Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Best Part

The whole rest of the day could have sucked (p.s. it didn't), and it would have been okay because this happened:

Hope you had the same reaction to some of your presents.

Also, I hope you had the great, family-filled, food-filled, joy-filled, love-filled day that we had. Gosh, I love Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

35 Things: November Update

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking, "How dare you show your face around here?! You don't come by for almost an entire MONTH and then you just show up like nothing's wrong? Like everything's normal?! You disgust me."

{I am hanging my head in shame.}

If it makes you feel any better, my November update on my goals is going to be pathetical.

(Side note: When Blogger didn't give me the dreaded that's-not-a-word underline for "pathetical," I googled it. That word actually exists! Who knew? I thought I was being all clever. Side note over.)

Basically, November's update goes like this: I cleaned my clutter desk (twice). I read the Ensign. I didn't blog enough. And I read 2 books:

Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo. A very sweet story about a little's boys near-death experience. 4 stars.

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, by Jim Fay. This book talked about a lot of really good parenting practices, some that I had heard before and some that were new to me. Unfortunately, the good content was organized and written poorly. I feel like I need to go through this book again and take notes so it all makes sense to me. 3.5 stars.

So obviously, it's now December. Obviously, I'm gonna have to get my tushy in gear to get some of these goals done. I also have to start thinking about my goals for 2013! Crazy, man. I think I need to make some format changes for my "35 Things" next year. The book The Happiness Project, which I read last month, inspires me to be a little more "resolution-y." I still have some figuring out to do there. But I highly recommend that book to you when you start thinking about the things you'd like to accomplish next year!

So, have you forgiven me? Can we be friends again?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A post with a lot of pictures

I am not super awesome at posting pictures...normally.

But today is not a normal day.

Today is....iPhone photo dump day! (And the crowd goes wild!)

So here are a few tidbits from our life lately:

{My sister's new baby girl, Hadley Jo}

{My girls and me with Hadley}

{My other sister's baby, Zachary Adam. These babies were 26 hours apart and both weighed 7 lbs 5 oz! Also, my sisters are rockstars at the baby having stuff.}

{Dallin brought this home for me one night, because he's da bomb dot com}

{Maddy showing off her cute boots}

{Charly loves the iPad. Also, I straightened her hair one day. It was curly again after naptime.}

{One time I was doing laundry and went to change the clothes from the washer to the dryer only to discover that I had never put the clothes in the washer. I then took a picture of the empty washer...for some reason.}

 {Maddy got to go on a special date with Daddy a few days before her birthday.}

{Maddy turned 3! We had a movie-themed party, complete with a red carpet, popcorn boxes, theater candy, and this Grauman's Chinese Theater handprint cake which didn't quite turn out super well but whatever!}

{Enjoying a couple new presents at once -- the drum and the dress up high heels}

{One of my very bestest friends got married! Please ignore my hunchbacked appearance in this photo. PLEASE}

So, there you go. Proof that I do document my life every now and then. I would post more pictures on here more often, but I feel like Blogger does everything in its power to stop me. Why am I still using Blogger? I need to get on WordPress. If only I knew someone that knew how to use it...*

*This is a joke. My husband knows WordPress inside and out. Unfortunately, every time I try to figure it out, I end up wanting to rip my hair out. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

35 Things: October Update

Because the 6th is still the beginning of the month, right?

This month, I stayed on top of my monthly goals (snaps for me!), and I also did:

3. Learn 10 new hymns on the piano. I was called as the Relief Society pianist a little while ago, so this one kind of took care of itself. I don't learn them all perfectly (as anyone in our Relief Society can tell you), but I do aight.

4. Have one month when I go to the temple weekly. Hooray! I finally did it. This helped me decide that the temple is an awesome way to start the day. I need to do it more often. Maybe next year I'll try to go to the temple twice every month, or something. We'll see.

28. Organize family folder. I have a binder that holds all our important certificates, cards, documents, etc. It was getting a little too full because I had started putting sentimental type things in there, too. So I cleared out things and made sure things were all up to date, and now it's done! Yay!

30. Read 32 books. I read 2 this month:

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling. Ugh, I was so disappointed in this. Can that be all I say about it? 2 stars.

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens. This was interesting. It's written by a man after he learns that he has cancer. He talks about how other people treat him, how he handles it, etc. It was very well written, but I still found it hard to really enjoy it. Maybe it was just too morbid? 3 stars.

And that's it for now, folks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Okay, so I'll admit that Halloween isn't my most favoritest holiday.

{The recipe for Halloween always seems to become: time+energy+$$$=a lot of candy you don't like. That just doesn't add up in my book.}

But to give myself credit, I do try to get into the spirit of the holiday, to a certain extent.

We went to a neighborhood "trunk-or-treat" last weekend, a nearby Fall Festival on Monday, and for tonight (Halloween) I made some witches' fingers and we all went trick-or-treating in our costumes that I made.

So while I may naturally be something of a hater, I do have to admit that Halloween has it upsides - the biggest of which is hearing Maddy say "Happy Halloween!" after getting her candy at each house we went to...even if there was only a chair with a bowl of candy on it outside the door.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wits' end

DD3C2A52-15A1-4E46-AF8A-8AA32B3F8583-1399-000001314F54A05B, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

If you were to ask me about my Maddy's strengths, one thing I would definitely say is that she is flexible. Personality-wise, anyway. She very much takes things "in stride." Getting her off a bottle at a year and a binky at 18 months? No problem. Transitioning from crib to toddler bed not much later? Smooth. She can stay awake (and happy) while we're out late at a party. She can be patient about eating. I can probably count on one hand the times she's shown stranger anxiety. She can entertain herself. She doesn't rely on a schedule (which is nice, because I'm really not a schedule person).

However, similar to those drugs that will cure your insomnia or acid reflux if you're willing to put up with a headache, nausea, chills, dizziness, fatigue, and possible death, Maddy's flexibility often comes with the side effect of inconsistency, most notably in the sleep department.

Inconsistency with when and how she falls asleep has led to inconsistency in her actual sleeping - meaning frequent up-in-the-middle-of-the-night nights with Maddy.

Some nights are worse than others. Sometimes I can console her by just sitting in her room with her for a few minutes. Other times, I have to lay down with her and I end up falling asleep there myself (and consequently waking up with a stiff neck). And in the worse cases, she ends up in Mommy and Daddy's bed. (I know. I KNOW.) And thankfully, it's not something we have to deal with every night, but it's often enough to be a problem.

Now, I've done research on this topic. I know we're supposed to have a bedtime routine (and we do). I know I'm not ever ever supposed to sit or lay on her bed to help her fall asleep (trying to abide by this has led to a lot of time spent on the floor in her room, which makes the stiff neck situation worse). I know if she gets up in the middle of the night, I'm supposed to just put her back in bed matter-of-factly, without really saying anything about it to her, and leave the room.

Now, I have nothing against letting her "cry it out" (a technique I fully support after a certain age), but well, I have something against her "crying it out" waking up her little sister, who is a super consistent sleeper but does not handle being woken up very well at all. I also have something against coherent thinking between the hours of 1 and 5 AM, which is when most of these instances occur. When she wakes me up, I'm not thinking about strategy or good parenting or what-the-heck-ever, I'm just thinking about getting back to sleep.

So basically, what I have to say is... HELP. Any advice? Tips? Tricks? Offers to let Maddy sleep at your house for the rest of her toddler years? Any and all of the above would be appreciated.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today is the kind of day...

...when I have cabin fever, but nowhere I really need to go.

...when the mirror is telling me I weigh twice what the scale says.

...when I seriously NEED my house to be clean, but have almost no motivation to actually clean it.

...when even harmless comments put me on edge, and occasionally push me over it.

...when I do completely irrational things in the name of improving my mood, e.g. buying Arby's for lunch when there are perfectly good leftovers in the fridge.

...when I feel so restless I could go run a marathon jog around the block, but I also feel like being lazy and reading in bed all day.

...when having 101 Dalmatians on repeat is actually helping my sanity, rather than threatening it.

Guess it's just a wrong side of the bed kind of day. Just keepin' it real, y'all.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

35 Things: September Update

September was good! I'm going to miss it.

This month, I did:

9. Decorate the office/playroom. Well, it's about time! It actually ended up being more of just the playroom once Dallin admitted that he didn't really use his desk in there very much. So I had a little more room to work with, which was great, because I had big plans! Here's the end result: 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I LOVE the numbered boxes. They are probably my very most favorite part. I initially had my heart set on these beauties from The Land of Nod (kind of obsessed with that store, BTW), but I ended up liking my boxes better! I followed this freezer paper stencil tutorial and put my numbers on (fairly) cheap boxes from Target. Seriously, I love them.

Other things I love about the room:


{Crayon storage. Not ideal to have to use glass baby food jars, but they were the best size. No breaks so far (knock on wood)}


{More DIY boxes, these ones from diaper boxes and Duck Tape. Very easy and awesome! One holds blocks and one holds balls}


{The reading nook. Love the rug, love the shelves, love that my girls like to sit in that chair...if only for a few minutes at a time.}

Now, the room isn't perfect. The windows let in plenty of natural light but it can be pretty dark in there at times. There also isn't a table to sit and draw at (though that might be solved this Christmas...). And of course it's a little cramped (but the girls don't complain about that). Overall, I've loved having that room. My family room hasn't complained, either.

21. Have a month-long spending freeze. Seriously, you guys, I went a whole month without buying clothes, makeup/beauty products, books, things for the house, movies, apps, etc. I also only made lunch at home (2 exceptions -- one of which was a birthday lunch). I feel really good about how I did on this goal and definitely am calling it a success!

25. Make a week's worth of freezer meals. Thanks to Pinterest, I now have 7 frozen meals in my freezer just waiting to be used. It's a good feeling. I think this is something I'd like to have at all times. They were really easy to throw together, too.

30. Read 32 books. I'm up to 25 total! This month, I read:

Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore (book 3 of the Graceling series). A really good book with a disappointing ending. 3.5 stars.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I was expecting way more of this. It was a little odd, to be honest. 3.5 stars.

31. Be completely punctual for a month. All right, let's get real here. I don't think I can say that I was perfect at this. I know, I know. But I can only think of one time when I was a few minutes late to something I really wanted to be on time to. Honestly, I think the goal should have been to just be on time to church for a month. And hey - we did that! This one is getting checked off.

I really do feel great about what I did this month. I also made some progress on some other goals that I didn't quite finish (story of my life, right?). At this point, I'm not entirely sure that I'm going to finish everything on my list. But by golly, I'm still going to try. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A post for September

Oh, how I've dreaded this day. This is the day that I write a meaningless blog post in an attempt to hit my posting goal for the month.

We all knew it was coming, right? I mean, I don't post consistently enough to completely avoid posts like this.

It's not a good feeling, friends. Not a good feeling, indeed.

But hey, I'll feel better once this post is published and this month is over, right? Right.

How about I tell you some of the things I could have written about right now, but chose not to for various reasons, most of which involve me wanting to get in my pjs and pass out.

I could have written about:

-ASU football
-my day trip to Flagstaff with Dallin
-my playroom redo
-budgeting/money saving/not shopping
-Charly's latest tricks
-some movies I've watched recently

Maybe I'll write about some of those things in the near future. Maybe I won't. It's kind of fun to keep you guessing.

But I will update you within the next couple of days on my goal progress. You are going to be proud of me.

Especially since I've hit my blog post goal for the month, effective now.

Good night, and good luck.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

For the love of Sprouts

I'm pretty much exclusively a Walmart shopper. I know. I KNOW, OKAY?!

But it's just undeniably cheaper. I can't tear myself away from the undeniable cheapness of Walmart.

Except for a special occasion or two. Usually when I need a whole lotta produce or a strange ingredient that Walmart doesn't sell (e.g. fontina cheese. No fontina cheese at Walmart. Or pancetta. I'll stop now).

And on the special-ist of special occasions, or when I'm just needing a little farmer's market in my life, I head to Sprouts. I love going to Sprouts. Every time I go I swear I'm going to go more regularly. And then I don't. But anyway...

My latest reason for going to Sprouts was to find honeycrisp apples. Have you ever had honeycrisp apples? They are sweet, crisp bits of heaven, let me tell you. And I can only find them (or good ones, at least) during apple season, which just happens to be now.

So during my last grocery trip, honeycrisps were definitely on my list.

Except Walmart didn't have them.
And Fry's didn't have any unbruised ones. Apparently Fry's shoppers know about da honeycrisp goodness.
And Target (who sells honeycrisps by the bag) was all out.

And so I got to go to Sprouts! And let's be honest, I should have gone there from the beginning.


Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


They were all pretty. And I ate one on the way home. Not really, but I seeeeeriously considered it.

But that's not the end of the magic trick yet. (Name that movie.)

Something else caught my eye at Sprouts. Behold:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I know they look like purple yogurt pretzels. In fact, they are purple yogurt pretzels. But what else makes them special, you ask? Um, hi, they are RASPBERRY FLAVORED. 

And they are marvelous. They were gone in a very short amount of time. Like, it was ridiculous.

So basically I need to go back to Sprouts. My shopping list might only be two items long, but I'll probably walk out with several pounds of food.

And I will not be ashamed. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

I love to see the temple

Remember how one of my goals for this year was to put up pictures of the temple in every room in our home? Well, one of the reasons for this was to help my girls become familiar with the temple.

I think it's worked.

Maddy's built a couple "temples" of her own.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

{medium: Scentsy samples provided by my favorite Scentsy seller}

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

{medium: fridge magnets from our leap frog fridge magnet toy thing}

Also, she will not hesitate to tell you that the temple is where you go to "get married."

It's a start.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

35 Things: August Update

Happy September, peeps.

This month, I stayed on track with my monthly goals - including my "at least 4 blog posts every month" goal. Can you say 8? I bet you can. Holla! That means I don't have to blog this month at all.

I kid, I kid. I know you'd be lost without me.

So what else did I do this month? Unfortunately, not much. I attempted a lot of things, but I can't quite call them "finished" yet. For example, my playroom redecoration project is almost done. I also tried to make August my "completely punctual" month, and it didn't quite work out. Most of the time, I just forgot that I was supposed to be making the effort to be completely punctual, so I automatically reverted to my 5-10 minutes late ways. I think I'm going to have to try that one again. AND I started learning all the rules of football. During this process, I realized how much (a) I already know, and (b) I really don't need to know (e.g. the appropriate dimensions of the ball itself. Riiiiiight).

I did get some good reading in, though!

30. Read 32 books. This month, I read:

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. This non-fiction book was very interesting, if not a little overwhelming at times. When will I learn that I reeeeeally don't do well with books where people are stuck on rafts in the ocean and have to eat raw fish and battle sharks? It's not healthy for an ichthyophobic, I tell you. ***Side note: coincidentally, did you know that they are making a Life of Pi movie? That was one of those books that, while I was reading it, I thought to myself, "I'm very glad I'm reading this...and not watching it." Side note over.*** Anyway, I liked Unbroken a lot. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads; 4.5 would probably be more realistic.

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5), by Rick Riordan. Last book of the series! I really enjoyed the series as a whole. Lots of fun. 4 stars.

Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath. So, I feel a little weird counting this as a book, since it was probably about 30 pages total of reading. But wow, I really liked it. I'm actually planning on writing a separate post about this book, so I'll just leave you in suspense for now. 5 stars.

Strangling Your Husband is Not an Option, by Merrilee Boyack. I did like this book a lot. I feel like it would be especially useful for someone who has been married a long time, has older kids, has a pretty busy life, etc. But it was still really good for me to read so I can try to be aware and proactive about some things that might go on with me and my husband in the future, no matter how good things are right now. 4 stars.

Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson. I'm not a huge fan of LDS romance (I got tired of Anita Stansfield after I read what felt like the same book 5 times), but this one was pretty good. The main character has obsessions with twirling and flirting, and you'll be sick of hearing about both by the end of the book. But hey, it was a nice, clean romance that turns out just how you expect it to. Not terrible.
3.5 stars.

And there you have it.

In September, these things NEED to happen for me to stay on track:

-finish the playroom
-finish reading all the football rules
-be completely punctual
-prepare a week's worth of freezer meals
-finish (or at least make more progress on) our 3 month supply
-month long spending freeze
-organize family folder

Whew. It's going to be quite the month!

How are you doing on your goals? If you've fallen behind, no worries. No one is judging you but yourself. Start again!

Friday, August 24, 2012

My porch, my sunglasses, my face

If you live in Arizona, you know that this week has been rather monsoon-y.

And if you've seen my cleaning calendar (I don't think you have...except for maybe like, one of you?), you know that I usually sweep my front porch every Monday.

Well, on Monday, I swept my front porch. Spic and span.

Monday night = monsoon. Tuesday, porch =

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

But then, Tuesday night = monsoon. So Wednesday, porch =

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Indeed, the weather swept my porch. Not perfectly, mind you, but who cares?

Moral of the story: don't do chores.

And so it happened that I told a story about my front the internet.

In other pointless news, the overcastness of this week has caused quite the conundrum in my life:

sunglasses or no sunglasses?

I put them on, and then I decide it's too dark, and take them off. 

Then my light-sensitive eyes are like, "Whoa! Weird light-reflecting-off-the-clouds stuff going on here. Sunglasses - stat." So I put them back on. 

I wish I was kidding when I tell you that this has happened several times per car trip this week.

Such an exciting life I lead, no?

And finally, for my birthday, my momma gave me some moneys to use for my first facial ever. I went today and I might be a little bit hooked.

The place I went to is called the Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics (SWINA). It's technically a school, but it was really so professional and wonderful that I had no idea. Plus, the fact that it's a school makes it a great deal! Their August special gets you their 1-hour signature facial (skin analysis, cleansing, exfoliation, mask + hand-foot-shoulder massage) for $25! Score!

Needless to say, I'm going back. If you go too, ask for Stephanie J. She was awesome.

Now that this commercial is over, back to your regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Female Brain

My husband is currently reading this book:


It's been interestingly beneficial in a lot of ways. I actually plan on reading it when he's done. Even though a lot of the stuff he tells me makes me say/think, "Well DUH."

Also, it results in him saying a lot of strange things to me.

The most recent gems?

"Oh, you should be at the height of your testosterone surge, then."

"It could be worse - at least you're not going through menopause."

"Lack of estrogen sucks."

And I'm like,


To answer him in kind, I'm actually reading this book:



But seriously, I'm reading it.

Dallin and I have always said we want to be proactive about our marriage. We want to really work to understand each other so that we can work together through our problems when they inevitably arise. I guess our current reading choices are just manifestations of that!

Although, I really think my testosterone levels are my own business and no one else's, thankyouverymuch.

Monday, August 20, 2012

One whole year

The wait is over, friends. Don't ask me why I've been sitting on this project for so long. Am I in denial that my baby is one? I guess it's possible.

1bae5969, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


Oh, this girl.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Song for 25

I've kind of always wanted a theme song. Be honest - you have, too.

And when I heard this song - "Shake It Out" by Florence + The Machine - it pretty much spoke to me. I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago (I might be a smidgen behind the times in the music world; so sue me), and every time I've listened to it since, it's spoken to me all over again. I seriously just love it.

And well, with my birthday being yesterday (***side note: how cute is my husband with his sneaky birthday blog post?! I love him. Side note over***), and sort of coinciding with my discovery of this song, I decided that this shall be my theme song for my 26th year of life. So let it be written, so let it be done, henceforth and forever, with liberty and justice for all.

Give it a listen, friends:

(OH, bee-tee-dub, this link will take you to Spotify to listen to the song. If you don't have Spotify, get it. For reals. Free, legal, unlimited music streaming that you can use to make your own playlists and whatnot. Seriously. Get it.)

Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out

If you're holding out against Spotify (WHY?!), you can watch the music video here, if you're prepared to be a little freaked out by it. It's on the weird side. Ugh - music videos.

Okay, so now would you like to know why I'm making this my 25-year-old self's theme song? Well, it helps me remember:

-that I have to have to let go of regrets, past mistakes, old heartaches, grudges, and worries.

"And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind"

"I'm always dragging that horse around
Tonight I'm going to bury that horse in the ground"

-that holding on to those things hinders my ability to love others

"And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm going to cut it out and then restart"

-that holding on to those things hinders my own happiness and progression

"And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off"

-that moving on can be hard, and that looking for happiness means risking being unhappy. But it's worth it. 

"And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell - I'm gonna let it happen to me"

There are things in my life that I'm unhappy with. That's true for everyone, right? But you guys, I haven't been handling them right. I hold on to the bad stuff way too tightly. Too often, I think that everything has to be perfect for me to enjoy life, or for me to be happy. That's ridiculous, and it's going to stop now.

I won't stop learning from past lessons and mistakes, but I will let them go and allow myself to move on. I'll forgive and trust others. I'll open myself up more, even if it means risking getting hurt more. I'll realize that even though I'm not a perfect person (and never will be), and my life isn't perfect (and never will be), I can, and should, shake it off and be happy.

So that's my plan for the year. 25, baby!

(p.s. Excuse the use of the "h" word above. It's not a word that I use...ever, really...but it didn't seem right somehow to leave it out/change it.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Hi everyone! Dallin here.

In honor of Katie's 25th birthday, I just wanted to share a few of the reasons that our family is thankful for her life:

She's the most selfless person we know
She's beautiful
She's a caring and devoted mother
She's brilliant & educated
She's cultured
She is determined to be successful
She's always aware of how others are feeling
She's forgiving
She's passionate and devoted
She is a good cook
She has a strong moral compass
She's a thinker
She's a great listener
She'll help with whatever you need help with
She values her family above all else
She's funny & witty
She's confident
She is full of gratitude
She has good design sense
She's stalwart
She's patient
She's full of faith
She's focused on what matters
She loves people.

Thanks for all you do for us, babe -- we are lucky to have you!

Dallin, Maddy and Charly

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fierce Cinnamon Flavored Chewy Candies

I've been on a HUGE Hot Tamales kick lately. No, I don't have a good excuse or explanation for it (read: not preggo, friends), but I've just been loving them. I kind of buy a box or two like, every time I go to the grocery store. EVERY TIME.

And well, I wasn't going to share this with you, because it's pretty darn embarrassing, but I can knock out one of these boxes in...well, a very short amount of time. Like, a one-sitting amount of time.

I'll just be sitting there, usually reading or checking out blogs or something, sucking down my Hot Tamales, and occasionally throwing four at a time to Maddy (she always asks for four - I don't get it, either), when all of the sudden I realize that the box is getting kind of light. I look inside and see this

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

and I'm like, "Really, Katie? THREE HOT TAMALES ARE LEFT? You just opened this box! You've got to stop eating the Hot Tamales, like NOW."

But then I'm like, "I can't stop eating them when there's three left. When am I ever going to eat just three Hot Tamales? I might as well just finish them."

So I do.

The funny thing is, this practice doesn't even make me sick. I believe that that is my body's way of telling me, "Don't sweat it. You need this."

So true, body. So true.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Two disclaimers before I write this post:

1) I love my girls. So much. If you haven't picked up on that, you should practice your reading comprehension skillz.

2) I have made a conscious decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I made it well before I was married. It was what I wanted to do with my life, and I married someone who supported me in that endeavor.

Now, those things being said, I must also tell you this: there have been times, especially recently, when I think thoughts like this:

"Is this really all I'm going to do with my life?"

"I'm a smart person. Am I wasting that by just staying home with my kids?"

"I could have really done something with my life. I used to want to be a doctor. What happened to that? I could have been a lawyer (remember how I took the LSAT?). I have a freaking master's degree that I'm not using. Is it worth 'throwing those things away' to stay home with my kids?"

Please know that, in my heart, I really know the answers to these questions. I know that being a stay at home mom is what I'm meant to do. I know I can be good at it. I know it brings true joy and fulfillment to any woman who commits herself to it and puts her whole heart into it.

I know those things, but sometimes it's hard to remember. Especially when I see all these examples of amazing women who are kicking grass and taking names in their careers. It's easy to think,

"Well, she gets paid for what she does. It must be important. SHE must be important."

"She is so much smarter than me. I mean, she has to be, if she has that job!"

"It must be so nice to go somewhere everyday, do something for yourself, and have a great answer when people ask what you do for a living."

Am I alone here? I can't be the only stay at home mom who sometimes feels that way.

But, you guys, I had an epiphany yesterday, and if you're still with me and willing to hang on for a bit longer, I'd like to share it with you.

In an effort to become more involved, and as a way to play a more active role in paying off my student loans, I'm taking on a lot of the billing responsibilities for our company (eventually all of them). It's something I can do from home, for a few hours a week, and it will free up the very valuable time of the person currently doing the billing. So it's basically a win-win-win. I've worked for Skyhook before, but always on an as-needed or temporary (e.g. until school starts or the baby comes) basis. This will be my first actual, consistent work, and I'm pretty excited about it.

So yesterday, I was doing some training with the girl who currently does this job, and it was going really well. I had been a little discouraged about all there was to learn, but she was extremely helpful and I was starting to really feel like I was catching on.

And then, there was a rare moment when all the windows on my computer screen were closed, and my desktop picture of Maddy was visible.

"Your girls are so cute," my trainer said. "They both have adorable cheeks!" (We're friends on Facebook, so she's seen both of them).

"I know," I responded. "They're seriously beautiful."

The conversation might have lasted longer, or that might have been it. I don't really remember. I do remember, though, that when it was over and we went back to talking about billing stuff, I felt a little disappointed.

It happened again, later, after a conversation which started by her asking me if I ever feel a little dismayed by the fact that I have TWO KIDS (the answer is yes, by the way). We talked about it for a minute, and after we moved on, I realized how excited I had been while we were talking about it. With the conversation over, it felt like I was coming down from a high.

It wasn't until I reflected on this, later, that I realized its significance. When we were talking about my kids, and about me being a mom, I felt


And what's more - I felt all these things naturally. I didn't have to convince myself that I should be feeling them, or think about how to respond to her questions to make me sound like I was feeling that way. Nothing was forced or artificial. I really did feel that way. Automatically.

I doubt this story means as much to you as it does to me, and that's okay. I just wanted to write this post to remind myself, and tell all of you, that I really, really enjoy being a mom, and staying home with my kids. I truly believe that it is what I was made to do. It is what I love. It is what I am passionate about. It is what I could talk your ear off about. My heart and mind get excited when I think, read, write, talk, or hear about it. 

And no, this doesn't mean that I'm quitting my new job, or depreciating other things I'm passionate about. It just means that the next time I'm feeling a little bit of doubt about what I do, I have an experience to look back on - one that will help me remember that in my natural, happy state, I am a mom. 

fc143fde, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


Thursday, August 2, 2012

35 Things: July



Just kidding. I mean, I'm not kidding about the fact that I didn't write four blog posts in July, obviously; a quick glance at my sidebar will tell you that (as if you didn't know, you blog stalker, you). But I am kidding about the giving up part. Yes, I dropped the blogging ball during July. But by golly, I will persevere. Heck, maybe I'll get crazy and write FIVE blog posts in August just to make up for it!

Not buying it? You know me too well.

Anyway, I did do my other monthly goal of cleaning off my "clutter" desk twice a month, so hey, that counts for something, right?

I also did:

27. Potty train Madelyn. You guys. I think it's really done. Can I just say that I'm pretty proud? I'm pretty proud. Potty training is not.easy. But it's been a few WEEKS since her last accident, so I'm going to mark her as trained.

30. Read 32 books. Hm...apparently all I did this month was potty train and read. But I'm back on track, if you can believe it! All thanks to that lovable Percy Jackson and his fast and easy books. Thanks, Percy. This month, I read FIVE books:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, numbers 2-4, by Rick Riordan. Yes, I read THREE of these books this month. They were all so much fun to read. I've got the final installment on hold at the library and you can bet I'm going to read it ASAP in August. Hey, if I'm going to read juvenile fiction, I might as well be proud of it, yeah? These books get a solid 4 stars. Maybe 4.5.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie. A book after my own heart. This book taught me some great things about how to tackle worry, which is something I struggle with. Hugely. The book presented some pretty good strategies, and told a lot of really interesting stories. It is one I think I could refer back to as needed. I will say that the writing got pretty repetitive after a while. 4 stars.

Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson. I actually don't read Nie Nie's blog regularly, which I know might make some of you gasp or something. But anyway, I loved her book and was inspired by her story. It really just made me want to be a better, happier, more hopeful, more loving, more full-of-life person. And hey, how could you not enjoy a read like that? 5 stars.

As for August, I'm planning on doing my completely punctual month, learning all the rules of NCAA football (so I can be ready for game 1 on the 31st!), finishing the playroom, and at least getting started on freezer meals. Oh, and turning 25 or something. No big.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


In case you are unaware, my husband is a busy guy.

Which is why, when he recently complained about not having time to mow the lawn, I was like, "Ooh, pick me, pick me! Teach me to do it!" and he was like, "Okay."

And when the hour had come -- that is, when I had run out of excuses for actually putting my money where my mouth is -- I got all psyched up, swapped out my flip flops for Toms, and headed outside. I made Dallin stand out there with me and tell me what to do, because really, I had no idea. I think it's possible that I've mowed a lawn ONE other time in my life. And I might be making that up. 

So, as you can imagine, the whole thing was pretty entertaining. But now that I'm an expert, I've compiled a list of tips for any of y'all that might want to take up lawn mowing in the future.

-Your husband will tell you to "pull really hard" after your first, failed attempt to get the motor running. Do not tell him that you were, in fact, already "pulling really hard." Lack of upper body strength must not be admitted when doing manly things. 

-When you push the little handle thing, the mower will actually move! And it will actually cut grass! It's magical! But don't admit that you think it's magical. Manly things, remember.

-When you get to the end of your first row, stop to get advice on how to best turn the lawn mower at the end of the row...because, you know, it's a million pound piece of machinery with a swirling-at-a-million-miles-an-hour blade underneath it that will turn your feet into itty-bitty pieces of feet if you take a wrong step, so it obviously can't be as simple as just turning it.

-Actually, it is. It is that simple. Just turn it.

-When you feel the unmistakeable jab of ant fangs pushing their way through the flesh in your feet, drop everything to take a few swipes at the little devils. Try to make them lethal swipes, for reasons we'll discuss later.

-Put on your tough face and continue mowing, even though your foot is throbbing. 

-Do not stop, not even for a few seconds. In fact, don't even walk slowly. This will give the non-lethally-swiped ants the perfect opportunity to rally the troops they've assembled and lead them in a charge up your feet. 

-This time, when you feel the ant fangs, leave all your dignity there on the lawn and make a mad dash for the driveway, periodically hopping on one foot as you try to smash (we're done swiping) the black masses swarming your feet. That "black masses" stuff might be the PTSD talking. 

-Go soak your feet in cold water while your husband finishes mowing the lawn. 

Okay, okay. I should have worn full-on tennis shoes with real socks. That would have been smart. But goodness, how was I supposed to know that our lawn was basically one giant ant resort? I guess I'll keep that in mind for next time, which certainly won't happen until I stop feeling all these imaginary ant bites all over. 

So I was mowed by ants last night, and this picture is from this morning, and my feet are still red and I still get the occasional itch. I put little black dots on the picture to show you where each bite is. Yes, there are that many.

Also, sorry about the gross picture of my feet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

11 Months

You guys. It's impossible to get a clear picture of this squirmy girl. At least not with my iPhone, which, unfortunately, is the best camera I have. But I'm pretty excited about her pose in this one, because she's been sitting on her knees like this a ton lately. 

a9c20105, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

35 Things: June (plus some revisions!)

Hey howdy hey. Just a little update on June. And if your'e not too bored by the end of it, I've thrown in a couple revisions I've decided to make to my list.

First of all, I actually didn't do one of my monthly-repeats (GASP!). I didn't clean off our clutter desk twice this month. I did it once. So sue me. But, you know, I did keep up with my blogging (bare minimum style), so that's something.

Also done in June:

18. Get a fireproof safe. Just, you know, as a safety/preparedness thing. I'm planning on keeping our family emergency binder in there, which I'll be reorganizing later this year as another goal.

24. Make a pie from scratch. I made this pie from Emily's lovely blog, using her pie crust recipe and everything. I was actually surprised at how easy it was! I'll have to make pies more often.

27. Potty train Madelyn. I'm not sure I can say this is totally done. It's a process, people! But we have made so much progress.

30. Read 32 books. Dude, am I ever going to actually get caught up on this? I'm always just a little bit behind. Maybe more so, with only one book this month (?!?!?) In my defense, I've already finished a book for July and am halfway through another. Anyway, my book for June was:

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1 by Rick Riordan. I was so entertained by this book. I've been meaning to read the series for a long time and finally took the plunge. They are really written for younger readers, like older kids or pre-teens, but I thought it was just so much fun to read, so I give it 5 stars for what it is. I think my kids will love these someday.  

And, just like that, it's July! And 1.2 million degrees outside!

Okay, so a couple revisions. They are actually pretty drastic, but if they prove too easy I can always add back on to them, right?

2. Re-memorize all scripture masteries and references. I've cut this down to just Book of Mormon scripture masteries and references. There are just so many, and I was surprised at how many I had completely forgotten. So this is way more realistic. Again, we'll see if it's too easy, but I think I'll have my hands full with it.

3. Learn to play all the hymn in the hymnbook (comfortably). I'm pretty sad about having to trim this down. It's always been a dream of mine to just be able to pound out any hymn at a moment's notice (which is sometimes what you have as a pianist). But trying to achieve this goal has made me realize how little time I have to actually play the piano nowadays. I mean, I can't play when the girls are awake, because they automatically want to play with me. But...I can't play when they're asleep either, because, well, duh. So it's kind of a conundrum. Anyway, I've cut this waaaay down to just mastering 10 new hymns. So, you know, kind of a let down. But definitely more realistic.

One I'm on the fence about is 15. Finish Maddy's room. Her room definitely needs some finishing touches, but I'm reluctant to do it because we aren't quite sure when we'll be moving Charly out of the nursery and into Maddy's room. So I don't want to have to redo the room twice.

All righty, I think you are all updated. Don't blow anything up tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

To remind you that I have another kid, too.

Some things about Maddy at 2 1/2 that I want to remember forever:

She has an amazing memory. I mean, it's unreal. Girlfriend could be an honorary elephant.

When she walks on the tile or laminate floors in our house, she slaps her feet down with each step so it's as loud as possible.

She is very polite. I do occasionally have to remind her, but she's usually good about it.

She had an AWFUL first week of swimming lessons, but now loves to swim, and claims to be either a whale or a mermaid when she's swimming.

When something's cold, she'll often say "It's really, really, kinda cold!" and then she'll shiver.

She loves to be the one to "get Charly" when Charly wakes up. She'll go open the door really slowly and say "Chaaaaaaawy!" and then they both start laughing and my heart explodes.

She loves to dance and has lately been requesting that we turn on music to dance to rather than a movie/show to watch (YES).

We bought a big box of the colored goldfish crackers, and whenever I give her some, she picks out all the red ones first and then asks for more.

She calls everything "special special," e.g. "Can I have some special special drink?" or "Look! It's my special special potty prize!"

She doesn't like to be told no, and will often ask the same question over and over (and over and over) looking for a different response.

She loves to open up my computer and take pictures of herself. Here's one of her latest:

I sure love her.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You guys gotta see this

f357ea94, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Yes, that is a cookie.

Yes, it is bigger than my baby's face.

Yes, it has s'mores inside it.

Yes, it's delicious.

Here's the recipe.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

35 Things: May

I know this is a couple days late...but you see, I was in Washington, D.C. when May became June, and I was much more occupied with things like watching money get printed and touring the Capitol and walking around humongonormous Smithsonian museums and such. Maybe I'll post some pictures in a day or ten two. But you wouldn't want to miss my May update on my 35 things, right? Of course right.

In addition to my monthly things (which, let's face it, I'm kind of rocking), I did:

7. Deep clean the dishwasher. Our dish "washer" was sometimes not really living up to its name, and Pinterest told me giving it a good deep cleaning might help. So far, so good! It was a bit of a chore, but it's done.

8. Redecorate the guest bathroom. Huzzah! New paint, new mirror, new light fixture, new cabinet, new towels. I was going to replace the hated pedastal sink, and then decided it wasn't bad enough to justify the expense (although still pretty bad). I still might change out the faucet on the sink, but only if it really starts to bug me. Also, there should be pictures here but I've been using Photobucket for my blog pictures and they just updated their editing software and its worthless. So I need to find a new blog pictures solution...

23. Make baby food. Charly is now the proud eater of some apple+blueberry concoction and some broccoli+sweet potato concoction. Actually, that's not true, because I made these right before we went out of town, so she actually hasn't even had a chance to eat them yet.

30. Read 32 books. I read:

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. Book 2 of the Chaos Walking series (Book 1 was The Knife of Never Letting Go, which I read in April). Really liked it! 4 stars.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Another book 2, this one sequel to Divergent. Also really liked it. 4 stars.

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness. Book 3 of Chaos Walking. 4 stars.

Hm. I think 4 stars is my default rating.

34. Donate to DI. I loooooved doing this. I have pack rat tendencies, so I feel extra super accomplished when I overcome those tendencies and get rid of a whole bunch of stuff I don't need and will never use. S'wonderful.

Woo hoo for progress!

Friday, May 25, 2012

some things...or something.

A couple random thoughts. This will only take a minute of your time.

(1) All this end of the school year talk has got me realizing that it's been 7 YEARS since I graduated high school! My word! Check me and my siblings out:

(2) Our kids-free vacation starts tonight! I'm certainly not physically prepared (aka I haven't started packing), and whether or not I'm mentally prepared is still up for debate. Ready for a getaway with my sweetheart? Absolutely yes. Ready to not see my girlies? Possibly/hopefully/eventually yes.

(3) My little bro entered the MTC on Wednesday, to learn how to be a missionary while speaking Cantonese. Yep, that tiny little boy in that picture up there is now tall enough that I had to stand on my tiptoes to hug him goodbye. He's going to be an awesome missionary in Hong Kong!

(4) Maddy reading "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" goes like this:

A B C D E F G...

Chicken chicken boom!

Cliiiiiiimb up the tree!

No more words jumping on the bed!

It's awesome.

(5) I actually don't really have a (5), I'm just stalling. I'm dreading all the packing. Stalling ends...NOW.

Or 5 minutes from now. #samediff

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mysterious ticking noise

If you don't know what that title is referring to, my heart hurts a little bit for you. Watch this and be enlightened.


Our Charly has her own mysterious ticking noise that she's been perfecting for months. I'm thinking she probably won't be able to do it anymore once she gets some top teeth, so I figured I needed to get a video of her doing it. I've been trying for weeks to get a decent video, but she usually gets all excited about having the camera focused on her that she can't perform, so it hasn't been easy. But I finally got this halfway decent recording during breakfast the other day. Don't mind the yogurt drool.

I'll miss those little clicks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

9 months

These monthly photo shoots are getting harder and harder as this little one gets more mobile. It was impossible to get her to stay on her back long enough to get a picture, so we had to try something else. This picture is obviously not perfect, but I love that it shows off her chubby legs and long hair.

b348f4a9, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Something old, something new, yada yada yada

Something old:

90f8c90e, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I bought this beauty on Craigslist in early April, and took my sweet time refinishing it into...

something new:

8821a0f8, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

This now lives in our (newly redone, thanks to my 35 things) guest bathroom, where it holds things like swim towels, extra toilet paper, extra soap, etc. Our home is seriously lacking in useful storage space, so I'm pretty much always trying to find solutions. We had a little shelf thing in the bathroom that was nice, but just wasn't cutting it size-wise (oh, p.s. I'm selling that little shelf thing on Craigslist now; if you live by me you can have it for $15. Click here to see it). And I had a hard time finding something that would fit well in that bathroom space and looked just like I wanted it to, so I figured I'd just find something with the right design and fix it up myself.

It wasn't too hard, and it was actually somewhat therapeutic to work on something that had nothing to do with diapers, toys, or applesauce in a pouch. The most frustrating thing about it was just finding time to work on it. If you look too closely, you'll definitely see some imperfections, but I'm generally happy with how it turned out, and I'm VERY happy with the storage it's added. It's cleared up space in our other bathroom cabinets, and there's still plenty of unused room in it. Ah, the possibilities. 

Sticking with our theme, let's move on to something borrowed:

57ba20a3, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

This story begins two weeks ago, when I was feeling relieved that I had survived another grocery trip with my girlies. Everything was loaded up, everyone was buckled in, we had pulled out of our parking spot, and we were just about to zoom ahead to the rest of the day's possibilities when -- THUNK. Yep, I'm going with thunk. That's what it sounded like when the big white truck backed into my driver's side door, obviously not scratching the big white trunk, but leaving a lovely dent in the side of my beloved Mickey (that's my car, FYI). Mickey was still drivable, but definitely needed some work done, so this week he is hanging out at "the shop," as Maddy says, and we're driving a practically new Elantra around. It's a pretty sweet ride, but obviously not as sweet as Mickey...even with the probably better A/C and the XM radio...

Which brings us to something blue.

Which I don't have.

Speaking of weddings, it's our anniversary on Thursday! 4 years! Par-tay!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

35 Things: April Update

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Another month gone, another update post. I hope you guys don't mind these too much, because they really keep me on track.

I did my monthly things, plus:

16. Never go to bed with a dirty kitchen for a month. I won't pretend I was perfect at this, but there was really only 2 mishaps: the first involved me completely blowing it off, and the second involved me completely forgetting until the next morning, when I realized (happily) that the kitchen wasn't really dirty anyway. So I'm checking this off the list!

30. Read 32 books. I read three this month, which puts me at only 1 book behind for being on track for my goal (according to Goodreads), and I'm almost halfway done with a book, so I'm feeling good! I read:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This was recommended for people that liked the Hunger Games series, so YA Fiction in all its glory. I really liked it and was only seriously put out by some language. 4 stars.

Better Than You Think You Are by Ardeth Greene Kapp. I read this to hopefully give me a little confidence boost. It worked in the sense that it left me with very positive feelings, but it might not have been "hard core" enough for me. Great for a general pick-me-up, though! 4 stars.

Legend by Marie Nu. Also recommended for Hunger Games fans, also quite good. It was a quick and entertaining read (which, let's face it, is sometimes all I can handle nowadays). And I guess it was a 4 star month, because hey, 4 stars.

Well, what do you know, that's all I did this month! I had some other things planned but I guess they fell through. I was hoping to get the guest bathroom done this month but I'm not quite finished, even though I've made some good progress. Hopefully it'll be done in the next few days.

I'm also thinking it might be a good time to reconsider some of my goals, and decide whether or not they are still important and realistic. There are a couple in particular that I have to do some serious thinking about. And if you have a list of your own, you should do the same. There's no harm (or shame) in reevaluating!

Happy May Day.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pinner Dinner Winners

Raise your hand if you like making new recipes!

In case you're wondering, my hand is raised. I make TONS of new recipes. Probably too many. I'm going to say about one a week. That's slowed down from when we first got married, mostly because I've made specific, intense efforts to come up with "regulars" since these things called children have come into the picture.

But still - lots of new recipes.

As you can imagine, Pinterest has only made my obsession with new recipes worse. The good news is that a lot of it is great. Most of it is great. But some...some are just amaaaaazing. So amaaaaazing that they have joined the small yet powerful ranks of things I make "regularly." So amaaaaazing, in fact, that they are worth sharing right here, on my blog. Whoa.

As I searched through my "Recipes" board on Pinterest, I realized just how many of these recipes I had tried and loved. Consequently, it was pretty darn difficult to narrow it down to these seven. But here they are:

1. Baked spaghetti with cream cheese and french fried onions by Let's Dish.


This is probably the pinned recipe I make the most often. It's so-o-o good. We love it around these parts. And it is very easy to make. Good news all around!  I usually half the recipe and it's more than enough for our little family.

2. Spicy sausage pasta by Kevin and Amanda


I was afraid this would be too tomato-y (We don't like tomatoes! Actually, Maddy does...) with the Ro-Tel, but it really wasn't. It also wasn't too spicy; the spice comes from the green chiles in the Ro-Tel, but it really wasn't bad at all. The recipe calls for mild Ro-Tel, and I just used original, and it still wasn't too spicy. But it WAS cheesy and delicious, and easy (you'll probably notice "easy" becoming a pattern...). Also, I'm usually a leftover snob (i.e. I won't eat them) but this stuff is awesome as leftovers!

3. Avocado chicken salad by Becoming Betty


I have only recently come to terms with avocado. I decided that what I don't like about it is the texture of slices/pieces. But when it's all mashed up, the taste is actually pretty good! So I'm discovering a whole new world of avocados. And I love chicken salad but despise mayo, so this little number really called to me. The flavors were excellent (lime and cilantro, anyone?) and I used canned chunk chicken so it was (say it with me now) EASY. We eat it in pita pockets with Sun Chips on the side. Yummm.

4. Guiltless alfredo sauce by Our Best Bites


We love us some alfredo around here, and this stuff is divine. I don't want to go back to the bottled stuff. And, okay, this isn't as easy as the bottled stuff, but it is still easy to make and seriously just delicious. And apparently it's low-cal or something? Awesome! P.S. Our Best Bites has TONS of awesome recipes. Click around over there - it's good stuff.

5. Buffalo chicken pizzas by Baked Bree


So I've actually only made these once, but I need to make them again. They aren't necessarily "simple," since there's some chopping involved to get everything ready to go on the pizzas, but they are relatively easy. And they're good! The sauce gives a little kick, though, so make sure you're using a hot sauce you can handle.

6. Honey lime chicken enchiladas by Let's Dish


Unique but delicious! We loved these. I halved the recipe and we still had leftovers (which were also good). Also, she says the cilantro on top is optional...but it's not.

7. Revolutionary Mac & Cheese by Macaroni and Cheesecake


So, macaroni and cheese is probably my favorite food ever (yes, I'm 5 years old), and this is one of the best homemade versions I've made. I kinda sorta love the blue box stuff (the three cheese shells variety, please), but I feel kinda odd serving that for dinner (not that that stops me sometimes). Also, why is macaroni and cheese often treated as a side dish? I don't get that. It's the main event! Anyway, this stuff gets my stamp of approval. You can taste the mustardy tang in it, but Dallin doesn't like mustard and will still eat this, so it can't be too bad. I looove it.

Well, that's it for now. Let me know if you've tried any of these, or share any others that you think are worth trying! Have a splendid weekend!