December 17, 2012

MUSIC mondays: favorite CHRISTMAS songs

I'm being lazy today and doing a repost for MUSIC mondays!  Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas songs.

10.  "Christmas is Calling"

I have my husband to thank for introducing me to this song.  It's just sweet.

9.  "Christmas Song"

I first heard this song by Dave Matthews back in high school.  A different Christmas song, but beautiful nonetheless.

8.  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

I love The Carpenter's version of this song.  If I had to pick a romantic Christmas song, this one would be it!

7.  "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

Love Mannheim Steamroller's version (as Veni Veni).  Perfection!

6.  "Carol of the Bells"

I grew up listening to Mannheim Steamroller's version of this song.  I also saw them in concert.  Amazing.  I also sang this song in my 9th grade choir.  It's a fun, energetic song!

5.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

This is such a fun, holiday song.  Every time I hear it, I think of the scene from Home Alone when he is fooling the robbers into thinking there is a house full of people.

4. "O Holy Night"

"Fall on your knees!  Oh, hear the angel's voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born."  I love the lyrics to this song, and it's powerful melody brings tears to my eyes.  While Josh Groban is a close second, I think Celine Dion takes the cake on the best version of this song, EVER. (I'm expecting a rebuttal, Karen.  Haha!)

3.  "Hallelujah Chorus"

Handle's Messiah is absolutely amazing.  My very smart mother took me to a Messiah Sing-In with the Utah Symphony when I was still quite young.  It had an everlasting impact on me.  I can't not listen to the Hallelujah Chorus without getting chills, and I love this version of the piece.

2.  "Happy X-Mas (War is Over)"

Whether it's the original by John Lennon, or Sarah McLachlan's cover, or this French Canadian dude's version, I absolutely love this song.

1.  "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful"

I began taking violin lessons when I was just barely six years old.  One violin teacher I had gave her students the opportunity to make a Christmas album in a recording studio.  It required a ton of work, usually 8+ hours in the studio, often recording/playing the same song many different times.  During one such recording session, I found myself recording Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful. As I played each note and listened to the lyrics of the song in my mind, my heart became very full.  My eyes blurred and swelled with tears.  The message and spirit of this song touched my young soul in a way I can't articulate, but the feelings I had have remained with me all these years later, making this beautiful Christmas hymn by far my favorite song of the season.  Surprisingly, I have yet to find a version of this song I absolutely love, but this piano solo rendition is very lovely.

December 14, 2012

"go, MOM"

Last week Isabelle participated in her first dance recital.  It was a really great day, and I was so incredibly proud of her.

When we arrived at the school where the recital was to be held, I took her to the room where all the dancers had to check-in.  I found the other girls from her class and took her to where they were sitting.  It was so adorable to see all these little girls dressed in the same costume with their hair and makeup all perfect.  They all seemed so excited.

I learned soon after that an older dancer would be in charge of the girls so the parents could sit in the auditorium and enjoy the show.  Given Isabelle's history with stranger anxiety, I was a bit hesitant to leave her alone.  But, I was sort of given the impression that I needed to leave.  And I wanted to leave, so that didn't bother me. 

I put my arm around Isabelle and told her to stay with her friends and showed her the girl that would be looking after her.  Her reaction?

"Ok, go now, Mom."

I was a little taken back by her response.  So, I clarified and said, "You want me to leave?"

And she said, "Yes, go now, Mom."

With a smile on my face, I stood up, told Isabelle I loved her and proceeded to exit the room.

Some moms would probably be mortified if their daughter told them to leave them alone, especially when the daughter is not quite four years old.  But, that's not the case for me.  Any parent that has dealt with a child with extreme stranger anxiety would probably agree the moment your child appears to outgrow the issue is a day to celebrate.  At least, that's the case for me.

I found my family in the auditorium and told Dustin what Isabelle said to me.  We both had a good chuckle about it, and he, too, agreed it was a wonderful thing for her to say.

As I watched my little girl walk onto the stage, seeming completely unimpressed by the packed auditorium, even waving to everyone, I was so happy for her.  She did a wonderful job dancing, looking absolutely graceful at times, and I couldn't help but wonder if this was the beginning of a long road for her and dancing.

No matter what the future holds, I'll always be so grateful for the moment Isabelle told me to "go."  

December 11, 2012

BABBABOX project

Isabelle and I had a great opportunity to do a project thanks to the wonderful people at BabbaBox.  

We received this great box in the mail and couldn't wait to see what was all inside.  To our delight, our box was all based on the theme Sun, Moon and Stars.  

It came with two different projects for us to complete,

a storybook, 

and a set of binoculars.  

In other words, everything any child could want to learn more about the universe!

Isabelle really wanted to create her own constellation.  She's really into stars and stickers, so it was the perfect activity for her.  The best part, I didn't have to get anything.  BabbaBox had all the tools and supplies necessary to complete the project along with step-by-step instructions.

Isabelle loved the stickers and creating her own constellation.

Now, I should mention that BabbaBox wasn't able to provide one crucial ingredient for this project and that was the sun.  I waited and waited and waited for the sun to shine, but alas I was stuck with overcast days.  Isabelle had her heart set on this project, so I decided to do what I could to still make it a success by using what light I had in the house.

Here she is immersing her project in water.

Letting it dry.

Isabelle taking advantage of the coloring pages while we waited for everything to dry.

In the end, our project didn't go completely according to plan, but we had a great experience trying.  And sometimes that's the best part!

What I loved most about BabbaBox is the convenience of it all.  I literally had everything I needed to spend a few quality hours with my daughter delivered right to my doorstep.  I always intend to do crafts with Isabelle, but I always find myself not having what is needed on hand.  

Thanks BabbaBox!


BabbaBox is a theme-based box delivered to your door that allows you to enjoy a little convenience and inspiration! As any parent can attest, the most important thing you can give to your child is quality time. BabbaBox makes this possible by helping you to save time, money, & mindspace.
Just think! Fantastic monthly activities with ALL the materials for kids ages 3-6. Included in the box are 3 projects + 1 bestselling book + digital download + parent surprise gift!
The best part? Babbabox makes a GREAT unique gift during the holiday season.
Act now! Get 50% off your first month when you sign up for a monthly membership using the code, SWAY100. Offer expires December 31, 2012.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BabbaBox. The opinions and text are all mine.

December 10, 2012


Once again, TV has played a key factor in my spotlight today for MUSIC mondays.  I first heard the song 

on a commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods.  Totally random, huh?  I thought so too.

Anyway, I love this song.  I like the lyrics, the beat and the overall feeling to it.  

Check it out!

December 7, 2012


I had a little bit of a wake-up call yesterday with respect to my cleaning habits.  I posted a little bit ago that I needed to let loose when it came to what Isabelle played with.  I've done better lately by letting her paint inside, color and do other crafts that are potentially very messy and require some clean-up.  However, I still must be a bit uptight about it all becuase this is the conversation I had with her yesterday:

I:  Mom, can I play in my room?

Me:  Of course.

I:  Mom, can I make a mess?

Me:  Definitely

{Some time goes by...}

I:  Mom, I made a mess

I scan her room.  Only 3 or 4 toys are on the floor.  My heart sank.

Me:  Isabelle, you didn't make a mess.  Do you want to keep playing?

I:  Yes, please shut the door.

{Some more time goes by...}

I:  Mom, I'm all done playing!

I scan her room again.  Toys were everywhere.  I smiled and happily helped her clean up.

It's definitely time to make sure my daughter knows she is free to play with her toys in her room without worrying about the consequences of making too big of a mess.  It's not like she has markers in there and will write all over the wall.  It's just a matter of putting things back where they belong, and, since dejunking, things are organized and very easy to clean up.

Working on chillaxing has officially begun!

December 5, 2012


Christmas has officially arrived at our house.  We didn't necessarily choose to wait until December to put our tree up, but since we did I think we'll continue doing that each year.  It's nice to keep the holidays separate as much as possible.

Here is our tree.  Every single ornament is 100% shatterable and nothing about the tree is kid-friendly, but we refuse to put up anything else.  So far, Isabelle is very good about not playing with it.  I thank my lucky stars for that.

Maybe one day we'll have one just for Isabelle that's a bit more age appropriate.  But, for now, she's going to have to suffer with our pre-kid tree because we just love it too much not to display it.

December 4, 2012


On Sunday, I had to attend a meeting at church before my actual worship services began.  It was crazy, crazy windy as I arrived at the church.  My hair, skirt, everything was blowing everywhere as I approached the door to the building.

Suddenly, a very powerful gust of wind slammed against the roof right above me.  This gust of wind caused a large amount of water from the roof to come splashing down to the ground.  But, before it reached the ground it landed directly on top of me.

I was completely soaked.  I stood at the door a little in shock, wondering if I should risk being late by running home and fixing my hair and changing clothes.

I decided to suck it up and stay at the church and to be on time to my meeting.  I made a stop at the restroom to wipe off my face and to do what I could to make myself a bit more presentable.  But, all in all, I looked like a sorry mess.

As I walked along the hallways of the church, my hair looking like it does when I first step out of the shower, I told myself I needed to think about my priorities a bit when it came to my appearance.  Perhaps I need to be a tad more vain and less concerned with punctuality.

I'm pretty sure I'll stick with punctuality, but in the meantime I have a fun story to tell and have added yet another reason as to why I totally and utterly hate and loathe the wind.

December 3, 2012


I can't explain how excited I get when I stumble upon a new artist.  These days, I discover new artists or songs that I just love via TV.  Isn't it funny how commercials and TV shows have killer soundtracks?

Anyway, I first heard BROOKE WAGGONER's song

on one of those made-for-television Hallmark Christmas movies over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Given how those movies usually roll, I wasn't expecting to hear such a cool song.  

So, being the completely normal person that I am, I instantly did a Google search and found the name of the song and the artist within minutes.  And a few minutes later, the song was being downloaded onto my iPad.

Isn't technology great?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song.  And, if you're already a fan of Waggoner's let me know which song of hers is your favorite!

Happy Monday Everyone!

November 30, 2012


As much fun as November has been writing a post per day {in theory} about the things I'm grateful for, today I'm very glad that I'm done.  It definitely gave me the boost I've needed to blog more often, and I think it gave my creative juices a jumpstart.

Thanks to everyone who followed along with my posts.  You helped me keep going!

November 29, 2012

{day TWENTY-NINE} BLOG nominations

I'm grateful today that my humble little blog was nominated over at At Peek at Karen's World.  This is the second time "someone" {I'm pretty sure I know who it is} has nominated by blog, and it sure is nice.

I'm nominated in three different categories:  Best Kept Secret, Most Inspiring Post and Most Thought-Provoking post.

Last year, this post won and I was so happy because it is something that is very dear to my heart and a major issue that people need to be more aware of.

Go ahead and check out Karen's blog and vote for your favorite blogs and posts.

November 28, 2012


I went to a doctor appointment today, and at 29 weeks things are looking just as they should at this point during my pregnancy.

I heard the baby's heartbeat and it sounded so strong and fast.  Since I've only been able to hear it once a month so far {I'm not at the point where I go to my doctor every two weeks instead of four}, there's always a part of me that is worried that something might be wrong.

In two weeks I get to go to another appointment, and because I raised some concerns about my lack of weight gain {I don't have anything to worry about.  I just thought I'd be bigger at this point than I am}, my doctor is going to do an ultrasound.  At this point, the baby will be much more recognizable and it will be so much fun to see her face.

Having a baby is always risky.  In my situation, it's a little more risky because of my epilepsy, so I am so grateful that our newest addition is healthy and, by all accounts, happy.

November 27, 2012


In preparation for Baby #2, I am dejunking and reorganizing my house.  Specifically all of Isabelle's toys and clothes.  I've been meaning to do this ever since I stopped working over a month ago, but never had the motivation.

Well, now I have my motivation and it's great.  Getting rid of stuff is such a great feeling, and I'm constantly amazed at how many things we acquire over time.  I don't know where everything comes from, but I do know consolidating and only keeping what we really need makes a huge difference.

If you've been meaning to do some dejunking, get to it!  You'll be grateful for all the extra space.

November 26, 2012


Dustin is on a business trip this entire week, which means it's just us at home.  

It also means I get the entire bed to myself, and sometimes I just love when I can sleep in the middle of the bed.  It feels like such a special treat to lay in the center of the bed when most nights I'm confined to my own little side.

I told Dustin how excited I was about this, and he whole-heartedly agreed that he was excited to do the same thing in his hotel.

I love that we can talk about how excited we are about certain things and be okay with it, especially when those things involve the other person being gone.

That's just the kind of marriage I have, I guess.

Anyway, so yay for an entire week of sleeping in the middle.

November 25, 2012


Dustin asked me when I was going to do a grateful post about our dogs, Sammie {L} and Tod {R}.  And since I'm very grateful for Dustin, I decided to follow through with his request.

I'm not a die-hard dog lover, but I don't loathe them like some people.

There are elements to being a dog owner that I can't stand.  But, there are things that I enjoy too.  Particularly, when Dustin is on business trips and I'm home alone with Isabelle.  I'm grateful that the dogs are there to bark their brains out if someone comes to the door.

I don't consider myself a paranoid person by any means; however, I do feel a sense of security when I go to bed at night knowing that Sammie and Tod will lose all control should they hear anyone near or in our house.  These creatures bark at the wind, so they'd certainly bark at a strange person coming into our house.

They've even comforted me one time after I watched an episode of Medium when I was home alone.

So, yes, in some small way I am grateful for Sammie and Tod.  They may look harmless, but when it comes to people in the house they are fearless.  :)

November 24, 2012


I try not to get uber religious on my blog.  I'm not ashamed or shy to talk about my faith, but religion in general is not what my goal is for this blog.

But, I can't put together a grateful list without mentioning a few aspects of my faith that mean the most to me.  And one of them is prayer.

I pray daily to my Heavenly Father.  I pray by myself and with my family.  I pray about everything and anything.  Whenever I feel our of sorts, scared or just need to feel peace and comfort I pray.

I have no doubts that my prayers are heard.  I have no doubts that my prayers are answered, according to God's will.

I can't imagine a life without prayer.  The comfort I get from prayer is unlike anything else, and I'm so grateful for that avenue of communication I have with my creator. 

November 23, 2012


Dustin and I rarely go out alone.  We spend most of our time together with our daughter, which is great, but having a date night or alone time outside of the house is something that I rarely make time for.

Today, on Black Friday, we left our daughter with her grandparents to do some shopping.  We usually leave in the early afternoon and come home in the evening.  We are able to get all of Isabelle's Christmas shopping done, then we grab a bite to eat and catch a movie before heading home.

We were both very much looking forward to our day out together, and everything went the way we planned.  Whenever it's just the two of us out and about, it's so nice and stress free.  We can actually have a conversation, eat our food at a normal speed, and basically just enjoy each other's company without the need to worry about anything else.

Even though it's hard for me to ask for baby-sitters, I've decided I really do need to make time for a once a month date night with Dustin.  I think it'll be one of my goals for next  year.  It's an important thing to make a priority and it really does help me with my overall well-being.

November 22, 2012


Today, on Thanksgiving, it seems like the best time to be thankful for my family.  I tried to be creative with my thankful list, but at one point you have express your feelings for the people that are the most important.

I come from a great family and I married into a great family.  Both my parents, all my in-laws, siblings, nieces and nephews bring happiness and joy to my life.  They help and teach me so much.

And, of course, my sweet husband and our little ball of fire, otherwise known as our daughter, are constant reminders to me of what is most important in life.  Life as a wife is very rewarding and it's not something I take lightly.  I'm grateful for my marriage and all the ups and downs that come along with it.  

Motherhood rocks my world.  My dear Isabelle can entice practically every emotion imaginable inside me.  I can go from so frustrated to complete happiness within minutes.  It's the most difficult role I've ever played, and probably ever will play.  It's constant work with never ending changes, but at the same time very rewarding and satisfying.

I love my family.

November 21, 2012

{day TWENTY-ONE} dollar MENUS

Last night, my little crew and I went to McDonald's for some treats.  We were all craving {okay, mostly me} some ice cream, and what's better than a yummy vanilla ice cream cone for only $1?

Of course, whenever you go to McDonald's, you have to get a large drink because, hello, they are only $1 too.  The only thing that would've made our little outing better is if I could have ordered a Dr. Pepper instead of my usual caffeine free Sprite.

So, the next time you have a little craving, hop on over to your nearest fast food joint and enjoy a little treat for only $1.  It really is something we should all take advantage of.

November 20, 2012


I really love my house.  It's not the biggest house on the block, nor is it the most updated with fancy features.  Heck, it's not even decorated with the latest and greatest furniture and gadgets {example:  our TV is 8 years old}, but I still love it.

Two years ago, we were living in a different state and had a completely different house.  While our home now is a townhouse with a small yard, our home back then was a single family home with a generous yard.  We had more space than we needed in that house.  In fact, we had to sell or put into storage many of our belongings after we moved because we simply didn't have the space.

But, despite having to sacrifice space, I love our new home because it's so much closer to the things that matter.  We're closer to family, we're closer to friends and we're in an area that suits us so much better in terms of opportunities for our daughter{s} like better schools, more cultural experiences and so forth.

As I find myself sitting in my house, often wishing I had one more bedroom, I'm reminded of the importance of not being greedy or envious of other people.  I feel satisfied that, when all is said and done, this house represents that we are living within our means while working towards something more grand.

I'm excited for the day when we are one step closer to our dream home, but in the meantime I'm grateful for the house we have and the security and comfort it provides.

November 19, 2012


I feel like I pretty much bombed last week.  

It started out with me being sick and basically unproductive until Thursday.  I couldn't cook or clean and had to lay around all day.  Even though it wasn't my choice to get sick, it still made me feel guilty knowing I wasn't pulling my weight around the house.  And I had to keep reminding myself that the only way I'd start to feel better is by resting; otherwise, recovery would take that much longer.

Today is a much better Monday.  I'm back on track with going about my usual activities and it feels so good to start the week off on the right foot.

For some reason, Mondays are always something I look forward to.  I like the feeling of "getting back to normal," and Mondays represent that for me.  It always seems like when Mondays roll around you get the chance at having a better or more productive week.

And that is something I'm grateful for today because I really, really needed it.

November 18, 2012


I guess I'm the type of person you'd categorize as "A" or "Red" when it comes to certain things.  I really like to be as prepared as possible.  My husband and I disagree about my level of worrying when it comes to certain things, but I will admit that I'm not a very "fly by the seat of your pants" type person.

I have a calendar in my house that I use regularly.  I like to schedule things like birthday parties probably more in advanced than the average person.  And I like to keep a schedule with things that I do around the house, like the laundry.

I spend all day Monday doing the laundry.  And then I fold it on Tuesday.  As I'm writing this I have a whole pile of clothes that need to be folded and put away.

For whatever reason, I like having a schedule when it comes to laundry.  Obviously, I do a few extra loads here and then, but usually I stay on track.  It's something that helps me feel productive at the beginning of a new week.

And I never get tired of the feeling when I've put the last piece of laundry away and am done for the week.

Maybe my love of scheduling and calendaring is weird, but it's who I am.  And for that I am grateful.

November 17, 2012

{day SEVENTEEN} her little QUIRKS

How surprising is this?  I'm behind and back-dating again!

Today, I'm choosing to be grateful {otherwise I find myself constantly annoyed} by my daughter's little quirks.  I caught myself realizing that one day these will be great memories to talk about when she's older, and possibly things I will miss as she moves on to new and different things.


She wears Sunday dresses to bed and PJs during the day.

A few of her favorite excuses:  She's too little, she's too busy or she doesn't feel well.

She refuses to go the bathroom, and usually only ever does after me begging her for hours.

She consumes applesauce like it's going out of style.  I seriously can't keep enough in the house.


I could go on and on, but I think it will only make my blood pressure go up.  I'm writing this post just after returning home from a few errands, errands that included exiting Costco with a screaming child and cleaning up a pee accident in Rumbi's.

Yep, her little quirks are always amusing and I'm counting on using them as pay back when she's a teenager.  :)

November 16, 2012

{day SIXTEEN} GIRLS' nights

There's something very therapeutic about a girls' night out.  I try to get together with two of my friends that I've known for several, several years at least once a month.  We usually find a place to eat that stays open late so we can chat as long as we like.

Tonight, I'm going out with my two sisters-in-law.  We're going to see the last Twilight movie.  Just for the record, I stopped reading the last Twilight book after I learned Bella and Edward named their daughter Renesmee.  Dumbest name ever.

Anyway, I've seen all the other movies, so it only seems natural that I'd see the last one in the theater just for tradition's sake.  Even though I'm not expecting much from the movie {although, I did enjoy New Moon}, it will be good to get out of the house and have some girl time.

What sorts of things do you do with your girlfriends?

November 15, 2012


Last night I received a random text message from my sister-in-law, Brittney.  Our conversation went a little something like this:


B:  I can't wait for Baby L to get here!

Me:  Baby hungry?


Me:  Only 13 more weeks and then she'll be here!

B:  I better get shopping.  I need to get to work on being the favorite aunt.

Me:  She's going to love you!


It's fun randomness like this that I love.  Random texts, phone conversations, e-mails, Facebook statuses that can sometimes bring people closer together.

Be random today.

November 14, 2012


A few months ago, Isabelle discovered Tinker Bell and fell in love with her and pretty much all things fairies.

Shortly before Halloween, we found her a Tinker Bell costume, complete with the dress and wings.  Isabelle was SO excited to wear the costume she could hardly contain herself.

The first time she tried on the costume, she was so excited for the wings.  I was at work at the time, but later learned that she genuinely believed once her wings were on she would be able to fly.  Dustin told me it was heartbreaking to see her face as he explained to her that she wouldn't really be able to fly.

This experience struck me because it was the first time reality really set in for Isabelle, and she learned for the first time that what she sees on TV isn't always real.

Why am I grateful for this experience?  Because it was a wake-up call.  While it is difficult to know I'll be spending my life explaining why life is not fair and why some people are mean, I know it's part of being a parent.  And I need to be prepared to know how to handle it the best way possible.

I also know that, as a parent, I can do all I can to encourage Isabelle to be anything she wants to be.

I can support her in whatever endeavor she chooses.

And that may as well be giving her wings.

November 13, 2012


I'm grateful that I can take advantage of new opportunities pretty much any time I want.

Over ten years ago, I worked at a store in the mall that sold essential oils.  I was immediately drawn to them, and now, all these years later, have started doing research about them again.  I like the idea of using them for cleaning, but also learning if they really do help with things like anxiety, insomnia and relaxation.  I'm also curious to know if they could help me with my epilepsy, specifically the memory loss I suffered because of having seizures and my overall absentmindedness that comes from having an abnormal brain.

I have a friend who has found herself to be quite successful with her doTERRA business, and it's made me wonder about getting more involved with essential oils.  I definitely need to try more and determine if I really believe in them, but knowing that opportunity is available to me is something I'm happy about.

Here's to new opportunities and making the most out of life.

November 12, 2012


Today my friends received some unfortunate news about their son's health.  It was very heartbreaking  to know this little boy, who's not even three years old yet, will have to endure a painful surgery when he should be living his life as a carefree little guy, playing outside in the snow with his friends.

The whole situation just isn't fair.

When I find myself whining or complaining about the difficulties in my life, especially those attributed to my daughter, I stop and tell myself that I am lucky.  There is always someone out there experiencing something more painful or heartbreaking.

Not to diminish my own trials, but when people whom you adore are going through things that you have no way of comprehending, it is very humbling.  And I paused today as I thought about the physical blessings that my family and I are blessed with.

Good luck, buddy!  We're here for you!

November 11, 2012

{day ELEVEN} SUNDAY dinner

Every so often, we'll go to my parents' house for Sunday dinner.  There's something special about eating dinner with your parents, especially when your mom makes her delish lasagna.  Try as I might, I can never replicate its awesomeness.

This Sunday was extra difficult for us because Isabelle misbehaved a lot during church.  We've been dealing with this sort of thing basically since she was born, and I think Dustin and I were just done with it all.

Right after church, we went to my parents' house and enjoyed a great dinner and conversation.  It was just the thing I needed after such a stressful day.

One of these days church will be an enjoyable experience for me again.  Until then, I,always have Sunday dinner to help lighten my mood.

November 10, 2012

{day TEN} federal HOLIDAYS

My husband works in finance and, therefore, gets all federal holidays off.  It's wonderful!

This weekend is a three-day one for Dustin since it's Veterans' Day on Sunday.  We see so little of each other during the week that I enjoy all of our weekends, but it's extra special when we have one extra day to spend with each other and not worrying about work.

Another great thing about federal holidays is that they seem to come around so often and so fast.  I think there are at least 7 or 8 a year, and since time flies for me it seems as though these fun freebie days are always right around the corner.

I imagine some people who have to work on federal holidays {I've definitely been there} probably are annoyed by them, or at least find them inconvenient if you find yourself needing to go to the post office or bank.  But, in our household they're golden.

Okay, a tad cheesy, but it's late and I'm gearing myself up for the drama that always ensues when it comes to putting my daughter to bed.

Anyway, thanks again federal holidays!

November 9, 2012


It's been almost a month since I quit my job.  There have been plenty of days that have caused me to remember why I enjoy working so much.  Going to work added a bit of diversity to my life that I don't normally get otherwise.  I was able to socialize and rub shoulders with my co-workers, and I miss that.

Nowadays, I spend most of my time with Isabelle and her friends.  And, I'll admit, sometimes I just want a break from the usual that comes from being a stay-at-home-mom.

However, despite how mundane my days can seem, I am grateful that I'm able to stay at home.  And that is only possible because Dustin is such a hard worker and takes his responsibility as our primary bread winner very, very seriously.

I used to work part-time at an event's center, and too many of my co-workers were women who worked multiple jobs because their husbands couldn't find "the perfect job." Instead, these "men" opted to not work at all, not seeming to mind that their wives worked on their feet all day long.

Over the years, Dustin has taken jobs that he knew he wouldn't like, but he tolerated them while he looked for something better.  The idea of not working just because the greatest job wasn't falling into his lap was never an option.  And, eventually, his patience and endurance paid off because now he has a great job.

Yesterday, Dustin worked 14 hours.  The day before that he worked 12.  And the day before that he worked 9.  Who knows how long he'll work today.  He works so, so hard because that's the type of person he is.  He has a great work ethic, and even though I know the pressure of being our primary bread winner is great he never fails to go to work every day.

I often ask him how I can make his days easier, to lighten his load.  And his answer is always, "Having dinner ready for me when I come home means so much."

So, not only is he a hard worker, he's pretty easy to please.

November 8, 2012

{day EIGHT} SEWING skills

I can't sew to save my life.  I had to take a TLC class back in junior high and I still don't know how I passed the sewing portion of the class.

Over the past few months I've become more grateful for those people in my life that have sewing skills. Mainly, my mother-in-law Roberta.  She is so talented when it comes to her sewing machine.  She made my daughter's blessing dress.  She made my daughter's favorite blanket.  She has fixed holes in my daughter's favorite blanket.  And most recently, she took in my daughter's favorite Rapunzel dress - a dress that has always been too big for her and now fits perfectly.

Roberta's skills have left a lasting impression on my daughter as well.  Whenever she see's a shirt with a small hole in it or a string dangling from a pant cuff, she very confidently states, "Don't worry, Mom.  Grandma Berta can fix it."

I've since come to realize that I probably should learn how to sew.  It really seems to be a handy skill. For the time being, though, I'm just grateful for Grandma Berta always coming to the rescue.

November 7, 2012


I rarely use Twitter, but when I do it is usually to tweet my distaste for a certain company.  Whether I am the victim of bad customer service or a business just does something that I think is wrong, I tweet about it.  

Sure, I'm limited to a certain amount of characters, and when all is said and done, nothing is resolved.  But I get a kick out of how fast the company responds because they know bad news spreads fast - especially when bad news is posted on social networking sites.

Of course, I don't limit my complaints to just Twitter.  I take advantage of surveys that company's put on their receipts, "contact us" emails company's post on their websites and so forth.  It's a great way for me to vent my frustrations without having to actually talk to someone.  And, honestly, I usually always get a response back and more often than not I am sent coupons for free stuff as an apology.

There really isn't any excuse for poor customer service these days, so if you're not sending e-mails when you're treated poorly be sure to start!  You'll be surprised what company's will do to keep your business.

November 6, 2012

{day SIX} ONLINE banking

Or, should I say online credit union-ing since I prefer them over banks?

Nevertheless, online financing is one of the greatest things of all time.  I remember as a young, dumb teenager my financial institution asking me if I wanted to sign up for an online account.  For some reason I thought it would cost money, so I always declined.  Then I grew a brain and have never gone back!

When Dustin and I first got married, it was very clear we managed our finances differently.  I checked my online account frequently and always had a good estimate in my head of what was available.  I always managed to mess up the math on my register, and eventually just gave up.

He, on the other hand, was very strict with keeping a register and the thought of me spending any money without writing it down was really frustrating.

We attempted having one, joint account and that lasted an entire two seconds.  We are definitely a dual-account couple, and it works for us.

But, getting back to the point, the convenience of online financing is so amazing.  Need to transfer money from checking into savings?  With two clicks it's done!  Running low on your checking account?  No problem, do a transfer from savings to checking in no time at all.  Want to pay a bill without mailing it?  Snap!  You've got a bill pay option!

The possibilities are endless.

November 5, 2012

{day FIVE} JIMMY JOHN'S delivery

There have been quite a few times in recent memory that I have totally and utterly craved a Jimmy John's sandwich but had no way of getting to one.

Insert Jimmy John's delivery service.

This was the answer to all of my crazy, pregnant woman needs.  I probably ordered them at least once a week for a month.

Are they over priced sandwiches?  Yes.

Is it stupid you have to pay extra for cheese?  Definitely.

But, hello, they are delish sandwiches and I may just have to order one tomorrow.

November 4, 2012

{day FOUR} NATURAL light

One of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is open all of my blinds.  I love the way natural light makes my house feel.  Everything seems so fresh and clean when the sun is shining into the family room.

I used to live in a house that had close to 20 windows on the main floor, 9 of which were basically floor-to-ceiling.  It was AWESOME!  I hope I can live in a house that allowed so much light to come into all the rooms.

If you're not already, open your windows everyday!  The sun really does make such a difference.

November 3, 2012

{day THREE} the FALL weather

Summertime was HOT in Utah this year.  I don't remember a summer quite as hot.  We had more than our fair share of 100+ degree days, and it was miserable.  We had very little rain and it seemed like there was no end to the dreaded heat.

As soon as September rolled around it was the best feeling.  The weather immediately changed for the better.  No more paying for A/C, sweating 24/7, and tossing and turning at night because it was just too dang hot to sleep.

Isabelle and I have enjoyed many walks since Fall arrived.  It's so lovely walking around our neighborhood when there is a crisp chill in the air.  Isabelle adores playing in the leaves with her friends and we've adorned our front porch with some great pumpkins.


Fall also means the beginning of so many fun things like birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkin shakes and cinnamon candles.

Seriously, what isn't great about Fall?!

November 2, 2012

{day TWO} good NEIGHBORS

All things considered, I'm not the most social person in the world.  I'm perfectly content doing things by myself and don't fret when I find myself without something to do every single weekend.

When we moved into our house, we met a few of our neighbors that had kids around the same age as Isabelle.  We all go to the same church, our kids play together on a regular basis and we help each other when it comes to baby-sitting or borrowing a cup of sugar.

I didn't anticipate getting along with my neighbors like I do, but it's really nice having a good relationship with them.  I consider them my friends and love living by them and seeing them on a daily basis.  Too often I keep to myself, but when I find myself being a bit more social I learn that it really is a lot of fun.

November 1, 2012


I am currently 26 along in my second pregnancy.  Everything about my first pregnancy was a breeze.   In fact, I was really concerned that things went a little too well and that if I ever got pregnant again I was due for the exact opposite.

While this pregnancy has been a tad more difficult in terms of feeling sick during the first trimester, overall things have been going really well.  I'm able to go about my days pretty much the same as before.  I have yet to wear any maternity clothes and have only gained 2 lbs.

I have a wonderful doctor who has such a great office and staff.  Everyone is so friendly and professional when I go in for my appointments.  I genuinely love my monthly visits, and not just because I get to hear my baby's heartbeat but also because everyone is so great to work with.

As the arrival of my second daughter draws closer, I constantly think how grateful I am for the smooth process thus far.  I know things could be a lot worse and uncomfortable.

October 31, 2012

my NOVEMBER goal

Life has been fairly rough for me in the motherhood department.  My daughter has been "on one" for the last several weeks and it's so hard not to take her extreme tantrums, hitting, screaming and overall disagreeableness as a sign that I am a terrible mom.

But instead of complaining, I'm going to attempt to heal from the continuous trials that seem to encompass my entire day by writing a post every day during the month of November about the things I am grateful for.

I realize it's November 8th, so obviously I have some catching up to do.  And because I'm a bit OCD I'm going to do a different post for each of my catch up days and possibly even back date them.  :)

More to come!

October 22, 2012


Today I'm featuring the artist 

and her song

I adore this song because it's lyrics are so inspirational and things I hope my daughter thinks about.

"I wanna hold the whole wide world
Right here in my open hands
Maybe I'm just a little girl
A little girl with great big plans."

I hope you find this song as fun and upbeat as I do.

Happy Monday, Everyone!  I hope you have a great week.

October 12, 2012


When I began working again, I knew it'd only be for a short period of time.  I had very specific goals with my paychecks (goals that both Dustin and I agreed to), and planned from the beginning to quit once those goals were met.

Of course, things changed a bit once I found out I was pregnant.  

And today I find myself only obligated to go to work two more times.  I'm very happy to be winding down my employment for the time being, but I'm sad to leave the people I have come to know. Thanks to Facebook, I know we'll still keep in touch, and I can obviously visit them at work whenever I want.  But, it will still be sad not to see them on a regular basis, even if I am a good decade older than most of them and I'm in a completely different stage in life than most of them.

Despite all that, here are a few things I've learned about myself and others while having this job:

1.  Because of my degree, I know I could have moved up the ladder.  Even though working full-time was not on my agenda, it's nice knowing that I had that option.  I'll always be grateful for my education.

2.  I can get along with pretty much any type of person.  It helps if that person knows how to carry on a conversation, but it's not required for me to still tolerate their company.

3.  I tend to give unsolicited advice.  I need to work on that.

4.  Few feelings compare to that of coming home after a hard day at work.  Thanks, Dustin, for always being there to listen to me vent.

5.  Good, reliable co-workers are hard to come by.

6.  Retail is a very under appreciated career.  After all, without retail employees, there would be no Black Friday.

7.  Even though I was not hired to be a maid, I certainly felt like one.  There are garbage cans in the store for a reason.

8.  It's sad when people are shocked when they receive good customer service.  It shouldn't be that big of a surprise when people not only do their job, but do it well.

9.  Whether she takes my advice or not, Isabelle will learn the importance of hard work and keeping her word.

10.  I'm definitely going to miss my paychecks!

What sort of things have you learned about yourself and other people by working?


October 3, 2012


Dance class was a huge success.

I think I'm more excited for her to go to class again today than she is.

September 28, 2012


There are a lot of things that I love about Dustin.  I could list all of his qualities and attributes that I love and admire, but instead I'd like to focus on one thing and that is his attitude towards women.

When Dustin's co-workers first learned that I was pregnant, a lot of people began asking him if he wanted a boy this time around.  I knew from the beginning that Dustin loved raising our little Isabelle and that he had no problems about having another girl.  He expressed his thoughts to those he worked with and a lot of people, specifically the men in the group, were astonished by his response.  How could it be possible that he didn't want a boy?  A boy to carry on the family name!  A boy to watch sports with.  A boy to hunt with.  People were really flabbergasted.  And that really bothered Dustin, and not because he's neither interested in sports or hunting, but because he felt people were suggesting there's something wrong with having a girl.  That a girl is somehow less than compared to boys.

One night after work, Dustin told me what had been said to him at work.  When it came to carrying on the family name, my immediate response was, "People know that women don't have to change their last name when they get married, right?"  Dustin laughed because he said that was his first thought too.

We talked about everything for awhile, and things settled down at the office.  In fact, most people predicted we would have another girl.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think any of his co-workers meant to offend.  And they didn't really offend Dustin by what they said.  I think it was more shocking than anything.

I'm so thankful for Dustin because of his attitude towards women.  He has always treated me like his equal.  He has never done or said anything that suggests he is somehow superior to me simply because of his gender.  We also recognize that while we're equal, we're different in that we have different strengths and weaknesses and personalities.

I think Isabelle is the luckiest girl in the world to have Dustin as her dad.  I know he's going to be so supportive of her throughout her life.  He will expect certain things from her and hope certain things for her, but overall will encourage her to do whatever she wants in life.  He won't put any limitations on her because she is a girl.

And I know he's so excited to welcome our new baby girl into the family. 

After all, nothing can compare to the father-daughter relationship.

September 26, 2012


Dustin frequently travels for work.  Most of the time, he returns home at a decent hour.  His last trip was a different story with his flight not landing until close to midnight.

I knew I would be asleep when he got home.  I also knew he'd hit up the iPad and browse Facebook before coming to bed.

So, I left him a little message.

He's since left me messages too. 

I guess we're a bit nerdy, but it works for us!

September 25, 2012


Isabelle's stranger anxiety began when she was very, very young.  I'm not exactly sure, but I want to say around 3 months.  I know it was before 6 months.

As a new mom, I was very protective of my little girl.  We spent a lot of time at home, just the two of us.  All of our family lived hours away, so visits to see grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles and cousins were few and far between.  And, when we did get to see our family Isabelle was less than thrilled and never let anyone else get near her, let alone hold her, without going into a major fit.

The idea of going out with Dustin on a date and hiring a baby-sitter to watch Isabelle seemed like the most daunting thing ever.  How could I subject anyone to Isabelle's fits or subject Isabelle to such trauma?

As a result, I was rarely without my child.

As the months passed, I decided to get a part-time job.  Isabelle was 8 months old at the time and my schedule worked perfectly with Dustin's so a sitter would never be needed.  I was excited for the chance to get out of the house and make a little bit of money.

The day I was offered the job, I was told my training would be a week long and at a different location and city than where I'd actually be working.  The hours of my training were also different.  As a non-driver and mother of a very anxious child, this presented a challenge for me.  Luckily, Dustin had a wonderful boss that was so accommodating to our unusual situation and she worked with him so that he could take me to work.

On the flip side, I had to find a sitter for Isabelle.  I had a good friend that offered to help me.  She had two young girls of her own and I knew Isabelle would be in good hands.  She also knew about Isabelle's stranger anxiety and promised me she wouldn't be bothered by it.  So, I sucked it up and decided to trust that things would be okay.  After all, Isabelle was only going to be with a sitter for less than 2 hours a day.

The first day she cried most of the time.  The second day was the same, but she cried less.  By the end of the week, she was still anxious to see us leave her, but she was much more relaxed and it was obvious she was getting used to the idea of being around new people.

That week was a great learning experience for me as I let go of my daughter and allowed her to adapt to new situations and experiences.

Now, at 3 years old, Isabelle continues to be shy, but she has definitely come a long way.  She is able to see my family on a regular basis, so we're all cured of her stranger anxiety there; however, she see's Dustin's side of the family less and is still prone to not wanting grandma or grandpa hold her which really bothers me.  But, overall, things have improved greatly.

As I ponder the new experiences she will be faced with in the coming years {a new baby sister, pre-school, kindergarten, etc.}, I worry about how she will adjust.  I have nightmares of her refusing to go to school, so I'm trying to do what I can now to prepare her, even if it's just in small ways.

Isabelle has always enjoyed dancing, so I proposed to Dustin that we sign her up for classes.  He was on board and we both were happy to give her the opportunity to be in new situations, to be in a classroom-like setting, to learn how to be comfortable around adults and children and, of course, to have fun!

On Saturday, we went to a local dance store to get her a leotard, tights, ballet slippers and tap shoes.  The store was very busy and I felt like a total fish out of water.  I imagined my feelings were how my mom felt when she first took me to a music store after I demanded to take violin lessons.  She had no idea what to expect, and I found myself in the same situation.

I caught myself being a helicopter mom as the nice associate worked with Isabelle to find the right size shoes.  It took all my energy not to answer the questions she was asking Isabelle, but to instead let the two of them interact and communicate together.

So far, I've learned that if I just back off and relax my daughter does just fine in new situations.  At first, she squeezes my leg in apprehension and is quiet and shy around new people, but eventually she does let go and blossoms as she enjoys a new experience.

I am thoroughly enjoying the idea of everything life has to offer Isabelle in the coming years, but know her growth and development and advancement can only go so far provided I learn to let go and trust that she will be okay. 

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