Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Our Little Star

Seren; seh-ren, popular welsh name meaning "little star"

Many have asked where we came up with the name Seren. The explanation isn't profound by any means... I like names that are unique, uncommon, and have meaning to us. Our first daughter is named after my grandpa's grandmother Zella, and we just really liked the sound of Jane as a middle name... After we found out our 2nd child would also be a girl, Jon and I knew we wanted her middle name to be Renee after Jonathan's only living grandparent, his Grandma Curtis. So we started searching for names we liked to go with Renee. I found Seren while looking at lists of girl names on pinterest, and I just couldn't quit thinking about it. Jon needed a lot more convincing, but ask him now and he will tell it is the perfect name for her.

Even after her name was pretty much decided upon we didn't tell anyone. It wasn't until after she was named that I realized how many people would have trouble with the pronunciation. We have heard a lot of different variations now... but when people ask, I just tell them it is pronounced "Seren" like in Serendipity... 

We had talked about calling her Ren for short, but every time we did we got a talking to from Zella... She would say, "NO, she is Baby SERen!" After a few months Zella started calling her Baby Ren herself, and decided it was ok for us to as well...

I love the meaning of her name and feel like it's exactly right for her. She is a such sweet baby, and her eyes seem to twinkle. She has also been such a little light in our life, especially after what I felt was such a dark and depressing pregnancy for me. We love our Little Star, she has been the perfect addition to our family.

Seren with her namesake, Grandma Renee Curtis

Seren's "Star" stocking; 
to go with the rest of our homemade stockings

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Day in June

It has been 6 whole months since we welcomed our little one into this world, and I have yet to write about it, so I thought it was about time I did...

As most of you know I struggled with major depression while pregnant with our second child, if you haven't read about it you can here... In consequence, I had a really hard time connecting or identifying with this new little girl growing inside me... On the flipside when I was pregnant with our first daughter I had ALL the FEELS... I could picture her, I could see myself being her Mama, and I felt like I already knew her. Suffering mentally like I did the second time around I just felt SO different. I doubted my ability to mother another child, and she felt like a little alien to me. I think this drastically impacted my experience when she was born. Of course I imagined it would be much like the first time, an overwhelming feeling that you've known each other for years, an instant love, and bond... 

Well the day came to meet this little one on Saturday June 17th 2017. My anxiety was sky high just as it had been most my pregnancy, my doctor was out of town, so an on call doctor would be caring for us. This time I was Strep-B positive so when we arrived at the hospital around 2pm they started the antibiotics we needed, and wouldn't let much happen or progress until I had the full 4 hours. After we achieved that I had Dr. Foss break my water, I was 4cm. I carried on very uncomfortably for an hour or so when my Mom reminded me, "You are not trying to have this baby naturally so why not just get the epidural now?" So I did. I was checked again and was still only 4cm... 

It was 11pm by now and the nurse said, "Well it looks like this baby will be born tomorrow unless you are ready to push in less than 20min." Well someone must have been listening, because at 11:20pm I was fully dilated and baby's head was there waiting. The doctor was called, and we got prepped. Once Dr. Foss arrived she informed me it wasn't going to take much to get this baby here. At the next contraction I gave one little push and she was born at 11:38pm. She was instantly put on my chest, and I waited for all those feelings... but they didn't come. I knew I loved her, I knew she was mine, and I wanted her with all my heart, but I didn't have those feelings. So I turned to my husband to watch his expressions. I asked him and my mom repeatedly, "What do you think?" And I tried to soak in this precious special moment I had waited 9 months for. 

I had completely forgotten how small these babies come because she seemed SO tiny to me. I was just sure she had to be smaller than her older sister when she was born. I couldn't believe it when she weighed exactly the same as her sister, 6lbs 8oz, and 19 1/4 inches long, just a little shorter than big sister. She immediately started smacking her little mouth trying to suckle, it was so sweet. It was a moment you never want to forget. She had lots of hair, a squished little nose, and lips you couldn't help but kiss. Soon after delivery we were moved to another room, and I tried to wrap my head around what had just happened. 

The next day big sister came to meet her, it was a very special moment. The first thing she did was run to me and sat down on the bed right next to me. She gave me lots of hugs and loves, and I marveled at how instantly older and bigger she seemed. I think she was a little concerned about me. She asked a lot of questions about the bands around my wrists, and the IV in my arm. She sat and stroked me like she was worried I was hurt or something, it was very sweet. Her Dad asked, "What are you going to do when you hold the baby?" and she said, "I gunna rock her." When my Mom brought over our new little bundle I literally watched her jaw drop and heard a little gasp escape her mouth. She gave her some sweet little kisses, and asked if we could take her home. She also really liked the bow on her hat. 

Soon after a dear friend of ours came to capture some of these precious moments for us. I will cherish these pictures forever. It's a time we can never get back, and so I am grateful we have some nice photos to remember it all by. Then the family started coming to meet the new baby. I was still in this funk, and felt so overwhelmed by everything. I kept all these feelings to myself, I couldn't admit I was having a hard time. 

Days went by and of course as I cared and sacrificed for this new little baby the bond I expected to be immediate grew. Just as I couldn't imagine life with her before, I can't imagine life without her now. My depression and anxiety is much better controlled since then, and I have been thoroughly enjoying our sweet baby. 

It was when a friend shared with me her postpartum depression troubles that I felt comfortable enough to share with her my feelings when our child was born. It was hard for me to admit because I felt like less of a Mom for having felt the way I did. She shared with me a TED talk she had recently listened to about "Parenting Taboos" one of them being, "You can't say you didn't fall in love with your baby in the first minute" it was like I could take a breath of fresh air for the first time again. If others have felt this way, I must not be the only one, and I am not a bad Mom for it. 

So there it is... here I am being vulnerable again, hoping by sharing, just as my friend did with me, that it will help someone who might feel as I did. Being a Parent is hard, being a Mom is hard, and cutting myself some slack is even harder. So just remember to be kind to yourself, that is my everyday reminder. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Light the World

I am excited we are being encouraged to "Light the World" again this Christmas season. Learn more about this campaign here. Last Christmas I didn't do well with this, and I am glad I am getting a chance to do better this year.

I really want to do something that we can do together as a family and really include our 3 year old, especially giving us the opportunity to teach her more about Christ and what Christmas is really about.

We are using the countdown from the "Friend" here, and added a chain for each day. We will read the scripture and watch the video for that day, you can find them here. Then we will do what it says on our chain. I thought I would share what we have decided we will be doing to "Light the World" this year. Some of my ideas came from this really cute calendar for kids from A Year of FHE, others were just ideas we came up with on our own.

#1 Give Freely to Others- Donate to the food pantry at our Ward Christmas Party
#2 Give Others Drink- Give a case of bottled water to someone in need
#3 Keep the Sabbath- Read the Friend together after Church
#4 Love My Neighbor- Leave a surprise for our Neighbor
#5 Honor My Parents- Tell our Mom & Dad's how much we love them
#6 Don't Judge Others- Read this from Pres. Uchtdorf, and take his quiz, learn how we can "Stop it" and decide how we can do better
#7 Serve Little Children- Play with a new friend today, & Donate a Toy to "Toy for Tots" (drop off box in our area is at Papa Murphy's)
#8 Love My Enemies- Listen, Sing, and Learn the song "Jesus Said Love Everyone
#9 Visit the Sick- Make a Card for someone who is sick and Give it to them
#10 Search the Scriptures- Memorize a Scripture as a Family
#11 Help a Stranger- Pick an Angel from an "Angel Tree" and fulfill the request (if you are in our area Angel Tree's can be found at: City Hall, County Courthouse, Shopko, and the Hospital)
#12 Help the Sad- Give someone feeling down a hug today
#13 Be Kind to Others- Let someone play with your favorite toy, & give a sincere compliment
#14 Do What's Important- Have a "Screen Free" day, play a game as a family instead
#15 Show Mercy- Show Compassion to others by making and delivering Christmas Treats
#16 Clothe the Naked- Donate new or good condition warm winter clothing (Drop Box in our area is at Burt's Auto Body Shop)
#17 Attend Church- Set out our clothes & shoes for church the day before, share what we learned at church with each other
#18 Forgive Others- Have a lesson on forgiveness for Family Night, lesson idea can be found here.
#19 Be Happy & Thankful- Write and send a Thank you note to someone today
#20 Love People not Things- As a family make a list of 3 blessings that are not "things"
#21 Feed the Hungry- Prepare a meal as a family, and invite someone over for dinner
#22 Try to be like Jesus- Write down 3 ways we can be more like Jesus, & make a plan to do them
#23 Visit those in Need- Visit with someone in a nursing home, or lonely neighbor
#24 Pray Always- Say a prayer Morning, Noon, & Night today
#25 Be a Good Example- Share how Jesus is our Example on social media

I hope this gives you some ideas on ways you can Light the World with your family this Christmas Season! I am excited to see how this will change our hearts and perspective as we celebrate Christ's Birth this year.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Tangled Halloween

If you know my 3 year old, then you know she LOVES Rapunzel. Most days she goes by Rapunzel, and if you call her by her real name she will remind you she is Rapunzel... For awhile there we watched Disney's "Tangled" almost everyday. She can recite lines from the movie, and sing most of the songs, and when we play she loves to play Rapunzel, where we act out the movie... 

So when Halloween came around you can guess who she wanted to be. I thought it would be fun if we all dressed up this year, and I am so glad we did because she got such a kick out of it! All of us took on the role of a Tangled character. I was Mother Gothel, Jon was Flynn Rider or Eugene, and Baby Sis was Rapunzel's best friend, a chameleon named Pascal. 

We worked hard on our costumes so I had to preserve the memories with nice pictures. We participated in WP Portraits Halloween Mini Sessions, and I am SO glad we did. She captured us perfectly, but especially my Princess Rapunzel. Again holidays prove to be more fun with kiddos. Hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do.   

*Thank you to Whitney Putnam, her pictures are priceless as always... and also our "Aunt Char" who sent Zella her costume. We love you!

Monday, November 6, 2017

My Favorite 3 Year Old

"Sometimes all you need is to talk to a 3 year old to understand your life again."

Zella is still talking about her birthday. She wanted her favorite Princess, Rapunzel, on her cake. We had close family come over to help us sing to her. Most days revolve around her, but this particular day she felt very special, as she should on her birthday.

For her birthday day she got a big girl bed since baby sister would be here soon, and would be taking over the crib... As always she took this new transition like a champ.

I can't believe how much she changes each year, and I feel like she has grown leaps and bounds since she has become a big sister. 

So I have decided to ask her the same list of questions each year, to help us remember some things about her at that age.

Zella at 3 years old...

Loves to play dress up  
Likes to help Daddy outside
 Favorite Food is Strawberries
Favorite toy is Rapunzel & Sophia doll
 Always talking about her Auntie Taryn's
Favorite Animal is Bear from the Big Blue House
Favorite Song is You're Welcome by Maui
Wants to be Rapunzel when she grows up
Best Friend is Carter, Ali, & Whitty
Favorite book is My Little Pony
Favorite TV Show is PJ Masks
Dad's tickles make her laugh
 Favorite Movie is Tangled 
Afraid of Mother Gothel
Likes to go to the Park

there isn't a day you don't make me laugh and smile. You are my sweet, sassy, curly haired munchkin. Life would be dull without you, and is crazy with you which is just the way we like it.
Love, Mom