Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Step Away from Mom Jeans

I have noticed a trend. Once a women gets pregnant and/or has a baby she chops off her hair to a no-fuss hairstyle. I have always been a long hair girl, and vowed I would not change this self-defining characteristic once I became a mom. But, I have noticed a few matters concerning my appearance slipping as of late.
  1. I now answer the door with wet hair and no make-up because Palmer has not yet taken his nap that I use to primp for the day. Many of my neighbors and friends and salesmen will attest to this.

  2. I no longer wear heals. I was clumsy before I had Palmer, but now I truly believe it would be a safety hazard to wear healed shoes while toting him around.

  3. I hardly ever wear jewelry because of little, but somehow very strong, baby hands that like to pull and grab.

  4. I don't wear v-necks because Palmer likes to pull down my shirt and I'm sure everyone has seen enough of my chest as it is with my awkward breastfeeding.

  5. I usually have spit-up or some type of food mess (from the kids I tend) all over my clothes, and sometimes other places on my body (like the last time I went to get my hair dyed and the beautician said I had some very strong product in my hair that was difficult to brush out. I replied that I had not used any hair product that day and then blushed as I realized, and embarrassingly admitted, it was spit-up).

  6. I hardly ever curl my hair anymore because if I straighten it I get two days without having to wash and dry it. Which leads me to the next point...

  7. I have my hair in a pony tail just about every other day.

  8. I no longer wear dresses. A couple weeks ago I wore my favorite dress, so happy that I could once again fit into it. But alas, when I walked into the mothers' room to nurse, I just stood there dumbfounded as I realized in order to feed my baby I would have to pretty much get naked at church. Needless to say it's been skirts ever since.
Oh well, at least I still have my long hair right? Even if it is usually wet, clumped with spit-up, or in a ponytail. I guess everyone gives in to the demands of motherhood in their own ways.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Welcome Baby Alyssa

Greg's sister Andrea had a baby girl last Friday. We had been out of town when she was born, so I was very excited to go visit last night and finally get to see her. We also brought them a meal, pork roast with potatoes and carrots and peach berry dessert (see recipes below). Her name is Alyssa Summer. Her big sister calls her "baby Palmart," which is her name for Palmer. I'm sure she'll realize they are different babies soon enough. Alyssa is so tiny. She weighs less than 7 lbs. When I picked her up, I could barely feel her. She is such a sweetie. They grow up so fast; you truly forget how little they start out. Congratulations to the Strickland family! We love you guys and your new little one.

Recipe - Pork Stew

We brought this to Greg's sister's family since they just had a baby. After having Palmer, I have realized just what a help it is when others bring you dinner. I didn't have to cook for about two weeks because of all of my great friends and some frozen meals I had prepared before I had the baby. This recipe is also great as a pot roast if you half the amount of soup, which is how we made it last night. But I do really like the soup in it, so I would suggest to make it as a stew the first time you try it.

Pork Stew

1 3-4 lb. pork roast
4-6 potatoes
1 sm. bag baby carrots
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 cans French onion soup
salt and pepper to taste

Place roast into slow cooker. Chop the potatoes and add them and carrots to the pot. Cover with soups and cook on low 7-9 hours.

Recipe - Peach Berry Dessert

Greg's dad sent us home with a bunch of fresh peaches, so I made this treat for dessert. It was really good. I don't think I will be making it again anytime soon though because we both stuffed ourselves until we were sick of it. Unless you're serving a lot of people, I would half the recipe. The whole recipe serves eight. We sent half with the meal for the the Stricklands and kept the other half for ourselves.

Peach Berry Dessert

8 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 t. almond extract
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. flour
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. quick oats
vanilla ice cream

Place peaches in 9 x 13 pan . Stir in almond extract and lemon juice. Sprinkle berries on top. In a bowl combine butter, flour, brown sugar and oats. Sprinkle over peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend in Ely

Friday we traveled to Ely Nevada to visit Greg's Dad, Kelly. He had recently moved to the town and it was our first time visiting with him there. It's a very pretty little town two hours south of Wendover. The total trip took four hours. Palmer did pretty well. He did get tired of being in the carseat and was very excited to get out and stretch half way through the drive. On the way there we took a break at a rest stop by the Salt Flats. Palmer was very happy to be out of the car and looking around.

Saturday we spent most of the day in the mountains. We found a great spot with a lot of shade by a creek. We went four wheeling (my favorite!), had a BBQ and made smores.

Kelly's girlfriend Mary is an excellent cook. She made us the yummiest breakfasts. Saturday morning we had country biscuits and sausage gravy, fried potatoes, sausage and scrambled eggs. Sunday morning we had scones with honey butter, bacon and peaches and cream.

We really had a great time and we are excited to go back soon to visit again!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Am Poopy

The plethora of children at my house as of late has made me poopy, in more ways than one. Yesterday in the duration of one half hour I had three poopy diapers! Yes, three poopy diapers. Imagine that and all the oh so lovely smells and textures to go along with it. Thankfully, only one was a blow out. No offense to any mothers of toddlers out there, but I can no longer be phased by Palmer's dirty diapers. There is no comparison between an infant's mess and an older child's mess. At least I will be prepared for what is to come, right?

The second way I am poopy is pure and utter exhaustion. No, don't try and correct me. I am not pooped. There is no past tense in this action. I am poopy! I am an extremely light sleeper and normally wake up at the drop of a hat. So when Palmer awakes in the morning I am up and in his room before he even gets his eyes open, let alone he begins to cry. This has not been the case the past couple of days. I have awoken bleary eyed, in a daze of confusion to a blood curdling screaming child. Today I was able to go back to sleep with the baby because I didn't have any additional children to tend, and even after another two and a half hour nap I awoke in the same exhausted befuddled state of half-consciousness. I am currently getting ready for my second nap of the day. I even have my mouthpiece in (Yes, I sleep with a mouth piece. I am that cool.) and my contacts out. Hopefully I will wake up this time a little less poopy. Oh crap! Palmer just woke up crying. Nevermind.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

LDS Family Feud

We are the Young Single Adult Advisers for our ward and our ward is in charge of the next stake activity. We are going to play LDS Family Feud and need to survey 100 LDS people. If you are able to, please take the time to fill out this survey (just copy and paste the questions, fill in your answers and either post them as a comment on our blog or email them to me at We really appreciate anyone's help on this. Feel free to involve any other adult LDS family members. Also if you would like to receive the answers for a YW/YM/Ward/Stake activity of your own, just let me know and I will e-mail them to you. Thanks so much for your help!

1. Who is your favorite Book of Mormon hero?
2. Name a primary song that includes hand gestures.
3. What is one of the young women values?
4. How many minutes a day do you study the scriptures?
5. Who is your favorite modern day prophet?
6. What calling would scare you the most to receive?
7. What temple do you visit most often?
8. Name a reason a mother would leave a church meeting with her baby.
9. What is something teachers borrow from the library to use in their lessons?
10. What would be the most exciting place to serve a mission?
11. Name a general authority known for giving great conference talks.
12. Name someone who was present at Christ’s birth.
13. What is an item you would see at a ward potluck?
14. What percentage of the time are you on time for church?
15. Name something an LDS family might do on a Sunday afternoon.
16. What is a common assignment given for Family Home Evening?
17. Name is something/someone that is often prayed for.
18. What LDS movie have you seen the most times?
19. What can usually be found in a member’s food storage?
20. Name an uncomfortable item of clothing that church goers wear.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Things We are Lovin' this Week

It's been a busy week for us. I started day care and Greg has had school off, so we've been busy, busy getting the house and other things in order. There have been a few things that have given us a much needed break from the frenzy of life.

  1. 1. Batman! We saw The Dark Knight last night and loved it! I am a huge Batman fan to begin with, and I loved Christian Bale in Batman Begins. This one was even better. I also have always been a huge fan of Heath Ledger (since the moment I first saw him in 10 Things I Hate about You and A Knight's Tale) and was happy to see him doing his thing one last time. He really was an amazing actor! His portrayal of The Joker was so freaky; it gave me the shakes. It was really nice to have a date night as well.

2. Ward members. Thursday night I attended the Relief Society picnic and so enjoyed the company of adults. I have such great friends in the ward. I just love them! It also gave Greg a quiet home to study in for the night. And this afternoon our ward friend Gary brought over some cherry lemon sweet rolls. He makes the best cinnamon rolls in the entire world, which he generously shares with our family. He said he was experimenting with different flavors today, yum. Gary, we will be your guinea pigs anytime you need! He also brought us a 2 GB memory card so that we could take longer videos of Palmer, so kind and thoughtful.

  1. 3. The Olympics. I've always enjoyed the Olympics. There is just something that makes me marvel at such dedicated athletes, their drive and amazing abilities. Greg is developing a love for the games as well. He wasn't interested in watching them when I first asked if he would like to, but as I had them on television later he also got caught up in the sport of things and now stays up late watching instead of going to sleep when I am ready for bed. We've especially enjoyed watching Micheal Phelps and the American gymnasts. Go team USA!

4. Palmer. Greg has loved having evenings off to spend with the baby, and me too I think. :) Since I started watching other kids I haven't been able to give Palmer as much attention as before and it's made me appreciate the times I have alone with him more. He really is such a joy to be around. Everyone comments on what a happy and smiley baby he is. You can't help but love him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day Care

Unfortunately, at the moment Greg being the sole breadwinner is not an option for us. Yet when we found out I was pregnant, we still decided that I should quit my job. The plan was for me to start a daycare a month or so after Palmer was born so that I could stay home with him and still bring in some money. It was the only solution we could think of that would provide a secure income and that I would be able to do with an infant at home. As a bonus, I really like kids, and usually they like me. I thought it'd be a piece of cake. After I had Palmer I was pretty shocked at how hard it was to just take care of him and we stalled starting my at home business. Well, no more stalling. Today was the day I had scheduled to start tending children.

Honestly, it wasn't so bad. I don't know why I got myself so worked up and was dreading it so much. I only had two additional kids today; more are scheduled to start in a few weeks. And I must say it is easier just having to take care of Palmer, but I handled it. I am tired, but I'm always tired at the end of the day with Palmer, might as well add a few more kids in the tow, help out some of my friends and make a little money.

It may not sound like much to all of you out there. Truly I didn't think it would be a big deal before I had our child (I should have been a bit tipped off when I told my fellow mother friends of my plans to start one month postpartum and they laughed at me. What can I say; I am just a little stubborn). But, I am proud of myself. The kids, Palmer and I survived the day! Wish me luck tomorrow.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three Month Photos

We took a trip to Kiddie Kandids this week and these are the results. What a cutie!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Loves His Mommy and Daddy

Palmer is really beginning to realize who we are, and we can't help but be happy because he loves us. He recognizes our voices (he turns when he hears us and talks with us), our smells (he loves to sleep in our bed our on our pillow) and our faces (he makes sure we have our eyes on him often and always smiles when we make eye contact). I had his pictures taken at Kiddie Kandids a couple of days ago and when he became fussy only mommy could make him happy. He would smile in my arms and pout in the photographer's arms. The photographer even took his last pose as I held him because that's where he was happiest. Palmer is getting very close to rolling over, so he hangs out on the floor now instead of the couch or bed. He likes to play and roll around on the floor, but today when Greg got on the floor with him he was even more excited than usual. His eyes lit up and could not contain the smiles.

The Summit

Greg and I are the Young Single Adult Advisors for our ward, so we had to opportunity to attend the YSA Summit this year at the University of Utah's Institute. It was great! I feel that when you are a youth spiritual experiences are just thrown at you left and right, but as you get older they are harder to come by; you really have to search for them. So we were really excited to be able to attend, and even better to be able to attend without a baby and truly take the experience in.

Our favorite workshop was the Gender Differences in Communication taught by Dee S. Barrett. It was great, very funny and so true! Greg and I have learned to communicate pretty well with each other during our years of marriage, but to have it totally spelled out for us was enlightening. I wish we had taken the class when we first got married. It would have saved us a lot of trouble. Brother Barrett explained that men and women use communication for different things, men to complete a task and women to feel closeness/intimacy. He also said that men and women think differently, which also leads to differences in communication. He compared a man's mind to the ridges in a waffle. He said when a man is doing something his brain is completely focused on that one thing; it's like being inside a specific crevice in a waffle. In order to think of something else, the man must leave that crevice and work in another one which completes another different task. He compared a women's brain to air traffic control, they take everything in and process it all at once. For example when a man is at work, he is focused on work. When a woman is at work she thinks of work, home, her family, friends, etc. He also pointed out that when you present a new idea to a man and ask what he thinks about it, he needs a moment to process that. He is first completing one task, which is listening, then he has to go to another task which is thinking and deciding his opinion. Women are different and will feed off each other when talking, forming their opinion the moment the information starts coming to them. Really interesting stuff, I thought. He did point out that this is how men's and women's brains work naturally; it is possible to condition them in other ways.

Brother Barret pointed out 8 ways in which men and women are alike.

  1. Both men and women need to feel safe and secure.
  2. Both men and women need to develop a positive picture of themselves.
  3. Both men and women need to value themselves and feel valued.
  4. Both men and women need to be involved in close loving relationships.
  5. Both men and women need to feel like they belong.
  6. Both men and women need to self-respect and feel like they are respected by others.
  7. Both men and women need to grow and develop mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
  8. Both men and women need to feel competent and like they are good at doing or achieving certain things.

I want to share one last thought he said that I thought was quite profound. He said, "If you like who you are, you will allow someone to love you."

What a wonderful opportunity it was to attend this conference. I was touched, uplifted and motivated. I saw some old school friends, and Greg and I met a good friend of Greg's dad, Chad Hymas, one of the speakers. I wish I had realized what a benefit these gatherings are when I was a youth and when I was single, and taken more advantage of all that was offered to me. Even with our best efforts we were unable to convince any of the singles in our ward to attend. We will continue to try and get them involved, but like most callings, it seems that this new calling is going to teach us more than anyone else.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Book Group

I know all of you out there are reading Breaking Dawn, as am I, and loving it. But, I also wanted to extend an invitation to read another great book this month. I am hosting the August book group for Relief Society and wanted to invite anyone who might be interested to join us in a book discussion on Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 7:00pm at my house. (I promise yummy treats too.) We are reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, one of my favorites! If you haven't read it, give it a try. You will be hooked and have to read next three novels in the series. This book leaves a lot to be delved into and discussed, so I am really excited to be able to talk to all my friends about it. Let me know if you need more details and I can e-mail them to you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Palmer is officially a thumbsucker. He hates the binkie, but he loves his thumb. I sucked my thumb far too long when I was little, so I know who he got it from. He now wakes in the morning and sucks his thumb until I go in and check on him. Such a sweet baby!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Poem - A Novel Service

My sister and a friend have started getting together to write every few weeks. I joined them last week. I gave a mini-lesson as a prompt. It was a lot of fun for me. Not only was I able to write, a long lost obsession of mine, I was able to teach about writing, another obsession, the career I studied for and plan to return to after I raise my children. We made mind maps about a place that we enjoy visiting. We explored four different categories in our brainstorming: what it is, where it is, purposes and benefits. Then we each wrote for several minutes and shared our finished products. I chose the library as my place and this is the poem I that came out of the exercise.

A Novel Service
by Lera Hess

Limitless exploration
at my very fingertips

Opportunities -
to remember a history
journey far-off lands
battle a grand war
dance with an elf
fall in love once more

The door lays open
it does not judge
so it will not reject

Open invitations
through isles and rows
words, paragraphs and indexes

An escape of life
with new life
more than I -
could alone imagine

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Worth of a Soul

We had a wonderful lesson in Relief Society today on the worth of a soul. Since I've had Palmer I've had a difficult time getting the same spiritual uplifts and insights from my church meetings, just because I cannot focus on them as well. Palmer slept the last half of Relief Society today, so I was able to really take the lesson in and I am so thankful for that. The instructor took a quote from a talk by Thomas S. Monson that said, "The worth of a soul is its capacity to become as God." I was struck by what a profound statement that is. I turned it around in my head and asked myself what is the worth of God? To which I replied God is everything. Nothing is of worth without him, and so we are in turn of that same great worth. This new understanding is so very humbling to me. I still can barely wrap my mind around it.
Some other things mentioned that helped me was that we should not expect perfection from ourselves. I think women especially have a hard time with this. I often feel I am not good enough, not strong enough. Another sister commented that if we come to Christ he will make up the difference. What a blessing! We were also advised to work on the aspects of ourselves that we can change and accept the things we cannot change.
A suggestion was made to keep to do lists (I love lists!) that we can check off and look back over to help us realize the good work we have done. I used to make lists just about every day until I became a SAHM. I will be taking that habit up again. There is some strange sense of satisfaction that comes from checking off an item on your list. What a small thing that can make you feel of worth.
One last thought I'd like to share. It's a quote by Leighton Ford. "God loves us the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way."
I hope those of you who read this know of what great worth you are in the sight God and others who love and know you.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Three Months Old

Palmer is three months old today. He is growing so fast! He started drooling this last week, and is showing other signs of teething. I didn't know they could start so young. Here is 411 on Palmer at three months of age.

He has learned: that he has hands (he stares at them often as he moves them around and even uses them to play with the chimes above his carseat), to have conversations (okay so he is only cooing, but he responds to us talking to him), to tolerate baths, and to laugh big and heartily, and to suck his thumb

He likes: kisses, his bouncer, raspberries on his tummy, being held, being sang to, hanging out on the floor, cooing, sleeping in his crib at night

He dislikes: pacifiers, his swing, being in the carseat too long, Similac (he will tolerate Enfamil, but much prefers breast milk)

Things he does that makes us laugh: his laughs and smiles, his superman pose, constantly pumping his legs up and down, blowing bubbles

Recipe - Kay's Pork Roast

We are having some of our friends, the Nordfelts, over tonight for dinner. Tennisa Nordfelt made me many yummy meals after I had Palmer and my gallbladder surgery, so I wanted to make them a nice dinner to thank them. Plus, we love hanging out with them, so it really wasn't too much of a sacrifice! This is a recipe I received from an old coworker and good friend at Seagull Book as a wedding shower gift. It is my favorite roast recipe.

Kay’s Pork Roast

1 3-4 lb. pork roast
salt and pepper
½ c. butter
8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
1 onion, diced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c. water
¼ c. flour
½ c. cooking sherry

Roll roast in flour and salt and pepper. Melt butter in roasting pan. Brown roast in butter. Place roast in crock pot. Saute mushrooms and onions in remaining butter. Remove from the pan and put in crock pot with the roast. Put bouillon cubes and water in the pan with remaining butter. Bring to a boil. Add flour and sherry. Stir with a wire whisk to get lumps out of flour. Cook just long enough to get a smooth consistency. Pour over roast. Cook on low 7-9 hours. When ready, whisk drippings to get a smooth consistency for gravy.