Friday, August 29, 2008

Just a Stay-at-Home Mom?

When people ask me what my career plans are now that I'm going to have a baby, I am met with a variety of responses. Basically, I'm putting my professional teaching career on hold until my children are old enough to go to school. Most of the time when others hear that I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom they are supportive and glad that I am in a position that staying at home is financially possible (although it will be tight). But then there are others who feel like I'm wasting my life or not living a life because I choose to be "just a stay-at-home mom." I've been asked if I feel like I'm wasting my degree. Absolutely not! What better place to apply what I've learned at school than at my own home. That's not to say I won't miss the academic world, but I'm moving on to a different sort of school; one where I will develop many new types of skills. Those who chide me for being "just a stay at home mom" do not realize that motherhood contains within that title many other titles. Being a mother means I get to be so many things.

As a mother I get to be a Nurse. I have never been to medical school, but I'm excited to learn about the human body and how to help heal it. When my children get sick, I am the first response team. I am responsible for determining what is wrong with them. That means I must be well-studied on the subject of health and disease. That mostly means that I will become an expert at searching for symptoms and treatments on google, but nonetheless, I will become an expert on those symptoms and treatments. I am am also the ambulance driver, in a way, when I determine my children are sick enough that I need to take them to the real doctors.

I also am going to have the privilege of being our home's Interior Decorator. I pretty much am already, but since I'll be spending at lot more time inside my house, I will be much more picky on exactly how it looks. Not to mention, I have to be doing all of this on a budget. That means I'll get to be creative on how to do this: Refinishing old funiture, using my own artwork, bargain hunting, etc. I think I will have fun developing this skill.

I've taken a few courses on this subject, but I don't know if I'm fully prepared to be a Child Psychologist, but then again, I don't really have a choice. I will be fully engulfed in the life of my child and being the best mother I can be means I must try to see the world the way he sees it. I know there are many different theories on how to raise a child. Probably as many theories as there are mothers. I will get to develop my own theory based on what I know is best for my child. It will be interesting to see if I can apply any of those Pavlovian stimulus-response training methods on my children.

I've never been too interested in becoming a chef until recently. Now I find a certain ammount of satifaction in developing a new recipe. They aren't complication by any means, but I like the fact that I made it up. My mom is the ultimate chef. Mmmm. Just thinking about her food makes my mouth water. She just throws things together into a delicious concoction. Right now I focus on making food that is healthy and try to make it yummy as well. It is a work in progress, hopefully I have my mother's throw-everything-in-the-pot-and-watch-it-turn-into-something-delicious genes.

My husband is the accountant, but since I now have significantly more time than him (he is also a full-time student) I have been given the responsibility of being our family's financial planner. Maybe our family goes a little overboard (Matt IS an accountant), but we keep track of all our expenses down to buying a snack at the gas station. Matt is teaching me to use our financial software to create and manage our budget. I don't think everybody goes to the lengths we do to stay on top of our budget, but I do know that being financially aware is an important skill that every mother should have especially since they are the ones who most often do all the shopping for the family. I'm excited for Matt to teach me how to use the quickbooks software. I'm sure this skill will be beneficial in many ways.

I can't wait for my little baby to come so I can take pictures of him. That means I get to be the family photographer. What mother doesn't like to take pictures of their bundle of joy? This will be a great opportunity for me become a better photographer not to mention historian. I am in charge of making sure that every milestone in my little boy's life is documented. I'm sure it won't be too hard for me to accomplish this. I'll probably just follow him around all day with a camera around my neck.

One part of being a stay-at-home mom that I've been dreading is become the family maid, but I do admit that this is an important role that I'll have. I'm not saying that I am going to be the only one every cleaning in my home. Nope. If you make the mess, you clean it, but I will be on full-time duty. My Grandma is the ultimate home cleaner. She is a little obsessive--ok, she is a lot obsessive, but I've noticed how she takes pride in her work. That is a quality I want to emulate. I want to take pride in having a clean home. After all, word on the street is "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." I wouln't mind having some of that in my home.

One role that I'm all too familiar with is that of Teacher. As a mother, I will become the ultimate teacher. In fact, I consider that to be the primary role of a mother. I will get to teach my child how to do basic things like tie a shoe. I get to read to him nightly and be filled with joy when he can read to me. I am excited to hear all his curious questions and to answer them with just as much excitement. I will take the responsibilty to teach him right from wrong very seriously. I am so excited to take part in helping this helpless little person to grow up to be a capable, independent, and responsible adult.

I could go on forever about the different reponsibilties that I gladly accept with choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I will get to learn so many things and if I can become an expert at just one of those things, I will consider myself a success. I was lucky enough to have a mother who showed me what motherhood is all about. She embraced the responsiblities of motherhood with dignity and as a result I am who I am today.

I'm sure you can think of a million more things that motherhood is to you and I think the list is a little different for everyone, but that doesn't make it less important.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Love Affair

It seems I haven't been able to sit down with a good book for a long time. It's not that I have been soooo busy in my life that I just couldn't make time for it. It is more that I forgot how much I enjoyed it, so reading got pushed to the back of my to do list. Well, this summer while I was bored out of my mind I finally got to the end of that to do list and picked up a book.

I started with Harry Potter 6. I thought it was a timely read since the movie is coming out this year. That quick and easy read got me back into the swing of things and I've been reading ever since. Next I read Twilight because I had too. EVERYBODY is doing it. That was also a quick and easy one. (don't hate me for saying this, but I was a little disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high.) And then I discovered the library in West Valley. I feel bad for the library. I took their entire stock of pregnancy and childbirth books. And the surprising thing is that I've almost read them all. Needless to say, I feel a lot better about having a baby. I know a lot more about what is going to happen to me and what signs I need to look for. In fact, I probably know enough to deliver my own baby...but let's not get crazy. The last couple of nights I've been dreaming about having my baby. I should clarify. The last couple of nights about 5 times a night I have had a dream about giving birth. Each time being a little different then the time before. After all of that I decided to cut down on my labor and delivery reading and move on to something else. I started to read Ender's Game which is a book I have heard a lot of good things about. Also it is written by Orson Scott Card. He has a column once a week in the Deseret News that I love to read. It is in the Mormon Times section and since he doesn't live in Utah, he has a clear perspective on "mormon culture." I find his perspective refreshing.

Well, all that being said, I have a love affair with books now. If you have any good books to recommend, please let me know. Thanks!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back to School or not

It seems like everyone is getting ready to go back to school. The newspaper is overrun by back to school sales ads. The weather is getting a little cooler (only a little). The youth in my ward are starting to complain about the end of summer. Wal-mart is filled with spiral-bound notebooks.

This is the first year I'm NOT going back to school. Obviously I went to school every year from preschool to senior year at RHS (Go Silverwolves!) and then I went straight through 4 years of College at Utah State (Go Aggies! What is an aggie anyway?) and then I got a job teaching chemistry at AMES for two years (Go Nerdy kids!).

AMES is a public charter school which means that it is free and there is open enrollment with a cap at 400 students. It is a very small school and I think that is one of its greatest strengths. AMES stands for Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science and we tried to focus on giving kids opportunities to excel in those areas although the school had a great arts, social studies, and english programs as well.

Most people have the mistaken understanding that AMES is only for smart kids. Not true. In fact during enrollment we would focus on underprivledged, minority, lower economic status, and potential first generation college students. It is true that we did grab the attention of some brilliant MIT bound students, but most of the students were not this way.

I LOVED teaching. I LOVED my students. Being in such a small school, I got to know most of my students very, very well. In fact, I still keep in touch with many of them. Many of them have added me as their friend on facebook (not the other way around). I even received emails from a couple of them this summer.

Here is an email from my student Nathan. He would always stay after class asking me girl advise:

Anyways I'm sorry I never had the time to write an e-mail. I have been very busy with Canada and all, never got on a computer. So how is your summer going? Are you excited about your baby coming soon? Will you visit with your baby sometime? Well what ever happens enjoy it! hoping to talk to ya some more soon!

(AKA) Your most awesome student! =D

Here is part of an email from another student JP. I wasn't even aware that he liked me all that much, but he wrote me a sweet email:

How are you? How are things going? It's boring not talking to you every other day. Next year is going to be way lame without you at AMES. How's the baby doing? :) I'm doing pretty well. Actually very well.

It makes me school-sick. I wish I could go back, but then again I am very excited for this new chapter of my life. In reality I get to be the ultimate teacher: mother.

I had an opportunity to go to Washington DC with 4 of my students last fall for the NCSSSMST (the world's longest acronym) conference. The National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathmatics, Science, and Technology. The first day I tried very hard to establish myself as the teacher of the group but soon gave up when I realized everyone else just thought I was a student. Oh, well it was more fun that way.
Can you tell which one is the teacher?

Cute kids: Daniel, Ahrash, Sarah, and Ludmila

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cecret Lake

Last Saturday, Matt and I went on a hike to Cecret Lake. Why they spell secret with a C is a mystery to me. In fact, why called it "secret" lake is also a mystery considering how many people were on the trail. Obviously, not a very well-kept secret.

Cecret Lake was a short hike up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It is beautiful up there right now. There are so many colorful wildflowers dotting meadows and abundant wildlife.

We met a very interesting man on the way down the trail. I wish I could remember his name, but I do remember he was from Canada, eh. He bought a sailboat and traveled the oceans for 5 years to spend with his family and then he stopped at American Samoa and got a job working for the government. He was down in Salt Lake for a FAIR conference.

FAIR is the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. Basically, it is an organization dedicated to the defense of the LDS church. People who have questions or doubts about the church may find their website ( very informative. I have visited it before and read some of their articles, but honestly the things they write about aren't that important if you have a testimony of the gospel. A testimony can only come by spiritual confirmation not by physical evidence. This man is a retired lawyer and he quoted a well-known psychological principle that states if you have already made up your decision, you can rearrange the evidence in your favor. This is true with the church. Many anti-mormon enthusiasts will be very selective on their "evidence" against the gospel. ANYWAY, I'll get off my soapbox.

To see more pictures, check out my other blog

Monday, August 4, 2008

Waiting for Baby

It is starting to get old. I've been pregnant for, like, 7 full months. That is the entire year of 2008 so far. It was fun at first. I liked seeing my belly grow, but now the sleepless nights, endless heartburn, inability to breathe and move are making me think that I'm just about ready.

I was thinking last night as my stomach acid decided to take a detour up my throat,"Why is this so long and uncomfortable?" And then I realized if pregnancy was easy and short and fun, everyone would have a baby whenever they had the slightest inclination to do so. Well, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that God knows what he is doing.

I am getting so excited to have my baby! (not just to return my body to its former state) I know it is going to be hard and there is a lot I have to learn, but generally the things in this life that are the most difficult and also the most worth it. If that is true, then having a baby has to be the most worthwhile experience possible. Yeah, I'm scared out of my mind for this increasingly large baby boy to come out of me (who wouldn't be), but the more I learn, the less I fear.

I know, almost for a fact, that my baby is going to be HUGE! He is strong and kicks a lot, but I know he is going to be large because of his genetics. I was 9 lbs. 6 oz and Matt was 8 lbs. 3 oz. All my friends are having little petite 6-7 lb infants. I'm pretty sure I'm going to give birth to a toddler. Even so, I know I can handle this (at least that is what I tell myself).

I can't wait to see you baby boy!

Baby Ashley
Baby Matt

Scrapbooking Debut

I have an announcement to make: I started scrapbooking. I had never really made a scrapbook before and felt a twinge of guilt because of that. I mean, what type of person doesn't scrapbook?! Don't I love my memories enough? What was wrong with me?

This whole thing started when I went over to Matt's parent's house and everybody started to look at pictures. Matt's mom started walking into the room with a box bigger than herself full of pictures. We looked through them one by one, in no sort of order: here she is 15 years old and next she is 15 minutes old. I love pictures and couldn't stand the thought of all these memories imprisoned in this box (I didn't even know before this time about the existence of the box.)

I volunteered to put all of Celeste's pictures in a scrapbook. Not an easy task. I have every picture of Celeste ever taken of her in all her 18 years and have to organize it somehow and scrapbook it. Hopefully I don't mess it up too bad, but anything is better than the box.

So it began. I went to the store and spent way too much on supplies. My friend, Rachelle, invited me over and I began the process. I was surprised to find out that I actually like scrapbooking. It is almost therapeutic. I also realized that I need way more supplies -- Rachelle has all the high tech gadgets and cute accessories. I basically limited myself to paper and stickers. Well, I suppose I will just work my way up.

Here are the first two pages I made: