Monday, January 30, 2017

Finding Ways to Help

Blogging on Sundays has already added a fun shift in my perspective. It's a time to evaluate the parts of my week that I want to remember, which helps me naturally see what's important in my life and what just doesn't matter. I want to be better at not sweating the small stuff and really living intentionally and mindfully. 

Here's an update on each of us:

Is a first year resident, enough said. I just don't even know how he works the hours that he does. Watching the kind of dad he is even through his crazy schedule has just made me love him so much more. He usually doesn't get home in time to see Westin, but on the days he does it makes that little boy so happy. And even though Michael is exhausted and usually hasn't had dinner yet, he just plays and plays with him and loves just being with Westin when he can. He'll try and get a quick bite but "Come on, dada!" always wins out and he's over at the box of legos or the train set soon enough. His sister Rachel and her husband Spencer visited us from San Francisco this weekend and we had SO much fun with them. I love having visitors so much. We went to Woodward Park, celebrated Rachel's birthday, ate Cafe Rio, laughed a lot, and ran around in circles. (Do you know the song Running Around in Circles? It makes life happier.) Michael also put new wheels on my double stroller this week so our daily walks are back in business and he just cannot comprehend how much I love him for that. Moms need strollers, people.

I spent my first evening away from Bennett this week (5 hours!) when I went to a meeting for the women who attend my church and then out to dinner with friends after. As in, burgers and fries at 9pm and I realized I have no idea when the last time I went out at that time of night was. Michael and I have been on three dates in Fresno but they have all been during the afternoons when Westin is taking a nap, and I didn't even know how weird it is that I haven't gone out at night in so long until I was out at night. Anyways. Mom life. My women's meeting was all about minimalism in the way you spend your time and I loved it. President and Sister Nelson spoke and it was memorable. I have also felt really consumed by wanting to get involved in my community with my little family in the ways that I can. My heart aches for refugees right now and I want to do what I can from where I am at. I posted on Instagram/Facebook (post below in the pictures) looking for ideas from friends and I LOVED the responses I received. 

Here are my goals to become INVOLVED instead of just informed:
  • Pray every day to know what it is that I can personally do to help others that day, and teach my boys to help others.
  • Remind myself to "Lift Where I Stand" by reading this talk each month.
  • Download the JustServe app and look for opportunities each week that I can do with my boys.
  • Talk to my Relief Society president about getting involved with the I Was a Stranger program specific to my city.
  • Make actual calls to my representatives to voice my opposition to or support of policies; I'm going to sign up for Daily Action text alerts and act on those that I agree with. 
  • Finally start a project that has been in the works with one of my best friends from home. We have been wanting to combine her art with my writing for a while now, and we feel like now is the time. This is the one I am most excited about!
  • More to come, send me ideas!

I'm writing these out to make my goals feel more tangible, and for my own accountability. Thank you to everyone who gave me great ideas about how we can help others and be involved!

Also, I watch way too much Grey's Anatomy. That's all the update from me.

Is so dang fun. And such a good eater. He eats everything we eat except maybe zucchini. His favorite thing to do is to pretend to cook, and he's always "making soup!" Recently I've started to really try to find ways for him to help make dinner and I'm amazed at how much of an even better eater he is if he's involved in making the meal. He used to not eat any spinach but I cut some up and had him put in each little leaf into a pot of tortellini soup, and when we ate dinner he kept stirring around looking for "Westin's leaves!" and ate them all. Same thing with mushrooms the next night. It's so much fun to do more and more things with him as he gets older. He was sick this weekend so we missed church, and I realized then that we have had a very healthy winter (knock on wood...). He's randomly obsessed with "berries" -- either from trees on our walks, or these little felt balls that he hot glued onto a felt Christmas tree in nursery weeks ago. He ripped them all off and they've somehow lasted for weeks and he needs to hold "berries" when he takes a nap and goes to bed. He has a surprisingly accurate inventory of which colors are around and where they're stashed, and he loves to put them into the holes of his Duplos and then make me go get my tweezers to get them out. Just a random obsession of his for the books. We had our first dinner of PB&J sandwiches in front of the TV when dad was at the hospital late one night, and in that moment I thought, "Yep...this is what I pictured residency being like sometimes. But we're doing it!" So, I'm not ashamed. And Westin loved it! Just go read the spinach story again if you're judging me right now.

Has become so strong this week! He will roll over soon I think, and he has had enough of being put into his bouncer seats. He arches his back over and over until he slides on out of there. Full disclosure here, he was sitting in his bouncer facing Westin (he's always happy watching his brother) while Westin was watching a show, and mom was cleaning the bathrooms. (The bathroom detail is a true story, I'm not just trying to save face here.) I heard Bennett fussing and came back in the living room and he had bounced his little way out of the chair onto the carpet and was facedown. All while Westin was just watching Little Einstein's happily. After I rescued Bennett and felt sufficient guilt I kind of laughed and realized that Westin really is so much littler than I give him credit for these days. He's had to grow up a lot in a short amount of time since we had a baby. I tried to explain to him that next time baby is face down on the ground I'd appreciate if he could notice and come tell Mama. I'm not too sure that has sunk in... sweet Bennett, we love you. In all fairness this same thing did happen to baby Westin once, too, so don't feel picked on! Little Benny is still waking up a lot of times each night, but he has started going to bed awake without crying the last few nights and that's a huge milestone for me. I'm not very patient with getting babies to sleep so it inadvertently turns into early sleep training and intermittent crying-it-out even though I never actually decide to do those things. I just don't know how to not do those things? He's so smiley and we love our baby Bennett so much.

We loved FaceTiming grandparents today, I am so happy that my kids have the grandmas and grandpas that they do. Family is the best! Here are some photos from the week:

Post: The biggest worry I had before becoming a mother was the fear of putting my heart out there that much. I have always had a hard time shaking off sadness or not dwelling on heartbreak that I witness or hear about or experience. I knew having my own child(ren) would intensify that beyond comprehension.

Fast-forward to two kids and my fears are as justified as I expected they'd be, but of course it's worth it. But combine that with the current political climate and this sensitivity has felt almost paralyzing. Now this love I feel for my children translates into every heartbreaking story that finds me in this ever-smaller world -- "What if that was Westin? What if Bennett experienced that?" And I know that's a universal feeling but that doesn't lessen the individual experience.

So today I've determined to stop letting this sensitivity translate into only fear and sadness, but action and resolve. I believe Jesus Christ wants me to try to internalize the experiences of my brothers and sisters in this world and let that fuel my efforts to love them. Instead of feeling infinite sadness about wondering what it would be like if I couldn't get my babies into a country they were safe, I am going to take time to mother not just my own babies but do what's in my power to help children who are experiencing exactly that.

I need help finding ways to help. What can we do? I know I need to call representatives daily to voice my contempt for barring refugees. I know I can donate to the ACLU. What else are you doing? What can I do to help?

I just can't feel like an observer anymore. Honestly my efforts to "be informed" feel completely inadequate in relation to where things are actually going now and I want to DO something. Besides write a much too long post that still feels like it doesn't convey what I desperately want it to.

So, send me your suggestions. I want to know there are things we can do and that good people are doing them. 

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