Sunday, December 23, 2012

Better late than never...

Three months (written in December)

The babies are now three months old. Happily, I feel like things have gotten a bit easier since about 12 weeks (though it hadn't helped much that I've been sick twice since then). They. Can go a little longer when awake without needing my direct attention, they smile and interact with us more, they are napping a little better most days... Good stuff.

Max is our giggler. It's pretty easy to get him into a fit of laughter by tickling his ribs or tummy. Really it's insanely cute. His smile is so joyful that you feel like the world must be a pretty great place whenever he flashes it at you.

He is easy to get to sleep, most of the time. He likes to be swaddled, suck in his pacifier, and held in his side in the crook of your arm. Give him those three things, and he can usually let sleep overtake him without too much protest.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Almost 8 weeks

This last week has had some hard days. There was one really great day, though, as well. On that day we had some good naps that overlapped, so I got some homeschool lessons in with Zion, plus I made a ton of pizza dough to freeze,and also got some things organized in the house. On that day I thought, "Hey, I might be figuring this whole twin thing out!"

Sadly,that night and the next day reduced me to tears again and made me feel completely overwhelmed once more. Oh, and that terrible day happened to be Halloween. Thankfully my kids didn't need much in the way of assistance with their costumes. I put up a No Candy sign on the door, for which I felt a little bad, but between nursing both babies and trying to settle them down to sleep by myself (David was out with the boys), I figured it was better not to answer than to be really annoyed about every trick or greater who came to the door.


Does it tell you something that the twins are nearly 15 weeks old (I think) and I haven't had a chance to come back to finish this post?

Just going to post it and call it good.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four weeks

(Note:  I started this from my phone on Tuesday, but didn't have a chance to finish it until today.  Today the twins are one month old.)

Four Weeks!!
The twins are four weeks old today. I'm not sure if it feels longer or shorter than that. I've left the house four times, I think, and the babies have been on exactly one outing. There has been plenty of crying, and not just by the babies. My mom was here for the first 11 days and that was wonderful.

While there have been plenty of nights that I've been up for 3 hours solid (sometimes more), I have been grateful that they are sleeping as good as they are, even, as can imagine it being even worse. So that's something.

(Now speaking presently, on Thursday.)

The past few days the twins have taken a nice long 3+ hour nap in the afternoon.  It has been WONDERFUL!  In the morning they seem to tag team being awake/asleep/happy/fussy, so having a bit of time when they are both sleeping contentedly really does feel amazing.  If they keep this up, I might actually be able to plan some scheduled sorts of things on occasion.

Last night Mali slept for about 6 hours straight.  I didn't get to enjoy this same span of sleep, though, since Max was not on board, but it was nice to think that it is possible.

The hardest times (besides some of the middle of the night stuff that happens) tend to be right when we are waking up for the day and around dinner time.  They both are often needy and crying, and as David hasn't usually been around during those times, it feels a bit overwhelming.  The older kids are pretty good at helping as much as they can, and Noodle will even change diapers, but sometimes both babies just want me and I can't get things done fast enough.  I have figured out how to do a bit more literal balancing of two's mostly safe, I think.

Little notes on their personalities/behaviors:
Mali is very often content for extended periods of time just looking around at everything.  She had her eyes open immediately after she was born (even before they cut the cord) and she was looking around at everything.  They say that newborns can only see about 12 inches away from them, but her intent gaze makes us wonder if that is universally true.

When she does get upset, she can go from 0-60 pretty quickly, though, and her most upset cry is so very sad to hear, and she'll sometimes get little tears even.  I think one of the hardest things about having twins is just not being able to respond as quickly as you want to when they are upset.  Knowing that one baby just has to wait while you finish doing XYZ with the other, and listening to the cries is just distressing and stressful.  Poor Mali had a really terrible spell of gas the other day and it took quite a while (and trying several of the "relief tricks" we have before I was able to get her comfortable and calm again.  Her poor splotchy red face with teary eyes afterward were a testament to her discomfort.

We joke that Max kept his eyes closed for the first two weeks of his life.  It's an exaggeration, but compared to Mali's bright eyes, it doesn't seem like too much of one.  Max makes the funniest little faces, often puckering up his lips into an O shape and looking wide eyed and bewildered.  When Max gets sleepy, he likes to be swaddled up, given a pacifier and tucked into his crib.  Often after that he will lay peacefully for a while (as long as 15-20 minutes, sometimes, as long as his pacifier stays in, and even sometimes when it doesn't) and just look around  until he falls asleep.  This is especially appreciated as Mali seems to prefer being held or carried in the sling until she is asleep.   If they both had that preference, it would be really difficult to get them down at the same time for naps.

Max is a big fan of being bounced and jiggled, either in your arms or in the bouncy seat.  During his fussy times, he can often be placated by just moving him more.  He is also a bigger fan of pacifiers than Mali is, though she will take one on occasion.

Though Max only outweighs Mali by about a pound, he just feels so much bigger and "bunchier".  He is a real snuggle bug, though, and a lot of fun to cuddle.  Mali seems to be too busy taking in the world to want to snuggle unless she is asleep.

Both babies stretching after dozing while nursing
All in all, things are going pretty well.  This isn't to say that I don't have tear filled breakdowns periodically, but I feel like things (including me) are stabilizing a bit.  I'm figuring out their different cries and we are all slowly making progress to a routine. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

They're here!!

Our twins arrived safe and sound at 2:39 and 2:46 a.m. Tuesday, September 11th, 2012. 

I haven't had much time to sit at the computer since then, so it took me a while to get this first draft of their birth story together.  Overall, it was a wonderful and amazing experience.  I was so grateful to be able to have them born at home with no complications and with David and my midwife and her assistants.   It seems that standard practice for twin births in the hospital is for the mom to deliver in an operating room just in case the need arises for a C-section.  It was great to feel safe and secure with my choice to homebirth, knowing that my midwife was both confident and competent.

Here's the story of my twins' homebirth: 

It was a dark and stormy night… (Truly, it was.)

My midwife came at about 3:00 Monday afternoon, September 10th, and we started a homeopathic labor induction.  We had tried on the previous Thursday, and the contractions just never got regular enough for it to proceed.  I was a bit nervous that the same thing would happen Monday, but kept telling myself that if it was meant to be, it would happen, and tried to keep the "What if it doesn't?" thoughts out of my mind. 

After she applied the various  oils and such to both my cervix and my belly, I had to lay on my side for 45 minutes before moving around. The oils on my belly, Clary Sage and Sweet Fennel, really smelled so wonderful and soothing.  Honestly, while I knew she had used these same things to start other women's labors, including my own sister's twin birth almost 11 years ago, i still had to squelch some thoughts of "Is this really going to work?"  I think I remember that she said they will only work if your body is ready to get going anyways and just needs a jumpstart. 

I should add here that on the previous Thursday I had been dilated to a "tight three" at the beginning, and was only to a loose three and a half by the end, even though I did have some quite good contractions.  That was a bit disappointing.  On Monday when she arrived and checked, I was still at 3.5/4, and was kind of disappointed that all of my bouncing on the birth ball, walking heavily up and down the stairs, and  bounce-walking around on the trampoline seemed to have been of no appreciable effect! 

After the 45 minutes were up, I was supposed to alternate rocking on the rocking chair and sitting on the birthing stool.  So I did.  David brought up one of the monitors and we watched some Battlestar Galactica off his laptop.  I was using a contraction app on my phone to keep a rough idea of the frequency and length, and they were variable, about a minute long and between 5-10 minutes apart.  Melody left, then returned at about 6 p.m. when she checked and I was about a 5.  She had me taking different supplements every hour, so I was still doing that, and she might have reapplied the oils and whatnot.  (I'm writing this 9 days after the birth, but some of these early details likely wouldn't have stayed in my mind even if I'd written this the day's been eclipsed) 

Melody left again and we continued hanging out, waiting for things to really get going.  The contractions kept coming, which was promising.  David's sister Cristina took the kids for a while and brought them back around 8:30 and got them ready for bed.  Between 9:30 and 10 p.m. the contractions started taking some real focus to get through.  I was listening in one ear to the Hypnobabies track on "Easy First Stage."  I really liked listening to the track as it helped me having something to focus on going through each contraction.      

I spent a while by myself in the bathroom as I found it helpful to be able to lean on the sink counter or brace myself against the walls during contractions. Also, there wasn't much for David to do at this point, and he was playing games on his phone, which I found kind of distracting.  I liked having heating pads on my lower back and a cool washcloth on my neck.  By the time Melody came back around 9:30, it really seemed that labor was picking up speed.  She checked and I was at an 8.  Whoo hoo!  I was really excited and felt that we were for sure on track now.  She called the other midwife, Roxanna, and the attendants.  I'm not sure what time they arrived, but happily Sonya was able to be here again.  She was at both Clive and Leif's births and I really loved how comforting and encouraging she was.  She also has strong hands and arms and was great at applying counter pressure to my back during contractions. 

I was in the bathroom leaning against the counter again and Melody checked and she thought maybe I'd end up having the babies in the bathroom.  At that time I realized I was tired of standing and she suggested I come sit on the birthing stool.  I didn't really want to, I think mostly because I had associations of Clive's birth and the trauma of pushing him out while sitting on the stool, and I didn't feel ready for pushing.  I really had no trouble with the contractions, but was feeling pretty worried about pushing.  I'd been reading about different approaches to pushing, and tried to stay calm and feel like my body was strong enough to handle it.  When the urges to push started, I tried hard to follow the breathing coaching of Sonya (and probably others there) and David.  It was crazy intense, but I didn't feel like I was overwhelmed until it was right up to the time of pushing.  With the births of the other kids, I always felt like I was force pushing more than following my body's natural urges to push.  Melody and crew were all excited because the bag of waters was bulging out ahead of Baby A, and they said I should reach down and feel it.  I've actually never wanted to reach down and feel anything during the births, not even the babies heads, as I've felt like it would distract me from the effort of pushing, so I declined.  Melody ruptured the bag and Baby A slid right into place.  I really don't know how long I pushed…it was so intense and the pressure was incredible.  Moreso than with any of the other births, though, I was really aware of everything and I did feel like I was working with my body instead of trying to escape from it.  The pushing felt like it was out of my control, but I would "bear down" as much as I could to help it along.  My bearing down seemed like such a pitiful contribution, but I trusted Melody that it was helping.  When Mali's head came out, it was such a relief of pressure, and I only had another couple pushes (I think) to get her body out. 

The moment she came out they handed her up to me as they dried her off.  She had her eyes open right away and was just looking around so curiously, taking everything in.  I was overcome with emotion and gratitude to have her here, and healthy and whole and everything.  I wondered how much of a break I would get before it was time to push Baby B out.  Pushing Mali out had taken so much, and she was born at 2:39 a.m., so it had been a long time since I'd slept.  After about five minutes, during which time I had a couple of contractions, I started feeling the urge to push and Max was born in two pushes.  It was almost a push and a half, as his head was out in one and his body only seemed to take half of another push.  Relief washed over me.  They were both out.   I did it! 

Max was a little bit blue and the midwives seemed to have trouble getting him to pink up.  I was holding Mali and all I could say was, "Is he ok? Is he ok?"  They were rubbing him vigorously and turning him around, and encouraging him and Mali, who had been quietly looking around, let out a single loud wail, as if to rouse him.  They got him under the oxygen for a bit and cleaned out some mucus from his nose and mouth.  It was only a short time before I was holding him, too, but the fear I felt seeing his little blue body held by the midwife won't soon be forgotten.  He was born at 2:46 a.m.

Not too long thereafter we were all curled up in bed together.  I was so glad to have my little ones here.  The anxiety of the past few months was gone, replaced by joy and relief.  Nothing had gone wrong.  The babies were here and they were healthy. 

Just a few minutes after they were born, David went down the hall to wake up the kids to come meet their new brother and sister.  I was really glad that it worked out for them to be close by, even though they were sleeping, during the birth, as I'd wanted them to come in very soon after the babies' arrival.  They were all quite sleepy but so sweet and excited about the babies.  Leif asked some questions and gave me a snuggle hug.  After a few minutes Zion asked if they could go back to bed.  It was about 3 in the morning, after all! 

After a while we got around to weighing them.  Mali was weighed first and I was quite surprised to see her weigh in at 7 lb 12 oz. As soon as Max was born, we could tell he was bigger and chubbier than his sister, so we wondered how big he would be.  Unbelievably, he was 9 lbs even!  The midwives and attendants were all impressed, and my first thought was that I couldn't believe that my "little" babies were still so big.  I was already "the lady who has giant babies," but now I was going to be "the lady who has giant twins."  I really thought I'd get a couple of seven-ish pounders.  Oh well!  Better big than small, really. 

Other things of note: 
Max's cord was about 2x as long as Mali's. 

The placentas had fused together, though they were linked with blood vessels or anything.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

so I've heard...

from several reputable sources, that THIS is the best pencil sharpener out there.  I'm about to order one, but I'm also entering a contest to win one. (One upstairs, one downstairs!)  We have an old electric one that is just not quite cutting it anymore.  And it looks so snaztastic, what's not to love? 

Monday, September 03, 2012

37 weekw 3 days

Well, I was HOPING the babies would decide to come this weekend, but as they didn't, I decided to take a picture.  Yes, this belly is every bit as heavy as you might imagine it to be.  :o) C'mon out anytime, babies!

Friday, August 17, 2012

a little good, a little bad

I'm 35 weeks today!  I woke up to use the bathroom at 4:04 a.m. and when I laid back down, I was too uncomfortable to sleep.  So, here I am, blogging at 4:33 in the morning after a bowl of chocolatey Special K.

So, after feeling panicky about schooling the kids this year, and knowing that just having one or more of them attend public school wasn't really an option for us at present (mostly because I knew this would just alter the stress into a new form, rather than eliminate it...and the last thing I'm up for is a NEW stress right now), I got an email from a homeschool/charter school affiliate (called Harmony Ed) that Spud attended last year for one day a week.  We called it Friday School, because his happened to be on Friday, and it was basically a day of "elective" classes for homeschool students.  This took place at a charter school in Springville.  He enjoyed it well enough, probably about as much as he can enjoy most things, truthfully (he's a bit of an over-thinker), but there were a few reasons I had decided to not have him do it this year.  One, I didn't want to drive down to Springville every Friday morning and afternoon.  Two, the program coordinators were not terribly good at communicating and it got frustrating at times.  Three, we could get more financial support for our homeschooling curriculum through MyTechHigh, which he is now old enough for.

But shortly after my blog post about feeling stressed about school this year, David and I were talking about how it really might be better for everyone if we enrolled Spud in school.  Public school was seeming like the only option, which I did not really feel good about.  A couple of days later, I get an email from Harmony Ed announcing a new program at a new location here in town!  Instead of just the elective days, they were offering and had openings for students in a 2-day/week Multi Age Program (MAP) that covers language arts, math, history and Science.  Spud (2nd grade this year) will be the middle grade of his MAP, which I think will be a good fit for him, as he's a sharp kid but not necessarily where he could be in some of the basics, and I think it will be motivating to him to have other kids that are older and younger to gauge his own skills against.  At first he wasn't at all excited about this "new" opportunity, but David took him out on some special time and they were able to have some good conversation on what we hope for him to be able to do, both this year and in the future of his education.

Unfortunately, when we went to the Open House on Wednesday, Noodle was feeling a bit left out as she is NOT going to be participating in the program this year (and she didn't last year, either).  We reminded her that she is going to be doing her Musical Theater class, as well as continuing with her girls club activities, AND playing Junior Jazz starting in January with her best friend.  She is at a stage in her education where a fair bit can be accomplished independently, and I don't think she would be as benefited by attending a program like the one Spud is doing.  It can be difficult to have kids doing different things, though, as they always tend to look at what the other is doing as so much nicer.

And Sprout is the first of my kids to be going to preschool.  It makes me laugh, because it seems really silly for a homeschooling family to outsource preschool of all things, but it is 1) just across the street, 2) very reasonably priced, and 3) a good chance for him to get some "friend time" during the craziness of what will be my life this next year.  As the youngest child by 4 years (for now), he sees Spud and Noodle going off to play with friends and has had a hard time not having the same freedoms.  Happily, he has a good little buddy from church nursery that he gets to play with on occasion, though judging from his talk, he'd like to be playing with him all the time! 

(This post seemed a little too text heavy, so I thought I'd liven it up a bit with some pictures we snapped of the kids at Anita's wedding three weeks ago. Did I mention we have another wedding tomorrow?  Good, crazy times.)

P.S.  It wasn't until linking this to facebook and looking again at the title that I realized I had forgotten to mention the bad.  Well, about 5 weeks ago we were delighted to have found a "mother's helper" who we paid to come every day and help out with things that I'm not really up to getting done lately.  The plan was for her to come at least through the fall and help with cleaning, running kids around, and some cooking.  Last week she broke a toe and is on limited mobility for the next 6-8 weeks.  Kind of leaving me in a lurch.  I need to figure out what we are going to do.  In the meantime, I've reached out to some of the local family for help and received some very generous offers of help, which I am so grateful for.  I still think I'll want to find someone to come in during the week for a while, but haven't had the energy to look around.  So, that's the bad.  

Friday, August 10, 2012


Ow.  Ouch.  Ah.  ::intake of breath:: 

Those words/sounds pass my lips more frequently now than they ever have before. This morning it felt like both babies had decided to nestle down into my pelvis, leaving me wincing a bit at every step.  Wouldn't you know that it was the one day all week that we actually did have to leave the house.  Noodle had her art lesson, and I needed to hit the grocery store.  A couple of Tylenol took the edge off, but walking was still not pleasant. 

I have been trying to do a fair job of documenting this pregnancy and belly growth via not so high quality iPhone self portraits.  I must've taken a half dozen this morning of me smiling, but my smile looked exhausted and unconvincing in all of them.  Rather than have that be the image preserved (and shared with my facebook friends) for 34 weeks of pregnancy, I abandoned the smile and ended up with this:

So, yeah, that probably sums it up pretty well. 

In less pain-related news, I had recently put Tina Fey's book Bossypants on hold at the library, and got notice this morning that it was available.  Yay!  I'm more than halfway through and it has been a fun read.  (Though not for people who are easily offended by swearing and such...if you don't find Saturday Night Live even kind of funny, it's probably not a book you'd enjoy much, either.) 

Also, we found and bought a VAN!  Now I was originally really bummed about having to relinquish driving around our Scion xB since Me Plus Five Kids wouldn't fit.  We went out and test drove new cars over the past month or so, but realized that we weren't really in a position to take on a car payment right now.  We'd already been burned buying a used car that required payments (stupid Mitsubishi Galant), so we opted to look for a used van in our meager price range of "We can pay cash for it now."  It's a 1990 VW Vanagon, and it definitely has its quirks, but it makes me happy to drive it and has some real personality.  Yeah, maybe most people don't care about personality in their cars, but I'm grateful for it.  We figure we will eventually upgrade to a modern van and hope to keep this guy as a "camping van" (the back seat does fold down flat for a bed!), but if we can get 6-12 good months out of this as a primary second vehicle for me & the kids, we'll be feeling pretty great about it  I'll take some pictures soon and post those. 

David's youngest sister got married August 28th.  It was a fun day, and I was grateful that I had as much energy as I did for the day.  Granted, I didn't have to do much besides drive around and sit around, but I'm surprised at how easily exhausted I am by even being out of the house some days.  Here is a picture of our family while waiting around for pictures to start, and one of Anita & her new husband coming out of the temple. 

Poor Anita ended up being in the middle of a kidney infection, so after pictures they stopped at an ER to run tests, so she was pretty miserable and uncomfortable for most of the day.  In spite of all that, her joy at marrying her sweetheart was still visible. 

David's second youngest sister is getting married next weekend.  It's crazy to think that after 11 years (we celebrated our 11th anniversary on July 20th), there are finally other married kids in his family.  Kind of fun to have them "join the party," so to speak. 

Meanwhile, I keep gestating.  My midwife and I have decided we will help things get started at 37 weeks 1 day if they haven't already happened by then.  Anytime after 36 weeks is okay, according to her.  I am weird and prefer birthdays early in the month rather than later, so I'd kind of like them to come September 1 rather than at the end of August (though I might be changing my tune by then).  But we'll see.  David set up the crib over the weekend, and it was kind of bittersweet to think it was our last time.  But I feel really good about ending with a Twin Finale.  Five kids is more than I'd planned on, but it feels like it will be a great thing for our family.  Most of me is excited, though there are still some "Aieeeeeee!" thoughts that like to run amok and stir things up a bit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

freaking out a bit

Way back before this pregnancy started, I had a nice plan for our 4th and final baby.  Conceive in about August/September of 2012, have the baby in May/June 2013, take the summer off from homeschooling while we adjusted to life with new baby, resume schooling in Fall of 2013.  Voila, easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

Enter Life:  conceive at the end of Dec. 2011, have TWO babies born at the start of the school year in Fall 2012.  18 July, 2012,  realize that I'm probably going to have a nervous breakdown unless I figure out what is enough and get all things homeschool-related planned before the babies arrive. 

Yeah, so that's where I'm at right now.  I woke up at 4:30 and finally got out of bed at 5. Tidied up the homeschool room, then came downstairs and got some curriculum ordered for fall.  Asked for suggestions on schooling with a new baby (or two) in the household on a homeschool forum and have received some good suggestions, but also a lot of "Just plan for your life to be total chaos for 6 months."  So right now I'm trying to take deep breaths and not get totally derailed into a puddle of tears and anxiety.  I'll let you know how effective it is. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

new love

So in the probably futile attempt to avoid an excessive amount of new stretch marks forming, a couple of weeks ago I was reading online and came across something called "dry skin brushing."  I'd never heard of it before, and it seemed novel and perhaps a little weird.  It's the process of brushing all over your body with a natural bristle brush before showering to help slough off the dead skin, stimulate circulation, assist the skin with ridding the body of toxins, etc.  (If you want to read more, this page has a good overview plus instructions.)  

Anyways, after thinking about it on and off over those couple of weeks, I decided to splurge and buy myself a dry skin brush.  It arrived on Wednesday and I tried it out on my arm.  Ooh!  So tingly and scratchily refreshing!  Thursday morning I happily brushed all over before getting in the shower.  It felt wonderful!  My skin felt so invigorated and awakened.   It was really amazing.  By last night I was feeling pretty beat and bleh after a long day with too many errands, so I decided another shower was in order, so of course I brushed again.  And it was still fabulous.  This morning, I was even a bit more thorough and made an effort to "overlap" the brushed areas and then did some warm/cold water fluctuations in the shower (as mentioned on the website I link to above) and it really did feel amazing.  That's when I decided that I needed to blog about this amazingly simple process to improve health and quality of life.  Granted, I don't know for certain how much of a benefit it will have for me, but it makes sense that it does help your body cleanse itself, and on top of that, it really feels great!  It's not like so many other things that are supposed to improve your health...a lot of those are unpleasant but we do them anyway hoping for some result. 

If you ever scrub with a loofah or body pouf in the shower and wish it would scrub harder or be more stimulating, then you will probably really love a dry skin brush. 

So, yeah.  Dry skin brushing.  Splurge (at <$10 it's a pretty modest splurge) and try it out!  I will say that after only two days, my skin does feel amazingly soft!

Saturday, July 07, 2012


29 weeks - twins
Rather than stress myself out trying to think of something awesome for post #800, I'll just post this picture of me at 29 weeks pregnant with the twins.  :o)  The fact that I am still moving will have to be amazing enough. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Pregnancy update: 28 and a half weeks along.  As I probably won't go past 38 weeks, there are less than 10 weeks to go.  In terms of feeling prepared to welcome two babies into our family and care for them, these feels like a very short amount of time.  But in terms of being uncomfortable and oh-so-very-pregnant, the same time span feels very very long indeed.  I've often thought, though, that the discomfort at the end of pregnancy is one of the final motivators to actually have the baby on the outside, where it requires a lot more effort to care for.  You just feel so glad to NOT be pregnant anymore that doing all that is required still seems like a better deal that hauling around an extra 25-40 (or more) pounds!

The kids and I have been making it to the water park every week, except last week and maybe this week (we might make it over before the week has ended).  Even though I can't go on any of the slides, I have enjoyed just sitting in the kiddie areas with Sprout or, especially, floating along the Lazy River with him.  It feels so nice to be suspended in the water.  If only it were practical to live in the water most of the pregnancy! Noodle and Spud are independent enough to be able to do their own things while we are there, and we've been fortunate enough to get to go with friends on occasion, too, which is great fun. 

My biggest challenge this week seems to be not having the physical energy to accomplish very much.  On most days, I lay down with Sprout in the early afternoon for our naps.  After about 1-1.5 hours, my mind feels very rested and then restless and wants to be doing something, but my body prefers to just stay in bed (if I'm comfortable) or just relocate my resting to a different location.  On Monday I was feeling pretty discouraged about this and broke down in tears while talking to David.  He hugged me and kindly reminded me that I am being productive, I'm being REproductive, and that this is a good time to practice mindfulness and just focus on breathing in and breathing out.  This time will pass quickly and there are plenty of good things I can do during this time that are better than organizing or keeping the house tidy. I really appreciate his perspective, and am trying to keep those things in mind.  I did decide to start a sewing project, as I can work on it a bit most days.  I like to make the kids some sort of mom-made toy for Christmas, and am pretty sure that after the twins arrive, I won't find time to sew FIVE of anything.  So I'm starting now and hope to have five cute little "monsters" finished over the next few weeks. 

This is my 799th blog post.  I feel like there is some pressure to have something noteworthy for #800.  Any ideas? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

paper boats

Quite a few weeks ago, Spud asked me to look online and find the directions on how to make paper boats, as he'd seen on the Curious George cartoon. I did, and we each made one together so he could see how it was done, and by two days later, he had made at least 50, of various shapes and sizes.  We had a stack of pink boats made from some scratch paper just sitting on a shelf for quite a while.

While on a date a few weeks ago, David and I went to BYU and played Bocce on the lawn and then walked along the path south of campus.  They've made a lot of improvements to it over the past couple of years and it is beautiful!  There is a stream (I guess) running along it and it struck me that it would be the perfect place to race the boats that Spud made.  So the following Sunday evening we gathered up enough boats for us to each have two and we raced them.  It was fun to watch and "despair" as our individual boats took on water and became soggy masses of paper (which we responsibly fished out and threw away).   I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure that one of Spud's boats (we labeled them with our first initials) actually made it the farthest, which seems only fair since he was the one who did all the work!

Prior to boat racing, we spent some time admiring the couple of dozen or so ducklings in the pond.  It was fun to remember our duckling adventure of last year as we watched these little cuties swim and cheep around the pond.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

10 years!

In some ways, it's hard to believe it's been ten years, but in other ways, it is hard to remember life before our wonderful daughter joined us. 

We figured entering the DOUBLE DIGITS was something worth celebrating (since she may very well be in them for the rest of her life) so we let her have a party with friends this year.  A definite advantage (from the mom's point of view) of parties at this age is the kids can do most things on their own if you just give them the direction and materials.  We had planned to make these little pom pom guys that Noodle calls "Puffles," and I was quite impressed to see the creative things the girls came up with to make their Puffles unique.  They spent a lot more time and energy at it than I would have anticipated, but everyone seemed to really enjoy  the project.  I'd also bought some polished rocks on a whim from the dollar store and those were quite popular with some of the girls as well. 

They were a great group of girls to have around, and I'm so glad Noodle has such good friends.  Here's to the next 10 years, sweetie!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

nine days later

So it's been nine days since the ultrasound -- I feel a bit like "May 22nd, the Day We Found Out We were having Twins" will be forever indelibly etched in my mind.  Probably not really, though, as I'm pretty sure once they are here there will be a whole lot of stuff that gets wiped out, either due to sleep deprivation or simply not having enough time/energy to bother thinking about it. 

After three nights of rotten sleep, I started to calm down enough to get to bed at a more reasonable hour and sleep longer.  This morning I woke up early enough to do a prenatal yoga workout before the kids were up (though Sprout came down and chilled with me for a while). 

I read online that during a twin pregnancy, 100 grams of protein/day is recommended, so I've been working to do that.  Eating that much protein makes me FEEL VERY FULL!  This highly recommended book came yesterday, and in it they actually recommend even MORE protein than that -- 175-219 grams!  And 3,500 Calories per day, at least through the second trimester.  Crikey!  At the ultrasound, both of the babies were on track for growth, so I am grateful that even without having followed these guidelines prior to now (as I thought it was just one baby), they seem to be growing just fine.  But I am trying to eat healthy, eat frequently, and eat lots.  It's just kind of hard when your stomach is all squished up!

A big thing with twins (and other multiples) is that they typically don't get as long to "cook" in the uterus and therefore their growth starts to taper off sooner than a single baby's growth would.  Full term for twins is considered 36 weeks 4 days or 37 weeks as opposed to the full 40 weeks.  My sister said that she took some herbs from her midwife at 38 weeks and started labor a few hours later, with the babies born that night.  I'm really hopeful that I can carry these two sufficiently long, though I know it is going to be insanely uncomfortable near the end.  I told my sister-in-law a few days ago that it looked highly unlikely that I would be able to do her wedding photography on August 18th, as even if I'm still pregnant (which I'm fairly likely to be), I am going to be HUGE and not so keen on moving around or being in charge of anything. 

P.S. If anybody wants to be in charge of getting me some sweet Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes/onesies, that would be awesome! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dizzy, new lyrics!

Well, here's what happens when you wake up at 4:45 and can't fall back asleep.   Scroll down, start the video in the last post, and sing along! (You know you want to!)

Dizzy, I'm so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's you babies makin' it spin
You're making me dizzy

First time that I saw you kids, I knew just that my life was gonna change
And I have to say the thought of you two, it still feels really really really strange
I'm glad to have you on the way, but this thing I have to say
I'm going round in circles all the time

Dizzy, I'm so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's you babies makin' it spin
You're making me dizzy

When I thought there was just one of you it seemed I had it all under control
 But now between the two of you, you've captured more than a small part of my soul
My brain's so wired, I can't sleep, even though you don't make a peep
A good night's rest is now an elusive goal*

Dizzy, I'm so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's you babies makin' it spin
You're making me dizzy
my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's you babies making it spin
You're making me dizzy
you're making me dizzy

*I don't particularly like the way this line works, so if you have any suggestions.... :o)  You know, if you're up early/late sometime and need something to ponder on.  Hey, I'm a giver, what can I say?  

Also, do you think "you babes" would be better than "you kids"?  Pressing issues, these.

*Edited to add, I agreed with Melissa and changed it to "you babies".  :o)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

my head is spinning

For the past 36 hours (ever since the ultrasound), my mind has been racing.  I think I've probably cried almost a dozen times.  I'm excited and terrified.  I feel deep down a peace, but it is hard to feel as everything swirls through my brain. 

Last night I was reading a discussion thread in a twins forum about "What items have you found most helpful in caring for twins?"  As I read through people mentioning special nursing pillows, double strollers, having two swings, two bouncers, et cetera, I realized that when I was just having one baby, I felt like an expert.  Been there, done that, whether it was a boy or a girl.  I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to baby gear, preferring breastfeeding to bottles, babywearing to strollers, holding in arms to bouncers or swings.  That all works pretty well when you only have one baby.  Now that there will be two, I feel like a first time mom all over again.

 I saw a thread on one of the twins forum  about "How do you get your twins in and out of the car?"  What?  That's a question worth discussing?!  And of course as I thought about it, it does require some planning.  You can do the two "bucket seat" thing so you can set one down while you get the other one in, and that seems to be very popular.  Which makes me think, I've never used an infant carrier seat because I didn't like the idea of the baby spending so much time in a "bucket".  But is it even remotely practical to try and figure out a workaround?  Thankfully I have older kids who can hold and carry babies, but not for extended periods (I'd be too nervous having Noodle carry an infant all around the grocery store, for example.)  If not, then I have to buy TWO infant bucket seats?!  Yikes!  And what about a stroller?  Between our umbrella stroller and our baby jogger we've done fine for the past three kids, but now it's a whole new ball game.  It just seems crazy to be buying new baby gear for the last ones. 

So, I'm probably going to be blogging a lot more.  I don't pretend this will be of much interest to anyone (though maybe other twin mamas), but it'll be a nice way for me to journal and maybe stop my brain from spinning endlessly in circles. 

I think I could rewrite the lyrics to the above song and make it relevant to my current state of mind with the twins.  :o)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oh, the irony!

After Sprout was born, I felt like there was probably one more child that was supposed to come join our family. This was an odd feeling, as after both Noodle and Spud's births, I was so overwhelmed that I felt very comfortable NOT thinking about any additional children for quite some time.

 We weren't in any rush to conceive #4, and as it turned out, it happened about 10 months ahead of what I'd decided was a good time. David had requested that I finish up with pregnancy by the time I was 35 as a safeguard to my long-term health, and I thought that was wise. We both felt good about the addition of a fourth child and the timing seemed pretty good, even though it wasn't according to our tentative plan. At my 17 week appointment, my midwife's assistant measured my uterus and the fundal height was measuring about 4 cm ahead. After having birthed 10+ pound boys, this didn't seem that unusual to me. I remembered having growth spurts during past pregnancies. And, in all honesty, as it wasn't my midwife doing the measuring, I felt there was some room for error as I didn't know how skilled the assistant was with that sort of thing.

Last Thursday I went to have my next appointment, and was 21 weeks 3 days along. The fundal height measured 34 centimeters! And I'd gained 20 pounds (which I knew from tracking at home). I was really frustrated as I've been diligently making an effort to eat healthfully and not an excessive amount of calories. Plus I have been exercising quite regularly. I had some thyroid issues likely caused by too much weight gained when I was pregnant with Sprout, so I am hoping to avoid that this time around. My midwife suggested that I might want to consider having an ultrasound to check things out.

Tuesday evening we went in for the ultrasound. As soon as the tech put the device on my belly, we saw two bums and knew what we were in for. It was surreal. I can't even accurately describe the variety of feelings that washed over me. There was excitement, relief at it being two and not one with any problems, gratitude, and I think around the edges of every emotion there was a bit of panic. David and I grabbed hands and held on for the rest of the ultrasound, which takes a fair amount of time when there are two babies to inspect!

They call the baby closest to the cervix Baby A as it will be born first, and the other baby is Baby B. When she told us (and showed us) that Baby A is a girl we were delighted. We had been hoping for a girl to help balance out the ratio of boys and girls around here. About 20 minutes later we got around to Baby B (we had to take a break in there as the reclined on my back position makes me feel light-headed after a while). And Baby B is a boy! Both babies are growing on track and look healthy. Baby B is actually about a week ahead in size.

Well, here's where the irony comes in. David and I have long agreed (ever since my sister had twins almost 11 years ago) that "Twins are God's way of saying you can stop." Since we've been very clear about this being our final child, it was obvious that it was our plan to stop at four. I guess this means God approves of this being our last pregnancy, but he didn't agree with us stopping at four. I guess we should have said we were going to have six, then pulled a fast one and stopped at four!

In all earnestness, though, we are excited to have both of these little ones join our family in a few months and are feeling pretty amazingly blessed. But still overwhelmed! I finally was able to fall asleep at 3:30 this morning, only to be wide awake again shortly after 6. I feel like I'm wired on an insane amount of caffeine, but it's just my brain going into overdrive trying to process everything.

So, yeah. Good times, noodle salad.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Diaper break!

Two weeks ago I started potty training Sprout. He is typically very resistant to new things and had developed an odd fear of sitting on the potty. So I expected it to be a long, unpleasant week. The first couple of days were indeed quite challenging. He would fuss every time I said it was time to sit on the potty, and ended up "saving" anything until he was wearing either a naptime diaper or a "leaving the house" diaper. I did learn from this, though, that the kid could hold it a LONG time. Which I thought was good to know going forward.

After about three days, he actually did pee in the toilet, and this was a huge step forward. Oh, prior to this I'd put together a super deluxe candy jar (2-4 skittles at a time didn't seem quite motivating enough any more) and taped up 9 brand new still-in-the-package Hot Wheels cars on the bathroom door. Every time he peed he could pick a candy and every poop would earn him a car. His very first poop in the toilet was about the size of a peanut M&M, but I didn't want to discourage him, so it counted. That first week he had one #1 accident and one #2. I had him help clean out the #2 accident as I'd read that was supposed to help cement it in the kid's mind that this is really inconvenient.

Yesterday he earned the last of the nine cars and thus earned what he had said he wanted for his potty training reward a few months ago: a big stuffed Angry Bird. (He actually got a big one, a small one, and a small green pig because I found the latter two on a really great sale).

When he sits on the toilet, I allow him to play Angry Birds on the iPad, which has also been a good motivator and a good way to keep him sitting there without me always being in the room.

He is still in a diaper at naptime and bedtime, though over 90% of the time he is waking up dry, so I don't think we'll have to do that much longer, either. I am able to use some of the snazzy cloth diapers I recently purchased for this (he grew out of the other kind I had quite a few months ago and had been in disposables ever since), which is nice as it is difficult to reuse a clean disposable diaper more than a couple of times before it just gets all bunched up.

I am very much looking forward to a diaper free (nearly) six months, and glad to be done dealing with "big kid" diapers, especially.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And I'm sick again

Lame. I've been out for the count going on 11 days now, which is beyond frustrating as the weather has been amazing but I spend half the day resting in bed. The kids all have the same thing I do, but seem to not have the same severity of symptoms. I started on antibiotics last night, so I am hoping that this is in fact bacterial and that I will turn the corner soon. Rather than bore/disgust you with a catalog of m symptoms, I will instead tell you some happy news.

I'm pregnant! We will be welcoming Baby #4 at the end of September. That is partly why this illness has been so distressing, as there are lots of medicines you can't take and I've also had some fever problems, which can be dangerous for the baby. We are hoping and praying that everything is still going fine, though.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This has been a sickly week around our household. Noodle started us off, then Spud & Sprout followed (the two of them are the only ones to have vomited), then after a night spent helping Sprout and sleeping little, I fell prey on Wednesday. Not fun. And it seems David has gotten a bit as well, though he usually holds up better than the rest of us if he can keep it from settling in his chest.

So, the house is a huge mess. Which at least now I have an excuse for, though I am trying to muster up some energy now to clean the downstairs so it will be more pleasant to hang out here this evening. We'll see. Obviously I am stalling by writing on my blog, so you can see it isn't a really high priority.

On Wednesday, when I felt really awful, I got over 250 pages read and it was so delightful. I really need to figure out a way to read more in my "regular" life. I think it too often feels too decadent and I can't justify it when there is so much WORK to do, but I seem to not have to justify facebook, email, general internet searching, etc. Something seems a little wrong there.

Last week the kids and I went to a performance of The Merchant of Venice at BYU. It was really great, and while targeted at children, still used Shakespearean language. I had neither seen nor read this play before, and was happy to learn that it is the source of a number of famous sayings, such as (paraphrased} "If you cut us, do we not bleed?" It was a very moving tale of justice and mercy, and I was glad for the food for thought it gave me. Yesterday we saw the ballet The Snow Queen (also at BYU). I actually do rather like to watch dance performances, but think that about an hour is just about perfect for those types of things. I definitely prefer musicals and plays to ballets. It may be due to the fact that I really like words and like having the dialogue/lyrics to focus my attention on.

Well, this is not any sort of interesting, really, but it will still count for a blog post for the month (shall I neglect to come up with anything more stimulating to post later), so there you go. I really appreciated the comments and feedback from sharing my talk with you all. It has continued to give me good stuff to chew on as I try to figure out what areas in my life need improving right now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

a little blog CPR...

Man, I am so far "behind" in regaling my three readers with tales from my life that I fear it is useless to even begin to catch up. I am also very far behind in reading tales from all the other bloggers out there. I guess that is what happens when life hits.

But, in other news, I had the opportunity to give a talk in sacrament meeting on redemption. I was really grateful for the opportunity to prepare the talk as it was a wonderful topic to mull over for a week. I was not, however, grateful to get up in front of everyone and actually give the talk, as about half a dozen sentences in, the emotions ran high and stayed there the entire time. But from all accounts, I was still intelligible, so there you go. I got a lot of positive feedback afterwards which made me really grateful that I'd decided to get personal rather than just stick with the standard platitudes. So, for anyone who might be interested, here it is:

by Mindy Gonzalez
January 22, 2012

What is meant by Redemption?

Elder Curtis said that to redeem is to buy or to buy back.
Synonyms include set free, rescue, ransom and restore to honor.
One dictionary definition stated compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something, as in "a disappointing debate redeemed by an outstanding speech," or
"the sacrament meeting program, with its uninspiring talks was redeemed by the excellent musical performance". (Though I do hope that this talk won’t need too much in the way of redemption.)

I feel like this definition is very relatable for me. Christ compensates for my faults and can strengthen me and rescue me from both the effects of the frailty as well as help me overcome the actual frailty.

One more point I would like to share about the definition is from the Bible Dictionary. The last sentence of that definition says simply
"He redeemed us with his blood."

When I read that earlier this week in preparation for this talk, it hit me right in the heart. How does he redeem us? Not with money or persuasive arguments or sheer physical strength, but with his blood.

I think that growing up Christian and as members of the church, many of us take for granted the amazing, incredible gift of the Savior's Atonement and sacrifice for us. It is easy to let it just become the background in our lives. The problem with this is that you can't appreciate the "background" things in your life. Friday I was driving on the freeway and one half of the sky was bright and sunny and the other half was covered with fairly dark clouds. But on the dark side of the sky, there was a small window where the clouds parted enough to let the sunlight come streaming down on a small area of the mountain. It was truly breathtaking and made me think of the power of light over darkness. But when we are surrounded by light, we don't fully grasp the beauty and power of it.

Something I first read years ago in what has become one of my favorite novels has stuck with me and helped me to view the Atonement from a fresh perspective. This is the story of an Indian boy, named Piscine, son of a zookeeper, who is raised Hindu but becomes fascinated and ends up falling in love with both Christianity and Islam.

“Catholics have a reputation for severity, for judgment that comes down heavily. My experience with Father Martin was not at all like that. He was very kind. he served me tea and biscuits in a tea set that tinkled and rattled at every touch; he treated me like a grown-up; and he told me a story. Or rather, since Christians are so fond of capital letters, A Story.
And what a story. The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it’s God’s Son who pays the price? I tried to imagine Father saying to me, “Piscine, a lion slipped into the llama pen today and killed two llamas. Yesterday another one killed a black buck. Last week two of them ate the camel. The week before it was painted storks and grey herons. And who’s to say for sure who snacked on our golden agouti? The situation has become intolerable. Something must be done. I have decided that the only way the lions can atone for their sins is if I feed you to them.”
“Yes, Father, that would be the right and logical thing to do. Give me a moment to wash up.”
“Hallelujah, my son.”
“Hallelujah, Father.”
What a downright weird story. What peculiar psychology.
I asked for another story, one that I might find more satisfying. Surely this religion had more than one story in its bag—religions abound with stories. But Father Martin made me understand that the stories that came before it—and there were many—were simply prologue to the Christians. Their religion had one Story, and to it they came back again and again, over and over. It was story enough for them.
[Martel, Yann. Life of Pi, 53]

Now that we have defined what redemption is, what are we redeemed from? We are redeemed both physically and spiritually, as we have need of complete and total redemption.

In Ether 12:27, the Lord states "I give unto men weakness." I find it interesting that as part of our earthly experience, when we are physically separated from our heavenly father, flying solo in a lot of ways, that he gives us weakness. It seems like giving us strength would be a much better idea. But we are weak, and in such a wide variety of areas.

So why the weakness? Who sends their children off on a long journey and give them some additional impediments? It doesn't seem like a very good parenting strategy, so why do it?

For one reason: So we will come unto him. When we come unto him, THEN we can become strong. We aren't intended to be strong alone, we are supposed to be strong FIRST through Christ and then WITH Christ, able to stand at his side. Because only in Christ will we find complete fulfillment. All other sources of strength will eventually fail. As the 4th article of faith says, we must FIRST have faith in Jesus Christ.

In Elder Curtis's talk, he references several stories of redemption, all based on similar scenarios: person has strayed through sin, comes back to the Church as he or she is changed and redeemed by the power of the Atonement and goes on to be serviceable in the kingdom and it's even better if they become some sort of leader or have children who become leaders. These are great stories because the contrast is so poignant. Mormons love these sorts of stories, think Alma the Younger, Alma the Elder, Paul, King Lamoni. In the lives of these people, it is so easy to see the power of the Atonement in changing their hearts and their minds. Obviously the Atonement works because they have truly changed! We can all marvel at such a powerful redemptive force at work.

But I don't think it is enough for us to appreciate how others are redeemed through Christ's atonement.

In my life, I don't have a tale of redemption like those shared in Elder Curtis's talk, though I do love to hear such stories. They testify of the amazing power of the Atonement to work change in our lives. But I've never strayed much off the strait and narrow path, so I haven't had to be redeemed in that sort of dramatic fashion.

In Alma chapter 5, Alma the Younger is teaching his people about repentance and redemption. First he reminds the people that they should remember the captivity and the mercy of God in delivering their fathers from captivity. Then, in verse 12 he talks about the mighty change wrought in the heart of his own father as he listened to Abinidi speak. (Again, appreciating the redemptive power in other people's lives.)

Verse 14 is very often quoted and I'd like to read it now,
"And now behold, I ask of you, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"

This last part of this verse, about having experienced a "mighty" change of heart has always kind of niggled at me. I haven't felt a mighty change of heart, at least compared with what I expect the two Almas experienced. Does that mean that I haven't felt the redemptive power of Christ in my life?

The answer is an unequivocal no.

In my life, I have been redeemed from doubt. A few years ago, my faith in many aspects of the Gospel had wavered to the point that it made attending meetings and participating in personal prayer and scripture study dissatisfying and often very discouraging and frustrating. If I hadn't been a mother and a wife at the time, I very likely would have just quit participating in the church. But as it was, I felt obligated to keep trying before giving up on the Church. I didn't want to make a mistake that would affect more than just myself, so I stuck with it. But I also felt a responsibility to not just keep going through the motions. Would it be fair to raise my children in the gospel if I didn't believe it was true? It's a rather demanding lifestyle to participate in without have the belief to push one forward. The answers took a while to come, probably in part because I was often too upset to ask the questions. Sometimes I think I wanted to hold on to my doubt and frustration. But over time, as I slowly opened my heart, I felt the redeeming power of the Savior pull me out of my doubt. Verses 23 and 24 in Mark, Chapter 9 spoke to me: " Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help though mine unbelief." By putting forth the effort to believe, the Lord has helped my unbelief.

This isn't to say that all of my questions and concerns have been eradicated, but I have been able to see what is most important and also what can appropriately be placed on a really way back burner for now.

I have a friend who just a few months ago lost her only child in a tragic accident. As she has shared her thoughts with me, I have witnessed the redeeming power of the Savior operating in her life. But being redeemed from sorrow and grief and doubt isn't a one time thing for her. I see her drawing on the power of the Atonement on a daily basis, just to get through her pain. I have had times in my life when it felt like the only way to move forward was to do so on my knees, and I know that I received strength through Christ's Atonement during those times.

I think it is imperative that we fully accept and act upon Christ's role as Redeemer. What plagues us presently that we need to be redeemed from? It could be sorrow, fear, unkind thoughts, temptation, anxiety, impatience, disappointment or any of life's other challenges. To quote Elder Neal A Maxwell (this one is long, but really good, so bear with me),

"There is certainly no shortage of relevant clinical experiences, is there? Strange as it seems, we sometimes respond better to larger challenges than to the incessant small ones…. One can be sincerely grateful for his major blessings but regularly murmur over minor irritations.... Enduring large tests while failing the seemingly small quizzes just won’t do. Such shortcomings must be addressed if we are really serious about becoming more like Jesus.

While so striving daily, we will fall short. Hence the avoidance of discouragement is so vital. So where is the oft and much needed resilience to be found? Once again, in the glorious Atonement! Thereby we can know the lifting tide flowing from forgiveness.
Furthermore, by applying the Atonement we can continue to access the other nurturing gifts of the Holy Ghost, each with its own rich resilience. The Holy Ghost will often preach sermons to us from the pulpit of memory. He will comfort us and reassure us. The burdens not lifted from us, He will help us to bear, thus enabling, even after we err, to continue with joy the soul-stretching journey of discipleship. After all, while the adversary clearly desires our lasting misery, the Father and the Son truly and constantly desire our everlasting happiness."
[Elder Maxwell, October 1997 Conference "Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ"]

I have a very strong testimony of Christ as the Redeemer of the world. I am so grateful for the times in my life when I have undeniably felt His presence in my life and for his willingness to redeem my soul from fear and doubt and sin and death. In closing, I'd like to share 2 Nephi 1:15, which in my opinion is the scripture that does the best job of describing what it feels like to be redeemed:
"But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally the arms of his love." My prayer for me and for each of us is that we will more frequently seek His arms to feel that love.