Sunday, September 29, 2013


I've gotten two very nice compliments lately about the kind of marriage Jack and I have.  To me, there isn't a better compliment I can get than my efforts as a wife or mom because those are my most important jobs.  I don't claim to be any sort of expert on marriage or relationships; Jack and I have been together for 7 years, and only married for {almost} four of those. We also have tons of friends and family who are great examples to us and have helped us see what we want in our relationship.  After 7 years together we have learned what does and does not work for us as a couple.  I thought I would share some things that are kind-of rules for us:

We don't expect the other person to be a mind-reader.  Jack is extremely sensitive to my needs and can usually tell when I need something, but there is the occasion that he doesn't tap into my mood.  On these occasions, instead of saying "Man, I'm so worn out today" and looking at him expectantly, I will say "Hey, today has been kind of rough.  Will you watch the girls while I go take a bath?"  Or of something is bothering me, instead of just being crabby at him, I'll say "Hey, it bugged me when you left your Crystal Light wrappers on the counter for the trillionth time today.  Can you please throw them right away from now on?"

We never speak badly about the other person to ANYONE.  We used to have a framed quote hanging at the top of our stairs that "Be fiercely loyal to one another." by Pres. Gordon B Hinckley.  I love that quote.  Being loyal means that I never say anything about my husband that he wouldn't appreciate if he were there in the room.  Jack is extremely good at talking me up to other people.  I'm pretty sure it bugs the crap 'outta them to hear him praise his wife so much, but I sure like it :)

We don't involve other people in our fights and we don't fight in front of others.  There have been occasions when friends or family have told me about things that their significant other has done that have made them mad or hurt them deeply.  Long after their fight is over and they have gotten over it, I still remember the thing that person did.  No one shows their best side during a fight, and it's okay for your spouse to see that side of you occasionally because (hopefully) you make up for it ten-fold during peace times.  If other people hear about that side of you, it's harder for them to shrug it off or forget about it.  I don't want anyone thinking those thoughts about my husband, or about me!  Also, how awkward is it to have to hear a couple fight?

We take time for just the two of us.  Olivia goes to bed at 7pm.  Every night.  I love my little fireball an insane amount, but I sure look forward to her bedtime :)  (Berlin is still so easy that she required little work before her 8:45 bedtime).  Jack works from home, which means I get to see him whenever I want during the day; but there is just something about knowing that we have the evening to ourselves that is delicious.  We eat a slow meal together, watch our favorite shows, play board games, or just talk.  We also take time to read the scriptures together before bed every night.

We follow the 80/20 rule. We watched a dumb movie a couple of years ago that had an amazing little nugget of insight in it.  This nugget was the 80/20 rule.  Here is what the rule states:
Your spouse has a lot of qualities that you love and admire.  These qualities are why you married them and make up about 80% of their personality and what you love about them!  They could include being patient, fun-loving, a wonderful parent, hard-working, etc.  But, as with every person, there are things they lack or flaws they have.  A lot of times these shortcomings can take up 20% of their makeup.  Sometimes we focus so much on the 20% that the person is lacking, that we forget about the 80%.  Some people even start noticing those 20% traits in people other than their spouse, and sometimes even go after those traits.  Of course when this happens they lose the 80% they had and are even more unhappy than they were to begin with.  There are things we do that bug each other, but we choose not to focus on those things.  Jack's mantra is  "What you focus on, expands."  We choose to focus on the good in each other as much as possible and be grateful.

We respect each other.  I think Jack is pretty much the smartest, funniest, handsomest, most socially adept person I know.  I love how he can stand up in front of a crowd of people without any advance notice and speak like he has rehearsed for days.  I love what a confident and savvy businessman he is and that he has built a company from nothing that is now supporting us and makes him happy to "go" to work every day.  These things that I love about him give me so much respect for him.  I know that every human makes mistakes, Jack makes a lot ;) but because I love him, I stand behind him and see those things as mistakes instead of character flaws.

We recognize phases.  Jack has had to deal with this one more than I.  We recognize that there are going to be times in our lives when we are not being our best self.  To say that I struggle during pregnancy is a massive understatement.  I'm barely recognizable when I'm pregnant.  Not just physically, but my personality takes a huge nosedive.  I'm sick 24/7, and I'm a total b-word.  Jack chooses to have perspective and, instead of saying "I don't know if I can't deal with this", he says "She is struggling because she is pregnant and miserable and will feel better when this is over"  and I, in turn, need to make sure I can course-correct when the time comes for me to be out of that phase.  There are phases that can last years (toddlerhood anyone?); but we are both prepare to weather any and all tough spots and come out better.

We try to take criticism well.  If I tell Jack something he is doing that is making life harder for me, he listens. He takes it with a grain of salt and tries to do better.  I do the same thing.  Sometimes it is sooooo hard to be told something that you need to improve upon and my first urge is to get defensive and angry.  Sometimes you have to change small things in order to grow with the relationship though, and being willing to try harder or change small things can make a huge difference.

We pick our battles. This has big a huuuuge deal for me.  When Jack and I were dating and started to get serious, I thought it bequeathed me to to tell Jack every little thing that bothered me and make issue with it.  I thought this made me a good communicator and helped him know how to live with me :) We fought a lot.  A LOT.  Part of it was because we couldn't let the little things go (the rest was because we hadn't figured out the things in the previous paragraphs). Somehow we still thought it was a good idea to get married though, and eventually we learned that it was better to just let things slide sometimes.  I still let him know when my feelings are really hurt or when there's a big thing that I am unhappy with (and he does the same), but I have learned to ask myself "Is it really a big deal that he did that?"  And 5 minutes later life has gone on, I'm not bugged anymore, and we've avoided conflict because one of us chose not to be touchy about every little thing.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Club

That moment when you are only a third of the way through a book but you love it so much that you don't want to read it anymore; because the more you read, the sooner you will be done with reading it.

ps. I finally finished Lord of the Flies and will be reviewing it soon.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our week via iphone pics

I've continued running every other morning at 6:45am.  I know, yuck.  I hate running and I'm not good at it, but sometimes you just need to set a goal and do something hard.  My friends and I are running a 5k in St George at the end of October.  It's a breast cancer awareness 5k and we are running it for Tasha's mom, who passed away.  So there is even more motivation.  My girls wake up at 7:30 so I have to go early.  I am still in the run/walk stage, but will get better.  My ankle has been hurting quite a bit so I ordered some new shoes to see if that helps.  I wear Nike Free's right now, but tried on the Nike Flex's and loved them.  They'll be here Wednesday.

 Olivia put her tracks together like her dad and I showed her, and then ran in to my room to get pillows to prop the track up on just like she has seen us do.  It was the cutest thing, watching her naked little bum run back and forth while she set up her racetrack and then sit up on the couch and send all of her cars down, one-by-one and say "Watch out Mama!"

 I was sitting by Liv and looked down at one point to find an explanation as to why the holes in my yoga pants are getting so big.  It's because they are being absentmindedly explored by tiny fingers as we snuggle on the couch and watch The Little Mermaid.  Ps. Olivia can now sing Kiss the Girl ("Shalalalala" followed by some incoherent babbling) and Under the Sea.

Olivia squished Berlin in the name of love

 Jack bought Liv some fish at Walmart.  Apparently she was enthralled as they walked past the fish tanks, and threw a huge fit when he tried to pull her away.  She made him get three because she needed a Mama, and Daddy, and a Baby.  According to Olivia, the sucker fish is the baby.  She named him Seebee.  It actually might be 'Sleepy' because he lays on the bottom or side of the bowl like he is sleeping, but I can't understand her very well.  When I asked if his name was Seebee or Sleepy she said "Seebee Mom" which didn't clear up much because I still didn't know if she was pronouncing Sleepy wrong.  I put the bowl on her little table, thinking she could just watch them while she played.  When I put some dishes away and then turned back around to see her stirring their water and rocks with my baster, the decision was made to keep them on the piano (which is in the front room, blocked off by a gate) and that she could have monitored visits a couple times a day.  Whenever she goes to visit the fish, she waves and says "hi Seebee!"

 Woody and the alien enjoy watching the fish as well.

 We have had tons of rain this week; and while I love it, it is difficult for Olivia to be cooped up inside. 

 Daddy took pity on her and pushed her around the driveway with an umbrella.

 Then Brooke and Allie rescued us by inviting us to story time at the library.  Olivia stared at the puppets for ten minutes straight, then started Meowing every time the cat puppet would talk.  When the show was over, instead of dancing with the other kids, Liv went to investigate where the puppets had gone to behind the stage.

 Olivia squished Berlin some more in the name of love

Brooke and I went to the Utah Valley Women's Expo and basically bought all the same clothes.  This picture is us trying on skirts out on the sidewalk at a booth.  We will have to call each other every week before church from now on to make sure we aren't matching.  Also, some idiot scratched my Highlander while it was in the parking lot at UVU and the person didn't leave a note.  Someday when I die and go to heaven, I will track down the video reel from that day, watch it, and then go find that person and spirit-punch them in their stupid face.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Peterson Reunion 2013

Last week (Wed-Sat) was Jack's family's big reunion.  It includes his mom's parents, their four daughters, each daughter's children (of which there are many, Jack being one) and their children's children (aka our daughters).  Get it?

They have been doing these reunions for years and years and before we had Olivia it  started to seem like a big bit of a hassle for us.  Packing so much up, spending money for lodging and our assigned meal for so many people, losing sleep with so many kids up there, etc.  We had conversations about how it was just getting too big to be able to do.

This year those feelings really changed for me.  I watched Olivia run around with her cousins and second cousins, I sang with a few other cousins as a tribute to this years graduate and missionary, I listened to people talk about their jobs, church callings, missions, and children.  At the testimony meeting I cried and cried.  This isn't just a family reunion, it's a network of support and accountability.  Jack's nephew got up and bore his testimony and said that he feels safe when he is with his family.  Jack's cousin talked about how part of why he is a good dad and husband is the examples he sees in the family.  Jack spoke of growing up and leaning on the testimonies of family members until he developed his own strong testimony. We didn't have a big, connected family like this when I was growing up.  We didn't have an annual reunion.  I wonder how things would be if we did.  If some of the struggles my siblings, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins have faced would be the same if they had this amount of love and support.  

I'm so glad our daughters will have it.  They will be buoyed up by the examples of righteousness from their extended family members, and will be held accountable by a large number of people for any bad choices they might make.  This family shares in each other's triumphs and tragedies like no other I have ever seen.  It's really quite rare and quite wonderful.  I will never again be one to say that the reunion is getting too big or that it is too stressful to go.  The rewards of going are too great.

This is me testing my camera before the big family photo.  I dropped my Nikon before a hospital shoot a while ago and the flash hasn't worked since (and it won't digitally connect to my big flash).  Looking at this photo the exposure would have been fine with some editing, but it looked so dark in the pavilion so I asked Missy to take the photo.  She unfortunately discovered that she didn't have a memory card, but Hilary did!  And a flash!  So she took the photo and was amazing.  I still like the below picture of all the chaos though :)
 Olivia enjoyed the candy she found in the sawdust hunt.  Sawdust hunt= Grandma and Grandpa throw candy and money into a large pile of sawdust and the grandkids get to dig in (in their own age group) and find the treasures.  Don't worry, more goodies are thrown in before each group starts.  The older grandkids are pros by now and will immediately bellyflop onto the pile and hoard a corner, pushing as much sawdust as they can outward and then fencing it off with their spread legs before sifting through.  It's an art.

 She snuck in with an older group after spotting a stray tootsie roll
 The theme this year was Disney and it was sooo fun.  The Aunts take turns planning the reunion and the Wertz's did fantastic this year with tons of Disney themed activities and prizes.  I liked how it appealed to kids and adults.  One night there was a parade where everyone put on a skit and then dressed up as a Disney character and had a parade around the pavilion.  Olivia chose a Buzz Lightyear costume.  She loves Buzz. Hates the wings I put on her.

 Here's Buzz meeting Woody
 Berlin was unimpressed
 Caleb dressed up as Pooh.  Liv is obsessed with Pooh.  When he sat a few seats down from us, she whispered "Mama...Pooh!" and then stared at him for about ten minutes.  Caleb's cute gf, Sarah, was Piglet.
 Brett was a minion from Despicable Me, and after the parade Jack put on his big minion head and started talking to Olivia.  She was nervous about it.

The Collettes did songs from The Lion King
 Wertzs did Mulan
 Thomas's did The Little Mermaid. We were Tarzan.  I don't have a picture.
 Jack entertained the kids by pulling them in a wagon while I played volleyball

Olivia was a handful as usual and sooo exhausting.  She is so headstrong, such a spitfire, has trouble minding, and throws ear-splitting tantrums in public.  I'm hoping that next year she will be at the point where we don't have to follow her around 24/7 to make sure she doesn't break something, get lost, eat dirty candy off the ground, or climb up high and fall.  I've gotten to the point where I don't stress what people think about me when she flies of the handle and I have to haul her to the car, or refuses to eat her dinner and chucks it on the floor.  I'm sure it makes her look undisciplined, and us look lax as parents, but I know that she is just extremely spirited and that we do our best.  Someday she will get easier; and if not I love her strong spirit always and forever.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Oakley Berlin- 3 months

Our sweet girl is three months old today!  She is still just the sweetest little thing and I love every moment I have with her; and this is not one of those moments where I feel this way just because she is napping or having a great day.  Berlin really is such a joy.  I love being her mom, and while I really love Olivia's spunky spitfire attitude, it has been so nice to have Berlin's quiet, contentment to balance out our home.

-Takes a bath with me every night at 8:15, then I dress her, feed her, and lay her in bed.  She falls asleep on her own by 9.  I then set my alarm to wake her at 4am to eat and she sleeps again until 7:30 or 8am.
-Since implementing a 10-minute cry-it-out session during naps for three days, has taken three consistent naps during the day between feedings, and a catnap before bed.
-Eats 7 meals a day
-Wears 3-6 month clothing and size 2 diapers
-Has thick, long, dark brown hair that goes curly when wet, and a cowlick that makes it stand up at her crown.
-Has dark blue eyes, but hardly any eyebrows
-Smiles easily when spoken to or played with
-Takes a binky when fussy
-LOVES her big sister and smiles when she can hear Olivia.  Berlin also looks for Olivia when she can hear her voice and is so patient when Liv is less than gentle with her
-Can be pulled by the hands to sitting, and wobbly-sit up while I hold her hands
-Loves baths, snuggling, and being talked/sang to
-Dislikes her car seat, being cold, or going trying to sleep without a swaddle
-Found her voice recently and is a quiet little babbler
-Laughed for the first time yesterday when both Jack and I were present
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