Friday, December 27, 2013

Shopping Excursion

I spy with my little eye, a really cute baby at the store...

Do you see him?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Highlights from the holidays so far

We've looked for (and found) a Christmas tree:
Nathan sat on Santa's lap (and enjoyed it!):
We've made and eaten Christmas cookies, sung lots of Christmas songs, wrapped a bunch of presents (still haven't wrapped them all or sent all the ones that need to be mailed.... but we're getting close!), and have had just a jolly good season.

One of my favorite Christmas videos: here

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To an awesome Grandma...

To an amazing Grandma on her birthday,

This is how we feel about you:

And this is how we feel when we remember that we get to see you in less than three weeks:

And Nathan wants you to do lots of this when we see you!

This little angel (and his mom and dad) are wishing you a very happy birthday!
Love you Mom!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I've turned into a bit of an insomniac. Various cousins may find that kind of funny because I used to be notoriously good at dosing off (sometimes mid-sentence) in the middle of midnight giggling conversations at cousin sleepovers.

I think it's a common symptom of PPD though, so I'm not too surprised. And I was a bit of an insomniac when I was pregnant too.

My dad has struggled with sleep for years and I'd never understood it well. I had always thought, "If he just lays down and holds still long enough, won't he fall asleep?" Could it be that hard? Well, now I think I understand a little better.

I'll lay in bed, and my mind is in high gear thinking about my day, about tomorrow, about random moments from my childhood, about a book I'm reading, or just about anything. And it doesn't calm down. It used to calm down, and I'd fall asleep. But for a while now, I can lay there for what seems like forever until I get bored and go do something besides just laying there.

Most often I'll read a book. Last night it was a new book called "Looking for God in Harry Potter". Quite a fun read. If I start reading, after a while, I'll find I can't keep my eyes open anymore, and then I'll go lay down in bed and conk out pretty fast.

In other news, Nathaniel learned a new trick the other day. He took his stuffed elephant, started chewing on the ear and then let go with his hands so it was just hanging from his mouth by its ear. Pretty much, I think that this baby is the cutest one that EVER lived (you're under no obligation to agree with me, but I think I'm right, because I'm his mom :).

Oh, and did I mention I have the coolest husband, too? This year he's an assistant conductor in BYU Singers... as an undergrad! Normally they only have the graduate students assist, but my handsome man landed the job because he's just. that. good.

Life is full of beauty

My two favorite boys playing at the splash pad.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

PPD and Me

Well, what started out as intense baby blues blossomed into complete Postpartum Depression (PPD) about a month ago. I think that overall I've been doing okay, but I thought it would be helpful for myself (and maybe others) to blog about what PPD has been like for me.

I love how the therapist described it. She explained that having depression is like a sunburn. You know how your skin is really sensitive when you have a sunburn? You're really sensitive to touch, and even the slightest touch can be very painful. Well, when you have depression you're extra sensitive to thoughts. And you have to wade through your thoughts carefully because you can quickly go from emotionally normal to emotionally hurting in a trice. Just like you have to move gingerly when you have a sunburn, or you're going to be in pain.

It's interesting to me that this analogy got rid of a lot of unhealthy guilt. Before I realized that what I had was depression, I only knew that I was getting stressed out over really little, stupid things. Then I would mentally berate myself for letting such little things bug me. And I'd wonder what I was doing wrong that I was such a basket case. Was I reading my scriptures enough? (I could certainly be reading more) Was I falling short in my relationship with God? (Well, I know my relationship and devotion to Him is far from perfect, so probably I was falling short) And thus I would become even more discouraged and berate myself more for being such a nincompoop.

Can you see the vicious cycle?

Once I realized that I had PPD, I still battled with ideas that it was my fault that I had PPD. (If I had only acted differently in this or that situation a year ago or a couple years ago, would I have been as susceptible to depression?) Again, not a healthy line of thinking.

But knowing that what I was facing was regardless being exacerbated by post-pregnancy hormones led me to go see a doctor. She recommended both medication and counseling. So far, I've just done the counseling, (the medication just didn't feel like the right thing for me to do in my situation, but I'm open to the possibility that that might change) and that's where I got this analogy of depression being like a sunburn.

The way I look at it is that my sensitivity to thoughts (which can quickly lead to anxiety and stress and... well.. depression) are just the pregnancy hormones talking, and I don't need to blame myself for those hormones being out of whack. It's not my fault that those are out of whack. What I can control is what I do when I start noticing self-defeating thoughts creep into my brain. When those thoughts start poking their way in, I can either encourage them, or turn away from them.

There are various ways that I've found to turn away from those thoughts. Sometimes I just consciously think, "No, that thought isn't true. That's just the depression talking." Sometimes, I change what I'm doing and go do something that I find enjoyable. It always seems to help to go outside, and it also helps to stay busy.

I'd say that most of my days are good ones. There are certainly fewer bad days than good ones. More often I find that I'll just have bad morning, or a bad hour or two and the rest is okay or even good.

Thankfully, Chris has been amazingly supportive in all of this. He's really good at helping me do things when I'm feeling down. And he's also really good at taking care of lots of the mundane things that need doing (like cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, changing diapers and the like).

Also, it's a big help that Nathan is such an easy baby. He's a very mellow, very sweet kid. And his smile or laugh always lifts my spirits.

This challenge of postpartum depression is ongoing, but I'm hanging on and learning lessons through it all. Lessons that I probably wouldn't have learned without it. I feel that the Lord is mindful of me. This is a struggle that He sent my way because I needed to grow more, not because I sinned or made a mistake.

To any of you who have already gone through this, who are going through it now, or may yet go through it in the future, I say, "God bless you." It is difficult to experience, but I have confidence that it will end and that the Lord will turn our ashes into beauty.

Until then, keep me in your prayers, would you?

P.S. If any of you have your own stories to share I'd love to read about them in the comments. :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

3 Mo.

My two favorite boys on the planet:

"Dad, it's really hot out here."
That lil' guy turned 3 months old yesterday. (Can you say time flies?) 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nathaniel lately

This boy is full of awesomeness. He makes us laugh every day. Mostly because he has this great smile.

He's also found out where his hands are. He holds his hands in front of him like this (and usually interlocks his fingers):

He's starting to get more interactive. He'll smile when you play peek-a-boo with a blanket and pull it off his face. He also loves it when his daddy holds him high in the air and then pretends that he's going to eat his face as he slowly lowers Nathaniel down towards him. Nathaniel smiles huge and blinks his eyes more and more the closer he gets to Chris's face. 

We like to watch him when he sleeps. He's just so peaceful. 

He's a really good sleeper, for which we can take virtually no credit. He came as a good sleeper, we just tried to stay out of his way.

Lately, I've been playing this Mendelssohn violin concerto for him, and I'll move his arms and legs to the music. The whole movement is about 6 minutes long, but he smiles and wiggles through the whole thing. I'm amazed that he has that kind of attention span.

Basically, I'm in love with being a mom. It's hard of course, but it fulfills me in ways that being a student or having a job never have. I honestly didn't think I would enjoy being a mom at this stage of his life, or at least that those moments of satisfaction would be few and far between. I thought that it'd be only when I looked back that I'd be able to say, "Oh that was such a wonderful time of life!" I thought that in the moment I'd pretty much only feel worn out and tired.

It's remarkable to me how much I am filled when I take care of and play with this sweet kid. Almost every day comes this simple (but strong) joy and peace from being Nathaniel's mom. I know those feelings are a gift from God, my Heavenly Father, and I thank Him for sending such an incredible boy to our home. He knew exactly what child would be perfect for us. 

Is it any wonder that we just can't get enough of this little guy?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Not fearing the future, but enjoying the journey.

In 5th grade, my teachers told me things like, "When you're in middle school next year, your teacher will just throw your homework away if you forget to put your name on it," or, "Your teachers in middle school won't ever accept late work." Man... I panicked. I cried to my mom whimpering that I was never going to make it through middle school because what if I genuinely forgot to put my name on things or forgot to finish my homework and needed to turn it in late? How could those teachers be so unfeeling?

Well, I got to 6th grade. You know what? My teachers held up papers with no name saying "someone come claim this!" or allowed us to turn in late work with usually just a small amount of points taken off.  Oh... Well, I could deal with that. I guess those 5th grade teachers had it wrong.

Then came 8th grade. My teachers started in on us again. "High school teachers aren't going to hold your hands like we do in middle school. They're just going to give you zeros on late assignments, and won't ask you about them." This time I was a little more skeptical. I'd wait and see what the teachers actually did in high school before I started to panic.

Again, I found out that those warnings were pretty much unfounded. My high school teachers new that we were young adolescents who make mistakes and so they helped us out. They weren't heartless. And I had no reason to fear high school. High school was a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends and grew in lots of ways.

So when in my senior year, the teachers began starting sentences with "You know, once you get to college..." I was having none of it. I didn't doubt that college would be challenging, but I wasn't going to heed the doomsday warnings about how heartless my professors were going to be once I got there.

There certainly was a lot less hand holding in college. Let's face it, a professor who teaches 800 students every semester hardly has time to go searching after one lost sheep, but if I was struggling I could go talk to the professor and they were always willing to help when they saw I was making an honest effort.

And on top of that, college was really fun. I made incredible friends. Laughed, played, worked, cried, grew, struggled, and enjoyed those 5 years. I met my husband in college. I sang in choirs with world-renowned artists. I learned about who I was there. It was just an incredible journey. And one that was over rather quickly (despite the extra year I added in there).

So now... I'm a parent. And I see the same cycle cropping up. Well meaning people warned us before the baby was born, "Get your sleep now because after they're born... forget it." Now that he's here people sometimes tell me, "Well at that age they're easy, wait till they're crawling" or, "wait till they start throwing temper tantrums," or, "just wait until they become teenagers."

And you know what? I'm not having it.

This baby came, and sure, we have less sleep, but we also have this little guy who makes us giggle every day and makes our hearts overflow with happiness when he smiles at us. He's starting to roll over and it's the coolest thing ever to see him figure it out. I love the way he sucks his thumb with his fingers all up in his eyes because he hasn't learned how to curl them down and stick his thumb out at the same time. I love it when he "talks" to me and tells me what he's thinking (even though can't understand it) and I love that he grins from ear to ear when I sing him a song.

He's two and-a-half months old and already he's stopped doing some things he used to do. I loved the way he used to hold perfectly still and stare at me when I sang to him, or the way he would punch himself in the face and then look around like "Hey! Who just hit me?"

He doesn't do those things anymore. They were these beautiful moments and I loved experiencing them. Even though they came right along side diaper blowouts, sleepless nights, crying marathons, and feelings that I had no idea what I was doing. The hard things didn't cancel out the wondrous ones that were happening at the same time.

I don't want to start dreading the problems that this baby will have in the future because then I'll start missing the beautiful things he's doing in the now. It's already going by so fast. He's only going to be this little for so long and I've got to love it while it's here or I'll just have regrets when it's gone.

And then when he becomes a toddler and makes huge messes or throws tantrums or both, I don't want to be worrying about the problems he'll face in school or as a teenager. I'd much rather be enjoying the way he'll say things in funny ways, or the way we'll cuddle on the couch and read stories, or loving his giggle whenever his daddy tackles him. I want to be loving those things even though they come right alongside the tantrums and the tears and the messes.

Because really, when you have a kid this adorable, why would I chose to do anything else?

Friday, May 31, 2013


Someone has discovered his thumbs this week. Mom finds it totes adorbs.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


He did it! Nathaniel rolled over for the first time!!

Last night we put him on his blanket on the floor for some tummy time. At first he just laid there, but after a few minutes when Chris and I were chatting, I looked down at him again and exclaimed, "Oh! He's tipping!" And then, whoop! Just like that he was on his back.

Mom and Dad were so proud! Nathaniel himself just looked kind of dazed like, "Whoa. What was that all about?"

We tried putting him back on his tummy to see if we could get the rolling over-nes on camera, but no luck. He was done.

Then this morning, he rolled over three times in front of all my co-workers at a staff meeting. Soooo cool!!

It's official. Being a parent totally rocks my world.

Our little guy is seven weeks old today!

Friday, May 17, 2013

"The older I get, the less judgmental I become."

So in my last post, I discussed that very often, how we parent our children is not a matter of finding the "one true way" to do something. Rather, the Lord expects us to exercise righteous judgment and that there are certainly many ways to accomplish the eternally important work of raising a child.

Following that post, I read a book called "Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn't." It was such an eye-opening read about the world of breast feeding vs. bottle feeding. My take away from the book, and something that the author seems to plead: we could all stand to be a little less judgmental of other people's parenting choices.

Since becoming a mom, I've been rather dismayed at times to see the overbearing way mothers will pass judgement on other mothers. And I think something that really feeds this problem is the anonymity of the internet. It's rare that I see mom's bash each other in person. Quite the contrary. But take away that face-to-face interaction, and all of a sudden, it becomes fine to not only judge another person's parenting choices, but to often do so in a rather venomous way.

One of my favorite addresses on judging comes from Elder Dallin H. Oaks (a former judge himself). In it he says:
In one of the monthly General Authority fast and testimony meetings, I heard President James E. Faust say, "The older I get, the less judgmental I become." That wise observation gives us a standard to live by in the matter of judgments. We should refrain from anything that seems to be a final judgment of any person—manifesting our determination to leave final judgments to the Lord, who alone has the capacity to judge. 
In the intermediate judgments we must make, we should take care to judge righteously. We should seek the guidance of the Spirit in our decisions. We should limit our judgments to our own stewardships. Whenever possible we should refrain from judging people until we have an adequate knowledge of the facts. So far as possible, we should judge circumstances rather than people. In all our judgments we should apply righteous standards. And, in all of this, we must remember the command to forgive.

So today, I'm asking that we all take a step back, remember that we're all children of the same Father in Heaven, and refrain from unrighteous judgment. We could all stand to be just a little more understanding, a little more loving of each other. Mothering is hard enough, and with loving encouragement, we can all lift each other just a little higher.

Friday, May 10, 2013

“It mattereth not unto me”

In 2007, Elder Bednar gave an address in which he talked about an important pattern from the scriptures. Watch the clip and hear what he says.

clip should play from 19:50 to 21:37

The essential thing was the work they had been called to perform; how they got there was important but was not essential.
If you're a new mom looking for information on any parenting topic, you're sure to find a whole heap of advice out there. Since becoming a new mom myself, I discovered that I'm not a low maintenance kind of mother. If things are going well, and my Nathaniel is content, clean, and well fed, I'm fine. But if something appears to be wrong, I will google the tar out of the subject until I find some useful tools to help me or my baby cope.

It's a wonderful blessing to have so much information at our fingertips, but there's a downside. Parenting is one of those things that people tend to feel really strongly about, and sometimes you find parents who have made it their crusade to rid the world of one "bad" parenting strategy or another. All too often I find myself panicking that I'm going to seriously mess up my kid if I make the wrong decisions. "Don't you know that your child is going to be an emotional train wreck if you read him books about red wagons? The only right way to have an emotionally well-balanced baby is to read him books about blue wagons!" (You know the kind of argument I'm talking about?)

Thankfully, I've found some excellent resources that have taught me that really, when it comes down to it, so many things "mattereth not". Even some seemingly big things.

For example, I've been reading a book called "French Kids Eat Everything". It's a memoir of one woman's experience moving to France and discovering a whole different style of teaching kids how to eat. Like, kids should always eat meals at a specific time and not snack inbetween. This also includes infants being fed on a strict schedule.

In America, we tend to find this shocking. Shouldn't babies be fed whenever they are hungry? Well, it seems that the French don't think so. To them its more important that the baby learn to eat full meals than that their baby never feel hunger. Their approach certainly has its drawbacks (and benefits), but feeding babies on-demand also has its drawbacks (and benefits).

Elder Bednar goes on to teach:
“I, the Lord, am willing, if any among you desire, to ride upon horses, or upon mules, or in chariots, he shall receive this blessing, if he receive it from the hand of the Lord, with a thankful heart in all things.

“These things remain with you to do according to judgment and the directions of the Spirit.

“Behold, the kingdom is yours. And behold, and lo, I am with the faithful always. Even so. Amen” (D&C 62:7–9; italics added).

The principal issues in this episode are not horses, mules, or chariots; rather, they are gratitude, judgment, and faithfulness. Please note the basic elements in this pattern: (1) a thankful heart in all things; (2) act according to judgment and the directions of the Spirit; and (3) the Savior is with the faithful always. Can we begin to sense the direction and assurance, the renewal and strength that can come from following this simple pattern for inspired and righteous judgment?
The real question is not, "Which feeding style is the only true and right way to feed a baby?" The real question in my opinion is, "Which combination of benefits and drawbacks is the one I want for me and my child?"

This second question requires righteous judgement and seeking out the directions of the Spirit. And so we'll need to have a thankful heart (not a panicky one) and we'll need to be faithful so the Savior will be with us.

The essential thing for me as a mom, is to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of my children. How I do that is important, but not essential. And honestly, it brings me real peace to know that in the long run so many decisions about how I raise my children "mattereth not".

Sunday, April 28, 2013


A story from two nights ago:

4:30 am. It's the third time trying to get the little guy back to sleep. Momma's soo tired, and she's frustrated that she can't seem to get him to stay unconscious. He's eating and has slowly slipped into halfway between waking and sleeping.

Suddenly he giggles.

Just like that, Mom's frustration vanishes.

This kid is soooo worth it.

Little Guy's not even a month old yet
and already he's such a ham.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nathaniel's birth

Here's the story of Nathaniel's birth. It was an incredible experience, and one that I will treasure in my memory forever. This version has lots of details, so it's kind of long, but I tried to limit the gory details. Even so, everyone's squeamish about different things, so... be warned. It is a labor and delivery story after all.

Thursday night (March 28th, 5 days after baby's due date), my water broke. Except, I didn’t know that it broke, or rather, I knew something happened, but I couldn’t tell if it was my water breaking, or if I had lost my mucus plug, or if it was just that I had suddenly lost the ability to hold it when I needed to potty. It was such a slow leak that only happened every couple of hours. By Friday evening, I was starting to wonder if it really was my water broken because it hadn’t stopped (so it wouldn’t have been my mucus plug) and it didn’t have the scent of urine. But I wasn’t having any more contractions than I had been (just a few here and there that weren’t very hard), so we decided to hold off going to the hospital until after Chris’s choir concert. The concert was beautiful. My mom and Chris’s whole family got to attend with me, and afterwards all of us went and got frozen custard at Coney’s.

On the way home, we told my mom that we felt like we should go get me checked out and see if my water really had broken, so we dropped her off, grabbed my hospital bag and drove over to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. They checked me in, and put us in a room. The nurse did a ph strip kind of test on the fluid and sure enough, it was amniotic fluid. We were staying. Because my body hadn’t gone into labor really at all, we decided to start me on pitocin right away, and see where that got us. Also, because it had been about 24 hours since my water broke, they started me on anti-infection stuff as well. So just after midnight on March 30, baby was officially on his way.

Contractions started coming fairly consistently, but they started out quite mild. I felt like I was able to relax and let my body work with the contraction instead of tense up and fight against it. Chris and I didn’t have much to do but wait. Every once in a while, nurses came in and checked on us. Our main nurse that night was a gal named Hillary, and I loved her. She was so personable, and really competent. Sometimes the way people take care of you can feel a little condescending, but she was remarkable at putting me at ease and even laughed at some of Chris’s jokes and mine.

There was a couch in the room next to the bed that folded down into a bed. That’s where Chris slept that night. Neither of us slept a ton, but we did each get a little sleep during the night.

Sometime between 3 and 4 in the morning, the contractions started to get a lot harder to deal with. I was really struggling to relax during them, and definitely wanted something to help with the pain. (I decided before going in to the hospital that I was planning on an epidural) My doctor wanted me to be to a 3 or 4 before I got an epidural, and I was only at like a 2. But the nurse said I could have something in my IV that could help take the edge off the pain. I thought that sounded like a great idea, so my IV tree got another bag (I think at one time I had 5 different bags dripping into my arm). The drugs really helped, and even though they made me dizzy, I was able to sleep again.

By 6 a.m. I got checked again and had dilated to a 3. The nurse called my doctor and then the anesthesiologist who came and gave me my epidural. He was this older man from some Middle Eastern country (I think, judging by his accent and name). A fantastic anesthesiologist who obviously had been giving epidurals for so long that I’m pretty sure he could have done the whole thing in his sleep. He was really nice and really efficient. Fairly soon, I lost all feeling and control in my left leg and almost all feeling in my right. The nurse put my catheter in, and once again, I was able to sleep.

On and off throughout the morning, nurses came and checked on us, took my temperature, helped me switch the side I was laying on, checked how dilated I was, etc. etc. Mostly, I just slept. I’d wake up here and there for a little while, but thanks to that blessed epidural, pain was fairly minimal and I got some much needed rest. Chris was there with me almost the entire time. He left to go home (a five minute drive) and grab things or to change his clothes I think two times, and sometimes he’d go out into the waiting room and update my mother and his parents and sisters about how things were going, but overall, he was just constantly by my side, willing to do anything he could to help, especially by getting flavored ice chips for me to suck on. He was my rock: constant, steady, and loving.

Partway through that morning we got kind of discouraged because it had been several hours since I had been checked and when they did check me again, I was still at a three. I thought, “oh no. c-section, here we come” but about two hours later I started progressing again. I think I was up to a 4. Then I progressed quite rapidly to a 6+ , then fairly quickly all the way to a 9+ and by 1:30 I was fully dilated and effaced.

My doctor (who amazingly was in and out most of the day checking on me. I thought this was awesome, and she probably couldn’t have done it all the time, but I guess because it was a Saturday, she had time) recommended that they let me “rest and descend” for an hour before we started pushing. I was still blissfully in epidural land, and so didn’t feel in any rush. Also, though baby had descended to a measurable stage (I think he was at -1 at that point) we were hoping he would drop a little more before we started pushing. At 2:45, my nurse and her capstone student (Shea and Heather respectively) came in and told me that the other patient they were helping was also ready to push, and would I mind waiting just a bit longer (this was apparently that other lady’s 6th child so they thought that pushing would be rather short, which it was. They said she pushed like one and a half times and the baby was out). I had spent almost all of the previous hour sleeping, and didn’t at all mind sleeping some more, so I said that’d be just fine.

Finally at 3:40, a nurse named Jennifer came in and said that since Heather and Shea were still finishing up with the other patient, she was going to help me start pushing until they got there.

She told me the basics of pushing, and at the next available contraction, we got going. Thus began the approximately 2 hours of pushing. An hour in (so about a quarter to 5:00) Shea and Heather came in and relieved Jennifer. All three of these nurses and Chris were really good at being encouraging and saying things like “Good, Sarah, another one just like that!” or “You’ve got it, you’ve got it, keep going!” etc. I was amazed at how much power and strength their simple words gave me to keep going. I could rest in between contractions, and nothing really hurt very much, but it was still a workout. Their words helped me find the willpower to keep at it. Chris also kept me going by feeding me ice chips in between contractions and by occasionally grabbing my hand or firmly patting my leg as if to say “you’re doing fantastic. keep going, and I love you.” Like I said, he was my rock. Not squeamish at all, just steady and sure.

A few times I wondered if all the verbal encouragement everyone was giving me was just a farce to keep my spirits up or if we were actually progressing, but it turns out that we were progressing, it was just a slow and steady progression. At about 5:30 it looked like he was getting really close, (I think that’s when Dr. Burnett went and changed into her scrubs.) and that he’d be born before Shea and Heather’s shift ended at 6:00. Shea asked me what drink I wanted to have once the baby was born (I chose apple juice) and she went off to get it. She came back in with a big cup of apple juice and a boxed meal with an apple, cookies and a turkey croissant sandwich. She said it was incentive for me because I could eat and drink once baby was here, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much the sight and thought of food was what helped me find the last reserves to finish those final pushes.

Nathaniel Dean Machado was born at 5:42. When I heard that first cry, I just had this rush of relief and joy sweep over me. I pretty much just sat and cried while they weighed him, looked over him, measured him, etc. (a NICU team was there to check him out because I had a fever during the day and because the amniotic fluid had had some meconium in it). Chris took pictures and then before I knew it, they had placed my beautiful little boy on my chest and I got to hold him for the first time. It was pretty amazing. Dr. stitched me up and then things quieted down fairly quickly.

I got to nurse Nathaniel right there, and he latched on really well. Also while we were there, and after things quieted down we decided on his name. There had been two front runners (the other one we're keeping to ourselves in case we want to use it for another child), and we went with Nathaniel Dean Machado. Born on March 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm. Nathaniel weighed 8 lbs 3 oz, and was 20 inches long.

If you're still reading at this point, you either just love me a lot, or you really like hearing labor and delivery stories. Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read our story. Like I said, it was an incredible experience and one that I want to remember forever. I also found that when I was pregnant, I wanted to learn as much as I could about labor and delivery, so maybe this story will help some gal who feels the same, and she can read in lots of detail one version of childbirth.

I'm recovering well, and our little Nathaniel is such a sweet boy. He loves music, and whenever you sing to him while he's awake he'll get really still and turn and look at whoever is singing to him. Its adorable. We love him lots and are sooo glad he's here.

Lastly, as a bonus, here's another picture of our cute little guy with his momma. 

Mom and Dad sure love you, Nathaniel!
It's like he's saying, "Aww, Mom! Do you have to do that on camera?"
Yes. Yes, I do.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Bath time

This post should prolly come later because I haven't written anything since Nathaniel was born, but if I hold off, I'll just forget. So hopefully I'll have time to go back and write about his birth and such (it was amazing), but for now, here's some photos of Nathaniel Dean Machado (born March 30, 2013) having his very first bath at home.

Beginning of his bath. Just a little nervous.
Definitely not enjoying it now.

He loved this part at the end when we washed his hair.

But he didn't like getting all dried off.

Getting all dressed and warm (Daddy combed his hair).

All clean. He was such a trooper, even though he really didn't like it.
Chris and I are in heaven being with our little guy. He's a super content little kid, and he eats like a champ. When the lactation consultant at the hospital saw him latch on she said, "Wow, he's the poster child for latching on!" Also, not that we're biased or anything, but we pretty much think he's the most adorable baby on the planet. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Due date... no sign of baby yet.

The title of this post basically sums up what's been happening with baby. Today is baby's due date and it looks like he's just content to stay cozy and warm inside of momma for a while longer. He's still super high, and still moving around tons. I've been trying different methods that are supposed to either help him turn sunny-side down, or to help him drop (as long as the methods aren't too weird). Don't know if any of them will actually do anything, but I think it helps me psychologically to feel like I'm doing something. Physically I still feel quite excellent. Mentally and emotionally?... I'm running out of steam. Come soon baby!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Green food for St. Patty's

Yesterday, Chris woke up with his cold being worse, and decided to just go to Sacrament meeting. He came home afterward to get some rest while I stayed and taught the music in Primary. When I got home, Chris had surprised me with lunch, where pretty much everything was green! We had green biscuits, green eggs, green hash browns, and green milk. Super yummy, and very festive. He's the best.

Also, want to know what true love is? Painting your wife's toenails when she's 9 months pregnant. They're super cool looking too. See?
(btw, it's not easy to take a picture of your feet with
your laptop when you're 9 months pregnant)
Lastly, Saturday afternoon/evening was quite the adventure. I had 9 1/2 hours of Braxton Hicks that were only mildly painful, but almost all 2-5 minutes apart. They didn't go away despite drinking water and laying down, or walking around, but they didn't get more intense either. We figured I was in the early stages of labor, or my body was just getting a lot of practice. Turns out it was the latter. Little guy's still in there, and looks like I'll keep my doctor's appointment today.

Friday, March 15, 2013

No news is good news?

So I'm just over a week away from my due date (which is March 24th) and feel both ready and not ready for this baby to come. Not much new to report, except that he was still really high at my last doctor's appointment. Which I'm okay with. Chris and I are physically prepared for him to come (I think...) but mentally, I'm good if he bakes for a little longer. I'm really excited to meet him and hold him and smooch his baby cheeks and stuff, but I'm also still apprehensive about labor and delivery (is there any first time mom who isn't apprehensive about labor and delivery?). On top of that, I'm feeling pretty awesome physically which is a rarity amongst women at almost 39 weeks, so I'm counting my blessings and not super concerned if he doesn't come before his due date.

In related news, Braxton Hicks contractions are cool and weird at the same time. I've been having at least a few every day (usually when I haven't had enough water to drink) and it's got to be one of the strangest sensations.

Baby? Momma loves you, and you'll be here before I know it. :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pregnant Belly

I never knew that pregnant bellies were so itchy! But the bigger I get, the more I itch.

It's fascinating to me how much my body has changed during pregnancy. So many little things change that I never would have thought of. It's way more than just an expanding abdomen.

Fun and fascinating. (And itchy! ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts about children or the lack thereof...

It might seem odd for a woman who's getting close to 37 weeks pregnant to be thinking about infertility, but for some reason it was on my mind today.

I feel so lucky that we were able to conceive and that so far the pregnancy has gone so smoothly. I learned after getting married that sooo many more couples struggle with infertility than I had ever thought. Some of those struggles are fairly temporary, some are more lengthy, but I think all of them cause heartache.

Occasionally, you'll hear people say things like "Being blessed with this baby is evidence that God loves me." This is a true statement. All things we have are blessings from God. But unfortunately, it can be easy for a couple who wasn't blessed with a baby to think that because they're infertile, God must not love them as much. Let me say clearly: this is absolutely not true.

The Lord's timing is always calculated to bless us. He is our father, and he loves us perfectly to a degree beyond our ability to truly comprehend. He is watching over us, and knows the experiences and trials that will transform us into who we are supposed to come. Some of those trials can be very heartrending. But if we endure them well, God will turn them to our blessing.

Isaiah taught this truth very beautifully when he said:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound... To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; (Isaiah 61: 1,3 - emphasis added)
This is what Christ and his atonement do for us: turns our ashes into beauty. Notice by the way, that the people who were mourning were the residents of Zion. Even those who dwell in Zion (and maybe especially those who dwell in Zion) experience mourning and ashes and heaviness. Christ's atonement is as much for them in their trials and heartaches as it is for their sins and transgressions.

If you are struggling with painful trials, I would encourage you to turn to the Lord. Come unto Christ by seeking him through sincere prayer and study of his words. Your burdens won't always go away when you do this, but I do know that when we come unto Christ in the midst of our afflictions, he makes those burdens light so that we cannot "feel them upon [our] backs" (see Mosiah 24:9-15).

Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul? 
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One. 
He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end. 
Text: Emma Lou Thayne

Monday, February 25, 2013

Valentine's date, and other stuff.

So because Chris had class and I had to work on Valentine's Day, we decided we'd go on a Valentine's date on Monday.

Chris planned two special activities. First we went to Color Me Mine. It's a super fun place where you pick out a pre-made ceramic piece, paint it, and then come back a few days later to pick it up after it's been fired. Chris and I painted cereal bowls, and I have to say, Chris's is pretty epic. Check 'em out.

Chris's on the left, mine on the right.

A closer look at Chris's. Isn't it awesome?

... and the other side. Truly a "cereal" bowl, don't ya think?
It was super fun. It's a really great date activity in my book, because you can do lots of talking while you paint, and it's really fun to create things together.

After that, we went to dinner at Pizzeria 712. Oh man, if you live in the area, you should save up for a fancy meal and eat there. It. is. sooooooooo. good! I could eat their short rib and polenta every day of my whole life. Even just the pita and hummus is epic, and the pizza... well it's just all around a fantastic place to eat. It's a little more spendy than say, a Texas Road House, or Applebee's kind of place, but because it's Utah County, it's not too crazy. I have a feeling that if they were in New York or somewhere trendy they could charge twice what they do in Orem. And it is seriously amazing food. 

In other news, I'm now at 36 weeks. It still seems unreal to me that in just 4 weeks, (give or take) I'll have a baby. A real one. He will be ours to hold and love and feed and change and cuddle and smooch and everything else beautiful and hard that comes with a child. I cognitively understand that it's going to happen, but it still often seems so unreal.

And in other news, we bought a stroller! We did some researching and decided we liked the kind my brother and sister-in-law have. It's a universal car seat holding stroller. I'd done some looking around and the cheapest we've seen it is for $60, but on Saturday, Chris and I went to Burlington, and they had it on sale for $40. Woot! We snatched it right up. Here it is with our car seat attached.

I feel like baby is still going to be baking for a few more weeks, but if he did come tomorrow, I think we'd be ready for him.

Update: I just got back from my 36 week check-up today. Dr. said I'm dilated to a 1!!! (which doesn't mean a whole lot, I could go around for the next several weeks and have it not change at all, but still. I'm so excited!) She said baby's still high, and I'm not having anything close to regular contractions (in fact I'm barely having contractions at all), but this is a sure sign that my body is gearing up to get this baby here. Whew! What a thrill!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today in Primary...

There's a story from Elder Bednar's life about the insights that the Holy Ghost gives to children. It goes like this:
[Elder Bednar] remembers a time in 1987 when he was the bishop in Fayetteville, Arkansas. “I went into Primary one Sunday,” he says. “They had invited me. I decided to wear red suspenders. I thought that I would somehow use them as an object lesson. So I got in the Primary room, took off my coat, and said, ‘Now, boys and girls, the bishop has these red suspenders. How are the scriptures like my red suspenders?’ And one little boy raised his hand and said, ‘The scriptures hold up our faith in Jesus the same way your suspenders hold up your pants.’ I said, ‘That is exactly right.’” (click here for the source)
I get to work with the Primary children (the kids ages 3-11) every Sunday. I teach them music. This month we're learning a song about how the beautiful things in the world are evidence that Heavenly Father loves us. I thought it might be nice to have a picture that goes with each line of the song and went onto to find some. The very last line of the song is, "Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me," and I couldn't find a good picture of Heavenly Father, but I thought that I'd use this painting of Jesus Christ blessing the children.

I thought that it would still work nicely because even though we know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings, we also know that Christ taught that he and the Father are one. I thought this might be a good thing to discuss with the children today.

Holding up the picture, I asked them, "Is this a picture of Heavenly Father?" They responded that it was not. I then asked, "So how does this picture work with the line 'Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me'?" One of the eleven-year-old girls raised her hand and said in essence, "Because Heavenly Father loves us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to die for us."

Wow. I hadn't thought of that. I was so struck by the simplicity and truth of her answer. It was completely different than the one I had come up with, but I like it so much better. I love learning from these children. They are full of the light of Christ. They have an amazing capacity to know spiritual truths. I hope I never underestimate them.

P.S. Baby update: Chris and I attended a prenatal class on Saturday. It was fun and informative. And... I'm getting cankles. Oh joy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Red Food Surprise

Yesterday I woke up to two Valentine's Day surprises. A trail of hershey kisses leading to some beautiful red gerber daisies (gerber daisies are my favorite flower), and both breakfast and a sack lunch full of yummy red and pink foods.

For breakfast, Chris made:
-pink pancakes
-pink omelets with red peppers and mushrooms in them
-pink milk (it was magic. when the milk went into the glass it was white, but once it was in the cup it was pink!)

For lunch, he gave me:
-pasta with red spaghetti sauce
-pink yogurt
-red jello
-a red apple
-a red fruit roll-up (complete with tongue tattoos!)
-a handful of red hershey kisses.

It was so yummy, and I just sat there all happy and giggly as I ate it all.

See my flowers? Love 'em.

Is it any wonder that I'm in love?

P.S. I'm 35 weeks tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Teaching Piano

Last July I got a job teaching group piano for the Art City Music and Dance Academy. It's a Springville based company that does an incredible job at teaching music. Their group curriculum is incredibly comprehensive. It teaches basic piano skills, music theory, solfege, sight reading, singing, dictation, etc. etc. etc. I was so excited to teach this curriculum when I got hired, because honestly, I've never seen anything of this caliber for children as young as 4 1/2.

I finished my first semester teaching with ACMA a couple weeks ago, and the new semester has begun. But this semester, there's a bit of a twist. ACMA also has a phenomenal private program (particularly their private piano program), and because of scheduling, I got asked to teach one student private lessons in between two of my classes. I am really excited!

I'm starting today, and am just a teensy bit nervous, but I've already met the student and she is darling. I've been trained in how to teach their private program, and I love all of the focus on technique that comes with the private program. It's the thing that I feel I missed out on the most in my own path to learning piano, and so I'm really glad for this opportunity to improve my technique and teach it at the same time.

And, on top of all this, I see myself teaching private piano from home once I no longer work at ACMA (like after Chris graduates), and what a great experience to have worked in such high caliber group and private piano programs. Just the experience alone that I have been gaining and will gain through this job will be such a blessing in the future. It will make me a better teacher. No question about it.

P.S. Bonus picture of me. I'm 33 weeks along. (We're in to the home stretch, Ladies and Gentlemen!)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy dance!

I'm so excited! Our little boy has a place to sleep!
Isn't it darling?

I just love the little giraffe. So sweet!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some tender mercies

One of my favorite general conference talks (I have like 80), is this one on the tender mercies of the Lord by Elder David A. Bednar.

Here are some tender mercies from my recent past.

  • On a week when the children in church were having a really hard time focusing and being reverent, one of the 4-year-olds got up and said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to help them be reverent. I was reminded of the love God has for little children, and of my need to pray with all my heart, just like this little girl had done.
  • A few weeks ago, I was having mildly painful heartburn and couldn't sleep. I was feeling discouraged that night (can't remember why... probably just pregnancy hormones) and got up and checked my e-mail. I no sooner opened my computer when my brother sent me a chat message. We had a lovely conversation about lots of things, and it was exactly the thing I needed to lift my spirits.
  • Today, I was feeling discouraged again, (what can I say, I'm an emotional pregnant woman ;) and needed a pick-me-up. Who should call me but my dad? He was just calling to ask a question about something and our conversation wasn't long, but boy, it was such sweet evidence that I am known of the Lord. Heavenly Father knew I needed a little extra love and so in his miraculous way, my father somehow called me right when I needed it.
I know that you too are known of the Lord. He knows you and he knows your needs. He loves you and wants to bless you. Why? because you are his child. Pay attention, and you too may see some tender mercies that you dearly need.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vintage fun

I was playing around with my hair and makeup today and this is what I came up with.

Just a bit of silliness really. But it sure is fun to feel pretty and feminine. (Yay vintage!)

And on a sort of related note:
"The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano... Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it." 
-President Uchtdorf

So today, my space to beautify was my face.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Niece and Nephew

These two:

They kill me. We spent Christmas with my side of the family which means that we got to see my brother and sister-in-law and their two kids (the ones in the photo). Aren't they just so stinkin cute you're gonna die?

My niece is such a sweetie. She's two. When you hold her, if she wants to get down she'll just turn to you and in her tiny, sweet, little voice say, "Down?" No squirming, no screaming, just, "Down?" As if to say, "well, I really would like for you to stop holding me so I can run off and do my own thing, but if that's not convenient for you, then I'm good." Love it!

My nephew is only 2 months old. He's the gruntiest baby I have ever met. It is soooo cute! In that whole week we spent with them there, I think I heard him actually cry only once. Other than that, if he needs something, he just starts grunting away and doing those little baby squirms and stretches. I loved holding him and would keep turning to Chris and saying, "In a few months, we'll have one of these!" (*happy sigh*)

Here's me and my brother making grunty faces with Ted:

See? Isn't he just adorable?

Monday, January 7, 2013

My own Mortality

Saturday, Chris and I were standing in line somewhere and he suddenly reaches over and starts poking around in my hair. I thought I must have had a fuzzy in it or something and he was just pulling it out.


Chris found my first gray hair. What?

At first I was like, "Whoa! that's soo cool! I've never had a gray hair before." I've always thought gray hair was dignified, and regal. Not that I have any problem with people dyeing away their grays, I just like the thought of one day having a full head of gray hair.

But then I started feeling all contemplate-y. I'm only 23, and as recently as a year ago, I was mistaken for a 14 year-old because I look so young for my age. Never in my life have I experienced a sign of growing old before. My whole life I've essentially only grown in strength, height, weight, mental ability, stamina, etc. This is the first time that I've seen evidence of my mortality, evidence that my body is going to wear out and die. Sure, that likely won't happen for at least another 50 years, but what an odd sensation it was to encounter that evidence for the first time.

Merrill J Bateman gave an address where he talked about growing old. He said:
The aches and pains of later life teach humility, the meaning of long-suffering, the importance of patience, and an appreciation for the qualities of kindness and love, and they help one learn moderation in all things. It’s interesting. These are the divine attributes. For the faithful, the slow deterioration of the body serves as a refining instrument for the spirit. (emphasis added)
I love that view of growing old. The aging process is not something to be feared (contrary to what the world tells us). The aging process is a gift from God. It is a "refining instrument for the spirit." What a hopeful view of the future. Growing old teaches us divine attributes and helps mold us into becoming more like God, our Father.

For me, that aging process is still quite a ways out there, but I've taken a first step. Chris already has a gray-haired lady for a wife. We're growing old together.

What an exciting thought!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pregnancy/Baby update

I'm officially to the 3rd Trimester. Woot, woot! A few updates/thoughts on this pregnancy:

  • I had a RhoGam shot this week. I'm rh negative and Chris is rh positive, so that means I'll get a shot with every pregnancy. It was a hip shot and the first shot I think I've ever had that wasn't in my arm (apart from when I was a baby, of course). Not a big deal to get, but super important in the long run.
  • I failed my one-hour diabetes test and got to take the three-hour version yesterday. It was kind of an adventure, and now I have a sweet bruise on my right arm where the blood draw went a little wonky (the other four were no problem, so my left arm looks fine :). Don't know the results yet, but I know gestational diabetes runs in the family, although my mom didn't have it with any of us kids, so it could go either way really. Anyone know, what do they do for treatment? Is it a watch-what-you-eat kind of thing, or do you have to take insulin or something?
  • Baby boy is still a mover and a shaker. Last week I started to be able to feel him poking into my belly. I just felt my tummy one day and went "Whoa. Right here it's hard and not squishy, but over here it feels normal." Totally made my day. 
  • My belly is getting bigger, but I'm still sleeping fine and have only slowed down a little. Really, I have been Hugely blessed during this pregnancy because overall I have felt fan-tas-tic. I know many women don't feel good during pregnancy, (my mother was one of them) and so I thank the Lord that I have been blessed this way, and pray that He will comfort every mother who doesn't feel good. You go, Mommas!
  • Our friends and family have been so generous. We've been given lots of baby things, especially clothes. I think this kid has more clothes than he can wear up through the 3 month mark. We've also gotten a bouncy seat, a car seat, dressers, loads of diapers, baby shampoo, lotion, board books, baby toys, etc., etc. Thank you to all who have given so lovingly and graciously. It means so much to us!
29 weeks down, 11 to go!