Sunday, October 15, 2017

Moments of Gratitude

2, 102, 400 minutes. That is how many minutes are in 4 years. That is how many minutes that I have been grateful for the additional time with my dad.

Four years ago today we gave him over to our Father in Heaven, letting His will be done. I will always always ALWAYS be grateful that He spared my dad, but even if He didn't, I would still be grateful. Because just as God has kept healing my heart since that time WITHOUT taking away my dad's life, I know God would keep healing my heart if He had.

My sister and I were talking the other day about how this experience changed us. Our different filters of perspective pushed us to deal with this experience in different ways. I was affected in my return missionary-finishing college way. Kelsey was experiencing it as a missionary-on-the-other-side-of-the-world way. Devin was experiencing it as guy-with-a-job-and-family way. Brittni as a mom-and-pregnant-with-another way. Jamiin as a mother-who-is-healing way. And my Mom...his wife...in a -watching-her-sweetheart-and-protector-struggle way. We all experienced different things, but we were all bound by one thing: love and trust in the Savior.

4 years have gone by and all of us have continued to live our lives. If someone told me during this trial that I would one day move across the country with my family I wouldn't have believed it. How could I ever let go of being with my dad? How could I ever not be nearby if he ever took a turn for the worse? Through the enabling power of the Atonement, Christ healed my heart, took my hand and truly enabled me to walk forward to where I needed to be.

As I look back on all that we have passed through in these 4 years, I am just overwhelmingly filled with gratitude. God is so good, and I just wanted to share. :)

We love all of you and are grateful for helping us along this journey.

Love,
Aubs

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

There's no place like home

Hi all. We apologize for the delay in updates. Thanks for being patient with us. Y'all get the privilege of reading some words from Mama Baer today:

We got the final and specific diagnosis for Mike: Acute bacterial pneumonia. This means that he is still in the thick of it. Pun intended. Then came the good news. We were able to bring Mike home yesterday evening so he could receive his care in a place away from all of the sicknesses that you find in the hospital. We have all of the equipment and care necessary to take care of him as he heals. The past few hours have been wonderful...it has been perfect and quiet being able to deal with this in our own home.
Because Mike is battling this infection, we ask that we keep visits to a minimum, especially if you or someone you've been in contact with has been ill. Mike needs a lot of rest, but we want all of you to know that we are so grateful for the prayers offered in our behalf. We know that the Lord took such good care of us, as is evidenced by us being able to return home.
Please feel free to text Mike and I, we appreciate your thoughts and your love!

Lori

So that's the latest y'all! Payton and I are happy to be here and visiting grandpa at home and NOT in the hospital. (but seriously you guys....such a blessing!) We love you all and will keep you updated if anything changes.

Com amor,
Aubrey

Monday, February 6, 2017

Anyone? Anyone?

You know the scene from Ferris Bueller's day off when the economics teacher asks like a billion questions and goes "anyone? anyone" after each one and it shows a bunch of students just staring at him with their mouths open?

That pretty much sums up our family's experience with my dad's health. The current update is this: the doctors just aren't sure what is going on. They know he has a mass of some sort in his lung, but they aren't convinced it is pneumonia. They are calling it that for the sake of calling it something. They are running more tests today to try and decipher what it really is. In the mean time, they do know that his white blood cell count has gone up since he has been there so we know there is an infection SOMEWHERE.

But it is like...does anyone know what is actually going on? Anyone? Anyone?

In other news,  Payton and I will be flying out to Utah tomorrow to help out my mom. We gotta get that poor lady some sleep!

Thanks for praying for us.  Keem 'em coming!


Aubrey

Sunday, February 5, 2017

What a wild coincidence!

So it has been three years (and two days) since Papa Baer came home from the hospital. In these three years Papa has never been admitted into the hospital even once...until tonight. The past couple of days have been a bit of a rollercoaster, but because we now know what is going on we felt that now is the time to share.

Papa has pneumonia. We took him to get checked out yesterday and unfortunately they weren't able to discover anything. (story of our lives though, AMIRIGHT!?) Today he presented even more symptoms of something and we brought him back to the UVRMC ER. They did some lab tests and some x-rays where they discovered that his right lung has pneumonia. That is all we know for now. We don't know if it has passed into his blood, how long he will be in the hospital or much of anything else at this point. Heck we don't even have his room number yet. (SORRY!) 

But there ya have it. He is good and being taking care of. Mom is there with him. Please send some prayers our way....Papa's health has a way of going from totally fine to totally not fine pretty suddenly. 

Oh and he hopes that pats win the Super Bowl.

Com amor,

The Baers

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Lifelong Battle with Body Shaming

This was a final paper I wrote for one of my classes. Our assignment was to discuss a trial we have been affected by in our childhood. This is a very pesonal experience for me and sharing it is part of my healing! 

“We can’t be friends with you because you don’t have eyelashes.” Alone on the steps to the playground my eight year old heart was shattered. As a natural born redhead I was blessed with almost translucent skin, blue eyes and aside from my auburn locks the rest of the hair on my body was all but invisible. I went home that day and cried to my mother, begging her to do something about my unfortunate phenotypic circumstance. We went to Walmart, bought brown mascara and spent the rest of the evening practicing applying it. The following day I went to school with visible eyelashes and regained my place among my “friends”. How despairing it is that at 8 years old human beings are already able to place value on a person based on their physical appearance. At eight years of age my value was dependent on the color of my eyelashes.
            Two years later my value was again challenged by peers who further defined worth by bronzed skin. Unfortunately, biology didn’t afford me that privilege and I found myself nearly obsessed with the hunt for a solution to my circumstance. A preoccupation with my “imperfect” body was heightened by the checkout line at the local grocery store. A quick scan of the magazine rack revealed a concept of perpetual conformity to society’s ideal. A perfectly tanned, blonde woman smiled confidently as she sported a short top displaying her perfectly toned stomach. I glanced at the stack of magazines to find another tan woman, this time brunette, wearing a short dress revealing her slim arms and long, muscular legs. I searched the entirety of the media stand for a woman resembling my own physical appearance but she was not found. This pursuit to find a championed redhead on the magazine rack became a ritualistic occurrence during every grocery store visit. Each time I returned home with another item on my biological “fix-it” list.
            Idealistic physical traits have been recorded throughout history’s own media stands. Paintings of heralded body types adorn the walls of famous museums across the world, effectively describing that era’s own definition of human worth. Statues and busts portray tangible evidence of the sought after bodies of the time. The world has never had a shortage of physiological ideals and efforts to enforce them, but our current era is the most dangerously debilitating of all. Magazine shelves at the store are not the only influence of quixotic physical characteristics. Movies, television shows, advertisements on television, social media, websites and billboards are all emblazoned with a “how to change yourself” display. Teenage girls are especially targeted by this type of advertising as it communicates their worth based on clothing brands and styles, hair styles, body type, makeup styles and sexual activity. The only campaigns for expanding worth based on intelligence, mental or emotional maturity, communication skills, healthy sense of self, talents etc. are overshadowed by funded displays parading in an “in your face” crusade.
            Social media has become a visible judging standard to which teenagers are comparing themselves every day. A perfectly designed “candid” photo posted to a media platform begs acceptance and the artist behind the masterpiece is validated based solely on quantifiable response. Truly, this type of esteem based on quantity not quality is disabling our younger generations from healthy mental, emotional, social and intellectual development. For the youth, life is a stage on which they must perform and to which the whole world is the audience. This constant stress to appease the masses places an unbearable burden on a mentally and emotionally immature generation. Unrealistic expectations afflict esteem with ease by celebrities whose “real” lives are the trending topics on public sites. Ads based on reported gender attack the unsuspecting victim with flashy invitations to groups, clubs, and companies that can aid in the effort to conform to “society’s” norms.
            Another invasive contributor to body shaming is that of advertising. Much like the magazines I saw as a young girl, advertising has a loud message. Advertising is completely based on visual representations of the product the company is trying to sell. The overall message given by each corporation is that if you don’t have their product your life is lacking. Making a mockery of organic life experiences, companies insert their product into your most intimate moments, distorting your joyful reality into an avaricious alternative realm. Just one short week after I gave birth to my daughter, companies began emailing me about how I can lose all of the weight I gained through my pregnancy before six postpartum weeks. My focus immediately changed from discovering the intimate joys of my newfound motherhood to my sudden need to put my energy into losing weight. I created an unrealistic ideal which if I failed to fulfill I was not a real mother. In short, if I did not lose all of my pregnancy weight by six weeks I was a bad mom. In actuality my weight and my ability to be a wonderful mom are unrelated. Reaching six weeks and not having lost all of my pregnancy weight shattered me. I was unable to look in the mirror without my eyes immediately judging the width of my thighs, the roundness of my belly, or the subtle double chin that formed from my pregnancy. In an effort to avoid the shame I felt, I would go weeks without looking in the mirror aside from a rushed glance to apply makeup.
            These examples of societal impact are indeed worrisome. The most alarming effect, however, is the poisonous sludge of pornography that intoxicates our world. Situated as the pinnacled omega on the body-shaming spectrum, pornography wages the most violently offensive attack on beautiful realities. Pornography’s very D.N.A. is laced with lies and intertwined with impossible ideals. It physically alters the human brain and disables real human connection. A man whose mind has been horribly disfigured by the unrelenting appetite for the fictitiously portrayed scenes of pornography places his distorted definitions onto all females in his life. Having been defined by a man so afflicted, I have endured a daily battle of his cruel words for more than six years. Although he is long gone from my life, his words ring in my ears as if they were just said.

            As much as we desire a fairytale ending when happiness swoops in like an unexpected breath of fresh air, reality begs a more determined effort for resolution. I have to fight my shaming dragons each day, even when I am so ready to give in to their hurtful lies. Having a valiant knight by my side to slay the offenders is a paramount blessing, though some battles I have to fight alone. Triumph over the disease of body shaming is a possibility, but one that demands determination. Limiting my interaction with the aforementioned abusers is key. If I do not place myself in their line of attack, I will have fewer wounds to mend. Reminding myself of my divinity empowers me to stand resolute and victorious. I know who I am and no matter the slanderous tales the world tries to convince me of,  the truth of my identity will always be there. I am a beautiful daughter of God.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Promises and Modesty

I have been thinking about this current topic for quite a bit. AND as always I will give a Papa Baer update at the end. Or perhaps I should do that at the beginning...decisions,decisions.

Okay, I give in. I will do the update first. Papa has been doing...well...alright. Unfortunately he has been having some really gnarly headaches as of late. These suckers come creeping during the night and wake him up. Despite medication, the headaches last for HOURS and it takes a toll on his body. Luckily, Papa has an appointment to try and figure this out so he can get some peaceful rest. Other than that, he's doing great! He is so super happy that Kels is getting married in a month, he looks forward to Pay's smile every morning, and he loves seeing his other grandkids as well. 

This summer Kels &Richard will be headed to Texas for Law School and Rich's work. Cam & I will be headed to North Carolina for med school and this fall Bridger starts kindergarten! Woo! We have some pretty cool stuff going on. 

Anywho, the subject of my post is "promises and modesty". For those of you who aren't all too familiar with the LDS faith, we are married in temples, and we make special promises, or covenants with God and our spouse. Part of these promises is being worthy to wear sacred undergarments. These garments represent a promise from us to obey the commandments and always put God first. The promise from God to us as we keep the commandments and wear the garments faithfully is that He will protect us and sustain us. Pretty amazing promise if you ask me. 

As we are raised in the Church, we are taught that someday we will be able to enter God's holy temple and make these special promises with Him and our spouse. All children in the Church are taught about the temple and know that it is a very special place. As we grow older, our understanding deepens. 

So what does modesty have to do with promises and entering God's house? Well. Let me tell you. Garments are modest. They cover the shoulder, are not low cut, and go down nearly all the way to the knee. Now, I get that those who are not of our faith may not understand why we would restrict our wardrobe to knee-length skirts/shorts, no less than capsleeve shirts and an almost ever-present under shirt. I guess the only way you could get why we would do that is to understand the conviction of our faith. 

Believing that we really belong to God's true Church on this earth means that we follow the teachings and commandments outlined in the scriptures. If we truly believe that the temple is God's house on the earth, we know that the promises that we make within His house are sacred and of the utmost importance. If we believe those things and are taught in our youth about them, we should also be preparing to make those promises in the future. 

So how do we prepare? One word. Modesty. Unfortunately, there are a billion and a half WORLDLY reasons to not be modest before we enter the temple. Girls, AND GUYS, who are immodest in their youth ARE NOT preparing to go to the temple. They are not preparing to make promises with their Father in Heaven or their future spouse. Garments are a part of those covenants and if we aren't living in a way that would permit us to wear garments we don't understand the holiness attached to them. 

As a mother and a woman with a firm faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I KNOW of the power behind worthily making and keeping my promises. I want that same power to be present in my daughter's life and I will do all that I can to help her prepare to receive it. I will teach her about the principles and power behind modesty and the promises associated with it, EVEN in her youth. She will be protected as she faithfully lives as if she has already been to the temple. 

So yeah, those are my thoughts. Promises and modesty. :)

Thanks for reading,
Aubs





Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Payton's Grand Entrance

It has taken me a while to write this post. Mostly because during the fall I was taking 21 credits and I had a baby, and now I am taking 18 credits...and I still have a baby. Free time is hard to come by these days! That being said, I am so blessed to be a mother and have the opportunity to go to school. It is hard work, but 100% fulfilling. 

So, I bet you are all just DYING to know the story behind little Payton's arrival into this world. Here it is:

Monday 10/12/15- Cam has the day off and we decide to do some spring cleaning. Payton isn't due for another two weeks, but we want to get some stuff done anyways. After taking stuff to the dump, the storage unit and D.I. we return home just absolutely POOPED! I comment to Cam that my big belly is hurting a bit and I may have overworked myself just a little...after all I am 8 and a half months pregnant. Cam hits the hay and I do some homework, all the while feeling increasingly more WEIRD. (that is literally the only way I can describe it, just plain WEIRD) Around 2 a.m. I start having some concerning symptoms (not contractions) and Cam and I decide to get me checked out to make sure that everything is okay. 

Tuesday 10/13/15- So it is like 3 a.m. and we head to Labor and Delivery to make sure Payton is okay. They hook me up to those fancy shmancy monitors and we just sit there. The nurse comes in a little while later and asks, "How are you doing through those contractions?"  "Oh I'm not having any." "Yes you are, they are about 4 minutes apart." I finally figure out that the contortions in my belly aren't Payton doing flips, but "contractions". They didn't hurt at all! We find out I am dilated to a 5 and ultimately decide to return home so I can either progress or stall in the comfort of my house. (and with my cat) We get home around 5 a.m., and Cam heads to work. (poor guy) In all honesty, I never once felt pain in my stomach...rather, I felt it in other places, but boy did it get rough! As Cam is at work I try to keep calm, taking warm baths, relaxing, watching episodes of "Hey Arnold!" and "Gilmore Girls". I don't eat much because I am just not that hungry. Cam gets home around 3:00 p.m. and decides that we should time my "contractions". We kind of get bored doing that so we just roam around the house trying to find comfortable positions for me to labor in. I am still not convinced that I am in labor, I keep thinking that it might stop. Oh the joys of delivering a baby. By 7:00 p.m. I am exhausted and really ticked off cause I think I have just tinkled myself. I finally buckle and ask Cam if we can go to the hospital. 
We get there, get hooked up and wait. My contractions are about 3 minutes apart and I am dilated to a six. The nurse comes in and announces that I am at a 7+! (I made progress in like a half hour!) We call our family and announce that Payton will be arriving soon! We get me into my delivery room hooked up, and find out that I am at an 8! It is about 9:00 and labor is in full swing. We do some laps around the hospital, and I lean up against the wall each time a contraction hits. We make our way to the waiting room to chat with the fam, then back to the room to be monitored. An hour goes by and then I get checked. I am an 8. Another hour goes by and I get checked. I am an 8. 6 more hours go by and I am still at an 8. 
Walking the halls.
My handsome, loyal hunk.
 Wednesday 10/14/15-  I haven't slept since Sunday night, I have been in labor since early Monday evening and I am exhausted. The doctor tells me that there is a small pocket of water that is blocking Payton from progressing, and if we pop it then labor will progress harder and faster. I admit that I am unable to handle more. The nurse reports that my heart rate is at 160, my body has gone into shock and I have spiked a fever. Payton's heart rate begins to drop. I ask the nurse what my options are and she tells me that I can get a c-section or MAYBE get an epidural to try and calm my body down. Wanting to do a natural birth, but recognizing the urgency of the situation, we decide to first try the epidural. My contractions are two minutes apart, and I am hunching over as the doctor puts in the epidural. I lay back in bed and try to recover. 
Getting ready for the epidural.
The epidural kicks in. SWEET RELIEF OH MY GOSH. My body goes numb and I just relish the moment. They administer some pitocin to help my labor progress. My contractions are so fast and so hard that they stop the pitocin. Although the pitocin is stopped, my contractions continue coming fast and hard. My heart rate is still in the 160s, fever is still high and my body is still in shock. The nurse asks everyone to leave my room so I can relax. Cam stays, and we nap. 

The doctor has a room prepped for a c-section, which we have no idea about, and the nurse comes back. I am fully dilated. She tells me that we are going to try some practice pushes (even though the c-section room is prepped...which we still don't know about). Our little group comes back in and we get ready to do some practice pushes. It is 11:45 a.m. and I start pushing.

Practice Pushes
Blacked out
Payton arrives.
 My body goes into full shock and I black out between pushes. We rest for a while, and then push again. "OH MY GOSH! SHE'S CROWNING!" The nurse yells to the other nurses to get the doctor. He's in the next room delivering some lady's sixth baby which is supposed to go super fast. It felt like an eternity. The nurse is holding Payton's head and trying to keep her in. The NICU team is ready and waiting for her arrival. FINALLY, the doctor rushes into the room, puts on his gown and gloves and the nurse removes her hand and the doctor catches Payton. It is 12:08 p.m. They let me hold her for a brief moment before taking her up to the NICU. The only thing that can compare to the elation I felt seeing her face for the first time is when Cam and I made promises to each other on our wedding day. 
Although Payton was quite sick when she was born, she progressed quickly and we were able to return home as a family a few days later. 

My girl. 
Our new family!
During this whole process I used my hypnobirthing techniques. One of the affirmtions I used was, "I will calmly face whatever turn my birthing may take." Although Payton's delivery wasn't how I HOPED, the relaxation techniques I learned through the Hypnobirthing program kept me calm, strong and in control. I don't feel like I failed because I had an epidural, quite the contrary! I endured a 36 hour labor and I never once lost control of myself. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I couldn't feel more proud of myself. I didn't know how strong I could be, and that is what Hypnobirthing does. It enables women to do a seemingly impossible task with grace and strength. 
Throughout this whole process of pregnancy, labor and delivery I have felt empowered. I have felt as if I have truly engaged in something divine and I know that it was only through the Divine that I had the privilege of doing so. I couldn't feel more honored or blessed to have carried, bore, and care for my sweet Payton. 

Love,
Aubs

P.S. For more info about Hypnobirthing contact me via Facebook!