Saturday, December 22, 2012

You are What You Eat

In a perfect world, I would make donuts healthy and beets junk food.  I would say that chocolate is the number one super food, while spinach should only be eaten sparingly.  But, alas, it is not a perfect world.  And due to the making of chocolate and donuts our once satisfied taste buds, now crave some a little sweet, salty or fried.

Now that I am an adult, I do understand the importance of healthy eating.  I try to keep sweets and processed foods out of my home.  But it isn't always that easy.  We try to be moderate in ALL things, so we don't make our kids stay home on Halloween, or take them home from a birthday party early before they can eat cake and ice cream.

My kids will one day grow up.  And just because a child has never heard of a candy cane or an M&M, doesn't mean they will not want one.  I have actually found that if I don't let my kids try a little of this or that, when they get it from a friend or school, they hoard it.

So a little sweet tooth now and then is okay by me.  But to balance it out, here is my amazingly yummy salad I eat, almost every day :)

It is easy and fast and depending on your dressing, very healthy.

First, I cook up enough chicken to last me 3 or 4 days.  I use a tiny bit of butter (not Margarine) and then some pepper and garlic for taste. Then it is in the fridge so I can just add it each day :)



Second, I add spinach...


Third, I add broccoli slaw...

 Forth, I add cranberries and chicken...

And then a little dressing...


...and viola,
a yummy healthy salad for lunch!



Lots of love,
Niki


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Being thankful or Greedy

I can't tell you how many times I have heard or read about someone who is struggling with infertility and because they have one child, feel they should be thankful for that child and feel guilty for wanting more.

PLEASE!

How many mothers out there, who can have children with just having their husband look at them, want more after the first...

...well, by statistic standers, they want at least one and a half more.

I read this quote from a Facebook page I follow:

A Facebook Community member wrote: "We have one child from embryo donation and I feel totally blessed, but my heart still hurts with jealousy when someone tells me they are pregnant with little or no effort. Being pregnant did not cure my infertility and a feel so guilty for feeling this way, but I just can't help it. It hurts to know I can't give my child a sibling that easily, if at all." (https://www.facebook.com/pages/RESOLVE-The-National-Infertility-Association/57774720835)

Why should a mother, who has to go through a ridiculous amount of emotional and physical pain, not to mention loss and heartache for every month she isn't pregnant, have to be satisfied with just one?

Is there some rule that states, if the baby is harder to get, you should be more grateful than those who had fun making one?  Thus, if you only get one, then your infertility pain is healed?

Hardly.

I have felt the same pain and heartache every time we have had each one of our little miracles.

Just because we want more, doesn't make us greedy.  To me, it shows how thankful we really are, we want to keep sharing our love with these little bundles of joy.

So, to all you mothers out there who are wanting one more and can't have that one, for whatever reason, don't sell yourself short.  Having a child is a divine right and emotion.  Pray.  Love.  And hope that God will guide you to your next little angel.  It may not be in the way you were expecting.  Be open.  Look inside yourself.  God will direct you.

Lots of love,
Niki




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Headaches and some hopeful feed back...

This post is dedicated to the all-to-well-known problem of, headaches.  I get headaches more often than I would like.  And I am not exactly sure why I get them.  I know that it happens when I change my exercise routine, lifting weights and such.  I get a headache if I have my head turned the wrong way too long, don't get enough sleep, don't drink enough water, the weather changes from sunny to cloudy or eat anything that has strawberries in it...

...Okay, so for the most part I do know why I get headaches; but I try not to do those things...and those buggers still come at me.



I will say that I get at least 2 headaches a week, some are worse than others and some just make doing my daily tasks hard.

I am trying really hard to get back into running and exercising every day, but when I have a headache, those desires die out quickly.  Thus, my routine gets all thrown off and I feel like I am starting over and over again to get back into shape.

All-in-all, these headaches are giving me a headache.

I hope to receive some feedback with this one, hopeful that one or more of you will help me find some relief by sharing what you do to kick your headaches.  Thanks!

Lots of love,
Niki

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making fun of people

Normally, I am against this.  I don't like to be mean, although, being human causes me to have some tendencies to do so.  While this may be a poor excuse, I really do try NOT to be mean or make fun of people as much as possible.

But, today, I just have to say something.  Now, if you were going to be one of Santa's helpers and share his magic with good little boys and girls, you would think that having that "jolly laugh and smile" would be something that would be required to get the job.

I would think a Santa-helper-wanna-be's resume would look something like this:

-Good with kids
-Have white hair and beard
-Have a belly the jiggles when I laugh
-Have a great smile for all the pictures I will take.

While this Santa was very nice and his beard looked pretty real, his smile could definitely use some work.



We thought that he looked this way because of Eva...

...but as you can see, that is not the case:


He really becomes the focus in the picture....

lots of love,
Niki

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We have to what?!!!


It is no secret that adoption isn't easy.  It isn't easy for the birth family or the adoptive family.

That being said, the question is, is adoption the right thing to do?  Here are some indicators as to why adoption is WONDERFUL:



  • Teens who were adopted at birth are more likely than children born into intact families to live with two parents in a middle-class family.
  • Adopted children score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency, optimism and volunteerism.
  • Adopted adolescents generally are less depressed than children of single parents and less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting, police trouble, weapon use and theft.
  • Adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others and feelings of security within their families.
  • On health measures, adopted children and children of intact families share similarly high scores, and both those groups score significantly higher than children raised by single parents.
  • Seven percent of children adopted in infancy repeated a grade, while 12 percent of children living with both biological parents repeated a grade.
  • Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically. (http://adoption-beyond.org/adoption-statistics/)

So now that we can see that adoption IS beneficial to the child, I would like to tell you why I think that is all true.

This takes me to my title.  "We have to do what?!"  Just so you know, babies are not handed out on some assembly line.  After contacting an agency  the adoptive parents fill out form after form, giving social histories, family dynamics, salary info, background info, dates, places, people, interests, hobbies, and so on and so forth.  We have to get two separate background checks, and have a social worker come to our home for two to three hours, asking us questions, making sure we are happy and healthy, that our house is safe and secure. We need to have fire extinguishers, electric plug covers, stair gates, screens in all the windows, locks, dangerous items out of reach, etc, etc. We have deadlines and fees.  We have to have others write letters about whether or not we will be good parents...

...All to be able to bring our sweet bundle home.
It can be very stressful. 

                                



You want to know why adopted kids do so well?  Because when a baby is adopted, it is not only desperately wanted, the family he/she will be going to will 99% of the time be a well adjusted, middle class or rich family who will be able to provide ALL that the child needs and most of what that child desires.  They will come to a safe, loving environment with all the protections and opportunities a child could ever need.

If only every baby came into the world with such great prospects.  
The world would definitely be a better place.

Flavio and I just finished the last of our paper work and sent it off. 

Hooray! 

Now we wait to see if we get approved.


Lots of love,
Niki

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Decisions...

Life is full of decisions.  Every day we wake up, decide what to eat for breakfast, what to wear for the day, whether we are up for exercising, looking on Facebook, cleaning the house, getting to work or school on time, getting our kids ready or just letting them stay in their pj's all day, playing a game with our kids, or doing the dishes, taking a nap or running some errands.  How do we decide these decisions?

I have to say, I don't put a whole lot of thought in most of those things...they are usually just a split second decision and every day we go on, making them, right or wrong, for the best or worst.  Yes to this, no to that, and oblivious to some.

And then there are those other decisions in our day that should take some more thought.

Where to go to school, for instance, or who should I marry?  What career do I want to pursue? Or where should we live?

And another one of those "big" decisions has been weighing on both my husband and me for the last few months:

How to have our next baby?

While most families will say, we think it is time for another baby, or surprise, we are having another baby, Flavio and I have to go about bringing a new baby into our lives a totally different way.  It is not as simple as saying it is time.  We say it is time and then have to go through the task of how we should bring said baby into our family.

In the past we have had only two choices, In-Vitro Fertilization or Adoption.  Both are very expensive and both are very emotionally draining.  Both are full of crazy, heartbreaking ups and downs and both are exactly what we needed to do to get our three little miracles.  And this time as well, we have had to pray and think about and finally choose between these two options, (as we have tried to get pregnant on our own for almost 9 years with no success).

And our new little addition will hopefully come to us through...


Adoption!!!



"Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it"


We are so excited to bring another little miracle into our home.  
Now we wait.  
Now we wonder.  


Our adoption stories will be shared here...both the good, the bad and the ugly...we hope for your prayers and support.

Lots of love,
Niki and Flavio


Friday, November 30, 2012

Making a list and checking it twice....

A very good friend of mine is a list maker.  She is very organized when it comes to taking trips and so I thought I would learn from her example, as I tend to forget at least one important item every trip we take.

This next week, we will be going on a family vacation and now that we have three small children, packing is much more involved.

So here is my list so far:



As I write these things down, I feel a little silly.  Who would forget to bring clothes, underwear, a toothbrush?  

Well, unfortunately, I have.

So, this year, I will have my list and I will check it twice, so that we are not scrambling at bed-time to find a diaper in the hotel or brushing our teeth with our fingers.  In fact, just writing this post reminded me to put down two more items on my list...so I better go before I forget :)

Lots of love,
Niki


Do you make lists?  If so, for what?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Putting on Hats...

The other morning, my amazing, adorable Lia was eating breakfast while wearing this hat.  




It made me smile.  

She brightened my day by the simple fact that she didn't care what anyone else thought, she just wanted to wear a fun, blue, yellow and smiley faced hat while eating her fruity cheerios.

Lia is still at an age where "what people think" doesn't really cross her mind before she does something.  She wanted to wear this silly hat, and so she did.

That got me thinking, when did I stop putting on my silly hats?  

When do we, in life, give up being a child, and begin putting away the child inside us?


I read this quote and though it may seem a little harsh, I believe there is truth there: 


“When we are no longer children we are already dead” 




I think I am going to try harder to put on my silly hats...and enjoy each moment as we should.

Lots of love,
Niki


What are some fun things you still do to bring out the "child" in you?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A little girl's dream

I remember growing up, playing house, or playing dolls and pretending that I was a mom. I remember dreaming about how many kids I would have, would they be boys or girls?  What would they look like?  What would I name them?  And as I got older I dreamed about how I would tell my family when my future husband and I were expecting, I thought of ideas to surprise them and share the wonderful news with them.  But life didn't ask me what I wanted.



I saw this quote today and it got me thinking.  No, of course this was not in my dreams.  Never, once, did I think this of this.  My mom and dad had gone through infertility, no way would I have to go through that too.  I was already gypped from having siblings, God wouldn't gyp me from having kids as well.  

(Now, I will say that I have come to understand that God didn't do this to me.  But at the time, I wanted Him to fix it.  I wanted Him to give me a brother or a sister my whole life, but that never happened.  So when I found out that I wasn't going to be able to have kids either, I blamed Him.  And I am sorry for it.)

However, regardless of who is to blame or why these things happen.  Life never really goes the way we dream it to go.  Sometimes life is better, sometimes it is harder.  Either way, we don't have much control over such things.

Now, just because I didn't dream the dream of going through IVF (I didn't even know what it was).  It doesn't mean I haven't been able to live my dream of being a mother.  Whether we go through infertility treatments or the amazing miracle of adoption, motherhood was still possible.  

I am grateful God did not give me the dream I dreamed.  I could never have grown or developed the way I have from this awful, amazing experience.  God knows me better than I know myself.  He loves me more than I love myself.  He will do what is best for me in the long run.

No, I never dreamed of being an IVF mom or and adoptive mom.  But I am proud that I am.  And I wouldn't change God's dream for me, for anything.

Lots of love
Niki

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tis the Season

Okay, so over the years I have come to find that many people have very strong opinions when it comes to decorating for the holidays.

I, personally, love both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Really, if you were to ask me to pick between the two, I wouldn't be able to.  



I love Thanksgiving, well, because I love food. I love the turkey, the ham, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the veggies, the rolls, and the pies.  I love to eat good food and I love to eat food with those that I love.  Thanksgiving also happens to be right around when my birthday is, so I think that has something to do with it as well; however, the older I get the more that reason seems to fade.  

Christmas is truly wonderful as well.  The smells, the decorations, the giving to others, the food (once again a day of feasting), family and friends, Santa Claus and most of all the Christian World seems to come together to remember the One who made all of this possible.

So here is my conundrum  while I LOVE Thanksgiving, I am not a huge Thanksgiving decorator.  We have the cute little signs and such, but nothing like when it comes to Christmas decorating.  So every year I get the Christmas decorating bug right around the first of November.  Yeah, I know.  I would love to listen to Christmas music all day while decorating everyone's homes all year!  



So when is too early?  I will admit, I started my Christmas decorating today.  I know, I took down the few turkey decorations and put up Santa Claus.  


When do you put up your Christmas decor?
And do you think before Thanksgiving is too early?

lots of love,
Niki

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chalking up Kindness...

If you read my previous post, then you will see how I feel about the, Twilight Saga.  And if the movie, with my best friend, last night was not enough for me, I was blessed with the love of these awesome ladies in my neighborhood!

They have been the most loving and welcoming bunch of women I have ever met.

I am so grateful for them!

This was their message to me, on my driveway, when I had to leave right after the movie:


You have all made my day!

Love you all!

Lots of love,
Niki







Thursday, November 15, 2012

Team Twilight

So most of my posts have been, well, deep as of late...I thought I would shake things up a bit with this one.

I have a guilty pleasure. 


And my pleasure is:



I have had some people look at me in total shock when I reveal this side of me.

Maybe it is out of character...I am not sure.

But, let's put the "judging me" aside and see why I love, and yes, I did say love, this series so much.

First: The story is unlike anything I have ever read.  I love to read.  And I read all kinds of books.  But I mostly like books that are original and imaginative.

Second: They make me feel young again.

Third (and last for this post): Being a mom every day, doing mommy things: cleaning, changing diapers, folding laundry, playing Candy Land for the 32nd time, watching princess movies or Finding Nemo for the 87th time, cooking, washing dishes, caring for and dealing with naughty children, reading about how Barbie is a good vet or and good friend for the 946th time, and all the other wonderful, yet taxing daily tasks of my daily life are all taken from me for the one hour or 30 minutes I get to read.  And Twilight takes me out quickly.  It recharges me (that may sound crazy) but it does.  I get to escape my wonderful, amazingly blessed life that is truly daunting every once in awhile and be in a world where magic and true love exist. Where there is no way any of what goes on in this book would be okay in the real world.  And To be honest, I don't always like the real world.

So yes, I am excited about the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn part II (I will admit I LOVE the books and only LIKE the movies)  But, once again, this is just a fun, guilty pleasure that I am proud to have and tonight I get to enjoy that last movie!


What are some of your, "hard to admit" guilty pleasures?


Lots of love,
Niki

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We are a judgmental people...

While judgement is something we as humans seem to do so often, we really are not that good at it.

I just read The Alchemist by  Paulo Coelhoand this is on of the ideas I liked best from this book:

“If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” 


In my life I have been given many chances to judge others.  Sometimes I get it right, but most of the time I get it wrong.  I have found it much easier when I try to love my brothers and sisters for who they are, and not for what I think they should be, or should have done, or didn't do and so on and so forth. 

Who am I to judge someone when I myself am far from perfect?  And yet, I do it everyday.  I wake myself up and I put on my judging glasses and look to see what I can find.  And do you know what I usually find?  In all of my judging glory, and in all of my self-righteousness, I find that I didn't see a thing at all.

I hope that I can improve my way of seeing others.  I pray that as a nation and hopefully as the human race we will follow this wonderful council by a man who is dear to my heart:

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” 



I always love to hear your thoughts.

Lots of love,
Niki





Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Say cheese!!!

For some reason, getting family pictures, is about as much fun as going to the dentist.... 

(no offence to any dentists out there)  



No matter how much you prepare or talk yourself into believing it won't be that bad, once you are there, you are hit full on with the actual reality of non-cooperation, posing and hair dilemmas, fake smiles and promises that you would never give in any other situation and probably can't even keep.

My family is no exception.

My two older girls have come along way, and I have come to love and accept their little fake smiles.  The worst thing we can say to our kids when they are getting their picture taken, is: "Smile pretty."  Or "Smile normal".  When this is said, all hope is lost.

I try not to say things that relate to how they are smiling.  Tell a funny joke or say a funny word.  Let the photographer know ahead of time any inside jokes that will make your kids laugh.

And when it is time for your kid's portrait, make yourself useful and do a silly dance, make funny faces.  Kids will laugh every time and the photographer will get what you were looking for, a natural, fun, happy smile :)

Like I said, family pictures with little children, for us do not run any smoother what you are used to. Granted, my kids are used to having a camera shoved in their faces, but with young kids, you never know what you are going to get.

Here are a few examples of what happens in our photo shoots:



Not to be out-done by....drum roll, please....


So if you are stressed out about getting family pics... just try to relax and know that you are not alone :)

lots of love,
Niki






Monday, November 5, 2012

The Honey Boo Boo Standard

I am sure we have all heard the word, "No" from each one of our kids.  I will admit, when they say it, and you know they understand it's meaning, it is a shocker.  How do we, as parents, guide our kids into understanding the child/parent role these days?  I feel that we as parents have created a generation of kids who feel the world revolves around them.  Our ability to find moderation in how much we give to and protect our kids and how much we allow them to learn and suffer has been swung from one end of the pendlem to the other.

Back in the early days, our parent's days, kids feared their parents.  Spanking and using the belt were not frowned upon as it is today.  Kids respected their teachers, and were even punished by them.  My own father was smacked in the hand with a ruler every time he wrote left handed (as they thought is was a learning defect)  So now he writes right-handed, but does everything else left-handed. Parents ruled with an iron fist....



....And today, kids, by and large, are allowed to defy their parents, their teachers and bulling is at an all-time-high.  Kids are lazy and full of themselves.  They feel that the world will provide for them without having to lift a finger.  Parents are quick to give and slow to punish.  Just look at what is on TV today.  Honey Boo Boo, for example is what we watch.  According to the New York Times, Honey Boo Boo has 2.7 million viewers! http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/honey-boo-boo-has-the-ratings-if-not-the-critics/

This just drives me crazy.

How can we, as a society, put up with this?  Filling our time with selfish brats on TV has become one of America's favorite past-times.  And our kids are watching.

My little Lia, picks up on everything.  Being gifted, she has a photographic memory.  Her little brain remembers EVERYTHING.  This is, of course, both good and bad.  But just for her sake alone, I have to be super careful every time I turn the TV on.  She follows and emulates anything she sees.  This is one of my greatest challenges with raising a gifted child.  Her defiance of what we are trying to teach her creates havoc in our home.  This was said about gifted children and defiance,

"But for the gifted child, this quality can often go beyond that of standing firm on her own convictions, or a habit of simple disobedience, because her thought processes function so much differently from others. She will look at a problem from several different angles all at once, and because she thinks in a fairly mature and complex way, she will feel that her decisions are well thought out and, necessarily, right. The gifted child will not stop challenging after a few times, but will remain obsessed with fairness, with logic, with their own feelings at that moment in time, which are neither developed nor mature enough to be trusted."  http://www.christianity.com/1229632/ says:

I hope for the sake of all of my children, our society will start to see the issue there is with this kind of indulgence, even if all we do is turn the TV off.  Our kids are watching. They are testing our weaknesses.  I hope that we can find a middle ground where kids respect adults, not out of fear, but because we love them enough to not give them everything they want.

This article is great about the effects of over-indulgence: http://www.register-herald.com/columns/x670919597/Over-indulgent-parents-hurt-kids/print

Here is just a clip from it:
"Psychiatrists are now saying that over-indulging kids is actually a form of child neglect.
Over-indulgent parents give their kids too much of everything — money, automobiles, material goods, freedom, adult privileges.
The last one is perhaps the most interesting.
Teenagers, in particular, have come to demand their freedoms without any strings attached. In other words, “What can you do for me and forget you.”'

What will our world be if we are run by people who feel this way?

I pray we can help our kids by not giving them everything they want.  I pray that we can raise the generation that was taught with moderation in all things.  I hope our kids learn how to work and how to love, how to save and how to give.  It is up to us as parents to change who our kids will be.

Lots of love,
Niki

Monday, October 29, 2012

To vote or not to vote...

...should not be a question.

This post will be only on why I think everyone should vote, and how they should go about voting.  I am not going to imply who I will be voting for or I will not be preaching about any specific political party.  I admit that I am a passionate voter.  I am not exactly sure why.  I guess it all stems from specifically two of my major's courses in college, both were in political science, the study of politics. 

My mom and dad always voted, but they never told who they were voting for.  They never brainwashed me into thinking one way or the other, and yes, I said brainwash.

I am so grateful for the gift I had of not feeling like I had to see politics through their eyes.  Just like religion, you hope your kids will follow what you believe, but it will never work if you push it on them.  I was appalled the other day when my daughter came home from school and said that one of the kids in her class was calling one of the candidates for President evil and a liar.  Now, knowing that this child is either 6 or 7, I knew that he truly did not know this, but he had heard it from someone at home.  I sat my daughter down and told her that both of these men had a desire to make our country a better place and that she could vote for whoever she thought was best. I find it idiotic for people (me included) to get all riled up thinking that the guy they are not voting for is evil or a liar or other ridiculous adjectives that simply are not true.

Yes, we may not like the policies of one or the other, but does that make them evil?  Absolutely not.  It is men like Bashar al-Assad, who are evil.  He is the President of Syria and he is literally killing his people as we speak, just because they want the same freedoms we take for granted every day.

Here is my take with my children:

My children, because of their gender, would not have been able to vote only 92 years ago.
These amazing women went to jail and in some cases were hurt all because they wanted the right to vote.

Also, my children, because of their race, would not have been allowed to vote only 47 years ago.

A voting rights march in the Alabama town of Selma in 1965 was broken up by baton-wielding police. (Associated Press)
As you can see in the picture above, blacks were beaten and killed all because they wanted to vote.


I hope that as citizens of this amazing and blessed country, that we take our right to vote seriously, and really look at the topics and people at hand.  Forget the parties.  Forget the media's take.  Go do some research and see where your true vote is.  Taking your vote seriously can give you a sense of fulfillment to know that we are not mocking those who were harmed or even died for our right to vote.  I hope that we can all take great care in how we vote this year.  Let's teach our children that understanding what we are voting for is just as important as who we are voting for.

God bless America.

Lots of love,
Niki

If you live in Utah here is the link for all that you need to know when going to the polls:
http://vote.utah.gov/






Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to our Lia


Lia Krystyna Martins



How does one give such a gift as this?

No payment of gratitude will suffice,
Knowing, this day four years ago,
 how much she did sacrifice.
Our Lia was born.
To a mother who was scared, grieving and torn.

The love of a mother can only be shown,
By her actions that only a few have known.

Little Lia was placed in our arms through her love,
We thank our God in the heavens above,
For her selfless sacrifice.

No other has given to us more freely,
Than our Savior did in the garden of Gethsemane. 

We will love our Lia forever and beyond.
And we hope one day because of this bond,
We can all rejoice,
In her heart-wrenching choice.

To place us with her precious baby.

It was perfect love!

Our hearts will always be full of love for both Lia and her birth-mother.

Happy Birthday, Lia!
We love you so much!




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some times you just need a hug...and then snap out of it.

So tonight, I was on bed-time duty, alone, as the husband is out of town for a couple of days.  Bedtime is something we usually do together, so when he is gone, everything feels little off.  Tonight was no exception.  Our little Lia has been a little edgy (more so than normal) so it shouldn't have surprised me when after we had read our books and everything seemed to be fine, she flipped.  She started crying and started to hyperventilate without warning.  My heart started to beat a little faster as you would think that she is hurt or something of that nature.  But no, it was something much more minor than that. (Minor to me at least)

This was kind of the end of my rope today, as she has been on a tantrum and lying streak these past couple of days.

Let's just say we both acted like three-year-olds and then I sent her to bed.  (don't worry I went in and gave her a hug, after I had calmed myself down).

And that is where I get my title.  Sometimes you just need a hug...and right now I don't have anyone to hug.  So I cried, I cried for being a mean mom and for losing it over something so seemingly small.  I cried because I am tired of not knowing how to handle my sweet little gifted baby, who also doesn't know how to handle herself.  I cried because some of the most important people in my life aren't in my life at the moment and have hurt me beyond belief and I needed to know that I could call them and most of all, I cried because I simply was feeling sorry for myself.



This is where I get to the second part of my title.  I know we all have our own little pity parties.  I actually think it is healthy every once in a while to throw your own little tantrum, however, and as I well know, that party should be a short one.  And the only reason I say this is because when we dwell too much on those things that make us human or those things that we have no control over, we go crazy...literally.

So I can sit and cry about how many things made my life so unfair today, or how how nothing is working out how I had planned (and keep in mind I am writing this to me, but if you get something out of it too great) and how the heavens themselves are working against me to be happy in this life, or I can choose not to think those things.

I tell my kids everyday that it is their choice to be happy or sad, it is by their choices their lives will be fulfilling or not.  We cannot rely upon those around us to lift us up whenever we fall.  The only person who can do that for us, is our Savior.  I could really use a dose of my own medicine sometimes.

So after I threw my little pity-party, I got down on my knees.  I prayed for the strength I need to do what is right with those things that are bringing me down.  I prayed to know how I can get over myself and be a better mom.  And then I listened for awhile.  I was able to feel peace and comfort.  No words, no images, just peace.  And I knew that even though I did not react as my Savior would have, that was okay, because I was able to turn to him in the end and know that tomorrow is a new day and if I choose, it can be a better day.

It is my choice to be better.
No one else can ever take that away from me.



Lots of love,
Niki






Monday, October 22, 2012

Date Night

Okay, okay, I am sure you are thinking that I am going to discuss with you the importance of a "date night" with your hubbies.  Now, don't get me wrong, that IS important, but that is not to topic I had in mind for this post.  I want to discuss the importance and awesome opportunity we have (while our kids are young) to go out on a date night with our kids, individually.

Now, I am an only child, so you would think that everything I did with my parents felt like a date...well, not quite.  I do remember the family trips and going out to dinner every once in a while, but what I remember the best and am most fond of was the times my mom or dad planned something for just me and that parent.  For my birthday my mom would come and get me from school and take me out to lunch.  I always chose McDonalds, and every time I felt elated.  It was special.  It was just me and her.  Then there were the special motorcycle trips with my dad.  Just me and him, out on the open road for a couple of beautiful, fun filled days.  Again, it made me feel special, loved, and important.

Now picture doing this with kids that have siblings to share you with!  
Maybe the rivalry would slow down a bit....



I have been trying to take each of my children (well the two older ones) out separately once a month or alternating months.  I take them to dinner or an activity of some sort.  And when we are there together, just me and that child, their smile and joy is very apparent.

So my challenge to you today is to make time for each one of your kids separately.  You can make it a birthday tradition or trade off each month, if you have only a few kids they can get time with you each month.  But I have found that I only end up taking my kids out when I really sit down and plan something.  I mark it on the calendar.  One tip, (if they are very young) don't say anything until the day of, things come up and if your plans get squashed the disappointment is very apparent as well....

So go have a picnic, take a walk, go to a movie or out to dinner.  Find an art class or a hobby that you both like and share it together.  Your child will never forget the time he or she spent with just you.  And i know for a fact it helps them get along better with each other!  Go have fun and come back and tell us about what you did!


Do you have a favorite activity that you did with your parents or with your kids individually?
How did you feel? 


lots of love,
Niki

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I still feel 18

I have been gone this past week, thus you haven't heard from me in a while.  We went to St. George, Utah, where my parents live.  It is a great place for us to get away and relax while my parents get to see their only grandchildren (I am an only child).

While I was there, one of my best friends from high school contacted me and said she would be there for the weekend, as we were leaving the day after she got there, we decided breakfast would be best.  I had not met her kids yet, so we decided to bring our families along.

She has two twin boys (ages 3) and a sweet baby girl.  Add that to my three spunky girls, ages 6, 3 and almost 2 (that almost 2 makes a bug difference) age 1 and almost 2 are are like night and day in kid years.  Anyway, lets just say are table was packed, loud and people would look at us longer than you normally look at strangers.  I always wonder what people think when they see the craziness that comes with families with small children.  Some cute, older women will usually come up to me as they are leaving and say how cute my girls are, or for me to enjoy these years.  Women with teenagers tend to look both sympathetic and jealous, but they usually don't say anything, while those without children look at us like we are crazy or maybe they are thinking we are the worst parents in the entire world because we can't keep our kids under control.

This little trip was packed with excitement.  We got ourselves systematically divided between our kids.  I like to do the kid-parent-kid-parent-kid approach as that way one parent will always be available and none of the kids are able to touch one another.  My friend, brought her sweet mom along, and grandmas can be a great help as well.  Her two little boys (while looking exactly alike) have very different personalities.  It was fun to catch up and talk with her about the business of being a mother of young children.  In between fits and food complaints we were able to have a very nice visit.

It is amazing how my life has changed since high school.  And yet I feel the same as I did the day I graduated.  I know I have grown and matured (hopefully).  I know my body has changed (unfortunately).  But I don't FEEL older.  I just recognize that I am older.



It was nice to meet up with Aimee and know that even though we are trudging through the mundaness of life, we can still talk as if we were still 18.  The subjects have changed, and life is a little more serious.  But I don't feel that "my self" has changed that much since high school.  And I can't decided if that is good or bad?


What do you think?  Do you still feel 18?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Digital Junkies....

I got my two youngest down for their nap, so I decided to get the pictures off the camera from today.  We spent the morning with Lia's preschool at a pumpkin farm.  The kids had fun and as usual, I took too many pictures.

Digital cameras have made us picture junkies.  I remember the days of film, when you would take one or two pictures of the event as you only had so many pictures on your camera.  I understand that digital has a limit as well, but if your camera or memory cards are anything like mine, I can literally take over 1000 pictures at a RAW form (or the cameras biggest file) and still be okay :)

I did a wedding not too long ago, and I took over 700 pictures.  700!!!!  Of course not all of them turned out how I wanted, but I was able to give the bride a few hundred images of her wedding day.  She can literally relive that day anytime she wants.

So there are definitely pros and cons to the digital world of photography.  One pro is it is much cheaper, minus the camera, the lenses, the flashes...well, maybe not cheaper.  Okay, well another pro might be that you can take as many pictures as you want.  A con is, you can take as many pictures as you want.  The other pros might be that you are able to have your image right away, that way you can see if something is wrong.  You can see what your settings are and know what works and what doesn't.  Other than that, the only thing that has happened with digital, is everyone thinks they can be a photographer now.  The mindset is, if you have a nice camera, you will become a pro.  Of course this is not true by any standards, but it does let a much bigger portion of the population try.


You don't take a photograph, you make it.  ~Ansel Adams

Now, I do not see this digital junkie trend ending anytime soon.  And that is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is so fun to have almost every day of my children's life documented...however, I do feel that sometimes I go overboard and feel a little like this guy:


So lets all try a little moderation.  Save ourselves some time in front of the computer screen and go out to get some sun or smell the roses.  I am learning to cut back, just a little.  I am understanding how to make sure I know my camera well enough to be able to take the best picture the first time.  I am able to get to the editing board and know that just with a few minimal edits of sharpening and exposure, that I will be done quick. Everyone is therefore happy, my clients are happier because they get their pictures back quicker and my family is happier because they get more time with me :)


lots of love,
Niki

How has the digital camera changed your life?  Good or bad?






Monday, October 8, 2012

How much "family time" do we spend?

My late grandpa had a PhD  in English/literature.  His love for learning, school and his work was inspiring.  I had the great honor of interviewing him a few years before his death.  I was able to make a book for each one of my grandparents using interviews and journals.  These are treasured memories and items that I will always have and I will never regret spending my time doing them.

As I was interviewing my Grandpa, he talked of his life with both love and regret.  He talked with pride when it came to his pursuit of a higher education and how he was able to live his dream of being a professor of English at Weber State College (now University).  However, he sadly shared his regret, that his schooling, and his career kept him from spending quality time with his family, especially his children.  As a mother of only one, and being a stay-at-home mom I couldn't empathize with his regret. 

As time has gone on, my grandfather has passed and time has a whole other meaning.  I can now see how life's busyness can keep us from spending the "time" our family really needs.  The monotony of life, creates an invisible wall.  We are in our kids presence, but are we present with our kids?  I find myself at home doing housework, reading, going to the store, watching a show, fixing meals, or anything else that keeps me busy.  I am home all day with both Lia and Eva and find that I may go a whole day without really spending any time with them.  Sure I am there in person, but my attention tends to be elsewhere.

Thinking of this scared me, I don't want to regret my time I have with my kids.  One day they will be gone.  One day I will look back and wonder what I did with my time.  Will I remember the clean house I had or the times I made my kids giggle?  Will I think I was super-mom because everyone always had clean clothes and their homework done, or because I sat and talked with them about their day and helped them with their life's problems?  





Time is precious.  

I am just starting to see this.

Take time out for your family.

Leave those things that can wait, until tomorrow.

Let your kids and spouses come first.

So when you look back at your life you will not have any regrets in regards to your family.  

They are the only part of our life that we can take to heaven with us. 



lots of love,
Niki



What are some fun things you do with your kids and family?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Get in the picture...

If you are like me, you do not like getting your picture taken.  I am so much happier behind the lens then I am in front of it.  I am not sure why this is.  Why are we, women, so hard on ourselves?  What are we expecting from ourselves?  I am not sure there is an absolute answer to this question.  But here is my take.

I want you to think of the women in your life, your mom, your sister, your best friend, your daughter or an aunt, your grandmother.  What do you think of her?  Is she beautiful?  When you see pictures of her, do you cringe and think, how does she live with herself?  I am guessing all of you would say, NO.

If this is the case, then what do we think people really see in us?  When a picture is taken, do others close their eyes from blindness, are they running to the toilet to heave this-morning's breakfast (okay sorry, that was a little overboard)?  But I think we can all say that, no, they don't.  When I have a picture taken of myself and both my husband (who thinks I am beautiful by the way) and I are looking at it, we see two very different things.  I see how I wish my jaw was more defined and my eyes weren't so crooked.  I see that one ear is poking out of my hair which makes my hair look thin and my ears look big.  I see big teeth and a long skinny face. And most of all, I see how fat I think I am.



On the other hand, what my husband sees is, pretty eyes, a beautiful smile, long shiny hair, nice skin, and as he says, a beautiful body, and then he sees something even more, he sees his wife, the mother of his children, my spirit, my love for him, his best friend, his soulmate.  When you look at a picture of someone you love, you see them.  You see their light, their love, their humor and all the good that they hold for you.

So when it is your turn to stand in front of a camera for a family picture or a family trip, outing or just to have fun with your kids, be self-confident that no one will see you the way you see yourself, and if you can, try not to be so hard on yourself.  I am talking to all you wives, sisters, mothers, friends and daughters out there, and I am asking you to get in the picture.  Be present in your families lives.  When you are gone, this is what they will hold on to, the pictures of you with them will help them not forget how much you mean to them.  Your face will never be forgotten.  And more then that, the memories you made with them won't either.

My family will always have these...they will see that I loved them, no matter what the future holds. 
Because I got in the picture!



In a picture, your smile will live on forever!


I was inspired by this article in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html  It too will help you see why getting in the picture is so important!


Tell me your thoughts on getting your picture taken.  What are some of your favorite memories you were able to capture?





Friday, October 5, 2012

The Q-tip company may hate me...but I don't care.

Okay, I know that is a strange topic, but it is something that I have been thinking about lately.  When I had my first baby, I asked my doctor a ton of "new mommy" questions, how do I do this? and how do I do that?  what is the best for this and that?  He was patient and answered as many questions as he could.  Then I got to the question about ear infections.  I had seen many babies suffer from this type of pain and I wanted to do all that I could to prevent it, if there was a way.

So I looked my doctor in the eye and asked, "How do I make sure my baby does not get an ear infection?"  He looked me back in the eye and said, "Ear wax".  This took me by surprise.  "You mean get rid of it?" I asked.  They wouldn't make Q-tips if this wasn't the case, right?  But his answer surprised me again.  "No, don't get rid of the ear wax in their ear.  It is there for a reason.  It protects the ear from water from a bath or mucus from a cold.  If the ear wax is there, they most likely won't get an infection."

I was stunned.  

I wanted to make sure that perfect ear was pain-free...



So I said, "Okay."

And I will tell you, I haven't used a single Q-tip on one of my kids.  We clean the outside of their ears with water and a washcloth and so far no one has complained of being grossed out by the monstrous ear wax growing out of their ears. If fact, I can't ever even see any.  They can hear fine and I am happy to report that NOT ONE of my kids have ever had an ear infection!  Here is an article that will explain what I just said in a more detailed and intelligent manor:
http://www.medicinenet.com/ear_wax/article.htm

So when your knew little one comes into your life, resist the urge to clean to their ears spotless.  Let that waxy stuff do it's job!


What simple secrets do you have to help your little one cope with the pains of life?