Published June 4th, 2014 by

I’ve recently had a lot of compliments on how healthy and shiny my hair looks, and I can’t help but think my favorite brush has a lot to do with it. So here I am sharing. You’re welcome.

81JkgHq8i3L._SL1500_But seriously though, here is a short, random post on this favorite hairbrush of mine. A miracle brush, really. A version of the Mason Pearson All Boar Brush, but far cheaper and I would imagine just as effective. In fact, all reviews said this brush performed just as well as the expensive version.

Here’s the idea:

Ouchless. It doesn’t hurt to brush through my long, tangled hair. This means no breakage.

No static. Zero. Some reviews said they had static, but I’ve had this brush for 6-months now, and have yet to get static hair.

Healthier hair. The boar bristles absorb my hair’s natural oils and distributes them all the way to the ends, giving me healthier, shinier, longer hair.

It honestly doesn’t get much better. At least for me.

Published June 4th, 2014 by

Oh. My. Gosh.

A delicious, clean eating treat. A current obsession. A “must-try”… so please do.

Vanilla Chia Seeding Pudding

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Ingredients:

  • 1 5.5oz can coconut milk
  • 3 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp organic grade b maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass mason jar
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Cover with a lid and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

From Simply Real Health

Published May 29th, 2014 by

*Prepare for picture overload

We had a nice trip for Memorial Day weekend, it started out relaxing, but became progressively more tiring. I sure wasn’t expecting that, but it makes sense. After all, it was our first ‘getaway’ with Sam. I’m already feeling the need to have a ‘hubby and me only’ getaway… is this too soon?

Anyway, it was a welcome relief to come home to a clean house (a weird quirk of mine), drop our bags and take a nap. Here’s how the weekend went:

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This was Sam in the middle of crying and smiling right when we got to the ferry. Some days the carseat is not a friend, so he wanted out ASAP, but I couldn’t take him out just yet, so the next best option… distraction.

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We went to the deck of the ferry for some fresh air. It was gorgeous. Of course, we had to take a family picture. I try to get as many of these as possible, because it’s too easy to only take photos of the baby and forget everyone else.

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As my aunt volunteered to hold Sam for the ride, Kasen and I had time to sit together. It was 30-minutes long, but felt so much shorter. We talked about how beautiful it was, but how hard it was to truly relax, because we were worried about Sam. It’s unreal how much he consumes our minds. I assume this will fade with time, and truthfully, I’m hoping it does, at least a little bit.

It was his first ferry ride, which was exciting, but of course we thought of all the worst case scenarios. Let’s just not even go there. So, Kasen stood up to think, and me, I rested while drinking my delicious hot chocolate.

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The sun was setting as the ferry docked. Of course, pictures (especially from my iPhone) could never do it justice.

Later that night after eating dinner and spending time with my cousins, the guys started a bonfire and we continued to sit around a chat. We probably went to bed around 1:30 a.m.

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I woke up early the next morning, but everyone was still sleeping, so I went back to bed until everyone else would wake up. It was nice to have no where to be and nothing to do. This pic is of Sam when he first woke up. Mornings are my favorite with him. He is just a big ball of cuteness, super playful and happy. Much more than usual.

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The next morning we had lunch and went to the beach. Sam slept while dad carried him. Like I said, doing nothing feels so good these days. It was incredibly peaceful. And beautiful.

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Then our little guy woke up kind of grumpy, but looked too cute for photos not to be taken.

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And another family pic

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This was us riding in the back of the truck, Sam’s first time. I almost felt guilty not having him strapped in… but then I remembered: 1) it was a private island, 2) they were dirt roads and 3) you don’t go faster than 10mph

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We headed back to the main land the next day, so back onto the ferry we went. I didn’t anticipate such nice weather, and worried that Sam would get sunburned, so my cousin offered her hat to him. So adorable. Although, it took him a little bit to get used to.

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Then he was knocked out after fighting sleep the whole trip.

When we got back to the main land, we drove another hour or so up to Bellingham (near Canada) to meet up with my sister and her family. We also got to drop in and say hello to one of my best friends while she was at work.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner at some Cajun restaurant. I was so hungry that right when I got to the table, I grabbed what appeared to be chicken on a skewer and munched without thinking twice. To my surprise… it was alligator. Totally gross. Well, not really… just the idea of it. As cliché as it sounds, it did taste like chicken, at least until the after taste. Not my favorite. But hey, now I can say I’ve eaten alligator!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where my sister and her family were staying, and we bunked up with them. It was a LONG night. Sam did not take a liking to the Cajun food (too spicy for him), and also started feeling the pains of teething. Rough times.

It was a good weekend, more so because we spent time with family and got away without really leaving too far. But like I said, we were totally relieved to walk into our door, drop our bags and catch some Z’s as soon as we got home.

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And of course, the real reason for the long weekend, to remember those who have served and continue to serve our country. Thinking especially of my father-in-law, and Kasen’s uncle. We truly are blessed with more freedom and peace of mind because of their sacrifice(s).

Published May 28th, 2014 by

Here are some updates about our growing sweetie:

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He is now wearing 3-6 month clothes

He graduated into size 2 diapers

He finally started noticing mobiles and hanging toys

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Last month he was 23 inches and 13 lbs. 8 oz, so who knows how much he weighs now… all I know is, I see/feel him getting bigger and bigger

He just started teething, and he’s handled it like a champ, but there are definitely moments where he is screaming in pain, but they don’t last too long. Poor thing. So we’ve introduced him to Sophie the teething giraffe

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He REALLY enjoys diaper changes now

He loves spending time being in just his diaper

He loves his baby massages before bedtime

Sometimes he fights daytime naps, which totally kills me

BUT he’s sleeping through the night for 8+ hours, with one feeding around 3-4 a.m.

Since teething he has been more a little more restless some nights, grunting more than crying, which definitely wakes me up

He is a fast eater like mommy. The doctor was nice enough to label it ‘efficient eating’

He kicks and punches around more. A lot of times he’ll kick us in the chest or face when we play with him, and sometimes it hurts! It’s actually kind of funny

His hair recently grew overnight, I swear… which is AWESOME, because his hair growth couldn’t keep up with the size of his big head for a while

He is still a very smiley, happy kid

He continues to despise tummy time, so we’re working on that

He still loves sitting up and is pretty good at it now. He is definitely becoming sturdier. He especially likes his Bumbo seat, except that his legs get stuck on the way out of the chair, which totally drives him nuts

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And he still loves music, just like mom and dad

Life is wonderful and definitely more ‘regular’ or structured now, but still not completely routine. But progress is good. We like progress. Oh, gosh listen to me talking in the third person! Ahh, I’m one of those!

Anyway, I’ve realized I am past the honeymoon phase. I feel the exhaustion, and frustrations of motherhood wearing on me some days more than others, but I am continually grateful for the opportunity to stay at home with Sam, because the days have passed so quickly, it’s almost unbelievable at times.

Published May 22nd, 2014 by

We’ve been quite busy lately while still learning how to adjust to this new season in life of being a parent. It’s a tricky balance, but we’re getting the hang of it. I’m still amazed at how instinctual many things are with parenting.

Anyway, Kasen just went to Trader Joe’s with Sam so that I could have this ‘me’ time to bathe and blog. Oh, how I’ve grown to love some alone time. So here’s pretty much a brain dump of what we’ve been up to and what’s been on my mind:

Mother’s Day was wonderful. It was relaxing and enjoyable. My dad bought us ladies some chocolates. I got to Skype with my brothers and sister-in-law who are all three out on their missions (Africa, Chile and Brazil, so cool!). I napped. I laid out on a blanket in the sunshine. I spent time with my own mama for the first time in years. And, Kasen got me a dreamy KitchenAid.

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Above all, I got to celebrate Mother’s Day for my first time with the sweetest little babe, our Sam. He has taught me so many things in (almost) three short months. I’ve learned more about selflessness and sacrifice, as well as true love and true joy than I ever have in my young life. It’s incredible.

We also went to a Mariner’s game recently. It was Sam’s second game, and going out gets a bit tougher each time. He is less portable now because he is awake and wanting to see every little thing in this world. It’s neat to see the world through a child’s eyes- an appreciation for every sight and sound. Unfortunately he’ll fight sleep like crazy, then get tired and let us know all about it!
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I’m extremely forgetful these days. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve lost my phone. In fact, I lost it at the Mariner’s game, and realized it only after we got to the car and had Sam in his car seat. Kasen ran back for it, and thank goodness it wasn’t stolen, and he was able to find it. You know how they say there is pregnancy brain… well, now I know that was the beginning of the end for me. I used to function like a champ. Kasen would say I worked like a “machine.” I could work so hard, move so fast, and so efficiently. I’ll be honest, I totally took pride in that. Clearly, these are different times. Half my brain is constantly elsewhere these days. Thanks a lot Sam.

We’ve also been meeting Kasen at work for lunch, which is always fun since he works with my family.

Sam had a doctor appointment last week and got all those awesome shots. Poor kiddo was not happy about it and felt icky with a little fever. The cure: cuddles and infant tylenol. Works like magic.

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He continues to grow like a weed. It’s no wonder I dread carrying his car seat around. My arms get ridiculously sore it’s sad. He’s a half a pound short of a whopping 14 pounds. His head continues to grow, and he’s 23 inches long. That is 75-90th percentile for both height and weight. A great accomplishment for us since I worried over whether he got enough to eat during his short feeding sessions. I should probably stop reading baby books on what Sam should be eating and sleeping like, because they just make me feel like I’m doing all things wrong and my child is broken. I’ve quickly learned that mother’s instinct is best. It’s an amazing gift.

Kasen and I also had a fun little date night at the Triple Door last week to see William Fitzsimmons perform. He’s an Indie Folk singer, just a normal guy, interesting little sense of humor, fabulous singer.

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It was a great time. I got to dress up and enjoy myself while my mom watched our sweetie pie. It’s still tough for me not to constantly think about him and text my mom throughout the night asking, “How is Sam doing?” Seriously… this is my life now.

I’ve also been hanging with my mama on her days off. I enjoy her company very much. We weren’t the best of friends growing up, but I’ve grown up and learned a thing or two about her, about life, about being a mom, about the kid I was and how much I thought I knew.

I’m forever grateful for my babe. My big babe, not Sam. Little things like waking up to love notes from my Mr. before he heads out to work make me happy.

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I also went to Carter’s this weekend and found some screamin’ deals for clothes on clearance. Already preparing for summer time and our LA/San Diego trip in July.

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A random thought I’ve been ruminating over: I’ve realized that labels drive me crazy. I’m not a labels person. I don’t like to label people or be labeled. For example… I blog, but I don’t identify myself as a blogger. I make my own natural dishwasher detergent tabs, I clean with borax and vinegar, I get this strange satisfaction out of recycling, I use essential oils… people call it hippie or crunchy or whatever, but I would never call myself either of those things. I don’t know why, but it bugs the heck out of me.

However, the labels I do identify with are: wife, mommy, nurse, and Mormon (or LDS). These are things that I am, not what I do. I am more than the things I do. There’s a fine line there, and I probably sound crazy to you, but it all makes sense in my head.

Something else I have been thinking about is this quote:

“One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.”

I know it sounds so obvious, but I feel like I can finally let go of some of the painful things of the past, because I realized that anger is poisoning my soul. Meanwhile, the ‘offender’ has no intentions of changing, or no idea that I’m still hanging onto hurt.

Anyway, that was my very random post for today. Such is my life lately.

Published May 16th, 2014 by

I’m aware this post is a little mushy and may likely sound braggy, but my heart is too full not to share my joy and my gratitude.

IMG_8931 On the way to our weekly date night last night, we were driving to Seattle and having a really good time, despite the fact that we were stuck in some traffic. It was a particularly nice drive, because it was without our Sam, which meant true quality time for us, a big deal to me, as it is one of my love languages.

The joy of a simple car ride can really escape me if I’m not paying enough attention.

As we were laughing, Kasen poking at me and squeezing right above my knee (you know, kind of like tickling that is borderline painful and incredibly annoying), we were listening to my music and a certain song came on that instantly flooded me with memories. I felt a sense of nostalgia as I recalled the first time I heard it, then traced it back to where we are now. I immediately began to cry.

In May 2010, I was accepted to study abroad in Europe. The deposit was paid and the preparations began. Not long after, I was suddenly unsure about this trip and couldn’t shake the nasty feelings I had. Of course, my mind went to the worst possible scenarios… someone in my family would die while I was gone, or I would get abducted like in the movie Taken. Freaky! After a lot of prayerful consideration, I submitted my letter to drop from the program, and even though I knew things would work out, I was heartbroken nonetheless.

I don’t pretend to know all the reasons why I had that experience, but I do know one.

The semester I would have been abroad in Europe was the same semester I met Kasen. We had a very narrow window of time to meet, as I was transferring to another school in another state, and had I left to study abroad, our paths would not have crossed.

The song that played yesterday was one that Kasen and I listened to when we first met. A song we bonded over, because we both love music. A song I would listen to over and over again because it made me think of this Colorado boy I was crushing on. The same song I would go running to on the country roads of Idaho, pondering over this ‘summer fling’ and when it would end. Notice I said when, not if.

Countless experiences left me jaded and so unbelieving in men and marriage, so my faithlessness in these things lead to a total fear of commitment, and here I was, not willing to commit to anything, with this darn near perfect guy. Long distance was just not even an option. I had absolutely no long-term plans with him, but struggled with the idea of letting him go. So I thought I’d enjoy him until we had to say goodbye.

It was a beautiful summer night, the sun had just set, and we were sitting outside my apartment with the warm brick against our backs, and I remember him saying, “If you don’t see this going anywhere, then we might as well nip it in the bud now.”

That really stung. But why, if I didn’t care half as much as I said I did? Clearly my plans to wait it out, then end it had backfired.

So I made the decision to put in a little more effort. Of course in my head I thought it was bound to fail at anytime, because long distance was just never an easy thing. But Kasen drove down from Idaho every weekend for an entire year, then followed me down to Utah and eventually asked me to marry him (after which, my father threatened to castrate him, and he still stuck around! No lie).

Kasen never rushed me. Instead, he showed me endless patience and love, and over time, he gave me more than enough reasons to trust him and fully open my heart to him.

He is, quite literally, more than I dreamed of in a man, and that same song that started playing 4 years later caught us at a happy time in our lives. Here we were still flirting, laughing, holding hands across the middle console and headed out on a date night while my mom watched our newborn son at home.

If I really look at the details of my life, I can always see God’s hand working, and so far, what a sweet life it has turned out to be.

Published May 13th, 2014 by
  • Quit procrastinating on your goals. Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.  Action and change are often resisted when they’re needed most.  Get a hold of yourself and have discipline.  Putting something off instantly makes it harder and scarier.  What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow.  And there’s nothing more stressful than the perpetual lingering of an unfinished task.  The secret to getting ahead is simply getting started.  Starting, all by itself, is usually sufficient to build enough momentum to keep the ball rolling.  So forget about the finish line and concentrate on taking your first step.  Say to yourself, “I choose to start this task with a small, imperfect step.” 
  • Quit blaming others and making excuses. Stop blaming others for what you have or don’t have, or for what you feel or don’t feel.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility and perpetuate the problem.  Stop giving your power away and start taking responsibility for your life.  Blaming is just another sorry excuse, and making excuses is the first step towards failure; you and only you are responsible for your life choices and decisions.
  • Quit trying to control the uncontrollable. If you try to control everything, and then worry about the things you can’t control, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustration and misery.  Some forces are out of your control, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether you’re happy or not depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  The best thing you can do is to let go of what you can’t control, and invest your energy in the things you can – like your attitude.
  • Quit living in another time and place. Some people spend their entire lives trying to live in another time and place.  They lament about what has been, what they could have done, or what might become.  However, the past is gone, and the future doesn’t exist.  No matter how much time we spend thinking and lamenting about either, it doesn’t change anything.  One of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that our brightest future hinges on our ability to pay attention to what we’re doing right now, today.  We need to live more in the moment.  Don’t fantasize about being on vacation while at work, and don’t worry about the work piling up on your desk when you’re on vacation.  Live now.  Notice the beauty unfolding around you.
  • Quit being ungrateful. Not all the puzzle pieces of life will seem to fit together at first, but in time you’ll realize they do, perfectly.  So thank the things that didn’t work out, because they just made room for the things that will.  And thank the ones who walked away from you, because they just made room for the ones who won’t.  No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have right now that so many others are missing.

From Marc & Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living 

Published May 6th, 2014 by

Before we met Sam, we received an excessive amount of advice for all the “How to’s.” How to be a good parent, how to have a happy baby, how to change a baby’s diaper, oh, and so much more.

We heard it from friends, family, strangers in the store that noticed my big pregnant belly, and even advice from our limo driver one night. So very strange, but so well intended. Of course, I graciously accepted any bit of wisdom I could get. I wasn’t about to turn my nose up as a first-time parent who really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

After a while it got to be exhausting, especially if I did not solicit their counsel. But the best parenting advice I ever did receive came from an individual who isn’t even a parent. One of my older brothers. Oh, the irony.

He started by saying, “The only parenting advice I can give you is…”

Oh boy.

My brother, who really isn’t that much older than me, and nowhere near having children, giving me parenting advice? He tended to do that growing up. Perhaps it was the big brother thing. Nevertheless, I rolled my eyes behind the wall, but politely encouraged him to continue.

“The only parenting advice I can give you is, to take everyone else’s advice with a grain of salt.”

What wisdom. He couldn’t have said anything better and I realize that more and more as time passes.

Remembering this advice has allowed me to more fully enjoy things as they are, as opposed to how people say things are supposed to be. And in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that how it should be?

 

Published May 5th, 2014 by

I’m a quote person. I love quotes. I appreciate them for their ability to make me think deeply, and inspire soul searching. And if the quote is just right, it will prick my heart and prompt me to change my life.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is this:

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Incredibly simple, yet exceptionally profound.

Recently, I wrote a post about battling with discontentment, a shortcoming that roots from ingratitude and absolutely manifests itself in comparing, at least in my life. It’s a nasty habit to break, and of course one that requires my hard work and diligence.

Most days, the problem is not as much comparing myself to others, as it is comparing myself to myself. I’ve seen many quotes and inspirational posters that openly condone such a comparison. I suppose comparing yourself to improve yourself is one thing, but comparing yourself to criticize is another. So, I’ve grown to disagree with the idea that I am even in a race against myself. At least in one particular aspect of my life. My postpartum body.

I am not immune to the grossly unrealistic and ever changing expectations that society has for women. So, naturally I pick myself to pieces over all the things my body used to have or did not have pre-pregnancy. A sad truth.

However, I recently read an amazing post about the realities of a woman’s postpartum body, which deepened my sense of appreciation for the beautiful imperfections of my own.

The writer discussed some of these postpartum changes; the dark circles under her eyes from the lack of sleep, the widening of her hips, the stretched skin on her stomach, the list goes on. But she didn’t criticize these changes.

In reference to her stretch marks, she said:

“I once was too small to contain all of the love that filled me. Lines indicating that my daughter once lived inside me… Every limb, finger, toe…her heart, even, developed near the very place my own heart beats inside of my chest. [This is] all I have left to prove that we were once one and not two. How can I be ashamed of that?

I am not something flawless in the eyes of society, or even close to what I once was physically, but my perfect girl sees me for who I am. To her, I hang the moon. She knows my heart. She knew it long before we met. And she loves me for it. I cannot tell you how much worth and validation I feel because of that truth. My body is only a vessel for my spirit. An incredible vessel. It is strong, well, abled, and undefeated. My body is full of life. My body is powerful. My body made me a mother.

If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew her & she made me whole again.”

I love that and I totally cried reading it. Because every day, I see myself in the mirror and struggle to find that self compassion and love that I need and deserve now more than ever. My body truly is powerful, and has performed the miracle of creating a tiny, little, human life from scratch.

One of my girlfriends shared a quote on Facebook today: “Once we begin to celebrate what our body does, rather than obsessing about how it looks, we start to appreciate our body as an instrument rather than an ornament.”

It was a special reminder to me that our bodies are much more than the external characteristics we so highly prize, mother or not. So, why compare? Why compare even if it is comparing against myself?

Some things may never be as they once were, especially as a mom, so I simply cannot compare, whether it be mind, body or spirit. And I’m learning to be okay with that.

Published May 1st, 2014 by

Sadly, our Sammer is sick with a fever for his first time. Breaks my heart. We were going to take him to his 2-month appointment this week, but he can’t get his shots until his fever is gone. So, we don’t know how much he’s grown since his last appointment, which is my favorite part. But here’s a little update of his progress and cute quirks:

He has a million nicknames already from friends and family

We’ve still got ourselves a little talker, which I think is like the greatest thing ever

He is awake more and more

His feeding and sleeping schedules still own me

He is definitely a thumb sucker

His kicking is more and more coordinated

He gets better and better tracking us with his eyes

His widows peak is getting more prominent and his head is quite large, so he looks like he’s losing hair, but we’re not quite there yet

He smiles tons, especially in response to us. Makes us feel like a million bucks

He has a cute little giggle

He sometimes flares his nose so hard the edges turn white. No clue why, but it’s funny

Tummy time and diaper changes are still not a favorite

He’s not as crazy about baths as he once was

He likes to sit up and stand up in our lap. Of course we have to hold him

He loves when we sing to him and make him dance and squeeze his cheeks

He has the most gorgeous eyelashes, definitely inherited that from daddy

He’s grasping onto things more, including pulling my hair and hoop earrings, eek!

He loves music, it helps calm him down

And he’s completely enamored with the outdoors

He’s still the sweetest thing ever. I’m amazed at how much personality he has at such a young age. Things just keep getting better and better.