Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cacti.

Over the summer, my posts have been all about our fun trips and projects and future plans and all those things are happy and exciting... but, of course that's just a small snapshot of our life. Trust me, our life is filled with plenty of things that are pretty ordinary or downright horrible... I guess I like to blog and focus on the happy things more than the not-so-happy things. But today I kind of want to get real here for a sec...

I'm not going to sit here and list out all the things that are wrong or hard in my life, but I do want to talk about some hard things to show how I choose to view these things in a positive light. That doesn't mean I don't have my "Negative Nancy" days, because sometimes you just need to cry it out and throw yourself a pity party... but most days, I choose not to focus on the bad because honestly that would be pretty depressing and I would cry every day. That's just no way to live.

image via
Cactus #1: My dad has cancer.

It's really hard to type out those words. He was diagnosed exactly two years ago last month. Prostate cancer is supposed to be a "nice" cancer. A cancer that just takes a surgery and then that's that... it's gone! Right? I wish. My dad's cancer is the mean kind. I won't go into detail, but basically his cancer won't be going away. It's here to stay.

So, how on earth do you view such an ugly thing like cancer in a positive light? It isn't easy. And some days I'm literally paralyzed with sadness and fear. I had a particularly dark moment laying on my bedroom floor sobbing when I had a realization... this is NOT how Heavenly Father would want me to be feeling. I said a quick prayer and asked for help so I could push these dark, horrible thoughts from my mind. I asked for help to fill my heart with hope and faith instead. Just because my dad has cancer, doesn't mean I need to SIT on it or dwell on it every day. It's that simple. Do your best not to dwell on it and don't let your mind go to that dark place. Recognize the GOOD that has come from the "cactus," because I promise there's beauty and good to be found even in the saddest times.

What good has come from my dad having cancer? First off, my parents are finally going to retire! I can't tell you how happy this makes me! They have been raising kids for 40+ years and deserve some time to RELAX and focus on themselves!! They deserve it more than anyone I know. They seriously haven't given thought to anyone but their kids for 40+ YEARS. They bought a trailer and a truck and they are taking time to travel and enjoy their time together while my dad is healthy. I am so grateful that they are finally getting a chance to spend quality time with just the two of them. They also just got back from an amazing trip to England to visit both of their families. I don't even know how long it's been since they've been back to England together but I'm just SO happy they finally splurged and went back to the Motherland.

I just can't get over how cute they are. They're such lovebirds :)

Visting my mom's childhood home near Liverpool
This was one of their weekend getaways that they often take together. They decided to rent a paddleboat. I mean really? Could they be any cuter?! I love them so much. 
Cactus #2: I don't have children yet.

In a few months we will be celebrating our five year anniversary. FIVE years. Wow, we are definitely not newlyweds anymore! In our Mormon culture, most couples have kids 1-2 years after getting married. I assumed this is how my life would go, so when it didn't I was basically devastated. I had some really rough times after graduating college, moving to Oregon, and working in an office instead of being a stay-at-home mom like I had always planned. It was a time of heartache and tears and anger and all that yucky stuff. I was not only sitting on my cactus, I was full on sprawled out on my cactus and poking myself in the eye with the needles. Over and over and over again. 

I learned SO much through this experience. It's amazing how much I've grown up and how much I've come to appreciate the present and live with gratitude. Looking back now, I wouldn't change a thing! I've had the most amazing five years with my cute Landon. I can't believe how much we've done and how much we've grown as a couple. We've experienced so much together--we moved to a new state by ourselves, bought a house, learned a hobby together, bought a boat, became puppy parents, been on so many trips and cruises... It's been the best five years of my life. This time has also been amazing for us to really establish a strong foundation for our family. I know that my children's happiness and well-being will depend a LOT on how happy and stable our marriage is. Landon and I have had our fair share of fights and arguments, but after 5 years of being together we definitely understand each other and have really learned how to fight fair, listen, and compromise. It's pretty much awesome. I know that taking the time to focus on each other will be a lot harder once our kiddos come, so I'm very grateful for this time we've had just the two of us :)

Anyway, life is great. Even when we have horrible bits mixed in. We all have hard times, but those bad experiences can really be for our good because through them we can learn and grow SO much! It's our attitude that determines our happiness, not our circumstances. I try every day to not poke myself in the eye with my cacti (totally did not mean to rhyme there... but that should be on a plaque! Ha!)

image via

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Motherhood Fears.

Okay here's a post about something that has definitely been in the forefront of my mind. Becoming a mother. And let me just clarify first... Nope, I am not pregnant :)

It's no secret that I have always dreamed of being a mom. I haven't had any career goals other than to be a wife and a mother. But now that it's getting closer to becoming my reality and not just a daydream, I feel utterly and completely terrified. Don't get me wrong, I also feel so excited and so happy... but amidst all of those feelings of joy is a huge, nasty feeling of fear.

One of my biggest fears about having a child is that by becoming a mother I will become a crappy wife. I have talked to SO many people about this. In fact, it's one of the first things I ask people who are newly-parents. How has having a baby impacted your marriage?! Most of the responses have been positive, and that gives me hope. But I also get a lot of, "it's definitely a lot different" or "it'll never be the same!" Ugh. But different can be good right?

I want to always look at him like that. I light up like a firefly around him, and I don't want that to ever stop.
I think that when you have a baby, it's so easy to get caught up in the feelings and love that you both have for that child. Most of our thoughts and energy and love will be directed to that baby. We will both love that baby so much and I think it's so easy, and natural, to fall into the roles of mommy and daddy and forget that you are first and foremost husband and wife. Before you know it, your kids are grown up and moved on and you can't even remember what you talked about or thought about before you had kids. After 20+ years of raising kids together, you don't know who you are without them. And that's a problem. A huge problem.


So how are you supposed to stay connected and keep your relationship with your spouse alive when kids really do take ALL of your energy? I mean, they need you. I know the obvious answers, like continue to date and stuff like that... but when you're on your date what if all you talk about is your kid? I know myself and I know that I'm going to be pretty obsessed with my children... but is it selfish or wrong to forget about them sometimes and take the time to talk and think about things OTHER than them? I don't think so. And I really hope I can do it. Is it selfish and wrong to take a trip with your spouse and leave the kids with their grandparents? I don't think so. (Although, I DO think that's going to be pretty hard!)

I think that just by being AWARE and having a desire to keep my marriage and role as a wife strong, I will be able to do it. I'm hoping I can anyway. I'm hoping I can continue to be best friends with Landon and that we can continue to laugh and tell each other everything. I hope that we can talk about and do things that have absolutely nothing to do with our kids. Is that horrible? Geez, I feel like I sound horrible. Future kids, if you're reading this, I hope you understand where I'm coming from.


I've just noticed that when people have babies, it seems like their whole life stops and everything is just baby baby baby. I don't want that. I want it to be about the baby (of course!), but other things too. I don't want to lose myself. I don't want to lose my marriage. I don't want to lose my hobbies. I don't want to wake up 25 years from now and have NO idea who I am anymore because my whole life was suddenly all BABY and everything else was thrown out the window.

Maybe I'm just being irrational and crazy... but I warned you in my last post that my brain is a crazy jumble right now. I guess I just need to sit down and figure out how I am going to keep balance in my life as a mother. Because without having a plan and goals, I think it would be SO easy for me to just become so caught up in my child that I could easily lose myself. So here are some goals I have for my future-mommy-self:

#1 Take time to take care of yourself. Get ready in the morning. Get dressed. Put on make-up. Do things that make you happy. Read books. Exercise. If you are taking care of yourself, you'll be much better equipped to take care of your kids and husband.

#2 Take time to take care of Landon. Listen to him. Ask him about his day and his problems and really listen. I know there might be a baby squealing in the background or a million dishes piled in the sink... but take the time to listen to him and be there for him. I know you're going to be exhausted and just want to go right to bed after putting the kids down, but take advantage of the time that you have to be alone together.

#3 Continue developing your hobbies. You've really had a desire to learn more recipes and to be more crafty. Now that you're a stay-at-home mom, do it more! Let the kids play with their toys while you sew a few pillows.

#4 Go on trips with Landon without the kids. I know you feel like there's no way you can leave your kids, but they'll be fine! In fact, they're probably excited to spend a week with their grandparents. You'll miss them, but try to focus on the positive and enjoy yourself! You'll thank me later :)


#5 Show your kids that they are important to you, but their daddy is equally as important. My own parents did such a great job at this...I knew they loved me, but I also knew how much they loved each other. It didn't make me feel less important. In fact, I loved how much they loved each other!

That is only my biggest fear about becoming a mother, and I didn't even get into things like how on earth do people survive without sleep?! Or how on earth do people survive on one income?! Or how am I supposed to raise my children to be bright, happy, kind people?! Blah blah blah... I need to get over it! Landon likes to remind me that worrying doesn't accomplish anything. And it just makes you go crazy in the brain. So I need to stop and enjoy this time of life and enjoy the anticipation of one day being a mommy. It's going to be the best thing, I know it will be.

P.S. I just had to throw some old pictures in here, because a post without pictures is BORING. And because I love looking through old pictures and how little we were :) In a few months we'll be celebrating our FIVE year anniversary. Crazy!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Post about Blogging.

I literally have 10 posts sitting in my drafts right now. I feel so all over the place with blogging. I'm in a blog rut of sorts and I need to get out of it PRONTO.

I like to say this blog is for my future kids, but who knows if they will even read it... (Honestly, if my mom had a blog and documented her life I would read every.single.word. So I'm hoping my kids feel that way too!) But this blog is also simply for me. Kind of selfish, but that's the truth. I absolutely LOVE going back and reading old posts. In fact, I just spent over an hour reading posts from 2009 and early 2010... Oh my GOODNESS. It is SO fun to look back and reminisce about our newlywed life. I'm so glad I documented it and wrote how I was feeling and what we were up to.

Like this one about our first basement apartment. Man I LOVED that place. But looking back on it now... it was nasty! I didn't care at all though because it was OURS.

Man, how I loved that teeny tiny kitchen :)
Or this one and this one about Spotty the egg that Landon literally incubated for a month. Most people don't know this, and Landon will deny it... but that boy has the sweetest, biggest heart. (Spoiler alert... Spotty didn't make it :(


Or this one about how hard it was to work and go to school at the same time. I forget what it was like to be a student and how stressed I would be, but then how being around Landon immediately calmed me down. It's still like that by the way :) I can be having a horrible day and then I see Landon and it's like none of it even matters anymore. I'm so grateful that he can calm me down, because I'm a stress case!
Back when we were just BABIES! Okay, maybe we look the same but still :)
Anyway, reading all these old posts made me remember WHY I blog. I blog because it is so important to document our lives. The hard times, the good times, the thoughts and feelings and goals we have. We are always changing and growing and it's amazing how much you can learn from YOURSELF when you read things you wrote years ago. So I want to start blogging more about OTHER things... not just posts about what we've been up to. Because that's all I've been blogging about for the past few months.

On Friday I text Landon and told him I was feeling weird. It was hard to put my finger on the feeling, because it wasn't necessarily sad, but kind of. I just felt weird. I think part of that "weird" feeling is because I haven't really taken the time to sort through my feelings. And the way I sort through my feelings is by writing them down, oftentimes through a blog post. So get ready for some "feeling" posts coming your way :)

This is a very Sunday appropriate post because we've been told over and over how important it is to keep a journal. This is one of my favorite quotes about keeping a journal (or a blog!)

"What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity. … Get a notebook, a journal (or a blog!) that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your going and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies." -President Spencer W. Kimball

Wouldn't it be cool if my great-great-great-grandchild read my blog and was inspired by words I had written? That just blows my mind! Anyway, I'm so excited to be more open on this blog again and share with you the crazy jumble that is my brain right now! Stay tuned ;)


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Windsurfing.

We finally had a weekend to at home and we decided we wanted to do something fun and soak up the last few weekends of good weather. Sailing would have been a great option, but the water levels on the river are VERY low right now. In fact, they're so low we were really worried about our boat at the marina so we went to check it out...

The dock is now resting on LAND instead of water... 
This isn't our boat, but it's maybe 20 feet from where our boat is docked... Completely tipped on its side because the keel is touching the ground...
As we walked down the dock to our boat we were really nervous that our boat would be tipped on its side too. It's definitely not good to have so much pressure on the keel/rudder. Remember sailboats are a LOT bigger underneath than they seem... Everything below the white of our boat is below the water.


When we got to our boat we were happy to see it wasn't tipped on its side. Phew! Landon decided to put on his wetsuit, googles, and fins to see how much depth we had. I was nervous because technically you aren't supposed to swim in the marina because you could be electrocuted... Landon wasn't as worried as I was I guess.


Isn't he cute?! :)
He swam under our boat and said we had a few inches between our keel and the mud. Not a very comforting thought... Basically sailing isn't an option right now because we are literally STUCK in our marina until we get some rain. I'm going to start doing rain dances over here!

So there we were...a weekend at home with no plans and feeling a little stir crazy. I suggested things like hiking, camping, going to the drive-in movies, going to the science museum, etc. Landon suggested windsurfing lessons.

image via
Just what we needed... a new hobby! ;) I was pretty hesitant about it at first but then I decided that I would never know if I liked it or not unless I tried. We've watched windsurfers before and it looks dang fun! We talked it over for a few nights and I kept telling Landon that windsurfing wasn't exactly a "family friendly" activity... especially when we have young kids. Landon suggested the idea of baby wearing while windsurfing. Obviously he was being silly... but I guess it's a real thing... HA can you even imagine?! Crazy person!! :)

image via (25 things NOT to do with your baby... HA!)
So, we decided that if windsurfing was something we both wanted to do, we would just have to take turns and one of us would stay on the shore with the baby watching the other one surf. See, just because you have a baby doesn't mean your life is over, right?! (Please tell me I'm right!) Plus, how cute would it be to have our kids windsurf when they're a little older? (I talk about them like we have them already... I'm just such a PLANNER!)

You should read this! This little guy was only TWO when his dad taught him how to windsurf. Pretty dang cute!
Anyway, after some talking we decided that it would be kind of fun to take up a hobby that would be easy for us to do anywhere. We would be able to bring our boards camping or to the beach or wherever. It's nice to have variety because sometimes it doesn't make sense to take the big boat out (like when the Columbia River is one big sand bar!) 

So we signed up for a class in Hood River, the cutest little town in the Columbia Gorge that is known for amazing wind surfing/kite boarding. There were 6 other people in our class and we had two instructors. There really wasn't that much instruction before they gave us each a board and let us figure it out.


I was SO nervous!!
Landon, of course, picked it up right away. The wind wasn't very strong at first, but he was able to control his board and he figured it out quickly!

Landon getting up for his first time, like it was no big deal. I had to have an instructor hold my board as I got up! Haha!


I, of course, spent the first hour stuck in the bushes and rocks. It was SO frustrating and all I could think was, "I am NEVER doing this again!" There were a few other people stuck in the same place as me, so an instructor had to come out with a paddle board and tow us back towards the middle of the inlet. It was pretty embarrassing! But once I got back to the right place, I really got the hang of it and it was SOOO much fun! The wind picked up too which definitely helped :)





I'm so glad I married someone that is so adventurous and who pushes me outside of my comfort zone! Originally I told Landon I would kayak while he windsurfed... It looked a little too extreme for me. But now I'm SO glad I did it too! We both decided that wind surfing is definitely something we want to do more often. We'll see if we get as obsessed as we are with sailing, but I think it's definitely a possibility!



I sure love this boy and love our adventures together :)

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