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A Game You’ll Never Lose

November 19, 2015 in Love Notes

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I’ve had this on my mind a lot. (ha! Do I always say that?) I’m pretty sure this blog has let me get better sleep at night because I can release my random thoughts somewhere!

But for real. I’ve been thinking of this topic and it’s a hard one to even admit because it’s something that I’m constantly working on. It may or may not apply to you, and if you’re amazing at this… teach us all your ways!

DISCLAIMER: This is in no way a post to make anyone feel guilty, just something to think about when we raise our kids.

I was talking to my sister the other day about how my niece is progressing like crazy in gymnastics. She’s amazing! However, there is always that one girl who progresses faster than the rest of the bunch.(Isn’t that always the case?) My sister teaches her daughter that instead of feeling jealous, we need to be happy when someone else can nail a trick that we are working so hard towards.

I loved that because it’s as true to an almost 8 year old as it is to an 80 year old. Especially in the mom world. We are so quick to serve and make dinner for that person who is suffering, but how quick are we to roll our eyes, or have our hearts sink when someone else shares news that we’ve hoped for so long would happen to us? Whether it be a new house, job promotion, having a baby, winning the lottery… there’s a million blessings out there, right?

Can you relate? Or is it just me…

The reason I share this is because Holland nails it on the head when he said:

“…Envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him “all that he hath,”2 as the scripture says. So…Coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.”

Everyone is given a different hand of cards. My mom tells me that sometimes it’s just “not your turn.” So don’t feel sorry for yourself if it’s not your turn, one day it will be! And in the mean time, why not share someone else’s joy by being excited for them!

I have a friend who has struggled with years of infertility. One thing she said to me awhile ago was, “When you get pregnant, will you please tell me? Because I want to share your joy and celebrate with you.” Even if a heart was breaking behind that sentence, I knew she meant every word. I look up to her so much and have never met anyone more selfless.

I think it’s time to end the comparisons and the “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude. You are doing great. Be proud of yourself. Don’t let another persons “perfect” life make you feel like yours is a dud. It’s not. And if it is, you have all the power in the world to change it. Create your own happiness for you, not as a show for anyone else. Because in the end, all that really matters is how you played the hand of cards you were dealt. Even if you have a crappy hand, you can still have a wonderful life. And if that’s how you choose to play, it’s a game you will never lose.

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

When Motherhood Gets Hard

November 13, 2015 in Love Notes

When Motherhood Gets Hard

Lately I’ve been avoiding talking about my beliefs because there has been so much controversy going around. And while I don’t want to get involved in the debates, I just still want to be able to share my experiences because it is a huge part of my life and means everything to me. Not only that, but I feel like other people can benefit from reading about these experiences or apply them to their own lives as well.

For those of you who are new, or those who don’t know, I am part of the LDS (Mormon) faith. It is what keeps me going every single day, keeps my family close, and my marriage in a wonderful state. Not only that, but I rely on my Heavenly Father DAILY as a mom. I feel like ever since I had a child I’ve been able to access a partnership with the Lord that I never knew existed. For example… sometimes I am at a loss at knowing what my child needs or the choices I need to make for him. I feel a closeness in knowing that I can bow my head and get that inspiration. He’s there waiting for me and never lets me down. It’s amazing and I honestly don’t think I could do this thing called “Motherhood” without Him.

Last month, the church does what’s called: General Conference. We hear from our living prophet and 12 apostles every 6 months. It is one of my very favorite times of year because you feel completely uplifted and ready to conquer anything!

This passed October Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke directly to mothers and those yet to be mothers. If you are reading this and haven’t heard it yet, I hope that you will take just a few minutes to listen to him speak because you will feel what I’m talking about. (Grab a tissue and click HERE)

One part, he says:

“You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting.”

He compares motherhood to the Savior and it gets pretty powerful. Towards the end he says:

“Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion,13 and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’14 ” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone.”

When he said these words I can’t help but hear it coming from our Heavenly Father, thanking us for raising his children that he loves so much. When we wrap our arms around our children, his arms are there too. When we cry with, for, or because of our children, he has tears streaming down his cheeks too. When we are up all night with a newborn, he’s awake with us.

You guys, motherhood is so stinkin’ hard. Some days ya win some, and other days you just need a long nap! But I promise that there is help on the other side for us if we just ask. We aren’t meant to do this alone.

I can’t wait for the day when I can wrap my arms around my Heavenly Father to thank him back for letting me be a mom. Because as hard as it is somedays, the joy overpowers the hard.

And that’s what I live for.

 

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

One Thing Every Child Needs To Hear

November 6, 2015 in Love Notes / My Mamahood

One thing every child should hear.

We had family visit us in Dallas a few weeks ago. My siblings are my best friends and so family time to me is always a good time.

We tried to do quite a bit while they were here. One of the days, my toddler decided to go on strike, I swear! It was like every decision was a tantrum. Not a small one either… I’m talkin screaming, kicking, throwing your head back kind of tantrums. Did I mention the kind of screams that would shake your ear drums and set off all the car alarms in a parking lot? Yup. Those kind. It wasn’t pretty. I was ready to throw some tantrums myself.

So after the 80th meltdown in one morning and after losing every battle, I mumbled to my child, “Quit being such a brat!”

I’m glad I had my mom close because she taught me a lesson that I want to always remember.

Immediately she said, “Don’t call him that, or he’ll end up being one because you told him that’s what he is.” (Cue in the mom guilt)

How true is that though?

I can honestly say that growing up my mom was the best at being a mom. She knew how to be our best friend but also knew how to be a parent at the same time. I always thought she was “strict” growing up, but now I look back and realize she was setting boundaries and those boundaries helped shape who I am as well as build security for me.

I remember being about 6 years old and I would stand in front of my mom in the bathroom while she slicked back my hair in a pony tail and tie a ball in it. (Ha! Remember those!?) Every single time she would look at my eyes through the mirror and say, “Do you know how beautiful you are?” (I’m sure my flower bangs were quite the attraction but she was talking deeper than just outer beauty.) I would always give a no-tooth smile back, semi-believe her, and say, “Yes”. If my answer wasn’t convincing, she would ask again and tell me how beautiful I was until I believed it.

I didn’t realize how much that really meant to me until I was in middle school and dealt with mean girls who would make fun of my clothes I wore. Or when I was in a nasty relationship with an immature boy in college, or when people on the internet who don’t even know me leave rude comments on my blog about the way I parent.

My mom shaped me to who I am and no one can change that. I fall back on what my mom taught me as a 6 year old because she instilled in me who I was before I even knew who I was.

I once learned in a child development class that the years 1-4 of someone’s life is what shapes their self-esteem for the rest of their life. And now that I’m a mom I feel the weight of that on my shoulders. As a mom I need to tell my kids how great they are and build them up right now so that when the world gets cruel they’ll remember who they really are.

And it won’t be a brat!

Xo,

Aubrey

What else really matters?

October 21, 2015 in Love Notes

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You guys. I’m as stubborn as they get, not gonna lie. My parents always tell me that’s how I was when I was little too and so having a stubborn child is probably pay back I’m sure.

I was having a chat with my mom the other day about forgiving. It sounds silly but I get my feelings get hurt if my 2 year old hits me in the head or throws a tantrum… who knew moms could get their feelings hurt from a toddler!?

One thing my mom said was, “Sometimes your kids will hurt your feelings and they will never know, because as long as they know how much you love them what else really matters?”

And I kinda just really love that. I know there will be bigger things later in life than getting hit in the head by a toddler, but I think the principal remains the same. I hope I can forgive more quickly and love more fully.

(Thanks mama! I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now!)

Xo,

Aubrey

 

Photo cred: @ahp_photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Won’t Take Pics of My Kids

September 2, 2015 in Love Notes

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The other day I turned on some of my fav jams as I was plopping my first time lemon bars in the oven, feeling quite domestic (as I may or may not have forgotten a FULL stick of butter that the recipe called for…yikes).

The sun was shining so bright through my favorite floral curtains, my house started to smell like lemon bars, and my toddler was in the happiest mood. It was honestly a “perfect” moment in my book…which in my life – those are rare to come by.

It got even better.

My babe started twirling, dancing, and giggling at the joys of music and life. We both were laughing and he was being so cute with little fingers in my hair, and teasing me to get me to chase him and dance around the room. Right then I reached for my phone to start documenting it all…but then I froze because a thought stopped me dead in my tracks.

“This moment is for YOU.”

I’m totally guilty of wanting to capture every moment on camera. Isn’t every mom obsessed with pics of their child?! Having a blog, you become a pretty open book with a lot of things, and I have always been very passionate about documenting everything! However, I believe there are some moments and times that are just for you, not for social media, not to scrapbook, or #chatbooks, not to blow up and put on your wall… these moments are just for YOU. We are so quick to grab our cameras and/or phones these days that we end up watching what is actually happening right in front of us on a screen as we film, rather than witnessing the actual moment in real life….which is 10 times more beautiful anyway. Usually those moments don’t last very long, sometimes even just seconds.  I’ve learned to grasp onto every ounce of it that I can get because they are what I live for.

That day I didn’t take a single picture. I basked in the sun rays shining warm on my carpet through the window and soaked in every single baby giggle. I didn’t miss a single dance move or crooked baby-toothed grin. When those tiny chubby arms wrapped around my neck, I held them longer that day, knowing that one day he might become “too cool” and not give me as tight of squeezes. That day I slowed down, held him tighter and captured the smell, the sound, and the light of his childhood that will one day be gone. That will forever be engraved on my memory and a tender blessing I will hold close to my mama heart.

So here’s to taking enough pictures to document, and putting it away when no camera or video could ever do that moment justice.

Xo,

Aubrey

 

Mom Brave

August 23, 2015 in Love Notes / My Mamahood

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“Take a breath and be nice,” I said to my husband after a lady rear ended us pretty bad today, mostly telling myself that. When we all got out the lady sobbed when she saw that we had a baby in the car. Poor little guy was sound asleep and woke up to some screeching tires and whip lash. (We are all safe-thanks to the Man upstairs). I just turned to my babe the second he was woken up with a big smile and said “it’s okay! Wasn’t that a crazy noise!?”

My mom once taught me that you have to fake like you aren’t scared…even if you are…because you’re a mom and those little eyes look to you for strength. So today, I learned what it’s like to be “mom-brave”, and just how brave my own mom really is. I hope the little eyes that searched for mine in a car accident will one day be the brave eyes and smiles for his own kids down the road and that he will remember to breathe and be nice, and smile even if he’s scared.

What I Would Tell Myself Before I Became a Mom

July 15, 2015 in Love Notes

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{PC: Camillia Lund Photography}

I love brand new moms who are expecting their first baby. I don’t know what it is! It’s like when someone is trying a new food for the first time and you’ve already tasted it. You get to watch their reaction (good or bad) and attempt to explain the best and worst parts before they even taste it. I don’t think there is really any way to prepare to be a mom, you just have to learn as you go and take one day at a time hoping that everything will feel natural. Except… a lot of things for me didn’t feel “natural”. Maybe for most moms it does, but for me it has become a learning process. If I could go back in time to my little pregnant self, these are some things I would tell myself (and I still tell myself every day!)

1. Relax. You don’t have to be mother of the year to be a good mom. My baby has fallen on his head multiple times (and I’m a paranoid mom you guys!), but somehow we still make it. It’s okay if they happen to lick the airport floor (true story) or draw permanent marker all over their clothes to be a “zebra”. I’m pretty sure poison control knew my number by heart since I called them multiple times a week. I’ve learned slowly that it’s ALL gonna be okay… relax. Babies are tougher than you think they are and it’s impossible to place them in a bubble their whole life so just embrace the dirt on the binky, wipe it off and move on.

2. Stop believing everything you read. Ha! I feel like I’m telling you to not believe what I’m writing, but I was one of those moms who read every breastfeeding book, every sleep schedule book and article out there! Tips are great, but you are a mom for a reason. You know your child more than any of those books do. I remember wanting to be on a perfect schedule with a great sleeper and by following those books it was working. Then one day I realized that all I wanted to do was rock my babe and snuggle him. So I tossed the books out the window and I do it my way. I’ve never been happier and I have grown to trust myself a little more.

3. Put your phone down. I’m guilty of this. We’ve all seen those commercials about how technology can get in the way of relationships and it’s true. Even with your babe. I started to put my phone away for little things like when I rock him or if we go to story time or splash parks. They grow so fast and you rob yourself of time with them if you spend it all on your phone.

4. Stop taking too many pictures. Now, before I get hate mail on this one, I for one am a HUGE picture taker. I document everything…and I probably did a little too much this passed year and a half. I’m pretty sure I have over 100 pictures of my child doing the same pose on the same day. I get it. It is so good to document because pictures are amazing keepsakes…BUT there are times that are too special for a picture. And there are times when the moment is so precious that if you whip out your phone to take a picture, that connection or moment is gone. The best part about being a mom is that you have the front row seat of watching your child learn and grow. Some moments are just for you to hold in your heart because no picture could ever describe the love you felt.

5. Spend time for yourself. Do what you love and take a break once in awhile for yourself so that you can recharge in being a mom. Even if it’s a trip by yourself to the grocery store or a drive up the canyon. I know I’m a much better mom if I take a moment just for myself. Moms need it.

6. Have a sense of humor. I’m the girl at church with yogurt somehow in my hair from little hands or random stickers on my leg. I remember one time my husband was wearing a nice suit and our baby did the worst spit up right onto his crotch in the middle of church. We both looked at each other and busted up laughing. You’ve got to have a sense of humor to survive the crazy. Because sometimes the crazy really is pretty funny.

7. Accept help. We all need it. It really does take a village to raise kids and sometimes as moms we think we got it all taken care of. I’m also talking about accepting help from the Man upstairs too. Since I’ve become a mom I’ve realized a new relationship and help I have if I just say a prayer. I’m a total worry wart and that has been my trick into surviving it all and feeling peace. I love the quote that says, “There are few things more powerful than the prayers of a righteous mother.” (Boyd K. Packer) and it’s true. I’ve felt a special kind of help since becoming a mom that I couldn’t live without.

8. Take it in. Yes. Take it all in. The colicky baby, the spit up, the painful breastfeeding, the sleepless nights. Take it all in. It’s okay if you feel like you want to jump out the window. It’s okay if you want to eat a whole bag of Oreos and hide in your closet. It’s okay if you feel like you’ve lost your identity in becoming a mom. Because one day your baby will throw their arms around your neck and you will know exactly who you are and won’t want to be anywhere else in the world. To the moms who are about to give birth, take it in. There is nothing like it.

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Xo,

Aubrey

Mama’s Day

May 11, 2015 in Love Notes / Uncategorized

I don’t usually blog over the weekend, but just wanted to share my favorite Mother’s Day quote this year.

 

I received the cutest bracelet made by @alexandani that had this quote attached. I don't think I could've said it any better. Happiest Mother's Day to all of you amazing moms, future moms, aunts, sisters, and friends! You deserve the best kind of day! (Ps. Winner is announced on the picture of my #spoiledmamagiveaway. Thanks everyone who entered!) #itwasmom #mothersday #sharegoodness #momlife

 

I hope you all had an amazing day! I love when the world has an excuse to take a day out of the year to honor moms. Whether you are a mom, future mom, aunt, sister, or friend, you deserve to be honored!

Xo,

Aubrey

 

 

**quote from Alex & Ani

Katie’s Story

April 16, 2015 in Love Notes

This beautiful mama is Katie. For the last few weeks I’ve thought about this girl every single night with tears in my eyes as I try to go to sleep. I met her when I was a kid playing outside at my friends house. I haven’t talked to her in about 15 years but was able to reconnect with her through The Mamahood on Facebook about a month ago to see what she was up to. I loved seeing her cute smile pop up on my feed and the light she had about her. She is one of those people you can’t help but look up to completely because of the attitude she has on life.10634039_10153200222802125_9081261976692864084_o

Six months ago Katie gave birth to her second beautiful baby, Lindy Jo. The week after she was born, Katie was diagnosed with cancer. Her little babe helped her fight such a horrible battle and a few weeks ago, Katie got the news that she was finally cancer-free! Her victory felt short lived because after coming home from her last surgery and excited to get back into a normal motherhood, she found out her tiny Lindy had passed away in her sleep.

I found out this news on Easter evening after coming home from dinner at our friends house. No, I haven’t seen this girl since I was little but I just froze while sitting on my bed reading about it with hot tears coming down my face. After we had heard beautiful Easter messages from General Conference, to hear this news seemed almost cruel. How could that happen to such a sweet family? How could the Lord allow that to happen? She can’t catch one single break. I almost felt mad about it.

I’m crying as I write this because sometimes I still feel that way. Life is not fair in the least. I wish I had answers to why people have to endure such hard trials. As a mom, I can’t imagine the pains of a shattered heart to have to go through this. We have an angel baby in my family and when it happens, it affects everyone. Life freezes and feels like the minutes are so slow because they are so painful, even to watch.

As I reflect on what I had learned that Easter day, I can’t help but realize the truths I do know. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a beautiful talk about how the Savior will catch us, with both hands when we feel like we are falling off a cliff. He is the reason we can have victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, and every fear we have ever faced. I believe with all my heart that Katie will get to hold and raise her little Lindy one day. There’s nothing I can say that would help heal her heart but I pray that the Savior holds her in the darkest days and longest hours. This picture comes to my mind when I think of those hours.

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It’s such a good reminder to love and hold our little ones extra close. To have a little more patience when you feel defeated. To savor every moment because every moment truly is a blessing. Katie is a perfect example of doing just that.

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Lindy Jo has changed my life even though I wasn’t able to meet her. She has made me learn the reality of the atonement. She is perfect. When things like this happen it makes me want to never complain about the little bumps in life because some people are crossing mountains right now. Lindy Jo is a miracle and had a great mission on this earth to help her mama. I will forever remember her and the strength that I see in Katie.

When I asked her if I could post her story and help lead people to a fundraising page, she just said “You have my permission to post because we need all the prayers we can get at this point.” I don’t usually fundraise on my blog, but I wanted to lead you all to a page that talks more of her story and where you can help. There’s power in numbers, whether that’s to help with funds, or to help with prayers. And she is so grateful for both.

Katie, you and your sweet family have all my prayers.

Click HERE to read more and to donate.

Xo,

Aubrey

My Definition of Bravery

March 20, 2015 in Love Notes / Uncategorized

As I was packing my bags to embark on a new adventure in my life, a friend said 3 strong words I will never forget: You be brave. Then, there I was, with tears in my eyes, blowing a kiss to my dad from the gate about to board by myself on a flight going across the world to meet up with a group in the middle of Africa for a humanitarian trip. I didn’t know what being brave actually meant at that moment. However, I was able to come to a harsh realization for the 3 months following that day.

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In my mind at the time, I thought being brave might mean to work hard even when I’m homesick, or to be careful in dangerous situations. I was wrong. After a few experiences, I’ve come to find my own definition for bravery.

Our first orphanage we walked through was surreal. We got out of a bumpy taxi ride to meet with 70 barefooted African children in ripped shirts, or sometimes nothing at all; each with his or her own heartbreaking story and reality. They touched our white skin and observed our differences. I had to walk away. The scene was too hard for my own heart to even bare. Why do people have to live like this? What will happen in their lives? Why wasn’t I the one in their shoes?

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Snapseed (The first orphanage…I made it black and white because I’m not the cutest cryer)

There were multiple experiences in Africa that are still hard to talk about. I volunteered in schools, hospitals, and communities. To explain it to someone who’s never been would be like trying to describe the color red to someone who was blind. It’s near impossible.

One day, in one of the villages, a sweet little boy was climbing mango trees with his friends and fell about 13 feet on his head. He had a concussion and some kind of neck injury. One of the villagers, not knowing what to do, picked him up and took him on a dirt bike taxi to get some help. I was at the hospital they brought him to. We had to take him in an ambulance to get to another hospital. This little nine year old laid on a shiny metal cot that was rolling around in the back of a truck bumping around like crazy on dirt roads. When we finally reached the hospital, I ran to see if we could get him in to help save his life. The answer I got from the hospital administrator was, “He’ll have to wait. I’ve got 900 other people in line.” At that moment the whole world spun in a circle and I realized I wasn’t in America anymore. My legs ached as I walked back to the ambulance truck to deliver the bad news. As this little boy waited at the hospital, I went home and spent time away from my group to pray for his little life. With a lot of help and events in between, little Ivan made it. I remember visiting him when he was recovering and he had a big bandage on his head. Not one whimper. He was ready to face whatever he needed to do to stay alive. He stood up and took a few wobbly steps. Despite the torment his body felt, he kept moving.

He is my definition of bravery.

As time went on, there were many other experiences that were similar to this one. As hard as life is, there is a love that exists in Africa that you can’t find in America. I was able to feel that every single day.

Two-thirds into the trip was my turn to be brave. I received one of the worst phone calls from back home. One of my best friends that I grew up with had passed away at such a young age. When I heard the news my body froze. I was clear across the world and felt hopeless. I called my baby sister and just sobbed as she held the phone to her ear for quite some time. I laid in bed grieving, with flashbacks and panic attacks of a cold reality. That night I had to make a decision.

That night, I needed to be brave.

The next morning, I woke up to the beautiful sounds of Africa. I made a choice. I got out of bed and put my shoes on. I was ready to go to work. I couldn’t dwell on things back home and I knew my friend wouldn’t want me to either.

We visited a primary school that day and on the wall I saw a hand made sign that read, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. My dad always taught me that growing up. Right then I knew this was when I needed to take my friend’s advice and be brave. I had new motivation for the reason I was in Africa. I woke up every day with heartache, and every day I would put on my shoes and go to work. I put my energy from my breaking heart into my hands to help someone else. I learned to be strong because I had to be.

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Courage and bravery aren’t just an attribute you are born with. Being brave is having the courage to keep going even when you are terrified. Being brave isn’t choking back hot tears and forcing a smile, it’s allowing yourself to feel heartache and then making the choice to get back up again. I still have times in my life, even as a mom now, where I feel defeated. Those are the times when I hear a voice in the back of my head that says, “You be brave”.

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