One For The Books

Today was definitely one for the books. I finally have my feet up.

I’m sitting here with my hair wet, wrapped up in a towel, feeling so drained mentally, physically and emotionally. I spent today doing the obvious mom duties, of course trying to take care of myself in between. It started with Sam pooping in the bath tub this morning, and ended with him vomiting all over himself and me just before bedtime. My hair dripping. Literally. Not spit up. Vomit.

I feel exhausted. Oddly enough I got 7 straight hours of sleep last night (that’s a record)! But, I can’t decide if it would have been better if I never tasted the sweetness of that uninterrupted sleep, because I know that probably ain’t gonna happen again anytime soon!

My mind won’t rest. Maybe that’s why I’m blogging right now.

I recall the day. Sam crying as I try to work out in the morning. Every time. Then I’m prepping for a soup I need to bring to a church activity tomorrow, in addition to making two dozen delicious chocolate cupcakes. Of course, they had to be homemade, because I’m a cupcake snob like that. I fight the temptation to sink my teeth into just one of those suckers, because one never hurt anybody! But I said I’d make two dozen, and two dozen minus one is not two dozen. But they look so good… Oh well. They look better when they’re not on my hips.

Amidst the “to-do’s” I try to keep the house clean. No, not clean. Perfect. Everything in just the right place and not a smidgen off. I’m not exaggerating. It’s kind of awful. And then I realize I’m a little crazy because I’m running in circles just to clean what will become messy all over again when Sam wakes up and needs to eat or play.

The perfectionist in me has really started to get annoying. I’m working on it people.

Sam naps. My mind still won’t rest. My only down time is his down time.

I try and remember all the things I need to do because, of course, I forgot to write it down. Whoops.

The grocery list. I can’t even pull one together. It’s like writing an essay with writer’s block. Forget it. I’ll do it later. So I move onto our Halloween costumes… what will we be? Or what about Sam’s first birthday party? Agh, I gotta start planning. I get on Pinterest to figure it out. I get sidetracked because the mindlessness of it all feels so good. Sam wakes up. Welp. Guess I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

Seven months into this mom gig and I’m still figuring it out. Figuring out the balance, if such a thing even exists. Figuring out that it’s okay to have things be a little messy, that it’s okay to let Sam cry a little while I finish things up. I’m figuring out that it’s okay if he isn’t on a rigid schedule or hitting milestones when books say he is supposed to, and that it’s okay if I don’t get cute until noon. It really is all okay!

Deep breaths. Woosah.

This week (for whatever reason) this keeps repeating in my head… “I make plans and God laughs.” I feel like this is so true for me. At least that’s how I picture it. It’s kind of comical really. I certainly didn’t think this is where I would be at this time in my life, but I sure am thankful.

Another testament to me that God’s plans are greater than my own… His ways higher than mine. Always.

Sam’s Updated Nursery

We started preparing for Sam’s nursery before he was born, and for whatever reason, I thought it was a good idea to buy brown furniture. I think brown can look very beautiful and is very gender neutral, and I guess I didn’t want the typical white..? I don’t know. But after a few months I got so sick of looking at it and how small it made Sam’s room look.

Enter white paint.

I painted his dresser, mirror, shelf, bookshelf and crib. Oh, and got a glider for free and reupholstered and painted that sucker too. So here are some before & after photos

Before

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After

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Besides the obvious of the white paint, we put Sam’s newborn photos in his picture frames (which will soon be swapped out with our family photos) and we have a storage bench on the right side of the room that holds his blankets (or whatever we want it to hold)

Before

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After

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Here, there is the new glider, a new lamp I bought shortly after Sam was born, a new changing pad cover (because I think you should always have at least two of everything with babies), dresser knobs, the shelf rearranged and curtains swapped out with ones we had in our living room

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Up-close of the dresser knobs

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Up-close of the glider

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And of course, the best accessory to this nursery. My little fatty boy playing with his toy box (upcycled and stained wine box)

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Everything is just a little more simple and clean. The white really opens things up, which is great when you live in a basement unit with almost no natural light. The idea was to have a white and gray nursery with pops of color. Again, gender neutral, but a lot less dreary and crowded! It makes my heart sing!

My Love Affair with Fall

I love Fall. Kind of obsessed with it actually

The sunny, crisp days that are perfect for the park

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Leaves changing and falling

Watching the act of leaves falling is a really magical thing. It speaks to my soul

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Picking up pumpkins and squash. Sam’s 1st time!

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(Ignore the fact that I look like a vampire)

Subtle decorations when space is not your friend. #condolife

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Fall flowers

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Fireplace lit, or I guess I should say ‘fireplace turned on’ hehe

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The season where it gets a little colder, so we snuggle a little closer, drinking hot drinks by the fire, smelling baked goods and counting our blessings. This is the life.

Family Photos

We had the opportunity to get family photos done when Sam turned 6-months and conveniently enough, he learned how to sit up all by himself, literally the day before. It made for a couple really cute photos. Anyway, here are some of our favorites (some are duplicates of color/black & white). Much thanks to our family photographer Brandee Leafty Photography (also here on Facebook).


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Classic major spit up all over Sam, mom and her boots in the middle of photos. Had to capture the memory but this doesn’t even look bad!

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You would have never known that this sweet face was tired and ‘grumpy’ the entire photo shoot

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Catching Up

Remember that time I actually used to blog? Haha, yeah me neither ;). I’ve definitely not blogged as much as I’ve wanted since Sam was born, which is kind of a bummer because I love writing, but duty calls and life on the home front comes first of course.

So here’s a little summation of the last few weeks:

Let’s start off with our road trip to Utah. One of our best friends got married a few weekends ago, and it was so wonderful to be there. He has been one of Kasen’s best friends since the beginning of college and after being with Kasen just about 4.5 years, it’s obvious Greg and I would become well acquainted. He is a great guy, a loyal friend, and an overall good human being. Over the years he has become like a brother to me, and we call him ‘Uncle Greg’ to Sam. Anyway, it was amazing. We drove down on Wednesday night right after Kase got off work and drove as far as we could before we called it a night. We made it to the edge of Oregon, about an hour from Idaho.

Here was our late night party animal at 4 a.m. when we made a stop overnight. I swear he can’t miss out on the fun. But as long as he is happy, I really don’t care too much.

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In between Sam’s sleep, I would change and feed him. Then during the day I would take him out to play during gas stops. He was such a stud. He did amazing.

We decided to drive because I could barely handle the anxiety of flying and not knowing how Sam would do. He did great on our trip to Cali this past summer, but I was the crazy on our flights! I’m still not the best at letting Sam cry in public. I still get weird about it. (Shhh, I know, I know, it’s not a big deal. I’ll get over it. Some day.) So, naturally a roadtrip was a much more comfortable option for me. Oh, and about $400 cheaper. Worth it on every level.

It also reminded me of the good old days of when Kasen and I would frequently drive to Washington or Colorado for the holiday breaks, family reunions, etc. It was a time to talk, to plan, to dream, to reconnect, and I felt like we got to do that again with our cute little bug in the backseat. Kind of surreal. Speaking of good old days, as we pulled into Utah and drove through our old stomping grounds, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. It was kind of an interesting feeling because I was so antsy to get out of Utah and get back to Washington! But I think more than anything it was the fond memories we created as a newly married couple and college students, and meeting up with friends and family that missed us and cared about us! We stayed with my sister-in-law and her family, and they had a great, simple little apartment. Again, back to those fond memories. It made me miss the simplicity of my life just a year ago. Or even when we first got married, when we lived in this ‘dumpy’ place that I really made into a home. It’s kind of a running joke in our marriage and those close to us. But I gained even more respect for myself for living in those circumstances.

In hindsight, the happiness is all the same in comparison to then and now. We definitely have a nicer place, a nicer car, just nicer ‘things’ now in comparison to when we first got married. But these ‘things’ haven’t made us any happier per se, because we allowed ourselves to be happy even in our meager circumstances as newlyweds. That was a great lesson to me that happiness really is always there as long as I permit it. A great lesson for me because it is too easy to be influenced by the consumer culture in our country.

A fascinating concept to me regarding this topic is the hedonic treadmill. Check out the link. Bigger is not always better people! Which brings me to my next, most recent fascination, tiny homes. Oh. My. Goodness. Watch the documentary called Tiny on Netflix. So cool. I am just in awe at how practical and efficient people are! If they can live, eat, sleep, cook, whatever… in under 200 square feet… then I can definitely deal with my 700 square foot apartment. Talk about inspiring.

So back on track, we got to see Greg and his new wife Karly be sealed for time and all eternity in the same temple we were married in about 3 years ago and that was so special. It’s the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. Isn’t it beautiful? Truly a place of peace and complete happiness.

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Later that night we went to the reception and as soon as the dancing begun we headed out on our way back to Washington, which was a total bummer because I love dancing! But it allowed us to get home early Sunday evening.

Anyway, here is me and my sweetie pea in his slacks, button up + bow tie. I love him and his chubbiness.

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So we got home, and picked up our puppy (Oso) from my mom’s house. She was dog sitting for us. Anyway, right as I walked in, I saw my girl and she looked thinner, and my mom said she hadn’t eaten much the last couple of days and thought maybe she missed us. So we brought her home, and she remained sick, vomiting, not eating, barely drinking water and continued to get weaker and weaker.

The next day after we got home, I got extremely sick with the flu, and of course Sam caught it too. I can’t remember the last time I was that sick. I woke up literally soaked in sweat with a fever of 102, horribly achy, exhausted, congested… you get it. Luckily for us, Kase caught it after we were on the mend. I’ll definitely count that as a blessing. Otherwise, if we were all sick at the same time I think I might have died. It was really hard being so sick with a baby to care for too.

Then we all eventually got healthy again, except for our pup. We took her in to the vet and it turned out she had an unknown mass or blockage in her abdomen, her white blood cell count was high and her gallbladder was failing. She would have to undergo invasive surgery but wasn’t guaranteed to live through it, and even then… money isn’t growing on trees. I mean we just had a baby, Kasen is going to grad school here shortly, we are living off one income and we are saving up for a home. Surgery for a puppy was not in our plans and couldn’t be in our plans. So we watched her wither away until I couldn’t take it anymore and we decided to put her to sleep. It sucked. So bad. I cried like a baby as I held her and comforted her when they gave her the medicine. Even now my heart still hurts and yearns for her. My heart is really soft sometimes, it’s a blessing and a curse. It hurt a little more too because Sam and Oso loved each other so much. I’m just glad Sam is too young to remember what happened.

On the topic of love, I’ve been ruminating over the concept that it hurts to love people. Or things. Puppies even. And I have this thing about guarding myself so that I don’t get hurt. And for a short time in my life it made me hard inside. But marrying Kasen has helped me become softer again. Anyway, it dawned on me that I’m not loving enough if I don’t experience a healthy degree of vulnerability. Because if I don’t, I am withholding parts of me, and that means there isn’t complete trust in myself, in my spouse, in God etc.

Just my own thoughts. Take it or leave it.

This past weekend, we were able to sit at home and watch General Conference via a live broadcast. This is where we hear from our church leaders, amazing men and women who share inspiring and uplifting messages that encourage me to improve and be a better person, a better wife and mother. In case you’re curious, there are a plethora of talks you can listen to here.

Anyway, in between all that, I have spent my days with my family, my mom and sister, my own little family, the day to day duties of cooking and cleaning, projects around the house, caring for our Sam and playing with him, spending time with Kase at night, going out on lunch dates with old friends, making new ones, visiting Kase for lunch when he’s at work, etc.

I’m always occupied. I never understand when I hear people say they are bored. There is too much to do to be bored. With all there is to do, my happy time of all times is at night with my guys. Just after bath time, right before bed time, we read scriptures and say prayers as a family, we read Sam his cheesy little books and give lots of kisses and lay him down for bed. These are the moments where I drink in the absolute goodness of my life. These simple moments fill my heart and soul to no end.

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Samuel: Seven Months

The months keep whizzing by, I almost don’t know what to do with myself! October is already here, which means Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are literally just around the corner. More of Sam’s “firsts” which is always fun.

So here’s my little handsome, and what he’s been up to:

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Getting sick with the flu bug

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Finally getting over the car seat hatred

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Being cute

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Being skeptical. He’s started recognizing people he does and does not know and his reaction is quite funny. So this was him at his doctor’s appointment…

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…and this was him giving in and breaking a smile for Dr. Gan

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He is 19.5 lbs and height/weight above the 95th percentile

He is crazy in love with bath time, his toys, the bubbles, the jets, splashing like a maniac…

He smiles at our kitties and always reaches to squeeze them and pull their hair out

He passes toys from one hand to another

He is happy to sit on his own and play for a while, which is a little bit of heaven for me so I don’t always have to wait until his nap time to get things done

His mobility and easy going personality make him so much fun

We are still teaching him to eat solids. He has tried and liked even more foods like sweet potatoes, plums, avocados, and garbanzo beans. He does not dig texture in his food yet like brown rice, steel cut oats and ground turkey. He starts gagging and closes his eyes really tight and shakes his head. It’s really funny. So we’re working on that

He’s still trying to learn to crawl. He does the motions fairly well and sticks his butt up in the air but can’t crawl well yet

He kind of says ‘da-da’

He loves gargling

His bedtime is typically around 7:30 p.m. which is amazing for Kasen and I so we can get things done or spend time together before we go to bed. But Sam definitely still wakes up to eat every 3-4 hours which I’m fine with because I get weird about him sleeping too soundly. SIDS is freaky.

Oh, and have I told you we finally transitioned him to the crib? It happened quite naturally. He would nap in there throughout the day, and now we have him in there at night too. I sleep much better now that I’m not waking up to every grunt or movement.

As for me as a mom, I’m still learning. I definitely feel so much more confident as a mom, but there are always days where I forget something. For example, I left his blanket at home on our way to church and getting him to nap was nearly impossible. How could I forget something like that after doing this for 7-months? Who knows. So, I used my cardigan to swaddle him up and he was out like a light. Definitely still learning.

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Other than that, he is wonderful as ever and I’m still crazy obsessed with him.

Pearl #05

I’ve been in a funk about life lately and these inspired little messages always jump into my inbox at just the right time.

And sharing is caring. So here you go.

Create some healthy space for yourself. Sometimes you are just too close to the puzzle to see the big picture.  You need to take a few steps back to gain clarity on the situation.  The best way to do this is to simply take a short break – a breather – a vacation – and explore something else for a little while.  Why?  So you can return to where you started and see things with a new set of eyes.  And the people there may see you differently too.  Returning where you started is entirely different than never leaving.

Accept the truth and practice being grateful for what is. To let go is to be grateful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and helped you learn and grow.  It’s the acceptance of everything you have, everything you once had, and the possibilities that lie ahead.  It’s all about finding the strength to embrace life’s challenges and changes, to trust your intuition, to learn as you go, to realize that every experience has value, and to continue taking positive steps forward.

Forgive with all your heart, as often as necessary. Forgiveness is a constant attitude of choosing happiness over hurt – acceptance over resistance.  It’s about acknowledging that we’re all mistaken sometimes; sometimes even the best of us do foolish things – things that have severe consequences.  But it doesn’t mean we are evil and unforgiveable, or that we can’t be trusted ever afterward.  Know this.  Sit with it.  It might take time to forgive, because it takes strength to forgive.  Because when you forgive, you love with all your might.  And when you love like this, a heavenly, healing light shines upon you.  This forgiveness – true forgiveness – brings you to a place where you can sincerely say, “Thank you for that experience,” and mean it with all your heart.

Concentrate only on what can be changed. Realize that not everything in life is meant to be modified or perfectly understood.  Live, let go, learn what you can and don’t waste energy worrying about the things you can’t change.  Focus exclusively on what you can change.  And if you can’t change something that’s upsetting you, change the way you think about it.  Review your options and then re-frame what you don’t like into a starting point for achieving something different in your life.

Make the NOW the primary focus of your life. Now is the moment.  The past is just a memory.  The future is a mental projection.  You can choose to dwell back in the past for learning and joyous reflection.  You can choose to dwell in the future for visualization and practical planning.  However, any time your awareness floats away to the past or future frequently for negative purposes, you are suffocating your ability to thrive in the only moment you ever have… the NOW.  Past and future literally do not exist right now – feel the freedom in this truth.

Embrace your quirks, your mistakes, and the fact that life is a lesson. Life is a ride.  Things change, people change, but you will always be YOU; so stay true to yourself and never sacrifice who you are for anyone or anything.  You have to dare to be yourself, in this moment, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.  It’s about realizing that even on your weakest days you get a little bit stronger, if you’re willing to learn.  Which is why, sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your trouble and hard work isn’t what you get, but what you become.

From Marc & Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living 

Samuel: Six Months

I always dreaded Sam’s 6-month birthday. Here’s how it went in my head… “When Sam is 6-months, he will be halfway to a year, which is almost one year, and that is so old!”

Silly, I know. But I’ve cherished his baby days so much that I’ve found myself dreading watching him grow, which isn’t good either! So, I am constantly reminding myself it is okay for him to grow up, because there is still so much more to look forward to.

Here’s what he’s been up to:

He learned to sit up just before he turned 6-months

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He is very talkative and particularly expressive with his tone and his eyebrows (can’t you see?)

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He is pretty good at eating solids now and loves blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and carrots (if they are sweet enough)

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He loves bath time. He loved it as a newborn, hated it shortly after, and is back to loving it again. It is probably one of my favorite times with him. It was the sweetest thing when he learned to splash, and so much fun to watch his reaction to bubbles, being sprayed by his bath toys, etc

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He loves books. He loves looking at, and touching them. And of course he loves trying to eat them

He loves his toys, the rattling, the squeaking. He loves throwing them around. It is so adorable and hilarious

He laughs a lot, but it is so easy to make him laugh

He loves watching and touching our cats and dog

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His sleep has improved dramatically too. He used to fight sleep like nobody’s business, but now I can lay him down by himself with his sleepy sheep and some music and he falls asleep by himself. Hallelujah! It used to be such an ordeal to get him to sleep. But anytime we are out somewhere, he’s back to fighting sleep again. He’s all about the party haha

He is practicing crawling and gets better and better at it. He can move towards something he wants, but the motions aren’t easy for him yet

Since when did he become so mobile?! Totally a bittersweet.

Our Orcas Island Retreat

I’m sitting outside on our patio writing as the sun goes down and the day is cooling off. It’s quiet. I love it. Sam is napping.

It’s a rarity these days, the alone time, the quiet time. And although I wouldn’t trade the craziness of my life now for the world, I absolutely miss the down time that actually felt like down time.

So, moments like these I cherish.

I literally sit down and force myself to drop everything. Every crazy thought, every seemingly important ‘to-do’ and soak it all in. I breathe deeply and fully experience the goodness of life, because in those moments, life couldn’t get better.

True story.

And if I don’t force myself to enjoy them, chances are, I’ll be a maniac for the next whirlwind of blowouts and puppy potty training mishaps, which just so happen to occur at the very same time, far too many times.

Can a girl get a break around here?

So we went whale watching in Orcas Island this past weekend, and that was dreamy. And we stayed overnight in a yurt, which was surprisingly romantic. I mean, how many people can say they have stayed in a yurt before?

Of course, the trip was too short as always, but wonderful nonetheless.

Oh, and I should probably ask, do you even know what a yurt is? Because I sure didn’t.

Allow me to explain. It’s a whole lot of awesomeness. But really, it’s a portable dwelling. A glorified tent, if you will. So we kind of went camping, without going camping.

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It was the cheapest place to stay, for under $100 on Orcas Island and booked extremely last minute. Nothing short of a miracle if you ask me.

There was no electricity, which I think is oddly romantic, a candle lit dinner of sandwiches, a fire in the fireplace built by my rusty boy scout, and a chatty baby laying happily on the bed as we enjoyed one another. I felt so happy. So happy my heart literally felt like it was bursting at the seams.

It definitely wasn’t the glamour of the yurt that had me happy. Glamour did not exist there! What made me happy was spending time with the two people I adore more than anything on this earth. And again, one of those moments where I had to force myself to soak the goodness of it all in.

As our long day ended, we laid in bed together with only the light of the fireplace, Sam fast asleep. I told Kase I didn’t want to go to bed because that meant our trip was over and I didn’t want the happiness to fade. But I realized, the happiness is always there, it just manifests itself in those quiet moments. All I have to do is allow myself to slow down enough to enjoy them.

Other photos from our trip:

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DIY Baby Food

DIY Baby Food

carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb vegetables (of your choice)
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock (and other seasonings of your choice)
  • 1-2 bananas
  • olive or coconut oil
  • breast milk or formula (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Bring 3-4 cups chicken stock to a boil
  2. Add vegetables and let simmer for about 20 minutes (or until soft)
  3. Drain vegetables, then add them to a blender
  4. Add 1-2 ripe bananas, depending on how sweet you want it
  5. Add a little splash of olive or coconut oil
  6. Add breast milk or formula (again, optional)
  7. Blend it up and you’ve got one week’s worth of baby food

You can even do something as simply as pureed fruit + breast milk

Sam started eating solids within the last month and it has been quite the experience. I love it. A lot actually. It is a bit more challenging than I thought it would be, but it is so much fun to watch his personality come out as he learns to eat.

I decided a while back I would make Sam’s food for a few reasons. Here’s why:

  • Although baby food is relatively inexpensive, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost
  • I know exactly what he is eating, you know, none of those ‘fillers’ in commercial baby food
  • I can tailor his food to the foods and spices we eat as a family, allowing him a wider range of flavors like basil, garlic, ginger, etc.
  • I know that what he is eating is fresh and healthy
  • And it’s satisfying for me

Does this mean I don’t allow him to eat store bought baby food? Heck no. Because I totally think those can be tasty and nutritious. Additionally, not everybody has the time or desire to make their baby’s food. No big deal. But just in case you wanted to try it, there you have it.

It’s really not as time consuming as most people might think. It cooks while I am on the move, then all I have to do is blend it. Easy peasy.