Saturday, July 30, 2016

Reasons to choose a Natural Labor and Delivery

First off I want to apologize that it has been a week since my last post. Being a mom of two is crazy! This post was also difficult to get right, I rewrote it a number of times. Enjoy!


This post will be all about the things that helped me choose to have a all natural labor and delivery, and all the risks of having a medicated birth. These risks made me want to have a natural birth even more.


There are a ton of benefits to having a natural L&D. Some of them are, a shorter labor, easier and quicker recovery, less chance of tearing, more alertness, and many more. Women’s bodies were made to give birth. Women have been doing it for thousands of years and we didn’t go extinct. For most women being pregnant is not a serious medical condition, and giving birth needs very little medical attention. Pregnancy is normal. Who decided that we needed so much help from obstetricians? Obstetricians are trained surgeons. Why do surgeons need to deliver all the babies that do not need to be pulled out via c-section? Obstetricians are trained for surgery not for normal L&D.


One of the first pictures of me and Rosalie.
During Rosalie’s L&D (Rose's birth story), I was most comfortable when I hung off RJ’s shoulders. When I was laboring with Heather (Heather's birth story) hanging off RJ’s shoulders was the most painful, I preferred leaning over something. Rose and Heather came out in completely different positions, My body could tell me that better than any doctor could. The pain felt during labor and delivery is important. The pain gives the mother signals. I needed to change the position and the shape of my body, so my baby could make its way out easier. I was most comfortable in the best position for my baby. When an epidural is administered all those signals are gone. The position of mom cannot be changed to help the baby come out. The mom’s body will suffer more stress because she cannot feel what’s going on.


I’m baffled that more people do not come to this conclusion. After doing a bit of research it just seemed to make common sense to me. That said, more women who cannot deliver vaginally and need Cesarean sections do exist in our world. For example, women whose hips aren’t wide enough, or moms with serious medical conditions. Women with difficulties during childbirth would have died before c-sections were readily available. Nowadays those women and their babies are saved by science and amazing doctors. Their genes get passed on so more and more women who cannot give birth vaginally exist. This is amazing, I am so happy how far medical science has come. Women who could not become mothers in the past, now have the chance. But it does mean slightly more women need c-sections, but not nearly one third like it is today.  


One of the first pictures of Heather and me. 
If you are a mom who could not give birth to your baby or babies vaginally, you are just as much a mom as anyone who did. You are a mom no matter how your little one came out. You still suffered 9 months of making a baby from scratch in your body too. Just because you didn’t get to shove it down your hoo haa pooping and screaming (both mom and baby) doesn’t mean you’re less of a mom.


About halfway through my pregnancy with Rosalie, I was trying to decide what type of birth I wanted her to have. I found the film, “The Business of Being Born”. After watching it I did tons and tons of research and came to the conclusion that I wanted a drug free, low intervention birth at the hospital. I wanted a birth at the hospital because, we expected nothing would go wrong, but if something did I wanted to be as close as possible to the resources that could save me and my baby.  


“The Business of Being Born” addresses a lot of the issues about the healthcare system here in the U.S. and how unhealthy it is for pregnant mothers. I would definitely recommend watching it if you have not, it is available on Amazon. It is a great start if you have never thought about natural birth before. There are a few issues in the film. One of the bigger issues is it heavily encourages home birth which I don’t think the U.S. is ready for yet. I think this because of certain laws restricting midwives and how they can work. There are two major type of midwives. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). CNMs are actually Registered Nurses (RNs) with a specialty in catching babies. They have gone to nursing school and medical school, and are very well trained. CNMs are very very good at what they do and the majority of the midwives shown in the film are CNMs.


The problem is here in Georgia and many other states CNMs must be under the supervision of a obstetrician. They can only practice in a hospital. In New York where the film is set, it is legal for CNMs to practice without the supervision of an obstetrician. Which means they can run their own practice and deliver wherever they want to. The film doesn’t explain this very well, and here is the BIG problem with that.


Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) can deliver at homes in Georgia. CPMs and CNMs are not comparable in any way. CPMs have very little training. I could become a CPM in the matter of months. In order for me to become a CNM I would need to go to years and years of schooling. CPMs tend to be very holistic, and suggest things like shoving garlic up your hoo haa to prevent transmission of group B strep (insert eye roll here). When it comes to the life of me and my baby I want someone who has been properly trained. Sadly, currently here in Georgia and many other states that is only available at the hospital.


“The Business of Being Born” also misrepresents a few facts. For example at the beginning of the movie they present this fact, “Midwives attend over 70 percent of births in Europe and Japan.” They do not explain the difference between the two types of midwives. In Europe CNMs are the only midwives who exist and attend that 70 percent, the film doesn’t clarify and is somewhat misleading.


Here are a few of the many risks of medicated labor and deliveries.


Epidurals are very common. Epidurals make pushing more difficult. They increase the possibility of forceps or a vacuum being needed to help deliver the baby, and those increase the risk of tearing. Epidurals require you to stay in bed attached to the Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM) machines. Being able to move around during labor helps labor be shorter and easier. My labor with Rose was about eight hours long after we got to the hospital. With Heather my labor was 2 hours. For many years it was assumed epidurals increased the risk of c-sections but recent studies have begun to show they might not be directly related.


A risk many people do not think about is Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM). EFM watches and records the baby’s heart rate as well as the mother's contractions. It is used because it supposedly helps identify problems in the baby’s oxygen supply. Drop in heart rate sometimes means the baby is not getting enough oxygen. That is when doctors swoop in to intervene. Studies clearly show that being too dependent on the monitor and not the mother can cause unnecessary interventions.


There is direct evidence that Electronic Fetal Monitoring increases the chance of c-section (source ). There are two different types of EFM, continuous, and intermittent. Continuous means that the machines will record continuously. In most hospitals this means staying in bed strapped to the machines. Some hospitals have wireless systems, but they are still quite cumbersome. Intermittent electronic fetal monitoring is when you are strapped to the machines for 15-30 minutes out of every hour. Both continuous and intermittent increase the chance of c-section the same.


There is a better option, it is scientifically proven to actually help mother and baby not cause unnecessary c-sections. It is called Intermittent auscultation. Intermittent auscultation is when a doctor uses a handheld doppler or fetoscope to listen to the baby’s heart rate, during a contraction. While the doctor listens he or she should palpate the mother’s tummy and uterus. This is recommended every 15-30 minutes during the first stages of labor (5-10cms dilated) and every 5-15 minutes during the pushing stage. This is used at home births, and at birthing centers.


In the article I found all my information about fetal monitoring (source, same as above), they mention a study where women were randomly assigned EFM or intermittent auscultation. “Women in the continuous EFM group were 1.7 times more likely to have a Cesarean and were slightly more likely to have a forceps/vacuum delivery when compared to the women in the intermittent auscultation group. Women in the continuous EFM group were also more likely to require pain medication.”


This is the biggest issue in hospitals. Women do not know the risks and they do not know they even have a choice. During my L&D with Rose I had continuous EFM for a while, when labor started to pick up and get more difficult I need to move around. Every 10-15 minutes my nurse would come in and hold the heart rate probe on my belly. I refused to get back into the bed so she came to me. This was probably unofficially intermittent auscultation. Heather’s L&D was similar. In triage I had continuous but we weren’t there long (it’s probably impossible to avoid at least at my hospital). After we were admitted my nurse wanted to hook me back up to the machines. I pretty much refused and said I needed to pee as an excuse. My labor ended up progressing so quickly they never got strapped back on. My nurse ended up holding the heart rate probe in place for the last hour of my L&D. I think that probably qualifies as intermittent auscultation too. She didn’t like that too much but my midwife didn’t care. My midwife knew Heather was coming now, and if something did go wrong I could push her out faster than anyone could prep me for a c-section. Read Heather's entire birth story here.


A while back I read an article about EFM and physicians interpreting the same data differently (I cannot find the article). One set of recordings was shown to two doctors. One thought the mother need a c-section, and the other thought she should continue pushing and possibly need assisted delivery, but both her and the baby would be fine. In actuality the mom delivered a healthy baby vaginally, with no interventions.


Many hospitals still use EFM for liability reasons. When a baby does die or has a complication during L&D it’s very horrible but does happen. The hospital wants to make sure they are not responsible. Having hours and hours of EFM helps them stay safe from lawsuits. Preventing lawsuits is not a good reason to do something. Especially when that something is not healthy for mother and baby. There is no difference no matter what monitoring is used in baby mortality, Apgar scores, or admission to the NICU. Some babies have health complications whether they are monitored one way or another. The problem is there are unnecessary risks associated with the fetal monitoring used most commonly in hospitals. Something is seriously fucked up (excuse me while I go take a deep breath before I lose it on all the heath corporations in this country!)


It is very possible to have a home birth type experience in the hospital. This is one of two posts. The next will contain instructions how to do it for yourself!


Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Maintaining a Great Sex Life when you're Busy as Hell

I was trying to think of a fun, light hearted post after the heavy stuff I have written lately, I thought this would be perfect. When RJ and I were dating, we didn’t always have a house or some private place to hang out. Our rumpy pumpy was quite spontaneous and basic, but it was amazing. We had lots of “adult naps” in parked cars and other public places. Now that we are parents, if we don’t consciously make time for aggressive cuddling, it doesn’t happen. Here are a few tips on how we keep our night time naughtiness amazing with two little kiddos running around the place, as well as a million things on our to do list (no pun intended).


These are things that work for me and RJ. These things might not work for you and your partner, but they are probably worth a try because our bedroom rodeos are amazing. Our age gap is an amazing factor. Some people say that RJ being 46 and me being 22 he wouldn’t be able to keep up, really it’s the other way around. He pleasures me so well I am literally a limp noodle when we are done. The other huge pro to our age gap is RJ knows what he is doing, he has had plenty of experience. Experience when it comes to testing the suspension is a good thing! I have spoken with a few of his exes, who tell me after RJ, it is all down hill. I’m glad I have him.  


First you need to make time for monkey business, especially if you have a busy life. When RJ and I weren’t busy and had a private place all to ourselves, we literally spent as much time naked in bed together as we could. It was amazing. Now that we have two little screaming peanuts running around, we can’t spend all day in bed, and we have to plan it. If we do not plan for a bit of the old in-out, it gets forgotten and we both get frustrated. We created a schedule. Every other night we plan a game of Mr. Wobbly hiding his helmet, and by plan I mean plan. We decide what type we want and what we want to do. It is not a rigid schedule, like sometimes we find ourselves in the mood two nights in a row, that doesn’t mean we have to do it a third night just because that would have been the scheduled night (we bump the schedule back a night). It’s quite flexible and works really well for us. Going from having no schedule, to having a schedule was night and day. We never needed a schedule before Heather came along. With two kids it’s a lot harder to find the time.


I know a schedule for horizontal jogging doesn’t sound that sexy, but trust me it is. On days we have scheduled it, RJ is extra loving, and kissy with me than on days we don’t. He whispers in my ear while I'm cooking dinner. We both make an effort to be in the mood and help get each other get in the mood. On days we don’t have it scheduled, it’s really nice to snuggle in bed and know that RJ knows I'm snuggling because I want to be close, not because of any other reason. Scheduling time for being intimate is amazing, very sexy, and for us, very important.


RJ and I always talk about the upcoming festivities. We talk about when we want it and when we don’t. We talk about where and how we want it. We talk about what we like best. If Monday night’s was better than Wednesday night’s. Talking about it is super important, but talking during your humping is probably just as, if not more important. Nobody can read any body’s mind. If it is good tell them it is good, if it is bad tell them to stop. Tell your partner exactly what you want. Tell them exactly what you like, and how to do it. This will make a huge difference.  


Don’t be afraid to try new things. You might love this new thing, it might blow your mind, and you will have to lie in bed, for 20 minutes before your legs regain feeling (if you have never had it this good it’s very possible and you’re missing out). Trying new things might go completely wrong, it’s ok not to like it. You will never know if you love it, or hate it until you try it. There are a few things I was cautious to try with RJ, but once I mustered up the bravery things have been better than ever.  


The biggest piece of advice I can give you, is to focus on the other person. When your goal is to make sure your partner has the most pleasurable time possible. It will be amazing for you and them. When you really tune into how your partner is feeling it will come back to you and be so much better than if you had obsessed about yourself. Making love is not a one sided. Both sides need to have fun. If it’s not fun something is wrong and you need to change it up. If it used to be fun and isn’t any more, try something new. Shower together for foreplay, buy some toys, try new positions, make a schedule if you just aren’t having enough mattress dancing. Sex is amazing and will change your life/marriage/partnership.


Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for more posts. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

The Best Donuts in Georgia

Utah has the best donuts of all time. If you live in Utah and have never had a square donut you need to go get one ASAP. Lehi Bakery on main street, right in front of the Lehi Legacy center. When I was in elementary school, on my birthday, my Dad would drive me to school. On the way we would pick up a few dozen donuts for my class. Last time I was in Utah I think Lehi bakery was on of the first places I went to. I would take a vacation back to Utah just for the food.


Behold the square donut...
Now it goes without saying that down here in The South we have some pretty damn good food too. I think I have found some pretty good square donut replacements. They are not square but man are they tasty.


Ray's Donuts in Marietta Georgia is amazing. The first time I stopped by it was 9-10am on a Saturday morning. They were completely sold out. There a few people complaining about this in a couple reviews, but it just motivated me to get their donuts in my mouth. They are open 5am-3pm every day. Occasionally Heather wakes up in the middle of the night/early morning and just wants to be awake. I decided if she ever woke up around 4am her and I would go get donuts.


One morning she woke up at 3:45. After breastfeeding for a little while, she was wide awake. I told RJ I was going to get donuts, he sleeply said, “Ok, I want glazed.” I got dressed, packed Heather into the car and drove to the donut shop. It’s only about 20 minutes from our house, we got there about 10 minutes before they opened. When I pulled up, the lights in the front were still out, but the lights just behind the counter were on. There were racks and racks of perfect donuts perfectly lit up and glistening in the light waiting to be purchased. I could smell the delicious smell of fried dough (my mouth is watering).


Ray's Donuts just after open
Promptly, just before 5am, an employee emerged from the back. They turned on the lights, and unlocked the door. There were one or two other people waiting with me in the parking lot. I was in no hurry. Heather had fallen asleep on the way there, she started to stir just a few minutes later. We walked inside. The employees were super nice and absolutely loved Heather. I don’t think I was the first parent to get donuts when their young baby that wouldn’t sleep.


We ended up buying one dozen. I got six glazed (all for RJ), two chocolate iced, an apple fritter, an old fashioned, a sour cream, and a cinnamon sugar. They always throw a few donut holes on top too. On other occasions I have got their maple bacon donut which was super tasty. RJ didn’t care for it too much. He loves bacon but he’s not a huge fan of the whole salty sweet thing. I love pouring syrup on my bacon and sausage. RJ will get a new plate for his bacon or sausage if we had pancakes first.


Magically I resisted eating any donuts before we got home. When we did get home it was around 5:30. Heather fell asleep in the car again and I managed to bring her inside without waking her. I ate a donut hole, it was very tasty. I was exhausted and thought I would wait for RJ to wake up before I enjoyed any actual donuts. I passed out on the couch. RJ woke me up when he came down to eat breakfast. We enjoyed very delicious donuts and coffee together. Between the two of us we ate the entire dozen by the end of the day. They were all amazing and make a good substitute for Lehi bakery.

The first time I brought donuts home Rose wouldn't touch
them. She went through a phase of being nervous to try
new things. A few weeks ago I picked some up and Rose
loved it. 
If you ever find yourself in Lehi and you don’t eat an extra square donut for me I will be pissed. And if you are ever in Georgia and don’t stop by Ray’s donuts you’re missing out. I just might have to go get some myself if Heater doesn't sleep. Thanks for reading!   











Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Life after my excommunication from The Mormon Church - part two

These posts have been harder to write than my past ones. I apologize that it took so long to get this one written, and published.


I know a few of my posts may have seemed like I'm trying to make my parents or the church look bad. I am not. I am just telling the truth and telling it how it is. This part of the story makes RJ look bad. I wasn't going to cut it out because it is important to me that people know the truth, and know the whole story. A lot of rumors ended up going around after I got pregnant. I decided it was time to set them straight.


This is part of my story I would forget if I could. RJ and I rarely talk about it. He feels awful about how it went down but he didn’t know how to do it differently at the time.


When I was about 8 months pregnant RJ got a job in Atlanta. I was going to go with him. Little did I know his ex wife was making him take her. He was worried if he put his foot down and told her he was talking me, she would take him to the cleaners during divorce. She told him he had to leave me in Virginia. And that’s what happened. What no one knew is he always planned on coming back to get me. Sometimes I wish he would have told me his plan. In the end it all worked out even though it was messy.


I sat down for lunch with my parents and told them I was moving to Atlanta with RJ. They didn’t seem to know what to say. Of course they didn’t want me to go but at this point, I thought they knew they couldn’t stop me from doing what I wanted.


As moving day got closer and closer RJ started acting a little funny. I wish I would have noticed and called him out on it, but I didn’t. The night before he was supposed to pick me up to leave, his phone went silent. I remember feeling so scared and anxious. It turned out he had left without me. In the morning the family I was staying with told me my Dad had been watching RJ’s house and he had left. I was speechless. I knew he wanted our baby just as much as I did if not more. I was so confused.


I decided to finish packing up my things and head back to my parents house. I wanted to go “home” but as soon as I got there it did not feel like home at all. Immediately my parents tried to tell me RJ wouldn’t support me and the baby, and tried to prove it. They said he wouldn’t pay child support. They didn’t and probably still don't understand how child support works. If RJ didn’t pay child support the courts would make him, even garnish his wages if they needed to. My parents didn’t want to support me and my baby. My Dad told me if was going to keep the baby I couldn’t live with them. My Mom tried to back pedal for my Dad later but that is what he said. My Dad made it very clear that if I kept my baby, him and Mom would not help me take care of her, or watch her while I went to work or school. The did not want support me in anyway.


One of the bigger issues was insurance for the baby. Again like child support RJ is legally required to provide medical insurance for his children. My parents tried to prove that he wouldn’t. They called the insurance company to check. Well first of all the insurance company wouldn’t talk to them because they were not authorized to ask those questions. They weren’t entitled to any information at all actually. My parents wanted to know if an unborn child was insured. RJ already had a family insurance plan because he has a daughter from a previous marriage. Adding our baby wouldn’t make a difference to him. Insurance companies cannot show proof of insurance for a infant that technically doesn’t even exist yet. My family was convinced RJ wouldn’t provide for me or the our baby. I knew he would even if he was really gone.


The morning after my first night back at my parents house, they told me they had set up a meeting with a LDS Family services counselor. They wanted to control me, and I refused. I told them I did not want to go. My Mom went on and on about how the counselor had driven all this way because they asked him to just for me. I still said I was not going. My parents went and saw him without me. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that conversation.


If you don't know what LDS Family Services is, it was one of the largest non profit adoption agencies until the summer of 2014 when they stopped organizing adoptions and decided to focus on counseling. They claim they stopped organizing adoptions because teen pregnancy had gone down, and less babies in general were being put up for adoption. But what they do not say, is there were lots of lawsuits from biological fathers and mothers, who wanted their children back. There were other lawsuits from people LDS Family Services refused to adopt to, like people who were not Mormon in particular people part of the LGBT community. Either way I’m glad they no longer facilitate adoptions. When I was pregnant with Rose they still did. There are many many stories of girls being coerced to give up their babies. There are many stories of biological fathers wanting custody and their babies being adopted away before they even knew their baby was born, and never ever meeting their baby. LDS Family Services was very very good at coercing girls to give up, and keeping the babies away from their biological fathers. I was deathly afraid that somehow they would convince me to give up my baby, and whisk me away to Utah where the father has the least amount of rights. There were multiple occasions where I believe my parents had bought me a plane ticket to Utah. I was scared.


I’m not exactly sure when RJ texted me but he did. I told him what my Dad said, I told him I was scared. RJ said he would come get me. He rented a car and drove through the night. In the morning we met up and it was like he never left. My sister dropped me off at a local grocery store, and RJ picked me up. We went to lunch and checked into a hotel and had some much needed alone time. We decided I needed to get my things. I had just bought a ton of baby stuff with my sister, and there was about 400 dollars of stuff for the baby at my parents house, along with all my other things.


RJ and I went back to the grocery store, where my Dad and my sister were waiting. My Dad wanted to talk with RJ. I told my Dad he needed to promise not to be a jerk. He promised. When RJ came over my Dad decided to be rude anyways and immediately snapped a picture of RJ. Then my Dad proceeded to post said picture on Instagram. My Dad was on a mission to keep me there even though he didn’t want to provide for me. Tensions were already running high so RJ turned around and walked away after my Dad snapped his picture. As RJ was walking away my Dad asked, “What about your wife?” (his now ex-wife). My family was convinced RJ wasn’t going to leave his wife for me. I knew he would and he did.


Things got more and more dramatic after this. After RJ walked away I told my Dad I just wanted to go to the house and get my things. So we did. I packed up my things. My Mom was hysterical the entire time. When I had brought all my things down stairs, I asked my Dad what car to load it into. He tried to stall. I told him if he didn’t want to take me I would just call an uber. He said maybe I should do that so he could have more time to figure out what to do. Eventually my things  were loaded into my parents minivan.


While I was packing my things my Dad called RJ and left a voicemail on his phone. My Dad played part of a recording that he illegally made, of a conversation he had with, RJ, my older sister and me. He said, “Do you want me to send it? I’m ready. Call me.” He also sent numerous texts to RJ saying similar things. I was shocked that my Dad thought blackmailing RJ would get him somewhere. I didn’t find out about this till much later and looking back on it now, I get why RJ was so cautious when my Dad and I got back to the grocery store parking lot.


When we got back to the parking lot I texted RJ and told him we were there. He told us where he parked and told me the car was unlocked and that we could move the car over. He was going to stay out of sight, He didn’t trust my Dad and he didn’t want either of them to do anything either of them would regret. When my Dad found out RJ wasn’t coming till the stuff had been moved My Dad locked his car so me or nobody else could get my things. He wanted RJ to “be a man” and do it. RJ had no idea they would refuse help me move my stuff, or let me get it out of the car at all. At this point I locked myself in the rental car because everyone was bashing RJ and trying to convince me not to leave.


My Mom showed up and brought with her a very weird collection of people from the local Mormon ward. I’m not sure what she wanted them to say to me. None of the people she brought knew me very well. I had already made up my mind that I would be leaving with RJ. I didn’t know that my Dad was threatening to blackmail RJ at the time. I called RJ and begged him to come so we could just leave. But he was scared and very well should have been, there were a lot of people there who were not on his team. He ended up calling the cops, he wanted to make sure everything stayed safe. At this point I was shaking uncontrollably because of the stress. The officer who showed up was very very nice. I explained to him my Dad had locked my things in the car, including my personal documents. All we wanted to do was get my things and leave. The officer spoke to my Dad, and made things clear that he needed to unlock the car and let RJ and me get my stuff. RJ came over and helped move my things, while the cop stayed back with my parents and the crowd of people they brought. My parents recorded the whole thing. I’m not sure why they felt the need to record RJ getting a workout hauling my stuff from one van to another. It was probably just so my Dad could use it to blackmail RJ later. We were able to drive away while to cop distracted them. We still drove an extra long way to our hotel to insure no one followed us there.


The following morning we grabbed a few things out of a storage facility RJ had stored a few days before, and we made our way down to Georgia.


I think my family was confused how I forgave RJ so quickly I think they still might be. Even though he left I knew he loved me and he expressed that the second he got back. Every second I was with my family, I didn’t feel loved. They claimed they were doing all this because they loved me and I would regret the choices I made. Well I haven’t I love every choice I made. I love my life I love RJ, and my family. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


My excommunication is quite the story. I am very glad we moved a few states away. My life has been much more peaceful away from the drama. I am so glad what happened did. It hugely changed my life but I am so glad it turned out the way it did.


If any of my readers are curious about the truth of my posts, I have many many texts and emails proving what I have written about is true. Including the voicemail my Dad left RJ, and all the texts he sent. We also have copies of emails he sent to friends and acquaintances of RJ, offering to send them a copy of the illegal recording which he claimed he uploaded to a website. The RJ bashing never ended.  

Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for more stories, and probably some more recipes too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Our Fourth Anniversary

I’m going to warn you this post is going to be extremely gushy and will make you vomit because of all the love going on here, so prepare yourself.


Today is our fourth anniversary! I cannot believe it has been four years since we first started dating. We have come so far. I’m glad life is so easy and enjoyable with RJ. The girls and I look forward to when he gets home every day. We love the days he gets to work from home. RJ supports me in everything I do. He is a wonderful father to our children. I cannot wait to have more of his babies, hopefully very soon.


Not to brag but our relationship is pretty amazing. We never fight. We very rarely argue, and when we do it’s usually something small and caused because I’m PMSing, or one/both of us is hangry, or tired. We agree on pretty much everything in life. RJ is slightly more cynical than I am but I think that comes with age. Our parenting styles are identical, although RJ does bad cop way better than I can. We always seem to be thinking the exact same thing, it’s ridiculous and spooky sometimes.



Dinner... Words can not describe how yummy it was. 
We aren’t huge about celebrations, we tend to make any birthday, holiday, or anniversary a little special but not extravagant. Today was a pretty normal day for us. I took the girls to the mall, RJ works a few miles from it. He met us there and hung out with us for a hour or so. We walked around the mall playing Pokemon Go, and watched the girls play at the mall play place. When the girls and I got home I baked a cake (I’m I will post the recipe on here at some point). RJ grilled a couple steaks and some asparagus, and I made mashed potatoes. It was all very tasty. Heather went to bed pretty early. We will have a quiet evening to ourselves and enjoy big slices of cake with tall glasses of milk. Then we will enjoy eachothers company in bed.


The best cake ever. It's impossible for either of us to eat a
slice of cake without a class of milk. 
I love RJ so much. There are still a few people out there who don’t understand us but that’s ok. We are very happy, and I absolutely love every minute of my life with him. I would never change a thing.

Thanks for reading. Keep an eye out for part two of my life after being excommunicated!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Life after my excommunication from The Mormon Church - Part One

On May 4th 2013 I was excommunicated from The Mormon Church. After I was exed it was a huge relief. It was really nice to not have to think about the church and try to live up to it’s standards. I still had to worry about my family though. I was pregnant and RJ and I needed to figure out want to do. We knew we wanted to keep the baby and be together we just didn’t really know how to get there yet.


First I couldn’t keep staying in a hotel because RJ doesn't have a bottomless wallet. A friend offered to put me up. I decided to take her up on that offer. Looking back on this it was probably at least partially engineered by my parents. Even if it wasn’t, by the end they took advantage of the situation. I enjoyed living there, I helped her a lot. She had foot problems and I helped her with errands, drove her around, and helped with cooking sometimes.


While I was staying there my dad insisted on having a meeting with RJ. One afternoon we finally decided to meet with him. At the meeting in was Me, RJ, my Dad, and my older sister. My Dad was very rude and refused to let RJ answer when he asked a question. He just kept talking and talking. At one point RJ told him to shut up because he just kept blubbering on. He asked very rude personal questions, like when the last time RJ and I had sex was. He just went on and on and on. Eventually he ran out of things to say and we left. Nothing good came from that meeting. It just made me more annoyed and pissed at my Dad. He wanted to control us, but neither RJ or I was ok with that. Later we discovered my Dad illegally recorded that meeting and tried to blackmail RJ with it later (I will get more into detail about that in tomorrow's post).


While I was there the lady I was staying with and my parents started researching RJ and decided to ambush me with all their research. All of this so called new, secret information they gave me I already knew. Things like RJ hadn’t filed for divorce with his wife yet. My parents know nothing about divorce. The friend I was staying with knew nothing about it either, she had been divorced before but it was a very long time ago. My parents didn’t realize the quickest way to get a divorce is have all the paperwork filled out before filing. For whatever reason they thought you had to file first, then do all the dividing of property and paperwork after. It doesn’t work that way. Unless you enjoy paying an arm and a leg for a lawyer.


This woman I was staying with accused him of being a narcissist. This was not the first time anyone accused RJ of being a narcissist (my Mom still thinks he is, but that is another story which I’m sure I will write about later, it’s a good one). RJ only had one other person call him a narcissist before. It was a woman he dated for a short time. After a few months of dating she bought a wedding dress before her and RJ and even talked about anything like that. During the break up she called him a narcissist. Later we found out that my Dad had spoken to RJ’s ex girlfriend. My Dad was trying to find everything RJ ever did and make him pay for it. Literally looking up ex girlfriends, wives, and anyone else he could think of to find dirt on RJ. Later RJ spoke directly to a few who said my Dad had contacted them. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get more messed up than that. My family didn’t know how well I knew RJ at the time. I knew everything about him. I knew he wanted to be with me, it would be a bumpy road but we would get there.  


I’m pretty sure at some point while my Dad was telling me all this stuff about RJ I swore at him this time. I said something along the lines of, “Why are you telling me all this stupid shit.” He literally had papers he was reading from. He didn’t really know what to do with the fact that I did not care what he was trying to tell me. Nothing was new. My Mom was there too I think she was the one who convinced me to let Dad in my room. I don’t remember all the details because it was three years ago, and I’m sure I have suppressed some of it because it was so awful. Eventually after trying to convince me I didn’t know who RJ was they left. I believe it was the following day RJ stopped by to pick me up. When I was about to leave the lady I was staying with asked me where I was going. She didn’t understand why hadn’t believed all the stuff they told me about RJ. She called me a liar. I have absolutely no idea why. I never told her a single lie. I left with RJ, we went to run some errands. I got a text from her while we were out. She said I had been evicted and she had called my sister and my sisters husband to pick up my stuff from her house, and take it to my parents. Luckily my parents were out of town and I was able to go pick up my stuff with minimal drama, but I needed to find a new place to stay.


Oddly enough someone who was friends with the lady I was staying with said I could stay with her. But she was quickly manipulated by my Mom. She was a recent convert and easily manipulated by the church. She was receiving welfare from the church at the time, I’m sure the threatened to take it away if she didn’t kick me out. I’m sure my Mom told her a few horror stories about RJ. Like he raped me. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have a place to stay because of my parents again!


My parents had made it their mission to personally make my life hell. My Mom wanted me to give up the baby and have the “perfect mormon life”. She wanted me to go to BYU and marry a returned missionary. She made it her mission to do everything she could to break RJ and me up and get me back in their control. I didn’t want that, I knew they would never support me and my baby the way RJ would. They kept making my pregnancy more and more stressful. I honestly think this is why I ended up with high blood pressure at the end of my pregnancy with Rose. Stress on a pregnant woman is not good.


RJ ended up putting me in a hotel that night. It was a quick fix and nice to have alone time with him, and time to myself. While we were there I made a call to the stake president. I was tired of my family, and a good majority of the ward being assholes. The stake president practically told me, my “sins” allowed them to judge me and all their horrible actions were justified because I “sinned” first. I was shocked. What type of religion that claims to be Christian would say shit like that was ok?


The next day I called a few people trying to find a place to stay. We tried to think of any person my parents didn’t know, but anyone we could think of didn’t have space for me. I finally thought of someone who I could stay with. My Dad had worked with him for many years, and he had a family. They moved to Virginia just before my family had a few years back. They had reached out to me and offered their spare room a while back. I was quite nervous about staying with them but they were my only option. They had just had a baby boy and I was really excited to get to spend some time with their little one. I didn’t know how much influence my parents had on them. I didn’t know if my family would manipulate them like that had every other person I stayed with.


RJ dropped me off there that evening. It was great. I loved staying there. The first night I was there I sat down with them and they asked what I needed. I told them I didn’t want anyone popping in or showing up unannounced (that’s what happened at the first place). They respected all my wishes. I loved living there I got to watch their kiddos all the time. I loved the practice I got with their little one and it made me really excited for mine.

This part of my story has been harder to write than the rest. A lot happened and it’s not easy to remember everything because it was so awful. I will post the rest of this story tomorrow, keep an eye out for it. Thanks for reading.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to Bake Cookies on a Grill

Here in Georgia, it is incredibly hot. If I can cook it outside on the grill, I will. We recently discovered it’s not too difficult to turn the grill into an oven. This is our grill, we love it. The only thing you need aside from your grill is an ambient thermometer. The thermometer on the top of most grills is not accurate enough for baking. We use the iGrill thermometer for all our grilling. Unless I’m cooking pizza we always use the ambient probe, as well as a probe in whatever we are cooking (pork, chicken, beef etc.)


The finished product. My mouth is watering.
My favorite cookie recipe is Crisco's Ultimate Chocolate Chip. You can find this recipe on the little cards that are inside the packaging of Crisco baking sticks. My Mom showed me this recipe as a kid, and they are definitely the best. This dough freezes really well. Occasionally I will make a double batch, and freeze the majority of the dough. All you do is scoop out the rest of the dough out onto a cookie sheet. Freeze till solid, then move into a labeled container or bag. This recipe (not doubled) makes three dozen cookies. Most of the time I will bake one dozen and freeze rest because if I bake them all we will eat them all in 2 days. Here is the recipe for convenience.



Crisco Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients
¾ stick(cup) Crisco
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ¾ all purpose flour (might need extra depending on climate)
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda (I usually double this it makes your cookies a bit fluffier. But if you double baking soda omit the salt or the cookies will be way too salty.)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional I prefer walnuts if I put nuts in these cookies)


Directions


  1. Putting the cookies on the grill. Do it as quickly as
    possible so you don't loose too much heat. 
    Beat shortening and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer with a scraper paddle attachment ) Beat on medium till light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in milk, vanilla and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir flour, salt and baking soda together.
  4. Add the flour to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time, mixing on medium.
  5. Check and see if dough needs more flour. Touch it with your fingers, if it sticks to your fingers add more flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time till dough is no longer sticky.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  7. Preheat your grill or oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
  8. Scoop out cookie dough onto a foil lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes.



Other instructions/tips for baking on a grill.


  • Make sure your propane tank is not empty. You don’t want to be halfway through baking and run out of gas.
  • If you grill has more than two burners, only use the outer two. This will give indirect heat so there is less chance of your cookies burning.
  • Give your grill plenty of time to warm up. You want your whole grill up to temperature.
  • Shut the grill tight! Try not to look!
    Make sure your grill temp is stable before you start baking your cookies.
  • Once you have started cooking, resist the temptation to keep peeking at your cookies. The lid of the grill is much bigger than the door of your oven and way more heat escapes! Remember you want to keep your temp as stable as possible.
  • Your cookies will cook fine anywhere between 325 and 375. That is the range you want to go for.
  • If your grill is running hot make sure to check your cookies early. No one likes burnt cookies.
  • If your grill gets too hot and you need to lose 10-20 degrees quickly, open the lid 3-4 inches for just a few seconds.


If you are not brave enough to start with cookies on your grill (we weren’t). Start with something like Dino Nuggets! That was the first thing we cooked on our grill. The are pretty easy, and practically impossible to fuck up. If you don’t have Dino Nuggets try it with any other frozen breaded food that needs less than 400 degrees to cook. More than 400 needs a good amount of practice, and isn’t similar enough to cookies, if that is your end goal.


I hate Georgia summers. I cannot wait for fall to come so I can wear sweaters all day and eat soup. In the meantime I will do everything I can to keep the hot out and the cool in. Look out for a blog post on how to cook bread on your grill! Thanks for reading.