Monday, November 10, 2014

The Boy

The Boy is here, that's what I've come to call this handsome feller, because when I try to call him by his name, the name Clark usually comes out of my mouth. Probably because he's his older brother's spitting image. When I first saw him the first thing out of my mouth was that he looked just like Clark. I love him to pieces. He is an absolute angel. No worries, his name is not "The Boy", he is our Wells Michael Thomas, and we can't get enough of him.

His birth was easy peasy. I'm almost ready to do it all over again (but not really). He was born on Oct. 21 at 8:26 am. weighing in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. and 20 inches long, by far my biggest baby. It explained why I was so so so miserable.


I started having contractions the night before around 6 or 7, but I didn't think anything of it because I was so used to having irregular contractions that last for a couple hours and go away. By 9 they hadn't gone away so I tried walking around the house to see if I could walk them off. By 10 they were still there and coming every 5-10 minutes, but they weren't painful and weren't really getting worse so Neil headed off to bed. I tried relaxing and walking for another hour with nothing happening so I caved and called my mom. She suggested a warm bath, so I took a nice, warm 40 minute bath....afterwards they still hadn't gone away and felt a bit stronger, but I didn't know. I called my mom back to let her know what was going on and decided to take a shower (just in case it was labor, because I knew I wouldn't get another shower for a long time), and try to sleep for a couple of hours. I finally fell asleep close to 2 and woke up at 3 with the contractions a lot stronger and 2-4 minutes apart. I walked around the house for 30 more minutes before waking Neil up (he was definitely shocked, he didn't think I would go into labor). He jumped in the shower while I got dressed and everything packed up, then at 4 I called my amazing friend to come over and be with the kids (even though she has 4 of her own).

We left at 4:30 and got to the hospital around 5. They hooked me up and did all the fun stuff and informed me that I would be having the baby some time that day, but I was 3rd in line for the OR (2 other women came in about the same time for C-sections). So they gave me and epidural instead of a spinal to help with the pain as the contractions were intensifying. A little while later I was wheeled into the OR and Neil followed a few minutes later. After a few minutes he was here and absolutely perfect.

The tears came and Neil left my side to be with Wells. After a few minutes Neil brought him over to me and I got to hug and kiss on him all I wanted. When they transferred me off the hospital bed, Wells was placed in my arms. I about died! I had never ever been able to hold my baby right after birth, let lone keep them with me when moved to my room. It was pure heaven. The nurses informed us that he was grunting a bit, which was somewhat concerning, so they wanted to keep a close eye on him. After a few hours, and a father's blessing, the grunting finally stopped and he didn't have to be taken to the NICU (HALLELUJAH!).

That face! 

I recovered amazingly well from the C-section, better than even I imagined. I was up and walking without any trouble as soon as I got the okay from the nurses. There has been little to no pain involved. And my energy is back as much as it can be with a newborn. But I have more energy than I ever thought imaginable while I was pregnant, the moment this boy came out I felt a million times better. He was draining every ounce of my energy. 

Ready to go home.

The timing was perfect, my mom flew in the night I was released from the hospital, so she was able to soak up as much baby time as was possible. She was such a HUGE help, from cooking and cleaning, to entertaining the kids, to just letting me be my emotional self. She was amazing. Her stay made me incredibly homesick. Things are different when you have a baby out of state.

All the kids are madly in love with their little brother. Clark is probably having the hardest time adjusting, which is expected....but buddy, the crying has got to stop!

Life it crazy hectic, and I'm always tired. But I wouldn't have it any other way. My home it full of joyous noise (most of the time). and I love all my babies. Life is pretty grand.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

When life gets you down

I've taken a hiatus for a while. I'm not quite sure why, or what prompted my need to do so, but I did. I kept thinking about updating this thing, but never would get around to it, but I kept getting the impression that I needed to get back on here. So here I am, not quite sure what to say or how to say it, but I'm here.

Life got crazy, like crazy crazy. Everything seemed to come at me and once, and I didn't (and still don't, to be honest) know how to handle it all. This pregnancy, as excited as I was/am, has thrown me or a huge loop. I wasn't expecting to be having a baby right now, but I am, and I really need to come to terms with that...we moved too. Yep, found a house, bought it, and moved. I love our new house, it's exactly what our family needs and we won't be outgrowing this place for a long while. I think we've found a place to settle for a long while.

The other night, while Neil and I were laying in bed watching random videos on our phones (that's what we do at night...pretty romantic, eh?), I came across this video. I know the video is about pornography addiction, but it spoke to me on a different level. I haven't been able to get the video off my mind. Marriage is hard, yo. And sometimes it's really, really hard. So hard it feels like it would be so much easier to walk away while saying, "Welp, this was fun....sayonara." But sometimes that's not the best decision. Like it says in the video, there comes a point where you either have to fix it or walk away. We have to have faith that Christ KNOWS us and he wants to help us. He knows our pains and how we're suffering, and he wants to help heal us, to heal our breaking marriage. But finding a starting point is the hard part. Where do you even begin to find where it started? What I keep coming back to, and what I can't keep our of my mind is the statement made by the wife in this video about the adversary laughing at her. I know he's laughing at Neil and I. I know he sees us, trying to fight for what we know is right, but he laughs at our inadequacies. He laughs at our shortcomings. He laughs at every wrong turn. But on the other side is Christ, he's not laughing at us, he's trying to help us overcome our inadequacies and shortcomings. He's rejoicing when we make a right turn.

This baby, this baby boy that is coming into our family in a couple short months...I never thought I would say this, but he's coming at a time when it would be easier to not have a baby. Does this mean I don't want him? NO, it just means he's coming at an "odd" time for me. I try every day to be excited. Sometimes I actually do get excited, but then comes the reality of it all. I find myself asking why Heavenly Father would allow me to become pregnant, especially when it would be so much easier to prevent it, it's not like I was expecting to get pregnant quickly or easily. I wouldn't have been surprised if we weren't pregnant right now. Then why, why did he do this to me, why now, of all times? I still haven't found the answer to this question and I don't know when I will, I just have to keep reminding myself that he knows more than me. He sees so much more, he's trying to help me see too...I just can't.

I was born at an "odd" time for my family as well. I didn't know the details growing up, and I still don't know them all, but I do know enough now to only imagine how hard it was. I can imagine my mom thinking the exact same thoughts about me as I am thinking about baby boy. Growing up I never felt less loved by my parents, but I can say I always felt like the odd man out in my family. I never understood why, and it was something I struggle with, especially in my teens. And then when I found out about the circumstances surrounding my life, it helped me slowly piece together what I had/do felt/feel. It's helped me be more okay with knowing that I will never have that familial closeness. So then, comes my struggle. I don't want this baby to feel what I felt growing up. Although, circumstances are different, some feelings of then and now are the same. I'm scared to death to make this baby not feel included. I don't want him questioning his role in the family. I don't want his siblings to make him the target. I want him to have more than me.

Then comes church, no one tells you that when one thing goes wrong, it makes doing everything else a million times harder. I only go to church because I know I need to. It's hard. I hate feeling like not wanting to go, but I don't, and I'm miserable to whole time. But I go, that has to count for something, right? I know it's me that needs to change and my attitude. But it's so draining. Then my calling suffers....the poor kids I teach pay the price. I'm never prepared like I should be, and I'm sure I'm the most boring teacher in the world...but man, just getting up and going to church wears me out.

Life, whatcha gonna do?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The most difficult test to take

I took the dreaded test again a few days ago, you know that test. It seems simple enough, pee on it and wait. That's it. But for me (and so many others I know), it's the hardest test to take. But I geared up for it, expecting to get the answer I usually get, one line, no baby, try again...but this time I got 2 very vivid clear lines. I was shocked, I grabbed the user guide out of the box to make sure I read it right (cause I guess I haven't taken enough to know?), and sure enough I read it right. I'm pregnant. It seems so surreal to say that.

The path to pregnancy this time around has been extremely spiritual, and all I can say is Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. There was no need for a fertility specialist. It's almost too good to be true. We are head over heals excited.

It all started back in November. Neil and I were at the temple, in the Celestial Room no doubt and he turns to me and says, "I think we need to start trying for another baby." Smooth move Neil, smooth move. How can you say no to that? Actually a baby was the furthest thing from my mind then. I was happy where we were and wasn't ready for baby number 4. I compromised and told him I'd go off birth control, but that's all I was willing to do. That was all he was asking for.

In December, off birth control, my period came! What the what? My body isn't normal...maybe it was just a fluke...but in January the same thing happened. I was baffled. I talked to Neil and we decided that this was probably the Lord's was of telling us(me) it's time to get going. So in February my period came again. Okay, so I'm not pregnant, but my period is regular, give or take a few days. Now I was scared, scared of getting my hopes up and ending up back where we always do, with the fertility specialist, going through our options, in our own personal Hell. So I prayed. I prayed that if we were supposed to get pregnant that it would happen without any help, I begged. I confided in Heavenly Father that it wasn't a baby I was scared of, it was going to the fertility specialist, if he would only take that out of the equation. Afterwards, I just kind of knew that this time I would get pregnant without help, I didn't know if it was me getting my hopes up, but I liked to think it was Heavenly Father reassuring me that I was doing the right thing.

When my period was late in March, I didn't give it much thought. they can be off a few days or my body's going back to it's "normal" thing. I didn't "feel" pregnant. I let a few days go by before I was at Walmart picking up some things and casually decided to grab a pregnancy test, I just wanted to know for sure that my body was going back to it's normal routine. I forgot all about the test until later and decided why not, I had to pee anyway. I took it and then saw those blessed two lines!

It may have happened sooner than Neil and I had originally planned, but we are so, so, so excited! It's going to be the longest 9 months of Emma's life! She can't stop talking about the baby and wondering if it's a boy or girl, what we're going to name it, and everything else in between.

When I get behind...

It seems like when I put off blogging, I REALLY put off blogging. To the point that I don't know where to start to catch up. But then something happens that kicks me in the butt and tells me I need need NEED to get back at it...blogging is my only form of journaling....awesome sauce, but not really.

My life is seriously perfect right now, I know, I know, everyone says that. But seriously, it is. My kids are growing up just as they should, they drive me absolutely nuts most days, but I wouldn't have it any other way. They love each other and honestly, even though there is some sibling fighting, it could be worse. They really do love each other.

Emma is now 7! It's crazy to think that in one year she will be baptized. My baby is totally gone, and in her place is my 7 year old. She still loves to sing, dance, and play violin. She's been playing the violin a lot lately for school and whatnot, it makes me happy to see her sharing her talent with everyone, because heaven knows that girl can play!

Claire just turned 4 and is still the sassiest little thing around. She always says some the the most off the wall things that you can't help but laugh at. I sure love her. She has a loving heart and the most vivid imagination. She plays and plays and plays all day long her the Lalaloopsy and princess dolls. She definitely coming out of the shell and is making lots of new friends, I love watching her grow up.

Clark is the craziest boy I know! He is always going! He still loves his mama the most and it makes my heart so happy. I love that boy and his crazy imagination. He's obsessed with superheroes, which makes Neil burst with pride. Every time he sees the Hulk he screams "HULK!!" as loud as he can. Love my bubba!

We finally have found a place we would like to settle down here in Texas (well a place we want to build and a house plan we like). It's going to be a long 5 months, but it will be nice to have a place to call our own. Life is grand, better than grand, it's more than I could have ever expected. And I know better is in the future! Here's to 2014!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Looking in the Mirror...

I posted this before and after picture of me a while ago on Facebook/Instagram. The feedback was awesome, and I loved all the great comments and support I got for the massive change that my body has undergone over the past year. 

To be honest, I can't imagine how I was ever that girl on the left anymore. I can't believe I let myself do that, but the reality is, I did. When I showed Neil the picture on the left he said, "Well, yeah, but you were pregnant in that picture." Uh....nope. I definitely was NOT pregnant and when I brought this to his attention we both laughed for a really long time.

I'm still not at the goal weight (a little less than 10 pounds to go). But I never imagined being able to look back a year from then and say, "WOW! I did it! I really did it!" But I can, and it's amazing. It's hard and I hate it at times, but I only hate the moments, I don't hate the process as a whole. I love that I can now run longer than a minute without getting short of breath (not even exaggerating!) 

I have hated myself for a long time. Ever since I can remember, I was never smart enough, kind enough, funny enough, and yes, skinny enough. I had terrible self-esteem, I never spoke up because I thought my opinion didn't matter (those who know me know are laughing out loud, that's okay, it's true, I'm loud). I guess I finally gave up trying to be "skinny" enough. And then my self-esteem took an even bigger plunge. I wouldn't even look at myself, I would avoid pictures at all cost, I hated having myself somewhere for everyone to remember. I still remember the day that picture on the left was taken. I remember my anxiety level as Neil was taking pictures of Claire on the horse and I was right beside her, and I remember thinking, "Please don't get me in the picture, please." But he did, and there it is for all to see. 

But, now that I've not just changed how I look, I'm trying to change how I think about myself. I've seen myself become a totally different person. I'm very loud and my opinion will be heard these days. I like to laugh and have a good time, and I think I'm pretty damn funny and smart. 

But one thing is hard, every time I look at myself in the mirror, I still see that "fat" Ali. It's the strangest feeling. I see no progress and no change, yes I see my clothes are smaller, but I don't see the change on my body. The only thing I can compare it to is when you learn about eating disorders and they show you the picture of the clearly skinny, or even too skinny girl, looking in the mirror and she sees an overweight girl looking back at her. I see that girl too. I never understood how that worked until now. I have to be really good at telling myself that I'm fine, I don't actually look like that. But I do see the change when looking at two pictures side-by-side, I guess that's why I keep them around. 

I just want those who are trying and feel like a failure to never give up. It's not easy all the time, some days you rock it and others you don't. That's okay, it's not just about weight, it's about you! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Life, Updated

I guess it's time for my monthly check-in. I promise I try to write more often, but my life isn't exciting or glamorous, so there's nothing to write about more often. Trust me, I would if I thought anything was worthy of attention.

Life is good. Emma started school a couple of weeks ago and I think she likes it, every time I ask her about it she doesn't divulge much information, but tonight when it was just her and I grocery shopping she started saying little things is Spanish while we were conversing, it made me smile. I love that girl to pieces and I can't believe how much she is growing up before my eyes. I still don't know where the last 6 years have gone.
Emma's first day of 1st grade. Uniforms are the norm in these parts.
Claire, I don't know what to day about that girl. She is starting to come out of her shell and she is probably the funniest girl in the world. She has a heart of gold and a smile to match it. She is her mommy's best friend and I never want that to change. She hardly eats a thing, some days I find myself wondering how she isn't hungry. On small bite of chicken and one small bit of broccoli and she refuses to eat anything else. It's like that for all three meals (the equivalent of that...). But she loves her fruits and veggies. She's a mystery to us all.
For dessert Emma chooses an ice cream bar while Claire chooses a carrot
And Clarkie, oh that boy has my whole heart. He is the funnest baby in the world, he is growing by leaps and bounds and I want time to freeze. He will be in nursery in 3 short months, while part of me is counting down the weeks praying I make it, the other half isn't sure how I feel about him getting so big so fast. He's the exact opposite of Claire and will eat all day. From the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed he is usually sitting by the fridge or pantry begging for food. His favorites are fruit snacks and meat, any kind will do. He's all boy and I love it.
When my mom came to visit we headed for the beach, for Clark it was love and first fist full of sand
Neil and I are still in love with Texas, we wouldn't change it for the world. My mom came down a few weeks ago and stayed with us for a week and it was heaven, but upon her leaving I became more homesick than had been in a long long time. Tears were shed and the reality sunk in all over again, I couldn't get online fast enough to book our flight to Utah for Christmas.

Things are different in Texas than Utah, but one thing that never changes is the gospel, living here has made me even more grateful that I have the gospel in my life. I see the way people live, the way the treat the ones they love, and I think that I could never talk to my loved ones the way they do, they are precious to me, my heavenly Father entrusted then to me, and need to do my best to raise them as he would.

People down here do love God though, and they truly want to help others make it to heaven, Neil has been told by people that they fear we are going to Hell because we are Mormon and don't believe in God, so to help us they invite us to church with them. Neil tries to strike a deal about reading the Book of Mormon or attending church with us, but they don't want to go to Hell with us, so they pass. Neil and I giggle over these stories, if only they knew and understood like we do. There is still so much work to be done, I wish I knew how I could help better, Neil tries a work, I need to start looking for more missionary experiences.
One more for good luck

Saturday, August 3, 2013

As I sit.

I hear Neil picking notes on the piano, I hear the clicking of the keys as I type, I hear the whir of the fan overhead, and I hear the hum of our home; our home in Texas.

This is our home now, I never thought I would call any place other than Utah home, I always dreamed of one day calling somewhere else home but I never thought I would have (the nerve? the courage? the confidence?) the something to be able to find a home elsewhere. But I have. It's only been a few short weeks, not even enough to say we've been her for 2 months, but it feels like we've been here for years and years. Not in a bad way, nothing of the sort, in the way newlyweds explain to others that it feels like they've been married forever, or the way a new mother will tell others that is feels like her newborn baby has always been a part of their family, I mean it in the most magical way.

I'm still scared, when I think of what's next, I've always known our plan of attack, I always imagined Neil and I in 5, 10, some-odd years building our final home and being content. But that's no longer the case, I don't know where we will build our final home. I want to go back to Utah, but I don't know if Utah will be able to offer what our family needs (mom, skip that part). .But Utah has family, familiarity, comfort, and, yes, home.

Everything has fallen into place more perfectly than I could have ever imagined, it has been as if Heavenly Father has been telling me every step of the way, "See, simply do as I ask and I will take care of the rest. I will never let you go not cared for." It's been a humbling experience, from the small things such as being able to enroll Emma in dual immersion in Texas, to the thoughts that plagued me the

That deserves more explanation. I'm an introvert, I will openly and proudly admit to that. I think it's fairly safe to say that in Utah, more specifically in our ward in Utah, I had very few to no friends. I don't say this for pity, I state it as a fact, I didn't mind. I had/have acquaintances and I had family...that was enough. Our ward in Utah was, dare I say, very unwelcoming. We had lived there for almost 5 years and upon leaving Neil and I could both say we left feeling as though we were still visitors to the ward. I had a couple friends from our ward and neighborhood, but one had moved almost 2 years ago and the other had moved just a couple of months prior, both out of state. That was all I had pretty much, only 2 people that I felt comfortable enough to stop off at their house and visit. When Neil and I moved I can tell you that only 2 people offered to help, one was out of obligation (he was just called to the bishopric and I could tell that he would have helped but he seemed relieved when we said we think we had it handled), the other was from a new girl in our neighborhood and I could tell she was genuine, but I didn't want to burden her. No one offered to help with children. Moving with 3 children was hard, hard doesn't even start to describe what we went through. I shed many tears of frustration those last few days. We weren't essential to our ward and we felt it, but again, I don't say this for pity, just as a fact and for a background for what's to come next.

The move to Texas scared me, what if I didn't make friends? Sure, in Utah I didn't have friends, but I had family. I'm an introvert and don't make friends easily...I need some sort of social interaction other than my children. I was scared, but Neil comforted me by simply saying that if we (I) absolutely hated Texas we could live there a year and come back to Utah. The first few days were extremely. I cried every. single. night. I regretted moving, I kept asking myself what I had done. I was the driving force behind Neil's decision to move. But then the first day of church came, never before in my life have I felt so loved and taken care of. After church I told Neil that people who move to Utah probably think Utahns are jerks, because seriously nothing compares to the love I felt that first terrifying Sunday in Texas. And it's never stopped. I have more friends here than I could have ever imagined possible in Utah, me and the kids are constantly going and doing with someone most days of the week. It's absolutely amazing. I have yet to hear something bad said about someone else and I LOVE it. It's a complete 180 from what I have experienced elsewhere.

Texas has been good to our family, Texans have been even better. I'm home, listening to the hum of our home, our Texan home.

The girlies ready for the new adventure!

Probably Neil's 2 favorite things about Texas.
I need to get a picture of Clark walking. It melts my heart and make me want to push him over every day! He's not allowed to grow up and not need me.