Friday, February 17, 2017


After Utah (I will have to do a back track post because I'm still waiting on wedding pictures), we drove to Colorado. My dad drove us down and it was the worst drive ever; white knuckling it for about 3/4 of the way! We were so happy to finally arrive, safe and sound. Despite horrible snow storms, driving through the armpit of wyoming, and getting a flat tire! (wyoming is THE worst place to get a flat tire, and that's the second time it's happened to me!)

Brendon and Kacee came down the next day, and stayed for the weekend because they were having a reception. It was so fun to spend some time with them after the honeymoon. True to form, Lyla ate crackers for 90% of the time at that reception (as seen below).

^^ My uncle and my mom. Monte and Megan are the kind and generous hosts of the evening. Lending their amazing house. They put so much work into this night. Kinda reminds me of another reception....oh yeah! MINE! Thanking them will never suffice.
It was a short & sweet weekend and we ended it by going to our favorite breakfast restaurant: The Original Pancake House. 
After breakfast and saying goodbye to my dad, kacee, and Brendon, we went to the Denver aquarium with my mom and sister. It was super cool and Jane has been eager to learn about sea creatures ever since!  She was begging for the octopus the ENTIRE time, and I was certain that there would be one. Well, that certainty began to fade as we were nearing the end and there was no sign of an octopus. Sure enough, it was the VERY last exhibit and it did not disappoint. Thank goodness. I also should mention that Lyla is at the peak age of running away from wherever she is supposed to be. Taking her out in public is completely exhausting unless she is strapped in to something. 

The weather while we were there was spectacular. I went on lots of outside runs and we had picnics, played at the park, played mini golf in the front yard (jeff would be SO proud of Jane's form.....ha!), and went on lots of walks. We took full advantage. The sunshine completely rejuvenated my soul, and coming back to cloudy Germany was quite the blow. 

^^ thats actually NOT me although when I first saw it, I had to think about it for a second. I can definitely see the resemblanace! haha
^^ talking to her daddy on the phone :)
Jane and her Nana
On this trip, Lyla learned to hit. She also learned how to say SO many new words. Jane learned how to be potty trained. (with pee, ONLY. don't get too excited) And she also learned how to not hit back when her sister hits her. They got along well for the most part. Lyla is finally getting big enough to "play" with jane and there is no scene that brings more joy than the one of them giggling and running around together in the same little fantasy world.
Shopping for make-up with my make-up helpers. And my personal trainees. I made them work out, and got them all motivated. They've since lost their steam but you better believe their highlight and brows are always on fleek. ;)
The beginning of Jane's puzzle addiction!
Jane had her first time in primary, and Lyla had her first time in nursery. Jane was terrified out of her mind and Lyla didn't even notice I was gone. If I drop her off in a place that has toys AND snacks, she does NOT ask any questions! Jane has since come along with primary, and last week her report was : "Mom! I finally got enough courage to sing in primary. But not the first song...sorry. Just the other ones." Which makes me happy because singing is that little girl's number one favorite past time.

I spent a lot of time with Lily, a good friend from high school. She has a daughter Lyla's age and it was SO fun to catch up and have our kids play together. Or rather, fun to chase our BUSY toddlers around in the same space; and trying to get a word in every now and then. Having mom friends who also knew you before you were a mom is really the best of both worlds!

When we left Colorado, I asked Jane what her favorite part was and she said "Snuggling with Nana and Rachel and Kacee and reading books." She is easily pleased. Lyla's favorite part was that she always had someone to get her snacks every second of the day. Oh and let's talk about how quickly Kacee completely won Jane's adorable. She already feels like a sister to me, and my already awesome family just got that much more awesome. I really don't know if most people genuinely LIKE, and get along with, their family as much as I do. We are a tight knit circle of friends, and it's the best circle I've ever been a part of. I hope my kids can have relationships with each other like I have with my siblings!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity." - Margaret Nadault

"We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”8
We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out. Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly." - Boyd K Packer
THIS is what I want to teach my girls. I also want them to internalize and appreciate the beauty of being a woman; and to recognize that we were created DIFFERENT (not worse, not better, different!) from men and that we have some unique and beautiful things to bring to the table. I will teach them to be strong and to chase their dreams with fierceness; but my deepest desire is that virtue, purity, and kindness will be the foundational characteristics that drive everything they do in life. I'm a feminist in the sense that if I can raise my girls to value themselves and never let a man treat them horribly, then I will count that as an enormous victory. I'm a feminist in the sense that I believe God created us equal, but different. He didn't intend for us to all do the same thing; He meant for us to fulfill different, yet equally important roles. And I'm proud of my womanly roles and attributes. I hope my daughters will be too. 
Now let's address the elephant in the room. Women's March, a frenzy of feminists declaring the injustices that supposedly befall them. I admire women who peaceably stand for what they believe in; but I think it must be said that we live in a country where women have SO many rights and are certainly not living in an oppressed nation. I think we need to take a step back and realize, in AWE, at how far we have come; and let our hearts swell with gratitude. Or we could get out of our own bubbles and visit other countries where women truly ARE oppressed in every sense of the word. I think our lack of gratitude, or even acknowledgment, for the rights we do have is shameful. We can vote, we can run for president, we can go to work or stay at home. We can be equal partners with our husbands, we can support our husbands in their dreams, and we can chase our own. We can do anything. We are the most privileged country in the world, and NO our current president will not be able to single handedly take that away, even if he wanted to, which I don't believe he does. (i.e.) I'm not a huge fan of the guy, but I also don't think he is out to take away women' rights, but that's what the media would have us believe. If you can answer this, please do: Where is the oppression? I feel like there are still female stereotypes (but for every female stereotype, there is a male stereotype) and I don't know how those will ever vanish unless everyone on this earth magically become charitable and christ-like. 
Living a life of gratitude will bring happiness. An entitled attitude does not.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

CATCH UP: the snowy and sunny parts of utah

After our 36 hour journey from Germany to Utah, there were no words to adequately describe how euphoric and heavenly it felt to sleep in a comfortable bed.

We started out at my dad's house, and then began the house hopping! Jeff's parents drove all the way from Houston to see us for just a few days. Us, in our jet lagged, sickly glory. Jeff was exempt from the jet lagged category somehow. The first day we went to a museum where both of my girls were having fun, but also walking around like zombies; with their eyes wide, blankly staring at nothing. Their eyes were glossed over and BEGGING for sleep so we went home to give them a little nap. Then we went to our beloved texas roadhouse, and both girls were LITERALLY falling asleep in between every bite. Luckily, that day was the worst of it and the next day we headed to Spring City where Jeff's Grandma and Grandpa live.
AND WE WERE GREETED WITH SNOW, so out came the adorable snowsuits!
We got out the 4 wheeler + sled which is just a perfect memory-making combo if you ask me. Jeff pulled his girls around, looking back every few seconds to make sure we were alright.
And the dog, Belle, was also a hit. 
 A grandma who is never afraid to get on the ground and PLAY with her grandkids. I'll always be amazed at how she can make so many grandkids feel so special.
I love the relationship Jeff has with his dad. They spent a majority of their time together in their own land of conversation and they sure enjoyed it. They laugh, talk, and think the same and truly understand each other. I'm so grateful for the influence his dad has had on him.

We had a delicious dinner that night with Jeff's grandparents, Jeff parents, Laura & Tom, and an aunt and uncle. 

The next day, we decided we had had enough of the snow and decided to go where there was SUNSHINE! St. George did the trick. Our family, my dad, rachel, brendon, and kacee all went down there to stay with my grandparents for 4 days where almost all of use proceeded to get sick.  My girls got the worst of it and were miserable for most of the time. But we still made the most of it and were outside as much as possible because, in my opinion, there is almost nothing as healing as some warm fresh air. 
We got matching shoes to celebrate our sisterhood. But mostly because we both thought they were adorable and both our husbands thought they looked hot on us ;) SCORE. A win for everyone involved. Also, I realllllly am glad she is my sister now :) 

Us adults had a blast galavanting around the city. Kacee and Rachel helped me find dresses for myself and the girls for the wedding, and we got some outings sans kids where we shopped some more and ate some delicious food. But the most delicious food of all came straight out of my grandma's kitchen. She is the ultimate host, and we all ate like kings the whole time. I've learned in the past year how hard it is to be that great of a host, yet she has always made it look so easy. Mad respect for that woman.

Kacee and Brendon won Jane over forever when they told her they were taking her on a date and ended up at an ice cream shop. She's been obsessed with them ever since. She spent a lot of time cuddling with anyone who would, and it was sweet of everyone to risk their health in doing so. Seriously that house had become a pit of despair and sickness, and somehow we were all still happy because we were together.
Jane loved, loved, LOVED this dog!
 ^^ They will be awesome parents one day ;) but really.....
 Don't we all, besides Jeff, look so miserable and sick? Oh goodness, just keeping it real. BAAAAD.

And one night, Jane and I fell asleep at 7pm for the night. It was in that moment that Brendon officially deemed me a boring mom. So, yeah, we weren't as lively as usual during these days; but I think we've made up for it in the days since.

My girls were absolutely smothered in love this weekend, and every day since. It amazes me and humbles me flat when I get to SEE how many people in this world love us, and are so good to us. I hope my girls always feel buoyed up by the love that they feel from so many people in so many places.


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