

I have heard mamas say watching your child be sick or struggle is one of the most painful things to go through.  I always thought “Yeah, that would be hard.”  I had no idea HOW hard until I experienced it for myself.

I had my first life experience watching my child, of my own flesh and blood, get sick, and not be able to fix it.

I’m a problem solver.  When things are broken, I fix them.  When there’s a problem, I find a solution.  When others are having a hard time, I want to fix it for them.

I had to watch Evelyn suffer.  She was miserable without understanding.  She would look at me helplessly with her sick eyes, begging for me to fix it.  And I couldn’t.  I had to listen to her cough til she would throw up.  My heart would break.  So many times I wished that I could be the one sick if she could be healthy.  I would rather carry the burden for her.

Even asleep, she looked miserable.  This lasted for two weeks.

Sick Baby

 

I’ve found that often the hardest experiences I’ve gone through, are the most spiritual, and the times I’m the most teachable.

So badly I wanted to teach Evelyn about my favorite scripture, D&C 122:7-9.

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

When Joseph Smith was in the middle of what seemed to be the most miserable experience of his life, he asked for it to be taken away.  Heavenly Father didn’t.  I love the whole passage where he explains that all experiences shall be for our good.

But my favorite line is “hold on thy way.”  This phrase got me through the toughest times in my life.  It’s the most tender way of saying endure to the end.

God didn’t take away the pain of the atonement for the Savior.  And as a parent, I can’t imagine how painful it was to watch.  I watched Evelyn have a cold, and that just about did me in.  To watch your Son take on the pains of entire mankind would be excruciating.

It may sound silly, but I feel closer to my Heavenly Father after this experience.  And I know He will always give us strength to get through our mortal trials.  That’s why we are here.  He loves us, and it IS hard for Him to watch us go through hard things.  But that doesn’t take His love away from us.  It increases.

So Evelyn, this is the first of many trials in your life.  Hold on thy way!