Filled to over flowing

Early in 2017 I discovered that I was once again expecting a baby. I was really excited about this one and felt prepared although when I took the test and saw those two lines that meant positive the excitement pretty quickly dissipated as the reality of the months of morning sickness and the difficulty of the pregnancy that lay before me became real.

We decided that since we had one of each already we would not find out the gender and would let it be a surprise. I felt confident it was a boy; the last little boy from the dream that I had a few years before. Joseph also felt like it was a boy. But when we told the kids they were adamant it was a girl. Preston insisted it was a “Vienna baby.” Here is their reaction.

Joseph had started a Masters program at UVU so he was extra busy with classes and work. We also brought Joseph’s mother out to visit and we took a trip to Nauvoo and to all the church history sites along the way. Toward the end of the summer we took a trip to California to the beach. The kids thought they were in heaven and we got some cute pictures.

Finally at the end of October after several false starts and thinking that we were actually going to get our baby, our Sweet Johannah Rose was born. On the way to the hospital Joseph and I decided that we had better talk about possible girl names on the off chance that it was a girl. So her name wasn’t decided on until the very last second.

2018

We had been preparing for a long time for Joseph to get U.S. Citizenship. I taught the kids the pledge of Allegiance so that they could say it along with their dad. Here is their version of it.

Finally in July the paper work came through and we went for the naturalization ceremony. Joseph’s mother came again and was here for the occasion. And several good friends and family came for it as well.

 

It was about this time that I started to experience some symptoms that caused some concern for me. I kept feeling sick to my stomach. My first thought was that I was pregnant so I was relieved when the test came back negative. However the sickness continued for weeks and after awhile it was accompanied by extreme exhaustion and some minor heartburn.

I took another pregnancy test feeling pretty sure I knew what the results would be. But even then I wasn’t prepared to see those two lines that meant our life was about to change once again. It was all so fast!

I went that same day to see the doctor to get something to help with the nausea and vomiting. He did an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and to discover how far along I was since I had no way of knowing. When the screen came up I saw the usual little bubble that meant a baby was truly on the way but it didn’t look quite right to me and I couldn’t tell just where the baby was. The doctor as well seemed a little taken a back and paused for just a second before he began looking closer at the little smudges and blobs on the screen. 51193491_1214037798759111_904266447474130944_n

He turned off the machine and I half feared he had bad news for us. Well, he said you are definitely pregnant and its too early to say too much… but it looks to me like there are two babies. Joseph just started laughing and I was stunned. TWINS!

It turns out I was already almost 8 weeks along so we only had 4 more to wait until we could confirm that it was in fact twins. I was happy and overwhelmed, and nervous and excited all at the same time. The 12 week scan confirmed two healthy babies.

8 more weeks went by and we went for the 20 week anatomy scan. All was well and it turns out we had two little brothers for Preston on the way.

Today, as I sit here looking back at my life less than six years ago. And the contrast to where I am now it is unbelievable that so much has happened and that my life has changed so much. I look back on the loneliness, the longing I felt to have a family and I remember the image I saw of myself at the vending machine hopelessly putting in my dollars and waiting to no avail. Now it seems that all those treats came tumbling out at once and my arms are full to over flowing.

I look back at the dream I had of my children and I see their faces before me. I hold them in my arms and marvel that they are here and I am living this reality. I feel blessed beyond measure and I know that the names we have chosen for our babies couldn’t be more perfect.

In the next 5 to 9 weeks. Jaiden Scott Ssempala (whose name means God has heard) and Jarom Ivan Ssempala (whose name means Prosperity) will be joining our family. I would love to invite you to share this journey with us as we prepare for their arrival and for the craziness that is sure to follow.

 

Living the American Dream

2015

In April we moved from our little apartment in Spanish Fork to a three bedroom apartment in Lehi. It was a much needed upgrade and was a perfect fit for our growing family. In May I finally finished my degree and graduated from UVU with a bachelors of science in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations. I walked with a huge pregnant belly less than 10 weeks before my daughter was born.

Vienna Joy made her appearance into this world on July 14th narrowly missing her dads birthday. The Joy that she brought to all of our lives is incomprehensible. She was a much needed addition to our family and her enthusiasm for life is often hilarious to watch. She is vibrant and strong willed and everything I hoped my daughter to be. Her birth story is here.

https://acowintheocean.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/birth-of-vienna-joy/

Later that summer Joseph and I decided to start our own company building websites and custom software. Ssemco Technologies was born that summer.

In October Joseph got a job with Oracle. It was our first real Job with benefits, health insurance and an income that we could actually live on.

In December we bought a van and finally had a second vehicle. I became a mini van driving mom of two.

2016

Joseph was attending classes at UVU early in the morning and one morning as he was driving to work in a heavy snowstorm he lost control of the vehicle and it spun out leaving him facing oncoming traffic on I-15. He was in the emergency lane and called the police to help him get turned back around and back our into traffic. The officer arrived and told Joseph to stay in his car and wait for him to stop traffic and give the signal to pull back out onto the road. While he was waiting he looked up just in time to see a truck barreling toward him head on. His life flashed before his eyes and just in time the drive swerved enough to hit the passenger side of the front of the car before careening on to hit the police officer and two other vehicles before coming to a stop. Miraculously Joseph was fine

I woke up that morning to a message on my phone telling me he had been in a car accident, but was fine but the car had been totaled. We were back to being a one car family after less than two months.

Later that spring Joseph graduated with a bachelors of science in Computer Science. I was so proud of how hard he had worked and how well he had done. And mostly I was just glad that he WAS done.

We had been planning to buy a home and our timeline was for the following spring. But because I am the kind of person that cant help myself I was looking at all the homes for sale long before we were actually ready. I wanted to know what the market was like and what was available in our price range and if there was anything that had everything on our wish list. In late May the perfect house come up for sale. It had everything on our list was less than three miles from Oracle, and was exactly in our price range. I looked longingly at the listing and then moved on since our plan was to continue to save for a down payment until the following spring.

Every day I checked the listing knowing there was no way that it would still be available in another year and then one day it was gone. I was devastated. That was our house! I knew it the second it was gone. I felt like I had missed out on our destiny. A couple of weeks later though it was back and the sale had fallen through. I showed it to Joseph and he liked it as much as I did and we decided it wouldn’t hurt to at least look. We called our realtor who took us to see it and we put an offer on it. One month later Joseph was sgning the last of the paper work and I took the keys to our knew home and went right to work painting so that we could move in that weekend. We were officially home owners living the American Dream with two children (A boy and a girl) a mini van and our very own home.

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A Letter To My One Year Old

Dearest Preston,

I just finished rocking you to sleep, kissed your baby lips and put you in your crib. Every night as I rock you I whisper to you “Do you know how much joy you bring to me?” every night you smile back at me as though somehow you do. I never could have imagined how wonderful being a mother truly is. I am so glad you came to bless our family!11200872_10152831746185658_8445851444419131524_n

I want you to have my memories from your first year so here is a quick summary. When you started to speak you really started with several words all at the same time so I don’t recall which was actually your very first. But the one you used the most was probably “More” which just means food to you. You say it when you are hungry. Just today you took Aunt Hannah by the hand pulled her to the kitchen stood in front of the fridge and kept repeating more more until she gave you something to eat. Sometimes you drive us a little crazy with this one!

Another word you love to say is Daddy. The first time you said it you were about 7 or 8 months old. Joseph walked in the door from work and you looked up said Daddy and crawled straight to him. He had the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen. You have a special relationship with your Daddy and its obvious you think he can do just about anything. You sing his name over and over when he isn’t around and you almost always greet him enthusiastically when he comes home from work. Another word was Aunt Hannah, or as you say it “A nana.” IMG_0114

The first time you said Mama I was in the bathroom you crawled to the door and started scratching at the door and calling for me. That was the quickest shower I ever took as I was so excited to get out and hold you.

After that you said door, love you, thanks, Chloe, Esther, and Yeah. You say yeah all the time and you know what it means and use it accordingly. You also have said no a few times.

You love to laugh and will often laugh for no reason, you hold your hand over your mouth and bring your shoulders up and giggle, you love people and anyone who will give you attention and play with you. You love being outside and beg for me to take you out every day. You stand on your toes by the door and reach for the handle and plead with me until I have no choice but to take you. Your feet are always crossed. I don’t know why but ever since you were a baby your feet are always crossed, when you are sitting or laying down. It’s really cute. You have the most beautiful silver eyes and loads of soft curly hair. You have 4 teeth now and you like to use them to bite me. I haven’t been able to convince you that it’s not a good idea and that it hurts. You also like to pull my hair, although when you do I pull yours back a little to show you that it doesn’t feel good. You expression is always priceless! 11208649_10152831746290658_1848389675077023274_n

You are very sensitive to people’s moods and you try to make everyone around you smile and be happy. When you see someone sad you will go to them and try your best to make them smile by being silly or goofy. Everyone loves you and you are the light of my life. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel utterly overwhelmed with my love for you. YOu know your little sister is coming and you are clinging to me a little more than usual because of it, or maybe its me clinging to you, who really knows. But this time in your life has been so special to me. This time that you have spent together just you and I has been sweeter than words can express. 11168562_10152831745960658_6707997776141320493_n

I am so excited to see how another baby will change our lives and our relationship, because I know that she will. It may be hard to adjust to having another baby to care for, and it may be hard on you to grow up just a little faster as I do take care of her but one thing that you have taught me about babies is that the joy far out weighs the challenges. So, my sweet boy, as we head out on this new adventure know that your mommy has loved every moment of this year with you and is so looking forward to many more to come! I love you my Preston!

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The New Me!

When my husband was serving his mission in South Africa, Dr. Hartman from the Color Code came and gave each of the missionaries the color code test. He then talked to them about the colors that they were and how they had developed either strengths from those colors or weaknesses.

One day as we were discussing this together and talking about our various colors and how we exhibit them in our lives,  I realized that he saw me quite differently than I saw myself. It made me wonder if he actually knew me!

As we talked we both had a bit of an aha moment. Even though my husband had in the last year, married, moved away from his home country of Uganda and come to the US. become a father, started a new job and began attending University here I had actually under gone more changes in terms of identity and life style than he had.

He still was doing all those things that he loved and that made him who he was. He was learning, he was interacting with others on a daily basis, he was working to provide in a career that he loved and was passionate about and he was leading out in our family.

On the other hand, I had gone from having a fulfilling career to being a stay at home mom. I used to put on my heels and get ready for the day and go to the office where I was interacting with others, making decisions that affected a multi million dollar company, facilitating meetings, and managing a team etc. I made and spent my own money, I had time for friends, hobbies and relaxation. I played the piano, was writing a book, and directing musical programs. I was traveling the world, trying new things and having adventures.

Now I stay home. My husband takes the car and is gone all day and I stay home with our adorable baby. I rarely talk to anyone throughout the day. I often don’t even bother to get dressed properly because on a cold day we may not even leave our two bedroom apartment. I make decisions like should I do the dishes first or the laundry? I am completely dependent on my husband for all my needs. I have a few precious hours when my baby is sleeping that I can choose to either clean the house, cook, take a nap myself, or do something just for me. I usually choose to cook or clean because that is something that has to happen. Basically NOTHING in my life is the same. I often feel dull, old, fat, ugly and dumb. It’s no wonder then that I felt like my husband saw me that way. It’s because I actually saw myself that way. And its also no wonder that my husband felt like the woman he had fallen in love with had disappeared and left a knew one in her place.

As we talked my wonderful husband realized how devastating it can be to so completely lose your identity. He knew from the changes that he had experienced that it can be really hard so he could see how hard it had been for me. “It’s no wonder you have been so unhappy” he told me. “We need to do something to change that.”

We then talked about possible options of ways that we could bring back the girl that he had fallen in love with.

It’s funny because I had always heard women who choose to stay home with their children talk about feeling as though they had lost their identity. I thought I understood that and yet this was a huge awakening moment to me to realize that I was experiencing this.

10411160_1614386682115634_183894752115933670_n-1Now I have to say. I LOVE staying at home with my baby. It has been a dream come true. But that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly hard and that it doesn’t require some sacrifice and hard work. But I need to find a balance. As part of that we have decided that I would write more. I will explore new experiences and ideas associated with being a mother and I will find ways of bringing out the woman that I was in new ways. So you might say that the old me is back, but thats not at all true. The new me is coming and I am excited to share my journey with you on this blog!

Life is Hard; But Thats Not Why I’m Crying

I haven’t written in a while. I feel a little overwhelmed with my life at the moment. But there is so much that I want to say today that I just hope I can find the words to say it adequately.

When I was single I wrote more than one post about how hard it is to be single; how hard it is to feel like you have some how come to a dead end and don’t know what to do to change it. I wrote about feeling hopeless in my desire for children and family. I wrote about how lonely it feels to go to bed by myself every night, to go to church alone every Sunday. And it was hard, it was terribly hard and it was a burden I could never have carried on my own.

Last night as I put Preston down for the night I felt such relief to know that it would be hours before he would need me again. I closed his door so softly so that I wouldn’t wake him because  I didn’t feel like I could handle his squirming, crying, needyness one more minute. And then I sighed and went to bed. As I crawled in next to my husband too tired to even turn over and give him a proper goodnight, I pushed that body pillow between my legs to ease my aching hips and propped my ever growing pregnant belly on top so that it wouldn’t strain my back. I felt my husband’s warm body next to me and when he rubbed my feet with his and whispered goodnight, I just wanted to cry because I have so much and yet life is still hard.

I woke in the middle of the night because the pain in my throat and my ears was becoming too much to sleep through. Preston and I have both been sick with a bad cold, cough, fever and just feeling pretty plain miserable. I took a sip of water from the glass that Joseph always makes sure is on the nightstand next to my bed and I tried to sleep. It wasn’t long before Joseph started to stir. I didn’t feel like I could handle another day so soon. “We need to get going” he told me. we had a big day planned. “I know” I said although I couldn’t make it come out more than a whisper because my voice was so raspy. “I feel terrible” I com10417689_1577899402431029_5100755972080308831_nplained. Joseph leaned over and gently pushed the hair off my forehead. “Do you want to just rest this morning? I can go to work and come home early so that we can still get everything done that we have to do today” he told me. I gladly agreed and layed back down. He kissed me gently, not even worried about catching my germs and then left to go to one of his two jobs that he works so hard at to support us.

It was 9am when Preston woke up, I was glad he had let me sleep so long. We cuddled in bed and gazed in each others eyes for awhile before he insisted it was time for breakfast. I was preoccupied with something else and Preston was trying hard to get my attention. He was leaning forward in his highchair, a huge smile on his food covered face. He was giggling at nothing just to get me to look at him. I couldn’t help but smile back and that smile was followed by a flood of tears. Partially because I am pregnant and tears flow all too easily these days but also because I HAVE EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED. And life is still hard. Joseph and I have disagreements sometimes and I am here to tell you that the more you love someone the more mad you get at them. I am pregnant with another special blessing that I know will bring as much joy as Preston has. But between the intense morning sickness, and blinding headaches I haven’t really enjoyed this pregnancy much.

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Don’t worry those spots all over him are just lipstick kisses!

I don’t know wether this post is about complaining or about feeling blessed because I feel overwhelmed with both right now. All I know is that all morning I have felt like my old self, the one that ached after years and years of wondering if this time of life would ever come for me, has been looking over my shoulder smiling at all the things that I am enjoying and not enjoying so much about this time and she is pleased beyond words.

I am so lucky to have found someone that I love so deeply and intensely and who feels the same way about me. I am so lucky that two amazing spirits have chosen ME to be their mother! I get to be a stay at home mom. That doesn’t happen without a husband who is willing to work twice as hard and sacrifice to get by with less. I have laundry up to my eyeballs and dirty dishes enough to keep me occupied all day. And I have a silly giggling boy who inspite of being sick himself gently caresses my check and showers me with wet, (we hope its just slobbery) kisses.

Yes life is hard, incredibly so. But its so good that sometimes the only way to soak it all in is to just allow the tears to flow.

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Baby Culture: Is There a Double Standard

I’ve decided that babies have a culture all their own. Its like they live in a totally different world. In their world its perfectly acceptable to sleep till noon, poop your pants, throw up on people and never even say sorry. In fact sometimes they do it and LAUGH! Can you imagine the audacity? I mean there is a serious double standard for babies in the world. As my sister and I were discussing this the other day we decided to try an experiment. We decided to talk to people…grown up people I mean… in the same way that most grown ups talk to babies.

Mother enters the room from upstairs.

Me: watcha doing whitto muddo, huh…huh tell me all about it. yeah

Mother: What?

Me: Did you have a bath? Huh been splashing and splashing.

Mother: Whats wrong with you.

but I can’t talk because Hannah is laughing so hard and I am about to bust a gut myself.

So we got thinking what if there wasn’t a double standard

Would we meet a stranger for the first time and instead of shaking their hand you pick it up and start to suck on their fingers! How weird would that be?

Would you see someone you like and run to them and hang on their leg and stick your head in their crotch? Awkward right?

It’s funny that we don’t bat an eye when kids do things but if adults did them its weird.

What if adults let their noses run all down their face… (ok wait I have actually seen some adults who do this and it is so NOT cool)

what if adults laid in bed and cried when we got hungry until someone came to feed us. And lets not even talk about how babies get their food.

I was at a friends house last night and their two year old was entertaining himself by running around the couch. It’s not weird until you think about an adult doing it right?

Preston's first photo bomb

Preston’s first photo bomb

I can tell you its been awhile since someone told me the rolls on MY thighs were cute.

I was playing with Preston the other day and I told him I was going to eat his toes and then I actually did put them in my mouth and make noises like I was gobbling them up…could you imagine…ugh. But baby toes just aren’t gross. why is that? 10564793_10154365362515344_1384080184_n

Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating for a change. Its quite obviously a double standard that SHOULD be there. But we did have a good laugh imagining a life where it wasn’t. The many faces of Preston

I’m a Mom! Preston turned 6 weeks old yesterday and I am still wrapping my head around the fact that I am a mom. This isn’t just a temporary experience that will one day go away this is the real deal. The truth is that I have mixed emotions about that.

As I have seen so many others have babies i mostly saw just the good parts. The blissful mother sitting quietly rocking her sleeping baby wrapped sweetly in a blanket. My experience has been a bit different or at least there were things about being a mom that I never saw with other people.

I never saw…

how sometimes you don’t realize until the end of the day that you never combed your hair. And then when you do realize it you also realize that you really don’t care.

how many times I would find myself racing to the bathroom because since the birth I literally have seconds before its too late; and I never knew how many times I would have a nursing baby in my arms at the same time because he would scream if I tried to put him down.

those moments at 3 am when the baby hasn’t slept all night and just won’t stop screaming and you feel like challenging him to a match to see who can cry harder.

I never knew the “joy” of nursing a baby while milk from the other side drips down your belly and onto your baby.

But there was no way that anyone could have prepared me for the feeling that I would get when my finally satisfied baby looked up at me with milk dripping from his chin, opened one eye and grinned.

I couldn’t have foreseen how much joy I would get from hearing him finally poop after it has been a few days and I am worried.

And nothing compares with laying in the bath tub with my baby laying next to me, his arms and legs wrapped around me like a little monkey and his little face propped up so that I can see his wide open eyes, his fat chin and pink lips propped up on my chest looking as content and happy as I have ever seen him.10564793_10154365362515344_1384080184_n

I lay awake at night marveling at the tiny pink balls that are the undersides of his perfect little toes, the tiny dimples on his little manly hands and his funny elf shaped ears.

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His one little curl that WILL stand up in the center of his head and the little muscles of his arms make me just want to squeeze him.

He loves to cuddle and he sighs in contentment when I am close to him. Its so amazing to know that he loves me so completely and that I am the one he wants above all others. I never new I would sit and cry just because I don’t know what else to do with all the love I feel.

It scares me a little to love someone so much. Especially someone so vulnerable. Before I had a baby, I was never really afraid of much because the worst thing that could happen was that I would die… and that didn’t seem so horrible. Now there are dozens of worse things that could happen and all of them make my blood run cold with fear.

What if he gets sick and I don’t know how to make him feel better?

What if He gets hurt? I could get in a car accident, I could drop him, he could fall off the bed, he could choke, he could just stop breathing in the night for no reason, he could have any number of complications that would be outside of my control and the thought is horrifying. Nothing is worse than the thought of losing my baby or of seeing him suffer.

I have always heard stories of soldiers laying dying and calling for their mothers with their last breaths. Now I have a little son and suddenly that becomes the most heart breaking thing I have ever heard. I pray every day with all of my heart that the Lord keeps my little one safe. 10551783_10154365363500344_372717421_n

Grandma is worried about how empty the house is going to feel when this little one goes home.

And I am worried about what I am going to do without all the help taking care of him.

Being a mother is scary, difficult, exhausting, wonderful exhilarating, fulfilling and indescribable…

So I guess I better stop trying. Besides I think I hear him stirring…

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Yep! I’m A Mom. You Can Tell From The Stale Milk On My Shoulder