One Year Old – Evelyn Faye

Mom’s First Birthday


This month has been incredibly emotional for me as I’ve thought of Evelyn’s approaching birthday.

I’ve spent time looking at her birth story, and each monthly update (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

Normally I don’t get emotional while I write.  But I can’t help it this time.  No one warned me about how difficult it is seeing your baby turn one.  My eyes are wet.  My throat is tight.  My heart is achy.


Why?  Why is watching your baby grow up so emotional?  I’ve tried really hard to figure out WHY I’m feeling this way.

This video sums it up.  (Make sure to turn on the English subtitles.)

Tears.  Every time.  That video makes me weep, haha.

We survived one year together.  Every single day.  We survived me getting strep when Evelyn was only 2 weeks old.  We survived a very dark and difficult 6 weeks of more than just the baby blues; a very heavy PPD.  We survived stitches on Evelyn’s face.  We survived living in an unfinished basement.  We survived 3 ER visits.  We survived 5+ ear infections and ear tube surgery.  But we did more than survive.  We thrived.


These past 365 days have been the hardest, and the absolute best of my entire life.  I never really considered myself a “nurturer.”  I was afraid to become a mother.  I didn’t know if I ‘had it.’  Being a mum takes a lot of work, but I was amazed at the flood of nurturing feelings and instincts that came, when I put forth effort.  I felt my physical and emotional role as a mother naturally blossom.  I didn’t know ‘what to do,’ or ‘how to be a mom.’  But we have learned and grown together.

By no means am I an expert-mother.  Each day is a new adventure and I’m faced with new challenges.


I wish I could write the feelings in my heart for the love I have for our beautiful daughter Evelyn Faye Crowder.  It makes me cry when I think about it.  It is a love so strong.  It’s a love that cannot be broken by a thousand armies.  It’s a love that would sacrifice anything and everything, even your own life if necessary.  It is a love more precious than all the diamonds and gems owned by the Queen of England and the Shane Co combined!

This year I have learned:
That my needs do not come first.
It is important to apologize when you make a mistake.  Even to a baby.
Babies are quick to forgive.  And I should be too.
A little patience goes a long way.
Being flexible makes everything a little easier.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.


I feel so blessed in my posterity.  I know there were no mistakes with which baby got sent to Aaron and I.  I know that Evelyn is the right fit in our family.  I know we are the right parents for her.  I know she is the right child for us.  I’m so grateful for this special year Evelyn and I have had together.


Happy birthday, baby.

Thank you to Valery Bunnell Photography for perfectly capturing Evelyn during her cake smash!


Father’s Day 2014

Baby girl in bear suit


Dear Aaron,

Thank you for providing for our family.  I know you work hard every day to make sure we have a roof over our heads and food on the table.

Baby girl in bear suit

I’m a different person now because of the way you gently teach me to communicate.  You have taught me to honest and upfront with all of my feelings.  You have shown me compassion and care while I walk the dark road of depression.  You have given me confidence to talk about the things that are hard for me to talk about.

I know that you are going to give our children that kind of strength and support when they are struggling with personal trials.

Fathers Day

I can’t believe how brilliant you are.  You are gifted with logic.  I admire how smart you are.

I am more in love with you than ever before.

Fathers Day

I love watching you be a daddy.  You are so amazing with Evelyn.  Happy father’s day!

Finding Forgiveness

I had the TV on this afternoon, while I was feeding Evelyn.  Just background noise.  This program came on and captivated me.  And I know it was not by coincidence.

It pierced my heart.
It was an answer to my prayers.

For the past 5 years, I have been harboring a deep grudge.  It hasn’t held my life back.  I have been able to move forward.  I have a happy life, a wonderful husband, and a miracle baby.  However, there are moments when I look back to 2008-2010 and a hatred poisons me.  I have had very ill feelings when I think of the experiences I went through because of the actions of another.  I have felt wronged and jaded.  I never thought it was fair that this person “got off the hook.”  I wanted justice served.  I have always tried to hold tight to my testimony of The Law Of Compensation, that eventually, through the justice and mercy of The Savior, that all things will be made right (in this life or the next).  But it still has always bothered me.  The fact I never received an apology.  The fact that this person isn’t the slightest bit remorseful.  The fact that I suffered intense emotional damage.  I clung to the atonement for healing.  I’ve prayed so long to be able to let go and not be bothered by this person’s “happy life with no consequence.”

This real life story was exactly what I needed to see and hear.  My heart was touched, and I was in tears.

I know I will never receive an apology.  I know that.  But I know that I can find peace and happiness for the rest of my life.  I don’t need to hate.  I don’t need to feel wronged.  I can forgive.  I can love.

If these people can become a family after such a tragic accident, and find forgiveness in the death of their mother, I know that I can find forgiveness in something trivial in comparison.

Take the time to watch this video.  You might be able to find the strength to forgive.

You’ll never know the miracles that come from giving love.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Evelyn Faye’s Baby Blessing

The leading reason for this blog is to keep a journal.  I was a major journal-keeper when I was younger.  I wrote in my journal through jr high, high school, and my early 20’s.  Since getting married, I have been awful at it.  And it really nagged at me.  Aaron taught me to love blogging.  I love that I can use this blog as a journal for our major events.  

Every girl dreams of her wedding dress from the time she’s a little girl.  From the second I knew we were expecting a little girl, I dreamed of her blessing dress.  The process of creating it was very similar.

Marlene Shepherd is a very special person to me.  She is more than just a friend and neighbor.  She loved me like one of her own children.  She is an incredibly talented and skilled seamstress.  She has made every important dress I’ve worn, including my blessing dress, all my dance dresses, my wedding dress, and my temple dress.  It was only fitting that she would make my daughter’s blessing dress.

Of course we needed to take a picture of Evelyn Faye wearing my blessing dress.

Evelyn Faye Blessing

My mom, my mother in law, me, and Evelyn all packed up and went to Marlene’s house to design and come up with a plan for this special dress.  It was the quintessential planning committee.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

We went through boxes of patterns, and tons of pictures on Pinterest, and lots of fabric samples.  Evelyn had a good time hanging out in them.  It was so fun to have the grandmas involved.  🙂

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This was the design we came up with for her sweet dress.   It had a peter pan collar, with a half circle skirt and lace overlay.  We decided to go with an ivory satin instead of a bright white.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This was the finished product!  Marlene is incredible.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn looked like such an angel in it.  She’s quite sassy.  Taking names, and throwing punches.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This was the morning while we were finishing getting ready for church.  I’ve never seen anything sweeter.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

She had been really sick the week leading up to this, so we were really nervous how she would do.  She had been really really fussy all week long.  But she slept the whole time.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

March 2nd was an extra special blessing day.  Evelyn got to share it with her 2nd cousin Felix.  My cousin Adam & his wife Beth got to bless Felix on the same day.  We love being in the same ward as them.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Every day it’s still so surreal that she is my daughter.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn is a complete miracle to us.  She is the most beautiful and perfect manifestation of our love and God’s love for us.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

I would do anything to keep her safe from any unkind thing in this world.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

This is a special rocking chair made for her by her Grandpa Burton.  He makes a rocking chair for each of his grandchildren to give them on their blessing day.  He also made one for her dolly.

Evelyn Faye's Baby Blessing

Having Evelyn has brought so much gladness into my life.  It has strengthened my relationship with my own parents.  It has strengthened my relationship with my inlaws.  It has strengthened my relationship with God.  I find that my prayers are a lot more heartfelt and earnest.  I pray for her safety and well being.  I sacrifice myself and my desires to take care of her needs.  I cling to the Savior for strength in ways I never did before.  I’m so grateful for motherhood and the ways it has changed me.


Sick Baby


I have heard mamas say watching your child be sick or struggle is one of the most painful things to go through.  I always thought “Yeah, that would be hard.”  I had no idea HOW hard until I experienced it for myself.

I had my first life experience watching my child, of my own flesh and blood, get sick, and not be able to fix it.

I’m a problem solver.  When things are broken, I fix them.  When there’s a problem, I find a solution.  When others are having a hard time, I want to fix it for them.

I had to watch Evelyn suffer.  She was miserable without understanding.  She would look at me helplessly with her sick eyes, begging for me to fix it.  And I couldn’t.  I had to listen to her cough til she would throw up.  My heart would break.  So many times I wished that I could be the one sick if she could be healthy.  I would rather carry the burden for her.

Even asleep, she looked miserable.  This lasted for two weeks.

Sick Baby


I’ve found that often the hardest experiences I’ve gone through, are the most spiritual, and the times I’m the most teachable.

So badly I wanted to teach Evelyn about my favorite scripture, D&C 122:7-9.

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

When Joseph Smith was in the middle of what seemed to be the most miserable experience of his life, he asked for it to be taken away.  Heavenly Father didn’t.  I love the whole passage where he explains that all experiences shall be for our good.

But my favorite line is “hold on thy way.”  This phrase got me through the toughest times in my life.  It’s the most tender way of saying endure to the end.

God didn’t take away the pain of the atonement for the Savior.  And as a parent, I can’t imagine how painful it was to watch.  I watched Evelyn have a cold, and that just about did me in.  To watch your Son take on the pains of entire mankind would be excruciating.

It may sound silly, but I feel closer to my Heavenly Father after this experience.  And I know He will always give us strength to get through our mortal trials.  That’s why we are here.  He loves us, and it IS hard for Him to watch us go through hard things.  But that doesn’t take His love away from us.  It increases.

So Evelyn, this is the first of many trials in your life.  Hold on thy way!

The Gym, PCOS, and No Motivation.

We have been tossing around the idea of gym memberships for awhile now.  Last night we did it.  We joined 24 Hour Fitness.  Aaron and I are both aware that we need to lose weight and by healthy.

PCOS is an issue for me.  I don’t lose weight as fast as other people because of it.  Because of PCOS my body has a natural insulin resistance, and it fights everything.  It’s quite the pain.  It’s really discouraging.  But I know I need to put more focus into my health. Not for vanity reasons.  For safety reasons.  It really gets me down sometimes.

Continue reading “The Gym, PCOS, and No Motivation.”