Monday, January 23, 2012


I really enjoyed this podcast about sexuality in the LDS world. It is 3 very long segments, but I think that it is so enlightening. It is a topic that so many Mormon people are uncomfortable with, and this has many suggestions that can shed some light in multiple areas. These LDS psychotherapists focus on how to enjoy it, how to use it to strengthen your marriage, and how to properly prepare your children for it (not only for those early years of abstinence as young men and women, but also to adequately prepare them for the 40 or 50 years of sexuality in marriage.)

I especially like how they focus on LDS women and the misconceptions they deal with in a "benevolent patriarchal" society. I unfortunately had a couple of lessons as a youth similar to the ones they describe. For example, I think someone once compared the young women to a piece of beautiful, polished wood. Sexual sin is like a nail driven into it--forgiveness can remove the nail, but the hole will remain and it will forever be marred. I get where the teacher was going, and of course we consider it a very very serious sin. But hello... repentance and forgiveness do not really equate with that metaphor, at least in my mind. We can never reach exaltation and eventual perfection if we are all full of metaphorical holes from mistakes. They talk about how young men don't receive such lessons about being forever tarnished--it is so one-sided and I am glad to raise the discussion regarding the higher expectations for young women vs the maybe-not-as-high or just-altogether-different expectations of young men.... I just think the focus should be more on the value of an individual and not on becoming something just so you're good enough for your future man.... You'll have to listen to the podcast to understand all the dynamics of this example and so much more--I am sure I am not saying it as well as they do. I just feel there are some major inequalities (and they exist both in and outside of our church) and things that should be done differently to prepare youth not only for their unmarried years, but also for their eventual relationship with their spouse. I think the thing I really took away from this was how I want to prepare and teach my own children.

*Disclaimer: The third portion might make some people uncomfortable. Obviously this is not doctrine. It is just advice from counselors who work with people every day that struggle with sex/desire within marriage. I just thought it was all very interesting.

**What does it say about me that I am a little afraid to click "Publish Post"??

***Raimo has been right with me (even since before we were married) that we would make sure our children were taught about this subject little by little from a young age so that it is not such an uncomfortable thing for them and so they will be well-prepared in a very sexualized, confusing society. He especially wants to teach our daughters of their worth and point out how media devalues womens' bodies and confuses their sense of who they are and what they have to look like/who they have to please. I believe it affects pretty much every woman, no matter how strong and independent she is.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

6.5 months

At her uncles' parade in Novemberin the sink!
with uncle dave
with Tracy
with Parker

Mers and Izzy
four generations
fiesta bowl

We went to the pediatrician on Monday. Rose is 14 pounds 6 ounces and 25 inches and her "princess crown" is 15.5 inches! He says she is growing well and doing all the things he would expect her to be doing at this time. She is starting to push up on all fours--no, not crawling, but getting into push-up position. Maybe she will crawl on hands and feet. She is able to kind of scooch herself around on the floor and she can roll from tummy to back now, even if happens kind of by accident (but she seems to prefer her tummy).

She enjoys this musical book she got for christmas. I need to get her more interactive toys with sounds and lights. She is very interested in toys in general. She can reach pretty far for them and turn them around in her hands. She is very curious. Today we put the gallon of milk next to her bumbo and she sat there and scratched and felt it with her hands for a good 10 or 15 minutes. Earlier this morning she did the same thing with my face while we were in bed. She was just exploring my hair, my ear, my head, and had the most adorable expression on her face. She was really focused and so interested.

She is definitely all girl--she just does things with her body and hands. It is hard to explain, but I honestly don't think these are things that we have put upon her. She is just feminine and lovely, so different from her little baby boy friends. Of course, I will probably have an effect on her girliness with all the flower headbands, pink, ruffles, ect., but I have noticed that her gender is really more than just physical--it really is her spirit/personality. It is amazing how much we can see of that at such a young age. It is strengthening my belief that men and women are born certain genders for a reason and that we are innately different, and not just physically.
crossing her ankles, naturally

The doctor also gave me some specifics for teaching Rose to sleep, but it requires that we sleep in different rooms so I am just waiting on that for a little bit. However, whenever we are not in the room with her (naps and bedtime) I am following his plan. There is less crying now and more sleeping, so I am very happy.

I tried rice cereal a couple of times and she didn't totally reject it, but she also doesn't really know how to use her tongue. I'm sure she'll get the hang of it if I start doing it more often.

6 months is just fun!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Update on ME and RAIMO

Rose is a pretty big part of our lives-- I realize I haven't blogged about us very much. We have been in a transient stage for the last 5 months and I really didn't feel like talking about it. Raimo was looking for a job (starting last Februaryish) and was interviewing a bunch of different places. We couldn't seem to move on from our life in Provo after graduation. Raimo was really not happy in his work there for many reasons. We had a baby coming in July so we stuck out the summer (I said to him the other night that my memories of those 4 summer months in that apartment are some of the happiest I can think of, just before and just after Rose's birth. It was so wonderful.) Then we decided to do something crazy to get things going, and moved in with Raimo's parents until we figured out where we were going. 5 months later, we are still here. Raimo quit his job, studied his brains out for a month, rocked his insurance license test, and now he works for Guardian. The beginning has been stressful, yet it is working out great. Raimo is now working in something that has more meaning/is really important for people of all ages/has multiple facets. The more we learn, the more we realize how necessary and important it really is. He really likes his company--we can really count on the people there and on the company as a whole. And to top it off, he is meeting the obligations the company set for him so we are (finally) getting paid.

As for me, I cannot really summarize what I have done for 5 months (besides caring for our baby). It has varied from month to month. Showering/bathing baby/getting us ready each day is an accomplishment, but necessary or else I feel like I am just a stay-at-home-slob. I haven't had a lot of free time until recently, but I read a lot, I watched tv sometimes, I sometimes make dinner, I do a lot of laundry, clean the bathroom, try to keep up journals and blogging, pay all the bills and manage our accounts, buy groceries, dance... yes, we are crazy and have started practicing our routines again. It is good for both of us since we aren't getting much exercise. We go to the church or stake center on mutual nights and hope there is room for us. We paired up with Ryan and Ana Maria who also have a baby and we take the babes asleep in their car seats (after bed time). We are toying with the idea of competing, but I know it will be a totally different dynamic having a baby on the sidelines, not to mention we only practice an hour, maybe 2, per week. However, we enjoy it and if anything it makes us feel good. It is just hard to do it and not go into it 100% like before. One night I took some piano music and practiced--it felt amazing. I wish I had a piano at home because I know I would play a lot.

We have also been doing a lot more socially than we ever did during college. We just never seemed to have the time or the energy when we had so much going on, not to mention so little money before. It is wonderful for me--it is a little break to spend some time with adults! and to have friends to visit with. I have missed that a lot in the last year or two. Raimo is definitely my best friend--sometimes we joke we are each others only friend--and I am so glad to have him always. Every day I so look forward to him coming home.

My birthday came quickly, as it always does, after the holidays. It was a big one. I was excited that Ana Maria called and took me out! It was really nice of her and we had a fun time, and that night Raimo surprised me and took me to sushi at Tsunami, one of my favorites! I even got a dessert. It was so good. And it was a much-needed little break from my little one.

I think 25 sounds pretty old--not old as in wrinkle old, but old as in I am definitely in adult years, not young adult so much and getting farther and farther from high school. I guess it's not a phase of life that I dreamed about or thought much about (I was always looking forward to the early 20's, marriage, that fun stuff) but here I am a quarter of a century. And I'm very happy. I do love my life. I feel like I've had an amazing life so far. And... I feel kind of old. I imagine my siblings would think it is weird that their sister is 25. I am so grateful for the phase I'm in right now. I love being a mom, I love my baby so much, I still love being married... it is not feeling monotonous or boring to me, which I am so glad about. A little over a year ago, before we got pregnant, Raimo and I made some predictions about where we'd be in a year. We were a little off. But it is working out great. And I feel very positive about where we're headed--we have a lot of hard work to do and a lot of saving--things will probably never go the way we plan. Hopefully we will just continue to be blessed.

I did not feel in the mood for resolutions this year. The last couple of years I made some financial goals, then resolved to just have more joy in my life. And I liked that a lot. This year I feel like being easy on myself--in high school I would write up these really ambitious lists: practice piano more, get straight A's, be in a play, learn such and such language, read scriptures every day, learn the violin (that one was on it every year--someday I'll get there), be healthier, work out, etc. etc. It reminds me of an experience I had as a teenager: I bore my testimony and talked about how I had realized I could be/needed to be doing so much more spiritually and being so much more for the Lord. The woman who got up right after me bore her testimony about how she knew that she was doing enough, that she didn't need to beat herself up about not doing more. I remember for some reason it was really embarrassing to me that we had just made completely opposite points. Looking back we were both right because we were both in different phases of life and in different circumstances. Am I in the "I'm doing enough" phase?? I don't really want to be, but maybe I am... I think I just am a lot more tired with less sleep. The parenting phase is just different and I am living a little more day-to-day and a little less week to week or month to month. Though I still feel in my heart that I would like to write that itemized list of things to do better, I'm just not doing it. I think I just need to chill out--"find joy" as I wrote last year. Maybe in a few months I will feel like picking a few goals to work on. I feel like I have this big to-do list (scrapbook Rose's life thus far, journal more, take more photos, print the photos, de-clutter, clean more, take care of switching files from our old computer, find an apartment, keep in touch with so and so, write a letter to that friend, work, blah blah blah) and that list is just in the way of setting any lofty goals. I'll be lucky if I get around to the to-do's!

Wow. So that's it for now.

6 Months Already??

Little Rose is 6 months tomorrow. It is such a fun fun time! She has the biggest open-mouth smiles for us. We can make her laugh very easily. She plays!!! I don't have to be holding and entertaining quite as much. She really reaches for toys and can move around quite a bit. She is so curious about everything around her. She can really crane her neck around when she hears a sound. Her little arms are really strong and she can push her upper body really high from the floor.

What else?

She is wearing 3 month and 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers. I don't know her weight and height--I'll find out at the appointment this month. I still get stopped everywhere over how beautiful she is--today in the grocery store, at an apartment complex. At Panda Express this worker totally freaked out, saying she had thought she was a doll, then realized she was real. She is a little dolly baby--yes, this is my blog and I can say how beautiful my baby girl is! My mom said her eyes are like blue marbles in the light--so true. She is getting a little bit of hair (little!) Her cheeks and nose are always pink because she rubs her face down against the mattress at night. She has this funny thing where she kicks her right leg over and over. She also brings her hands together under her chin and brings them up and down (Raimo considers it her show of victory). She also slaps her hands down toward her legs over and over when she is excited, like lots of babies do I guess--but it is just so so cute!

She enjoys getting undressed!! Pajama time is a fun part of the day--we give her belly lots of kisses and she laughs and laughs. She is very ticklish. She now associates getting undressed with laughing--it is so funny. I love her!!!

Also, ever since she was born I have kissed her feet when I change her diapers. I still love pulling those feet out of her jammies and putting them up to my face and she curls her toes against it and smiles.

I started letting her "cry it out" this week. If you think about it, that phrase is stupid because there is nothing to "get out" of her. She is really just learning how to fall asleep unassisted. This is going to help me tremendously--for the record, I have been spending large amounts of time in our bathroom (the only really dark room in the house) with the fan on for some white noise, rocking, singing... whatever I have to do. Whatever--it worked for us for a few months. But so far the sleep training seems to be working and I feel great about it. She doesn't have to cry for hours--it lasts maybe 30 minutes. I go in and rub her face and make sure she's ok, but she stays in the crib. And then she sleeps!! Now if we can get her to take naps longer than 30 minutes at a time, this will be awesome. It will also be awesome for whenever she happens to wake up too early from a nap or when she wakes up over and over at night--hopefully she'll be able to figure out that going back to sleep is the thing to do!

I bought some rice cereal, but I just don't want to do it! Maybe I will wait a little longer. I'm totally good with the milk-only thing. So simple and so convenient and so free! I have enjoyed breast feeding a lot (not that it's over). The beginning was very rough. Rose has not been the best at it--even now she still fights me on one side, and now she is getting so strong that it is getting harder to hold her! But I love the closeness and the fact that I am the one that gets to do it. Rose sure loves her milk.

One fun thing: she now reacts to music! She stares at the cd player and seems to really respond to what she's hearing.

I feel like this milestone is a big one. It is really a big difference from the other months, and I think that if the sleeping improves it will be even more of a milestone!