Peace and Pandemonium

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Popeye the Sailor Man


Gratitute Journal: Day Twenty Eight

I am thankful for a peaceful, clean, delicious, gorgeous, happy, calm, 6 day old newborn.

After his first bath at home, Asher Leo was so content and alert. I took the opportunity to photograph him for the first time since getting home from the hospital.
I've been coping with after birth pains which have been much more difficult to deal with than I remember. On top of that I've had a virus making me feel even more yucky. I'm glad I finally felt good enough to get some pics to post of his incredible adorableness. I mean seriously, I personally don't think they come much cuter than this...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Twenty Two

Welcome Asher Leo Haddock.
November 22, 2010.
2:12 pm.
7 lbs. 14 oz.
21 inches.
Practically perfect in every way.

One of the most incredible days of my life!
I cannot wait to share the details.
Until then, this image pretty much says it all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Eighteen

I'm soooooo thankful for the shocking news I received from my doctor today.

After an exam, she told me that I am 100% effaced and dilated to a solid 4!
4 centimeters!!
I couldn't believe it.

Craziest part is that I have not had any contractions!
Not even one.
I've experienced no pain whatsoever.
Yet, I'm already at a 4.
I am truly blown away.

I was starting to get discouraged thinking that I was not making any progress whatsoever toward having this baby so to find out that in fact I have made progress, and painlessly to boot, I am overjoyed.

Now if only my uterus would start to contract...


Gratitude Journal: Day Seventeen

I am thankful that I was able to overhear this private conversation between Matias and Sophia tonight.
It went like this...

"I love you Sophia...Do you know why I said that?"
"Because I want presents.
Lots and lots and lots of presents."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Sixteen

I'm grateful for your phone call last night.
It was a nice to hear your voice after 3+ months of not speaking to one another.

I'm thankful that we were able to skim the surface peacefully. It felt familiar.
But it was also nice to dip and dive a little bit deeper. A bitter work that must be done.

Our conversation made me feel that there is potential for reconciliation.
We have a lot to work through but your willingness to let me express my honest feelings and your attempt at understanding them made me feel hope for better days.

I'm sorry that I have caused you pain and heartbreak.
I dont always know the best way to deal with difficult situations.

I have missed you and I could tell that you have missed me.
That made me feel good.

I am still learning and I know you are too.


Gratitude Journal: Day Fifteen

My brother Michael is awesome! He is such a good guy. I love him dearly. The two of us grew up together. I imagine your response to this obvious statement is, "Well of course you did, you're brother and sister." And while you would be correct, I mean that we grew up together. We had the exact same childhood which is something I cannot say for any of my other siblings. I have really treasured memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons together. Playing in the sandbox together. Quacking and skipping around the house like Donald Duck for hours and hours. That memory is especially fond.

While we grew together, we also grew separately. Into totally different people that is. During our teenage years we couldn't have more different. He was always very conservative and I was always much more liberal. I'm not talking politics here. I'm speaking in general terms. Attitudes, behavior, approach to life. We were just different. Those were interesting years for us. We were still brother and sister, yes always, but we weren't necessarily friends. We were way too different to understand each other during those times.

Then, when Michael was old enough, he went off and joined the Army. I begged him not to but in hindsight, that was unfair of me. It was something that he really wanted to do. My dad had served in the Army. I guess it just clicked with him as well. His first day of basic was supposed to be September 11, 2001. That obviously didn't happen.

Skip forward 9 years.

Michael is still in the Army. He flies helicopters professionally. He has already deployed to Afghanistan for a year in 2009 and he and his lovely wife Candice, whom I just adore, welcomed their first child into the world on October 20, 2010. They named her Adia Jade and in my opinion she looks just like Michael. I love that about her. They live in Texas so I haven't actually met my new niece in person yet, but there is one thing of which I am absolutely positive. Adia Jade is the daughter of one of the most adoring, loving and enthusiastic new dads ever. Michael just adores his girls. He is a natural father. He was made for this role in life. It has been so fun hearing about his adventures in fatherhood over the first month of his daughters life.

Two days ago, Michael deployed to Afghanistan...again. Like all military personnel, his job requires him to leave his wife and new daughter for months at a time. He has to travel into a dangerous part of the world and assist in transporting troops and cargo all around a war torn country. He wasn't excited about going. I mean why would he be? His life has completely changed right along with all of his priorities. (Thank you Adia) He is now much more interested in spending valuable time with his new daughter and his wife; building a new family dynamic and co parenting. But we all gotta got to work...right?

I am so grateful to the men and women who serve our country. These people sacrifice WAY more than I would ever be willing to sacrifice for a paycheck. They leave their homes, their loved ones, their friends, their lives, to ensure that our country remains free. They serve and protect less fortunate people around the world and hopefully contribute to the spread of freedom for all mankind. This is a big job! It carries with it a lot of weight.

I am so proud of Michael, for being the man, husband, father, son, and brother that he is. He is truly an amazing person and friend. Yes, that's right. We are friends again. After all of our years together we have come full circle. I look forward to when he gets home in July. (The silver lining is that this is a 7 month deployment as opposed to 12 months) I'm excited to see him with his daughter in his arms, picking up where he left off a few days ago. I am anxiously awaiting that day.

Until then, Mike, you are in my prayers. I love you!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Nine

I am guilt ridden for not posting for so many days.
It's not because I'm an ingrate. I promise.
Really it's because I'm exhausted and I have so many other things that I'm trying to accomplish before this baby comes so blogging just feels like a waste of time.
Then I started thinking...
I've been expecting this baby every night for the past week and he hasn't bothered to show up.
Maybe he wont come until all of my loose ends are tied up. ??
Maybe that includes catching up on this blog??
Either way, I'm going to try much harder to blog with a heart full of thanks and fulfill my commitment to write in a daily gratitude journal.

Right now I'm thankful for forgiveness.

I'm thankful that I know you will forgive me for being a lousy blogger.
I'm thankful that I am about to have a baby even though he is making me wait so long to meet him. You see, I forgive him for that. :)
I'm thankful that whenever we make mistakes, we can always ask for forgiveness.
And I'm most thankful that our Father in Heaven is always ready and eager to forgive us if we will but ask.

What a beautiful blessing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Eight

I'm grateful for Work.
In my case, Photography.

I have always wanted to express myself artistically. I think that most of us have that desire...maybe??
Unfortunately for me, I was never all that great at drawing. A slightly embellished stick figure was all I could ever really pull off. I got into oil painting for a while. I do love that. In fact, there are times that I wish I still made time for it. But the truth is, I wasn't really ever any good at that either. All of my best paintings were just swirls of paint with no rhyme or reason to them. Sure I was able to mix colors and make "abstract art" but I always felt inwardly let down. Discouraged that I wasn't able to make the paint do what I really wanted it to. To cover the canvas in the same intricate way I visualized it in my mind.

Enter Photography. It wasn't instantaneous mind you, but the potential was there immediately. I realized very quickly that if I could figure out the controls on my camera, I could manipulate what I was seeing and turn it into an image that very clearly and accurately expressed my creative intention. I could make my viewer see whatever it was I wanted them to see just by making the necessary adjustments in my camera or to my camera angle. I quickly figured out how to make a good exposure and once I had that figured out I learned that I could draw the attention I desired to my subject by using the same methods I would in drawing or painting except that it actually looked good. Methods like color, composition, depth of field, lines, balance, light and dark, and so many more. Once again, figuring all this out and applying it all at once to every image didn't happen overnight. I had to work at it. I'm still working at it. Everyday. Working towards my goal of becoming a better photographer is why I love it so much. I have studied, practiced, failed, succeeded, grown, stretched, experimented etc... Through all this, I have somehow managed to appeal to others and have been able to generate actual business out of what started out as a simple desire to express myself accurately and artistically. For that I will forever be grateful!! Knowing that it has taken me years of work makes it so much sweeter now. I also love the fact that I will never stop learning how to take a better picture. I appreciate that the best pictures are born from love.

The following is from my favorite book. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Work is love made visible.

My love affair continues...

Monday, November 8, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Seven

Last night we traveled to Salt Lake to eat dinner with my sister Ashley and her boyfriend Joseph at their apartment.
Joseph cooked chili which was wonderful (and super spicy for the prego lady trying to induce an early labor).
The fact that Joseph was excited about cooking was especially great because us Saenz women DO NOT COOK!
It goes against our code of ethics. ;) Plus, we tend to burn things.
My sister Tavia was there as well and we all enjoyed an evening of good food, video games on mute (which is why it was enjoyed) and Toy Story 3.
It was such a stress free, family friendly, fun night.
I loved every minute of it.
I think we all did.

I'm so grateful for my sisters and the men who love them.
They mean the world to me.
I'm thankful for the relationships we all share with one another.
It's so nice to spend a quiet evening at home with family.
Especially when it's not my home and I don't have to do the clean up afterward.


Gratitude Journal: Day Six

I am grateful to be a woman.
Even more grateful to be a mother!

This past Saturday I was honored by my beautiful friends and sisters with the most amazing baby shower known to women. I personally am not a fan of the traditional baby shower. I just cant stand the stupid games. While I'm all for celebrating the birth of a new little one and more importantly supporting his/her new momma, I hate the humiliation of tasting candy bar "poo" that has been melted in a diaper, for fun! Who came up with that crap? (Pun intended.) It's just an abomination in my opinion. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have friends who wholeheartedly agree with me and who are willing to think outside of the box. My dearest Alisha came up with the idea of an Artistic Tribute to Women and Mothers. Did I mention it was semi formal? As soon as she said it I was 110% on board. Once Ashley and Jenica agreed to help plan it, I knew it was going to exceed anything I could hope for. What I really wanted was an evening that would be positive, uplifting and would unify everyone in attendance. I also really wanted a final hurrah before my baby and the holidays and a long cold winter. I got everything I wanted and more!

The evening was a HUGE success. So many of my closest friends were in attendance. Supporting me and celebrating womanhood with me. It was all I could have hoped for. I'm still riding the high. There were even a few "extra specials" who were willing to contribute to the program. Let me stop here and quickly mention that the program itself (the piece of paper it was printed on) nearly brought me to tears. It was sooo beautiful. How did I end up with such talented friends? She sang this song with her husband who graciously played the guitar. I cried. She sang this. Again, more tears. One wrote amazing original poetry and there were a few who read and recited some of the most incredible words written. Like this and this and this. They reminisced about poignant moments in their lives. Moments that made them appreciate their roles as mother, wife, sister. I was just a puddle of emotions throughout the whole thing. It was powerful!! Stuff like this (and lets face it, McDonald's commercials) make pregnant women cry ya know. With my friends and sisters performing on my behalf, well lets just say, I didn't stand a chance. Thankfully there were plenty of tissues.

In the end, I felt overwhelmingly honored. There is something unique and special about the support and love that one woman can offer another woman. It is invaluable and necessary to our success and happiness as mothers, wives, sisters, friends, neighbors and daughters. All women need each other. I am so grateful to have such an amazing group of beautiful, talented, artistic, creative, kind and generous friends to call my own.
Thank you to all who were in attendance. It meant the world to me.

The three who pulled it all together...Ashley, me, Alisha, and Jenica

More pictures from the evening to follow soon.


Gratitude Journal: Day Five

I'm playing catch up but....
You got that I am thankful for my shape right?
With pictures of my abdomen plastered all over my blog I hope that fact was conveyed. :)
I am so thankful for my womanly figure.
I am the proud owner of the Ultimate Figure of Femininity.
38 weeks pregnant and filled with life!!
I'm not sure it gets any more beautiful than this.
Being this far along is the one time I can honestly say,
I'm proud of my voluptuous curves.
My huge belly.
The glorious bump that is still ever growing!!
My softness.
My soon to be pudginess.
The extra layer of fleshy squishiness that I have slowly aquired over the last 9 months.
I'm proud of it!
It verifies to me that I have made a physical sacrifice for something far more important.

It'll be nice to resume working out and getting back to my normal shape.
Fitting into my skinny jeans again will be a huge highlight in 2011.
But for now, I am pleasantly plump and proud of it.
I worked for this. 9 long months. I've earned it!
I'm going to enjoy it.

I'm so thankful for my physical body.
The ability that I, as a woman, have to give birth.
Holy crap! I'm about to give birth.
And I can! My body knows how. Instinctively.
I am divinely equippied to accomplish great things.
Great things like the ability to bring another human life into this world.
Doesn't that just blow your mind?
I'm not sure there is any better reward in life than the ability to fulfill Life's longing for itself.
We as women are abundantly blessed.

Friday, November 5, 2010



I'm not going to have this shape for much longer.
I really love it and might miss it when it's gone.


Thanks to Ashley Thalman Photography for the loveliness.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Four

Sleep is so important to me.
If I don't get enough of it, watch out!

Today I was able to take two naps and let me tell you, I needed them both. The first was in the morning around 11:00am. My kids were in school and I had just got out of a hot bath. (Another thing I am super grateful for.) I decided to turn on my Hypno birthing cd to officially practice relaxing. I heard about 3 minutes of the cd before I was asleep. Im still not sure if that was a good thing or not, sleeping through the instruction. However, as soon as the voice on the cd suggested that I wake up and get going with my day, I did. I heard that part. So strange. Anyway, an hour nap first thing in the morning. BAM!

Then later in the evening around 6pm I was starting to feel a little worn out. I laid down in my bed and sure enough, a wave of heavy but brief sleep swept over me. My kids entertained themselves while I was out of it and I very deeply rested in my cozy bed for nearly an hour. It's almost as if I'm reliving my first trimester all over again. All these frequent naps. It's pretty great.

Then, Steven and I went to bed early last night. It was 10:45 when we climbed into bed. Steven was out almost immediately and I dozed in a half hour or so. I have been considering myself very lucky to not be plagued with insomnia right now. I am somehow able to sleep really comfortably despite my huge moving belly and my frequent trips to the bathroom all night long. I must be really tired.

For now, I am so thankful that I can just take a nap whenever I need it. I know that this luxury isnt going to last and pretty soon I will be faced with the reality that most newborns are up throughout the night. I am prepping myself for sleepless nights but getting lots of rest now and for that, I am very grateful!!

Post Script:
I have to say that ever since posting this, I haven't had a decent night of sleep. NOT EVEN ONE! I jinxed myself. :(

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Three

This morning I woke up and two really wonderful things happened almost immediately:

1. My husband kissed me before he left for work. :) So simple, right?
The first words out of my mouth were, "I love you." I love saying that phrase and meaning it so much!
In return, the first words he said to me were, "I love you too." Best part? I know he does.
I am so grateful for a husband who loves me unconditionally and whom I so dearly love in return. He is the most influential, important, and pivotal person in my life. My life became infinitely better once we fell in love and decided to go through our lives together, and it has continued to grow in love, happiness and significance every day since then. There are times when I sit and consider how lucky I am to have Steven Haddock as my husband. I mean, he cooks for me, he cleans our house when I am burned out, he is so generous and patient with me and our children. He loves being a dad and is so good at it. He works so hard everyday to support our family and fulfill his role as the patriarch of our family. He is funny and makes me laugh continually. He supports me in all areas of my life. He encourages me to seek after the things that bring me joy and helps me to be a more well rounded person. He encourages me to spend time alone or with my friends when he can tell I am in need and he has always been the biggest supporter of my photography dreams. He is the most peaceful influence in my life and the powerful calming effect he has on me keeps me grounded and feeling safe. He is truly the perfect man for me. How did I ever get to be so lucky? There are days where I feel like I dont even come close to being as wonderful to him as he is to me. Then he lovingly assures me otherwise which is just ANOTHER reason why I adore him so. I am so thankful to be in a relationship that is filled with love, support, kindness, humor, happiness and peace.

2. Upon waking, I was filled with anticipation. Anticipation!!! I love that feeling. It's like Christmas without all the commercialism. :)
I have so much to look forward to right now. Lots of little things: Dates with my hubby. Dinner with my friends. Spending the day cuddling with Matias who stayed home from school today. Then there are the bigger things: An exceptional evening is fast approaching. One that I have been highly anticipating for weeks now. It is a night to honor Women and Mothers and I will share more details soon. The gift of my talented friends who are helping me document my pregnancy and the birth of my new baby with photos galore. I cant wait for my fourth installment this weekend with Alisha where she will artistically photograph my enormous belly and I get to have Steven there with me. The two of us and the new life we created together, to be captured on film. I am so excited! Then of course, Ashley is on call 24 hours a day this month (thanks Jody) so she can photograph the biggest and best thing of all! The birth of our new baby!! The fact that within a few weeks, I will actually have a new baby of my own is blowing my mind. I am imagining wrapping him up in my arms. A newborn baby for me to swoon over and care for. To love and adore. A new life who will breathe more life into my life. I am beside myself when I linger on those thoughts. I cant wait for it all to happen.

But then,
I stop.
And I think...

Patience Kiera. Patience.

Oh, and then to top it all off. I saw THIS today and it made me feel so validated! Thanks Lauriann!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day Two

This morning, Matias woke up at 4:00 am complaining that he was cold and that his neck hurt. While I was in his room sleepily helping him find warmer pajamas I noticed that his glands on either side of his neck were hugely swollen. Like golf ball size on one side and only slightly smaller on the other side. IT FREAKED ME OUT! I immediately checked for a fever and sure enough he felt warm. I quickly got him some Motrin and woke up Steven to help me assess the situation. Of course, Steven was very non-chalaunt and acted as if the huge lymph nodes on my childs' neck were no big deal. I on the other hand was much more concerned. I went straight to computer at 4 in the morning and searched WebMD for some answers. I am so grateful for the wealth of knowledge we all have at our finger tips. I remember when it wasn't that way. The internet is a such an amazing and powerful tool that can greatly help us live better lives. I am so thankful for the easy access to volumes of information literally at my finger tips. What an amazing gift that all of us get to enjoy.

After trying to sleep (and not to worry) for a few more hours, I called my doctor the second the office opened and scheduled an appointment to bring Matias in. After the doctor checked him out, it was determined that he has two ear infections and needed a powerful dose of antibiotics. He is now being treated properly and will hopeful start improving dramatically within the next few days. While I'm not thrilled that Matias turned up sick, I am exceedingly grateful that as a whole I have been blessed with healthy children, a healthy husband, a healthy self and a healthy pregnancy. I cant find words to express how thankful I am for that. On the occasion where someone does get sick, I am so grateful to live in a time where medical technologies are so advanced and treatments are so readily available.

Today I remembered this enormous blessing in my life and I was reminded of how thankful I am for the good health my family is blessed to enjoy.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Gratitude Journal: Day One

I have so much to be grateful for!

This month I'm going to try to put a small fraction of it into words. I will try to limit it to one or two things a day but just thinking about my blessings has me gushing to write for pages and pages. Also, since my baby is due this month, I may miss a day or two. I hope you will forgive me for that. I will catch up though. I WILL!!!

Today I am grateful for this incredible urge to nest! I have never gotten so much done in such a short amount of time. My house is looking amazing. Clean, decorated, organized. Not perfect mind you but hey, I'm impressed. I would like to hire a cleaning service to come over for a few hours and clean all my baseboards, doors and walls because bending over is nearly impossible for me right now, but other than that, the home front is lookin' good.

I'm also so grateful for my graphic designer, Tyler Bingham, who just this morning, presented me with the coolest logo image I could have possibly asked for. I'm not ready to reveal it yet as the design work is not completed but I have to say I am soooooo excited to get the ball rolling on my official business branding! It's been a long time coming and my goal is to be all professional and such by the time I come back from my maternity leave. I CANT WAIT!

Last week, I commissioned a painting from Sophia to hang in a 16x20 frame. Look at the amazing work she produced in under 2 hours. She worked so hard and I did little more to help her than to encourage her. She is a very talented artist. I find myself literally blown away by her drawings on a regular basis.
Which reminds me, I'm also grateful for Sophia. Very, very grateful!

What are you grateful for today?


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