Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dolls and Tomatoes

One day I had Amelie shopping at Target, and I thought I'd stop by the dolls aisle just to do some preliminary research for her birthday. We have recently learned that she is in love with everything baby, doll and especially baby doll. When we got to the right aisle, she could not contain her excitement and joy. She almost jumped out of the cart. OF COURSE I could never capture her face just right, but let me tell you she was in love! You can at least see her impatience to get the dolls, and unwillingness to let go once in hand. (I have since given her her birthday present of a doll early, cause she just loves it so much!)

I have acquired a humongous amount of tomatoes, and was trying to wash and sort them one day so I could make them last. I guess I didn't notice that one had rolled onto the floor, and I thought I heard a big bite like from an apple or something. I looked down to see my little munchkin holding that giant thing in her 2 hands, taking big old bites of it. You may notice she also has tomato goo on her face, hands, running all down her shirt and pants. But it sure was adorable.

Man she's cute.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Opening the Heavens

I have been wanting to write this blog for sometime now, but life always gets away with me... or from me..? I feel... exposed writing more personal things like this in my blog, but always love reading similar things in others' so I'll go for it.

Anyway, a few months ago, I came across this talk in a friend's blog. It is entitled "Opening the Heavens" by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi in the August 2009 Ensign (an LDS magazine, for those of you who may not know.) For some reason, I felt very strongly about reading it and did so right away. It was all the things I had been looking for at this time in life, and some I didn't even know it. First, a very brief synopsis. The article talks about starting your day with a sort of devotional. This includes: Rise Early, Exercise a few minutes, Make yourself clean, Get ready for the day, Go to a quiet place, Kneel in prayer, Wait for inspiration (study scriptures/talks, ponder problems.) The promise is that if you do these things, you will feel the love of God more powerfully, be more in tune with His Spirit and have the heavens opened to you daily.

So, as I said, this was exactly the thing I had been needing in my life, and on various levels. I have been (my whole life) spotty with reading the scriptures, for example. I always respond to a talk or thought about scripture study, renew my intention to make it happen and then fall out of it shortly thereafter. Another one-I have been much more lazy this pregnancy for a few reasons and have tried and tried to get a regular exercise program going, but nothing successfully. I also just felt constantly tired, and as a result, more crabby in general. I never got quite as much done in the day as I'd liked. I never had any me time.

The wonderful, wonderful thing about this simple program is that it has more than met every single one of these unfulfilled needs in my life. I have been doing the "program" daily these past few months and have had amazing results. I now get up at 7:30 every day (I know-not "Rise Early" according to some of you, but it is early for me who has an infant on the verge of toddler and am almost 5 months pregnant.) I start with about 20-30 minutes of exercise (depending on how sore I am from previous days' exercises.) This might be yoga, a series of exercises from my pregnancy books, or a prego video. I then get ready for the day, then go out to the living room and say prayers. (Amie is still asleep, and Jeff is just going to sleep, so I have the whole quiet house to myself.) I have recently picked my personal scripture study back up during this time, but started by rereading every talk from April Conference before this past weekend's conference. (My stake issued a challenge to do so-it was so beneficial for me, too!) Now, I either have to fit breakfast into "Get Ready" time or eat while I study, cause I can't make it the full hour/hour and a half without food-Alisa's a hungry girl these days!
Some of you may recognize this as quite similar to the missionary morning regimen. The thing that has worked perfectly for me, is that it is structured but not strictly regimented. You know, I get to do whatever exercise feels good for that day, I can study talks or scriptures, and I don't always keep to that order of things, but do get them all in every morning before my little lovie gets up and takes my attention.

Now, to expand on the benefits that have come to my life. Of course, one of the best and most obvious has been the return of regular scripture study to my life. For some reason, I have always attempted to do this at night, and it just never keeps. Reading in the morning, I never miss a day, and I am alert and retain more since I have already gotten going that morning.
Rising early-since starting, I have given myself a bed time of 10:30-this is really no stretch. (Jeff leaves for work at 9 and Amie goes down at 9:30-although I'll be late tonight, cause this blog is longer than planned!) I straighten up the house before turning in, and still get a good half hour of winding down time to putz around however I want. If you noticed, this is actually 9 hours of sleep I'm getting every night-just what a pregnant woman needs. I am not nearly as tired or cranky as I was before-trying to stay in bed til the last second, catching every possible second of sleep, willing Amie to take naps so I could, etc.) Of course, she still wears me down, but I feel much better.
Exercising and getting ready-this has not only given me the wonderful benefit of regular exercise, but the surprise benefit of just feeling good when I start my day, dressed, awake, fed, spiritually fed. I get SO MUCH more done around the house each day. I have plenty of time to play around, run errands, read, veg with a movie-all after cleaning up the house and taking care of my daughter. It feels really great!

I am a little apprehensive about how I may continue this when little Alisa joins our family-at least for the first 2 months or so. It has not even been difficult so far to keep up the wonderful routine, but I know this wonderful girl will throw a wrench in it. In the meantime, I'm working hard to make it an indispensable habit in my life and know I'll have the Lord's support when I get there.

Now, I could keep going on, but I'm not sure I even want to read all this, so I'll close. I'm very grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows what we need when we need it most-even little things. I encourage you to read the talk and see if it doesn't fit your life.