Friday, April 29, 2011

Raimo's Graduation

What a busy weekend.... I found a recap of Richard G. Scott's talk at BYU's Commencement (from the Deseret News by Marianne Holman). I was so hot during that meeting and had a bad stomach ache from eating a JDogg, and we were literally on the very top bleacher in the Marriott Center, but I really loved the talk.

One of my favorite lines by Richard G. Scott was: "Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished." Obviously possessions will not bring us happiness, but the other two items surprised me. We always put so much emphasis on education (even in church), and yet even in a commencement ceremony, where we are celebrating our academic milestones, the apostle points out to us that even the things we learn and accomplish are secondary to having and maintaining strong character. To me, that means that our life choices and our day-to-day actions, along with the real desires of our hearts, mean so much more to the Lord than any great academic accolades. It was particularly reassuring to me, as I have been thinking a lot about motherhood and the lifestyle I will be living for at least the next 20 years, or longer (feeling a little bit like my life is over!) That day I felt slightly jealous of those graduates in black, about to receive their Master's Degrees. I could have started that path last year, but I chose not to. While that would have been a great and worthwhile endeavor, I was just grateful to be reminded that the Lord judges us according to our character and not by our degree, and that I have many other important things that I will do in my lifetime, particularly as a mother.(I was 7 months on the dot that day)

I also liked the concept of following the same guiding principles wherever you are; don't allow them to change because of circumstance. Be the person you want to be everywhere.

Points 4 and 8 also stood out to me: Let the Lord guide you, and Serve wherever He needs you. Raimo and I are in a transient stage right now and have no idea what is coming next. We have been praying more fervently for guidance and for help in finding the right job and applying for the right locations. We really could go anywhere, start anything at this point, but I know He will help us find what is right for us. Not only that, but He will send us to the place where we will be able to serve the best.

I am grateful to have attended a school where everything is focused around the gospel, rather than on becoming great in the eyes of the world. The whole meeting focused on our life path and becoming people of great character, and I loved that.

Here are photos of convocations. The most magical part to me was when the organist began Pomp and Circumstance and then the dramatic parting of the curtains with all the graduates sitting behind it! The audience just all gasped together and started cheering--it was really beautiful, and Raimo was right there in the center. It was so intimate compared to my convocation in the Marriott Center!
Raimo is so cute

Immediately upon seeing the following picture of myself, I made us take another in a different position. See wide? why?
So anyways, there I am in all my 28-week glory.

Jumping for joy

We had dinner at Texas Roadhouse afterward. Here are Marko and Amanda. We finally met their new baby, Laila!

The "Y" on the mountain was lit for graduation. Can you tell?

I pasted the rest of the talk below:
Individuals must be a force for good in a world that desperately needs it, Elder Richard G. Scott told more than 6,000 Brigham Young University graduates and their supporters on Thursday afternoon.

Students from every U.S. state and 72 different countries listened to the apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he spoke during commencement exercises in the Marriott Center on the BYU campus.

"This world is in serious trouble," Elder Scott said. "The fundamental values of this nation are being undermined. There is a continual crumbling of principle, virtue, integrity and religious values — the foundation stones of civilization and the definitive ingredients of peace and happiness."

But despite the difficulties in the world, it is a solid foundation of faith, character and integrity that will help individuals find peace, joy and purpose in life, Elder Scott said.

"God uses your faith to mold your character," he said. "Character is woven patiently from threads of doctrine, principle and obedience. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Your character will be the yardstick that God will use to determine how well you have used your mortal life.

"Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished. Your consistent exercise of faith builds strong character. In turn, fortified confidence in conquering the trials of life."

Elder Scott shared ten specific points to help individuals to successfully developing their character and find joy in life.

1. Establish a set of principles to guide every aspect of life — home, church service, profession and community.

"Many people try to compartmentalize their lives and have a standard for Church, another standard for what they do in business, and in other aspects of their life," Elder Scott said. "I very strongly counsel you not to do that. There really is only one set of standards that make sense. Those are the teachings of Jesus Christ which signal to us the importance of faith, service, obedience and integrity."

2. Don't make exceptions to your standards. "Never compromise them," he said. "Be loyal to the teachings that you have received here and have received from your parents. They are the things of greatest worth. ... If you integrate that with what you know about the teachings of the Lord, examples of those worthy people who are role models to you, you will have a solid foundation and you will be productive and do things that are worthwhile for others."

3. Be loyal. Elder Scott said that individuals must be loyal to the BYU campus, parents, loved ones and above all, the Savior. "Success comes when your actions are consistent with the teachings of the Lord," he said. "When you seek work find someone who challenges you, who raises you to higher levels of performance.

4. Live so that the Lord can guide you to where He wants you to serve. "Let the Lord guide you," he said. "He can do that if you live His commandments worthily and strive in every way to be obedient to His teachings."

5. Serve others. "Sharing what you know with others will bring you happiness and bless their lives."

6. Smile. "You will soon learn that everybody has problems and nobody wants to hear about yours," he said. "When you put those things aside and smile, have a good sense of humor as the prophets do. . . . A sense of humor helps you greatly."

7. Don't complain. "Life isn't always fair. That's a fact. But it's always charged with marvelous opportunities if you know how to find them."

8. Always have a church assignment. "Wherever you go in the world, wherever the Lord takes you, always offer your service to the presiding authority. Leave it to that authority to decide where and how. Be connected with the things of God and the ways to serve Him."

9. Go to the temple. "Carry a current temple recommend. . . . It will keep you spiritually in tune, will allow you to remember the most important things of life and encourage you to give great service to others."

10. Use the Savior, Jesus Christ as your example for life. "Use His teachings as your handbook for life. Never make exceptions to them. "

As individuals follow these suggestions, they strengthen their foundation of faith and are more able to lead others to do the same.

"Come to know of the great influence for good that flows from individual acts born of conscience and principle rooted in truth," he said. "Resolve that each moment of your life will reflect your determination to humbly be an example of righteousness, integrity and conviction."

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, BYU President and member of the Seventy, spoke to graduates about the aims of a BYU education, and the important role it plays in becoming spiritually strengthened, enlarging their intellect and building one's character.

"More than ever, you will be your own teacher and will create your own tests and quizzes," Elder Samuelson said. "Some of what you learned at BYU will be timeless, but other specifics, facts or approaches . . . will change over time and you must be able to keep up ... As your lives become even more demanding and complicated, your integrity and honor will come under ever-increasing attacks. Thus, you must continue to build and strengthen your character upon the already firm foundation of honesty, dependability and reliability."

Other speakers included Chris Feinauer, BYU Alumni Association president, and graduate Paige Crosland Anderson. College convocations were scheduled to be held Friday in various locations on the BYU campus.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crazy Dream

Last night in my dream, I gave birth to one baby girl, then another, then two baby boys. I had a set of girl twins and set of boy twins all at once. And I was trying to nurse all 4 of them (in order) and get them all to sleep. Raimo had named them since I was so busy giving birth to all of them, and I liked a couple of the names, but a few I wanted to change. I had to tell them apart by their wristbands. The setting was our current apartment, and I had to line all the babies up on our bed to sleep. Just feeding them was taking all my time! And a bunch of random extended family was at our apartment just kind of hanging around. When I woke up I almost felt sad that the other 3 babies don't exist. Then I remembered I don't want quadruplets!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I love cake

That is, this petunia pickle bottom diaper bag---it's called Berry Chiffon Cake. What a name.
Why do I have to like expensive things? 300$... really. For a diaper bag. I like it because it looks like a purse. And it's pretty!

Why can't I like a cute 30 $ bag? If I want a diaper bag that looks like a purse, I should probably just look through my closet and find one that can double as diaper bag. But I wuv it!

Their company makes a lot of cute ones. I really like the colors on this one:

Still haven't really bought any baby stuff besides clothes, but I am getting geared up. I think this baby bedding is so pretty:I was thinking of just sewing some bedding, but this would be a lot easier!

So this is what I do at work. Fun stuff!

I started sewing a baby dress a couple weeks ago. The cut pieces have been sitting on the kitchen counter ever since. Maybe today I will get started.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

26 Weeks already?

It's amazing how these weekly updates are so on the spot. Yesterday I had my first bit of lower back pain--by the evening it was really bugging me. I think I need to get up and walk around more at work. She is now the size of an English cucumber, about 14 inches head to heel. That seems so big!

How your baby's growing:

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.

See what your baby looks like this week.

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing:

Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes and prepare your baby's room while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it's probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.)

Preeclampsia — a serious disorder characterized by high blood pressure and protein in your urine — most often shows up after 37 weeks, but it can happen earlier so it's important to be aware of the warning signs of this condition. Call your caregiver if you have swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week). With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Let your caregiver know immediately if you have a severe or persistent headache, vision changes (including double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision), intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen, or vomiting.

If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you're carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen.

Work is really not fun these days, but I just try to think of that paycheck and what it will buy us. I'm starting to feel really drained again--they say the second trimester is the easiest. But I am already heading into the third trimester in two weeks! I hope it goes ok. I'm starting to feel a little nervous knowing that pregnancy is coming to an end and a baby is just a few months away. I'm not ready! I thought I was going to have so much time, but it is really flying by!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Eyes

I'm looking forward to my eye appointment today! New contacts for me, after 3 years! Before I got married my eye doctor was nice enough to give me a prescription for 2 years so I could still get some refills. Somehow I managed to make those contacts last me this long... but I really can't go too much longer. I dropped my last right eye contact down the sink, so I am using a weaker prescription contact I hadn't opened from a few years ago. So I am seriously uneven. Sometimes I have to shut one eye to see things. I'm going to the Walmart vision center today and I couldn't be more glad! And Raimo is getting a hair cut. I want one too, but I'm thinking the eye thing is definitely more important and since my hair cut is less of a cut and more of a weave and deep condition, I'm thinking I should wait for the next paycheck. Yeah... probably. Speaking of which, my hair is super long. Long hair and big belly. Belly that seems to always be moving. What on earth is she doing in there? That's the latest.

Monday, April 4, 2011

101 Days Left

Baby is coming in 101 days. That hardly seems real. It's going by so fast! That's definitely a good thing. I can't wait to buy her some things for her future room! Speaking of buying, since I started my job at Finicity I started using their online budgeting program. It has really made a difference in how we manage our finances. I immediately realized we could cut back a lot of spending in eating out. It's amazing how much we don't spend in that department now. We also cut back in our fun activities and other spending. It isn't particularly fun, but I am learning to have a lot more self control, and we are slowly but surely paying off some debts and working on our savings. We used to just divide up the money we got at each paycheck and I thought that was a fine way to budget, but we are able to really plan ahead now and never ever resort to credit cards. We are able to set aside money for our bills a month in advance, which is making me feel really in control of our finances. I finally cut up my Wells Fargo credit card and paid the whole thing off. It feels really good, especially since that one charged a lot in interest. We also paid off my Macy's card and have almost paid off our short term loan for tuition this semester. We will still have 2 more credit cards, one student loan, and our car loan, but I feel like we've gotten a really good start. We are focusing on putting extra on our next credit card, and I know we'll actually be able to pay it off soon with the cheap life we're living. I don't like working, but it sure does feel good to be getting on top of things. Finally! Our next top expense is gas, which is hard to help since we both drive a lot. We have put 20,000 miles on our car that we just bought in September! That will slow down once I stop working, but we are being more aware of the gas we use now. We are learning to make every single dollar count.

I like the advice we heard recently, though I can't remember where, that a person is not rich based on how much he or she spends, but on how much he or she saves. It doesn't really matter how much you make, but what you do with that money. There is really this idea that people who are rich are people that spend money, and a lot of people who have millions (or even those who have very little for that matter) end up spending more than they make. But anyone can be rich if you know how to save. So. We are going to give it a try. But first we're going to pay off these debts!