Monday, December 30, 2013

Blog changes

As the new year approaches, I felt the need for a change in my blog. I decided to come back to blogger for two reasons. One, on my wordpress blog, there are ads at the end of my blog posts. Slight annoyance. I didn't want to pay for the ad removal upgrade at the moment. Two, I couldn't customize the look of my blog too much on wordpress without paying.

Also, I was getting a lot of unknown followers every time I would post. I checked all their profiles to see if I knew anyone, and had no clue. Little concerned about that. I like to keep this blog open, but I remember not getting lots of unknown followers using blogger, so I'm coming back. I may tweak the template a little, get a different header with a picture, etc, but here's the look for now.

I feel prompted to journal more of my daily, simple blessings on this blog. Something about writing it down helps me to keep the eternal perspective bright and in focus. I've been going through some rough patches, and I need to be active in seeking the sunshine, and nurturing my soul. Blogging about my daily events and family is a blessing:)

So to start off, here's the blessings of today:

I took the day at a slower pace. I spoke slowly and softly with my children, my young rascals:)

I looked into their eyes while they spoke to me. 

I had a moment of peace while reading to Kevin on my lap from our favorite Curious George book. 

Instead of worrying about the mess, I let my toddler get out some board games and open them up. She happily played with the cards and pieces, then sang 'clean up' to herself while putting them away. 

I watched Ethan wet his hair, and find joy in combing and styling his hair for the first time. He did many different styles, and said 'look at me, Mom' every time. He's so handsome.

Simple and beautiful moments, waiting to be savored. I'm thankful my eyes were open today, and recognized these moments. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

New blog address!

Hi, friends! I recently changed this blog to a new address, and switched to Wordpress.

Go to this link to read why, and add it to your blog following list if you'd like to keep up with my endearing ramblings:)

Monday, May 27, 2013

The next day

After a long run of challenging parenting days that can really wipe you out, the sun came out. Isn’t it nice when the sun comes out? To all those sweet friends who commented on my blog and FB, just wanted to thank you so much. I collected all your great tips and advice, and printed them out. They are in my contentment basket, and I read them often.

Have you seen that many times when the rough times hit, it’s really just you being taught by the spirit how to be a better parent? It’s usually not so much about your sweet kids being brats, but about how you need to listen better, breathe more, and take a step back. I’m sure you’ve witnessed this in your mothering days. I sure have. I’m grateful for the lessons.

I want to share something neat I heard in my church class on Sunday. A very humble mother spoke to us about parenting, to which I thought ‘Sweet! Need all the help I can get.’. She taught us the importance of respecting our children’s agency, and to listen to them better.

She spoke of attending a mother/daughter thing in Utah, and the keynote speaker was Elizabeth Smart. I was listening before, but now I was supremely listening, as everyone else in the room. Seriously, you could hear a pin drop as she spoke. (For those who don’t know, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped years ago in Utah, and 9 months later returned to her family.)

I will do my best to paraphrase, so here we go. Elizabeth was held hostage by her kidnapper, and had horrible things done to her. As the man forced himself upon her, she thought to herself ‘ No one will want me now. This is the worst’, and such. She had the spirit touch her heart and felt the love of her Heavenly Father during that time. She also recalled a conversation she had with her mother. She remembered her mother telling her how much she loved her. She remembered how much her parents loved her, and with that memory, vowed to do whatever it took to get back to her family. The speaker finished her talk with the important reminder of ‘Are we telling our children that we love them dearly? Are we listening to them?’. Whew! So good.

With that, and all of your kind words, I am trying again this week to love my children, and to listen to them better. One day at a time, or like our most favorite movie at the moment, ‘one game at a time’.

In other news, Kevin got bounced a little too hard on a big trampoline, and landed on his arm. He broke it very small, above the elbow, and only has two more weeks in a cast. He has been such a trooper, and has kept a smile on his face. We were all at the hospital, and I watched my boys. Kevin was darling, answering all the nurses questions. Ethan was curious about all the machines and lights, asking the nurses tons of questions, and talking with them. I watched, fell in love with my kids again, and thought ‘They really are good kids.’ It was tender.


May you all have a beautiful week:)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still trying

It’s been a continuing week of hard mothering days. I was hoping this new week would go better. It hasn’t. Today, I’m finally at a breaking point, and feel completely weak and at a loss to be a parent. It must be a stage that we are going through, but it sure is challenging. Basically, day after day of young siblings fighting, whining, not listening, kicking, hitting, and talking back to the parents rudely.

The talking back part scares me the most. How in the world do you nip talking back in the bud, before it gets cemented into a horrible habit? Please share if you have any advice on that one. We’ve taken away privileges, swimming days, etc for the behavior. I’m trying to look for the positive they do, and reward those good actions they do, rarely lately.  I’m trying to give more hugs, to listen better to them, and to really pick my battles, which is a tough one. I do take the kids out to parks and playdates to burn energy and such. I hope I don’t give the impression that I’m not doing anything to try to help this situation. I just feel broken from trying to create a loving atmosphere at home, and all that lovely stuff you hear about in church talks.

It’s been three days of reading scriptures, praying and listening for the spirit to help me be patient and not yell, and three days this week of ‘Groundhog Day’, repeated hardships with my kids. Still waiting for that help to come. Still will try to be consistent in the spiritual devotionals for me, as you can’t give up, even when you want to. This is the testimony strengthening part because I have found that when I pray and work for something really important, the help does not come over night, or their would be no growth. I just need help to get through one hour at a time. I want to cherish my kids so badly, and savor each moment while they are so young. I don’t want to keep struggling with getting the kids to stop fighting, yelling, start listening, so that there is no time, or more importantly, energy to create good memories and learning moments. I can’t even make it one day without yelling. Not one, and that makes me feel like the worst failure of a mother ever. Embarrassing.

I know I’m not alone on this, and that many of you have had these stages with young kids. I just know that not many write about it. I just needed to sit down, take a break to cool down, and write. I’m so sorry for being so open and honest. If you want positive posts all the time, I think you better go read the Nienie blog. She’s amazing. I am just a mom who really loves her boys and little girl, but after continual reading of parenting books, searching the scriptures, praying constantly, I just still am struggling, as most likely some of you out there are, too.

I guess maybe by the end of this week, if I can make it to the end of the week, I will be a little stronger? Maybe just a little more patient. Hopefully, my kids will still love me, and I can try to not have day after day of this rough stuff. Again, so sorry for being somewhat on the negative side. I just am at the end of my rope. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I will try to make my next post a bit more bright:)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why I love being a Mom

Mother’s day was special. Shaun spoiled me rotten with some new kitchen items, and an umbrella for our backyard. Packages kept coming to our home that I was told not to open yet:)

The boys were darling in church, singing with all the kids mother’s day songs. At the end of one song, where they sang ‘dear mother, like you.’, Kevin pointed right at me while he was singing. Cracked me up. He’s so funny.

Here’s a little picture tribute to my sweet mom, who I miss dearly. I remember these boxes of all her stuff very well.


She taught me so much, and how to be a kind mom. Selfless. Giving. She was wonderful.

I’ve only been a mom for 5 years, and still have much to learn, but here’s a few things why I love being a mom.

I get to be with them everyday, and see all their little quirks, emotions, and smiles.

I can sit down and hold them anytime. Nothing should stand in the way of just holding them, and giving them tickles.

I can read them stories at night, and tuck them into bed with their favorite blankets and stuffed animals. Ethan’s bed is filled with his stuffed animal friends. Kevin has his blankets, and I love this stage.

I can smile at them, and help them know that they are loved dearly. They have a home that is a safe haven for them, and they can explore their backyard, digging in dirt, and splashing in the pool.

I can make ice cream for them, and it totally makes their day. Simple vanilla ice cream. Perfect.

Oh, there’s so much more, but I love being their mom, and trying to teach them how to be kind, like my Mom taught me.

One thing I love seeing them do daily now:


We got a pool to help survive the awful summer heat this year. We go over the safety rules often with them, but they love the pool. I love being out there watching them, and seeing them splash and laugh.

Brooke likes hers, too:)


Here’s a few more shots from our daily life:













And now, I need to go take care of them. Early mornings sure do fly by fast. The days are so short. Trying to make each moment count:)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Brooke darling


Time for a Brooke post:)




I’m so in love with these pictures. I took these about a month ago. I placed Brooke down infront of the budding trees, saw what my camera was doing to the backdrop, and freaked out. Love it. Love the sun shining behind her.

Brooke is getting bigger and more talkative. She’s such a cute, little girl. Such different mannerisms than the boy’s have. She’s not walking yet, but getting closer every day. Here’s some things about her now:

  • She knows what to do with necklaces and bracelets. She quickly puts them on and starts crawling around proudly wearing her jewelry. So dang cute.
  • When I carry her, she will lay her head on my shoulder, and just want to be held. It’s so very heavenly.
  • She has the sweetest giggle, and the softest cry.
  • She gets a little feisty at mealtimes, and will throw her bowl and cup down with vigor.
  • She giggles when the boys pick her up and carry her around.
  • She does sign language quite often now. Mostly eat, sleep, and more.
  • She is now in the nursery class at church, and is doing pretty good.

I’m just so thankful to have at least one girl in our family. I don’t want her to be spoiled at all, but I do teach the boys the importance of treating a lady correctly, opening doors for her, and respecting women. I tell the boys that they are her protectors and friends. Ladies always get fed first at the table. I wish I could put more boys and clips in her hair, but she usually will pull them off quick. Maybe when she gets older.

The month of April flew by! I have a load of stuff to catch up on for this blog. Can’t believe summer is almost here. Here’s a few things:

  • We took the boys to the Monster Truck jam here in town. It was so fun for them to see really huge trucks.
  • The boys did a little horseback riding learning for a bit.
  • The garden is taking off, and the tomato plants are starting to get that amazon jungle look. Yea!
  • We got an above ground pool from Costco, and are so incredibly thankful for a way to cool off this summer. Have gone over safety rules constantly with the boys.
  • I had a wonderful senior photo session last weekend, and applied a lot of things I learned from my studying. Pictures turned out so beautiful, and I am forever grateful for being prepared.
  • I had the blessing of attending my friend’s Herb academy again. I was reminded about the importance of herbal tinctures, liquid medicine, and have begun making them again. I love learning about the healing powers of herbs, and how they can help my family right away when we are sick. It’s the best.

I’m sure there are more, but the sun is rising fast. Got to accomplish another day of meal preparation, school time, loving the kids, and getting a tiny bit of rest to make it through the day. Wishing you all a beautiful day. Take the time to slow down and be in the moment. Such a hard thing to do sometimes, but so wonderfully rewarding.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The rest of my talk

This week, I had the neat opportunity to give a little 15 minute talk about our change to processed foods. It was for a small group of lovely ladies at my church. I tried my best to whittle it down and keep it to the biggest and most important stuff we learned, but it was sure hard to do that in only 15 minutes.

I told the class very important things health wise about eating white flour, white sugar, and processed vegetable oils. I wanted so badly to tell them the huge stuff that we discovered, and that it’s given us the most amazing health and wellness we have ever experienced in our lives.

After it was over, I had a lot of self doubts. I thought to myself', ‘ Oh, no. What did I just do? I just told these good ladies with honest hearts and good desires what their beloved sweets and flour products are doing to their long term health. I told them specific facts, about heart disease, what free radicals do from the cooking oils, and cancer. What if they just don’t want to hear that? What if they still love their brownies and pasta, and know about the damage it is doing to their health, and just don’t want to do anything about it? I just came in and rained on their parade. Maybe I should just stop sharing everything I keep learning. Maybe it would be better if shut my mouth, and hopefully not offend anyone who still wants to eat the way they have been.’

These thoughts were with me as I put the kids to bed, and collapsed into bed myself that night. Then, I got a sweet text from a friend who was at my class, thanking me for the info. It sure helped. I thought, ‘Oh, thank goodness. If it was to help at least one person, then it was worth it’. I then was able to go to bed with a rested soul.

People everywhere have their agency; the gift to make choices in their lives. What a blessing Heavenly Father gave us agency, and we are not forced to do anything. Just like sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone, they can choose to either accept it or not. The same goes with this food topic. I only want to help others. I’ve been on this food/holistic journey since July last year, and I keep learning amazing things that I never knew. I wish so badly at times that I could pick up the phone and call my Mom to tell her about it, but I’m sure she’s watching from heaven above. I keep seeing the results when the knowledge is put to the test, and it has been so wonderful, physically and emotionally. Once you learn something incredible, you can’t go back to your old ways and unlearn it, you know?

Here’s a few things that I didn’t have time to mention in the 15 minutes that I wanted to say:

  • Even though we’ve made all these changes and eat different, we don’t do it 100% of the time. We still eat out at restaurants here and there, order Little Ceasers Pizza (because some days you just need a break from chaos and meal preparation! :), and I let the kids eat sweets and stuff at church activities and friend’s homes. Shaun still drinks his Gatorade. I believe its not good to be extreme in anything, but to just do your best. I almost always seem to indulge on the sweets offered at other places, but here’s the thing. When I do, I notice the change in my body fast. I feel everything slowing down. I get a headache. It stinks. So, even though I will eat white sugar stuff here and there, I keep getting that reaffirmation that really don’t want to.
  • Shaun and I both experienced this change together. How wonderful it has been to be on the same page with my beloved hubby. He recognized how his body felt when he got off processed foods, and loved it. He witnessed the weight loss first and increased energy, which gave me the desire to start exercising consistently. He’s been totally on board with our eating, and I’m so grateful. At first, it was funny. I gave away so much of our food, and our pantry was pretty bare. He said to me “What are we going to eat?” to which I would reply “I’m working on it”. I knew I had to find new recipes, and learn how to tweak my old ones. I found new food blogs, and learned about new ways to prepare food. The ‘Aunt Jemima’ syrup was a hard thing to get rid of. Now, we melt butter and maple syrup together for pancake syrup. It tastes infinitely better than any store bought syrup.
  • I touched on this lightly in the talk, but last year I experienced something amazing. I was by myself going to the library. I got out of the car, and thought to myself ‘I’m going to jog to the front door of the library.’ I began jogging, and couldn’t believe how weightless I felt. I looked at my legs wondering ‘Am I even moving??’ I was but it felt incredible. It seriously felt like I was flying, and that I weighed as light as a feather.’ I stopped at the door, looked back, and thought ‘What just happened?’. It was all in a matter of 12 seconds. This is what happens when you stop putting damaging food into your body. Your body can perform like no other. You’re not weighed down and sluggish. Now, when I walk it feels like I’m floating, and when I run it feels like I’m flying. No exaggeration. It took some getting used to. Makes me think of that article about the basketball star Kobe Bryant. He recently changed his eating to whole foods, and cut out fructose, and refined food. He’s performing better than ever, in an age way past his prime. You can check out the article here.

So, I hope I can be helpful to anyone who wants to learn about their health. I have learned so much, but it’s a continual journey. There still is so much more to learn, and I feel I’ve only scratched the surface. I get so darn excited about it. I love how I feel. I love my hair, and my new legs. It’s just stinking fantastic, it’s happened to plenty other people out there besides me, and can happen to you, if you have the desire. Thank for putting up with me, and please feel free to email me and ask as many questions as you’d like. It never is a bother to me:)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


“Everything that is not written down disappears except for certain imperishable moments, people and scenes.” — James Salter, “The Art of Fiction No. 133,”

Beautiful quote. I just love quotes. Journaling is vital and soothing to the soul. I am not very good at journaling every day. That would be great, but I just haven’t seemed to reach the daily goal, but I do try weekly. That’s pretty good, I think.

I seem to have a few places I journal in. This sweet blog, for one. I must print it out at Blurb. What a great treasure that will be.

I also discovered from a friend the app “Day One”. It’s a simple journal app that makes consistency actually happen with my journaling. You can add a picture to your posts, and you can print out the posts into a PDF. Excellent. It’s $5, but well worth it.

Then, there’s the beauty of the handwritten word. I try to find time to sit down and write. I long for my handwriting to be as beautiful as my relative Cindy’s handwriting. Practice. Above all, I love the idea of a tangible book, with my handwriting, passed down to my generations.


I went to the Power of Moms retreat in town this weekend. It was a lovely workshop for strengthening mothers, and to gain strength and ideas from a group of other devoted mothers. It was such a treat to attend. It was held at a fellow homeschooler friend’s home, which is basically a castle of comfort and wisdom. Amazing home.

Picture used with permission from Tiffany Sowby.

There were many things that I learned, and it will take some time to apply them all, but one thing I really loved was the ‘contentment basket’ idea.

Basically, the vital importance of nurturing the person inside the mom, and to seek for contentment. The need to set aside time in the day to have time to feed your soul.

My friend who spoke on this topic showed us her contentment basket filled with good things; scriptures, a journal, a current book she was reading, exercise stuff, things to create, etc. All things that enrich and uplift. I just loved it.


I put my basket together today of good things. Oh, it was such an idea that resonated with me. Another gentle reminder that it’s so important to take care of myself emotionally and spiritually, so that I can find joy and be the best I can for my family. The goal now is to be consistent with finding my quiet time to seek contentment.

There were many more things I hope to share in future posts. For now, this is a little tidbit of sunshine for you.

The Power of Moms website is a tremendous source of help for all moms everywhere of all denominations. If you haven’t seen it, do check it out. They have great podcasts often that can be heard on itunes or your phone. The blog posts are written by many mothers, and the topics are always spot on with common motherhood trials and themes. It’s just a great place. So blessed that the sweet co creator April Parry made the website five years ago, and is passionate about helping other mothers.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The hair story update

So behind on blog posts, ah! Need to blog about our anniversary date, Power of Moms’ retreat, the fair, whew! Here’s a post long over due for my friend:)

So, it’s been almost a year since the hair revolution I encountered last year. I’ve been meaning to blog about how it’s been going since then. So here we go:)

Last year was the year I fell in love with my hair again. It all started with reading a pin on Pinterest about the ‘no poo’ method of washing your hair. It greatly intrigued me, and I feel into the rabbit hole of learning. I learned about the ‘Curly Girl’ hair topic, the damage that Sodium Laurel Sulfate does to your hair, and how to take better care of my hair. So, I’m not strictly ‘no poo’, but I use different shampoos and conditioners that don’t contain silicones, parabens, and sulfate.

Lorraine Massey is the founder of the Curly Girl method. Basically, if you have wavy or curly hair, embrace it! Try not to blow dry, be gentle in handling your hair, and give it plenty of moisture.

I found a girl on youtube who is devoted to creating great videos on the curly girl method. She’s done a ton of homework on what brands are safe to use, hair care routines, and more. She films them in her college dorm room. I think she’s darling:) Go HERE to see her youtube channel of videos. is a forum all about hair care. My goodness, there’s a forum for everything out there, isn’t there? Learned a lot about the basic washing routines here.

I learned that the sulfate is in nearly every shampoo. It is a foaming agent, toxic, and cleans the snot out of your hair. Yet, it strips my hair of its natural oils, thus making  it incredibly dry. I used to wash my hair every night with Pantene. I was totally killing my hair, but I just didn’t know.

I learned that I didn’t  have to wash my hair everyday. My hair washing schedule now goes something like this:

I wash my hair with shampoo about twice a week. On other days, I just conditioner wash my hair. Basically, I rub my scalp really well all over with some conditioner that doesn’t have any sulfates or silicones in it. Those are the drying ingredients. Moisture is what I needed to make my curls come back to life. Lots of moisture, and Pantene stripped all moisture away.

I rub some conditioner into my hair, and comb it through with my fingers so it’s completely coated. I scrunch my hair a ton, to encourage the natural curl pattern. At the end of the shower, I try to rinse in cold water, as cold as I can handle it. That closes the cuticles up, and increases shine. Fun.

Sometimes, if I don’t have product in my hair to clean out, I just wash my hair with water, and then use a little conditioner at the end. Scalp rubbing/massaging is key to a good wash.

To dry my hair, I use an old cotton T shirt and gently push it all over my hair to dry. The little fibers in towels increase frizz in your hair. I love using a shirt gently on my hair to dry. I just love taking care of my hair now:)

For the first two weeks I got off regular shampoo, my hair seemed extra oily. I read that’s totally normal for your hair to do. It was getting used to not having the natural oils stripped away, and balancing back to normal.

I learned that you can over condition you hair, and that’s not good. When my hair was too soft and limp, I needed to take a day off from conditioning it after washing my hair.

So, every one has a different head of hair. You must experiment and see what works for you. I did have one of my friend with straight hair try out this method. She said her hair felt softer.

It’s been great fun, and I love my hair again. I always shower at night, and usually have to re wet my hair in the morning to style it. Going to bed with semi wet hair and waking up makes my hair look like Simba. No joke. I usually stick my head under the bath facet, re wet it, and style.

Oh yes! I stopped using a baking soda wash for a shampoo alternative. I read that it is pretty harsh for your hair, but I use a apple cider vinegar rinse 1-2 a week. It basically clarifies. Every time I do that, I seem to have the best hair days. It’s awesome.

I tried to find a random picture of me and my hair. Here’s one.

So, it’s super great to learn how to take better care of your hair! That’s today’s post for ya:)


Monday, April 1, 2013

Beautiful quote

Shaun’s father quietly passed away in his home last week. Now, funeral preparations. Not fun, but here’s a beautiful quote that I came across yesterday. It’s from Joseph F. Smith, a former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors … who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break. … If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses, … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; … their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I’ve been doing a lot of purging lately. Spring cleaning, so to speak. It feels great. I’m constantly realizing that time is so important. There’s only so many hours in the day, and the days fly by.

I’ve been cutting down my Facebook time. As much as I like to catch up on everyone and participate in chatter, I’m finding I just don’t have time. So Facebook has been reduced, and you know what happens when you’re not constantly checking FB? You are free. More time to focus on the big stuff, and see my kids in their cute moments more.

Worked on email inbox. Way too many subscriptions. Too much time trashing emails each day.

Cut down on the amount of Pinterest boards I’m following. Tried to keep it to the things I’m really interested in, and will use. I love Pinterest, because I use so many things I pin. Vital source of activities for teaching the kids, for real food recipes, and photo business stuff. Cannot live without Pinterest, but have to filter the board following.

I have a black garbage bag that is hiding in my closet. It constantly gets filled with crud laying around the house; broken toys, stuff we’re not using, etc. Decluttering saves your home! Wow, to have less makes it much easier to clean the house. Brings peace of mind, too.

So, purging has been going great around here. Now, here’s a beautiful picture of Ethan I was able to capture last weekend.


It’s always been a challenge to take pictures of the boys. They just wiggle and move so much. Boy nature. Even though Ethan may not always look at the camera for me, he always gives me this wonderful, candid shot that turns out more beautiful than I hoped for. I love this. I’m always at a loss about decorating my mantles at home. I now know what to do;  just put framed pictures up of the kiddos. That’s just perfect.

For this picture, I took the kiddos on a nature walk at my favorite photo taking place. It sure doesn’t look like the desert. It’s the most beautiful, peaceful place with a little creek bubbling along. I have some great pictures of Brooke to share next post.  Kevin was too busy exploring to hold still for a pic, of course.

That’s it for today. What purging have you done lately? Get cracking, it feels great:)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


This week has been a busy one. WPPI has come to my city again this year, the big photography conference. I told my boys that this week would be a little busy with them getting shipped to babysitters on the few days I attended some classes, but that I loved them so much. I felt guilty not having as much time with them this week as I like, but it was also a wonderful treat for me to go to the conference.

Here’s a few shots from today. I won’t post a ton, as I already did on my photography account on Instagram, but it was a good day.

First off, I went to a portrait business class on Monday that really opened my eyes on how I could do better for my clients. I was so thankful to go and hear this humble woman share her mistakes and teach us. My friend Celise and I sat together and listened, taking notes. Second year going to this conference with Celise. Fun:)


We walked around the trade show, and I kept seeing photographers who I saw teach online at Creative Live. Big wigs with lots of gear.

Today, this wonderful musician, Mindy Gledhill, performed some music before my class started. She has a beautiful album named “Anchor”, and her songs have been used by many photographers. I got into my class, saw that she was on stage performing, and thought ‘Sweet! Double whammy! “ Two great treats in one class, Mindy, and Sue Bryce teaching us.

Mindy was so kind and approachable. She is heading into the studio next week to record her next CD, which will be out in September. Yea!


Lighting was pretty off in this area, but oh well. It’s a picture:) I’ve been watching and learning from this funny and kind lady, Sue Bryce. She’s a huge portrait photographer from New Zealand. I’ve watched her on Creative Live for the past year. Excellent teaching in posing. I just wanted to meet her in person, and tell her thanks for teaching me how pose, and to direct hands so well. Haven’t mastered it yet, posing hands is insanely hard, but she’s about the only one who teaches posing so clear and direct. So, this was my treat:)


Then, it was time to come back to reality, get the kids, give them big hugs, and try to not forget the education I gained this week. Grateful I could go for a couple of days.

The bittersweet part of today was a phone call with Shaun’s tender Dad, who is battling leukemia cancer. He no longer wants to do chemo, and the nurses say he has about two weeks left here. So hard to think of, and yet, a comfort to know that soon, he will be with his wife, his best friend, Shaun’s wonderful mother, Dixie. Still, it’s sad and emotional.

I called him today, praying that he could answer his phone. He did. Fighting back tears, I told him how sorry we were that we are so far away, and can’t see him in person, but that we love him very much. I thanked him for teaching Shaun how to be a good worker, because Shaun is one of the hardest, most helpful, working people I know. He takes such good care of us.

I thanked him for teaching Shaun how to treat a wife like gold. Shaun learned from his Dad’s example. Shaun spoils me, and constantly is thinking of my welfare first. He saw his Dad do that for his mom. Example is powerful. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be married to Shaun.

I just wanted to thank him so much for the gift of his son, Shaun, to me. I told him how much I love him, and how happy I am to be his wife and friend. I remember being single, and giving up on the idea of someone wanting to spend eternity with me. I had the mindset of being content single for a long time, and then Shaun came, and my life has been forever blessed. It takes a good Dad to raise a good son.

I also told Dad even though this is hard and sad for us, how happy I was for him to be with his wife soon, and to see her again. She’s waiting to greet him, and everything will be ok. How grateful I am to have the knowledge the gospel gives us, that life does not end at death. There is so much more to come, and families are eternal.

Then, I got off the phone, and cried in the car. I’m an emotional basket case.

So, that was my day today. I tried to notice the sky more, and hear the birds chirping in the trees. Life is a precious gift.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Here I am. This month is flying by. I want to blog, but don’t quite know what to blog about today. So, here’s a little post about something.

Lately, I’ve been trying to remember that the kids are not going to be little for long. Kevin will not be so small that I can curl him up in a little ball, and hold him in my arms. Ethan will be taller than me very soon, and will not want to sleep with his stuffed animals forever. Brooke will be out of her adorable toddler stage soon, and on to new chapters.

Whenever I see older kids, I sometimes think, “Oh, yeah. Our kids will be big like that one day.” My greatest fear is that I will regret not savoring the moments of them being little, when that day comes. I know that today is given to me once. I’m so incredibly lucky and blessed to have these three darling, little spirits in our home. This is what I’ve been trying to do more.

Look into their eyes. See the light shining in them, and the excitement as they talk about something they love.

Really care about something the care about. Kevin’s glow stick toy broke. It was from the dollar store. He was pretty bummed about it. I think we’ll swing by the dollar store again today.

Ethan loves being able to do stuff all by himself. I try to give him lots of opportunities. He does his morning chores great. Unloading the dishwasher is becoming very easy for him. I’m trying to teach this kids to work. Each morning, we eat breakfast, and then do some chores. Ethan can do more than Kevin, but it’s a start.

Ethan loves being tickled and wrestled with. The boys love it when I chase them around the house, even if I’m too tired to do it. They just run screaming with joy, and then we collapse and laugh.

Brooke is too cute for words. I love this 16 month old age. She’s so delighted over everything, and is a snuggler. She laughs, plays peek a boo, and hands me food when she’s eating it.

I tried to get up early again to get computer work done, but didn’t make it. Got up around 6:15, and will go jump on the trampoline, but just wanted to blog this. These kids are so precious, and teach me so much. Some days are very physically exhausting, and barely survivable, but life is still good.

My friend recently quit FB, and I’ve been thinking about the good things of that. She has more time, and less distractions. I am trying to be on my phone less, and in the moment with my kids more. Hug them more, and listen to them better. They are my gifts.

A recent trip to the dollar store. We enjoyed the balloons:)






That’s it for today. Time to bounce and feel amazing:)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Daily life

Catching up with some shots of daily life that goes on around here:)

Brooke is really doing great. She’s pulling herself up to a standing position everywhere. She is now cruising along the couch, hanging onto it carefully as she moves around, and crawling up on all fours. The boys never did that. They just did the army crawl. She’s almost 17 months. We love her.


One day while the little kids napped, Ethan and I were ‘organizing’ the shed. We went through a lot of my old stuff. Camping gear that brought back lots of memories of camping with Mom. It was nice to slow down for a moment and remember.



Anytime Shaun is off work, we make pancakes for breakfast, these ones HERE. Made this recipe over and over and over again. So very good.


I have been working on creating some family picture books on Blurb. It’s quite simple, and I love finally doing something with all the pictures I’ve been taking. I ordered this book below, an Instagram pic book. Can’t wait for it to come!


Does this happen in your family? Dada comes home. He tries to get a bite to eat, and the kids are all over him to eat his stuff, even though it’s what they ate for dinner just an hour ago? Crazy, silly kids.


This picture cracks me up, because it shows you just how hard we crash sometimes when we try to pull a late nighter. This was at 7:30! We’ve been trying to have Fridays be Family Fun Nights. We let the kids pick between watching a movie, playing some games, or a sleepover in the tent. Our boys are SO active, for almost all day. They wear Shaun and I out. 4-7pm is the most exhausting time of the day. I am on my feet for the entire time getting dinner ready, outside playing with the kids in front yard, taking care of Brooke, bathing kids, moving and moving. Right now, I can’t imagine these hours of the day not being exhausting. It just simply is. So, when we try to stay up late, (Late at 7:30, ha! I know:), it usually doesn’t work. We are so tired. Which is why when I go to church activities at night, I have to try hard to not sit down in a chair and pass out. I have to be somewhat with it and social, but it just feels so good to sit down and not move for more than 5 minutes, and to visit with grownups after being with kiddos for a long day. We are just so darn tired from these active kids. I wonder if it will ever get physically easier during these hours when they get older. I can’t imagine it right now.

Usually, before 4pm hits, I’ve been getting on my knees and saying a little prayer to help me survive the next few hours. It’s been helping a lot. I try my best to have dinner prepared before these hours, but some days not.

Anyways, this was one of our Friday nights. We were trying to watch a movie. I just had to take a pic:)


Ethan was enjoying playing around with my props for photo sessions. I was getting ready for a fun shoot last week, and he looked so adorable.


Here’s our little group, with my friend’s family for our models. They are always so willing to come help us practice and keep learning photography. A couple of little girls freaked out when they saw our models, and wanted to get pictures with them. They thought they were from America’s Next Top Model. It was fun:)


Ok, time to go get breakfast done. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A day at the park

The time is fleeting this morning. I pulled myself out of bed at 6am, only to realize that I need more time before the kids arise. Tomorrow, we’ll try 5:30. Need to work on my talk for church. Shaun and I get to speak in church this Sunday. Argh!! I get so nervous to fill 10 minutes of time. Drives me crazy, but it will be ok.

We had a nice little walk at the park this weekend. I was able to catch a few shots of my darling, incredibly active kids who rarely hold still for a picture. We have sweet candids and glimpses into their precious, little souls right here:)

Happy, little Kevin. My bucket of giggles.


Energetic and passionate Ethan, who is in a sweet stage of loving his stuffed animals right now. Had to take them to the park for the fun, too.


Our princess, (I vowed I would never use that term for a daughter, but here we are using it often at home. Sheesh:) Brooke. At 16 months, she’s emerging with her cute personality. She was especially enjoying the nature here, while I was rolling around in duck poop, trying to catch a shot of her looking at me. The sun was just setting. Supreme golden hour at its best!


Love my family. Praying this week to listen to them better. To foster better relationships with them. That there is a huge one that takes constant, daily effort. I hope I can do it better. I love being a mom, even though it’s the hardest job ever some days. It’s worth it:)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My food journey: MSG

Ok, I must get these posts done for you all! The food journey post, containing important nutrition things I learned last year. They are so good:)

Today’s topic is on Monosodium Glutamate, also known as MSG. Horrible stuff. Below are excerpts from Dee Mcaffrey’s  book, “The Science of Skinny”.

“It has been called the nicotine of food additives because, in addition to its harmful effects on the body, it is highly addictive. Comprised of sodium and glutamic acid, MSG is a flavor enhancer that triggers our taste buds and makes us eat more and eat faster. Nearly every fast food and chain restaurant uses MSG in some form, and it is added to thousands of prepared and processed foods. The foods that contain the most MSG are processed fat free and sugar free, mainly because when fat and sugar are absent, the food is nearly flavorless, so MSG is added to enhance its flavor.

Use of MSG has doubled every decade since it was first introduced to the United States in the 1940s and, and in 2001, 3 billion pounds were manufactured.

Most sauces, dressings, canned soups, and seasoning products such as bouillon and broth contain MSG. It is the main ingredient in additives clumped under the term seasonings on food labels.

Specifically, it affects the normal appetite mechanism that controls how much we eat. It excites and stimulates our taste buds, fooling our brain to think the food tastes better than it actually does. This allows food manufacturers to use cheaper ingredients while helping the lower-quality food seem to taste good. Because MSG affects the mechanism in our brain that tells us to stop eating, we eat far beyond our normal stopping point. The substance is also known to be toxic.

Another common MSG-related symptom is a headache that feels like a tight band around the head. But the most alarming effect of MSG is its link to obesity. Scientists have observed that animals fed glutamic acid become grotesquely obese.

When the rats eat foods containing MSG, they eat more than they need to. If the lab rats are getting grotesquely obese from eating MSG, doesn’t it make sense that humans are too?

The real scary thing about MSG is that it can be hidden in nearly forty other food additives Following is a list of other additives that contain plenty of MSG:

  • “Anything” hydrolyzed
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Bouillon, stocks, and broths
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Gelatin
  • Hydrolozed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed yeast
  • Isolated soy protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Natural Flavorings
  • Seasonings
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Textured soy protein
  • Yeast extract

It’s important to point out here that there is no strict regulation on the word natural, and food manufacturers use it liberally, especially on patented ingredients such as ‘natural flavorings’.”

Pages 136-138

Whew! Yup, MSG is not good. The part I found most interesting is that it tricks your mind to think that the food tastes better than it really is, and that it doesn’t tell our brain that ‘I’m full’, and we over eat. Isn’t that crazy?

So, that’s the food learning for today. Thanks for stopping by to read:)

Monday, January 28, 2013


Church yesterday was inspiring. For the third hour of church, (Church is three hours split into three different courses of fun:), I’ve been able to attend Relief Society, another gospel doctrine class which is all the women.

It’s this class where I sit and listen to these spiritual goddesses all around me. I’m completely inspired and humbled by the teacher and women’s comments. I sit quietly sometimes, and try to listen to what the spirit is teaching me. Hard thing to master, and I’m far from there, but it’s an eternal quest to learn how to hear and follow the spirit.

The lesson was on a talk from Ann M. Dibb, called “I know it. I live it. I love it.” You can read it here. Fabulous read. We talked about what ways we could share the gospel with our friends, in simple and non pushy actions. One comment was to not use ‘church slang’ and acronyms in your Facebook status that only LDS members could understand, which made complete sense to me. Instead of ‘ I went to a great fireside this week’, which some people might think ‘roasting marshmallows by a camp fire?’, you could say ‘ Listened to a great church speaker, Sunday devotional’, or something like that, you know?

I remember serving a mission in Florida for the LDS church, and people thought that our Stake Conference was something where we go to eat a lot of steak. See what I mean? So, it’s better when talking about church topics, use simple terms that everyone could understand. 

My friends spoke up about a neat way they are using Instagram for sharing the gospel. On their phones, they will take a screen shot of a passage of sciptures they are reading, or a church talk, and share it, labeling it with the hashtag ‘Instascipt’. I thought to myself, “Not just for missionary purposes, but what a simple way to share a little spiritual sunshine with anyone who needs help to feel closer to the Savior that day.’ They said that anyone is welcome to start sharing their ‘instascript’ pics, and add to the growing collection on Instagram. I quietly thought to myself, “Well, I can do that, and that’s what I’ll start doing.”

I just learned what a hashtag is. It’s basically used in Twitter and Instagram. For Instagram, it’s a way to label your pictures. That way, when people search for something, they can find all the pictures labeled with ‘Instascript’ and other labels. I might start labeling all my food pics I share on there with the hashtag ‘real food’ or something.

So, if you’re on Instagram, or even if you’re not yet, get an Instagram account, and share a picture of something you read in your personal studies. Come join us! Think of it was little drops of goodness, ‘drops of awesome’, and remember that image of a water drop hitting the flat water surface, and the ripples going out to help someone out there.

Here’s my instascript for today. Some beautiful words from Richard G. Scott, a living apostle and very humble man.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Banana Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Update: I fixed the broken link:)

I’ve been having some fun updating this good old blog of ours. To your right, I added a ‘categories’ section, as I’ll be addressing more great topics in the future. I already started labeling past posts for easy finding.

I finally updated the header! After spending a ridiculous amount of time searching for a template that I liked, I finally just went with simple, and it works.

Ok, I want to share this great cookie recipe. Since going processed free, one of my favorite things is to find good sweet recipes that taste great, and don’t damage the body. It’s quite the quest, but we’ve found a few good knockout winners along the road. Here’s one of them.


These cookies get their sweetness from the bananas and the maple syrup. I think they taste even better the next day, as I put them in the fridge, and their flavors really sink in. I usually have doubled the recipe, and it makes a great amount to feed the kids and throw in Shaun’s work lunch.

I typed up the recipe in a handy Google document. I must say I’m in love with the font of the recipe title. I am a lover of fonts! They are so darn delightful to me.

So, if you’d like to try a wonderful, processed free cookie recipe, and see what the madness is all about, click HERE, print off, and enjoy:)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good article to share

Well, I had the desire to update the blog today, and I slept in. The blankets were so warm, and I just couldn’t get up to exercise. Oh, well. Try again tomorrow.

I read a wonderful blog post last night from 71 toes. Such a great blog. What an amazing mom, wow.

It was about getting more in the pictures with your kids. Time flies just too darn fast!

Read the wonderful words HERE.

Here’s one picture of little Kevin and I. We kind of missed looking right at the camera, but you know, who cares:)


So, my dear friends, take the time to slow down and get in the pictures more with your precious kiddos. Love you all.