September 26, 2015

When I started thinking about how hard some people have it and how blessed I am, tonight I realized I really don't want for much. I am married to a wonderful, hardworking, faithful man; I have healthy, creative, outgoing children; I'm able to bear children at all; I am healthy myself, I have the gospel of Jesus Christ; I have a happy home in an interesting place; I have the money and food and clothes I need. (I could go on.) I am so blessed. I don't struggle much. But then I am reminded by the spirit little things (well, big to me) that I wish for deeply, things that bring tears to my eyes and physical pain to my heart. They are real. But so much hope comes to me from remembering my blessings, from being able to pray to God, my Father. He is real. 
"This life is not the time for all blessings. Many will come in the next life.
Christ will wipe my tears away. 
Someday there will be no more pain. 
God created us to have joy." 
-Elder Uchtdorf of the 12 Apostles 

I want to choose happiness now, see things positively, and see what is in front of me. I want to pray every day, in gratitude and because I need help and to show my children that I need and trust God. 



September 18, 2015

Alison's Cabana Boogie

I know I've talked about this but I wanted to document it in my blog. So I've followed this woman, The Alison Show on Instagram for a while. She is from UT, a pro party planner, talented, hilarious, popular, etc...but the difference w her and so many other "famous bloggers" is her level of honestly and realness. I don't envy her, I want to PARTY WITH HER. I just love her. 
Well, she was having another event in salt lake and I realized.....oh my gosh, I'm moving to salt lake!!! So without too much thought, I bought a ticket. Then it came down to it and i had moved just weeks before, missed my friends and family, didn't know anyone who would be at this thing...and was a little intimidated. Ok. A lot. I was super scared. I was like praying in the shower, give me confidence, somehow!!!!!!! Well...I had one of the most amazing nights of my life. Collin watched the kids and I got ready and headed out. 

This is me, about to drive there. I felt good but nervous. I kept thinking...who cares if no one likes me. I can't help that. 

And here is the line. I was so intimidated....and then the best thing ever happened...the two girls in front of me in line just turned around and started talking to me!!!!!! They were so nice. They were best friends and had grown up together. One was newly married and the other married and with a daughter Hattie's age. They were in their early 20s and still wanted to be my friend!!! Hehe!!! Well they made the night awesome because we partied and danced our hearts out and laughed so much. 

It just goes to show....talk to people. Be friendly. You never know who you're going to meet or how you will effect people. 
The night was so fun and the whole thing was just amazing. The concept of having a party for women just to bring people together and have a good time is so cool. Alison, you rock. You're amazing. The tickets were so inexpensive and you worked so hard so make this an awesome night for a regular old human like me. 
Alison was just so normal and approachable and cool. She was talking to everyone and cracking jokes and man, could she get down on the dance floor with that cute baby belly. 





Fun empowering night, pumped full of confidence to do anything. It's so good for me to have a night away now and again. Not too often though. I got home to this and was so happy.  

Art class

There's this amazing kids art program at the Salt Lake library. It's a free class every week where the kids learn about art and art history and then do w project based on the work of an influential artist. This teacher is amazing. I mean they are for real learning about Impressionism and expressionism. 
Freddie has never been one inteested in sitting down and coloring. But he loves the social learning environment and structure. 
And Hattie, my little artist can't get enough of crayons, pens, markers, paint..anything she can get her hands on. "I want color the pen!!!!!!" All the time. Every day. So this class is great for them both in different ways. It is so wonderful to see them thrive and just watch them, concentrating and learning. What a therapeutic release!!!





One of the women who attended Frederick's birth shared her postpartum story with the world and has opened up a discussion about PPD. I wanted to share my PP story.

I birthed my son in the quiet calm of a birth center. Everything went well, we learned to breastfeed, and I made it through the typical challenges. 
A couple of years later, I had my daughter. I had a healthy pregnancy up until 39 weeks and then had high blood pressure. It never came down and I went all the way to 42 weeks. I was transferred from the birth center to a hospital, was so scared and stressed, but gratefully before I was to be pumped full of scary meds and induced, my daughter came, on her own, without any medication! Then My blood pressure was taken care of. I know to was the right thing for me to go to the hospital and I still had another magical miracle birth and healthy baby. 
We nursed easily. I felt blessed. 
And then we got home. I did not have confidence that I could be a mother of two. I started feeling very guilty that my daughter had the stressful birth she did. It was incredibly hard to take care of a newborn and toddler at once. I felt alone and defeated. I didn't feel like I belonged in the birth center community anymore and because I was transferred to the hospital last minute I had no ties there and I just felt like I didn't belong anywhere. I didn't realize until later how vital the support I got from the birth center after my first birth, was.  I didn't go to any of the moms groups, breastfeeding cafe, etc because I felt I didn't belong. Sometimes I felt grateful and sometimes I felt like a failure. I will never forget the first time I was left alone w both kids. I felt completely incapable. I had a nervous breakdown. 
Eventually things got easier and turned around. (Gradually, over about 6 months.)
One night in Phoenix there was a huge storm and my husband and I lay awake for hours, watching in the dark and talking about everything with the birth. We rehashed everything, what we would do differently and the same and our feelings and reality. It helped a lot to get it all off my chest and feel validated and feel like I wasn't in it alone. 


More stories and info at postpartumconfession.com

September 8, 2015

Lines

Today we were laying in bed and I was blowing raspberries on Hattie and Fred's tummy. They wanted to on mine too and again asked about my stretch marks. "What are those?" so innocently, honestly. I answered that they are my stretch marks and I love them because they came when I grew Freddie and Hattie in my tummy! We laughed and talked about it more. I told them they started off teeeeny tiny and then grew, and grew and GREW AND GREW AND GREW!!!! "And we POPPED OUT of your tummy!!!" Added Frederick. Hehe!
Yes, I said!!!! So I love them and I love my squish belly and my hips and changed body because they brought me you. 







September 6, 2015

First day of fall weather!!!!!!

Yeahhhh!!!!

My talk in church last week, Capitol Hill 1st Ward: Sacrament observance in the home.

I learned so much from being asked to speak on this topic and wanted to document it here. I was so intimidated to speak in our ward full of scholars, senators, general authorities...but I know Heavenly Father gives us power to do the things he asks us to do. 


Good morning my name is Nikki Smith and my family moved into the ward two weeks ago. My husband is Collin; we've been married for almost 7 years. He's from Florida and I'm from Phoenix. We met at an institute Halloween dance in fl while I was there visiting cousins. We feel in love. I was living in PHX and he decided to go back to BYU to finish school. We dated lost distance for a while then got married in the Mesa Temple. We lived in Provo, and then Washington DC, and then back to PHX, where we have spent the last 4 years. That's where our two children were born, Fredrick will be 4 next month and Harriet is 20 months. We are a family who loves our home but we also love being outside and around other people and having adventures. We moved here for my husbands job. He works for the church doing social media strategy for seminary and institute. It's a little scary starting over and not knowing anyone or the area but we love it here. I love being so close to the temple and church history. We know this is exactly where we are supposed to be. 

My talk today is about---
Sabbath day observance in the home 

In a recent article in the church news, Elder Ballard of the 12 Apostles said that with the input from women leaders of the Church, “we felt that it was urgent that we strengthen the faith of our people. The world seems to be getting a little …more difficult…

A committee was formed to focus on the issue and one of the results is that leaders of the church are telling us that we can strengthen our faith by observing the Sabbath day with greater purpose. 

-we are to rethink, refocus how we spend our time on Sunday. 

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, general president of the Primary, shared one of her ideas...she said she sees the importance of holding sacrament meeting first. “From a mother’s perspective, it is so important. Children are fresh. And as we prepare our families, husbands and wives or single parents—any parent who is preparing their family to come to sacrament meeting on Sunday—that preparation happens … before we leave, before we walk through the door at the chapel, and it happens in the car sometimes on the way.”

I will agree with that statement. I believe a big part of being able to keep the sabbath day holy is preparing in the home before hand. 

While preparing this talk, I have felt the spirit so strongly testify to me that my own habits on the Sabbath day need to be rethought and refocused. 

We try and we have good days sometimes but we can do so much better. 
Too often the scene is that we we wake up late because we are tired from doing too much the day before. we have to rush to get the kids ready, bathed. we have to get ourselves ready and feed everyone and as we are rushing out the door grab some books and stuff for the kids and maybe some snacks. 
If we are really late or stressed sometimes we snap at each other a little bit.  We get to church and try to get a seat before it starts.  The kids are kind of wound up now and they want to run around. This is no way to start a day of worship. 

I don't know if better preparation will change my kids having lots of energy and wanting to run around in church but I think we will show a better example and there will be more calmness. I want to commit personally and I want to challenge you all to commit to prepare at home for better Sabbath day worship of our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. I really believe that it will strengthen our relationships w them and that we will be more open to personal revelation and to what we can do to be happier.  

I need all the help I can get. I have my own struggles right now, one of them is also one of my greatest blessings. I am a mother. I'm in charge of two of heavenly fathers children.  With every awesome new milestone comes a new hurdle to overcome and as they grow up they become more aware of my faults.  I just want them to grow up and become normal human beings who are loved and able to love others.  and who know that the Gospel Jesus Christ is true and is the way to eternal salvation. I love being a mom and we have so much fun.  I have times when it scares me and I worry so much. I need that extra boost of deepened spirituality and closeness with my savior that the sabbath brings.  I need to think of him and what he did for me and how what he did makes everything ok. I need to be obedient so that I can be blessed. And I need a rest from the rest of the week. 

 preparation in the home is key, whatever that means for you. 

For me it means getting everything ready the night before, probably including breakfast. 
It also means making sure that our evening doesn't end too late on Saturday so that we can get to bed on time and we can be cheerful and energetic on Sunday morning.  

So let's talk about the rest of the day...

Elder Ballard said:
We’re hoping that home activities will be more centered on learning and knowing more about the life and ministry of the Savior and the great plan of happiness that our Heavenly Father has given us to live by.”

We have a small amount of specific council on what to do and not to on Sundays but other than that we have to decide for ourselves how to best worship on this day. 

For the Strength of Youth suggests spending quiet time with your family, studying the gospel, fulfilling your Church callings and responsibilities, serving others, writing letters, writing in your journal, and doing family history work. 
Sister Wixom adds- "what we do should be in connection to Him and for Him. But that doesn’t mean we can’t load our children in our cars and go visit grandparents or family or relatives. It doesn’t mean that we can’t take time to laugh together.” 

I think that's so important. The sabbath should be a happy day where we really rest from our cares and we focus on the Lord and our families! Pondering the atonement will help us forget our worries. 

Sabbath day observance is probably going look differently for us at different stages in our lives.
At this time my husband and I are away from both of our families so we spend a short time on Sundays Skyping w them so that our kids can keep the connection with their grandparents and cousins as much as possible. We also have a great desire to develop relationships in our ward family and want to get to know all of you. 

We have young kids so we need to usually do something that's creative or that can get energy out ...
We talk about what we learned in church lessons, and read the friend and ensign together.  
We love music in our family and we know it can bring us closer to God. It is a form of worship. and it's a great way to keep kids interested

In the first presidency preface to the hymn book it says,
"Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music.
Ours is a hymnbook for the home as well as for the meetinghouse. We hope the hymnbook will take a prominent place among the scriptures and other religious books in our homes. The hymns can bring families a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity among family members.
Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones.

This morning I was up before the rest of my family.
Instead of going to the usual social media sites  I went to  Los .org. I learned so much! I read about the Indianapolis temple dedication, and the manuals for next year and there were a ton of resources for sabbath day worship. 

They have printable family plans and cards where you can write down ideas and share them together with the family. 
There's an article about One woman who heard president Nelsons talk on making the Sabbath day a delight and desired to be obedient. She shared her experience w counseling w her family about their plan for the sabbath day. Some of the things they came up with together were a special scripture study where Instead of reading a chapter like they usually did, Sunday mornings they would come together with questions they had or topics they wanted to learn more about. She and her husband would focus on teaching their children how to find real answers to their questions through the spirit. 
They also decided to choose a family member or friend they didn't usually talk to and give them a call on Sunday.
And they wanted to make and deliver treats to a neighbor each week to spread love in their neighborhood. 
The last and most important thing they discussed was how to make this all stick. They decided they would each be in charge of one of the activities. One would pick the family member to call, one would gather the family for the Sunday morning scripture discussion, one would choose a neighbor and take the lead on making a treat to deliver. The children all became excited and were invested in the plan because they helped make it. Through family discussion they discovered that Sunday was more than church and naps and it can all be delightful. 

-Things on Sundays won't always go smoothly, but I think the important thing is that we are trying to show heavenly father that Sunday is a special day. 

As I become more intentional and committed in my Sabbath Day worship, I am more aware of the blessings that come from keeping this day Holy and more aware of the hand of God in my life.
I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and that our leaders are inspired by God. I know that God  gives us everything. Everything we are and do and have is because of him and he asks us to be obedient. It shows God that we have faith in him and that he is most important in our lives. 

Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, oolo my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

I say this In the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

September 2, 2015

Honey Harvest

Attended a honey harvest at the Salt Lake City library today. We got to watch the beekeepers and learn about bees and even taste some of the honey comb. It was so delicious. My babes are awesome. 





It was fun having Collin there w us because I got to spend time with each of the kid individually, reading and playing. Hattie is so funny! She speaks in complete sentences and asks questions and tells jokes. Lee loved reading books about trains, different holidays, hugging and kissing, counting, animals, brushing your teeth etc. she sings her ABCs so loudly; the whole floor can hear!! 
Frederick is so imaginative. He wants to meet people and make friends. He wants to play games like tag and hind and go seek. He wants us to join him in all of his discoveries. He sings and looks at books and makes up games and stories. He also loves playing on the iPad at the library. 

Rainbow pancakes kind of morning.

Last Friday Freddie asked for rainbow waffles. Pancakes it was!!! It was actually insanely easy, the kids loved every moment of it without wanting to do much. They were happy to watch (so unlock them!) 
The colors were pretty and it tasted...well...like pure sugar. Fun!