Friday, September 30, 2016

I've come a long way

Today after I went visiting teaching, I took Edward, Vivian, and Marian to a park in Cedar Hills near our old rental house. I met the nicest mom there. She had two boys, 5 and 2. After hearing about how I have 5 kids 8 and under, she asked how I do it. I said, I don't know. She said she was having a hard time with just 2 kids.

I assured her that for me, 2 kids has been my hardest stage. I got to thinking just how far I've come in my mom-ing. I'm nowhere near perfect, but I remember how HARD it was as a mom of 2. And now I have 2 in school, 1 in preschool, and 2 at home with me, one who is an exclusively breast fed baby.  I am teaching more private students and have 3 group music classes for which I have to have a very tidy and clean home. I have come a long way. I am feeling proud of myself. Some things have changed. I no longer spend 1-2 hours prepping dinner. My laundry may or may not get folded, but hey, it's clean! I don't teach preschool out of my home, and I don't spend as much time doing preschool prep type things with my 2 year old. My baby doesn't get picked up every single time she cries. But there is a lot more music in our home! And we still go to the park and have fun together.

Motherhood is such a wild ride. I feel like I've learned a lot and have a lot yet to learn. Strapped in for the ride!

Here are a few of our most recent family pictures.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Paint paint everywhere

Today while I was getting ready to make dinner, I noted that I hadn't seen Vivian in awhile. Anyone who has ever had a two year old knows it is mighty suspicious to not see or hear them for awhile.  I asked the boys if she was up there and they said yes, but when. I asked where they couldn't tell me. Then Edward said, "I thinks she's in Dean's room." So we opened his closet and oh boy. Paint everywhere. I've told Dean not to bring art supplies to his room, but he put them in a #10 can in his closet. Vivian found them, tried to paint but spilled them, then tried to clean up.

When I saw this, I didn't even feel anger boiling inside. I just said, "ah darn it. Let's get you in the bath. Dean, this is why I didn't want you taking art supplies into your room." I put Vivian in a bath and Dean cleaned up the mess with a carpet spot cleaner. No yelling. No lecture. After Vivian was clean I said, " what were you doing? Were you trying to paint?" And she said, " yeah, it was too heavy. I tried to keen it up." "Thank you so much for trying to clean it up".  *light in her eyes* "That was a pretty big mess. Next time you have a mess like that you should come get me so I can help." "yeah."

Now, had I yelled or lectured it would have just taught her it was bad to try and clean up your mess and that she can't trust me to not freak out if she has a problem. She wouldn't want to come to me.  I hope I can continue in this path. It has been a great week. Now more than ever I feel like I can make true and lasting changes if I just keep focusing on the right things.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Well dang it.

I didn't even last a week of daily journaling on here. Ah well. I will keep trying.

Yesterday my praise project was initiated. It was amazing. Lots of high fives, praise, hugs, etc. Dean voluntarily helped with dishes both in the morning and in the evening. There were very few fights. The kids were happy and helpful. When I picked up Dean from school, he said it was the best day of school he's ever had.  He and Walter both got "clipped up" for good behavior in class. Dean's teacher even wrote me an email saying, "Hello Mrs. Brasfield, I wanted to let you know that Dean had a great day at school today! He was super polite and helpful to me and many others. I loved his smiles and positive attitude!"  It was awesome. At bed time he voluntarily washed his feet (they ALWAYS stink super bad when he takes off his shoes but often balks when we ask him to wash his feet. Poor guy inherited my sweaty feet and hands), and he was just really thoughtful all day. 

Today I tried doing much of the same. I will admit I was more tired and probably not quite as exuberant. The kids seemed more tired as well. I still tried to praise and much as possible. It was good, but not quite as epic. They fought a little more, but it was still a good day. I only lost my cool for a moment when I was getting in the car to pick up Walter and saw that Vivian had gotten into Edward's preschool box of snacks he was supposed to take tomorrow and opened up the box of granola bars and opened up a bar and was already eating it by the time I got out to the car with Marian. Haha. That girl! So independent. She had THE SADDEST face, though, when I told her she wasn't supposed to get into it and I was not happy with her. I felt bad and it reminded me that she is more important than a granola bar. 

I will continue to try and focus on praising more than I correct. I have a feeling it might be tested a little to see if my resolve is real. I will do my best to be my best. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

See the good

I'm pretty sure I've written before about the scripture 1 Peter 3:10 "love life and see good days". I first remember it making an impression on me when it was presented in a Saturday church workshop in McKinney. I don't know why it has stuck with me so strongly, but it has. I've been thinking more about the whole scripture in context.

"Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For whosoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:9-11

I've felt like I've somehow come to a point where I've become quite critical of my kids at times. I get exasperated, expect a lot from them, and sometimes forget that they are super new to this earth. I mean, heavens, my oldest is only 8! My goal this week is to eliminate any critical or negative speech and replace it with positive praise for the things that are being done right. Kids chewing with their mouth open driving us nuts? Praise the kid who is chewing with their mouth closed. Then if the offender happens to correct the behavior right away, praise them as well. Grumpy kid? Praise the kids around them. Or Praise them for something they've done recently, even if it isn't in that moment. I need to not buy into their drama, but turn from it and do good. Say good things. Seek peace.  There is so much more to living a happy life than looking for the good. We have to be the good. Praise the good. Seek the good. Refrain from the negative and not so good. Harder than it sounds, but I am certain that this will provide a pathway to greater peace in our home.

Sunday, September 11, 2016 what bwings us togevah today

This morning I was able to attend our Stake's adult meeting on marriage.  We unfortunately missed last night's portion of the conference (Forgot about it and they even provided dinner! What was I thinking?!), and I went by myself this morning as I hadn't gotten a baby sitter, but it was still nice nonetheless. Brent Top, is our Stake President and is the dean of the religious education at BYU and has some ins to great professors and speakers. It was great to attend, I just wish we would have done so together.

The class I enjoyed the most was from the continuing courtship class by Dr. Ogletree. Now, Matt and I are very terrible at this. We are great friends and make a great team in our separateness (divide and conquer is kind of our standard), but we are not very good about doing things together. Not that we don't like to, but it just seems like 5 kids and other life responsibilities kind of get in the way of courtship, ya know? we've never been much for PDA, and dating seems to require babysitters and planning, so it seems like we just end up watching movies at home on a good weekend, and doing separate activities in separate rooms the rest of the time.

I am determined to work on that.

Here are the notes I took of his class:

Marital Entropy. Marriage can erode and get rusty over time. Other things get in the way (work, church, kids, etc)
Apathy, taking each other for granted.

Have to find a way to freshen it up. Don't just become joint occupants in the home. We would do well to reevaluate, renew courtship, express affection, acknowledge kindness, increase consideration so marriage can become beautiful, sweet and growing, (Spencer w. Kimball, marriage and divorce, 1976)

Isaac and Rebecca
Gen 26
Isaac was sporting with (touching, laughing, caressing, jesting, playing) REBEKAH. They could tell they weren't brother and sister by how they were treating each other.

If you were accused of being married, is there any evidence to convict you? Kids should be able to see that you love each other, that you want to be together. We want the community and others to know we truly do love each other.

“We just don't have the time”
  • Couples who spend leisure time together tend to be happier together
  • High levels of couple time together, less likely to divorce
  • “If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently.” f Burton Howard.
  • “Happiest marriage both husband and wife treat the relationship as a pearl beyond price.” Whitney Clayton April 2013
  • If you say your priority is family and marriage but you never spend time together, you are lying.

Those who have good and successful marriages work at it. It can be FUN.
When you have a successful marriage, you will become a better parent. If our marriage is in trouble, our family is in trouble.

Nothing but God himself should take priority over your spouse. Not work, recreation, hobbies,...what does it mean to cleave to her? It means to stay close, be loyal and faithful, etc.

Elder Holland said about priorities
  1. Spiritual and physical self
  2. Our spouse
  3. Child
  1. Church calling
  2. Professional life
  3. Civic responsibilities

If you want things to get better, you have to set your priorities straight.

If marriage is a prime relationship it deserves prime time.
  • If you want a healthy garden, you water it, pull weeds, give it sun, etc.
  • What can you do to water and nurture your marriage

You must express your love EVERY day
  • Romantic love is the dominating influence of life. Highest degree of exaltation is unattainable without this kind of love. Boyd k Packard

How do you express your love? Speak your spouse's love language
  • Mormon message by elder Scott
  • Had two people up speaking different language. They didn't understand each other and couldn't connect.

Babysitters are cheaper than divorces

Regular dating:
Keep your courtship alive
Regular weekly time alone together
Commit, plan, and schedule
If you are in a rut do something exciting or different.
  • Go for a walk, go to a park,
One night a week for a few hours remind yourself why you love each other.
Make it pleasant, fun, and something you can look forward to.


  1. go home and kiss so passionately in front of kids that it will gross them out.
  2. Come up with a departing or greeting ritual that will strengthen your bond together.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Positive affirmations

Unfortunately it is just after midnight, so I missed posting on yesterday's date, but I figured I'd go ahead and still get in he spirit of the law post.

I've always been a believer in positive affirmations. I don't say any daily, but whim struggling with something in life, I tend to fall back on them for strength to change. Today after lunch I finally got my 2 year old, Vivian, dressed. She started running around the kitchen saying, "I'm so pretty!" Over and over. Then Edward jumped in on the fun and ran around saying, "I'm so cool!" Then Vivian changed to, "I'm so sweet!" It reminded me of how important it is that we send good messages to ourselves. This morning Dean was getting really frustrated with a clay project he was trying to do. He ended up throwing his clay saying, "I give up!" I had him say, "My name is Dean Brasfield and I can do hard things."  He resisted saying it at first. I asked if he'd rather say, "my name is Dean Brasfield and I'm a quitter." He said he didn't want to say either. I told him he needs to choose to believe in himself in order to succeed. He ended up saying he can do hard things. I ended up throwing away the homemade clay and buying him some sculpy.  And he finished his project.

Here are some affirmations you are more than welcome to use for you or your children or classrooms. 😀 I made them for my Lets Play Music classroom. The "I am in charge of me" means that we choose our behavior. My brain tells my hands or body what to do, so I can make good choices and control myself.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Announcing Marian Marie

37 weeks pregnant
First, a little of my birthing background: My first baby was an emergency c-section after 18 hours of labor as his heart rate kept decelerating as I was pushing.  My second baby was a scheduled c-section mostly because I felt like my body was broken, somehow incapable of pushing a normal sized baby out. I was a basket case after that one, and I knew after that that if I wanted any more kids I'd have to find someone to let me have a vaginal birth. I did not want to go through that ever again. It was the
only time I had postpartum depression. I'm not  sure if it was because I didn't labor and get the hormonal high, or if it was because I couldn't exercise for so long, or if it was because I felt it made me inaccessible for my not yet 2 year old.  All I knew was that I felt crazy. And then when a friend of mine told me about the I CAN group, I found support and hope. I started planning on doing whatever it took to vbac for any future children.  I found an amazing doctor in TX, Dr. Fredrick Cummings, who was within an hour of me who would take me on as a vbac candidate. I mentally prepared. I hired a doula. I kept myself physically active so I could push that baby out. And I did. He was my biggest baby, and posterior to boot, but I did it naturally. I pushed him out. And I healed in my body and mind. I no longer felt broken. I felt like I could do just about anything. Then my next baby was my smallest and she was a fast and easy birth in comparison. (From first contraction to pushing her out was 3 hours and she came out 10 min. after getting to the hospital!!)

When I first found out I was pregnant with baby #5, I just couldn't believe it. When people would ask us if we were going to have more kids, my standard response was, "Well, Matt and I are done having kids unless the Lord has some plan for us we don't know about!" The odds were so slim of us conceiving, I figured that God really must have wanted us to have one more even though we thought we were done. I was kind of in denial at first, but when we had our ultra sound at 20 weeks and saw we were having another girl, I was happy. Happy for Vivian to have a little sister, and to have another daughter. They were going to be best friends.

Then the "weird stuff" kept showing up on ultrasounds. First the echogenic bowel. It's a soft marker for Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and some random virus. When the doctor first told me this I didn't know how to take it. I had a few days of crying. Then I read a talk about "but if not". I will trust in the Lord that it will all work out, but if not, I will still keep the faith. And it felt so peaceful. I knew that one way or another it would work out. Even if that meant complications. Even if that meant she would have challenges or health problems, or whatever. What I knew, though, was that more than anything I wanted my baby to live. I wanted to have my surprise child I'd been carrying for 20 weeks.

I had testing done that ruled out the DS, CF and virus. Then they saw what they thought was a mass on her heart. So I went and did an echocardiogram at Primary Children's and everything looked great, no mass. The next time I had an ultrasound they didn't see the mass anymore, but they wanted a chest x-Ray done on her after she was born just to make sure her lungs were fine as well as her heart.

I was slightly worried about delivering with a different doctor in a different state because of my birthing history. But Dr. Andrew Thomas seemed to be a pretty cool guy, supportive of what I wanted. He didn't lecture me or freak out when I wanted to fly to AZ at 37 weeks. (He did advise me not to go, but he also didn't treat me like I was a crazy person and said it was up to me.) He let me
know the risks of what I was wanting to do (no epidural, vbac, etc.) then he supported me in my

At the airport in AZ after LPM symposium with my parents
My parents got to town on the 18th for a reunion and family wedding. My mom then stayed at my sister Julie's the next week to watch her two youngest while she went to girls' camp with her husband, my dad, and her two oldest girls. They were due back on Friday the 24th. I felt like my body was getting ready, achy pelvis and intermittent contractions on Wed., so I had my mom come hang out at my house on Thursday with Julie's kids. At 10am I went in to check dilation (we hadn't up to that point) and he was going to strip my membranes. I was already to a 4, and he said he wasn't sue if tripping my membranes was going to do much more because I was already pretty open.

The rest of the day I had small contractions here and there and I felt like I had to go to the bathroom
every 5 minutes. My mom kept wanting me to call Matt home from work, but I didn't feel like there
was any reason to. My mom went back to Julie's after lunch to pack night stuff for her and the kids
just in case. While she was gone I laid down and my contractions lessened. After my mom got back we did some laundry. At 5pm I went to a friend's to borrow a rock n' play before she left town, and on the way over there I felt like I had my first productive contraction of the day. I came back and made dinner, noting that my contractions were inconsistent but coming every 3-8 min.  Matt didn't eat (I'd made pizza) and while I felt like I shouldn't eat anything but a shake, I did eat pizza and salad. I wish I would have stuck just to the shake.

We got our kids ready for bed around 7 and my contractions were getting more regular and closer. At about 7:15 I told Matt we needed to leave for the hospital.

Once we were there, the nurse checked me and I was still only at a 4! What?! But my water had broken unbeknownst to me (slow leak since she was blocking...must have been why I had to go to the bathroom so much)  so they "decided to keep me." After she left the room, I turned to Matt and said, "what, they were going to send me away if my water hadn't broken?" I knew I was in labor and that the baby would be coming very soon, but since I was only at a 4 they seemed that think it would be awhile. They got me into a delivery room about 8:30. I knew I was in transition the way my contractions were hitting, but no one had checked me since they first told me I was at a 4.  By the time they were done entering in all their info, they had the doctor come in to check me.

It wasn't my doctor since it wasn't his rotation till the next morning. I'm guessing by law he had to tell me that he advised having an epidural in case I needed to have a c-section again, "or we can just have this baby," he then added. In my mind I was like, "I'm having this baby in the next two minutes so please just shut up and let me push!"  He checked me and I was at a 9, but I still had quite a bit of water above the baby. So they drained that and then it really was pushing time. I was moaning through my contractions at this point, and I was so ready to push. He gave me the go ahead, and the next contraction I gave two big pushes and got her head out. Her shoulder got stuck and with another
big push she came out. Just like that.  She was born at 9:08.  7 lbs. 6 oz., 18.5 in. The doctor noted he thought she had red in her hair.  We noticed she had a dimple on at least one side. Yay! For both of those things!

My body started shaking. I couldn't control my head.  It was shaking back and forth and I couldn't get it to stop. Matt kept telling me to relax, that it was over. Once I delivered the placenta, it started getting a little better, but I still felt like I couldn't control my head very well. They laid her on me almost immediately, but she didn't seem interested in nursing. After awhile they took her to do tests, and not long after that they took me downstairs to the recovery floor to my room. Matt stayed with me till about 11 and then he went to get dinner since he hadn't eaten.  I felt like I was bleeding a lot.

When the nurse came in to check me, sure enough, I was bleeding quite a bit. At midnight I asked the nursery to take her for the night. I didn't really feel like I was feeling well enough to tend to her.  The nurse checked me again around 2 and the bleeding was still very heavy. She gave me some medicine, and almost immediately I started shaking uncontrollably again. My head was doing the weird shaking again and my body was shivering and shaking.  I probably should have woken Matt up or got the nurse back in, but I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I finally calmed my body enough to fall asleep, but I was freezing. When the nurse came in again around 4, I was still bleeding heavily and I had a fever. I felt freezing. She brought a warmed blanket and called my doctor to see what other medicine she should give me.

She gave me a shot in the leg I believe. Around 5 or 6 my fever must have broken and I was sweating to death under the double layer of blankets. I slept until about 6:30 and then I wanted my baby, but I knew shift change was a bad time. So I waited till that was over and got to see her again.  We finally decided on her name, Marian Marie.  Marian was for my dad's mother, Marion (though we changed the spelling to a more feminine spelling) Grider, and Marie is my middle name as well as my dad's grandmother's who basically helped raise him.  So Marian has names of the two women who raised my dad.

After her x-ray the next morning, we found out she had a broken collar bone. They thought there might be fluid in her lungs, so we had to do it again the next day. No fluid, but a definite break. She nursed ok in the hospital, but not tons. When the nurses asked how long she'd eat I never really knew since she'd fall asleep within a few minutes.  She was pretty calm really.

The American Fork hospital and staff was awesome. The food was great. It was my shortest stay in a hospital for a baby yet even though I was GBS positive and didn't get the antibiotics. My sisters and a few nieces and a nephew, my parents, and my kids visited while in the hospital. It was lovely.

After we came home Marian didn't eat very well once my milk came in.  She refused to latch and really struggled to nurse. She screamed so much and wasn't eating. I was worried something was physically wrong that was preventing her. She also wasn't pooping. So we took her to the doctor who gave us some tips. They really did get her to poop almost immediately! And then we had a lactation nurse watch her eat a few days later because by that point I was only pumping and losing my milk because she was refusing to nurse. Somehow Marian miraculously latched in front of the nurse! She saw that Marian was eating correctly from both me and the bottle which meant it was just a nipple preference. Her advice was to drop the bottle and essentially force her to nurse. She said it'd take about 3 days of persistence and a lot of crying, but that after that she would be good. And she was right on all accounts. I'm not going to lie, the thought of being able to hand her to anyone to be able to eat was quite appealing at this point in my life, but I have loved nursing my babies, so I was grateful I pushed through for her.

My parents were wonderful like always and stayed a week to help out. They were amazing with my kids. They took them for loooong walks every day to give me a break to be with the baby and sleep (one day they even accidentally walked all the way to Lindon!!), played with them, helped them do their chores, took care of me, took them to my nephew's birthday, etc. etc. etc.  They are the best parents ever.

 She has been home 2 1/2 months. It feels like longer! So much has happened since then. Our Waterman family reunion, I started teaching again, and so much more.

Vivian LOVES Marian. She shares toys and her favorite blanket. She still loves to hold her and giggle at her. She is fascinated by this little being. I am SO grateful. The other kids have done really well adjusting as well. Dean is so big and able to hold her and even carry her places if needed. Walter pays her more attention than probably any other baby that came after him. Edward just plain loves everyone. The first few days he insisted that Marian was a horrible name, though, and he called her Wigford. But he gave that up quickly and I think he's even forgotten that he ever called her anything but Marian.

Marian at the Scera outdoor theater with me and my sisters. Girl's night out!
Marian's baby blessing took place at the Flake Ranch in Hobble Creek Canyon after my nephew got baptized in the creek!

first family photo with all of us

The Waterman least a good portion of them.
Vivian kissing Marian while I am kissing her. Love my girls.
She comes from a good (and large) family. Her first Waterman reunion.

Enjoying another night out at a BBQ in her new stroller.
All in all, we love our little copper headed Marian and are grateful she is a part of our family. Just last night I heard my first coo. She has more smiles for us, and as long as I don't eat dairy or iron (think leafy green veggies and a LOT of other things), she's really a content baby. She sleeps quite well for not being on a by the clock schedule yet.  We just had her 2 month appointment today and she was 10 lbs. 5 oz and 23 inches. Crazy to think that's how long Edward was when he was born because dang, I can't imagine fitting her in my body at this point! She is a doll and I can't wait for the months ahead when she smiles and coos and interacts with us more.