Quite a lot of people comment that Aleks looks "just like Drew!" and I think that is because many of those people didn't know Joshy when he was a baby.  I personally think Aleks looks alot like Josh, and not just because they both have beautiful blue eyes.  I think their noses and pouty faces are very similar.  So today I decided to finally search through old pics to find some of Drew and of Joshy at around 4 months...  What do you think?

(click to enlarge)    
I don't want to leave Jakob out...but since we moved (back in June) all of our albums and boxes full of pictures haven't been unpacked, and I really didn't feel like sorting through all that today.  So, here's a pic that I just happened to have scanned and saved to my desktop...

Jakob - I think 5 months?

 Of course each one of my boys has their own individual look...but it's so fun to see them side by side as babies to see that yes indeed, they all start out looking very similar!  


post-baby belly

Since I "let-it-all-hang-out" in my last post...I figured I might as well do the same in this one...only this time, with pictures. 

Warning, the following images are NOT pretty, BUT they are real.  REALLY ME.

ever heard the term "spare tire?"  well, yeah, I have a FEW.  check out my lumpy back fat.  EWWW.

this is what i see when i look down.  it would make me smile if there was a baby in there...but it's just blubber.    

So...there ya have it.  If you don't live locally, and aren't able to see me on a regular basis, this is how I look.  I'm honestly uncomfortable in my own skin.  Yes, I've had 4 babies and I have zero abs to speak of, but seriously, this belly is huge and I hate it! 

Now, I know you all don't want to waste your time reading about me complaining, and that is not why I'm posting this.  I'm kind of posting this as  "before" so that I'll be motivated to show you an "after" a year from now.  (and maybe some "in progress" images along the way.

A few weeks ago, my neighbor and I started walking (almost every day M-F) and it feels SO good.  I even jogged about 3/4 of a mile one day!  My main problem is eating.  Sometimes I have days where I want to eat ALL DAY LONG.  It's really bad.  Also, it's the type of food I'm eating.  I know you can all relate to this - we've all been there and most of us have a life-long battle with trying to eat healthy and exercise consistently.

I was reading The Dailey Method Blog today, and came across a post entitled "You Are What You Eat."  Here is a snippett from that blog:

Drink Green Juices: vegetables are the most nutritional part of our diets. Eating the recommended 4-5 servings a day in whole form is optimal, however most of us don’t do that. Therefore what I do is add a green juice whenever I can. In juice form, you absorb the vitamins and minerals quickly while giving your digestive system a break.
Eat Organic (produce, meat and dairy, wheat…) whenever possible, that way you will minimize your exposure to the traces of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that are so prevalent in our food. Eating organic not only benefits your body, but also the globe. See My Potato Project; The Importance of "Organic".
No Fake Food. This includes all processed foods, artificial sweeteners, soda (especially diet) most store bought
cereals, cheetos (duh!), and the list goes on. See "Diet Soda Linked To Weight Gain".
Whole Grains. While we are not a gluten free family, we do moderate our intake of refined flour and try to find alternatives whenever possible, such as: quinoa, steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, sprouted breads. Jamie G. Dougherty, a certified holistic nutritional and lifestyle coach in Berkeley, says: “Whole grains are ideal foods to help combat food cravings and help sustain energy. They are also loaded with chromium and B-vitamins that help balance blood-sugar levels.” Here’s one of her favorite recipes: "Black Bean Pilaf with Cilantro Lime Dressing".
Stay Hydrated. Every single cell in your body needs water. Drinking water on a regular basis definitely helps you look and feel better. I carry a big bottle around with me all day as a constant reminder.
Eat When You’re Hungry. This is an example of listening to your body, which is something you should ALWAYS do. I find my hunger varies from day to day and through the course of the month and eat accordingly. Some days I eat a big lunch and sometimes I replace that meal with a juice depending on my level of hunger.
Enjoy Eating. Focus more on what you will put in your body (make an effort to get your veggies in) rather than what you will not. I won’t deprive myself of something I love. Everything in moderation are words I live by. 

My biggest struggle is the "No Fake Food" category -- AHHH it's so hard.  

HOWEVER, in my desire/determination to THRIVE, I am going to work toward eliminating most "fake" foods from our home/diet.  I also really want to get back to eating the diabetic diet that I ate during my pregnancy.  

I'd like to end on a funny note... 

I can't wait for this post-baby belly to disappear!


I have no lid upon my head, but if I did...

Lately I've been reflecting over the past 2 + years since we made the decision to move to a more affordable/budget friendly home - I mean, APARTMENT.

I knew that we were doing the right thing...the ONLY thing that would help us SURVIVE financially.  And as much as I don't like to admit it, it has been a sacrifice, and a struggle. 

I know now, looking back, that I was depressed...even though deep down, I KNEW that we made the right choice to move.

Evidence of my depression:

I stopped planning/cooking meals for my family.  We started eating fast food almost every day. 

I stopped exercising, and quickly (within 3 months) gained about 30 lbs. 

I was struggling with how to handle Jakob's issues with ADHD/Anxiety/Depression.  I felt completely hopeless as a mother...I didn't know HOW to help my baby.  (This had been going on for a few years...but came to a HEAD when we moved...due to NEW school, NEW situation riding a bus, NEW situation being gone from 7:30-2:15 every day, etc. etc. - the poor kid was having a really, REEEEAALLLLLLY hard time, and so was I.)

Even though we were saving money on rent, we were still barely scraping by...  I was embarrassed and ashamed of our situation.

Because we lived in (and I'm being frank here) an OLD, RUN-DOWN, UGLY apartment, I didn't want anyone to come over...and didn't care if it was a mess or not.

I continued to struggle with my photography business...insecurity isn't good for business...and wasn't helping me progress as a photographer at all.  I felt like everyone around me (in the photog biz) was succeeding and I was just a fumbling, floundering mess...  I felt like a failure not being able to help out financially...

The list could go on...but the point of this post isn't to make you feel sorry for me or whatever, it's just to show you where I've been and what I've been through and how I've grown, and changed. 

Here's what I've learned through it all:

Prayer can give you hope.

I am SO blessed with an amazing husband who LOVES me and our babies dearly...and he is my partner in all of this.  Fat and flabby, messy house, crazy emotions, happy days, bad days, laughing till we cry, crying till we laugh, etc.  I am so grateful I have him.  I know I COULD do it alone (thank you Gillian for pointing that out!) but I am SO thankful I don't have to...

I am so blessed to have 4 beautiful boys...who are so sweet and adorable and who are such good boys...I see the future in them...I am in awe that Heavenly Father would allow ME to be their mother.  They amaze me with their wit and ability to love and forgive me for my weaknesses.  They are my treasures.

I have learned that I DID care what people thought about me...where I lived...what kind of clothes I wore...if I had a nice house...and once I realized that, I hated myself for it.  I realized that I needed to learn from this humbling experience...and let go of pride.

I learned that Heavenly Father loves me and puts me in places where I am surrounded by people who will love me no matter what.  I was given a calling to be the 2nd Counselor in the RS Presidency a few months after we moved in, and as overwhelming as that was at times, I am truly thankful for the opportunity it gave me to learn who everyone was, and to serve them.  Otherwise, it would have been very easy for me to retreat into my home and hide away from everyone.  It forced me to make new friends.

About 7 months after we moved, there was a unique situation where my sister and 3 of her kids ended up staying with us (in my TINY 2 bedroom apartment) for almost a week.  I have a very vivid memory of a conversation we had, where she told me that I was in "survival mode."  I will never forget that...it was like the first of many wake-up calls.  Yes, I was taking care of a bunch of little boys...but I was only doing the basics.  She was right, I was just surviving...doing enough to just get by. 

I've gone back to that conversation many times over the past 2 years, and am happy to say that now, I am not just surviving, I am starting to THRIVE.

So, my word for this year, is THRIVE.  To me, that means I am making the decision to BE HAPPY with where I am...and to BE HAPPY with WHO I am...and to BE HAPPY with my children and my husband.  I want to ENJOY this crazy life and stop feeling sorry for myself.  I want to pursue my goals and my dreams...even if that means I fail along the way.  I want to provide happy memories for my family by making meal time top priority, by making sure they are taken care of and feel loved 100% of the time. 

I am ready to THRIVE. 

Are you?

1: to grow vigorously : flourish
2: to gain in wealth or possessions : prosper
3: to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances —often used with on <thrives on conflict>


happy new year!

we had a fun trip to utah for christmas break... more pics and details coming soon!