Some Days

For those of you who don't obsessively follow my personal life (you should, I'm fascinating), I am back to stay-at-home-mom-ing it. I also do my photography business, and in the Fall it's pretty much a full-time job. But I really love it! I'm also working as an Associate Photographer for one of my favorite photographers, Amber Rust, so I'm really excited to learn from her!
But, all that being said, guess what I'm here to complain about today? That's right, the stay at home mom stuff!
The thing is, I read a lot of blog posts and articles about how hard it is to be a SAHM, how awesome it is to be a SAHM, etc, etc. Heck, that's pretty much all I write about anymore. It's my whole life! And most days, I really, really love it. Every day, I am grateful for it. But some days...
Some days are like today.
Some days you wake up way earlier than your body was planning on (and as punishment, it spends the next 45 minutes refusing to work properly, making you spill your son's juice on the rug and run into walls and stuff) and pretty much from the second you crawl out of bed, you want to get back in.
Because your child is extra-crabby and starving, but suddenly none of the food you're offering is good enough. So you make him a PB&J because, let's face it, he was going to eat that for one meal today, so why not breakfast? If that bread was toasted, it would be a totally acceptable breakfast food. It's fine.
And then when you get back from your walk, your sex-crazed dog who you thought "Oh, he'll be just fine if we breed him. It won't change is personality or behavior!" pees on the carpet right in front of you. And when you yell at him to stop, he gives you a dirty look, wanders into the kitchen, and pees on the stove.
And under the stove.
And he's a giant husky, so it's probably at least a quart of liquid on your clean kitchen floors.
And under the stove. Don't forget that it's under the stove,
And why couldn't you stop him? Because you, like a normal human, need to use the bathroom once in awhile. And when you had a child you signed away all rights to your privacy, so he's trying to crawl on your lap the entire time, and it's not nearly as cute or funny as it sounds when it's happening several times a day.
And when you yelled at the dog you scared your cute kid, who is now wailing and saying, "Mom! Mom!" as if you've betrayed him. It only makes it worse when you go put him in his crib while you clean up the swimming pool of dog pee, because if you don't, he will most definitely, absolutely, without a doubt play in it.
And then you lock the dog up for half the morning and give him dirty looks every time you pass his kennel and wonder if dogs are smart enough to know what a dirty look means, or if he just keeps thinking, "Whatever. You're not the alpha."
Most days when you change your sons diaper, you fully understand the risks involved, and it doesn't matter because your gag reflex is practically made of steel by now, and nothing can phase you. Other days, it's just all been too much and when a little poop gets on your hand (cause it WILL, I PROMISE YOU IT WILL) you just have to fight back tears and the urge to cry, "Someone else's poop is on my hand!"
So some days, by noon you are completely at your wits end, your entire house smells like bleach which always give you a headache, so you decide to hit the reset button. Go for a drive. Get out of the bleach-smelling house that is run by some wild animal who you currently can't stand, even if you secretly still love him.
Some days, like today, you can't even put on shoes before you go out to the car, because if you don't get out right now you're just going to lose it, and there will be more yelling, and we already know where that goes. Some days you accidentally drive to McDonalds and get a Dr. Pepper, even though you're trying not to drink soda because marriage and all this stress and all this soda are making you fat. But the bleach headache has combined powers with the yelling headache and the guilt headache and they are taking over your mind.
So, you drive and play music as loud as you dare with little ears in the backseat, and pretend you're 16 again and your car is spotless because you clean it all the time, and no one is depending on you to keep them alive, and you resist the urge to call your mom and whine that you are done being an adult.
The weird thing is, I've had a lot of jobs before, and a lot of bad jobs. If this was any other job, I'd find another one and quit. I'd hate my job, because who wants a job where you have to clean up some animal urine from under your stove, or someone else's poop off your hands? If I read that job description, I would go running for the hills. No one wants that.
And yet, it's exactly what I wanted. It's the weirdest thing ever how rewarding it can be, even when you feel like a total failure, even when you wouldn't repeat some days for all the money in the world. Because yes, some days are what feel like bad days. But most days are wonderful days. And even the bad days aren't all bad. Like today, Dayen started saying, "Tan I has tiss?" because I always ask him, "Can I have a kiss?" That's what I'm really going to remember about today.
So I'm going to forgive myself for drinking soda today, cause dang it, I deserved it. I'm going to admire how spectacularly clean my floors are after today's fiasco. I'm going to kiss that cute kid of mine and forgive him for refusing to take a nap.
And I'm going to go change the laundry, because literally all of my rags were used before 10:00 am.
Some days are just like that.

All My Little Ducks

WARNING: If you're one of those people that words like "moist" make you gag, you're definitely gonna want to skip this post. And maybe just having children in general. I'll let you decide that one.

Every night before I fall asleep, I have the best intentions for the next day. I am going to wake up early! Read scriptures! Make a nutritious breakfast, and go for a long walk with my cute dog and baby! In fact, if anyone asked me my morning routine, I would lie and say this even though this only happens this way, like, once every two weeks.

But still, I try to get all my ducks in a row the night before. Do the dishes, vacuum, get ahead on homework and photo edits. Because if I can somehow follow this perfect morning routine, then that will in turn lead to a perfect day, and everyone knows at the end of a perfect day you drop 10 lbs and win $1,000. So, obviously, it's the goal.

But the last two mornings, Dayen has been sick. And before anybody starts thinking what a bad mom I am: I am very concerned about it. I've been taking care of him nonstop, and in fact willingly went through the following because I love his cute face. But this is my blog, and this post is really all about me. So, there.

Yesterday I opened Dayen's door in the morning to the smell every mother loves to smell, and I knew there was trouble. Turns out, he had thrown up at some point during the night, and rather than waking us up and crying about it, he just fell back asleep in it. The effect was dried vomit stuck in his hair, on his face, and all over his blankets and stuffed animals. Do you people know how hard it is to change crib sheets? Who invented this system? Well, I did it anyway. I even gave Ellie, his favorite stuffed elephant, a special bath with baby soap and a rag so she wouldn't fall apart. As I sat there blow-drying a stuffed elephant, I realized my life hasn't exactly panned out the way I thought it would. 

He went to bed last night feeling a lot better, and this morning his room smelled neutral, so I got a little too comfortable. I fed him breakfast and even did my makeup before 9 am. I found a cute outfit because, hey, why not? 

Then I picked him up from his high chair and within seconds noticed my shirt felt wet.
The panic set in. Please oh please let this be my imagination.

I set him on the changing table, and saw, yep, the butt of his pajamas was soaked. I looked down and my shirt was soaked. I mean soaked. So, of course, I had to smell it. Because maybe it's not what I think it is. Maybe, somehow, my child sat in a puddle of Drakkar Noir and I am in for a special treat.

In this case though, you can probably guess what it was.

Really though, what was I hoping for? On the off chance it wasn't poop, did I really think it was going to be something good? If I found it to be, say, milk, would that really stop me from changing my shirt? (Ok, some days, yes.)

Anyway, after whining to my giggling child how gross that was, I pulled off his pajamas to find the world's worst April Fool's joke staring me in the face. I'm not going to post a picture because I refuse to be that person, though I did send a picture to my mom. And Caleb. But let's just say when the diaper came off, what had managed to remain inside broke loose like a dam and his newly washed changing table looked like... well, use your imagination. You know exactly what it looked like.

The next ten minutes were so poop-filled, I don't even know where to start. Cleaning up the dripping diaper? The pile of suddenly poopy laundry that, by the way, I had just finished the day before? The fact that I actually had to wipe poop off my wall?

Somehow I finally got Dayen in the tub and rushed around cleaning up. (And don't you worry, I changed my shirt.) And during one of my check-ins on Dayen's bath, I saw this.

Am I the only one who sees the irony? The kid literally had all his ducks in a row!

And that's when I realized:

We are all born pretty much a mess. We can't walk or talk, we can't do math (some of us never outgrow that), we even have to learn to use the bathroom on our own. 
But everyday we learn and grow. We go to school for years, we put all our time and energy into growing into self-sustaining adults. 

And we almost make it, too. We can see perfection glistening on the horizon, just within reach. We've almost got it all together.

And then we turn to our spouses and say, "Honey... we should have a baby."

And 9 months later we start the cycle all over again, but this time with our own kids.
I don't have time to live a perfect life, or to discover some brilliant scholarly thing (I don't even have time to think of a word other than thing) because I'm too busy cleaning up poop off every surface of my home!

How did this happen? Wasn't I supposed to be destined for greater things, or something like that? Do you know how many times I had to pause even just writing this blog post because Dayen was destroying something in the house?

So the moral of this feces-filled story, in case you missed it, is this: I love being a mom to this little stinker. But he is officially my excuse for not accomplishing anything worthy of a Nobel Prize. Or even passing math. 


I've been contemplating this post for awhile, ever since my sweet husband very nicely told me that I'm writing a lot about our baby these days, and not a lot about us. I didn't even realize reading my thoughts on our relationship on my blog meant anything to him, but then again, who doesn't love a little public shout out now and then? So, for those of you not interested in just how wonderful I think my husband is, feel free to tune out now. But if you need a little positivity in your day, then you're in luck! Because this is a post dedicated to the absolute greatest blessing in my life... my cute husband!
I met Caleb when we were both bussing at Maddox. I had only started working there a few weeks before, and he had just gotten home from his mission. (On my birthday, in fact!) We were working together one night and he was still in his post-mission, be-nice-to-everyone state, and I remember he asked me a lot of questions all night. How many siblings did I have? When was my birthday? What did I do for fun? I kept thinking, "Great, a returned missionary. This guy is just looking for a wife." Then he said something about graduating in 2009, and I said, "Oh, that's when I graduated too!" and his eyes lit up. (You have to understand, that bussing uniform made me look 16. Clearly up until this point he was trying to decide if he could actually date me... turned out, he could. Legally and everything.)
We had a rocky back-and-forth as he adjusted to being fresh off his mission, but from day one we realized we had a ton in common. He walked me out to my car that first day we met, and we even drove the same car! The more I got to know him, the more I realized he was sort of the boy-version of me.

I love looking back on that time we dated, especially getting engaged and looking for houses and planning our wedding. One of my favorite memories was when we went ring shopping. For some reason I thought he would panic and change his mind about marrying me, so even though I was excited I was trying not to get my hopes up too much. We had a chat with the salesman about the ring I wanted designed, and he told us it would be $100 deposit. I remember Caleb was on his phone and ignoring us, and I felt my heart sink. I figured he was on Facebook or something, and I turned to him and said, "Do you want to go home and think about it and we can come back?" And he looked up at me, surprised, and said, "No, I was just moving some money around. Can I pay now?" And I just had to hold back tears of joy because I couldn't believe we were really going to go through with it and get engaged! (Especially with such a pretty ring.) But I look back now and can only remember us as babies who had no clue what we were in for. I look back and think, "Anndee! You didn't even know how awesome he was yet! Thank goodness you were smart enough to marry him!"

I will never forget how quickly I learned that I was definitely the lucky one in this relationship. On maybe the second day of our honeymoon, I woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible migraine. At this point in my life I had only had 2 or 3 other migraines, but you definitely know them when you have them. They are completely crippling. I stumbled into the bathroom, thinking I was going to be sick, and Caleb was instantly at the door asking to come in. I told him I didn't want him to see me throw up (we had just gotten married!) but he insisted that I let him in. Luckily I didn't throw up, but I went out to lay on the couch because for some reason it felt better than the bed. It was a narrow couch with no room for my new husband. And to really make matters worse, we were in the middle of nowhere and I had forgotten to bring any kind of medicine. So, my brand spankin' new husband sat and rubbed my head until I fell asleep, and when I woke up the next morning he was asleep on the uncomfortable floor next to me.
I remember just being completely shocked. I knew I loved this man, but I don't think I realized until then just how much he loved me. Or just how big of a blessing this marriage was really going to be.
Now, after almost 4 years of marriage, I still can't believe how lucky I am to have found him. Don't get me wrong, neither one of us is perfect, and neither is our marriage. But we are absolutely, completely, perfect for each other.
Honestly, marriage is not much like I thought it would be. There's not a lot of date nights, or surprises, or constantly realizing how lucky we are to have found each other. It's a whole lot of day-to-day. It's a whole lot of goodbyes before work, and discussions about what to eat for dinner. It's a lot of planning, and monotony, and a whole lot of things that are never specifically mentioned in the Happily Ever After.
But when I actually stop and think about it, "count my many blessings" like I'm supposed to do, I realize just how incredibly blessed I am. I found a person who truly loves me unconditionally. Not a Prince Charming, not a Knight in Shining Armor, but just a sweet, wonderful person who is willing to wake up early every morning and work all day just to take care of our family. He loves cookies like me, but he doesn't love onions. He likes video games, but doesn't have a competitive bone in his body. I have only ever seen him angry maybe twice in the five years I've known him, and even then it was pretty mild. He loves to cook, and he is ridiculously talented at it, something I am always not-so-secretly jealous of. He is a perfectionist, and takes his time doing things just right. He loves dogs and always pretends he's going to run over cats when they run out in the road. (Don't worry, he could never really go through with it.) He has this can of grape soda that he's had since like the 5th grade and he's convinced someday we're going to pop it open and drink it in celebration, even though it's probably fermented by now and I'm not going near that thing. He is insanely smart, and when he doesn't know something he researches it to death until he knows it forwards and backwards. He is great with computers. And his son is the spitting image of him, and pretty much thinks he hung the stars. I do, too.

A bit ago, I was being my usual, hormonal, girly self and was upset with some friends about what I felt was a gross misjustice directed at us. Caleb listened patiently, pretended to be mad in all the right places, and then dropped the ultimate knowledge bomb. He said, "I think that's kind of how it's supposed to be. We can have friends, but we aren't supposed to be nearly as close with anyone else as we are with our spouse. Even the best of friends are going to let you down, but your spouse is always there for you. We're supposed to go through this kind of thing to remind ourselves to rely on each other, and to solidify that we are best friends."
Ultimately, that is the best part about marriage to me. Just having someone who you know always, always has your back. Who wants to go through all that day to day monotony with you, because it's all those little days and little moments that make a really beautiful life. It's the most cliche and simplest thing I can say about it, but I can say it with confidence: I have found my eternal best friend. 
And I still can't get enough.


I love General Conference Weekend.
When I originally started this post, it was going to be about our fun Conference traditions. I was going to post pictures of cinnamon rolls and the cute craft I made because it's impossible for me to sit still for that long, and maybe a few cute handwritten quotes from my favorite talks.
But then I realized how much I needed Conference this time around.
I always need Conference. It seems to come at the perfect times. Spring and Fall are already the best seasons (don't even try to argue with me on that one) and there is just nothing like spending the weekend at home with your family listening to the words of the prophets, to counsel that you needed, and to inspiration you've been searching for. Sometimes I need Conference because I've been trying to make a big decision, or because I've been struggling with something. And other times I need Conference because, I don't know, there was a really depressing Presidential debate a few days before.
Regardless, it seems like in the days and weeks leading up to General Conference, everything starts to rain on me. I am full of anger and frustrations and disappointments. And then the music starts playing, and that familiar announcer guy's voice comes on, and I can just feel my soul breathe a sigh of relief.
Let's face it. The internet is wonderful. We are so incredibly lucky and spoiled to have all this knowledge and power literally at our fingertips at all times. And I don't think the internet, or Facebook, or any social media is bad. But boy, do we use it for bad sometimes.
Scrolling through social media has become a lot less about keeping up with our friends and families lives, or sharing moments with each other, and a lot more about voicing opinions, arguing points, and refusing to concede to another's point. I think I've mentioned this here before, but you can't scroll through the comments on ANYTHING anymore without seeing a nasty comment from some troll.
Everyone is just so angry and unhappy. Or at least, their online-selves are. The world has become so insanely black and white, and you have to choose a side. You can't sit on the fence. You have to pick an argument and fight it to the death. You have to form a camaraderie with anyone who agrees with you, while declaring war on anyone who doesn't.
You have to hate.
And I have to admit, I am doing it pretty well.
Because I am angry. I am angry at so many things and the people who stand for them. I am angry that they can't see my point, because I feel so strongly about it. I am angry that the world doesn't fit with everything I think and believe, and no one has lived my life, so almost no one sees things exactly the way I do.
And there doesn't seem to be an escape. Even minutes into General Conference, something I have always considered to be a wonderful refuge from the world, you hear those votes of dissent and suddenly I am angry again. Not just angry, my blood is boiling. I don't understand it. I don't understand how anyone can hate so much what I hold so sacred.
And frankly, I am tired of being held to a higher standard because of my faith. I'm tired of non-members using my imperfections against me. If the church was true, I would be perfect. If I go to church, I must believe I'm perfect.
I'm living in a world that doesn't want to believe what I believe, and doesn't want me believing it either.
And you know what? It's completely exhausting.
But I finally realized: they are right. I do need to be better because of my beliefs. Isn't that the point? I don't think I'm perfect- in fact, I know better than anyone that I'm not- but I am trying day after day to live a life closer to what I believe will bring happiness and joy for me and my family.
I know, I truly believe, that if I am going to be a Christian, I need to be Christlike. And Christ would love them.
Would he accept everything everyone is doing?
Absolutely not.
But that doesn't mean I am in any place to judge. It just means I am expected to love them anyways.
I am finally understanding the scripture about turning the other cheek.
So, I'm dropping my end of the rope.
I refuse to hate.
That doesn't mean I change my beliefs about things that are sacred and important to me.
That doesn't mean I condone that behavior, or that I won't teach my children what I believe.
It just means, I'm not going to argue. I'm not going to fuel the flames. I'm not even going to read the silly comments that are only there to make me upset.
Friends, I want to hear about your lives. I want to see cute pictures of your kid or your puppy, even if you've posted a thousand before. I want to know when you've had a success after a failure, and I want to know when you're struggling so I can try to help.
But I can't read any more of the hate, or the negativity.
We've got 6 months until the next General Conference. I want to see your happiness, and your joy. I want to live peaceably not just with those who agree with me, but those who don't.
I just want us to love one another. Whether you are LDS or not, whether or not you even believe in God, I think we can all agree on one thing: kindness feels a whole lot better than hate.