Friday, July 18, 2014

From Newsroom to Living Room

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to a job I loved. 

Working in a newsroom was something I dreamed of since that first Journalism 101 class. I pictured the day when chaos would erupt in Las Vegas, and I would be part of a team that would deliver a solid, compelling story that would keep viewers glued to their screens. When writing dummy homework scripts, I dreamed about the day I'd turn on the TV, and hear anchors read my words. During my internship, I couldn't wait for the chance to coordinate a live newscast from the control booth.

I had the wonderful opportunity to have those experiences and several more during my 3 years as a producer at FOX5. There was hardly a dull day (except after major holidays!). Working in a newsroom kept my mind going a million miles per hour, always keeping on top of dozens of stories and newscast elements. I loved knowing what was going on around town, whether it was new attractions or the latest scandals. On breaking news days, there were moments when big decisions has to be made in seconds, especially on air. Those made for some exciting shows!

Which is why the silence in my house is eerie right now.

It won't be quiet for too long. My sweet son is napping right now. I've already cleaned the living room, loaded the dishwasher, brushed the dog, played on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. 

I realized it's been a long time since I've just sat and taken in the silence.

Life is slower outside the newsroom. I get up, take care of my baby, clean up when he sleeps, and contemplate what project I should work on that I've put off for years. Some days I meet with other moms and babies, other times I catch up with a friend for lunch. 

Most of the time, I'm hanging out with my 7 month old. He likes tickles, songs, stories, and cuddling on the couch. I like taking him to new places and introducing him to new people. I love researching new things to try with him, and watching him grow into a little boy with a big personality. 

There's days when I see breaking news, and wish I could read the arrest report or get all the details that don't make it to air. There's a part of me that still thinks in on vacation and I'll be back in on Monday. 

But I know for me and my family, the decision to take a break from the professional world was the best for us. I love being with my darling baby! Being a SAHM might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but for this season in my life, it works.

I'm excited for the future. I look forward to giving back to the community through volunteer work. I can't wait to do some freelance work now and then. 

But mostly,  I love these lazy summer afternoons with this little boy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

If there's no room for them, there's no room for me.

Wednesday I learned the heartbreaking news that  John Dehlin and Kate Kelly are facing church discipline and excommunication for their actions. I wasn't shocked at the news, but I am very, very sad.

If  you've LDS and have never heard of John Dehlin, I envy you. This means you are probably very satisfied and happy in your faith. It means you probably have never googled "uncomfortable at LDS church" and landed on his website. It means you've probably never struggled with the agonizing decision to leave the religion you were raised in, and turned to his kind suggestions on how to stay involved.

If you're LDS, you might not know Kate Kelly by name, but you've probably heard of the movement she leads, Ordain Women. If you've brushed this off as crazy outspoken women who are out to cause problems, I question if you actually understand what the movement is about. And if you honestly believe all women are happy and equal at church, I wonder if you feel any empathy to the thousands who don't agree.

It's no secret to my family and friends that I have really struggled over the last few years with the church. What was supposed to be only a few month break stretched into a few years. I'm not going to lie, it's been a huge burden off my shoulders. I was really unhappy at church, mainly because I didn't feel valued as a woman. Combined with some serious doctrinal and historical issues, it's been a relief to not have an internal debate every Sunday with what I believed verses how I felt.

But over the past few months, I wondered if I was doing my son a serious disservice by not having that church community. It's one aspect I missed from the church. I've felt spiritually depleted as well. I've wondered if I should go back, and try to make it work.

John Dehlin and Kate Kelly have given me hope that there are like-minded people who feel as I do. They've been brave enough to provide a forum for people to discuss the issues, and try to enact change. I've learned a lot on Dehlin's site, and have met kindred spirits through the Ordain Women movement. I think the irony of this possible excommunication is that these two have been working to keep people with differing opinions in the church.

But with the news of their possible excommunications, I feel defeated. This sends a very strong message: If there's no room for them, there's no room for me.

I've been saddened by the many Facebook and other social media posts, where members say things like "Good riddance," "take the rest with you," or other hurtful comments. If non-members could see some of the terrible things I'm seeing, I seriously doubt they'd want to join a church that appears a) sexist, and b) hateful. There is a long history of changes that have happened because members spoke up. These movements are in existence because sometimes, it works.

This church is supposed to be full of "particular people". But what about the particular people within the particular people? Those who cannot fit in the mold, those who have questions, see the pain, and try to do something about it? It's easy for TBMs to brush them off and say go find another church. But it's not that simple. When we have families and history invested there, it's really difficult to just pick up and walk away. But that's probably what I will end up doing.

Is it too much to ask for women to have the same leadership roles men have? Is it too much to accept if GLBT members have an opportunity to live authentic lives? Is it too much to fathom that someday this church will focus less on stringent policies, endless meetings, and busy work, and more on Jesus and the community (the actual community, not just people in the ward/stake)?

I don't think so. And I know there's thousands who agree. They may appear happy and  completely satisfied at church, but inside, they're hurting too. I've been shocked at the number of people who have reached out to me and said they felt the same way, I would have never guessed. It's clear that these are the reasons people want to leave. Not because they are lazy, not because they want to sin. It's because there is no room for them.

And what makes it even more heartbreaking is that those who want to stay, are just being forced out anyway.

John Dehlin's Mormon Stories:

Ordain Women (10 points if you find my profile):

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013...the best of times, and the worst of times

Maybe I should stick around to updating my blog once a year. Like one of those Christmas brag letters. There's definitely some boast-worthy moments for 2013 (hello...I birthed an awesome kid!). And then there's some stuff I wouldn't wish on anyone.

2013 started off pretty great. I turned 26 (which is still mid-20's I swear!), and took over the FOX5 weekend show. I absolutely loved my new role at work, and was excited about working with such an amazing team.

Judd and I went to Portland where we considered turning into hipsters for 5 minutes, then decided it was too rainy and cold to actually want to live there. We're too used to being desert rats.

I finally came up with really awesome frisbee routine with Bindi, set to Dropkick Murphy's "Shipping Up to Boston".

In April, I discovered I was pregnant, finally. It took awhile to get to that point, but we were here, and no turning back!

A few weeks later, I had a miscarriage scare. My baby was fine, but it meant the pregnancy was going to be a bit tougher than normal. I had to be extra careful with pretty much everything.

I went up to Cape Cod for a few days with my favorite hocake ever, and we totally took over our favorite stomping grounds during the off-season.

Judd went to where dreams come true, Disneyland in China for a few weeks, to work on the castle. I thought I had a cool job, but that just sounds almost fake with awesomeness.

While Judd was rubbing elbows with Mickey Mouse, I took a trip of my own to California for a frisbee tournament with the Atomic dogs. A ton of fun, even if wrangling 2 crazy border collies while 4 months pregnant was a little challenging.

We also went camping with our team in Utah. A great few days of fishing, boating, and interesting cooking experiments!

Shortly after that trip, I started having horrible round ligament pains. My pregnancy got that much more difficult, I could barely move. I went from being able to exercise moderately, to not at all. This was really, really difficult for me to accept. I had only wanted to gain the bare minimum recommended weight, and it looked like that wasn't going to happen anymore.

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary!

We decided to do a stay-cation instead of a major trip this year (originally we tossed around the idea of going to the Philippines) because of all the pain I was having. So we got massages and ate a lot of food in Mesquite, then stayed in a suite at Mandalay Bay and hung out by the pool all weekend. A great calm before the storm!

Judd went on his annual dirtbiking trip to Moab...and broke his leg, almost 2 months before delivery. Best timing ever.

The next weeks up until Kaden came were really, really tough. Judd had surgery, I was getting progressively worse with the pain, and neither one of us was very mobile. We were lucky to have some really great friends and family who helped us out a lot.

Kaden came early at the end of November. The highlight of the year!

Then it's a whirlwind of holidays and festivities.

Then a family tragedy. To protect our privacy, I'm not going into it, but let's just say 2013 did not end on a great note, and we have a lot of challenges coming up in 2014 because of it.

I'm still excited though, to see what 2014 brings to us. Our goals are to get back to our wedding day bodies, eat real food (with both of us basically on bedrest for 2 months, then taking care of a newborn, our diet choices have been terrible!), clean the garage, and keep the kid alive. Here's to a great new start!

Adventures in Birthing: Welcome Kaden

(I actually wrote this a few days after Kaden was born... just now getting around to posting it. Babies have a way of making it impossible to completely finish everything!)

                Kaden Elias Kidman’s official stats: Born Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at 9:51 p.m. Exactly a week early. 8 lbs, 11 ounces, 19 inches long.

                Getting him here: that’s a much longer story! This is going to be lengthy, but I don’t want to forget any details!

                I started having contractions the Saturday before he was born. By Monday, I knew there was no way he was making it to his December 3rd due date. Actually, I’ve kind of known that for awhile, but Monday, I was positive. After Judd’s physical therapy appointment Monday for his broken leg, we decided to have a last “just us” date night at Applebees (since we were both in sweat pants and that was as fancy as we felt like being!).

                Tuesday morning, as I was getting ready for my doctor’s appointment, my water broke. I was terrified this would happen at work or somewhere equally embarrassing, so it was kind of a relief it was in my own house. Luckily Judd was still home. I think this was our first “Oh $#!+, this kid is actually coming” moment. We went to my doctor’s office, but couldn’t get past the reception desk. They told us we needed to be at the hospital, which fortunately is 3 minutes from my house.               

                We got checked in, and were admitted. I was 4 centimeters, 80% effaced. I was feeling pretty good at this point, was still committed to a Hypnobirth, and didn’t feel like I needed pain meds. My doula Cassie arrived a little while later, and the wait began.

                Like I said, at first, I felt great. I was excited, feeling pretty confident, and ready to give this baby a peaceful entrance into the world.

                Unfortunately, that all went out the window after a few hours. I was in so much pain, and having the hardest time recalling everything I had done to prepare for a natural, unmedicated childbirth. But I was stubborn, and I think it’s because I told everyone I was going all natural, I was determined to go through with it.

                So I stuck it out six hours. Six long, painful hours. Nothing I did seemed to help, but I didn’t want to give in. But eventually, I did.

                The last few hours, I felt like I lost sight of the reason why I was there, to deliver Kaden. All I could focus on was how horrific this experience was, and seriously regretting not getting some kind of relief. The weird thing was, I wasn’t screaming or anything. It wasn’t like the movies. I kind of withdrew from everyone and everything, which is probably why no one realized there was an issue for awhile.

                Eventually I realized that getting medicine would make this a more positive experience. It was disappointing, but I didn’t want to have any regrets or have any resentment to my son. So Judd, Cassie, and I made the decision to go with an epidural.

                If anything is a testament to how uncomfortable I was, it’s this: I’m normally PETRIFRIED of needles. It’s one of the reasons I wanted an unmedicated birth. The thought of an epidural needle in my BACK sounded like the most miserable thing ever. But at this point, I didn’t even care. I just wanted relief. Which fortunately, came very quickly. The next few hours were a breeze. I don’t remember a lot about them, except that I got in a nice nap.

                After a few hours, they decided I was ready to push. I was excited again, and ready to do this. I joked and laughed with Judd and my Doula in between contractions and felt pretty good about life.

                But all the laughing ended after a couple hours. I realized the epidural had worn off on my left side, so I could feel everything again, at least on that side. But I wasn’t sure how to describe that to my nurse Delany (who was AWESOME by the way!). And something none of us knew at the time, Kaden was really, really big. At least his head was. As in too big to fit through my pelvis. So he was making absolutely NO progress.

                So I continued to push, still feeling everything on one side, a baby who physically was not going to make it through. I did this for FOUR HOURS. Eventually they did realize my epidural wasn’t working and tried to fix it. I just gritted my teeth and focused on pushing Kaden out.

                Eventually it was pow-wow time with Dr. George Foster, my OBGYN as of 6 weeks ago (weird how these things happen, but he’s cool so it all worked out). He told me Kaden was too big, and I needed a C-section. Kaden had already had a scary moment where his heart rate dropped, and they were worried he was going into distress.

                I instantly started crying. I was mad at my body for not being strong enough to handle the pain. Now I was mad at it for not being able to properly birth a baby. I was terrified of having a major surgery that I hadn’t really prepared myself for. And part of me was relieved that this was all going to be over in just a few minutes.

                They re-did my epidural, but put some stronger drugs in. Cassie started talking me through what was going to happen, while Judd got his scrubs on. I was bummed Cassie couldn’t come in with me, since she had been so comforting the whole night. They quickly wheeled me into the operating room. Judd sat next to me, and the procedure began.

                I was so out of it from all the pushing, then all the extra drugs being pumped into me, that I was asleep during surgery prep. And it took all I had to stay awake during the surgery itself. I felt the tugging, and listened as the nurses told me what was happening. Judd looked nervous, but excited. I couldn’t believe that in moments, I was going to be a mom.

                5 minutes after the surgery started, Kaden Elias Kidman was born.

                I heard his cries, and tried to lift my head to see him. But I couldn’t move, so I sent Judd. I saw some nurses carry a bundle of blankets to a table across the room, with a little foot hanging out. I heard things like “look at all his hair!” “What a big kid!” “Wanna put bets on how big he is? Easily a 9 pounder!” Judd came back over and said “he’s here! He looks great!”.  I could barely see anything, but was hanging on every word anyone said, trying to get some information on my new son. I heard someone yell out “ 8 pounds 11 ounces,” then “yeah, no way that baby was going anywhere on his own. His head is huge!”

                Eventually they brought him over. He was completely wrapped up, but his pink little face was out. I thought he was going to be huge the way everyone was talking about him, but he looked so little. Except for his big head, with dark eyes staring at me. They told me I could give him a kiss. I did, then they took him away again. I asked Judd to go with him. I had really wanted to do skin-to-skin contact, and was feeling guilty that he was getting such a rushed entrance in this world.

                They put me back together, then put me in the recovery room. Longest hour of my life. All I wanted was to see my baby and my husband. It might not sound like a big deal to some people, but after carrying him nine months, putting my body through hell to get him here, and then having him taken away was really painful.

                Luckily, the nurses were really good about getting Kaden to me as soon as possible. They respected my request to not feed him, and had me do skin-to-skin while still in recovery. I was still a little drugged up, but enjoyed those few moments getting to hold my son for the first time.

                I didn’t have that crazy, falling in love moment until later that night. It was probably about two or three in the morning. Everything was quiet, and I was trying to just absorb everything that had happened in the last few hours. I happened to look over at the bassinet next to my bed, and Kaden was staring at me through the glass. He had this look on his face like he knew who I was, and he was happy to see me. I paged the nurse and asked her to get him out for me. I held him for hours, singing songs and just talking to him. Probably should have slept, but there was only going to be one first night with my baby.

                So that’s Kaden’s birth story! The rest is a happy bliss of family, friends, and people coming out to show their love and support. We’re only on day 5, and already, I feel like he’s always been a part of our family. I love my little son, am still in shock that my body created someone so cute, and just want to do everything I can to make him happy. I’m not upset by my experience, I understand now that surgery was the only way he was meant to get here. I’m grateful that modern medicine made that possible. I can’t wait for each new day getting to know Kaden better, and for the new adventures our little family will have!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Our Dogs Take After Us

My mom and I were at my friend Sasha's house the other day. While we were there, we made the observation that Sasha's dog is just like her. He is friendly, relaxed, and has a serene aura around him, just like Sasha. I don't know if he's like that all the time or if he was just on really good behavior, but he seemed to have a lot of her mannerisms.

So now I'm looking at my dogs and laughing, because I'm seeing the same thing with them and us!

Bindi is totally Judd in dog form. Both have this hyper focus when it comes to their passions and hobbies. Judd loves his projects and will often stay up all night until he's built something or figured out a program. Bindi is obsessed with her sports, and when she's in the race lanes or on a frisbee field, that's ALL she can think about. If you even say the words "Flyball" or "Frisbee", she will whine and whine for hours, because she can't put her mind on something else.

Both are very results-oriented. Judd will work and work at something, until he gets it just right. Bindi corrects herself if she drops a ball in a race. They are both fast learners, and excel at new things.

Plus, it's pretty obvious Bindi adores her Dad. She loves me, but she adores him! The two of them have a really tight bond, especially when it comes to Flyball. We can both be her Frisbee handler, but she plays Flyball better with Judd. Reason #254 I wanted another dog... I wanted a dog that liked me more!

Enter Loki...

I think Loki and I are alike, and not just because we now have the same hair color. We're both quirky, a little unorganized, trying to figure things out, but have a lot of love to give. We're both willing to learn new things, and if we don't get it right the first time, we'll work on it. Both of us like to be on the go, and both of us hate to be alone.

Plus, Loki is totally my dog! She's like my little shadow, just constantly wants to be where I am at all times. It can get obnoxious if I'm trying to get in the shower and she wants to come with me, but I don't mind overall.

Of course, we love both of our dogs so much. Our lives would be completely boring without them, and not just because we'd have no social life with our team and other dog friends. They bring a lot of love and laughter to our family. I don't think we could ever get another kind of dog after having Border Collies, since they're pretty much the best kind of dog ever.

Do you notice if your pets take after you?

Monday, January 21, 2013

"...No need to lobby for rights"

A fair warning: this blog will not be spiritual or pleasant.

It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! A time to honor the man who made it his life mission to secure equal rights for all Americans. A time to remember the sacrifices so many people endured so we could live in a society where people shouldn't be judged by the color of their skin, their gender, or who they want to marry. A time to reflect on the privileges Americans have in this country to speak up if they don't agree with something, and lobby to make it better.

But there's one group, my friends, who is being told to NOT lobby for their rights.

I'm talking about the women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, specifically the impressionable Young Women ages 12-18.

Consider this quote from Elaine S. Dalton, General Young Women's President, given just a few days ago at a BYU devotional:

"Young women you will be the ones who will provide the example of virtuous womanhood and motherhood. You will continue to be virtuous lovely praiseworthy and of good report. You will also be the ones to provide an example of family life in a time when families are under attack, being redefined and disintegrating. You will understand your roles and your responsibilities and thus will see no need to lobby for rights."
Elaine S. Dalton, YW General President, January 15, 2013.
At approximately the 32:28 mark

I can already hear the argument that perhaps this is just Sister Dalton's opinion, and doesn't represent the Church's stand.

But remember, this is the woman who is the head of the entire Young Women's program. And now, she's telling those girls to accept things as they are and keep quiet about it. The speech was given a week ago. If the Church disagreed with it, wouldn't they have said something by now?

Recently, there have been two social movements in the Church. One, Wear Pants To Church Day. This was an opportunity for women and girls to show support to those who have felt demeaned at church because of gender, simply by wearing pants.

The other is ongoing: an effort to finally have a woman pray in General Conference this year. It's never been done before. It may not sound like a big deal, but to the thousands of people signing the petitions, it is.

Fun fact: did you know women were banned from saying the opening or closing prayer in Sacrament meeting in 1967? The ban stayed in place until 1978, when the Brethren admitted there wasn't a scriptural reason for it in the first place.

Anyway, so these two big movements are getting a lot of attention, both from church members, and the media. Is it just a coincidence Sister Dalton told this audience there was no need to lobby for rights? I don't think so.

This speech has inspired a lot of LDS feminist response. I'm glad I'm not the only one shocked by this. The first link is an open letter I was touched by. The second, a moving essay about one of MANY LDS women who have lobbied for rights.

I will close with just a few more thoughts:

This blog is in no way attacking anyone who chooses to live the life prescribed by Sister Dalton. Having a strong and faithful family is great! And if a woman chooses to stay home to strengthen her family, more power to her. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm not against stay-at-home moms. I'm against the theory that all women must live this life because they are women.

Women have a long history of lobbying for rights. We've come so far. Now, we see a movement where women recognize they aren't being treated equally in the church. Obviously this isn't every woman. I've been told by numerous friends they feel just fine in the church, and that's good for them.

But at some point, we have to recognize there are enough frustrated women in the church, that two big movements were started within a few months of each other recently. We have to recognize our sisters are hurt, and find the problems behind it, instead of telling them there is nothing to worry about. Instead of getting so defensive of the church, we have to remember it ISN'T perfect. All one has to to is look at the very inconsistent history to figure that out. There are problems that need to be addressed, not ignored.

I'm sure I'm frustrating a lot of people with these blogs and thoughts. Thank you to those who continue to read and support me. This journey has not been easy. But if I could get one person to really think about, and talk about these issues, it will be worth it. I've had a lot of meaningful conversations with both women and men about how upset they are about this kind of stuff, but feel like their opinions aren't listened to.

I've also listened to members who really don't see the issues at all and don't feel like it is a problem. For those who I've been able to have a good conversation with that didn't turn into an attack, thank you. I recognize the church has done a lot of good for a lot of people. It can be hurtful to see someone angry at it. I've been on that side of the fence, I know.

I've had some people ask why I don't just leave. Clearly, I don't like the doctrine, the rules, or the culture. For personal reasons I don't want to get into on this blog, I'm kind of stuck where I'm at. It's incredibly frustrating to me at times, and it only gets worse when I see stuff like Sister Dalton's speech.

The only way I know to live my life now is by not lying to myself and others. I'm not going to pretend to be super LDS around some people because I'm afraid they'll shun me if I'm not. I'm just going to be the person I want to be, which is a strong, open-minded woman who isn't afraid to think outside the box. I just have to have faith at the end of the day, people still like me for ME, not because of my beliefs.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


That's the song I have stuck in my head as I write this post.

Judd and I spent a few days in Sunny San Diego this past December. I had free tickets to Disneyland I had to use up (perks of working in the media). But we needed to entertain ourselves for the other 3 days we were there. So we figured, why not the greatest zoo in America?

The San Diego Zoo! I haven't been since I was a kid, and Judd had never gone. I totally forgot how HUGE the place is. Seriously, it took us at least 20 minutes to find the first animals other than ducks. FAIL WHALE! But then we found my favorite zoo animal, the giraffe. I LOVE giraffes.

This was kind of cool. They have a program where they pair up dogs and cheetahs together. The dogs help keep the cheetahs calm. If I ever need a Plan B career path, I'm gonna be a zoo keeper.

It's not the San Diego Zoo without the Pandas! I remember as a kid, it took more than an hour to see them, thanks to a ridiculous line. Here, we got right in, although it was still a little crowded. We were given all of three minutes to admire their majesty, then had to move along. Still worth it. Doesn't that little guy look like he needs a hug?

Speaking of bears who needs hugs, I think this Grizzly is adorable. Probably wouldn't think the same thing if I ran into him in the wild though.

Judd loved the gorillas. There was a father and his two sons here.

This was easily our favorite exhibit. Otters AND monkeys in one enclosure! Unfortunately, I couldn't get monkeys and otters in the same picture, but whoever thought to combine the two is GENIUS. We were so entertained, we must have stayed here at least 20 minutes.

And of course, the San Diego Zoo has the best mode of transportation EVER. I love this sky ride. You can ride it as much as you like, and see the whole zoo from the air.

This zoo visit, combined with my recent discovery of how awesome Pinterest is, inspired me to give our living room an African makeover. I had to wait until Christmas was over to start on it, but it's coming along! I've been wanting some kind of scheme for that room for awhile now, because it was sort of blah. But now, my little wild animal accents are really bringing some character to it!