Wednesday, January 29, 2014

INSPIRING WOMEN {Hillary Messer}

One night I was up late while my mind just exploded with ideas and thoughts. I kept thinking about all the women in my life who have inspired and up lifted me through their trials, challenges, and happiness. Each month throughout 2014 I will be doing a segment on women in my life that are pretty much kick a** women.
The first lady that came to my mind was my amazing sister Hillary. She has been through a lot. She is a military wife who has spent many months without her husband, gone through infertility, the adoption process, and she is currently dealing with raising a son who is on the autism spectrum. Through it all she has found strength and great blessings. She has taught me how to make the most of your struggles and deal with life one step at a time. Through all of her challenges she has managed to find such great happiness in the world around her. Love you Hill!

Q & A

Q: What did you experience/learn while Brett was deployed? What has the military done to your relationship with Brett and your kiddos?
A: While Brett was deployed to Iraq for 18 months I learned a lot. The most important thing was never taking each other for granted and that has really helped our marriage over the last 12 years. I learned that I am very strong, I'm thankful for his service and I'm especially thankful for what it prepared me for. I've had a lot of trials but I know I can handle them because I handled my husband being in harms way everyday. 
Brett gave me a puppy before he left named Liberty and I'm so thankful for her. She really helped keep the loneliness away and she slept with me on Brett's side of the bed...where we slept until he came home. I don't want to go into details but there were phone calls where I hung up bawling because I knew Heavenly Father had protected my husband from certain death, and there were times I got no calls for days because the phones were shut off due to deaths and it was horrible wondering if I would ever hear his voice again. My faith was tested and magnified. 
It's a lot harder having your husband in the military when you have kids. I love the example Brett is setting for them but it's also hard on them. They don't understand the separation. They love face-timing him when he is gone and kissing the phone. I'm proud to be a military wife and am really thankful that our kids have that example of service in their lives!

Q: How did infertility affect your marriage? How did Brett handle it?
A: Infertility was definitely our next big trial, but it was also a huge blessing. It was hard and emotional when everyone around us was having babies and it was especially hard on Brett because he felt like he had let me down. But I never felt that way because I had always wanted to adopt. It was still hard on me but I wouldn't change our fertility problems because I have the cutest boys that were placed in our arms by the two most beautiful and amazing "tummy mommies"!

Q: Tell me about the adoption process. How long did it take? Was it difficult? What was the most emotional thing about it?
A: The process of adoption can be quite lengthy I've heard... but it wasn't too bad for us. We zipped through the paper work and had it turned in faster then anyone they'd had before! I think just because we knew it was our family plan! It took 6 months for us to get our first son, Raife and then 2 1/2 years to get our youngest, Taevin. Taevin's adoption was a lot harder because it's really hard to get babies through LDS Family Services... apparently we were really lucky to get Raife! So after 2 years we decided to list with two private agencies, we had a better experience with private but you pay the price for it! With Raife we had five birth mothers pick us and unpick us. With Taevin we were shown 2 times with one birth mom deciding between us and someone else, after talking to us she picked the other family:( You don't realize when you start the process that you are putting yourself on display to be judged and the rejection is VERY hard. About a month after that we got the call that Taevins mom had picked us! It was beyond hard being told 27 times that we were not the parents for those babies but it all went out the window when we were finally picked! Both our boys were worth the wait. When we first saw them both it was like, "hey, I know you!" Immediate recognition, I knew they were supposed to come to us!

Q: Tell me about Raife (5 years old).
 Tell me about Taevin (2 years old).
A:Both of our kids have their own set of challenges. Raife is on the autism spectrum, so each day is emotional and hard for me, and him. He is struggling a lot right now, mostly in social situations because he doesn't understand whats socially appropriate. But, he is so loving, sweet, and thoughtful. He is very funny and loyal; he loves his family and Jesus. 
Taevin was premature and born with a breathing problem that he is still struggling with. He's not been a very good baby, he cries all the time and doesn't sleep well. But when he is happy his eyes twinkle and his smile lights up his entire face. He is my cuddler, he's stubborn and loves to jump on and off everything! I'm surprised he hasn't  broken his leg yet! He is in speech because at 2 he doesn't say a single word...I can't wait to hear his voice! He has such a cute tone to his laughs and grunts!
Both our adoptions are considered open but Taes is more closed in my opinion. We really wish both our boys had open adoptions. Raifes has been wide open since the beginning, we see both his parents and talk to them on a regular basis! We love it and love them; we consider them a part of our family! Taevins mom only wanted pictures and letters...I wish it was more like Raifes because we enjoy knowing them and think it's been good for Raife. I worry Taevin will be sad he doesn't have the same type of adoption.

Q: Looking back over your life thus far, what stands out the most?
A: Trials stand out the most for me because they always represent a turning point for us...where things seemed so terribly hopeless but some how they were turned into our most precious blessings!

Q: What advice would you give to someone planning to adopt? What advice would you give to families considering joining the military?

A: When adopting I would tell someone to always think of the Birth Mom and the sacrifice she is making for you. Don't turn your back on her once the baby is here. Adoption is hard but it has the most amazing reward. I don't think you can witness a truer act of love or selflessness on this earth then adoption.
I am a big advocate of the military so I'd tell anyone to receive amazing blessings through service!

I am so grateful that Hill wanted to be apart of this little series on my blog. She is such an amazing person who has found things to be grateful for even in the darkest times. If any of you are struggling with fertility problems, military problems, or raising children on the autism spectrum feel free to contact Hill at She is someone who will be able to relate with you and give great advice!

Hill, Raife, & Taevin...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

bath time love.

One of my favorite parts of the day is bath time. Em has so much fun splashin and swimmin around. She is like her mama when it comes to water, she LOVES it. Which makes me really happy:)
enjoy a little bath time vid with some chinese tunes on this wonderful tuesday!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's talk about sex...

Yep, thats right. Let's talk about sex, AND marriage. Chance and I had the opportunity of going to a marriage symposium in our stake this weekend and it was amazing. The topic that really stood out was the different way men and women are about sex. Sex is a hard topic to talk about. It is different for each person and each couple. All too often a "healthy sex life" is based on the way the world sees it. The world would also have us believe that marriage ruins sex. It becomes boring, uneventful, and predictable. Studies show that that is a myth. Google it! You will find so many articles about how married people have more sex, better sex, and more varied sex. People don't want a one night stand, they want to find someone that is committed and loves them. SO sorry world, you lose once again. Marriage is what people should strive for in order to find happiness and great sex lives;)

Now, it gets more challenging when you add kids into the mix. As a stay at home mama you are tired, your self-esteem has dropped to the floor, and sometimes you are just plain cranky! Sometimes the last thing you want is sex. You don't want to tend to anyone else's needs because that is what you have been doing ALL DAY LONG. You want someone to hold you and rock you to sleep for a change. A deep sleep, not the half hearted way you have been sleeping since the day you gave birth. This then becomes a vicious cycle because what men desire is physical intimacy. They are more productive, more loving, and more attentive when their needs are met physically. Women are also better at those things when their needs are met. The issue is men and women have different needs, but usually with the same end result. If that makes any sense, wink wink. The speaker gave a perfect example...Men and women want to get into the same room they just often need to take different doors to get there. He then related men, women, and sex to an image that I couldn't find but this is the same idea...

He related men to the top image and women to the bottom. I would say it is a pretty accurate metaphor. I laughed when he pulled it up. It is funny to me when you really think about how different men and women are. Men are ready to go at the flip of a switch. Women take more time. It is more complicated. It's physical, emotional, and spiritual. Women need to get in the right state of mind, and it is hard for them to clear their mind of other things that are going on. Like constantly wondering if they are going to hear a crying baby right at the wrong moment;) Now, I'm not saying that men don't relate sex to an emotional and spiritual experience they just don't need to go through the motions that women need to. Flip the switch and he's good to go!

Sometimes I wonder what went through God's mind when he created us. Good joke God! I'm sure he is getting a kick out of watching us try to live together through our many differences. I do know that he had reasoning for the things that he did though. He is much smarter than you or I. One day we will better understand our differences and His reasonings for creating us the way that he did.

Obviously during this symposium I related to the part when he talked to the women. But I fully listened, and learned from what he said to the men. If we don't put our husbands needs before our own why in the world would our husbands do that for us? It makes it sound kind of selfish but it's true. If you want something from your husband, step back and think about whether you are doing those kinds of things for him. I know there are times when I have been frustrated because he didn't even understand why I was upset, or why I was acting upset. Um...Brenna, he isn't a mind reader. Anyone else guilty of that? I am constantly thinking in my head that he should know. I would know if he were sad or upset. Well, that's where we are different. Guys don't think that way. They are direct and straight forward. Tell it to them straight and they understand, make them read your mind and they won't. It's that simple. Too bad it's not THAT simple. Marriage takes work. Understanding a man takes work. Understanding a woman, even for women, takes more work! 

What I have decided to do in my life is first, take care of my husbands needs, second take care of Emry's needs, and third take care of myself. Yes, that sounds exhausting and yes I know that at times it will be difficult. But, I know that if I am doing all I can to take care of Chance he will be doing the exact same thing for me. He will help me with the things that I am taking care of and vice versa. With that little decision our lives will be better, less chaotic, and will run more smoothly. I want you to know that I am not an expert on marriage, sex or anything I just talked about. These are just a few thoughts that have been running in my head this afternoon. 

Alright, that's enough about that. Enjoy your weekend all!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spring in January

Lately the weather here in freezing Cedar City has been to DIE FOR. Em and I have tried to take advantage of all the sunshine and go on lots of walks. Yesterday we even got to go on one with Chancelor, which is extremely rare due to his busyness. I loved walking around, enjoying the weather, and talking about life. There is something about being outside that really makes me feel good. That is why I need to live somewhere warm year round! I'm a much happier person when I am not cooped up all day. Emry does better when we get out of the house as well. Like mother like daughter.

Enjoy Spring in January Cedar folk:) and enjoy some stroll photos...

^ Here is a little clip of Em enjoying play time in her room. I'm in love with her. ^

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thoughts on Motherhood

MOTHERHOOD: challenging, amazing, indescribable, exciting, confusing....that's what I think of when I think of motherhood. Before having a child I had no idea what being a mother meant. I thought I understood it, I definitely didn't. You just can't understand it until you become one. You have no idea what it feels like to love someone that much. You also have no idea what it feels like to give up your world and completely devote yourself to your child's needs. It is an amazing and scary feeling. The vulnerability that is felt is terrifying and exhilarating.

Lately, Emry has been teething which has been causing her to wake up a lot in the night. That has been hard. I seriously become a different person at night when I am tired, and delirious, and just needing a break. I get frustrated with her and she smiles at me, which makes me feel worse. This is not a post meant for complaining. I actually want to try to keep this a positive space for uplifting and healing. I am saying these things not to vent but to reach out to someone who might have the same challenges. My challenge is not a teething baby but being an impatient mother. I am my own challenge. I want to be better, more patient, and more loving even when all I want to do is sleep. I know many parents have it much worse than I do and that is why I am grateful for my situation. I just want to be better.

In church a couple weeks ago we had a lesson on mothers. It was amazing and so up lifting. They talked about the challenge of being a parent and how most mothers at some point or another feel they are failing. I know I feel that quite often actually. I know I could be better, and I want to be better, it is just so hard to fix all of your faults. In the class they showed a "mormon message" from the LDS website. It was wonderful. I related to it on so many levels, and it made me feel so much better. Later, as I watched it again it brought tears to my eyes. It is so reassuring to know that I am not the only one that gets down on myself, and to know that Heavenly Father is right beside me helping me on my path of motherhood. Watch it. If you are feeling the challenges of motherhood or you just want something to bring you the spirit, it will help you.

Being a mother is also completely different then being a father. The challenges that are faced as a father are different than the ones mothers face. Chance just recently started the MACC...Masters of Accountancy. This has definitely brought on a new challenge (for both of us). I can handle being alone with my little lady all day, but it is extremely difficult to be alone with her at night. Yes, he is home but not really. He has to shut himself in the office for hours and hours of homework. Normally it's relatively easy because Emry is a great baby, just not lately. Of course, as soon as he starts the masters degree Emry decides to start teething. Children are unpredictable, and that is something I have had a hard time getting used to. Some nights her and I have a lot of fun, and handle it just fine. Others I am so worn out and in need of some me time. Those are the nights that become difficult and all I want is Chance to come out of that room. But, when he does I feel even worse because I know he is taking a break from homework which means less sleep for him. Let's just say I have an amazing husband. He works full time, is in the masters program full time, and is a full time husband and father. I know that what I am going through is challenging, but I also know that what he is going through is more challenging but in different ways. He has to stress about getting good grades, bringing home the bacon, and taking care of his crazy wife:) He does a dang good job, I tell you what.

Even though this new chapter in my life has been challenging, it has also been so rewarding. I know that I am doing the Lords work. I know that raising a family in the gospel and teaching our children to be a good people is something that we can't do alone. We need to turn to others and to God to get strength in times of weakness, and comfort in times of sadness.

My favorite part of my day is going into to Em's room to get her from her nap. She is always making the cutest sounds and she greets me with the happiest smile. It's almost a smile of relief. Relief that I didn't leave and her mama is still there. I also enjoy taking long walks with my little one. I am one that can't be cooped up for too long so getting outside always makes me feel better. I enjoy so many blessings each day, and I am in constant awe of the world around me. I am grateful to my loving Heavenly Father who has given me so much, more than I deserve at times.

Life is different than it used to be. It is full of more love, challenging moments, complete confusion, extreme happiness, and exhaustion. I'm alive, happy, and healthy. Who could ask for more?

I'm not sure if any of this made sense but I would love to hear your thoughts on motherhood. What are your struggles and challenges? What are your blessings and favorite parts of your day? Being a stay at home mom can be lonely sometimes so lets help each other by relating with one another and sharing up lifting things.

My favorite Emry moments as of late....

 ^ playin with mama and daddys rings ^

 ^ finally getting a little hair ^ 

 ^ we love killing some free time by walking down to the studio to visit uncle Karl ^

^ trying to be like dad with her calculator (boring!) ^