Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mom Guilt - JUST SAY NO.

Dad guilt. You've never heard of it. Because it's not a thing.

Mom guilt though? EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES. Why?! We need to ruthlessly eradicate mom guilt. We give our kids EVERYTHING WE HAVE and then at the end of the day we feel guilty for not giving them more. 

I created and birthed two little humans and breastfeed them for hours on end every day, change their diapers, keep them clean, and provide a safe, love-filled life for them yet I feel twinges of guilt when I let them LAY ALONE for, like, 5 minutes without any cooing, exercises, classical music, or uplifting songs sung enthusiastically in their faces.

Not right.

I provide a loving home with two nurturing parents for my sons where we read books and they are given so much freedom to play and explore and I take them on walks and listen to their stories yet I feel twinges of guilt when I let them watch a (educational, carefully-selected) show.

Not right.

All these feelings do are make us feel bad. Bad about ourselves and bad about the job we're trying so hard to do well.

Negative emotions lead to negative thoughts, which lead to negative behaviors... which lead to...


A cruel, cruel cycle, I know. 

So what can we do to kick mom guilt in the hiney and keep it out?

1. Speak kindly about ourselves and to ourselves.

In the words of our wise friend Justin Bieber, we need to LOVE OURSELVES. This is something all of us moms need to work on. It pains me, and happens far too frequently, that I hear mothers putting themselves down and speaking negatively of themselves (when I know they are loving, amazing mothers). We sometimes feel like it's prideful or that we shouldn't ever say anything we're proud of or that we did a good job on something. It's OKAY to acknowledge our accomplishments and positive attributes to ourselves and others! It's refreshing to hear and refreshing to share. Hearing others speak like this gives us permission to be positive about ourselves too, instead of having a bad mom one-upping competition. (Although that can be fun, too, and we need to be real.) We don't need to down play our accomplishments or negate every compliment we receive. 

We are all wonderful, fabulous, beautiful ladies in our own unique way. Let's embrace that and spend less time trying to be what we think is the "perfect mom" or what our peers may be doing or comparing ourselves to someone's Instagram life and more timing EMBRACING OURSELVES- quirks, curves, and all!!

2. Stop the cycle of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

I listened to a podcast about this and it totally opened my eyes. (LIKE, IT WAS AMAZING.) So instead of trying to explain it, take a few minutes and listen to it!

Access the podcast by clicking on link below or searching 

"Power of moms unhealthy stress and habits" on your podcasts.


What makes you YOU? What brings you joy? What makes you feel like a kid again? Figure out what those things are do them. It's (more than) okay to spend time FOCUSING ON YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN HAPPINESS! A wise woman once said (me), "The best gift you can give your children is a happy mother."

Do what makes you happy. Don't try to be like everyone else. Take advantage of any alone time you have to do what FILLS YOU UP. "You can't pour from an empty pitcher!"

4. Have a mantra

We may benefit from a short, little phrase that helps us maintain a long-term perspective and help us be able to laugh things off.

Some I've heard of/use are:

"All is well that ends well" 
"Let it go"
"My life is crazy, and crazy is fun... so I'm having fun!!"
"They'll be fine!"

5. Try to look at things in a practical way (as opposed to emotionally) and with a long-term perspective.

This one goes hand-in-hand with the mantra. We need to be able to laugh things off, not take ourselves too seriously, accept that we are good parents and doing our best, and just in general... RELAX. If we are getting down on ourselves about something we did or didn't do, take a step back and try to look at it PRACTICALLY and realize that in the long-run, it's not that big of a deal! 

Realize that although you maybe didn't have the best day or you lost your patience with your child, in the long run... that does not define you and that single event will not ruin your child! Think of all the good things you did that day. Think of all the ways you ARE a great mom and focus on those! Do not let those negative feelings of "mom guilt" in! 

You got this, mama! #mompower

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The marathon that is LIFE.

It's safe to say motherhood has sufficiently rocked my world. I'd like to think I've learned a little bit more than how to proficiently and efficiently wipe another human's bottom along the way and I can safely say I have!

I marvel to think how these last four and a half years have changed me. But then I realize every four year period of my life thus far has caused significant change in myself. Birth to four. Four to eight. Eight to twelve. Twelve to sixteen. You get it. As I look to my future, I am forseeing the massive life changes slowing down a little bit. (Hopefully?) No more deciding who to MARRY. No more SCHOOL. (Insert evil laugh) No more deciding what our CAREERS should be. No more growing and birthing humans and then nourishing them from my body. No more moving across the country (after our next move across the country).

These last few years I was forced into change and progression. It hit me like a grand piano on the noggin. These next years of my life will undoubtedly bring change, but I want to continue to grow and progress as much as I have in the past. It is probably easy to relax a little bit when life isn't throwing BABIES and as many huge life-changing decisions at you, but I hope my self-progression continues on like a seasoned runner chugging along in another marathon. 

Something I've observed is that some people are life-long LEARNERS. They are actively and excitedly seeking learning and growth every day of their lives. They're constantly reading, sharing knowledge, setting goals, figuring out who they are and embracing that, and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones in order to become better and become more than they currently are. They do things that scare them. They take risks and chances. they make changes. They aren't afraid to TRY. They have a passion and zest for life that is contagious. 

Right now I can hardly do anything beyond nurturing and nourishing little humans, and I truly believe there is NO GREATER WORK. And motherhood/wifehood will continue to be my greatest work, but I want to progress more personally and figure out more of who I am and what I can become... and I like to think somewhere deep down behind those busy mammary glands, I have the potential and fire to be one of those people too. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

They're here!

I have truly been blessed beyond measure with these two beautiful baby boys and a birth story straight from heaven! I will share it soon!

Introducing William Syd Mulder and Woodrow Dan Mulder

William - 6/17/16 | 4:25 PM | 6 lb 15 oz | 19.5 in

Woodrow - 6/17/16 | 4:36 PM | 7 lb 5 oz | 21 in

pregnancy update.

Let's do a pregnancy update just for posterity's sake before it becomes a distant memory!

My past pregnancies were easy as pie. Never nauseated, no swelling. No complications. I was going to the temple at 40 weeks pregnant with Abraham and worked nights until 39+ weeks with Jude! I was immediately exhausted this time around. It was weird but I figured it was just because I was taking care of two other children. Although I've thankfully never really been nauseous in any pregnancy, this time around I would randomly dry heave and gag all the time. I started showing earlier and have gained more weight. (A solid 50 lbs at 36 weeks) 

My second trimester I might have had a little more energy (I recollect leaving the house with the kids!) but I was limited because I was already so big. I felt like I jumped straight to the awkwardness of the third trimester without the "break" of the second. Third trimester has been enough to make me never want to be pregnant again! I am have an extremely large belly that constantly bonks things and my kids  in the face, I am ridiculously exhausted (1-2 naps EVERY day or I completely loose it), complete emotional instability and irritability (Sorry Dan and kids). I hardly do ANYTHING. If Dan is gone all Day it's all I can do keep the kids fed and MAYBE unload the dishwasher. If he's home I might write two thank you cards while he does everything else. It's starting to get frustrating just because I feel so helpless and nonproductive. There is a lot I want to do but I either don't have the energy for it or am physically unable. Very few articles of clothing fit. You will usually find me in my blue moo-moo.

I have completely lost control of my emotions. I cry usually at least once a day for whatever reason. Last week I broke into full on sobs because Dan used my ice tray to make homemade ice cream. I have taken over our queen-size bed for two months now. Dan sleeps on the aero bed next to mine. It is completely exhausting and emotionally overwhelming for me to run one errand, even by myself. I can't take the kids anywhere. I am tired of all the comments about my size and people asking me if I'm having twins. (I mean, I know I am but it's just the principal of not asking a pregnant woman that). Then they say something like "I figured."

When my mom was here she gave me some alone time to run a couple errands by myself before my doctors appointment. I have since learned this is too much for me. So I ran a couple errands then was trying to get to a store across the access road by the Northstar mall (SUPER confusing area right there). I ended up confused about if I was in the turn lane or not and then i turned left on a green YIELD and the cars going straight were just starting to go. So right as I was turning left, the cars were starting and before I knew it I was SLAMMING on my breaks and there was a large SUV in front of me and I didn't remember a crash but we were so close I was sure we hit. Turns out he was an undercover cop with a stone cold heart.  I was sobbing and apologizing and he checked and agreed we did NOT hit, but he had me pull over, wait for about 20 minutes (while some homeless man tried to comfort me) and then came up and told me I would be getting a ticket. He also was worried about the baby and wanted to make sure I was okay. Anyways, that shook me up a little bit. Let's just say I never made it to Goodwill! I did make it to my doctors appointment. 

The Saturday night prior Dan sprained his ankle playing basketball with Justin so that was a bummer as all the responsibilities were mine. (I MIGHT have been a little bitter about it on Mothers Day...) luckily my mom was all scheduled to come out that next day on Monday! That was such a blessing! 

So the day before my ticket I was getting a non-stress test and mentioned to the NP I had really bad itching. She asked if it was worse in my hands and feet and i enthusiastically told her it was! It was OUT OF CONTROL itching!! Horrible. She told me I probably had cholestasis and they would draw my labs, start me on Ursodial, and induce me at 37 weeks. So that was a lot to take in. My labs confirmed that I did have it but luckily the medicine helped so much and within a week I could tell a big difference in the itching. 

I was so grateful my mom was there that week. I don't know what I would have done! I have since been able to talk to Dr Gordon, my perinatologist, and he says the actual risk of stillborn from cholestasis is 1%. My babies are as picture-perfect healthy as can be and growing like weeds! He did not seem very concerned so that brought me a lot of comfort. I have appointments with both my doctors his week so I will be able to talk to them and there is a possibility we may not need to induce them right at 37 weeks, but maybe a few days later.

Baby A has been head down for over a month and I am so grateful! Baby B is a wild one and has gone from head down to breech to transverse all in a few weeks! I'm not counting on him going head down but my doctor is very experienced in vaginal breech births, twin births, and delivery breech twins vaginally! She is awesome and I trust her. She will also have another very experienced doctor there to assist her to help me get both babies here and avoid a C-section so I'm feeling good about that! People will ask me, "so do you have your C-section scheduled?" I don't understand that question. Our babies are made to give birth to the children we conceive. I always tell them that if I can give birth to a ten pound baby I sure can give birth to two smaller ones!

One good thing that has come from my extreme fatigue and all but self-proclaimed bed rest is that the boys have become much more independent and self-sufficient. I tried to I'm encourage that before but now I'm doing it out of necessity. They now clean up after themselves after every meal (put away extra food, dishes in the sink, water bottles in the fridge, wash their hands, etc) and have gotten great at just following orders the first time, helping out, and getting things for me, etc. Jude can finally strap himself into his own car seat 100%! I think this is a great natural transition into me not being able to spend as much time with them, go out as much, and be as involved. They've gotten much better at playing together and working out their own issues without coming to me. I was exhausted this morning after staying up late last night. The kids got up at 7:30 with Dan, Dan left at 8:30 for clinic, and they let me sleep until 9:30!!! Then Abraham came up, "mommy, have some breakfast?" and he pulled me out of bed. I was so grateful! Their expectations have definitely gone down and I think that's a good thing right now! You're welcome, future wives. 


They are both head down and induction date is scheduled for Friday, June 17th! I feel very peaceful about this. It was originally Tuesday but I was able to get it pushed back until Friday. I know it's only a few days, but I am not a fan of inductions and very much believe in letting the baby, or babies, come when they're ready, not at the doctor or mother's convenience. I am grateful just to have even three more days to let them grow inside the way Mother Nature intended! I'm 3 cm as of last Friday so I feel better knowing they are least preparing to come. Thanks to that fact, I won't have to go in the night before and receive Cervidil. 

It works out 100x better for my mom too. She was able to switch her flight to Wednesday and now she can get all her flooring/house situation all situated before leaving my dad alone for a few weeks!

After yesterday, I feel so much more peaceful and at ease. I know I need to get induced and understand that with my cholestasis and having twins, the benefits of induction outweigh the risks. According to the ultrasound at 34 weeks, Baby A measured 5 lb 9 oz and Baby B measured 6 lb 5 oz! So I know they will be healthy weights and they hopefully won't be little miniature NICU-bound babies!

Update (6/16/16): Mimi got into town yesterday! It's such a relief to have her here and I am so grateful to her and Dad for their sacrifices for her to be able to come out for so long and help us. 

I am finally feeling emotionally and mentally ready to have the babies. My dear friend, Brittany Heywood, came over a couple days ago and we were able to have a great talk. There really is something about drawing strength from other women. She is so special to me and I hold her words dear to my heart.

When we were waiting for Abraham to come, I turned a lot to my ancestors to gain strength from their faith and trials. I had been wanting to watch the movie, Ephraim's Rescue, before I had Abraham to give me a final push of strength since one of my direct ancestors, Elizabeth Simpson Bradshaw, is featured in that movie. I was 41 weeks and 4 days and still hadn't gotten around to watching it. That night we watched it and that night mild twinges (I can't even call them contractions because they were so mild) began! Abraham was born at 10:30 the next morning!

I wanted to watch that movie again so Jude and I watched yesterday while Abraham was sleeping. I was also able to get a blessing from Dan last night and it confirmed to me how much Heavenly Father knows me. I was blessed with the sweetest blessings and heard just what I needed to hear. I am so grateful for a husband worthy to call upon his priesthood and give a powerful blessing at any time. I am so grateful for those powerful words I received and I know I will read them over and over again to find strength as I continue through motherhood. I am so grateful for the peace I feel as I soon will be having one of the most special experiences of my entire life. What an unfathomable blessing Heavenly Father bestows upon his daughters, allowing them to bear children and bring them into this world. I feel privileged to ever be counted among the strong women that my ancestors were and pray that I can raise my children in faith and hard work as they did.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

There's two?!?

I wrote this out a couple months ago right after we found out we're having twins and I'm finally getting around to posting it! I'm really good at not blogging.

Wow. Wow! It's absolutely incredible how my life utterly changed in one moment. It has been miraculous. A true blessing and miracle in which I become more and more grateful every day.

I had been waiting for my insurance to go through so I could go see the midwife since I found out I was pregnant. We had been trying for a couple months and were so excited to find out in October that we were expecting! There had been some problems with my insurance and it hadn't gone through. I kept setting up appointments to go see the midwives (same group who delivered Abraham) and I kept getting a call the day before telling me my insurance hadn't gone through. I was also originally just going to take Jude with me to the appointment as Dan was in school and I thought it would be a good experience for Jude to be able to see the baby on the ultrasound and spend that one-on-one time with me. 

So my insurance finally went through mid-December and I had an appointment set up for December 22, the day after my parents left town. Since Dan was out of school we decided to make it a family affair and all go! We went into our appointment as calm as could be. The midwife asked us if we had any questions and we didn't have one! We explained how we'd done this before and felt comfortable with the whole process and didn't have any questions or concerns. She proceeded to get the ultrasound ready, so Dan walked up to the side of the bed holding the boys in each arm so they could see. She applied the cool jelly and put the wand on my belly and before we could blink the picture appeared. Dan and I both saw the picture but nothing registered. Then the midwife exclaimed, "Oh! There's two! It's twins!" My eyes got big as I studied the ultrasound and could NOT deny the two perfectly visible little babies on the screen. The one on the right was stretching his arms way up high, smashing the other one and they were kicking and wiggling all around. It was INCREDIBLE!!! I immediately started crying and laughing like a mad woman and just kept repeating, "are you sure?!" and "are you serious?!" I was in shock!!! I was trying to stay still so she could take her pictures and do her measurements but I could not stop myself from laughing and my tummy kept shaking!

I looked over at Dan and he just had a blank stare on his emotionless face and big huge wide eyes (which remained for several days). He says the thought of having twins had "never crossed (his) mind... ever" so it took him a while to process what was happening! He didn't really have much to say but was just standing there completely dumbfounded.

Those next few minutes were magical. There was an almost tangible magical, surreal, out-of-body feeling in that room. It was amazing! The thought of having twins had definitely crossed my mind before, but I never entertained the thought that we might ever actually have twins. Since I was adopted, I don't know my family history at all so I had no reason to believe I might ever have twins. I also don't have any of the other predisposing factors (like being older, on fertility treatments, etc). So I really NEVER thought we would have twins! Dan doesn't have any twins on his side but the midwife said it depends completely on the mother's side anyway. I used to think that it would be nice to have twins because they are all close in age and if we homeschool, it would be a benefit to have them closer in age and more on the same level. I had already thought that I wanted to have our fourth closer together than our other ones, well I sure got what I wanted! Dan says he would have been more than happy to stop at 3, but we sure found out that wasn't in the plans for us!

The midwife told us that they don't see twin births since any twin pregnancy is considered "high risk," so we were referred to a OB/GYN doctor and a perinatologist. We went and got my blood drawn and stayed in shock for at least a few days! Since Christmas was only a few days away, we waited until Christmas to tell our families and many of our friends were out of town. The waiting was so hard! It has been so fun to be able to tell everyone individually though and see their reactions! The first appointment was so surreal and fast and the midwife didn't know a lot about twins/I didn't know anything to ask, so I've been really anxious to go see the doctor and see them again and get some of my questions answered. 

I feel humbled that Heavenly Father is entrusting me with not just one precious baby from heaven, but two! I definitely feel inadequate and not up to the task, but now that I know about them, I wouldn't and couldn't have it any other way! I love them so immensely and my prayers have been so sincere as I pray for their health and safe arrival. 

We were originally not going to find out the gender of the baby but now with this curveball we have decided to. There is so much new anxiety and questions, not knowing the genders would be too much!! I have a lot to prepare for and I feel like a first-time mom again! 

I am so grateful that I am healthy and have had two healthy pregnancies and pray that this one will be without complications. I know they are more common so I'm trying my best to have realistic expectations. I have a little anxiety when I contemplate how large I'm going to be and how it will be difficult for me to do everything I need to do! I already have an impressive girth (at 12 weeks!) and have started wearing only maternity pants. I have been extremely tired and have had acid reflux and round ligament pain for weeks now and have felt the babies kick starting at ten weeks, I swear! At the time I thought I was crazy but now that I know that's more common in twins, I know it really was them! They were both as healthy as can be. 

They both looked healthy as can be from the mini ultrasound she did. One measured 12 weeks and 2 days and the other measured 12 weeks and 3 days. They appear to be in their own amniotic sacs, meaning they are probably not identical. But we will not know any details until our next appointment at least. The perinatologist squeezed us in for an appointment this coming Thursday. We are so excited! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hello world!

took an unintentional break from blogging, but here I am and there's a lot to catch up on! I'm so glad I documented my thoughts throughout my journey of letting go. What a beautiful time of life and literal gift from God! I didn't know it at the time, but my journey of letting go was preparing me for something I hver could have imagined... finding out were having twins! I know Heavenly Father in his infinite wisdom helped me to learn to just let go and simplify my life in so many ways and LOVE more and move forward in my life because he knew I would need it through this next phase of life. I was a LITTLE uptight/high-strung/hard on Dan and myself (and undoubetdly my children!). I wasn't embracing life and just content with the happiness of every day. Can you imagine the stress case and frazzled woman I would have been adding twins to that woman's life?! Heaven help me! And I am so grateful heaven did! I still feel far from "ready" to have twins and I know I won't necessarily ever feel "ready," but I'm grateful I've taken time focusing on MYSELF and my relationship with Dan and my own happiness. I'm afraid I would have just crumbled! I know my journey of letting go is just beginning and I love that. The more I let go, the more beauty and joy I can let in. I have literally seen myself and my life and my marriage TRANSFORM. Not because my life changed or Dan changed, but because I changed. What beautiful lives we live. We are constantly growing and changing and although it can be a little uncomfortable and difficult, we come out more polished and full of joy IF WE LET OURSELVES. There is so much I want to do and learn and become and obtain. We live in a world of limitless possibilities and opportunities for growth and happiness. I want to seek that learning and growth and be my best self and create the best life I can for my family.

Dan finished part one of his boards yesterday! (It's the most difficult part.) And although we won't know if he passed for two months, we have peace and confidence in our future. He worked SO hard studying diligently and preparing for this test. He studied long hours but even through it all he never lost that balance. He still made time for us, studying at home so he could see us for his breaks, changing dirty diapers for me during those breaks, coming out to help out the kids to bed, coming home to dinner NEVER being made and never complaining about it but just dutifully making it himself. He, once again, proved his love and devotion to his family through his actions day in and day out. I am FOREVER grateful for a husband who is dedicated to his family and working hard to provide for us and provide for our future.

I will write the story of finding out about the twins next! It has been an emotional, overwhelming, and exciting journey letting that sink in! I am now 24 weeks pregnant, look like I'm 9 months pregnant, and am so grateful they are both as healthy as can be! We are being blessed with two more little boys and couldn't be more excited about it! It's the perfect little family for life on the farm! (Which we currently definitely don't have but are working to have it soon!) I am over-the-moon elated that Dan is done with his big test and can spend more time with us and help more! Let the nesting begin...

Thanksgiving Day!

13 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

20 weeks

Dan after he finished his BOARDS!!!!!!! Best husband ever!