Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wear Pants to LDS Church

Some women within the LDS Church chose to wear pants this past Sunday.

"This event is the first act of All Enlisted, a direct action group for Mormon women to advocate for equality within our faith. We do not seek to eradicate the differences between women and men, but we do want the LDS church and its members to acknowledge the similarities. We believe that much of the cultural, structural, and even doctrinal inequality that persists in the LDS church today stems from the church's reliance on – and enforcement of – rigid gender roles that bear no relationship to reality."

I have a few friends that participated. I, however, didn't wear pants to church on Sunday.

The event and purpose seemed to shift a bit throughout the week. At first, it seemed the event was a statement against LDS culture AND doctrine. I, personally, acknowledge there are some rigid gender stereotypes and expectations within the culture. I have a testimony of the doctrine taught within the LDS church and sustain the priesthood leaders.

Throughout the week, it seemed to shift into a statement about wearing pants instead of having to feel like they should wear a skirt or pants. I also saw some just making a statement about the cultural differences within the church and wanting that to change.

I chose to wear a skirt because I believe in the doctrine and also because I believe that a dress or skirt does represent my Sunday Best (to me). I know that I could wear pants if I wanted to and there haven't been any statements against wearing pants. But I like to be dressy and girly in a skirt. I feel more feminine. Sure, it's not always the most comfortable. But I am a girl and I'm so okay with that. I know some will argue that I'm just buying into the cultural expectations and stooping to a lower level by giving in and wearing a skirt. I don't feel that way.

I'm a bit of a feminist (in case you hadn't noticed), but not the man-hating kind that people usually hear about and stereotype. I think my role as a woman is complemented by Aaron's as a husband and love that we can work together in our goal of eternal families. I really loved this article about why she is a Mormon because she's a feminist.

Here's a comment I wrote on facebook about the cultural difficulties that can occur:
I have definitely experienced firsthand sexist and demeaning comments from leaders and other members of the church- even within my own family. I know that the attitude of some members is lacking and I understand how women can feel less-than. I always remember my mom telling me, "Remember, the church is perfect, but its members aren't." I don't feel like the doctrine, leaders of the church or God have ever looked down on me for being a woman. Nor, do I feel like they put Aaron up on a pedestal for being a man and holding the priesthood. I get a lot of crap for getting a higher education and doing it after I was married and then doing more after having a child and then working outside of the home right now "not being there for my son" and having Aaron "suffer through staying at home because he deserves more than that." Yes, these comments are offensive and I sometimes cry, but they are just other people saying them. Luckily I have an awesome husband who can talk me through incidents like this and I also believe I receive comfort through prayer knowing that I am doing alright. I really believe in families and that I am here to learn to work with Aaron to build a family. I'm grateful that we can complement each other in our roles, responsibilities and callings. I can't let others opinions get in my way.

I think it can be especially hard when some of these comments come from local leaders and are taught like doctrine like in your example. I see unrighteous dominion in many marriages and its horrible. I think the word "preside" is often taken out of context. I really like this even though it's a few years old -https://www.lds.org/ensign/1989/07/unrighteous-dominion?lang=eng. I think there as another one more recently that addresses similar issues.

On a somewhat related note (to me anyway), I have had many clients whose priesthood leaders instruct them to "pray harder" or "sleep with a Book of Mormon under your pillow" to cure depression or other mental disorders, but the truth is they aren't trained to know how to treat mental illness. They are human and trying to help out of kindness and will make mistakes in their effort to help others. I have been impressed by the church's efforts to help more leaders to refer to mental health providers instead of doing the counseling themselves as bishops etc. I think when church leaders find out about incidents like this, they try to act quickly because they recognize it's not okay and that practices like these are not doctrine.

A follow up comment from my cousin:
Practical faith sometimes escapes us as members. Here's a story from conference for you from Elder Oaks: "When a person requested a priesthood blessing, Brigham Young would ask, “Have you used any remedies?” To those who said no because “we wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed,” President Young replied: “That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am not a very stylish person. I am aware. Which is why I don't set any trends... or really ever follow them.

But eeeewwww.

Latest trend for guys: Man tights

I anticipate a steeper decline in birth rates in the years to come with how tight men's pants are becoming...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Porcupine Sex

What can porcupines teach couples everywhere? 

This warm story is a favorite of the Gottmans, because it illustrates their approach to good relationships. When Dr. Gottman speaks in the clip of bringing two sections of the bookstore together, he's referring to sex books and and relationship books. The former focus little on the quality of relationship, communication and conflict, while the latter don't spend much time on the quality of sex. John and Julie Gottman teach a dual and integrated approach in their workshops and trainings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Great Porn Experiment

This TED Talk by Gary Wilson, "The Great Porn Experiment," is a relatively new resource that examines the effects of internet porn on consumers. (Erectile Dysfunction in young, otherwise healthy men is the most striking one, but the breadth and depth of distressing side-effects will amaze you.) He adds credence to his case by showing how abstaining from porn ameliorates these symptoms. Gary is an engaging teacher. The slide show that illustrates his talk drives home his points superbly. Although he has lots of fun with the topic, his big heart shines through and his deep care for men stuck in a porn rut is unmistakable. (from here)

Gary is host of www.yourbrainonporn.com. The site arose in response to a growing demand for solid scientific information by heavy Internet erotica users experiencing perplexing, unexpected effects: escalation to more extreme material, concentration difficulties, sexual performance problems, radical changes in sexual tastes, social anxiety, irritability, inability to stop, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

As a physiology teacher with a particular interest in the latest neuroscience discoveries, Gary was aware that their symptoms might be the result of addiction-related brain changes. Applying the website's concepts of brain plasticity, many former users have braved withdrawal, reversed their symptoms and restored normal sexual responsiveness.

The site has been linked to from hundreds of threads in forums from over thirty countries, with posts numbering in the thousands. Gary blogs for "Psychology Today" and "The Good Men Project" on the extreme plasticity of adolescent brains, the evolutionary context for today's flood of novel cyber "mates," and the neurochemical reasons why superstimulating Internet delivery has unexpected effects on the brain.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


About 6 months ago, I started noticing some pretty crazy things going on in my mind and physically. I'm a bit nervous to share all of this, but I figure it'll be good to get out there if anybody is experiencing the same thing. Or maybe you've hung out with me recently and felt I was a bit "off". Also, if you believe that PMS is just a lame excuse some women have, maybe this will change your mind.

I noticed feeling some really intense ups and downs a few months ago. I would feel so on edge and anxious at times and some months, I'd even have fleeting suicidal thoughts. I felt crazy!
I basically fluctuated between this
...and this
 It was such an interesting experience for me to have. I'd think things like, "I am so anxious right now. I just want to cut or go run around." or thoughts like "I can't do this anymore. Everybody would be better off if I were dead." Then shortly after thinking these thoughts I'd think, "Lauren, what the heck! You know that's not right! Why are you having thoughts like this? What is going on? Of course, your life is worth living. You have great family and friends. You are having a hard time right now, but you will get through it." I remember feeling like my skin was crawling because I was so anxious. I was so embarrassed and ashamed to even be so overwhelmed and having such thoughts. I think I had some increased guilt because I am a therapist and help people through these issues daily at work. Aaron could obviously tell something was going on and would ask if I needed to get out of the house for a bit- which I felt guilty for saying I needed. I was already in school and seeing clients and then he was sensing my anxiety and depression and offering for me to leave more. I couldn't believe it.

I have a Period Tracker on my iPod that can track moods, cravings and I could put in notes so I started tracking days of the month when I was feeling especially low- something I often advise my female clients to do. I just wanted to see if it was correlated with my cycle or not. I should also add that I've had a Mirena IUD in since 6 weeks postpartum (almost 2 years ago) so I hadn't recently had any changes in medications like birth control. I couldn't believe how obvious the pattern was!! My really hard days of depression or anxiety were always 2 days before starting my period. Always. Some months were harder than others, but on any given month I could guarantee that 2 days prior to my period's arrival, I would be on edge and easily breakable and pretty crazy feeling.

I finally talked to Aaron about it. I was so embarrassed. He expressed to me that it was really hard for him and Aidan. He suggested I go talk to a doctor because "Aidan and I don't like this Lauren. We want the other Lauren." It broke my heart to hear it, but I knew it was true. I wasn't being as good of a wife and mother to them as I could. The next day, I talked to my mom about what I was experiencing. She asked if I was working out, eating well etc. Of course, I'm not as good about these things as I used to be and have been trying to work them back into my schedule. I scheduled an appointment with a new doctor later that day to check out my symptoms and get an opinion.

I was terrified for this appointment. I just switched insurance with my job so it would be my first time meeting this provider and I was going to have to tell her about these crazy thoughts I was having and then "Oh, and by the way, I'm a therapist." I was worried about how she would react and what she would think. I worry a lot about what other people think. Aaron drove me to my appointment and dropped me off and picked me up. My doctor was really great and understanding. I felt totally comfortable with her.

The diagnosis- PMDD (Premenstural Dysphoric Disorder). I'd heard about it a few years ago when we had cable or at least seen some birth control commercials that said they helped with PMDD "a more serious form of PMS that affects 5% of women". My doctor suggested I try to exercise more regularly, eat a healthier diet and also asked if I wanted to take medication. I felt more shame and guilt. But then again, I tell my clients to take medication if it will help them function and do better. We talked about it and since I was just starting to wean Aidan I wanted something that wouldn't interfere with breastfeeding. She prescribed a very low dose of Zoloft for me to take for the 13 days prior to my period starting. Luckily my period is pretty consistent.

The first cycle after that appointment, I did my best to work out and have a good healthy (ish?) month. I was still super agitated 2 days before my period. Not as bad as before, but seriously, I could tell. It's just that on edge icky feeling. I figured that the following cycle I should actually take the zoloft as prescribed since the workout/sleep/eating regimen didn't totally cure the symptoms.

The first day I took a zoloft I was scared out of my mind. I took it on a Sunday and was worried about how I might start acting at church in front of other people, if symptoms would appear out of nowhere or what. For  those taking Zoloft for PMDD, it's supposed to work instantly. I remember feeling like things were rolling off of me and I wasn't so stressed and overwhelmed- even just by watching Aidan during sacrament meeting. It was crazy to realize that I could have a reaction that wasn't so tense and agitated. Who knows, it could just be placebo affect, but I'll take it if it works! Placebo affects have been shown to help heal cancer so helping PMDD is totally awesome, too ;-)

This has been a very humbling experience for me.

First, to know that some mental issues can come out of nowhere after a long time without them. There isn't always a hint. Sometimes they just hit out of nowhere.
Second, to know that even if I do all that I can in my control, I may still need help of medication and others around me.
Also, it's just great to know that I do have a good network of support around me to help me through anything I might need.
It was good to get some honest feedback from Aaron even though it was pretty hurtful to realize how I was acting was affecting those I really love and care about. I'm glad Aaron and I have a relationship where we can talk openly with each other.

I'm glad I've had this experience because I feel like I get a little more the struggle my clients go through when struggling with a mental/physical illness, having to try medication and not knowing what to expect.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Saving Your Marriage

This was such a powerful and moving clip for me. It seems the sanctity and importance of family and marriage is just flying out the window these days in culture.

"A marriage, like a human life, is a precious, living thing.    If our bodies are sick, we seek to heal them. We do not give up. While there is any prospect of life, we seek healing again and again. 

The weakening of the concept that marriages are permanent and precious has far-reaching consequences. I speak out of concern, but with hope. 

The same should be true of our marriages, and if we seek Him, the Lord will help us and heal us.  

Plead for the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord to forgive wrongs (as President Faust has just taught us so beautifully), to overcome faults, and to strengthen relationships. 

The kind of marriage required for exaltation—eternal in duration and godlike in quality—does not contemplate divorce."

If I'm totally honest, the "D" word has definitely been used in our marriage a couple times by myself as a threat (Never my husband- and I'm the therapist!). Sometimes, we can fool ourselves to thinking that's a better option or even that it's an option at all. This is such a great reminder from Elder Oaks about marriage and what it really is.

A good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect woman. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together toward perfection. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler

Aidan and I went to Disneyland with my mom and sisters a couple weekends ago. I thought I'd post some of the lessons I learned.

  1. Aidan was a great age at 20 months. He was able to enjoy the atmosphere and was in awe of most things. It was perfect and just how Disneyland is meant to be. He hasn't watched much TV so far in his life, but he still thought the characters and things were cool. Characters without masks are less scary. Disneyland tickets are free. Airline tickets are unnecessary.
  2. Toontown was pretty amazing for him. We went there Sunday morning and it was pretty empty. I'm not sure if it's usually like that, but I was able to let him out of his stroller and just let him run around and follow him. There are buttons on buildings that he could press and cars to sit in which he LOVED.
  3. Booking Disneyland tickets through AAA saved us quite a bit of money. You can just call up your local AAA office and order them. I think they have 3-day and 5-day tickets that you just pick up in the office. I think it was $180 for a 3 day and $220 for a 5-day. (It's $200 for a 3-day ticket online through Disneyland) AAA tickets (as well as tickets bought in the local hotels) have one magic morning. The magic morning alone makes it worth it.
  4. You don't really need a fast pass for World of Color unless you want to get wet and be super close. You can stand in the walkway and see just fine behind all of the fast pass people. It's totally worth seeing.
  5. Stay at a hotel across the street from the park. There are quite a few. Just pull up google maps and look at all of the ones on the east side. We stayed at Camelot Inn & Suites. It's themed on the outside, but don't let this scare you away. It's really nice and clean on the inside. White toilets, no mold etc. We got a Family Suite which was perfect. We booked them through hotels.com and got 20% off our total stay using a coupon code.
  6. If you want, rent a car through hotwire for the first night only. You can get it at the airport and then have them pick it up at Downtown Disney the next day. That way, you can go buy groceries and stock your kitchenette. If you have a large food budget then you don't really need a rental car at all. Use a shuttle to and from the airport.
  7. Give your child naps if he/she is used to having them. Typically, toddlers sleep in the early afternoon which is when the parks are the busiest anyway. Take the time to go back to your room, enjoy a lunch, give them a nap and get a nap in yourself.
  8. Flying Jet Blue was awesome. They are SUPER family friendly. They automatically allow a carseat, stroller and diaper bag for each child. They don't charge for any carryons and allow one free checked bag per ticket. Awesome. They have a great variety of snacks and drinks for free which is helpful for a toddler. They were very eager and happy to help with Aidan and get us settled in. On the way back, I asked if there were any open seats and asked if I could bring Aidan's car seat and they gave us an entire row to ourselves so Aidan could be in his car seat.
  9. If you want to do all of the roller coasters and rides, don't bring your toddler or be prepared to switch off. You can get to the front of the line and do single rider and switch who has the kid. I just chose not to really do roller coasters (I don't really love them anyway) and it was perfect. There are plenty of rides Aidan could do with his height. Know your child's height before going. Just be prepared to have fun no matter what the trip brings. That's what parenthood is about anyway-right? ;-)
  10. Using Ridemax is great and super helpful if you want to be able to do a bunch of rides in a short amount of time and plan your day ahead. It has never let me down. Although, downloading the free MouseWait app to my phone was awesome and saved us running around a ton. People just log on and update the waiting times of rides they've gone on. So, it'll say "Indiana Jones, 43 minutes, 4:53pm" meaning the wait was 43 minutes at 4:53pm. It was cool to be standing in line for one ride and check the other wait times to plan where we wanted to go next. The app was probably almost better for us because with a toddler you never know what will come up.
  11. There is a Baby Care Center at the end of main street right across from the corn dog stand. It was awesome and quiet and relaxing. They have pumping rooms, nursing rooms, toddler toilets, microwaves, formula, wipes, bottles, diapers, nice changing tables etc. It was nice to go in there and get a break from the hustle and bustle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Duck Pond Adventures

Aidan had his first death-defying experience this past week. He was with a babysitter and they walked to the botany pond (aka the duck pond) a couple blocks away. The babysitter brought her 5 month old daughter with them and I went up to statistics class.

About twenty minutes into class I received a phone call from my babysitter where I heard Aidan screaming in the background. She informed me that he had fallen into the duck pond. She sounded horrified. I quickly called Aaron to see where he was and learned that he was just arriving home. I filled Aaron in and he quickly got off the phone.

I went back and sat in class for about a minute and explained to my friends what had happened. One mentioned that Aaron would be fine with Aidan and I was good to stay so I tried to concentrate for about thirty seconds and then realized I wanted to go home and be there for my baby. I packed up and left class.

I arrived home at the same time Aaron arrived back carrying Aidan in a towel.

I got the story from the babysitter.

They walked to the duck bond in the double stroller and had parked. Then they decided it would be fun to go and feed the ducks. She got Aidan and her daughter out and held her daughter. Aidan was eating a granola bar and would ask her to peel back the wrapper and then have a bite. He walked up by the side and was interacting with another toddler boy as they were each trying to feed the ducks. Aidan leaned over to hand his granola bar to the duck and share and toppled over!

He fell onto a rock right in the middle of his face. He scratched up his nose, bruised his forehead and had scratches on his lips and tongue. He then continued to fall over on his back into the pond. His bum was sinking, but he managed to keep his head and feet up.

The dad of Aidan's toddler friend jumped in after Aidan as soon as he hit the rock! He grabbed him and pulled him out of the water and stripped his wet, cold clothes off. Aidan had maybe gone under water for a split second. My babysitter said she didn't even have time to act before this guy jumped in after Aidan.

I am SO SO grateful for this man that jumped in after Aidan without even thinking twice about it! It's amazing that there are still people out there that would perform such heroic acts in our every day life.

He loves to hold his toes

Aidan LOVES wearing Aaron's gear!
My thoughts related to this incident...
  1. I am so sad that I was in class and missed Aidan's first death defying moment. I am looking forward to many days home with him. It makes me ache a little bit to know that I won't always be able to rescue him or be there for him when he gets hurt.
  2. I love Aidan and Aaron so much. It hurt me to see him bloody and in so much pain. Aaron was amazing to sprint to the pond with towel in hand. He knew just what to do to keep Aidan calm and nurse him back to health by cleaning his owies.
  3. On a spiritual/hypothetical side, I am grateful that I know that I have somebody who will "jump in and save me" if ever I am struggling or close to drowning. I know that I have a living Savior who gave his life for me and is willing to help me whenever I need him. He doesn't even think twice about whether I deserve it or not. I am grateful that He was watching out for Aidan and the babysitter and everybody else involved. A million things could have gone wrong or been worse and Aidan walked away with no broken bones and just a few minor scrapes and bruises.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stake Conference Counsel

Our Stake President (LDS area leader) has asked that we remove all violent video games from your home. FYI: This is in a BYU Student Married Stake. This is the second time he's announced and suggested we do this on our homes. He used the updated For the Strength of Youth guidelines as well as a talk by Elder Bednar and a few other things and told us he felt really strongly that we should follow this counsel and we'd be blessed for our obedience and diligence. This would not be a difficult thing for me personally because I'm not really into the violent games to start with (and it doesn't hurt that I'm horrible at them anyway), but I have some married friends that play games together and my husband spends time playing a variety of video and computer games. Just got me thinking.

If your stake president asked you to remove all violent video games from your home,
What would you do and why?

Some of the quotes he used and the video he told us to watch in FHE:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shared Housing

We currently live in the upstairs of a house with a couple living in our basement. We have lived here for 5 years and we plan to be here through August 2013 at least (assuming we are finally done with school and ready to move on with life).

Overall, it's been a positive experience living here. Sharing housing has it's pros and cons, but lately I am going bonkers. I'm sure some of it is just wanting to move on with life and grow up and have our own place. But, please allow me to whine a little bit.

We have central heating and air. The thermostat is in the basement. The upstairs is always about 10 degrees hotter in the summer than the downstairs. During the winter, this generally means the same thing, but with these most recent neighbors, they say they are really hot down there and they like to set the thermostat at 60 degrees! Yes, 60 degrees in the middle of winter. While it's snowing outside. We have huge windows, wooden floors in the bedroom, doors that don't quite seal out the cold and we are freezing up here. One night, Aidan woke up saying "Cold Cold" and I knew I had to talk to them. I settled and told them not to lower it below 65. The wife is pretty good about this, but the husband will still occasionally lower it to 60-63 degrees. I have talked to them multiple times about the thermostat issue, explained the poor temperature control etc. They just don't seem to care. I know he just wants to save a buck, but I really hate freezing in my own home! PS We bought a heater for Aidan's room so don't worry about him freezing

Our house was built in the 50s. Naturally this means super creaky floors. It also means that we could hear everything going on downstairs if we really wanted to. We noticed this the first week we lived here 5 years ago and invested in a sound machine. Problem solved. We now have a fan in our room and the sound machine in Aidan's room. Seriously, we could hear a normal volume level conversation without this stuff. Every time neighbors move in downstairs, we advise them to invest in a sound machine or something else or they'll hear lot of stuff. The current neighbors have taken it upon themselves to bang on the wall if we are being too loud at night. This means that if we (heaven forbid) have sex, they bang on the wall. If I get up to tend to Aidan in the middle of the night, they bang on the wall. If Aaron and I are talking in our bed about life etc, they bang on the wall. Seriously!! I cannot believe it. It just comes with the territory. If you're going to live in shared housing or an apartment complex you are going to hear other people. I talked to the husband about it and he basically said "I understand you walking around in the middle of the day, but it's hard on us when you're up in the middle of the night. We hear every time you move in bed, walk around etc." I couldn't help but smile and said "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to take care of Aidan and sometimes we are up late since we're in school and working." I couldn't believe this conversation. I also reiterated the idea of a sound machine.

The dumb part is that I still care. I get nervous to walk around at night and move in bed. I worry when Aidan is crying that I will hear a bang on the wall. I hate that I worry about it. Why can't I just not care? How come we had 4 years of downstairs neighbors previous to this that didn't seem to mind? Has something huge changed since then? Also, the husband downstairs is the owner's brother so I also get super self-conscious about that. Is he going to complain and try to get us kicked out or something? Aaaaah! I know they're planning on staying long-term so I should really try to get to know them better. Maybe, they'd see that we aren't horrible people purposefully making noise all the time.

Also, I feel like I am constantly being judged for my parenting. For example, this morning on the way out to church Aidan wanted to bring a bigger toy car so I explained that we couldn't fit that one in the bag and we found a smaller one. Aidan then screamed as I was opening the back door just as the neighbor was leaving so he saw and faked a smile and rolled his eyes in my direction. I'm standing here with the car seat in one hand, trying to get Aidan out the door, calm him down about his toy car and get to church. I get it. They don't have kids. But seriously. I would really appreciate a bit more empathy and understanding. I am doing my best here.

Maybe, I'm reading way too much into this. I should really get to know them better.

But, still, I cannot wait to get a place of our own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pros & Cons

I just got this from our pediatrician.

Video Games: Pros and Cons

Article at a Glance
• Video games can be used to help improve test scores, teach life and job skills, improve brain function, and encourage physical exercise.
• Most popular video games are addictive by design.
• Because video games can have a negative impact on health and academic performance if a child becomes addicted, parents should be aware of the symptoms.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marinara Sauce

I have had such a hard time with marinara sauce since being pregnant with Aidan (and that ended 18 months ago), but a wonderful thing happened....

I had some pizza yesterday and I LIKED it. Oh my gosh! I liked it so much! It's amazing. I was dipping bread sticks over and over. Delicious! It was amazing and wonderful for me. Yes, it is that big of a deal.

And the even better news, the pizza I ate happens to be from Aaron's favorite pizza place. Plus, Aidan LOVES pizza!

Win win win situation!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Extended Breastfeeding

My little man will be 18 months this month and I'm still breastfeeding him twice a day- first thing in the morning and at bedtime.

A variety of things have influenced this decision, but I don't have a lot of people I talk to about it so I thought I'd write about it.

Reasons for Extended Breastfeeding

  1. You like it. Breastfeeding has been a great experience for me. Granted, it took a heck of a lot of power pumping sessions at first to build up my milk supply, the worry of him not gaining enough weight and a visit to a local lactation consultant to get us to where breastfeeding was working and then a few more months until it was enjoyable. I was convinced I was going to breastfeed and I worked my butt off to do so. It did not come easy for me. It hurt like crazy, plus I was starting my first year as a PhD student the week after he was born and wasn't around the house full-time. I wanted to do it and I made myself like it. I thought I'd be done at 6 months, but then I kept going. I then thought I'd be done at 12 months and kept going. He's now 18 months and I'm debating weaning, but we'll see what happens. Breastfeeding has been a wonderful experience since I'm gone 10-20 hours a week with school and work. It means I get special quiet time with my boy every day!
  2. Your baby likes it.  Since Aidan was in the NICU with tubes for a couple weeks, it took a while for him to figure out how to draw the milk back and swallow, but once he figured it out, he loved it. He'd go through stages where he wouldn't take a bottle because he liked breastfeeding so much. It was a compliment at times and at other times I just wanted to get out of the house and go on a date and know he'd drink out of the bottle. Aidan doesn't ask for mama's milk or tug at my shirt or anything so it's been a good system for us. It's so awesome to be feeding him and have him look up at me with his big blue eyes. I also love that when he's sick or really upset, I know I can rely on him wanting to breastfeeding even if he doesn't want anything else.
  3. Your husband is supportive. My husband has been absolutely amazing in supporting me breastfeeding. His take was "Duh, wouldn't we want to do what's best for our baby? I'll help you however I can." There were times that I wanted to give up. I was exhausted from doing most of the feedings. I felt like the odd one out with my friends since most had stopped breastfeeding before their baby was one and most used formula. I felt like I wasn't sexy anymore. This has taken time to get used to, but I honestly now believe that he thinks I'm sexy and likes my breasts just as much as he did before I was using them to feed our baby boy. He has been so great in cheering me on! He always says the best things about breastfeeding, does his own research and is willing to support whatever I want.
  4. The research supports extended breastfeeding.
  • "In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides: 29% of energy requirements, 43% of protein requirements, 36% of calcium requirements, 75% of vitamin A requirements, 76% of folate requirements, 94% of vitamin B12 requirements,60% of vitamin C requirements" (Dewey, 2001)
  • Some doctors may feel that nursing will interfere with a child's appetite for other foods. Yet there has been no documentation that nursing children are more likely than weaned children to refuse supplementary foods. In fact, most researchers in Third World countries, where a malnourished toddler's appetite may be of critical importance, recommend continued nursing for even the severely malnourished (Briend et al, 1988; Rhode, 1988; Shattock and Stephens, 1975; Whitehead, 1985). Most suggest helping the malnourished older nursing child not by weaning but by supplementing the mother's diet to improve the nutritional quality of her milk (Ahn and MacLean. 1980; Jelliffe and Jelliffe, 1978) and by offering the child more varied and more palatable foods to improve his or her appetite (Rohde, 1988; Tangermann, 1988; Underwood, 1985).
  • "Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).
  • Breastfeeding can be helpful for preventing allergy by:
    • reducing exposure to potential allergens (the later baby is exposed, the less likely that there will be an allergic reaction),
    • speeding maturation of the protective intestinal barrier in baby's gut,
    • coating the gut and providing a barrier to potentially allergenic molecules,
    • providing anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of infections (which can act as allergy triggers).
  • Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.
  • "Research reports on the psychological aspects of nursing are scarce. One study that dealt specifically with babies nursed longer than a year showed a significant link between the duration of nursing and mothers' and teachers' ratings of social adjustment in six- to eight-year-old children (Ferguson et al, 1987). In the words of the researchers, 'There are statistically significant tendencies for conduct disorder scores to decline with increasing duration of breastfeeding.'"
  • "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)"
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer,  and rheumatoid arthritis in mothers.
  • Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom's bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother's diet.
  • Breastmilk has some awesome abilities


  1. Have a good support system. It's not easy to breastfeed if you're hanging out with people who are anti or think it's disgusting or think you're crazy for continuing to breastfeeding. Find people you can talk to about it and be encouraging.
  2. Find things to make breastfeeding comfortable. For me this includes, my ipod touch,  My Brest Friend Pillow, comfortable and supportive nursing bra and a comfortable rocking chair.
  3. Set your own goals. Determine how long you want to breastfeed, when and how etc.
  4. Teach your toddler eating manners. Teaching your baby sign language for milk might be helpful. Talk to him/her about keeping you covered while feeding in public, not playing with your breasts etc.

Some Common Questions I Get
Q. Doesn't it hurt to breastfeed since he has so many teeth?!
A. If your baby is latched correctly, his tongue covers his teeth and no biting should occur. Aidan has actually bitten me twice. Once, he drew blood. It was not cool. I realized that I was forcing him to eat when he wasn't actually hungry and learned. Here are some tips if your baby bites.

Q. Does he ask to be fed and lift up your shirt?
A. He's never actually done that. I have no idea if I just got lucky or what. I always feed him in the same chair and he knows if I sit down there and grab the nursing pillow that he is going to be fed and will run over happily, but even then he doesn't pull on my shirt. At that point he will ask for milk sometimes, though. He takes a bottle or sippy cup really well so if we're out in public I just give him that and he's fine.

Q. Don't you lose your milk if you're only feeding twice a day?
A. Nope. Basically, the system of breastfeeding is supply and demand. Your body will make what your baby is eating. If you're breastfeeding twice a day, you'll make enough for those two feedings. The key is to not skip a ton. You can skip a bit here and there but if you consistently skip (e.g. no night feedings 3 days in a row) then you'll probably start to lose milk for that feeding.

Feel free to ask questions. 
I'd love to hear from other moms that are breastfeeding. I love building that social support- even if it's just through your comments.

UPDATE: He was fully weaned around 21-22 months. I just followed his lead. Some nights, he'd ask for a bottle and didn't want to nurse. It slowly dwindled and then he was done. No pain as he was weaned. My breasts just adjusted with supply and demand. I was a bit sad, but we still have our cuddle and reading time before bed. Plus, we started trying to get pregnant around the time he was 22 months so it worked out.. Also sad I couldn't keep eating extra calories. I'm looking forward to breastfeeding our next kid again (after the initial pain). I hope she can get it down and enjoy it.

Please don't take offense to anything I've said. We should all be able to talk about our own experiences with feeding. We each do the best we can as mothers.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Successful Marriage

“I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion. Any man who will make his wife's comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come.”- President Hinckley

Monday, January 30, 2012

Successful Day

Yesterday was kind of a downer day for me so today I decided to be productive to ease some stress.

Last night, I made Orange Chicken and Baked Egg Rolls and it was an amazingly successful meal that disappeared by the end of the night.

Aidan woke up at 7:45 this morning so we decided to make breakfast for Aaron before he got home from work. We made Whole Wheat Pancakes with banana and also had eggs and sausage. I made a large batch and froze some of them and saved some of the dry mix for next time.

I then went on a quick run with a friend. Meaning, we jogged to the track and then got kicked off the track after a lap and jogged the longer way home and played with our kids a bit.

Aidan was then ready for his nap so I went and showered while he was still in there talking to himself. He fell asleep shortly after I got out of the shower. Then I put together some frozen pizza with this great recipe. You make the dough and then roll it out to a crust and bake the crust at 500 for 4 minutes. This ensures that it will stay flat. Then take it out, let it cool and put the sauce, cheese and toppings on. Wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. To cook it you just put it in the oven as it preheats to 425 and then cook for about 10 minutes. Awesome-right? So I made 4 pizzas for future last minute meals. And then I put a roast in the crock pot for tonight's dinner.

I also washed all of the dishes. My sinks were totally and completely empty. Heck yes! It's a joke around here that my kitchen is only clean right before I cook.
Aidan's becoming a good helper in the kitchen.
Aidan woke up from his nap and we played for a bit and then went to the store. He is so dang energetic.

We came back and played some more. Aidan sometimes breaks out singing La La La La from Elmo's World. He's loving the L sound right now. He also said spaghetti today, but it sounded more like "Ghetti". Love that boy so much. He asked for "nilk" and to go "nigh nigh" so I put him down for his second nap- which I'm pretty sure he never actually fell asleep for. He was only quiet for about 15 minutes.

I had bought some containers to organize my baking ingredients and took care of that while he was "asleep" and also made laundry detergent. It made my house smell good, but I'm pretty sure I went to statistics class smelling like soap. This recipe made a bunch for very little money and only takes 1 Tbs per load. I'm guessing it'll last quite a while. It has great reviews. I'm hoping it'll work well for us.

I love baking and being productive and setting things up for the future and feeling somewhat organized!

The only thing that would have made together would be if Aaron had been awake and hanging out with us, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

$7.99 for 24pk Play-Doh

Right now through 2/18/12, Target has the Play-Doh Fridge pack (24 ct.) on sale for $12.99. Plus, you can use the $5.00 off one Play-Doh Fridge Pack Target Coupon to get the 24 pack for only $7.99!
This is a great price if you have any birthdays coming up or if you need to replenish your own supply!
**This is an unadvertised deal so prices may vary by location.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Media & Early Learning

My mom sent this to me and I found it so interesting! I actually watched this entire TEDx clip regarding media and early learning.

  • Early experiences condition the mind. Connections between brain cells change based on experiences our children have while their brain triples in size between birth and age 3.
  • Initiation of television viewing is now (on average) 4 months of age.
  • Prolonged exposure to rapid image changes (like on a TV show designed for an infant) during critical periods of brain development may precondition the mind to expect high levels of stimulation. This may then make the pace ofreal life less able to sustain our children’s attention. The more hours a child views rapid-fire television, the more likely they will have attention challenges later in life.
  • Cognitive stimulation (reading books or going to a museum) reduces the likelihood for attention challenges later in life.
  • What content your child watches on TV matters: the more frenetic or violent the TV show, the more likely your child will have attention challenges later in life. Television shows that move at a typical pace may be far better for our children. Educational shows showed 0% influence on attention challenges later in life (Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street etc.)
  • New studies (using mice) may demonstrate that learning suffers with excess TV viewing.
  • We need more real time play for children. (Get out the blocks or get outside!)

AAP Guidelines:

1. Limit children’s total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of
quality programming per day.
2. Remove television sets from children’s bedrooms.
3. Discourage television viewing for children
younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain
development, such as talking, playing, singing,
and reading together.....

A Good Mother

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother... Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else." Elder M. Russell Ballard

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Postpartum Progress

I just stumbled upon this site the other day and it is WONDERFUL!! There are a bunch of resources, updated research, support groups, personal stories etc. for perinatal care. It's such a great site. I'm so happy to find a good resource. I wish I had found it sooner.

I'm currently in a Specialization course and I've decided I'm going to specialize on the presenting problem of Postpartum Depression. (I still work with a lot of other things, but we can only choose one presenting problem for this class.) I'm doing a lot of research this semester on diagnosis and treatment and then in the spring I'll be starting a study and support group.

Have you battled with a perinatal mood and/or anxiety disorder? 
I'm really interested in hearing stories and experiences if you want to share.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baby Item Recommendations

I LOVE LOVE LOVE spreadsheets and I'm also determined to find good deals. While I was pregnant with Aidan, I started compiling a list of all the things we wanted and needed with their average selling price as well as the best deal price. I made a copy on google docs that you can look through if you're interested.

Keep in mind that I had Aidan in 2010 so some of these items may now be updated....

What were some of your favorite/must have items for your baby? 
What deals did you score when purchasing them?

Orig PriceBest PriceWhere
Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System - Adventure  329.99242Amazon
Graco Blossom 4-in-1 Seating System 279.99162
Graco Pack n Play w Newborn Napper 140119Albee
My Little Lamb Seat6444
Cradle Swing 15099
Moby Wrap (or Homemade)5030
Combi Flare Lightweight Stroller - Edamame/ Brown  99.9978ShoppersWorld
Changing Table & Dresser50Craigslist
Sealy Baby Posturepedic Crown Jewel Mattress  159.99$87.00Walmart
Angelcare Movement Sensor with Sound Monitor Deluxe12095Amazon
DaVinci Emily 4-in-1 Crib 249.99199Amazon
Storkcraft Hoop Glider Rocker and Ottoman - Cherry/ Beige  159.99129Amazon
SwaddleMe (3pk)  22Amazon
Swaddlepod (Newborn)  11Amazon
Waterproof Quilted Crib Pad 24.9912Amazon
Diaper Genie  5735Amazon
Sound Machine 2017Amazon
Serta Contour Pad 25.9925Amazon
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump (comes w 4 bottles etc) 350270Amazon
My Brest Friend Deluxe Nursing Pillow 49.9936Amazon
Night and Day Bottle Warmer  29.9927Walmart
Medela Slow Flow Nipples 4.79
Medela Pump & Save Bags- 50 pk 19.1915
Medela Quick Clean Wipes9.298
Lansinoh Breast Creme  9.993.95HeyYouBaby
Green Sprouts Cotton Nursing Pads  7Amazon
American Red Cross 17-pc. Health and Grooming Kit  19.9913.75Amazon
Dream Baby Home Safety Kit  19.9911.99
Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer 39.99$10.95
Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Deep Blue Sea Bath Tub 3317.99
Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer- Lens 7.997.99
Boon Frog Pod - Drainable Bath Scoop and Toy/Organizer  29.99
Safety 1st Tubside Kneeler and Step Stool  19.99
Burpcloths (Cloth Diapers) 12pk  10
Newborn Soothie Pacifiers  or Gumdrop Pacifiers 3.493.49
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child  17
The Happiest Baby on the Block159
The No Cry Sleep Solution17
Science of Parenting  11Amazon
Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym 7053
Sophie Giraffe, Teether  15
Freddie Firefly  10
Rainforest Waterfall Soother  29
Baby Einstein Toons  9