Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Journal Entry

I just got back from my walk on which I listened to a podcast about postpartum depression.  I don’t want to feel sad, but I wish I could redo having my babies.  I would do it again, having more information and more determination to stand up for myself and fight for myself.

 I had three pregnancies.  I went to the doctor for the first one because of all of the nausea.  I was sick for 30 weeks.  I was just told that some people feel that way.  But there is medication for nausea, and if I would’ve felt well, I could’ve handled everything better.  When I was pregnant with Peter and Creegan, especially Creegan, I went to the dr with lower back pain that was unbearable.  I couldn’t walk.  I was told that maybe it would get better as the pregnancy progressed.  It didn’t.  I could’ve tried a chiropractor.  I shouldn’t have had to live with that.  It was awful.  And that pain alone makes me never want to be pregnant again cuz I had it with every pregnancy and it got worse and started sooner with each one.  I had depression during my pregnancy with Creegan.  I knew it, and I never mentioned it to a doctor.  It got better within a week after he was born, but it was bad while I was pregnant.  Nights were so scary.  I didn’t feel like Melanie at all.  I shouldn’t have had to feel that way. 

Then, the time after my babies were born was awful.  I remember being scared to death when Ben would leave the house for school when Eddie was a baby.  Like practically having a panic attack scared.  And I would just hold on until he got home.  I had anxiety, and I didn’t know that what I felt wasn’t normal.  And I was so alone.  (We had just moved to Atlanta from Utah, and I had no family and no friends, and Ben was super busy with his graduate program.) 

On top of the medical problems I had, I had cultural/belief issues that really made everything worse.  I truly thought that somehow babies were better off if it was their mother taking care of them, not just in general, but every single moment.  So, Ben only helped with Eddie about ten minutes a day while I took a shower.  Period.  I remember one night when I was so exhausted, it was like 1 a.m.  I lost it and was bawling.  I gave Eddie to Ben so I could sleep.  I laid in bed feeling guilty for abandoning my baby (abandoning him! To his own father!).  I don’t think I ever fell asleep.  I just calmed down and went right back to work.  When Peter was born, Ben began taking care of Eddie, and I took care of Peter the exact same way I had taken care of Eddie.  (which actually made it impossible for Ben to bond with Peter, which is a whole different sad story)  By the time Creegan was born, I finally was aware that I was beyond my capacity to care for children by myself, so Ben helped a lot with Creegan as a baby as well as with Eddie and Peter.  It was a much better experience for everyone.

Another detrimental thought process I had was that, as a good mother, I should always put my needs secondary to my kids’ needs.  This is a dangerous belief to have because you can’t really take care of someone else well if you aren’t well.  But I thought that’s what Heavenly Father wanted from me.  Every time I somewhat failed at this, I would offer prayers seeking forgiveness, and I truly felt guilty.  I really thought I had disappointed God in caring for his children he gave me.  Something that was really helpful for me was realizing and believing that I am Heavenly Father’s child as much as my children are.  That he loves me as much as he loves them.  And that he wants me to be happy and well as much as he wants them to be happy and well.     

The most detrimental belief I had was that I was alone at failing as a mother, that all the other new moms were doing okay.  Why did I think this?  Because every time I saw other moms, they looked put together and happy.  Every freaking blog I read was full of sappy, crappy happy-to-be- a-mom stuff. (Thank goodness FB wasn’t the thing yet!) So I thought I was alone.  Why can everyone else do this but me?, was my constant thought.  I am so sad for that Melanie.    She felt like such a failure at the thing she thought was most important and she was supposed to be great at (personality-wise and church emphasis-wise). 

No one can take care of a baby alone.  Maybe the nuclear family just isn’t the best model.  It leaves you with so much responsibility and so little support.  And really so little knowledge of what’s normal and what’s not.  Maybe having one parent be the financial support and one parent be the emotional support isn’t the best model for a family because both parents are overwhelmed in their role and don’t have anyone that understands or can relate.  You definitely can’t relate to each other.  Maybe if we shared these responsibilities we would feel more supported and less solely responsible for something that seems out of our grasp.  Less pressure, more love.

I wish I could tell all new moms out there all of this so they don’t get surprised when the experience isn’t at all what they expected.  Educate them, establish normative feelings and behaviors.  But maybe we all have to learn it alone.

When my children become parents, if I live close enough, I want to go to their houses once a week with a nice dinner, then clean for them, then take the baby that night so they can sleep.  If not, I can pay for them to have meals and a maid once a week.  And a babysitter.  Cuz, really, no one should be doing this alone.  

Friday, October 04, 2013

In Response to An Open Letter to Kate Kelly and Those Pressing for Ordination from Meridian Magazine


I disagree with this article for multiple reasons.  First, the author implies that it's being too brazen to publicly ask for women to have the priesthood.  Have you heard Pres Hinckley’s response to the question of whether women could ever have the Priesthood?  He responded in the affirmative then added, “but there's no agitation for that." http://agitatingfaithfully.org/post;jsessionid=2803821D898EB321688A9873399DCE20?id=the-quote-in-context  
To me this implies that our leaders need to know when we desire further revelation to be sought.  Kate Kelly, and other members of the church, are well within their rights in asking. 

Second, the author implies that it’s only appropriate to seek further revelation if we want to align ourselves closer to God’s will.  How do we know that it isn’t God’s will for women to have the Priesthood?  The author is assuming that it’s not. (Interesting note: women that lived in Joseph Smith’s time, gave blessings for the healing of the sick.)

Third, the author states that those who ask God if they can have the Priesthood are trying to educate God on how women can best be empowered.  The implication is that this is a bad thing, but our children let us know when they are hungry, or have needs of any kind that are unmet.  We may not be ready to meet them yet, but certainly they are not wrong to have asked.  Perhaps the author's point is that he is God, and who are we to educate him?  But, if He is our Father, why not ask?  He counsels us in the scriptures to pray and seek about anything.  Why not this?  

I love what Kate Kelly said when asked what she hopes the key message of her work will be.  She said: I want women to know that they are valuable, but not from someone telling them. I want them to feel and see it. Images are very important to me, and when I look on the stand, I want to see women. When I hear people talk, I want to hear women. Functionally, there is no person that can tell me I am equal. I know I am equal, I know I am a daughter of God, I know he loves me … I feel that when I pray and when I go to the temple—I just think that needs to be reflected in the institution, in the everyday practice of the gospel I love. That’s why I created Ordain Women. It is an endeavor in radical self-respect. - 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Eddie's Birthday Package from Grandma

Eddie got his birthday package from my mom in the mail today.  I am so excited this big and wonderful kid is turning seven this week!  He has really made the lives of everyone that know him more beautiful!  We love you, Edison!  THANK YOU, MOM!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Pictures of me and my Mom

April 4, 1980, two days after I was born

Jan 1982

Dec 1983, acting out the nativity (I was always Mary, and she was always the angel)

May 1985, Preschool Graduation

Dec 1985, Mary and the angel again

Spring, 1999, Mother's Weekend my Freshman year at Ricks College

October 20, 2005, my wedding day

I love you, Mom!  I am so glad you are my mom!!!!  Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


 In honor of Peter's fifth birthday tomorrow, I am posting some pictures of Peter at three years old that show off his unique, cute personality!  I love my Peter sooo much!

 Peter is so handsome and has beautiful smiles!

 Peter has happy eyes when he smiles big; they become small crescent moons.

 See those eyes!  Peter loves donuts!

Peter likes smalls spaces and has beautiful eyes.

Peter always does things his own way!  
Peter is sensitive to light, like Eddie, but Peter is also sensitive to temperature.  He is always so cold at restaurants that he needs to be snuggled; he does not want to be outside when it's hot-even the walk to and from the car is miserable for him.  

 Peter always looks to Eddie as his leader, and Peter has beautiful smiles!

Peter is always silly!

I can't imagine life without this boy!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jacksonville Zoo and Hotel Trip

We needed a mini-trip to do something fun over Ben's spring break. We chose to go to the Jacksonville Zoo because it's only two and a half hours away and the zoo has a new dinosaur exhibit.  We left Friday morning, went straight to the zoo, stayed in a hotel in Jacksonville, and then went to Wild Adventures Theme Park on the season's opening day the next day.
Eddie stuck in the cage at the dino exhibit-notice Peter climbing up the ladder.

Eddie and Peter in the cage.

Creegan did not like the dinosaurs!  They were very scary!  He wanted out of there!

I love my awesome hat; I know I look stupid, but it's great protection from the sun for this Florida girl!  Yes, I am beginning to accept that I am a Florida girl (it only took five years!).

at the hotel-Creegan's favorite place for his finger ever since he had a cold a few weeks ago!

Eddie and Creegan-cute brothers   

My absolute favorite part of this trip was that we made a spontaneous sunglasses purchase at the store for me and all the kids.  These boys look stylish!  

Creegan refused to stand by us for the sunglasses picture!

Enjoying some pre-bedtime tv in their pull-out sofa bed.  Creegan, as always, is laying on Peter.

First thing in the morning, Eddie and Peter got up to color their menus from dinner the night before!  So adorable!

Other highlights of the trip:  dinner.  We rediscovered sitdown resturants this week.  We have avoided them for almost a year now due to Creegan's terrible behavior in one last summer.  Now we were able to enjoy a great meal.  Creegan ate the entire time.  He did not stop shoveling food into his mouth.  He must have been hungry!  So fun to see them enjoying their food and actually eating!  

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa Came to Visit!!!

 playing with the guns Grandma and Grandpa brought; notice target hung on window and Grandpa outside working on the van!  Thanks, Dad!

 look at that smile!  what a happy boy!

 playing hide and seek at the Capitol

 Creegan will not be outdone by his brothers.  He was nervous, though, to go down this incline.  He stuck his chin out and did it, though!  Look at that expression!

 ledge walking

 making cookies with Grandma, chocolate cookies with mint chips, Grandma's and Eddie's favorite

We played games lots.  Eddie and Peter loved playing with their grandparents!

 Grandma helping Creegers with "Jam", Creegan's favorite puzzle, Traffic Jam; he asks to do this puzzle every day.  When Grandma got here, Creegan needed a little help.  While she was here, Creegan learned to do this puzzle all by himself.  He is so impressive!

 We went to see the Monster Truck at the mall.

My parents came to visit for a week.  We had a lot of fun plans, but Eddie and Peter both had fevers during their visit (Creegan's fever was over by the time they arrived, but he still had a cold), and it rained like crazy at least half of the days they were here.  We had a lot of simple fun, and it was really nice!!  The kids favorite thing to do was to go to the hotel my parents were staying at for breakfast, cartoon watching, and bed jumping.  We did this most every morning.  Eddie and Peter even went to the hotel with them one night to hang out.  Eddie came home at 9 p.m., but Peter slept over!!!  They also loved having Grandma and Grandpa watch them ride their scooters, trikes, and bikes.  After my parents were gone, Eddie and Creegan were both disappointed to not have them with us when we went riding.  These kids are so lucky to have such great grandparents, and I am lucky to have such great parents!!  

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

January Books

Books I finished reading in January 2013:

Matched by Ally Condie 4/5 stars

Unwind by Neal Shusterman 3/5 stars
The setup of the book is so far out there that it's hard to read with any sense of concern. The book is set post a second civil war that was about abortion. The war ended by both sides agreeing against prebirth abortions but for a postbirth "unwinding" (where are all the parts of the child are taken and used as transplants in other people), if the child is disagreeable, between the ages of 13 and 17. The book mostly tells the story of three unwinds on the run. It was good to read but not great. I cared about the characters but didn't love them. Another interesting way of life of this society is they can "stork" their unwanted babies. They leave them on a doorstep and the owner of the doorstep is required by law to keep the baby and raise it as his/her own.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson  5/5 stars
Excellent book. Well-written. Understated and subtle. The characters are interesting. A great book for a book club.

Monday, February 04, 2013

January Movies

Ben and I recently had a conversation about what we would do with our time if we could do anything we want.  I decided to embrace the things we mentioned and incorporate them in to my life as much as possible.  Movie watching and discussing was one of those important things to me.  So here is a list of the movies I got to watch in January 2013.  I began writing reviews for the movies closer to the end of the month, and I will include those reviews here.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Little Birds
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
About Cherry
17 Girls
Django Unchained
The Bourne Legacy
Silver Linings Playbook (4/5 stars)

An excellent movie. Bradley Cooper's acting was stand-out, definitely warranting his nomination for Best Actor at the Oscar's this year. Jennifer Lawrence was good, too, but I wouldn't have thought Oscar-worthy.
The Good Doctor  (4/5 stars)
This movie was intense and anxiety-producing. Orlando Bloom's acting was understated, which was perfect for his quiet, boring, self-righteous doctor character. It was difficult to listen to his doctor mentor, Rob Morrow, as he mumbled every line. I liked that the movie had two endings, the one the doctor considered and the one he actually chose. The movie ended with an abrupt cut-away, which was pointless and just made me think Netflix malfunctioned. Any movie that can illicit this much emotional response is worth checking out.

Searching for Sugar Man  (4/5 stars)
A good movie. Rodriquez is an interesting character. At the beginning of the movie, he plays in small clubs with his back to the audience. At the end of the movie, he is playing in front of thousands with ease. He had no performance experience in the interim! His knowledge of his fame didn't change him; he continued to work construction and live in the same small home in Detroit. Some interesting topics of discussion after watching this movie would be: the role race plays in fame in the USA in the 70s, the impact of the internet on our lives and our knowledge, the impact of music on bringing about social change, and how anger, or the absence of it, can affect our quality of life.

 The Paperboy(2/5 stars)
I enjoyed the movie in the beginning, though it was consistently inconsistent. By the end it was too needlessly confusing and inconsistent to be satisfying or enjoyable. My biggest frustration was the mid-scene cuts that cut back in to the same scene but with things slightly different and never explained. Nicole Kidman's acting is worth mentioning. It is fun to see an actor cast in a role opposite of the roles she usually plays. She did it well. Her character was flat, though, and the little change thrown in at the end seemed abrupt and underdeveloped. John Cusack was hardly in the film but stood out as a selfish, angry, crazy convicted murderer; his character was too underdeveloped though to stand-out or emotionally affect the audience much. Matthew McConaughey was himself-boo! The housekeeper/acting mother character was really probably the best acted in the movie. She was the narrator of the story. Her character brought humor and perspective to the film and story. There were too many pointless characters, for example John Cusack's character's uncle. He had some sort of commune (?) living in the wilderness that was unexplained and thus confusing. I found Matthew McConaughey's writing partner's character to be pointless, as well. His character was a sloppy excuse at character development that just emphasized the character underdevelopment.

Hotel Transylvania 
The kids loved this movie. The animation and voices were great. It was funny.

I was lucky to see two movies in the theater in January!! So fun! By far my favorite movie this month was Django Unchained. It's not for the easily offended or disturbed, but, oh, it was soo good! Thought-provoking, well-done, and so funny! The worst movie I saw this month was Ted. The most pointless movie I saw this month was Beasts of the Southern Wild. Why it is up for Best Picture and why that terrible young actress is up for Best Actress, beats me!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cool Quote by Cicero

If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks at the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling at all. In the heavens there is nothing accidental, nothing arbitrary, nothing out of order, nothing erratic. Everywhere is order, truth, reason, constancy. Those things which lack these qualities - all that is false and delusive and full of error - such things either circle the earth below the orbit of the moon (the lowest of the heavenly bodies) or have their being upon the earth itself. But from the mysterious order and enduring wonder of the heavens flows all saving power and grace. If any one thinks it mindless then he himself must be out of his mind!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


There are certain phrases and expressions used at church that are confusing and, I am beginning to think, misused.  I am on a journey to understand what is actually meant by these expressions.  I wanted to share an insight I had about the phrase "fulness of the Gospel".  The Doctrine and Covenants says that the Book of Mormon contains the "fulness of the Gospel".  I think when people speak of this reference they speak as if the Gospel in its completeness is in the Book of Mormon.  Is that true?  Why do we have other scriptures?  Why do we have additional revelation?   What does fulness actually mean?  It means enough to be content and not want more.  When I am full from eating, I have not consumed every possible piece of food in the world, or even all the food at my disposal.  When my car's tank is full, there is still a lot of gas that is not in my tank.  My tank has reached its capacity.  So maybe saying we have the fulness of the Gospel just means that we have enough to be satisfied for now, but possibly there is much more to have.  And perhaps we should be a little less satisfied and a little hungrier for more.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wearing Pants to Church

My heart wore pants to church on Sunday, December 16, but I wore a dress.  I am glad I did, too, because afterwards there was so much negativity online about the project (from friends and acquaintances!).  “Women aren’t unequal in our church and people who think they are are in danger of losing their testimonies and leaving the church”, pretty much sums it up.  I am really disappointed. 

I was also really disappointed with the attitudes from members of my church about the election this year. At first I thought it was just a couple of funny extremists who had the idea that Governor Romney losing the election was surely a “sign of the times”.  Based on FB and blog reactions, however, I think many members of my church thought religion was the most important factor in this presidential race. 

I think many people were confused about why women were wearing pants to church.  The purpose was to start a conversation.  I think the specific reasons were different for every feminist.  Here’s why I wanted to wear pants: 

Women and men are not equal in our church.  It is most important to me that members of our church realize this one fact.  I think it is news to most people. It was news to me when I wrote my last blog about feminism.  I thought I wasn’t a feminist because I don’t have an issue with traditional gender roles.   I have since come to understand that there is a problem in my church and that I am a feminist.  A friend of mine wrote about how happy she is that she has never been treated as less because of her gender.  Here’s the thing-I think we are all treated as less, but we expect it and accept it.  We don’t feel bad because we have heard all of the talks about how special we are simply because we are women, and we believe them.  “Separate but equal” was illegal when it came to race in our schools, so why do we accept it with roles of women and men and church?

Here’s one example of how women are not equal in our church.  Women aren’t allowed to be ordinance workers at the temple if they have children at home.  Men are.  So men can work 40 + hours a week away from their children and families and then take a Saturday once a month to work in the temple, but women can’t.  What is wordlessly being said by this rule?  That it’s never okay for women to be away from their children.  Men and women are both taught to put family first, but rules are made that force women to do so and not men.  Now some temples do allow women with children to clean the temple or do secretarial work for the temple.  These types of service aren’t strictly forbidden in the rules, so maybe these temples are trying to find a way to allow women a chance to serve.  It feels like 1950s idea of gender roles, though.

President Hinckley was asked once in an interview in Australia if Heavenly Father could ever change the rules about not having women as Priests.  His answer wasn’t no.  It was, in fact,  “Yes.  But there is no agitation for that.  Our women are happy.  They’re satisfied.” (http://agitatingfaithfully.org/post;jsessionid=2803821D898EB321688A9873399DCE20?id=the-quote-in-context )  So, change can and does happen in our church (I think this may be news for a lot of people.  I know I had to learn within the past couple of years that policies in our church do change.), but not without revelation.  Revelation doesn’t come if it isn’t sought.  What would make the prophet seek revelation about the role of women in our church?  Agitation.  We, as women, have to admit that we aren’t happy and that we aren’t satisfied.  Wearing pants was one way for people to show that they want church leaders to seek revelation and change policies and practices about women in the church.    

Many people complained about the inappropriateness of women “protesting” at church.  Wearing pants, when women aren’t commanded to, isn’t a protest, but it is a way to agitate. 

To pants or not to pants:
When I heard feminists were wearing pants to church instead of traditional skirts and dresses, I told Ben I was going to do it, too.  Ben worried that pants may be a distraction from the purpose of church, worshipping.   I took some time soul searching and realized wearing pants would, of course, not hinder my ability to worship. If anything, it would increase my worship.  I felt humbled by the possible change in my routine that for the first time in a while the worshipping would have been meaningful instead of rote.

I got nervous, though, and went back and forth about my decision a few times.  I decided to ask myself the classic question, “What would Jesus do?”.  Hmm, well, Jesus didn’t hang with the crowd of saints who had been worshipping at church in their particular way for generations.  He was more interested in the one than the 99.  He definitely would have been all for this.  Jesus was known for his tradition-breaking. 

Here’s why I wore a dress:
I ultimately came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter to Heavenly Father or Jesus what I wore to church, but it did matter to me.  I wish it didn’t, but it did.  I have never been an envelope pusher.  I know that change needs to happen, but I am just not the one to try to break the system.  I didn’t want to mark myself.  And I knew me wearing pants wouldn’t really change anything.  (It’s not like the prophet was going to be at my church!)

What really decided it for me was a baptism I went to on Saturday the 15th.   I looked around at all the women and girls in their dresses and skirts, and they looked beautiful to me.  Of course this doesn’t mean that I think women are less beautiful if the material around their legs is sewn.  But the way people look at church is the way people have looked at church my whole life.  It looks right to me.  It looks beautiful to me.  My issue with feminism isn’t with wearing dresses to church.  Dresses and skirts are comfortable and I wear them by choice many weekdays (especially when the weather is warm).  I wear them on Sundays not by choice, but no longer by obligation.  Because of wearing-pants-to-church day I am now aware that what women and men wear to church doesn’t matter to Heavenly Father or Jesus.  I knew wearing pants, while it wouldn’t distract me from my worship, would distract many from their worship.  That wouldn’t have been my fault; people are always looking for a distraction from worshipping.  But I didn’t want to be an easy target for the mind wanderings of fellow churchgoers.  So I wore a dress.