Wednesday, April 12, 2017


I have been getting glimpses of the mom I want to be peeking out of her hiding place. The mom who had spur-of-the moment dance parties, or the mom who plays with her kids and genuinely has fun doing it. The mom who is silly and can make her kids laugh.

I've been praying for help in this part of motherhood. I know it's in me, I'm a fun person, who likes playing pretend, and doing things that most kids like doing (play dough, coloring, dancing). But I've not really been able to let go and enjoy motherhood for a really long time. It feels so good to have fun with my kids. It feels so good to see their smile because I'm doing something with them that makes them smile. I'm grateful for grace, the Savior is making me more than I am, and renewing parts of me that have been hiding for a long time.

Keeping it real: bedtime

Last night it took us 4 hours to get the kids to sleep! One or both of us were constantly working on getting the kids to sleep! We are trying to keep the two older kids in the same room. We've tried this on and off their whole lives and never consistently kept it up. (We are still wondering why we feel like this is a good idea). This week we've tried to just sit with them in the room without a night light till they fall asleep. Some nights it quirks well, last night it didn't matter what we did they just got crazy and disobedient.

Here's to that being the worst bedtime, and not taking that long tonight.

Update: bedtime was awesome tonight! Blessings!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Keeping it real: what makes us happy

Jonathan and I talked the other day about activities that bring us happiness. Honestly, it took me as little while to find things that I could do with the kids on a regular basis that bring me joy.

We talked about things that Jonathan could do to fill his bucket. Things that he could do by himself. (He often serves till he drops...) that was even harder! I'm not sure if we found any thing that he wanted to do.

So this is real life: we have lost a small (but very important) part of our lives. Here's to changing that.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's Undeniable

Heavenly Father is in the details of my life. He cares deeply, and is making Himself manifest in so many areas of my life.

He has been in every step of our journey, and we have really noticed it in the last few months. I don't want to make this post too long, so I'm going to bullet point a few things:

  • Jonathan got an internship with General Mills last summer, the company that he thought he wanted to work for ever since he started in Food Science. 
  • As we were there we thought we were going to end up there (I was looking at schools, housing, wards... the whole bit). But then we found out about a position opening up at BYU. Academia was never part of the plan, or on our radar. As we prayed about staying at General Mills, each one of us independently felt like we needed to try for BYU.
  • When we came back home to Indiana, and made it a serious matter of prayer and thought about how that would happen logistically. We were a little nervous to turn down a great opportunity for the hope of something coming into fruition later. 
  • As Jonathan thought about it, he knew he didn't want to continue down the current research path he was on, but didn't know what else would be interesting enough to make a career out of. As he prayed about it, thoughts and inspiration came flooding to his mind, thoughts of research topics that he hadn't thought about before. 
  • If he wanted to switch research fields, then the need for a post-doc was essential. But graduating in May and potentially starting in August didn't leave much time. Then the thought came to try to defend his dissertation as early as possible and get a short term post-doc. 
  • As he looked into post-doc positions at other schools, he felt like he should ask a recently hired Purdue faculty (doing research in the field he was interested in) for recommendations of good places to apply, and if doing a flexible post-doc was even an option. She basically offered him a position on the spot.
  • Jonathan got an interview with BYU, even though there were many qualified candidates that applied (we were told by a few BYU faculty).
  • He felt good about how the interview went. 
  • Fast-forward to February 2017. I was due with Aveya on the 23, Jonathan originally planned to defend in the middle of the month, but some of his committee members couldn't make it, so they rescheduled for February 21! That turned out to be a blessing, because Aveya came on the 13. I was recovered enough to go to his defense (something I REALLY wanted to do).
  • There were some amazing miracles and tender mercies associated with Aveya's birth. Things ranging from saying a silent prayer on Saturday night (Feb 11), just complaining a bit... "I really don't want to deal with being pregnant and this hip pain for another two weeks. If it's not going to be too crazy for Jonathan, can I have this baby early?" then starting contractions within minutes of that prayer... to being able to teach gospel doctrine by myself through my contractions, to all the help I had through my slow c-section recovery, to my kids not being jealous of Aveya... to the miracles of modern medicine, that although Aveya was sideways, she was born healthy and safely, and I was safe as well. 
  • We have been struggling with this 2 year long phase Cambria has been in. She's been so defiant, and hard to parent (to not delve into too many things). I've really struggled with controlling my temper and trying to find ways to get through to her. Any parenting strategy that we have tried seemed to not work. But we got so many answers during General Conference (people keep telling us that we need to be more firm, but as I try that, I find it puts me in a bad place, and it isn't effective. But I felt overwhelmed by all the talks about treating people with love. Love is always the answer). We also started reading a parenting book that has been really awesome! As we have applied the little that we've read, it seems to be working! And it's in line with the things we heard and felt in General Conference!
  • I have gotten into a motherhood rut, but with some sincere begging in prayer, I have had a few wonderful moments with each kid. I've had better days this week than I've had in a very long time. The enabling power of the atonement is real! And that's a miracle! 
As we wait to hear back from BYU (we won't hear back till May at the earliest), sometimes I get impatient, ok, most times. But after this weekend, and realigning my perspective, I know that it will turn out the way that it's supposed to. Heavenly Father has a plan, and he has been guiding us in undeniable ways.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Aveya's birth story

Jonathan is so good at writing in his journal. He wrote down Aveya's birth story on the day she was born. He got most of the story recorded, so I'm going to have him tell us the story in his own words. Anything italicized are notes I added. 

Monday, February 13, 2017
Today is Aveya’s birthday! Melissa was having contractions about 20 minutes apart for most of the day yesterday. Around dinner time, they were 5 minutes apart for about an hour but they didn't feel too intense. When she called the midwives, they told her to take a bath. The bath helped things slow down, so we thought that it was just a false alarm. About two hours after we (I) went to sleep (thankfully, it was uncharacteristically early), Melissa woke me and said that we needed to go, and that she was in active labor. I never slept. We were in bed by 9:30, but Aveya was SO ACTIVE, so I couldn't relax. Then when she started calming down the contractions started coming hard! I called the midwife again and told her they were intense. She told me to come in. So I called a friend who has seriously been such a life-saver. I had asked them beforehand if her and her husband could stay the night if I went into labor at night (I had someone planned for a middle-of-the-night call, but this was so early in the night that i just asked them because I was texting them around dinner asking them to put the kids to bed if we had to go in) I am so grateful for Morgan and Kristen Ruesch, and their willingness and cheerfulness to come over and stay at our place for the night. It was such a blessing. (Kristen had helped me at least half a dozen times in the last month and a half or so, so the kids were very familiar with her)
me and my BIG bump!

 I am grateful that the kids slept through the night for them and that Corbin didn't freak out too much like we were worried he might (apparently Cambria helped comfort him, so sweet.) I am also grateful for the priesthood. Melissa asked for a priesthood blessing before we left. Morgan and I administered to her. In the blessing, I blessed her body that it could do what it was designed to do. I blessed her mind that it could be strong and that it had been prepared by her preparation. I also blessed her with peace. In the blessing, I also said that everything would be ok. Although it may have sounded like we would have a vaginal birth that we wanted, that wasn’t necessarily what I felt. We got to the hospital around midnight. The midwife checked and Aveya was still sideways and I was dilated to a 6.5 and fully effaced. We were both disappointed, especially Melissa. We were both blessed with peace though. I am grateful for c-sections and that they can help babies and moms in otherwise dangerous situations have a healthy, safe birth. Melissa was wheeled to the OR, and I joined her shortly later. It turns out that Aveya had even turned again, and was completely feet first when they pulled her out. They said she was kicking even as they took her out. 

My experience with pain meds in labor: I hadn't ever had them before, but oh man! I can understand why people get them. I didn't feel as prepared for this birth as I was with the others (oddly enough, even though Corbin's was so early, I still felt very ready for labor with him). And as soon as I found out that I needed to have a c-section, I wasn't welcoming the contractions like I usually do. I kind of got more and more frustrated that I had to feel another one as each one came. If I was going to get a spinal, then I wanted one NOW. They told me that as soon as the medication kicked in, I would probably feel tired, considering the time of night we were there. When I got in the OR, I got a little nervous. One of the reasons why I haven't ever gotten an epidural before is because I'm so nervous to have someone stick a huge needle in my spine and potentially paralyze me. The anesthesiologist was amazing though, he talked me through everything, and told me how I was going to feel before I felt it, which eased my mind significantly. As soon as he had the spinal in, I felt like I was on cloud 9! It was amazing :). I did feel nauseous several times, not fun, but he just upped my anti nausea medicine and I felt better. The rest of the time was a blur, I was trying not to listen to the doctors on the other side of the curtain, the idea of them right there, cutting me open wasn't something I liked thinking about. Then it hit me like a load of bricks, I was tired and I physically couldn't keep my eyes open. I didn't try to keep my eyes open until I heard that Aveya was out. I heard her cry and that was the weirdest, most amazing combination of emotions and feelings. I had the same feeling I had with the other babies I've had, the pure, instant love. The desire to see her and feel her skin to skin. But at the same time I couldn't help but think "is that it? I didn't do anything! There was no work on my part to bring her here, but she's here!"

Aveya Leanne Kershaw was born at 1:52 am. She weighed 6lbs 10 oz, and was about 18.5 inches long. It was special that she was born on Danae Gough’s birthday. for those who don't know, Danae is my cousin who was killed in a car accident about a year before Cambria was born. Nae is such a special girl, and I feel like it was a tender mercy that my contractions didn't come till closer to midnight, considering how fast everything happened so that she could share Nae's birthday. Cambria shares her middle name, and now Aveya shares her birthday.
It is hard to describe the feeling after seeing her for the first time. I just couldn’t stop smiling. I was so happy that she was with us, and so grateful that everyone did so well. I actually cried when I saw her (something that I hadn't done before) but I felt the same emotions with her as with the other kids (just in awe at how beautiful and perfect and how in love I was with her). I am grateful for the medical staff, and for their expertise, professionalism, kindness, and understanding bed-side manner. I am grateful that Aveya seems to be a strong nurser. I am grateful that I was able to rest a little last night and during the day, although I’m not sure if sleep ever really came. I am grateful for the quiet moments that Melissa and I got to spend together just with our new, beautiful baby. I am grateful for the feelings I have when I hold her and see her eyes. I am grateful that Melissa is doing well physically and emotionally. It was so special to see the kids see and hold Aveya. Cambria especially was so loving and tender and she held and looked at Aveya. It was so sweet. Corbin also was gentle and loving. I am grateful for the miracle of life and the role of families in the plan of salvation.

for you viewing pleasure... 
look at that tired momma. Tired but so happy!!

Corbin meeting his little sister for the first time.

Look at that smile! I have a feeling they are going to be bff's 
"all the girls!"

first pic as a family of 5!!!

She posed herself

going home from the hospital!

I love newborn smiles!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

So grateful

So much has happened in such a short time! I had a baby (both story coming soon) and I'm trying to recover.
I have so much to be grateful for. I'm grateful for modern medicine, I'm grateful that Aveya is healthy and such s good baby! I'm grateful my body is healing well. I'm grateful fir ask the support my ward family has offered. But most of all I'm grateful for how Jonathan had stepped up and taken care of EVERY aspect of our lives. He's taken care of the kids, made meals, kept the house in order, taken care of me, made special Valentine meals, and made candid birthday special. All while being sick and losing sleep due to crazy coughing fits. Oh yeah, and he defends his dissertation tomorrow, so he's had that hanging over his head all week too. He truly is such s wonderful husband, and I am the luckiest, most blessed girl to have him.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cute growing up kids

The things that come out of Cambria's mouth sometimes make me laugh! Today, after we put her to bed, she was calling for Jonathan. He didn't answer, that usually what we do, and she said "is anyone home?" Lol! I don't know where she got that phrase :)
She also told us (while pretending that she was a missionary) that she was serving her mission in Indianapolis, and was born in Dallas. That girl picks up on things!

Corbin is starting to string two and three words together! It helps so much! We can understand what we wants a little more. It's great!