anchored in light

anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Poems of Motherhood | July-September



This year saw me
a mother
a wife
a new creature
2019
will see me something new
again

We are almost to a whole year! The years truly are short. I thought that I’d sum up a few months and get us right on track to put out poems of motherhood that are more current. Maybe once a month? Quarterly? You guys let me know what you think.


7/6/18

We offer up our bodies
to motherhood
letting it take our slim waists
our time
as we grow a tiny human inside us

then we place everything else
on the altar of motherhood
our freedom
tying ourselves down 
to the wants and needs of 
the same baby that ripped its way out of us

yet, 
the pain,
the loss of time, 
the radical change that leaks into every facet of life
gave me more than it ever took



7/9/18

This one is for all the mothers
who never got to decorate a nursery
who sit with empty cradles and empty arms
for those who ache when they see happy mothers
with brand new babies on their chests.
for those who put away the baby clothes for the last time
for those who never got to open them in the first place
this one is for all the mothers at heart
different shapes and sizes
ages and situations
but mothers,
just the same


7/13/18

You’ve awoken the lion in me
pulling her whiskers with your tiny fingers

she stands between you and the world now
sometimes
you won’t understand why she stands to the side
lets the world knock you down
or,
lets you jump into rivers that almost take you alive
then balks at a puddle
protects you from the wind


7/18/18

My hair is magic 
for you
it swings
you fiddle with the ends 
plunge your hands in and knot them tight
you hold onto it when you nurse
rub your eyes with it when you’re tired
put fistfuls in your mouth when you’re on my hip

I imagine it smells like home for you

so I’m not sure I can bear to cut it
not when magic will be harder and harder to find
as you grow
I made the hair
I made you
so it must be like it’s a part of you
as much as
it’s a part of me

7/18/18

You are 6 of the 7 dwarves
Happy, most of the time
Occasionally Sneezy (usually at least twice)
Dopey, Grumpy, and Sleepy are like conjoined triplets
popping out of you at the same time
most charmingly, you are Bashful
smiling and looking away


7/25/18

Today I witnessed Motherhood
the old kind
past the newborn glow
the joy of watching new discoveries
past toddlerhood and childhood
past teenage years

I witnessed the love of a mother
whose baby had outgrown her arms
who could walk and talk and drive and live alone her own
but who still needed to snuggle up to her chest
know that feeling was Home. 



8/8/18

Last night you woke up
crying out
I could have sworn you said “mom”
it seemed like you had a nightmare
I pulled you out of your crib
let the heat of my skin lull you back to comfort
safety
back to sleep
it means so much to me
to be the lullaby 
without saying a word

And apparently, I didn’t write many poems in September. Or any really. Which makes me kind of sad, but it is what it is. I journaled. So there’s that. Anyway, thanks for reading!
Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year Resolutions 2019 | First Quarter Goals



There is something that is so hopeful about looking at the New Year as an opportunity to make some changes and to step closer to being the person that I want to be. I start thinking about New Year's goals long before the New Year hits. This coming year though, I thought I would try something a little bit different. Instead of choosing one word for the entire year, or making goals for the whole year, I thought I would break it down into quarters. A year is a long time and it can be intimidating to think that I have to do something for a whole year (even though the year tends to fly by these days). It’s much easier for me to think about doing something just for today, or just for a week, or month. So by breaking it down into quarters, I thought that I could more easily focus in on a few things, work on perfecting those through 3 months and then reassess and make new goals.

So, while I’ve tentatively chosen 4 words and goals for at least the first quarter, I’m only going to tell you the first set, in case I need to adjust when the next quarter hits. So if you too are someone who gets intimidated, or overwhelmed thinking that you have to commit to doing something for 365 days, think about maybe breaking things down a little bit.


Quarter 1: Connection

I chose the word connection because I think that connection is something that we are all really looking for in life. What I really want is to connect with those I love and make them feel like they are important and valuable to me. I want to create and nurture real lasting connections, not just the “junk food” connections. When I say junk food connections, I mean things like spending time with my daughter, but looking at my phone, or caring more about likes and comments than I do the things that people who actually know me say to me. I want to take the connections that I already have made and make more them deep and fulfilling. So, in an effort to connect here are my goals for January through March.

-Go on a hot cocoa date
-Consistent date night weekly and a weekly couple council
-Go on a winter walk
-Make snow angels with Everly and Brian
-Write 20 days out of the month
-Participate in Incowrimo (that said, if you want to be my BFF, put your name and address here and I’ll send you a handwritten letter. Possibly in the month of February, but maybe after if a lot of people sign up :) )
-3 temple visits
-Make dinner for someone once a month
-Prayer Journal
-Book Club
-One new capsule piece
-Journal 5 times a week
-2-4 blog posts a month
-Blog Newsletter
-2019 Dawn Nicole Lettering Challenge
-One dinner party
-Plan my “night out”

Each of the goals that I chose focuses on connecting with someone, whether that be family, friends, my God, or myself. Honestly, blogging is as much for me as it is for those who read it. I love to talk to people who read my blog, partially because it makes me feel like I’m making some kind of difference, but mainly because blogging is a form of connection for me. 


I’d love to hear what goals you have for the next month, the next week, or the next year! I’d especially love to hear if you have chosen a word to focus on. Drop them in the comments or send me an email! I’ll send a little something to a random commenter :)

Also, if you want to read/hear more about New Year's Resolutions, here are some of my favorite blog posts and podcasts about making New Year's Resolutions this year.

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Our Breastfeeding Journey | 9 Months In



I wasn't planning to write this post. I figured that I had made it to 6 months, I had things down. Everly was getting enough from me, we knew how to latch, and all that Jazz. I was a breastfeeding pro!

Oh how little I knew.

So here we are at 9 months. 9 months of breastfeeding and it has been so different than what I thought it would be.

First, the switch to solids. Everly took to solids like a duck to water. She eats and she eats a LOT! It seemed like a lot, but it wasn't until my mom looked into it that I realized that she was eating a lot more than other babies her age. But, I didn't worry too much about it. Everly started sleeping through the night (I credit that partially to solids and partially to sleep training and partially to Everly for just being an awesome baby.).

When we switched to solids I just nursed her before I fed her and went along as normal, because she was going down at 6:30, I would pump once for the milk for her bottle before bed and called it good.

And that worked for a while. Until I realized that I wasn't pumping out very much. I decided to get more dedicated to pumping. I would pump twice after she went down. I would pump between feedings. I remembered from when Everly was a newborn that 8 times was the magic number. So I tried to hit that number, between pumping and nursing I was hitting 8 times. Nothing seemed to be changing. So I started pumping after every nursing session. Admittedly, nursing has gotten shorter and shorter as Everly has gotten older. I just assumed that it was because Everly was a more efficient nurser. I didn't ever think that it could be because I was making less milk. When she was down to 3 minutes or less a side I was concerned, but not overly so because if I pumped after I still didn't get anything.

I drank more water. I ate 4 lactation cookies every day. I pumped and pumped and prayed.

Nothing changed.

Everly got teeth and started biting me.

I thought that maybe this was my sign to start pumping exclusively. I thought that I'd get more milk because I'd be pumping for 15 minutes every time, and I wouldn't get bitten.

I tried that for a day or two.

I read articles about babies self-weaning that assured me that babies do not self-wean before a year. It was probably a phase that I could choose to work through or not. I chose to continue to work through it. Through all of this I knew that Everly hasn't been gaining weight (although she did seem to be getting taller). I got more and more depressed about it all. I wanted to be a good mom. Good moms feed their babies only breastmilk for a year. That's what I'd been told over and over and over.

It got to the point where I considered using formula to supplement and my sweet husband put it on the list to get at the store. Then he saw the cost and decided to hold off. I felt like I'd failed. I felt like if I didn't succeed, my baby would suffer and I would be costing us all this money.

I fell into a deep hole of depression where I seriously didn't want to do anything. I had been working out by running three times a week and doing yoga three times a week, but I couldn't get myself to do yoga for more than a few minutes. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and stare at the wall. And that's about all that I did when my baby was sleeping. Besides pumping that is.

I wanted to make it to Everly's 9-month appointment so that I could talk to the doctor about it (honestly I think that Pediatrician appointments for your first baby are spaced WAY too far apart.) I wanted to make it to her 9-month mark so that I could say that at least I had made it to 9 months.

I did not make it to 9 months. I knew that I was making about 10 ounces a day. I knew that Everly needed 16-24 ounces a day. So finally I told my husband to buy the formula anyway. I mentally prepared myself to feel worse than I had in the weeks leading up to this decision (which, by the way, I thought about constantly and made the decision about 10 times before we actually followed through).

Miraculously, once that formula was here I felt so much better. I still planned to nurse so I knew that she'd be getting antibodies from me, but the pressure to be her sole provider of milk was gone. I didn't freak out when I pumped out just under an ounce every time I pumped. I knew that Everly would get what she needed.

So we are currently on day two of formula. I have to nurse Everly in dark quiet rooms now because otherwise I can't get her to stay latched long enough to get a single let down (we had to start doing that before the formula as well). But we are still nursing. I wish that I could go back and tell myself that formula wasn't so bad. I wish I could go back and tell myself that even if I hadn't tried so hard to up my supply, that it would still be ok to choose to supplement with formula. I wish I could tell myself that fed is best, and really believe it.
Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | June



June was a heavy month for me. We moved. My baby was approaching 6 months. So of course, there was a lot of poetry.


6/4/18
I love the way your hands come together
clasped like prayer

I'm sure you know
I'm sure you understand

You probably pray better than the prophets
yet
I will be the one to teach you how to say
dear Heavenly Father

6/4/18

sometimes the details
crash and break over me like waves
the curl of your hands
the tint of your hair
the exact weight of your small body
in my arms
like waves
the details change
you fit differently, yet secure
your mouth forms different sounds
clothes are boxed away
like waves
sometimes I drown in the depth of them
come out soaked to the marrow of my bones
salt water streaming down my face
like waves
the details slip and slide off of me
no matter how I try to catch them
ending up with droplets
when I tried to capture the ocean
just like waves
I'll never get tired of watching you
drowning and drinking you in
even when the salt scratches my throat
leaves me wishing for more water
I'm happy with the whatever
the waves leave me with

because in the end
those snatches of you
the scraps of memory
small and scattered as the sand
are beautiful
clinging to my skin
until they are a part of me
no amount of waves
can wash them away

6/6/18
last night I watched the sky blush its way to the horizon and thought about motherhood
the way that only a few months ago
we were tied together
by blood and tissue
belly to belly
leaving an indelible mark
a scar that just looks like skin
now
we're tied together in an entirely different way
heart to heart
a string that has grown into a rope
feelings twined around each other
keeping me always aware
almost exhaustingly so
of the distance between our hearts
millimeters
or miles



6/12/18
I saw you watching me

intent
on me

so I put aside my blogging project
read you the poems I'd shared
they'd brought tears to your grandmother's eyes
but the words had never met the air
before

you watched me
listened

I watched your eyes slide closed
then jump open
like you didn't want to miss a word

but sleep claimed you anyway

6/14/18
there are moments
lots of moments
when I remember what it was like
to not count the minutes
since I last nursed
or pumped
when my breast pads didn't show through my clothes
because I didn't wear any
I didn't calculate how simple 
or difficult 
it would be to feed my baby based on what I was wearing

but
then there are moments
like this
where you fall asleep at my breast
and I lay you back in your crib
your fingers curl into a fist
fall slowly to the mattress
your hair damp and wavy with sweat
where you rested against my arm

and I wish that these moments
would last forever
where I would wear lumpy pads
eat endless lactation cookies
and plan my outings in three-hour increments


6/18/18

We were in church
you were sleeping
then the organ played

even before you opened your eyes
your mouth was open
singing with us
making a joyful noise

6/20/18

Today was one of those moments
where everything clicks into a kind of bliss
Brian came home from work for lunch
bearing tacos and fries
we ate them while you babbled and sang
in your rock n play
in that moment
full of good food and family
I felt full and enough and perfectly content
a good moment
one that ties me down to the happily ever
after I have anchored in my heart
moments like that
I can tell you what it looks like
what it tastes like
today it looked like a family of three in a tiny apartment
today it tasted like beef and turkey tacos with crinkle fries



6/26/18

someone told me once
that
in your mind
pregnancy hasn't ended yet
you're still so wrapped up in me
skin, muscles, and bones still
wrapped around you
so when I'm gone.
it's like you're missing too

if that isn't the most accurate description of motherhood
then I don't know what is.


6/28/18

Tonight is our last night
the last night you sleep in the home you came home to
the last night to watch the light fade over the mountains

to remember the first night we spent here
a place of our own

to bathe you in the sink where you had your first bath
were we cried and loved and struggled

if these walls could talk...
witness to our lives
to your songs
to the many moments where we walked 
out the door

one last time
we're close our eyes knowing these walls
that have known us

then we'll walk out the door
one last time


6/28/18

so many memories
layered into the walls
thicker than paint
sealed in with the new coat that they will paint when we leave
if you could peel it back
like rings in the trees
what would be trapped there 
between those
paint pages
pressed like seals in hot wax

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Managing Expectations in Marriage



Brian and I have been married over 1000 days. We realized just yesterday that our 1000 day mark had passed (on July 31...) and I got to thinking about how our marriage has gone so differently than I expected. 

I don't know about you guys, but when I was a teenager I was encouraged to make a list of things that I wanted in my future husband. It was fun to daydream about what my future husband might be like. I put things on the list like: 

  • Over 6 feet tall
  • Handsome
  • Good sense of humor
  • Returned Missionary
  • Marry in the temple
  • Kind
  • Brown Hair
  • Blue Eyes
None of this seemed very unreasonable to me. Through the years the list got longer and more detailed in my head. I nicknamed my future husband Jeremy Manhandsome. He would be everything that I ever needed. He would take care of me and have virtually no flaws while being patient with my own flaws. Of course, he would be rich and I'd never have to work again. We'd live in a beautiful house at the top of some seaside cliff where we would spend our days together and take our little family traveling around the world. I'd be married by 23 and everything would settle right into place.

Logically I knew that it was a fantasy, but that didn't stop my little heart from hooking right into that dream. 

As the years went by my fantasy shifted a bit to accommodate the fact that I wasn't married by 23. Instead, I would move to California, instantly learn to surf perfectly and catch the eye of some handsome surfer *who may or may not have looked like Jeremy Sumpter*. I'd be the girl that all the boys wanted, but couldn't have, until my Jeremy came along and we'd settle down together on our seaside cliff beach house...

So when my fairytale started out with me living at home with my new husband who I met when we were 16, but who wasn't 6 feet tall, and wasn't a surfer, I thought that I had reasonably adjusted my expectations. I knew that we wouldn't be living in a beachside house (at least not any time soon) and I knew that babies would be coming later than I expected, and I knew that we'd probably have fewer babies than I had planned on. What I didn't expect was that I also had sneaky little expectations that I hadn't really even thought about. Things like eating breakfast together. 

I knew going in that Brian wasn't big on mornings. I knew that and yet I somehow thought that my winning smile would be enough to turn that around. I think it was a full two months of waking him up every 30 minutes starting at 8 AM that I realized that just because we were married and he loved me, it wasn't going to turn him into a morning person. 

At first, I was very sad. I had to let go of that part of my expectations. I had to let go of the idea of spending those early mornings together, and I had to let go of the idea that Brian would bring me breakfast in bed. That was probably the hardest part of early marriage for me, expecting things to go a certain way and to have them go a different way. It wasn't until I was standing in the shower one day, thinking about a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley about how the key to a long and happy marriage is to lower your expectations. I thought that if someone had to lower their expectations to have a happy marriage to a prophet (and arguably an amazing man), then I should probably put a few of my expectations aside and I could do it without settling in any way.

Once I realized this, it allowed me to see Brian for who he really was and all that he was actually doing. When I stopped expecting him to wake up early with me I learned to enjoy the time to study my scriptures and get "me time" things done. When I stopped expecting him to bring me breakfast in bed, I realized that he often made me dinner without complaint, that he brought me flowers on random occasions. I got all these little bonus things I never even thought to put on my "expectations" list, but were things that made my life so much more beautiful and wonderful. 

That said, here are a few tips for managing your expectations:
  • Voice reasonable expectations (communication is key!)
  • Make a list of all that your spouse IS, things that you love, not what you wish they would be
  • Be forgiving, nothing is going to go the way you expected all of the time, or even most of the time
I don't think it's good to let go of all expectations, I don't think it's healthy and I'm really not sure that it's even possible, which is why I think it's so important to manage expectations.

Don't let what you expected, keep you from seeing what you have.

What was the hardest part of early marriage for you? How do YOU manage your expectations in marriage?

Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wraps VS Slings



Let me start this off by saying that I love both wraps and slings. I feel like they both have their pros and cons (and honestly the cons are a pretty short list).

I think that babywearing is fantastic for a lot of reasons. Some of the ones I've heard are that it promotes bonding, that it helps with your baby's digestion because it massages their stomach as you wear them, you're able to get things done because you're not holding the baby, and you can even breastfeed in both a wrap or a sling.

I hadn't really heard much about babywearing before I had Everly, the only one that I had seen was a wrap. I put one on my baby registry and actually ended up buying the same one anyways because it was taking weeks and weeks to get to me, but it was one of the best baby purchases that I have ever made.

Here are the pros of babywearing in either the wrap or the sling:

  • Highly portable (I almost always have one in my diaper bag or in our car)
  • Quickly Soothe a baby 
  • About as close as you can get to actually being pregnant again 
  • Much more comfortable than just holding your baby (cannot tell you how many times they've saved my back when Everly was being fussy and wouldn't let me put her down)
  • You can breastfeed in either Wrap or sling
  • Promotes correct hip development
I have absolutely loved babywearing. I honestly think that you should be given a wrap or a sling when you take your baby home from the hospital. Not only is it easy to carry your baby, but it's WAY easier than managing a stroller. If you've read my birth story you know that I couldn't really walk well for about a month after I had my baby. At the time we lived on the third floor of an apartment building. If it was between getting the baby and a stroller down three flights of stairs or staying home, my only choice was mainly staying home. Once I got my wrap I was able to go for walks to the park and around the neighborhood because I could easily put her in it and get down the stairs. 
I also love that you or your partner (or even grandparents) can use a wrap or sling. Seeing my husband carrying Everly in our wrap was enough to about explode my heart and make me want a million babies.

Wrap VS. Sling

I like both, but I like them for different reasons.

Wrap
-Simple to get into 
-More comfortable for ME as the wearer over long periods of time
-You can easily wear a diaper bag while wearing a wrap

Sling
-Simple to get into (quicker than the wrap for me)
-More comfortable for my baby
-Stylish

I feel like I should explain a little. Everly seems to like the sling better, which was totally unexpected for me. I've had a wrap for most of her life and only recently got a sling. Sometimes when I put her in the wrap she squirms and wants out, even when everything is well adjusted and supported in the correct way. That's not to say she doesn't like the wrap, but the first time I put her in the sling she immediately relaxed against me and hunkered down. It seemed like she didn't want to get out of the sling, ever. For me, it's easier for me to get into a sling quickly if she's upset and wants to be held. Every time I put her in the sling she seems happy and relaxed.

I feel like the sling is a little bit more trendy and it's a little less comfortable for me. Although I will say that both wrap and sling have a bit of a learning curve! Now that I've practiced a little more with the sling it has gotten more comfortable. I feel like there are little nuances with getting the fit right on a sling, where a wrap is pretty straight forward and easy to get a good fit. I would recommend that if you choose a sling that you switch off which shoulder you sling on so that you don't strain one side of your body. 

I've really been trying lately to be conscious of where my purchases come from. If possible I try to support local businesses or places where things are ethically made or that the company donates to someone else. In the spirit of that, I'd like to recommend a few local (to Utah) or small ethically made companies for slings and wraps. They are definitely pricier than something you could buy at Target or off of Amazon, but for me, the higher price is worth it! Even if that means that I have to wait until I can afford something :) Shop the sales my friends, shop the sales.

Slings

Wildbird
Poppet Slings
Love Sakura Bloom

Wraps

Solly Baby

Have you used a wrap or a sling? Which do you like better? Why?
Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | May




5/13/18
As a mother I’ve learned the weight of you in my arms
The way to tuck you against my breast in our bed as the room starts to lighten so that my arm becomes your pillow
I’ve found that the list of what I will give for you is never ending 


5/14/18

I'm learning the weight of motherhood
how it pushes down on the fragile edges
breaking me down to the core of who I am
pouring all the deep emotions deeper than they've ever gone


5/15/18

These are the good days
using endless amounts of tissues
wrapping you tight against my chest to sleep
watching the pale pink lilies unfold
that your daddy got me for Mother's day

Normally I hate lilies
but these have changed my mind

Your daddy fed me sweet pineapple on the lovesac
while I held you in my lap
use my hidden kiss to get you to take your binky
(whom we affectionately call Sophie)
one kiss on the forehead
while your lightning fast fingers
tangle in my hair
like a security blanket

your cries crackle in your chest
you nearly grab the gray and white scrunchie off my wrist
grabbing little things to keep me with you


5/15/18

I'm embracing the mess and
tangle of life
the hair that does what it wants
the dishes in the sink
the scattered sand over the moments
of watching you slow blink your way to sleep
with moments of aching backs and sad cries


5/16/18

We woke up together
usually this is accompanied by cries
but today
you opened your eyes
smiled at me
those beautiful eyes
I could wake up
like that
every day


5/21/18

You won't always think my arm is your favorite pillow
or, open your eyes to my face
so for now
I'll cuddle your body close to mine
for now
I'll enjoy the little print your ear makes on my arm each morning

5/22/18
The edge of me used to come right to my skin
Until the day that you were born
Then the edge of me somehow stretched and wrapped itself around you

5/23
I love the way you nurse
Curled close around me
Draping into my lap
With hands alternately plucking my clothes like strings
Or settling your hand so gently on my breast

5/25/18

This morning I walked with you. tight against my chest and for the first time you seemed bigger to me. the length of your back under my hands spanning further than I remember, making it seem that you're leaping forward, more than outgrowing clothes and swaddles.
we stopped by the river, on a little bank with white flowers growing on leafy bushes. stepping off the sidewalk we startled some squirrels. so I told you about your great-grandfather, my mother's dad, and how he was friends with a squirrel named Sammy and how they'd thought that Sammy was a boy until she had babies.
we walked a little farther and I saw a little set of white painted outdoor furniture. The kind that your great grandmother, my mother's mom, had on the porch of her tiny east side house.
you feel asleep as we walked and I talked to you about trees and baby birds and how those mama ducks were worried that we were going to touch their babies.
I looked at these tiny houses that I'd once despised, maybe because they made me think of old people and the dark of my grandmother's house, everything old and vaulable, untouchable, with walls layered in tar from her cigarettes we weren't supposed to know that she smoked.
Now I want a little house. Fill it up with babies and memoried and the joy of being a family. with home cooked meals and messes made by those i love.
while we walked and you slept we settled into silence and I thought wat a beautiful life this is.
now you're sleeping in a pile of swaddle, the sound of ocean waves shushing you to sleep.
a beautiful life indeed.



Pin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google Plus