25.6.14

Mommy and Me


I really love her, ya know. 

Like, a lot. 

Charlotte and I get to spend lots of time together. Being a stay-at-home mom does that to us. ;) Now that Chad and I have moved back to Provo, I don't get to go to my mom's as often, so I have lots of alone time with Charlotte. Which can be so so great!...and kinda lonely sometimes, but we try to keep ourselves busy. Plus, Chad is now done with school for the summer (HOORAY!) so we get a bit more time with him, too. 

 I am so blessed to get so much time with my sweet girl. She is so funny and constantly makes me laugh! Charlotte just brings a smile to my heart, and I thought that this picture was a good depiction of that. 

I love it when she touches my face like this. She does this all the time when I feed her and I absolutely love it (except when her nails need to be cut and she's trying to rip my lips off). :) In those moments, it's more outwardly apparent that we have a special connection. Mama to baby connections are special, and sacred. There are those moments where I look into her eyes, and though she can't speak, I know what she's saying. 

Motherhood is the best thing that's happened to me. Charlotte has the purest love ever, and I never feel judged or any of that crazy junk that the world tries to bring into relationships or what have you. I am so lucky to be loved by her. I am so lucky to be called her mommy!

I love you, baby girl. You are my whole world and I love you to the moon and back!

Always, 
Ally Jo

26.5.14

Growing Pains

There has been a lot of neglect the past few months when it comes to this blog. To be honest, this girl over here on the other side of the screen has been having a writer's block. Even my journals haven't seen strokes of the pen for awhile. It's very much not like me. However, life has been a bit of a....challenge?...I guess you could say, and so my writing heart kinda shut down without my permission. I simply had too much bottled inside to let it all out. But now...the cork has come off. And some sharing must spill onto the page.

Here's an honest truth that must be said. EVERY SINGLE HUMAN out there has challenges. Ha-I know, hard to believe, right? No, but seriously. I know we "know" that, but do we really believe it? Or have you fallen captive, like I have before, in looking at a certain person/family and thinking "Wow, they may have a few little bumps in their road, but in all, they are so put together! They do it all!". Ya. I know every one has challenges, yes. But I have had moments where I still look at someone and don't see all that is underneath. Which, we all know...the underneath stuff is rich, and full of life.

There is so much left in the unknown in this cosmos of a "world". Have you ever looked at someone you know, then found something out, and totally been blown away with what has happened or is currently happening in their life? Well, that's happened to me! I have had NO IDEA a lot of times. And it's kind of amazing. What's amazing? People. Every time a little thread unravels itself to me about something or someone, I am just over taken with awe, because somehow...we are all still standing! We are all still pushing a long and trying our best to smell the roses along the way.

Now, I have been on the other end. Being the one with lots of stuff happening under the surface, or unseen from the public eye. And that can be a crazy place to be. Am I right? Some things I've struggled with may seem little...and maybe big, based upon who's wondering. But I have my heartaches, just like everyone else. Things like dealing with change...being misjudged...sleep deprivation...relationship problems...my body changing after having a baby (wait...I'm never gonna have that "high school girl" body again? ;))...anxiety...pride...lack of faith...I have fallen victim to all these. And in the last few months, quite a few, if not all of these have happened at once. Kinda overwhelming for me little self. I fell into the trap I have found before where I ask myself, "Am I a good person? Do the people who were once apart of my everyday life and feelings and breathes even know I exist anymore? I felt so good about life and myself and like I was on top of the world...but now I almost feel completely opposite".

And he had me right where he wanted me. He had me twisted in his evil lies and corrupt thoughts. I swirled around in negativity and guilt and he laughed in my face at the pain I felt.

Well, like all stories, there are good endings. :) No, I don't mean the one where I drive away in a chariot into the sunset and life is perfect. I mean the real endings. The ones where I get back on my feet and keep going on the journey before me. This is happening for me.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that a loving Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ is constantly watching out for me. They don't take breaks. They don't say, "Alright, good game. We'll be back next Thursday". They're the 24/7 kind that know exactly when I decide to think less of myself, compare myself to others, and forget that they care. So, of course, they knew exactly what I was hurting myself over. And, like always, they send the best medicine that gives the perfect remedy.

Some remedies are small, and some are big. I had all kinds flying my way. First and always, my husband is always thrown in to save me. His kind, encouraging words are always given at the perfect time. He constantly reminds me of my beauty, inside and out and that his love never runs dry. Even when I've gotten down on my post-pregnant body, he has always been there to hear me, but build me back up on my image. It's nice having eyes that see your body has perfect every moment of the day and night. :)

I then had a leader and friend from my young women's days approach me a few weeks ago. Ah, sweet friend of mine. :) She came up to me where our paths crossed and told me she read my blog...and just filled my whole heart up. All the cracks were fixed with her kind and healing words. Here, I didn't feel forgotten anymore, like I had before. She built me up, as her usual self does, and gave her love freely. If you're reading this, dear friend, I thank you again for taking the time to be an answer to my heartfelt prayers.

Next, life changes came quickly. Sometimes the Lord moves you (this case, literally) to give you a new perspective on relationships and those who are apart of your life. I'm still not perfect, but I've had the change I've needed to to heal some damage and enjoy all those who are contributing to me and my family.

It wouldn't be right to not mention my family as part of my healing process. My mother, blessed angel that she is, has listened to hours and hours of babbling on and wiped every tear. She's always been that way, but especially in the last few months, I have felt an over abundance of love. And the rest of my family has supported me as well and gave me the comfort of their faces and hearts, like they always have since I was little.

Then, there's my precious Charlotte. Oh, my patient, loving Charlotte. My girl never judges me. Loves me no matter what the weather or inward battle I'm facing. She always greets me with a smile, and holds me when I need her arms more than she needs mine. She often whispers with her beautiful face, "maybe you don't feel like a perfect mother, mom. But you are the perfect mommy for me". She is such a gift and my inspiration. I want nothing more than to be someone Charlotte will look up to. So, I will do my best to be that mom she deserves and always give her kisses, even when her cheeks are raw from them. :)

And of course, my loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They never cease to give out continual patience with my faults and weaknesses. I may be a stubborn girl, but they wait for me with love, to realize, time and time again, that they are always the answer. Their love is never-ending and eternal. They are there to help me in my hours of grief. They prompt me to do what is right, help me fix my problems and give me buckets of love to calm my troubled self.

It wouldn't be right to go on and not testify that Jesus truly is the Christ. Not just a mere minister of good that once lived on the earth, but the Prince of Peace and Son of God, who was sent to die for my sins. He indeed rose from the dead and rose again, as the resurrected Christ. I know all of this to be true. He is my Savior. Through all of the things I have gone through and continue to go through, He has ALWAYS been there.

This is quite the novel, but it's more for myself than anything else. For whoever may read this, know that you also are not alone in your struggles and pain. I know it can be very difficult...but know that you are never alone. You need not feel ashamed or embarrassed or hurt. Only feel that your Savior is there to comfort you as well. You really do matter and are remembered and cherished. Your body is beautiful. Your family loves you. Your soul is precious above anything and you are loved. Never forget these things.

I'm still not perfect. I still have my rough edges and hard days from time to time. But I am continually progressing, learning, and getting one step closer to who I can become.



All my love,
Ally

19.3.14

Sequence

At the beginning of my senior year in high school, Chad took me to Homecoming. Yes, he was graduated but we were best friends and he was about to leave for his mission, so we thought it would be fun to go together! For part of our day date, the boys took us to this wonderful park in SLC and we took some pictures. There was this one in particular that we took in front of a door with some pillars. I didn't pay too much mind to it till all the sudden, my best friend became my loyal pen-pal on the mish, which turned to writing to my true love ;), which turned to dating when he got back, which turned to engagement...etc, etc. Chad ALSO proposed to me at this park, so I thought it only a must that we reenacted the picture now that we were engaged!

So then on our 1st anniversary, we went to the same park after doing some sealings at the Salt Lake Temple (where we were married!). Of course, we had to take the same picture in the same place once again! And yes, I was largely pregnant, so it was fun to see the drastic differences in the progression of the photos. :) Almost 4 years in the making for this little sequence!


Date. Engagement. 1 year of marriage + baby. Who knew. :) I love my best friend!!!!

Loves,
Ally JO

6.3.14

My little Man

I was going through my husband's pictures on his computer and found some real treats. :) Must I say, not to brag or anything {I'm going to anyway}, but my husband was a SUPER CUTE kid. Like, seriously? Such a "to die for" boy.


Oh my GOODNESS!!!! Look how adorable!



So cute. 





Chad has ALWAYS been a super smiley, happy person. I mean, look at these photos! I swear he came out of the birth canal smiling. And I love that he is STILL so positive and high spirited. There have been numerous days where I was sad or upset and Chad got me to laugh within seconds of entering the room. That's why I married him! Love you, sweetheart. :) 

I'm so lucky!

Ally Jo

4.3.14

Sweet Finds


Shortly after we took Charlotte's newborn photos, we lost our memory card! We were just sick about it because it had a lot of pictures from the hospital and what not. I was so heart broken because she was just 2 weeks old when we took her pictures and all the other photos were priceless! But, luckily Chad had uploaded some of them at the hospital and I hurried and took more newborn photos of Charlotte {the ones that are on Facebook}. Well, a few months ago, WE FOUND THE MEMORY CARD! It was SUCH a relief and a real treat to look at her pictures again! Here's just a few I wanted to share. What a precious girl! She was so tiny...can't believe it!








What a sweetheart!!!

Loves, 
Ally J

6.2.14

Hard Day

I believe in writing from the heart, 
which can sometimes lead to talking about the side that isn't pretty.

The bad days. 

They can be nasty little things. 
The days that you want to give up.
Throw in the towel.
Go and cry by yourself.
Buy a plane ticket and go to Hawaii.

I think we all deserve days to feel human
and imperfect. 
Sometimes you just gotta cry.
But the most important thing is getting back up on your feet.
Looking up. Being positive. And knowing everything?
Is gonna be okay.

Last night started my cycle of "bad day" syndrome. 
It's not a fun place to be, feeling like that. 
I felt pretty blue. 
And my poor husband had to listen to the venting
at the end of his long, hard day. 

What a champ. 

I've been adjusting to motherhood, lately. Man, it is such a transition, to say the least. Now when I say motherhood, this puts no sadness whatsoever over having Charlotte. Charlotte is my ENTIRE universe and she brings me the greatest joy imaginable. So none of this bad day stuff comes from my sweet girl. I love her forever and she is worth every tear, drip of sweat and baggy eyes. She is my angel girl and I am hers. :)

I'm just talking about the transition of becoming a mother. Motherhood? It's tough. I have been feeling all under the weather for the changes that have come. All us mothers know what those are. 

You're on the sleeping schedule of your baby {which I'm lucky to have such a great sleeper!}. Even though my baby sleeps well, I may want to sleep an extra 20 minutes but baby decides when I get out of bed. 

Getting ready? Well, a pony tail and a quick 5 minute face is considered gold metal worthy. I'm lucky to get a shower most days. I think I washed my hair...3 days ago? {Which I've had worse, ha ha}.

My body? Is just different. Now, I'm always so grateful for the body I have. I can walk, run (well, if I really need to, ha ha), see, smell..I have all my limbs and can use my fingers. I'm pretty lucky when it comes to my body. I love my body. And I feel pretty...most of the time. I'm just dealing with the changes having a baby makes to your body. Lots of clothes I have don't fit the same way anymore. There's just personal little things I want to work on to feel good again like I did before baby. Fair enough?

Time. Every minute my mind is on my baby. Which I love spending time with her and taking care of her! It's just that going to the store is no easy 10 minute trip anymore. I can't go to a movie with my hubbie without planning who will watch baby, pumping so Charlotte has a bottle...etc. I give all my time to her and every little nap is precious because I get a few minutes to pull myself together and breath. Time is all for her now.

Motherhood. The hardest job that gives the BEST reward. 

There's nothing like seeing my baby girl smile a big grin. Nothing like having her cuddle up to me and fall asleep. Nothing like watching her learn to hold her head up, follow objects with her eyes, wrap her hand around my finger, learn to eat baby food, play with new toys. Nothing like her smiling when I walk in the room. 

All those things that may seem little?
Make the bad days, like today....
WORTH IT. 

You know what got me through yesterday?
My kids.

Yes, I only have 1 baby at the moment. But I know that our family is just beginning and I know Charlotte and the rest of the little J's are cheering me on and encouraging me everyday. I started writing a journal to my children and future (now) husband when I graduated from high school. I'd write little pick-me ups, traditions I wanted to do with my family, scriptures, dreams, books they should read, etc. I wrote in it like crazy for years-wrote about when I got pregnant with Charlotte...then didn't write again till the day I had her.

Well, I pulled it out yesterday, in my moment of sadness. I looked and saw that Charlotte's birth was the last thing I wrote about. I went to the beginning of the journal and started reading. I was just in awe of the woman writing those entries! She was so positive, SO SPIRITUAL, full of joy and dreams. She was so full of life! At that moment, I couldn't believe I was reading what I had written. Where was that girl?

But as I read, I filled with peace. It was as if this girl was speaking to me. "Remember, this is who you are, Ally. It's right inside of you, still living. You just gotta let it out!" It was as if I wrote this journal to myself; to help the future me when I was feeling low. I also felt my children cheering me on. They helped me last night. It was as if their fingerprints were on the pages of my words.

Then my Savior stepped in.

He knew I had a rough day. He had been watching me all day and saw my pain and tired body ache for a moment of peace. He saw my fears. He saw me want to give up and crawl in bed. And He knew exactly how I felt. He understood me completely without any judgment or hurtful thought.

I felt His love surround me....and I believe we cried together. I wasn't ashamed of my tears. I felt free to let them flow as he caught them for me. And I felt his arms surround me, along with my children.

He healed me last night.
Yes, today was still hard day.
But writing this made me realize
how much He cares about me. 

I feel like He's got my back, 
and giving me tender mercies
through-out the hard moments
to remind me that He's there. 

The Savior can heal you, 
my other fellow mothers-
and any one else out there!

He is always the answer. 
I don't know why it always
takes us so long to go to Him-
But when I do?
I feel like a new person.

Motherhood is hard. But so rewarding, especially when your Savior holds you up along the way. 



Love always, 
Ally J


1.2.14

Charlotte Birth Story Part 2 (FINALLY!)

Getting the IV in wasn't too great, but not as bad as I thought. And getting my epidural wasn't that bad either! I was so surprised at how much easier it was then I expected. The epidural kicked in soon after the anesthesiologist left and I felt NUTHIN'. Like, the nurse had to tell me when I was having contractions. I was beautifully numb and loved it. Chad turned on the game {which I really didn't watch, honestly}, and I chilled in the bed. I sipped some grape and apple juice and relaxed.








Now some behind the scenes info. The day I went into the hospital, my parents were planning on going to Logan to see my brother perform with the AF Marching Band {He's on drum line and SUPER good!}, unless I was gonna have the baby. When I was in the hospital taking the non-stress test, my parents decided to go since it didn't seem like I would have the baby really fast-nor had they said I was staying yet at this point. They got on the road and headed to Logan, planning to head back right after my brother performed.

Well, baby wanted different things to happen. My mom and dad barely stepped on the field and I called and said I was getting hooked up to the IV right then. Ha ha, poor things! They hopped in the car and headed back to American Fork. :)

My Mama was there soon enough and she stayed in the room with me before and during Charlotte's birth. My sister Elise tagged along as well and took pictures for me. I loved having them there for the birth!

Resting with Mama watchin' over me. 

Love my sis!


Before my Mama got there, my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ginger and Cecil came and sat with me in the room. It was so nice to have my family there to support me. They left after awhile and came back once Charlotte was born.

At about 11:30 pm, I started to feel in my left leg. I definitely wasn't feeling the full-on pain, but enough to be uncomfortable and feel some contractions. I had Chad hold my hand and help me through the breathing. He was a champ! I started feeling pressure and more pain in my leg. At about midnight, my lovely and most amazing nurse ever, Deanna, told me it was time to start pushing. They called Dr. Jones and let him know Charlotte was on her way. He said he would be there shortly.

As much as a pressed my happy button (the one that gives me more epidural drugness if I want it) there wasn't really enough time for it to kick in much, so I did feel quite a bit on that side.

Look how swollen I look! Good heavens..



Then Deanna asked me to start pushing.

Oh boy.

This was the hardest part of the whole thing {which it usually is. :)). I mean...it wasn't too bad...I feel like my intense contractions at home were worse...but probably the last 2 pushes were kinda crazy. I felt like I was the screaming lady in the movie, but my mom says I was super calm and put together and wasn't even close to being like that. Goes to show what you're perception from in your head can be very different than reality!


You gotta have a pushing picture.
It shows what mama really goes through!



My doctor came in about 3 pushes from the end. Ha! Charlotte just came super fast once she decided to come. We realized that her head was coming down too low, and was basically pushing again skin {yes, ouch for mama j and you figure out for yourself what I mean..sorry if it's tmi}, so Dr. Jones made a little incision, and soon after......plop!

Baby. :)




This boy just became a Daddy. LOVE this picture.


Mama and Baby.
By the way? My lovely nurse in the background was AMAZING. She was from Arkansas and simply a joy to work with. She took such good care of me!

Look at Charlotte's poor little cone head! Poor dear. 


That moment when they lay YOUR baby on your belly...is just indescribable. I literally don't know how I could say it to convey how that feels. There's the whole cheesy sayings you hear from the movies like, "oh my-she's so beautiful! What a miracle!" But they aren't so cheesy once you've had a baby. I thought all those things! Charlotte was beautiful. She was MY baby. Chad and I had a daughter and the moment she was born and few minutes after seemed like a dream. Just PERFECT.

Charlotte looked up at me and we got to have a little time together. What a moment. All my dreams...everything I had ever wanted was now in my life. :) I was a mother!


They had to take her away shortly after because she wasn't quite the right color and was strugglin' a little to breath, so they took her to do some tests and such. Daddy went with her. I was told later that she had swallowed some meconium either pretty soon before birth or on the way out of the birth canal, so they helped the sweet girl breath and hooked her up to an iv.

I went to my room and got settled and Chad kept me updated. I did want time with my baby, but honestly? It was nice to have some time to relax and pull myself together. The time in my room allowed me to have some time with "me", which sounds weird, but great at the same time. I got to think about what really just happened and that I was now in the realm of motherhood. I remember turning to my mom as she sat with me shortly after Charlotte was born and I said, "Mom, I just did a really hard thing! I gave birth! And I totally made it through it!" It's a cool moment, folks.

Chad took some pictures of Charlotte in the nursery for me and showed me our precious little one. I didn't realize what was going on with her till I saw the pictures. Our sweet girl had wires everywhere and a Nacho Libre/elephant mask attached to her to give her oxygen. The pictures kinda make it look worse than it was. She was totally going to be okay, but just needed some time to settle into life. A doctor came and told me that if things weren't going better they would transfer her to another hospital, but that was very unlikely at this point.




Sweet Baby




Mommy holding baby for first time. :)

Daddy holding baby Charlotte for first time. 

After they took her oxygen mask off.

Perfect Baby


Grandma and Charlotte.

Aunt Leafy and Charlotte. Charlotte was SO swollen, poor thing!


Through all of this, I felt so much peace. I didn't even feel scared or afraid or anything. I knew that my sweet Charlotte was going to be okay and that she had excellent people watching out for her, and most importantly, her Heavenly Father. After we brought her home and I looked back at the pictures, it broke my heart and I felt more afraid then than when it was actually happening. I asked myself why I was so chill at the hospital when I had a baby hooked up to all these different things. But I just knew she was gonna be ok!

They moved Charlotte into the NICU where she was looked after by super great nurses. I started pumping so Charlotte could eat when she got to that point and they wanted me to try to nurse later on that day she was born.

Basically to cut the hospital days short, we sat around and waited for Charlotte to be given the "ok" to go home, which meant she had to be off the oxygen and IV. She was able to come home Tuesday afternoon! We were so excited to bring our little angel home!

Charlotte is such a sweet, happy baby. I love being her mommy and Chad just adores her to pieces. We look forward to watching her continue to grow!

---

Whew, birth story-DONE. :)

{SOMETIME...I repeat sometime, so I'm not overwhelmed about trying to get it done, I will post more pictures of people holding her. :) But for now, I just gotta post this baby! Love you all. )