Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Miller Family

In January, I hosted a giveaway on Facebook. It was for a free hour family session or a 75 minute engagement/maternity session. I had quite a few people enter, and was pleasantly surprised since it was my first giveaway. 
The lucky winner was Alison. She said that they haven't really had family pictures since her last baby was born and this would be really wonderful for them!! 

We set up a time and place and that was this last weekend!! I met with the Miller family at Mesa Riverview Park. It is one of my favorite places to shoot at right now, because it has so many different areas!! Its got a fountain (that was being worked on, boo!), its got a lake, hills, splash pad, and jungle gym for the kids!! The only problem is that its typically busy. That day was no exception. The Millers had never been there before so we got a little bit of a later start than I had hoped...but I still think the end result was great. Alison's boys are all very cute and i'm happy to be able to get them new updated pictures!!
















Sunday, February 7, 2016

The worth of a {mom} soul

This may be jumbled. This may only make sense to me. However, I feel impressed to write down my thoughts and feelings right now, so I'm going to do it.

Growing up, I had a very close relationship to my mother. We all did. My father is a wonderful man, but he was a little aloof when we were growing up. My mom is the one who made sure we got to our appointments, our lessons, our practices or games. She was the one making dinner, talking about our day, fixing boo boos, and teaching us things. My dad worked hard. He provided for the family and I knew he loved me. However, he didn't come to recitals or games unless my mom made him. However, he participated in things I know he hated...like the stake roadshow doing a daddy daughter dance to make me happy. But it was my mom I was close to. 
{side note: as I got older, my father and I have a much better relationship, we are much closer and I am grateful to have a good relationship with both of my parents}

As a member of my faith, there is great importance put on the mother and the father in different capacities. The father, the priesthood holder, the patriarch. The mother, the nurturer, the "glue". I grew up hearing and learning wonderful things about being a mother. Raising up the coming generation in the Gospel. Helping them have a relationship with their Heavenly Father. Teaching them manners, teaching them compassion, teaching them kindness and love. Teaching them to serve and look for ways to help others. To accept callings in the church, to work hard in all that they do. To pursue endeavors even if they scared them. To explore their talents. To help them to lift one another up and to ease others burdens.

With my infertility struggle...year after year of not being able to become a mother...I started to lose hope. To question myself. To question my worth. I was put on this Earth to bear children and rear them and teach them to love the Lord. And I was failing. My body wasn't doing what it was intended to. I know that at certain times, Satan was telling me that I wasn't worthy to become a mother. That I had done something wrong or that I wasn't going to be a very good mom to begin with and that is why it was being held from me. Eventually, I'd be able to push those thoughts and feelings away, realize where they were coming from, and move on. But it is so hard. And he is relentless.

Once I finally got pregnant, it was a miracle!! I was so overjoyed and eagerly anticipated my role as a mother. My husband and I had been having some difficulty in our marriage, but I thought it was the strain from the infertility. Things didn't get easier. It was very hard to see my worth at times. Then I developed preeclampsia making it difficult to do my normal things...and I felt that my husband was resentful. I had an unexpected early birth...and the Lord blessed us...Nash was perfect.
I was about to see my role as a mother start.

It was not easy, I knew it wouldn't be. However...I didn't anticipate my blood pressure not returning to normal. I didn't expect to be sick and tired and have it not have anything to do with my newborn. I didn't expect my problems in my marriage to continue and get worse, because my husband felt like I wasn't doing enough as a mom. I was asking too much of him to help out. In short...I felt worthless. My poor baby boy was so colicky...and had such bad reflux. Turns out because of his preemie status, his bowels didn't develop right and so he was in pain alot. I wanted to breastfeed so badly and Nash couldn't latch...so I pumped. And pumped and pumped. My health was iffy, my husband not helping, and I wasn't sleeping. It was a recipe for disaster. I finally got help in the form of medication. And it did help. But Satan kept one foot in the door, just reminding me that I wasn't worth it to my husband to help some. I was a shell of a woman because not only could I not conceive, but now I couldn't feed my son. I was fighting quite the battle that no one was seeing. Except for my Heavenly Father. And every now and then, when I was at my breaking point, I would read something like this:

"When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you.
You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” 11 You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging."
And I would feel better. I spent alot of time with my own mother, who helped me. Calmed me. Encouraged me. And cried with me. Her worth was so great in my eyes. I just wanted to be like that for my Nash.

This past year, things have been so hard. Jace finally disclosed that he has had an addiction our entire marriage. Finally things were making sense from years earlier. However, with this new information, I was wondering what was wrong with me. Was I not enough? Am I still not enough? What could I have done differently? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? 
I know, that it wasn't about me. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. However, Satan uses every little thing he can, to push self doubt and make you feel horrible. It has been a battle this year between me and Satan and his horrible, stupid thoughts he keeps throwing at me.

Nash turns 2 next month. He is...challenging...(i guess that's a good word for it!) right now. He is pushing limits and boundaries...testing me to see if I'll follow through on things. Jace works long hours...and Nash doesn't see him until 7-8 PM every night. Jace comes home and is the "fun" parent. Nash cant wait to see his dad. He constantly is asking for him during the day. He looks for him around every corner. 

And instead of making me feel happy that he loves his dad so much, I feel jealous and sad. I feel that in my child's eye, i'm not worth a whole lot. Nash never wants to see me. He doesn't come running to me, he doesn't give me squeezes, He definitely doesn't go around looking for me. And it hurts. So much. I literally give my all to him...because I am his mother and I love him so much I cant believe it sometimes. And it seems like he wants everyone BUT me. And I'm not exaggerating...its actually true. I work some days and he is babysat...and when I come to pick him up, he is mad that he has to come with me. I try my best to be a good mom. We play with trains and toys, we go to parks, we play on the trampoline and swing and go down slides, we go for walks, we read lots of books together, I do little primary lessons and sing songs, I try to teach him of Jesus, we have dance parties in the kitchen while I'm trying to make dinner or do dishes...and yet somehow, all I feel that he takes away, is that I'm the one who spanks his bottom, or raises her voice, or puts him in timeout.
 I'm the one he doesn't want to be around. 
In short...I have felt VERY worthLESS lately.

I decided, that while I was sobbing uncontrollably (in my dark living room, clutching a pillow for support) that I would listen to Elder Hollands talk from last conference. If you haven't read it, please do so. I'll include the link here. I've read it before, many times, but do me a favor and LISTEN to him. Listen to his voice and the love he has for you. And I dare you not to feel like you are worth more than you can imagine. 

My problems are not solved. But I know that I am a daughter of God. I am a mother in Zion and I have a beautiful little boy that hopefully, someday, will want to be my best little friend. It wont change how I feel about him or how I act towards him if he doesn't. My role is that of mother. And that will never change.
"To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion,13 and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’14 ” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone."

Friday, February 5, 2016

Rudd Family and Baby Laynee

Baby Laynee made her debut into the world 9 days ago. She came early just before 36 weeks by emergency c-section and had to spend 8? days in the NICU. She is a little fighter though and was able to come home to be with her mom, dad, and big brother. 

Mom wanted family pictures done to capture this special time in their lives. 
I was happy to oblige and go out to spend the afternoon with them.

Congrats Rudd family! She is a little doll.














Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Patch

16 years ago our cat Phoebe had 4 kittens. Right smack dab in the middle of the family room, next to the recliner. The first was a black and white, then 2 black, and one striped--just like phoebe. We thought the black and white was the only boy--he had a cute little patch under his nose, so from then on he was "Patch".









All of the kittens were so cute. I mean, all kittens are. But especially Patch. We just fell in love with him. Their mom Phoebe got sick and couldnt nurse the kittens...so my family had to step in and feed them with a dropper while Phoebe couldnt be around them. We developed quite the little bond with those sweet kitties. Once Phoebe got better she could be around them, but it was getting to be time for them to wean and find homes of their own. Phoebe liked to hide the kittens...her favorite spot was my room. And I got to tell you...i LOVED having a room full of kittens!! It was heaven for me. Pure happiness. ::side note:: my favorite place she hid the kittens was IN my brothers bed! the underneath was ripped and she put one by one of those kitties up in the bed. It took us FOREVER to find them!



Mom took the kittens to get spayed and neutered...and much to our surprise, we found that Patch...was a GIRL!! Didnt change her name though...patch suited her.

We found homes for one of the black kittens (Misty) and for the Phoebe look alike (PJ--phoebe jr.). We however found ourselves unable to think of giving Patch away. We loved her too much. (Midnight stayed with us too).

Over the years, I have enjoyed my cat, Patch. She lived in my room for most of my school days. (I think she finally decided to not sleep with me my senior year). She cuddled with you when you were sad. I remember crying on my bed, only to find that Patch had heard me, jumped up on my bed, snuggled in and started purring loudly. She was my comforter. She was so silly. Her big eyes following the noises or laser pointers...but never really having the guts to chase after it. She was so "blonde"... we took her to the Cabin and she climbed a pine tree...only she couldnt get herself down. Her sister Midnight had to climb up and show her how to get back down. She LOVED laying in whatever box or bin was closest...especially if you thought she couldnt fit. And the attention is what she most sought out...so good luck reading that paper or trying to do your algebra homework...Patch needed a rest.













(Easter when I was 14)


(My 21st birthday)

Fast forward to now. Patch is 16 years old. Thats fairly old for a cat. And shes sick. With how busy life is, we didnt really see any signs that she was sick. Slowing down, yes. Sick? Not so much. That is until last week...she was looking pretty bad. Mom took her to the vet...and they did bloodwork. The best guess without the results from the vet was that she was old...and her kidneys were failing. ::results came in and her kidneys arent working anymore:: I spent yesterday crying every time I thought of not having Patch in my life. Shes been here for more than half of it. She has been my cuddle buddy. My pal.



(Nash giving "Pach" one more kiss goodbye)

My mom couldnt bring herself to take Patch in. My little brother couldnt even consider it. So its fallen to me. Fitting though. She was my cat. I was her human. And I should be the last to say goodbye.

So...goodbye sweet girl. I love you forever.




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Baby Kate

When we moved into our house in April, we knew a few of the surrounding families (we are around the block from my parents, so I know them from growing up here). The families around us are established and we were excited when a new family moved in just down the street. They have a little boy that is about a year younger than Nash and the mom was pregnant! I got to talk to them and get to know them a little at our block party in October. Dianne said she was due with baby #2 at the end of December. I immediately gave her my card and told her i'd love to do her newborn pictures and Dianne got so very excited! Well, Christmas came and went and I never heard from her. Last week, as I was about to call to see how things were going, I got the news that baby Kate was here!! She was a week overdue and cute as a button!! 

Kate was extremely AWAKE during her shoot. Mommy nursed her after awhile and I snuggled her for a bit and she went right to sleep, so we continued on with her session. She was so good!! And her big brother Blake loved watching her get her picture taken. 

Welcome to the world Kate!!