April 21, 2017

What's in a name?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - naming a baby is hard. Who knew, right?

When I had my twelve week ultrasound with Taylor, our technician said she was 99% sure I was having a girl. Andrew and I struggled with a name, but eventually came up with a girl name we both loved. Fast forward to my nineteen week appointment and, lo and behold, there was a baby boy on the ultrasound screen. Our girl name came to us relatively easy, but we could not agree on any boy name. Taylor was a name I always liked, but Andrew wasn't too fond of gender neutral names so I never suggested it in all our deliberation. One night as we were once again debating names that neither of us liked, 'Taylor' popped into my head so I suggested it even though I was sure Andrew wouldn't like it. To my surprise, Andrew was on board. And luck for us, his middle name was easy because Andrew's middle name is James and I had already decided I wanted to use that for our first son's middle name.

When I found out that we were expecting a little girl this time around, everyone thought we would use the name we had previously picked out with the last pregnancy (including Andrew). Surprise! I didn't like the name anymore. Well, it wasn't so much that I disliked the name, more that I disliked the popularity it had gained. I didn't want my child to share her name with 10 other girls in her class. Andrew tried to convince me, but I wouldn't hear it. So back to the drawing board it was. Neither of us liked the names the other would suggest - we couldn't agree on anything.

Over the summer, we visited Pine Valley where Andrew's family has a long pioneer heritage. We learned a lot about Andrew's ancestors and heard lots of interesting stories. I started scrolling through the Snow family tree on familysearch.org and I came across Olive Bleak Snow. I had always loved the name Olive, but Andrew wasn't the biggest fan. When I pointed out that his great great grandma was named Olive and after reading some of her life experiences, Andrew was sold. We had finally picked the name! As for her middle name, we went with Blake. I always told my older brother Blake jokingly that I was going to name one of my daughters after him since his name is gender neutral. When I saw that Andrew's great great grandma was named Olive Bleak (pronounced Blake), I knew it was fate. She would be named after her great great great grandma on Andrew's side and after her uncle on my side.

Me and my older brother Blake.
In Olive's baby blessing, she was told that Heavenly Father had picked this name for her so she could embody the wonderful characteristics of the one who had come before her with the same name. I have found many stories about Olive Bleak Snow that are fascinating and I plan on recording all the history I've found to give to my daughter to hold close. Below is just one small sample of her life: 

Olive Bleak Snow with husband Joseph and son Rex.
Olive Thompson Bleak married Joseph Smith Snow on March 22, 1894 in the St.George Temple. Their first babies were twin girls, Pearl and Ruby, who both contracted polio. Little Ruby died at seven months old, and a month later, Pearl also passed away. Olive was heartbroken. Someone by the name of Sister Kemp told Olive, "Take comfort, Olive, you'll have another set of twins who'll be a great comfort to you." Olive never forgot this. She went on to have a son named Rex and a girl named Inez. Five years after the twins died, Olive had her prophesied twins, Glenn and Grant (the former being Andrew's great grandpa). After the twins, she had one more daughter named Rosemond. 

Left: Olive and Joseph 
Right: Olive and Joseph with their children Grant, Rex, Glenn, and Inez in front of a house that Erastus Snow built.
At 62 years old, she died due to an explosion at a well in Saint George, Utah. A special service was held for Olive the following Sunday where many expressed love and appreciation for her and the wonderful life she lived. Her sister Rose wrote, "She was a wonderful sister, mother, wife, and friend; never too tired to go to help anyone in need or in trouble. I never heard her speak ill of anyone and when others did, she would say, 'If we were in their place we might have done the same, or if we knew them better, we would not judge them'."

I'm so glad that Andrew and I were able to find a name that not only we love, but also means so much. It fits our daughter perfectly and I can't wait to see her carry on the legacy. 

April 3, 2017

A Two-Rannosaurus Rex Birthday Party

On Saturday, we had a quick get-together with family to celebrate Taylor turning two today! I kept it simple and decided to serve cinnamon rolls in-between General Conference sessions. As far as decorations, I slapped a couple of party hats on Taylor's dinosaurs, drew on the chalkboard, and made a garland with pictures of Taylor. It was a fun little party and Taylor seemed to enjoy himself. He loved opening presents and he even blew out his candle to my surprise.

I can't believe that it was only two years ago that I became a mother. The joy I've experienced and life lessons that have happened in just two years doesn't seem possible. Thank you for making me a mom and being my best little buddy. Happy 2nd birthday Mr. T!

March 13, 2017


Dear Olive,

On 2/25/17, your father gave you a name and a blessing. I wanted to record a few things that were mentioned:

+Heavenly Father has picked this name for you so you can embody the wonderful characteristics of the one who has come before you with this same name. (I plan to do a blog post soon on how we picked her name.)
+Your life will not be without challenge, but as you grow older, you'll develop the same capabilities, power, and spirit as your ancestor
+You will have a love of the gospel, a beautiful understanding of the scriptures, and you'll be a powerful advocate for the gospel.
+ You will find a worthy man to accompany you to the temple so you may enjoy an eternal posterity.
+You have already endured a challenge in life (being in the hospital with pneumonia) and you showed great fortitude throughout that experience. You will be a great example to your siblings in the way you handle adversity.
+You will be an excellent teacher, and all of your siblings will look to you on how to behave and treat others. You will be very similar to your mother in the way she cares for others.

My little Olive, never forget how loved and supported you are!

PS - I have to give a shout-out to my Aunt Patti who took my wedding dress and made it into the most beautiful blessing dress. I plan to use it with all my girls. If Olive is my only girl then hopefully she'll use it for her daughters.

February 6, 2017

Mom Guilt

Last month was hard in the land of parenting. I'm sure you're tired of hearing me talk about how sick we've been, but that's all I've been dealing with. Most of January looked like this:

It all came to a climax about two weeks ago when I had to take Olive to the hospital. I think this was the first time I had to seriously wrestle with mom guilt. I mean, of course I've experienced it a few times before, but to a much lesser degree. There have been days where I think I should have gotten down on the floor to play with Taylor more, or that I shouldn't have been on my phone as much. All the times I've felt that guilty nagging, it's only been slight offenses and nothing that made me feel like I was a horrible awful mother with no hope for recovery. I think for the most part I'm pretty good at realizing I'm doing the best that I can and give myself credit for keeping my kids alive and happy.

So back to experiencing my first real mom guilt. My poor little Olive had to be admitted to the children's hospital with a case a pneumonia. Thoughts like "Did I expose her to people too early?" and "Should I have caught this earlier?" raced through my mind. When they repeatedly stabbed and poked her with needles to try to get blood samples and an IV started, I almost vomited. My tiny 5 week old was being held down and screaming her little infected lungs out as blood seeped out of each failed vein. "Was this all my fault she had to endure this?" "She must be thinking that I abandoned her under these bright lights and am letting these strangers torture her." I almost felt guilty for bringing her to the hospital and subjecting her to all these tests and needle pokes. There was an entire 24+ hours were I wasn't allowed to feed her because the doctor was afraid she might aspirate the breast milk. Olive was so hungry and whenever she looked into my eyes I felt so much guilt. She had to be wondering why her mom wouldn't feed her. (Side note: When I was finally allowed to feed her, I was so so happy. I didn't know I could be so excited to breastfeed my baby.)

We ended up being in the hospital for several days which then made me start feeling mom guilt towards my first born. Taylor had been in the care of others while Andrew was at school and I was in the hospital. I hadn't seen him the entire time Olive was there. "Taylor is probably feeling so neglected." "How can I parent two children if I can't balance my time between the two right now?" It may seem silly, but you start thinking crazy things when your sleep-deprived and stressed. 

I had to step back and realize that:

1. We were all sick. Taylor was sick. Olive was sick. I was sick. We all were suffering and that makes it hard to see things as they really are. I was more easily stressed. The kids more easily cried. This was not a normal day/week/month.

2. I was running on zero sleep. With both kids being sick, I was up most of the night with them. Plus I had a newborn who needed to eat throughout the night. For almost a week, I got about three hours of sleep. The night I brought Olive into the hospital, I didn't go to bed until 6:30 am and then got up for the day an hour later. One hour of sleep while dealing with pneumonia is not ideal. No sleep means being closer to an emotional breakdown.

3. We were still adjusting. Olive was only 5 weeks old. That means I had only been a parent of two for 5 weeks. I needed to give myself a chance to get used to my new reality of a newborn that needs to be feed around the clock and a toddler that isn't use to mommy taking care of anyone but him.

I guess the moral of the story is that mom guilt is real and ugly and destructive. Realize that voice inside your head that's telling you you're not a good mom or you're failing in your role is lying to you. Parenting is hard and you are doing the best that you can. If the kids are happy and safe and know that they're loved then you are rocking this mom life.

January 11, 2017

Surviving Two Littles

This is the first week I'm on my own with both kids. Andrew went back to school on Monday after being home for four weeks on his winter break. We really lucked out with Olive arriving during his time off. Andrew was able to be on Taylor duty while I fed Olive around the clock. 

With school back in session, it's just me in the parenting trenches. It hasn't been too bad so far, but there is still some adjusting we're all doing. I'm trying my hardest to make sure Taylor is still getting enough attention, but sometimes it's difficult with a crying newborn who wants to be held all the time. It's a good thing she's cute, even when she is refusing to be put down. 

I've been trying out a few things to make juggling two kids easier. The biggest lifesaver so far has been our Nesting Day carrier. I had tried out a few carriers with Taylor, but wasn't able to find anything that I loved. Having the Nesting Day carrier this time around has been a game changer. I can wear Olive close to me and still be hands-free while playing with Taylor. (A little disclosure, I was given this carrier in exchange for my honest review. And I'm being honest when I say that I love it!)

There have been many days when the only time I can accomplish anything is with Olive in the carrier. She instantly falls asleep, especially when we're skin-to-skin. This carrier is actually designed to be worn to increase skin-to-skin contact. That means you wear it like a t-shirt (if t-shirts had kangaroo pouches), and baby wears nothing but a diaper. 

Before having my own babies, I never knew there were actual, scientifically proven benefits to skin-to-skin. I could try to list all the pros of it, but I found this quote on Nesting Day's site that does a much better job explaining the benefits: "Wearing our skin-to-skin newborn carrier boosts oxytocin levels and lowers cortisol (science talk for more love and less stress), and increases prolactin, for better milk production and greater breastfeeding success. It also promotes healthy attachment and bonding, because the nesting days are when these begin. Newborns need help regulating their own temperature (since they aren’t in that cozy womb anymore!), and mom or daddy’s skin is the perfect heater for their tiny bodies. Finally, our carrier aids in learning baby's cues, so feeding, sleeping and awake time can be more fully enjoyed."

Of course, the carrier doesn't have to be used only for skin-to-skin time, it can also be worn over clothing when out running errands. It has already come in handy while I was shopping at Target and when I had to drag both kids along to see the pediatrician.  I probably wouldn't have survived those solo trips without it. 

If you're on the market for a newborn carrier, you can use code SNOWSTORMBLOG to get a $5 discount. You can also choose to pre-order a carrier for shipment in 4-6 weeks and that will knock an additional $10 off. That means all you pregnant mamas can order in advanced for a total discount of $15. If baby is already here and you want your carrier asap, you can choose to ship it immediately and still get $5 off with my discount code. Click here to check out their website.

And any veteran moms reading, what are your must-have products that help with juggling multiple little humans? Share your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us in the comments below!
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