Thursday, December 31, 2009

Because I HAVE been given much.

I'm a notoriously ungracious gift-receiver. It's a flaw that I'm working on improving, and I definitely can sense the improvement this Christmas. And by ungracious, I mean that I often return gifts and express exasperation at the excessive gifting to me. I am the worst at writing thank you notes. It's not that I don't always like the gifts, usually they are great, but the real reason I think I'm not a great gift-receiver is because I feel guilty. I have blessings guilt. I watch the news, I go to work, I hear stories. Domestic abuse, rape, violence, murder, genocide, hunger, poverty, seclusion. There is so, so much hate in the world, so much pain that sometimes I take a step back and am astonished at how wonderful and happy my life is. Have you seen my husband and baby? What in the world did I do to deserve such blessings? I'm just average. I'm not that charitable, I don't think about planning meals for the pregnant mother on bedrest. I certainly volunteer to cook them, but I'm never the initiator of such service. I don't volunteer at the food bank on a regular basis, Tim indexes way more names than me every month, I'm not even that great at scripture study. Why did Heavenly Father see fit to bless me with such things?

I've struggled with these thoughts for some years now. Horrible guilt at my own life. Horrible guilt when I make mistakes. How can you make mistakes when God has blessed you so immensely?

But recently I've been doing more pondering on why there is evil in the world and why there is bliss. By divine design, my life (thusfar) has been plagued by few trials but bestowed with innumerable blessings. It is beyond my comprehension why this is so. I do know, however, that I am resolving to do the best I can possibly do with what I am given. I think this is what Heavenly Father expects of all of His children - "where much is given, much is required."

I have been blessed with intelligence. As such, I had the rare opportunity to attend a university virtually free of cost. I graduated last week. Then last night, I was lamenting how I wish I had completed a different major or learned a language or done a million other things that BYU offered. Moreover, I often slacked off in my schooling, and then the inevitable guilt of the poor widow in Uruguay whose tithing was funding my slacking off arose in my mind; I then used this guilt to my academic advantage. I tried to embrace every opportunity that arose for achievement and work. I am graduating with 208.5 credit hours, and an overall GPA that is something to be proud of. I completed about 5 independent research projects. I worked for four professors as a teaching assistant/research assistant. But for the former me, I think I could have done more. I was never satisfied with my achievements. But for the new me, my academic success is indeed a reflection of my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me the chance to pursue this education. I have to take a step back, put the things I didn't do out of my mind, and reflect on what I DID.

I have also been blessed with this great guy who for reasons unbeknownst to me, agreed to spend eternity with me. Sometimes I'm critical of him. Sometimes I'm jealous. Sometimes I'm a million other things that hurt his feelings or make our marriage less than celestial. But I've been trying really very hard to be the best wife, be the kind of wife that he deserves. I don't know why Heavenly Father put him in my life, but I do know that I can strive to make the most of his influence on my attitudes and perceptions and actions.

While so many women are infertile, while so many babies are born unhealthy or with disabilities, I birthed this absolutely perfect and unquestionably beautiful little being. Why? I don't know. I do know that I can take this blessing and take care of him in a way that will let Heavenly Father know how absolutely lucky I consider myself. I can read to him, play with him, take him to the park and the library, rock him to sleep every night. There is no rush, there is nothing else I need to be doing except being a mother. Everything else can wait.

To those who have ever given me a gift in which I did not express adequate thanks: Thanks. You may not receive a thank you card, but I hope that in return, to better show my appreciation, I can be the best daughter/sister/mother/wife/cousin/friend possible.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Miscellaneous Mondays - Meet my sister

Introducing: Miscellaneous Mondays.

Meet my dear sister Lauren. She is one of the greatest moms around, and I'm not just saying that. Her three hilarious kids are some of the coolest kids to hang out with on a lazy summer day. She graduated from BYU with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing Communications, then decided to stay-at-home after darling Megan was born. And thus begins her saga of parenting:

1. Describe your parenting philosophy in 20 words or less: Don't sweat the small stuff. You can't spoil a baby. Everything in moderation. Eat veggies, play outside, and read daily.

2. What makes you laugh the hardest? My kids expressions - both facial and verbal.

3. What's the number one super best thing about being a mom? Watching a child grow, develop, and learn something new every day - from first steps and first words, to blowing kisses, riding a scooter, and reading a book.

4. What do you want more than anything for your kids? Health and happiness. Education, good friends, a relationship with Jesus Christ. Keeping the curiosity, creativity, optimism, and generosity they were born with.

5. Funniest quote of the week by your kids: Last week, we had a hard day and I made the kids grilled cheese and popcorn for dinner. Gavin said, "Popcorn for dinner?! How can that BE?!"

6. First thought when you became a mother for the first time: Megan, my first child, was born six weeks early, weighing four-and-a-half pounds. I think my first thoughts as a mother were for her safety and health. Those thoughts, of course, never change, no matter how old your children are.

7. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty years? In ten years, I see myself as a very active mother of teenagers, being involved in their lives at school, home, and play. I hope to open my home to their friends, and be the kind of mother they are comfortable talking to about their problems. Megan will be a senior in high school, deciding where to attend college, and that will be an adventure. Gavin and Ben will be almost 15 and 11. What an incredible thought. In twenty years, I will still be in my forties and my children will have (hopefully!) left home for bigger and better things. I have no idea what I will be doing, but I'm sure it will be fabulous. I am inspired by women like Julia Child (I just watched Julie & Julia last night), who began careers later in life by pursuing a passion.

8. Most challenging aspect of motherhood: Motherhood is never what you think it will be. Children are individuals who make their own choices and a lot of things are out of your control. The daily aspects of motherhood, especially when children are young, are often exhausting, sometimes boring, and occasionally disgusting. Joy comes when you appreciate the small, wonderful moments, which happen constantly if you look for them.

Lauren played guitar at our outdoor reception. Did I mention she was in an all-girl band in Provo when she was at BYU? She's really cool.

I love this scene

Up close...

or far away...

I love this scene.

The Science of Sleep

The past few months have messed up my sleeping habits... what with the baby and all. Sure, the Guy wakes up every 2-3 hours to nurse and cuddle, but even when he is sleeping I have a hard time doing the same. Right at this moment, Tim is cuddled up with him sleeping soundly in our bed, but I have yet to join them. I tried for about half an hour, but gave up because there were so many great blog posts swimming in my head (strange, huh? All my best ideas come when I'm going to sleep... and by the morning I've forgotten them).

Maybe it has something to do with the bed-sharing? Having him in bed with me causes me to lose sleep? I think it might be so... but on the other hand, he's not encroaching on my territory. I get a whole half of the bed to myself, it's usually the other two that sleep close to each other.

Wacked schedule? We've been on one in which I sleep until noon. But even on days when I wake up early (say, 9), I still have a hard time sleeping.

Lack of exercise? I attempted to run today to remedy that, but I only made it around the block. It's blasted cold outside!

Stress? Now that school is over, I hardly can blame that.

Any tips to sleeping? I'm really ready to hunker down and try it.

Sometimes I do sleep though, as evidenced above.


I have a collection of draft posts that never seem to make it on our blog. Well, this is easy to remedy: click the publish post button. I think I always want to add witty commentary to photos, and then I simply forget.

Commentary: Halloween. Ward Party. Neighbors dressed as food storage. I bob for apples. The Guy is very adorable.

Happy Halloween!


Enfamil keeps sending me emails about formula (ANNOYING. How on earth did they get my email address?!).

I just received this one:

Give your baby a RestFull™ night.

Enfamil® RestFull™ is specially designed to help babies feel full longer and sleep better.

A natural way to help keep your baby feeling satisfied.
Designed to thicken gently in baby's tummy and digest slowly.
Your baby needs a proper amount of sleep to keep her healthy and happy. That's why we created Enfamil® RestFull™, the formula specially designed to naturally encourage a good night's sleep. So you both can rest better.

GROSS. Thicken in your baby's stomach?! Like, so they feel bloated all night? This seems so unnatural and unhealthy. Besides, it's good for babies to wake up at night, it reduces the risk of SIDS.

Atticus is still waking up 3+ times a night. I'm tired in the morning, but I love the nighttime feedings.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Podcast

Here's the actual podcast talked about below. Cait's comment is at 16:20 on the podcast titled "The Women Behind Santa."

Caitlin on Itunes

So Cait submitted a comment to the "Stuff Mom Never Told You Podcast" and she has already blogged about how nice of a response she got, but today, while we were listening to the podcast, we got a surprise as they read her comment on-air. She was so excited. I can't figure out anyway to post the audio, but you can here it by subscribing to the podcast and downloading the latest podcast, at least the latest at time of writing, "The Women Behind Santa." Her letter comes at 16:20 right after the guy who writes in about wearing pantyhose. They even say they think she is cool! I'm so proud!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

We had a great Christmas.

Theodore LOVES his new bouncy seat from Grammy and Poppy:

I bought myself a few goodies as well, including a Sleepy Wrap:

Tim got some socks. shoe polish. boring stuff like that. and a book. for school.

We both got a Flip video camera from my parents. Coming soon: hours and hours of YouTube videos on the blog. Be prepared.

But mostly... Jesus gave us the best gift of all. So thanks for that.

We had a very relaxing time spent with Tim's family. Since Charity and Josh are on missions and Devany had to work, it was quite quiet.

I made a delicious southern-style dinner of dressing, broccoli casserole, and sweet potato casserole.

Theodore chowed down on his Gramps' finger.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Grammy!

My mom has a thing for Santa Claus pictures. I think Santa is dumb, personally. We don't plan on fooling Atticus into thinking his presents came from a creepy old man who has nothing better to do than sneak down your chimney and leave classist gifts (ie, the rich kids get a Wii, the poor kids get a DI teddy bear... why would Santa do that?)

But.... my mom loves it.

So, we took Atticus to get his picture taken with Santa. Two hours and $30 later:

Happy Day of Conception!!

One year ago today... we thought, what the heck! You can't get pregnant from ONE time, right? And then, one year ago today, this happened:

Hello, Theodore!

Friday, December 18, 2009


College degree - Check.

Now on to bigger and better things.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not-so Praise of In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

At Lauren's urging, I picked up Dr. Laura's In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms from the library. I have a hate-hate relationship with Dr. Laura, after reading a few pages of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands (it must be the "husbands need sex but don't want it unless you are dolled up enough to be desirable and so you can't blame them if they have an affair if you become too frumpy)

I told her I would read it with the mindset that it wasn't Dr. Laura. I tried to keep an open mind throughout.

Sorry, Lauren.

Throughout my reading, I was pretty convinced that SAHMs are superior to daycare. But that was kind of a given to me. I already got the whole mommy-love > others-love. I can also see how some SAHMs need that kind of validation in their lives, and so like the book because it makes them feel better about themselves.

That was her point, right? So what exactly bothered me?

1 - She has no provision for daddy-love. She makes it a husband works/wife nurtures dichotomy. It's become clear to me through my interactions with some families (including my own, meaning my mom/dad and Tim/me) that daddies can nurture (minus breastfeeding) just as great as mommies.

2 - She dwells on the giving your husband sex thing in this book as well. Because if you don't give them enough sex, then you have no right to ask them to do housework. Because it's not their house too? Bleh. She also wrote a sentence about how some women use the excuse of "molestation" (her quotes, not mine) to not have sex and this isn't a valid reason? She completely dismisses that trauma that A LOT of women go through... and I can understand how sex can be less than desirable at times or feel weird. It definitely shouldn't, by any means, since Heavenly Father intended for it to be the most spiritual and beautiful act between a husband and wife. But our world has also perverted it, and I think men (and women) should be sensitive to the feelings of their wives (or husbands) should there have been sexual abuse in the past. And it shouldn't be put in quotations like it's a made-up thing.

3 - She makes men seem like IDIOTS! Women who like her... do you really think your husband sucks that bad? For example, should you need to convince your husband of the need for you to stay at home, rub his shoulders a little bit and tell him that's what life will feel like if you're allowed to create a haven by being at home. Otherwise, he won't listen to you? She encourages women to manipulate their husbands, as if they aren't rational beings or something. I'm sorry, but Tim doesn't need a neck rub to listen to me.

4 - She contradicts herself numerous times! Especially in the way she discusses her own life. She wasn't a stay-at-home mom but completely villifies working mothers. She says that SHE could do it because she put her family first-- like other women are not capable of such a feat.


When women are not in the workplace, we lose their perspective. When women aren't in Congress, for example, who would be offering the mother's perspective in the laws of our country? Do you really want only men's voices heard in the world as they were for hundreds of years? We NEED women, clearly, in the decision making bodies of humanity. They make up half of the world, they are important and not just to the family. Not to say we don't need them at home, too. But herein lies the dilemma of our generation: merging work and family. So, after dismissing Dr. Laura, I offer up another voice of quasi-authority: read Joan Williams' Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It. You don't have to sacrifice your children and husband to have a career in the formal sector should you so choose. That's all I'm saying...


Today I got an email from saying I shouldn't let my baby watch TV.

But he just loves it so much!

Here he is, watching BYU's Folk Dance Ensemble:

Watch out world, here comes Atticus!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our very talented photographing friend

Last week, our friend Shelli Dame came and took a few family photos for us. We originally had a grand scheme to go to the library but it was snowing really hard and Theodore was not particularly well-rested so we stuck around the house and just took some in the bedroom and outside in the snow. She emailed me a sneak peek and I think they turned out so great! It helps that I already am obsessed with my husband and child...

If you'd like your OWN personal photo shoot a la Shelli (because honestly, how beautiful are these!?), she only charges $50 for a family. Get in touch with me if you want her email address or phone number.

How beautiful is he?! Can you believe he came from me and Tim? Yeah, us neither.

I love little guy's face in this one!

Mmmmmm. Baby feet.

My husband = SO. SEXY.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stuff Mom Never Told You

It was a cold winter day in our tiny studio apartment in Orem. Tim turned on a new podcast-- "Stuff Mom Never Told You" -- and I was hooked. Mostly because they talk about everything I know and love like menstruation, childbirth, feminism, etc, etc. They are hilarious, informative, and just plain interesting. Last week, after the breastfeeding podcast (including discussing the breastfeeding in public controversy), I wrote a little email to Molly and Cristen about how I'm a mother and a college student, and that I take my baby with me to class and breastfeed and have never had an issue with it. I told them also that their job is my DREAM job. To do research about these things and then just talk about them. Freaking amazing.

And they responded!!!!!!! (cue delirious giggling) Silly, I know. But they are my idols. I suggested cloth diapering as a podcast. Maybe they will do it! That would be so, so cool.

The email:

"Hi Caitlin, Molly and I will take your career dream as the highest compliment! I think it's so great that your school allowed you to take [Theodore] to class with you. If only more schools and workplaces were more flexible with childcare.

Cloth diapering is an interesting idea. I know my mom was a big proponent of them, if only for the cost savings. We'll put it in the MomStuff queue and see what we can come up with.

Thanks for listening and writing in!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Woman gives birth on flight to SLC

This was almost me.

The best of birthdays

Yesterday was the best birthday of my life, no contest. I mean, I'm sure I loved my slumber parties of yesteryear, but yesterday was great in that I got to take a step back and look at my life and how happy it makes me.

First, on birthday eve, Tim gave me a foot rub and we watched The Matrix. I LOVE THE MATRIX. I thought about it all night long. Man. It was good.

On birthday morning, we watched The Matrix 2 and got ready for the day. My wonderful sister came to babysit while Tim took me to Salt Lake for a birthday surprise. He took me to the Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater. I forgot how beautiful that theater is! I'd never seen Ballet West perform, but they were so talented and it was a delightful show. I love going to dance performances, but I haven't been to a ballet since the last Nutcracker (I've stuck to the modern dance shows, which are amazing at BYU). Anyways, it was beautiful and so nice to relax and be together as a couple. Tim always knows how to make me happy.

On the way home, Tim started acting weird. He never texts and drives, but he was doing it. And refusing to tell me who he was talking to. So... I kind of figured something was up. But a surprise birthday party!! I've always, always wanted a surprise party and no one has ever thrown me one. It was so cool! I felt so loved. I felt like so many of those I know and love were at my party. I had so much fun with everyone, and I hope they felt the same. It was happening! I realized at my party that I have so many interesting and diverse friends, and they are all really fun to be around and kind and open-minded and welcoming. It was great.

Oh, and Smith's totally had an incredible sale for my birthday. We stocked up on cereal, Kashi crackers, and pasta.

AND: I got a great haircut on Thursday morning. FOR FREE. Thanks for the Starving Student card, Dad!

Birthday #23: Success! I was sad for it to end.
Presents: Shoes and shoes and carbon offsets. Tim got me some awesome Simple Mary Janes and Melissa made me these AMAZING sweater sock/shoes out of a recycled wool sweater and crocheted TWINE. How cool is that?! And our favorite godfather Gordon, he bought me CARBON OFFSETS. I know there are a few other things coming, including some moolah from my mommy and daddy to buy myself some goodies.

Three months old

At three months,

Atticus likes:

Breast milk sampling
Sleeping in with mom

When Gordon comes to visit
Reading (especially That's not my Lion... thanks Coralie!)

The Bumbo Seat

Being helped to sleep promptly and not when he is fussy

The Matrix and other exciting movies

The flips

Long walks
Diaper changes
Feminist rallies

The mornings
When Annabelle is nice to him

He doesn't like:

The stroller
Being at home all day
The sleepies
The evenings
Annabelle smacking him with a hanger

He continues to amaze us with his laid-back and happy demeanor. He gets cuter and more expressive every day and we are putty in his hands when he smiles at us. He can do more fun tricks, and we are eager to see him learn more (like changing his own diaper.... we're teaching him that one soon).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Caitlin's birthday post

This is the one part of Cait's birthday today that wasn't a surprise for her. I didn't really do much for her birthday, but when it's a surprise, it always seems like a lot. I'll let Cait talk about the details of the day tomorrow.

Right now I want to talk about the details of the woman I love.

First of all, she is the best mother on the planet. This fact is indisputable. She cares so much for our son and bringing him up in the right way. She has really given over her whole heart to being a mother and I love her for it.

She is also so smart. She throws herself at all the learning that she can get. She always surprises me by how much she knows and I've given up on thinking that I'll ever be smarter than her.

She is a great friend especially to me, but as far as I can tell to many other people as well.

And, best of all, she's just a whole lot of fun to be around.

I could write much more. I could, I assure you. But it is late and my lovely wife is waiting for me in bed. She's fantastic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Glenn Beck,

Please, please, I'm begging you... tell everyone that the whole Mormon thing was a joke. I can take it no longer that you are the political voice of my religion. It sickens me to my core. I dislike Sarah Palin as much as the next person, but that is no reason to be a sexist pig.

And no, all women do NOT belong in the kitchen. Jerk.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


(this picture has nothing to do with this statement, I just think it's cute)

I really like the evenings when Atticus and I have nothing to do, and just can sit and nurse and sleep and nurse more and sleep more. Mostly actually I read while he sleeps and nurses. We've gotten into a good groove with him where if he doesn't get overly tired, he practically doesn't cry. Sometimes the overtiredness is unavoidable, but while we are at home I try to stave off the sleepies by getting him to sleep. It works.

Foreign Policy fame

If you know me, you probably know how much I worship Valerie Hudson.

Well, this month she made it on Foreign Policy magazine's top 100 "global thinkers." This is a pretty big deal for a BYU professor, Mormon mother of 8. Awesome, huh?

Shot down in combined Relief Society/Priesthood

So on the fifth Sunday whenever that occurs in a month, all the male and female adults of the ward get together to be instructed by a member of the Bishopric, who lead the ward. This Sunday our Bishop talked to us about strengthening our marriages, as everyone in our ward is married. He asked us one question about ways in which we strengthen our communication.

I raised my hand and talked about the "I Love It..." game that Cait and I play where we first talk about some of the areas we think the other could improve and things that the other person does that might happen to bug us. And then we spend the rest of the time, which ends up being the majority of the time, by talking about things that we love about each other. We always do it when we are calm with no distractions and haven't been previously angered about anything. It's worked well for us, even though we don't do it as often as we used too. It's gotten to the point, I think, where we can bring up a lot of those things in regular conversation.

After I made this comment, a number of people, three I think, said that they thought that was very dangerous, saying how it could lead to bitterness. They also said that if something was bugging you about your spouse, it was probably just something that you were doing wrong and that you should change rather than saying anything to your spouse.

I think there is definitely some truth to those statements, especially the second, but I've found that sometimes the best way to confront an issue like that, say when Cait used to leave her clothes on the bathroom floor when they were dirty, head on and just discuss it and come to an agreement.

Of course, everyone has their own way of doing things, we were just wondering how everyone else handled these sort of things. Mainly this if for the married people, but it also applies to anyone who has a disagreement with another person that you are close to. So what do you think? What is the best way to communicate things that your spouse does that bothers you?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mounds of gratitude... and turkey

Thanksgiving was a beautiful day for us.

We drove to Wyoming through the lovely canyons of northern Utah.

We heard the news of Janice's (she is my favorite of the Browning cousins...) home birth (and a VBAC!) and her new beautiful daughter, Ava Jeralee.

We hung out with Tim's great family. We laughed at Grandpa's declining memory and realized we should have named our baby something easier to remember.

We ate DELICIOUS food. I usually am biased towards food because my mom, aunt, and grandma can COOK. But it was actually good! And only one variety of jello (which was delicious, I ate three servings of it!)

We went on a beautiful walk in the Wyoming countryside (?) and saw some buffalo and elk.

We played Mormon Bridge. Tim won.

I got destroyed in Scrabble my Grandma. Who knew? I think I needed some humble pie to go with my pumpkin variety.

Although the little guy screamed part of the way home, I finally got him to sleep about 20 minutes away. And we enjoyed a peaceful journey the rest of the way.

AND, we got to hang out with Trace and Michelle and their new baby Alexis. It was really fun, though we were all really tired. We like them a lot, unfortunately they live far away in Logan. Alexis and the little guy were binky buddies too... Alexis had a pink one and the little guy a blue one. It was cute, too bad we didn't get a picture.

Most importantly of all, we were able to reflect on our unlistable blessings that have been granted to us this year. But actually, I will list them, for clarity:

1. Our marriage. I think it may be the best one around. We are always seeking out ways to improve, and I can clearly see a difference this year has made in both of us. Tim and I bring out the best in each other, and I've never been happier. Everyone told us we were crazy, but look at us now.

2. Our sweet little guy. As I type this, he's just chilling in my lap, looking around at his new world and smiling away at me. He has enriched our lives beyond what I could have imagined, and I'm grateful for every moment that I can be his mommy.

3. Education, work, friends, etc. We are just in such a good place in our lives right now. We live in an apartment that is better than we could have pictured last year, we have plenty of money in our savings, we have awesome friends right across the way and lots down the street, our ward is so fun and welcoming, we are both having really successful semesters at school, we both have jobs that we enjoy and that make us enough money to squeak by, and our families have been supportive and helpful as we transitioned to this stage in our lives. Allison is a phone call away to come over and hold the little guy so I can get work done when Tim's not around, we see Devin and Hillary often, and Tim's parents completely furnished our apartment for free. My mom came into town for those blissful two weeks in September, and my dad is off serving his fellow countrymen in Dover. Charity and Josh are off serving the Lord and gaining some neat cultural experiences as well in London and Chile, while Devany is perhaps giving us a new brother-in-law in a few months. And let's not forget Lauren and Christopher's incredible charity this summer when they took us in for a month (not to mention their generous baby stuff bestowal, we've had to buy practically nothing thanks to them). I know not everyone has such an extensive safety net, and we are grateful for all they do for us. I only hope that through our small acts of kindness to others we can keep the service spreading.

I feel like I should end this in "Amen" or something.